June 28, 2022

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In Barcelona, a New Hotel and Hub for Creative Types

5 min read

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Barcelona’s bohemian side can be found in its El Poblenou neighborhood, where old factories and mills are now used as artist studios and design showrooms, so it’s fitting that a hotel brand like the Hoxton, which aims to build cultural hubs in cities across the globe, would open its first Spanish property here. Guests enter the 10-story space via a lobby appointed with fluted leather sofas and lounge chairs that frame an all-day bar hand-painted with an abstract mural in shades of avocado and orange by the Catalan artist Maria Marvila. The 240 rooms feature handwoven Indian tapestries inspired by the geometric work of the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill hanging above dusty teal headboards, jewel-toned artworks curated by the Barcelona-based John Brown Projects and soothing terra-cotta floors laid with natural jute rugs. Visitors and locals alike can savor the property’s dining options, which bring a taste of the Americas back to Spain: Detroit-style pizzas are served at the ground-floor restaurant Four Corners, and at the hotel’s Mexican rooftop bar and poolside eatery, Tope, pulled pork tacos and tequila-based cocktails come with an unmatched view of the city’s most iconic structure, the Sagrada Familia. Rooms from $195, thehoxton.com/poblenou.


When the Tokyo-born painter Kikuo Saito died in 2016 at age 76, after 50 years in the United States, he left behind a career as a wallflower to the big names of Abstract Expressionism. As an assistant, he’d mixed paint for Helen Frankenthaler and Larry Poons, but interest in Saito’s own lush, gestural abstractions didn’t surface until the late 1980s, only to be submerged by two setbacks: the death of his first wife, the dancer Eva Maier, in 1997 and, 10 years later, the scandalous end of his gallery, Salander-O’Reilly. Through it all, Saito never stopped working, and a retrospective up now at San Francisco’s Altman Siegel gallery is part of a broader reconsideration of how artists of Asian descent have been cut out of the history of postwar abstraction. The survey shows Saito’s genius for color choices — for the dash of marigold that holds down “Ouray” (1979) or the cerulean popping from the sage shadows of “Blue Loop” (2007) — as well as his efforts designing sets for avant-garde theater productions. “I think he’d say he was comfortable in the margins, and that’s where his strength was,” says Maier’s cousin the novelist Joshua Cohen. “I think he’d also say he was here all along.” “Ouray” is on view through June 25 at Altman Siegel in San Francisco, altmansiegel.com.


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Piercing your ears may seem like a simple thing to do, but the jewelry designer Pamela Love — who has 15 ear piercings (“I had to take a moment to check,” she says. “I’d honestly lost count!”) — recommends going to a place where you can consult with a trained professional who will study the shape of your ear (or elsewhere) to make considerate suggestions on how best to adorn yourself. “There’s a huge difference in the process,” says Love. Opening this week is Love’s first-ever New York City studio and shop; her namesake jewelry line — inspired by astrology, folklore and tarot, among other influences — was launched in 2007. She worked with Uli Wagner, the Brooklyn-based architect, to create a space that is light and airy, featuring plenty of plants, woven textiles and natural wood. Love’s staff uses hollow single-use needles for better precision and versatility, and her jewelry on offer — from crescent studs to pomegranate huggies — is all made with recycled 14-karat gold and ethically sourced precious stones. “This was extremely important to me,” Love says. “Piercing isn’t painless, but everything surrounding the experience should be as luxurious and comfortable as possible.” Piercing is complimentary with a purchase, from $150; 145 North 6th Street, Brooklyn; pamelalove.com.


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A surprisingly chilly spring in the Northeast means that sweaters have stayed in rotation even as warm-weather garments have come into play. It’s an aesthetic designers are embracing with an eye to sustainability. “Seasonless style to have and to hold on to” is the tagline for the London-based brand Sl’eau, which was launched last year by the designer Vanessa Jones and utilizes zero-waste practices for its billowy, plissé blouses and swingy iridescent trousers. The New York-based stylist Bryn Taylor debuted her line Ouisa last year, too, in response to the pieces clients were always asking for: “They request items that offer ease, longevity and versatility,” says Taylor, whose biannual presentations of six foundational garments, like a crisp button-down and classic T-shirt, can be worn any time of year. Also providing streamlined capsule collections is the Malibu, California-based brand Bleusalt; its founder, Lyndie Benson, makes blazers, unisex wraps and the rest of her evergreen line predominantly in Tencel, a fabric derived from sustainably sourced raw wood materials. Then there’s Caes, the Amsterdam brand formed by the designer Helen de Kluiver in 2019 in response to her concerns about fast fashion’s environmental impact. Her fundamental garments — ankle-length dresses, an A-line black skirt, a traditional trench — have subtle but special touches, like seam detailing and gathered pleating, and are rendered in organic cottons, recycled polyesters and vegan leather. “I created Caes from the belief that less is more,” says de Kluiver, “but that the pieces we do invest in should reflect our ideals.”

Before her work in the fashion industry — shooting supersaturated imagery for Dior’s fall 2021 season and capturing Carolina Herrera-clad ballerinas for the brand’s impressionistic fall 2020 campaign — the Moscow-born, Munich-based photographer Elizaveta Porodina set out on a career as a clinical psychologist. That time spent studying and treating mental illness, including two years in a state-run psychiatric facility, allowed her to learn “profoundly about human behavior,” she says, and her grasps of melancholy and resilience can be sensed from the eerie photographs compiled in her first monograph, “Un/Masked,” and in the concurrent exhibition “окна” at Fotografiska in Stockholm. A quick glance at one portrait, first published in The Perfect Magazine, shows the makeup artist Cécile Paravina’s glamorous face powdered a stark bone white; upon closer inspection, one notices the model’s teeth have been blotted out in the same glossy scarlet as her lips, leaving the look in her eyes suddenly unnerving. Such a twist of beauty’s familiar forms into the uncanny is a trademark for Porodina, whose references include the collages of the Surrealist artist Max Ernst, as well as the bold colors and “sinister messages,” as she calls them, of Italian giallo horror films. “I love to call myself a student of the dark side,” she says. About $50, hatjecantz.de. “окна” is on view through June 12 at Fotografiska Stockholm, fotografiska.com.


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2022-05-12 14:14:11

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