Issuu on Google+

LADY MAGIC BY ZOOBS

London Issue

VAMP MAGAZINE

>07


Timberland,  Bisazza  Street,  Sliema  2133  9400 Also  featured  is  the  Earthkeepers  Insulated  Overshirt.  Timberland,   ,HY[ORLLWLYZHUK5H[\YL5LLKZ/LYVLZHYL[YHKLTHYRZVM;)33PJLUZPUN33*VYP[ZHMÄSPH[LZ;)33PJLUZPUN33*(SSYPNO[ZYLZLY]LK


Merchant  Street,  Valletta.  tel:  2258  4444 St.  Anne  Square,  Sliema.     tel:  2258  4431


SLIEMA

ST. JULIANS


CONTENTS PAGE

IN > SIDE Vamp is back with another smacker of an issue, this time with a love for London.

Inside, you will meet acclaimed London-based artist Zoobs; creative director and photographer Mike Ross, who now lives in Gozo after many successful years in London and America. You will be taken around the inspirational Rainbow House by DA Studio in Portobello Road; learn more about the emerging buzz of South West London; have a closer look at this year’s London Design Festival; be inspired to swear; learn more about and appreciate London’s Trellick Tower; discover some weird and wonderful shops and get cooking with some traditional British favourites that will keep you warm this winter.

15. THE PHILOSOPHY OF SWEARING Did you know that swearing can be good for you? Well, if you are prone to come out with an obscene word now and then, you may be pleased to read on.

20. THE RAINBOW HOUSE A parallel universe of fun, colour, movement and sensuality.

27. DESIGNS FOR LIFE From racing across the sea in style to putting your pooch to bed in his own mobile home – designers of today have the answer, pushing the design for life that bit further.

We hope that you enjoy this issue and the Vamp team wishes you a Christmas and New Year’s Eve surrounded by those you care for and make you feel good.

28. LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL 2012

We will be back in the New Year. In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, you can sign up to have your own copy delivered to your door by subscribing online.www.vampmagazine.org

32. SELF PORTRAIT

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

A pick of the best from one of the worlds most important annual design event.

Meet the successful artist Zoobs, surrounded by his iconic images themed with death, love, pain, celebration and magic.

50. FOR THE RECORD Meet Mike Ross. Living in Gozo since 2005 after many years working in the highly successful London music scene, having started his career with the living legend Elton John as his client.

61. HEARD OF THE SOUTH WEST? Editor Lily Agius

Magazine Coordinator Sam Psaila

Creative Director Chris Psaila

Contributers Ashley Lukas Bianco’s Restaurant Chris Urpani Daniel Coppini Julian Cardona Keith Diplock Mike Ross Ruben Grima Sandra Calafato Zoobs

Photography Kurt Arrigo Daniel Coppini Stylist Luke Engerer Sales & Marketing Manager Matthew Spiteri 77242490 publishing@active-enterprises.com

Printers Print It

Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. Dates, information and prices are believed to be correct at the time of going to press but are subject to change and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. Neither the editor nor the publisher accept responsibility for any material submitted, whether photographic or otherwise. While we endeavour to ensure that the organisations and firms mentioned are reputable. The editor can give no guarantee that they will fulfill their obligations under all circumstances. © Copyright 2012

Ashley Lukas shares his happy discovery of the southwest London town: Wandsworth.

65. FASHIONABLE FORTRESS An appreciation for architecture in London by the young Brutalists of the 1960s.

83. GREAT BRITISH GRUB Bianco’s gets cooking with a hearty meal, London-style.

Join VAMP group on facebook.com

LONDON ISSUE

011


VAMP MAGAZINE UPDATE

UPDATE: FIFTY YEARS OF BOND.... JAMES BOND

To celebrate 50 years of this innovative franchise, EON Productions opened their archives of photos, designs, storyboards and production material to editor Paul Duncan, who spent two years researching over one million images and 100 filing cabinets of documentation. The result is the most complete account of the making of the series, covering every James Bond film ever made, beginning with Dr No (1962) and ending with Skyfall (2012), including the spoof Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983). The stunning imagery is accompanied by an oral history recounted by over 150 cast and crew members, relating the true inside story of how the Bond films were made. Containing previously unpublished photography and artwork, as well as production memos from filming, this book is a comprehensive tribute to the legend that is James Bond.

GUESS A/W COLLECTIONS The Fall/Winter 2012 GUESS Jeans collection is inspired by the worlds of music, art and photography. The Women’s collection presents a range of skinny, slim and boot cuts – expanded to incorporate wider legs. Classic styles – the Starlet Skinny, Starlet Cigarette and Nicole Skinny – are all updated for the new season. Tops incorporate contrasting fabrics such as leather and wool, bi-colour Melton and lace, leather and jersey for contemporary style. Glamour is provided by discreetly glittering jersey dresses and a show-stopping sequined blazer. The look is completed by cosy knits and fur-trimmed outerwear for easy layering. For men, bold denim coating, texture and back-pocket details refresh the line with the addition of work-wear inspired pieces like the new Fred jean. The Taylor jean incorporates an asymmetric front seam for effortless style. Iconic design classics are updated with shirts, tops, peacoats, retro duffels and parka coats in heathered fabrics and technical washes, tweaked with contemporary flourishes.

THE NEW MERCEDES A-CLASS – ALL SET FOR ATTACK!! Launched recently during a day-long press event, the new Mercedes A-Class was as stunning to look at as it was to drive. The Impressive, sporty looks had people starring at the cars as they were driven around or parked on display at Bisazza Street, Sliema. The new A-Class is available for viewing and test drive at Auto Sales Ltd - Kind’s, Mosta Road Lija.

012

LONDON ISSUE

GUERLAIN COMPETITION WINNER Congratulations to Erica Pisani, winner of the “La petite Robe noire” Perfume competition by Guerlain.


LONDON ISSUE

013


VAMP MAGAZINE VAMP UPDATE

NEW BOOK ‘SHOOTING SOCIETY’ This book documents contemporary life in Malta and is edited by Carmel Borg and Raphael Vella. With 328 pages, over 50 authors, 150 photographs that attest to the existence of a complex, changing society and a visual culture that is often fraught with contradictions. Incisive essays and short stories about Malta’s people, rituals, desires and more, the work of writers and academics from different fields: art, literature, anthropology, architecture, etc.

Photo by David Pisani

Hanging House by Chris Briffa Architects

40 UNDER 40 WINNER The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, together with The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design recently released the names of this year’s top 40 European architects under 40. The 40 under 40 award highlights the architects, landscape architects, and planners that will shape the future of design. VAMP congratulates local architect Chris Briffa, the first Maltese laureate to win this award. www.europeanarch.eu

QUIRKY MARIMEKKO PATTERNS ON FINNAIR Marimekko has teamed with Finnair to turn an Airbus A340 into a flying example of Finnish design. Furthermore, Marimekko has signed a three-year agreement to service the airline with custom teapots, plates, and napkins. The design house’s goal is to provide joy and beautiful memories for all passengers.

BRAD PITT... A DESIGNER? So it has come to light that Brad Pitt is now becoming a furniture designer. Who’d have thought it? He has apparently been sketching furniture design ideas since the 1990s after being inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mackintosh and is about to unveil his first collection of 12 pieces in New York. It goes without saying that his production line will not be readily available in Ikea – and it is unlikely to arrive in Malta – but his new venture is just as enticing to watch as the anticipated price tag.

014

LONDON ISSUE


THE POWER OF INTENSE COLOUR... IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND. NEW! COLOUR-INTENSE FOAM. EVEN INTENSE, PERMANENT COLOUR, NO DRIPS, NO MESS SEE ALL 18 GORGEOUS SHADES AT KOLESTON.COM

THE POWER OF INTENSE COLOUR Trade Enquiries VJ Salomone (Marketing) tel: 8007 2387


THE PHILOSOPHY OF SWEARING

The Philosophy of Swearing By Julian Cardona

ou’re waddling barefoot across your kitchen when you hit your little toe on the foot of the table; or you’re driving to work on a rainy Monday morning, imbibing fumes of carbon monoxide and radio-music, when a road villain decides that he (yes, I use ‘he’) has a divine right to treat a stop sign like it was a random street-trinket. What do you do? There’s only one option, really. You lift your head to the skies and unleash the most vulgar mouthful that only pure anger can provoke.

Studies have confirmed that swearing does increase one’s tolerance to pain. Aren’t we, Homo erectus, an interesting lot? Who could have foreseen that the conjuring of scatological imagery would actually alleviate our woes?

explain why most usage of swear words is out of context. Consider this example. One day your neighbour’s dog decides that your porch is a more strategic location in which to poop. In a fit of rage, you find the owner and tell him to take care of his f%$&^#$ dog.

According to Steve Pinker, a Harvard psychologist, taboo words provide a very revealing window into human emotions. Most theorists agree that such words activate areas of the brain associated with negative emotion that help us ‘let off steam”. This would

What function is “the f-word” performing here? Surely you cannot (I hope) be visualising canine sexual activity when uttering the word? The connection must, therefore, take place at an emotional level. >>

LONDON ISSUE

017


THE PHILOSOPHY OF SWEARING

Steve Pinker argues that expressions like the f-word are used to substitute older words with religious implications, such as ‘damn’ or ‘hell’. Think of the ‘damn dog’. In this context the word ‘damn’ makes more sense, but most would still be inclined to use the former. The reason, Pinker believes, is that whereas in the old days words like hell and damnation used to arouse dread in people, nowadays, following a decline in religious influence, people need to use different words to not only connect to their negative emotions but also transmit them. So, then, is swearing an unavoidable human trait? There have been attempts to answer this question by searching for languages that do not contain swear words. Apparently, these failed. It must be said that some languages do lend themselves to swearing more than others. Amongst these, Russian and Spanish are known to top the charts. Others, like Chinese or Japanese, are structurally limited to produce swear phrases as opposed to swear words; but this doesn’t mean that these two cultures run the risk of being marginalised from the world of the profane.

