A lilliput hotel near Västeras in Sweden.

Snuggling up in Sweden: A semi-submarine Lilliput Hotel

5.07.2018

Who needs posh?! Would a minimalist wooden cabin – bobbing on Swedish waters – with an interior reduced to bare necessities not suffice as well? Hotell Utter Inn, a pocket-sized lodging solution near Västerås, was conceived by local artist Mikael Genberg and built in 2000. It not merely floats, but virtually represents an islet in its own right. The tiny upstairs-downstairs affair has no immediate neighbours intruding into whatever one might be up to and is always encircled by a refreshing breeze to help cool off a reeling mind. Privacy of a similar quality is rarely to be had this close to civilisation.

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A Gianluca-Gimini Bike

It’s all about perception: Gianluca Gimini’s bikes

9.06.2018

Drawing objects from memory can be a tricky affair not seldom crowned by a shattering outcome. Bringing even the most familiar of items to paper free-style may turn into an insoluble challenge. Yet unintentionally, it does occasionally (or frequently?) lead to astonishing creations – and to the „construction“ of somewhat adventurous contraptions. Such as the bikes computer-simulated by Italian designer Gianluca Gimini according to sketches made by a random group of people. He had confronted them with one simple task: to draw a men’s bike by heart.

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The Smetana Hall + Obceni Dum in Prague

Prague: Obecní dům – a Genius Loci of fine Art Nouveau

13.05.2018

Great sculptors and painters of their time have created an architectural treasure, whose masterly opulence bears witness to their genius to this day. Jan Preisler, Mikoláš Aleš, Max Švabinský, František Ženíšek, Ladislav Šaloun, Josef Mařatka, Josef Václav Myslbek or Alfons Mucha – names difficult to pronounce – were but a small fraction within the remarkable group of skillful artists involved in building and decorating Obecní dům – the Municipal House located right in the heart of Prague. Since its inauguration in January of 1912, the extraordinary building has served as a splendid stage for atmospheric concerts, grand festive balls and fancy fashion shows and is justly listed a national heritage site.

Its two protagonists – the Smetana Hall and the restaurant Francouzská – alone are well worth the trip to Prague, from whichever corner of the globe it may have to commence.

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A museum for Tintin, the Belgian hero

4.04.2018

Hergé: Master of the Comic Strip

Georges Prosper Remi – born in Etterbeek/Brussels on May 22nd of 1907 – became a renowned cartoonist who chose to sign his drawings with the pseudonym Hergé (RG), standing for his initials read backwards. The adventures of his tireless heroes Tintin and Snowy were first published in 1929 – and nothing could halt their ascent or their lasting worldwide success. Their exciting adventures were translated into numerous languages and devoured by hundreds of millions of readers – notwithstanding their age. The constant flow of Hergé’s inspiration sprang from the reality situations of everday’s life, a reliable source likely never to run dry. Before founding his Studios Hergé, the productive artist accomplished the challenge of his unique creative mission as a solitary fighter for more than two decades. Georges Remi died in 1983. The artist’s legacy comprises a wealth of works of impressive diversity in its distinctive unequivocal style. It is displayed at the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels in the Belgian region of Walloon Brabant. Read article

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Paris: The stage of a glamorous Montmartre Show.

Paris. Montmartre – a Sphere of its own Right

8.03.2018

The Making of a Bohemian Microcosm

Montmartre evolved following a massive urban reconstruction and relocation scheme initiated by a great man of the 19th century: Napoleon III. Together with his ambitious town planning prefect Baron Haussmann, he aimed at creating a mundane Paris of dazzling allure and wanted it to become „the most beautiful city of Europe“ – not without granting spacious plots of land in prime locations to Haussmann, his many friends and financial supporters. By rigorously stomping unsightly areas into the ground and by replacing humble housing by posh manorial edifices and narrow crooked alleyways by grandiose and airy boulevards and squares, Paris’s face was substantially lifted and embellished – albeit at the expense of the less privileged population, who became early victims of gentrification.

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Reading time: about 6 minutes