Apparently my life is becoming rather ‘cake-orientated’ these days… A recent obsession with cupcake making has led to making my own cake stands, and from  that to a slightly more costly obsession with scouring charity shops for pretty and/ or interesting china. I make the stands out of different sized plates with sherry glasses inbetween; sometimes I even throw on a few Swarovski sparkles…

I have a reputation for having slightly ‘border-lining’ taste (tripping happily along the  line between lovely and awful) and the more garish one shown in the photos I made for myself… The more tasteful floral one was made as a gift. Now that I’ve made a few of these cake stands, and got to grips with my glue-gun, I’m planning on making and selling them to order. I’m all stocked up on plates and glasses, so if you’d like a totally unique and quirky present for someone (or for yourself) let me know!

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I wrote an essay on Caruso St John’s New Art Gallery, Walsall for ICA (Issues in Contemporary Architecture), exploring the idea of Intentions vs Realities: whether the built form can ever live up to what is written about it. It took a while and was excessively researched, and if I don’t post it on here it’ll be 5000 words written for one man to read, which makes me slightly sad… So have a look, I promise it’s at least a bit interesting (and there are plenty of pictures).

Link to essay: As Written?

So me and Jo are doing a new radio show on xpressradio.co.uk, Sunday 8-9pm, and I thought I’d put a ‘listen again’ player on here for anyone who missed it last night. This weeks theme was Valentines Day- belated I know, but we had such an epic amount of songs to fit the theme- with the show involving some awesome music and much chat about life, love and Zach Braff…

http://static.boomp3.com/player2.swf?id=r1tvn4huopo&title=27+Feb+2011

I’ve claimed this as my song. This is what floaty means.

That there
That’s not me
I go
Where I please
I walk through walls
I float down the Liffey
I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here
I’m not here

In a little while
I’ll be gone
The moment’s already passed
Yeah it’s gone
And I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here
I’m not here

Strobe lights and blown speakers
Fireworks and hurricanes
I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here
I’m not here

How to disappear completely – Radiohead

‘They reciprocated the great and saving lie- that our love for things is greater than our love for our love for things- willfully playing the parts they wrote for themselves, willfully creating and believing fictions necessary for life.’

Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

Happy Valentine’s Day, to anyone else who is feeling lonely…

Heart Skipped A Beat – The XX

Loos asserts that, with regards to cladding, no material should appropriate the forms of another:  ‘Art has nothing to do with forgery, with falsehood.’  Even if you (as I) do not believe in a ‘divine soul’, the following passage rings true.

‘But no, you are wrong, all you imitation-and-substitute architects. The soul is too high, too sublime to be taken in by your devices and petty ploys. True, you have our bodies in your power. They have only five senses to rely on to distinguish genuine from false. And where human senses fail, this is where your domain begins. Paint your best inlays, high up on the ceiling and our poor eyes will accept them for what they appear to be. But the divine soul does not believe your fraud. Even in the best of your ‘looks-just-like-any-inlay’ stencils all it will feel is paint.’

(Also, this has to be one of my favourite architectural insults:

‘Come along, come along, all you champions of imitation, you creators of stencilled inlays, house-ugliful windows and paper-mâché tankards, a new field awaits your talents in Vienna, the ground has been freshly manured.’)

Pathetic fallacy is a lie.

The sunlight outside mocks my dark mood. For maybe the first time, I wish for a grey sky to reflect in my eyes and desaturate my day.

‘Meet me in the hallway
Bite your lip when I say: “Never have you left my mind”
Stop and think it over, smiling, moving closer
Oh, what a delicate time’

Ivy and Gold – Bombay Bicycle Club

Trieste is…

Fur rippling in the wind,

Across hunched shoulders.

Hundreds of zebra-crossings

(Some with lights, some without,

All equally ignored.)

Hills and steps,

Straight but not.

As if I’ve been spun in a circle and put down randomly,

All memorable spaces shuffled then scattered.

Disorientated.

 

I wrote the above in Trieste, on a miserable, confusing day, and I have typed it here to make a point: perceptions of, and reactions to, cities are wholly subjective- different for each person, and affected by many tiny variables. Architecture is the same.

For this reason I see spaces as narratives, with characters and human detail. Buildings are stages for ever-changing events- as back-drops they can be simple and adaptable, with the ability to create or change to any desired atmosphere. As a reaction to a chain of events, a design can form, grow, split, merge, disintegrate: never static, as life plays out in and around it. Buildings become part of our stories, maybe the focus but more often on the peripheries, as reference points and anchors.

Do we react to buildings or do they react to us?

Maybe both; like tangible echoes, reactions to every tiny thing bounce back and forth from one to the other, eroding and shaping and changing.

What if a place is made through the act of ‘informal invasion’, where the users are temporary, and the use constantly changing? If, as Pallasmaa asserts, ‘architectural space is lived space rather than physical space’, what is the architecture of this ever-evolving space? Maybe it is defined by inhabitation- the simplest way of claiming a space as your own, and of adapting it to suit your needs.

So this place is a true narrative, without any clear beginning, middle or end, documenting life and all its players as scars and tattoos.

When is any building ‘finished’? The design stops, yes, but nothing else does.