Inspiring places: Venice Biennale

Ciao,

How are you? I bet you’ve enjoyed the last summer sun over the weekend.

This post is for all art lovers!

Last week we went to La Biennale di Venezia, which was absolutely fantastic experience and one I’m going to repeat every 2 years from now on, promise made.

Last time I visited was 4 years ago, so I was very much looking forward to this visit. Venice is, for sure, one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
Venice, Italy, view from Guidecca
Unexpectedly, Venice wasn’t crowded, so we enjoyed our stay there, especially that the weather was incredible (30 degrees plus). I must say it was nice to cool down in numerous art pavilions and galleries, admiring many fabulous artists from around the world and their creations and installations.

This year’s art exhibition is called All the World’s Futures and is open to the public from May to November, so you still have time to visit.
Venice Biennale 2015, Arsenale
This year, I much preferred the Arsenale venue than the Giardini one, but if you’ve got time, please don’t hesitate to see both. You probably need 2 days to explore both venues not risking an art-overload haha

My favourite bits from the Arsenale:

Venice Biennale 2015, Arsenale, colourful installations

Bruce Nauman (for neon words)

Sarkis ‘Respiro’ (for neon rainbow)

Katharina Grosse (for colour and texture)

Venice Biennale, repetition theme, Arsenale

Joana Hadjidthomas and Kahil Joreige (for books and geometric abstract)

Pavilion of Georgia ‘Crawling Borders’ (for the use of glass and mirrors)

Kutlug Ataman’s ‘The portrait of Sakip Sabanci’ (great example of video art)

Georg Baselitz (for the inverted paintings)

 

Italian artists did incredible well this year, in my opinion. Just a few examples of the art work I liked:

The below is called ‘Latent combustion’ by Monica Bonvicini.

Monica Bonvicini, Latent Combustion, Arsenale, Venice Biennale

The second one was created by Marzia Migliora. Spot the blogger!

Marzia Migliora, Venice Biennale, Arsenale

 

Also, I thought Indonesia did great this year. The installation is called ‘Voyage Trokomod’ and was created by Heri Dono, one of the leading Indonesian contemporary artists.

The idea is based on fusion of the Trojan horse with the Indonesian Komodo dragon. There’s lots to explore and you can touch some buttons ( I liked that).

Indonesian pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015

In terms of the Giardini part of the Biennale, my personal favourites were: the Canadian pavilion (something different, a mini-journey through a half-finished shop);

Canadian pavilion, Giardini, Venice Biennale

 

The Russian pavilion, especially the below installation by Irina Nakhova.

Irina Nakhova, Russian Pavilion, Giardini, Venice Biennale

Also, the Swiss pavilion was a bit of a surprise; by Pamela Rosenkranz ‘Our product’.

Swiss pavilion, Giardini, Venice Biennale

And at last, the most photographed pavilion this year…the Japanese one. Chiharu Shiota ‘The key in the hand’ is eye-catching and mesmerasing regadless which way you look at it.

Chiharu Shota, They key in the hand, Japanese pavillion, Gardini, Venice Biennale

Some useful hints&tips for those wishing to travel to Venice:

Venice at night is absolutely beautiful and empty; very safe to walk around, so put some music on and enjoy!

Venice, Italy, Venice at night, San Marco square at night

Get a Venezia unica city pass – it’s a great value for money and you can get a discount at the Biennale entrance.

If you’ve got time, go to Lido for a day, hire a bike and cycle to the beach (a swim in the Adriatic Sea is a must). Plus, if you like film, you can still catch The Venice Film Festival.

Lido, Venice, Adriatic sea

Food: Cannaregio district is the best. On Friday and Saturday, make a booking. Worth checking: Il Paradiso Perduto and Alle Due Gondolette (ask for a garden area).

Drinks: Dorsoduro district, Campo Santa Margherita, especially if you like Aperol spritz, I do.

Also, we had an amazing antipasti at Osteria Alla Bifaro there.

