Tuesday, 28 October 2014

English Magic

We were in Margate last week, visiting the Turner Contemporary Gallery. Wonderful exhibition of Jeremy Deller's Venice Biennale show 'English Magic'. I loved the film which formed part of the exhibition - with an amazing soundtrack of Vaughan Williams, David Bowie and A Guy Called Gerald played by the Melodians Steel orchestra. 

I also really liked the huge murals. The one above called 'A Good Day for Cyclists' of a hen harrier with a range rover in its claws was painted by Sarah Tynan.

Also rather taken with Arlington House - a striking piece of 1960's brutalism by Russell Diplock Architects. The block is set just back from the sea front, overlooking the beach. It seems quite unexpected among the Victorian seaside architecture and 'kiss me quick' arcades - and all the better for the juxtaposition. I like all the angles and facets - although I imagine it must feel pretty wind-swept up on the eighteenth floor.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Holborn Library

I love this pattern on the facade of Holborn Library - I have walked past it hundreds of times and taken lots of photos of it over the years... But yesterday was the first time I had seen the interior of the building.

The library, which opened in 1960, was built by the Holborn Borough Council Architects department under the direction of Sydney Cook. The architectural design is attributed to Cook's deputy Ernest Ives and assistants I D Aylot and E L Ansell, who worked closely with the Holborn Borough Librarian J Swift.

There is much more detail about the design and architecture of the library on the Twentieth Century Society Website 

Last weekend the building was open specially for an Artangel installation by Brazilian artist Jose Damasceno. The work is called Plot and is made up of a number of different interventions through the building, the most prominent being this streetscape of 1970's Letraset architectural figures installed on the ceiling of the double height space. It works well in the space, and I liked all the monochrome bit-map shading and patterns on the silhouettes.

Perhaps even more exciting for me was all the original 1950's detailing throughout the building. I particularly liked this mosaic in the stairwell with the distorted hexagon forms echoing the facade on the front of the building.

I love that pop of yellow against all the soft greys and greens and lavenders.

There are lots of intact details throughout the building - including this lettering worked on the doorplates. It feels as though the design was really well thought through - right down to the last detail.

Even the back stairs have a lovely grand feeling with the use of warm wood for the banisters and the paneling at the return of the stairs banisters juxtaposed against a cladding of formica on the side walls.

This is a detail of the formica paneling - I love the way that pattern was integrated into the surfaces and materials of the building.

And I have to say that I can't resist a bit of library paraphernalia. Here is a lovely card index in the Local Studies Archive room, and below a random collection of drawing pins in an old unused notice board.