Author: studioannetta


a working holiday

Well, I’m back. Have been for a week, but have been to busy this week to even think about my poor neglected blog. Our short, but very sweet, trip was amazing. I’ve had a few readers ask for tips and recommendations…so without boring you all senseless, I’ll try to keep it succinct.

London: 
We had only 4 days, one of which was the wedding we attended (at the Montague on the Gardens Hotel – super cute, very small rooms, but served a great afternoon tea!).  


Hyde Park on a lovely sunny day



Some of our favorite eats were:

Daylesford Organics, Notting Hill – We had breakfast here, our first meal in London. A great way to start the trip. Everything about this place is inspiring, and a concept that is sadly lacking in Hong Kong. We bought a lot of preserves here to bring back with us.

Granger & Co. Notting Hill – possibly a silly choice as Australians to patronise the establishment of another aussie whilst in London, but it was highly recommended by a few people. We met an old friend for lunch and enjoyed the food immensely.  Our friends whose wedding we attended ate there a week later and sat next to Stella McCartney and her husband. Great food, great interior, both with a very relaxed Australian vibe.

Somewhere we didn’t make it was Ottolenghi, in the same neighbourhood as these two. Also was highly recommended, and the deli style food I saw in the window when we walked past between breakfast and lunch looked amazing. I actually asked my husband at 10am if it was too early for another coffee and some cake. Needless to say it will be high on my list for next time, as will the sister establishment, Nopi in Soho.

Fortnum & Mason – the new Diamond Jubilee Tea Rooms designed by none other than David Collins are stunning. The afternoon tea set, which regrettably I did not have with the champagne that was available. Nor did I have the appetite to make the most of the endless refills of the delicious scones (best ever, which I can only say now that my Grandmother has passed away) or the cake trolley. Slightly wasted on us as we were so full from the previous 2 amazing meals we’d had that day, but amazing none the less.  I recommend you go with an empty stomach though.

Borough Markets – we wandered around for hours, on what was only our second trip here.  I would quite like the time to spend an entire day here and have 3 or more meals.  So much to taste and tempt you. We bought many varieties of saucisson, cheese and potted meats to take with us to eat on our travels, some of which actually lasted til we got home.

St.John – We had dinner here with the bride and groom to be, and I was  not disappointed. I love the space and the ambiance.  I thought the food quality, the serving sizes and quality of service was amazingly good value in a city with a reputation for being expensive.  It outclassed anything I’ve had in Hong Kong (although I have to say, most of our meals in London did). I was slightly underwhelmed by the main I ordered, but all in all I loved it and would definitely go back again.

Massimo – in the recently refurbished Corinthia Hotel, also designed by David Collins. We enjoyed  a very well priced set menu with the good friends we were staying with.  I enjoyed my meal, and the interior was captivating.  So many beautiful details, that Mr Collins is known for, that we could have sat for much longer and still picked up on something new. 


The Serpentine Pavillion by Ai Wei Wei and Herzog & De Meuron 



Other highlights: 

Tate Modern – Getting to see the Munch exhibit at the Tate was definitely a highlight, as I have admired his work greatly for many years.  I own a book of his work so was familiar with much of it (and was not disappointed at all that none of the versions of the famous “Scream” paintings were included), but was still pleasantly surprised by just how vivid his use of colour was. So inspiring.

Potterton Books– Definitely one of the best design bookshops anywhere handsdown, with outposts in New York and LA. I bought a couple of books, and could have spent a fortune on more had my credit card and weight limit as an economy passenger not restricted me…

The Orangery at Kensington Palace



Paris:

We were fortunate enough to here to celebrate our 11 year anniversary whilst in Paris.  Bofinger was recommended by a few people to us, and was fortunately a short walk from our charming hotel in Le Marais. We were taken to a table upstairs, which the waitress described as ‘très jolie’, and it was. However, the photos of the downstairs dining room with the lovely Art Nouveau detailed ceiling was what sucked me in, and I kinda wished we’d been able to sit there.  Despite this, the food was lovely, very rich in a traditional French sense, but very enjoyable.

