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Category archive: Design

Saturday November 28 2015

It is probably, by now, a little known fact that during January 2007 (and presumably also over Christmas 2006) there were lots of coloured plastic bottles with lightbulbs inside them outside the front of the Royal Festival Hall in London.

image imageimage image

The man responsible was a certain David Batchelor, as is explained here

All part of the funning down (or is that up?) of the South Bank.

Thursday November 26 2015

I say new.  New for me.  Old and superfluous to requirements for the people who were getting rid of them.

Audiences for regularly repeating events tend exactly to fill whatever comfortable spaces and places are offered to them.  Given that my speakers tend to be pretty good, the single best way for me to persuade more people to attend my Last Fridays of the Month meetings (there will be another such meeting tomorrow evening) is to improve the seating arrangements.  More and more comfortable chairs are the best way to make these events better.

When these meetings resumed, in January 2013, there was a rather ungainly sofa, which seats two in comfort and three in discomfort unless all three are very thin, and one other comfy single chair.  The rest was all stools and upright chairs and old loudspeakers and suchlike.

Worst of all there was this:


That picture having already been shown here, here.

But, to replace the above abomination, there is now this:


Despite appearances, these two beauties work very well as a three seat sofa.  Better yet, they cost me: nothing.  I went out shopping a few months back, and Goddaughter 2 happened to be with me.  We saw these two semi-sofas being inserted into a skip.  So we skipped the shopping and grabbed them, all this being only a couple of dozen yards from the front door of my block of flats.  Moments later, and they’d have been covered in subsequent rubbish.  No Goddaughter 2, and I don’t know how I would have managed.  Almost certainly, not.  Amazing.

And then, about a week ago in a charity shop I encountered these two little numbers, also very comfortable:


I had to pay a few bob for them, and some more bob for a taxi to get them home, but it all added up to far less than I was thinking of paying for something similar, singular, new, to see if another similar, singular, new, would be worth a further quite large outlay.

The above improvements may not seem like much, but they increase the number of truly comfortable seats at my evenings from three-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half.  So the chance of a comfy seat have now more than doubled.

All I need now is to replace that goofy original sofa, with its goofy great arm rests that take up about one and half people’s worth of space, and things would be looking even better.

Friday November 13 2015

Because of the uncannily precise weather forecasts with which modern civilisation is blessed, I know that today will be a great day to be going out, which I have not done for a while.  And I intend to check out this, which is a gas holder that has been tarted up into a big old public sculpture stroke small park inside:


My thanks to 6k for alerting me to this.  Dezeen gave this pleasing piece of urbanity a write-up, but I might have missed that.  I probably wouldn’t have, but I might have.

There are mirrors.  I like mirrors.  Mirrors make for fun photos.

Also, notice how, in this other picture, …:


... it would appear that they (Bell Philips) will be inserting a block of flats into another nearby gas holder.  Cute.

I’ll let you all know how it is all looking, at the moment.  Assuming I manage to find it and it’s not still a building site behind barriers.  With these kinds of things, the internet can only tell you so much.  By which I mean that it could tell you enough so that you wouldn’t have to go there to check it out, but it generally can’t be bothered.  So, since it’s only a short Victoria Line journey, I will go there.  To check out not only the Thing itself, but to see what other Things I can see from inside it, framed by it.

Monday November 02 2015

I think my fascination with the Union Jack really got into gear with the Scottish Referendum.  Why then?  Because then, we might have had to abandon it.  It might have become a relic.

Then, during the recently concluded Rugby World Cup, the Brits all got knocked out by the time the semi-finals came around.  But, the two nations whose national flags involve the Union Jack (for the time being anyway), Australia and New Zealand (England’s flag is the red and white flag of St George), were the two finalists.  So, the Union Jack triumphed, even if the nation that originated it did not.

So, I am now always on the lookout for Union Jacks, especially when the colours are being played with.  The shape is wonderful, I think, but the colours can get repetitious and they come alive when altered somewhat.

