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Departures Middle East Summer 2019

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SUMMER <strong>2019</strong><br />

Sights,<br />

Sojourns & Styles<br />

FROM SOUTH AFRICA TO SWEDEN


TIME, A HERMÈS OBJECT.<br />

Arceau L’heure de la lune<br />

Time flies to the moon


Haute Joaillerie, place Vendôme since 1906<br />

The Dubai Mall - Mall of the Emirates - The Galleria Al Maryah Island 800-VAN-CLEEF (800-826-25333)<br />

Riyadh: Centria Mall +966 11461 5055 - Kingdom Tower +966 11 211 1317 - Jeddah: Al Tahlia +966 12 284 1481<br />

www.vancleefarpels.com


Perlée Collection<br />

Rose gold, yellow gold<br />

and diamond rings and bracelets.


jaresortshotels.com<br />

/Manafaru<br />

@JAManafaru_Maldives


Some experiences<br />

LEAVE YOU RICHER<br />

Cast away all stress and crinkle your toes in the sands of a tropical island haven where<br />

the Real You can rejuvenate. Discover Maldives culture with a cooking class, traditional<br />

massage or local village encounter. Or simply hide away in secluded luxury on an<br />

uninhabited island.<br />

Explore the layers of island life. Soar above the scenery by seaplane and make landfall<br />

on a pristine beach. Step underground for a decadent tasting experience amidst lava<br />

stone and dive under water to meet colourful sea life. Swim, spa, play and indulge as<br />

you muse over the magic of JA Manafaru.<br />

For bookings and more information, please visit jaresortshotels.com or call +960 6500 456<br />

or email reservations.manafaru@jaresorts.com


lia<br />

www.adler.ch


12 DEPARTURES SUMMER <strong>2019</strong><br />

Features<br />

66<br />

Outside the Box<br />

Known for his bold, complex<br />

designs, Pritzker Prize-winning<br />

architect Thom Mayne finally<br />

builds a home for himself.<br />

By Ted Loos<br />

Photographs by<br />

Spencer Lowell<br />

72<br />

It’s Always Sunny<br />

in San Miguel<br />

A longtime mecca for creative<br />

spirits from around the world,<br />

Mexico’s most charming<br />

colonial town is still as<br />

relevant as ever.<br />

By Maura Egan<br />

Photographs by Lindsay<br />

Lauckner Gundlock<br />

80<br />

Grand Hotel<br />

In the Scottish Highlands,<br />

art-world visionaries Iwan and<br />

Manuela Wirth have applied<br />

their Midas touch to<br />

a revitalised hotel.<br />

By Alix Browne<br />

Photographs by Simon Watson<br />

84<br />

Savouring the Season<br />

Off Sweden’s southeastern<br />

coast, the ethereal, rugged<br />

charms of Gotland are<br />

impossible to resist.<br />

By Adam Sachs<br />

Photographs by Felix Odell<br />

p 84<br />

A view of the Parroquia<br />

de San Miguel Arcángel<br />

from the Rosewood hotel<br />

in San Miguel de Allende<br />

LINDSAY LAUCKNER GUNDLOCK


14 DEPARTURES SUMMER <strong>2019</strong><br />

p 28 Inside the<br />

lavish Casa Macorís<br />

in Santo Domingo<br />

Departments<br />

p 24<br />

Ceramic vases by<br />

Marrakech-based Belgian<br />

designer LRNCE<br />

Travel<br />

21<br />

Johannesburg Reframed<br />

Celebrating the long-heralded revival<br />

of Maboneng, the South African<br />

metropolis’s now-vibrant arts district.<br />

24<br />

Shop the Casbah<br />

A fresh raft of designers and artisans<br />

are imbuing Marrakech with a new<br />

modernist spirit.<br />

28<br />

The Dominican Republic<br />

Dresses Up<br />

Brimming with a fresh wave of creative<br />

energy, Santo Domingo may be the<br />

Caribbean’s hottest capital of cool.<br />

36<br />

Restoration Period<br />

The London hotel scene reaches new<br />

heights with a recent cache of new and<br />

new-look hostelries.<br />

On the Cover<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY<br />

SPENCER LOWELL<br />

Style<br />

16 From the Editor / 19 <strong>Departures</strong> Digital<br />

41<br />

Heavenly Creatures<br />

Dutch artist Ruth van Beek’s colourful<br />

collages perfectly complement the<br />

jewels of the season.<br />

44<br />

Yours, Truly<br />

Customisation programmes let you<br />

have a hand in creating your most<br />

coveted pieces.<br />

48<br />

The Colour Connoisseur’s<br />

Guide<br />

Experts reveal where to go to adorn<br />

your home in a chorus of colours.<br />

50<br />

Pop Goes the Easel<br />

After half a century at the vanguard of<br />

Italian design, Gaetano Pesce’s savantlike<br />

sense of colour still shines through.<br />

52<br />

Doing It Right<br />

Eco-conscious and sustainable<br />

fashion pieces that make the world<br />

a better place.<br />

Culture<br />

56<br />

Mexico Modern<br />

An ambitious US furniture marque<br />

takes inspiration from midcentury<br />

Mexican icons to stunning effect.<br />

p 52<br />

Fashion with a<br />

heart: belt bag<br />

by ethically<br />

conscious<br />

brand Cuyana,<br />

cuyana.com<br />

Keep in touch We welcome your comments and recommendations, which we may edit for clarity<br />

and space. Contact us at letters@departures-international.com. The key All prices are in British<br />

pounds, euros or American dollars unless otherwise specified. Hotel is a member of Fine Hotels<br />

& Resorts ˜ Establishment is either cash only or does not accept American Express cards. Online<br />

extras at departures-international.com<br />

Follow us @<strong>Departures</strong>Int<br />

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: © LRNCE, © CASAS DEL XVI, © CUYANA


CALIBER RM 07-01<br />

LIMITED EDITION JADE


From the Editor<br />

“<br />

The Spanish-language version<br />

of departures-international.com<br />

will be your on-trend<br />

and constantly updated hub<br />

„<br />

16 DEPARTURES <br />

IT IS ALWAYS A THRILL to reveal<br />

something new and exciting that we have<br />

conjured up – and so, concurrent with the<br />

debut of this edition of the magazine, it<br />

also gives me great pleasure to announce<br />

the launch of the Spanish-language<br />

version of our companion website,<br />

departures-international.com/es.<br />

This has been a labour of love for<br />

our team – a bespoke portal where the<br />

three pillars of our English-language<br />

site (Travel, Food and Life & Style) are<br />

now curated expressly for our Spanishspeaking<br />

audience. Whether it is a<br />

guide to Mexico City’s art scene or an<br />

update from the wilds of Uruguay, the<br />

Spanish-language version of departuresinternational.com<br />

will be your on-trend<br />

and constantly updated hub for the latest<br />

openings, reviews and insider tips across<br />

the Spanish-speaking world.<br />

To herald its arrival, we have a few<br />

relevant and topical complementary<br />

articles in this summer edition of<br />

our print magazine. We travel to<br />

the charming Mexican town of<br />

San Miguel de Allende – where a host<br />

of long-awaited hotel openings are<br />

bolstering an evergreen charm that has<br />

been luring artists for nearly a century –<br />

and to Santo Domingo, where a recent<br />

wave of creative and entrepreneural<br />

efforts that have transformed it into<br />

arguably the coolest capital in the<br />

Caribbean. We also profile a pair of<br />

creatives reviving midcentury Mexican<br />

furnishings with exceptional aplomb.<br />

We invite you to bookmark departuresinternational.com<br />

and hope that you’ll<br />

return to it for our uncompromising<br />

editorial integrity and up-to-the-minute<br />

timeliness over and over again.


GROUP PUBLISHER/EDITOR IN CHIEF<br />

Christian Schwalbach<br />

INTERNATIONAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR<br />

Thomas Midulla<br />

ASSOCIATE GROUP PUBLISHER<br />

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INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Farhad Heydari<br />

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Martin Kreuzer<br />

ART DIRECTOR Anne Plamann<br />

MANAGING EDITOR Claudia Roelke<br />

INTERNATIONAL STYLE EDITOR Elisa Vallata<br />

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Brian Noone (Europe)<br />

Alain Puchaud (France)<br />

Paul Hicks (Asia)<br />

Isabel Areso, Mónica Barrio (Latin America)<br />

Deepali Nandwani (India)<br />

Mitsuyo Matsumoto (Japan)<br />

MANAGING EDITORS Delia˜Demma (Italy)<br />

Franziska Seng (Germany, Austria)<br />

SENIOR EDITORS INTERNATIONAL Perz Wong (Hong Kong)<br />

Jesús Pacheco Vela (Mexico)<br />

STAFF WRITER John Mcnamara<br />

GRAPHIC DESIGN Anja Eichinger<br />

PHOTO EDITOR Teresa Lemme<br />

SEPARATION Jennifer Wiesner<br />

CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Vicki Reeve<br />

EDITOR-AT-LARGE, FASHION Avril Groom<br />

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alix Browne, Maura Egan, Jacqueline Gifford,<br />

Joe Harper, Ben Ryder Howe, Ted Loos, Erin<br />

Riley, Adam Sachs, Pilar Viladas<br />

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jordan Andrew Carter, Federico Ciamei, David<br />

AND ILLUSTRATORS de Vleeschauwer, Jon Ervin, Lindsay Lauckner<br />

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18 DEPARTURES<br />

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ISABELLA MATHEUS, CHRISTIAN HORAN, ALBERTO NOVELLI, © KANDIMA, ISTOCK<br />

Digital<br />

departures-international.com + @departuresint<br />

Global Pursuits<br />

From the hottest new restaurants to buzzworthy hotel<br />

openings and can’t-miss cultural events, our companion<br />

website, departures-international.com, has got you covered.<br />

Online now: where to sup and sleep in Melbourne; a<br />

delicious journey across Mexico City’s latest culinary hot<br />

spot; art-world happenings from Stockholm to São Paulo;<br />

your ultimate guide to staying in the Maldives.<br />

Vintage Ventures<br />

Timeless – and timely – classiccar<br />

itineraries that take you<br />

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of West Sussex.<br />

Follow Us<br />

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keep up with where our editors<br />

are travelling and what they’re<br />

planning next. Be sure to share<br />

your discoveries by tagging us<br />

in your posts.<br />

SUMMER <strong>2019</strong> DEPARTURES<br />

19


TRAVEL<br />

Painter and impresario<br />

Jonathan Freemantle in<br />

the gallery space at<br />

MK & Artist<br />

Johannesburg Reframed The South African city’s<br />

central arts district, Maboneng, is shining a light<br />

on the creativity of the country as a whole.<br />

by Ben Ryder Howe. Photographs by David De Vleeschauwer<br />

CULTURE TRIP DEPARTURES<br />

21


DEPARTURES TRAVEL CULTURE TRIP<br />

22<br />

From left: Ponte City tower in downtown Johannesburg is now a popular movie<br />