Have you been to the Venice Biennale before? Are you planning to go? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Inspiring places: Carsten Höller at Hayward Gallery

Hello All,

Last weekend I visited an amazing exhibition at the Hayward Gallery called Decision by Carsten Höller.

It was a fantastic sensory experience exploring people’s perception and decision making. Visitors are faced with many choices like choosing an entrance (oh, it was dark) and an exit (the slide was so much fun) or taking an unknown pill.

Carsten Holler, Decision, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, modern art

Also, the artist is giving the public an opportunity to see the world upside-down (this freaked me out).

The exhibition is fully immersive and will certainly leave you inspired.

When you there, make sure you’ll check out Phlegm’s Southbank mural.

Phlegm new South bank mural

I love the area. There are so many places to eat and have a drink. Check what else is happening at the Southbank Centre.

London Eye, London Wonderground, Southbank, London

Let me know your thoughts about the exhibition. I’d love to know.

It closes on the 6th of September, so you still have time to visit.

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Inspiring places: Polish Lake district Mazury

Hello hello,

As promised even more about my recent trip to Poland.

Did you know that Poland has got absolutely beautiful lake district? It’s located in the North-East side of the country and it’s called Mazury by locals.

Jezioro Ukiel, Lake Ukiel, Olsztyn, Mazury, Poland
I always loved Polish lakes, so was really excited to go there again with my partner as we both love nature and prefer to spend our holiday cycling, walking and kayaking. Mazury is a perfect location to do any type of sport.

Polish Mazury district, lake district, lakes, active holidays, cycling, kayaking

This time we went to Olsztyn and stayed next to Lake Ukiel. It’s gorgeous there, and there’s so much to do. Perfect for families too.

Polish Lake district, Mazury, kayaking

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the lakes and the surrounding. If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you do recognise some of the images.

ake Ukiel, old boats, lake, Polish lake district

I love water, even more so at night. Having a drink by the water whilst watching the sun going down…priceless!

Lake Ukiel, Swans, beautiful lake, Poland, Mazury

Mazury, Ukiel lake, Polish lake district at night

We stayed at Hotel Przystan, which is pretty luxurious and very modern with a fantastic spa centre.

Przystan hotel&spa, Olsztyn, Zeglarska street

Our room faced the lake, so every day we were waking up to this view.

Hotel Przystan&Spa, Olsztyn

Przystan hotel&spa by night

Food-wise, the hotel’s restaurant is worth eating at if you like thai.

During the day, I would recommend walking to the nearby beach and grab locally sourced food at Plankton restaurant. One of the best tomato soups I ever had; almost as good as my mum’s.

Plankton restaurant, Olsztyn, food

Hope you’ll visit one day. Let me know if you’ve got any questions.

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Inspiring places: Soho Factory and Neon Muzeum in Warsaw Praga District

Hello Monday,

After exceptionally hot weekend in London, a bit more about my recent trip to Warsaw.

After Warsaw Powisle, let’s move to the right side of the Vistula River, to look closer at ever-changing Warsaw Praga.

I’m familiar with this part of Warsaw as my grandma used to live there and my highschool was located very close to Warszawa Wilenska railway station (now also a metro station, hurray).

Open Zabkowska, W Oparach absurdu, Warszawska Praga, Warsaw Prage

 

I wrote before about 11 Listopada and Zabkowska streets. We were lucky enough to attend an Open Zabkowska event this year with live jazz music in an eclectic bar W Oparach Absurdu. Highly recommend popping there for a beer.

However, we wanted to venture out this time and we have discovered absolutely amazing and unique place: Soho Factory in Warsaw Kamionek (Minska street).

Entrance to Soho Factory, Warsaw, Kamionek, Old and new, Factories, architecture

 

It’s a cultural, design, art and fashion hub spread over a large, post-industrial area transformed into an appealing living, working and entertaining space.

Soho Factory, Warsaw, old and new architecture

 

The previous home of many manufactories such as Wedel (delicious chocolates) or WFM Osa (super cool motorbikes) has been adapted and developed by the new creative occupants drawn to incredible architecture and an abundance of green space.

