Konstantin Grcic talks London, design and that bicycle

When my editor tells me I will have 20 minutes for an interview with Konstantin Grcic, I kind of freak out. Only 20 minutes with this super famous designer? That’s not enough. Apparently, I learn, I’m lucky. He hardly ever agrees to interviews and when he does, you need to strictly adhere to the little time given, precisely announced prior to your meeting. And 20 minutes, by his standards – I’m told – is a lot. So, when I finally meet Grcic during the London Design Biennale in September, I already feel under pressure, given the time constraints. And I soon learn he’s not after the small talk – he gets straight to the point and rushes me into the questions I prepared. During our conversation, I am super aware of the timing, and keep looking at the minutes ticking away on my iPhone Voice Memos app but as we carry on, Grcic gets more and more relaxed and switches over to a rather talkative mode. To the point of me getting slightly wary of the time already passed and warning him that I’d only have one last question to ask. At which point his PR lady gives me a very clear sign I am running out of time. – That’s OK – says Konstantin – we are wrapping up. And we are. I check my recording – we spoke for exactly 29 minutes and 51 seconds. Mr Grcic gifted me with 9 minutes and 51 seconds extra time. Not bad, given his German tendency for precision and exactness. Not at all bad.

Excerpts from the interview for the English readers below. Polish readers please refer to the hard copy of the Monitor Magazine no. 17/18 (currently on sale).

London is where it all started for you. How does it feel to be back?
It all started for me in England, then London played a role in it. I was a student at the Royal College of Art, many years ago, like a quarter of century ago. I have very strong, very vivid memories of it. It was a great time of my life and London was where I wanted to be then. I left for different reasons and it’s this thing that always gets through my mind: what would I be, where would I be now, had I stayed in London 25 years ago. But I don’t know and it’s boring trying to answer that now but it is definitely kind of sentimental me coming back here. I love it and I hate it. When you live here, you get used to this crazy city but if you’re coming from the outside, from a city which is a little fraction of London [Grcic lives in Berlin] then you really have to be conditioned to live here. London is loud and sweaty. London is intense. (…)

What has changed since the time you founded your own studio?
I think over the years my practice has changed in size, in equipment, in clients that we have. My team has changed – it is now six people, 25 years ago I was alone. But I think it’s not completely different to what I started with. I think in some way I find it almost frustrating to think that it’s not that different to what I wanted to do originally. But at the same time I could also say it’s quite reassuring and it’s beautiful, it’s seems like I did find something in my life, something I really want to do, something that makes me happy, that makes sense of my life. And I feel that way, we’re doing things today that I couldn’t have thought about 25 years ago. The problem was really to decide on where I wanted to stand on design. Is it a promise of always the new, the next project, a bigger project, a faster project, a more crazy project, a more utopian project? Or, is there something in the quality of design, which in the end is so simple, so beautiful, so effective, so economical. I think that my installation here, at the Biennale, tries to speak about that. Utopia is what happens in your head. We’ve created something, which of course has a technological aspect to it but it is also very real and has the sound of crackling fire.

I sat in that room, closed my eyes and felt like I was sitting by the fire. Only last week I went to the countryside and sat by a real fire, watching the stars.
And that’s what it is about, still today, in this world. With all the technologies we have, the simplest little things and moments are the most powerful, and so strong. And it’s beautiful that it still works for us. We’re used to the most incredible stuff, but sitting by a real fire is unbeatable. And then the real fire is free to anyone, to people from all cultures around the planet and that’s where I think you have the utopia. Isn’t that nice that utopia is not that incredible future being manmade? We can all be part of our own mental utopia just through this simple thing that comes for free. People, in the most primitive cultures, as well as the most sophisticated cultures, they all go back to the fire. And that was our way out of this. Of course, we’ve designed the space, but in a way I would have even preferred we hadn’t designed anything and tried to just create the atmosphere. Surely, it’s not true for every visitor but if we get 10 out of a 100 to sit down and do what you did, close your eyes and relax, it’s fine. It is one installation out of forty, people will come here with their heads already crammed with other things they’ve seen at the Biennale, so it’s difficult to get their attention. But I think that difficulty is always part of our work. Every project is a challenge. That’s why I’m passionate about my work and I want to face the difficulty that comes with it. (…)

