Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Scooterworks Café - Vroom Vroom!

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I always think that streets are like people. Some are friendly, cheery locals, full of unpretentious welcome. Others are more snooty, looking down their noses at you in their designer clad finery. Then there are those that are eccentric, obscure and downright weird.

Lower Marsh definitely in the latter category. An old market street, running behind Waterloo station - it is filled with peculiar places and interesting characters. One minute you're walking past a 1940's vintage shop, the next you find a second hand bookshop that hasn't been touched since the early sixties, then you pass a fetish shop with mannequins on leashes. Despite it's central location - you're never going to find a Starbucks moving into this street. Hallelujah.

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Instead, you have a far superior option - The Scooterworks Café. An old scooter workshop has been turned into one of the most eclectic and atmospheric cafe/bars in the city, with every part of the place a feast for the (curious) eye. Mechanical doodads, old surgeon's lights, newspaper covered walls, girly magazines...it's a junk lovers heaven, with a real dash of style.

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Not only does it look good, but the coffee is excellent and they have regular free movie nights in the basement. All in all, a top notch experience, and one of the most interesting spots for a drink in the city. Highly recommended.

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Scooterworks is at 132 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE - www.scooterworks-uk.com/

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Pop Up Noodles

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Things seem to be popping up more and more nowadays, don't they? we've only just got used to the concept of the 'pop up shop' and now it seems that 'pop up restaurants' are all the rage.
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We're looking forward to the day that someone actually designs a restaurant where all the tables and chairs fold away and the rest of the fittings are telescopic, taking the 'pop up' concept to its logical conclusion.
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Even though that hasn't happened yet, one of the most interesting things about pop ups is that the temporary nature of the structures can bring out some very inspiring design solutions.
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Take 'noodles' on Dean Street for example. It isn't quite open yet, and is only sticking around for a couple of months, but design wise it definitely looks promising, in a 'chic wood shed' sort of way.
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We love the light bulb installation and the use of wooden typography is particularly intriguing. Let's hope that when it becomes a permanent space, as a branch of Rosa's Cafe, it retains some of its current DIY charm.
'noodles' will be opening soon at 48 Dean St, W1, until Christmas

Monday, 19 October 2009

Dutch Design Week : Eindhoven

It’s official , in our book anyway Dutch Design Week is much more interesting than just about all the others. It spent a few lovely days in Eindhoven and saw loads of lovely inspiring projects.

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My friends from Eat Drink Design had a fabulous new pop-up venue, unfortunately to my great regret I didn’t manage to dine with them. As usual Edwin Severijn of Sot-l'y-laisse was heading up the cuisine. His food is always a culinary delight and one of the highlights of my gastronomic year !

If...

If Edward Hopper was alive today, and lived in Stepney (I know it's a stretch, but just work with me here). Would 'Nighthawks' have been painted in a place like this?

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The Cavell Cafe - London E1

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Illustrated book of the week : A History of Machines

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I have a set of six of these titles from ‘The New Illustrated Library of Science and Invention’. This one is a French edition, the rest are English and were once to be found in the library of St Mary’s School

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They were designed by Erik Nitsche, who according to his wikipedia entry ‘was a pioneer in the design of books, annual reports, and other printed material that relied on meticulous attention to the details of page composition, the elegance of simple type presentation, and the juxtaposition of elements on a page. His hallmarks were impeccably clear design, brilliant colours, smart typography, and an adherence to particular geometric foundations.’

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Which is apparent in the stylish pages of these school text books. We felt tha this one made a particularly good follow up to Kapoor’s cannon. There is a set of 12 of these inspiring titles on Ebay at the moment if anyone is interested. We will show more from our collection in the coming weeks

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Venice Biennale 2009 : The Arsenale Location

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Last week I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon in Venice, the weather was glorious, the temperature just right, perfect in fact to visit the 53rd International Biennale of Art. I took the boat to the Gardini stop at the end of the line, but unfortunately that part of the exhibition was closed on Mondays. A kindly Italian lady informed me that the Arsenale would be open and guided me to the entrance, with the warning that I would have to walk 1.5km before arriving at the Italian pavilion.


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This was my first visit to Venice’s Arsenale, and nothing prepared me for this spectacular location. The arsenale is the city's shipyard and is generally thought to date from the 12c, it covers a huge area of ancient brick warehouses and docks.


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After the long walk down a narrow passage I finally arrived at the first of the warehouses. As I moved on from one space to another I began to feel an amazing synergy between many of the artworks and the incredible buildings. Parts of the buildings and landscapes were like works of art and some of the works of art seemed part of the aging architecture or gardens


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more to follow !


Monday, 5 October 2009

M. Goldstein -The New Curiosity Shop

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You've heard the phrase 'One man's trash is another man's treasure'? Well, we at The Curious Eye have a similar saying - 'One man's junk is another man's aesthetically pleasing display object'. Admittedly, it's not quite so catchy, but it gets the point across.

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Never was it so true as at M. Goldstein on the Hackney Road. Nathaniel, the shop's owner, is so skilled at finding and displaying 'junk', that it's almost like entering an art gallery. A gallery filled with found objects and discarded curiosities - our idea of fun.

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Everything in the shop seems to have a story behind it - from the old display unit for wellington boots to the shopping lists of a 1940's school teacher. There's a lot of history in these objects - making them all the more fascinating and romantic.

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Next time you're in Shoreditch, check it out. Definitely a must-see for fans of the esoteric, the quirky and the creative.

Check out mgoldstein.co.uk for more details of this little treasure trove





Friday, 2 October 2009

London Design Week Top Five : Ubiquity and Obscurity.

Our final two Design Week picks are closely related - and to be honest, one wasn't even officially a part of the festivities. But it was probably the most inspiring thing that we saw all week, so we couldn't resist dropping it in.
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It's this chair from two colombia road, about which we know...nothing. According to the proprietor, it's probably Danish, and definitely mid-century. But he had never seen it before, and it's certainly new to us.

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The simplicity of the design, the generosity of the proportions and the harmony of the materials are impossible to fault. It's that rare thing - an unknown design classic, by a mystery designer. Anyone out there know who made it (and where we can buy a set)? We'd love to know.

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In contrast, there's no question who our next choice was designed by. It was impossible to miss this beautiful settle designed by Ilse Crawford, part of her Seating for Eating range with De La Espada. We actually managed to run into it three times in the space of two hours on our tour of the East End - but we like it so much, we could have seen it again and again without getting bored. A very clever fusion of Shaker simplicity with Ercol inspired modernity, this is a piece of furniture that will stand the test of time.

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