Decorated cats on Heal’s Cat Design Trail

Heal's Cat trailCats – that’s a good start. Elegant elongated cats and a spiral staircase to boot – even better. Heal’s in Tottenham Court Road know this. They’ve had a cat guarding their Cecil Brewer staircase since 1916, a slim elegant feline perched on a window ledge surveying all that passes. Now, to celebrate the staircase’s centenary, they’ve commissioned ten designers to decorate replicas of their cat, and the results couldn’t be more different. Continue reading

God’s own Junkyard – where Neon never Dies

God's own JunkyardWalthamstow is full of secrets. Who’d have thought that this quiet suburb at the end of the Victoria Line would turn out to be home not only to the William Morris Gallery but possibly the most unusual arthouse you’ll ever visit – a cavernous shed lined with neon signs, gloriously jammed together in no particular order, all fully lit and fighting for your attention.  Continue reading

Flying fish and warring roses – what kind of bank is this?

Lloyds Bank Law courts BranchThe thing about London is, stuff gets reused. Buildings get reused. There used to be a restaurant at Aldwych called Bank because, you guessed it, the building used to be a bank. And the most fantastical bank in town used to be a restaurant.  Continue reading

Missoni at the Fashion and Textile Museum

IMG_3073Back in the 1950’s Ottavio and Rosita Missoni did something remarkable – they made machine-knitted fabric into cutting edge fashion. Their company, founded in 1953, brought together Ottavio’s love of art, design and colour with Rosita’s understanding of fashion to create an eclectic combination of colour and style – one that’s been sought after ever since. This summer there’s an exhibition of their work at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey so Yannick and I went to take a look. Continue reading

William Morris – artist, designer, socialist, Walthamstow resident

IMG_2199It’s not quite what you expect to find in Walthamstow; a major gallery devoted to one of the most significant designers of the nineteenth century. But that’s where the William Morris Gallery is located, in the house where Morris, who was born in Walthamstow in 1834, lived with his widowed mother and his eight brothers and sisters from the age of fourteen until he was twenty-two. Continue reading

Overwhelmed by Opulence at the V&A European Galleries

Meissen table fountain 1745 V&AThe V&A have been redoing their Europe 1600 to 1815 Galleries for ages. So long, in fact, that we were beginning to think that they would never reopen. But, just before Christmas they did, and Yannick and I rushed down to take a look. The new galleries hold over a thousand objects of 17th and 18th century European art and design in a suite of seven galleries, including some of the most magnificent works held by the V&A. Continue reading

Litre of Light at Lumière London 2016

Litres of LightLumière London, a spectacular light show that’s lighting up London for just four days, from 14th to 17th January, has turned out to be a massive success, with overcrowding by Lumière crowds forcing the closure of King’s Cross Station last night.  Lumière is a display of light sculptures and projections all over town, including brilliantly lit goldfish over Piccadilly, giant snowdrops in Leicester Square, and Westminster Abbey as you’ve never seen it before with a multicoloured facade. But with all this to choose from, I’ve decided to bring you a small installation called Litre of Light. Here’s why. Continue reading

A different kind of festive tree – Kalpataru at the V&A

V&A Christmas treeWith Christmas Day galloping towards us at a rate of knots, I thought I’d bring you a Christmas tree with a difference. It’s this year’s Christmas tree installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum and it’s quite literally a tree of light. Continue reading

Barnaby Barford’s Tower of Babel at the V&A

Barnaby Barford Tower of Babel

This year’s London Design Festival has just kicked off, so Yannick and I rushed down to the V&A to take a look. Rushed a bit early, as it turned out, but it meant we got an excellent sneak preview of Barnaby Barford’s Tower of Babel, a conical pile of china shops which has been sited in the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, making for an interesting contrast with the sculptures on display. Continue reading

Colour and Light: Silk Banners at Deloitte Ignite 

Deloitte Ignite 2015 bannerI always try to get to Deloitte Ignite, the annual event that opens up the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to host of artists and performers. It’s all free and it’s all fun. This year I saw the Royal Ballet doing a fabulous demonstration of how they build up the fight scenes in Romeo and Juliet, which drew a huge and enthusiastic audience. But my other aim was to see the silk banners in the Paul Hamlyn Hall. I knew they’d be a visual feast and I wasn’t disappointed. Continue reading