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Boutique London

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Imbuel detailed shot

Imbuel – A New Fusion of Innovative Technology and Interior Design

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The Digital Era

With the world sitting on the verge of a tech boom that could very well rival the dot-com bubble of the late 90’s, we’re certainly living in fascinating times!

Today, many among us are eager to be part of the trend. Individuals and companies willingly adopt emerging technologies to enhance their research, optimise their processes and find new ways to buy and sell their products and services. As a result, sectors across the board are experiencing an incredible transformation.

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Shakespeare's_Globe_Theatre

The Globe: Because Everyone Needs Some Shakespeare in Their Life

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Globe Theatre and its history

One of London’s most distinguished cultural landmarks, the Globe Theatre in the heart of London’s South Bank is not only an internationally recognised tourist attraction and hub for theatre-lovers, but its presence also takes passers-by back to what was London during the time of the Bard himself, and is a reminder of the capital’s rich theatrical history.

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"Borough Bakery" by David-White is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Culinary Vibrancy of Borough Market

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For decades, visitors from far and wide would flock south of the river to enjoy what is Borough Market. This food hall is so iconic that it also happens to be an eternal hotspot for the local residents, office workers and London’s Sunday brunch enthusiasts.

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Tate Modern exterior close up

Tate Modern: The Place That Changed Art Forever

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Tate Modern: a haven for every art enthusiast

Although it is the latest addition to the Tate Group of art galleries, during the first year of its opening, the Tate Modern was the most popular museum in the world, attracting 5.2 million visitors. Its legacy has lived on today, with an estimated 5.9 million visitors in 2018, overtaking the iconic British Museum. Situated on South Bank, it holds an impressive collection of modern art from 1900 to the present day.

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Howard Tangye The Hot Shot

DRAW London: Never Underestimate the Power of Drawing

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Last Wednesday, the Boutique London team had the privilege of attending the VIP preview of DRAW London at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. DRAW London is the first art fair in the UK dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing, creating an extraordinary platform where the capital’s art lovers and collectors are able to appreciate rare works by highly acclaimed modern artists as well as the more recent works from the 21st century “side by side”.

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Natasha Jouhl in Madama Butterfly at Grimeborn, Photo (c) Omid Salehi

How To Immerse Yourself In The Vibrant World Of Opera

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Opera has long been an artform that has divided opinion: there are those who love it, those who have had very little exposure to it, and those who express no interest in it at all!

In recent years, the media would frequently mention that cultural organisations are making it their mission to make opera more accessible and appealing to the masses. We are delighted to say that a few rather exciting steps have been taken! The English National Opera (ENO) has started to release free tickets for under-18s and there are small professional touring groups currently offering very affordable deals. There are even opera performances in English to assist new audiences with their introduction to this breath-taking artform. The Royal Opera House and ENO also provide stimulating education schemes and workshops for children to get them engaging with the world of opera from a young age.

Did you know we are at the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant opera scenes? The Royal Opera House and ENO are not the only places where you can enjoy the opera, especially with the summer months around the corner. At this time of the year, summer opera festivals are all the rage! You have probably heard of Glyndebourne, Longborough and maybe even Garsington, which all take place outside of Greater London. But rather than trekking miles (and spending hundreds of pounds in the process) to watch top quality opera, we have some suggestions for festivals and venues a bit closer to home.

Opera Holland Park

La traviata, Opera Holland Park

La traviata, Opera Holland Park

For those of you looking for an opera festival in the heart of London that rivals Glyndebourne, look no further than Opera Holland Park! Located by Holland House in the stunning Kensington Park, Opera Holland Park stages around half a dozen operas every summer, often starring the biggest names in the opera world, and some of the UK’s most talented young artists. The 2019 season will be taking place between the 4th June and the 3rd August and will feature a wicked line-up that is sure to make for stimulating dinner conversation. Be sure to have a look into Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (‘A Masked Ball’, which tells the chilling tale of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden), and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta (which famously inspired the well-known G&S operetta Iolanthe).

Once again, under-18s are eligible for free tickets, with over-65s being offered the same privilege at Opera Holland Park. There is also a scheme for under-30s with INSPIRE £20 tickets available to increase access to the operas. For more information on tickets, please visit their website here.