backdrop; a Maboneng habitué; bottom: street art in Maboneng<br />

URBAN BLIGHT DOESN’T have any<br />

beneficiaries – except skateboarders<br />

and graffiti artists. Bheki Dube<br />

grew up a skateboarding kid in<br />

Johannesburg in the 2000s, as the<br />

sprawling city, one of the largest<br />

and richest in Africa, underwent<br />

a staggering free fall into anarchy,<br />

violence and population flight.<br />

“The city was a blank canvas,”<br />

said Dube, who at the time lived in<br />

downtown Johannesburg, where<br />

hijacked skyscrapers, abandoned<br />

hotels and artist-run squatter<br />

colonies proliferated while South<br />

Africa chaotically transitioned<br />

from apartheid rule. “You could go<br />

anywhere you wanted, if you were<br />

brave enough.”<br />

Today, while still facing significant<br />

social challenges, Johannesburg has<br />

given birth to one of the most robust<br />

arts scenes in Africa, owing greatly to<br />

the near-apocalypse of its inner core.<br />

The centre of the decade-long revival<br />

is Maboneng, a now-thriving district<br />

of galleries, restaurants and shops<br />

that is drawing an international crowd<br />

looking to experience the country’s<br />

contemporary culture. “Maboneng is<br />

where Brooklyn hip meets authentic<br />

Africa,” Mark Lakin, cofounder of<br />

Epic Road, a bespoke travel company<br />

specialising in Africa, told me. “It’s an<br />

example of a rising black middle class<br />

amid grassroots arts and innovation.”<br />

Roughly ten square blocks,<br />

Maboneng comprises an old industrial<br />

area next to a pothole-filled road<br />

leading directly to Johannesburg’s<br />

legendary gold mines. Its name, a<br />

Sesotho word meaning “place of<br />

light”, says more about the aspirations<br />

of its inhabitants than the actual<br />

setting: highway overpasses and<br />

hulking warehouses loom over the<br />

cafes along Fox Street, the principal<br />

thoroughfare.<br />

“It was a ghost street when I arrived<br />

in 2009,” said Marcus Neustetter,<br />

codirector of the Trinity Session,<br />

which produces public art. “Over a<br />

quick period we saw a change.” It<br />

started with the opening of Arts on<br />

Main, a complex of brick industrial<br />

buildings converted into art spaces<br />

and shops. William Kentridge, one


of South Africa’s most famous artists,<br />

held a show there in 2009 and soon<br />

opened a nearby studio. The studios<br />

of Magnum photographer Mikhael<br />

Subotzky and conceptual artist Kim<br />

Lieberman are now there too.<br />

Franchises and other massmarket<br />

encroachments have been<br />

kept out of Maboneng, and the tolls<br />

of delinquency and age have been<br />

sedulously maintained, conjuring the<br />

grit of 1980s Tribeca. Painter Jonathan<br />

Freemantle, co-developer of the<br />

Cosmopolitan, a gallery and shopping<br />

venue in a Victorian landmark that<br />

once housed a brothel for miners,<br />

describes the Maboneng vibe as<br />

“just enough chaos”. Freemantle has<br />

turned the Cosmopolitan into “an<br />

active creative space” centred on<br />

music, culture and nightlife, with a<br />

sculpture garden by Patrick Watson,<br />

one of South Africa’s most celebrated<br />

landscape designers, amid the peeling<br />

paint and crumbling walls of derelict<br />

apartment buildings.<br />

Across the street from the garden,<br />

I met Mlungisi Kongisa, a soft-spoken<br />

39-year-old printmaker. I hadn’t<br />

come to Johannesburg to buy art, and<br />

Kongisa, whose inviting gallery, MK<br />

& Artist, is filled with original prints<br />

by the likes of Kentridge and David<br />

Koloane, the elder statesman of South<br />

African painters, wasn’t going to hardsell<br />

me. I had my eye on an etching by<br />

Cameroonian surrealist Joël Mpah<br />

Dooh, but the day was ending and I<br />

needed to think it over.<br />

Maboneng after dark is not for<br />

everyone. Visitors are advised to seek<br />

the guidance of a local like Dube,<br />

who founded and operates Curiocity,<br />

a provider of accommodation and<br />

private tours of public art and other<br />

landmarks. Dube likes to say that two<br />

HOTELS<br />

Fine Hotels & Resorts<br />

properties include the<br />

Houghton Hotel<br />

( the​houghton.com) and<br />

Four Seasons Hotel The<br />

Westcliff, Johannesburg<br />

( fourseasons.com).<br />

Johannesburg Handbook<br />

GUIDES<br />

Dlala Nje (dlalanje.<br />

org) leads tours of lessvisited<br />

areas, like Ponte<br />

City tower, which was<br />

hijacked by gangs in the<br />

1990s and today is used<br />

as a performance space.<br />

Curiocity (curiocity.africa)<br />

provides private tours<br />

of landmarks and public<br />

art exhibits.<br />

A sculpture by Amalie von Maltitz in the garden of the Cosmopolitan<br />

decades ago, a visit by an international<br />

celebrity such as Ava DuVernay or<br />

Oprah Winfrey – both of whom<br />

recently made well-publicised stops at<br />

the studio of painter Nelson Makamo<br />

– would have been inconceivable. But<br />

you still have to know where to go.<br />

The next day I returned to MK &<br />

Artist. Since Maboneng is only ten<br />

years old and built on something as<br />

mercurial as art, there is an anxiety<br />

about its existence, as if it could vanish<br />

at any moment or be turned into a<br />

kind of cultural zoo. After deciding<br />

to buy the etching, I had lunch at<br />

Canteen, a cafe in Arts on Main that<br />

serves elevated versions of South<br />

RESTAURANTS<br />

Few restaurants pay<br />

attention to the aromatics<br />

of fine dining as closely as<br />

Grei, a new addition to the<br />

ultra-exclusive, 53-suite<br />

Saxon Hotel (saxon.<br />

co.za). Canteen ( fb.com/<br />

canteenmaboneng) offers<br />

hearty fare and a welcoming<br />

courtyard.<br />

African dishes, such as biltong and<br />

springbok carpaccio, in a courtyard<br />

shaded by olive trees. It was barely<br />

afternoon, but a party was underway<br />

on the roof, where legs dangled off<br />

a fire escape and a DJ played the<br />

Mankunku Quartet. Below, families<br />

with strollers dined on peri-peri<br />

chicken livers, and outside, a Tesla<br />

tried to wend its way through a street<br />

fair with merchants selling a variety<br />

of goods, from medicinal plants to<br />

seemingly ubiquitous T-shirts saying<br />

iwasshotinjoburg. Someone was<br />

adding a new mural to the layers of<br />

graffiti on the walls of Fox Street. It<br />

was just enough chaos.<br />

GALLERIES<br />

MK & Artist (+27 71 411<br />

7788), a collaborative studio,<br />

sells etchings, linocuts,<br />

woodcuts, monotypes<br />

and other prints. The<br />

David Krut Workshop<br />

(davidkrutprojects.com),<br />

one of the original tenants<br />

of Arts on Main, has a<br />

bookstore as well as a<br />

gallery space.<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

23


DEPARTURES TRAVEL MARKET WATCH<br />

24<br />

Shop the Casbah<br />

Be yond Berber rugs and baskets:<br />

these design, craft and fashion<br />

stores are defining Marrakech’s<br />

new modernist aesthetic.<br />

Riad Jardin Secret<br />

The city has no shortage of<br />

stylish riads, but this six-room<br />

hotel, tucked behind an unmarked<br />

doorway in the Bab Doukkala<br />

area, stands apart for its playful<br />

atmosphere and carefully curated<br />

boutique. Created by Parisian<br />

fashion couple Cyrielle Astaing<br />

and Julien Phomveha, the 20thcentury<br />

home is all detailed<br />

mosaic tiling, lattice woodwork<br />

and splashy textiles. This textured<br />

aesthetic extends to their shop,<br />

where they carry high-design<br />

versions of traditional crafts like<br />

kilim pillows and tadelakt clay pots.<br />

riad​jardinsecret.com<br />

The Moroccans<br />

Seed oil derived from the prickly<br />

pear cactus, oud-infused argan oil<br />

and black soap made from crushed<br />

olives are among the organic<br />

products at this spot, next to the<br />

Jardin Majorelle on Rue Yves Saint<br />

Laurent. The store, which supplies<br />

Riad Jardin Secret and Aman<br />

A light installation by<br />

artist Francis<br />

Upritchard hangs in<br />

El Fenn Boutique<br />

Resorts, stocks its beauty line<br />

along with home accessories and<br />

jewellery from regional designers,<br />

including Scandi-Moroccan fashion<br />

brand Bougroug, which mixes<br />

Norwegian minimalism with local<br />

craftsmanship. themoroccans.ma<br />

El Fenn Boutique<br />

The interiors of the hotel El Fenn are<br />

an Instagrammer’s dream, and its restaurant/<br />

shop allows visitors to replicate the look.<br />

Items found throughout the hotel – including<br />

the handwoven kilim throws on the daybeds<br />

– are for sale alongside clothing, jewellery<br />

and accessories sourced from the region.<br />

The kitsch-free store offers only the most<br />

exquisite Moroccan crafts: quality caftans,<br />

colourful bread baskets, geometric Fez<br />

pottery. El Fenn’s co-owner, Vanessa<br />

Branson (sister of Richard and founder of<br />

the Marrakech Biennale), also adorns the<br />

walls with rotating works from international<br />

artists. el-fenn.com<br />

LRNCE<br />

Belgian designer Laurence<br />

Leenaert’s line of modern textiles,<br />

ceramics and clothing is a<br />

welcome change from the city’s<br />

usual wares. Her studio, in an<br />

industrial area in the city’s<br />

northwest, carries rugs, pitchers,<br />

kimonos, sandals and more – all<br />

with a sense of whimsy that calls<br />

to mind Picasso’s ceramics, Miró’s<br />

line drawings, and local tribal<br />

patterns. Handcrafted in North<br />

Africa, the pieces recently launched<br />

at Maison et Objet Paris, and will<br />

soon be available in a new<br />

medina outpost. lrnce.com<br />

LRNCE’s Ruwa carpets are hand-knotted<br />

in the Atlas Mountains; left: limited-edition<br />

Qalb vases from LRNCE<br />

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: KASIA GATKOWSKA; © LRNCE (2)


DEPARTURES TRAVEL MARKET WATCH<br />

26<br />

Riad Yima<br />

Pop Art photographer and<br />

designer Hassan Hajjaj<br />

runs this vibrant gallery/<br />

shop/cafe – awash in<br />

colour and packed with<br />

eclectic goods –<br />

in a refurbished home in<br />

the medina. Everything<br />

inside is for sale, including<br />

babouche slippers,<br />

upcycled Coca-Cola-crate<br />

benches and Hajjaj’s own<br />

street portraits of<br />

Moroccan fashionistas<br />

(he’s known as the Andy<br />

Warhol of Marrakech).<br />

Despite the<br />

overstimulating decor, it’s<br />

still less frantic than<br />

walking through the<br />

souks. riad​yima.com<br />

La Famille<br />

Offering some of the<br />

best views in the city<br />

(and a welcome<br />

respite from the souks<br />

and sun), this leafy<br />

rooftop restaurant<br />

specialises in vegetarian<br />

dishes like aubergineand-mint<br />

hummus,<br />

grilled-fennel tagliatelle<br />

and homemade cakes.<br />

A boutique selling<br />

crafts, homewares and<br />

jewellery recently<br />

opened at the stylish<br />

spot. Also for sale are<br />

the intricate ceramics<br />

and glassware used in<br />

the restaurant.<br />

+212 5243 85295<br />

Lalla<br />

As one of the most<br />

in-demand personal<br />

shoppers in Marrakech,<br />

with clients that include<br />

Sarah Jessica Parker and<br />

Gwyneth Paltrow, Laetitia<br />

Trouillet can skillfully<br />

navigate the city’s souks.<br />

Her itinerary may include<br />

her own space, Lalla,<br />

which is filled with<br />

handbags, home<br />

accessories and vintage<br />

wares in styles you won’t<br />

see elsewhere. For<br />

souvenirs, check out<br />

the pouches fashioned<br />

from vintage Moroccan<br />

fabric and handmade<br />

accessories for the hair.<br />

lalla.fr<br />

Marrakshi Life<br />

The pieces at fashion photographer Randall Bachner’s clothing store are handwoven and<br />

tailored in the adjacent atelier, where artisans use traditional Moroccan techniques to create<br />

decidedly contemporary yet relaxed looks. The intentionally oversized tailoring on everything<br />

from soft blazers to boxy jumpsuits means everything is unisex. This season, the five- year-old<br />

brand introduced a patchwork of recycled pieces as part of its commitment to zero waste.<br />

marrakshi​life.com<br />

Max & Jan<br />

This airy, whitewashed<br />

space has everything from<br />

sleek leather bags to bold<br />

jewellery, but regulars go<br />

for the contemporary<br />

clothing by Belgian<br />

owners Maximilian Scharl<br />

and Jan Pauwels. It’s a<br />

combination of urban<br />

streetwear and traditional<br />

Moroccan elegance:<br />

colourful prints on<br />

billowing harem trousers,<br />

flowy tunics, jumpsuits<br />

made with interesting<br />

fabrics. The recently<br />

opened rooftop<br />

restaurant, which serves<br />

updated local staples,<br />

overlooks the bustling<br />

medina. maxand​jan.com<br />

From top:<br />

photographer<br />

Hassan Hajjaj’s<br />

tearoom-cum-shop<br />

Riad Yima; the<br />

industrial interior of<br />

Max & Jan<br />

FROM TOP: HASSAN HAJJAJ; MARC VAN VAEK


Eric - Life Saver<br />

Courchevel • Baden-Baden • Paris • Vence - Côte d’Azur • St Barths • Cap d’Antibes • Antigua - West Indies • London • São Paulo


