Design: Logan's run

Why would one of the grandest names in British art choose to live down a dingy, south-London backstreet? Esther Walker finds out. Photographs by Andrew Hayes-Watkins

It's a mystery why Andrew Logan lives in London Bridge. Despite being a die-hard Londoner, even I think it's a total dump. Unloved and unlovely, the only thing the area really has going for it is the food mecca Borough Market. Other than that it's just dirty streets, crippled pigeons, spooky industrial dead-ends, railway sidings and occasional stabbings.

Can one of Britain's grandest artists – the man who invented the Alternative Miss World, who has a museum dedicated to his art – really live here? Down this gnarled street? Past this wig depot? Past this man outside a pub smoking a joint, on the phone to his bookie?

Yes, he really can.

On the outside, the building – called The Glasshouse – is an unprepossessing modern construction, painted dark orange. Inside, the house (which used to house both a garage and a prostitute's flat) is a paradoxical mixture of tranquillity and madness. The space is vast and calm but surfaces are a riot of colour – bright pinks, oranges, reds, rich blues, purples and turquoises – and in every corner there is a flash and sparkle of mirror and glass (the materials Logan has worked with for the past 40 years).

"We first saw this place in 1989, just after the zoning laws were changed," says Logan, "so all these yuppies were buying up old industrial buildings and turning them all into flats. There was permission on this place to turn it into six flats, but we didn't want that, we just wanted somewhere to work and live. A lot of people had started to live in converted lofts and warehouses at that time; my brother Peter Logan and Derek Jarman were the first, in 1971, and we joined them in Butler's Wharf, where Derek made Jubilee in 1975."

With the help of his partner Michael Davis, an architect, an enormous glass structure was built over the top of the old garage and adjacent to the flat, which is now a spare room and a study; they also added an extra floor on top of the old flat, now the master bedroom and bathroom. French doors separate the bedroom from the balcony overlooking the glasshouse, meaning that in the summer, light floods into the bedroom rather early in the morning.

"I don't mind," laughs Logan. "I've recently started doing yoga at 7am, so being woken up early doesn't bother me too much."

The glasshouse fulfils the triple function of sitting room, party venue and Logan's studio, workshop and showroom. Most of the larger pieces in Logan's collection have now been moved to the Ruthin Craft Centre in north Wales, where Logan is putting on a show as part of the centre's £4.5m redevelopment.

The powerful colour scheme of turquoises, reds and shocking pinks was inspired by a trip to Mexico. "Shortly after we bought the place we went to Mexico for the first time and it blew our minds," says Davis. "We also realised that if you have a glass roof you can't really paint the walls white – it's just too glaring. Painting the walls bright colours absorbs some of the light and it has the added bonus that it is reflected in all the glass and mirror in the studio. It was so unfashionable when we did it – everyone else was doing their houses in black and chrome and there was a real fear of colour."

Davis and Logan are devoted to the area, despite its occasional grottiness. "This is the original London!" says Davis. "This is where the Romans were, where it all began. There is so much history here, it's fantastic, you can see it in all the street names – Snowsfield Street is where Mr Snow's fields would have been and you can see the heritage of the tanneries, which used to be here, in Leathermarket Street and Tanner Street. When we moved in one or two tanneries were still here. The smell was terrible. You had to hold your breath as you went past."

The Glasshouse is decked out, for the majority, with Logan's pieces; weird and wonderful creatures suspended from the ceiling on fishing wire, slowly turning and catching the sun. But there are other treasures too: Logan was for many years a jumble-sale enthusiast, at first driven to them out of financial necessity and then drawn back to them by the things he found.

"At my first jumble sale I bought a book, for 10p," he says. "And I was hooked. I went to jumble sales all through the Sixties – I was a student so I couldn't afford new clothes. It was tremendously exciting; all these women would be lined up outside the doors and there was a crackle of anticipation, then the doors would open and there'd be this mad rush, elbows everywhere, everyone diving for all the best things. Back then there was a lot of art nouveau in jumble sales and I found the most wonderful things. I had a collection of evening dresses I found entirely in jumble sales."

But the focus of The Glasshouse is Logan's work, glittering on every surface and winking in the sunshine. "All I wanted when I bought this place was somewhere to work and live. I've never wanted to go somewhere else to work. I learn a lot from living with my art, which I've always done, even when it wasn't very comfortable. Some artists like their studios to be away from where they live, so they can escape. Sometimes I wonder how my work would have progressed had I not lived with it. But not for long. I think it's better like this."

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone