Circle

Light Show

A visit to the Light Show at the Hayward last week was fascinating with interesting pieces that were clever, inspiring and thought provoking.

My favourite was Chromosaturation by Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. A three part room where the environment changed from blue to red and then green as you walked around it, immersing you in a completely monochrome, intense colour that was a vivid contrast to the neighbouring space. Not only extremely intense on your eyes, your skin visually changed as it absorbed the light. Influencing how you felt, your mood reflecting each space. The red a sunburst glow made you feel warm and happy, the calming coolness of the blue was relaxing and the green was more serious and sterile. I think I have could happily remained in the red zone with a healthy glow!

Another highlight was the beautiful Model for a Timeless Garden by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. He is the artist who created the infamous Weather Project at Tate Modern back in 2003 and his art often gives rise to optically disorientating objects. Here he effectively uses intense strobe lighting to illuminate water at a specific frequency, so that the cascades of liquid from each fountain are visually reduced to appear as 'frozen' crystal droplet sculptures. This ever-changing crystal like landscape is a totally captivating, disorientating and magical experience.

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New scheme for Total

Total are using this scheme for their Jordanian operation. The scheme is called the 'T-Air' image.

Its the lo-cost retail scheme designed to compete with hypermarkets in France but it looks like a more progressive look and feel for new markets like Jordan.

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An alpine modernist gem

A recent ski trip to the French Alps revealed an unexpected architectural delight. Flaine hidden high up 2,500 meters above sea level and about 10k from Mont Blanc was my base for a wonderful week of skiing and inspirational art and design. The ski resort was the brainchild of a highly successful French industrialist Eric Boissonnas keen skier and supporter of the arts who had amassed a sizeable fortune, he decided to combine his two great passions and construct his mountain resort.

The site was discovered in 1959 by the geophysicist Eric Boissonnas and the Swiss architect Gérard Chervaz, who went on to succeed in their bid to create a fine example of urban development, architecture and design. He brought together a host of leading artists and designers to create Flaine’s remarkable works of art, the architectural master planning and keynote buildings designed by Marcel Breuer the Bauhaus master designer and architect who had been residing in America since the second world war.

The Flaine masterplan encompasses multi occupancy apartment buildings and associated urban spaces, shops, galleries, amenities, concert hall. Gems amongst this wide array are Le Flaine Hotel now listed as a French Historical Monument and the small slate hung Ecumenical Chapel all by Breuer.

The buildings are mainly stark snow capped modernist concrete structures that glimmer against the bright blue alpine sky and snow capped crags that surround Flaine. The buildings elevations are often modeled into a Mondrian(esque) pattern by the integration of dark metal and timber balconies and projections that create rhythm and a kind of architectural tapestry. Particularly noteworthy are the window openings that allow deep recesses and sleek angled shadows.

There are many smaller architectural gems within the overall development two that stand out are the orange pod funicular lift that links Flaine Forum with Flaine Foret, a kinetic splash of colour. And secondly the wonderfully inventive fireplaces that create hubs within open plan communal spaces. For anyone looking to combine modernist architectural interest with a skiing holiday Flaine is the perfect location.

*Image source: Harry Wilson, Flickr

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Sam Scorer

I recently came across the work of a little known english architect Sam Scorer who practiced in the 1950-60s. His practise, Denis Clarke Hall, Scorer and Bright and Partners, based in Lincoln undertook a number of County Council commissions designing schools and other public buildings in the East Midlands.

Scorer became interested in Hyperbolic paraboloid structures and in 1962 he designed the St John the Baptist church in Ermine, Lincoln. Its aluminium roof is the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid, and the building has a hexagonal floor plan and concrete walls allowing a completely column free interior.

Scorer used the same structural principle for a petrol station at Markham Moor on the south-bound A1/A57 near Retford in the late 1950s. The station in 1989 became a Little Chef but is now disused although the canopy was designated Grade II listed on 27 March 2012. Looking at the beautiful and dynamic lines of the canopy is a reminder of what is possible for roadside architecture and sadly how bland service stations have become.

Robert Onion, Chairman

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I recently came across the work of a little known english architect Sam Scorer who practiced in the 1950-60s . His practise, Denis Clarke Hall, Scorer and Bright and Partners, based in Lincoln undertook a number of County Council commissions designing schools and other public buildings in the East Midlands:

Scorer became interested in Hyperbolic paraboloid structures and in 1962 he designed the St John the Baptist church in Ermine, Lincoln. Its aluminium roof is the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid, and the building has a hexagonal floor plan and concrete walls allowing a completely column free interior.

Scorer used the same structural principle for a petrol station at Markham Moor on the south-bound A1/A57 near Retford in the late 1950s. The station in 1989 became a Little Chef but is now disused although the canopy was designated Grade II listed on 27 March 2012. Looking at the beautiful and dynamic lines of the canopy is a reminder of what is possible for roadside architecture and sadly how bland service stations have become.

Robert Onion, Chairman

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