Israel by Kira Bunse

Photography  Kira Bunse

Text   Giulio Perticari

This May Israel celebrates 70 years of statehood. From the first week of independence, the nascent Jewish state had to fiercely defend from its neighbors the blurring boundaries that the United Nations had delineated, and this has become an integral aspect of the Israeli national identity ever since. Palestinian leader Arafat used to claim that the two blue stripes in the Israeli flag represent the rivers Nile and Euphrates, the boundaries of the land God promised to the Jews. This of course is nonsense. The design derives from a traditional Jewish prayer shawl, the Talit. However, it represented a charged rhetorical weapon to talk about the disputed territory and allege that Israel’s territorial aspirations are grounded in religious nationalism. After the murder by an ultra-Zionist in 1995 of Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister who signed the Oslo I Accord that recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as partner in territorial negotiations, the discourse about state borders became the most divisive subject within Israeli society. Recently, even an Israeli star like Natalie Portman, who is an outspoken supporter of the state, has criticized the current conservative government for violence carried out on the Gaza Strip, the Arab territory that is walled-off from the rest of the world. Moreover, many prominent Israelis such as writer Amos Oz have criticized settlement policy of development and expansion of Jewish areas on occupied Palestinian land for making the dual state solution untenable. In Jerusalem, the city the United Nations recognizes as being above all nations, it becomes clear that the border is even more sedimented in people’s minds than in reality. Tourists can seamlessly go from east to west, without even noticing where the boundary lies. But locals are very aware of it, not only because the documents they possess dictate where they are allowed to move, but, regardless of political faction, religion or nationality, they all know how to cold read the border on each other’s faces, clothes, accents, movements and names.

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Hotel Brunelleschi

Florence, with its aura of ancient mystical spirits, that still inhabit the walls and dark alleys of the historic city center, draws in millions of culture thirsty travelers from around the world each year. Not only during the Pitti fashion weeks, all throughout the Summer season, “regular tourists” battle with fashion and art crowds and school classes for a room at the hotels and inns of the city. Accommodation within the ancient center is limited and so prices can reach dizzying heights during those peak weeks. Some places however retain a good balance of quality, location and price, even during those fiercely competitive times. One such hotel is the Brunelleschi, named after Italian designer and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi, modestly called one of the founding fathers of the Renaissance. Set in a circular Byzantine tower in a medieval church, the hotel offers history not only around its premises, but also right within. Underneath the Pagliazza Tower, the oldest part of the hotels structure, significant historic relics were uncovered and are now made available for interested guests as part of the hotels own museum. For more modern needs, the hotel offers a state of the art fitness center, which was conspicuously empty during our stay. This probably due to the fact that most Florence visitors collect their miles on the way to dinners, exhibitions or other forms of entertainment that can only be reached on foot.

Rooms at the Brunelleschi are very heterogeneously furnished, which gives the hotel a bit of a ragbag touch, not without charm and the occasional surprises. Some rooms feel very modern, almost corporate, others seem to have functioned as the set of a Fellini movie.

Staff is well mannered and fairly helpful. The bellmen in particular are readily available to walk a considerable distance in case you got lost and desperately parked your car somewhere in the cobbled alleys that surround the hotel. Which brings us back to the main plus of Il Brunelleschi, which is its location, location, location. Few hotels can put “direct views onto the Duomo” onto their list of highlights. And although just a few of the suites offer that privilege, most guests will most likely prefer to descent into their quiet chambers undisturbed and dream of the mystical spirits that surround them.  PK

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Gucci Garden

 

Piazza della Signoria, 10, 50122 Florence - ☏ +39 055 7592 7010- www.gucci.com

One of Alessandro Michele’s most beloved and used symbols is the snake, “which slips in everywhere, and in a sense, symbolizes a perpetual beginning and a perpetual return.” Like the alchemic image of the Ouroboros, Michele’s aesthetic integrates past and present in a loose way, as if time were nonlinear because references and knowledge possess that quality. The snake is a polysemic archetype in Western culture, appearing, for instance, in the most significant scene in Genesis, where, in the Garden of Eden, the snake tempts the first humans to value judgments: moral, aesthetic, social…with emotional byproducts such as shame but also taste.

