Saturday, 17 December 2011

Architecture - The MIMA Pre-fabricated House

If you have to have a pre-fab, and you think they stand for shoddy design and workmanship, think again.

This pre-fabricated house from Portuguese architects MIMA looks great, and it's modular interior with removable walls and exterior windows means few units will feel the same.  I love it, more details here.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Stephen Taylor Paintings

I came across these paintings by Stephen Taylor on the Guardian website:

Ultra-realist paintings usually appeal to me because the talent required to compose a scene and execute it in paint is only to be admired.  The artist specialised in painting one particular tree in it's different guises over a series of years, and I think the results are wonderful, particularly the final image displayed here entitled 'Swallows at 11am'.

More on Stephen Taylor and his work can be found here.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Architecture - The Suitcase House

I'm loving the simple structure and interior design of this 'Suitcase House', part of a commune in north east China.  It is completely at home in it's immediate environment, which looks stunning by the way.

The quirky, lift up cupboards, seating areas and bathrooms are fun but entirely functional (at least in a culture that traditionally has less furniture and clutter than the West).

Not sure about the website, but it seems you can book to stay here.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Architecture - The Cloud

I'm not a fan of cities, or the monumental skyscrapers built in their centres.  To me they're a necessary evil, and often they're built to look pretty in isolation to the detriment of their immediate environment.  However, every now and then a project comes along which makes me look at them in a new light.  This is one such project: The Cloud, in Seoul:

Luxury apartments with significant public space at the levels where the two towers are linked, these buildings remind me how good architecture can be, when it's done well.  Find out more here.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Book of the week - A Month In The Country, J.L.Carr

This has to be one of my all time favourites, and I must have read it four or five times over the years.

Very simply written, in a spartan prose style, the storyline is about that most haunting of themes, unfulfilled love.  It's a slim novel, and one I'll definitely return to.

You can buy it here.  

Oh, and it was made into a rather lovely film too.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Glass Tea Pot

I've had enough of tea bags, at least for my mid-evening cuppa.  So I'm going to spoil myself and get one of these from Jing for Christmas:

And of course, to accompany it some lovely loose tea.  How could anyone turn down the offer of a cup of Earl Grey when it looks as good as these tea leaves, also from Jing, do?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Poetry corner - Camomile Tea, Katherine Mansfield

Outside the sky is light with stars;
There's a hollow roaring from the sea.
And, alas! for the little almond flowers,
The wind is shaking the almond tree.

How little I thought, a year ago,
In the horrible cottage upon the Lee
That he and I should be sitting so
And sipping a cup of camomile tea.

Light as feathers the witches fly,
The horn of the moon is plain to see;
By a firefly under a jonquil flower
A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.

We might be fifty, we might be five,
So snug, so compact, so wise are we!
Under the kitchen-table leg
My knee is pressing against his knee.

Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,
The tap is dripping peacefully;
The saucepan shadows on the wall
Are black and round and plain to see.

I found this wonderful poem here.  I really like the world it conjures up, and the way in manages to turn the mundane into some mysterious, something meaningful.