Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Paris: Capitale de la Creation

Paris: Capitale de la Creation.  Twice a year, group trade shows are held in Paris which specialize in  fashion, accessories, gifts, design and the home sector.  These events, combined with the city’s historical and cultural appeal, contribute to making Paris a major attraction and the leading international venue for creativity in its broadest sense.
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Paris: interior decoration - Masion Darre

Paris: Interior decoration – Maison Darre.  Interior Designer and eccentric, Vincent Darre is photographed with his mother, Claude in his eclectic gallery, Maison Darre on the fabulously trendy rue Mont-Thabor. The Masion Darre is conceived as a secret apartment where the curious visitor discovers a design enamored by new and surreal personal references.

Tea for four.    A refined special mix of Bengali tea is served on a wafer thin Napoleon III porcelain tea set.  In the background the hand-painted Buffet Chest, which comes in a limited edition of twenty-five pieces, depicts animal skeletons. Skeletons are a recurring theme in Vincent’s pieces.

A detail.  The amusing petit-point, Diabolique cushion, comes in a limited edition of fifty pieces.
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Paris: the Art - Christian Boltanski

Grand Palais: the Art. Monumenta 2010 – Christian Boltanski’s Personnes. Monumenta is an outstanding, ambitious artistic encounter. Each year a leading international contemporary artist is invited to create an exceptional new work of the gigantic nave of the Grand Palais. This year French artist, Christian Boltanski creates a rich, intense commemorative space, in sound and vision. Personnes (literally both "people" and "nobodies"), until 21 February, 2010, is the evocative title of this social, religious and humanistic exploration of life, memory and the irreducible individuality of each and every human existence – together with the presence of death, the dehumanization of the body, chance and destiny.

A detail.  Conceived as a work in sound and vision, Personnes takes up a new theme in Boltanski's work, building on his earlier explorations of the limits of human existence and the vital dimension of memory: the question of fate, and the ineluctability of death. Personnes transforms the entire nave of the Grand Palais through the creation of a coherent, intensely moving installation conceived as a gigantic animated tableau. Personnes is a one-off, ephemeral work. In accordance with the artist's wishes, the components of the piece will all be recycled at the end of the exhibition.
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Paris: the food - Ferdi

Paris: the food – Ferdi. On the trendy Rue Mont-Thabor is the fashionable restaurant Ferdi.   Ferdi takes its name from the owners, Alicia and Jacques Fontanier’s son, Ferdinand, because “He is our best creation”.   The menu which is an eclectic mix of Mexican, Spanish and American food is especially famous for its cheeseburgers, made with top cut sirloin steak and Cheshire cheese and is a favorite with Penelope Cruz.
Note:  The décor consists of Ferdinand’s old toy collections and photos.The bar counter holds a colorful vintage tin car collection.
Ferdi: 32 Rue Mont-Thabor – 75001 – tel: +33 01 42608252

The Food.  Besides the famous and delicious cheeseburgers, this baked potato was delicious.  The flesh of the cooked baked potato had been scooped out and mashed, then ham was incorporated and toped with cheese and grilled, it was served with crème fraiche and chives.
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Paris: Maison et Objet - John Derian

Seen at Maison et Objet – John Derian.  The very talented American designer, John Derian was at Maison et Objet with his hand-made decoupage glassware. Scouting flea markets and antique shops, John finds antique books, documents, old maps and etchings that with his creativity and flare become unusual, colorful and charming collages which he transforms onto the back of glassware thereby creating the most beautiful paperweights, trays, dishes and other tabletop items.  A visit to his East Village stores in New York is such a special and magical experience, that it should be on every creative persons To Do list.
Note:  The Faience plates from the Lorraine region of France in the background. “These images come from a book of prints from the 1800’s of 1600’s designs.  I love the depth and they are great to collect in this decoupage form.  It would be really fun to mix the plates for a table setting, it’s kind of a funny and modern take on old plates.” John explains.

