59.3293° N, 18.0686° E
Sprawling across 14 islands, consisting of one third water and one third green space, Stockholm is the quintessential Scandinavian city. When you think about Sweden forget Ikea and Pippy Longstockings, what draws me to Stockholm is the minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic and constant waft of cinnamon scrolls. Whilst in Stockholm I stayed in the creative heart of Södermalm, and although there is plenty of transportation I found Stockholm to be a beautiful walking city full of water ways, blazing sunsets and sun dappled trees.
There is no doubt that technology plays a huge part in our lives and has replaced a lot of physical objects like news stands, book shops and magazines. Fewer people use a good old pen and paper to jot down ideas and write down notes, but those who still do certainly have an appreciation for quality stationery that is functional and beautiful. I myself am of course one of those people, there is a real ease in scribbling down ideas on a blank page and being able to flick back to see your process that a tablet can’t give you.
I sometimes do question the relevance of starting a stationery business in a time dominated by tablets and smartphones, but then I come across beautiful brands and people that still share this ideology that nothing gets the brain juices flowing than having the time to sit with your own thoughts and write or draw them down.
For anyone who has been to Japan, you will be well aware that the place is stationery heaven! from the kitsch to the beautifully handcrafted. I am heading to Japan in a few months and I can not wait to see all the beautiful paper and stationery, and visit paper boutiques who clearly understand the relationship someone has with a pen to paper. My tools of choice are a blank sketchbook and a Palomino Blackwing pencil, what’s yours?
I have a deep appreciation for the fine craftsmanship of all things Japanese and the timeless aesthetic of Scandinavian design, so this campaign for COS ’15 perfectly merges two of my favourite worlds. Yokahom-born fashion photographer Junpei Kato collaborated with Swedish fashion label COS to shoot their campaign in the streets of Tokyo.
I love that the products look like sculptures or fine works of art, perfectly placed amongst Tokyo’s street textures and Japanese signage – pure perfection.
Camisoles with oversized knits / sticky Turkish ice cream on cold date nights / catching up on magazines in bed with a good cup of tea / soft knits on bare skin and bare legs / savouring the last Summer blooms before Winter hits.
There is no doubt that Sydney puts on a spectacular display of fireworks to welcome a new year, but I got to experience a different type of fireworks display in 2014 as I spent new year’s eve in Munich.
I should mention that I have never seen or experienced snow before, so I was pretty excited to arrive in Munich and see it had a fresh thick blanket of snow covering the city centre. My first steps on to the streets were a bit of a balancing act as I slipped and slided to to my hotel. Once I got in my room and changed in to a pair of shoes with more traction I was ready to run amok! every blob of snow was asking to be poked, and every tree daring me to shake it!
We started the night by heading out for beer and pretzels at Hofbräuhaus beer hall which was originally built in 1589. The place was buzzing with an atmosphere filled with camaraderie and general drunk jolliness. I have to admit I am a total lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so instead of chugging down a litre of beer (which by the way is the smallest size you can order), I had to fake it with sparkling apple juice, shhh! don’t tell the locals!
Munich saves money by not having an official fireworks display for new year’s eve, but instead they let the locals do it themselves! by 11:45pm the streets were madness! people were launching fireworks at their own will, and judging by the lack of accuracy or general awareness for safety I’m pretty sure everyone was drunk and setting off explosives — probably not the best combination. Needless to say I was exhilarated and slightly terrified, but it certainly will be a new year’s eve I remember!
The morning after marked the first day of 2015, the city was surely hung over and recuperating as I stepped out to what was basically a dead zone. The only signs of the celebrations from the night before were scattered bottles and singe marks from where fireworks were set off. Nevertheless, the city greeted me with beautiful blue skies and fluffy snow, the perfect combination for a peaceful morning walk.
After spending the previous week in Paris, I had had my fair share of renaissance art and opulent architecture. I decided to visit Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich which is a modern art museum divided into four main categories; Art (Kunst), Architecture (Architektur), Design (Design) and Works on Paper (Graphik).
The space is minimalistic with white and grey concrete slabs sweeping from floor to ceiling, only to be met with big glass windows that let the sunshine subtly create shadows along the walls. The museum no doubt appealed to my design sensibilities, and it was nice to see iconic industrial design pieces that I had only learnt about in uni.
One of the exhibitions they had on that I was infatuated with was Superhero by Swiss born artist Stephan Melzl. The exhibition brings together around 40 works of small-scale oil paintings on wood, the exhibition blurb described it as:
From afar, the muted colours of the small panel paintings radiate an aura of familiarity. Up close, however, a strange, unsettling silence emanates from the works. It would almost appear as if time has been suspended in them. The scenes are stage-like in atmosphere — due in part to the artificiality of the lighting within each scene. Everyday objects and symbols, bodies and shadows are surreally invested with alternative meanings. Scenes-within-a-scene create a dialogue between past and present, sparking associations with Giotto, Reni, Hopper, or Balthus, and purposefully blending genres: devotional panel and film still, saint’s image and pin-up, the grotesque and pop gesture.
The kunstareal otherwise known as the “art district” in Munich is home to a small cluster of museums, so after Pinakothek der Moderne, I was able to stroll over to Neue Pinakothek, which focuses on 18th and 19th century European art.
One of the shops I was really excited to visit was & Other Stories, I did not get a chance to pop in to the Paris store so I was very pleased Munich had a branch on Sendlinger Straße. The fashion, accessories and layout were true to it’s Scandianvian roots, I went back three times if that gives you an indication of how much I liked it.
Three days in Munich meant i had my fair share of schweinshaxe and nurnberger sausages (I’m not kidding, I just ate salad straight out of the packet to have a more “balanced” diet). Munich has a relaxed charisma atmosphere and I think it is even more special during the Christmas time, especially if you are lucky to have snowfall like I experienced. This was my first time seeing snow, and I liked it! I was not done with the icy fluffy stuff yet, next stop… Kitzbühel, a small snow town in Austria!