Monday, July 29, 2019

Travels with The Style Saloniste: Where to Stay Now in London — The Bloomsbury

The Bloomsbury, an architectural landmark, offers literary thrills and tranquility in the heart of stylish intellectual London.

The culture-rich London neighborhood of Bloomsbury has emerged as a secret find for those in search of a quiet but very central location. And it now offers an elegant new place to stay. The Bloomsbury hotel recently opened in an historic landmark building originally designed in the twenties by the revered English architect, Sir Edward Lutyens.

Surrounded by leafy garden squares and elegant classical Georgian townhouses, the handsome Bloomsbury has a handsome brick exterior, a sense of London history, and a colorful, fresh and comfortably indulgent style.

The Bloomsbury’s Edward Lutyens’ grand architecture superbly reflects the refined classical architecture of the neighborhood, with a columned entrance. And a series of tall and ultra-symmetrical windows create a harmonious effect to the exterior.

Lutyens originally designed The Bloomsbury building with the patronage of the Duchess of York, as the Central Club, a residence for county ladies residing in London. The exterior was modeled on Queen Mary’s doll’s house - which Lutyens himself designed for the monarch. 

Rooms have a comfortable residential feeling—more like a private apartment and each individual.

The Bloomsbury’s new interiors were created with great style by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, the internationally acclaimed interior architecture and design studio firm. The Studio has a reputation for creating interiors including The Beekman in New York, The Ivy, Soho Beach House Miami and Scott’s.

The Bloomsbury has put on the razzle-dazzle with designer Martin Brudnizki’s Coral Room. Known for his maximalist interiors, Brudnizki has pulled out all the stops. The grand double-height room is warmed with lacquered coral pink walls and lit by a series of bold handcrafted Murano chandeliers.

The Bloomsbury Group—or Bloomsbury Set—was a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists in the first half of the 20th century, including Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey.

At The Bloomsbury Club, a paneled library stocked with London-related leather-bound editions, is a fine place to rest and relax after a day of visiting museums.

Bloomsbury is a location that invites exploration. The British Museum is just a brief walk away, and a twenty-minute stroll leads to the enchanting Wallace Collection private museum in Marylebone. Twenty minutes away, Piccadilly offers Fortnum & Mason and the dramatic galleries of the grand Royal Academy of Arts. There’s the neighborhood of Fitzrovia, and just beyond Oxford Street is Mayfair.

The Bloomsbury Hotel Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens

The Bloomsbury was designed in 1928 by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the greatest British architect of his time. His notable works stretch from the northeast English island of Lindisfarne to the Indian capital, New Delhi. The hotel building, on Great Russell Street, is lauded as his finest neo-Georgian building and was built as the Central Club for county ladies residing in London. 

For the literary set, the Bloomsbury neighborhood will always be associated with writers including Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey, and artists including Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. And the handsome Georgian terrace houses and lovely garden squares of the ‘Bloomsbury set’, as these highly influential intellectuals were known, and a brief walk from the Bloomsbury hotel. The original flight of Portland Stone steps leads guests into the new reception area, an intimate space that includes a beautiful Lutyens-inspired Living Room.

The hotel is like a private home more than a traditional hotel. A color palette of muted greens and pinks is accented with artwork and lighting, as well as the boldly graphic heritage-inspired botanical wallpaper. A Lutyens designed fireplace provides a focal point to the space.

Design Notes

The Coral Room is located within a 2,100-sq. ft. double height space at the front of the hotel. 

Mindful of the original Lutyens design and the building’s listed status, this bar area has been sensitively reimagined. The original paneled walls were retained and given a high-gloss lacquer finish in vivid coral – a color that Lutyens was fond of. A striking feature of the new interior is the five bespoke Murano glass chandeliers, which were specially created for the space.

British illustrator Luke Edward Hall was commissioned to create 36 original pieces of art inspired by the surrounding Bloomsbury area and the architecture of Lutyens. The bar itself features a Calacatta marble top with a high-gloss molded timber front, and the back bar features antique mirror and brass detailing, to reflect the iconic heritage of the hotel and building.

Dalloway Terrace

Dalloway Terrace quickly became one of London’s most sought after alfresco dining places, serving brunch, lunch, and dinner and afternoon tea. The quintessentially English space, named after the eponymous character created by Virginia Woolf, is an indoor/outdoor restaurant, fully heated in winter, offering the peace and charm of a secluded garden.

