Hyper-Realistic Props Appear in Photography Project
Salone del Mobile
The Salone del Mobile has swung into action once more. Designers, architects, makers and buyers have descended on Milan from all corners of the globe for what is indisputably the world’s best furniture fair. With the doors to the Fiera now open, the city itself has also been transformed into a shining vessel for all that’s new in design, with almost every urban inch turned into exhibition space for the duration of the Salone (9 to 14 April).
The picture says I love drawing and I love the graphite (also said I have an ugly face, but you are kind and pretend not to notice)
I always had overwhelming passions, and the drawing is one of them.
For a long time I have left to devote to other things, but I returned three years ago.
Unfortunately I did not study art, and everything I know I learned from experience and from reading some drawing manuals.
For the moment I’m posting old drawings, but the company of many great artists pushed me back to draw, so be careful: I’m at work.”
Malcolm Fraser: Fear is the Key and as a Result Bold Plans are Compromised
There is a viable Word Bank proposal for its use as a community arts and social enterprise hub and I hope that Artisan, the new developers, go on to work with its promoters, the Old Town Development Trust.
I’m pleased because I’ve lobbied for its retention. Indeed our refusal to contemplate its demolition, when we were in competition with Allan Murray Architects for the masterplanning of the whole site, must have contributed to us not being chosen.
The proposals have been welcomed as representing a triumph for “compromise” – and, yes, the retention of this decent old stone building is the positive side of compromise, as in doing the right thing.
But then the new Caltongate has also been welcomed for being the “low rise” that suits it’s location, and for the “wide open vistas” it retains – such criticism being directed at our proposals for the last developers, on the Jeffrey Street portion of the site, that have been reduced, in these new ones, to a wee glass blob.
Low rise… and wide open vistas… in the Old Town? I am writing this in my North Bridge eyrie, an 11-storey high-rise less than 200 metres from Jeffrey Street. Our proposal was for six storeys to mark this important historic gateway to the Old Town and, in addition to it being half the height of my office the tenement which once stood here, as shown in the 1819 print, was taller, at seven storeys.
The print looks up along the City Wall, from around the front door of the new Council headquarters towards the Netherbow Port and the Royal Mile junction with the modern St Mary and Jeffrey Streets. This narrow view and route out was the first connection north from the dense, contained High Street and was a hugely significant route, the Royal “Via Regia” before becoming Leith Wynd.
The Victorians demolished all this; and while, at Cockburn and Victoria Streets, they very beautifully restitched their Old Town “improvements” back into the surviving medieval fabric, they failed at Jeffrey Street, leaving a dull, undifferentiated roofline (as opposed to the vigorous, raggedy one of the rest of the Old Town), some weak gables and a lonely wee car park.
Our Leith Wynd proposals – in the other image, above and behind the arches – recovered all that vigour, reintroducing the Wynd in a broad, lively stair down, providing vigorous uses at all levels and into the arches, containing the view (narrowed from that left by Victorian demolition but much wider and more connected than the medieval one), forming a high-level public square with dramatic views over the New Town and out to sea, and recovering the vigorous roofline.
It’s a great shame that the heritage and community lobbies have fought so hard – and with apparent success – to retain the low rises and wide-open vistas of Victorian demolition, and against the recovered medieval density and public bustle of our proposal. So, there’s compromise as doing the right thing, and compromise as timidity. Do we think, for a moment, that it was timidity that has built this great, dramatic Edinburgh?
• Malcolm Fraser is head of Malcolm Fraser Architects.
Mark Tipple Photographs the Chaos of Waves From Below
I’ve certainly been on a photography kick today, so I thought I’d wrap up the day with these amazing photos by Mark Tipple. Going where most men fear to tred, Mark takes photographs of waves from below, capturing a swirling chaos that few people ever really experience.
We both knew the reefs on the island were shallow; we’d been there before and surfed the waves, but shooting The Underwater Project dictates no boards and definitely no wetsuits – meaning the danger of losing skin was increased tenfold. With a wary eye watching for rogue waves I watched as Mike left the water, he stumbled on a few urchin spines adding insult to injury; and I wondered if there was something else that I could shoot underwater.
These images are from his underwater project, specifically from his Mare Vida series. What’s incredible to me is that he’s able to capture these photographs at all. Somehow he manages to bring a focus to the discord despite the incredible circumstances.
The Mesmerizing Skyscrapers Of Hong Kong In Eerily Beautiful Close-up
Photographer Michael Wolf’s book Architecture of Density takes a unique look at the towering skyline of the vertical city, giving you a perspective on urban architecture you’ve never had before.
For four years, photographer Michael Wolf explored life in Hong Kong by studying the exterior of its apartment towers. When cropped and textualized, facades of residential buildings become something other than architecture, but grids of information, charts, data, colorful patterns.
The pictures, taken between 2003 and 2007, were compiled and released in a book called Architecture of Density. Wolf’s dedicated much of his career to exploring the transformation of Asian metropolises with his camera, from the exteriors of buildings to interior spaces and portraits as well.