>> WHATEVER YOUR TAKE ON THE SUBJECT, IT IS HARD NOT TO ADMIT THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN TIMES WHEN EVERY CELL IN OUR BODY STARTS CRAVING FOR VERBAL NAUGHTINESS. << I do ask myself how the Maltese would fare in such a poll. Apart from the architecture of the language, culture also plays a big role in the moulding of a language. Consider the famous Eskimo case. Supposedly, Eskimos have more than 20 words for snow. In his book Peopled Silence about the philosophy of language, Fr Peter Serracino Inglott reasons that different people around the world have a different domain of experiences, which is why Americans – although having fewer words for ‘snow’ than Eskimos, might then have more words for ‘automobile’. This arouses the suspicion that the use of swear words is widespread because pain, fear and rage are widespread. So if swearing is so commonplace why do so many people act like prudes around it? Earlier this year in Middleborough, a small town outside Boston, Mass, residents voted in favour of a $20 fine for people caught swearing in public. Some observers started questioning their freedom of speech. Could this incident suggest that people often adopt a two weights two measures approach to swearing? Surely, few are those who can honestly claim they never swear in private. 018

LONDON ISSUE

Such a debate, I believe, has to factor in the fact that swearing usually revolves around religious or social issues that could touch upon people’s sensitivities. This issue becomes an even hotter potato as soon as it is discussed in the context of art. How right is it to let characters swear in movies or books? Most artists would say that they are slaves to the creative process; most conservatives would retort that profanity is profanity, no matter what. This latter stand had always been the line adopted in Malta until a few months ago, when Minister De Marco announced his intention to propose new legislation. He agreed that new legislation is required to reflect the needs and configuration of our 21st-century society. So does this mean that – since swearing is natural and we are all children of modernity – for the sake of progressivism, everything should be allowed? This is a fundamental question that is bound to divide liberals and conservatives for a considerable time over whether, how and where any lines should be drawn. Whatever your take on the subject, it is hard

not to admit that there are certain times when every cell in our body starts craving for verbal naughtiness. Well, at least now those Maltese who are too shy to exchange a few expletives verbally can write them down in a book and share them with other eager souls. Oh, and by the way, studies have shown that every known device employed in poetry, such as the use of rhyme, alliteration, metre and certainly imagery, is put to commendable use in the ‘artistic’ craft of swearing: it’s definitely heart-warming to know that people take pride when devising insults. So remember that, yes, swearing does release tension: your neurons can testify to this. Technically speaking, we are all scientifically justified in letting ourselves go and spreading wide the wings of obscenity. And who knows, perhaps the more creative you are, the better you might feel; perhaps the unlikelier the permutations, the more proud of yourself you’ll become. If this is not to your taste, however, you might want to stay in touch with the festive season and think of something a little more Christmassy to make yourself feel better. V


THE RAINBOW HOUSE Architecture: DA.Studio Furniture: Van Rooij & Griffiths Landscape: Sue Amos Flooring Artwork: Richard Woods Fibreglass Manufacturer: Logical Movement of Furniture: Asmech Photography: John Short

022

LONDON ISSUE


THE RAINBOW HOUSE

THE RAINBOW HOUSE IS A MAGICAL OASIS ON A BUSY ROAD FILLED WITH PEOPLE AND NOISE. WHEN YOU STEP THROUGH ITS FRONT DOOR, YOU ENTER A PARALLEL UNIVERSE OF FUN, COLOUR, MOVEMENT AND SENSUALITY, LEAVING THE ORDINARY WORLD FAR BEHIND. LONDON ISSUE

023


“A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY IN A MAGICAL LAND SLIDING ON THE MOST COLOURFUL RAINBOW. EACH FLOOR HAS ITS OWN STORY EACH ROOM ITS OWN SURPRISE ONE MIGHT DISAPPEAR IN A HOLE TO REAPPEAR IN A SUNNY LAND A PLACE TO HIDE AND SEEK A HOUSE TO PLAY.” – David Tanguy

024

LONDON ISSUE


THE RAINBOW HOUSE

he concept for the Rainbow House was to create a living artwork in which every corner offers a unique and magical discovery, and all the surprising and disparate elements are united into a singular composition by a central spiral staircase. Visitors encounter the staircase as soon as they enter the double-height lobby from the street outside. A bespoke fibreglass and steel fabrication, this spinal column passes through the full spectrum of colour as it rises through the house. At each level, its colour emanates out, influencing those of that floor and creating a visual rhythm on a vertical axis. Sun pours down through skylights at the very

top of the house, drenching the staircase in light. To maximise light, we removed every unnecessary wall, liberated windows and punched through skylight after skylight. Light and energy bounce off luminous walls covered with super white polished plaster.

ABOVE: In the living room, the oversized sofa creates a soft piazza measuring 12 metres by eight metres for playing, sleeping and living. A drop-down screen transforms it into a horizontal cinema. Its sheer scale upends the normal relationship between furniture and architecture: this sofa is a world unto itself.

In the master bedroom, a circular bed rotates at the touch of a button to give a choice of views. You can look out across the bridge, or into West London; you can gaze at Trellick Towers or the cosy fireplace.

FAR LEFT / ABOVE: The brilliant white kitchen funnels you into a Mediterranean courtyard where you discover a sulphur yellow staircase that sweeps you up to the roof garden. Here a collection of angular steel planters colonises the space and the staircase becomes a bridge carrying you across the courtyard and back into the bedroom.

A trapdoor pops open to reveal a stainless steel slide that zips you down to the living room below, creating a kinetic link between the private domain of the bedroom to the more public world of the living room. >>

LONDON ISSUE

025


THE RAINBOW HOUSE

“FOR ME, THIS IS AS MUCH A SUNSHINE HOUSE, AS THE RAINBOW HOUSE. IT’S AN EXHILARATING BURST OF ENERGY ON A TOUGH STREET, IN A TOUGH PART OF TOWN, AT A TOUGH TIME. IT SHOWS THAT MAGIC IS STILL POSSIBLE IN DESIGN. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO STEP INSIDE THIS PLAYFUL WORLD WITHOUT LOSING YOUR PRECONCEPTIONS AND YOU CAN’T LEAVE IT WITHOUT A SMILE.” – Deyan Sudjic

The ground floor music room leads you to the English room, where a thick purple carpet covers the floor in front of a vibrant Rousseau-style mural. A Juliet balcony opens onto the rainbow staircase. In the basement we created a selfcontained apartment. Inspired by architect Sir John Soane’s genius with light and mirrors, we harnessed every available ray of natural light, bouncing it into the space through a collection of mirrors and reflective surfaces. The pavement lights and arches hidden beneath the busy road were invited into the living space. We left the outside nearly untouched, heightening the division between the noisy and hectic world outside and the magical world within. The one exception was the security grills, which can be seen through the windows from inside the house. They are knitted steel bars in ultramarine, creating a warm and happy security that hints at the personality of the house without allowing you inside. V LONDON ISSUE

027


MOSTA $0/45*565*0/453]5&- tSLIEMA PJAZZA TIGNÃ&#x2030;, TIGNÃ&#x2030; | TEL: +356 2202 1200 ST JULIANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S-&7&- #":453&&54)011*/(."-- 45(&03(&4#":]5&- tVALLETTA 248A REPUBLIC STR | TEL: +356 2202 2150


DESIGNS FOR LIFE

FROM RACING ACROSS THE SEA IN STYLE TO PUTTING YOUR POOCH TO BED IN HIS OWN MOBILE HOME – DESIGNERS OF TODAY HAVE THE ANSWER, PUSHING THE DESIGN FOR LIFE THAT BIT FURTHER.

TASTY OR TACKY? Currently valued at $25.9 billion, Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s most recognisable luxury brands. However, not all their products are worth the money, starting with the ‘Louis Vuitton Waffle Maker’, designed by LA-based artist Andrew Lewicki earlier this year and featuring an aluminum sheet embossed with the signature LV monogram print – unlicensed, of course. It is, in fact, an artistic concept and not in production. Would you buy one if it was?

DOG IS A GOD Witty Italian designer Marco Morosini has designed a luxury ceramic travelling dog house for the most pampered of dogs – one with fur and one without, but both with platinum hardware. This is part of a collection that consists of such things as wallpapered, ceramic and carpeted trailers to well built Japanese pagoda dog houses. www.wannekes.com

BOAT BY ZAHA HADID In 2005, renowned architect and designer Zaha Hadid created a futuristic three-wheel vehicle Z-Car for American art dealer Kenny Miner, and she now has developed and realised a unique project of the black boat Z Boat. Measuring 7.5 metres in length, it comfortably accommodates eight people and is equipped with a powerful 220hp Mercruiser engine. All in all, with its clear lines and graphically sculptured asymmetrical shape, it is more a contemporary work of art than a technological innovation. Hadid says she wanted to bring to the complex world of high-tech a piece of art, shown in all its simplicity and luxury. A limited edition of 12 unique yachts is scheduled for spring 2013.

SONY SMARTWATCH Sony is adding the Smartwatch to its range. This timepiece, which hosts a 1.3-inch OLED display, can connect to your Android smartphone, displaying texts and tweets. It also doubles as a media player streaming the audio from your phone to the device and then to your ears via headphones. Sony also confirmed that you’ll be able to enhance the Smartwatch further through downloadable apps that will increase its functionality.

