www.paydaybur.co.uk

Archive for the ‘VIP’ Category

The Design Museum: The Final Journey – From Commonwealth Institute to the completion of a Vision

These entries have been taken from past entries in our Blog – A diary of progress: from the final days of the Commonwealth Institute, the development of the Design Museum, and its opening in November 2017:

To start at the beginning (September 2011):  As part of Open London Weekend, the Commonwealth Institute opened its doors to the public for the very last time, before works start on the new Design Museum.  This was a tremendous opportunity for people who love architecture or photographic architecture to take advantage of the tour provided.

The Design Museum will be moving to the former Commonwealth Institute in 2014. The building has, sadly, been empty for over 10 years, but during the tours it was evident many had been before, some in their school days and those who could remember their first impressions of ‘seeing other cultures’ being exposed to anthropology for the very first time.  Apparently it was quite ahead of its time, with plenty of activities to involve school children and generate their love and understanding of our commonwealth cousins.  And not least to mention the glass clad walls, which was considered innovative in the 1960s and is still used now in many modern buildings.

The internal remodelling of the building will be carried out by John Pawson Architects. The new Design Museum is expected to welcome half a million visitors to its exhibitions every year, offer 60,000 learning opportunities and display the museum’s important collection of twentieth and twenty-first century design. Design studios and workshops, a library, restaurant, cafe and auditorium will be housed in a beautiful, state of the art building underneath the stately curves of the original 1962 copper and concrete roof.

Originally the Commonwealth Institute housed an exhibition celebrating the fifty four nations of the Commonwealth. It was an undisputed icon of British post-war architecture. The radial deisgn inside extends out from a marble circular platform which stands at the centre of the square building’s diameter and at the exact mid – point of its height. On entering the building the visitor arrives on the platform, at the central point of a huge spatial volume – a powerful first impression. This platform situates the spectator not only at the centre of the Exhibition Hall but at the symbolic centre of the world of the Commonwealth. From here the visitor could ‘travel’ the staircases to visit the many different countries represented here. The most striking feature of the Exhibition Hall is the complex hyperbolic paraboloid roof. Its copper cladding was designed to mellow in harmony with the greens of Holland Park. Its tent like exterior lines complement the park’s soft treelines. Building materials donated by Commonwealth countries augmented the tiny budget for design and construction. Zambia donated 25 tonnes of copper from its mines. Unfortunately, this arrived in the form of copper ore and had to be processed before it could be applied to the roof. Much of the hardwood used in the flooring and other applications also come from Commonwealth donors.

The building was designed by the distinquished practice of Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall and Partners. James Gardner was the exhibition designer – he had been the principal designer to the Festival of Britain an his work on the Commonwealth Institute revived and impr9oved on may of the innovations he had developed there. Dame Sylvia Crower designed the landscaped gardens. Lord Cunliffe was the original project architect and has consulted on initial plans for the Exhibition Hall’s remodelling into the new Design Museum. Construction began at the end of 1960. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the buildings in November 1962. Its construction cost £440,000. The Exhibition Hall was listed Grade II* in 1988. Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. The Exhibition Hall’s place in the social history of Britain and its ‘swept’ roof define its listed status. It has been described as the outstanding British examples of hyperbolic paraboloid roof and as one of the most carefully thought out experiments in post-war English architecture. The works are due to begin on site in early 2012 and will be completed in 2014. The magnificent concrete and copper roof of the Exhibition Hall will be preserved. A central viewing platform will offer visitors views of the interior roof span.
From ‘Open House London: Design Museum’ promotional flyer

This blog originally appeared on 19th September 2012:  Sir Terence Conran celebrates the ‘Ground Breaking’ at the Former Commonwealth Institute.

80 year old Sir Terence Conran made no bones about the fact this was one of the best days of his life.  Having started the Design Museum in the ‘boiler room’ at the V&A and then moved to the premises in Shad Thames, the Design Museum (the new Kensington one) is destined for great things once it is esconced at the former site of the Commonwealth Institute.  Rather wonderfully for just as the Commonwealth Institute represented cultures from around the world, so too does the inspiration that Sir Terence holds for the future of design – that the Government should do all it can to encourage designers, entrepreuners and engineers and become a world renowned hub for design.  He praised many stakeholders, Chelsfield, large and small charitable organisations who had made this possible (since they don’t receive Government funding) and the confidence he had in the team of builders from Mace.  He spoke fondly of the parabola roof, the only one of its kind in the world, and hoped that the well known flag poles at the forecourt would remain there.

The occasion was to celebrate the ‘ground breaking’ and to plant a time capsule to be opened in 2112.  Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Architecture spoke, as did Deyan Sudjic (Director of the Design Museum) and Luqman Arnold (Chair of the Trustees) and the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Christopher Buckmaster.  However, on this beautiful sunny morning in Kensington, with the clear blue sky, the red crane, the high viz jackets and white helmets, it was the charming but somewhat frail Sir Terence who quietly stole the show.

