The Long Beach Museum of Art has gone to the dogs – literally.
Their latest exhibition explores ways to create spaces for man's best friend. Curated by Tokyo-based designer Kenya Hara, these 13 pieces of architecture were created by renown designers from around the globe and aim to delight both dogs and their owners.
While the pieces are inventive, they're by no means inaccessible. Each one is rendered from everyday materials and addresses the basic needs of different breeds. Tokyo duo Atelier Bow-Wow designed a large wooden ramp/bench that lets dachshunds and their owners comfortably see eye-to-eye, while also giving these tiny dogs back support and a covered spot to burrow under.
At the other end of the spectrum, international architecture duo Reiser + Umemoto created a “Chihuahua Cloud". This billowing suit protects the dog from cold while giving it the appearance of being larger than it actually is -- an attempt to match it's size with it's big personality. Because the suit also doubles as a leash, it creates a direct connection between dog and owner.
Other pieces in the exhibition combine pet home with home decor (Sou Fujimoto's Boston Terrier hide out doubles as storage space for its owner) or cater to a breed's obsession (Torafu Architects Jack Russell Terrier beds incorporates the breed's love of laundry).
Yes, the exhibit is cool and clever, but from a professional standpoint it also puts form, function and process in a new light. We seem to be in a design era that favors creating interesting items that also serve multiple purposes. Each piece in the exhibit does just that, but in an arena that is not often tackled by interior designers and architects – pets and their owners.
Additionally, the exhibit eliminates the barrier between art and the average consumer by providing outdoor duplicates that dogs can interact with and downloadable patterns to create your own dog home. These simple gestures successfully take art out of the museum and architecture off of its' pedestal and turn both the finished product and the process by which it's made into something anyone can enjoy.