Friday, July 31, 2009

Grand Designs presenter embarks on Grand Tour

Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud is to take a break from home renovation for a European travelogue series for Channel 4.

In Kevin’s Grand Tour of Europe, McCloud will follow in the sometimes debauched footsteps of the most notorious aristocrats, artists and architects of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

In the days before rail travel was possible, the Grand Tour was a popular route for mainly upper-class young British men to receive an education in the cultural artefacts of the classical antiquity and the Renaissance.

During the course of the series McCloud will travel to Paris, Venice, Athens and the Alps to look at the lasting legacy of the tour on today’s Britain. Channel four Features commissioning editor Liam Humphreys, who ordered the series, said: “We all know that Kevin’s understanding and insight into architecture is unrivalled, but Grand Tour of Europe provides the perfect platform to also demonstrate his wonderful storytelling talent".


Hundertwasser's Ultimate Stand

Kawakawa, New Zealand

Internationally renown artist and architect Frederick Hundertwasser could never have dreamed of the impact he was going to have on a small, rural community when he made New Zealand his second home 25 years ago. From a sleepy hollow just off the tourist track through the Bay of Islands, the Kawakawa township has burgeoned into a "must see" mecca for Hundertwasser devotees worldwide.

It all happened as a result of a public toilet - probably the most unlikely building to have ever captured international visitor attention anywhere. The project has already attracted both French and Japanese television documentary teams to Kawakawa, together with international visitors already beginning to number in the thousands. Bus tours pull up outside for photo sessions, travelers familiar with Hundertwasser's work in Europe are making special visits to the Bay of Islands rural township, and domestic visitors are making a stopover for both practical and philosophical reasons.

Frederick Hundertwasser first visited New Zealand in the 1970's to mount a public exhibition of his work. He was so captured by the country that he resolved to make it his second home, purchasing an isolated rural property on the Waikino peninsula on the Waikare Inlet east of the Kawakawa. Initially he was to spend only a few months of each year in the Bay of Islands, with the majority of his time still spent in Europe - Vienna in particular. But in recent years Hundertwasser spent more and more time at his New Zealand home. He loved the informality of the area and the freedom to walk the streets of the Kawakawa township anonymously.

He felt for the town and its entrapment in the rural decline which so much of New Zealand had suffered. In 1998 the Kawakawa Community Board was looking to upgrade 40-year-old toilet facilities in the central township, and Hundertwasser offered a solution from his design palate. His concept was adopted and construction was completed early this year, with the artist personally lending a hand in construction supervision, including the provision of materials from his own studio. Hundertwasser was in fact more involved in construction than he was in the world-renown Hundertwasser House apartments project in Vienna.

In consultation with the Bay of Islands College, students prepared ceramic tiles which have been used throughout the building. The bricks used came from a former Bank of New Zealand building, and both young and old from the local community volunteered services to the construction process.

The finished product is a work of art, from the grass roof, to gold balls, ceramic tiles, bottle glass windows, mosaic tiling, copper handwork, cobblestone flooring, individual sculptures and a living tree integrated into the design structure.

With the untimely death of the Austrian-born artist in February 2000, the building is the only Hundertwasser structure in the Southern Hemisphere, and the last major project ever undertaken by the famous artist and designer. It will remain as both a memorial to Frederick Hundertwasser and a very functional building for the community and visitors alike.

Above: The KawaKawa Public Toilets [photo by Tessa Laird]

To Toil Et Art

Restored ballerina

La Ballarina was unveiled in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. [pict. Dean Lewins]

Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Australia

Charles Summer's La Ballarina was installed in the gardens in 1883 to give the parklands a classic European feel. In the 1970s the life-size marble sculpture was removed because it was considered an old eyesore. "People were more into modern art," Botanic Gardens Trust executive director Tim Entwisle said.

Summer, a successful Australian-born sculptor who lived in the Italian city of Carrara, copied La Ballarina from a work by early 19th century sculptor Antonio Canova. She was placed in storage and somehow lost her head, a hand and foot, Mr Entwisle said. Jacek Luszcyk re-sculptured her head using marble from the same Italian location the original material came from. Now the lovingly restored statue of the pensive looking dancer, whose fingers gently touch her new chin as she casually balances on the toes of one foot, is back.


Open-plan living on a budget

Above: It’s amazing what you find in a nearby skip. Photograph: Luc Roymans

There is stylish decluttered living, and there is photographer Leo Ribbens's Antwerp warehouse. With its prison-issue beds, nailed-together sofa and a bath that resembles an agricultural feeding trough, it is a brutally industrial space – all bare concrete, exposed brick and raw wood. "I like functional materials," Ribbens says. "But my home never feels cold." His house is an example of recycled living at its most extreme: he rummages in skips, begs timber merchants for their leftovers and scours demolition sites. "It's a game for me to spend as little as I can."

The bedroom has floor-to-ceiling wardrobes are made from industrial pallets nailed on to a plywood frame and decorated with a stencil borrowed from a shipping company. "I love lying here looking at all the destinations – Sri Lanka, Russia, the Commission of Electrical Goods in Iraq," Ribbens says. "It looks more like a wall than a wardrobe." The single guest bed was from a Salvation Army hostel that closed down, and the blanket is vintage 50s from the same sale.

In the kitchen the distressed, painted wood of the cabinet doors was once a wall in a neighbour's garage. Ribbens let the size of the wood dictate the cupboards' shape, rather than the other way round. He made a plywood frame for the found wood, and cleaned it with soap and water. Uniform tones and neat lines stop the cabinets looking too messy, and the rest of the room is spare save for a wall display of kitsch religious icons found in flea markets.


