Monday, July 30, 2012

Bauhaus Art as life

Farkus Molnar, Desing for a single-family house (1922). Barbican. Photo via Bauhaus-Archiv.

At a time when every other major London museum and gallery is presenting something unashamedly British, the Barbican Centre ensembles the biggest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK for over 40 years.
Bringing together more than 400 works, most of which I had only seen in books, real treasures to look at: not just paintings, but prints and photographs, ceramics, sculptures, textiles, furniture,  invitations, costumes, puppets, posters and many other things by Bauhaus masters such as Annie and Josef Albers, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Mies van der Rohe, László Moholy-Nagy, Oscar Schlemmer and Gunta Stölzl.

A film titled, ‘How do we live in a healthy and economic way?’ features the conveniences of the new domestic design, such as bendable lamps and transformative furniture. Interior decoration, furniture, and fixtures to complement the architecture. 

A piece that captured my atention was Moholy-Nagy’s Construction in Enamel 1, 1923, (one of three works Moholy-Nagy actually commissioned from an enamel sign factory dictating the composition over the telephone) I really liked the beautiful and imperfect effect of the enamel finish.

The exhibition celebrates the life and spirit of the Bauhaus – one that is characterised by experimentation, collaboration and play. The willingness to see things in a totally new way, going ahead with a tremendous sense of adventure.


Typographic innovations, such as the use of all small letters, that characterize the shift from early eclecticism to a new style privileging clarity and efficiency of communication. I particularly loved Joseph Albers' letter design, cuts of milk glass mounted on a bright yellow background.

Party invitations, photographs of events and festivities, even gifts shared between students and colleagues are showcased to demonstrate the lively social life. Photographs of costumes for the Metal Party, where students dressed out in costumes made with frying pans, spoons and pots, and wrapped themselves in aluminum foil, highlight the whimsical creative outlet that these parties meant and shows how much fun they must have had at the Bauhaus.
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Rooms full of color theory exercises from Paul Klee and Kandinsky’s preliminary courses and texture studies with folded paper and manipulated mesh wires from Alber's classes give insight onto the student’s training and work.
All the elements are there: the geometric shapes, the love of the grid, the playful but purposeful use of color, the experimentation.
I bought the catalogue, mostly for the texts since no photograph in a book could ever capture the subtle colors and changes of texture within the weavings or the shiny texture of the enamel. I feel very lucky to have seen all of this amazing work together under one roof. One leaves the exhibition feeling invigorated and inspired.

Barbican Art Gallery
Until August 12
Silk Street London

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Labour and Wait


I felt like a child in a candy store the minute I went inside Labour and Wait. glass Jars, pure linen dishtowels, beautiful enamel bowls, pots and mugs. Every classic household item you can think of.

Brooms, buckets and dusters, many of which one could find in Mexico City's markets and street stalls, somehow presented as design pieces, carefully selected to be part of a well curated collection of timeless objects.
Labour and Wait was intended as a place to buy functional, well designed, high quality products, at a time when most retailers were tending towards cheap, disposable low quality items. I couldn't agree more with this philosophy.

After quite a few hours well spent, I left the store with a beautiful vintage linen tablecloth, a classic falcon milk pot for my enamel collection, two classic french striped Armor lux breton shirts for the kids and an addition to my list of impossible-to-travel-with items that I wish I could have bought: a gorgeous enamel sink that would have been perfect for our Kitchen in Valle de Bravo.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.
A Psalm Of Life 
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Labour and Wait
85 Redchurch Street  London,
Greater London E2 7DJ 

Friday, July 20, 2012

London Albion Café

London has been a trend topic for a while now, ever since the Royal Wedding actually. Then it was the Queen's Jubilee and now, well, The Olympics. Just a few hours before the torch arrives to the capital it feels as if I'm already late. Anyhow, I will be posting a little guide of London that I have put together after my visit this past June.

My first review will be for Albion Café, an eatery serving typical British fare made with straightforward hearty ingredients  housed in a converted Victorian warehouse in the cool neighborhood of Shoreditch and created by no other than Sir Terence Conran.

Brick and white walls, refectory style cream tiles, rows of red Tolix chairs, factory lights, and large windows which let plenty of natural light into the place, Golden Syrup tins on the table holding napkins and cutlery with a no-nonsense vibe that feels as if you are hanging out in a mate's country kitchen (the exact vibe I wish my country house in Valle de Bravo will ever have).

I am no expert on British food, but the sausage and mash I had was delicious and had a sweet comforting familiar taste that reminded me of my father's onion soup.

At the front there is a shop as much old school farm shop as trendy organic deli, with wooden boxes full of vegetables that look straight out of the ground and stacks of glossy jam jars. Enamel pots and mugs which of course I could not resist buying, caramel candy packed in beautiful antique looking cans, strong mustard, cotton dish towels...

Loooved the place. Can you tell?

All pictures by neenalife blog
Albion Café Bakery and Food Store
2-4 Boundary Street,
London E2 7DD
020 7729 1051

Friday, May 11, 2012

Handpainted Chinoiserie Wallpapers

Via House Beautiful

I came across this picture on House Beautiful magazine featuring an exquisite hand painted wallcovering, while searching for inspiration for a new project.
Doing some research, I found out about De Gournay,  a brand that specializes in reproductions of historic prints, particularly 18th century Chinoiserie and 19th century French designs.
Even if you don't know the name, chances are you'll have at some point seen De Gournay's fabulous wallpapers. Most probably a spread on a fabulous interior design magazine or in some glossy fashion shoot or perhaps on the cover of 'Domino, the book of decorating'.
Their wallpapers are a true luxury, hand painted by artisans, most of them are customized to clients' specifications. An impressive range of materials is available: silk, India tea paper or Xuan rice paper, to name just a few. The wallpaper is first treated with traditional pork bone glue, as it was some 300 years ago, before spending around five weeks dyeing or gilding with shimmering 22carat gold leaf, depending on clients' choice.
I am specially fond of the monochromatic custom made color schemes. I am sure you'll agree the results are nothing short of spectacular.

Elle decor via stylecourt
via barbarajacksier


Via design sponge


Thursday, January 12, 2012