Remembering Haçienda: a journey through the aesthetics of club culture
New photography book Haçienda Landscapes explores the modern myth and magic of the Manchester club
For designers of a certain age, Factory Records represented the moment when music became inseparable from aesthetics. Founded at the turn of the 1980s, with Tony Wilson at the helm, Martin Hannett on the mixing desk and Peter Saville with the scalpel and Letraset, Factory fused agit-prop graphics with post-punk sounds, deftly riding successive waves of youth culture yet also staying defiantly independent, individual and influential. One of Wilson’s most notable achievements was the Haçienda nightclub, the conversion of Manchester yacht showroom into a global hub for a new generation of dance music, aided and abetted by co-owners New Order, the graphic stylings of Saville and the architecture and interiors of Ben Kelly.
Kelly has now created a book – Haçienda Landscapes – that looks at the pre-history, lifespan and visual legacy of the Haçienda, which closed its doors for good back in 1997. Conceived as an integral part of the Factory mythos, the club was even given its own Factory Records catalogue number, FAC 51, part of Wilson’s obsession with chronicling every single facet of the label’s artistic output (FAC 191 was allocated to the Haçienda cat, for example).
Working with photographer Eugene Schlumberger, with contributions from Peter Saville, Haçienda Landscapes has now launched on Kickstarter, promising a rich treasure trove of visual material captured before, during and after the Haçienda’s heyday. The book even covers the November 2000 auction that included everything from bricks and bits of the dance floor, down to the toilet mirrors and DJ booth.
Kelly’s design gave the Haçienda a quasi-industrial look, befitting for its role as a sweaty factory of dancing and other more illicit delights. He describes the approach to the club as being deliberately ‘anonymous and minimal’, a sequence of spaces that led revellers into the main dance floor. Here, bold striped columns, strong graphic language and block colours were combined with the fabric of the existing building to create a structure that part Warhol-esque arts factory, part post-industrial culture generator and 100 per cent hedonistic pleasure zone.
Kelly has littered the book with his own photographs of the Haçienda in situ, mixing archive material with reportage. Schlumberger images present a more nuanced view of the industrial landscapes that surrounded the club. Designed to live up to the high standards of all Factory-associated graphics, Haçienda Landscapes is a book of beauty as well as an important historical document. Early sign-ups to the Kickstarter can get a special signed slipcased edition that’s sure to become an iconic Factory artefact.
The Haçienda: a visual history
Below, explore our edit of images, photography, ephemera and spreads from the new book, as captured by Ben Kelly and Eugene Schlumberger.