Visit London Blog » royal college of art Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s On This Weekend: 7-9 December 2012 Mon, 03 Dec 2012 10:40:23 +0000 Give your tastebuds a workout in London this weekend, as both Taste of Christmas and the Chocolate Festival are open to tempt you with delicious food. Elsewhere, you can feast your eyes on the incredible spectacle of the British Military Tournament, learn about Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth or have a giggle at a pantomime.

Taste of Christmas at Excel London

Make this year’s Christmas dinner extra special by stocking up on tips, recipe ideas and special ingredients at this festive food fair. Taste of Christmas not only features demonstrations from top UK chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Michel Roux Jnr, but there are also lots of tempting stalls at which you can buy ingredients, find unique gifts or simply enjoy seasonal dishes from top London restaurants. Book tickets. 7-9 Dec 

Fourth Plinth: Contemporary Monument, at the ICA

Standing in the northwest corner of Trafalgar Square, the Fourth Plinth was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue but lay bare for more than 150 years. Since 1999, however, the space has played host to  temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, which have been delighting and baffling London in equal measure. A new free exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts explores the recent artistic history of  the plinth, as well as reactions to it. Until 20 Jan

Chocolate Festival at the Southbank Centre

Put down that giant tin of Quality Street and head over to the Southbank Centre for a taste of what you can really do with a cocoa bean. Not only can you sample your way through endless chocolatey delights, but top chocolatiers such as Paul A. Young and Damian Allsop will be on hand to show you how their tempting confections are made. Entry is free. 7-9 Dec

The British Military Tournament 2012

See incredible displays of military skill and precision at this spectacular annual event in Earl’s Court. Not only does the British Military Tournament highlight the accomplishments and dedication of Britain’s armed forces, but it also raises money for charities that support the military family. This year’s event celebrates The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and features hundreds of troops, horses and vehicles participating an astonishing variety of re-enactments, competitions and displays – including the legenday Field Gun Run.  Visitors also have a chance to try their own skills in the Tournament Exhibition Area. Adult tickets start from £29.25. 8-9 Dec

Royal College of Art Christmas Fete

Christmas gifts don’t get any artier than this: the Royal College of Art in Kensington is hosting its first-ever Christmas fete, at which you can buy original items straight from the students that made them. Not only can visitors pick up gifts for prices as low as £2, but they will also have the opportunity to view the College’s 175th exhibition for free. The fete is open from 12pm every day. 6-9 Dec

Pantomimes, various venues

This weekend sees the opening of many pantomime shows in London. (Oh no it doesn’t! Oh yes it does…) From lavish productions featuring famous faces to smaller affairs just for grown-ups, there’s something to get everyone laughing, groaning and entering into the spirit of a quintessentially British silliness. For a full list of London pantomimes, see our guide.

More events in London

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The Perfect Place to Grow: 175 Years of the Royal College of Art Mon, 19 Nov 2012 16:09:24 +0000

From David Hockney to James Dyson, some of the world’s best-known artists and designers have studied or taught at the Royal College of Art. Now the RCA has launched a new exhibition about its 175-year history.

I visited the free show yesterday and was amazed at the breadth of work on display, from a real Porsche designed by RCA graduate Matthias Kulla, to David Hockney paintings from the 1960s, sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, and a boat designed by James Dyson while he was still a student at the college.

I liked Gavin Turk’s blue plaque stating “Gavin Turk, Sculptor worked here”, which he famously exhibited in an empty studio for his degree show, and Tracey Emin’s The Perfect Place to Grow, a shed on stilts with a peephole that visitors are encouraged to look through.

Two of the most memorable artworks were a big cat made from coat hangers by David Mach (pictured above) and a sculpture made from plastic dolls’ heads joined together at the neck by Jake and Dinos Chapman.

I left feeling inspired and excited by the creative buzz at the RCA, and almost wishing that I could become a student again.

The Perfect Place to Grow: 175 Years of the Royal College of Art is on until 3 January

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Art Students Take Over Jewellery Shop Windows in Mayfair Wed, 11 May 2011 12:15:54 +0000 Asprey by Maisie Broadhead and Max Warren Boodles by Kim Gladwin and Silvia Weidenbach Boucheron by Jasleen Kaur

The smart jewellers of Bond Street, Conduit Street and Grafton Street in Mayfair have allowed students from the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins to take over their window displays for a week.