At UK Hospital, Ugly Pipework is Transformed into Fantastical Instruments that Lull Patients to Sleep
No stranger to providing innovative therapy to its patients, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children has already been covered on these pages for its interactive LED-illuminated wall that helps calm young visitors on their way to surgery. Now the hospital has collaborated with Studio Weave to reappropriate ugly pipework on the exterior of the building as the Lullaby Factory, a system of musical tubes that lull patients to sleep with relaxing sounds.
Due to a redevelopment of the infirmary, the building currently has a temporary space that looks awkward and unsightly but can only be seen from inside the hospital. In order to make this area useful, East-London based Studio Weave decided to build on the existing aesthetic of the space, transforming the utilitarian pipework into an imaginative system of horns and woodwind instruments that play lullabies. Children are encouraged to see the building opposite as the Lullaby Factory, which manufactures soothing sounds to help patients recover from their illnesses. The pieces are in reality created by composer and sound artist Jessica Curry, and can be heard through special listening pipes, or by tuning into the Lullaby Factory radio station.
The concept helps revitalize an otherwise unused and unpleasant space and improves young patients’ experience of hospital stays, contributing to their wellbeing. How else can good design be used to transform ordinary facades into something more creative and uplifting?
Public space in Kyiv by Mary Protsyk, Iryna Volynets
The main idea of the project is to create cultural space on the territory of Andriyivskyy Descent in Kyiv. The Architectural conception of the space creation depends on historical values of Andriyivskyy Descent, its unique beauty and genuine spirit of the street. The proposed complex is situated on the former territory of the Yunist city block and on the territory of the factory of the same name. Whereas the descent is situated in the city center, the proposed space is a way to the Dnipro riverside. The main building is a landscape-building, which preserves historical surroundings and Zamkova hill silhouette. It becomes like an interaction of the building and landscape.
The territory of Yunist city block is located within walking distance from city center and it also has a good developed transport network. There are three ways to the planned area: from Andriyivskyy descent, Frolivska street and Borychiv Tik street. The main curvilinear building starts from the pedestrian part of Frolivska street and goes through the whole territory and finishes at Andriyivskyy descent. The main curvilinear building is not only cultural space but also recreation space. The building with different functions are also located on this territory, namely café, restaurant and conference room. The open green amphitheatre is situated in the heart of the cultural space. The remainder territory is the pedestrian path and greenery plantations.
The cultural space, as a general function, connects all the buildings of the area. Furthermore, it accumulates a variety of functions: exhibition and exposition halls, place for relaxation and alternative studying, library halls, lounge zone and service room. Each building has an entrance to the street, green amphitheater and other buildings. The whole cultural space is like a labyrinth which combines different functions. Movement in building is provided by ramps, which give the possibility to move from one level to another. Moreover, the dynamic ramps also connect the buildings of the first level and the roof, which are separated from the exhibition zone by the glass walls.
There is a pedestrian path on the roof which provides connectivity with the residential area neighboring street where one may find recreational zone with the places for sitting. The green islets, being the essence of the project, are grown along the path
Plans to Revive Glory of Saughton Park and Gardens
FLAT caps or bowler hats stuck firmly on their heads, jackets buttoned up and stiff collars well starched, Edwardian gents climbed to the top of the towering helter-skelter and, in a few seconds of unbridled pleasure, slid around and around.
They landed on the ground of Saughton Park with a skid, to dust themselves down and, no doubt arm-in-arm with their lady partner, her long skirts swishing through the mud, made their way to ogle the curious dark-skinned Senegalese natives at their mud hut village or, perhaps, to broaden their minds learning about sewage.
If none of that was quite to their taste, there were always the galleries stuffed with the country’s finest art to peruse, the giant water slide to shoot down, or perhaps they could just refuel on a fine vegetarian banquet.
Certainly, there was plenty of choice for visitors to the spectacular 1908 Scottish National Exhibition.
And the time when 3.5 million people in total strolled around purpose-built white stucco pavilions housing the latest technology, innovations, art and beautifully-crafted models – or, for the more adventurous, screeched down the sheer 60ft drop of the water chute or got dizzy on its helter-skelter – are long gone, never to be repeated.
However, plans have now emerged to revive at least some of the glory that once saw Saughton Park and Gardens become the hottest venue in town.
Edinburgh City Council has announced £5.8 million worth of proposals to transform the area into one of the capital’s premier parks, and lodged a £4m bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme to help pay for it.
Grand enough plans. However, they are just a shadow of what Edwardian Edinburgh managed to pull off during a spectacular six months in 1908, when Saughton was a vibrant hub celebrating the best of Scotland, the Empire and good old-fashioned fun.
The scale was phenomenal, the mix of entertainment astonishing. For those were days when splashing out a fortune on providing local people and visitors with an attraction that offered everything from a varied programme of music and dance to a village housing 70 French-Senegalese natives, from an enormous figure-of-eight rollercoaster to replica Irish cottage and even a small farm – all to be torn down just six months later – was simply the done thing.