THE GRASSY LAWN CHARGING STATION This is a great little solution to organise your gadgets whilst bringing a little bit of green into your office. The Grassy Lawn Charging Station uses soft artificial grass to cushion your camera, smartphone, or iPod while they’re charging. The cables sit underneath the grass in a hidden compartment, and all you need to do is run your extension cord into the base of the charging station. It is available from LazyBone for £23.99. LONDON ISSUE

029


Design Junction 2012

LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL FIRST STAGED IN 2003, THE LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL MARKED ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY WITH A 10-DAY MEGA FESTIVAL IN SEPTEMBER, HAVING GROWN IN SIZE ONCE AGAIN. IT BROUGHT TOGETHER HUNDREDS OF EXHIBITIONS, EVENTS, INSTALLATIONS AND WORKSHOPS STAGED BY PARTNER ORGANISATIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD WITHIN THE CITY. >>

030

LONDON ISSUE


LONDON DESIGN FEST

LONDON ISSUE

031


Bender lamp designed by Morten Kildahl Far Left: Sao Paulo Sofa by Charlie Crowther Smith 032

LONDON ISSUE

100% Design

Design Junction

APOLOGIES TO MILAN AND TOKYO. REGRET EINDHOVEN, BERLIN, BARCELONA & MOST THE DESIGN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.


The Maya desk by Sean Dare

Nodi Contemporanei by Loredana Bonora

LONDON DESIGN FEST

S TO STOCKHOLM AND PARIS. FORGIVE ME PATICULARLY NEW YORK. BUT LONDON IS

The majority of events where free of charge, thus enabling visitors to participate, listen, learn, commission and make purchases. The Festival was funded through a combination of public and private sources including The Mayor of London’s office (which provides a grant) and the Arts Council in England, which has been a long-term

supporter of the Festival. Private funding (accounting for approximately 60%) was raised through sponsorship of Festival projects alongside a small range of London Design Festival products and services available throughout the year. Festival audiences where significant, estimated at over 350,000 people from over 60 countries with a wider audience of over one million coming into contact with the major public commissions in 2012. Audiences at The Victoria & Albert Museum totalled 111,538 – which is the highest 10-day figure ever recorded in its history. The Festival had a programme of 304 projects and events staged by 295 partner organisations including media partners. The festival also attracted a substantial amount of press coverage from all over the globe. V

The Maya desk by Sean Dare

he London Design Festival show-cased five large exhibitions, the largest of which were 100% Percent Design (in Islington) and Decorex (in Chelsea) – but Design Junction was the most atmospheric, having been set up over three floors of a disused Royal Mail sorting office in New Oxford Street, near Clerkenwell. Against this industrial backdrop was the work of 60 international designers, including talks, bars, restaurants and a pop-up cinema.

LONDON ISSUE

033


Interview by Lily Aguis

SELF PORTRAIT From the mouth of the artist


INTERVIEW: ZOOBS

Artist Zoobs worked under the direction of renowned image-maker and colour-creator Serge Lutens for Shiseido Cosmetics Intl in Tokyo and Paris in the late 1990s, and travelled extensively, as a result of which he began to incorporate different cultures and their representations into his breathtaking iconic images that are often themed with death, love, pain, celebration and magic. He now lives in Soho, London and continues to push the envelope with his surreal yet fashionable art. Zoobs talks to VAMP >> LONDON ISSUE

035


Exclusively Distributed by Taâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Xbiex Perfumery Limited Tel: 2133 1553


INTERVIEW: ZOOBS

rt is something to which I was always drawn from a very young age. When I lost my father at the age of eight, art started becoming more and more a place where I’d find refuge from the confused and suddenly sombre world around me. Melancholy is today the main motivation for me to create art. I find it difficult to create art when I’m feeling joyous. Perhaps out of habit now, I create best when I’m down. I find death an inevitability which we are all, perhaps subconsciously, keeping away from the forefront of our minds through distractions, whether that be work, play, television, music, sport, relationships, gym – the list is endless. I can’t help but embrace the idea of death, and exorcise it to create my art from a deeper place, but that’s not to say that I am not motivated by life, just not always to create art. I think my art always has a bitter-sweet edge to it, it’s sad, but somehow sensual, sexual even sometimes. Inspiration can come from all sorts of things that I see around me in this physical world and also from my imagination. It’s usually a mix of the two. I may be walking down the street and pick up on a fight that a couple are having in the middle of the street, which might then get transformed through my imagination into an image. Or I’ll walk the street late at night trying to work out some issue in my head, and a bus stop that I walk past might inspire me to start creating light-boxes. Generally speaking, life inspires me, even though I’m fascinated with death. I think when hopes and fears collide, something amazing happens. I work everywhere and anywhere. At my studio, of course, but I think that when you’re an artist or a creative in any industry – and especially if you work for yourself – you never stop working. I often go to social events and have sudden urges to make lists about some thing or some idea. I am obsessed with lists. When I list things, I get them done. When you fail, you are not following your heart. I’ve never really stopped creating art in my life because there WAS nothing else that I wanted to do. It was my way of life. So in that sense I have never experienced failure. If we are speaking in a commercial sense, then all I can say – at the ripe age of almost 40 – is that I am very grateful for my success at this stage in my life. My purposes and goals have changed over the years. Initially they were more self-centred; over the years through observation, and thought, and experience... I feel that for the first 20 years of my life I was trying to make myself happy. Since then I have learned more and more that sharing this need to ‘make happy’ with others is so much more rewarding. This is ironic, as I spend a lot of time on my own but this is usually when I’m creating. If I am shooting, it becomes about how my subject feels. I want my subjects to feel special, to feel elated, to feel transported for the period of time that we shoot. I want them to feel like the magazine covers that they are bombarded with on a daily basis. I used to feel bad about making people feel good about something so apparently superficial and related to vanity. But now I see the current state of the world and how everyone is bombarded with visual perfection through the media and the feelings of insecurity riddled in society, and so now I feel that if I can make someone feel special, it might help that person just momentarily go to a positive place in their psyche which will hopefully in turn lead to

a positive effect in a broader sense for them. And, in turn, I create art with them in a starring role as such. I celebrate them. I’m very passionate about people. It always becomes about interaction. I don’t like to plan too much, with work and with life. In a sense I’m like a gypsy, I like to go with the flow. It’s strange to be in the ‘art world’, so to speak. Art doesn’t inspire me to do art, life or death inspires me, so therefore my opinion on where ‘art is going’ doesn’t really matter. I think that all artists should work from their heart, and collectively the world becomes a colourful and diverse place. It would seem that trends come and go a lot of the time, but what remains is art that reflects a passionate state and somehow strikes a chord with what the masses are feeling at any particular time. I feel as if the world is speeding up at a tremendous rate and we are frequently being surprised with new and exciting art forms. Personally, I feel that art is heading towards a more abstract route. The way in which art and its messages are being expressed will surely get more and more unusual. I think without the person who experiences the art, the art is void, and therefore for me the viewer is very much a part of the art – if that makes sense. Without art, this world would be nothing. We are all spiritual beings, which is the basis of ‘art’. Artists have a responsibility to make the world a more colourful and creative place. There are many processes involved and these can include makeup, photography, graphic design, digital manipulation, literature, painting, drawing, film, music – the list is endless. >>

LONDON ISSUE

037


038

LONDON ISSUE


INTERVIEW: ZOOBS

Love of any type or any form inspires me. Violence, aggression, ignorance and war upset me. When I was younger, I was afraid to try out new methods, materials and subjects but as I get older I find myself more and more comfortable with the unknown. If anything, I find it exciting. I refer to them as ‘happy mistakes’. Some people like to feel that perhaps they are in control of each and every decision in the process of creation. I find that stifling. There must be room for ‘happy mistakes’, or else the artist life would become a chore, which is a hideous idea.

“WITHOUT ART, THIS WORLD WOULD BE NOTHING. WE ARE ALL SPIRITUAL BEINGS, WHICH IS THE BASIS OF ‘ART’”

Both the subject and the way it is executed are equally important, but the subject comes first more often than not. I like both the perfect, smooth and a more energetic expressive technique. When I am involved in make-up, photographic shoots, and digital manipulation, I painstakingly sit for hours perfecting something to near-mythic proportions. And then I go the other way and let loose, as I did with my scrolls, where it became about deconstructing these ‘perfected images’ and reconstructing them freely with words, emotions, paint – whatever it took at the time. The ‘canvas’ can take different forms and shapes for me, but I feel free when I do this. If I’m loosely painting over a photograph, I have not too much control over how it will be applied and therein lies a sense of liberation for that moment. As if I can fly and the sky’s the limit. I think art has different meanings for different people. For sure there are meanings behind each piece, but I’d hate to sit and tell people exactly what I was thinking, I think art is more personal, it’s what my work makes THEM feel. But often my work will reflect a variety of social issues from my own point of view, and often it will be sugar-coated in extreme beauty, or ugliness, sometimes a combination of the two. Art is anything done with passion. The painter who paints with passion creates art, as does the photographer who creates photographs with passion. But furthermore, I feel that a teacher who teaches passionately, or a trader who makes money passionately, or an art dealer who feels the art he sells and deals with it passionately – all these people are artists. V www.zoobstheartist.com

LONDON ISSUE

039


The new A-Class.

The Pulse of a New Generation. Either for or against, complacency is not an option. Non-conformist from the outside and quite the style icon inside. It expels boredom from the street. And gives you an easy ride in the process. High-tech: it goes without saying. Safe: no question. Efficient: naturally. It could not be a more characteristic Mercedes. And at the same time very, very different. Hello, new A-Class!

