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Wallpaper* Magazine: design, interiors, architecture, fashion, art - News feed

Last feed update: Monday October 23rd, 2017 04:24:04 PM

Pure Yoga debuts a brand new luxury look at its Hong Kong flagship

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

‘It’s about creating a sense of limitlessness and a natural flow, moving away from a predictable yoga studio aesthetic,’ Elaine Jamieson of Positive Partnership says of her design for Pure Yoga’s newest studio, a 10,000 sq ft space on the ground floor of Pacific Place, Swire Properties’ flagship luxury shopping mall in Hong Kong. Jamieson has already been responsible for several other studios created for Pure Yoga but this time around, she ‘stepped it up a notch’ adding a boutique hotel meets private club feel with bespoke luxury details and playful works by local artists.

A curvaceous double fronted entry sets the scene. Inside, the entry is a landscape of muted colour and movement with a wrap-around nood open-kitchen café to one side, serving fresh salads and smoothies. The private members’ side is distinguished by floor-to-ceiling walls clad in hand-embossed harlequin-shaped oak panels, and a chic lounge featuring a custom design wool rug by up-and-coming designer Omar Khan, and ethereal hand painted walls created by artist Elsa Jean de Dieu. ‘It draws people in but feels private,’ Jamieson says.

The vanity salon. Photography: Jason Bonello

Further within, accessed via a muted bronze and grey-tone corridor, are four yoga studios, three of which reconfigure to create one large space for special events up to 100 mats. De Dieu’s abstract artworks, including an enormous lotus flower mural, and the New York-based designer Elish Warlop’s 3D sculptural wall with delicate timber shades threaded on bronze rods, feature in two of the studios. The standout piece, however, is a stunning Yantra diagram mural designed to focus the gaze when practicing yoga, created by artist Kristin Grant of Urban Heart.

Jamieson’s refined eye extends to the unusually glamorous changing rooms that come with ‘Bolle’pendant lights by Giopato & Coombes, smooth rounded counters, bronze-frame mirrors, and rainforest showers with granite flooring. This being prime Hong Kong real estate, the studio has drawn loyal fans thanks to its new quick pre-lunch sessions, aimed at the city’s time-poor, office-bound denizens. Ommm!

Smart move: resort wear comes first at our Gianni Botsford-designed London townhouse

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Bites: Wallpaper’s pick of the latest grooming, food and technology goings-on

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Style findings: dispatches from the Wallpaper* fashion team

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

In pictures: the W* photography desk’s daily digest of visual inspiration

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Fondazione Bisazza sheds new light on Nobuyoshi Araki’s sensual photo works

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

What do Nobuyoshi Araki and Bisazza tiles have in common? You wouldn’t think much, but the latest exhibition of Araki’s evocative – and occasionally controversial – works at the mosaic company’s impressive foundation in Vicenza shows them in a whole new light.

It all started in 2009, when Peiro Bisazza invited the Japanese photographer to shoot a mosaic campaign. ‘I’ve always admired Araki's photographic style, in particular his use of colour,’ he explains. ‘In our advertising campaign, Araki was able to harmoniously match the brilliance of the golden mosaic with the vivid colours of the models’ kimonos.’ 

In 2015, the foundation opened a gallery space housing a series of architectural photographs by the likes of Candida Höfer, Julius Shulman and Hiroshi Sugimoto. These have become permanent installations, following various collaborations celebrated across the rest of the foundation: from Jaime Hayon’s playful ‘Pixel Ballet’ (2007) to Marcel Wanders’ ‘Bisazza Motel’ (2004).

Bisazza campaign, 2009, capture by Nobuyoshi Araki

‘We want visitors to the Bisazza Foundation to embark on a journey of discovery, with an element of surprise as they pass through the different sections of the foundation,’ explains curator Filippo Maggia. It certainly is a jolt to the senses when the subject suddenly changes from mosaic planes and chairs to Araki’s images of kinbaku (Japanese bondage).

Maggia wanted to explore Araki’s more recent work, to put the installation in the context of the 2009 campaign. The exhibition spans Araki’s oeuvre, from his intimate Sentimental Journey series – which documented his honeymoon with his late wife Yoko – through to Love on the Left Eye, comprising partially blacked out photographs, a nod to the retinal artery obstruction in his right eye.

Those familiar with Araki’s work will see his usual themes appear: females and florals to begin with, in subtle dytiques with complex colours, which he divides with a piece of clear tape. The intensity grows with his homage to Japanese bondage in Suicide in Tokyo. Araki fans will know, too, there are more innocent motifs. Facial expressions of discomfort are juxtaposed with satisfaction; later in the exhibition, slightly humorous plastic dragons appear at random in the shots, a representation of Araki himself in the image.

As the exhibition closes, you are reminded of where you are again, with a making of video of the Bisazza campaign showing the maestro at work. Araki is depicted physically painting the tiles to build the extraordinary images, evincing the sheer soul of the foundation and how it is so much more than just a mosaic tile emporium – rather, holding a strong connection to the rest of the creative world, too.

Through the grapevine: Studio Dror erects a monument to Marlborough at Brancott Estate

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Wallpaper* has followed the ‘wine meets design’ collaboration between New Zealand’s Brancott Estate and New York-based Studio Dror since its conception. Now, almost two years since the project began, the fruits of their labour are ready to harvest.

To pay homage to the Estate’s most noted wine – the 1979 New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon, a world first – an 8m-tall Corten steel stulpture has been ‘planted’ at the point that the first Marlborough grapes grew 40 years ago.

‘We spoke the same language,’ recalls Dror Benshetrit of the longstanding collaboration, after first visiting Brancott Estate in 2015. ‘The similarities between our shared dedication to pushing boundaries through new ideas was fascinating. By the time we returned to New York, I had already sketched an idea.’

‘Under/standing’, by Studio Dror, at Brancott Estate, 2017

He envisioned an installation that, from afar, appeared as if it grew naturally from the ground, following the same geometric, ‘embyronic clusters’ as the grapevines. Up close, the industrial-edge would become tangible, aided by the textural complexity of the pinot-red steel.

The intricate structure comprises 52 individual components that lock into place – a grandiose version of ‘flat-pack’ design. It’s an idea that Dror revisits for its limited edition wine rack, ‘Present’ – a translation of the sculpture’s geometry, into a functional, smaller-scale object. ‘When visiting a vinyard,' Benshetrit explains, ‘a bottle of wine acts as a special end result that visitors take home. We wanted to give a piece of the sculpture to visitors in the same way.’

The two-year long collaboration has also spawned design innovation from Brancott Estate, which has released two wines inspired by the sculpture, a 2016 Sauvignon Blanc/Sauvignon Gris blend and a 2015 Pinot Noir. Bottoms up!

The Design Museum reveals the shortlist for the 2017 Beazley Designs of the Year

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

London’s Design Museum has announced the shortlist for the Beazley Designs of the Year, its annual celebration of the most notable design ideas from the past 12 months. On view at the museum from 18 October in an exhibition designed by London architects Carmody Groarke, the annual award is now in its tenth year, and has previously honoured designs such as David Bowie’s Black Star album by Jonathan Barnbrook and Thomas Heatherwick’s Olympic Cauldron.

The 62 nominations span a wide spectrum of disciplines, including architecture, graphics, product design, fashion, transport and digital. The museum tapped an international panel of creative luminaries to select the nominees, with the final shortlist offering a broad view of contemporary design today.

The projects paint a clear picture of the current state of the world, with several entries concerned with refugees and with the political turmoil of the past year. Case in point, Wolfgang Tillmans’ pro-EU, anti-Brexit poster campaign, or the Olympic refugee flag by Yara Said, representing the very first refugee team taking part to an Olympic competition.

A strong focus on socially-driven designs is also evident in nominations such as the Calais Builds Project or Francis Kerè’s project for a secondary school in Burkina Faso, as well, the Pussyhat, which has become an iconic symbol of protest spurred by US President Donald Trump’s controversially sexist remarks.

Of course, more recreational initiatives are included, such as last year’s augmented reality Pokémon Go game, or a new interface for the Premier League’s TV branding experience, by DixonBaxi. New technologies are also featured in the list, as is an innovative use of materials, such as Max Lamb and Really’s recycled textile benches, or Chilean studio gt2P’s lava furniture. As in previous years, the selection bolsters the museum’s position as a global observatory for creative disciplines, and demonstrates the all-encompassing power of design. The winners will be announced in January next year – watch this space.

Zaha Hadid Architects’ new energy research centre is fit for a king

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Architecture doesn’t always exist to push the boundaries. Sometimes a building is just an enclosure, a pragmatic form undefined by the activities within. Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has never subscribed to the cult of quiet functionalism – the more complex a building’s use, the more radical the form. Perhaps that’s why Riyadh’s new King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KASPSARC) is such a dramatic and radical statement, even by the high standards of the studio.

KAPSARC’s brief is as a desert laboratory, a place where the vested interests of the petrochemical industry can take a long, hard look at where their industry is going and what it has done – one of the research briefs is ‘studying the technological, economic and environmental impacts of energy’. Perhaps as an indicator of things to come, ZHA has designed the structure to make minimal energy demands in a region renowned for its extreme climate.

Riyadh’s new King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Photography: Hufton + Crow

Focused on a central research building, with angular prows that jut out across the landscaping, the architecture combines structural boldness with complex patterns on the walls and ceilings, giving the long Islamic tradition of geometric form a literal twist. The modular construction allows for future expansion, while covered outdoor circulation areas help mitigate the effects of solar radiation.

Perhaps most notably, the building’s musalla (the open space outside a mosque) is the country’s very first prayer space to be designed by a woman. Proof that Zaha Hadid is still having a posthumous influence on design.

Under the loupe: our latest watch and jewellery finds

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Carine Roitfeld brings fashion, fizz and fetish to Veuve Clicquot's 'Widow Series'

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Three years in, Veuve Clicquot’s ‘Widow Series’ has become an autumn staple of London’s cultural calendar. Invented to celebrate the pioneering champagne icon Madame Clicquot, who was widowed at just 27, the immersive art event is handed to a different creative team each year, with the aim of fashioning a night to remember – while raising money for AIDS charity amfAR.

Last year’s FKA Twigs-curated installation was a hit; selling out in 20 minutes and garnering over 11 million online impressions. With a lot to live up to, this year’s team was in safe hands, with style doyenne and iconic fashion editor Carine Roitfeld steering the ship alongside creative director, Patrick Kinmonth.

The longtime collaborators, who first worked together on a Mario Testino photoshoot in the 1990s, are a formidable force, as well as being fierce friends. ‘Patrick is the most generous storyteller,’ says Roitfeld. ‘And this was a big production – which is putting it mildly.’

Carine Roitfeld in the entrance way to 'Seven'

Entitled ‘Seven’, and themed around the deadly sins, guests are taken on a vice-laden journey across four floors of raw concrete in an expansive subterranean Islington venue, journeying into the pits of Dante’s Inferno.

It’s a bold move for Roitfeld, a self-confessed ‘pages person’, to work on an installation of this scale. ‘I work in magazines – this is totally new for me,’ she says. ‘So I’ve brought a few of my fashion family in to help.’

