Paris’ Pompidou Centre – 40 years on

“…it is the most stunning new ‘go-to’ to be seen in any city.” Architectural Review, May 1977 Forty years ago, the style and construction of Paris’ Pompidou Centre marked a revolutionary change in the design of public buildings. Loved and loathed in equal numbers by the public and the established order, it’s hard now to…

The art of drawing revealed

Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. Salvador Dali This upcoming exhibition from London’s National Portrait Gallery, The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt – immediately caught my eye.  As an evergreen art student, this took me right back to my Fine Art…

The Pennington Penny

Having worked in PR and marketing for all of my working life, it is rare indeed to discover something that is genuinely new about a hotel, something which even the tourism authorities would not have known about. So imagine my excitement about working on an opening project with the sales team of the newly rebadged…

Big Ben falls silent …

The most famous peal of bells in the world is falling silent this year. That unique sound, created by a cracked bell called Big Ben will go mute whilst much needed restoration takes place. Work is scheduled to take place on The Great Clock within the Queen Elizabeth Tower early this year – part of a…

Anthony Trollope and the post box

Posting a letter the other day, I found myself pondering the concept of the pillar or post box and wondering about its origins. I love a good functional design and the pillar box is perfect for its job – safe, secure, easy to post and to retrieve mail, able to withstand the elements – a design…

The Red Telephone Box – a design classic

When I was growing up, the urban streetscape included many everyday items that are fast vanishing from modern day life – and I never knew I would miss them until they were gone. Take the iconic red telephone box or kiosk. It’s been here since the 1920’s and formed the backdrop to my everyday life…

The Ivy – A Century of Style

  One of London’s most interesting and vibrant restaurants, the venerable Ivy, turns 100 this year. Having undergone a complete re-invention in 2015, who would have thoughts that today’s go-to restaurant for cinematic and theatrical royalty had somewhat humble beginnings. What is now The Ivy started life after the Great War as a simple Italian…

Why is Piccadilly Circus so named?

As the historic lights on Piccadilly Circus go dark this January for the longest amount of time since World War II, I find myself musing on the name Piccadilly Circus and why it became synonymous with advertising hoardings. My first query is easily answered – thanks to Wikipedia. The word Piccadilly was originally linked in 1626…

Why are Guylian chocolates shaped like seashells?

This past Christmas, I gave away packets of Guylian chocolates as little “tree presents” to friends and – for the first time ever – tried a box for myself. Instantly turning into a Guylian fan, I found myself wondering about the origin of the brand and just why their delicious chocolates are shaped into seashells…

Rediscovering Annick Goutal, an old favourite

Annick Goutal fragrances were all the rage when I started working in the hotel industry, blah blah years ago. They were happily everywhere in fact especially in France for this perfume house is “La Belle France” personified. Then they seemed to fade a little from my view to be replaced by globalisation and its ubiquitous amenities. So…