Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Pennine triumphs

So after a long time under the floorboards, Neu Architect's competition win in Bacup has finally been announced and broadcast to the architectural broadsheets here and here.

These Lowry-esque images show our peppering of improvements linked to local historical references, winking in the direction of knowledge that is slowly disappearing. Although i did want to do something so very sinister and awkward as this is League of Gentlemen country.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Regeneration, but not as we know it!

The last thing I remember about Nottingham was being driven to school by my dad in the back of army land rovers, but the place has far since from moved on from rogue fathers and that time my neightbours car was set on fire, or at least i hope so. Basically what i'm trying to say is Nottingham has a new centre for contemporary arts that finished a few weeks ago by London-based Caruso St John.

Tom Dyckoff talked on the culture show about it being a move of recession styled architecture, but really this sounds like he's never seen a Caruso St John building before, This is much more than current penchant for shabby-chic. They've always made buildings in this vein. They have always been in search of an architecture of a contingent nature, they thrive in the found space, the residual charged space that forever carries the baggage of life and years. They leave these places touched by marks that are formally and historically cohesive to themselves, avoiding the contrast of new and old they aim to continue past moves and play the games of expression and suppression. Obviously this game is much more difficult with a blank site, and no existing fabric to play with, but they manage to pull off spaces that possess the familarity and chance similar to that found in abandoned houses or factories. It bodes well that the team organising Nottingham CCA have pushed the extent the project to bring a wholeness that connects curation, architecture, product, food and graphics.

They lock at odds with the wider architectural community, creating buildings that relate to people at a tangible scale and that are locally legible yet complex enough to avoid a catchphrase silhouette.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


I've enlisted in a carpentry course at London Met, and I'm halfway through a small cabinet which belongs in the bathroom of a mean hermit or something. but i've worryingly gained an interest in historic fine furniture, purely on the grounds that i now know it takes hours to complete a dovetail.

Dare studio do a good job at tapping into the inner georgian gentlemen in all of us, (right guys) that make you want to sit and write a novella inspired by that favourite buxom manor muse you oh so devilshly desire.

Japanese outfit Nendo made this freak of a chair, its fragility is untrustworthy like a skinny food critic, but we all know we would participate in the old school pastime of the "lean back". The simple and slight deserted chair is synonymous with japanese architectural pornography photography and these guys really set illusions to see how much they can hide.

Their fadeout chair too!

and also "I am the new Jesus!"

Friday, 13 November 2009

Analogue Astronomy

Fantastic posters from the depths of a time capsule by Simon Page take me back to the days Kubrick, if I was alive, and the tones of unloved seventies maths textbooks.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Patience in the turbine hall

Good things come to those who wait, or an audience with Demand and Caruso. The projects they showed give the image they both operate on each others terms. Working for, rather than working with, which has to be better form of collaboration for clarity of vision. I don't approve of design by half measures.

The craftsmanship of Demands models are amazing and the off-kilter photorealism sets about memory triggers and connotations of a tangible inhabitance. The evidence of the human presence is inexplicably linked to these pictures. They charge stories in the mind and feature as sets in our head-dramas.

The Nagelhaus (two bottom pictures) is constructed from a concoction of modern references that exist in film and on the pixel-deep online space. This removed third person layered experience from a distance allows for the bending of truth like a massive chinese whisper/photo/copy/paste. I find Caruso St Johns classical winks so charming that they pass far beyond pastiche, usually handled with their own colour palettes and touch that is something on the odd side of quintisential english.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

The other Arne

I see within some designers a move towards purist structural honesty, the clean surface of modernism has been violently frayed and pulled inside out to show the chaotic innards. These pallettes have to be limited and concept to be clear to avoid pomo catastrophe. Welsh design outfit Freshwest taps right into the juvenile toybox with these pieces both titled brave new world.

Arne Quinze also flirts with the auto-didactic craftsman with his sprawling parasitic sculptures that dart like inkstokes over buildings and the sky. I like his models though.

Which leads me to these shoes I built for our very own debonair girl Camille Roman's label Tour de Force. This was a fun maquette which made me realise how long it had been since i had made a model. Literally made on a shoestring (with a bit of an old wooden pallet) it was a bizarre construct that constantly contorted every time i returned to work at it, shifting like original lumber. I don't think i've ever seen anything i've done in a more professional surrounding.

Monday, 12 October 2009

In celluloid we trust

Werner Herzog, the bastion of guerilla film-making, has announced the opening of a rogue film school. i believe this will create some obscure stories on the net about arrests in cambodia or deaths in the underground caves of prague. Here's hoping.

And there should be some cool films emerge afterwards.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The talent of the Irish

Not much get said about the new Irish kids over here, they don't really get included in competitions and literature as much. I somehow doubt that really matters the Irish sense of pride and independence but their young practices like O'Donnell and Tuomey, ODOS, Cast, Ozmin, A2 etc can rip it up like the Lynch's and Carmody Groarkes over this side of the channel.

Here is the work of Taka, formed by a pair of Irish women in Bangladesh, which explains the brick patternings, and have already done work for the Venice Biennale. House 1 and 2 shows a structural ambiguity, sturdy lightness with Victorian sensibility in the celebration of the vintage decoration and the taste for using imported flavours from their travels.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Humble space geometries

Designed with Gaudis method of hanging chains in search of the perfect natural geometries.

Gaudi chair from Dutch student Bram Geenen.

Monday, 17 August 2009


Travelled to finland and broke all of the non-judgements I had of the place. I mostly only captured photos in Helsinki, otherwise i was too occupied by fondling moonbeams and breast-stroking through waters. After rushing past the strangely ordinary Kamppi Center by Juhani Pallasmaa - from a quick walk through i couldn't gauge how it had much relevance to his theories on architecture and the senses - i came to Kiasma which feels like it has been put together by one man, sculpting away for about 40 years. For a big building it remains continuously tactile as everything you touch transfers a sense of hours. Each piece of brass marked with a thousand prints.

and the babies get to sit in tim burton diy high chairs!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Well TVCC by OMA, has been lit up like a tinderbox just a few months before its opening. These images and you could be forgiven for thinking it was part of some elaborate fireworks show, and theres still a doubt in my head that this is still a hoax as part of a competition to create a believable disaster and some pro-china sympathy. These things come across too comic and plastic to me and of a scale too vast to register with a tangible heartfelt response.9/11 - the comic was confidently apt way to tell the story, thats if i go out and read it.

The charred headstone is more blunt rather than a pile of post-cremation ashes and points a knife to the face of progress. Wonder what Rem Koolhaas has to say on the matter?