• innerspace | interior design blog

you might think of art basel as an art, party, or fashion scene, but at art basel miami beach 2011, the satellite exhibitions and the public spaces were interactive and happening.

if you were hungry, you could visit incubation, the annual breakfast installation at the rubell family collection.  incubation continued new york artist jennifer rubell’s exploration of the creative process through audience participation.

artist jennifer rubell | incubation | art basel miami beach 2011 | rubell family collection

photo credit nowness

first, you picked up a jar of plain yogurt from the counter of the on-site yogurt lab.

photo credit experiment station

then, you flavored your yogurt by holding the jar up to a ceiling dispenser that dripped honey.

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

photo credit t magazine

photo credit the atlantic

finally, you consumed your creation!

people were also consuming the fruit from banana market/art market, a volkswagen van filled with ripened bananas that brazilian artist paulo nazareth installed in the art positions section at art basel.

banana market/art market | paolo nazareth | art basel miami beach 2011

photo credit the atlantic

if a rusty, green vw van isn’t your favorite form of transportation, then maybe a concept vehicle is more your style.

architecting the future: buckminster fuller & lord norman foster, a design miami satellite exhibition, featured two of buckminster fuller’s inventions:  the dymaxion car, an omnidirectional transport system designed in 1933, and the fly’s eye dome, a geodesic dome designed in 1961.  miami collector craig robins plans to reinstall the fly’s eye dome in a new pedestrian plaza in the miami design district.

dymaxion car | buckminster fuller | architecting the future | design miami 2011

fly’s eye dome | buckminster fuller | architecting the future | design miami 2011 | craig robins collection

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

two shipping containers installed on a vacant lot in the design district housed the exhibition.

architecting the future | exhibition installed in two shipping containers | design miami 2011

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

in the art video pedestrian plaza at art basel, five viewing pods contained monitors that screened videos and films by international artists.

viewing pods | art video section | art basel miami beach 2011

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

for three evenings, the films were also screened at soundscape park, the 7000 square foot outdoor projection wall at the new world center, which was designed by architect frank gehry.

but, the indoor park in the art positions section at art basel was the most popular pedestrian plaza.

indoor park | art positions section | art basel miami beach 2011

photo credit the atlantic

the indoor park reminded me of green park in london.

green park | london, united kingdom

photo credit wikimedia commons

or, a sunday on la grande jatte, the famous impressionist painting by georges seurat.

a sunday on la grande jatte | georges seurat | 1884 | the art institute of chicago

photo credit the art institute of chicago

which do you prefer, public or private exhibition spaces?

is chinese porcelain as valuable as impressionist art?

sold for US$21.6 million, the world record auction price for ming dynasty porcelain.

a blue and white meiping vase with fruit sprays | yongle period | ming dynasty

the meiyintang collection, part II | lot 11 | sotheby’s hong kong | 5 october 2011

photo credit sotheby’s
sold for US$69.5 million, the highest price paid for any chinese work of art at auction.

the bainbridge vase

a yang cai reticulated double walled vase sith six-character mark in underglaze blue of qianlong and of the period

lot 800 | bainbriges, west ruslip, middlesex, united kingdom | 11 november 2010

photo credit bainbridges

but, rumor has it that:

the bainbridge vase hasn’t been paid for.

the bainbridge vase isn’t genuine.

the provenance of the bainbridge vase isn’t real.

click here to read more about the bainbridge vase.

which could become more valuable?

a picasso painting, sold for US$106.5 million, the world record price for a work of art sold at auction.

pablo picasso | nude, green leaves and bust | oil on canvas | 1932

property from the collection of mrs. sidney f. brody | lot 6 | christie’s new york | 4 may 2010

photo credit christie’s

or, a painting by chinese contemporary artist zhang xiaogang, sold for US$10.2 million, the world record auction price for a chinese contemporary painting.

zhang xiaobong | forever naked love | triptych | oil on canvas | 1988

the ullens collection-the nascence of avant garde china | lot 808 | sotheby’s hong kong | 3 april 2011

photo credit artnet

henry howard-sneyd, vice chairman of asian art at sotheby’s, votes for zhang xiaogang.

his 27 october 2011 lecture at the san francisco fall antiques show about collecting opportunities: the rise of the asian art markets could be considered controversial.

