Chances are, that if you've ever wondered around South Bank, at some point you'd have looked up at that old looking building with letter-shaped windows, and wondered what OXO means.
Well, the Oxo Tower has a rather interesting story, in fact: back in the 20's, the building was acquired by a meat company (producers of the "Oxo cubes"). The company wanted to feature the name of their product on the building façade in the shape of illuminated sign, but because this type of advertisement wasn't allowed back in the day, they came up with the idea of having letter shaped windows to circumvent the restriction. How clever?!
And now, the tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in South Bank, so much so that the wharf where it's located is named after it.
Although the tower is closed to the public, thanks to Coin Street and We Blog Design, an handful of us was able to have a private tour and climb up to the very top and enjoy a different view of the river banks.
The way up the tower is quite steep and uneven, and for me, also being moderately afraid of heights, it was was quite challenging at times, but definitely worth it. It was such a privilege and an incredible experience!
After taking in the beautiful view from the top of the tower, we had some time to wander around and discover some of the little design shops that have home in the Wharf.
What is most unique about this area, is that there's a concentration of special retail-workshops for contemporary designers, which means they don't only have a shopfront, but are also able to work on their products without leaving the shop; this gave them the perfect opportunity to hold workshops to involve the customers into the creative process, and also share the story behind their creations.
Although all the shops are worth a visit, two of my favourites are Wagumi and Snowden Flood.
Wagumi; You may know I have a soft spot for East Asian culture, espacially anything Japanese, so Wagumi is a little heaven for me. All their product are imported directly from Japan, and they make their mission to assist small producers, and to bring new life to traditional aesthetics and mediums.
Snowden Flood; Of course I had to mention this lovely shop! Snowden's shop offers a range of products designed in house, and by new and emerging designers, making it the perfect spot to look for more unique gifts and souvenirs (and cards and prints!).
All the shops are really varied: you can find 3D printed jewellery or crads and stationery, authentic japanese pottery and handmade textiles. So, if you're ever around South Bank, definitely take some time to explore the Wharf, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you're curious, as most of the shop owners will gladly chat with you and tell you more about what they make.
DId you know about Oxo Tower Wharf? ☺