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Warm balloons, not refrigerated eggs

Ian Martin
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Ian Martin aims high, and thin

MONDAY Redesign ‘the economy’ as a sort of cantilevered bridge. The far bank seems to be obscured by a forbidding forest and weird, impenetrable weather. Also, this bridge seems to be made entirely of transparent materials and, oh hang on, is there even a bridge at all?

TUESDAY Sometimes, and I think this must be the curse of all auteurs, I look on my own works and despair.

I’ve designed an elegant boxed set of monocultural nanopartments for a client who exists, as far as I can tell, in digital form only. It’s a bit of a financial mystery. No idea where anyone’s head office is; there’s a company registered in the Bahamas but nobody gets much work done there do they?

My boxed set of compartmentalised lifespaces, situated on what was a newly discovered patch of underperforming grass and air in south London, contains 150 living pods. The unit shells are made of plasmographenium, hand-rolled by children (not sure, before you ask, Africa somewhere it looks like on the website and please don’t start, they’re laughing in all the photographs) for a lovely fine-grained finish. Soundproof, insulated, superthin. I’ll be honest, it’s allowed me to cram an unfeasibly large number of nanopartments into quite a small volume of secure containment.

But …  I don’t know. I look at them and imagine the single ‘goal-oriented’ people who will live in them. The heartless ballclangers who will own them and rent them out.

An unexpected wave of sadness overwhelms me. My luxury nanopartments suddenly look like refrigerated eggs.

WEDNESDAY Enough negativity. They don’t look like refrigerated eggs at all. They look like warm balloons.

Yes, yes. Warm balloons. I feel much happier now.

Can’t wait to see the critics’ faces when my ‘super-tall, super-skinny’ Fritopolis goes up


THURSDAY Frustrating conference call to discuss ‘life after social housing’ with architecture minister the Hon Aeneas Upmother-Brown and his pet swarm of bees.

I’m all for bees and democracy but seriously – 28 separate video chat boxes? Cacophony. Who knows what the consensus is? I’m no bigot but they all sound the same to me.

FRIDAY Can’t wait to see the critics’ faces when my ‘super-tall, super-skinny’ Fritopolis goes up in downtown Tamworth.

How those bastards sneered at my last skyscraper, the Fat Chip. It scored just 63 per cent on HideWithVines.com, the tall building appraisal site. That’s considerably lower on ‘overall aesthetics’, ‘thinness’ and ‘bigness’ than even the most vacuous, comical bollocks thrown up by my two main rivals: gurning serial skyfister Rafael Viñoly and humourless urban bukkakist Renzo Piano.

‘Not that tall,’ said the New York Review of Buildings. ‘Not skinny in the least – in fact we would say hefty,’ smirked Edifici Grandi in reversible Italian. ‘Not very good,’ murmured the Zeitung Der Bilden in lazy German.

Well how’s this for tall, quite good and skinny? Four hundred and thirty metres, with the shape and golden colour of MATCHSTICK FRIES. Don’t bother mentally stacking London buses or verticalising football pitches, my Fritopolis is even taller than One World Trade Center. That overthought, machine-tooled oven chip.

Yeah, Fritopolis. Six individually crafted towers, each uniquely curled and torqued towards the top, making them look even more like skinny fries. I had toyed with the idea of placing them inside a massive enveloping McDonaldsy carton for enhanced authenticity but there were issues of cost and daylight and by the next day the drugs had worn off. Still, with floorplates of just 300m2 these towers go beyond super-skinny to hyper-skinny.

But how, you ask impertinently, will these towers remain standing? Will they not be vulnerable to high winds and the basic laws of physics? Relax. Chill. I’m not an idiot. They’ll be fine. My bundle of wafting faggots will be lashed together by mysterious ‘T forces’ and complementary ‘horizontal gravity’, which I have asked scientists to come up with sharpish.

Please. Let’s have less cynicism in the plastic arts, and more horizontal gravity.  

SATURDAY Five-a-spitegeist Rough Sleeping Deterrence. ‘Security guards in architect-designed uniforms’ beat ‘stylish painful miniature Aztec pyramids’ and now go through to face ‘powerhosing’ in the quarter-finals.  

SUNDAY Media review in the recliner. I’m told to forget about Paris, as Birmingham is the new Paris. I must forget about ‘looks’; buildings are now all about content delivery. I’m to forget about caring; observation is the new hope.

Forget about media, go to pub.

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