The Bloomsbury Club

The Bloomsbury Club Bar has a members’ club feeling and is furnished with plush leather armchairs, atmospheric lighting and rich mahogany paneling, taking inspiration from the lives of the famously hedonistic Bloomsbury Set.

The bar leads to a twinkling grotto perfect for lunch or evenings. The drinks menu takes influence from the 1920s and 1930s, with a selection of original cocktails named after literary icons such as: ‘Virginia Woolf’, ‘Leonard Woolf’ and ‘Vanessa Bell’.

Exploring Bloomsbury, Mayfair, Marylebone and My Favorite London Spots

The neighboring British Museum completed a refurbishment, with plans to open three new galleries. An integral part of the renovation is the museum’s Round Reading Room.

I also recommend walking over to Lambs Conduit Street to find Pentreath & Hall design shop. Decorator Ben Pentreath is avidly followed on Instagram and is said to have advised the Duchess of Cambridge on decorating Anmer Hall, the family’s country estate in Norfolk.

And at 10 Curzon Street, there’s my favorite London hangout, Heywood Hill bookstore (owned by the Duke of Devonshire)…where you might run into the duke himself, or Nicholas Haslam or various lords and ladies picking up books on hunting or wine or even delights by Nancy Mitford. The lovely men and women working at their desks here are ready to recommend the newest books of delight. And sign up for their ‘year of books’ packages. The best.

Newest on a chic corner of Mount Street (where Erdem has his art-filled boutique) is Pasticceria Marchesi 1824, the first London outpost of the classic Milanese pastry/cake/sweets/coffee restaurant/ bakery. Exquisite little fruit tarts and chocolates and pretty gold-embossed cakes are all displayed like the crown jewels. Mount Street is the chic street of the moment, with highlights including Christian Louboutin.

And a must visit is the Wallace Collection on Manchester Square. Currently, through September 1, there is a delightful exhibit curated by Manolo Blahnik, in which he pairs his ‘haute couture’ shoes with paintings by Gainsborough, Hals, Greuze, Velasquez, Reynolds and Landseer and others. This is an exceptional museum for art and design lovers. It’s usually quiet…and it’s free. Highly recommended. There’s also a stylish restaurant in the central courtyard.

Then of course walk back to The Bloomsbury for drinks at the Coral Bar or afternoon tea on Dalloway Terrace. Home away from home, indeed.

Photography courtesy The Doyle Collection/The Bloomsbury

For More Information:

The Bloomsbury
16-22 Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London

Monday, July 22, 2019

Georgia O’Keeffe: Artist and Style Icon

I’ve always admired the boldly original and sensual paintings—and the independent life and style—of the great Georgia O’Keeffe. Now I’m happy to report that the Nevada Museum of Art has just opened a dramatic and very thoughtful exhibition that pays homage to her art as well as her lifetime elegance and style, always trendsetting. The show closely examines her art…and her fashion style. As Diana Vreeland memorably said, “Style is consistency”. O’Keeffe’s style seldom veered from black and white. She admired simple silhouettes.

‘Georgia O’Keefe: Living Modern’ Presents a Fresh Look at the Iconic Artist's Are, Fashion, and Style

The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada, is the sole venue in the western United States to host this traveling exhibition from the Brooklyn Museum that presents O’Keeffe’s wardrobe in dialogue with key paintings, photographs, jewelry, accessories, and ephemera. On view July 20 – October 20, 2019.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern expands the understanding of this icon in the context of her self-crafted public persona—including her clothing and even the way she posed for the camera and where and with certain props (stones, skulls, textiles).

The exhibition focuses closely on O’Keeffe’s wardrobe, shown for the first time alongside key paintings and photographs that confirm and explore her determination to control how the world understood her identity and artistic values. 

The show: Organized originally by the Brooklyn Museum, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern is on view at the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno. The Nevada Museum of Art is the only venue in the western United States to host the exhibition.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern opens with an introduction that demonstrates how O’Keeffe began to craft her signature clothing style as a high school student, dispensing with the bows and frills worn by young women at the time.

The exhibition continues in four parts. The first is devoted to New York in the 1920s and ’30s when she lived with Alfred Stieglitz and made many of her own clothes. It also examines Stieglitz’s multi-year, serial portrait project, which ultimately helped her to become one of the most photographed American artists in history.

