Thursday, 30 April 2009


Being John Malcovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Charlie Kaufman films are a kaleidoscope of journeys. And then just when you find a focal point he re-winds/fast-forwards/ flips the kaleidoscope and you are left adjusting your wonky 3-D glasses. I'm sure his latest venture Synecdoche, New York with Philip Seymour Hoffman will follow a similar path to not sure where. Enjoy.

Q&A Charlie Kaufman & Samantha Morton + Film Preview,
Curzon Soho
Monday 11 May 6.30pm

# 17 receiving presents

Just gratefully received The Book of Idle Pleasures

Contains 100 descriptions of the things in life that make you feel free (and often are for free).

A random selection;
Lying in Hammocks
Looking at maps
Choosing to get wet in the rain
Squeezing bubble wrap (!)

Photographer Julius Shulman

Eric Bricker’s documentary, Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

Highly prolific architectural photographer, Shulman started his career in 1936 snapping images of a Richard Neutra house in Palm Springs with his 'vest-pocket' Kodak camera. At 97 years old, he lives amongst his archive of modernism.

(thanks to SB for sending this. Suggestions are lovely)

empty boxes needed

"..Pack bags, call cabs" Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs

Last day office protocol: They take you out for lunch. Serve plum tart for tea. If A3 recycled sheets get stuck in the photocopier you may well just leave it for someone else to deal with.

And you actually consider 'borrowing' a mountain of bic biros and 1 prit stick.

(Just hope nobody checks my satchel on the way out)

(Images of Studio Weave's Freya's cabin currently under construction in Northumberland)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

To collage

Definition// A collage (From the French: coller, to glue) is a work of formal art made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

David Hockney: Photographing Annie Leibovitz While She's Photographing Me, 1983 photographic collage,

All about instincts and spatial awareness.

Last days at 66 Portland Place: mildly ridiculous but I will miss my pin board postcard assemblage

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Who needs to leave the UK?

Photos by Olivia Mann taken 1 year ago. I don't expect the Norfolk landscape has changed much since and Eli Lee is probably still wearing the same uber-converse (albeit in Sydney).

Paris continue

The Bride

The guests + the vanilla macaroons . There had been a queue but we got there before it was too late.

Laundrette Project + Event

Laundrettes always seem to be the last shop on the high street to be spruced up, even when situated on a 'regenerated' street that has recently turned a local sandwich shop into a EAT/Costa/Pret.

I am compiling photographs of laundrettes that have a faded glory to them. Just in case they start to get fancy.

Celebrating 100 years of Tel Aviv, the JCC are to host White Nights in West Hampstead on Saturday 27 June. Bars, bookshops and laundrettes will host gigs and performances until the wee hours to create a "city that never sleeps" feel.

They have a fun programme this season.

Including a "Make your own Hummus" event which I might have to drag my sister-in-law to.


Vélib' (French: vélo libre or vélo liberté, English: free bicycle or bicycle freedom) is a public bicycle rental programme.

Heavy, clunky bicycles (which means don't attempt to lug one up Montmartre).

Alejandro Aravena's solution

Chilean Alejandro Aravena of Elemental practice spoke last night at LSE about social housing.

The practice identified the design conditions that would enable social housing to become an investment rather than an expense, without having to increase the amount of money of the current subsidy.

When describing the process, he explained acutely that "when the given money is enough for just half of the house, the key question is, which half do we do. We choose to make the half that a family individually will never be able to achieve on its own, no matter how much money, energy or time they spend. That is how we expect to contribute using architectural tools, to non-architectural questions, in this case, how to overcome poverty".

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The speakers include..

Over the last five years I have been fascinated by talks. Public discussions, debates or symposiums (whatever the format) have the potential to create audience magic hour with insights and unscripted humour. And can propel many, some or even just one member of the audience to interpret ideas from a new perspective. In Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, Henry says that if "..we throw up an idea and give it a little knock, it"(out of context quote as Henry is comparing writing and cricket but still..).

I began a little programme Maptalks with the aim to get friends to go along to a talk as casually as they would go to a gig. I was always asking my old employer if we could 'talk' about all the dance and prance. I kept waiting for Time Out to issue a talks section in the weekly.

