Tag Archives: design

Frieze Week: Pavilion of Art & Design London

Last night, I headed down to the VIP Opening of the Pavilion of Art & Design in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, which will be the home of the hot pink palace until Sunday.

Pavilion is a reinvention of last year’s DesignArtLondon fair, with the new addition of contemporary art pieces.

Among the guests inside were the cream of the internation art community – the world’s wealthiest art dealers and collectors, distinguished art critics and mini Dasha Zhukovas clad in Hervé Leger and Louboutins (black, of course).

Pavilion art fair

This is a place where the buyer is treated like one of the family, sales are negociated over glasses of Ruinart champagne (I wangled a thimble full of fizz perfection) and the press are treated to an earlier lunch and preview, which I unfortunately missed.  

Pavilion features 45 of the world’s most prominent and influential dealers of contemporary art, design and decorative arts.  Galleries from Paris, London, Brussels, Milan, New York, Barcelona and Geneva are showing a covetable selection of fine art, antique jewellery, statement furniture and design pieces.

Skulls

As a self-confessed magpie, I spent a great deal of time pawing over exquisite jewellery created by some of Britain’s greatest contemporary artists presented by Louisa Guinness Gallery.

Jewellery has been a relatively unexplored medium in art and Louisa Guinness sought to change that by working with high-profile sculpters and painters to create ‘jewels of art’.

On display was a giant gold orb necklaces by Anish Kapoor, a ruby necklace spelling out ‘cunt’ by Sam Taylor-Wood, colourful geometric necklace by Meret Oppenheim and Louise Bourgeois’ silver Araña brooch.

jewellery

On the design front, Todd Merrill’s Studio Contemporary (New York) features some subversive, hand crafted pieces such as a feather-light molecular chair and Galerie Downtown François Laffanour mixes the functionality of iconic designers like Le Corbusier with more avant-garde pieces by George Nakashima and Takis.

velvet chair

 A highlight for me was seeing two mixed media pieces by Gottfried Helnwein – The Red Gun and a lucid, blue-tinted portrait  – represented by Friedman Benda.

Toshio Shibata’s Japanese bondage photographs at Michael Hoppen Gallery were intriguing and enigmatic and I marvelled at the two Francis Bacon paintings at Faggionato Fine Art.

Art

A great start to the art world’s version of London Fashion Week, but if you’re actually in the market for an artwork, you better get there quick, as some sales were reportedly made before the fair even opened!

Pavilion of Art & Design London is on from 14 – 18 October in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, W1J 6ES. 

Tickets are £15, FREE for students and children under 15.

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Andaz

One of my best birthday presents from the boyfriend was a surprise 2 night stay at Andaz, formerly the Great Eastern, next to London’s Liverpool St Station.

The red brick Victorian facade speaks of traditional railway hotel glamour, but inside, Andaz is a vast, modern space dedicated to contemporary art and minimalist luxury. 

Andaz

There is no reception desk as such, so staff seat you in the ‘living room’ and check you in on a cool portable computer (no, not exactly a laptop) while you get comfortable.  After coming out of the lifts, you enter an other-worldly ‘atrium’ – an eerily clinical beehive meets mini Guggenheim.  Rooms on the new side of the building have windows overlooking this unusual little ‘village’, but it’s a welcome retreat from the Shoreditch sirens (those of the police, not the gentlemens clubs). 

The rooms are exceptionally large and are kitted out with the most sumptuously soft bed, Frette linen, REN toiletries, fluffy bathrobes and an fully-loaded iPod (ask concierge).  The oversized furniture and burnt ochre touches fill the space and give the room a more homely feel.

Andaz guestroom

The bathrooms are also massive and have that clinical but sexy thing going on, adding to the oddness of the hotel. During our visit, it poured down for 2 days solid, so the furthest we ventured out was to Spitalfields. Instead of sightseeing, we checked out the hotel’s art collection and snooped around the hotel like mischievous boarding school kids.  Andaz is like Wonderland, with concealed messages and hidden staircases and to make it even more mystical, there is a Masonic Temple.

Andaz bathroom

One night, after the London rain treat us so badly, we ordered cocktails from room service – some of the best-mixed concoctions I’ve ever tasted, served by a zen-like model-waitress in a black

267 rooms

 

Miyaki, George pub, 1901, Catch oyster bar and Eastway.

We ordered cocktails from the room

 

 

ddffd

Lock me up, baby!

Backpacking around Eastern Europe with 3 of my uni friends was one long blur of pivo, art galleries, Becherovka and oddly enough, churches.  I have my friend Maeve to thank for booking us into a prison (bear with me here) rather than another terrifying hostel with ghosts, crying babies and complementary pills between the sheets.

Hostel Celica in Ljubljana’s defiant Metelkova district used to be a military prison until 1991, but has been transformed by artists, architects and local university students into a technicolour artistic hub.

Hostel Celica

The hostel features 20 cells (they still have the original bars) individually designed by artists and 8 more traditional rooms, just in case the barred windows bring back all too familiar memories for travellers – hey, who am I to judge?

Our favourite area was the oriental cafe, a moroccan den with hookahs and giant pillows, but there is also a cyber cafe and Slovenian ‘gostilna’ to have drinks with your new prison mates before heading into town (a walk of about 700m).

Hostel Celica

But Hostel Celica’s unusual location is equally intriguing and has a pretty complex political history. Metelkova Mesto is an independent commune in the centre of Ljubljana that incorporates 7 buildings within a former military barracks. Since forming in 1993, the self-described ‘Autonomous Culture Zone’ has fiercely fought against modernisation and the city’s commercial aspirations through creative and physical resistance, but still its future existence relies on keeping the developers and authorities at bay.

Metelkova Mesto

The surreal mini city is now home to clubs, art galleries, live music spaces and artist studios and there’s always some kind of party going on.

Keeping with Metelkova’s inclusive spirit, Hostel Celica has a Point of Peace, a room for prayer, meditation and reflection for all religions, which could be useful after a sinful night of partying.  It has even been blessed by influential spiritual leaders in Slovenia.

There are a handful of creative communes still standing in Europe, the most well-known being Copenhagen’s long-standing ‘freetown’ Christiania, but their survival is always hanging on a shoestring.  Staying at Hostel Celica is the best way to experience and culture and parties but still have a comfy bed to go back to – quick though, before it’s too late.

Hostel Celica Metelkova 8, SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia