Friday, 31 October 2014

Instagramy October 2014 Part 2

It's been a bit mental over here so I am just dropping in to say hello and catch my blogging breath.
Haven't been to the park for my daily walk much but it's been the warmest October since some year which is supposed to mean something.

But I discovered there is archery just behind Kensington Palace.
And there were these magnificent hedges on the path that leads to the Orangery.

This was very Dr Who.
This public phone booth meant to engage with the police is situated right in front of the US embassy in Mayfair.
The only person you could reach on that phone would be E.T.

Mercury retrograde being what it is I went excitedly to see Manon that was supposed to feature both Carlos Acosta and Roberto Bolle but Bolle got injured in rehearsal.
So I had a drink at the bar and left at intermission.

I went to check out the new Phillips auction house in Mayfair.
I bet the interns had to line up those chairs at least three times.

Had amazing free coffee at the top floor.
Looked down on Mount Street and Mayfair on a beautiful sunny day on their terrace.

These girls don't suffer from body dysmorphia.  
Art does indeed inspire.

I love this little spot which is as close to a piazza in London.

This is the philosophical path part of Hyde Park.

London never got the whole Halloween thing when I first got here but times have changed.

Had a blogger meet up with the Curator now the doyenne of whom I have already met but finally got to meet delightful Tabitha from Badinage and lovely Alexandra from
Boutiquebootcamp at the Beaumont Hotel.

It's Christmas already. 
I reckon the retail Christmas season will start right after 
Easter next year.

Went to the V&A and walked by these jewels that some English military bloke got from his spoils in India.  Apparently the whole loot was sold off and given to the government and he was allowed to keep one huge emerald and made the set of four pieces from the one emerald.

I can't imagine what the whole loot looked like.

The exhibition I went to see was the 
Russian Avant Garde Theatre Design Exhibit.

In itself, it seems like a niche area but in fact this sector probably spawned the arts in general from architecture in set design to costume design to the sketches submitted.

There was a little hut in the courtyard that caught my eye,

Looks inviting but you can't enter.

It was the imaginary shed of Paul Smith of his wish for a comfortable seat and a view.

Had a great croissant in their cafe.

But I couldn't decide for the life of me which area to sit in because

they were all so beautiful.

I love a colorful border hedge.

I love a classic library.

There was also a revolutionary slogan exhibit and
 this was my favorite.

Happy Halloween guys!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Kyoto's Saihoji Temple and its 700 year old Moss garden ( Koko-dera )

I travel with a strict balance of planning ahead and winging it.
Truth be told I prefer spontaneity and I just like to walk and see what I find.
But Kyoto is a formal city and it doesn't really like drop in visits.

On the way to our destination that was on the outskirts of Kyoto, we passed by promising signs that the garden might live up to expectations.

Isn't this main door to a private residence magazine worthy?
We were so lucky to be in Kyoto as the leaves were turning.  
The leaves were earlier by a few weeks than normal which was fortuitous and there are two high seasons in Kyoto: one is the cherry blossom season and the other is the changing of the autumn leaves.
We were headed to the Zen Buddhist temple called Saiho-ji that has a garden that that was originally founded in 749 as a villa for one of the ancient royal family members but was turned into the present function in 1339.
The entrance had the usual austerity of a Zen temple.
It was also very strict in other ways.
You had to get pre-approval to gain entry.

One has to write a handwritten letter to the temple with your personal details but also an enclosed addressed stamped postcard for them to then send you their invite.

No last minute planning there.
So my friend in Australia had to send the letter as the UK don't do self-addressed postage for overseas letters.

The price is the equivalent to US $30 for one person.
It isn't cheap compared to even the private gardens in the UK hence this temple makes millions of dollars a year in admission fees.
Then just when you think I have walked in and now I can just be on my way and take some snaps,
you are reminded that you have to join / sit through a Buddhist chanting ritual.
One waits in a holding hall and then are ushered in the main temple to sit on the tatami floor. with a desk with information, 
the prayer book in Japanese, and a calligraphy pen with a bamboo stick where you can write a wish.