Why has there been such a demand for all this talking? Why is Hay at the Alhambras and King's Place talking about the economy?

Amongst all the reading off screens and computers on our laps, do we just want to be in real time occasionally?

(Alice Rawsthorn is speaking at School for Life on 28th June on Good Design)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A São Paulo Cabanon

The Architectural Review profiled Brazilian architects Alan Chu & Cristiano Kato's 36 square metre sea-view house. The interiors are made from waste materials from its own construction.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

"Isn't it romantic"

Our versions of place and space are more often than not fuelled by filmic representations.

Billy Wilder’s Sabrina

The official tagline from the 1954 film was

. . the chauffeur's daughter who learned her stuff in Paris!


Chauffeur's daughter, Audrey Hepburn goes to cooking school to learn to make souffle before falling in love with Humphrey Bogart by mistake and correcting his chapeau on the boat back to Paris.

Voila. A (longer) tagline.

Nowadays 'my Paris’ is intermingled with macaroons, Marais meandering and Julie Delpy’s frentic version of the city.

But this Paris weekend will be about E & B’s wedding.

Happy early weekend.


New London Architecture's forthcoming conference will ask some key questions concerning the future of our public realm-

Is it appropriate for the public sector to fund grand public space projects in the midst of a recession? How do we unlock the public realm’s potential to address the challenges posed by climate change? And how can we make the most of the significant investment in transport infrastructure to create exemplar new parts of the city?

To get in the mood for this weekend's Paris trip

Laura Basu and I might sample some simple peasant fare at Fernandez & Wells.

Laura is here from Amsterdam where she is completing her PhD on the cultural memory of the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.

We have different days.

Recommended Tuesday night activity

Pat-a-cake with the nephew.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

On the verge of making a stand

Tucked away on a genteel corner of North London last night on an Everyman couch, a woman in the audience starting shouting obscenities at the screen.

Did she feel out of the loop? Was she a constituent of Tom Hollander’s Northampton. Or did she feel the need to climb the mountain of conflict. Either way, she was engaged in the film as you will certainly be.

Maybe she needs to spend some time in the UN meditation room.

I wasn't going to tell anyone at work

But they made me a pineapple upside down cake

And told me that everything is the

I think I had that cake 20 years ago to the day. And whoever made that card is the cat's pyjamas.

Monday, 20 April 2009

A Scandinavian kitchen

Everyone should have a dream summer house.

In Sweden.

Components: a lake, a hammock, all bathed in the golden glow.

If this isn't on the cards this July then I recommend Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street. Friendly folk. And Dime bars taste better there for some reason.

(Photos by Martin Löf via Oh Joy! )

If you do one thing today


Since the manufactures have stopped making the film and since Geoff Dyer's celebration of the 60 year old art form, there have been advancements that even a Luddite can be happy about.

A rooftop garden

SYNTHe urban green roof project in LA came to fruition last week. 95% of the garden aims to provide the greens for the ground floor restaurant.

Dan Hill who oversaw the project said "Standing up there, looking down onto thousands of square metres of non-productive, non-useful roof space, just sitting there in the sun soaking up heat, wasting energy and giving nothing back to the city, you realise you’re standing on a structure and a system that could be 'cut-and-paste' across all those roofs”.


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Ben & Jerry's London Free Cone Day
Tuesday 21 April 2009
(Birthday cookie dough).


Cy Twombly's Roses
Gagosian Gallery
Exhibition extended to May 9.

Best time to view the exhibition: 10 to 3 on a Tuesday.
Unlikely to be anybody else in there so an opportunity to cartwheel amongst Twombly's beautiful flower beds.

A Game of Gravitas

We know it when we see it- Sam Seaborn

Canadian designer's Hambly & Woolley's inspired card game GRAVITAS "..with questions on who we are and how we have lived. There is no right or wrong answer...A certain savoir faire is accumulated in life that reflects our individual stories and experiences. Everyone can offer some GRAVITAS on life’s big questions. The game consists of 143 cards (three questions per card) totalling 429 questions”.

As mentioned on Blog of the day/week: Lovely Package

(n.b Mr + Mrs Solomons are accountable for any West Wing obsession I may have that led to the direct quote from Season 3. Or was it season 2. Will they bring Ainsley back if they make a feature. I'll stop now).

Friday, 17 April 2009

the weather girl says it's rainin'

Hoping for the heavy cloud across London to give way for Clapton Pond picnic sunshine.

This is far too sweet to not be on a Flat 3 wall.

Latin American Architecture trail

Elias Redstone of The Architecture Foundation conducted research around Central and South America these past few months to seek out the new generation of contemporary architects. Await his findings and its influence on AF programming..

2 houses by Sao Paolo based Grupo SP

Travelling with a purpose

Although nothing wrong with mooching and days revolving around the breakfast and then the lunch and oh it's nearly dinner. Gap year hostelling never appealed to me but an around-the-world ticket to discover theatre spaces is still to come true.

Happy weekend. Nearly.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Marjetica Potrč's Mobile City

Drawing by Slovenian artist and architect Marjetica Potrč. Her work interprets contemporary architectural practices and the ways people live together.

(drawing is part of Storefront for Art and Architecture's forthcoming silent auction)

Oslo's gradient

Oslo Opera House designed by Snøhetta

No railings. Health + safety requirements can be so restrictive.
Apparently Oslo locals start their day with Tai-chi at the top of the ramp.


Looking high and low for a mobile for my nephew's 1st birthday next month. Maybe one with more colour and suitable for a Barbar bedroom than Richard Sweeney's cascading paper-chain!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


When Julian and I were in Toronto many moons ago, we knew a guy named Justin Rutledge. He worked and sang occasionally at the Victory café around the corner from 694 Bathurst Street. The café where my brother, Julian and I had a supper on one of the first Toronto evenings. And then went to too many times but not often enough over the next year. Down the road from the Reno-esque Honest Ed’s.

Justin’s music is making me happy this afternoon during a slightly yawnsome events audit of all architectural outreach in the UK.

I like that he has played with Dolly Parton.

And has a song called Don’t be so Mean Jellybean.

(and that Julian's Shady lane was his first label).


One of my favourite friends is getting married this summer.

Why doesn't Lyell designer Emma Fletcher design dresses for the black tie? I think it is all how you 'dress it up' as designer Sindiso Khumalo says.


Urban Age Public Debate Series: Architecture as Investment

Monday 27 April, 18:30-20:00, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, London

The challenge to provide affordable housing is a global issue. At a time when market forces are eclipsing architecture’s social value, Elemental’s pioneering housing is transforming urban communities in Latin America.

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena is a Professor at the Universidad Católica de Chile and Executive Director of Elemental, a ‘do tank’ addressing questions outside the traditional realm of architecture.

Presented with support from the Cities Programme at the LSE and Monocle magazine

Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.
All events at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Hire-wire walker Frenchman Phillipe Petit who placed 'one foot by one foot' along a wire between the Twin Towers in 1974 has revealed that he is planning another stunt in New York's midtown.

My heart is actually pounding.

And no I haven't had a nespresso.

Nearly 28 balloons

Feeling birthday-ish. I'll soon be the old lady who lived by the sea in a beautiful pink house.

Photo by Tiara Mia

Shop Monocle

Monocle magazine have a shop on George Street, off Marylebone High Street. It has a temporary feel to it. This is largely due to the fact that it is all of 1 metre square. But who needs excess pacing space when considering which embossed notebook to buy.

The mustard one to the left.

Monocle opened the LA branch last week with Tokyo & New York branches to follow.

A job is going in the LA shop. "You will need to be enthusiastic, know and love the Monocle brand, and be able to wrap a gift with Japanese precision".

Tuesday morning job hunting.

"Mr Owl bumps into a hungry yet friendly Augustus the lion"

Nicola mentioned over coffee and bank holiday scrambled eggs that she might write a children's book. I think she should should collaborate with illustrator Matte Stephens.

Japan's blossom forecasting

Regent's Park's buds to be.

Ali Smith
and Will Self are two of the writers who have been commissioned by the Royal Parks to write stories on London Parks published this blossom month. The authors will be hosting readings in the parks over the summer.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Annual Barbican Architecture Debate

Zaha Hadid cancelled. Her replacement from the practice Patrik Schumacher cancelled.

A man next to me was disgruntled at the sky-high ticket price and the 'starchitect' no show.

The powerful 90 minutes that followed was soon to change his mind.

Inspired by Le Corbusier's legacy, the Barbican questioned if good design can change the world. Sean Griffiths and Charles Jencks pontificated on what constitutes 'good design'. Sean true to FAT style dismissed the sanitised Scandinavian flat-pack and called for 'dodgy' DIY interiors to continue.

Good design needs to incorporate environmental, societal, economic and aesthetic factors.

The presentations collectively asked where the architect's focus should be.

The economic spiral makes it a difficult time for architects but a positive time for architecture- Architectural historian Joseph Rykwert

Architecture for Humanity's Cameron Sinclair called for a time of reflection and resolution as we move away from the Dubai excess to architects acting on our global and local issues. In this dismal recession when architects are losing their jobs faster than any other industry, it is hard to think how this quest can translate to the London architect? But I hope those that those who can in the audience will consider AFH projects in the downturn to share their expertise. The posts are paid in case you weren't sure.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

April edition of The Architectural Review. A new editor and obligatory new typeface. I am undecided but that’s partly due to not being good with change. Even with magazine covers.

AR profiles Architects Raumlabor's Spacebuster: “a mobile, inflatable structure that serves as a portable, expandable pavilion”. Currently in New York for 10 days. Sometimes I want to morph and merge elements of London and New York. Bring back last year's Telectroscope, the device that allowed NYLON to see each other in real time.

Post Office Tower

I see the BT tower everyday. It peaks into view as I turn the RIBA corner and some days if misty it hides behinds swathes of clouds.

Only to reveal a B. Or a T.

Granta published a short story where the main character is afraid of the tower. She has to be careful that she doesn’t meet people nearby and if in central London she looks straight ahead so as not to chance a view. A strange tale but memorable!

Clerkenwell Cake

What to do in a former Victorian workshop that was once used for cutting diamonds? Open a unassuming café with excellent cake.

J&A café, Sutton Lane, Clerkenwell is open in the evenings from April 14.

A spring-time supper

Artist and professional hoarder Madelon Vriesendorp. Writer John Berger. Artist Alex Katz.

A fantasy dinner party invitee list.

So during this low-key supper we would have homemade gazpacho. And some kind of lamb cous-cous dish. Followed by my sister-in law’s banana bread and too many blueberries.

We would need someone to stir things up a bit though. Someone funny ha-ha.

Maybe Dylan Moran could pop by for mint tea.

A Walking Artist

Urban climbing. Parkour. Alex Hartley’s ‘buildering’ photography.

All got me my current job as I announced in my interview that scaling buildings is a spectacle ideal for architecture related public programming.

But our interaction with buildings can have a more a far-reaching affect. Walking artist Lottie Child has worked with many communities to encourage urban explorations including street training in Camberwell.

Look up. Look down. Walk on your hands.

She challenges our notion of freedom in our streets with methods far from pedestrian.


Cast your minds back. Do you remember making cut-outs around a table and the magical moment of surprise and symmetry as the pattern opened up. A primary school afternoon ‘art-club' staple.

The intricacy of Rob Ryan’s work makes my heart skip two beats.

His shop, Ryantown on Columbia Road opens its paper-mache doors on weekends so make sure you pass the peonies and yukka plants at the Sunday flower market and have a look-see.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Kieran Long's Hatch- The New Architectural Generation.

I spilled coffee on the spine so now my coffee table book has aged a little. Profiles the 'emerging' great and the good (6a, AOC) and many practices I have yet to encounter(Lead Pencil Studio, Matsuokasatoshi Tamurayuki).

The cladding of the gold building opposite is nearly complete. Smokers from the RIBA balcony have watched the process with dismay. Crass cladding. How will the Toblerone wrapper age?