These are some of the reasons that pushed Michele to rebrand the old Gucci Museo as Gucci Garden, a garden of luxury by Gucci, a paradise of consumerist pleasure. Gucci Garden is housed in the Palazzo della Mercanzia, a former tribunal for business affairs that dates back to 1337, facing Piazza della Signoria, the most important square in Florence and by temporal proxy of the Renaissance. With Gucci Garden, Michele does not only want to materialize the top brick-and-mortar Gucci retail experience, with a showcase of pieces from the brand’s past and products that are exclusively sold there, but he also makes the case in point of Gucci’s determination to display its humanist principles: that of private patronage of the municipality - 50% of each ticket sale will be donated to support restoration projects in the city of Florence; that of sponsorship of the arts - Michele reimagined the museum as a “living, collaborative and creative space,” where he invited artists to decorate and exhibit their work, in retail and dedicated spaces, such as the red-velvet tented cinema auditorium called Cinema da Camera. The highlight of these collaborations is the one with chef Massimo Bottura, internationally famed for his three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana. Bottura was invited to open an intimate restaurant on the ground floor, the Gucci Osteria, for which he created a menu that takes influences from his travels applied to Italian cuisine. Even here the space is used to stress the link between the house, Florence and its past, with golden lettered lines of a 15th-century carnival song by Lorenzo de’ Medici, the patron par excellence.

During Pitti Uomo this June, Gucci opened two new rooms that will host special presentations as an addition to the permanent collection in the other spaces. The inaugural exhibition is an installation dedicated to the work between Björk and Alessandro Michele for the video The Gate (2017), with the emphasis on the dresses that Björk wore in the bucolic and futuristic landscapes of the film.

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Piazza dei Ciompi

Piazza dei Ciompi 50122, Florence - ☏ +39 055 328 3513

There’s something beautifully nostalgic about open air markets in Italy; about the rundown stalls, the chaos, the life - especially in summer, with the sun beating down on your back as you sift through the objects laid out in front of you, hunting for a treasure that you don’t know what it looks like but you feel it is there, waiting for you to discover it and give it a new home and purpose.

While always an open-air market selling excellent fruit, vegetables and the occasional knick-knack, on the last Sunday of the month the legendary Piazza dei Ciompi flea market descends on the area of St. Ambrogio, engulfing the daily regulars and creating a distinctive buzz and energy in the air.

On this day you’ll find everything from skeleton keys and old cracked Tiffany lamps to vintage designer bags and hats; people young and old, locals and tourists, families and friends all come together to stroll through the cobblestoned streets appreciating, touching and debating their findings

. What used to be a quiet Florentine alleyway that housed two scooters and a clotheshorse strung with laundry drying in the sun, is now reminiscent of a Moroccan souk, filled with the smell of old leather, colorful fabrics and energetic hand gestures - a language in themselves passed down through generations of Italians.

While you never know what you will find when entering Piazza dei Ciompi, one certainty is that you will find Paolo’s stall where he sits in the shade surrounded by his cases and cases of vintage books for sale. Yellowed pages, cracked spines and torn corners force you to look past the book cover - which has been held so many times that the lettering is faded beyond legibility - and into the book itself, transporting you for a split second into another era. And just for that moment you glimpse out of the corner of your eye a horse-drawn carriage bringing two noble women back from their afternoon at their country estate in the Chianti hills. Paolo adds his own magic to your vision as he recounts, in his broken english, the stories of the people who sold him the books, of the many faces he has seen crossing the threshold of his wooden bookstore. Who will ever know if those people really existed or if they are all characters, part of Paolo’s own novella that he continues to develop day after day like the " cantastorie " that roamed these same streets centuries before you and I looking for inspiration for their evening performances. CB

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Grunewald Graveyard

Standing at the edge of the Grunewald forest, one hardly feels that this place is still Berlin. Past a certain invisible line to the west, the city is suddenly stripped of all urban appearance, exemplifying the phenomenon of Villenkolonie—neighborhoods that were never reconstructed as eastern socialist suburbs and so retain a distinctly pre-suburban, village-like character.

