Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Vinçon is a huge design shop in Barcelona. It's housed in what looks like an art deco building on one of the main shopping streets. What's really clever about it, is that the furniture is displayed in rooms with all the original tiled & parquet flooring, wooden shutters and pannelling. You wander between rooms in such a way that it's almost like being in someone's (albeit very stylish) flat. Then there's the roof terrace, where you look out to the back of Gaudi's Casa Milà.
Spot the posing bird in the last image. I kept moving closer & closer to take a photo. He didn't fly off until I was practically touching him. I guess even the wildlife are laid back in Barcelona.
Friday, 26 March 2010
It's been raining in Montpellier all week but the sun has at last come out.
Late afternoon the Jardins des Plantes was looking very different to the last time I visited in autumn. Lots of dramatic light picking out newly opened buds.
A stylish weather report via les gourous.
Happy weekend everyone!
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Sunday, 21 March 2010
If you happen to find yourself in Bezier of a Sunday morning, the best thing to do is to head to the covered market. It's an old school wrought iron market, filled with cheese, fish, fruit & vege, meat and local produce stalls. We brought a fresh out of the oven pizza and took it to eat at the market bar - La Gargote des Halles.
In fact on the blackboard the staff have written a note to say they're happy to cook your market purchases for a small charge. A bit like charging corkage or BYO (bring your own - alcohol) a common occurance back in the day in New Zealand.
Les Halles de Béziers
Place Pierre Semard
34500 Béziers, France
+33 (0) 4 67 49 25 45
Friday, 19 March 2010
Normally the route I take to Tate Modern is either from London Bridge in one direction or from Waterloo bridge in the other, but always walking beside the Thames. But this time I walked along Southwark St away from the crowds and the river.
This area of London is full of contrasting new and old architecture all jostling for place.
While in London I saw an exhibition of Irving Penn's portraits for Vogue at the National Portrait Gallery. So many of the portraits have stuck in my mind. A master of black and white studio portraiture.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
I used to go to the cinema at the Renoir a lot when I lived in London. It's in the Brunswick centre; a 60s housing estate and shoppng centre at Russell Square. It used to be pretty undown with most of the shops empty. A few years ago it underwent a complete overhaul. The concrete estate has been cleaned up and looks great. The shopping centre is now mega busy and simply looks like any other High St. I think I prefered it when it was slightly shabby. The Renoir however hasn't changed and looks just as fine.
I saw this French film and thought it was pretty excellent.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
The Royal Festival Hall was built as part of the Festival of Britain in 1951 by Holland, Hannen & Cubitts. The building underwent a much needed renovation between 2005 and 2007 aimed at improving the famously poor acoustics, as well as reorganising the entrance spaces & café and the layout of the foyers.
The Festival Hall is one of my favourite spots in London. I especially love going there during the day when it's quiet, before any performances begin. It's always full of all sorts of people using the spaces. From pensioners reading the newspaper, to groups having informal meetings, to laptop users at tables looking out of the immense windows towards the Thames. It's a very easy space to be in. If I lived close by I think I'd come with my laptop, park myself on a Arne Jacobson chair on the 3rd or 4th floor and immerse myself in this modernist calm. I'm sure it'd be a productive place to work!
Oh and I'm dying for a special occassion (do I need one?) to try the Skylon restaurant. Just to sit and soak up all that modernist goodness. I wouldn't really mind too much if the food wasn't up to scratch; although I've heard it's pretty good even if this reviewer thought it was 'patchy'.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Some photos from Sunday morning breakfast at Sète, followed by a walk around the wharves, along some of the canals, up the hill to the cemetry where Paul Valery is buried and back down to the city art gallery, which wasn't open until the afternoon.
Snow was forecast for Montpellier today but our morning was full of sunshine. I left for London late afternoon and when I landed had a text from F to say it was snowing. Of course I didn't believe him as despite forecasts, it never snows here. He sent me photo proof and it's snowing heavily even as I write this.
Who knows, Montpellier may have it's first 'snow day' tommorrow!
Friday, 5 March 2010
A few years ago while I was on a trip back in New Zealand I photographed the Art Deco houses of Napier. Whilst going through my slides the other weekend I came across these shots. I really like the way the facades are peaking out from behind the vegetation which has grown up around them.
Napier was devastated by the Hawkes Bay earthquake in 1931 and was rebuilt in the architectural style of the time. Art Deco emphased clean simple lines & lack of ornamentation. This style was a practical solution; it was very different from the heavily ornamentated colonial buildings which had caused so much devastation in the earthquake.
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
It was very difficult narrowing my photos of Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion down to only a few images. I could devote so many postings to this building. It's a perfect structure to photograph and to be in.
In the end I decided to pick a few details to show you. The luxury of the marble walls, the white leather chairs, the stainless steel cruciform pillars, the glass and the velvet of the red curtains, are all heightened by the simplicity of the architecture.
And yes I did buy the 'Less is More' tee-shirt in the bookshop.