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Interior happiness

Interior happiness

Architecture in Paris

Hi there,

Best wishes for 2020!

Did you celebrate well?
What are your resolutions? If you have any, tell me!
Do you want to know mine?

Well, be happy of course. Be happy with small things and precious moments with friends & family. Meet other people, or maybe really see and get to know people and treasure them for who they are. Listen. Embrace the uniqueness and try to not to focus too much on the differences that are upsetting. Be good and be patient. But not too tolerant, no, not tolerant for injustice. See the humor of awkward situations. Laugh a lot, laugh out loud, with tears if necessary. Be grateful.

I started this blogpost at the beginning of December. And then time just faded away. We left for Mexico in the middle of December, to visit Oldest and his girlfriend. X-mas was wonderful, our family gathered on the beach.

In November we went to Paris, my two sisters and I. It was a late present for my sister, whose birthday party was half a year ago.

Image result for charlotte perriandSo I want to take you to Paris! I won’t go in to everything we did, but I’ll just focus on the most special visit, to the exhibition of Charlotte Perriand, at the foundation Louis Vuitton, located in an impressive silvery artwork. It lasts until February 24th.  Go if you are interested in interior design, or just art in general, a really must-see exhibition!

Walking up there, in the Bois the Bologne, and seeing this magnificent building was a treat for the eye. The architect is Frank Gehry, also the designer of the Guggenheim in Bilbao among many others. The interior is huge and unique.  Upstairs you can go outside and have splendid views from the different terraces.




So who’s Charlotte Perriand? One of the biggest and inventive architects from the past century. She worked with and for Le Corbusier and was a specialist in designing interiors for small apartments. She was so far ahead of her time in seeing the necessity of living in limited square meters. Also her engagement in society is shown in the expo.  It was her wish that all natural resources and cultural heritage be available to all people:

Laisserons nous perdre cet héritage!
Il faut continuer la tradition
en allant de l’avant
Libérer les richesses naturelles
et culturelles au profit de
tous les hommes

Chaise longue and Fauteuil grand confort

A scale model of an apartment

Small apartments and student dorms, meticulously designed to fit everything in 

A kind of cubicle, prefabricated

The exhibition is large and elaborate. Charlotte’s life was long and she kept on working in so many areas. She lived in Japan and Brazil for some time and mingled that inspiration in to her work.

Of Japanese influence

She loved to wander on the beach and collect stones and other natural material she found and use their shapes into her own creations.

Equally as important, other works of contemporary artists are shown in this exhibition.  To name a few: Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger, Le Corbusier (of course), Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró…

Fernand Léger

Alexander Calder

Le
Corbusier

taking a rest in le fauteuil grand confort 😉

And what else did we do? Just walk under the blue autumn sky.

In the Musée des Arts Décoratifs we found two other interesting exhibitions: Marche et démarche, about the history of the shoes and Affiches Cubaines, on graphic design in Cuba.

Did you know that foot binding – lotus feet –  in China had also a sexual purpose?

Cuban art

Remember poor Marie Antoinette? Picture by Erwin Olaf

She was an inspiration for art, fashion and of course the movie industry. We visited her last residence, before she was guided to the guillotine. The exhibition “Marie Antoinette, metamorphosis of an image” is held in the prison where she spent her last weeks. Vive la république!

Just one last minute tip, to satisfy our culinary aspirations. Two great restaurants (need to book upfront!): Fluctuat and Caïus.

It was just two days, in one of the loveliest cities of course, and being immersed in art, I can happily end by these words of Charlotte:

Synthèse des Arts:
Elle joue à travers le temps, les continents.
Harmonie de même origine, mettant l’homme en état d’euphorie.
Elle enrichit son regard sur les choses,
elle le rend libre.

A la prochaine! Sophie

Interior happiness

Dalì and Magritte


A day in Brussels.

Have you visited this exposition already? Were you impressed?

For me visiting a museum is a good way to relax. A good way to be inspired, set my mind on other things.

Dalì and Magritte are both phenomenal artists. All their works combined in one expo is fabulous. I loved it.

Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.
Salvador Dalì

The works are hung together by connecting subjects, for instance “dream x hallucination,” “Georgette x Gala,” and “softness x desire.”

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor gala in Dali's paintingsImage result for photo gala and salvador"Gala was Dalì’s muse and lifelong partner after they met in 1929. Gala has long been considered equal part muse and monster. She was first married to the poet Paul Eluard. The couple had an open marriage, and Éluard took pleasure in introducing Gala to new lovers, including Max Ernst who left his wife to join the couple in a sometimes fraught ménage à trois (did you see the Netflix series You Me Her?  Well they must have been inspired by Gala). Over the decades Dalí painted her repeatedly – as a giant head smiling serenely in a barren landscape, with a lamb chop resting on her shoulder like a military epaulette, as a fractured Raphaelesque Madonna, or calmly opening her shirt to reveal her left breast.

