London

Building A Community Network: 5Fields

8 Dec , 2015  

I’ve been exper­i­ment­ing with an online com­munity net­work for Pimlico, London and I’ve launched a pro­to­type at 5Fields.org. It’s inten­ded to be a resource for local res­id­ents and busi­nesses to com­mu­nic­ate with each other and to keep up with what’s going on in the area.

Pimlico has his­tor­ic­ally had a fairly strong com­munity, mainly because nobody else was inter­ested in a grimy, bomb-dam­aged back­wa­ter after the WW2 Blitz, and untrendy, nor­mal fam­il­ies could afford to live there. But the London of 2015 is a dif­fer­ent World and lots of it isn’t talk­ing to each other, digit­ally or oth­er­wise. Although our mod­ern life­style no longer includes gos­sip­ing over the garden fence, we need some­thing to replace that net­work.

The site is start­ing out with local Residents Associations, plan­ning and devel­op­ment. Boring but neces­sary!

The site is still a bit wonky but I’d be glad of your com­ments and sug­ges­tions.

Pimlico people and neigh­bours — get in touch!

Architecture

Piercefield House, Wye Valley, by Sir John Soane

18 Sep , 2013  

Piercefield House by Sir John Soane, Monmouthshire

John Martin, The Wye Valley, from Wyndcliffe towards Chepstow 1844

I am more and more con­vinced that it is far the most beau­ti­ful place I ever saw”, is what bot­an­ist and explorer Joseph Banks said about Piercefield Park and he’d cer­tainly been around a bit. Piercefield Park estate over­looks the glor­i­ous Wye Valley, Wales, and pre­vi­ous own­ers had begun to turn it into the pic­tur­esque land­scape of national repute which had so impressed Banks. It’s cur­rent owner is Arena Racing Company, run by the Reuben broth­ers. Ruined and for­got­ten in a field next to the Chepstow race­course is Piercefield House, one of Sir John Soane’s earli­est pro­jects, which he built between 1785–93 when his archi­tec­tural career was just tak­ing off.

Piercefield House by Sir John Soane, Monmouthshire

John Soane had returned from his moment­ous Grand Tour of Italy and Sicily in 1780 and made his first fal­ter­ing steps to becom­ing one of England’s most influ­en­tial archi­tects. Piercefield was bought by banker George Smith in 1784–5 from Valentine Morris, who had laid out the Piercefield Walks, and Smith com­mis­sioned the young John Soane to rebuild the exist­ing house in grand neo-clas­sical style. Two years after recon­struc­tion had begun and with the main struc­ture largely com­pleted, Smith was bank­rup­ted and sur­rendered the estate to his cred­it­ors. At this stage build­ing work to a reduced design had begun at Piercefield and a let­ter from the clerk of works to Soane (14 January 1793) states that the ‘the Roof will be on next week for slaters to begin slat­ing’. Construction work pre­sum­ably con­tin­ued for a brief while so that the roof would have been com­pleted and Soane’s elev­a­tion for the entrance front was cer­tainly built and exists in a ruined state today (* Soane Drawings). More…

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Entertainment

All At Sea: Rumpus Party Onboard MS Stubnitz

6 Mar , 2013  

A sea creature at Rumpus on MS Stubnitz

So, my beau­ties, there we were, on the deck of the MS Stubnitz, late of Hamburg, now come to Canary Wharf, the icy air seek­ing out our exposed flesh, sur­roun­ded by all man­ner of weird creatures, some with the smell of sea­men about them, but many from Worlds strange and unfathom­able. We found ourselves in the midst of a great rum­pus of noise and com­mo­tion, at once assailed and bewildered by the des­per­ate voy­age now embarked.

