Tuesday, 31 July 2007

cheers to Prague

Last weekend was truly momentous. A life-long ambition was fulfilled when I became, for one day only, a Cheerleader! How did this happen? Well, I was lucky enough to go to Prague for the 20th Bauer Agency Cup Football competition. Ad agencies from mostly Germany companies, (totalling about 1500 Germans!) and us, Wieden+kennedy, Amsterdam, competed for the Bauer Cup. We made it through to the quarter final's but lost on a round on penalty goals. All in all it was a beautiful day and a stellar effort from our boys! But, um, it's really all about me being a Cheerleader!

Prague itself was simply stunning. Because Prague was largely undamaged through WWII it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. An amazingly maze of ornate buildings, churches, palaces, cathedrals and castles, all in pristine condition making this very compact medieval town centre seem something out of a fairytale. In fact the city is so spectacular the historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1992. I was very content to have the cobblestone streets lead me around to soak up the atmosphere in full rich and vibrant colour.

A few of us were lucky (or unlucky) to be travelling by train (15 long hours each way), but it did give us an extra day in Prague. So Sunday after breakfast, a litre of water, Panadol and swearing to never drink again we all hit the streets of Prague for a day of meandering.
Around one corner we found a crafts market. A really beautiful market. I fell in love with one stall selling gorgeous wood ornaments. Mostly Christmas tree ornaments, they were laser cut wood with intricate detail. Below is the largest one they had, a 15cm tall tree. I also found hand-made lace angels, bells and stars for my tree. Goodbye mercury glass ornaments, hello quirky European craft ornaments. I can't wait for Christmas now and am already planning a trip to a German Christmas market with the divine Miss Julia. Oh! My tree is going to rock! There was also some beautiful wooden toys, all made by a Czech toy company that's been around for over a century. I was in craft heaven.

Other than Absinthe and glass works, the other big souvenir on offer are puppets. There are a lot of puppet shops in Prague! But all seemed rather large for my taste. Plus you need few to be able to put on a show, now don't you? One little puppet would be very lonely. Further strolling through the backstreets bought me to a little shop full of puppets and it was here these 10cm tall miniature puppets caught my eye. So I bought four, for a mere €6 each: Little read Riding Hood (I have to make her a read cape), the Hunter, Grandma and of course... the Wolf!


So if you've three days holiday up your sleeve and don't know where to go, I strongly recommend a trip to the Czech Republic's beautiful fairytale capital, Prague.

london calling

So I took a little holiday and headed to London for ten jam-packed days of art, design, sight-seeing, dining out and drinking. Just what I was in dire need of too. Pictured below are some concrete stairs I liked and an original Banksy 'papaRATzzi' stencil found in Notting Hill. On Banksy's website you can download high-res artwork.

Here are my tips for any London trippers...

Art and Design:
I can highly recommend the BP Portrait Show at the National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, The Design Museum and The Anthony Gawmley Exhibiton at the Hayward Gallery.

Fab food:
Crazy Bear restaurant just off Oxford Street in the heart of Soho. A beautifully designed luxury restaurant and lounge bar. The restaurant serves contemporary Thai cuisine. The food was amazing, the service was very friendly and impeccable and all in the most ultra-glam setting.
As GQ magazine reported "the best place to impress a date". I agree. Very cool. This crazy pink and mirror-tile is in the ladie's bathroom. Fabulous. I want to re-do my bathroom exactly like this! Price? Cocktails a little pricey at the £9.50 / €14.50 mark. But the meal I had was beautiful. Three course dim-sum meal, including wine for approx £17 / €25.00. Crazy Bear: 26/28 Whitfield Street W1.

Shopping:
One of my favourite little stores in London is Beyond The Valley. Tucked away in the heart of Soho this little store is filled up with beautiful jewellery, clothing, art and lots more. 2 Newburgh Street, London W1F 7RD. Telephone +44 (0)207 4377338

Also worth a visit, is department store Selfridges, if only for the window displays. Oxford Street, London.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

printastic

Vintage Fabrics from the States is another beautiful publication from Pie books of Japan.

It’s just page after page of gorgeous prints. I love how you can see the texture in the fabrics and the slightly off-register printing of these simple designs.

I think it’s these little imperfections as well as the cute imagery that makes these prints so endearing. These are a few of my favourite patterns, and of course living in Holland I had to include some a Dutch design.

Vintage Fabric from the States by Pie books, Japan 2005. ISBN 4-89444-488-7 C3070 USD $25.00

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

uniqlock

Sorry, had to take this down as the sound over rides everything.
You can still see it the Unliqlock site.

Monday, 9 July 2007

olle eksell

Olle Eksell was a highly renowned and influential Swedish graphic designer. This beautiful book documents a life's work. The book itself is a written in a mix of Swedish and Japanese, so I can't offer up much on the thinking behind the work or the man himself. But, if picture says a thousand words, Eksell's work speaks volumes. There’s beautiful designs for book jackets, posters, packaging, textile design and more. Colourful, fun, endearing illustrations are central to most of his work. Loaded with colour illustrations this book is a true fest for the eye. At his most prolific in the 1950s, Eksell continued to work into the 90s. Sadly, he passed away April, 2007, but what a legacy he leaves behind. Olle, a very big thank you.
Printed by Pie books, Japan, 2006. ISBN4-89444-547-6 USD $39.95

Monday, 2 July 2007

ij hallen

Ij Hallen July was wet and rainy and so it was slim pickings this weekend I'm afraid.
I did manage to hunt out a few little bargains though. My favourites are these two vintage classic Dick Bruna items. Bargain of the day goes to the Little Red Riding Hood puzzle below, for the massive sum of 50 euro cents. See, even LRRH is surprised!
And this little lady is now keeping a watchful eye on my desk. She's marked 1972, and I think she looks great for 35!

Then there is this squirrel vase in mint condition. Gorgeous. I've named him Morris.

And a few pieces of crockery to add to my eclectic collection. A little dish with fishes and a lemon! How I have lived without it I do not know.

And these graphic icons are from a bowl and dish set. The cabbage and pineapple are my favourite. Next Ij Hallen will be August 5th.