Monday, June 29, 2015

Piet Oudolf, the Gardening Master Who Makes the High Line Bloom

Based in the Dutch countryside town of Arnhem, Oudolf is known for lush, green projects across the US — from Battery Gardens in NYC to Chicago’s Millennium Park — along with projects in England, Ireland and Scandinavia. Oudolf, 70, fell in love with the outdoors as a young boy. “We climbed over the fence to a nature preserve every day. We built huts, climbed trees and freed rabbits from poacher snares,” he says. Decades later, his designs and career are being celebrated in a stunning new book: “Oudolf/Hummelo” (Monticello Press; $50).
Written with gardening author Noel Kingsbury, the book is named after Oudolf’s personal garden in Arnhem and is ideal for green thumbs who have been seduced by Oudolf’s deeply beautiful plantings.
We caught up with Oudolf, to talk about designs, Hummelo (which he and his wife Anja have tended to for the past 30 years) and his personal tips for home gardeners.
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The High LinePhoto: Piet Oudolf
Of all the projects I designed, the High Line is my favorite. It is the most satisfying because it is public and in a neighborhood that has evolved so much over the past decades. The founders, architects and people who take care of it make the park unique and hard to compare with any other green space.
We escaped the city because we wanted to grow plants and we needed space. Hummelo, also the name of my hometown in Holland, is in the middle of the countryside nestled among farmers.
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Brooklyn Botanic GardenPhoto: Antonio M. Rosario/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
I travel a lot to see clients in the Netherlands, in Scandinavia and England and I’m in the US five to six times a year. Wherever I go, I love to visit botanical gardens — especially the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Also in NYC, the High Line has very good gardeners, who are well trained and eager to share their plant knowledge with visitors.
When I’m designing a private garden, the personality of the owners and their lifestyle comes into play. Most clients know me from my public work. Most of my work is challenging, but I don’t see it that way at the start. I see it as an opportunity to do something beautiful; the challenge arises only when you are looking back.
When working on small urban gardens in NYC — places like rooftops, backyards or terraces — go for what catches your eye. Onions (bulbs) are easy and lovely. You can plant onions that look good for seasons like summer or spring — just make sure they’re not eaten by deer or pests.
There are a lot of great “starter” plants ideally suited for all types of environments. For shade, top plants include ferns, epimedium, tiarella and geranium; while shady grasses like luzula and carex are great. For sun, veronica, aster, salvia and sedum work. Great grasses for sun include briza and featuca.
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Chicago’s Millennium ParkPhoto: Patrick Pyszka
Low-maintenance is often interpreted as no maintenance. But I always find “less maintenance” to be a better phrase. Even though most traditional gardens are high-maintenance, you can create less maintenance by working with plants like perennials and grasses. They live for a long time, are strong and lend themselves well to local soil conditions. Use enough species and varieties to cover all seasons. And don’t forget bulbs.
Products from Sneeboer, the Dutch hand-forged garden tool company, are among the best in the world. These are tools made for work, and not for beauty. They are stainless steel, very old-fashioned, blacksmith tools — super-serious! I recommend three essentials: a hoe, secateurs and a spade.
I like to read monographs about plants (and fiction — in that order). My favorite gardening book is Rick Darke’s “The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes.” I also like “Peter Korn’s Garden” by Peter Korn. Other books might be all about oak trees, or magnolias or phloxes. For fiction — “We Are Not Ourselves” by Matthew Thomas; “The Trip to Echo Spring” by Olivia Laing; and “Butcher’s Crossing” by John Williams.

Monday, May 18, 2015

NYT: Ian Schrager on Hotels and Pulling Rabbits Out of A Hat

New York Times: Travel
May 6, 2015

By Julie Earle-Levine

Ian Schrager, the Bronx-born, Brooklyn-raised hotelier, will unveil his latest property, the New York Edition, in the landmark Metropolitan Life Tower on Madison Avenue on May 11.

Mr. Schrager, who first came to prominence with Studio 54 in the 1970s, is collaborating with Marriott International on Edition brand hotels. There are three — in London, Istanbul and Miami Beach — and soon there will be one in West Hollywood, Calif.

“We have a bunch of Editions going all over the place, some in China and one in Reykjavik, Iceland,” said Mr. Schrager, the creative force behind some of the world’s most stylish hotels, including Morgans in New York, the Sanderson in London, the Delano in Miami Beach and the Mondrian in Los Angeles.

His book “Ian Schrager: Works” was released earlier this month. Following are edited excerpts from an interview with him at his new hotel.

Q. What can you tell us about the new Edition?
A. It’s inspired by New York City’s turn-of-the-20th-century private clubs, Fifth Avenue’s Gilded Age mansions and Stanford White’s architectural masterpieces. Guests come into a dark oak-paneled foyer, like an upscale New York apartment building in the 1920s. It’s a fusion of old and modern. We have this sculptural spiral staircase. We are still in this neutral palette of taupes, ivory and white. But this is probably the last time we’ll do a neutral palette.
Neutrals are one of your signatures. Why the change?
I think I’ve taken it as far as it can go. It will still be simple. A quiet luxury. A new luxury. The sensibility will not change. But the second New York Edition [in Times Square; scheduled to open in 2017] will be black and white. We don’t want to run the risk of repeating.
Why alter a successful formula?
I have to keep moving and reinventing myself. Because I am in the theater business, I have to keep pulling rabbits out of a hat. I don’t want to have a “look.” I’ve done three or four hotels with this kind of design vocabulary for different cities.
How are you mixing old with new at the Madison Avenue hotel?
We will have pops of color on seat cushions, and maybe an ornate Baroque mirror. We want to take a little bit of the decorative ornateness we have on the second floor and bring it down to the lobby, but still be simple. When we did Gramercy Park Hotel we had Julian [Schnabel] do the lobby and he’s a maximalist, and we had John Pawson do the apartments and he is a minimalist, but to me they work together in spirit.
The New York Edition seems to have a relaxed, laid-back vibe.
The whole idea is to have it feel like you are staying in the guest room of a private home, rather than a hotel room. The [30-foot-long, hand-forged] steel fireplace in the lobby is very personal to me. The idea came right out of my apartment. In the rooms, you can see my bed, but it’s higher, and has a classic motif, English library. This [points to a lamp] comes out of my house in Southampton. I love the room. This is my aesthetic. This is my sensibility. You can’t really improve on this as far as I’m concerned.
Will there be a night life and bar component?
Yes, there’ll be a restaurant on the second floor overlooking Madison Square Park, by London’s hottest young chef, Jason Atherton. We have three intimate dining rooms — each room only fits about 30 people — a parlor with a billiard table and a library serving cocktails. Each room has its own color and theme, with velvet chairs and banquettes in rose, green and blue, and modernist, large chandeliers.
What’s different with hotels from when you started?
I think the distinction between personal life and business life is kind of blurry now. The new generation business hotel is where you network and do business, in the same way you went to play golf at a golf club in the country, but at a city business hotel.
You had a very positive response to Miami Beach Edition. Is it a hard act to follow?
Miami was kind of a spectacle and had so much muscle behind it — an outdoor area, a skating rink, a nightclub — we don’t have that here. I was concerned about it. I didn’t want it to be a letdown. I wanted New York to be a jewel box. To be really sophisticated and it is. It has a modern sensibility even though some of the things here are more than 100 years old. It doesn’t have a look, it has a sensibility. It’s a cool place, playful with young energy.
What is young now?
Young at heart. I’m 68! If you are lucky you don’t lose that.

