happy halloween.

Haunting pictures of abandoned theatres by photographer Julia Solis. Elegant and evocative, they also provoke thought of contemporary issues of urban decay and economic downturn.

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Stages of Decay, Julia Solis, available here.

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a parisian in barcelona.

Caught in its original condition with just the addition of a rich, herringbone oak floor, this apartment contains an enviable collection of modernist delights and objet trouve. Looking very much like a Parisian apartment of the Haussmann era (more Parisians here, and here), the striking furniture is all postwar, French, too: Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, and an inventory of the wonderful, organic light fittings of Serge Mouille.

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It is a very strong aesthetic; each piece of furniture a statement in itself, and each in strong, saturated primary colour. There are lovely details too – the little shelves above the radiators, for example.

Apartment in Barcelona, AD Espana. Photos by Pablo Zamora

the collector.

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It’s art fair season here in London, and the big daddy of them all, Frieze Art Fair, concluded at the weekend.

The white box format with which galleries usually display their wares was changed perhaps for ever more by the innovative booth of Helly Nahmad gallery. The booth, called ‘The Collector’ was a perfect replica of the Paris apartment of a fictional art collector called Corrado N, dating from 1968. Replete with old issues of Paris Match, overflowing ashtrays, and the artwork of Picasso, Miro and (my personal favourite) Lucio Fontana, the studio portrayed the life of a ‘passionate, intellectual reclusive’, who lived and breathed art.

More, Art News. Photo, Fausta Maria Bolettier Continue reading

the anatomy of a building.

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Sir Denys Lasdun created a radical new headquarters for the Royal college of Physicians 50 years ago. Unlike anything else in the classical, verdant green surroundings of Regent’s Park, his building was bold, restrained and unashamedly modern. He is also the architect responsible for one of my other favourite of all London buildings, the National theatre, Southbank.

Lasdun’s building is comprised of three contrasting materials, expressing the form of the building and defining the three distinct zones. The grand, ceremonial areas are clad in off-white mosaic, appearing to float above the lower administrative areas constructed from dark blue engineering bricks. Concrete was used for the fire escape and functional, hard-working parts of the building.

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This extraordinary building is the subject of a current exhibition, now until 13 February 2015.
‘The anatomy of a building: Denys Lasdun and the Royal College of Physicians’, Royal College of Physicians, St Andrew’s Place, Regent’s Park, London. More, here

Photograph via and RCP 

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sorrento simplicity.

Sorrento is a beautiful coastal town on Victoria’s Mornington peninsula, and I have very fond memories of seemingly endless summer days spent on the beach there. This summer house captures the vibe perfectly in its simplicity and feels just about right on these gorgeous, late September days.

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Natural materials reflect the surrounding landscape with timber floorboards, in this case Fir with a white oil finish, and the woody exterior, stained black. Clean white walls reflect the coastal light, with texture provided by the timber lined ceilings, again kept white. The living spaces are open plan with the clever insertion of a log-burning stove and bank of cupboards on one side, and kitchen units on the other. The joinery is kept consistent throughout – white cabinetry and palest grey glass mosaic tiles adding texture and tone wherever a waterproof surface is required. Built-in shelves and a low ledge behind the bed are always a good idea. A second bathroom is kept simple with panels of ply and a reclaimed metal trough.

Scandinavian classics are plentiful with low-slung leather armchairs, Louis Poulsen’s PH5 light, and lots of pieces by Hay and Iittala.

House in Sorrento by Shareen Joel Design. Photographs, Brooke Holm. Via

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more ampersand.

I first wrote about Ampersand House, a home and gallery featuring classic design pieces and objet d’art, here

The House has just reopened in a new premises within central Brussels, in another classical, light filled interior. Again the eclectic mix of 20th century furniture create a fascinating, constantly evolving, living museum. The mix is vintage, contemporary, prototype and commissioned work, and almost everything is available for sale.

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Ampersand House, 33 rue de Suisse, Brussels 1060, Belgium

Back in London, and we are looking forward to Modern Shows pop up in Fulham this weekend, and hoping to find that illusive armchair and console for the new abode… Modern Shows Fulham pop-up, details here

the sun never knew..

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‘The sun never knew how great it was until it hit the side of a building’ Louis Kahn (1901-1974). From the current exhibition at the Design Museum (until 12 October 2014)

We are off on holiday at last, to catch the last of the summer. Happy weekend.

Image: Louis Kahn visual archive by Naquib Hossain