Gothenburg Christmas Lights

I like materials that shifts with the light and therefore changes appearance with the changing daylight. All materials, I suppose, do this to some extent. This type of tiling (see picture), or in this case it might have been wallpaper, has become very popular in interiors in the past few years. I am sceptical to things that become the ruling trend, because people start to use it where it’s not appropriate – there is an overuse, like a pop song that’s played 5-6 times every day on the radio. It might have been a good song to begin with, but few songs can survive that kind of overkill. With that said, this kind of material, has everything I like about lively materials. I love the dark copper-like colour, I love how the light plays with the colouring and the shine in the material and I love what the material does with the room. It adds a layer to the experience of the room that I think is essential for falling in love with a place.

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From shiny materials to shiny lights. I posted a few pictures of London Christmas lights in Simple Pleasures published 17 of November. Gothenburg has its Christmas lights as well. I like the light strands partly hidden in the fir branches. It looks very appealing and it is something that can be easily done in your own home. All you need is a space for the branches, a light strand or two and a bit of creativity. I am a little bit more sceptical to the imitation of the statue of Gustaf II Adolf, king and said founder of Gothenburg, placed in the canal next to the square where the statue stands. The effect is great but it looks…strange.

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Christmas lighting at Kronhus Bodarna; light strand hidden in fir branches

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King Gustav Adolf under water

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Christmas lighting at Vallgatan, central shopping street

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Flagpole Christmas trees at Kungsportsplatsen

I have more time for my writing projects again so Finn should be plodding along toward publication now. I do enjoy editing and publishing Finn as a blog but the idea is of course that it will soon be in a shop – let me rephrase that – internet shop near you. Apart from editing there are also decisions to be made about the look of the book, writing text for the back-cover, acknowledgements and setting the text so that it will be easy to read. I would love to have a few sketches in the book as well, but I don’t think I will miraculously learn to sketch good enough to make that happen. But to intrigue you a little, here are a few inspirational pictures I have taken of other books. Something along these lines is what I hope my book will look like.

And with that, this blog will take a Christmas break and will be up and running again in the New Year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

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Paul Smith at the Design Museum

The only good thing about my internship ending was that I got more time for sight-seeing. The British Library was both extraordinary and strange. I have never before been to a library where you don’t have access to the books, unless you sign up for reading card. I thought the whole point of a library was to make books accessible for the general public. Anyway, the central feature, which gives a nod to libraries of the old-school, with glassed book cases filled with antique books, was a real treat. I also stumbled across an exhibition with original copies of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Christopher Marlow and letters from Elisabeth I, Winston Churchill and Charles Darwin. There were also original books from all over the world of religious texts, first picture books, first illustrated botanical books and so forth. I think it is great to be in company of greatness. I find it inspiring.

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Antique-looking book cases at the British Library

On my way to the Design Museum, I happened to walk by Hay’s Gallery. I have seen similar gallerias, mostly in Italy, but I really like these semi-built-in spaces with arched, glassed ceilings and large open spaces. It becomes an indoor plaza with shops and restaurants to the side and a lovely space to have a coffee or lunch under the glassed ceiling. There is something special with the kind of light you get in these spaces that really appeals to me.

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Hay’s Gallery

The highlight of the week, though, was my visit to the Design Museum and the exhibition: Hello my name is Paul Smith. I don’t think I have been aware of Paul Smith until just a few weeks ago, but he might become a new muse and hero. The exhibition is very inspiring and if you are interested in any kind of creative and design work, you should really try to visit this exhibition. I just wanted to go home and start creating, producing and exploring new inspiration. I confess to be impressed with people who simply do what they do, seemingly effortless, and who do it well. He seems so down to earth and a genuinely creative mind. And since I love individuality and things off the beaten track, I also love people who work project specific and who has an eye for details. A formula might be a great starting point but usually essentials are lost when applied to real projects.

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Hello! outside the Design Museum

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A few buttons at the Paul Smith exhibition

St. Paul’s Cathedral

In a previous update I listed favourite Speirs and Major projects I wanted to see while in London. Those of you who have followed the blog know that I am very in love with the Queen’s Walk lighting close to the National Theatre. This weekend I saw another of Speirs and Major’s designs, or did I. St. Paul’s Cathedral is beautifully lit on the exterior. I have often stopped to look at it on my walks along South Bank. I’m assuming that Speirs and Major are responsible for the lighting, but to own the truth, I don’t know if they did both interior and exterior. I didn’t see much of the interior. No matter how beautiful it is, I thought the entry fee was a bit hefty. Luckily, the exterior is beautiful to look at and free of charge.

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While I was at St. Paul’s, I noticed this street light (see picture below). I like park lanterns of the old type and I really like that some manufacturers are trying to find clever ways of updating these lanterns with modern light sources. The idea behind this version is not bad, not at all, but I really don’t like the dotted effect of the LED’s, especially since they are reflected in the glass. The effect was a very messy look of little light dots in several glass planes.

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Last but not least. The Queen’s Walk and I must part ways, at least temporarily, as I am on my way back home soon. It made me consider which of all the bridges along the Thames I like the best in the evenings. My favourite must be the Millennium Bridge. I love the engineering of that bridge. It looks so narrow, almost fragile, from afar, even more so at night with its blue lights, and when you walk along it – it’s not narrow at all. It must be some clever trick in perception that makes you experience it so differently from afar and as you walk along it. My second favourite is Southwark Bridge. I like the changing colours and how the light brings out the architecture. Whether you see it from afar or close up, it is an intriguing effect.

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Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s

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Millennium Bridge

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Southwark Bridge

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Southwark Bridge up close