Christmas Eve in Copenhagen with the Redzepis - Food & Wine
It’s a busy season for Nadine Levy Redzepi, author of the new cookbook 'Downtime,' and her chef husband, René, who is about to reopen his celebrated Copenhagen restaurant, Noma. But on December 24, the couple’s focus is on gathering friends and loved ones to share a soul-warming feast and lots of rollicking yuletide cheer.
December 14, 2017
“My favorite thing about Christmas has always been the smells that go through the house—I like to have something in the oven all day,” says Nadine Levy Redzepi, whose husband, René, is the chef of Noma, the much-lauded temple of New Nordic cuisine that shuttered temporarily in February and is gearing up for a blockbuster reopening early next year. At home, more often than not it’s Nadine who cooks for the family, which includes three daughters (ages nine, six and three) and Nadine’s mother. Especially on weekends and holidays, meals at the Redzepis’ are about spending time together and with the friends they routinely entertain from places near and far. It’s cherished downtime from the stresses of the restaurant, and they make the most of it.
So it’s no coincidence that Downtime is the name Nadine has given her first cookbook, a collection of favorite home recipes that, as she puts it, are about “blurring the distinction between family food and special occasions.” And few occasions at the Redzepis’ can compare with their annual Christmas Eve celebration, when they host upwards of 20 guests at their home in the city’s Christianshavn neighborhood. A 17th-century former blacksmith’s workshop, the space features lots of rustic timber beams and a forge that’s been repurposed as a kitchen fireplace—perfect for roasting an apple-and-prune–stuffed goose while truffled porchetta cooks in the oven.
By the time guests start arriving mid-afternoon, Champagne has been opened and tables are arrayed with snacks. “We always have lots of smoked fish, cured fish eggs and fresh cheese that has been smoked in hay,” says Nadine, who likes to scoop salmon tartare onto her homemade potato chips (“my biggest weakness,” she admits). The kids get to open a few gifts, and then everyone sits down to enjoy the feast. Accompanying the traditional goose and tradition-twisting porchetta are classic savory-sweet side dishes like caramel potatoes and braised red cabbage—which René spends days making—plus plentiful bottles of red Burgundy and Vin Jaune.
Afterward, the Danish custom of singing and dancing around the tree is usually supplanted by a lively gift-exchanging game involving lots of animated dice rolling that lets everyone work up an appetite for the rice pudding dessert. Not to be forgotten are the walnut crescent cookies—irresistibly crunchy and generously dusted with powdered sugar—a recipe Nadine picked up from an old friend of her mother’s and has been enjoying since childhood. “For me,” she says, sounding more than a little like a kid, “these cookies are Christmas.”
Neumann residence by Russell Groves - Architectural Digest
No Such Thing As Too Much
At a Manhattan townhouse decorated by Russell Groves, a family of art aficionados finds that more is more
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted December 18, 2017·Magazine
Sitting in Melissa Neumann’s Manhattan living room, you can feel almost overcome—your eyes flitting from one artwork to the next, trying to take it all in. Over here a Jeff Koons sheepdog and a Futurist composition by Gino Severini. Over there classic abstractions by Joan Miró and Fernand Léger. Yet, for all the visual ping-pong, the room is actually one of the tamer spaces in the house, which is packed with a collection spanning three generations. Four, if you count the children. And this family does. “We just brought in a Kenny Scharf doughnut painting,” says Melissa, “and all three of my young kids were lobbying to put it in their room.”
Art has been embroidered into the fabric of the Neumanns’ lives ever since Melissa’s father, Hubert, and his father began buying, around 1950. Melissa and her sisters grew up surrounded with paintings and sculptures, and when she and her husband bought their latest home, there was no question it would be a showcase for art—the more the better. “This house is a cacophony,” says Hubert. “But so is the world. Why wouldn’t art, and showing art, reflect that?”
The 1899 residence, designed by architect Clarence True, might not have been an obvious fit for such dynamic treasures, but Melissa says she and her husband just felt it “had a great energy.” They hired Zivkovic Connolly Architects to renovate and expand the property, lightening its Victorian feel with a skylit central staircase whose walls and landings serve as galleries that reveal themselves as you ascend. “You see these fragmented views, which is similar to the visual vocabulary of many of the artists,” says Melissa, “but there’s also a sense of openness.”
For the furnishings the couple turned to Russell Groves, a designer known for rooms that exude a subtle glamour, combining warm palettes with a sophisticated mix of vintage and custom pieces. “The furniture couldn’t compete with the art,” says Groves. “We had to find a way to make the rooms feel softer and relaxed because there was already so much going on visually.”
The Neumanns have always favored art, Hubert says, that is “creative enough to make a significant step forward.” Translation: work that is joyously idiosyncratic and often obsessively intricate—if not outright chaotic. Take the entrance hall, where you are greeted by a vibrant 11-foot-tall totem by Charlie Roberts and a riotous 20-foot-wide Michael Bevilacqua painting with fragments of imagery and letters spelling out exclamations of joy. Climbing the stairs to the second floor, you encounter a pristine photo-realist portrait by Chuck Close beside a kaleidoscopic painting by Ashley Bickerton.
Nearby is a magisterial Jean-Michel Basquiat work, one of two the Neumanns bought from the artist in 1982. When it comes to the subject of curators and museums, Hubert, in particular, proudly wears his reputation for being opinionated and at times irascible. (Remarks like “Most museum installations are boring” are not uncommon.) But the family does regularly lend to exhibitions, like the recent Matthew Ronay show at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston and the Francis Picabia survey at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. These days, they are making hundreds of their works accessible on social media under the handle Aftermodernism.
Melissa says she and her husband plan to rotate what’s on display in their home and keep adding new acquisitions. Asked what unifies the mix, Hubert notes “it’s about antagonisms.” Melissa, pausing for a moment, remarks that while a lot of thought went into the way the house is laid out, there was also spontaneity. “Great art,” she adds, “just works.”
Why I Should Stop Watching the NFL but Can’t - Fatherly
As a parent and a fan, football can be hard to view. The injuries. The anthem protest divide. The hypocrisy. But, deep down, I still love so much about the sport.
Dec 06 2017
A couple of years ago, I watched the Steelers pull out an improbable last-minute playoff win against the Cincinnati Bengals in a nasty, rain-soaked night game marred by ugly penalties and vicious hits that knocked out multiple players with concussions. The Steelers, my Steelers, won, but it felt like both teams — and the NFL — lost. It was the type of game I hoped I’d never see again.
Then I did. When the Steelers and Bengals met in Cincinnati this past Monday night, the rainy conditions called to mind that infamous playoff contest, even if the stakes were lower, thanks to the Bengals’ mediocre record. That wasn’t the only echo. This time the penalties were even more numerous and the hits more vicious, resulting in two players leaving the field strapped to carts. One of those, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, remains in a local hospital three days later, as doctors monitor a spinal injury that has impacted his movements from the waist down. As my own six-year-old boy slept peacefully in his room down the hall, I couldn’t help but think: That’s somebody’s son out there, lying motionless on the field. The Steelers got the win, again on a last-minute field goal, but the victory hardly felt worthy of celebration.
There’s no question the NFL — and football in general — has a problem. It’s not just the head-trauma horrors of concussions and CTE that we can no longer ignore. Or the devastating injuries to backs, knees, and shoulders that have derailed the seasons of too many of the league’s biggest stars this fall. Or the recent tragicomic legal sideshows, from Deflategate to the on-again-off-again suspension of Ezekiel Elliott for alleged domestic violence — one of a disturbing number of such incidents players have been involved in (see: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Josh Brown). Or the ugly fight over embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension. Or the bewilderingly inconsistent — okay, at times downright poor — quality of play on the field. Or, not least, the most divisive issue facing the league: the national anthem protests. It’s all of those things and more, and it has produced a growing contingent of supporters who are increasingly conflicted over how to feel about this troubled sport as fans — and as parents.
Yet I still watch.
Though I haven’t been to a game in a stadium in years, I track scores on Sundays and do my best to catch bits on TV. I’ve played fantasy football and occasionally in the past gambled very modestly on games — two of the things that turn casual fans into deeply engaged ones. When I married my wife, who tolerates — only just barely — my relationship with football, I knew the sport would not be a part of our family culture in the way it was for me growing up. But it still meant something to me.
My bond with football formed early. Growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and ’80s, the Steelers and football were — and still are — religion. It was the era of the Steel Curtain, the Terrible Towel, four Super Bowls in a decade. Some of my biggest boyhood heroes were Joe Green, Jack Lambert, and Lynn Swann. For years my parents had seats in the old Three Rivers Stadium, and occasionally I got to go with my dad. Mostly, though, I watched at home. On fall weekends, our TV was always tuned to football — college on Saturdays; NFL on Sundays. I can vividly remember curling up with my dad on the floor, watching a late-afternoon game, the room darkening as dusk fell. And to this day, football remains an important point of connection with my parents and siblings. Though I haven’t lived in Pittsburgh for more than a quarter century, the Steelers will always be my team.
At a young age, I loved to act out game-winning catches in the family room or my bedroom, tossing a ball and diving across a bed or sofa to snatch it in spectacular fashion. My inspiration came from the weekly highlights produced by NFL Films, featuring balletic pass plays and bone-crushing hits — often replayed in dramatic slow motion — to a rousing orchestral soundtrack familiar to any football geek over 40. In our awkwardly narrow and sloping backyard, my brother and I would often throw the football with my dad. We’d even put on helmets and pads and practice blocking and tackling, with dad egging us on and stoking our not-always-healthy fraternal competition.
Like many in my generation, I starting playing organized football as soon as I was old enough, joining a pee-wee league at seven (my dad was a coach), and continuing through high school. I prided myself on being tough, and in those ignorant days when we knew less about concussions that meant engaging in a lot of helmet-to-helmet collisions. Seems odd to say now, but I actually enjoyed that part of the game. I’ll never forget a nasty hit that broke my facemask or another that left me on my back, concussed and momentarily blacked out. My senior year, I sat out the first game because of a spinal compression issue in my neck. After an MRI seemed to show no imminent danger, doctors said that whether or not I continued playing was up to me.
The following week, I got back out on the field, wearing one of those old-school neck rolls that provided little actual support and failed to prevent a couple more “stingers,” the name given to the burning pain and subsequent numbness that results from vertebrae impinging on a nerve. I’m pretty sure I didn’t reveal the stingers to anyone, certainly not my coaches.
Among the expanding list of former players whose brains have been found to be riddled with CTE, the first was Mike Webster, the stalwart center on those Super Bowl-winning Steelers teams I grew up idolizing. His Hall-of-Fame career left him with dementia and depression, living at times out of a truck before he died of a heart attack at 50.
My son is now old enough to start playing football, but you can count me among the growing chorus of parents taking the stance of “not my kid.” And that, more than anything, is what threatens the future of the sport. Still a bit young to sit through and enjoy a game, he finds the commercials far more interesting. And I wonder: Will he ever become a fan? Do I even want him to?
One thing is for sure: He’ll never have that kind of intuitive understanding of football that comes from playing — not just the rules but the rhythm and flow of the game. Nor will he ever, I suppose, fully appreciate its complexity or its mythology, its ideals. This will take some getting used to.
Football has always been a brutal, smash-mouth sport that leaves bodies wrecked. And that’s just on the field, as fan-on-fan violence is a less-discussed ignominy. Attending a game at Three Rivers Stadium as a boy, I had to watch as a drunk guy in the row behind us repeatedly tried to pick a fight with my dad, before finally “accidentally” dumping a beer on him. To my dad’s credit, he walked away, soggy and stinking of Iron City, without escalating the confrontation.
But I can’t quite let go of the idea that football is also the innocent game I played in the backyard, that I fantasized about as I threw imaginary Hail Marys to myself in the living room. It’s arguably the sport that taught me the most about discipline, resilience, and teamwork as well as valuable lessons about how to win and, more importantly, how to lose. And despite escalating ticket prices and the profusion of luxury boxes, football does bring people together in momentary, imperfectly democratizing fashion. In football, the noble truths are as real as the ignoble ones.
Which brings me back to the anthem protests, football’s biggest story this fall. The Sunday after President Trump stoked the controversy with his suggestion that owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who fails to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner”, even Americans who have no interest in football took notice as players across the entire league knelt and locked arms, or remained — as the Steelers did — in the locker room during the anthem. Depending on your views, this significant moment for the NFL and for the country was either the season’s high point or its nadir. I’ll make a case for the former with anyone willing to have a reasonable discussion. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how to talk to my son about the issues at stake, about athletes as activists and role models, about how to make some sense of the messy cultural-political moment we are in. It’s serious stuff to discuss with a six-year-old.
In the meantime, my Steelers — tied for the best record in AFC — have another big game on Sunday, and, yes, I will be watching. Perhaps my son will join me on the sofa to catch a few plays. Or not. And I’m okay with that.
Hall Art Foundation - Architectural Digest
A family of collectors transforms a historic German castle into Europe’s latest must-see art destination
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted October 17, 2017·Magazine
Over dinner some ten years ago, art dealer Leo Koenig and artist Georg Baselitz made an offhand suggestion to collectors Christine and Andy Hall that would turn out to be pivotal. The Halls had a particular fondness for German Neo-Expressionism, and Koenig had just helped the couple buy Baselitz’s personal trove of artworks, many by his contemporaries. “I told Andy and Christine that they should buy his castle as well,” recalls Koenig, referring to Schloss Derneburg, a sprawling complex in northwestern Germany where Baselitz had lived and worked since the 1970s. “I’m not sure I was serious, but a year later the whole thing was consummated.” This past summer, the couple unveiled a spectacular renovation of the castle as a museum, part of their family’s Hall Art Foundation.
Set amid rolling farmland and forests, Schloss Derneburg was originally built in the 11th century as a fortified castle. For nearly 700 years it served as a home for various religious groups, before a German count hired architect Georg Laves to reconfigure the property as a private residence in the early 19th century. Later, during World War II, Derneburg was used as a military hospital, and by the time Baselitz acquired it, in 1974, much of the estate’s land and some of its buildings had been sold to the state of Lower Saxony.
When the Halls purchased the castle, they didn’t have a clear vision. “That evolved subsequently and is still evolving,” says Andy, a prominent investment manager. “The fact that Baselitz lived there for 30 years makes it a natural home for our collection,” a trove that includes important works by Anselm Kiefer, Markus Lüpertz, A. R. Penck, and others. “Plus it’s a beautiful property with an intriguing history.” The renovations by architect Tammo Prinz would take the better part of a decade. While much of the work involved meticulous restoration, more radical interventions were undertaken to convert the warrenlike monks’ quarters and other domestic spaces into galleries for postwar and contemporary art. In the meantime, Christine and Andy, who are based in Palm Beach, Florida, established the Hall Art Foundation in 2007 and converted a Vermont dairy farm into their first art center. That venue, opened in 2012, boosted the Halls’ art-world profile, but as Koenig notes, “Derneburg is on another level.”
Featuring 70,000 square feet of gallery space, Schloss Derneburg opened on July 1 with no fewer than seven exhibitions, including two large group shows: a selection of moving-image works curated by Chrissie Iles of the Whitney and “Für Barbara,” a survey of works by female artists that Koenig organized as homage to his late stepmother, the influential Berlin dealer Barbara Weiss. In addition there are solo presentations devoted to Antony Gormley, Barry Le Va, Malcolm Morley, Hermann Nitsch, and Julian Schnabel. The Gormley show provides some of the most dramatic moments, among them Sleeping Field (2015–16), a group of 700 abstract figures installed in a former chapel. “It’s this interplay of art and architecture,” says Andy, “that makes Derneburg a true Gesamtkunstwerk.”
The plan is to keep the castle open on Wednesdays and weekends through December, close for a period, and then reopen in the spring. (Visitors must make reservations for guided tours.) Derneburg’s off-the-beaten-path location will no doubt appeal to those cultural insiders who can’t resist a good pilgrimage. And it’s really like nothing else. “Every little nook and cranny has a unique character,” says Koenig. “What the Halls have done is embrace the history and quirkiness of this place and the many lives it has gone through.”
BW Architects - Cultured
Architecture | Aug 2017 | BY Stephen Wallis
One of the things you hear from people describing architect Basil Walter is that he’s a terrific collaborator, and a really “nice guy.” For those in the profession whose profiles fall somewhere below the starchitect stratosphere—which is to say, most everybody—that counts for a lot.
It also helps to explain the fact that Walter has been the go-to architect for Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter for 25 years, a gig that has brought its own kind of celebrity. In addition to working on Carter’s multiple homes and clubby, nostalgia-tinged restaurants (the Monkey Bar, the Waverly Inn, the Beatrice Inn), Walter also designs all of the magazine’s events—most notably its Oscars party, for two decades running. “The thing about Basil,” says Carter, “is that more than most architects, he works to make your ideas better, rather than just pushing his own. It’s at the core of his business and of his personality.”
But Carter is not the only high-profile repeat client of BW Architects, the New York–based, 16- person practice Walter heads with partner Brenda Bello. For more than 15 years, Walter and Bello have been working with Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, renovating his residences, assisting him with various art projects (including his mosaics for Manhattan’s new Second Avenue subway), and, recently, teaming up with him to create an experimental school in a Rio de Janeiro favela.
“It’s always dicey when you start working with a new architect, but with Brenda and Basil, I felt I had a working dynamic with them right away, and it just got better,” says Muniz, who first connected with the duo in 2000, when he enlisted them to revamp a Brooklyn warehouse as a live-work space. Bello, then just beginning her career, headed up the project, and as the artist’s life changed (a marriage to artist Janaina Tschäpe, a daughter, a divorce) she oversaw additional renovations.
This past winter, shortly after Muniz got remarried to Malu Barreto, BW Architects put the finishing touches on the couple’s new Paris pied-à- terre. A full floor in a Haussmann-era building, the apartment marries old-world touches, such as wide-plank herringbone floors and a neoclassical mantelpiece, with modern furniture and lighting. Muniz, who loves to cook and entertain, pushed for the large open kitchen and dining area that now serves as the home’s central hub,but he left plenty of decisions in the hands of the architects. “It’s hard to work with artists—we’re opinionated and we already have a picture in our head,” he says. “But Brenda is very good at telling me what to do, and now that we know each other very well she and Basil have a lot more authority over me.”
While the relationship Bello and Walter have with Muniz is a special one, it’s also reflective of the kind of rapport they try to cultivate with all of their clients. “Part of our process and the way we do things is entirely dependent on creating a positive feeling,” says Walter. “We really see ourselves as a vehicle for bringing clients and builders into a creative partnership.”
When Muniz came up with the idea for a school that would teach visual and technological literacy to children in Rio’s Vidigal favela, he knew he wanted Bello and Walter as collaborators. The project was a leap for everyone involved, not least because there were no precedents for creating a private, nonprofit school in the middle of the densely packed, steeply sloped favela—one that happens to be blessed with spectacular ocean views. From the outset, a great deal of effort went into making sure the school “has a sense of belonging—that people would feel it is a part of their life, that it’s theirs,” says Muniz, who came from a poor family in São Paulo.
To that end, the school’s exterior is terra-cotta brick, a material widely used in the favela, but its exposed structure is steel, which allowed the architects to create a lighter, stronger building than is normally found there. But that also created challenges. “Because there aren’t roads throughout the favela, all of the material had to be carried in by hand,” says Bello. “Building with steel was pretty much unheard of, so we had to limit the size the beams for the carry, and then everything was welded on site.”
Already, favela residents have begun adopting building techniques used for the school—not only using structural steel but inserting a layer of lightweight styrofoam into floors, even utilizing rainwater recycling systems. “People come by all the time asking for tips,” says Muniz, who notes that there are plans to add solar panels to the school to provide electricity. They want to find a setup that could feasibly be used as a model for people in the community.
Escola Vidigal officially opened last year, providing activities for preschoolers in the morning and after-school classes for kids between first and fifth grade. The curriculum is still evolving, but classes have ranged from drawing to computer programming to rooftop gardening. In addition to the classroom, the building features a residential wing, with two rooms for visiting artists and educators who will come for brief stays and work with the children. “We’re still learning,” says Muniz, “and we’re still figuring out the potential of the place.”
Consciously eschewing any kind of defining look in their work, Walter says he and Bello “like to think of style as being like language,” noting that “you can learn to speak more than one language well.” Ultimately, the thread that runs through all of their firm’s diverse work— whether creating a Modernist country house, renovating a historic townhouse, or designing events—is the level of sophistication and care. And for that, no translation is needed.
Jean Nouvel - Cultured
Leave No Trace
Architecture | Dec 2016 | By Stephen Wallis
Jean Nouvel is often described as an architect without a signature style. His buildings can be decidedly eccentric, whether robustly theatrical or impressionistic and lyrical. Surveying the many notable projects the Pritzker Prize winner has completed over his nearly five-decade career—a dizzying array of cultural buildings, office towers, residential high-rises, hotels and wineries—it is almost hard to believe they were all designed by the same hand. But make no mistake: Nouvel wears his chameleon-like identity with pride. “I never design the same project twice—never, never,” says the Frenchman in his heavily accented English. “I work on the specifics of the situations. I am a contextual architect.” Nouvel, whose Paris-based studio currently has more than 40 projects underway, from São Paulo to Beijing to New York, has long railed against what he sees as a global scourge of “rootless buildings”—generic, preconceived structures merely dropped into this place or that. “Like a composer, you have to create the music in relationship with the climate, ambience, history, geography,” he says.
Context is particularly important for two highly anticipated Nouvel projects moving toward completion on the shores of the Persian Gulf: the National Museum of Qatar in Doha and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Though an opening date is not set for the Doha museum, construction largely finished on the building—an abstract cluster of angled, interlocking discs inspired by crystalline formations known as desert roses. The sand-hued structure appears to emerge directly from the landscape, and will house galleries for exhibits about the history and culture of Qatar, as well as shops, restaurants and a research center. It wraps around a courtyard, deliberately evoking the caravansaries once central to desert culture. “The Qataris wanted a symbolic building,” Nouvel says. “This museum had to talk about the identity of the Middle East, and the greatness of the desert.”
