Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic: Arts and Crafts

The aesthetic I chose for my project was Googie. Googie is a branch off from the Streamline Moderne style and has heavy focuses on geometrical shapes, space travel, and retro futurism. To counter this I chose the Arts and Crafts design aesthetic. Arts and Crafts relies heavy on nature, handmade imperfections, and a rejection of the advancements in machining and mass produced products.

tucson inn | One of a string of classic motels along Tucson'… | FlickrThe Arts and Crafts Movement in America | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum  of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History\

[1][2] Examples of the Googie style vs. Arts and Crafts

My upcycle project is a sign made from aluminum cans with heavy Googie influences. I have a “starburst”, which is any star-line pattern commonly used in Googie architecture. I also include a rocket representing space travel, and a long sweeping trail across the design. To contrast this, in my Arts and Crafts redesign I replaced this central starburst with a flower, bringing more nature into the product. Instead of a rocket I sketched a bee, so I can keep the same flow of the design but with a more natural feel. I also included vines inside of the flower, this gave it a more filled out look which is common in Arts and Crafts.

On the left you can see the sharp edges and more modern look of the Googie design. I attempted to soften these edges and create a more natural look with the design on the right.

My Googie upcycle project uses exclusively metal, which fits quite well with that aesthetic but does not fit Arts and Crafts. If I was to re-do this with the Arts and Crafts style I would attempt to hand carve, and hand paint, the new design out of a single piece of wood. This would give the piece those handmade imperfections, and a much more natural look than shiny aluminum. I would also consider using cardboard, or another more natural material.






[1] “Tucson Inn”, by G Vargas. https://www.flickr.com/photos/bugeyed_g/5131168954

[2] “Chandelier”, by MET Museum. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/1971

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • I think the bee idea is so cute! I think it also parallels the “rocket” idea by having something that flies. I think you choose the opposite of your aesthetic pretty well; however, it seems to me that your design seems more modern than the picture at 2. I believe yours feeling more like Tori Spelling’s Craft Wars(?) rather than the late 1800s.


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