The multi-piece wall hangings.   The Game Birds twelve panel multi-piece wall hanging is ideal for decorating a wall, “The wall hangings have a good scale, and they are also reflective and illuminating.” John said.
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Monday, February 08, 2010

Paris: Maison et Objet - Design et Nature

Seen at Maison et Objet – Design et Nature. Design et Nature’s Anne Orlowska is photographed with a stuffed lion at her amazing stand of stuffed animals at Maison et Objet. “Taxidermy has become very fashionable recently,” she says, “because people are finally coming round to see that it is as much about life and creation as it is about death.  We only use animals that were born in captivity and have died naturally, and I like to think that we are giving the animal a second life.”

The “naturalized” or stuffed animals. A fascinating view of the Design et Nature stand, which was, as you can imagine a showstopper.

A detail.  Owls, birds, parrots are just a few of the animals you can find at Design et Nature for sale or to rent for photographic shoots or displays. Pin It

Paris: Maison et Objet - Missoni Home

Seen at Maison et Objet – Missoni Home.  On the Missoni Home stand, its designer, Rosita Missoni receives the press. “To me,” Rosita explains, “the home range is not just a license but the Missoni style for the home, which has its roots in the Missoni tradition.  I’m still exactly the same Rosita who has simply shifted her love of fashion to focus on design and wants to imbue the home with the same values.   Now, more than ever, I cherish the emotions that spring from un-spoilt surroundings.  Spontaneity and nature give me great inspiration and should be protected.  The use of natural materials for even the most sophisticated weaves intrigues me.  My ‘Home’ is dominated by the most basic fiber, cotton.  Linen, too, is a constant presence."

The patterns # 1.  The essence of the garden is seen in flowers throughout the home.  Bouquets in a variegated confusion of daisies, freesias, anemones and forget-me-nots decorate chairs, beds and drapes.

The patterns # 2. Fabulous blooms intertwined or set between stripes and geometric motifs have a hypnotic allure and mood variations are defined by light and color mix.
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Paris: Concept Store - Merci

Paris: concept store – Merci.   In the Marais, on the busy Boulevard Beaumarchais is the new concept store Merci designed by Paola Navone.  The name Merci, as you well know, thank-you, takes it name from the new foundation created by former owners and founders of the chic children’s clothing line Bonpoint, Marie-France and Bernard Cohen.   The proceeds from sales go to humanitarian organizations helping women and children in Madagascar and India.
Note:  A Fiat cinquecento car sits in the courtyard; its vanity plate is Merci.

The big room. On the wall in the big entrance room, which is situated around a courtyard, is an exhibition of photographs by Serge Anton.  Six gigantic portraits of Berbers are arranged on the wall, the proceeds of these photos will go towards the charity organization, Heart of Gazelles. The store sells an eclectic mix of designer pieces, as well as, clothes, shoes, furniture, household objects and a florist.

The Used-Book Café.  One of the three entrances is straight into the Used-Book Café, which houses thousands of books, all for sale.

Seen in the Used-Book Café. Italian architect and designer, Franco Raggi.

The furniture.  ‘50s chairs are covered in a patchwork of antique ethic fabrics.

The Florist. The third entrance is from the florist on the boulevard. Big bowls of cut flowers arranged by color are theatrically lit.
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Paris: Design - Muriel Grateau

Paris: Design – Muriel Grateau.  Muriel Grateau is chic and elegant, just like her designs.  In her Rive Gauche boutique she leans on a showcase of her jewelry inspired by the architectural facades of Pompei, the gothic and the neo-classical eras.
Note:  the big blackened gold molten onyx ring with brown and pick diamonds she is wearing.

The art of fine dining.    Muriel Grateau is known for her fine tableware. Seen here is her latest line called, Miroir de Sorciere or witch’s eye. The round shapes of the plates are poured and hand-finished in an un-glazed porcelain and create a spectacular mirror effect.  

