I have next to me a copy of a magazine called Movello
, subtitled ‘living the Docklands lifestyle’. This little journal seems to be Die Neue Linie
of Canary Wharf Modernism, or maybe the Der Sturmer
of East London class cleansing. On the cover a square-jawed male model leans on a metal balcony rail, with a backdrop of antiseptic apartments and an unusually blue Thames and sky, with the Dome and a few cranes (as local colour) looming behind. This is a magazine devoted purely to Property In Docklands, is given away free, and is, shall we say, educational.
Nowhere is safe, nowhere too grim, it would seem. It is ‘all change at Canning Town’, for instance. A property investor comments: ‘it’s really quite amazing how this part of London is taking shape, piece by piece. Leamouth Peninsula North is another fascinating project that will not only strengthen Docklands, but the whole of London – I think Leamouth Peninsula North is especially exciting as it represents what Docklands is trying to do – knocking down the old and building up the new. If you look back to the 1970s or even the early 80s, you’ll recall places such as the Isle of Dogs being nothing more than mere rubble- the development of Canary Wharf and other places around East London are making it a really fashionable place for young professionals to live’ The traces are busily being effaced with Corbusier-esque fervour, this time for the purposes of bankers, who don’t seem remotely chastened by their recent troubles.Movello
(what a lovely name, especially how it sounds a bit like Movimentos) is page after page of stunning devlopments. One such ‘spectacular masterpiece allowing residents to enjoy living in what is being described as New London, with its modern lifestyle and growing facilities’ is Discovery Dock. The picture evokes a slightly prissier, pine-dressed version of a particularly meanly standardised GLC tower block, only rammed in together where the grass and playgrounds would have been. But all those paternalist council facilities are helpless against what is described as ‘the hedonistic delights of Moshi Moshi sushi’. There’s better elsewhere: ‘Pan Peninsula’ features a cocktail bar on the 50th floor and a private cinema. The Ontario tower – that fragment of Dubai that pokes out at the other end of Blackwall Tunnel – is topped with roof gardens, lush verdure to enjoy that Blackwall air.
This isn’t just about luxury for plutocrats. They’re giving something back, by Regenerating Silvertown, the blighted landscape of industrial wasteland and bizarre Loosian terraced flats
at the other side of the Thames Barrier from Charlton. Terry Farrell (designer of the Blackwall tunnel’s weirdly organic concrete airvents), in what must be his first London project since furnishing the secret state with its own Lev Rudnev ziggurat
, is designing a giant aquarium to be called ‘Biota!’, while the rotting Millennium Mills
will become Luxury Flats. This benign project was given by the London Borough of Newham to the Cronenburgian sounding ‘Urban Strategies International’ of Toronto. Perhaps Newham’s council waiting list will be sliced in half by this visionary project. But even if not, the new Silvertonians can pick up the ethical slack: ‘London high-fliers and city professionals are generally eco-friendly and will often spend their valuable free time in the gym or at the health spa recuperating after a hard day at the office’, reminds a feature for an Eco-Friendly Cleaning Service, which can in turn provide a job for the unfortunate council tenant.
Most impressive, though, and rather akin to those East German fashion photographs in which models pose and pout in front of blast furnaces and plattenbau blocks, is Movello’s fashion section. All filmed in the aforementioned ‘Discovery Dock’, rangy women In casual yet glamorous dresses lean by the quayside, with expressions of mild, restrained happiness. In one, a model perches on the coffee table of one of Discovery Dock’s new apartments, her shift dress glimmering amid the beige and chrome.