The story of the Footpath Guides begins in a unique Melbourne city building soon to be demolished to make way for a 60-storey apartment tower.
Total House, an early example of so called ‘Brutalist’ architecture, houses many architect and design firms whose offices top the building like a giant TV and an icon of post-war modernity.
Dave Roper, founder of Crumpler and one of the tenants, is hosting a party on the Level 8 terrace where Jacques Sheard, independent filmmaker and architectural academic, is shooting the final sequences of a short film as part of the efforts to save the building.
Dave and Jacques get talking and soon an idea emerges out of nowhere. What if we put together a homage to Melbourne’s mid-century architecture?
What if it was pocket size and you could take it with you as you explore Melbourne’s city streets and laneways? What if it was designed in the graphic style of the era?
The concept of Footpath Guides was born. Jacques put his hand up to do the research, photography and writing. Dave offered to be the project’s producer, marketer and if the need arose, financier.
The only missing piece was someone to design it. Dave contacted a graphic designer friend he knew would be perfect.
Sonia Post, founder of brand and digital agency Design Democracy, lives and breathes the era. Her clothes, art, style and house, even her garden, are straight out of mid-century.
Sonia jumped at the chance and after a year or so of ridiculously long hours and crazy late nights, the first three books of the series were sent to the printers.
Together they feature over 60 individual buildings all illustrated, spanning from the 1850s to the 1970s.
People soon realised that something like the Footpath Guides had never existed before. And that Melbourne’s diverse architecture is best celebrated on foot, with eyes ready to scan skywards.
The subject is, so to speak, set in concrete.
And of course, other great cities of the world have footpaths and beautiful buildings too.