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Texture in London

‘Texture in London’ is a new project developed by the London Festival of Architecture and EQUITONE. It shows a series of short films of cross-section industry experts, celebrating the different surfaces of London’s architecture. The speakers all share their takes on the different textures in London’s environment and build connections between the surfaces and the people, who are perhaps paying more attention to their surroundings due to the recent lockdown. In this video, Joe Watson, the head of Public Programs at Sotheby’s Institute of Art London, selected the aluminum door handles of the Southbank Centre.

Joe Watson said: "The London textures that I most miss is the aluminum door handles to the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre. The doors of which were first opened in 1967, are not only just what they represent as gateways to cultural experiences past and future, but also what they articulate as a kind of teenager's powerful rough riposte to the smoother and softer, all so refined Scandivanian modernity of the Royal festive hall. So if handshakes were to deliver first impressions, I think door handles probably do too. We are encouraged to take hold of these door handles, to reach around their rugged, callused edges, into the smooth interior of the handle, and pull or push with enthusiasm to enter. The almost molted-lava-like texture of the roughcast aluminum gives these doors an organic, almost ancient flavor. They communicate something about the rest of the site too, which, in ancient 40s words, "was conceived more like a landscape than a building". What of the pandemic ridden future? Can we touch door handles again, without reaching for the dreaded hand sanitizer? Will it be a shoulder or an elbow to the door? Or will come to rely on technology-based, and touch-free ways of open doors. Didn't we lose something simple, but rather singular without."

About Sotheby’s Institute of Art 

Founded in 1969, Sotheby's Institute of Art (SIA) is the pioneer in the study of art and its markets. With campuses in New York and London, MA, Semester, Online, and Pre-College programs, SIA’s academically innovative and professionally focused teaching philosophy enable students to acquire specialized knowledge of art's objects, histories, and markets to impact art and arts-related industries. 

About the London Festival of Architecture

The London Festival of Architecture is an annual, city-wide event taking place throughout June, inspiring debate and new thinking about the capital’s architecture and public realm. It is a not-for-profit company run with the support and partnership of the capital's architectural and development sector. From its earliest days, the festival has been a showcase for creative talent, as well as providing a platform for engagement in, and observation about, the city.