Back in its heyday in the 1950s,
was (they tell me) a slice of heaven on earth. Hollywood stars, starlets, millionaires and royals from around the world flocked to this Acapulco Pacific Beach resort and partied like only can. And after the music was over and the body too tired to go on, they went back to their yachts, villas or luxe hotels and plopped down to rest before the next soirée … and many did so on the fabulous Acapulco Chair. Mexico
Cynthia Karalla, a one time collaborator of enfant terrible Andres Serrano. Although her work is deep, dark and usually disturbing, she is a talented artist to be reckoned with. More recently I was in her studio where I uncovered some very beautiful atypical photographs of seashells, and as it’s summer, this is the perfect time to enjoy and bring these to you.
Sometimes we don’t want to place art on a wall, but use it on a table, mantelpiece or other flat surface. It’s a great idea for smaller pieces that need their own space to shine. Enter this brilliant table painting easel which I’ve used in the past. It’s made from nickel steel and is (26in. | 66cm.) high with a base (5in. wide x 6in.deep | 13 x 15 cm). It can hold frames up to (21in | 53.5cm.) high. Find it at Mark McDonald in
for US$350.00. Hudson, New York
What modernist aficionado doesn’t love Florence Knoll’s three-seater bench of 1954 or George Nelson’s platform bench of 1946? But as a designer sometimes preoccupied with mid-century design, you want something with a little more punch, with a little oomph. In my case, I had to look back to c. 1935-1940 to find this lovely mahogany banquette offered at Sotheby’s
. Isn’t it gorgeous? It can also double as a comfy daybed. I can’t get enough of its shape and clean lines … so simple, elegant and unpretentious. But most of all, I like it because it looks like a gynormous smile! Paris
Image credit: Sotheby’s. The banquette was sold in the 20th Century Decorative Arts sale in
, 25 May 2011, lot 36, estimate €7,000 – 10,000 | sold €8,750.00 Paris
What is healthier than a plate of apples, grapes, raspberries, apricots, gooseberries, walnuts and plums? A scrumptious vegetarian elixir of carbs, antioxidants, fiber, proteins and fats. It’s unlikely the Flemish artist Osias Beert had this in mind when he painted this abundant Still Life in the early decades of the 1600s … almost 400 years ago! More likely he selected his props based on their novelty and appeal for a greater chance of selling his painting to the rich merchants of Flanders and
Isn't this a beautiful piece of furniture? I recently was shopping for a mid-century console and found myself rightfully distracted by this lovely piece produced in the studio of American cabinetmaker Matt Soorikian of
. You HAVE to see it in person. The surface is lusciously soft, a testament to the time and dedication each piece gets from Matt. The geometric matrix at the front is perfectly fitted and so it is the sum of all the exquisite details that gives this console its “pop”. Atlanta, Georgia
Having been fortunate to spend many of my teenage summers at or near the ocean, I grew to appreciate sea life and organic forms, so it was a surprise to me when I learned that accomplished American lighting designer David D’Imperio and I shared similar experiences. For years I have been attracted to his delicate, simple and very cool linear suspension lighting line and now I know why!
One medium in decorative arts so often overlooked by lovers of art + design, including myself, is glass. The material itself has been around for eons, but yet for whatever reason, it just doesn't get the attention it merits. Now is the time to start changing this.
There have been those times in my life when the thought of running off to the Kho Phi Phi Islands in the middle of the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand (which by the way, IS Paradise on earth) has crossed my mind … no mobile phones, no computers, no Facebook or Twitter … nobody knows who you are. But there’s a reason I've stayed put: the notion of being an anonymous face, while deliciously tempting, is also deeply depressing.
The 1930s were certainly awhile back, yet some of us either know of somebody that lived during that time or have seen period photos and therefore know that life was pretty much as it is today… no powder wigs or painted moles! So it was a real surprise to discover an interesting fact about transatlantic travel in the third decade of the 20th century.
I ALWAYS advise buying art or design based on whether it triggers something emotional in the viewer. Although “keeping up with the Joneses” seems increasingly super cool in the art world these days, buying art primarily as an investment is risky (no one has a crystal ball to predict the future) and quite frankly, naive. There are plenty of people who bought 18th century French painting by blue chip artists like Fragonard or Boucher for exorbitant prices 15 years ago that can’t even give them away these days. “Buy with your eyes (and heart) and not your ears” is something I repeatedly heard the famed American dealer Richard Feigen say and boy is he right!
