for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

LONDON OPEN HOUSE

Once again London threw open it’s doors for all to see this weekend, and I was first in line for a good nose around! Here were some of my personal favourites-

The Central School of Speech and Drama in Swiss Cottage-

an interesting use of angles and light with 5 floors of transparent, fritted and translucent glass wrapping around the building and folds of concrete creating interesting geometric movement
the front facade at night
the central stairwell

Philip Hughes Studio in Camden-

an open, light space enhanced by clever use of mirroring which extends to the outside of the building. The downstairs is dominated by a freestanding steam room with continuous corian surfaces, creating a soft shape space-age pod in an otherwise linear surrounding
looking down onto the mirrored walls
the pod!

Michaelis House in Ladbroke Grove-

built down instead of up this family house manages to be light and airy despite being boxed in by two town houses. An inventive and ecological use of the space acailable
the entrance

Paradise Park in Holloway-

the most impressive visit all weekend, this children’s centre has a hydroponic garden as its exterior walls, an efficient energy kitchen which is used as a social enterprise for locals to run a fairtrade cafe, and green roofs to help provide habitats for displaced species. The architects explanation for the building also showed just how aware of the needs and wants of children they are- and although the centre is still being added to, it is being utilised and enjoyed by many. What was interesting was how a site that before was unloved and used for burnt-out bikes and rubbish has been appreciated by the community rather than vandalised- it just goes to show how important a little respect is.
external walls are hydroponic garden
social enterprise cafe

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    SHOOT LONDON!

    My friends and I took part this weekend on a photographic treasure hunt of London, arranged by Shoot Experience.
    The company started creating these days last year and the events have all sold out so far- it’s a fun and exciting way to spend a day, and the prizes are awarded for creativity and humour so anyone can have a go- although my little camera paled in comparison to the professional -looking equipment most people seemed to have!

    I think the idea could extend to lots of other cities, it’s certainly taking off here! It’s a good way to discover things about your city you never knew, and could be great for non-natives too – anyone for treasure hunt tourism??

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    NIGHT HAUNTS

    I found this flier for a really interesting new collaborative journal on London at night. It’s an ongoing record which is updated monthly throughout 2006.

    “In this contemporary nocturnal journal, Sandhu prospects in the London night with the people who drive its pulse from night cleaners to praying nuns, security guards to the Samaritans. In each episode, Sandhu reflects on the nature of the urban night. Has night life been corroded by light and entertainment? What are the invisible forces that pulse through the sleeping city? Is real darkness possible any more?”

    Not only is it an interesting read that explores the power of the London night and those whose lives revolve around it, but the website is also an eerie sensory experience thanks to a collaboration with the sound artist Scanner.

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