There was a time when you suffered from the major success of Chair One. You yourself said that it took a while for people to grasp Chair One and understand what it was about. Do you have the patience to wait for people to understand your designs?
I wish the things I design were understood or liked more immediately, but it’s not something that I do intentionally. I don’t make things difficult. It’s just something I’m not able to change. I do the things I strongly believe in. We worked on Chair One for four years, so I had four years to get used to it. How could it be that someone who sees it for the first time gets it immediately? It took myself four years. It’s like that with a lot of things. Do I have the patience? I haven’t even thought about it in that way, to be honest. That’s the way it goes, I can’t change it. But I’m not doing it on purpose. When we design things, we do the best we can at that particular moment, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. The failures and the problems form part of the solution that we find in the next project somehow. But there is one thing I started to accept, which is different to when I was young and at the beginning of my designing career. At at that time my generation wanted to be successful designers, not successful in stardom, even money, but successful in designing popular products. Working for Ikea – we thought that was great. The generation before us thought it was horrible. Now I have to accept that in the end, I’m not an Ikea designer…

But you work for MUJI. Although it has a slightly different philosophy.
You’re right, probably MUJI makes an exception. I think that maybe I’m the designer who is better at designing Chair One, rather than designing a chair that sells and works for everyone. If I’m the designer of Chair One, anyway, I’m happy with that. There used to be this idea of avant-garde, and it was always something that is exclusive, and understood by a very few people. But generations later, years later it changes – Bauhaus was avant-garde, now it’s a common reference to a lot of what we do. Certain things that were so exclusive, but powerful, have that power to trickle into much broader consciousness, and in the end something that is exclusive turns into, not a mass product, but a mass reference. Think of Memphis design, it was so powerful it changed everything we thought about design, but not because Memphis products were all over the place. They were produced in prototypes, but the imagery, and the reference, the knowledge, the learning from it has influenced everyone. I think that’s also something that I find a valuable contribution to make. As a designer you have a voice to say something, say something strong, something that polarizes people or even offends them. And I still believe it is necessary to do that. I believe it would be horrible if design became the one thing for everyone, made everyone happy.

Last question – have you designed a bicycle yet?
[Grcic laughs]. No.

So you dream hasn’t come true.
No. It’s still in the pipe line, which means in my head.

 

Photo credits: Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design. Photo of Konstantin Grcic on the cover: Markus Jans.

Monitor Magazine Konstantin Grcic Magda Bulera-Payne

REMO chair with tubular legs

Chair One cast Konstantin Grcic
Chair One public Konstantin Grcic Landen Grcic Vitra REMO chair Konstantin Grcic VAL Konstantin Grcic

VAL washbasin

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Porky Hefer and his delicious monsters

I heard about Porky Hefer from a South African interior designer whom I met on a holiday in Sri Lanka. As soon as we planned a trip to Cape Town, I knew Hefer was a must-see on our itinerary. And so I rang the door bell in the Southern Guild gallery in Woodstock, Cape Town’s thriving art district, ready to enter the beautiful world of Monstera Deliciosa.

The delicious ‘monsters’ really moved me, not just visually but also in a very sensory way. I was allowed to crawl inside the beautiful mantaray M.heloise, and it was one of the most amazing experiences. I felt like a little insect inside a flower, or a caterpillar inside a cocoon. But this is just an attempt at describing at how I felt. It was pretty surreal, in the most beautiful way. The softly lined up interior of M.heloise provided such comfort, peace and seclusion, amidst the hustle and bustle and the heat of Cape Town. I immediately wished I had one made for me. I hope one day I’ll be able to live in a place big enough to provide room for such installation. But before that wish materializes, I had a chance to speak to the man behind the lovely monsters, and it was truly a delicious conversation.
Excerpts from the interview for the English readers below. Polish readers please refer to the hard copy of the Monitor Magazine no. 16 (currently on sale).

Did you know from the start what effect would your underwater creatures have on people?

