“Uselessness is Gorgeous”, a mural made of thousands of cigarette rolling papers


The name of this typography display says it all. Uselessness is Gorgeous, or at the very least, what appears to be uselessness is. The 72 by 10 foot tall mural made of cigarette papers, glue and little wind power should really be viewed live but for those of you can’t make it to La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris anytime soon, here’s a small clip.

The mural was created by Stefan Sagmeister and team, whose portfolio Nik wrote about earlier this week. It’s part of his current exhibit, The Happy Show, which if you haven’t seen or heard of is all in all spectacular (seriously, if you are in France, go. Now.) It took the team, consisting of Santiago Carrasquilla, Ester Li, along with many volunteers in Chicago, two weeks to glue down all 30,000 feather-light rolling papers, an object of little use without tobacco to give it purpose.


The typography created by the absence of papers flows beautiful despite the rectangular shapes that make it up. These rectangles actually cause a pixelated look, as if digitizing the type on an old computer monitor. The uniformity that is reached while still having such organic lettering is really pleasant, especially in letters of repetition like the Gs and the Ss. I also think it was very cleaver decision to keep everything lower case. A capital peaking well over the x-height would have disrupted the eye-line considerable. The shapes chosen to run around the type and in the space between the loops frame the piece nicely.


February 17, 2014 / By