21/05

The Pearson Room

The Space / Inspiration

The Pearson Room is a place for people to discuss and unwind, as well as eat and drink. The casual yet sophisticated all day menu, combines with a stylish and cosy design to create an environment that is suited to individual needs, and offers a new experience every visit. Consisting of semi-private zones, a grand centralized bar and surrounding seating, lounge and dining spaces as well as large feature tables ideal for casual communal dining and private functions, the space is evocative of a members club but is available for anyone to enjoy. Located in the heart of Canary Wharf The Pearson Room creates an atmosphere that is vibrant and bustling yet still personal and welcoming.

Materials

The Pearson Room’s interior features dark timber flooring, raw steel tables, leather furniture and exposed industrial light fittings. The pewter bar is surrounded by 18 high stools, with further seating for 70 situated in the main dining space which is surrounded by the existing floor-to-ceiling glazed elevation overlooking Canada Square.

17/11

Meatliquor Restaurant by Shed

The Meat Wagon; a legendary food offer known by keen foodies and avid trend forecasters alike. The infamous burger van has globetrotted it’s way around any festival worth mentioning, spearheaded it’s own events and become synonymous with great food, delicious drinks and relentless parties. Now the legend continues, but instead of four wheels, it will be presented in a more permanent fixture.

When interior architects Shed first collaborated with the Meatailer enterprise, a design formula was created that would mean no two establishments would ever be the same; originality and nonconformity are at the heart of the Meat Wagon’s philosophy so all environments had to embody this ethos while taking on their own character.

The concept: to take an idea borne of location and environment and mince that up with the Meat Wagon’s utilitarian ‘no nonsense’ approach – all materials in their raw form, all elements explicit in their function.

Lurking beneath a car park just behind Oxford Street resided the perfect site for Meat Liquor – the Meatailer’s next venture. Previously the site of an Italian restaurant, the site was appropriately kitted out with an impressive Rococo style dome and a mass of ornate columns and architraves.  So with this influence the idea came: a modern day mural to make Michelangelo weep, a ’tattoo’ that would envelop and intertwine with the obscurity of the building.  A scene that would tell some of the Meat Wagon’s story so far and mutate the classical architecture into something far more appropriate to the Meat philosophy.

Shed commissioned the prolific design collective ‘I Love Dust’ to administer the monumental illustration.  in just a week, a team of illustrators and graphic artists camped out on site to adorn as much visible surface as possible, with colourful tales from the Meat Wagon’s past, culminating in an extreme and almost hallucinogenic visual experience.

Red ‘liquor’ signs have been suspended in the windows to splay dull light over the dyed oxblood red, leather banquettes.  Industrial cage lamps are hooked and gathered around galvanised steel hooks and suspended over blackened steel framed tables.  Red cord is looped from the centre of the dome to reach salvaged industrial work lamps, positioned to highlight poignant images trapped within the trailing mural.

Industrial rubber flooring and an 8-metre long stainless steel bar with corrugated sheet façade resonate the sterility of a factory environment. Occupying the floor is a small army of vintage industrial seating, all powder coated in just two utilitarian colours. A length of ‘butchers’ curtains contains the lower level ‘Pit’; the Meat Liquor’s VIP area where guests can enjoy the thoughts of Hunter S Thompson that adorn the walls.

A project like this comes up once in a lifetime.  To have a chance to push boundaries of what may be considered indecent, inappropriate and down right wrong, and to have this concept whole heartedly backed by the client is one in a million.  The history of the Meat Wagon has been the driving force behind every aspect of this project but what remains now is an entirely new beast.

Shed

19/10

GRAB Thai Street Kitchen by Mansikkamäki+JOY

GRAB Thai Street Kitchen intends to introduce London to the simplicity of Thailand’s urban street food culture. This new ‘fast food’ restaurant sits a short walk away from Old Street and serves up good, affordable, everyday meals freshly prepared and dispensed from behind a counter.

The design was done collaboratively by Mansikkamäki+JOY and Lifeforms Design. In keeping with the idea of street food the restaurant has a ‘rough around the edges’ industrial feel, using materials associated with construction for the interior fixtures and fittings. Pallets and corrugated metal sheets line the walls and large globe light bulbs dangle haphazardly from a web of red and blue cables, creating an interior that, although minimal, hints at the lively scenes of Bangkok. Red plastic stools, similar to those used in urban street vending in Thailand, surround communal tables made from construction left overs.

(Images via Dezeen)

18/10

Frieze Art Fair Pavilions by Carmondy Groark

Each Autumn the Frieze Art Fair exhibits works from 1000 living artists represented by contemporary art galleries around the world. The fair’s program also includes talks, film projects and architectural installations. This year the fair was bigger than ever.

The fair was hosted in a 2000 sqm purpose built temporary pavilion in Regents Park by London architects Carmondy Groark. The intervention consists of a series of interlinked, translucent pavilions housing hospitality spaces for both VIPs and the general public, along with large exhibition tents that take the form of timber lined spaces surrounding existing trees in the park.

The intervention perfectly balances architectural expression that is sensitive to its context with the requirements of a large scale art exhibition.

(Images via Dezeen)

14/10

Topman General Store

Topman General Store is the high street fashion powerhouse’s first standalone concept store, located in Shoreditch. Unlike the Topshop we’re used to, the interior is pared back and minimal, giving carefully curated collections from their ‘Design’ and ‘LTD’ ranges the opportunity to stand out. The store is curated by the brand’s design director Gordon Richardson and the creative director of b-store, Matthew Murphy.

