Sep 15, 2017

Insider London - Inspirations by Tess O´leary - by my home and yours blog for design and family lovers!

Insider tips about London & it´s Design world you would never have heard about but don´t want to have missed

 

Tess O´leary – Architect & Luxury Jewelry designer

20 years have passed now since I finished my Design Degree in London, where I have met Tess O´leary. I actually lived, studied and worked in this cosmopolitan City for almost 7 years. I loved its totally crazy, free and open creative spirit, but surviving on student budged was a truly tough target!

And with this anniversary in mind, I recently went back to catch up with friends and the changes that the city has gone through in the recent years. For me London has always been a fountain of inspiration and this city will always occupy a special place in my heart.

If you like Design, you should definitely try to coordinate your trip with London Design week on mind. This year it´s between the 16-24. September and I definitely recommend to visit the design events, installations and exhibitions which are on offer during this design festival. It´s a real highlight for all design lovers! Read more about it in my previous post.

In order to give you a independent view of London & its Design world, totally up to date, I asked for you a very special London, architect and designers to tell us a few of her off the track insider hints and tips of creative city life:

Tess O´leary,  is an Architect & Luxury Jewelry designer with an amazing conceptual approach to her creations and a special sensibility for Lifestyle, she will give us here an amazing view of her favorite inspiration spots and secret hangouts.

Can you tell us who you are, what you do and what you stand for ?

I recently relocated back to London after four years in Berlin where I started developing a new range of perfumes and candles called Hexe – witch in German – with a Berlin based perfumer Geza Schoen and designer Helder Suffenplan. These draw from old spells and witchery of old Europe but have a decidedly contemporary brand and aroma. Its been a true eye opener and experience to work with such an experienced and talented team to define the brief and shape the scents. I am trying to underpin the brand with as much integrity and am writing this as I speak in the shadow of Pendle Hill – the UK’s witch county or Salem if you will.

Alongside this my partner and I have been developing a second product which is about as unconventional. Ore is a range of jewellery that connects people to natural phenomena. Our first piece to be produced as a limited edition is named Lucy – after Lucy in the Sky of Diamonds, and each one connects to a single white dwarf star. When this star passes overhead the meteorites cast within the gold will glow. We’ve worked with a large team to bring this to fruition – from astrophysicists to technical directors, jewellers and a branding team. Its taken a long time as the materials have been particularly challenging to work with, but we are on the home straight now. We’re also working with a very unusual material called Vantablack that really captures the imagination – it is acknowledged as the darkest material known to man. And this is present in the ring itself as a true black hole. 

www.iamore.io

The Lucy ring from ORE

who are your favorite london based designers ?

They come and go…I think I veer towards more Italian design for furniture and fashion. That said, I adore the designs of London based fashion designers Mother of Pearl, Boudicca, Hussain Chalayan, Gareth Pugh and Roksanda.

how do you define londons style ?

Hmmm – very tricky! I don’t see one. I thought I did a while ago in graphics and digital design, but now it seems everyone designs the same style websites. I started working in digital design when it was really experimental, before UX was a term – when usability wasn’t a ‘thing’, but now we see these same scrolling templates the world over. I will need to mull over this question for a long time but I guess there’s usually a street element that manifests…

things a design lover should see in london – and a few of your favorite places

You may need a lifetime to see the best London has to offer. But here are a few places I frequent to find peace and subsequent headspace to seek inspiration and new ideas.

Noble Rot – a great little wine bar that has a feel of being on an old galleon if you descend to the restaurant area at the back. Its located on Lambs Conduit – a small street of fiercely independent shops which is unusual for London which feels likes its been colonised by chains. Its a few minutes walk to another fine drinking spot – The Duke on Roger St. Its got a real 40s feel to it and crops up in the odd film. Being well out of sight its rarely mobbed so you can often grab a nice dark booth.

Noble Rot – a great little wine bar that has a feel of being on an old galleon if you descend to the restaurant area at the back. Its located on Lambs Conduit – a small street of fiercely independent shops which is unusual for London which feels likes its been colonised by chains. Its a few minutes walk to another fine drinking spot – The Duke on Roger St. Its got a real 40s feel to it and crops up in the odd film. Being well out of sight its rarely mobbed so you can often grab a nice dark booth.