Bottomless bounty: DeadHead Lumber finds new markets for old, sunken logs

Todd Morrissette, 39, founded DeadHead Lumber in April 2008 a company that salvages logs from the bottom of lakes and rivers with the help of an Aqua-logger. The pontoon boat has been specifically designed to salvage logs from the bottom of lakes and ponds. It is Mr Morrissette's office during the summer months, when he scours Moosehead Lake in America with his sonar looking for sunken logs, also called deadheads, which, for some, last saw the light of day 150 years ago during log drives on the lake.

Mr Morrissette is currently working at a spot off the western shore of Moosehead Lake’s Sugar Island where logs cut from the island were floated to a plywood mill on the southern end of the lake. "Hardwoods like birch do not float, so loggers built rafts of buoyant softwoods like spruce and piled the hardwoods on top. Some of the logs never made it to the mill. On the journey, bad weather could create waves as high as 4 feet that would break apart the rafts, sending thousands of hardwood logs to the bottom of the lake where the lack of oxygen and sunlight preserved them," said Mr Morrissette. The typical hardwood log harvested from today’s forests averages between 12 and 14 inches in diameter. Morrissette’s deadheads average between 18 and 20 inches, with the largest being 36 inches in diameter. “You can’t find that now,” he says.

Once he gets the logs up, Morrissette mills them into rough planks, then dries and sells them to flooring companies or high-end cabinetmakers. Since the logs are old growth, planks can sell for as much as 20 times the amount per board foot of logs cut today. Old growth birch grew slowly in the shade of pines and spruce over 100 years, and therefore have fewer blemishes and knots and tighter growth rings. “When you have tight rings, it makes the wood more stable, harder, denser,” Morrissette says.


Recession fuels attendance of artist sites and historic homes

In the UK and the US, visitor numbers to National Trust properties and artist homes have seen a sharp rise. “There is definitely something in the air, with growing numbers seeking out the simple pleasures offered by the National Trust,” says Fiona Reynolds, director general of the UK-based National Trust. Total visitors received in May were 1.98m, an eight per cent increase from the same month last year. Overall, attendance has climbed 24 per cent so far versus 2008.

In the UK, children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter’s home Hill Top in the Lake District wins hands down for highest visitor numbers for any artist or writer’s property. Last year, her home attracted 106,576 visitors compared with 64,584 the previous year (boosted by the 2007 film “Miss Potter”). A UK National Trust spokesperson reports other such homes attracting steep interest, including John Lennon’s childhood home, Mendips in Liverpool, T.E. Lawrence’s home, Clouds Hill in Dorset, and William Morris’s Red House in Surrey.

“There’s a recalibration of consumer spending from buying a bigger house or jazzy designer handbag to now focusing on cultural experiences instead,” says Ms MacLear. She has found that visitors characterise the Glass House as “inspiring”. Artists Julian Schnabel, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman and Frank Stella have all visited within the past year.

Meanwhile in the UK, the National Trust membership has hit a growth spurt at double the rates of the previous year. So far in 2009, 10,000 new members have been added.

Above: Beatrix wrote many of her famous children's stories in this little 17th century stone house. Characters such as Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here, and the books contain many pictures based on the house and garden.[pict.]

Art History Newspaper

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Garden and Cosmos

Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur

Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur is a rare opportunity to view a unique type of Indian royal court painting ranging in date from the 17th-19th centuries.

The exhibition features a loan from India and consists of 54 paintings from the royal collection at the Mehrangarh Museum Trust in Jodhpur, which was set up by the current maharaja, Gaj Singh II, in 1972. Remarkably, none of these paintings has ever previously been seen in Europe.

Garden and Cosmos will explore the two distinct styles of painting which flourished over the period represented in the exhibition – on the one hand the ornate style depicting the temporal pleasures of courtly life and the verdant forests where scenes from the epics took place (‘Garden’) and, on the other, the metaphysical paintings concerned with philosophical speculation and the origin of the universe (‘Cosmos’).

The British Museum Room 35, 28 May – 11 Oct 2009, (recently extended due to demand) Admission charge

Above: Death of Vali; Rama and Lakshmana Wait Out the Monsoon. From the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas (1532-1623). Jodhpur, c. 1775. Copyright Mehrangarh Museum Trust

Above: Maharaja Bakhat Singh at the Jharokha Window of the Bakhat Singh Mahal. Attributed here to “Artist 2”. Nagaur, 1737. Copyright Mehrangarh Museum Trust


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

City Museum in St. Louis

City Museum, St. Louis USA

City Museum is a museum, consisting largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District of St. Louis, Missouri. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor, the museum opened for visitors in 1997.

Cassilly and his longtime crew of 20 artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city; and, as a result, it has urban roots deeper than any other institutions'. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, City Museum boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes!

Above: 'What happens when you mix two Saber 40 aircraft fuselages, a fire engine, a castle turret, a 25' tall cupola and several 4' wide wrought-iron slinkies, and the creativity of CITY MUSEUM Creative Director Bob Cassilly and his crew? The result is MonstroCity, the most monumental, monolithic, monstrous montage of monkey bars in the world.'

City Museum

Caring for antique fireplaces

Richard Billington an antique fireplace and mantelpiece expert working for Westland London gives advice on how to care for antique fireplaces;

Cracked or damaged cheek tiles
Many antique fireplaces have cheeks inset with patterned and painted tiles. If the damage is minor a small crack, for instance you can do a discreet repair by wiping some epoxy glue into the crack and allowing it to dry, then painting it with matching enamel paint if necessary.

