TOPIC / Urban Design
In Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers
, Remo Camerota
has collected and photographed unique, adorable, odd, and gorgeous "manhoru" cover designs from regions in Japan. The new book
is published by Mark Batty Publisher.
(shipping from Amazon in mid June 2010)
"When traveling, we typically look up and around, admiring architecture and skylines, people watching and deciphering menus. Seldom do we look down at our feet. But in Japan, scanning the streets for a colorful and delightful array of manhole covers has become a pastime
, for both Japanese people and foreigners looking to experience a distinctly Japanese visual phenomenon..." —adapted excerpt from Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers via Graphics.com
"...Today, nearly 95% of the 1,780 municipalities in Japan sport their very own customized manhole covers. The imagery evokes a region’s cultural identity, from flora and fauna to landmarks and local festivals. This city-sanctioned urban art has inspired manhole cover enthusiasts to travel across Japan in search of these unique designs. With numerous colorful photographs organized by region, is the first book to document this distinctive aspect of contemporary Japanese visual culture…" —via Mark Batty Publisher
To coincide with the publication there is also
an iPad app designed by Remo Camerota available for purchase through iTunes. The Drainspotting Extras app is fun, but might serve as a tease and prompt you to place an order for the actual hardcover book. I'm left wanting to learn even more about the history behind this quirky art form. But, they did maket the app as a companion to the book, not a replacement. I guess if an app encourages you to buy the original printed material it follows, mission accomplished.
Seeing the variety in the designs archived by Remo Cemerota also gives me one more reason why I'd love to visit Japan.
(link to download from Apple iTunes