The South Bank (red) Lion

There has been lots of photo-reminiscing here lately, so here are some photos I took much more recently. Well, in May of this year anyway:

Yes, it’s the lion at the South Bank end of Westminster Bridge.

This South Bank Lion has quite a history, the strangest thing being that it used to be red. I was going to show you the “photo” of the lion when it was red that I found
, until I realised it was faked with Photoshop. But that link is worth following.

The lion hasn’t always perched on the bridge. His first home was on top of the Lion Brewery, a booze factory once based on a site now occupied by the Royal Festival Hall.

I bet the brewery would have made a better concert hall than the accursed RFH.

This photo, on the other hand, of the lion with men and scaffolding is genuine:

The photograph above was kindly shared by Nick Redman of London Photos, whose grandfather (second on the left) was one of the scaffolders who helped move the lion from the soon-to-be-demolished brewery.

I found that here. Also well worth clicking on.

I assume this must be why so many pubs are called “The Red Lion”.

Apparently Emile Zola was very fond of this lion. Blog and learn.

Two black swans in Regents Park

I believe it’s a symptom of getting old that I become less apologetic about being sentimental about animals. And birds. And especially birds who evidently have something a lot like a romantic relationship. Like these two, for instance.

Or, these two:

I encountered these two love-birds in Regents Park, in April 2005. This being after I had descending from Primrose Hill, where I had been photoing the Big Things of central London, from a great distance, with a camera that needed to be a lot better. At the time, it was the Big Thing photos that continued to interest me, and not these birds at all, until now. And while I was photoing them, I was probably just as interested in how that fence was reflected in the water as I was in the birds.

Just as there is confusion about whether the two birds by the river, linked to above in this, were ducks or geese, so too, these “swans” would appear really to be geese, approximately speaking. And according to this piece, geese can live for as much as twenty years. So, this Evening Standard piece dated January 2013, also about a pair of black swans in Regents Park, is probably about the couple I photoed.

If so, it seems that the birds I photoed split up, were then reunited, and then ended as a couple when the lady black swan got killed by a fox. Foxes eh? Cute, but no respect for bird rights.

An inflated unicorn with a serious point attached

It’s Friday, so time for some Frivilous Friday Other Creature Fun:

Photoed by me on the South Bank, under Waterloo Bridge, in the summer of 2016, in a time when you were able to purchase such non-essaential things, without having to wait for them to be delivered. Photo severely cropped to eliminate faces of strangers.

That’s it, really. So skip this next bit if all you wanted was Friday silliness. But if I want to be a bit more serious, as I find that I now do, I could and will connect this photo to one of my recent themes here, namely colourful architecture. A strand in that tapestry of thought of mine, as woven in several recent posts here, says that architecture lags behind the design of other and smaller things, because architects have to be powerful to do what they do and consequently older. And another strand in the same tapestry goes that smaller things, already designed by mere designers, who are on average younger, for their customers, ditto, are already now more colourful. Just like the above unicorn. Sooner or later, architecture will follow. Here endeth the lesson.

Also, nice hairdo.

3D printed architectural models might soon get good at doing colour

Question asked, by me – 3D printed architectural models are now no good at doing colour:

Note also that if the clever people now developing 3D printing for architectural models were to make it easy to include quite accurate and quite detailed colour variety, then that could make a huge difference when it comes to making high colour architecture for real.

Question answered, by 3D Printing ProgressMimicking Nature for Fast, Colourful 3D Printing:

Brilliantly colored chameleons, butterflies, opals – and now some 3D-printed materials – reflect color by using nanoscale structures called photonic crystals.

A new study that demonstrates how a modified 3D-printing process provides a versatile approach to producing multiple colors from a single ink is published in the journal Science Advances.

These things always take their time turning from “a new study” into a real thing. But give it about a decade, and architectural models will be looking fabulous.

Colourful Modernism

Google sends me emails about “new london architecture”. As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of news of this sort just now. But today, I received a link to a report about this, or maybe that’s these:

I smelled a young designer trying to get noticed, and I was not wrong. The thing is, the email said something about “colourful city benches”, and that intrigued me in all sorts of ways. I like public sculpture, especially if you can sit on it. I am interested in how designers are doing a lot of colour these days. And before the link even materialised, I placed a mental bet along the lines described in the first sentence of this paragraph.

Sure enough, Irene Astrain is indeed young. Well, thirties, which is young by architect standards. She only got started with her own enterprise in 2016.

(Starchitects often have to be seventy before they get to be starchitects. (Which was why Zaha Hadid’s recent death in her mere fifties was such a shock. (She should have had another thirty years of shape shifting ahead of her.)))

But back to these benches. What they say to me is that here’s a young architect, doing the old attract-maximum-attention-with-whatever-piddling-little-job-they’ll-let-me-do trick, and making two very strong statements. One: Modernism ain’t going anywhere. Two: but it is going to get much more colourful.

Time was when black and white, and what you get when you mix black and white (grey), were the most modern colours there were (I strongly recommend that link), and photography could also only do black-and-white. And for that mid-twentieth century generation of architects, colour was vulgar and trashy, even Victorian, the Victorian era having been, architecturally speaking, a very colourful and garish time. So, for the Modernists, coloured architecture was the superimposition of mere surface effect. Colour did not ooze out of the inner essence of whatever it was, the way Modernist shapes did, or were claimed to. So, black-and-white architecture was de rigueur and colour was an abomination.

(Interestingly, Le Corbusier deviated from this norm. More recently, Renzo Piano is now very old, but has still done some very colourful buildings, right here in London.)

And now, black-and-white-only is itself what a bygone era looked like. Colour is now done a lot better, in cities that are getting a lot less polluted than they used to be. Colour photography is something everyone can now do and now wants to do.

There’s more blog postings to be done about why Modernism ain’t going anywhere, and it damn well ain’t whatever you maybe might wish. But those will have to wait. Meanwhile, I promise nothing.

There are also lots of blog postings to be done, or discovered having been done by others, about how modernism is caused by, among other things, the fondness that adults have for the kind of things they played with when very young, and when very small compared to these things.