The super cool Art Drive! exhibition

The entrance and interior of the lift


Like I mentioned previously, there are endless arts and cultural events happening all over town during the Olympics, but the Art Drive! exhibition organised by the ICA is probably one of the coolest in town at the moment.

This 2-week free exhibition at the a multi-storey car park in Shoreditch ( yes, the entire car park has been turned into an exhibition space) showcases BMW’s art car collection from 1975-2010. I can’t think of a better venue for this exhibition esp. in an area like Shoreditch where street art and graffiti is in every corner. There are many big names like Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein etc, but it’s just wonderful to see them being displayed outside of a gallery/ museum space. Honestly, you don’t have be one of the ‘boys’ to be excited by these super cool cars!

Catch it before it ends next week!


Jenny Holzer, César Manrique, Frank Stella


The pop masters: Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein


Esther Mahlangu, M.J. Nelson, Robert Rauschenberg


Jeff Koons and Sandro Chia


Graffiti in Shoreditch


Art Drive! at the NCP car park ( 35 Great Eastern Street) will end on 4th August.



Olympic fever in London

Like many of my London friends who left the city to avoid the Olympics, I was a bit sceptical about the event ( esp. with all the bad press beforehand) until I was out walking along the river with friends from overseas the day before the games.

The sun was shining and there were hundred of street performers, artists, along with locals and tourists, everyone was so excited and joyful which really changed my view about the event. But the highlight came when we were dining by the river and saw the fireworks at Tower Bridge, it was so unexpected that it took all the diners by surprise ( we found out later that they were rehearsing for the Opening Ceremony the evening after).



Call me bias but I felt quite emotional and proud to be a Londoner by the end of the opening ceremony. I have fallen out with London many times, but would always return to my birth city; and last night, I realised how strongly I feel towards this multicultural, creative, quirky, tolerant and historical place.

I feel sorry for those who didn’t get the irony, humour, and the eccentricity of the ceremony; honestly, there might have been some confusing and disjointed acts, but surely the overall vision of reflecting on the past, respecting different races, classes or great individuals, and encouraging the youth is not so difficult to comprehend, right? Some critics said it was too left and political correct, but I think its many imperfections made it more humane, authentic and unique.



There is no point in comparing this to the Beijing Olympics, because that was more like a expensive dinner banquet continuously serving dishes like sharks fin soup, abalones, lobsters and suckling pigs etc, spectacularly presented, precisely and perfectly cooked, but too rich to digest after a while. The London one was more like eating multiple courses prepared by Heston Blumenthal ( unfortunately, I have yet to try it), original, unpredictable, bonkers at times but immensely fun and very British.

For me, the best part of the show was not Mr Bean, The Queen, Daniel Craig or the rock music. It was Danny Boyle‘s decision to include ‘real’ people like the builders of the Olympic stadiums, the deaf percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and disabled children/ Chaos singing choir in pajamas ( you could never imagine this at other Olympics opening)… Last but not least, the 7 young athletes who lit the stunningly beautiful and one of a kind Olympic cauldron designed by one of my favourite designers of our era, Thomas Heatherwick. An ingenious concept!

No, the ceremony wasn’t perfect, but then again, I think most Brits/ Londoners would value creativity and authenticity over egocentricity and perfectionism at any time.


My tickets to the games…



Documentaries marathon

Since the ICA would be closed during the Olympics, I decided to do a mini documentaries marathon, seeing three documentaries in 2 days… I have been more ambitious before but ended up feeling nausea afterwards, so I have learned not to overdo it.


Marina Abramovic: The artist is present

This is an engaging, spiritual and well-paced documentary on the performance artist, Marina Abramovic. If I didn’t see this, I would probably misunderstand her work and its meanings, but now I am very intrigued by her and her work. She comes across as a very spiritual being, and I felt quite moved watching her ‘performance’ with the public at MOMA. Once again, it ensures me that people are essentially the same no matter the age, race, background, and profession. Her work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but she is definitely a charismatic and unique individual.




Nostaglia for the light

Patricio Guzmán‘s Chilean documentary is beautiful, heartfelt and extremely powerful. It ties an unlikely link between the nation’s fascination with astronomy and its country’s past political turmoil under Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. The documentary is not overly sentimental, but it would be hard not to empathise with the women who lost their loved ones ( executed) under Pinochet’s dictatorship.

This link questions the way we think about time, space, memories, past, present, losses and pain. It is so thought-provoking that it must be seen again to fully digest the scope of the topic.




Eames – The architect and the painter

This is quite a fascinating documentary on Charles and Ray Eames, who were America‘s most influential industrial designers. However, it does not match the standard of the documentaries above; it is overlong and a bit boring at times. As a designer, I am interested by the sources of their inspirations and design processes, but as a story, I think the material is slightly on the weak side.




