Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons

The Asset Strippers, 2019 Mike Nelson’s assemblage of telephone poles, hay rakes and heavy machinery in the Duveen galleries of Tate Britain made monuments of the industrial relics of his childhood – and part of my own. The internationally renowned artist, twice nominated for the Turner Prize, grew up in the East Midlands and wentContinue reading “Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons”

Breakfast in Vals

From Escape, Spring 2022 It’s useful to be reminded what great architecture can achieve, to be moved by it, because as an industry, architecture isn’t always that moving. Like every business, it has its awkward corporate events, its veneers and personalities. In 2008, like many others seeking the architecturally divine in a stone pool, weContinue reading “Breakfast in Vals”

“Wherever you go, there you are”

To my clients, on their summer holidays… It’s the first time you’ve studied the place in daylight. You found the apartment online. There’s the archway from the photos, but it has a boxy shelving unit stuffed into one side, sticking out by ‘about’ eight millimetres. It’s a fine line between maximalism and hoarding, you think,Continue reading ““Wherever you go, there you are””

Spreadsheets and tables: book project

à table by Martino Gamper I thought I should add this to the site as a project, even though I had less to do with it than some of the others – it’s a nice book. 102 pages on tables by the Italian designer, Martino Gamper. The graphic design is by Roland Brauchli, it’s publishedContinue reading “Spreadsheets and tables: book project”

Plum’s Paradise: the joys of a shared garden

We have a book called Mr Plum’s Paradise by Elisa Trimby. It was published in 1977 and tells the story of a man who turns the yard at the back of his small, terraced house in London into a garden. Mr Plum starts off by growing a few bits of fruit and veg. It escalates,Continue reading “Plum’s Paradise: the joys of a shared garden”

Exercises in Seating by Max Lamb

“Max’s processes can be distilled into either addition or reduction: building, moulding or growing; carving, cutting or removing… by exposing these methods, he invites a connection with the finished object, he gives a sense of its material and emotional value.” Sarah Simpkin, Exercises in Seating Sometimes, I work with architects and designers to conceive, writeContinue reading “Exercises in Seating by Max Lamb”

You look creative, but you sound like a bank

How understanding tone of voice can help architects, designers and creative businesses win work and get noticed. When I go into an architecture practice as a freelance writer, one of the first things I do, after a good nose around the projects, is get a sense of their tone of voice. In some cases, thisContinue reading “You look creative, but you sound like a bank”

A House in a Garden by Foster + Partners: Singapore, 2003-2008

“The water seems to originate in the pond and flow beneath the house. It was important that we gave the impression of a source. This is an illusion – part created, part imagined – and forms a visual link between the different parts of the building.” David Nelson, Foster + Partners Singapore has an eclecticContinue reading “A House in a Garden by Foster + Partners: Singapore, 2003-2008”

Pilgrimage: Leça tidal pools, Álvaro Siza

Simple pleasures – sun, sand and concrete We didn’t set out to do a series of ‘design pilgrimages’, we were just trying to find somewhere to go on holiday. If we started with a building we both wanted to visit, there would be fewer decisions to make. Looking back in 2021, overwhelming choice was aContinue reading “Pilgrimage: Leça tidal pools, Álvaro Siza”