Radical Essex: A complex county of raw beauty and modernism

‘Essex is neither part of East Anglia, nor one of the Home Counties; it contains both radical and conservative elements, and is therefore open to all possibilities,’ writes architectural critic Ken Worpole in Radical Essex. Sitting on the edge of east London, a rural refuge for much of the cockney diaspora, it certainly gets its fair share of crude stereotyping, and mockery – think The Only Way is Essex, spray tans and excessive... Read More

Serpentine Pavilion 2018 by Frida Escobedo

This is the 18th Serpentine Pavilion, the temporary installation appearing each summer in London’s Kensington Gardens. It is the work of Frida Escobedo, a complex and fascinating architect with a small studio in Mexico concerned with reactivating urban spaces. In Hyde Park, her practice imagines a courtyard of light, water and geometry. It takes the form of an enclosed courtyard, with two rectangular volumes positioned at an angle. The... Read More

MINI Living and Studiomama propose a micro-city in Milan

This is the latest in the MINI Living series, exhibited in Milan as part of Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone. The project investigates how a new approach to design can improve urban life and, in the process, examines how the marque can evolve from being simply a car brand. The idea is to collaborate with various architects – different voices for different projects. For Milan, MINI worked with London architect Studiomama for Built by All,... Read More

Marvin Rand captures south California’s unique modernism

Los Angeles was a kind of utopian dream in the mid-twentieth century. The sunny southern Californian city had attracted an open-minded set – experimental filmmakers, independent artists, writers and patrons of design came here for it offered freedom of expression. This coupled with urban growth and industrial expansion led to a period of exceptional architectural innovation. Marvin Rand was there to capture this spirit. Throughout the post-war... Read More

Lee Ufan’s Relatum – Stage opens at Serpentine Galleries

Once-upon-a-time ‘Rock on Top of Another Rock’ lived in Kensington Gardens Hyde Park outside the Serpentine Galleries. The public sculpture by Swiss artist Fischli & Weiss stayed here until a few years ago, its public life prolonged for its popularity, and it made me smile every time I walked, jogged, or ran past it. It was so simple and so perfect for this magical little corner of London. As seasons changed so did these seemingly... Read More

SOS Brutalism explores the radical movement

Simple block shapes made of raw concrete – this is how brutalism has come to be defined. Yet behind these concrete buildings – some poetic and sculptural – lay a movement with strong principles. New brutalism was controversial the moment it emerged on the architectural scene in the 1950s. It deliberately set out to be hard edged and radical. Progressive social ideals informed much of its thinking. Ironically brutalist building design is... Read More

2017: A year in design, cars and their intersection

It has been quite a year in design. London alone is buzzing away with creative energy – at times impossible to keep up with the number of festivals, exhibitions, talks, walks… Perhaps as a reaction to the current political and social climate, there appears to be much more open discussions around arts and ideas – platforms for encouraging wider dialogues. It got me thinking that perhaps a little nudge – in this case a painful... Read More

Richard Rogers reflects on his life in architecture

‘A Place for All People’ begins in July of 1971. Narrated by Richard Rogers, it is a passionate tale of a young British architect and his friend and colleague Renzo Piano, and their sheer surprise at winning the Centre Pompidou  competition with their brilliantly left-field entry which had at its heart Rogers’ philosophy of adaptability, affordability and colour. It lit up and brought cultural life to an otherwise run-down Paris neighbourhood.... Read More

Design exhibition: The Future Starts Here

‘The future is up for grabs,’ according to Rory Hyde, co-curator of The Future Starts Here, an upcoming exhibition at London’s V&A which sets out to explore the power of design to shape the world of tomorrow. ‘This is not a speculative show,’ he warns me at the preview this morning. Rather this exhibition, which has taken two years to research – working with architects, designers, scientists, inventors around the world –... Read More

Highlights of London Design Festival 2017

The creative industries are worth close to £90bn a year to the economy, offering some three million jobs here. It is a ‘serious, big, wealth-earning and reputation-enhancing’ sector, Sir John Sorrell told the Financial Times this weekend. These numbers came back to me as the London Design Festival (16-24 September) kicked off bringing colour and creativity to pockets of this dynamic city. In its fifteenth year, LDF is expecting some 350,000... Read More

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