Tag Archives: London

4 Street Art Stars Cities that Love Them

4 Street Art Stars and Cities that Love Them

Street art is by its nature transient, with city authorities in a race to paint over work that seemingly pops up spontaneously – these four artists and three cities defy this stereotype. We haven’t included Paris on this list but it is actually the first to open a dedicated permanent space for the voice of the street, so to speak. The AFP Relaxnews used the occasion of that opening to highlight three artists and the cities that have – sometimes – hosted them warmly. We added Blek le Rat to the list because, well, ignoring Blek is just criminal.


In the age of doxxing and wikileaks, the artist (or collective) known as Banksy is an anomaly. He (for want of a better pronoun) is certainly the world’s most famous anonymous street artist, whose subversive and satirical humor has been reaching ever larger audiences since he surfaced in the 1990s.

Hailing from the underground activist culture of the southwestern city of Bristol (also the birthplace of trip hop), his unmistakable stenciled output generally features an anti-establishment bent.

In artistic terms, be it on the street or in the gallery, he is emphatically Big League, rubbing shoulders with Damien Hirst for the “Keep it Spotless” collaboration, which fetched $1.8 million at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008.

As we’ve reported here many times, Banksy’s identity is unknown. The last stab at unmasking the artist produced the idea that he may be Robert “3D” Del Naja of trip hop band Massive Attack.

4 Street Art Stars and Cities that Love Them

By Eric Lin from San Francisco, USA – blek le rat sleeping, CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons

Blek le Rat

Born Xavier Prou in Paris, 1951, Blek is the elder statesman of global street art and the clear influence behind none other than Banksy. Blek was himself influenced by the street art of New York in the 1970s and adapted the style for Paris, acknowledging the vast difference between the architectures of the two cities. Blek’s true identity was only exposed in 1991, when he was arrested by police in Paris. Nevertheless, Blek says he prefers to street to the gallery, with his first solo exhibition just 10 years ago, in London.

In keeping with this, Blek is not well represented in museums and galleries but you can see his work at the Quin hotel in New York City, which includes his work in its permanent collection.


While Blek may have inspired Banksy, JR is his French successor and some would say a more original artist than Banksy. He started out on the streets of Paris before making waves in a clutch of venues, from Rio’s favela slums (featured image: 28 Millimetres: Women are Heroes, Action in Kibera Slum – Train Passage 6 – Kenya, 2009, JR) to Shanghai and New York. Certainly, JR is a wildly ambitious artist whom our friends at Art Republik call “a master of manipulating images in context.” As far as contextual art goes, street art is tough to beat.

One of JR’s most emblematic projects involved collecting some 4,000 portraits via his mobile photo booth truck and putting the resulting “participatory” mass collage on display at the newly restored Pantheon temple in the French capital.

Earlier this year he wrapped the glass Louvre Pyramid in photographic prints, creating a trompe l’oeil effect appearing to make the structure blend into the actual palace facade.

A ceramic mosaic of 1970s US cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey created by Invader. © AFP PHOTO / FILES / Philippe Lopez

A ceramic mosaic of 1970s US cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey created by Invader. © AFP PHOTO / FILES / Philippe Lopez


Monikers are par for the course in street art and this one is particularly good. The contemporary French artist Invader gets his nom de guerre from “Space Invader” because he produces pixelated works reminiscent of early videogame figures.

Invader is a very active artist, who travels far and wide like the others on this list. With some 3,000 “invasions” on his CV to date, Invader has on occasion been taken in for questioning by inquisitive US police. Invader himself calls his artistic excursions “invasions.”

Last year his replica mosaic of 1970s American cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey sold at auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, fetching HK$2 million ($258,000). The popular piece of street art had been destroyed by the Hong Kong authorities, infuriating residents, and was later re-made for sale.

New York

New York City is the obvious cradle of the street art movement, graffiti artists having used subway tunnels and handy walls as canvases since the late 1960s.

The 1990s saw a move towards the mainstream with the Queens district hosting the 5 Pointz mural space on Long Island.

For two decades, some 1,500 artists had the run of 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) of space, creating an open-air museum and tourist magnet – until the site owner in 2013 had the area demolished for construction of a condominium complex.


Berlin’s East Side Gallery – a 1.3 kilometre (one mile) surviving section of the Berlin Wall – merits mention with its gallery of 1990 (the year after the fall of the Berlin Wall) paintings by more than 100 artists from across the globe.

With the site receiving an annual three million visitors, renovation was required in 2009.

One of the best-known frescoes depicts the “fraternal kiss” between former Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker, painted by Russian artist Dmitri Vrubel.


London’s edgy-but-trendy eastern district of Shoreditch is a true hive of street art in the British capital, “hosting” a raft of Banksy creations that see visitors beat a steady path to the area.

Somewhat less known is Leake Street Tunnel, an “authorised graffiti area” behind Waterloo railway station which lures an alternative crowd. Most output gets covered over on a regular basis.

Banksy, himself involved in turning “a dark forgotten filth pit” into “an oasis of beautiful art”, has also fallen victim to this artistic licence at what was for a while dubbed “Banksy Tunnel”.

Fat Duck Awarded Three Michelin Stars

Fat Duck Awarded Three Michelin Stars

The portly duck is back in action in London and reclaims its ranking in the 2017 edition of the Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland. We are of course talking about the famous Fat Duck restaurant by British chef Heston Blumenthal.

Having missed out on the previous year’s rating due to the renovation of his eatery, Blumenthal has now ensured that Fat Duck in Bray, west London, has retained its three-star rating. During its brief hiatus from London, the chef relocated the eatery to Melbourne, Australia; which in turn inspired the six-month pop-up Down Under.

