D-Pod, Personable Design & Retail.

D-Pod, Personable Design & Retail.

One of the most beautiful things about a beautifully designed object is that it can make you feel unique. You look at it, at its colour and its shape, and immediately its functional and emotional attributes transfer onto you.

You feel current, in the know, and modern. You feel you have good taste in the world around you and you feel that it is only the beautiful and meaningful things that seduce your senses. You look at a beautifully designed object and you feel like you are looking at a work of art.

This is the feeling I got while I was looking at all the objects that were displayed at the D-Pod Store, close to the Blackfriars Station.

The place is a space where independent designers can hire a small pod to display their creations. The overall shop is smaller than 5-7 square meters, but it manages to host creations from over thirty designers. “Most of them are from around London; some are from outside of the UK and they work in London, while others work from Europe altogether”, said James, a former advertising photographer who now supports the D-Pod Store and who was looking after it on the Saturday that I visited.

“The D-Pod is a place where these designers can display their work. We sell it for them in exchange for a monthly rental cost. Because they are independent designers and everything is made by hand, their output is relatively small and fits nicely into the space that is available in each of the pods”, said James as I was marvelling at some of the soy candles on display.

Their manufacturer is a designer who travels regularly to the South of France to pick the flowers and the scents he uses in his work. It is this level of attention and care that goes into the making of these candles – and of the jewellery and handbags on display, among other things – that wins you over. You hear the story of the designer who travels to France to pick his flowers; of the Italian girl who spends a lot of time in Tuscany to create the handsomely crafted Bucklesbury bags; you are transported to the place and time the products are created, identify them as unique and immediately have to have one of them.

There is no doubt that a lot of attention, care, and craft go into the products that are sold as part of mass-production and large, traditional retail shops and I am often their customer. But on this particular Saturday afternoon, as I was strolling down the Southbank and taking things in slowly, I appreciated the opportunity of “getting to know” a couple of designers and their work at a slightly milder pace.

More on the D-Pod at dpod.co.uk.

A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond.

“A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond” is an exhibition on contemporary architecture recently hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

It provided an interesting perspective on what architecture could look like in the future and the role it could play to answer the urban development needs of our generation (reduced space availability, higher demographics, increased demands on functionality, and imperative environmental awareness).

The creative response is minimalist and simple, inspired by the Japanese origins of the group of architects behind it. It is defined by the versatility and beautiful integration of man-built constructs with their wider environment, a feature best expressed through their modular form. Architectural parameters flex in order to best respond to the functionality that spaces need to meet. This is a departure from existing built environments, where space is very often designed for a unique, fragmented and very specific purpose leading to compartmentalisation, a flurry of constructs and waste.

The design is airy, fluid and transitional. It lives harmoniously with its surroundings, incorporates them or becomes a part of them further suggesting ideas of symbiosis. Architecture is the sum of its parts, which can exist independently or as an extension of one another.

The concept advocates communities while acknowledging individual needs. This may be suggestive of the fact we each have a part to play to make it work.

Installation views at the following link.