Month: November 2012

Collage Urbain by Maison Edouard François

var linkwithin_site_id = 519459; French studio Maison Edouard François has completed a new housing scheme in Champigny-sur-Marne. You could be forgiven for thinking it looks like a pile of houses, because in fact it is! Maison Edouard François has designed a hodge-podge of building units- townhouses at the bottom, a housing block from the 1950s in the middle, and single family homes balanced on the roof. The studio was inspired by the ensemble of building on the site built in the 1970s: a large zone of housing filled with towers and multi-story housing blocks near the old town centre. The scheme provides 114 new residences as well as new retail shops and alleys that open up the building units. The studio won the  €14.3 millionproject in a competition in 2006. Image: © Paul Raftery for Maison Edouard François  

This week's lesson on Disegno Daily: The Olivetti Valentine Typewriter

var linkwithin_site_id = 519459; I’m delighted to have written this week’s lesson on Disegno Daily. See it here, or read below.. “Dear Valentine, this is to tell you that you are my friend as well as my Valentine, and that I intend to write you lots of letters,” says the user guide of the familiar red typewriter. This purposefully heartwarming greeting sets the tone for Ettore Sottsass’ typewriter. The blood-red Valentine was a fun, light-hearted and smooth-operating symbol of the 1960s Pop era, and its use of bright, playful casing for a piece of traditional office equipment was arguably a precursor to Apple’s 1998 Bondi Blue iMac. “When I was young, all we ever heard about was functionalism, functionalism, functionalism,” said Sottsass. “It’s not enough. Design should also be sensual and exciting.” The Valentine – created for the Italian brand Olivetti – was designed in collaboration with the British designer Perry King and entered production in 1969. It was not a commercial success. The Valentine was technically mediocre, expensive and failed to sell to a …

Petit Bateau x Carven

Petit Bateau x Carven

Carven has teamed up with France’s beloved brand Petit Bateau to create a one-off capsule collection. I’m super excited for this collaboration, I love Carven’s Peter Pan collars and playful prints, and I equally love Petit Bateau’s cotton t-shirts and cosy knits. The Petit Bateau & Carven collection will be available to buy from December 6 in all Petit Bateau stores worldwide. Below is the campaign for the collection, which features model Anna de Rijk.   Images var linkwithin_site_id = 519459;

Happy Birthday to Nancy Mitford!

Happy Birthday to Nancy Mitford!

Today would be Nancy Mitford’s 108th birthday. Born on November 28 1904, she was the oldest of the six famous sisters, a member of 1920s high society, and an English novelist, known for titles such as Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.   Nancy shared many of the foibles of her characters. After a five year relationship with a homosexual Scottish aristocrat, she married the Hon. Peter Murray Rennell Rodd. The marriage was a failure; her husband was unfaithful and couldn’t keep a job. She later fell in love with Colonel Gaston Palewski, Chief of Staff to Charles de Gaulle, and following the war, moved to Paris to be closer to him. The largely one-sided affair, which inspired the romance between Linda Talbot and Fabrice de Sauveterre in Mitford’s novel The Pursuit of Love, lasted until Palewski’s affair with and eventual 1969 marriage to Violette de Talleyrand-Périgord, the Duchesse de Sagan. She remained in France for the rest of her life.   She died in Versailles in 1973 and is buried alongside three …

Assemble & Join: making manufacturing cool

Assemble & Join: making manufacturing cool

Head over to BDonline to see an article I wrote on the Assemble & Join team in Lower Marsh, London. See it here, or read it below. The video on BDonline (filmed by @annawinston) is also well worth checking out. Could one CNC machine finally launch the maker movement in the UK? The maker movement has been taking America by storm. Make magazine was launched in 2005, followed by the first Maker Faire in California in 2006. It attracted 20,000 attendees, a figure that doubled the year after. And ever since, the hungry self-producing start-ups have been steadily multiplying, hammering, building and carving their way to success. The UK has been a little slower on the uptake. But now a group of young architects and graphic designers have come together to pioneer “making”, all with one cacophonous CNC machine in a former cafe kitchen. Sited on one of London’s last thriving independent high streets, GD/hta, Tom Tobia and Christopher Jarratt have opened a community micro-manufacturing workshop. The Assemble & Join team, sited on Lower Marsh behind …

Secret Cinema: The State of Oak Hampton

Secret Cinema: The State of Oak Hampton

On Sunday night, I headed down to Bethnal Green Library dressed as a 1940’s money lender. Not your usual quite night in, nor your usual cinema trip. This was for Secret Cinema, where a mystery film is screened at a mystery location, and where the audience takes as much a part in the performance as the actors. I can’t tell you much more than that, I’m sworn to secrecy, its not called Secret Cinema for nothing… But I can give you a little clue, the 19th Secret Cinema, or the ‘State of Oak Hampton’, warn of a storm coming, and say they will “clamp down on vicious crimes through investigation and punish the thought as well as the offense. The State will also fund a meteorological station headquartered somewhere in London to trace the skies and bring daily reports to our contenders and offenders”. Secret Cinema is a total immersive experience, and one that has proved extremely popular- the last screening of Prometheus attracted over 25,000 eager film fans. It’s expensive but you’ll never forget …

Tim Walker: Story Teller at Somerset House

Tim Walker: Story Teller at Somerset House

I have long admired the photography of Tim Walker, many would curse me for ripping out pages of my beloved Vogues, but some of his images were just too great to stay in the folds of a magazine, and had to take pride of place on my bedroom walls. So I was super excited when Somerset House announced an exhibition of his photography, sponsored by Mulberry. The exhibition itself certainly didn’t disappoint, not only was it free admission, the rooms were extensive and well laid out. They were also as visually exciting as his photography, larger-than-life props complimented the framed photos, from giant grotesque dolls and clown puppets, to huge snails and detailed insects with delicate, transparent wings. The extraordinary photographs in the exhibition are drawn from the pages of the world’s glossy magazines: British, French, American and Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair, W and The New Yorker. With the addition of an interesting behind-the-scenes video, the exhibition showed me just how extensive the production of his photography is. It is less like a fashion shoot …

The Olivetti showroom in St Mark's Square, Venice by Carlo Scarpa

Olivetti was established as an office equipment company in the 1930s by Adriano Olivetti. Olivetti enriched his technical design teams with graphic designers, architects, writers, artists and advertisers, and commissioned many well known architects of the time to design offices, factories and showrooms, the most beautiful being Carlo Scarpa’s showroom in Venice’s St Mark’s Square, which has recently been restored by Italy’s National Trust, FAI. While recently in Venice I went to have a look.. Images my own

Maiden Lane Estate, Kings Cross

Maiden Lane Estate, Kings Cross

Here is an interesting ‘First Look’ I wrote in Building Design. See it here, or read it below:   PRP Architects has submitted a planning application to Camden Council to regenerate the Maiden Lane Estate in King’s Cross. Completed in 1982, the unlisted estate was designed by Benson & Forsyth Architects and was the last in a series of housing projects built between 1965 and 1982 under Sydney Cook, head of the architecture department for the London Borough of Camden at the time. (see images below) Maiden Lane comprises two-storey houses and gallery-access apartment buildings of three to four storeys, arranged along a gentle slope to the north of King’s Cross and St Pancras stations.     Images BD article continues…   PRP’s scheme would add 265 homes to the current 225 dwellings, 124 of which would be affordable. The new buildings would balance the low-rise buildings of the original estate with the larger ones that are beginning to emerge as part of the King’s Cross masterplan. A 20-storey tower will be at the east …