Notable collaborators have shown up in force. Guests feel the furore of wrath through the eyes of Fendi and we’re toyed with by lusty models in red PVC courtesy of Atsuko Kudo, all the while being satiated with VC Extra Brut by ‘widow’ waitresses dressed in black lace by Tom Ford.

The melding of art installation and ‘the fashion world’ is something Kinmonth has enjoyed seeing develop throughout his career. ‘The change has been tremendously slow but absolutely permanent,’ he says. ‘Fashion is no longer regarded as something superficial, where clothes just come at the end. People understand that clothes are a manifestation of deep cultural processes. They are extremely legible and can be experimented with in these kinds of settings.’

The costuming, set design and performance act as the crystal glass in which the champagne sits – with the latter remaining very much the star of the show. In a final act of pure, unadulterated extravagance (and a full embodiment of gluttony) guests are invited to chuck their champagne glasses over a ledge and watch them fall four stories, creating a mosaic of shards across the floor.

If this is Dante’s Inferno, we want a one way ticket to hell.

Vespertine

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

What better setting for a restaurant aspiring to disrupt modern day dining than a twisted curvilinear tower by Eric Owen Moss?

The progressive architect, who has spent years dramatically reshaping the Hayden Tract, a former industrial zone in Culver City, is the force behind the smouldering red building inhabited by Vespertine, a 22-seat experimental restaurant helmed by chef Jordan Kahn. 

Promising to blur the line between architecture and food, Vespertine’s tasting menu-only concept brings together influences as wide ranging as astronomy, composer John Cage’s music and Moss’ own manifestos in edible form. The building’s distinctive lattice facade is matched in the interior with custom-built steel banquette seating and translucent acrylic tabletops, exposed tubular columns and a curving 26-foot long table suspended from the ceiling which will present diners with a keepsake when they depart.

Outside, a garden by the main entrance cuts a striking figure with an artful configuration of mounded earth, concrete tables and planted flora, while its rooftop offers a more casual space for enjoying cocktails and the architectural view. 

Ichibuns

Sunday October 22nd, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Entering Ichibuns – a pun on the Japanese term for ‘number one’ – is a little like stumbling into a hallucinogenic Japanese version of Alice in Wonderland. 

The brainchild of Robin Leigh (New York’s Bondst and Nobu Tribeca), the restaurant in London’s Soho quarter confounds on several fronts. The first is its eye-popping interiors, which Tokyo-based Studio Glitt has conceived on paper as a genuinely Japanese mash-up of American diner, and the 50s and 60s by way of Tokyo’s genre-bending subcultures. Fully realised, this translates into three floors of theatrical drama – practically every surface, including the ceilings, is festooned with an energetic magpie collection of memorabilia, manga comics, cushion covers made of kimonos, period film posters, old coal stoves repurposed as washroom sinks, and a montage of origami paper magnified as wall panels. 

As it turns out, the theatricality is almost a diversion, because in the kitchen, executive chef Brendan Fong executes an equally eclectic spread that takes in burgers of Australian wagyu and British grass-fed beef – paired with sautéed shitake mushrooms, white truffle oil and blue cheese fondue, or encrusted with panko flakes – alongside steaming bowls of ramen with king crab, snow crab maki, and milkshakes spiked with sesame ice-cream, maple syrup and peanut butter.

Meta data: a new tome celebrates artists who use books as a medium

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Does printed matter really still matter? Anyone will be quick to tell you that, in the digital age, books are an antiquity soon to be obsolete. But as a new tome by Phaidon demonstrates, the possibilities of books are truly endless.

Edited by Andrew Roth, Philip E Aarons and Claire Lehman, with contributions from Benjamin HD Buchloh and Tauba Auerbach, the book explores the various ways in which 32 artists – including Sophie Calle, Hans-Peter Feldman and Richard Prince – have made their own books.

Starting in 1957, Artists Who Make Books moves through conventional interpretations to more avant-garde approaches to the book format. Among the latter group is the late Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara, for whom artists books were an integral part of his art and thinking, using the form to challenge our notion of documentation, learning and reading—ideas that are all tied up in a book’s binding.

The cover of Artists Who Make Books, published by Phaidon

In his lifetime, he published five epic artist books, each title in multiple volumes, including ‘I MET’, a list of the people the artist spoke to everyday for 12 years, arranged in chronological order. The prolific German conceptualist Hanna Darboven, who considered her art a kind of writing, produced thousands of pages in a similarly eccentric manner, to represent time and order.

Other artists have been compelled by the physical rather than the political nature of books, playing with shape, size and structure, from an accordion-folded pocket sized volume, to a book that measures over a metre, or a book whose microscopic gold print can only be read with a magnifying glass.

There are many other treats for print fans on these pages: such as Andy Warhol’s little-known illustrated cookbook, Wild Raspberries, and Martin Kippenberger’s conceptual series, Don Quixote – cork boxes shaped like books, each containing a single page, and 50 personal photographs.

These books within a book all have one thing in common, however: they are all objects that can be held, coveted and kept – something that can’t be rivalled in the digital domain.

In the frame: standout designs from around the globe

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Making moves: Les Ateliers Courbet puts down new roots in New York's Chelsea district

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

When curator and consultant Melanie Courbet opened up Les Ateliers Courbet – her showroom and gallery devoted to craftsmanship and heritage luxury goods – four years ago in a former commercial loft in Manhattan’s Nolita neighbourhood, ‘it was not hip at all,’ she says. ‘I liked the idea of having a little cabinet of curiosities in an unexpected neighbourhood, a little of off the grid between Chinatown and Little Italy.’

With the growing prominence of the neighbourhood and the showroom (which is known for its exquisite handmade wares, like Aldo Bakker vessels, Saint-Louis crystal and Japanese Shibori textiles, scoured from across the world), Courbet decided it was a good time to relocate, and it was then that she stumbled upon a plum vacancy in West Chelsea’s gallery district.

Les Ateliers Courbet new showroom in West Chelsea’s gallery district

This week, Les Ateliers Courbet inaugurates its new Tenth Avenue space with an installation of cashmere works by Oyuna, the eponymous line from Mongolian textile designer Oyuna Tserendorj. Known for her artful, contemporary take on traditional weaving techniques, Tserendorj has attracted a coterie of clients over the years that includes Calvin Klein, Goyard, and Kvadrat.

Courbet – who previously had a stint at Morphosis Architects and Studio Dror – worked with local contractors to outfit the new space with stucco-plaster walls, custom built-in shelves, and partitions that structure the interior into three vignettes for rotating installations, textiles and objets, and larger furniture pieces.

‘The space was just a white cube when we moved in, and I wanted to bring in a warm feeling of being at home,’ she says. There are couple of similarities to her former location: an off-white stucco-plaster coats the walls to lend a soft patina, and a grand piano finds itself in the space. This was Courbet’s personal find that was only to be temporarily stored at the gallery, but has since become a fond staple, with friends regularly popping in to fiddle with the keys.

Next month, Les Ateliers Courbet will also soft-launch a smaller outpost designed by Joseph Dirand at Miami’s Surf Club, just in time for Design Miami and Art Basel; here the gallery will launch a collaboration with the concept shop, The Webster. And after that? Courbet demurs, but says with a laugh, ‘for now, probably a vacation.’

Retail maverick Andrea Brugnoni on what’s next for his Sardinian cultural district

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

It’s strange to think that the coastal town of Porto Cervo in Sardinia, where designer boutiques now vie over shop space, was once farming pasture that was deemed so worthless it was given to the island’s peasant women to keep goats.

It wasn’t until the 1960s when Aga Khan arrived and fell in love with the Costa Smeralda’s sparkling waters and rugged beaches that it’s glitzy transformation began. Khan created Porto Cervo from scratch, tuning it into his own personal paradise playground. Today its become a magnet for the megarich, who visit in their superyachts to do a spot of shopping and sunbathing.

While the flashy brands and showy bars entertain tourists in the old town, the area’s discerning visitors head to the more artistic Promenade du Port, where retail maverick Andrea Brugnoni has spent the last 11 years carefully crafting a unique cultural destination that he says defines what luxury means today.

Art, fashion, design and food come together at Promenade du Port

Made up of around 60 retail units, Brugoni’s corner of Porto Cervo combines fashion, art, food and design provided by a finely tuned balance of both emerging and established names. For instance, La Pasqualina, the Promenade’s artisan gelato shop, was discovered by Brugoni at its original location in the hills of Bergamo. After tasting its Sicilian lemon gelato he invited the owners to set up a shop in the Promenade just up the hill from the Rolls-Royce showroom (reportedly one of the marque’s most successful outposts) – ‘both are equally important’ stresses Brugoni noting the juxtaposition.

A longtime friend of the site’s owner, Brugnoni personally masterminded the idea of a cultural Promenade and in the process naturally fell into the role of its creative director and business manager. ‘The idea was to create something that seemed as if it had been there since 1961,’ he says of the early days. ‘It’s been a learning curve and I’m always looking for ways to improve.’

Tanned, bearded and casually attired, Brugnoni eschews the stereotypical image of the property developer businessman. This is however is no surprise when you learn that he is the son of Milan’s First Lady of design, Rossana Orlandi. In his younger days he spent his time travelling between Milan, Argentina, London, New York, France and Spain, where he learnt a thing or two about creating a retail experience, or ‘a good vibe’ as he prefers to call it.

Aerial view of Promenade du Port

‘The culture has to come first and the commercial side will follow. The human side of it is vital,’ he informs. Indeed, on his arrival at the Promenade in Porto Cervo, 11 years ago as a 26-year-old business graduate, the first thing he did was open up a small museum and the brands soon followed.

Today the promenade’s village-like streets are bustling with shoppers exploring unusual stores such as Vespa Smeralda – a mecca for Vespa enthusiasts with its colorful line-up of one-of-a-kind bikes from all across Italy. Nearby, the Paci Contemporary showcases exquisite photography such as a rare set of prints of Marilyn Monroe from Bert Stern’s The Last Sitting shoot in 1962. Other crowd-pleasers include the Sardinian outpost of Galleria Rossana Orlandi with its two floors of collectable design and the recently arrived Basara restaurant, which serves up a unique combination of sushi and pastry.

‘There are some criteria for the retailers that have a space here,’ explains Brugoni. ‘The shop has to be different to what you will find in the rest of the world, there has to be a design or an architectural element and within three or four years they have to come up with a capsule collection that is sold only here.’

Next year will mark the Promenade’s tenth season and Brugoni is planning ahead. ‘When the season starts here each year, my mind is already working on next year. I want to continue to push brands to think outside the box – when this happens, there really is no limit.’

The 8 best Montreal hotels, from grande dames to sensitive conversions

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

All about weave: a new show threads together Anni Albers’ artistic ambidexterity

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Anni Albers’ career spanned two continents, eight decades and half a dozen honorary doctorates. It negotiated personal commissions and worldwide mass-production; bridging the canvas, the loom and the printing press. To stack such a mountain of boundary-crossing achievements, takes a figure of ‘remarkable tenacity and adaptability’, says Manuel Cirauqui, the curator of the Albers retrospective recently opened at the Guggenheim Bilbao.