The interior has an early 1900s sideshow Americana look and features seasonal collaborations, temporary installations in display cabinets, limited edition art prints and books. Exposed brick walls and grey painted walls  provide the perfect backdrop for the garments and artifacts on display. This rough, worn in, east end cool interior might just trick you into thinking that you have walked into an independent retailer.

(Images via weheart)

10/10

The Past Was a Mirage I Had Left Far Behind, Josiah McElheny at the Whitechapel Gallery

New York based sculptor and writer Josiah McElheny created a large-scale installation for the Whitechapel Gallery. Seven large, mirrored sculptures are dotted around the space. Abstract films are projected onto the screens and mirrors of these minimal sculptures to great  visual and spatial effect.

The exhibition forms part of The Bloomberg Commission that invites international artists to create annual site-specific artwork inspired by the rich history of gallery 2, the former reading room of the Whitechapel Library,  a creative haven for early modernist thinkers like Isaac Rosenberg and Mark Gertler.

McElheny’s installation explores how abstraction is used to depict an image of visual enlightenment.  The reflections and refractions created by the installation saturates the gallery in images and light, distorted and multiplied. The installation will be tranformed constantly by alternating the visuals projected onto the sculptures.

(Images via Whitechapel Gallery)

06/10

40-48 Fashion Street, London

A former market hall in Fashion Street has been converted into university offices by London based architects Buckley Gray Yeoman. The Grade II listed Moorish building that was used by traders at the start of the twentieth century required extensive work as a major fire demolished the entire rear section of the building. Fortunately much of the original facade remained intact and was preserved.

The architects placed the new structure independently from what remained of the original building in order to emphasize the individual structural identity of each. A layer of Corten steel is wrapped around the concrete structure of the new building to add a layer of depth and in response to the rich urban industrial character of the area.

The interior also has a strong industrial character: in-situ concrete is left exposed and complemented by timber panelling and glass balustrades. A large atrium allows natural light to filter down throughout the building.

(Images via Dezeen)

05/10

Café Liberty, London

SHH architects have been asked to redesign the second floor restaurant of Liberty, the famous London department store originally built using the timber from two warships in 1924. The aim was to integrate the café with the store and introduce an Arts & Crafts movement spirit to the restaurant of the store that has a well known dedication to design.

The new interior is refined, hinting at the history of the store but in a fresh, contemporary way. Bent wood chairs and glass light fixtures with a handmade feel set the scene for this contemporary-classic interior. Delicately patterned wallpapers from Chiswick artist Marthe Armitage, who started designing and producing her beautiful wallpapers just after WW II, adorn the walls; while a flying duck sculpture in pink neon, custom designed by lead designer Helen Hughes, add a surprising twist to the otherwise demure interior.

(Images via weheart)

04/10

The Disappearing Dining Club, London

The Disappearing Dining Club is a step away from the conventional restaurant experience. It occupies a permanent ‘Dining Room’, a one table space that can only host ten people at a time, in Featherstone Street near Old Street, but also throws dinner and drinks parties in empty warehouses, hidden rooftops and basements, secret galleries and gardens, and just about any unusual space you can think of.

The interior of the Dining Room, which opens only for bookings, is warm and homely. Guests are encouraged to forget about time, as all of the clocks on the walls have stopped long ago. The shelf that runs all around the room just below ceiling level is stacked with well-thumbed novels and 20th century bric-a-brac. The large wooden table is set with mismatched cutlery and old-fashioned glassware and creates the feeling of sitting down to a big family meal. The dimly lit interior, along with its quirky decor and limited amount of place settings creates a nostalgic dining experience that you are unlikely to have anywhere else.

(Images via The Disappearing Dining Club)

29/09

Outsider Tart, London

When Americans David Lesniak and David Muniz moved to London, they felt that the indulgent cakes and tarts that they were used to were hard to come by, and promptly decided to rectify the situation themselves. The Outsider Tart serves up about any sugary treat you can think of, from brownies to biscuits, and already has a cult following.

The dark interior is as quirky as the cakes they bake, with the large arrow shaped light fixtures above the counter taking center stage. The ceiling also features prominently and looks like it has been lined with cake tins of various sizes. Rough wooden shelves line the walls and add a rustic touch to this contemporary space.

(Images via weheart)

19/08

Dishoom, London

Dishoom is London’s very first Bombay Café. It draws inspiration from the cafés opened by Persians in what was then Mumbai, these types of establishments cemented themselves in the lives of many a Bombayite and Dishoom is sure to do just that in London.

The elegant restaurant is full of old world charm, with bentwood chairs, marble topped café tables and memorabilia loosely arranged on the walls.

Wood is used throughout the interior, from the floors and furniture to the wall panelling, and contrasted with the light ceiling and antiqued mirrors it creates a warm, but contemporary feel.

Slow turning ceiling fans and procarious lighting lends extra appeal to what is already a very attractive interior.

(Images via weheart)

21/07

The Truvia Voyage of Discovery

The rooftop of Selfridges, Oxford street has been transformed beyond recognition by jelly mongers, Bompas and Parr. The Truvia Voyage of Discovery is a celebration of the arrival of Truvia sweetener in Britain that runs from the 21st to the 24th of July, tickets have sadly sold out already.

Bompas and Parr have lived up to their reputation of delivering the strange and exciting, creating a rooftop landscape complete with rowing lake and waterfall. Rounded off by rows of the Stevia plant from which the natural, calorie-free sweetener is derived.

