Sunday, 19 June 2016

Views from the Gherkin

A couple of weeks ago I dragged Lesley along to the top floor of the Gherkin for some champagne at the Searcy's bar there. It was pretty expensive (£15 a glass, so my sister might have a point when she says I've got more money than sense), but for the experience of going up a tall building in London and taking photos, it was worth the money.

The light on the day wasn't great, unfortunately, and it had been raining just before we got there, so the photos aren't the best quality (although some of them do have a kind of vintage cinema sheen to them because they're a bit fuzzy). However the views were amazing, and we had fun playing spot-the-landmark, and in my case, spot-the-buildings-I've-been-to-before.

The Gherkin is one of those buildings that looks quite delicate from afar, and then you get up close and you realise it's flipping massive.

The bar is actually right in the top of the building:

Very tall buildings and raindrops:

(I have briefly been to the bar in this one and posted photos here:

View towards Canary Wharf:

Two stupid buildings (seriously, what is that one on the left doing?):

Tower Bridge/Tower of London/City Hall etc.:

And finally, the building on the right of this picture (with the red umbrellas) is the Allen and Overy officers, where I went last year as part of Open House (pics here:

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Lumiere London

I think it is clear by now that I love any excuse to go tramping round the city taking photos of things. I had not quite realised until last night that I would take this opportunity even when it was COMPLETELY FREEZING, but apparently I'm insane.

I was wearing as many layers as possible when I set off and I did go for a very nice Italian dinner before it all kicked off, but still, VERY COLD.

I started off at Oxford Circus looking at 1.8 London by Janet Echelman / Studio Echelman, which is part of a series of works inspired by fishing nets (although it put me in mind of a giant jellyfish). I got there a few minutes before it switched on and it's actually impressive before the lights:

And then it switched on and we all went 'oooooooh' because it was very pretty:

Apparently it was interactive but I didn't realise that until today so no idea what the interactivity was. 

After that I walked to Brown Hart Gardens, excitingly somewhere I'd never been before yesterday (that is getting quite rare for me in central London), a raised piazza sort of thing behind Oxford Street. Here there were two works by Sarah Blood, Dissect I and Dissect II and Sanctuary.

Dissect I and Dissect II are a pair of sculptures which are a simple cuboid framework supported and dissected by a neon square. Very simple but striking:

I only got photos of one as I couldn't be bothered to go to the other entrance (given that there were two entrances to Brown Hart Gardens I'm not sure why they didn't have it set up with one entrance and one exit).

Sanctuary is a work made of a dozen neon birdhouses with an accompanying soundtrack of birdsong.

I then went to Grosvenor Square where there were three installations (there were supposed to be four but the one  really wanted to see - Aquarium - wasn't working), the first of which was Spinning Night in Living Colour by Elaine Buckholtz.

There were also Lightbenches by Bernd Spiecker. 

And Brothers & Sisters by Ron Haselden

I started heading back to Charing Cross after this, going via Piccadilly where there were a few displays. 

195 Piccadilly by NOVAK is a cinematic-themed display which came with a soundtrack (the soundtracks didn't work completely tbh, mostly due to the amount of people). 

Luminéoles by Porté par le vent was lovely, a trio of large fish and flower lanterns above Piccadilly. 

I Haven't Changed My Mind in a Thousand Years by Beth J Ross is rendering of 11th-century proverbs placed on either end of the Burlington Arcade. 

Les Voyageurs (The Travellers) by Cédric Le Borgne were all around St James, and these were fantastic, quite spooky figures floating in the air and sitting on rooftops. 

And so to Trafalgar Square, where there was only the flipping CENTRE POINT LETTERS. I was really excited to see these as I have a great fondness for Centre Point, and they seemed weirdly small (you can see people next to them in the pictures for a size comparison). 

Aaaaaaand finally, Plastic Islands, which is a work made of plastic based on the giant 'garbage patch' of rubbish in the North Pacific Ocean. 

So that was fun! And then I went home where there was central heating, hurrah!

More information about all the works can be found here:

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Open Hooooooouse 2015 #9

I thought I was done after Pennington Street, but then I looked at my list and realised I hadn't gone to One Bishops Square, which was not a million miles from where I was (NB my logic skills had flown out of the window by this point, it was a good old walk), and I am SO GLAD I went there because it was the best. 

One Bishops Square is the offices of Allen and Overy, who are a big international law firm, and it is a properly big deal. They have an in-house gym and medical centre! They have loads of artwork all over the place! I wouldn’t be surprised if they had sleep pods on site or something! 

This was a directed walk around the building and it was really interesting to get to look at another type of office (I realise this sounds sarcastic but it isn't, yes I am that sad) and then there was a roof terrace! (see previous comments about high things).

And then there was ANOTHER roof terrace! Amazing. I could not have asked for a better end to the day. 

Next year I will potentially have my sister with me again (the only person who I can rely on to keep up with me for this weekend, sorry everyone else who expressed interest) so Open House 2016 is going to be a blast. 

Oh, and finally, I have a side blog on Tumblr where I post pictures of empty London streets, because I like pretending there’s no-one else in the city, so if you’re interested in what London would look like after the zombie apocalypse, it is here:

Thanks for reading!