My Cigno Seventy


Finally, the sun is out and I was able to take my beloved Cigno Seventy out for a ride in my local area…

As a huge supporter of online shopping, I buy almost everything online ( except for fresh food) including my bicycle from Italy! Two years ago, I was looking for a foldable bike for leisure, and when I saw the the Cigno range of retro bicycles inspired by the legendary Graziella, icon of the years 60/70, I fell in love with them immediately! I was slightly torn between buying a Brompton or a Cigno, but decided to go for latter, which was also cheaper! With so many colours to choose from, it was hard to make a decision, but I eventually went for the orange Amsterdam… ( I wonder if this subconsciously influenced the colour of my company’s logo?)

I have to admit that I am a sucker for beautiful designs, so practicality sometimes is not too high on my list! I think this bike is comfortable and great for leisure, but probably not suitable for commuting on the busy streets in Central London. It is also not very light, so it is not as practical as the Bromptons and cannot be carried around easily. However, my bike does attract a lot of attention and compliments, and it does its job very well, so I can say that I am a proud and happy owner of this lovely bike!


Summer exhibitions in London

Woven Portico by Nicolas Feldmeyer at UCL ( ended), BT artbox & art installation at the entrance of V & A)


Just one week to go before the opening of the Olympics…

Probably like most other Londoners, I am sick and tired of the rain, we are told that summer will arrive just before the Games, but for how long I wonder? Luckily, there are many interesting art and design exhibitions all over town to cheer me up, slightly…


Serpentine Pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei ( until 14th October) and Damien Hirst at the new White Cube Bermondsey

Rob Lowe: Details at Kemistry Gallery (ended)


My favourite exhibitions of the summer ( so far):

Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary at the V & A ( until 30th Sept)

Bauhaus: Art as Life at the Barbican ( until 12th August)

Antony Gormley: Still standing at White Cube Hoxton Square ( until 15th Sept)

The Triumph of Pleasure: Vauxhall Gardens 1729 – 1786 at the Foundling Museum ( until 9th Sept)

Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum (ended)

Burtynsky: Oil at The Photography’s Gallery (ended)

Brains: The Mind as Matter at the Wellcome Collection (ended)


Installation at the Southbank Centre & Peter Blake at the Mall galleries


The most disappointing was a visit to the new White Cube Bermondsey, where Damien Hirst’s Two weeks one summer was exhibiting… I have never been his fan and this show proved to me how over-hyped he was and how passé he is.

Now I can’t wait to see Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye at Tate Modern



Re:new Tohoku exhibition & event


I stumbled upon the Re:new Tohoku: a tradition of perfection brought to life for you exhibition at Asia House by chance, and while I was there, I chatted to the organisers who then kindly invited me to the buyer’s event later in the evening.

This exhibition showcases beautiful Japanese handicrafts and design products made by craftsmen and companies based in the affected earthquake/ tsunami region of Japan. There are a wide range of products on display including kitchenware, tableware, ceramics, stationery, fashion accessories and traditional wooden Japanese dolls etc.

I was particularly drawn to the beautifully crafted wooden stationery items made by Alte Meister ( a traditional wooden Buddhist alters maker founded in 1900), and the cute music boxes shaped like cakes and houses by Kumanodo. However, if I have to pick my favourite item, it would be the stunning sustainable pair of beechwood Faggion speakers by Bunaco ( if only I could afford them)!



I was lucky enough to speak to the exhibition’s project leader, Watanabe-san, who is from Fukushima and continues to live in the region to support local businesses. Apparently, he was drinking in a pub when the tsunami hit, his house was saved because it was on a higher ground. He told me that most locals in the region are trying to live as normal as possible, despite the constant media attention and radiation scare. I have a huge admiration for the Japanese’ optimism and strength in dealing with crisis, their strong sense of community spirit is so commendable.

During the evening event, I was able to meet some Japanese designers based in London, meanwhile, there was plenty of sushi and sake to go round. There was also an unforgettable and energetic taiko (Japanese drumming) performance by Joji Hirota (a well-known percussionist based in the UK), accompanied by Bruce Huebner‘s ( a Californian flutist and saxophonist based in Yokohama) shakuhachi (bamboo flute).

It must have been a lucky day for me because not only did I accidentally get myself invited to such an interesting event, I also won a prize at the lucky draw… something that never usually happens to me! It was £40 worth of vouchers at Wagamama!

An unexpected but amazing day…


Re: New Tohoku: a Tradition of Perfection Brought to Life for You at Asia House will end on 15th July.


Converse x Marimekko

I have a soft spot for Converse even though they are not the most comfortable shoes! My fashion ‘dilemma’ has always been whether to go for something I really like but not at all practical or something that is just functional or practical. I have gone down both routes, these days I try to find a middle ground.

Summer sales started last month and I had been too busy to shop, but thanks to online shopping, I spotted these Converse x Marimekko shoes on Net-a-porter... and as a fan of Marimekko prints, I just couldn’t resist the temptation!

The Unikko poppy print is Marimekko’s most popular and recognizable pattern created in 1964 by Finnish designer, Maija Isola. It’s such a classic design, bold but not too girly. I love the shoe bag too!

I think I have fallen back in love with Converse again…