Whether adorned with used books, houseplants, or groceries, the tiny shops and corner stores that illustrator Anglea Hao draws are infused with whimsy and admiration for everyday architecture. The digital renderings are part of Hao’s ongoing endeavor to create 365 unique storefronts—she’s already posted hundreds on Instagram that have grown in complexity and depth—and the subject matter is primarily imagined spaces, although some of the earliest works are based on real spots. Prints of the buildings, which frequently feature vine-laden rooftops, pasted advertisements, and a recurring white cat, are available in her shop.
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Thousands of Fresh and Artificial Flowers Overrun an Abandoned Convenience Store in a Small Michigan Town
Port Austin, Michigan, is a picturesque village on the Lake Huron shoreline lauded for its beaches, water sports, and vegetable-shaped rock formations. With a population in the hundreds, the small community relies heavily on tourism to fund its economy, a reality Detroit-based botanical artist Lisa Waud contended with in a recent pop-up installation in one of the town’s abandoned convenience stores.
Titled “Party Store”—this colloquialism refers to a small shop selling snacks, alcohol, lottery tickets, and other cheap staples—the immersive project transforms a dilapidated space into a lush garden of fresh-cut flowers grown in Michigan and artificial replicas sourced from resale shops around the state. A water-damaged drop ceiling, stained carpeting, and wood paneling peek through the colorful botanicals, which envelop a commercial coffee machine, crawl across shelving, and bulge out of dimly lit coolers.
Similar to her other site-specific works like her 2015 transformation of a condemned duplex in Detroit, Waud describes “Party Store” as a “cleansing reset,” one that uses the tension between life and decay as a prompt to consider cultural understandings of permanence and disposability. She references pieces like Robin Frohardt’s grocery store stocked with plastic food and Prada Marfa as influences, two large-scale projects that criticize consumerism through their satirical imitations of common and luxury goods. “In spending time in Port Austin, I recognized a similarity between its tourism culture and that of my hometown of Petoskey,” Waud writes in a statement. “The local economy relies on the tourists, but often the folks who come can have a ‘disposable’ quality to their visit, exemplified in the increase of consuming convenient items—often packaged in single-use plastic.”
“Party Store” was dismantled after its July 16-18 run, when many of the materials were recycled or reused. “By installing flowers that will ultimately be composted into a space that historically sells items that cannot be biodegraded, I hoped to bridge a connection for responsible choice-making in its visitors’ future,” the artist says.
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'Fake Food, Real Garbage': A Satirical Store is Fully Stocked with Groceries Made Entirely of Plastic
Wander into a new pop-up grocery store in Downtown Los Angeles, and you’ll find all of the typical options with an unusual twist: freezers stocked with tubs of “Bag & Jerry’s,” a robust produce section with bananas and tomatoes printed with advertisements, and mysteriously gray “polluted sausage” stuck to styrofoam trays.
Dubbed “The Plastic Bag Store,” the witty and satirical installation is the project of Robin Frohardt, who repurposed scores of bottle caps, packaging, and other single-use materials into a full-fledged grocery. Each of the non-edible items—many of which have undergone clever rebrands, meaning you’ll find family-sized boxes of Yucky Shards cereal, cases of Bagorade bottles, and clamshells of Earthbag Farms non-organic spring mix in the aisles—is made entirely with discarded waste that the Brooklyn-based artist, puppet-maker, and designer collected from garbage bins and trash sites.
Paired with a performative component that envisions how future generations will interpret the inordinate amount of waste produced in today’s world, the installation literally displays the longevity of the items many of us use on a daily basis. According to recent estimations, the amount of plastic in the ocean is predicted to exceed the volume of fish by 2050, an ongoing crisis Frohardt wants to make more apparent. “’The Plastic Bag Store’ is a visually rich and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable and that there is no ‘away’ when we throw something out,” she says.
The grocery, which debuted in Times Square last fall with the tagline “Fake Food, Real Garbage,” is open at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance through July 11. You can find more of Frohardt’s projects, many of which critique mass consumerism and capitalism through a humorous lens, on her site and Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)
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In cities across Sweden, France, and the Isle of Man lies a parallel universe fit only for a mouse. Miniature restaurants, record shops, and apothecaries squeeze into ground-level windows on the street next to their human-sized equivalents. The adorable universe is a project from a collective aptly named AnonyMouse, which started crafting the charming scenes in the spring of 2016.
Suggesting that the mice have a symbiotic relationship with the pedestrians on the street, the team repurposes items people throw away, turning a champagne topper into a stool or a matchbox into a table. Twenty-five installments currently exist across Europe, which largely are inspired by Astrid Lindgren’s and Beatrix Potter’s whimsical tales and movies from Don Bluth and Disney. “We thought it would bring a bit of joy to pedestrians passing by, but it grew into something slightly bigger, and as such we’ve probably dedicated more time on each project than we originally envisioned. But that’s just part of the fun,” they say. The team crafts each scene with incredible detail, from recreating iconic record covers to plastering up posters advertising mouse- and rat-based happenings.
As its name suggests, the group’s individual identities are unknown. “We like to think that part of the allure of our installations is that they could be done by anyone,” they say. “And since we do not have a specific agenda with them our identities are unimportant.” AnonyMouse won’t divulge plans for upcoming installations, but you can follow all of its adventures on Instagram.
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Peeking through peach blossoms or nestled into a snowy landscape, the tiny shops that Lee Me Kyeoung renders are found across South Korea, from Mokpo to Jeju and Seoul to Gapyeong. The artist already has spent decades speaking with the store owners and weaving their stories into her delicate paintings as part of her ongoing A Small Store series. Her most recent works encapsulate the experience of standing in front of the establishments by capturing every detail: the multicolored goods evenly stacked, advertisements posted in the windows, bikes parked out front, and the sloping tiled roofs.
Me Kyeoung’s work recently culminated in a book detailing the still-open locations for those interested in visiting the shops in person. The prolific artist also shares updates on future exhibitions, in addition to photographs of the original stores she visits, on Instagram.
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Peer inside Shanghai’s St. Nicholas, an Orthodox church from 1932, and you won’t see pews or traditional iconography. Thanks to architectural firm Wutopia Lab, the renovated building now serves as a shrine to verse. Titled “Church in Church,” the 388 square-meter structure holds Sinan Books Poetry Store, which boasts more than 1,000 volumes written in multiple languages. They’re displayed on steel shelves weighing 45 tons that contrast the ornate facades, high archways, and ceiling-bound frescoes of the original architecture.
In a conversation with ArchDaily, Wutopia Lab said the Chinese city’s mandates to preserve historical features restricted the project. The result is a light-filled space for Shanghai’s poetry community.
It should have an independent spirituality and should not be based on the religion of the old site. Given the fact that the dome could not be transformed, I used bookshelf to create a new structure as a Church in the old building Church. This is ‘Church in Church,’ a sanctuary for modern people was born in where once a sanctuary of faith.
For shoppers who need a snack after browsing, there are two cafes on the east and west sides of the building. For more of Wutopia Lab’s poetic designs, head to Instagram. You also might like these similarly transformed bookstores in the Netherlands and Buenos Aires. (via Trendland)
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