28 DEPARTURES TRAVEL DISPATCH<br />

Casa Macorís, one of the<br />

colonial houses to rent<br />

at Casas del XVI, a hotel<br />

in Santo Domingo<br />

The Dominican Republic Dresses Up<br />

Santo Domingo’s most stylish and creative power<br />

players are turning the historic Zona Colonial<br />

into a new Caribbean hot spot. by Jacqueline Gifford<br />

ON A STIFLINGLY HOT September<br />

afternoon in the Dominican Republic<br />

– humidity hovering at, oh, 99.9<br />

percent – I found myself on my way<br />

to get a pair of espadrilles in Santo<br />

Domingo’s Zona Colonial.<br />

Ricardo Fernandez, the Spanishborn<br />

owner of La Alpargatería<br />

(laalpargateria​.com.do), a company<br />

selling handcrafted shoes, was<br />

walking me from his first boutique,<br />

set on the tiny Calle Salome Ureña,<br />

to his newer atelier on the wider Calle<br />

Las Mercedes. The original is a lowkey<br />

affair, with a few rows for display<br />

and a courtyard out back where thick<br />

vines cover decaying stone walls.<br />

Think part Brooklyn, part New<br />

Orleans, with a dash of downtown LA.<br />

The atelier, however, is a more<br />

polished shop in an early-20thcentury<br />

building, its façade painted<br />

an electric blue. There, you can<br />

pick from among the endless fabric<br />

swatches – cheerful florals, bold<br />

stripes and plaids – and walk out with<br />

a pair of espadrilles for under $50.<br />

There are many boutiques like La<br />

Alpargatería in this utterly charming,<br />

centuries-old part of Santo Domingo<br />

© CASAS DEL XVI


30<br />

DEPARTURES TRAVEL DISPATCH<br />

– which is having a bit of a moment.<br />

Government money is sprucing up<br />

the streets. Artists are settling here.<br />

Interiors guru Carlos Mota, a world<br />

traveller who has put down roots<br />

in the Dominican Republic, bought<br />

an apartment in the Zona two years<br />

ago and recently decorated the new<br />

branch of Mesón de Bari (302 Calle<br />

Hostos), a cafe beloved by well-heeled<br />

locals. He calls the town “a hidden<br />

treasure, an undiscovered Cartagena.<br />

You walk around and you find layers.”<br />

I’ve been covering the Caribbean<br />

for years, yet Santo Domingo – the<br />

capital of the Dominican Republic<br />

and home to some 2.6 million people<br />

– was entirely new to me. Which is<br />

somewhat of a surprise, given that<br />

it’s a four-hour flight from New York<br />

and the oldest European city in the<br />

Americas, established in 1496 by<br />

Bartholomeo Columbus (yes, brother<br />

of Christopher).<br />

“Most people don’t think of<br />

visiting Caribbean cities, but from<br />

Santo Domingo’s<br />

Zona Colonial<br />

dates back to<br />

the 16th century<br />

a style standpoint, Santo Domingo<br />

is brimming with boutiques,” said<br />

Andria Mitsakos, founder of lifestyle<br />

brand Wanderlista, who produces<br />

furniture here. Like Mota, Mitsakos<br />

is an inveterate traveller. She recently<br />

gave up her Manhattan apartment to<br />

live a more nomadic lifestyle, renting<br />

in Athens and the Zona, where she’ll<br />

spend weeks at a time designing rattan<br />

From left: Mamey Galería shows<br />

contemporary Dominican artists; variations<br />

on the espadrille at La Alpargatería<br />

furniture and scouting crafts. “The<br />

architecture is inspiring,” she told me.<br />

Hundreds of 16th-century Spanish<br />

colonial buildings still stand here,<br />

now reimagined as contemporary<br />

shops, galleries, even hotels.<br />

Interior designer Patricia Reid,<br />

longtime Zona resident and friend of<br />

the late Oscar de la Renta, has seen<br />

this area go in and out of fashion.<br />

(Most business still takes place in the<br />

modern city centre.) “One hundred<br />

years ago, this was the ‘in’ place to<br />

live,” explained Reid, who designed<br />

Julio Iglesias’s homes in Punta Cana<br />

and Marbella, Spain. “It’s coming<br />

back. I don’t want it to be a museum. I<br />

want it to be a living city.”<br />

Reid is a master at mixing found<br />

objects from Bali and Morocco<br />

with mahogany furniture made in<br />

the Dominican Republic and then<br />

layering in her own paintings and<br />

drawings of nature. You can get a feel<br />

for her eclectic, colourful work at<br />

Casas del XVI (casas​delxvi.net), which<br />

consists of six colonial-era mansions<br />

in the Zona with features like open-air<br />

courtyards and pools. In the coming<br />

years, more houses – which, with their<br />

brick archways, terracotta floors and<br />

wood-beamed ceilings, can take up<br />

to a year to renovate – will be added,<br />

so that the hotel will feel like a sort of<br />

mini village. The star attraction right<br />

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: VICTOR STONEM; © LA ALPARGATERÍA; VICTOR STONEM


32 DEPARTURES TRAVEL DISPATCH<br />

From top: pineapple-shaped planters and vases made by<br />

Ysabela Molini under her Casa Alfarera brand; a new outpost<br />

of Mesón de Bari, a cafe serving traditional Dominican food<br />

that was designed by decorator Carlos Mota<br />

now is the two-bedroom, exclusive-use<br />

Casa del Diseñador, a former home of<br />

de la Renta (other houses can be rented<br />

by the room).<br />

One morning, over cups of rich,<br />

tar-thick Dominican coffee at the<br />

Casa Macorís, one of the houses in<br />

the Casas del XVI collection, I chatted<br />

with Amelia Vicini, whose family is<br />

responsible for the project as well as<br />

numerous other properties in the Zona.<br />

Beside economic investment, she<br />

credited the area’s resurgence to the<br />

young diaspora moving back: people<br />

like Carolina Contreras, an influencer<br />

and founder of Miss Rizos, a blog<br />

and salon that encourages women to<br />

embrace their curls.<br />

With her statement glasses and<br />

natural hair, Parsons-educated Natalia<br />

Ortega, who grew up in Santo Domingo<br />

and returned after college, may be the<br />

most emblematic of this new creative<br />

set. She works with Dominican and<br />

Haitian artists to weave beautiful<br />

straw hats for her line Los Tejedores<br />

(los​tejedores​.com), started with her<br />

boyfriend, Ricardo Ariel Toribio.<br />

Ortega now moves between studios,<br />

meeting clients in person and selling<br />

her pieces online.<br />

Santo Domingo is nothing if not<br />

social: after speaking with one artist,<br />

they’d connect me to another, and<br />

so on. Through Mota, I met fashion<br />

‘‘The Zona Colonial<br />

is a hidden treasure, an<br />

undiscovered Cartagena.<br />

You walk around<br />

and you find layers”<br />

designer Oriett Domenech (oriett​<br />

domenech.com), who has dressed Kylie<br />

Jenner. At her atelier in the city centre, I<br />

fell hard for one of her hand-cut, bodyhugging<br />

shift dresses – made entirely<br />

out of cork. And through Domenech’s<br />

husband, investor Miguel Angel<br />

Gonzalez, I ran into Vanessa Gaviria,<br />

whose SBG restaurant group owns the<br />

Mediterranean-influenced La Cassina<br />

(fb​.com/​la​cassina​santo​domingo).<br />

Power-lunching may be a thing of the<br />

past in New York, but it’s alive and<br />

well at this low-lit, formal spot in the<br />

neighbourhood of Evaristo Morales.<br />

But this current wave of artists<br />

is mainly based in the Zona. There,<br />

you’ll find Ysabela Molini, creator of<br />

Casa Alfarera (casaalfarera.com) and<br />

a brilliant ceramist who sources all<br />

her clay on the island (no easy feat)<br />

and makes massive pineapple-shaped<br />

urns as well as delicate sconces,<br />

plates and vases. And Alejandro<br />

Ruiz and Eddy Guzmán, the owner<br />

and curator, respectively, of Mamey<br />

Galería (mamey.co), which combines<br />

a cafe, bookshop and cinema with<br />

two galleries showcasing historical<br />

and contemporary works by<br />

Dominican artists.<br />

At times, I felt like the Zona was<br />

one big roving street party. When<br />

the heat had subsided, I set out<br />

early on a Friday evening, passing<br />

through the Parque Colón, to see the<br />

soaring Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Annunciation, which dates back to<br />

1512. Children were chasing balloons;<br />

men gathered to play dominoes. After<br />

dinner, I circled back to the Parque,<br />

now alive with music.<br />

FROM TOP: KARLA READ; HAROLD LAMBERTUS


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Enjoy a complimentary night.<br />

Soak up more sun, savour the spa, dine at an award-winning restaurant or see more sights in a longed-for<br />

destination with a complimentary night from Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.<br />

Stay from 6 June to 2 September, <strong>2019</strong> and receive a complimentary third, fourth or fifth night when<br />

you book at any of the participating Mandarin Oriental hotels from 1 June to 28 August, <strong>2019</strong> and pay<br />

with an American Express® Card in the Platinum® Cardmember’s name.<br />

As a Platinum Cardmember, you will also enjoy Fine Hotels & Resorts 1 benefits including:<br />

Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai<br />

OUT<br />

IN<br />

Room upgrade 2 at<br />

time of check-in,<br />

when available.<br />

Guaranteed 4pm<br />

late checkout<br />

Noon check in,<br />

when available.<br />

A unique<br />

amenity 4 valued<br />

at US$100<br />

Daily breakfast<br />

for two<br />

In-room Wi-Fi 3<br />

For more information or to make a booking, contact Platinum Service: (+973) 17 557788 (<strong>Middle</strong> <strong>East</strong>) and<br />

800 1999 5555 or (+966) 11 407 1999 (K/SA)<br />

1<br />

Available for Platinum Charge Cardmembers only, and excludes Platinum Credit Cardmembers who are not also Platinum Charge Cardmembers.<br />

2<br />

Certain room categories are not applicable for room upgrade or special offer. 3 Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi is not available in all locations.<br />

See Terms and Conditions for details. 4 Special amenity varies by property, call your Platinum Travel service for details.


Hotels offering a complimentary<br />

third night with two paid nights<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong<br />

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Macau<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Miami<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Milan<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Munich<br />

Mandarin Oriental, New York<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Prague<br />

Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Taipei<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC<br />

Hotels offering a complimentary<br />

fourth night with three paid nights<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona<br />

Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Boston<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Canouan<br />

Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Geneva<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Paris<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Sanya<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Singapore<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo<br />

Hotels offering a complimentary fifth night with four paid nights<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como<br />

Mandarin Oriental, New York<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Paris<br />

Mandarin Oriental, Macau<br />

Terms and Conditions<br />

1) Special offers valid only for new Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings through The Platinum Travel service from 1 June to 28 August <strong>2019</strong> (inclusive) for hotel<br />

stays from 6 June and completed by 2 September <strong>2019</strong> (inclusive). A minimum consecutive paid stay is required to receive special offer. Payment must be<br />

made in full with an American Express® Card in the Platinum Cardmember name. Complimentary night offer is non-transferable and non-cashable.<br />

Category restrictions and other restrictions apply to the special offer. Cardmember must travel on itinerary booked to be eligible for special offer and<br />

Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits described. Noon check-in and room upgrade are based on availability and are provided at time of check-in. Certain room<br />

categories are not eligible for room upgrade or special offer. Breakfast amenity varies by property, but will be, at a minimum, a continental breakfast.<br />

Complimentary Wi-Fi is provided in room, with the exception of select properties where in-room Wi-Fi is included as part of a mandatory daily resort fee or<br />

is not available. In this instance, complimentary Wi-Fi will be provided in a common space on property. In the case where a Property includes cost of Wi-Fi in<br />

a mandatory resort fee, the Cardmember will receive a daily credit from the Property in the standard amount that the Property charges for Wi-Fi. The credit<br />

will be issued on the Cardmember final statement upon check-out. Benefit restrictions vary by Fine Hotels & Resorts property and cannot be redeemed<br />

for cash, and may not be combined with other offers unless indicated. Advance reservations are recommended for services such as spa, dining or golf<br />

in order to take advantage of the Fine Hotels & Resorts Special amenity during your stay. Benefits are only applied at checkout and expire at checkout.<br />

Limit of one benefit package per room, per stay. Three room limit per Platinum Cardmember per stay. Back-to-back stays within a 24-hour period at the<br />

same property are considered as one stay. Participating Fine Hotels & Resorts properties and benefits are subject to change. Cancellation policy varies by<br />

property; Contact The Platinum Travel service for details. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotions, offers or privileges.<br />

2) Fulfilment of the offer is the sole responsibility of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. The promoter of this offer is Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, 8th Floor One<br />

Island <strong>East</strong>, Taikoo Place, 18 Westlands Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, Telephone +852 2895 9288.<br />

3) Cardmember must stay a minimum of two, three or four consecutive paid nights to receive the complimentary night. Minimum length of stay varies by<br />

property and complimentary night will be credited upon check-out.<br />

4) Offer is subject to availability and below blackout dates apply: Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona: 14, 19, 22 and 26 June, 13 and 20 July, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin<br />

Oriental, Boston: 25 June, 17 July, 30 August, 2 September, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental, Geneva: 28 July, 1, 5, 9, 13 and 17 August, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental,<br />

Hong Kong: 28 May, 25 June and 27 Aug, <strong>2019</strong>; The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong: 11, 12, 26 and 27 June, 20 and 21 August, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin<br />

Oriental, Macau: 7 – 9 June, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental, Milan: 12 and 15 June, 13 and 16 July, 29 August, 1 September, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental, Munich:<br />

6 June, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental, New York: 12, 18 and 25 June, 10 and 17 July, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental, Paris: 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26 and 30 June, 4 July,<br />

30 August, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental, Sanya: 6 – 8 June, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Singapore: 9 August, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo: 27 July, <strong>2019</strong>; Mandarin<br />

Oriental, Washington DC: 11, 18 and 20 June, 17 July, <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

5) Should any dispute arise, the decision of American Express International, Inc. and the participating merchants shall be final.


36 DEPARTURES TRAVEL CHECKING IN<br />

Restoration Period<br />

The ever-expanding London hotel<br />

scene has added a sparkling lineup of<br />

new and newly redone properties all<br />

across the city. by Ben Ryder Howe<br />

“THE HISTRIONIC ART is the London art par excellence,”<br />

travel writer Jan Morris once wrote. The city is a non-stop<br />

spectacle of pageantry and performance, where, according<br />

to Morris, “the greasepaint is always on”. Nowhere is this<br />

currently more evident than in the sheer multitude and<br />

ambition of new and reborn London hotels.<br />

Take, for example, one of these properties, The Stratford<br />

(manhattan​loft​gardens.com) at Manhattan Loft Gardens, a<br />

42-storey, double-cantilevered tower. Harry Handelsman,<br />

the 69-year-old developer behind the project, wants to shift<br />

the city’s centre of gravity towards Stratford, a previously<br />

grim part of London best known as the site of the 2012<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> Olympics. It’s a tall order, but Handelsman,<br />

who with André Balazs brought the high life to sleepy<br />

Marylebone with the Chiltern Firehouse, is confident that<br />

Manhattan Loft Gardens will serve as a beacon to the young<br />

and chic. It’s certainly big enough: designed by Skidmore,<br />

Owings & Merrill, the team behind the Burj Khalifa and<br />

One World Trade Center, the 146-room obelisk (there are<br />

also 248 rental lofts) hovers on the eastern flank of the<br />

metropolis, far enough to be only dimly visible from the<br />

city centre, a radical statement of confidence in the power<br />

of the city to limitlessly expand.<br />

While Manhattan Loft Gardens aims to dazzle<br />

with spectacle and size, the Belmond Cadogan Hotel<br />

Left: a junior suite at<br />

the impeccably restored<br />

Belmond Cadogan Hotel<br />

in Chelsea; below: the<br />

terrace of the Mandarin<br />

Oriental Hyde Park’s<br />

Royal Suite<br />

( belmond.com) seeks to impress<br />

with stateliness and exclusivity.<br />

Situated on a Chelsea corner readymade<br />

for a foggy, gaslit scene from<br />

a Henry James book jacket, the 54-<br />

room Queen Anne–style town house<br />

has been operating as a hotel under<br />

various owners since 1887 (it was<br />

the scene of Oscar Wilde’s arrest for<br />

indecency in 1895) and now becomes<br />

Belmond’s first London property.<br />

Belmond likes its hotels to feel as if<br />

they have been in place forever, which<br />

the Cadogan certainly. The pièce de<br />

résistance is Cadogan Place Gardens, a<br />

proper English garden (members-only<br />

but open to hotel guests) shaded by<br />

mulberry and plane trees and featuring<br />

a pair of macadam tennis courts.<br />

FROM TOP: © BELMOND CADOGAN HOTEL; © MANDARIN ORIENTAL HYDE PARK, LONDON


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Luzern Tourismus | Tourist Information | Zentralstrasse 5 | CH-6002 Lucerne<br />

Tel. +41 (0)41 227 17 17 | luzern@luzern.com | www.luzern.com


DEPARTURES TRAVEL CHECKING IN<br />

38<br />

The former Camden Town Hall<br />

Annexe, in King’s Cross, a Brutalist<br />

slab that once housed a radical leftist<br />

city council, is aesthetically the<br />

antithesis of a Chelsea town house but<br />

in its way just as pure an expression<br />

of London’s character. Three years<br />

ago, the run-down hulk, on the verge<br />

of demolition, was acquired by the<br />

Standard. As a construction manager<br />

showing me the rooms said, “Nothing<br />

should be boring in a Standard,” which<br />

would be almost impossible inside the<br />

aquarium-like, 266-room property,<br />

with its convex windows and bulbous<br />

concrete façade. Almost everything in<br />

the Standard, London (standard​hotels.<br />

com) had to be specifically designed<br />

for the undulating, curvilinear space.<br />

There are inspired touches such as<br />

the additional matte-black floors<br />

planted fez-like atop the original<br />

beige structure, an external elevator<br />

that conjures a vertically ascending<br />

miniature red London bus, and an<br />

inventive adaptation of the hotel’s<br />

windowless central rooms, which<br />

have been geared towards DJs and<br />

other nocturnal types.<br />

The Standard is a hotel to gawk<br />

at, but for sheer number of camerapointing<br />

tourists blocking sidewalks,<br />

it’s hard to beat the Mandarin Oriental<br />

Hyde Park, London ( mandarin​<br />

oriental.com), an opulent landmark in<br />

London’s glitziest shopping district.<br />

A fire last summer briefly derailed<br />

the most extensive renovations in the<br />

building’s 130-year history, leaving<br />

only its public spaces open (including<br />

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, the<br />

Michelin two-star restaurant). The<br />

hotel fully reopened this spring<br />

and features all-new guest rooms and suites, as well<br />

as two penthouses ornamented with chandeliers and<br />

other lighting referencing the British crown jewels. (The<br />

penthouses also come fortified with bulletproof windows<br />

and sleeping quarters for bodyguards.)<br />

For pure glamour, the Connaught ( the-connaught.<br />

co​.uk) is a hotel so opulent you might want to arrive in a<br />

tuxedo (or, as a guest standing next to me at check-in did,<br />

a bathrobe). Charles de Gaulle’s favourite hotel in London<br />

(he installed himself on the first floor during the Blitz),<br />

the Connaught recently added the Mews, a town house<br />

offering high-touch hotel service in a private residence.<br />

Furnished with artwork from the Gagosian Gallery (Louise<br />

Bourgeois, Marc Newson) as well as a grand piano, the<br />

Mews stands just a block away from the Connaught, to<br />

which it connects via a private corridor. You will likely be<br />

tempted, however, to come and go through the Mews’s<br />

carriage house entrance on Adams Row. Fulfill your fantasy<br />

by wearing one of the Burberry trenches in the closet or<br />

dipping into a Moynat leather jewellery trunk filled with<br />

vintage treasures. After all, as Morris wrote, echoing the<br />

city’s most famous scribe, “London is a stage!”<br />

Clockwise from top<br />

left: a membersonly<br />

garden, open to<br />

Belmond Cadogan<br />

Hotel’s guests, that<br />

includes a pair of<br />

macadam tennis<br />

courts; one of 146<br />

rooms within the<br />

Stratford; the Mews,<br />

a private town<br />

house addition at<br />

the Connaught,<br />

features art from<br />

Gagosian Gallery<br />

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: © BELMOND CADOGAN HOTEL; ED REEVE; © THE CONNAUGHT


Smile all<br />

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CORINTHIA HOTEL BUDAPEST | ERZSÉBET KÖRÚT 43-49, 1073 BUDAPEST, HUNGARY | CORINTHIA.COM/BUDAPEST