A180 CGI €28,900 A180 CDI €30,500

A Daimler Brand

including a 5 year Service Plan

Auto  Sales  Ltd  -  Kind’s    Tel:  21433601    www.mercedes-benz.com.mt


FASHION TRENDS

GLAM I          AM Photography: Kurt Arrigo Stylist: Luke Engerer: www.lukeengerer.com Hair: Michelle Galea: Roots Salon - 2745 4164 Make up: Nicola Powell - 99865369 Model: Jovana SO management


Monsoon dress: €230 Accessorize bangle: €22.90 Zulejka shoes


044

LONDON ISSUE


LONDON ISSUE

045

French Connection dress: €163 Next Jacket: €53

LEFT: Monsoon dress: €150 Vascas bangle: €402 Vascas Necklace: €505


LEFT: Mangano lace dress: €139 Accessorize bag: €59 Vascas silver necklace: €93 Vascas silver bracelet: €85 Guess dress: €121.50


RUNWAY MALTA ‘12

RUNWAY MALTA THE THIRD INSTALLMENT OF RUNWAY MALTA TOOK PLACE ON 29 SEPTEMBER AT MONTEKRISTO ESTATE. DUBBED MALTA’S PREMIERE FASHION EVENT, RUNWAY INCORPORATES INNOVATIVE LOCAL DESIGN, CREATIVE INTERNATIONAL LABELS, HIGH STREET BRANDS AND ARTISTS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE IN A ONE-NIGHT EXTRAVAGANZA. WITH HOURLY SHOWS IN THE AUDITORIUM, LIVE BANDS AT THE BAR, AN EXHIBITION AREA AND LIVE INSTALLATIONS, RUNWAY IS THE FIRST EVENT OF ITS KIND IN MALTA. But, of course, the reason Runway is still a success in an industry where events are just as much a trend as anything on the actual catwalk, is the people who support it and the people who put it together. Vamp went along to this season’s Runway to catch up with the organiser Shideh Olafsson to find out what goes into the making of a true international fashion event in Malta.

Photo by David Mansfield

Photo by Danielle Cassar

What is your role at Runway Malta? Producer – or the person everyone goes to when things go wrong. How did you get involved in the event? I was missing the shows I used to work on back in New Zealand and realised there was something really lacking in Malta and its limited fashion industry, so I came up with a way to serve the industry and quench my own thirst. What’s your favourite part about being part of Runway? After watching a tireless crew work day and night leading up to the event, my favourite part is looking out onto the crowd and seeing people who understand it, enjoy it and appreciate it. There’s nothing more satisfying than that. Over the past three seasons, who has been your favourite designer to work with? I can’t answer that. It’s like choosing a favourite child, and you can’t do that. At the end of the day, I am the one who chooses the designers at Runway, so they are all my favourites. Which designer would you like to see show at the event and have the opportunity to work with? I am a massive fan of the quiet achievers: the designers in the world who don’t have a lot of hype surrounding them but do amazing things with their craft. I would totally love the opportunity to bring over a Japanese designer, any Japanese designer! We will see. The event requires a lot of preparation. How do you manage? I couldn’t do it alone. I work with some of the very best crew in Malta, from the tireless team at the AV Warehouse who deliver world class lighting and staging to the talented people like photographer Kris Micallef, stylist Pavli Medvedova, set designer Desiree Azzopardi, hairstylist and his crew Matthew Gauci from atMat and incredible make-up artist Karen Schembri-Grima. Not to mention the loyal crew such as catwalk photographer David Mansfield and Runway’s video crew headed by Mark Warner. These names are the reason Runway exists, and not only do these people work non-stop to achieve amazing results, but they are very professional in their approach and understand their fields like no others. V

Photo by David Mansfield

LONDON ISSUE

051


Mike Ross began his career in the music business closely linked with the early days of Elton John’s career. Over the years, Mike’s creativity has evolved, starting from the pre-computer era – overseeing and designing album covers and directing music videos in the fast-paced and highly successful music scene in London – to writing film scripts and photographing the rich and famous. Whilst always a photographer alongside his other work, today Mike is concentrating his creative impulses on specialising in portraits of actors, artists and musicians who live in or pass through Malta and Gozo, where he now has his home. Mike reminisces about yesteryear and shares his ideas and plans for the future. Images & Artwork: Mike Ross Interview: Lily Agius

052

LONDON ISSUE


INTERVIEW: MIKE ROSS

What made you choose design as a profession? From my schooldays I approached all my artistic efforts in a graphic way. I can draw, and being colour-blind meant that a lot of my early work consisted of black and white drawings. Even before I went to art college in Kingston, I went to see an advertising agency because I had read that if you did well you could earn up to £3,000 a year, which sounded like a massive salary to a 1964 schoolboy - and I thought: “Wow – that’s for me!” So it was always on the cards, and art college just confirmed that direction. I could have gone into advertising via a packaging job with JWT that I was offered, but instead I went for another offer with the Observer newspaper and I loved it. The music thing happened by accident as a result of freelance work developing into a full-time job. Looking back, what have been the high points in your career? Being nominated three times for a Grammy Award.

I was very lucky to start in the music business in the 70s with a major talent who was also just starting – Elton John. My career owes a great deal to being associated with him, even though it was only for four years and the same number of covers. He was always generous to me and hardly ever interfered with the visual side of things. In fact, I didn’t know it then but my nine years with A&M Records (New King’s Road, London) were also the golden years of the music business. We were the very successful UK office of a very successful independent American record label; we were treated well, paid well and we were happy to give our best of everything in return. What is the best sleeve, photo and video that you’ve been credited with? I would say the sleeve for Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp – fighting to have a pair of shoes on the cover that said more about Joe Jackson and his music than his face could ever have done. The best photo for me would have to be of a temple in Luxor with a camel in the foreground – timeless.

And the best video is Bob Geldof’s The Great Song of Indifference – a simple idea, totally in keeping with the music, with memorable moments and it really did make people laugh. It was the funniest time I’ve ever had on an edit. Describe some of your encounters with celebrities during your career. I had dinner in 1983 with Sting and his manager and others in New York. Tom Cruise was at the same dinner and we were introduced by Sting’s publicist. I was there in connection with The Police and the Synchronicity album. Risky Business had recently been released, so Cruise was very much an up-and-coming actor and not yet a star. Very small, very keen. Another was a meeting with Paul and Linda McCartney in the ‘Young Flyers Club’ at Heathrow airport – a waiting lounge for unaccompanied children and a conveniently private place for celebs also passing through. I was there to show them artwork for something I was doing for Paul, and Bob Dylan was passing through and joined them to say hello. Just me, Paul, Linda and Bob.

FROM FAR LEFT: Hookfoot – Communication The Police – Outlandos d’Amour – the first album Medinet Habu – Luxor West Bank. Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III Elton John – Crystal Palace, June 1972. Bob Geldof – The title is Room 19, but the hidden message is “Bog Off”. Elton John – Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player

LONDON ISSUE

053


“HEY, MIKE!” LOST FOR WORDS – THEN AND NOW. BOB... F F***KING... ***KING... DYLAN!

He was wearing a black hoodie and leather fingerless gloves and looked a bit like a vagrant. But he was very polite and we shook hands and he said: “Hey, Mike!” Lost for words - then and now. Bob ... f***king ... Dylan! I had to go to EON Productions offices in London to get approval for the illustration that I had commissioned on behalf of A&M Records for use on a poster for the Octopussy soundtrack album. I was shown through to the inner sanctum office of Cubby Broccoli. I did my best panther-like walk but it didn’t get me the Bond gig. However, both Cubby and the current Bond producers – his daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson –

all loved the artwork, which showed my concept of Roger Moore shooting a bullet through the hole in a shiny flying A&Mlabelled black vinyl disc. What was the most memorable moment with a celebrity?

Elton John 1972

054

LONDON ISSUE

I had a very strange and difficult meeting with the Police to show them cover ideas for the Synchronicity album at a recording studio near Quebec called “Le Studio”. Deep snow outside and hot-tempered band inside. I had immersed myself in the whole concept of synchronicity big-time, had read Jung and Koestler, and was determined to come up with something really special for the final studio album of one of the world’s biggest bands. I had produced a thick portfolio of visuals (preiPad days) which I was really pleased with in terms of combining pictures of rock stars with a really meaningful concept. I had assumed that I would have the opportunity to present my ideas to the band, just the three of them and me (after five years’ working with them from the very beginning, I knew them all well). What followed was like a French farce as I tried to get them in the same room together.


INTERVIEW: MIKE ROSS

Reggatta de Blanc, The Police

Squeeze (self-titled debut album)

Look Sharp, Joe Jackson

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John

Mike Ross 2012

Roxanne (single sleeve), The Police

The Happy Club, Bob Geldof

The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Sting

The Key, Joan Armatrading

Sting would walk into the room where I was showing Stewart the ideas, and so Stewart would just walk out. Then Andy would walk in to have a look and Sting would walk out. And so on. In the end, the cover was completed in the LA office using the same basic idea that the band had proposed as a starting point at the outset (three primarycoloured brushstroke stripes each containing individual pictures of each band member). Many of my visuals incorporated this idea,

but all of them had some sort of visual link between one stripe and the stripe above or below. I produced many other ideas and still have the portfolio that I took to Quebec. It would make a book in itself. The final design made no attempt to link the stripes in any way and was, in my opinion, a sadly wasted design opportunity.

blank versions, were printed. I think I have the whole set.

Endless permutations of the stripes and their visual content, including metallic and

What would you say is the difference between design in Malta and design in the UK? Maltese clients seem to be afraid of originality. There seems to be a lack of confidence in ideas and designs that they have never seen before. >> LONDON ISSUE

055


INTERVIEW: MIKE ROSS

It’s a self-defeating cycle and it needs bold and brave agencies and design groups to educate their clients and encourage them to take risks so that we can break that cycle and move forward.

I love looking through the viewfinder. It’s an almost sensual pleasure to frame a shot. If it’s a portrait, I like the connection I’m having with the subject through the lens. I don’t want people in my landscapes. I have, on one occasion, waited hours for a naked couple to get themselves and their vulgar boat out of my inlet and out of my shot. Who would you like to photograph? Two big Maltese figures, Joseph Calleja and Edward de Bono, and I’d like to shoot them in a way that says something visually about what they do. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? After ingesting what I had been assured was a mild hallucinogen and a pleasant day enjoying the effects in Battersea Park in late summer 1972, I was due to photograph Elton John live at The Shaw Theatre in Euston Road. By the time of the evening concert I had assumed that the effects would have worn off completely and that I would be perfectly capable of performing what was almost an everyday assignment. The Shaw Theatre’s stage set for a production of Romeo and Juliet remained on the stage, and Elton and his band were set up beneath the set of ‘stone’ arches, balconies, etc. I had an ‘access-all-areas’ pass and seeing the archway spanning the stage, I thought to myself: “Aha – that looks like a good

056

LONDON ISSUE

I LOVE LOOKING THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER. IT’S AN ALMOST SENSUAL PLEASURE TO FRAME A SHOT. position for a top shot!” And so, at some point once the concert was underway, I set off into the wings to explore the possibilities of getting myself up on to that arch. Various ladders had to be negotiated but eventually I found myself on a ledge with a brilliant angle on the stage. Total blackness up there of course – no lights to see my way. I took a few shots, and since nothing much was going to change, and trying to reverse on my stomach, I suddenly had the horrific and unnerving realisation that this ledge was not even two foot wide, had no edge at all on the ‘upstage’ side and, being a stage set, was made of a kind of nothing cardboard. It became apparent that my little trip earlier that morning was far from over and a tsunami of paranoia hit me with the terrifying awareness that I had been inches away from falling, with flailing cameras and shoulder-length hair, right on to the top of Elton’s grand piano in the middle of Your Song in full view of an audience that included members of the Royal Family. So what’s next? I have a feature film script set in Egypt that’s been on the shelf for several years that I’d

love to get back to. It’s a terrific story, based around true events, and if you’ve ever seen the hordes in The Valley of the Kings and the Cairo Museum every single day of the year – well, there’s your audience. I’d also like to do a book about my experiences in the music business that could feature a lot of as yet unseen imagery, concept sketches and alternative versions of well-known covers, It would be partautobiography/memoir, part design and photography book, lots of anecdotal stuff and my thoughts on art and design along the way. I shot a still photograph last year which I would like to re-shoot as a stop-frame movie as it’s really a ‘light, weather and location event’ that happens at a particular time of day, on a particular date, in a particular place every year. I would need a wet suit, a waterproof tripod, some assistants and a lot of luck on my side. What is the problem with the world today? In one word: GREED. V

info@mikerossphotographic.com 00 356 7939 4066

What goes through your head when taking a photograph – how do you feel?

Courtyard in Nubian village – Nag’ Gharb Siheil, near Aswan

I have been lecturing in Graphic Design at Mcast for the past seven years, pretty much since I moved to Malta. I have some brilliant students pass through my classes every year and it’s a great shame, and Malta’s loss, that if they are to have any hope of realising their full potential in their future careers, they stand a much better chance abroad. Maybe they’ll come back after some positive international experience, and set up brave and bold design businesses here, which will lead Malta into a more confident and original future in terms of the design we see around us every day. Qualifications alone are not enough; it’s experience that counts in the long term.


Exclusively Distributed by Taâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Xbiex Perfumery Limited Tel: 2133 1553


€31

€23

€37.50

€37.99

“GIVE A GIRL THE RIGHT SHOES, & SHE CAN CONQUER THE WORLD.” – Marilyn Monroe

Choose from a massive selection of stylish shoes for women. All at affordable prices! Now also open at Daniel’s Shopping Centre, Hamrun.

NAXXAR ROAD, BIRKIRKARA. TEL: 2144 5154


060

LONDON ISSUE


“Go where we may, rest where we will, Eternal London haunts us still.” – Thomas Moore LONDON ISSUE

061


VERY  I  M PRESSIVE PRESENTS WATCHES, JEWELS & GIFTS FOR MEN & WOMEN

Secretly bangles and rings Bisazza Street, Sliema – Melita Street, Valletta


LONDON: TRAVEL

PSSSST... HEARD OF THE SOUTH WEST? Words by Ashley Lukas

Wandsworth. A name that doesn’t really conjure up those classic images of nighttime London chic, wild parties and moments of glorious excess. I mean, you’d never hear of Prince Harry stumbling out of the Grand Union at 3pm or Peaches Geldof stopping for a swift half at the Black Cat. No way. That’s because they hardly stray from the same old circles of Shoreditch to Portabello, via Chelsea, Notting Hill and the trendy vestiges of the West End in a symbiotic, self-perpetuating vicious circle of “I’m cool because I’m here and you’re here because I’m cool”. It works for them and that’s great, but for those of us who don’t make a career out of endorsing black and gold nightspots in the mainstream media, it’s a little different. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll find some eclectic watering holes in each of these places, but since moving to Clapham in south-west London a-year-and-half ago from Kensington in west London, I can safely say that I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner. It’s not just the bars, either. You see, the more and more I explored, the more time I had to truly get to know this neighbourhood, the more and more I realised how incredibly spoilt those of us who live around here really are. While we’ve had festivals featuring Chase n Status, Skrillex and DJ Shadow as the headline acts over the past few months, it’s the day-to-day stuff: the

>> OF COURSE, THERE’S NO BIG BEN, OR

LONDON EYE, BUT WHO WANTS TO STAND AROUND, LIKE A CROWD OF SHEEP IN CENTRAL LONDON WHEN YOU COULD BE ENJOYING GOURMET, OR EXOTIC FOOD AND THEN PARTYING THE NIGHT AWAY TO GREAT MUSIC? << cafes, restaurants, markets, outdoor areas and bars (absolutely important enough to mention twice) that come together to form a nutritious borough broth comprised of Battersea, Clapham and Wandsworth. Sorry, Brixton, I would have included you for being just down the road, but you’re already waaay too trendy; go hang out with Shoreditch or something. And that’s one of the main reasons I’ve grown to love this locale. It’s not about one type of person or clique; you really do get a large cross section of people here from hipsters (obviously lost trying to find Shoreditch) to accountants – all of whom enjoy the excellent vibe that this part of London provides. You see, after having a gourmet meal at 22 North Street, just a twominute walk away you can enjoy a relaxing pint of boutique, draft American beer at The Calf and then (if you fancy it) walk for another five minutes to party the night away at HedKandi, So.uK or Venn Street Records. What blows my mind is that these places are only a small selection of the good bars and restaurants around, all of them superb quality, and I’m only talking about Clapham. Walk down to Battersea Rise and you’ll find

exactly the same concentration and quality. Walk a little bit further down to Northcote Road or St John’s Hill for even more. Over the past 10 years, this eclectic collection of themes and cuisines has become the rule not the exception. The majority of them are independent, quality establishments, each offering a unique experience and all of which have taken root here and become an integral part of the broth – enough for me to say that it is definitely worth straying from the oft-trodden London paths that travellers frequent and exploring a bit further south. Of course, there’s no Big Ben, or London Eye, but who wants to stand around, like a crowd of sheep in central London when you could be enjoying gourmet, or exotic food and then partying the night away to great music? So to help you on the way, I’ve picked three places which you should definitely check out when you come to visit. It was hard to choose as there are so many, but these are really my personal favourites for one reason or another and I hope that you’ll get to enjoy them too. >> LONDON ISSUE

063


Exclusively Distributed by Taâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Xbiex Perfumery Limited Tel: 2133 1553


LONDON: TRAVEL

The Roastery Let’s say you find yourself here of a morning and, like most places in London, there are a fair few eateries where you can enjoy a hearty breakfast, from a “greasy spoon” type caff (don’t dare pronounce the ‘e’) to trendy yummy-mummy hangouts. It all depends on what you’re after. However, in my mind, there is a stand-out establishment which I’d say is really worth taking the time to seek out, when you have a morning hunger. The Roastery (789 Wandsworth Road SW8 3JQ), as the name suggests, serves coffee made from beans that they actually roast on site. Not only does that help it serve a damn fine cup of joe, but it makes the place smell so fantastic and welcoming once you step inside. It’s an unassuming, blink-and-you’llmiss-it type of place that ends up standing out because of the tasty brunches, incredible coffee and some of the most engaging people to ever flatten a white. Powder Keg If you are after something a bit stronger than coffee and somewhere open a bit later in the evening, then you should head over to the shrine to cocktail genius that is Powder Keg Diplomacy (www.powderkegdiplomacy. co.uk) on St John’s Hill. The décor is colonial chic and although the restaurant’s menu reflects this (Black Watch Scotch eggs anyone?), the care and dedication they put into the cocktail menu is simply awe-inspiring. Not content with the usual varieties, they use rare and home-made ingredients to deliver original and delicious drinks. Have a chat with whoever’s making your drink and you’ll start thinking that

they’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know about gins, rums, Martinis and just about any other type of liquor that get included in a cocktail. What really struck me was the level of detail and care put into each drink so that you really taste the expertly balanced flavours. Souk And if the music is more important to you than shots of paint-stripper and conversations you can’t remember the next day, then souk (www.soukclapham.co.uk) near Clapham Common is the place to be. The décor is somewhat Pan-Asian meets North African, if you can imagine it:

THE WEIRD AND UNUSUAL SHOPS OF LONDON Words: Nicole Cushceri

Victor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors For a truly unique shopping experience, this little shop reminiscent of Victorian times – with strange and quite disturbing curiosities such as real pig’s snouts, chocolate anuses and carnivorous plants!

