I love September. I love its golden light that enhances colors and shapes, I love the clear sky and the cooler evenings. I love the sensation of calm and regeneration that I carry after the holiday, the positive attitude and hopeful vibe that my contact with nature has left me with a slower pace after the summer months. I relish the fact that September is the end of the summer in Italy and yet is not quite the start of the cold season unlike many other countries in the Northern hemisphere. I like the nostalgic feeling that is floating on the air and the proximity of another holiday, Christmas.
I love spending time by the sea in September and in the autumn in general: contemplating the immense blue sea when most of the tourists have departed is for me a treat that not many get to revel in.
Of course, it is even better if you can do it in a charming place, with a lot of personality and an attractive views. Hotel La Minervetta in Sorrento is the perfect retreat for my September mood. I love how it has been decorated with marine colours and patterns and a well-balanced combination of local artisan pieces and eclectic art and photography. This explosive and color combination makes the hotel unique and snug.
Stripes, chevron, checks, pois and classic tiles patterns decorate walls, floors, chairs, sun longes and beds; the use of mainly two colours, red and blue, makes the look cohesive.
I love the liquid floor tiles in the living area, it makes the space look like it is floating on water. I love the extensive, worldly collection of objects and furniture, it all combines to create a marine, joyful contest that celebrates the beauty of the Costiera Amalfitana where the Hotel La Minervetta is based.
Photos by Bernard Touillon, courtesy of Hotel La Minervetta
Casa Hoyos, a boutique hotel in San Miguel De Allende, has been owned by the same Hoyos family for 4 generations. The hotel occupies a typical colonial Spanish manor in one of the most historical city in Mexico and it has been designed by AG Studio.
The 16 rooms hotel focus around the courtyard and its archways tiled with the colours of the family shield, black and peach, contrasted by walls tiled in a pungent yellow.
The choice of furniture is original, the colours and shapes of the pieces, many of which were custom designed for this project, are sapiently mixed. The result manages to be innovative and traditional at the same time, preserving the spirit of the place.
I have known Kate Wesson for a few years now. We have spent some lovely weekends in Rome together walking around and eating delicious food. Kate is a keen food explorer, a curious eater and passionate about all things related to food and its presentation . It is not a coincidence that she has had so much success working as a food stylist and food writer, she boasts a long list of brands and agencies that she has collaborated with. I love Kate’s instagram because it shows her passion for beautiful food. She posts images of what she cooks on a daily basis; her Instagram makes you salivate! Her style is honest and attractive, as food should always be.I recently asked Kate a few questions about her work and how to make this lockdown more yummy.
When did you decide to become a food stylist ?
“I made the transition from chef to food stylist fairly early on in my career at the age of 25. Working in the food industry back in the early 2000’s the hours were long poorly paid and tough. I had always enjoyed the visuals of food as much as creating something that tastes amazing. I love the different visual texture and colour combinations you can create and I recognised that the plating of dishes was often where I felt I was able to express myself the most.”
What’s been your most interesting jobs as a food stylist?
“As a very small scale micro influencer I was flown out to the Italian island of Pantelleria to document the food and culture of this beautiful place to help promote the film A Bigger Splash starring Tilde Swinton and Ralf Finns that was set on the island. I had 2 great guides who took me around and we visited the local producers, made fresh ricotta and visited the terraces where the famous pantelleria capers are grown. The island was quiet as we were out of season so we had some restaurants opening especially for us serving some delicious local dish’s cooked only for us. I loved hearing the story of how certain dishes have come about and meeting the producers who have such a passion and finding a way of documenting this through a series of images was a career highlight.”
How do you find cooking these days without being able to pop to the shops whenever you want to get ingredients?
“I’ve always been a creative cook but the current situation has really pushed me creatively to try new combinations out and I am often substituting ingredients with success (but not always!) sometimes I’ve had some real wins. The main ingredient that seems to be difficult/ near impossible to get hold of is wheat flour, it seems the only flour often left on the shelf is buckwheat and I have enjoyed using this although I am missing making pasta as I’ve run out of 00 flour now.
