Design Milk Travels To… London

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                                Having recently launched <a href="" data-wpel-link="internal">our brand-new travel section</a> and our sister Instagram feed, <a href="" data-wpel-link="external"  rel="nofollow external noopener noreferrer">@designmilktravels</a>, we are delighted to be running a <a href="" data-wpel-link="internal">series of travel guides in partnership</a> with <a href=";142163366;c" data-wpel-link="external"  rel="nofollow external noopener noreferrer">TUMI</a>. And what collection of city guides would be complete without The Big Smoke – aka London?
design_milk_travels_london_shard_dusk I once overheard someone on a train out of London say that he felt like he’d seen it all – he’d spent a grand total of one day in the city! I lived in London for 12 years and have been commuting in and out for another five, and I still don’t feel like I’ve seen it all. It is, despite the best efforts of politicians and property developers, one of the most vibrant, diverse, and creative cities in the world. Trying to distil its best bits into anything less than an encyclopedia is a near impossible task, so what follows is a taster rather
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Neo Bankside residents should add net curtains to stop gallery visitors spying says Tate director

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        Outgoing Tate galleries director <a href="">Nicholas Serota</a> has waded into the <a href="">feud between Neo Bankside residents and Tate Modern</a>, whose new viewing platform overlooks the luxury housing development on London's South Bank. <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Nicholas Serota to step down as director of Tate galleries

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        Nicholas Serota, who was responsible for the launch of the Herzog &amp; de Meuron-designed <a href="">Tate Modern</a> and its <a href="">recent Switch House extension</a>, is stepping down as director of the Tate organisation after 28 years. <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Tate Modern visitors accused of spying on Neo Bankside residents

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        Residents of the <a href="">Rogers Stirk Harbour-designed Neo Bankside apartments</a> have threatened legal action, after <a href="">Tate Modern</a> opened an observation deck that provides views into their private apartments. <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Tate Modern’s Switch House opens display dedicated to Jasper Morrison

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        <a href="">Tate Modern</a> has devoted an area of its new <a href="">Switch House</a> building to exploring the work of British designer <a href="">Jasper Morrison</a>. <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Peter Saville designs packaging for Tate Modern pale ale

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        British design legend <a href="">Peter Saville</a> has adapted his <a href="">graphic identity for the Tate Modern</a> into a new Switch House beer can. <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Tate Modern Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron opens to the public

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        These new images by British photographer <a href="">Jim Stephenson</a> offer a look around <a href="">Herzog &amp; de Meuron</a>'s extension to <a href="">Tate Modern</a> in London, which officially opened on Friday (+ slideshow). <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Uxus designs “permanently temporary” gift shop for Herzog & de Meuron’s extended Tate Modern

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        Amsterdam studio Uxus has designed a gift shop with stackable shelving for the new <a href="">Tate Modern</a> extension, which is set to open to the public this week (+ slideshow). <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Peter Saville colour-codes London’s Tate Modern ahead of extension opening

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        British graphic design legend <a href="">Peter Saville</a> is behind the <a href="">Tate Modern</a> art gallery's updated graphic identity, a colourful model of the complex that includes the new <a href="">Herzog &amp; de Meuron extension</a>. <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Tate Modern releases first images of Herzog & de Meuron’s Switch House extension

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        This set of images by photographer <a href="">Iwan Baan</a> provides a first look inside <a href="">Herzog &amp; de Meuron</a>'s extension to the <a href="">Tate Modern</a> art gallery, set to open next month in London (+ slideshow). <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Lessons From London

[Photo via TTG] BUILD is on a UK tour this week which has provided an opportunity to check in with London’s design scene. While our time in England’s capitol was brief, we came away with 3 important insights that apply to our home base of Seattle as well as many other urban areas in the world. A huge thanks to all the architects, engineers, and design types we’ve met during our travels, as these lessons would not have been possible without them. 1. Markets don’t have to be precious.
There’s an important movement currently happening in Seattle based around the concept of bringing restaurants, food producers, and shops together in covered, shared market space. These markets are typically re-appropriated from industrial buildings which lend well to open circulation while keep the rain out and the heat in. Markets like these are becoming extremely valuable to the urban fabric of Seattle and
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Herzog & de Meuron’s Tate Modern extension nears completion

