Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Iconic Pieces in a Makati Pied-a-terre

This Makati apartment can easily be featured in a magazine, but the owners prefer to be low-key. I am ever grateful therefore when these friends allow me to photograph their homes for my personal use (and blog). Pictures allow me to see what things I didn't notice in person, and pinpoint what gives the space a total ooh-able reaction.

One thing I did noticed as a whole was that the space was filled with beautiful iconic furniture pieces.

The main piece in the living room is a Vladimir Kagan-design serpentine sofa. Kagan started a trend in the 50's when he designed free-flowing sofas as they could now float in the middle of a room. With straight backs, sofas were usually set against a wall.

The clever use of mirrors to clad a whole wall makes the apartment look bigger than it really is. This treatment looks divine because the mirrors sit above a glowing onyx counter.


Contrasting nicely with the iconic Barcelona leather day bed is the similarly iconic Tessa in a fluffy tulle confection in baby blue. lol. ( I should ask her who designed her dress--and let's not forget that headpiece!). No need to be low-key with Tessa...

The Barcelona chair is designed by Bauhaus master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Look here at other ways it is used.

 The Tolomeo Floor Lamp by Artemide can swing from the chaise to the sofa. It contrasts beautifully with the traditional chandelier hanging in the dining area.

One of the stars of the apartment is of course this Le Corbusier LC4 Chaise Longue, which sits in the center of the apartment.

It's definitely a stand-out in brown pony.

In the dining room below...

Eight Philippe Stark ghost chairs  surround a Platner-inspired glass table, keeping the space light and airy. The addition of cushion pads in neutral upholstery prevent the chairs from totally disappearing.  

However, they are invisible enough to provide a perfect foreground for the modernly elegant tiger-wood-clad bar and sideboard behind.

The small details are well thought out. This tassel brings together the colors of the apartment, even incorporating an acrylic element representing the ghost chairs.

Rustic details provide a homey contrast. The black acrylic Louis chair is probably used as the host's chair at dinner parties.

If one side of the apartment reflects and glows, the walls of the opposite side are upholstered in a velvety matte fabric. The design elements of texture and contrast are at work and harmonize beautifully in this space.

In keeping with the theme of the unit, the owners chose to hang advertisement posters, also iconic, instead of art pieces from their vast collection of original art. This Taittinger poster is an  ad the champagne company used in 1988-1990.

And this one in the foyer is an original event poster from 1995. By the way, here is another study in contrasts: a Barcelona ottoman under an antique console. My photo is too dark but there is a lovely antique door resting behind the console.

The owners already had a lot of the iconic pieces, so it was a matter of showcasing them properly. You can see how the furniture inspired the look of the unit. The design theme is decidedly mid-century modern with a few "monkey wrenches" thrown in such  as the chandelier, architectural salvage and provencal-type basket.

I'm always excited to see how my friend puts together her spaces because it is always a reflection of their cultivated and discerning taste.

Mixing it up: antique impressionist nude beside a glass table lamp and an 80's phone (lol).

With the  many fine pieces in the living room and dining room, I didn't peek into the bedrooms anymore. I'm sure are as thoughtfully outfitted.

I love modern design when it is expertly incorporated into a space providing warmth and coziness, words that are not usually associated with the idea of "modern". Then again, this apartment is a study in contrasts so a mixture of contradictory terms to describe it is just as appropriate.

 PS. Read more about iconic designs in this blog post.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Design Museum in Lisbon. Portugal

If you are ever in Lisbon, you have to visit this museum. This gem of a place was pointed out to us by Paolo who  mentioned that people don't seem to mind it unless they are really into design.

I love design so I made it a point to come back after our walking tour. 

The MUDA is right in the middle of the city. It's a FREE (yes, free!) museum that showcases a timeline of iconic products. It's curated very well.

Peppered thoughout the display maze are boards of text listing events that occurred the same time as the design breakthrough. These details puts a historical perspective into each product.

Going through the displays is like taking a actually taking a design course. It brought back memories of my classes at PSID.

I wasn't able to take too many shots of the text display, although I wanted to do so for later reading. Read some details about this museum from this Lisbon website.

The second floor is dedicated to fashion, but I spent so much time downstairs with the furniture that I didn't have enough time to go through it thoroughly.

And higher up in the third floor was a temporary exhibit. It was a tad avant-garde for me with giant hanging paper clip things in a deconstructed space.

Lastly, there was also a temporary jewelry exhibition in the basement which I know my sister would've loved to see. Now I can't even tell her what I saw because I looked at one or two display cases and then went back up to see the furniture pieces again.

I'm not sure if the vaults in the basement were part of the temporary temporary exhibit or if it was part of the building.

I went into the toilet and was pleasantly surprised to see the attention to detail. Even the toilet had a display.

If you find yourself in Lisbon, don't miss this museum. It's conveniently located in the center of town.

MUDE, Design and Fashion Museum
Rua Augusta, 24
Telephone: (+ 351) 21 888 61 17 / 23
Admission: Free of charge
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm (Last entry: 5.45pm); Closed on Mondays
Getting to the Museum:
Metro: Terreiro do Paço or Baixa Chiado stations
Tram: 15, 25
Buses:  711, 745, 794,36, 44, 714, 732, 759, 760, 781,782

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Garden Stools at SM

Look! beautiful garden stools! I carted one home right away.

SM...They've got it all!

