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Isabel Lewis on Hosting 'Occasions'

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 9:56 AM

Nightlife culture is constantly evolving, constantly changing. Event organizers and club owners are forever trying to get ahead by coming up with the next big thing, whether it's the most desirable party night or the unique bar experience.

Berlin-based artist and DJ Isabel Lewis has come up with her own concept that is refreshingly different, originating in her passion for several different areas of nightlife culture. Her musical background, appreciation for food and drink and love of theatre and choreography, has inspired her to host so-called 'Occasions', arrangements of these different elements that invite her guests to enjoy themselves under her hosting guidance.

"[In] the celebratory atmosphere, people feel relaxed, they can have a drink, and they can have something to eat,' she says of her 'Occasions', during which she aims to elicit the participation of her guests by simply being inviting.

She was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up on an island off the coast of Florida. As an artist she is interested in people's experiences, as a dancer she explores the influences of movement and as a DJ she loves the impact a set can have on the audience over the course of an evening. Reacting to the need for a specific sound, or a particular level of bass, and sensing when it's time for a drink, sparked the idea.


She was part of the ICA's Off-Site project at this year's Frieze Art fair and hosted several 'Occasions' at the Old Selfridges Hotel. Different from exhibitions or live shows that work with the concept of audience observation, her 'Occasions' offer an experience that amalgamates all the senses.

"My interest in the last [few] years has been more and more in how can I create a type of experience that brings together the human sensorium, that doesn't just rely [...] on our visual sense," she explains, while sitting in her Berlin flat, holding up a small vile. To complete the sensory experience of her evenings she is introducing the sense of smell, working in collaboration with Norwegian chemist and researcher Sissel Tolaas. The idea is that at a certain point during the evening you break the vile to let a smell enter the space around you, in order to round-up your experience.


With her 'Occasions', the artist manages to create a relaxed, communal space that allows people to experience whatever they choose, after being offered a hand-tailored, multi-sensory evening on a platter.

Text by Ruth Amelung for

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From Flat Sheet to 3D Art (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 12:46 PM

Paper. We use it daily in one way or another; to scribble and draw on, to feed our printers or simply just to read off. But this material is capable of a lot more. This is where paper engineers like Lydia Shirreff come into their own.

"I guess I got a bit bored of seeing flat things on walls," she says about her beginnings in the design world. And luckily so, considering her already impressive, still constantly expanding, client list - ranging from Tatler, Vogue, Grazia and Elle magazines to De Beers, Harrods and Lush in the retail world.


Considering this, the possibilities for paper art seem endless. Whether it's set design for a photo shoot, stop motion animation for a website or seasonal gift packaging, intricate, hand-made, three-dimensional paper design is the advertising approach brands opt for in order to stand out to bring a touch of traditional craft back into a predominantly digital industry.

It's the combination of approaching a traditional medium with modern techniques and being inspired by sculptural work of the likes of Jeffrey Koons that makes Lydia's self-taught craft exciting to look at.

A love for shapes, patterns, textures, and an unconventional approach to design, results in her permanently exploring the limits of working with paper.

"I usually start from a sketch, and don't really plan that well, it's more trial and error," she admits, as she sits surrounded by the beautiful results of her apparently uncoordinated work method.


For Lydia, as for every artist, bouncing ideas off someone else is essential. It therefore comes as no surprise that she often collaborates with photographers and is also part of Sope Studio, a design collective consisting of five young creatives, each with a different skill set ranging from textile design, illustration and print to up-cycled product design.

Text by Ruth Amelung for

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Behold, The Digital Revolution That's Sweeping The Contemporary Art World

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 9:06 AM

You don't just see The Barbican's recently opened Digital Revolution exhibition in London, you live it, breathe it, even make it. Including contributions from artists, musicians, video game developers and fashion designers alike, the whole experience is very diverse, and results in a genre defying exhibition that is more playground...

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Thiago Soares: From Rio To The Royal Ballet (VIDEO)

(1) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 8:38 AM

World Cup fever might have you thinking that Brazil is only the home of football. But it's more than just a football nation. It's a breeding ground for some of the world's most diverse and creative people. And luckily for the rest of the world, they do not mind sharing...

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The Wild and Exhausting World of Brazilian Artist Ernesto Neto

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2014 | 7:09 AM

Ernesto Neto is an artist comfortable in himself. So comfortable in fact, he managed to dose off during our shoot in his studio in Rio de Janeiro. We blamed it on the heat and not our company of course.


When awake, the...

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Sónar Festival Offers More Than You Might Expect

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 8:46 AM

Since launching in 1994 Sónar Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art has drawn international audiences. Those who have not made the trip to Barcelona before might be surprised by the genuinely robust digital art programme -- this is not a festival that only caters to pill-popping ravers, it's a melting pot of music, art, performance and industry-led talks.

This year, Sónar highlighted a very modern reality: there are no clearly defined roles within the creative sector anymore. Multi and interdisciplinary practice has become the norm and lines have been blurred between creators, artists, technicians, performers, DJs and even audiences.

Sónar curator José Luis de Vicente reflected on this message, saying it is "a cultural space that is constantly shifting".


Aiming to push digital media boundaries, this year the creators of Sónar arranged for creatives from the audiovisual industry to meet digital e-commerce experts to search for new business models and ways of working.

"We want to be an agent in the way the culture of tomorrow takes place", said de Vicente.

Richie Hawtin is a Sónar regular. Striving to create experiences that go beyond those at a normal festival, he described his style as: "eccentric mind-bending Plastikman ambience and full-on dance floor".


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David Shrigley Revamps London's Sketch Restaurant, Showcasing Largest Body of Work Ever (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 12:14 PM

Few artists would fancy following on from Martin Creed but if there's anyone who can rise to the challenge it's David Shrigley. The Glasgow-based Turner prize nominated artist is the latest resident at London's Sketch restaurant.

The co-owner of Sketch Mourad Mazouz said "I think I cried with happiness when David Shrigley's name was proposed."

With 239 works on display, the Gallery is now home to the largest group of original drawings Shrigley has ever exhibited. But that's not the only transformation diners will witness. The room is pink. Very pink.


Teheran-born India Mahdavi is responsible for this rose wash-over. The spirit is playful, simple and works as a backdrop to Shrigley's drawings and custom-designed ceramics.


Not known to do things in halves, Sketch also enlisted the help of London-based fashion designer Richard Nicoll to create uniforms for all waiters. For the girls, the design is a play on Nicoll's signature T-shirt dress silhouette; for the boys, a smart, grey boiler suit.

Sketch was inaugurated in 2002 by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and chef Pierre Gagnaire, as a destination for food, art and music. Over the past decade, the venue has hosted over fifty exhibitions of artists' moving image including work by Carsten Nicolai, John Baldessari, Jonas Mekas, Silvie Fleury, Mary Ellen Bute, Charles & Ray Eames and Michael Nyman.

Shrigley was recently selected for the Fourth Plinth Commission which will launch in London's Trafalgar Square in 2016.

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Artist Henrique Oliveira Constructs A Magnificent Wooden Universe In Brazil (VIDEO)

(2) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 11:53 AM

Henrique Oliveira's current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of São Paulo could not be more be more timely. All eyes are on Brazil this week as we see the first World Cup matches kick off.

While football may be the main event, the World Cup has put a spotlight on other offerings and issues in the country. Many will be aware of the vast socio-economic disparity in Brazil. Urban artist Paulo Ito's latest depiction says it all. In the painting, a young boy is seen crying with hunger with nothing to eat except a soccer ball. The message is simple: who is really benefiting from the World Cup? The question has been asked many times as the country has hurtled towards this week and will undoubted ring in everyone's ears for months to come.

Political art is nothing new in Brazil. The international media's obsession with Brazilian contemporary culture (beyond Samba and Carnival) is a fresh story however. The Brazilian creative community is thriving and the art world is watching intently. Adriana Varejão, Ernesto Neto, Renata Lucas and Vik Muniz are just a small selection of names worth knowing right now.

But back to Oliveira, another Brazilian making waves - or rather, tunnels. His exhibition "Transarquitetônica" is a large-scale project of interwoven tunnels made from found scraps that look unmistakably like the materials used to build housing in Brazil's notorious favelas.


Last summer, Oliveira was applauded for his show "Baitogogo" at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Now, he's scaled up and of course he's come home to showcase his largest work to date. The winding maze of wood in various forms is a sensory experience, there are sounds, smells and textures to take in throughout the exhibit.

The statement he's making this time is clear: "I was making this connection between the way the society treats the favelas and towns and the way they see [them] as kind of tumours, so it had a symbolic meaning to create structures using the materials these tumours are made out of."

"Transarquitetônica" runs until the end of November 2014.

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Polly Morgan on Her Latest Exhibition and the Resuscitation of Taxidermy

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 9:06 AM


Start a conversation about British contemporary art and Polly Morgan's name will undoubtedly come up. Her work is critically acclaimed, and also attracts the interest of celebrity collectors such as Kate Moss and Courtney Love who willingly offer six-figure sums to...

