Monday, July 27, 2009

A day with Tobi Fairley

My dear friend Ivan Meade has created a special occasion today generously inviting a small group of local designers to welcome the talented Interior designer and blogger Tobi Fairley on her first visit to Vancouver.
A wonderful day of sunshine, a delicious brunch in the luxury "Loden" boutique hotel, a gift for every guest plus a boutonniere to bring home, smart conversation and the opportunity to meet in person so many talented people.
Even if I knew already the work of Tobi Farley, Amie de Toro, Victoria Lambert (who shares with Kelly the blog Design Ties) and Kimberly Williams, it was a great pleasure to be introduced to them.
Echo Eaton, Patricia Gray and Michelle Morelan were already close to my heart.
Unfortunately my pictures did not result in a success, the only one barely acceptable, which does not even start to give justice to the beauty of the two ladies, is the one below the title (Tobi on the left, Echito on the right) but I am sure we'll see more beautiful pictures of the event on other blogs, so please click on each highlighted names to know more about our special day or to appreciate what each of these people create.
I felt so privileged to be invited, thank you dear Ivan for planning this event so carefully in every detail and thanks to beautiful Echito for helping organize it.
Tomorrow...brunch at the Vancouver Art Gallery!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Prada for fashion

Relating to my previous post (see below) Prada for Art Prada is obviously not just a Foundation for contemporary art but it is mostly known as a luxury fashion label.
Above is an image of the original store in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan with a sign saying: "Prada Brothers' luggage". Now a five-month temporary concept store will open in Paris at Place Beauvau. Architect Roberto Baciocchi is recreating part of the original Milanese store, as in the black and white marble floor and in the use of bronzed metal to link the present with the past.



First image by Albarosa Simonetti
Following images from an article by Hilary Alexander

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A timeless house in Tuscany (another Baciocchi's project)

Prada for art

Höller's 'Upside Down Mushroom Room' at the Fondazione Prada in Milan.
Prada is not just fashion but has lately become also a symbol of ambitious contemporary art projects. The following is an excerpt of an article on Miuccia Prada by Alastair Sooke:

"A former mime student and member of the Communist Party, with a PhD in political science, in the Seventies Prada reluctantly took over the family business, founded by her paternal grandfather Mario in 1913 (...). Over the following decades, she turned it from a sleepy store specializing in leather luggage for wealthy Italians into a fashion superpower (...).
Increasingly, however, Prada's interests have broadened away from the confines of fashion design to the subject of our conversation today: her passion for contemporary art. In the early Nineties, Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, a flamboyant Tuscan who is the group's chief executive, began to collect post-war and contemporary art. Today, visitors to their apartment in Milan, the same apartment in which Prada was born in 1949, can see pieces by important artists of the Sixties, including Lucio Fontana and Blinky Palermo (...)
But it is the Prada Foundation, their not-for-profit organization devoted to contemporary art, that has really earned them the respect of the international art world. Established in 1995, the foundation has realized ambitious projects with some of the most exciting names in contemporary art, including several celebrated Brits (Anish Kapoor, Steve McQueen, Marc Quinn, and Sam Taylor-Wood). One of the most popular installations was Höller's Upside Down Mushroom Room, in which gigantic, topsy-turvy toadstools slowly revolved from the ceiling. It was visited by 13,000 people in just a month (...)
"Miuccia's taste in art is more experimental than Patrizio's – which is also her role in Prada," says Germano Celant, the director of the Prada Foundation, which will soon occupy a new home, designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, in a sprawling industrial site in south Milan.
Miuccia has learnt from art that, in order to do new things, you need to go against your confirmed style. She likes people who are questioning (...)"
Below is Rem Koolhaas' project to enlarge the existing structure.

Image by Flickr

Sunday, July 19, 2009

High Tea the Italian way

Summer is here (in this part of the world at least) and we all enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, smelling the roses, walking in parks or on beaches, relaxing when possible, visiting friends and family. It would be lovely to be able to entertain my friends in real life in such a beautiful setting but I am just as happy to only do it virtually tonight!

Glass stand "Odette" by Driade, Baccarat black crystal glasses "Unparfait" designed by Philippe Starck.

Vases "Joker" in faceted porcelain from the "Object" collection of B&B Italia. Rug made of laser cut linoleum, paper lamps "Lamp" by Paola Navone for Gervasoni.
The gold chairs are the famous "Chiavarine" (remember to pronounce any Italian "CH" same as a "K"...) made in Liguria (Genoa region) since the beginning of 1800 and known for their exceptional lightness and strength, characteristics that have made them famous in the world. "A miracle of technique and elegance" was the comment of Antonio Canova, the famous Venetian sculptor (1757-1822) when he first saw one. And indeed they are still produced more than two centuries later with careful choice and treatment of cherry and beech wood.

Table and chairs "New Antiques" designed by Marcel Wanders as a new interpretation of traditional furniture for Cappellini, simple but elegant zinc flowers containers by Ikea.

And finally a spectacular display of the sweetest sweets (on the upper left the masterpiece of "Sicilian cassata" made with a base of sponge cake, filled with a mixture of ricotta, orange blossom water, chocolate, candied peel and enveloped in the most delicate coloured marzipan also called "pasta reale" crowned with delicious candied fruits).

Would you like to join me for tea? Leave the gun, take the cannoli...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Maison Martin Margiela in Milan

In keeping with the philosophy of being creatively happy following a vision instead of taking the regular route Martin Margiela, Belgian fashion designer, has chosen to open another Maison, but in a periferic area of Milan on the 9th floor of a big and anonymous building (of course the store is instead in fashionable via della Spiga).
From the windows you can see the Duomo (cathedral) and the Torre Velasca, but at a distance, like willing to keep some space from monumentality and from the noise of a city.


The Milanese Interior decoration is inspired by the Paris Maison, romantic love for purity of white and an aesthetic of simplicity if not poverty. Maison Margiela fashion shows happen in parking lots, warehouses, subway stations.


" That of Milan is one of the Maison, a place that carries the white following the breath of this city. 300 mq. of showroom sales and 80 mq. for the press, wooden structures similar to those used for the decorations of theaters, covered with translucent corrugated plastic to make high permeability to light. All white: white is the strength of the fragility and the fragility of the passage of time. An expression of harmony, purity and honesty. We have always used white as an expression of our House, our team and our work. White represents for us a strong element. It has never been just white, but all shades of white as possible. "
Martin Margiela years ago has chosen to hide his figure and create instead a collective name that tells a strong individuality, with the creative identity of many: "We are always talking in the plural in order to reflect better the reality of our work together. Although the final result is attributed to the creative vision of a designer and his team, we wanted all team members expressed in a transparent manner. The desire to communicate collectively materializes on the label of our clothes: white with numbers".

In the background an icon of Maison Margiela, a white mannequin.

In April 2009 at Milano International Furniture Fair MMM introduced its concept of Interior architecture through an installation: Mat, Satiné, Brillant and gave lessons in style while talking about design. Furniture and accessories white and simple like:

Table lamps in glass and fabric

Lacquered wooden doll, similar to the Russian Matrioska

Trompe l'oeil wallpaper.

Magic transparent Boule de Neige filled with sparkling glitter.

Ironic disco-ball with silver pailettes.

Tromp l'oeil effect for rugs.

Art and Design: daily objects like stands painted in white which become a sculpture-table.

These objects will be available at the Maison Martin Margiela stores by November 2009. For the collection of furniture we must wait until the end of 2010, but it's worth it. In October 2009 a book by Rizzoli will be published to celebrate the Maison's 20th anniversary.

Believe it or not this post was inspired by Diane Dorrans Saeks new jacket! If you are curious read the section "About me" on her blog.

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"Fuori Salone" Karim Rashid
Oh, Man, it's a Ray" at "I Saloni"
" I Saloni" Recession Style
"I Saloni" directly from Milan
"I Saloni" (The Satellite Salone)
Salone del Mobile 2009, Milano

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Il Circo

Sofa "Cipria" by Fernando and Humberto Campana for Edra and balls "Lido" by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez for Alcantara® Design Museum.

Pouf "Hiroshige" by Anna Gili for Byblos Casa, as the table "Mulier" by Alessandro Mendini

Chair, pouf, pillows from the "Sushi" collection by Edward Van Vliet for Moroso.
Rug "Fleury" by Missoni Home.

Sofa by Ikea, pouf "Red Big Bean Bag" by Richard Woods for Memphis.
Lamp "La La Lamp" by Kundalini

Table "Fronzoni Color" (new coloured version of the historic table designed by Fronzoni in 1964)
 for Cappellini, chair "Grace" available at Mirabili.

Quilts by Twils and chair designed by Fronzoni for Cappellini

Chair "Shift" by Simone Micheli for Adrenalina, bookcase "Target" by Nendo for Arketipo, pouf "Blobina" by Karim Rashid for Meritalia

The artists portrayed are part of the School "Scuola di Cirko Vertigo" in Grugliasco (Torino) which in July is hosting the Festival "Sul Filo del Circo" in its 8th edition. About 100 international artists performing 30 shows.

A Festival of virtuosity.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And the winner is...

As I said at the bottom of my previous post "Designer Drinks"
the lucky winner of Alessi "Mediterraneo" bowl is Kelly from "Design Ties" blog.

Lucky coincidence is that in the week-end edition of West Coast Homes (Vancouver Sun) the above picture had the same bowl on a table.
"The loft in the Terminus reclamation and conversion in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood has been transformed into an adventure in urbanity by Nancy Bendsten of Inform Interiors and the new-home project's interior designer David Nicolay of Evoke International Design."
Needless to say that Inform Interiors is the most refined concept store for contemporary furniture and accessories in Vancouver, with a wide selection of the best Italian design.

Lucky Kelly!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Designer Drinks

Cocktail al Cetriolo
With the help of a juicer mix 1/2 cup tomato juice, 1/4 cup cucumber juice, 1/4 cup carrot juice, Italian parsley.
Serve in a glass like "Diamante" by Driade.

La Menta
Previously infused mint can be served in a glass like "Cilindro" by Ichendorf Milano with ice or with milk, garnished with mint leaves.

Caffè Frappé
2 teaspoons of instant coffee, 1 teaspoon of sugar, ice cubes. In the Shaker "Chiringuito" designed by Ron Arad for Alessi add 15 ml. water, better if at room temperature, coffee and sugar. Shake until water becomes foamy. Pour in a 250 ml glass.
Add ice cubes for a "frappé Nero" or milk for a "frappé Bianco".

Shake al Cocco
1/2 liter milk, 125 ml. coconut milk, 1 coconut.
Grate 1/2 coconut and mix with the two milks. Shake for 1/2 minute and serve with ice cubes in this silverplated tumbler designed by Bellini for Armanicasa.

500 grams plain yogurt, 250 ml. water, 2 teaspoons sugar, cardamom powder.
Mix well yogurt, water and sugar to obtain a liquid drink, add cardamom and serve with ice cubes (mango juice can be added and a dollop of thick cream) or put in the fridge in a jug like "La Tina" by Guzzini until ready to serve.

Acqua allo Zenzero
Thin slices of ginger and water.
Boil the water and pour it over ginger, infuse for 30 minutes in a Thermos like "Impulse" by Ikea.

Ahhhhh!...Stay cool with style!

And the winner of "A gift for you" is...
I am happy to announce that Kelly from the great Design Ties has won the Mediterraneo Alessi bowl generously given to us by All Modern (worth a click to see the fantastic assortment of modern and contemporary design they offer).
I could not believe my eyes when the #1 came up, and # 1 she was (the first to comment).
Congratulations Kelly, it must be your lucky month since you just won also a gorgeous rendering by Michelle Morelan... I would push my luck further if I was you!
To all the others who left a comment, please try again, I will have more giveaways soon.
Thank you all for participating and leaving interesting comments.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No need to spend (RE-THINK)

This is an example of how to transform a room without spending money, but only looking around in your home and exercising some imagination.
I will put the finished project's pictures first and if you have the patience to read the whole post you'll find the "Before" at the bottom.
A bathroom with old but still good looking and functional fixtures and nice tiles on the floor needed to be freshen up and styled with the minimum amount of money.
Walls were repainted in a pale gray, to harmonize with the colour of the floor tiles, the ceiling was repaired, an antique "vanity" was moved from a corridor to the bathroom and instantly created a more appealing look.
Plates were found in the dining room and inexpensive prints were put on the wall.

Dec. 08 Jan. 09 copy 865

All I needed at this point was an accent colour and orange was the right combination with gray and it was also the colour of the ceiling lamp base so I gathered all the orange accessories I could find around the house.
When I do a project I always start with a colour scheme and a basic idea, then I work in a specific area of the room, trying to make it appealing, when that corner is completed I move to another area and so on. I found it easier to work this way instead of dispersing things around. One focal point must be created first and then vignettes all around the room, considering also the function of the different areas in a room, being for sitting, reading, putting on make-up, entertaining and so on.
In this case being a bathroom it needed to be attractive but mostly functional and the vanity serves as a container for soaps, linens, brushes and all the toiletries but it also allows a surface to be used as a decorative focal point. The top being Carrara marble is also a good choice for a bathroom.

Dec. 08 Jan. 09 863

In the old days on top of this furniture there was a basin and a jar for water, when houses did not have water pipes and people were forced to go or to send their maid to a well to collect water for the day, then the decision needed to be made: should we use more water for a bath or should we use water for cooking?
We take water for granted today but it was not so a few decades ago even in our civilized (?!) part of the world and we should all still make an effort in preserving it and teaching the new generation the absolute importance of water on the planet.

Dec. 08 Jan. 09 864

The fabric for the new curtain was a few dollars sample already cut, luckily at a perfect size for this window, all it needed was a fast top and bottom hem. Some of the shells collected in years were added on the ledge to create a nice vignette.
A nicer bathroom created in less than two hours, with a few dollars and lots of imagination.
And here is the ..."Before" and "After"...quite a change I would say.

0001 Dec. 08 Jan. 09 copy 865

Stay tuned for the winner of my Giveaway Alessi "Mediterraneo" red bowl!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A gift for you

I would like to thank you all for being loyal readers and supporters of my blog.

As a special thank you I am going to give away one "Mediterraneo" Red Bowl designed by Emma Silvestris for Alessi (diameter is 11.5").
"An eclectic and versatile jewelry designer by trade, Emma Silvestris combines soft, feminine lines, the precision of geometry and classic elegance, as well as the use of ancient symbols, to create seemingly weightless designs".
This opportunity was given to us by All Modern whose motto is "Experience the best in authentic design".
They have a fantastic selection of modern, contemporary furniture and home accessories from many leading designers and carry the best international brands like Kartell, Vitra, Alessi, Moroso, Knoll, Herman Miller and so many more.

To be able to win you must leave a comment with a valid email address (in case you'll be the lucky winner, selected at random from all comments) telling me:

1) how you would be using the bowl


2) where you would place it.

The contest will be open until Midnight on Thursday, July 9th and it is only open to residents of Canada and the United States but I will eventually have another contest for all my affectionate readers from other countries, so please stay tuned!

Good Luck!

Buona Fortuna!

The winner will be announced on Saturday, July 11th
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