Thursday, 23 June 2011

Hammersmith Grove

You might not guess from these images, but this scheme by our client, Development Securities is actually, at this moment, a car park in Hammersmith town centre. Not for long though... As you can see, there are big plans for this plot and it will soon be transformed into a mixed-use development with office space, a cinema and restaurants.

2KS Summer Party Invitation

We love a good party, so when our client Development Securities asked us to come up with a design for their summer do, we were only too happy to oblige! They wanted to use an aspect of the Two Kingdom Street architecture in the design, so we focussed on the bright panels in the front foyer. We aimed to create something both playful and memorable by only allowing the viewer to decifer the text by altering their view of the invitation.

International Dialogue Group Mission to Mumbai 2011

The last few months has seen me travelling a lot as we help boost our UK workload by expanding into new markets. Trips to Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East have proved fruitful, so when I was invited to travel to Mumbai as part of a 10 man delegation organised by the International Dialogue Group, I decided to take the plunge and see how much further the Indian economy had moved since my last recce in 2009.

Given that this particular patch of land had been earmarked for redevelopment for over 10 years, knocking it into shape in 48hrs through an architectural charette chaired by NLA‘s Peter Murray was always going to be a challenge. Well, ok, we actually had three days, but we needed to make sure we were finished in time to watch the cricket, obviously. The guys on the trip were a great mix of high proile british talent and experience, a real age range too – most, if not all, had some connection or business reason to be in Mumbai. What really shone through was the professionalism of the team and how well they gelled together.

Given the scale of the plans for Mumbai (we got a sneak preview into their 40 year plan) it was always going to be a challenge to make an impact in such a short time, but we did achieve something - over the course of a few days we met with various government and private sector organizations. We were able to stimulate debate and canvas ideas that had not yet been considered - issues of land reclamation (currently regarded a sin in India on environmental grounds) expanding green and civic spaces and housing were all systematically considered and represented with commercial and passionate flair. Listening to one local architect explain "one of the problems with trying to improve housing for the slum dwellers is that the slums are built next to the place of work and the new housing is usually out of town, about 20-30k out - what often happens is the slum dweller gets his new house, he then sells it for good money and moves back to where he started from". The vast majority would rather be local than commute through the mad traffic. What an earth can you do about that? Possibly not a lot, by all accounts.

I would love to go into further detail as to what we were specifically tasked to look at, but the powers that be have been stimulated by the team’s ideas, and it looks like it may well be taken further. As a result we are limited in what we can and can't say. Notwithstanding, such big ideas tend to touch a great many, so one has to tread with a certain amount of diplomatic dexterity. It may be that some or all of the team will need to be back in the coming months to see if we can make a difference to what has been a long time in the making - watch this space.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Launch of Creative West Sussex...

We are delighted to announce the launch of Creative West Sussex yesterday, which is the second website in our Creative Networks suite, following Creative Torbay.

The Creative Networks system enables creative communities to communicate, network and publish their content online. The site content is user driven, with administrators able to adjust how their own site works using a unique control panel, thereby sculpting the way the site facilitates cross pollination and communication across creative sectors in their area. Geolocational information, date proximity and a host of other techniques are deployed to ensure that individual users of the sites are presented with fresh and appropriate content.

Torbay was the ONLY council in the UK to increase footfall to museums and gallery spaces in 2010, a fact they attribute to their creative website!

To see the websites in action visit and

If you are interested in finding out more about the Creative Networks or would like to set one up, give us a call on 020 7426 2080.

Friday, 17 June 2011

An Unexpected Marshmallow Break

There are many great things an intern can do, but this week I think we discovered a new and, frankly, unexpected one, courtesey of our lovely design intern Matthew: make the team homemade marshmallows! They were the best mid-afternoon pick-me-up we have discovered to date, and since there is nothing more boring than trying to describe how something tastes, here's the recipe so you can discover for yourselves...

Use these:
455g/1lb granulated sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose (available from some chemists and specialist cook shops)
200ml/7fl oz water
2 large free-range egg whites
9 sheets gelatine (about 16g/½oz), soaked in 140ml/5fl oz water
1 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar, for dusting and coating

cornflour, for dusting and coating
125g/4½oz fresh raspberries
200g/7¼oz white chocolate, melted, to serve (optional)

Do this:  
1. Place the sugar, glucose and water in a heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil and continue cooking over a high heat until it reaches 127C/260F on a sugar thermometer - take care as the mixture is very hot.
2. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
3. When the syrup is up to temperature, remove from the heat and carefully slide in the softened gelatine sheets and their soaking water. The syrup will bubble up so take care not to burn yourself. Pour the syrup into a metal jug.
4. Continue to beat the egg whites while slowly pouring in the hot syrup from the jug. The mixture will become shiny and start to thicken. Add the vanilla extract and continue whisking for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is stiff and thick enough to hold its shape on the whisk.
5. Lightly oil a 30cm/12in x 20cm/8in shallow baking tray. Dust the tray with sieved icing sugar and cornflour and then spoon half the marshmallow mixture over and smooth it with a wet palette knife.

6. Coat the raspberries with a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour, and lay over the top of the marshmallow mixture. Cover the raspberries with the remaining marshmallow mixture and leave for at least an hour to set.
7. Dust a work surface with more icing sugar and cornflour. Loosen the marshmallow around the sides of the tray with a palette knife and turn it out on to the dusted surface. Cut into squares and roll in the sugar and cornflour. Leave to dry a little on a wire rack before packing into an airtight box.
8. Serve the marshmallows as they are or accompanied by melted white chocolate for dipping.

Original recipe here:

Monday, 6 June 2011

Commando Challenge Weekend: The Aftermath

So, Saturday finally saw the arrival of the Retrack Commando Challenge. Matt, Matthew, Ross and Frederick from the Assembly London Studio chose to spend the day canoeing 13km, climbing 10km, cycling 20km, then finishing off with another 3.5km canoe. Brave or foolish? You can decide from the photos below! Six gruelling hours equalled second place in the competition and over £1,300 for charity...