Weekend Adventure

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Since we have moved to the countryside the talk with my children has all been about horses. So when I discovered an old friend of mine rears Irish cobs in Bologna, I packed the three kids in the car and off we went on a weekend adventure.

Apart from beautiful and docile horses with heary legs and long manes we discovered a most special place! Marco and Anna Cristina run Ca’ Bianca dell’Abadessa as a B&B and wedding location, with the same care and flair they give their family. The place is stylish but real, and we could have spent a whole week there. (From Bologna you are in no time in Florence, Venice, Ravenna, Milan, Padua, Ferrara.)

It is not often one stays in a B&B in its own home town; I know the places with a good reputation but have never slept in any of them. Next time though, when someone asks me for an insider tip I know where I will be sending them. Oh! and we will be back when our filly is born in March!

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Bleep Bleeps Parenting

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First time mothers tend to be a little apprehensive. If on top of that, they have been used to well designed objects they might be disappointed and somewhat frustrated with the gadgets on offer for their little ones.

So even if my baby production is definitely over I was rather intrigued by these cute and curious objects. Bleep Bleeps all work through an app, and each has a specific function such as measuring the temperature or sensing noises, movements or location: all to
make parenting easier. But even if you are not into parenting, they are so well designed I am sure one could find other uses for them!

Form and Function of the Clamp

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Some objects are design and some are designed. Some are both and some are of course neither. An object that is designed accomplishes successfully a function without necessarily having any aesthetic merit. A design object is such when great care has been taken in the way it looks and hopefully also in the way it works.

Both design and designed objects can be real money machines. The car clamp for example. It surely works splendidly and having seen first hand how it works (yes I got busted!), I can confirm it is easy to manage and impossible to remove. From a Bauhaus perspective it could also be considered a design object, but frankly, I am so furious to have lost three hours and over 120€ that I am not going to grant it that privilege!

A Glass worth of a Wunderkammer

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Apparently the Vienna Art Fair is out and the cool place where young artists hang out is the Parallel. So I went to check out the scene, searching as usual for cross pollination between art and design. Both are fairly hard to define so the boundary is a matter of personal sensibility.

I was really intrigued by the work of Nicoleta Auersperg who presented five objects that reminded me of alchemists and Renaissance curiosities. Enveloped in polyhedral wooden cases, the beautiful glass cruets are fit for a Wunderkammer. Because blown glass can never be shaped in a perfect geometrical figure, Nicoleta’s research is unrealistic but all the more poignant. Almost like aiming for perfect design.

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Willing and Able: Design in Vienna

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Today I am off to Vienna because right now it is her turn to have a Design Week. There is plenty going on and you can download an efficient app to help you navigate the various presentations, talks, exhibitions and workshops scheduled.

The initiative that struck me the most, and that I really would love to be part of, is the series of workshops organised almost daily by the design studio Practice and Theory under the title Willing & Able. The idea behind it is to pass on the know how of traditional crafts such as candle making, bookbinding, goldsmith. Old craftsmen teach young makers. I love learning new techniques and even if the workshops are booked out you can always turn up to have a peek!

For more information download the app Vienna Design Week.

Missing Post: Requesting Help

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Dear Readers, I need your HELP! Unfortunately one of my old posts was inadvertenrly deleted and (stupid me) I have not written it down anywhere. If you happen to keep my newsletters I would be really grateful if you could forward the one in question to me.

The title was Autoproduction and Mari’s chair and it was originally published between the 21st and 25th of July. Currently there is only a picture online. I would be forever grateful to who will help me out! A HUGE THANK YOU!

Wrap with a Furoshiki

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The Japanese love wrapping just as much as folding. Furoshiki are traditional wrapping cloths that were used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. Clearly with all the (plastic) bags around they are in decline, except that being a highly ecological way of carrying things, the Japanese Environment Ministry has been organizing several campaigns to promote the use of Furoshiki.

Last week in London there was a whole exhibition of beautiful Furoshiki with contemporary graphic prints. It is actually quite easy to fold a cloth into a bag and especially in summer, it is the easiest way to have colourful bags to match all outfits!