I pride myself on knowing London pretty well, but it is always a nice surprise to visit somewhere that though new to me, has existed for many hundreds of years. Such is the Dennis Severs House at 18 Folgate Street Spitalfields.
This private house is the work of artist Dennis Severs who takes you on a journey back in time to visit the Jervis family, Hugenot weavers who occupied the house from the mid 18th century until after the Great War. Each room is a multilayered tableau that evokes both time and place. You walk around the room in silence, looking at objects that look as if the occupants have just vacated the room as you have entered. It is amazingly detailed, with subtle sound effects ( the sound of carriages, clocks ticking) lit by fires and candles. Even the late Victorian room is lit by gas.
I was lucky to visit this week when the house was set for Christmas. Absolutely worth the trip to Spitalfields. Make sure you walk up the road to Shoreditch Design triangle. I’ll write about this later.
18 Folgate Street
Bookings to visit are essential.
images by eclectic cool
What is it about Tokyo that is so magical? Is it its precision: its architecture, products, food and even the wrapping? The graciousness of its people? Despite standing in front of the concierge in my hotel for a hour getting her to write out every direction to the places I wanted to go to in both Japanese and English, her smile never faltered. Yep, I think that must be it ( and the food & the shopping & the architecture….).
images via louis vuitton
Hey, guess what? Eclectic Cool made it into 2014′s Louis Vuitton City Guides. If you don’t know about them, they could be one of the cheapest (but of course one of the most interesting) products made at LV. We are proud and honoured to be included.
The guides cover 15 of the world’s most fabulous cities: Beijing, Cape Town, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Moscow, New York, Paris, São Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, Venice and Sydney. You can now buy individual volumes, but I have my eye on the boxed set in a limited edition range of colours. Exclusive photography, great contributors: this would be a marvellous addition to any travel collection.
You can buy the travel guides at LV stores worldwide. The HK guide is available in English and Mandarin for HKD315 and the boxed set is HKD4600.
The understated Serapian logo on the Evolution leather is very chic.
Quality of hides, the finest workmanship and classic designs can be seen in all of Serapian’s products.
The Sima bag is one of my favourite designs- this is on my list of must-haves, I think it would be fabulous in a custom colour…
The Méline bag is one of Serapian’s most popular designs. This distinctive bag is characterised by its beautiful hardware. Dianne was seduced by this one….
This season Serapian is mixing colours together- a thoroughly contemporary take…
Gosh I wish I could carry a small bag. Two phones, a diary plus a notebook, tape measure, assortment of pens, an iPad, wallet, glasses and sets of keys etc mean that I almost need a duffel bag. However, if I did have that kind of life, this bag would do the trick for afternoon teas and elegant lunches.
image via eclectic cool
My fashion designer friend, Dianne ***, used to work for Burberry and Kate Spade as a handbag designer. She recently spirited me away to 7 On Lan Street (the old Christian Louboutin store) to visit Serapian, a designer and maker of leather goods based in Milan.
She worked with Mr Serapian to produce handbags for these brands. In fact, if you own lots of designer handbags, you probably already own something made by Serapian, who produces handbags for most of the luxury brands around. In addition, he also has his own collection, characterised by the highest quality materials and beautiful designs. Leathers are sourced carefully, even the webbing on the handles is chosen with care.
These are not handbags that stand out or are ‘of the moment’ but are beautifully designed, extremely light and will last you for many years to come. My two picks were an envelope travel bag, the cachemire leather sourced from the tanneries of Hermes with the abovementioned ‘best webbing in the world’ over the shoulder strap. The other bag was a travel bag, designed to fit on your trolley- with a beautifully detailed interior for your travel overflow. I would fill mine with travel essentials but also my camera equipment- my Leica deserves the best, of course!
They also have a beautiful range of men’s leather goods as well. This shop is a definite must on your Christmas shopping list.
***You can follow her excellent fashion blog here.
7 On Lan Street (behind Marks and Spencers)
Central, Hong Kong
The Hackney sofa is a contemporary take on a traditional upholstered shape. We’ve been using collections of small round tables as cocktail tables this year in our designs. So much more practical than one large one and you always have a table when you need it.
The sinker light shown against a fabric by Nathalie du Pasquier- one of the founding members of Memphis-you can read more about Memphis here. I guess London is having a Memphis moment.