And today, I found just such a Union Jack, in a shop, in Tottenham court Road.  I went in and photoed it, several times.  Nobody objected, or tried to sell me furniture.  Or even to sell me the Union Jack that I was photoing.  I just did my photos, and also a few others of cat cushions, and then made my exit.

image imageimage image

If you look at a mirror, you tend to see yourself.  If you photograph a mirror, you tend to photo yourself taking a photo, unless you are a Real Photographer.  I am not, even if one of the above photos does exclude me.

£149 is what this mirror would cost you.

As I type this, Simon Schama is concluding his TV series about The Face of Britain, the final episode being entitled “The Face in the Mirror”.  He is doing selfies, or “self-portraits” as they have mostly been known, until now.  I expect that we will be shown regular folks posing with their selfie sticks, right at the end.

No.  No selfie sticks.  Instead: Gormleys.  I photoed Gormleys, way back, in London.  Schama had them photoed at the seaside.

Friday October 16 2015

More Dezeenery:

“Modern buildings, exemplified by the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, are incredibly light and weight-efficient by virtue of their architectures,” commented Bill Carter, manager of the Architected Materials Group at HRL.


“We are revolutionising lightweight materials by bringing this concept to the materials level and designing their architectures at the nano- and micro-scales,” he added.

In the new film released by Boeing earlier this month, HRL research scientist Sophia Yang describes the metal as “the world’s lightest material”, and compares its 99.9 per cent air structure to the composition of human bones – rigid on the outside, but with an open cellular composition inside that keeps them lightweight.

All of which has obvious applications to airplanes:

Although the aerospace company hasn’t announced definite plans to use the microlattice, the film suggests that Boeing has been investigating possible applications for the material in aeroplanes, where it could be used for wall or floor panels to save weight and make aircraft more fuel efficient.

And it surely won’t stop with wall and floor panels.

These are the days of miracle and wonder.

Thursday October 15 2015

Maybe one day I will get tired of seeing The Wires! In photos of new Japanese buildings, at Dezeen.  But I am not tired of it yet:


Other Dezeenery I have recently liked: colourful buildings for an ugly square in Eindhoven; a big sculpture that looks like a giant tooth, made (by a robot) entirely of pebbles and string (which means the pebbles can be used again and again); packing more people in an Airbus; scepticism about the creative class theory of urbanisation.

Also: a cardboard car.  Lexus.  Drivable.  But not with a cardboard engine, surely.  No, they cheated there.  It has an electric motor, housed in an aluminium frame.  This is not an exercise in engineering.  It is advertising.  Caused by the fact that in car adverts you are less and less allowed to say anything sensible, with mere words.  Car adverts now remind me of cigarette adverts in my youth.  They were like that for the same reason.

Monday October 12 2015

I’ve been photoing a lot of taxis-covered-in-adverts lately, and this is one of my recent favorites, both because if came out so well in such discouraging light (my camera is not called “Lumix” for nothing) and because it is of that generic thing, an advert for adverts.  You want to stick an advert on your taxi.  This is who to contact:


I also like the big old advert behind.

As for the adverts on taxis, the thing I notice is that they are now often very temporary.  You associate adverts on vehicles with permanence, or I do.  On a taxi, you advertise a product which isn’t going to change for the next few years, like a drink or a holiday destination or an estate agency, right?  Well, not so much now.  Now, you often see adverts on taxis that are for events.  Here, for instance, is one I have been noticing recently:


Now that I look at this carefully, I see that although a big fuss is being made of London Fashion Week, this is actually an advert for one of its sponsors, Sunglass Hut, which didn’t vanish on September 22nd, just because London Fashion Week folded its tents on that date.  Nevertheless, if this London Fashion Week advert hangs around for a few months, it will look very out-od-date, and Sunglass Hut with it, which is surely not what they will want or will allow.  It will be interesting to see if this advert is still to be seen, say, around Christmas or after.  My guess would be not.

While doing this posting, I actually found out about Verifone Media for the first time.  Blog and learn.

Friday September 25 2015

Yes, because that was when I took this photo:


One of the ways I have got (I think) better as a photographer is that I have gradually identified more classes of object or circumstance to be worth photoing.

This often starts with me just photoing something, because, what the hell, I like it, or it’s fun, or it’s interesting, or it’s odd, or it’s getting more common, or nobody else is noticing it and talking about it, or whatever and I just photo it, without even telling myself why, in conscious words.

Later, often much later, the conscious, verbalised thinking starts.  Perhaps because, as in this case, someone else starts talking about it. Guido having a go at that Labour politician was what got my conscious brain into gear on the subject of White Vans.  And I then decide to get more systematic about photoing whatever it is.

Mobile Pet Foods is still going, and if that link doesn’t convince you, then note the date on the latest piece of customer feedback here.  (That this feedback may be fake doesn’t alter the fact that the dates are recent.)

There is, of course, a cat angle to this.

I was photoing white vans in February 2007
Swarm Manned Aerial Vehicle Multirotor Super Drone
Trois Citroens (et deux chevaux)
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
Fun stuff in Oxford Street
Lining things up behind the Royal Festival Hall
A blast from the photographic past
Don’t mention The Wires!!! in South Korea either!
A rather argumentative van
Angela’s Nails
Pancake White Van
Unusual bench?
Cat picture on white van
A posh white van and a not so posh white van
Two Lady covers
The new Wembley Stadium under construction plus a white van
Ballerina and crane
What is this weird plastic thing?
Strange London buses
Another horizontal advert for an only slightly more expensive drone
Adverts for small and cheap drones
High hair
Hungerford Footbridges photographers
“The temptation to pre-order one of these is almost unbearable …”
Why I mostly write about architectural design rather than about interior design
More Big Olympic Thing photos
Big 4
London is getting more colourful
Don’t mention The Wires!!
CATable at the Building Centre
Photoing the old London model
The receiving station at Swains Lane (and the previous version of it)
Wheel behind trees
Paul Kennedy on centimetric radar
More White Vans
A weird view of the Wheel - and cats in Tiger
White Vin Van
White Van
You don’t see this any more
Feline Friday – an apology for yesterday’s premature posting about cat recognition
The ROH bar and its floating-in-the-air drinkers
Bizarre designer furniture in a Covent Garden window
The rise of (interest in) 3D printing
At the top of the Monument - in 2012 and in 2007
I said it twelve years ago
The Leaning Stonehenge Tour Bus of Salisbury
The Bayeux Tapestry small enough to fit in this blog
True hearts and warm hands
Triple Chess and a Four Wheeled Pedal Board
Miniature photographic fakery
The Bayeux Tapestry – the ultimate horizontalised graphic
Incidental Last Friday details
Hand done photos
Another place to look out over London from
Golden Gate being built – Severn Road Bridge ditto – C20 photography – Hitler’s paintings
Sixty Charlie Hebdo demo signs that say something other than “Je Suis Charlie”
Good drone
Colourfully painted modernity
A French film poster advertising a British film
Don’t mention The Wires!
To Covent Garden (1): The twisty footbridge
Trousers keyboard
Photo-drone wars to come
Sign blocked by surveillance camera
Quota roof clutter
In the City with Gus
Tower Bridge glass shattered by beer bottle
Phone (and cash) box
The Magic Flute at the RCM
Looking down through the see-through Tower Bridge walkway – but what about looking up through it?
Union Jacks with colours played around with
A small photo posting
Halloween buckets
How Bill Bryson on white and black paint helps to explain the Modern Movement in Architecture
Driverless open-plan tube trains for London
Recently on dezeen
Boris bus malfunction
Another facade being carefully preserved
Flying cars will have to be flown by robots
Chippendale without Rannie
Lady with a lot of hair
Union Jack Minis
On the problems of half-parking with a half-car
Crane lamp
Headlights with cleaning brush
Out and about in the sunshine
Bond car
God was overheating and now needs radical transplant surgery (and Dawkins now has to do my email)
A swimming pool in a skyscraper
My week in Brittany 2: A crane holding a bridge at Canning Town!
ASI Boat Trip 9: The man driving the boat
Man 3D-prints Thing in his back garden
A Sunday ramble
Round headlights equals an old car
The River Thames carpet
Sacred architecture and profane roof clutter - a speculation
Self-healing concrete
Bombardier Embrio
New London bridge competition
My favourite Tour de France in London photo
Colossal fun
