To call it “concrete” does the Comedy Carpet no justice. Sitting just off the seafront, its white sheen burns straight through the mist and the murk. How does concrete glow like this? And can it really look this amazing in 100 years?
Designed by Gordon Young and Why Not Associates as a tribute for Blackpool Tower in the U.K. (home to hundreds of comedic entertainers of the years), Comedy Carpet is 5,643 square feet of jokes, monologues, and one-liners. That’s 180,000 characters, all carved into Indian granite and set inside the installation’s true pièce de résistance: specially formulated, super bright white concrete.
“We couldn’t find anyone to make it to the standards required, so we made it ourselves. We had to set up a factory and workforce from scratch,” Young tells Co.Design. “We had undertaken research but we had to commission serious chemistry to make it work. We were researching comedy material, designing it up, and going into production all simultaneously.”
This “hi-tech” material was critical to the project’s design–a lower contrast gray concrete would look as uninspiring as a first-generation Kindle screen. But formulating the concrete to look amazing was only one challenge. The project’s other requirement was that it look amazing 100 years from now. And Young explains the simplest of solutions of meeting that criteria: “It stands very slightly proud of the rest of the headland, so every 20 years or so it can be ground down and back to new.”
Even so, I’d recommend that you wipe your feet before walking on this carpet. Stepping on the punchline is just one kind of insult. Leaving a muddy boot print on it is a whole other.
[Hat tip: Creative Review]