JEWELLERY PHOTOGRAPHS BY JON ERVIN<br />

Graff ruby and<br />

diamond earrings,<br />

graff.com<br />

STYLE<br />

Heavenly Creatures Precious stones of all hefts<br />

and hues light up Dutch artist Ruth van Beek’s<br />

colourful collages.<br />

OBJECTS OF DESIRE DEPARTURES<br />

41


DEPARTURES STYLE OBJECTS OF DESIRE<br />

Left: Van Cleef & Arpels<br />

white and red gold, ruby,<br />

sapphire and diamond<br />

earrings, vancleef​<br />

arpels.com; above: Chopard<br />

rose gold, pink sapphire and<br />

ruby earrings, chopard.com


Tiffany & Co platinum<br />

and pink ​sapphire<br />

earrings from the <strong>2019</strong><br />

Four Seasons of Tiffany<br />

collection, tiffany.com<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

43


DEPARTURES STYLE PERSONALISATION<br />

44<br />

Yours, Truly From designer denim to status trainers,<br />

made-to-order programmes let you have a hand in<br />

customising your most coveted pieces. by Hayley Phelan.<br />

Photographs by Richie Talboy. Styled by Jenny Hartman<br />

1<br />

3<br />

1 John Hardy custom<br />

gold necklace with<br />

opals, diamonds,<br />

sapphires, topaz and<br />

mother-of-pearl<br />

AFTER 80 YEARS of making understated<br />

handbags, leather-goods brand Valextra –<br />

known for eschewing logos and branding –<br />

has launched #NoLogoMyLogo, a bespoke<br />

programme that invites customers to design<br />

their very own handbag. After clients choose<br />

the shape, size and colour, and then submit<br />

their initials, a team of graphic designers<br />

creates a one-of-a-kind pattern based on<br />

those specifications.<br />

“Typically logos are about the brand,” said<br />

Sara Ferrero, CEO of Valextra. “But that’s not<br />

what we’re about. This is a celebration of the<br />

customer and their own unique personal taste,<br />

rather than a celebration of us as a company.”<br />

High-end fashion has long been about<br />

having the right designer bag or the “It”<br />

shoe, but these days true luxury is about<br />

making something yours and displaying<br />

your individual aesthetic. Louis Vuitton<br />

recently launched a line of menswear that<br />

allows clients to put their mark (monograms,<br />

patches) on everything from trainers to jean<br />

jackets. Meanwhile, Brunello Cucinelli<br />

debuted a made-to-measure suiting<br />

programme this past autumn, and Gucci has<br />

2<br />

2 Valextra leather-andonyx<br />

“NoLogoMyLogo”<br />

monogram bag; Brioni<br />

made-to-measure<br />

wool coat<br />

3. Brunello Cucinelli<br />

made-to-measure wool<br />

suit; Prada made-tomeasure<br />

shirt;<br />

Valentino men’s trainer<br />

with monogram patch


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while relaxing in a jacuzzi in the privacy of your<br />

own balcony.<br />

With superbly designed rooms and suites,<br />

Mulia Resort speaks of style and luxury at every turn.<br />

Complemented by ample facilities and amenities –<br />

including four swimming pools, a dedicated fitness<br />

centre and international culinary presentations in its<br />

nine signature restaurants – Mulia Resort is the ultimate<br />

destination for all travellers alike.<br />

Promising a private sanctuary, Mulia Villas is<br />

a haven for those seeking comfort in luxury and<br />

solitude. With personal 24-hour butler service, a private<br />

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Tel: +62 361 3017777 or Toll Free: 0800-1-1 MULIA (68542) • themulia.com


DEPARTURES STYLE PERSONALISATION<br />

46<br />

6<br />

4 Marco Bicego adjustable<br />

yellow-gold necklace;<br />

Blazé Milano made-toorder<br />

silk blazer<br />

5 Louis Vuitton men’s<br />

“Now Yours” customisable<br />

denim jacket<br />

6 Pomellato adjustable<br />

white-diamond bracelet,<br />

linked to adjustable<br />

rose-gold bracelet with<br />

adjustable slim rose-gold<br />

bracelet<br />

7 Lanvin made-to-measure<br />

wool suit and shirt; Cartier<br />

steel Santos de Cartier<br />

watch with interchangeable<br />

straps<br />

7<br />

4 5<br />

recently expanded its unisex DIY programme<br />

to include cardigans with varsity-style<br />

letters. At Tiffany & Co, customers can have<br />

everything from monograms to handwritten<br />

doodles engraved on a wide array of<br />

products as part of its Make It My Tiffany<br />

personalisation programme.<br />

“You could say it’s evidence of our<br />

increasingly individualistic society,” said<br />

Fflur Roberts, head of global luxury goods<br />

at research firm Euromonitor. “Customers<br />

want to make their own statement.”<br />

Take insider-favourite women’s suiting<br />

label Blazé Milano. While the company now<br />

sells ready-made blazers, its made-to-order<br />

programme, which allows clients to pick<br />

from 14 different button types, six linings,<br />

and countless colours and fabrics, remains<br />

the cornerstone of its business. Allowing<br />

individuals to partake in the crafting of<br />

something doesn’t just result in a beautiful<br />

item – it can also provide an opportunity<br />

for self-reflection. “I think being part of that<br />

process can be quite a profound experience<br />

for people,” said Beth Bugdaycay, cofounder<br />

of Foundrae, a cult jewellery label known<br />

for its medallion-shaped charms and cigarband<br />

rings. With a new customisation<br />

programme, her clients can select from<br />

various symbols and gemstones to create a<br />

talisman that commemorates a meaningful<br />

moment in their lives. That it happens<br />

to come with bragging rights about one’s<br />

creative genius is merely a bonus.<br />

SET STYLING BY MARGARET MACMILLAN JONES. GROOMING BY MIGUEL LLEDO AT ARTLIST NY USING CLARINS.<br />

MODEL: MELCHOR MERCADO AT NEW YORK MODELS. CASTING BY ERIN SIMON


SPECIAL PROMOTION<br />

VAKKARU MALDIVES<br />

Ultimate romantic getaway in a timeless sanctuary<br />

Set on a secluded island within the Unesco<br />

Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, just a<br />

scenic 30-minutes seaplane flight from Male<br />

International Airport, Vakkaru Maldives is an<br />

unforgettable paradise designed for travellers<br />

seeking an intimate getaway in one of the most<br />

desirable island destinations on the planet.<br />

An extensive selection of 125 beach and overwater<br />

villas and suites feature rustic Maldivian<br />

charms, intelligent connectivity and private<br />

beachfronts or overwater terraces. Indulgent<br />

dining choices from across the world are offered<br />

at six gastro venues, comprising the perfect<br />

environment to relax and unwind.<br />

Engaging experiences await at Splash,<br />

the resort’s water-sports, excursion and dive<br />

centre. There are also extensive kid’s facilities,<br />

floodlit tennis and badminton courts and a<br />

24/7 over-water gym which offers personaltraining<br />

and yoga sessions. The over-water<br />

Merana Spa, meanwhile, features 12 treatment<br />

rooms, a salon, boutique and wellness area<br />

complete with its own lounging space, sauna<br />

and steam rooms, Jacuzzi and plunge pool.<br />

Let the timeless allure of the Maldives<br />

welcome you in as you discover the warmth<br />

and affection of its people in this idyllic<br />

island retreat.<br />

VAKKARU MALDIVES • Baa Atoll, Republic of Maldives • Tel: +960 660 7000 • Fax: +960 660 7777<br />