Monday, May 13, 2013

When a Chef does the Cohen Diet

 The first Cohen meal she prepared for herself: baked Tuna on top of steamed zucchini ribbons

My sister the chef  finally took the plunge and started on the Cohen Diet two days ago! I'm very excited because Lita is one person who is very disciplined and always goes for what she wants. I know she will be successful on this program.  Lita grew up as a heavy child, and has struggled with her weight ever since. She is always on some diet or another.

When I desperately wanted to lose 20 pounds last year, I wanted to just follow something to the letter. Cohen gave me that solution, except that they told me I had to lose 30 lbs, not only 20. Yeah right, let me see them get me to that goal weight!

Lita's dinner that day: Steak topped with garlic chips with cabbage, asparagus and zucchini

Less than four months after I started  on the diet (with no deviation at all), I was down 35 lbs and feeling great. More important than saying "it works"--because everyone knows that all diets work as long as it's followed--the diet makes sense.

Now I know what my weight triggers are. I can eat bread with no weight gain, and also rice and potatoes. But pasta is dangerous for me. If I exercised more (or I should say, IF I exercised at all) I would be able to eat all kinds of carbs with no worries.

Her breakfast invention: Asparagus and zucchini "crepelette" (one scrambled egg made into a crepe), 

Lita is very health conscious and she knows a lot about nutrition. I think her weight in stalled only because a metabolic disorder. I'm certain it doesn't have anything to do with a lack of discipline because she's one of the most disciplined people I know.

Her lunch: Tuna stack with "angel hair"cabbage and zucchini ribbons.

I wanted Lita to try Cohen so badly that I was even trying to get the Manila clinic to process her  program. And then, just  a couple of months ago, a Cohen Clinic opened only 15 minutes from her house in Sydney. If that isn't a sign, I don't know what is! The person behind the Cohen Center there is Margaret Homsy, a success story herself. They have met and are now FB friends. This is a perfect support scenario for both of them

With her keen understanding of food and experience with other diets, I know this will be the diet to finally get her to that elusive "goal weight".  I can't wait!

*All photos taken by Lita on her iPhone. She was a photographer in a previous life. Now, she is a pastry chef in Sydney (I know, deadly combination: chef? diet?)

*Photos used entirely without permission. Sorry Lita, you'll just have to keep taking shots of your future meals and continue inspire people!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Brocante in the 16th, Paris

I got excited when my cousin told me there was a scheduled brocante near her apartment the same weekend I was visiting her.

This is a roving brocante that pops up in different arrondisements every week in the spring and summer months. This particular one was in the 16th, a residential part of the city.

 upcoming schedule of the roving brocante

The things you see range from real valuable items, to real junk. But as the cliche goes, one man's junk...

A Paris trip for me is never complete without a visit to les Puces de Clignancourt and Porte de Vanves--the two permanent flea markets of Paris. And since I get my fix by just browsing, taking pictures and buying small things, I can cover both markets on Saturday. On Sunday, I have the option to go back in case I really want to buy something.

If we happen upon a brocante or a vide-grenier (an attic-clearing sale), that's an added bonus.

There are many bargains at a brocante, and my Asian haggling skills come in handy. My cousin always cringes when I ask for a much lower price. When the vendor gives it, she even feels bad for them. I have to assure her that these vendors are very sharp and have calculated, in their sleep, how much lower they can go.  She grew up in Canada, where she didn't learn any haggling skills. 

It also helps that I know my French numbers pretty well now. Once before, I asked the price of something, and in the hopes of haggling, I replied with a higher number. You should've seen the face of the vendor. Lol.

I have to keep reminding my cousin that she doesn't need more plates, but she is always drawn to them.

I used to gravitate towards all kinds of  armchairs, until I accepted the fact that I was never going to pay the shipping costs back to Manila.

I've  been eyeing a "manche a gigot" for a long, long time now. This is a sterling silver serving piece that holds the leg of a lamb while you carve it.  I've also seen it on eBay for less. 

I'm still attracted to chandeliers still, but since I installed one at home, my obsession has dissipated a little.

I usually end up buying small artwork. They make great trip souvenirs and I can always find somewhere to hang it.

Old teacups are always beautiful but I no longer buy them because I don't have any more space in the cabinet. I might upgrade my collection and get rid of those I don't love. I love this pattern.

The bargains in a brocante are usually in boxes on the floor. Old leather bound books, paintings, brass accoutrements...

I'm not too thrilled when there are new things in a flea market. Or something that says "get this look" like these mirrors below. I want these things to look old and a bit banged up, not newly minted.

My loot from this brocante? Three small, beautiful paintings!

The technique of this watercolorist is quite masterful. She focused on the upper part of the body, where she created the sharpest detail, leaving the other areas weak and almost unfinished.

This one above is not even finished!  It reminds me of my own paintings--unfinished! Unfortunately they aren't signed (Of course, they weren't finished!)

Bea was able to tear her attention from plates finally and ended up buying this small lovely oil painting above.

Here is another beautiful oil I picked up for the grand price of (drumroll please) 5 euro! Nice colors and strokes, except that it's painted on old student-grade board instead of canvass or wood. It will be beautiful framed, and it will remind me of the brocante in Paris. I found it inside an old box under a table.

After hours at the brocante, I treated B to a nice lunch of steak frites for being so patient. 

I had salmon and ended with this cafe gourmand. Delicieux!

B and B, sharing app information, as always

The next day was going to be another flea market day--Porte de Vanves and Clignancourt. Good thing B has fun scrounging around too. He bought a very nice fob watch for G, and she loves it!  Now that is what I call successful "brocanting'!


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