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.
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.
I really enjoy visiting exhibitions that make me think, research and learn, but during the busy periods of life those can be quite overwhelming and you just crave for something aesthetically beautiful. Just like a Barbara Hepworth exhibition at Musée Rodin. It is a perfectly small, but well curated collection of her most important pieces to describe her life and works. Or I guess at least, to be honest I didn’t really study why those exact pieces were chosen, I only let my eyes wonder in the beautiful sculptures and emptied my mind. Maybe I’ll go back later with more curiosity, but for the moment it was exactly what I needed.
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
Usually I’m the person who can’t wait to return home from vacations. Even I truly love traveling, I love coming back home to my everyday routines. But this time after nearly three weeks in Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania, coming back to Paris was extremely difficult. And yes I’m writing this a month later as the autumns for me tend to be extremely busy.. Anyway we had amazing time discovering the breathtaking nature in Albania, eating the most fresh seafood and drinking local wines. In the Balkans most of us are familiar with Croatia, and obviously Greece in the south, maybe Montenegro a bit, but Albania remains still quite unknown. Which was perfect. We got all of those picturesque mountainous views with no tourists, and sometimes with no people at all. Everything was extremely affordable and the people so warm and welcoming.
I was lucky to have many local tour guides taking me to locations that are not that easily accessible. My favorite day was when my boyfriend took me to this river nearby Skhodër, where the landscape was from another world. The water is coming from the mountains so it was so clear it tricks you to think you can reach the bottom with your feet when actually the depth is nearly 3 meters. Also having mountains around everywhere gave me some much energy and powerful emotions, which I really long for when being back in the city.
I just got back to Paris and my mind is just blown away from all the beautiful places I’ve visited past three weeks. There is so much I want to write about Albania, but while gathering myself before digging into the hundreds of photos I took, here’s one from the very first night we spent in Kotor, Montenegro. The day was extremely long as we flew early in the morning and drove hours to reach Kotor, just to witness the heaviest rain they had in weeks. But after a long nap we woke up to the most beautiful sunset with all the clouds leaving from the bay.
Cyndle Komarovski wearing Matteau
Seashells from San Diego photographed by Herman Landschoff
Jumping from coats to swimsuits. I’m finally leaving tomorrow for vacation to Montenegro and Albania. Matteau Journal is my ultimate destination for vacation inspiration. I’ve packed very lightly, just couple white dresses, denim shorts and a swimsuit and lots of SPF! As we’ll be travelling almost three weeks, I’m planning to keep doing pilates (almost) every morning and enjoy the fresh seafood to keep the balance, nothing is worse than the post-vacation fatigue if you give up your routines for three weeks.
Also I can’t wait to get my hands into the coats again when coming back in mid-august. I have two very special coats delivering that time for Mies!