whathappensinlondon

Posts Tagged ‘What Happens in London 2011’

Very Stylish, Very Starck

In Day to Day on September 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

BERNERS STREET

The last seven days have been a blur of clothes and shows (more on this later) as London Fashion Week descended on the capital, clocking up column inches all over the place. However, amidst all the celebrities, bloggers, photographers and bona fide fashionistas, a less noticeable wave of people swept through London over the weekend…the nosy ones.

London Open House took place over the weekend, giving the voyeur in all of us the chance to look round some of the cities most guarded and inaccessible buildings. Whether you’re into old cinemas, hotels, modern architecture or simply aesthetically pleasing design, there is bound to be something on offer to catch your eye, as the list is extensive to say the least. With over 700 places specially open to the public, I plumped for the Sanderson Hotel on Berners Street – minutes into the tour, I knew I made the right decision. Starting with a view from across the road, our guides pointed out Ian Schrager’s hallmark oversized vase with pink flowers placed outside the main entrance, clearly identifying the building as one of his from the off.

Once in, Phillip Starck’s unique vision becomes clear – his influence is everywhere. ‘The space between the doors and the reception desk is the catwalk’….which explains why all the chairs are pointing towards the main desk. OK, and the lips? ‘A big kiss from us for when you arrive!’ Of course…dare I ask, the pictures of dogs behind and in front of the white drapes? ‘Well, it’s the English man’s best friend’. This logic pretty much explains everything in the hotel, from the fittings to the furniture, it’s all very surreal and the whole experience of walking around (and I presume staying there), is much the same.

After looking around the Purple Bar, Billiard Room and stunning stained glass windows, we got to the lift. I know, a lift doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Well, instead of being forced to stare uncomfortably into a smeary mirror for the 30 second journey upstairs, instead we did some star gazing. The walls are made from 3D images of planets and stars from the galaxy in deep blue and twinkly white on both the walls and ceiling – it’s absolutely stunning and very Christopher Kane.

Upstairs, the room numbers are shining lights on the floor rather than on the doors, and that’s it. The corridors are completely bare with no defining characteristics at all – to be honest, it’s a little unsettling and I expect a girl on a tricycle to come wheeling around the corner at any minute. The bedrooms replicate this but in far more luxurious settings and all in white.

Echoing the dream-like, surreal nature of the rest of the decor, the rooms are designed to feel like you are stepping onto a cloud. White walls, white floor, white cupboards, white furniture and a bed (white) placed at an angle in the middle work together to create a calm, cool environment. As a listed building, converting the old Sanderson HQ and showroom into a hotel was difficult, with no extra walls allowed to be built within the rooms. The bathroom is therefore separated from the main bedroom area with a large sheet of glass and two layers of privacy curtains, so make sure you’re very comfortble with whoever you share your room with!

After querying how they keep the rooms so white with no evidence of scuffs or wear and tear, I was told that after a week long stay every room is repainted white – they even have a full time painter on site who must really hate white by now.

Although I prefer more classic and comforatble interiors, the Sanderson delivers on both style and Starck – their second hotel on St Martin’s Lane is now firmly on my ‘must visit’  list.

Click here to visit the Sanderson Hotel website.

Advertisements

London Riots

In Day to Day on August 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm

LONDON

In the capital, the last few days have been ones of shock, devastation and sadness. A persistent and unwavering destruction of such a striking and inspiring city is something I never thought I would witness – even harder for me to comprehend is that this is being done by people who have grown up and lived in London communities their whole lives.

I spent much of last night keeping track of the constant updates on the news, Twitter and Facebook of the continuing violence, looting and vandalism – today was no different as my news feed gradually filled with new targets and planned attacks.  Leaving work early today, there was a general feeling of unease and upon reaching Greenwich, the boarded up shops and already smashed windows of the shops along Trafalgar road added to this.

Thankfully, messages have now turned from being helpless to fighting back – particular highlights are this woman in Hackney, who’s speech has now been viewed over a million times on Twitter, and the group of Turkish shop owners who stood guard in Stoke Newington last night. To help with the clean up now being organised by thousands of locals, follow @RiotCleanup on Twitter and find out how you can help turn the last few days around.

Some pieces that have been written over the course of the day have really struck me. The first is by Camila Batmanghelidjh , who is the founder of The Place to Be and Kids Company – a well written piece that everyone should read where she expresses her thoughts on the rioting: ‘Society relies on collaborative behaviour; individuals are held accountable because belonging brings personal benefit. Fear or shame of being alienated keeps most of us pro-social’.

Another article worth taking the time to look at is this one, where home secretary Theresa May ‘dismissed fears that deep spending cuts could undermine the ability of the police to tackle possible civil unrest, and insisted the British did not respond to austerity by rioting on the streets‘ in September 2010. A similar article was posted by the Guardian at the end of July 2011, questioning the consequences of slashing the youth services budget by 75% in the Haringey area.

One person who wasn’t too worried last night was Liz Hurley, who amidst a city in turmoil, decided to tell us what Shane Warne had for tea.