‘When she arrived at the Bauhaus in 1922, Albers wanted to be a painter, but she was given a spot in the weaving workshop,’ Cirauqui explains. ‘She took it, and ran with it. Then, when forced to move to the US in 1933, she hit the big-time in America’s mass-produced design industry. At 60 years of age, when she had to stop weaving, she adapted again as a great theorist and philosopher.’

Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College, 1937. Photography: Helen M Post. © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2017

‘Touching Vision’ highlights Albers’ lifelong artistic ambidexterity, through a catalogue of examples taken from each of her ‘phases’. Linearly presented, and guided by Cirauqui’s steady hand, we see the queen of weaving’s singular modernist vision unfold across discipline, decade and timezone. The first work we confront, her Bauhaus thesis subject, is laid on top of a glass vitrine, so its textural complexity can ‘rise to the fore’, says Cirauqui, his hand hovering over the threads. Woven in, lustrous cellophane warps across haggard horsehair.

We see a commitment to material experimentation recur in her art jewellery. Defying its luxe appearance, and the source of several double-takes, Necklace (circa 1940) is made from a drain-strainer that gathers a cluster of stretched-out paper clips. Through such pieces Albers was attempting to bring beautifully made, timeless accessories to the masses, through the use of ‘common materials’ that were ‘uncommon to jewellery’.

The Bauhaus-inspired ideology of ‘art for everyone’ permeated Albers’ career, and later informed her mass-produced pattern work, which took off in 1951 when Florence Knoll invited her to collaborate with the Knoll textiles department, leading to a 30-year friendship, through which Albers would bring her stylistic innovation to the textile heavyweight. ‘The collaboration came at a time when everyone had badly reproduced Van Goghs in their living rooms,’ says Cirauqui. ‘Albers thought they should instead have access to high quality reproduced art. She thought textiles was the way to do it.’

Diagram showing method of weaving draft notation (plain weave), Plate 10 from 'On Weaving', 1965, by Anni Albers. Photography: Tim Nighswander / Imaging4Art. Courtesy of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany CT. © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2017

The idea reached a zenith in 1976, with Albers’ best known pattern, Eclat, which started life as affordable print-upholstery, before reaching the much-copied global status it has today. For ‘Touching Vision’, Cirauqui lined the back wall of the Guggenheim with great swathes of original Knoll fabrics, allowing them to ripple as visitors pass close by; their hypnotically oscillating patterns waving. Positioned directly opposite, like a reflection, Cirauqui placed Albers’ painstaking pencil sketches of the pattern, so as to show the thinking behind the work. We see how the lines of the pattern interweave, warp and weft, like threads.

At 60, Albers no longer wished to handle the considerable physical demands of the loom, and despite living for a further 30 years, she made a conscious decision to stop weaving, ‘showing an incredible self-awareness and sensitivity’, says Cirauqui. The final work Epitaph (1968), in which you can read ‘a lot of her past, present and future’, is a magnum opus where we follow the story of a tangled golden thread, weaving a complex path through a taut, opaque back plate. ‘She created it knowing she would never be able to make such a vast, all-encompassing loom-based work again.’ It’s a physical representation of her weaving philosophy, embracing both technicality and expression.

Contextualised by pages from her sketchbook, and early examples of the Pre-Columbian textiles that inspired her, this is a show that reaches through the loom, and attempts to unspool the goings-on of her mind.

Hotel Indigo – Nowy Swiat

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

A city that has literally been through the wars, Warsaw got up, dusted itself off and underwent a complete reconstruction after the severe damage it suffered in World War II. Back to its former glory and now a sprawling modern metropolis – and often voted one the most liveable cities in the world – Poland’s capital is having a bit of a moment, not least for its headstrong group of creative Millennials. They are shaping the food scene with cool dining hubs such as NOCNY, the outdoor night market where the stylish crowds – complete with beards, tattoos and must-have dogs – can be seen nibbling on all sorts from sushi to vegetarian hotdogs.

The latest hotspot to swing open its heavy wrought-iron doors is Hotel Indigo, a 60-room property housed in an ornamental 1903 building, once the residence of count Ksawery Branicki. Inside, the Warsaw-based design agency 2kul worked with Henry Reeve, IHG’s director of design and innovation, to create a modern space that sits quietly within its original surroundings. The lobby is dressed with colourful classics including Fritz Hansen armchairs, Tom Dixon tables, low-slung sofas by Paolo Castelli and a rich, carpet designed by Marcel Wanders for Dutch interior brand, Moooi. The soaring open space meanwhile, is filled with a four ton custom-made chandelier comprising 900 bulbs and inspired by a Bocci installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Upstairs, the guest rooms that overlook the interior atrium are appropriately fitted out in muted shades of grey, while a crisp white palette interspersed with royal blues are clean, understated choices for the outer rooms, which feature high ceilings and ornate mouldings. With a state-of-the-art fitness and health centre; a lobby-based Bourbon Lounge Bar and a chic pastel-hued restaurant that serves up Middle Eastern cuisine, you’d be forgiven for never wanting to leave. But located just off Nowy Świat the main artery that connects modern Warsaw to the old town, you’re in the perfect position to nip out and see all of the best sites the city has to offer.

SMoCA explores the legacy of Arcosanti founder Paolo Soleri in a new exhibition

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Up until his death in 2013, the visionary Italian-born architect Paolo Soleri rarely had his hands still. Across his 60-year career, Soleri’s dream of ‘arcology’ – a new urbanism that infused the city with nature – was articulated piece by piece: as much through blueprints and lessons in the outdoor classroom of Arcosanti, as in his sketches, models, sculptures, and of course, the iconic ceramics and cast bronze bells coveted by local Arizona denizens and the international architecture community alike.

‘Repositioning Paolo Soleri: The City is Natureat the Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, Arizona, tracks the full arc of Soleri’s prolific practice. It is the culmination of the institution’s eight-year relationship with the architect and the Cosanti Foundation. Offering up the largest selection of original work presented in North America since 1971, the exhibition underscores the contemporary relevance of Soleri’s legacy, ultimately 'reclaiming him as a visionary and a cultural icon,' says Sara Cochran, SMoCA director and chief curator.

Figure with Arcvillage model, circa 1968. Photography: Ivan Pintar. © Cosanti Foundation

Disenchanted by the conditions of mass production and suburban sprawl that modern life was trending toward, Soleri’s first disciples were drawn to the experimental ‘urban laboratory’ of Arcosanti in 1970. Here, some 60 miles north of Phoenix, they lived and worked together under the fierce desert sun, learning valuable life skills in exchange for their hand in bringing Soleri’s blueprints to life: a workshop module still active to this day, with approximately 50 residents at any given time.

When asked about the relevance of the exhibition vis-à-vis the environmental and political crisis facing America today, Cochran explains: ‘The timing with the current political situation in the States is fortuitous; however, the questions around environment are not.’ Soleri had been thinking about these issues and dreaming up solutions throughout his career. ‘Cities like Phoenix are now starting to think about how to create a walkable and bikeable urban core,’ Cochran says, mirroring the people-centric, anti-car philosophy championed by Soleri and his team of young builders a half-century prior.

Stonebow Arcology, elevation, circa 1968-70, by unidentified apprentice of Paolo Soleri. © Cosanti Foundation

With approximately five per cent of Arcosanti’s masterplan realised, and with an occupational capacity of 5,000, the modest pace of Arcosanti’s construction has always been a point of contention. Yet with the ‘new normal’ of political and environmental meltdown defining our contemporary global condition, we find ourselves increasingly gravitating toward alternative modes of living.

Soleri’s vision of building upwards, not outwards, with progress not so much tied to commercial production as social connectivity, could yet serve as a breath of inspiration, and ‘Repositioning Paolo Soleri: The City is Nature’ pitches this perspective in full force, 50 years down the line.

The Ivy Tower Bridge

Thursday October 19th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

The Ivy Collection continues its expansion of neighbourhood cafés and brasseries, this time in prime location at One Tower Bridge.

Much like its other venues, the brand follows its fail-safe formula, offering a relaxed, elevated neighbourhood vibe with an all-day menu of gourmet crowd-pleasers and Ivy classics from eggs Benedict for breakfast to fish & chips shepherd’s pie or the indulgent strawberry ice cream sundae.

Local design outfit Martin Brudnizki Design Studio has taken its cues from the original Ivy on West Street, with details like the stained glass feature at the entrance and subtle art deco references from pendant lights to bar lamps and antique brass mirrors, in burnt orange hues.

Literally located right below London’s iconic Tower Bridge, the best seats in the house are on the second floor, where floor-to-ceiling windows frame the city’s skyline. Or if the weather permits, plump for a table on the Parisian-style al fresco terrace, to sip on cocktails and people watch.

Prouvé, poetry, and park life collide at the Tuileries Garden

Wednesday October 18th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Each year, when FIAC kicks off in Paris, so much attention is focused on the activity that happens under the gleaming glass roof of the Grand Palais that it’s easy to gloss over the public programming en plein air a short distance away throughout the Tuileries Garden. The recent attention generated by the Louvre Museum’s decision to withdraw one of the works, titled Domestikator, out of concern over its suggestive sexual depiction has possibly attracted a greater audience just by virtue of the media coverage – and artist Joep Van Lieshout ultimately scored a victory with the Centre Pompidou’s acceptance of the inhabitable sculpture in its piazza.

But what invariably makes the Hors Les Murs programme so pleasant is how people engaging with this art represent a far broader mix than those who attend the fair. What’s more, the artists are rarely present, nor are staff from their galleries, so aside from the basic information plaques, the works feel liberated in a sense, unencumbered by back story. In the spirit of this naiveté, I chose to take a stroll as the fair got underway.

The garden has multiple entry gates, and all of them lead to art. Yet to arrive via Rue Castiglione heading down from the lustrous new Louis Vuitton flagship serves as a good starting point, certainly for architecture enthusiasts who will right away notice Jean Prouvé’s maison démontable from 1944, which occupies the same footprint as the architect’s schoolhouse from last year, both courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin. Enter into the 6x6 m wood cabin to find his signature portique. The original wood feels remarkably rustic compared to the neighbouring Christian de Portzamparc white cube of nearly the same dimensions. One of the latest models from Revolution Precrafted, its minimalist appearance in painted gypsum board and cement seems better suited to an ultra-cool pop-up gallery than a guest house.

The Joys of Yiddish, 2017, by Mel Bochner. Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery. Photography: Marc Domage

Towards the Concorde, Yiddish words in highlighter yellow lettering scream out from a black banner thanks to Mel Bochner. For those familiar with schmoozer and kvetcher, but not nudzh (a pesterer), the FIAC website translates his selection idiosyncratic message. On the upper terrace near the Jeu de Paume is Julien Berthier’s composition of leftover box pieces topped by a pigeon, all in welded steel and patinated bronze. Wait around long enough and a real bird might stop by to size up its inanimate likeness.

