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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