Monday, April 06, 2015

NYT: In the Kitchen with Jackson Pollock

Snapshots from "Dinner with Jackson Pollock," from left: shoes and a stool in the artist's studio; a beach picnic often enjoyed by Pollock, recreated by Robyn Lea for the book.
Everyone knows we eat with our eyes, and that the world’s best chefs, despite their origins or cuisine, turn out dishes as visually arresting as any work of art. But what happens when an artist, say Jackson Pollock, wears the apron? Thanks to his iconic drip masterpieces, the late painter has become a household name. And today, with the release of a new book stemmed from the contents of his former kitchen, Pollock begins his second legacy: as a foodie with a penchant for baking.
Credit Courtesy of Assouline
Several years ago, when the Australian-born, New York based photographer Robyn Lea visited the East Hampton museum that was once Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner’s home, she took particular interest in the kitchen’s wares, especially the Le Creuset pots and Eva Zeisel dinnerware. “For that time, it was the very best possible tableware you could buy,” she says. “It was very modern. Everything was pointing to the fact that they might be foodies. ‘Who has Le Creuset in the ’40s and ’50s?’ I started to wonder, ‘What did they eat?'” When Lea asked the museum if they found any recipes on the property, she learned that handwritten recipes, by both Pollock and Krasner, indeed existed but were not on display. Thus began her two-and-a-half-year labor of love researching Pollock’s culinary history.
She started on site in the pantry, perusing its cookbooks and discovering New York Times recipes dating back to 1942. Then she branched out, even going so far as to track down Pollock’s mother’s cookbook in California at the home of one of her great-granddaughters. “Her drive for cooking was monumental. It was incredible. She had more than 90 dessert recipes — cakes you wouldn’t believe, a beautiful mille-feuille. This was a woman who was driven to create,” says Lea, explaining that Pollock’s mother lived in the countryside with very little money and five sons, whose clothes she made and hand-washed all on her own. “How, at the end of the day, she found the creative energy or even willpower to create an amazing meal is astounding.”

To flesh out “Dinner with Jackson Pollock” (Assouline, $50), a book that is about entertaining as much as it is about food, Lea also interviewed people who were close to Pollock. With their help, she shares stories about dinner parties, Syrian-inspired cuisine beach picnics in Montauk, and Pollock and Krasner’s foraging trips that resulted in luxurious feasts. Lea even, in the name of research, threw some dinner parties of her own to try out the recipes she’d discovered on her friends, who agreed they were “very, very good.”
Of course, not all recipes she found painted the picture of a beautiful life. Lea says that Pollock’s image had once, in some ways, been distilled down to a genius, artistic alcoholic with a violent temper. “Some aspects were true — I’m not denying that in my book — but he tried so hard to overcome it,” she says, recalling that there were many diets and cures for his alcoholism among his belongings: vegetable juices (brussels sprouts and dandelion juice), healthy smoothies and fruit drinks that the couple would make in their Waring blender. “It was November 1950, when he was drinking again, and they were all trying these methods to cure him.”
The recipes are mostly traditional American fare, and include Pollock’s favorites: spaghetti sauce (he didn’t try spaghetti till he was 18 at a dinner in New York City with his eldest brother, Charles, an artist whom he followed to the city), meatloaf and Long Island clam pie. But Pollock was primarily a baker, and loved to make bread and comforting desserts, including a prize-winning apple pie, the recipe for which follows here.


NYT: Bowery Boy, John Giorno


John Giorno’s Half-Century on the Bowery

The artist and poet John Giorno lives and works in three loft spaces at 222 Bowery. The third floor houses his office space and the living area he shares with his partner of 18 years, Ugo Rondinone; their bed is situated in front of giant arched windows surrounded by plants. “They are like children,” he says. “People have to come and water them.”

According to its owner, the artist John Giorno, 222 Bowery is “an Italian-inspired palazzo for the beggars.”
The address housed New York’s first Y.M.C.A. in the 1880s — in what was then one of the worst neighborhoods in Manhattan, frequented by prostitutes and alcoholics. Much has changed since the poet, performer and painter moved in 53 years ago and created a haven for artists: It’s where Mark Rothko painted the Seagram murals and one of the spots where Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns hung out. Giorno and Andy Warhol were lovers there, from 1962 to 1965; Giorno starred in several of Warhol’s movies, including “Sleep.” William S. Burroughs lived there, too — he moved into the building in 1966, and to “the bunker,” now Giorno’s kitchen and meditation room, in 1975. “I never intended to live my life in this building, but somehow that happened,” Giorno says.
Giorno, now 78, owns three lofts in the building, including a living area and office space on the third floor that is bathed in light thanks to its Tiffany glass panels and arched windows. Giorno’s partner, the artist Ugo Rondinone, created the giant, rainbow-colored “Hell, Yes!” light sign that graced the New Museum’s facade from 2007 to 2010; when it was up, the couple had a direct view of it. “It was an unusual phenomenon. We’d just lie back in bed and look up at it,” Giorno says.
Every New Year for the past 28 years, Giorno has removed all the furniture from the third-floor loft to make space for a Buddhist fire prayer ceremony, which sees 100 monks gather around the fireplace. (The artist is a Tibetan Buddhist in the Red Hat Nyingma tradition.) But most mornings, after several cups of Assam tea (and maybe a little marijuana), the area is where he writes poems, works on his memoir and meditates for about two hours. “I really love this space,” he says. “It was built in 1884 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s railroad architect in Queen Anne Romanesque Revival style. It is not square, but has rectangular, huge spaces, which are so nice to work in.”
After, he’ll head down to the second-floor studio, where he’s been working on his latest series of silkscreen text-based canvases on rainbow backgrounds, a medium with which he first started experimenting in the 1960s. The messages, in giant type — “Big Ego,” “Don’t Wait For Anything,” “Life is Killer” — remain sharply relevant. And down another flight of stairs, in “the bunker,” the energy gets really electric. Burroughs’s bedroom in the space remains virtually intact, his bed neatly made. There’s the typewriter he used to write “Cities of the Red Night” and “The Place of Dead Roads,” among other books; a bull’s-eye target, still bearing bullet holes, remains on the wall surrounded by pieces from his infamous “Shotgun” series and a collaboration with Giorno, “Painters and Poets,” where Giorno is the poet and Burroughs the painter.
Also downstairs is the living space where Giorno hosts dinner parties for artists and friends, at a table that seats 11 and has had the same orange chairs since, he says, “forever.” He likes to prepare lobster and crab mousse, followed by a stuffed veal roast wrapped in bacon; and to drink, Champagne, of course.
Certainly, the Bowery landscape has transformed in Giorno’s time. One day recently, the artist opened his door to find Rihanna there, shooting a music video in the building. “I didn’t recognize her right away,” Giorno says with a smile. “I love New York. I’ve been here 50 years. It has changed a thousand times, and so radically each time, but I have the good fortune that it stays the same for me.”
Ugo Rondinone will curate a major retrospective of John Giorno’s work, “I ♥ John Giorno,” this fall at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, “John Giorno: Space Forgets You” is on view April 2 through May 9 at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, 545 W. 20th St., New York,






Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Travel: NYT - Richard Branson on his US hotel ambitions

The bar at the Commons Club in the new 250-room Virgin Hotel in Chicago. Credit Virgin Hotels
Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire British entrepreneur, has created hundreds of enterprises, from airlines to mobile phone businesses to a cruise line, and oversees more than 50,000 employees. One of his most recent ventures, the space tourism company Virgin Galactic, had a significant setback in November: a pilot was killed in a flight test accident just months before commercial service was to begin. (“We continue to be excited by the challenge of space — and make no mistake it is a huge challenge,” Mr. Branson said. “I am extremely proud of the team in Mojave who are driving our program forward.”)

His next big project is introducing Virgin Hotels in the United States. He already has Virgin Limited Edition, luxury boutique properties around the world; the Virgin Hotels will be in cities. On Jan. 15 the first was set to open in Chicago, in the 1928 Old Dearborn Bank Building. The 250-room property includes the Commons Club: a bar, lounge, relaxed work zone and restaurant with the vibe of a private club but open to all.
Sir Richard Branson.
Following are edited excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Branson.
Q. The first time I stayed at one of your boutique properties, Makepeace Island in Australia, I slept in what I’m told was your bedroom. There was a Kama Sutra book on the night stand.
A. Yes! Was your husband inspired by it? That’s good then. We are going to have those in our hotels too, maybe! It’s all about guests having fun.

You started Virgin Limited Edition with Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands in 2001, and other properties include the Kasbah Tamadot near Marrakesh and a chalet in Switzerland. What have you learned as a hotelier?
­Well, a lot of hotels play games and it annoys people understandably, and so Virgin’s whole philosophy is built on what you see is what you get.

What games do you think hotels play?
­Our guests won’t pay for Wi-Fi. There won’t be hidden charges, and you won’t get charged $10 for a chocolate bar you know you can buy at a store for $2. And you’ll get great service.

How many Virgin Hotels will there be?
­Anywhere we fly. We’ve built up, over 30 years, really loyal travelers on Virgin, and I think if they enjoy the experience of Virgin Atlantic, or Virgin America, then they might well enjoy the experience of a Virgin Hotel. People are too often bored by their hotel rooms and we will give them something to do.

Who do you perceive Virgin Hotels’ competitors to be?
­I think we are a four-star hotel (Chicago rates will start at $209), which is the way we normally try to offer people more than they’d expect on the price. The hotels will have between 150 and 400 bedrooms.

How involved will you be?
­Very, but most of my time now is not-for-profit ventures, like campaigning on global drug issues, or climate issues, or campaigning on conflict issues. I find that fascinating and interesting.

How about spas? Will your hotels have them?
­I think people like to be pampered. There will be a spa (opening in spring) which features a rustic design and a bar counter for manicures, chairs for pedicures and five treatment rooms. The specialty on Necker Island is a four-handed massage, and I’m sure we’ll have four-handed massages in our spas as well.

Why Chicago?
­Chicago is a beautiful site. We’ll work it out with Chicago, and then expand on it. There’ll be New York and New Orleans, Nashville, and we’re working on other cities we fly to, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Dallas. Some ideas will be the same, but each hotel will be unique to the city.

How will your hotels be different?
­I share a frustration with travelers. I hate going into a hotel room and the music is blaring, or not being able to easily turn off the lights when you are tired and just want to go to sleep. I was at a hotel in New York and the TV didn’t work. I couldn’t get a cup of tea at 6.30 a.m. because breakfast was served from 7 a.m. Our team has gone through one thousand things that people like and don’t like. A bed is very important — an incredibly comfortable bed and there will be an element to it that no one else has. You’ll be able to sit in bed and work, watch TV, relax. It is going to be a playpen and a traditional bed. We’re calling it the Lounge Bed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NYT Travel - Ian Schrager's return to Miami

Clockwise from left: The new Miami Beach Edition hotel includes an outdoor space that pays homage to the 1950s Havana nightclub Tropicana; the Market by Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up casual yet gourmet "fast food" from its own patisserie, boulangerie and salumeria; Vongerichten’s Latin-inspired restaurant at the hotel, called the Matador Room.Credit
The hotelier Ian Schrager has returned to his old stomping grounds to open his newest property, the Miami Beach Edition, situated between South Beach and North Beach in what was formerly the Seville Hotel.

The 68-year-old — who co-founded the original Studio 54 in New York and whose Delano Hotel, opened two decades ago, helped create the now-thriving hotel scene in South Beach — settled on the location because “it’s a new Miami now,” he says. “It’s international. It’s global.” 

Case in point: Art Basel Miami Beach kicks off its 2014 edition next week. During the international fair, the hotel will set the scene for many Basel-related events; and after long days at the booths, showgoers will be welcomed into the new Studio 54-inspired nightclub at the hotel, called Basement.
“It will be like a sensory explosion,” Schrager insists.

