CONTEMPORARY ART AND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
THE LUXURY ISSUE BERNAR VENET - MARCEL WANDERS - ALEXANDRE ALLARD ETIENNE RUSSO - LINDA PINTO
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THE LUXURY ISSUE The end of one year and the beginning of another provides a chance to reflect. As we put this issue together, I find myself particularly grateful for the work I get to do as editor of this magazine. Together with my team and our community of writers and photographers, we are able to create something that is special. Since our beginning, we have wanted to make the creative field more accessible. We believe that artists can open our eyes to a world beyond ourselves. We believe that culture can be a force for change. We believe that learning every day, addressing challenges every day, and asking questions every day is important. We get to speak to and learn from fascinating people from all over the world, working in a variety of creative industries. During interviews or studio visits, we get to try to understand their areas of expertise. We discover what drives them, inspires them, energizes them. It is our hope that our readers will uncover within these pages something new, encouraging, stirring, or even heartening. Such as when in this issue, an artist like Cai Guo-Qiang shares how he can surprise even himself in his work and how it is in those moments that he feels connected to a higher spirit or force. Or when Anthony Bourdain speaks of his admiration for people who create beautiful things with integrity, people who “care enough to persevere in the face of overwhelming evidence that what they’re doing is foolish.” We talk to Gregory Long at the New York Botanical Garden, which broke ground in the fall on an expanded Edible Academy program that educates New York children and families not just about gardening, cooking, and nutrition, but to love nature. We hear from Roth Martin, who has worked for the past several years to launch a fully recyclable women’s shoe that is both stylish and made from reused plastic bottles, combating the excessive waste in the fashion industry. We recognize that not everything we encounter is purely altruistic, but there are glimmers of good intent for our readers here. At his recent New York show, Marcel Wanders told us, “Design for me is an impossible thing. It pertains to how we create a vision for the future. How we spread love and trust in the world—I think that is core to design.” He did go on to qualify that for designers, “there’s an agenda and it’s fair to be honest about it.” Others, like the collector Lio Malca and the event producer Etienne Russo, recognized the luck in their everyday endeavors. Malca, who pledged that, “Anything I want to do from now on for the rest of my days, it’s going to involve art . . . The art world has opened a window, a passage for me that I don’t want to be without,” believes that because he collects, he has a responsibility to make sure the art he owns is seen by as many people as possible. Russo, when asked to reflect on his 20-year run at Villa Eugénie and what lies ahead, offered, “I’m learning every single day of my life. Every single day is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” To be sure, it’s not all positivity and selflessness in the art and lifestyle industries. But there are good intentions in creative pursuits, and we will continue to lift those up in Whitewall. Happy New Year.
KATY DONOGHUE EDITOR IN CHIEF
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PUBLISHER’S NOTE As 2016 is coming to an end it’s time to reflect on what this year brought us and on all we accomplished with Whitewall and Whitewaller. We see launching Whitewaller in Europe this summer and fall in Basel, London, and Paris as a prelude to a wider Whitewall European distribution, with a European version of Whitewall in the works. The multiple events and partnerships we established with fairs internationally and brands globally this year have been particularly active, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our team for all their work and dedication. Looking to 2017, I am excited to share with you our plans to bring a new digital presence, as well as something completely new that will involve the artists we love and collaborate with on a regular basis in addition to offering inspiring and innovative content! In 2016 we toasted to our readers in New York, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, Basel, Paris, and London. I want to thank every one of you for your continuous support and love, whether globally or locally! Happy holidays!
Michael Klug FOUNDER, CEO, AND EDITOR AT LARGE
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ISSUE 44 - CONTENTS
Venet Foundation, photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York.
NEWS REVIEWS PROFILES TO WATCH ATELIER VISIT FOCUS EL CORTE INGLES AT 75, PANERAI DIVES INTO TIME, CALTY AND LEXUS’S LF-LC, REACHING FOR THE SKY
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, LAURA ANZANI, MARIA PINTO, GREGORY LONG, PAUL BLAIR, ANTONIO CITTERIO, LIO MALCA, PETRA SLINKARD
ABBEY MCCULLOCH, ESMERALDA KOSMATOPOULOS, ROTH MARTIN
RÉMY MARTIN, BUGATTI
MERCEDES ABRAMO, JOHNNY COCA, FAWAZ GRUOSI, DAVIDE MARELLO, GARY METZNER, INGRID DONAT
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ISSUE 44 - CONTENTS
Installation view of “Marcel Wanders: Portraits” (February 25-April 9, 2016) at Friedman Benda Gallery in New York. Photo by Andrew Meredith, courtesy of Friedman Benda and Marcel Wanders Studio.
BERNAR VENET MARCEL WANDERS ALEXANDRE ALLARD ETIENNE RUSSO LINDA PINTO WE SPEAK WITH THE ARTIST WHOSE MINIMALIST WORK BRINGS TOGETHER SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AVANT-GARDE TENDENCIES THAT DEFIED POP IN THE 1960S.
THE OFF-ROAD DRIVER OF THE DESIGN WORLD SHARES SOME OF THE REASONS BEHIND HIS DARING CHOICES.
WE ENTER THE VISIONARY MIND OF ALEXANDRE ALLARD, THE MAN BEHIND ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING NEW PROJECTS IN SÃO PAULO, CIDADE MATARAZZO.
PERHAPS THE TOP PRODUCER OF FASHION SHOWS AND EVENTS IN THE WORLD, RUSSO CREATES IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES FOR CLIENTS LIKE HERMÈS, MULBERRY, AND DRIES VAN NOTEN.
LINDA PINTO, WHO RUNS INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM CABINET ALBERTO PINTO, OPENS UP HER PARIS OFFICE AND HOME TO WHITEWALL.
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Steve Benisty was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. After moving to Paris and London to study theater, Benisty ultimately settled in New York’s Lower East Side to pursue a career in film and photography. Along the way he traveled extensively to Asia, South America, and the Middle East, capturing landscapes and portraits unique to each region. Benisty is a regular contributor to Whitewall. His images of artists, collectors, and architects have been featured in publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Departures, and Marie Claire. He has also directed video commercials for Zegna, David Webb, Elie Tahari, St. John, and Cirque du Soleil. When not traveling on assignment, he can usually be found at a dog run with Beau, Skye, and his daughter, Leila.
STEVE BENISTY EMORY LOPICCOLO AYELET VARDI Emory Lopiccolo
Emory Lopiccolo is a graduate of New York University’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. She has been contributing to Whitewall since the fall of 2014. Her work experience includes fashion public relations with BPMW; editorial contributions to Grey Magazine, Whitewall, and The WILD; and set design for fashion editorials and advertisements with Mary Howard Studio. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, where she works as the website and social media coordinator for Art Alliance Austin in addition to volunteering for the Blanton Museum of Art and Preservation Austin.
Ayelet Vardi is an award-winning social entrepreneur, journalist, and filmmaker. Vardi’s voice has been shaped by the cultures and the people she has encountered across the globe. She is a storyteller whose stories show alternative perspectives. In 2015 she founded Cinema Tribu, a New York–based production company that creates documentaries, short films, and commercials. Vardi’s commercial work includes print and broadcast media outlets such as NOWNESS, Whitewall, Fox News, i24news, and more. She is a graduate of the Milano School of International Affairs at The New School.
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S T MORITZ
HIGH JE WELLERY E ARRINGS SE T WITH WHITE DIAMONDS UNIQUE PIECE
EL CORTE INGLÉS AT 75 BY KATY DONOGHUE
El Corte Inglés, the biggest luxury department store in Europe, has just recently celebrated 75 years in business. It began as a small tailor shop in Madrid in 1940, and grew to more than 80 stores in Spain. In the seventies, international brands like Burberry and Ralph Lauren were represented at El Corte Inglés for the first time in the country, alongside major Spanish brands like Juanjo Oliva, Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, Suarez, and Loewe. Its flagship on Castellana Street in Madrid is also home to an art gallery, a flower shop, a fine-dining and shopping floor, and a wine cave. Last November, in response to the growing market for menswear, El Corte Inglés opened Serrano 52 MAN, a seven-floor store in Madrid devoted to men’s fashion and accessories—also home to one of the hippest dining experiences in the city, StreetXO. Whitewall spoke with Magaly Yus, the brand’s Director of Communications and Fashion, about supporting local artists, young fashion talent, and more. WHITEWALL: This marks the 75th anniversary
for El Corte Inglés. What have been some of the key changes for the luxury department store to celebrate the occasion?
MAGALY YUS: El Corte Inglés recently debuted
a 200-square-foot, appointment-only VIP space at our flagship location on Castellana Street in Madrid. We continue to experiment with new and different ways to offer our clientele the best possible experience, whether that be special access to designers or first looks at their new collections. The VIP space at Castellana is just the beginning of that, as we have plans to roll out more VIP spaces at our other locations in the coming years. WW: For the 75th anniversary, you curated a selection of 75 works with local artists, for 75 days on view at the Madrid flagship. Can you tell us about El Corte Ingles’s other interactions with artists?
MY: This was a great way to celebrate our col-
laboration with local renowned artists in a unique
exhibition for 75 days. This is the result of our constant support to national artists. At Espacio de las Artes we are constantly curating their works, with temporary exhibitions. Artists such as Miró, Tàpies, Canogar, Arroyo, Gordillo, Úrculo, Saura, Carlos Franco, and Matta were all present in our 75th anniversary show. WW: In your mind, what sets the Madrid flagship apart from other locations?
MY: Our exclusive Spanish designers do as well
or better than more well-known brands. Our clientele comes to El Corte Inglés because of the diversity within our fashion collections. Of course, we have high-end name brands and contemporary collections that are sold globally, but we try to put an equal emphasis on our Spanish designers. With over 94 freestanding stores worldwide, a spot on the El Corte Inglés floor is an amazing opportunity for designers to grow exponentially at the commercial level.
WW: You have long supported young Spanish
fashion designers, in addition to established Spanish brands. Why has that been important for the brand?
MY: We believe in young talent and are commit-
ted to fostering relationships with up-and-coming designers. The national fashion shows, together with artists’ and designers’ competitions in the design schools and platforms for young designers, give our team the opportunity to evaluate the creative vision and potential growth of each designer that hits the runway. Not only do we look for luxury, but we want to see that the designer can evolve their collections over time.
WW: Which young designers can you find within the stores?
MY: Spanish designers have used El Corte Inglés
as a platform to gain exposure within the fashion community. Some of those brands include Adriana Iglesias, Carmela Rosso, Jorge Vázquez, Juanjo Oliva, and more. In the case of Juanjo Oliva, he as a designer has gone from creating a capsule
collection named “Juanjo Oliva for Elogy” to designing an exclusive collection for El Corte Inglés. These partnerships with El Corte Inglés give designers the opportunity to reach beyond their target consumer and enter into new areas of the field.
WW: In November of 2015, you opened a men’s
universe location in Madrid. I believe it is the first of its kind. Of what significance is that for the brand, and what do you think it says about the state of men’s fashion today?
MY: It was important for the brand to support the
increasingly growing menswear market in a large capacity. El Corte Inglés completely renovated the building and it now has seven floors featuring the latest trends in men’s fashion with garments, footwear, accessories, travel items, and fragrances for every occasion. All of the brands at Serrano 52 MAN follow common design schemes that shift from floor to floor, reinforcing Serrano 52 MAN’s expertise in all types of men’s fashion.
All images: Courtesy of El Corte Inglés.
PANERAI DIVES INTO TIME BY KATY DONOGHUE
In May of 2016, Panerai hosted an exhibition in Florence at the Marino Marini Museum entitled “Dive into Time.” The title of the exhibition, which was held deep within the museum’s underground crypt, was a reference not only to its location but to the brand’s roots. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Panerai created watches for the Royal Italian Navy, before the brand was relaunched in 1997. As visitors descended into the show, past a replica of an early submarine, the lighting was kept low to make them feel as though they were in an underwater space. First on view were historical pieces and early instruments such as depth gauges, compasses, torches, and wristwatches like the first military diver’s watch in history, the Radiomir 1936, and the Luminor models of the 1940s and ’50s. Further into the ninth-century crypt were two parallel rows of display cases revealing 60 timepieces from the Panerai Manufacture made from 1998 to today—where new creations further explored the historic precedent of the brand’s history by playing with the luminosity of the dial, prolonging power reserves, searching for materials to better the depth of water submersion,
and more. There were also fascinating highlights, such as the special-edition watch faithful to the historic watch created in 1956 for the Egyptian Navy, the 60mm L’Egiziano; the Paneristi 10th anniversary 2010 Luminor; the 2012 rebirth of the Radiomir 1940 case; the pocket watch PAM 447 from 2014; and even the PAM 503 watch that Matt Damon wears. Deeper still were debut novelties like the Luminor Due all-new case just 10mm thick, six Luminor Marina models with P.9010 automatic caliber and three-day power reserve, and the stunning Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater—Panerai’s most complicated watch to date which chimes the hour, ten-minute intervals, and single minutes. “Dive into Time” closed with a display of the Radiomir Firenze, a watch that showcases special engravings of Florentine iconography on the case and movement. A master craftsman was present, demonstrating the traditional technique of engraving with a sparsello tool. The Radiomir Firenze is only sold at the Officine Panerai boutique in the Piazza San Giovanni, across the street from the Duomo di Firenze. Outside of the exhibition in Florence,
a visit to the Duomo offered fascinating insight into Panerai’s Florentine connections, and the 13th-century landmark’s own relationship with time. The builder of the dome, Brunelleschi, was in fact a clockmaker. The clock inside the cathedral, built in 1443, is one of the oldest timemeasuring mechanisms. During the Renaissance Paolo Uccello painted the dial with 24-hour indications set between two sunsets, a system known as Italic Hours previously used in Europe. Admiring this centuries-old clock, which exemplified the beauty and creativity that can be harnessed when attempting to define the span of a day, the advances and changes in accuracy and innovation in time telling were obvious. But the spirit of trying to find art in the mechanics of a clock or watch can still be felt today.
This page: Panerai’s Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon GMT. Opposite page: Exhibition view of “Panerai: Dive into Time” at the Marino Marini Museum in Florence, Italy.
CALTY AND THE POSSIBILITY OF DESIGN BY KATY DONOGHUE
The California Toyota Design Research studio, known as Calty, was the first automotive design facility to open on the West Coast, in 1973. Then it was a pretty big secret (employees didn’t even have business cards), but now, almost every car manufacturer has a California studio, the state being ground zero for car culture in America. Calty focuses on research design, experimental concepts, competition design, and advanced design for Toyota and Lexus. What they create is all about innovation and inspiration. Its concept cars are about ideas, not about mass production. But some models dreamed up there do make it into production, like Lexus’s LF-LC concept car, which premiered at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and became the source of inspiration for the Lexus LC500 four years later. Over the summer, Whitewall had the rare chance to visit Calty and see the LF-LC concept car in person, touring the facilities and hearing about the process from the design team from sketch, to computer model, to full-size clay sculpting. The initial prompt for the LF-LC was to design a beautiful coupe that reset Lexus as a brand. The team set out to create a new language
of design, taking inspiration from the shape of a lily, its twisting shape, and cutting edges. In person, the exterior was quite impressive, but what seriously struck us was the interior, where a harmony of opposites was achieved between cold high-tech and warm color and textures. We heard from the interior and color and trim design teams—Project Chief Designers William Chergosky and Ben Chang, Studio Chief Designer Wendy Lee, and Senior Creative Designer Mona Beattie.
You can see it in the way it developed forward in the LC 500; the production version, that seed and that idea, bore fruit in the production model.
WHITEWALL: What was the overall interior experience you wanted to create?
MONA BEATTIE: For color, I wanted to create an overall feel of the exotic in an abstract nature, as if you were in the rainforest of Costa Rica, with a very rich color and vibrant texture and material. When you approach the car, you see immediately from the outside the interior color. As you open up the door, it is very inviting. Once you sit inside, you will feel the energy of nature coming from the combination of the three very strong colors: the off-white, dark brown, and the honey.
WILLIAM CHERGOSKY: Our task was to create
WW: One striking design element is the center
something new for Lexus—a new taste, a new flavor. What we brought in was a much more artistic, more advanced, more avant-garde beauty and application of technology. You can see that with the way the soft forms were inspired by the petal of the lily and the technology is a bit colder. That contrast created a very unique, modern, and compelling way for Lexus as a vision forward.
console, that twisting shape, which references the lily petal. Can you talk about creating that?
WC: The lily directly inspired the flavor of the console. That twisting shape envelops and humanizes the tech and makes the tech more seamless and accessible. Often a car feels very cold and engages you in a businesslike way. This engages
you by feeling. It’s very warm and natural and inviting like a kind of cocoon folding over and coming toward you.
BEN CHANG: We wanted to make sure that the car is also engaging for drivers. That enveloping creates a sportier feeling, too. It’s kind of like a cockpit. When you sit inside, you feel like you are protected. MB: The color is very simple because the shape is already there, and very elegantly designed. So I applied the brightest color on this concave shape, with the honey color and with the texture to emphasize the soft touch.
WENDY LEE: In terms of color, we always try to apply to make sure that whatever material we put in, has a true authentic and respectful feel. The concept is about a harmony of tons of contradictory elements integrated beautifully. WW: Calty is a site devoted to design ideas and experimentation. Where do you find inspiration outside of the automotive field?
crazy important, I think, for a small group like us to get out and see things. It has a tremendous influence on the product. If you just think inside your own bubble, you create the same things over and over again. You have to broaden your world and explore a much wider canvas.
WL: We travel to international shows like Salone
WW: How did you decide on the material?
del Mobile in Milan and Dutch Design Week regularly to see the more advanced trend research. A lot of times you see something that is intriguing and we will bring it back and share with the team and then discuss the possibility of using it for projects.
WC: There was a discussion we had when we decided on the colors. The idea was that the outer surfaces would be just like leather, a smooth leather, and then the inner surfaces would be the suede, the back side of the leather. So that even the application of the material represents a natural application. It feel very intuitive.
WC: It’s so important to gain a vision of the future, taking things in the present and trying to project, seeing a way you can use it that wasn’t initially intended. I think that is the magic of what happens within this building, with the people at this table. We are able to see something beyond what the creator thought it could be used for. It’s
Opposite page: The LC 500 from Lexus. Above: The LF-LC from Lexus.
REACHING FOR THE SKY BY MARGAUX CERRUTI
In October, Netflix released its documentary focusing on the Chinese contemporary artist Cai GuoQiang, Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang. Produced by Wendi Murdoch, Hugo Song, and Fisher Stevens with executive producer Bennett Miller, and directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, Sky Ladder is the first featurelength documentary about the artist. The inspiring and poignant film offers a beautiful portrait of Cai’s practice and work, highlighting his most acclaimed exhibitions and projects around the world, his travels, and his experiences abroad, as well as an unprecedented look into his personal life and creative process. Whitewall spoke with Cai after attending a screening of the documentary in New York.
CAI GUO-QIANG: The biggest challenge is not
CGQ: My father was a traditional painter and cal-
WHITEWALL: Your signature material is gun-
WW: Do you think the Chinese political and
cultural climate during the late eighties as well as your relationship with your father and his influence as a painter and calligrapher influenced your choice of gunpowder as a work material?
WW: How do you keep up with advances in technology and how does it pair up with your quest for environmental friendliness? CGQ: Some creative concepts require forms to be realized. Traditional fireworks explode from the
powder. What is the biggest challenge in working with that material? Are you sometimes surprised or disappointed about the outcome of some of your firework or canvas pieces?
that gunpowder is dangerous, but whether I can use it to create art that is truly interesting, independent from the fact that it is made with an unusual material. To me, this is the biggest difficulty and risk in working with gunpowder. When a drawing turns out less than ideal, it is usually because I either applied too much or too little gunpowder. However, applying the “wrong” amount usually results in nice surprises, so there’s an inherent paradox. Sometimes a work surprises me so much that it intimidates me, and I can’t believe it is me who created it. Those are moments I feel connected with a higher spirit, or aided by a greater force.
ligrapher. Like him, I tend to be overly rational and cautious, which, while good qualities to have in general, can restrain an artist. While aware of this, I looked for a material that could destroy my timid tendencies. During the eighties, China was starting to open up to the global economy. As new ideas and philosophies were introduced, they collided with prevailing traditional values and made the old social climate feel unbearably oppressive. As I searched for means to liberate myself with art, and to help improve the openness of society with art, gunpowder became a natural choice of material.
Clockwise from left: Sky Ladder, June 2015. Photo courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix ©. Cai at Tom Sachs’s “Space Program” exhibition, Fifth Avenue Armory, New York, 2012. Photo courtesy of Wen-You Cai/Netflix ©. Remembrance, chapter two of Elegy: Explosion Event for the opening of “Cai GuoQiang: The Ninth Wave,” realized on the riverfront of the Power Station of Art, August 8, 2014. Photo by Lin Yi, courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix ©.
center and expand outward in radius forms like chrysanthemums; as a result, every “flower” looks the same. So when I needed to create different forms—for example, to write words in the sky, or paint a pyramid—I needed each shell to go to their pre-assigned positions in precise formations, and ignite at designated times. For this purpose, shells embedded with computer chips were first developed in 2002 for me to realize Transient Rainbow over the East River in New York. In fact, these embedded computer chips are inspired by the same technology used in precision-guided munitions. This new technology not only has scientific and artistic significance, but also an environmental one. Traditional firework displays rely on quantity and duration to impress the audience, causing unnecessary waste. Because of the precision the computer-chip-embedded shells are able to achieve, the amount of fireworks needed is significantly reduced. Not to mention that too much smoke would obstruct the forms.
WW: One of the main characteristics of your big-
scale projects, such as your Project to Extend the Great Wall of China by 10,000 Meters: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 10 (1993) in the Gobi Desert or Sky Ladder itself is the involvement of local communities. How do you think collaborating with you impacts their lives and is it part of your global message?
CGQ: I think art and artists are both finite. When
an artist spends time with different people and is nourished with the experience of different places, he may then approach infinitude. I hope to be like a seed, able to blossom different flowers in different soil. The people I work with in different places each carry part of their culture, and I learn from them. Big metropolitan cities (Bath, Los Angeles, Shanghai) didn’t give birth to Sky Ladder, but when I placed myself in a small fishing village in my hometown, the few hundred villagers understood the local climate so well they were able to tell me at what hours of the day the wind and tide would be completely still; I knew to trust them and ignite the ladder during that narrow window. Plus, the entire village went and prayed for me in the local temples. It really became everybody’s art, everybody’s responsibility. In addition to helping me realize the work, they also created their own memories, pride, and faith. I often think about the children in the village who saw Sky Ladder. They must have felt what I felt as a little boy seeing wonders that continued to influence me and my art over the years . . .
WW: Have you noticed any changes in the indi-
viduals or communities you worked with since your collaboration?
CGQ: Ever since the eighties I have been col-
laborating with local communities in Iwaki, Fukushima. I have exhibited in their local museum,
and later brought the artwork and my local collaborators to museums all over the world. After the earthquake and nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, I hurried to send my contribution to help rebuild their hometown. To my surprise, they told me they wanted to use the donation to plant 10,000 cherry blossom trees, in order to turn the nuclear radiation polluted areas into an ocean of pink blossoms when viewed from the sky. This brought back memories of my concept when I collaborated with them in 1994 to create my Project for Extraterrestrials No. 14: The Horizon from the Pan-Pacific, which aimed to allow us to see the edge of our planet. When I heard their idea, aside from being moved by their love for their homeland, I knew that I’d done something that had an effect on the local creative energy. WW: In the documentary, you mention your passion for collaborating with lesser-known artists. What do you usually expect from such interactions and how do they impact your own work? Can you tell us more about a recent such collaboration? CGQ: In 2004 I embarked on a project that led me to travel across China to meet peasant inventors and collect their inventions, which eventually led me to curate these as “Peasant da Vincis.” The exhibition first opened in 2010 in Shanghai during the Shanghai World Expo. Echoing the slogan of the World Expo, “Better City—Better Life,” I invented “Peasants—Making a Better
City a Better Life” as a creative catchphrase, highlighting the contribution and sacrifice of peasants for our modern cities. More recently, I included a peasant artist, Hu Zhijun’s, unfired clay sculptures in an exhibition I curated on contemporary Chinese art. Like the aircraft carriers and flying machines invented by the peasant inventors, Hu’s sculptures ask us to return to the beginning: why we make art, why human beings have the urge to create.
WW: You have collaborated with the Chinese government in the past, notably orchestrating the Beijing Olympics Ceremony and the 2001 APEC cityscape fireworks. Your response to critics was that it is easier to advocate for change from the inside. Do you still believe that this is the best way of creating change? What are some of the changes you would like to accomplish? CGQ: There is more than one way to contribute
to change. Many Chinese intellectuals, although dissatisfied with the current realities, have not given up on change. They are doing whatever they can to help their society become healthier and more open. I am one of them, and by comparison, what I do is nothing too special.
I trust that when the majority of Chinese citizens, including government officials, accept and respect individual creativity, voice, and value, and when everybody can voice their own opinions—this will be a slow process—that’s when changes in society will happen.
I am also building ladders: ladders that connect to my childhood dreams of becoming a painter and conversing with masters in art history.
WW: You managed to achieve a very challeng-
ing lifelong goal and personal dream with Sky Ladder. How did you feel when you saw the ladder burning in the sky? What is your next dream?
CGQ: It was a very emotional moment for me,
seeing that 500 meters was indeed very tall, and that 5.5 meters was indeed very wide! As the ladder ascended into the sky, spewing golden flames with a majestic whispering sound for 80 seconds, I felt a moment of being connected with greater forces in nature. The piece started to take on a life of its own, independent from my creation. I was also grateful to be able to dedicate the work to my grandmother, my family, and hometown. Sky Ladder is connected with a lot of my other works; through them I attempt to dialogue with the unseen worlds. Of course I will continue to create large-scale explosion events like Sky Ladder; but with smaller works, such as gunpowder paintings,
Clockwise from left: Cai taking a nap during exhibition installation at CCBB, São Paulo, 2013. Photo courtesy of WenYou Cai/Netflix © Fourth sequence of explosion event Black Ceremony, Doha, Qatar, 2011. Photo by Hiro Ihara, courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix ©. The Earth Has Its Black Hole Too: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 16, realized at Hiroshima Central Park near the A-Bomb Dome, October 1, 1994. Photo by Kunio Oshima, courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix ©.
AUTHOR, TV PERSONALITY BY ELIZA JORDAN
It was a rainy day in April at Eleven Madison Park, and we were attending the fourth annual American Craft Council (ACC) Rare Craft Fellowship Award ceremony. Since 1970, ACC has been awarding significant contributors to the field of traditional and rare craft for their dedication. In 2015, it brought in author and television producer Anthony Bourdain as a judge. As an integral player, alongside ACC and The Balvenie’s Malt Master, David Stewart, he is responsible for helping choose, from a wide spectrum, people who make truly beautiful things by hand. Bourdain has featured a handful of them in “Raw Craft,” his online short film series that attracted over 2.6 million viewers in the first season. Since 2013, ACC has also partnered with The Balvenie Single Malt Whiskey to recognize a handful of fellowship nominees with over $100,000 for their contributions. After courses from Chef Daniel Humm, whiskey from Balvenie, and words from the craftspeople themselves, we celebrated this year’s winners, Martin and Erik Demaine—a fatherand-son duo from Massachusetts that create artful computational origami. As well as receiving a $10,000 endowment award, they will embark on a two-week trip to Scotland, indulging in an apprenticeship at The Balvenie Distillery, to learn the brand’s world-renowned craft. Just afterward, we sat down with Bourdain to discuss the obsession with craft, and the art of making beautiful things.
WHITEWALL: Why were you interested in judging the ACC awards in association with Balvenie last year?
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: I have an evangelical nature about me. I’m the sort of person that if I read a book that I really love, I’ll want to kind of hunt down all my friends and walk into their apartments and force them to read the book. This kind of allows me the opportunity to do that. I get to sort of choose people that I think are doing cool things, making short films celebrating these, and
additional, craftsman. I’ll be looking for others for future awards, and I’ll be learning a lot about whiskey. It’s a subject I don’t know much about, but I’m learning.
WW: And these crafts are all created by hand? AB: By hand. Foolish, romantic, crazy, but always
beautiful things with integrity that few others have chosen to do—or certainly to do as well. What’s great is that often a lot of people won’t recognize the difference between something that’s really good and truly great. It’s nice that people care enough to persevere in the face of overwhelming evidence that what they’re doing is foolish.
Cleverley Shoes in London are quite nice. And I was just in Kanazawa, Japan, and I was shown work by Izukura—these beautiful, beautiful little sake cups and bottles. The details were pointed out to me—the difference between really great ceramic work and very good ceramic work. There are some things that when you move from the physical world to the metaphysical world, where you think, “There’s something really going on here beyond a hunk of clay . . .”
WW: Do you personally collect art?
WW: Tell us a little bit more about “Raw Craft,” your online film series that documents and celebrates some of America’s most talented craftspeople.
AB: I’m not a collector, probably because I have an addictive personality. I sense in myself that I’d disappear down the rabbit hole if I started collecting any of this stuff, but I admire and respect and yearn to somehow possess or maybe bask in the reflected glory of these people who make, and choose to make, beautiful things.
AB: It was a preexisting venture, but it sounded
WW: Looking back on your life, and now that you
like a really good idea when they came to me. I thought right away of Frank Shattuck. I bought a suit from him last year. Unbelievable. Even the stencil inside, the framework—he hand-stitches all of that. So right away, when they talked about artisans and craftspeople, my mind went to him. It’s nice to get to make these really beautiful little short films about people who may or may not have gotten a lot of attention. It’s really amazing to see what people have chosen to do with their lives and how well, and how hard these things that they’ve chosen to do, how physically demanding, and for a lack of a better word, crazy, the venture is.
WW: You’ve spoken about food being more than
just something you put in your mouth for nutrition. Have you ever had that same kind of epiphany while traveling in terms of seeing something unusual and then automatically having a more profound appreciation for that industry?
AB: I’ve seen some nice handmade shoes. George
are a father, in terms of art and culture, what do you consider the most important to show your daughter when digesting the world around us?
AB: Well, my dad brought me to the Museum
of Modern Art, and he’d bring me often. And his delight—in Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg, Jackson Pollock—was absolutely infectious. All of these guys were big. When I was a kid, my dad would say, “Look! Look! It’s a giant cheeseburger!” And I was six years old, but it was awesome to me. That sense of joy and delight that my father took with modern art was something that really made a big difference to me. And so I’ve already brought my daughter. This should be fun for a kid. Exciting. She was on representational stuff until I brought her in, and then she started doing abstract stuff. You know, it’s great. Art is good for you. And absence of art is bad. Anthony Bourdain with the 2016 finalists and American Craft Council executive director Chris Admundsen, courtesy of Balvenie.
IMAGE: CHRIS SCHANCK
ANDREA BRANZI CAMPANA BROTHERS WENDELL CASTLE BYUNG HOON CHOI PAUL COCKSEDGE ANDILE DYALVANE GT2P MISHA KAHN SHIRO KURAMATA JORIS LAARMAN NENDO CHRIS SCHANCK ADAM SILVERMAN ETTORE SOTTSASS FAYE TOOGOOD MARCEL WANDERS RICHARD WOODS
LAURA ANZANI MANAGING DIRECTOR AT POLIFORM USA BY KATY DONOGHUE
In September, Poliform opened a brand-new national flagship on Madison Avenue in New York. The store was especially designed to feel like a home, with different rooms offering the full array of home products and systems from the Italian luxury design firm. Just weeks before the opening, Whitewall spoke with Poliform’s U.S. Managing Director, Laura Anzani, a thirdgeneration member of the Poliform family, to hear about the unique vision of the 112 Madison Avenue location.
WHITEWALL: What was it like growing up in a family devoted to fine Italian design?
LAURA ANZANI: I believe it’s something we
have in our blood. As a teenager I always thought I would never join the family business, until the moment I joined the business and understood that my blood, my passion, was all there. I tried other jobs before joining the company, and it was not the same. When you wake up in the morning, you are very happy to go to work. You do it for your career, of course, as a young person, but also for your family, to keep creating something that I feel is beautiful and well known all over the world. It’s not just business for us. It’s our life.
WW: The new flagship in New York is designed to feel like a home. Why did you want to do that?
LA: We are building a house and to show every single project we can do in a home, telling a story. We want to explain to our clients that it’s not just buying a chair or a kitchen; we can build more for you, we can make everything happen.
It’s going to be like entering a home, as I said. When you enter, you have a desk where you can empty your pockets, and then you open the doors to this huge seating area with a beautiful sofa and a dining table with a whole system in the back. Then you enter the kitchen, plus a separate kitchen that is more technical. There is a private family room, where we show a TV system and sofa. Then the bedroom where you see the bed, nightstands, armchairs, all before entering the master walk-in closet. We decided to be very modern and quiet, so we’re not using crazy colors or Pop art. But every single chair, for example, can come in leather or fabric, and we have a selection of more than a thousand different colors. We are going to explain that what we show is just an example, and that the client can personalize everything in their way.
WW: Speaking of closets, Poliform is a leader in closets, and you’ve even said, it may sound strange but “for us, nothing is more important than a closet.” I think for a lot of homeowners that’s true, too.
LA: Thank God! Finally! I would say that even in small apartments in New York, we have started to understand that the closet can be something better. Our clientele is coming in with an Hermès bag that costs more than an entire table and chairs, and I’m thinking that they would like to store their beautiful bag in something precious. WW: Another key for Poliform is modularity. Can you talk a bit about working with fabrication
technology, materials, and designers on creating modular pieces?
LA: We start from the modules. This means our factories were developed in the past few years on the modularity system. We deliver products that are customizable but always industrial. We study modules that can be smart and extremely customizable. We deliver in a small truck a closet that can be put together in less than an hour. It’s the same for our sofas; you can fit it in every kind of apartment, huge or small, with the same model of sofa. WW: The brand has collaborated with designers like Marcel Wanders, Jean-Marie Massaud, Vincent Van Duysen, Paolo Piva, Soo Chan, and Daniel Libeskind. Do you have a recent favorite?
LA: I don’t know if I can say that, but I love all of them in a different way. I believe that the designers who we are working with right now are very professional, but also crazy, in a good way. If I think about Marcel, I mean. I meet him here in New York randomly. I don’t know he’s here. I see him at a restaurant and he’s super-fun. Who cares about business! Jean-Marie Massaud is the same way. I’m always fascinated by their mind, their creative mind. And I love spending time with them because they create masterpieces, pieces of art, to be honest. From left to right: Portrait courtesy of Poliform. Poliform’s new space on Madison Avenue in New York, courtesy of Poliform.
EXHIBITIONS 2017 STATIC CURATED BY GLENN ADAMSON FAYE TOOGOOD WENDELL CASTLE DNA 10 CAMPANA BROTHERS
FAYE TOOGOOD ROLY-POLY CHAIR / MOON, 2016
DESIGNER AND FOUNDER OF M2057 BY KATY DONOGHUE
inspiration. The rigid scheme of a plaid was the jumping-off point. The square shape was not only embedded in the print, but it also becomes part of the shapes. So the square became kind of my mantra. The Velma dress is a whole series of squares that cascade down.
WW: Can you tell us about the new leather collection, which you introduced this season, too?
MP: The collection was out in mid-September in
six shapes. The images for the campaign were shot by Sandro Miller. He’s amazing. He shot it with these beautiful custom-built motorcycles. As I was researching the history of leather, the rock icons were the first girls to take it from the boys and wear—Joan Jett, Blondie, Tina Turner—so those were the muses of the collection. That gives me parameters and a framework to build from. Right now, I’m in the middle of Spring, and my inspiration is Zaha Hadid.
WW: Wow! I know your collections have architectural influences, but have you ever looked to a specific architect before?
MP: Oh, yes, Jeanne Gang. I wanted to focus
Maria Pinto, the Chicago-based designer known for her high-end fashion collections from the 1990s and early 2000s (favored by women like Michelle Obama and Oprah), is celebrating her 25 years in fashion this season with an exhibition at the City Gallery in Chicago, on view through January 8, 2017. Pinto began in 1991, designing accessories and scarves, before launching her eponymous collection, and then in 2013 launched M2057 via a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. M2057 is a collection that marries versatility and functionality with designs inspired by architecture (such as the work of Jeanne Gang and Zaha Hadid) and minimalist aesthetics. Her first collections for M2057 were made from just one fabric—an Italian stretch material that is machine washable and travel-friendly. This fall, she launched a leather collection, and she plans to expand further into stretch leather, and knitwear in the future. Whitewall met with Pinto at her West Loop store in Chicago to discuss versatility and style, and how M2057’s unique beginnings have led to an even greater connection to her customers.
WHITEWALL: The Fall/Winter 2016–17 collection
on Jeanne because of the Architecture Biennial in Chicago [in October 2015]. She has a really wonderful book about her process called Reveal. Her whole idea is to reveal the authenticity of the material, what’s happening within a building, and so that became my mantra—revealing the seam or panels that reveal the body. Jeanne was the jumping-off point for this. At the end of the day, though, in the back of my mind, is always the idea of creating pieces that are like a blank canvas. The idea is that any woman could come to this collection and find a piece she could style and remain true to her persona, her lifestyle. It’s all machine washable, hang dry, packs into nothing, doesn’t wrinkle. It’s really for all of us who are busy, active, women.
WW: How did you arrive at the first material you worked with for M2057?
MP: I was invited by a company in Shanghai
to work with their design team as a consultant for a week. While I was there, I went to a trade show (I’m just a textile junkie), where I found it. I requested a reference, put it away for a year, and then I decided I wanted to launch another collection and I wanted to do something new. I wanted to evolve, I didn’t want to go back to luxury, and I wanted to do something in this more accessible price range. There’s a saturation of luxury, and the consumer is getting a little tired and knows that she needs these kind of core pieces in her wardrobe that are accessible and functional. I wanted to be sure it was something relevant and meaningful.
introduces your first pattern for M2057, a plaid, and found inspiration in the shape of the square. How did you arrive at that pattern?
WW: How did the line’s launch from a Kickstarter
MARIA PINTO: I was going through the prints
MP: M2057 is fashion meeting technology in all
that I had access to and this one resonated with me. I use a lot of ideas from architecture as an
campaign affect future collections?
forms, including e-commerce. Kickstarter is a very tech way to start a business. What’s brilliant is that
we could have raised money through an investor, but you don’t get what we got that way, which was proof of concept, data on what colors customers like, what sizes they needed. And then we had over six hundred active clients. And through the e-commerce site now we can gather data, styles, colors, and sizes that are selling, trying to get even deeper in terms of learning about the customer and who she is.
Clockwise from left: Portrait courtesy of Maria Pinto. Images from the Maria Pinto archive, part of “Maria Pinto: 25 Years” (September 10, 2016—January 8, 2017) at City Gallery in Chicago.
Mexicoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Contemporary Art Fair CENTRO CITIBANAMEX HALL D. MEXICO CITY. www.zsonamaco.com email@example.com
GREGORY LONG CEO & PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN BY KATY DONOGHUE
2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). After the beloved Holiday Train Show this winter, the spring will see the annual Orchid Show and a special exhibition of work by Dale Chihuly (April 22–October 29, 2017). NYBG has become a lightning rod for connecting its arts and horticulture departments with shows like “Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas” recently, and the muchtalked-about Frida Kahlo exhibition in 2015. Whitewall discussed those exhibitions, the Garden’s educational programming, and the role the institution will play in the 21st century with its CEO and president, Gregory Long.
WHITEWALL: You’ve held positions at the Met,
the New York Public Library, the Museum of Natural History—some seriously major New York institutions. When you became involved with the New York Botanical Garden in 1989, what sort of potential did you see?
GREGORY LONG: I knew about the international stature of the New York Botanical Garden, especially in plant research and conservation. The Garden is very famous internationally and had been for many generations. I thought there were ways to modernize that work and to make it more impactful, in terms of its conservation value in the world. In the late eighties we were all beginning to be intensely aware of the big environmental issues facing the planet, including even climate change. And then locally, in New York City, it was important that the botanical garden be returned to its original purpose as a museum of plants and an educational institution. WW: And now celebrating 125 years. Why are
botanical gardens, a Victorian-era idea, so important today?
his works on paper. Can you tell us more about collaborating with the artist?