3 mermaids at Rumpus party aboard MS Stubnitz

Gentle reader, we saw three genu­ine mer­maids, sirens of legend and lore, their tails flecked with the col­ours of the deep, their heads and breasts home to cor­als and anemones of every kind. They sang too, in slight Estuary tones, but pass­able non­ethe­less for they must have rehearsed it under water. More…

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Entertainment

A Fine Affair: The Black Cat Cabaret at Café de Paris

5 Mar , 2013  

The Black Cat Cabaret

While Boom Boom is on vaca­tion, Café de Paris has been taken over by this new pro­duc­tion fea­tur­ing some BB mem­bers. Last Friday saw the final show for the Black Cat’s open­ing cast, so I went along to see them off.
The Black Cat Cabaret

The fluted columns and vel­vet-lined interior of the Café de Paris evoke the days of Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Noël Coward, a sym­path­etic envir­on­ment for the Black Cat Cabaret. Front man Dusty Limits, in Montmartre mode, does his irre­press­ible best as ‘Maître des Cérémonies’ for a slightly naughty but mainly nice lineup of London’s estab­lished cab­aret acts. More…

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Travel

L’Oasi del Riccio restaurant, Puglia [review]

23 Dec , 2012  

L'Oasi del Riccio, Puglia - signpost

It was in the middle of nowhere, a dusty track off the coast road from Torre Canne head­ing up to Savelletri, a few large tents stuck together and a portacabin. L’Oasi del Riccio wasn’t pretty, it didn’t have a view to die for nor did it offer a fine din­ing exper­i­ence. Hell, it didn’t offer solid walls. But who cares? It cooked me the freshest sea­food in an unpre­ten­tious Pugliese style and served it straight to my plastic table parked next to an azure sea.

Starters

L'Oasi del Riccio, Puglia - swordfish and squid

Raw squid was del­ic­ate, sweet, good tex­ture and tasted very fresh. Good sword­fish carpac­cio, meaty fla­vour, lots of olive oil. More…

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Architecture

Famous Architects Dressed as their Buildings, 1931

8 Dec , 2012  

New York’s most fam­ous archi­tects dressed up at the 1931 Beaux-Arts cos­tume ball, Paris, as the build­ings they designed.

From left to right: A Stewart Walker as the Fuller Building, Leonard Schultze as the Waldorf-Astoria, Ely Jacques Kahn as the Squibb Building, William Van Alen as the Chrysler, Ralph walker as 1 Wall Street, D.E.Ward as the Metropolitan Tower and Joseph H. Freelander as the Museum of New York.

(from Chas Hutton via SwissMiss) More background at The New York Times.

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Design

Lee Broom talks at Pecha Kucha for LDF2012 [podcast]

26 Sep , 2012  

British interior and product designer Lee Broom has has designed over 40 bar and res­taur­ant interi­ors across the UK, has won a whole bunch of awards, and The Times called him ‘The pin-up of British man­u­fac­tur­ing’ not too long after he formed his own com­pany in 2008. So, without fur­ther ado, here is the talk with the slides that he presen­ted at PK9:

Lee Broom at Pecha Kucha London [podcast-slideshow-YouTube presentation] More…

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Design,Event

Designersblock show at Southbank for London Design Festival 2012

21 Sep , 2012  

Piers Roberts at Designersblock 2012, Southbank Centre, London

Designersblock 2012 is hap­pen­ing right now, under­neath the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, until this Sunday 23<sup class="ordinal">rd</sup> September. These are my iPhone pho­tos. (This page is in pro­gress until I get quotes from the design­ers. If you know any of them, tell them to email me!)

More…

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Design,Event

Backstage with designersblock at London Design Festival 2012

20 Sep , 2012  

Backstage with designersblock at LDF2012

Designersblock is about to cel­eb­rate turn­ing 15 years old at London Design Festival 2012 with a birth­day party in a little-used space under­neath the Queen Elizabeth Hall and sun­dry other corners of the Southbank com­plex, includ­ing the Royal Festival Hall shop.

You are all invited.

Rory Dodd: ‘I always liked the Southbank; it’s a real cross­roads kind of place. It’s got Londoners and it’s got tour­ists. It’s busy, mul­ti­cul­tural, with a really wide mix of cul­tures and ages com­ing here or passing through.’ More…

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