Art,Event

A Wicked Weekend in Hackney [Hackney Wicked 2011]

29 Jul , 2011  

Wallis Gallery, Hackney Wicked Art Festival, Hackney Wick, London E9

I’m off to Hackney Wicked. Hope the sun keeps shin­ing and really hope it’s as good as last year…

Download the offi­cial 2011 map (2Mb PDF).

I’ll post new pho­tos and info when I get back. In the mean­time:

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Architecture

Maison Bulle by Antti Lovag & Pierre Cardin

23 Jul , 2011  

Maison Bulle by Antti Lovag and Pierre Cardin

Maison Bulle (Palais Bulle) has to be one of the most extraordin­ary houses on the planet. Sitting on the side of a cliff just out­side Nice, the label ‘vis­ion­ary’ becomes instantly apro­pos the moment you hear the owner’s name — it is none other than the legendary French fash­ion designer, Pierre Cardin…

Maison Bulle by Antti Lovag: Bedroom

Crawling the inter­web for back­ground to an edit­or­ial about organic archi­tects, I chanced upon Antti Lovag and his unique vis­ion of what liv­ing space should be. This would would make a good art­icle to con­trast with the white and glass rect­angles we were doing a lot of on Spaces magazine, but it seemed a long shot; there were no con­tact details and few facts about this elu­sive archi­tect.

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Photography,Property

How to get your property photographed beautifully [styling]

19 Jul , 2011  

Home styling for the complete novice

You’ve decided to let out your prop­erty for short-term hol­i­day rent­als while you head for the sun­shine, and the agency is send­ing over a pho­to­grapher to do some spiffy pics. As a rent-vir­gin, you are not sure what to expect and per­haps a trifle uneasy about splash­ing pho­tos of your intim­ate sanc­tu­ary all over the inter­webs. However, the suc­cess of your rental, and there­fore the exot­ic­ness of your own hol­i­day, is in dir­ect pro­por­tion to the attract­ive­ness of your prop­erty, so how to you make the most out of what you’ve got? I’m a part­ner at posh London agency AccommodateLondon.com so I thought some prac­tical guid­ance would be use­ful:

Q: By spooky coin­cid­ence, we booked your pho­to­grapher to come on laun­dry day. Is it okay to leave the house fes­tooned with knick­ers and damp track­suit bot­toms?
A: No. Unless you have booked a super-model to wear them, please hide all extraneous under­gar­ments and cloth­ing.

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Homes,Property

A home from home for Wimbledon tennis stars [Press]

10 Jun , 2011  

Wimbledon homes for tennis stars

Have you had any inter­est­ing things left behind?’ Well, ten­nis balls, old train­ers, healthy food­stuffs; Joanna is strug­gling for some­thing note­worthy to say. ‘And some splen­did for­eign lan­guage adult magazines’, she fin­ishes with a tri­umphant flour­ish. I kick her under the table but the plaster cast on her broken leg is a sub­stan­tial con­struc­tion, cour­tesy of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, and she feels not a thing.

We had picked up Reuters ten­nis cor­res­pond­ent Pritha Sarkar from the road­works dis­aster that is cur­rently Wimbledon Station and spent the day vis­it­ing the houses that would become home for the stars of the centre court. It didn’t help that Joanna’s leg was propped up on the dash­board of the Mini, or that I was doing the driv­ing for the first time in a few years.

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Architecture

Midnight at  the Oasis: Laurie Chetwood at London Architecture Biennale 2006

24 May , 2011  

Laurie Chetwood's Urban Oasis at LFA 2006

It’s called Urban Oasis. On first impres­sion, that’s an odd descrip­tion for this 35 foot sculp­ture sit­ting in the heart of London’s Clerkenwell Green. It could just as eas­ily be described as an alien wind machine. Designed by archi­tect Laurie Chetwood, this eco-friendly tree-like struc­ture has provided wel­come relief from the heat and stress of over­heated London life of late. It has a wind tur­bine on the top and ‘branches’ which open and close with the sun. These branches gen­er­ate power from the attached solar cells. The branches also col­lect whatever rain water is avail­able and uses it in turn to irrig­ate plants encased in their own test tubes.

