Category Archives: Art



Spiegel Editorial Staff House in Hamburg by Verner Panton.






In January 1969 the Spiegel Publishing Company and Spiegel Editorial Staff entered in a new Hamburg Company Headquarters (the 3rd in its history). Located in the old town of Hamburg Spiegel Publishing House  was one of Verner Panton’s most unique interior creations and one of the few that continue to exist today. Panton is considered one of Denmark’s most influential 20th-century furniture and interior designers. All the designs of this interior were his own; the colour scheme, lamps, textiles, wall claddings – only the furniture had to be imported from Knoll International. At that time Spiegel manager Hans Detlev Becker gave the order to fill the cold cover inside with warmth.

Unfortunately, the swimming pool for the employees in the basement (above) was completely destroyed in a fire and redesigned in the 1990’s. Swimming here would have been a psychedelic experience.

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Exterior. The “decorative extravaganzas” as an amalgamation of geometry, color, murals, glass and glimmering light.

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Above the hallway. The specially designed mirror lighting used on walls and ceilings was of major importance.

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Above the work area.

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Above the conference room – chairs by Eero Saarinen.

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Above the waiting room.

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Above and below the Spiegel canteen – wire chairs by Harry Bertoia.


The space resembled more like an avant-garde restaurant than a company canteen.

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Before their renovation in summer, 1998 canteen and snack bar were put under conservation of monuments and historic buildings.

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Above and below the snack bar.



Verner Panton (13 Feb 1926 – 5 Sept 1998) was a modest man who was crazy about design and has influenced many of today’s designers. Panton himself once said: “The main purpose of my work is to provoke people into using their imagination and make their surroundings more exciting.” He  spent little time in Denmark and many most of his celebrated works were realised abroad. He broke from the craft-based traditions of Scandinavian furniture-making and experimented with new materials and concept.



CONNECT is a series of chandeliers inspired by DIY and Bike punk culture combined with aesthetics rooted in the Victorian era created by LA based artist Carolina Fontoura Alzaga. Her handmade bespoke pieces evoke a strong industrial look and invite the viewer to examine them up-close in order to come to grips with their fine details and the technical precision needed to put them together. Carolina managed to master the challenges faced by resilient materials such as bicycle chains and cassettes and created a stunning collection which also addresses universal themes around sustainability and the environment. She admits to having a strong connection with  urban bicycle culture and hopes to inspire audiences to question their ideas on what is beautiful and functional.

Above and below: Connect 14a Model.

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Carolina: “The idea for ‘The CONNECT Series’ began from seeing pots and pans hung from a makeshift pot rack which had been created from a used bicycle rim during a time that I was completely immersed in DIY and bike punk culture. In turn, it inspired me to make a mobile made from a bike rim, bike tube and bike gears”.


Above and below: Connect 8 Model.


Carolina: “Visual art has the unique quality of being able to relay information on a level that language alone cannot access. There’s an immediacy to this sensorial reaction that is very special. 

What I find pleasing about these bicycle chandeliers, especially when seen in person, is that they command attention. They trick the eye – most people usually confuse them with regular chandeliers but have a moment of surprise once they get closer. Most of us go about the world accepting ideas as immutable fact when in reality, things are much more dynamic and malleable”.


Above: Connect 4a Model.


Carolina:”The most challenging aspect is making each chandelier an approximate perfection despite the imperfect nature of the material. I’ve had to surrender to the rhythm of creation and accept regressing in order to progress”.

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“I didn’t start out being interested in lighting but now I absolutely love it! The CONNECT Series is bound to bikes as a material so as to maintain the integrity of the concept. It can’t have motorcycle parts or anything else because then it’s not TCS, it is something else”.

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Carolina: ” I’m sure that in the future I will be making other sculptures with lights in them as well as other proper lighting fixtures”.

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Above: Bentwood stools arrayed in front of the bar.

Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron recently finished work restoring a classic 1925 building in the heart of the city. Volkshaus Basel, a onetime concert hall now bar, brasserie, and concert space, with a hotel coming soon. The world-renowned architects went to great lengths to restore the former grandeur of the space, which had been aesthetically compromised during a 1970s renovation. The architect’s stripped the building back to its original frame (the ceilings had been lowered during the renovation), and restored the original height of the rooms while preserving as much of the original detailing as possible. Using a black and white palette, the decidedly modern decor successfully restores an air of Swiss Old World glamor.


Above: Thick hand blown LED pendants are a modern take on chandeliers.


Above: Metal-topped dining tables. The architects chose materials such as metal, leather, and wood, which will gain a weathered patina over time.


Above: A table setting with embossed leather cover.


Above: The design of the chairs are based on the original Volkshaus chair model.


Above: Wallpaper with seventeenth-century etchings are used in the antechambers of the restrooms and hark back to the early days of Basel, when this area was once a medieval manor.


Above: On the wall, a mural provides a guide to all the Volkshaus ventures.





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Weaver birds nest – Namibia.

