Perhaps you had a hermit crab as a pet when you were a kid, picking one out and carrying it home from some boardwalk surf shop in a plastic box filled with sand and shells. And I bet your hermit crab lived in a dull, boring shell and barely moved around its cage. Now imagine your pet sporting one of these lovely urban-inspired shelters by Japan-based artist Aki Inomata.
Inomata’s collection of hermit crab shells (spotted on PSFK, via Just Say Jolie) is inspired not only by the famous architectural landscapes of major international cities — the collection is also a commentary on nationality and the ownership of land. “I overheard that the land of the former French Embassy in Japan had been French until October 2009; that it was to become Japanese for the following fifty years, and then be returned to France,” Inomata writes on her website. “This concept made me think of hermit crabs, which change their shells. The hermit crabs wearing the shelters I built for them, which imitate the architecture of various countries, appeared to be crossing various national borders. Though the body of the hermit crab is the same, according to the shell it is wearing, its appearance changes completely. It’s as if they were asking, ‘Who are you?'”
Take a look at Inomata’s designs as well as a video of her landscapes in motion.