At a friend’s house I fell in love with these magnificent african heads. They are made of clay and covered with thin rows of beads. They look sternly at you but you cannot take them too seriously in their colour block exuberance.
Unexpectadly they come from Marocco. They were found at a market in the beautiful Ouarzazate. I went there almost ten years and spent two days on a terrace basking in the sun like a lazy cat. I bought plenty of ceramics but don’t remember seeing any heads. Clearly time to go back.
Because I am taking a week off to recharge the batteries, I will be reposting some of my favourite blogs of the past months.
We all know succulents have replaced orchids as the “in plant” (can’t call it flower, can you?!) of choice, but have you noticed how much fruit is popping up in flower arrangements? And the queen of the party is of course the glorious pineapple. With its spiky crown and geometric pattern the pineapple is higly decorative and alluring. So it is no surprise that after several decade of disregard the pineapple is enjoying a deserved revival. I have recently seen pineaplles acting as lamps, graving bed posts, on fabrics and as decorative elements in the kitchen.
During the 20th century, the pineapple was a symbol of hospitality. American Sea Captains placed one outside their homes when on returning after a voyage, to welcome visits from friends. That is how the trend of stone pineapples at the entrance of fine properties began. So even without a fancy gate, let’s introduce a bit of pineapple flair!
Do you have any favourite pineapples to share?
Silver shines on tanned skin but gold remains my favourite precious shade, even in summer. We may have seen a lot of copper in the last years but we do not seem to have tired of the warm coloured metal – together with brass, bronze and gold it still feels irresistible. So in the hot Corfiot sun I have put together something old (the apple ice bucket), something new (the round box), something blue (in a ceramic jug). Now if you want to borrow anything just drop by!
I really appreciate Adolf Loos’s as possibly the first modern architect. I share his opinion that simple is beautiful, and can understand why he argued against ornamentation. But lately, I have struggled to reconcile with his Freudian essay “Ornament and Crime”. As I walked through the Baroque palazzi of the Bourbons I marvelled at the quality, variety and abundance of ornamentation, and not once did I feel that a minimalist appartament in a modern building could compete in beauty and elegance. Is ornamentation really so degenarate as Loos claimed? If that is the case allow me to be a criminal!
After one to many infinity pools, it is high time to rethink what a dream plunge should look like. There used to be a time when pools were by default turquoise as people dreamed of exotic destinations and caraibic beaches.
In our more ecological-aware times we have rediscovered natural ponds and woodland lakes. And even fussy swimmers like me dare to dive in darker waters from green banks. Forget the rectangular shape and clean look, modern pools integrate with nature, and are coated in grey cement. Maintenance being no issue, there is nothing more sensous than swimming under bending branches, between sun and shade.
Radiators are a nuisance. In winter you obligingly accept their services and 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!
I am not one to think long and hard about things; I usually just start and figure it out along the way. So when six months ago two friends suggested I start a residency programme at home, I did not waste much time. Hugely exciting, the program Schloss Hollenegg for Design has begun. Last week I had the first in house designer(s) working on a site specific project: Dossofiorito came over from Italy and stayed with us for five days working on a brief and a theme. The skeleton of the idea is already formed, the rest will take shape over the next six months and will be presented in a collective show at the next Designmonat.
The next designers in line for the residency are Dean Brown and mischer’traxler who will be coming in autumn and working on the same theme and brief. A couple more designers are selected for 2016. Lot’s of work ahead so keep following, it is going to be quite a ride!