The following itinerary lists a range of key sights which we plan to visit. You may expect that the daily activities described in this itinerary be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, special exhibitions and the availability of designers. The designers included in this itinerary have busy practices and many commitments and their participation in this program will be confirmed closer to our travel date. In exceptional cases, some planned visits may be changed. The tour includes lunch and dinner indicated in the itinerary where: L=lunch and D=evening meal.
Day 1: Thursday 16 September, Arrive London
- Introductory architecture tour with architect Ike Ijeh
- The View from the Shard
- Welcome Drinks
Travellers should make their own way to St Martins Lane Hotel. We embark on our London program at 1345hrs, when we shall gather in the hotel foyer and head out on a walk that will introduce some of the city’s ever-changing neighbourhoods. Our guide will be practicing architect Ike Ijeh, who founded the ‘London Architecture Walks’ company with the aim of sharing the cityscapes of this cosmopolitan metropolis with anyone interested in learning about its unique character.
Our tour finishes at Renzo Piano’s extraordinary Shard London Bridge, the European Union’s tallest building that looks like a great shard of glass rising from the Thames. Piano, who with Richard Rogers designed Paris’ Pompidou Centre, drew inspiration for The Shard from London’s church spires depicted in Canaletto’s paintings of the city, and from old images of the masts of sailing ships on the Thames. We shall ascend to The View from the Shard, observation decks located on the 68th, 69th and 72nd floors that allow magnificent views over the city. There is no better way to orientate yourself in London! While there, we shall partake in a welcome cocktail on the 72nd floor.
The evening will be at leisure so that you can sample the restaurants and bars of central London. (Overnight London)
Day 2: Friday 17 September, London
- Morning specially curated walking tour with Max Fraser, Author of The London Design Guide
- Contemporary Applied Arts
- Dover Street Market
- Welcome Dinner at local restaurant
Today Max Fraser, author of the London Design Guide and Deputy-Director of the London Design Festival (2012-2014), leads us on a tour to explore some of London’s most creative and innovative neighbourhoods. You’ll visit a host of design-savvy and directional places and enjoy hosted, private talks by some of London’s best design talent, both established and emerging.
After lunch we travel by tube to Contemporary Applied Arts, an establishment founded in 1948 to promote and champion British craft. It is a multi-disciplinary space that displays and sells the work of over 350 members, from well-established craftsmen to recent graduates.
Next we visit the Dover Street Market, established by renowned Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garcons. Housed in the former Burbery building, this is a creative and exciting mini-department store that not only sells Comme, but also the designs of leading British figure Paul Harden.
We shall return to our hotel for some time at leisure before making our way a short distance to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner. (Overnight London) BD
Day 3: Saturday 18 September, Open House London
- Activities associated with the ‘Open House London’ (program to be confirmed in August 2021)
Today has been set aside for participation in the Open House London Program – a popular annual event when some of the city’s architectural treasures, both old and new, large and small, public and private, open their doors to visitors. The program of openings will be released in August 2021. (Overnight London) B
Day 4: Sunday 19 September, London
- Barbican Centre: Gallery, housing and theatre complex
- Private visit to an Apartment in the Barbican
- Afternoon at leisure: ‘Open House London’ activities
A visit to London wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Barbican Centre, a cultural and housing development that has both inspired and caused controversy since its inauguration. As well as taking a tour of this impressive complex, we shall visit one of the private apartments and the residents’ garden.
The rest of the day will be at leisure for you to visit other properties included in the Open House London program. (Overnight London) B
Day 5: Monday 20 September, London
- Architectural Walking tour of Shoreditch and Spitalfields with architect Ike Ijeh
- Victoria & Albert Museum (fashion & 20th century furniture)
This morning we shall transfer to London’s East End to embark on a walking tour of the multicultural Shoreditch and Spitalfields districts, historic suburbs that have undergone a period of renewal and redevelopment. On this walk we will again be accompanied by practicing architect Ike Ijeh who will show us some of the cutting edge architecture for which the area is becoming renowned in London’s rapidly evolving architecture scene.
We then travel by Tube to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has one of the most extensive collections of 20th century fashion including designers such as Coco Chanel. There’s space allocated to emerging designers as well as recent graduates from leading design schools such as the well-known St. Martins. The Museum also has a significant collection of 20th century furniture, lighting and objects. (Overnight London) B
Day 6: Tuesday 21 September, London
- Sir John Soane’s Museum – exclusive out-of-hours visit
- Walking tour of Sloane Street
- Anya Hindmarch Pont Street Boutique (Subject to Confirmation)
- The Magazine Restaurant at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery
We start the day with a visit to an extraordinary museum often overlooked by visitors to London. Sir John Soane was the Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in the early 19th century. He started to collect paintings, drawings, books, plaster casts, architectural models, ancient artefacts, furniture and decorative arts with the goal that his students could easily access and study the wealth of objects, and also gain inspiration from them. The thousands of items are still presented in Soane’s townhouse where the rooms are carefully preserved as closely as possible to the way they were when he bequeathed the collection to the nation. As our visit takes place before the official opening time, we will have the museum to ourselves during our exclusive tour.