I have never liked food waste and recently I seemed to have stepped this up a gear too and I don’t seem to waste a single scrap any more. All stems, cores and cheese rinds are kept in a big tub in the freezer and when amassed made into stocks perhaps with a chicken carcass or left over bone from the freezer. Left over chicken skin from a Sunday roast is rendered off for its fat and the left over crispy skin is used to top a ramen or crumbled into a salad. Any peelings like potato, carrot or artichoke are crisped in olive oil and salt and eaten as a snack. This morning I found 3 bruised overly soft pears in the fruit bowl normally I would have thrown them out but instead I whizzed them up in my blender with some maple syrup, mixed spice and melted coconut oil and used this mixed to make delicious granola by mixing it with some oats, whole nuts and seeds and some chopped stem ginger. I love this new found thrifty behaviour and it seems to be spreading I hope when this is all over its something we all still manage to keep hold of.
Ive also been foraging outside when I’m out for our daily 1 hour of exercise at the moment I can pick up nettle tops, wild garlic and wisteria.”
Can you recommend interesting places to shop online for interesting table ware?
“As stylists we often go to the London prop houses to source and hire tableware/linens background surfaces and all things food related these places are like an Aldines cave full of treasures. When shopping for home or an extra special piece for a photo shoot :Kana Ana, David Mellor, La Tuile a Loup, Texit Vicens, Volga Linenare a few of my favourite places to source from.”
What’s your favourite cuisine?
“I love to explore many different cuisines, food in the UK is very encompassing and London has some amazing restaurants from all around the globe. I find my taste change all the time, we are loving south American food at the moment ceviche and tacos have been something we have cooked a lot recently. I am also enjoying fermenting vegetables and experimenting with this technique which is handy to keep foods for longer during the lock done days.”
All photographs are taken and styled and all the food prepared by Kate Wesson, as the amazing Japanese Okonomiyaki Pancakes Recipe is that you can find below.
KATE’S LOCK DOWN JAPANESE OKONOMIYAKI PANCAKES RECIPE
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g Finely shredded Chinese cabbage
A handful of finely shredded kale
A handful of shredded left over- chicken, chopped ham or grated cheddar cheese
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
70g finely chopped kimchi or sauerkraut or other fermented vegetable
sunflower/rapeseed or groundnut oil
4 tablespoons of okonomiyaki sauce or make your own by mixing together the following: 2 tbsp. Ketchup ,1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce ,1 tbsp. Honey, 1 tsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp. of mayonnaise, ideally from a squeezy bottle.
Extra optional toppings:
A tbsp. of toasted sesame seeds/ black or white or both
Finely sliced spring onion
1 tbsp. pickled ginger
sprinkle of chopped chilly
1 tbsp. siracha hot sauce
A sprinkle of Bonito flakes
A sprinkle of finely shredded nori seaweed
A handful of chopped herbs such as chives or coriander
Place the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Crack the eggs into the bowl and whisk in with 150ml of water until you have a smooth batter.
Stir in the remaining ingredients, don’t be afraid to substitute with what you have left over as ingredients are very interchangeable but always making sure you include the cabbage.
Heat a tbsp. of oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan over a medium heat; spoon in half the batter to make 2 large pancakes and cook until golden, carefully flipping to cook the reverse side and repeating the process with the remaining batter. Alternatively you can make several smaller ones by spooning in the batter and cooking in batches.
When the pancakes are cooked on both sides, brush the top with a little of the okonomiyaki sauce until lightly glazed. Slide the pancakes onto plates and drizzle with the mayonnaise and a little more of the okonomiyaki sauce, sprinkle over the optional extra toppings and devour!
Traveling with your mind and fantasy is a skill that we have developed over thousands of years but with the level of realism we’re now used to on TV and social media it seems we’re using our imagination less sometimes. The new abstract looks much more real.