Guests at the event can sip on cocktails by the Experimental Cocktail Club or teas and coffees by Caravan and the Rare Tea Company while drinking in their unusual surroundings and an amazing view over the heart of London shopping.

(Images via Notcot)

04/02

New Restaurant at Royal Academy by Design Research Studio

The interior design arm of Tom Dixon, Design Research Studio, have created the interior for the new Restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. This is the latest project for renowned restaurateur Oliver Peyton of Peyton and Byrne. The 150 cover restaurant opened to the public 19th January 2011. The Design The 250 m2 refurbishment references the long and illustrious history of the Royal Academy of Arts with materials chosen to complement the existing fabric of the Regency building including marble, brass and velvet.

The dining area is divided into different zones, with each area inspired by the work of a different Royal Academy Great such as Turner and Sir John Soane. To extend the gallery experience for diners, Design Research Studio has designed a dramatic free- standing unit in the centre of the space. Consisting of a number of glass cubes, the structure will house an extraordinary selection of sculptures and busts dating back to 1897. The pieces belong to the Royal Academy of Arts permanent collection but have long been stored out of public view.

The new bar is set to be a key focal point in the restaurant made from Mount Etna lava stone and hand-made glazed brick. Designed as a robust, sculptural object, its grandeur is enhanced by a dramatic cast glass chandelier suspended above. Other interior highlights include Etch, the digitally etched brass pendant light and Scoop, the injection-moulded foam seating both designed by Tom Dixon shown for the first time in this location.

18/11

Objective by Tomoko Azumi at Rocket Gallery

The “Objective” exhibition shows a selection of London based Japanese designer Tomoko Azumi’s furniture, spanning from 1995 to 2010. Included are her table-chest, AT-AT desk, hexad tables, arc chair, ro-ro rocking chair, spin tables and shingle chests.

Throughout her career, she has made a point of working with medium-scale furniture manufacturers who share her same vision for function and quality. on show are models, drawings and watercolor sketches which relate to these collaborations.

The gallery exhibition, presented by Rocket/Jonathan Stephenson is on til November 20. so hurry in order to see it!

Via designboom

22/10

Mother Advertising Agency, Shoreditch

Mother, a top British advertising agency based in London, have collaborated and carried out their work around a central table since 1996. Now a much larger company, the working concept has grown to fit the company’s success. Central to Chris Wilkinson Architects’ design of their new office in a 42,000ft2 Shoreditch warehouse, is a staggering 250 feet long concrete table, for up to 200 people to pull up their wheely chairs to.

The inspiration for the concrete table was the iconic 1920’s Giacomo Matte-Trucco roof top race track for Fiat Lingotto in Turin. A 4.2m wide staircase leads up to and becomes the Agency’s feature worktable which cuts dynamically through the building to connect the floors.

50 light fixtures that each span 2.1m act as acoustic baffles over the enormous table. Covered with unique patterns of Marimekko fabric, selected from archive stock in its’ factory in Helsinki, and padded with 75mm of acoustic foam, the harsh acoustics of the factory space have been overcome.

With the rest of the office interior left tastefully neutral and pared-down – the striking fabrics of the lampshades really work hard to grab clients’ attention and draw them into the central space.

26/08

Bus-Tops by Alfie Dennen and Paula Ledieu

Bus-Tops will be a public art installation on the roofs of bus shelters across London, inspiring wonder and creativity in unexpected places. LED panels will become canvases showcasing digital commissions by a range of established artists, as well as allowing Londoners to display their creativity, play games and express what is special about their London.

People will be able to submit and view artwork through a number of mediums including website and mobile applications. Using drawing toolkits, people can create images, text or animations for display on the panels. For those unable to view the roofs of bus shelters, the website will provide live updates of the artwork and the opportunity to construct personal ‘routes’ through the works.

Cutting edge technology will also allow the bus shelters to develop individual personalities, becoming ‘Viziters’ to the city in their own right in the run up to the Games. Over their period of stay, each Bus-Top shelter will develop a unique character through their relationships with each other, members of the public and participating artists.

The canvases will appear on the roofs of bus shelters across London from July 2011.

London from Artists Taking the Lead on Vimeo.

25/08

Beetle's House by Terunobu Fujimori

This raised smoky doll house is a truly intriguing new creation of Japanese Architect Terunobu Fujimori. Having recently had the pleasure of climbing up the ladder into the Beetle’s House and sitting in it for a while, I very much want to share this opportunity with you! It is currently on display as part of 1:1 – Architects Build Small Spaces exhibition at the V&A in London, so if you have the opportunity to go and see it, do it -I can highly recommend it! The small dwelling sits in the museum’s medieval & renaissance room, high atop its pillared structure.

The design is clad in rich black charred pine beams that no doubt reference the colour of the beetle. This type of wood creates a unique texture that preserves the wood and extends the building’s lifespan. The structure, like Fujimori’s other works, is intended to by-pass all architectural styles that have developed since the bronze age, returning the act of living to a more primitive state. This home is designed to host an english version of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Via designboom

Pictures by Pasi Aalto

pasi aalto

12/08

Indoor Forest at The Architecture Foundation

Norwegian architects PUSHAK have made a striking installation of moss-covered arches in the entrance and gallery space of the Architecture Foundation, London. The project, named Moss Your City, is the outcome of the Foundation’s international exchange scheme which is aimed at promoting the work of emerging architects in Norway and the UK.

