Art, Architecture, Design & Travel

London Design Festival Visit

Day I; 15th September

The British Airways flight was on time and we reached Heathrow, London at 3pm from where we took a taxi to reach our hotel at Ibis, Earl’s Court by 5pm. After a brief rest we set out towards Tower Bridge area. We took the tube from West Brompton station which was a 4 minute walk from our hotel and took the metro to Tower Hill. Today we visited ‘The Gherkin’, an commercial building designed by Architect by Sir Norman Foster. The building looked awesome by night light and we walked around the area soaking in the atmosphere and looking up at the modern architectural marvels in the vicinity.

We could see ‘The Shard’, from a distance and walked towards it. It is the other prominent commercial building in the area which was designed by Italian Architect Renzo Piano . It is also the tallest building in the European union and the sixth tallest building in Europe. The Architectural style of ‘The Shard’ ( meaning a piece of glass) is called ‘Neo-futurism’.

We reached the Tower Bridge by following the Google maps [which is by the way very confusing and we really had a tough time] and enjoyed the beautiful sights walking besides  River Thames and listening to the laughter and chirping of other walkers and visitors.

The tower bridge was beautifully lit up and all the tall buildings alongside the Thames were lit up too. We enjoyed the sights and thereafter went back to our hotel.

Day II:16th September: 

Today it was cloudy and a bit of chill was there in the air. We had reached around 10.30am at the Imperial wharf station from West Brompton as it was a convenient to take the Tube which was just a 4 minute walk from the hotel. 

The morning near the Chelsea Harbour area required a thin rain cum wind jacket. Inside the Design Centre was however comfortable and did not require any jacket. It was a truly amazing show at Focus 2019.

The Design centre was teeming with visitors, both trade and consumer. We were registered and given our badges. We wandered from dome to dome with 4 floors at each dome ( North, South , Centre and East) and each floor with multiple studio cum shops which flaunted awesome products. It took us 6 hours to see the place but still a few studios were left. If we want to really check out each studio it would take 2 days. We also attended a few talk-shows and workshops and interacted with the designers and their teams. [We plan to go one more day later.]

The London Interior Show at Chelsea Harbour Hotel (which was located just at the back of The Design Centre) was somewhat of a disappointment. It was a small show of mostly home furnishings. The TOIDX show at Taj Palace Delhi was so much more awesome!

The night air was cold and a thin sweater and a light jacket was required.
Reminder to self :- bring better walking shoes next time.
Overall it was an awesome day.

Day III- 17th September:

It is a sunny day today with a mild chill in the air.Today we took the bus (430) towards South Kensington for the Science Museum and V&A ( Victoria & Albert) museum. The red double-decker London bus has entered popular culture as an internationally-recognised icon of England and it was a beautiful ride to our destination. [ The London Buses network and its branded services, the Red Arrow and East London Transit systems are managed by TfL through its arms-length subsidiary company, London Buses Ltd. As a result of the Privatisation of London bus services in the mid-1990s, bus operations in London are put out to competitive tendering and routes are operated by a number of private companies]

We walked from the South Kensington Stop/ Station towards the Science Museum . On the way we crossed the 'Brompton Design District' and visited the participating outlets of the London Design Festival.

We reached the Museum around 11 and after a look at the 'American Oak' installations outside the science museum, which was also a part of the London Design Festival. As we were hungry and did not have breakfast yet, we sat for a breakfast to start with. The Dates and banana yogurt which was very fluffy in texture, butter croissants, brownies chips and coffee made us ready to check out the Museum .( a ‘Night at the Museum’ event was going on which I was very tempted with and would have loved to attend , but…)

The Science Museum was overwhelming with so much to offer. As a Designer, I was mainly interested in ‘The Challenge Of Materials’ on the 2nd floor and the ‘Interior Architecture’ of the Mathematics Gallery by Zaha Hadid on the 3rd Floor. The various products made of various materials were on dislay. I loved the awesome spread of glass products and also the explainations of the life-cycle of a product from Raw-materials to the finished goods.

The Design of the Mathematics gallery was really beautiful and was fully a reflection of Zaha Hadid Designs with flowing curvy lines. The mathematics gallery was interesting too in terms of imparted knowledge regarding mathematics of various subjects.