Back when Hors Les Murs began in 2006, works would be displayed without giving thought to selfies and Instagram. Today, a guy was having his picture taken in front of Antonio Caro’s giant Colombia sign created from screen-printed Marlboro labeling. Meanwhile, a family of four tourists will leave Paris with a fun souvenir of their portrait beside Gilles Barbier’s The Misthrown Dice, a giant die resembling a Super Mario mushroom. More interestingly, I happened upon art students sketching views of the garden and pointed out to one that her inclusion of Marta Pan’s Lentilles flottantes, a pair of white resin space-like shapes floating in the grand basin, rendered the drawing specific to this moment, as the sculptures will be gone by next week. 

Along the central passage that marks the city’s Axe historique, a series of sheet metal panels by Florent Pugnaire at David Raffini begin flat like a mirror with each successively bent, as though sucked back towards the Arc de Triomphe. ‘I don’t know if it’s art but it’s well done,’ an elderly woman commented to her friend. Beyond that is Patrick Saytour’s temporary greenhouse pierced through with Florentine cypress trees, followed by Jim Dine’s Thru The Stardust, The Heat On the Leaves, a striking arrangement of sandstone vessels scrawled with free verse that he created over the past year at the Sèvres Cité de la Céramique. Last week during their installation, he told me that he didn’t create the ensemble with the outdoors in mind.

Stretching to almost 20m long, these works were completed during Jim Dine’s second residency at Sèvres. Courtesy of Sèvres Cité de la céramique and Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris & Brussels. Photography: B Huet/Tutti

Despite such prime real estate in the Tuileries, the sprightly artist wondered whether their various forms—rigid, slouching, scalloped, boxy—could hold up to their surroundings. ‘My impression is what it always is of sculpture outside; it can’t beat nature. What you do is you pray that it can end up in an intimate place because [these pieces] need that,’ he said as they were being spaced apart. ‘I have a sort of artistic agoraphobia so it’s too much. I don’t mind it outside but I would like a little more enclosure.’ Nonetheless, people pause to make heads of tails of his writing, which he said was loosely inspired by Claude Lévi-Strauss’ letters with his parents between 1932-42. That the poem reads in the round and with no obvious structure gives the impression of the subconscious; the true creative impulse.

In a similar vein and just steps away, the giant bent nails from Los Carpinteros register as surrealist, with their rusty hue finely complementing the current autumnal palette. Next up: Ali Cherri’s Flying Machine would seem to be the descendent of da Vinci’s – an anachronistic vision executed to noble effect. Another apparent descendent, only this time of Brâncuși is Marc Couturier’s Lame (or blade, in French); its attenuated shape leans more leaf than bird.

At this point, it’s worth pointing out that a pair of George Condo bronzes are so discreetly staged within the gardens that they defy his characteristically agitated style. As for the three works by Erik Dietman, even the determined joggers seem inclined to give them a glance. One suggests a pile of teddy bears in the style of a Christmas ornament, while the others echo the otherworldly aspect of his nearby sculpture that has called the garden home for years. The one titled Le Dernier Cri could be described as a nightmarish rabbit. It may not be the most upbeat way to exit this outdoor exhibition tour, but as ‘the last cry’, it seems apropos. That is, until next year.

Cloud bursting: Cartier and Transsolar imagine the scent of the sky

Wednesday October 18th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

OSNI 1 is not a scent launch. It’s an installation that Mathilde Laurent has instigated as a ‘window to olfactory art’. Maison Cartier’s noted perfumer-creator has joined forces with the architecture-based Munich climate engineers Transsolar to create the piece.

It takes the form of a habitable glass cube, perched on The Pavillion at the Palais de Tokyo, a stone’s throw from the Seine. Inside, a single staircase twists through a floating cloud, beckoning visitors up. As you emerge with your head above the fog, the air is clear but perfume-filled. ‘You don’t know what to expect,’ says Transsolar engineer Sabine Gröger. ‘The experience is so personal that everyone has a different feeling about it.’

It’s just the response Laurent wanted. Billed as ‘Unidentified Scented Object’, the project is the first in a potential series and the perfumer, whose studio is also a glass box – at the Jean Nouvel-designed Fondation Cartier – has long harboured the idea of producing a scent-driven art work.

The artificial cloud is infused with Cartier scent L’Envol (The Flight). Photography: Quyen Mike. © Cartier

‘I’m not an artist,’ she says, ‘but it’s good to remember that Cartier has always considered and been close to contemporary art – from the creation of the Cartier Fondation in the 1970s. I feel that to create a piece like this is our duty as a house because it’s important that we sustain olfactory art like all others. Sense of smell is very important.’

OSNI 1, then, is not a commercial endeavour. There is no new perfume to launch. Instead, the air at the top is infused with an existing Cartier scent for men and women, L’Envol (The Flight). It was while researching that fragrance that Laurent and her team were inspired by the idea of a sense of elevation, imagining ‘the smell of the sky’.

They had heard that Transsolar was creating artificial clouds and got quite excited about the idea of highlighting the technological aspect of what they do, the chemistry that makes it possible. ‘It works around the transition between cold and hot air,’ says Gröger of the installation’s pleasantly eerie effect. ‘The cloud sits exactly in the middle, making the transition visible.’

Somewhat surprisingly, the project also reveals a natural correlation between perfumer and engineer: ‘We realised we shared a similar vision,’ says Laurent. ‘Transsolar is in charge of the environment you are in, while we can be in charge of what that smells like. What we both offer are wonderful ideas of the space around you.’

A New York design duo tap a surprising art world secret to create objects of desire

Wednesday October 18th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

‘Objects of Common Interest started not with the idea to create a studio or commercial line, but as an exercise in small scale,’ says Leonidas Trampoukis, one half of architecture practice LOT. Like many other architects, Trampoukis and LOT co-founder Eleni Petaloti were seduced by product design’s relatively short journey from the concept to the concrete. Objects of Common Interest was borne of that seduction. ‘It was an extension of working with architecture and making it more abstract,’ adds Petaloti. ‘We are interested in volumes and how they interact, creating abstract shapes and elements that become objects.’

The couple, who both studied at Thessaloniki’s Artistotle and New York’s Columbia universities, launched LOT in 2012, and landed a spot in Wallpaper’s Architects’ Directory two years later (W*184). The practice now maintains offices in Thessaloniki and New York and is best known for its Flatiron Sky-Line, a series of illuminated white steel arches temporarily installed on Manhattan’s Flatiron Plaza in 2016. Other LOT projects include a Thessaloniki student residence, Corfu beach club and SoHo loft conversion.

The pair launched their first Objects of Common Interest design collection in 2015 and insist that working on parallel projects, with different velocities, forces them to rethink both practices. But while their architectural output is based on simple shapes and essential lines, their design is focused on materiality and colour.

Unveiled at New York design gallery Matter, the inaugural collection included marble furniture, and polished copper mirrors for Mingardo. Most of the studio’s objects are produced by small manufacturers in Greece and the US, using materials sourced by the couple. Their country of origin is a strong inspiration for their work, they say. ‘The Greek influence brought out our sensibility for materials, light, texture and the feeling that an object evokes,’ explains Trampoukis.

The studio’s Relativity of Color series comprises 20 interchangeable acrylic and glass pieces. Photography: Tim Schutsky

Titled Relativity of Color, their latest collection focuses on chromatic compositions, loosely inspired by Josef Albers’ theories and featuring modular pieces in glass and resin. The collection was created in collaboration with Romanian-born craftsman Ovidiu Colea, whose workshop Colbar Art, in Long Island City, has been hand-producing Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building replicas in resin for the past 30 years. Colea and his small team create thousands of models a year, but also lend their services to artists and galleries, working with Paula Hayes, Michael Wilkinson and Mariko Mori among others.

‘Ovidiu’s studio is a magical place for us,’ says Petaloti. With a background in art – she has worked at the Guggenheim Foundation and the Faou Foundation in New York, and as Mori’s studio director – Petaloti was well aware of Colea’s particular skills. ‘He is very modest, the kindest person you can ever meet,’ she enthuses. ‘He can make souvenirs and a million-dollar sculpture in parallel. And he treats both projects with the same care and passion.’

While they were developing the collection, Petaloti and Trampoukis paid regular visits to the workshop, starting out experimenting with acrylics. ‘The range is an exercise in levels of transparency and translucency, given by glass and acrylic,’ explains Petaloti. ‘How the two materials interact and how you get different results by blending them was the first level of this exercise.’ The second level, she adds, was focused on the colour palette. Trampoukis and Petaloti created a dual palette, one ranging from nude to orange and through to red and deep brown, the other a colder range of shades, from light to dark blue. Then they worked with shapes in different hues to see how they interacted.

Although simple in its appearance and use, the collection is a multilayered exploration of form and colour. The series of tableware staples features a water glass, another small vessel that doubles as a champagne glass or matcha cup, a plate, a bowl and a vase – all very ordinary, everyday objects, the architects note. In this collection, gesture and composition are important elements that go hand in hand: each vessel, made of handblown glass produced in the Czech Republic, sits on a translucent resin base produced by Colea, but it’s not attached to it. A recurring feature in Trampoukis and Petaloti’s design work is that elements are often combined but not stuck together. Users can swap the parts around. ‘Articulation is an important element of this collection,’ adds Petaloti. ‘The parts are gently touching and balanced, but one cannot exist without the other.’

The project with Colea is the first stage of what the architects hope will be a long-term collaboration. It’s definitely one that further roots the practice’s work in New York, while expanding its ongoing design exploration to new frontiers.

As originally featured in the November 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*224)

Good nature: check into the 5 best hotels in Vancouver for 2017

Wednesday October 18th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

The Rug Company celebrates 20 years of creative ingenuity with new capsule collection

Wednesday October 18th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

In 20 quick years, The Rug Company has blazed the trail for tasteful, contemporary rugs with its blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern aesthetics, so much so that many have come to expect nothing less. Not only has The Rug Company championed the use of fine raw materials and the quality of Nepalese weaving, it’s also pioneered the recruitment of designers outside of the interiors world to try their hand at creating rug patterns – a move that has garnered much success.

To celebrate this monumental birthday, The Rug Company is launching a celebratory capsule collection of five new designs from some of its most lauded collaborators. Alexander McQueen, Kelly Wearstler, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and The Rug Company co-founder Suzanne Sharp are the creatives behind the new works. Debuted during London Design Festival and now exhibited in New York, the ‘TRC20’ collection will tour the company’s showrooms worldwide.


'Highland' by Vivienne Westwood for The Rug Company

Like the company’s comprehensive offering, the ‘TRC20’ collection showcases an array of styles. From Kelly Wearstler’s expressive brushstrokes that have been translated in copper-toned silk on Tibetan wool, and Paul Smith’s recognisable stripes that feature an array of colours which seamlessly blend into each other, to Alexander McQueen’s photographic floral still-life design that has been produced in a limited edition of 40; each rug is a testament to the caliber of the company’s artisans who turn each concept into a reality.

Vivienne Westwood’s magnified tartan, which features her custom created 2007 ‘Gold Label’ pattern that’s been oversized for graphic appeal, and Suzanne Sharp’s geometric ‘Bonavita’ design – inspired by the tiles of an old Maltese church – are no different with their crisp sharpness and invigorating colour palettes. 

The collection’s significance has been captured through the lens of photographer Mary McCartney, who shot each designer in their studio space and filmed them behind the scenes, for an extra special look at the creative process. Filled with candid divulgements and peeks into rarely-seen worlds, the images celebrate the personal and the artistic, as The Rug Company continues to be.

