Thursday, 18 September 2014

Back to School

Next week I start a masters (in Curating Design - hooray!) so this week I'm combining visiting London Design Festival with back to school shopping. Already I've managed to stock up on a few things so once I finally buy a school bag I'll have plenty to put in it :)

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Coolest Charity Shop

While visiting Ealing as part of my History of Architecture course we came across Mary's Living and Giving, one of the coolest charity shops I've EVER SEEN. Charity shops in west London can often be pretty great, as west London's full of rich people who buy high quality things and then get rid of them soon after (a complete and utter generalisation I know, but you do stand to find some top notch stuff this side of the city...). But Mary's Living and Giving goes a step further by employing clever design to present their amazing stock to great effect. RCA interior design students Naomi Grieve and Flett Bertram used swathes of coloured fabric, plumbing pipes and filament bulbs to create a unique and inviting space, giving the shop a trendy boutiquey feel. It's unlike any other charity shop I've been to and it's well worth a visit if you find yourself on that end of the Central line...

Friday, 12 September 2014

More Short Course Mayhem: History of Architecture

Big Ben and Portcullis House, Westminster

I recently took a 5 day course in History of Architecture and Interiors at Chelsea College of Arts, which didn't actually take place in the college. Instead, we spent 5 days roaming the streets of London and travelling to the city's outer zones to experience England's classical architecture first hand. While at times learning about classicism is like eating vegetables for a modern and contemporary enthusiast such as myself (very good for me, but not the most appealing thing), the course was really informative, interesting and enjoyable. We began our travels at the Banqueting House at Whitehall, the first classical building in England, designed by Inigo Jones in 1619, and finished in Sir John Soane's Museum to see his amazing Regency-era experiments from 1792 to 1824. In between we visited country houses in Ealing, Marble Hill, Chiswick and Osterley, the Royal Society of Arts, Somerset House, Greenwich and St Paul's Cathedral. We learned an incredible amount and I took a HEAP of photographs. Here are some of the highlights, giving you a TINY flavour of what I saw...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Irish Architecture is Taking Over the World

Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at LSE, London by O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects

Irish architecture has never before enjoyed the international profile it has gained in the past number of years. In 2008 Grafton Architects won the inaugural World Building of the Year award for their Università commerciale Luigi Bocconi building in Milan and won the Silver Lion for their contribution to David Chipperfield's Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012. Heneghan Peng have won international competitions to design major museum buildings such as the Palestinian Museum, the Grand Epyptian Building and the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow. London-based Níall McLaughlin was the favourite for last year's Stirling Prize (in a shortlist that was 50% Irish) and was recently announced as the architect of a new extension to London's Natural History Museum. In 2012 O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects were awarded Icon magazine's Architecture Practice of the Year and recently were announced as being on this year's Stirling Prize shortlist for their Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at LSE, their fifth appearance on the shortlist. Younger practices regularly feature in the Architectural Review Awards, the Wallpaper* Architects Directory and other international barometers. Why is that? Why now?!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Michael Dignam's Print Fund

Fragments (Orange) by Michael Dignam

Michael Dignam is an Irish artist on a mission: he has a place on Goldsmiths' Masters of Fine Art course here in London and needs some more dough to ensure he can afford to study and live in London for the next two years (this city is damn expensive, BELIEVE ME). He has created a series of limited edition prints at Damn Fine Print in Dublin and by buying one you'll be supporting Michael's studies: a pretty worthy cause, is it not? Not only that, but the prints are pretty beautiful: exploring Dublin's architecture and playing with geometry (hello, triangles!), they'd look good on anyone's wall. Now, which one to choose...