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Chamber: A 21st-Century Cabinet of Curiosities

A 21st-Century Cabinet of Curiosities
Studio Job

One trip to Chamber, the brand new home and design mecca located under the High Line in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, and you’ll try to find a way to move in.

Designed by MOS Architects, the modern, all-white space takes its inspiration from a 17th-century cabinet of curiosities, adapted for contemporary palates. Every two years founder and Museum of Modern Art vet Juan GarcÍa Mosqueda will choose a different designer to curate the boutique’s rotating selection of 100 vintage and limited-edition items of decor, furniture and art by emerging and established talent.

Dutch designers Studio Job have chosen the shop’s inaugural collection, which, along with creations by other talents, will include their designs for a brand new series and a special edition of their Lensvelt furniture (first presented at the 2013 Salone del Mobile). The trove will also feature specially commissioned pieces like a 3D-printed skull sculpture by Nick Ervinck, a handmade oil and vinegar set by Formafantasma and leather paintings by Esther Janssen, alongside objects like Tom Dixon’s utilitarian steel floor lamp and Nendo’s Glas Italia bookshelf. Vintage rarities like a 1956 Borsani desk for Tecno and Delvaux purses will also be on display.

“It’s the idea of having a well-rounded collection that goes beyond trends and stylistic and curatorial pursuits,” says the Argentine-born, Art Institute of Chicago–trained Mosqueda, who is particularly looking forward to selling a fragrance by Fueguia 1833 perfumist Julian Bedel in a Studio Job porcelain bottle, among other items.

“I wanted to bring back the importance of the physical experience by deeply focusing on the analog rather than the digital,” he says. “That’s why it’s essential for Chamber’s visitors to really spend time looking at and hearing the stories behind each of our complex hand-picked objects.” 515 W. 23rd St.; chambernyc.com.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Fifth Career

Sir Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Fifth Career
Courtesy of Jessie Askinazi

Michael Lindsay-Hogg is the epitome of the Renaissance man. He is a painter, writer, director and an unmitigated bon vivant, of sorts. He’s directed videos for The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, as well as the acclaimed television series Brideshead Revisited. (He’s also the purported son of Orson Welles.)

He has dubbed his work as a painter, which he has now turned to full-time, as “career number five,” and his latest creations can be seen in the brand new exhibition “Casanova’s Dream,” on display at The Salon at Automatic Sweat in Los Angeles through October 10.

Lindsay-Hogg’s painting is an amalgamation of folk-art-like expressionism suffused with wit and humor, a la poet Dorothy Parker or filmmaker Preston Sturges. Like all of his work, the artist does not limit himself to mere canvas; he works on cardboard, paper, postcards…anything he feels will enhance his vision.

“I guess painting is what I like doing best now,” mused the artist at his opening last Saturday evening. “Although, in one way, it’s only marks and colors on a surface, for me there’s a link to writing, directing, in movies and theater. There is an ambiguous relationship the people in the paintings have with each other, with the outcome—often in doubt, or left hanging—[and] with each other or with the viewer.”

What is beyond clear, however, is that his artwork deserves to be seen. 2656 S. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-839-3100; automaticsweat.com.

A Public-Art Profile of New York City Street Life

Boradway Morey Boogie
Photo courtesy of Fisk, Lars

Thanks to an expansion of materials, spaces and appreciation, public art is reaching new heights worldwide, and the sky’s the limit—literally. Beginning September 17, New York will be home to one of the latest examples: “Broadway Morey Boogie,” an exhibit from modern-art gallery Marlborough Chelsea (545 W. 25th St.; 212-463-8634; marlboroughchelsea.com) that features public works at various locations between Columbus Circle and 167th Street along the Broadway Malls.

While the exhibit spans 107 blocks and includes the contemporary works of 11 artists (including Dan Colen, Sarah Braman, Matt Johnson and Paul Druecke), the title—a reference to Piet Mondrian’s 1943 painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie—reveals an homage to New York City street life that is intended to be considered cohesively.

Though the pieces are meant to reflect the same vigorous urban energy that Mondrian’s piece carries, curators Max Levai and Pascal Spengemann also intended to cull a collection that would stop fast-footed New York denizens in their tracks—if only momentarily. “Specifically, we were looking for work that was sufficiently accessible to engage a wider public, while encouraging a thought-provoking dialogue in terms of both form and content,” explains Levai.

Levai and Spengemann carefully selected a group of artists, many of whom will be making their public-art debut, with the hopes of attaining a goal that is twofold: to showcase the talents of artists in the public-art sphere, while also creating the space for future exhibits of its kind. (This also isn’t the first time the Broadway Malls have exhibited outdoor artworks.)

