31 Maggio 2020 / / +deco

I have known Kate Wesson for a few years now. We have spent some lovely weekends in Rome together walking around and eating delicious food. Kate is a keen food explorer, a curious eater and passionate about all things related to food and its presentation . It is not a coincidence that she has had so much success working as a food stylist and food writer, she boasts a long list of brands and agencies that she has collaborated with. I love Kate’s instagram because it shows her passion for beautiful food. She posts images of what she cooks on a daily basis; her Instagram makes you salivate! Her style is honest and attractive, as food should always be.I recently asked Kate a few questions about her work and how to make this lockdown more yummy.

When did you decide to become a food stylist ?

“I made the transition from chef to food stylist fairly early on in my career at the age of 25. Working in the food industry back in the early 2000’s the hours were long poorly paid and tough. I had always enjoyed the visuals of food as much as creating something that tastes amazing. I love the different visual texture and colour combinations you can create and I recognised that the plating of dishes was often where I felt I was able to express myself the most.”

What’s been your most interesting jobs as a food stylist?

“As a very small scale micro influencer I was flown out to the Italian island of Pantelleria to document the food and culture of this beautiful place to help promote the film A Bigger Splash starring Tilde Swinton and Ralf Finns that was set on the island. I had 2 great guides who took me around  and we visited the local producers, made fresh ricotta and visited the terraces where the famous pantelleria capers are grown. The island was quiet as we were out of season so we had some restaurants opening especially for us serving some delicious local dish’s cooked only for us. I loved hearing the story of how certain dishes have come about and meeting the producers who have such a passion and finding a way of documenting this through a series of images was a career highlight.” 

How do you find cooking these days without being able to pop to the shops whenever you want to get ingredients? 

“I’ve always been a creative cook but the current situation has really pushed me creatively to  try new combinations out and I am often substituting ingredients with success (but not always!) sometimes I’ve had some real wins. The main ingredient that seems to be difficult/ near impossible to get hold of is wheat flour, it seems the only flour often left on the shelf is buckwheat and I have enjoyed using this although I am missing making pasta as I’ve run out of 00 flour now. 

I have never liked food waste and recently I seemed to have stepped this up a gear too and I don’t seem to waste a single scrap any more. All stems, cores and cheese rinds are kept in a big tub in the freezer and when amassed made into stocks perhaps with a chicken carcass or left over bone from the freezer. Left over chicken skin from a Sunday roast is rendered off for its fat and the left over crispy skin is used to top a ramen or crumbled into a salad. Any peelings like potato, carrot or artichoke are crisped in olive oil and salt and eaten as a snack. This morning I found 3 bruised overly soft pears in the fruit bowl normally I would have thrown them out but instead I whizzed them up in my blender with some maple syrup, mixed spice and melted coconut oil and used this mixed to make delicious granola by mixing it with some oats, whole nuts and seeds and some chopped stem ginger. I love this new found thrifty behaviour and it seems to be spreading I hope when this is all over its something we all still manage to keep hold of. 

Ive also been foraging outside when I’m out for our daily 1 hour of exercise at the moment I can pick up nettle tops, wild garlic and wisteria.” 

Can you recommend interesting places to shop online for interesting table ware? 

“As stylists we often go to the London prop houses to source and hire tableware/linens background surfaces and all things food related these places are like an Aldines cave full of treasures. When shopping for home or an extra special piece for a photo shoot : Kana Ana, David Mellor, La Tuile a Loup, Texit Vicens, Volga Linen are a few of my favourite places to source from.”

What’s your favourite cuisine?

“I love to explore many different cuisines, food in the UK is very encompassing and London has some amazing restaurants from all around the globe. I find my taste change all the time, we are loving south American food at the moment ceviche and tacos have been something we have cooked a lot recently. I am also enjoying fermenting vegetables and experimenting with this technique which is handy to keep foods for longer during the lock done days.”

All photographs are taken and styled and all the food prepared by Kate Wesson, as the amazing Japanese Okonomiyaki Pancakes Recipe is that you can find below.