Soho factory outside sculpture, Warsaw, Kamionek

 

There’s a theatre (Studio Kolo), an award winning restaurant (Warszawa Wschodnia by Mateusz Gessler), a design shop (Magazyn Praga) and the best coffee shop in Warsaw (Kofi brand).

Even an alternative travel company can be found there: Adventure Warsaw offering a trip in one of these colourful Nysa vans.

Guided city tours Warsaw, Adventure Warsaw, Nysa van

Not a big surprise that this fantastic space is becoming a desirable place to live. WWAA architectural practice has designed two incredible apartment blocks: Rebel One and Kamion Cross, with the third one on the way. I’d love to move there one day.

Soho Factory, Warsaw, flats, architecture

The most exciting place in Soho Factory is The Neon Muzeum. It’s an independent museum dedicated to the documentation and preservation of the Poland’s cold war era neon signs founded by David Hill and Ilona Karwinska.

Neon museum, Muzeum neonow, Warszawa, Kamionek, Soho Factory

Spolem neon, Neon museum, Soho Factory

We had a pleasure to chat to David, and his passion for the project was evident.

Muzeum neonow, Neon museum, Warsaw, Soho factory, neons, restoring neons

It was an absolutely amazing experience to see all the old neon signs brought to life by these two neon enthusiasts and their team. It’s a must see in Warsaw!

Neon Warszawa, Neon museum, Muzeum neonow, Soho Factory, Kamionek, Warsaw

A few more pictures to give you a flavour.

Neon museum, Muzeum neonow, Warsaw, Kamionek, Soho Factory, neons

All in all, definitely recommend visiting this area.

Look around and you might also spot a cool mural. The below is a creation of Phelgm.

Phelgm mural, Minska, castle mural, Warsaw mural

Hope you’ve enjoyed this Warsaw tour? Any questions, let me know.

Have a good week.

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Inspiring places: Warszawa Powisle

Hello or shall I say cześć,

I had a great week off, so expect lots of posts telling you more about Warsaw/Warszawa and Mazury (Polish Lake District).

Let’s start with my new discovery in the capital of Poland: Warszawa Powisle.

Warszawa Powisle like Berlin

 

The area is situated in the centre of Warsaw but also very close to the Vistula river, hence the name (Vistula=Wisla in Polish).

IMG_3096

 

This place is buzzing day and night. The old train station has been transformed into a hipstery bar.

Warszawa Powisle, Warsaw Powisle

The plethora of bars is overwhelming…great!

I arranged to meet my friends at Stacja Mercedes. Such a great pop-up restaurant and bar, with a simplistic wooden decor and an outside space where you can relax in the sun. It’s a Mercedes showroom too, so you can admire old and new cars at the same time.

Stacja Mercedes outside, Warszawa Powisle

Stacja Mercedes inside decor

Their cocktails (yes, they do Aperol spritz) and cider were delicious. Look, everyone is smiling!
Stacja Mercedes outside area

Great place for a group of friends and families. They even have an in-house childminder.

Before heading towards the river, we decided to have some pancakes. Great place for sweet and sour crepes’ lovers: Cafe Rue de Paris at Dobra street. Their interior design increased my satisfaction with the food.

Cafe Rue de Paris at Dobra street, Warsaw, Powisle

Cafe Rue de Paris, industrial and eclectic decor, Warszawa Powisle

So the river bank is an exciting meeting place for those who like to party, listen to music (jazz, funk, soul etc.) or just have a beer by the water. Nearest metro station: Centrum Nauki Kopernik.

Warszawa Powisle, by the river, Metro Centrul Nauki Kopernik

Warszawa Powisle, by the river, Metro Centrul Nauki Kopernik, river boat

Personally, I think Warsaw is a fantastic choice for the summer. Did I tell you it was 30+ degrees?

Do you fancy visitng Warsaw Powisle?

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Inspiring places: Kensington Gardens

Hi All,

Hope you are feeling super relaxed after 3 day weekend.