Robyn Vinter is wrong about Google Glass
Will England get lucky?
Vespa GS in Lower Marsh
The Not-V2 at London Bridge Station
3D printed structural joints and another Gormley man
Compact Cats buried under London’s poshest homes
Tower Bridge before it got covered in stone
Stones created from layers of old paint from car factories
The Dragon Bridge of Da Nang
Leaf Cycle
Me and the first cranes at London Gateway last September
Organised water
Moving picture
Looking good for the telephone box smartphone
Old bus No 2
Hao Ruan and LYCS Architecture are now world famous
Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (aka Spaghetti Junction on Sea)
Red arrow?
Ten years ago today
Vauxhall bus station now – and when it was being constructed
Feline ephemera
Don’t judge a new technology by its first stumbling steps
I think I may at last have found myself a sofa
A quota post (with a quota link to a post about a post about a quota photo) and another quota photo
Vladivostock from above
When Open Symbol attacks!
Faberge - Brutalism
Seven London bridges from the ME Hotel Radio Bar
Photoing the A380 from above – from the ground
Big Thing news from New York and London - and a picture of climate alarmism losing
Sandcastles that will live for ever
The Tate Modern extension nears completion
Slightly wider tube trains
How hydrogen bombs work
Quota crane and quota plane
3D printer sighted!
Model Big Things
Scott Wiener on pizza boxes
In which I continue to seek a satisfactory sofa
Mercedes-Benz W123
Big Things and small things
Movable bridges
London Postcode Puzzle
La Porte des Indes
Gloomy Earl’s Court picture
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
Conquer the Pillars of Islam
Dezeen continues to delight
Rob Fisher on old things not looking old
Proposed new footbridges for London and for Changsha
Sperm Bike
Halloween is near!
Otherwise blogging (and a Burgess Park butterfly)
Corrie Chipps pictures the Zimbabwe inflation
Bad and good in bad weather
Earn yourself fifty quid by finding me a suitable sofa
Huge semi-submersible ships
Art gallery made of scaffolding
Chess set made of London’s Big Things
London Gateway from above
Rob Fisher on the 3D printing future
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Quota photo of a bucket of plastic crocodiles in an otherwise deserted shop window in Oxford Street
Bridges for animals
New apostrophe-shaped footbridge in Hull
Views from Kings College
Blank-faced tower – crazy hairdo
An old Mini and a new Mini
Savoy cat
Spot the Samsung connection
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Cassette iPhone photographer
Wedding photography (4): Preparations
Remembering a warmer day
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Lunch at Gessler at Daquise
Four crane photos
Michael Jennings - pictures of globalisation
Classical CDs from Gramex
At the bottom of the Shard
Monopoly Cat replaces Monopoly Iron
Skull made of skulls in gift shop street
Big London Things with clutter in the foreground
A new crane has already arrived
Is Samizdata in danger of becoming a photo-blog?
Another thing I’d rather photo than own
Croydon cats
An afternoon in Croydon
Here are (a lot) more photos that I took on March 27th
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom internet headline of the day
Click to see the big picture
The Bezier Building and a hideous advertising erection at the Old Street Roundabout
Millbank Tower with street light
A memorable scoreboard surrounded by empty seats
Cheese or font?
Black Katz
Bomber Command Memorial pictures
Another excellent spot to photo London from
Crane and plane
Only railings
No Misc April – Misc May
Misc March
London bridge photos
Changing views from the Monument
The Big Olympic Thing from nearer
A happy British Summer Time to all my readers
A Happy Christmas to all those still reading this
Space launch monster
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
Transport photos
NFL fans and their name-and-number shirts in Trafalgar Square on Saturday
The Jobs difference
Notes to self but not to you
The Wheel reflected in a cheeseburger advert
Choosing a Clean Food Outlet in Lawas is as easy as ABC
Health and safety on a mountain in Borneo
The Royal Victoria Dock is not (but looks like) a transporter bridge
Misspelt (correction: Italian) signs of the times
