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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Empty Chair - Antony Gormley

Doing last minute errands before flying to Bermuda tomorrow to visit family and friends, I stopped by the British Library, to see the new Antony Gormley sculpture (of Angel of the North fame) which was unveiled on Monday.

The sculpture, Witness, cast in Iron, represents the empty chair of imprisoned writers worldwide.  It was commissioned by English PEN to mark their 90th anniversary.   

Gilian Slovo, English PEN's President "It will stand as tribute to, and reminder of, those writers who, because of censorship and tyranny, are not free to go to any library either in their countries or in ours", according to the Libraries intranet.  Heavy stuff.  A good reminder, although the sculpture looks a bit abandoned in the courtyard, and I don't think anyone really looked at it.  I went inside, to ask for some info... one of the staff hadn't even seen it!  

It sits in the main courtyard, along with some other of Gormley's sculptures, Planets, which were installed in 2002.  

The British Library is one of those Brutalist (I think!) buildings you either love or hate.  It's kind of a weird one.  I can see it is trying to echo St. Pancras Hotel adjacent.  It's funny how something so relevant at the time, is so dated 50 or so years later.  Ah well.  That's design for you.  Internally the main entrance space is pretty good.  No pics though!  Library police.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Boxpark Shoreditch

London's (or even the world's) first pop-up mall opened in Shoreditch this weekend.  DJ's, rap artists, burlesque performances and free candy floss, along with 20% off at many of the shops for the opening week.  Great idea, using shipping containers as temporary stores.  The mall is going to be open for 5 years, which is pretty "pop-up" as malls go.  

Lots of scrummy food places, Amnesty International has a shop, as well as Marimekko to name a few.  My favourite was the Urbanears shop, really pared back, faceted walls with mirrors and a translucent panel at the back with projected changing light, which hid the back-of-house.

A really fun atmosphere, I am sure it will be a success.  There are rumours of a second site in London too... 

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Novembre in November

Last night I went to the V&A for a talk by the charismatic Italian Architect and Designer, Fabio Novembre.  Such a passionate designer, he talked about Italian design today (death by Citterio) where he finds inspiration (films and women) his design technique (no drawing, only gesticulation) and how he started his career (just say YES!).  I think Dezeen will be publishing a transcript of the talk soon.  Really inspiring hearing designers talk so passionately about what the do.  After some Peroni's and nibbles, went for a scrummy tagine at the new Comptoir Libanais at South Ken.  Perfect Tuesday design day!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Breakfast at Fabergé?

I met the inspiring George Woolaghan this morning for a coffee and pain au raisin at The Mount Street Deli in Mayfair.  After we had our fill of coffee we popped over to the newly opened Faberge store on Grafton Street (Bond Street), via Tadao Ando's new fountain (autumn leaves included).

The store is the first one in London since 1915, and we even had the pleasure of meeting Carl Faberge's Great Granddaughter, Sarah  Fabergé.  The interior is quite restrained, letting the jewellery speak for itself, but there are nods to their Opulent Heritage in the furniture and kitsch doll house inspired displays.

The eggs retail upwards of £4000..... I think I'll have to wait a while before I get my hands on one!

Pretty much the friendliest high end retailer I've ever been in, I'd highly recommend a visit, even if your christmas budget can't stretch.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Christmas at St. Pancras

Strolling home from a gig last night, I was walking through St. Pancras, and came across this monster Christmas Tree being constructed!

Perhaps low carbon footprint... you can recycle the pieces once it's taken down!

Lighting Envy

Not that I'm trying to promote other interior designers from my blog... but Autoban always do projects I love, and they are based in my favourite European (or Middle Eastern?) City, Istanbul.

I really admire the way they have designed these lamps using completely different forms and materials than what is typically expected.  It could be that in this new "technology" age, designers need to think outside the box in terms of producing products and interiors.  What we expect is maybe not really valid moving forward.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunny Sunday

A lovely day in London!  I had a friend visiting from Berlin, so it was the perfect opportunity to show them around Camden and Primrose Hill (my spiritual home).  The leaves are turning, proper winter is around the corner....