 

Fast Forward to 17th November 2016:  The residents of Kensington have been watching the development of Holland Green (shiny lego-brick style residential development) and the Design Museum with interest.  First came the shop – beautifully small, but as it transpired, augmented by the larger store in the Museum situated on the ground floor of Holland Green.  Then on 17th the worlds press were invited to attend a photocall with Deyan Sudjic, Terence Conran, John Pawson, and Luqman Arnold with the multicoloured backdrop of ‘Designer Maker User’.   The architecture is wonderful; the roof structure having been left mainly in-situ from its Commonwealth Institute days, and the original marble flooring has been cleaned up and provides a panel for the main back wall.  The only sadness is that the star shaped design  which used to be on the centre of the original floor was not deemed by English Heritage to be of significant historical interest, so that was not saved.  The original copper parabola roof has been kept and can be viewed from Kensington High St. and Holland Park. Judging by the amount of interest world-wide the Design Museum is set to be a world class masterpiece of design, in its own right.

22nd November 2017  The Launch Party:  Attended by at last 1200 guests and hosted by Deyan, Terence and Alexandra Schulman – this was the party of all parties.   The champagne flowed, the atmosphere tremendous, guests very ‘designer-ish’ and the speeches genuine and sincere.  The affection between Terence and Deyan was clear, with both insisting the whole venture could not have been done without the other.  This was a huge day for Terence who later admitted to me that what he was really looking forward to was watching people come into the museum on the first open day, incognito!

24 November 2017:   The day has finally come.  Considering the world-wide interest and jamboree of the past few days, the ‘cutting of the ribbon’ as it was called, was quiet and sedate.  Only two photographers, (in-house and ourselves), the Trustees, architects and staff were present.  Upon cutting the ribbon, staff cheered and clapped – the event felt like a family birthday party than a corporate occasion – more akin to a celebration of a coming of age.  Perhaps in a sense that’s what it really was.  A long journey, a vision from a gentleman who has finally achieved what he felt so certain of all those years ago.  That design has a place, not only in our lives, but in society.  Bravo!

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.designmuseum.org

 

 

HRH Princess Michael of Kent launches new season of KCWC at the Royal Geographic Society

The Kensington Chelsea Women’s Club (KCWC) is a very active Club with hundreds of members.  Offering national and international women from London the opportunity to meet once a month at their General Meeting at prestigious venues across the Borough.  KCWC run courses, lectures and events, covering some 35 activities over the month – ranging from sports, languages to history.   Each month they invite a keynote speaker – in September it was HRH Princess Michael of Kent who spoke about her Anjou trilogy, the third of which ‘Quicksilver’ had recently been published.  The Princess is a rather good storyteller and gave the packed auditorium at the Royal Geographic Society an entertaining historical account (aka romp) of the royal family of France in the 15th century.  Her quick wit and self-deprecation were endearing and clearly she proved to be a most popular choice of keynote speaker to launch the 2016-2017 KCWC year.  To join or to find out more about the activities of KCWC please see www.kcwc.org.uk

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Life in the Bush: Molori Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve South Africa

We recently had the honour of reviewing Molori Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve for our March Travel edition ‘Out of Kensington’.  Madikwe is a malarial-free area, some 400 km from Johannesburg and is home to the Big Five and some 350 different species of birds. Here is an excerpt from our diary:

We are having such an amazing experience and really feel we have arrived!  Molori Safari Game lodge is wonderful – very small, very understated smart, serious customer service, lovely people and no bling in sight.  We were given a two bedroom exec ‘suite’ – more like a lovely house with its own pool over looking a watering hole – the first lunchtime about 20 elephants paraded to it – along with a couple of babies – a wonderful sight.  We were v lucky as we never saw this again, and they didn’t stay long.

Game drives are typically about 4 – 6 hours long (in a session) which go surprisingly fast.  We have an excellent guide who has not been to uni, but is the most intelligent person I’ve ever met.  He is paying to send his children to private school, which I suspect is a first for an African guide.   He is extremely passionate and enthusiastic.  Highlights were coming across two lions who had just killed a wildebeest and had eaten so much they were hyperventilating; having dinner in the bush – table cloths, candles etc with the owners of the lodge and their family who happened to be on holiday at the same time as us (here think the South African equivalent of Richard Branson).  Very friendly and welcoming as were his kids (early 20s) and wife.  There was a tea-candlelit path to the loo which I expected to be a hole in the ground but no, behind a little wooden fence sat a rather splendid porcelain white loo – facing onto the bush with the stars above.