PUSHAK intended the installation to be a representation of Norwegian landscape but its haphazard and angular openings read more like an eccentric English maze that’s been allowed to overgrow in strange geometries. It’s fairy-tale like quality has been taking urban dwellers by surprise since the exhibition was set up in June for the London Festival of Architecture.

The work, designed by Sissil Morseth Gromholt, Camilla Langeland, Marthe Melbye and Gyda Drage Kleiva, has emerged from the Oslo-based practice’s research into the relationship between contemporary architecture, landscape and natural resources. It was inspired by the Bankside Urban Forest (a focus area of the London Festival of Architecture 2010) and by the work of green activists across South London. The aim of the project was to show that moss to be a ‘beautiful and versatile material that can work in harmony with contemporary design’.

The exhibition has been extended until the end of this week.

Images via Dezeen

11/08

Chin Chin Laboratorists by Shai Akram and Andrew Haythornthwaite

Chin Chin Laboratorists in Camden, North London is an ice cream shop with a twist. The shop has a different workstation for each stage of the ice cream making process and additional space for experimentation. Each workstation becomes a colour coded part of this ice cream making machine, held together at appropriate heights by scaffolding. The scaffolding, white coats and laboratory paraphernalia gives the shop the feeling of a mad scientist’s lab, and a theatrical one at that. Making the ice cream becomes a performance and customers can see each part of the process from the decanting to mixing, freezing with liquid nitrogen and topping. The concept is carried through effortlessly into the branding that borrows symbols and diagrams from chemistry.

(Images via Dezeen)

22/07

Project Orange at the Hoxton Hotel

If you thought Hoxton couldn’t get any more hip; think again. Project Orange has designed a new 15sqm concept room for the Hoxton Hotel, Shoreditch around the theme of ‘East London’.  The 200 room hotel (opened by Pret a Manger boss Sinclair Beecham in 2006) has become known for its radical, cheap airline approach to room-pricing, styling itself as a ‘luxury budget urban lodge’. Any preconceptions of tacky rooms decked out in ‘EasyJet’ orange should be quickly be banished however, as the hotel has also gained a reputation for its stylish interiors and unparalleled design quality.

Project Orange’s room doesn’t disappoint, with a design that nods to the mid-nineties gentrification of Shoreditch without overlooking its gritty urban context. They say:

“Our interpretation of the context led us to propose a bedroom set within aged and distressed building fabric with a mixture of newer, more luxurious artefacts placed within it. The walls, floor and ceiling reflect something about the urban condition, whilst the loose furnishings offer comfort and provide users with what they need.”

The surfaces of the room have been left raw; plaster walls, a purposefully distressed carpet and a painted concrete ceiling are particularly good at communicating the shabbiness of East London, backed up by a built-in bed and bench structure that has been constructed from old reclaimed floorboards. Contrasting textiles and patterns remind of the vibrant nature of the artists’ community that resides in Hoxton, while more decadent pieces are a reference to the business suits and briefcases of the City nearby.  A high-spec circular glass shower, for example, creates a focus in the bedroom and brings natural light into the bathroom.

The concept room has been designed with a view to completing a further 150 bedrooms, exploring the brand of urban comfort.

(images via Project Orange)

21/07

Harvey Nichols Window Display

The temporary nature of window display installations make them excellent opportunities for experimental, conceptual design. London department stores always surprise with exceptionally good ones that can almost be called art. Harvey Nichols’ new series of displays originated from the theme ‘Everyday Things’. The series of windows feature elaborate sculptures made of objects ranging from pencils to plastic toys. A piano made of cassettes, a dress of clothespins, a car made of tiny plastic toys, men constructed from a collection of books, bikes made of tools, and more! The lively series is stunning and worth a see!

(images via Notcot)

13/07

Serpentine Pavilion 2010

For the Serpentine’s 40th Anniversary the gallery commissioned renowned French architect Jean Nouvel to design its 10th annual pavilion. Following the tradition of experimentation associated with the Serpentine Pavilions, Nouvel designed a dramatic and daring red structure that contrasts lightweight  materials with metal cantilevers. Large awnings and sloped walls in geometric forms provide the framework for glass, polycarbonate and fabric infills that create an interesting play between interior and exterior spaces. The structure is multifunctional, operating as a public space, cafe and an auditorium that will accommodate the Serpentine Gallery Park Nights. The design playfully incorporates traditional French outdoor tennis-tables.

The program has a unique model, giving the designer a maximum of six months for the entire process – from commission to completion, but with no budget restriction. Nouvel approached this project with the same conceptual rigour associated with his work so far and designed a dynamic pavilion for Londoners to enjoy for the summer.

(Images are by Philippe Ruault)

06/07

LFA Urban Gardens

In keeping with the theme of ‘the welcoming city’ the area between the South Bank and Elephant and Castle saw urban gardens in various shapes and sizes erected for the London Festival of Architecture.

Reduce, reuse, recycle was part of the brief and the environmentally minded projects were constructed using mainly recycled materials, palettes being particularly popular. The guerrilla gardening projects included a pop-up cookery school at much loved Borough Market where the students from the Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture built nomadic allotments that provide people in tight spaces with the opportunity to grow their own food in dense urban environments.

24/06

Chorus at the Wapping Project

In the dark industrial interior of the Boiler House at the Wapping Project, United Visual Artists are presenting ‘Chorus’, an installation that explores the relationship between performance, sculpture and installation. Constructed of a series of motor assisted pendulums, lights and speakers, it is very striking and heightens the drama of its unique setting.

The dynamic installation is almost hypnotic with variations of chaotic and orderly rhythms. It is described by its designers as a new kind of musical instrument, where the spatial location of each sound is critical to the composition of the piece.

