Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Salon du Livre et Papiers Anciens

Following the contemporary vibe of FIAC, we decided to head to the twice annual Salon du Livre et Papiers Ancien (Books and old papers), in the rather dreary site of Porte de Champeret. This salon is quintessentially french in a very old school way: picture little, slightly hunched, and red nosed men and women, lots of wool and plaid, lots of dry sarcasm and loud joking to one another fueled by lots of wine. All of the vendors maintain a week-long buzz, as evidenced by the 1/2 full bottle on each table.

M and I have been a couple of times now and each year we walk away with some good finds. It is mostly older French material: letters/cards/photos/books but there is also a fair amount of modern things to be found. I was not psychologically as psyched up to go this year because usually we go in the winter, when it is cold, so being indoors and scavanging through dusty paper sounds more appealing. The motivation on my part also stems from the number of incredibly delicious pop-up restaurants. Typically we go for the charcuterie and cheese with red wine, but this year we took in 12 amazing oysters and some petit chablis. Helps smooth the sales. Unfortunately we both foolishly forgot our cameras because there were some good photos to be taken.

Also a shout out to Sartoni Prints, run by Jader Sartoni, my friend Zoe's husband, and who really has the classiest booth of them all!
Through November 1.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Starting yesterday and on through Sunday is the FIAC art fair. The Grand Palais plays host to the more blue chip galleries such as Gagosian, Galerie Lelong and Paula Cooper while the cour carre shows galleries that are more "edgy" with perhaps a younger age group of artists. I went to the opening at the Louvre last night and really do not have much exciting to report--it is an art fair after all and tends to make one without a large pocket of money to spend, feel dizzy and overwhelmed. Good booths at Galerie Hussenot and Lombard Freid, as well several funky galleries from Amsterdam and Brussels. www.fiac.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

gift ideas

It is my 200th post. Cool. Clearly today has been a day of internet surfing, seeking inspiration and ideas from the good old (new really), WWW. With the holidays coming up soon (insane but true, although it does feel like winter in Paris already), this website, greenergrass, might be a good source of gift ideas. The site is clean, simple to use and has a great 'curated' selection of items. Keep it in mind.

Great Ideas

Great website for things design, but really liked this project from a San Francisco based artist:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

lovely things

The most amazing furniture designers, Bokja, from Beirut, fuse modernist furniture with old textiles from the Middle East, Turkey, China, etc. Vintage textiles in all the color, pattern detail covering the simple lines of a scandinavian designed chair or sofa is combing two of my favorite things. What a genius idea and since I can't afford to but one, I hope to sample the idea for a personal project someday. The company was founded by two women, Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri in the late 1990s and has reached an incredible and deserved level of success internationally. www.bokjadesign.com

Friday, October 16, 2009

All Saints

I was late to work today because I got caught up in (what I thought was a new) boutqiue called All Saints, at 49, rue Etienne Marcel. I was wandering down towards the Louvre after having paid a visit to a newish concept store called Hotel Particular. I had read a couple of reviews of this swank fashion outlet but was not wholly impressed by the selection, more impressed by seemingly friendly staff. Hotel Particular stocks high end threads such as Gaspard Yurkiervich, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Charles Catelbajac. It is men's and women's and very unisex at times as two items I was looking at were apparently for men. The store itself is lovely, boudoir meets hotel costes, sort of. It was easy to walk out empty handed. It's not my scene but I do appreciate the attempt to do something different in Paris.