GL: In Victorian times, when these institutions
GL: Yes, our gallery in the library will be showing
his works of art on paper, so it’s a kind of more holistic look at Chihuly the artist. The glass is the glamour, the sizzle. He’s making a lot of new pieces, and he loves showing his glass here. And it’s lit at night—it’s thrilling. Quite a few new pieces are being made just for this exhibition. He loves these outdoor shows. He loves the landscape. It is very dramatic and a safe setting for works of art. It really is like an open-air museum.
were founded, it was about exploration; it was about discovering tropical plants that nobody had heard of. It was, in a way, imperialistic. Nowadays, the role is so completely different. It’s about teaching people the value of the natural world; it’s about teaching people the interactions between animals and plants, and how plants have been used historically for medicinal purposes and other human needs. It’s important to note, the Garden was established at the end of that Victorian period. And that American institutions have always been educational institutions. So our role as an educational institution comes from the early days.
WW: This year will also see an expansion of the Edible Academy. Can you speak a bit about the importance of this program, and its workshops for both children and adults?
WW: The institution has also played such an
GL: The Edible Academy is an expansion of
interesting role in showcasing the connection between artists, inspiration, and nature. With Frida Kahlo, for example, you showed how important her own garden was to her work.
GL: Nobody really quite had ever realized that.
It was a terrific discovery for us. We went and saw the Casa Azul, where she lived and which is now the Kahlo Museum, and saw this beautiful courtyard garden and learned about the role it played in her life, her painting, and her work. That was a discovery of ours we decided to share with everybody.
WW: And in the spring, you’ll do an exhibition with Dale Chihuly, with installations throughout the garden, the conservatory, and an exhibition of his works on paper. I wasn’t familiar with
our traditional Family Garden program, which is organic vegetable gardening, outdoor cooking, nutrition, and also learning to love nature. The Family Garden is about an acre and a half, but it closes in early October because there is no classroom building there. So we are going to build a classroom building adjacent to it, and give it a greenhouse so they can grow stuff all winter, an amphitheater and a nursery, and a composting bathroom. That will open in the spring of 2018, and it’s been funded by many generous private donors and by the city and state of New York. It’s going to be the school garden for the Bronx. Left: An Aeriel shot of the New York Botanical Garden Conservatory, photo by Robert Benson, courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden.
Right: Portrait by Alex Kaplan, courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden.
U�TITLED, Miami Beach, Nov 30, Dec 1,2,3,4, 2016.
U�TITLED, San Francisco, Jan 13,14,15, 2017.
MUSIC PRODUCER AND W’S NORTH AMERICAN MUSIC DIRECTOR BY KATY DONOGHUE
Over the summer, W Hotels Worldwide launched W Sound Suites, private music studios for recording, mixing, and creative sessions at W BaliSeminyak, W Hollywood, W Barcelona, and W Seattle. The project started in Bali in partnership with Coca-Cola in May, but in August Whitewall traveled to Seattle to get a tour of the soon-tobe-finished Sound Suite there with W’s North American Music Director, Paul Blair (also known as DJ White Shadow), the Chicago-based music producer known for his work with Lady Gaga. He told us about his dream for a soundproof space to make music while traveling and the design inspiration for the Seattle location—David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
WHITEWALL: Why is a sound studio within a hotel ideal?
PAUL BLAIR: I was on tour for like five years,
nonstop, with Lady Gaga, and when we were on the road, you’d have only two choices if you were trying to make music: either to do it in a hotel room, where you worked from your headphones or from a speaker, where you got in immediate trouble—you’d have to buy out the rooms on the whole floor, trying to not have the sound go downstairs, which is expensive—or you find a studio outside the hotel, which is kind of a pain, because you have to gather up twenty different people . . .
When I we met with the W team during a program we did for a DJ Lab in Ko Samui, and we talked about ways the W could engage people with music. I pitched some weird ideas, and the company was excited about doing something that was unique and innovative.
WW: Each W is unique to its location. Can you describe what’s special about the W Seattle Sound Suite?
PB: There are very few places in the world where
you can sing a song and look at Mount Rainier at the same time. So I wanted to be able to have the vocal booth be in the part of the room so that visual inspiration was still there. In one area I drew in a kind of Murphy bed for the sound equipment, so you could hide everything, or open it up. We wanted everything to have a purpose the way it was laid out. Seattle is a great music city. As we continue to build these things out, we’re going to try and select places that are music hubs first, and let the rest fall in line as we go along.
waves, and the room as a fish tank. If you have one tiny crack in the fish tank, you’ve screwed it up and the water gets out. Sound is like liquid trying to seep through all the holes, so you try to stop it at every juncture, and there are a lot of specialized processes that help us with that. I’ve built a couple studios, one in my house and one for a friend. I learned all this stuff when I tried to do it on my own.
WW: For the Seattle suite, what kind of design aesthetic and environment did you want to create?
PB: I’ve been to Seattle tons of times, but when I was here last it had been years since I had gone out of the city and looked around. They shot Twin Peaks like 30 minutes from here, up the highway. And it’s beautiful out there. There’s this high waterfall and all this gorgeous timber. I had the idea to emulate part of the show in this space. There’s this black-and-white carpet and some of the red curtains that reference the Black Lodge in the show. I’m pretty psyched about that.
WW: So how hard, design-wise, is it to soundproof the space?
PB: It’s a really special kind of process to soundproof, with insulation and special materials. Think of sound as water, because it’s made of
Clockwise form Left: Portrait courtesy of W Hotels Worldwide. Interior shots of the W Sound Suite at the W Bali.
ANTONIO CITTERIO CO-FOUNDER OF ANTONIO CITTERIO PATRICIA VIEL INTERIORS BY KATY DONOGHUE production process, or on the design. The people that are part of B&B Italia have this sort of very clear vision, that design is not just a problem of expression, but something that encompasses all the processes that go into a project.
WW: Is there one project that stands out for you in particular?
A new B&B Italia flagship opened on Madison Avenue in September, 40 years after the Italian design house’s first New York store. The new space was designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel Interiors to reflect an international lifestyle and feature both Maxalto and B&B Italia collections. We spoke with Citterio about the project, which coincides with B&B Italia’s 50th anniversary year. WHITEWALL: The new B&B Italia flagship on Madison Avenue is on the ground floor of a building designed in 1910 by John B. Snook Sons Studio for Terry & Tench Company (which provided steel for the Manhattan Bridge and Grand Central). How did the origins of the building and the history of the space tie into the design approach, if at all?
ANTONIO CITTERIO: The project took into account
the original industrial-like features of the building, maintaining the high volumes and eliminating the superfetation that had accumulated over the years with the different purposes the commercial space had been used for. Special attention was given to the perception of the original height of the ceilings, which are higher than four meters, as well as to the design of the existing entrance door and windows, which were maintained as an element of the location’s historical memory.
WW: The store offers a new concept for product presentation for the brand. How so?
AC: Generally, B&B Italia and Maxalto products are presented in a more scenic manner, and in a single space: a dark box created to present them. Reflective false ceilings made with an innovative material create an increased sense of the space, emphasizing its double-height space. Large backlit images and sophisticated dividing elements in metal mesh are accompanied by a winter garden with luxuriant hydroponic plants. The space is fluid, and the various areas,
while connected to one another, offer a neat, welldefined interpretation, with the purpose of creating sets that suggest atmospheres, inspirations, and emotions, rather than articulating the space into traditional rooms.
AC: One product from B&B Italia I’m particularly fond of is the Charles sofa system by B&B Italia, dating back from 1997 and now available also in the outdoor version. First conceived for the living room of my apartment in downtown Milan, it was put into production and it’s still a best-seller after all these years. It’s really difficult, in furniture design, to predict the possible success of a given product. Charles was a bet in terms of market approach and timing: It was presented at a time when traditional, “no-brand” furniture was still in huge demand, and owes its enduring success to both its shape and aesthetics. It was designed to replace the Sity, its original inspiration, keeping its typical fullness and range of possibilities but updating it, making it more contemporary, slender, in contrast with the ubiquitous models that stand on the floor.
WW: What kind of emotion and atmosphere did you want to convey outside of traditional settings of rooms? AC: This space allowed us to present the products in a different way from the existing showroom on 58th Street, which we originally designed in 1988. Here on Madison Avenue, products, while still being displayed one next to the other in order to form ambiences, are presented in a sort of theatrical way; materials (reflecting ceilings, bronzed metal meshes, hydroponic plants) do not recall residential spaces anymore. The whole setting is more abstract, aiming at a more “spectacular” environment. WW: You’ve designed quite a bit for the brand over the years, including the Édouard seating system, the Cozy small tables, the Eucalipto storage units, the Richard seating systems, and the Gio outdoor collection. How did your relationship with B&B Italia begin? AC: Design stories are always stories of people. My drawings are almost simple sketches that express an idea. The rest is up to the story, the dialogue with the Research Center of B&B Italia, a company with which I have worked closely for 40 years now. In my specific case, of the relationship that began with Rolando Gorla and Federico Busnelli back in the mid-sixties. We all went to the Art Institute of Cantù in those days, so we are talking about almost 50 years of acquaintance. In the area of products for the home, B&B Italia has always had this vision of the role of the company on the raw material, or on the
Left: The new B&B Italia Flagship on Madison Avenue in New York, courtesy of B&B Italia. Right: Portrait by Giulio Boem.
International Art Fairs Dedicated to Photography San Francisco | Shanghai
Inaugural US Event January 27–29, 2017 Festival Pavilion | Fort Mason | San Francisco, CA Tickets & Info at photofairs.org © CARSTEN INGEMANN, Stenbjerg #1, 2015. Courtesy of In The Gallery, Copenhagen (Denmark).
PETRA SLINKARD CURATOR OF COSTUMES AT THE CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM BY KATY DONOGHUE
ated its own organization, the Costume Council. That brought on a second wave of attention dedicated to collecting. Typically, the lens of supply is born in Chicago, made in Chicago, designed in Chicago, or worn in Chicago. For us it’s more about the story and the provenance, although we do have really fantastic examples of high-end, artistically driven pieces, like Paul Poiret’s lampshade dress, one of two in the world. “Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier” opened in October at the Chicago History Museum and is on view through August of 2017. Via 30 garments—from gowns to Navy WAVES uniforms—the exhibition tells the story of Main Rousseau Bocher, who grew up in Chicago, trained in Paris, and found success as a couturier in New York in the 1930s and ’40s, even designing the wedding dress for the Duchess of Windsor in 1937. We talked with the museum’s curator of costumes, Petra Slinkard, about the show and about Mainbocher’s lasting impact on the fashion world.
WHITEWALL: The costume collection at the
Chicago History Museum is quite large. Can you tell us about its history and the lens through which you continue to collect?
PETRA SLINKARD: It’s extraordinarily large. We
have about 16,000 pieces in the collection. The collection began in 1920, when we had an opportunity to purchase a very large personal collection that belonged to Charles Gunther. He had amassed this huge collection of items, particularly pertaining to the Civil War. With that came a lot of clothing and a lot of our presidential pieces, like the suit worn to the inauguration of President John Adams, a couple of George Washington’s pieces, a lot of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln pieces. And then in 1974 the museum’s guild cre-
WW: Let’s talk about the Mainbocher exhibition. The title of the show makes the distinction that he was the first American couturier. At the time, was it unique for an American designer to train in Paris? PS: Very uncommon! When he went to Paris in the
First World War, he transferred and when he was discharged he decided to stay in Paris. As a young man he had studied fashion illustration, and he fell into a great position at Harper’s Bazaar. He designed for them for two years and then from there he was plucked from to work at Vogue, where by 1927 he was made editor in chief. Then he has a moment on the cusp of turning 40. He decides to try something new, quits his job, and decides he’s going to open a couture salon. This is 1929, and in October, of course, the stock market crashes. So he takes that time and teaches himself dressmaking. By November 1930 is when he has his first show, and by 1931 you’re starting to see his name in the fashion press. It was the right time and people were, I think, excited to see something a little new, a little more focused on minimalism. And then by 1937 he’s designing for the Duchess of Windsor, and that catapults him to the front page.
WW: What are some hallmarks of his design? PS: Throughout his career the hallmarks of his
design tended to be an emphasis on minimalism, on sophistication, very expensive and well-made fabrics, and construction. He was extremely decisive and also a little bit controlling in his designs. He would do a trompe l’oeil necklace, making the decision for you what jewelry should go with it. There’s a utility to his designs that extends beyond one collection. He also was not extremely interested in trends. As far as actual garments, the short cocktail dress was one that he started to promote early on; the strapless gown he was introducing as early as 1934. He also was very instrumental in looking at wartime fashion and thinking of ways to utilize fabric and what he had in his disposal. 1940 is when he opens his salon in New York, because the Second World War forces him from Paris.
WW: At what point did he start designing uniforms
like the ones for the Navy WAVES and the Girl Scouts of America?
PS: 1942. The wife of the undersecretary of the
Navy knew Mainbocher from working at Vogue, and I think she understood that, because of the way he designed, it would lend itself to designing one suit that needed to be worn by a variety of different women of various shapes, various heights. And he created this collection of uniforms that worked universally. That was one thing that drew me to the story. He was designing for an upper echelon of American and European society, and then he takes this sidestep and creates uniforms and with great pride, that are worn by thousands of women.
Left: Portrait courtesy of the Chicago History Museum. Right: Installation view of “Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier” at the Chicago History Museum (October 22, 2016-August 20, 2017), courtesy of the Chicago History Museum.
OWNER OF CASA MALCA AND LA NAVE BY KATY DONOGHUE
The entrance to Casa Malca in Tulum, Mexico, courtesy of Lio Malca.
When he was just out of college, Lio Malca acted on a hunch and purchased a drawing by JeanMichel Basquiat in the early 1990s. Over the next several years, Malca continued to collect Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf. As his acquisitions expanded, so did the art market value of those artists’ work. But Malca was bitten by the “collector bug,” and he started following artists like Vik Muniz, Mark Ryden, Holton Rower, and KAWS. He put on shows in New York, a few internationally, and was always lending. In 2015 he inaugurated a new exhibition space in Ibiza, Spain—La Nave—with a show of work by KAWS, followed by an exhibition last summer of work by Marco Brambilla. Around the same time, he opened the doors to Casa Malca in Tulum, Mexico, which as a boutique hotel plays host to pieces from his own collection and common spaces filled with contemporary works. Just before the Brambillo show opened in Ibiza, Whitewall spoke with Malca by phone about his early hunch on Basquiat, his insatiable passion for the arts, and his choice to enter into the world of hospitality.
WHITEWALL: This summer and fall, you’ll show Marco Brambilla’s trilogy Megaplex at your exhibition space in Ibiza (June 23–October 9, 2016). Can you tell us about how you’ve put that
LIO MALCA: I’ve wanted to show Marco for the longest time. We’re building a whole theater inside of the space—it’s going to be incredible. The pieces will be screened one after the other, so people can walk in and experience the three in sequence. Marco is a friend and he’s been very helpful. This has never been shown like this, so he’s very excited about it. WW: Let’s go back in time a bit. I read that your collection started when you purchased a drawing of Basquiat’s. So how did that happen, and why were you interested in that artist, specifically?
LM: I graduated from college in Boston in 1989. I
then wanted to go to New York and I wanted to get involved in art. I started to relate to the artists of my era, the eighties, even though I wasn’t involved or exposed that early. I had seen before the works of Haring and Basquiat, but never really looked at them with the idea of collecting. I started to research what was available at the auctions and private market. The market was soft in the nineties, and there was a gallerist in Boston who did a show of Basquiat in 1982 in Italy and I reached out to him and he said, “I have two drawings.” I went to visit him and I instantly knew which one I wanted. I bought it, and at that point I
marked in my mind, “I don’t think I’ll ever sell this piece. I would only sell it if I can get this amount of money.” It was a crazy number. And then, I would say maybe in 2000, this collector from Thailand who knew about the piece came with that exact price to me for it. I had made a promise to myself I would sell it for that price, so I sold it. It showed me not only that the expectations that I had of Basquiat were met, but that they had gone even beyond that. But it hurt! I always knew he was very important, that he would go very far.
WW: In that period, you bought a lot more works by Basquiat, and Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. Why focus on those three early on? LM: I started collecting both Basquiat and Haring at the same time. Those were the two artists I identified the most with, both how they painted and the time in which they painted. I was interested in what they meant in the eighties. How they painted, what they painted, for me made them two of the most important artists of the 20th century. WW: How did you go from collecting their work to showing their work, like you did in 1997, when you staged an exhibition of Haring, Basquiat, and Scharf during the Whitney’s Haring retrospective?
Left: Portrait by The Vitorino.
Interiors of Casa Malca in Tulum, Mexico, courtesy of Lio Malca.
LM: I knew the show was going to happen at the Whitney. I wanted to show the three artists together because it made a lot of sense to put their work together. I rented a building diagonally from the Whitney and did one floor for each artist. It was an incredible show, and I was offered to show it in Japan, which we did. WW: How did your collection grow from those three artists?
LM: I looked at the other artists from the eighties. I
have a lot of pieces by George Condo and others from that time.
WW: And Vik Muniz? LM: I met Vik Muniz in 1989. He was showing some of his sculptural works at the apartment of a friend of his. I loved the work and I bought three sculptures. We became friends. I started to say, “Listen, let me see what else you’re doing.” He wanted to buy a camera . . . WW: So you were involved from early on! LM: I continued to buy from him then, and we’re good friends. I hold a very large collection of his works. We’re putting together a Lio Malca Collection museum show of his work. WW: It’s interesting that you’ve always wanted to show the work you collect.
LM: I feel that it is an obligation of a collector or
dealer or galleries to expose the work. The fact that you own the pieces doesn’t mean that you keep it for yourself. You have an obligation to make sure it is exposed and allowed to be seen by as many people as possible. That’s why I’m always eager to lend and curate and support exhibitions.
WW: Or perhaps see when they stay at your boutique art-centric hotel, Casa Malca, which opened in Tulum in 2014?
LM: Yes! I first came to Tulum in 2012 in
December, and I immediately said, “I have to do something here.” I found the house and by February bought the property. It was an instant reaction. I believe in my gut feeling a lot. When I
selected the artists I selected in the nineties, I had no schooling on art or anything. I had the tools to look into who they were, what they are, but I had no schooling in art. Intuitively, I said, “These guys are amazing,” and I did the same thing with the property here.
WW: What did you want to create with Casa Malca?
LM: I have a lot of friends that come to visit and I
enjoy hosting. Eventually, some friends expressed to me, “You should open a hotel.” I thought it was a weird idea. But it stayed in my mind all the time. I bought the house with a note in the back of my mind that it was a house that maybe one day would become a hotel.
WW: And why have your art there? LM: Anything I want to do from now on for the rest of my days, it’s going to involve art. If it doesn’t involve art, I’m not interested. The art world has opened a window or a door, a passage for me that I don’t want to be without.
ROTHY’S BY KATY DONOGHUE
The new footwear brand Rothy’s launched this year in San Francisco, created by Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite. The machine-washable shoes are not only stylish and comfortable, they are fully recyclable. But most important, they have changed the way any shoe has ever been designed or made. Rothy’s flats are the first-ever seamless shoe that uses 3-D knitting from fibers made from 100 percent recycled water bottles to create an upper that is attached to a simple insole, made of just three parts. Rothy’s shoes are an example of innovative, sustainable, and responsible design being applied to an industry bogged down in fast fashion and material waste. Whitewall spoke with its co-founder, Roth Martin, about his journey from collecting design, to running a gallery, to designing a revolutionary flat.
WHITEWALL: Where did your initial interest in design stem from? ROTH MARTIN: Probably from my mother—she’s
an artist. I have a good eye for aesthetics and it came naturally to me. I got exposed to furniture and sculpture and ceramics, and really dug in on that. I loved the discovery process and the hunt for things. Originally, it started with collecting vintage design and furniture. Almost 13 years ago when I started Hedge Gallery, it was in a time when you could buy fantastic things for not a lot of money. We started selling vintage furniture and then got into representing artists, and that’s when things got really exciting for me. I really loved knowing how things were made. I got exposed to a lot of the processes of engineering complicated
things and helped some of our artists facilitate getting things made and realizing difficult projects.
