Tag Archives: London

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten Returns to London

Acclaimed New York-based French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will be opening a new culinary establishment at London’s Connaught hotel next spring.

Vongerichten’s restaurant will serve French cuisine in a casual atmosphere for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. The luxury hotel also houses Hélène Darroze’s two Michelin-starred restaurant.

The new dining space will mark Vongerichten’s return to London’s gastronomy scene. Previously, his acclaimed restaurant Vong occupied The Berkeley before closing in 2002.

“I am excited to make my return to London, one of the most vibrant and dynamic food destinations in the world and I hope to create a new restaurant at The Connaught that reflects both my signature farm to table cooking style but with a few surprises,” said the chef in a statement.

The latest opening will expand his restaurant empire, which includes outposts across the US, China, Hong Kong, France, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico. His flagship New York restaurant Jean-Georges holds three Michelin stars.

The restaurant at The Connaught is slated to open in the spring of 2017.

StreetXO Opening in London: Culinary Theater

It has taken two years but StreetXO is finally opening its doors October 31 in London. The restaurant, by Madrid chef David Munoz is a casual and affordable spin-off from DiverXO in the Spanish capital.

In London, the restaurant will feature a menu of Southeast Asian and South American street food, which will help showcase Munoz’ repertoire of fusion Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. According to food blog Fine Dining Lovers, the menu will offer dishes such as Beijing dumplings with crunchy pigs’ ear and strawberry hoi sin, steamed club sandwich with ricotta cheese and quail egg and shichimi-togarashi. StreetXO is set to have 14 small plates on the menu that will change regularly.

Known for his unique food combinations and culinary theater, the chef’s original culinary venture in Madrid is known as the Cirque du Soleil of gastronomy. Prior to opening his own restaurants, the chef worked in the kitchens of Nobu and Hakkasan.

Claridge’s Christmas Tree Gets Apple Makeover

Claridge’s Christmas Tree Gets Apple Makeover

One of the world’s most famous Christmas trees will be getting an Apple makeover this year… Luxury London hotel Claridge’s announced last week that its annual Christmas tree will be designed this year by Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and Marc Newson. Both Ive and Newson are currently at Apple Inc.

Widely recognized as two of the world’s most influential designers, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Sir Jony Ive is the designer of Apple products such as the MacBook Air, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, while Marc Newson, CBE, has worked with some of the most prestigious brands in the world and is currently Brand Ambassador for Qantas Airways and Designer for Special Projects at Apple. Newson is particularly remembered for the Lockheed Lounge, one of our favorites here.

Interestingly, news reports reveal that Ive and Newson are also long-time friends of the legendary Mayfair hotel. Well, the hotel’s Christmas tree has become a seasonal landmark and draws both visitors and Londoners alike to admire its festive design.

This is the seventh year that Claridge’s has invited a favorite guest to design the tree in their own unique style, with Paul Jackson, Claridge’s General Manager commenting that, “Christmas has always been a truly special time of year at Claridge’s and we are delighted to welcome our friends Jony and Marc to spread their legendary creative magic this year. We truly believe their innovative spirit and ground-breaking approach will make this year’s annual tradition one to remember for our guests.”

The tree will be unveiled in Claridge’s lobby on Friday, November 18, 2016.

Invest in These: 6 Floating Villas

Flying over the Maldives in a prop plane, islands appear like green pebbles in a blue-green sea. From above, constellations of resorts are also visible, their villas often snaking out from the edge of the land, hugging the sides of boardwalks and perched atop wooden stilts.

Not all villas are tethered to docks, however. At some new resorts, the bungalows have been designed to float on the Indian Ocean. One such project is named The Ocean Flower and includes 185 floating villas arranged in the form of a Maldivian flower. Designed by Dutch architecture firm Waterstudio, the two level villas have three bedrooms, private plunge pools and are priced from around $2.5 million.

The Ocean Flower

The Ocean Flower

“What we tried to do with our office is to take the difference between a normal house and house boat and make them the same,” says Waterstudio founder Koen Olthius. He began designing floating homes in the Netherlands, but now exports the concept to worldwide locations.

The Ocean Flower forms part of The 5 Lagoons, a master-planned resort in North Male atoll, a 20-minute boat ride from the capital of Male that is a joint venture between Dutch Docklands International and the Maldives Government. Waterstudio is also designing the Amillarah, another phase of The 5 Lagoons that will feature10 floating private islands arranged in an archipelago configuration. Each will have a private beach, pool, greenery and a jetty to moor yachts.