So back to All Saint's, which I stumbled into, as it is sort of tucked back on a corner right near Place de Victoires. The store in fact has been around for a year, and talk is for a new store in the Marais soon. You enter into a huge, darkened space full of distressed metal and wood furnishings, everything in muted tones of beige, gray, black, navy and cream. The lighting is low, not clublike low which can be anoying, but dull, requiring concentrated focus to get what is happening. I was skeptical at first and not even in a shopping mood when all of a sudden, I wanted ten things. The cuts are, generally speaking, deconstructed but with form/shape. A few jackets that reminded me of Vivienne Westwood, with the gathered necklines and diagonal cuts, but prices are quite reasonable. New approaches to cardigan sweaters that reminded me of the Danish designers Best Behavior, draped around the body to be worn open or wrapped closed, layered tunic like dresses, great options for winter wool coats. Prices seemed to range between 80€-€400 depending on the item.
Everyone is probably in the know about this place, but if you are not, go check it out. www.allsaints.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Puerto Cacao is a fair-trade chocolate store and cafe in the 17th arrondissement, 53, rue de Tocqueville. Many chocolate stores in Paris feel like jewelry boutiques, pristine and full of glass vitrines and modern displays, with the chocolate costing almost as much. They are delightful to behold but Puerto Cacao feels more grounded-particularly with their fair-trade chocolate and coffee products from Africa and Latin America that fill the store with delicious dark, milk and white chocolate bars, individual chunks that are paid by the kilo, bags of cacao powder, and other yummy chocolate-based offerings. In some cases I think the chocolate is directly imported and in others, the cacao is imported and transformed into chocolates of various sorts by an in-house chef. There is a cafe attached which offers a selection of spiced hot chocolate, teas, home made ice cream, and on the weekends a brunch is offered, with salty crepes and galettes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Love Tree

We received this "Love Tree," as a wedding gift from family friends, and I am loving it. It was made by Craig Kane, the son of my parents friends. He is an artist based in New York and his work is all miniature and beautifully crafted. This tree with the floating felt "LOVE" catches shadows at various times of the day. We went for a vertical hanging for a better shadow. This was a morning love.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cities x Design

I found this website the other day on a wander through the web, Cities x Design. Conceived by a couple of young journalists/designers/sociologists, the website documents their travels across America, conducting interviews and taking video footage about how the financial crisis has affected certain areas. But the site really focuses on what the future holds and how innovative design thinking can help build up towns and cities that may be on hard times. A recent entry about Detroit features an interview with an AIGA educater who discusses how this city could be a laboratory for innovative and sustainable design. They also feature burgeoning social and art movements by local activists, artists and designers in Detroit, such as the powerhouse project and plot 63, encouraging and inspiring happenings.

Eventually the findings will be compiled into a film and book but it is fun to follow their adventures, and keep informed about local movements in the States.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Textiles and Tunisia

Check out these beautiful fabrics handmade in Tunisia, found at Le Comptoir de Tunise, 30 rue de Richelieu. The colors are fantastic-bright pinks and oranges mixed with soft greens and blues. There was just something different. Also-gorgeous hand blown glass jars and bowls. This lovely boutique just opened a small cafe upstairs which looked worth a future visit.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Three gallery shows:

Many galleries have rented out their space this week as fashion showrooms, but a few have kept their doors open and merit a visit.

Galerie Xippas: Vera Lutter, This German born, NYC based artist shows eleven large, black + white photographs taken during the last 10 years using a pin hole camera. The works focuses on urban landscapes, industrial sites, and architecture-including old factories and skyscrappers. The images are kind of ethereal and ghostlike despite the subject matter not being super interesting.

Galerie Chantal Crousel: Fabrice Gygi- The Swiss artist presents, as the press release states, "works that can be related to three catagories: jewels, machines and signs." The exhibition consists of several sculptures, a few large, mainly steel or metal works that have a sort of violent,industrial (with slick production value), and fetishistic vibe.

Galerie Almine Rech: Another Swiss artist though now based in NYC, Ugo Rondonine presnts several large scale paintings that resemble the milkyway, dark, starry, luminecent, as well as two large, wood doors which have been covered in black wax or resin and upstairs is a cast wax, large hanging lightbulb. His work is frequently a melange of media and meanings, often referring to fantasy and desire. This show gives a feeling of Grimm fairytales or perhaps German romanticism in the 21st century.