RM: It got to a point, though, where I was frustrated with the gallery a bit, because it wasn’t terribly scalable. It’s such a rarified world where the pieces are one-offs or limited editions, and it’s just not accessible for a lot of the world. I wanted to do something that channeled a lot of the same simplicity and aesthetics into something that had more of a mass-market appeal. WW: Why did you want to make sustainability and eco-friendly design at the forefront of that next venture?
Fashion gets so much attention, but footwear is an incredibly dirty and wasteful industry. The cutting processes alone generate massive amounts of waste. The proliferation of the fast fashion industry has created more production and waste in the industry, and so I just wanted to take a more sensible approach, even through product offering. We offer very few choices, from a silhouette standpoint, distilling it down to essentials—the Point and the Flat. And then from a manufacturing standpoint, we wanted to really bring in processes and procedures that leveraged technology to take a lot of those inefficiencies and wastefulness out of the equation. Consumers are coming to expect companies to do good. That’s what we set out to do; we wanted to try to do better than others have in the past.
RM: I’m from San Francisco, so . . .
WW: Can you tell us more about the 3-D knit?
RM: We knit three-dimensionally. In a running
WW: How did you go from running a gallery to designing footwear?
RM: I mean, it’s so prevalent here and such an
important part of most people’s lives in San Francisco that it was easy to make decisions around those parameters as we designed things.
WW: How did you arrive at the choice of footwear and the technique of 3-D printing?
RM: We were seeing a lot of casualization in
the Bay Area and elsewhere. I thought there had to be a better way to be comfortable but still be fashionable. There wasn’t one shoe that was fashionable yet comfortable, and engineered with good materials, that was made in a simplistic way.
shoe you have laces you can adjust. It’s a much more exact process for us to make a women’s flat. We’re the first three-dimensional seamless shoe. And for the consumer, a seamless back means more comfort. It’s a super-complicated, but it’s simple in form and that was a driving factor in the design process which we think translates well to both style and comfort. We wanted to do something that was stylish, and build shoes that were lasting and had high function. This page: Rothy’s co-founders Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin, photo by Jen Siska. Opposite page, top: Rothy’s fall/winter 2016-17 collection. Bottom: Rothy’s materials.
ABBEY MCCULLOCH BY EMORY LOPICCOLO
Despite her use of arbitrary color to create the ethereal women that float from the canvas, Abbey McCulloch’s portraits articulately render the very real complexities of human emotion. The Australian Gold Coast–based artist seeks out the critical moments in life—those that seem to make us less perfect in the eyes of society, but also those that make us more “us.” Sometimes opaquely pigmented, sometimes translucently washy, McCulloch’s layering of paint is akin to the build-up of emotions within ourselves. The artist creates works that are refreshingly female, relieving the women in her paintings from social comparisons to allow for a more introspective form of identity. Through her portraiture, McCulloch explores the process of self-acceptance and provides a space in which to reflect on the inherent beauty in honesty and flaws.
much solitude and disconnect, it’s almost like a trance. It’s hard to define the strange sort of zonedout focus that my painting process can require. My main source of inspiration would be the women around me and the relationship that I have with my own sense of being female today. I think we all struggle with what we are supposed to do with ourselves sometimes—we have come so far and yet it is far from straightforward. I guess the issue of accepting ourselves inspires me more than anything, and I’m just trying to explore what I’m experiencing in relation to that through my image making.
WHITEWALL: Could you describe your creative process? What is the inspiration behind your paintings?
AM: The female image has historically taken up a large amount of our cultural landscape; however, the concerns surrounding actually being female, from a female perspective, have only been explored in art relatively recently. We have a long way to go to make up for lost time, and I think it will be a while before the balance is addressed and gender-based concerns become general concerns. Womanhood offers such a complex and often overlooked set of experiences that I don’t think I will even scratch the surface of in my lifetime. I feel like it’s important to keep doing what I am doing even though my inner critic says it’s
ABBEY MCCULLOCH: I often have a general idea of how I want a body of work to make me feel before I start out, and I tend to produce works in groups or multiples. I usually start drawing on paper as the basis for paintings, although the final image is sometimes very different; paint tends to want to go its own way. As much as I like to think I have control over a work from beginning to end, I really do enter a space that requires so
WW: Seeing as your work deals exclusively with
the female form, what do you think your work contributes to the representation of women in contemporary art?
all been done. I wouldn’t be painting images of women if I thought there wasn’t still something to communicate. I paint what I want to see and feel; my work makes the women around me make sense.
WW: You describe some of your painting subjects
as a generalized female form or an “everywoman.” Could you explain what this means? Is most of your work based on self-portraiture or other female subjects?
AM: I set out originally to deliberately avoid any likeness to anyone in my work. During art school, there was such a lack of encouragement for painting and drawing, and I think that made me want to strip the content of anything too personal. I constructed women that were like caricatures, and the less authentic they were, the better. Things started to change, though, when the actress Toni Collette asked to sit for a portrait in 2007. It was my first attempt at likeness and the painting was selected as a finalist in the Archibald portrait prize, which is quite a big cultural event here in Australia. From that point on, I became interested in using friends as reference material, and the prospect of giving my images a pulse of sorts became more appealing. I have recently been using my own image as well, and I think that the work is now free to use whatever or whomever it needs. Sometimes I want the work to really connect and other times it’s necessary to make
an image that could not appear more detached.
WW: Do you find that your approach to a painting is different when it’s a self-portrait versus a portrait of someone else? AM: The process of making a self-portrait is such an odd one, especially if you are really self-conscious, which I am. Working through that felt like an important step, as I would get overcome with embarrassment even when it was just myself and the camera. I felt just so aware and so flawed and I had to get past that. Once I had taken the photos and started painting, I completely disconnected, which surprised me. It was like I was looking at someone else, and in that sense the process allowed me to control so much more. Even though I learned to disconnect,
years? Do you find yourself addressing different emotions or themes in your work?
so many factors to consider, and at the same time I was interested in watching others weighing it up (see Intervention and Bombe Alaska as examples). I think that we all naturally compare ourselves to others, and as I get older I can feel that happening less and less. As an artist, the prospect of being less self-conscious is an exciting one. I’m less worried now about what society tells me I should be doing and I’m more concerned with what I want to do. I wish I had discovered this earlier, and I think that my new work reflects elements of this newfound defiance.
AM: Up until a few years ago I think I spent a great deal of energy on whether or not I was going to have children. I probably focused on it longer than I should have, but it was a subject that I wanted to give good consideration to. There were
Left: Abbey McCulloch The Intervention 2012 Oil on canvas 59 x 67 inches
Right Abbey McCulloch The Wimp 2012 Oil on canvas 22 x 18 inches
Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist
I think it is difficult to avoid some sense of autobiography, which is why I am interested in bouncing around and using others. Painting other people is like casting for a role—if I don’t look or feel right for it, then I try and find someone who is. In some cases it’s a hybrid thing where it’s a bit of both. If I really want an image that disconnects, I make someone up.
WW: How has your work evolved in the past few
ESMERALDA KOSMATOPOULOS BY CHARLOTTE BOUTBOUL
We first met Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos in March at Spring Masters. She was standing amid an array of sculpted hands, molded while in the act of texting, and four pairs of facing speakers placed at each corner of the room. The speakers engaged in a dialogue in which a single word definition would be exchanged back and forth in different languages—one from a Google translate algorithm, the other from a physical dictionary— resulting in a game where the meaning of a word in one distinctive language would gradually become lost in translation to signify something entirely disconnected in another language. Both works, Kosmatopoulos’s Fifteen pairs of mouths and In conversation, were part of the show “MHOAUNTDH [mu-hoh-uhn-tuh-dah],” in which installations by the French-Greek artist offered an effective entry into her two main interconnected interests: humanity and technology. Since then, she traveled to Copenhagen to present “Mastering the Art of Contemporary Art” (MACA) with Sean Naftel, and to Tehran, where she completed the Iranian Kooshk residency as a result of winning the KARA annual prize. While she was there, her Fifteen pairs of mouths sparked the curiosity of Mines ParisTech, which decided to display it in Athens, Greece, next September. Whitewall caught up with her during her technical stopover in her New York home before she cast off again to Athens.
WHITEWALL: After Spring Masters you went to
Denmark to present with Sean Naftel “Mastering the Art of Contemporary Art” (MACA), a collective artmaking project hosted at Copenhagen’s Kunsthalle. You were inspired by the sets of TV
cooking shows and decided to place the artist in the role of the instructing cook. Can you tell us what motivated the project?
ESMERALDA KOSMATOPOULOS: The project
consisted in demystifying the making. We have this idea of the artist as this single genius alone in his studio working secretively. We basically wanted to say, “Hey! Behind that final result here is what happens: people.” We wanted to throw out recipes to ask questions about how inspiration comes. It always starts somewhere, and by telling these stories from casual daily life it can make the person attending the workshop performance or watching the online video realize that everything around him can be the beginning of an artwork.
WW: Since you’ve done this to demystify the artmaking process, where do you then perceive genius in art?
EK: I’m a very firm believer of the theory of
Roland Barthes and Foucault, the idea that the locus of the work is in the viewer’s eye. The artwork really happens when it faces the viewer. I also like the idea of reappropriation. I mean, when you look at antiquity, reappropriation, even in Roman times, was an honor. Not only was it happening in the oral tradition where it was a way for culture to travel, but even in the Middle Ages it was an honor for someone to take someone else’s work because the purpose of art was to reach an idea, an acme, something allowing us to all improve from each other. This project was really great to show that you shouldn’t be inhibited by anything: not
by the fact that your idea is stupid, not by the fact that someone has done it before you.
WW: You then went in residency in Tehran and created the project How can one be #Persian?
EK: I had a specific project in mind before getting
there, but when I arrived I was so overwhelmed and mesmerized by the culture that I decided to do something related to me being there. It reminded me of The Persian Letters by Montesquieu, this epistolary novel of two Persian people traveling to France and writing back to their family and friends describing French culture in this falsely naive way, which allows Montesquieu to subtly criticize French society. I wanted to take the opposite approach and laugh at the foreigner coming to a new place, because we’re at a time where technology allows us to be both emitter and receiver of information. We become the main source of information. I wanted to look at the way we simplify the other, who remains at the end of the day very complex. I wrote my own online visual self-mocking Persian letters. I spoke with Iranians to find three stereotypes: historical, social, and economical. I went for mosaics, carpets, and the primary produced goods. I photographed tons of them, oversaturated the colors to make them “pop,” and placed on top of them a watermark, which is the shadow of my two hands holding the phone. It resulted in this sea of images translating our high consumption of them and how disposable they become because there’s actually nothing precious to them.
Opposite page Installation view of “Comment peut-on être #Persan?” at Mohsen Gallery, Tehran, Iran. This pahe Clockwise from top: Installation view of “Fifteen Pairs of Mouths” at the MOCO 2016 Conference on Gesture and Technology, Megaro Mousikis, Thessaloniki, Greece. Detail of “Fifteen Pairs of Mouths” at the MOCO 2016 Conference on Gesture and Technology, Megaro Mousikis, Thessaloniki, Greece. Installation view of “MHOAUNTDH [mu-hoh-uhn-tuhdah],” solo show curated by Amanda Uribe and Ché Morales at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York.
Sketch of the Bugatti Chiron design.
BUGATTI UNVEILS THE CHIRON IN MOLSHEIM BY ELIZA JORDAN In August at Monterey Car Week in California, Bugatti debuted its newest luxury model, the Chiron, in the United States. The annual on-thelawn presentation of automobiles for Monterey Car Week is among the world’s most reputable and worthy car and driver events. There at The Quail and the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance, crowds gathered to see the ultrafast Chiron’s reserved exterior, which exceeded all expectations, even beyond Bugatti’s previous offering, the Veyron. At the time, Bugatti president Wolfgang Dürheimer said, “The development brief for the Chiron can be summarized in one sentence and
is probably the shortest in the history of the automobile. We want to make the best significantly better. The Chiron will set new standards in every respect.” Just weeks before we found ourselves at Pebble Beach, we visited Molsheim—a small town just over Germany’s Black Forest border in northeastern France—to see the new model before it was widely released to the public. There, the Bugatti grounds include Ettore Bugatti’s Château St. Jean, which was built in 1857 and is home to the family’s historic documents and art collection, a lush greenhouse, and the Remise Süd (which hosts the customer lounge and a design studio),
where just 20 crewmen assemble the cars. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the Molsheim base’s Head of Tradition, Julius Kruta—a key members who know extensive details about the Bugatti family and history of the brand. Bugatti is known as the most exclusive automobile producer in the world, and its high-performance beginnings date back to 1909, when Italian-born Ettore Bugatti moved to France to start making cars. Coming from a family of artists, Bugatti took pride in the beauty of the car’s design, and provided automobiles for many national Grand Prix–winning racers thereafter. We learned the
Chiron was named after the legendary Louis Chiron, the most successful Bugatti racing driver in the world during his time, who was known for winning many major Grand Prix races for the brand in the 1920s and ’30s. “In the mid-1920s, Ettore Bugatti noticed him, and thought he was a noble person, so he hired him for his racing team. He won the Grand Prix in France five times, he won his home Grand Prix in 1931, he won in a Type 51 . . . In 1955, he was 55 or 56 years old, and he came in sixth!” said Kruta. “But why is Bugatti here in France? Well, originally, this was Germany,” said Kruta, explaining that between 1871 and 1914 Alsace was a part of Germany. During that time, before the use of sponsoring in the late 1960s, countries in national races painted their cars to represent their country. “America was a blue car, England was a green car, Germany was a white car, France was a blue car, Italy was red . . . After World War I, Alsace became part of France, and the cars became blue. But the strongest fans and the most faithful clients of the brands were the British, so there were many Bugattis in green. The first [winner] for the Grand Prix was won by a green Bugatti—Mr. Williams was an Englishman. So Bugatti is a French brand today, but it doesn’t get more European.” Since then, clients from all over the world have been reveling in its progressive designs and top-notch speedometer year after year—regardless of color, and for both the speed and the beauty. We next met the brand’s designers, including Achim Anscheidt, Director of Design, who escorted us to the design center to learn the basics of the new Chiron. Limited to just
500 units, it is currently the fastest super sports car in the world with 1,500 horsepower, hitting 62 miles per hour in less than 2.5 seconds, and reaching 261 miles per hour at its maximum top speed. The Chiron has five drive modes at the push of a button, including transport, EB (standing for Ettore Bugatti), autobahn, handling, and top speed, and the front lights are broken up into eight standalone bulbs, with four on each side—an “eight-eye face.” The recognizable “C” shape on the car’s side is also keenly representational for “Chiron.” “You only have to look at the Chiron to know it couldn’t be anything but a Bugatti. From the legendary horseshoe at the front, to the duotone theme of the side and top view, right the way through to that purposeful, powerful rear,” said Anscheidt. “The Bugatti line is by far the most distinctive element on the Chiron, representing the perfect example of the Bugatti design philosophy: Form follows performance.” After learning about the overall design approach, we were walked through filling out a configuration sheet, just as a customer would, selecting from a series of interior and exterior colors and materials, including embroidery, engine, mirror, wheel, and brake selections. In the showroom, we saw the Chiron’s façade gleaming in a striking dual tone of turquoise carbon with aluminum signature lines and horseshoes. Sport seats showed fine stitching, and the wing mirrors and engine covers matched the brake calipers. From an array of new colors and tones, we got an inside look at how to mix and match the car’s details for a glorious end product. Next, we entered the engineering facility,
where we met the engineering team who gave us a look at the Chiron from the inside out. Hoisted up on tabletops were the Chiron’s parts, and we got a closer look at the assembly of those parts as we walked throughout the facility while the team put the car together. Due to the sheer force of the Chiron, the engineering space had to be renovated to begin testing this year—the rolling road test bench in the back of the facility was simply not equipped to handle the powerful exertion of the new car. From there, it must be tested on an airplane runway, rather than on a racetrack, for the full allotment of acceleration and stop-time needed. Several weeks later at Pebble Beach, Bugatti showed its concept car from last year, the Vision Gran Turismo, which created quite a stir alongside the Chiron. Originally and exclusively designed for the PlayStation videogame series “Gran Turismo Sport,” the car is a tribute to fans and a glimpse into Bugatti’s design language, which now encompasses the Chiron. As Dürheimer and the Vision Gran Turismo suggested, the client was the driving force behind Bugatti’s offerings, and they told us, “We will continue to produce the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious, and most exclusive production super sports car. This is the claim of Bugatti and our customers.”
Clockwise from top left: Briefing on the design of the Bugatti Chiron in Molshein. The Bugatti Chiron. The Bugatti design team. Inside the Bugatti Chiron.
Exploring Rémy Martin’s vineyards, photo by Berat Tunc.
RÉMY MARTIN TAKES US TO COGNAC BY ELIZA JORDAN
Cognac. To some, it’s a familiar sip. To Rémy Martin, it’s the result of a multifaceted study intensely developed in the Grand Champagne and Petite Champagne regions of France. Only in a quiet, rural part of the world that produces some of the finest grapes on chalky limestone grounds can one attest to the delicate and intricate liquor’s purest qualities—and don’t look for a knock-off, because, well, there plainly isn’t one. When we took a trip to their headquarters earlier this year, Rémy Martin taught us this, along with a few key facts about cognac, for starters. Divided into six zones, this region in France is the
only area in which legally recognized cognac can be made, and Rémy Martin’s Fine Champagne—a blend of cognac coming from the Grand and Petite Champagne regions—is known for its aging process standards, as the cognac typically matures in oak casks for longer than the industry norm. After the land’s grapes are harvested and distilled twice, the brand has a young eau-de-vie—the first result of a grape’s fermentation and double distillation process, which is a clear, colorless liquid that is high in alcohol by volume and low in fruitful taste. Once the eaux-de-vie is approved, it develops in casks in the brand’s cellar, with its future mapped
out by the grand cellar master. After departing from Paris’s Gare Montparnasse, we arrived at the Gare d’Angoulême in southwestern France, where we reached the brand’s home base in Touzac, snugly tucked between grapevines and ancient architecture. The fragrance of the oak and mineral-rich eaux-de-vie clung to the air, and the key members who work tirelessly to produce this delicately balanced cognac are present at nearly all times. Upon arrival, we explored the vineyards with Sonia Sicaire—the brand’s partner wine grower, who, after many blind taste tests by the
grand cellar, has time and time again proved her grapes worthy of Rémy Martin’s cognac. Sicaire frequently conducts acid and sugar level chemical tests to ensure that her grapes are healthy. This rough ground’s underbelly is the only base that can produce this type of rare grape, so she must be sure of its chemical makeup, as she also establishes the vines, tends to the yards, and distills the wine herself. After roaming the grounds, and picking sweet cherries from the surrounding wild trees, we toured the brand’s historic maison—a landmark structure built in 1724, during the brand’s foundation year, and recognized by the King of France in 1738. In its courtyard, we saw some of the first tools and barrels used to produce cognac in its beginning days, before making our way to the point overlooking the brand’s backyard—a magnificent backdrop for a lesson in tasting, paired with sweet foie gras. From there, similarly to the brand’s prized grapes, we traveled to the distillery to meet with master distiller Jean-Marie Bernard, and to have a taste of the newest eaux-de-vie that the house had to offer. Like Sicaire, Bernard is a multigenerational member of the brand and knows this process well, with great, great grandparents having begun their journey in spirits right there in the very same place. “It is really important to understand that you can’t become a master overnight,” said Lauren Beckett-Barbier, our guide for the trip’s duration, and Rémy Martin’s International Ambassador. “You typically need about ten years or so to really, truly understand, because every year is a new year. Every year, you have to adapt your
techniques to what is going on in terms of the vineyards and the wines. Jean-Marie works very close with our cellar master to create a model—a model that we can use to advise our partners, like Sonia.” The distillery is the only private facility used for Rémy Martin, while they work with other grow partners and their distilleries, like Sonia. Today, about 40 percent of their partners do their own distillation, and the rest only facilitate through external distilleries that are preapproved by Rémy Martin. Our distillation lesson appropriately transitioned to an afternoon toast, a “fine à l’eau aperitive,” or cognac and water, which was the most popular drink in France before World War II. We indulged in oysters, blocks of fresh cheese, and cognac before sitting down to steak and vegetables, chocolate desserts, and red wine, all within their barn-style Domaine de Touzac, prepared by the in-house chef. The next day, we continued our journey to see what the next step held for cognac production. We arrived at the Seguin Moreau—Rémy Martin’s cooperage—to see the expertise and selection of oak for barrels. Receiving about three truckloads of the best 100- to 200-year-old oak trees from Eastern Europe, France, and the United States every day, the cooperage separates the wood by micro-small, small, or large grain (of which Rémy Martin selects French Limousin large-grain oak for aging its blends). Just as a barrel would, we then departed for the grand cellar with a tour by the youngest grand cellar master in history, Baptiste Loiseau. Loiseau holds the key to Rémy Martin cognac,
and not a single drop is approved for bottling by anyone else. “Every year, we are tasting a lot of eaux-de-vie to be sure that it corresponds to the style of the house, and I have been trained by the previous cellar master to be sure that the style of the house remains the same by this selection,” said Loiseau before walking inside. As we entered the cellars, there was a chill in the air, and dust connecting each barrel. Loiseau asked us to turn off our cell phones, as any disruption can cause a catastrophic explosion—that’s just how high the alcohol levels are. The diverse casks are arranged meticulously in a traditional way of coding. Chalk markings on the outside of the barrels show which eaux-de-vie have been there the longest. After we were allowed the opportunity to sample the product straight from the barrel, we exited the cellar and embarked on a blending lesson to learn how to attain the perfect cognac. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Paris, but not without a proper “Santé!” After all, toasting with cognac in Cognac was a perfect farewell, and a necessary one with Rémy Martin in hand.
