The Modernist #36, Justice
The best magazines entice you into their pages with some relaxed familiarity then hit you with a surprise. Our latest Page 23 is the perfect example of this.
After 35 issues, The Modernist has developed its own corner in the indie world. Starting from a love of modernist architecture and design, its remit has spread further as it has grown in editorial confidence. Each year the four issues work to an alphabetical theme; 2020 has been ‘J,’ with issues dedicated to ‘Junction,’ ‘Justaposition,’ ‘Journey’ and now ‘Justice.’
The ‘Justice’ issue is guest edited by Craig Oldham, who notes, ‘this issue may appear to take a somewhat tangential path for a magazine devoted to the design and architecture of the 20th century.’ Instead, it aligns itself with people showing a sense of solidarity with the ideals of Modernism.
The second story in the issue showcases entries to ‘A Folly for London,’ a 2015 protest against then London mayor Boris Johnson’s farcical Garden Bridge project (reminder: over £50m spent planning a project that was never built).
The responses all hit their mark, but Charlie Plumley’s ‘Bifrost Bridge’ plan on Page 23 is particularly strong, parodying the marketing nonsense employed to sell Johnson’s bridge: the visitor would mount, or be drawn in a carriage by, one of a team of unicorns, to cross the rainbow-coloured recycled glass bridge. And solar panels would feed directly into the city’s power grid.
The idea and its childlike presentation are a perfect takedown of Johnson’s showboating approach to policy (and also remind me now of the rainbows drawn to support healthworkers over the pandemic). In a better world such a record would have prevented him from furthering his ambition; it’s essential we don’t forget his fecklessness and I love The Modernist for reminding us how far back it runs.
Founder editors: Jack Hale & Eddy Rhead
Editor: Ashiya Eastwood
Guest editor: Criag Oldham
Design and art direction: Birthday