In Queen’s Park Design District during London Design Festival, Charlotte will be showing her lights at 9 Lonsdale Road NW6…

silver birch with glass moss close up on grouns

Charlotte Pack Ham YardLighting designer Charlotte Packe lives in Queens Park and and runs her lighting studio here. Her long-term collaborations are with our favourite stylish places to stay, Firmdale Hotels has seen her designing and fabricating custom lights for their hotels or over 12 years. For The Ham Yard Hotel, opened this summer in Piccadilly, Charlotte worked with acrylic rods and designed couplers and joints, essentially moving into jewellery in their refinement and detail. Pictured: Vortex Tripod Lamp.

There was also a recent commission for a Levante restaurant, bar and retail area in a railway arch in Borough Market, which opened July 2014. Designing custom fittings and fabricating them from her Queens Park workshop is her speciality – from chandeliers hung with laser-cut annodised aluminium in brushed golds and burnished brass to wall lights which pivot 180 degrees promising urban elegance. Pictured top: lighting from her exciting new collection, Glass Moss on Silver Birch.

“Light is one of the most magical forces, it is the most important element in our world and therefore within our home. I am inspired and in awe by light and to be able to work with such a magical force and then to select materials which control, capture, direct and enhance – it is the best part of the world we live in.” – Charlotte Packe.

There will be a sale and exhibition in October in Queens Park: for more info, follow @cpstudiolight on Twitter or like on Facebook or email


With its arty lights and peanut-butter (!) popcorn, we didn’t think our local cinema could get much better. But the innovations of architect Laura Clark and artist Jesse Wolpert have spruced up our spellbinding, social-enterprising Lexi into a gallery, library and bar too…

film art-tippi hedron-lexi-jessewolpert

Laura specialises in creativity within small spaces as well as sustainable building practice, exemplified by converting her south London flat out of an underground toilet. ‘Laura Toilets’, as she delightfully became known (‘Laura Loos’ would be even better?), came to visit the Lexi wanting to open her own cinema, having dreamt of being a 50s-style popcorn girl. She was offered the chance to redesign the Lexi to maximise minimal side-return space and a year later, a transformed bar and gallery alley has been born.

The revamped bar, Josh on the Rocks (fittingly polished off by Josh of the rocks himself, Lexi founder Sally’s son) is now open daily from 5pm till late. Tis a tenacious truth that cocktails for charity taste better – such good drunken deeds we’ll be providing. Now next time you’re early for a film, you can curl up with a G&T in the glorious new library and delve into the history of cinema. As the Lexi’s Carin says, ‘Come early, stay late.  Maybe catch a fine film while you’re here…’.

Jesse – the Lexi’s artist in residence – is an interactive triumph! Her playful installations walk you through the building and when you hear the shrieks and squeals coming from those peeping into the doll house, you’ll be scrambling for spare change to take a look yourself. Even going to the loo at the Lexi has become a cinematic experience. Try not cooing as you go to dry your hands and find Bambi skating over your fingers (see photo in case you think I’ve had too many of those charity-funding cocktails)…

Lexi-Upgrade-Gallery-Jesse Wolpert Art

Trust us, just go and play for yourself…

What’s going on at the other end?

As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, all the cinema’s profits go to The Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where we hear spring has arrived. Courses are popular and filled, tackling issues of ecology, ethics and equity, with many students sponsored to study. The junior clubhouse teach a Humane Education class and is a place for children to be children – something kids don’t get to do in their everyday lives. They’re granted freedom while inner discipline is cultivated through football, drama, music and karate. Meanwhile, the crèche is a heart-warming delight: £125 of our movie going and wine slurping educates a child at the crèche and gives them a meal every school day for a year. Keep watching those films, folks.

What else, what else?

The Lexi is now offering joint memberships at £65 (£55 students/seniors) for two people living at the same address. Single memberships are also available for only £35 (£30 students/seniors). Perks of membership include three free tickets, £2 ticket discounts and 10% off every order made at the bar.