 “You’ll get the kind of lighting effects you got at Studio 54, but updated. You’ll be dancing like you are in a sound studio or onstage performing.” The flashing lights — in the club and over the adjacent bowling alley and ice skating rink — are thanks to Patrick Woodroffe, a concert lighting specialist who has worked with the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. 

And to ensure that guests dance throughout the night, Schrager opted not to offer seating. “If you need to sit, then you have to rest outside,” he says. It’s not a bad alternative, considering that Madison Cox designed the lush green landscape — coconut palms, ficus, sea grapes — that surrounds the property’s two beachside pools.

The hotel is currently accepting reservations, and Basement will open Dec. 2 with an Art Basel party co-hosted by Schrager.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UK Vogue: Luxe and The City

November issue, 2014
UK Vogue, GQ, Tatler, House & Garden Living

Never mind the wobbly world economy. In Manhattan, where gleaming silver towers dot the city’s multi-million dollar skyline from Harlem to Midtown and Tribeca, the shimmering landscape of spectacular jeweled boxes, envy-inducing penthouses and trophy townhouses is as desirable as ever.

Brokers will tell you the hunt for the most exclusive, prestigious and luxurious properties has never been so intense. Real estate has become a fanatical purchase for those who have never had a real estate fetish before, or for those who just have to own a very specific apartment. “The right real estate makes a buyer feel so special that they are willing to pay almost anything,” says Dolly Lenz. Buyers are demanding unobstructed views, irreplaceable locations and exquisite architecture.

The city’s uber-rich, in the finance, media and arts worlds have a growing number of foreign buyers to compete with from across the globe including the UK, Middle East and Asia.

Lenz, who recently launched her own company after 25 years just sold Rupert Murdoch’s record downtown purchase, the triplex penthouse at One Madison, a 60-story glass residential tower perched over Madison Square Park.  He also bought the entire floor below, to complete his penthouse – in aggregate, $57.2m dollars. The building at East 22nd Street boasts panoramic views of iconic landmarks in every direction. And the neighbors aren’t bad looking either. “Kate Upton and Gisele also bought here. It is going to be the most amazing elevator to ride in,” says Lenz, who sold Leonardo DiCaprio a $10 million downtown pad at the green Delos building, where Deepak Chopra has bought and where Donna Karan’s Urban Zen will provide a ‘wellness concierge.’

Lenz is wearing jeans, fresh from a construction site visit, not her usual Valentino or Dolce attire and Manolo heels. Most nights she is ‘closing’ deals at Omar’s, a chic supper club in Greenwich Village with a private room out back favored by A-listers.

Lenz recently sold Karl Lagerfeld’s glamorous Gramercy Park three bedroom to an overseas banker and his fashionable wife - sight unseen – for $4.5 milllion. She’s seeing strong international interest in Tommy Hilfiger’s iconic $80 million penthouse at the Plaza, asking $80 million.

The explosion of new construction and demand for it has brokers busier than ever.
Raphael De Niro at Prudential Douglas Elliman said: “There’s at least $50 billion of new condos at various stages of construction and planning in Manhattan alone. “He said buyers want fabulous homes with spaces that go way beyond impeccable custom touches. “The design, construction quality and interiors of these buildings are going to be at levels that no one has seen before.” He is working on a $2 billion development fronting Central Park that will come to the market in 24 months (eds. no name or further details yet)

De Niro is selling at 432 Park Avenue, an architectural tower in the plaza district and around a year from completion (as at July) and The Puck Residences downtown, an historic ornate prewar conversion. “Both are the best of their kind: nostalgic old New York versus sleek modern New York and both have finishes that are unparalleled by their competitors.”

Other buzzworthy residential includes One57, a skyscraper that is nearing completion on West 57th Street and has two sales over $90 million. The Park Hyatt’s flagship hotel at the base of the building and condo owners will be able to order room service and enjoy the spa.

The Carlton House, on the Upper East Side, right next door to Barney’s is another chic address. Downtown, Walker Tower in Chelsea drew a high profile and fashion crowd including Cameron Diaz and Laura Mercier for its ultra-spacious rooms, views and beautiful simple touches.

Paula Del Nunzio, at Brown Harris Stevens said there was a shortage of move-in ready apartments. She’s seeing strong interest in several, including a $68 million property at 25 Columbus Circle, with Central Park and Hudson River views, as well as a $65 million apartment at 15 Central Park West, the largest and highest apartment in the tower.

(As at the end of July) she was selling the original William Randolph Hearst penthouse at Riverside Drive and 86th street for $38 million, and touting its  “astounding scale and light”: with 7,000 square feet of planted terraces and views of the Hudson River overlooking Riverside Park.

The hot spots holding the highest values are the classics including Fifth Avenue, Central Park West and Greenwich Village.

Frederick Peters, the president of Warburg Realty said the new development marketplace was strong in Manhattan, and also in Brooklyn, where the creative talent has migrated. In Brooklyn Heights, a 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom apartment at One Brooklyn Bridge Park 360 Furman Street is asking $32 million. The views of the Statue of Liberty and downtown New York City skyline from almost every room will have buyers speed dialing their architects.


Thursday, October 02, 2014

NYT Styles: Soho House Chicago

The New York Times
The boxing ring at Soho House Chicago.Credit Dave Burk of Hedrich Blessing
The members-only social club Soho House unveils its latest venue today, in Chicago. While the brand, which originated in London and has other American locations in New York, Miami Beach and West Hollywood, is defined by exclusive, refined luxury, the Windy City edition has a rough-and-tumble element that pays tribute to Chicago’s pugilistic roots: a custom on-site boxing ring.
The storied Chicago tanners at Horween Leather Company are still putting final touches on the ring, which is situated in the middle of an otherwise ordinary gym, by wrapping custom vegetable-tanned leather with a slightly waxed surface around the ropes and guards that line the perimeter. Even the design was done locally, with the help of Rick Fornuto, who won the 1971 Chicago Golden Gloves and now trains amateur boxers on the city’s South Side. He took Soho House’s design director, Vicky Charles, to old-school boxing rings in the area for inspiration.
Soon, Fornuto will be advising on boxing programs and refereed matches for the site’s members, who will probably not count Soho House’s founder and chief executive officer, Nick Jones, among them. “I don’t think I’ve put on a pair of boxing gloves since I was about 7, at school, but I do love boxing, says Jones, Soho House’s founder and chief executive officer. He adds that there is a renewed global interest in the sport. “Only a month ago, a boxing match sold out Wembley Stadium. There were 80,000 people — there’s a real appetite for it.”
Pizza East at Soho House Chicago.Credit Dave Burk of Hedrich Blessing
The boxing ring isn’t the only thing that distinguishes the latest incarnation of the club. Soho House Chicago is, for the first time, opening its doors to the community — at least partially. The general public can patronize the lobby of the sprawling space (it’s the largest Soho House to date) to order coffee, juice and light meals and hang out under Parisian chandeliers and art by Damien Hirst. Other unrestricted locations in the building include the Allis lounge and cafe, named after the family who once owned the local machine belt factory, the Pizza East and Chicken Shop restaurants, and the Cowshed spa — a staple at Soho House locations but the first one that nonmembers can visit.
113-125 N. Green Street,