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        With just over a month to go before London's <a href="">Tate Modern</a> opens its <a href="">new Herzog &amp; de Meuron-designed wing</a>, Instagram users have been sharing images of the angular brick structure. <a href="" class="more-link">(more&hellip;)</a>

Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes

From the architect. What happens when a designer decides to turn a classic Herzog & de Meuron masterpiece into a carnival space? That’s precisely what happened when architect Gia Wolff was asked to create an installation – part of which doubled as a performance piece – for the show Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival in the Tate Modern‘s Turbine Hall. How did she approach transforming such a cultural icon? Three words: red-pink rope.

From the Architect: A deconstructed Canopy of ropes transform Herzog & de Meuron’s architectural space for the Turbine Hall into a carnival space reminiscent of Oscar Niemeyer’s Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro. 
Canopy, was a monumental and unprecedented installation within the performance department at the Tate Modern for the show Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival. The show engages with Carnival as ritual of resistance, festival of otherness and performance art, and with the Notting Hill Carnival specifically as a contested site from which to reflect on notions of public space, performance and participation, all situated within the architectural installation of Canopy.
As a means to enhance the processional nature of the Turbine Hall, 5,500 feet of custom made, thick vibrant pink-red ropes hung from one end of the hall to the other. The ropes enticed audience members through the unique street-sized space, and guided them alongside the performers and participants.
Suspended lengthwise, 550 feet long and seemingly hairline thin pieces of rope physically connected to the building’s roof truss on the east and west ends of the hall, and visually connected the vast space with ten catenary curves. At the lowest point in the curve, the ropes split paths and wove above and below the bridge to bring viewers inside the space of Canopy. Up close, but just out of arms reach, the ropes revealed their massive size and rough twisted texture.
Within reach, smaller hand-held ropes were choreographed with Marlon Griffith’s performance of No Black in the Union Jack. These ropes were used as crowd control devices, and moved in harmony and discord with the revelers. Held with tension, each rope bearer simulated a point along the line and defined the space for the performance. Shifts at each point along the line redefined the performance area and helped move the audience and performers from one end of the hall to the other. Other collaborators for the show included Hew Locke’s, Give and Take, Central Saint Martin’s student project, The Sky is Dancing, and a soundscape by Dubmorphology.
This installation was a unique opportunity to explore spatial and performative ideas from carnival in tandem with discoveries made through the ongoing research project, Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats, a project awarded by Harvard GSD Wheelwright Prize 2013.

Architects: Gia Wolff
Location: Tate Modern, London SE1, UK
Architect In Charge: Gia Wolff
Guest Curator: Claire Tancons
Curatorial Team: Catherine Wood, Curator, Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate and Capucine Perrot, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern
Engineering: Scott Hughes of Robert Silman Associates
Handheld Rope Coordinator: Andrea Herrada
Handheld Rope Performance: Andrea Herrada, students from Central St. Martin’s, and Tate Volunteers
Rope Splicing: Joe Taylor of Ropeloft, UK
Rope Rigging: Nick Brown of Balckout, UK
Year: 2014
Photographs: John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture)

Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture) Gia Wolff Transforms the Tate Modern with Canopy of Ropes © John Hartmann (Freecell Architecture)

Critical Round-Up: Tate Britain Renovation, Caruso St. John

London’s Tate Britain, a partner gallery to the Tate Modern (who recently appointed Herzog & de Meuron to design a new extension), recently unveiled Caruso St. John‘s transformation of the oldest part of the iconic Grade II* listed Millbank building. The £45 million project to restore, renovate and reinterpret one of the UK’s most important galleries has been met with a largely positive critical response; read the conclusions of The Financial Times’ Edwin Heathcote, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright,  The Independent’s Jay Merrick, the RIBA Journal’s Hugh Pearman, and the Architects’ Journal’s Rory Olcayto, after the break…

Oliver Wainwright, Guardian

For Wainwright, the revamp of the Tate Britain, which has “long suffered from an identity complex”, is the first time that a practice has given consideration to the whole of the building, rather than just extensions and isolated alterations.

