May, 2004

Feltham Future

What happens when London gets bigger and bigger? What happens when postcard London is further away than Reading? When the familiar landmarks that stand for London are far over the horizon. When London is only a tourist destination and a heritage centre. When the metropolitan centre is clogged with gentrification and history. When metropolitan opportunity […]

Favorite Things

I was asked by FX magazine to name my 4 favorite things. Here they are: Polly Pocket: Plastic toys which open up, swivel and fold to reveal incredibly intricate, pastel pink and blue landscapes. They have the kind of beauty of Faberge eggs combined with the liberating democrasy of cheapness. If only all design could […]

Fugitives and Refugees' – Chuck Palahniuk

Cities are strange things. Sometimes evolved over thousands of years, sometimes appearing fully formed in an instant. Gigantic densities of hard stuff packed together, propped up on concrete bases, ringed with beards of countryside. Forget art, literature, music, or architecture – dwarfed as, stilted, artificial, hermetic. Urbanism is the teeming crucible of civilisation, the apex […]

The Pop Vernacular

Riding in the back of a taxi to my suburban home. On Melody FM they are playing Phil Collins; ‘In the Air Tonight’. It’s late, I’m tired. The motion of the cab is hypnotising. The song seems to slow down. I feel like I’m falling into it, feeling the nuances of the production. Neon signs […]

Design by Chefs

You know that Phillpe Stark lemon squeezer, a fixture on any Yuppy wedding list from the mid eighties. Even all these years later, the Juicy Salif remains a really strange object. A high water mark of unrestrained design. It placed domesticity and design in a relationship that was both beautifully resolved and mysteriously dislocated. It […]

Just What is it That Makes Yesterdays Homes So Different, So Appealing?

The first time I saw them was in the Duty Free shop at Brussels Airport: A display of kitch mini-buildings set against a backdrop of Belgian chocolate and cigars. They are the visual equivalent of eating, drinking and smoking the entire contents of a duty free shop. Not being one for health food or abstinence, […]

Archigrams Pastoral Futurism

Did you see the Queens Golden Jubilee last summer? The thing which began with Brian May astride the palace roof playing God Save the Queen. A lightweight alloy of rooftop Beatles, good natured bolshevik, arch-royalist Scarlet Pimpernel and Woodstock Hendrix. Next, the camera pans down to a mini rock festival that’s getting underway amongst the […]

Sorry Mies

In 1937, Mies van der Rohe arrived in New York on his first journey to the US. He was the most enigmatic of all the European architects who were leaving Nazi Germany at that time – either because of persecution (most of the others) or convenience (Mies). Mies was renowned as an artist-architect through a […]

Mac OS X.3

Usually, a review of an operating system would tell you all kinds of technical qualifications, specifications, and a performance related run down. This one won’t. What it will tell you is something much less useful. The kind of things that technical reviews overlook. I wanted to describe the scene I look at more than anything […]

Thomas Heatherwick Conran Foundation Collection

Everybody knows that design in Britain was invented by Terrance Conran and Robert Elms in a deserted warehouse on the southside of the Thames in 1980. Before that, Britain looked and dressed like an episode of Minder. It was ugly, but it was innocent and we were happy. Remember the Genesis Device in Star Treck […]