The Wapping Project alone is worth a visit, located in the historic Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. The multipurpose exhibition and performance space hosts an ever changing array of artists from a range of disciplines.

The Engine and Turbine Houses resemble the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, but with the added benefit of delicious food from restaurant and bar it houses. With its rich architectural fabric and remnants of its industrial past it really makes for a memorable dining experience. The stripped back Boiler and Filter Houses,  in turn provide unusual exhibition and performance spaces.

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, Wapping Wall, London
15th June – 18th July 2010
Mon – Fri, 12 -10.30pm, Sat 10 – 10.30pm & Sun 10 – 6pm

(images from United Visual Artist and The Wapping Project)

23/06

South London Gallery extension

The South London Gallery, already a big player internationally showing work from famous artists like Steve McQueen, Eva Rothschild and Alfredo Jaar, have built an extension.With the help of 6A Architects they have renovated a derelict house to accommodate exhibition space, a cafe and a flat for artists-in-residence. In addition they built a three storey extension with a double height gallery space and a studio in the back garden that interestingly sits on the footprint of a lecture theatre destroyed by WWII.

The designers made good use of the architectural fabric provided by the site. The studio has two surviving brick walls as a starting point and in the gallery the existing building’s features are exposed, displaying beautiful elements like weathered brickwork and roof trusses. The architectural language is abstracted and reduced, creating a calm feeling. It has a few surprizes up its sleeve though, the West wall pivots, breaking down the boundary between the interior and the back garden.




(via Dezeen)

19/06

Studio East Dining

I’ve always had a strange love for scaffolding, so I am particularly delighted to see the beautiful temporary restaurant by London based architects Carmondy Groarke. The restaurant reflects its location, within a live construction site, by borrowing materials from the construction team, which also makes its impermanent nature very apparent. It was constructed in a short 3 weeks using 2000 scaffolding boards and 3500 scaffolding poles, reclaimed timber and was covered in recyclable industrial grade heat retractable polyethylene.

The result of this hired/borrowed construction is an inspiring 800 sqm dining space where you can enjoy delicious food served up by the people from East London favourite Bistroteque. The space is kept minimal and toned down, increasing the dramatic effect of its industrial look and rough materials. And at 35m high it has a spectacular view of the happenings on the Olympic construction sites and the surrounding area. At night it is illuminated from inside, becoming a glowing beacon on the evolving skyline.

It is only open until 4 July, so hurry up to be one of the lucky 2000 that will have the pleasure of savoring the tasty food and interesting structure of one of London’s most spectacular Pop-Ups to date.

(Photos by Luke Hayes)

18/06

1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces at the V&A

From this week, a brand new curiosity is on display at the V&A. Architect Terunobu Fujimori’s ‘Beetle’s House’ cuts a dark and crooked figure in the relative light and airiness of the Museum’s Cast Courts. The structure is part of the 1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces exhibition, aimed at promoting our engagement with real architecture, offering an antidote to the standard methods of building exhibition: drawing, model or photograph.


Fujimori’s elevated tea-house, along with six other designs constructed for the Museum at full-scale, was designed to ‘examine notions of refuge and retreat’. The tough charred wood exterior (resembling a beetle’s shell) protects the visitor and the sense of intimacy, offering only two small windows to remind us that an outside world still exists.


The Japanese sense of ceremony is intrinsic in the structure’s design and materiality. Our shoes must be removed before climbing a small ladder to the compact interior, which can accommodate only four people at a time. Our heads are dipped on entry (in imitation of a bow) in order to avoid clashing with the steep pitch of the roof. Inside, yet more curiosities are to be found: a model bike, a signed picture, a set of cups and a teapot in the hearth. Perhaps testament to its importance in everyday life, the hearth is the only part of the earthy, white interior that is allowed to bulge through to the outside, penetrating the beetle’s dark, grainy shell.


Despite being crammed in amongst the Museum’s native relics and artefacts, ‘Beetle’s House’ remains a stark and solitary edifice. As if plucked from a remote Japanese mountain-top, it seems uncomfortable with the strange and busy world it has entered, harking back to a simpler time and place. With the ability to transport its visitors there too, ‘Beetle’s House’ makes a strong case for the use of 1:1 scale to create delight and intrigue.


The exhibition runs until 30 August and admission is free.

15/06

Container Cafe

For a brunch with a view I recommend Container Cafe, the latest offering from the people behind Fish Island’s Counter Cafe. The interior is as chilled out as the friendly staff and features a playful mix of unusual art, vintage pieces that have lived a little and contemporary geometric furniture made from plywood.

The food on offer is equally fresh. Everything is made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients. From the menu written up on a blackboard you can choose between a selection of baguettes, bagels and soup or from some very tempting treats on the counter.


The cafe is located along the green way built for the 2012 Olympics, on the ground floor of the View Tube (a structure made from bright yellow reclaimed shipping containers) and you’d be hard pressed to find a better view of the Olympic developments. So if you want to see how Sir Peter Cook’s Stadium is coming along or get a glimpse of Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics  Centre, you might as well do it with some East London style enjoying a cup of Square Mile coffee.



10/06

Central Saint Martins Pop Up 2060

103 students x 20 objects = 2060 Pop Up

After a five week process that I imagine involved a lot of hard work the second year BA Graphic design students from Central Saint Martins hosted a week long pop up shop in Clerkenwell. The focus was on manufacture being an integral part of design, and we’re all very grateful, it gave us a chance to buy work from talented young designers.