In the Maldives, where natural islands are small, scarce and vulnerable to tides and rising water levels, resort developers are progressively turning to floating architecture. “The concept suits [the Maldives] perfectly,” says Dymitr Malcew, a Singapore-based architect. He designed a luxurious floating home concept for a French developer in 2012 and has since received inquires from resort developers and private investors around the world, including the Maldives.

Malcew Floating Homes, Maldives

Malcew Floating Homes, Maldives

Malcew’s house concept features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a terrace and full-height windows that provide optimal daylight and views. The home is built on a floating platform that can be easily moved and electricity is supplied via solar panels, or a network if it is docked at a marina. It also has a water purification system. “I was inspired by the automotive and luxury yacht markets rather than a typical architectural approach,” Malcew explains.

The floating house concept is not confined to the Maldives, however. In Thailand, resorts like The Float House River Kwai Resort in Kanchanaburi features floating villas made of teak wood and bamboo, each having a private balcony and pier. Thai design firm Agaligo Studio has also introduced a modern take on the floating vernacular with the X-Float, a series of floating resort villas on the River Kwai that are made from lightweight steel framing clad with fiber cement siding and plywood. The units are all oriented to maximize river views while also shielding the intense tropical sun.

Hong Kong-based consultancy BMT Asia Pacific has also created floating home concepts it likens to a ‘stationary yacht,’ designed to create novel experiences for holidaymakers. The Sea-Suite debuted in 2014 with three models – Floating Lodge, Houseboat, and Beach Cabin, each of which use an egg-shaped mold as the basis for transportable, easily adaptable and nautically minded lodging designs. The newer SeaScape edition features expansive 40-foot decks on a triangular floor plan. Each villa is customizable and can be expanded with the option to add on a variety of units, including a sun deck or covered pool, making the floating resort up to 1,800 sq. ft. in size. The design also features an underwater bedroom housed in a 13-foot diameter acrylic column that creates an aquarium effect with 360-degree views of marine life.

The Floating Seahorse

The Floating Seahorse

A new project in the Middle East unveiled in December also proposes an underwater bedroom. Kleindienst Group’s new development is called The Floating Seahorse and features a collection of floating villas off the coast of Dubai. The structures are designed like unpowered boats and have three levels: a submerged master bedroom and bathroom designed to offer views of the surrounding marine life, a main level with a kitchen, dining area and deck, and an upper level that has an informal bed, kitchenette and glass-bottomed Jacuzzi. Developers sold around 60 units when the first models went on sale. The remaining seahorses are priced from $2.8 million.

“We are seeing a trend worldwide, where High Net Worth Individuals are looking not only for a penthouse, but that private island feeling,” says Koen Olthius. In his home country of the Netherlands, 50 percent of the population lives below sea level, and the Dutch have spent centuries constructing dikes, pumps, and drainage systems to keep the encroaching North Sea at bay. Floating houses have provided an alternate solution – as far back as the 17th century, barges were repurposed as homes.

The Floating Seahorse, Interior

The Floating Seahorse, Interior

In recent years, floating structures have again grown in popularity, particularly in the face of extreme weather. The obvious advantage is that they move vertically with fluctuations in water levels caused by tides, heavy rainfall or other flooding. They are also easily relocated.

But beyond the pragmatic reasons, floating homes are also appealing to prospective residents because they afford an intimate proximity to water, and a feeling of openness, with light and views that are more akin to a boat than a house. A ‘normal’ house requires a large margin with the water level to prevent flooding. With a floating home, openings in the façade can safely be placed just 35 cm above the water level.

In the United States, floating homes are most common on the West Coast, particularly in Seattle where Lake Washington, Lake Union, and The Locks offer sheltered water edge conditions ideal for floating structures. Standing inside the floating home is an incredible feeling, says Eric Cobb, a Seattle-based architect who works on floating homes. “When you are on the first floor, you are maybe a foot off the water level and it feels like you are on a boat. It’s an amazing experience to have a sliding glass door off your bedroom and the water right there.”

SeaScape Luxury FLoating Villas Concept

SeaScape Luxury FLoating Villas Concept

In recent years floating homes in Seattle have become increasingly regulated due to their impact on the shoreline. “They are big, they create massive shaded areas and it impacts eco systems,” says Cobb. Municipal regulations now prevent the development of new floating home slips, although the resale market is thriving.

Koen Olthius at Waterstudio believes such municipal regulations reflect an “old-fashioned way of thinking” and stands in the way of allowing floating homes to proliferate into the mainstream market and create what he believes is a more sustainable housing model. “The experience we have in Holland makes us experts in how large and small foundations can be,” he says.