Clockwise from top left: Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau, photo by Berat Tunc. Master distiller Jean-Marie Bernard, photo by Berat Tunc. Photo by BFA. The Seguin Moreau—Rémy Martin’s cooperage, photo by Berat Tunc.
MERCEDES ABRAMO CEO OF NORTH AMERICA AND PRESIDENT OF CARTIER BY ELIZA JORDAN
The Perfume Cabinet, photo by Laziz Hamani © Cartier.
WW: You’ve also held previous positions within Cartier since 2008. How
would you describe the North American market, and your role as CEO of North America in such a historic luxury house?
Portrait courtesy of Cartier.
Cartier’s history in New York stems from a treasured story. In 1917, Morton and Maisie Plant traded their mansion with Pierre and Louis Cartier for a twostrand pearl necklace and $100, and the property has been Cartier’s New York flagship ever since. After a two-and-a-half-year renovation, the site reopened on September 13. Taking us inside the recently unveiled Cartier Mansion in New York is Mercedes Abramo—the brand’s first American president in over 25 years, and the first woman to hold this position in history. We discussed the updated Mansion’s many inspirations and surprises, and Abramo’s role as President and CEO of Cartier North America since 2014.
WHITEWALL: You began your career working within hotels—including the
Ritz-Carlton in Georgia and Hawaii and Loews in Miami—before moving on to the jewelry industry. What drew you from hotels to jewelry?
MERCEDES ABRAMO: I had the opportunity to live in France for three years
and pursue an MBA in luxury brand management, which focused on jewelry and watches, fashion, leather goods, fragrance, and cosmetics. There are consistencies between hospitality and the luxury goods industry. The core values are very similar in that when a client enters a boutique, the experience goes beyond a purchase—the feeling of discovery and excitement is truly felt upon entering our boutiques. This is very similar to the travel experience. It goes beyond simply staying at a fine hotel—it’s the overall emotions you feel when arriving to a destination and the personalized service you receive while there. Lastly and most importantly, both industries concentrate on tailoring the experience to the desires of the clients, and that is something we aim to do in every aspect, and was a main focus for the renovation of the Mansion.
MA: Coming from the boutique has granted me a unique perspective on what our clients are looking for and what is important from a client-experience standpoint. I am able to apply my background and reference it constantly in my current role, especially in the Mansion renovation project. It is an honor to be the first American president and CEO of Cartier North America in almost 25 years, as well as the first woman to hold the position. Cartier is a real believer of promoting within, and my appointment is a great example of this. We’ve seen many women globally rise into senior positions, and I have no doubt that there will be many women in the future to take on high-level roles. WW: How does the tale of Cartier’s beginning impact the decisions you made with the design of the new store?
MA: Upon stepping into the Mansion, there is a large portrait of Maisie Plant wearing the pearl necklace. It creates the feeling that you are a part of our family, and allows you to experience the house of Cartier in the way it was originally intended—as a home with a very warm feeling. We have created environments where you feel that you can come in, explore, and wander, but you can also take your time enjoying our creations and experiencing our story; talking to our sales associates about the history of Cartier and exploring our current offerings. WW: Several rooms are inspired by and dedicated to important figures in Cartier’s history. How does keeping in mind historical references affect the juxtaposition of it with modern design? MA: We have jewelry and diamond salons dedicated to Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly on the second floor, and watchmaking salons dedicated to Gary Cooper and Andy Warhol. All of these cultural icons have a bond with Cartier, and it is a place where you go for something very special. We design pieces that stand the test of time, and they are always looking for something new and different and Cartier does that. We create new pieces, but our aim is to always design objects of desire for years to come. WW: The Jeanne Toussaint mezzanine (named after the brand’s former artis-
tic director) is a place for customers to see high jewelry, and is decorated with rich interiors to reflect her personality. Who made the decision to incorporate these details?
MA: Thierry Despont decorated the mezzanine to reflect the essence of Mademoiselle Toussaint, using richly colored fabric walls, furniture covered in embroidered fabrics, and herringbone wood floors. There is great synergy with Thierry’s affinity for blending past to present and future, and we felt that Thierry really understood this and respected the values of Cartier. WW: Tell us about the Andy Warhol salon that is dedicated to men’s watches. Why was Andy Warhol an influence for this room? MA: Andy Warhol always wore a Tank, and when asked why, he said, “I don’t wear a Tank watch to tell the time. Actually I never even wind it. I wear a Tank because it is the watch to wear!” For this reason, we felt he would be the perfect representation for our watch salon.
over the last ten years. It found that the CWIA has been a transformative step in the lives of the 162 women entrepreneurs who have participated as finalists and laureates, and there have been 148 business ventures from more than 45 countries involved. In addition to these entrepreneurs, the program has generated a network of committed business leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators who have supported the success of these women. Specifically, it was found that over 80 percent of ventures are still operating and over 5,000 new jobs were created. Since its introduction, over 1,500 applicants have been received from over 100 countries around the world in a range of industries including environment, health, education, et cetera. This year, it was announced that each laureate will receive a prize of $100,000 (raised from $20,000 previously). This is a testament to Cartier’s commitment to support and recognize creative women who are making concrete contributions to finding solutions for the future of our planet.
WW: Cartier has an ability to stay relevant, regardless of time, and the
archive sketches have been known to inspire recent designs. What is a good example of a new piece of Cartier jewelry that is carrying on that tradition?
MA: We created a very special piece for the reopening—a pearl necklace inspired by the original strand of pearls which Pierre Cartier used to purchase the Mansion. WW: Cartier is known for having a gender-equal workplace, with about 50 percent of the staff and managers being women. Ten years ago, the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society in France approached Cartier about an entrepreneurial initiative for women. As a result, Cartier helped launched Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards to allow women professional training, access to funding, and a professional network of past and current laureates, in order to make a contribution to the global economy. Tell us about what this program has shown within the past 10 years. MA: Initiative, audacity, and the willpower to make the world a better place. These are the key values that are at the heart of Cartier’s commitment to support women entrepreneurs all over the world. A study was conducted by INSEAD to assess the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards (CWIA) program
Top: The Princess Grace Salon, photo by Laziz Hamani © Cartier. Bottom: The Elizabeth Taylor Salon, photo by Laziz Hamani © Cartier.
JOHNNY COCA CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF MULBERRY BY ELIZA JORDAN
Looks from Mulberry’s fall/winter 2016-17 collection.
“WHETHER YOU’RE DESIGNING A CAFÉ OR A HANDBAG, IT’S THE SAME PRINCIPLE– AESTHETICS TIMES FUNCTION” The rebellious spirit of Johnny Coca, Mulberry’s captivating creative director, is alive and well. Since 2015, he’s been responsible for vamping up the brand’s British foundation with a recalcitrant twist. With powerful collections, unstoppable energy, and thoughtful design in mind, Coca is paving the way for the British brand’s highly deserving comeback.
WHITEWALL: While studying architecture and interior design in Paris at
the École des Beaux-Arts and the École Boulle, you worked on the interiors of Café Marly—a café that drew crowds from the Louvre and was a near template for so many Parisian cafés thereafter. Tell us about the similarities in designing for interiors and for fashion.
JOHNNY COCA: Designing is thinking about aesthetics, style, and
functionality. Looking good and being useful. When I was younger, I wanted to design rockets, cars, and boats, then I fell in love with fashion, and now I apply the same principles of design to handbags, shoes, and clothes for Mulberry. Whether you’re designing a café or a handbag, it’s the same principle—aesthetics times function.
WW: Your bag designs and redesigns—such as Mulberry’s The Maple, The Chester, The Clifton, the reworked Bayswater, and Céline’s Trio and Trapeze bags—have been consistent in balance between form and function. In terms of designing for both, while still staying respectful to heritage household designs as true as Mulberry’s, what are some difficult decisions that you must make? JC: It’s always difficult to decide what to keep and what to change when
you are dealing with a British icon and a household name. Take the Mini, for example—the car has changed considerably from its original design, but the charm is still there. They changed the design because tastes evolve over time, and techniques, colors, and materials are refined and available. The Bayswater is the same. There are new materials available now in 2016 that there weren’t in 2003. This allows us to introduce new colors. There are lifestyle demands that mean we should be offering a different construction—more balanced for carrying newer, lighter laptops, et cetera. Before, you would have carried a heavier laptop in a separate bag, but now everyone wants to have all their essentials in their main handbag.
WW: At Céline, you designed accessories, and created the brand’s iconic
Trapeze bag—one of the house’s and fashion industry’s most successful bags to date. In an age like today, where so many houses rely on the sales of handbags, what is an “it” bag to you?
JC: You cannot create an “it” bag on demand. You design using your best
ideas and then the customers respond. They decide what’s an “it” bag and you can be really surprised. It’s like the movie industry—you can never tell before for sure which of 10 movies will be a hit. There is no formula . . . I just try to create beautiful bags for people today.
WW: You redesigned the house’s logo to reflect an original font that the brand used in the 1970s. Why did you make the decision to change Mulberry’s logo?
JC: I first saw the original logo from the 1970s when I was going through some archive materials. I was instantly drawn to it—it somehow felt more British, more “Mulberry.” I then commissioned an amazingly talented typographer to make some subtle changes to ensure it was relevant and modern.
WW: You presented your first show for Mulberry in February 2016 at London Fashion Week at the Guildhall, and an English piece of Victoria sponge cake awaited guests. Tell us about the small British details you choose to infuse into the brand.
WW: You have previously said that you wanted to “instill a sense of British
building—the Guildhall, a beautiful historical building in the heart of the city of London used for state occasions. I liked the fact that guests at the Mulberry show would discover a place they may not have known about—a hidden gem in London. Another Mulberry tradition is to always make our guests feel welcome, so we presented cake on each seat for when they arrived. I then took everyone to “The Box”—an iconic British nightclub that celebrates urban subculture and the alternative London!
character and lineage back into the Mulberry brand, building on our heritage rather than creating something entirely new.” What are you doing to instill that?
JC: I am inspired by the British heritage and way of life—the beautiful contradiction between traditional elegance and a subversive, rebellious attitude. I love this contrast and express it in my work. The Fall/Winter 2016 collection references classic tailoring and the rebellious pop of color and texture. I am also inspired by Mulberry’s DNA—the heritage check, tartan, natural leather, but with new and modern twists. I try to do Mulberry British essentials, too, like great coats, capes, knitwear, and the perfect day dress.
JC: Britishness was in all our choices . . . I chose to show in an iconic British
Clockwise from top left: Portrait by David Bailey. Backstage at Mulberry’s fall/winter 2016-17 show. Detail from Mulberry’s fall/winter 2016-17 collection.
FAWAZ GRUOSI FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE BOARD DIRECTOR OF DE GRISOGONO BY ELIZA JORDAN
Left: Anelli earrings by de Grisogono. Right: Portrait courtesy of de Grisogono.
Fawaz Gruosi recalls that back in 1978, when he accepted his first position within the jewelry industry at Harry Winston in Saudi Arabia, “Harry Winston, at that time, was the king of the world. So when I went there, I learned a lot. The mentality, the taste of the people . . .” Eight years later, Gruosi received a phone call from Gianni Bulgari, and he joined their team to represent one of the company’s first eight boutiques. He then decided to start his own jewelry house, founding de Grisogono in 1993. At that time, he had no true design experience, and at the age of 43, began sketching, in his words, “like a little kid.” Cut to September of 2016 at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, where de Grisogono unveiled the world’s most expensive rough diamond, The Constellation—totaling 813 carats, bought for $63 million. Just a few weeks before even seeing it, de Grisogono’s founder and executive board director sat down with Whitewall in New York to discuss this incredible acquisition, and the monumental use of black diamonds that launched his ever-unexpected designs.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about finding The Constellation, which is over
six centimeters wide, was discovered by Canadian company Lucara Diamond in Botswana in November 2015, and sold to Nemesis International DMCC and de Grisogono?
FAWAZ GRUOSI: We have a strong connection with Nemesis, allowing de Grisogono to market their best stones. In the last few months, we acquired two historical rough diamonds, following a competitive bidding process.
One was a 404-carat stone, named The 4 de Fevereiro, and once that’s cut, it will probably come out between 150 and 160 carats. Just a month after, The Constellation was found—813 carats, which is expected to reveal one of the world’s largest certified flawless diamonds. This is the sort of diamond that people will be talking about for generations to come. They’re studying the stone scientifically to maximize its full potential and spirit. It was under the ground for so many centuries. It’s really just unbelievable.
WW: Do you know yet what the stone will be used for? FG: Well, definitely for that size it will be impossible to be a pair of earrings or a ring. So it will for sure be a necklace. And I have to come up with something . . . That is my role, as creative director, to come up with a spectacular design, and something truly representative of de Grisogono’s unique style! WW: Can you tell us a little bit about the Allegra ring, the first piece to be made of ceramic for de Grisogono? FG: Being deeply representative of de Grisogono’s style, the Allegra Collection features stunning volumes. We thought it could be interesting to offer a version of the ring using ceramic for a comfortable feel (ceramic is really light) that also allows us to play with colors—one of our signatures anchored into the warmth of my Mediterranean roots. I also liked the contrast with the gold.
Clockwise from left: The making of a piece of de Grisogono fine jewelry. Ventaglio earrings by de Grisogono. The New York de Grisogono boutique.
“TO BE HONEST, I OWE A LOT TO THOSE BLACK DIAMONDS, AS THEY CHANGED MY LIFE. I WOULD NOT BE SITTING WITH YOU TODAY WITHOUT THEM” WW: How does your New York boutique on Madison Avenue reflect the brand’s dedication to the jewelry industry?
FG: Opened over 10 years ago, our New York boutique still bears de Grisgono’s unique signature with its original interior design. It is one of my favorites, as it feels like my living room! The interior is rich in details, and is directly inspired by a number of aesthetic constants that are characteristic of our jewelry. It is important that our jewelry collections and high jewelry unique pieces fulfill tastes and requests for the most demanding and varied clients visiting our 14 boutiques worldwide. WW: What has been your favorite part about helping craft the brand’s legacy over the past 24 years? FG: When I started, I had no idea how to design, but I had years of experience in the jewelry industry, and was exposed to many designs and important collections. At the time, in 1993 when I started, all over the world at every showcase, I was seeing all minimalists using the classic platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and traditional stones. I decided to do the opposite. I designed in white and rose gold, with bigger volumes, and began to mix different colors together, which no one really ever did before. The talk around town was,
“This guy is crazy, mixing all these colors!” Then I came out with the idea to use black diamonds—at a time when the stones had very little importance or visibility. The company quickly took off, and the success was unthinkable. To be honest, I owe a lot to those black diamonds as they changed my life. I would not be sitting with you today without them. To be daring, to take risks, to offer our clients the most unique and the most beautiful jewelry creations— this is what really motivates me every day.
WW: Where do you see the luxury jewelry market going? FG: Well, in the last two or three years, the market has changed. With what’s happening in the world today, there are some people that think, “I don’t need to buy jewelry.” But what is incredible is that this year’s sales increased more than 45 percent, and we’re talking about prices for $500,000 up to $12 million apiece. I think within the last year and a half, it’s obvious that the people with these situations worldwide are worried, so they buy something important. They buy jewelry as an asset. People are looking for the beauty, but also the quality. If something happens, and you can’t take your paintings or your tables or your bed, the only thing you can run with is with something in your pocket. There is beauty in it, and it’s in the market, and it’s something that will never go down. It’s only going up and up and up.
DAVIDE MARELLO CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT BOGLIOLI BY KATY DONOGHUE
Portrait courtesy of Boglioli
For years, Boglioli was known mostly by those deep in the fashion industry— coveted for its signature jackets, which were unstructured, unlined, supersoft, and impeccably tailored. As menswear has exploded, the name has become much more recognizable, and, for the first time in its history, Boglioli announced it had named a creative director, Davide Marello. He assumed the role after nine years as the head of tailoring at Gucci. After the opening of the label’s New York store on Bond Street, we wanted to hear from Marello about expanding the Boglioli story beyond the suit to knitwear, outerwear, and accessories. When we spoke, he was in the middle of working on the next collection, choosing fabrics, which, he told us, was the best part.
WHITEWALL: Before joining Boglioli, you had been working in menswear and tailoring for nearly a decade at Gucci. What was your perception of Boglioli as someone inside the industry?
DAVIDE MARELLO: Of course, when you work in that world, you know everything about all the other brands and what they are specialized in. Boglioli, for me, was always the biggest brand for deconstructed jackets. We were always thinking about Boglioli as a sample of the best brand doing this kind of style, what I would call the soft tailoring master brand. WW: As the first-ever named creative director of Boglioli, you’re really defining that role. DM: I’m trying to bring the brand to a higher perception. The brand was well
known for jackets and for suits, not for having a refined image; it was more around this key jacket. So I wanted to bring some storytelling, and a full wardrobe. When I began working for Boglioli, all of my friends were calling me and telling me, “I have this deconstructed jacket in my wardrobe and it’s my favorite.” So I wanted to create a lifestyle around that, with accessories, with more knitwear—a full wardrobe around this name, around this brand.
WW: So how do you tell that story? DM: The starting point is always the jacket and the quality of the fabric. When
I arrived, I found the most beautiful fabrics I’ve ever worked with. For me, it was a pleasure to build up around that world. Fabrics are really important— the softness in general, everything around the Boglioli world must be relaxed. I think that every piece is really precious.
WW: How do you employ that softness to things like accessories? DM: The bags are made in the super-soft leather, which is treated in a special way that makes it even softer. And for the shoes, it’s difficult to do soft shoes [laughs], so it’s more about finding treatment and playing the shades of colors. But similar to the faded wash of the jacket, I wanted to create the same effect on the shoe.
WW: Continuing that story, who is the Boglioli man?
“I WANTED TO CREATE A LIFESTYLE...A FULL WARDROBE AROUND THIS NAME” DM: I’m always imagining him as sophisticated, well-mannered, cultured, a
bit mysterious, and not fancy. It’s always someone that has his own personal style. He’s not following specific fashion waves or trends somehow. His style is classic but with a little twist that makes him special and different from all the others.
WW: You often look to art as inspiration, like the work of Nicolas de Staël for the recent Spring/Summer 2017 collection, which debuted in Milan over the summer. Tell us how you became interested in his work and how that worked its way into the collection.