KATE’S LOCK DOWN JAPANESE OKONOMIYAKI PANCAKES RECIPE

Serves 2 

Ingredients 

150g plain flour 

2 eggs 

150ml water

1 tsp baking powder 

salt 

200g Finely shredded Chinese cabbage 

A handful of finely shredded kale 

A handful of shredded left over- chicken, chopped ham or grated cheddar cheese 

2 spring onions finely chopped 

1 tsp minced ginger 

70g finely chopped kimchi or sauerkraut or other fermented vegetable 

sunflower/rapeseed or groundnut oil 

4 tablespoons of okonomiyaki sauce or make your own by mixing together the following: 2 tbsp. Ketchup ,1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce ,1 tbsp. Honey, 1 tsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp. of mayonnaise, ideally from a squeezy bottle.

Extra optional toppings: 

A tbsp. of toasted sesame seeds/ black or white or both 

Finely sliced spring onion 

1 tbsp. pickled ginger 

sprinkle of chopped chilly

1 tbsp. siracha hot sauce 

A sprinkle of Bonito flakes 

A sprinkle of finely shredded nori seaweed 

A handful of chopped herbs such as chives or coriander 

Method 

  • Place the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Crack the eggs into the bowl and whisk in with 150ml of water until you have a smooth batter. 
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients, don’t be afraid to substitute with what you have left over as ingredients are very interchangeable but always making sure you include the cabbage. 
  • Heat a tbsp. of oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan over a medium heat; spoon in half the batter to make 2 large pancakes and cook until golden, carefully flipping to cook the reverse side and repeating the process with the remaining batter. Alternatively you can make several smaller ones by spooning in the batter and cooking in batches.  
  • When the pancakes are cooked on both sides, brush the top with a little of the okonomiyaki sauce until lightly glazed. Slide the pancakes onto plates and drizzle with the mayonnaise and a little more of the okonomiyaki sauce, sprinkle over the optional extra toppings and devour! 

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20 Maggio 2020 / / +deco

I have always wanted to title a post “Chunky but funky (sofas)”. That is it, I can mark this out of the list !

Kidding aside, I recently prefer sofas with legs, my choice goes to slender models, Scandinavian style. There are though some incredible design sofas that are in a way a bit bulky but that look absolutely fabulous. I have selected a few designed by incredible visionary designers and made by some of the most prolific design brands in Europe : Roche Bobois, Cassina, B&B Italia, Gufram, Ligne Roset. All these sofas are now part of the history of design and some of them have been exhibited in museums.

With original, eccentric shapes, they steal the show wherever they are put. In the last few years, these sofas manufacturers have added new vibrant colors and fabrics to their catalogues and they have launched limited edition versions of these models.

Which one is your favorite?

Bubble by Roche Bobois
Le Bambole by B&B
Uncover by Line Roset
LC3 by Cassina
Togo by Lignet Roset
Ploum by Lignet Roset
Betsy by Gufram
Facett by Ligne Roset

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12 Maggio 2020 / / +deco

Traveling with your mind and fantasy is a skill that we have developed over thousands of years but with the level of realism we’re now used to on TV and social media it seems we’re using our imagination less sometimes. The new abstract looks much more real.

Thanks to the technological evolution, we can create worlds that look like or are better than the one we live in, we can make objects with a complex printer and build idyllic spaces sitting at our desk.

This is what Studio Child did for Plenaire, a dynamic, sustainable British skincare brand. Che Huang and Alexy Kos designed the perfect lockdown escape, a place where most of us would rather be now. Using a 3D program, the prolific duo designed a house by the sea (maybe on an island), flooded by light and air. The rooms remind me of the white-washed Greek houses hugging hills that roll down to azure oceans or the southern Italian houses with sleek rounded edges and circular ceilings surrounded by olive groves. The furniture is spartan but chosen carefully: pieces by Pierre Paulin, Eero Aarnio and Greta von Nessen go together with summer objects like stray hats, shells, fans and amphoras.

Studio Child has nailed it again, I can’t wait to see their next project! In the meanwhile, check out one of their recent cool projects, Humble Pizza in London.

Images courtesy of Child Studio

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11 Maggio 2020 / / +deco

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that the background of +DECO homepage was drawn by me. Since I was a kid, I have enjoyed filling pages and pages of scribbles and doodles, mini forms that interlock and form patterns. The inspiration came from my cousin who used to write beautiful notes to me, with elegant hand-writing and similar patterns to those on my homepage.

