With a new book out this month and a pop-up store at Barneys New York through November, Vietnam native Muriel Brandolini has truly landed on the style map. Here, the designer tells T+L about the country that informs her textured, vibrant interior designs.
Q: What are some memorable moments from your last trip to Vietnam?
A: I stayed at the Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa (doubles from $175) and trekked with a guide to the isolated Hoang Lien Son mountain range, near the Chinese border. Wandering through the Bac Ha Sunday Market in Sapa in search of crafts and textiles is extraordinary.
The opening of a 15-gallery suite that houses the peerless collection of Islamic art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art(opens Nov. 1) could not come at a more appropriate geopolitical moment. Filled with 1,200 works of art, from Spain to India, the renovated galleries show the extraordinary diversity, sweep, and influence of 13 centuries of Islamic civilization. Don’t miss the Patti Cadby Birch Court, an interior patio based on a late-medieval Moroccan design meticulously created by craftsmen from Fez.
Set your clocks. This fall the world shifts to “Pacific Standard Time,” the festival of exhibitions and performances highlighting southern California’s contribution to American postwar art and design. Involving more than 60 institutions, Pacific Standard Time gives a West Coast perspective to the period from the mid-1940’s to the 1980’s when the U.S. supplanted Europe as the center of the art universe. Highlights: “Crosscurrents in L.A. Paintings and Sculpture 1950–1970” (Oct. 1–Feb. 5, 2012), at the Getty Center, is a survey ranging from the sculpture of Billy Al Bengston and John McCracken to the conceptual Pop of Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari.
“Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980,” at the UCLA Hammer Museum(through Jan. 8, 2012), sheds new light on the dynamism of African-American expression in the turbulent 60’s and 70’s.
The Museum of Contemporary Art explores post-Vietnam political and social upheaval in works by Raymond Pettibon, Bruce Nauman, and others in “Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974–1981” (through Feb. 13, 2012).
“California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art(through Mar. 25, 2012) includes furniture and decorative objects that epitomize California style.
The United Nations estimates that by 2030, nearly five billion people will live in cities around the world – about 40% of whom are projected to be occupying informal settlements, or slums, in over-saturated global metropolises. Add to this the finding that already today, approximately 90% of the world’s population is surviving with little to no access to fundamental goods and services.
“Design With the Other 90%: Cities” (405 E 42nd St., October 15 - January 9, 2012), an exhibition marking a first-time collaboration between the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the United Nations in New York, sheds light on the role of architecture, infrastructure, and alternative energy sources in creating progressive solutions to the challenges facing city dwellers and planners, resulting from unprecedented population growth and rapid urbanization.
Shanghai: Renovated by French architecture firm Jouin Manku, complete with retro-futuristic curves, the seven-room Swatch Art Peace Hotel(pictured; 23 E. Nanjing Rd.; 86-21/2329-8500; doubles from $695) will open in October in a 1908 building on the Bund. The Swatch Group will display its latest watch models at on-site boutiques, while a six-month residency program will host artists to live, work, and exhibit on the premises.
Amsterdam: New this month, and a short stroll from the Rijksmuseum, the Conservatorium Hotel(27 Van Baerlestraat; 31-20/670-1811; doubles from $501) has 129 minimalist, light-filled guest rooms, designed by Milanese architect Piero Lissoni, in an 1897 Renaissance Revival building. Many suites are laid out as duplexes, and a vast lobby flanks the structure’s original skylit courtyard.
Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is experimenting with an innovation that air travelers have fitfully dreamt of for years: a safe and clean place to grab a few hours’ sleep.
Installed a month ago in the AeroExpress terminal, the prototype Sleepbox shows travelers a small, private oasis in which to spend layovers. The 13-sq.-ft. box, covered with an attractive pale ash veneer, is efficiently kitted out with two bunks, LED reading lamps, electrical outlets for laptops or phone charging, WiFi, ventilation and sound systems, under-bunk space to stow luggage, and motor-controlled blinds. Apparently, there is even an automated process to change the linens between guests.
It’s fitting that the artist behind Chicago’s iconic bean-shaped sculpture has now created an espresso cup. But not just any cup. Available as part of a limited-edition collection by Italian coffee brand Illy($90 a pair), Anish Kapoor’s white porcelain demitasse has a slick, platinum interior. The saucer can be placed on top to produce a mini sculpture. One masterpiece with my espresso, please!
Last year’s winners (see video, above) included the futuristic Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi (Best Large Hotel); the renovation of the United Kingdom’s oldest public museum, the Ashmolean, in Oxford (Best Museum); and
Priestmangoode’s innovative staterooms, designed for Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epicship (Best Transportation).
A few years back, when I called South Kensington home, I distinctly recall trundling through London's Underground knowing, even with map in hand, that I had been misled. Eyeballing the official Tube map insinuated that Heathrow was the same distance west of South Ken as Tower Hill was to the east. So you can imagine my surprise when we rolled past Monument station towards Tower Hill 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
True—one should never assume subway diagrams bear any resemblance to street level. But admit it: we all do. An NYU study in 2011 found that passengers put their faith in transit maps far more than they do in their own travel experience. But shouldn’t we? Shouldn’t our maps clearly illustrate that the amount of time it takes to walk from Queensway to Bayswater beats switching lines by almost six minutes?