Inside/Out: De Allegri & Fogale, Laetitia De Allegri & Matteo Fogale

The Inside/Out Lecture Series is a series of talks about the built environment. 

The Interior Design programme of The RCA School of Architecture organised a presentation by Laetitia De Allegri & Matteo Fogale of the design studio De Allegri & Fogale. 

De Allegri & Fogale are lead by a design approach that considers honest, premium and unconventional materials as well as functionality and longevity of the products. Laetitia and Matteo’s work celebrates the combination of industrial process and fine craftsmanship, finding inspiration in nature as well as day-to-day environments. They work across disciplines and industries on a variety of projects from industrial products, bespoke commissions, interiors and installations combining deep understanding of materials and making techniques as well as patterns, textures and colours. 

Both Laetitia and Matteo have a background in Industrial Design. Laetitia is from Switzerland and Matteo is from Uruguay. They both worked first at the well-know architecture firm Barber & Osgerby and after that worked separately under their own names. 2 years ago, they decided to do a project together and it worked out so well that after that they started a collaboration. 

For their projects they work at the Black Horse Workshop in East London. They like to make their designs themselves so they can do several tests and really feel the materials and the volumes. Other people from other disciplines are using the workshop as well, which is interesting for them because in that way they can learn from each other's skills and knowledge. 

Their aim was never to be good in one discipline. They are always interested in doing projects within different fields, like interior design, product designretail design, installations, … The red thread through their designs is the love for experimenting with materials. They really look into rarely used materials and find materials that look much more high-end and expensive than they really are. They love to take materials out of their context and create something different. It’s all about playing with the perception and the properties of materials. 

A first project they did together was a project for the London Design Festival in 2014, called -ISH. They started from recycled jeans. They wanted to give it a high class marble look. They sanded away the fibres until it became a glossy look-a-like of marble. It was a project about the illusion of stone look-a-like materials made from recycled and reclaimed post-industrial waste. In the end it didn’t feel like a cheap material, which normally is the connotation that recycled material gets. 

Aside from look-a-like-marble they also created look-a-like-slate with high pressed laminated paper, that got split which gave the natural stone look. 

They won the design awards with their idea and Cos approached them to design their window displays in London, Paris, Milan and New York, because they were launching a denim line. 

Because of the publicity they received from the collaboration with Cos and the design awards, M.i.h. Jeans approached them to design their window displays and their stores. With the M.i.h.’s 70’s heritage, free spirit and nostalgic, homey feeling in the back of their mind, they created furniture pieces playing with geometric and organic shapes and asymmetry. Again they used repurposed denim and other recycled elements such as yoghurt pots. These recycled elements were combined with materials such as brass and wood. 

For last years London Design Festival Johnson Tiles approached De Allegri & Fogale to design an installation that reflects their company. The location was on the bridge of the Medieval Renaissance gallery in the V&A. The brief was very open and without restrictions. They wanted to create something  bright. A play of perception, layers and colours. They wanted to create an experience and work with the actual space. Because they wanted to work with a transparent material, they made an installation with acrylic. The challenge was to find the sizes they wanted and the right colours. They didn’t want it to be just a rainbow-coloured bridge but wanted to go for a more elegant touch in colour choice. That’s when they found a manufacturer in France that they then worked with. Getting the installation structurally safe proved to be a difficult process. In the ideal world the elements would just stand on themselves, but it had to be calculated without the advice of engineers. After long discussions they finally found the most subtle solutions, which was having extra acrylic sheets in between the panels with were connected to each other with little metal connectors. For the flooring they wanted Johnson Tiles to make an overall gradient of blue tiles so they could show what their abilities were and how well they can control colour. 

After the exhibition Johnson Tiles wanted to throw the installation in the bin, but Laetitia and Matteo wanted to give it a second life, which they now did. The panels are now installed at the OXO Tower in London and you can see them until the end of February.  

For Salone Del Mobile 2016, they designed a pepper grinder and breadboards for ‘Makers & Bakers’ at Ristorante Marta in Spazio Rossana Orlandi 

And the last project they did was for Waste Not Want It by Bloomberg. De Allegri & Fogale were stuck by the hidden beauty inside the cables. In some way they wanted to integrate this material into furniture. They created a desk and seating from solid ash wood, which they made and steam-bent themselves. To keep some pieces together and to give direction within the texture of the table, they used aluminium shiny cables. This all represented the philosophy of Bloomberg, which is about transparency and connecting data and people.  

