I was in London for two nights. I had an assignment to look at a new hotel, cover some stores for Christmas shopping and finally attend one of the most hyped events in Europe today – Secret Cinema.
A weekend in London is really nice. A good opportunity to polish your accent and go for a pint or two. The city itself has not changed so much since I was last here. Same stores, same restaurants etc.
I was staying two nights at The Kensington. This is a fivestar hotel in Chelsea, and pretty new. Attentive staff and good design with sombre colours. Made a good home for two nights.
Me resting. And the mirror is of course a tv as well.
Staying at a nice hotel like this in Chelsea means that you basically stay in this part of the city. So this trip was more about Kensington, Earls Court, Kings Road, Fulham Road, Brompton etc rather than east London and Brick Lane. I mean – you can’t really cover the whole city. You need to find time for beer as well…
But shopping. During two days we had time to see Conran Shop, of course.
Regardless if the world gets more and more global, and everyone basically has the same content, they do manage to find some things that are unique at Conran Shop.
Basically next door to Conran Shop you have Mint Gallery. Amazing selection of innovative and young design. This weekend we found only three Swedish designers represented – Anna Elzer Oscarson, Studio Soft and the girls that exhibited at Designgalleriet last year – Butler/Lindgård.
It is always amazing to see the works that have been exhibited at Designgalleriet at another gallery space. Makes me proud. The pillow by Butler/Lindgård.
A block away is Victoria & Albert Museum and I must say – they to have one of the best design selections I know. It is funny and well curated. And if you are in a museum mood – don’t miss Science Museum.
A store great for gifts is Fornum & Mason. Love getting a box of cookies or something for the dog sitter.
A new store, for me, was Assouline. A bookstore cum gifts store cum gin bar.
A shopping trip to London should also include a stop at Dover Street Market. Believe me – I really don’t shop a lot – but this is a nice store experience wise.
I love how they experiment with set design and shopping display.
And finally. For this two day shopping stay I recommend a stop at Anthropologie. Very girly but I like it anyway.
Christo in Hyde Park.
And now… One of the main reasons we got to London this time, was to attend Secret Cinema. The concept is as follows. Take a movie with interesting settings, rebuild the settings in this world. Fill this “world” with actors, food, music and 5000 participating moviegoers. Think of movies like Blade Runner, Star Wars, Budapest Hotel and Molin Rouge.
And everything is secret – so no mobile phones are allowed.
We got tickets to Baz Luhrmann’s make of Romeo and Juliet. When you bought the tickets you were assigned either Romeo’s side or Juliet’s side. And a list of how to dress, behave, dance, insult and make love. Almost lika a masquerade.
I borrowed this photo from Internet. So we are beach bums of the Montague family.
We packed our attire in Stockholm and brought to London. Here I am dying my hair pink.
So beach bums of Montagues. The Capulets (Juliet’s family) got a totally different dress code.
Since everything is secret in this activity we only got a subway stop as direction. From there “everything will sort it self out…”
And imagine 5 000 people turning up all dressed up at a subway stop.
We were taken to a huge park. Huge.
And the whole park was built as activity stops with references to the movie. Remember Leo DiCaprios family working a lot with cars?
Notice the graffiti with “Capulets”. Team rivalry.
We entered our house and was forced to put our phones away. So no pictures. This is such a strange feeling. During three hours with drag racing, dragqueens racing, a masquerade ball, gospel choir, gardening section, motor hallway, car washing, a ferriswheel and fun fair – and everything is a remodel of things from the film – and no pictures allowed. I loved it. But I wanted to take so many pictures to share. But it is a secret experience. Amazing.
The event opened about five or six. You interact, play and have fun until nine when the movie is screened. And then at eleven you are back to reality.
This is really one of the most unusual experiences I have ever had – and I can totally recommend it. I dare to say this is Europe’s version of Burning Man…