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 Gallery, Sackler Courtyard and Blavatnik Hall. The scheme has taken... Read More

Learning from the exotic Lamborghini Countach

A couple of years ago, whilst researching our book The Life Negroni, I asked Adrian van Hooydonk what is his favourite car design of all time. The BMW creative boss immediately responded: Marcello Gandini’s Lamborghini Countach. Of course he would, for this 1970s icon is too gloriously exotic for words. Here in an interview, the Lamborghini design director Mitja Borkert tells me the Countach remains a great informer of the Italian supercar... 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 little relevance. Now, as Europe peddles into the deep dark waters of... Read More

Tehran, Esfahan, Kashan – a road trip in picture

The road connecting Tehran to Esfahan cuts through the arid Dasht-e Kavir. We drive for hours in silence absorbing its raw beauty. The contrast on entering Esfahan is enormous. The former capital under the Safavids instantly seduces with its delicate poetic charm, rich architectural heritage and leafy boulevards. As does neighbouring Kashan, the kings’ vacation spot, where we stop for lunch enjoying an unforgettable meal of tah-cheen, prepared... Read More

The Afterlife of Emerson Tang

There was so much to admire about Modernism. The art, architecture, design, the ideology of the early part of the last century informed our contemporary life. The automobile, the personal motorcar, too has been pivotal to our modern existence. To find new ways of living in a world that is so very different to that of the last century, one with its own pressing needs, requires not only an understanding of the past but the willingness to let go.... Read More

100 Ways to Create a Great Ad…

… and a 100 Ideas That Changed the Web Two new books landed on our doorstep the other day: 100 Ways to Create a Great Ad and 100 Ideas that Changed the Web. As their names suggest, they act as introductions as well as excellent reference books for creatives involved in these areas. As we all know, a great ad – well in print format anyway – is basically the marriage of clever copywriting with strong visuals. Here author, Tim Collins,... Read More

Bicycle Design

Bicycles are having quite a renaissance especially in cities where the car is no longer seen as the most efficient form of transport. Apart from the obvious environmental, financial and health benefits, two-wheels can offer a novel way of navigating urban and rural settings. You discover so much more pedalling your way around. Gently cycling in the countryside, as I was to discover on a recent trip to a little island in the Mediterranean, allows... Read More

Preview: 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale

Next week sees the start of the Venice Architecture Biennale, curated this year by the outspoken Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The chosen guiding topic is Fundamentals with all 66 national pavilions exhibiting responding to a theme. Koolhaas’ concern is that over the last century national characteristics in architecture have given way to a more universal language resulting in somewhat homogeneous architecture. At Venice he has asked countries... Read More

William Morris Gallery to reopen

The William Morris Gallery has been renovated with new gallery space to accommodate the comprehensive collection of work by one of the principal creative artists and thinkers of the nineteenth century. Born in London in 1834, Morris was a founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, supporter of the Pre-Raphaelites, a socialist pioneer, designer, craftsman and visionary. The collection housed here is the only one in the world to represent all aspects... Read More

Mad Men: Mid-Century Ads

Our fascination with the slick, sexy and at times seedy world of advertising in the 50s and 60s has been noticeably heightened with the compulsive US television series Mad Men. Watching the handsome Don Draper oozing slickness on a film set – that has most of us mid-century design lovers oozing envy – is addictive viewing. A new book has set out to celebrate the creative work of real life Don Drapers – ad men of the age of the ‘big... Read More

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