These are absolutely gorgeous. My husband would say that there is just more to dust, but who can resist a small box.
That Hackney sofa looks comfy. I like it in yellow.
Another piece that I just can’t resist…I aways love a clamp light to brighten up those dark spaces.
The Pion light is made of paper over a steel frame. It will add a glow to any dark corner.
I don’t really need a pepper mill, I have an old Peugeot which does the trick, but these are pretty tempting. They look excellent from the top and would make a stylish gift. Pity they are not ready in time for Christmas. Maybe next…
All images via WRONG for HAY
Sebastian Wrong is a designer based in London. He was one of the founding members of Established & Sons, but has since formed a joint venture with HAY and a spinoff brand, WRONG for HAY (catchy, huh!)
The products have not yet been distributed for sale yet here in HK but there are some great designs from pepper mills to keepsake boxes to lighting.
The launch in London this September was a standout. It was shown exclusively in a restored Georgian townhouse in St James’s Park, and the contrast between old and very contemporary worked beautifully together.
A delectable cheese board with a mix of hard and soft cheeses made with milks from different animals. image via designlovefest
image via shopikon
Paxton & Whitfield is where you buy your English stilton. Splurge and get one in a ceramic crock. When I was at Christies and living on the smell of an oily rag, I used to go to Paxtons for a treat and buy a slab of stilton, grab a bunch of grapes and some bread and live on that for a few days!
93 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JE
9.30am – 6.00pm Monday to Saturday
11.00am – 5.00pm Sundays
Fromagerie Quatrehomme is where you get the best camembert in the world. Together with my boxes of Laduree and the bibelot from Hermes, this is the best thing anyone can bring me from Paris. Once of my first stops whenever I am there. Go early because, annoyingly, they are closed during lunchtimes Tuesdays to Thursdays- just when I am feeling peckish in Paris.
image via parisbymouth
62 rue de Sèvres, 75007
Tuesday-Thursday, 9a.m.-1p.m. and 4p.m.-7:30p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7:30p.m.
image via everettpotter
A visit to NY is not complete without a visit to Murrays on Bleecker. Here, you not only can shop the best cheeses in the world, but you can do classes in cheese making, and eat all sorts of cool cheese- based food. A cheese lover’s paradise.
254 Bleecker Street bet 6th & 7th Avenue
Monday to Saturday 8 to 8, Sundays 9 to 7.
image via simonjohnson
Most of what I know about cheese comes from visiting the excellent cheese room at Simon Johnson’s. Australia’s ridiculous laws regarding non-pasturised cheese means that the selection is not as great as you would get in Europe. However, the Simon Johnson cheese mongers are knowledgeable and you can get some great cheese advice & lots of tastes too. The cheeses are surprisingly fresh considering the distance travelled. You can also check out the local Aussie cheeses. Not bad at all.
Open: Mon-Fri 9:30am – 6:30pm, Sat & Sun 9am-5pm
55 Queen Street, Woollahra, NSW, 2025
This morning The Design Files published a great article about cheese with these delectable photos…Check out the full post here. I would add a hard cheese into this board as well. Nothing like a nutty taste to balance all that cream. Their recipe for roasted quinces sounds just as delicious at the Maggie Beer’s quince paste. I don’t know if I have ever seen quinces in HK. Maybe another souvenir from an overseas trip too?
One of my lifelong passions is cheese. Surprisingly, I am not much of a milk drinker, but I love cheese and ice cream- in that order. Great in Pacific Place recently unveiled a very classy cheese room. Alas they would not let me take pictures. I am not sure why- price checking? I think it’s pretty clear that Great is one of the most expensive supermarkets in the world.
There is a heavy bent towards French cheese but you can get most of the international favourites: from Italy, Gorgonzola Dolce and mozzarella, Swiss Gruyere, English Stilton as well as as new world cheeses but without a biscuit in sight. Hmm. Great also used to sell Maggie Beer’s Quince Paste from Australia but I haven’t seen it for ages. I thoroughly recommend getting a block on your next trip to Oz.
What’s the perfect cheeseboard? A mix of hard and soft cheeses from a couple of different countries with a mix of different milks: sheep,cows and goat. Add in some nuts, fresh & dried fruit, some quince paste and thinly sliced bread – heaven on a board.
Hong Kong’s very lenient import laws make bringing cheese the perfect souvenir from your trip overseas: so here’s a list of some of the best cheese shops in the world.
