I went to the summer fair at Excel today, to look at well-designed products. There were some lovely things, including Portmeirion’s new designs, German bookbinders Bindewerk (using fabulous patterns – apparently they should be in the UK soon) and Velvet Olive cards.
The fair included a talk by James Lohan of Mr and Mrs Smith – a website and guidebook for insider, boutique travel. An expansion into CDs which reflect the brand and a Europe-wide event guide called Smith52 were fascinating to hear about. He said Mr & Mrs Smith is a pseudonym that couples might use for a weekend away, but the concept translates to other nations – the French have “Mr and Mrs DuPont”, for instance.
Later on, I went to visit the Greenwich Penninsula revamping of the area around the former Dome with a tour of the new square from its architects. The amount of detail that had gone into its design was staggering – for instance, the fountains contain recycled water but the mist jets use drinking water because it could well end up on people’s faces. The square was designed after looking at great squares around the world – I just wonder how many of them have so much advertising sponsorship?