Tokyo to Paris: a car as an expression of David Bowie

This is a brilliantly curious project. ‘A portrait of db’ is a sort of art car, created as an expression of David Bowie and his life and music. It is also a tribute to the singer-songwriter following his death in 2016. Yet the story happens to begin some 21 years ago in Tokyo with a young Takumi Yamamoto, the former Citroën designer responsible for GranTurismo‘s GT by Citroën. ‘A portrait of db’ will come alive... Read More

Best new books on architecture and design for 2018

Once-upon-a-time design theory was considered art history’s inferior sibling – a bit of a side-subject. When in 1989 Terence Conran and Stephen Bayley opened the doors to the cubic white Design Museum at Shad Thames, it was such a revelation. Finally, the applied arts were given a platform to talk. Some years later I recall my excitement at discovering a university course in Design History that promised to dissect and analyse the subject... Read More

London Design Festival highlights at the V&A

The London creative season is in full swing with London Design Biennale at Somerset House and London Design Festival spread to almost every corner of this great city. The hub at the V&A is possibly the best place to get a feel for the more conceptual work. The festival is celebrating its sixteenth birthday as well as its tenth year collaborating with the museum. For 2018 it is bigger, bolder, more international, and a vibrant start to... Read More

Driving towards the progressive future

This is an exciting time to be involved in the car industry. As the new chapter in the story of the automobile unfolds, it faces and, to some extent, embraces fundamental changes. Despite some cynicism and a degree of denial amongst hard-edge traditionalists, changes are happening and the general reaction is positive. It is hard not to find parallels with the murky world of today’s politics where progressive ideas are also shunned by those... Read More

Design Museum presents the rebel couturier Azzedine Alaïa

‘I make clothes, women make fashion,’ said Azzedine Alaïa famously. He was the fashion world’s outsider, the rebel couturier, some would argue the last real couturier for he made everything himself and to perfection. Alaïa oversaw the construction of each and every one of his commissioned garments. He was highly skilled as a designer and technician, and he would almost always allow the material, often advanced technical fabrics, to speak... Read More

Book review: FuturBalla, Life Light Speed

I have long been intrigued by the Italian futurists. Radical in its early days, the movement was fascinated by progress, speed, modernity. When researching The Life Negroni, we travelled around Italy in search of arts and ideas, of elements that make this classic cocktail so timeless and so special. We soon realised how interlinked the Negroni is with this creative movement when we came across the rich futurist archives at the homes of Campari... 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

Senna by McLaren: When design follows performance

McLaren Automotive‘s latest car is Senna, a driver-focused road-legal track car that pushes the limits of vehicle design. It will be built in very limited numbers at the Foster-designed factory in England next year. I was lucky to be treated to a sneak preview of this car earlier in the week, and it really is very, very special. Read my full review here. #gallery-9 { margin: auto; } #gallery-9 .gallery-item { float:... Read More

Giles Taylor on the design of Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

Rolls-Royce revealed Phantom VIII in July, and I was fortunate to drive the car earlier this month. This is an incredibly important product for the marque, since Phantoms don’t get to be designed and engineered from the ground up very often – in fact the Phantom has been reborn only eight times in its 92 years, when Sir Henry Royce conceived the first model in 1925. Since, the world’s wealthy, powerful and famous have owned Phantoms.... Read More

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