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Posts tagged ‘Cappuccino’

Palmanova: Colonial Age

It’s funny how coincidence so often dictates the trajectory of life. My weekend in Barcelona was booked on a whim, out of a desire to feel the stimulation of a big city. I had no idea when I organised the trip that the Picasso Museum was showing the most incredible exhibition of cubist art at the time I would be going. I likewise knew nothing of the show, nor the style of painting advanced by the Crystal Cubists when I started work on this painting, Palmanova: Colonial Age, which I am delighted to be sharing today. Yet somehow all of the elements of this period seem to have merged in one. The painting, and the trip, while advanced in separate moments, seem to sit perfectly alongside one another as a further phase in my development as an artist.

The project arose out of a restaurant decorating commission in the original Cappuccino Grand Café in Palmanova, Mallorca. A combination of the elegant tall palm trees swaying by the seaside outside, and the preexisting interiors of wood panelling which could not be changed, inspired an Indian colonial scheme, underpinned by rich greens and mustard yellows. This scheme was further advanced when coincidentally I found old artworks containing monkeys and palm trees which perfectly complemented the design, while the name of Farrow & Ball’s shade of yellow, Indian Yellow, likewise came as a signal for the design forming in my mind. But when we decided that the design required a painting for a finishing flourish, this image immediately jumped into my head.

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Palmanova: Colonial Age (©2016 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

 

Palmanova: Colonial Age is a painting which is defined by the characteristics of crystal cubism which I admired so much in my last blog. Pictorially, it narrates both the surroundings of the restaurant where it now hangs – the sandy beach, the mountainous horizon, the sea and the palms – and likewise the Indian elements which underpin the interior design. But as I took the theme further, I realised that there were other similarities too between India and Palmanova. For while the “colonial” style of design stems largely from the time when the British Empire colonised and ruled India, Palmanova is an area of Mallorca likewise famous for its strong British population, and the local businesses, largely catering for Brit needs, are evidence of the success of this “colonisation”.

Somewhat tongue in cheek therefore I have applied the colonial theme to this sunny stretch of Spain when creating a cubist painting which for me perfectly complements the seaside location and the elegance of Britain’s great colonial age.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Two Weekends: Thinking about Cappuccino

It only takes a mere moment for your life to change forever. December 2012 taught me that much – a life obliterated – or May 2008 – when another’s mistake had irreversible consequences for the rest of my days. Yet if those moments of change taught me anything, it was that life is too short to stay where you are comfortable but unhappy, where monotony sets in and where you feel as though your train is trundling steadily up the wrong path. 

Earlier this autumn the chance to change paths and find happiness in change occurred to me very suddenly. It only took an email to set the new track in motion, and only two weekends for a decision to be made. For it was in those two weekends that I both attended an interview that would take me on a new path, and in which I made the ultimate decision, standing at the crossroads, that this new path was right for me. 

Two weekends: Thinking of Cappuccino is my newest oil painting, and it tells the story of how my life is all about to change: how I have accepted the offer to become Artistic Director of a global company bearing the name of Cappuccino and stationed within the sunny shores of Mallorca in Spain, and how in taking that offer it will mean moving from London, to Palma. 

Two Weekends: Thinking about Cappuccino (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Two Weekends: Thinking about Cappuccino (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

But the painting came to me in Italy, sitting by the seaside in Donoratico in Tuscany, home of my partner’s family. Sitting at a cafe by a sea so still it might have been a photo, with our own breakfast of cappuccino and crostata (jam tart) on the table, all we could think about was a move to Mallorca, despite breathing the pine tree perfumed air of Tuscany, and drinking in the beauty of that Tuscan beach before us. 

The obvious symbols came to mind: the lifeguard’s hut was the new sanctuary that a home within the medieval streets of Palma de Mallorca would offer us; through the window we looked onto the famous skyline of Palma seen behind the green shutters that are famous in both Tuscany and Mallorca. The lifeguard’s ring has given salvation to the artist within me, represented by the manakin sitting on the sand: it is not so comfortable a position as the crostata tart sitting securely on a blanket, but this tart is the law, and within the confines of its pastry lattice, the blood of my life and career development is congealed and imprisoned, like a soul left out of the fridge too long. 

And of course at the heart of it all is the Cappuccino. No longer just froth and espresso

I think it was in that moment, and in that second weekend of two, that we finally made up our minds to go, to take the leap of faith, to have an adventure and to change our lives. Now the move is in full swing, and by the end of this month we should be reinstalled in Mallorca. Which just goes to show that life can change in a moment. 

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

Tahini Marbella: Dedication to the Sea

As the name of the town suggests, the sea is the heart and soul around which the whole of Marbella is Southern Spain revolves. Its calm cerulean waters sensuously stroke and steadily sculpt the length of long sandy beaches which attract thousands of visitors to the town every year; its sparkling steady waves reflect lovingly on the gleaming white sides of the super-chic yachts which habitually pack Marbella’s various marinas; and it provides the wealth of super-fresh, mouth wateringly delicious seafood which is at the apex of Marbella’s breadth of superb gastronomic offerings.

