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
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review