THOUSANDS of Londoners walk past them every day but are blissfully unaware of their design majesty.
It is familiarity’s fault. How often do we ignore masterpieces in our own back yard because we ‘see’ them every day?
That fantastic antique tea chest in your mum’s kitchen soon becomes just an old box to childish eyes. Not because we don’t admire its beauty but simply because it is so familiar.
Londoners are guilty of this, possibly more than most because they have so many architectural diamonds in their midst.
We’re not talking about St Paul’s Cathedral, Marble Arch or Buck House here – the fact that millions of tourists flock from across the world to stand and admire these altars of architectural perfection means they are difficult to ignore.
We’re talking about something, on the surface at least, far more every day, mundane even, than that.
Ladies and gentleman, please be upstanding for one of these humble, yet astonishingly beautiful, yet largely ignored treasures – the London depot that is Stockwell Bus Garage.
Take a good, long look at its architectural beauty. Gorgeous isn’t it?
STOCKWELL BUS GARAGE
It’s a design masterpiece from another time and though stunning in the tiniest detail, is largely ignored by the thousands who walk past it and the hundreds who work in it, every day.
London’s Design Museum’s latest exhibition aims to redress that balance somewhat.
‘Lesser Known Architecture’ is an exhibition at the Design Museum, running now, which aims to celebrate a number of these forgotten structures.
Some of Britain’s top architecture experts have been roped in to nominate their London favourites, from the filigree ironwork at South Kensington Tube station to the six-mile subterranean Post Office Railway and the concrete diamond exoskeleton of Welbeck Street car park.
The car park is tucked behind Selfridges and, according to Sam Jacob, director of FAT Architecture, ought to be “regarded along with other great structures occurring at the intersection of transport and architecture, such as Gilbert Scott’s St Pancras, Brunel’s train sheds and Grand Central Station”.
Every city in the UK has a collection of these forgotten beauties.
And sometimes all we need to do to reacquaint ourselves with their beauty is look up.
Funny how the beauty we see in modern life seems strictly confined to eye-level. If only we took the time to look up, take off the blinkers on our daily commute to work, we’d realise there’s so much to enjoy no further than an arched neck away.
Along the same lines, the new strapline from Magnet, ‘Find Beauty Built In’ embraces the quality of our kitchens both externally and internally, and celebrates the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into every aspect of the kitchen from design to installation.