“Public art in New York is a complicated beast, and a realm that I feel is dramatically underdeveloped,” says Levai. “Its advantage is its ability to affect more than just those who participate in the museum and gallery world. Therefore, it has the potential to have a dramatic effect on pushing artistic progress forward.” Through February 2015.

The New Collectible: Brunello Cucinelli

New Collectible: Bruno Cucinelli
Photo courtesy of James Wojcik

Consider navy the new evening standard. The Italian clothier’s handsome version is 100 percent cashmere, with two buttons and available in a silk peak lapel or shawl collar (shown here). Tuxedo, from $8,065; 212-627-9202.

The Battle of Wearable Technology

The Battle of Wearable Technology: Google Glas vs. Oculus Rift
Google / Oculus

With the release this year of Google’s augmented-reality device, Glass, and Face­book’s recent acquisition of virtual-reality technology company Oculus VR, we’re now officially entering the Viewfinder Age.

Superficially, Glass and Oculus appear to be cut from the same cloth. Glass ($1,500; glass.google.com) is a wearable computer that rests on your ears, with a small optical display in the right corner of your field of vision. The Oculus Rift (price undetermined; oculusvr.com), expected to go on sale before 2016, is also worn on your head, with an LED display across your eyes that is fed any manner of virtual experiences. Both change the way we see. Glass will help you find a new restaurant; Oculus will manufacture the restaurant from digital bricks.

But ultimately these devices have entirely different purposes, naturally driven by the commercial interests of their makers. By giving you an incentive to explore the physical world in a new way, Google wants to deliver users new information in the real world, what cyberpunk novels call “meatspace.” It sits neatly with the company’s other real-life projects, like planning to launch its own satellites and purchasing robotics manufacturers. Facebook, on the other hand, presumably wants to collect information by creating its own virtual world for you to explore. Facebook doesn’t care if you ever leave the home it has constructed.

Think about it this way: Google wants the world through your eyes and Facebook wants you through its world’s eyes. It’s all about where you place the lens.

Fall Reads: Sarah Waters's "The Paying Guests"

Fall Reads: Sarah Waters's The Paying Guests
Photo courtesy of Grant Cornett

In one of the most physically immersive novels to come out in recent years, Welsh author Sarah Waters conjures the details of England in 1922 with complete conviction. She depicts a country still reeling from war, adjusting to the disappointments of peace. Her heroine, Frances Wray, is also adjusting—to her dead father’s debts—and she and her mother are forced to take in lodgers: a gaudy young couple, Lilian and Leonard Barber.

Frances, intelligent, wry and unmarried, observes the newcomers with misgivings but is soon attracted to Lilian, who returns her feelings with trepidation, then with abandon. Waters traces their growing bond with a craftsman’s patience—each gesture, each shade of emotion—and the result is as tormenting as if the reader herself were falling in love. A cataclysmic event propels the plot to its tension-filled conclusion, but it is the progress of Frances and Lilian’s relationship—through passion, suspicion and maturity—that ultimately makes The Paying Guests so sad, powerful and brimming with life.

The Paying Guests, published by Riverhead Books, comes out September 16.

A New Hotel in Tel Aviv

A New Hotel in Tel Aviv
Photo courtesy of The Norman, Tel Aviv

On the heels of two big hotel openings in Israel in the last year—the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya (which Departures covered this spring) and the Waldorf-Astoria, in Jerusalem—comes Tel Aviv’s The Norman, an elegant boutique option centrally located near the city’s grand Rothschild Boulevard. The hotel comprises two immaculately restored 1920s residential buildings connected by a fragrant citrus tree garden; furnishings handpicked from French flea markets and ornate tile designs create the sense of a bygone baron’s Mediterranean estate. All the hotel’s services—including a French-Mediterranean brasserie and Japanese tapas spot—are in the main building, 25 Nachmani Street, which also houses 30 rooms. In the second building, 23 Nachmani Street, there are 20 suites. The bones of the latter building have led to unexpected treasures, such as the jewel-box bathrooms in the King Albert Suites and the walk-in closets in some of the Garden Suites. Rooms start at $375; 23–25 Nachmani St.; 972-3/543-5555; thenorman.com.

