Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yves Saint Laurent escarpins

Escarpins en daim et crête en poil de chèvre.

Fendi's directory of craftsmanship

Tempted by Alassio's biscuits, la focaccia di Recco or Firenze's tweed, Fendi publishes a directory of 92 addresses of Italian craftsmen (Electa's edition).

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Bryan Ferry - Kate Moss

Merry Christmas

Art is Alive wishes all our readers a Merry Christmas and thanks you all for your support throughout the year.

Shelf-made Christmas tree by Michael Johansson, 2009

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joseph Beuys "Plight"

Joseph Beuys, Plight, Installation: Felt, grand piano, chalkboard, thermometer, 310 x 890 x 1813 cm, original 1985, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London; rebuild 2006 at Paris Centre Pompidou

Carine Roitfeld has definitely been fired from Vogue Paris, thank god!

Think about it for two seconds, you are Vogue Paris fashion editor, what would make you want to quit? Nada! A press release would have been written to announce her next move, not saying that she was leaving, full stop...

Carine Roitfeld has definitely been fired my sources reveal, and in a way, I think it's a good thing. She's never been as "avant-garde" as some papers pretend, she's been following trends set up by other fashion editors including Anna Wintour (wasn't she addressing her a relevant comment regarding the absence of younger designers in the pages of Vogue Paris, in the Loic Prigent's documentary?). 

So thank god, a fresh wind will be blowing on Vogue Paris and we will see less of Mario Testino and maybe younger designers, new trends, personality and charisma...

Turn me on with your electric feel - Introducing the Renault Twizy and Zoe

We have heard of the electric car for months, years, decades even. Several attempts were made but always led to dead-ends. The time has finally come : too many major car makers and small newcomers are heading their way towards alternative energies to finally end up like a bonfire. Among them, Renault and Japanese ally Nissan, freshly rewarded by the European Car of the year trophy for its all-electric Leaf sedan, appear as the most ambitious.

Considering Renault only, four only-electric cars will be launched in 2011 and 2012. We will skip the familiar Kangoo ZE and Fluence ZE (ZE standing for 'Zero Emission') based on existing models and mainly appetizers for corporate and service fleets, and focus on the entirely new designs of the Twizy and Zoe. Can the styling and technology of these cars really embody all of the richness and optimism of Raoul Dufy's fairy of electricity?

Renault answers this question with two different yet sensible answers. With its pearly white paint, the Zoe looks like a neat small hatch, while its general proportions remind of the current Toyota Yaris or Mazda 2. Freshly landed when the project was still under development, Laurens van den Acker, Renault's new head chief of design and former Mazda, certainly had some influence on that styling turn. The design, nicely balanced, shows soft but noticeable edges and leaves the year 2000 aggressiveness to the benefit of light dynamism and simplicity. As Matthieu Tenenbaum - Renault's electric vehicle project deputy director - stresses, there is no long-hood suggesting a big traditional engine here: the short nose, combined with the disappearing of the classic front air openings, naturally suggests electric power. The Zoe also successfully manages to stay away from the tear-drop design seen on Toyota and Honda hybrids, self-promoted as only eco-friendly shape possible so far.

Last year, Renault introduced the first Zoe concept. After some tests among customers, the first draft, a pebble-like small coupe, was considered too futuristic. Funny, isn't it? People always complain over concept-cars never making it to the streets! No room for styling extravagance on this rising market, while the Avantime's failure, Renault's last concept-car to hit the road, seems to have advised the car maker to stay moderate. Here, Renault argues it tries to bring to the public a new way of thinking the personal car in an attractive package, immediately acknowledgeable as electric, but reassuring and still familiar to its users.

Going electric, a straight path to classicism and consensus then? Let's now take a look at Renault's second answer, the Twizy. Four wheels, but shorter than a Smart and wider than a Piaggio MP3. With this one, Renault tries to create a brand new offer in urban mobility. The Twizy slots between king-size scooters and midgets, grapping high mobility from a motorbike and safety from a small car.

Indeed, the two-in-a-row-seater benefits from a safety cell with seat belts (four points for the driver, three points for the passenger), a driver's airbag and original gull wing side doors generally seen on supercars or... concept cars. They have two goals, aside from being all-the-rage of course: they provide optimised access in narrow spaces but also protection against water projections or "bag-lifters". Originally designed higher, like an egg, the silhouette of the Twizy eventually lowered in order to suggest better visual stability to users.

Following Mini and Citroën's DS lineup, Renault will provide the Twizy with countless personalisation packages, and even seasonal offers, always with a high spirit of customer interaction. For instance, the model shown today at the LeWeb salon is painted in matt black with a very Tron-genre 'printed circuit' pattern, which won the internet contest held during the Paris motorshow last October.