Stripping paint from fireplace grates and surrounds
Often, old fireplace mantels and grates were painted over in an attempt to brighten or modernize. If the fireplace surround or grate is of cast iron, you can use a chemical paint stripper safely. Follow the package directions, then wash off any remains of the stripper with warm water. Treat the grate with rust remover, and polish with grate polish.

If the mantelpiece is of wood, use a solvent based stripper and avoid harsh alkalis. Wire wool and stiff brushes can make short work of removing old finish and paint and preparing the wood for new polish and finishing.

Take especial care with fireplaces that seem to be of marble or stone. Many antique fireplaces were finished with faux marble finishes created in paint and enamels by master crafters. Before you attack the job, start with a discreet, small area and the gentlest chemicals. Strip away a small area to be certain that you arent removing the finish itself. Be prepared with neutralizers to halt any damage before it gets too bad.

Cleaning antique fireplaces
The cleaning method used for antique fireplaces varies with the type of materials used in the construction of the fireplace. As noted in the section on stripping paint above, be aware that some marble fireplaces are actually enameled wood or slate. Clean gently until you are certain what you are dealing with.

Wooden antique fireplaces
Clean wooden mantelpieces and surrounds with quality wood cleaner and polish regularly to remove soot and smoke buildup.

Cast iron grates and antique fireplaces
Clean with methylated spirit and soft cloths, applying to a small area at a time and wiping until the cloths come away clean. Buff the grate using black lead or graphite grate polish, following package directions, or give it a thin coat of matte black stove paint and a coating of wax.

Slate fireplace surrounds
Clean smooth slate with a soft cloth and water with washing-up liquid. Be sure to wring the cloth well slate is porous enough to absorb excess fluids. You want to use a damp cloth, and then rinse with a damp cloth and clean water. When its dry, give it a good buff with a soft, dry cloth.

Clean up rough slate with a scrubbing brush and washing-up liquid, and rinse it thoroughly.

Cleaning marble antique fireplaces
Marble requires special care. Keep in mind that marble is porous, and will dissolve if exposed to acids. Wipe up any spills immediately with a soft cloth.

To clean marble, use a soft cloth with soap flakes dissolved in warm water. Wring the cloth well, and give the marble a good scrub, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth. Polish it up with a dry cloth, or use an oil-based marble finish.

Antique fireplaces dont require a lot of care, but if you tend to the few needs they do have regularly, theyll go on gleaming and accenting your home with their beauty for generations.

Professional Articles Directory about Home Improvement


Moscow Architectural identity at risk

Moscow, Russia

The Moscow Architectural Preservation Society (MAPS) has warned that the city's identity and architectural heritage is at risk due to the furious pace of development. Publishing the Moscow Heritage at Crisis Point report, MAPS said that buildings at risk include the Bolshoi Theatre, the Central House of Artists and the Children's World Department Store.

The report is a follow up of the original 2007 document which warned of threats to St Petersburg's heritage, medieval churches and post-war developments. “Our task in this report is to show that such treatment of historic buildings falls well short of internationally accepted best practice. But it is also to show that there are plenty of specialists capable of proper restoration and imaginative but sensitive conversions of historic buildings in Moscow, and that it is time more heed was paid to them,” the report editors said.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The late Les Oakes collection

Thimbleby & Shortland Auctioneers, Reading

Thimbleby & Shorland are holding a reduction sale of the late Les Oakes collection. To be held at Hales View Farm, Oakmoor Road, Cheadle, Stoke, Staff, ST10 4QR on Wednesday 29th July at 10am.

Les Oakes was somewhat of a celebrity in his area, born in 1938 at Lower Grange Farm, Cheadle, Staffordshire. At the age of 7 he was attending auctions with his Grandfather buying and selling horse-drawn vehicles and memorabilia, he was also buying and selling pigeons and ferrets from his school locker.

At the age of 11, whilst attending Cheadle Secondary Modern he had, unbeknown to his father, amassed over 70 horse-drawn vehicles and stored them at various local farms in and around Cheadle where he worked in the evenings and at weekends to pay for the storage costs.

To make the money to enable him to buy his vehicles and memorabilia he built wooden sheds out of ammunition boxes and sold them to the people of Cheadle and the surrounding areas. He also ran an Architectural Salvage business reclaiming various items from demolition sites which he sold and also re-used in his buildings at Hales View Farm as and when further storage facilities where required for his ever growing collection.

He carried on attending auctions and increasing the size of his collection up until his tragic death in 6th September 2000 when returning from an auction. By the time Les passed away his collection consisted of approximately 600 horse-drawn vehicles of various sizes and types including Gypsy Caravans, stationary engines and vintage vehicles and memorabilia from the past 100 years which is now held in a private museum at Hales View Farm.

PDF of catalogue

Image gallery of some of his collect

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old plane converted to classroom

Kingsland School, Stoke on Tent UK

Children at a Stoke-on-Trent school have had their first lesson in their new classroom - a commercial airliner. The plane was saved from scrap after children at Kingsland Primary School were given the chance to choose what they wanted as an extra classroom. "One little boy said an aeroplane so we went and found one," head teacher David Lawrence said.

The decommissioned S-360, which used to operate to Ireland and Spain, has been fitted out with desks and laptops.

Mr Lawrence said opening the aircraft to the children was the culmination of nearly two years' work by them. They came up with the idea of using a plane as a classroom after a visit to see Concorde. "The children's imagination has been fired up by the idea and they are enthused and motivated. We are sure this will lead to improved attendance, give us better and more opportunities for our creative curriculum and raise attainment," he said.

Paul Hawkins, of project managers King's Wings, said the plane had been spotted in a field in Market Drayton, waiting to be scrapped. It was bought for £11,000 and then transformed into the classroom.