howard-sneyd believes that the bubble could eventually burst.  but, he also thinks that this is one of the great periods of artistic endeavor in china, so a correction in pricing probably wouldn’t destroy the market for contemporary or traditional chinese works of art.

even though the demographics of the market are currently dominated by chinese dealers and collectors, in the long term, he thinks that western dealers and collectors are also very important.

but, howard-sneyd questions whether or not the phenomenal growth of the leading chinese auction houses, such as poly, china guardian, beijing hanhai, or council, can be believed.  according to published figures, the turnover in asian art at these four auction houses now dwarfs the turnover in asian art at sotheby’s, christie’s, and bonham’s.  but, howard-sneyd also noted that, using data from xinhua, a chinese government news agency, a chinese newspaper journalist implied that the actual volume of these four auction houses could be closer to 25% of the published figures, based on the amount of sales tax that they paid.

all of the rumors seem quite controversial, don’t you think?

‘rumor has it’ | adele | 21

 “don’t use the ‘a’ word”, an article by susan moore in the october 1, 2011 financial times (ft) questions whether or not antiques seem relevant or irrelevant to newer or younger collectors or consumers.

some (antiques) dealers are now showcasing their ‘masterpieces’ in minimalist exhibitions that feel contemporary, even though they only display traditional objects.

other dealers are taking an eclectic approach, like belgian interior designer and antiques dealer axel vervoordt, who furnishes his interiors with objects of similar shapes, colors, or materials, but of dissimilar age, origin, or value.  lately, the simple, authentic, imperfect aesthetics of wabi sabi inspire vervoordt’s interiors, which could be described as more curated than designed.

a painting by jean-michel basquiat | a gupta buddha head from india | a nok head from africa

residence | belgium | interior design by axel vervoordt

photo credit axel vervoordt | timeless interiors

a painting by lucio fontana | a queen anne mahogany table c.1700

residence | belgium | interior design by axel vervoordt

photo credit axel vervoordt | timeless interiors

as vervoordt’s work artfully illustrates, it’s all in the editing, and in the juxtaposition.

would this boardroom be as interesting without the juxtaposition of the louis XIV armchair, the nomos table, the eames chairs, and the 18th century piranesi engraving?  do you notice how the legs of the louis XIV armchair, the legs of the nomos table, and the backs of the eames chairs have similar silhouettes?

louis XIV armchair | nomos table | eames chairs | 18th century piranesi engraving

boardroom | the element building | toronto, ontario, canada | design by the element group

photo credit interior design

in the living room of this new york, NY apartment ‘every piece relates to another and intensifies one’s perception of the rest’.  does the george III mahogany armchair seem traditional, or modern in this setting?

george III mahogany armchair | 1959 oil painting by mark rothko | 1967 stabile by alexander calder | custom bronze and glass coffee table | custom upholstery

apartment | new york, NY | interior design by thad hayes

photo credit architectural digest

would you describe the furnishings of this los angeles, CA living room as modern or traditional?  isn’t the antique gilt console table from therien & co. an interesting counterpart to the black and white franz kline painting, the black rose tarlow chairs, and the white linen custom upholstery?  doesn’t the antique table add character to the room without making it seem too formal or overly decorated?

antique gilt console table | franz kline painting | rose tarlow chairs | custom upholstery

living room | los angeles, CA | interior design by richard hallberg

photo credit veranda

even though the prevalence of mid century modernism precipitated a stylistic simplification, i think that you can still create simple, comfortable, individual interiors by combining antique and modern furnishings.

in the october 2011 issue of ELLE DECOR, ‘fair trade’, an article by tim mckeough, quotes new york antiques dealer niall smith, who agrees that, today, most younger customers are creating pared down interiors that combine a few antiques with other periods and styles of furniture.

‘…it’s a much more simple look nowadays…

the cluttered look is definitely out, simplicity is in…

and quality still sells.’

