Responding to: ‘Guesses at Futurity’, The Pall Mall Gazette, (1894-95), p. 700.
Response: ‘Illumination At Golden Lane Estate’, Risograph Print, 160mm x 122mm
Responding to: Hartmann the Anarchist (1892) pp. 77, 191.
Response: ‘The Balloon Never Had A Chance’, Risograph Print, 210mm x 275m
‘Illumination At Golden Lane Estate’ responds to the conceptualised street lighting of ‘Guesses At Futurity — No.3’ presented in vol.4 of The Pall Mall magazine (1894). Here hovering balloons are distributed throughout the sky, which suspend theatrical spotlights to flood the street below as if illuminating an urban-scale stage. Inverted, these broad beams of light recall the ingenious method employed by Chamberlin Powell and Bon to bring daylight into the basement car parks at Golden Lane Estate. Puncturing the concrete at street-level, Chamberlin Powell and Bon’s subterranean lighting solution was decidedly low-tech in comparison. Almost a century after the City of London built its first social housing, the now Grade II Listed, Golden Lane Estate was completed in 1962. Chamberlin Powell and Bon continued their collaboration at an adjacent development, the iconic Barbican.
Although produced using photographic and digital printmaking process, graphically, the resulting ‘Illumination At Golden Lane Estate’ risograph print faintly echoes the cloud formations and dappled light in etchings found in Hartmann the Anarchist (1892) that depict imagined aircraft. One such plate, captioned ‘The Balloon Never Had A Chance’, marks a streamlined airship intent on deflating a hot air balloon, superseding a mode of flight that had already turned 100 years old. Almost another 100 year on, Atlantis lifted off on its maiden voyage on 03 October 1985 and in a revision of ‘The Balloon Never Had A Chance’, the caption is now emblazoned on the underside of the space shuttle stack. The scale and aesthetic of the twin rocket boosters in this second risograph print express a duality with mid-century architecture, reflecting the façade rhythm of the two concrete ‘corn cob’ towers within Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, Chicago. The mixed-use residential complex realised Goldberg’s urban vision of a stacked ‘city within a city’ that ‘turned our streets up into the air’.