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The 19th Century painter Ford Madox Brown’s Work depicts a London street scene at a time of enormous social upheaval. Its Hogarthian cast of characters including navvies, an orange seller, MP, street urchin with baby and vicar convey the class system of the day in the setting of a typical London street scene. The painting also illustrates the social upheaval of the time, not least in the way people had been thrown into the melting pot of the city to either flourish or eke out an existence with lives defined by what they did. It was completed in 1865 as the British population was undergoing the shift to urban life in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. This work can be seen at the Manchester Art Gallery.

“The RIBA Stirling Prize celebrates architectural excellence and this year we have another outstanding collection of culturally significant buildings on the shortlist; projects that have each made a significant contribution to the evolution of architecture,” said Ruth Reed, RIBA President.


Now in its 16th year, the RIBA Stirling Prize in association with The Architects’ Journal and Benchmark is awarded to the architects of the best new European building “built or designed in Britain.” The winner will be announced on October 1, at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham and will be broadcast on a special edition of BBC Two’s The Culture Show on Sunday 2 October, presented by Kevin McCloud.

The beautifull Velodrome in London’s Olympic Park, the carefully crafted remodelling of the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres in Stratford upon Avon, a highly imaginative London school on a tight urban site, an innovative and vibrant cultural centre in Derry, the transformation of an unremarkable 1980s office building in London into an elegant new office and retail space, and the breathtaking extension of a significant museum in Germany, form the shortlist for the prestigious £20,000 RIBA Stirling Prize.


William Hill is again offering odds on the shortlisted buildings.


“Creative redevelopment is a strong theme in this year’s list, with a major museum extension, a remodelled theatre complex and the innovative retrofit of an old office building featured, showing how even with tight planning and building constraints, talent and imagination can totally transform existing structures and sites. From recycling to cycling: this year’s shortlist features the first Olympic venue, a beautifully clever exemplar for the UK’s Games. Another ‘first’ is a significant cultural centre in Derry, Northern Ireland’s first building to make it onto the shortlist. Finally I am delighted to see a brilliant academy on a tight urban site completing the list; a school project that demonstrates what can be achieved when the architect and clients ‘think outside the box.’ I look forward to seeing which project the judges select as the worthy winner.”
said Ruth Reed, RIBA President.

The New Map of the Lakes

Inspired by nearly 20 years of London life, linked with his own love of the fells, Peter Burgess geographer and teacher, has now created a topological map of Alfred Wainwright’s 214 fells, akin to the London Underground map devised by engineering draughtsman, Harry Beck in 1931.  Peter is also the founder of the Online Fellwalking Club, an Internet based walking group set up during the Foot & Mouth crisis of 2001.  He has walked the fells of Lakeland for most of his life, is a founder member of the Wainwright Society.

For those new to the map, after an initial curiosity, it soon becomes apparent as to the subject matter portrayed.  Each ‘Wainwright’ fell is clearly labelled in black with its name and the colour of the ‘tube’ lines corresponds to the colours used in the seven ‘Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells’.  The map is not intended to be a navigational aid, far from it, but a novelty piece of graphic artwork uniquely illustrating the English Lake District and its famous fells or mountains.  Peter is sure that his creation, suitably entitled ‘Tubular Fells’, will be a great talking point and willing addition to the fellwalking enthusiast’s home. 

To get a taste of ‘Tubular Fells’ and to see some of Peter’s own inspiration, then you’d do no better than to watch the 2 minutes of images and video accessible via the link below, before going on to read about the story of ‘Tubular Fells’ on the rest of the website

Examining the underground maps in tube carriages on hundreds of journeys into London down the years, Peter realised he could manipulate a topological map to emulate the characteristics of a transport map featuring Lakeland’s fells.  Of course, the map is not intended nor is it designed for navigation.  At the very least Tubular Fells is an aid memoir for the 214 fells that Alfred Wainwright arbitrarily identified and described in his now celebrated pictorial guides.  Like Harry Beck’s creation from 1931, AW’s graphical works featuring the Lake District landscape are instantly recognisable.  The two men should be remembered for what they were, the creators of some of the 20th centuries most iconic cartographic and graphic art.

Beyond the fells, 17 valley lakes are included on ‘Tubular Fells’ which of course gives the Lake District its name, as well as labels identifying other locations that neatly complete the map for the purposes of interest and design.  Along with special symbols for boat services; the map also incorporates the Cumbria Way, Dales Way and Coast to Coast walk as well as the wheelchair access route ascending Latrigg, just as is depicted on many stations on the London tube.  As it was appropriate and room allowed, the famous Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway has been included – one real railway line in an otherwise fictitious world of transport routes

It’s the end of an era, Habitat, the high street store is no more. For all of us of a certain age, the creation of Habitat meant that we could aspire to have homes that looked different from the houses of our parents; all of a sudden there was an alternative to three-piece suites, teak sideboards and heavy, dark cabinets.

