I interrupt this blog for a brief (and overdue) shopping announcement > > >
There is something truly magical about the streets of London (and Europe) in the weeks leading up to the festive season. Aside from being subjected to Celine Dion’s soundtrack “So this is Christmas”; it is actually my favourite time of year to explore the main shopping streets and department stores. Everything feels so fairytale-like. Growing up in South Africa, our festive season was defined by the sun, outdoor BBQs and the beach – a million miles away from cups of hot cocoa in front of a roaring fireplace. However, like most sunny South Africans, I was fascinated by winter, the magical winter portrayed on television shows and in movies. However, after my first chilly season abroad, I soon discovered how intensely I dislike the cold and snow. As the sun retreats and the ice descends, my saving grace has always been the rich, festive and creative spirit that envelopes the Northern Hemisphere this time of year. It’s also my justification for my dramatic spike in spending!
My top festive activities / sites this year were:
1. Sipping a cup of hot dark chocolate from Paul A Young whilst sitting on a bench in Camden Passage, Islington.
2. Watching the ice skaters in front of Somerset House, London.
4. A 10m high Christmas Tree constructed from Lego at St Pancras Station, London. Each of the tree’s 600,000 Lego bricks, 172 Lego branches and 1,200 Lego baubles were assembled by hand by just two men.
5. The festive lights outside Notre Dame de Paris
6. Temporium – the Dezeen Pop Up Store in Covent Garden, London. In the last few years, pop up stores have become extremely popular. Generally, retailers or galleries lease available spaces for a short period of time, using the locations to sell excess stock or stage exhibitions of work. The festive season is the perfect time to do this, given the hordes of eager shoppers on the hunt for gifts. Dezeen, one of my favourite design blogs, have created their own pop-up in the heart of Covent Garden. It’s called the Temporium and is full of designer goodies. Featured designers include:
Established & Sons, Another Country , Dominic Wilcox , Paul Cocksedge , Jaime Hayon , Diego Ramos , Bookman Frama , Studio Henny van Nistelrooy, Cristian Zuzunaga, Vic Lee, Fiona Paxton, Sugru, Shan Valla, Matilda, Playbutton, NAVA, Dezeen Watch Store, Pom Pom Takoyaki, Paperself, Plumen, Theo, Charlene Mullen, Logical Art, Studio91, To Dry For
My favourite piece was HemDing from Theo. It’s a simple fruit bowl made from a large porcelain plate fixed to a large spade handle. It’s simple but has a humorous twist. I also liked the crumpled city maps – a very clever idea. You can shove pop them in your pocket whilst travelling without ruining them. The paper eyelashes were also quite novel. Jaime Hayon’s ornaments were also impressive and lastly, it was lovely to see some Australian design in the form of the Matilda collective including work from Dinosaur Designs, whose work I featured on Elle Decoration.
Open till 24 December.
65 Monmouth Street
Seven Dials, Covent Garden
London WC2H 9DG