Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Winter jumpers

Liv's present, a mug inscribed with "Giddy Aunt", was apt.
(Dad and Theo)


For those who spent the last days of 2009 trawling through lists of the decade’s top tens and defining the year that was, we could well hail 2009 as the year of the ‘pop-up’. Yes, we were popping up in galleries, etsy-esque handmade stalls and found ourselves nabbing an afternoon garibaldi in empty shop units across London last year.

No initiative was as curated as Space Makers Agency and London & Associated Properties’ (LAP) venture in Brixton Village indoor market. With 30 vacant shops, in a quest to unlock local talent, market owners LAP and Space Makers asked Brixton-based first time shop-keepers to submit their vision for the units, with a tantalizing offer of three months rent free space. Nearly 100 proposals flooded in and after a close evaluation, the chosen ones opened their doors last week. The result is a substantial wave of new shops housing vintage clothes, design studios, and locally produced food to community focused outlets including local climate change campaigners, Transition Town Brixton. It’s a performance space too - theatre company Space Station Festival are keeping their doors wide open during preparations so their rehearsals themselves transform into theatre.

With some projects open for 1-3 months and other initiatives set to become permanent businesses, I suggest a trip down to the market to experience South London’s answer to the recession.

Having first envisaged the scheme, Nicola Blake of LAP was particularly keen on the tree and plant sanctuary. Christmas trees aren’t just for Christmas. See you at the sanctuary the day after Epiphany.

Brixton Village Market (also known as Granville Arcade) off Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane.

Wary Meyers' 2006 Marshmallow window display at Anthropologie, New York. Meyers used 15,000 marshmallows in the installation.
"Now they just need hot chocolate" - Sara Borchard

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street puts everything in perspective.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Places of the mind. You might never have stepped there before but lightly close your eyes for a moment. My 'place that I have never visited but feel at home at' happens to be in Maine. By a lighthouse. It's a light breezy day and I've just been asked if I would like a lobster sandwich.
Visit Brian Ferry's collection of very beautiful photographs and The Blue Hour blog.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

London snowflakes

Is it possible to be (ever) so slightly bah humbug and still have 'let it snow, let it snow, let it snow' playing on a loop?
(wooden present tags via)

Monday, 14 December 2009

In Toronto, at the beginning of the decade (I am starting to acknowledge that we are heading into a new one!), one of my 9 flatmates wrote 'mantras' and bluetacked them to his wall. These prints might help you leap out of bed on winter mornings.
As mentioned

The School of Life's Daily Aphorisms

Friday, 11 December 2009

A little light on life

An invitation to read Freya's enlightened new blog about health, healing and magical things. Your Oslo based health guru and advisor on raw chocolate cake.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Hoping for northern line tube delays

For reading hour.

Tom Dixon & RIBA London

Festive season party at Tom Dixon's studio on Portobello Dock. Wine tasting and mont d'or cheese (Dad would approve!)
Visit the studio and cafe (with ex-chef from River Cafe).

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Make Lounge

Make Lounge: evening craft workshops and sewing classes with titles like 'Crochet Camp,' and 'Zippers Clinic' in Islington.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Exploring the A Roads

Mike Althorpe, RIBA London's Policy Manager occasionally walks London main roads. For fun. Recent walks include:

Clerkenwell to Brent Cross
Marble Arch to Edgware
Bank to Ealing
Monument to Kingston
Bishopsgate to Seven Sisters.

Arterial roads . London's entry points to the city with lines of commerce.
(A Tuesday morning coffee conversation)

Dieter Rams's Ten Commandments

Functionalist Braun and Vitsoe designer, Dieter Rams. A streamlined design ethos. Less, but better. Dieter's 10 design principles.
*Exhibition at Design Museum until 7 March 2010.

Intricate gold leaf

Richard Wright, Turner prize winner.
Temporarily ornate. Wright paints over his works. But this is not destruction: “I’m interested in the fragility of the moment”.
Go see at Tate Britain before 3rd January before it becomes a magnolia wall.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

An Aside no.3

Who invites friends over for lunch and hands over ingredients of avocados and couscous at the door?
Thank you all. (2010 is my Cordon Bleu year).
Enjoy the Floridian key lime pie T + D.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Event: Words on Monday at Kings Place

Kings Place hosts Monday evening talks on 'all of the above': arts, culture, politics, science. Andrew Marr is speaking to a sold out audience on Monday. Next year's line up includes Seamus Heaney..
n.b talks take place in a beautiful concert hall with Arup tested accoustics.

An aside no. 2: Undecided

on the Eames Rocker, originally designed in 1948. Currently none of the chairs in Flat 14 lull you into a daydream on stormy weather wintry evenings.