The more you believe in an idea, or rather focus energy on it, the more you perfect it and complete it, the more effect it will have. I have been focusing on the concept of environments. Each of the animals is an environment of its own on the inside. They differ with the amount of the environment and your senses that they control. Most affect your hearing and disconnect you from the world outside. They also limit your view of the outside world, with the manta giving you only a small porthole of view of the outside world that is also always changing and beyond your control. The swinging effect also takes you off the earth and into another sensation which is which most likened to the feeling of being in the womb. They also smell of an animal. Giving you a feeling that there is something, or even someone, else present. (…)

Your first nest was made in 2009. What has been your biggest challenge since then?

Thankfully, there will always be challenges. But I guess the biggest one was coming up with the idea for the first nest – convincing everyone that it was a good idea and then – convincing someone to make it. It’s got easier from there. I have been lucky to focus on one idea and just explore different executions of it. The one naturally evolves from the other, as I find I learn so much through the process – you learn the boundaries and thresholds that you can then push yourself to the next level. It would be boring if it wasn’t challenging. Improvement only comes from making mistakes that you can learn from, I am sure every young male bird has felt like this. (…)

Working in an advertising agency you came to a point where you didn’t want to take briefs from clients any more. How does one make a turn like this and become a designer of objects?

It was all about the object actually, or more correctly, the product. I found that in advertising the process became more important than the product. It was about keeping marketing departments busy and happy, keeping the systems going, rather than doing good work. Politics and democracy took up way too much time. I wanted to do more than just a good job – the product was so fleeting and really didn’t make a difference. I started Animal Farm in 2007, inspired by George Orwell’s concept of ‘all animals are equal’ and wanted to get humans out of creativity, so instinct would rule rather than ego. I want clever people to rule, not powerful ones. (…)

Your pieces are not just about the aesthetics. There is also the steel construction, the weight distribution, the suspension points. How big is your team of co-workers?

The process starts with me drawing the object from numerous angles and focusing on the details such as nostrils, fins, feet, how the mouth opens etc. This is to fully understand the object and to try find problems before they arise. I am not very technological, so I don’t do 3D drawings or anything like that. I then work with a welder who helps turn the drawings into reality. I don’t make small models or maquettes, as I find I need to work at actual scale to get it right, rather than a simulation with other materials or gauges. It’s during this stage that I work out the weight distribution and the suspension points, the engineering. The final weight of the leather or cane has to be considered but this gets easier with experience. Then it goes over to the team at Woodheads. They are a leather merchant in Cape Town that has been around since 1867 and still believe in good old fashioned craft, although they have moved with the times and updated the machinery, so we can achieve incredible results. (…) I then work with a team of marine rigging specialists who do the splicing for the ropes. I use old splicing techniques which are both strong and beautiful to look at. They just stink of hand work. None really unusual but I guess most of them unseen. We have ignored the art that goes into hand crafted objects and the skill of the craftsman. They have been downgraded by machinery, mass production, modernization and disposal. But they are making a come back. (…)

Human-size nests. That’s such a great idea. Please tell me you sleep in a big nest instead of a regular bedroom?

Unfortunately, I still sleep in a square bed in a square room. But it must be a good bed, it’s where I have dreamt up some wonderful things. We will build our own house soon and that’s when I will inhabit my own nest.
Thank you Porky, for the thoughtful conversation and a wonderful time in London!

Photo credits: Adriaan Louw; photo of Porky: Justin Patrick.

MUST SEE: If you are in London before September 27th, do go to see Porky’s work at the first London Design Biennale in Somerset House. You will be blown away!

 

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Throw back to South Africa

It’s been our second trip to South Africa. We travelled around the country, did 3 thousand kilometers in 3 weeks and got back 3 months ago.

And I honestly don’t know what took me so long to share some photos from that journey. My guess is that first I was digesting all the emotions that arose during the time spent in this amazing country. Then, reality kicked in, and I got busy with work-related projects, which always keeps me away from the blog.

But SA is always on my mind. I recently started noting down some ideas for our trip next year. In case you wonder, it is going to be South Africa again, for the 3rd time. There is so much to revisit and so much more to discover…

But before we go again, and come back with hundreds of new photos, here is a handful of snapshots from our most recent Southafrican trip. Enjoy.

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PS. I also have an extra treat for my Polish readers – a little feature I wrote for the Polish edition of Harper’s Bazaar. It’s been published in the June issue (currently on sale – until June 20th).

Harpers Bazaar_SA_magdaabouttown

 

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The color of October

As I am admiring the beautiful products that make up the limited edition launched this year by Estee Lauder Companies in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, I can’t help but think about the real cause that brings us all together on the back of it. Me, you, our friends, the founder of BCA Campaign Evelyn Lauder, its longtime Ambassadress Elizabeth Hurley, and so many other women out there that support the campaign, have been through or are prone to be diagnosed with the most common cancer in women worldwide – breast cancer. And, as we learn from recent studies, it’s not just women being affected but men too. I have an aunt diagnosed with breast cancer, everyone I know knows someone that has been, and it seems that today there is no one left not affected by cancer in this way or another.

Yes, you can argue that it is only one month in the year when we wear our pink ribbons and publicly talk about breast cancer. But because we do, I feel like the rest of the year is charged with this positive energy, which spreads the awareness across the other 11 months. Pink is the color of optimism, Barbie, cupcakes, girls, proms and … one of the most trending words on instagram, with nearly 69 million #pink tags. In comparison, #BCAstrength hashtag has only been used 10 thousand times. Estee Lauder Companies will donate 25 dollars to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for every instagram or twitter post tagged with #BCAstrength. You do the maths.

There is so much more to be done to create the awareness about the cause. So, next time you think about doing something good in your life, pin a pink ribbon to your jacket, donate to Breast Cancer Research or simply have yourself checked up on a regular basis. And, if you’ve done something, however small, to spread awareness about breast cancer, you can share it on the BCA Campaign website (click here). For the first time, BCA Campaign are launching a multimedia project that will be shared globally on World Cancer Day, February 4, 2016. All actions submitted via BCAcampaign.com between October 1 and December 31, 2015 will be eligible for inclusion. The initiative is meant to serve as an inspirational platform and I am sure it will grow over years. You have a chance of being enlisted in its pioneering year and leave your mark. It’s cool to do pioneering things. I just have.

IMG_5082 IMG_5083 IMG_5088 IMG_5099 IMG_5100 IMG_5102 IMG_5103I am proud to have inspired my client, L’enfant terrible restaurant in Warsaw, to include in their menu a dessert in support of BCA Campaign. Proceeds from the sale of yummy Plum in Chocolate created by Chef Michał Bryś, will be donated to support research towards a cure for breast cancer, conducted by the International Hereditary Cancer Centre at the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, an organization supported by the Polish division of Estee Lauder Companies. If you have a chance, visit the ‘Terrible kid” in October, it has just been caught by the radar of the UK Michelin inspectors as one pushing the boundaries. Just sayin’.

Lenfant_terrible_pink_dessert_plum in chocolateScreen Shot 2015-10-22 at 17.37.14

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London Fashion Week: David Koma SS16

As the Paris Fashion Week goes into full swing, I am still reminiscing the time spent in London. Courtesy of He is Dapper, who in turn won the tickets in an instagram competition announced by Penhaligon’s London, I had a chance to attend the presentation of the spring collection by a London based, Georgian born, fashion designer David Koma. I have to say, I absolutely loved the pieces from his new collection! There were at least a dozen of outfits from the catwalk I could see myself wearing. And that does not happen very often.

DavidKoma01 DavidKoma02 DavidKoma03 DavidKoma04 DavidKoma05 DavidKoma06 DavidKoma07 DavidKoma08 DavidKoma09 DavidKoma10 DavidKoma11 DavidKoma12 DavidKoma13 DavidKoma14 DavidKoma15 DavidKoma16 DavidKoma17 DavidKoma18 DavidKoma19

For a different take on the show, see a post by He is Dapper – click here.

To explore the universe of David Koma – check out his website.

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Podwójny luksus, czyli letnie premiery Sisley Paris

Był piękny słoneczny dzień. Przed wejściem do restauracji Belvedere w Łazienkach Królewskich, miejsca premiery nowości Sisley Paris, elegancko ubrani kelnerzy pod muszką serwowali Moet Ice Imperial. Podawany na kostkach lodu, okazał się znakomitą propozycją na upalne popołudnie i błyskawicznie wprowadzał w szampański nastrój.

