Saturday, 17 September 2011

Ostap Rudakevych, Aqualta_TimesSq-Night_NYC, 2009

'Imagined Cities', a new exhibition at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, is fresh evidence that some of the most exciting creative work right now is happening on the border between fine art and design. Curated by Dainow&Dainow, the show brings together limited-edition art prints by talented architecture graduates and professionals as part of the London Design Festival 2011.

Take Ostap Rudokevych's magical 'Cloud City'. Described as "a concept for provisional post-disaster housing", it shows vast, white balloon houses floating serenely in the sky, tethered to the decaying remains of houses below. In a similar vein, 'Aqualta_TimesSq-Night_NYC' is Times Square, but not as you know it. Pedestrians have become passengers in gondolas, bedecked with red lanterns, which move on water shimmering with the reflections of neon advertising signs. Although this ecologically transformed world at first seems poetic and remote, with climate change bringing increased flooding and other natural disasters, it's an urban scenario we will surely face more and more.

Or Catrina Stewart's 'London City Farmhouse' - a multi-coloured, multi-storey metropolitan development. Don't be fooled by its playful, ramshackle appearance this is an architecturally innovative response to the need for sustainable urban energy solutions, albeit one with a stinky side. The 'farmhouse' is essentially a glorified public toilet that generates power from human waste. Like Rudokevych's work, Stewart's is inspired by informal urbanism, which adapts in response to the rapidly evolving requirements of city dwellers. And as a fine art print it's really rather gorgeous. 

Catrina Stewart - The London Farmhouse Tower from Miles Langley on Vimeo.

Like cities themselves, these works and others on display here are shaped by ideas and teeming with possibility, but they are also beautiful yet affordable objets d'art in their own right. Add to this the exhibition's fabulously salubrious setting - a coffee shop and 'social hub' on Farringdon's Leather Lane, with lovely exposed brick work and even lovelier espressos - and I think it's fair to say we have something pretty special on our hands. Get down there asaps. 

'Imagined Cities' runs from 16 September - 13 October 2011 at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, 14-16 Leather Lane, EC1N.

Visit and

Catrina L. Stewart, London City Farmhouse

RACHEL SEGAL HAMILTON All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger