Paul Smith T5 Art Wall goes cycling in July

Felice Gimondi # 2 / James Straffon /

The Paul Smith 'Globe' store at London Heathrow airport's Terminal 5 will be celebrating the 2010 Tour de France in July with an exhibition and sale of artworks by London artist James Straffon of the NÖ Gallery.

Until the recent outing of Sir Alan Sugar as a closet cyclist with a garageful of carbon Pinarellos, Sir Paul Smith was the go-to iconic entrepreneur with a passion for bicycles. Unlike the irascible Sir Alan, however, you will search fruitlessly for a grumpy word from or about Sir Paul who has managed to build a peerless reputation for himself in the ethereal and flighty field of mens fashion and design while also keeping his feet firmly on the ground by championing his beloved sport of cycling and home city of Nottingham.

If he has uttered the words "You're fired" you know it would have been prefaced with a terribly British apologia.

His modern involvement in cycling is related to the early years when all he wanted to do was bike racing until a nasty accident at age 17 put paid to any professional cycling ambitions. Now with seemingly endless success in his day job, Sir Paul seems to be involved all the more in his private passion and recent alliances with the Rapha cycling clothing company and the pro team venture with Condor Cycles has resulted in some pretty interesting outfits and bikes with the signature Paul Smith stripes.

The latest cycling collaboration will be based at the Paul Smith Globe store at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 - opposite the First Class lounge, 'natch - which has an area called the T5 Artwall. Since the store opened in 2008 it has been used to display whatever artwork has interested the boss to complement his posh clobber on sale.

Last year to celebrate the Tour de France it was Rouleur Cycling Images, this time from 4th-21st July it will be art from the NÖ Gallery, the alter ego of London artist and designer James Straffon of the NÖ Endeavour blog who says he aims to, "create and display works which embrace the broad, visually appealing cyclorama that the bicycle affords. Our compositions celebrate the bicycle, in all it's many forms - with its beauty of speed, its dancing flames, its dynamism, and its simple honest appeal - as something one might enjoy looking at."

A kindred spirit to Paul Smith, indeed.



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