"How do we define ugliness? There is no Boyle's Law to tell everyone precisely what beauty is"
The above quote is from George Nelson's notes on what he referred to as VISUAL POLLUTION. We are currently pondering whether he would have classified our collection of pipes as such, too.
When I was about 11, I went on a school trip to Paris. The building that made the biggest impression on me was the Pompidou Centre. A cavernous, colourful construction with its inner workings deliberately exposed as part of the design. I liked it immediately, I thought it felt alive and somehow, honest. I've liked exposed pipes ever since.
Pipes are often regarded as unsightly and as a consequence are concealed whenever possible. Yet there are instances where they just have to be in plain sight e.g. drain pipes. Urban living and the modernisation of traditional homes cannot always accommodate ways to conceal pipework so they too, are left exposed. In more industrial areas, pipes are part of the environment and we almost expect to see them.
Pipes are Super Ordinary because they are everywhere, yet often overlooked. It came as a welcome surprise to receive photos from friends and readers of pipes that they had noticed both on their travels or on their own stomping grounds.
We like pipes because they annotate a building. They are in a way, like veins, carrying out vital functions to keep buildings in healthy shape for their inhabitants.
I like the way they can ruthlessly cut across a wall in all manner of shapes. Yet despite their randomness, they quietly tell of an underlying reason for their composition. Whether they are highlighted with contrasting paint or made more subtle with matching paint to their attached wall, there is something honest about leaving them unconcealed.
As ever, we are mightily glad to be able to share the observations of others who notice more during ordinary moments in their lives. Today, we've had pipe pictures from: