Friday, 29 May 2009


When asked why the title, Documentary filmmaker Gary Hustwit replied "Because I thought it would look good on a t-shirt". Hustwit's follow up to his typography homage to Helvetica is Objectified. 75 obsessive minutes magnifying the objects we use everyday and the thought processes behind them. A toothbrush is not just a toothbrush. Decisions have been made with a multitude of designer post-it note brainstorms. Interviews include Apple's Jonathan Ive, Marc Newson, Dan Formosa (Smart Design)and Rotterdam based Hella Jongerius who incorporates homemade craft motifs in her designs and Vitra commisions.

As you would expect, the film tracks how design has progressed; the Democratisation via Ikea and how objects do not instantly indicate their function in our technological age e.g an iPod does not immediately suggest a place to store music whilst the ol' spoon does suggest that its practical purpose could be to feed yourself porridge. One designer admitted that Eames had it made in the shade as he didn't have to contemplate the issue of sustainability. He somewhat soberly reflected that most of his products that he designed have indeed ended up in a landfill.

The film is pretty seamless. Like good design. (Unless you want to highlight the seams of course).

At the Barbican's Q & A, Hustwit revealed his documentary filmmaking tip. Just let your interviewee speak. The filmmaker shouldn't probe with questions which create a forced dynamic but should allow for the stream of consciousness that you can chop and arrange in the editing room later.

Following the ultimate Q&A question "Whats in your pocket", Hustwit took us through his day and his yesterday. He had been in Zurich the day before and had met an 83 year old who had taught him a Chladni plate and he had a crumpled laundry ticket from his London hotel.

What's in your pocket this Friday morning?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

WWF's latest campaign: A bag that folds into a paper animal origami.
(as profiled in Lovely Package)

A boulevard of deck chairs

Transforming public space

Sections of Times Square were closed to traffic last weekend. This proposal initially met resistance. NY Times reported that "critics of the plan had worried that it would sap the square of its chaotic energy". Nicolai Ouroussoff commented that the plaza needs to reflect the character of the city and questioned the grittiness of the deck chairs and potted plants. Using the example of Copenhagen, cities need plenty of time to adjust to public realm and traffic calming schemes. Time for lots of 'tinkering' so we can truly have a shared space.

Postcard to the Solomons

We need more updates of balmy LA weather and palm trees.
Hope you are having a lovely-lovely time.
p.s It's raining here and there are still no palm trees.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Life Admin

After a sunshine and picnic heath weekend, the Bank holiday led to the grand finale of sorting out papers + boxes. I filed. I was ruthless with the recycling of Southbank Centre programmes from 2007.

And now I have crisp yellow post-it notes telling me what I still need to do.

I should have been more 'throw-away happy' with the post-it notes.

Friday, 22 May 2009


Caoimhe Kilfeather, Line Ellegaard, Laura Gannon and Giles Eldridge
An exhibition curated by Charles Danby
30 May – 27 June 09 | Preview 29th May 6-9pm
(Open Wednesday – Saturday 10-6pm)
66 Evelyn Street, London SE8 5DD

"The architecture at the center of Laura Gannon’s film is the building E1027. Built in 1929 by the Irish designer Eileen Gray, it was designed as a monument to her then lover, the architect and writer Jean Badovici. From footage filmed in and around the now-dilapidated modernist villa, Gannon captures not only its fractured architecture but also its interwoven threads of mythology and past human presence".

(I worked with Artist/Curator Charlie last year on the Exhibition Road festival . He created a reflective installation of mirrors that I liked a lot. As did many of the festival-goers that day).


In the Bank holiday spirit, I might head over to Kew to walk amongst the treetops.

There is something a bit Center parks about the treetops walkway and in the words of Audrey Lang 'Zero Risk'. But I'd still like to go.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Typographic font generator

"BRIEF / Create a typographic font generator / Produce a visual representation for the word Move".

Answer: A rubiks cube set of stamps that enables the user to design their own font.


(thanks for sending ER)

RIBA London Awards

RIBA London Awards were held at last year's 'Building of the Year' Westminster Academy.

An architect from Allford Hall Monaghan gave a tour of the school that took five years of planning and is adjacent to an elevated motorway, the Westway.

Key features include the lunch room or should I say 'Sky dining' on Floor 3, corridors that are over 2 metres wide and a ceiling of lemon and lime 'MFI' door slats that control the rooftop glare (image 1).

I want to go back to school.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

EVENT: Breakfast Club

"School for Life's Breakfast Club led by philosophers Robert Rowland Smith and Mark Vernon, offers a variety of ideas for tackling life’s everyday challenges. You’ll reflect on how to make the most of thoughts and dreams that often remain undigested from the night before. And you’ll have the opportunity to take a long view of your personal priorities for the days and weeks ahead.

For early-risers, the first sitting runs from 7.30-8.30am. For those who like to take a more laid-back approach, a second sitting runs from 9-10am.

Price £20.00 includes pastries, bread and jam, muesli, yogurt, fruit juices, tea and coffee".

While undeniably steep for brekkie (how do we even know that the orange juice will not be from concentrate), you will most certainly leave School for Life's Bloomsbury shop full(of ideas).

Monday, 18 May 2009

Took a break from the built environment. Had a peak at the Sierra Nevada.

(back from holiday)

What is he like?

"He bakes bread. Loaves of bread".

There are many ways to describe someone. I heard this over tea this morning after I asked the simple question.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Martin Amis at Hay Alhambra

3 insights from the man who wrote The Rachel Papers and London Fields.

1. During a revolution some things go, some things stay and you have to make sure you weave your way through the new reality.
2. Greed, curiosity and boredom are the usual reasons people get out of bed every morning.
3. James Joyce was anti-social. He wrote a 700 page crossword. A writer needs to like the reader.

Mr Amis read the prologue from his soon to be published novel. The narrative pivots around growing old. Growling at the audience, he shared his anguish at how unprepared he was for ageing; "Literature, you never told me".

Saturday, 9 May 2009

unopened envelopes

Secret message envelopes

Hay Literary Festival at the Alambras, Granada

An epic talks space.

Hay began over 20 years ago in the Welsh town of first edition and second hand bookshops. Bill Clinton's ´Woodstock of the mind´. There are now off-shoots in Spain and Colombia.

How did the festival begin? Apparently, the Hay founder won a few pennies at a casino and decided to start a book festival with his pot of gold. This could well be a storyteller's rumour. But a rumour that I am keen to share.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Mr Baan

The Forest Office: where ideas come from.

Architectural photographer Iwan Baan has the establishment's approval after numerous commissions from OMA/Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron. His work spans continents. Buildings are not simply 'showcased'. His portfolio reveals a dynamic approach as each image carefully conveys architectural detailing and technical form, as well as the public pathways and flow in the given space.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

London windows

Somebody in their work hour thought they would cut and paste 'Smile You're Not at Work' in Soho. I like how each sign is mounted and framed on black paper. The window itself also serves as a frame.

Lighting backdrop on Rivington Street.

(Apologies for the quality of the images. Getting used to the new Lumix/ Leica lens. Holiday reading to include the camera manual).

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Travel preparations

Locate the passport from the 'box of important things' under the desk.

Click on the weather report for your location. It will help you decide if the brown suede jacket, anorak or tankini are appropriate garments.

(courtesy of Forty-sixth at grace)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Butterfly interview nerves

The hour is always so one-sided. So me, me, me.
I always want to ask the questions back to the interviewer to follow the etiquette of conversation.

Plus the panel won't be asking me where I think I will be in five years.
They will ask where architecture will be in five years.

Something to ponder on.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Camden Arts

Tony Fretton designed Camden Arts Centre

My local gallery cafe has wi-fi. And coffee.

Both useful for job application Sunday.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Art of the BBQ

This doesn't exactly fall into my criteria of London and architecture and design. However, BBQ season has arrived and I am sending smoke signals from London's Flat 3.

Halloumi cheese, green pepper and mushroom skewers. So far, so vegetarian. Yet why does the cheese turn into a very angry piece of blackened coal. There are obviously bbq techniques involving letting the flame calm, buying the right wood chips, or turning around 3 times and clapping your hands.

The BBQ appeal is a little lost on me but at the start of the season I should learn the craft. Otherwise there are many months of pringles ahead..

Even the city girl has noted that it's Spring. Must learn flower names while taking photos of the wisteria down the road and daisy chains on the heath.

Photo by Max Wanger

A little night music

Bourgeois & Maurice
Neo-cabaret stars performed this fine evening at Soho Theatre.

Sequined catsuits, batting lashes and a grand piano to sprawl across.

B & M's collection of wry, limeade harmonies are self-help songs with useful everyday instructions e.g 'Don't go to art school'. Time Out haven't been shy with praise calling the duo "21st century cabaret stars like no other".

I feel bad as tonight was the last show in their second sold out run. And I like to give you some notice. But they will grace us with their gracious melodies again.

I must tip a debonair hat to them to say that I'm a little addicted.

Friday, 1 May 2009

The name game

Sometimes, it's all about apt house names

AOC's Folly for a Filmmaker

And asking someone nicely to please bring in more wood for the stove.


Examine collaborations at The Architectural Association.
I wonder if selective memory will be mentioned. This a regular occurrence in arts project management. You vow never to work with organisation xyz having lived through a 6 month tug-of-budget-war and then 3 weeks later you are planning your next joint-adventure together.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
26th May at 6:30pm

AA School Director Brett Steele hosts a conversation between pairs of collaborators who discuss their joint projects as well as the joys and pitfalls of working together.
Patrick Dickinson (film director) + Andrew Graham Dixon (art critic)
Richard Wentworth (artist) + Kit Grover (designer)
Gavin Turk (artist) + Deborah Curtis (artist)

Failed Collaborations
27 May at 6:30pm

How to turn a brilliant idea into a disaster.
Mark Cousins (Director of MA Histories & Theories, AA)
Hans Ulrich Obrist (Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes,
Serpentine Gallery)
Moderated by Catharine Patha

Both events at AA (Architectural Association) 36 Bedford Square, WC1B 3ES,
n.b I'm a fan of the AA bar. Its low-key, pared down in a beautiful Georgian building.(Fully aware of the pun)