Opera in The City

Opera in the City, A Florentine Tragedy, Photo (c) Lidia Crisafulli

Opera in the City, A Florentine Tragedy, Photo (c) Lidia Crisafulli

This festival has only been running since Summer 2017, but it has already become one of the most exciting opera festivals in the capital. In the last two years, the Opera In the City festival has created a new hub for classical music right in the heart of the City in Fleet Street’s historic Bridewell Theatre. Unlike many other opera festivals, Opera In the City seeks to showcase rarely-performed works, new compositions and experimental pieces, and English translations to increase accessibility of these lesser-known works – perfect for someone with a more acquired taste when it comes to anything theatre or music related. They have yet to release the programme for the 2019 festival, but for more information keep an eye out here.

Grimeborn

Natasha Jouhl in Madama Butterfly at Grimeborn, Photo (c) Omid Salehi

Natasha Jouhl in Madama Butterfly at Grimeborn, Photo (c) Omid Salehi

Parodying the world-renowned Glyndebourne, Grimeborn Opera Festival features a hip, East London twist on the summer festival, and is great for younger crowds. Having been up and running for over a decade, Grimeborn features bold new versions of classic operas, rarely-seen and long-forgotten works, and brand new pieces, in a similar vein to Opera In The City. Former performances include Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, The Prometheus Revolution by Keith Burstein, and Onegin and Tatiana (a modern version of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin). They will soon be announcing their 2019 festival, so keep an eye out for tickets on their website.

Digital Inspiration

Whilst the nation’s go-to websites for events are usually the first port-of-call for show tickets, look beyond the first page of Google as it provides some great resources for opera in London as well as blogs and social media. It may seem like a niche subject on first thought, but it is easy to uncover a wealth of influencers, reviewers and even opera singers’ pages once you know where to look. Here are some of our favourites:

Charlotte Hoather

Charlottehoatherblog.com

 

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With over two million likes on Facebook alone, this young London-based soprano’s blog is a great portal for information on the opera world from ‘the other side’. Having studied at London’s Royal College of Music, Charlotte gives frank and insightful advice on the industry and information about her upcoming performances.

Diary of a Londoness

Diaryofalondoness.com

 

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This blog is a hotspot for reviews and information on London’s cultural scene, with opera and theatre being a key focus. She has recently written a fantastic piece on London Opera Without Breaking The Bank, and has reviewed operas everywhere from ENO to Garsington festival. Check her out!

Barihunks

Barihunks.blogspot.com 

Barihunks

An opportunity to admire London’s hottest baritones, and read articles about opera as well? Don’t mind if we do.

Finally, our recommendations for the best operas to start with (if you’re a newcomer):

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) – Mozart

You can’t go wrong with Mozart, and this fairy-tale opera is a perfect one to start with. Featuring famous music and arias, including the notorious ‘Queen of the Night’ aria, follow Prince Tamino and friends as they embark on a mission to rescue the Queen’s daughter, Pamina.

Carmen – Bizet

Many who have never seen an opera will still know the music of Bizet’s Carmen – it’s featured in many film and television soundtracks. Set in Seville, Carmen is a beautiful gypsy, who enchants and attracts the soldier Don Jose – with dramatic consequences! Listen out for the famous overture, and Carmen’s signature aria, ‘L’amour est un oiseau rebelle’ a.k.a. the habanera.

Rigoletto – Verdi

A dark tragedy, but with some of the best music in the opera canon, Verdi’s Rigoletto is a masterpiece – but make sure to bring tissues! Rigoletto is a hunchbacked jester, working in the court of the licentious Duke of Mantua. When Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, falls for the Duke, things rapidly go downhill. There’s drama from beginning to end, and look out for the Duke’s famous aria ‘La donna è mobile’ in Act III.

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Chelsea Flower Show Shutterstock

Chelsea Flower Show: What You Need To Know For 2019

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May has arrived, and that means one thing for the Chelsea residents: the return of the most glamorous event in the gardening calendar, the Chelsea Flower Show.

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forest with bluebells

Where to Spot Bluebells in London

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May has arrived and spring is finally in the air!

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Map illustration for Mayor of London city development plan

London Illustrated

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Inspired by the Natural History Museum’s ‘Whales: Beneath the Surface’ exhibition, featuring incredible illustrations from Sarah Maycock, we want to put the spotlight on the artists depicting London scenes.

Illustrator agency Handsome Frank was set up in 2010 by cousins Jon Cockley and Tom Robinson. The agency has grown exponentially over the last eight years and the pair now represent 35 illustrators across the globe. Handsome Frank also produces its own publication, Frank, which we love! Their roster includes some of the finest contemporary artists on the planet, including Maycock, Thibaud Herem, Jan Kallwejt and Emma Kelly.

