London skate crew PALACE makes boards, hyped apparel, VHS skate vids, and parody broadcast journalism. Its aesthetic is a nonchalant hijinks reminiscent of 1990s skateboarding and against recent trends in slow-motion HD. Founded in 2006 as the Palace Wayward Boys Choir—a group of guys who lived in the same shit-hole apartment in Waterloo, South Bank, which they ironically called the Palace—the team is perhaps the chicest rebuttal against the commercialization of skateboarding. “It started because there was a lack of interesting things in skateboarding,” says Lev Tanju, who founded the company. “I thought there was something more that could be done—that was a bit fresher and right for the times, and not run by some corporate people.”
Known for fucking with high fashion—having produced Tees with an inverted Chanel logo or a parody of Versace’s Medusa—Palace’s own graphic identity has by now become similarly iconic: the Penrose triangle, an impossible object made from three straight beams of a square that meet pairwise at right angles at the vertices of a triangle. Palace brand collaborations include Reebok and Umbro, and last December Tanju worked with Tate on a series of new decks designed after the English Romantic-era painter John Martin’s The Great Day of His Wrath (1851–53). For the project Tanju projected images of the painting onto a series of classical busts, using the resulting photographs as graphics. But Tanju isn’t worried about contaminating the brand with big exposure. “It would be kind of dumb to have a business but not want people to dig it,” he says. On one of Palace’s recurring graphics is the outline of a middle finger flipping the bird, a tongue-in-cheek punctuation to team’s success.