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Photo of the day: Private Parts in Public

This big guy stands in the lobby of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. As I walked around it the other day, I noticed something curious about his ding-a-ling — it’s a different color than the rest of his body. Which means that more than a few people have been rubbing it as they pass by. The oils in people’s hands wear away the bronze.

The 20-foot sculpture was made by the world famous Fernando Botero and is one in a set of two pieces titled Adam and Eve. (Eve is on the other side of the lobby, and curiously none of her parts are worn down.)

When choosing the materials for your design, you need to consider how it will change over time. Perhaps given the high traffic area and general deviance of New Yorkers and New York tourists, Botero should have used a different metal that doesn’t so clearly expose its wear.

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  1. …or perhaps that's exactly why he chose bronze.

  2. I prefer to think it was an intentional artistic decision…or at least a fortuitious one that allows the sculpture to reflect something the folks who purchased it might not have expected.

  3. Or maybe the statue comes alive at night when no one's there.

  4. awkward question says:

    “Eve is on the other side of the lobby, and curiously none of her parts are worn down”

    So there is no noticeable wear from people pinching her butt?

  5. Somethings just don't fit a UX model.

  6. if eve wasn't 20-foot tall, i guarantee her ho-hos would would also be a different color than the rest of her body

  7. a friendly designer says:

    Or maybe Botero did this on purpose. It reminds me of the bas relief sculpture of St. John Nepomuk located on the Charles Bridge. It shows a soldier and his dog, but in fact the dog is what is rubbed by locals and tourists for luck, so the dog is always shiny… in fact you're supposed to rub a completely separate panel further down on the bridge for luck, but because people see others rubbing the dog, they do it too even though it doesn't have any significance.

  8. Jason, Tom and “a friendly designer” all suggested that perhaps Botero made the material choice intentionally knowing that areas that were rubbed would change color over time. Anyone wanna get him on the horn so he can tell us himself? :)

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