The London Oasis


The London Oasis, first seen on Clerkenwell Green last summer, has been resurrected at the Chelsea Flower Show.

London Oasis opened on 19th June 2006 as a temporary structure on Clerkenwell Green.

Designed by architect Laurie Chetwood, the Oasis is a demonstration of sustainability and renewable energy working with architecture to provide a tranquil oasis for London.

The 12 metre high kinetic structure mimics the design of a growing flower: its photovoltaic “petals” open and close in response to the sun and the moon utilising daylight to generate power. This is supplemented by a hydrogen fuel cell and wind turbine to make it self-sufficient. It even uses rainwater it has collected for irrigation and cooling.

At the base, the Oasis has five “pods” inside which people are secluded from the noisy and polluted city surroundings, enjoying cleaner cooled air and relaxing sounds. There are also five further areas providing social rendezvous and venues for entertainment.

The Oasis is “smart” in that it interacts with the environment around it. It senses time, the weather and people, and responds accordingly. At night, it uses energy stored during the day to power a beacon in the form of a light show which responds to the movement of people around.

Official site
Guardian feature
Flickr photos

The Chronicles of Clovis and other sarcastic delights


This week’s book purchase (yes, dear reader, it never ends, there are merely lulls between one indulgence of the vice and the next) is a small Bodley Head volume that comprises part of the collected works of Hector Hugh Munro (1870–1916), or “Saki” as he’s better known. I have Saki’s complete works already in a big fat Penguin collection but I like these small books that were the common format for portable reading prior to the invention of the paperback. Over a number of years I’ve managed to collect about half of the Tusitala Edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s complete works which are similarly-sized blue volumes (one in a rare leather binding), simply through chance finds in secondhand shops.

This particular book is a 1929 reprint of The Chronicles of Clovis collection first published in 1911 and, like the Stevenson volumes, has the author’s signature blocked in gold on the cover. The introduction is by AA Milne and I’m taking the liberty of reproducing it in full below, partly out of laziness and partly because he does a good job of presenting the man and his work.

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