Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer sale

In London and looking for something other than tennis? Masterpiece London 2011 kicks off today and will continue through July 5th. Building on the success of last year's inaugural show, this year is proving to be equally spectacular.

One of the most anticipated exhibitors is Mallett, who will be showing a variety of objects including a pair of famille rose Chinese vases circa 1730 and a pair of George III girandoles, below.

The event takes place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. For more information, visit Masterpiece London 2011.

Into the woods

Just in time for summer, Acanthus Press is about to release Elegant Wilderness: Great Camps and Lodges of the Adirondacks, 1855-1935, by Gladys Montgomery. Published in collaboration with the Adirondack Museum, it's the first book to place the style into the context of cultural, social and environmental history.

"The rustic style represented a confluence of ideas that emphasized the relationship between the built and natural environments, embodied 19th-century America's fascination with the romantic and picturesque, and combined varied stylistic influences," the author explains. It was also a chance for the leisure class to escape the confines of the city and indulge in a woodland fantasty. But rustic never meant roughing it. Families arrived from private Pullman cars with chefs, staff, tennis and voice coaches, chauffeurs and secretaries. Those who owned Adirondak camps included Marjorie Merriweather Post, J. Pierpont Morgan, Alfred Vanderbilt, Lucy Carnegie, and President Benjamin Harrison.

The book offers a remarkably detailed look at the style's architecture and interiors through archival photographs, many of which have never before been published. It's available for pre-order now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Settling in on the Serengeti

The "chill out spot" at the new Lamai Serengeti, the perfect place for a sundowner.

On June 27th safari operators Nomad Tanzania will debut their latest endeavor, Lamai Serengeti. This new permanent camp (the others are nomadic and follow the migrating herds) is tucked amid the high granite outcroppings overlooking the Mara River Valley and the astonishing array of wildlife—wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, lions and elephantsthat call it home.

Nomad Tanzania has shared with us not only the renderings created for the camp, but designer Jo Cooke's inspiration boards. They're a familiar part of the process, but not something we normally get to see. Cooke, who spent twelve years in the art department at World of Interiors, moved to Tanzania with her family 2004. They began their African adventure by restoring a Georgian house; it was an experience that led her into garden and furniture design, and to doing the interiors for other African camps.

Designer Jo Cooke's inspiration board for the camp illustrates an emphasis on indigenous architectural traditions and locally sourced, handmade materials. From hangers to spoons, even the smallest details have been considered.

The main public areas of the camp, as with all of the accomodations, are oriented to engage views over the valley. Building within and around the confines of the rocks was no easy task but the result is an entirely organic feel. The camp sits proudly on the site yet is virtually undetectable from the surrounding landscape.

For the bedrooms, the designer concentrated on natural materials, an earth and sky palette, and woven textures.

Each of the twelve tents, as they're called, feature a spacious living and sleeping area, a full bath and an outdoor shower, as well as expansive verandas. Lamai is divided into two components, the main camp (8 tents) and the private camp (4 tents.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

You ask, we'll answer

We've read a number of comments asking about the wallcovering seen in our hotel feature on Vidago Palace in Portugal. And, yes, those floral branches really are hand painted! That's the level of thought and detail visitors will find throughout the rooms. To give you another look, below are a few more images.

"The Smart Set"

Our friends at Bonhams tipped us off to a fall auction of furnishings designed by legendary decorator William Haines. The sale will include over 30 lots designed for actress and radio personality Irene Rich (who boasts not one but two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame.) And what makes this sale even more special? The proceeds are going to charity. Now that's a happy ending.

A set of four oak and leather dining chairs, c. 1956
Estimate $2,500-3,500

A walnut and leather chest of drawers, c. 1956
Estimate $3,500-4,500

The sale will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 16th. Private previews can be arranged for the 13th; the public may preview the sale on the 14th and 15th. For more information, call (323) 850-7500.

Photography Courtesy of Bonhams & Butterfields/C. Hurst and P. Lynde

Editors' day out

Don't think for a moment librarians lead dull lives, least of all those at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Besides assisting the occassional Hollywood actor research a role, Mr. Meier built them a private courtyard repleat with Bertoia chairs and a fig tree. It's positively idyllic. We got a peek behind the scenes the other day and were delighted to discover the photo study collection.

All those green storage boxes above? They're the old curatorial study files, and are filled with photographs and other photocopied materials. There are banks and banks of them... an overwhelming reminder of how much life has changed since we all went digital. (Note: the GRI's actually in the process of moving a bunch of materials off-site as they've outgrown their space since opening nearly 14 years ago.) The shelves above are the decorative arts files... rococo designs, ancient vases, metalwork drawings, Portuguese furniture... you name it. It's an organizer's dream. They may be old fashioned, but they're a trove of design inspriration. Even the hand-written labels are pretty. If you're lucky enough to hold a GRI reader card, pay them a visit.

Viva España

With Rafa Nadal's victory at the French Open yesterday, our thoughts turned to his native Spain. We headed over to Brodyaga for a selection of beautiful travel photos.

(Warning: this is the ultimate site for deskchair travelers. Hours can be wasted daydreaming through its pages.)




Torrent de Parreis

Palma de Mallorca


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Swimming pools and movie stars

The presidential living room 

Earlier today, Dorchester Collection released renderings of the highly anticipated renovation of the Hotel Bel-Air, a collaboarative redesign by Alexandra Champalimaud and Rockwell Group. We think it sums of the glamour of old school Beverly Hills and the modernist spirit of California's great mid-century architects. Even the much-adored swans got an upgrade: crystal clear water thanks to new pumps that save the city 1.5 million gallons a year.

The Hotel Bel-Air reopens this October.

The presidential bedroom

Guest bathroom

Canyon view suite

 The terrace

Our debut cover

There seems no better way to start the blog than with the cover of our debut issue. It's the Mexican get-away architect Eddie Jones and his wife, Lisa, built for their family, and it was shot by the marvelous Robert Reck. We're indebted to our photographers for sharing such wonderful projects with us. Below the image you'll find a note Robert sent when the issue launched -- he's as happy as we are!

Thank you, Robert, and thank you to all our friends and fans. Your energy's given us a huge boost as we start in on the July/August issue.


THANK YOU SO MUCH! The magazine looks great and I'm sure everyone there must be very happy. All the responses I've received were in the WOW category. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to be on the cover of the inaugural  issue, and I think it looks spectacular even if I do say so myself. I keep pinching myself to believe it. 

All the best to all of you,