Chelsea Wharf

Quite out of the way from the well known route in London, this hidden gem of a neighbourhood is a lovely discovery where to spend a day wondering around. This isn´t perhaps a place to necessarily see when visiting London(for the first time)  just for a few days, however if you´re a local and think that you´ve  “seen it all”, this might be a corner of the town to discover!

I first came across this area a few years ago while working in the hood. It is a nice mixture of modern architecture and interior design side by side next to derelict historical “leftovers” and secret underground digs. Which unfortunately will soon be replaced with all modern buildings, so if you are into the contrasts, now is a good time to check it out, before it disappears.

We´ll start with Lots Road Power Station, that used to supply electricity to London Underground system. Abandoned and fenced since 2002, its haunting presence was just so tempting to uncover further. How curious it would have been to peek behind those high walls into the machine room of this mysterious derelict building! Unfortunately or not, the power station is currently undergoing the development that will turn it into multi-million pound apartment and business center, all glass and shine. Hopefully they will keep some of the old architecture to revere the past.

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Just opposite the power station there is a small building, that looks more like a cellar door. It looks especially suspicious if you dare to actually look in closer. However, the prison-like door hides an old underground(quite literally) jazz bar and restaurant 606 Club, quite famous on its own. To get in, you have to ring the bell and if you are lucky enough, you´ll be led to the musical underworld(better to book ahead though, as it is quite tiny and can be crowded). A bit worn dig, but with a lot of personality and great vibe!
The club started off in the late 60s at 606 Kings Road(hence the name), before relocating to slightly larger premises on Lots Road in 1988. Being the biggest supporter of British Jazz, the music is on every night of the week!
We went to see Samara featuring Liliana Chachian, who delivered a blend of Brazilian Samba, jazz/Latin and Soul. Next time they are on 24th of June.

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Just around the corner there is Chelsea Wharf Design Centre, open weekdays till  5.30pm. A modern and very beautiful building filled with luxury interior design showrooms and also occasionally hosting design and fashion exhibitions. The interiors of this building is just so amazing, that even if you are not in need of pimping up your home, it is still a lovely place to spend some time and have a cup of coffee at the Dome Café.

The Design Centre is currently hosting an exhibition devoted to ever-loved Marilyn Monroe, “The Legacy of a Legend“.  It is a visual journey into her life, featuring her letters, photographs and diaries, as well as shoes, accessories and costumes worn in famous movies, such as “Niagara” and “No Business Like Show Business”.
Epitomising the high glamour of 1950s Hollywood, the exhibition represents iconic fashion pieces from the David Gainsborough-Roberts collection and includes the sheer beaded dress from ‘Some Like It Hot’.
The exhibition stays open till the 20th of June 2016.

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Behind the Design Centre there is a lovely marina to take a stroll around.

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A few minute walk further, by the Overground Station you can find a fascinating Roca Gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid. It looks like a space ship of its own. The gallery is worth a visit just for the interiors! This extremely talented architect turned the rectangular forms into fluid shapes. The gallery is currently housing an exhibition by architect Anupama Kundoo.
I will definitely keep an eye out for their next showcase – Mode in Flux, that will demonstrate  adaptability in fashion by design innovators. Coats that turn into tents; sportswear that changes colour and texture in response to body temperature; interactive clothes that reveal the wearer’s mood – just a few examples from the upcoming exhibition.

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V&A Neo Nipponica

Every month on the last Friday Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a late night event happening. Themes vary, but are mostly linked to the permanent or temporary exhibitions. It´s a fun way to spend a Friday evening after work, and maybe before continuing somewhere else.

This months´ event was devoted to the Japanese culture and its futuristic technology, that is still so strongly linked to the reverence to the old traditions. To celebrate the V&A´s newly opened Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art and explore the art, design and innovations of Nippon(this is what the Japanese call their own country).

The museum got filled with sounds of DJ-s and other performers, pop-up sake bar(table built of honeycomb cardboard paper concertina) and listening to the sound of scents.

One of the most memorable installations includes Tranceflora – Amy´s Glowing Silk.

Made with Nishiji Kimono material using genetically engineered silk developed by scientists at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Sputniko!´s Tranceflora combines traditional craftsmanship with advanced technology to mesmerising effect. The luminous silk was created by adding the genes of glowing jellyfish and coral to silkworms(creating a so-called “jellyworm” :D) and later woven by master weavers in Kyoto. The dress is designed by a Japanese designer Masaya Kushino.
For full effect the dress had to be viewed through special card/plastic yellow glasses.

Another of my personal highlights of the evening could be found in the garden – V&A recently presented the Elytra Filament Pavilion as part of The Engineering Season – a garden pavilion woven by a robot.

Installed by architects and engineers at the University of Stuttgart, the pavilion is inspired by the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra and constructed using novel robotic 3D-printing production process, winding composite materials by a robot arm. At the moment Elytra’s canopy is made up of 40 hexagonal component cells. On average they weigh 45kg each and take an average of three hours to make.

Elytra is a responsive shelter and is expected to grow over the course of Summer. Somehow the sensors in the canopy fibres will collect data on how visitors inhabit the pavilion and monitor the structure’s behaviour, ultimately informing how and where the canopy grows. Sounds interesting!
Let´s see where it goes from here.