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Roman Coppola: Directors Cut (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 11:43 AM

In a list of the worst things you could possibly wake up next to in the morning, a severed horse's head would probably feature highly.

Roman Coppola's memory of one of the most well-known scenes in movie history is vivid. Unsurprising given he was in the room during the filming...

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Hugo França: From Forest to Furniture (Video)

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 10:47 AM

Brazilian artist Hugo França began his professional life as an industrial engineer in São Paulo, before making the decision to quit his job at a computer company and move into the jungles of northeast Brazil. For 15 years he lived and worked alongside indigenous tribes, learning their generations-old woodworking techniques and traditions.


Today, from his beautiful atelier in São Paulo and a workshop in Trancoso, Bahia, his furniture, made solely from reclaimed wood and usually from the Pequi tree, celebrates both natural material and form. His self-coined "furniture sculpture" can be seen in exhibitions globally from Design Miami Basel to ArtRio.


Originally using disused canoes, França has adopted sustainable methods of collecting materials to work with. Rather than attempting to find shapes that fit his designs, he uses existing natural forms as the first stage of the design process. Here, the raw material of the Pequi tree is somewhere in between a ready-made object and a block of stone to be chipped away at.


His work could quite easily be mistaken for art alone, however beneath the beauty lies genuine functionality. Going against the sculptural grain, França's designs encourage interactivity - in other words, the pieces are to be touched, sat upon or curled up in.

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Francesco Carrozzini - Through the Lens (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 1:28 PM

A true master behind the lens, Francesco Carrozzini is worth watching.

Cover shoots for Vogue, music videos for global pop stars, celebrity portraits and the New York Times Screen Tests for T Magazine. This CV sounds like it belongs to an industry veteran, rather than 30-year-old Italian photographer cum filmmaker Francesco Carrozzini.

He has had the entire A-list in front of his lens, from Oscar-winning actors Robert de Niro and Natalie Portman, to musicians and supermodels like Keith Richards and Naomi Campbell. An impressive list for someone whose career was launched in 2001.


Carrozzini's visual flair, unmistakable style and instinct for when to snap admittedly didn't come from nowhere. The son of Vogue Italia's editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, he was born and raised in the world of fashion. As a child, Carrozzini was constantly surrounded by the world's best fashion photographers, but it was the moving image that he was instinctively drawn to. That said, the young Carrozzini saw an opportunity and soon started assisting the likes of Bruce Weber and Peter Lindbergh.

"I always saw photography as a way to get to film."

Although he quickly became a talented photographer, Carrozzini's passion for film didn't fade to black. Directing The New York Times Screen Tests series with Lynn Hirschberg, back in 2006 was the gig that really put him on the radar, earning him industry wide acclaim and an Emmy nomination.


Inspired by Andy Warhol's silent screen tests, filmed at the famous Silver Factory Studio back in the sixties, Carrozzini wanted to create the same intimate relationship between camera and subject. Although in both cases, the subjects on camera were all famous names in the entertainment industry, Warhol had a distinct advantage -- he was friends with them. As a new kid on the block, Carrozzini didn't have the luxury of immediate intimacy with his interviewees, he had to create it. He did this by cocooning each star in a small dark room with nowhere to look but straight down the lens.


Now the photographer/filmmaker has found a signature aesthetic that combines both disciplines. Expertly blurring the lines between moving and still image, Carrozzini employs a cinematic style to his photography. Like many artists, he is constantly working, seeing creative possibilities and potential narratives wherever he looks.

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Polo: An Argentine Legacy (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 1:42 PM

To some people, Polo might be all about fast-paced horse riding, beautiful women and sunny afternoons on the field with a glass of champagne. But look a little deeper and it's also the oldest team sport in the world, and a celebration of tradition, skill and family.

From boot making to teaching your child to ride, all aspects of the sport are traditionally passed down through generations. For many in Argentina, the sport is woven into every aspect of life, culminating in the biggest event in the annual polo calendar: the final of the Argentine Open in Palermo, Buenos Aires.


While the British may have introduced the game in 1888, it is the Argentines who have long since established that they are the cradle of some of the world's best polo players. The Argentine's inherent skill and connection with their horses dates back to the Gauchos. An integral part of the country's evolution and tradition, the Gaucho was born out of the cross between the first Spanish conquistadores, the native Indians and their African slaves. Never fully accepted by either social group, the Gaucho was left to roam the vast pampas as a nomad, working the land with only his horse for company and survival. This resulted in an incredibly strong bond between man and horse that has been passed down through generations, with the Gaucho still responsible for breaking in potential polo ponies and developing their lightning quick reactions to the rider's most subtle shifts of movement. Players, patrons and spectators alike, fervently swear that the polo pony is at least 60 percent of any player's game.

