Over the last year, we’ve had Mike Hopkins coming in to train our management team in a few useful techniques. We’re a business run by designers so it’s good to hear how the professionals do it. Contrary to popular perception (big egos/ sensitive souls) designers don’t really need to be treated all that carefully but they are good at questioning the conventional route. Mike has a straightforward style, telling our creative team what he thinks, and this is going down well.
Getting a great guided tour around the first bespoke build-to-rent building in the UK, for be:here.
Fraser and Isla have expertise too. Here they are showing two year old Ellan some advanced present unwrapping skills.
A man in a stripy jersey watching his kid at swimming lessons.
Julie watching the tennis and working out how we’ll get the boiler fixed. We moved into a house in the winter and the boiler burst. It now appears this happens to pretty much everyone.
Maybe the 25% of the population who’d consider buying a new house have got it right?
Fraser is learning to play tennis. I drew Isla watching him, then she drew him, and titled it.
At an office CPD, on lighting. Not a bad one. You learn more, obviously, from seeing the things skilled designers (and their visionary clients) have actually built than you do from watching Powerpoint.
Edinburgh has an extensive stock of ageing bungalows with big back gardens and they’re gradually being bought up by young families. A roster of talented local architects can transform them by taking a bit of back garden and building the kind of bright and open living space people are after these days. Few are as lofty and light as friends Asa & Daniel’s one, by David Blaikie.
Innes (and me), learning to be gardeners.
Lotus founder and all round genius Colin Chapman designed the Lotus Seven in 1957. By the early seventies it no longer fitted the more luxurious aspirations of Lotus, so Caterham bought the rights and carried on building it. Almost 60 years after it was first designed you can still buy more or less the same car.It’s simplicity itself. I love that it makes up for not having much power by not having much of anything at all. It’s tiny: you can walk around it in a parking space. ‘Just add lightness’ was the Chapman design philosophy and we enjoyed the thrilling results on a sunny day in Fife.In Soho in London. A little extra space on the corner of Berwick Street and Broadwick Street makes for a busy spot. People using their phones to text, talk and find their way to their next meeting. This corner gives them room to pause without being in the way and lets me watch urban life in narrow streets with lowish buildings. Lots of activity in not a lot of space.
When the London office moved to Kentish Town there weren’t many cafes selling fancy and expensive coffee. There are now. Places change and something gets lost. Off to the board meeting to discuss the ethics of working in Uganda, and London.
Start! F & I are off to school.
A plane, manufactured in Scotland.
This one’s in East Fortune. We were there to watch a Spitfire and a Eurofighter Typhoon, amongst others. The last Spitfire was produced in 1948 and 46 years later technology had advanced so incredibly we were able to build the first Eurofighter. It’s the most extraordinary man made thing I have ever seen.
A couple of good speakers:
I looked after the kids for the day, to give their mum some time to commit shopping. Innes ended up in a pond in a public park, momentarily submerged.
A man on the North London line.
We went for a visit with HTA’s London Sketch Club and the London Society. The ‘kids’ weren’t that impressed, which certainly ups the ante next time I’m reviewing their work.
It’s a bit windy and not that warm but this could well be summer, so the real kids and I played outside whilst Julie did some shopping.
Catching up with Tom and Ray at the Etape Caledonia. Tom talked me through what to do if you have a bike crash in downtown San Francisco, as he’d just done. I may have over emphasised his beat up look, but not by much. The next day we thrashed round the 81 miles in the wind and the rain. Tough if you like cycling in the sun, perfectly fine if it’s the grit in cycling that you like.
The kids being chased round the garden of Grays Court hotel by Henry the resident dog. Our slightly rowdy bunch spent a warm and sunny afternoon in their elegant, calm garden.
Back in Edinburgh we are inside waiting for the hailstones to stop and the icy winds to die down.
Luckily some of the excellent Dr Seuss books are being made into films. We stayed in and watched ‘The Lorax’.
When the ‘quine’ wobbled through reception at 5.00pm, belly hanging out over her pyjama bottoms, leather bomber jacket, no shoes, trailing a toilet roll, I sensed this was going to be a little different from my normal night in a Travelodge.
The next morning, checking out, I mentioned to reception that I couldn’t hear the rowdy night in the street outside for the party going on in the corridor. “Aberdeen at the weekend sir, I can only apologise.”
We spent the day recovering in a beautiful, if unfinished, family house on a farm.
“Which way’s the countryside?” said Innes (he’s a city boy, like me) so we went for a walk to show him.
The next day was back to normal life between London and Edinburgh.
Bananas:I dislike the colour, the smell, the texture, the taste, the shape and the word. Everyone else seems to like them though, so I accept them and we live in peace.
Isla and …
…my mum, telling us how it is.
Innes listening, or maybe thinking about something else. He loves bananas.
A girl on the train back from Glasgow at 8.30pm on a Friday night.
Andrew Gillespie of the A@131 society had been kind enough to ask me along to talk about sketching to Strathclyde University students. I studied at Strathclyde so was keen to go back and they put some effort into advertising it, so it was well attended.
I hadn’t talked about my drawings before and enjoyed it a lot. It’s good spend a little time thinking about what you are trying to do, after all.
Earlier in the week, after a late Christmas do, I spent some time looking at a coffee machine: modern on the inside, classic with a hint of modern on the outside. In the design world, from suits to buildings, that’s a popular mix.
Innes and I missing the outing to the Singing Kettle. He’s on the sofa, ill, and he can’t get comfy.