Monday, February 22, 2010

Calm and order

Calmness is the guideline of this Milanese apartment, where the new floor plan with more open space creates easier family interaction. In the dining area some chairs are wrought iron, painted in white and some are covered with white linen in a butter hue, chandelier is vintage Murano white glass. Even the floor is in a neutral tone: cement quartz throughout the house, cream carpet for the room of the children.

Lots of lights from the wide windows accentuated by the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen area which create more light reflection, a simple comfortable sofa with pillows in the shape of old mattresses, all rigorously white, reflect the simplicity of the whole interior decoration.

The open space layout connects the kitchen, dining area and living, a sense of calm, a serene atmosphere.

In the bathroom an ethnic carved wood mirror is the only touch of subtle color.

The modern bed is covered with a family heirloom bedspread.
Tradition, simplicity, mixing old and new are the secret of this interior design.
A sense of calm, a serene atmosphere.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Casa Italia

During the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver "Casa Italia" will be open to entrepreneurs and to the public to promote Italian business and culture.
Yesterday I visited with my friends Interior designers and bloggers Michelle and Patricia and I was a bit embarrassed since there was no food on sight...while other pavilions during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver have chosen to open pubs and restaurants the Italian pavilion instead decided to have a restaurant operating only for dignitaries, athletes or by invitation. Disappointing not to have food (possibly slow, since the concept of Slow Food was invented in Italy years ago) but luckily the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry has a big collection of contemporary design, the "MFA Design Collection", at Farnesina Palace in Rome (Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry building) that travels to foreign offices to enhance on an international scene the cultural value of Italian design
Casa Italia presents a small part of the "Collezione Farnesina" during the Vancouver Winter Games.
Here are some examples.

Intriguing object, perfect shape, looks like a decorative accessories but instead is a clever set of plates for two people, hand decorated with precious metals. Called appropriately Giulietta e Romeo and produced by Bosa.
"Tatino" is a seat or a footrest made of flexible polyurethane that follows the contour of the body. Produced by Cerruti Baleri.

"Cùcùrùkù" is a Cuckoo clock in a contemporary version by Progetti.

"543 Broadway" stainless steel chairs with seat and backrest in epoxy resin and spring feet. At Casa Italia the colors of course are Green, White, Red, like the Italian flag! See picture at the top. They are produced by Bernini.

"Calla" is a beautiful chair supported by a rotating base. It could be transformed in chaise longue as pictured or it can be an armchair when the two wigs are folded. Produced by Domodinamica.

Today I went back because I was invited for lunch at the Casa Italia restaurant by the Italian Cultural Center.
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A delicious buffet of Italian appetizers

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A round of Parmigiano Reggiano to start...after that I was too busy enjoying the food to take pictures.

A special guest was Jury Chechi, an Italian icon for artistic gymnastics who dominated his specialty, the rings, during the nineties, so he was named "The Lord of the Rings".

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A picture of Chechi from previous Olympics which reminds me of the gorgeous and very appropriate exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery of Leonardo da Vinci drawings of the structures of the body and the movements of musculature, on loan from Queen Elizabeth's collection during the Winter Games.
Another fun Olympic day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Kiss

With this image of romance and passion I wish you all a
"Happy Valentine's day"
"The kiss" (Il Bacio) is an oil on canvas painted by Francesco Hayez in Milan in 1859 and kept in the Milanese Art Gallery of Brera (Pinacoteca di Brera). The whole scene takes place in a medieval setting, but the embrace of the two lovers and the passionate kiss was an entirely new subject for the XIX century and many art critics have seen also an historical significance in the painting relating it to the Italian politic events during that time.
The stunning cold blue of the young lady's dress, made of a shiny heavy silk, rendered to perfection, the warm color of the man clothes and the subtle hues of the architectural details create a very refined palette. The man kissing his lover has his foot on a step, to give more emphasis to the kiss implying perhaps that the man is going to leave her soon and the choice of the artist to hide the face of the young man gives even more importance to the subject.
A great painting of a master that should be seen in real light to appreciate its true beauty.
February 14 is a day to celebrate love but we should remember to show love to our dear ones every day of the year, with a smile, a gentle word of appreciation, a caress, a kiss, because Love is a precious gift that has no cost.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cheer up!

On a cold and rainy winter day nothing can cheer up our homes more than a bit of color. We have until mid-February for planting bulbs, so why not try to create a beautiful floral arrangement, it will give us pleasure with colors and scents.The bulbs do not fear the cold but the transformation of windows, balconies and terraces requires strict rules.

The choice of bulbs:
Under that rustic aspect of fragrant onions, bulbs hide spectacular blooms that occur already in winter. When purchasing the bulbs look for healthy, solid ones with the point perfectly intact and covered with a uniform tunic, without spots and areas soft to the touch. Popular now are the ones flowering low, up to 12" in height, adaptable to any space and creating a more spontaneous look like wild and rustic flowers.

The pot:
In the center of the pot plant bulbs of Cyclamen, blooming continuously from November to April with a bright red-purple, pink or white hue, while on the board better plant bulbs of Snowdrops, early to bloom with cold, with white bell flowers in their heads pointing downwards. Add Crocus buds, bright and cheerful along with the bulbs of Scilla, pink or blue. Other messengers of spring bulbs to plant nearby, waiting to see them blossom in March, are the Narcissus Tete-a-Tete, very minute and of a delicate yellow color and Muscari, with a thick, short stalks of deep blue.



It happens in April:
To complete the composition bury bulbs sprouting in April. A selection of Narcissus and tulip bulbs, yellow, pale red or white, very light and poetic, to which you can add the Hyacinth Carnegie, pure white and fragrant.

I personally love white flowers to the point that in a previous garden I tried to recreate Vita Sackville-West's white garden (I was always fascinated by her writing and her personality) with some success and many failures.

Or choose bright yellow hues which will bring sunshine to any grey day!
It is preferable to choose large pots, plant the bulbs with the tip pointing up and to a depth that is twice their height. Add some fertilizer or manure and water sparingly. When the first buds sprout increase watering. The ideal exposure should be at least partially sunny. In the warm months of May all that will be left will be the bulbs, ready to be replanted in the fall or, even better, to be buried in flower beds or in the countryside for new, spectacular blooms.

The country habit has me by the heart,
For he's bewitched for ever who has seen,
Not with his eyes but with his vision,
Flow down the woods and stipple leaves
with sun.
('Winter' from "The Land" by Vita Sackville-West)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2010 Olympics

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From Torino, Italy, where the Winter games were held in 2006, the Olympic torch is arriving in Vancouver, Canada. Approximately 12,000 people had the opportunity to carry the Torch from ancient Olympia, Greece, towards Vancouver, site of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

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Mountains, ocean, lakes, parks, rivers and beaches – this region has them all. The spectacular setting makes it possible to ski in the morning, sail in the afternoon, biking in between! The Olympic and Paralympic Winter games will be here in a few days and the city is already buzzing with activities, the Cultural Olympiad is on its way since January 22 and it will last to March 21 celebrating the multicultural aspects of the country with great installations, exhibitions, shows, music, dance, art.

Click here to listen to the Torch relay song and admire British Columbia beautiful scenery.

To watch this video click here.

Finally...if you want to become a part of the celebrations you can interact on your computer from far away creating your personal pattern of lights. Click on Vectorial Vancouver and Participate, then watch live the show of lights created by you.
"Vectorial Elevation is an interactive artwork that allows participants to transform the sky over Vancouver, Canada. Using a three-dimensional interface, this web site lets you design huge light sculptures by directing 20 robotic searchlights located around English Bay. A web page is made for each participant with photos of their design from four cameras located around the city".
I invite you try it... so easy and fun! and let me know, friends around the world, if it was you who changed the Vancouver sky tonight.

"With glowing hearts"

Images source

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2010: the secret of turquoise

The first to say that turquoise would be the color of 2010, back in November, was Pantone and precisely  the shade "Turquoise 15-5519".
Motivation? "It carries us in an exciting tropical paradise, while offering a sense of protection and shelter from stress," says Leatrice Eisaman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Combining the serenity of the blue with the energetic aspects of the green, turquoise reminisces of the waters of the sea, renewing our sense of well being".
Ancient and contemporary at the same time the color turquoise, with its positive charge and magic, colors today Valentino's shoes and in the distant past the eyes of Egyptian women.  Moleskine ® also sells its charm: one version of the notebook-icon has a turquoise cover.
Success across the centuries from fashion to interior design to costume.
The secret? Maybe because power has always been attributed to the turquoise stone and its color. Talismans in ancient Egypt where made of carved turquoise in the shape of scarabs, believed to protect and give strength. The stone was considered sacred also by the American Indians, for its power to mediate contact with the supernatural. Precious or frivolous, traditionally turquoise creates serenity, protection from danger and ability to communicate.
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Chair Louis Ghost by Starck for Kartell, two wooden Asian stools, but mostly a fabulous turquoise.

Available in turquoise also a classic-outdoor: The "Re-trouvé 566" designed by Patricia Urquiola for Emu. The chair, characterized by complex pattern of repeated lozenges, when colored in blue immediately takes on an exotic appearance.

Another chair by Urquiola, "Frilly" for Kartell.

Blue, aqua green, turquoise to be matched to the natural tones of cashmere in the new house collection of Loro Piana.

Playing on shades ranging from blue to turquoise is the carpet designed by Ron Arad for Nani Marquina, clearly inspired by the sitting arrangement designed by him for Moroso.

In a bathroom pale turquoise like aqua color is always a winning choice.

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Japanese bowl

"Mademoiselle" by Kartell, a splash of color in a classic interior.

Timeless chairs from Chinoiserie Chic beautiful blog.

Turquoise color is the key factor for this simple arrangement of furniture.

An image from my previous post The art's lady , a fascinating house in Milan where this color is widely used.

And if you like turquoise you will love Erin's "House of Turquoise"
Here are some of my favorite pictures taken from her blog


And finally an unusual combination of turquoise and different shades of blue: the image is presenting an interior by Tobi Fairley, featured on the latest issue of House Beautiful (Tobi has also the honor, well deserved, to be on the March magazine's cover).
Talented and beautiful Tobi was in Vancouver last summer and I wrote a few posts about her visit, see here and here.
Isn't this an amazing dining room and a stunning chandelier?

Back to the color...
Turquoise, in any shade, is such a versatile color that works well with almost every other color, actually at the moment I cannot think of anything clashing with it, if depth and undertones are chosen carefully it is always a good marriage.
Do you have a favorite matching color for turquoise?
Is there any combination of turquoise and another color you don't like?
I would love to hear from you!
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