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Designer David Robert Turns Japan's Manhole Covers Into Fine Art Prints

In Japan, even the manhole covers are cute.

Japan’s obsession with kawaii is well-known, spanning everything from Pokemon-branded aircraft, cartoon mascots for towns and government agencies, and even manhole covers. The latter, while much more discreet than the first two examples, is the focus of Tokyo-based French designer David Robert’s latest project “Souvenirs,” which sees him traveling around Japan to record various manhole cover designs, the designs of which reflect the unique history, heritage, or other claims to fame for that particular municipality. By laying paper over the cover and rubbing black pigment over, Robert transfers the relief onto a blank canvas, recording designs ranging from Mt. Fuji, Kakegawa Castle, and even the historic event of Commodore Perry and his Black Ships arriving in Yokosuka. Catch the “Souvenirs” exhibition at Tokyo’s Kai Hostel from July 18 until August 22.

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