Duke of Uke A whole shop dedicated to the lovely ukulele, and if you are lucky you may even be entertained by an impromptu ukulele solo from one of its dedicated customers!

lots of cushions, silks and brass tables with the odd Buddha grinning benevolently for which he (in his older form) is generally famous. The atmosphere and clientele is much more chilled, but the hook for me is that it is one of the few places in London that you are guaranteed to hear some excellent House and Electro with a fresh cocktail in hand. Yep, it vexes me somewhat that in London (of all places), most venues are either “all about the music” or “all about the quality of your beverage, to hell with the music”. This bar does it both, does it well and does it way past the time when other bars have closed. V

WHETHER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A QUIRKY ANTIQUE VASE, A PAIR OF VIVIENNE WESTWOOD PATENT BOOTS OR A STUFFED BEAR, YOU CAN GUARANTEE SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE IN LONDON WILL STOCK IT. LONDON’S FABULOUS LABYRINTH OF WEIRD AND WONDERFUL SHOPS HAS SOMETHING APPEALING TO OFFER TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL, TO SUIT THEIR OWN UNIQUE PERSONALITY AND STYLE. HERE ARE A FEW OF LONDON’S BEST-KEPT SECRETS, TUCKED AWAY FOR THE MORE OBSERVANT SHOPPER. L. Cornelissen & Son This beautiful little shop will take you straight back into a Charles Dickens’ novel, with floor-to-ceiling shelves selling all kinds of paints and specialist art supplies.

Loop This shop is the ultimate haven for all knitting enthusiasts, selling everything anyone could possibly need to take up granny’s favourite pastime.

Forbidden Planet This cult Sci-fi entertainment shop sells anything from comic action figures and graphic novels to obscure movie memorabilia and is heaven on earth for Star Wars fans. V

LONDON ISSUE

065


FASHIONABLE FORTRESS

FASHIONABLE FORTRESS > Words & Images: Keith Diplock

GOLDFINGER – HE WAS JAMES BOND’S NEMESIS, WASN’T HE? IN FACT BOND’S CREATOR IAN FLEMING PROBABLY CHOSE THIS SINISTERSOUNDING NAME AFTER HEARING THAT THE SISTER OF HIS GOLF PARTNER JOHN BLACKWELL HAD MARRIED A MODERNIST, BRUTALIST ARCHITECT OF THAT NAME. AND MANY FOUND THE REAL GOLDFINGER A GENUINELY SCARY VILLAIN, ESPECIALLY IF YOU WHERE THE KIND OF PERSON THAT FOUND MODERN ARCHITECTURE DISTURBING. View of Trellick Tower from Golborne Road bridge. The Golborne Road railway bridge provides important access to the shopping and leisure centres of Golborne Road and Portobello Road for all the residents of the Kensal Rise area.

LONDON ISSUE

067


rno Goldfinger designed some of London’s most brutal buildings in what is now seen as an iconic period in English modernism. In fact, for a time he was alongside Berthold Lubetkin and Denys Lasdun – the pin-up designer for the capital’s trendiest and most outspoken architects and critics. Goldfinger, an émigré from Hungary, arrived in London from Paris in 1934, leaving friends such as Adolf Loos and former mentor Auguste Perret. On arrival in London, the young, tall and famously intimidating immigrant married an heiress of the Crosse & Blackwell table sauce family – which did not deter him from holding close ties with Communists.

In fact, Goldfinger’s life is full of contradictions. While some friends – especially women – found him charming, others were lashed by his sharp tongue: “You’re fired” was a phrase often heard in the Goldfinger office. However, in spite of his left-wing views, he was a favoured designer for speculative office blocks because of his ability to squeeze rentable space out of a small footprint. But once Peter and Alison Smithson and other leading polemicists for Brutalist architecture had taken him up, Goldfinger turned to public building with unforgettable results. His first chance to build a highrise public building came in the form of Balfron Tower, which was completed in 1967 in the then deprived East London borough of Tower Hamlets on an imposing location just above the northern exit from 068

LONDON ISSUE

the Blackwall Tunnel. This 40-storey tower, the centrepiece of a large new housing development that was intended to form part of a series of such developments around London, rose like a gigantic concrete grid, linked by bridges at three-storey intervals to a freestanding lift-tower. This dramatic composition created a silhouette that is instantly recognisable on the London skyline. The Balfron Tower marks the eastern edge of the centre of the city. Goldfinger’s masterpiece, the Trellick Tower of 1972 – located just off Ladbroke Grove in North Kensington – marks the western boundary. Goldfinger’s biographer, Nigel

Warburton, has aptly described them as two “bookends”, with the city wedged between them. The Trellick has much to tell us about progressive artistic currents in the early 20th century and how Goldfinger worked with them to create a striking and careful composition, a far cry from the standard concrete high-rise blocks that gave the genre such a bad reputation. It’s possible to read into the carefully gridded façades an interpretation of Mondrian’s delicate proportions between voids and solids; of vertical to horizontal hierarchies; and of changing subtle and balanced relationships between major and minor delineating elements. >>

>> WHILE FRIENDS AND WOMEN FOUND HIM CHARMING, OTHERS WERE LASHED BY HIS SHARP TONGUE – “YOU’RE FIRED” WAS A PHRASE OFTEN HEARD IN THE GOLDFINGER OFFICE <<


FASHIONABLE FORTRESS

Admirers of Perret’s own concrete experimentation of the 1920s will also recognise how much Goldfinger drew on this to create this remarkable and unprecedented structure. A stained glass window in the lobby of Trellick Tower, designed by Goldfinger, uses Mondrian themes to mark the division between the public lobbies and the private areas in the building. A careful study of this building as it looms high above the railway and the Victorian terraced houses in the area will therefore reveal to the trained eye a great deal about some of the most adventurous programmes in 20thcentury architecture. In the words of one architect living nearby, “the day will come when millionaires will be fighting over the flats in the block” with views well beyond the edges of London – and, furthermore, because of the stringent space standard in the public housing of the day, the rooms are spacious and bright. And yet – there is scarcely a building more controversial amongst those who are uncomfortable with modern architecture. A recent writer in the Guardian, the national broadsheet newspaper read by creative types, used the Balfron Tower as an example of the type of thing admired by hypocritical architects who themselves choose to live in “a Georgian house in Royal Greenwich”. Goldfinger’s own experimental and short-lived residency in Balfron Tower was presented as a patronising gesture that came as a mystery to the people who had the misfortune to live in any of the 40-odd storeys beneath his penthouse. That architect who foresaw the day when the flats would become prestigious residences may yet have the last laugh. Twenty years ago, bad maintenance and inadequate security had brought both projects to the stage where they had become notorious for crime and insalubrity. A thorough programme of refurbishment has resulted in Trellick Tower once again becoming a safe, attractive, and even exciting place in which to live, to the extent that it has become an icon for the residents of nearby Notting Hill who successfully petitioned for it to become listed as a historic building worthy of preservation. In fact, the tower has ironically become a model of a mixed social development, with long-term council tenants now sharing corridors with the wealthy who have been attracted by the building’s aesthetic credentials. What this story tells us is that the England worth conserving is not just the country of Ian Fleming’s picturesque villages and Pall Mall palaces, but also of a dynamic international creative centre that, 50 years ago, produced a series of buildings that have become landmarks in the history of housing, city growth and urban form. Somehow the notion of nostalgia has

become associated with a romantic past, and yet the young Brutalists of the 1960s saw themselves as romantics, leading the fight against the British tendency to fall back into conservatism and historicism. Goldfinger’s own house in Hampstead, North London, created violent opposition from outraged neighbours when he first proposed

to build it, yet ironically the building is now owned and cared for by the National Trust – a mass-membership organisation with a reputation for restoring country houses and landscaped gardens. Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower can perhaps be likened best of all to nothing other than a modern version of the ancient fortress, eventually inspiring affection as well as awe. V LONDON ISSUE

069


Accessorize “The Bold Coat” A classic cut with elegant proportions is updated with feature buttons and rich, warm colour”

Carpisa’s bags & accessories: Perfect for all occasions and now also with an exclusive collection by Custo Barcelona’. €49.90

Accessorize nightwear & slippers Cold nights call for snuggly women’s nightwear and cosy slippers. Snuggle up with our slippers, slipper boots and pyjamas. Perfect for presents. Price - €53.00

This season, easy, straight and skinny denim fits are key. Washes range from a soft vintage feel to a modern laminated denim from the new ‘Liquid Metal’ group. ‘Liquid Metal’ features a unique leather coating on denim used to create a 3-dimensional wash, juxtaposing shiny and matte surfaces in lustrous hues for a cool, dynamic effect. Throughout December Calvin Klein Jeans are offering a Calvin Klein Digital Camera with a pruchase over €150 and Calvin Klein Jeans Headphones with a purchase over €200. One hour free parking at the Tigne Point car park will be given with every purchase. Calvin Klein Jeans – Pjazza Tigne, Tigne Point.

