Sunday, 30 January 2011

Mr Catroux's chicness

One of my favorite parts of "Living in Style Paris" was getting to see more of the work of legendary designer François Catroux. It was such a treat for me mostly because he doesn't have a website with a portfolio for me to sate my visual cravings on a regular basis.

Even a google search does not return much...not much more than what I have already posted on the stylish man of internet mystery (do other bloggers experience that too? its very frustrating...)

I did come across this lovely home a while ago (can't for the life of me remember where, so sorry there will be no credit unless someone out there can assist in that department)...and it quietly whispers Catroux style in abundance.

From what I have seen of his work, Catroux uses neutrals like a master and makes a "beige" room seem warm, rich and inviting. These are no exception. He's also a virtuoso at mixing modern and vintage. The work of one of my faves Hervé van der Straeton seems to be also a favorite of Monsieur Catroux and his clients as I noticed a few of his pieces in this apartment.

I'm particularly enamoured with the walls of the study...

 what does everyone else think?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

What I've been reading

I figured my last post was a nice way to segue to a post about the books I've been reading and pouring over lately...

Living in Style Paris, edited by Caroline Sarkozy, and published by teNeues is an absolute feast for the eyes. Anyone who even remotely likes French style will love this book. So many beautiful photographs of interiors and private residences of likes of Hervé van der Straeton, Diane von Furstenberg and Lenny Kravitz, designed by the masters of the trade: Francois Catroux, Pierre Passebon, Jacques Grange, Yves Gastou, Alberto Pinto, Collett-Zarzycki, David Mlinaric, Hubert Le Gall and more. The book displays a wide range of decorating styles, all of which are stunningly beautiful. I will definitely go back to this one time and again, and cannot recommend it highly enough.

I picked up a copy of "Anti-Object" by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, published by the Architectural Association of London, at the Business of Design week late last year. Japan being the partner country of the year, Kuma was one of the headline speakers. If you couldn't make it then don't fret, his talk was based on this book, so pick up a copy if you can. The size and thickness of this "little" book is by no means representative of the amount of information inside. The first chapter alone is guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away as Kuma gets very philosophical and quotes Kant. If that's not for you, but Kuma's architecture is, then you will enjoy the subsequent chapters which give an in-depth insight into how Kuma approaches each project and his source of inspiration and concept development. I enjoyed reading this book so much I am hoping to pick up a few more in this series, particularly "Super-Critical" by Rem Koolhaas and Peter Eisenman.

And last, but not least, is the "Geography of Nowhere" by James Howard Kunstler. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as I've been on a bit of an Urban Design bent lately (perhaps its because of the city I'm living in). This book is a much needed self-critical examination of the way that 20th century cities were designed, and the way they will continue to be designed if we don't all take a hard look at what's wrong with them. Kunstler has written specifically about American cities (I guess because he is American and it was a subject close to his heart), however it is just as pertinent to all developed countries in the world. I won't say anymore on this, but I think if you are interested in Urban design and planning then this will be a good read for you.

So, what have you been reading, and do you have any recommendations for me?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The V&A Reading Rooms

One of my favorite experiences of my recent London trip was visiting the V&A Museum and browsing the amazing V&A Bookshop. I wish I'd gone a little later in the year because in November the V&A Reading Rooms opened just around the corner. The range of hundreds of books on offer combine the V&A's own published works as well as an authoritative selection of tomes on subjects like fashion, design, architecture, photography, graphics and art. Out of print, vintage and early editions will also be for sale. Even more impressive than the selection is that 100% of the profits from the shop goes directly to the museum - practically guilt free shopping!

Great books are not the only thing on offer at the V&A Reading Rooms - there is a small bar providing wine and a menu of snacks developed by Sydney-born Duncan Ackery (of Tate's fame), so you can browse books while sipping a glass of vino!

And to top it all off, David Collins has advised on the interiors! The V&A Reading Rooms are situated in a small and intimate space, with all its original architectural features intact. Check out the pics below - its such a nice looking space.

The V&A Reading Rooms are located at 8 Exhibition Road London, open 12 Midday to 10pm. I wish I could head over there now!

All photos care of the V&A London.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A passage to India...

I'm busily planning my own passage to India, this coming April. A two week part holiday, part work trip, starting in New Delhi to visit friends, and then travelling to Agra, Jaipur and then Udaipur before heading over to Kolkata. I'm beyond excited! All this thinking of India has reminded me of this staggeringly beautiful photo shoot by Hermès a few years back....

 die for, right? I wouldn't mind one of those Kelly bags...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


This week I've been a little preoccupied being smitten with this Parisian apartment by Francis D'Haene of New York based firm D'Apostrophe Design. I'm loving the clean lines, the mix of art and furniture (its always about the mix) and the choice of colours. The warm walls vs the light floors is an interesting choice which I was surprised that I liked, but mixed with the dark built-in bookcases and doors is an unusual but great combination. I spy pieces by Royere, Murakami, Lalanne, I missing anything?

All photos taken by Eric Laignel for Interior Design Magazine Nov 2010. Wow, 2010 - feels strange typing that already!

Monday, 3 January 2011

on Hollywood Road

I think I'm as excited about the new residential development by Blake's in Hong Kong as I am about the new year!

226 Hollywood Road in the old neighbourhood Sheung Wan (just west of Central) was designed by British designer Ilse Crawford and is a refreshing change from the usual character-less high rise apartments this city usually has to offer. This development is unique in many ways - not only are the apartments of reasonable size, the entire project has been designed in a way that retains some sense of the local neighbourhoods original character. And what a neighbourhood! The building is just down the road from the fabulous Press Room (a favorite brunch spot of mine) and the new kid on the block - Duecentotto. No wonder the apartments have sold already!

Oh, and I love the bathrooms too. Grey marble and gold taps. Brilliant.

Happy 2011 to you all!