Jason Chambers plays with shapes as well but in a more complex way. His world is clearly inspired by Picasso, by Surrealism but also by Cubism; it reveals many surprises. His drawings are fun and dreamy at the same time, they are an expression of a stream of consciousness, almost made by an inevitable necessity from the pen. If you look properly, between the interlinking of shapes and lines, eyes appear (many eyes), faces, mouths, letters, birds, butterflies, flowers, ears and limbs.

I hope that soon someone will ask Jason Chambers to do a massive mural in a city, it would look incredible and different and it would be a perfect-fit because his drawings represent the tingling city existence so well, which is a bit surreal and a bit ironic.

(Images courtesy of Jason Chambers)

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29 Aprile 2020 / / +deco

Poor my eyes: most of the time indoor and in front of a screen for hours every day. They fell so dry, I feel so sorry for them that publishing Lover’s Eye collection by Artefacto Madrid seems to me an original and fun way to apologize.

The Argentinian Santi Carbonari and Franco Donati source antique and vintage porcelain, restore it and “and stamp with (the) new designs through a careful process of high temperature vitrified. They have many collections of plates with different subjects but they are all fun and pop and original.

The decorations of the support of the antique or vintage porcelain complement and create a funky contrast with the fantastic and detailed prints representing tropical worlds, lunar places, collage beings, cartoon heroes and much more.

I wanted to publish at least other twenty plates!

Artefacto Madrid sells also prints, lights, t-shirts and glass objects.

The level of detail of the antique porcelain together with the quality and complexity of the prints makes these decorative plates pop and captivating.

For more porcelain on +DECO, use the search on the website or click here.

images courtesy of Artefacto Madrid.

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22 Aprile 2020 / / +deco

And just like that, traveling has become a distant memory, if not impossible. All of a sudden, borders have been closed and our immediate area where we live has became our whole world. Who knows how long for it will be that we won’t be able to take a plane, a train or a boat on a whim, not for work, pleasure or to explore, no matter how big the urge to escape is, no matter how much we want to visit a loved one.

What I like about blogging is that it allows me to make people travel from their desks to somewhere they might not imagine themselves going to, to inspire curiosity, to show readers new exciting things and places.

After Marrakech and the YSL Museum, Rome with the project by m2ft , Milan with Spinzi Design, today we are going to fly with imagination to Paris, to the sophisticated Galerie Jag.

Galerie Jag is where curator Jessica Barouch displays a carefully selected collection of objects and furniture by artists from all over the world.

The space is a cosy apartment in the 7th Arrondissement, displaying wonderful attention to detail and “beautify” (a word Jessica uses and that I love) by displaying numerous sculptural pieces that are a part of Galerie Jag’s collection.

Colors and materials play an important role in unifying all the artistic elements: warm white, black backgrounds, wood, earthy and mellow hues.

Designed by Yuko Nishikaya
Designed by Yuko Nishikaya
Designed by Floris Webben
Designed by Floris Webben
Designed by Michael Verheyden
Designed by Ryosuke Yazaki

(Images courtesy of JAG Galerie)

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16 Aprile 2020 / / +deco

The best 2020 outdoor furniture according to +DECO? Ayana by B&B Italia!

The collection designed by Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa is exactly what I would like for the terrace and garden I don’t have!

It combines the elegant simplicity of traditional Asian furniture, the longevity and solidity of wood , Scandinavian inspired shaped seats and a choice of fabulous, quality textiles for the upholstery (I absolutely love the fabrics shown in the photos below!).

What I like about this collection, apart from the looks, is that it is something you can live with and not be too precious with, something your kids will inherit because you’ll never get tired of it.


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10 Aprile 2020 / / +deco

There are some materials that bring back memories, that carry some degree of intimacy, even if we don’t know what they are called. They change according to people’s experiences in life and some are also related to specific geographical areas. I am sure that many people who live or grew up in Lombardia associate with Ceppo stone for instance. Ceppo stone, extracted mainly from the area near Lago D’Iseo, is a natural sedimentary stone with a beautiful warm color often used in architecture and interiors all over the world.

Today, in tribute to Lombardia, a region that is being so badly affected by the disruptive force of Covid 19, we are going to look at some gorgeous designs by Tommaso Spinzi which for me evoke nostalgic feelings and have a very contemporary refinement.