At a private view last night, top-end jewellery shops such as Asprey, Chanel, Cartier and Tiffany were full of students and tutors from London’s top art colleges.

My highlights included a display of intricate paper bees; a rotating case with magnifying glasses trained on a diamond bracelet; and an interactive TV screen where you could see yourself in a princess-like tiara.

The Street Lights project runs until 15 May 2011

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Space and Extra Terrestrial Festival Coming To The Royal Albert Hall Mon, 12 Jul 2010 16:53:11 +0000 The Royal Albert Hall is opening its doors for a week-long festival themed around space and extra terrestrials this October.

The Close Encounters Festival will see huge planetariums erected in the main hall, each able to hold 30 people.

The Royal Albert Hall will also host exciting events from “make a crater” workshops for kids, to screenings of classic alien movies including ET, Barbarella and Alien.

There’ll also be a free photographic exhibition, featuring stunning images of the solar system and planets.

And look out for a crashed space ship installation on the South Steps, designed by students from the Royal College of Art.

Lucy Noble, Head of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall ssays:

“We are looking to broaden people’s perceptions of the Royal Albert Hall, engage with new and young audiences and work with new and innovative partners and I believe that this will be a unique event for Londoners of all ages to be involved in.” 

Close Encounters is at the Royal Albert Hall from 25 to 31 Oct 2010. Buy tickets here

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Design Show at the Royal College of Art Thu, 24 Jun 2010 17:00:53 +0000

It’s graduate show season at the Royal College of Art, and this week it’s the turn of design students to showcase their work.

I popped into the RCA this morning to see the creations of graduates in animation, architecture, product design, graphic design, vehicle design, textiles and more.

Highlights included the fashion and textile displays (don’t miss the amazing shoes and hats!); a huge digital clock with numbers that morph before your eyes; and a 3D modelling tool used by designers, which you can try out using 3D specs.

There’s also an outdoor terrace hosted by the Department 21 collective, where creative events will take place throughout the show, including discussions about food and sustainability in relation to art and design. 

Show Two is at the Royal College of Art from 25 June to 4 July 2010. Entry is free

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Gender & Performance at the Royal College of Art Mon, 22 Feb 2010 17:32:00 +0000 Cross-dressing actors and naked performers come to Kensington this week, all in the name of art.

The characters will appear at the Royal College of Art‘s new Gender & Performance exhibition, which explores issues around gender. 

Artist Franko B, perhaps best-known for performance pieces using his own blood, is exhibiting an oversized gold swing called I’m Thinking of You.

The installation comes to life from 2pm on 24 February, when a series of naked volunteers will take turns on the swing. 

Other exhibits include beautifully shot photographs by Ralf Obgerfell of the elaborate characters that frequent London’s nocturnal club scene.

And Oreet Ashery‘s fascinating video, Dancing with Men, where the female artist is seen participating, dressed as a man, in a male-only religious festival.

London’s art scene may sometimes be controversial, but it’s certainly never dull!

Gender & Performance is at the Royal College of Art until 25 February. Admission is free.

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Our Best Bits: The VL Team’s London Highlights for 2009 Thu, 31 Dec 2009 10:00:02 +0000 Somerset House

It’s been a fantastic year in London. Here we take a moment to reflect on our favourite things from 2009.

I think mine was seeing the film Wings of Desire at the Somerset House Summer Screen. Everything came together that night: fantastic venue, good weather, and a cool movie about Berlin with Nick Cave on the soundtrack!

Hannah:The Cloud Project's ice cream van
I love all the quirky, creative events that happen in London. Two of the best this year were Bompas and Parr’s Architectural Punch Bowl and the science-themed ice cream van at the Royal College of Art Show.

My highlight of 2009 is seeing bands that I loved back in the 90s! This year I’ve been lucky enough to see Brett Anderson from Suede, the Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode, who all played fantastic gigs in London.

Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy – this groundbreaking exhibition was a breath of fresh air. The scale and ambition of the exhibition made it one of my highlights of the year. Massive reflective sculptures, a huge moving wax installation squeezing its way through the academy’s doorways, and, of course, the famous wax cannon mean I won’t forget this show in a hurry.

Julie:Incredible act The Skating Willers. Photo: perou
La Clique’s intoxicating cocktail of cabaret, circus, comedy and burlesque is the best night out in London by far. Current highlights include Marawa’s fabulous disco hula hooping, Ursula Martinez’s famous strip with red hankie, Mario Queen of the Circus’s Freddy Mercury tribute, juggling and risqué chat – and manic songstress Miao Miao’s ability to get strapping blokes from the audience into uncompromising positions. I’ve been lucky enough to see La Clique five times and have thoroughly enjoyed every show!

