11 April 2012
MacLean 705

MacLean 705, a project space located within an office atrium of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is pleased to present “Golden Lane Estate” by the London-based designer, Zak Kyes.

“Golden Lane Estate” is the name of a British housing council project that was built in the Cripplegate area of London after WWII. The area had been ruthlessly bombed during the Blitz, and the project was designed to be a model of social housing and urban living. Over 500 flats and maisonettes were built. The centerpiece building was called the Great Arthur Building, and it was the first residential building in London that was more than 100 feet high. The top of the building supported a rooftop garden, from which one had sweeping views of the city and St. Pauls's Cathederal.

People still live in Golden Lane Estate. But the rooftop garden is now closed. In utopia, things change. One of the changes, the subject of Kyes' installation, occurred within the space of the public park of Golden Lane Estate. Here, where children play, where dogs exercise, and where adults converse, a sign has been placed that says: “Quiet, Please.” It is not a big sign: it measures 40 x 30cm, black letters on white ground, both styled like, and generally indistinguishable from, other London street signs. It's actually a very nice sign. It even says “Please”.

As Kyes observed, “the problems of design are sometimes more interesting than its attempts to create solutions.”

Zak Kyes lives and works in London, where he is director of the design Zak Group. He is also Art Director of the Architectural Association, London, and co-founder of the Bedford Press. The reach of his practice encompasses a very broad notion of visual information design as it relates not just to printed media, but the display and dissemination of human culture in the form of books, posters, exhibitions, and interventions. Zak Group. received the Inform Award for Conceptual Design in 2011. His exhibition “Zak Kyes Working With....” originated at the Museum for Contemporary Art Leipzig and travels to the Architectural Association, London (April 28 - May 26, 2012) and the Graham Foundation, Chicago (June 14, 2012 - September 22, 2012).

MacLean 705 is a project space devoted to short-term exhibitions that explore the space of art and human relations. Currently on view are projects by Nico Dockx, Åbäke, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Ryan Gander, and Fran Betters.

The projects are organized by Joseph Grigely and administered by the Department of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The space is open when the door of MacLean 705 is open, and by appointment. Please contact jgrigely@saic.edu for further information.