It began with a plan to repeat the dazzling success of an earlier exhibition at The Meadows in 1886. With the council having just taken over ownership of the sprawling Saughton Hall Estate from a family of merchants, the 43-acre site complete with mansion at its heart, was the ideal location.
“In those days they did things incredibly quickly,” notes David Jamieson, the council’s parks manager, who is compiling a history of the city’s green spaces. “From idea to decision, to starting work – and there must have been thousands of people working on the site – it was done at incredible speed.”
Indeed, within weeks of the council agreeing to lease the land to the exhibition organisers, work had started on what was one of the most ambitious of leisure spectacles.
By the time the Scottish National Exhibition 1908 was opened by Prince Arthur of Connaught, a grandson of Queen Victoria, on May 1 that year, a railway station had been built at the junction of North British Railway’s Corstorphine branch to transport thousands of daily visitors in just six minutes from Waverley Station, and a bridge constructed across the Water of Leith.
Once inside, says David, the scene was a vibrant mixture of industry, art, culture, innovation and sheer fun.
“The figure-of eight-railway alone stood around 60ft high, and the water chute was probably the same,” he explains. “It would have been quite an experience to go down the chute in a boat and hit the water at speed.
“To look at the pictures today, it doesn’t look particularly safe, but there was only one accident the whole time it was open – and that only resulted in a severe soaking.”
Visitors were drawn to the likes of the Palace of Industries, an impressive Arabian-style structure which cost £10,000 to construct and showcased the latest engineering innovations and techniques from around the world. The Machinery Hall, built at a cost of £3000 and taking up an impressive 31,5000sq ft, stuffed with examples of shipping, mining, gas, printing, steam and hydraulics.
But perhaps the most intriguing “exhibitions” of all were the beehive mud huts occupied by 70 French-Senegal natives, no doubt slightly bewildered men, women and children, uprooted from Africa to make the corner of Saughton park their home for six months.
They lived there and in one case died there. For one Senegalese woman, Edinburgh would become her final resting place.
There was even an addition to the tribe, born in one of the huts and subsequently given the quite non-Senegalese name of Scotia Reekie.
Every movement of the tribe’s men, women and children was viewed with curiosity by the exhibition visitors as they demonstrated their skills as goldsmiths, weavers, musicians and dancers to a fascinated public, eventually adding layers to their outfits as summer months turned to autumn.
The village was a must-see for most. But not everyone welcomed the natives with open arms. A letter to The Scotsman, penned by J Stiggins, fumed: “It would appear that we have now encamped in the heart of Christian Scotland a hundred black heathens from French Senegal who are displaying their native industries and their native costumes including the practice of polygamy and the use of heathen religious rites.”
The entire event, however, was a huge success, says David. “There were over 38,500 season tickets sold, which meant it was self-financing and any tickets sold beyond that put it into profit.
“The opening day alone attracted 125,000 people. Visitors came from all over Scotland and the north of England, and photographs show that it was an event that people dressed up to go to – everyone looks very well dressed.
“Every area was taken up with something,” he adds. “The southern end of the park was where the pavilions were and the funfair, the north end was for sport.
“There were exhibitions about industry, horticulture, ‘women’s work’, nature, farming, social issues like housing and care of orphans, health, nursing, craft … everything.”
Indeed, so successful was the 1908 exhibition that when the time came to close in October, some visitors were less than happy. The final celebrations were soured as drunken yobs turned nasty, the ornate bandstand became a battleground of youths pitching chairs and music stands at each other while police waded in with batons drawn.
It was a bitter ending to what had been a roaring success. Soon the pavilions, funfair rides, Sengalese village and restaurants were dismantled.
And Saughton Park’s glorious summer was over.
Park with a colourful past
SAUGHTON Park was originally the site of a house built by Thomas Moodie of Dalry, whose bequest in 1649 led to the construction of Canongate Kirk.
The estate became the property of wealthy Edinburgh merchant Robert Baird, and remained in his family until the early 1900s when it was taken over by the city council.
At one point in the 1820s, Saughton Hall mansion was leased for use as a private asylum and was one of the first places to use horticultural therapy as a means of helping mentally disturbed patients.
During the Second World War it was used for recuperation for members of the Women’s Land Army and its flower beds were turned into vegetable patches.
Edinburgh City Council’s £5.8 million revamp of the park includes a plan to work with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, which would be based at Saughton Gardens. The hope is to run a programme of horticultural volunteering, as well as hosting shows and lectures.
The original bandstand is expected to be rescued from storage and rebuilt, and the 1980s Winter Garden replaced with a glasshouse more in keeping with what might have been a feature of the 1908 exhibition.
It’s hoped a “time team” project can be set up to search for the foundations of Saughton Hall mansion, which was razed to the ground by the council in 1952 after falling into disrepair.