Tham & Videgård designs wooden residential towers for Stockholm waterfront

Swedish studio Tham & Videgård Arkitekter has unveiled plans for a row of high-rise apartment blocks constructed from timber that will tower over an old harbour in Stockholm. (more…)


Wayne Hemingway’s ‘can-do’ attitude


Words Wayne Hemingway

I was recently tasked with giving a talk on 'Bravery and a can-do attitude' at Somerset County Council's Staff Awards. It is a subject matter close to my heart and something that is sadly lacking not just in the public sector, but in a fair number of those in the private sector that serve the public sector. We all bemoan the paucity of decent design in the vast majority of new housing, and how many times do we have to sit in a miserable hospital waiting room or feel deflated at how uninspiring that sheltered housing scheme is where a beloved relative is living out their final years? How many times do we look at some new public landscape and think, what a bleedin' waste of money?

Just about all of those crappy buildings, public spaces and interiors will have had significant input from architects and designers, all of whom have lacked bravery in debating and standing up to a client that doesn't understand the value of good design, and will have lacked a can-do attitude in being creative with tight budgets. What is the point of being a designer if all you are doing is earning a wage and you don't care about the outcome? I have a firm philosophy that 'design is about improving things that matter in life' and this mantra continues to ensure that we are brave and we 'can-do' and that drives a very healthy bottom line.

Gerardine (wife of 32 years and design partner for 34) and I were brave in moving from our native Lancashire as teenagers with no plans other than to see what 'that there London' could offer. Without staff or a factory to make her clothes, Gerardine was extremely brave to take a very large order from Macy's New York for her first collection that, up to then, she'd been making herself with her portable sewing machine. To grow Red or Dead into a fashion brand with shops all around the world without backing, with a team of young, unqualified, enthusiastic can-doers was brave and a hoot to boot.

From the client side, Bournemouth Council's bravery comes to mind, in commissioning for the run-down district of Boscombe, the world's second-only surf reef and employing designers to bring the mid-century overstrand and pier back to life. Cries of 'waste of money' went up from the media and the usual suspects. The surf reef was untested technology which failed to generate decent waves, then broke, and the New Zealand construction company went bust. But, in the meantime, the investment has paid off: Boscombe seafront is nothing less than transformed and one of the coolest and liveliest bits of beach in the area.

The early years in the development of the Staiths South Bank in Gateshead, which we were also involved with, were full of debate and arguments over 'secured by design', 'homezones', communal barbeques, the table tennis tables in the streets, 'shared pocket parks', cycle routes and restrictions on car ownership. We were questioning accepted practice and were also being questioned by many architects and planners as to our suitability for the project. 'Q: What could a couple of fashion designers know about housing? A: We have bloomin' well lived in them for four decades each and we care about the quality of life!'

We didn't let any of the flak get to us and we proved the police wrong in their belief that we were designing crime 'in' rather than designing crime 'out' by placing all the parking down gable ends rather than in view of residents' houses. We proved the council wrong by getting rid of all wheelie bins and forcing residents to communally dispose of waste. The development has not become covered in litter and the local yoof haven't cooked the neighbourhood cats on the communal barbeques.

Our current, most challenging and most exciting project is Dreamland Margate, and if there is a braver regeneration project in the UK with so many can-do folk involved, then please point me in its direction. From Heritage Lottery, to Thanet Council, to the Dreamland Trust and the Margate community that support it to Sands Heritage that will run the [vintage amusement] park, everyone is taking risks for the public good.

Having creative minds with a can-do attitude has seen transformations of the Mitte District in Berlin, Williamsburg and now wider Brooklyn in New York, Hackney Wick in London, the Baltic Quarter in Liverpool, and now Margate's old town.

To the councils that have allowed pianos and table tennis tables to populate our public spaces, I salute you for your bravery and for supporting those who say 'try this'.


My Houzz: Risk and Reward in a Brooklyn Townhouse (17 photos)

Architects Jennifer and Roy Leone went all in with the renovation of their townhouse in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The homeowners, both architects who own a small firm together in Brooklyn, gutted a dingy 1,600-square-foot home that included windows covered with wire grating and...


International Year of Light Competition: PhosWords of the Year 2015

PhosWords_Logo The “PhosWords of the Year 2015” competition is an open call to contribute to a new vocabulary and dialogue about light and lighting.

IES Emerging Professionals Organize International Year of Light Photo Contest

IYL_Photo_Comp_HERO Lighting related photos will be posted through the end of July during this six month initiative geared toward students and emerging professionals.

kengo kuma unveils railway station as part of the grand paris express

the competition-winning scheme forms the first part of the region’s redevelopment, enabling the city to significantly increase its metropolitan scale.

The post kengo kuma unveils railway station as part of the grand paris express appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


airbnb converts JDS-designed holmenkollen ski jump into a penthouse

airbnb has fully-furnished the upper-most level as a cozy, yet expansive alpine retreat, with the apartment’s floor to ceiling windows allowing guests a panoramic view of snow capped oslo.

The post airbnb converts JDS-designed holmenkollen ski jump into a penthouse appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


Antonio Banderas reveals plans to study fashion design

Antonio Banderas

Actor Antonio Banderas has become the latest celebrity to express an interest in becoming a designer, with plans to study fashion at London's Central Saint Martins. (more…)


bespoke paul smith land rover defender decorated in 27 vibrant colors

as a tribute to the land rover defender, british fashion designer paul smith collaborates with land rover and chief creative officer gerry mcgovern to produce a one-off edition.

The post bespoke paul smith land rover defender decorated in 27 vibrant colors appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


Wake Up Tired Furniture With Paint, Paper and Fabric (12 photos)

Not the DIY type but still hankering for a creative interiors project? The answer could be style hacking — shorthand for taking an existing piece of furniture, be it a tired old chair or an off-the-shelf bookcase, and adding some quirky, crafty personality. (The trend began a while back when clever...


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Architect Mahmood Fallahian

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