Welcome to Optimism

Extra Large Piano Christmas Festival

In December we joined forces with Pitch & Sync to create the Extra Large Piano Christmas Festival, a live musical extravaganza featuring the world’s first ten octave piano, in aid of The Rhythm Studio Foundation.

A series of musical guests performed live from our public-facing Hanbury Street window, taking on the extended piano to play reimagined Christmas classics.

The amazing instrument, which made its UK debut, isn’t just packing 30% more notes, it’s got super skills that lets musicians go way beyond Christmas jingles. Concealed within the elongated piano are sophisticated speakers which feed into samplers which, in turn, feed back into the sound of the piano strings. This creates an electro-acoustic sound quite unlike anything else.

Passers-by enjoying the seasonal entertainment were encouraged to make a donation to The Rhythm Studio Foundation, which works with schools, community groups and young people who have a passion for music but lack the means and support to take it further.

Thanks to Pitch & Sync for providing the piano and to the musicians for some fantastic performances.



Getting Hands On with Building Crafts College

This week we launched Hands On, a showcase demonstrating the skills and work of students from Stratford’s Building Crafts College.

Running until September 24 to coincide with the London Design Festival, local BCC students will be demonstrating crafting skills and techniques in our public-facing window.

Six students will take turns showcasing their craft, with demonstrations including turning and assembly, spoon carving and steam bending. Passers-by will be able to interact with them via an intercom, and the students’ wares will be available to purchase from the window.

We’ll also be hosting an exhibition of the Second Year students’ award-winning designs in our reception gallery space at 16 Hanbury Street.

ECD Tony Davidson said: “In a world where technology is replacing so much of the human workforce, it’s important to remind ourselves of our role in creativity. Partnering with Stratford Building Crafts College for Hands On enables us to shine a spotlight on the skills and techniques that have remained integral to design and creativity.”

Neil Austin, Course Director, Building Crafts College, said: “As schools, universities, and colleges across the country are reviewing their course content and scaling down the physical act of making in their curriculums, the fundamental skills of craft and making with real materials and tools are being lost.

“To build and to make is the natural way for us as people to experience the finest nuances of our entire sensory experience of our physical world. This partnership with Wieden+Kennedy London highlights the enduring importance of craft skills to our future living environments.”