Magritte’s muse was his wife Georgette, a middle-class catholic woman. They married in 1922. She appeared often in the paintings but is only occasionally named, mostly in private portraits.  Georgette was a far more modest woman than Gala.
Did you know Paul Simon wrote a song about René and Georgette Magritte?
Georgette et René .jpg
Image result for georgette magritte painting"
Above, René and Georgette, Georgette painted by René. Under ‘The Enigma of Desire’ by Dalì

My friend Leen and I talked about how much you can see in Dalì’s paintings. They are indeed often as an image of a dream, where people, places, memories and desires come together in a weird way.

The work of Sigmund Freud was profoundly influential for Surrealists, particularly his book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1899). Freud legitimized the importance of dreams and the unconscious as valid revelations of human emotion and desires; his exposure of the complex and repressed inner worlds of sexuality, desire, and violence provided a theoretical basis for much of Surrealism.

Dalì and Magritte met in the spring of 1929, in Paris. In the summer of that year, Magritte traveled to Spain, to Dalì’s house. Gala and Paul Éluard joined the party, and Dalí began an affair with Gala.

There sure was a rivalry between the two artists. Dalì was financially successful from the early years, in contrast to Magritte who needed to take commercial work to survive. Magritte only received a decent income from his art in the 50’s. They also were very different on a political level. Magritte followed the Belgian communist party and Dalì supported the facists and falangists. It was more a sentimental political favoritism than an ideological one.

If you want to know more, I found a deep analysis on this blog by Alexander Adams.

Image result for rene magritte graphic design"After having seen the expo, we also went to the permanent Magritte museum, which has many works of Magritte and also goes deeper into his personal life. Magritte did a lot of graphic design in the beginning.

But if you are intrigued, do visit this beautiful exhibition, it is open till February 9, 2020.

And if you have seen it, let me know how you felt!

Ciao, Sophie

 

 

 

 

Interior happiness

Interior Decoration at Casa Vita

Hi there,

Are you enjoying some good weather?

I am back home, and over here it is a perfect Spring day. Although I was not happy to leave Puglia, I feel very blessed to be back home. Over the last few months I realize even more how lucky we are to have a home, or a home country to return to,  to feel safe and surrounded by family and friends.

Being at Casa Vita in April is always much fun. It is a beautiful time of year, everything is in bloom and the temperature is slowly rising. Just as the other years, we took our time to clean and freshen up the house and to add some interior objects. The last day before I left, I remembered I still had some velvet pinkish (more to the raspberry side) fabric I bought half a year ago. So I quickly made cushions and brought them over. How lucky! They were the same color as our two footstools.

Our sofa is dark brown leather. It can feel cold sometimes. So I put a cover on it, one I found on Zara Home on sale. Do you see the new cactus? We still had a pot left, and found a perfect one growing onto the stones in the brick wall. It wouldn’t have survived anyway, so we gave it a second chance. (To be honest, it was growing on Giovanni’s side of the wall, but I am sure he won’t mind).

For Christmas I got a few nice presents from the children, a chandelier and a decorative pineapple.

And I am still very happy with the antique closet we bought at an antique store in Ostuni last year. It fits nice in the kitchen.

Remember I asked for your advice last time I wrote about Casa Vita’s interior? I was looking for some rattan chairs back then. And look what we found.

This one is from Ikea

The cushion I had made and brought over last Summer. It matches well in the chair. What do you think?

In a local store we found a white rattan rocking chair. This one goes to the Claudia Cardinale room, where everything is white. A perfect spot to have a little nap when it is too cold or too hot outside.

While I love to restyle the interior, Hubbie is addicted to exploring the local plant stores.


We might buy and plant some palm trees one day. But this time we went for another cactus 😉

The cactuses outside are also doing so well. See their little sprouts?


This little one was growing in the yard – no, not Giovanni’s 😉 – and Hubbie put it in a pot.

Since we are in the yard already, one thing that I just need to show you. It is thé proof of Spring! Can you tell? Hubbie hung the swing on the big olive tree. Just in front of the house. I was so happy it could hang there again, because last year they this olive tree had been cut (olive trees have to be pruned once in a few years) and one of the big branches, where the swing usually hung, was accidentally cut too. But Hubbie found a solution.

All Fermob furniture is from Homepage Interior


So now the pool still needs to be refilled (after gluing some mosaic tiles that came off) and Casa Vita is ready to welcome our first guests of the season: Ola Lindeza and her team! Her interior objects would fit perfectly well at Casa Vita. And now she will start a clothing line. Guess where the first fashion shoot will be? Right!  I am so curious to see their photos. More on that next time!

Ideal to read or wander off in the last sun rays of the day

Have a great sunny day!

Sophia

 

 

 

 

Interior happiness, Stories

Thorn

Dear readers,

Last Monday was a beautiful day. It sounds contradictory because I had to have a little surgery done on my foot by a doctor an hour away from my home. Luckily a friend volunteered to drive me. She suggested we make it a whole day and visit the beautiful town of Thorn first, which was located only ten minutes from the medical office. A great idea!

A newborn in Thorn

Have you ever been in Thorn?

The little town of Thorn is located in the south of Holland in the province of Limburg. It used to be a tiny principality; today it is one of the ten must-visits in Holland. Thorn is known for its old white houses and monumental buildings.
The history of Thorn dates back to the 10th century. Over the course of time it developed into a miniature convent ruled by an abbess and twenty ladies of noble birth. It had its own jurisdiction and its own currency, but this came to an end in 1794 with the arrival of the French.

The white town

It’s called the white town–a funny coincidence, because Ostuni, in Puglia is called the white town too: la città bianca. This is the town where Casa Vita is located.

But back to Holland 😉
Why were the houses white?
After the aristocratic ladies had fled, the French imposed a tax based on the size of the windows. The locals were often poor people living in large properties that previously belonged to the rich. To reduce the amount of tax they had to pay, many of them bricked up the windows and then whitewashed their houses to conceal the signs of their renovation work (‘scars of poverty’).

The town is so well preserved, the cobble stone roads, the roofs, the lanterns… We were there on a Monday, and it was very quiet. I suppose that during the summer it is filled with tourists. This was a good day, just one terrace was open for lunch, but that is enough. The only disadvantage was that the museums were closed too. They open as of April 1st. If you would like to go deeper into Thorn’s history, you better visit later in spring.

The Abbey Church was mainly built in the 14th century. 

Walking here felt like being in another era. It made me feel calm and at peace. Of course, I’d better not think of the horrific things happening in medieval times. Well, I would have preferred having been one of the twenty noble ladies who had the whole town to themselves. I could perfectly picture myself and my friends here!  “Noble” could be replaced by funny, creative, intelligent and a bit bold :-). Would you have joined me?

Cheers, Sophie

 

 

 

Interior happiness, Stories

Paris

Bonjour,

Can you imagine? A day in Paris, too short of course, but just wonderful. I had the opportunity to hop in the car with a friend who was visiting her daughter. The daughter studies in Paris. Another friend came along. So it was the three of us. We left in the morning and were just in time for lunch in Paris.

My friend booked a cozy little hotel, somewhere in between the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. A perfect location for a short stay.

In the afternoon we walked across the Seine and between les Tuileries and on to the Louvre.

We had a cup of delicious tea in the lobby of the Brighton Hotel. Oh, these great color combinations in the velvet upholstery of the little chairs and stools.

When we walked back, it was late afternoon already. But what great views, Paris by sunset.

By the time we arrived in the area of the hotel, we decided not to enter, but to have a cocktail first. My friend knew the perfect place! We stepped into the Fitzgerald, and took a place at the bar of the restaurant. Then the owner asked us whether we might prefer to go into “Le Bar Secret.” Well, sure we wanted to see the secret bar. Doors were opened and this was the perfect place: velvet chairs in all colors, many cocktails to choose and top of it all, wallpaper with Flamingos.

After a quick freshening up at the hotel, we only had to do a short walk into the direction of the Eiffel Tower. Dinner was served at Les Fables de la Fontaine. It is a small and fancy restaurant in the 7ième Arrondissement of Paris. The dishes (we all took two first courses) were a treat to the eye and taste! We even managed to chose a perfect Argentinian white wine that wasn’t outrageous in price, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

The next morning we took breakfast at the hotel. For Valentine’s Day they served a beautiful cake with a heart in the middle, so cute. We were thrilled with this gorgeous weather still and decided to walk to Le Petit Palais. The outside and inside of this museum are remarkably beautiful. And you must not forget to look at the ceiling and the floor. Currently there is an exhibition of Fernand Khnopff.

The little courtyard is amazing too. A tropical garden, and look, my Fermob furniture, the same color we have at Casa Vita.

It was a perfect day, and many fashion shooters thought the same. A lot of them could be found on the bridge. Can you blame them with this gorgeous background?

It inspired us to do some shopping too, in the area near the hotel. Well, we managed to still buy some items on sale 😉
We hopped back in the car with a lot of special memories.

Au-revoir! A la prochaine,

Sophie