In Japan, manhole covers are often treated as minor works of art, featuring images of trees, local landmarks and even manga characters. But over in Italy, local artist Bianchoshock has gone even further: he’s created miniature rooms inside several manholes, replete with furniture and some serious interior design.
Though the rooms are bright and quirky, the inspiration behind them is kind of dark. The rooms, which range from tiny bathrooms to kitchens and living rooms, are inspired by the horrible conditions of many homeless migrants. Biancoshock told The Independent that one inspiration for the pieces was Bucharest, where hundreds live inside sewers. “If problems cannot be avoided,” his website reads, “make them comfortable.”
The work is typical of the artist, who has created hundreds of so-called ‘street interventions’ across Europe, drawing attention to everything from selfie culture to capitalism’s pitfalls. The work is almost always bright, fun and cheery, playing with pop-culture before punching the audience in the guts with a stronger message. His manholes may be comfortable, but his artworks aren’t.