I’ve always been very fond of the ICA and its maverick spirit, less so in the latter part of this decade. These days the place is magnetic. To feel this incredible and unique place for arts and expression, breathing, breathing invigoratively, is rewarding to a London dweller or/and visitor.
Its incredible transformation, revived from near death by Stefan Kalmár, is felt as soon as you enter the space, it feels open and alive, with vibrant and human energy in staff and visitors; risky, independent, engaging, resounding, and topical to our times programming, which is focused on breaking barriers in imagination an intellect rather than visitor record numbers. It is a breath of fresh air and an example what London art institutions are capable of if they open themselves to welcoming in an outsider and their passionate vision. And they have the best membership in town!
The most beautiful contemporary gallery in London aptly named White Cube, the space is an artwork in itself. Its portfolio of artists and exhibition programme is top of the league, always presented as with style and grace as the space itself.
Photograph by Paul Riddle
A phenomenal cultural place which brings to London the best contemporary dance talent and productions. Sadler's Wells is one institution that makes London such a an amazing place to live in. Always ground-breaking and risk-taking programming. The best dance venue in the world, thanks to the amazing artistic vision of Alistair Spalding and his team. Leading by example and always doing it with heart.
The most special and charming place to get art supplies and materials.
L. Cornelissen & Son shop is an artwork in itself and one of a kind. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and kind and is always a delight to stop by.
Contemporary British cuisine at its best. Great food, great setting and ambiance, humble and passionate values and ethics towards food and gastronomy. The chefs and their passion and creativity towards food have earned them their first Michelin star in 2014, let it entice you and not put you away, they have remained true to their art.
The most special and charming cinema (probably most deprived too) in London. A place to catch a classic or a new release. You can get a lifetime membership for £50, weekly £1 member screenings. A place where staff are as passionate about pictures as its visitors. A must visit for movie buffs.
London institution, a magical place to have tea and cake and a perfect spot to watch London Soho life unfold before your eyes. The quality is always superb, the staff are friendly and human and the landladies Michelle and Tanya are part of what make this place and London so magical. A little gem that is a must on anyone's visit to London.
A special place, a shop which is like a museum, worth popping in to feel the humanness and heritage of London. And if you are looking for rope, compass or any sailing supplies, this is the place. There is no shop like it.
You would have seen the Brutalist towers and curves from afar. Upon entering the estate where the cultural centre is, you quickly realise the scale, the beauty and charm of this labyrinthine project. Barbican Centre's programming is top of the league across art, theatre, dance and music, both contemporary and classical, art forms. This place is an architectural and cultural institution boldly redefining the UK's cultural landscape.
The outside displays are mysterious and inviting and reveal little to the magic that this place inhabits. Fantastic presentation and exhibition of garments and design pieces. It's an exhibition experience like no other. Not to mention it being the place to get most loving shirts in town. Don't forget to stop by the Rose Bakery for coffee and lunch. A hidden gem.
Grace Helmer is a Brighton-born, London-based illustrator and artist. She has put her paintbrushes to work for a range of clients, such as Apple, Google, Octopus Books and HarvardX.
Natural forms, people watching and a sense of adventure inspire Grace’s playful and colourful work. Her compositions capture the feeling of discovery when you visit somewhere for the first time, and celebrate the beauty in the everyday.
Co-founder & Director of Technology and Magic at Special Projects
Adrian is an inventor, engineer and experience designer on a mission to make the human-technology interaction meaningful and delightful.
As co-founder of Special Projects he harnesses technology, inclusive research and magic thinking to devise design propositions that feel familiar yet wondrous.
A self-taught magician since the age of 11 and full member of the Magic Circle, he relentlessly pursues his conviction that “designers should use magic thinking and try to introduce surprise, delight and fuzzy feeling in the things they create.”
After becoming the first ever James Dyson Fellow in 2007, and a Fellow of the Royal Commission of 1851, in 2010, for his work on interactive lighting systems, Adrian built a playground in Peru, had whisky with Derren Brown as a student in Bristol, and tried to make his teachers disappear.
His contagious passion for magic and engineering made him a beloved tutor and lecturer in Design & Innovation at Queen Mary University and the Royal College of Art, in London and a visiting faculty member at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. There he teaches ‘Magic and Design’, a nomadic workshop where students are introduced to methods of using design and technology to create enchanted products and experiences.
Elisa is a Milan-born fashion/design writer, digital content creator and Editor In Chief/co-founder of Sali e Tabacchi Journal. She moved to London in September 2014 for a foundation year at Condè Nast College of Fashion and Design. Since then, she has interned at J.J. Martin's LaDoubleJ.com, Nowness, British Vogue and Wallpaper* Magazine, has been published by British Vogue and Wallpaper* Magazine and contributes to Corriere Della Sera's Design Magazine, Living. She has now graduated Fashion Journalism at London College of Fashion and collaborating with creatives across different countries.
Before moving to London, Fortuny worked in New York City, Milan, and Los Angeles as a writer and editor. She has contributed to magazines such as Flaunt, Dazed & Confused, Exit, Metal, and Vice. Fortuny is currently the Features Editor at Exit magazine. She loves design, languages, and studying art movements.
Paul Phung is a photographer based in London and a recent graduate from Leeds College of Art, his work has been published in several U.K and international titles. He enjoys collaborating with different artists/designers and is currently working towards bringing out his second zine.