Apart from the great work they were selling they also hosted interesting events, they had everything from children’s design workshops to design speed dating.

Here are some pictures of the goods that were on sale:

(via Notcot)

07/06

ARTbar by Glass Hill

On a tight budget and an even tighter deadline, Glass Hill delivered an open, modern and flexible interior within the Grade 2 listed Darwin building on Kensington Gore, London – the Royal College of Art’s ARTbar. The design and choice of materials was a balance between dynamic space filling surfaces and a desire for a subtle restoration of the modernist building fabric and detailing.

The original flooring was re-discovered, as was the full ceiling height and dramatic fine metal frame windows. The buildings familiar language of stone, render and timber was expanded into the new bar elements. The 17m long high-backed seating unit reflects light back into the space and also provides hanging for coats and bags, but can also hold the custom made wooden stools – allowing the space to be cleared almost completely for a variety of events. Just as the DJ desk which can be pulled out from the wall.

01/06

Clerkenwell Design Week 2010

Clerkenwell has more than 60 design showrooms and loads of design and architectural practices amongst its elegant greens, squares and historic buildings. Not to mention all the cool pop-up clubs and shops, restaurants and hip bars. All of this makes it perfect location to host a design festival, and the organizers of Clerkenwell Design Week did just that. The three-day annual festival celebrated design’s creative richness, its social impact and its power for change.

The festival was packed with an interesting mix of exhibitions, product launches from leading brands, street entertainment, music, food and parties. It also included a stimulating series of seminars, workshops and debates by big names in design that tackled key issues facing creatives today.

All in all the Clerkenwell Design Week was entertaining, inspiring and challenged all your preconceptions.

(via Clerkenwell Design Week and Treehugger)

20/05

Rosa's Soho

After much success in Spitalfields, Rosa’s Thai restaurant opened a ‘Pop-Up’ in Soho called Noodles, this was so well received that people in Soho now have permanent access to a Rosa’s fix.

The interior design, done by Gundry and Ducker, features moulded oak panelling lined with brass plates at the edges. The design is intended to be reminiscent of a traditional British cafe with a Thai edge. A warm and inviting interior is achieved by using soft lighting and red and brown tones. This color scheme is used throughout the ground floor, with lighter tones as it is intended primarily for daytime use.Booths and partitions are formed by the moulded oak panelling, which are modified in places to form coat hooks and lamps. The oak profiles are echoed in the borders of the laser-cut brass plates that decorate the walls. The basement is much darker, featuring gloss, gray and reclaimed teak, reflecting its purpose as an evening space.


And here is a little bit about the Pop-Up, in case you missed it:

The designers chose to celebrate the temporary nature of the restaurant by whitewashing the  interior of the shop it was located in as they found it and using materials and construction methods that are usually associated with impermanence. They placed a series of plywood booths throughout, these had glowing red interiors and arched entrances. Chairs were also made of plywood and were held together by cable ties. They made use of illuminated signage and arrows, and this, along with the color scheme was intended to acknowledge Soho’s red-light district heritage. Displayed on the shelves were laser cut highlights from the menu, each in a typeface reflecting its character.


(via Dezeen and Gundry+Ducker)

18/05

London buses

The familiar face of a London bus will soon be less familiar. British designer Thomas Heatherwick has designed the replacement for London’s iconic Routemaster bus, in collaboration with bus company the Wright Group. The new design is set to hit the London streets in 2012.

It will be made of lightweight materials, with glass highlighting key features, that will produce a light and airy feel inside the bus. Visually dramatic, it will be asymmetric and features a glass ‘swoop’ at the rear and along its side.

In addition to its futuristic looking, flashy exterior the bus will use the latest green technology and will be 15 per cent more fuel efficient than existing hybrid buses, and 40 per cent more efficient than conventional diesel double decks and much quieter on the streets.

Its defining feature is the open platform, inspired by the Routemaster of old, which allows the reinstatement of a hop-on, hop-off service, speedy boarding will also be aided by three doors and two staircases.

A a static mock up of the bus is currently being worked on and we will probably get a glimpse of it later this year, but we’ll have to wait until late next year to see a full working prototype.

(via Dezeen)

17/05

Viet Hoa Cafe

Viet Hoa, a Kingsland Road favorite, has recently been completely renovated and now boasts a serene, minimalist interior and stylish new branding, in complete contrast to its former haphazard self. Its new interior design is clean and simple and features walls and ceilings clad in timber, contemporary lighting and furniture, with quirky touches such as an entire wall covered in moss that stretches across two floors at the stairway.

Another unusual element can be found in the new bar in the basement. It has a playful sunken rectangle in the floor that becomes an informal lounge area with the addition of legless chairs and little tables.

The revised branding and identity was mainly influenced by the name of the cafe. ‘Hoa’ means ‘blossoming flower’ in Vietnamese and a logo mark has been added across all way-finding, branding collateral, packaging, and uniforms.

The new interior perfectly complements the delicious food and I’m sure with its stylish new space it will become even more popular.

(images via London Design Guide)

14/05

Outrace

It looks like the whole city is getting geared up for the London Design Festival in September, here is a little taster of what is to come:

Designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram have designed an installation for Trafalgar Square, a large robotic octopus called Outrace. This robot will be constructed of the mechanical arms normally found in car factories, on loan from Audi. The six synchronised arms will be controlled by members of the public with the help of custom software created by the designers, allowing the tentacles to respond to text input to create paintings of light in the air. These paintings will be captured in high definition video and published online.