reservations@vakkarumaldives.com • vakkarumaldives.com


48 DEPARTURES STYLE BRIGHT IDEAS<br />

The Colour Connoisseur’s Guide<br />

The experts weigh in on where to find everything<br />

from ombré glass furniture to red bath fixtures to<br />

give your home a new kaleidoscopic look.<br />

by Joe Harper. Illustrations by Jordan Andrew Carter<br />

ACCENT FURNITURE<br />

Decorator Amy Lau loves works by the<br />

Latvian-born, Amsterdam-based furniture<br />

designer Germans Ermičs. “His furniture adds<br />

an interesting, bespoke touch that makes a<br />

room so distinctive and memorable,” she says.<br />

One of her favourite pieces is his 2017 Ombré<br />

Glass Chair, a boxy seat that fades from one<br />

colour to the next across just four planes<br />

of glass – a medium he uses for most of his<br />

designs, which include tables, consoles and<br />

shelving. “Alchemy of colour is the cornerstone<br />

of his work,” says Lau. germansermics.com<br />

HARDWARE<br />

Fashion designer Lisa Perry<br />

also has a talent for decorating<br />

interiors, as is evident in her<br />

new book Lisa Perry: Fashion,<br />

Homes, Design (Assouline).<br />

To create bold spaces akin to<br />

her 1960s-inspired clothing,<br />

Perry says she adds pops<br />

of colour to all-white rooms.<br />

One way to achieve this is<br />

with doorknobs, and Perry<br />

suggests Bonnemazou Cambus,<br />

a French brand that brings<br />

unexpected shapes to handles<br />

in bright hues. “Hardware is<br />

not always a place where<br />

creativity can shine, but their<br />

pieces make a statement,<br />

and the colour choices<br />

are electric,” says Perry.<br />

bonnemazou-cambus.fr<br />

UPHOLSTERY<br />

Danielle Fennoy of Revamp<br />

Interior Design in New<br />

York doesn’t like how most<br />

upholstered furniture only<br />

comes in understated shades<br />

like beige or grey, so to make<br />

her pieces unique, she often<br />

reupholsters everything.<br />

She prefers Romo’s Black<br />

Edition Herbaria Collection<br />

(romo​.com) for its organic<br />

patterns in bright colours;<br />

Maharam (maharam​.com) for<br />

a retro look, typified by the<br />

Millerstripe wool by Alexander<br />

Girard, which was designed in<br />

1973; and Dedar (dedar.com)<br />

for the unexpected. “Dedar’s<br />

colours are richer, deeper and<br />

more complex than those I’ve<br />

seen elsewhere,” says Fennoy.<br />

ART<br />

“Gary Petersen’s Constructivist paintings are<br />

transfixing,” says famed decorator Jamie Drake.<br />

He discovered Petersen at the New York gallery<br />

McKenzie Fine Art, which represents a roster<br />

of abstract artists who aren’t shy about using<br />

colour. “His pieces have a rhythm of overlapping<br />

geometries that is upbeat and energetic. They<br />

create a true focal point, with a Jazz Age spirit,”<br />

says Drake. mckenziefineart.com


MURALS<br />

Designer Richard<br />

McGeehan often<br />

commissions<br />

Brooklyn artist Matt<br />

Austin, whose work<br />

ranges from detailed<br />

landscapes to abstract<br />

geometries; they take<br />

about two weeks<br />

to execute. “Go to him<br />

for the unexpected<br />

and the amazing,”<br />

McGeehan says.<br />

mattaustinstudio​.com<br />

TEXTILES<br />

Fawn Galli’s first book, Magical<br />

Rooms (Rizzoli), is a study<br />

in opulent colour. She found<br />

inspiration for the spaces<br />

featured in the book from her<br />

travels to places like Oaxaca,<br />

Mexico, where she sources<br />

textiles from Los Baúles de Juana<br />

Cata (+52 951 501 0552), which<br />

works with local artisans who<br />

use natural dyes. When in Tokyo,<br />

she likes Morita (morita-antiques.<br />

com), which sells woodblockprinted<br />

furoshiki wrapping cloths<br />

and embroidered sashiko fabric.<br />

“It’s one of my favourite places<br />

for vintage kimonos and wall<br />

hangings,” says Galli.<br />

BATH FIXTURES<br />

Rather than sticking to traditional<br />

finishes like nickel and brass,<br />

designer Nicole Fuller suggests<br />

adding whimsy by choosing<br />

from the colourful selection<br />

of faucets and handles from<br />

Fantini. The Italian brand’s Nice<br />

Collection features translucent<br />

acrylic knobs with bases offered<br />

in six different hues. For an<br />

even brighter look, the rounded<br />

spouts and cross handles of<br />

the I Balocchi series can be<br />

finished in a fire-engine red.<br />

fantiniusa.com<br />

WALLPAPER<br />

Celerie Kemble, of the family-run Kemble Interiors,<br />

says wallpaper easily brings colour to a room. “My go-to<br />

is Schumacher,” says Kemble, whose own collection<br />

for the brand includes lively motifs like the striped<br />

Creeping Fern. “I love adding their Romeo marbleised<br />

paper to bookcases. It’s both wild and scholarly at the<br />

same time.” fschumacher.com<br />

CARPETS<br />

“We can easily forget the luxury<br />

of a beautiful carpet under bare<br />

feet,” says designer and hotelier<br />

Kit Kemp. She often collaborates<br />

with Christopher Farr to make pieces<br />

like Egg & Dart – a geometric<br />

jute-and-wool rug featuring blue,<br />

orange, green, yellow and red<br />

dots throughout – which she used<br />

inside the Meadow suite at her<br />

Crosby Street Hotel in New York.<br />

christopherfarr​.com<br />

TILES<br />

Mission Tile West, which has<br />

showrooms throughout the Los<br />

Angeles area, offers machinecut<br />

tiles that are painted by hand.<br />

Designer Peter Dunham, who chose<br />

the brand’s eight-by-15-centimetre<br />

offerings in the Tahiti colour for a<br />

1905 house in Santa Monica, says<br />

he likes the automation aspect<br />

for providing tight grout lines, but<br />

the hand-painted element for its<br />

dazzling hues. missiontilewest.com<br />

LIGHTING<br />

“I love colourful<br />

lampshades, and Bhon<br />

Bhon makes the most<br />

beautiful ones,” says<br />

New York designer<br />

Miles Redd. Based in<br />

Queens, Bhon Bhon<br />

handcrafts custom<br />

shades using everything<br />

from painted linens<br />

to pierced leather.<br />

Its pieces have been<br />

featured in the homes of<br />

Gloria Vanderbilt, Sting<br />

and Madonna, to name<br />

a few. Redd suggests<br />

trying a pink shade:<br />

“It will glow like a glass<br />

of brandy held up to<br />

firelight.” bhonbhon.com<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

49


DEPARTURES STYLE VISUAL STIMULATION<br />

50<br />

Pop Goes<br />

More than 50 years into his career, the radical nonno of<br />

Italian design is still using colour to defy convention.<br />

by Karin Nelson. Photographs by Stefan Ruiz<br />

Above: designer Gaetano<br />

Pesce in his Brooklyn studio<br />

with his Up chair for B&B<br />

Italia; right: Pesce recently<br />

reproduced his 1984 Pratt<br />

Chair in new colours for the<br />

gallery Salon 94 Design,<br />

salon94design.com<br />

the Easel<br />

WHEN GAETANO PESCE was nine,<br />

he punched his teacher for being<br />

stupid. Improper as the act was,<br />

it was also fortuitous. He was<br />

expelled and then enrolled in the<br />

only other school in Padua, Italy, an<br />

all-girls institution. “I was the only<br />

boy, and I learnt a lot about how to<br />

think and act,” says the architect and<br />

designer. Two decades later, in 1969,<br />

he produced his now iconic Up chair<br />

for B&B Italia, a bulbous seat shaped<br />

like an ancient fertility goddess. With<br />

its spherical ottoman attached like a<br />

ball and chain, the chair symbolised<br />

the oppression of women by men.<br />

It was the first industrial-design<br />

object to express such a political<br />

point of view – and 50 years on, it’s as<br />

relevant as ever.<br />

But then Pesce, who turns 80 in<br />

November, has always been a designer<br />

for our times. His work, which runs<br />

the gamut from bouncy resin vases<br />

to an office building covered with<br />

flowerpots, is fluid, imperfect, wildly<br />

innovative and, most markedly,<br />

colourful. “Colour is vital. When I<br />

CHAIR: COURTESY GAETANO PESCE/SALON 94 DESIGN


LAMP: COURTESY GAETANO PESCE/SALON 94 DESIGN<br />

Pesce’s one-of-a-kind 2018 Medusa table<br />

(right) and 2016 resin-and-steel Rug lamp<br />

(above) for Salon 94 Design<br />

started using it, my colleagues were<br />

dressed like priests, which I never<br />

understood,” says Pesce, referring<br />

to a time when both the culture and<br />

aesthetics of design took their lead<br />

more from staid architecture than<br />

from art. Even when his pieces are<br />

laden with social commentary, they<br />

are joyful. Which is why, along with<br />

Kaws, Jeffrey Deitch and Laure<br />

Heriard Dubreuil, who installed a<br />

cabinet he designed – shaped like<br />

a smiley face and painted candyfloss<br />

pink – in her New York fashion<br />

boutique The Webster, his biggest<br />

fans are children. “Art is not drama,”<br />

says Pesce, seated in his bendy 357<br />

Feltri chair for Cassina, which Raf<br />

Simons reupholstered with American<br />

quilts for last year’s Design Miami.<br />

“Art is life, and in a moment when<br />

our world is a little depressing, it’s<br />

important to make something positive<br />

and pleasurable.”<br />

To celebrate the Up chair’s<br />

anniversary, Pesce staged an 8m<br />

version of it in Milan’s Piazza del<br />

Duomo this April as part of the city’s<br />

Design Week. And earlier this year,<br />

he presented new and old works at<br />

Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Brussels.<br />

Pesce, who’s been based in New York<br />

since 1980, still goes to his Brooklyn<br />

studio every day. He’s busy creating<br />

new pieces and playing around<br />

with innovative materials, such<br />

as a translucent resin he recently<br />

used to recast his 1984 Pratt chairs,<br />

making them even more vivid. In the<br />

autumn, he’ll show new work at the<br />

Manhattan gallery Salon 94 Design,<br />

and, as part of the city’s Performa 19<br />

Biennial, he will present a resin rug,<br />

pieces of which viewers can carve<br />

out and take home. “Art is done for<br />

others to enjoy.”<br />

Right: Pesce in his<br />

studio working<br />

on La Perdita della<br />

Manualità (The<br />

Loss of Dexterity),<br />

a deflated hand<br />

sculpture about the<br />

decline of handwork<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

51


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Ethically made, eco-conscious,<br />

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2 Eleven Six Sadie crochet top in<br />

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3 Riley Studio modular anorak in<br />

water-resistant cotton, certified by<br />

the Better Cotton Initiative, riley.studio<br />

4 Mayamiko Dalisto maxi wrap<br />

dress in responsibly sourced cotton,<br />

mayamiko.com<br />

5 Mandkhai suit trousers made from<br />

sustainable Mongolian cashmere and<br />

merino wool, mandkhai.com<br />

6 Pour Les Femmes cotton boyfriend<br />

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3 Lilian Von Trapp double-<br />

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4 Mountain & Moon gold-<br />

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5 Baume Custom<br />

Timepiece 41mm<br />

Retrograde made with<br />

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6 Alama Iture bracelet,<br />

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woman in Tanzania,<br />

alama-project.com<br />

7 Sydney Brown slides<br />

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recycled-fibre<br />

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8 Sep Jordan Koutubia<br />

cushion in graphite cotton<br />

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56 DEPARTURES CULTURE GREAT SOURCES<br />

Mexico Modern<br />

A burgeoning furniture brand<br />

is reviving a host of near-forgotten<br />

midcentury maestros. by Pilar Viladas<br />

WHEN AMANDA and Sebastian Reant began their furniture<br />

company, Luteca, in Dobbs Ferry, New York, in 2015, they<br />

were at the forefront of a revival of interest in modernist<br />

and contemporary Mexican architecture and design.<br />

Amanda, who is British, and Sebastian, who is French,<br />

each had careers in management and marketing (she in<br />

the home furnishings world, he in the entertainment and<br />

digital fields), but they shared a passion for design, and a<br />

2014 trip to Mexico was a revelation.<br />

While the design world grows increasingly familiar with<br />

the storied midcentury icons from northern Europe, the<br />

Reants discovered an untapped Mexican reservoir that<br />

was fresh and exciting. “We think Mexican design has<br />

something universal,” Sebastian says; it encompasses “pre-<br />

Columbian culture, Spanish colonial culture and 20th-<br />

Inside the<br />

Mexico City<br />

showroom<br />

century modernism.” This eclectic<br />

mix has made the style popular with<br />

big-name interior designers like<br />

Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Shawn<br />

Henderson, and Commune Design,<br />

the LA firm that used Luteca’s San<br />

Miguelito counter stools in recent<br />

projects.<br />

Luteca’s first collection focused on<br />

furniture by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez,<br />

the architect who codesigned<br />

Mexico City’s National Museum<br />

of Anthropology and its Museum<br />

of Modern Art, among other noted<br />

structures of the 1960s. In 2017,<br />

Luteca reissued pieces by Michael van<br />

Beuren, the American-born, Bauhauseducated<br />

designer who moved to<br />

Mexico in 1936. These include the<br />

Alacrán chaise, designed with Klaus<br />

Grabe, which was a winner in MoMA’s<br />

Organic Design in Home Furnishings<br />

competition in 1941, and the Woven<br />

PIA RIVEROLA


FROM TOP: ARCHIVES OF AMERICAN ART, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, ESTHER MCCOY PAPERS; © LUTECA; PIA RIVEROLA<br />

Credenza, a 1940 design in wood with<br />

palm-cord doors.<br />

Luteca’s roster of contemporary<br />

collaborators includes Jorge Arturo<br />

Ibarra (who is also the company’s<br />

design director), Sami Hayek, the<br />

French-Mexican Studio Martes and<br />

the duo of Rodrigo Berrondo and<br />

Pablo Igartúa. In one way or another,<br />

they all draw on Mexico’s 20thcentury<br />

design history or its native<br />

materials to produce furniture that<br />

evokes tradition in a new way.<br />

For its latest release, Luteca<br />

returned to the 20th century, with<br />

two pieces by Clara Porset, another<br />

key figure in Mexico’s modernist<br />

history: a sculptural wood-and-glass<br />

coffee table that Amanda calls “so<br />

modern it could have been designed<br />

yesterday” and Porset’s take on the<br />

classic Mexican butaque chair, with<br />

its sinuously curved wood frame.<br />

“Porset offered us an opportunity to<br />

highlight a female designer who was<br />

doing amazing things in the mid-<br />

20th century that are still admired<br />

today,” she says.<br />

Born in Cuba in 1895 and educated<br />

in both the US and France, Porset<br />

fled Cuba for Mexico as a political<br />

exile in 1935. She was soon working<br />

with prominent architects like<br />

Luis Barragán and Mario Pani on<br />

everything from high-end residences<br />

and restaurants to housing projects,<br />

and her design for a steel-tube chair<br />

was included in the catalogue of<br />

MoMA’s International Competition<br />

for Low-Cost Furniture Design in<br />

1950. Her interiors and furniture were<br />

known for integrating her modernist<br />

education with a genuine interest in<br />

Mexican traditions. Porset owed the<br />

latter in part to her travels throughout<br />

the country with her husband, Xavier<br />

Guerrero, a well-known muralist<br />

and activist. But as humanistic as<br />

her approach was, Porset’s aesthetic<br />

had no room for frills; as she said in<br />

a 1931 lecture, “We are in a position<br />

to perceive and appreciate an austere<br />

beauty stripped of all ornament.”<br />

Porset’s brief return to Cuba after<br />

the 1959 revolution to work with<br />

the Castro regime alienated many<br />

of her peers. But in her later years<br />

in Mexico, Porset resumed her long<br />

career teaching industrial design at<br />

the National Autonomous University<br />

of Mexico (UNAM); her work was<br />

recognised in Mexican museum<br />

exhibitions, and she received various<br />

awards before her death in 1981.<br />

Porset was not the only 20thcentury<br />

designer who was fascinated<br />

by the butaque; it was also interpreted<br />

by William Spratling, who is best<br />

known for his work in silver, and<br />

by van Beuren, whose own, more<br />

reductive version is also now being<br />

made by Luteca. Porset, however,<br />

was keen on maximising the chair’s<br />

ergonomic potential, as well as<br />

respecting its vernacular roots. Later<br />

this year, Luteca will introduce<br />

another well-known Porset design,<br />

the Totonaca chair, inspired by a<br />

sculpture dating to the fifth or sixth<br />

century BC. Luteca worked with<br />

UNAM, which houses the designer’s<br />

archive, to develop the technical<br />

drawings for all these pieces.<br />

Another Mexico-based project,<br />

Luteca’s Txt.ure line, was developed<br />

by Regina Pozo in collaboration with<br />

the last remaining group of native<br />

artisans still weaving tule (a marsh<br />

plant similar to a cattail) – a craft that<br />

dates back to the Mayans. Together,<br />

they’re working on a series of seating.<br />

Luteca produces its furniture in<br />

the US but has added a factory in<br />

Mexico to meet the demand for<br />

From top: designer<br />

Clara Porset (right);<br />

a Porset coffee table<br />

by Luteca<br />

projects there, like Jon Brent Design’s<br />

Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos and<br />

Cherem Arquitectos’ 1 Hotel Cabo.<br />

Last year Luteca opened a showroom<br />

in Mexico City.<br />

And now the company has just<br />

opened its first US showroom, in<br />

New York City, giving it an outlet to<br />

broadcast its message to even greater<br />

numbers of designers. “We’re trying<br />

to reach a global audience,” Amanda<br />

says. “But Mexican design is still<br />

influenced by local cultures and<br />

traditions. It’s very personal.”<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

57


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O<br />

U<br />

T<br />

S<br />

I<br />

D<br />

E<br />

T<br />

E<br />

B<br />

X<br />

H<br />

O<br />

The award-winning architect<br />

Thom Mayne – known for his daringly<br />

complex buildings around the world –<br />

ÿ nally designs one for himself.<br />

by Ted Loos. Photographs by Spencer Lowell.<br />

Styled by Michael Reynolds<br />

66


Thom Mayne clad his Los Angeles<br />

home in an aluminium screen<br />

that adds to the camouflage look<br />

67


Cheviot Hills, in west<br />

Los Angeles, looks<br />

like so many old<br />

neighbourhoods in<br />

the city: perfectly<br />

manicured lawns,<br />

wide pavements, and<br />

comfortable uppermiddle-class<br />

houses<br />

68<br />

in a wide array of architectural styles, including Tudor<br />

Revival, Mediterranean Revival and modern Craftsman.<br />

But then there’s Thom Mayne’s house – a modernist box<br />

of metal and glass surrounded by greenery and fronted<br />

by a pool, largely invisible from the street. It’s the most<br />

personal expression to date from the iconoclastic architect,<br />

who built the house for himself and his wife of 37 years,<br />

Blythe Alison-Mayne.<br />

Mayne, a tall and gangly 75-year-old, is almost<br />

incapable of doing unprovocative work. He won<br />

architecture’s highest honour, the Pritzker Prize, in 2005,<br />

and his LA-based firm, Morphosis, is known for designing<br />

thoughtfully muscular buildings like Manhattan’s 41<br />

Cooper Square, which houses Cooper Union’s humanities<br />

and engineering schools and has a sloping, riven metal<br />

façade, and the Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech, on<br />

