FIELD CHAT: JULES MAIDOFF

The powerful drama-filled paintings of Jules Maidoff adorn the walls of private and public art collections worldwide. A foreign local, Jules grew up in the Bronx, and moved to Florence, Italy in 1973, to pursue his passion for art. He is the co-founder of SACI, Studio Arts College International, and has held over 60 solo exhibitions throughout Europe. At the age of 86, he continues a prolific artistic career as a painter and acclaimed patron of the arts.

“Florence changed my life.”

In his painting studio at home we chat about art, inspiration and his current musings. Surrounded by paintings archived chronologically from the 1950’s to the present, Jules sits reflectively on a swivel chair, chewing on an unlit Cuban cigar, in front of his latest work “The Last Leap”.

What inspires you to create? The delightful thing about living in Europe is the totally diverse culture, language, architecture, food and the traditional way of doing things. It’s always stimulating. Eighty percent of what inspires me comes from before I was an adult—the elderly, cousins, how we formed and tested friendships, growing up in NY, my father… My father urged me to draw when I was five. He gave me a big pile of yellow paper and I thought art was a very natural way of spending my time.

What attracted you to your studio? The space was inside and outside. I’ve always had a studio where I live. 

What are your workspace essentials? Classical music on the radio, the right chair and my easel. An iron-maker made the easel I designed. I have two, so if I have a big picture I can use both. 

How many pictures do you work on at a time? Typically 3 to 4 pictures. 

What’s on your Instagram? Pictures of my granddaughter, pictures of my paintings, things from my house and an occasional video. 

What’s on your nightstand? Pens, medicine boxes, Vicks VapoRub, scissors, comb, eyeglasses, radio and a Sicilian sculpture. 

Which artwork do you most value? “The Embrace” I painted it in 1980, it opened up new years of discovery. 

What object do you most value? A crazy Asian god that I bought somewhere from South East Asia when I was 23 maybe 25. 

What are you reading? “The Complete Works of Arthur Conan Doyle” 

A favourite place to visit in Florence? Museo Marino Marini

What was your last online purchase? A pair of white sneakers.

PS: Thank you Jules for sharing your passion for art!

 

SALONE DEL MOBILE 2019

Ciao Milan!

Milano Design Week is an exciting window into what’s next in furniture and design. It captures all the latest trends, newest styles, materials and products, and provides inspiration from leading design brands.

Here are just a few highlights from the vast furniture and lighting-filled halls at Salone del Mobile 2019.

Many new accessory lines and designer collaborations with furniture brands were launched. Moooi collaborated with Japan Blue, Denim City and Ecco to present “Tokyo Blue”, an intersection of technology, research and design with indigo-dyed textiles and leather. Woven into striking wall and furniture coverings it is an extension of their ‘Extinct Animals’ nature series. Nanimarquina, known for its sustainable rugs, introduced “Wellbeing” by creative designer Ilse Crawford. The accessory line included a hammock, wall tapestry, throw and cushions, made using traditional craft techniques and local artisans.  Danish brand Fritz Hansen unveiled their latest collaboration with Jaime Hayton “Lounge Chair JH97”. Sculptural and mid-century in form, the classic shape was inspired by a pelican. The slender tracks of FLOS Architectural new track lighting system gives the flexibility of being positioned on walls or ceilings. Magnets are the magic, allowing the fixture to be repositioned without the need for tools. The outcome is tech-modern with a minimalist aesthetic. 

The on-trend color palette was captured in a carpet by Zeitraum. Dusty pink, clay terracotta, moss green, ochre yellow, pale and deep blue gave a Post Modernism vibe to furniture color and shape - think eighties architect and painter Michael Graves. Velvet and oak wood, chrome and mirror surfaces, graphic textural pattern and inspiration from nature were recurring themes.

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

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NOSHTREKKER

Welcome Singapore!

The founder of NOSHtrekker had a vision to bring an authentic taste of place to travelers who didn’t want to return home with just any ordinary souvenir. Her aim was to create memorable travel experiences that were enriched with cultural stories of local people and their delicious food.

