24 Hours in Vienna

I am back in Vienna for 24 hours before I catch my flight back home. I had nothing specific planned for this stop over and decided to just play it by ear. I came upon the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek or the Austrian National Library. It’s State Hall is one of the most beautiful library halls in the world and is the biggest Baroque library in Europe.  There were a couple more of restaurants that I was not able to visit when I was in Vienna a couple of months ago that I wanted to try. First stop for a late breakfast…

The Belvedere

The Belvedere was built by Prince Eugene of Savoy upon his arrival at the Habsburg court from Paris at the age of nineteen as a summer home. It consists of two palatial buildings, the Unteres Belvedere (Lower Belvedere) built in 1714 to 1716 and Oberes Belvedere (Upper Belvedere) built between 1721 and 1723. During the reign of Maria Theresa, the Upper Belvedere was used for the first time as a picture gallery to feature works from the imperial collection. Masterpieces by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele can be found in the Gallery.

La Biennale Di Venezia

So this is the main event for this trip to Italy – to visit the Biennale Archittettura 2018. One of the preeminent cultural events in the world, since its inception in 1895, the Venice Biennale has been of the most important and influential events in international contemporary art. Alternating each year between Art and Architecture, the 16th Venice Biennale of Architecture provides an opportunity for architects and designers to showcase new projects.There are 63 national pavilions this year curated by Grafton Architects with the theme of Free Space.                          …

Catalan Modernisme

Catalan Modernisme was part of the general trend that emerged in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. It is the equivalent of other art movements in Europe in the names of Art Nouveau, Sezession, Arts and Crafts or Gothic Revival. The Modernisme movement was centered in Barcelona and was practiced by Antoni Gaudi and Lluis Domenech i Montaner, among others. The former Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau was built between 1902 and 1930 is a masterpiece in Catalan Modernisme by Domenech i Montaner. It was a fully functioning hospital until 2009 and converted into a cultural site and research centre in 2014 after four…

Fondation Louis Vuitton

One of the reasons I spent a few days in Paris is to visit the recently opened Fondation Louis Vuitton. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, this private cultural initiative’s mandate is to promote the contemporary arts. For those seeking to find leather products from this fashion house on display – you will be disappointed. Currently on exhibit until the end of August 2016 is a selection of works by famous contemporary Chinese artists from the Fondation’s collection. The restaurant located on the ground floor is called Le Frank and it serves wonderful French-inspired cuisine, with hints of dishes from other countries whose works are currently on exhibit….

Art Nouveau & The Abbey

In the late 19th century, Brussels was a centre for avant-garde design and architect Victor Horta created a new style, later labelled Art Nouveau. Featuring sensuous curves elaborated in wrought iron, mosaics, stained glass, murals and woodwork. Today, his former house has been transformed into a museum.     Brussels, and Belgium for that matter, has an impressive array of haute cuisine choices – without the Paris prices, as one commented to me.   I stayed at The Dominican in Brussels. A converted Dominican Abbey has found new life as a hotel that is a member of the Design Hotel group. It…

New York Minute

Well, it was more than a minute – closer to 5,700 minutes or an extended long weekend – of food debauchery in the gastronomic capital of New York City. What brought me here this time (not that one needs an excuse to be in this city) was primarily a reunion with dear friends from the old University days. Stories were told, bottles of wine were consumed and laughter all around while we reminisce and remember how we have always enjoyed each other’s company. [The food debauchery will be detailed in the next post.] I tried out a different hotel for this trip,…

Balboa Park

The country’s largest urban park with 1,200 acres, Balboa Park in San Diego, is home to 15 museums, performing arts venues, gardens and the world famous San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park was the location of the First World’s Fair of the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition (in commemoration of the opening of the Panama Canal) which created many of the stunning Spanish-Rennaissance architecture. Named for the Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the park was also the location of the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition.

Architectuur

For people interested in architecture, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s foremost architecture and design city. The city has so much to offer ranging from classicism, gothic and renaissance, to canal house architecture, to art deco and obviously, the architecture of the Amsterdam School, up to the current modern architectural forms. It is a feast for the eyes of the archi-tourist. The Architecture of the Amsterdam School was brought about by the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century with architects seeking new elements for decorating building facades. This is characterized by exotic rooflines, ornamental brickwork, cornices, window frames…