Weaver birds get their name because of their elaborately woven nests (the most elaborate of any birds). The nests vary in size, shape, material used, and construction techniques from species to species. Materials used for building nests include fine leaf-fibers, grass, and twigs. Many species weave very fine nests using thin strands of leaf fiber, though some, like the buffalo-weavers, form massive untidy stick nests in their colonies, which may have spherical woven nests within. The sparrow weavers of Africa build apartment-house nests, in which 100 to 300 pairs have separate flask-shaped chambers entered by tubes at the bottom. Most species weave nests that have narrow entrances, facing downward.

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Sociable weaver (Philetairus socius) nest in a quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma), Fish River Canyon, Namibia.
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Maybe we’re crazy, but we’ve always wondered what life as a little baby bird would be like, all safe and cozy in your handmade nest. Which makes this new “Organic Lounger” designed by Animal Farm, a Cape Town design firm, so fantastic.

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Inspired by a weaver-bird’s nest, the cubby has a steel frame, and walls made of woven branches. It can hold two adults and a small child, and you access it through the bottom, via a rope ladder.

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The chief designer, who really does insist on being called Porky Hefer, says he’s currently working on a larger nest that’ll seat four lucky adults.

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In 1919 the French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) took up residence in the Medina in Marrakech (then a French protectorate) with which he fell in love. Majorelle was the son of the Art Nouveau ébéniste of Nancy, Louis Majorelle. Though Majorelle’s gentlemanly orientalist watercolors are largely forgotten today (many are preserved in the villa’s collection), the gardens he created is his creative masterpiece.

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In 1922 he purchased a palm grove just outside Marrakech and in 1931 he commissioned architect Paul Sinoir to build him an Art-deco style workshop of astonishing modernity. He set out his primary living space on the first floor and made a vast artist’s studio on the ground floor to paint his huge decorative works.

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Fond of botany, he created a botanical garden around his villa structured around a long central pool, with a variety of over 1800 types of cacti, 400 species of palms and other rare varieties of the time. Different environments, planted with lush vegetation in which hundreds of birds nested.
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The garden is a living and evolving work of art made up of exotic plants and rare species that he brought back from his travels around the world: cactus, yuccas, water lilies, white water lilies, jasmines, bougainvilleas, palms, coconut trees, banana trees, bamboos…
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Embellished with fountains, ponds, water features, ceramic jars, avenues, and pergolas… This bold action revolutionized the way in which gardens were to be viewed.
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In 1937 the artist created an ultramarine blue that was both bright and intense: known as blue Majorelle, he used it to paint the walls of his workshop, and then the entire garden transforming it into a living tableau which he opened to the public in 1947.
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The power of the blue Majorelle is long lived and permeates the essence of what it means to live and see color in Marrakech.
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Following a car accident, Majorelle was repatriated to Paris where he died in 1962. The garden then fell into neglect. In 1980, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent acquired the garden to save it from property developers and to bring it back to life.
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Following the death of Yves Saint Laurent in 2008, Pierre Bergé decided to donate the Jardin Majorelle to the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent.
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The Garden welcomes over 600,000 visitors each year, tourists and locals alike.
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Mr. Frédéric Mitterrand, in the presence of Mr. Pierre Bergé, placed a plaque engraved, “Maison des Illustres” (‘House of Honor’), at the gate of the Villa Oasis, where Mr. Yves Saint Laurent came and worked throughout his life.
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Yves Saint Laurent said “A visit to Marrakech was a great shock to me. This city taught me color”.



It took James and Karla Murray over eight years to make a photo series about little shops in New York. By now one third of these shops are closed. Their book is filled with photos of these bankrupt stores that represent nothing more than a vague memory. (Above VESUVIO BAKERY – Soho, 2004).


KATY’S CANDY STORE – In business from 1969 to 2007  – Brooklyn, 2004.         “I speak three languages: English, Spanish, and Motherfucker.” Katy Keyzer, the owner.


RALPH’S DISCOUNT CITY – In business from 1963 to 2007 – Manhattan, 2004.


ZIG ZAG RECORDS – Brooklyn, 2004.


M&G SOUL FOOD DINER – Harlem, 2006.


CLAREMONT LIQUORS  – The Bronx, 2004.


LENOX LOUNGE – Manhattan, 2004.


FILM CENTER CAFE – Manhattan 2001.


EMEY’S BICYCLES – Manhattan, 2003.


SMITH’S BAR – In business since 1954 – Manhattan, 2004.


IDEAL DINETTES – In business from 1953 to 2008 – Brooklyn, 2004.


IDEAL HOSIERY – Manhattan, 2004.




R & R SELF SERVICE – Brooklyn, 2006.


CLOVER DELICATESSEN – In business since 1948 – Manhattan, 2004.


STAR DECORATORS – Brooklyn, 2005.


OTTOMANELLI & SONS – In business since 1935 – Manhattan, 2005.


CHEYENNE DINER – In business from 1940 to 2008 – Manhattan, 2004.




YONAH SHIMMEL KNISH BAKERY – In business since 1910 – Manhattan, 2004.