Art, Collecting, Design

Cool artist…Matthew Cox

29 October 2011

Cool artist…Matthew Cox

There is something creepily beautiful about these works by artist Matthew Cox.  Taking X-rays, Cox works from the inside out rather than the outside in, imagining situations and people around the bones that are illustrated.   The softness  and colour of the craft-based medium, embroidery, contrasts with the flatness and lack of colour of the photographic image. His works rather remind me of artists of the renaissance, where there was a fascination with what lies beneath the skin.

 











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fashion, Hong Kong, Shopping

Cool…La Petite Robe Noire

28 October 2011

Cool…La Petite Robe Noire


AKA the little black dress will take you from work to cocktail to evening with no effort whatsoever.  I always pull out mine on those days were I am feeling a touch flat and need a standby that will make me feel more glamorous, confident and just that little bit more sophisticated.

Didier Ludot, the owner behind the coolest vintage store in the world,  knows the value of the little black dress.  Ludot is the author of a book about the subject and now has designed a range of dresses for the french T-shirt label, Petit Bateau.   Now these are not sexy dresses for the evening,  as the dresses have been designed for mother and daughter, but they have cute touches that put them ahead of the rest.

‘Catherine’ has a Peter Pan collar and a fluted hem, inspired by the dress Catherine Deneuve wore in ‘Belle de Jour’, a dress both innocent and daring.  ‘Audrey’ (guess who inspired this one) has a simple boat neck, and ‘Twiggy’ is a sixties-inspired retro shift with detailed pockets.

The dresses are all made in Petit Bateau’s signature cotton jersey which means that they can be washed normally and worn every day.   Ludot, who established his vintage store in 1974, adores the simplicity of the LBD saying  “It caresses and protects a woman….It makes her feel sure of herself”.  Owning a number of them myself and never going away without one, for me it is an essential part of my wardrobe.

The Didier Ludot range will be available at Petit Bateau internationally from the 5th December, 2011

 











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Design, Interiors, People

Cool…designer, Ilse Crawford

27 October 2011

Cool…designer, Ilse Crawford

Studioilse has just released a new series of furniture pieces for the manufacturer de la espada.  The ‘sidekicks’ series of occasional tables are designed to accommodate our various daily activities, while the ‘companions’ family of furniture consists of a bed and bedside table available in white oiled chestnut with cork bowls which act as storage for small objects. a slim writing desk also accompanies the collection, proportioned to fit within different spaces. The desk also has similar storage containers for wires and plugs with a top that can close to hide papers and laptops.

Ilse Crawford is the designer behind Studioilse.  Her approach to design is to create spaces that have an ‘invisible hand’, suiting the brief that her client provides and that creates a sense of identity.   Her furniture designs are always simple and borrow from past eras.  The bed is a development of a bench design she did a few years ago and is based on Shaker furniture.  The stool is very much derivative of a thirties industrial stool, but reworked into something that seems quite modern.

I have always liked her spare approach.  She uses colour, but in a restrained way: to emphasise shape and proportion as well as to add texture to a space.   Her spaces contain people in way that allows them to engage and becomes a platform for social interaction.

A recent project of hers was the Dinder House which you can see in the fourth and fifth images.  This project was published in the NYT and I have never seen such a contentious and nasty debate as to why the NYT should show a space that was owned by people with privilege.  Though I understand that most people don’t live in spaces like these, magazines show images that people can aspire to and find inspirational.

Though there are things about these interiors that I don’t like, the colours and patterns combine to show in interesting space that is very specific to how the owners live.  In this regard, Crawford has certainly fulfilled her design brief.











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Art, Cool Places, Design, Interiors, Shopping, Sydney

Cool store…Lisa Madigan

26 October 2011

Cool store…Lisa Madigan

The weather was perfect in Berry last week: the sun was shining, the sky was a clear blue, the birds were literally singing. So you can forgive me if I thought I was in a dream.  Driving around with the top down, I suddenly came to a screeching halt.  A vision of white fluttering in the breeze beckoned me into the  new gallery opened  recently by Lisa Madigan. Lisa is talented artist, stylist and designer hailing from the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  She moved down to Berry on the NSW South Coast a few years ago, drawn by the relaxed lifestyle and proximity to the beach and the countryside.

