After my booksigning & chat at Fuller’s Bookshop in Hobart- thankyou all for coming- I headed to the much anticipated MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art). Stinging for a glass of wine (must have been my blood sugar levels), I crossed the MONA threshold, indicated to visitors by very modern concrete forms followed by rows & rows of winemaking vines. Already this was my kind of place. An avenue of yet to mature Poplar trees line the drive that leads to the top of the hill. A grouping of contemporary structures are surrounded by native grasses & plants, old wise pines and very well considered landscaping & vista, ready to explore. I ignore the hail like rain & howling, frigid winds that do not complement my short, short attire & make my way to the wine bar that is oh-so-conveniently positioned before the entrance. I stop for some fuel of Tasmanian Riesling & a cheese plate before I submerge myself in what I have heard is a very amusing curation, dictated & moulded by its’ creators desires & humour. We need more eccentrics in this world.
The wine bar is a great design: long, high, communal, marble table edged by low alcoves with caramel leather banquettes that looks into an internal barrel/wine-making room. I wander to the right where there is a view over different paths & levels edged by mini Richard Serra-style balustrades, all iron & rusty.
I realise the entrance to the museum is over an 80s astro turf tennis court, through a funhouse mirror facade that butts up to a white, low-slung, bungalow style structure of brick & tongue-in-groove (wainscoting for you Americans) painted white. believe it or not, it all works. On entry, you are supplied an ‘O’ device as artworks are unlabelled & this gives you descriptions, interviews, artwank & ideas. The top floor is dedicated to a cafe (within the walls of the museum of old & new art are a bar & cafe- I like the thoughtfulness & lingering gesture of this) and a 50s residential foyer of patchworked sealed sandstone, a conical fireplace, settings of Le Corbusier black leather sofas, Bertoia lounge chairs with yellow covers and Arco Floor Lamp. A plummeting spiral staircase leads to the bunker style museum: rough concrete & pebble surfaces with boardwalk/gangplank walkways as varying access points and monolithic rough cut sandstone walls.
The floor is mostly concrete and recycled boards that have random paint marks of their previous life (maybe an old gaming court of the deck of an ocean liner?). The entire place is fit out with honest materials: rope, steel, coal, hessian, chalk, wire & Ship Chandler grey walls. I confused the rope wrapped bench as a work of art!
Beautifully lite, dark & ambient with a labyrinth of mezzanines & enclosed steel staircases. There is often a tease & pull made through light variation, sound or vistas that heighten your sense of curiosity. The journey, the discovery, and the sense of lost & found defines this space cut out of deep mine sandstone. There is no given or dictated path- it’s choose your own adventure so every time is different & unique.
As I reluctantly leave chickens are released from coops to clean up the vineyards, mountains & a lake surround, beautiful afternoon sun shines through showers & a rainbow sits sky high. Great afternoon!
Note: B3 bathrooms- go to the third on the right for an interesting experience.
Was just in Hobart for a booksigning at the lovely Fuller’s & thought I’d share my top tips:
After a pit stop in the Maldives to pitch for an island job, I swapped my bikini & Sperrys for a much warmer ensemble of jodhpurs & fur hat.
I met with the Anthropologie Home team including Keith Johnson & Mitzie to check out what’s hot & happening in the Netherlands. The DDW is held in & throughout Eindhoven & this year was scattered around the city in various buildings, museums, abandoned shells, carparks, schools & galleries.
An absolute highlight was meeting Rossanna Orlandi, the legendary Milanese shopowner & tastemaker. A wealth of information & generous in time & spirit. I look forward to visiting her at her shop in the near future.
These are my highlights in a picture story-
I am off to Paris to research & gather inspiration (amongst other things) for my upcoming renovation of The Society inc. A third level is to be added as my residence.
I imagine its exterior to be zinc lined with rounded detailed windows on the east & west sides, and a wall of glass panels & french doors on the south side. The north side may be brick.
I am creating something only I may want to live in but it will be a true reflection of me, my lifestyle & fit oh-so-perfectly with the personality of The Society inc. The interiors are yet to be decided but I will need a bed, a bath, a basin & spaces for my clothes, lots of light & room for ghosts, dreams & not yet imagined ideas, creations, thoughts, crafts & designs.
I cannot wait (!!!): to be choosing my favourite finishes & fixtures, working on the design of the spiral staircase, thinking parquetry, hardware, to be able to have exactly the things that make me tick underfoot, in my hand, to reclaim salvage, engage artists & forgers in craft nearly forgotten & to use all my knowledge of amazing suppliers both local & global.
Long ago I read a book called Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder. It was based on an out of the way place in LA that was around way before cabinet of curiosities reached the resurgence of coolness it now enjoys.
I have since wanted to visit the museum but to no avail for various reasons- until a recent 30 hour stint in La La Land.
An unassuming facade on Venice Boulevard, Culver City, it is a shade of green with an old brass buzzer engraved with its name, lovely and old school.
Due to my limited time & excuse of my next book, I made an appointment to view this enigma. The size of MJT is deceiving. We were greeted by Rachel who informed us that she would be leaving at 3pm with apologies. I was noon and the place appeared to be made up of just 3 rooms! Well, were we in for a surprise.
The museum is made up of two floors & roughly 20 rooms (I lost count so don’t quote me on that). Each room is intimate, dark & encourages you to look into, touch, listen or read. It is a realisation of one man’s (& his wife) vision.
The rabbit warren of rooms: part carneval, cabinet & curios, sideshow, history, circus, museum, gallery & exhibit. As you can see, it is impossible to categorise.
Each display is different with dioramas, holograms, microscopes, 3D glasses & listening devices installed for you to experience each installation in its own way. The installations are strange, intriguing & curious- but one wonders if these are historical or if they are fictional characters that have been created, philosoph-ied & imagined. Regardless, the experience is of marvel, joy, wonder, curiosity & mystery.
There is a big surprise on the top floor. You come out into a Moroccan Oasis of light after being in the dark for so long. It’s like your mind is being cleared from the huge amount of information intake downstairs and here you are cleansed and able to process all the wonderful things you have seen. There is a subtlety of colour, a bird singing in a large aviary and it is airy & light & lovely & white.
Note to self: leave plenty of time, hours disappear here.
Ah the beauty of social media! I meet like-minded people, shopowners, designers & everyone in between from around the world & hatch lovely friendships with them this way. 3Potato4 is one of them. I orchestrated my recent roadtrip to include visiting Stu & Janet at their 3Potato4 barn just on the outskirts of Philadelphia.
Although running hideously late (that is after it closed at 4pm), Stu & I shot the breeze for a couple of hours over our mutual love for the curious & ‘the find’ as old friends. His aesthetic is right up my alley: oversized theatre props, macabre props, handtooled stencils, maps, signs, books, spindle backed chairs, old packaging, flour sacks & all those other irresistibles.
He has made promises of letting me tag along to local fleamarkets & auctions on my next trip to Philly.
NB: Stu suggested The Dandelion for dinner & it was fantastic! Make sure you look at all the different levels, the interiors are super cool!