Tim Pyne’s m-house: A tale of two halves [prefab]

This is m-house in it’s natural habitat; a bit of useless waste ground which costs virtually nothing to rent. If planners could get their heads round the idea that you don’t have to wreck the environment to provide housing, there are thousands of sites in the UK like this which could be made into homes.

Tim Pyne's m-house

We’re not sure what to call it: is it a classy caravan or an ultra-chic pad with wheels? The distinction is the m-house’s raison d’etre and it’s greatest obstacle. Tim Pyne wanted a house on a bit of Essex estuary but was told he could only have a mobile home. Something on wheels, below a certain size, which arrives on site in no more than two big pieces. The planning laws do not, however, say that it had to be flimsy or look tacky so, together with Michael Howe of mae architects, he has produced a 2-bedroom, 900 sq foot designer home that is totally complete and can be assembled in a day with minimal planning permission.

m-house living area

‘This gives a good idea of the space in the living area. A lot of people try to plan homes into shells which are 3 meters wide, and frankly, it doesn’t work – it feels miserable. Someone needs to tell our housebuilders that. Do you know they actually make special 90% scale furniture for show homes to make them look bigger? Incredible.’

Read the rest of the m-house feature on sprks.com

Words & Photos: © 2011 Ken Sparkes. First published June 2006. All Rights Reserved

Londoners have only 39 weeks to learn French. Jusqu’aux Jeux Olympiques!

The official language of the Olympic Games is French, so ceremonies, advertisements and announcements will all be made first in French with EASL (English As a Second Language), but we’re so accustomed to living with our refined cousins that our media haven’t really made much of a fuss about it.

Londoners embrace all things French fo the 2012 Olympics

Anyone who has lived or stayed in South Kensington knows that you don’t have to hop on the Eurostar to get un petit peu de Paris. For years we have read articles about how proliferously French cafés, restaurants and boutiques have been popping up on the local high streets of South Kensington, Chelsea, North East Hackney and Islington. Well, they could hardly resist De Beauvoir town. We’ve all become quite accustomed to walking into nice restaurants and being greeted with “Bonjour, Monsieur/Madame…” or listening to the conversation next to us on the tube trying our best to remember the little French we learned in school. Le Monde sits happily next to The Times on the top rack at the local store in the tube station. It is far easier and more common to get coffee and croissants than an English fry-up on your way to work. And let’s not forget our undying love of Marion Cotillard.

But there it is: you will soon see signs around London carrying the Olympic Logo and French writing. With English subtitles. Don’t worry, you haven’t been beamed to Paris; France has come to you.

The Olympic Games were revived by Monsieur Baron Pierre de Coubertin in the late 19th century and thus the IOC, was based in Lausanne, a primarily French speaking town in Switzerland so French became the official language. We must point out at this stage that his inspiration came from an annual Games tradition originally held in the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Seriously! Us Brits do really start the ball rolling with most things.

Check out our Francophile Favourite South Kensington properties.

Words: © 2011 Victoria Bond Elliot. All Rights Reserved. Via Accommodate London

Cristina Rodriguez: Industrial Revolution

Cristina Rodriguez, Barcelona: Industrial Revolution

When she first saw this old, derelict textile factory in the centre of Barcelona, interior designer Cristina Rodriguez wasn’t even fazed – she knew that eventually it would be her home, and how right she was…

This was once a buzzing, thriving factory where people came to work day after day to produce fabrics and textiles. The huge space could have been daunting but, instead of feeling negative about it, Cristina plunged into a whirl of ideas and thoughts about how to make this vast area into various living zones without adding partitions or walls.

Continue reading Cristina Rodriguez: Industrial Revolution

Ministero del Gusto, Marrakech

Ministero del Gusto - MarrakechHidden behind an unremarkable wooden door in the heart of Marrakech’s Medina lies the remarkable calling card of Italian design duo Fabrizio Bizarri and Alessandra Lippini.

Mention their names among the growing number of foreigners who are making Marrakech their home, and they will inevitably be greeted with nods of recognition and smiles of friendship. For the Europeans who have settled in Marrakech are a close-knit bunch, united by shared appreciation of the Moroccan way of life. In their ten years in Morocco, the two designers have become regular fixtures of the Medina. But, if the locals have grown accustomed to Fabrizio and Alessandra, you cannot help but wonder what they would make of their creation; the Ministero del Gusto.

Continue reading Ministero del Gusto, Marrakech