Mark Warner have set bloggers the challenge to think about what would make a perfect holiday and it got us thinking.
One of the most exciting things about taking our design trips is immersing ourselves in a new culture and climate and getting the opportunity to really embrace a weekend of exploration. We’ve done this with mini-break trips to Copenhagen, Barcelona, Rome and Paris and love that soaring sense of freeness when you step off the plane brimming with anticipation or see something breathtaking like the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. We undertook these trips minus the kids to escape for long weekends. However, now they’re fully fledged on their scooters and bursting with questions it seems like the right age to take them with us to really enjoy being a family and get them thinking outside the box with design, culture and daily life.
So what would we do?
We’d need a plan. Preparation seems to pay off with kids. Last year we drove to Luxembourg and back without a single tear shed due to a Mary Poppins style bag of tricks and a mixed itinerary of culture, exploration, cafes and stop-overs.
The fear of course is how can we keep them entertained enough for a proper break, and if we do, will we get the opportunity to explore ourselves to enjoy that sense of escapism? Right now a dream holiday would be somewhere with great food (Italy springs to mind), sun (anyone remember what it felt like to feel warm?) and somewhere to relax the mind and body (we’re in the midst of home renovation so can only dream). Somewhere with plenty of active outdoor activities but also somewhere not too far from old fishing villages, flea markets to lose a few hours and local artisans. A place to hear the stories, meet the makers, the crafters and locals whilst also (and importantly) getting quality time with the kids to run riot in appropriate dedicated spaces! It’s those fresh warmed faces of happy summers that we want our children to remember with those impressionable glimpses into the world around them. An early memory of mine is dipping into the glass-blowing houses in Venice when we stayed one Christmas. The light, the noise, the glow still stays with me and these experiences in our formative years are so invaluable to opening our eyes and hearts to the world.
Here’s to 2016 and opening our eyes just that little bit wider.
A style guru article for the Mark Warner Family Ambassador Programme 2016
As part of our recent trip to France this Summer we were lucky enough to visit the gardens of Monet in Giverny. Of course we’ve all seen photos or paintings of the green Japanese bridge over the lilypond or the pink house peeking just above the flowers, but its a remarkable experience actually being there. And it isn’t just his garden; the entire village is botany mad! Driving to Giverny it’s fascinating to watch the landscape transform into one which becomes quickly familiar through the haybales, open stretches of fields and water. You realise just how imprinted his works and landscape are on your mind for the first time.
Claude Monet lived for just forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926 in this house in Giverny and created this giant jungle of colour using it as inspiration for his art (alongside his water garden which satisfied his interest in light and reflection). The assault of colour continues in from the thickly planted garden full of long straight narrow paths (giving you the impression you are almost walking through a flowerbed) and into the house.
Monet’s love of colour continues inside the house with his azure blue kitchen and bright yellow dining room (complete with yellow painted furniture which was considered extremely modern at the time) and this brings a strong feeling of being in the heart of the countryside. The house creaks under the weight of the tourists straining to look at the famous artwork and personal possessions displayed and they aren’t dissapointed. The walls are bursting with paintings and photographs, interrupted intermittently with welcome expansive windows overlooking the garden, it is a true artists home.
And it isn’t just the house and gardens which you can explore but numerous gardens, galleries, shops, artisan dwellings and fields within this village which is predominantly pedestrianised. We escaped the masses by taking a short drive out of the village finding a rather unconvincing dirt track which took us most of the way through some trees and into a clearing. A short walk later and we were on the untamed banks of the vast and wild river Seine. One marvellous picnic later and Paris was beckoning.
Travelling back in the car we reflect on how much love, work and passion there was in the home and garden. There is a quote from Claude Monet which translates as ‘Beyond painting and gardening, I am good for nothing’. That may be, but he was a master of both.
Having featured the work of graffiti artists Jana & Js on the blog before and knowing they have their work on walls throughout Europe we always like to keep tabs on their latest projects. Their work looks at the interactions between people and the city and is strongly inspired by photography.
Jana & Js were kind enough to explain their involvement in Quai 36 at the Gare du Nord in Paris. The Collective Quai 36 was born in 2013 when a group of people passionate about urban art decided to set up a project with the aim of enhancing public spaces. The group named themselves after a particular platform (Quai) in Gare Du Nord as it was the mainline to the northern suburbs, where many of them live. Gare du Nord has over 700,000 commuters every day (which includes many members of this collective) so it was the perfect location for an impressive public exhibition. As we were in Paris for the weekend we popped over to take a look.
16 French and international street artists produced murals, stencils and wheat pastings on the theme ‘Faces of the Station’ to trigger unexpected encounters and emotions. Many of these can be found on Quai 36 and we’ve included some photos of a few of them for you to enjoy below!
Artist: Jana & JS
Artist: Jérôme Mesnager