Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shards, shoes and sculptures along London's South Bank...

Coming to the end of our latest U.K. visit and I can't begin to tell you how much it feels that London has changed in the time I've been away. Not only the festive temporary decorations for the Queen's Jubilee, or the structural renovations for the forthcoming Olympic Games, but also the city skyline with wonderful new additions like The Shard, standing tall south of the Thames.

The Shard at London Bridge
Shard London Bridge
Shard London Bridge
Shard London Bridge
I can't believe how quickly this magnificent spire has shot up since I was last in London and it's a nice addition to the curved London Assembly Building to its left.

The Gherkin skyscraper and The Tower of London
Across from The Shard there's more evidence of London's contemporary architecture with The Gherkin, one of my futuristic favourites, which oddly works next to the more historic Tower of London.

20 years of Christian Louboutin at London's Design Museum
Christian Louboutin Exhibit London Design Museum
Christian Louboutin Exhibit London Design Museum
Christian Louboutin Exhibit London Design Museum
I was actually in this part of London to visit the Christian Louboutin exhibition celebrating 20 years of his designer shoes at the Design Museum with a girlfriend of mine, followed by a lovely lunch at the Blueprint Cafe above the museum at Butlers Wharf.

The Architect sculpture by Jilly Sutton
Architect sculpture Jilly Sutton
Architect sculpture Jilly Sutton

Architect sculpture London Bridge
After lunch and cocktails (I am on holiday after all), we took a leisurely stroll through the London Bridge area and up along the SouthBank (where I used to work for many years). This sculpture called 'The Architect' caught my eye with its sci-fi design, which also kind of evoked the head of New York's Statue of Liberty in my mind.

The Navigators sculpture by David Kemp from 1987
Navigators sculpture David Kemp Hays Galleria
Navigators ship sculpture David Kemp
Navigators sculpture David Kemp
Navigators ship sculpture David Kemp
Another sight which delighted my sculpture-loving sensibilities was this fantastical ship called 'The Navigators' at the Hay's Galleria along Jubilee Walk.

Hymn sculpture by Damien Hirst from 1996
Hymn sculpture Damien Hirst
Hymn sculpture Damien Hirst Tate Modern
Hymn sculpture Damien Hirst
Further along the River Thames in front of the Tate Modern, Damien Hirst's 'Hymn' really stood out (although rather frustratingly all the tourists chose to use the base of the sculpture as a seating area, preventing many great photo opportunities).

It was nice to revisit a familiar neighbourhood and see some new sights, but I have to say that vacation fatigue has almost set in and if I eat any more full English breakfasts, sausage sandwiches or tea and cake, I think I'm likely to burst.

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Houses of Parliament Big Ben
Looking forward to spending a relaxing day with friends and enjoying a traditional Sunday roast, then I'll be happy to get on a plane tomorrow and fly back to Cooper in L.A...

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