Similar, if slightly less literal, allusions permeate the architect’s design for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a much delayed project that is slated to open next year. The museum, whose wide-ranging exhibitions will draw heavily from French national collections, is the first of several planned buildings by Pritzker laureates (the roster includes Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster) that will anchor an ambitious arts district within the emirate’s massive Saadiyat Island development. Nouvel conceived the museum as a kind of miniature floating city, a medina-like warren of gallery structures and open-air plazas that overlook shimmering pools and canals. Hovering above most of the complex is a 600-foot-diameter cupola with intricately patterned perforations that act as a protective brise-soleil, permitting filtered sunlight to dapple the interior spaces. The result is a literal oasis in the desert, but also an unabashedly romantic architectural gesture that references mosque domes and traditional Islamic latticework screens, while the play of light conjures comparisons to dusky souks. The design is a bravura melding of past and present, poetry and technology—a symbol of an ancient culture that is now enjoying, as Nouvel has often put it, a golden age. “I try to invent something positive,” he remarks. “It’s not to create a wow—I don’t care about the wow. I want to create a deepness, a memory, a question, a little surprise.”
Visible in Nouvel’s Persian Gulf museum projects are threads that run throughout his career, especially his masterful use of light, transparency and reflection, as well as the inventive ways he breaks down rigid geometries. Nouvel shot to prominence with the 1987 opening of his Arab World Institute in Paris, a building that reimagined the Modernist glass box by inserting a façade of light-sensitive mechanical apertures—one of the architect’s early references to Islamic screens. For his 1994 Fondation Cartier across town, he employed overlapping walls of glass to create reflections that bring the trees, city and sky into the building and effectively dissolve the edifice into its surroundings. “Jean Nouvel has used the words ‘haze’ and ‘evanescence’ to describe that building, which is capable of absorbing and reflecting—not just in a literal sense but in a bigger sense—the ambience,” says Terence Riley, architect and former curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. “He understands architecture as a kind of phenomenon.”
Over the past decade, many of Nouvel’s buildings have incorporated ever more elaborate green façades, vertical gardens and terraces overflowing with lush plantings. For the architect, it brings nature into urban settings, while taking advantage of eco benefits like energy-saving solar shading. But these green elements are aesthetic, too, softening a building’s form and adding a sense of organic vitality, even a touch of the surreal. Nouvel often works with botanist Patrick Blanc, a pioneer in the field of vertical gardens, and their collaborations range from the 2006 Musée du quai Branly in Paris to the One Central Park residences that opened in Sydney in 2013. That latter award-winning project features a huge, showstopping cantilever, 28 stories up, with gardens, a pool and a heliostat system that directs sunlight onto shaded areas of the complex, while its underside becomes a huge light installation at night.
At least in spirit, One Central Park was a significant precedent for a residential development by Nouvel that has just broken ground in Miami Beach—his first project in a city now awash in buildings by star architects. Called Monad Terrace, it overlooks Biscayne Bay. “There are a lot of 1950s and ’60s drab buildings on that corridor,” says Michael Stern, CEO of the JDS Development Group, which hired Nouvel for the project. “We wanted someone who could come in and do something dynamic and new—sort of a nuclear bomb of design in a positive way.”
Nouvel, who describes the site as “very cinematic,” designed two buildings—one 14 stories high, the other seven stories—separated by lush gardens, a swimming pool and lagoon that appear to merge seamlessly with the bay. This allée of water was devised to serve as a buffer against storm surges and rising seas (a real and growing threat) and also act as a kind of mirror, the architect explains, casting reflections up into the apartments and creating “very poetical, atmospheric effects that are always changing throughout the day and the night.”
The exposures facing neighboring buildings are draped with vertical gardens to provide privacy, while views are channeled toward the bay on one side and the ocean on the other. “It’s totally protected,” says Nouvel, “and you are completely in relationship with the beauty of the site.”
Now 71, Nouvel still keeps a relentless schedule and travels constantly, though he escapes as often as possible to his home in Saint-Paul de Vence, in the South of France. “I work there with a little staff very often,” he says. “In this place I try to be quiet, to think in a better way for inspiration. It’s good for creating.”
As he has throughout much of his career, Nouvel continues to design products and furniture, mostly reductive and minimalist in spirit. Among his latest creations are a sleek desk and storage unit for Unifor, vinyl carpeting for Bolon and wallpaper for Maharam inspired by his 2010 summer pavilion for London’s Serpentine Gallery. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is offering a rare look at this lesser-known side of Nouvel’s oeuvre with a comprehensive survey of his furniture and objects, on view through February 12. Integrated with traditional works from the museum’s permanent collection are more than 200 pieces by Nouvel, from furniture and lighting he devised for Artemide, Cassina, Ligne Roset, Poltrona Frau, Roche Bobois and other companies to tableware for Georg Jensen to limited-edition pieces for his galleries, Patrick Seguin and Gagosian.
Meanwhile, over the next few years, legacy-shaping landmarks by Nouvel will be joining city skylines across the globe, starting with the nearly completed twin Le Nouvel apartment towers in Kuala Lumpur (clad in vertical gardens by Blanc) and residential high-rises for two different developers in Singapore. In New York, his much discussed—and debated—53W53 building, a lithe and gracefully sloping 82-story skyscraper, is rising next to the Museum of Modern Art. In Paris, his strikingly faceted Hekla tower will become a new beacon in the La Défense district. And an arresting hotel-residential building he designed for Rosewood in São Paulo—incorporating the brand’s first six-star property in Latin America—promises to transform a historic site in a bustling area of the city.
As this list of projects shows, Nouvel has never shied away from luxury, but his work is grounded in a minded belief that architecture’s responsibility is to improve its surroundings and to serve a larger social purpose. Or, as he puts it, “With one building you can change the nature of a place.”
Four Seasons restaurant - Esquire
R.I.P. Power Lunch
The legendary Four Seasons Restaurant is selling all of its stuff.
By Stephen Wallis
Jul 11, 2016
The legendary Four Seasons Restaurant is closing. That's the bad news. The good news? The objects that populated the perfect Philip Johnson interior are about to be sold.
Hello, Mr. Bloomberg. Welcome, Mr. Diller. Right this way, Mr. Lauder … Such is how things have been since the Four Seasons restaurant opened in New York in 1959, when the luxe modern dining rooms conjured by Philip Johnson became the original home of, as Esquire editor in chief to-be Lee Eisenberg later coined it in these pages, the "power lunch."
But the home of the power lunch is going on hiatus. On July 16, the Four Seasons will close. Ten days later, it will be cleared out: Wright auction house is selling the furnishings, tableware, cookware, and many other items that made the restaurant the icon it is.
It's a shocking turn of events—brought about by a dispute between the building's owner and the restaurant's longtime principal owners—that will see the landmarked interior taken over, old-guard regulars would say heretically, by a trio of buzzy thirtysomething restaurateurs. (The Four Seasons plans to open its next incarnation a few blocks away next year.) The episode has riled both powerful patrons and preservationists who decry the dispersal of Johnson's revered design scheme. It also means that some of the most storied and beautiful midcentury furniture in Manhattan is now available to own.
Six Eero Saarinen Tulip tables, specially made with polished-bronze tops for the lively Grill Room, are expected to bring in at least $3,000 each. The two classic Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairsand ottomans that graced the travertine-clad lobby from day one are estimated at $5,000 to $7,000 for each pair. More than 200 of the Mies Brno dining chairs will be offered up, from pairs to sets of a dozen, with estimates starting at $1,000.
Also highlighting the 500-lot sale: banquettes Johnson custom-designed in a Miesian spirit, with slender metal legs and trim tufted cushions (estimates start at $2,000 each)—including the one installed around the Grill Room's table No. 32, where Johnson sat during his frequent lunches at the restaurant. "It was in the southeast corner, where he could see and be seen and command the space," recalls architect Robert A. M. Stern, outgoing dean of the Yale School of Architecture and a guest of Johnson's beginning in 1964. "Walking across the room to his table was like paying homage to the king." The estimate for that banquette is $3,000 to $5,000, but one would imagine that will prove conservative. After all, it's hard to put a price on a throne.
Superstudio - New York Times T Magazine
A ’60s Architecture Collective That Made History (but No Buildings)
By STEPHEN WALLIS APRIL 13, 2016
Italy’s legendary radical design group Superstudio never actually finished a building, and yet its hallucinogenic visions are still making waves.
HALF A CENTURY AGO, a group of 20-something architecture students from Florence decided to assume the small task of conceiving an alternative model for life on earth. Contemptuous of the long reign of Modernism, which they felt had sold itself as a cure to society’s ills and never delivered, they were jazzed by American science-fiction novels and the political foment of the 1960s. They gave themselves the colorfully assured name Superstudio, and soon after helped kickstart the radical architecture movement in Italy.
The fact that they never actually finished a building is, arguably, the point. Rather, they created “anti-architecture”: psychedelic renderings, collages and films depicting their dreams — and nightmares. At gallery shows and museum exhibitions, the collective shared its mind-bending dystopic visions: hulking buildings overtaking cities, giant golden pyramids and flying silver pods invading the bucolic countryside. They even imagined the planet with no architecture at all, just “Supersurface,” a network of energy that would replace objects and buildings with a grid — an essential theme in their projects — which people could access by simply plugging in. Then, such an idea was radical; now, of course, it feels eerily prophetic.
“Our idea for Supersurface was kind of a pre-vision of what became the Internet,” says Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, who co-founded Superstudio with Adolfo Natalini in 1966 (they were joined later by Gian Piero Frassinelli, Alessandro Poli and brothers Roberto and Alessandro Magris). “We wanted to show that design and architecture could be philosophical, theoretical activities and provoke a new consciousness.”
The group lasted only 12 years, until 1978, before scattering, mostly into academia, but Superstudio’s place in postwar design history borders on the mythic. At their height, they exhibited everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and had conceptual projects published in Domus, the influential design magazine edited by Gio Ponti, the progressive Italian monthly Casabella and even Casa Vogue. Today, echoes of their imagery can be seen in the work of such contemporary architects as Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl and Bjarke Ingels. Of the few furnishings they executed, a number of pieces still live on: Since 1970, Zanotta has produced their Quaderna series of rectilinear tables overlaid with a black-and-white grid pattern (based on the group’s theories for the ultimate rationalist solution, reducing architecture to a single template that could be endlessly scaled), which has lately been referenced by such of-the-moment designers as RO/LU and Scholten & Baijings.
THIS SPRING, the Maxxi museum in Rome is presenting “Superstudio: 50 Years of Superarchitettura,” featuring over 200 examples of sketches, photographs, collages and films from the group’s archives, including work last seen in “Superarchitettura I,” the historic 1966 exhibition they held in Pistoia, Italy, in conjunction with Archizoom, another collective from Florence. That show is widely considered to be the seminal moment of the short-lived radical design movement, its own version of the Salon des Refuses Impressionist show of 1874: a sharp stick in the eye of the establishment. “Superarchitettura,” the group’s manifesto, declared “is the architecture of superproduction, of superconsumption, of superinduction to superconsumption, of the supermarket, of superman and super-petrol.” The blustery and abstract opening salvo, which was accompanied by playfully sculptural lamps and seating in exuberant hues, was a direct repudiation of the Modernist credo that form should follow function.
Today, though, the group remains best known for its project “Continuous Monument: an Architectural Model for Total Urbanization.” It proposed that vast, gridded megastructures would stretch across world capitals and pristine natural landscapes — spanning the earth, even into outer space. Among the most famous images is a striking view of Lower Manhattan enveloped by a horizontal monolith. The works have a trippy verve, but they were meant as a metaphor for the ills of globalization and unchecked proliferation of homogeneous modern architecture. There are clear influences of what the group was reading at the time — Issac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard, whose works had recently been translated into Italian. “The images are very seductive, and at the same time they present this paradox because the Continuous Monument is this nightmare,” says Gabriele Mastrigli, the curator of the Maxxi exhibition.
