Roca London Gallery

During the annual Open House in London I visited this relatively small place with complex design. It is certainly not an ordinary shop.

Roca Gallery London was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects as a gallery and presentation showroom for leading bathroom and tiles manufacturer. This complex and innovative space creates interesting visual experience that may be comparable to moving through a cave or canyon. It is no wonder as the inspiration to the architects was indeed water – its different forms and attributes. The gallery occupies one floor and there are two main features in its design. Firstly, it is continuity and fluidity of space which twists and turns creating one seamless experience of movement through the interior. Secondly, it is the contrast between materials used: GRC (glass reinforced concrete) and GRG (glass reinforced gypsum). The space is not only used for showcasing Roca’s products but also for exhibitions, public lectures and other events.

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Serpentine Pavilion 2017

The classical style Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens was built as a tea room in 1934 and serves as gallery since 1970. By the time it firmly established itself as a pioneering institution showcasing contemporary art.

Since 2000 new temporary addition to gallery in form of pavilion was conceived by former Director Julia Peyton-Jones. Thus, every year an internationally renowned architect is commissioned and has got just 6 months to design and build Serpentine Pavilion in front of the gallery for visitors to enjoy. Due to this fascinating programme summer in London’s Kensington Gardens is enriched with unique structure. The same place is different on every occasion and every design contributes to great diversity of ideas presented. The idea, design, construction and implementation is being discussed well beyond London.

This year the pavilion was designed by Francis Kéré and his Berlin-based practice. The architect was inspired by gatherings under tree canopies in his home country, Burkina Faso.

Below are also some other pavilions designed in earlier years.

 

Francis Kéré 2017

Francis Kéré 2017

Francis Kéré 2017

Francis Kéré 2017

Francis Kéré 2017

Francis Kéré 2017

Francis Kéré 2017

Francis Kéré 2017


Bjarke Ingels 2016

Bjarke Ingels 2016

Bjarke Ingels 2016

Bjarke Ingels 2016

selgascano 2015

selgascano 2015

Sou Fujimoto 2013

Sou Fujimoto 2013

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei 2012

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei 2012

Peter Zumthor 2011

Peter Zumthor 2011

St.Conan’s Kirk, Loch Awe, Scotland

When the Callander and Oban Railway was was built in Scotland during the 1870’s, it opened up then largely deserted north shore of Loch Awe. Here, a self-made architect Walter Douglas Campbell (1850-1914) purchased a small island Innis Chonnain where he built house for his mother Caroline Agnes, his sister Helen and himself. Local tradition tells a story that his mother found a journey to nearest church in Dalmally too tiring and therefore Walter decided to build her a church nearby. The original building was finished in 1886. However, Walter was still not satisfied with the work but it took another 20 years before he began to enlarge the original structure. He used local stone and craftsmen to create a unique place with interesting details. After his death his sister Helen took over and supervised finishing of the building. The church as we can see today was consecrated in 1930. Despite its medieval look this church does not adhere to any particular architectonic style. His designs borrow from different periods like Norman, Romanesque and employ Celtic symbolism as well. It even includes elements connected to Iona Abbey (one of the oldest Christian centre in Scotland) in the shape of the window or wooden beams used above doorway that were taken from two distinguished ships HMS Caledonia and HMS Duke of Wellington as timber. It is here the Campbell family is also buried. Recently this church was included in Top 10 buildings built in last 100 years by popular vote as part of Festival of Architecture 2016.

St.Conan's Kirk view from south

St.Conan's Kirk view from south

The nave

The nave

Entrance to church from the cloisters / Window from Iona Abbey

Entrance to church from the cloisters / Window from Iona Abbey

Yellow submarine, Bruichladdich, Scotland

During our recent trip to Islay to explore this island’s famous distilleries I noticed, as everyone else who visited Bruichladdich distillery since last year, shiny ROV (remotely-operated vehicle) placed outside in their courtyard. After the trip I did little research into this object and found out rather interesting story.

In June 2005 when local John Baker was fishing about 3 miles from Mull of Oa he spotted an object floating just underneath the surface. As he considered it hazard to shipping in the area he contacted his brother-in-law Harold from Islay coastguard who helped him to bring it ashore. As the mine detecting robot had clear MOD (Ministry of Defense) markings Harold called his colleagues at Clyde coastguard who contacted Royal Navy base in Faslane about this lost vessel. However, Royal Navy repeatedly denied losing any submarine or any other vessel.

In the meantime Harold placed the sub in his garden in Port Ellen where it became tourist attraction. In about two weeks time Harold received a phone call from Royal Navy and they admitted that it is really one of their own. And in three months time they finally sent Mine Counter Measure Vessel HMS Blyth from Faslane to collect the submarine.

With little time they had Bruichladdich distillery decided to use this story and released their now legendary WMD II ‘Yellow submarine’ 14 year old whisky with the submarine on the label (in this case of clever marketing WMD stands for Whisky of Mass Distinction rather than Weapons of Mass Destruction).

During collection of their submarine the skipper of HMS Blyth was presented with a case of this new Bruichladdich whisky and to no surprise the Royal Navy also purchased some more of these bottles later.

The story went full circle recently when John Gamble from Islay noticed that the submarine became obsolete and therefore surplus to requirements as it was entered to auction through e-Bay from Plymouth base. Wisely, Bruichladdich distillery stepped in and bought the 850 kg sub for themselves. After some necessary restoration in Portnahaven in Islay it was craned on to Bruichladdich distillery courtyard to a great applause during Annual Open Day 2016.

 

Yellow submarine, Islay, Scotland

A 82

A 82 is a fascinating road that runs from Glasgow to Inverness via Scottish Highlands. The passage in Glencoe looks dramatic whether you are driving on this road or walking in its proximity.

Standing on small outcrop above the road, overlooking monumental rocky ridge Aonach Eagach, cold February night is descending. In the dark, this section resembles an artery. The flow of cars with people and goods is moving along Glencoe's majestic landscape in both directions. This road was constructed by civil engineer Thomas Telford using existing Drover's road. The current tarmacked road, built in 1930's criss-crosses his alignment throughout the glen.

This image was a Runner-up in Your View category of Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016. Here is the original image and exhibition view at Waterloo station in London as well as double page spread in Xantypa magazine.

A 82

LPOTY 2016, View at the Exhibition in Waterloo station, London (January 2017)

LPOTY 2016, View at the Exhibition in Waterloo station, London (January 2017)

A 82 in Xantypa (May 2017)

A 82 in Xantypa (May 2017)