Cecil Beaton with Mickey the cat, Reddish house (self-portrait)

The genius of Cecil Beaton’s interiors

The odds were a hundred to one against him. Brought up in bourgeois Bayswater by genteel parents, Cecil Beaton was…


Ukip's logo is quite successful – in communicating a spirit of gung-ho crapness

Now that the conference season is over, we can compare not just the party policies, but their logos too. Last…

Lego model of Sydney Opera House and merry-go-round

The most inspiring gift for your child this Christmas

One of the big differences between Frank Lloyd Wright and me is that, when he was nine, his mother gave…


We should be teaching kids to make programs like Word, not how to use them

Technology is turning the human urge to consume information into an unhealthy addiction. Some of this consumption — reading, following…


The Jaguar F-Type is no E-Type

In 1951, Arthur Drexler, an influential curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, organised an exhibition called 8 Automobiles.…

At least Prince Charles should be happy with the roof of the new Design Museum in Holland Park

The new Design Museum: Prince Charles will prefer it. But should we?

Twenty-five years ago I went to St James’s Palace to ask the Prince of Wales if he would open the…

Mauvais goût

It was dinner at a prize-winning hotel in Burgundy. I looked, stupefied, at an awkward arrangement of trapezoidal plates, unaccommodating…

Coca-Cola’s secular, rubicund, guffawing Santa Claus

In the worst possible taste

What are the rules of taste at Christmas? How might the fastidious chart a neat path through this garish and…


The Dagenham Dustbin

For those of us who find passion in national iconography, this is a melancholy historical moment. It’s a very bad…

‘Three Targets’, c.1985–86, by Andy Warhol is to be sold at Christie’s on 12 November, estimate £1–1.5 million

A step away from buying toothpaste

Fifty years ago it was not possible to bid at auction via the telephone — that first historic telephone bid…

TP 1phono transistor, 1959, designed for Braun by Dieter Rams (left). The iPhone, designed for Apple by Jonathan Ive

Science fiction as reality

What’s that in your pocket? Magic or art? The near ubiquitous iPhone may be rammed with very new technology, but…


New build

The Bauhaus was a sort of university of design, whose progressive ideas eventually fell foul of the Nazis. But as…


Room with a view

Living Architecture is a new social enterprise that adds a touch of glamour to the traditional British holiday. Instead of…

House rules

Britain needs more houses, and the government’s highly unpopular draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) at least asks how to get them — the right question even if it gives the wrong answer.


Underneath the arches

The Elephant and Castle shopping centre is more of an oddity than an eyesore. It lies like a stricken container ship opposite the dignified columns of the Metropolitan Tabernacle and the sweep of porticos leading to Kennington on the other side of the gyratory system.