By my reckoning, London has 13 railway termini, surely many more than any other city. Many retain their Victorian character with soaring iron and glass vaulted train sheds, and several have undergone major renewals in the last decade. St Pancras, for example has gone from being an underused and dreary station, which once had the threat of demolition hanging over it, to a buzzing international terminus, filled with shops, cafes, and public art. Meanwhile, Kings Cross has a stunning new concourse, and is about to get its own piazza, and London Bridge is on a long journey to bring it into the 21st century, re-using the acres of hidden brick vaults beneath its platforms.
Cannon street, situated halfway between St Paul's Cathederal and the Bank of England, hasn't fared as well as some of the others. While it still retains its Victorian side walls and turrets, the original train shed roof was lost in the blitz, to be replaced by a bland 80s office block, hovering over the tracks. And the bridge over the Thames which brings the trains into the station, looks like it was built by the army, clad as it is in camouflage green corrugated metal panels. I often imagine, that if you could only peel away its ugly skin, there might be some elegant Victorian ironwork beneath, but fear the original bridge probably met the same fate as the roof. However the concouse and front of the station have recently seen some improvements on the back of the redevelopment of the office block that sits above the station. While the station has benefitted, the current lacklustre state of the economy, means that the office development is still looking for tenants. My client, design agency, Mammal brought me in to provide images of the impressive reception and lobby areas, for the brochure they were putting together for the developers of Cannon Place.
Interiors: Angela Bligh
Quite coincidentally I photographed Jerry Hines' London home a few years. His hallway is the first picture on this old post I did on hallways some time ago.
Vienna in the 1920s was a cultural hothouse. Since the turn of the century, the creativity emerging from the city's artists and designers had heralded a new age, and the seeds of modernism were being sown. At the vanguard of this renaissance was the Vienna Secession, a group of artists and architects who rejected the staid established styles of the day. The movement's architectural manifesto, the Secession Building, by Joseph Maria Olbrich, stands to this day as a permanent exhibition hall in central Vienna; its perforated gold dome, being one of the city's most famous sites. Out of this movement, a company emerged called the Wiener Werksätte (Vienna Workshops), producing a huge range of goods and applied arts, from metalwork, glass and ceramics, to textiles, furniture, and fashion. Against this background, in 1927, an haute couture tailor named Klaudia Mayer set up a small salon, Atelier Mayer, making bespoke eveningwear for the high-society of Austria & Switzerland.
Eighty or so years later, her granddaughter, Carmen Haid, has revived the name and ethos for her elegant London showroom selling exquisite 20th century vintage couture. And now that we are in the 21st century, there is of course an online presence at Atelier-Mayer.Com.
In addition to the main showroom at street level, around the side, steps lead down to an unexpected lightwell garden, and a further showroom and fitting room.
If your German's any good, you might like to read more about Carmen and Atelier Mayer in the article I shot these pics for. You'll also find shots of her West London home.
How things change. Until a decade or so ago, nobody, at least not in Britain, aspired to live in a tower block. Councils up and down the land had built towers to house those who couldn't afford the cherished Victorian terraced house, thirties semi, or detached bungalow. And so they became associated with poverty and deprivation, and, after the catastrophic collapse in 1968 of Ronan Point, in East London, with poor build quality too. Partly as a result of this event, it can still be difficult to this day, to find a lender prepared to offer mortgages on buildings over about 6 storeys, particularly if the building in question is an ex local authority block. Despite this background however, the top end of the housing market has recently been enthusiastically building ever higher towers. Most notable is the 50 storey Vauxhall Tower nearing completion by the river in SW8. Despite recent bad publicity when it was hit by a helicopter in the fog, it will doubtless have no shortage of buyers for its multi-million pound apartments. Meanwhile on the Isle of Dogs, among the cluster of towers of London's new financial heart, are the twin Pan Peninsula Towers. And there on the thirty-somethingth floor, I photographed this palatial party pad with panoramic views.