The landscape opens onto vast straps of water and deep woods where the well maintained villas of the wealthy hide away, and the occasional contemporary glass cube appears beside classical mansions with porches. The road runs to the waterfront of the river Havel, where boats sway all year long; confused, one walks along the woods and the river for a while until realizing finally that there will be no sign to indicate directions, and so one chooses the entrance into Grunewald forest at random. Inside, the trees are dense, identical—sometimes the unsure eye of an urban dweller catches the silhouette of a wild boar, with its massive mane and long tail, and since there is no other soul in sight, the walker increases pace with an uneasy feeling. GPS shows a vast blank field of emptiness, and somewhere in the depth of it, a small island marked as Friedhof Grunewald-Forst. After several wrong turns and an increasing feeling of absurdity, one finally sees it—the stone arch of an entranceway. Here, deep in the woods, is a cemetery for suicides. And one of them is the international adventurist, femme fatale and Velvet Underground singer Nico.

"Despite the somewhat spooky story of the place that explains its remote location (suicides who drowned in the river were buried here as outcasts), one feels relief after stepping into its walled off territory"

Despite the macabre back story of the cemetery and its remote location (suicides who drowned in the river were buried here as outcasts), one feels relief inside its walled off territory—a hand-drawn picture of a wild boar, pinned to the door, confirms the visitor’s previous fears. A couple of Chinese tourists wander among the old graves, reading details on tombstones, and they’re here for the historic legacy of the place and for the graves of Russian prisoners of war, oblivious to Andy Warhol’s muse. After searching through a couple of rows, one sees candles and flowers at what must unmistakably be Nico’s grave, with a simple black square that bears her real name, Christa Päffgen. In the peaceful quiet of the moment, one contemplates the fate of a woman whose star carried her from war-devastated Berlin to bohemian New York, and to Warhol and Lou Reed, and Alain Delon with whom Nico had a child. The singer is buried here with her mother in Grunewald forest, far from everything that shot her to fame, in a strange reminiscence of another forest outside Berlin, where she was partially deafened as a teenager, during World War II—the reason behind the sometimes charmingly off-key notes in her songs. One reluctantly leaves the haven of the cemetery and, on the way back, one fights the urge to run. MY

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Thermen am Europa Center

If you’re yearning for a compact and concentrated impression of the old West Berlin oft decried as “cheesy,” you need look no further than the rooftop of the Europa Center in Charlottenburg. Home to Berlin’s largest sauna complex since 1970, it remains today as one of the West’s oddest cultural-historic relics of the Cold War era.

"Tuff stone walls, kitschy antique statues, and waterfalls whisk the visitor back through time to the era of Fordism, when getting fit after work was not yet a concept"

The baroquely labyrinthine interiors make it clear that it never had anything to do with modern ideas of “fitness” or “wellness”; instead it provides a traditional way to unwind after work. Tuff stone walls, kitschy antique statues, and waterfalls whisk the visitor back through time to the era of Fordism, when getting fit after work was not yet a concept. The old gentlemen in bathrobes, playing cards in the brown wood-paneled restaurant areas, too, are like monuments to another epoch. And here you are afforded a taste of the culinary predilections of West Berliners in the 1970s; you would be hard pressed to find dishes such as Bienenstich cake, Herrentoast (a vintage concoction of toast, meat and melted cheese), “fiery goulash,” and pungent Harzer cheese with onions and caraway on the menus of modern spas. The same can be said for the numerous warning signs: “It is frowned upon to reserved seats in the sauna; please refrain!” Indeed, the baths are not informal. And yet: the many steam baths, herbal saunas, and Finnish saunas offer unsuspected delights in various temperatures. After the 100-degree Finnish session (during which the master of ceremony strictly forbids even the quietest of whispers), it is simply divine to float in the exterior salt-water pool or to stroll along the terrace. From there you have a great view of the Gedächtniskirche and the ever-turning Mercedes star on the Europa Center roof. To your heat-scalded senses, it might even seem for a moment that the Wall never fell and punk never happened. AL

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Diener Tattersall

Under the rumbling trains at Savigny Platz on a street just off the tourist spots of Kurfurstendamm, artists, filmmakers and theatergoers have been gathering or more than fifty years at an old-fashioned kneipe, under a green sign that reads ‘Diener Tattersall.’

