Posted in Icon, Visual Language
The Comedy Carpet, Blackpool | Gordon Young and Why Not Associates
Thanks to Gordon Young and Andrew Altmann (Why Not Associates) for the exclusive photos, showing the design development and production processes involved in this amazing project.
For more information on the project – please visit the links below
Created by artist Gordon Young, with typography by Why Not Associates, the Comedy Carpet is a celebration of comedy on an extraordinary scale. Referring to the work of more than 1,000 comedians and comedy writers, the carpet gives visual form to jokes, songs and catchphrases dating from the early days of variety to the present. Sited in front of Blackpool Tower, the 2,200m2 work of art contains over 160,000 granite letters embedded into concrete, pushing the boundaries of public art and typography to their limits.
A remarkable homage to those who have made the nation laugh, it’s also a stage for popular entertainment that celebrates entertainment itself.
The £2.6m Comedy Carpet was commissioned by Blackpool Council as part of the multi-million pound regeneration of the sea front including vital sea defence works. It was funded by CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) as part of it’s Sea Change programme.
With the tourists came the comedians – a double-act stretching from the teeming early music halls, through films by Gracie Fields and Frank Randle, end-of-the-pier matinées and risqué postcards, to the record-breaking Summer Seasons of the 1950s and 60s. In today’s twenty-first-century culture of Little Britain’s laydees and Leagues of Gentlemen – when it’s Peter Kay, not Charlie Cairoli, who packs the Tower – this town still lives and breathes laughter.
Commissioned by Blackpool Council and created by artist Gordon Young, with typography by Why Not Associates, the Comedy Carpet sits on the Tower Festival Headland in front of the Blackpool Tower. Crafted from granite and concrete, with over 160,000 individually cut letters, it is a unique celebration of comedy on an extraordinary scale, covering a staggering 2,200 square metres.
Here you’ll find the work of over 850 of the best comedians and writers of British comedy in a remarkable homage to those who have made our nation laugh. Every step offers you a catchphrase, gag, sketch or one-liner – from George Formby’s legendary sauce to a whiff of the Mighty Boosh’s soup. Underfoot, the silly, the side-splitting and the surreal: the Goons side-by-side with the Royles, Billy Connolly toe-to-toe with Tommy Cooper, Victoria Wood back-to-back with Lily Savage.
The design is inspired by the history of theatre posters and ‘bill matter’ and its content is as subjective as our sense of humour. There’s something for everybody – the hen party, the casino high rollers, the dirty weekenders… and your Auntie Elsie.
From this amazing location you can see all points of the comedy compass and – even now – Ken Dodd is revising his Giggle Map of the UK! The Great British public have always been ‘bovvered’ about their comedians – so where better to walk the talk than here on the Comedy Carpet?