Foodies and culinary travelers who want to immerse themselves in local life should book a private in-home dining experience with NOSHtrekker. Here you will find a carefully curated selection of seasoned home cooks eager to serve authentic ethnic food prepared in their traditional way. Peek into their personal living spaces and hear cultural and life stories, whilst eating a feast fit for an emperor.  

Masala Mistress is a NOSHtrekker Signature Host who is a cookbook author and former restaurateur. She serves a Kerala-style menu filled with aromatic curries, flavorful dosas, and fragrant biryanis. Be sure to taste her delicious teh tarik, (pulled tea), a Malay specialty that you see locals drinking at street stalls and in restaurants. Take full advantage of your location and venture into nearby Pasir Ris Park. With 170 acres of lush mangrove forest, you can rent a bike or explore the many nature trails on foot.

This experience was made possible by my sister, Tahnya, who co-founded NOSHtrekker in 2015.

PS. Join me for my next Field Note

 

 

SINGAPORE

Hello Singapore!

The Lion City beckons with lush greenery, contemporary design, and award-winning cuisine.

EAT
As any local will proudly tell you, eating is a national pastime in Singapore. For a true taste of Lion City cuisine, head to the stalls of Maxwell Food Centre. Here, you can tuck into an endless supply of delectable plates, from the iconic Hainanese chicken rice from Tian Tian—once awarded the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand prize—to beloved Singaporean comfort foods such as hokkien mee (a savory noodle dish made with prawn and pork stocks). Thirsty? Try freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, coconut water from the shell, or a cup of teh tarik: a frothy drink made from black tea and condensed milk.

SEE
For those in search of local craftsmanship, a stroll in the historical precinct of Kampong Glam provides options galore. Pick up a memento at Scene Shang, a home-goods boutique that produces many of its items—including the shop’s colorful Ming Dynasty–inspired furniture line—in collaboration with Asian artisans. You’ll find an equally impressive display next door at Supermama, an intimate gallery filled with locally designed ceramics and other collectibles.

STAY
Built into a row of 19th-century shophouses in Singapore’s colorful and eclectic Chinatown district, the recently opened Six Senses Duxton boasts 49 plush guest rooms, each sustainably restored and individually decorated by Bond Girl turned design powerhouse Anouska Hempel. Bonus: If the Malay-timber fretwork, gold-forward palette, and bespoke furnishings haven’t won you over, perhaps the hotel’s emphasis on wellness (courtesy of the onsite herbal dispensary) will.

This post was adapted from Destination: Singapore that ran in the Winter 2019 issue of Boston Home magazine.

PS: View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

ROME

Buongiorno Rome!

An epic and monumental city, Italy’s awe-inspiring Eternal City is a visual feast of art and culture.

AM

Do as the locals do and start the morning with a caffè and cornetto at La Casa del Caffè Tazza d’Oro al Pantheon, which opened in 1946 in Rome’s historical center. Italians are synonymous with style and the concept store HB Roma treats the senses to a mix of stunning art and perfumes. The high-end department store La Rinascente offers several floors of Italian clothing and furniture (and head to the basement to see the still-functioning ancient Roman aqueduct that services nearly all the city fountains). Take a break from the action with traditional fried artichokes and other seasonal dishes at Osteria Chiana, then spend the afternoon strolling the Centro Storico’s cobblestone streets to see such iconic sights as the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Piazza di Spagna.

PM

The holiest of happy hours happens Friday evenings through October, when you can sip aperitivi inside the Vatican Museums’ manicured Pinecone Courtyard. When it’s time to eat, take the 10-minute cab ride to Trastevere, a charming medieval neighborhood where the locals gather. For a memorable meal of homemade tiger-prawn tortelli with asparagus and other Roman classics, book a table at Antico Arco. Follow it up with an Italian film under the stars at L’Isola del Cinema, an outdoor festival that runs through mid-September on the nearby island of Tiberina. Or simply grab an overstuffed cone of small-batch gelato from the excellent Fiordiluna to feel like you’re walking straight out of Roman Holiday.

This post was adapted from ‘Boston Traveler' that ran in Boston Magazine in July, 2017.

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

FLORENCE

Ciao Florence!