Amid the visions of dystopia and provocation, however, Superstudio did offer hope for the future, perhaps nowhere more so than with its unexpectedly poignant 1972 “Supersurface” project. The flat, featureless grid in the renderings represents not only an Internet-like matrix, but a state in which all people live a nomadic existence, freed from repetitive work, consumerist desires, hierarchies of power and violence. “We’ll keep silence to listen to our own bodies,” the group poetically proclaimed. “We’ll listen to our hearts and our breathing. We’ll watch ourselves living.” We still don’t really know what it all means, but that doesn’t make us love it any less.
Edward Burtynsky + Robert Polidori - WSJ Magazine
Richard Meier - Cultured
By the Sea
Architecture | Feb 2017 | By Stephen Wallis
It could be said that Richard Meier’s architecture career truly began, more than five decades ago, on the water. His first credited project was a modest beachfront cottage he designed on New York’s Fire Island for artist Saul Lambert and his wife. A simple rectilinear box, with abundant glass and an open interior, the house reflected Meier’s unshakable commitment to the modernist ideals espoused by Le Corbusier and by the young architect’s boss at the time, Marcel Breuer. “This small house, which was built in just nine days for a total cost of $9,000, was strongly inspired by what I’d learned from Marcel Breuer,” recounts Meier. The only thing the precut-timber structure lacked was the white palette he would become so famous for.
Within a year Meier founded his namesake firm in New York City, and he soon established a reputation as a designer of strikingly elegant residences that combined bold geometric volumes, dynamically intersecting planes and exquisitely minimalist surfaces. The most refined of the so-called New York Five architects—a group that also included Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey and John Hejduk—Meier was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1984, when he was just 49, shortly after completing the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Coveted commissions for courthouses, campus buildings and more museums followed, notably his most famous project, the sprawling hilltop Getty Center in Los Angeles—which turns 20 this year.
Not atypically for an architect of his stature, Meier has had numerous opportunities to build on prime plots, and waterfront sites in particular have been a recurring theme across his long career. For one thing, his distinctive, crisply sculpted forms look particularly arresting and iconic set against blue expanses of water and sky, their white surfaces changing with the varying light conditions. And because of their emphasis on light, transparency and openness, his buildings are tailor-made for such settings, from the Ackerberg House on the beach in Malibu to the Perry Street condo towers overlooking the Hudson River in New York City to the recently completed Seamarq Hotel with panoramic lake and sea views in Gangneung, South Korea. “When I look back over 50 years, it’s amazing the number of projects I’ve had on the water, from private houses to hotels,” says the architect. “I’ve been very lucky to have worked on sites where the light reflected off the water changes with the different times of day and different seasons.”
It’s perhaps surprising, then, that Richard Meier & Partners is only now realizing its first project in Miami, given the city’s abundance of water and compelling light. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the Pritzker laureate joined the roster of celebrated architects who’ve contributed buildings to Miami’s runaway real estate boom. Enlisted by the developer Fort Partners, Meier has overseen a much-anticipated expansion of the Surf Club, the storied private getaway in Surfside, just north of Miami Beach, that opened in 1930 and once welcomed Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill, who liked to paint in the ocean-facing cabanas that snaked gracefully along the sand.
Opening in April, the new Surf Club is a dramatic update from the old one. The original building, designed by Russell Pancoast in Mediterranean Revival style, with stucco walls and a terra-cotta tile roof, has been restored. But Meier, working in consultation with Miami architect Kobi Karp, has added an eye-catching trio of metal-and-glass structures. At the center, a tower housing a Four Seasons hotel and residences (with interiors by designer Joseph Dirand, known for his own sensuous brand of minimalism) rises above the Pancoast building, which will feature two restaurants. On either side of the building are large, 12-story asymmetrical towers—one has a curved façade, while the other is stepped—containing 150 airy condos finished in warmly spare, classic Meier style. The complex also boasts a spa, four swimming pools, gardens designed by Fernando Wong and some 40 beach cabanas arrayed in a serpentine pattern, nodding to the original.
The idea from the outset was “to keep the new buildings as minimal as possible and let the old Surf Club be the jewel in the operation,” says Bernhard Karpf, the project’s associate partner-in-charge who has worked in Meier’s offices since 1988. “Ultimately, the contrast between the old and new, in terms of scale and material finishes and detailing, works really well.”
In the end, the architecture is all about amplifying the setting and having 1,000 feet of unobstructed beachfront in Miami was a rare luxury. “I couldn’t imagine a more interesting site than this one,” says Meier. “With views out to the bay on one side and ocean views on the other, the quality of light is incredible.”
Looking ahead to other Meier projects slated for completion in 2017, there are residential towers in Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Taipei as well as a high-rise mixed-use complex in Mexico City. That last project, known as Reforma Towers, promises to establish a new landmark on one of the Mexican capital’s busiest thoroughfares, with the larger of the two buildings (40 and 27 stories) distinguished by a large wedge-shaped void spectacularly cut out of its middle, creating, as Meier describes it, “a sort of a plaza in the sky.” The terrace, which will likely feature a restaurant, not only offers views in virtually every direction, but it also serves the functional purpose of bringing natural ventilation into the building and reducing the need for air conditioning.
It’s notable that so many of the firm’s current projects are residential and office towers—something Meier wasn’t especially known for during the first decades of his career. Many of them are also in locales where Meier hasn’t previously worked. To a large extent these shifts have to do with global economics, but it also reflects how the practice is evolving under the leadership of the six partners not named Meier, who include, in addition to Karpf, James R. Crawford, Michael Palladino, Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan and Dukho Yeon.
Not that Meier didn’t want to build tall buildings earlier on. Pointing to his 1987 proposal to put a 72-story skyscraper atop Madison Square Garden, he notes, “We’ve had designs that have never been built, and it’s nice now to have a number of these things coming to fruition. Good things come late in life.” At the moment, Meier has two residential buildings—each 460 feet tall—under construction on both coasts of Manhattan. One is part of the Riverside Center development on the West Side, while the other, on a parcel overlooking the East River just south of the United Nations, has received much fanfare as his first-ever black building. “It wasn’t my choice!” explains Meier, gamely noting that “even though the glass is very dark, there’s a still a transparency about it, and the interiors are all white. You could say it’s like living in a white building with sunglasses.”
After all these years, Meier says the most rewarding part of his work—other than seeing people enjoying a completed building—is still the early design stages, when he is conceptualizing and sketching. Despite the advances in digital modeling, Meier has never taken to working on a computer. He retains a deep love of physical, three-dimensional models, and dozens of the ones his firm has created are now on permanent display—as the Richard Meier Model Museum—at the Mana Contemporary space in Jersey City, New Jersey. Numerous exhibitions have been devoted to Meier’s prolific output—both his architecture and the spirited collages he continues to make. “You know,” remarks Meier, “some people take a day off and play golf. I take a day off and go work in a studio.”
Aspen retreat by Studio B and Shawn Henderson - Architectural Digest
Designer Shawn Henderson and architect Scott Lindenau fashion a discreetly luxurious Aspen retreat perfectly sited to appreciate the ravishing landscape
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted June 7, 2016·Magazine
There’s a spot about ten miles outside the village of Aspen, Colorado, some 9,400 feet up, where the skies seem a brighter blue and the mountain views are almost surreal in their majesty. A nearby stream rushes with a dulcet murmur, and herds of elk roam amid slender white aspens whose leaves turn magnificently gold each autumn. It was here that a Hong Kong businessman bought a 24-acre plot several years ago, determined to create his ideal refuge.
The log cabin–style house that occupied the site was not what he had in mind, however. So he enlisted a local firm, Studio B Architecture + Interiors, to draw up concepts for a new home, while the existing dwelling was removed and donated to Habitat for Humanity. A divorced father of one at the time, the businessman soon remarried, and since his wife also had a child, the architects were tasked with thinking a bit more expansively—yet also modestly. “We were very conscious of preserving the feeling of unspoiled countryside,” says the wife, who recently gave birth to the couple’s twins. “We could have built something larger, but the setting is so perfect, the last thing we wanted was to ruin it with an over-the-top house. It had to be quiet.”
Studio B satisfied the brief with an 11,000-square-foot residence that projects an unexpectedly reserved attitude, thanks to its low horizontal profile and the fact that the first of its two floors is partially embedded in a slope. While the overall vibe of the L-shaped structure—which wraps around a rear courtyard and pool terrace—is minimal and modern, an unmistakable warmth emanates from the home’s materials. “The husband spoke a lot about the spirit and nature of wood,” says Studio B founder and design principal Scott Lindenau. “We used wire-brushed white oak and contrasted it with a beautifully grained reclaimed teak on both the interior and exterior.” The thoughtful palette also includes hand-chiseled limestone and wara juraku—a Japanese-style plaster that incorporates straw to produce an exquisite organic texture.
When it came to furnishing the seven-bedroom home, the couple initially decided to handle it themselves. Collectors of midcentury design, they owned a number of quality pieces—mostly American and Scandinavian—but the wife concedes that they just couldn’t pull it all together. “The house had a horribly empty feel,” she recalls.
Then, by chance, they were introduced to New York designer Shawn Henderson, whose discerning approach to texture and color and sophisticated vintage and contemporary pairings aligned perfectly with their own sensibilities. “They had been doing the interior piecemeal and wanted someone to come in and do a complete program,” Henderson explains.
While the designer’s handiwork is a study in lyrical restraint, the home certainly has its showstopping moments. The coup de théâtre is the living room, the first space you encounter after ascending the entrance hall stairs to the main floor. Measuring 25 by 40 feet, the room is enclosed on two adjacent sides by floor-to-ceiling windows, offering panoramic vistas across the valley to the Elk Mountains beyond. “I didn’t want it to feel overly decorated, with a thousand pieces,” the designer says, “so I decided to go with big gestures.”
To anchor the larger of the living room’s two seating areas, Henderson devised a sprawling 11-and-a-half-foot sofa based on a Jean Royère design, a pair of club chairs deep enough to curl up in, and a seven-foot-diameter cocktail table—all overlooked by a supersize Sam Orlando Miller mirror, mounted above the fire- place. In this room, as throughout the house, Henderson uphol- stered the clients’ existing seating in rich monotone fabrics. “For me, the landscape is what provides the color, so I wanted to be careful how I brought in other elements,” he notes.
Among those other elements are a smattering of large-scale artworks—including the living room’s Theaster Gates composition made with fire hoses and the stairwell’s Claudy Jongstra tapestry— as well as punchy Swedish carpets, which Henderson laid in the tailored wood-and-stone master bath and the meditation room. The latter, says the wife, is “probably the most important space for my husband”—a Buddhist who meditates every morning. “And because it’s mostly windows, it’s where you really feel closest to nature.”
That is if you’re not counting the guest cottage, which stands in a thicket just downhill from the main house. A later addition, also by Studio B and Henderson, the simple gable-roofed structure is all black, clad in a Japanese-style charred cedar that, Lindenau says, “picks up the dusky flecks in the bark of the aspen trees.” Inside, Henderson kept the furnishings uncomplicated, utilizing Danish pieces from the clients’ collection and tying everything together with a palette of soothing blues. “It’s amazing,” the designer says of the cottage. “You and I would be thrilled to live in it.”
