Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Lowie

With rumours of a Herne Hill deli opening a branch on the Triangle, it seems independent South London micro chains are thriving. There's the long established Blackbird, now with branches in Peckham, Herne Hill and Balham; also Beer Rebellion and the newly arrived Craft Palace, both establishing themselves across South London; and of course the hugely popular Brown & Green cafes. And now we can add clothing store Lowie which opened a couple of months ago, on the site vacated by Glitter and Twisted.
Lowie was started by Australian, Bronwyn Lowenthal 15 years ago, originally as a market stall at Portobello and Spitalfields. She then began wholesaling, and also trying out retail with pop-ups in Covent Garden and Westfield, White City. That was followed by a further pop-up in Herne Hill. There, she kept extending her lease until it became her first permanent store. As she says, the pop-ups really helped with confidence building, and spreading the word about the brand. No doubt her degree in Retail Management and Fashion Marketing helped, along with a more recent MBA, also helped. Originally from Hobart, Tasmania, she worked in Australia for Westfield shopping centres in the marketing department, before coming to the UK in 1999.
The new store is bright and spacious, and is a simple, unfussy backdrop for her colourful merchandise, which is a mix of her own label clothing, alongside other clothing brands, skincare ranges, accessories, and gift items, but all essentially things that Bronwyn likes, and things that are fun. After the success of the Herne Hill store, she felt the shop's style was perfectly suited to the character of Crystal Palace, which she enjoyed visiting, particularly for the antiques and vintage, but which she had noticed, was distinctly lacking in the womenswear department. Now that's been remedied, who knows which other businesses might follow?








Bronwyn Lowenthal













25 Westow Street


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Salt & Pickle

I first met Interior Designer, Ian Haigh, four or five years ago. He'd recently moved to Crystal Palace, and had stumbled across this blog. It so happened he was looking for an Interior Photographer to shoot his latest projects, and happily he's been a great client and firm friend ever since. Quite possibly he spotted my very first post on the opening of Good Taste back in 2011, but anyhow, he quickly became a big fan of Manish and his wonderful cheese shop. One day Ian said to him that what the shop needed was a few tables and chairs, and so an idea was formed. Meanwhile, owing to the success of Manish's shop, he commissioned Ian to design an upgrade with new counter and shelving. A glance at the old blog post shows how different it used to look.
Salt & Pickle came about as a natural progression from the shop. It was to be somewhere that showcased the best cheeses, charcuterie, wine and beer, in simple surroundings, but with the addition of a chef to create exciting dishes around a theme of cured and pickled foods. Naturally all did not go smoothly in the long process of finding a site. Several sites were looked at, and a previous attempt to secure the lease on what had been Betty's Bakery, fell through. It finally all came together earlier this year, with Ian on board as a partner in the business. The budget was tiny, so Ian's concept, was one of minimal intervention, which would echo the ethos of the food. The suspended ceiling grid was dismantled, walls for kitchen and toilet were erected, and bar constructed. These main building elements were carried out by local firm, Living Funky, but thereafter it was down to the partners to roll up their sleeves and wield the hammers and paint brushes. Simple painted panels created a backdrop to the space, while through his industry contacts, Ian was able to procure lighting and furniture at cost. The one big ticket item which swallowed up a chunk of the budget, is the lovely copper counter top.
On the food front, talented young chef, and bass player, Henry Freestone was appointed. Having previously worked at the Westow among other places, he's creative and energetic, and works pickling wonders in the kitchen. And in addition to enjoying a meal inside No.67 Westow Hill, you can also take-away, including some pretty amazing sandwiches at lunch time. With regard to suppliers, many of the beers are familiar local names, but  according to Manish, the most important criterion for selecting suppliers, apart from taste of course, is that they are pleasant people to deal with.
With Manish at the helm, it was always going to be an entertaining, and memorable venue, and assisting him , he has a great friendly team, some of whom previously gained experience in the shop. But finally, he would like to introduce you to his newest member of staff, Coravin!  Coravin is actually a clever device which allows you to extract wine from a bottle without taking the cork out, thereby allowing expensive wines to be sold by the glass without spoiling the remainder of the bottle. Santé!















Chef, Henry Freestone, Manish Utton-Mishra, Designer, Ian Haigh











Coravin

67 Westow Hill
020 8761 9739
Instagram/Twitter @saltandpickle

Monday, 10 July 2017

A L'Etage 2

2017 is shaping up to be a bumper year on the Triangle, with, it would seem, more new openings than the previous 5 years I've been writing this blog, put together. One of the most recent is, A L'Etage 2, a new project by local/Danish jeweller, Tine Bladbjerg. As she explains, 
"A friend once asked my sister and I what games we liked to play as children. We looked at each other and then replied that we made stuff and played shop. I guess some things never change…"
Up until recently, the sisters, Tine and Lene shared a studio in Coopers Yard, but Tine always hoped to fulfil the second half of her childhood dream, and open a shop. That wish finally came to pass when she took on the lease of No.4 Westow Hill, formerly an internet cafe, and began to turn it into, not only a shop for her jewellery designs, but also a gallery space showcasing the work of other artists and makers, including her sister, Lene. The undertaking proved bigger than expected, when dry rot was found in part of the flooring, which had to be replaced. Fortunately she had the help of a very supportive landlord in carrying out the works. The long narrow premises also allowed Tine to move her studio across the road from nearby Coopers Yard, but due to the shop's location and the one way system, transporting the contents of the studio had to be done by hand by Tine's husband, Dominic, as a van would have entailed an almost complete circuit of the Triangle for each load.
The finished gallery, gives space to talented artists and makers, some local and familiar, selling high quality handmade products, ranging from jewellery by a number of different designers, to accessories, homewares and fine art, at a range of prices to suit all. And thanks to the existing success of A L'Etage online, Tine has been inundated with people hoping to showcase their work in her gallery.
Meanwhile beyond the counter at the back of the shop, Tine continues to work on her own exquisite designs in her new studio, where she also plans to hold classes and workshops. She is also preparing for Art Unequalled, a show taking place in Ely in November.




Tine Bladbjerg



Woven scarves by Kate Williams, belts by Melissa Simpson


Art by Lene Bladbjerg







Glass vase by Christiaan D Maas

Cookie Scottorn Ceramics
Jewellery


Rings by Tine Bladbjerg



Pendant by Tine Bladbjerg

Necklace by Sabine Konig

Pendant by Tine Bladbjerg

Pendant by Gill Laverick

Necklace by Deborah Kelly-Hopkins

Earings by Karen Faulkner-Dunkley

The Studio






4 Westow Hill
info@aletage2.com
@aletage2 (instagram)