New York City’s Roosevelt Island, which is topped by<br />

a dramatic canopy full of solar panels. His upcoming<br />

projects span the globe, from a research building in Seoul<br />

to the US embassy in Beirut.<br />

“Most people who see our work don’t think domestic<br />

architecture,” says Mayne. “Building a home puts you in<br />

a completely different mindset: from the macro level to<br />

intimate detail.” Case in point: his living room cantilevers<br />

over the pool and has a partially see-through floor that<br />

reveals the water below. The glass walls fronting the pool<br />

open completely, so guests can dive right in from the<br />

living room. “And people do,” says Alison-Mayne, who<br />

was a financial manager at her husband’s firm for years.<br />

The house is Mayne’s first domestic project in a quartercentury,<br />

and was completed in late 2017 on a site that used<br />

to hold the home of the sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury. Mayne<br />

says the house was explicitly influenced by the Case Study<br />

Houses (1945-66), modern icons with the California vibe


In the living room, Mayne<br />

displays mixed-media art he’s<br />

completed over the past seven<br />

years. The floor lamp is from<br />

Artemide; opposite: Mayne with<br />

his wife, Blythe Alison-Mayne<br />

69


“It goes back to the<br />

way we live: constant<br />

communication,”<br />

Alison-Mayne says.<br />

“There’s no man<br />

cave, no place where<br />

people go to escape”<br />

70<br />

of spare lines and indoor-outdoor living, but this<br />

wasn’t going to be an academic exercise. “When we<br />

started, we said, ‘This is not Thom Mayne. This is not<br />

Morphosis. This is our house,’ ” the architect says.<br />

Partly clad in metal with large, semi-perforated<br />

circle shapes – imagine hole-punched hanging chads<br />

– the home is one complex puzzle. The main house is<br />

only 130 square metres above ground, but an adjacent<br />

guest one adds another 74. It feels bigger perhaps<br />

because the houses’ parts overlap and bleed into each<br />

other – the architectural equivalent of a jazz musician<br />

on a riff. While the design stresses privacy in some<br />

ways, there are a lot of open elements that aren’t<br />

conventional. Mayne wanted to prove something, too.<br />

“Thinking of the group I’m compared with, the Coop<br />

Himmelb(l)aus, the Frank Gehrys, the Zaha Hadids”<br />

– he means the Big Architectural Statement types – “I<br />

wanted to instead make architecture secondary to the<br />

landscape. It should just about disappear.” He adds,<br />

“It’s the thing I’m most happy about. It proves I can do<br />

something softer.”<br />

Softer, maybe, but not safe. “Everything’s off by a<br />

degree and a half,” says Mayne, standing in the mainfloor<br />

hallway and gesturing at the slightly-off angle of<br />

the white walls. “It gives you a dynamism.” Luckily,<br />

Morphosis had a shop to fabricate all the custom parts.<br />

The living room has a skinny vertical section cut out of<br />

one wall, facing the entrance, the better to see who’s<br />

coming to the door, says Alison-Mayne with a smile.<br />

The main staircase has a portion that seems impassable<br />

to all but tiny children, since another volume juts into<br />

its space; you have to walk around that volume, but as<br />

you do, you discover two new vistas: up to the left, an<br />

office, and up to the right, the loftlike master bedroom.<br />

Perhaps the most striking feature is the dining area’s<br />

faceted ceiling, made of intricately fitted panels, which<br />

curves up to form the back of the headboard in the master<br />

bedroom, whose half-walls overlook the first floor. It’s<br />

a twist on the old modern architecture adage, “Form<br />

follows function.”<br />

Instead of building up, Mayne dug down –<br />

construction crews excavated some 450 truckloads<br />

of dirt. But he only built on one-fifth of the allowable


The stairway to the master bedroom; Alison-Mayne’s office includes a desk chair from Fritz Hansen and a stool from Design Within Reach;<br />

opposite, from above: The property features a 17m-long pool with chaises longues from Royal Botania; Mayne capped a structural steel<br />

beam with Douglas fir to blend with the surroundings<br />

volume. By starting low, he was able to play with levels (the<br />

house has eight elevation points) and insulate from prying<br />

eyes. The perimeter hedge includes what Mayne calls “a<br />

007 moment”: the driveway gate is part of the green wall,<br />

so a portion moves aside when it opens. Thanks to the<br />

design, the normally private couple can spend a lot of time<br />

outside. Mayne wanted to emphasise that the outdoor<br />

entertaining space was part of the house, so he extended<br />

a beam out from the structure and then down towards<br />

the far side of the pool, but there’s a gap midway before<br />

continuing to the ground. “That’s a language I’ve been<br />

working with my whole career,” says Mayne. “Fragments,<br />

the unfinished, works in progress.”<br />

That kind of unconventional, disruptive thinking has<br />

marked his CV since founding Morphosis in 1972. Mayne<br />

spent much of his early career as an uncompromising,<br />

largely academic architect – he was a founding faculty<br />

member at the LA architecture school SCI-Arc – and<br />

his firm faced many lean years. But in the 1990s, with<br />

projects like the brilliantly fragmented Diamond Ranch<br />

High School in 2000, his work started to get noticed,<br />

and today Morphosis is one of the most sought-after<br />

architecture shops.<br />

But it was the small, 1930s bungalow in Santa Monica<br />

where the Maynes raised their two sons – not his previous<br />

signature projects – that inspired the size and feel of this<br />

hideaway. Their former home was famously quirky: the<br />

shower, for example, was in the middle of the living room.<br />

The stall was opaque, but “it was challenging to figure out<br />

privacy,” says Alison-Mayne.<br />

And when their adult sons, now both well over six feet<br />

tall, came to visit, it became clear that the family had long<br />

outgrown the house. “One of my sons said to me, ‘You know<br />

you’re married to an architect, right?’ ” Hence the new house<br />

and its “hotel wing”, a completely separate space with two<br />

bedrooms, a bathroom, and a small living room. No guest is<br />

encouraged to stay too long, by design: “The closets are so<br />

small you can’t move in,” she adds.<br />

But guests can certainly feel at home in this very openplan<br />

living space. “It goes back to the way we live: constant<br />

communication,” Alison-Mayne says. “There’s no man cave,<br />

no place where people go to escape.” She does, however, like<br />

to retreat to her bedroom-bathroom area that opens to the<br />

outdoors. The bed looks across the tops of palm trees to the<br />

shower. Next to the tub is a curved bench that Mayne sits on<br />

to chat with her when she has her nightly bath. The angles<br />

all ensure that the couple can’t be seen from the street or<br />

elsewhere in the house.<br />

Because he is a perfectionist, Mayne is still “struggling<br />

with everything that’s wrong” with the house, he says with<br />

a sheepish smile. He knows Chez Mayne is tailored for<br />

his family, but it’s also on-brand for Morphosis. “As the<br />

world gets thinner and simpler,” he says, “I’m interested in<br />

architecture’s role in countering that.”<br />

71


72 DEPARTURES <br />

A view of the Parroquia de San<br />

Miguel Arcángel from the grounds<br />

of the Rosewood hotel; opposite:<br />

the shop Evoke the Spirit


It’s Always Sunny in<br />

SAN MIGUEL<br />

Some residents call it an energy vortex – others credit the light and architecture.<br />

There’s just something about San Miguel de Allende that continues to draw creative<br />

visionaries from around the world to Mexico’s most enchanting colonial town.<br />

by Maura Egan | Photographs by Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock


ou need to go behind the<br />

closed doors, peek inside<br />

the courtyards in San Miguel<br />

de Allende,” said Bertha<br />

González Nieves, a highpowered<br />

Mexican business<br />

Y<br />

woman. “Here, everything<br />

goes back deep.” González<br />

was sitting in the courtyard<br />

of the cavernous Casa<br />

Dragones, once the 18th-century stables of Los Dragones,<br />

an elite cavalry that helped lead Mexico to independence.<br />

Although González shuttles between Mexico City and<br />

Manhattan, she calls San Miguel de Allende the spiritual<br />

home of the brand.<br />

“There’s an energy here – this is where the revolution<br />

started,” González said. “It’s also the centre of the<br />

country. And the light! It’s the reason why artists and<br />

photographers fall in love with this place.” A picturesque<br />

hill town about 250 kilometres northwest of Mexico<br />

City, San Miguel de Allende started luring international<br />

visitors in the 1930s, when 27-year-old Chicago painter<br />

Stirling Dickinson came through and was immediately<br />

enchanted. He would go on to establish the El Centro<br />

Cultural Ignacio Ramírez (also known as Bellas Artes) in a<br />

former convent and recruit hundreds<br />

of young American veterans to study<br />

there under the GI Bill. (González<br />

advised me to explore the buildings’<br />

cloisters to see an unfinished but<br />

dramatic mural by David Alfaro<br />

Siqueiros, a contemporary of Diego<br />

Rivera, who taught many of the<br />

GIs.) In the postwar years, artists<br />

and retirees alike were drawn to the<br />

city; today nearly 10 percent of the<br />

population is from the US.<br />

It’s been referred to as the Florence<br />

of Mexico, and you can see why. The<br />

main square is unexpectedly European:<br />

the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a<br />

giant pink sandstone cathedral with neo-<br />

Gothic spires, is one of many churches<br />

in town. There are manicured parks<br />

with sculpted laurel trees and fountains,<br />

and the most treacherous cobblestoned<br />

streets you’ll ever navigate. And as with<br />

its Italian counterpart, those streets<br />

are thronged by an endless procession<br />

of tourists.<br />

74 DEPARTURES <br />

Left: the entrance of Casa<br />

Dragones; opposite: the<br />

pool at L’Ôtel at Dôce 18<br />

Concept House


“This is where the revolution started,”<br />

González said. “It’s also the centre of<br />

the country. And the light! It’s the<br />

reason why artists and photographers<br />

fall in love with this place”<br />

All kinds of tourists: athleisureclad<br />

seniors basking in the year-round<br />

perfect weather; college students<br />

taking pottery and weaving workshops<br />

at venerable cultural institutions like<br />

Bellas Artes and the Instituto Allende;<br />

and Mexican wedding parties from<br />

Monterrey and Guadalajara posing<br />

for family photos in the stately Parque<br />

Benito Juárez.<br />

“I never really had a desire to<br />

visit, because I had heard it was full<br />

of tourists,” said Laura Kirar, an<br />

artist and designer who moved<br />

from Brooklyn to Yucatán in 2017<br />

to restore an old hacienda with<br />

her husband, Richard Frazier. She<br />

started visiting San Miguel for<br />

business and to escape Yucatán’s<br />

summer heat and was soon<br />

enthralled.<br />

“The creative community here<br />

is strong, and it isn’t just painters<br />

and musicians,” Kirar told me.<br />

She works with Mexican artisans<br />

across the region to make her sisaland-henequen<br />

woven bags and<br />

copper objects, which she sells at<br />

Dôce 18 Concept House, a stylish<br />

retail complex in the historic centre. “The entrepreneurial<br />

spirit seems to be thriving here,” she said. “It’s a place of<br />

connectors and doers.”<br />

For the most part, the Americans and Europeans<br />

who’ve settled in San Miguel aren’t just snowbirds<br />

here for the weather. Whether it’s designers and<br />

decorators working with regional craftsmen to make<br />

their wares, hiring local chefs to cook in restaurants<br />

serving new riffs on traditional Mexican cuisine, or<br />

volunteering (there are nearly 100 charities in the area),<br />

the expats who’ve settled in the area tend to be actively<br />

engaged with the community. On Halloween night,<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

