London: A guidebook with a new gimmick


Debuting this month,Ideo Eyes Open dispenses with the trappings of the standard city guidebook. Its New York City edition, for instance, doesn't have a subway map or info on the city's most famous museums. Similarly, its London edition points you to the city's hottest cupcake shop rather than Big Ben.

What the guidebooks do offer is plenty of captioned photos of spots where you rub shoulders with locals, not tourists—as this slide show illustrates.

In a surprise move, the photos are cross-indexed by theme and activity, somewhat like a children's Choose Your Own Adventure book. You're encouraged to flip back and forth through different pages, discovering boutique shops, foodie havens, and similar venues.

The Wapping Project is a "former hydraulic power plant turned gallery/restaurant/bar hybrid."

Another tip from the book: Instead of taking high tea at a hotel lounge, go to Coffee@157. The light fixtures in this coffeehouse, as you can see, are made of to-go cups. Outside, a yellow vending machine dispenses artworks for less than 5 pounds each. (011-44/20-7729-2666).

The Ideo guidebooks will amuse some travelers and irritate others. The only way to find out how you'll react is to take a peek for yourself. We've collected a bunch of images and tips from the London edition in our slide show.

Images courtesy of Ideo Eyes Open: London by Fred Dust and Ideo (Chronicle Books), recently $16 at Amazon.

EARLIERParis through a photographer's eyes.

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