Friday, 8 April 2011

Broadcasting House

When Edward Bawden was invited to design a cover for the BBC Yearbook he populated Portland Place with an orchestra of winged musicians gently descending from the airwaves above bringing joy and enlightenment to the masses gathered below, neatly encapsulating the mission of the BBC as it existed in 1947. Bawden’s slender pen line reduced the monolithic presence of Broadcasting House to a skeletal vestige. The postcard supplies a more substantial vision of the BBC’s great flagship towering over Upper Regent Street complete with Eric Gill sculptures. The building was completed in 1932, only 10 years after the first regular broadcasts and expressed the massive sense of self-confidence typical of the early years of radio. George Val Myer was the architect and brought considerable experience of designing for business and commerce to the project. The Radio Times cover is from 1982 and celebrates 60 years of radio by wittily transforming Broadcasting House into a facsimile of a pre-war Bakelite receiver on the left and a contemporary mixing deck on the right, subtly airbrushed by an unidentified artist.

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