In the Netherlands, one man has taken one of the most recognizable symbols of our time and turned it into a modern-day mascaron.
Perhaps building on the success of #Archemoji, architect Changiz Tehrani has turned a few of the most familiar WhatsApp emojis into 3D models and cast the faces in concrete for a small suburban development in the Amersfoort city limits. Unlike the baby heads and mermaids that adorn this reporter’s 19th-century New York apartment building, the faces on this building are understated. Placed at regular intervals along the facade’s white concrete banding, the recessed emojis blend easily with the building’s simple gridded brick-and-concrete facade.
“In classical architecture they used heads of the king or whatever, and they put that on the facade,” Tehrani told The Verge. “So we were thinking, what can we use as an ornament so when you look at this building in 10 or 20 years you can say ‘hey this is from that year!’”
The architect, who works for Dutch firm Attika Architekten, produced 22 emojis for the building, which anchors the Vathorst town square. Although the structure was completed two years ago, the emojis were only installed last month. Tehrani has some thoughts for self- anointed guardians of good taste who may dismiss the faces as too trendy: “If you look at history, people always think ‘Oh this is timeless,’ or ‘This will stay forever,’ and they’re always wrong.” In Tehrani’s view, the emojis will mark the building as very much of this time—and to him that’s not a bad thing.