Last week I received a contact form email from Darren Wall, a graphic designer who is currently art directing a book that has a lot of resonance with me. It seemed that industrial designer Ben Kelly was collaborating with photographer Eugene Schlumberger, on a book examining the design of The Haçienda [FAC51]. The world-famous club designed as an adjunct to the Factory Records empire in Manchester. The edition had just begun a Kickstarter campaign last Tuesday. Mr. Wall thought that perhaps I’d be interested in mentioning this?
Of course, I first encountered Ben Kelly as the artist whose use of industrial lozenge perforation drove the die-cut iconic perfection of the debut album by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. He and Factory graphic designer Peter Saville won many awards and accolades for the band’s iconic album. Which I thankfully bought a mint copy of about ten years after its release in the first pressing blue/orange color scheme.
Mr. Kelly had touched upon graphic design at various points but at heart he was an environmental designer, and his greatest musical work was undoubtedly The Haçienda club in Manchester. With 80s clubs being either downmarket holes in the wall or elite emporiums of excess, The Haçienda was neither of these. It was instead a manifestation of the overriding Factory aesthetic that allowed that the package had to match the import of the music and enhance how we parsed the entire package as the audience. As Saville designed the records, Kelly shaped what eventually became The Haçienda.
Like anything addressing the Factory aesthetic, the book will be produced to the highest standard. It will be a 256 page hardcover edition in its mass market edition. With multiple paper stocks used throughout, with a fifth interior silver ink color as well as yellow and black signature stitching for its spine. Of course. Peter Saville himself will be contributing two gatefold spreads in the book entitled “The Aesthetic Of Precaution.”
If you were like me, thousand of miles away from The Haçienda in its heyday, the 3D flythrough by Ben Kelly for an upcoming VR edition of the club below will give a good overview of its scope. Complete with period soundtrack. [I hope Martha Wash got royalties for that one]
The Kickstarter campaign for the book has 24 days left. The book is published by Ben Kelly’s own Chocolate Grinder Editions imprint in three options to fund at, all responsibly priced for a book with this much care taken in its production.
- Hardcover edition with pledger’s name inside – £30
- Signature edition with Kelly’s + Schlumberger’s signatures, pledger’s name inside – £50
- Limited edition with foiled slipcase, signed + numbered edition of 300, pledger’s name inside – £95
The Limited edition sold out so quickly, the team have decided to increase the numbered edition from 100 to 300 to meet the demand. As of right now, 157 slots are still available for pledging. Its good to see this type of book produced to a high standard with prices being less than stratospheric. £30 for anything in hardcover, much less a book with my name in it, seems like an actual bargain to me. And the campaign is currently sitting at 50% funding after only a week, so there’s plenty of interest, obviously.
If you have a taste for Factory design, this looks like a lovely addition to any graphic design/music library. Click that button to join the pledgers at Kickstarter for this one, but hurry. There’s only 24 days left in the campaign.
LOVE your blog and website.
100% crazy for anything Hacienda and Factory Records related, had not heard about this project, many thanks.
Cheers from Kansas, USA
thedcarchitect – Welcome to the comments and…glad to be of service!
I will order this as I collect here and there Factory items. This seems like a quality product and at a very fair price. I have most of the original Factory vinyl from back in the day as well as a few books.
Although I have never been to the Hacienda since it was across an ocean for me, I have read plenty of stories about it from all the usual suspects and seen hundreds of photos. The club was legendary and there are a thousand stories. Most of them negative from those involved. What I will say, which Monk can comment on, was that the venue was a triumph of design over function , which I do not agree with necessarily and we still see it in architecture and interior design in 2021.
And I am not even sure about the innovative design part since this was clearly inspired by NYC clubs of the time.
I think ( though not sure) that this was Ben’s first or nearly first architectural design and it shows. Big difference designing album covers to nightclubs.
The orientation of the stage was wrong. The DJ booth was wrong. The cloakroom was wrong. The storage was wrong. Lack of bathrooms. Glass ceilings, Yikes. Worst of all, the sound system was horrific. So what is the point of having an innovative design if, to the average patron, it is less than desirable? The designer will say that is what the owner wanted but who is in charge of making sure it works for its intended purpose. The architect, owner, investors?
I have seen this over and over in my own field. Restaurants, hotels,homes,etc… Mostly from the acoustic side since that is what I do as a sound designer.Glass, hard surfaces such as marble or stone, awkward placement of lighting and so on. So what is the point of having a fabulous design that looks good but is not functional?
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Jordan – Yes, the price point is a far cry from the noxious Genesis Publications model which I so despise. Making it quite an easy book to buy. Good point re: user interface design. Every object in existence has a user interface. If it impedes easy and proper usage of the products/servcies it can be said to have failed. How many times are we in a restaurant with nothing but hard, reflective acoustic surfaces? We always leave such crashing cacophony, as our tastes are for placid relaxation when dining. But we are OLD. The persons a generation or two younger than us may parse noise as “excitement” and something to be actually fostered in design! One upside of covid-19 was the realization that we have the option of ordering takeout from restaurants we will no longer eat at…in spite of their delicious food!
Timely post – I was watching a video on New Order yesterday and they had some discouraging words about the Hacienda – apparently they called it their ‘yacht’ with the impression that all of their money went into the place. One of the singers made a comment that he had always had to pay for everything (his drinks, cover charge to get in, etc) as well as wait in line to get into that place…then Nick Wilson (name?) was quoted making disparaging comments about the band and touting his concept of the Hacienda. I got the impression there was no love lost between Wilson and the band…nevertheless, the Hacienda featured prominently in the background both as a subject and vibe in the video. Sorry if my names are off…all gets blurry after awhile with all of these bands, their managers and follow-ons.
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Bridget – Was that the video “New Order: Story?” I have a laserdisc of that one! I seem to recall the band [rightfully] grousing about the money pit factor of the club. As they were helping to foot the bill for Tony Wilson’s grandiosity. The club was said to have ultimately gone under due to the inability to make its worth in drink sales. In the pre-acid house days, the club was under attended, then as acid culture blossomed at the club, the patrons could care less about alcohol – they wanted Ecstasy! So the club was packed with people not running up bar tabs. Leading to its closure in 1997 after Factory had already collapsed. Fortunately for us, Peter Hook has written the definitive book on the subject: “The Haçienda: How Not To Run A Club!”
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Yes – that was the video – very interesting video on many levels. They had some type of a running gag with a game show (the N.O show) and the insults were flying fast and furiously. The host made a comment of take a break and ‘drop an ‘E” which in another video was used as a sum-up of the 80’s .
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That tome should be an instant purchase for any Factory follower. I remember being incredibly envious when a college classmate told me how she hung out with The Stone Roses in The Hacienda during a semester abroad in Manchester (why did I not apply for that?!). By the time I finally got to visit The Hacienda, it had been converted to flats :-(
I have pledged my support. Cheers Monk!
Shelf – I see that the flats there still have the name “The Haçienda.” Which reminds me of how in America, any housing development is usually named after what was displaced to build it there!