To promote a wood-shelled cell phone, Japanese mobile service provider NTT Docomo spent four days building a giant xylophone on a forest hillside on Kyushu and dispatched a wooden ball on a lonely (and somehow harrowing) mission to play “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”
British artist Alex Chinneck designed this unzipped building facade for Milan Design Week in 2019. The theme is continued inside, where giant zippers create openings in walls and the floor. More at Dezeen.
Founded in 1957, catalog showroom Best Products distinguished itself with highly unorthodox facades, designed by architect James Wines for nine retail facilities across the United States. This one, the “Indeterminate Facade” in Houston, Texas, was said to have appeared in more books on 20th-century architecture than photographs of any other modern structure. The company eventually went bankrupt, and most of the buildings have been redesigned or demolished, but one in Richmond, Va., with a forest in its entryway, is now home to a Presbyterian church.
In the Kinkerbuurt, Amsterdam, the streets are named after Dutch poets and writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Correspondingly, Yugoslavian artist Sanja Medic transformed the façade of a local building into a case holding 250 ceramic “books” by these authors.
It’s a substantial library — each volume weighs more than 25 kg, so the frontage had to be reinforced to support them.
The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, built to honor the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I, contains a marble stone engraved with the words Greater love hath no man (from John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”).
The shrine is constructed so that once a year, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, a ray of sunlight will shine through an aperture in the roof to illuminate the word love.
11/14/2020 UPDATE: An interesting addendum: The introduction of daylight saving in 1971 led designers to introduce a system of mirrors to ensure the right timing. Thanks to everyone who wrote in about this.