Posts tagged ‘architecture’

9 April, 2012

Easter Exultet

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

~James Broughton

10 April, 2011


When I first arrived in Paris in 2003, I was young, naive and green. The city’s beauty literally floored me and I spent much of my first visit being a flâneur, silent and awestruck by the broad boulevards, les petites jardins and the grand, beautiful buildings. And stuffing myself full of pastries and baguettes.

On my recent visit almost a decade later, a more experienced and mature me was less dumbfounded but no less in awe. Even in the melancholy depths of winter, the greyness of the skies – and the pale European sunshine when it breaks through – enhances the delicate lines of the buildings and its the streets.  And the city’s inhabitants?  C’est chic, bien sûr. Parisian fashion is not showy or flamboyant.  But the surprising colour of a scarf, the turn of a lady’s heel, the chic, tousled ‘i-haven’t-tried-too-hard’ hair, the subtle, perfect fit of a young banker’s suit… well, it’s just… quietly, fabulously chic.

Some snaps from my recent visit.

Le Tour D’Eiffel in the limpid wintry afternoon sunshine.

Bread and butter pud (à la française) in the 3ème arrondisement.

Carousel by the Seine.

Buildings in the 5ème arrondissement.

Ticket stubs from Paris.

28 July, 2010

The Ikea Run

By a quirky, unexpected turn of circumstances, serendipitous meetings, straight out opportunism, leaps of faith and perhaps pure, blind luck (always easy to see, in retrospect), I seem to have landed pretty much where I want to be: in a new job in a beautiful building with friendly, supportive managers and colleagues, and I’m just about to move into a lovely light-filled house close to shops, a cosy café or two, lovely restaurants, a purveyor of fine wines and a fabulous bookshop and library.

The only catch?  It’s not in my hometown of Melbourne but rather, Canberra – Australia’s capital – and famed for well, just that fact. Cultural goings-on are minimal, and certainly not of the eccentric, underground sort which Melbourne and London is known for.  Canberra is also famed for the grand ole business of government, of course.  But, as I’ve said plenty of times, life certainly takes you where you least expect and sometimes, you need to grasp opportunities when they present themselves, even if all the boxes aren’t ticked.  And given the upcoming federal election, it’s quite the place to be.

The one fly in the ointment? There is no Ikea. A revelation which seriously made me reconsider my move. Because no matter what those design snobs say, there is nowhere like Ikea for a well-designed, nice-looking, inexpensive household bits n’bobs. Especially for people new in town.  Quite a glaring omission for the Swedish company, I think, given Canberra’s highly-skilled, cashed-up, transient population. Apparently ‘Ikea runs’ (2-3 hours’ drive to the nearest store in Homebush, Sydney) is quite the thing in this town.

But one thumbs up for Canberra? No Starbucks. Apparently the last one fled town a couple of years ago. And amen to that.

A tasty exotic mushroom pizza with a perfect crust. At one of Canberra’s culinary surprises.

21 July, 2010

A House of One’s Own

A ramble through Brighton with an old friend. We stumbled across this lovely old home with its gorgeous sky blue shutters and gate and I thought ‘this is the house for me’.

And the nearby scenery isn’t too shabby either.

22 April, 2010

Stone and Wood

Liz Lemon said it best:

“I want to go to there.”

(From these chaps.)

13 March, 2010

Silver, Blue and Heide

Established as an artists’ salon in the 1930s on the outskirts of Melbourne by the superbly-named Sunday Reed and her solicitor husband John, this is a lovely space – comprising the original and the newer, contemporary structures on the property – to peruse modern Australian art, picnic or run madly around the sculpture-filled gardens, or to simply have a cuppa with your newspaper in the café.

27 November, 2009

Girl Friday

Un- and/or semi-employment certainly takes one down paths previously untrod.  Having fallen into a role where I am not, lamentably, capturing Cary Grant’s heart as a feisty, independent, sharp-nosed, story-busting journalist with a cache of quick ripostes (Hollywood shure don’t make dames like Hildy Johnson anymore!) but rather acting as an assistant to a retired businessman (but no less feisty, sharp-nosed and quick-witted as Hildy, I would like to think!), I have:

  • sat in the driver’s seat of a Jaguar (but, unfortunately, did not take it anywhere);
  • been called a ‘whore’ as I walked to work, by a young schoolboy who was, I suspect, attempting to impress his pimply friends with his knowledge about such grown-up matters;
  • drunk my fill and more of a stunning previously unseen panorama of Melbourne city (which I hope to capture soon);
  • looked high and low around the city’s public transport system for a missing bag of the businessman’s friend;
  • been privy to a wonderful cache of old photos taken by a gwai lo (trans. westerner) travelling through China during the 1960s; and
  • realised I will never best a sturdy Romanian woman in a contest of strength.

And re-familiarised myself with Melbourne, of course.

17 October, 2009

To Market, To Market

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

To market, to market, to buy a fat hog,
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

~Traditional English nursery rhyme

Barcelona is not a city light on stunning architecture. But I was rather taken with the wonderful Mercat de Santa Caterina and its surrounding buildings, designed by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue.  The Mercat is situated in the lovely, gentrified El Born district, once the ancient medieval part of Barcelona and densely built and populated. As I wandered through medieval Barcelona, I was more often than not walking through narrow streets where sunlight only briefly reaches the cobblestones each day. Happening upon the Mercat and its surrounding buildings gave me a well-needed respite from these constrained spaces; my view could stretch freely and I could drink in the light, the air, rest in the sun and contemplate the tasty-looking provisions laid out in Mercat itself.

Photos below were processed with the aim of communicating the steamy temperature of Barcelona in late June.  I’ve also tried to emulate the vividness of the ‘retro’ postcards of Barcelona which seemed to pop up everywhere I wandered (I note I was visiting quite a few design stores and galleries).  The postcards seemed to have that quality, that cast which photos taken in the 1970s would have acquired by now.  Or, as is more likely in this age of digital processing, they were probably recent images which had been cross-processed using Adobe or any number of other image processing software.

25 September, 2009

Getting to grips with the GIMP

‘lomo-fication’, cross-processing, retro/vintage-effects (which I am quite partial to)… the world is your oyster these days for all photography geeks without access to processing studios and expensive equipment. All you need is a computer, digital camera and relevant software (in my case, GIMP) and away you go!

I’m a novice at this sort of thing, but the art of processing digital photography may well become a new addiction.

A few experiments – with varying degrees of success – below.






18 September, 2009


I recently had to produce a 3D paper sculpture, inspired by something I had come across, to a certain brief; it had to be organic, somewhat architectural, fit on an A4 base and be made out of white paper.

The trees would not thank me for my various experiments and neither would my (imaginary) cleaner for the myriad scraps of paper which littered my room like confetti during my endeavours.  But, apart from the stress of deadline and the fact that I was calling on parts of my brain which had long lain dormant and creaking them into gear was protracted and painful, it was a lot of fun.

The initial inspiration

Subsequent inspiration - trilobites!

The Millenium Falcon?

Aerial view of the final piece