Month: September 2012

blogger-image--1941135444

Architecture. Possible here? Home-for-All, Japanese Pavilion, Venice Biennale

Winner of this year’s Golden Lion award for best national pavilion, Toyo Ito’s proposal for the Japanese Pavilion proposes a “Home-for-All” to people who lost their homes in Japan’s tsunami of March 2011. ‘Architecture. Possible here? Home-for-All’ presents the process by which three Japanese architects- Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto (who I’ve already dedicated a fair few posts on this blog to already) and Akihisa Hirata- collaborated with Ito on a support centre for those affected in the city of Rikuzentakata. The exhibition curls chronologically around timber columns and wooden plinths, showing the project from conception to construction. Alongside models of the project, there are also photographs by Rikuzentakata native Naoya Hatakeyama, including a floor-to-ceiling print of the town post-tsunami around the perimeter of the exhibition. This is a great project, unlike some pavilions purely documenting the problems, Ito has come up with viable solutions, and indicated the steps toward recovery for East Japan.

blogger-image-426887770

The British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

For the month of October I am here in Venice working in the British Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale. For those of you who don’t know about the British proposal for David Chipperfield’s Common Ground theme, here are a few words and photos. As you can probably tell I’ve kept this post pretty impartial… Here’s what the British Council say: The British Pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale presents the work of ten architectural teams that have travelled the world in search of imaginative responses to universal issues. Venice Takeaway charts their course in Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand and the USA and demonstrates the creative potential of sharing ideas across borders. Research, in the form of photography, drawing, film and objects will be displayed in a Research Emporium, while in the galleries of the pavilion you will find Takeaway Proposals – installations and objects that encapsulate their ideas for change. Commissioned by the British Council and curated by Vanessa Norwood and Vicky Richardson, Venice Takeaway responds to Venice …

London Design Festival: Ropero Wardrobe System by Hierve & Matthew Zorpas at designjunction

London Design Festival: Ropero Wardrobe System by Hierve & Matthew Zorpas at designjunction

Boutique design consultancy Hierve, based in Mexico City and London, has teamed up with The Gentleman Blogger Matthew Zorpas, to create the Ropero Wardrobe System, which was showcased this week at designjunction as part of the London Design Festival. Ropero, which translates into ‘wardrobe’ in Spanish, immediately caught my eye as part-traditional wardrobe, part-glass cabinet. Add to this, the live outfit changes taking place today by Matthew Zorpas himself, and it is no wonder they’ve had a successful year at IMM Koln Furniture Fair and Salone del Mobile in Milan.  Ropero is a modular freestanding wardrobe system that comprises a series of stackable modules and bases that can be arranged into a variety of possible configurations and colour combinations. As well as being functional in the sense that there are different compartments for the storage of clothing, Ropero is also a bit of a show-off. This is the kind of storage system you might find in a trendy Manhattan loft, designer wares on display through the glass windows. Nevertheless, it is the adaptability of the different …

London Design Festival: Pencil Works #00- #09 by Trevor Duncan at designjunction

London Design Festival: Pencil Works #00- #09 by Trevor Duncan at designjunction

var linkwithin_site_id = 519459; designjunction, now in its second year, showcases a selection of international design brands set against the intriguing backdrop of a 1960’s Sorting Office on New Oxford Street. You can still see the brightly coloured metal spiral chutes down which bags of mail would have been transported. As part of the five-day design show in parallel with London Design Festival, The Designers in Residence Scheme from Northumbria University are exhibiting an ongoing project titled Tools for Everyday Life. They say of the project: “Recognising an increasing desire for us to reconnect with the physical world and the objects within in it, this project explores both the design language of utilitarian products and the value of making skills.” One of my favourite of the eleven proposals comes from Trevor Duncan and his ‘Pencil Works’, simply because they hark back to my days as an architecture student when good stationery was something to seriously covet. Duncan celebrates the most ubiquitous every day tools, but he has adapted the humble pencil for secondary uses by …

