Custom Modern Mailboxes

Submitted by Kelly Salchow MacArthur

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Client: various homeowners

Location: Ann Arbor, mi, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $10,000

Project Team

Other

Kelly Salchow MacArthur

Industry Resource

John and Andrew Hosford

Hosford and Company

Overview

Existing mailboxes are broadly generic and mediocre in design. They are produced as utilitarian objects without open exploration towards aesthetic or creative opportunity. Frustration with this product incited an interdisciplinary approach towards emphasizing the relationships between
typography, object and architecture. Research identified five noteworthy mid-Century modern architects (George Brigham, Robert Metcalf, David Osler, Alden B Dow, and Tivador Balogh) who each designed serveral homes in Michigan.

Goals

Final fabrication utilizes stainless steel, aluminum, copper, powder coating, acrylic, and reflective vinyl. Influenced by the exceptional spatial interactions between the homeowners and their cherished homes, each mailbox aspires to create an unexpected user experience on a smaller scale, which is worthy of the architectural quality. This project demonstrates creative opportunity across disciplines, towards options that question generic assumptions, and that reveal solutions complementary to the environment they become a part of.

Process

Mailboxes were developed to relate to—but not imitate—the architecture they are paired with, and are informed by universal design principles. Special consideration was given to designing hinges, flags and mounting methods that would relate to the specific mailbox, while being durable through time and weather. The typography on each box was considered in tandem with the dimensional design. Collaboration between designer, homeowner, architectural organization, fabricators and vendors resulted in a series of unique mailboxes that challenge the traditional object.