After a brief exploration of the Space Gallery we started for the V&A museum just opposite to Science Museum at around 1pm. 

We wanted to take the 2pm tour of LDF19 installations at the museum and we took a look around the place before the start of the tour from the main entrance. (We did a bit of shopping from the V&A shop)
(Resting a bit now as I complete the diary before the start of the #ldf tour) 
3.45pm- tour done.. it was hectic.. but good, it would have been difficult to find the installations by ourselves. Our tour guides explained everything in detail and in an interesting manner. The tour guides of the museum are Volunteers and they were volunteering for the #LDF19 Tour too. We left the V&A museum with happy memories and a decision to come back in my next trip(hopefully) to London.
[The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A) in London is the world's largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. ]The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. As with other national British museums, entrance is free.

4-30: sitting at Le Pain Quotidien restaurant eating smoked salmon and sippng rose wine . 

Took the South Kensington metro to Bond Street and landed at Oxford- South Molton street and had a look at the beautiful Walala Camille lounge and street furniture. The whole South MOlton road was lined with exotically designed seating furniture by Camille Walala, a French Artist-Designer. 

Day IV 18th September 2019:

We took the Royal Day Out Tour Of Buckingham Palace. The highlight was ‘Leonardo Da Vinci, A Life Of Drawings’ from his practice notebooks. Leonardo was a student of life and studied Science ( Maths, Biology, Technology ) and Art ( Design, Architecture, Fine Arts) equally well. As a Science and Design student I had been an ardent admirer of Leonardo Da Vinci and it was really exciting to see his draft notebooks which led to original famous masterpieces.

Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the exhibition brings together more than 200 of the Renaissance master's greatest drawings in the Royal Collection, forming the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in over 65 years.

Drawing served as Leonardo's laboratory, allowing him to work out his ideas on paper and search for the universal laws that he believed underpinned all of creation. The drawings by Leonardo in the Royal Collection have been together as a group since the artist's death in 1519. Acquired during the reign of Charles II, they provide an unparalleled insight into the workings of Leonardo's mind and reflect the full range of his interests, including painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

After the Queen’s gallery we visited the Royal Mews and saw the horses, the exotic carriages (buggies) and cars of the Royal Family. The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace is responsible for all the road travel arrangements for The Queen and members of the Royal Family.

Next was a 2 hour walk through the staterooms which was truly amazing.

The walk to the exit was through the  gardens which was more of a semi-jungle, the usual English style garden . We had ice-cream on the way sitting on a garden bench which was being made in the Royal bakery and sold.

We took back the tube from Victoria station after having food from the food terrace at the Victoria station. It is a good idea to take the metro / bus as you can visit any Design Festival Installations on the route and inside the stations too.

#victoriaspalace @royalcollectiontrust

Day V, 20th September:

Today we planned to visit the Design Exhibition ‘100%Design’ . We pre-registered the night before as Trade Visitors , got our tickets printed at the hotel reception and we took the tube from West Brompton To Olympia.The train dropped us  just in front of Olympia exhibition centre  at 10.30am .

100% Design was one of the stand out trade shows during London Design Festival and provided us with the perfect opportunity to visit and checkout latest trends and products of international exhibitiors (architects and designers). The area was vast and we looked around till 2.15 interacting with the Designers, checking out products and appreciating the new emerging trends.

After a small lunch in the exhibition hall , we walked to St Barnabas Church bus stand to catch Line 49 bus to Kensington Palace.(2.40pm) . Such walks to through the city gives you an insight to the various experiences that the area has to offer and I love to look around while walking and soaking in the local atmosphere of the place.

Kensington Palace in London is a working Royal residence. Of great historical importance, Kensington Palace was the favourite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760. It was also the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was born and brought up in the Palace and news of her accession in 1837 was brought to her there by the Lord Chamberlain and the Archbishop of Canterbury; however Victoria chose to reign from Buckingham Palace.

We reached Kensington Palace around 3pm and took the tour of the staterooms and other things on display. (£23.50) : sitting at cafe now at 5.15pm drinking tea and eating biskut ( no raspberry ripple icecream for me - can’t have- caught cold yesterday ). We walked outside through the Kensington Gardens after clicking some pictures of the lake and the ducks and the garden views.