Your thoughts? Perhaps an investment too far..
*(feedback: 'curl up','armchair','plastic'. Search continues)

An aside

My mum always travels with a copy of Vanity Fair on planes. Without fail. It's on the list and under the big banner heading of things that just have to happen. In celebration (and preparation) for her trip to New York, Carly Simon's Proust Questionnaire answers. What would Proust have thought about her classic answer involving a whale and a credit card?

Happy nearly weekend.
(my absence has been a blogging blip..Many things to tell you including Nicola's inspired concept, the Brixton Arcade project and London through the lens of Mr Ferry)

The Olympic Park

A tour of the Olympic Park. Construction on an epic scale. The velodrome currently resembles a scalextric set and Zaha's Aquatic Centre is all but a steel frame without its creamy white curves.
(Many)statistics of sustainability from the Olympic Delivery guide.
One for a Friday afternoon. Over 50% of all construction materials are being brought to the site via the canal or by train.

(image 3: Zaha Hadid's Aquatic Centre's proposal)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Tracing around the outline

An intricate book of cut-outs published to accompany Rob Ryan's current show at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Monday, 16 November 2009


Do you remember when giving soaps as a present was a white musk taboo. A sign of 'our friendship has come to this'?! Well, it's because I know you so well that you might be receiving Aesop's cedarwood and rose otto hand wash for Hanukkah/ Christmas. Lush.

Aesop have a A- Z London guide on their site.

(a reminder via )


Architect David Chipperfield's tableware collection for Alessi. A pared down approach. So simple, Shaker furniture looks ostentatious!

(A David Chipperfield exhibition is at the Design Museum until 31 January)

Friday, 13 November 2009

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Test Flights

David Rickard's installation, Test Flights at The Economist Plaza.

Architect/ artist Rickard contributed to last year's London Festival of Architecture with his exhausting project, Exhaust. He found himself exhaling into silver foil balloons via a respiratory mask for 24 hours (yes, hours) to bring to our attention the need for clean, fresh air within buildings and the environment as a whole. The balloons were exhibited up and down the Goethe-Institut's spiral stairwell.
My review on the Londonist
(Test Flights, The Economist Plaza, 25 St James's Street from 27 November 2009— 12 March 2010)


I've been away in the Atlas Mountains. Moroccan mint tea and hiking up great heights. I thought hiking was just another term for a long walk. Underestimated the great heights. In the midst of the sifting and sieving through emails, I stumbled upon a marker pen spectacle

Monday, 26 October 2009

EVENT: Architecture + Film

RIBA Building Futures Debate: This House Believes We Have Lost Sight of the Future takes place at the BFI on 17 November. Chaired by Ben Hammersley of Wired magazine and including contributions from Fran├žois Penz, University of Cambridge and Eric Parry, Eric Parry Architects with Sean Griffiths, Director and Co-Founder of Fashion Architecture Taste Ltd. £5 well spent.

Curated by Mike Althorpe (who is sitting opposite me).

Thursday, 22 October 2009

London Moves Me

Walk, bus or skip over to Trafalgar Square this evening for London Film Festival's outdoor screening London Moves Me with films on public transport! Expect nostalgic archive footage of 19th horse-drawn omnibuses along Piccadilly to speculative visions of the future ways that we will travel from A along to B.

Mapping Spitalfield

What is your memory of Spitalfields? Mapping Memories' first initiative One Line Only is calling for one liners that will track the memories of residents and visitors to E1.

Visit the Exhibition in Hanbury Hall, Hanbury Street, E1 from 23-25 October and post your One Line Only on the memory wall.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


Unwrapped. Tissue Paper. Nearly on a new wall.
(artist Shaun Sundholm)

Friday, 16 October 2009


London Festival of Architecture's site is now live. 8 months to go.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Square the Block

LSE and Contemporary Art Society commissioned sculptor Richard Wilson's architectural intervention, Square the Block. Shifting our perception of 'set in stone', the sculpture juts out of the corner of Kingsway and Sardinia Street.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Nash Ramblas

RIBA London is thinking up a new name for Nash Ramblas, the London Festival of Architecture project set to take place next June that will highlight the pathway from Regents to St James' Park. The festival events will explore Terry Farrell's scheme for the West End and celebrate John Nash's original masterplan.

We need a new name though. And Nash Ramble doesn't work. New Street 1825 doesn't say contemporary plans for the streetscape. West End Promenade creates an image of Edwardian ladies twirling parasols in the park (this isn't part of the festival plans). Nash's boulevard conjures up Paris.


Park Nights

Serpentine's Poetry Marathon
A two day poetry + art + music event this Saturday and Sunday, 17–18 October

Contributors include Nick Laird, Cerith Wyn Evans, Brian Eno, Gilbert & George

"The Poetry Marathon is the fourth in the series of Marathons staged in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion each year. The first in the series, the Interview Marathon in 2006, involved interviews with leading figures in contemporary culture over 24 hours, conducted by Obrist and architect Rem Koolhaas. This was followed by the Experiment Marathon, which included 50 experiments by speakers across both arts and science, and the Manifesto Marathon in 2008".

