There never was and probably never will be another architectural critic as impassioned, omnivorous, and outspoken as Ian Nairn (1930–1983). Largely self-taught, he conducted a one-man crusade against the outrages of post-war British architecture, which he contrasted with the best work of past centuries. But he was no reactionary: He found excellence and mediocrity in every era, dismissing one Gothic cathedral as mechanical and unfeeling—the same deficiencies he found in the widely acclaimed Royal Festival Hall of 1951. "What I am after," he wrote, "is character, or personality, or essence." He accepted the wartime destruction in London as the price paid to defeat evil; now "It is burning again, but this time only to satisfy developers' greed, planners' inadequacy, and official stupidity."
Entries in London (7)
Before the Design Museum in London opens the doors to its new location in 2015, visitors in both the real and virtual worlds, will have had an opportunity to get up-close with the vastly larger space thanks to an immersive tool created by Stickyworld. A London-based company itself, Stickyworld builds interactive visual forums designed to foster discussion on projects ranging from design review, city planning and beyond. “Our business offers a new way of capturing feedback on the built environment,” says Michael Kohn, Stickyworld’s founder and CEO.
Launched just this spring, Made in Ratio has quickly begun making a name for itself in the design world. The London-based company's Supernova table garnered a Product of the Year Award and the firm itself was heralded as Newcomer of the Year at the Mixology Awards, work in the contract field. The collection started off big, with creative director Brodie Neill creating a range of seating, lighting, tables and storage that play with color, form and material. Today, we're delighted to share Brodie's thoughts on becoming a designer and his design process as part of our series highlighting younger designers. If you're in London next month for the Design Festival, Made in Ratio will be showing at designjunction. Stop by and check out the pieces.
By Michael Webb
Berthold Lubetkin: Architecture and the Tradition of Progress. John Allan. Artifice, $59.95
In this greatly enlarged edition of a book he created 20 years ago, John Allan explores the career and influence of an émigré from the Soviet Union who introduced conservative Britons to the marvels of modernism. Allan is a director of Avanti Architects in London, and he specializes in the restoration of mid-century modern buildings. As a graduate student he met Berthold Lubetkin (1901-90) and their two-decade friendship kindled his admiration and this exemplary tribute.
This is one of those times when we can’t even begin to fathom the changes happening around us. It’s particularly true for design, and an upcoming exhibition at London’s Design Museum seeks to explore its future in a new and provocative way. In conjunction with the pioneering furniture retailer Made.com, the museum’s show The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution will explore the potential for democratizing the design process via new means of production. One of the key components of the exhibition will be a publicly commissioned piece of furniture that will be market-ready when the show opens on July 24. Starting April 8, people will have a chance to vote on the shortlist of designs that were submitted last month in response to the show’s brief. We recently spoke to curator Alex Newsom about the show, its genesis and the implications for the future of design.