In 2014, it became possible to drink champagne out of a glass shaped like Kate Moss’s boob while sitting on a chair designed to resemble a fat person’s flesh in a restaurant decorated with hundreds of animal bones. If you wanted to, you could also paddle down a river in a kayak shaped like a vagina while biting into a pear shaped like a human baby and stroking a taxidermied pig encrusted with rhinestone Chanel logos. If that sounds too complicated, you could just 3-D print your unborn fetus and call it a day. These are designs that, as of this year, all actually exist in the world.
What follows are 12 of the weirdest design stories of 2014–products, photographs, clothing, and ideas that made us go “a-whAAaA?” with their utter freakishness. Browse the gallery and gawp.
So you dropped some cash and upgraded to a 4-D ultrasound, and now you’re thinking to yourself, “Well I’ve already had my unborn baby’s glamour shots captured in every dimension known to man. Now how else can I prepare for my child’s arrival?” We’re glad you asked. Have you ever considered 3-D printing the little angel? For $600, a company named 3D Babies will turn your ultrasound into a life-sized fetal sculpture, delivered in a satin-lined wood box that would be impolite to call a coffin.
The pink, bulgy Flesh Chair is meant to look like mounds of human fat. Nanna Kiil, a design student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, created the chair out of memory foam covered in pinkish fabric. Her goal was to reference the shape of an obese human body, in a way that framed it in a more positive light than we typically cast on obese bodies. She took inspiration from the adorable fleshy folds of a Shar Pei as she worked to fold and crease the material in a life-like way.
Is the future of food designed by robots? Watson, the same computer that decimated Ken Jennings in Jeopardy, has taken on an even greater challenge—what IBM calls “cognitive computing,” or put more simply, creativity. Watson’s Bengali Butternut BBQ Sauce may have “the pulpy consistency of baby food,” but it packs a lot of flavor, as Mark Wilson reported.
If you’ve ever harbored creepy fantasies of drinking champagne from a glass shaped exactly like Kate Moss’s breast, now’s your time. In celebration of the British supermodel’s 40th birthday, London’s Mayfair 34 restaurant worked with British artist Jane McFadden Freud to create a mold of Moss’s left breast, which was used to create the bowl of a champagne coupe.
Japanese artist Megumi Igarishi’s body of work includes a vagina lampshade, a vagina kayak, vagina smartphone cases, vagina dioramas, vagina toys, and more, all constructed from molds of her own genitalia. In July, Igarishi was arrested on obscenity charges for distributing files for 3-D printing a vagina-shaped kayak. Her arrest inspired a petition that garnered more than 20,000 signatures. She was ultimately released.
Swiss company Algordanza compresses human ashes into what they call memorial diamonds. With their services, instead of wearing your late grandmother’s old jewelry, you can actually wear your late grandmother.
These stilettos made of fleshy-looking silicon gel and covered in pubey black strands of human hair just might take the cake for weirdest, grossest shoe design of the year, if not ever. Called “Babe,” the repulsive pumps were made by Chinese artist Zhu Tian as a comment on how women’s footwear is sexualized and fetishized. Tian implanted the individual hairs by hand into the shoes’ silicon gel. She then tied them together with chains and displayed them as a sculpture. Carrie Bradshaw will need a cosmo (or four) to get over the sight of these.
Have you ever been eating a pear and thought it could be improved by being shaped like a fat, sleeping baby? Well, if so, you’re in luck: Suzhou, China-based company Fruit Mould makes plastic baby-shaped molds that it fits around budding pears, so that once big and ripe, the fruits resemble little yellow cherubs hanging from a tree. It also makes molds for creating tiny, juicy Buddhas, in case you’ve always had an urge to bite into the Enlightened One’s potbelly.
Is the burden of wrapping a scarf around your tie so great? The designers at &tie seem to think so. The Scandinavian company’s line of scarf-tie combos is attempting to reinvent neck fashion in maybe the worst way possible. In case Avril Lavigne’s fashions are making a comeback, &tie markets itself as a product for women as well as men, so ladies need not be left out of the neckwear revolution.
London-born designer Shamees Aden has fashioned the footwear of the future, and it makes your feet look like they’ve been swallowed by swamp monsters. The protocell shoe is 3-D printed and made from a synthetic biological material that would function like a second skin and could repair itself.
Restaurants usually try to keep animal bones confined to meat dishes, not displayed on the walls. But Guadalajara, Mexico’s Hueso—which translates to “bone”—plays with the sculptural elements of deconstructed skeletons, making bones the mainstay of its decor. Architect Ignacio Cadena is behind the beautifully spooky design, which incorporates thousands of animal bones, both real and artificial, into the interior of the revamped 1940s building.
In a quest to eliminate panty lines, designer Jenny Beuttner managed to create an undergarment even skimpier than the barely-there thong or G-string, called the Shibue Strapless Panty. “We Didn’t Cross The Line…We Erased It!” the brand gleefully announces on its website. Beuttner invented the Shibue in the spur of the moment as a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding. Self-conscious of the panty lines under her dress, at the last minute, she snipped the straps off her G-string, stuck what remained to her body with double-sided tape, and walked down the aisle. The strapless panty was born.