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.
- Cornelius de Bill Baboul’s Peelosophies is toilet humour at its finest
- Director I Saw John First creates animated video for Jack Steadman’s solo project, Mr Jukes
- Carlín Díaz expands his practice to psychedelic paintings and animations
- Atelier Brenda: the alter ego of three female designers you need to get to know
- Artist Crys Yin adds comical elements to her simply-executed paintings
- Grilli Type designer Reto Moser shares the books that inspire him
- A new national identity: Smörgåsbord Studio rebrands Wales
- Graphic design gems: Chicago gang business cards from the 1970s and 80s
- Photographer Dougie Wallace captures the super rich spenders of “Harrodsburg”
- “Romance in a sort-of fantasy world”: photographer Molly Matalon's new work (some NSFW)
- Studio Michael Satter’s sophisticatedly simple graphic design portfolio
- Harry Pearce and Pentagram create a new identity for Pink Floyd’s record label