Many architects argue that since floating systems are adaptable and can be moved at short notice without leaving scars on the environment, this makes them a more sustainable and durable way to build. BMT’s SeaScape model, for example, is designed for offshore locations around small islands where a minimal footprint is key. The overall power load is also mitigated by the option of installing solar panels on the roof, as well as by natural ventilation. “While we haven’t specifically focused on green features in the design, a number of them are intrinsic to a waterside location — improved natural ventilation from sea breezes and temperature moderation through the hull from seawater,” says Sichard Colwill, Managing Director of BMT Asia Pacific.

Amillarah Private Islands, Dubai

Amillarah Private Islands, Dubai

The concept also provides a solution for humanitarian causes, particularly in low-lying, flood-prone regions. Luxury developers have funded much of the recent innovations to floating homes, but Olthius says a new wave of demand is coming from land-strapped and flood-prone cities from the Ukraine to China.

In the UK, design firms have proposed similar typologies as a means to deal with flood-stricken areas of the nation and as a solution to London’s housing shortage. Baca Architects recently developed a buoyant home for an NLA competition to address the capital’s housing crisis. The project aims to install prefabricated floating housing on disused space along the 50 miles of rivers and canals in Greater London, as well as the 150 hectares of additional “bluefield” space in its docklands, marinas and basins.  For Koen Olthius, the transition to water homes is simply a matter of plugging them into the existing grid. The demand for floating homes is clear, he says, now it’s a matter of negotiating with municipalities and insurance companies and educating them on the long life span of water homes, and their low maintenance costs.

The Float House River Kwai Resort, Thailand

The Float House River Kwai Resort, Thailand

If sea levels begin to rise as predicted, municipalities may have no choice but to embrace the floating home model. For the moment, some countries are more open to the idea than others. Waterstudio has spent the past two years working on a project in Florida, but have encountered considerable resistance from the local community. “If I have an empty space of land, you understand that I can build there, but if I have a piece of water, everyone complains,” Olthius says. “In the US people have a stronger feeling of rights and of privacy compared to other parts of Europe or Asia. These homes can benefit the whole community.”

However, even if there isn’t a dramatic rise in sea levels, Olthius says he is committed to building on water. “We are concerned with urbanization, with the price of land, the need for land,” he says. “Water gives us three things: space; safety and flexibility, and a very short response time to changes we cannot foresee.”

Story Credits

This article was first published in Palace Magazine.

8 Urban Residences with Sky Gardens

A private garden, a backyard with trees and flowers, these are luxuries that city dwellers must sacrifice for the conveniences of modern urban living. At least, that has been the prevailing notion. However, some of today’s architects view the matter quite differently.

“There is a huge disconnect between how we live in our cities and what we need, as human beings, for quality of life,” says Eran Chen, Founder and Executive Director at ODA studio in New York. “I don’t think that we should be forced to choose between enduring life in the city, or escaping to suburban areas.”

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

Chen’s solution to this disconnect is to combine the two typologies. His studio recently released plans for East 44th Street, a slender residential tower in Midtown Manhattan that has open floors for sky gardens. By “stretching” the building vertically beyond its original program, the studio was able to create gaps, 16 feet in height, between every two floors. The gaps in the building will contain full floor sculptural gardens equal to the footprint of the building and will be directly accessible from each apartment. In other words, each 2,800 sq. ft. apartment will have 1,400 sq. ft. of open private garden. The tower will contain 44 residential units in total, with one, two or three-bedroom layouts and a duplex penthouse.

Other Manhattan studios are also inverting the traditional sealed box approach to tower design. Nearby on East 37th street, a slim residential tower proposed by Perkins + Will, will have built-in parks and an outdoor cinema.  The concept for the 700 foot tower, which features four open-air sky parks at various heights, was to take the urban fabric of Greenwich Village, where row houses will have a small park at the end of the block, and tip it vertically. “It creates this balance of your own private apartment and shared outdoor greenery that becomes almost like that park at the end of the street, except in a vertical way,” says Robert Goodwin, design principal at Perkin + Will.

Designing for dense future cities that will house an increasing number of inhabitants raises a number of questions. “How do you create livability in a dense city?” Goodwin says. “How do you make tall buildings that people really want to live in?”  This is a challenge that confronts architects around the world. Today, many design innovative new projects that aim to achieve densification without compromising on quality of life.