On the superfluity of the Paddington Basin rolling bridge
Strange footbridge over brick wall
Rally Against Debt signs
Brainwave-controlled cat ears for humans created by Japanese Neurowear
Nil scrap value
Do not climb on the Thing!
The wedding lingers on
Another pub
The Armstrong Gun
Signs from the Frenchosphere
After the wedding
Even the Goodyear Blimp is now obsessed with safety
Big crane
And there was you thinking you were immortal
Someone doesn’t understand what I mean by roof clutter
Rugby shirts on drugs
Another Assembly of Men
The Big Dig and some smaller digging
Kyrgyzstan cemetery and awesome frogs
Signs - all in my bit of one railway carriage
Mmmmm … scaffolding!
New bridge in Melbourne
If you can’t beat them hire them
Raptor not being very stealthy
Old school advertising has its uses
Soviet health and safety posters
More signage
Giant bull held up by scaffolding
Bouncing bombs and spinning cricket balls
A Spanish high speed train bridge and a Spanish aqueduct
Cool sculpture
Jobs departs from Apple (again)
October 2007 conversation about modern architecture with Patrick Crozier
Marmite spoons!
Dawkins does better sound than God ever did
The new mainframe
A laptop but not in my lap
From pop to purrfume
Trust drunk and disorderly
The Brusio spiral viaduct also looks like a toy train layout
Arecibo Radio Telescope
Giant Jesuses
Adverts on taxis and cars
Sunset in Oxford Street
Rockets are a great improvement on balloons
Sexy architecture
Happy hundredth
Mmmmm … bookshelves!
Farnborough (4): Cat on teeshirt - insect on cat’s nose
Lynxes and an A380
Pink railway clutter
Big box computers versus laptops
Three Gorges Dam picture
Chair that unrolls into the exactly correct shape
More photos from last week
One child poster
Rubbish bridge in Shangai
Glass is now very strong
Car in in front of sloping houses
A good bit about the future of art galleries and how to rescue good bits
Airplanes converted into architecture
Apple keyboard remains excellent – iPhone software not so excellent
Six lions on a white Mercedes bonnet
Quota cat rubber
Separating the men from the toys - the future of warfare and of sport?
Beyond iPad (and a picture that goes beyond this posting)
Two red cats
Quota bridge
Reds against Blues in Munich
Osprey pictures
London cricket roof clutter
Short posting (with short photo) about SpaceShipTwo
The Min-Kyu Choi folding three point plug
Strange purple cat with four eyes
Am I interested in dredgers?
Luxembourg church in hill and Luxembourg footbridge
Strange bridge
Apple mobile phones are very profitable but Nokia mobile phones are not very profitable
The decor in Peter Jones - and where in London can I find a small ice-cube-making machine?
Death to all who try to tiptoe past our guards while wearing giant baby costumes!
Today I bought an Apple Mac keyboard …
The Labour Party finally agrees on a new Prime Minister to replace Gordon Brown
Dripping table
Of lists and distant totally photorealistic skyscrapers
Pull Tab
Computer coffee table
Magic bottle that makes dirty water drinkable
The Wheel through some Art
Thinking thin at the top
The latest Canon DSLR comes without a twiddly screen
The Vita-Mix 5000 at the Veggie Show
A photo of the Samsung NC10 and the original Asus Eee-PC next to each other
Wheel etc.
Redesigned Bishop
Unamazing photo of amazing road
Olympus E-620
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
OLED TV - very thin and detailed but not very big and not ready yet unless you’re stupidly rich
Generational taste in furniture
Random links
Making the new look and feel like the old
Evening Standard hand-done billboards go printed shock
Englefield Green Xmas decor
Another antique
Old postage stamps
More Englefield Green strangeness
Jesus above the keyboard instead of beyond it
Big clocks
Not Billion Monkeys!
Linkin Park - one leg short of libertarian
Gadget gold
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
A movie staircase and a window
Sheep under wolf’s clothing
JD gets PTD
Redirect to a piece on Samizdata about a camera
The uses of Jesus
More sticking up stuff
City of London lumps and a south London spike
Profundity and silliness
My watch has to tell me the date as well as the time
Jellennium Bridge
Punk surveillance cameras
Craziness done with austerity