Re-opening to much fanfare in fall 2015, the chef unveiled a new concept that was based on a multi-sensory menu inspired by his childhood. One innovation that seemed to catch the attention of the Michelin’s inspectors was the ticketing system that allowed foodies to reserve a table. This system has now become a trend, thanks to The Fat Duck. “Our inspectors had many meals here during the course of the year and found the restaurant invigorated, rejuvenated and unquestionably worthy of being re-awarded our highest accolade,” said Rebecca Burr, the Michelin Guide’s Great Britain and Ireland editor.

Other restaurants that were awarded three-star ratings include Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and The Waterside Inn. Raby Hunt by chef James Close, was awarded a two-star rating while 17 new restaurants were included in the one-star category this year. Alongside the accolades for the restaurants and eateries, the firm also gave out new Michelin awards that honored outstanding personnel in the hotel and restaurant sector. Chef Clare Smyth, who previously helmed the Gordon Ramsay restaurant, won the Michelin Female Chef Award and is set to open her own establishment. The team from Peel’s restaurant at Hampton Manor was awarded the Michelin Welcome and Service Award.

Fat Duck Awarded Three Michelin Stars

Heston Blumenthal was one of the iconic chefs of 2015. © AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL

One Night Only Stay at Abbey Road Studios

One Night Only Stay at Abbey Road Studios

The famed Abbey Road Studios may soon welcome you as a guest – and give you a chance to record there too. The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Pablo Casais (he made a revolutionary early recording of Bach’s Cello Suites here in 1936) have worked in the hallowed halls of this Georgian townhouse and you can imagine that their music must have permeated the walls. An Airbnb contest offers four lucky winners a once-in-a-lifetime sleepover to see for themselves if there is any magic to the place.

For one night only in October, four guests will enter the hallowed halls of Abbey Road Studios in London where they’ll be hosted by DJ, songwriter and producer Mark Ronson.

Once inside, they’ll be given free access to wander the studio and channel the musical genius of the Beatles, whose legacy remains in the cigarette burns etched in the piano used to record The White Album. Normally, given the site’s status as a pilgrimage point for Beatles fans, only those with business at Abbey Road Studios were allowed inside; the building is not a museum after all.

This is a good thing because it wasn’t only the Fab Four who recorded here. Aside from the aforementioned Casais’ Bach recordings, Abbey Road Studios bore witness to Amy Winehouse’s final recording sessions with Tony Bennett and the Pink Floyd magnum opus Dark Side of the Moon.

“Unless you are a recording artist, it is almost impossible to get inside Abbey Road Studios. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a music lover to cross its threshold and unearth thousands of stories that live within its walls,” said James McClure, Airbnb’s General Manager for Northern Europe.

Guests will not only be able to tickle the same ivories played by John Lennon, they’ll also be able to jam out on their own with any of the instruments on hand and record their own track under the Ronson’s guidance, the hitmaker behind “Uptown Funk.”

One Night Only Stay at Abbey Road Studios

“Abbey Road is like a second home to me,” he said in a statement.

“I was born in the neighborhood and dreamt of joining the greats and recording within its walls one day. Now I’m lucky enough to work there all the time. Over the years I’ve gotten to know the team there and had the pleasure of hearing all of the amazing stories of the many legends that have graced its studios.”

It’s the latest in a long list of exclusive sleepover experiences hosted by the short-term vacation rental site. Other recent examples include a shark tank in Paris, a floating apartment on the Great Barrier Reef, and a Danish castle that served as the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Winners will be flown from anywhere in the world. To enter, applicants must explain which song they wish they had been able to witness being recorded at the studio and why by October 6 BST.

For more info visit https://www.airbnb.co.uk/night-at/abbey-road.

62 Halliford Street

Property Focus: Islington Townhouses, London

62 Halliford Street is a collection of two modern townhouses designed by an award-winning international architect. Both properties, which are striking and contemporary in design, are located in the heart of one of London’s most vibrant and exclusive areas—Islington. Islington is considered to be one of the premium and most attractive places to live in London. The area is famous for its many parks and green spaces, bars and gastro pubs, restaurants, high end shops, local theatres, museums and transport links to The City of London, Canary Wharf and the West End of London. The properties are conveniently situated within close proximity to boutique shops and restaurants of Upper St, Islington to the West, Shoreditch to the East and Dalston to the North.62 Halliford Street

Unit 1

Two- or three-bedroom, three-bathroom modern townhouse. The exclusive and contemporary semi-detached modern townhouse has three stories and two areas of outdoor space. The property features well-planned living accommodation on the ground and lower ground floors, with each floor offering ample living and entertainment spaces. Total internal square area is 1,560 sq. ft. and total external square area is 388 sq. ft.62 Halliford Street

Unit 2

Three-bedroom, three-bathroom modern townhouse. This modern and chic townhouse has two stories with a 300 sq. ft. private roof terrace on the top floor. The property is full of natural light, with each of the three bedrooms having access to outdoor space. Total internal square area is 1,613 sq. ft. and total external square area is 407 sq. ft.

Unit 1: GBP 2.25 million ($3.54 million)

Unit 2: GBP 2.35 million ($3.7 million)62 Halliford Street


In accordance with the Misrepresentation Act 1967 and the Property mis-description Act 2001, these details have been prepared in good faith, they are not intended to continue part of an offer of contract. Any information contained herein, whether in the text, plans or photographs is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement or representation of a fact. Any measurements or distances referred to herein are approximate only.

This article was first published in Palace.

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The most beautiful restaurant in all London is a German gymnasium… Well, the German Gymnasium, in fact. This stunning two-story restaurant served in a former life as England’s first purpose-built gym and helped to host London’s first National Olympic Games in 1866. In a twist that might be hard to understand, the German brasserie has been named the most beautiful eatery at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016.

The German Gymnasium, located in the heart of King’s Cross in London, was named the overall winner at the eighth annual event, which shines the spotlight on the most beautifully designed spaces around the world.

Lovers of good design will appreciate the German Gymnasium as it pays respectful homage to its heritage in preserving original details like the climbing hooks in the ceiling and cast steel columns.