Thanks to the technological evolution, we can create worlds that look like or are better than the one we live in, we can make objects with a complex printer and build idyllic spaces sitting at our desk.
This is what Studio Childdid for Plenaire, a dynamic, sustainable British skincare brand. Che Huang and Alexy Kos designed the perfect lockdown escape, a place where most of us would rather be now. Using a 3D program, the prolific duo designed a house by the sea (maybe on an island), flooded by light and air. The rooms remind me of the white-washed Greek houses hugging hills that roll down to azure oceans or the southern Italian houses with sleek rounded edges and circular ceilings surrounded by olive groves. The furniture is spartan but chosen carefully: pieces by Pierre Paulin, Eero Aarnio and Greta von Nessen go together with summer objects like stray hats, shells, fans and amphoras.
Studio Child has nailed it again, I can’t wait to see their next project! In the meanwhile, check out one of their recent cool projects,Humble Pizza in London.
Poor my eyes: most of the time indoor and in front of a screen for hours every day. They fell so dry, I feel so sorry for them that publishing Lover’s Eye collection by ArtefactoMadrid seems to me an original and fun way to apologize.
The Argentinian Santi Carbonari and Franco Donati source antique and vintage porcelain, restore it and “and stamp with (the) new designs through a careful process of high temperature vitrified. They have many collections of plates with different subjects but they are all fun and pop and original.
The decorations of the support of the antique or vintage porcelain complement and create a funky contrast with the fantastic and detailed prints representing tropical worlds, lunar places, collage beings, cartoon heroes and much more.
I wanted to publish at least other twenty plates!
ArtefactoMadrid sells also prints, lights, t-shirts and glass objects.
The level of detail of the antique porcelain together with the quality and complexity of the prints makes these decorative plates pop and captivating.
For more porcelain on +DECO, use the search on the website or click here.
And just like that, traveling has become a distant memory, if not impossible. All of a sudden, borders have been closed and our immediate area where we live has became our whole world. Who knows how long for it will be that we won’t be able to take a plane, a train or a boat on a whim, not for work, pleasure or to explore, no matter how big the urge to escape is, no matter how much we want to visit a loved one.
What I like about blogging is that it allows me to make people travel from their desks to somewhere they might not imagine themselves going to, to inspire curiosity, to show readers new exciting things and places.
Galerie Jag is where curator Jessica Barouch displays a carefully selected collection of objects and furniture by artists from all over the world.
The space is a cosy apartment in the 7th Arrondissement, displaying wonderful attention to detail and “beautify” (a word Jessica uses and that I love) by displaying numerous sculptural pieces that are a part of Galerie Jag’s collection.
Colors and materials play an important role in unifying all the artistic elements: warm white, black backgrounds, wood, earthy and mellow hues.
Like a large part of the world’s population, I am on a lockdown because of the virus Covid-19 and I have been confined to my house for the past three weeks. This period has forced me to review some of my thought processes and points of view enhanced by the constant daily frenzy. This uncertain period has revolutionized the rhythm of our days, leaving a trail of lost appointments and meetings, leaving time for thoughts and reflection.
Outdoor spaces are now desolated and socialising is taking a new direction. On one side, the forced cohabitation has made us rediscover the joy of being together and the art of patience, on the other side, in the majority of the cases, relationships have been forced down the virtual route but maybe more frequent, sweetened by the fear.
We are seeing numerous photographs of the city where I live, Rome, empty and desolate as it has never been before and the ones I’m publishing here have caught my attention due to their impact.
It is a project by m²ft , an architecture studio established by Flavio Martella and Maria Vittoria Tesei based in Madrid and Rome.
They have had this to say::
“Rome. A chaotic, noisy, populated, busy, polluted, lively city. The images of the places and monuments of Rome are impossible to separate from the thousands of people who crowd it: they are the continuous layer that characterizes this city. Or at least the city before the coronavirus.
