Travel

A visit to the Umbria region of Italy

June 27th, 2017

A week and a half ago I spontaneously took a much needed solo trip to Italy. My friend Kiko was posting some beautiful photos on Instagram and I commented, and she suggested I join her. Normally I wouldn’t follow through, however I was in the process of trying to work through some things (as one is want to do when they have children pushing their buttons every ten minutes). The next thing I knew, I was on a plane, on my own for the first time in 10 years (!).

I arrived in the exact place I needed to be. Locanda del Gallo is located in the mountainous Umbria region of central Italy. Specifically, I was there for a yoga retreat run by YuMee Chung and Pat from Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre. If you ever have the opportunity to attend something run by these two, I suggest you do it. I am relatively new to yoga and felt included and supported. Not only that, these two teachers really surround themselves with likeminded, kind people, so socially there was a really nice open vibe. The day started with two hours of yoga, then free time, lunch, free time, two hours of yoga, dinner. There were opportunities for one on one sessions, massage therapy and even a pasta making class. Mostly I just did yoga and hung out by the pool.

The main stone house (John and I are a bit obsessed with stone houses).

Where I spent all of my free time, reading, lounging and swimming.

So heavenly it deserves two views.

My spacious room, with several different views and a lovely cross breeze.

 


 

Day trip into Gubbio, about 30 minute winding drive away.

Obligatory gelato.

We stumbled across a cable car to the summit of Ingino Mount, where we found St. Ubaldo’s Basilica which hosts the remains of the saint.


 

We also visited the town of Bevagna during their Mercato delle Gaite Medieval Festival. Here I am with my friend Kiko, looking uber relaxed.

 

We found a cute little bar/cafe called La Bottega di Assu’ for dinner. It has an artistic youthful vibe (picture of Frida Kahlo marks the entrance) so it was right up our alley.

This restaurant was in the best location, looking over the main square where some performances were happening.

 

After dark, romantic Italian side street wanderings.

Italian scaffolding.

Some kids dressed up, working the outdoor patios.

The town was really dressed up for the occasion.


 

A picture window I would pass many times a day.

Although sunny the entire trip, the last day we awoke to fog.

What an amazing opportunity this was. Thank you to my inlaws who took care of the kids for the week, and to John for encouraging me to seize the day. I may just have to make this a yearly thing…

The soundtrack to our stay. All day long.

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Réunion at Pom & Flora

April 10th, 2017

This post is very tardy (where is my head?!?). Everyone has since come and gone from Milan, so I figure I better share this, even if it’s just for posterity.

During Stockholm Design Week (February 2017), we had a Réunion with Luca Nichetto and Nichetto Studio. We co-hosted an event with Residence Magazine (newest book is now available in the shop) at the ever lovely Pom & Flora cafe, designed by Emma Olbers. It was an opportunity to showcase our growing collection with Nichetto Studio.

The newest member of the Nichetto Studio / Mjölk family is the Réunion lamp. The base is made in Murano, Italy and the painted aluminum shade is made in Toronto.

Pre-party atmosphere and the new colours for Han and Zen.

Uki, Zen and Han in use.

From Left:

Uki tea light holder

Sucabaruca

Réunion – not yet available for sale

Aureola

Zen vase and Han diffuser

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Stockholm 2017

March 14th, 2017

  

This visit we decided to stay at Hotel Skeppsholmen. Located a little off the beaten track, the hotel is nestled on a small island surrounded by water and trees.  I found this beneficial since we spend so much time running around and having meetings, a dose of nature helped take the edge off.

This has been one of my most positive hotel experience to date. It’s the type of place that is exceptionally pleasant, where the staff go out of their way to be generous and kind—I really felt taken care of.

The hotel restaurant is excellent. Not only do they offer a free breakfast buffet that is actually fresh and delicious, their lunch and dinner menus are also very good. After a shockingly long day’s travel (a flight from Copenhagen to Stockholm, with no delays, seemed to take us from 8am to 2pm!), we had the best steak and fries I’ve had in a long time.

The hotel is designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune, whom we’ve exhibited and worked with in the past. We were given a spacious room with a view of the water. It had no blackout blinds–which normally would bother me but in this case there wasn’t so much artificial light outside–yet we had such a wonderful deep sleep, and were awoken naturally by the rising sun every morning. Most importantly, it was incredibly quiet.

The walk to the hotel isn’t so bad either.

Over at Svenskt Tenn, there was a special design week show featuring lighting by Harri Koskinen. Inspired by Philodendrons, with a play on light and shadow.

 

Furnishing Utopia was at the fair. Our production of Hallgeir Homstvedt’s Doverail Mirror / Shelf and Toolboxes were on display, along with a lovely selection of Shaker objects and new Shaker inspired design pieces.

  

Mayor Sofa by Arne Jacobsen for &Tradition in a new colour. We’ll be getting one in the showroom in a few months. Also the Palette Table by Jaime Hayon for &Tradition dressed in new materials.

Catch Lounge Chair by Jaime Hayon, one will be arriving in our showroom in the spring. On the right, some new accessories from &Tradition, like the Tricolore glass vases and the brass 721 grams stackable and interchangeable candle holders.

