Friday, November 26, 2010


MILANO: Armani Caffe.  This club sandwich is un-rate able, even the soggy semi-toasted bread is un-rate able which is basically the only ingredient!  Shall I just be very nice to Mr. Armani and say no more?
Rated: 2/10 Pin It

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FOLLINA: New Store – Magamaison

FOLLINA: New Store – Magamaison.  Follina is tucked in the Prosecco hills north west of Venice.  The charming small town boasts a fourteenth century Cistercian Abbey and an equally charming Relais & Chateaux Hotel, Villa Abbazia.  Recently, Maria Gabriella Sorbara Sammartini has opened her second Magamaison store (the first being in Bologna). The interior-decorating showroom, store and laboratory sells and custom makes things to order for the home. Maria Gabriella grew up with a needlepoint needle in one hand and a wooden spoon in the other, her late mother, a lady of great taste, Maria Luisa Munn not only enjoyed cooking and entertaining but was also an avid fan of creating petite point tapestries, so much so, that she was the first person in Italy to commercialize the craft by importing the famous Elizabeth Bradley kits from Wales and then by creating canvases to order for her customers from their own specifications and photographs, a practice her daughter still carries on today.  The exuberant Maria Gabriella grew up in this environment and is also very knowledgeable about fabrics and quality. It is her aim to provide her customers not only with something special and of excellent quality, which she has sourced from around the globe, but also to offer a sustainable price tag.

Stripes and Needlepoints. Magamaison imports the most beautiful striped fabrics from France “I love stripes because the pairing of the colors, side by side, is the best expression colors can have.”  Maria Gabriella explains.  Above the nineteenth century cupboard are a selection of needlepoint cushions.  Magamaison can custom make canvases to be embroidered from customer’s photographs. Already embroidered cushions and carpets are also available.

Shawls and cushions. A nineteenth century family bookcase serves as shelves for scarves and shawls.  In the foreground the multipurpose pear wood container was hand turned by Vettor Sammartini and the tweed cushion, below is made with one of Maria Gabriella’s favorite natural materials, others being linen, felt, cotton, fine wools and wood.

Scarves.   These exquisite scarves are designed by Danish designer, Bess Neilsen for Khadi and Co.  The scarves are spun and woven by hand in India, making them a true textile treat; light, warm, wearable and a treasure to own.

Towels.  The softest polka dotted Japanese towels come in pretty pastel colors and are so soft that you want to cherish them. The ecological towels are made from organic cotton and are dyed with  natural herb and mineral dyes.

 Linens and wood.   A Linen napkin and tablemat set are embroidered with an elegant border, the napkin is held together with a felt ring. They sit on a wooden cutting board inlaid with a pheasant, designed and made by Alberto Franchin.

The laboratory.   In the back of the store is a small workroom where customer’s projects are made up and take shape; tablecloths, curtains, cushions or even bigger interior decorating projects are just a few of the services Maria Gabriella offers her clients.

The borders.   Colorful borders waiting to be used, cheer up even the greyest days of winter.

The needlepoint kits.  One of Elizabeth Bradley’s embroidered fishes hangs on the shelves in the workroom ready to be made up into a cushion or rug for a customer.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MILAN: New Store - Paolo Sarpi 27

MILAN: New Store – Paolo Sarpi 27.   Paolo Sarpi 27 is a pop up store dedicated to knitting and embroidery in Milan’s Chinatown.  The project conceived by do-knit-yourself together with the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano aims to integrate different cultures through the use of Rowan yarns, the Milanese butchers, Macelleria Sirtori and the Chinese quarters itself. In the space you can learn to knit or crochet, embroider or weave and chat while you “wait in line” to be served in the busy Butcher’s next door.

Macelleria Sirtori.  The famous Macelleria Sirtori has been in Walter’s family since 1951.  It specializes in different cuts of meat all of which are organically grown.  His list of customers is impressive and boasts many of Milan’s hierarchy of fashion designers.

The Designer.   Nicoletta Morozzi is the new head of the Fashion Department at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano) and she is also the driving force behind Paolo Sarpi 27.  Nicoletta is a respected design craftsperson. Using the ancient crafts of knitting and embroidery her projects have transformed the old fashioned way we conceive them. Cases in point are her embroidery kits for Muji and her book Knit Square (Do-Knit-Yourself) where knitted squares are transformed into the most modern and designed clothes and accessories.  She also keeps, with her daughter, Lorenza Branzi, a quirky monthly embroidery column called, Talking Hands in Rolling Stone Magazine.

The Window.  Appropriately, in the Chinatown window’s Tintin pops out of a Chinese jar and sits in front of the historical British high quality Rowan yarns, sponsors of the pop up project open until the end of January 2011.

The Tools.   A box of wools and needles are ready for anybody that wants to learn to knit.

The Square Knits. 
A mannequin displays a cape and a sweater, which can be knitted using different, colored knitted squares and rectangles.

The book.  Two pages of the book Knit Square, a book of patterns designed by do-knit-yourself, published by De Agostini, in which innovative patterns using squares and rectangles for knitting sweaters, clothes and accessories are laid out and explained.
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MILAN: New Store - Stepevi

MILAN: New Store – Stepevi.    The Turkish contemporary carpet company Stepevi, established in 1913, has just opened a Milan store, in Via dell’Orso 9, thereby completing an impressive list of boutiques in the design capitals of the world.  Embracing the philosophy of refined modern luxury carpets of timeless good taste which are created by re-defining carpet tradition with innovative craftsmanship and mass customization principles the company is in constant search for understated, sustainable and discreet product values.
Above.  The Mienterra carpet, from the Terra Collection.  The idea of creating a 3D rug and advancing this invention to depict the abstract forms on earth is driven by a simple challenge: “The world is not flat... Why should a rug be!”  These expressive rugs are manufactured with the cutting edge Stepevi quality using a new highly technical process coined 'Variable Surface Technology' where unique, sculptural layers create an emotional journey between dimensions. These carpets interact with the surrounding space creating a unique and ever changing visual experience using depth, light and shadow.