-niall smith, new york antiques dealer

do you think that antiques are relevant to a modern lifestyle?

do you plan to visit the san francisco fall antiques show?

tourist /ˈto͝orəst/ (noun)

a person visiting a place for pleasure

oxford dictionaries

view of isola bella from stresa, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

and, isola bella (beautiful island) was a pleasure to visit, even if it could be described as turistico.

isola bella, a private island owned by the borromeo family since the 16th century, is located northwest of milan, on the west shore of lake maggiore near the town of stresa.

map of lake maggiore

photo credit navigazione laghi

when the borromeo family started transforming isola bella into a baroque palace in 1632, the architecture and the landscaping were designed like a ship.  palazzo borromeo is the bow, the dock is the prow, and the garden terraces are the bridge.

the ship like design of palazzo borromeo

photo credit adam broomberg & oliver chanarin

palazzo borromeo

the dock is located on the ‘port’ side of isola bella near the ‘bow’

the ferry terminals are located on the ‘port’ side of isola bella near the ‘stern’

photo credit augustus mayhew

both the palazzo and the gardens overflow with heraldic symbols, which include the borromeo family motto humilitas (humility), and borromeo family icons like the unicorn, or the borromeo rings.

the borromeo family coat of arms

photo credit borromeo turismo

Coat of arms of the House of Borromeo

diagram of the borromeo family coat of arms

the motto humilitas (humility) fills the top panel

the unicorn is on the left side of the left panel

the borromeo rings are in the lower right corner of the left panel

photo credit wikimedia commons

relief moldings of the coat of arms from several branches of the borromeo family line the grand staircase in the entry hall of palazzo borromeo.

grand staircase

photo credit roberto marinoni

the family motto, humilitas (humility), appears and reappears in the gardens and in the palazzo.

the borromeo family motto humilitas (humility) on a garden terrace

photo credit werner kratz

a statue holding the borromeo family motto humilitas (humility), the borromeo family crown, and a flag

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

a medallion with the borromeo family motto humilitas (humility) on the ceiling of the salone grande (grand hall)

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

a succession of 17th-19th century architects designed the palazzo and the gardens, but the palazzo wasn’t completed until 1952, when the salone grande (grand hall) was finished according to the original plans.

  salone grande (grand hall)

photo credit adam broomberg & oliver chanarin

in addition to the galleria dei quadri (picture gallery), palazzo borromeo is famous for the salone degli arazzi (tapestry hall).  the seven borromeo tapestries, woven of wool, silk, silver, and gold in brussels around 1565, feature the unicorn, another family icon.

one of the seven borromeo tapestries

photo credit j zinn

a statue of the unicorn, ridden by love, tops the amphitheater, which is a focal point of the baroque gardens.

unicorn, ridden by love

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the baroque gardens are composed of ten descending terraces, which form a pyramid ornamented with grottos, basins, fountains, and obelisks.  the size, quantity, and orientation of the ornaments and the statues, which personify the rivers, the seasons, or the winds, glorify the achievements of the borromeo family, and provide an impressive approach to the island from any direction.  grottos, shells, and statues fill the platforms of the amphitheater, which is located on the upper terrace.

amphitheater

photo credit michel guilly
and, free range white peacocks graze near the grottos, and through out the gardens.

white peacocks

photo credit frommers

but, during our visit, the white peacocks looked like this, instead.

white peacocks

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

grottos also fill the basement of palazzo borromeo.  the six grottos in the basement, which were designed in 1685, but finished 100 years later, are paved with lake pebbles set in baroque scroll and shell patterns.  the grottos not only provide a refuge from the summer heat, but also provide a passageway from the palazzo to the gardens.

one the six grottos in the basement of palazzo borromeo

photo credit adam broomberg & oliver chanarin

the borromeo rings, another icon that symbolizes the friendship between the visconti, sforza, and borromeo families, occur and reoccur on statuary and ironwork in the gardens.

a statue holding the borromeo rings

photo credit flickr

a gate crowned by the borromeo rings

photo credit borromeo turismo

view of the baroque gardens on isola bella from stresa, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

do you think that the isola is bella?

travel /ˈtravəl/ (verb)

to take a journey, especially of some length, or abroad
oxford dictionaries

villa d’este | lake como | cernobbio, italy

photo credit leading hotels of the world

traveling to villa d’este on lake como in cernobbio, italy could certainly be described as a journey to a luxurious location.

lake como, located about an hour north of milan, is shaped like an inverted Y.  alto como, the upper leg of the lake, intersects with the lower legs of the lake, lecco to the east and como to the west, at the town of bellagio, located on the punto (point) at the center of the lake.