It was a revolution of sorts when a young furniture designer called Terence Conran brought colour, smooth lines and contemporary design into Britain’s homes. Conran had been struggling to get his designs into shops so, in 1964; he opened his own store in an unfashionable stretch of Fulham Road in west London. Products were displayed in mocked-up living rooms and kitchens, giving customers’ ideas how to piece together furniture, lighting, vases and mirrors. For the first time we had something which was affordable with a contemporary design aesthetic – and we loved it!

Design critic Stephen Bayley said during Habitat’s best years – which he believes were from 1964 to 1990 – the shop was inseparable from Sir Terence’s personality.

Conran wanted to bring an element of optimism, cheerfulness to the British High Street and he succeeded in that. Conran found it to be true, and happy Habitat customers found it to be true, that your life can be enhanced by having a better teapot.”

And not just teapots, there were salad bowls, beanbags and cheap storage jars for pasta, not to mention the ubiquitous Japanese paper lampshade (£1.99 and very cool at the time ) Stores soon started opening up across Europe, in France, Spain and Germany and in the 1980s, the company merged first with Mothercare, and then British Home Stores.

But Habitat was to fall victim to its own success. Having persuaded British shoppers that good design was affordable for all; many shops copied the idea and priced Habitat out of the market. Among them was Sweden’s Ikea, sellers of flat-pack stylised furniture from giant out-of-town stores at a fraction of Habitat’s prices. In 1992, Habitat was bought by the Ikano Group, the company founded by the Kamprad family, owners of Ikea. In 2007-8, Habitat lost more than £13.4m. A year later, private equity group Hilco bought the debt-laden chain and finally on Friday, it was announced that all but three of Habitat’s UK stores are being put into administration.

The brand will survive as will the three London stores bought by Home Retail Group, owner of Argos and Homebase, for £24.5m in cash.

Read more here : Habitat jobs under threat as Home Retail Group buys UK rights

Anyone who has visited Heathrow Terminal 5 cannot help but notice the Butterfly in Flight lighting artwork commissioned for restaurant chain Itsu. Designed by Cinimod Studio of London it’s dynamic trail of glowing and glittering butterfly wings is uplifting and inspirational, swooping across this cavernous space and bringing it to life.

The key components that make up the artwork are the aluminium supporting structure, the light emitting polycarbonate wings and the custom lighting system. The structure consists of a modular construction that when assembled forms a three-dimensionally curving tube. This forms the twisting spine onto which the illuminated wings are fixed. Each wing has inlaid within it a high density LED strip that emits light through the clear polycarbonate with a dichroic coating to one side. Individual control means a series of programs that vary throughout the day animate the lighting to articulate the dynamic motion instilled in the design. The overall result is that the wings appear to have a crystalline and delicate appearance, with an iridescent colour that shift as viewers walk around it

See more fabulous work by Cinimod here

The internationally-acclaimed British architect Sir David Chipperfield CBE is the RIBA’s 2011 Royal Gold Medallist. David Chipperfield’s practice has won over 50 national and international competitions and many international awards and citations for design excellence, including the RIBA Stirling Prize 2007 for the Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar in Germany. His practice’s Neues Museum project in Berlin, in partnership with Julian Harrap, was shortlisted for the 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize.















Built from 1841 to 1859, the Neues Museum was designed by Friedrich August Stüler as the second museum on the island in the River Spree. museum was badly damaged after suffering a series of hits in the aerial bombardment of the Second World War and underwent reconstruction from 2003, the aim was to restore the building (listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1999) to its original glory while at the same time taking strict conservation requirements into account. David Chipperfield met these challenges by brilliantly anchoring the main body of the museum in the architectural idiom of the present day and by adhering to the concept of restoration laid down by the Venice Charter, he carefully incorporated into his designs each of the building’s individual parts, some still largely in tact, others substantially damaged. Missing sections were repaired and at times supplemented with new parts.

David Chipperfield was born in 1953 in London. He studied at Kingston School of Art and the Architectural Association in London. After graduating he worked at the practices of Douglas Stephen, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster. David Chipperfield Architects was established in 1984 and the practice currently has over 180 staff at its offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai. The practice has won over 50 national and international competitions and many international awards and citations for design excellence, including RIBA, RFAC and AIA awards and the RIBA Stirling Prize 2007.

Award ceremony

David Chipperfield will be presented with the Royal Gold Medal on 10 February 2011 at a ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, during which the 2011 RIBA International and Honorary Fellowships will also be presented.

