Bang-On T-Shirts began as a temporary hawker's cart in an underground mall in Vancouver. An old heat press and a pile of vintage vinyl transfers eventually gave way to their first permanent brick and mortar retail space, on the corner of Robson and Burrard streets, no less! The retail premise of Bang-On involved offering customers a wide variety of colours and styles of shirt along with a literally unlimited choice of image content, producing a personalised and customised pop cultural artifact you can wear on your body.
By way of architectural response, we turned to Pop Art and Memphis. From the beginning it was understood that we would use no natural materials to soften the retail discourse with promises of safety, comfort and authenticity. In exchange for material honesty, we opted for optical authority. Traditionally modern concerns such as structure and materiality, were relegated to a 'supporting " role, while typically purely visual concerns became the main (perceptual) building blocks. The design of Bang-On is an exercise in using painting and architecture together in a more intimate way. it is not about "a" painting inside a room. In this case the use of colour and pattern defines the materiality and the spatial perception of the architecture. The space of painting colludes with the three dimensional, architectural shaping of the room to create an original kind of spatial/pictorial experience. This forces an ambiguity between object and image which attempts to challenge the various discussions about representation we have all grown so used to.
A small number of base patterns were initially brought together. Some were borrowed, some were created from scratch but all were appropriations in some way, which carry some particular historic, sub-cultural content which in turn defines their use value as "materials".
As a general rule, all of the patterns have been scaled up to a monumental (billboard) scale. All objects necessary to the running of the store and display of goods were designed according to strict pop principles, eschewing the tasteful, the clean or the new as design values and instead applying punk strategies to standard building materials. Giant Zebra, Bacterioso, Candy Stripe, Check, Splatter, along with red, yellow pink and aqua formed the material palette for the first store and then, in multiple iterations, became the sample group for subsequent ideas( Spaz, Digital Bacteria, etc.) developed in later stores. Along the way, sub-themes have been developed in response to specific sites and changing trends in the popular culture... Dictator Modern, Classical Chinese , Cheap Robot and Rockabilly Cowboy are some but not all of the sub-themes which have guided the design of whole stores or elements within the generalised Bang-On idiom.