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The building was completed in 1865 and was funded from London’s Germany community for the German Gymnastics Society.

Designed by Conran & Partners, the restaurant is described as a modern interpretation of a classic brasserie with German overtones. Warm walnut timber paneling and black and grey distressed leather upholstery are set off against fresh, contemporary accents like an occasional pink and red tone. The space features two bars, first floor restaurant, Grand Cafe and outdoor terrace.

The menu is likewise a celebration of the landmark’s German roots under the culinary vision of chef Bjoern Wassmuth, who has created a menu featuring a few classic Mittel-European dishes like schnitzel, currywurst, sauerkraut and strudels.

The Black Forest menu features black forest ham, truffled potato soup, venison “Baden Baden” with Spatzle and lingonberries and a chocolate sponge cake with cherries and chantilly called the “Danube.”


In the category of best overall bar design, the Blue Wave bar in Barcelona was given the top honor. Designed by El Equipo Creativo, the interior is conceived to evoke a wave about to break.

Located on the water’s edge in the Barcelona Port, designers used reflective elements and ceramic tile in various shades of blue and white to harken sea foam, sea waves and light.

Here are the international winners of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016:

  • Best Overall Restaurant: German Gymnasium, London, UK designed by Conran & Partners
  • Best Overall Bar: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo

Regional winners:

  • Best Restaurant North America: Torafuku, Vancouver, Canada, by Scott & Scott Architects
  • Best Bar North America: Kat & Theo, New York, USA by Aviva Collective
  • Best Restaurant Europe: Les Bains, Paris, France, RDAI
  • Best Bar Europe: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo
  • Best Bar Asia: Foxglove, Hong Kong, NCDA
  • Best Restaurant Asia: Shugaa, Bangkok, Thailand, Party Space Design
  • Best Restaurant Australia & Pacific: So 9, Sydney, Australia, Brand Works
  • Best Bar Australia & Pacific Bar: Pink Moon Saloon, Adelaide, Australia, Sans-Arc Studio
  • Best Bar Middle East Africa: News Cafe, Johannesburg, South Africa, Studio A
  • Best Restaurant Middle East & Africa Restaurant: Jo Grilled Food, Tehran, Iran, White Rhino Design Group
Apple Announces Battersea Power Station as London HQ

Apple Announces Battersea Power Station as London HQ

Global technology colossus Apple this week announced plans to create a London headquarters in the iconic and long-abandoned Battersea Power Station on the banks of the River Thames.

“We are looking forward to opening Apple’s new London campus at The Battersea Power Station in 2021,” the world’s most valuable company said in a statement.

Around 1,400 staff from eight existing offices in London will relocate to the renovated landmark, whose distinctive chimneys have towered over the central neighborhood of Battersea since the 1930s.

The former power station lay derelict since it stopped generating electricity in 1983, but is undergoing a £9 billion ($11.7 billion, 10.4 billion euros) makeover to turn the 42-acre (170,000 square meter) space into offices, apartments, shops and leisure facilities. The new “Apple complex” will take over 40 percent of the office space.

The firm called it “a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighborhood rich with history.”

Finance minister Philip Hammond said the announcement “further strengthens London’s position as a global technology hub, and demonstrates how the UK is at the forefront of the next steps in the tech-revolution.

The power station is one of the world’s largest brick structures, and is noted for its Art Deco interior fittings. It has frequently popped up in popular culture, featuring in The Beatles film Help! and on the cover on Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals.

One Trinity Square, London

Property Focus: Ten Trinity Square, London

Ten Trinity Square is the Grade II* listed landmark property in London that lies a stone’s throw from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tower Bridge, and just behind the capital’s River ThamesOne Trinity Square, London

The building, designed by notable Edwardian architect, Sir Edwin Cooper, possesses a unique and rich pedigree.One Trinity Square, London

Thanks in part to its historic origins as London’s former Port of London Authority building, the striking Beaux Arts façade and neo­classical architecture of Ten Trinity Square, as well as its former role as the point of commercial and cultural exchange in the capital, make it a rare jewel in the world of real estate.One Trinity Square, London

Today, Reignwood Group is breathing life back into this once­ great building, sensitively restoring it and introducing 41 private residences and a Four Seasons Hotel under its roof, along with an exclusive private members’ club and spa.One Trinity Square, London

Once complete, Ten Trinity Square will provide London with a one­-of-­a-kind residential and hotel offering that cannot be found anywhere else in the city.

Price On Application

This property is managed by Alta Collection.

This article was first published in Palace.

Burberry London Livestream 2016

Numerous brands are showcasing their collections at London Fashion Week and we have been invited to catch Burberry’s runway show as it happens later today. With nearly 100 looks set to walk the ramp, the show promises to be an entertaining display.

Visit L’Officiel Singapore to find out more about the show and how you can visit the venue in London until September 27.

London Fashion Week Open for Business

London Fashion Week Open for Business

The world is still coming to grips with New York Fashion Week, which was even more packed with innovations than expected, but it is time to look ahead once more to London Fashion Week. The pace is blistering and technology is staying at least one medium ahead of everyone, it seems. By the time London steps into the spotlight, our collective notions about seasons and trends may have already been forever altered.

Against a backdrop of general uncertainty and anxiety, there’s also Brexit to contend with but the institution that is London Fashion Week (LFW) has declared itself firmly open for business. The notices have been going out to every news service that will transmit them, including ourselves. In an unrelated move, we also received notice that Brexit fallout continues, with David Cameron stepping down as MP. Given that Cameron is hardly an important figure in fashion circles, this news will likely not be a distraction…hopefully.

LFW will have a torrid time as it is, getting ready to welcome more than 5,000 guests from 58 countries and 83 major designers scheduled for 64th edition of the extravaganza.