Hooke Park

With my thesis project platform, we went to Hooke Park, which is the Architectural Association’s woodland site in Dorset in the Southwest of EnglandWhen we arrived, we got a presentation about the history and the projects at Hooke Park from Martin Self, Director of the AA’s Woodland Campus. Many students weren’t there that week, so it was really quiet, which was a pity because we couldn’t see the people in action. On the other hand, this gave us a great opportunity to look around closely in all the buildings without disturbing anyone. 

The park covers an area of 150-hectare with 17 different species of trees. The trees and other natural growing elements are used for educational and designing purposes. It’s all about the construction and landscape-focused activities. 

The park gives the students opportunities to broaden their rural architectural expertise and to improve their knowledge of the self-sufficiency of the used materials. 

Before the AA arrived in 2002, John Makepeace used Hooke Park as an extension of the Parnham College and created a School for Woodland Industries, integrating furniture design with use of the surrounding materials. Makepeace wanted to make woodwork more bespoke. To start a school, you need buildings. That’s where Frei Otto made an entrance and made some hand-drawn sketches and gave the idea of buildings made of local materials. He saw the opportunity of making forest management more economically valuable, to use it in a productive way.  

Together with Richard Burton, Otto developed a master plan for the School for Woodland Industries.   

The first building they designed was the Prototype House in 1986, which is now known as the ‘Refectory’. They used spruce, because there was a need to thin out the woodland so other trees could grow.  

The second building on the masterplan agenda was built in 1989 and was the Workshop, which is a building constructed with a series of spruce arches. The building is excessively engineered with the process of bending the wooden pieces in shape manually. When working with your hands, you have a better feeling of the material and its capacities.  

The last building that was built before the AA took over, was Westminster Lodge in 1995, which was designed by Edward Cullinan Architects and engineered by Buro Happold.  

In 2006-2007 Andrew Freear and Elena Bartel proposed a master plan for the future of Hooke Park, which later got translated in students designing a new building every year, which they build and can use in the following years as well.  

2012 Big Shed 

‘The building is constructed from larch sourced from Hooke Park and local woodlands, and uses innovative screw connections to form the Roundwood trusses.’ 

2013 North Lodge 

‘The building has a primary structural frame of spruce sourced at Hooke Park that was fabricated and assembled using traditional pegged timber-framing techniques. The envelope is highly insulated with blown-in wood fibre, and is heated by its own wood stove and through connection to the campus’s woodchip-fuelled district heating system. The cladding is of timber slats.’ 

2014 Timber Seasoning Shelter 

The Shelter is made of beech, which is not often used as an architectural material. The purpose was to give back the value to the trees. A Norwegian boat builder created a steam-bent technique to bend the beech. He created a projecting machine which he adjusted manually so he could control the bending and have the correct curve bend.  

2014 South Student Lodge 

The lodge is made of a timber frame, clad in Western red cedar and reclaimed glass. It’s a play of building frames of potential volumes. Before it was built, the designers chalked out the volumes on the ground and walked through it to have a closer look at the circulation and how to inhabit, to embody the to-built building. 

2015 Biomass Boiler House 

The Boiler House is made from unused curved trees. It’s giving back value to those trees who are oddly formed because they followed the sun. A catalogue was made from each geometry of the trees. This is done by scanning them. After cataloguing the trees, it was a matter of composing them with the correctly fitting curve on top of each other.  

2016 Woodchip Barn 

Just like the Boiler House, the Woodchip barn was made from unused trees because of a malfunction. For this project the designers used fork trees. They wanted to enhance the problem and take advantage of the specific form, rather than to get rid of it. Also from these trees they made a catalogue by 3D scanning the trees. From non-standard-materials they made standard materials, and then made non-standard components from it. It became a digital exercise to compose the components and try out different configurations. They used the qualities of the wood to the fullest. 

After the presentation and the tour, I was already looking at the dates and how to enrol into a short summer course. It’s amazing and a dream to have so much space to really try out your designs and to realise a structure with your bare hands in the end. Despite the horrible weather and a long journey to get there, I was really amazed and so happy to have seen Hooke Park. 

