James Vincent, writing for The Verge:
Emoji are going to be some of the most recognizable icons of the 21st century, says architect Changiz Tehrani, which is why he decided to cast 22 of them in concrete and use them as decoration for a building in the Dutch city of Amersfoort.
“In classical architecture they used heads of the king or whatever, and they put that on the façade,” Tehrani told The Verge. “So we were thinking, what can we use as an ornament so when you look at this building in 10 or 20 years you can say ‘hey this is from that year!’” The answer was obvious: emoji.
Construction on the building finished in 2015, but commercial occupation only began last summer, with official pictures published last month. The reaction has been uniformly positive, says Tehrani, though he admits he never asked older residents of Amersfoort what they thought of the construction. “I don’t know if older people recognize the emoji,” he says. “But if you have a smartphone, you will have seen them.”
Future cultural anthropologists will have quite the field day, I suspect.