Above: Year 3 and 4 pupils from Kingsland Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent prepare to enter their novel new classroom.

Above: A teacher gives a lesson in the decommissioned aeroplane.


Mosaic car windshields

Susan Jablon Mosaics offers a certified, sustainable product ORGANIKS, 100% Recycled Glass Mosaic Tile. Available in nearly 100 color choices-solids or patterns, ORGANiKS is made from damaged car windshields- pulverized into glass powder.

Susan Jablon Mosaics

Mazria lands national green building award

Santa Fe architect Ed Mazria is this year’s winner of the Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing. The award is sponsored by The Hanley Foundation, EcoHome magazine and Hanley Wood LLC, a media and information company in Washington, D.C., that serves the housing and construction industries.

Mazria was selected from 18 nominees and will receive the award and a $50,000 grant at the U.S. Greenbuilding Council’s Hanley Award Dinner Nov. 12 during the USGBC international conference and expo in Phoenix. Mazria has had a powerful impact on sustainable housing for more than 35 years, said Michael J. Hanley, president of The Hanley Foundation and creator of the Hanley Award. “He has influenced innovative advances in design and technology through his creative architecture, energetic teaching and groundbreaking writing,” Hanley said in a press release.

Mazria’s book, The Passive Solar Energy Book, was published in 1979 and his work laid the foundation for siting, energy efficiency and passive solar design, said officials with the competition.

He suspended his architecture practice in 2002 to form Architecture 2030 in 2002, a nonprofit environmental research and education organization in Santa Fe. His research has shown that buildings are responsible for half of all U.S. energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, according to Hanley officials.

Architecture 2030

Business Weekly

Monday, July 20, 2009

The wonders of Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon near Aylesbury, Bucks

Waddesdon Manor is an architectural treasure and has one of the finest Victorian gardens in Britain. The house was built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château in the Loire Valley between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898).

The gardens were laid out by the French landscape architect Elie Lainé under the instruction of Baron Ferdinand who wanted to provide a 'change of mood or spectacle at every turn to delight his guests'. In his day, a garden tour would include the Aviary, the ornamental Dairy, romantic Pulham grottoes and a menagerie of deer, goats and llamas. Now, the garden is renowned for its seasonal displays, walks, beautiful panoramas, fountains, statuary and Vast rococo-style aviary, housing colourful exotic birds.

Above: The Proserpina fountain was brought to Waddesdon at the end of 1800 from the Palace of the Dukes of Parma in northern Italy: the Ducal Palace of Colorno.

Above: One of the most unusual features of the garden is the Aviary. Completed in 1889 by an unknown architect, it was built from Baron Ferdinand as a reminder of one he had grown up with in his childhood home, the Villa Grüneburg outside Frankfurt. It is made of cast-iron in the style of a rococo trelliswork pavilion, such as those erected at Versailles and Chantilly in the early eighteenth-century.

Grounds: Adults £5.50; Child £2.75; Family (2A + 2C) £13.75.
House & Gardens: Adults £13.20; Child £9.35. Weekends & BHs: Adults £15; Child £11
Winter Season: 3rd Jan - 29th Mar; Adults £7, Child £3.50, Family £17.50

Waddesdon Manor

Planning laws leave war memorials at risk

Hundreds of war memorials are at risk of being lost or damaged because planning laws fail to cover their preservation, according to a report published today. Military memorials are also under threat from thieves who sell them for use as garden sculptures.

The report from the London Assembly calls for a full register of memorials in the capital to be developed over the next two years and for changes to the planning laws. It says that a system should be in operation that automatically alerts the authorities to the presence of a memorial or monument on land that is the subject of a planning proposal. The protection and preservation of memorials in London must become a key consideration in planning policies developed by individual boroughs, the report says.

Tony Arbour, an assembly member who led the investigation into the capital’s memorials, said: ”The thousands of war memorials in the capital, of all shapes and sizes, are a real and tangible reminder of Londoners who gave their todays for our tomorrows. To preserve London’s remaining memorials, planning processes must be changed to reflect the unique protection these aspects of our built environment require, and applied carefully by the mayor and the boroughs”.

There are an estimated 100,000 war memorials and monuments in the country, with 5,500 listed in London. The report says that they are under threat from neglect, permitted development, vandalism and theft, collapse and natural erosion and also because they are not protected as architectural landmarks in the same way as historic buildings.

It highlights how a memorial at St George’s church in Peckham, southeast London, had disappeared by 1993 after the building was closed in 1971 and became derelict. Others are broken into pieces, as happened to a memorial tablet at a bus station in Palmers Green that was rebuilt. Teak memorial panels at Old Paddington Town Hall were burnt when the drill hall was demolished and no suitable accommodation could be found for them.

The report warns that without a register of every memorial it is likely that their preservation will be overlooked in the planning process. “Appearance on a register would protect war memorials from development, and if this were accompanied by specific local planning policies requiring memorials to be retained in situ if possible or guidance for relocation if necessary, a high level of protection would be provided,” it says.

Times Online

Hotel owners axe Grosvenor House fair after 75 years

The Grosvenor House, London

It is with great regret that The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair and Grosvenor House announce that The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair will no longer be continued.

For 75 years the hotel and the art and antiques trade have enjoyed a happy and productive relationship, but it has been decided in consultation with the British Antique Dealers’ Association and The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair Executive Committee that the Fair is no longer financially viable. The closure of this much- loved fair, however, presents an opportunity for the trade to mount a new event commensurate with maintaining London as the centre of the art market.