Culture Index: Fall's It Girl

Culture Index: Fall's It Girl
Illustration by André Carrilho

Robyn Davidson’s book Tracks seemed tailor-made for a David Lean–style epic: In 1977, Davidson trekked across 1,700 miles of Australian outback, alone but for the company of four camels and a dog. “It’s a difficult book to adapt,” says director John Curran, who first encountered the story when backpacking through Australia in the early ’80s. “It’s first-person, this woman alone in the desert, with a lot of meditative moments.” He nonetheless tackled the memoir, casting Aussie native Mia Wasikowska as the lead. (The film opens September 19.) “As a character, she’s very quiet and reserved but also very sharp—she’s got that writer’s eye,” Curran says. Wasikowska is not the only star: Curran was particularly pleased with his four camel actors. “After a while, it was like the camels knew they were on camera,” he says with a laugh. “When we said, ‘Action,’ they were real hams.”

 

And Six Other Cultural To-Dos

9/4–14: The Toronto International Film Festival, the unofficial start of awards season, kicks off.

9/7: The fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire premieres today. Will Nucky survive?

9/10–13: Pianist Leif Oves Andsnes plays Beethoven’s first concerto at the San Francisco Symphony.

9/21: Yan Pei-Ming and Bertrand Lavier present new artworks at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles, France.

9/24: Malian songstress Rokia Traoré performs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

9/27–12/14: London’s Royal Academy of Arts presents the first major retrospective of German painter Anselm Kiefer.

—By Julian Sancton

Chef Simon Rogan's New London Restaurant

British Chef Simon ROgan's New London Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Maybourne Hotel Group

Fera at Claridge’s, chef Simon Rogan’s new restaurant in London, is named after the Latin word for “wild.” But there’s nothing untamed about the food. The cooking is complex but never fussy, refined but without pretension. Rogan excels in drawing the quintessence of flavor from each and every dish. Rabbit is slow-cooked until it’s soft and silken, then encased in a crisp, burnished onion batter; it arrives perched atop a slick of intense lovage purée. The result is a riot of textures and a taste that lingers long after the dish has disappeared.

Potatoes are whipped with soft cheese, a very British version of aligot, and topped with duck hearts. The contrast of seductively lactic and quietly meaty is sublime—and technically assured, too. Ingredients, as you would expect, are top notch, British and distinctively seasonal (most are harvested from Rogan’s own 12-acre farm in Cartmel Valley, about 278 miles outside London). In the dying days of spring, I found strawberries, young rhubarb, exquisite shellfish and an entire meadow’s worth of edible flowers. In other, less talented chefs’ hands, this sort of food could quickly become trite and showy, a triumph of appearance over substance.

Service is predictably deft, and the room is quietly impressive, with a sand-blasted manzanita tree at its center. It has the feeling of restrained opulence and the gentle well-fed and -heeled chatter of people actually enjoying their meal. There’s little doubt Rogan will soon be adding to his haul of Michelin stars. (He has two already at L’Enclume in Cumbria.) But unlike so many other temples to haute cuisine, Fera has real heart. At Brook St.; 44-20/7107-8888; feraatclaridges.co.uk.

Three Timely Fashion Exhibits Open in September

Three Timely Fashion Exhibits Open in September
Walter Steiger. “Unicorn Tayss,” Spring 2013. Courtesy of Walter Steiger.
Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Every September, fashion capitals all over the world light up with designers’ latest collections for spring—but the catwalk isn’t the only source for sartorial entertainment. This month, three cities play host to exhibitions that investigate our relationship to style and fashion’s role in history.

“Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen”: Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Mae West—these names are synonymous with the golden age of Hollywood, when satin-clad actresses of the 1930s and ’40s wore exquisite gowns accessorized with equally dramatic jewels. On display at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is an indulgent array of creations by the likes of Adrian, Travis Banton and Chanel, just to name a few. Taken from film sets, or from the personal collections of their leading ladies, the curated collection demonstrates how the era’s signature glamour was determined as much by what the stars wore offscreen as what they wore on camera. Through March 8, 2015; 465 Huntington Ave.; 617-267-9300; mfa.org.

“Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe”: With a history that stretches back nearly four centuries, the high-heel has undergone transformations of form and cultural relevance. From iconic styles by fashion favorites like Manolo Blahnik to architectural creations by Zaha Hadid, the display at The Brooklyn Museum—which includes six specially commissioned short films—proves one thing: A shoe is never merely an accessory. Through February 15, 2015; 200 Eastern Pkwy.; 718-638-5000; brooklynmuseum.org.

Fashion Film Festival Milano: Debuting September 14 during Milan Fashion Week at the Piccolo Teatro Grassi Milano, the inaugural festival draws on the growing popularity of fashion films, from Prêt-à-Porter to The Devil Wears Prada. In addition to showcasing films created in collaboration with the world’s top brands—including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Cartier—the Festival hosts a competition for new talent, providing a forum for young directors and producers to share their work with designers, brands, artists and the fashion-hungry public. September 14–15; Via Rovello, 2; 39-848-800-304; fffmilano.com.

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