Saturday, 14 May 2011

BBC London radio show 14th May

Hello! The blog is without pictures at the moment, or links (I've just written all the websites in, in an old fashioned visible way) because something went wrong with Blogger yesterday. I'll re-jig later to make it look nicer, but all the info is there!

It all began this week with a trip to Clerkenwell, to take part in Clerkenwell Design Week ( ).  It doesn’t start until 24th May, but there’s a lot to think about seeing over the ‘week’ (which is actually three days, as it ends on 26th, but poetic license is favoured on the Robert Elms show).

The timetable ( is mind-boggling, including local architects SaY (on 45 Mitchell Street, EC1 ) opening up their collaborative design practice studio for unknowings like me to wander through, design talks at lunchtimes by lumineries in the world of design (have a look at the ‘Inspiring Design lunch and talks’ by Moroso (?)section online). There will be talks by trend forecasters about what people will be buying next year, as well as lectures by physiotherapists about the best work environments for happiness. I like the look of the Vitra workshop where you can learn to ‘upcycle’.


There are exhibitions as well of course – you get the chance to visit the House of Dentention, a Victorian prison on Sans Walk in Clerkenwell, which will be open to the public throughout and also the Farmiloe Building on St John Street, which used to house a Victorian lead and glass merchants. Both destinations will be showcasing new design talent – but it’s really interesting to think historically, too.


Next: a bike tour. I’ve spoken before about the super cool bike company Tokyobike ( ): it’s a small independent bike maker in an old Tokyo suburb called Yanaka. And somehow, now they are super dooper cool, and on the wish lists of cyclists and people who like nice design and don’t mind a bit of cycling with it.

The founder Ichiro Kanai has a well developed philosophy that ensures every model is lightweight (about 10 KG), simple, and carries a lot of style. And – important – isn’t expensive. They’re made of lightweight cromoly steel which they say ensures strength and durability, and the compact upright handlebars are designed for a comfortable ride and vision. The 650mm diameter wheels are good for speeding up and whizzing around tight corners, which makes them a very urban choice.

And – this summer,  there’s going to be a shop in London. It opens on Friday 27th May on 54 Rivington Street, EC2A 3QN (020-7608 0206), but there’s a launch party on Thursday 26th May at 6pm, where you can preview the bikes, have a drink and enter a raffle to win one (all money goes to the Japanese Tsunami appeal).

The store stays open until 31st July, Wednesday- Sunday.  (11am-7pm Weds- Fri; 11am-5pm Sunday).

Twitter: @tokyobikeUK


And then. Cheery news: a chocolate shop on Camden Passage that I like to get hot chocolate from in the winter time is doing so well, it’s coming to Soho. It’s Paul A Young – who makes hand made chocolates, ice cream, brownies. He’s done really well, considering he opened in Islington just in 2006, and since then has opened another in Threadneedle Street, won lots of awards in the chocolate world – including a Gourmand Award for the Best Chocolate Book in the World, no less.

All fresh natural ingredients, no additives or preservatives. And this store has a big kitchen downstairs for tastings: if you call in, Paul will probably be there, experimenting away.

Have a look at or follow on Twitter at @paul_a_young

· <> Twitter @paul_a_young


Then the mood for a bargain overcame us, and we went to British Designers Sale, in Chelsea Town Hall on King’s Road ( ). It’s the second and last day today - open until 4pm. I didn’t say this, but if you quote Time Out at the door, there’s free entry.


I love this: Buy My Wardrobe is back. This is where more than 20 stylish women (who call themselves Wardrobe Mistresses) with seriously designer wardrobes, sell them off at seriously reduced prices – some up to 70% cheaper. (Have a look on ). It’s happening today, from 2pm – 4pm, at the Supperclub, 12 Aklam Road, W10, (just off the Portobello Road) and there will be over 100 pre-loved (dubious phrase) handbags, a shoe lounge with over 100 pairs of hardly worn designer shoes, and style consultants (Nicky Hambleton Jones agency) .

You can buy a ticket on the door from 2pm, for £5 - but if you want to get there first to get the choice of the best, you can buy a VIP ticket which includes champagne for £20, which gets you in at noon, or £5 in advance for entry at 1pm.


For scavenging in a treasure trove, the only conceivable destination next was the Kettle’s Yard Found Sale, which is happening in the Brompton Garage, SW3 2BA (have a look at for more details), which is South Kensington tube. It starts on Tuesday 17th, and runs until Saturday 22nd, and promises arts, furniture, crafts, and all manner of things lost and found, costing from £1 up to £2000.


For a vintage dress, the place we stopped by was ‘Frock Me!’, the vintage fashion fair and tea room which counts among its attendees Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss. That’s happening tomorrow, from 11am-5.30pm, in Chelsea Town Hall, on the King’s Road, again. It costs £4, unless you’re a student with ID, and then it’s £2. Look at )


Then to a Nicole Fahri sample sale, from 18th May until 21st May (Wed- Fri 11am – 8pm, Sat 10am -4pm) It’s in 16 Fouberts Place, W1 (020-7036 7500). You’ll get up to 60% off shoes, clothes and accessories (men and women).

For people who like Belstaff, there’s a sample sale in The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, on 20th May (1pm-6pm) and 21st May (9am-6pm). Again, up to 60% off coats, boots, shirts etc.

For brides! London Bridal Designer Sale on Sat 4th, (10am to 5pm) and Sunday and 5th June at the Lancaster Hotel, Lancaster Terrace, W2 2TY

Up to 70% off designer wedding dresses. Over 1000 available from leading designers including Amanda Wakeley, Amy Michelson, Anna Christina, Annabel B, Atelier Aimée, Caroline Castigliano, Christiana Couture, Galit Levi, Lyn Ashworth, Max Chaoul, Oleg Cassini Icon, Sharon Hoey, Toi Creazioni…

The tickets are FREE, but, you must log onto  to register your details and to select a time slot. When you get there, consultants will measure you so you know the size to look for; fashion show samples, end of line, one-off prototypes, shop samples.


Then, a trip around Liberty, home of window shopping (for me), and purveyor of wondrous goods.  Every year, the wonderfully named Patch Rogers takes over a section of the shop to exhibit, and sell, a collection of unique antiques that are worth going to visit, even if not to buy. Although, of course, do buy if you can - it's not an easy time for independent sellers. Everything will be original Arts and Crafts Design from 1850 - 1950

It runs from 19th May until 19th June: an online catalogue will appear here on 18th May, but in a sneak preview, to give you a sense of what will be on offer, here's a few of the rarities:

An extremely rare first edition of the celebrated 'Roots of the Mountains' written by William Morris and covered in original Morris fabric

Aesthetic Movement rosewood cabinet with Japanese lacquered panels  by Howard & Sons

Aesthetic Movement large rosewood open bookcase by Collinson & Lock attributed to Godwin

Arts & Crafts bookcase with ebony and pewter peacock inlaid decoration

Morris & Co upholstered settee

Christopher Dresser Linthorpe vase

Birmingham Guild lamps

Arts & Crafts embroidered panels

Liberty settle with Voysey designed fabric panel

Shapland and Petter cabinet with copper panel

Rowley Gallery panels