Thursday, 29 April 2010

Stadium Power

The Solar Stadium (top) in Kaohsiung Taiwan opened last year to host the 2009 World Games (GB achieved 19 medals including 4 golds). The stadium produces all its energy requirements from a solar-cell roof that also feeds the national grid when the stadium is not in use. The new Zagreb Stadium in Croatia, the Blue Volcano features a solar cell cloud that is suspended over the playing field and acts as a huge screen to relay the action inside and outside the stadium.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wang Wusheng SkyMountains

A selection of Wang Wusheng's Chinese landscapes. He captures the paradisical world where it is believed the immortals live, feasting on mist and jade, and riding on the wisps of cloud that cloak the valleys. These mountainscapes have appeared throughout Chinese history on ink drawings depicting Daoists beliefs.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Maarten Baas

No flat packing here! Large chunky metal furniture with a walnut veneer then sand blasted by designers Maarten Baas and Bas den Herder. They sketch their ideas which are then produced by other companies, hence they have no staff. Good business plan! Something of the Flintstones about these pieces...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Valerie Boy

Lighting by Valerie Boy. French passion dissolving in clouds of smoke and jazz.

Jonsi - Go Quiet - DVD

available now...

tokyo baby cafe

Nendo is a wonderful creative group with designer Oki Sato. They have collected a host of design prizes since coming together in 2002. They were inspired by the lack of rules in European design and returned to Japan to set up Nendo meaning free-form clay. In fact the design prizes were what funded them to start with. There latest commission, the tokyo baby cafe, mixes over and undersize furniture to cater for the perspective of parent and child. Parents can relax here and not worry about their children. Aisles are wide for prams and there are books and toys for children and separate changing and nursing areas.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Lavmi Wallpapers

We enjoy the retro blast from Czech graphic designer Babeta Ondrova, one half of the design studio Lavmi. The new range of wallpapers for 2010 are produced and distributed by Vavex, who use the most modern available techniques to produce their wallcoverings.

Clear Thinking

The Honogodai Christ Church School & Nursery by architects Takeshi Hosaka provides an all glass walled environment built around the trees dotted about the site. Takeshi was also behind the igloo-esk(!) Hoto Fudo noodle restaurant. we think we will be seeing more of Takeshi in the coming years.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Waltz with Bashir

Need to explore your moral standpoint on the world then take a look at Waltz with Bashir released in 2008. It explores the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 through the animated eyes of 2 Israeli IDF veterans. One has nightmares the other no memory at all. Animation that keeps your attention for 90 minutes and evokes an emotional response. Questions go unanswered but perhaps there are no answers.

Singapore Marina

Singapore is trying very hard to improve its prospects as a tourist resort. Expats enjoy the fact that the island is safe, hot and has english as its first language. It also makes a great staging post for the rest of Asia. The Singapore grandprix (the only night race) has been a success and gambling restrictions were lifted in 2005. The Sands Singapore casino (Singapore's second casino) was given the go ahead in April 2007 and was due to open in May 2010. Although it is not totally complete, part of the complex will open on time.

It is anything but understated. Built on over 120 acres of Sentosa Island it looms over the financial district like an intergalactic space docking station (or how I would imagine one of those to look!). It looks out over the the Marina which is a fresh water reservoir, one sixth the size of the whole of Singapore. The Marina Barrage was completed in 2008 and won the Superior Achievement award from the AAEE last year.

The Riverwalk from Clarke Quay, with its bars and restaurants, past the financial district and into the marina, gives you a real sense of what Singapore is about, money. Making it and using it. It is also a very efficient place to be. Everything is clean and works and is on time. This is a definite bonus for a visitor. It took 20 minutes to travel from downtown and be checked in at Changi for a flight. At Heathrow or JFK it takes 20 minutes to find the right check in desk!

The afternoons become heavy with pregnant storm clouds and high humidity, and as the rain comes down in bouncing drops, awnings extend out over terraces to cover diners and drinkers and umbrellas pop open as the locals will not go out without one. Although it doesn't seem to take more than 20 minutes to walk anywhere on the island, people use cabs because of the heat and there are more cars than there should be. It is an ideal place to set up a mass transit system. Small and compact and densely populated. There shouldn't be any cars clogging the streets.At least all the cabs are regulated so fares are reasonable and you won't get ripped off.

The people seem content here and they are polite, helpful and happy to talk about their island. There is very little crime due to the strict punishment regime. This allows the freedom for children walk on their own and play in the parks scattered around town even after dark. As long as they follow the rules and guidelines laid out on the myriad of signposts. No Spitting, No Gum, No Skateboarding, No Cycling, No Climbing, you get the picture.

Singapore has grand ambitions and as long as you can take the heat and afford it, it is definitely worth a visit, just don't spit on the pavement or your stay may be longer than expected!

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Defamation of Strickland Banks

Caught Bill dancing to these. Hahaha. Great album...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Late Night Tales

If you need some music for your playlists and pods. Take a look at the "Late Night Tales" site. A great series of remixes selected by the likes of Air, Snow Patrol, Groove Armada and Fayboy Slim. The latest release is selected by one of our favourite groups, The Cinematic Orchestra. An audio feast awaits...

Monday, 12 April 2010 tightly as you held on to me...

Directed by Up the Resolution
Music by Cinematic Orchestra


We watched this film again last night (over 3yrs old already!), we'd forgotten how lovely it is and we are suckers for anything lovely. Glen and Marketa won an oscar for the song and they won are hearts for just being lovely. Let the birds sing along! If you didn't see it back in 2007, grab the DVD, a bottle of Rioja and a box of chocolates...

Friday, 9 April 2010

Art Lebedev

If you are looking for a leftfield gift browse the Art Lebedev webstore for laser clocks, magician's tophat USB hub, spirit level and perfume bottle, coffee cup iron and swiss army knife...a big one. Bizaar...

Monday, 5 April 2010

19th Commonwealth Games Preparation. Delhi.

We often swing through Delhi on our travels across the Indian subcontinent. It has been transformed into a building site as preparation for the Commonwealth Games gathers pace, although you do get the feeling that with the opening ceremony on 3rd October it is all a bit late. The foreman at the main complex, the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex, assured me that it would be complete by the end of June. That will leave the wet season (Jun-Oct) to finish the interiors and plugs & drains!  I hope the city concentrates on its strong points, the gentle politeness and pride of its people. We fear they are trying to turn New Delhi into a "cool 21st century city" ie. bland, spiritless and lacking heart. Alot of covering up/over, alot of steel and glass and lots & lots of sweat. There are people everywhere; digging holes, digging up kerbs, digging up roads, digging tunnels.... We wish them the best of luck and a fantastic games.

Delhi 3-14 Oct.

Friday, 2 April 2010


From the director of "Flight of the Conchords", the more useless a dad is the more cool he becomes. Can Boy and his young brother, Rocky, survive the return of their hero/villain father, who can dance just like Michael Jackson, is a war hero and a deep sea diver?

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson captured the essence of pre-war France with his candid, snapshot photography. A technique that we take for granted now, we are all snapshot photographers, it was a different story in the 1930s. He lifted photography out of the lifeless family portrait into the dynamic, expressive, observational reportage that we take for granted now. He went on to make important studies in China, Indonesia and the Soviet Union, exposing many human rights issues. He was also one of the founding members of Magnum. His accomplishments are being celebrated in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a gallery that he first exhibited at in 1947! It is a marvelous setting and there are a number of associated lectures and events. Who needs an excuse to visit New York? But if you do this is as good as any...