Figures released in June show that the British fashion industry’s national worth has grown by 8% since 2013, now totaling £28 billion (about $37 billion), and LFW is capitalizing on the strength of the sector with an event that will focus on change and innovation (the same keywords, as we noted, so prominently on show right now in New York).

When it comes to those keywords, as it applies to London Fashion Week, all eyes will surely be on the UK house of Burberry as it shows its menswear and womenswear collections together for the first time, with the pieces available to buy directly afterwards.

The label, headed by Christopher Bailey, isn’t the only major player here to embrace this change. Reports have it that Fyodor Golan, House of Holland and Topshop Unique will also be showing see-now buy-now collections. Meanwhile, Aquascutum, Belstaff, Joseph and this year’s Woolmark Womenswear winner Teatum Jones will also put menswear and womenswear together on the catwalk.

In addition to the official catwalk schedule, the SS17 edition of LFW will also feature more than 150 labels presenting in the Designer Showrooms at Brewer Street Car Park. International brands MM6 and Versus return to the city, while Huishan Zhang, Molly Goddard and the aforementioned Teatum Jones will all be showing on catwalks for the first time. This year, LFW intends to become more UKFW, with 20 Ocean Outdoor screens across Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle broadcasting LFW content. Given the way this content will be infiltrating people’s mobile phones, this move seems largely anachronistic, reflecting perhaps our earlier point about technology staying one step ahead of the trends themselves…

LFW runs September 16-20. For more information see www.londonfashionweek.co.uk

What’s Next for London Real Estate Post-Brexit?

In the hours and days following the UK referendum, in which 51.9% of voters elected to exit the European Union, much of the country looked on in shock. The campaign had been a bitter and visceral one, driven by inciting rhetoric around British immigration, the economy and the bureaucratic elite, but many inside Britain and abroad did not expect the leave vote to prevail.

As the world grappled with the results, the markets reacted on a scale not seen since the financial crisis. The pound plunged to the lowest since 1985, Asian stocks tumbled and just days later news came out that Standard & Poor’s had stripped Britain of its triple-A credit rating. The vote has set the nation up for bitter divorce talks ahead, and, since there is no precedent for a country leaving the 28-member-state EU trade block, uncertainty reigns over how exactly the UK will negotiate its new position within the political and economic landscape.

This uncertainty has already affected the property market, particularly in London where some buyers have been pulling out of purchases, concerned about the city’s future. The UK Treasury warned before the vote that residential property prices would be as much as 18% lower if the country voted to leave. Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Economics said housing market activity and prices were at “very serious risk of an extended, marked downturn following the UK’s decision to leave” the European Union. He predicts home prices could fall 5% in the second half of 2016 and a further 5% in 2017.

“The vote in favour of Brexit will generate a period of renewed uncertainty in the prime London residential market”, said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank in London. “Some demand, especially from investors, will be delayed and in some cases redirected”.

Brexit presents renewed uncertainty following a string of events that have already dampened London’s property market. From 2009 to 2014, London repeatedly made headlines for record-breaking sales of super prime mansions to wealthy buyers from Russia, the Middle East and Asia, many of them in the city’s central neighborhoods, the so-called ‘golden postcodes’ that include Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Kensington, Mayfair and Holland Park. However, since 2014, the market has slowed.’

Some of the headwinds have come in the form of taxes. A new stamp duty rate, introduced in December 2014, charges 10% on properties worth over GBP 925,000 (USD 1.3 million) and 12% on those over GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.5 million). As of April this year, buyers of second homes and buy-to-let properties face another tax; a 3% stamp duty surcharge intended to level the field between investors and first-time buyers.

The effect of the new stamp duty rates was already being felt in the market, with far fewer transactions recorded in the USD 2 million plus range. Then, the Brexit campaign gave buyers and sellers further pause. “Buyers and sellers postponed decisions because of the prospect of entering unchartered economic and political territory,” says Tom Bill, Head of London Residential Research at Knight Frank. According Knight Frank data, demand remained subdued in May 2016 even for properties where asking prices had fallen by 10% or more.

In a city that draws significant investment from international markets, local politic upheavals are only part of the puzzle. Over the past year major foreign investors in British property have been hit with their own setbacks: low oil prices in the Middle East, currency problems in Russia, a recession in Brazil and stock market turmoil in China, all of which have contributed to few high-end transactions. In 2014, Mideast investors made up 15% of prime central London buyers; in 2015 they made up 4%.

According to Yolande Barnes, Head of World Research at Savills, the Brexit campaign became a convenient excuse for a slowdown in the market that was already occurring. Savills figures show prices in prime central London dropped 6% in 2015, and deal volumes shrank have as much as 40%. “Brexit has been a very good excuse for people not to do anything in a market where people wouldn’t have done anything anyway”, Barnes says.

Nevertheless, the unexpected referendum outcome has added another, greater hurdle to a market that was still adjusting to stamp duties and global geopolitical factors. “The prime London property market would benefit from something that appears unlikely in the near-term: an uneventful six months”, says Knight Frank’s Tom Bill.

For some foreign investors, however, the current turmoil represents an opportunity. Buyers will get increased value in purchasing London properties as a result of a depreciating sterling, says Peter Wetherell, a Mayfair-based broker. “For overseas buyers, this big and dramatic drop in the value of sterling will effectively offset the Stamp Duty and tax adjustments and it will make prime London property a lucrative investment for overseas investors bold enough to take a punt despite the market uncertainty”.

The Beecham Penthouse Terrace

The Beecham Penthouse Terrace

For many who believe in London’s long-term resilience, the current market disruptions do not change the overall attractiveness of the city, particularly as a haven for wealth preservation. Research from Knight Frank shows that over the last decade the city has drawn more than twice the number of High Net Worth Individuals from emerging markets (114,000) than the US and Australia combined (42,000 and 22,000 respectively). Investors are drawn by the city’s safety, good schools, green environment and central time zone, factors unlikely to change as a result of the Brexit vote.