CLARE KENNY, ENOUGH ROPE TO HANG 'EMSELVES'

By wandering around the neighbourhood after my visit to the White Cube Gallery, I stranded upon the Vitrine Gallery on Bermondsey Square where an installation took place of Clare Kenny called ‘Enough rope to hang ‘emselves’. Sounds pretty lugubrious, but isn’t really. The title refers to Kenny’s grandmother who was a rope maker. Kenny is a Manchester born, Basel-based artistShe works with found materials and neon lights. I like sculptures with neon lights so I would really want to see an exhibition of her with a room full of her work, because this was not so worth visiting. 

INSIDE/OUT: HILDE FRANCQ, FRANCQ COLORS

The Inside/Out Lecture Series is a series of talks about the built environment. 

The Interior Design programme of The RCA School of Architecture organised a presentation by Hilde Francq of the Belgian trend agency, Francq Colors. 

Trend watcher Hilde Francq is a colour pioneer. Hilde started out in the bicycle business, where she introduced intense colours and prints to children's bicycles. They sold like hot cakes. This first-hand-experience convinced Hilde of the power of colour and trends. She wanted to apply her feeling for colour and trends to other branches, and so her company Francq Colors was born. She specializes in colour trends, working for clients from many branches: interior, fashion, lighting, hospitality, ... The company makes trend reports and consults on trends, gives seminars and workshops and supports companies with their marketing. 

The power of colour is immense. Research shows that the buying decision is to a large degree influenced by colour. Brands can build their image by choosing the right colours. So, it is important to stay on trend. To this end, Francq Colors carries out an extensive trend research every 6 months. Sociological, technological, economical, and political macro trends are translated into lifestyle trends, which are in turn translated to colour combinations, materials, patterns, textures and shapes. In a process that could be called 'reverse archaeology', Francq Colors constructs the near future by observing and selecting the right pieces of today. The result of all this is a trend presentation accompanied by a lengthy and richly illustrated trend report. 

Hilde gave an insight into lifestyle and interior trends for 2017 and 2018. Her presentation was built around six places, each one a metaphor for a lifestyle. Between The Monastery—symbolic for our disciplined approach to physical and mental health—and The Streets—the place of rebellion—she showed us how our lifestyles evolve and what that means for colour combinations, materials, textures, patterns and shapes in the next coming years. We received loads of visual inspiration. 

www.francqcolors.be 

LOVE FEAR EXHIBITION

Fear and love brings together eleven diverse design practises from around the world. Each has created an installation exploring an issue that inspires both anxiety and optimism. The exhibition presents a spectrum of attitudes to design and how it affects our lives.  

Fear and love steps beyond the traditional certainties of design, in which ‘form follows function’ and problems are ‘solved’. It suggests that there are no simple answers – that design is both part of the problem and part of the solution. For design to steer us through this century, it must be aware of its role in a complex world. This is new ground for the Design Museum, as it sets out to challenge perceptions of what design is and how it is presented.” – Fear and Love, Reactions to a Complex World. 

One of the displays that I liked was The Earth from Ma Ke Ma Ke was the most successful fashion designer in China. Ten years ago, she decided to stop producing commercial clothing. Nowadays she focusses on the traditional ways of making clothing. In her collection, The Earth, she presents nine sets from the Wuyong collection laid on a bed of soil. The installation represents a world in which we possess less that means more.  

Another display that draw my attention was The Pan-European Living Room from OMA/AMO.  
“In June 2016, the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. At that moment, OMA/AMO rethought its plans for this exhibition to make a statement in support of Europe. The Pan-European Living Room proposes that our idea of the domestic interior has been shaped by European cooperation – between designers and manufacturers, and between trading nations. The average living room in Europe, the practice argues, is a product of that collaborative spirit. This room is furnished with pieces from each of the 28 member states.” 
It was a nice game to guess the designer and the country from each piece. 

The most beautiful display was the one from Christien Meindertsma, called Fibre Market.  
“Most of the clothes you throw away will end up in an incinerator or as landfill, while the ones that are recycled will be turned into materials of low value, such as carpet liner or movers’ blankets. One of the reasons why it is so difficult to recycle clothes is because there has been no easy way to sort them by fabric and colour. Christien Meindertsma has been working with the first generation of machines that can do that.  
Meindertsma began this installation with 1,000 woollen jumpers that had been thrown in recycling bins. She worked with two textile companies to machine-sort the jumpers by fabric and colour, demonstrating that the fibres could retain their value. Behind the fibre piles is a selection of material samples from jumpers with the original labels attached. In the sorting process, Meindertsma discovered that many of the labels were inaccurate, suggesting that consumers are often misled about what they are buying. Fibre Market is both a critique of are disposable, fast-fashion consumption habits and a proposal for a more sustainable future. 

