Manchester Unity Building lobby

Original post 11-13 July 2020

Photos 20 June

The exterior of the #ManchesterUnityBuilding is Gothic/Deco, but the interiors are fully #ArtDecostyle; zigzags and chevrons and little delicate patterns. But there’s some oddities too, showing maybe architect #MarcusBarlow hadn’t quite fully grasped how the style was usually executed – there’s a sort of flat pink marble mountain effect building up to a rather religious looking #opussectile panel, and the door surrounds are partly detailed, partly flat, and the main wall contrasts with its huge slabs, providing room for a lot of carved words, big on one side, smaller on the other – still it’s all very grand !

The #liftdoors at the #manchesterunitybuilding are wonderful, including the patina of nearly 90 years of wear and tear.

(And apparently the streaks of some kind of 90s protective coating)

The lift cars are THE BEST.

#MarcusBarlow sure squeezed in a lot of shops when he designed the #manchesterunitybuilding (23 shops and 7 kiosks), and put in a lot of display cases too, like this one – on the stairs leading down to the basement that was ‘a beautifully set up tea room’; lots of marble and tile too ! The last photo is the stairs up to the mezzanine.

😮 naked #homeloan. If you look up I the arcade of the #manchesterunitybuilding, you’ll see scenes depicting what the society could do for you, but oddly rendered as classical images (except for the very suburban house). There’s also ‘scenes of Australian life’ which includes some #FirstAustralians. All a bit naive in style I think. Update: I’m told by some one who has studied his work that they’re by Vaughan Murray Griffin, an artist known for his linocuts in the 30s and who went in to be a war artist in Malaya (and then Changi); he would have only been about 28 when he did these. The linocut technique seems obvious now, but the effect is still odd.

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