Radiators are a nuisance. In winter you obligingly accept its services anf pretend not to be disturbed by their noises; in summer they are only cumbersome uglyness. With difficulty a new generation of heating systems is emerging but if you live in an old house your best bet are still screens.
And nowhere in the world have I seen a more beautiful screen than the one in this Amalfi house. Designed by Ernestine Virden Cannon (read about her here) it is the perfect model: another successful combination of a classical motif in a modern rendering. Now let me just find an artisan capable of doing the work!
For those of you who might have not yet guessed, my husband and I are on a little Italian holiday to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Today we were at the Reggia of Caserta, less than an hour from Naples. So close in fact, that from the spectactular waterfall you can see both the Vesuvius and Capri.
The vast regal palace was designed for Charles III – before he became King of Spain – and it was to rival Versailles. Being Italy there are less gilded mirrors and more marbles, but the never ending sequence of rooms is just as breathtaking. The paintings on the walls might not be outstanding but the silks surely are; and so is the furniture, the curtains, the floors and the decorations on the ceilings. It is an interior decorators paradise. The richness, harmony and detail make me blush to have ever thought minimalism could be an answer.
It is a well known fact, but it never stops to surprise and amaze me: Italy is full of hidden treasures. Some are near Naples, in the imposing Bourbon Palazzo of Capodimonte. The most unusual of these art works is, perhaps, a majolica room designed for Maria Amalia of Saxony – who unconventionally had herself portraited in gentleman’s gear riding a steed.
The room, made around 1758, substitutes wooden boiseries with porcelain. Over 3000 ceramic pieces with hundred of different figures, cover the walls of the boudoir. Little monkeys, exotic birds, plants and people are all rococo of oriental inspiration: the fashionable chinoiserie of the 18th century. So exceptional was this room that when Maria Amalia left Naples to become Queen of Spain, she had a copy made for her palace at Aranjuez, near Madrid. I wonder if the Spaniards keep their gems as well hidden as the Italians!
I have been looking for taps and shower for our new bathroom. As always, the more choice one has the harder it is to find something you really like. Most taps are pretty similar to each other since chrome is a wise choice and rubber coated holes against calk are a must.
The only shower that really stood out looked like an industrial installation: it was love at first sight. No fancy mechanisms, no absurd shapes, no futuristic look. This is a shower that is going to deliver, I can tell. I was not surprised to find out it was designed by Front. I sure will be singing under the rain!
Shower by Hans Grohe.
Dimore Gallery is no hidden address. Being welcomed by Emiliano Salci himself and shown around by his über competent staff however, is a very special treat. The appartment were Emiliano and partner Britt Moran used to live is now full time showroom, but it has not lost the dimore feeling.
Constantly rearranged, the spaces show old and new skilfully mixed (which is what most people dream of). Their interiors are consistent and yet always fresh and unexpected and on my last visit I was intrigued by the fabrics shown and the new luxurious tables. Everywhere at first the colours appear all wrong, and yet they are instinctively juxtaposed: they vibrate. If there ever was a Muse of colour, she has undeniably kissed Dimore Studio!
At the beginning of the 20th century Design did not yet exist. The discipline was known as applied arts and it was the domain of architects. At that time in Vienna there were a number of heavyweights in the field, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann being perhaps the most important in the generation after Otto Wagner.
The exhibition currently at the MAK in Vienna puts the work of the two architects – in the field of applied arts -to comparison. They are both central figures in the development of the modern movement but what strikes most is how much more conservative they were when designing interiors than when designing buildings. Adolf Loos famously attacked the use of ornamentation and yet, is still himself very far away from the clean minimalistic aesthetic which will characterise the Bauhaus only a few years later.
The one exception and absolute surprise is the bedroom he designed for himself and his wife Lina. The room is white and the bed appears as only gently resting over the opulent white fur rug. The walls are hidden behind white linen curtains as if the architecture were irrelevant and incorporeal. It is a perfect timeless room. If it were not for a certain Playboy-James Bond feel to it. Poor Loos, if only he knew!
I had been warned but still I was not prepared to the incommensurable magnitude of Maison & Objet. The Paris trade fair has it all, from trends to staples, and kitsch to chic. Anything you might need for a house and to decorate it is there: furniture and lighting down to paper cups and ribbons. I bumped into a few familiar faces (in a year of fair hopping you make new friends) and discovered brands that had so far eluded my radar (featuring on the blog in the coming weeks).
One day was in no way sufficient to see all, but once in Paris you must make the most of it. And that means being a flaneur and gourmand! This time I had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, lunch at Georges and dinner at Chardenoux de Prés. All exceptional and trés charmant.