(Issue 126)
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Lasers, thanks mainly to deranged Bond villains, get a bad rep, but two Birmingham-based architects are using state-of-the-art laser cutting equipment to create an entirely new form of three-dimensional artwork.  
New Street Signal Box
From their Digbeth lair, sorry we mean office, Jay Rajpra and Adam Carthy have launched their company 'Space_Play', and a study into five key examples of Birmingham’s Brutalist architecture called BrutalBrum. The project’s purpose is two-fold: To educate and to produce stunning art. "Two of the buildings are being demolished," says Adam. "So there’s an element of paying homage. But we’re also confronting what we think is a misunderstanding of Brutalism. It’s a response to the lack of preservation, if you will."
The Central Library, close-up
The finished products are a wonderfully bizarre cross between an architectural model, an architectural drawing and a piece of framed art. The five that you see here, the first to be released by the pair, depict New Street Signal Box (£80), the Central Library (£50), 103 Colmore Row (£100), The Rep (£50) and Centre City Tower (£80), all in elevational form (i.e. square on). The architects-turned-artists, will then launch perspective-style pieces, like this work in progress.  
103 Colmore Row (NatWest Tower)
Thirty of each are being made with varying types of wood, cut on their laser cutter and layered by hand to produce the 3D effect. "Different woods, with different shades offer different qualities," explains Jay. "103 Colmore Row is made up predominantly of birch, but we've used the darker timber-ply for the central service core - replicating the plum brickwork used to distinguish between and accentuate the tower forms." The architects - who were made redundant because of the Chinese Stock Market Crash (their previous company received much of its work from China) - are set on not just producing this ingenious new art form, but teaching people about Brutalism.
The Rep
"When we were made redundant," says Adam "We decided to not just roll into another architectural job. We thought our skills could be applied to something altogether more artistic. But as artistic as this is, it's key to us and to this project that people don’t just appreciate the finished product, but follow our background stories on social media. On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter we explore the significance of these buildings, what the intention of the original designers was and why, ultimately, some of these buildings have failed to survive."
Centre City Tower
The pair are hopeful that the project evolves into commissioned work either here in Birmingham, or further afield. They've already started building concrete versions of the Signal Box and the Central Library and they're keen to explore other forms of architecture in other cities. More incredible shots of their work can be seen here, while they're all on display at both 6/8 Kafe (Temple Row) and Smithsonia


There are but a handful of occasions which have the ability to cause the queuing of people on the Pershore Road. All of them involve Loaf. In a hook-up to rival gin and tonic, Stirchley's glittering star of a bakery is once more inviting Lap-fai Lee in to its kitchen for an evening of bao four ways. The delicately steamed buns - which are a common breakfast stuff across China and Malaysia - are filled with the team's imaginings. Expect everything from braised dongpo pork belly (£4.50), to the bao bhaji (£5.50), which is billed as a meeting of Mumbai and Mong Kok. In a hefty nod to one of Loaf's most popular lunch offerings, there'll also be a pastrami bao with kung pow sauce and pickled chilli (£4.50). On April 6, from 7pm until 9pm and BYO, we'll eat something infinitely worse than a hat if the food does not sell out entirely.


The Willy Wonka types at University College Birmingham will be opening their food laboratories to the public for a one-off sensory spectacle, on Friday April 22. There are only 48 spaces (priced at the brilliantly specific £13.54) for the tasting which is the first in a raft of Colmore Business District Food Festival fringe events in the run up to the weekend-long July celebration. Guests will experience three workshops in three different areas of the university's food labs, including a sensory experience in which you'll explore the mind-warping effects of colour on flavour. Guests will also compete in a cheese and wine pairing (these things get heated) and will be let loose on UCB's La Spaziale coffee machine, to try their hand at frothy foam art. Expect booze soaked Gummy Bears, edible 'glassware' and your own lab coat to take home. Book


Despite finishing last in both his ski jumping events, plucky amateur Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards became an unlikely embodiment of the Olympic ideal at the Calgary Winter Games. Thirty years on, he’s received a biopic that merrily leans into its place in British film’s tradition of Full Monty-esque working class grit up against establishment condescension, with babelicious Taron Egerton somehow concocting the Eagle’s awkward manner and enormous overbite in addition to his huge real-life charm. It may be as predictable as rain in April, but we’re not watching Eddie "The Revenant" Edwards: director Dexter Fletcher wants to raise your spirits, and as the climactic jump nears, even the most hardened heart will wish they’d brought a hanky. This is unpretentious, playing-to-the-rafters entertainment, and it works a dream. Bonus points: there’s a cheeky Cool Runnings gag, and Christopher Walken shows up for what’s likely to be 2016’s most unexpected cameo. Times & Trailer
Venue: Bar + Block, 3-6 Waterloo Street, B2 5PG; website
Choice: Grilled sirloin salad (£7.50) Chooser: Waiter

Colmore Bar & Grill was one of our least favourite places in the city and when we heard that Beefeater was taking over to launch its first 'high end' joint, we couldn't have been more sceptical. So it's with tail secured firmly between legs that we can report, it's actually very good and the service is some of the best we've received of late. Trained for six weeks and having tried every dish at least twice, every member of staff was that rare thing in the Midlands restaurant scene - attentive and knowledgeable without being overbearing. The beef - which comes from British breeds of cattle reared across the Pampas - is aged for a minimum of 28 days and hand-cut. From the medium rare steak salad, to the slow-cooked rib, to the medium sirloin, the kitchen got it right every time. The heritage tomatoes tasted like tomatoes, the herbs and grilled veggies in the salad were palpably fresh and plentiful and the beef dripping chips caused us to eat more than we're fully prepared to admit. And even if you're not hungry, they've got Chapel Down Brut for £29.95. Chin chin. Menu
  • What do you get if you cross Otoro sushi, with Nikka whisky and add in a dusting of Cafe Opus? Under the Cherry Blossom Tree is on Sunday April 16 and you can get yourself a seat for £25. Bring on the linkage
  • Encompassing projections, performances and installations, an exhibition about the Great Western Arcade launches in the Great Western Arcade today. Not that they're into themselves
  • Digbeth Dining Club is hitting it hard this weekend, with three days of street food including at Sneaks & Peaks on Saturday and a Kings Heath street closure on Sunday
  • Drink all the Bloody Marys (or Buck's Fizzage) at Urban's Church Street digs every Saturday and Sunday as part of bottomless brunch. It's £22.50 for two hours of refills
  • Thinktank has only gone and scored itself a chuffing dinosaur
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"You do realise the time to start jumping is when you're five or six?" - Bronson Peary, Eddie The Eagle movie
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Tom Cullen, Andrew Lowry
IMAGES: Lap-fai Lee (Bao House)

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Copyright © 2016 I Choose Publishing Limited, All rights reserved.
The best in culture, food, bars, films, entertainment and exhibitions, in and around the UK's most aspirational city.

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