Category Archives: Places

The ladies’ powder room at Claridge’s hotel, London

Ah, Claridge’s! I was seduced by this hotel from the moment I stepped in and just had to share the glamour of this room, too grand to be just the loos and reminiscent of those black & white movies where the heroines retreat to powder their nose.

Claridges hotel. Photo by Caroline Banks

It’s an Art Deco joy with painted walls, plaster jewel-encrusted pillars, bevelled edge mirrors

Claridges hotel. Photo by Caroline Banks

marquetry toilet doors with glass handlesClaridges hotel. Photo by Caroline Banks

and the diffused lighting fixtures of Lalique.

Claridges hotel. Photo by Caroline Banks Claridges hotel. Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Society of Chemistry, London

Open House London gives us, the public, the opportunity to visit buildings of all kinds not normally open to general view during the rest of the year.

One of the venues I visited this year was the Royal Society of Chemistry where I wasn’t expecting to find these two contemporary stained glass windows within the complex of Burlington House.

Designed by Laurence Lee (who also designed the windows for Coventry Cathedral) they are a memorial to Nobel Prize Laureate Cyril Hinshelwood and represent alchemy and chemistry. The four traditional elements: red for fire, clear for air, blue for water and green for earth are all there along with the many chemical variants and combinations.

Stained Glass Art at RSC. Photo Caroline Banks

Nobu Shoreditch hotel, London

I recently toured the newly opened Nobu Shoreditch, with interiors by StudioMica and  restaurant & bar by Studio PCH

The guest rooms are obviously a bit less accessible than the public areas so I’ll concentrate on them here.

The rooms share a combination of urban brutalism (concrete ceilings and exposed services such as sprinklers) from the Shoreditch location and Japanese aesthetics of Nobu, giving this place the feel of an oasis in the city centre. 

Judicious use of texture and lighting creates jewel-like points of focus. I confess to having a soft spot for the bathrooms; not only are they visually beautiful but really practical (as several guests have apparently pointed out you can tell they’ve been designed by a woman). The mirrors offer proper lighting with decent magnification and there is plenty of shelving for toiletries.

And who doesn’t love that washbasin?

This view of the courtyard garden from one of the suites gives an idea of the architecture concept by Ron Arad, implemented by Ben Adams

Artists at The Other Art Fair Bristol – 3 of 4

Still feeling inspired by artists I showed with at The Other Art Fair in Bristol. Here are more shots showing the wide variety of art as I whipped round before opening time.

Michelle Loa Kum Cheung’s landscapes,

Olivier Leger’s intricately detailed drawings, and Sara Dare’s suggestive abstract paintings.It’s not just me is it? The last post in this series follows next week.

Artists at The Other Art Fair Bristol – 2 of 4

There really is something for everyone at The Other Art Fair as, I hope, the following images and posts will show. It’s well worth a visit wherever it is.

From oil painted landscapes by Dawn Reader, another stand neighbour in Bristol,

to a new series of paintings by John Hainsworth ;meticulous still lives by Hisham Echafaki and large abstracts by Kate Williams More artists to follow…

The Other Art Fair Bristol – 1 of 4

Writing this as it rains outside, The Other Art Fair Bristol with sunbathers outside the Arnolfini Gallery now feels a long way off.

Every TOAF event has its communal displays with the ones here including The Colours of Bristol, an Instagram project created over 7 weeks with Bristol 247, @porthjess and @joyfulbristol – I saw it before opening time as you can see from the frenzied activity below. Next to my stand was the I,the Poet. You, The Poet project by Biba & Laurie Cole which was consistently busy as visitors drew images and thoughts with outsized pens and brushes.

Artist Joy Gerrard at Kingsgate Workshops

Another artist I discovered at Kingsgate workshops was Joy Gerrard, whose large ink and brush paintings of protest crowds caught my eye.

Again, all photos here are from her website as she was running a workshop when we popped in.

Often taken from rooftops, the original images are pulled from the media; compression, structure and constraint are all adjectives that come to mind when looking at the work which combines representation & abstraction.

All things splinter and collapse (Panel 1), ink on paper, 2015

web_2015-10-0896490 1.jpg

Protest Crowd, Yemen (2), ink on paper, 2012

Artist Anne Leigniel at Kingsgate Workshops

There’s nothing quite like visiting another artist’s studio to get an insight into their work so I make the most of open studios whenever I can.

I finally got to visit Kingsgate Workshops , workspace to a range of artists and makers and met  Anne Leigniel there.

The viewpoint of an artist towards their subject and how they explore their particular project always intrigues me. Her work spans drawing, photography, video and installation so please visit her website as there’s too much to cover here. The drawings were the first thing I saw and, before I start , all photos here are from her website as I didn’t take any shots during our conversation.

For her insect drawings she painted four large sheets of plastic in a field and left them overnight.

Upon returning in the morning insects had traced paths in the dew, adding their own marks to hers.

The results remind me of maps and mountain landscapes seen from the air.

Other drawings include pebbles, ochre drawings using an imaginary language

and drawings of journeys – this is of the 52 Bus, Chesterton Road to High St Kensington, London.

I now wish I had taken photos in her studio but am due to send her one of my painting rags for another long-running project  so expect to see her again fairly soon.

Richard Long at M-Shed in Bristol

I’d never been to Bristol before (a few hours passing through decades ago doesn’t really count) so gave myself a few hours to wander around the city before setting up for The Other Art Fair.

The area by the Arnolfini Gallery where we exhibited is really lovely with M-Shed just across the way.

And what should I come across but Richard Long‘s Muddy Water Walk stretching over 3 floors, the full height of the building.

It’s odd that I’d never connected his circular shapes with mine till now – it really is a universal form.