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.