houses, Uncategorized

We Love London - Part 1

Text Naomi Larkin Photographs Sean Calitz, London 2012, Nathen S Atia,, supplied As host of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, London is once again under the spotlight. It’ll be the first ‘green’ Olympics and the initiatives at the Olympic Park development in London’s East End are incredible. As Kevin McCloud wrote in The Telegraph Magazine: ‘Out of this polluted place, formerly the site of glue factories, a rubbish dump and heavy 19th-century industry, some extraordinary pastry-like shapes have already arisen, forming Britain’s answer to Beijing.’ Some 97 per cent of the soil on the site had to be laundered – processed to remove toxic elements; more than 4 000 trees and 350 000 plants are being planted, and waterways have been dredged. Land has been remodelled to provide walkways and wetlands. Hawks have even been brought in to scare away the pigeons rather than employ more drastic measures. HL investigates the country's creative contributors, advancing design,  developing theories, trendsetters and architectural feats. Held annually, the BMW EuroStyle Tour enables South African media to experience the latest trends in design, decor, food, fashion and art developing in the country visited. As an Olympics strategic partner, London was a logical destination choice for the 2010 tour. In addition, BMW Group’s MINI and Rolls-Royce brands are both quintessentially British. Design

  • MINI Park Lane is the biggest MINI car dealership on the planet and it’s also where you can find the specialist and latest models, including the MINI Countryman  just released in SA. With four doors and space for five people it‘s a whole new dimension for the brand. Unmistakably MINI yet obviously bigger, it still offers the driving fun associated with its predecessors but fits between the classic model and a sports vehicle.
  • ArcelorMittal Orbit – Taller than the Statue of Liberty, it epitomises a ‘space age’ design future. other tower structures are pyramidical but this one, designed by artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, consists of a looping lattice of tubular steel with a special platform. Located in Olympic Park, it will provide unmatched views over London.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum – The V&A has always been regarded as a must for any tourist or local wanting to know about art and design. The new Residency Programme, which includes experimental knitwear designer Juliana Sissons (one of her designs is pictured right) is added reason to go.
  • For three days each September celebrities and normal people don a swing skirt, a wide-brimmed fedora or whatever outfit they can find from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, and head to the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester for the Goodwood Revival. The racing event sees a line-up of cars and motorcycles from 1948 to 1966, the heyday of the circuit, many driven by famous motorsport personalities. Period costume is expected; and there are classic car displays, historic-aircraft manoeuvres, lots of champagne and plenty of fun.
  • Building a car factory in the beautiful green countryside sounds like the stuff of nightmares but Rolls-Royce has created a blueprint for success with its headquarters and manufacturing plant in the Sussex Downs. Built on the historic Goodwood Estate, it was designed by architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw to blend into its environment and with extensive green areas surrounding. To achieve this, features include its low height, cedar louvres on the exterior of some sections and a planted roof. The manufacturing area boasts a ‘glass mile’, which runs the length of the building and not only provides a light workspace but also avoids the impact of a more solid structure. In addition, of its 1 000 people on site, three quarters of them live within 25 kilometres of the factory.
  • In London’s suburb du jour Shoreditch, The Boundary hotel is a masterstroke by design doyen Sir Terence Conran. The converted Victorian warehouse retains many of its original features including the double-height basement (home to one of the city’s top restaurants), brickwork and sash windows, along with a modern steel, copper and glass extension. The Boundary Rooftop offers a bar, open fireplace, restaurant, landscaped gardens and 360-degree views.
  • With Madonna as a neighbour, new hotel The Arch London obviously has one of the trendiest addresses. Take a jog in neighbouring Hyde Park or walk to the Oxford and Bond Street shopping precincts. Spanning seven Georgian townhouses and two mews homes with colourful interiors, it’s a combination of English heritage and contemporary that just works. (Don’t miss the treacle tart at in-house restaurant HUNter 486).
  • Patrick Mitchell and Peter Allen are the talented duo behind award-winning Platform 5 Architects. Residential projects like Mapledene Road- a Victorian terrace house given a major overhaul and an expansive glass extension- epitomize their philosophy of a design process ' informed by both traditional craft-based techniques and the possibilities offered by modern materials and fabrication methods.' Meadowview, an eco-house in Bedfordshire, is an example of their green focus.
  • Mistress Ong has taken the shoe to new heights. A disciple of the legendary shoemaker Jimmy Choo, Beatrix focuses on quality workmanship, ensuring her shoes are comfortable enough to wear from day to night but super-sexy too. Her Oxford Circus store will have you reaching for your wallet.
  • Few and Far – She may be the sister of Sir Terence Conran and a previous director of the Conran store, but Priscilla Carluccio calls herself a ‘shopkeeper’. Her latest venture, Few and Far, is a carefully curated treasure trove of beautifully designed goods from all over the world.
This article was originally published in the January/ February 2011 issue of House and Leisure.