This exhibition is really worth visiting and is still running till 23 April 2017. 

THE (NEW) DESIGN MUSEUM

In 2010 the Pawson office won the competition to oversee the transformation of the former Commonwealth Institute in London into a new permanent home for the Design Museum. The Grade 2* listed building, with its signature hyperbolic paraboloid roof structure, was designed by Robert Matthews, Johnson-Marshall & Partners and originally opened to the public in 1962. Driving the process of reclaiming this iconic example of post-war British Modernism as a contemporary cultural space has been the wish to preserve and enhance its inherent architectural qualities for future generations of Londoners and visitors to the city. The aim is a building that feels as though it has retuned itself, enabling people to experience what is already there in fresh ways. The new Design Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time on November 25th. 

The architectural process is driven by spatial and structural thinking, but it is also profoundly shaped by ideas of use. From the very beginning, the imagined epilogue of colonisation is playing out in the mind of all those involved. Lines are drawn and details developed, but all the time, it is the scope for human narrative that is being created.” - http://johnpawson.com 

I wasn’t blown away by the design, I liked it but found it not extremely impressive. I liked the simplicity, and the vertical and horizontal lines that continue throughout the building. I like the openness and the relationship with the beautiful roof structure. Spatially the design museum works although there could have been a bit more walking space on the stairs from the ground floor to the first floor where people can have a seat. Another thing that I liked is the use of materials and the use of light which created beautiful lines 

In the end, altogether, it is a nice play of volume, surface and light. Pure in its own simplicity. 

ACCROSS RCA: IKEA X TOM DIXON. X RCA

One week in the year the Royal College of Art creates a number of interdisciplinary collaborative projects that explore new ideas, approaches and skills.  

One of the projects we could sign up for was a collaboration project between the designer Tom Dixon and the furniture manufacturer and retailer Ikea of Sweden AB. 

Delaktig’ is a new ‘living platform’ that Tom Dixon has designed for Ikea. The product is conceived as a set of components that can be customised, adapted and added to - an open platform to hack or co-create in your own way. The project provided us with an opportunity to experiment with the product and propose some ideas that explore its potential. 

Based on Tom’s lecture about collaboration and him working together with Ikea, who has a total different style than he has, Derek and I started a collaboration ourselves. Derek is a first-year Interior Design student at the Royal College of Art and had a similar idea as me, that’s why we decided to work together.  

We were both thinking in the direction of multiplying and connecting platforms/people. So, in all its simplicity we basically came up with a new element that you insert in 2 platforms to connect them. 

DUTCH DESIGN WEEK

Every year in October, in Eindhoven, the nine-day Dutch Design Week (DDW) takes placeIt’s the largest design event in Northern Europe than presents works and concepts from over 2,500 designers spread over a hundred locations throughout the city. The whole city is crowded and alive. Shuttle cars with designs on top are driving people around the city from exhibition to exhibition. DDW distinguishes itself from other design events by focusing on designs for the future. It’s all about experimentation and innovation. Although big brands are presenting their work, the biggest attention goes to the new talent and especially to the show of the Design Academy of Eindhoven.  

This year I just went for one afternoon so I couldn’t see a lot. Of course I visited the Design Academy which was inspirational as always, but I also visited Maarten Baas makes time’, which was an interdisciplinary exhibition exploring the theme time. Two art works that I couldn’t forget, because they were so astonishing in their own purity, were Minuted and ‘Fleeting’ by Gijs Van Bon (http://www.gijsvanbon.nl/) 

'Minuted' writes poems on sand very slowly, with sand moved on a small belt. At the end of the belt the sand falls on to a pile.  The materialising of thought, time and poetry.” 

Fleeting" briefly creates cultural order and then lets it go into natural chaos. With an inkjet cartridge, a single line of text is written on the surface of wet white latex paint on a rotating tray at slow speed. A pivoting stick disturbs the text and fluidities the words into flowerlike forms and stretches reality.”  

The funniest exhibition I went too was ‘For Play, Shaping Sexuality’, where 30 designers explored the contemporary culture of eroticism, gratification, lust and desire. There was even an SM-Rietveld-chair designed by Bastiaan Buijs. 