These four illustrators have represented London in their work in various ways, be that a map, drawings of famous landmarks, or commissions from London galleries and museums in Maycock’s case.

About the Illustrators

Jan Kallwejt

Map illustration for Mayor of London city development plan

Map illustration for Mayor of London city development plan

Jan Kallwejt is a Polish illustrator and designer. Before working as a freelance illustrator, Kallwejt studied advertising and worked as a graphic designer and art director for agencies in Warsaw and Hamburg. Following this, he was based in Barcelona for five years before settling in Warsaw once again. Here he runs a studio and takes commissions for illustrations from clients all over the world.

What makes Kallwejt’s works distinctive are his incredibly detailed graphics, completed in a vibrant juicy, palette. He says that his ‘meticulous finish and cheerful vibe’ makes his work universal.

“I’m inspired by naive art and pop culture. Over the years, magazines such as Newsweek, Forbes or Financial Times share place on my client list with brands like Honda, Sony or Nike.”

Take a look at more of Kallwejt’s work on Handsome Frank

Emma Kelly

Chelsea Hotel illustration by Emma Kelly

Chelsea Hotel illustration by Emma Kelly

Kelly says her artistic career started when she drew things onto a wall behind her parents’ sofa, aged two years old.  She is now one of the most popular illustrators on Handsome Frank’s books and was also one of the agency’s first signings.

Kelly uses watercolour-like brush strokes and palettes to create a nice balance of precision and softness. Her depictions of London architecture and landscapes are instantly recognisable.

Focusing greatly on the tiny details, Emma can capture the realism of whatever it is she turns her eye to, be it buildings, electronics or even characterful portraits. These qualities make her ideal for clients working with luxury brands and editorial commissions.

View Kelly’s portfolio here.

Thibaud Herem

Liberty illustration by Thibaud Herem

Liberty illustration by Thibaud Herem

Big Ben illustration by Thibaud Herem

Big Ben illustration by Thibaud Herem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With his distinctive monochrome line drawings of London landmarks in minutiae detail, French-born Thibaud Herem’s work is easy to lose yourself in. After working in graphic design in France for five years, he arrived in the UK in 2006 to learn English and work as a freelance artist, drawing insects, birds and buildings.

Herem is well-known for his work with Liberty, depicting its iconic façade, and for his work with NoBrow, which commissioned Herem for a book of London’s buildings. He claims that London’s architecture was one of the most appealing aspects of the city and the main reason he wanted to work here, rather than in France. Herem has never trained as an architect but loves studying and drawing buildings in great detail – each piece of his work is hand-drawn and can take weeks to complete.

“Everything about London was attractive to me before I moved here and its architecture was one of the most appealing aspects… after 10 years here, I still discover hidden gems every week. There is a very distinctive aspect to architecture in London; it is [messier] and less united than cities like Paris or Rome, but its heritage is cherished with pride.”

Sarah Maycock

Hastings-based illustrator Sarah Maycock has become one of the most popular illustrators on Handsome Frank’s roster. After studying Illustration Animation at Kingston University and having been an It’s Nice That Graduate in 2011, she has carved a career out of painting animals, landscapes and still life.

Maycock, like Herem, was also commissioned by Liberty London and was the creative mind behind their hugely popular advent calendar 2018.

Liberty London Advent Calendar illustrated by Sarah Maycock

Liberty London Advent Calendar illustrated by Sarah Maycock

Maycock has also worked intensely with animal, since being inspired by nature documentaries such as Frozen Planet by David Attenborough.

Her unique ability to capture a creature’s characteristics or the forces of nature in simple swoops of ink has made her work a sensation. So much so that her famous image of a sitting bear was the best-selling print at Somerset House’s Pick Me Up in 2012.

Blue Whale illustration by Sarah Maycock for Natural History Museum

Blue Whale illustration by Sarah Maycock for the Natural History Museum

In the winter of 2016, Sarah was commissioned by London’s Natural History Museum to illustrate a long list of whales, ranging from the Blue Whale to species that are now extinct. Each painting had to go through a complex sign-off process involving specialist scientists to make sure they were anatomically correct. Maycock’s artwork was approved and could be seen in adverts all over London for the exhibition.