"It has been a privilege for Grosvenor House to host the Art & Antiques Fair for so long and I am delighted we were able to celebrate its 75th anniversary together", said Anthony Stewart-Moore, General Manager of the hotel, "I would like to pay tribute to Simon Phillips and the Executive Committee of the Fair as well as its long- standing Director, Alison Vaissière and her organising team for working so hard for so many years to produce one of the finest art and antiques fairs in the world.”

Simon Phillips, Chairman of the Fair, said that the 2009 event had been a great success and commented: “It is a great disappointment to me that The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair has come to an end. I quite understand that it no longer makes financial sense to continue the Fair. It has been a very long and happy partnership but most great events have a lifespan and a Diamond Anniversary is a fitting point on which to end on a positive note.“

Friday, July 17, 2009

Artangel’s Crystal Palace to re-open

Above: Roger Hiorns, Seizure [pict. The Art Newspaper]

London, 157 Harper Road Elephant and Castle

One of the most high-profile installations to be launched in the UK last year is set to re-open on 23 July. Roger Hiorns’s major sculptural project “Seizure” - a derelict South London flat transformed by the UK artist into a cavern coated in copper sulphate crystals – first opened late last year. The work led to Hiorns being nominated for this year’s Turner Prize.

“After the project opened, 157 Harper Road became a site of pilgrimage. Every day hundreds of people would make their way across the capital to go inside this anonymous flat near the Elephant & Castle,” said a spokeswoman for Artangel, the non-profit public art facilitator who commissioned the piece.

Hiorns pumped over 75,000 litres of copper sulphate solution into the abandoned housing complex to create a thick, shiny, jagged crystalline growth (visitors are required to wear Wellingtons) on the surfaces of the building.

The council is set to pull down the housing complex which means that Seizure will also be demolished.

Artangel’s other current London project, Mens Suits by Charles LeDray (until 20 September), takes place at the Fire Station in Chiltern Street, W1. For further information:

Seizure re-opens on 23 July, free admission, opening Thursday- Saturday 11am - 7pm, Sundays 11am - 5pm and closed Monday-Wednesday

The Art Newspaper

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reuse network

Lorenz Schilling appeared on CNN Local Edition in Southern California with Brad Pomerance - the piece ran 6/9-7/5. For info about our non-profit, please visit

maison idekit home: shipping container architecture

Above: Shipping containers

Above: During the transformation

Above: Once the shipping containers have been transformed into a home

The Canadian architect, Bernard Morin and his wife Joyce Labelle have created their personal dream home from shipping containers. Their Maison Idekit Home is both economical and ecological. Once the containers arrived, they were installed on foundations in only half a day. The rest of the work was spread over ten months. Morin is currently seeking to commercialize its concept, depending on his clients' needs.

Maison idekit home

Ecofasa turns waste to biodiesel using bacteria

A group of Spanish developers working for a company called Ecofasa just announced a new biofuel made up from trash. This isn't a biodiesel made from used frying oil; instead, it's made from general urban waste which is treated by bacteria. The result of that bacteria? Fatty acids that can be used to produce standard biodiesel.

According to the company's CEO, the process is fully biologic, competes with no feedstock and is really sustainable. However, the process doesn't yield that much actual fuel: just one liter of biodiesel from 10 kg of trash. The project is now in a development phase, but Ecofasa said that a commercially viable model could be ready in three to four years.


Parquetry in Amsterdam

Above: A nineteenth century Austrian oak parquetry floor of 132 panels each 63.5cm square realised €29,800 (est €10k). Approx €573sqm

Above: A nineteenth century Austrian parquet de Versailles oak floor of 118 panels each 67cm square which sold at €16,250 (est €7k). Approx €306sqm

Above: A nineteenth century Austrian oak, walnut and fruitwood parquetry floor of 50 panels each 67cm square which sold at €8,750 (est €3k). Approx £364sqm

Amsterdam, Holland - Christie's Decorative Arts Sale, 30 June - 1 July 2009. [Images © Christie's Inc]


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When Duty Calls

When Duty Calls
A monologue by Paul Busby Esq, reflecting on Ronnie Wootton's kind offer to stand-in at Salvo Fair 2009 on the garden ornament and architectural pitch of Marcus Olliff, who would have attended in person but for the competing attraction of Glastonbury that weekend.

Trooper Wootton, famous foot-soldier of the Salvo regiment
Had stood his turn at sentry-go in Marcus Oliff’s tent.
Three days he stood as Sentinel, and Taker-of-the-Ackers,
In scorching heat, with aching feet, and sticky sweaty knackers.

Not one to shirk one’s duty, at seventy years and four,
Our Trooper never left his shift of sixteen hours or more.
Pockets jingling, arsehole tingling from sweat ran down his back,
He gave the mob his Sedgley gob– the spiel, the gab, the craic.

They bought, they spent full fortunes to Ron’s black country charm.
He even kept his teeth in, and called the ladies “Ma’am”.
He didn’t scratch his bollocks, he didn’t pick his nose -
He didn’t curse, say fuck (or worse, what with Black Country prose)

Trooper Wootton stood his guard – while all about him fell.
He didn’t even heed Ma Nature’s call (the reason for the smell)
. . . and when the bugle sounded that the “stand-down” came about,
The last to leave his post, that eve, was Wootton, falling out.

The “Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome” of warriors, post-war
Is nowt compared to those who boast an age of seventy-four.
With his Tour of Duty over, the Knebworth squad disbanded,
Our game old dog went on foot-slog – as usual, single-handed.

Up and down the country, in and out of salvage premises,
The UK record summer heat was Trooper Wootton’s nemesis.
His chariot had no air-con – and, while pounding at his beat
Trooper Wootton like a good ‘un – succumbed unto the heat.

Collapsed, exhausted, sun-dried, of Ron the medics said,
“There’s healthier-looking blokes his age, but usually they’re dead”
So in a cot they Ron did trot, and put him on a drip,
Collapsed but off the front at last, our trooper got some kip.

All the usual intravenous pick-up tonics were no good.
Ron’s ECG responded not to plasma, but black pud.
Insulin? Turn it in! – it’s not the stuff to raise
A bloke like Trooper Wootton - more like mushy peys.

They pumped him up with Banks’s ale mixed up with HP sauce
And fed him faggots, mushy peys and scrawty dick, of course!
. . . and back on breakfast lunch & tea, they got him on his feet
With rabbit stew (and dumplings, too) recovery was complete.

So Trooper Wootton troops again, and back to ply his trade
You’ll never keep a good man down, when a dollar’s to be made.
He coughs, he farts, he rattles still, but plods on like an Austin -
And if you say “How’s Ron today?” he’ll tell you, simply “Bostin!”

© Busby July 2009

Most popular search phrases

A reader asked, 'A long time ago you proffered a list of most trafficked salvage keyword searches which if I remember rightly was gleaned from the web analytics on . Are you still willing to divulge this info?'

The answer is yes, and here it is. The list show the top-ranked of 5,000 phrases by Google analytics on the domain from January to July 2009.

architectural salvage
salvage yards
architectural salvage uk
architectural salvage yards
stone windows
london stock bricks
reclaimed building materials
architectural antiques, kent
architectural antiques
reclaimed building materials portugal
cast iron spandrel panel
antique stone fireplace
pitch pine stairs
antique butchers block
reclaimed cambridge bricks
garden salvage
salvage architectural
reclaimed shopfront
spiral staircase cast iron
architectural reclamation
steel portal frame buildings
salvage yard
barn frame
elizabeth ann sink
antique salvage
building salvage
canopy bath for sale
reclaimed london bricks
1960's fireplace
slates west yorkshire
stone splitter north yorks
architectual salvage
salvage antiques
stock bricks
shapland and petter chairs
reclamation uk
welsh stone roof tiles
salvage yards uk
enamel lighting
reclaimed bricks
salvage reclamation
archetectural salvage
reclaimed verandah
reclaimed french roof tiles
victorian cooper roof vent
reclaimed bricks tunbridge wells
quarry tiles for sale
architectural salvage england
victorian range
architectural salvage yard
reclamation salvage
cast iron lamp post
second hand antique scrap yards devon
salvage and reclamation
slates for sale ireland
aga parts
teak boards
green peggies
copper cupola
reclaimed london yellow stock bricks
reclaimed shutters
muskoka maple flooring
building salvage yards
reclaim building materials
salvaged furniture
salvage garden
large doors
cupola reclamed
foundry patterns for sale
reclaimed oak flooring
reclamation yard in sussex
building reclamation
salvage furniture uk
granite setts for sale
reclaimed door
reclaimed pennant flagstones
reclaimed flooring in hertfordshire
reclamation salvage yards
stone troughs wanted lincolnshire
reclaimed chemist shop
victorian pipe organ
kadai grill
claw foot bath
club roof tile sale
antique wrought iron bench
north western antiques
plywood wanted
reclaimed building materials uk
reclaimed inglenook
plywood sheets for sale
reclaimed bricks walsall
architectural reclaim
blue lias flagstone
uk salvaged pulpit
arcitectural salvage
architectural antiques uk
reclaimed building materials westmidlands
wanted antique leaded and stained glass
reclaimed parquet flooring
uk architectural salvage
english rose kitchen
architectural salvage doors
coalbrookdale fern
georgian shutters
reconstituted stone+statuary
reclaimed floorboard london
used church furniture wanted
leisure ware+kitchen+1960's
art deco towel rails
religious statues for sale
oak cart shed
stafforshire blue paviours
reclaimed white tile bricks
church organ for sale
reclaimed materials
reclaimed pine furniture
copper roof cupola
devon slates mob
"architectural salvage"
reclamation yards surrey
lattice windows
sandblaster for sale
antique kitchen range
glass salvage
pub furniture clearance uk
reclaimed clay pantiles
slate fire surround
reclaimed doors northampton
spiral stairs uk salvage
garden items and architectural auctions
reclaimed door handles
oak staircase
reclamation yards
broad reeded glass uk
reclaimed shutters for sale
reclaimed tiles
thomas jeckyll fireplace
reclaimed tiles uk
reclamtion and salvage wolverhampton
replica reclaimed walling
stone window frames stained glass
large slabs marble
reclaim heritage + hemel hampstead
renovating victorian house
architectural salvage london


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Get your copy of the Green Building Bible

The latest edition of the most comprehensive and practical guide ever to green building is out now!


The Green Building Bible covers, in over 100 chapters, subjects such as buying an eco home, materials, thermal insulation, sourcing sustainable timbers, space heating, sustainable roofing, natural paints to name but a very few.

With Energy Performance Certificates, the Code for Sustainable homes and the new BREEAM standards having been introduced in the last year, the fourth edition of The Green Building Bible is once again the right book at the right time.

The book comes in two volumes with this first one taking the reader through the whole sustainability field in a way which allows you to dip in and out according to the varying interests and competence of the readership. Those new to the area will find a structured and interesting guide through the issues, while more experienced practitioners will find a thorough reference source of the goals, current directions and practical solutions to the challenge of sustainable living.

The book is structured as a series of articles by experienced and knowledgeable contributors (including Salvo's Thornton Kay) on a comprehensive range of related topics. The reader can work through the whole series or dip in and out in the order which suits their individual interests or requirements. Whether you are an environmentally aware home-owner looking for ways to reduce your personal carbon footprint or a national building company looking to understand current thinking and comply with the latest standards, this book will lead you to the information you need.