I somehow always manage to miss the ingenious programming of the Park Night Serpentine sessions. Every year for the last four. Much the same as I am always under the duvet with flu on the day of the Boat Race which prevents me from yelling louder than the cox for Oxford.

20 x 200

After opening a pocket sized Lower East Side gallery, Jen Beckman started 20 x 200. Artworks can be purchased for 20, 50 or 200 dollars and new editions go online on Tuesdays and Wednesdays EST. PayPal is dangerous.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Meeting with the Royal Parks events team

Our contact carefully sipped his earl grey from an appropriate dainty china teacup.
The inscription:
God Save the Queen

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Event: Stories unfold

Barbican's 20th Performance Storytelling Season.
Three nights presenting a new generation of storytellers. Curious about this ancient tradition. How to ignite a tale and capture an audience. I imagine a wide eyed performance, an oral history of urban legends meshed with folk music around a cozy fire. It will no doubt be far bigger and more expansive than my log fire expectations. Nick Cave has been listed as an inspiration for part of the program afterall.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

The ceilings are high in the new living room. So high*, your voice echoes across the hexagon shaped room. Design solutions to help bring the ceiling down would be greatly received. Bubble floor lamps?
*I might be able to peak at the rest of the solar system. Invitations to the Planetarium to be issued soon.

Tissue Paper book covers

By Jenny Grigg via SeaSaw Designs

EVENT: Donmar Warehouse

Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderon de la Barca in a new version by Helen Edmundson
8 October - 28 November 2009
"To protect the country from the horrors prophesied, Segismundo is condemned for all eternity. Banished to a secret world high in the mountains and cut off from the sun, he can only dream of a life reversed: of palaces, empires, freedom and revenge".

Oh and the man from The Wire is in it.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Going to the new flat to measure and plan. Starting to get a little excited. As Tash said "It has a theatre en-suite". Have a lovely weekend.
Teatowel image via

Coffee beans

Kaffeine on Great Titchfield Street. One of several new Australian/Kiwi led coffee bars that together seem to form a antipodean reactionary alliance against generic coffee (i.e uninspired tepid coffee flavoured milk). Great Ormond Street's Espresso Room is also one for Bloomsbury based coffee fiends.
(image Charmaine Mok)

Launch of the Label

Sindiso Khumalo: "Handprinted tshirts based on a series of rambling sketches and designs inspired by the plethora of patterns, shapes and colours that exist on the streets of Hackney, East London". Tshirt titles include Sweaty Soweto, Ndebele Nina Simone and Air Morroco.
Final website construction in a few the meantime.
(Yay Sindi!)

Sackler Centre

The Sackler Centre Tour from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.

Softroom's renovation of the V&A education wing. Timber wall-roof and concrete juxtaposed and smart design decisions throughout.
(I look a little gormless on this film as a member of the tour group but actually I was mesmerised).

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Introducing..a low energy brick

Last year I was on the frenetic search for a pass to the opening of Frieze. Just the opening day. Not the pre-preview night. Never underestimate the art of the canape as well as the art of the fair.

A year on and I have become more preoccupied by construction innovation:

Bricks made by Calstar Products, require 80-90% less energy to make and the process generates 85% less carbon dioxide than normal bricks in the process, according to the company.

Should I worry?
(Frieze 15-18 October. Frieze Talks will be broadcasted on London's resonance 104.4Ffm arts radio).

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The RA

Graham Boyce spoke to A-Level students about studying architecture in one of the Royal Academy galleries this afternoon. Part of attRAct's mentoring programme. Boyce relayed the process involved with Watermark Place, the development on the site of the redundant international telephone exchange by Cannon Street station. Students had the look of decisions and form-filling if that is at all possible.
*Anish Kapoor's courtyard sculpture Tall Tree and the Eye and solo exhibition in the galleries until 11 December.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Preparing for moving day

K's tomato red filing cabinet and paper mache 'objet d'art' no longer live at Flat 3. I forgot how we all move in stages, gradually putting books in boxes before carting and lugging and tripping over SO much stuff and things. But before you know it everything and the toaster is in their new home.

Me: An end of an era
K: This era had many sub-eras.


Thursday, 24 September 2009

Have to admit

I fell into a water feature. Got my feet wet at More London. I was looking up. People always say look up at London's architecture. Maybe they don't say, ask Mike who you work with about the Ernst & Young building cladding and then plunge your ballet slippers into a bath.

Hours can be dwindled

Preempting tomorrow's lunch at Kiwi-run cafe Lantana on Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia.

Hampstead's Ginger and White. A British Coffee shop. Union Jack cushions and "We don't do Grande" on their front door.

Might not be the week to give up coffee. I'll take up Lantana's Hummingbird cakes instead.