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Exterior of Spink Auction House

Meet the Midtown Auction House with Unmatched Collectables

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Ever wondered if your childhood stamp collection held any value? Let us guide you to discover hidden treasures and indulge your curiosity at Spink …

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stock market window

Certain Choices During Uncertain Times

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Why Now is the time to Buy in London

Savvy investors are turning to London property, lured by a weakened Sterling and increased bargaining power. The capital’s prime residential property sector has always been attractive to investors during times of increased demand for haven assets – and now is no different.

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Sunrise at Tower West, Chelsea Waterfront

Chelsea’s Cultural Landmarks – Past, Present & Future

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Over the years, Chelsea has perfectly mastered the balancing act of being modern and chic while keeping a tight grip on its old school vintage charm. Lots Road exemplifies this like no other London thoroughfare could, winding through relics of the capital’s past, the cutting edge of its contemporary culture and the future of its soaring skyline.

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Chinese New Year in Chinatown London

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2019 in London

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The biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia are about to kick off

The (traditionally) twenty-three day festival marks the turn of another lunar year and in the Chinese calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. Festivities will be running from 5th February, but London’s main celebrations fall on Sunday 10th February. The new year’s trademark lantern festival is held on its final day – February 19th.

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Wine glasses

Our Five Favourite Wine Bars in London

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Put dry January behind you! Here are our top 5 wine bars in London to pass those cold February nights

You made it to the end of dry-January, congratulations! Ok, perhaps not (we won’t tell). But now it’s February and we have officially survived the longest month of the year. So, what better way to toast the end of January than with a glass of wine? In London, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to wine bars, so we’ve handpicked our favourite five for you to work your way through. These bars are wine specialists, so they focus on the good stuff – no need for fancy cocktails or craft beers here, just the honest bottle of vino – although you might expect a cameo from a cheese board or two. read more

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river thames

Take advantage of the Thames

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“The Thames was beautiful, dark, and swift beneath the billion yellow and white lights of the city…” wrote Charles Finch in his novel The Last Enchantments.

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Asia Week - Hotwl Designs.net

East meets West at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

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Home to over 600 prestigious luxury brands, the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour is Europe’s largest interior design hub. This hotspot is not just a world leader for its showrooms, but also for its renowned events which attract creatives from far and wide.

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Stamford Bridge - exterior CGI - Herzog & de Meuron - via Dezeen

Stamford Bridge is part of Chelsea’s DNA, but, where’s the bridge?

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Think of Stamford Bridge and what comes to mind? White and blue, José Mourinho, a slightly grotty stadium in what’s really Fulham more than Chelsea? Strange then we don’t often think of an actual bridge despite its name. So where does the home of Chelsea FC actually get its name from?

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Chelsea Green

Get to know Chelsea

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A bourgeois playground for our city’s reality TV stardom, a second home for London’s best football team (at the time of writing this feature!) and for the next few weeks, the topic of conversation here on Boutique London. Chelsea is the upmarket prime London neighbourhood that glistens on its own leafy, designer stage. But how did the area come to be the epitome of upper-class London and what is there to do, see and devour along its streets?

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Gordon Ramsay - plated dish

Our five favourite restaurants in Chelsea

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Once known to be the epicentre of punk-London in the 1960s, chic Chelsea today is unrecognisable but equally enticing; a hotspot for arts and café culture. Its bohemian roots planted a thriving environment for independent boutiques, cafes, galleries and restaurants. Scattered along the length of Chelsea from Lots Road to the Kings Road are some of London’s finest eateries.

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The Coral Room

Bars by the Holborn Bars

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An ancient pillar of London’s legal industry, Holborn has a rich heritage. It buzzes eternally with people moving in and out of its streets, littered with some of London’s most eccentric bars and clubs.

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Pinks Mews - double height reception

In Conversation with Cocovara Interior Designers

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We spoke to Rylie Fitzgerald, Head of Design, and Lucy Powell, Director at Cocovara about what makes a show apartment. The brains behind the beautifully dressed interiors at a selection of boutique homes across London, Rylie & Lucy explain their team’s process and the inspiration behind the unique aesthetic at Pinks Mews, Holborn.

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Pinks Mews exterior courtyard

Launch Party Alert!! 4th October Pinks Mews

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On Thursday 4th October, brand new boutique apartments in Holborn launched with an exclusive event

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Language is no Barrier – Holborn Language Schools

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The UK’s higher education institutions are brimming with overseas students. Luxury apartments located next to both prestigious London universities and well-known English language schools mean international students will never find themselves lost in translation.

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