On Saturday we went to a smashing barbecue party combined with watching Eurovision (what a laugh), and on Sunday we walked for miles from my friends’ house in Fulham to Holborn.

My first observation was how colourful London is and how different each part is from one another.

I was always more of an East London devotee, but West London has got its charms too. It’s wealthier, that’s for sure, but it’s also very stylish and colourful. Look at these beautiful houses below.

Colourful London, West London, Urban tourist

I used to work in Kensington for over 4 years, so I’m pretty familiar with Kensington Gardens, but I must say, I love coming back. It’s great for wandering around, cycling or a picnic.

Whilst walking through it, we spotted a beautiful cottage garden.

Cottage garden, flowers, Kensington

Great inspiration since we are planning ours at the moment. If only we could recreate this look.

cottage garden inspiration, kensington park

I’m going to try, for sure. Foxgloves and Lupins are my favourite flowers. Also, the purple Irises caught my eye.

Do you like West London? What about Kensington Gardens?

Check secretgardenhome Instagram for more pictures from our mini tour across London. #urbantourist

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Inspiring places: Warsaw to Berlin part 2

Guten tag,

Following my previous post, let’s take a tour around Berlin.

It’s a great city; vibrant and diverse. I went there back in 2010, so was looking forward to my second visit.

We decided to stay in the same hotel as previously. Michelberger Hotel is one of this places you always feel at home, regardless who you are; young or old, an artist or a business person. The hotel prides itself on having a mixed crowd, probably to reflect the area it’s located – just of Warschauer Strasse (complete coincidence, promise).

Michelberger hotel, Berlin, design hotelThe building used to be a factory as well as a part of the East Germany goverment. It has been transformed by an architect Werner Fricker and a range of interior designers: Azar Kazimir ( creative director), Werner Aisslinger, Till Grosch, Anja Knauer, Sibylle Oellerich, Tina Bunyaprasit, Nadine May and Tom Michelberger, the hotel owner.

Michelberger hotel, The loft roomWe have stayed in one of the loft rooms, which style can be described as simple and handmade. Everything in the room is functional and clutter free.

My favourite detail is a display of old, black&white family photographs linking back to the hotel’s story on the website.

The hotel also offer a more luxurious experience in their special rooms. I was shown some of them during my mini hotel tour (thank you again). The top 2 pictures show a room inspired by Frida Kahlo. Don’t you just love what they’ve done with the colours?!

Michelberger hotel, special rooms, luxus rooms

The bottom 2 photographs, are showing the Chalet room, and my favourite, The Clever One. Next time I’d like to stay there.

The hotel’s location is perfect for those who love street art and alternative bars and clubs. We managed to explore the area around Simon-Dach Strasse (10 mins from the hotel).

Friedrichschain, Berlin, Warschauer strasse

I must say this part of Berlin very much reminds me of the east part of Warsaw; eclectic, second-hand decor and a very friendly atmosphere. Plus, it’s cheap.

Places I would recommend visiting: Mutzenbacher (for schnitzel and apple strudel), Crack Bellmer Bar ( industral decor and cheap beer); Primitiv Bar (for taking us to Twin Peaks), and Suss War Gestern (for music and dancing).

If you fancy a slightly more upmarket experience, head to the other side of the river. We went for dinner to the Volt Restaurant in Krauzberg, next to the canal. Great interior design and food to die for!

Volt restaurant, Berlin, fine dining

During the day, you can easily walk around the city, living and breathing its dramatic history and culture.

Berlin, old and new, history

Or you can cycle like we did. Totaly recommend this experience with Fat Tire Bike Tour.

Fat Tire Bike tour in Berlin

If you like culture and film, don’t miss visiting Berlin’s Filmhaus.

Filmhaus Berlin, Museum of film and tv

Have you been to Berlin? Would you stay in Michelberger Hotel? What are your favourite places there?

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Photography: secretgardenhome and Michelberger Hotel. Special thanks to Elena for providing me with an extra info.