To order a copy please contact Salvo 020 8400 6222 or send a cheque made payable to Salvo Llp for the correct amount to Salvo, 10 Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick, London, W4 4PH

Antiques raided at stately home

Antiques and furnishings valued at £200,000 have been stolen from a stately home in Worcestershire.

Burglars targeted Earls Croome Court, near Upton-upon-Severn, between 16 June and 3 July.
Their haul included a 30-light chandelier, 11 oak doors, two toilets with basins, washing machines, iron gates and a kitchen sink.

The house is the former home of the Earls of Coventry and was bought by the Croome Heritage Trust in 2007.

West Mercia Police said the stolen items could be offered for resale and urged people to be on their guard.

BBC News

Entwined Dolphin Fountain with Shell and Triton

Architectural Heritage's Entwined Dolphin Fountain with Shell and Triton circa 1830 was entered to Lapda's object of the year competition. 'To my knowledge, this is the earliest known signed piece by Austin & Seeley,' said Alex Puddy. Unfortunately the fountain did not win however we felt it important to highlight such an interesting piece;

Entwined Dolphin Fountain with Shell and Triton. A large artificial stone fountain by Austin & Seeley, circa 1835. This rare survival from the early 19th Century is a fine example from the workshops of Austin & Seeley, modelled with a merman blowing a conch seated above a shell basin, the stylised conch shell bowl is supported by three entwined dolphins. This fountain is unusually signed in relief on the rocky outcrop below the merman (Austin & Seeley 183…). The fountain appears on the cover of the specimen book of Austin & Seeley’s artificial stone manufactory, a catalogue of 1844 , where a line drawing is shown on page 18, titled as above.

The date of this catalogue entry corresponds to the company’s participation at the Great Exhibition. Here they displayed a fountain some 20 feet in height amongst other items from their manufactory. The company’s beginning is a little difficult to date, however it is known that Felix Austin procured moulds from a previous manufacturer Van Spangen Powell & Co., around 1828 and that their office was registered at Keeple Row, Regent’s Park in 1825 (probably their showroom) with the manufacturing taking place near Thames Tunnel, Rotherhithe.

As with other companies imitating natural stone, such as Coade, competitive pricing, when compared to carved stone or marble, was one of the main selling points, alongside its ‘hardness and durability’, especially when used for fountains. Around 1840 Austin went into partnership with the sculptor John Seeley, and at this time over one hundred models of fountains, gures, pier ornaments, vases etc. were available. Made from a compound of Portland cement, ground stone, coarse sand and pulverised marble, items from the maker were never normally marked or stamped. However, it is possible to recognise items made by Austin & Seeley in cross-section, the compound resembling nougat.

Lapda object of the year

Architectural Heritage

Strategy for Sustainable Construction

Strategy for Sustainable Construction
Taken from Green Building Magazine, Summer 2009

It is almost a year since the Strategy for Sustainable Construction was released to the world. This joint industry and government initiative intended to promote leadership and behavioural change, as well as delivering benefits to both the construction industry and the wider economy.

A lot has changed in the last year, especially in the wider economy, which has affected construction more than any other industry. In this light, it is likely that some objectives of the Strategy for Sustainable Construction will be significantly more or less challenging than originally planned, depending which one you consider.

There are eleven main areas covered in the strategy with over seventy targets and objectives detailed across these areas.

For waste, the main overarching target relates to the diversion of construction waste from landfill. Specially, by 2012, a fifty per cent reduction of construction, demolition and excavation waste to landfill compared to 2008.

There were six actions identified to help achieve this target. These include the construction waste commitment, developing advice for small builders, developing sector resource efficiency plans, setting an overall target for diverting demolition waste from landfill, extending the Plasterboard Manufacturer's agreement to the rest of the supply chain, and a twenty per cent reduction in construction packaging waste.

The Construction Waste Commitment is led by WRAP (Waste and Resources action Programme), who have asked individual construction companies to sign up to halving waste to landfill. To date one hundred organisations have signed up to this voluntary commitment.

Developing guidance for small builders on waste reduction is being led by the National Federation of Builders, with help from others. It has also recently published a waste saving guide that could help reduce waste disposal costs by up to forty per cent for small builders following its advice.

Strategy for Sustainable Construction

Pugin and the Gothic Revival

Pugin and the Gothic Revival sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge
15 Jul 2009

Fine classical examples of Pugin's designs across a wide range of media, such as Window grilles as found in the House of Lords, hand block printed wallpaper, and a magnificent hexafoil corona at £10,000 - £15,000. Items by other Gothic designers range from stained glass panels to items with architectural interest.

Above: A Victorian Gothic design cast iron fireplace insert with a monogram to the frieze, cast registration lozenge to the back, 103cm high, 106cm wide. Estimate: £500 - 800

Above: A magnificent pair of Gothic Revival fire dogs A W N Pugin for Abney Hall, Cheadle the manufacture attributed to John Hardman & Co., in brass and polished steel, each cast with four columns having pierced supports and knopped finials, embellished with fleur-de-lys motifs 88cm high (2). Estimate: £5,000 - 7,000

Above: A fine and rare Gothic Revival stained and painted glass triptych 'choir loft' window attributed to the Munich Retained Glass Company of Chicago, circa 1920, of upright rectangular form in twelve sections, depicting St. Cecilia at an organ, flanked by standing figures of angels, King David with harp, and a Pope, within an arch, pointed arch tops, 316cm high, 245cm wide overall. Estimate: £10,000 - 15,000

