Verge; Exploring A Pure Folly

By Jo Phillips

Perhaps the most poetic architectural set of buildings we can appreciate is a folly. It implies a leap beyond the practical. Folly is a fascinating word, it comes from the Old French ‘folie’, meaning madness, but in modern French also ‘delight’ and ‘favorite dwelling’. Here we face an intelligent madness,  which opens a door to imagination and experimentation through its suspension of reason and function.

A meeting point of architectural folly, is the Welsh village of Portmeirion, a place in which everyone can feel the beauty of designs’ plurality from the Jacobean-style town hall, to the Victorian Gothic castle and Georgian style belvedere-cum-shell grotto.

Portmeirion is a one man vision, completely designed and built during 1925 and 1975 by the unconventional Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, thought to be a glimpse of Italy in Wales .


Source of inspiration, the intriguing design of this pretty little village has regularly appeared on film and TV  shows. ‘The Village’ as it is known due to its contribution to the TV series ‘The Prisoner’, which epitomized the counter-culture vibe of the late 1960s and Portmeirion village provided the perfect canvas for the psychedelic storyline. The whole place looks like the set of fantastic film, there is a huge black and white chess standing out on a green garden. By creating this utopian world, his desire to integrate art into architecture and everyday life is still alive and gives his whole work a curiously contrasting sense of passion and structure.

Portmeirion-4-Oscar Johns

Life needs a grain of mad streak to be enlightened by so much beauty. The irony is that living without foolishness is completely crazy and that is the most interesting sense about the meaning of folly. As a simply visitor or a passionate of incredible creators and designers you will appreciate to folly your self transcribed by these buildings.

If you want to bring more Folly to your life you can read our previous article here in our Summer issue Guest edited by the divine Paris Essex

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