(images via Dezeen)

12/05

Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel

There’s a new designer hotel on the block in Bethnal Green, in the familiar shell of its Old Town Hall. Behind the Grade II listed building’s Edwardian/Art Deco facade now sit some of the most stylish hotel rooms and luxury apartments in the city. Hip French architects, Rare, have worked with hotelier, Peng Loh, to give the giving the building a complete make over.

In keeping with the East End’s creative reputation, they worked together with Artsadmin to commission works by up and coming young, local artists. The spacious apartments are fitted out  with a mix of one of a kind vintage furniture and contemporary Scandinavian pieces, and each comes with their own designer kitchen. Not that guests would need a kitchen… The Hotel’s restaurant, Viajantes, headed by chef Nuno Mendes promises to be a culinary treat. The interior features bespoke, handcrafted furniture and has an intimate atmosphere to complete the dining experience.

This chic addition to Bethnal Green is  a design hotel with a difference, perfectly combining sleek city style with old world elegance.


(images via Design Hotels)

04/05

Look Mum No Hands

Look Mum No Hands is the clever name of a new cafe/bar/bike workshop that recently opened in Old Street. Here you can enjoy some seriously delicious coffee and cake while your bike is being tended to by an expert bicycle mechanic. The interior of the former architectural showroom is pared down and airy, with a select few beautiful vintage bikes on display in the window and some large prints of past races on the walls. The minimalist look of the space is enhanced with striking details, such as the vintage lamps above the bar that have the added quirky touch of hanging from bicycle chains. They also have a lovely outdoor area that will no doubt be very busy on sunny days. The relaxed, fuss free space and staff have won me over and I will definitely not wait for bicycle problems to go there again.

29/01

Design Real at Serpentine Gallery

Design Real is the first design-focused show to be presented at the Serpentine and represents the development of the Gallery’s long-standing commitment to design through the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion programme, which celebrates its tenth year in 2010. Design Real is curated by Konstantin Grcic and designed in collaboration with Alex Rich and Jürg Lehni. The exhibition features an information space which expands on themes developed in the exhibition allowing visitors to investigate the origins and applications of the products on view. A dedicated internet site, designed by Alex Rich and Jürg Lehni, is the exhibition’s central resource and integral to its concept. Grcic says about the exhibition:

Like contemporary art, design both shapes and reflects our constantly changing society. Good design understands human behaviour, offers pragmatic solutions to problems and enhances our everyday experience. Curating the Serpentine Gallery’s first design related exhibition DESIGN REAL my concept focuses on ‘real’ items, industrially made products that have a significance in everyday life,

The exhibition is still on til 7th February. A catalogue (designed by Alex Rich) is published on the occasion of the exhibition DESIGN REAL by Serpentine Gallery and Koenig Books Ltd. featuring essays by Emily King and Jonathan Olivares.

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07/01

Snow Branding by Curb

With London covered in a layer of snow again, here is the fun concept of Snow Branding. Imagined by the UK agency Curb for the Extreme Sports Channel, over 2 000 logotypes were stamped across London. Great viability and buzz, zero environmental impact. And it shows that snow can also be fun and inspiring – not just an annoying cold layer that makes your toes numb and creates traffic chaos.

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Via Paul Vickers

17/11

Creative Interior Design at Anthropologie, London

Anthropologie, the eclectic American retailer specialising in hip, boho clothing and chic home ware products opened in London’s busy Regent St earlier this month.  The label originally evolved from a stylish sportswear line developed by sister store, Urban Outfitters.  The opening of the boutique marks the brand’s European retail outlet debut and the first opening of an Anthropologie store outside the USA.

Anthropologie derived from the word ‘Anthropology’, which means the study of the human being and how we all differ from one another, has an interior and products that reflect its name’s meaning.   With an assortment of fashion brands and home ware products as well as an interior that features a living wall of various plant species, individuality and differentiation are ongoing visual themes.  Shortly after its opening, the front window display featured a cluster of tea bags suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier.   The tea bags, which appeared to be used, created a sense of wonder at the potential of everyday objects and how they fill our lives. The interior design, like the products, is not only aesthetically pleasing, it is cerebral and instantly take their viewer on a journey; how many tea bags do we use every day?  How many thoughts and ideas did these tea bags assist with in their own little way?

There are many quirky interior design and visual merchandising details within the boutique that add to its character. Teapots, cups and saucers continue on from the tea theme to decorate the walls.  As with the tea bag chandelier they are presented intriguingly; they are wrapped in fabrics like lace and loosely knit wool that appear to be supporting them to the wall, like the objects are caught in a spider’s web.  At the entrance a mannequin wears a skirt made out of smashed cups and saucers, adding to the theme of recycled or lost and found everyday objects.  Overall the entrance area feels like fusion of shabby chic, eco-friendly design and the mad hatter’s tea party.

Different sections of the Regent St Anthropologie store offer different experiences.  The basement offered a sea theme as an enormous sculpture of an underwater creature hung from the ceiling.  Below this a table decorated with ropes and rocks displayed culinary tools. The top floor displayed a bed with logs beneath the base, evoking the idea of a cosy fireplace at a countryside cottage.  All areas are connected by a gigantic vertical garden; literally a wall of greenery which extends from the basement through to the top floor providing an organic backdrop for the staircase.  The garden features several different types of plant species and shades of green- blues and purple-reds.

