London’s soft, loveworn damask underbelly is one of the things we love dearly about this place. One of the most forward-thinking spots in the multiverse, it is deeply rooted in its history via some very beautiful, threadbare stretches of brocade, porcelain and thrice-used linen teabags. This weekend will find us at Judy’s Vintage Furniture Flea, which celebrates midcentury british furniture and design, in Spitalfields just a few blocks from our Shoreditch outpost.
If you see us carting off with a donkeyload of fragile wicker picnic baskets, throne chairs and handsomely-aged sterling napkin rings, you’ll see that our reputation for minimalism is only part of the story.
tokyobike have created custom bicycles for Ace Hotel London at their workshop and studio in Shoreditch. Now the bikes live with our loving if sometimes overbearing family on Shoreditch High Street, and they’ll take you wherever you want to go while you’re staying with us. You could get really meta and roll them over to tokyobike’s shop on Tabernacle Street and buy some tops and coffee. Meta tops, meta coffee. Let’s ride.
Change is everything. London accessories designer Ally Capellino agrees with us her in her gentle, idiosyncratic, useful, graceful, self-made, sturdy way. Not only has she created a small leather tray for the datums in Ace London guest rooms — useful for pens, leaves, pills, non-GMO seeds and, yes, change — but she also brings her signature design aesthetic to an iconic piece of furniture, the tubular stacking chair. Initially conceived by the Bauhaus group, they were the inspiration for many manufacturers in the interwar period in Britain. The PEL (Practical Equipment Limited) name quickly became synonymous with the product, and exploited the interest in modern shapes and design durability. These chairs have been the mainstay of schools, church halls and factories ever since.
Originally manufactured by Cox of Solihull, this set has been stripped back to their raw steel frames and taken in a new and inventive direction. Making inquiries into the way we position ourselves when seated, Ally and her team, which includes her son and daughter, made eight variations on the theme with seats that have been hand stitched and polished Italian bridle leather in her London studio before being branded with their name — ‘Left Leaning’ and ‘Cantilever’ for example.
Ally’s long-time collaborator Donald Christie created a short film examining the human use of accidental props in the style of 1957 Oscar-winning short A Chairy Tale. Meanwhile IRL, PEL chair enthusiast Rupert Blanchard has created installations of the chairs at Ally’s Shoreditch shop and at the junction of Portobello and Golborne Roads, up through the end of the London Design Festival this weekend.
About eighty kilometers from Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, at Tiptree, Wilkin and Sons grows strawberries, medlars, quinces, rhubarb, loganberries, damsons and mulberries on their farm in the Essex countryside. It’s a family tradition that stretches back over 300 years. And their coveted conserves are still made simply, from fruit harvested and boiled within hours at Tiptree, without preservatives or added colors. This year, an unusually bountiful autumn means their classic Little Scarlet jam — made from a tiny, outlandishly savory variety of strawberry brought from North America by C.J. Wilkin in the early 1900s and only grown today at Tiptree — will abound. In this season of plenty, so will the acorns in the New Forest, just as commoner pigs begin to remember pannage, and the chestnuts ready-for-roasting in Greenwich Park. After a summer that started slow then settled in, Britain’s bumper harvest bodes well for teatimes, farmers and people who wait for what the soil will bring.