Friday, 20 April 2012

Type and architecture

Project by Garth Walker

One of his public projects—intensely personal nonetheless—is the typeface and signage at the Constitutional Court complex in Johannesburg. He described wandering around three abandoned apartheid prisons on the site where the court was to be built and photographing all kinds of lettering: crude notice boards, “whites only” signs, and graffiti etched into the dirt walls of cell blocks where political prisoners had been held. “I had lettering from both the captives and their captors,” he said. Beginning with a loopy ‘B’ based on the handwriting of a court justice, he selected individual letterforms from the various artifacts and incorporated them into the typeface. In 2004, the words “Constitutional Court” in South Africa’s eleven official languages were fabricated in 3-D acrylic in Walker’s “Prison Font” in the colors of the South African flag.

Garth Walker: “This was my contribution to the ideals of a nation of truth, dignity and freedom,” Walker asserted, “in a place that was once a bastion of incarceration, torture and repression.”

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