Saturday, 22 September 2012

Lloyd's Building - Open House 2012

If you happened to see massive queues around the City of London during the weekend on 22nd and 23rd they were not for the iPhone 5 release but for the Open House London 2012. Many buildings, institutions and places that are usually closed to the public opened up for this event, hence the queues. From many structures old and new, big and small, tall and short, we have chosen the Lloyd’s Building. Structure which is the most modern 1st grade listed building in UK.

It is self explanatory that the building is resided by Lloyd’s, an insurance market set up in 1700s which originally insured ships (most famous was Titanic, which brought one of the biggest losses to the company) but branched out in 20th century insuring various matters, from damages caused by earthquakes to other insurance companies to Betty Grable’s legs and Bruce Springsteen’s voice.

But, the true genius of this building lies in the way Lord Richard Rogers exposed all the services of the building. What other architects always try to cover he showcased. Drain, water, air conditioning, pipes are all on the open, structural aspects like concrete floor frames and columns of the building are also on the show and finally I’m getting to the LIFTS. I have written this in capital letters for a reason. First of their kind in the UK. They provide magnificent views across London and once you enter one its difficult to get off. You just want to go up and down, up and down. The photographs made by Ewa describe the feeling perfectly. 

Lloyd's building model

View from the lift

The Adam Room - designed by Robert Adam in 1763 as part of Bowood House. Lloyd's originally just wanted fireplace but after the auction of the contents of the estate, came back with the whole room"

Sunday, 16 September 2012

RIBA – The Regent Street Windows Project 2012

We came to know about this project, roughly in April, when researching for one of our university assignments. The requirement of this assignment was also to create an architectural blog on which we would represent the development of our projects. We published this article on that blog in April.

This project combined two of our interests: architecture and window display design. The two fields in which both of us want to start our careers. The tour, we are about to describe, was concluded with a drink at Living Room Restaurant followed by goodie bags in which we got a gift that is probably the most relevant thing to this tour and that is a book ‘Regent Street A Mile Of Style’ by Hermione Hobhouse which we highly recommend to read. 

Now we are reblogging this article because it is worthy of reading and of course attending it next year as it is an annual event. 

This project was introduced by RIBA in 2010 to encourage shoppers to promenade along Regent Street from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus as it was originally intended by the architect, John Nash. RIBA engages a group of London based architects and pairs them with best known retailers including: Banana Republic, Bose, Reiss, Ferrari, Anthropologie, Folli Follie, Moss Bros and T. M. Lewin to create a collection of architect designed shop window installations.
The installations were unveiled on 16th April and will be on display until 6th May. We also went on a tour lead by Antonia Faust, on 22 April, to get some insights of the project and details of installations. This year the theme was ‘Play’ and additionally architects had specific guidelines from the retailers as to what theinstallation should represent. Some were given a little bit more freedom.
Banana Republic gave a lot of freedom to Ushida Findlay Architects. They were also assigned a generously spacious window in which they created a splash-like form that captures a frozen moment in time. It was made from melted eco-resin combined with plastic animal toys. It aims to revoke childhood memories of play whilst representing Banana Republic’s Safari collection. Budget for this display was £5 000.

Ferrari’s window, in partnership with Felix & Merlin, represented a turbulent pattern of test Ferrari Wind Tunnel one of first wind tunnels ever built to experiment with aerodynamics of their products and vehicles. The outline of iconic formula 1 and Gran Truismo car made from perspex is lit up by red light. In both outlines a red cloth is blown along the vehicles to represent smoke used to see the path of the wind in the wind tunnel.

The design for Bose was a difficult task, 00:/ architects wanted to visually represent the products without just displaying the products on a plinth or shelf. They wanted to convey an experience of sound in Co-Mute installation based in iconic setting and audio environment of london underground. Sounds resemble the noises and voices on the approach to the tube to Oxford Circus station. The installation invites the customers to come in, plug in and play. It is made from laser cut plywood coated in white. The cutting took 1 day and the assembly half a day. Budget for the installation £3 000. Ewa’s personal favourite.

Reiss’s design by De Matos Ryan represents a kaleidoscopic space which blurs interaction between passerby and the mannequin to attract attention to the concealed II grade listed interior of the retail unit.

Grot Scott worked with Anthropologie to create a geometric, colorful, hedge-like form to resemble patterned and printed designs of the retailer. Twisted vertical timber slats, coated in yellows and greens are repeated throughout the window and hug the mannequins. The installation was constructed by Anthropologies own window dressers in the workshop they have instore. The assembly took 1 week and it was conducted in front of the customers. The Budget for this design is £400.

Liddicoat & Goldhill mixed the theme of ‘play’ with T. M. Lewin concept of ‘performance’. London’s skyline plays the field for cluster of serene origami balloons. They used the shirtmaker’s fabrics which are woven and sewn entirely by the retailer. Consulted by a specialist tailor on company’s folding and cutting techniques, fabrics were patterned and reshaped into high flying lanterns.

Studio Egret Scott teemed up with Folli Follie and came up with a playful smoke-like rings which suspends a variety of retailers products. The organic shapes of the installation artistically leads the eye to the back of the store. The project ends on 6th May but this design might be kept by Folli Follie as it works with the companies image and draws shoppers attention to the products included in the window display. Even though, Folli Follie were generous with the budget of £10 000 the architects achieved great design coming under budget and spending £6 000.

Moss Bros cooperated with Delvendahl Martin Architects who came up with a design of distortion by the perception of depth and perspective. The design was experimented with by range of models and it was a result of consultations with student engineers. Using 10.5 km of cotton thread the architects stitched the edges of the window with outline of a bust creating three display spaces for main Moss Bros products. The cotton thread recalls the raw materials of garments, the loom-based manufacturing of cloth and the craftsmanship of Moss Bespoke service. Budget for this installation was £3 000. Bart’s personal favourite.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

London Fashion's Night Out - 06/09/2012

There are many events, things and happenings in London. Though, lately our focus was concentrated in Mayfair. Bond Street to be precise, where for the first time we had more serious contact with fashion at Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. 

The event was preceded by a proverbial ‘pint’ outside a tiny pub on narrow Avery Row after work. We started the night with Aspinal of London, who are known for their leather goods. We spent most of our time there admiring their products and socialising with other fans of this sophisticated brand. The store was also visited by Made in Chelsea stars. Unfortunately we did not take pictures, so here are some photos from the official photographer. 

Later, while strolling down Bond Street, we visited Fenwick, Salvatore Fergamo, Swing dancing in front of Herm├Ęs and Victoria’s Secret but most striking, apart from Aspinal, was Warhol/Mauro exhibition at Halcyon Gallery which we will tell more of in the next article…

Trench Coat - Kenneth Cole
Top - vintage
Leather skirt - vintage
Shoes - Next
Sack Bag - Vintage Prada
Scarf - Madonna for H&M