The Business in September

News and pictures from the design sector

Words by Ellen Peirson

BDP takes pride in its diversity
BDP LGBT +, formed to champion diversity within the practice and wider industry, held a unique industry event at BDP’s London office in July. In celebration of Pride Month, it hosted Pride Glitterball, in association with RIBA’s Architecture LGBT+, IALD and Zumtobel.

Bringing together the leaders in lighting design, architecture, choreography and art, BDP’s first Glitterball celebrated the diversity within its company. This is nurtured through a network of representatives acting as a point of contact for employees needing to discuss any LGBT issues, as well as ambassadors promoting diversity and inclusivity within the industry.

The event featured radical and captivating films and installations from an eclectic group of contributors including lighting artists Marcus Lyall (with two excerpts from the Chemical Brothers’ stage set), Wolfgang Buttress, Aleksandra Stratimirovic and Haberdashery; lighting designers and Illumination Works; and pH+ Architects, Zaha Hadid Architects, Make and Jamie Fobert.

Stealing the show was House of Burlesque (main image) – with a mesmerising show of light, movement and provocation, with dancers Tempest Rose, Gracie Dasgrace, Bootsy Bonafonte and Storm Hooper. Set in front of a cinematic visual, the performance, titled Tron, gave new meaning to the possibilities lighting design affords.

Walk this way

Charles Holland Architects has won a design competition to improve the public realm and wayfinding outside London Bridge station. You Are Here transforms the overlooked and ineffectual Tooley Street Triangle into an animated page of the London A-Z. The pavement becomes a scale map of the surrounding area, noting street names and major landmarks, and also featuring oversized signposts with directions. This is illustrated in the notable, playful style of the practice, using vibrant colours to draw attention and transform the Tooley Street Triangle into a much-loved landmark, away from its reputation as an inanimate traffic island. Subject to planning consent, You Are Here will be installed in 2019.

Lighting the Satyr

Image Credit: Satiro Danzante

The Museum of the Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo has been given a new intelligent lighting system for its namesake piece, the bronze statue dating from between the fourth and second centuries BC. iGuzzini has illuminated the statue with a flexible system to elevate the already remarkable visitor experience. The low-energy scheme extends the experience to visually impaired visitors, working in conjunction with the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted (UICI) to open the work up to wider interpretations and audiences.

Lights, camera, action for Ireland’s west Coast

Image Credit: Ed Reeve

In the centre of Galway’s Latin Quarter, architecture practice dePaor has moulded the city a Picture Palace out of concrete. Sitting behind a Georgian terrace, the structure rises above a preserved facade, forming a monument to the city’s thriving film scene, regularly hosting festivals such as July’s Galway Film Fleadh.

Set into the solid concrete form is 24 resin-coated glass windows. Donated by local artist Patrick Scott, they are reminiscent of the gel filters used in stage lighting. In the day, they project into the building and the array of colours dance around the spaces; at night, they throw their colours out into the city, providing a theatrical show of their own.

dePaor was inspired by traditional 20th-century cinemas, incorporating dramatic red velvet curtains, theatrical lighting and plush seating associated with the big screen. ‘I wanted to make the sort of plain, powerful building well-known to this side of Ireland, and then to sweeten the pill with beautiful, decorative elements,’ said architect Tom dePaor of the County Wicklow practice dePaor.

Flying high

Image Credit: Photo by Gareth Gardner

On the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force, MET Studio has designed the commemorative exhibition RAF Stories: The First 100 Years 1918–2018. The immersive experience tells the story of the RAF through lived experiences and human perspectives. Calling on the stories of those who have contributed to the RAF, these tales are interspersed between the RAF Museum’s unique collections of objects, such as logbooks, hidden maps, survival rations, aircraft, vehicles and boats. The exhibition at the museum’s London site is divided into six themes: Meet the RAF, Attack, Defend, Prepare, Support and 100-year timeline.

Saumarez to leave RA
After 11 years as secretary and chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, Charles Saumarez Smith is to step down from his role. Saumarez Smith has seen the RA through one of its most successful periods, following the major redevelopment in its 250th year. He will leave the RA at the end of the year to take up a new role as senior director at international gallery BlainlSouthern. Saumarez Smith said: ‘There is never a good time to announce one’s departure, but I wanted to leave at a time of obvious strength and success.’

New book
Decorator and author Penny Drue Baird is due to publish On Interior Design, offering an insightful study of the fundamentals of contemporary interior design. In it Drue Baird proposes that successful interior design must be layered – tiers of colour, texture, pattern and embellishment create comfortable, personal rooms with intrigue. The thoughts are illustrated with images of her own work, divulging her experience after some 30 years in the industry. It is due out next month.

New man for Wilkinson
Clive Wilkinson Architects has appointed Bertram Beissel von Gymnich as associate principal. From Ateliers Jean Nouvel he brings with him nearly 30 years of experience in large projects across Europe, Australia and the USA. He will be leading the practice’s expansion into ground-up building design and construction.

Winners announcement
Architect John McAslan, broadcaster Jon Snow and London deputy mayor James Murray will announce the winners of the Hidden Homeless competition on 28 September, launched in a bid to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing forcing young people on to the streets in London. More than 300,000 young people – the Hidden Homeless – are now in need of temporary shelters or hostels in Britain, with half of these in London. The design ideas’ competition asked for radical ideas to relieve the capital’s housing crisis. The jury will identify three winners, with an additional nine being invited to exhibit their proposals in a public exhibition at John McAslan + Partners’ offices, where the winning scheme announcement will be made.

Embassy into hotel
Taking on the role of executive architect, ReardonSmith will be working with design architect David Chipperfield to see his plans to transform the former American Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square into a hotel for Rosewood. ReardonSmith will now lead the project through to completion to provide 137 guest rooms and suites, five gourmet restaurants, six flagship retail outlets, a signature spa and a grand ballroom.

Water way to go
Apple has opened Milan’s newest public square: Apple Piazza Liberty, designed in partnership by Foster + Partners and Apple. Just off the popular Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the view of a theatrical new fountain is expected to draw people down to the piazza via a stepped plaza. The water feature can be entered through a glass-covered walkway, creating an immersive, multisensory experience in an effort to emulate the childlike joy of running through fountains.

VitrA for designjunction
VitrA will, for the first time, participate in designjunction, an annual exhibition of contemporary design at the London Design Festival. It will be the first bathroom brand to participate in the show. It will take the opportunity to launch its new Plural collection, by Milan-based designer Terri Pecora and VitrA’s in-house design team. Plural takes its inspiration from the traditional bathing space as a social hub – making the space a versatile living area.

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