Nie wiem, czy we Francji znaleźlibyśmy takie przystojne grono – zaczęła swoje expose hrabina Isabelle d’Ornano, z domu Potocka, zwana pieszczotliwie w gronie rodzinnym ciocią Izią. Wiem, bo poprzedniego dnia byłam na premierze książki Huberta d’Ornano, męża hrabiny – podczas tego wydarzenia jeden z salonow hotelu Bristol po brzegi wypełniała wyjątkowa mieszanka przedstawicieli prasy i polskiej arystokracji. Z wielką przyjemnością obserwowałam, z jaką czułością i szacunkiem zwracały się do pani Izabeli jej siostry cioteczne i pozostali członkowie rodziny. Dla nas, zwykłych śmiertelników, to była premiera biografii ciekawej postaci (hrabina reprezentowała autora, Huberta d’Ornano, z uwagi na jego niedyspozycję). Dla nich, krewnych hrabiny, była to rzadka okazja do spotkania i rozmowy z dawno nie widzianą ciocią, od wielu lat mieszkającą we Francji.

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Supremya to perła naszej linii pielęgnacyjnej – z dumą oznajmiła Isabelle d’Ornano – jest oparta na kompleksie długowieczności, dzięki niej skóra starzeje się dwukrotnie wolniej. Nie mam wątpliwości, że tak jest, zwłaszcza, kiedy patrzę na hrabinę d’Ornano – obłędnie (nie znajduję innego słowa) ubraną i w pięknym, acz dyskretnym makijażu. Elegancko, ale niezwykle młodzieńczo prezentująca się pani Isabelle, w komplecie od francuskiego projektanta i modnych sandałach na platformach (nie było osoby na sali, która by nie zachwyciła się tym modnym ‘lookiem’), jest najlepszą reklamą swojej marki. Podobnie, jak pyszne desery zaserwowane przez Belvedere po części oficjalnej spotkania, można ją jeść łyżkami.

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Młodniejemy z każdym dniem – dodała czarującym głosem Iwona Kamińska z Sisley, jedynie utwierdzając mnie w przekonaniu, że tak jest. Hrabinę d’Ornano miałam już przyjemność spotkać trzy razy i za każdym razem, kiedy ją widziałam, wydawała się młodsza… Jej wygląd, a przede wszystkim idąca z nim w parze piękna młodzieńcza energia, przemawia do mnie po stokroć bardziej, niż wyniki testów klinicznych. Krem Supremya Baume zawiera odżywczy koktajl z oleju z orzecha laskowego, orzecha macadamia, śliwkowego… – tutaj padło jeszcze wiele drogocennych składników, ale ja zatrzymałam się na początku tej smakowicie brzmiącej listy składników. Zapewnienie o tym, że specyfik błyskawicznie się wchłania i daje niezwykle komfortowe poczucie, któremu towarzyszy aromatyczny i aromaterapeutyczny zapach ziół i roślin, w zasadzie postawiło przysłowiową kropkę nad „i” (“i” w słowie Sisley, oczywiście). Fanką kosmetyków Sisley jestem od lat, nie trzeba mnie do nich przekonywać, jednak za każdym razem, kiedy mam przyjemność być na premierze nowego produktu, lubię o nim posłuchać i poczuć się na nowo zaczarowana…

Visuel Reveal_creme

Piękny roślinny zapach kremu okazał się zaledwie preludium do premiery kreacji zapachowej – nowego członka perfumeryjnej rodziny Sisley. Soir d’Orient – zmysłowy, ciepły, lekko pikantny i niezwykle orientalny, zbudowany na nutach żywicy, czarnego pieprzu, drzewa sandałowego, kadzidła, paczuli… Inspiracji do skomponowania tego zapachu dostarczyła podróż w wyobraźni do ogrodów Alcazar w hiszpańskiej Sewilii, pulsujących orientalnym zapachem kwiatów – ogrodów znanych Isabelle d’Ornano z czasów dzieciństwa.

