I had the pleasure of attending a tour of the Frieze Sculpture Park guided by the Curator, Claire Lilley with several artists represented on hand to discuss their works. All the pieces were inspiring and beautiful. However, this is the second time I have encountered Jaume Plensa's, Chloe, this year and the piece continues to captivate.
We are currently designing a house near beautiful Pollenca in Northern Mallorca at the eastern end of the Serra de Tramuntana. While visiting the town during our last visit we climbed the striking 365-step stairway to Calvari church. Upon climbing the stairs you pass lovely 17th and 18th century houses, some with flower filled gardens to delight the senses. At the top, one can see the stone built town of Pollenca nestled amongst two hills with sacred sites at the top.
Hale County Animal Shelter epitomises inspirational, sustainable design for all from Auburn University's Rural Studio. A hypnotic repeating diamond structure called a lamella acts as both roof and wall motif for the shelter.
The Founder of Rural Studio, Samuel Mockbee, once said, “Everybody wants the same thing, rich or poor… not only a warm, dry room, but a shelter for the soul.”
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Erno Goldfinger's modernist house in Hampstead is a joy to experience. Completed as his family home in 1939 he combines distinctive design details and furniture that are still fresh today. These include a dining table with an industrial machine part base, a cantilevered spiral staircase, a simple rope used for the balustrade and a beautiful desk with pivoting drawers. An impressive collection of art is also on display from artists including Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp and Erno's wife, Ursula. The clever use of folding and sliding partitions allow much flexibility throughout the space. While enjoying the tour one can imagine being a guest at one of Ursula and Erno's parties.
In 1936, textile magnates Stephen and Virginia Courtauld built their Art Deco residence next to the remains of a royal palace that had been Henry VIII's childhood home. The result was a unique creation: glamorous 20th-century interiors in ancient surroundings. The stunning entrance hall, with its glazed dome and mural-like marquetry, was created by Swedish designer Rolf Engströmer. The home also contains some of the first examples of built-in furniture in the UK.
The Moriko Mori exhibition at Burlington Gardens, the new space for art and architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts, is inspiring. Transcircle 1.1 consists of nine waist-height acrylic 'stones' arranged so as to evoke ancient stone circles. The forms symbolise the planets of the solar system and LED lights allow each to glow a different colour, based on the movements of the planets over a year.
I am always drawn to water when I travel - it can provide a powerful sense of calm. This beautiful Art Nouveau style bathhouse in East Germany is truly delightful. Originally built in 1869 by a local Doctor as a bathhouse and orthopaedic hospital, it was handed over to the public and rebuilt in 1904. In 1995 the city was granted money from the European Aid Programme to refurbish the building with stunning results.
Many people have a strong connection to the places they have lived. They mark events in life. My Grandmother’s grand old house in Alabama is one of those places. As a child, I thought it was the most beautiful place on Earth. My memory of the house cannot be tarnished. In many ways it has played a role in my life long interest in design and interiors. Some years ago I was given permission from the current owner to photograph the house. Left untouched for many years, it was bittersweet to see its’ faded beauty. The house was no longer a home. Used as an occasional hunting lodge for many years, it’s purpose had changed. The original curtains, chandeliers and rugs remained with almost no furniture to keep them company. A few new objects and furniture were strewn throughout. I found my memories still embedded in the fabric of the building.