As you step inside through a red velvet curtain, a waitress employs the precise enthusiasm required to distinguish her attitude from outward rudeness, and leads you into the dining room. The scene that meets the eye has an immediate cinematic quality: in old-fashioned interiors that have stood still since the 1960s, there is no music—only the clanking of knives and forks and different conversations heard all at once, like memories of New German Cinema, and darkened with time, the tobacco-brown walls bear drawings of equestrian hunting scenes that trace back to the building’s past as a horse-riding school, of which the mysterious word Tattersall (livery stable) is a vague reminder.

"The Diener menu ignores modernity in favor of the kind of simple German cuisine that’s hard to find these days: the majority of it consists of meat products and potatoes, and fresh vegetables are a rare treat."

The tables are covered with unashamedly stained tablecloths, upon which the waitress serves the famous in-house liver sausage, mashed potatoes with eggs in mustard sauce, Black Forest ham, Nuremberg bratwurst with sour cabbage and shots of classic Mampe Halb & Halb schnapps. As you chew on sausages, you look around at the clientele, intelligentsia in their sixties, coming here after a play at the nearby Stage Theater of the West, and glance at the walls covered with photographs, newspaper clippings and sketches of the previous owner, a heavyweight boxer champion called Franz Diener. Loud bursts of merriment can be heard from the back room, where a door constantly opens and closes to reveal pennants of football teams and clouds of smoke—to which those who added a couple of beers to their schnapps retreat.

As you pay at the antiquated bar, the waitress shows no intention of giving you back your change. Before leaving, you can’t help but ask her about Fassbinder, who put this place on the map of bohemian West Berlin. She casually confirms that the filmmaker was a frequent guest indeed, indicating a picture of him on the wall, among numerous portraits of other artists and personalities who frequented the place. A graying, disheveled man points at the corner and confirms that there was Fassbinder’s place at the round table, and by the man’s authoritative air you intuitively guess that you’re speaking to the owner. Leaving once again through the red curtain, you hear the man and his company begin a conversation about Fassbinder and the times he spent here: no doubt stories too old and wild for the stranger’s ears. MY

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Athens 2017 by Kira Bunse

 

Photography  Kira Bunse

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Okinawa Wandering with Philippe Model

 

Photography Paul Kominek & Sara Katrine Thiesen

In an exclusive fashion editorial collaboration with Paris based footwear brand Philippe Model, we have ventured out to the Japanese Islands of Okinawa to explore the exciting and unique blend of urban and natural spectacles the islands have to offer. This contrast provides the perfect environment for the brand's latest design that also live between two worlds.

Philippe Model's meticulously handmade footwear combines the casual and comfortable aspects of sneakers and gym shoes with high-end materials usually found only in bespoke evening shoes. For the brand inspiration lies concealed in details. All pieces are extremely playful with a genuine affection for materials that can be felt throughout the entire line of products, modelled by artisanal expertise that reflect the values and traditions of its country of origin.

 

The brand’s story begins in the early days of the rebellious 80s with the launch of several now legendary shoe designs. In 2008 the Italian designer Paolo Gambato took over creative direction at Philippe Model and has since infused the brand with a healthy dose of Italian craftsmanship. Shoes are being produced in the Riviera del Brenta, an area not far from Venice, famed for its high-quality footwear industry. Experimentation with materials, combined with a striking aesthetic and increasingly rare craft techniques, make Philippe Model shoes an extraordinarily flashy and unconventional option for the contemporary flaneur.