And of course few would disagree that the best way to sample that seafood is barely cooked and fresh out of the waters, served simply and elegantly so that its full flavours and textures can shine through. Consequently, it would be hard to find a cuisine better able to capitalise upon this fresh Mediterranean cuisine than sushi, but until now, few restaurants in Marbella have managed to create sushi which offers a fitting tribute to the wealth and quality of Marbella’s seafood offerings. Until now.

Marbella Tahini

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Following hot on the heals of the unrivalled success of Grupo Cappuccino’s first Marbella Cappuccino Grand Cafe in 2011, set within the lush surroundings of pine tree covered gardens at the foot of the Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel, the group have now opened their first Tahini restaurant, a mere stone’s throw from Cappuccino, in the same Eden of pine trees, palms and unbeatable Mediterranean views. Situated just above Cappuccino, Tahini is the younger sister of the sensational Mallorca restaurant of the same name. Nestled just off the harbour side of the fashionable Puerto Portals, the Mallorca Tahini is like a secret garden paradise. My first visit there in May 2013 opened my eyes so wide as I took in the magical wonder of its low lit restaurant and picture-perfect candlelit garden, and tantalised my mouth so thoroughly with the exquisite freshness of its cuisine, that it has remained utterly unrivalled by all subsequent sushi experiences both in Spain and around the world.

The interior

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But happily, Tahini’s success is now being replicated a second time, with the same stunning quality of sushi being offered to diners in Marbella in so spectacular a setting that each of their senses will be tickled and enticed with equal measure. Outside on the terrace, polished minimalist tables reflect the abundance of palm trees which hang proudly over the marble-lined paseo maritimo just outside the restaurant, while every seat provides that perfect sea view overlooking the Straights of Gibraltar to Africa. Inside the restaurant, a cosy elegance suffuses the atmosphere, as diners eat alongside walls loaded with Mediterranean pottery of every shape and size, while a glass cube at the heart of the restaurant offers an unrivalled view of the Tahini chefs, plying their trade and ensuring that every detail of this note-perfect menu is taken care of. And don’t miss the corridor out to the toilets at the back of the restaurant: lined with crates and boxes filled with what looks like ice and every variety of fresh fish, it is in fact a clever recreation of a market scene, with glass ice and ceramic fish, emphasising that only the best and freshest of ingredients will be used by the chefs at Tahini. And was it my imagination or could I hear the bustle of a market subtly sounding in the background as I walked through this make-believe fish market?

The Tahini “market”

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But beyond this incredible setting, Tahini’s success comes down to that food – cuisine which is not only apt dedication to the sea from where it came, but a brilliantly sophisticated take on the sushi concept, with fish so fresh that it melts on the tongue, and food so beautifully presented that, like me, you will probably spend more time taking photographs than enjoying the flavours as they dissolve so lovingly into every corner of your mouth.

A true dedication to the sea

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Tahini’s new family member more than lives up to the standards set down by its Mallorca sister, and is a glittering new jewel standing proudly in Marbella’s ample gastronomic crown. For more information, see the Tahini website.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Manet Norms at Cappuccino Grand Café – Part I

It came to me one sunny afternoon, when I was painting my last Norm work, Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe. My mind should have been on the painting, but as is often the case when painting the minutiae of a large detailed canvas, my mind was elsewhere, in Spain’s jet-set Marbella in fact, on a hazy summer’s day, sitting in the green and bounteous garden of the Cappuccino Grand Café, with the sea calmly lapping the sandy shore, and all the worries of the world wafting away in the sweet-smelling mediterranean air. Such is the effect of the Grupo Cappuccino’s free radio station, whose chilled jazz and nostalgic bossa-nova  transports one back to the Cappuccino experience so thoroughly enjoyed in the summer past, even when all around you southern England, land of the current “drought” is on high flood alert.

The real Marbella Cappuccino

So there I was thinking about Cappuccino, and I knew that following a recent trip there, I just had to recreate the café on canvas, so that, as well as listening to its soundtrack, I could also hang a large image of my favourite Spanish café in my home here in London. Trouble was, I already had a canvas reserved for another Norm parody based on a second masterpiece of impressionist favourite Eduoard Manet, A Bar at the FoliesBergère. 

Cappuccino’s gardens by the sea

That’s when it occurred to me – I want to paint Manet, and I want to paint Cappuccino – why not combine the two? And so the idea was born. I set about creating this partner to my Norm version of Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe with Manet’s renowned Bar at the FoliesBergère installed right where Cappuccino’s own bar stands. And that was just the start. Having decided to paint one Manet masterpiece within the scene, it seemed consistent to bring several other Manet characters to life when I painted the customers of my café. So, in these gardens, you have an ultra chic, wonderfully contemporary Cappuccino Grand Café together with resident DJ Pepe Link, and a dashing Norm waiter while, conversely, the customers comprise a load of Norms in 1860s period dress. It’s a combination which I love and I am so proud of the result.