In fact, the wife jokes about decamping to the cocoonlike cabin with her husband, leaving the children to fend for them- selves in the main house. But the cottage lacks two of the residence’s very important features—the inviting pool and the rooftop terrace, where the stargazing never fails to serve up a “wonderful shock,” as the wife puts it, for this family of city dwellers: “In Hong Kong we don’t get that kind of front-row seat to spectacular night skies,” she says. “It is truly breathtaking.”
Theaster Gates - Architectural Digest
Knows-no-bounds art star Theaster Gates returns to the studio for a debut exhibition with his new U.S. gallery
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted December 12, 2016·Magazine
Where to begin talking about Theaster Gates, one of today’s most talked-about artists? For starters, calling him an artist is too narrow. Trained in pottery and urban planning, the Chicago-based dynamo is an activist, archivist, educator, facilitator, and maker, whose socially engaged practice ranges from sculptures, paintings, installations, and performances to adaptive-reuse projects. And in his richly complex world, everything is connected. “It could be a table or a sculpture or a renovated building,” he says. “Each one of those satisfies the same impulse in me and the same set of values.”
The diversity of Gates’s work is obvious upon stepping inside his sprawling studio, a former Anheuser-Busch warehouse on Chicago’s South Side. There’s a woodshop piled high with salvaged boards, a ceramics atelier littered with pots, and a storage area displaying pieces in progress, including bronze and stoneware elements for sculptures inspired by African masks and totems. “Those are things that have been on my mind for the last three years,” Gates says, “while other, larger projects were kind of casting a shadow on the quieter work.”
For nearly a decade, Gates, who grew up on the city’s West Side, has dedicated himself to reviving neglected properties throughout the South Side’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood and reactivating them with cultural programs. In 2011 he launched the nonprofit Rebuild Foundation to oversee his expanding initiatives, the most ambitious of which is the Stony Island Arts Bank, a long-abandoned 1923 building he bought from the city for a dollar, rehabilitated, and opened as a library, archive, and arts center just over a year ago. “I’m trying to work toward the creation of a cultural infrastructure, whereby the talented people of our city have more platforms to show the world what Chicago births,” he says.
Lately, Gates has been shifting more focus to his studio and making new work, a selection of which will be on view from January 14 through February 25 at Regen Projects, the Los Angeles gallery that now represents him in the U.S. Frequently incorporating cast-off objects and materials salvaged from building projects, Gates’s sculptures and installations are embedded with memory and history. Among his best-known artworks are tapestries crafted with strips of decommissioned fire hoses, evoking Civil Rights–era protests while also resonating with today’s challenging discussions about racial justice. Other works utilize old floorboards from gymnasiums, architectural fragments from a demolished church, remnants of shuttered shops—all symbolic reminders of the South Side’s past.
For Gates, the emphasis is on regeneration and restoring value. “I just love the part of the work that has to do with exhuming in order to help something live again, raising a thing up,” he says. His reference points can be deeply personal. Take his paintings made with roofing tar, which are both a literal, material exploration of blackness and an allusion to his father’s work as a roofer. And his experimental music ensemble, the Black Monks of Mississippi, can trace its roots directly to Gates’s involvement with a gospel choir.
In addition to the show at Regen Projects, Gates is preparing an exhibition that opens in March at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as well as finalizing plans for his first permanent outdoor commission, slated to be unveiled at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden this summer. And while he’s hardly turning away from his community efforts with Rebuild, he’s relishing his time in the studio, working with his hands and having complete control over the process. “I want to be able to write a story that doesn’t require as many authors, so whatever ends up in the gallery space is what I decide will be there,” Gates says. “In a way, I’m back to the beginning.”
Diego Giacometti - Galerie
Diego Giacometti’s Red-Hot Market
A sale of Giacometti furnishings from Hubert de Givenchy’s collection smashes records and boosts already surging prices
March 15, 2017 By Stephen Wallis
For most people, the name Giacometti calls to mind impossibly elongated bronze figures, roughly modeled and hauntingly thin. Viewed as brooding meditations on the anxiety and alienation of modern life, Alberto Giacometti’s iconic sculptures have commanded some of the highest auction prices ever, including the cast of his 1947 Pointing Man that fetched a record $141 million two years ago.
But lately another Giacometti, Alberto’s younger brother Diego, has been making headlines—most recently for a sensational $34.5 million sale of his works from the distinguished collection of fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy on March 6. All 21 lots at Christie’s Paris—including stools, lighting, candleholders, and his signature tables with whimsical sculptural elements—sold well above their estimates. An octagonal table, featuring an oak top and a bronze base with caryatid figures, set a new auction record for Diego Giacometti, selling for $4.4 million against a high estimate of $843,000. Two Tree of Life sculptures brought $2.9 million and two candleholders with stag heads (a favorite Givenchy motif) fetched $870,000, while a pair of glass-top square tables whose bronze stretchers play host to small dogs went for $1.9 million.
“We really started to understand a day or two before the auction that we were going to have exceptional results—that it was going to go mad,” says Christie’s specialist Pauline de Smedt. Because of the distinguished provenance (Givenchy commissioned most of the pieces himself, between the early ’60s and early ’80s), she adds that “it wasn’t just the usual Giacometti buyers. It really was the most important art collectors across categories.”
Diego Giacometti left Switzerland to join Alberto in Paris in 1925, and he spent the next four decades modeling for and assisting his brother, helping to create his plasters and executing patinas for his bronzes. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Diego began focusing on his own work, especially after Alberto died, in 1966. Although his creations share some stylistic similarities with his brother’s sculpture—the lean shapes and sensuously hand-molded surfaces—their spirit is much lighter and more lyrical. Producing furnishings and sculptures on commission, often for friends and acquaintances in the worlds of art and fashion, Diego developed a distinctive visual vocabulary inspired by ancient Etruscan forms and rooted in nature, his unmistakable tables, chairs, and light fixtures ornamented with various flora and a fanciful menagerie of birds, dogs, cats, turtles, horses, deer, and more.
“Until Alberto died, Diego was always his partner, so they can’t really be totally separated—they needed one another, and they were nothing without the other,” notes de Smedt. “But Diego’s creations are totally different in terms of the emotion. Everything in his work is full of dreams—it’s poetic, it’s a fantasy world.”
Diego’s biggest commission—a collection of furniture and lighting for the Picasso Museum in Paris, created shortly before his death, in 1985—helped bolster his recognition. While there has always been a following for Diego’s work, his market has had issues with fakes and unauthorized casts, problems exacerbated by the fact that he didn’t number or always sign his pieces. “For Diego, Giacometti was his brother’s name, and at no point did he want to use the fame and recognition of his brother for himself,” explains de Smedt.
But in the past year, Diego’s market has enjoyed a burst of momentum, thanks to a handful of major sales. Last spring Sotheby’s Paris offered a group of works by Giacometti in its May design auction, led by a tree-form side table that brought nearly $500,000. The Paris firm Artcurial followed that with a robust $5.2 million sale in September of Giacometti pieces from the Brollo family, which had a 20-year relationship with the artist. Sotheby’s achieved a short-lived record for Diego Giacometti, selling one of his octagonal tables for $3.8 million (along with eight other works by him) in its November Impressionist and modern sales in New York. Sotheby’s then mounted an impressive non-selling Giacometti exhibition in Paris, just as Christie’s was gearing up for its spectacular Givenchy sale.
The latest test for the Diego Giacometti market will come on May 17, when Sotheby’s stages a special Paris auction of 30 or so works on May 17. Highlights including a glass-top low table, whose rustic bronze base is ornamented with a small bat and is estimated to bring as much as $320,000.
Despite all the recent activity, de Smedt, for one, isn’t concerned about too much of a good thing creating Giacometti fatigue among buyers. “The work is full of poetry and is very elegant, but it is also timeless,” she remarks. “It can live in a very classic interior or it can very easily live in a contemporary interior. That is its strength.”
Napa Valley refuge by Russell Groves - Architectural Digest
In the heart of Napa Valley, Russell Groves transforms a humdrum, half-finished house into a heavenly retreat for longtime clients
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted December 4, 2016·Magazine
Adam Weiss likes to begin most days at his family’s Napa Valley getaway with a stroll. Perched high up in the Mayacamas Mountains, on the valley’s western edge, the home enjoys stunning views in every direction. “You get this coastal fog that settles in at night,” says Weiss. “After I wake up, I’ll walk around the gardens and watch the mist burn off. When the sun breaks through those clouds, it’s just spectacular.”
If the mornings here are magical, the afternoons and evenings can be even more so, which is what drew Weiss and his wife, Lydia Callaghan, to the house. Their primary residence is two hours south, in Palo Alto, where he runs a hedge fund and she recently launched Bouclier, a company that makes bicycle helmet visors designed to provide full-face sun protection. The couple and their twin preteen daughters come to Napa year-round, often with friends and extended family in tow. Days are spent playing on the tennis court, splashing in the infinity pool, or hiking down rugged trails to the creek that runs through the 250-acre property. Sunsets are frequently enjoyed with wine in hand, and star-filled skies and the occasional meteor put on nighttime shows. “In the summer, especially, we like to light a fire on the porch and make s’mores and play board games,” Callaghan says.
The vision from the beginning, she explains, was to create a retreat that would be “rustic and fun and camplike.” To do so, Callaghan and Weiss enlisted Russell Groves, the architect and designer who has done all of their homes and offices over the past 14 years—now seven projects in total. Certain they wanted a place in Napa, the couple initially eyed move-in-ready homes, until their broker insisted they look at this property. A developer was midway through building a house in a château style that, Groves recalls, was a bit too McMansion-esque.
But at 12,000 square feet, with eight bedrooms, including a two-bedroom guesthouse, it would allow for lots of visitors—and the setting was irresistible. “We thought, Wow, even if it’s going to be a major project, this place is so breathtaking,” says Callaghan. Adds Groves, “I don’t mean to deny our creativity, but you could have done practically nothing to this house and it would have been amazing because of its setting.”
In the end, however, Groves and his team spent more than two years on a gut renovation of the residence, which Callaghan and Weiss now call Rancho. In addition to putting on a new standing-seam metal roof and recladding the exterior with gray cedar panels, Groves replaced generic wood windows and doors with larger, leaner ones in steel, dramatically bringing in more light. He also created unimpeded sight lines that extend from the front porch through the house and—thanks to a retractable glass wall—all the way out to the pool and beyond.
When that 70-foot-wide window wall is open, as it often is, the rear terrace and the double-height great room become one continuous space. “Merging indoors and outdoors was a top priority,” says Weiss. “We wanted the house to be the kind of place where everyone would feel relaxed and at home and in nature.”
Which is not to say the house is lacking in refinement. Oak paneling and floorboards, stained in subtle shades of gray, and earthy Heath Ceramics tiles can be found throughout the rooms. The furnishings, meanwhile, are a sophisticated mix of midcentury-modern and bespoke pieces. In the great room, a showstopping table and set of chairs custom made by George Nakashima Woodworker anchor the dining area, while vintage Nakashima armchairs and ottomans accent the living area. And there’s more Nakashima in the master suite, including the bed’s headboard and built-in side tables.