Today Rome presents itself, like many other cities in the world, in a vest in which it had never been seen. Pure architecture without people; pure form without users; pure urbanization without urban population; pure public space without public. A temporary scenario that has the flavour of the apocalyptic, reminding of dystopian tales and movies that were hoped to remain only in the collective imagination.
We knew in fact that we lived in a fragile reality, always close to collapse, but we didn’t think it could be so weak. But thanks to coronavirus we are entering a new era where all the past choices can be questioned, having tasted, even briefly, what we are facing.This is therefore a project that critically addresses the new urban situations that are emerging from the pandemic. It then displays the toxic atmosphere that is consciously and unconsciously attributed to the public space and to all situations related to it, accentuating the idea of fear that today is associated with it. To do so, we use a graphic style inspired by science fiction, to highlight how, until a few days ago, these situations seemed to have happened only in stories.”
The incredible Yves Saint Laurent Museum (incredible should be inseparable part of the name) is one of those pieces of architecture that just sits perfectly in the location where it was built and looks like it has always been there even if it has a very contemporary feeling.
I have a thing for bricks, especially red bricks. It might be because I grew up in Rome, among the Roman ruins and fascist architecture that used bricks frequently. Recently I developed a soft spot for traditional grey Chinese bricks as well, often used by the beautiful architecture firm Neri & Hu.
The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech was designed by Studio KO on a plot of land close to the Jardin Majorelle; it covers an area of 3,908 square metres and hosts 2 exhibitions, has an auditorium, a library, a coffee shop, a restaurant and a bookshop. It was commissioned by Pierre Bergé, who recently died, in memory of his partner, the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
The architecture perfectly balances volumes and sinuous curves, different materials like the concrete of the reinforced structure, red brick made from industrial clay, the natural terracotta with a base in pre-cast terrazza of the outside facing and golden details.
Studio KO, founded by architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, hasn’t left anything to chance. The interiors are sublime. Bricks are used for patterns on the outdoor shell like wood is used to design patterns in the interiors.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is an example of elegance, a happy combination of forms and colors, the perfect homage to a master of fashion and a genius creative mind. It is no doubt one of my favourite pieces of architecture from last few years.
Since last week things have massively slowed down in Italy and in the rest of Europe. The progressive and relentless spread of the Covid-19 has forced people to stop and reconsider their habits. The Italian government is doing a good job in keeping its citizens informed, not instigating panic and making decisions aimed at limiting the spread of this new and unpredictable disease.
To take our mind off this uncertainty let’s see what our Vito Nesta is doing. Do you remember him? I am sure you do. We have spoken about his designs more than once and a few months ago we published an interview where he explained his recent projects and he answered some questions about his creative process.
Today we are looking at one of his latest projects, the decoration of Boa Boa, an Asian-fusion restaurant in Via Pontonaccio, Milan. Vito created a fun and relaxed interior; he used mainly three colours (rust blue and bottle green), eye-catching wallpapers , lovely lampshades, velvet and a touch of gold to give the restaurant plenty of character.
The wallpapers Casablanca and Samoa are designed by Vito Nesta for Devon&Devon.
We just have to hope that Milan will be back on its feet in no time so that I can go and experience Boa Boa‘s cuisine that I have been told is delicious.
I feel like going to New York and spending there a few weeks if not months. I would like to spend there enough time to really be able to explore the city and slip into its folds.
In the last two years ago, I have read mainly autobiographies and biographies. I find extremely interesting reading about the developments and moods of a person who has created or done something memorable, never mind if he/she is a hotelier or a fashion designer.
The book “Just Kids” by Patty Smith have catapulted me in the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Ninety New York, in the buzzing Chelsea Hotel rooms, in the pre-HIV bars of the big Apple.
Another tassel that has cemented my attraction for a city that encorporates the entire world but still manage to be almost a state in itself.
So, just to put you in the mood, I am going to show you some images of an hotel where it would be nice to stay, the Ace Hotel, a trendy hotel in a 1904 building. Try to believe.