UK Election 2017

May 07 - 2017

One real piece of news this week amid the strangeness that is contemporary politics, Cornelia Parker has been appointed official election artist – a previously unknown post. An excellent idea and an inspired choice by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, she will no doubt bring something subtly extraordinary to the debate as well as publicising the role. Fascinating to see what she does, how much airplay it gets and what the reaction is.

Meteorite Lands in the Middle of Nowhere, 2001Hitting: Bethlehem (North Carolina)

"One of the biggest threats to the future of the planet is obliteration by a giant meteor. The meteorite has become the embodiment of fear of the unknown, although the earth is littered with them" - Cornelia Parker

Good piece on the artist and the role here.
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Cornelia Parker Hitting Bethlehem North Carolina

4th Plinth

Mar 14 - 2017

So many good things here, wasted on the fridge door.

The Fourth Plinth Schools Awards

London on a Plinth by Ruby & Donald Trump and Hand by Ryan

London on a Plint Ruby Donal Trump and Hand Ryan

News to me

Feb 15 - 2017

2 brands I didn't know

Blond, a lighting manufacturer with a typically impressive Scandinavian design heritage showing both re-editioned light fittings by Erik Gunnar Asplund and new products. They have a distinct line running through the entire portfolio of almost excessively simple design, strong shapes, quality materials and families of different sizes making the fittings useful and adaptable to all scales and type of building. You would think everyone would do this but no. Looking forward to seeing more of this brand in the UK and to using the lights.

Finnish manufacturer Adea, on the other hand, we sadly won’t be seeing or using because of UK upholstery regulations; I was going to say that Europe has one set of rules and we have another but turns out there is virtually no standardisation and all countries have their own testing requirements. So much for blanket imposition of overbearing EU standards, in this case ours are more onerous so Adea can’t sell here. What a shame, I loved this company and as with Blond it’s hard to know quite why - not staggeringly different but very right - proportions, materials, combinations.


Blond Bend Mini 300 / Bornstein Lyckefors & GA7 / Erik Gunnar Asplund

Adea Baron sofa, Bon sofa & Plateau table / Mats Broberg and Johan Ridderstråle


Adea Bon sofa Plateau table Adea Baron sofa Bend Mini GA7

Stockholm Furniture Fair 2017

Feb 14 - 2017

Flying visit to Stockholm last week with Inform, see below, thank you, to visit the fair and see a bit of the city: clear, bright and very cold, pink skyline which was also the colour of the show - various shades from germolene to bubble gum. Recommended by several people as one of the best shows, I totally agree: great exhibition, lots too see but by no means overwhelming, well-curated and laid out, legible, a range of manufacturers from big brands to start-ups including the Greenhouse showing independent designers and design school work. I came away feeling appropriately informed, not exhausted which is my response to the sprawling multi-site mega shows.

As to the city it’s a model of civilised urban living with its distinct neighbourhoods and easy connections – partly the result of an integrated transport system but mostly due to amazingly helpful English-speakers everywhere. I know London is fabulous in so many ways but even getting to the airport en-route to Arlanda was a transport trial: London Bridge, what a mess; you trek miles through re-routed walkways with zero information and certainly no one to ask, nightmare for anyone and especially just-landed visitors, what must they think? Tempting to ask why we can’t do better but just checked the population of both cites and London is roughly times ten, which may have something to do with it.


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Stockholm skyline

Inform family

Feb 07 - 2017

Inform love all things Scandinavian, represent both established and new brands and consequently have a beautiful shop packed with good things. Worth a visit. These are a few of my favourite things:

Lightyears Nightowl, Swedese Laminett, Bla Station Honken & Lintex Air Cork


Inform Family

Print project

Mar 21 - 2016

Preview of art for Fulham Road, on site now: full strip-out and renovation of fabric and services for 23 apartments, each one re-planned for maximum daylight and easy flow with new kitchens, bathroom, built-in storage and a careful mix of furniture and finish. Re-opening early summer.

Vintage Tate exhibition posters, silk screens by Muir McNeilAnna Marrow and Sophie Arnold.

More info here.

Fulham Road art

Alternative architects

Mar 21 - 2016

Many architects and designers I know do something else and this seem to fall into two categories: therapy or some kind of making, which perhaps amounts to the same thing, also one poet and that's another story. Quite benign compared with the unbelievable number of our politicians who have spare time for crime fiction or exhaustive biographies, naming no names.

Pencil & clay portraits by Liz Parr

Lynne Rossington Bakerloo Line brown glazed ceramics 

Liz Parr pencil portrait Lynne Rossington ceramics

RCA Battersea, Signs

Jan 28 - 2016

Building names and interior signs at the new site, designed by Cartlidge Levene, avoid the bland corporate with a flexible approach to how and where different levels of information are accommodated: the multilayered system comprises permanent painted lettering, quiet white on concrete, a brighter slotted rail system that holds both permanent screen-printed aluminium tabs and easily-updated A4 paper sheets, and a kind of pegboard for informal notes. Looks good now and suits the building, should wear well and be adaptable as the school and its users change.

Fonts: Calvert & new Calvert Brody, more in Dezeen.

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RCA Signs lettering RCA Sign system RCA Signs detail RCA Signs peg board

Michèle Oberdieck RCA Work in Progress

Jan 25 - 2016

Had an interesting couple of hours at the Haworth Tompkins RCA Dyson Building in Battersea where visitors had (very trusting) free rein to wander the studios and get a bird's eye view of the workshops from glazed galleries – a glimpse into a particular working world. 

Among the exhibitors Michèle Oberdieck showed her glass objects resting on their sides, open-mouthed, cut polished edges, smooth, stretched and pinched-in forms and stand-out use of dazzling yellow, brown and pink: a wake-up combination. Looking forward to the end of year show.

Michèle Oberdieck News

Royal College School of Material Ceramic & Glass



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Michlee Oberdieck Tall Yellow Michele Oberdieck Brown Yellow

New Year New Gallery

Jan 01 - 2016

Not so very new, Damien Hirst’s enterprise opened in October and is 5 minutes from home so can’t think why I haven’t been before, definitely an interesting neighbour; the gallery is on one of those streets you find increasingly in London that seem to appear out of nowhere despite being 200 years old, tucked in between the river and Lambeth Walk and part of a very rapid development of the entire stretch between Nine Elms and Elephant. The building consists of renovated scene-painting studios and a brick extension by Caruso St John with their particular pared-back but highly refined architecture  – somewhat at odds with the Hirst public persona? still, good use of a presumably generous budget and the proceeds of many skulls and butterflies.

The inaugural show is a collection of huge John Hoyland (1934-2011) canvasses that occupy two gallery floors; no notes or titles, just saturated and overlapping blocks of colour which are perfectly suited to the space and a make a substantial show. I read a scathing review on the inadequacies of the work, compared very poorly with the American abstract expressionists, but I loved it and will go back - it’s on for a few months, the gallery is free, and it’s virtually empty which means visiting is a pleasure and a rare opportunity to stand back and see.

Good article here by Oliver Wainwright on DH, the building and the area.

Rowan Moore in The Guardian as usual gets to the point in his review of the architects: A short distance from Hirst’s gallery is the junkheap of towers and desolate open spaces going up in Vauxhall. How much better it would be if it had some of the intelligence of a practice like this.

Site Newport Street Gallery / Architects Caruso St John / Artist John Hoyland

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John Hoyland NSG 2. John Hoyland NSG 1 John Hoyland NSG 3