Re: Re: ILAC centre

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Save your delicate sensibilities ctesiphon and avoid it at all costs. I’m considering taking a new route to work from here on in, as passing it every morning gets the blood pressure into an unhealthy state for such an early hour – the daily quota is being hit even before the lunchtime stroll over mauled antique pavements πŸ˜‰

An interesting point Nina regarding the eh, ‘pyramids’. Personally I view them as being of limited merit in themselves: little more than a typical tokenistic feature of 1980’s retail architecture, and a desperate attempt to tart up the economising, bleak facade of the Ilac. They’re a 1980’s version of a modern-day cheap n cheerful glazed ‘sail’ canopy or similar. Frank McDonald’s memorable description of 1984 was: “The Moore Street facade is little more than a pre-cast concrete wall, 150 yards long, relieved only by ridiculous coloured plastic pyramids, steel bars and balls, like a strung out chemical formula. And the Parnell Street ‘frontage’ has been politiely described as a visual mess.” πŸ™‚

However, I agree that they have just about scraped it into our collective ‘visual heritage’ – for good or bad. Indeed I think they are probably more indicative of what could have been with the Ilac, had it been built to double the size originally intended, and with a half decent budget. They are a taster of the psychedelic high fashion that could have prevailed both on the interior and exterior, especially if it had been built somewhere like a prosperous UK city. In which case we’d have an even bigger mess to clear up now πŸ˜€

I’ve always found it a bit difficult to reconcile the two aspects of 1980’s design evident with the Ilac: on the one hand the remarkably drab and sleazy brown tiling and dark, dingy interior finishes, and the crude concrete outside, and on the other hand the glitzy, decadent bright plastics used with the pyramids, and interior features like the acres of glamorous little sparkling lights and bright pink neon tubes. It’s odd how polar opposite tastes were fashionable at the same time.

But yes, it’ll be a shame to see the disappearance of probably the last vestige of large-scale 1980’s modern design in Dublin before the heritage wave crashed on our shores. And they do form a distinctive part of a streetscape of the city. They’ll probably be remembered fondly simply for injecting a rare spark of life and colour to what was an otherwise dying city.

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