Icon 171: IF_DO, V&A extension, Matylda Krzykowski, Nanjing exhibition centre, 100 years of Finnish design 27.07.17

Written by 

Our latest issue takes you from London’s cultural and property sector to China’s efforts to lead the global conversation about the environment

After years of wrangling, the wraps have finally come off the Exhibition Road Quarter of the Victoria & Albert museum. The eagerly anticipated project is a good deal more retiring when compared to American architect Daniel Libeskind’s 2007 proposal for the site, but is nevertheless only a partial success. The interior is quite wonderful, while the exterior seems to have stumbled on both finish and form. Elsewhere in this issue, we turn our attention to London’s property market and how the highly touted ‘new London vernacular‘, beloved by a certain section of British architecture, can be read as a metaphor for profit – through the marketing material and its references to the warehouse loft apartments of Shoreditch and New York.

Altogether less cynical is exciting new London-based practice IF_DO, which won plaudits during this year’s London Architecture Festival, with a dramatic mirrored pavilion in Dulwich. Further afield, China’s seems to be usurping the United States as a world leader in environmental concerns, with the current US president leaving the Paris climate change agreement. With this in mind, we examine one of China’s urban eco-islands in Nanjing designed by Seattle-based practice NBBJ and find that the architect’s ambitions will likely be compromised by the wider masterplan. 



James McLachlan




Photograph above: Nanjing Eco Island Exhibition Center by NBBJ. Photograph by Terrence Zhang

leader hella 2



Scene Surprising stories, from saintly saris to silly packaging

Products: Live from the USA Our favourite new launches by American designers

Diary The exhibition season is in full swing again

Crimes against design Britain’s street bins are a national embarrassment

Opinion: Grenfell Tower The erosion of the architect‘s role in construction


Matylda Krzykowski The firebrand curator changing design from within

Finnish design at 100 After a century of reinvention, it’s time for another one

Emerging studio Jonatan Nilsson turns his back on Swedish minimalism

Icon of the month Lessons in radical sitting with Peter Opsvik

Q&A: Hella Jongerius The Dutch designer reveals her colourful inner world


IF_DO With their mission statement writ large, the architecture trio is poised for success

Nanjing exhibition centre NBBJ’s building is an insight into China’s green turn

V&A’s Exhibition Road Assessing Amanda Levete’s response to a tricky brief

Selling new London Will Wiles on how dereliction has come to equal delight

Icon of the month John Outram’s newly-listed Isle of Dogs Pumping Station


Review: Frank Lloyd Wright at 150 – Unpacking the Archive An open letter to MoMA about its landmark exhibition

Review: Together! The New Architecture of the Collective Flatshares for the future at Vitra Design Museum

Rethink: Heading home The designers from Intercouleur call it a night, but the bar won’t leave

Obsession: Polycarbonate Stand aside concrete! Plastic is the truly timeless material


Leave a comment

Click to show