Screening at the moment is Pride, the uplifting story of young gay activists demonstrating solidarity with the strikers of a remote Welsh mining village, and the entailing relationships this brings. So head down to the lovely Lexi for an enriching evening all round…


This year’s London Design Festival (15–20 September) sees the spotlight on Queen’s Park Design District

Bill Amberg Portrait 2013Thanks to a collection of local creatives and designers led by Bill Amberg, a district has been created within the London Design Festival right on our home turf. Those in the know recognise the area as a long-established hub of creativity, but now it’s official and during LDF there will be open studios, live design events, art installations, and workshops centred around Lonsdale Road and additional events taking place in nearby Salusbury Road, and South Kilburn Studios. The District’s centrepiece exhibition this year will be a flag installation – the eight designers who’re submitting their take on the Union Jack are Bill Amberg, Christoph Behling, Tom Dixon, Ron Arad, Moritz Waldemeyer, Michiko Koshino, Georgina Goodman (work pictured, below) and Zoe Brewer…



18 September – late-night open studios and drinks, 5pm–9pm

20 September – daytime event and open studios, 11am–6pm, when the local community is encouraged to engage with local design talent. Adding to the festival atmosphere, Lonsdale Road will feature a pop-up bar courtesy of Kensal Rise’s The Shop, plus music from legendary Don Letts in the afternoon.georginagoodman

Bill Amberg (above, left): “Queens Park has become a  home for so much creative activity. Studios and workshops are busy with designers and makers – watches, furniture, music and bathrooms are all being produced in this square mile. The Queens Park Design District is an opportunity for collaborations between the community and the people who work within it. Sharing skills and developing ideas builds better products.” 

michikoportraitMichiko Koshino (right): “Queens Park is a hub that attracts a multitude of design houses, making it an exciting place to be as it is always buzzing with energy and creativity. It is an interesting area for design for the same reason – and it is quite unusual to have so many different types of design industries working together in such close proximity. Although being distinctly different, the various creative minds of each field can influence and inspire each other, thus motivating and bringing out the best in one another.” 

To get the latest updates, please follow QPDD on Twitter and Facebook.


He’s coming home, he’s coming home: Mark Twain’s coming home

September 4, 2014

It’s always seemed slightly surreal that Mark Twain, America’s greatest literary figure, should have taken time out of his busy schedule knocking off classics such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to cut the ribbon on little Kensal Rise Library in 1900. But he did, and now, in a sense, the unofficial patron saint of the library is [...]

More life in the park

Road trip in Queen’s Park, Saturday night!

September 3, 2014

Not swarming off to Bestival this weekend? Kids back to school this week? Tan beginning to fade? STOP PRESS: it’s all going to be OK… The September sun has come back for us – and so has Lewis the Camel. How better to beat autumn anguish than under the stars with Susan Sarandon this Saturday night? Popping up [...]

More life in the park

Local hero gets so much love on Facebook!

August 18, 2014

We saluted a local hero, Andrews at Kensal Green train station, on our Facebook page after being inspired by Alex Pawlowska’s Instagram account, and it’s elicited so much LOVE… Have a look. It’s incredibly touching.  “Meet Andrews. He is 51 and smiles all the time. He gives people a smile that comes from his heart. Andrews [...]

More life in the park

Casual sexual harassment: your thoughts?

August 3, 2014

Hello Park Life readers… I am a 22-year-old female who has lived in the area all their life. A few days ago, I passed the local primary school on the corner of Okehampton and Chamberlayne Road. It was just after midday and a group of builders working on the school were sitting in the playground, [...]

More life in the park

New mums – your chance to win 10 free personal-training sessions

August 1, 2014

Locomotive personal training is inviting one local mum with a baby to win 10 free personal-trainer sessions. Maciej has a play pen in his studio in the Tay Building which you can pop junior in while you train… To enter, send us a photo of you with a sentence on why you most deserve and need to [...]

More life in the park

T-Rex to Tarantino: the Nomad comes home!

July 29, 2014

Lewis the Camel has been roaming London this summer, hoisting with him The Lexi’s wandering, pop-up sister, The Nomad Cinema… Lewis will be sauntering back to his own back yard in Queen’s Park, with four distinctively timeless classics. We’ll swap the park farm’s goats and chickens for dinos with Jurassic Park on 16 August; take off with above selfie taking Sarandon in Thelma and Louise on [...]

More life in the park

Ghee whiz

June 30, 2014

It’s a wonder what a difference that clarified butter can make – at least if it’s organic. I first made the acquaintance of Pukka’s good-for-you ghee when testing out an ALKALINE DIET for foodzine, Flavour First, and I turned to Anu at Jivita Ayurveda for some advice… ‘Two thirds of our diet should be alkaline,’ says [...]

More life in the park