Black cabs, red buses, the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral – London is awash with design icons with which you’ll be very familiar. But what of some of the city’s lesser-known gems? Here’s a few of our favourites but we want to hear from you about your favourites too. So leave a message on our Facebook wall or hit us up (yeah I just said that) at Twitter @itsnicethat and we’ll compile the best of your suggestions too.
The Montague Arms, Queen’s Road, Peckham
Lots of pubs might claim to be the craziest in London, but The Montague Arms in Peckham could have it sewn up. The taxidermy in the bar – including a zebra in a carraige – is unforgettable and madder than a box of frogs. Be warned, opening times are idiosyncratic but most evenings are a safe bet.
Hitchcock Sculpture, New North Road
Sometimes you stumble upon something in London that seems unexpected – at other times something that feels completely mental. Hidden within a block of flats just down from Essex Road station sits a giant sculpture of Alfred Hitchcock’s head. It was unveiled in 2003 because the former site of Gainsborough Studios was where he took his first tentative steps into filmmaking and it faces Hollywood, the land where he would become a legend. Entrance on Poole Street.
Postman’s Park, St Paul’s
The Watts Memorial in Postman’s Park (where Aldersgate Street meets St Martin’s Le Grand) is the work of George Frederick Watts, a painter who in 1887 decided he wanted to commemorate heroic men and women who died saving the lives of others. There are 50 plaques beautifully painted on Royal Doulton tiles, with simple yet stirring dedications to an incredible range of true heroes. Also on the film Closer.
The Public Lettering Walk, King’s Cross to Covent Garden
It is not always possible to take the time to appreciate the many fascinating things we see all the time here in London (particularly when you are likely to get mown down by impatient pedestrians). But this walk, put together by design tutor Phil Baines and his students, celebrates some of London’s best public
lettering and is genuinely wonderful, taking in libraries, hospitals and a tube station.
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- Swedish illustrator Malin Rosenqvist creates textural works about psychology and powerful women
- Animator Jimmy Simpson creates technology-inspired ident for MTV
- Leander Assmann's illustrations are full of paired-back shapes and patterns
- Illustrator Andrey Kasay invites us into his surreal yet amusing world
- Grope Sans: a very rude typeface by Bompas & Parr
- Japanese graphic designer Ryu Mieno creates type-heavy works fizzing with energy
- The reductive and exacting work of graphic designer Laura Prim
- Why creative education for advertising is stuck in the dark ages
- Leipzig-based graphic designer Anja Kaiser takes us through her portfolio
- Nicolas Jaar releases Network, a book inspired by radio