The 'Bling Bling' Building
69 Hanover Street, Liverpool L1

Picture by Pat Neill
Designer: Piers Gough

Once known only as Paradise Street Development Area Building No. 9, this is officially 69 Hanover Street. It now houses Herbert's Hairdressing Salon and School as its principal tenant. Piers Gough has said that he wanted a building that would match the personality of Herbert Howe, describing him as the king of bling. It has now come to be known as The Bling Bling Building. It can be seen as a twenty first century companion piece to Spinney House just around the corner. Spinney House shows pared-down classicism in its decoration and the Bling Bling Building shows decoration reduced to post-modern surface technologies.

The salon interior is fitted out in glass and marble whilst outside the building has a curved curtain wall with green tinted glass and three projecting 'pods': one over the main entrance, one on the Hanover street facade and a third cantilevered out high over School Lane. One of these pods excellently terminates the view down Fleet Street whilst the School Lane pod can create a surreal effect for the pedestrian looking up from the crowded street. The pods are said to use stone which has been vermiculated (covered with wiggly grooves). It is intended that with weathering this will give a leopard-skin effect. Some sources describe the exposed metalwork as being of copper or anodised gold, this is presumably aluminium. (Anodisation is a process whereby the naturally forming protective layer of aluminium oxide on exposed aluminium is artificially coloured, a controlled oxidation.) One certainly hopes it is not copper since verdigris would somewhat detract from the bling bling. Piers Gough is the 'G' in the architectural practice CZWG, his work is usually distinctive and playful, one of his most famous buildings is the public toilet-cum-flower-stall in Westbourne Grove, London. Bling-bling, frequently shortened to bling is a hip-hop slang word referring to elaborate jewellery. If you don't know what hip-hop is your mojo ain't working.


Alan Maycock 2008

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