You have to hand it to Thanet District Council, they’re certainly more daring than what they let out. We applause them a thousand times for giving Alex Chinneck the go-ahead for his ambitious and very brilliant intervention in the Cliftonville district of Margate. Titled From the Knees Of My Nose to the Belly Of My Toes, 28-year-old Chinneck’s work-of-art saw him taking the phrase “in need of a facelift” quite literally, where he ‘peeled off’ the façade of a disused period house to expose the deterioration inside. On the surface, it seems as if the property has succumbed to gravity whereas in reality the sliding slippage is a genius piece of construction that took twelve months to create and £100,000 to fund, with ten firms in total donating various materials, expertise and manpower to make it all happen. Using a curved wooden frame, the new brick façade covers almost the entire space on and to the front of the building, aside from the top floor that has been left harshly exposed in its previous condition after being left vacant for the past eleven years.
Chinneck’s work is without doubt a huge bonus for Margate itself. Once a ‘grand’ seaside town, it’s definitely seen its fair share of problems and own disrepair. Until only recently, Margate has resolved to using culture as a means of regeneration - you only have to take David Chipperfield’s-designed Turner Contemporary as point for cause - while Chinneck’s jaw-dropping example is further proof that the authorities are more than willing to back their policies and let the town’s cultural juices flow.
Now all that’s left to do is to let the drum roll and praises begin for these contributing firms that all lent their support to make the project possible - Arts Council England, Margate Arts Creativity Heritage, Ibstock Brick, Smith and Wallwork Engineers, Norbord, Macrolux, WW Martin, Urban Surface Protection, Jewson, RJ Fixings, Resort Studios, Cook Fabrications, the Brick Development Association, and All Access Scaffolding.
Alex Chinneck, Blue Gate Studio, Bayford Mews, Bayford Street, London E8; alexchinneck.com