Category Archives: Global Patterns

Architecture News: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, 2013: launch week

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, an annual temporary structure in the heart of central London, draws architecture experts and lovers from around the world during its brief life in Kensington Gardens. The temporary nature of the building is key: its impermanence allows its architects to create awe-inspiring spaces that challenge our perception of what, in fact, makes a building.

This year the architect in question is internationally highly-respected Sou Fujimoto, and he has chosen to create a mysterious, airy, confusing, awe-inspiring space made from thousands of latticed thin steel poles: 

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[Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, 2013, designed by Sou Fujimoto, Image credit Iwan Bann

These poles give the pavilion an ethereal semi-trasnparent appearance both on approach and within: it was important to his design that the pavilion is set within the leafy surroundings of Kensington Gardens. Fujimoto, describing his design work: ‘A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and man-made merge…. not soley architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two’.

Visit the pavilion until 20 October, for more information about The Serpentine Gallery click here. 

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On trend for summer 2013: coloured weaves

Just posting these pictures puts a spring in my step, as this summer’s emerging trend for colourful weaves gathers pace. First up are the wonderful baskets by Swaziland’s Gone Rural; set up by Philippa Thorne over 20 years ago, Gone Rural now supplies grass and textile woven products created by women in Swaziland to many hundreds of retailers all over the world. With many shapes and sizes to choose from, each basket will bring welcome pattern and colour:

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Click Gone Rural to read more; to shop for their products try Shake The Dust, a new ethical design brand (shipping currently within the UK only).

On the high street, John Lewis‘s blue toned Navajo armchair and footstool (or side table) are perfect for a sunny afternoon:

John Lewis Spring Summer 2013

And Habitat‘s spring/summer range includes more than a nod to this trend.  If you’re quick you can still catch their Interwoven exhibition which celebrates the art of weaving for interiors, including vessels and baskets by Gone Rural alongside work by recent graduates from Central St Martins College of Art & Design. (Interwoven runs until 28 April at Habitat’s King’s Road showroom, London SW3). And in addition, Habitat’s Summer 2013 collection includes their own designs of woven furniture, baskets and vases:

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Shades of a rag rug: I love the multi-coloured woven surface of this day bed…

Whilst the Ormond hurricane lanterns and tea light holders are decorated with lacquered metal ribbons, woven and wrapped around glass.

And there are plenty of baskets in shades of fuschia, cherry and lime green for a splash of bright colour….

At Laura Ashley, the colours stay neutral, but these simple seagrass storage baskets with their fashionable dip dye look are perfect for muted, country schemes:

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Here’s to summer!

Park Life: searching for urban fun

Photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro has travelled the world to capture images of urban playgrounds in different contexts.

The juxtaposition of the equipment within its environment is worth a look; and if you’ve ever arrived in a strange city with your children and thought ‘where’s the park?’, then these shots are for you…

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I love the scale of this shot of a playground in Hong Kong (above)

This ubiquitous Spanish playground equipment is erected on hundreds of beaches around Spain’s coast (Benidorm, below):

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Whilst in mountainous Reinosa in Cantabria, Spain, the snow creates a different environment for children to play (above).

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In New York, the lines of the playground imitate the drama of the Manhattan Bridge above….

And on a more prosaic note, the tower block; train line; wire fence and determinedly cheerful colours of the rocket all say to me: think of time spent in London as a child then a parent, getting some ‘fresh’ air…..

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Images courtesy of Designboom

See more of Manuel Alvarez Diestro’s work here

Food for Thought: Creativity on a plate

Malaysian artist/architect Hong Yi  (who goes by the nickname Red), has set herself a challenge: to create a piece of art every day during this month of March, using only food, styled on a simple, white porcelain plate.

The results are stunning, clever and inventive:

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From the top: ‘I found a dragon in my dragonfruit’Dogs in Oreos; Banksy – made from Nori and Apple; Water Melon; Adaptation of the Great Wave with rice (Can you spot Mount Fuji?).

Take a look at more either via Red’s Instagram feed or her website.

Art in found objects; Hong Hao

Anyone who’s ever picked up shells on a beach knows how easily found objects can make their way into our homes….  But Chinese artist Hong Hao takes this to another level, with his highly detailed photographic artworks that focus on the ephemera and belongings in his life.

By combining images of his belongings – whether treasured for years or standard household clutter – Hong Hau gives a unique, artist’s view of our human desire to collect:   artwork_images_424109330_629909_-honghao

The Long March in Panjiayuan (2004) (above)

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If you’re lucky enough to be in Beijing over the next few weeks you can catch a  exhibition of Hong Hao’s most recent work at the Pace Gallery (From 16 March to  April 27), including my favourite, above: As It Is – The Writings of a Hundred (pencil on found paper 2011)  

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[All images from Artnet]

Adding colour to ice: stunning ice sculptures in Harbin, China

If you’ve always thought of ice as colour-free then think again: these mind-blowing ice sculptures in China, part of the annual winter festival in Harbin, are made from huge blocks of ice, lit up with coloured LED lights.

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All images courtesy of flickr. See more pictures here:

If you’re quick, you could take a trip and see it in the flesh: the exhibition opened on 5 January, and lasts until the end of February….

Earth houses in Burkina Faso

A quick, visual post, sharing pictures of these inherently, necessarily practical; beautifully and intricately decorated earth houses in Burkina Faso:

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Made from a mix of clay, soil, straw and cow dung, the mortar is layered to create walls thick enough to withstand both extreme heat and rain. What’s so immediately attractive are the intricate patterns: painted onto the walls with coloured mud and chalk, these give each hand-crafted house a unique character.

All pictures courtesy of Design Boom; see more pictures and text here