Lincolns Inn Field

Sir John Soane Museum – an absolute gem in London’s crown. The former home of this neo-classical architect from the 1800s is free (closed on Mondays). He was obsessed with light and you will see how he has wielded influence over designer right upto present day. He was an avid collector and even sent his wife to far flung places to acquire antiquities. Soane procured an Egyptian sarcophagus in 1824 and held a 3 day party to celebrate when 890 visitors came to view it, lit by the glow of 100 candelabra and lamps. 

If you find yourself here, also find yourself to the Hunterian Museum on the opposite flank of Lincolns Inn Fields. Hidden inside the Royal College of Surgeons, this collection of anatomical specimens is positively at odds with its sparkling cabinets – all kinds of medical curiosities, physical ‘errors and inconsistencies’. Depending on your constitution, you may need a drink after this. And I recommend the Seven Stars in the legal quarter just around the corner. I hope they still have their resident cat Tom, who prowls the bar sporting a ruff around his neck, which doesn’t appear to bother him in the slightest…

If you find yourself here, also find yourself to the Hunterian Museum on the opposite flank of Lincolns Inn Fields. Hidden inside the Royal College of Surgeons, this collection of anatomical specimens is positively at odds with its sparkling cabinets – all kinds of medical curiosities, physical ‘errors and inconsistencies’. Depending on your constitution, you may need a drink after this. And I recommend the Seven Stars in the legal quarter just around the corner. I hope they still have their resident cat Tom, who prowls the bar sporting a ruff around his neck, which doesn’t appear to bother him in the slightest…

Estorick Gallery, a small Modern Italian art gallery in Canonbury, N1. The core of the collection is from the Italian Futurists. Its often overlooked so is a relaxed spot in a pretty part of London.

South Kensington Museums

Assuming there are no queues – though unfortunately they’re usually omnipresent at the Natural History Museum – London’s museum quarter has a real pull because admission is free. Quite a coup for an expensive city. This is applicable to all the major institutions – the National Gallery and British Museum included. The V&A has a very active contemporary design programme right through the year, peaking with the London Design Festival in Sept.

If you have spare time afterwards go to Egerton House Hotel (where you get cheese on toast to mop up your martini mixed by Octogenarian bartender Soho stalwart Tony); Ognisko – a spacious, airy contemporary Polish restaurant in the old post-war Polish social club or the Nags Head pub on the quiet mews street in Knightsbridge.

If you have spare time afterwards go to Egerton House Hotel (where you get cheese on toast to mop up your martini mixed by Octogenarian bartender Soho stalwart Tony); Ognisko – a spacious, airy contemporary Polish restaurant in the old post-war Polish social club or the Nags Head pub on the quiet mews street in Knightsbridge.

Tate Britain – since the Tate Modern has opened and drawn the hoards, the original Tate is a temple of calm. Even at the weekend it feels so peaceful – maybe its the lofty spaces…

Chelsea Physic Garden – founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden, this is where the city’s medicinal plants were cultivated before sending them on boats down the Thames towards the Apothecary Hall – one of the medieval trades societies. The garden’s high walls have created a heat-trapping mini microclimate where many foreign species have flourished: Britain’s oldest fruiting olive tree; the most Northern grapefruit and rows of medicinal plants such as the Willow who’s bark the modern Aspirin is derived from.

Chelsea Physic Garden – founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden, this is where the city’s medicinal plants were cultivated before sending them on boats down the Thames towards the Apothecary Hall – one of the medieval trades societies. The garden’s high walls have created a heat-trapping mini microclimate where many foreign species have flourished: Britain’s oldest fruiting olive tree; the most Northern grapefruit and rows of medicinal plants such as the Willow who’s bark the modern Aspirin is derived from.

I love to feel like I’ve dropped out of London for a while – without having to venture too far. There are so many great places that feel gobsmackingly authentic:

Jose – a tiny Spanish spot on Bermondsey St. The tapas is top notch. 

Tozino – a few minutes walk from the above – hidden in a dark archway on the increasingly popular food market Maltby Street. Come rain or shine, find yourself a spot by the heavy red curtains and watch the sun beams cut through.

