By adding decorative tile designs to this electrical box, Portuguese artist Diogo Machado helps passersby look beyond urban infrastructure to appreciate the culture that underlies industrial drudgery. The artist, who also uses the pseudonym Add Fuel, used symmetrical stencils inspired by azulejos – Portuguese tiles – to paint this utility box located in a gentrified neighborhood in the city of Lisbon.
The piece was completed as part of a neighborhood revitalization effort led by nonprofit Mistaker Maker. Interestingly, Machado left part of the box's original surface intact, complete with graffiti. This detail points to a collision between the area's deteriorating infrastructure and a resurgence of the arts.
On the surface, the patterns appear ornately traditional and classic in design. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that Machado blends pop culture symbols and surprising pictures into the motif. In this piece, for instance, the decadent blue swirls turn out to be pointing fingers, ocean waves and eyeballs.