For those who think driving the Twizy might be a romance killer, Tenenbaum concludes by reminding us of the absense of helmet and noise (thank you electric power) allowing to chit-chat - and more - at red lights. With a 100 km autonomy and a refill in 3"30 hours, the Twizy makes complete sense as an original and adequate solution to city lifestyle.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ALLEGORIA SACRA – upcoming project by AES+F.

ALLEGORIA SACRA – upcoming project by AES+F

Marina Abramovic graces the cover of her native country's edition of Elle magazine

The artist graces the cover of the January 2011 issue of her native country's edition of Elle magazine. Shot by Dusan Reljin.

The Saatchi's collection in Lille, France

 Shadi Ghadirian - "Untitled from the Like Everyday Series"

While waiting for the opening of Saatchi's highly-criticised museum in London, the Saatchi Gallery presents an exhibition of more than 60 works from its famous contemporary art collection in Lille, France. 

Entitled "The Silk Road" [La Route de la Soie] this show is organised by lille3000 and takes place at the Tri Postal, a trendy contemporary art space which held exhibitions on Indian art and Pinault’s private collection in the past. I had the chance to visit it last week.
"The Silk Road" is a reference to the ancient trade routes between Asia and Europe which linked China to the Middle East via India from the 2nd century BC… Hence the fact that it showcases artworks from Chinese, Iranian, Lebanese artists amongst other nationalities... I had seen most of the artworks in London, and even had "to deal with" Pakistani artist Huma Mulji's "Arabian Delight," an artwork which consists in a camel folded in a suitcase which caused a stir at the 2008’s Art Dubai fair but I found the show of great interest.

Qiu Jie  - "Portrait of Mao"

One of the highlights is the installation of the Franco-Algerian artist Kader Attia, an aluminium-made group of no-face people praying. It is highly impressive and almost scary, I loved it!
The show runs until 16th January so go and visit it if you have a chance to!

Beautiful Tori Amos

Quote of the week: Kate Moss

"I think I could definitely open a modelling school. Kate's Modelling School? Moss's Models? Put Moss's Models down! You need to see it as a skill. I mean, you can be the most intelligent person in the world, but it won't make you a good teacher." Kate Moss to Company Magazine.

Gisele Bündchen is the new face of Balenciaga's Spring 2011 collection

The rumours were true, Gisele Bündchen is the new face of Balenciaga's Spring 2011 collection. Here are the first shots of the ads. Although it was somehow weird to hire Gisele, the Brazilian model showcases an 80's / punk look and looks totally great. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Fragility of Time by Ignacio Canales Aracil

Called The Fragility of Time, the project involves collecting plants from gardens and nurseries then pressing them to for fragile sculptures. The designer / artist comments: "The sculptures are made with flowers and plants from different gardens and nurseries that work in collaboration with me. They allowed me to cut their flowers and work in their premisses while choosing, pressing and drying the flowers." I think it's beautiful and fascinating!

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Tilda Swinton for Pomellato 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quote of the week: Jonathan Akeroyd, President and CEO of Alexander McQueen

"Because McQ is a new, fresh and energetic collection, we want to talk to its fans through the media they use. McQ will forge links with its customers through social media platforms to create a more direct relationship with them.”

Jonathan Akeroyd, President and CEO of Alexander McQueen, commenting on the launch of social media initiatives.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hotel: Hotel Particulier de Montmarte in Paris

An interesting combination of French luxury, "bon goût" and slick design is certainly reflected by the Hotel Particulier de Montmartre in Paris. The designers and managers, Morgane Rousseau, Frédéric Comtet and Mathieu Paillard asked the best artists to decorate the 5-room artistocratic building.

The garden is one of the best assets of this boutique hotel. Designed by Louis Banech, it can be seen from every window of the mansion.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mick Rock's retrospective at the Idea Generation Gallery, in London

Celebrated as ‘The Man Who Shot the 70s’, Mick Rock’s images define rock n’ roll. Mick Rock launched his career in 1972 with his portrait of David Bowie, documenting the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust,  and shot the videos Life on Mars and Space Oddity. 

He also spent the next four decades capturing the most fascinating and exciting characters in rock music: from Queen, Debbie Harry, Courtney Love to Mick Jagger.

Coinciding with the publication of Rock’s new book Exposed: the Faces of Rock n’ Roll (available to purchase in the gallery), Rock: Music includes many previously unseen and unpublished images, as well as rare and unexpected portraits from some of Mick’s classic shoots.

"London in the late sixties and early seventies was a hotbed of creative interchange. The prevalent hippie philosophy united all manner of artists, musicians, film makers, models, designers, actors, writers, and photographers into a unique and fertile community. My timing was excellent. Curiosity and circumstance drew me into the flame of rock n’ roll."
- Mick Rock.

Until the 16th January.
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