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Every year we offer IAF members a year-round programme of exclusive events, discounts with great design retailers and suppliers like the Irish Design Shop, Makers & Brothers and Snow and priority access to our programme, including Open House Dublin. We also like to send new and renewing members something nice in the post, and we are ready to reveal this year’s exclusive print, designed by designer and long-time IAF member Alex Synge. It’s an A3 monochrome letterpressed print, printed by our neighbours One Strong Arm. Here’s what Alex has to say about the print:
‘This print is a celebration of an omnipresent and essential – but often ignored – part of the modern urban landscape: the manhole cover. Primarily functional objects, they provide access points to the sewers below the streets. Any surface design and embellishment is essentially there to provide grip so that pedestrians won’t slip.
Despite this practical reason for their existence, the sheer variety of manhole cover designs stand as testament to the anonymous ‘designers’ within foundries across the island of Ireland (and beyond, in the case of the London foundry manhole cover that has ended up here). Ranging from intricate Celtic knotwork to more brutal geometric patterns and the most simple grids, they show a playfulness and inventiveness, imbuing a functional object with its own unique and beautiful charm.
Manhole covers have been a strange point of fascination for me since watching Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles as a child, as well as being a clumsy skateboarder, looking out for them so as not to introduce my face to the pavement. I’ve been quietly accumulating photos of interesting (as well as uninteresting) manhole covers for several years with no real goal or purpose, but IAF’s invitation to design a members’ print felt like the perfect opportunity to collate and recreate some of my favourites.’
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