Thomas Heatherwick talks at the Gobal Design Forum [podcast]

19 Sep , 2012  

Thomas Heatherwick talks about the process of designing the Olympic cauldron, a New Bus for London, and the Shanghai Expo Seed Cathedral

Thomas Heatherwick and his team of architects, designers and makers work from a studio in King’s Cross, just down the road from this year’s Global Design Forum for London Design Festival 2012. Here he talks about about the process of creating, designing and then executing three large scale projects: the Olympic cauldron, a New Bus for London, and the Shanghai Expo Seed Cathedral. More…

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Pecha Kucha at Clerkenwell Design Week 2012

9 Jun , 2012   Gallery

Pecha Kucha at Clerkenwell Design Week - invite
The first golden wings of summer spread over Clerkenwell Design Week 2012, a warm embrace gathering Pecha Kucha to it’s breast at the closing night in the Farmiloe Building on St John’s Street.
The free beer and £1 off Sipsmith gin helped a little but mostly it was down to the weather, the exhibitors and the organisers who, year after year, are making CDW into something special: A serious design week for people who are so serious about design, they actually think it should be enjoyed.

On the balcony at Pecha Kucha night during Clerkenwell Design Week 2012
Devised by he Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham to stop designers and architects from talking for too long about their beautiful projects, the format allows the speakers to talk about any subject they choose using 20 slides shown for exactly 20 seconds each in sequence. Results range from profound to hilarious and include most points in-between.

7 o’clock slipped by and the yard filled up with people as our chosen ten assembled on the balcony for PK3.

:: Christopher Turner ::

Christopher Turner, master of ceremonies, Pecha Kucha at CDW2012
Icon magazine editor Christopher Turner was Master of Ceremonies for the evening… More…

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Nicole Atkins at The Slaughtered Lamb

16 May , 2012   Gallery

Nicole Atkins at The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell, London

I came to Nicole Atkins late, via David Byrne Radio in 2008, and she’s been on my playlist ever since. Born Neptune, New Jersey, did the usual elliptical, formative stuff, formed Nicole Atkins & The Sea, released a terrific debut album, Neptune City, produced by Tore Johansson, in late 2007, subsequent parting of the ways with Columbia and others, another album, Mondo Amore, and this unplugged gig in rainy Clerkenwell.

Downstairs at The Slaughtered Lamb is a dark, airless place and I didn’t see her appear out of the gloom until she plugged her acoustic guitar into the PA on the small patch of leopard-patterned carpet that was the entire performance area. After the overflowing orchestration of Neptune City and the raw, swampy Mondo Amore, could a girl with a guitar still slay us?




Camorra and Italian police create interior style guide

9 May , 2012  

The Italian authorities have seized Camorra mobster Nicola Schiavone’s Naples apartment and videoed the whole thing, providing us with a vicarious glimpse into the design sensibilities of Campania’s monied underworld.

(view it on YouTube)

Embarrassingly, I can dimly remember featuring some bits of not-totally-dissimilar decor on the shopping pages of Spaces magazine back in 2003. Either I do a post-ironic analysis of the changing face of kitsch or I just bury it deep?



We got a VisitEngland badge!

8 May , 2012  

VisitEngland agency accreditation for

My agency,, received accreditation from VisitEngland, the National tourist agency. We are the first London rentals agency to gain VisitEngland approval and we are rather thrilled.

They inspected our offices and visited our properties to assess performance and delivery of service. And we passed with flying colours!

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, said, “ is to be congratulated on becoming the first VisitEngland Quality Accredited Agency in London. More…



Ministero del Gusto, Marrakech

23 Apr , 2012   Gallery

Ministero del Gusto, Marrakech

Hidden behind an unremarkable wooden door in the heart of Marrakech’s Medina lies the extraordinary house of Italian design duo Fabrizio Bizarri and Alessandra Lippini. Mention their names among the growing number of foreigners who are making Marrakech their home, and they will inevitably be greeted with nods of recognition and smiles of friendship. For the Europeans who have settled in Marrakech are a close-knit bunch, united by shared appreciation of the Moroccan way of life. In their ten years in Morocco, the two designers have become regular fixtures of the Medina. But, if the locals have grown accustomed to Fabrizio and Alessandra, you cannot help but wonder what they would make of their creation; the Ministero del Gusto.


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Reasons To Be Cheerful: Visit London in 2012

20 Mar , 2012  

A bit of grin and bear it, A bit of come and share it, You’re welcome, we can spare it…

London Olympics transport chaos

Business as usual or chaos? Nobody seems to have mentioned that ‘business as usual’ in London is predicated on chaos. A finely tuned state of perpetual disaster to be averted at the last moment. It has been this way forever and the 2012 Olympics will be the latest beneficiary of London’s great talent for bodging, improvisation and unexpected moments of transcendence. I expect Londoners to spend the next six months complaining about collapsing transport infrastructure, high-handed IOC officialdom, a downturn in trade for much of the capital, and the fact that none of us got tickets.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Afterwards, they will remember the buzz, the amazing events that popped up all over the city during 2012, and the Dunkirk Spirit that accompanied each successive cock-up. I also predict a shortage of barbecue charcoal as City traders working from home finally discover that men are able to multitask, especially with a nice cold Chablis. More…

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The London Bus: Heatherwick, Maps, and Apps

27 Feb , 2012  

The new London Boris bus made it’s public debut on route 38 this morning in an eventful and not entirely wrinkle-free outing. It was stalked through the streets by a venerable old routemaster carrying protesters against the recent fare increases which continue London’s fine tradition of being one of the most expensive capital cities for public transport.
The bus itself looks spiffing; Thomas Heatherwick has done a terrific job of balancing the conflicting requirements and yet produced an iconic vehicle which seems to have met near-complete approval. Did notice a lot of condensation, though, possibly from hyperventilating LT staff.
I will write more about the bus, Heatherwicks’s recent lecture, and bus stuff in general, when I get back…

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Trafalgar Sun by Greyworld [Public Art]

24 Jan , 2012  

'Trafalgar Sun' installation by Greyworld, Trafalgar Square, London WC2

The sun had set 20 minutes earlier and the Number 24 bus lumbered up Whitehall towards a glowing orange ball of fire burning just behind Nelson’s Column. The new Sun was courtesy of Greyworld who seemed to think that a 2500kg balloon consuming 210kW in order to emit 4-million lumens of sodium-discharge light, for one day only, would add a cheerful spark to (statistically) the most depressing day of the year.

I asked them, ‘Why on earth did you do it?’ More…

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