On a very windy and cold day we went exploring around Birmingham to have a look at the architecture and interiors of the buildings. The first place we went to after we got off our train (which was delayed so we had to wait even LONGER in the cold) was to the Library. When we got there we went straight to the top floor (9th floor) to the Shakespeare Room where you could see the skyline of Birmingham however it was not very appealing to me with all the cranes in the views.
In the room the carpet had a matching design to the exterior of the building which I found continued throughout the building with the design on planes of glass and office spaces/presentation rooms:
We went down to the next level which had the Secret Garden Terrace on the 7th floor however we could not go out on to it as it was too windy to stand outside.
Explored the other floors in the library which were all full of books, I liked the addition of the fairy lights as it made it have a magical atmosphere. Here are a few photos:
Of course while we were in the library we had to find the Interior Design section:
The next building we went to was the Ikon Gallery and on the way we went past the canal which made me forget I was in a big city as it was so quite and calm.
In front of the Ikon there were some stone sculptures with a little water stream which could possibly lead to the canal.
I loved the design of the exterior of the Ikon as it is a juxtaposition to the interior. They used an LED light for signage just inside the entrance which is unusual as signs are normally outside however the glass doors let you see the sign easily. The Gallery interior is very minimal with only a couple of pieces in each area which makes the building really spacious. I loved the texture of one of the artworks:
Another piece I found interesting was a foam machine themed series of work which looked similar to a piece from the Wakefield Museum I saw:
On the way to the next destination we went past the Town Hall and the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery which I found appealing because of the architecture. I especially liked all the columns around the edge of the Town Hall as it made the building look grand. Plus the stairs toward the Museum & Gallery had a lovely green garden area which you do not normally see in the high street.
We went back to the New Street Train Station to have a better look around and mainly for lunch (as we got hungry after all that walking).
Within the station there are many shops and eating places for the travellers which makes the station very busy. The exterior is very shiny which reflects the sunlight and it is very modern which makes it stand out in the landscape. I do not particularly like the exterior of the New Street station.
We went to the second of our must go to locations which was the Selfridges in the Bullring. The opening of the shop was very wide with simple signage. When I looked upwards the floors were curved like waves.
I liked the striped pattern that was on the wall of the Paperchase section as it directed my eyes down to the products below:
As Selfridges has many floors in the shop, I looked up and all the floors curved together in a sharp corner to keep the same design on each floor.
As Selfridges is in the Bullring they had a bull sculpture made of sweets in one of the sweet sections:
A few of the light installations appealed to me in the shop as they were only over certain sections in the shop. My favourite one was in the Cath Kidson area where there were trees made of wood with the lights draped from each branch which I found really inventive. I just liked the simpleness of the other two lights as shown below:
I noticed in store they put a high end shop like Ted Baker next to Primark which surprised me, as you would never see this anywhere else except in this shop, anything goes.
While we were in the Bullring Shopping Centre we had a look around some of the shops.
Inside the shopping centre towards one of the bridges to the car park there was a section which has a pretty light installation on the ceiling against the dark blue wall which it is reflected onto.
The Bull sculpture outside the shopping centre is a Hereford Bull which has strong historical associations with the city centre.
There is a poster above the entrance which is used on there TV and online advertisements. The exterior design was designed to fit in with the modern centre.
On the way to Gibbs Street, we went past a Police station, which looked completely different to what a normal station looks like because of the old architecture style which is detailed with accents of blue.
Finally we got to Gibbs Street after a long walk from the Bullring. We went to the Custard Factory, but found out that it was a business so we did not go inside so we just looked through the glass of the building. The signage was very graphic and simple.
The other places along the street were a bit more interesting to me like the massive wooden sculpture:
The street was colourful with buildings and lights connecting them that made it look like a set and not real. Also the buildings around the fountain had an interesting exterior set up with oval disks hanging from the windows which could be balconies. It reminded me of window cleaners for big buildings who clean on adjustable platforms.
The last place we went to was the Eastside Projects which has simple signage.
It had a massive exhibition space and a pop up cafe in the corner which was designed with triangles in mind and different coloured plastic triangles. I liked the aesthetic of the door handle as it was big, chunky and made of different woods.
I enjoyed the trip and the architecture around Birmingham as I looked at buildings differently than I used to.
2016, L.B.S. (2016) New bull sculpture for the Birmingham Bullring. Available at: http://www.laurencebroderick.co.uk/news2.html (Accessed: 11 January 2017)