Back to basics: Demisch Danant remembers the rise of French minimalism

Wednesday October 18th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Simplistic form, muted color palette, scarce in detail. Let’s face it: minimalism is about as ubiquitous as that white T-shirt in your closet. Though the sleek style is the design du jour, it wasn’t always a luxury, but a necessity.

‘The reason behind this wasn’t aesthetically-driven, it was resistance,’ explained Suzanne Demisch, one half of the New York-based gallery Demisch Danant. In the new exhibition ‘The Way of the Essential’, Demisch and co-founder Stephane Danant explore the rise of French minimalism in the 1950s and 60s. In doing so, they recapture the beauty and uniqueness minimalism has to offer.

To put it in context, the Second World War left France at rock bottom. Paris was attacked, and hospitals and airports were destroyed. All the while, people were moving into apartments, creating a need for simple, affordable and modular design. ‘They couldn’t use their 18th century furniture,’ Demisch says.

'Modular Ottoman', by Joseph-André Motte, 1963

But where there’s reconstruction there’s innovation, as several French designers, with Jacques Dumond leading the pack, showed the payoff of paring back.

‘[We’re] pointing out the different perspectives on the same goal of French modernity and minimalism, and tracing the influence from someone like Dumond,’ said Demisch.

For a comprehensive look at the era, the 50-piece exhibit is divided into three sections. Walk into the Greenwich Village gallery and you’ll find minimalist designs with an architectural flare, like Antoine Philippon and Jacqueline Lecoq’s laminate coiffeuse and a glass desk by Janine Abraham and Dirk Jan Rol.

There’s a heavy emphasis on the materials used, as evidenced by Joseph-André Motte’s rattan tripod chair, and ash and mahogany daybed, which fill the second space. And finally, a rendering of a typical French apartment reimagined in Dumond’s pieces. As a glass coffee table unexpectedly sits next to a plaid sofa, minimalism still has the potential to surprise.

Eden Locke

Wednesday October 18th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Occupying a listed Georgian property in the heart of Edinburgh, Eden Locke, a hotel that lives like an apartment, presents itself as a design-led Airbnb-like experience.

The Locke Hotel group’s second venture after the London-based Leman, the Edinburgh property continues the group’s mission to anchor its hotels in neighbourhood culture via the cannily-named Hyde & Son, a ‘third wave’ coffee bar that morphs into a wine and cocktail bar by night. Open to the public, the bar celebrates its surroundings with locavore treats like gluten-free patisserie from nearby wholefood bakers, Grams and speciality beers from microbrewers, Harviestoun.

As they did with the Lehman, New York architects Grzywinski and Pons have transformed period interiors with a lavish palette of sorbet-soft pastels and splashes of bold colour, bringing a touch of the tropics (and the 1980s) to the louring Athens of the North. Focused on building a recognisable identity – even toiletries are by in-house brand, Kinsey Apothecary – the Locke properties are like home, only better.

Solid foundations: the Yves Saint Laurent museum opens in Marrakech

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Wrapped with terracotta brick and earthen-coloured terrazzo, the new and much-anticipated Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech melds effortlessly into its ochre surrounds. Its understated façade, with its blend of swooping curves and straight lines, is a fitting tribute to the elegance of the late designer’s couture creations. Upon its opening tomorrow, the museum is set to become the jewel in the crown of the French couturier’s Moroccan legacy, which also includes the neighbouring 12 acre Jardin Majorelle, and the Berber Museum, which opened in 2011. 

The Jardin Majorelle is already one of the most visited tourist sites in Morocco: 800,000 visited last year and 9,000,000 are expected to have passed through the gates by the end of 2017. Opened to the public in 1947 by Jacques Majorelle, the late Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé fell in love with the Jardin during their first trip to Marrakech in the sixties. When they realised it was at risk of closure in the 80s, Bergé and Saint Laurent bought and restored it. After Yves died, Bergé donated the Jardin Majorelle and the Villa Oasis to their foundation in Paris. Quito Fierro, the garden’s public relations director, says that visiting numbers have dramatically increased in the past decade to the point where a timed entry system will have to be introduced.

In that time period, the city has seen the arrival of five-star destinations such as the Royal Mansour – a jaw-droppingly opulent medina – one equipped with private riads and a lobby that has to be seen to be believed. Also drawing in the well-heeled crowds is Sir Richard Branson’s captivating Moroccan hideout, Kasbah Tamadot. Nestled in the Atlas Mountains, just an hour’s drive away from the heart of the city, the Kasbah serves as a luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.

The library displays a selection of books related to Morocco, Berber culture, architecture, botany and costume. The ceiling is made from laurel branches using a traditional Moroccan technique that has been reinterpreted by Studio KO

As the first fashion museum in Africa, the institution will dramatically boost the Marrakech’s reputation as a cultural hotspot. ‘When Yves Saint Laurent first discovered Marrakech in 1966, he was so moved by the city that he immediately decided to buy a house here,’ the late Pierre Bergé told us before his death last month, when we went to document the museum’s construction for our September issue (see W*222). ‘It feels perfectly natural, 50 years later, to build a museum dedicated to his oeuvre, which was so inspired by this country.’

Designed by Paris-based Studio KO, the museum was Bergé’s personal project. He was its mastermind and driving force, overseeing every aspect of its design, construction and programming with his exacting eye. Visiting the site each month, Bergé lived to see the completed exterior, which was finished in July this year. ‘Pierre had worked with Studio KO previously on a 20th-century villa in Tangier, so he already knew them well,’ says museum direcotr Björn Dahlstrom. ‘They are young and talented and I think they were absolutely the right choice for this project. Working with them was like working with family – very easy, they were dedicated. I think it would not have been so easy with a big-name architect.’

In the temporary exhibition space an inaugural show titled ‘Jacques Majorelle’s Morocco’ curated by Félix Marcilhac will offer the Moroccan public the chance to view 30 important works by the artist for the first time since his passing in 1962

Inside, the museum comprises a 400 sq m permanent exhibition space designed by Christophe Martin, a temporary exhibition space, a research library with over 6,000 volumes, a 150-seat auditorium, and a bookstore and terrace café. Its interiors are an elegant reinterpretation of traditional Moroccan materials such as local brick, brass, black granite, laurel branches and oak. All of the door handles and hardware are made locally by metalworkers in the medina. ‘The architects wanted to take these very traditional materials but use them in a very contemporary and modern way,’ says Dahlstrom. ‘Pierre insisted on materials such as the terrazzo, and in every shade – nougat, black, grey, pink, white – as well as the stained glass that you see in the entranceway.’

In the main exhibition hall Martin has conjured an atmospheric show of 50 carefully chosen pieces that are displayed on mannequins lined up like regimented troops. The chosen pieces revolve around themes dear to Saint Laurent – masculine-deminine, black, Africa and Morocco, imaginary voyages, gardens, and art.

Spotlit in the darkness, the garments are backdropped by catwalk film and imagery, which are projected on to the walls. Upon entering, the designer’s drawings, fabric samples and sketches glide by across a wall of video screens that invite visitors to immerse themselves in Saint Laurent’s working process.

The museum will not only display the garments but also become a world specialist in conserving extraordinary collections. The museum’s basement levels will store 1,000 couture garments and accessories lent by the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris, as well as 3,000 non-exhibited pieces from the Berber Museum at the Jardin Majorelle. 

In the temporary exhibition space an inaugural show – titled ‘Jacques Majorelle’s Morocco’ and curated by Félix Marcilhac – will offer the public the chance to view thirty important works by the artist that have been lent by private and institutional Moroccan collections. ‘Pierre Bergé saw all of the sketches and paintings,’ says Dahlstrom of the three month-long exhibition. ‘He signed off on all of it, everything. He was here on the ground overseeing every step of this project.’

Smooth sailing: Chanel navigates a new era of high jewellery design

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

From anchors and lifebuoys to sailor tattoos, the jaunty seafaring theme steering Chanel’s ‘Flying Cloud’ high jewellery collection might easily have tipped into the realm of whimsy. But it takes its name from a 1930s superyacht owned by the second Duke of Westminster and frequented by Coco Chanel during holidays on the Riviera.

That led to hardier, nautical rope references, as these bold, white gold, diamond and deep-blue sapphire knot earrings attest. References to seaworthy lengths – those rough, lifesaving twists of rope – that would have been handled by the Flying Cloud’s 40-man crew, are scattered throughout the collection. In much the same way, Chanel has made the softest lambskin look like seamans’ oils in its current Cruise collection.

So where better than to display the entire Flying Cloud collection this summer than Chanel’s original South of France bolthole, La Pausa (‘the pause’), in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin? Coco Chanel designed the house, which was built by 1930, as a base for her summer vacations. Having recently been acquired by the house of Chanel, it is due for extensive renovation and an interiors overhaul by Peter Marino.

La Pausa’s atmosphere of bygone sparkling summers is still potent, hence Chanel has crafted earrings, cuffs and voluminous swirls of diamond rope with an altogether fresher feel than is usual in high jewellery design. We’re most definitely on board.

A version of this article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*223)

The top 20 exhibits at the second Chicago Architecture Biennial

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Strange turn: Tom Binns’ skewed take on precious adornment

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Tom Binns’ idiosyncratic blend of playfulness in jewellery design is the subject of a new exhibition at Dover Street Market. The pieces, from previous collections including ‘Radical Exquisites’, ‘Assemblage Eclectique’ and ‘Contempt of the Familiar’, are on show together for the first time.

‘I have always thought of my approach as being more conceptual,’ Binns’ says of his take on jewellery design. ‘Although these designs are wearable, I see them more as objects of adornment for the curious. They are a dare.’

His designs often take the form of mundane items – a child’s toy, an animal figurine, a rubber tyre – and play with ideas of innocence. Taken out of context, their meaning is warped, and though faintly disconcerting, the impression is not unpleasant. Innocence may have been corrupted, but there is still an element of beauty, and in them, Binns sees positivity and a constant evolution; the antithesis of hopelessness.

The marriage of the everyday with the surreal, the precious with the prosaic, is seductive – ‘Chance Encounters’ comprises a cracked iPhone cover, incongruous against gilded twigs, swinging gently from a golden chain, while a plastic head, human hair, copper, vintage pearls and crystal make a discomfiting amalgamation in ‘See Horse’.

‘What is precious?’ Binns asks. ‘Memories are precious. Objects have history, which makes them precious, so it’s a whole new take on what we regard and value. What you gain in life is the love you leave behind. That is truly what is precious.’

Ultimately though, the jewellery is humorous, a sly wink at those who take life too seriously. Binns concurs: ‘There is a sense of irony and humour and a sense of questioning and irreverence, so hopefully that comes across. Most of the artists I admire have that sense of playfulness that portrays a feeling of depth, and also lightness.’

Hiroshi Sugimoto retraces one of the earliest encounters between Japan and the West

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

There’s always been something otherworldly in Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography. Whether it’s the ethereal glow of his empty European theatres, the haunting spirituality suspended in Acts of God (2014), or the serenity of his seascapes – the interplay of shadow and light means much more to the photographer than the juxtaposition of contrasts and colour.

In his latest exhibition, ‘Gates of Paradise’, opening tomorrow at the Japan Society Gallery in New York, the artist addresses the divine directly. Inspired by the four Tenshō embassy boys (the quattro regazzi) who were sent as Catholic converts to Europe to experience Western Christianity first-hand in 1582.

Unidentified artist. A Portuguese Trading Ship Arrives in Japan, Momoyama to Edo period, early 17th-century, by unidentified artist. Courtesy of Feinberg Collection. Photography: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Sugimoto – who himself has travelled through Italy in 2015 to shoot new additions for his Theatres series – visited sites the Japanese missionaries stopped on their journey in the 16th century, including the Duomo in Florence, the Pantheon in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The story retraces the historical and religious links between Japan and the West brought to the mainstream attention by Martin Scorsese’s Silence, taking place after the suppression of Japanese Roman Catholics during the Shimabara Rebellion that would follow a century after the Tenshō teenagers’ mission. This little known period of history sheds new light on the relationship and cultural exchange between Japan and the West.

Gates of Paradise 9 – David, 2016, by Hiroshi Sugimoto, gelatin silver print. © The artist

Sugimoto’s imposing black and white photographs, often shot from below to suggest the smallness of mankind, will be presented alongside Japanese nanban masterpieces from the 16th and 17th century – a style of East-West hybrid art, produced in Japan following exposure to traders and missionaries from Europe, in particular from Portugal. Other works date back as far as the 13th century.

Sugimoto has also redesigned the garden at the Japanese Society, with large bonsai and ceramic tiles imported from Kyoto; between 3-5 November, he will be staging his own Noh play in the auditorium.

Future forward: Didier Courbot on how Rei Kawakubo created furniture ahead of its time

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Upon arriving at the Paris gallery, A1043, it becomes clear in an instant that the chairs running the length of the space seem less than hospitable. One seat consists of fence-like wire; another offers a triangular seat with two chains slung as meagre back support. The most extreme of the lot boasts a coiled steel base and upright rod, which give the impression of a Bauhaus prototype gone awry. But the fact that they appear so unwelcoming contributes to the intrigue stirred up by knowing who designed them: none other than Rei Kawakubo, the elusive visionary behind Comme des Garçons.

Gallery owners Didier Jean Anicet Courbot and partner Stéphanie Laurent Courbot have spent the better part of three years collecting furniture that Kawakubo designed between 1983-93. When the couple, who opened their space in 2016, began developing an interest in this niche category from the cult fashion brand, they soon realised how obscure the creations had become. Only after amassing 15 original pieces from across Europe, the US and Japan did they feel ready to mount a show, which furthers their mandate of pursuing a conceptual approach to contemporary design.

‘This is furniture that was designed around the idea of transit,’ said Didier Courbot during a walkthrough. ‘[Kawakubo] thought of it as temporary furniture and I love that idea – that you might sit, but only for five minutes. There’s this idea of movement.’ Accordingly, they envisaged an ultra-minimalist staging with neon tubes installed vertically at various intervals to create a dynamic atmosphere, as though speeding through a highway tunnel.

‘Chaise n°1’, 1983

Within the more spacious lower level can be found the rarest piece among the grouping: a sinuous three-part screen in Japanese linden, its central partition over-paneled in aluminium. There’s also Kawakubo’s striking interpretation of a Louis XV-style armchair that is faithful to the ornamented French frame, only reconstructed in Japan and left unvarnished with plated brass panels along the seat. Compared to the other pieces, it veers towards baroque.

The final space features a table with a double-stacked top, plus two sets of chairs with vented backs, all created in 1987. The table, in particular, reveals its previous life, most likely as a work desk; if anything, it signals that the furniture was used, not simply conceived as objets d’art.

Indeed, Didier notes that just as Kawakubo has historically rejected the label of fashion designer, she would similarly eschew any notion that this series, numbered chronologically, represents art. Yet for enthusiasts, their limited function and contemplative forms easily qualify as such. ‘She’s someone who refuses to see herself as an artist; but in reality, she’s an artist,’ he said.

Installation view of Rei Kawakubo’s furniture at A1043. Photography: Yann Bohac. Courtesy of Galerie A1043 and Rei Kawakubo

As store fixtures that were available for purchase, the numbered models – approximately 40 in total – would have supported her aesthetic, whether or not they were intended for wider distribution. Didier suggests they were ‘a total commercial failure’ on account of being ‘too ahead of their time.’

Or else, the lack of comfort proved the deal-breaker. ‘It’s not made to be comfortable, but it’s also not a sculpture,’ explained Stéphanie. ‘It doesn’t have a classic definition; it’s outside the codes.’ Which is what will likely appeal to collectors some 25 years later. As Didier, himself an artist, pointed out, ‘what's interesting is that design can often evolve from people who do not work in design.’

And he’s sure enough of the collection’s resonance today that beyond this show, he imagines re-editing the pieces so that more people can ultimately enjoy them – seated or not.

Big draw: a new British brand is hoping smarter vaping will stub out smoking for good

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Late in 2013, Ian Murison and Kaveh Memari sat down to discuss a shared frustration with the state of e-cigarettes. Murison, an industrial designer with experience in perfume packaging, had been tracking the market for close to a decade, and none of its products had impressed him. For starters, they were all big and bulky, and often looked nothing like the objects they were designed to replace. They came in complicated parts that could be fiddly to put together, especially in the dark. And, invariably, they leaked. The pair knew that e-cigarettes or ‘vapes’ were less detrimental to a user’s health than traditional cigarettes, but poor design was deterring uptake.

They also recognised a huge opportunity in the market. In 2015, the global tobacco industry was worth close to $800bn, but e-cigarette sales, which included not just vapes but medical nicotine replacement therapies, claimed less than three per cent of that figure. In research sessions, Murison and Memari had discovered that many smokers were on the look-out for an alternative to cigarettes – a product that might eventually help them quit smoking altogether – but few had embraced those cumbersome vapes already available to buy. Memari saw ‘a tremendous opportunity to disrupt a very old market’ – the pair just had to produce the right product.

Murison and Memari began to develop an e-cigarette concept of their own. Understanding the importance of what Murison describes as a smoker’s ‘ritual’, they started creating a product that would provide users with a familiar, ‘cigarette-like experience’. That meant designing something that actually resembled a cigarette and its pack. It also meant facilitating an experience that mimicked the act of having one cigarette at a time. Early on in the design process, Murison and Memari identified a problem other manufacturers had overlooked: e-cigarette users often had no idea exactly how much they had smoked. Traditional cigarettes offered smokers a finite experience – when it burnt out, a cigarette was finished – but e-cigarette users could carry on and on. During a research session, one man admitted that he’d once used an e-cigarette non-stop throughout a concert. In an hour and a half, Murison said, ‘he’d most probably inhaled the equivalent of six packs of fags’.

Ian Murison and Kaveh Memari photographed at their HQ in Southwark, London, with some of their vape designs. On the wall, a deconstructed view of the three-part AYR shows the complicated technology involved. Photography: Philippe Fragnière

Four years later, Murison and Memari’s new model e-cigarette is ready to hit the market. Called AYR (pronounced ‘air’), it comes in three parts: a case, a luxurious take on traditional cigarette packaging; a vaporiser, which slots hassle-free into the case and resembles a traditional cigarette; and a capsule, bought separately, that contains a liquid formulation (or e-liquid) to be vaporised and which also slips seamlessly into the case. The whole package is light and easy to use. It’s also heavy on clever technology, although users might not notice it. ‘I like to call this a non-technology technology product,’ Murison said, holding a recent prototype in the air. ‘We didn’t put a big LCD screen on the side and give it lots of bells and whistles. We tried to break it right down to the basic core elements.’

AYR’s cleverness is in its practicality. Memari, an entrepreneur and officially the company’s founder, describes it as ‘the first vaporiser that refills and recharges itself automatically’ – when the vaporizer is placed into its case, it does both, within ten seconds. It might also be the first vaporiser that connects with an app, which allows users to check on remaining battery power and capsule liquid and, when a user opts in, can record usage data. Most importantly, AYR will mimic the act of having one cigarette at a time.

Lights that run the length of the vaporiser will turn off, one by one, as a user inhales. When all of the lights have turned off, a session is finished, and the user will need to slot the vaporiser back into its case for an automatic recharge, reducing the potential for overuse. One capsule provides 100 sessions – and requires none of that tricky refilling.

Based in a former gallery in the Bankside Lofts Development in Southwark, AYR is currently fine-tuning its new e-cigarette. Photography: Philippe Fragnière

Memari hopes AYR’s innovations might actually encourage customers to quit smoking altogether. His father had been a heavy smoker – so, too, had Murison’s – and he sees in AYR an opportunity to help smokers gradually reduce their addiction to nicotine. The company will offer various flavours of e-liquid, from Apple Strudel to Vanilla Sky. (Other flavours in development include Rhubarb Custard and Pistachio Biscotti, and all are made in the UK.) Each flavour will be available in one of four strengths: from Bold, where each capsule contains 18mg of nicotine, all the way down to Nude, which contains no nicotine whatsoever. Over time, a user can reduce the amount of nicotine they inhale while maintaining the ‘ritual’ of smoking, until they are inhaling none at all.

AYR is based in a former gallery in Southwark, London, where a team of 40 work on design, branding and marketing. Murison and his design team have created original pieces of technology for which they now own hundreds of individual patents. That technology, Memari said, will not be limited to use in their luxury vape, but might also be used in a medical context. AYR is already linking with the Royal College of Physicians to share smoking data. Soon it might be used by hospital staff to treat patients suffering with respiratory illness.

‘We’re not just thinking of challenging and possibly disrupting the traditional tobacco industry,’ says Memari, ‘but about our mission of wellness using connected devices in relation to breathing.’ Smiling, he referred to the potential as AYR 2.0, when the company will deliver ‘nicotine, medicines and even better air to customers and patients alike’.

As originally featured in the October 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*223)

Space race: a new tome captures 70 years of Pierre Cardin’s designs

Monday October 16th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Pierre Cardin’s sprawling legacy of innovation might be hard to quantify, but a new tome from Assouline celebrating the 95-year-old designer, endeavours to do just that. Tracing a career that spans 70 years, the book outlines what it is that makes the influential designer’s work so compelling. 

Cardin ‘infused his personality into his business’, Jean-Pascal Hesse writes in the book’s introduction. That infusion formed the DNA of Cardin’s brand: the geometry of his shapes and structures, and the relentless drive to experiment. The book surveys this, along with Cardin’s forward-facing philosophy of business. Consider his creation of what we would now term a lifestyle brand, something that in the 1960s was not de rigueur among France’s couturiers.

Stripe jersey bodysuits with wool strip skirts, Haute Couture A/W 1968

We are taken through the beginnings of Cardin’s influential career, from the Cosmocorps collections that made his name synonymous with the space age, through to furniture design and later experiments with structure, fabric and movement. But it’s the images from the 1960s that are among Cardin’s most loved from the book. 

‘My favourite is obviously the period when I began to be known in my career for my very avant-gardist cuttings,’ he explains ahead of a Pierre Cardin pop-up shop at London’s Maison Assouline, opening today. ‘For example, the Cosmocorps line, which reminds me the conquest of space. I have always been marked by this opening towards space, the conquest of the moon.’

In an industry known for its obsession with newness and modernity, Cardin’s designs – the famous Bubble dress, or his Plexiglas jewellery – linger on in cultural memory as markers of innovation. And looking back, Cardin remembers the earliest days of his brand as being a fruitful, exhilarating time. ‘Undeniably at the beginning when I left Dior, I was motivated by a big ambition. I wanted to introduce my style more than anything.’

This is not the first Pierre Cardin book from Assouline, but as the designer points out, ‘it is a unique experience in the world of fashion to celebrate 70 years of design’, so this lengthy retrospective is merited. In a preface written by Marisa Berenson (granddaughter of Cardin’s former employer Elsa Schiaparelli), Cardin is described as ‘a man of paradoxes and contradictions... a man with no boundaries or limits in himself as in the universe’.

And Cardin’s work does not begin or end with clothing. Industrial design, furniture, interiors and automobiles all benefited from Cardin’s rigorous eye. But fashion is still at the centre of all that he does, even after 70 years. ‘Fashion is still the best way to express creative vision,’ he affirms. ‘I am first and foremost a fashion designer.’ But as Pierre Cardin shows, work across design fields is how he elucidates his vision of the world. ‘Fashion,’ he is quoted as saying, ‘is an X-ray of society.’ If that is indeed the case, then at its bones, Cardin’s society is rigorous, stylish and endlessly modern.

PAD subtly reinvents itself for the London edition

Monday October 16th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Window dressing: Claesson Koivisto Rune draws the world’s best skyscrapers

Monday October 16th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Outsider art: the must-see outdoor installations for 2017

Monday October 16th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Birthday suit: Guggenheim Bilbao is dressed in light to celebrate its 20th anniversary

Monday October 16th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Over the last 20 years, Bilbao has transformed from a rusty-round-the-edges port town to a cosmopolitan service city. Its pre-existing patchwork of 18th century townhouses and severe Francoist facades has been punctuated by contemporary structure upon surprising contemporary structure.

‘There’s two Bilbaos: the one before Guggenheim, and one after,’ says the museum’s director, Juan Ignacio Vidarte ahead of Reflections, a week-long celebration of its 20th birthday.

Indeed, it seems a roster of the world’s most famous architects have spent the last two decades using Bilbao as their playground. Santiago Calatrava’s white, tied arch Zubizuri bridge (1997), is framed by Arata Isozaki’s The Isozaki Atea (2008), comprising two, 83m tall towers that dwarf the smattering of dock buildings that still cling to the edge of the Nervión.

Elsewhere, Sir Norman Foster’s glass-domed Metro entrance ways, (affectionately called ‘Fosteritos’ by locals) brightfully arch out of the pavement. And Phillippe Starck’s Alhóndiga Cultural and Leisure Center (2010) houses a 6000 sq m indoor plaza, peppered by 43 pillars that hold up a glass-bottomed rooftop pool.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KJZotQEJxs&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

Today, Bilbao is a map of contemporary architectural abandon that simply wouldn't have been drawn without Frank Gehry’s cultural calling card 20 years ago. But, as Vidarte is keen to point out, Guggenheim was far from the sole player in this city-wide regeneration. Instead, it was ‘the catalyst for change’ and a ‘beacon’.

Last week, Reflections ignited this great, titanium-coated beacon literally. A 20-minute lightshow, created by 59 Productions (of London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony fame) was projected onto the vast, reflective North-facing wall of the museum each evening.

World-leaders in large scale projection, the artist-led team made use of 3 miles of fibre optic cable, 120 tonnes of equipment, 160,000 watts of speaker power and more than a million lumens of lighting equipment, in a public artwork that spanned a Guggenheim-worthy scale. The thousands of Bilbaínos that gathered to watch the performance paid testiment to the Guggenheim's local popularity. 

At moments, the museum appeared to crumble away into the river, at others, it’s alive with flames. One sequence sees the waves lapping at the hull as the museum is transformed into a giant blue boat; another sees Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider Maman (1999) come alive to spin her web across the facade. The artistry and sheer technological achievement of the production pays homage to Gehry’s masterpiece, and all the others housed inside it, celebrating them as the progressive, city-shaping works that they are.

The House at Beaverbrook

Monday October 16th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

The launch of The House at Beaverbrook marks the latest part of the £90 million redevelopment of the estate formerly known as Cherkley Court. Set over 400 acres within the heart of the Surrey countryside, the 1866 property was the home of legendary press baron Lord Beaverbook and hosted what many would say is quite simply a Who’s Who of 20th-century icons, including Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming, Charlie Chaplin and Elizabeth Taylor.

Designer Susie Atkinson was inspired by the glory days of the 1920s and 30s and brings each of the 18 rooms – some with their own private terraces and all with unintnerrupted views of the countryside – alive with a luxurious aesthetic that is both contemporary and classic featuring antique fabrics, furnishings and lighting alongside modern-day technology requirements such as Apple TV and Bose Bluetooth players.

Downstairs, a bright Gerhardt Richter tapestry complements the splendid sun-flooded lobby, while photographs of famous 20th century visitors along with Beaverbrook’s own possessions dot the library, morning room and cinema where many original features, such as the lustrous curves of the art deco handrails remain.

It is perhaps The Parrot bar that comes closest to the spirit of the 1920s golden age. Here, teal velvet upholstery and dusty pink walls were inspired by the listed mural that hangs behind the eye-catching brass bar. Head barman, Rafael Sanchez concocts cocktails that complement the restaurant’s cuisine including Japanese Blossom with Hakusshu whisky, Chambord, raspberries and rhubarb bitters – the perfect pre-prandial drink before settling down to chef Taiji Maruyama’s contemporary Japanese menu that uses many seasonal ingredients straight from Beaverbrook’s own country garden. Expect a wonderful selection of sashimi and nigiri along with dishes such as the den miso marinated black cod served with yuzu miso & pickled daikon.

Next up will be the opening of the Coach House spa, which will include a deli-style restaurant serving pizza and juices.

Cultural exchange: MoMA goes big in Paris at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Monday October 16th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

‘Being Modern: MoMA in Paris’ is an extraordinary exhibition to the extent that some 200 works have been transplanted from the Museum of Modern Art to the Fondation Louis Vuitton while the New York institution undergoes an expansion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Masterpieces including Hope II (1908), by Klimt; The Studio (1928) by Picasso; de Kooning’s Women I (1952); Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel (1913); and Rothko’s No 10 (1950) arrived to Frank Gehry’s permanently anchored ark in dozens of shipments in accordance with restrictions such as how much value could be loaded onto a plane. The MoMA’s variation of Constantin Brâncuși’s Bird in Space (1923) has landed in Paris for the first time, as has Andy Warhol’s painted Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962).

But this exhibition is also extraordinary for its presentation, which strongly demonstrates what makes the MoMA so unique. Nearly 90 years old, the museum boasts a world-renowned collection of European works – largely accumulated under the aegis of its founding members, its first director Alfred H Barr Jr, and a steady stream of wealthy donors in addition to a diverse inventory of American art that reflects the zeitgeist over time.

L’Atelier, 1927-1928, by Pablo Picasso; and Oiseau dans l’espace, 1928, by Constantin Brâncuși. © Succession Brâncuși (ADAGP) 2017. © Succession Picasso 2017. Photography: Martin Argyroglo. Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton

While the visit may seem chronological, it doesn’t take long to realise that the coexistence of different disciplines makes for an experience that is far more nuanced and unexpected, which is therefore sure to surprise the typical Parisian museumgoer (and by extension, the throngs of tourists). Even those who could map out the MoMA by heart will find themselves freshly engaged.

MoMA director Glenn D Lowry describes the approach – overseen by MoMA chief curator of photography Quentin Bajac – as ‘a chance to scramble what we normally do’. Indeed, visitors entering the exhibition are immediately greeted by Brâncuși’s bird and The Bather (c1885) by Cézanne – one of the museum’s top treasures – but then discover a series by Walker Evans to one side, and objects from the 1934 ‘Machine Art’ show (a self-aligning ball bearing and a flush valve) to the other.

Installation view of ‘Being Modern: MoMA in Paris’ at Foundation Louis Vuitton. Photography: Martin Argyroglo. Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton

‘That first room is like a microcosm of the museum,’ Lowry said, referring also to Hopper’s House by the Railroad (1925), one of the earliest additions to the permanent collection. As another example, Steamboat Willie, the iconic animated Walt Disney film featuring Mickey Mouse, plays on an adjacent wall to Magritte’s The False Mirror (1929) with its eye consumed by a cloud-filled sky. On the main floor, a cluster of works includes Ellsworth Kelly, a fragment of old curtain wall from the United Nations, Carl Andre’s lead tiles, and a maquette of Lever House; altogether, they add up to a remarkably fluid practice of minimalism. Romare Bearden’s Patchwork Quilt (1970) and Kerry James Marshall’s Untitled (Club Scene) (2013) weave a distinctly African-American experience into the fabric of the show, just as the Rainbow Flag, conceived by Gilbert Baker in 1978, sends a strong message about the MoMA’s mandate of inclusiveness – people, yes, but also how it defines art. 

Up near the terrace, a wall in one of the corridors boasts a trifecta of contemporary symbols: the @, the familiar red Google Maps pin, and The Power Symbol, which have become so ubiquitous in our daily lives that we rarely pause to consider their efficient, universal design. Arguably the most idiosyncratic juxtaposition consists of Shigetaka Kurita’s original emoji characters for NTT DOCOMO devices alongside a complete reconstruction of Lele Saveri’s The Newstand – transit system subway tiles, et al – plus Rirkrit Tiravanija’s newspaper collage that reads ‘The Days of this Society is Number,’ which draws from leftist French philosopher Guy Debord. Saveri, who flew from New York to acquaint museum assistants with the zines in his pop-up concession, summed up the context best: ‘It’s very strange; it’s not really explainable... I never expected the MoMA to eventually have it in their collection.’

Tokyo emoji, 1998, by Shigetaka Kurita, for NTT DOCOMO

For every gallery that overstimulates – Joseph Beuys near Yayoi Kusama near Bruce Nauman near Robert Smithson (incidentally, his drawing is called The Museum of the Void) – there are smaller galleries filled with a single work, such as Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1970-88), and this is where the show responds directly to the Fondation’s architecture. ‘Each of those rooms becomes a mini-chapel, and those become the counterpoints,’ Lowry pointed out. The Forty Part Motet, an audio installation by Janet Cardiff that produces an ethereal choir from as many individual, boxy black speakers, quite literally assumes this role; to some visitors, it might prove more transcendent than any of the highly-anticipated paintings.

But since many of those paintings have ties to Paris, and ended up in New York because so many patrons were following the waves of modern art emerging out of both cities, the exhibition feels, at various points, like a mirror being held up from the other side of the Atlantic. Or as Lowry noted, ‘We thought there was a symmetry to that gesture – the idea of a museum grows out of so many ideas here, and in Paris in particular during the 1920s. Ninety years later, one could flip it over and say, “Look what you’ve created, look what you’ve helped bring into being.”’

