Archive for June, 2010

Tiffany & Co. Foundation & The Royal Parks Foundation launch major fountain restoration programme in London’s Royal Parks

This morning, in glorious sunshine we attended the launch of this great initiative “Tiffany – Across the Water”.   A gift of $1.25M to the Royal Parks Foundation to make improvements to drinking fountains and the creation of a stunning new fountain in James’ Park and the restoration of The Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation.

Boris Johnson bounded in to launch the US/UK initiative and announced an open international competition, in partnership with RIBA, the challenge is to create a well-designed drinking fountain to replace the older Parks’ fountains which cannot be restored (bear in mind many of these were installed in Victorian or Edwardian times).   The winning designer will see their work turned into reality in the Parks, with the hope that the design will eventually be adopted in other green spaces around the world.

The significant part of ‘Tiffany – Across the Water’ will also be to create a stunning “‘Tiffany & Co. Foundation Fountain” comprising a 20 foot plume, against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace and Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade.   On a sustainable consideration, the aeration provided by this fountain will benefit many of the species of wildlife dependent on the fresh water of the lake.

The work in the Italian Gardens will comprise major restoration work to the five small fountains and the monumental Tazza Fountain.   A new eco-friendly water system will be installed to benefit the Long Water and encourage wildlife to flourish.

Incongrous as it was for the time of day, dancing was given by the Dance Al Fresco team and Kele Baker, with a display of the Slow Waltz, The Argentine Tango and the Jive.

The competition is open internationally to all design disciplines, including architects, engineers, product designers, artists etc. Designs will be judged against the following criteria: aesthetics of the design, robustness for quality of life in a public park, ease of maintenance and installation, sustainability and impact on the environment and affordability. Those interested should see www.royalparksfoundation.org/fountains. To enter competition go to www.architecture.com/competitions to register or riba.competitions@inst.riba.org.

And with that Boris bounded out.

And just in case you didn’t know, the Royal Parks comprise: Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park, The Green Park, The Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park.

And finally, did you know The Green Park is called such because Charles II picked flowers there to give to a beautiful lady who wasn’t his wife. In a fit of pique Queen Charlotte had all the flowers, flower beds and shrubberies removed leaving nothing but green grass and trees!   (Still it makes a change from slashing suits).

Pensioners reviewed by HRH The Duke of Gloucester

On another bright and glorious summer’s day in London, HRH The Duke of Gloucester inspected the Chelsea Pensioners who marched past resplendent in their red and black uniform, buttons and boots gleaming and shining. For the 300 soldiers this is the highlight of the year – a known fact that living there, increases life span by about a further ten years, such is the congeniality of the environment.

In addition to the March past, the Duke of Gloucester was also there to open the first of the modern study bedrooms the soldiers will live in. Until now, accommodation has been windowless, nine foot square ‘berths’.  With new accommodation perhaps their life span might increase to 15 years longer than their counter parts in ‘civvie’ land?!  (Photos by kind courtesy of Lawson Dodd)


Nibbling Fish in Kensington

Kensington is full of health and beauty places, but one has appeared which is totally different – so different its the only one of its type in the UK (although they are well known across the Far East, and originated in Turkey).

Aqua Sheko is a foot spa with a difference.  This is where nibbling fish provide you with a pedicure – by nibbling!   Undeniably it’s a weird feeling which can be described in various manners; mild electric shocks, pins and needles or just plain ticklish.  Sitting up high on a throne with your feet thrust in a fish tank, around 100 small black fish, will nibble away at the dead skin on the souls of your feet leaving them soft and healthy.

For the month of June this treatment is £35.00 for a 45 minute session which includes the washing of the feet (for the sake of the fish), 30 minutes of nibbling, finished with 15 minutes reflexology. The price will increase on July 1st to £45.00.  Aqua Sheko, 14 Holland Street, London W8  Telephone to book: 020 3489 8336

This is undeniably a novel way of having a pedicure!