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Brno

Ludwig ‘Mies’ Van Der Rohe is famous, amongst many  things, for giving us the phrase “less is more”. And, after stepping into the living room of the recently restored Villa Tugendhat, I suspect he wasn’t thinking about size or budget when he uttered the design world’s most famous quote. Main Living Room with its onyx…

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Manchester

There’s always a particular satisfaction you get from having a sneaky peep into places that might not technically be thought of as ‘public’. I’m not condoning trespassing – just a mild case of modernist curiosity. But if you don’t know a city like the back of your hand, how are you supposed to know what…

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Helsinki

Sat on fourteen stories of 1928 pre-modernist loveliness, In the tiny rooftop bar of the Hotel Torni, we make plans. This is a weekend break after all, and there’s too much to see to try and squeeze in everything. But one name is foremost in our mind, Alvar Aalto. His deft fingerprints are all around…

Trellick Lifts

London

Everyone loves a baddie, especially a tall striking one like Budapest-born Erno Goldfinger. But this man who made his name as the inspiration behind one of Ian Fleming’s Bond villains for upsetting a few of his Hampstead neighbours with his thoroughly modern Willow Road townhouses is having quite a renaissance these days. In celebration of…

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Chandigarh

As the armed soldier smiles for the first time I finally start to relax and take in the surroundings. Standing on the roof of Swiss architect Le Corbusier’s immense Secretariat, we look down and into the distance, past the huge State Assembly building towards the front of a court fronted by enormous coloured pillars. To…

Traenenpalast Berlin — Photo Peder Sterll

Berlin

Berlin’s architectural spaces are as divided as its history as we see modernist movements in all their shades wind across this cultural hub of diversity and perpetual cool like a giant chameleon. I have travelled many times from the elegant Art Nouveau courtyards of Hackescher Markt in the hip Mitte district to West Berlin’s Bauhaus…

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Palm Springs

We knew it was going to be good but never in our wildest mid-century modern loving dreams did we expect Palm Springs to be such a Mecca for vintage loveliness. This architect-created oasis in the middle of the desert between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree National Park may have a reputation as the place the…

The entrance to the Palace Hotel, July 2009. Source: T. Lindstrand, http://www.flickr.com/photos/international-festival/3747029751/in/set-72157621658910773. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence.

Haludovo Palace Hotel, Croatia

“I believe in my own obsessions, in the beauty of the car crash, in the peace of the submerged forest, in the excitements of the deserted holiday beach, in the elegance of automobile graveyards, in the mystery of multi-storey car parks, in the poetry of abandoned hotels.” JG Ballard At the end of the 1990s…