Obawiałam się, że będzie to zapach tylko na wieczorne wyjścia, tymczasem noszę go już od dwóch tygodni codziennie, w dodatku latem (a lato nas właśnie rozpieszcza upałami), i nie czuję się przytłoczona jego ciężarem. Powiedziałabym wręcz, że nie jest mocny – wprawdzie w momencie aplikacji nieco oszałamia, ale po jakimś czasie zostawia na skórze jakby cień zapachu, a przy tym jest dość trwały i wyczuwalny nawet po kilku godzinach… Przedstawiciele Sisley obiecywali podczas premiery, że na każdej skórze zapach żyje własnym życiem i rozwija się z czasem. Potwierdzam – na mojej skórze jest mu niezwykle dobrze. Koegzystujemy w doskonałej harmonii.

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Nigdy nie zaczynamy pracy nad zapachem od badań marketingowych, od trendów. Najpierw tworzymy kompozycję, a potem włączamy do rozmów marketing. To jest nasz luksus – zakończyła swoje wystąpienie hrabina d’Ornano. Czy trzeba lepszej zachęty, by sięgnąć po te perfumy? Ta sentencja towarzyszy mi zawsze, kiedy sięgam po przepiękny, kuszący czernią i złotem flakon, skrywający w sobie nuty orientalnego wieczoru. To moja mała chwila luksusu…

Książka Huberta d’Ornano „Od Marii Walewskiej do Sisleya. Piękno bez granic” ukazała się nakładem wydawnictwa Editions Spotkania w czerwcu 2015.

od marii walewskiej do sisleya okladka

Krem na noc Supremya Baume oraz zapach Soir d’Orient będą dostępne w perfumeriach od września 2015.

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Le spring with Le Marc

Dear Marc,
I’ve been meaning to try out your new make up range for a while but somehow couldn’t get around to Sephora to explore. Their 20% discount voucher did the job – the incentive was there, I had no more excuses to wait any longer. I was already feeling l’amour for the range because of its packaging, now I wanted to know if the products were equally good as they looked. I quickly consulted a beauty blogger on her opinion and marched direction Sephora.

I am a lonely hunter – I have a specific taste and have been around myself long enough to know what I want, so I rarely rely on the help of shop assistants. This time, however, I really needed someone to take me through the range, the shades and textures. The range is pretty complex (in a good way) and I felt I needed professional help. The universe was against me though. There were more women in need than shop assistants in waiting. Arrgh, I had to resort to my intuition.

The eye shadows, or as you called them, Style Eye-Con, were pretty easy to choose – I went for no. 116 The Innocent. Partly because I liked the name (although The Rebel resonated with me too), partly because I liked the shimmery golden shadow. I have a confession to make – I am not big on everyday make up. I do think foundation and mascara are one of the greatest inventions of our times and I do like my lipstics (classic red and dusty pink being my favorite shades) but other than that, I am more into skin care than make up. But I was instantly sold to your range over the packaging – you actually got me at eye shadows. I knew I had to had them. And so I did. They are really good, I’ve been using them every day now!

When doing my research, I instantly liked the idea of the gel eye crayon, so I tried a few colors and ended up with my first choice, the nice shade of brown aka Brown(out) – the names are really cool, good thinking! It will enhance your eye color – said an assistant, who suddenly materialized next me. Oh, thank God someone read my mind – I replied, smiling. We had a short but nice conversation, I was reassured in my choices and feeling totally happy with my decisions, proceeded to check out. Not only did I get a nice service in the end (I’m not complaining, the shop was really full of customers), I also got a lipstic sample to try out. I smiled when I read the label – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (no. 216) was a shade I contemplated getting but decided to come back for it later. The universe has spoken – I love this shae! I love wearing it, I will definitely be back for the full size product. On top of that, the name is simply re(marc)able!

Dear Marc, le spring has begun and I’m loving its colors!
With  love, magda

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To read a review on Marc Jacobs beauty by Agata Ma Nosa (for Polish readers) – go here.

Marc Jacobs Beauty is available exclusively at Sephora.

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A morning in Jardin du Luxembourg

How many times do you have a chance to simply go for a walk, in a beautiful place, during your working hours? I don’t often do but I try to find and cherish those rare moments as much as I can. This one happened to me yesterday, as I was coming from the airport and being on the way to my hotel in Paris. I suddenly decided to change the route I had planned and, rather than getting the metro almost all the way to the hotel, I got off the train at a different station and went across a park. Jardin du Luxembourg must look beautiful in the summer, boosting with colors, lush green grass and all kinds of flowers. But then, in the frosty February weather, it does cast a spell on you too. I charged my batteries for the whole day with those magic moments I tried to capture in the photos. Here they are for your perusal. Enjoy!

