De Botton’s message, then, is fairly simple but valuable precisely because it is simple, readable and cogent. He wants to encourage his readers, and society more generally, to pay more attention to the psychological consequences of design in architecture: that architecture should not be treated as an arcane and specialist discipline to be left to professionals, but as something that affects all our lives, our happiness and well-being. He wants us to look more carefully at our architectural surroundings, pay attention to them and develop a language with which to judge them.
My super talented cousin, Katie Benge, is an artist and designer. Katie explains, “Born on Anglesey, Wales I have lived quite a nomadic life. First with my RAF family and then with my New Zealand husband and for the past four years in the Forest of Dean… My latest work is influenced by my Forest of Dean location, drawing the nature that surrounds me, capturing it on recycled wood or slate. All the pieces are hand drawn with Indian Ink and a quill.”
You can see more of Katie’s work here. You can also buy Katie’s prints and other things from here.
From the New York Times, a story of the mafia’s decline:
After he had helped pull off one of the biggest cash robberies in American history — the Lufthansa heist of 1978 — and stashed millions of dollars, along with burlap sacks of gold chains, crates of watches, and diamonds and emeralds, in his cousin’s basement, Vincent Asaro thought first about the code: Protect the family.
“He says, ‘We got to be real careful now,’” his cousin testified. “‘Don’t spend anything. Don’t buy anything major.’”
He kept quiet, but another part of Mr. Asaro, a Mafia yeoman working his way up through New York’s Bonanno crime family, could not resist. He bought a Bill Blass-model Lincoln and a Formula speedboat — symbols of a man who wanted to belong.
Mr. Asaro did not realize his world was vanishing.
Growing up in Lancaster, the old Moor Hospital used to terrify me. Originally known as the Lancaster County Lunatic Asylum, it was a large complex of imposing Victorian buildings, purpose built from the early 1800s onwards to house people not deemed fit to live with the rest of us. I dread to think how many people were taken there against their will for the flimsiest of reasons, and what kind of “treatment” they endured.
Today the site is being renovated. Already you can buy a luxury home at The Residence, as it is now is known, for upwards of £300k.
The photos above and below were taken by a team of urban explorers going by the names of Ben, Beardy, Travis and Chard in 2013, before the renovations began. I love their work. You should check out more here.
See more photos of the Lancaster Moor Hospital, and other locations, here.
Some photographers know how to make you feel alive, even when the moments they capture are long gone by the time you see them. I love the work of Janet Delaney, and I encourage you to seek out more of her photographs, and to buy prints from her website.
I just saw this image flash up on the Face of Britain by Simon Schama. I love the style of illustration. After deciphering the signature, I discovered these 1920s cigarette cards were by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie. You can see more of his work here.
See more at the National Portrait Gallery website.