There’s a nice element of the unknown about laneways in the city centre, whether you’re exploring them on foot or doing a bit of virtual hovering on Google or Bing Maps. Lots of them are just providing rear access to houses, whole swathes in certain areas are full of private €10*/day car parks, and then occasionally, you’ll find businesses still operating.
I’m a bit too late to find Stoneybatter Fuels in operation, but instead, we get one hell of a gate recording the depot’s stock. (NB to kids growing up in Stoneybatter: ‘Slack Anthracite’ will wear thin as a band name.) The combination of neat letters for the company name and a slightly slanted, handwritingish style for the rest is gorgeous, and there’s a deliberate structure to the layout too, with consistency even as the words begin to run into one another in ‘for delivery…”
One of the steady cliches in architects discussing space is the idea of the palimpsest, the manuscript which has been written on, scraped back, and written on again – cities built on top of cities, cultures and eras on top of cultures and eras, etc. It’s a compelling image and it’s easy to see why it’s always dragged up when there’s a hint of underlying layers and build-up.
In terms of layers, there’s remarkably little graffiti, and most of the additions seem to have been done by the owners, blocking out the phone number and adding the arrows and notes about having moved. The ‘COAL. LOGS. SLACK.’ at the bottom has a nice look of aggression to it, relative to the order above. Yellow was a nice call for the extra text, almost like a neutral in the middle of the intense, gorgeous array of blues and reds that appear when you look very closely.