Amsterdam Streetscape


Stilts & things that swing

My latest fad (after Atelier furniture) is stilted furniture & sculpture. Below is a list of what has contributed to my fascination:

1. Whilst lunching at the house of a Venetian artist, Helene Ferruzzi, I found a small catalogue of Marcello Chiarenz. Super beautiful- pics below.

2. At Palazzo Fortuny (a part of Venice Civic Museums open only when a special exhibition is taking place) during the Biennale, Axel Verdoodt had a 14-foot rolling A-frame ladder with platform standing room at the top. At eye level its frame was used as a ‘wall’ and had a screen for a video installation piece to play.

In another room, an artists pedestal stood tall with a pivotable top platform for one to draw or work on a sculpture. However to reach its top, one would have to be standing on stilts or a very high chair.

3. At Nacho Carbonell’s studio in Eindhoven, his free form creature-like objects had taken on new heights. A ladder lead to a cocoon space for one, suspended high in the air. A sandy organic finish completed his magic.

4. You might have seen Tim Walker’s cover of a hanging iron frame bed donning the cover of Casa Vogue many moons ago, & it is still a delight & inspiration to me. Recently I was looking at photographer Ditte Isager’s website & admired her swinging beds in this fab shoot (I have had the pleasure of shooting & knowing Ditte from living in NYC).

I am going to use these ideas when concepting for the island project & definitely going to include my version of the Moooi swing.


Dutch Design Week

After a pit stop in the Maldives to pitch for an island job, I swapped my bikini & Sperrys for a much warmer ensemble of jodhpurs & fur hat.

I met with the Anthropologie Home team including Keith Johnson & Mitzie to check out what’s hot & happening in the Netherlands. The DDW is held in & throughout Eindhoven & this year was scattered around the city in various buildings, museums, abandoned shells, carparks, schools & galleries.

An absolute highlight was meeting Rossanna Orlandi, the legendary Milanese shopowner & tastemaker. A wealth of information & generous in time & spirit. I look forward to visiting her at her shop in the near future.

These are my highlights in a picture story-


Pied-a-terre meets atelier

I am off to Paris to research & gather inspiration (amongst other things) for my upcoming renovation of The Society inc. A third level is to be added as my residence.

I imagine its exterior to be zinc lined with rounded detailed windows on the east & west sides, and a wall of glass panels & french doors on the south side. The north side may be brick.

I am creating something only I may want to live in but it will be a true reflection of me, my lifestyle & fit oh-so-perfectly with the personality of The Society inc. The interiors are yet to be decided but I will need a bed, a bath, a basin & spaces for my clothes, lots of light & room for ghosts, dreams & not yet imagined ideas, creations, thoughts, crafts & designs.

I cannot wait (!!!): to be choosing my favourite finishes & fixtures, working on the design of the spiral staircase, thinking parquetry, hardware, to be able to have exactly the things that make me tick underfoot, in my hand, to reclaim salvage, engage artists & forgers in craft nearly forgotten & to use all my knowledge of amazing suppliers both local & global.


Bronte House

This weekend is open garden at Bronte House, Myles Baldwin showed me his master crafting of this historic Sydneyside residence.

We meandered though the paths lined with Dahlias, Ginger plant, Roses, Jasmine, succulents and shadowed by Figs, palms, Kauri pine, Bamboo & other to-die-for specimens. As you access the lower rocky part of the garden, you discover a beautiful fountain surrounded by potted dinner plate Dahlias, not yet in flower (see my photo in The Stylist’s Guide to NYC pp. 33). Submerged in the pond are Hibiscus, Water lily (& other plants I can’t remember the names of) with fish swimming in its depths. Cruise down the succulents path to the oldest part of the garden which once made it to the beachfront. All ferny, fairy & rockery with tree trunks, rock Orchards and Staghorn ferns littering the way. Across to Lovers Lane with spectacular Lillies, palms & tall Ginger plants.

I visited the garden with my bestie, Sally Campbell. Her sister, artist Cressida Campbell has used this garden as her subject matter in her woodblocks & art pieces. A quick whiz of some of the lower rooms of the house revealed oversized flora & fauna installations which captured my imagination for my upcoming talk at the Museum of Sydney on Dec 7th (book through HHT).

These installations were also created by Myles & I couldn’t walk past the Prickly pear- so casual & simple. This all sung to my love of vistas, still-life, plants & flowers.


Museum of Jurassic Technology

Long ago I read a book called Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder. It was based on an out of the way place in LA that was around way before cabinet of curiosities reached the resurgence of coolness it now enjoys.

I have since wanted to visit the museum but to no avail for various reasons- until a recent 30 hour stint in La La Land.

An unassuming facade on Venice Boulevard, Culver City, it is a shade of green with an old brass buzzer engraved with its name, lovely and old school.

Due to my limited time & excuse of my next book, I made an appointment to view this enigma. The size of MJT is deceiving. We were greeted by Rachel who informed us that she would be leaving at 3pm with apologies. I was noon and the place appeared to be made up of just 3 rooms! Well, were we in for a surprise.

The museum is made up of two floors & roughly 20 rooms (I lost count so don’t quote me on that). Each room is intimate, dark & encourages you to look into, touch, listen or read. It is a realisation of one man’s (& his wife) vision.

The rabbit warren of rooms: part carneval, cabinet & curios, sideshow, history, circus, museum, gallery & exhibit. As you can see, it is impossible to categorise.

Each display is different with dioramas, holograms, microscopes, 3D glasses & listening devices installed for you to experience each installation in its own way. The installations are strange, intriguing & curious- but one wonders if these are historical or if they are fictional characters that have been created, philosoph-ied & imagined. Regardless, the experience is of marvel, joy, wonder, curiosity & mystery.

There is a big surprise on the top floor. You come out into a Moroccan Oasis of light after being in the dark for so long. It’s like your mind is being cleared from the huge amount of information intake downstairs and here you are cleansed and able to process all the wonderful things you have seen. There is a subtlety of colour, a bird singing in a large aviary and it is airy & light & lovely & white.

Note to self: leave plenty of time, hours disappear here.