The new V&A Exhibition Road Quarter in picture

Last night saw the opening of V&A Exhibition Road Quarter – the much-anticipated new addition to my favourite London gallery. The work of Amanda Levete and her architecture practice AL_A, it includes a dramatic entrance onto Exhibition Road, and an impressive courtyard that celebrates the V&A’s storied past. New spaces for exhibitions include the Sainsbury... Read More

Radical design: Creatives at the frontline for change

Bertolt Brecht wrote: ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.’ I grew up surrounded by politics. Raised in Iran at the height of its turbulent years, it was impossible not to be. Later, as an adolescent cocooned in the sanctuary of Europe, I rejected it all for I saw my life in the creative world where politics, seemingly, had... Read More

The young, spirited voices changing darkness into light

This weekend over 600 cities around the world took to the streets to protest against the aggressively nationalist and populist politics that has found its voice so explicitly in Donald Trump and his blatantly deluded supporters. Organised to coincide with his first day as US president, the Women’s March has got to be one of the most spontaneous and spirited demonstrations... Read More

2016: Dark politics, sad losses, creative moments

It certainly has been an eventful year. The more liberal minded of us have been shaken by recent politics – by the rise of populism and support for fascist leaders around the world. This has been a year when research and fact checking, intellectual debate, clear thought, the truth have been brushed aside, ridiculed even, to be replaced by pure fiction. It’s been a year when... Read More

Exploring the narrative of shopping

I try to shop locally, favouring smaller groceries, the butchers and fishmonger, fruit and veg markets, the independent bookstore and the few boutiques in my neighbourhood who support smaller designers. It involves a little more effort trekking from shop to shop and navigating crowded markets in the rain, but the experience is hugely rewarding. Each one of these establishments... Read More

The new Design Museum opens in Kensington

‘Design is about optimism,’ offers sir Terence Conran, ‘and this friendly space is full of surprises. It is about love rather than fear. I hope we can educate and inspire generations to come,’ says the founder of the Design Museum. Heartfelt words in these politically dark times. We are being treated to a preview of the museum’s much anticipated new premise in Kensington,... Read More

Highlights of 2016 London Design Festival

Urban life requires a little creative navigation. We benefit from the vibrancy of the city, and experience its diverse communities. Yet city living is noisy – physically, emotionally, mentally it can be a chaotic cocktail at times. Added to this, with many of us working away from the office desk, our work/life patterns have evolved to be so much less linear than they used... Read More

London Design Biennale debuts with ‘Utopia By Design’

I’m sitting in the magnificent Somerset House courtyard overlooking Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s towering navy sculpture that moves ever-so-slowly to the nudge of the September wind. Forecast explores Britain’s rich maritime history and its involvement with the development of wind energy. Created by the local designer duo with the help of the V&A Museum and engineering... Read More

Saul Bass: poster art and movie title design

Saul Bass created some of the most memorable opening title sequences in film history. The American graphic artist introduced a minimalist style – a unique blend of simple type, stop-frame animation and intriguing symbolism. Graphics come to life under his direction. They are animated, they move, they incorporate image, text and credits. Bass gets his graphics to perform... Read More

Superwoman: Work, Build and Don’t Whine

Women were instrumental in forming the Soviet Union, and in the years following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution they gained considerable rights. A new Soviet man had been conceived around this time – one who was more in keeping with a new country and fresh ideologies –  learned, healthy, muscular, less chauvinistic, less Russian in fact to represent the new Soviet collective. Logically,... Read More