I can read the two basic Japanese alphabets and 
wasn't reading the Chinese characters but they were all reading so fast that I just had to hum the rest.
The ritual was done by two Buddhist monks and 
took about twenty minutes.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

PAD Fair 2014 London - Best of Decorative Arts, Fine Art, and Furniture

It's a busy week in London with two fairs to choose from. 
Frieze Art Fair is also on but 
I decided to go to the PAD Fair  today in Mayfair.
Frieze is an event in Regent's Park where modern art dealers hold court but I stopped enjoying it a few year ago so decided a mix of fine art, decorative arts, and furniture was a better bet. 

Private galleries from Europe display their finest wares and the items that will be copied by IKEA in a few years time like this multi-limbed brass lighting fixture.

There are modern reproductions of furniture inspired by antique mid century furniture that had brass accents which I love.

Brass pipes reconstituted as a console which 
I might get my builder to recreate.

Mirrors with enamel and brass detail.

Some galleries display all their exquisite chatchkes that are available for purchase if you have a big enough budget.

But what I realized is that lighting makes everything look better and beautiful objects look priceless.

This particularly drew me in as I love antiquities.

The problem is that this sort of direct museum lighting is also very expensive...

Some things were beautiful such as this ancient mosaic that was reframed but you would have thought the frame could have highlighted the piece better so one must not have automatic 
dealer knows best mentality.

I found chairs that I will purchase when I win the lottery.
These are from Gustave Serrurier-Bovy who was a Belgian designer and architect. 
He was one of the creators of the Art Nouveau movement. 

This probably explains why I fell in love with these chairs at first glance. The accents up close were flawless.
The chairs were apparently upholstered in white originally.
The pair of chairs were asking £120,000 but there are only 6 editions and the other pairs are in museums.

They were still available at Oscar Gaf and 
they had so many other beautiful artefacts.

The other runner up to favorite stall was this range of furniture from James-Paris.

Furniture has been reaping huge financial gains in the auction world and now isn't just about lasting 10 good years of function but people are looking long term as artifacts.

I really liked the brass lights and danish shelving.  
I would have taken the tree trunk if 
they gave it to me in the mood I was in.

Such layouts weren't just for interior decorators but astute investors looking for versatile investments.
( I eavesdroped when I could.)

It was like going to a show home where everything was for sale except for the building itself.

Some pieces would be "THE" piece that rooms would be designed around such as this corner cabinet and mini tables.

A feature of this fair I adore is that one can be up close and really inspect and enjoy museum pieces without a glass 3 feet away.

The workmanship on this gold artifact could only be appreciated a few inches away.

Another item on my lottery shopping list was this ancient Persian alabaster iron vase.  I was very careful with my breathing walking around this otherwise I would have to be an indentured servant to the gallery for 5 lifetimes.

There were a few items that were very fashion victim-y.

I don't buy the whole limited edition for the sake of it business as was the case of this special mould acrylic side table by some artist.

And no this isn't part of the latest Anya Hindmarch bag collection but a pithy statement that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars that a crazed psychotic serial killer would do for free.

But where else do guests get to ponder their purchases on such pretty areas.

There was also fine art on show but
 I didn't take too many pictures of those as that was the standard range not particularly unique to PAD.
But I like this arrangement of art.

Most stalls were like the one below where everything was for sale - picture on the wall, stool and table.

There was something for everyone.
Used samurai armour anyone?

Benches that might be bought by some corrupt municipalities.

Can't you just see a bachelor financier coerced to buy this coffee table by his interior decorator/entourage.

I never thought an Egyptian mummy would be appropriate home decor until I realized that this would be a perfect replacement for a grandfather clock.

I have never seen an Indian headdress more beautiful.  
Each and every feather was perfect.

Standards are so high at the fair that a stall like this I would have normally been salivating over just didn't make me dizzy after the other chairs I saw.
There was a special rest area designed by the David Collins studio.

Piled up bottles of Ruinart champagne.

The outdoor area looked out on the remaining green 

of Berkeley Square.

The fair will be on for another couple of days so I would suggest you visit if you can.
It's also held in Paris in the spring time so 
do put that in your diary if you are near.