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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Heatherwick’

This was an extension to the Tanzania and Zanzibar trip. It was less than two years since my last visit, and the journey took forever, but boy was it worth it.

Some photos first….https://photos.app.goo.gl/24HkrxGhQciOrxWm2 including most of the building and exhibits at the wonderful new MOCAA!

On the sightseeing front, I spent a lovely sunny day on the tourist trail, to the top of Table Mountain and on harbour and canal cruises, all linked by the open top bus! A couple of museums I’d missed before – the Slave Lodge and eighteenth century Dutch home Koopmans-de-Wet House – were totally eclipsed by a visit to the new museum of contemporary African art, MOCAA (a typical acronym for such places) in its first week; a stunning reinvention of a waterfront silo by our own Thomas Heatherwick, with a world class collection of contemporary art as good as I’ve seen anywhere. Wine featured – no surprise there – with tastings at http://www.kleinezalze.co.za and http://www.lourensford.co.za and a whole day tour to Paarl, Stellenbosch & Franshhoek with a return to http://www.simonsig.co.za and firsts at http://www.glencarlou.co.za , Antonij Rupert (http://www.rupertwines.com) and http://www.annandale.co.za, where a retired Springbok player has the most rustic, least corporate winery with reds to die for.

The two major gastronomic experience were at South Africa’s top two rated restaurants, both extensive tasting menus with wine pairings (well, for me!) with more than a touch of playfulness and theatre. Lunch at http://www.lacolombe.co.za, high up in the Silvermist woods overlooking Table Mountain consisted of seven courses, a visit to the Enchanted Forest and a petit fours taste test, with more than a touch of Heston Bloomenthal about it. I loved it. The Test Kitchen’s Luke Dale-Roberts’ http://www.thetestkitchen.co.za has been reinvented since my last visit two years ago, with a ‘dark room’ of nine snacks from around the world accompanied by four cocktails – sweet, sour, bitter and salty; continuing La Colombe’s theme – then a ‘light room’ sitting at the counter watching the chefs prepare our 10 courses with 7 wine pairings! Both lived up to the hype.

Tapas-style food is very much in vogue and I thoroughly enjoyed my return to Liam Tomalin’s http://www.chefswarehouse.co.za and my first to its sister restaurant, http://www.thalitapas.co.za, with tapas on an Indian theme. Luke Dale-Roberts is at it too, with http://www.thepotluckclub.co.za in an old silo on what is now the 6th floor with night-time views across the docks. All three were excellent, and good value too. The other gastronomic treat was the first, at Terrior (http://www.kleinezalze.co.za/terroir/background) on the Kleine Zalze wine estate, a more traditional three-courser which I enjoyed very much. There is nowhere else in the world where imaginative, high quality food and outstanding wines are so affordable and it was a thrill to immerse myself in it for a third time.

So that’s another trip done. With plenty more to sample and lovely friends to enjoy it all with (try their Airbnb’s https://airbnb.com/rooms/9088391?i=10&ref_device_id=46744834b9964419cff00163edaa70046575cf9f&s=1&user_id=47873682 and https://airbnb.com/rooms/13390632?i=10&ref_device_id=46744834b9964419cff00163edaa70046575cf9f&s=1&user_id=47873682). The only question is…..when is the next visit?

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A lean month once you take out 10 days in Scotland and 6 days at the Olympics or Paralympics as either volunteer or spectator!

There was a pair of Proms – Bernstien’s Mass and Elgar’s The Apostles. The former is a favourite rarely performed so much-anticipated (particularly as almost all of the vocal and orchestral inputs were Welsh!), but I’m afraid it didn’t quite live up to the anticipation. The weak link for me was Morten Frank Larsen in the key role of ‘The Celebrant’ . There were no weak links in The Apostles where Mark Elder, The Halle and all six soloists shone in this underrated oratorio.

At Sadler’s Wells Theatre, I caught the last performance of the revival of Matthew Bourne’s 9-year-old Play Without Words, a dance piece based on the film The Servant, with a terrific jazz score. It was as good as I remembered, sexy slick and truly unique.

British Design 1948-2012 (so good, I wanted to steal a lot of the 50’s-70’s stuff!) and Heatherwick Studio (which by the time I got there included the prototype for his extraordinary Olympic cauldron). The post-war years really did produce iconic designs and the exhibition captured the best of it in almost every form. Thomas Heatherwick works across a lot of forms and his exhibition was simply enthralling. Has there ever been a more inventive designer?

Portrait of London at the Wandsworth Museum showcased photos of London in general and the borough of Wandsworth in particular and it was fascinating. I took in their permanent collection for the first time and was particularly delighted to see them covering the late 19th century tradition in Earlsfield of electing a ‘fool’s mayor’; somehow that feels so up-to-date!

A trip to a multi-story car park in Shoreditch was an unusual experience, specifically to see the 16 BMW Art Cars over six floors, painted by the likes of Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Roy Liechtenstein et al. A quirky, interesting diversion rather than spectacular art, unlike the Bauhaus – Art as Life show at the Barbican Art Gallery which was an extraordinary review of the impact of this short-lived design ‘movement’. Covering everything from architecture, fashion, painting, sculpture, graphics, toys, furniture and performance, their influence was so much more than you’d ever imagine could be achieved in just 14 years.

RGS Travel Photography Exhibition looks like becoming as much of a tradition as the International Photography Exhibition in Edinburgh – and has exactly the same impact of making me feel inadequate as a photographer. I love the way that here they exhibit many of them in the open air and the fact it specialises on travel makes it even more up my street.

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