February 19th, 2011

Introducing Bicycletects Atelier Bow-Wow

Atelier Bow-wow is a husband and wife team of oh so Japanese Architects. When asked if they could create what they call "pet-architecture" (a type they defined in their book of that title using photos of teenie weenie buildings on teenie slithers of land), in a Shanghai art gallery, they went to Shanghai and noticed two things: furniture arranged on the street as though it were in a living room, and 2. lots of bikes. They responded with 4 bikes that 4 friends can ride around separately, and reverse into formation at the end of the day, to chat for hours over dinner and drinks.

From left: Furnicycle, Shanghai Biennale 2002; video to watch from minute 14; a piece of pet architecture in my house

Furnicycle is useless, of course, and so gets trotted around now to other galleries. But Furnicycle is not so much practical, as propagandising. With it Bow-Wow are sending the familar message to China, that they should not "modernize" at the expense of simple pleasures like cycling, and lounging outside on the street. BIG's Danish Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, is a similar work.
Anyhow, Bow-wow are big up on bikes yo, of that we can be certain. Many of their houses include thoughtful ways of storing bikes in this country, Japan, where the footprint of bikes on the street isn't so much smaller than the footprint of all of the houses!