Archive for October, 2011

Heritage Neatly Boxed: White Line Hotels Welcomes Consolación

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Tucked away in Teruel, bordering Aragón, this observatory-like pad clasps to the bedrock amidst heady scents of thyme, lavender + almond groves. The Spanish terrain hosts a stark sequence of cubist structures which beautifully marry with the monastic 14th century Ermita – a small intense masterpiece at the heart of this decidedly relaxed, creative enclave.

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There is a subtle sweet rawness that caresses the place, with the wooden cubes adopting translucence + solidity, framing the wide vistas beyond – the huge open-ended window of each den reflects those medieval portals of the old church – a connectivity that runs a thread throughout.

There is something to be said for ME time – from your private cube you can dance as naked as a bird, or just sit and gaze a yonder.  Rejoin your fellow housemates taking the garden path past the sunken pool + follow your nose to the open kitchen dining or curl up over a bottle in the whimsical library.

A crafted, regional remit of old style luxury, translated for the nomads of today in a deliciously relaxed tone.

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Are you Frieze-ing?

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You know it, I know it, but still no one says it very often: art fairs are terrible places to see art. The atmosphere is always…oh how best to say it…something like being on one of those black rubber people-mover conveyor belts designed to shuffle gawking masses past valuable items of interest and a pre-designated speed. Sounds fun, right? But, should it even be fun? I mean, art fairs are trade fairs, after all, and their purpose is for doing business. If sometimes that business can be done after hours at a party or bar too, all the better, but business is still the word of the day. And sales.

London’s Frieze Art Fair still hasn’t changed those final keywords of what the event is all about, but it has succeeded in presenting itself as just one part of a larger yearly cultural event through sidelines such as the TV-broadcasted Frieze Film, educational programs aimed at younger children, an off-site music program, and of course the on-site artists commissions and the Emdash Award (previously the Cartier Award). Past their own attempts to increase the scope of Frieze, the city’s galleries and artists don’t pass up the opportunity to make the most of the energy the fair brings in, and Frieze weekend sees some of London’s best exhibitions, and parties. Truth be told, unless you’re an industry professional, you don’t even have to step foot in Regent’s Park to get the most out of what the Frieze Art Fair has to offer.

If the business side of the art game leaves you cold or, shall we say “Frieze-ing”, here’s my top 5 off-site picks for the Frieze Art Fair. And guess what? For the first, you don’t even have to be in London.

LuckyPDF TV Ok, so this one is a half-cheat, because you can also go see the Peckham collective on set at the Frieze Art Fair, but you can also watch them live from your computer screen, anywhere in the world, from now until sunday at 4pm (London time).

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No Neutral Ground at the German Embassy (22 Belgrave Square) is something you might look over at first glance, but is worth the effort for Melanie Manchot’s Perfect Mountain. Here the German-born, London-based photographer has asked tourists atop an alpine glacier to don traditional costume, and pose in front of a backdrop of the mountain they are standing on. The next time a holiday seems surreal, remember Perfect Mountain. This one goes a bit longer — it’s on until October 20th.

Wilhelm Sasnal opens for Frieze weekend at the Whitechapel Gallery. Mixing a bit of art history with a bit of internet found imagery (think Roy Orbison meets Georges Seurat, and then a few more characters), even if the work isn’t so much your thing, the Whitechapel’s always worth checking out.

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Sarah Lucas‘ Artist in Bed at St John Hotel (1 Leicester Square) has the easiest opening hours of anything this weekend: 7am until midnight (i.e., if  you miss this, you’re just lazy). The sculptures are installed in the bar, and there’s a good chance you’ll be somewhere near there at some point, so stop by for a drink and a viddy.

The Evening Before the Morning After: on the subject of bars, did you hear the one about the alcoholic artist? No, me neither… Mario Garcia Torres invited a selection of artists to send him their ideas for cocktails, recipe included, to be mixed at Bistrotheque on the 14th from 8pm. Consider it a homage to Gilbert & George, and critical commentary on the culture and expectation of artists and alcohol, and just a fantastic opportunity to imbibe some of the most creative cocktails you’ve seen.

Where else can you spend the evening before the morning after? White Line Hotels edit The Ampersand Hotel .

Don’t miss it. Go see the bricks.


Intimate, honest and sometimes raw. The images printed in the relatively new bi-annual interiors magazine Apartamento (issue 7 is on sale now) tell stories of real life interiors and to me, are quite reminiscent of Jürgen Teller’s photography (Teller being featured in this very issue is purely coincidental, I’m sure of it!).

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No mis-en-scène, no gloss, no lavish or “casually” arranged minimalistic displays but inspiring interiors from all over the world which in their unique and lived-in state show us that style is at its most natural when it isn’t staged but when it occurs almost haphazardly, from our own particular individuality. Whilst this is not as easy to achieve as you may think, it certainly looks that way on the matte pages of this simplistic publication. Famously described by The New York Times as “the first post-materialistic interiors magazine”, Apartamento shows us that interiors are nothing without the people living inside them.  Strong and fascinating characters such as photographers, authors and other creative eccentrics are the perfect companions in these (their) featured spaces.  A clear emphasis on colour and simple composition, makes for some powerful imagery and brilliant reference material for either domestic dwellers or design lovers. Since its launch in 2009 the Barcelona-based magazine has regularly presented cultural and promotional events in line with its international distribution in cities such as Tokyo, New York, Berlin, London and Milan.

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The concept for October’s event in Barcelona was conceived by Ana Dominquez and Omar Sosa and features a unique and exclusive collection of photographs shot by Nacho Alegre, photographer and founder of the magazine. The Apartamento Bricks Still Life exhibition brings to life a basic object like the builder’s brick and turns it into a surprisingly delicate and evocative sculpture. Don’t miss it. Go see the bricks. Go meet the people and get yourself a copy of Apartamento.

Exhibition runs from 29th September to 21st October 2011 at Otrascosas de Villarosàs, Via Laietana 65, Principal, Barcelona.

While in Barcelona, go see another honest and intimate gem in the city, White Line Hotels edit Hotel Omm. Don’t miss it.

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Contributing writer: Stefanie Soar

Photos courtesy Apartamento

Your Take on Barcelona Fringe Living: THE INSIDER TIPS: Report #1

London…New York…Paris…Vienna…Barcelona…wherever we ask for your tips, you always have a reply. You certainly are a worldly and well-traveled bunch, aren’t you! Here’s the best of Barcelona you may have somehow overlooked, but at least someone else didn’t! Now, just pretend you always knew they were there when guiding friends around town (we won’t tell).

You haven’t heard that you could WIN A WEEKEND IN BARCELONA by giving us your insider tips for the Catalan Capital? Now you have! And now, without further introduction, this week’s TOP (SECRET) PLACES TO GO IN BARCELONA:

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CASA ASIA (Avenue Diagonal) is a foundation that promotes the Asian culture in Spain. If the building isn’t amazing enough, the price of admission (FREE) and the view from the rooftop will really WOW you.

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CACAO SAMPAKA (C/ CONSELL DE CENT, 292) is THE place in Barcelona for the choco-addicted. The best chocolate in town, in Spain, or just possibly ever.

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PIZZA & LOVE (Fonollar, 2) serves up top class pizza in a stylish environment.

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BAR MENDIZABAL (C/ Junta de Comerç, 2) is located just behind Mercado De la Boqueria and is the perfect corner bar with savoury coffee, juices and an extensive list of bocadillos (sandwiches).

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BALUARD BARCELONETA (C/ Baluard, 38-40) says they have a passion for bread, and it’s definitely where to make a bee-line to if you’re craving fresh organic baked goods…and really, doesn’t everyone? EVERYTHING is delicious!

Don’t forget the biggest insider tip of all when traveling to Barcelona: Hotel Omm, as chosen by the crew at White Line Hotels.

Pandemonia – a self-made PR machine

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A plastic, inflatable body. Shiny curves, long bouncy locks, a hint of a waste, and a conspicuous 7feet tall figure. This is how London based artist Pandemonia has marketed and branded herself, as a reflection of today’s consumerist society and unhealthy celebrity obsession.

Pandemonia was conceived in 2008, as an answer to the increasing amount of celebrity filled tabloids, though it wasn’t until 2009 that she  made her first public appearance. Within a short period of time and a few sightings at gallery openings and exhibitions, the self-made, eye-catching  personage began to receive invitations to the front rows of all the main London fashion shows.

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Any questions about the person behind the mask are unimportant and  unnecessary. Everything there is to know is visibly displayed and appropriately labelled on the outside. Pandemonia has thus turned into the ultimate celebrity, unaffected by the imperfections of ageing celebrities and with complete control over the manufactured product that she intended to be.

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Her birth could be read as a criticism, or perhaps ode, to today’s superficial society. Whereas once fame was the well-deserved result of a series of successful achievements, it is now clear that nowadays a glossy reconstruction of the unanimously approved, stick-long female figure is enough to get you noticed and praised.

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Words are  unable to appropriately describe Pandemonia’s accurate reflection of today’s values. The rigid moral grounding that once formed the basis of our civilisation have been inflated and air brushed through Pandemonia’s latex outfits.

Are you headed to London for The Frieze Art Fair? Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Pandemonia,  White Line Hotels’ London edit, The Ampersand Hotel.


Contributing writer: Fier Management

Photos: Fier Management


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