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

FT Weekend: The British Hat Designers to Watch

FT Weekend: Heads Up
The British Hat Designers to Watch
June 13, 2014
By Julie-Earle Levine
Even before Royal Ascot gets under way, UK-based milliners are in demand with international clients.
A British friend recently offered me a prized contact from her Manhattan address book – no, not her heavily-in-demand colourist but, instead, her milliner. Trust a Brit to brandish that kind of number, I thought. Hat-wearing is a quintessentially British affair, hence the creations of master British milliners such as Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones.

As the sporting summer gets under way – from England’s Royal Ascot to polo in the Hamptons – a growing number of international customers, particularly from the US, are approaching British hatters.

“Americans are especially interested in hats since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011, and since seeing the younger royals wear hats so frequently,” says Gina Foster, a London-based milliner who designed the red pillbox hat worn by the duchess during their recent state visit to New Zealand. “I don’t think hats ever went out of fashion, but the audience is much broader now.”
Foster, 38, who studied under Philip Treacy, has been making hats for 12 years. Her international clients come from the US, Mexico, Brazil and Australia. She has also designed a collection of five hats for the 2014 racing season that were inspired by the interior of London’s Goring Hotel.
The Duchess of Cambridge©Wireimage
The Duchess of Cambridge in a Gina Foster pillbox hat (Wireimage)

“Hats are part of English dress and culture, but we have an international audience that is seduced by glamour – and there is nothing more glamorous than a hat,” says Foster’s mentor Philip Treacy, whose numerous customers have included the late style-setter Isabella Blow, Lady Gaga and Madonna. (He also designed the much mocked hat worn by Princess Beatrice at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding; her sister Eugenie sported a less controversial Treacy design.) 

“When I started at the Royal College of Art, they thought hats were for old ladies, but I thought that was completely insane,” says Treacy. Now he points to a worldwide audience that is “open to seeing hats in a new way”.

Kelly Christy is an American milliner whose work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York and has designed for Diane von Furstenberg and Cynthia Rowley. Christy says hats – both classic, such as the fedora, as well as more whimsical headpieces – are back as a chic and affordable accessory after the recent downturn. “Now everyone wears them – actors, musicians, models; they complete a fashion look and are more mainstream than ever.”
Ice-cream pompom hat by Awon Golding
Ice-cream pompom hat by Awon Golding
Ellen Goldstein, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, would agree: “Hats are a way of easing into a fashion statement.” She notes that more Americans are wearing hats to the races and to weddings, as well as in everyday wear, with men in particular routinely wearing baseball caps and short-brimmed fedoras.
Gabriela Ligenza, another London-based hat designer (see “Boffin tops” below), says Britain’s image as a hat-wearing nation had remained strong, thanks to the influence of figures such as Isabella Blow. “British milliners are slightly quirkier and more daring, but without becoming ridiculous,” she notes.
The message, reinforced by such style icons and prolific hat-wearers as Daphne Guinness, Anna Dello Russo and Paloma Faith, who has worn Ligenza’s hats, is that “your outfit really isn’t quite finished without a hat”.
A hat by Gina Foste
A hat by Gina Foster
What’s more, as Ligenza points out, fascinators are no longer allowed in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, which has stimulated demand for contemporary designs.
Piers Atkinson, also based in London designs fun, arty hats in the shape of cream slices and cherries for customers in Melbourne, Dubai and Britain. He believes there has never been a better time for talented young designers, and points to the British Fashion Council’s “Headonism” showcase, an initiative to promote young milliners that runs during London Fashion Week in September.
Also showing at Headonism will be Awon Golding, who grew up in England, Hong Kong and India. This year her designs include eye-catching pieces for Ascot such as one in the shape of an ice-cream cone, complete with scoops of soft ostrich feather pom-poms.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Alexa: Luxe landscape designers

Piet Oudolf

Now creating private gardens, Oudolf (inset) is best known for his High Line landscaping.Photo: Main: Iwan Bann; Inset: Wilco van Dijen
Meadow on high: Back in 2004, Oudolf was charged with “illustrating a series of moods, capturing open woodland, prairieand meadow” in one of the densest — yet most underutilized — spots in the city. Today, the famed Dutch horticulturalist’s 1¹/₂-mile-long plantings on the High Line provide a giraffe’s-eye view onto the Hudson and West Chelsea. The breezy, carefree space is enough to inspire even the most jaded New Yorker.
Signature style: Holland-based Oudolf is leading the “New Perennial movement,” which uses herbaceous perennials and grasses to invoke a naturalistic look. He has said his gardens have come to embody “more emotion, complexity, depth, drama and coherence” over the years. Practicing in New York since 2003, he was one of the first designers to introduce large-scale perennial plantings into public places.
New York debut: Oudolf’s first big achievement was a horticultural master plan for the Battery at the tip of Manhattan where he created the “Gardens of Remembrance” and the “Bosque” (2003-2005). Oudolf has described his plantings as “a complicated layering of seasonality, energy, endurance and reward — both before, during and after flowering.”
Aesthetic ID: Oudolf turns to nature, art and time for inspiration for his residential and public designs, including a 14-acre Nantucket property, a private garden in West Cork, Ireland, and roof terraces for the Huys condominium project in Midtown.

Susannah Drake

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BQ Green, a Drake (inset)-designed urban greenery proposal for Williamsburg, BrooklynPhoto: Main: DLANDSTUDIO
Garden lab: A noted brownstone garden specialist, Drake deals with challenges such as light, circulation, and moisture. “I need to be very strategic, you can’t grow everything in [brownstone] backyards.” Drake toils in the garden of her own Brooklyn home, where she launched her company, dlandstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture, in 2005. Beyond private homes, Drake has also planned public parks.
Rockaways escape: Drake recently redeveloped a plant and grass garden for a weekend home in the Rockaways damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Farm girl: Drake grew up on a Vermont farm and her pastoralroots have made her suited to giving a “prairie farm landscape” aesthetic to her urban commissions.
Estate revamp: Drake is re-doing a historic property in upstate New York with terraced gardens and important art. When the estate was originally designed, maples, spruce and hemlock were transplanted onto the site. A century later, Drake says, “it’s a wonderful challenge to restore the estate to its former glory.”

