Although my interests have largely shifted from art to design in the last few years I still have a deep appreciation for art, plus I now only live a stone’s throw away from the Tate Modern so it seemed rude not to visit.
As a follow on from my confession that my head has in fact been turned by design (sorry Mrs Gately) I feel I should talk briefly about the building itself. The gallery is housed in a disused power station that, before being transformed into the Tate by architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron in 1995, was teetering on the edge of demolition. The building has since undergone many further developments but all the original industrious charm of the station was kept in tact – thankfully.
Naturally one of my great loves still remains to be photography, so a combination of photography and industrial steel work had me leaning over the rope to get a closer look.
Needless to say, I had a really amazing day walking around the Tate, almost rekindling my love for art. And on a stroke of luck, I had the best company, a fellow art lover, which meant that not only could we look at but also discuss the art together. It’s a very nice feeling when you say ‘I like that.’ and someone asks you ‘Why?’ because they’re genuinely interested in what you like about it.
It’s a very nice feeling when you say ‘I like that.’ and someone asks you ‘Why?’ because they’re genuinely interested in what you like about whatever it is you liked. I liked it. Why? Because then we really talked about art.
So it finally happened, after years of yearning to live in London I finally moved. I feel like the commute coupled with how incredibly unhappy I was in my last rental has made the streets of London look even more beautiful than I thought possible.
As you may or may not know I had been commuting to work for exactly a month when I moved which I will actually miss in part. I enjoyed having what I called ‘free time’ in my day to read and watching London from the heights of the top deck was soon one of the highlights of my day. However, all things taken into account, I’m pleased to say that this admittedly arduous and tiring part of my day has been replaced with a short walk to the office. The move has also freed my social calendar substantially. While commuting I knew that staying any later than 5.30 would mean I wouldn’t get home until 8 and any time after 6 meant my key wouldn’t turn in the door of 144 until at least 9. Naturally, this deterred me from doing pretty much anything after work. But now… I no longer feel like Cinderella, running for the bus at the risk of my commute being turned into a pumpkin.
The freedom to make plans in London is something I’ve been looking forward to, more so in the last month, but low-key for my entire life. However, London is notorious for its head down attitude so making new friends seemed daunting at first. But thanks to 21st-century methods like Tinder I’ve slowly been attracting like minded people with my new bio ‘Interior designer new to London looking for companions to drink and explore with’.
Keep reading That Libby Girl to hear about my adventures in London, regular updates on my job as a junior interior designer and my endeavors to make new friends, also keep track of my ongoing Twitter commentary #officetalk.
So the end of this week marked my first month milestone working at Philip Watts Design and brought me a week closer to my big move to Waterloo, it also meant the end of what has been a very stressful week for the team.
Recently we’ve been working on a very exciting project for Pizza Pilgrims, a young and fresh pizza restaurant created by two frustrated city boys who really just wanted to make pizza. It started with an ape at the top of Italy and it ended in the best damn pizza in London. This story and some of the recipies they learned on their travels in their book.
This project, while extremely fun and playful in nature, was on a tight schedule and meant all hands on deck so for the latter part of the week I put my Greggs notes to one side and dove into the world of ‘how Philip Watts Design actually draws’. A pile of alien mark ups landed on my desk along with a midfield of unrecognised CAD layers and specific saving formats. My skills were also put to use creating 2D CAD drawings of arcade machines, vintage TV’s and themed pendant lights to later input into exceptionally detailed section drawings. It was both fun and nerve wracking to jump into the project, even if I did just stand on the periphery, my input ultimately a drop in the ocean of the fantastic design the team had already created.
This is the first week that I’ve managed to read during my commute. Before now I found watching people getting on with their day far too compelling, not that the novelty of London has worn off in any way. I still get excited when there’s a seat free right at the front of the bus. London on the big screen.