When it comes to furniture, Weiss and Callaghan mostly defer to Groves, but it’s a different story with art, which Weiss says is his real passion. He has a particular affinity for postwar works by artists such as Richard Artschwager, Brice Marden, and Robert Mangold, whose shaped yellow canvas is given pride of place above the living area hearth. Across the room is one of Sol LeWitt’s iconic white grid sculptures. “It’s so mathematical, so geometric,” says Callaghan. “Everyone delights in that piece.”
Certainly Rancho is often buzzing with visitors. “This house is actually much bigger than one we would have built,” says Weiss, “but there are many times when it is completely full with family and friends.” Which is exactly how the couple wants it. “That’s the magic of the place,” Weiss adds. “If I died next week, I would remember all the lovely times we’ve shared up here.” Easy to say, perhaps, when you’ve already got your own little bit of heaven.
Vasari's Last Supper restoration - Architectural Digest
With the help of Prada, a late-Renaissance treasure is restored 50 years after the deluge that almost destroyed it
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted August 18, 2016·Magazine
On November 4, 1966, Tuscany’s Arno River, swollen by days of rain, inundated Florence with the worst flood the city had seen in centuries. The raging waters caused catastrophic damage to cultural treasures—including priceless works of art—and efforts to save them have continued to this day. Now, thanks to a partnership between Italy’s National Trust and the fashion house Prada (a major arts patron in the country), one of the most challenging of these rescue missions is nearly finished. This October Giorgio Vasari’s late-Renaissance painting The Last Supper will return to view 50 years after the flood that almost destroyed it.
“This is really a new page in the history of conservation,” says Marco Ciatti, head of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPD), the Florence lab responsible for the groundbreaking restoration. “When we began to study the problems, we were not sure what the result would be.”
Around eight feet high and 21 feet across, the work was created in 1546 by Vasari—a Mannerist painter, architect, and writer who is widely considered to be the first art historian—for Florence’s Murate convent. After being moved several times over the centuries, it was installed at the Opera di Santa Croce museum, where it was submerged for some 12 hours during the flood. While layers of varnish helped minimize paint loss, the work’s five wood panels expanded in the water, stressing the painting’s surface. Its gesso ground, meanwhile, began to dissolve, causing the biblical scene to detach. Desperate museum staff separated the panels and covered them with layers of protective paper to keep the paint from sloughing off. The Last Supper was in such precarious condition that conservators didn’t dare touch it for four decades.
Several years ago, however, innovations and funding encouraged the OPD to attempt work once thought impossible. With support from the Getty Foundation, the team embarked on a four-year project to restore the wood panels and stabilize the painting. Using synthetic resins, they were able to re-adhere the paint layer to the wood, and they replaced crosspieces that had held the panels together. But there was still a tremendous amount of work to be done on the painting’s surface, and in 2014 Prada stepped in with a grant to carry out intensive cleaning and retouching. For more than two years a handful of conservators and students in the OPD workshop have labored with surgical precision—appropriately dressed in white lab coats, no less—to repair distortions and fill in cracks and losses of color, which were particularly pronounced across the work’s bottom edge. Fascinatingly, along the way they found evidence that The Last Supper had been damaged by two earlier floods and had undergone at least three earlier restorations—only adding to its improbable story of survival.
The painting, still extremely fragile, will be displayed at the Opera di Santa Croce in a gilded climate-controlled frame. Otherwise, it will look much as it did before the 1966 flood. “We’ve devoted our lives to this kind of result,” Ciatti says. “For us it is a dream that has become reality.” And rest assured: Should the Arno burst its banks again, The Last Supper can be mechanically hoisted to a safe height. It may have taken a half-century, but for the city of Florence, Vasari’s painting is now a symbol of triumph over tragedy.
Drinking beer in California wine country - Financial Times
July 22, 2011
by: Stephen Wallis
Rule number one: never drive yourself to the Legendary Boonville Beer Festival in northern California (yes, “legendary” is officially part of its name). Rule number two: leave the parents and kids at home. Boonville, a sleepy town of 1,000 that’s set amid towering redwood forests and bucolic pastures in Mendocino County, has an independent streak. The residents even created their own system of slang, called Boontling, back in the 19th century, and locals still say “bahl hornin’” (“good drinking”) when raising a glass.
The drinking is certainly good – and heavy – at the rollicking annual May beer fest, which features more than 80 small, mostly west coast breweries spread across the Boonville fairgrounds. For four hours the taps flow freely, serving 5,000 visitors everything from German-style pilsners to Belgian-esque sours to American imperial stouts and IPAs (or India Pale Ales), the citrusy, often high-alcohol versions of the hoppy beers once shipped from Britain to the subcontinent. The brewers pitch tents on the grounds of the host Anderson Valley Brewery, cooking on grills and sharing their latest experimental beers.
“A real slice of old-school California – no stop lights, no chain stores, no traffic jams, just a lot of beautiful countryside,” said Anderson Valley’s brewmaster, Fal Allen. The taps stay open late in Anderson Valley’s barnlike tasting room, open year-round to visitors who can sample 10 to 15 draught beers, including the brewery’s signature Boont Amber and Hop Ottin’ IPA.
I had to settle for a takeaway bottle of the award-winning Brother David’s Double Abbey Style Ale for later, as Boonville was just my first stop on a beer-drinking tour that took me from Mendocino County down through the celebrated corridors of Napa and Sonoma, both about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. It might seem an unlikely itinerary to those who know the area as the US’s pre-eminent wine country. But these Elysian fields for oenophiles are also home to some of the top names in the flourishing US craft beer industry, which in the past five years has seen annual sales jump by more than 50 per cent to nearly $8bn, according to the Brewers Association. Among those who care about food and drink, it’s becoming almost as essential to be able to appreciate the malty molasses flavours of your brown ale as it is the earthy barnyard notes in your pinot.
If you’re coming for the wine and food first and simply want to mix in a few hoppy diversions along the way, expect to spend time on the road, as the best breweries are scattered around. Designated driver take solace: what glorious scenery it is, especially on the back-country roads, winding through ancient forests and golden meadows, past old farmhouses and endless fields of cabernet, chardonnay and pinot noir.
The next stop was Healdsburg, a place of undeniable charm – its main square lined with speciality shops, restaurants and wine bars – although some describe its recent upscale development as the town’s “Napafication”. I stayed in the eco-chic H2 hotel, which offers minimalist luxury wrapped in architecture that has won awards for its environmental friendliness. It provides bicycles (pick up a picnic lunch at the Oakville Grocery and peddle out among the vineyards along Dry Creek). Its lively restaurant Spoonbar emphasises local and seasonal food and is noted for its creative cocktails, alas, rather than its beer selection.
But I had to walk only a couple of blocks to get to the brewpub of Bear Republic, named best small brewery at the Great American Beer Festival in 2006. The 15-year-old family business ships its beloved Racer 5, a drinkably decadent, heavily hopped IPA with citrus and pine notes, to 34 states. Owner Richard Norgrove said: “The last five years the number of people coming in on weekends has probably tripled.”
Sitting down for a tasting, with the unmistakable smells of brewing emanating from the copper tanks next to the bar, Norgrove and I had a couple of his mainstays – Red Rocket, a rich, caramel-malt Scottish-style ale, is a personal favourite – as well as a few of his eight rotating speciality brews. Then we headed next door to check out his latest project: a 1,200-sq ft warehouse that he plans to turn into a tasting room and shop selling bottles of limited-release barrel-aged beers. “We’re even going to try to do what some wineries do and sell futures,” Norgrove said. “People can taste and buy from a barrel before ageing, then we’ll package it up when it’s ready.”
The following morning, I drove down through the Alexander Valley – surely one of the most picturesque stretches of wine country anywhere – to Calistoga, the spa town famous for its natural mud baths. At Solage Calistoga, a hip spa resort (and a great spot to detox after indulging), I picked up its Michelin-starred chef Brandon Sharp, a beer enthusiast who agreed to join me for an afternoon of tasting. At his restaurant Solbar, Sharp offers a modest selection of beers on tap, including Napa Smith Brewery’s Cool Brew, a crisp, mildly hoppy pale ale that pairs nicely with Sharp’s robust, spicy dishes, such as his excellent chilli-rubbed pork cheek tacos.
For our first stop we dropped in on Brian Hunt, who operates Moonlight Brewery in an out-of-the-way farmhouse near Santa Rosa. A quick-witted Dennis Hopper look-alike, Hunt announced that he prefers his beer “dry and bitter, just like my personality”. His best-known brew, Death and Taxes, is a rich, malty black lager that’s surprisingly clean and crisp. “A hot weather beer,” said Hunt. “To me, it’s like drinking an iced coffee.”
We moved on to Hunt’s more adventurous brews like Left for Dead, a sour-mash dark ale with coffee aromas and tart, funky notes. Sharp remarked that it “would be smokin’ with a reuben sandwich’s rich salty, fatty, caraway flavours”. We also tried Legal Tender, an unhopped style of beer called gruit, which gets its astringency and woody, earthy flavours from redwood branches and herbs. “It tickles my fancy to make something people don’t know what to do with,” said Hunt. “I’m known for making weird-ass stuff.”
Downtown Santa Rosa is a prime destination for beer fanatics, especially because of our next stop, Russian River Brewing. Owner Vinnie Cilurzo has an almost cult following for his exotic and hop-heavy creations, especially his double IPA, Pliny the Elder, ranked among the world’s top 10 beers on the websites Beer Advocate and Ratebeer. Over lunch at Russian River’s convivial brewpub, we sampled Cilurzo’s other speciality, sour beers. Consecration, a mouth-puckering dark ale, boasted flavours ranging from burnt toffee to a tobacco-chocolate character as well as intense dried fruit notes that come from maturing the beer in cabernet barrels with 30 pounds of currants added to each cask.
On our way back to Solage – via the beautiful Petrified Forest Road (there’s a visitors’ centre with giant redwoods turned to stone 3.4m years ago) – Sharp and I made a stop at the Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery to sample a few beers from its house-only list, including a very good red ale. It’s a low-key spot that reflects Calistoga’s laid-back vibe. “It’s definitely the Haight-Ashbury of Napa Valley,” remarked Sharp. “A funky, tight-knit community, as much about wellness as wine.”
Afterwards, I headed to central Napa Valley and checked into the Hotel Yountville, contemporary yet rustic and a short walk from the town’s inviting shops and world-class restaurants such as The French Laundry, Bouchon and Redd. You don’t want to eat only pub grub in Yountville, said to have the highest concentration of Michelin stars per capita on the planet.
The next morning I picked up Jamey Whetstone, best known for the luxuriant pinot noirs he makes under his Whetstone Cellars label. He’s also an avid beer drinker, especially during harvest when, as he put it, “Nothing’s better after a long day than a couple of cold barley soups.”
Together we drove to the town of Sonoma to visit the Sonoma Springs brewery, started two years ago by a trained chemist named Tim Goeppinger. Goeppinger’s passion is German-style beers and in his no-frills tasting room – a few stools around a plain wooden bar – he poured us his excellent New Bavaria Roggenbier, a yeasty rye ale with banana and clove flavours, and Volkbier Kolsch, a crisp lager with floral and grapefruit notes.
Next, Whetstone and I headed to Lagunitas Brewing on the outskirts of Petaluma, which will boost its production from around 200 barrels a day a few years ago to more than 1,700 barrels a day once an expansion is completed later this year. At Lagunitas’ festive beer garden, guests can enjoy 20 different beers on tap and live music in the afternoons. Despite its growth, it retains an irreverent northern California spirit, evident in its cheeky labels. Take the one for a limited-release strong brown ale called Wilco Tango Foxtrot (or WTF), which reads: “A Malty, Robust, Jobless Recovery Ale! We’re not quite in the red, or in the black ... Does that mean we’re in the brown?”
