I spent a divine week of my summer exploring Mexico City. My hotel of choice was the much talked about Hotel Condesa DF and it did not disappoint. Of course, I left the hotel every day but truthfully I could have stayed there for hours on end absorbing every detail. Picture a neoclassical exterior revealing a thoroughly contemporary and uber chic interior courtesy of India Mahdavi. It was sublime. The best part was the central patio with three floors of white shutters opening to the sky. It gave a whole new meaning to the game of peek-a-boo.
Wallpaper is all the rage right now and we don’t see this trend going anywhere for a while. Now bring me some white walls and let’s go have some fun.
As the summer fog rolls through our city, I find myself retreating indoors for a dose of inspiration. Luckily, I don’t have to wander far to find it. Strut right on over to Gorgeous at the Asian Art Museum and feast your eyes (and soul) on a new kind of exhibit, one organized into fluid groupings that ask you to define what’s gorgeous to you. Words like Seduction, Dress Up, Danger and In Bounds frame the collection but the curators leave the rest to you. I like it.
Perhaps, I first became intrigued by the name. I mean, you don’t run across too many Barnaby Barfords out there. Well let me tell you that this fabulous name creates some seriously jaw-dropping works. Barford uses ceramics to explore some heady topics like the “Seven Deadly Sins” with wit and sarcasm. He’s perhaps best known for his sardonic rearrangement of mass market and porcelain figurines to demonstrate the irony of our contemporary lives. Picture Little Bo Peep spit-roasting her beloved sheep. It’s hardly warm and fuzzy but it makes you think.
I finally got to visit a home designed by an architect whose work I have greatly admired for years. The architect is Luis Barragan and this Mexico City casa he designed for one of his clients, did not disappoint.
Barragan was inspired by the Modernist movement but he rejected the “machine for living” approach in favor of one that embraced emotional architecture. He used bright vivid colors and surrounded his homes with super high walls to keep the focus on the architecture versus the view. One signature quirky nuance of his was to hang paintings slightly off-center. Why be predictable? The effect is dazzling.
While in Buenos Aires, I dove into the city’s art scene and was smitten by the works of Nicholas Garcia Uribiuru. Uribiuru catapulted himself onto the global art scene at the 1968 Venice Biennale where he dyed the canals bright green. That was just the shocking start for this masterful artist and environmental activist. Next came the East River, the Seine and the Riachuelo. Uribiuru cleverly used this new form of art, dubbed land art, to rally for conservation. What’s not to love about a man who puts his art to work for the greater good.
In this digital era, I still find it utterly satisfying to turn the pages of a magazine. This excitement is amplified when the pages are filled with gorgeous photos of stunning spaces. Enter Luxe SF, a feast for the eyes. The debut San Francisco edition is ready to behold, so grab a copy pronto and escape to the nearest cozy corner for a good old-fashioned read.
One of many side benefits of having my son back in San Francisco after four years on the other coast (a newly minted college grad, I might add) is that our beloved dog Barclay is back. I adore having the little guy at my feet, casually injecting the occasional bark lest we forget he’s around. Let’s face it, dogs truly are a woman’s best friend–’nuff said.
Emily from our office recently traveled to Zurich and returned positively giddy about the English artist Julian Opie’s exhibit along its Bahnhofstrasse. Words can’t really do justice to this energetic video installation that mimics busy people rushing down an urban sidewalk. The locals deemed it very “New York,” which seems quite plausible. New York or not, it’s a head-turner.
Showcases provide the ultimate blank canvas for a designer. You get to transform a space, typically one bestowed with good architectural bones, to your ultimate creative delight. It’s not a time to hold back.
This year, San Francisco’s own ODADA (Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates) designed a sitting room for Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York. The striking contrast of the traditional dark wood punctuated by modern swaths of white and cobalt blue creates an unexpected delight. I would even give it a “wow!”