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Monday, 19 September 2011

Architecture Open Weekend

Once a year, there is an Architectural Open House in London, when you can check out buildings which are usually out of bounds.  I've been to the Freemason's Lodge in Covent Garden (wow), the Ishmaili Institute in South Ken (amazing) in previous years, but this year, I was happy to see that the Commonwealth Institute on High Street Ken was open, after being closed up for 10 years.  It will be re-developed by John Pawson internally for the Design Museum's new home, in 2014.  Externally, Rem Koolhaas at the OMA team are going to be the lead architects for the museum and adjacent buildings.. should be interesting...

Anyhow, the building was fantastic, and it was a great opportunity to see the site before it's transformation. The roof is a "hyperbolic something-or-other" of cast concrete and just amazing to look at internally.   The day-light was let in through windows along the edge of the roof, and it had an amazing quality of light.  

Pop-up Model of the building

After that, we went onto the recently refurbished Leighton House Museum, the home of the eminent British artist, Lord Leighton, who was the head of the Royal Academy of Arts and was a member of the Pre-Raphelite movement.  He loved Arabic ceramics (as do I), so I really wanted to see the Arab Hall he had installed in his home, tiles imported from Damascus.  The entire house was amazing.  Sadly, exhibition police yet again, so no pics.  I found these on the internet. 

It's usually £5 to get in, I'd say it's worth it. Also,  you can see his studio (exterior photo shows the massive window for the natural light), where he spent most of his time, along with loads of amazing drawings and paintings. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Stratford City Westfield - Open for Business

The long anticipated store design by the team at Dalziel and Pow was unveiled to the public today.  We were all really pleased with the result!  And the masses seemed to like it too.  Congratulations to Primark and all of those involved.  Only one more week left at D&P for me, so I was really glad to have been there for this opening, as I was invovled in the project from concept to completion.  

Lots of new retail design through the centre.  I've chosen just a few to show.  AllSaints, Nike, M&S, and Forever 21, Primark's direct competitor.  Chants could be heard at the opening "Forever, Forever, Forever...."  oh dear.  Couldn't really get around the rest.  It was kind of a health and safety concern, to be honest.  We actually felt the floors flexing.  I'll have to go back some other time and check out the rest.

All Saints
Forever 21

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Made a Mano

My client and I went to Tom Dixon's Portobello Dock this morning, to check out Made a Mano, a fantastic Danish/Italian Tile company (if you can call it that! I call it art!).  

We were really blown away by the colours and textures of the lava stone tiles (sourced from Mount Etna, don't you know!) and ceramic tiles.  Similar to PyroLave, but A LOT more chic.  We were even lucky enough to meet the owner of the company, who was over from Copenhagen, Nanaki, who explained the different glazes to us.  

The coloured enamel pieces are stunning, as are the natural lava stone with pattern.  We popped upstairs to the Dock Kitchen (smelled so good, wish we could have stayed for lunch) to see the stone in use as tiles and tabletops. 

And a random Julian Opie on the terrace.. just to round things off!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Westfield Stratford City - Biggest Building Site in Europe

Popped onto site yesterday for a design meeting prior to the Stratford City shopping centre opening up on the 13th of September.  I'm happy to say our store is looking fantastic, really looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks on opening day.

Just thought I'd share some site photos of the mall. Scary to think that there are only 12 days left for finishing off the centre. I'm sure it'll come together at the last minute!