L’Italia è famosa in tutto il mondo per il suo raffinato artigianato tramandato da generazione in generazione ma anche per l’elegante creatività e l’abilità di progettare design che attraversano il tempo. In Italia ci sono molte imprese a gestione familiare che sono riuscite a raggiungere una clientela internazionale. Versace, Brunello Cucinelli, Trussardi, Natuzzi sono solo alcuni dei marchi creati da famiglie nel nostro paese: dopo tutto sappiamo tutti che gli Italiani sono persone di famiglia.
Queste imprese sono arrivati al successo, sono sopravvissute e hanno imposto il loro nome perché sono riusciti a mantenere la qualità di quello che producono ma anche a stare al passo del tempo anche grazie a collaborazioni illustri.
Fornace Brioni è stata creata nel 1920 dalla famiglia Brioni e fin da allora produce pavimenti in terracotta. La fabbrica è vicino Mantova, a Gonzaga ed è ancora dalla quarta generazione della famiglia (Alessio e AlbertoBrioni).
Fornace Brioni sta vivendo un periodo di estrema popolarità grazie alla loro storia nella produzione della terracotta e grazie anche al matrimonio con l’architetto Cristina Celestino, direttore creativo del brand dal 2007.
Cristina Celestino ha disegnato alcune collezioni per Brioni: Scenograficaprende inspirazione dalle scenografie Barocche;Giardino delle Delizie è ispirata delle grotte dei giardini rinascimentali; Giardino all’Italiana è basato dall’idea di disegnare la natura.
A seguire alcune immagini delle collezioni di Fornace Brioni disegnate da lei. Non sorprende se sono così diffusamente instagrammate.
Ai piedi del Monte Rosa (dal colore che prende in certi momenti della giornata), in una sorte di valle tempestata di massi caduti come briciole dalle parete rocciose, siede un rifugio costruito nel 1925 e ri-decorato nel 1980 (vedi i tavoli in formica), il Rifugio Zamboni-Zappa.
Ho passato una notte lì con Alex e Giulio e all’occasione ho fatto almeno una trentina di foto. Svegliarsi in questa location meravigliosa e fare colazione in questo rifugio dagli interni così particolari, è stata sicuramente un’esperienza da rifare.
Il rifugio si adagia proprio sotto la parete Est del Monte Rosa, offrendo un punto di vista unico sull’imponente massiccio. Per arrivare al rifugio, bisogna prendere due seggiovie da Macugnaga (o camminare, dipende dalle tue gambe) e poi arrampicarsi per sentieri panoramici e ghiacciai per circa un’ora (anche in questo caso, dipende dalle tue gambe).
Il rifugio è gestito da una coppia molto carina e amichevole e ospita la notte o anche solamente a pranzo.
Io vi raccomando vivamente di dormire lì (non vi scordate di prenotare).
Quando, a metà pomeriggio, l’ultimi gruppetti di visitatori va via, ti ritrovi all’ombra delle vette del Monte Rosa, circondato dalla forza della natura, in una solitudine epica ma al protetto fra le pareti di questo bellissimo rifugio.
La mia storia d’amore con le montagne è cominciata quando, ad appena un mese di vita, mia madre mi ha portato ai piedi del Monte Rosa. Da allora, praticamente ogni anno vado ad omaggiare questa montagna imponente e a carpirne un pò di energia sacra.
Mentre aspetto di poter andare, vi farò vedere un albergo che siede perfettamente fra le cime Dolomitiche, nell’area sciistica vicino a Madonna di Campiglio.
L’architettura è stata ispirata dalle case del luogo e conversa con il territorio circostante attraverso le numerose e spettacolari finestre nelle ali dedicate alla spa e negli spazi comuni, come anche nelle accoglienti camere.
Angelot -una pasticceria a Xiasha in Cina- nasce dalla visione e dall’esperienza di due giovani ma ben navigati architetti cinesi, Yan Zhang e Jianan Shan, fondatori dello studio Say Architects.