The new space is, for Wainwright, an “inviting place of arched openings and vaulted ceilings, with the majesty of a Roman catacomb”. Of particular note is the “spectacular” new staircase that “plunges through the floor of the Millbank entrance rotunda in a swirling op art whirlpool of black and white terrazzo”.

Lined with a mirror-polished handrail and pearly glass, it brings a dose of glitz and glamour (with a hint of the Dubai shopping mall), flirting close to the boundaries of good taste.

Noting the attention to detail, specifically with regard to the furniture and the lighting, Wainwright praises Caruso St.John for balancing “the stripped classicism of the early 20th-century architects [...] with a modern twist”. 

Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

Like Wainwright, Heathcote notes that the staircase takes centre stage – making “the journey down to what once felt very much like a second-rate space – the basement – feel grand and deliberate” – while at the same time flirting on the boundaries of over-done opulence:

If there is a criticism to be made it is that the mirror-polished handrails and spiralling glass look a little too sparkly, with a touch too much of the oligarch’s mansion about them.

However, Heathcoate’s overall impression is positive: while ’s experimentation with ornamentation may have been “varied in success” in the past, explains Heathcoate, in the Tate Britain “they have pulled it off, in a manner simultaneously sympathetic and striking”; the “meticulous” restoration is made up of almost invisible, “subtle interventions that posit a new language for the circulation spaces which feed the galleries”; they have transformed “the space while maintaining its particular, stony-cold Edwardian character”. 

Jay Merrick, Independent

Merrick notes that although the transformation of the building appears effortless, he has no doubt the process was “tortuous”: the “new float like pristine swans on a lake of creative sweat”. Merrick prasies the subtlety of the project whose paint colours, terrazzo flooring, and joinery are all based on the original palette of materials:

Peter St John suggests that the changes at the Tate are “radical”, but they’re not. The new interventions are architecturally logical, and fastidiously subtle.

For Merrick, the result is an unequivocable succes: Caruso St. John have made the arrival experience, which once felt “like being trapped in an architectural hernia”, “far more welcoming and architecturally elegant”; “this fusion of history and modern spatial organisation has given the Tate a much more relaxed gravitas”. 

Hugh Pearman, RIBA Journal

While noting that “some of this project is subtle to the point of invisibility”, Pearman, too, puts much of his focus on those not-so-subtle details.

Although he has not decided whether he likes the staircase or not (“I admire it. It feels gorgeous. It is clever, possibly too clever. It is intricate, possibly too intricate”), he describes it as “a building in itself” – “pure architecture, with all the strangeness of purity, but with a distinct touch of luxe”. He gives particular praise to the luminaires (also designed by Caruso St. John):

When technology is now at a point when light sources can effectively disappear, it takes an architect to do to exactly the opposite, and turn them back into solid architecture.

In the end, however, Pearman notes that “there is a chill to this otherwise super-rich architecture, a Nordic chill, but other influences – from turn-of-the-century Berlin, Vienna, even London – also infiltrate”; Thirty years ago this would have counted as postmodernism”.

Rory Olcayto, Architects’ Journal

Is this the future of British architecture? Sure. It’s called Postmodernism 2.0. Or how about just bloody good?

Noting that this year has seen “three essential projects changing how architects engage with the past” – the Stirling Prize winning Astley Castle, Urban Splash’s Park Hill retrofit and this, the Tate Britain “museum remodel [which] willfully blurs the line between old and new”, Olcayto suggests that Caruso St. John’s work has proclaimed a new era of “timeless” architecture in Britain.

For Olcayto, “somehow the new stuff feels timeless” noting how, after such a long project, Caruso St. John know the old building inside out. What he would describe as the best new space, the members gallery, is not publicly accessible – a sign of the fact that “with government subsidies on the slide” an increase in public donors will soon “typify the cultural sector”.

References: Tate, Caruso St. John