On the road in Japan, we took these refined pieces of foot attire to a serious challenge, running into odd sea creatures, exploring ancient villages and wandering through mythical jungles. PK

 

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Saluti da E.U.R. - NikeLab & Kim Jones in Rome

 

Photography Paul Kominek & Sara Katrine Thiesen

For NikeLab´s "Summer of Sports" series, NikeLab and Kim Jones propose a new solution to the conundrum of luxury travel: crossing the world with the easiest clothes on one’s back without renouncing elegance and style. The lifestyle collection consists of Nike’s quintessential sports pieces that have been revisited through the fashion designer’s vision and NikeLab’s latest technology.

In order to celebrate this union between technology and tradition, we decided to set our exclusive fashion editorial collaboration with NikeLab and Jones in Rome’s E.U.R. district. The acronym stands for “Esposizione Universale Roma,” and indeed the neighborhood was planned to host the world’s fair and to exhibit Italy’s latest answers to modern urbanism, architecture, design, and sports. Finally completed for the Summer Olympics 1960 held in the city, the neighborhood is famous for its orthogonal city plan inspired by Roman Imperial urban planning and for its monumental white architecture characteristic of Italian Rationalism. The buildings’ traditional materials and revolutionary minimal lines were a simplification and modernization of neo-classical architecture and have influenced the most talented architects, from David Chipperfield to Peter Zumthor passing through Oscar Niemeyer. Today E.U.R. has become Rome’s center for sports, finance, and with its newly opened Museum of Fashion in the iconic Palazzo della Civilta’ Italiana, also known as the Squared Colosseum, also for fashion.

With this collection, NikeLab has focused on equipping both professional travelers and elite athletes with the best textile technologies and innovative fashion. To do so it paired up with fashion designer Kim Jones, whose design inspiration stretches from exotic places he lived in during his childhood, the streets of East London he walked during his youth, to the cities and regions he now visits for work. Indeed, for Jones travel is a sport that can be mastered with timing and space efficiency, so for this collection he used a utilitarian approach to create the most technically advanced apparel that would save frequent travelers’ essential time and packing space while safeguarding comfort and style. The result is, for instance, Nike’s paradigmatic Windrunner now as NikeLab style made out of one piece of fabric with minimal seams that can be packed in its own pouch. As an homage to his sneaker-obsessed youth, Jones took the 1995 Nike Air Zoom LWP and remodeled it to a contemporary silhouette while adding a color neon palette that “was looking at the future.”
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TTA 12 - Release party at the New York EDITION

 

Photography   Tyler Mitchell

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Paula's Ibiza - LOEWE

 

Photography  Jamie Hawkesworth

Styling  Benjamin Bruno

Styling   Lorena Maza

Hair   Syd Hayes

Makeup   Lisa Butler

Featuring   Adam Attal & Nora Attal

 

In the mid 1960s, at the rise of hippie culture in the UK, Ibiza became one of the prime destinations for anyone who shared similar counterculture values and wanted to explore altered states of consciousness. Captivated by this way of life and a collective dream of creative expression, Armin Heinemann, a German architect, left behind his former life and with the help of his partner Stuart Rudnick created Paula´s, a small clothing boutique in Ibiza´s old town. It soon became known far and wide for its unique atmosphere, extravagant happenings and most of all for its trademark prints, that established a style which embodied the very core of the island´s freedom seeking culture.

As part of a collaboration with Spanish brand LOEWE, its creative director Jonathan Anderson has conceived a pop-up store, which will be housed at the Museu d´Art Contemporani. Creating a capsule collection based on some of Paula´s signature prints in connection with LOEWE´s high level of craftsmanship feels like coming full circle for the designer, as Anderson himself has a very personal connection with Ibiza, having spent a considerable amount of his childhood holidays on the island.

In anticipation of the opening of LOEWE´s pop-up store, we present a series of intimate photographs, which Jamie Hawkesworth captured at Heinemann´s city office and at his dreamy farmhouse in the mountains of Santa Ines.

 

LOEWE Pop-up shop at Ibiza's Museum of Contemporary Art

Ronda Narcís Puget s/n. Dalt Vila 07800 Ibiza

☎ +34 971300758 - WWW.LOEWE.COM

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