Staircases to nowhere. Doorknobs with no doors. Outside doors that exit on the second floor. Thomassons are architectural relics that have lost their purpose, but not their place. This is my 10th daily Instagram project of the year.
From the great little book Hyperart: Thomasson by Genpei Akasegawa, who first identified these curiosities:
Have you ever seen a Thomasson? That doorknob in a wall without a door, that driveway leading into an unbroken fence, that strange concrete … thing sprouting out of your sidewalk with no discernable purpose. Have you ever puzzled over its strangeness, or stopped to marvel at its useless beauty?
In the 1970s Tokyo, artist Akasegawa Genpei and his friends began noticing what they termed “hyperart,” aesthetic objects created by removing a structure’s function, while carefully maintaining the structure itself. They called these objects “Thomassons,” after an American pinch-hitter recruited by a Japanese baseball team, whose bat never connected with a ball.
Here’s a little more about these fascinating bits of “hyperart”: