The festive season will make nostalgic fools out of most of us, and I reckon even cutting edge minimalists don’t stand a chance in Vienna. And why even resist when the old-world charm is presented with such elegance and proper Austrian poshness? Relax, take it in, and let the smell of fresh coffee, the sound of horses’ hooves on the cobbled streets, the sight of mink coats and hats at every corner — the most stylish of which undoubtedly from White Line Hotels’ Collaborator Mühlbauer Hutmanufaktur — not to mention the Christmas markets and a pre-dinner tipple of Glühwein at the renowned Café Bräunerhof, lull you into submission. Good job there was no snow or we would have become hysterical with pleasure and gratitude.
Copenhagen is a delight to write about and offers so much more than one can possibly cram into on a weekend city break! Also, am I really the only one who can’t seem to get enough of all things Nordic? Fortunately I also have a lovely Danish acquaintance, who as an expat, remains very strongly bound to her Copenhagen roots. Her insider knowledge is overwhelming and as she rattled off a list of cultural and culinary delights for me to consider in that fascinating and very endearing Danish clipped tone of hers, I was lost not only in that I couldn’t keep up taking notes as she spoke, but also for sheer choice. How on earth can you decide between “the most superb gourmet restaurant”, “the amazing Louisiana Museum”, “The Chair“ (Wishbone, Carl Hansen) not to mention “the whole Design legacy “ or “the longest sandy coastline in Europe with the most charming seaside harbor houses” and “the beers, of course…” (Carlsberg and Tubourg)? I know there’s more but I decided to focus on the first item that she mentioned, Noma, as it was delivered with such enthusiasm that I even chose it in favour of The Chair (shhh, don’t tell him indoors). Well I love a good meal and I was instantly captivated by the restaurant’s beautifully simple interiors.
I have been waiting for the perfect moment to write about Ole Lynggaard and finally my patience has paid off, as this month White Line Hotels shines its light on Copenhagen. Maybe, if you’re Danish, or if you shop at Harvey Nichols in London quite a lot, you may already have discovered these lovely pieces of handcrafted jewellery. If you haven’t, then let me enlighten you. First of all we have to rewind back to March of this year when the day job took me on a visit to Baselworld. After dutifully visiting all the relevant watch brands on their mind-bogglingly large and shiny stands, we were staggered not only by the splendour of it all, but also by how the luxury market is so obviously not undergoing any kind of economic crisis whatsoever.
Mention the words “pavillion” and “Barcelona” in the same breath and undoubtedly you’ll think of Mies Van Der Rohe’s magical project erected for the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929 (demolished in 1930 and subsequently rebuilt by these wonderful people between 1983 and 1986). Whilst I couldn’t help but draw a parallel, this wasn’t actually the pavilion I had in mind when writing this post. Being heavily into interiors and always on the lookout for interesting and unique products, a recent visit to Barcelona lead us to the much talked about Roca flagship building on the Carrer de Joan Güell. Distinguished Barcelona architects OAB completed the Roca Barcelona Gallery in 2009, creating a luminous showcase “representing the company’s past, present and future” over 3 floors. To interpret and convey a brand’s values by means of a building, can’t be easy; an architectural challenge that Borja and Lucìa Ferrater of OAB managed to achieve with impressive grace and eloquence, however. For those not familiar with Roca, they are world leaders in bathroom spaces and very relevant in design and architecture terms for the likes of us who are “in the trade”.
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!).
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.
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.
Contributing writer: Stefanie Soar
Photos courtesy Apartamento