DM: Some years ago, I was looking for pictures of artists. I really like artists
because they have their personal style. Usually an artist is into workwear or wearing something really comfortable. But they always have their personal touch. I was looking for images of artists and I found Nicolas de Staël. I hadn’t heard of him before. He was super good-looking and super-stylish. I realized that his work was incredible and he became one of my favorite artists. When I began to work for Boglioli, I already had some men in my mind and some sources of creation, and almost everything was connected
with art or artists. It is something common because art is really easy to find inspiration in. When I was growing up, my mother was really passionate about art and architecture in general, so I was a lucky child and I had the chance to travel around Europe and to see all the most beautiful masterpieces at a young age. And then, of course, the art school was really helpful in terms of general culture about arts, about fine arts.
WW: How would you describe your personal style? DM: It’s something genuine. It’s really something that comes from when I
wake up in the morning. It’s always changing. I’m always wearing something soft because I spend a lot of time in the studio, and our jackets are perfect for that. But I always like to add some accessories that you would not expect.
Looks from Boglioli’s fall/winter 2016-17 collection.
GARY METZNER AND SCOTT JOHNSON COLLECTORS
BY KATY DONOGHUE PHOTOS BY ROBERT CHASE HEISHMAN AND EMILY KAY HENSON
Gary Metzner and Scott Johnson call one of the upper floors of Chicago’s Montgomery Tower, built by Minoru Yamasaki in 1972, home. The building stands in the River North neighborhood, where, as Metzner recalls, he grew up visiting galleries with his parents in the eighties. The area has changed quite a bit since then, but the building’s modernity has retained its influence. Metzner and Johnson’s home is full of contemporary objects, both design and art. The couple, a senior vice president and fine arts specialist at Sotheby’s and medical physicist, respectively, have lived there for eight years, acquiring works by artists like Chris Garofalo, Hiro Yokose, Thaddeus Wolfe, Andrew Holmquist, Carrie Schneider, Roger Brown, William O’Brien, Jefferson Godard, and Paula Hayes. They even asked Edie Fake to design their wedding invitation (which now hangs framed in their office). Over the summer, Whitewall visited Metzner and Johnson at their home to learn about how they collect together, their relationship with Chicago galleries, and how their approach to acquiring new works to live with has evolved.
WHITEWALL: How did you start collecting? Gary, I imagine it was something
buying anything until we met because I didn’t really know how that whole process would work. It was intimidating.
WW: What was the first piece you purchased together? GM: Together? I bought a Hiro Yokose at Carrie Secrist gallery when Scott was living in California. We met and then he moved to California.
SJ: I was in Chicago, I signed papers to take the job in California, and we
met one week after I had made the decision to move to California, of course.
GM: So three months later he moved, and we were going back and forth, and I think for his housewarming in San Francisco I bought him the Hiro Yokose piece. I bought it with the hope that one day I would get it back, because he would move back to Chicago and it would be both of ours.
SJ: So it worked!
you were interested in given your career in the arts before you met Scott?
WW: Did either of you grow up around collecting?
GARY METZNER: Yes, I was. But more than half of this is since we met.
SJ: For me, definitely not. I grew up in the South in Virginia Beach. My
SCOTT JOHNSON: Yeah, I would say that would be 75 to 80 percent of
what’s up is after we met. I’m a scientist by background, but I had an interest in art. I would go to galleries and certainly go to museums, but I wasn’t
parents didn’t have art in the house.
GM: I grew up with not only going to the Art Institute, but even my high school would take us down to the galleries just as they were starting to open
in River North, which is now our neighborhood. I’d never thought I’d live where the galleries are! I wouldn’t say my parents were collectors, but they bought some interesting pieces, and as I got into the business I directed them to buy a few good works, but I definitely grew up with it. Now my brother and sister are not interested at all. It just rubbed off on me.
WW: And so once the two of you were finally in the same city, the Yosoke is back in Chicago, was collecting together something that came naturally? GM: We always say that we can go to an art fair and make a list of our ten favorite things and maybe four of the five would be the same.
WW: Which is not always the case with a collecting couple. GM: No. I remember working at the gallery and one person would come in
from a couple and say, “I’m going to buy a present.” And we would wait and see, three weeks and it would come back almost all the time. It’s not always the norm, but when it works, it’s great because I think it makes going to art fairs really fun.
SJ: And a little dangerous because we’re both like, “Oh, I really love it, and we should get it.”
GM: Like we were at the Armory Show, and before we said, “We’re buying nothing at the Armory Show.” But of course we did, and now we’re taking things down and putting them in storage, which is something we said we’d never do, but it happens.
SJ: We’ve been here for eight years, so we decided to take everything down
and have the entire place painted. It just needed it. When we went to put things back up, we thought, “Let’s really think about where things should go.” As opposed to after living here for eight years, we buy one thing we just find a place to squeeze it in between.
WW: So as you got to know each other’s taste, what kind of things are you both drawn to? Is it always contemporary? SJ: It’s always contemporary. GM: There’s something in the front hall from the 1800s that I bought from
Sotheby’s, but there was just something contemporary maybe even about it. I would say it’s quite accessible. Even though I’m around so many different types of art all the time, I think what we live with kind of makes you smile. You may question the meaning but, generally speaking, it’s something that you can be drawn to instantly.
SJ: Not too scary. WW: And you don’t seem to shy away from a variety of mediums. SJ: No, I like that I like having photos and paintings. I’m really attracted to
sculpture. And I like things that kind of border those, so paintings that are kind of sculptural and videos that are like paintings.
GM: We’ve been going toward some smaller-scale sculpture like in ceramics
WW: And how long did it take to get to that point?
and glass, like Chris Garofalo, who shows with Rhona Hoffman. And the objects on the bar are by an up-and-coming artist that works in glass, Thaddeus Wolfe. So objects have always been really interesting to us and when you run out of wall space . . .
GM: I think in just the last year.
SJ: We’re looking for something for the ceiling.
WW: And then in terms of acquisitions, do you prefer to go to galleries that are local? Do you travel for fairs?
GM: Well, last time we went to Miami we bought three pieces, and two were
from Chicago galleries. It’s very comfortable when you walk in and you know the dealer and you just have a nice rapport. But we bought something from a new gallery we hadn’t gone to before. We actually went to Zona Maco in Mexico City one year, which was great. We went to a couple of artists’ studios and we were with some people that were originally from Mexico City. We haven’t gone to Europe to any fairs at this point.
WW: Did you find any artists while you were there that you hadn’t known before?
GM: Yeah, there were a few things. We ended up meeting a couple of interesting artists. Our friend introduced us to kurimanzutto, which is just a great gallery.
WW: And for the artists whose work you have purchased, is it important for you to follow that artist along through their career? SJ: We do try to keep tabs on them, especially the ones that we’ve just met,
and they end up being really interesting and nice people. You want to keep in touch with them and see what’s happening with their careers. We do tend to not buy the same artist over and over and over again. There are too many things that are out there.
GM: Like Andrew Holmquist—we eventually met him, we liked his work and
we bought two ceramics. He just moved to Berlin. So we are paying attention to what’s going on with him. I think in a way we sort of maybe pay attention to the galleries.
WW: Aside from the art in your home, you really have an eye for design as
SJ: I’m really interested in interior design. Like our dining room table we designed with our good friend and an interior designer, and with the design of several pieces of the furniture.
GM: We were looking for a seventies table. This building was built in 1972.
We have pieces from the architect Gae Aulenti; we have another piece from her in the bedroom. And we like a lot of light. We have a couple different light boxes.
SJ: Like Johanna Grawunder. GM: And that’s an homage to Gio Ponti. I like when design sort of crosses over into art. There’s that line there, but we like to blur that line, I think.
WW: Going forward, now that you’ve had to put things in storage, has the way you’ve collected changed or become more focused? GM: I would say that, but we probably do a little more research. Because our
tastes are similar and we see a lot of art, we probably could buy one thing a week. But I think at this point we would do a little research on the artist, we would probably spend a little more money, and I think I’d rather wait.
SJ: In the beginning we definitely had blank spaces. We need something to
go here in this spot and this spot. But at this point we don’t need anything else. If we add any more, it will start to look a little junky. But we still love going to look, and I think we would wait to save up and buy something that’s maybe three or four times more than what we had been spending.
GM: But I have wonderful clients that are collectors that do fill their walls and then they’re done. And then there are the real collectors that will never be done. So I don’t think we’ll ever be done and that’s what makes it fun.
INGRID DONAT BY CHARLOTTE BOUTBOUL
WHITEWALL: Can you tell me about your next upcoming show in New York with Carpenters Workshop Gallery, “Origins”?
INGRID DONAT: New York is a comeback for me. I became recognized for my work in large part thanks to the United States. I was there several years and did a show with Barry Friedman. Now I’ll be there with a different gallery, and I’m just really thrilled to be back. This will be different, though. It will be more like a permanent showroom, I suppose, and there will be new pieces. WW: What inspired the conception of these new pieces? ID: Well, I’ve always been inspired by primitive art. That was always the case, but with something less raw and more sophisticated in the finishes, something a bit more feminine. It is important to add that feminine touch. Otherwise, the piece becomes too strong, very imposing and masculine. WW: So tribal art is your main inspiration. What about Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences? ID: That, too. I had the chance as a young girl growing up to see a lot of pieces and to follow them regularly at important Art Deco and Art Nouveau auctions. Basically, I’ve had my nose in it since my early twenties. WW: Did that education come from your studies in the decorative arts? ID: First, I didn’t study the decorative arts. I was only in a workshop to prepare for the admission exam of L’École des Beaux-Arts. I moved from Sweden at 19 years old to do that. However, when I arrived I got married right away. [Laughs] So I did sculptures and portraits all my life, but, rather, as a hobby from home. I would do my children, and then I grew a passion for decoration. No, actually, allow me to revise my word choice: It wasn’t decoration but interiors. In fact, I find decoration very boring. I prefer something more timeless, more ambient. I’m fascinated with the ambience that radiates from a given place. When you enter somewhere and a piece of furniture or carpet immediately catches your attention, for instance, it terribly bores me. I’m more interested in a discreet table that shows interesting finishes, carved details, only if you choose to get closer. Ingrid Donat with Hommage a Groult in progress, photo by Arno Lam.
WW: So it’s the handicraft behind a piece that interests you?
The interior designer Ingrid Donat is returning to New York after eight years with a new show at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, entitled “Origins.” The show, on view through December 17, is a comprehensive survey of her 30-year career complemented by a monograph that analytically explores all of her series, including the most recent ones. While preparing for the show in Paris, Donat greeted Whitewall in Roissy at the Carpenters Workshop manufacturing space, a reconverted foundry bought by the gallery, where the kept artisans assist artists in the execution of their most ambitious creations. A myriad of imposing design pieces stood realized, while others were still in the making process as the calm activity of casters, bronze makers, carpenters, and painters testified. We got glimpses of Donat’s complex but efficient process: She starts with a sketch, sends it to the carpenter, who sends back a wax template where Donat then manually carves her tribal drawings. Finally, everything gets sent to the foundry, where the wax model is molded into bronze. Gold, bronze, leather, wood, and parchment are her favored mediums. Collectors of her pieces include Yves Saint Laurent, Peter Marino for Chanel stores, Steve Martin, Tom Ford, and Brad Pitt, among others. Despite the complex expertise that her pieces require to create, the halfSwedish, half-French artist received very little training. She started making pieces professionally only at age 40, translating what had been a hobby during twenty years while she was a stay-at-home mother into a career. Whitewall was curious to know more.
ID: No, no. It’s the art that interests me. I’m after an atmosphere. If I’m doing walls, a sofa, a table, fabric, whatever it is, it has to merge and blend to create an agreeable space. A space where you feel well, but you don’t know why. I work with an overall vision, from the exterior. Honestly, everything that is too showy is not my thing. WW: So you became a wife at 19, then a stay-at-home mother, and pursued your practice as a simple hobby, but for how long?
ID: Till I was 40 years old. After divorcing from my then-husband I didn’t know how to do anything else. I didn’t have a choice, really. It was a difficult time, but I was lucky to have a hobby that could become something professionally. Also since I had bathed in the art world I was also lucky that people had seen my work and proposed to sell or exhibit it. At home I would do sculptures, but if I needed an 80-inch table I would also just make it myself. The gallery owners that occasionally came to the house would say, “You should exhibit your pieces.” WW: So you didn’t really have to change many things since you were pretty much already doing then what you’re doing now?
ID: Yes, pretty much. I was always passionate about the interior way of life, of a house, of an apartment. It was a passion for indoors, really, not decoration. I don’t have decorating magazines, and I don’t really go to the
“IT’S THE ART THAT INTERESTS ME. I’M AFTER AN ATMOSPHERE” museum anymore because I know it subconsciously influences me. I want what I create to come from my guts, not my brain.
WW: So if I asked you who are your favorite designers, you wouldn’t have an answer? ID: Yes, I do. It’s Armand-Albert Rateau. It was an inspiration when I saw his designs. I thought it was fabulous to do everything like he did—topography, the sink, the floors, floor lamps, door handles, all of it. And what’s extraordinary is that after doing so many things on my own out of habit, today people commission me to do exactly that—interiors from A to Z. I do living rooms, boudoirs, offices, with the floors, the tapestry, the ceilings . . . I love it, because I love sculpture. WW: The Carpenters Workshop facilities of Roissy allow you to have the logistics to design on such a grand level. Is that why you decided to be represented by them? ID: You need to know that Julien Lombrail, the gallery’s co-founder, is my son. That’s why I ended up following him after Barry Friedman. It became extraordinary for me. Very quickly I got a team because I couldn’t manage all the orders alone. I had a carpenter. We made the patina, we made the wax, the prototypes, the parchment. What was incredible was that I could conceive something here, give it to Paola next door (our caster); she’ll make a mold, and, hop, it goes to the foundry, comes back, and the guys over there do the assemblage. If there is parchment, it will go to the carpentry shop for bespoke cutting to size, and then in the parchment workshop. From then on the piece is made from A to Y, so to speak. It was not possible when I was doing it on my own, but when I started at Carpenters Julian took care of the production. He became passionate about the work and started taking on other artists. It gave him a love for manufacture.
Clockwise from top left: Donat at work in the studio, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Detail of Table Basse Anneaux (4 Plaques) (2013), bronze, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Buffet Cisco, 2015, bronze, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Engraving detail, photo by Arno Lam.
BERNAR VENET BY CHARLOTTE BOUTBOUL
PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVE BENISTY
Venet Foundation, photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York.
ernar Venet’s minimalist work brings together some of the most important avant-garde tendencies that defied Pop in the 1960s: New Realism, Fluxus, l’École de Nice . . . This year, exactly 50 years after first setting foot on American ground, Venet is being celebrated by his adopted city, New York, with one of his public sculptures temporarily raised at 17th Street on Union Square, a solo show at Paul Kasmin, and the International Sculpture Center’s (ISC) granting him its Lifetime Achievement Award. Last April Whitewall met with the French conceptual artist at Hotel Americano in Chelsea, while he was in the midst of preparing for the opening of his “Angles” exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery. He spiritedly shared some of his memories on his unusual trajectory and thoughts on the evolution of his radical work, which is placing him once again into the spotlight.
WHITEWALL: New York seems to be celebrating you this year. One of your
sculptures just got installed on Union Square, you received the ISC Lifetime Achievement Award with Kiki Smith, and Paul Kasmin inaugurated your first New York solo show in the past ten years. How are you feeling at the moment?
BERNAR VENET: I’m very glad. It’s been exactly 50 years since I arrived in New York. It reminds me of the day I arrived, looking at the city, thinking, “Oh, my God, how am I going to get anywhere over here?” Let’s just say it’s a great pleasure. WW: This is the first new work you’ve done in a while. How is this exhibition, “Angles,” different from your past work?
BV: It has become obvious that the main subject of my work is the “line.”
Over the past forty years, I have developed, in paintings, reliefs, and sculptures, different possibilities including “Straight Lines,” “Arcs” (curved lines), and “Indeterminate Lines,” also trying to find original propositions. The “Angles” were the subject matter that I had difficulty developing, previously not seeing many possibilities. I could finally find some
interesting solutions when I decided to present them as “Effondrements” (collapses), and as I introduced more and more disorder to their configurations. More recently, my decision to make some very vertical “Angles” came as a surprise to me and others while they were exploring verticality in a way that was very different from what I have done previously. My obsession with experimentation can make it difficult sometimes for the public to immediately understand the nature of my work.
WW: Your foundation in Le Muy is American, as you are an American resident, so why did you choose to have it in the South of France?
BV: Because I was born in the region and I go there every summer. This is
my territory, and where my family and friends are. Living in New York for fifty years has been an enriching experience. And it still is. But with the years passing by so quickly, I feel like returning to my roots and being able to work more peacefully. The foundation that I created is also one of the main motivators for me to be here. Originally, I was only looking for a piece of land in Provence that I could use to store my sculptures, but I didn’t have a specific place in
Top: Venet Foundation, photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York. Bottom: Exhibition view of “Bernar Venet: Angles” (April 28-June 25, 2016) at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, photo by Steve Benisty.
mind. That is, until a friend of mine convinced me that Le Muy was the ideal geographic location—close enough to Nice Airport and to Saint-Tropez, and also a relatively short distance to the main highway. I realize today how lucky I have been to find this property to host the foundation, as it’s so easy to access for large crowds visiting the South of France.
WW: When it comes to collecting other artists’ work, what exactly are you looking for? What attracts you in another artist’s piece?
BV: The collection is a bit of a testimony of the life I lived in the art world, in Nice, in Paris, and especially in New York over the course of 50 years. We can see a bit of this world in the book RAW—Artist Portraits that was just published this summer. It’s a collection of memories, of traces, also a tribute to all these artist friends for whom we can only have great respect and immense admiration. I did not start with the ambition to collect. I was just making exchanges because nobody was selling their art in the early days. It was only after I acquired the property in Le Muy that I got more involved in purchasing major pieces, when the occasion arose. I realized that I had a collection when Gottfried Honegger asked me to present it at the Espace de l’Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux, in France. Now that the Venet Foundation exists, we’ve had more opportunities to acquire some truly exceptional works, like the Stella Chapel and two major works by James Turrell (Elliptic Ecliptic and Prana Prana from the “Skyspace” and “Aperture” series), with Alexandre Devals, director of the Venet Foundation. We are creating a new sculpture park with recent acquisitions of works by other artists, including Richard Long, Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, and Ulrich Rückriem.
WW: When did you decide to become an artist yourself? BV: There are two moments that were determinant in my life. The first one was when I was 11 years old. I was an average student, not very interested in academic studies. I remember one day showing a drawing I had just made to my teacher and seeing an expression of surprise and admiration. For the first time, I realized that I could be noticed and appreciated for what I was doing.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;My obsession with experimentation can make it difficult sometimes for the public to immediately understand the nature of my workâ&#x20AC;? Both images: Venet Foundation, photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York.
Venet Foundation, photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York.
“I started to dream, paint a canvas a day, and put all my energy into doing art”
Venet Foundation, photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York.
The drawing was soon hanging on the walls of the classroom. I was very proud to have found a way to exist in the eyes of my student friends as well as my teacher. This was a major moment in my life then, because you have to know that I was very disadvantaged during those days, being a very sick (asthmatic) child, who was also poorly dressed, as well as skinny and unable to impress anybody in my physical activity. But the most determinant moment happened when my mother took me to Digue to buy some oil paint. I was also around 11 or 12 years old. After selecting different colors and canvases, while she was on line to pay, I noticed a small book—which I still have—in the outside window of the shop. I could see the reproduction of a painting on the cover but could not understand the title. It was totally abstract to me. Renoir! I asked the storeowner what that word meant and it was explained that Renoir was a famous artist, exhibited in museums all around the world, that his paintings cost a fortune and many books were published on his work, et cetera. I understood that day that being an artist was perhaps a way to earn a living and that I might not have to grow up to work at the village factory, “Pechiney,” like my father, mother, brothers, and all my friends. I started to dream, paint a canvas a day, and put all my energy into doing art and reading biographies of famous painters. When I was 14, I had my first one-man show at my school, and at the age of 19, just before enrolling in the army, I exhibited about 50 artworks, most of them on large canvas, slightly influenced by Paul Klee. I was lucky enough soon after the army, at the age of 23, to exhibit my work at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris alongside such artists as Warhol, Rauschenberg, Arman, et cetera.