Seen at the Stepevi opening party. Stepevi’s CEO and president, Cem Sengor and his wife Aysegul YurekliSengor are photographed  with Turkish film star, Hulya Avsar and renowned Turkish film director,  Ferzan Ozpetek.

The Patchworks.  Harvest is an exceptional collection, based on the idea of creating exquisite rugs by taking the vintage Anatolian carpets through a very unique creation process. The journey starts with collecting vintage Anatolian carpets of organic wool composition from their designated regions.  Thousands of used carpets are then exposed to Mediterranean sun and humidity, kept on the natural fields for weeks to reach a faded and battered look.  These naturally worn out vintage rugs are then re-dyed in contemporary colors, cut to pieces and finally hand stitched with an artistic insight. Each Harvest is a unique piece which tastefully injects a revamped vintage look into modern, stylish interiors.

A detail of the Harvest carpet above.

Seen at the Stepevi opening party. Maurizio, Antonia and Margherita Purificato of the trendy Antonia Boutique.

 The Rose Petals.   The Infusion collection is a limited edition of carpets which have  a purely natural color range.  This is obtained by using the extracts of the 2010 rose harvest from Isparta Lakes Region. The carpets are dyed with the finest quality roses, the sensuality of  the rose petals are infused into these unique rugs with the invaluable know-how of the company.

Seen at the Stepevi opening party.  Architect, Edith Leschke.        

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BODY ART: Tattoo Hada-Ka

Photograph courtesy Galleria Luisa delle Piane

Body Art: Tattoo Hada-Ka.  Paris based Japanese artist, Kurihara Yumiko goes by the name of Hada-Ka, which means the artist of the skin. Phonetically it also signifies the naked body or nudity.  Using the skin as the main focus she has created works of art for installations and photo sessions and has created costumes for performances, which can be called new adopted skin.

Body Art: Tattoo Hada-Ka.  Kurihara experiments with all kinds of materials, and changes the ordinary into the extraordinary, causing people, or wearers of the new skin, to have different outlooks on themselves and the world around them.  She created these tattoo armbands by printing on the best Japanese nylon.

Body Art: Tattoo Hada-Ka.  A  selection of Hada-Ka’s tattoo armbands on sale in Milan at the Galleria Luisa delle Piane and at Paolo Sarpi 27.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The quest for the perfect club sandwich continues....

Milan.  The quest for the perfect club sandwich continues… at the California Bakery in Milan.  An American style diner all’Italiana. This Club Sandwich was abundant with very fresh ingredients.   However, it was stodgy, there was no mayonnaise, the bread was not toasted and crunchy bacon was scarce, the prosciutto seemed like cold turkey meat. Certainly a “filler upper”, but not tasty enough to be really satisfying.
Rating: 6/10 Pin It

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MILANO: John Baldessari - The Giacometti Variations at Fondazione Prada

Milan: Fondazione Prada: John Baldessari’s The Giacometti Variations.   At the Fondazione Prada, The Giacometti Variations, is an original project by John Baldessari curated by Germano Celant and is on show until December 26th. The installation was conceived specifically for the exhibition spaces of the Fondazione and consists of nine sculptures made of resin and steel and sprayed with bronze, each 4.5 meters tall. Inspired by the imagery of the Swiss sculptor, the huge, oversized female figures take the slender, emaciated character of their bodies to an extreme: a vision of a monumental mannequin.  Arranged in a row between the space’s columns and under its arches, the figures, as a whole, in their stasis and linearity, recall a snapshot of a fashion show. Taking their cue from La Petite Danseuse De Quatorze Ans (1879-1881) by Edgar Degas, the original bronze of which featured a cloth bodice and a tutu of white tulle, every figure of “The Giacometti Variations” is dressed in garments and objects designed by Baldessari himself.

Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen
Courtesy of Fondazione Prada
“I always wanted to do tall paintings and sculptures.  I suspect it’s because I’m quite tall.” John Baldessari.

Patrizio Bertelli

Paris and Germano Celant, curator of the exhibition

Claudio Loria with Wait and See's...

Uberta Zambeletti

Marina Prada and Astrid Welter

Juanita Sabbadini and Laura Garbarino

Francesco Vezzoli

Claudio Guenzani and Marisa Lombardi

“ Giacometti figures are the most skinny and emaciated sculpture that exist.  Why not push that further?”

Brian Phillips and Verde Visconti

Elise and Simon Brasca

"Rock and Roll" guitar quilting on a bag designed by Elise Brasca for Gianlisa

Marta Citacov and Benedetta Pignatelli

Enrico Astori, Gabbriele Maria Gallo, Maria Mulas and Francesco Bolis

Carlo Tivioli and Mirella Haggiag

Barbara Radice, Stefano Boeri and Michela Sessa Raggi

 Nina Yashar and Giancarlo Montebello

Pas Leccese and Philomene Magers

Giordana Ravizza with baby Matilda and Renato Preti

“…Also there is currently a blurring of art and fashion. Furthermore it is au courant, almost de rigueur that fashion models be extremely tall and thin.
Why not fuse the two – art and fashion – since that idea is our zeitgeist?”
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