Europe's Hottest New Artists
Just as the fast-paced life of Manhattan has a staring role in the films of Woody Allen, and the eccentric streets of Baltimore are John Water’s muse, artists everywhere are influenced by the places they live.
And Europe’s hottest tastemakers are no exception. See how a thriving neighborhood in Barcelona has inspired Javier Calvo’s novels, how a London chef has incorporated her diverse neighborhood into her cooking, and how the vibrant people of Milan have played their part in the life of a ballet dancer.
Daniel Hope Musician, Hamburg
He’s South African by birth, was raised in England, has Irish and German-Jewish roots, and shuttles between homes in Hamburg and Amsterdam: violinist Daniel Hope may have a peripatetic past, but he’s also an archetypal 21st-century European—firmly entrenched, by choice, on the Continent. When he’s not performing on stages worldwide, Hope lives amid the Jugendstil splendor and docklands vibrance of Hamburg. In his 11 years here, he’s witnessed the city’s evolution, and cites its growing contemporary-art scene as a testament to Hamburg’s emerging face. It’s a city, he says, of intriguing contradictions: “There’s such a mix of cultures and social classes. You’ve got enormous wealth, and one of Europe’s thriving red-light districts on the Reeperbahn. The city feels both international and unmistakably German. It’s small, but also a world-class metropolis.” —Maria ShollenbargerHope’s Hamburg
Blankenese “This fisherman’s village—part of Hamburg, but from a different century—is made up of small, dollhouse-like homes strung along the cliffs overlooking the Elbe River.” Western Hamburg.
Café Leonar “A café and bookshop in the old Jewish quarter, it has become a meeting place for artists.”
St. Michaelis Church “I’ve performed inside this gorgeous Baroque-style church, so it has a special place in my heart. From the top of its tower, you get amazing city views.”
Isabel Marant Designer, Paris
Isabel Marant has been on a mission to push French style beyond the trench coat, one embroidered peasant blouse at a time. Already wildly popular among France’s art and fashion elite, the designer’s signature aesthetic of classic silhouettes mixed with ethnic embellishment is spreading globally as women around the world discover her two lines, Isabel Marant and Etoile. Such cosmopolitanism is fitting, perhaps, for a Parisian whose mother is German and stepmother is from Martinique. Today, Marant lives in Paris’s melting-pot Belleville district: “It’s one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, with Vietnamese, Chinese, and North African people residing together.” Despite France’s reputation for parochialism, Marant says her neighborhood is a microcosm of the city. “Paris has always been this way, with the influx of African, Portuguese, and Spanish immigrants that began before World War I and continues to this day.” And while she recognizes the tensions that sometimes arise from such cross-pollination, Marant says it’s unavoidable—indeed, essential: “Today, we’re all connected.” —Alexandra MarshallMarant’s Paris
Le Balajo Dance Hall “My studio is in the area between the Bastille and République, which used to be the center of furniture and metal craftsmanship. Trendy people have moved in, but you can still find this old-fashioned, working-class dance hall where my father used to go.”
Marché des Enfants Rouges “This is a great covered market near my newest shop, in the Marais. I love to bring my boyfriend and son here; we can order couscous, pizza, and Japanese all in one place.”
Javier Calvo Writer, Barcelona
Known for his boundary-pushing novels, Javier Calvo has always had a hybrid identity as both a Spaniard and a Catalan. And then there’s the matter of language. “Writing in Spanish, you’re in the same category as a Chilean or Mexican writer,” he explains. Ultimately, though, he’s a lifelong resident of Barcelona, the city at the center of the noirish Wonderful World (HarperCollins, $28), Calvo’s first novel to be translated into English. “Barcelona is traditional in that everything is determined by social class. I wanted to explore the gap between the bourgeois uptown and the working-class downtown areas. It’s almost two different cities.” As for his own rapidly gentrifying El Raval neighborhood, Calvo sees it as something of a bittersweet case study. “El Raval has a history of freedom, nightlife, and anarchism, but that legacy is sadly disappearing. This seems to be happening around the world as differences are slowly being erased.” —Sarah WildmanCalvo’s Barcelona
L’Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau “This Gothic former hospital holds a library, language institute, art school, café, and many mysterious corners to discover, such as a gorgeous 18th-century operating room.”
Carrer de Joaquín Costa “Once infamous—a notorious serial killer lived here—this street is now lined with El Raval’s best bars. My favorite is the ‘Berlin-style’ (dark and industrial) Benidorm Bar.”
Mam i Teca and La Reina del Raval “There has been an amazing revival of traditional Catalonian food. My favorite spots are
Skye Gyngell Chef, London
Before she turned a garden center–café in suburban surrey into the hardest reservation to score south of the Thames and penned a pair of hot cookbooks, A Year in My Kitchen and My Favourite Ingredients (Quadrille Publishing), Skye Gyngell was a restless Aussie. “I always felt like I was born in the wrong country,” says the chef, who left Sydney at 19 to travel Europe, later settling in London, where she has lived for nearly 20 years. “You do feel like things happen here first—London is historical, but it’s a modern city, too.” Her restaurant at Petersham Nurseries Café (lunch for two $145) straddles both a physical and a metaphorical line between city and country (note the borlotti beans straight from the kitchen garden). “But my food has an urban heartbeat,” she says. “It’s influenced by the Lebanese shops in my neighborhood, the Brick Lane Indian restaurants, the two Portuguese guys who grill fish outside on Golborne Road.” —Nathalie JordiGyngell’s London
John Sandoe Books “The staff knows every single title in here. They recently led me to a gorgeous Robert Polidori photography book.”
Ida “I sometimes eat two bowls of their hand-rolled pasta, especially the pappardelle with goat cheese and honey.” Dinner for two $80.
Marylebone Farmers’ Market “I’ll start my Sunday here with breakfast at La Fromagerie and then a walk around the market; I might pick up fresh eggs, sausages from the Ginger Pig, and maybe some flowers.” Cramer St., off Marylebone High St.
Roberto Bolle Dancer, Milan
It’s nearly impossible to get past ballet dancer Roberto Bolle’s staggering good looks and focus on his talent (go on, just look at that photo), but talent is his, in spades. A child prodigy, Bolle was just 11 when he began training at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. Almost 2 1/2 decades and a glittering roster of plum roles as one of La Scala’s étoiles (stars) later, this season Bolle becomes a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre (May 18–July 11; 212/362-6000; abt.org) in New York. But Milan, with its mix of patrician quarters and gritty corners, retains a firm hold on his heart. “It’s not the most beautiful, or even the most appealing, city in this country. What Milan has instead is the modern human dimension—it’s a città vivante,” he explains. “The architects, artists, and dancers who live and work here are creating a vibrant Milanese culture.” —Maria ShollenbargerBolle’s Milan
Brera District “It’s still the best place to go for an aperitivo and be in the middle of things. It’s youthful and vibrant, frequentatissimo by the art students—though they can’t possibly afford to actually live here anymore, of course.”
Café Victoria “This is invariably where I meet friends for a late dinner after performances. It’s just a two-minute walk from La Scala, and has reliably good food—Milanese basics, always fresh. Plus, it’s great looking inside.” Dinner for two $102.
Chocolat “I tend to watch wha