Toynbee Street

31 Dec 2009

Yesterday I took these photos of derelict buildings along Toynbee Street (in Tower Hamlets, London). I popped into the pub opposite to see if I could find out anything about these buildings and apparently the council wants 10 million pounds for that site in the first photo, but no one is willing to pay that much. It's a very touchy issue for the locals! I did a quick online search, and found that it was built after the war because the original tall building was bombed. That explains the patchwork of bricks - they probably just used what ever they could find. I love the third photo where the insulation is coming out of the wall. There are just so many textures.

I've been considering using this site for my university project but I'm slightly daunted: I think the design would need to be a totally new building as the existing structure is crumbling and was only ever intended to be temporary. Does this count as interior and spatial design? Isn't it more like architecture? Last year my tutor told me that as long as you can make a physical model of it, then it's possible to build (we don't need to get into the nitty gritty of the construction details like foundations/supporting structures, it's more about the concept).. but I still feel nervous about this site. I think I would be more comfortable with a smaller project, but maybe it's best to do something totally new and a bit scary. This is my Masters and I'll probably never have an opportunity like this again where I can do something so exciting. I need to make up my mind soon and get some work done before term starts next week!

Essimar's "Pink Mess"

[Images: Essimar]

Recently I've been totally in love with all things Essimar, and I'm especially inspired by her pink paper experiments. I think these images are so poetic and such fun!

New Year, New Diary

I'm really tempted to buy one of these Paperchase diaries. I particularly like the first one, but I don't know if I'd use a whole page per day. It would look so pretty on my desk.. is that enough of a reason to buy it?

I saw these beautiful pages on Reading my tea leaves this week. Pages in a diary have been pasted with tickets and mementos, so it's a cross between a scrapbook and a diary. I honestly think I might try something like this in 2010. I'd planned to make a scrapbook of my wedding (three years ago) but sadly never got round to sticking everything in a book. But I'm sure I'd manage to stick little bits into a diary. It might also be a nice idea to include one special photo per week/month. And then I'd have a reason to buy that lovely grey triangle covered diary :)

Happy New Year!

Amble along Brick Lane

30 Dec 2009

Here are a few of the things that caught my eye when I was exploring Brick Lane and the surrounding streets yesterday. I was mainly on the lookout for derelict buildings.

These next photos are of the Brick Lane Cultural Trail including a minaret iconic structure adjacent to the mosque. I love the lattice texture of the metal. The trail is due to be completed in February 2010, so it's boarded up.

Follow the sound of water

My university project is about enticement and invitation and I'm particularly interested in how spaces lure you in and make you want to explore further. As a way into the project I filmed my journey around Kelsey Park in Beckenham. In these large landscaped gardens, water is used in many forms: streams with stepping stones, bridges over waterfalls, small ponds and lakes. As I walked around I felt as though I was on a trail following the sound of water. If I was more daring and took a route that others hadn't noticed, I was rewarded by a secret glimpse across a lake. But above all, the reward for exploring is having fun!

This was my first attempt at recording a video on my new camera so it's a bit shaky and generally quite raw. I think I'll use the same concept and try to make another video that looks a bit more polished, on a day when the sky is clearer! When I was filming it I didn't know exactly what I was trying to show, but when I started putting the clips together I realised that it was about a water trail. It was a useful initial experiment.

Post-Christmas wishlist

The Old Truman Brewery

29 Dec 2009

Today I walked around The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane (through torrential rain!) looking for a site for my university project. My tutor told me that there are lots of disused and run down buildings around the site and when I had a look around I wasn't disappointed at all.

The brewery closed in 1988 and many of the buildings date back to the 18th century. The 11 acre site has become a creative hub housing many small businesses and art & design studios. Some of the site has been redeveloped into bars and restaurants, but a large part of the brewery is still fairly derelict. It is likely to undergo changes in the next few years, as part of the Tower Hamlets Council City Fringe Area Action Plan.

I was particularly attracted to one long row of small run down buildings overlooking Brick Lane Yard.

[click for larger view of collage]

From what I can see these buildings are being used as store rooms, a woodwork/wood salvage space and possibly as an electricity meter point (there's a scary number of wires entering a small window!). The total length measures approx 50 metres and the depth is approx 8 metres. I really like the arches at either end. I need to find out more information about the row of buildings. I asked at the brewery main reception, but I was told that they don't give out information to students! I'll try contacting Tower Hamlets council and visiting the library.

Space of the week #3 Puzzle Loft

[All images: Dwell]

This New York loft apartment is truly a puzzle, both in the way architect Kyu Sung Woo solved the spatial problem of stacking two 7 foot tall rooms with only 12 feet of vertical space, and his clever solution where two volumes are interlocked, each with a half height element. The bedroom borrows height from the cupboard below and the kitchen borrows height from the space where the bed is.

The incredible attention to detail has actually made this into a beautiful little apartment: look at how the bedroom area has been lined with wood. Given the right circumstances I think this would make the perfect home for someone. I am completely obsessed with interlocking forms.. I just find this kind of design so appealing and I'd love to design something like this one day :)

Flickr favourite: H is for Home

28 Dec 2009

I have a very small teacup collection (that I may post about sometime) but it's nothing compared to these beauties above! I was searching for Black Velvet Hostess tableware (7) which I've had my eye on for years, and came across H is for Home's stunning flickr photostream! Even though I don't actually drink coffee, I need the Cathrineholm blue coffee pot. Really, I do. It's just perfect. And I'd quite fancy a breadbin... It's not as fun storing bread in the fridge.

Update: Oh my... H is for Home has a website where they actually sell some of these retro kitchen items!!!

Almost a white Christmas

27 Dec 2009

Luckily the snow had cleared by Christmas Day which meant we were able to drive to visit family. It was a day filled with lots of delicious food: yummy nut roast and homemade vegan chocolate treats, board games and crackers with terrible jokes :)

Merry Christmas

25 Dec 2009

Etsy favourite: Essimar

23 Dec 2009

These gorgeous cards are made by Essimar - the colourful and minimal designs are so fresh! And aren't these handbound notebooks made from recycled envelopes adorable? There are dozens of stunning silkscreen prints available from her etsy shop.

[All images: Essimar]

Snow Love

22 Dec 2009

Yesterday we were snowed out, but luckily we were only a couple of miles from home so we travelled back on foot and walked past 7 buses stuck in traffic! It was a good opportunity to test out my new boots - they're so snuggly and warm. Today we went for a walk in a park and it was so bright and fresh. The snow had frozen so we couldn't make a proper snowman but managed a 'snow stack'. Earlier in the week the snow was too powdery so it's never quite right!

Space of the week #2

[Interior images & sketch model: Claesson Koivisto Rune]

I love pretty much everything designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune, ranging from their furniture and interiors, to entire buildings. I think the bold shapes they use work really well because the pallet of materials is kept so simple, with a few bursts of intense colour. This project is actually a design office in Sweden, but I can imagine it being any kind of space. I really like the glimpses created by the slots; there would be so many exciting views through the building. I love spaces that slowly reveal themselves and entice you to explore further. And wouldn't those bursts of colour be a refreshing surprise in such a white space?