Oli Lowrie on: Demolition Shoreditch.

Walking through London is like walking through a canyon of sedimentary rock; you can see the different layers of cultural strata laid down over time. East London in particular, is a place flowing with culture. The beauty of Hackney is that these layers are from all over the world. Turkish, British, Jewish, Asian, Chinese, Industrial, Hippy, Rich, Poor, Grand and Scruffy all have their monuments on the pavements of the East End.

The anthropologist Marcel Mauss defined place as a “culture fossilized in time and space”. Hackney is a wonderful fossil to analyze. (more…)

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How to get ahead in advertising

This fascinating lecture by Ji Lee, now the creative director of Google Creative Lab, is an inspiration to every frustrated creative out there. Less than a decade ago, Lee was at an ad agency attempting to push the envelope and innovate but, for corporate reasons, was scraping the barrel and stagnating (see how easy it is to descend into a morass of cliches?).

Recognising that he was in something of a rut. Lee did what many of us can only dream of having the courage to: he went out himself. His idea was to extend the cretive process to ordinary people by launching The Bubble Project – a guerrilla campaign that pasted speech bubbles onto adverts all over New York. Eventually, people began to fill in these empty speech bubbles with all manner of creative slogans from the hilarious to the downright silly.

Lee had crested the wave of a new optimism that was coming with the rapid rise of the internet. He had tapped into a participatory mood (we have expressed scepticism about the various claims made for the revolutionary power of the internet but it’s unquestionable that the flow of information precipitated by the web has rapidly increased and unleashed new possibilites) that on the face of it was was comment-free but amalgamated a series of opinions and voices on a host of topics.

The video sees Lee tell us about how he overcame the frustration of his earlier career and how he went about the Bubble Project.

What does a teenager look like with a dirty needle sticking out of their arm?

You may read the headlines in the news, but seeing a community genuinely not dealing with the affects of herion is something else. Turn off the TV, this film from VBS is mind blowing. It made me feel physically sick but I was captivated by these young people’s stories. Film making that insists you sit up and pay attention.


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Dare to fail

Can a great school exist without great teachers?

What’s your strongest school time memory? Well, the one after sneaking behind the bike sheds – chances are it’s a great teacher. I always find it amazing that a brief interaction over only a few years can stay with you for a life time.

I’m yet to watch ‘Waiting For Superman‘ but if this trailer is anything to go by it’s definitely on my list.

We recently had the opportunity to pitch on a project along these lines – Inconvenient Truth meets the opening credits from Juno. The project never happened but it was a blast developing ideas for it.


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Can creativity create peace?

To what extents are young people going to today to make a statement, create a point of view and make change? With the extents of the riots currently raging in Egypt – how do designers respond?

This innovative approach from sokak savasakarsi takes it to another level.


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A mind once stretched by a new

idea never regains its original



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