24 hours in Milan

Mar 27 - 2019

Broken Nature Design Takes on Human Survival

Alice Rawsthorn wrote about Paola Antonelli and this exhibition in Wallpaper and in her series of Instagram posts on women in design, which led me to visit this vast, staggeringly beautiful, revealing and even hopeful exhibition.

Humans and the natural world: what have we done, what are we doing, and is there such a things as restorative design? Too much to see and take in in one visit, I'm working through the catalogue.

One example, a housing project by Chilean architects Elemental where limited resources are used to design and build half a good house, for completion as and when by the resident. Incremental design, shifting prejudices and addressing social inequality.

XXII International Exhibition of La Triennale di MilanoMarch–September 2019 

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Elemental Chile Broken Nature Broken Nature poster

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

Photographers Gallery

Apr 14 - 2013

Laura Letinksy at the Photographers’ Gallery recently. Beautifully disconcerting images, so clearly paintings, at first sight, they need the supporting film to convince the viewer they really are photographs.

Architects O’Donnell+Tuomey
Coffee Lina Stores


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Twentytwelve 04

Aug 20 - 2012

Last Olympic post, two more images from the park which was due to close for 18 months after the games, however there now seems to be a plan to keep it accessible for a while at least.

Olympic Park electricity sub-station by Nord, Scottish architects, working with industrial and material heritage to produce this useful building in knitted black brick; quietly spectacular, the UK’s largest ever wildflower meadows at the park by Professors Nigel Dunnett and James Hitchmough at the University of Sheffield who are on a mission to show us the relevance of another, natural, heritage and its environmnetal importance.

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Nord flowers 1

Twentytwelve 01

Aug 03 - 2012

David Cameron and Boris Johnson say we are open for business, architects are asking how this squares with the blanket ban on publicity for architects, engineers and designers who are inextricably a part of London 2012 and its success. Everyone understands that McDonalds don’t want Burger King muscling in on the act, but what purpose does this bit of IOC overlordship serve?

The Aquatic Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, photograhed by Luke Hayes; chair of New London Architecture Peter Murray wears the t-shirt.


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acquatic murray

Red shed

Feb 14 - 2012

Founded in 1960 on the initiative of Nikita Khrushchev, Resort Pirogovo is something of a slow-burn as far as development goes with these skinny-legged timber cabins completed only in the last ten years by Totan Kuzembaev. Environmental friendliness, cleanness and creativity are the guiding principles behind the buildings, which sit lightly in the landscape and give observation of the surroundings priority over architecture.

“A man always wants to climb higher; after he has climbed, he wants to sit there; and when he has sat down, he would like to have a roof over his head”.

Red Guest Houses Totan Kuzembaev

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red shed 1 red shed 2