Raymond Jungles

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Jungles’ (inset) green design on Miami’s Lincoln Road.Photo: Main: Steven Dunn Photography; Inset: Alexia Fodere
Claim to fame: Miami-based Jungles is best known for his lush landscapes at hotels and condos including Miami’s Soho Beach House along with the eye-catching Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road on South Beach. Jungles worked with the Swiss duo to create a pedestrian plaza with “an Everglades-inspired environment” via Florida cypress and apple trees and bubbling pools.
Up next: Miami-wide marquee projects include Nobu at the Eden Roc (with the Rockwell Group) plus gardens and streetscapes for top-market real estate such as the Faena District (by Foster + Partners and Rem Koolhaas) and the Grove at Grand Bay in Coconut Grove (with Danish architect Bjarke Ingels). “The first priorities are generated by the scale of the space and what the function of that space will be. Space dictates the planting ratio,” Jungles says.
Dream project: Jungles says he fantasizes about creating an urban waterfront park that turns into a pedestrian plaza and snakes through the city. Luckily Jungles has plenty of time to dream: “Only a small part of my time, perhaps 10 percent, is spent designing.”
Water is key: Liquid is an integral part of Jungles’ gardens, creating a calm moment and introducing sound. Water can also bring birds, fish and even turtles to add a whole new dimension to gardens.

Julie Farris

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A Farris (inset)-designed Hamptons garden in Water Mill combines lush plantings with angular architecture.Photo: Main: Scott Frances/Otto; Inset: Eilon Paz
Architecture roots: After graduating from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in landscape architecture, Farris worked for a slew of New York firms including M. Paul Friedberg and Partners before launching her own design firm XS Space in Brooklyn in 2005. Today, Farris designs rooftop gardens and courtyards for townhouses in Manhattan — along with larger projects in Rwanda and Panama.
Nature in the city: Farris’ first projects included a commission by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation with Balmori Associates to convert vacant Brooklyn lots into parks for green-starved residents. “I like bringing nature into the city in unconventional ways,” Farris says. The Columbia Street district project, known as Urban Meadow, is used by residents for yoga, birthday parties and the Red Hook Jazz Festival.
Beach bliss: Farris’s naturalistic, native, wild aesthetic can be seen best at a limestone-and-cedar Water Mill home by Khanna Schultz Architects. The wooded site — covered in a carpet of liriope — is surrounded by oak and pines and a grove of crepe myrtles. The owners’ view from large, mahogany-framed windows is of cedars, red maples, birches and beachy perennials.
Home sweet home: Farris’s own Cobble Hill rooftop garden features a drought- and wind-tolerant plant palette. Along with a square patch of artificial grass for her children to play on, there’s a lounging and dining area accented by a pathway lined in Mexican river stones.

Michael Derrig

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This East Hampton oasis epitomizes landscape designer Michael Derrig’s (inset) aesthetic.
Tree lover: Derrig’s passion for big trees brought him to the Hamptons where he opened his business, Landscape Details, in 2003. The move was as natural as the material Derrig works with. “I was living in Manhattan, and I saw these large trees on the Long Island Expressway going to the Hamptons. I was drawn to the beauty of theplace … and moved out here.”
Simple chic: As both a landscape designer and landscape architect, Derrig — who studied landcape architecture at Rutgers University — specializes in creating simple, often geometric-shaped and easy-to-maintain gardens. The key: using fewer plant varieties, more cohesive plant groupings and simplified ground cover. “Over time this improves the overall aesthetic of the landscape, rather than a high-maintenance distracting palette.”
The great outdoors: In the Hamptons, Derrig says sophisticated clients no longer merely want pretty lawns or lovely gardens — they want true outdoor living. And this means outdoor spaces that include kitchens, fireplaces, pergolas, dining and living rooms. Case in point: a Derrig-designed Sagaponack home with a monolithic stone outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen with Viking appliances and a Pietra Cardosa honed granite top.
Art star: Derrig is creating a sculpture garden in Bridgehampton for an art collector client with numerous large-scale pieces by Joel Shapiro, George Segal and Yori Seeger. Appropriate outdoor lighting, Derrig says, is particularly important when art is involved. “It’s a critical component of designing the landscape,” he says. The garden will also be used for entertaining.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

NYT Styles - Robert McKinley's Beach/Chic style in Chelsea

Home/Work | Robert McKinley’s Beach-Chic Style at Home in Chelsea

Robert McKinley in his living room.
“This piece of wood, I can see having for the rest of my life,” says Robert McKinley, rubbing his hand along the edge of an ash wood table in the Chelsea apartment he shares with his fianceé, Kate Nauta. “Maybe it will be a bench or something else one day,” says the 38-year-old designer, hotelier, D.J., artist and creative director. “I try to reuse wood as much as possible.” The slab of wood began its life as the leftovers of a project: McKinley brought the scrap home while designing the hotel Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk. Now, it sits atop matte black powder-coated tubular steel legs in the couple’s third-floor brownstone space, where they like to entertain. “He makes fabulous pasta,” says Nauta, a model, actor and singer who just returned from the Bahamas, where she recorded her first album with Lenny Kravitz as producer.
McKinley, an avid surfer, also owns a beach cottage in the Long Island hamlet of Amagansett; his wave-riding pals include the Beastie Boy Mike D, with whom he collaborated on operating a charity food truck in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy. His love for the sand-and-sea lifestyle shines through in his design work, which also includes the low-key Surf Lodge in Montauk and the rustic-glam Sant Ambroeus restaurants in SoHo and the West Village. His Chelsea apartment, likewise, features an eclectic, beachy-chic mix that nicely sets off the space’s wide floorboards, functional fireplaces and large original windows.

McKinley designed most of the furniture in the living room, including the table and benches. The wide white oak sofa features cream-colored Loro Piana cashmere and wool cushions, a design he replicated in mahogany for the Waikiki hotel he’s currently designing; he hand-shaped the coffee table from statuary marble and bronze. The bedroom is also outfitted with a suite of custom furniture hewn from a single piece of 100-year-old American Walnut. Unique vintage and found objects are sprinkled throughout: an antique mirror from Brooklyn Heights hangs above the fireplace, an original gas chandelier from the late 1800s lights the living area. Scandinavian chairs from Paris sit fireside, and a gold-leafed skull, from a series that was custom cast for GoldBar, a boîte he designed in 2007, rests on a circa-1950s Franco Albini rattan ottoman from Rome.

