Big sweet tooth

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

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Yesterday I posted on miniature sweets and the perspective shift that comes from out-scaled items. On the opposite extreme, giant sweets seem to captivate artists and designers the world over. And because their enormity makes them impossible to overlook, the giant objects seem to have an even stronger Alice-in-Wonderland effect.

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Dropped Cone makes me feel like a Lilliputian living in a land where if I’m lucky, I might catch a dripping from a giant toddler’s melting ice cream. Martha Friedman’s Waffle (currently on view here in Brooklyn) and street artist Celso’s Apples have the similar effect of making me reconsider my own scale and the scale of all the common objects around me.

Of course, scale shifts can go both ways. Oversized objects can have the effect of making us feel ill at ease with our place in the universe and out of control of the events that shape our lives. Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s Knife Slicing Through Wall sculpture highlights this darker side of scale shifting. But sweets are inherently joyful — the sugar, the color, the aroma of baking, the ritual of eating — so giant treats create a much more pleasurable transformation of perspective: magical, childlike, and fun.

Brooklyn designer and studiomate of mine Azusa Hirota brings this whimsical quality to functional objects, allowing interaction with these giant sweets, instead of just viewing. Her chair, a giant cupcake, puts the user in between the cake and icing, so that you’re literally surrounded by the experience. Everyone I’ve seen sitting in it seems to have a big smile on their face. Her giant doughnut, designed in collaboration with Tawny Hixson, transforms a common inner tube into an object of delight. I remember my days spent tubing down the Nam Song river in Vang Vieng, Laos, and it strikes me that it would have been such a wonderful thing to see fellow travelers drifting gently downstream on giant Krispy Kremes!

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See more of Azusa’s work here. Thank you Maggie, for the waffle tip that inspired the idea for this whole post!

Did I miss any wonderful giant sweets out there? Let me know.

September 11th, 2009

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    Discussion (2 Comments)

  1. Vanessa on September 12, 2009

    Love seeing Azusa’s work – so cheerful.
    Amazing how some colourful sprinkles can make me happy!
    (Guess that exposes my sweet tooth.)

    Reply
  2. Lisa on September 12, 2009

    Hilarious! Love the contrast to the lillipution treats. There is an outdoor sculpture park in Minneapolis with a giant cherry with a spoon that is pretty cool, too.

    Reply

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