After dinner on my last evening, I popped into Downtown Joe’s, an old standby in Napa with brusque bartenders, well-oiled patrons and close to a dozen English-influenced brews on tap. I ordered for a nightcap the dry, hoppy Golden Thistle Very Bitter Ale, purportedly first made by mistake. The menu actually likens it to “chewing on a thistle”. How could I resist?
When it was time to head back to San Francisco, I left myself a few extra hours to drive down the legendary Highway 1, where the scenery ranges from gently rolling meadows to windswept, vertigo-inducing sea cliffs. I paid a quick visit to the Stumptown Brewery, a roadside brewpub with a majestic back terrace that overlooks the Russian River. After sampling the colourfully named Rat Bastard, a clean, dry pale ale, I drove straight south for one last stop: the famed Hog Island Oyster farm on the edge of Tomales Bay. Looking out across placid waters under a late-afternoon sun, I enjoyed a half-dozen extra-small Pacifics, sweet and briny and fresh in the way that only oysters just pulled from the sea can be. And I washed them down with a local Bear Republic Racer 5. Of course.
Details Rooms at H2 in Healdsburg start at $205 (www.h2hotel.com) Solage Calistoga spa has 89 urban loft/country cottage bungalows from $325 (www.solagecalistoga.com) The 80 rooms at Hotel Yountville start at $395 (www.hotelyountville.com)
Inhotim - Bernardo Paz - Departures
Far from the urban centers of Rio and São Paulo, Departures explores the visionary world of Bernardo Paz’s art-filled paradise.
By Stephen Wallis on May 13, 2010
Out in the Brazilian countryside, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there’s a place where spectacular outdoor sculptures and buildings filled with top-tier artworks are improbably scattered across lush tropical gardens, wooded slopes, and open fields. This place, the dream of an art world Fitzcarraldo, is also home to one of the largest botanical collections on the planet, with dozens of rare species. And if its eccentric founder, 59-year-old Brazilian mining magnate Bernardo Paz, realizes his vision, it’ll eventually include a boutique inn, a hotel and convention center, a science exploratorium, and a whole lot more art.
Word is just beginning to spread about the Instituto Cultural Inhotim, located in the hills outside Brumadinho, a small town some 40 miles from Brazil’s third-largest city, Belo Horizonte, and several hours’ drive from either Rio or São Paulo. Getting here from abroad takes some effort. Which is why, for the moment, the place remains mostly a destination for locals and art world insiders. Only open to the public since 2006, Inhotim is one of those way-off-the-beaten-path spots, like Marfa, Texas, or the Japanese island of Naoshima, that lure knowing pilgrims in search of a cultural experience that’s not easily had—unique, even. And Inhotim certainly is that.
From the moment you pass through the gates, the perfect cobblestones, the manmade lakes, and the stately allé of eucalyptus trees (not to mention the heavily armed guards) make it instantly clear that you’re entering a world far removed from the conspicuous poverty that surrounds it. Elegant black swans squawk at each other in manicured plantings next to a lake, oblivious to Dan Graham’s glass pavilion nearby, its simultaneously reflective and transparent surfaces interacting with the hills, water, and sky. Across the lake, several huge slabs in pink and yellow and orange by Hélio Oiticica form a playfully utopian public square, a Tropicália vision of Stonehenge, perhaps.
Through the gardens, designed by Paz in collaboration with legendary Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, you chance upon such works as Simon Starling’s upside-down sailboat, which rests on its mast in a small clearing, looking both comically misplaced and absolutely right at home. Head in one direction and you arrive at a lakeside glass house containing a riotously red tangle of a sculpture by the Brazilian artist Tunga. Wander up a hill in another direction and you come to a circular glass pavilion by Doug Aitken with a hole at its center, several hundred feet deep, inside which geological microphones capture subtle growls and hums from the earth below. As you gaze out into the forest, straining to hear, a hyperawareness of your surroundings washes over. It may also inspire one of those wondrous “Where am I?” moments that seem to happen all around Inhotim.
“It is the most beautiful place in the world,” says Paz in his heavily accented English during a conversation over lunch about his vision of Inhotim as a model for an enlightened “contemporary life,” his unconventional art center being just one component. Paz, who has a silver mane of hair, intense blue eyes, and slightly ruddy cheeks, exudes a mix of charm, confidence, and distracted ambition. He can move quickly, sometimes awkwardly, between points. “The collection is not important, the place is,” he tells me, later adding, obliquely, that “art comes before technology—it shows you the path.” He occasionally speaks in aphorism-like phrases such as “Nothing’s important, everything’s important.” While some of this can be attributed to his imperfect English, he also has the air of a mystic talking about his personal Shangri-La.
It’s an impression shared by many who come to Inhotim. As one art world visitor, who prefers to remain anonymous, recounts, “Bernardo sort of emerged from the foliage in a T-shirt and a pair of shorts, having just worked out, and proceeded to chain-smoke and give an hour-and-a-half monologue on his vision of the future. I had this extraordinary feeling at the beginning of the conversation that I was sitting with a lunatic. But he’s very charismatic and engaging, and by the end of it I was thinking, This is really amazing.”
And it is. On a perfect blue-sky day last year, two of Inhotim’s three curators led me on a tour of the center, which is essentially an accumulation of art experiences as you move around the grounds. “It’s a place for getting lost and creating your own path,” says Rodrigo Moura, the Brazilian member of the international curatorial team. As we strolled along a leafy walk between buildings, head curator Allan Schwartzman, an American based in New York, described how Inhotim was conceived in very deliberate opposition to the conventional white-box museum, which can be “a kind of sensory-deprivation tank.” Here, he says, “the experience of art is intentionally integrated into one’s relationship with the natural landscape.”
As the institute has grown, Paz has put more and more control of the art program in the hands of his curators (the third is Jochen Volz, a German who helped organize the last Venice Biennale). Under the trio’s guidance, the collection has become more international—and more internationally trendy, though it’s certainly not assembled by checking off a list of today’s must-haves. There’s no Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, or Richard Prince. No Richard Serra or James Turrell. There’s not much in the way of paintings and only a modest number of photographs. The focus is on large-scale and often specially commissioned installations by artists such as Matthew Barney, Doris Salcedo, Cildo Meireles, Pipilotti Rist, Adriana Varejão (who is now Paz’s wife—his fifth), and Chris Burden.
One of Inhotim’s coups was getting Burden to reprise his famous Beam Drop, a work originally created in 1984 at Artpark in Lewiston, New York, and destroyed three years later. It involved releasing several dozen steel i beams of different sizes from a 150-foot crane into a huge pit of wet concrete. An exercise in controlled chance, the resultant sculpture sits dramatically in a clearing on a grassy slope, its thicket of variously colored and angled beams set against the mountains and the open sky. It is, in its raw physicality, a kind of sculptural equivalent of the action paintings produced by Jackson Pollock.
“It’s the best piece Chris Burden ever made,” says Paz, who is prone to speaking in superlatives. He tells me about the time Olafur Eliasson, the artist behind the big waterfalls project in New York City a couple of years ago, “came to Inhotim and saw that it would be the best museum of its kind in the world.” The goal, of course, is nothing less. Then again, there really isn’t anything of Inhotim’s kind anywhere.
The full scope of Paz’s ambitious vision includes a sizable amount of non-art development on the 3,000-acre property and adjacent sites. One of the first planned projects is a 40-room inn that will serve as a guesthouse for visitors. A feasibility study funded by the center is currently being done on adding passenger service to the industrial rail line running between Brumadinho and Belo Horizonte, which would make it much more convenient to get to Inhotim. Later will come a science center focusing on biodiversity and climate change, a couple of larger hotels, and, eventually, in partnership with the regional government, a convention facility.
Paz has lived here for years and still owns mining businesses in the region. As a result, he feels obliged to give something back to the nearby communities. He employs more than 400 locals, including what seems like an entire army of young adults in green T-shirts who patrol the grounds as guards and guides. The center hosts more than 30,000 students per year, and it’s an increasingly popular attraction among Brazilians. On a typical weekend Inhotim, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, draws 1,500 to 3,000 visitors. And international museum groups are coming through with increasing regularity. In a country where contemporary art receives limited support, Paz has emerged as its most important patron.
Since becoming a nonprofit institution and opening to the public, Inhotim has maintained a robust pace of growth. Nine new art projects, including those by Aitken, Burden, and Barney, were unveiled last fall, and the hope is to have at least one major opening every year for the foreseeable future. There are currently at least a dozen projects in various stages of planning and another dozen under consideration. Among those on the horizon are adapting the site of an old chapel on the property to display an Edenic video installation by Pipilotti Rist (originally shown in Venice’s Church of San Stae) and converting a farmhouse into galleries for a series of paintings by Carroll Dunham. A bit farther out is a new, 40,000-square-foot, three-level building that will become the center’s primary space for temporary displays.
All this initiated by a man who claims he never plans anything. “The important thing,” Paz says, “is to live during the time that you have. If I do everything I want to do, I will make a small difference.” Creating Inhotim has become Paz’s lifework and, as he noted to me, a legacy for his six children.
“Bernardo is a force,” says Schwartzman. “You often hear that as a kind of cliché about people, but in his case it’s accurate. He’s a visionary who believes that contemporary art can change the world, and he is inspiring at the highest level.”
Leaving the sanctuary of Inhotim, it was difficult to imagine the place doing a great deal for Brazil’s poor, let alone for the entire planet. But I thought back to my walks through the gardens and my encounters with the art, where time slowed and I felt an intensity of experience. And that, for me, is enough to sign on to Bernardo Paz’s unique, undeniably compelling dream.
The Instituto Cultural Inhotim is located outside the town of Brumadinho, about 40 miles south of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the Minas Gerais state. Getting there and dealing with logistics on the ground takes some effort, but the São Paulo–based travel company Matueté will set up everything for you, including customized itineraries with trips to the region’s historic Baroque cities that lie along the colonial Portuguese gold routes. 55-11/3071-4515; matuete.com.
Staying in Belo Horizonte
Until Inhotim builds a guesthouse (still a couple of years away), the best option if you plan to spend more than a day visiting Inhotim—and one day probably isn’t enough to see it all—is to base yourself in Belo Horizonte. The only direct flights are from Miami, so a connection through either Rio or São Paulo on TAM Airlines is usually required. The reliable Mercure Belo Horizonte Lourdes isn’t luxurious, but it has comfortable rooms and an English-speaking staff. From $140. At 7315 Avda. do Contorno; 55-31/3298-4100; mercure.com.
Belo Horizonte is home to several buildings by the father of modern Brazilian architecture, Oscar Niemeyer, the most important of which are located in a park in the Pampulha suburb. Most buildings are open to the public, including a former glass-walled casino that’s now a small art museum, and the jewel-like São Francisco de Assis church, with its wave-form roof and blue-and-white mosaics.
