There’s something to be said for paying attention to the little things in life. They can make your world so much more interesting. Take manholes, for example. These heavy, disk-shaped pieces of metal are definitely utilitarian, but they’re not exactly aesthetically pleasing.
That’s why you can’t blame these people for trying to make them look a little nicer.
Many cities use manhole covers as a way to express civic pride.
The manholes in Rome (which are square!) still say “S.P.Q.R.” on them to pay homage to Rome’s vast history. It stands for a Latin phrase meaning “The Senate and People of Rome,” and has been in use for over 2,000 years!
New Orleans’ design was so beloved that it had to be replaced with something plainer…because people kept stealing them.
Tampa nods to its nautical history.
Hot Springs, Arkansas, celebrates some of its wildlife.
This design from Notting Hill has a simple elegance that reflects the famous area’s glamorous charm.
East Jordan, Michigan, recognizes its iron workers.
Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic goes for a heraldic look.
Portland, on the other hand, goes for a rose in honor of the city’s annual Rose Festival..or perhaps as a little joke about the smell of sewers. Either one.
This manhole cover is inspired by Native American art.
This Japanese design features a local landmark…
…while others are just bright and decorative! This one features temari, which are brightly colored toys.
Some are just weird and cool for the sake of being weird and cool, like this happy fellow in Japan.
This optical illusion is a nice touch.
Sometimes, manhole covers are even personalized.
In this case, Google got their name on one. There’s something poetic about this when you consider the endless dark corridors that make up the Internet.
People sometimes take it upon themselves to add a little personality to their city’s utilities.
Brunch is big in NYC.
The cover itself seems to have a cool wavy pattern, but this artist decided to use the crack in the pavement as inspiration to make it even better.
And then there’s this.
It’s probably not functional, but we enjoy it anyway.
We appreciate any attempt at making life more interesting, so these manhole covers are right up our alley. Next time you’re out, take a peek and see if your city is doing anything interesting. You may have been missing out on little bits of art this whole time!