National Pensions Institute in Helsinki, designed by Alvar Aalto, 1956.
I started a new newsletter series for MIES called Remote Tours. The articles are available only for subscribers, you can add yourself to the mailing list from here. In each newsletter I will present an exquisite building I’ve had the chance to visit over the years, as I hope to keep my audience inspired even during the pandemic.
Villa Cook by Le Corbusier, 1926 & Villa Dubin by Raymond Fichier, 1929 / me
From the exhibition book of Margiela the Hermès years
MR Armchair by Mies van der Rohe, 1973
It’s been two weeks since the containment started in France, allowing us to go only for groceries and a quick run/walk around the block. Obviously I do miss drinks at a terrace, restaurant dinners and my pilates studio, but my imagination has always been my best friend so the days have passed by fairly easily. During times like these what really keeps my head together is to stay more or less in the same routine when it comes to eating or sleeping. I’ve always been a morning person and especially now I’m really savouring the morning hours being alone, when my boyfriend is still sleeping.
There is no right answer how one should deal with the current situation and I’m not going to write a long list of activities to do, only one that fits to everyone; get lost in research. Pick any subject and feed your curiosity.
Whenever travelling to any city, I always first check out if there are any architecturally interesting locations worth to visit. Even I grew up in the surroundings of Helsinki, I still have a long list of places to visit for any time I’m in the city. This time I was smart enough to contact well advance the National Pensions Institute to book a visit in their headquarters. As the Alvar Aalto designed building is still in daily use, it is possible to visit only on mondays, when they organize guided tours.
I arrived well in advance so I got to wander around in the lobby by myself, which was my favorite part of the building. The black and white floor made from marble and belgian granite is so elegant and unique, and great combination with the signature ceramic tile -wall.
FIAC is always one of the highlights of my year. I love discovering all my favorite galleries from around the world, all gathered in Grand Palais for a weekend showing their best art pieces. During the event there are also many pieces exhibited around Paris with the concept of #FIAChorslesmurs – FIAC outside the walls – for which the selection this year was particularly great! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to see Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin at Place Vendôme as it had to be taken down due to strong wind, however I was extremely excited to visit Jean Prouvé’s demountable houses at Place de la Concorde exhibited by Galerie Patrick Seguin and Galerie Downtown, with all the gorgeous furniture of course.
I might have written about the Alvar Aalto atelier before, but I’m sure a second time won’t hurt. I spent a quick autumn vacation in Helsinki seeing friends and family, and obviously visiting some of my favourite spots, including the Aalto offices in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki. You can also spot the colorful leaves from the window, the nature was definitely showing it’s best while I was there!
Sometimes when I’m meditating I’m thinking about this room, it makes me feel so calm. After living in Paris for many years (where apartments are teeny tiny) I’m starting to notice I’m constantly craving some space around me.
Not only that autumn is my favorite season weather wise, but also every September takes place my most anticipated weekend of the year; the European Heritage Days (Les Journées du Patrimoine). During these two- or three days most of the monuments, government buildings and cultural sites, even the ones that are usually closed for public, open their doors for free visits.
This time I went to visit the Préfecture des Hauts-de-Seine in Nanterre, which sounds nothing but boring for anyone who lives in Paris. But what an overly 70’s, gorgeous design- and art heaven it was behind closed doors. I especially loved the LC1 chairs by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, which were everywhere down the halls and conference rooms.
The Row finally opened their third physical store, and the first one in Europe! I can’t wait for the day they’ll open a store in Paris, I guess it’s just a question of finding the right real estate. Meanwhile I hope to be able to visit London soon, as the store with all its art and design is definitely something not to miss, including the welcoming light installation Elliptical Glass (2017) by James Turrell.
You can read more about the store with an interview of the twins at the Financial Times.
The Row/The Financial Times
Painted Apartment, Krueck & Sexton
While planning a photoshoot I got carried away by researching retro glass block interiors and architecture. I’m obsessed!
Summer is approaching and I’ll be spending most of it in the city, which I’m quite excited about. Although, we are doing a longer road trip to the Balkans in the end of the summer but that’s another story, I’ll still have two whole months to enjoy Paris before that.
I completed my wardrobe last summer with some great pieces and I can’t wait to wear them (ald also my mom’s old sandals) while wandering around in vintage markets and museums. I swear on white linen and silk during warmer days, as I need to cover my skin completely from the sun.
Fundació Joan Miró
This hidden museum was an absolute favorite in Barcelona. Not only I adore the works of Miró, but the huge modern building and calm courtyard terrace got us to stay here for hours.