The designer’s next project is Tijuana Picnic, a Lower East Side restaurant set to open next month by the team behind the perennial hot spots Indochine and Acme. McKinley, a partner in the project, says that despite the mostly Mexican menu, he’s staying away from south-of-the-border clichés. “We’ll be channeling a modernist 1960s Mexico City,” he says, citing design elements like a hand-painted mural, polished concrete floors and diner booths. It will be McKinley’s first time working with the restaurateur Jean-Marc Houmard, whose Indochine turns 30 this year and who tapped McKinley for what he describes as the designer’s “effortless” style. “He can do high-end,” Houmard says, “but his talent is striking and interesting without having to spend on expensive materials.”

Looking forward, McKinley also hopes to build packable beach cabins — shipping containers with teak floors, kitchens with brass inset sinks and, of course, Loro Piana fabric sofas. “They could work in Montauk, maybe Malibu,” he says. “You can even put them on a boat to Australia if you want.”


Thursday, April 10, 2014

NY Mag: Elle Macpherson on Turning Fifty and More

New York Magazine, The Cut
April 10, 2014

By Julie Earle-Levine

Since she first appeared in a commercial for TaB Cola in 1982 — strolling across the screen in a red string bikini — Elle Macpherson became a symbol of the glorious supermodel heyday.

She became a Sports Illustrated swimsuit-cover model (a record five times), and ran in every issue of Elle for six years straight. In 1989, Time famously nicknamed her “The Body,” and she went on to star in films and host Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, as well as NBC’s Fashion Star. In 1989, she launched, with Bendon, her own lingerie company, Elle Macpherson Intimates, which analysts now value at $300 million and sells everything from lacy push-up bras and underwire T-shirt bras to thong briefs at a price range of $55 to $95.

Now, Macpherson — who turned 50 on March 29 — is back in New York this week to unveil her latest campaign, The Body for JCPenney, a line of lingerie that includes "invisible" T-shirt bras and matching underwear, which she models for the first time in 12 years. Next month, she’ll debut WelleCo, a new “super elixir” at Bergdorf’s. She spoke to the Cut about turning 50, how she sees her younger self as “extraordinary” in hindsight, and why she will never wear a bra as outerwear.

Congratulations on turning 50. How did you celebrate?
An intimate dinner with family and friends. With the “big” birthdays, it’s more about surrounding yourself with love and warmth, versus spectacle. My gift to myself: a new company, WelleCo, and the deal with JC Penney. Two challenges that help me bring out the best in myself, and, hopefully, other women. I’m going to step it up a little.
Your new lingerie campaign has you modeling your own lingerie. Not many women would jump into a lingerie shoot — and I'm thinking of famous models — at 50. Your idea?
No. Modeling in my underwear was not my own idea, but it was the right idea to launch The Body. I also wanted women to know I was 100 percent involved and that not everything was about youth.
You’ve been making bras and knickers for 25 years now and are hugely successful. Why did you start in lingerie?
Originally, I was approached by Bendon to model, but then ultimately cut a deal to start my own namesake lingerie line. It was a forward-thinking move in the late '80s, just as The Body at JCPenney is a forward-thinking move today.
As a model, I found I was always in my underwear, changing outfits at shoots or shows. I wanted to look good. I loved French lingerie, but it was so uncomfortable. My epiphany was to create lingerie that was as lovely as European lingerie but actually comfortable.

I read a quote of yours that every woman should have seven sets of beautiful lingerie — that’s the absolute minimum, so you don’t have to worry if it takes you a couple of days to do laundry. And that you had about 50? True?
True! I get my own collection. There are days I never wear the same bra twice. I have a couple of old favorites that I get in new colors, new laces. I have a whole lingerie sort of wardrobe. It’s very organized. It’s all color-coded — that’s my thing.

Have you learned any big lessons about what women want to buy over the last few decades?
The seed of everything I create is what I want for myself. Elle Macpherson Intimates was born out of a desire to have European lingerie in America fit with Australian effortlessness, and I couldn’t find it in the market. The seed for my maternity bra was being pregnant with my boys and not being able to find one, so I made it.

Do you think bras can work as outerwear, in place of a shirt?
No. But I don’t think bras need to be hidden. Americans have always thought they had to wear a tan bra, and it had be hidden away. I always love a flash of color under a white shirt, or lace under a black shirt. Not hidden, but I’m not a big fan of midriffs.

What do you think of when you are standing and modeling knickers?
I always feel that whether it is lingerie, or whether it is a swimsuit, or whether I am naked — not that I am — I like [to have] the same attitude as if I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt. It’s not about adding sexuality. It’s dressed. I model lingerie the same way as if I were fully clothed, which is straightforward, devoid of sexuality. That is quite important to me.

Do you remember the first bra you wore? How old were you?
I was 14. I made my mother buy it for me at David Jones because all my other friends wore bras. I didn’t necessarily need it.

Juice, coffee, alcohol?
Two espressos in the morning, and juice. No alcohol for 11 years.

Have you ever dieted?
I take care because I know that I feel differently according to what I eat. I have an alkaline diet — that is why I am launching a super-greens elixir. Alkalizing powder really helps. I do best I can with what I eat, and I supplement with the super elixir. It has changed my life, in the last couple of years.

What’s your new super elixir?
WelleCo is my new health-and-wellness company. My first product is the elixir that will be for sale in Bergdorf’s in May. It’s a completely organic super-greens powder that has been very carefully chosen, harvested, and gently extracted from Chinese herbs, super greens, vitamins, and minerals in a powder that is taken as a shot with water, or coconut water, and can be sipped all day. I take it once a day, or, if I need energy, again in afternoon. For me, I feel nourished on cellular level, and my sugar cravings are diminished. We’ll be selling it in the beauty department, even though it’s a food supplement.

Have you ever felt insecure about any part of your body? Is there anything you didn’t like, or don’t like?
Absolutely. I have become more at ease with who I am. The great thing about turning 50: I really value grace and wisdom today. The emphasis is on how I feel, not necessarily how I look, but I do have a great team of people who help me be the best I can be on the outside. I would look back at images of myself at 20, 30, 40, even 45, and look at myself and think, Wow, I was extraordinary. Those images are extraordinary, but I never felt that. I was always busy looking at the big picture. I never focused too much on myself or picking myself apart, but I never felt extraordinary then. That kind of '80s-model strength was really incredible. Dynamic strength and athleticism.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

NYT: A Post Fashion Week Getaway, Tulum

Yaan Spa's healing water circuit includes hot/cold cleansing pools, a sauna and a steam room. 
Manuel Capellari Yaan Spa’s healing water circuit includes hot/cold cleansing pools, a sauna and a steam room.
Tulum, a walled seaside city on the southern edge of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, has long been a popular getaway for the fashion set and yoga enthusiasts. Now, serious spa devotees are also flocking to the luxe oceanside hotel there, Be Tulum, thanks to the recent opening of Yaan Energy Wellness Spa.