Big shot: a new book lays bare Guy Bourdin’s early years

Sunday October 15th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

A new book of images by the late Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) presents the French photographer provocateur as he’s never been seen before. Untouched, published by Steidl, brings together early black and white photographs taken between 1950 and 1955.

The photographs were conceived for an unrealised exhibition series, and were taken before he embarked on the three-decade long relationship with Vogue Paris that he is best known for – and that would transform the language of fashion photography in the 20th century.

The cover of Untouched, published by SteidlDangin

‘Untouched for over 50 years, these were rare, intimate, personal, and authentic reflections of Guy Bourdin’s broad visual interests before he started his commercial career as a photographer,’ explains Shelly Verthime, the book’s editor and exhibition curator. Verthime discovered a yellow Kodak box (now the book’s cover) containing the series of negatives – complete with cropping instructions and contact prints – buried in the artist’s archive.

Bourdin’s first encounter with the camera was in Senegal in the late 1940s, where he had been sent to work as aerial photographer in the Air Force in Dakar. When he returned to Paris, he obsessively sought out surrealist master Man Ray, who eventually took him on as his protégé.

Untitled, 1950-1955, by Guy Bourdin. © The Guy Bourdin Estate. Courtesy of Art + Commerce

These vintage prints bear the influences of both Man Ray and of Bourdin’s own attractions and observations of Parisian life: his proclivity for the sinister and the erotic in the everyday are clear in images of a female muse against a brooding landscape, or in the macabre face of a fairground ride. Another photograph shows his interest in shooting from experimental angles, and suggests an emerging foot fetish – a recognisable trope in his later work.

The book, released on 14 October, to coincide with an exhibition at Galleria Carla Sozzani in Milan, is the first in a series of eight volumes that will comprehensively survey Bourdin’s oeuvre, in chronological order.

Sans Pere

Sunday October 15th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Billed, without any sense of the hyperbole, as a lifestyle house, Sans Pere may well be the ultimate expression of the sharing economy. Multitasking is the order of the day here, as London-based Atelier Baulier studio harnesses cool grey stone, polished concrete and clerestoried windows to skilfully divide the lofty open-plan space in London’s Shoreditch neighbourhood into a series of monochromatic room-sets modelled on a kitchen, sitting room and study.

Within these broad physical touchstones, Baulier has inserted a patisserie, homeware store, specialty coffee bar, architectural studio, and, of all things, an ethical property sales and lettings office. The idea of Sans Pere is to provide a full turn-key service for the intrepid home-buyer: pick a house, brainstorm refurbishment plans, and pick up some European and Japanese homeware tchotchkes, all while sipping a cup of java brewed from origin coffee roasters in Cornwall and nibbling on patisserie chef and Alain Ducasse alum Jordan Duclaut’s pastries.

Ian Schrager lifts the curtain on the bacchanal Studio 54 years

Sunday October 15th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Studio 54 started and ended with a bang. The legendary nightclub fired onto New York’s burgeoning club scene in 1974, raged for seven years, before plunging into scandal with the rising dawn of the 1980s.

Its unlikely founders, then-junior lawyer Ian Schrager and his client Steve Rubell, who owned a small chain of steak restaurants, have become just as talked about as Studio 54 itself. Though Rubell passed away in 1985, Schrager has gone on to have unprecedented success.

The Steve Jobs of the hotelier world, Schrager founded the ‘boutique hotel’ category of luxury accomodation in the 90s, and has spearheaded the concept ever since. Most recently, Schrager opened the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Public hotel in New York.

The cover of Studio 54, published by Rizzoli

The behind the scenes goings-on of Studio 54, renowned for its writhing dance floor, fabulous guests and legal contretemps, has long been a source of intrigue. Nearly 40 years since its closing, Schrager has finally decided to immortalise its outrageous reign in book form.

‘Only one person can tell this story,’ he writes in the opening of Studio 54, a midnight-black and extravagantly embossed book published by Rizzoli, preparing us for the intimate, highly personal account that follows. Chapter to chapter, readers move to the very front of the golden-roped queue on West 54th Street, getting a rare glimpse behind those notoriously inaccessible black doors.

What follows is a riot of early sketches, plans and pages from Schrager’s scrapbook, anecdotes from its storied wassailers (from Andy Warhol to Debbie Harrie), and never before seen, access-all-areas, letters between Schrager, his lawyers, and the NYPD. Readers are given the VIP treatment (sans ‘alternating shots of Stoli with a hit of coke’ in the basement), served sketches of Paul Marantz’s famous lighting design, (along with a letter from the designer, who goes ‘on the record’ to ‘strongly urge’ Schrager to prohibit the use of the lighting rigs as climbing frames).

Comprehensive history this is not. But how could it be? Few who were there are likely to remember every chronological detail of their Studio 54 exprience. Misty memories are presented as such, with nebulous quotes and jumbles of fragmented photography tumbling from the pages.

Warhol wrote in his 1979 book, Andy Warhol’s Exposures: ‘Studio 54 is a dictatorship at the door, but a democracy on the dance floor.’ This book is that dance floor. Readers who weren’t lucky enough to be there, are made to feel as if they were. As Schrager writes, ‘This is for my family, children, and grandchildren to come... so they will know.’

The best Boston hotels to bed down in for 2017

Sunday October 15th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

A survey of 1960-90s photography reveals omens of America’s current state of discord

Sunday October 15th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

What do William Eggleston, Diane Arbus and Stephen Shore have in common? A flair for recording the most dire political times in America, according to Nottingham Contemporary’s exhibition, ‘States of America’. The exhibition examines a crucial generation of photographers that experimented with ingenious approaches to documentary photography over three decades, from the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 70s to the Reagan Era.

Ginger Shore, Causeway Inn, 1977, by Stephen Shore, from the series Uncommon Places 1977. © The artist. Courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York, Sprüth Magers and Wilson Centre for Photography

Delving into the vast collection of the Wilson Centre for Photography, curators Irene Aristizábal and Abi Spinks have framed the show through the Donald Trump’s dysfunctional presidency, with the 250 photographs by 17 artists preluding America’s current discord. They make a convincing case: images by Milton Rogovin like Lower West Side, Buffalo (1970) display the rapid disintegration of American city centres, while Bruce Davidson’s 1966 portrait of three girls in East Harlem touches on racial and social divisions.

The Wilson Centre, founded in 1988 by James Bond screenwriter Michael G Wilson, is widely known as one of the most exhaustive contemporary photography collections in the world, with a focus on political art. Many of the images in this exhibition reflect modern American today, like William Eggleston’s Las Vegas (yellow shirt guy at pinball machine) 1965-68, and Stephen Shore’s Ginger Shore, Causeway Inn, Tampa, Florida (1997), where a woman stands listless in a swimming pool.

Through these images, Aristizábal and Spinks triumph in exploring the political shifts that happened in those three decades from 1960-1990, and how they continue to have an impact on American life as we know it.

Sophy Dury and Libby Lawrie explore their connection as friends, makers and women

Saturday October 14th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Two women artists who have inspired one another present their work side by side at Gallery 286 this month. Textile artist – and sometime guitarist – Libby Lawrie has been a muse and model to Sophy Dury for more than ten years, visiting her studio once a week. With their concurrent exhibitions: ‘Re-make/Re-model: new & unfinished textiles’ (by Lawrie), and ‘Sculptures’ (by Dury), the connections between their work, as friends, makers, and as women, are revealed.

Dury’s sculptures and reliefs, for example, move from depictions of Libby, her own muse, to other women who have influenced her more broadly, and to the idea of the female muse in general, recreating Federico Fellini’s ‘faces’, referencing photographs the Italian director kept, sent to him by women who wanted to star in his films. Set against textile backgrounds that recall domestic interiors, wallpapers, curtains, carpets or gardens, Dury’s sculptures also touch on the idea that a muse can be at home, as much as on screen, or in a photograph.

From ‘Re-Make / Re-Model: New and Unfinished Textiles’, by Libby Lawrie

Textiles also connect Dury’s three-dimensional works to Lawrie’s. A series of abstract, tribalesque fabric pieces, created using a combination of digital and handwoven techniques – some of which can be worn, and some of which are still in progress – give an insight into the artist’s fluid, improvisational way of working. Perhaps the reason why over the years she has worked on diverse commissions in film and music, producing work with prolific musicians such as David Bowie, Bryan Ferry and Paul McCartney.

Conventionally considered ‘women’s work’, Lawrie’s designs do not address feminine archetypes in the way Dury’s portraits do, but her sensual shapes, curves and patterns, Lawrie explains, are informed in part by the body, as well as architecture and nature, and music. Playing with colour-coding and form, they refuse to settle for being one thing – feminine or masculine, colour or monochrome, contemporary or ancient.

Though abstract next to Dury’s figurative works, there is a shared appreciation of free forms and an exuberant, rebellious aesthetic between the two bodies of work – and a poignant exploration of what it means to create, and to be a woman. 

Charles Renfro on the evolution of gallery design at Frieze Week

Friday October 13th, 2017 11:00:00 PM

The Frieze Academy’s Art & Architecture Conference kicked off outside of the Frieze London tent in the more sedate environment of the Royal Institution, Mayfair. This year’s theme ‘Designing spaces to show, make and live with art’ focused on how architecture has shaped the cultural landscape.

The audience were treated to a line-up of the some of the UK’s most active and influential architects, as well as a flying visit from Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) who stepped onto the red-eye flight from NY, to take the place of Liz Diller. Renfro did not disappoint with his quick fire responses to Ollie Wainwright, The Guardian’s architectural critic, and ability to shake off the standard line of critique – escalating real estate prices – levelled at the High Line in New York. Renfro was always one step ahead – the project had predicted 400,000 visitors but received eight million in its first year, a resounding success story.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design for New York’s High Line changed the perception of urban public space and has been a huge success

Wainwright’s probed into the relationship between the firm’s cultural project, The Shed, and rising housing values – the 10-storey Shed is nested into a 70-storey residential tower in a prime block of NY land, which could be read as a cosy coupling between real estate and art. But Renfro hit back, stating that Alex Poots – former director of Manchester International Festival and now creative director of The Shed – has designated a whole floor of the building to a production workshop, a gesture intended to mitigate the lack of artistic space in the former meatpacking district.

The Shed’s main feature is the Polymer transparent sliding roof canopy, which incidentally uses the same amount of electricity as a Prius engine running for half an hour-the roof when deployed doubles the building’s performance area. This is ‘architecture of the unanticipated,’ explains Renfro. ‘There is no way to anticipate the future of art.’

Renfro started his presentation with images of an earlier DS+R project, Mural, 2014, where automated drills systematically bore into four interior walls at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The walls eventually collapse – a comment on the systems and structures of the institutional gallery space. Now they have the opportunity to design a building which could be a strong contender for pushing the typology of spaces for cultural production.

Sir David Chipperfield – who opened the conference and was recently commissioned by the Royal Academy to design its extensive expansion – reminded the audience of the complexity of competing visions for the gallery, from the curators to those in charge of visitor experience: ‘They are not coherent spaces but nevertheless they have a strong pull for architects.’






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