L’ oulette – this was probably the best meal of the trip, if not at least in Paris.  A charming little bistro, also a short walk from our hotel, which has a great menu of French classics.  I had Duck confit (amazing), and my husband had Cassoulet (also equally amazing). 

Our last night we dined at Chez Julien (from the stable of the Costes brothers, of Hotel Costes fame), also recommended by a friend.  The food was more of a modern French style, which I enjoyed, and the interior is also quite charming.  Luckily also walking distance from our hotel, which took us along the Seine.

Parisians enjoying a sunny Sunday in the Place des Vosges



Other highlights:

I finally made it to the Decorative Arts Museum, a place I had been dreaming about ever since I discovered its existance, shortly after my last trip to Paris six years ago.  The collection is small, but amazing.  Pieces by Royère, Arbus, Prouvé – just to name a few. The bookshop attached is also a jaw dropper if you are into rare and out of print books on French design.

A rainy Paris day, as seen from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs



And of course, Maison & Objet.  My first trip, and somehow I manage to cover most of it in a day.  A pretty mean feat, anyone who has been will tell you.  Not sure where to even start, which was pretty much my feeling when I arrived there.  The vast range and quality of product on show is overwhelming. I don’t know that I will list off my faves in this post, but if I ever get around to perusing my fair catalogue I might do it in another one, another time.  Needless to say, if you’re in the industry its a must see.  Now that I’ve checked that off, I am now aiming for Milan next year.

A good day to be inside, the Louvre in Paris



Brittany / Normandy:

We stayed at Maison Violette, a lovely 300yr old cottage in a tiny but very cute town named Bazouges la Perouse. The town itself is definitely one of the prettiest in the area, and is only a 45 min drive from Rennes, the capital city of Brittany.  We took a train down from Paris (about 2 hrs), and then hired a car and drove for the rest of the time.


Maison Violette, in Bazouges la Perouse.
 
 
Making Bazouges our base, we did a lot of driving over the next few days…and without going into excessive detail, these were the highlights of that part of the trip…
 
 
The stunning Mont St Michel, only a 30 min drive from where we were staying
 Stunning seaside walled town of St. Malo, about 40 mins from Bazouges
Coastal town, Cancale, home to the best Oysters ever!, very close to St. Malo, we did both in a day
the Château de Combourg, about 20 mins drive away
and last, but not least, the crumbling ruins in Fougères, the largest medieval castle in Europe
(only 30 mins away from Bazouges)




all photos taken by moi!

Girl did good

I just returned from a fantastic two week trip.  London, Paris and a few days driving around the country side in Brittany.  It was one of those trips when you feel like you’ve been gone for twice as long, but it still went way too fast.  While I gather my thoughts and put together a post of all the wonderful sights and tastes I’ll leave you with this.  I’ve not always agreed with Nina Garcia’s thoughts as a judge on Project Runway, but I think her decision to work with Carlos Aparicio on her apartment was spot on. The mix of early 20th Century French and Scandinavian pieces is spot on. Love it.

Photographed by Björn Wallander for Architectural Digest, October 2012.

Wowsers…

Its been a while since I’ve seen anything that’s made my jaw drop…and maybe even longer since its been from Victoria Hagan.  Not that I’m not a fan of her work, but this? This is to die for. And I don’t normally like white…
 

Photographed by Melanie Acevedo for Veranda magazine (Sept 2012).

London calling…

I’m beyond excited that we are off to London next week…its been two years since the last trip, and this one also happens to be for a wedding.  I have a long list of new bars and restaurants to check out that have opened since I was last there, along with some others that I missed last time…but if you have any recommendations please feel free to let me know!  
Speaking of which, this might just be on my hit list…Galvin @ Windows in the Hilton Park Lane in Mayfair, which was just refurbed by the talented team at Central Design Studio.  The Michelin starred restaurant has incredible views of London’s most iconic landmarks, and the interior was inspired by the 1930’s and the golden age of cinematography.  Sounds divine!