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Design,Photography

A simple division of time and space [photoshoot at The Wapping Project]

23 May , 2011  

Shelflife bookshelf at The Wapping Project, London - sprks.com

I shot this double page spread at the end of a long fash­ion and design shoot at The Wapping Project in the East of London. Charles Trevelyan arrived in a transit with his huge, slanted book­shelf sport­ing and integ­rated chair; def­in­itely cut on the bias, this one. Lucy and Hannah had sourced a great selec­tion of products at very short notice and we set the whole thing up against the old pump­ing machinery in the back of the res­taur­ant area in an hour, which was all we had before the evening’s diners arrived.

Shelflife book­shelf and Titanic lamp by Charles Trevelyan at Viable. Hoch Tassen glasses, Milkii milk jug all from Places and Spaces. Squint fab­ric covered teapot, Liberty. Drink Me lamp, Pint glass vase, candle holder, gob­let and ash­tray, Emiko Oki. Cyclone lim­ited edi­tion bowl, Orrefors. Orange Slice chair in Horses Stampede fab­ric, Giant cup and sau­cer, Flames gas can­de­labra, Places and Spaces. Based Upon The Grain titanium din­ing table, Based Upon.

Photo: © 2007 Ken Sparkes. Stylist: Lucy Wetton  Assistant Stylist: Hannah Gostlow  Shot on location at The Wapping Project for Spaces magazine 2007. All Rights Reserved

 

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Travel

Puglia: The White City of Ostuni [travel]

18 Apr , 2011  

The bril­liant white town of Ostuni has attrac­ted vis­it­ors for cen­tur­ies but has always been con­sidered a little off the beaten track. That all looks set to change.

Puglia: Architecture near Ostuni

Down on Italy’s heel, Puglia has never been on most people’s hol­i­day radar although pop­u­lar with Italian fam­il­ies who come here to relax, eat good simple food and gen­er­ally get away from it all. A sort of anti­dote to la bella figura. It has a chequered his­tory, either being fought over by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Longobards, Arabs and Normans, or simply being left to its own, mainly agri­cul­tural, devices. Now, Puglia has seen dra­matic growth as a poten­tial south­ern coun­ter­part of Tuscan Chiantishire, fuelled by Ryanair’s cheap flights to Bari and Brindisi, the lure of its incred­ible archi­tec­ture and unique, vibrant cul­ture.

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Event,London

The Royal Wedding 2011 user guide

17 Apr , 2011  

Here in the UK, feel­ings about the Royal Wedding has been typ­ic­ally equi­vocal. Our media seem hes­it­ant to take a mean­ing­ful edit­or­ial stance, pre­fer­ring to focus on Ms Middleton’s dress or nutty local coun­cil rul­ings on the height of bunt­ing. Among the Great Unwashed we find opin­ion waver­ing some­where between mild approval of the extra hol­i­day and, um, warm approval of the extra hol­i­day.

'Thanks for the day off' royal wedding plate

You will need to plan your wed­ding to ensure a ful­filling, hitch-free day. If you’re going to watch it on TV then you need do little more than stock up on Duchy Originals Gooseberry Posset. For those intend­ing to see it in the flesh, here are some use­ful resources.

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Architecture

Honey, I Shrunk the House: Tim Pyne’s Prefab m-house

16 Apr , 2011   Gallery

This is m-house in it’s nat­ural hab­itat; a bit of use­less waste ground which costs vir­tu­ally noth­ing to rent. If plan­ners could get their heads round the idea that you don’t have to wreck the envir­on­ment to provide hous­ing, there are thou­sands of sites in the UK like this which could be made into homes.

Tim Pyne's m-house

We’re not sure what to call it: is it a classy cara­van or an ultra-chic pad with wheels? The dis­tinc­tion is the m-house’s raison d’etre and it’s greatest obstacle. Tim Pyne wanted a house on a bit of Essex estu­ary but was told he could only have a mobile home. Something on wheels, below a cer­tain size, which arrives on site in no more than two big pieces. The plan­ning laws do not, how­ever, say that it had to be flimsy or look tacky so, together with Michael Howe of mae archi­tects, he has pro­duced a 2-bed­room, 900 sq foot designer home that is totally com­plete and can be assembled in a day with min­imal plan­ning per­mis­sion.

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