Gli architetti sono riusciti a risolvere evidenti svantaggi della struttura, come la porta d’ingresso recessa dalla facciata ed il fatto che la finestra a tutta altezza all’interno non ha una bella vista. Non hanno cercato di nascondere questi svantaggi ma li hanno resi dei punti focali, degli elementi di forza.
L’entrata, ricoperta in ceramiche fatte a mano, è curva e accompagna i clienti all’interno, rivelando la sala da pranzo lentamente, come una sorpresa. Per dare un senso alle due differenti altezze fra il livello dell’entrata (molto basso) e la sala da pranzo (molto alto), hanno creato, ad unione, uno spazio con le utilità. Nella stanza principale hanno usato delle tende in cemento armato in fibra di vetro per ammordire la rigidità visiva del muro e delle tende semi-trasparenti per nascondere la non attraente vista. Qualche albero di limone- ciliegina sulla torta- porta un pò di natura all’interno della pasticceria.
Fotografie di Hao Zhang, cortesia di Say Architects.
A few weeks ago we spoke about the Tommaso Spinzi Design collection Origini and about how much Tommaso’s design work is directly influenced by his experiences and passions. Origini is a collection inspired by the rediscovery of his city: Tommaso recently moved back to Milan having spent a few years working as an interior and furniture designer in Switzerland, Australia and New York. It seems he has returned brimming with energy and numerous new projects up his sleeve.
Last week Spinzi Design has presented three collections live –Lamè, Planar and Meccano-at the Digital Design Week for the Fuorisalone (from 15th to 21th June, the digital version of the Furniture Show that couldn’t take place because of Covid-19).
His designs are limited edition, made with a number of different materials but they are all very sculptural. Palladium, for instance, the stool and occasional table that you can see pictured below, is a very graceful intercourse of a straight and curved line, of a steel rectangle or disk and a steel stripe. It is one of my favourite Spinzi designs for its understated elegance and its versatility.
Casa Hoyos, a boutique hotel in San Miguel De Allende, has been owned by the same Hoyos family for 4 generations. The hotel occupies a typical colonial Spanish manor in one of the most historical city in Mexico and it has been designed by AG Studio.
The 16 rooms hotel focus around the courtyard and its archways tiled with the colours of the family shield, black and peach, contrasted by walls tiled in a pungent yellow.
The choice of furniture is original, the colours and shapes of the pieces, many of which were custom designed for this project, are sapiently mixed. The result manages to be innovative and traditional at the same time, preserving the spirit of the place.
We know that IKEA has always been upfront in design research and has always worked to find new environmentally friendly solutions for packaging and producing but this time they have outdone themselves. On United Nations International Bee Day, May 20 IKEA’s research and design lab SPACE10 has teamed up with design studio Bakken & Bæck and industrial designer Tanita Klein and they have launched Bee Home, a free and open-sourced design that allows everyone to design your very own Bee Home in just a few minutes.
This is how it works: “Step 1: Design. Visit Bee Homewebsite and design your own Bee Home based on predefined parameters. This means you not only select the size, height and visual expression, but also define if you want to place your Bee Home on a rooftop, a backyard or on a balcony. This makes the design process fun, intuitive and easy enough that it can be done in a matter of minutes. Step 2: Fabricate. When satisfied with your design, you download the design files instantly and for free, which you then forward to your local makerspace and have them make it locally and on demand. On https://www.beehome.design/ you can find a list of makerspaces in your local area. Step 3: Place.The final step is to place your Bee Home and plant some flowers.”
Bees are under increasing threat of extinction, as Myles Palmer, Project Lead at Bakken & Bæck explains: “To reconnect with the many bees in our environment, we need to give back what we have taken from them: their homes. By designing new interactive experiences, we can create a more sustainable manufacturing process for doing so: one that is truly open-sourced, informed by local living and customisable for many contexts and uses.”
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 Linenare 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
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
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
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!
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.
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 Childdid 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.