The city is also actively investing in the future. A wider look at the real estate market also reveals that while demand for Prime Central London property has fallen in recent years, there has been an uptick in interest around greater London, where regeneration schemes and renewed connectivity and infrastructure projects are shifting the landscape of luxury living.

“As the golden postcodes of London became less affordable after the financial crisis, buyers have increasingly looked for better value further afield”, Tom Bill says. Though they are looking for better value they still want “best-in-class specifications and facilities”, and this means there is a growing focus on the quality of schemes rather than a desire to be in a specific area.

Developers have tapped into this demand, and it is raising the overall level of quality of new-build developments, which increasingly incorporate amenity packages, services, commercial and cultural components. While such experiments in urbanism and place making are common in cities like Miami, Hong Kong or Singapore, they are a relatively new phenomenon in London.

Southbank, one of the first areas to be revitalized, was not previously on the map for wealthy investors, but has experienced a faster rate of growth compared to other prime neighborhoods and serves as an example of how new markets can mature, says Tom Bill. In addition to The Shard (the tallest building in Western Europe), the area is the site of More London, master planned by Foster + Partners, and One Tower Bridge, a project from Berkeley Homes that combines luxury residences with shops, restaurants, pedestrian walkways and a lively riverfront park.

In addition to its cultural offerings, The Ivy, a popular London brasserie recently announced plans to open a ground floor location at One Tower Bridge, and The London Theatre will soon occupy the development’s 900-seat sunken theater. The scheme itself incorporates significant space to outdoor living, also a novelty for London. “What is really special about this project is the amount of dynamic terrace and roof space, along with outdoor kitchens, hot tubs and gazebos”, says Murray Levinson, a partner at Squire & Partners who designed the project.

From the top of the Tower Penthouse, which comes complete with a roof terrace and hot tub, you can see the across the Thames to the city of London, the Tower Bridge, Tower of London and beyond. The lower-rise buildings, positioned facing the river, feature sliding glass doors that open onto wide terraces with views of City Hall and Tower Bridge. The views have been a strong selling point for the project, which is currently 90% sold. The quality of construction (interiors feature handcrafted joinery, polished marble worktops, Miele appliances and home automation systems), has also been a draw, as has the amenities package: 24-hour concierge service from Harrods Estates, a gym, spa and indoor pool are included. Roughly 23 units remain, including select penthouses. These are priced around USD 3,900 per square foot.

The mixed-use concept is also proliferating in greater London with schemes such as Nine Elms slated to include 20,000 new homes, and further west, White City, which is the site of a USD 10 billion overhaul that aims to transform the area from a stark, largely commercial landscape into a lively neighborhood with 5,000 new homes, shops and an office hub for media related companies. As part of the revival, London developer Stanhope is converting the former BBC headquarters into luxury residences.

To the east, tall towers are also multiplying in a city that was once defined by a more uniform, low-scale urbanism. At Canary Wharf, Herzog & de Meuron has designed a new tower nicknamed the Rolling Pin because of its tall cylindrical shape, and Foster + Partners have designed South Quay Plaza, the tallest residential project currently under construction in the EU.

Residential side of Canary Wharf, London

Residential side of Canary Wharf, London

Historically a busy port, and more recently the site of a burgeoning financial district, Canary Wharf is also becoming an increasingly coveted place to live. Expectations for future growth are bolstered by the arrival of the new Crossrail Line, scheduled to run in 2018, which will significantly cut travel times to central London. Today the area still feels largely corporate, but developers intend to blend residential and commercial programs with increased connectivity as the community matures.

“Canary Wharf is becoming more mixed-use and will grow to a population of 200,000,” says Harry Lewis, Managing Director of Berkeley Homes who is developing South Quay Plaza. “Rental yields are higher here, and the arrival of the Crossrail will be a game-changer.”

South Quay Plaza is situated on the waterfront directly opposite the CBD and though many of the adjacent buildings are built right to the edge of the shoreline, Grant Brooker, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners wanted to approach the site differently. “It’s important to let daylight through”,
he says, explaining that by skewing the cube-shaped towers, which have a relatively small footprint (over 64% of the site will not be developed), he was able to create many more exposures. “The building doesn’t have a rear side”, he says. “Every unit has fantastic frontage”.

Brooker’s team also uses their extensive experience designing buildings internationally to create a comprehensive amenities program, which features a health club, spa and 20-metre pool, and a residents’ club lounge that spans the entire 56th floor and includes a bar, screening room and a large terrace. “The type of amenity that is required for a building to really work was missing in earlier developments in London”, Brooker says.

Scheduled for occupation starting in 2020, South Quay Plaza will include 888 units across the 36-storey and 68-storey towers ranging from studios to three-bedroom residences and penthouses. So far Berkeley Homes has released 350 units with prices starting from USD 990,000. To date, half of these units have sold, and demand from Asia has been strong: 50% of the project’s international buyers hail from China.

Adam Challis, Head of Residential Research at Jones Lang LaSalle says regeneration schemes such as Canary Wharf are particularly popular with Asian buyers because they understand the long-term investment potential. “They understand it because they have seen it happen in their own countries”, he says. Challis has also noted an overall shift in buyer attitude in recent years, wherein investors are taking the long view, looking carefully at programs, schemes and neighborhoods and approaching the decision as an investment in London as a whole.

Time will tell how Britain manages to negotiate its exit from the European Union, and how London fairs as a result of the changes. Much will depend on Brexit’s lasting implications for British businesses, particularly those in the country’s enormous financial sector. Before the referendum, London’s population was projected to grow by 100,000 people a year for the next decade and housing supply was lagging. For those who believe in the city’s future and continued potential for growth, now might be an opportune time to take the plunge.

This article was first published in PALACE.