75


76 DEPARTURES


Right: chef Donnie Masterton at<br />

The Restaurant; below: a beef rib<br />

taco at Jacinto 1930; opposite:<br />

a guest room at Hotel Amparo<br />

I watched the older American expat couples (who seemed<br />

as excited for the holiday as the Mexican children) hand<br />

out treats to swarms of kids.<br />

“You have to remember that San Miguel’s expat<br />

community originated from that first group of<br />

people who came down here to study the arts,”<br />

said Jeffry Weisman, who bought a place here<br />

in 2011 with his husband and business partner, Andrew<br />

Fisher. The San Francisco-based designers, known for their<br />

opulent interiors, had always loved Mexico but assumed<br />

they would buy near the beach. “But then my sister came<br />

down here for a bridge tournament and told us we’d fall<br />

in love with it,” recalled Weisman. Once they discovered<br />

a former tannery for sale, they traded in their Sonoma<br />

Valley ranch for San Miguel de Allende. The façade of their<br />

property looks simple enough, but after you pass through<br />

the wooden doors, it’s an architectural extravaganza.<br />

They’ve added stone terraces, statement chandeliers and<br />

hulking stone fireplaces. All of the rooms look out onto<br />

a lush garden that leads to a pool with a guest casita and<br />

100-year-old jacaranda trees, which were what clinched it<br />

for Weisman. But it was also the weather. “It’s 75 and clear<br />

most of the year,” he said. “I love the old-world scale too.<br />

None of the buildings are taller than two storeys, and it’s<br />

still cobblestoned streets.”<br />

It’s proven to be an ideal place to work. With so<br />

many family factories and craftsmen in the region, the<br />

designers can produce many of their pieces there. Fisher,<br />

who is also a painter and sculptor, has a loftlike studio<br />

in town and spends nearly all his time in San Miguel.<br />

The pair recently finished work on Casa Blanca 7, an<br />

intimate new hotel just off the main plaza, where they added<br />

SAN MIGUEL ESSENTIALS<br />

Hotels<br />

The town’s classic hotels include BELMOND CASA<br />

DE SIERRA NEVADA ( belmond​.com) spread out<br />

across six historic mansions, with a hidden pool and<br />

a cooking school; and ROSEWOOD SAN MIGUEL DE<br />

ALLENDE ( rosewood​hotels.com), which includes<br />

67 rooms done in classical hacienda style, three pools<br />

and a popular rooftop lounge. There is also a slew<br />

of newer boutique properties, such as HOTEL CASA<br />

BLANCA 7 (casablanca7.com), a renovated 300-yearold<br />

residence with Fatima 7, Donnie Masterton’s<br />

Mediterranean-inspired restaurant; HOTEL AMPARO<br />

(hotelamparo.com), which features five eclectic guest<br />

rooms as well as a coffee joint; and L’ÔTEL AT DÔCE<br />

18 CONCEPT HOUSE (l-otelgroup.com), a ten-room<br />

boutique hotel with a rooftop pool.<br />

Restaurants<br />

EL PEGASO ( Corregidora 6) serves hearty dishes<br />

like chiles en nogada stuffed with meat and<br />

raisins and a fragrant chicken soup. JACINTO 1930<br />

(jacinto1930.mx) serves modern Mexican dishes ; try<br />

LA PARADA ( laparadasma.com) for delicious ceviche.<br />

Donnie Masterton’s THE RESTAURANT (therestaurant<br />

sanmiguel.com) offers fresh global comfort food.<br />

Shops<br />

DÔCE 18 CONCEPT HOUSE (doce-18.com) sells<br />

wares from all over Mexico. For hand-dyed textiles<br />

and pottery, check out EVOKE THE SPIRIT (evoke<br />

thespirit.com). FÁBRICA LA AURORA (fabrica​la​<br />

aurora.com) is a former factory filled with galleries<br />

and shops, including gems like Cantadora, for antiques,<br />

and Galería Noyola Fernández. Head to TAO STUDIO<br />

GALLERY (taostudio.net) for high-end furnishings<br />

by Mexican artisans.<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

77


“There’s a true community<br />

that is actively engaged<br />

with the local culture”<br />

78 DEPARTURES <br />

Moroccan<br />

flourishes to a<br />

classic colonial<br />

design.<br />

“It’s pennies<br />

on the dollar<br />

to make things<br />

here,” said<br />

Taylor Goodall, a Houston-based lawyer and the coowner<br />

with his wife Mariana of Hotel Amparo, which<br />

opened this January. Though they shipped in midcentury<br />

pieces from abroad, they’ve furnished much of the fiveroom<br />

guesthouse with textiles from Oaxaca, handcarved<br />

poster beds and papier-mâché objects. It’s an enviable<br />

mix, and I found myself wanting to know the provenance<br />

of every piece. “We want guests to feel like they’re staying<br />

at their coolest friend’s house,” said Goodall, who plans<br />

to open a shop in the lobby to sell commissioned pieces<br />

from local artisans.<br />

There is a lot of creative cross-pollination going on in<br />

San Miguel de Allende. Dôce 18 Concept House houses<br />

a floral studio, a clothing boutique, a ceramics kiosk, a<br />

macaroon stall, several galleries amd a small independent<br />

hotel. One afternoon González took me to visit.<br />

The complex was busy with international visitors but<br />

also young couples from Mexico City who’d come for the<br />

weekend. After a coffee, we headed next door to the very<br />

popular Jacinto 1930 restaurant, where enjoyed oystermushroom<br />

tacos.<br />

For more casual fare, Dôce 18 has a food hall in the back<br />

of the building where Donnie Masterton, an LA native,<br />

has opened a taco stand as well as a grass-fed-burger<br />

joint. In 2008, Masterton, San Miguel’s de facto culinary<br />

ambassador, came to the city and opened what would<br />

become a hugely popular outpost of haute cuisine called<br />

The Restaurant. He had moved down to Mexico a few<br />

years before to take a break from kitchens, having cooked<br />

professionally since he was 15. He fell in love with San<br />

Miguel de Allende and realised there was an opportunity<br />

to open a restaurant focused on local ingredients. He’s<br />

been deeply involved in the town’s burgeoning farm-totable<br />

movement and is building a small eco-ranch just<br />

outside town to grow produce and raise livestock, which<br />

will supply his restaurants. “From a business perspective,<br />

there are fewer hoops to jump through than in the States,”<br />

Masterton told me. “It’s way more<br />

fun to do it down here.” He has just<br />

opened Fatima 7, a <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>East</strong>ern<br />

restaurant in Casa Blanca 7, the<br />

boutique hotel that Weisman and<br />

Fisher designed.<br />

On Thursdays The Restaurant<br />

holds burger night, a tradition that<br />

started during the recession and still<br />

brings in the crowds. However, on<br />

most evenings the place serves as a<br />

local social hub. The night I stopped<br />

by, I met a DJ from Dallas, a Pilates<br />

instructor from San Francisco, and<br />

a reunion group for one of the two<br />

San Miguel Burning Man camps, and<br />

I even bumped into Kirar again. I<br />

asked all of them why San Miguel was<br />

so popular. A few in the Burning Man<br />

group told me about the town having<br />

an energy vortex or an “acupressure<br />

point”. Kirar admitted she didn’t<br />

want to sound all woo-woo, but she<br />

agreed. “There is something special<br />

here that makes me breathe deeper<br />

and smile wider.”


A showroom in the Tao<br />

Studio Gallery; opposite,<br />

from top: a cobblestoned<br />

street; a musician walks<br />

past the Church of<br />

Immaculate Conception in<br />

the historic centre<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

79


GRAND HOTEL<br />

By taking over the beloved Fife Arms, art-world power players<br />

Iwan and Manuela Wirth have added another gem to their cultural empire<br />

and given a jolt of energy to the Scottish Highlands.<br />

by ALIX BROWNE | Photographs by SIMON WATSON<br />

80


LAST NOVEMBER, just a few weeks before The Fife Arms,<br />

a Victorian-era hotel in the Scottish Highlands, officially<br />

opened its doors, Iwan and Manuela Wirth invited the<br />

village of Braemar in for a preview. The Wirths, avid art<br />

collectors and the Swiss power couple behind the Hauser<br />

& Wirth gallery empire, purchased The Fife Arms in<br />

2014, and the extensive renovation they undertook had<br />

for the past few years deprived Braemar of its very centre<br />

of gravity.<br />

That night, however, the Wirths took a small but<br />

raucous step toward making it up to everyone: a trio<br />

of local bagpipe troops in full Scottish regalia marched<br />

through the village streets and faced off ceremoniously<br />

at the hotel’s front door. Inside, the many hearths were<br />

stoked and the tables laid with trays of oysters, cured meats<br />

and smoked fish. The village choir performed on The<br />

Fife’s grand stairway, opening its set with a rendition of<br />

“California Dreamin’”, while a ceilidh brought gentlemen<br />

in kilts and young girls in miniskirts to the dance floor<br />

with classic folk numbers like “Dashing White Sergeant”<br />

and “Strip the Willow”. The hotel lounge, reborn as the<br />

Flying Stag, was awash in the good cheer of people who<br />

have at long last been reunited in the place they love,<br />

only to discover that this place is far better than they<br />

remembered it to be. The evening, which coincided with<br />

Saint Andrew’s Day, one of Scotland’s biggest holidays,<br />

culminated in a display of fireworks.<br />

“The Fife was always a place for parties, but it’s never<br />

seen a party quite like that!” exclaimed Alison MacIntosh,<br />

whose husband had played the grand piano in the reception<br />

room, accompanied for a bit by her daughter on the<br />

oboe. MacIntosh had stopped by the hotel to drop off a<br />

handwritten note of thanks. “My sister had her wedding<br />

reception here. I celebrated my twenty-first<br />

birthday here,” she continued. “It was the most<br />

important building in the village, and we could<br />

see it was going down – it was shabby, it was<br />

cheap. I am so happy to see it brought back to<br />

life.”<br />

Opposite page: At long<br />

last Scottish locals have<br />

been reunited with<br />

their beloved gathering<br />

spot, only to discover<br />

it is far better than<br />

they remembered<br />

The Fife Arms was built in the mid-19th century as a<br />

first-class hotel, to capitalise on the newfound popularity<br />

the Highlands experienced after über-tastemakers Queen<br />

Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, made nearby<br />

Balmoral Castle their holiday home in 1852. Situated<br />

within the Cairngorms, Britain’s largest national park,<br />

the area is known for its spectacular fishing, stag and<br />

grouse-hunting, hiking, and the Braemar Gathering, a<br />

venerable competition in which all manner of heavy<br />

items, including a 6m-long, 60kg tree trunk known as<br />

the Braemar caber, are tossed, thrown or put. Held on the<br />

first Saturday in September, the Gathering is faithfully<br />

attended by Queen Elizabeth every year from precisely 3<br />

pm to 4 pm.<br />

“Everyone has a romantic relationship with Scotland,”<br />

said Iwan Wirth, an enthusiastic fly fisherman who has<br />

been coming to Scotland for decades. “But the Swiss love it<br />

because it looks like our Alpine valleys – Engadine without<br />

the motorways, the hydro plants, the development. It’s sort<br />

of Switzerland before the First World War.” Eventually<br />

the romance of camping out in traditional fishing lodges<br />

(cramped, stinky) on their visits wore thin, and the Wirths<br />

began looking for a place to call their own, big enough to<br />

accommodate their four grown children, assorted dogs,<br />

works of art, and the many contemporary artists who<br />

compose not only the Hauser & Wirth gallery roster but<br />

also their close circle of friends. Before long they found<br />

themselves the owners of such a house – as well as a 90-<br />

room hotel that had seen much better days.<br />

“It was crying for help,” Iwan recalled, contrasting<br />

The Fife’s stately presence in a culturally rich, picturepostcard<br />

village setting against its unsightly modern<br />

additions, its warrens of sad, carved-up spaces, its<br />

leaky roof and its demotion from a storied, first-rate<br />

establishment to a cheap stopover catering to the lower<br />

end of the bus-tourism industry. “Manuela and I take<br />

these long hikes every day whenever we are here, and that<br />

is when we basically discuss everything from the children<br />

to personal issues and the business,” he said. One day, the<br />

couple trekked up to the Braemar weather station, and by<br />

the time they returned home, they had made a decision.<br />

The Wirths like to say that they know nothing about<br />

running a hotel, and that in purchasing The Fife they<br />

were motivated by instinct, enthusiasm and no small<br />

amount of ignorance, but the couple had in fact already<br />

made successful forays into the hospitality business. They<br />

have established themselves in the traditional<br />

art-world capitals (Zurich, London, New<br />

York), and in 2014 they opened Hauser &<br />

Wirth Somerset on an 18th-century farm in<br />

the English countryside, incorporating a<br />

guesthouse, a restaurant and an arts centre<br />

81


into their robust cultural programme. They followed it up<br />

two years later with Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, which<br />

boasts more than 9,000 square metres of exhibition<br />

space, and Manuela, a bustling, art-filled restaurant. This<br />

past December, they opened their latest outpost, in St<br />

Moritz. “Art is at the heart of everything we do – not just<br />

the work but the process, the thinking,” said Iwan, who<br />

added that Hauser & Wirth aims to reimagine the gallerygoing<br />

experience as an opportunity to build community.<br />

“With Somerset we created a new model. The Kunsthalle<br />

Zurich has 9,000 visitors a year. Somerset has that in<br />

three weekends.”<br />

The artists who had been guests at the Wirths’ house<br />

in Scotland were among the first to sign on for this latest<br />

venture, and they created site-specific projects while The<br />

Fife was still under renovation. These were not, Iwan<br />

noted, commissions per se. “We invited them all for<br />

the Gathering and then sorted out who does what,” he<br />

explained. The walls of The Fife’s Clunie Dining Room<br />

were hand-painted by Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca<br />