I can’t decide between my top two highlights of 2009. I was totally terrified after I agreed to go kayaking in the summer but bobbing about on the Thames on a lovely sunny morning turned out to be the most peaceful and relaxing way to enjoy London. The other highlight was seeing my all-time favourite band, The Shadows, in concert for the first time. If only I’d been kayaking with The Shadows, my year would have been perfect!

It’s impossible to choose between Piaf early in the year, Hello, Dolly! and As You Like It in the summer, and more recently, Morecambe for Christmassy giggles. And I really liked going to Frank’s Campari Bar on top of Peckham’s multi-storey carpark in the summer. Proof that my new neighbourhood, SE15, is where it’s at.

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Design Museum Announces 2010 Exhibitions Fri, 25 Sep 2009 14:02:02 +0000 One Laptop Per Child by Yves Behar, Winner of The Brit Insurance Design Awards 2008

The Design Museum today announced a wide-ranging schedule of exhibitions for 2010, covering all aspects of design, from architecture and products to photography and fashion.

The first new show, Sustainable Futures – Can Design Save the World?, opens on 31 March, showcasing designs that could help us live more sustainable lives in the future.

(If you’re interested in sustainable design, don’t miss the Royal College of Art’s current exhibition, Sunny Memories, where you can see prototypes of new solar powered products – from a glowing bench to a mobile charger for homeless people.)

Back at the Design Museum, an exhibition of photos by David Adjaye also opens on 31 March, documenting the architect’s journey through Africa, and celebrating the continent’s rich diversity of culture, buildings and urban landscape.

Next up is Illustrated Fashion, opening on 23 June, which features some of the world’s most recognised fashion drawings, including work by Chanel, Dior, Comme des Garcons and Victor & Rolf. The original drawings will be displayed alongside key garments from couture houses.

Then on 22 September, British architect John Pawson  – whose commissions include the Cistercian Monastery of Novy Dvur in Bohemia, Calvin Klein’s flagship store in Manhattan, and the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – gets a chance to show his work.

Although the contents of Pawson’s exhibition are still to be confirmed, you can expect touchable exhibits, walk-in buildings, large-scale photos of architecture, and a biographical account of how Pawson lives in his own home.

Finally, two of the Design Museum’s regular shows return next year.

Brit Insurance Designs of the Year opens on 17 February. Around 100 designs shortlisted for the prestigious prize will be on display at the museum, arranged in seven categories: architecture, transport, graphics, interactive, product, furniture and fashion.

And from now until March 2010, the Designers in Residence scheme continues, with emerging designers invited to take over an area of the museum.

With a possible move to a new location at London’s Commonwealth Institute in 2013, and a packed year ahead, these are exciting times for the Design Museum.

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Ice Cream and Nanotechnology at the RCA Fri, 26 Jun 2009 10:58:39 +0000 The Cloud Project's ice cream van

There’s an attractive looking ice cream van parked outside the Royal College of Art (RCA) in Kensington Gore this week. But if you venture inside you won’t find the usual 99s and ice lollies.

Instead you’ll be greeted by RCA students Cat Kramer and Zoe Papadopoulou, dressed in retro ice cream seller’s outfits, who will introduce you to ice cream-scented clouds and smoke-filled ice cream cones.

It’s all part of The Cloud Project, which aims to increase public engagement with new technologies such as geoengineering and nanotechnology.

Cat says, “There’s a lot of emerging technologies that people don’t really know about. We want to bring this discussion to a wider audience.”

Cat goes on to talk about how diet food is made tastier, the pros and cons of genetically modified food, and the techniques scientists are using to try and control our climate.

Ice cream lovers won’t be disappointed. You’ll be able to get real ice cream, along with an explanation about the manufacturing process and the creation of nano (very small) ice cream crystals.

There’s a group of experts lined up to give talks at the ice cream van, including Dr Steffi Friedrichs, Director of Nanotechnology at the Industries Association (1 Jul, 1.30pm) and Dr Rachel Edward Stewart, molecular gastronomy expert (date to be confirmed).

The Cloud Project is part of Show RCA, the Royal College of Art’s annual graduate show, which runs until 5 July.

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