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, Chinese studio MAD has designed plans for Cloud Corridor, a high-density building with nine interconnected residential towers, that turns disparate neighborhoods into a vertical village with public spaces and gardens in the sky. The tower is meant to address the concern of suburban sprawl and also aims to connect people and nature. “The garden patios and courtyards provide a lush environment amid the surrounding urban density, and provide a retreat from the everyday among nature,” the studio says. The elevated corridors and multi-level garden patios shape the city skyline and provide viewing platforms for residents to overlook the city below and the natural landscapes beyond.

In Dubai, a new project called Suites in the Skai has 60 storeys with more than 500 apartments featuring their own sky gardens. Some also have swimming pools. Hussam Abdelghany, the associated design director at Atkins Global, says the sky gardens at the tower, which is due for completion in 2017, will increase shade and encourage wind penetration, producing a microclimate that will make the gardens a pleasant experience for most of the year, even when it is hot.

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

In Vietnam, studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently unveiled plans for the Diamond Lotus project, three 22 storey towers located on a finger of land between two rivers outside of Ho Chi Minh City. The project, which includes 720 residences, will be shielded from the tropical sunlight by swathes of bamboo and are connected via a planted roof garden that can be accessed from each apartment. “The connected roof provides the residents with a large green space, which rarely occurs in the city,” the studio said. While other developments are expediting the loss of greenery in the city, the architects say the green bridge and green façade of Diamond Lotus are not only a dedication to the comfort of inhabitants, but also “a contribution to the landscape, appearing as a green screen in the city.”

Bosco Verticale

Bosco Verticale

Allowing city dwellers to experience greenery and outdoor space is one factor motivating architects to incorporate sky gardens. But there are other advantages too. One of the first residential towers to incorporate sky gardens, Bosco Verticale, was designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri as part of the rehabilitation of the historic district of Milan between Via De Castillia and Confalonieri. The scheme comprises two towers, both of which incorporate trees, and one which houses 400 condominium units. In addition to providing residents with their own leafy oasis, the trees help to mitigate smog, produce oxygen and moderate building temperatures in winter and summer. The plants also attenuate noise.

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Now Stefano Boeri has designed a new 384 foot tall residential building in Lausanne, Switzerland, that bears many similarities to the Bosco Verticale. Named Tower of Cedars, the project is set to house more than 100 trees, 6,000 shrubs and 18,000 perennials. The apartment units protrude from the structure and offer views toward Lake Geneva, while their roofs are designed to accommodate plants.

According to Boeri, the building in the Chavannes-Près-Renens district of the city will be the first tower in the world to be covered with evergreen trees, selected in part for their ability to withstand harsh climates, and also the environmental function of their leaves which absorb CO2 and produce oxygen. “With the Tower of Cedar Trees we will have the opportunity to realize a plain building that will have a great role in the Lausanne landscape. An architecture able to introduce a significant biodiversity of vegetal species in the middle of an important European city,” Boeri says. The tower will comprise 36 floors and include private residences, offices and commercial space. There will also be a gym and a rooftop restaurant.

While buildings with sky gardens easily invoke a sense of utopian wonder, they are not built without challenges, particularly when it comes to structural support. At the Bosco Verticale in Milan, the engineering team worked with botanists and horticulturalists to ensure that the structure could bear the load imposed by the plants. The steel-reinforced concrete balconies are designed to be 11 inches thick with 4.2 foot parapets.

Slender residential towers such as those proposed in Manhattan have small floor plates and architects must ensure the building porosity does not compromise the tower stability.

At East 44th street, ODA utilized structural lateral systems in addition to a central core that act as the main supporting spine. The initial design did not include beams as the floors were supported by the building’s core, but Eran Chen says this proved structurally challenging. “By adding the beams we created ‘sculptured gardens’ that doubled as a way to protect against inclement weather while still providing 360 degree views.” Each garden is effectively covered by the floor above it and is protected from rain and snow.

Chen says the garden gaps at East 44th street also serve to lessen the wind load impacting the building — other skinny skyscrapers accomplish this via unused gaps throughout the structure. And the expansive height of the garden space with also permit a suffusion of sunlight throughout the central core and perimeter.  “We are used to seeing New York City’s towers as monolithic boxes usually housing corporate power. But today, as these towers become more residential, they do not need to have the same scale or design. They shouldn’t express the same thing,” he says. “When it comes to residential towers, they should all contain accessible outdoor space for all residents.”

Still, some critics argue that outdoor gardens at these heights is impractical in a city like New York, where temperatures drop well below freezing in winter months and the wind, which is known to howl down the avenues, would in this case howl both below and above you.

