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Sundown at the Ashfield garage

On the way to work today I noticed that Ashfield Motors on Caroline Street (just off St Paul’s Square) has been fenced off, the signs saying it’s soon to become an office development.

It was such an ace looking place, like something you might see in the middle of nowhere, off a dusty old US highway in the 1950s. It’s a bit of romantic nostalgia I suppose but it’s a real shame to see it go – there’s something special and rare about places with that level of character.

Anyway, I remembered that we’d seen a fantastic photo of the garage when we were at last year’s Cure Zone exhibition.

Photographer Catharine Frediani captured this image in 2007 and it’s part of a series called Finding America – photos that were taken in Britain but look quintessentially American. It struck me at the time as a really interesting concept, and I’m now especially glad the Ashfield was included. You can see the rest of the series on Catharine’s page of the Cure Zone website. (I can’t link direct to the specific page as it’s a Flash site)

Drumming ... Japanese style

I first went to see Kodo, a group of Japanese drummers, about six years ago. It was quite an experience - even in the cheap seats (!) the thunderousness was staggering; and the stamina of the drummers a-mazing.

They’re back at Symphony Hall tomorrow (Friday) night. Hope they’re as good as I remember.

Going, going, go-ing live!

After several months of it being on the verge of readiness, the new site finally went live yesterday. So far all seems to be working well - just a few tweaks and additions needed I think, including the enabling of comments for this section (a frightening prospect - I don’t want swearing or spam but nor do I relish the prospect of no comments at all, Billy-no-mates style ... we’ll see I suppose).

So, why did we change the website anyway? It was quite nice as it was ...

Well in short, we wanted an easier-to-update, easier-to-read news section, a bigger and better showcase for our portfolio, plus a section in which to waffle a bit about things we’ve seen and done that aren’t necessarily part of our regular work. (Hence this blog-type bit you’re now thoroughly engrossed in ... ahem.)

I’m especially pleased with the new work section. It’s a major improvement on what we had before - we can now add new projects so easily and there’s loads more space to explain about each one, what we did and our thinking behind it, which I think’s really important.

Anyway, feedback on the site has been pretty positive so far - phew! If you’ve got any thoughts, constructive criticism is always welcome ... as is applause, back-patting and general praise, so don’t be shy. You can use the form on the contact page to let us know what you think, or send an email to - whichever takes your fancy.

A ton of bricks

Following the 50th birthday of many designers’ favourite typeface (the delightful Helvetica) last year, this year’s half century congratulations go to another simple yet beautiful creation – the modern Lego brick.

I was quite a fan of these colourful little boxes as a child and I’m certain they’re good for little ‘uns. Dexterity and creative thinking are pretty valuable skills that are surely being practiced in a subliminal kind of way when playing with Lego. In fact the name Lego comes from the Danish words ‘leg godt’, meaning ‘play well’.

It may be a designer thing – less is more and all that – but the design of the Lego brick really is just genius. It’s so simple and so perfect. Just think, because the same design has been used all this time, Lego produced today still fits bricks made back in 1958. For some reason I find that quite astounding and worth a mention.