Her creative energies have certainly been flowing, for not only has Lisa opened her store, but she also entered into this year’s Archibald Prize,Australia’s most prestigious prize for portraiture,  as well as putting together an show of her own work at her gallery.

The crisp white backdrop of the gallery creates a relaxing and fresh environment for a carefully curated collection of homewares and decorative items that would certainly add distinction to any interior.

The choice of textures and colours are reflected in Lisa’s paintings.  Her latest work, entitled Sublimation,  explores the possibilities of white and black, colours that are diametrically opposed but together can be harmonious. The works are both organic and ethereal and play with the idea of the transcendence of matter, from earth to dust to air.

Lisa, working in oils, constructs a sense of unity by  using rough textures created by thick impasto of paint and granite dust, adding dimension to the restrained palette which is almost monochromatic, but has variation.  She mixes gloss paint with matte to create unique effects and adds the slightest touches of colour, ochre to deep browns to pale pinks and khakis, to give the paintings a tactile quality.

In addition to her art, Lisa stocks a rug range by Armadillo & Co, a company that prides itself on its use of natural materials and fair trade policies in the production of their rugs.   Ceramics by  Melbourne potter, Shelley Panton, who specializes in stoneware pottery in simple shapes, but with the most amazing glass-like glazes,  are also stocked. These two designers have been chosen by Lisa to showcase their pared back aesthetic, fitting in with the organic feel of the store.

It is that feeling of tactility and simplicity that runs through the space.  These are objects that are easy to live with and pleasant to touch; that makes you feel grounded to nature and the environment that surrounds us. It makes you think of a simpler life, stripped bare of all that is unnecessary, but still full of beauty.  Not everyone is lucky enough to live in such an amazing place as Berry, but it is nice to know that wherever you live, you can take a piece of it home with you.

Lisa has an online store which you can find here.

LISA MADIGAN

79 Albert Street

Berry NSW

www.lisamadigan.com.au

By the way, Lisa will soon stock the LOVE travel guides written by the inspirational and charming Fiona Caulfield, which I wrote about a few weeks ago.   Fiona will be at Lisa Madigan gallery on the 5th November for a book signing and a chat.  If you can get there, DO!











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Art, Cool Places, Design, People

Cool…Zaha Hadid exhibition

25 October 2011

Cool…Zaha Hadid exhibition

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is holding the first retrospective exhibition of small scale designs by Zaha Hadid Architects through to 25th March 2012.  I’ll have to add this onto my travel plans as she is my favourite architect as many readers will know.

Her designs show a very distinctive aesthetic; you could pick one out a mile away.  I love the chair but it doesn’t look very comfy (hard and very cold!).  You can buy it at the coolest boutique in the world, L’Eclaireur in Paris for a cool EUR130000.











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Collecting, Cool Places, Design

Cool…istanbul tiles

24 October 2011

Cool…istanbul tiles

The pattern and design of Isnik tiles was heavily influenced by chinese porcelain after the 15th century.  The blue and white porcelain was highly prized by the newly formed Ottoman empire and they collected it widely.  There is a large collection in the Topkapi palace but unfortunately it was closed so we were unable to view it.

After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Sultan Suleyman began a huge building programme.  The Blue Mosque alone used 20000 tiles. The earliest Isnik designs concentrated on using blue and white but around the 18th century, polychrome tiles became more common.

The foliate patterns of these tiles are magnificently detailed and drawn.   I was particularly struck by the patterns in the Harem of the Topkapi Palace which were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.   I’m definitely using the blues and turquoise colours in my new interior collections.











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Cool Places, People

Istanbul streets

23 October 2011

Istanbul streets

This is my street photography effort from my recent trip to Istanbul.  I really need to become braver and ask people permission to shoot them, but am still too shy.   Istanbul is a lovely city to shoot, mostly because it is full of cobblestone streets (plenty of fodder for style photographers such as the sartorialist) and lots of gritty surroundings, not to mention the ubiquitous ancient monument at the back of every image.  You couldn’t get away from it if you tried.

I especially like the seventh image of the refugee/beggar from Turkmenistan who struck up a conversation with my husband, who politely listens, but stops talking once I start taking photos- a guaranteed conversation killer, I highly recommend it.











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