It was a pity I couldn’t visit more, but hopefully next year I will have more time to spend a few days in Eindhoven. 

ÄNDRA BY SAM GOYVAERTS

Our lives are getting more and more mobile every day. We're all moving, job hopping, taking career breaks. Even our jobs and hours are getting more flexible. Does this unique flexibility have any impact on modern design? It does, according to Sam Goyvaerts. That's why he designed a modular and simple system of three modules named after the Swedish verb 'to change': Ändra. The system makes it possible that furniture can grow with and adapt to peoples needs. If the user wants to share his seat, he can adapt the chair to his new lifestyle: the loveseat. If it's true love, you can expand the seat even more to welcome the new member(s) of the family. In the future new parallel products (or parasite objects) will be created that can be added to the chair, loveseat, sofa, etc. (such as a flower pot that can be hanged in the frame, a small table top for drinks or laptop, ...) also the quote of Charles Eames is one that fits perfectly with the project and my take on design. "Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose" 

BIENNALE INTERIEUR KORTRIJK

The Biennale Interieur is a design fair based in Kortrijk Belgium. It takes place every two years and I never miss it. Two years ago, I was selected to present a table I designed there.

Normally the fair takes place in a large exhibition hall, while the city centre welcomes work by young designers and events organised by big names. This year the concept behind the fair was a bit different. Almost everything was located inside the main exhibition hall. The fair was kept a lot smaller than previous editions. I visited it in approximately 3 hours.

The young designers were placed in one hall had a hall called ‘The stage is yours’. I know a lot of the people there because they graduated from the Thomas More school where I did my bachelor. Of course the well-known names and designer companies are interesting, but I really enjoy looking at all this young talent. Being a young designer myself it’s always nice to see how people of the same age think and work. We are the future ;). I noticed that marble and copper are still trendy materials. The red marble Hullebosch presented was absolutely stunning.

The curatorial programme of Interieur was put together by OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen together with Richard Venlet and Joris Kritis. Together they created ‘Silver Lining – Interiors’. It’s an homage to the 25th silver edition of the Biennale Interieur. Installations were spread over the different halls. “The idea is that furniture and objects are not isolated items; they are always part of the organised space.”

The minimalistic and beautiful booth of Allaert Aluminium caught my eye. Allaert is a manufacturer of metal and glass windows, doors and curtain walls. Within the booth, frames with coloured glass were constantly moving, creating different views.

Interieur also organised a competition for bars and restaurants. Terra was one of the five award winners. It's a platform for different kind of mushrooms surrounded by a dining bar, designed by Carolien Passmans, Bram Aerts an Claudio Saccucci of TRANS Architectuur and Stedenbouw in Ghent (Belgium). Despite the fact that I really don’t like mushrooms, I think this concept was very pure and brought together the concept of nature and food in a stunning way.

Overall, I was not as impressed with this edition as with the previous ones, but I definitely don’t regret going.

 

ELEMENTS OF NOW

In London I met Pauline Janssen, a girl from Belgium, Ghent. She recently moved to London and is working at auction house Bonhams. Aside from working there she also started selling vintage jewellery on her Instagram page, 'Pauline's Jewellery Box'.

Pauline started a collective together with Arthur Buerms, called ‘Life of L’. they created a platform for young designers and entrepreneurs to exhibit and show their work. She invited me to come over and have a look at an exhibition Life of L was organising, called ‘Elements of Now’ in Ghent.

I arrived in a beautiful town house in the city centre of Ghent. The floors were beautifully tiled and at the end of the entrance hall I saw a glimpse of an enthralling, elegant spiral staircase.

On the ground floor Pauline presented her vintage jewellery pieces in glass cloches. She gave me a little tour of the building, that completely blew me away: what a beautiful location to have an exhibition!

In the basement there was total darkness with just a sound of wind, water drops and cracks in the background and a spot on a little tree in the middle of the room. The tree was surrounded by scrap aluminium pieces and a rake. It all made for a rather lugubrious atmosphere. The work made me think about the contrast between life and death, but also gave me a claustrophobic feeling. The tree was alive, but in my eyes in danger of choking in the scrap metal. This art installation called ‘4.4’ was made by Elise Guillaume (Artist currently studying a BA at Goldsmiths University) and Joachim Froment (Artist and Designer currently studying MA at the Royal College of Art). It’s called 4.4, because they used 4.4 tons of aluminium waste. An excerpt from the accompanying text: “It suggests new landscapes caused by consumer behaviour. The duality between organic and industrial elements induces an environment of silent chaos.”