5 Fashion Exhibitions, 4 Style Capitals

The style capitals of the world are not just home to runway shows. Over the next few weeks, Paris, New York, Venice and London will be hosting several exhibitions that feature iconic designs by equally iconic designers. Just looking through the list makes us wish we could pack our bags and hop on the next flight to these destinations just to catch a glimpse of fashion history. Join us as we take a look at five exceptional fashion exhibitions.

Anatomy of a Collection at the Palais Galliera, ParisAnatomy of a Collection at the Palais Galliera

More than a hundred garments and accessories are set to be on display till October 23 at the City of Paris Fashion Museum. Told in an unconventional way, the garments take us on a journey through the history of fashion. Highlights include a pajama suit worn by the British actress and model Tilda Swinton, a dress that belonged to Empress Josephine, and Marie-Antoinette’s corset.

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the V&A Museum, LondonHistory-Of-Underwear

Exploring garments that have long been hidden from the public eye, the exhibition starts with men’s and women’s underwear that date back to the 18th century. The 200 pieces and archive documents will be on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London till March 12, 2017 . The exhibition looks at the role that underwear played in history and how the notion of the ideal body has changed over the years.

Culture Chanel exhibition: The woman who reads at the Ca’Pesaro, Veniceculture_chanel_.a34ee095626.h0

The seventh installment of the Culture Chanel international exhibition will be held at the Ca’Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art in Venice from September 17 until January 8, 2017. Having held a place in the heart of Gabrielle Chanel, the new instalment will see the city exhibit 350 works of authors who played a significant role in the designer’s creative life. The works of Homer, Plato, Virgil, Sophocles, Lucretia, Montaigne, Cervantes, Madame de Sévigné and Jean Cocteau will be displayed in the manner of a library.

Tenue correcte exigée, quand le vêtement fait scandale (Appropriate dress required: when clothing causes a scandal) at the Musée des Arts décoratifs, ParisBall Gown, Viktor & Rolf (Dutch, founded 1993), spring/summer 2010; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2011 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Anna-Marie Kellen

From December 1 till April 23, 2017, the exhibition will showcase garments that have courted controversy and criticism in the past only to become everyday apparel. All the garments on display, including the shirt-dress, the female tuxedo and the miniskirt, were condemned at one time or another in history. In addition to the “scandalous” clothing, visitors will be able to peruse portraits, caricatures and advertisements.

Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

From November 8, 2016 to February 5, 2017 the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will dissect the way in which its collecting strategy has changed from an encyclopaedic approach to creating a body of masterworks. Concentrating on the last 10 years of purchases, the exhibition will highlight around 60 of these masterworks.


London Royal College of Art: Shortlisted Architects

London’s Royal College of the Arts is well on its way to having a brand new campus at Battersea South, having shortlisted seven architectural practices from its design competition. Founded in 1837, the Royal College of the Arts was named top art and design school this year in the annual QS World University Rankings. The institution offers MA, MPhil and PhD degrees across the disciplines of applied art, fine art, design, communications and humanities.


View of Stanford University’s Art and Art History Building in Palo Alto, California, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro © Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Soon, the school will not only expand its campus but also its curriculum to include robotics, sustainability and city design, thanks to £108 million in funding from the UK government. The new campus – encompassing 15,000 sq-ft – will host the new range of courses with a focus on merging design, science and technology.

“The building has to reflect the radical nature, experimentation and high design standards of the world’s pre-eminent art and design university,” said Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the RCA and Chair of the architectural Selection Panel.


The Building of Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center in Chicago, Illinois, designed by Studio Gang.

The seven finalist teams were selected from a total of 97 practices from around the world. The shortlist was selected by a panel of judges that included RCA Rector Paul Thompson, the college’s architectural dean Adrian Lahoud, urban design expert Ricky Burdett and MoMA curator Paola Antonelli. The shortlisted teams have had experience designing educational facilities before. Diller Scofidio + Renfro worked on the Brown University’s Centre for the Creative Arts in Providence, Rhode Island and Stanford University’s Art and Art History Building in Paolo Alto, California. Herzog & de Meuron were selected for Blavatnik School of Government at UK’s Oxford, Lacaton & Vassal for the Architecture School of Nantes in France and Serie Architects for the New School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore. Meanwhile, Studio Gang designed the Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The winners are expected to be announced in October 2016, and till then, we’re eagerly awaiting the new design plan for the campus.


Aston Martin by Hackett: Get Dressed for DB11

If you’re going to drive a car as suave as the DB11, you definitely need to dress the part too, which is why luxury British carmaker Aston Martin has partnered menswear retailer Hackett for a capsule collection titled “Aston Martin by Hackett” this fall.

The collection is the first of a new, long-term global partnership between the two British marques, and the Fall/Winter 2016 series will comprise 14 luxurious pieces that includes outerwear, knitwear, shirts, trousers and accessories. This actually builds on an existing relationship between Aston Martin Racing and Hackett.

Commenting on the partnership and subsequent collection, Aston Martin’s EVP & Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman said: “Starting with the enduringly successful relationship with Hackett via Aston Martin Racing, we were delighted to take the partnership to a whole new level of style with the creation of the ‘Aston Martin by Hackett’ collection. By bringing together our creative teams from the outset of the project we have created a look that captures the essence of this great partnership”.

As mentioned, this isn’t the first time Hackett has worked with the carmaker – as the official team clothing supplier for the Aston Martin Racing Team, it has previously designed a special range of teamwear you can don to pledge your allegiance.

The “Aston Martin by Hackett” collection will be launched September 5 on Hackett.com and across its flagship stores globally.

Design Festivals Around the World

Visit These: 6 Design Festivals Around the World

Pay attention, designers and design aficionados. As global festival season approaches, cities around the world vie for top spot as design capital of the world. Here, we bring you six of the best design festivals from around the world that you should have on your itinerary, should you be lucky enough to be planning a trip abroad.