Guests like Demi Moore, Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, have been among the first to receive massage, Mayan healing and energy treatments in one of the five new personal cabins on-site, which are situated across from the hotel on the jungle side of the road. “A designer friend says it looks like some extraterrestrials came to Tulum to do a co-venture with the Mayans,” says Sebastian Sas, an Argentinian architect and Be Tulum’s owner.

Everything at the spa is fundamentally Mayan, from the temazcal — a domed sweat lodge made out of clay and cement — to the herbs used in the body scrubs and massage, baths and energetic cleansing treatments, which are plucked from the organic rooftop garden. And each treatment begins with a signature healing-water circuit, which includes water therapy pools, a sauna and a steam room.

“We call them healing waters because the spa uses natural cenote waters — water from Yucatan’s natural sinkholes that is very clear and fresh — which are purified through a complex osmosis and energy system,” explains Bobby Klein, the spa’s director. An L.A. transplant who has lived in Tulum for three years, Klein boasts a 45-year career in the healing arts and also offers intuitive life path counseling and energy work to help guests explore the mind, body and spirit. “New Yorkers need it,” he says. “We get a huge rush after Fashion Week, especially.”

Other therapists on staff include healers from the Mayan villages, who perform traditional treatments like the Sobada Maya, a deep Mayan massage using native plants and herbs including rue, white sage and basil to heal and cleanse the body (80 minutes, $240); and the Traditional Energetic Cleansing, which combines copal (an amberlike resin) therapy, sacred feathers, crystals and herbs to restore clients mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically (50 minutes, $150). Other popular treatments so far include a soothing floral bath of bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers, and the three- and five-day cleanses based around colonics and juices.

And if you can’t snare a reservation at the hotel — it’s currently booked up, and has recently been inhabited by the likes of Terry Richardson, Calvin Klein and Francisco Costa — it’s O.K. to stay in Tulum’s less pricey bohemian huts and hit the spa as a day guest.

Carreterra Tulum Boca Paila, Km 10, Tulum, Mexico;, (52) 984 179 1530.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The New York Times - Sydney's Manly

Clockwise from top left: Mambo Coffee and Tees; dinner fresh off the grill at Papi Chulo; the south end of the beach at Manly; Chica Bonita. Clockwise from top left: Mambo Coffee and Tees; dinner fresh off the grill at Papi Chulo; the south end of the beach at Manly; Chica Bonita.
Sydney’s scenic enclave Manly has long been overshadowed by glitzy Bondi on the other side of the harbor, but that suits its laid-back nature just fine. Locals regularly hit the waves before heading to work in Sydney’s financial district, a five-mile ferry ride across Sydney Harbor; it’s not uncommon, while slurping fresh oysters, to spot a humpback whale leap out of the water just a shell’s throw away. Lately, artists, musicians and creative types drawn to Manly’s natural beauty and mellow pace have transformed the area into a new hub of culture and dining, and starting today, the nine-day Australian Open of Surfing takes place along its shores. Here, a field guide to enjoying the area.

Papi Chulo | The restaurateur Justin Hemmes, who owns popular Sydney restaurants like Ivy, the Establishment and Mr. Wong, opened this Latin American eatery on the water last month. “Manly has always been on the radar for me,” said Hemmes, who first considered opening something on its shores 10 years ago. “It has been growing leaps and bounds and the dynamic is right.” The joint’s unpretentious vibe matches his smokehouse and grill menu of spice-rubbed meats, empanadas with wild greens and a ceviche of Ora King salmon with jalapeno, celery, pineapple and crispy corn. 22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly; (61) 2-9240-3000;

Mambo Coffee and Tees | This cafe and clothing shop is situated right on the oceanfront path at the south end of the beach — where, from 6 a.m. onward, a steady stream of surfers, paddleboarders and swimmers make their way from Manly to nearby Shelly Beach. It started as a pop-up last October; thanks to the ever-present foot traffic, it’s now open for good. 5 Marine Parade, Fairy Bower, Manly; (61) 2-8957-2909.

misschu | Located opposite the ferry terminal, this is Manly’s first Vietnamese “tuckshop” (cafe). The owner Nahji Chu prepares delicious salmon vermicelli salad, roast-duck-and-banana-flower rice-paper rolls and elegant “crushies” (frozen blended drinks) – the coconut-and-lychee one is heavenly. 5/54 West Esplanade, Manly; (61) 2-9976-3682;

Chica Bonita | This cool little Mexican restaurant was opened by Sean Miller, an L.A. transplant who came to Australia on a surf trip and never left, and Luke Miller, a local. The friends attract a steady crowd with their northern Mexico- and Southern California-inspired menu, which includes Baja fish tacos and carne asada fries. Shop 9A/B, 9 The Corso, Manly; (61)-29-976-5255

Bow + Arrow | A local fashion photographer, Myles Pritchard, opened a tiny pop-up boutique last year with his friend Tash Lanni to serve what he calls the “abundance of creative and beautiful people” in Manly. Now, they have a permanent shop that offers lifestyle-store staples, like Juniper Ridge incense and D.S. & Durga perfume, and highlights local labels like Natalie Marie jewelry, Holly Ryan and Pigeon + Weasel. Artists also work and collaborate in a studio space within the store. 15 Whistler Street, Manly; (61) 2-8068-2195;

Hotel Steyne | This hotspot for tourists, which opened in 1858 on the beachfront, hosts popular crab-racing and trivia nights. After a recent facelift, it’s now home to the Phoenix Chinese restaurant, which dishes out addictive yum cha lunches and dumplings, and the Moonshine bar, where locals sip ciders on tap from a balcony overlooking the beach. Upstairs at the Blacketts Bar, it’s all about the black ales. 75 The Corso, Manly; (61) 2-9977-4977;

Salt Motion Gallery | The Bondi-born, Manly-based surfer and photographer Joel Coleman started a blog in 2007 to share his surf photography with friends. Now he displays and sells his signature seaside images, which have found a fan following in the United States and Canada, at this three-year-old gallery. Market Place, Manly; (61) 2-9976-6518;