London Design Festival: Bench Years in the John Madejski Garden at the V&A

London Design Festival: Bench Years in the John Madejski Garden at the V&A

London Design Festival has collaborated with the British furniture and lighting producer Established & Sons to create a series of one-off benches by ten different designers. Each bench is made with a different material and exhibited in the gardens at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the duration of the ten-day festival. The Bench Years aims to free designers from the usual constraints of designing urban furniture, for example, the over-cautious regulations for safety and vandalism. Instead, the group of ten benches, celebrating the ten years of the Design Festival, challenges the assumptions of the humble street bench. Here, you certainly won’t see a standard wooden bench with arm and back rests.  Bench of Plates by AL_A London-based Amanda Levete Architects, collaborating with Ceramics Cumella have created a bench inspired by the V&A’s extensive collection of ceramics. The glazes create a spectrum of earthy colours that reference the domestic crockery that has served dinner tables for years. The individually hand-made plates slide together and stack one on top of each other to create a sweeping curve.  …

London Design Festival: The Journey of a Drop by Rolf Sachs

Also as part of London Design Festival, German-born artist Rolf Sachs has debuted a new piece titled ‘The Journey of a Drop’ in the Henry Cole Wing Grand Staircase at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The architecture of the staircase, not usually accessible to the public, is interesting in it’s own right. But, when an artist choreographs drops of coloured ink to fall the full height of the wing, some six storeys, to then disperse into a vat of water, then it makes it all the more intriguing. Timed every 30 seconds, and echoed by a microphone in the tank of liquid, you could stand, mesmerised by the coloured patterns, for hours. Rolf has said of the work: ‘As the drops commence their journey, there will be a sense of anticipation, followed by a visual spectacle. Each drop within the sequence creates a unique and magical colour explosion, mysteriously disappearing moments later’. Image: Gallery Libby Sellers Images: My own Rolf Sachs: The Journey of a Drop from Disegno magazine on Vimeo.

London Design Festival: Mimicry Chairs, by nendo at the V&A

London Design Festival: Mimicry Chairs, by nendo at the V&A

var linkwithin_site_id = 519459; Dotted around the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, and part of London Design Festival, Japanese design studio nendo have created a series of white chairs that mimic the different areas of the museum. At each site, the chair is modified to reference the space; in the lobby, a single chair hangs ghost-like above visitors’ heads, elsewhere, one balances on the stairs with different length legs. In the galleries, the chairs take on the shape and form of the arrangement of paintings, a mêlée of sizes quietly occupying the gallery space.   Images my own

To Rome With Love by Woody Allen

To Rome With Love by Woody Allen

A delightful follow up from Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen directs and stars in To Rome With Love, set in the ‘Eternal City’ of Italy. The film revolves around several stories, where numerous couples find themselves tempted by the allure of illicit romance or the temptation of the city. Also starring: Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page. Images

J.W. Anderson for Topshop

J.W. Anderson for Topshop

I’ve previously never bought into the collaborations between top fashion designers and high-street brands: they’re usually cheaply made or not as well-designed as the real deal. But, when I saw the J.W. Anderson for Topshop collection, I knew my luck had changed and I bought the blue striped dress and the box pleat denim skirt. J.W. Anderson, or 27-year-old Jonathan (William) Anderson seems to be the new golden boy of the fashion world. Sponsored by NEWGEN since Autumn/Winter 2011, he has quickly become an emerging talent at London Fashion Week, single-handledly bringing paisley back into fashion and advocating for homemade British craft and manufacture. His first collection was launched just four years ago, with an ethos that has continued to his Spring/Summer 2013 collection this week on the Topshop runway: that is, a homage to classic design, be it a crisp white shirt or a Breton striped sweater, imbued with a sense of androgyny. In his own words: “It’s always been about men borrowing women’s clothing, women borrowing men’s clothing. It’s this idea of a …

Margaret Howell Spring/Summer 2013

Margaret Howell Spring/Summer 2013

Sometimes the repetition and continuation of ideas can become boring. But, in the case of Margaret Howell, when you find the right formula, stick to it. And rightly so; Howell’s collection for Spring/Summer 2013 was classic, simple and subtle. It was just the sort of collection I like; a bit tomboyish, a bit laid-back, but ultimately extremely wearable. Take Alexa Chung, the pin-up Margaret Howell girl, who tweeted during the show: ‘Hi girl with bob and dungs on at @margarethowell, hand it over please.’ Along with her, I’ll have the flat navy t-bar sandals please. Images