Why Not Associates has taken home the Grand Prix at the inaugural Drum Design Awards for ‘The Comedy Carpet’ it designed for Blackpool Council.
Whilst the name in the frame is Why Not Associates, the manufacture and build of this project was done in the main by Gordon Young and his team, http://www.comedycarpet.co.uk
Gordon has a long history as a visual artist, http://www.gordonyoung.net and his collaborations with Why Not Associates goes back some 14 years.
At first sight, the Comedy Carpet looks as if the text is painted. In fact, each of the 160,000 letters is made of 30mm solid granite cast into high-quality concrete panels. Given the unusualness of the project, its complexity and scale, no one company was able to produce the work in its entirety so Gordon had the challenge of producing the work in-house.
With the assistance of artists/makers Russ Coleman and Andy Sawyer, Gordon turned a former fish processing factory in Hull into a bespoke studio, and recruited and managed a production team to make it. After several months of research, with input from chemists and engineers, the Comedy Carpet team evolved new techniques and recipes for production including a special white face mix and the perfect blue that wouldn’t fade. They searched far and wide to find materials of the exact quality and consistency; from India, they sourced black and red granite; from China, stainless steel.
Although constructed on an industrial scale and making use of new technology, the work also required craft skills of a very high standard. The process of making each of the 320 slabs involved many complex stages from cutting, sorting, fettling and laying out each of the letters to a three-stage casting process, curing, trimming, grinding and polishing.
Each slab is a work of art in itself; multiplied by 320, it takes the project to an altogether different level.
The awards, which bring design centre-stage as far as the marketing and communications industry is concerned, also saw tbp! win the Chairman’s Award for its Mackinlays Shackleton Whisky Packaging for Whyte & Mackay.
Other winners, announced at the Emirates Arena in London, included Turner Duckworth in Identity Design with its work for Levi Strauss & Co., while Face Media was successful in the Print Design category for its ‘Too many Chiefs Only One Indian’ work for Restaurant Sat Bains.
Manchester-agency LOVE was victorious in the Copywriting for Design, Experiential Design and Interactive Design categories with its Johnnie Walker Directors Blend, Johnnie Walker Beijing House and Umbro, and Doodlr work respectively.
Judges for this year’s awards included former Design Week editor Lynda Relph-Knight, Design Council CEO John Mathers, interactive media consultant Malcolm Garrett, Adrian Burton of Lambie Nairn, Poke founder Nicolas Roope and StartJudgeGill managing director Jen McAleer.