This week we look at a no show from Lord Adonis, the future of handshakes and a two-floor cheese barge on Regent’s Canal

Hansom new 2008

Beyond words 

Planning officers at Ealing council certainly know how to coin a phrase. Telling councillors to go out and approve KPF’s plan for two enormous towers in the London suburbs by the A40 at Acton, they did admit: “The presence and prominence of the scheme needs to be acknowledged together with the harshness of the immediate surrounds.” This seems to be saying the place is so godawful, anything, even a 55-storey tower, couldn’t make it any uglier.

Bears repeating

My hack dutifully trotted off to a forum on the Oxford-Cambridge arc in Southwark (I know what you’re thinking) to hear one of transport secretary Grant Shapps’ predecessors have his say on what’s being planned at the innovation and industrial hub. Alas, Lord Adonis, the architect of HS2, failed to show. A shame, given one of the project’s most vocal critics and another peer, Lord Berkeley, was also in attendance. Berkeley left the commission looking into the rail project early and produced his own alternative review. The scheme has since got the green light but Adonis’s Labour colleague is having none of it. “A waste of money,” Berkeley told attendees. Again.

No Cannes do

The people behind next week’s Mipim at Cannes might have pulled the plug on the property show for the moment, given the terror caused by something we had never heard of two months ago, but I think this is a tale worth relating. A mole tells me that the very swish La Colombe d’Or hotel, a place where artwork by Picasso hangs on the walls, had seen a number of rooms suddenly become available in the run-up to the event. “It takes years to get a room there,” my source tells me of the venue in the hills above the French town. I was planning on trying my luck next week. One of my trips to Mipim a few years ago saw me billeted in a room next to a railway sidings. I think the bosses were trying to send me a signal.

Meet and greet

In line with French advice on combatting the spread of the coronavirus, I will no longer be kissing colleagues when I come into the office in the morning. I’m sure the decision will come as a relief to many of them. With everyone looking to try to minimise the spread of the virus, I hear many in business are even forgoing shaking other people’s hands. Perhaps we could all take up the Japanese custom of bowing when we greet people instead – standing at least 2m from the person of course? Or we might find that working from home is so productive, we decide we don’t really need to meet people anyway.

Cheese melt

Brie-tish Land, anyone? I see the property giant, currently revamping the Broadgate Centre in the City of London, has done a deal to lease a barge on its Paddington Central development to Mathew Carver, the bod behind Camden Market’s Cheese Bar. The two-floor Cheese Barge will be moored up on the Regent’s Canal and feature a restaurant and an open-air deck for those balmy summer temperatures we’re all looking forward to. Even more so, now that Mipim – and those warm days by the beach in March – has gone west.

Taking it all in

22 Bishopsgate developer Peter Rogers was a guest at the press launch of Allies and Morrison’s 100 Bishopsgate office tower in the City last week. Given that he was on the 34th floor, and despite a swirling snow storm, he was able to get an unrivalled view of his newest project as it nears completion. Perhaps he was there simply because it was the only way to see up and down the 278m tall tower’s entire height. 

Catch 22

100 Bishopsgate launch model

For the launch of 100 Bishopsgate, a model was wheeled out containing what can only be described as an architectural faux-pas: 22 Bishopsgate’s predecessor, the Pinnacle, the skyscraper that barely got out of the ground after it fell victim to the financial crash in 2008, was in 22’s place instead. There are some who wish it still were.

Send any juicy industry gossip to Mr Joseph Aloysius Hansom, who founded Building in 1843, at