April 25, 2024

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Britain’s ‘Pie King’ Comes to Paris

7 min read

“They’re movable pieces of art,” says Budapest-born, London-based decorator Gergei Erdei of his new collection of hand-painted folding pinewood screens. Part of his Objects of Desires series, the six designs include trompe l’oeil columns, wing-footed mythological figures and interlinked geometric shapes. Erdei found inspiration for his pieces, which are over seven feet tall, in a recent retrospective of the Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli’s works at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs and in the lacquered screens of multimedia Art Deco creator Jean Dunand; Pompeii’s crumbling frescoes and ancient mosaics informed the mythological design’s soft, ocher hues, which were achieved through multiple coats of acrylic paint. “I keep coming back to Pompeii in my work,” Erdei says. “I find the layers faded by time so beautiful, like veils of history.”

Thought to have originated during China’s Han dynasty, screens became popular decorative pieces in Europe in the 17th century, when they were used for privacy and to divide rooms and block drafts. A couple of centuries later, Coco Chanel lined her Paris apartment with black-and-gold lacquer Coromandel screens. Erdei, who once worked as a women’s wear designer at Gucci in Rome, also wants his screens to stand out. “I see them used as a theatrical background behind a bed or a sofa, or either side of a fireplace,” he says. A bespoke screen will also make an appearance, alongside his signature acrylic murals, in his next project, the interior design of a private riad turned hotel called Le M, opening in Marrakech’s medina this summer. Objects of Desire screens from $6,700, gergeierdei.com.


Eat Here

English fare has rarely gotten its due in France, but the British chef Calum Franklin, nicknamed the “Pie King” from his years making artistically latticed savory pies at London’s Holborn Dining Room, is intent on changing that this month with the opening of Public House, his first project in Paris. Occupying what was previously an American bar-nightclub in the Opera district, the restaurant combines the brasserie format — broad and bustling dining rooms with deep booths — and the relaxed spirit of a British pub. Franklin wanted the menu to be an approachable mix featuring a selection of his signature pies (among them beef and bone marrow; Montgomery Cheddar, dauphinoise potato and caramelized onion; chicken and wild mushroom; and lobster for two) alongside pub classics like Scotch eggs, sausage rolls and sticky toffee pudding. “If we’re introducing Parisians to old-school British pies that are inspired by 600-year-old recipes and history, we have to do it gradually,” says Franklin. For the interiors, the architect and designer Laura Gonzalez wove in hand-finished oak furnishings, tartan fabrics that vary on each of the three floors and a patchwork of bright tiles. On the lower level, there’s a bar with its own entrance, while on the top floor, diners can sit in a spacious winter garden and play a round of darts or chess in the game room. It all makes for something fresh for Paris and an adventure for Franklin. “When I was young, a lot of my chef friends came to work in Paris but I was too shy; I didn’t speak French and it was all too easy to stay in London,” he says. “I’ve always regretted it because I saw how Paris changed them. Now, it’s my turn.” Public House opens March 26, publichouseparis.fr.

Passover, the Jewish holiday that marks the Exodus from Egypt, is built around a meal — the Seder — and the story of the flight to the Promised Land that’s told with it. On the same night, everywhere in the world where there are Jews, the ritual meal takes place, though the food and flavors differ according to the local culture. “The Jewish Holiday Table,” a new collection of recipes curated by the Jewish Food Society, covers all the Jewish holidays and Shabbat, the Friday night Sabbath dinner. The recipes — and family histories — come from cooks with roots in Iran, India, Iraq and Israel, Morocco, Hungary, Denmark and the former Soviet Union. Many of the contributors’ families settled in New York, among them the Ethiopian-born chef Beejhy Barhany, who owns Harlem’s Tsion Café and contributed Shabbat dishes from her family village in Tigray. These include dabo, an Ethiopian honey bread, and messer wot, a red lentil stew. Fany Gerson, whose family migrated from Ukraine to Mexico City, where she was born, and who now makes doughnuts at her bakery Fan Fan in Brooklyn, spices up her Passover Seder, adding chiles and cilantro to the matzo ball soup and spicy tomato sauce to the gefilte fish. Her brisket is cooked in tamales. Serve the food you end up making on a Seder plate from Hayom, a Brooklyn-based company that collaborates with artists on Judaica. The conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas has created a plate featuring a photograph of “Reach” (2023), his work with the artist Coby Kennedy that’s on display at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, while the ceramist Frankie Aziz has designed one with her signature cobalt drawings.


