John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Eduardo Zamarro's "Wall of Happiness" celebrates the little-known "Institute of Happiness" in Madrid.
Call it a giant victory in a microscopic niche: With his latest piece of public art in Madrid, muralist Eduardo Zamarro claims to have created the world's "biggest" stop-motion video and mural made entirely of Post-it notes.
One million of the sticky reminders gave their lives to create Zamarro's "Wall of Happiness," a 15-day ordeal involving the constant switching of color-coded notes to paint out a story of... I'm not sure what exactly, but it definitely involves Coke. The Wall commemorates the beverage giant's Madrid-based "Instituto De La Felicidad," or "Institute of Happiness," which was "born in 2007 to investigate and disseminate knowledge about happiness," according to a translation of its Facebook page.
Disseminate brand messages, you mean? For sure, but the "institute" has actually done charitable work, surveys and conferences devoted to rooting out what makes us satisfied as human beings. In 2010, Coke's first Happiness Congress in Spain featured the prime minister of Bhutan sharing his happy views that our "economic models are greatly, deeply flawed" and that society is plunging into a "downward spiral of de-civilization," adding:
“I’m so sorry I have to sound so serious talking about happiness,” said Mr Thinley. “But happiness is a very serious business."
Zamarro's little Post-it film should bring a glimmer of a smile to anybody who gets wistful around office supplies or refreshing beverages. If the thought of all this paper going to waste makes you unhappy, turn that frown upside down: The notes are made from certified-sustainable paper, and after they served their purpose for the Wall, Zamarro recycled them into beanbag stuffing. (H/t reader's forum at Design Boom.)