In a city that many say stays the same, Florence has proven that historic spaces and traditional food can be reinvented. Originally opened in 1896 as Florence’s first hardware store, La Ménagère was transformed by the Florentine architecture and design firm Q-Bic into a chic retail and dining destination. The stylish locale—now home to a revamped home-goods store, restaurant, bistro, music venue, and flower shop—boasts minimally set tables, large orchids suspended from the building’s historical vaulted ceilings, and a variety of designer lighting set against a mix of ancient stone surfaces.

Italian food is regional and Florentine flavors hold their own. Located opposite the famous Caffè GilliIrene is one of the most recent additions to Florence’s modern dining scene. The restaurant is helmed by director of food Fulvio Pierangelini, whose previous restaurant received two Michelin stars. Reserve ahead to secure a spot on the outdoor terrace.  The upscale Italian food court above the city’s historical Mercato Centrale boasts an intriguing array of craft beers and local wines available by the glass, as well as Tuscany’s finest artisanal salami, cheese, pasta, and chocolate.

Hotel Spadai opened last year after undergoing a renovation led by Rome-based architect Franco Bernardini. Located in a Renaissance-style building in the historical center of Florence, the hotel blends traditional architecture and contemporary Italian décor with American-friendly amenities. After a day of sight-seeing, enjoy an aperitivo at Spadai’s lounge bar or take in the beautiful evening view of the dramatically illuminated Duomo from the top of the spiral staircase.

Portrait Firenze, owned by the Ferragamo family, this five-star, all-suite hotel sets a high standard for style; each spacious and elegantly furnished room is an homage to Florentine craftsmanship. The hotel’s immense windows overlook the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno River, and the hillside to Fiesole, just like a scene from A Room with a View.

This post was adapted from ‘Weekender' that ran in Boston Home Magazine in May 2016.

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS, NSW

G’day Australia!

Growing up south west of Sydney and returning for family visits is a reminder there’s no place like home. The towns of Mittagong, Bowral, Moss Vale and surrounding villages, is the region referred to as The Southern Highlands. The familiar countryside, green from weeks of rain, held a crisp scent and the sound of native birds filled eucalyptus trees. It is a beautiful place to escape for a weekend (or live).

The retail fabric of the main streets has changed over the years but the current lifestyle stores inspire the most stylish of country living. Suzy Anderson Home, Harry's On Green Lane and Dirty Jane Antiques, with adjoining chic coffee shops, are a must-stop to peruse exquisitely styled accessories in interior designed spaces. Take a styling idea by planting greenery in silver vessels and set in bookcases, oversized birdcages or on stacks of vintage books.

The region is also rich with wineries, olive groves and organically grown produce. Buy a bounty of locally made goods from a stable of farmers markets or book a NOSHtrekker food experience for a shortcut to taste the best cuisine, hear stories from the makers and learn through your tastebuds.

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

STYLING AT SALONE DEL MOBILE

Ciao Tutti!

Attending design exhibitions, experiencing art installations and observing retail displays provides me with a lot of inspiration for interior and editorial styling. Books are a common theme and one of the most versatile accessories found in every interior stylists' toolkit.

At Salone del Mobile in Milan, there were many examples where books were styled to enhance the presentation of furniture. Art books were left open to unite a collection of objects on a surface, architecture books were selected so the cover would provide color to help connect with a rug, and graphic typography books were displayed in wire boxes, like small fencing, to fortify an outdoor theme.

Other companies displayed books with their spines facing into a bookcase or stacked them like organic brickwork to fill entire shelves. They added height and composition by raising plants or objects, created blocks of color, and were bound together with belts.

Most often the book jackets were removed to reveal the solid color, and texture, of the hardcover. Some books even had the entire cover removed. Styling with books can elevate your own collection of objects and create a focal point within a room. Think vertical or horizontal planes and hidden spaces. 

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

SALONE DEL MOBILE 2017

Ciao Milan!

During Milan Design Week thousands of people converge from around the world to experience the best in design. Salone del Mobile forms part of the program, where companies unveil new products and display iconic best sellers in stands constructed to the quality of luxury showrooms. Imagine being submerged in the most beautiful and enviable designer furniture and lighting, within the style capital of Italy - just two words describe the experience - Sensory. Overload.

