• innerspace | interior design blog

even if you consider yourselves ‘travelers’ instead of ‘tourists’, your vacation plans sometimes include some tourist activities.

during our recent holiday to the italian riviera, my husband, bob, and i planned a day trip to the cinque terre (five lands).  the five scenic seaside villages of monterosso al mare, vernazza, corniglia, manarola, and riomaggiore are unesco world heritage sites, and part of the parco nazionale della cinque terre (five lands national park).

map | cinque terre | liguria, italy

the cinque terre is located on the italian riviera, in la spezia province, in the liguria region of italy, about 130 km (80 mi) south of genoa

photo credit cinqueterre.eu

the national park is renowned for the 120 kilometer (75 mile) long path network between the five villages.  so, you could spend several days hiking between towns.

the villages are zonas traffico limitato (ztl’s) (restricted traffic zones), so, you are not able to drive into town unless you are a resident.  we parked our rental car in the car park at la spezia centrale train station and took the train, instead.  the car park is small.  however, you can book a parking space in advance if your car has italian license plates.  one of the national park’s welcome centers is conveniently located in the train station, where we purchased treno ms cards, which entitle you to park entrance, unlimited regional train travel between la spezia and levanto, and complimentary use of the toilets (which the attendants kept immaculately clean).  even though trenitalia doesn’t always run on schedule, the trains run frequently.  the train ride from la spezia to monterosso al mare is about 25 minutes.  and, the train ride between villages is about five minutes each.

the five villages are also accessible by boat.

the only sandy beach is located in monterosso al mare, which is the largest village.

monterosso al mare, italy

many consider vernazza, which has a natural pier, the most picturesque village.

vernazza, italy

the smallest village, corniglia, which is surrounded by terraces and vineyards on three sides, is the only cliff top town.

the town center is accessible from either the scalinata lardarina, a brick staircase with 33 flights of stairs and 382 steps, or from a vehicular road.

corniglia, italy

the panoramic view of the other villages from the terrace behind l’oratorio dei disciplinati di santa caterina (oratory of the disciples of saint catherine) in corniglia and punta bonfiglio (bonfire point) in manarola is magnificent.

view of manarola from the terrace behind l’oratorio dei disciplinati di santa caterina in corniglia

view of corniglia and monterosso al mare from punta bonfiglio in manarola

did you know that pesto sauce originated in genoa, which is the capital of liguria?  nessun dorma, a restaurant on punta bonfiglio in manarola, offers a pesto making course.  their menu also features bruschetta made from fresh, local ingredients.  highly recommended for lunch!  along with a glass of cinqueterre bianco (white) wine, which is usually made from a blend of bosco, albarola, and vermentino grapes.

nessun dorma | punta bonfiglio | manarola, italy

we thought that manarola, which has a natural harbor, was the most picturesque village.

manarola, italy

riomaggiore also has a small natural harbor, located in a zebra rock valley at the mouth of a mountain stream.

riomaggiore, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

and, like the other villages, riomaggiore has a steady stream of tourists…

forte dei marmi, italy is the most beautiful beach resort that my husband, bob, and i have ever visited.  especially, if you love to walk on the beach like we do.

we enjoy the beach so much that forte dei marmi has become one of our favorite italian holiday destinations.

hotel principe forte dei marmi | viale morin, 67 | forte dei marmi, italy

forte dei marmi is located on the italian riviera, in lucca province, in the versilia region of tuscany, about 120 km (75 mi) west of florence

unlike american resorts, the coast is lined with beach clubs instead of hotels.  so, the hotel principe forte dei marmi is located two blocks inland.

you can either walk or ride a bicycle to the beach.  or, along the paved paths that run parallel to the beach.  or, into the town center.

blue bicycles | hotel principe forte dei marmi | forte dei marmi, italy

different hotels have different colored bicycles

the beach seems endless.  about 26 km (16 mi) long, running continuously between the towns of viareggio (to the south) and marina di carrara (to the north).

you can walk for miles and miles along the beach, which lined with beach club, after beach club, after beach club…  the beach is easy to walk on because the gradient is gradual, and the sand is compacted.

forte dei marmi is frequently referred to as ‘the hamptons of italy’.  it is quite crowded during the peak season of july and august.  so, we prefer to visit during september.  the weather is still warm.  and, it is much less crowded.  and, much more relaxing.

bagno dalmazia | affiliated with the hotel principe forte dei marmi | forte dei marmi, italy

‘our’ beach club

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

do you think that the ‘architect’ of this sand castle visited the vatican in rome enroute to forte dei marmi?

ai weiwei: good fences make good neighbors

12 october 2017-11 february 2018

new york, NY

 

ai weiwei, the chinese artist, dissident, and activist, is building fences.

all over new york.

the city wide public art installation is so large that the sponsor, the non-profit public art fund, initiated a kickstarter campaign to help finance the project.

for the installation, the artist created fence themed sculptures for 17 public and private sites.  plus, 200 banners and 100+ documentary images to be installed on lamp posts, bus shelters, news stands, and advertising kiosks.

ai weiwei: good fences make good neighbors

rendering of the fence installation at doris c. freedman plaza | central park | 5th avenue and east 60th street | new york, NY

the plaza, which was named after the founder of the public art fund, has been the site of temporary art installations since 1977.

photo credit courtesy of ai weiwei studio/frahm & frahm and the public art fund via huffpost

the title of the exhibition is an excerpt from a poem by robert frost (1874-1963):

‘good fences make good neighbors.’