WW: That’s a very short time period between both shows. BV: It’s a short period, but while I was in the army I was lucky enough to con-
vince my “superiors” and the colonel to put at my disposal a very large studio. I spent ten months doing art almost exclusively, without having anything to worry about. I had a bed, clothes, food, and a studio in which I could paint. That’s when I started to do some more radical works, using leftover cardboard and tar as my materials, the kind of works that I exhibit this summer at the Espace de l’Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux.
WW: What prompted your decision to move to New York from Nice? BV: When I was in Nice, I was doing these black tar paintings, canvases whose surfaces were covered in tar. Later on, I made some cardboard reliefs that I would paint in yellow, blue, or red—only I never found anybody to buy them. It was the time where Pop art was really hot: 1963 to 1965. There was no Minimal art at the time, so if you wanted to be “in” you had to do
Top: Exhibition view of “Bernar Venet: Angles” (April 28-June 25, 2016) at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, courtesy of Paul Kasmin, New York. Bottom: Venet Foundation, photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York.
figurative art, Pop art, or New Realism, and I wasn’t doing that at all. I was following a very sober aesthetic and nobody was interested. To tell you the truth, I was not eating every day and I was going to the market to get leftovers. It was a very tough period. I knew Arman, as I would help him occasionally with his work, and my dream was to join him in New York. I knew that this was where everything was happening and I was telling him all the time, “One day I’ll come.” One day in 1965, after helping him finish a big piece in his studio, he offered me a work and said, “This is for you if you want to come to New York,” and I said, “Yes, I’ll come, but I’m not going to sell your work.” It’s like if someone gives you a Picasso to buy a car with it—forget it! First month: You’re happy because you have an Arman. Second month: It’s still okay, but after six months when you’re not eating well . . . I sold the piece for $300, spent $150 on my ticket and had $150 left in my pocket for when I arrived there. I was on the plane, with no knowledge of the English language, no advice, or telephone numbers. I didn’t even have a place to sleep. I had no idea, really! I was on the plane going to New York with $150. That was it. WHITEWALL 91
MARCEL WANDERS BY CHARLOTTE BOUTBOUL
Installation view of “Marcel Wanders: Portraits” (February 25–April 9, 2016) at Friedman Benda Gallery in New York. Photo by Andrew Meredith, courtesy of Friedman Benda and Marcel Wanders Studio.
Portrait courtesy of Friedman Benda and Marcel Wanders Studio.
arcel Wanders is arguably the boldest off-road driver of the world of design. This year alone, he presented the exhibition “Portraits” at Friedman Benda, participated in the group show “Lumières out of the Box” for Baccarat (where he showed his spherical chandelier Le Roi Soleil), and created a book for the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honor and its precious Dutch masterpieces. He designed the interiors of two hotels: The Mondrian and Iberostar, to open in 2017. He also launched an eyewear collection, “Unseen,” for Safilo, and a tableware collection for Alessi, “Alessi Circus.” Whitewall met with the designer in New York to find out where the tireless and unstoppable Wanders would take us next . . . and also discover some of the reasons behind his daring choices.
WHITEWALL: You presented your first gallery solo show in an art gallery this year, “Portraits,” at Friedman Benda, New York. How did it feel?
MARCEL WANDERS: I’d been working on it for several years. It took a bit of
time to live up to it. I think it’s cool to launch in New York. It’s been a dream and I’m pretty excited with the result.
WW: It seems that the objects you exhibited were darker than what you usually do, and had a more intimate feel. What inspired that new approach?
MW: Design for me is an impossible thing. It pertains to how we create a vision for the future. How we spread love and trust in the world—I think that is core to design. Having done that work for 25 years and looking back, I felt very happy and proud, but I also felt it wasn’t complete. There’s a whole area in myself that wanted to be shared and find an audience. So in the last years I started making work that was more connected with the emotional aspects of our lives, like pain and sorrow, and maybe madness, or just even disappointment—disappointment with the self, fear. I think all these energies should be in the world of design, but it needs a different podium, a different audience, because it’s a different conversation. So that is
the content of the work here. It comes from a need to share a type of message, which I haven’t shared before, and I’m really happy to share it.
WW: Could you give me the specific content of one of your pieces as an example?
MW: There is Phoebe, which is the girl mannequin dressed up with the light. Designers, artists, and creators usually work with their environment, and every design made finds itself on the line between power and beauty. Power and beauty need each other. Albert Speer needed Adolf Hitler. There is always a cost to creation: What are we willing to sacrifice for beauty? Some people go further than others. This work is about the destructive way to do that. Designers spread love, and it’s this big wonderful thing for the world, but there’s an agenda and it’s fair to be honest about it. You feel in this particular space [where Phoebe is standing] there’s no one there, but indeed there is someone. WW: You are currently designing interiors for several hotels, like the Mondrian in Doha, the Iberostar in Majorca, and the Quasar apartment building in Istanbul. In all these buildings, did you mix eastern and western influences? MW: When we make a product design, we basically have no idea where it’s going. But interior designs have no feet—they go nowhere. If you go to Doha, if you go Moscow, or to New York, you need to end up liking Moscow, New York, or Doha, or you’ll end up going nowhere. Interior design for us is something that we need to connect to our own culture and to the local culture with also an international atmosphere. Two of the places you mentioned are in the Middle East and have been influenced by local sensations and local ideas, because if you go there I want you to feel like it’s exciting. WW: What makes a project attractive to you? MW: A project is attractive for a whole bunch of reasons, but the first thing is the people you work with. I can’t work on my own; I need to work with
“DESIGN FOR ME IS AN IMPOSSIBLE THING”
Opposite page: Marcel Wanders Athanasius I, II, III (still) 2016 Digital video Total running time: 37 minutes Edition of 5 Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Marcel Wanders Studio.
“WHAT I WOULD LOVE TO DO IS AN OPERA AT THE MET. THAT’S ON MY LIST” WHITEWALL 62
people who make an excellent hotel possible. You want to work with people you respect. Then you need to have a plan that is feasible: the position, the building, the budget, et cetera.
WW: You’re also publishing a book, Rijks Masters of the Golden Age. Why was it important for you to pay homage to 17th-century Dutch masters? MW: There are two things: One, there is this amazing museum [the
Rijksmuseum], which has one room with the most incredible paintings of my country, and that collection didn’t have a book. I thought that was very strange and that it would be good to make a book on it, since it wasn’t a funny collection of black-and-white pictures, but the best art of my country. To mirror that or to be in the shadow of that work, I felt I needed to come up with the coolest book I can make, without taking any short cuts. So that’s what we did. The second reason I did it is because I’m a designer and I live in this construct of modernism. Modernism is still the present culture, and that of design. One of the big fundamental dogmas of modernism is that the past is irrelevant to the future. I mean, Corbusier thought it was a brilliant plan to wipe out the city of Paris to build new skyscrapers. So if the past is irrelevant for the future, what does that mean for the things we create today? It means that the things we create today will tomorrow be irrelevant. So I’m fighting that notion of modernism; I’ve been fighting it for the past 25 years. I want to make things able to become truly durable. I don’t consider it a project—I consider it a personal honor. That’s my reason. The work should have already been done. But I’m happy I get the honor to do it.
MW: We have a very interesting side table we made out of crystal with a lamp inside. But the most important piece is the chandelier, Le Roi Soleil, which we made with a new kind of topology. If you want to innovate on the concept of the chandelier, what happens a lot is that people take the chandelier and make a modern version of it by taking out the decoration, the ornaments, and the complexity. So they make it more easy and practical; that’s like the modern thinking. We wanted to find a way to be near to modern people but without losing the complexity. We said, “Okay, we’re going to make that chandelier but it’s going to end up round.” So it’s a sphere but with all the elements of a classical chandelier. It bows to modern architecture and design but still honors all the elegance and beauty of a classical object. WW: You’re hard to keep track of. This year you also designed an eyewear collection for Safilo, a tableware collection for Alessi. . . do you have any other future design fantasies? MW: Yeah, of course, some unexpected things maybe . . . What would you never expect me to do? WW: I could actually picture you making movie sets or something along those lines.
MW: That’s very near. What I would love to do is an opera at the Met. That’s on my list. I want to do the best opera ever.
WW: Would you say that artists like Vermeer and Rembrandt have influenced
WW: Where would be your favorite city to live in?
MW: Yes, I’m sure they have. I’ve seen these works since I was two, and I’ve
MW: I lived in San Francisco last year. I was in Milan this year. Maybe I should move to New York next year, no? A different city every year.
WW: You collaborated again with Baccarat. Can you tell me about your col-
Left and Right: Installation view of “Marcel Wanders: Portraits” (February 25–April 9, 2016) at Friedman Benda Gallery in New York. Photo by Andrew Meredith,
seen them multiple times in my life and at multiple periods of my development. And I’ve seen so many different aspects in their work and I have read so many things about them. It’s the type of work you can’t really forget, especially if you look not with your eyes but with your heart and with your brain. laboration?
courtesy of Friedman Benda and Marcel Wanders Studio.
ALEXANDRE ALLARD BY AYELET VARDI
Jean Nouvel and Alexandre Allard, April 7, 2016, São Paulo in Cidade Matarazzo at the first stone ceremony and Rosewood Tower’s presentation. Image by Vik Muniz.
aulista Avenue took me by surprise. It was a hot and humid August day, the beginning of Brazil’s winter. The epicenter of São Paulo, Paulista Avenue was full of life: tourists enjoying a stroll in a nearby park or visiting museums, local “Paulistas” rushing in and out of office buildings, homeless people waking up from a late afternoon nap, and the famous São Paulo city traffic that everyone keeps complaining about. A charming chaos. I turned right from the noisy avenue into the site of Cidade Matarazzo, the former hospital Umberto Primeiro in São Paulo, and within less than a minute found myself exploring dusty delivery and surgery rooms that time had left untouched, where old medicine bottles with Italian handwriting scrawled across them were remnants of an era when São Paulo attracted large numbers of Italian immigrants, brought to the country to harvest coffee. “It used to be a hospital for the Italian community who came to Brazil in the 19th century,” said Elise Lombrage, the communications director of the Matarazzo project owned by Groupe Allard, as she walked me through the deserted hospital. Lombrage’s eyes lit up as she described how the abandoned hospital will be transformed into “a stylish development that will include a hotel, entertainment services, and cultural venues like no other.” For now, the site is surrounded by rainforest plants, enveloping the space with a jungle-like artsy vibe. These are the remains of “Made by . . . Feito por Brasileiros,” a “creative invasion” of more than 100 artists who brought the hospital, which was abandoned in 1993, back to life in September 2014. “Feito por Brasileiros” was named the best culture event of 2014 by the São Paulo Association of Art Critics, APCA. The visionary behind this transformation is Alexandre Allard. He is
also the founder of the Matarazzo project and Groupe Allard, which enjoys the backing of star-studded, award-winning talent, such as the highly soughtafter designer Philippe Starck, who will work on the the interior design, and Jean Nouvel, who will design The Rosewood Tower. I climbed a spiral staircase to meet Allard, 47, who greeted me from beyond his large, messy desk. We dove straight into a two-hour-long conversation about business, passion, and life philosophy.
WHITEWALL: Where did it all start? ALEXANDRE ALLARD: I was one year old when my parents decided to move
to Africa. I grew up in Abidjan, the economic capital of the Ivory Coast. I was 15 when I moved to Saint Martin de France, a boarding school in France. I convinced five of my friends to come with me. The school was very expensive for my parents, who ended up saving most of their income to allow me to study there . . . It was hard for me because I realized I didn’t really know how to speak French; I couldn’t express myself. I suddenly discovered a world outside of Africa. Suddenly, people made fun of my African accent and the way I dressed.
WW: Did it bother you? AA: Not at all! For me it was a very defining time in my life. I had to work
on my French, and in essence to survive. I learned that humans can adapt to every condition and environment. When I came to Saint Martin de France, I met a lot of rich children. The way they saw me gave me energy. I needed more money to buy better clothes, so I started selling ties to the children in the school. We were forbidden from going anywhere without a tie, and out of the 1,000 children in the school that left for the weekend, an average of 20 forgot
to bring their ties when they returned. So I sold them ties.
WW: In addition to small business initiatives, during your years in Saint Martin de France, you won some major school entrepreneurial competitions. AA: My projects were always extremely pricey, so they typically couldn’t
be executed. However, they were ambitious and so I usually won the school competitions. One day one of the guys who visited the competition saw my project and told me, “Come work for me.” Shortly after I was sent to California to launch something they believed would never work. Americans used to buy a gallon of water for fifty cents. My challenge was to sell them a gallon of water for two dollars a bottle. The deal with Evian was that I would sell cases and ensure that the bottles were prominently displayed; the idea being that consumers would be attracted to the bottle itself, as opposed to its contents. In America at the time, people didn’t pay for display spots; many supermarkets worked independently, so it was easier to secure these spots. I would go and see each and every supermarket and befriend the manager. Then I would convince him to buy Evian and to put it on display, the only way I knew that it would sell. The payment for me was one dollar per case on display and after six months I sold 2,000 containers of 21,000 bottles each. I was making more money then the president of Evian worldwide. It was a good time to decide to go back to Paris.
WW: From America, you returned with a new Macintosh and a circle of bright friends you used to party with from Stanford University. They helped you establish a computer-assisted publishing company called Seaway Promer SARL. The company quickly provided technology to the most prominent advertising agencies. AA: My cousin and I launched it in a former butcher’s shop in Puteaux near
Paris, and everyone loved the location. All the advertising people enjoyed coming and smoking weed with us.
WW: In the early nineties, as individual marketing became more influential than advertising, you decided to exclusively focus your efforts on Consodata, a company you founded to create a mutualized database shared by all advertisers.
AA: The advertising companies always saw me as a geek, because they knew nothing about computers. Yet times were changing; companies started to evaluate costs and realized that there is a consumer beyond all these advertising films that cost them millions of dollars. So I started to store information about consumers, and while I was doing that, I realized that the future of advertising and marketing is one-to-one relationship. WW: What do you mean? AA: I made companies realize that they should care for their client. A client is like a friend. If he doesn’t care for you, he doesn’t know you; you are strangers. Relationship starts when you develop emotions. Then you have depth.
WW: How difficult is it to start something that didn’t exist? AA: I’ve been doing this my entire life. There is no difference between what you envision in your head and what you can do, because once you put it in your head you already created an existence to it. If it’s not new, it’s not new. If it is new, it is always crazy; it always breaks something that already exists. The minute you break something that exists you create a level of discomfort. Some people call this craziness.
WW: Did you ever step back because you were concerned that an idea was too foolish? AA: I never stepped back. I fight until I completely lose, that’s for sure. I can
lose everything that I have, but I will never step back. When I decided to create this database about everybody, people said it was insane. Indeed, technically it was impossible because no computer was able to store it and no one knew how to create a system that collects info about people. Today we know that people love to share information—we have social media that proves it to us—but back then we didn’t. I had to convince the bank to give me a loan to create my first surveys, which took 45 minutes to complete, and the people in the bank laughed and said that no one would give me this information. After seven months, I had collected data on one million households. After six years I had 580 million family households in my database. The only way to make people believe in your idea is to execute it.
All images: Interior design by Philippe Starck.
WW: After years of making money in a virtual world, you decided to shift to do things that are crafted. No more computers.
WW: So why Brazil? None of your previous real estate refurbishment projects have taken place here.
AA: I wanted to feel the beauty of what man’s hand can do. The more the
AA: I first visited Brazil in 1992 and for the first time in my life I felt at home.
world develops in a virtual and dematerialized way, the more we will have a need for physicality. I worked with the most advanced technologies and the most advanced people in the world—those that made the world what it is today—but it was like working for a ghost. And this is something that took many years to realize. I remembered that as a child I was always making castles, and suddenly it hit me that I had never done what I wanted to do. I reached a phase when I had so much money in my bank account that I started to lose perspective. I bought a Ferrari and then I bought an airplane, but it didn’t make me happier . . . It made me realize that this overflow of money was given to me in order to do something else. The idea of money usually is that it is a means to finance your dreams, but how big of a dream can one have when he has so much money?
WW: So what did you do next? AA: So I circled back to my first big dream, which was to save the world. I
was sure that I would be the one that would actually succeed in doing it, as opposed to all the others who had failed, but soon realized it’s not an easy task. I started to finance a lot of initiatives and discovered the world of charities is one of the most horrible worlds. So many nonprofits lack a business model and are therefore unable to sustain themselves on a long-term basis. I spent millions of dollars learning this until I decided to create a business that is sustainable and will contribute to the world in a positive way.
WW: In 2010 you created Micro World, an Internet platform that allows individuals and businesses to make online loans to finance projects of microentrepreneurs around the world. AA: I didn’t have patience for the old charity world, which, in my opinion,
is based on vanity and the need for recognition. I think that simply giving money is disrespectful and irresponsible. When you lend money to somebody, you are establishing a business relationship, and you treat them as an equal. In Micro World we teach people how to sustain themselves.
I believe in past lives, and am confident that I had a past life in Brazil.
WW: So you fell in love with Brazil first? AA: Yes, and in addition to that I had looked for a venue to create a physical portal because of my belief in physicality. A place for people to mix. I didn’t want it to be just a space where people pass by. I wanted it to be sexy, intelligent. I wanted people to get together but with a purpose. I want them to get elevated when they walk in the space. São Paulo is the capital of the southern hemisphere. In 50 years, America, south and north, will be one country. If you project yourself with what is going to happen, it’s likely that the two biggest cities in the Americas will be São Paulo and New York, so the location of the Matarazzo was perfect for my vision also.
WW: How would you describe the Matarazzo project in one word? AA: “Transformational,” which is also the reason why I am tired. I need to convince people that this project is possible, and so far I have received a 100 percent “it’s not going to happen” rate. Which is good because when this happens, I know I am doing the right thing.
WW: You say this at a time when Brazil is not doing so well. AA: True, but forget about money; it can go up, it can go down. Money never made human beings. What made human beings is exchange, living together, creating together. To live through what is happening now in Brazil is a chance of a lifetime.
WW: So you are fully confident that this will succeed? AA: Yes, it is and probably my last large-scale project, because after this noth-
ing else will be interesting. It’s not real estate for me. I believe in physicality. I believe that this is the best way to live and remember what you lived. And when you will walk in the Matarazzo in a few years, you will live.
All images: Renderings of the Jean Nouvel–designed Rosewood Tower.
“What made human beings is exchange, living together, creating together. To live through what is happening now in Brazil is a chance of a lifetime”
BY MICHAEL KLUG AND LAURENT MOÏSI
Portrait by Mathieu Ridelle for villa eugénie.
tienne Russo has been behind some of the most epic and transformative fashion shows and events in recent memory. With his event company villa eugénie, Russo has not just upped the ante, but expanded the possibilities and expectations of an immersive experience. When Moncler’s Remo Ruffini needs to wow with a new collection, he calls on Russo to do his magic—whether it’s transforming the Hammerstein Ballroom into a massive LED grid filled with 60 choristers behind a Pendulum Choir pivoting on hydraulic cylinders or a Valentine’s Day–themed presentation of ski style set on moving platforms with models taking the place of truffles in a reimagined oversized box of chocolates. Or when Thom Browne needed to orchestrate an office of 40 identical models acting in unison for twenty minutes, or to create a narrative of heartbreak staged in a Victorian operating theater as snow falls from above. Whitewall sat down with Russo to discuss his rise from being a club promoter and party planner in the eighties to working with Dries Van Noten in Belgium in the early nineties, to twenty years of creating events with villa eugénie.
WHITEWALL: Villa eugénie has been active now for over twenty years. But let’s go back first. How did you start?
ETIENNE RUSSO: It’s a long story. I went to the école hotelière in Belgium.
Then I worked in a restaurant where I learned how to be rigorous, precise, and on time. After a few years there, I felt it was time to explore other horizons. In the late seventies I met a stylist who encouraged me to become a model. I then modeled and traveled while living in Japan. I remember doing a show in Tokyo for Yamamoto Kansai for 11,000 people. It was a huge event. It was very impressive and impacted me very much. I started collecting experiences like that. I also started working in a club, as a bartender first, and then not long after, producing parties. For over ten years that club was a laboratory for me. It was the eighties, so the crowd was a really interesting mix of DJs, artists, music producers, dancers.
