Miami Vibes || Art Deco

Because we all need a break from the harsh New York winter in January. And because, where better to escape the cold than tropical Miami with an average high of 76°F/25°C and mostly dry days? We flew there, then drove all the way down to Key West – but first things first: South Beach and the Art Deco district. A feast for the eyes of an art deco lover (and those of a fancy car/loud Latino dance music/young crowd/strong drinks aficionado). South Beach is Miami’s glamorous party district, it seems. A bit overwhelming at first, but easy to get used to, if one stayed long enough.

January 28th, 2018

Chicago || In the Loop

The elevated Loop, part of the iconic Chicago ”L” circuit, looping around a rectangle in downtown Chicago. It runs right in front of many windows of shops, gyms, offices – thankfully, no private apartments. Sometimes so close, it might as well run through them.

From the moment we arrived here, we felt that Chicago is what Manhattan would have been, had it not been an island: orderly, clean, with enough space for development; where pedestrians need not fight for the last millimetre of  pavement space; and with its ”L” trains still running.  Still in the Loop, almost time to leave but not before catching glimpses into two more lobbies: this is the City of Chicago City Hall and, further down, the One North LaSalle Building, with its lavish art deco cathedral for a lobby.

Lobby hopping in the Loop, Chicago

November 5th, 2017

Chicago || The Carbide and Carbon Building

Aka The Hard Rock Hotel – although that was about to change. We didn’t know it at the time, but a month later, the hotel would close for renovation; it now operates under a new brand, as the St. Jane Chicago. But the exterior, covered in polished black granite, topped by a tower dressed in dark green terracotta with gold leaf ornaments, must surely remain as impressive as it has always been, since the day of its completion in 1929.

Then, there is the dazzling lobby, all bronze and dark Belgian marble and Art Deco features – minus, I guess, the guitars which will have probably found a new wall to grace.

The building was designed by the Burnham Brothers, a commission by the Carbide and Carbon Company to house their regional headquarters.

November 3rd, 2017

Chicago || The Art Deco City

There are so many buildings of architectural interest in the Financial District of Chicago, you’d probably need to join a guided tour to visit them all and learn about their history. But if you are a casual visitor – and a first-time one at that, just walk around, spot an interesting-looking building and then step inside its lobby. You’ll soon find out that these lobbies are not simply entrances to commercial or office spaces; they are, in reality, stunningly beautiful Art Deco treasure troves; and they provide excellent shelter from the rain, too.

Walk, for instance, inside the Field Building, built in 1934 by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White; another wonderful example of the Art Deco style:

Or enter the Marquette Building’s hexagonal lobby and be captivated by the exquisite mosaic panels depicting the journey of Father Marquette, a French missionary and explorer, first settler in the area we know today as Chicago,  in whose honour the building has been named.

The mosaics are designed by Louis Tiffany, son of Charles Tiffany, the famous jeweler; and Jacob Adolph Holzer, a Swiss artist who worked for Tiffany as their chief designer and art director.

November 2nd, 2017

Chicago || Board of Trade Building

Built in 1930 by John A. Holabird and John Wellborn Root Jr. (son of John Root Sr., one of the architects of the Rookery), to become home to the world’s oldest futures and options exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, which had already been established in 1848 – year that the first railroads arrived in Chicago.

From John Storrs’ faceless statue of Ceres, Roman goddess of Agriculture, presiding over Chicago’s financial district from its prominent position at the rooftop, down to its lobby  with the sleek brass elements contrasting blindingly against the darker surfaces, and even further down to its subterranean vault, the Board of Trade Building is one of the finest – and best preserved – examples of the Art Deco style, popular in Chicago in the early 20th century.

November 2nd, 2017

Chicago!

From Ottawa and the Thousand Islands, back to Manhattan, a day-break to regroup and whoosh… off again – this time, to Chicago!

It was a change of gear (a heavier coat would be needed), a switch to different means of transport (dropping off the car and boarding on a plane), a change of pace and, more importantly, a total change of scenery.

We stayed five-and-a-half days in Chicago and it was raining the entire time. Well, almost, because there were some dry(-ish) spells, enough to let us take a boat tour or walk about – we even saw some sunshine, at some point.

But we took our first walk in the rain. It was already dark and rather chilly.

Chicago looks great in the rain – more Gothamic than Gotham. 

November 1st, 2017

Attaining Perfection

Imagine living in a world where these treasures were household items – not museum objects.

1/ Maurice Sterne
The Awakening, ca. 1926
Bronze

2/ Kem Weber
Vanity with Mirror and Stool, 1934

3/ John Vassos
RCA Victor Special Model K Portable Electric Phonograph, c.a 1935

4/ Emilie Robert
Pair of Gates, ca. 1900 (detail), France
Iron

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Dr. Phibes Rises Again

Following his murderous quest for vengeance against the doctors he believes responsible for the death of his beloved wife, Victoria, the fiendish Dr. Phibes enters the crypt where he has enshrined her, ”incredibly maintained neither alive nor completely dead”. And there he places himself in suspended life, like her, until it will be time to rise again. And there he lays in darkness, next to her body, in a splendid satin sarcophagus, until the moon, aligning with the eternal planets, shines upon the sarcophagus – once every 2.000 years – signalling the opening of the crypt. And then, the fiendish Dr. Phibes rises again from his deep sleep and, together with his trusted aid, Vulnavia, prepares to take Victoria to Egypt where, years ago, in a mountain overlooking the Valley of the Pharaohs, he prepared a wondrous shrine, ”unknown by any living man”. There, under a secret temple, the River of Life flows, promising resurrection for Victoria and eternal life for them both.

Three years have passed, and now it is time for their greatest adventure. But, to his utter horror, Dr. Phibes finds his house has been destroyed and his papyrus scrolls stolen, the very scrolls that would lead him back to the secret temple in Egypt.

#current_mood
#three_days_to_Halloween
#now_watching
#dr_phibes_rises_again

Stills from imdb and filmgrab archives

Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)

October 27th, 2018

San Francisco is… taking (the) steps

There are many ways to reach Coit Tower on top of Telegraph Hill. You can take the bus, your car or get on your feet for some excellent aerobic exercise – whatever works best. But the most scenic of all, must be ”The Steps”. There are numerous steps on different sides and levels of the hill, leading to the tower; the views here, are from The Greenwich Steps.

Another perspective of Coit Tower and the neighbourhood surrounding the hill. How amazing would it be to live there, don’t you find? Although, a bit of an ordeal when it’s your turn for that last-minute shopping… Greenwich Steps

July 5th, 2017