The trending interior colors of pale pastels, jewel-toned teal, emerald green were all on show with burnt orange and ochre yellow new additions to the palette.  A soft transparency of these colors also appeared in glass lighting and accessories. Styling details, like layering tables of varying heights to form a coffee table arena, different style bedside tables, draping greenery on bookshelves and hanging lamps low over furnishings were common themes. Serpentine-shaped sofas in the style of Vladimir Kagan, earthy neutrals in muted shades, plush velvet, and stone infused with orange, comprised many of the new collections.

Other inspiring highlights were innovations where design meets technology. The stunning LED wallpaper and fabric designed by Meystyle, colorful waterproof textiles in outdoor pendants by Contardi Lighting and other leading brands like Ketall who used building techniques of classic wooden boats for longevity of their outdoor furniture.

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

MODERNISM WEEK

Hello Palm Springs!

If mid-century modern architecture is your design style then Palm Springs is your destination, especially during Modernism Week when the city celebrates all aspects of mid-century design and its aesthetic preservation. Less than a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, the scenery surrounding the city is striking with hundreds of wind turbines 'planted' into the desert hills.

It is worth taking an architectural house tour to see the most famous mid-century modern homes. Many were designed by iconic architects such as Richard Neutra, William Wexler and E. Stewart Williams who designed 'Twin Palms' for Frank Sinatra . The period furniture, interior courtyards and outdoor entertainment spaces, most include stunning swimming pools, leave you wanting to just move in. Large cacti and succulents share the manicured gravel gardens with towering palm trees that look more like they belong in the tropics than in a desert.

Venture just outside Palm Springs to experience Doug Aitken’s “Mirage” art installation of a ranch style house clad entirely with mirrors. It both absorbs and reflects the surrounding landscape making the house seemingly disappear. My pictures were taken in late afternoon under a cloudy sky but the reflections in full sun are even more dramatic.

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

PITTI IMMAGINE FILATI

Buongiorno Florence!

On the heels of fashion week in Florence, Pitti Immagine Filati launched the anticipated 2018 Spring/Summer lifestyle trends for the textile and knitwear industry. Before fashion hits the catwalk, this is where it all takes shape. An exhibition titled "The Passenger," dedicated to all things travel, was the centerpiece for revealing the concepts. Fashion and accessories were styled against a backdrop of lifestyle videos, suitcases of textile swatches, and oversized cotton reels in each of the nine color palettes. 

Italian and foreign exhibitors showcased their innovation in materials and construction. 3-D printing, laser-cut technology and software formed the basis of an impressive collection of textiles. Many of the design details reflected the latest in interior design trends: padded jackets that resemble quilted seat upholstery, metallic threads which mirror what is being woven in rugs and of course, the big trend color for interiors, green.

Walking among fashion buyers, designers, and the world's most influential stylemakers added to the exciting discovery of the future direction in fashion.

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote

 

MAISON ET OBJET 2017

Bonjour Paris!

Not all furniture trade fairs are created equal in size and display but Maison et Objet didn’t disappoint, exhibiting the latest trends in home furnishings, accessories and lifestyle products. It was a chance to preview new collections from the leading home brands and meet smaller artisans from across Europe. Design inspiration for interior styling, storefront merchandising and event decoration was plentiful, a small taste of the fabulousness, is shown on Instagram and here. 

Always looking to inject a little humor into interior design, a stand out was Lord Lou’s new Copycat Art Scratcher. It will have cats jumping and scratching for joy. “Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase" would be perfectly suited with Moooi Carpets Eden Queen by Marcel Wanders and the stylish kids furniture from Cybex Parents Collection. 

Pantone Color of The Year 2017, and various shades of green, was the standout color on most stands. Cactus and hanging plants replace the forever popular Ficus and succulents as the new ‘it’ plants - either real or faux. 

Other design highlights included elements of nature, jungle pattern, colored glass, luxe metallic accents, and handmade objects. 

PS. View more images on my instagram #kbfieldnote