Helsinki Design Week ( September 1 – 11)

As the largest of its kind in the Nordics, the Helsinki Design Week (pictured top) is a multidisciplinary design festival that hosts close to 200 events throughout the week. Held with the aim of promoting emerging talent, trends and international design collaborations, the annual event has successfully seen crowds of up to 120,000 people turn up previously.

Paris Design Week (September 3 – 10)

This Paris-wide event – organized to overlap with Maison & Objet – holds events in more than 300 venues in five areas in the city. Seven countries will participate this year, namely China, Ukraine, Estonia, Finland, the Flanders region on Belgium, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Denmark. Expect a cultural mash-up of exhibitions, cocktails and promenades as different nationalities culminate in the French capital.

London Design Festival (September 17- 25)

Known for collaborating with museums and cultural centers in the city, London Design Festival is organised to promote the city as a creative hub and gateway to the world of design. Its “Landmark Projects” installations program, in particular, has seen some of the world’s best designers commission work for it, including Alex Chinneck’s “A Bullet from a Shooting Star” in 2015.

Vienna Design Week (September 30 – October 9)

For a design festival that draws crowds of over 360,000 visitors, it is no wonder Vienna Design Week is already into its ninth edition. The annual festival chooses a district within the city to focus on so there’s something new to look forward to every year. This year, the spotlight is on the 5th Viennese municipal district of Margareten.

Design Week Mexico (October 5 – 9)

Temporary installations for Mexico Design Week

Like a hub that connects artists, architects, designers and entrepreneurs to the public, Mexican design week is an accessible platform of events. Its dedication to bridging this gap earned it the appointment of World Design Capital for 2018.

Dutch Design Week (October 22 – 30)

As the largest design festival in Northern Europe, Dutch Design Week expects more than 275,000 visitors and 2,500 designers yearly. Unlike many others, this visionary festival chooses to focus on designs on the future instead.

Beaten Metallic and Crystal Drum Lights: Light It Up

Some fixtures blend into a home, subtly adding to the ambiance, while others stand out for exquisite design and become talking pieces. In London, The Lighting Store knows this all too well and provides customers with an array of designs that will certainly get guests talking at their next gathering — including beaten metallic and crystal drum lights.

One design that stood out to us was the drum light that features a crystal center. The design is available in two variations: one in beaten bronze (above) and another in beaten chrome (below). The pendant on the inside of the light helps to mirror the crystal, providing a visually impactful effect. The imperfection in the hammered metals helps to add texture and details to what would be an otherwise polished exterior.Chrome-metal-drum-beaten-lights

The creative forces behind the design are some of the last independent lighting retailers in London, making the light fixtures that much more desirable since few would be able to have them in their homes. Alongside their distinctive designs, The Lighting Store also provides customers with knowledgeable service where they put their 60 years of experience to good use.

Source:The Lighting Store.

3 Quirky Holiday Fitness Classes

A vacation is the chance to create new habits and new regimes that we hope to follow long after the vacation is over (oh how naïve we can be!). Some hotels know just how good we are at following through with these newly cultivated rituals and have given guests a helping hand this summer. Far from a holiday of pure indulgences, these classes (open to guests and visitors) aim to improve one’s health and well-being. We take a look at three (or maybe five if you really want to be precise) quirky fitness classes to try on your next holiday.

Rooftop hula hooping classes at the Berkeley

Starting September 28, those in London can look forward to the return of the hula hooping master classes at the Berkeley Health Club & Spa located within the luxury hotel in Knightsbridge. Limited to four hula-hoopers per lesson, the weekly 60-minute classes will see HulaFit take guests through a rigorous workout that will help to burn 600 calories (per session). Of course, guests will also be able to enjoy the Berkeley hotel pool that overlooks Hyde Park and Knightsbridge.

Yoga at Kimpton Hotels

Among its many fitness offerings this summer, the Kimpton Hotels will offer rooftop yoga, full moon yoga and thug yoga at three of its hotels in America. At the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, the hotel will partner with Sutra Studios for a rooftop yoga series that will take the action outdoors and make things a tad more scenic. With candlelight and DJ tunes, the classes are just another reason to stretch out under the stars. Over at the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel in Miami, “full moon yoga” classes will be in full swing, held under the moonlit sky, which makes for a session that brings you closer to nature. For those looking for something a little more upbeat, the Kimpton Sky Hotel in Aspen is limbering up to host a series of classes that combine yoga, hip-hop and beer. Dubbed Thug Yoga (yes, it is really a thing), the classes will see the Aspen Brewing Company serve up refreshing drinks at the hotel’s pool deck.

Wellness Tree House by Bodyism at Amilla Fushi

This is one of the latest partnerships between London-based Bodyism and the Amilla Fushi Hotel in the Maldives. The health and wellness experts incorporate the Clean and Lean program it is known for with a mix of exercise and relaxation techniques. As guests enjoy their stay in a one-bedroom wellness tree house, they will be greeted with a wellness consultation, daily spa treatments along with the chance to hang out by the room’s infinity pool as you look out over the tree canopy. Twelve meters above the ground, the accommodation is obviously right in the heart of nature. Aside from being cool, the idea is to help guests rest and relax.

Naked Restaurant The Bunyadi Heads to Paris

London’s naked pop-up restaurant is old news by now, having made headlines around the world and attracting more than 46,000 people to their waitlist. For those living under a rock, the restaurant, dubbed The Bunyadi (meaning natural in Hindi), is an eatery where customers basically eat in the buff. Unfortunately for Londoners – but fortunately for Parisians – The Bunyadi will close one month earlier than originally intended, and move across the Channel to the French capital.

The reason isn’t because of the lack of interest from the Londoners. Believe it or not, it is global warming. This year saw an unusually hot summer in London, which posed problems for the sans-aircon venue. Sweaty naked people eating together is probably as appealing as it sounds. Coupled with high interest from the French, The Bunyadi has decided to move house early. London fans need not be sad, however, for founder Seb Lyall reveals that a naked private members’ club will be launched in the city, where naturists in London can get bare with like-minded folks.