The household linens.  When you walk into Muriel Grateau’s shop on the Rue de Beaune the first impression is mostly of a black and white gallery. It is only when the drawers are opened that you appreciate her full range of table linens in every tone and shade imaginable.
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Paris: Food – Fouquet’s.  From the famous Fouquet’s Brasserie, on the Champs Elysees, where Parisians and tourist go to see and be seen, the Caesar Salad from the Hors d’Oeuvre is more than a meal unto itself.  This abundant and succulent dish was bang on.  The chicken was cooked to perfection; all the ingredients were fresh and in the right proportions to each other. And the sauce, in the little jug, was divine; I would say it was made with mayonnaise, anchovies and capers.  I rate this 9/10.
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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Paris: Fashion - Khadi and Co Emporium

Paris: Fashion – Khadi and Co Emporium.   In the Marais is a little boutique called Khadi and Co, which specializes in the most beautiful textiles, clothes and home wear designed by Danish designer, Bess Nielsen.   Renowned mostly for it’s range of scarves, which are spun and woven by hand, making them a true textile treat; light, warm, wearable and a treasure to own.  The name Khadi refers to a type of cotton (but can also be silk or wool) that is a traditional Indian cotton, locally harvested and handspun. It appears to have begun in 1918 and served as a symbol during India's struggle for independence, representing village industries and possibilities for the country. Ghandi himself is known for having promoted and worn the Khadi cotton. This has been the inspiration for Bees Nielsen.

A detail.  The Khadi and Co. paper carrier bag, designed by Bess Nielsen is hand-blocked and has cotton white and grey string handles and is absolutely beautiful.
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Paris: the people

Seen on their way to Khadi. In Paris for Maison et Objet, Maria Gabriella Sammartini and concept designer, Francesca Paolucci.  Maria Gabriella has just opened an interior-decorating showroom called Magamaison in Bologna specializing in natural furnishing fabrics from around Europe. With her exuberant personality and creativity she also adapts and updates antique fabrics for contemporary living.    Magamaison is the sole importer of Khadi and Co in Italy.
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Paris: Fashion - Yohji Yamamoto boutique

Paris: Yohji Yamamoto boutique. A detail of the window from the outside of the Yohji Yamamoto flagship store on the Rue Cambon designed by British architect, Sophie Hicks. “The store is a slightly hidden world; the views from the street are filtered with snow white Japanese Shojigami allowing just glimpses of the display of clothes inside. The Shojigami (shoji screen paper), folded into bird-like shapes and suspended in the windows, forms a giant translucent sculpture.” Hicks explains.

The window display.  Inside on the ground floor, a graphic display of clothes from the new Yohji Yamamoto collection, hung on white mannequins, appear to be floating in space in the huge white cube.  Resembling more an art gallery than a boutique, the vastness of the space and the parsimonious display of clothes are so luxurious and esthetically Japanese, right in the heart of Paris, that it is worth a visit.
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Paris: Food - Cafe de Flore

Paris: Food - Café de Flore.   I highly recommend this luscious Tarte Tatin at the legendary Cafe de Flore.  Both the big soft apples chunks and the pastry melted in your mouth and the vanilla ice cream was literally, tops.

Paris: Food - Café de Flore.   Oh no… how can you go so wrong on such a classic? This interpretation of a Caesar Salad just did not work and it didn’t particularly look very appetizing in that ugly square plate.  No way can grissini substitute croutons, and the chicken was replaced by wafer thin slices of turkey, to make things even worst, the bacon was exchanged by coarsely cut slices of ham.  I give it a 4/10.
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Wednesday, February 03, 2010



The Promemoria Cocktail party.   Promemoria’s CEO and designer, Romeo Sozzi peaks out from the gigantic out of scale, “over the top” George cupboard, which is covered in, wait for it .... red velvet and is one of three new creations from the world of fantasy which enters the stage in the world of the Italian luxury furnishing company.

Seen at the Promemoria cocktail party. Editor in chief of Soon magazine, Olivier De Larue Dargere and Pierre Leonforte, director of the Louis Vuitton City Guides.

A detail.  A detail of Olivier De Larue Dargere’s rings.  A big cabochon emerald with diamonds is mounted on white gold and the silver ring is from Martin Margiela’s 2008 collection.