After this breathtaking moment I went upstairs to check out the stunning and really cool coats of young designers Alicia Meus and Audrey Joris. They created a brand called ‘AliciaAudrey Collection’. They design cashmere reversible coats for women. Their first collection launched in 2016.

I’m an absolute fan of the simplicity and honest use of materials. The colours are soft and well-matched, while the finish is perfect. They added a reflective material in some of the coats, a nice feature that makes them just that little bit more catchy and interesting.

I’m really happy I went to the exhibition. Pauline did a great job organising this and bringing young designers and entrepeneurs such as herself a step closer to the people. 

BLOOMBERG COMPETITION - THE ISOTROPE

Bloomberg offered interdisciplinary teams of RCA students an exciting opportunity to design a multi-purpose room divider screen for their new Fosters Architects headquarters in central London.

My group consisted out of 2 textile students, an IED student and 2 Interior Design Students including me. The brief was very open. The screen could be analogue or digital, kinetic or static.

We have designed a flexible screen which responds to and interacts with its surroundings.

Each screen is composed of two 2.5 meter panels, which can be wheeled out for functions and stored easily. They can be arranged in different orientations to allow passage.

A network of optic modules forms the screen’s geometric structure. The modules are made from translucent mirrored Perspex. Each module is hollow, projecting Bloomberg’s values of transparency. The modules act as individual kaleidoscopes, distorting visual information by diffracting movement from passersby. Perspective plays an important role as the screen looks different from every angle, the staggered optics create an undulating surface that emulates movement through reflectivity.

The effect is a collection of ever-changing, symmetrical patterns, which provide a subtle impression of the colour and movement surrounding the screen, while maintaining the feeling of openness and connectivity within the space.

Our design celebrates communication and visual data, creating a playful, yet elegant atmosphere. The Isotrope Experience involves, reflects and connects users within the Bloomberg environment.

I’m happy to announce that we are with the final SIX!! So this will happen next:

The SIX shortlisted teams will have a period of 5 months to develop and detail their designs. During this period, site visits, client meetings and end user workshops will be arranged. Tutorials with members of RCA Bloomberg Project team and relevant external experts will take place with the shortlisted teams every two weeks throughout this period. Small prototypes will be made as part of the final submission. Two days of focused technical support will be arranged for each team to facilitate prototype production.

I’m really looking forward to this part of the competition and will definitely keep you posted about the progress.

MARGATE POP-UP PAVILION COMPETITION

With a group of 5 Interior Design students we entered a competition for a pop-up pavilion in Margate.The brief was to create a temporary and creative transformation and / or animation of two or more of Margate’s seaside shelters, with the aim of re-ignitingthe public’s passion for these historic structures and helping them to find a new role in contemporary coastal life.Our group chose Shelter 8. It’s the site of demolished coastal structure. It is a lost link in the necklace of pavilions once lining Margate’s coast.

Our proposal investigated the disappearance of these coastal sites, while simultaneously considering a future where the temporality of said pavilions is the currency which keeps them relevant. Imagine a summer-long series of installations transforming the old Victorian walking trail into a modern promenade from one intervention to the next. A cultural take-over, if you will, of Margate’s pavilion shelters. Pulling from the existing community and abroad, this large site for exploration provides a consistent opportunity for interaction, conversation, and response.

On a smaller scale, our own pavilion is as much psychological experiment as it is visual ghost. Re-plotting the original footprint of a demolished shelter, the form grows up from a now empty grass field. For three days on this site, people will explore, converse, contemplate and interact. Then, once again, the physical structure will disappear (although its essence will live on virtually: #ghostpavilion). Drawing attention to the future fate of its sister shelters, the absence of our installation is meant to promote an awareness of the importance of these places. For a short time where once there stood a totem to place making, now there is vast emptiness. Where once there was a gathering point on the horizon, now there is a flat line. Where once there was a moment of cultural history, a place of gathering and community, now there is just dirt. What will happen when there are no more pavilions lining the coast?

Sadly, we were not chosen, but were the runner-ups. Hopefully we will have the chance to build our concept next year. Although we were not chosen, they loved our idea so much that during this year’s event they choose to present our idea on a banner. So it’s still a little bit of a win.