We then travel by Tube to Sloane Square and take a walk down magnificent Sloane Street, home to many of London’s most exciting shops, including Tods, Giuseppe Zanotti Design, Loro Piana, Prada and Giorgio Armarni. In the nearby streets are found fascinating smaller boutiques such as Egg Clothing, and Yarn, Patricia Roberts’ chic knitwear store.
Our visit to the area includes a very special visit to bespoke handbag designer Anya Hindmarch’s Pont Street store. Our curated visit will allow us to see the remarkable processes at work in bringing Anya’s designs to fruition, including the craftsmanship required in embossing the quality leather (this exclusive visit is subject to confirmation).
Our afternoon ends with another new example of architect Zaha Hadid’s work as we visit the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens to have afternoon tea at the new Magazine Restaurant. The late Zaha Hadid was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and was internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work. For over 30 years her dynamic and innovative projects, such as the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, the BMW Central Building Leipzig, Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and China’s Guangzhou Opera House,reflected her revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Her interest lay in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology as her practice integrated natural topography and human-made systems with cutting-edge technologies. At Magazine Hadid created a flowing membrane roof with extraordinary columns that draw light into the room providing a bright sense of space, while glass walls look out onto the surrounding garden. (Overnight London) B
Day 7: Wednesday 22 September, London
- Highlights tour of the Tate Modern
- Lunch at ‘Sea Containers’ Restaurant at London Mondrian
- Somerset House
This morning we travel by Tube to the Embankment and cross the Thames by the London Millennium Footbridge. This steel suspension bridge was designed for pedestrians crossing the Thames, linking Bankside with the city. Construction began in 1998 and the bridge opened in June 2000. The bridge was nicknamed the ‘Wobbly Bridge’ as it swayed for two days after opening, and was therefore closed for two years and reopened in 2002 after repairs.
Our destination is the Tate Modern, touted as the most visited modern art gallery in the world with approximately 4.7 million visitors each year. Its shell is the former Bankside Power Station designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, one of 19th-century Britain’s greatest architects whose most famous building is probably St Pancras Station. Herzog & de Meuron converted Scott’s building to produce a gallery that exhibits works of international contemporary art from 1900 to the present. Our visit will begin with a tour of the gallery’s highlights, in which the architectural conversion will also be explained. You will then have time to explore Britain’s best modern art collection.
For lunch we will walk a short distance to the newly redesigned Sea Containers House on the bank of the Thames. The building is home to the London Mondrian and to an increasing number of designer showrooms. We will have lunch at the ‘Sea Containers’ restaurant of the Mondrian, the interior of which was designed by Tom Dixon and echoes that of an ocean liner – an homage to the original maritime function of the building.
This afternoon we cross the Waterloo Bridge and visit Somerset House, one of the major venues for the London Design Festival. (Overnight London) BL
Day 8: Thursday 23 September, Mayfair, Holborn & Fitzrovia
- Full day organized by Max Fraser
- Hannah Martin Studio and Workshop
Today Max Fraser leads us on a full-day tour to explore another of London’s creative neighbourhoods. Many of the places visited will have events and displays to coincide with the London Design Festival.
A selection of studios and showrooms that may be included in our morning program are:
- Carpenters Workshop Gallery presents work by leading designers including architects and furniture designers Ron Arad, Marc Quinn and Atelier van Lieshout.
- David Gill Galleries.
- The New Craftsmen
We then travel by Tube across to Holborn where we will visit the studio of British jewellery designer Hannah Martin who will take us on a tour of her workshop. Hannah and her team create beautifully handcrafted pieces with a focus on design and quality. (Overnight London) B
Day 9: Friday 24 September, Shoreditch & Clerkenwell
- Morning with Max Fraser
- Too Good Fashion Studio
- Farewell Dinner at a Local Restaurant
We again join our design expert, Max Fraser, for a morning program to another of London’s innovative neighbourhoods.
A selection of studios and showrooms that may be included in our morning program are:
- Tent London
- The Future Laboratory
- Mast Brothers Chocolate Showroom and Factory
- Jasper Morrison Shop
- SCP Store
After lunch we will travel by tube to Too Good Fashion Studio, a brand that prides itself on unisex clothing that rejects the commercialism of fashion’s powerful multinational fashion houses, creating a new aesthetic based on individuality.
We return to the hotel to rest after our full day, before taking taxis to our farewell dinner at one of the city’s highly rated restaurants. (Overnight London) BD
Day 10: Saturday 25 September, Depart London
The tour ends today in London. Those returning to Australia will need to make their own way to London Heathrow airport (contact ASA for information on private transfers). Participants wishing to extend their stay in London are advised to contact ASA for information about extending their stay at the St Martins Lane Hotel. B