Artist Creatively Camouflages Ugly Public Buildings [Pics]

Artist Creatively Camouflages Ugly Public Buildings [Pics]

Roeland Otten makes city eyesores disappear through clever design choices.

Allie Walker
  • 30 january 2013

Public Restrooms and electrical boxes, both necessary figures in an urban landscape, but not always the most attractive. Often made of concrete or rusting metal, the public utility buildings that dot a city are often some of its biggest eyesores. Overlooked by the majority of designers and architects, Amsterdam-based artist Roeland Otten turns these structures into focal points of the city by making them blend into their environment.

Transformation House Before

Similar to the techniques of camouflage artist Liu Bolin, Otten covers the buildings with paint, mosaic tiles, and prints to make them disappear into their backgrounds; what was once an obstruction blocking a view becomes an integral, seamless part of the environment. Pictured above, the ‘Transformation House’ was a concrete, graffiti-tagged electricity substation in Rotterdam that Otten covered with aluminum and high-resolution prints to create the optical illusion that the building was actually part of the park:

Roeland Otten Camo

Otten chose to transform another abandoned, rusted electricity substation in Rotterdam with paint. The ‘Dazzle Painted’ station became part of the nearby garden, with the flower bed extending onto the side of the building:

Roeland Otten Garden

And in another, slightly more abstract interpretation, Otten covers an old station with mosaic tiles, providing shoppers with a pixelated view of the stores previously blocked by the structure:

Roeland Otten Shopping

Otten’s project draws attention to often forgotten, but important structures in a city. His work shows that every aspect of the urban landscape can have a design-centric focus, and spending time on the ‘insignificant’ aspects of a city can make a huge impact on its overall aesthetic. The project is similar in nature to The Water Tank Project in NYC, which will turn the city’s old watertanks into public art.

Click through more images of Otten’s work below:

Roeland Otten 


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