Without further ado, I give to you my latest Norm creation, Manet Norms at Cappuccino Grand Café.

Manet Norms at Cappuccino Grand Café (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, Oil on canvas)

On tomorrow’s post I’ll guide you through all the Norms featured in Cappuccino’s lush tropical garden, and all the paintings by father of the Impressionists, Edouard Manet, which inspired them. In the meantime I leave you with a gallery of some details from this new Normic landscape. À tout à l’heure.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2005-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cappuccino: No longer just froth and espresso

Cappuccino is no longer just a coffee. The café chain which brands itself after the popular italian coffee has rewritten the meaning of this favoured frothy drink. For in Cappuccino Grand Café, the cappuccinos are just the tip of the iceberg. The café group, which is now a predominant restaurant brand across the island of Mallorca, with branches also in Marbella and Valencia, as well as a handful in Jeddah and Beirut, is the ultimate in café chic. It’s exudes sophistication from every bubble of its creamy coffee froth. Its waiters are dressed to impress – with bow ties and black armbands, they are like butlers from a bygone era. Everyone is beautiful, from the staff to the customers who almost become more glamorous upon entering as they allow a wash of Cappuccino couture to penetrate and tantalise all over, as almond latte replaces a standard coffee, and cocktails and wine bubbles aplenty become the new still or sparkling. In the background, a carefully selected soundtrack resonates, wafting the space with Buddah-barish chill and soulfulness, while earlier coffee stops are accompanied by the timeless polyphony of jazz. And to top it off, Cappuccino has managed, almost across the board, to secure itself the very best of restaurant locations, so that in Marbella and Mallorca, you can savour a tranquil seaside view, while in Palma de Mallorca, locations in luxurious former palaces have been made the norm (as opposed to the Norm – let us not confuse the two).

Norms at the Cappuccino Grand Cafe in Marbella (pen on paper 2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

So why am I going on an all out campaign to promote this amazing café chain? Well it’s certainly not because they are paying me in free almond lattes (if only – although if the CEO of el Grupo Cappuccino happens to be reading this, please feel free to oblige). Rather, Cappuccino fully deserves its place in my search of all things indulgent and beautiful, because as a place to go for lunch, coffee, drinks or dinner, it is sophisticated, beautiful and ultimately satisfying.

Cappuccino first came to my attention last summer when a new branch opened in Marbella. Situated bang on the paseo maritimo next to the Mediterranean, in a quiet and very exclusive spot (Lord Sugar lives close by, as do those lucky few frequenting the opulent Marbella Club Hotel and other establishments on the Golden Mile), it benefits from superb views and is sheltered from any adverse weather conditions by a canopy of mushroomed pine trees and lush garden surrounds which lead up to the nearest luxury hotel stood behind it. When I went there for the first time, having stumbled upon it during a long walk out of Marbella’s centre, I fell in love. The music, the sunset, the staff and the food which, compared to many Marbella restaurants is very reasonably priced, were spellbinding. There I felt like a pop star, indulged, relaxed, contented.

Cappuccino, Marbella

Cappuccino's smooth almond latte

By coincidence, I had a trip booked to Mallorca a few weeks later and there, since it is the island from where the chain originally springs, Cappuccino has marked its claim to various scenic spots all over the island. Such was the beauty of their location that we spent nearly every day indulging in at least one meal in a Cappuccino – for example on the port front of the stunning natural harbour of Port d’Andratx, or in a central square in the charming medieval town of Valldemossa, just round the corner from the Monastery which laid host to one Chopin and his lover. In Palma de Mallorca, there are four Cappuccinos and a number of take away branches and, mercifully, barely a Starbucks in sight (I say barely as there blatantly is a Starbucks somewhere but I have become conversant in the habit of shunning them in cultural locations). These are perhaps some of the most opulent Cappuccinos, set in former palaces with quaint patio gardens and candlelit tables set amongst vast baroque colonnades. On Palma’s vast paseo maritimo, you can sup on the luxurious almond latte in full view of the gothic cathedral, while on Palma’s answer to Bond Street – the Passeig Borne – you can people watch to your heart’s content.

CD Volume 5 of Cappuccino's own sensational soundtrack

And what to do to savour Cappuccino’s magic once you get home? Well the atmospheric soundtrack playing in every café is happily available to purchase – I have all five volumes of the Cappuccino CDs and play them on an almost continuous repeat. The first four make for marvellous coffee music – tinkling jazz and re-imaginings of popular melodies – while the fifth volume is the ultimate in Mediterranean chill.

I shall rapture no further, but leave you instead with a selection of snaps I have taken at the various Cappuccinos in Marbella and Mallorca. In the meantime, Cappuccinos website can be found here, including details of all the CDs.

Vive le Cappuccino!

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2005-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.