No, you probably don't.
Since the 60s they had a small shop just off Carnaby Street in Soho. When I was much younger, in the very early Nineties, my brother and I used to visit. My brother was into boxing. There wasn't much room in the shop, barely room to swing a punch. Once inside you'd stare at the walls for a bit, nod at the intimidating men with broken noses behind the counter and walk out. But it was an evocative place, full of history, passion, and honesty. I used to like the brand, big, simple and powerful.
In 2002 Lonsdale got bought by Mike Ashley and it's now a corner behind a corner on the top floor of (what used to be) Lillywhites.
More buildings should have clocks outside. In fact, planning laws should state that one in every ten public buildings must have a large exterior clock.
It's closed now, but it was brilliant. Her paintings look great when they're big in a gallery. The slight texture of the paint and canvas adds just enough to make it much more rewarding than looking at pictures.
There's obviously a graphic quality that appeals to graphic designers. She must have influenced hundreds of album covers and logos and tshirts. But in real life they feel more "painterly" and better for it.
Her early sketches and college paintings were lovely. A reminder of everyone's days at art college, except she was obviously better than you and me.
The best bit was her planning sketches, showing the way she works out the geometric patterns. Lots of graph paper. Graph paper! Wonderful stuff from a wonderful, timeless, artist.
"Landy is remembered for his performance in the one mile final at the 1956 Australian National Championships prior to the Melbourne Olympic Games.
In the race, Landy stopped and doubled back to check on fellow runner Ron Clarke after another runner clipped Clarke's heel, causing him to fall early in the third lap of the race. Clarke, the then-junior mile world record holder, who had been leading the race, got back to his feet and started running again; Landy followed.
Incredibly, in the final two laps Landy made up a large deficit to win the race, something considered one of the greatest moments in Australian sporting history. Said the National Centre for History and Education in Australia, 'It was a spontaneous gesture of sportsmanship and it has never been forgotten.'
Sculptor Mitch Mitchell created a bronze sculpture of the moment when Landy helps Clarke to his feet."
The Dulwich Picture Gallery have an exhibition of Rembrandt that focuses on how he illustrated light. It's good you should go. Russell, not you.
The most interesting thing about the exhibition is that it's specifically lit by Peter Suschitzky who's an actual cinematographer and photographer who worked on The Empire Strikes Back, Crash and many others. That fact made me notice the lighting and I thought it was good. Obviously all exhibitions are lit, but I've never noticed it before.
Beautiful and important book by my friend and incredible designer Richard.
He says, "Not since the early twentieth century and the post war building programmes of WWI & II have we needed such a wholesale reappraisal of all the systems by which we live, and by which society functions. Including not just the methods by which we design, make and build, but also the values through which we ‘see’.
So how do movements like this happen? Where do they come from and what exactly are they made of? How far back do the origins of the Sustainable Movement really stretch?
This book looks at the journey taken to get us here, to the beginnings of a new movement, which despite remaining an unproven theory, has for some time now, shown great potential. Then shows how only as a brightly lit community in action, might we collectively set ourselves on a healthier long-term trajectory."
If nothing else buy it for the beautiful typography.
Back it here.
Just over a year and 177 sketches so more like One Sketch Every Other Day but still this has been the most fun I've had in ages. I have a few simple rules;
Sketching for relaxation.
I'm always amazed how relaxing this is. I'm able to completely switch off and be immersed in the sketch. Whatever I'm doing, wherever I am, I find this a huge relief from the days activities. I find this strange but maybe I shouldn't.
None take longer than 10 minutes.
It’s just sketching for relaxation so I don’t worry about it too much. Just draw. This, of course, is always the best way to draw.
No deeper meanings.
Most of them are just what's in front of me when I remember to sketch or when I have ten spare minutes. No ironic points made. No in-jokes. No shade. Just drawing.
Looking back here are some of my favourites.
We stayed in a cabin in a forest and walking back one evening I spotted the light and stopped to draw it. I had some pens in the cabin so I went and got them. I love the black and white with one colour effect. I like how it's clearly night even though the sky is white paper.
One of the best pencil sketches I've done. There was a nice flowing nature to this. Everything just seemed to work. I'd like to do more pencil sketches but pencils are harder to carry around.
I like drawing with marker pens and no hard lines. And I'm a bit obsessed with this tree.
I sit on a lot of planes and it's the perfect place to observe people sat still for a long time. I could easily have called this project One Bad Posture A Day.
I sit in a lot of meetings, again a good place to observe people sat still for a long time. Sometimes I sketch on an iPad. It's very easy to get a good result but I miss my little notebook. Maybe I should just put one of the stickers on the iPad. That's probably what Russell would do.
Bananas. I love bananas.
Airport lounge. I should do more where there are lots of little quick sketches.
Like these ones of the great Roger Law.
This iPad sketch was very popular and was drawn from a photo I took. I'm not that fussed myself.
Incredibly satisfying this one. Incredibly quick.
Early for coffee with a friend. Stop and get out the pens. Photographed in situ which is nice.
Let's end on a nice story. I know Tara the co-author of this and was drawing this when she unexpectedly (to me) turned up at our house. This picture is now framed and hangs in her kitchen.
Anyway, follow here if you're interested Ben One Sketch A Day.
Our office building in Old Street has this shield outside.
It's even better inside. The words say 'More Light, More Power' which is a good phrase for many things. I'd always assumed it was a strapline for an old power station.
Here's another one on a gate near a church.
Here's another on the top of Shoreditch Town Hall. Turns out it was the motto for the borough of Shoreditch to celebrate the provision of electric power around 1900.
Made me wonder what the motto is now. It's 'Justice is our tower'. I dunno maybe that's something about luxury apartments.
Every London borough has a motto obvs. Redbridge's is 'In Unity Progress' while Ealing's is 'Progress With Unity'.
Islington's is 'We serve' which maybe they nicked from Wandsworth whose motto is 'We serve'. Or vice versa. IDK.
10 years ago as-near-as-is-good-enough-for-blogging I visited the Unpackaged store in Islington.
I wrote a glowing review. I was very taken with the concept and the store.
2008 was that golden age when we all blogged about Brands going Green. Jones invented the term Unproduct, Russell blogged diligently and I created a media storm in Design Week which now 404s. You get the idea here. Good times.
The other day I went into a Planet Organic and I saw this.
I wondered if it was the same Unpackaged. It is. Hurrah! Their story has taken all kinds of twists and turns since 2008. They opened a cafe, another cafe, a bar, a different shop and a restaurant. Closed all that. And now have concessions in three Planet Organics.
Which got me thinking, in many ways this is better than opening a shop themselves. Is it similar to supermarkets stocking Fairtrade? Which always seems to be the best example of Doing Good at the High Street Scale of things. Which feels important. Good is good, but it's better when it's at a mass market scale even if it's a little bit less good.
Are there any other examples of this?
High Street brands are always trying lots of innovation when it always seems like a better idea to find something good and help make that bigger. Which sort of reminds me of this bit of the GDS Design Principles,
"Government should only do what only government can do. If we’ve found a way of doing something that works, we should make it reusable and shareable instead of reinventing the wheel every time. This means building platforms and registers others can build upon, providing resources (like APIs) that others can use, and linking to the work of others. We should concentrate on the irreducible core."
Anyway. Less plastic, more dried bananas.
RELATED (am I doing this right)
Don't forget to visit Sophie's brilliant website Trash Plastic.