Above: A W N Pugin for Minton a decorative Tile, circa 1860 decorated with white flora and green leaves on a deep red and blue ground, together with a run of four blue and white Minton tiles and a blue, white and red tile attributed to Pugin 22.5cm and 20cm square, makers' marks (6). Estimate: £400 - 600

Above: A large pair of Gothic design pitch pine doors with blackened cast iron mounts, 19th century of pointed arch top outline and planked construction over a chamfered frame, the ironwork in the style of William Butterfield, with stylised straps, handle and latch, each 263cm high, 83cm wide (2). Estimate: £800 - 1,200

Pugin and the Gothic Revival

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Design and Salvage

The London Magazine, July 2009

Maria Speake from Retrouvius is interviewed by The London Magazine for a special design edition:

Maria studied architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and set up architectural and furniture salvage business Retrouvius with husband Adam Hills on the side. 'It was partly out of financial need and partly out of an intuitive revulsion for destruction,' she says. Time spent on building sites gave her an invaluable understanding of materials: 'It was a delicious process of learning about things like tiles, wood and stained glass, which you are very detached from as an architecture student.'

The pair moved the business to London a few years later, setting up their shop just off the Harrow Road. Maria's progress into interior design was accidental. 'I was coaxed into design projects through a wish to show how the incredible materials we found could be used in a contemporary way', she says. She has worked on everything from a Suffolk beach house to a racy London town house for Coco de Mer founder Sam Roddick. Her architectural knowledge gives her a unique approach: 'It made me realise how malleable buildings are,' she says. "They're not static, like people think. But it also gave me a hatred of the aggressive way buildings are so often mauled. It can make me over-sentimental.'

The pair are amazingly skilled at finding unusual pieces of furniture, fabrics and tiles, which they source from a mix of building sites, factory clearances and museums. They have even reclaimed a stone floor from the Armani store on New Bond Street. 'I love pieces that can add stories to a home,' explains Maria.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Gaze Rural & Domestic Bygones

Gaze, Diss Norfolk 04 July 2009
Over 1000 lots auctioned by Carl Willows at Gaze auction house.

Above: Lot 6293. A Singer 46K circa 1900 in original bentwood case, excellent Ottoman Carnation decoration, Serial No P362774 it has an estimate of £55 to £65.

Above: Lot 6314. An enamel sign - Petter Oil Engines, estimated at £100 to £150.

Above: Lot 6338. A 15th Century and later tinker's barrow, spoked wheel driving a grindstone with various compartments housing tools and fittings, estimated at £600 to £800.

Above: Lot 6339. A run of three 1930's cinema seats, estimated at £80 to £120.

Above: Lot 7014. A bier - metal spoked wheels, estimated at £150 to £180.

Gaze Rural & Domestic Bygones catalogue

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Exploding German balls and big sales at Salvo Fair 2009

Above: Biggest stand and sale went to Ronson Reclaim from Gloucestershire

Salvo Fair 26-28 June 2009, Knebworth House, Herts UK

RONSON Reclaim had the biggest stand at 3,000sqft at Knebworth and the highest single sale at this years fair of £30,000 to a new client on the Sunday. Several dealers reported sales in excess of £10,000 including newcomer Neale Hargreaves of Hargreaves Reclaimed Flooring from Scotland with a sale of reclaimed Travertine floor slabs which came from the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, on offer at £70sqm for 600sqm.

Last year exceeded expectations with the recession looming, and this year we were all slightly nervous, but it was deemed the best yet by most of the dealers present with a constant flood of privates, together with a respectable number of trade buyers, not only on the Friday trade day but throughout the weekend. Among the 67 stands were a sprinkling of Belgian, French, Irish and for the first time this year, German dealers, amongst whose stock were 200 round cast iron balls used in an old mill for crushing pigment. Amazingly, if two balls were thrown against each other they exploded as if a large percussion cap had gone off. No-one has yet explained why but it provided much merriment and one or two near heart attacks during the festivities.

The weather was warm, with rain showers on Friday but none during the weekend, apart from a three hour downpour during the traditional Saturday night exhibitor barbie which did not dampen spirits, although a shortage of food did. Salvo will try to get this right next year.

A new layout was tried, with the grand avenue opening out at the far end into a large square, which will be enlarged and improved next year. Stands are likely to be capped at a maximum of 80 next year, so if you would like a stand please book early. The dates are 25, 26 and 27 June 2010.

Once again our thanks go to this year's two sponsors, Period Living magazine and T W Gaze auctioneers who both turned out in force over the weekend, as well as Wocko and the Knebworth Estate, and all the exhibitors and visitors, who made the fair a pleasure to run.

Above: Robots descend on Salvo Fair 2009 to join the thousands of other visitors who came to rummage amongst the the architectural salvage, garden antiques and reclaimed building materials.

Above: Guy Trench's stand.
Guy said, "Another great fair, thoroughly enjoyed and signs of some good after sales."

Above: Morris interiors stand.
Mark Morris said, "A very successful fair all round the attendance was superb and we did very well. If there was one piece of advice I could give to exhibitors next year it would be to take a mobile credit card machine. Most of our sales were made through it and I believe it generated more sales as the visitors did not have to go off site to get cash."

Above: The stand of Ronson Reclaim
Ron Jones said, "The fair was a complete success, we were very happy, the weather was great and we look forward to next year. The only thing I would suggest for future fairs is to encourage bigger items."

Above: Smiths Architectural Salvage
Tony Smith said, "Another good fair which we very much enjoyed and sold a lot of doors."

Above: The stand of Steptoe's Yard.
Andrew Shorten said, "To all old and new contacts met at the Salvo fair thankyou for making it such an enjoyable weekend and see you next year."

Salvo Fair