Kanazawa is a tourist destination for the Japanese. International tourism usually heads south to Kyoto and its plethora of temples. For a slightly different experience, head west and enjoy Kanazawa. This intimate city is home to the edo era Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District, the superbly maintained Kanazawa Castle, the best of Kenroku-en gardens and the lovely 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.
Near said Kenroku-en, the pleasing circular structure of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art floats above the landscape. Built in 2005, by architects Kazuyo Sejima+Ryue Nishizawa of the architectural prize-winning architect studio SANAA, this 113m diameter steel frame and reinforced concrete building is home to a fantastic rotating collection. We had a lovely time exploring and marveling at the play of sight and sound – a theme that re-appeared throughout.
As a bonus, the 21st Century Museum is surrounded by several of Kanazawa’s famed porcelain shops.
Cebeth Apothecary & Gallery Store 10:00 am – 7:00pm Monday Saturday
Envisioned in 2010 by Celeste Magazine editor Vanesa Fernández and her husband artist Aldo Chaparro this amazing gallery lives in a very chic 1940s house restored by Productora Architects. The result is a truly amazing job – specifically the ingenious placement of the cement tiles and the design of a modernist Vienna coffee shop.
The house is located in the Anzures neighborhood of Mexico City, a lovely area where every street is named after a literary author.
The House has three sections: First is the Concept store/gallery, were one can find all sort of interesting items. They include paintings, functional and nonfunctional objects, rare fossils, collectible fashion, jewelry and more. Products from around the globe, and others ether designed by Aldo and Vanessa or the top designers in Mexico. Celeste House really shows breadth of design contained in this world-class metropolis.
Continuing on one finds a homeopathic apothecary specialized in phytotherapy treatments. Here, personalized formulas are created in a very Victorian way for each customer.
The third, and most delicious part, is the champagne tea room. While Viennese in design, they serve the classic English ritual; complete with tiered plates of pastries, scones and small sandwiches. They also offer a rich Champagne menu as well as an extraordinary selection of teas. Top this off with Cantonese-style Dim Sum, and during the late evening, Celeste transforms to a destination for the trendy and happening.
Like stepping into a sci-fi conference-hall, the Polyforum Siqueiros is a transporting marvel. The Suclpainting technique of David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) creates a three-dimensional interior mural that takes over your mind – it is the largest in the world. If we were to make a cult-movie where the leader gets all of his followers to obey – this is the space.
(above photo foregound the creators statue of artist David Alfaro Siqueiros & benefactor Manuel Suarez y Suarez)
The outer Mural represents the leadership, the dead and the reborn tree, the circus, Moses breaking the law stones, Jesus the leader, the dance and flee of winter and summer, the Mestizaje, the music and the atom. Each face of the outer mural holds great philosophical symbolism related to the lectures of the forum’s inner mural
The interior space, known as the Foro Universal, is dominated by “The March of Humanity”, Siqueiros’s masterwork. A lifelong communist and advocate for social equality, David Alfaro Siqueiros was a member of the big three of Latin Art – including himself along with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. The main theme of this 237.6 square meter mind-bending mural is the evolution of man to a society where justice and freedom are truly integrated concepts.
It is awe inspiring in its scale and grandeur. Construction on the Polyforum was started in 1966, after it was decided to move the mural from its original location at a hotel conference center at the Hotel Casino de la Selva in Cuernavaca. Inaugurated in 1971, it is used today for political meetings, concerts, readings and gallery exhibitions.
The lobby area is a sleek white modern contrast that is does not quite prepare you for the onslaught of color you will find upon entering the main space. It is much more a 2001: A Space Odyssey foil to the sci-fi feel of the Foro Universal – with its white on white interiors and lines that curve. The lobby is used as an exhibition space, as well as housing a small by design shop that features some of the best creations in Mexican contemporary jewelry, ceramics, books clothing, home objects and more.
above photo “Peace, Culture & Harmony” east wall
The mural is divided in four sections:
“The March of Humanity towards the Bourgeois democratic Revolution” on the south side, represented by multitudes advancing from darkens into a civilization of light. “The March of Humanity towards the Future Revolution” on the north side showing the hope and obstacles in life and the difficulties in conquering victory towards a further future. “Peace, Culture & Harmony” on the east side manifested with women’s hands “Science & Technology” on the west side manifested with man’s hands
Tip: On Sundays the interior platform spins – yes there is a turntable too!
The cutting lines and sweeping circles of New York’s Guggenheim Museum give us one of Frank Lloyd Wright‘s architectural masterpieces of the 20th Century. If you find yourself in New York, even for just a brief visit, go.
There were 15 years of discussions on the design of this jewel, and sadly Mr. Wright was not alive to attend the opening in 1959. However his ability and deftness with lines and space gives us a museum that is as much about the structure itself as it is viewing the collection inside.
Although there is an ‘almost free’ entry on Saturday afternoons when it is donate-what-you-wish, we highly recommend visiting the museum on a sunny morning. On these magical New York days, when the light is crisp and the air pure, one feel to the fullest how the design was meant to be experienced. The natural illumination filtering through the skylights and the geometric shadows it creates. Wander around the exterior to the secret corners on every floor, and the stop to relish the varied views from every angle,
Upon entering, take the elevator directly to the top floor and wind your way down through the spiral path of galleries.
Serving the artistically minded since being established in 1855, one can still find tradition at L. Cornilessen & Son.
Not far from the Tottenham Court Road, near The British Museum, this small shoppe holds an extensive array of artist tools and materials displayed in original Victorian cabinetry. The beauty of the shop and the clientele it attracts makes one feel a part of the art world. There are few left like L. Cornilessen & Son; places that are true to their own essence. Just browsing the quality of the tools and paints, and their display one can’t help but be inspired, whether you be artist or dreamer.