Started a few years ago in the Big Apple, now the ”bike” phenomenon is spreading all over the big cities and, besides the designers, it inspires the world of art, too. This boom is a sign of the new eco-sustainable life styles, of a social, cultural and political change and new business opportunities. It’s already mentioned as Bikeconomics.
In all world metropolises, cycling to the office is very radical-chic, the projects of the most cutting-edge and sustainable offices provide for cycle paths, bicycle parking and showers for the biker-employees. The most eco-friendly companies ( for example Sace in Rome) offer bike-sharing to their employees and make use of petrol-free couriers (for example Urban Bike Messengers o Milanbike in Milan).
There are more and more meetings of people sharing this passion (between wheels and design “Vélo Velo” promoted by Gallery S.Bensimon, last June 25th in Paris) and cycle-bars are now available, where one can have a drink while setting a wheel hub. In short, the two wheels are good for business, too and open a market, where there is still a lot to invent.
One of the latest issues of Time Out has on its yellow cover a “smile” with two wheels instead of the eyes and ironically asks “Bike Curious?”.
In Italy, too, despite the shortage of cycle paths, there are now dedicated websites like Urban Cycling for a constant update on the bike universe.
The city of Buenos Aires launched “Better by Bike”, a campaign to make people aware of the use of bicycle, promoted through very nice posters explaining the benefits of cycling for the body and the mind.
And design doesn’t miss this opportunity: Brompton is at the top of the design oriented city bike, there are even custom made bamboo bike (the Lhenry’s bamboo bike won the 7° Red Hook Criterium) more natural than the carbomium fiber ones and lighter than the wooden sculptural model exhibited in the FederlegnoArredo headquarters, made by Tino Sana carpenter based in Bergamo. A precursor of the city-bikes was the Italian fluida.it created by Marco Gaudenzi and Isao Hosoe (I’m proud to own the prototype).
Cinelli Laser, interpreted by Keith Haring in 1987 and Look L96 decoder with Mondrian’s colours are hybrid between industrial design, artworks and means of transport.
Art, too,was enticed by the charm of the two wheels. Among the the most innovative interpretations there is the Marcel Duchamp’s ready made “Bicycle Wheel” (1913), an icon of Dada or the pop art bicycles by Mario Schifano in the 80’s.
Last but not least, Ai Weiwei: after the site specific installation “Forever” formed by a dozen of frames at the Lisson Gallery in London, at Palazzo Franchetti in Venice ( until November 23rd) displays the not-to-be-missed, huge version with 1179 bikes in the exhibition Genius Loci presented by Lisson. The same exhibition shows also “White Water Falls” by Richard Long, a conceptl, land art work inspired by bike.
Painting, bicycle and “literature” on the road also in Bike Ride Story by Stefania Galegati Shines with Paolo Roversi,, a story written in washable painting on a cycle path, that will stand for the next twenty years, going pale in a natural and not polluting way.
Text by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine.
1,UBM, Urban Bike Messenger.
2, VèloVelo, Gallery S.Bensimon, Paris.
3,4, Better by Bike, promotion of the use of bicycle campaign by City of Buenos Aires.
5, Folding city bike Brompton.
6, Cinelli Laser interpreted by Keith Haring in 1987.
7, Look L96 decoder with mondrian’s colours..
8, fluida.it created by Marco Gaudenzi and Isao Hosoe.
9, The sculptural bike by Tino Sana in FederlegnoArredo hall, Milan.
10, Marcel Duchamp and his ready made “Bicycle Wheel” in 1913.
11, One of the Mario Schifano’s bicycles of the 80’s.
12, Ai-Weiwei, Forever, 2014. 1,179 bicycles. ’Forever’ is a brand of bicycles that have been mass-manufactured in Shanghai since 1940. Courtesy Lisson Gallery.
13, “White Water Falls” di Richard Long, a conceptual artwork inspired by bike. Courtesy Lisson Gallery.
14, Bike Ride Story by Stefania Galegati Shines (winner of RiGenerazione competition of, 48° Premio Suzzara edition) con Paolo Roversi.