Although in spite her beauty London can also be a cruel mistress for so many reasons, in part because she is an expensive companion but also because she is confusing. Due to having lived in a small town my whole life and also because I have no particular aversion to walking, I have never really had a need to catch buses before, so this was something of a learning curve for me when I first began my commute. Fortunately, I sailed through the first two weeks with ease, jumping on and of buses almost like a local. Becoming quite proficient in fact. Until Monday… The plan was simple, jump off the bus at a small parade of shops – around a quarter of the way through the 45 from Kings Cross’s journey and half way through mine to Blackfriars – to grab some bits from the CO-OP. Then, of course, jump back on the bus and continue on to work. The first part went off without a hitch. Blueberry muffins and pasta pot stowed away in my bag I reappeared on the bustling street, sunglasses on, and after some time of carefully taking in my surroundings, I realised that I had no idea which direction I had entered the shop from, which is situated on the corner of the ever-busying roads. I thought I was saved when I saw the beloved 45 at a red light, about to head towards a bus stop I could easily make if I walked briskly. Positively smug I jumped on the bus when it stopped in front of me, headphones blaring I took my seat. As always I watched the world go by from my bumpy throne, taking in the things I recognised and the things I didn’t. 20 minutes later I found myself sat outside King’s Cross station, where my journey had begun.
The rest of the week was considerably more successful. I got my first legitimate drawing pack. Gone are the days of tinkering with my Greggs Training file. Time now to apply what I have learned the last two weeks to a live project.
However, although things have gotten more serious this week there still hasn’t been a day go by without a small London treat, like free frozen yogurt from SNOG if you order via Uber Eats or a free bottle of Honest T if you take a photo with their floral installation (that picture is never to be seen). This week was no exception, this week I got the insane opportunity to see London in a way not many people do, from the very top of the OXO Tower Wharf. For a dizzying half hour, I got to peer at London through a birds eye.
Also this week I was given my very own set of keys to the office which means that during the half an hour before anyone else gets there I can let myself in and, in this instance, take photos.
I, unlike almost everyone else in London, have been pretty chilly the past few weeks. Chilly to the point of still wearing a coat and scarf to work while everyone else somehow struts around completely layer-less.
However, it has given me the chance to crack out my beloved winter coats and jackets. Along with cats and spritzers, I’m a big fan of a layer.
This week I continued on my quest to learn everything there is to know about designing the nation’s favourite Greggs, all the while expanding what I thought and was wrong to think was already a comprehensive knowledge of AutoCAD. I can’t help but wonder as I’m pausing to write notes under the heading ‘AUTOCAD HINTS AND TIPS’ what university has been teaching me when 2 years down the line I still don’t know half of the commands I know now or how to produce a GA (general arrangement) Plan and an RCP (reflective ceiling plan). I’ve come to the realisation that I’m going to learn more in my year on placement that I ever would have or will learn at uni.
Since I joined as the fourth member of the team, the office – which doubles as a showroom for Philip Watts products – had become rather impractical. As a result, I spent Wednesday putting together a selection of office flat packs from IKEA in preparation for the arrival of a beautiful new desk. One big enough for everyone and which has a completely flat top, which compared to the charming old carved desk it replaced is a godsend. The thought of just brushing off crumbs and being able to write without the aid of a sketchbook due to the deep grooves was an exciting one.
On Thursday I managed to catch the Kings Cross food market before I hopped on the bus. The stalls were bustling with morning commuters contemplating the array of salamis, cheeses, and cakes on offer. The square was littered with people nibbling on fresh pain au chocolates or tucking into breakfast muffins.
Week two ended in what I can only assume is what people who are employed Monday to Friday refer to as the ‘Friday Feeling’, only made better by the pending arrival of our new desk. The morning was spent frantically trying to finish the work we had so we could dedicate the afternoon to reassembling the office and then, as planned, go out to dinner after work. The desire to leave as close to 5 as possible was strong in us all.
As promised to ourselves at 5 we set off walking in the direction of Shoreditch in pursuit of what was to be the best Indian I have ever had.