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

Designed in the USSR: 1950-1989

Soviet design at its peak between 1950 to 1989 was dynamic, different and complex. On the one side were consumer and domestic products for daily use. Then there was a rather more controlled side to design directed by the state which impacted on advertising, film posters and educational literature. The Soviet Union’s isolation helped create a bit of a design bubble, yet there was a certain image of the USSR created largely for the international... Read More

The new Audi A7, a polished and precise mobile tech gadget

The A7 Sportback, Audi’s second-generation grand touring luxury coupé, is a graceful car and a polished example of industrial design. It is a highly technical mobile gadget too, offering the latest driver-assist innovations and a fully digital cockpit. It is also fun to drive. Read my full review in Wallpaper* #gallery-4 { margin: auto; } #gallery-4 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width:... Read More

V&A review: Ocean Liners: Speed & Style

In the 1942 movie Now, Voyager, Bette Davis takes a lengthy cruise that transforms her life. In the 1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell sing and dance their way to Europe. Then (in my favourite of all), Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr fall madly in love drifting quietly to Europe in 1957’s An Affair to Remember. And, of course, there is James Cameron’s Titanic. Hollywood has long sought to capture the charm of ocean... Read More

Insight: Karim Habib on Infiniti design

“We are trying to create a new design philosophy based on people and experience, and I was imaging the interior space around the movement of humans,” reveals executive design director Karim Habib on his vision for Infiniti. Read the full interview here. #gallery-6 { margin: auto; } #gallery-6 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 25%; } #gallery-6 img { border:... 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

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

La Vita Campari tells the story of Campari

Davide Campari was a fascinating character. In the early years of the 20th century the company heir set out to explore the potentials of art and ideas in creating a strong, global brand. Eschewing conventions, he joined Milan’s artistic circles, becoming intimately linked with the avant-garde who helped create product design such as the brilliant Campari Soda bottle, daring poster art and advertising – design that were hugely radical... Read More

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