Tommaso Spinzi is a young sophisticated Interior and Furniture designer with an international pedigree and a studio in Milan called Spinzi Design that offers Interior Design, Furniture Design and Art Direction services.

In 2019 he designed the Origini Collection (Origini means Roots in English) using some recovered Ceppo stone and the frames of Mid- 20th Century Collection furniture.

The inspiration came when, having moved to Milan after many years abroad, Tommaso went for a ride on his motorcycle and saw some imposing historical architecture made from this elegant grey stone that looks like Conglomerate stone.

Origini is the result of this warm feeling of revival and procured nostalgia; the collection mixes different elements of stone, metal and brass with impressive character and uses original furniture legs from the 1950’s and blocks of recovered stone.

Each piece is unique, a statement and an investment.

(Photos courtesy Tommaso Spinzi, artwork on wall Dripping Face by Alessandro Paglia)

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31 Marzo 2020 / / +deco

Like a large part of the world’s population, I am on a lockdown because of the virus Covid-19 and I have been confined to my house for the past three weeks. This period has forced me to review some of my thought processes and points of view enhanced by the constant daily frenzy. This uncertain period has revolutionized the rhythm of our days, leaving a trail of lost appointments and meetings, leaving time for thoughts and reflection.

Outdoor spaces are now desolated and socialising is taking a new direction. On one side, the forced cohabitation has made us rediscover the joy of being together and the art of patience, on the other side, in the majority of the cases, relationships have been forced down the virtual route but maybe more frequent, sweetened by the fear.

We are seeing numerous photographs of the city where I live, Rome, empty and desolate as it has never been before and the ones I’m publishing here have caught my attention due to their impact.

It is a project by m²ft , an architecture studio established by Flavio Martella and Maria Vittoria Tesei based in Madrid and Rome.

They have had this to say::

“Rome. A chaotic, noisy, populated, busy, polluted, lively city. The images of the places and monuments of Rome are impossible to separate from the thousands of people who crowd it: they are the continuous layer that characterizes this city. Or at least the city before the coronavirus.

Today Rome presents itself, like many other cities in the world, in a vest in which it had never been seen. Pure architecture without people; pure form without users; pure urbanization without urban population; pure public space without public. A temporary scenario that has the flavour of the apocalyptic, reminding of dystopian tales and movies that were hoped to remain only in the collective imagination.

We knew in fact that we lived in a fragile reality, always close to collapse, but we didn’t think it could be so weak. But thanks to coronavirus we are entering a new era where all the past choices can be questioned, having tasted, even briefly, what we are facing.This is therefore a project that critically addresses the new urban situations that are emerging from the pandemic. It then displays the toxic atmosphere that is consciously and unconsciously attributed to the public space and to all situations related to it, accentuating the idea of fear that today is associated with it. To do so, we use a graphic style inspired by science fiction, to highlight how, until a few days ago, these situations seemed to have happened only in stories.”

Images courtesy of m²ft Studio

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21 Marzo 2020 / / +deco

The incredible Yves Saint Laurent Museum (incredible should be inseparable part of the name) is one of those pieces of architecture that just sits perfectly in the location where it was built and looks like it has always been there even if it has a very contemporary feeling.

I have a thing for bricks, especially red bricks. It might be because I grew up in Rome, among the Roman ruins and fascist architecture that used bricks frequently. Recently I developed a soft spot for traditional grey Chinese bricks as well, often used by the beautiful architecture firm Neri & Hu.

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech was designed by Studio KO on a plot of land close to the Jardin Majorelle; it covers an area of 3,908 square metres and hosts 2 exhibitions, has an auditorium, a library, a coffee shop, a restaurant and a bookshop. It was commissioned by Pierre Bergé, who recently died, in memory of his partner, the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

The architecture perfectly balances volumes and sinuous curves, different materials like the concrete of the reinforced structure, red brick made from industrial clay, the natural terracotta with a base in pre-cast terrazza of the outside facing and golden details.

Studio KO, founded by architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, hasn’t left anything to chance. The interiors are sublime. Bricks are used for patterns on the outdoor shell like wood is used to design patterns in the interiors.

Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is an example of elegance, a happy combination of forms and colors, the perfect homage to a master of fashion and a genius creative mind. It is no doubt one of my favourite pieces of architecture from last few years.

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Photographs by Dan Glasser, courtesy of Karla Otto Paris.

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