Where to Eat
Chef Nelsa Trombino does excellent rustic mineiro dishes like tutu à mineira (seasoned mashed beans served with pork) at Restaurante Xapuri ($20; 260 Rua Mandacarú, Belo Horizonte; 55-31/3496-6198). A very local thing to do is to eat at one of the many botecos, casual, often open-air bars like Estabelecimento (160 Rua Monte Alegre; 55-31/9666-1569) that serve small, rich plates and lots of beer. (Don’t assume English will be spoken.) During the annual Comida di Buteco in April–May, these botecos compete with one another in different categories, including best dish, with the winner decided by public vote.
The center (Rua B, 20, Inhotim, Brumadinho; 55-31/3227-0001; inhotim.org) is open from Wednesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hiring transportation is recommended, and arrangements can be made through Inhotim. Guided tours of the art installations, galleries, and botanical gardens are available. Creating your own path around the grounds and getting “lost” is part of the experience, but be sure to make time to visit the outlying pavilions by Doug Aitken and Matthew Barney and, in a different direction, Chris Burden’s Beam Drop. The very good café offers a full lunch menu.
The “Gold Cities”
To the south of Belo Horizonte, two of the Portuguese colonial cities that rose to prominence during the region’s gold mining era in the 18th century make for fascinating day trips with their stunning Baroque churches: Ouro Preto, a unesco World Heritage site (about a two-hour drive), and the even more charming Tiradentes (about three hours), which is also home to an elegant inn, the Solar da Ponte (from $215; 55-32/3355-1255; solardaponte.com.br) and very good restaurants such as Tragaluz (dinner, $50; 52 Rua Direita; 55-32/9968-4837).
Jonathan Horowitz - Architectural Digest
Jonathan Horowitz mines politics, social issues, and pop culture to create works of unsettling allure
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted May 11, 2016·Magazine
A few years ago, New York artist Jonathan Horowitz found himself with “many, many half-full cans of strange-colored paint,” he says—surplus from an earlier project. So he decided to see what he could do with them. At first he mostly dabbed the paint around the center of canvases, but he soon began flinging with abandon, splattering every inch of the surfaces, not to mention the walls of his Bronx studio. The resulting works are chromatic supernovas. “I never really know how they are going to turn out,” says the artist, who also notes that the pieces have an environmental conceit. “I see them as a repository for something that would have gone in a landfill.”
These “Leftover Paint Abstractions,” as Horowitz calls them, are making their debut in an exhibition at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, the Greenwich, Connecticut, museum established by megacollector Peter Brant. On view May 8 through October, the show focuses on the past decade of Horowitz’s 25-year career, during which he has addressed issues ranging from war to gay rights to animal welfare while routinely slinging sardonic arrows at consumer culture, the media, and celebrity. He’s known for cleverly mixing pop and politics, irony and earnestness, often incorporating art-historical references.
At the Brant there are works devoted to Mel Gibson, Anthony Weiner, and Beyoncé; a glittery rainbow flag that riffs on Jasper Johns’s iconic series; and paintings by friends and assistants who’d been instructed to copy freehand—with varying degrees of success—Mirror #2 by Roy Lichtenstein. The centerpiece is November 4, 2008, a room-size installation documenting Barack Obama’s first White House win, with CNN and Fox News coverage from the day replaying on opposing monitors surrounded by presidential portraits. “With the election coming up, it seemed like the right time to look back,” Horowitz says.
Also on display is the first of his now-celebrated dot-painting projects, in which he invites strangers to render a solid black circle on a small canvas. Each contributor receives a $20 check, and their creations are combined into large grids. “I see the dot works as populations,” says the artist. “Each dot, with its variations, is a kind of portrait of the person who made it.”
Time Inc. offices - Interior Design
Time Inc.'s Vibrant New Headquarters by Studios Architecture
September 29, 2016
By Stephen Wallis
When Time Inc. announced that it would be leaving the storied Time & Life Building, the decision was about more than just finances and appeasing shareholders. The business founded by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden in 1922 had evolved from a group of traditional print magazines into an increasingly integrated portfolio of digitally focused, multi-platform brands. As a result, the Mad Men–era Midtown office tower by Harrison, Abramovitz & Harris—where bar carts had famously rolled down the hallways—no longer suited Time Inc.’s needs.
Meanwhile, its bumpy transition into the new media landscape, accompanied by a spin-off from Time Warner, left the company looking to make some bold, image-changing moves. So Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated, and more than a dozen other brands relocated to the financial district. The new headquarters by Interior Design Hall of Fame member Todd DeGarmo, CEO of Studios Architecture, occupies six levels of a building completed in 1988 by Cesar Pelli & Associates as part of a complex now called Brookfield Place.
As reinvented by DeGarmo, the interior is almost entirely open-plan. Private offices account for only 6 percent of the desks, a huge change from the Time & Life Building, where the number was more than 10 times that. There are also shared video and photo studios, an array of versatile meeting spaces, and an auditorium that hosts star-studded premieres.
Everything has been conceived with an eye toward interaction, efficiency, and flexibility. And lest there be any doubt that Time Inc. is more than a magazine company, the first stop for many visitors is a reception area where, just beyond the glass doors to the video studios’ control room, an array of screens is clearly visible. The message is immediate and unmistakable.
“The new space conveys energy and collaboration,” Time Inc. executive vice president Gregory Giangrande says. “We also needed the work we do—print, digital, video, photography, live events—to be a transparent part of the environment.”
But it took some persuading for Studios, which consulted on Time Inc.’s real-estate search, to convince executives that this location was the right fit, given its existing condition. “We had to help them imagine that it could be something spectacular,” DeGarmo says. That meant looking beyond the idiosyncratically configured, sprawling floor plates, the 8-foot ceilings, and the small windows.
Ultimately, those expansive floor plates helped to clinch the deal, as they offered the opportunity to bring multiple brands together while reducing the overall footprint to 700,000 square feet, down from 1.4 million at the Time & Life Building. The horizontal adjacencies would support the major restructuring the company has announced to further integrate editorial and business operations. “This is key to the reinvention of Time Inc.,” DeGarmo says. “From a design perspective, it was about reflecting how the brands are no longer stand-alone silos.”
The challenge, associate principal Joshua Rider adds, was “to make sure the spaces didn’t feel too confusing to navigate.” One solution was to carve out a top-to-bottom vertical circulation route, with open staircases flanked by lounges and self-serve coffee bars. Dubbed the Boulevard, this central artery promotes movement while encouraging informal meetings and “casual collisions,” as Rider puts it.
Animating walls along the Boulevard and serving as reminders of a rich corporate history, blowups from the Life Picture Collection include Audrey Hepburn backstage at the 1956 Academy Awards and models placing bets at the old Roosevelt Raceway horse track in Westbury, New York, in 1958. Furnishings mix vintage pieces, such as chairs and stools designed specifically for Time Inc. by Charles and Ray Eames, with current models of those designs and contemporary additions. “A lot of the new furniture we brought in is big, because these spaces are so bombastic,” DeGarmo explains. “Plus, upholstery was a way to introduce color.”
For the office areas, the aesthetic is subtly modulated by a palette of blue, red, and purple, with the dominant color varying by location. Time Inc. senior vice president for real estate Donna Clark explains that the priority was to “avoid a trading-floor look.” Above the rows of workstations, where employees can plug in their laptops, TVs flicker silently, creating a newsroom atmosphere.
People, InStyle, Essence, and the other brands now share a fashion storage area, and nearly all studio photography is shot in the same location. The video studios have allowed Time Inc. to ramp up production of Web series such as Fortune Live and SI Now. Food & Wine has a camera-ready test kitchen and a dedicated wine vault with a 3,500-bottle capacity and an area for tastings.
In the evening, the cafeteria can double as an events space hosting up to 400 people. Employees and guests take advantage of its terrace, complete with lush grasses and Hudson River views. That’s a long way from the Hemisphere Club, the members-only restaurant once perched at the top of the Time & Life Building, but this new power-lunch spot has its own undeniable appeal.
Project Team: Tomas Quijada; Randall Stogsdill; Elena Koroleva; Fei Chen; Lindsay Homer: Studios Architecture. Kugler Ning Lighting Design: Lighting Consultant. Airspace: Graphics Consultant. Arup: Theatrical, Acoustical, Audiovisual Consultant. Syska Hennessy Group: Audiovisual Consultant. Thornton Tomasetti: Structural Engineer. Robert Derector Associates: MEP. C.W. Keller & Associates: Metalwork, Woodwork. Jonathan Metal & Glass: Metalwork, Glasswork. Ferra Designs: Metalwork. Eastern Millwork: Woodwork. Coyle & Company; Drive21: Signage Workshops. Turner Construction Company: Construction Manager. VVA Project Managers & Consultants: Project Manager.
Jaguar XKSS - Architectural Digest
Tatiana Bilbao - Architectural Digest
Mexican Architect Tatiana Bilbao Reimagines Smart Affordable Housing
Text by Stephen Wallis
Posted September 6, 2016·Magazine
The architecture field, it seems, has rediscovered its conscience, with recent temperature-taking biennial exhibitions casting a spotlight on projects that are socially engaged and economically sustainable. Indeed, some of the industry’s buzziest names have become stars by doing work that is about doing good—not least Tatiana Bilbao. Tellingly represented at both the Chicago and Venice architecture biennials this past year, the Mexico City–based talent has been winning international accolades for a diverse practice that’s grounded in a humanitarian spirit, whether she’s designing a dramatic mountainside villa, a sleek university technology center, an art-filled botanical garden, or smart affordable housing.
Bilbao’s prototype for an adaptable low-cost home became one of the most talked-about exhibits in the Chicago show. Conceived to address Mexico’s housing shortage, her design incorporated years of research. After interviewing workers to learn how they want to live, Bilbao devised a two-story, two-bedroom modular structure that, at 775 square feet, is not only significantly larger than the minimum mandated by Mexican regulations but can also easily be expanded as a family grows, with terraces that can become extra rooms and double-height spaces to which mezzanines can be added. Though the model featured a concrete-block core with lightweight wood shipping pallets used for some walls, the homes can be made from different materials to adapt to a variety of settings. Around 20 houses have already been constructed in Ciudad Acuña, along the Texas border, while plans are under way to build as many as 3,000 per year in the southern state of Chiapas. Each dwelling will cost around $7,000, with the government covering a portion, based on need.
“Architecture really can change your life,” Bilbao says. “I take that responsibility seriously. At some point the profession had lost sight of that, and we have to realize what we have in our hands.”
Though Bilbao tends to prefer elemental forms and humble materials even when a client and budget allow greater freedom, she doesn’t shy away from bold gestures when context calls for them. Her 2011 Ventura House (which she describes as “a lab of architectonic experiences”) is an arresting cluster of pentagonal volumes on a mountain overlooking Monterrey. And a nearby estate she’s doing for members of the same family will eventually feature three separate structures, envisioned as a study in materials: One is clad in mirrored glass, one in wood, and one in custom-patterned ceramic blocks. “It’s really about embracing the beauty of the site,” says Bilbao, who insists on the close involvement of her clients, preferring to think of them as the true designers and of herself and her team as merely “the translators.”
Bigger commissions continue to roll in. The Pritzker Prize–winning firm Herzog & de Meuron tapped Bilbao to create three residential buildings (two with low-income units, one with market-rate apartments) as part of a major development in Lyon, France, while the University of Monterrey has enlisted her to design a million-square-foot student center next to its signature Tadao Ando building. Already spending lots of time in the U.S.—teaching at Yale and, this fall, Columbia—the in-demand Bilbao expects to soon announce her debut project here. No doubt it will be the first of many. tatianabilbao.com
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