Our next destination was Harrods to check out the Decor section and we took the transport from Royal Albert Hall stop to Knightsbridge . The Harrods visit was as usual a good experience and we browsed through the new and trendy decor collection.

Day VI, 20th September

Design Junction Visit: booked tickets as Trade visitors: found 50% promocodes on net DJ100 
Took the Tube from West Brompton to Earl’s Court and from there from platform 5 ( not 9 3/4 ) to Kings Cross. 11.15am

Walking Towards Coal Drops Yard, the venue of the Exhibition through King’s Cross Design District - it was a good decision to come here as the whole Kings Cross Design District could be visited apart from Design Junction. 

Visited Samsung lounge(must visit otherwise too) .. its a different kind of experience, superb. One LDF19 installation was here too(the colourful sofas) by Idiosincrato, Martino Gamper , Disco Carbonara (carbonara name came from coal drop yard). (Check Alpi wood image) The retail therapy at kings cross is a must visit .

Reached Design Junction main hall and entered with the ticket. It was a much smaller exhibition than 100%Design but the products were really offbeat. 

Kings Cross District is otherwise an exciting design district and the Junction can be given a miss by students as it has a £15 ticket

1.50pm now and we are starved.. had an exotic lunch of white onion soup and duck roast salad while partner had the usual but yummy fish and chips meal. Plan is to roam around some more and go to Oxford street for shopping by 4pm.

On way down to the station saw the ‘Rado Young Designers Awards’ products displayed along the path to station. The products designed by the young designers were really innovative and it was obvious that they had been taught good 'Design Thinking' skills.

Took Victoria Line to Oxford Circus stop. 

Shopping and coffeeing done. Back on the exotic red double decker number 74 to West Brompton (Empire State Building) .

Day VII  - 21September
Visit To St Paul’s Cathedral:
To take tube from West Brompton to Mansion House ( be careful and don’t get on the South Kensington branch) : Check the train going towards Upminster. 

St. Paul's Cathedral has had an eventful history. Five different churches were built at this site.
In 1665 Christopher Wren designed a plan for the renovation of the St. Paul's Cathedral, which was starting to fall into decay. But disaster struck again on the night of September 2, 1666, when the Great Fire of London destroyed four fifth of all of London, wiping 13,200 houses and 89 churches, including the St. Paul's Cathedral off the map. In 1669, three years after the fire, Christopher Wren was appointed 'Surveyor of Works' and was tasked with the construction of a new church to replace the destroyed Gothic cathedral.

The Baroque Interior is just as imposing as the exterior of the church. The mosaics on the ceiling were added in 1890 by William Richmond after Queen Victoria complained that there was not enough color in the cathedral. The baldachin above the altar was rebuilt in 1958 after it was damaged by bombardments during World War II. The design is based on a sketch created by Wren. The only monument in the church that survived the fire of 1666 is the tomb of John Donne, from 1631.

Several famous people are entombed in the cathedral's crypt. Most notable are the tomb of the Duke of Wellington - who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo - and the tomb of Admiral Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar. There is also a tomb of Christopher Wren himself and a number of important artists are buried here as well.

St Paul’s visited - towards Portobello Market now via St. Paul Stn To Notting Hill .(2pm)

Awesome market, must visit !! A must must visit, the Portobello Road is the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible. Visitors flock from all over the world to discover one of London’s best loved landmarks which contains the most extensive selection of antiques in Britain.

It is Saturday today so there is a special Flea market stretched out. Portobello is really several markets in one, Saturday being the day when all are in full swing. Then you can experience a mile of hustle, haggle, colour and energy. The feature of Saturdays is the opening of hundreds of antique and specialist shops and stalls. There are some talented and bizarre street performers to be spotted too.( We spotted the Drummers J )

Day VIII ; 22nd September
Back to Delhi.. Plane got late by an hour as there was some technical issue with the wing lights. From entering the terminal (5) to the plane is a long walk through 2 elevators, a train and then 2 elevators and another elevator after boarding and a long walk through the arm leading to the plane.( The exotic shops at duty free slows you down too J )


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