‘mending wall’ | north of boston | robert frost (1874-1963) | published in 1914

so, it seems ironic that the washington square (neighborhood) association is protesting the location of the ai weiwei fence installation in washington square park.

ai weiwei: good fences make good neighbors

rendering of the fence installation inside of washington square arch | washington square park | washington square north and 5th avenue | new york, NY

mckim, mead and white designed the arch, which was dedicated in 1895, to celebrate the centennial of the inauguration of president george washington.

photo credit courtesy of ai weiwei studio/frahm & frahm and the public art fund via huffpost

it also seems ironic that ai weiwei is fencing in the centerpiece of the 1964-1965 new york world’s fair, which had a theme of ‘peace through understanding’.

ai weiwei: good neighbors make good fences

rendering of the fence installation around the perimeter of the unisphere | flushing meadows-corona park | 111th street | queens, NY

landscape architect gilmore d. clarke (1892-1982) designed the unisphere for the 1964-1965 new york world’s fair.

photo credit courtesy of ai weiwei studio via vulture

when it was founded in 1859, the cooper union for the advancement of science and art revolutionized higher education by making it accessible to anyone.  both ai weiwei and the public art fund believe that art should be accessible to and experienced by everyone.  so, it seems unsurprising that they chose the cooper union as an installation site.  because of historical events that occurred in the great hall, the cooper union foundation building also symbolizes democracy, free speech, and equality.

ai weiwei: good fences make good neighbors

rendering of the fence installation on the facade of the foundation building | cooper union | 7 east 7th street  | new york, NY

designed by frederick a. peterson (1808-1885), the foundation building opened in 1858, one year before the opening of the cooper union.

photo credit via the public art fund

 

‘ai weiwei is unique in having combined the roles of

preeminent contemporary artist, political dissident, and human rights activist

in such a prominent and powerful way.’

-nicholas baume, director and chief curator, public art fund

 

for a complete list of installation sites,

click here to download the press release.

howard street entrance | san francisco museum of modern art (sfmoma)

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

matisse/diebenkorn, an art exhibition at the san francisco museum of modern art (sfmoma) from 11 march-29 may 2017, juxtaposes 40 works by french artist henri matisse (1869-1954) with 60 works by american artist richard diebenkorn (1922-1993) to suggest subjective, stylistic, chromatic, and technical connections between the two artists.

henri matisse (1869-1954) | goldfish and palette | oil on canvas | 1914

museum of modern art (moma) | new york, NY

photo credit (c) 2017 succession h. matisse / artists rights society (ARS), new york via the museum of modern art

richard diebenkorn (1922-1993) | urbana #6 | oil on canvas | 1953

modern art museum of fort worth | fort worth, TX

photo credit (c) richard diebenkorn foundation via the modern art museum of fort worth

henri matisse (1869-1954) | view of notre dame | oil on canvas | 1914

museum of modern art (moma) | new york, NY

photo credit (c) 2017 succession h. matisse / artists rights society (ARS), new york via the museum of modern art

richard diebenkorn (1922-1993) | ocean park #94 | oil and charcoal on canvas | 1976

cantor arts center at stanford university | palo alto, CA

photo credit (c) 2016 richard diebenkorn foundation via the getty museum

henri matisse (1869-1954) | a pink nude seated | oil on canvas | 1935

centre pompidou | paris, france

photo credit (c) succession h. matisse via henri-matisse.net

richard diebenkorn (1922-1993) | ocean park # 27 | oil and charcoal on canvas | 1970

brooklyn museum | brooklyn, NY

photo credit (c) richard diebenkorn foundation via the brooklyn museum

admiration?  inspiration?  or, emulation?

the san francisco design district is changing.  the san francisco design center (sfdc) is consolidating.  jackson square is diversifying.  contemporary design showrooms and clothing retailers are opening.  while, some antiques dealers or art galleries are consolidating, relocating, or closing.  sacramento street is evolving as a leading design destination.

on 1 march 2017, de gournay opened their gorgeous new showroom on sacramento street.  when i lived in london, i loved visiting the de gournay showroom in old church street en route to my favorite fulham road antiques dealers.  so, i am delighted to welcome de gournay to san francisco.

de gournay is best known for their hand-painted chinoiserie wallpaper.  their artisans are artists.  so, de gournay wallpaper could be considered a work of art.

de gournay | amazonia wallpaper | on blue painted xuan paper

de gournay showroom | 3691A sacramento street | san francisco, CA

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and brad knipstein via de gournay

de gournay | wisteria wallpaper | on mica metallic xuan paper

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and georgetti spa via de gournay

de gournay | plum blossom wallpaper | on tarnished silver gilded paper

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and marie-caroline lucat via de gournay

de gournay | a thousand li of rivers and mountains wallpaper | on bleached white dyed silk

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and de gournay

one of my prospective interior design clients hopes to create a ‘more elegant’ home.  so, as part of the initial consultation process, we’re beginning to define what ‘elegant’ means to them.

would you describe de gournay wallpaper as elegant?