WW: What were some of your first events like there? ER: My first party was an opera-themed party. One of my friends was the
assistant technical director to the opera in Brussels. He showed me the opera house from top to bottom and I was amazed. I asked if we could borrow a few parts of the set they weren’t using. I wanted to transform the club, to do something different. I asked my friend Octavian to sing—a French opera singer, and the first androgynous model I’d ever met. He wore a tuxedo jumpsuit from Jean-Paul Gaultier. It was diagonally cut so only one arm was covered, and he sang on a bench on the stage of the club, not facing the audience. Everybody thought he was a woman until the moment he stood up and turned around. That was my first party.
WW: How did you go from those kinds of parties to doing events for fashion? ER: In the mid-eighties, it was an extremely exciting and engaging time for
Belgian fashion. I started organizing shows and a young designer contest for three years in the club. That’s where I really learned a lot. We didn’t have much money and you had to do everything yourself if you wanted to make things happen.
On another young designer festival I organized a few years later, Olivier Theyskens was one of the young talents that we had. And as guest designers we had Dean and Dan [Caten of Dsquared2]; they were just starting.
WW: How did you become close with Dries Van Noten? ER: I worked with the Antwerp Six as they were only just emerging. I did
several campaign shoots with Walter Van Beirendonck and also became close to Dries. At Dries we were a very small team, like a family. It was the very beginning. We would travel to London, Florence, Milan, and Paris to show his collections. At night while having dinner we would be dreaming: “Wow, one day if we can do a show, we’d do this or we’d do that.” Finally, one day in 1990 he said, “Well, Etienne, I’m about to do my first show in Paris. Do you want to do it?” Of course I said yes, not knowing what I was agreeing to. I did my first show in Paris in 1991 with Dries Van Noten. Twenty minutes before the show I was so stressed that I went in the toilet and I locked myself in! Dries was looking everywhere for me. When I think about it, it’s funny, but I’m not sure Dries liked it then.
WW: That’s the beginning of the journey. After that show, did you realize right away that this would be your future?
ER: As a model, I was always attracted by the other side of things: the pro-
duction, the lighting, the construction. At the club, I was trying to explore everything I could.
WW: And then one day you connected the dots. ER: The moment was exciting; you were not thinking about tomorrow. I
was finishing one show at a time. There was no strategy whatsoever. It was an adventure. I opened my company [villa eugénie] five years after the first show.
WW: In your youth, what were you dreaming about? ER: I was amazed by the movies. Being a kid in the late sixties, I remember the beautiful movies in black-and-white, in Technicolor. They were magical. I thought life was like this. I thought it was real life and I wanted to somehow be part of it.
WW: At villa eugénie, what is the starting point for each project? ER: There is no real format. It all depends on who we have in front of us. The dialogue is never the same. We can receive a briefing, whether it’s some pieces of fabric, a mood board, or a conversation. We respond with images and we adapt until we understand where to go. There is a lot of inspiration from contemporary art, books, movies, lighting, architecture, and the street— but never fashion.
WW: Do you try and tell a story? ER: The storytelling is key to me. It’s important that when the audience steps
into a venue, from the moment they pass the door, they are emerging into a total environment. Every detail is important to convey a story and an emotion.
WW: You mentioned contemporary art as an inspiration. Do you have any favorite artists? Do you collect?
ER: It is clearly one of my sources of inspiration. I buy what I like, I don’t
think much about what I buy, it’s instinctive. For me, art is a window—a window that takes you to another world. It shakes you, it makes you question yourself, allows you to travel or dream. It’s a reflection of our time.
WW: And you collaborate with artists, as well, like Daniel Arsham.
doing location scouting throughout the year. The venue is key because when you have a venue with a soul you already have a part of the story.
WW: Tell us about the Steven Klein and François Nars makeup collection collaboration in Yonkers in 2015. We were lucky to be there. It was incredible!
ER: I met Daniel Arsham when we produced an event in New York around
the collaboration of H&M with Maison Martin Margiela. Because it was Margiela, we were looking for a different way to show the collection. We found this amazing venue, 5 Beekman, that is today the Beekman Hotel. It started there. Instead of working with models, we proposed to do something with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, the contemporary choreographer, and her company Rosas. I went to her studio and on the floor was one big square of white sand. She went on the square of sand and started moving, and as she was moving she was drawing something on the sand, like a compass. I was blown away. It was extraordinary. So we decided, for each piece—close to 40—that we would have a canvas of white sand, and one by one the dancers would go and do a performance, leaving marks, taking off either a coat, a pair of shoes, a bag, and abandoning it in the sand. So there was a trace of what was left after the performance. Amongst this presentation/installation, there were artists that fit into the Margiela world and Daniel was one of them. Since then we have become good friends, and, yes, I collect some of his art.
ER: That event was one of a kind. I loved the venue in Yonkers. It had such a
story as well. I remember going to see it for the first time in January at night; it was snowing. I loved the ambiance immediately. We quickly decided to divide the manor into a series of experience rooms displaying installations based on Steven’s shoot for Nars—whether human tableaux, videos, or photographs. It was such a joy; the preparation was just as much excitement as the event itself and the collaboration with Steven and François such an amazing experience.
WW: You’ve also worked with Thom Browne for more than ten years. Can you tell us about that? ER: Thom and I were introduced once at lunch by Miki Higasa. It was love at
first sight. I think what made me very excited about him was that he doesn’t have the same background as anybody else in fashion. He was in L.A., he was a stylist, he was an artist, he was an actor. And you can feel that in his shows, the stories are always extremely strong; it’s always like a little movie. Tom has an extremely clear vision of what he wants.
WW: You mentioned the venue, 5 Beekman. Locations seem key to what you do. How do you find them?
WW: And the shows you’ve produced for Moncler have been quite over-thetop, too.
ER: Way back I collaborated with Marthe Lagache, a friend who showed me
ER: With Moncler I wouldn’t say we have carte blanche, but almost. We are
amazing venues. Nowadays I have the chance to be supported by a very dedicated team of talented people at villa eugénie, among which some of them are
fully in charge of designing the event and producing it. Remo Ruffini has become an excellent friend. We’re like family. I love him because he is a risk
Both images: NARS x Steven Klein Party, Fall/ Winter 2015–16, Alder Manor, New York, photo by Nisian Hughes for villa eugénie.
Manchester Museum, Manchester, photo by Camilla Alibrandi for villa eugénie.
The venue is key because when you have a venue with a soul you already have a story
Maison Martin Margiela for H&M, The Beekman, New York, Nisian Hughes for villa eugénie.
For me, art is a window–a window that takes you to another world. It makes you question, travel, or dream
” taker. We always push each other further, I love that.
WW: And what is it like working with Karl Lagerfeld? ER: Working with Karl is such inspirational experience. All of his ideas and
concepts are brilliant. I very much enjoy working with him on Fendi and Chanel.
WW: Any projects we didn’t touch upon that were particularly memorable for you?
ER: For me, the most exciting ones are the ones to come. I have a few upcoming projects that I’m very exited about…
WW: But of course you cannot talk about it. ER: [Laughs] I’m like a doctor or a lawyer. I have a lot of information, but I don’t disclose any of it. It’s good to keep the surprise, isn’t it?
WW: What about your new HEAVENSAKE? Newly launched high-end sake. How did you become interested in that? ER: I embarked on that adventure with two friends of mine, Carl Hirschmann and Benjamin Eymere, who like me love good sake. One day in Ibiza, we had lunch together, and Carl told me about his idea to produce some sake. We ended up saying, “Why don’t we do a business out of it?” He already had this amazing name: “HEAVENSAKE.” We started like that, not knowing anything, just the three of us. What
we were sure about is that we absolutely wanted to incorporate a French touch. For this reason we teamed up with the prestigious Chef de Cave Régis Camus, who has been awarded several times for being best Chef de Cave in Champagne. He traveled to Japan to make a blend for us and came back with the Heavensake taste as we know it. I’m in love with it.
WW: Your events disappear after the experience? Would you want to capture those experiences in the form of a movie? ER: Today a lot of virtual memories remain with digital media. The rest is
in people’s minds, which is for me the most beautiful thing. If you look at a picture, you remember what you saw but when you recall it in your mind, there’s no frame to it. Most of our events are indeed very ephemeral. At times, we do have more long-term projects though. For example, we were approached by the Manchester Museum to transform and redesign their Living Worlds gallery, which is a permanent exhibition. We’ve been contacted a couple of times to work on movies but unfortunately the timing wasn’t right. It’s still something I’d very much like to do.
WW: What do you wish for yourself in the next twenty years? ER: I’d say health. If I’m in good health, I don’t think I’ll stop working. My
work gives me stress but brings me so much joy. I’m learning every single day of my life and that’s what keeps me going. So I’d like to be healthy enough to still be working in twenty years.
Opposite page: Mulberry, Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017, The Printworks, London, photo by Daniel Sims for villa eugénie. This page: Dries Van Noten, Womenswear Spring/Summer 2005, Babcock & Wilcox, Paris, photo by Mathieu Ridelle for villa eugénie.
LINDA PINTO BY CHARLOTTE BOUTBOUL
Portrait by Gonzalo Machado.
inda Pinto runs Cabinet Alberto Pinto in Paris, the interior design firm originally created by her late brother, editor at large, and interior designer Alberto Pinto. The design firm is today responsible for the interiors of countless well-appointed mansions, palaces, planes, yachts, and hotels. Both siblings of Argentinian parents grew up in Casablanca and then moved to France. Linda came to Paris 45 years ago to work with her brother. He tasked Linda with carrying on the torch of his design legacy, when in his final days he asked her to move into his residence and personal office by Place des Victoires in Paris. Four years later, in that same majestic multiuse site, Linda Pinto warmly greeted Whitewall, during a visit in the fall. After being granted a tour of the offices, a former historical mansion, and being shown the interior court, five floors, and distinctive design departments (oriental, contemporary, classical, Art Deco), we entered her office. Where she told us about the design firm’s values and challenges before she headed off to England, where Cabinet Alberto Pinto was exhibiting at PAD London the following week.
WHITEWALL: How did your brother, Alberto Pinto, become a designer? LINDA PINTO: I think it was something he was born with. He always liked
furniture and antiques. As a young boy he would go to the flea market in Casablanca to look for something specific, buy it, and resell it. When we arrived in Paris he decided to go to the École du Louvre to study art history. Afterward he became an editor at large. It’s a job that doesn’t really exist anymore. Then (it was the second part of the 1960s) Alberto produced reportage photos that he sold to magazines. A publication would call him and say, “We would like to have a bedroom in São Paulo,” or “a bedroom in New York.” He would look for the bedroom, do the shoot, and the publication paid for that. He started like that and then he did his first apartments in New York, followed by a first apartment for a client in Paris, then a house in the Cap Ferrat, another apartment in Rio, and so on.
WW: How would you, as his sister, describe his designs? LP: I cannot really say “his designs” because it is so eclectic and open-mind-
ed. Alberto could do an apartment using a contemporary style, a classical style, an orientalist style depending on the client’s personal tastes and wants. It wasn’t a particular style of his own. Here in this office we don’t have a particular style. We have high quality, we have what you want, but we don’t have a style. The most important for us is quality and the client. We always try to understand what the client wants and the necessities of his environment: where he lives, whether he’s single or has a family, if he’s a king, a queen, a prime minister. And of what country? Middle Eastern? American? English? French? Depending on who that person is, it’s completely different. What I can say about my brother is that he was able to create a real atmosphere, and had the ability to understand the client: his mind, his dream.
WW: So how does it work when a client comes in the office and atelier for a prospective project?
Linda Pintoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Paris home, courtesy of Cabinet Alberto Pinto.
“The biggest challenge was to continue the lineage of Alberto. I hope he’s proud and that we’re staying faithful to his vision”
LP: Often, when a client comes to see us, he has dreams that he doesn’t necessarily know how to execute. We are here to realize them. It’s similar to a lady who wants a dress but doesn’t know how to sew or cut. She says, “I want a dress with that collar, that length, these embroideries, a button there, and here some red, yellow, blue, flowers, birds, whatever.” If she’s standing in front of someone that understands what she’s saying it’s easy afterward to cut the dress, sew it, and give it to her. It’s haute couture, not prêt-à-porter. It’s done for vous, and you are the only one to have this apartment. That’s why I’m telling you we don’t have style, because this piece of furniture is made especially for you.
WW: How long does it take to finish a project on average? LP: A project is never less than two years, because we’re expensive as we’re
top quality. Sometimes when the apartment is not that huge it can take 18 months but I will say around two years on average, if it’s bigger three years, if it’s really big four years.
WW: You’re running the whole office and atelier, what was your biggest chal-
LP: One thousand. WW: It’s almost like a factory! LP: Yes, I know it’s a lot, and I’m very proud and happy of that because it’s important.
WW: Is it important for you to stay in Paris, or would you consider moving your offices elsewhere or perhaps expanding?
LP: I want to expand the brand, but I think I will always have the office in
Paris. Although I’m open to work all over the world, I don’t feel the necessity to have offices in New York or Hong Kong or Doha. If the client wants us, the fact that we’re in Paris won’t be a problem. I’m hoping we will open the American market; I would love to work in America. The fact that we’re in Paris is also justified by all the craftsmen here—the gilders, bronzemakers, upholsterers, et cetera. The know-how is French. They’re all in Paris.
lenge when you first took this position?
LP: The biggest challenge was to continue the lineage of Alberto. I hope he’s
proud and that we’re staying faithful to his vision, without disappointing him. I don’t know if he’s listening to us or if he’s somewhere, but even if he isn’t, for myself it’s important. Actually, it’s important for the entire team–that’s eminently clear in this office. He’s always in our minds, and nobody would ever dream of doing something he wouldn’t like. You often hear around here, “Do you want that or do you think this is better?” “Oh no, Alberto would prefer that!” So he’s still alive for us. It’s quite crazy, funny, sad, everything. He was such a character, you know.
WW: Right now what are the important projects you’re working on? LP: We’re doing Çirağan Palace Hotel in Istanbul, the biggest hotel in the
city. We’re also doing another hotel in Azerbaijan. We’re finishing the residential Tour Odéon in Monaco. We are also finishing Hôtel Lambert, an hôtel particulier in Paris dating from 1644. This important historic house had a fire three years ago that forced us to momentarily stop. Now I hope we’ll finish it in the next two years. We have a lot of private projects in Paris, Hong Kong, London, and Doha. We’re also doing several boats and we’re starting to work on planes.
WW: How many craftsmen do you employ in the atelier?
Linda Pinto’s Paris home, courtesy of Cabinet Alberto Pinto. Portrait by Gonzalo Machado.
POSTCARD FROM MONTAUK BY KATY DONOGHUE
On September 3, The Surf Lodge celebrated the exhibition “A21 Project—Practice #1—Amazon Forest” with Osklen and Gary Clark, Jr. in Montauk, New York. The event featured a reveal of Osklen’s Pirarucu skin fish skin accessories, a collection that included shoes, bags, and even surfboards. Pirarucu fish is widely consumed in Brazil, with its skin often delegated to waste. Osklen’s Oskar Metsavaht found a way to repurpose the material in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable way. A protected species in the Amazon, the fish is farmed sustainably, stabilizing the local food supply and economy—with farmers achieving a 40 percent higher production rate over cattle raising. A fête of art and fashion, the exhibition offered a look at Osklen’s elements of style and unique take on “the new luxury” and was attended by Nicole Trunfio, Shea Marie, Caroline Vreeland, Peter Brant, Jr., Rocky Barnes, Tracy Anderson, Jenné Lombardo, Alex Soros, Danielle Snyder, Maxwell Osborne, Roger Waters, Nazare Metsavaht, and others. An artist in his own right, Metsavaht has found an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable way to use the unique material to a special edition of objects and accessories. Whitewall spoke with Metsavaht about this idea of
a “new luxury” and the ethical responsibilities of a fashion brand.
WHITEWALL: In a previous interview with us, you
said that every Osklen collection is conceived from a personal experience of yours. What experience led you to the idea of creating accessories with Pirarucu fish skin?
OSKAR METSAVAHT: On one of my first trips to the Amazon forest, I saw this unique fish for the first time, which is mostly used for feeding people in the forest. It’s native to this region of the world. Some years later, the tannery that we collaborate with at Osklen, which only uses sustainable techniques, showed me a process they developed to transform fish skin into leather. I then wondered why we couldn’t use this fish native to the Amazon where extra income would be so beneficial to the area. There are several farms to grow the Pirarucu fish in the region, and it’s highly controlled by the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. WW: What sorts of objects, accessories, and garments did you find lent themselves well to this material? We noticed in the exhibition imagery at The Surf Lodge a surfboard, skateboard, snowboard, wetsuits, sneakers, totes, and bags. WHITEWALL 118
OM: Starting with the sustainable practices of getting the fish from the Amazon to the specific and delicate tanning process and its handmade manufacturing, it’s a very expensive process. Because of the early stages of this technique, the investment and research is extremely high and the commercial scale is still relatively low. Our accessories are very exclusive and unique— that’s why I call them a “new luxury.” They are economically, socially, and environmentally friendly. WW: Why was it important for Osklen to take waste from a commonly consumed fish and elevate its status, while sourcing material from a sustainable fish farm in the Amazon?
OM: As a designer, I always integrate my emotions, personal experiences, beliefs, and aesthetics to the Osklen product. Osklen is one of my platforms where I can express all these ambitions and bring them to life. Of course, it’s challenging to bring all of my ambitions to life, but the greatest part of the process is the adventure of trying to get there. That’s why I believe we are always innovating for design and materials. For me, ethics and sustainability are the pillars for a better future for our planet. Along with ethics and sustainability, beauty and comfort play a big role in Osklen as
well. Of course, not everything can come from a sustainable source—the fashion industry isn’t quite there yet. We are at the end of a hundred years of industrialization where we didn’t think about preservation or sustainable development; it’s all very new. What I really think is great about what we do at Osklen and Instituto-E (the social and environmental foundation I founded 16 years ago) is that my team and I have dedicated our time and creativity to developing these sustainable projects from the ground up, starting in the forests, in the favelas, in the academic and research institutions, and then to my studio, the catwalks, and later in stores. I understand that Osklen is not a 100 percent sustainable brand, but we work on achieving a balance between the industry as it is now and a new, sustainable industry we are looking to achieve one day. Osklen is a fashion brand that reflects what we are, what society is, and right now, we are in the first decades of a new millennium changing our way of living. So I’m very enthusiastic about this change and it’s very much so reflected in Osklen’s projects and practices. We don’t feel the need to prove we have sustainable practices on climate change only, we think about the social issues and in the future of our practices. Sustainability is not only the carbon issues or recycling; it’s about the perspective of
consuming less and better, from the quality and originality of the design and its sources, how they bring a better life to others and to future generations. So in that sense Osklen is an “as sustainable as possible” brand.
“A21 Project—Practice #1—Amazon Forest,” is a way to share with others my vision and practices on sustainability. I thought the audience at Surf Lodge would be the perfect audience to share this cool and unique approach to fashion.
WW: Aside from the draw of the environmental
and social benefits of using this material, what are the stylistic appeals? What do you like about designing and creating with this material?
OM: It’s not as easy to achieve perfection with a skin that has not previously been used for fashion versus a skin that has been used for centuries. We have improved a lot; it’s a very “arts and crafts” process. What I like most is the texture of the scales and the soft touch. Also, the dyeing process we use is very unique, in a very sustainable way that helped achieve some nuances in different colors that are very inspiring. WW: As an artist, what about this collection and collaboration with The Surf Lodge interested you? OM: I’m an artist who uses different platforms like photography, fashion design, film, sculpture, and painting. Surf Lodge is an axis for creative people during the summer, where simplicity is sophistication. This installation I proposed, the WHITEWALL 119
All images courtesy of Osklen.
PIPILOTTI RIST: PIXEL FOREST | Installation View | October 26, 2016â&#x20AC;&#x201C;January 15, 2017 Pipilotti Rist, Pixelwald (Pixel Forest), 2016. Hanging LED light installation and media player; 20:55 minutes. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Luhring Augustine. Installation photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio, courtesy of New Museum.