Blog archive January 2005

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30.01.05 / 01 / barclays photo album

so this is what all the fuss was about... the barclays photo album shows you some of what i was working on october 2002 to july 2004 - the fruits of all my stress. The photos were taken either side of christmas, just before occupation of the building began. I've majored on the atria, because they are spectacular but also because they are 'my' parts of the building, as the guy who developed the concepts of Martha Schwartz Inc into buildable solutions. The delibars are my design. I've worked on most other parts of the interiors too. Obviously there's a lot of other stuff on the office floors, but I'm being a bit careful about what I publish ahead of 'official' publications. Most of what i've shown can be seen from outside.



daniel miller

Almost makes me wish I had an office job again! Nice.

Mike Todd

amazing! i think my favorite is Level 24 atrium.

adam feldman

This does look beautiful! I am excited to 'meet' via blog a key participant in the Martha Schwartz garden.... I have not yet seen it, but I hope to, as I am one of the artists commissioned by Barclays for their heritage photographic commission. My work is all around the atrium area on i think it's the 33rd floor.

Those giant leaves are amazing. thanks for posting the wonderful pictures. I was in the building in its hardhat stage last summer, twice, while doing the documentary work towards the commission. Some thumbnails of my work for Barclays are online at Meanwhile, opening a show this Saturday at Transport in Los Angeles.

Christina McPhee

It has been a pleasure working with you on the atria. You have done a great job. Although we never met (unless through J. Pegg) I really enjoyed working woth you. I was the guy from Martha Schwartz office who worked on the SD and DD of the atria...the project designer, Ahmed Tawakol (if you remember the name).

The outcome is amazing, the cloud cubes look exact locations, the 24th floor banners looks also fascinating, I would like to thank the Architen staff (if I'm not mis-spelling their name) for the outcome, I have been in several correspondance with Ben Farrel to get the print out. The leaves also came -finally- in a great shape. The whole job is STUNNING. I have some photos of the early models... if you would like to include or use, it is amazing for some levels (especially, 12, 18, 24, and 30) how the models become reality... Please let me hear from you, it has been a pleasure -and exhausting also :) working with you, Thanks, Ahmed

Ahmed Tawakol

Steve, great job - you own level 30. We've had nothing but great feedback on all aspects the design which would have not made it beyond photoshop without your tireless efforts, thanks again

John Pegg

28.01.05 / 01 / 1975

imho Rollerball [1975] is the last great modernist futureworld. next came star wars and postmodernity - science fiction set 'long long ago', an exercise in genre-hopping and future-retro styling. i suspect it's the presence of the past in the future that marks the change - the modernist visions gain much of their power from the absence or elimination of history and memory. that's what makes them both sinister and utterly unattainable, in a world of permanent historical access.

space 1999 appeared in 1975 too [although judging by the clothes it had been in production for a couple of years]. when i saw it a year or two after that [due to slow take-up by the TV stations in england] it felt very dated - a vision of the future that was out of time.

26.01.05 / 01 / westworld

i'm just half-watching that old chestnut 'westworld' on tv. the opening sequences in the 1970s future-world are great, but it ceases to be interesting when they get into the wild west part. the irony is, the world i'd pay money to be a tourist in is that 1970s future.


You know, so would I. There's an interesting lot of thinking to be had in relation to what our envisioning of the future tells us. I was interested a few days back to look over a 1961 set of predicions for the year 2000 .... very interesting.

andii bowsher

the small ads adjacent to that article are somehow still around in the 21st century too.

some of those predictions have come true, but not in quite the way expected:

  • 'doors will open automatically' - it's a shopping mall
  • 'up-to-the minute world news' - we've forgotten how exotic that once seemed.
  • 'foodless foods (minus nutritional properties)' - there's plenty of that, hence
  • 'Energy will come in tablet form' - vitamin supplements - or speed!
  • 'At work, Dad will operate on a 24 hour week' - turned out to be a 24 hour day.
  • 'travel at 1000 m.p.h. at a penny a mile' - no it's much cheaper and slower than that.
  • 'people will live, healthily, to 85 or 100' - a reminder that 40 years ago 65 was old.


24.01.05 / 01 / beautiful launderette

south ealing launderette photos

launderettes are the last places in england still in the early 70s. they all seem to have been built at once between 1968 and 1973 and not changed since. maybe they were, or are, some kind of chain or franchise. they all have that fake pine panelling. the washing powder dispenser dispenses unbranded powder - or, rather, some kind of made-up brand that might once have fooled the customer in a less aware age. the advisory notices still show 60s housewives and 60s typography.

incidentally 'laundrette' is a contraction that seems to have crept in with the film. it's not the word i grew up with. 'laundrette' should really mean a small woman who does laundry.

19.01.05 / 01 / punk: a true and dirty tale

finally got round to seeing 'Punk' at the Hospital club before it ends in a few days. more than half of the exhibition content is original clothing by vivienne westwood as worn by the sex pistols and their circle at the time. i was struck by how beautiful and delicate the garments are. soft materials - silk, muslin, mohair wool - delicately webbed and ripped. one would have to be careful in dressing and undressing. colours are harmonious, faded red, white and blue. metal rings and fastenings have the air of fine jewellery. d-rings, buckles and straps strangely prefigure the utility clothes of recent years, such that i could wear some items to work without drawing comment. nothing in the room has dated.

in light of recent royal scandals it's amusing to find a poster of the queen with swastikas for eyes. ["God save the Queen... it's a fascist regime!"] Perhaps prince harry is more culturally aware than he gets credit for. or perhaps not.

14.01.05 / 01 / whenever two or three are gathered together, one is somewhere else

via mobile phone or internet distractions. it goes like this:

if there are two people in the room, half of one person is somewhere else [because they have half their attention on a screen].
if there are three people, one is somewhere else.
if there are four people, one and a half are somewhere else.
if there are five people, two are somewhere else.

and so on. it's like an integration sum - as the number of people present tends towards infinity, the proportion that are somewhere else tends towards one-third.

of course there is an inverse to this, because the people who are somewhere else are with each other.


this is really a description of a Grace planning meeting. almost everyone in the room has a phone, pda, or laptop connected to the house wifi. two thirds of us are discussing the next service, the rest are reading blogs, sending one another music files or texting absent Grace members to see if they're available for tasks.


If there is only one in the room, are we ever truly present to ourselves?


08.01.05 / 01 / act of god

it's interesting that people look for god in the disaster rather than in the response. we like to think that's us.

04.01.05 / 01 / A conference for Emergent :)

This is a new design for a church which has been floating my head for a while, but what made me draw it up was the conversations at and around the Inclusive Church conference in London in December. Some of you may recognise elements of what we did ;)


mmm... tasty... all i need is a wealthy benefactor and I'd love to make some of your wonderful spatial ideas a reality...

Was having a similar chat with some people the other day who echoed the thoughts that we seem to find perfect church environments everywhere but in churches - cafes, bookstores, pubs, restaurants, waiting rooms, airport lounges....


some thoughts:

its almost a picture of domestic communal living, which isn`t always cosy.

refreshing to see a non monumental church building in that building spaces are secondary to the activities contained. (and its not on the sports hall model)

its a series of linked boxes (internet?)

it reminds me of an old pub thats slowly spread into & absorbed the buildings surrounding it.

compare with the SKY EAR. (hundreds of floating helium ballons that change colour in response radio waves passing thro them. The senser in each ballon detects electromagnetic radiation, causing coloured LEDs to illuminate. The sensors also communicate from one ballon to the next via infrared. The range of which is approx 30cm, so ripples of colour spread easily to adjacent ballons , but not easily accross the whole structure... trust me,it looks beautiful)

need an organising vision (which is much more than the building) or else becomes directionless.

and where are the toilets? - typical architect...

nic walters

yes i've seen about the sky-ear - prob same place as you, in BD! yes it's here on my desk.

of course there's no toilets shown, how do you think that would look in aerial perspective??! :-O

incidentally i spent a lot of my career detailing toilets.


i've just printed this out and enlarged it. It will be the first thing to go on the wall when i start a new position working on alternative worship next week... fantastic.

we're looking at the possibility of renting out an art gallery / wine bar, which has multiple "spaces" to hold worship in. ideally, we'd have worship installation stuff set up in one of the spaces all the time, and we'd take over the rest of the space at particular times in the week. We've got the space and the idea. I just need to find the money somewhere to pay for it...

cheryl lawrie

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