(the installation took him three months, which he spent<br />

toiling alone through the winter, with little daylight and<br />

no heat); the Chinese artist Zhang Enli took on the ceiling<br />

in the Drawing Room, painting a massive watercolour<br />

inspired by ancient Scottish quartz; and after some<br />

consideration Bharti Kher, who splits her time between<br />

India and the UK, decided to take on the spa. “It doesn’t<br />

even need a gallery here,” Iwan said. “The art is embedded<br />

in everything.”<br />

While there is no dedicated exhibition space on the<br />

grounds, art is indeed the fabric of The Fife, and one<br />

could be forgiven for failing to notice the Picasso in the<br />

drawing room, the Lucian Freud in the reception, or the<br />

Gerhard Richter in the dining room, integrated as they<br />

are with the hotel’s sumptuous Victorian interiors. The<br />

decor of The Fife Arms is so spot-on that if Manuela,<br />

whose regular tartan-inflected wardrobe complements her<br />

tousled, flame-coloured locks, had told me that she has<br />

Scottish ancestry and that the carved wooden chairs and<br />

fringed upholstery all came from the attic of her family<br />

estate, I would have been more than inclined to believe<br />

her. While much of the contemporary art does in fact come<br />

from the Wirths’ personal collection, The Fife’s period<br />

furnishings and artworks, including a drawing of a stag<br />

by Queen Victoria herself, were meticulously sourced by<br />

designer Russell Sage and his team, who, under the Wirths’<br />

direction, saw to it that every single detail<br />

had a story to tell. When the hotel’s manager<br />

extraordinaire, Federica Bertolini, inquired<br />

about how I had slept, I learnt that the<br />

mattresses were from Glencraft, a company<br />

that has made them for four generations<br />

of the royal family. The Fife has its own<br />

proprietary tartan and tweed, used for its<br />

bespoke staff uniforms as well as the custom<br />

Opposite, clockwise from<br />

top left: the main hall<br />

lobby; the Victoriana<br />

suites, such as the Prince<br />

Albert, are named for<br />

noble visitors to the<br />

region; hunting trophies<br />

decorate The Fife Arms’<br />

Brae Wing corridor; the<br />

bathroom in the<br />

King Edward VII suite<br />

interiors of its fleet of Land Rovers, and it even has its own<br />

registered coat of arms, featuring an image of a flying stag.<br />

Its motto: “To the Summit”.<br />

Post-renovation, The Fife boasts only 46 guest rooms,<br />

each unique, ranging from Royal Suites named for<br />

noble visitors to the region (I was assigned the Duke of<br />

Fife) to more modestly sized but exquisitely appointed<br />

accommodations inspired by the works of Scottish poets<br />

and scientists. One of the Wirths’ favourites is the David<br />

Douglas room, named for the Scottish botanist who<br />

brought the Douglas fir to Britain from North America<br />

in the 1820s. “This room was a problem,” Iwan admitted.<br />

“The windows are small and they are on the courtyard, but<br />

Russell got his hands on it, and now you feel as though you<br />

are in a forest.” Engraved in the headboard are the words of<br />

the Edinburgh-based artist and poet Alec Finlay: “To learn<br />

about the pine, hold the cone in your hand.”<br />

“What’s the difference between a hotel and a place you<br />

love and want to stay in and never leave?” Iwan asked,<br />

knowing that we only have to look around us to find the<br />

answer. The Fife Arms is a genuinely enchanting place,<br />

but, he continued, “It’s only magic if you don’t know the<br />

trick. And we reveal a little bit of the trick – the enormous<br />

challenge of the restoration here – so people understand. We<br />

want to encourage them to pay attention to architecture and<br />

to history and heritage, encourage them to look after it.”<br />

Then again, magic just might have something to do<br />

with it. As we walked through the hotel the day after<br />

the welcoming party, we encountered an unexpected<br />

visitor. She introduced herself as Maggi Burk and told the<br />

Wirths that she had been summoned there that morning<br />

(apparently, though, no one had called her). As she dangled<br />

a large, tear-shaped bloodstone from her hand, she<br />

informed the Wirths that The Fife sits on a crossing of ley<br />

lines, mythical and invisible paths of energy. Churches,<br />

cathedrals and ancient monuments tend to be situated<br />

along them, which some believe accounts for the exaltation<br />

they often stir up. “In the past people were more in touch<br />

with the energy of a place, more sensitive to the context,”<br />

Burk said. “So they knew more intuitively where to build<br />

things.”<br />

The Wirths looked at each other in disbelief. “We also<br />

have a ley-line crossing at our property in Somerset,”<br />

Manuela replied. “It’s quite remarkable,” Iwan said. And<br />

yet you get the sense that no matter where they find<br />

themselves – in Los Angeles, or Somerset, or, yes, here in<br />

Braemar – the Wirths ultimately create their<br />

own magic. “I am a very grounded person,”<br />

Iwan insisted. “Ley lines go back to the<br />

Druids, but it’s an alternative science, not a<br />

proven science.” In that regard, I ventured,<br />

it sounds quite a lot like something I know<br />

he and Manuela believe in without a doubt.<br />

“Yes,” Iwan concurred. “It sounds like art.”<br />

thefifearms.com<br />

83


Savouring<br />

the Season<br />

Wild strawberries and cardamom buns,<br />

weathered windmills and rocky beaches –<br />

the rugged yet sophisticated<br />

island of Gotland is an ode to the joys<br />

of Swedish summer.<br />

by Adam Sachs. Photographs by Felix Odell<br />

84


A fishing village<br />

on Fårö, an island<br />

just off Gotland<br />

85


86 DEPARTURES <br />

Maurice told me to go to Rute<br />

Stenugnsbageri, a summer-only<br />

bakery at the far northern end of<br />

Gotland, where the Baltic island is<br />

simultaneously rocky and lush and mostly just empty.<br />

Pulling off the two-lane main road, I followed<br />

the even narrower route past dairy farms and open<br />

fields until I found it: an old stone blacksmith’s<br />

shed retrofitted with a wood-fired bread oven and<br />

surrounded by happy Swedes at picnic tables<br />

kibitzing over their fika, the national coffeesnack<br />

ritual cherished by all. Free-range Swedish<br />

children frolicked in an orderly manner through<br />

a stone maze. The air itself was intoxicating:<br />

fragrant waves of cardamom and saffron,<br />

butter, cinnamon and rye. Someone was ably<br />

pulling shots on an outdoor espresso machine.<br />

A young boy followed his mother towards a glassroofed<br />

pavilion with open doors and comfortable<br />

chairs and a large stone hearth.<br />

Kardemummabullar are beloved Swedish sweet<br />

buns that can often taste more of cardboard than<br />

cardamom. These, however, were pungent, gooey<br />

and perfect. Just about everything was perfect. At<br />

night, the bakers tossed pizzas with dough made<br />

from local grains in the same stone oven. I’d happily<br />

have taken all my meals there and stayed until the<br />

extended night of winter descended and chased the<br />

summer Swedes back to the mainland, taking the<br />

good pastries with them.<br />

It was all sort of too dreamy to be believed. Not<br />

credible in the sense that remote islands of rusticity<br />

do not typically harbour chill outposts of casually<br />

impeccable style and good espresso. And where<br />

the bakeries are photoshoot-ready, something of<br />

the dreamy, untamed charm of the place has too<br />

often been spoilt in the process. In this way, Gotland<br />

defies the maths of the holiday isle. It’s a gentle,<br />

soul-becalming place of pretty somewhereness and


From far left: a guest<br />

room at Fabriken<br />

Furillen hotel; a<br />

peaceful view of the<br />

Baltic; ceramics at<br />

the Skulpturfabriken<br />

shop; grilled quail<br />

at Krakas Krog<br />

lazy summer-haze nowhereness. It really does defy<br />

expectations, if not belief. Except that, having been on<br />

the island for some time, and having thus acclimatised<br />

to the ways that Gotland dependably dazzles, and<br />

how it regularly leaves you gesticulating into the wind<br />

through the window of your rented Volvo wagon as<br />

it sails past a flock of uninterested shaggy sheep or a<br />

wild pony loitering by the edge of some impossibly<br />

sparkly beach, while ordering your children in the<br />

back seat to “Look at how beautiful this all is!” – in<br />

this way we’d been conditioned to believe.<br />

By the time we met Maurice Dekkers – parttime<br />

Gotlander, journalist, filmmaker, crusading<br />

chocolatier (more on that later) and friend of a friend<br />

– my kids were inured to the spectacle of my shouting<br />

compliments at sheep. This is why we’d come: to pilot<br />

the Volvo in circles around the island – at roughly 160<br />

kilometres long by 50 across at its widest, the island<br />

is Sweden’s biggest, but not so big that you can’t get<br />

around it in a long day’s drive; to swim in the bracing<br />

Baltic; to inhale the loveliness of its wild-lavenderscented<br />

air; to admire the sedge-thatched stone houses<br />

and ailing old windmills; and to mangle the musical<br />

names of the sleepy hamlets as we passed their striking<br />

church spires – the farm towns of Fröjel and Sproge,<br />

Hemse, När, Boge, and the moonscape of Furillen, an<br />

island in the far north. In Holmhällar, we had the wide<br />

sand beach nearly to ourselves. South of Västergarn, we<br />

parked on a patch of grass by the coastal highway and<br />

took our shoes off by the shallow water’s edge. Wading<br />

in, we jumped from rock to rock, which had been<br />

scattered like stepping stones under a domed blue sky,<br />

empty but for streaks of cotton-candyish cirrus clouds.<br />

“It’s difficult to explain the feeling of this place<br />

exactly,” Maurice said when we’d met on the deck<br />

at Ljugarns Strandcafé & Restaurang. Still wet from<br />

an ocean dip, we were trying to put our fingers on<br />

something emotionally self-evident: it’s nice here. But<br />

describing precisely how it was nice was hard. “There<br />

is something about the way the light is hitting the sea<br />

and changing constantly,” Maurice observed. “There is<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

87


88


a feeling that you are not part any more of the rest of<br />

the world.” I liked that.<br />

At the next table, a pair of Italian truffle dogs<br />

nuzzled their lunching owners. “Gotland truffles are<br />

very good, you know,” Maurice said, mentioning a<br />

friend in the neighbourhood, Ragnar Olofsson, who<br />

hunted the elusive delicacy professionally. These<br />

lagotti romagnoli seemed to have acclimatised to<br />

island life. Grey and curly, they looked like small,<br />

dozing sheep.<br />

“I love Amsterdam,” Maurice said of the city where<br />

he lives and works as a filmmaker and the founder of<br />

Tony’s Chocolonely, a chocolate producer committed<br />

to excising slavery from a traditionally troubled and<br />

exploitative business. “But when I arrive here I feel<br />

everything. When I am here the rest of the world<br />

doesn’t exist any more.”<br />

We met through the Danish chef René Redzepi.<br />

Maurice had made a documentary, Ants on a Shrimp,<br />

about Redzepi’s restaurant, Noma. Now he and his<br />

wife, filmmaker and producing partner Benthe Forrer,<br />

are focusing their entrepreneurial and story telling<br />

energies on building something in Gotland with an eye<br />

to protecting what’s special there. In addition to a house<br />

in Ljugarn, the couple recently bought a house in Fårö,<br />

a satellite island just off the northeastern tip of Gotland,<br />

that they plan to renovate, and another in Visby.<br />

V<br />

isby is Gotland’s main town. It has a<br />

well-preserved, walled medieval fortress<br />

– and from the 1100s to the 1300s it was<br />

a seat of Hanseatic League trading power. It’s now<br />

home to an annual medieval festival and what passes<br />

for the seasonal tourist crush. In Visby, you’ll find the<br />

ramparts and museums with their Stone Age relics,<br />

crowded ice-cream shops and cobblestoned alleys<br />

lined with tiny, colourful wooden houses. But for all<br />

of pretty Visby’s Unesco-protected appeal, the real<br />

wonders of Gotland were to be found in its quieter<br />

places, where signs of humans and their doings were<br />

fewer and farther between.<br />

It’s hard to do nothing. The world conspires to<br />

restore diligence. Thoughts, texts, stray bits of news<br />

from the world outside interrupt, unbidden. We’re selftrained<br />

as travellers to hurry up and check things off<br />

Gotland<br />

Guide<br />

STAY<br />

Fabriken Furillen<br />

(furillen.com; open<br />

from July through<br />

mid August) is a<br />

former limestone<br />

factory turned<br />

design-hotel oasis.<br />

Stelor ( stelor.se)<br />

features several<br />

stylish rooms in an<br />

1820s farmhouse.<br />

EAT<br />

Bakfickan<br />

(bakfickanvisby.se)<br />

is a cosy spot for<br />

seafood like smoked<br />

shrimp and fish soup.<br />

Krakas Krog (krakas.<br />

se) offers modern<br />

Swedish cuisine in a<br />

gorgeous country<br />

setting. Lergrav Fisk<br />

& Café (lergrav.com)<br />

is a classic fish<br />

smokehouse with<br />

baskets of shrimp<br />

and smoked eel. Lilla<br />

Bjers (lillabjers.se) is<br />

a lovely farmhouse<br />

restaurant. Ljugarns<br />

Strandcafé &<br />

Restaurang (strand​<br />

cafe.se) serves up<br />

seafood and<br />

mini-golf in a<br />

beachside setting.<br />

At Rot (restauran​g<br />

rot.se), chef Luqaz<br />

Ottosson prepares<br />

remarkable farm-totable<br />

feasts inside a<br />

From top: Akantus, a shop in Visby;<br />

onions fresh from the garden<br />

glass-blowing<br />

studio. Rute<br />

Stenugnsbageri<br />

(rute​stenugnsbageri.<br />

se) is the Swedish<br />

bakery of your<br />

dreams.<br />

SHOP<br />

Akantus (akantus<br />

visby.se) has a nice<br />

mix of antiques and<br />

crafts in Visby.<br />

Formverket<br />

(formverket.se) is a<br />

design boutique<br />

from local Barbro<br />

Tryberg Boberg.<br />

Scarlett Gallery X<br />

Gotland (thescarlett​<br />

gallery.com) is a<br />

pop-up founded by a<br />

group of English and<br />

Swedish creatives.<br />

Skulpturfabriken<br />

(skulpturfabriken.se),<br />

a concrete factory<br />

and shop selling<br />

tableware, has been<br />

around since 1995.<br />

DEPARTURES<br />

89


Here was Bergman’s pure distillation of the elements<br />

he’d been seeking: “We found a stony shore facing<br />

infinity.” Later, he reported of the pine trees he’d come<br />

to know: “They sort of become friends. I’ve become<br />

very good friends with the rabbits as well.”<br />

I’d been there only a week but I felt, at least, on<br />

speaking terms with the trees and the shore and<br />

the rock formations, and I would have liked to have<br />

gotto know the aloof sheep and those freshly baked<br />

cardamom buns better.<br />

90 DEPARTURES <br />

A pastoral scene on Gotland<br />

our lists even if what a place really asks for, to know it<br />

best, is simply to be quietly within it.<br />

Fårö is such a place – rugged, windswept and wild.<br />

In 1960, the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman<br />

arrived in Fårö, more or less by chance, to scout a<br />

scene he’d hoped to shoot elsewhere. Smitten, he<br />

stayed. In thrall to the landscape, the people, the<br />

solitude of an island twice removed from the rest of<br />

the nation, he made Fårö his permanent home.<br />

After crossing the Fårö strait – eight minutes by car<br />

ferry – you drive north towards the Bergman Center,<br />

a museum and cultural centre that opened in 2013. An<br />

oversized board with chesspieces on the lawn awaits<br />

impromptu reenactments of the game between Death<br />

and Max von Sydow’s medieval knight in The Seventh<br />

Seal. In the lobby, there’s an oddly affecting triptych of<br />

photographs showing the auteur buying a newspaper<br />

from a local kiosk. On this tiny island, the photos<br />

attest, is a citizen, dignified but normal in all ways,<br />

performing an utterly pedestrian act. Bergman lived<br />

among the locals as a neighbour and friend.<br />

“I spent an entire winter on Fårö just with my<br />

dachshund,” Bergman once told an interviewer. “It’s<br />

almost uncanny how nature can be engulfing, how you<br />

become friends with the trees on the seashore.”<br />

The beauty is stark and all-encompassing. The<br />

treeless, alvar-covered limestone leads to haunting<br />

sea stacks at the beach at Langhammars. Dark,<br />

woolly sheep graze meadows that are marked by<br />

low, crumbling stone walls. The swimming beach at<br />

Sudersand, with its wide tracts of velvety sand and<br />

cheesy little waterside yoga offerings and thatchedroof<br />

snack shacks, has an end-of-the-world vibe.<br />

Gotland’s flag, flapping proudly on poles everywhere,<br />

shows a magnificently horned ram with a yellow cross<br />

against an endless field of bright Swedish blue. The<br />

blues on enchanted Fårö feel moodier. A melancholic,<br />

sometimes eerie calm and beauty pervades the place.<br />

W<br />

ildflowers crowd the roads in Gotland.<br />

Near Fröjel, I turned off the highway at an<br />

old barn that houses the Scarlett Gallery,<br />

a pop-up. Anthony Hill, an English photographer<br />

and one of the gallery’s founders, had been coming<br />

to Gotland for a while with his Swedish wife when<br />

the idea came to him to open a spot for the summer.<br />

He showed us prints by Swedish illustrators like<br />

Annelie Carlström and a cardboard sculpture by the<br />

Montreal artist Laurence Vallières. Next door, we<br />

met Barbro Tryberg Boberg, who’s lived on the island<br />

for several decades and has written a small, handy,<br />

illustrated guidebook. She also designed a picture<br />

book on the movie houses of Gotland. For an island,<br />

it has a surprising number of cinemas, including some<br />

in barns. One of Boberg’s designs is a tea towel with<br />

a cheerful pattern of ships and buoys interspersed<br />

with a maritime weather report transcribed from<br />

the radio. “They announce the maritime report<br />

four times every day on the radio in this monotone<br />

way,” she said. “To me, it’s like poetry, these words.”<br />

The poetry of the tides. A book on small-town<br />

cinemas in a language I don’t speak. Pretty pictures in<br />

an empty barn. I felt myself settling into the slow, sunbaked<br />

pace of the place.<br />

On our last night on the island, we had dinner at<br />

Krakas Krog, an elegant little restaurant in the village of<br />

Kräklingbo. The young chef, Joel Aronsson, I’d met years<br />

ago at Fäviken in central Sweden and again, weirdly,<br />

when he’d come to cook with the chef Magnus Nilsson<br />

at my house in Brooklyn. It was both nice and strange<br />

to see a familiar face so far from home. Joel’s cooking is<br />

worth travelling for: whole roasted cauliflower with a<br />

sauce made of butter and a seaweed that tastes distinctly<br />

of truffles. Last winter, while the restaurant was closed,<br />

he found the truffle-scented seaweed in the cold waters<br />

off the Lofoten Islands in Norway.<br />

Sometime between the lamb’s liver with grilled<br />

beets and the dessert of local yogurt topped with twin<br />

granitas made of blue Gotlandic dewberry and green<br />

meadowsweet, my son had had enough. Wrapped in<br />

a wool blanket, he fell asleep in a hammock. But the<br />

sun itself, mellow and honeyed, wasn’t quite ready to<br />

give up yet on another blessedly uneventful Swedish<br />

summer day.


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