The Face in the Window

Today’s image comes from Michelin House on the Fulham Road in Chelsea, London. I was on my way from the V&A Museum to the Saatchi Gallery on the King’s Road, Chelsea and quite by accident found myself facing this famous and extraordinary building.

More about the building’s history in a moment. I wandered around the exterior, taking some obvious documentary shots in light that was not particularly complimentary to the building. And then I happened to glance up to the stained glass window on the first floor (US – ‘second floor’) and saw the profile of a face clearly defined in the bright area of the window of what I assumed must be the Bibendum Restaurant that I realized was in this part of the building.

So that’s the shot, a grabbed image. But what about the building’s history? Read on…

This building was built as the UK Headquarters and tyre depot for the Michelin Tyre Company Ltd and opened in 1911. The building’s design has features of the Art Nouveau movement, but in other respects it has a lot in common with the later Art Deco style. There are three stained glass windows that feature the famous Michelin man “Bibendum”. The exterior of the building is decorated with tiles including tiled vignettes of famous racing cars. It really is a one-off building.

The building was vacated by Michelin in 1985 and purchased by Sir Terence Conran and Paul Hamlyn. It now houses the well known Bibendum Restaurant, and café, the Conran shop, and rents out other office space.

For those wanting to know about this remarkable building and how “Bibendum” became the name of the Michelin Man please click on one or both of the links below:

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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13 Responses to The Face in the Window

  1. myallegro31 says:

    This looks like such a cool building. Love the colors. That person in the window does spark my curiousity…

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Adam. This was the first shot I took of this ‘face’. I took a few others but working with a compact wasn’t helpful. I saw a shot, pressured the button and the face moved before the camera caught up!

  2. Lovely shot, Andy. Brings a little mystery to that top shot, Nice write-up as well.

  3. Very cool history and building Andy. Very nice captures.

  4. Simon Morris says:

    Cool capture, Andy… nice bit of history, too!

  5. seekraz says:

    Very nice, Andy. Thank you for the images and the history with links.

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