map of lake como

photo credit navigazione laghi

when visiting athens for the first time, a greek friend recommended putting everything into perspective by hiking to the top of philopappos hill, near the acropolis, first.  when visiting lake como for the first time, taking guided tour of the park at villa serbelloni in bellagio, puts everything into perspective.  the views of all three legs of the lake are spectacular.  but, the town of bellagio could only be described as turistico.

view of alto como from the park at villa serbelloni in bellagio

the town of menaggio is on the left, and the town of varenna is on the right

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

view of the lower legs of lake como from the park at villa serbelloni in bellagio

the lecco leg of the lake is on the left, and the como leg of the lake is on the right

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

villa serbelloni is now split into two properties, the rockefeller foundation bellagio center, which promotes the ‘well-being of humanity’ by supporting the work of scholars, artists, thought leaders, policymakers, and practitioners through conferences and residency programs, and the grand hotel villa serbelloni.  many of the other 17th-19th century villas located on the como leg of the lake, such as villa del balbianello in lenno, villa carlotta in tremezzo, or villa melzi in bellagio, also feature spectacular parks and botanical gardens.

villa del balbianello | lenno, italy

photo credit c majno

villa carlotta | tremezzo, italy

photo credit villa carlotta

villa melzi | bellagio, italy

photo credit scott l robertson

and, villa d’este is no exception.  villa d’este is located in cernobbio, a town at the southern end of the como leg of the lake.  a most convenient location considering that my husband, bob, and i are explorers instead of resort goers.

even so, we couldn’t resist lounging by the hotel pool, which floats on lake como, every evening before dinner at a restaurant recommended by an italian friend. (grazie mille…)

floating pool | villa d’este | lake como | cernobbio, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

villa d’este was built in 1568 as the summer residence of cardinal tolomeo gallio from como.  it was transformed into a luxury hotel in 1873 by combining the cardinal’s villa with adjoining properties.

cardinal building | villa d’este | cernobbio, italy

photo credit italianvisits.com

we arrived at villa d’este the day after the formula 1 grand prix in monza.  (strategic planning…)  so, our lake view room in the cardinal building was upgraded to a lake view suite.  (lucky us…)


view of lake como from our suite in the cardinal building at villa d’este in cernobbio

photo credit  lisa walsh | innerspace

you could also stay in the queen’s pavillion, which was built in 1856 on the site of a medieval monastery that was constructed in 1442.  the remains of the monastery are now part of a ruined labyrinth built by english king george IV’s wife, caroline of brunswick, who owned villa d’este from 1815-1820.

queen’s pavillion | villa d’este | cernobbio, italy

photo credit lisa walsh |innerspace

if you prefer, you could also stay in a private villa.

villa cima | villa d’este | cernobbio, italy

photo by glenvis loci

villa malakoff | villa d’este | cernobbio, italy

photo credit italy-hotels-trip
while, the rooms could be characterized as classico, the setting and the gardens could only be described as magnifico!   some parts of the garden were added during the 18th century.

18th century garden facing the entrance to the cardinal building at villa d’este in cernobbio

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the perspective of the 18th century entrance garden

during our visit, gardeners had just started replacing the coral impatiens with red and white begonias (goodbye summer, hello, autumn…)

photo credit jennifer deppe parker

arco del pastore (triumphal arch) at the end of the perspective

photo credit lisa walsh |innerspace

while, other parts of the garden date to the 16th century.  renaissance period architect pellegrino pellegrini (1527-1596) designed not only the cardinal building, but also the nymphaeum in the lower gardens.

the 16th century nymphaeum in the lower gardens at villa d’este in cernobbio

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the fountain inside the nymphaeum

the mosaics are made of colored marble splinters

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

one of the bas relief plaques inside the nymphaeum

in 1985, two contemporary plaques of ‘love’ and ‘solitude’ by sculptor francesco somaini (1926-2005) were added to the origial eight bas relief plaques

photo credit jennifer deppe parker

but, some parts of the garden combine both periods.

fontana di ercole (fountain of hercules) in the upper gardens at villa d’este in cernobbio

water from the fountain cascades over 130 renaissance period granite basins as it flows down the hillside towards the nymphaeum

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

18th century statue of ercole e lica (hercules and lica) inside the pavilion at the top of the hillside

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

18th century statue of ercole e lica (hercules and lica)

the statue of ercole e lica is from the workshop of antonio canova (1757-1822)

photo credit jennifer deppe parker

magnifico, no?

ps. click here to read more about villa d’este on AD daily.