A selection of the Christmas 2013 gift sets from Aesop based on the works of the Italian futurist movement.
images via aesop
In 1909, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, an Italian poet, technophile, and promoter of the arts, had his The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism published on the front page of Le Figaro making the movement 104 years old.
This leaflet published around this time looks as fresh and new today as it did over one hundred years ago. image via wikipedia
Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913) is one of the most famous works of art associated with the Italian futurists.
You can read more about the Italian futurists on the Eclectic Cool Blog.
A few weeks ago I was invited to an event at Aesop’s new store in HK in Hollywood Road, celebrating the launch of their new gift sets based on the Italian Futurist movement. Just in case you don’t know, the Futurism was an artistic and social movement, led by the Italian artist talians Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who collaborated with artists Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Antonio Sant’Elia,Bruno Munari and Luigi Russolo.
These artists were disaffected by contemporary life at the time: ”We want no part of it, the past”, he wrote, “we the young and strong Futurists!“, Marinetti wrote in his manifesto. Interestingly, Marinetti identified strongly with fascism, but failed to convince Mussolini to make futurism the official art of fascism. Glorifying war, Marinetti stated it was “the world’s only hygiene” ,the movement all but died out with the advent of the Second World War and his death.
However, elements of futurism continue to influence contemporary art and design: its interest in speed and movement, its hard edges and discordant thinking. Its main legacy for design today is, one would argue, its typography. A glance at Aesop’s packaging will show the heavy influence of futurist typography. Each set is influenced by a futurist belief: agility, tactility, potency, sonority, aclarity and intensity are the themes of each gift set, ranging from vary from a convenient set of men’s grooming essentials to a comprehensive hand and body care ensemble, to a trio of full-sized products from Aesop’s anti-oxidant Parsley Seed Skin Care range.
In addition to the cool packaging, the event of Aesop was quite interesting, as it ignored some of the more unsavoury aspects of futurism but concentrated on its aesthetic contributions. As part of the evening, we were treated to a futurist meal: consisting of quite interesting and contrasting elements: a meat consomme flavoured with rosebuds and champagne, a caramel wrapped in nori etc.
As always, you can’t beat Aesop’s gift sets for Christmas, especially for the man in your life. They are available in Aesop stores from November worldwide.
Love the exterior of the Darkroom store in London. It’s located in the Lamb’s Conduit area- you can make a bit of a trip to 2 of my favourite places as well: the British Museum and Ben Pentreath’s while you are there. There are some great fashion stores down the street too.
Lots of Hay and by Lassen there- oh those post modern colours. If you ever doubt what post modernism did for design, I have 2 words for you : “colour” and “scale”.
this is so sottsass, he would have loved it.
previous images via trendland
Ettore Sottsass (1917 to 2008)- actually December 31, 2007. I love this picture of him, he looks quite friendly and he has a nice hat! image via nytimes
I don’t know where my Valentine has gone. I’m going to search for it this Christmas when I get home. image via wikipedia
the carlton bookcase – a combination of laminate and MDF, it’s fun isn’t it. Always wanted one of these, but alas, only to be found in design museums.
image via the gorgeous daily
Okay, there’s nothing I like more than a good design store and Darkroom in London is no exception. Specialising in ‘unique, hard-to-find items’ (we all like those) it has one of the the best curated design collections I’ve seen anywhere in the world. Once of of the best things about the store is its beautiful displays usually thematic. This last month, they have put together a collection of contemporary designs inspired by the designer, Ettore Sottsass. Sottsass passed away in 2008, but not before he founded the Italian design movement, Memphis- together with such design luminaries as Michele De Lucci and Michael Graves.
Their post-Modern designs have been described as has been described as “bizarre”, “misunderstood”, “loathed”, and “a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price”.I actually love the Memphis movement, full of fun and colour and using quite sedentary materials like laminate and stainless steel. Some of my favourite designs are by Sottsass- the exuberant Carlton bookcase and my favourite Valentine typewriter.
I think the Darkroom installation is lovely- I am totally loving the Sottsass inspired wrap which you can order online. Actually take a look around the online Darkroom store. I always wait for my trips to London to make my Darkroom purchases, but for those of you who can’t wait- their store is pretty good too. Don’t forget you can get the HAY & by Lassen from us.