This commission was offered by the Margate Coastal Park Promotion Group with funding from Arts Council England and Kent County Council, withthe agreement and support of Thanet District Council. 

RAGNAR KJARTANSSON

After doing the Architecture tour in the Barbican I went to the exhibition of Ragnar Kjartansson. He’s an Icelandic artist who studied at the Academy of Arts in Reykjavik. He makes performance art, video installations and paintings. His art specialises in capturing emotions and movements, but also has a certain irony to it. A lot of repetition and duration is going on in his work.

When entering the exhibition a performance was on. The work ‘Take me here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage’ is performed live every day during 8 hours. A video is being projected onto a wall and randomly placed guitarist in the room plays music and sings while drinking beer and hanging around. Because of the very tall space the sound made beautiful echoes and was very calming in a way. I must say it felt a bit awkward when walking past those musicians and them staring at you and singing, it was almost like getting a personal little concert.

I pretty much loved all of his work, but one that stuck out was The End – Venice, where Ragnar painted the same man—his friend Pall Haukur Bjornsson—every day during the 6 months running up to the Venice Biennial. The amount of paintings and colours was overwhelming and beautiful to look at. The poses the man strikes were sometimes pretty funny and amusing.

Overall I really enjoyed Ragnar Kjartansson’s work. The way he communicates his art is very ironic and amusing.

MONA HATOUM

After seeing a picture of Mona Hatoum’s Hot Spot art work on posters in London, I was really intrigued to go to Tate Modern and find out more about this artist.

Mona Hatoum is a Palestinian born in Beirut in 1952. When the civil war started in Lebanon in 1975 she moved to London. She studied at the Slade school of Art. Her work characterises political statements and underlying reasons in relationship with the individual. She projects these ideas onto large-scale art installations.

The reason why I like her work is probably because she often uses grids and geometrics. In a way her work represents a certain control she obtained.

The installations I really liked were:

-        ‘Hot Spot’, the red neon light world ball, which reflects the world as one big danger  zone.
-        ‘Homebound’, the room that was behind an electric wire, and made these awful sounds when everything started to get electrified. This piece reflects the idea of house arrest.
-        ‘Light Sentence’, a cage in a room with a light bulb moving up and down in the middle of the cage, which created an amazing reflection on the wall. This piece represents the idea of a time in prison. Overall I really appreciated and understood the message Mona Hatoum tried to bring to the people with her art installations.

 

ANN CARRINGTON

When going to pick up some things at school this summer I noticed an exhibition of RCA Alumnus Ann Carrington. She graduated in 1987 from a MA in Sculpture. Her work contains multiples of discarded and found objects, like knives and forks, wire, pins, coins, ...

I very much liked the way she connects these pieces and creates a new known form/object with it. The art pieces have a certain elegance, but are still very big and sometimes overwhelming because of the reflective and shiny metals. I would never buy an artwork like this, but it’s definitely an absolute joy to have seen it.

SKETCH

I’ve heard a lot from Sketch and have seen so many pictures of it on Instagram, that I felt it was a must to go and experience the afternoon tea there. What better way than to go in the company of my mother and grandmother?When entering the building I felt quite underdressed, as everyone else was really dressed up for the occasion. I was very much impressed by the place, especially by the staircase behind the reception which had a big splash of paint onto it. It was like somebody hit over a pot of paint.

The building is divided into 5 rooms: The Gallery, The Lecture Room, The Parlour, The Glade and The East Bar. The Glade, which was created by Artists Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu, was like entering a beautiful fairy forest. Even the furniture pieces were one with the interior.

When our seats were ready we arrived at The Gallery, designed by India Mahdavi. The use of materials here is stunning: pink fabrics with brass elements, a play of herringbone parquet with pink touches. Just perfect! We ordered the set menu of afternoon tea with sandwiches and cake. When the platter arrived it was a bit too much, but delicious nonetheless. I really liked the plates on which the food was presented and the tea crockery.

The toilet at Sketch is amazing. It is a room with white eggs and a coloured ceiling, very theatrical. It felt like arriving in a futuristic bird nest. There was even a voice in the toilet. A nice detail that caught my eye were the rustic water taps, a nice contrast to the futuristic vibe.

The place and the interior are extraordinary, but the food not so much. Sketch is a place you must have visited once, but I wouldn’t go there a second time.