In London some critics allege that developers use the guarantee of lush green spaces to get building plans approved, but rarely deliver on their promise. At 20 Fenchurch Street early CGIs showed a storyboard of seductive images with residents mingling among cherry blossom from a soaring vantage point. The tower was given planning permission in an area never intended for tall buildings on the basis that it would deliver a public sky garden. Once complete, however, the garden amounted to nothing more than a few spindly trees in pot planters.

While down in Singapore, green design is on everyone’s mind when it comes to new architecture and not just to get buildings approved. The latest project by architect Christoph Ingenhoven is at the forefront of green technology. Ingenhoven Architects coined the term “Supergreen”. A concept they live and work by. Their definition of Supergreen: ‘an awareness of energy and resources, both in design, construction and operation and in the realization of the building and its use.’ Marina One was designed with this in mind. Located in the heart of Singapore, at Marina Bay. The two towers will be able to take advantage of rainwater harvesting, solar power and natural ventilation. Most importantly, at heart of the development is a 65,000 sq. ft. park, landscaped to fit its natural surroundings. Whether or not other future developments will follow suit to this extreme in Singapore, remains to be seen. However, Marina One is certainly taking being green, to the next level.

As with all new building trends, early incarnations will include hits and misses. It may take some time determine which types of sky gardens are truly used and enjoyed by residents. But architects like Chen are bullish about the potential for vertical parks to transform the contemporary urban reality.  “We believe that true luxury evolved from the ability to have the best of multiple worlds without compromise, and in this tower, the best of urban living melds with the dream of a suburban backyard,” he says. “There’s going to be a time in New York City where living without a substantial outdoor space is just going to be unacceptable.”

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth & Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

London Natural History Museum Receives Makeover

London Natural History Museum Receives Makeover

Thanks to architects at Niall McLaughlin Architects and landscapers Kim Wilkie, London’s Natural History Museum is expected to have a few new features. With the planning permission granted this year, the museum is currently in the fundraising stage and aims to complete the project by 2020.

The introductions will enhance the museum’s access, grounds and wildlife garden starting with the entrance, the Square. Set to be a more enjoyable space, where visitors can gather and relax, the changes will stretch onto the Eastern Grounds. The Eastern Grounds will feature a new bronze cast of a diplodocus as well as a geological timeline of the Earth’s evolution complete with intricate landscaping. The bronze cast is not the same as the ‘Dippy the Diplodocus’ signature that currently sits in the Museum’s central hall — it will leave the museum in 2017 to go on a UK tour in 2018.

London Natural History Museum

The Western Grounds

The Western Grounds are set to be expanded and will see the Wildlife Garden double in size and three quarters of its current iteration set amidst the urban greenery. While London’s Museum of Natural History opened its doors to the public in April 1881, its origins stretch back at least a century prior. The initial concept for the space was drawn up and proposed by Sir Hans Sloane. The high society doctor was an avid traveler and collected natural history specimens.

Upon his death in 1753, Sloane’s will allowed for the British Parliament to purchase his 71,000-item collection which they then agreed to house and display in a museum. The British museum, which was specially built for this purpose, later added findings from Victorian explorers to its collection from new species of exotic animals and plants from the British Empire. The Romanesque structure is attributed to Alfred Waterhouse, who used terracotta as a key material due to its resilience in harsh climates.

London Natural History Museum

The Colonnade at night

Until 1963, The Natural History Museum remained a part of the British Museum after which it officially received its current name in 1992. “With over 5 million visitors every year, we have an incredible opportunity – and responsibility – to inspire many more people to learn about nature,” the museum spokesperson said in a statement. “We believe the plans will do just that, all the way around the museum rather than in just one corner.”

Brunswick House, Fulham Reach, London

Property Focus: Brunswick House, Fulham Reach

Introducing a new luxurious apartment in the heart of Fulham. Featuring 865 sq. ft. of space in a two double-bedroom and two-bathroom (1 en-suite) layout, the apartment building itself is just off the Thames. This apartment in particular includes air conditioning, a modern kitchen with high-end appliances, spacious reception room and three private balconies. Each apartment also comes with a master bedroom en-suite that is fitted with marble as well as a family bathroom.

The apartment is on the second floor of a 24-hour services residence. with a dedicated concierge. This property also benefits from one underground parking space, a residents-only swimming pool, gym, cinema, and wine cellar. Located close to Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Piccadilly, residents have no shortage of entertainment and transportation options.Brunswick House, Fulham Reach, LondonBrunswick House, Fulham Reach, LondonBrunswick House, Fulham Reach, LondonBrunswick House, Fulham Reach, London


This property is managed by Initia Management.

This article was first published in Palace.

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.