Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Plumbase - Christmas Window

One of London's big attractions at this time of year, is the Christmas shop window. In the West End, stores compete with each other for the most elaborate and innovative display, knowing that it's good for business and draws the crowds. Alongside Fortnum & Mason, Liberty, and Selfridges, Plumbase on Westow Hill should be added to the list! This bathroom supplies shop in SE19 may not have the budget of the big department stores, but deserves full marks for festive spirit. And it's all down to the creative mind of one man, Joe Field. When he first decorated the window, 5 or 6 years ago, head office were straight on the phone demanding to know what on earth the window had to do with plumbing. They were clearly missing the point. Joe has always had a creative streak, and aside from the day job, is a keen sculptor. In the years since his first installation, his winter wonderland scenes have delighted adults and children alike. In a funny way, they remind me of the opulent baroque church interiors I saw earlier this year in Bavaria, where gilded cherubs and ornamentation sprout out of the walls in abundance.

And, just in case you'd forgotten what sort of shop you were in...

Joe Field

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Smash Bang Wallop

It was my cousin's 40th birthday recently, and I really had no idea what to get him. I have to confess, my default reaction was to head downhill to East Dulwich. Fortunately I was running short of time, and decided to head uphill to the Triangle instead. This was of course a much better idea, and I was able to find plenty of suitable prezzies, some of which came from Smash Bang Wallop.

"Flash, Bang, Wallop, What a Picture". So sung Tommy Steele in the musical, Half A Sixpence. This was part of the inspiration for the name, for originally the intention had actually been to open a gallery with friends Nick and Emma Keeble, showcasing their graphic art and Andy's photography, but plans changed. Nick & Emma decided it wasn't for them, and Andy decided to set up the Transmitter magazine instead. So it was down to Liz to steer the project. Flash became Smash, a vague reference to dinosaurs rampaging around the local park. 

With a background in fashion design, the idea of a shop that sold clothes amongst other things, was more appealing. Liz had previously worked for Joseph, and had also been a lecturer at London College of Fashion, where she wrote a book on fashion marketing. Of course, the shop we know today, now in its second incarnation after a couple of years spent round the corner on Church Road, sells much more than fashion. From jewellery and accessories to cosmetics and candles, toys, gifts, and now homewares, it is rapidly becoming the Triangle's own mini department store.

Jewellery by Alex Monroe

Jewellery By Olivia Staves

And things don't stay still at S.B.W.. Upstairs has opened as a new homewares room. The idea is that it constantly offers something new, reinventing itself every so often like a pop-up shop. Currently looking very Christmassy, but who knows what comes next. Liz clearly puts a lot of energy and creativity into this thriving business, from the striking window displays to new S.B.W. branded products, some of which she designs herself. Like many other 'locals', she has lived all over London, so the Triangle is fortunate that this is where she chose to settle, although by her own admission it wasn't a difficult decision, as the place has so much to offer. From the hills and views, the bars and restaurants, the people and of course the dinosaurs.


Smash Bang Wallop
Alex Monroe
Olivia Staves