I returned last night from two weeks in London and am at my desk early this morning jet-lagged and design-lagged. Every time I go to London I realize what a sleepy town San Francisco is…we think we are cutting edge here…and cool…but the truth is, aside from the overwhelming number of techies and hipsters, we don’t have a clue. The truly “smart” in London know that “hipsterism” is passé. But I digress.
In Bloomsbury, Spitalfields, Mayfair and Marleybone the signs of a Euro Melting Pot design sensibility are everywhere. We happened to land in London the week of the PAD – Pavilion of Art and Design – Fair, and there in Berkeley Square were amazing pieces in furniture, lighting, sculpture and fine art from as far Brussels, Paris, New York, Milan, Beirut, Zurich, Barcelona, Stockholm and Cologne etc. But the Serge Mouille pieces in all their glory could not hold a candle to the Tom Dixon selection down the street at Conran’s in the old Michelin Building.
Floor Lamp as Art
In fact Tom Dixon – famous for his spare, blackened, hammered brass lighting – was all over London. From Conran’s we stopped in at Old Bond Street to pick up my daughter from her part time job at Joseph, and while I stood caressing the reception desk of riveted aircraft aluminum, the sales associate informed me that Dixon had done the entire store, light fixtures to flooring. Amazing.
Beat Lighting Pendants by Tom Dixon
Down Regent Street, fall was in full swing; windows brimming with taxidermy and pumpkins. What pair of hunting brogues doesn’t look sportier next to a stuffed Badger? Where would a Glen Plaid blanket be shown to more elegant effect than next to a pert fox and leaping rabbit – all dead – but so cozy!
Nothing says cozy like a stuffed badger
Baby George was christened Wednesday, and in design obsessed London the bookies took odds on what color the queen would wear and whether or not her hat would be a Philip Treacy number adorned with pheasant feathers. Kate’s unconventional choice of celebrity photographer, Jason Bell – famous for his chic work in Vanity Fair – had the London press in titters.
When I saw the hedges at Kensington Palace trimmed into teapots and brioches, I had an epiphany….the Brits simply cannot pass up any opportunity to “design.”
Frankly, all that design was a little daunting…I went to London on vacation and filled an entire Moleskin with notes for Boyd Lighting.