With The Bunyadi, it is all about the bare necessities. Similar to the London edition, Paris’ outlet will see au naturel decor, as diners tuck into raw and organic dishes. Cell phones are also banned, and the dishes prepared without the use of electricity or gas. Lest you think this is mere copy-pasting, the Paris outpost will feature a different menu.

‘It’s really positive and I’m excited to be going to Paris,” said Lyall. “We’ll be taking our team there and finding a venue…People came over from Paris, people in the industry, and said, ‘we’d love you to open over here.’”

The Bunyadi served their final meals in London this weekend and will be flying over to Paris, where they hope to open for two-months starting September.

Bolshoi Theatre Celebrates “Diamond Jubilee”

The year was 1956 when the Bolshoi Theatre’s first foreign appearance was almost cancelled, three days before opening night in the midst of Cold War tensions. Well, the month-long tour happened in the end because this year marks the renowned dance group’s 60th anniversary from its first foreign concert in London. In celebration, the ballet company is making a triumphant return to the Royal Opera House for a “diamond jubilee” guest tour.


Guided by new Artistic Director Makhar Vaziev (one might recognize him from the La Scala and Mariinsky ballets), the three-week tour will comprise of five of the most internationally famous ballets. We’ll be looking at the opening act of Don Quixote, Tchaikovsky’s world famous Swan Lake, Taming of the Shrew and The Flames of Paris before the the closing act of Le Corsaire. Obviously, the stage is set for the very best, with only the most renowned soloists and choreographers participating. On of these is Jean-Christophe Maillot, who was awarded a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters award, count as one of them.

Bolshoi Theatre’s “diamond jubilee” guest tour will take place from July 25 to August 13. For more information, visit the Royal Opera House’s website here.

Connaught Bar Named World’s Best 2016

The Connaught Hotel in London might just boast one of the finest penthouses in the city, which makes it the ultimate dream accommodation for travelers, but definitely has the best watering hole, the Connaught Bar. Over the weekend the hotel’s bar helped cement its status in the world of luxury hotels, having been named the world’s best bar 2016. Seriously, the bar is so famous that it is just called the Connaught Bar, with nary a thought for the hotel that hosts it.

As part of the “Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award”, the event saw 100 industry experts’ award winners in five main categories. With finalists from America and around the world, the awards recognized the efforts of mixologists, cocktail menus and bars. The event also saw the Connaught Bar walk away with the award for best international hotel bar.connaught_bar_drinks

Located in one of London’s most desirable and fashionable neighborhoods, the bar boasts a luxurious interior and a carefully concocted menu. The bar was designed by David Collins, the man responsible for the interiors of restaurants such as Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing, The Wolseley and Gordon Ramsey. Apart from restaurants, the interior designer has also been the creative mastermind behind retail interiors such as Jimmy Choo and Harrods as well as Madonna’s New York and London apartments.

At the Connaught Bar, guests can look forward to plush leather seats amidst 1920s inspired décor as they sip their cocktails. Yes, because people with class sip… Surrounded by silver leaf walls decorated in pink, pistachio and lilac, bartenders in spiffy suits, white-gloves, crisp white shirts and black vests serve up some interesting concoctions. From the Mulata Daisy, made of eight-year-old rum, creme de cacao and fennel seeds to the Sakura that is created with Pear Williams EDV, cherry blossom liquor and plum wine, the cocktails promise to give you that tingly feeling.connaught_bar_bartenders

Other winners include:

Best American Restaurant Bar: Saxon + Parole (New York)

American Bartender of the Year: Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common (Portland)

Best American Cocktail Bar: Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)

Best American Hotel Bar: The Elephant Bar at The NoMad (New York)

Best New American Cocktail Bar: Sweet Liberty (Miami Beach)

Best International Bar Team:American Bar at the Savoy (London)

Best International Restaurant Bar: Hawksmoor Spitalfields (London)

International Bartender of the Year: Hidetsugu Ueno of Bar High Five (Tokyo)

Best International Cocktail Bar: Happiness Forgets (London)

Queen Elizabeth II Wardrobe Exhibition, London

Power dressing is one area in which a female monarch can command respect from her peers and is a trick that Queen Elizabeth II knows only too well. Buckingham Palace unearthed 150 of her most memorable outfits and reveals them this weekend, for an exhibition. Titled “Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen’s Wardrobe” it looks back on her nine decades in the public eye and will run until October 2.

Ranging from her christening gown to the attention grabbing wool-crepe and silk dress she wore to her birthday celebrations just weeks ago, the exhibition shows off how to use power dressing as a tool. “The Queen is well-known for block color dressing using vivid and bold colours to ensure she is easily visible on important occasions,” Caroline De Guitaut, the exhibition’s curator, told reporters.

As the sovereign leader of Britain, the Commonwealth states and commander-in-chief of the British army, the Queen has perfected the art of dressing to reflect her many roles. Even those pops of color that we see her in so often are done so as to help her be spotted in the crowd. Another way she does this is by accessorising — those hats do more than just shield her from the sun, the elaborate trimming helps her to be spotted in large crowds. The monarch’s preferences for headgear range from cloche hats made popular in the 1960s to the Breton style of the 1970s and 1980s.

Every details is well thought out before an event, right down to the color of her outfits. “The Queen’s ensembles are carefully designed to ensure they are appropriate for the climate like the oriental-flower patterned dress Her Majesty wore to a state visit to Singapore,” De Guitaut said. Her wardrobe even takes into account the religious and social practices of the countries she visits, such as her trip to the Middle East in 1979 where she covered up as much as possible to respect the local traditions. “Clothing can do things for women sovereigns that it can’t do for men and the Queen has definitely used that as a tool in her reign,” De Guitaut said.