As the Olympics Approach, London Celebs Dish on Where to Escape the Madness
July 10, 2012
We’re mere days away from the start of the 2012 Summer Games. Exciting, right? Maybe for those of us who don’t actually live in London. But for locals, the onslaught of millions of tourists threatens hectic and stressful few weeks to come.
In fact, the pace and noise of any city, even in the best of times, can make it tough to focus and let the creative juices flow. Just searching for a respite from the urban cacophony can prove exceedingly stressful. To celebrate the launch of their new London space, Audi sought the advice of six London artists and musicians, asking them to reveal their favorite quiet city spots to decompress and be inspired.
At the risk of destroying their peace, we’re sharing their secret creative escapes. See Romain Gavras (director), Lizzy Jagger (model), Oliver Sim (The XX), Tracy Emin (artist), Stephen Bayley (design guru), and the legendary Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) dish below. Click through!
Romain Gavras–yes, the director behind the edgy videos from MIA and Kanye West–says his favorite place makes him feel “like an English lady.” He’s referring to the “ little weird fake river” near his home in London. “I like it because I take my daughter there to feed the ducks. This place makes me feel like I’m in a very artificially-made Emily Brontë book.” Appropriate, for the guy who’s depicted London engulfed in a sea of flames on numerous occasions!
Lizzy Jagger has a similarly bucolic hideaway spot. “Richmond Park is my favourite space in London because my mother has lived nearby here for 21 years so it’s home,” explains the eldest daughter of Mick. “It’s also the wildest land in London, filled with magic, albino deer, green parrots and wild rabbits to name a few.
Oliver Sim, one half of the duo The XX, explains that his favorite London locale is the Peace Pagoda, in Battersea Park. “ I grew up in the area and spent my 7th birthday there,” he explains. “I consider it one of the happiest memories I have.” The Pagoda is now a gathering spot for London’s most prevalent Buddhist communities.
Design critic Stephen Bayley, who’s been called “the most intelligent man in Britain,” gives a straight, to-the-point answer: Economist Plaza, the Alison and Peter Smithson-designed urban corridor that abuts 18th century grandeur on all sides, is “all you ever need to know about modern architecture.”
Groundbreaking British artist Tracy Emin has seen her share of city-bourne disasters. Her canonical Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995, the piece that made her a household name, was destroyed in a London warehouse fire in 2004. She says her favorite space is her studio, which she built herself. “Every time I go through the door, I still have to pinch myself to know it’s real.”
Bryan Ferry gives the most detailed answer of the celebs. He’s still drawn to Sloane Square, where he’s lived for years, because of its discordant, vivid mixture of new and old. “Although it’s constantly changing, there are two enduring features which face one another but could not be less alike,” he writes. “ The Peter Jones department store is a beautiful 1930s modernist building, which faces the Royal Court Theatre – a traditional Victorian building which has however been the sometimes controversial home of modern British theatre since the 1960s.” Ferry, who’s been torn between new and old in his creative work, adds, “I like very much the contrast of these opposing landmark buildings, sitting as they do on either side of the tree-lined square.”
So, would any other Londoners like to weigh in? Where will you be escaping to during the Games? Or are you keeping it a secret? Let us know by posting your sacred creative places in the comments below.