Amazingly, the eclectic mix of brands, products and interior design concepts works really well together.  Exploration, individuality and differentiation weave their way through the Anthropologie boutique, making it a truly inspirational place.  The space is a perfect example of how creative and strong interior design is so important when it comes to creating that word-of-mouth buzz.Sea Creature, Anthropologie, Regent Sttea bags in window, anthropologie regent stvertical garden, Anthropologie, London, Regent Stvertical garden, Anthropologie, London, Regent StHanging Teabags, Anthropologie, Regent StLiving Wall, Anthropologie, Regent St

26/05

V&A washrooms by Glowacka Rennie

London architects Glowacka Rennie have completed the interior of the ladies toilets at the V&A museum in London. The design includes a black, stone wall, black cubicle interiors and brass fittings in a white-painted interior with a high ceiling. A blue, painted installation by Swiss artist Felice Varini resolves into a pattern of circles when viewed in the mirror above the wash basins.

20/05

Contemporary Interior Design

Through the ancient times interior designs have been very popular and people in the past have been picky on the interior designs they have wanted for their homes, offices, restaurants, pubs or clubs.

First impression of everything really matters and hence that’s when interior designs come into picture. People are very conscious about the way their home, office, restaurant, office, pub or clubs looks like. This trend is still continuing today, although in the 21st century it is about the modernization of interior designs that are very different to the older times.

21st century stands out with the vast collection and variety of designs that have been designed by different interior designers all over the world. It is about recognizing the art of interior designing and the process involved in it.

Contemporary interior design styles are more likely to be recognized as International styles that are adapted from all over the world. These designs are incorporated and are linked with each other in terms of corporative designs taken from all over the world. Interior designers use the modern techniques to decorate and furnish working spaces and indoor living involving both the aesthetic and practical considerations.

Contemporary Interior design cultures

Classical and Asian culture are some of the most modern interior design cultures used to elaborate and create various interior styles. These cultures have originated through the past changing the design styles with the modernization.

In the medieval European days interior designs were more of hanging objects made in elaborate styles that were used for the furnishing of castle. This style was reformed in the middle ages with more of Roman and Green styles that became popular. The recent style comes with the combination of all the international styles. Most modernized style is usually glass or metals to give a finishing look to the interior designing.

Lighting is the important factor when it comes to Contemporary interior designing and hence arrangement of the interior designing is based on comfort, pattern, scale, color and balance.

Furniture

Furniture used in the Contemporary Interior design is often blended with the color and is more modernized than the ancient times. Furniture usually is made to complement the color and the entire designing process. Furniture is also very important aspect of designing process. The entire interior designing depends on the furniture you will opt for. You can actually make a statement, ‘Bad furniture will spoil the entire décor of your interior designing’.

Wall Paper

Most contemporary interior designers are now going for modernized wall papers that would give more of an attractive look to the décor. The interior designers choose the color and the wall papers but they definitely will sit with you to discuss if the colors and the paper used for the wall are feasible and if that is what you would like.

Most Wall Paper décor will give a very sophisticated and classic look to the entire interior designing. The entire process of it is discussed to make the client comfortable with the look.

06/04

London flagship showroom for Kvadrat

Kvadrat have just opened a new flagship showroom in London. It is a product of an unusual collaboration between the legendary graphic designer and art director Peter Saville and acclaimed architect David Adjaye. Housed in a former Victorian Factory, the showroom operates on two levels, with office spaces on the ground floor with the showroom located on the basement level.

A key element of David Adjaye’s solution, to what was a challenging space, was to remove a large part of the floor between the two stories, allowing for a dramatic staircase, which is a central feature of the building. Flexibility, and creating a context for showcasing colour, were two key considerations in the design of the space.

Colour is a central element to Kvadrat’s textiles. This is reflected in a key design element: a glass balustrade, featuring the colours of the spectrum, which lines the stairway.

Peter Saville was involved in choosing many of the colour accents, particularly focusing on the selection of fabrics. He chose to work with Kvadrat fabrics in kaleidoscopic colours, for the chair coverings in the office space. Each chair is a different colour, allowing staff flexibility and choice.

“Lots of projects don’t allow room for individuals to enter in,” Peter Saville explains. “We were concerned with the fact that people have to work there every day, so we needed a bit of everyday pragmatism. We were not trying to make an architectural statement but create something that is fit for the purpose, and a key element with this space was to allow room for interpretation.”

Pictures by Ed Reeve

25/02

El Ultimo Grito

“We don’t believe in rules”

Roberto Feo and Rosario Hurtado confessed “We’ve always been unruly”.

El Ultimo Grito, the name they are better known from,  was founded in 1997 by them in Madrid but since then they have based themselves first in London and nowadays in Berlin.

They characterize their work as a creative studio that has placed it’s focus on design, and the idea the indispensable element of their designs. As they say “Inspiration comes from experimenting”.

Working on product, interior, fashion and exhibitions, El Ultimo Grito has collaborated with Bloomberg, Lavazza, Budweiser, Hugo Boss, Wire Works… Rosario is a part-time tutor at Goldsmith University and Roberto at the Royal College of Art in London.



23/02

Shunt Lounge

One of the Best Clubbing Secrets

The Shunt Lounge is a Bar/Club located within the brick tunnels under the arches of London Bridge Station, where exhibitions, performances or even live music, film or design shows are hosted regularly.
As a secret club, the first challenge is actually finding the entrance door. There’s no sign but a little brown door at the lower level of the station, where you will find clubbers queing if you are too
late.

Once inside, you can be sure that there will be something that will surprise you. Upcoming events include “The reading Room” by Lewis Gibson and “Now Revisited” by Hilary Lawson