The central hall of the newly-renovated Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

If you are interested in seeing more of David Chipperfields work, click here

Posted by Ann Clarke












Shadow Catchers presents the work of five international artists who, for the last twenty years or more, have been challenging the assumption that a camera is necessary to make a photograph. By casting shadows on light sensitive paper or chemically manipulating its surface these artists seemingly capture the presence of objects, figures or glowing light. The results are exciting images often with surreal or abstract effects and symbolic content. These camera-less techniques were explored at the dawn of photography and have now been rediscovered by contemporary image makers. On display are unique and beautifully crafted works by Pierre Cordier, Susan Derges, Adam Fuss, Garry Fabian Miller and Floris Neusüss.

Camera-less photographs can be made using a variety of techniques, the most common of which are the photogram, the luminogram and the chemigram. These techniques are sometimes used in combination. Many involve an element of chance

Images made with a camera imply a documentary role. In contrast, camera-less photographs show what has never really existed. They are also always ‘an original’ because they are not made from a negative. Encountered as fragments, traces, signs, memories or dreams, they leave room for the imagination, transforming the world of objects into a world of visions.

This remarkable exhibition is on at the V & A in London from 13 October 2010 – 20 February 2011 for more information click on the link below

  • Image :Adam Fuss, Invocation, 1992. Museum no. E.693-1993, ©Courtesy of Adam Fuss/V&A Images
  • Susan Derges, ‘Arch 4 (summer)’, 2007/8. Collection of the artist, © Courtesy of Susan Derges

Now here’s one to ponder. New research published by property firm DTZ claims that occupied space in the UK office market is set to grow by as much as two million square metres by 2014.

This is obviously music to our ears at Claremont but it’s a prediction that is based on complex circumstances. For a start, it comes in the wake of the spending review which will lead to the inevitable loss of employment in the public sector. So what it shows is that there appears to be a sufficient recovery in the private sector that more than compensates for public sector job cuts.

There is a regional element to the report’s findings too, which means that London, Leeds and Bristol will be least affected by cuts, partly because those regions are less dependent on public sector employment but also because they also have a higher concentration of firms in those sectors most likely to thrive over the next four years, especially finance and business services.

The final complicating factor is that the way that space is used continues to change. As we have mentioned before, smaller, more mobile technology is making workstations physically smaller, while new working practices mean that they are used more flexibly, often alongside more informal spaces for breakouts and touchdown work.

These are exciting times to be involved in the office market, not least because as the UK economy reshapes itself as it recovers from the economic downturn and in the wake of cuts in the public sector, so too will the places we work

posted by Ann Clarke

Peter Alwin, studying at the National Institute of Design in India, was awarded first place in the 2010 Electrolux Design Lab competition. The Snail, Peter’s micro induction heating concept, beat a field of 1,300 entries and seven other finalists at 100% Design, London 23rd September 2010

The Snail is a portable heating and cooking device based on magnetic induction processes. Such is the size and versatility of the Snail, it can be stuck directly on to a pot, a pan, a mug etc. to heat the contents.This reduces the amount of space required for conventional cooking whilst adding portability to the process. Powered by a high density sugar crystal battery, the Snail converts the energy from the sugar, heating up a coil to conduct the magnetic induction process to the utensil. Integrated sensors detect the food type being heated so as to automatically adjust the time and temperature. A simple touch sensitive display with interface helps to monitor the process.

About Electrolux Design Lab
Established in 2003, Electrolux Design Lab is an annual global design competition open to undergraduate and graduate industrial design students who are invited to present innovative ideas for household appliances of the future.

The competition theme for 2010 is “The 2nd Space Age”, an exploration of the role domestic product design has in maximizing living space. The brief: to create thoughtfully-designed products that will shape how people prepare and store food, wash clothes, and do dishes by 2050 when 74% of the global population are predicted to live in an urban environment.

The top finalists are invited to participate in a final global event and present their entries to a jury of high-level designers. The jury reviews the entries based on intuitive design, innovation and consumer insight.

 The latest art works which are battling to be exhibited on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square have been unveiled.

A Battenberg cake, a blue cockerel and an organ-shaped cashpoint are among the six works in the running for a place on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square. A mountainscape which seems to be the outline of Britain seen from below, a brass statue of a boy on a rocking horse and a replica of Sir George White’s statue embellished with charms and jewels signifying how it’s weighted down by history are the others being considered.


The maquettes of the artists’ ideas can be seen in an exciting interactive exhibition at St Martin-in-the-Field. Visitors to the exhibition can take a look at the actual models, hear what the artists think about their ideas and can also leave comments about their favourite artwork. All comments will be sent to the Commission Group as part of the selection process.


The winning artwork will be announced early next year and will replace Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle in 2012.

To see all the contenders click here plinth


If you can’t get to the exhibition but fancy leaving a comment for the Mayor of London regarding the proposed artworks click here


Posted by Ann Clarke