Ken Livingstone was beaten by the billboards!
Floppy road bridge where the cars nearly get wet
Narrow bridge
“I’ll build it with explosive bolts connecting the wings to the fuselage …”
Clarkson on Sarah Jessica Parker
The new Lowe look
What’s this for?
“If only it were true …”
The original Burtynsky Nanpu bridge picture
PID strikes Guido
Roger Scruton on Prince Charles’s new town
Flickring and Googling for the AMGEN bridge
Those were the days and these are no longer the days
Wired bridges
A sculptural suggestion
Malaysian footbridge for everyone except … gephyrophobiacs?
Giant table football table and hamster powered cars
Church covered in church pictures
The Messina Suspension Bridge is on again
“Better value on goods and services across a wide range of categories …”
My Wheel’s bigger than your Wheel
Big Bens - Wheels - Big Ben teapots - telephone box teapots
Wedding rings that join together with telephone plugs
Dasubee toilet scrubbing robot
Classic car thinness
Coffee House struggles with Permanent Italics Disease
Instapundit succumbs to PID
Big, Bigger, Biggest - starring Heathrow Terminal 5
Flat pictures for flat screens
Signs of civilisation
She learned to knit her before she learned to spell her
Toshiba’s violin playing robot
Ursa major
Making the Mississippi Delta make more land
Bookcase staircase many books electric book
At Bethnal Green railway station
Eee PC and Brahms CDs
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
The great DVD packaging clearout
The petty cash effect cuts in for Linux
Linux versus Windows - the bigger tiny laptop breakout
Thin camera picture
Bristol footbridge photo
Engadget suffers from intermittent giant text disease
Thin Canadian bridge
Underground art
The bridge that was going to make Westminster a fine city and London a desert
Digital Camera Review error
Tinsley Viaduct
The A380 bulge
Fourteen British viaducts
Manhole cover cats and Angel of the North shelves?
Architecture talk
A picture of a Wheel seen through a field of corn
Samsung SPH-P9200
Cat power!
Short posting with short photograph
The blue and gray men are slaughtering the gray and blue men
Another angle on pylons
Back from the dead and soon to be duplicated
Revised logo
Old cranes - new cranes
Small and cheap
Ugly logo(s)
Fujitsu Lifebook
Assorted London quota photos
PG tips
A movie about a typeface
Plastic that conducts heat better
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Smallest mobile keyboard yet?
Susie Bubble turns shopping into a job with her blog
Halo over Oxford Circus
Amazing map of amazing new Moscow bridge
Shame you can’t do this kind of thing here
New Moscow road bridge
Umbrellas and other gadgets
Will twentieth century aerial warfare be repeated by toys?
New footbridge in Edinburgh
Bollocks to the fashists
The Nanpu bridge approaches
Diamond Synchrotron
Robot car park in New York
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Weird loudspeakers
The Dyson DC14
Other people’s photos (2): New architecture in Hamburg
A good new mobile computer - but still too pricey
Billion Monkeys and people waving blue things!
Pictures of the world for the world
Happy day after Christmas Day
Happy Christmas Day
Haircuts before and after
Cranes and street lamps and mp3s
Pictures of and from Albert Bridge
On sail in two weeks
The world now needs bad taste iPod docks
Top tips from Viz
Airship over the Wheel
Tech talk mp3 with Michael Jennings
Two sunset photos
Grassy car with blog
Cute jewelry and ideologically induced woe
Cute Brazilian car
A digital SLR that a Billion Monkey could lift!
Patrick Crozier talks with me about Japan
Is this to stop pigeons or bulb stealers?
Adriana tours her own back yard
Getting that roof clutter onto my computer
I also miss Transport Blog
Presumably the noise is not a problem
Chrysler 300C with bling
Evening sun on the Wheel
The Hungerford footbridges
Skill and Post-Skill
Blue balls – kaleideskopes – etc.
Holocaust museum repeated as fashion?
The Falkirk Wheel
Those little big things that you hate
HMS Funny Looking
A kink in the Range Rover grill
The Tate Modern end of the Millennium Bridge
Double brolly
Aussie pub window and Aussia Billion Monkey
The evening sun through the windows of the Albert
Rolls Royces
Hundred dollar laptop
Digital preservation
Tourist traps – foregrounds – cranes