Recently I had the opportunity to personally view the exclusive modernist furniture line of
designer Jordi Milà whose philosophy on furniture and furnishings, I share. He says that “we use furniture to fill an empty space to make our own. We become familiar with it, as it helps define the way we inhabit our spaces and relate to others and in the process it becomes an important part of our lives, a reflection of who we are”. Barcelona
and I, won't be surprised if it's a dream ... c'mon sing with me!!! ... sorry but I could not resist.
One can easily be “at the top of the world” when you see this fun, ingenious and quite wonderful table lamp from
. The DCS Corporation brings us Cloud from the new Abovo line of fixtures. I think it is equally appropriate in a playroom, quirky space or minimalist interior and will most certainly be a conversation piece. Doesn’t it make you happy? The fiber cloud is intricately made (and very realistic), like only the Japanese can do it. Japan
Following the successful shows by Jeff Koons, Xavier Veilhan and Takashi Murakami at the Château of Versailles, this summer’s exhibition belongs to French artist Bernar Venet who from 1 June to 1 November will be showcasing his enormous sculptures in the Palace gardens and the neighboring Marly Estate.
There are several design colleagues I admire, particularly those who lend an “it” factor to the spaces they create. One such designer is Patrik Lönn whose stately elegant space above is simply inspiring. The balance of the room is achieved in pairing the Scandinavian brass chandeliers and early 19th century center tables with the wall openings to the Dining and Living Rooms and making it all modern and sophisticated by placing a 20th century ebony commode with nickel accents under a mirror acting as a pier between the openings. Très formidable. It is fresh, livable, elegant, unpretentious and vey, very now. Bravo Patrik!
Image Credit: ©Patrik Lönn
Sometimes the best things come in small packages … haven’t we all heard that? A good example is this sublime 3.3/4 in. | 9.5 cm. x 4.1/2 in. | 11.5 cm. porcelain vase made in 1920 by the very accomplished American ceramist Adelaide Robineau. I can’t get over the intensity of the color and its unusual form.
If we are open and aware, sometime in our lifetime there appears a true contemporary master craftsman and sublime artist who pays so much attention to detail, materials, design and originality that he resembles the best of the best craftsmen from the past. Case in point, M. Hervé van der Straeten who has been producing magnificent sybaritic collector pieces for awhile. In particular I cannot get enough of “Branches”, a bulls-eye mirror designed in 2004. This organic museum piece is approx (55 in. | 140 cm.) high and (53 in. | 135 cm.) wide. Van der Straeten is represented in
by Maison Gerard. New York
In today’s contemporary design world, 2006 (the year the above chairs were introduced at the Salone del Mobile in Milano) is “so yesterday”, yet this wonderful piece seems to defy all odds and still be the talk of the town. The clay chair, designed by Dutch wünderboy Marteen Baas is just that. Hand modeled from industrial clay onto a steel frame and painted in a multitude of colored lacquers, this is literally one of those rare pieces where one can see the “artist’s” hand in the finished product. Far from being delicate, these chairs can take some abuse and live to talk about it. They are sooo cool!
Amina Technologies in
. These very clever Brits have invented a way to install their speakers INSIDE a wall without a hint of the visual sound source … zero visual impact! This is a truly ingenious and revolutionary product and a must for any discerning client that prefers the sight of their Agnes Martin to that of a speaker scarring the wall. Huntingdon, England
Image credit © Agnes Martin Estate, represented by the Pace Gallery, New York.
The answer: Kinectic sculpture (also known as mobiles). I like this art form because it does not take itself seriously even though there is serious thought behind it. And of course the artist that ALWAYS comes to mind is Alexander Calder. But lucky for us, today there is a contemporary artist putting a new twist on these flying dancers on a tight rope. Matthew Roberts of Ekko Mobiles in
is the inspired artist/engineer behind these contemporary creations. His art is hanging at HARPO Studios, featured in the film “Ocean’s Thirteen” and in all sorts of publications and private spaces. Portland, Oregon
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