Every year, the Irish Architecture Foundation commissions a limited edition A3 print as one of the benefits made available to their members. This print, was created as 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. 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.
These one-colour A3 letterpress prints were produced by One Strong Arm in Dublin.