Visit This

For more than two decades, the amusement park Spreepark, located along Berlin’s River Spree, was left abandoned. Its retro rides were engulfed by grass and vines, and its owner was eventually jailed for drug smuggling. In 2014, Spreepark was bought by the city of Berlin and handed over to the state-owned park management company Grün Berlin with the remit that they enliven it with culture and food. Now, the first project within the revitalized complex is open and ready for visitors: The Eierhäuschen, a recently renovated 19th-century building just outside the amusement park, contains Ei 12437, a cafe run by the restaurateur Jessica-Joyce Sidon and the chef Alexandra Strödel that began service in February, as well as the multidisciplinary Spreepark Art Space, which opens on Friday. (Its inaugural exhibition is a group show of artists — Marcus Maeder, Sabine Scho, Sissel Tolaas and Annett Zinsmeister — who were asked to research the park and present their findings.) For lunch, the beer garden serves elevated German pub dishes such as a hearty potato salad, pretzels and pickled herring and onion sandwiches. In the evenings it gets a bit more formal, with a small but sophisticated menu served in a dining room featuring parquet floors and carmine walls. The latest seasonal dishes include an Onsen tamago-style egg served with potato foam, and cabbage stuffed with Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnuts. ei-12437.berlin.


Sanderson, the British company that’s been producing wallpaper since the Victorian era, draws upon a deep well of design legacy with each new collection they release — and their latest collaboration, with the London-based fashion designer Giles Deacon, is no different. Deacon looked to Sanderson’s archive of British countryside florals and added his own flourishes to fabrics and wall coverings in a soothing palette of pastels and pale earth tones. Faraday velvet takes the humble concept of chicken wire and transforms it into a twisting pattern that would feel at home within the walls of an elegant estate. Andromeda’s Cup turns its titular subject into a wallpaper motif framed by acanthus leaves and sweeping drapery. Perhaps fittingly for a couturier, many of Deacon’s prints have a handcrafted look — the Aperignon Parade wallpaper features saw-toothed stripes that appear to have been freshly made with pinking shears, while artfully rumpled bows and Deacon’s own calligraphy add an unexpected element of whimsy to the botanical Cupid’s Beau print. The designer wanted the collection to be “surprising yet classic,” he says, “always tethered to an unwavering sense of Britishness.” From $196 per wallpaper roll and $220 per fabric yard, sanderson.sandersondesigngroup.com.


Stay Here

In the early 1930s, the Finnish architects Alvar and Aino Aalto completed Paimio Sanatorium, a modernist masterpiece dedicated to the treatment of tuberculosis. At Paimio, patients could recover in rooms with mint-green ceilings, take fresh air on curved balconies and walk banana-yellow stairs leading to bright communal areas. The idea of a building that might influence human well-being resonated with Aino Brandt, a founding partner and interior architect at the Helsinki-based design firm KOKO3. Tasked with renovating Original Sokos Hotel Royal in Vaasa, a maritime city said to be Finland’s sunniest, Brandt drew on the Aaltos’ “ingenious use of bold colors,” she says. The two-story lobby of the hotel’s 1980s tower — which reopened last month and now holds a lively multi-panel commissioned work by the Finnish artist Jenni Rope — is the nexus around which the hotel’s social spaces, including a cinema, a rooftop pool area with no less than three saunas, and a trio of restaurants, are organized. Above dining tables, lamps by Muller Van Severen for Valerie Objects reference the Aaltos’ preference for functional, indirect lighting. In the hotel’s 139 bedrooms (121 more rooms will be added once the second part of the hotel opens across the street in 2026), shades of yellow, deep orange and blue feature on walls, while textile patterns designed by KOKO3 and manufactured by the Finnish weaving mill Annala make carpets and cushions pop. From about $180 a night, sokoshotels.fi.


From T’s Instagram



Kate Maxwell

2024-03-21 15:41:44

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