Pepe Santamarina, President of Polo at The Hurlingham Club in Buenos Aires, explains the country's passion for the sport: ''Every player dreams of two things; having a horse from your own breed playing the Open or having your son, but it's more or less the same.''


Some well known Polo personalities such as Adolfo Cambiaso, Captain of champion team La Dolfina and Lucas Monteverde, star player of Alegría talk about what it means to play the final, while Pepe Santamarina and Frankie Dorignac, President of the Argentine Polo Association share their experiences of a life in the passionate world of polo.

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Spring/Summer 2014 Styled By Fashion Experts

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 10:18 AM

Fashion bloggers and stylists are normally most comfortable working alone, but on this occasion they joined forces, stepping away from their collective comfort zones and into a more collaborative fashion arena.


Four leading experts in the fashion industry spent a day styling...

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Giles Deacon (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 11:33 AM

It's ten years since GILES launched at London Fashion Week. Here the brand's creative director tells us why change is on the horizon.

He had Jean Charles De Castelbajac, Bottega Veneta and the Gucci Group on his resumé before launching his eponymous line at London Fashion Week in February 2004. Giles was no newbie. His first show, and many of those that were to follow, was styled by old friend (and ex-lover) Katie Grand. The venue, thanks to a friend's father, was the Chelsea Pensioner's Club at the Chelsea Royal Hospital and it was packed to the rafters. Ten years on the Yorkshire-born designer is a little older, and a little calmer but he continues to draw crowds season-on-season.

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His Name Is Paul Smith (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 9:02 AM

The fashion world would be a dreary little place if this whimsical British designer hadn't taken a tumble off his bike at age 18.


When Smith, an aspirant cyclist from Nottingham, stacked it in the early 1960s he ended up in hospital for six months and then free-wheeled his way into the arms of Britain's young creative class. Forty years later, after casting his colourful wand across both men's and womenswear -- and all manner of collectibles from Minis to manicure sets -- the sun would struggle to set on his empire with over 300 stores in Japan alone.


But the king of stripes is adamant that his current Design Museum, London exhibition is not a retrospective, but an encouragement for today's young designers to work hard and achieve their goals. The nicest man in fashion reminds us that it's not always about what you do but how you do it.

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Nick Mulvey (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 4:33 AM

The London-based singer-songwriter performs his single "Nitrous" and tells us why the days of Arsenal raps are over.


At six, he believed he could fly. From this early music memory, involving the complex balance of speed, cornering and Dire Straits, Nick Mulvey has gone on to many other great heights. He achieved cult acclaim with his previous band Portico Quartet, who were nominated for a Mercury Music Prize back in 2008. Two years later, he hung up his Hang drum and reverted back to the guitar, releasing his first solo EP Fever to the Form last year and touring with the likes of Laura Marling, Willy Mason and Laura Mvula. He also hit the festival scene hard, partying as well as playing, with sets at Glastonbury and Lattittude.

Mulvey kicked off 2014 with a huge UK tour and is one of the artists to watch out for this year.

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Simon Heijdens: Design Miami/ (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 6:29 AM

Inspired by the essence of Perrier-Jouët, this London-based artist's pioneering new work propels Art Nouveau into the 21st century.


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The Rubells: Design Miami/ (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 6:00 AM

Contemporary art is a family affair for these collectors.


Their contemporary art collection is one of the largest and most impressive in the world. Don and Mera Rubell began collecting soon after their marriage in the 60s, and their children followed in their footsteps. Now the family are considered pioneers in the movement to make privately owned collections publicly accessible.

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Marianne Goebl: Design Miami/

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 7:23 AM

Building on sand is a wobbly affair, but the foundations of Design Miami/ - now in its ninth year - are as solid as ever. For five days some of the world's biggest designers, curators and collectors will pass by the fair's sandy pavilion entrance, designed by the New York outfit Formlessfinder, and congregate under one roof. According to the fair's redoubtable director Marianne Goebl, this year audiences can expect a wide spectrum of work, ranging from large-scale to small, with a focus on works that represent the intersection of digital and analog.

Typically the festival showcases emerging talent and this year the spotlight is on contemporary American upcoming stars such as David Wiseman and the Haas Brothers - both represented by R 20TH Century - and Jonathan Muecke at Volume Gallery.


Goebl's must-sees include jewelery as "wearable sculpture", and Jean Prouvé's 1944 pre-fabricated house shown for the first time by Galerie Patrick Seguin. Also not to be missed is Simon Heijdens' mesmerizing collaboration with Perrier-Jouët.

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