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.

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Ciao Rome!

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

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.

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. Join me for my next Field Note



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. Join me for my next Field Note from somewhere in the world!



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. Join me for my next Field Note from The Southern Highlands in Australia.



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. Review all of these and more in pictures on my instagram and here. 

PS. Join me for my next Field Note from The Southern Highlands in Australia.



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. Join me for my next Field Note from Salone del Mobile in Italy.



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. Join me for my next Field Note from Modernism Week in Palm Springs.



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. Join me for my next Field Note from Pitti Immagine Filati in Italy.