London – Romantic Eclecticism

Last weekend was the moment when I answered a “London calling”.

Coming back after 9 years meant a lot to me. London welcomed me with sunny weather which prevailed till Sunday. The perspectives were promising – some important meetings, design spotting, two exhibitions, strolling the streets, catching some tan in the parks.

My friends were best tour guides ever, as they took me to their London – places they walk past everyday, where they eat, shop and have fun.

London is eclectic – it’s ethnic, colourful, inspiring and crowded. It’s both old and modern, posh and I-don’t-give-a-damn, rich and poor; it’s trend-setting and mind-blowing.

The biggest “WOW!” moment was when we went to see an exhibition at V&A  – “Alexander McQueen. Savage Beauty”.  There are no words to describe the experience. It was so visual, so sensual, so synesthetic and better with every room you entered.

Savage Beauty - Alexander McQuuen at V & A; poster fragment

Savage Beauty – Alexander McQueen at V & A; poster fragment

If you’re interested in the exhibition (now closed), you may visit V&A’s interactive Museum of Savage Beauty, featuring McQueen’s works and inspirations.

The title of this post was inspired by the sections in the exhibition (labeled e.g. Romantic Naturalism or Romantic Exotic) linking (rightly) McQueen’s philosophy to the Romantic period in literature and arts. With his designs, the concept of sublime has gained a new, important meaning. Undoubtedly, McQueen was an outstanding artist, and – as it often happens with outstanding artists – we lost him too soon.

Quote: Of course I make mistakes. I’m human. If I didn’t make mistakes, I’d never learn. You can only go forward by making mistakes. (Alexander McQueen)

This exhibition was to me Britishness in a nutshell – the essence that was expressed through fashion designs and little works of art.

Taking photographs was forbidden, yet the collections of photos I present to you below are to me spin-offs of this exhibition in “real life”, eclectic London.

1. Colour infusion

These were my first thoughts, especially when I saw wonderful shop windows and shop signs:

Colour infusion in London

Colour infusion in London; photo by InteriorMad

 Shop display at Liberty

Shop display at Liberty in London; photo by InteriorMad

Serpentine gallery in London

Serpentine gallery in London; photo by InteriorMad

 2. Romantic exotic

Patterns everywhere. And my favourite motives from the trip? Pineapples and parrots. They haunted me everywhere.

Trivia: As we read in Joanna Lausen-Higgins’ article, in the 18th-century England “[t]he pineapple was a representation of owners’ wealth but also a testimony to their gardeners’ skill and experience. Producing a crop of tropical fruit in the colder climes of Europe before the advent of the hot water heating system in 1816 was a remarkable achievement and was, perhaps not unjustly, described as ‘artistry’ (source).

Romantiic exotic

Romantic exotic, photo by InteriorMad

Pineapple lamps and book ends come from House of Hackney – a shop I fell in love with at first sight:

Pineapple lamps by House of Hackney

Pineapple lamps by House of Hackney, photo by InteriorMad

Pineapple book ends by House of Hackney

Pineapple book ends by House of Hackney, photo by InteriorMad

3. Romantic Natural

Simplicity, pastel colours, flowers, freshly brewed tea and coffee, long breakfasts, flea markets and cloudless sky…

Romantic Natural in London

Romantic Natural in London, photo by InteriorMad

My two favourite shops in this style – Att Pynta (a lovely meeting with Kai Price on Saturday in Broadway Market) and Monologue – British go Scandinavian (funny that in the 5th century it was the other way round…)

ATT PYNTA stall at Broadway Market

ATT PYNTA stall at Broadway Market, photo by InteriorMad

Monologue shop display

Monologue – shop display, photo by InteriorMad

Columbia Road flower market

Columbia Road flower market; photo by InteriorMad

Special thanks to my friends for making this weekend so intense and so memorable. Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.

I think we did all of that, toutes proportions gardées.
London, I will be back (soon).

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