Meet you at the bar? I’ll have a G+T please…

Villa Meissen

I know I haven’t been around here much lately…and I don’t even have a note from my parents to explain my absence! Things are a bit busy…and that might be a bit of an understatement.  It’s certainly not a complaint as I know there are people around the world who’d kill to be in my position right now.  Things are good, business is going better than expected, and I am pretty happy about all that I have achieved this year.  It just means my poor little blog has been a bit neglected and unloved of late.  I don’t want to start posting average material just to avoid awkward silences though…I’ve always strived to make sure that this is a blog that I would want to read, look at, and be inspired by, and I hope that by sticking to my guns it means that it will still appeal to like minded people.  So if you are one of those people I’m sure you’ll forgive the sparsity of my posts, and with any luck you’ll enjoy this one.
 
Villa Meissen in Milan.  I’ve been seeing images pop up in the printed media over the last few months, and honestly, I think I could move right in.  I’m guessing that is the idea.  Many of us are familiar with the name Meissen, it is a town in Germany whose name has become synonymous with luxurious porcelain, due to the fact it was the site of the very first European production of the mysterious white clay outside of China.  The name has since become better known for the company that has perfected the production.  Over their long and illustrious history the company has diversified and started to offer a much more diverse product range, and it seems the Villa in Milan is the perfect showcase for these products.  The interior is definitely my kinda space.  I’m loving the soft serene colours, the mix of classic and contemporary elements and of course the Meissen porcelain products.  I feel the need for a trip to Milan very, very, soon.

 

Reincarnation

Forget about coming back in another life as a person…I think I’d quite like to come back as this kitchen.  Sexy and practical.  Must appeal to my inner Gemini!

Black and Brass. Yum. Kelly Wearstler designed kitchen from the latest Elle Decor, photographed by Mikkel Vang.

Barbara’s world

This has to be one of the most overdue books in the design world….surely.  Barbara Barry was one of my first style icons and one one of the most influential informers of my own aesthetic.  My own style and taste has changed, expanded, morphed and developed, while Barbara Barry has stayed true to her singular vision. And this is partly why she still remains to be an inspiration.  To say I’m excited about this new release by Rizzoli is a bit of an understatement. 

Seems there are a few cover options…the first is from Rizzoli’s website, the second from Amazon.  I think I prefer the first one. You?

Bollywood babes

One of the perks of writing this blog is meeting – online and sometimes in the real world – people the world over, and being able to see and share the work of other talented individuals. One of these people is a young interior designer from Mumbai, India – Chirag Dewan. Chirag graduated from design school only 3 years ago and has already finished a pretty impressive project in his home city. 
The images below are of a boutique for a Delhi-based designer, Varun Bahl. Varun collaborated with Karan Johar, a famous Bollywood film personality, on a line of Indian and Western menswear. The store, which is located in the heart of South Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda district, is around 1200 ft2 and is dedicated to Varun’s own label and the collaborative collection with Johar.
The space looks like an amazing backdrop to what I’m sure is an inspired collection. I just might need to make a pit-stop with my hubby when we finally visit Mumbai…
 
 

Heavy metal

I’ve fallen in love with these ‘Helios’ tables by Stéphane Parmentier for Ormond Editions. Made from wood that has been silvered and lacquered they’re so unique.  The gradation of color to metal is subtle but also super luxe.  I think I need to get me one!

The Beef Bar

I’m definitely someone that loves their food…I don’t know if I’d go so far as to label myself a ‘foodie’, but it certainly is a passion…and so it makes sense that restaurants and their design are also something I’m very passionate about.  Its a combination of two of my great loves. 
 
I attended the HD Asia conference which was just on in Hong Kong this week.  There were some amazing speakers on the panel who talked about the trends and future of hospitality design in this region, and the ever changing nature of restaurants was one of the topics covered.  Tony Chi, whose work I’m a big fan of, spoke on the first day, and was incredibly entertaining and inspiring.  
 
So, perhaps because the weekend is coming and I’m looking forward to getting into the kitchen, or because my brain is wired on all things restaurants at the moment…this little gem caught my eye.  The Beef Bar in Monte Carlo. Designed by the firm Humbert & Poyet, I’m totally loving the mix of luxe materials, the dark moody colour palette and all those little details that make a great restaurant memorable.  I think all of a sudden I’m craving a steak…
 
 

 

My Hong Kong

I can leave you with one more thing to read today…my profile on the popular Hong Kong blog Eclectic Cool, written by the lovely fellow aussie Joanne Pereira.  Click on the link to read the rest of the feature…

 

Saint Germain inspiration

Things are a little hectic around here…so in lieu of a “real” post…I will leave you with this eye candy…and if you like go grab yourself a copy of the new Vogue Living (Aus). I would love an apartment in Saint Germain full stop, but one like this, yes please!

 

Yum

I’ve been having a bit of a rough week.  This gorgeous mix of stuff in the home of stylist Jenny-Lyn Hart Boden may be the only thing keeping me going right now.

 

AMMO

Every now and then in a city like Hong Kong you come across a place that makes you want to shout about it from the rooftops, or hide it away and make it top secret because its just that great you don’t want to share it. AMMO is one of those places.  I was lucky enough to be invited to a launch party of sorts last night.  Having just moved house and office space the day before (more on that later), I almost didn’t go.  I’m so glad I did.  
 
First off, AMMO is named after its location amongst the heritage ammunition storage buildings in Admiralty, now run by the Asia Society. The setting is incredible.  Lush tropical mountain side, and yet so central. The heritage buildings have been restored and preserved beautifully. Old magazines have been turned into art galleries, mini theatres, and private function rooms.  Its so nice to see heritage restoration done well in Hong Kong for a change.  
 
But back to AMMO. The interior, which is absolutely stunning, was designed by ridiculously young, and ridiculously nice local but international designer, Joyce Wang. Having just completed the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, she certainly is one to watch. Well, not if you want to be feeling like an under achiever, as I was after meeting her…  The interior was inspired by French Sci-Fi movie ‘Alphaville’ by Jean-Luc Godard which portrays what a dystopian future looked like in the 50’s. Think industrial luxe with a bit of 50’s futurism thrown in.  Everything was custom made for the space, and the furniture is beautiful, not to mention those fantastic chandeliers in the centre (yes, those are actually lights!)

And now, for the best and most important part….the food!  My husband and I are big fans of the sister restaurant, The Drawing Room, so if you have eaten there and liked it, you will love AMMO.  Local celebrity chef and restaurateur Tony Cheng, together with his mentor, Chef Roland Schuller from The Drawing Room had a vision to serve simple, elegant and affordable cuisine with unpretentious service. They want guests to enjoy the salubrious surroundings without the fussiness and stuffiness associated with other fine dining establishments. I think they have succeeded!  

We were served a selection from the Tapas menu and everything was amazing.  We went back for 2nds, 3rds, and after that it just got embarrassing but we went back for more anyway. I’m not normally a fan of Foie Gras, but even than was delicious. 

All I can say is, I’m glad my birthday is coming up soon so I don’t have to wait too long for an occasion to go back. Its just that good.

The Urbanist

The latest edition to the Architectural Digest international stable, is the India edition.  The new May/June edition, the second ever issue, features the home of some new friends in Delhi, Brian and Puru.  We “met” some time back via this blog, and then actually met when my husband and I were in Delhi last year visiting more friends.   Their apartment, which you can see from the pages below, is beautiful.  It also happens to be filled with many pieces of their own design, produced by their company Urbanist. Congrats again guys, the spread looks fantastic, and I have to say the quality of the magazine is higher than some Hong Kong decor magazines…maybe AD China will start publishing a bilingual version? Fingers crossed.