GIFTS HER

Dermalogica’s Skin Perfect Primer SPF 30 Smooth away fine lines, brighten and prime for flawless skin and to prep for make-up application. Velvety silicones create an instantly smooth surface. Neutral tint helps balance tone and enhance luminosity and radiance. Wear alone over your moisturizer for visible smoothness and luminosity, or after moisturizer application and before foundation to help fill fine lines for a lasting make-up finish. Formulated without artificial fragrances and colours.

FOR

LONDON ISSUE

071


IDEAL GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS!

Distribution By: Noriva Ltd Tel: 21413112, 21313909, 21237351 email: info@noriva.com.mt web: www.noriva.com.mt


VAMP MAGAZINE ENTERTAINMENT

WHAT’S UP? TEATRU UNPLUGGED IS BACK!

THE LIGHTS OUT NYE LONDON ARENA

“Greater London” Lights Out Main Area presents DJs: Luc Adams, The Town, Ziggy, Alvin Gee, Pillu, Niico, Pocci, Roberto, Gian Carlo, Lex, and Cluett. “London Underground” Jam Factory presents DJs: Squeak, Jay Zinga, Orange City, Fat 3. At The Bay Arena.

NYE AT ESPIONAGE

A sixties orgasmic mod freakbeat jazz New Year’s event with DJs Owen Jay and Job. At Surfside.

DJ RUBY PRESENTS PURE ELECTRIC CLASSICS

Since 1998, Teatru Unplugged has been entertaining patrons with its diverse range of musical genres from both up and coming and more established local musicians. Held annually at the Manoel Theatre, the contrast of fast-moving musical acts creates a unique event against the backdrop of the classical theatre.This year’s line-up includes Scar, Peter, Papps and Friends, Alex Alden, Skarlet, Fire and Duo Kukkanja and will be hosted by Gordon and Rodney. The artists will be presenting sets including covers of popular tunes as well as original tracks. The aim of Teatru Unplugged is to provide a platform on which local artists are able to showcase their talent. Go Teatru Unplugged will be held at the Manoel Theatre on the 7th, 8th and 9th December. Tickets cost €8, €15 and €18 and can be purchased online from www.teatrumanoel.com.mt, by email to bookings@teatrumanoel.com.mt, or by calling 2124 6389. Go Teatru Unplugged is supported by Baileys, Uno de 50, Camilleri Paris Mode and BRNDWGN.

Malta’s legendary & longest running club DJ will be delivering an exceptional performance which fuses together his renowned ability behind the decks together with his exclusive audio visual perception multimedia Show. At Aria Pool Club (Under the Marquee).

ARMIN VAN BUUREN Van Buuren comes to Malta soon after being awarded, for a record breaking 5th time, the prestigious award as the World’s No 1 DJ at the DJ MAG Top 100 DJs Poll. Call 99373740 or email info@freshevents.info for more information and tickets.

SNUG AT THE VILLA

The Villa is being transformed into Cinderella’s palace, with a pumpkin parlour playing electro swing, the palace hall playing house and techno and an enchanted garden in which to just chill. Organised by Duncan F and Mark Peregin. Tickets cost €70 including full open bar and food, from The Villa, Bianco’s, La Rive or Millie’s Cookies.

Where: MFCC Arena When: 12 Dec, from 9pm

ABSOLUTE NYE LUX AT THE PAVILION

A New Year’s event by the sea with live entertainment, international guest DJs, VIP tables and free-flowing spirits and food. Tickets cost €85 for the first 100, €95 after, available from Rebelli, Westin Dragonara Hotel Business Centre and Let’s See Eyewear.

An exhibition of paintings and prints by Madison Gregory (USA). Organised by Lily Agius Gallery, and supported by The Embassy of the United States, TheSmartSkinClinic, Budweiser, General Soft Drinks, Paul Bonnici & Son Ltd., Gallery Last Touch & The Malta Independent on Sunday. Where: The collection is shared between Palazzo Parisio, Naxxar, and Lily Agius Gallery When: 4 - 29 December. 9-6pm daily at Palazzo Parisio. When: 4 - 22 December. 11am – 1pm and 4 – 7pm at Lily Agius Gallery. LONDON ISSUE

073


R A/W Photography: Kurt Arrigo Stylist: Luke Engerer - www.lukeengerer.com Model: Pricilla - SO management Hair: Roots Salon - 2745 4164 Make up: Nicola Powell - 99865369 Location: Fort Ricasoli, Rinella


OPPOSITE: Zara denim jacket: €39.95 TOP RIGHT: Zara dress: €79.95 Gauda shoes: €19 RIGHT: Zara jacket: €99.95 French Connection belt: €81 Zara shorts: €27.95


RIGHT: Zara skirt: €49.95 Mangano blazer: €299

LEFT: French Connection shorts: €91 Diesel t-shirt: €58 Zara denim jacket: €39.95


Mangano dress: â&#x201A;Ź399


Exclusively Distributed by Taâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Xbiex Perfumery Limited Tel: 2133 1553


Available from: Samsonite, Malta International Airport, Arrival /Departure Hall, Luqa | Tel: 2125 7268 Arkadia, Fortunato Mizzi Street, Victoria, Gozo | Tel: 2210 3309


At Millennium Services Ltd We treat our clients like family, with integrity, and take special care to ensure you are well-informed before you reach a decision. There are only two ways to establish a competitive advantage: do things better than others, or do them differently. Our firm accomplishes both, because we simply do what is best for you. Our quality is not an act, it is a habit. We believe that the three most important factors in the insurance industry are: “Trust, trust and, again, trust.” Insurance covers everything you do. An insurance policy is a contract that outlines the terms and conditions of your agreement with the insurance company. There are many types of insurance policies, covering every aspect of your life. After all, you want peace of mind in whatever you do, don’t you?

“Doing things differently” We service our clients through honesty, professionalism, knowledge and a personal relationship. So you want an insurance policy to cover each of your risks. We can offer you various types such as: Household, Motor, Travel, Boat, Shop, Marine Cargo, Business, and Personal Accident. About us Millennium Services Ltd. is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority to act as a Tied Insurance Intermediary for trusted and reputable insurance companies that will provide you with a high level of cover that you can trust. These are certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s through Millennium Insurance Agency Ltd and Argus Insurance Company (Europe) Ltd through Fogg Insurance Agencies Ltd. Get in touch with us Now that you know about us and that you can go about your life and business with a peace of mind, contact us for a quotation or a meeting in order to really obtain peace of mind. Millennium Services Ltd 13 Main Street, Rabat. Tel: 2144 8448 Mob: 9946 5059 elton@millennium-services.net


welovesushi welushisushi Try our new Take Away Menu Combo 1: 14 pieces €5.90

Combo 2: 14 pieces €5.00 Vegetarian Avocado Roll x 4 Cucumber Roll x 4 Vegetable Roll x 6 Soy & Chopsticks

Salmon & Avocado Roll x 6 Teriyaki Chicken Roll x 6 Nigiri Squid Nigiri Salmon Soy & Chopsticks

Combo 4: 14 pieces €9.50

Combo 5: 14 pieces €9.50

Combo 6: 12 pieces €6.50

Combo 7: 18 pieces €10.50

Large Party Platters

Cucumber Roll x 4 Salmon Roll x 4 Salmon & Avocado Roll x 6 Soy & Chopsticks

Spicy Tuna Roll x 6 Ninja Roll x 6 Nigiri Prawn Nigiri Tako Soy & Chopsticks

Ninja Roll x 6 Salmon & Rucola Roll x 6 Teriyaki Chicken Roll x 6 Soy & Chopsticks

Salmon & Rucola Roll x 6 Tempura Prawn Roll x 6 Nigiri Salmon Nigiri Prawn Soy & Chopsticks

Combo 3: 14 pieces €10.00

California Roll x 6 Spicy Chicken Roll x 6 Soy & Chopsticks

(please order 4 hours before)

Welushi Normal: 48 pieces of large rolls €25.00 Welushi Special: 18 pieces of large rolls & 12 pieces of Nigiri €30.00

Open from 11:00 till 14:00 & 18:00 till 21:00 We are located opposite Stella Maris Church in Sliema

ORDER NOW ON 9920 6180


BRITISH CUISINE

CHEF GLEN ZAMMIT FROM BIANCO’S RESTAURANT GETS CHOPPING TO COOK A HEARTY BRITISH INSPIRED MEAL, CREATED ESPECIALLY FOR VAMP.

GREAT BRITISH GRUB PHOTOS BY DANIEL COPPINI

LONDON ISSUE

083


Hilton Sleepover 6SHFLDOVWDUWLQJ IURPȜ  per person per night including breakfast!

The Joys of Christmas Celebrate your Christmas season with Hilton Malta’s glamorous programme this year. A selection of lavish breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be available in delightful venues.