Prince of Wales pub on Kennington’s Cleaver Square – this Georgian Square is a popular spot to play boules. The tree lined gravel square lends itself perfectly to this continental sport! And there are fewer better places to hang out on a balmy night. Maybe you can couple it with a visit to Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery 15 minute walk away. This won a bunch of architectural design awards including the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016, RIBA National Award 2016 and RIBA London Award 2016. Also home to the second incarnation of the Pharmacy restaurant.

Prince of Wales pub on Kennington’s Cleaver Square – this Georgian Square is a popular spot to play boules. The tree lined gravel square lends itself perfectly to this continental sport! And there are fewer better places to hang out on a balmy night. Maybe you can couple it with a visit to Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery 15 minute walk away. This won a bunch of architectural design awards including the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016, RIBA National Award 2016 and RIBA London Award 2016. Also home to the second incarnation of the Pharmacy restaurant.

Open House 

Admittedly a bit of a victim of its own success with queues sometimes wrapping round blocks, this is the best place to hunt around for architecture and design inspiration. All kinds of buildings throw open their doors to the public for one weekend only: from major institutions (Foreign Office) to forgotten relics (Churchill’s war rooms in Neasden) to the perennially popular ultra-contemporary private new builds that year. https://openhouselondon.open-city.org.uk/

As old London is slowly wiped off the map, its a treat to do a tour to be reminded of the history. Its full of footprints from Roman and Medieval times. One of the better places to explore are Smithfield or Bermondsey – an hedonistic centre and now home to the Globe Theatre. Find out about the Winchester Geese – the bishop’s prostitutes, and find the old bear baiting pit behind the globe that held its shape in the street for carriages to turn.

As old London is slowly wiped off the map, its a treat to do a tour to be reminded of the history. Its full of footprints from Roman and Medieval times. One of the better places to explore are Smithfield or Bermondsey – an hedonistic centre and now home to the Globe Theatre. Find out about the Winchester Geese – the bishop’s prostitutes, and find the old bear baiting pit behind the globe that held its shape in the street for carriages to turn.

Hampstead – the wild green lung of the city. Easy to reach considering its scale. This is where you come for some breathing space if you need to clear your head to let new ideas flow.

hamstead - london

Porchester Spa – a restored Art Deco spa replete with ‘independent women’ sculptures and all the tepidariums, plunge pools and saunas you could wish for. An accessibly priced experience to remember.

Porchester Spa – a restored Art Deco spa replete with ‘independent women’ sculptures and all the tepidariums, plunge pools and saunas you could wish for. An accessibly priced experience to remember.

London’s “Magnificent Seven” large cemeteries – try to visit one of these large architecturally planned cemeteries. My favourite is Nunhead – now officially a nature reserve – in an overlooked corner of S.E.London. As students at Camberwell College of Arts (where I met My Home & Yours founder Anika Schmitt) we frequented this to our hearts delight. If you find yourself round here its worth checking out Peckham Rye which is a lot going for it, including the perennially popular Frank’s Cafe – a vast bar and gallery on the rooftop of an old car park. It has panoramic views across London.

Welcome Trust – On the choked up Euston Road, this is a cool temple to medical discoveries. On the first floor you’ll find founder Henry Welcome’s personal collection that he amassed from his travels: you’ll find lines of prosthetics, educational models from different Chinese dynasties, magical and healing amulets and talismen from all cultures and eras. Its a veritable treasure trove, albeit one laid out in a million dollar high-tech environment. On the ground floor they have a temporary exhibitions that explore all kinds of facets of physical and mental health that bring together a fantastic collection of historical and contemporary exhibits each time.

Welcome Trust – On the choked up Euston Road, this is a cool temple to medical discoveries. On the first floor you’ll find founder Henry Welcome’s personal collection that he amassed from his travels: you’ll find lines of prosthetics, educational models from different Chinese dynasties, magical and healing amulets and talismen from all cultures and eras. Its a veritable treasure trove, albeit one laid out in a million dollar high-tech environment. On the ground floor they have a temporary exhibitions that explore all kinds of facets of physical and mental health that bring together a fantastic collection of historical and contemporary exhibits each time.

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