Georgia O’Keeffe Show Catalog

For those who cannot travel to view the exhibit in Reno, there is an excellent catalog with the show.

It was written by the show’s curator, Wanda M. Corn, and published by the Brooklyn Museum.

The book, ‘Georgia O’Keeffe Living Modern’ is superbly illustrated in great detail, and focuses indepth on both her paintings and her apparel. She was a gifted seamstress/ tailor, and made many of her dresses, blouses, jackets. She also later worked closely with couturiers to craft and design beautiful dresses and coats.

On travels to Paris she found work jackets and later denim shirts. The book is highly detailed. Showing her lifelong wardrobe, even her shoe collections and jewelry, the makes clear she was a modernist, through and through. It’s an inspiring book and show. Bravo to Wanda Corn.

Her years in New Mexico comprise the second section, in which the desert landscape—surrounded by color in the yellows, pinks, and reds of rocks and cliffs, and the blue sky—influenced her painting and dress palette.

Georgia O’Keeffe passed away at the age of 98 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on March 6, 1986, but her style and artwork live on. 

To enhance this summer’s O’Keeffe experience, the Nevada Museum of Art has staged an additional exhibition to complement Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern.

On view through September 22, Georgia O’Keeffe: The Faraway Nearby, From the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico transports visitors to the artist’s outdoor lifestyle in the American Southwest. The beauty and elegance of Georgia O’Keeffe’s New Mexico paintings were prompted by the intimacy of her experience with the land. The artist made repeated camping trips to draw and paint at extraordinary sites across this region. This exhibition presents a selection of fifty objects of camping gear belonging to O’Keeffe— everything from her flashlight to her Stanley thermos—that made her trips to remote locations possible.

Rounding out the season of O’Keeffe, the Nevada Museum of Art will offer a host of public programs:

The American Look: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Fashion of Her Time
Friday, August 9 | noon 
Melissa Leventon is a specialist in European and American fashion and textiles. Through this lens, she will ask attendees to consider how the elements and sources of O’Keeffe’s signature wardrobe participate within the larger story of American fashion.

Georgia O’Keeffe: The Candid Camera
Thursday, August 29 | 6 pm
Dr. Ariel Plotek, Senior Director of Collections and Interpretation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, will lend insight into the multiple ways O’Keeffe crafted her public persona through photography, including her relationship with Alfred Stieglitz.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky
Friday, September 6 | noon 
Dr. Brett M. Van Hoesen, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Nevada, Reno, will explore the representation of the southwest sky in O’Keeffe’s paintings and fashion as well as in photographs of the renowned artist. 

Throughout the run of the exhibition, the Museum Shop will offer O’Keeffe-themed merchandise and books, including the 320-page Living Modern authored by Wanda M. Corn. Published by Prestel, the publication is the winner of the 2018 Dedalus Foundation exhibition catalogue award.

The Nevada Museum of Art is the sole venue in the western United States to host Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern. Upon closing, the exhibition will travel to the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida.


Note: the excellent catalog that accompanies the Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern show is available through the Museum’s bookstore. Find it on the Museum’s website.

Images courtesy of the Nevada Museum of Art, used here with permission.

The Nevada Museum of Art
The Nevada Museum of Art permanent collection is divided into four thematic focus areas unified by an overarching focus on natural, built and virtual environments.: Altered Landscape Photography, Art of the Greater West, Contemporary Art, and the Work Ethic.

The Center for Art + Environment Archive Collections and Library serve scholars and researchers seeking information related to creative interactions between people and these various environments.

With its torqued exterior wall, suspended atrium staircase and views of Reno’s skyline, as well as the Sierra Nevada, the building is recognized as one of the most distinguished architectural achievements in the state.
The Nevada Museum of Art, 160 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno, Nevada. 
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Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm; Thursdays until 8pm; Closed Mondays, Tuesdays and national holidays.

The four-level, 70,000-square-foot building is inspired by geological formations in northern Nevada’s Black Rock desert and serves as a visual metaphor for the institution’s scholarly focus on art and environment. Features 15,337 square feet of gallery space for major exhibitions, 180-seat multimedia theater for presentations and films, street-level sculpture galleries, E.L. Cord Museum School; and a 4,800 square-foot rooftop event space, the Fred W. Smith Penthouse, Nightingale Sky Room, Stacie Mathewson Sky Plaza.