Come to the Hilton and collect our extensive Christmas Brochure DQG\RXZLOODOVREHQHȴWIURPDVHOHFWLRQRIJLIWYRXFKHUVDYDLODEOHLQVLGH 0DNLQJ\RXU5HVHUYDWLRQV For Festivity Meals Bookings call on 2373 4034/3500 or e-mail euan.phillips@hilton.com / richard.webb@hilton.com For Room Bookings call on 2373 3640/1/3 or e-mail: reservations.malta@hilton.com


BRITISH CUISINE

COTTAGE PIE Ingredients: 500g 1 1 2 2tbsp 500ml 1tbsp 1tbsp

extra lean minced beef clove garlic, crushed large onion, finely chopped carrots, cut in small dice plain flour beef stock Worcestershire sauce tomato puree Salt and ground black pepper

For the topping: 500g peeled potatoes, halved or, (if large, quartered) 225g carrots, sliced 1 tbsp low-fat butter Method: 1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan and add the mince. Cook for 6 mins, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add the garlic, onion and carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. 2. Add the stock to the pan, stirring, then add the Worcestershire sauce and tomato puree. Season with black pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, removing the lid for the final 5 minutes so that all the liquid is absorbed. 3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes and carrots in a large pan of lightly salted water for 15 minutes until both are tender. Drain well then mash with the low-fat butter. Season with black pepper, cover and set to one side. 4. Spoon the mince into a large shallow dish, then top with the carrot and potato mash, smoothing the surface. Place under a preheated grill for 4-5 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot with steamed vegetables of your choice. ONION SOUP WITH SAGE & CHEDDAR

Bianco’s Restaurant & Wine Lounge, St. George’s Road, St Julians

Ingredients: 1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp olive oil + extra for serving 1 good handful fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for serving 6 5 3 3 300g 2 8 200g

cloves garlic, peeled and crushed red onions, thinly sliced shallots, thinly sliced large white onions, thinly sliced or 3 good sized leeks, thinly sliced Salt and ground pepper litres vegetable stock slices toasted white bread freshly grated cheddar cheese

Method: 1. Put the butter, 2 tbsp of olive oil, sage and garlic into thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir to

mix then add onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper, place a lid on the pan, not covering completely, and cook slowly for an hour, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes – the onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. 2. Add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes. 3. Preheat the oven or grill. Toast your bread on both sides. Season the soup to taste then ladle into eight individual heatproof serving bowls and place on a baking tray. Tear slice of toasted bread for each bowl to fit it like a lid. Sprinkle with some grated cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce. 4. Sprinkle your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put into preheated oven or under grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden, making sure it does not burn. Serve.

Method for the crumble: 1. Peel, core and slice the apples, place in a deep pan with 250ml of water and cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes until very soft and all the liquid is absorbed. 2. Stir in sugar and transfer to a large baking dish 3. Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves 4. Using the finger-tips, work butter into flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs, then spread over apples 5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden. For the Custard: 550ml 60g 56g 60g 1 1tsp

milk sugar butter flour egg vanilla extract

APPLE CRUMBLE Ingredients:

Method for the custard:

For the apple crumble:

1. Warm milk in a medium pan over medium heat

12 118g 520g 350g 1 tsp ¼ tsp 113g

apples sugar flour brown sugar ground cinnamon ground cloves butter (straight from the fridge) cut into pieces

2. Whisk sugar, butter, flour and egg together in a large bowl 3. Whisk 100ml of the milk into the sugar-flour mixture 4. Add mixture to the milk in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until thick – 5 to 8 minutes. 5. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract.

V

LONDON ISSUE

085


SKINCARE: ENVIRON

MYTH: Using large quantities of a product will yield better results.

MYTH: Topical creams containing collagen can replace collagen.

TRUTH: Less is more. Normally, a pea-sized amount of facial products will do the trick. Excessive amounts can cause skin problems - apart from wasting money.

TRUTH: There is a lack of impartial empirical evidence that the topical application of collagen or elastin can penetrate to the dermis, even when using nanotechnology. Both can provide moisturisation to the upper layers of skin but only collagen injections are conclusively effective.

MYTH: Facial exercises tone facial muscles and make a person appear younger. TRUTH: The face is the only part of the body where muscles are attached directly to the skin: there are no facial ligaments and tissue. Constant facial exercise and tugging contribute to additional lines. In fact, wrinkles often form along expression lines caused by facial movements.

MYTH: Anti- ageing products (or anti-wrinkle creams) can erase wrinkles. TRUTH: Most anti-wrinkle creams simply hydrate the skin, plumping the wrinkles out for a temporary improvement. There is only one product that has a solid history and reputation for reversing fine lines, and that is topical Vitamin A.

TRU-MY-TH MYTH: Cucumbers help to reduce the puffiness around the eye area. TRUTH: Cucumbers are 90% water, with the balance being fibre. They can be soothing and provide moisture, but only hydrate the skin temporarily. The same results can be obtained from a cold compress. MYTH: Layering several products with SPF ratings increases protection. TRUTH: You are only protected to the extent of the higher rating of one product. A foundation with an SPF of 10, a moisturiser with an SPF of 15 and a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 will not provide an SPF rating of 45.

086

LONDON ISSUE

Products containing effective doses of Vitamin A have been shown to effectively treat acne, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and reverse the effect of photo-aging/ sun damage. Creams containing Vitamin A are even more effective when combined with Vitamin C and antioxidants. Highly recommended Products : Those containing Vitamins A & C and antioxidants V

ReferenceL S Baumann and J Spencer, The effects of topical vitamin E on the cosmetic appearance of scars, Dermatal Surg, 25(4), 311-5 (April 1999)

THE MEDIA, MANUFACTURERS AND SKIN-CARE PROFESSIONALS FOREVER TELL US HOW TO LOOK AFTER OUR SKIN AND THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT, BUT IT IS NOT ALWAYS THE WHOLE TRUTH. HERE ARE THE ANSWERS TO SOME MYTHS THAT SURROUND US.


OFFER IS VALID UNTIL END OF DECEMBER

PURCHASE 2 AVST PRODUCTS (ONE BEING A MOISTURISER), & RECEIVE AN AVST HYDRATING EXFOLIANT MASQUE FREE!!


NO SPACE IN BETWEEN

point it will break. Urpani’s imagination is key to his designs. He rarely draws or sketches what he has in mind, instead preferring to create general outlines on the wood panel upon which he places his mosaic pieces. After this indefinite design has been sketched, he carefully cuts the material (usually either marble or glass) into squares of approximately 1.4cm, with a particular eye to colour. Each individual tile is then coated with adhesive and is placed by hand. After the work is completed – which can take anywhere between one week and three weeks, depending on the size

to touch them. In this way, the mosaics become more than just visual – they become tactile as well. Another factor that is important to his work is light. The relief style resulting from the different depths of the tiles create shadows and in artificial light, these shadows remain fixed, doing little more than showing the 3D surface. However, it is in natural light that the mosaics reveal their hidden depths. In natural light, throughout the day the shadows will change gradually, almost imperceptibly and the way the glass reflects the light also changes. These gradual changes

CHRISTIAN URPANI TALKS TO LARA CAMILLERI ABOUT HIS LIFE AS AN ARTIST IN THE ANCIENT TECHNIQUE OF MOSAIC ART – BUT OF THE PORTABLE KIND Urpani, although having felt a pull towards the arts from an early age, did not act on his instincts until he was in his early twenties, when he developed an interest in stained glass. Initially, he only worked on pieces after work, in his home. Then, when he realised that there was a market for stained glass products, he made it his full-time profession, setting up a business creating and selling items such as Tiffany lamps. He did this for about 15 years before he realised that the market was slowing down somewhat. Faced with the choice of getting another job or

>> THE DIFFERENT DEPTHS OF THE MATERIALS GIVE

THE WORKS A DISTINCT SENSE OF TEXTURE, INVITING THE VIEWER TO TOUCH THEM <<

www.mosaictecnik.com

putting his technical knowledge to use, Urpani decided to evolve his work. He was helped by Tony Guillaumier of Guillaumier Industries, a long time family friend who was extremely impressed with what Urpani was creating and offered him studio space in which to work. Encouraged, Urpani’s creative mosaics have since gone from strength to strength and he now works in his own studio in Santa Venera, which he has had since 2005.

088

Christian Urpani did not study art in an academic way, which he says gives him an advantage in that he is not hampered by what has gone on before, so he has more opportunities and fewer restrictions with his own work. Instead, his artistic education was acquired gradually, through hardwon experience: he says that “Without experience you have nothing”. He has taught himself how to use all the tools of his trade to the best of their capabilities and has become very familiar with different types of stone and glass, learning for himself their strengths and weaknesses, what the material can be pushed to do and at what

LONDON ISSUE

and intricacy – the glass tiles are grouted. Marble tiles cannot be grouted, so extra care must be taken in placing them so that the edges touch each other, leaving no space in-between.

invoke a sense of life, making them in some way alive. The slow changes also bring to mind the unhurried slight alterations of the Earth’s crust itself.

The wooden support that he uses for the mosaics renders them infinitely portable, in stark contrast to their historical counterparts. Traditionally, mosaics are created in situ, such as in 4thcentury BC Greece, when the floors of affluent Greeks were often covered in detailed mosaics. The early Christians used mosaics for the walls of churches. In other words, Urpani is breaking away from tradition with the use of a portable support.

The geological study of stones also plays an important part in the development of Urpani’s work. He currently uses art glass, which is made in America and comes in sheets, crushed marble, resin marble tiles and solid marble in the creation of his works. His interest in geology led him to discover for himself a way of dying marble. Although this is a time-consuming process, the result is that he achieves the precise colour he requires.

His work can be inspired by anything and everything: he himself says: “a bit of everything is good”. A constant underlying influence throughout his work appears to be geology. In fact, some of his more recent works are reminiscent of the layers in the Earth’s crust, in terms of rustic colours and flowing, inconstant shapes. The different depths of the materials give the works a distinct sense of texture, inviting the viewer

When he is asked how he thinks his work might evolve in the future, Urpani replies that he will enhance and adapt the material as he sees fit. He has no intention of experimenting with a new medium, preferring instead to push his chosen materials as far as they will go. He is committed to mosaics, saying that it is “the gift he was given” and as such he has no intention of wasting it. V



VAMP Magazine 07 - London Issue