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INTO my world: Inspirations

I’ve been invited by online magazine INTO Passion to share my inspirations. So, here they are, for your perusal as well:)

I run my own PR consultancy, representing lifestyle brands and celebrities, and in my free time I travel and take pictures. In fact, I take pictures all the time. I fell out of love with photography for a few years, having gotten upset with digital cameras. Yet since I cracked the technicalities behind the digital SLR camera, with a little help from a friend and professional photographer, I have it on me wherever I go (I use Canon EOS 100D 50mm/1.8 lens) – unless I go out in the evening and it doesn’t fit into my clutch, in which case I switch on to my iPhone. After all, a day without a post on the Instagram is a day lost.

Magda_Bulera_Payne_MarseilleTaking a selfie in Marseille, France – for a dedicated post click here.

Instagram

I try to avoid the thought that I am addicted to Instagram, though I think I am. I check Instagram after my morning yoga session and I check it again at the end of the day. I love browsing over cool pictures, am interested in other people’s perception of the world, and I like sharing my own photographic discoveries. On the professional level, I look at Instagram as an interesting phenomenon – it is a reflection of current trends.

Stylist

British lifestyle weekly. I read it on my iPad. Every week it inspires me with new things. I like Stylist for everything – their covers, the layout, the language they use and the topics they cover. I appreciate their fresh take on fashion. A must read every Tuesday.

London

My second home. I worked in London, I met my husband in London, I go there for the London fix – the theaters, shopping, exhibitions. I love the rhythm of this city, I have my trails there, favorite restaurants. At the moment I love living in Warsaw and coming over to London, although I’d love to share my time equally between the two cities. I get attached to people, not places, so this scenario is quite possible. Magda_Bulera_Payne_London Strolling through the streets of London, UK – for a dedicated post click here.

He is Dapper

Blog I co-run with my husband. He is the protagonist and the writer, I take photographs. We work on the blog together. It’s a testing ground – we’re creating a new brand, so it is only natural that we clash creatively but we always find a way to reach understanding. It is a very inspiring journey. The blog is also a place on the internet where men’s fashion is presented on the back of short stories. It is worth checking out. Do have a look.

Coffee

I drink coffee for pleasure. It is the only thing I missed during our recent holiday in Sri Lanka. You can’t get a decently brewed coffee over there. It is definitely a tea-making country (I brought back a year’s allowance of Ceylon tea). I drink my coffee once a day, after breakfast, with rice milk and a blend of spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger etc.). It is my little daily ritual.

Magda_Bulera_Payne_Sri LankaA leisurely ride in Bentota, Sri Lanka – for a dedicated post click here.

Yoga

I have practiced ashtanga yoga for 10 years now. I do it more or less intensively but I always find my way back to yoga. It keeps me healthy and it keeps me sane. Sometimes it helps me reach a zen state of mind.

Books

I always read something, usually a few books at a time, on different topics. At the moment I’m reading Elsa Schiaparelli. A biography by Meryl Secrest, Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre and Włosi. Życie to teatr (The Italians. Life is a theater) by Maciej Brzozowski. I recommend all three – for fashion, thriller and Italy fans, respectively.

To see the original version of this feature – go here.

To read the Polish version – please click here.

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Women Fashion Power

In modern times, dress has been used both to signify, and to bring about a change in the status of women. (…) This exhibition explores how women use fashion to define their place in the world, and their sense of themselves.

From corsets to beach wear, from ankle length to above the knee, from skirts to trousers, and reasons behind those changes explained – all of this you will find at the most recent fashion exhibition put up by the London Design Museum. It features designs by Elsa Schiaparelli, Pierre Cardin, YSL, Philip Treacy, to mention a few. Skilfully designed by Zaha Hadid, the exhibition trail guides you through the various decades of fashion, social and political changes and takes you to the world of today, aptly defined as ‘freedom to choose’. I hope the pictures I took speak for themselves, so let them take you on a little preview journey. And if you have a chance, go see the exhibition. It’s enjoyable.

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Women Fashion Power is on until 26 April 2015 at the Design Museum in London. More info on the exhibition – here.

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