Monday, August 07, 2006

The Hacienda
Manchester, 1982
At the time BKD's largest project to date and the subject of numerous books, magazine articles, documentaries and a feature film, The Hacienda was without precedent, either at home or abroad. It has been lauded as the world's best night-club, much to the pride and amusement of Mancunians, and been acknowledged with reinventing and reinvigorating the genre. Neither a venue nor a disco, The Hacienda was a real-life stage-set, built with the most mundane of materials used to maximum effect.

Recommended to the owners of Factory Communications by their Art Director, Peter Saville, Ben Kelly used his processes and materials-led approach to create a three-dimensional version of Factory Records' innovative visual identity. To this end Kelly cited his attention to the smallest of details as the equivalent of typesetting sleeve-notes on an album cover.
Working to a perfunctory brief; big bar, small bar, food, stage, dance-floor, balcony, and a cocktail bar in the basement, BKD were given unlimited freedom to convert a former yachting showroom — boasting a massive, single volume space — into a true people’s palace.

Within a cooled-down space (painted in blue and grey tones) the emphasis was diagonal and vertical, with brightly clad balcony supports and diagonal stripes painted on columns setting-up various journeys through the building. Siting the stage to one side, and using fly bars for theatre lights, made the space both flexible and dynamic -visual compositions of colour and texture were everywhere. Directional and warning markings created an inside/outside tension - bollards and cats-eyes delineated the dance-floor - a city within a city, of pathways, plazas and bars, which acted as intimate refuge amid the cavernous space.

Enigmatic ideas were intended to spark intrigue. The name itself quotes the Situationist manifesto; The hacienda must be built, while neon bar signs referenced Great British spies - The Kim Philby Bar and The Gay Traitor. From outside, though, the only clue to what lay within was the hand-carved granite nameplate, FAC51 The Hacienda, inlaid with silver leaf and red enamel paint; the code being its Factory Records catalogue number.

It's very fitting that International Orange was used in The Hacienda as it's an active, creative and exhuberant colour, between the passion of red and the mental stimulation of yellow. Orange is full of energy and will always be used to promote vibrant optimism.
Inner Spaces documentary, BBC2, 2004

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