Seen at the Promemoria cocktail party.  Sitting on the Bassano games table is a copy of the beautifully illustrated glossy magazine Soon. The Bassano games table is inlaid with ebony, maple and mahogany.  The tabletop flips over to reveal a backgammon board and all around there are hidden compartments. Like all the Promemoria luxury furnishings it is made in the finest cabinet-making tradition, which spans four generations of the Sozzi family.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Paris: Hotel Le Cristal Champs Elysees

A New Hotel: Le Cristal Champs Elysees.  Just a stone’s throw from one of the most famous streets in the world, the new hotel Le Cristal Champs Elysees is the first hotel venture for  designer, Mattia Bonetti famed for his elegant and colorful designs.  Housed in an Eighteenth-Century building it has twenty-six rooms, which are all individually decorated. The hotel’s trademark is a string of Madagascar crystals, which omit soft sprinklings of gentle light, and are housed on a shelf running the length of the colorful lobby.

The breakfast room.  The hotel serves breakfast only and the breakfast room, which is housed in the basement, is as colorful as the lobby.

The staircase.  Reflected in the mirror of the lamp with crystal flowers designed by Mattia Bonetti in his unmistakable whimsical style is the staircase running up to the twenty-six rooms each individually decorated.
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Paris: Marche aux Puces - Marche vernaison


Marche aux Puces Vernaison – Janine Giovannoni.  At the Marche Vernaison, Janine Giovannoni is a favorite with the press and interior decorators, maybe it’s not only because she is such a lovely person but, also because her beautiful linens are priced very fairly. Here you can find in perfect conditon, antique fabrics, sheets, tablecloths, napkins worthy of the dowries of the 19th Century French bourgeoise, as well as, a few made to measure clothes and suits that might strike Janine’s fantasy.
Marche Vernaison, Puces de Saint-Oeun: aisle 3 and 7 stand 141. Tel +330607421451


A detail.  A pile of beautiful 19th century damask linen napkins with heavy embroidered initials, in perfect condition, sit on the table.
Note: I love the way that all Janine’s napkins are lovingly tied together with natural string.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Paris: Marche aux Puces

Seen at the Marche aux Puces. Scottish interior designer, Stuart Paterson with his broken coated Jack Russell Terrier, Egg.    He was in Paris with clients, visiting Maison et Objet, sourcing furniture for their Jacobean manor house in England.  Describing his style Stuart said “In my interiors I veer towards the austere, the worn-in, the tarnished and the surprising.”

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Paris- Afternoon Tea at the Dali Restaurant of Le Meurice Hotel

Paris: Hotel Meurice – afternoon tea at the Dali.  What a pleasant experience it is to slow down in the afternoon and enjoy a cup of tea in the Dali Restaurant of the Hotel Meurice.  The Dali has recently been restructured by Philippe Starck and boasts a “grotesque” ceiling painting by his daughter Ara.  There you can spot Daliesque chairs with feet in the form of ladies shoes, lamps with drawers, or Le Meurice's recognizable lobster on a telephone. These elements all add to the mystical aura of the place. Every day from 3.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. an abundant afternoon tea, a la Francaise is served.  Delicate wafer thin finger sandwiches on black and white bread are stuffed with smoked salmon, cucumber, cheese and tuna and a wide selection of teas, coffees or hot chocolate are also available.

The Scones.   Traditional warm scones are served with clotted cream and an assortment of jams.

The pastries.  Last but not least, a wide selection of little cakes are served, created by pastry chef, Camille Lesecq, including: mini fruit tarts, macaroons and imaginative pastries.

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Paris: Maison et Objet - Arjumand by Idarica Gazzoni

Seen at Maison et Objet – Arjumand by Idarica Gazzoni. For the second time Idarica Gazzoni presents her fabric and wallpaper Arjumand collection at Maison et Objet.  The name Arjumand comes from the name of the Persian Mogul Princess, much loved and known as The Light Of The Palace. The collection represents the full expression of Idarica’s style, which has always taken inspiration from the Ottoman, Persian and Mogul Empires.

A detail. Swatches of linen voile. “…I am fascinated by this cultural journey as my research is not simply looking at art but is also a glimpse into the social and anthropological of the expression of the times of people in general…”

A Detail. Swatches of linen and cotton fabrics. “…It is very interesting running after decorative elements, as they are the expression of current thinking and of information between Peoples, which you find continually, even if in a different form…”

A detail.   Swatches of silk and wool felt, the wool felt is particularly suitable for upholstery.  “….now I have begun to print on fabrics with large motifs bringing happiness to a room…”
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