The next day we went for a night safari and came across a leopard, apparently snoozing, but a minute later was up chasing a poor baby rhino who was stuck in the mud in a watering hole.  With fierce defence and defiance from its mother the leopard backed off. The guide then cooked us a stew in the bush, this time more informal, just with some camping chairs etc. but with a very full large freezer box, akin to a full bar – plenty of whiskey.  After a lesson in astronomy we packed up at about 10.30 pm. went to see how the lions were getting on with their feasting, had a good look and then realised the jeep had a puncture.  Now this was scary stuff.  One lion a good distance off, the other about 6 – 10 feet (depending upon who you spoke to) – I reckon probably about 7 ft. However, close enough.  We managed to get the jeep a few feet further away, turned it around, and then the guide changed it – Stephen with a large spotlight to track the nearer lion, and me with a smaller torch to shine on the wheel, guide and jeep.  He managed it in about 10 minutes and then we were off.  I was rather frightened but the other lady with us was genuinely terrified.

Next day I went out on my own with the guide, for a walking safari – I thought I was very brave and that we’d been out for an hour and walked miles, but it turned out we had only gone about 500 metres!  Really interesting and learnt more about nature, biology, science and animals/birds than had done in a lifetime.  We then came across a cheetah lying under a tree.  The guide turned the jeep round (being a fellow photographer), so we had the best angle – I lay on the floor of the jeep (being the only one in it, I had plenty of room) and then played eyeball with the cheetah.  At first it was fun/an experience, but the longer it went on the more unnerved I became, so I then demanded that we move.  The most incredible sight and when we returned and the guide was beaming saying that was magnificent/amazing, for someone who goes into the bush every day, was really something.  This is an amazing trip.  They do rhino conservation too but we haven’t been able to see that in action as we hadn’t got the right passes.  All in all this is a trip of a lifetime and far surpasses the other three I’ve been on in the past.

With thanks to Jonathan Peach of JPS Luxury Safari’s for arranging this trip:  www.jpsluxurysafaris.com

Lucy & Stephen were guests of Molori Safari Lodge, and flew with Trailfinders.

Copyright and images:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Hugh Grant attends Flannels 4 Heroes Cricket Match at Burton Court, Chelsea

The fourth Flannels4Heroes cricketing event took place at Burton Court, Chelsea.  Organised by Sarah Ducker of SJD Events, four teams provided the backdrop to the perfect English Garden Party for some 300 guests.  Sponsored by Dackers the event has to date raised over £100,000 for Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, Walkwith with the Wounded and the On Course Foundation.  Lending their support to the day were a variety of VIPs, amongst whom was keen cricket player, Hugh Grant.  Looking every bit as dashing as when he was manning a book shop in Notting Hill!

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Chelsea Pensioners rock when meeting Bryan Adams

This morning singer/songwriter/photographer and philanthropist Bryan Adams unveiled a berth named in his honour at Royal Hospital Chelsea. The newly revamped accommodation now reverts to a larger outside hallway, bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and study – and are much lighter that previously. 81 yr old Tom Mullaney is the proud owner of this berth, although he seemed somewhat non-plussed by the visitation of a world class pop star. Adams has a close relationship with Royal Hospital Chelsea, having performed a concert there in aid of his Foundation (The Bryan Adams Foundation) some five years ago, and will be performing there again in July.

 www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com

 

 

 

Celebrities help raise funds for Canine Partners at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea (or A Carol Service where Dogs Nearly Steal the Show)

Organised by Angela Hamlin, Director of Draycott Nursing & Care, the evening was always going to be different – especially when celebrities and dogs were involved. The dogs, from Canine Partners behaved impeccably, even for the requisite photo shoot. Celebrities included Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Lisa Aziz (LBC Presenter), Emma Munro-Wilson (singer), Fran Newman-Young (Made in Chelsea) and Zara Boland (TV Vet). The Mayor and Mayoress of Kensington & Chelsea were in attendance. St Luke’s Church, Chelsea was packed; the Choir helped us to get into the festive spirit, and the beautiful, patient (and it has to be said) very photographic dogs added a definate je ne sais quoi. Money was raised for Canine Partners, a small charity training dogs to work with disabled folk, enabling them to have a much improved quality of life. An incredible association between and man and dog.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Draycott Nursing or Canine Partners please see www.draycottnursing.co.uk and www.caninepartners.org.uk

Images and copyright: www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Stratford Road Village Street Christmas Party 2013

An annual Christmas get-together organised by the local businesses of this very ‘village’ street.  Tucked away betwixt Marloes Road and the Earls Court Road, many businesses (the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker) opened late and offered Christmas ideas, special offers, quizzes, prizes and food and wine.   The Mayor and Mayoress of Kensington & Chelsea formally opened the event and then met with local retailers.  Children loved the impromptu dancing, retailers enjoyed treating their clients and neighbours enjoyed catching up with one another.  Congratulations not only goes to the generosity of these small independent businesses but also to the team of three ward councillors who are very proactive in spreading the word about the City Living, Local Life scheme operated by RBKC.

A Happy Christmas to all!

Images:  Lucy Elliott  www.lucyelliottphotography.com