Eyes on the street

Three stories of design in urban contexts:

Robert Montgomery is a fine artist working in type, often hijacking public advertising space in cities. His black panels with white letters feed off the back-lighting of ad posters they’ve covered; in his more recent work, solar cells in his sculptures capture sunlight, projecting at night his poetic messages ruminating on the way we live now.

The following quote gives a Cape Town public safety campaign its name:

“If you strike a woman, you strike a rock.”

 — African National Congress Women’s League slogan

Rock Girl aims to reverse the decline in the number of places where South African girls and women can feel safe. It has begun to plant benches in front of shops and other high-visibility areas.

The bench design, by local mosaic artist Lovell Friedman,  makes use of hand and eye motifs as positive signifiers — healing and caution, looking out for each other — and is shaped to allow seating on either side. Thanks are due to Julie Lasky (Design Observer) for drawing attention to this promising initiative.

In 2008 Mark Batty Publisher brought out Urban Iran, by Charlotte Noruzi and Salar Abdoh, a photographic anthology of street art across Iran in all its diversity. It is supplemented by essays that place the art in its cultural context. Thanks to Maria Popova at Brain Pickings for featuring this.


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