Tea time at Ett Hem.

Artek and Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken team up for the installation “124° – Artek on Skeppsholmen” and a new collection.

L: Kiila coat stand and rack.
R: Riihitie Plant Pot, designed 1937 by Aino Aalto (new production)

Classic tables and chairs in new colours, and shapes that can be put together to make a larger conference table.

124° wall mounted mirrors. Two faces are placed 124 degrees apart creating an unexpected dual-aspect reflection of the surrounding space.

A whirlwind as usual, we missed a lot of events and were passing ships with many of our favourite people.

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Stopover in Copenhagen

February 28th, 2017

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On our way to the Stockholm Furniture Fair a few weeks ago we stopped over for a few nights in Copenhagen. We stayed this time at the Scandic Palace Hotel, which was ideally situated in the centre and has free breakfast. Since this was a quick trip I wanted everything to be accessible and easy. Grey and cold, we arrived in the early afternoon so we took a walk.

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Grabbed a coffee at Atelier September.

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Popped into Frama, who happened to be open on the weekend because they were having a sale. You can see more photos of their studio here, as at the time it was overrun with their sale items. I liked this brass screen tucked away in the back.

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The colours of the Scandinavian cityscape always bring joy on dull days.

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First visit to the Danish Design Museum and they had a chair exhibition on.

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They had the chairs grouped according to basic aesthetic similarities, which is always nice for comparison.

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Nice to see some well worn Børge Mogensen on display.

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The other featured exhibition happened to be titled Learning from Japan, exploring Japan’s influence on Danish design.

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Happy to see Kaori Juzu‘s jewellery on display.

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Classic.

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A lovely dinner at 108.

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Christian from OneCollection and I totally had to have this dessert after spying it pass by our table.

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Post meeting lunch with the multitalented designers Tanja and Petra from All the Way to Paris at the beautifully considered Admiralgade 26. We were fairly obsessed with the ambience and design choices, but the French food served was also exactly what we wanted for lunch–fresh and simple.

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Floor details: loving the increased use of terrazzo I’ve been seeing in Scandinavia. Also wood inlays and vintage rugs.

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One thing I really like about the design of the restaurant is that it has different zones, for a variety of uses. From cozy intimate groupings to large round tables perfect for a gathering.

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Furniture and a variety of lamps make the space home like.

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Unique pottery, ceramics and glass create an interesting focal point throughout.

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We joined our friends from Queen West Antique Centre, for a very over the top dinner at Kiin Kiin. They start you off in the lounge where they ply you with drink and appetizers, then give you a menu. At this point you are thinking you have to just choose an item off the menu but no, you will be consuming the entire menu. So many courses but amazingly I felt good at the end.

I had to stop and take a photo of this salad dish. Yes, that’s cotton candy. In the background you can see the server preparing the dressing.

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The dressing melts the cotton candy and neutralizes the sweetness.

In many ways the drama during the meal could be perceived as a bit much, but in the end it was an enjoyable evening spent in good company, and the food was exceptional.

After dinner we popped over to a jazz club, which unfortunately was having a comedy night. Oh well, next time!

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Ingegerd Råman Stockholm Studio Visit

November 14th, 2016

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A few years ago we had the pleasure of visiting with Ingegerd Råman at her studio in Stockholm. Located on the tiny island of Skeppsholmen in the heart of the city, near the Moderna Museet and overlooking the Strandvägen with important design shops Svenkst Tenn and Carl Malmsten across the water, it’s an ideal location for inspiration.

We had saved the images to accompany our conversation in Mjolk Volume IV, however, we later visited Ms. Råman at her summer home in the south of Sweden. I figure now is a good time as any to share a few snapshots from our initial visit!

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The desk is where Ms. Råman meticulously lays out things of interest, both found objects and special gifts, grouped by materials and colours.

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Glass work for Skruf, currently available at Mjölk.

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The Swedish touch, floral arrangements in winter.

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What a lovely thing to find Mjolk Volume II on the bookshelf.

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A pangapanga tray by Swedish architects Claesson Koivisto Rune

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Check out Mjolk Volume IV to read John’s interview.

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London, day two: Jasper Morrison Shop

August 30th, 2016

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On this beautiful Tuesday morning we wanted to share some photos of the Jasper Morrison Shop which we finally had a chance to visit during our trip to London.

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The shop is tucked away in a courtyard behind a big black door that you have to buzz to gain access to. Once you’re in the courtyard you can see a warm wood space frame with an industrial galvanized steel door frame and windows.
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A little seating alcove in the courtyard.

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An amazing collection of everyday utility design from around the world. I purchased the perfect ice cream scoop.

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The studio entrance with buzzer.

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The path from the entrance heading towards the studio.

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Right after the Jasper Morrison shop visit we walked down the street to visit another iconic London based shop Labour and Wait. A place we have always wanted to visit, and they did not disappoint. The facade is beautiful with its rich glossy green tiles. Inside, it’s what a true neighbourhood home goods store should be. We picked up a nice white oak twine holder to be used in the shop.

A little more from our trip later…

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