What did you do for Valentine’s Day last week? Ignore it? Do token gesture presents to keep the love alive? I bought middleagedad a Led Zeppelin DVD from Amazon and he took me here, to A Room For London’s boat floating on top of the Queen Elizabeth hall at the Southbank for the night, with dinner at Skylon thrown in.
I might as well give up now. I am an appalling partner, too busy blogging to pay attention to love.
The Artangel organised project launched last year, the boat was designed by David Kohn in collaboration with the artist Fiona Banner and built by Living Architecture, Midlleagedad followed its progress as artists such as David Byrne, Jarvis Cocker, Jeanette Winterson and Laurie Anderson lived in the space for a short time and reported on what they found (see here for the podcasts). This year the project was opened up to us mortals as a place to stay via a ballot, which offered us tickets for the night of the 13th Feb.
It was magical, absolutely magical.
Perched on the roof and accessible by the slowest lift in the world (the mechanism had to be slowed right down so it couldn’t be heard in the theatre) the little boat room makes you feel like you have escaped life. The boat is accessed from a boardwalk-like pontoon so you really feel like you are sailing. The views are tear-jerkingly lovely.
As well as a main room, there is a tiny kitchen, a sweet bathroom with a porthole view of the Shard and Saint Paul’s Cathederal and ladder-access to the bridge from which you can navigate your stay, or just marvel at where you are. This is middleagedad taking his one millionth photo.
Inside the boat things are ship shape and snugly, We didn’t want to move from the window, which looks out over the Thames, Waterloo and Charing Cross bridges, the Southbank area and much more. There is so much to see it’s like a movie unfolding before your eyes. Should you get bored of looking there is a library of books to read, all connected to the origins of the boat (it’s inspired by the vessel in the book Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad) and London.
I have travelled to some amazing places in the world on holiday and for work, staying in inspiring and luxurious spaces but never before have I nearly shed a tear with sadness on leaving. After just one night we felt as if the boat was OUR boat and we had been on an adventure that took us right out of our normal routine. As I walk passed the boat now, this week on the way to and fro London Fashion Week’s Somerset House location, I look up wistfully wishing I was still up there looking out at the world.
Nights in the boat are allocated from A Room For London’s ballot, the next ballot opens on 17th April (closes 24th April) to book for June, July and August this year, you need to sign up to the newsletter to be eligible, so do it now.
More details on Room For London