British Standard is very pleased to announce that we have chosen to support The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, by sponsoring a joinery apprentice as part of their Building Skill in Craft programme.
Given our shared interest in the preservation of traditional design and craftsmanship for future generations, this sponsorship marks the beginning of an exciting, long-term collaboration between the two camps: our objective is to broaden public interest and understanding of the importance of sustaining traditional building techniques, and provide relevant training for those working within a built environment context.
The course, which is offered by The Prince’s Foundation to craftsmen and women who want to develop their knowledge and experience of traditional building methods, will provide them with the training and expertise needed to work on heritage projects and new build construction, as well as enabling them to start up their own businesses in the future.
British Standard will make a donation from the sale of every kitchen to the foundation, to help support a joinery apprentice on this course, and we hope that we can eventually fully fund one apprenticeship annually.
To see the British Standard cupboard range that is helping us to fund an apprentice, visit www.britishstandardcupboards.co.uk
Learn more about The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and their Building Skill in Craft programme, at www.princes-foundation.org/what-we-do/projects/educate/current-programmes/building-skill-craft
The sometimes bleak terraces of the Southbank Centre were transformed recently by various architectural constructions as part of it’s ‘Festival of the World’. Amongst stalactites of plastic bottles and a baobab tree made of rags were several blob-shaped adobe structures with portholes and fake grass reminiscent of ‘hobbit’ or ‘teletubby’ dwellings.
- Adobe structure at the South Bank Centre by ‘Small Earth’ (Photo by Belinda Lawley)
Built by ‘Small Earth’ eco builders, these were a fun-examples of a building system with huge potential to provide cheap and durable housing for the developing world and disaster-zones and perhaps for the developed world as well. The system is called ‘Superadobe’ and was created (originally as a proposal for dwellings on the moon) by the late Iranian architect, author and philosopher Nader Khalili who was interested in developing traditional low-tech building techniques to help alleviate the global housing crisis. Sandbags (filled with earth and cement) and barbed wire (often the by-products of war..) are built up in layers using the wire as reinforcement before the structure is rendered.
Super-adobe construction at 'Cal-Earth' USA
The technique is perfectly suited to the traditional forms of arches, domes and vaults but as these can look alien to Northern and Western eyes it’s hard to imagine them dotted around the British countryside.
A modern 'Superadobe' house
A shame, perhaps, as they could hardly fail to be an improvement on the endless poorly-detailed, historical-pastiche developments that are inflicted on us.. and at a fraction of the cost.
The result of twenty-one centuries of evolution in building-design
A slightly more mechanised version where tubular ‘sacks’ are extruded by machine can be used with beams to create buildings to suit Western archetypes with typical apex roofs..or could the Hobbit-house displace the executive cul-de-sac development?
Adobe Villa, USA (Photo: Phoenix Real Estate)
Belgian Photographer Filip Dujardin deftly bends and reimagines reality in his Fictions series. Through the digital manipulation of his own architectural portraits he explores a seemingly endless and increasingly magical range of structural possibilities.
Epater la bourgeoisie
There’s a lot of ‘surreal’ design about these days, design shows and galleries are full of twisted or melting household objects. Elements of surrealist imagery were appropriated from the beginning by the worlds of fashion and advertising but not, on any scale by the world of furniture and industrial design.
Chair(s) by Sebastian Brajkovic, Light by Pieke Bergmans
How, then has an early 20th century avant-garde movement whose aim was to challenge rational thought and bourgeois values become so prevalent in the artefacts of our daily life? The answer is probably the advent of ‘design art ’- the elevation, by galleries, of ‘applied art’ objects to the status of ‘fine art’ (due to the paucity of interesting, saleable modern fine art?).
Chair by Pablo Reinoso, Pouffe by Ron Gilad
Still, isn’t life disturbing enough without our furniture shrinking or dissolving in front of us? As Harvey Molotch put it in ‘Where stuff comes from’: ‘Given the inherent ambiguity of all reality and the nagging suspicion that we always exist on the edge of existential chaos, objects work to hold meanings more or less still, solid and accessible to others as well as to one’s self. The presence of goods (i.e. furniture/objects) helps anchor the consciousness against the social vertigo of living in a world of random and dreadfully unsteady meanings’.
Bifurcation by Robert Stadler
Swiss Army Knife and a Georgian Chatelaine
Men are the stereotypical purchasers of Swiss army knives; Leathermen and the like – something to do with the technical aspects of folding and miniaturization perhaps or maybe it’s just the thought of all the whittling and camp-building that the gadget can facilitate.
Original Chatelaine and contemporary version by Melanie Bilenker
The female housekeepers of the 19th Century developed their own more practical and certainly more expressive solution: The Chatelaine – a collection of useful items, which hung like charms on ribbons or chains from a large clasp. Tools included; scissors, tweezers, keys, watches, writing pads and sewing kits. The great variety of Chatelaines in museums suggests that these were an acceptable form of decorative and status display for both domestic servants and some ladies of the house – a trend explored by cartoonists of the time.
Illustrations by John Leech
Few ‘real’ kitchens resemble the serene, carefully styled examples of advertisements and brochures. The kitchen is, for most of us a practical place, a workshop where the visual jumble of mismatched ‘tools’ and consumables are concealed behind a calming facade of doors and drawers.
Amsterdam-based photographer Erik Klein Wolterinks has gone behind this dignified facade to the reveal the hidden contents of his neighbours’ kitchens.
Erik’s mosaic-like compositions give us an unusual insight into the lives of his variously rich, poor and multicultural subjects.
All images © Erik Klein Wolterinks
With thanks to iGANT.de
Whatever happened to pine cladding, Swiss Cheese Plants, primary colours, radiused – corners, non – ironic beards..? The lost world of optimistic 1970s DIY: countless books and magazines showed the ‘hands on’ way to a bright, progressive future. Lost, now to the disposable flat – pack and a popular cultural retreat to familiar forms.
Many of these quite challenging techniques have now been replaced by modern jointing tools but how many of the end results would really resemble the illustrations? How long would they have withstood the assaults of their dungaree – clad, mop – haired offspring.
The increasingly ubiquitous Pantone Company has produced a Queen – shaped swatch to assist any ‘Royal Watchers’ who may wish to imitate her innovative ‘French Fancy’ colour – palette.
HRH Prince Charles meets the directors of British Standard at the Ideal Home Show
(This is not a caption competition)
A suitable and topical subject with which to launch our new journal – The visit of HRH Prince Charles to the British Standard display at the Ideal Home Show. Suitable, because the idea for our new range originated with a question of HRH’s when he inspected the Plain English kitchen installed in his ‘Natural House’ project the previous year: “How can we get this to the people..?” – The ‘no frills’ British Standard kitchen was born.
HRH seemed to enjoy his visit to the stand, relieved, perhaps to find something at the show that wasn’t made of plastic.
By coincidence, an adjacent stand had this ‘lookalike’ of the Queen to promote its bidet loos – they did not meet.