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Cartoon Museum Proposal Is a Stack of Ginormous Speech Bubbles

Erick Kristanto’s proposal for a comic and cartoon art museum in New York manages to do something architecture rarely does: Make you laugh.

Architects aren’t funny. It’s a fact of the profession, as inevitable as their horn-rims. So you know — we mean, really know — that when someone puts up the bat call for a cartoon-art museum, the architects are gonna take that thing way too seriously. They’ll give you “dynamic spaces.” They’ll give you, “[d]ecomposing ‘organic’ sequences of movement.” They’ll give you “an elegant, sculptural presence.” But they will most certainly not give you funny. It’s a cartoon museum. Make us laugh, for Chrissake! (And not at you.)

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We were totally surprised, then, to see Erick Kristanto‘s proposal for an ideas competition to design a new Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York: It’s a big goofy structure made entirely out of speech bubbles — speech bubbles! Silly! Love it!

The bubbles come in various shapes and sizes and they pile up, one on top of the other on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, like a monument to the Sunday funnies. Indoors, they serve as modules for various exhibitions, retail and other spaces. A main corkscrew stair connects all the floors, or if you want to take a shortcut, you can slip down a slide that’ll launch you from one super happy fun zone to the next — from, say, a giant Spiderman balloon to a clutch of Stormtroopers. Every 8-year-old boy hopped up on his Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs has dreamed of a place like this.

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Alas, the competition jury went with something more serious: the “elegant, sculptural presence,” to be precise. And probably for good reason. The details of Kristanto’s design leave perhaps too much to the imagination. For one: How do you resolve all the gaps between the bubbles? To judge by the renderings, there’s an awful lot of wasted space. Still, we’ve got to hand it to Kristanto for doing something few architects ever have: He made us laugh.

[Images courtesy of Erick Kristanto; hat tip to Bustler]

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About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

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