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Posts tagged ‘Design’

Ocho Balcones (No. 8): The Artist’s Studio

It’s almost unbelievable that over 2 months have gone by since I shared the first balcony from my Ocho Balcones collection, the series of gouaches which illustrate the 8 balcony views which we have enjoyed over the past year living in the old town of Palma de Mallorca. But on this final post of the series, the collection comes to a close, and a very appropriate close at that… since the last balcony which remains is the view of, and from, my art studio. 

It’s by far the space in which I have spent the most time in this Palma apartment, since in this little space which I can call my own, I not only created all of the art works which have filled my oeuvre over the last year, but I also spend time editing photos, working on admin, and of course writing this very blog. The painting is more multicoloured than the rest of the series, in an apt illustration of my studio which is full of paintings characterised by my iconic use of colour. And while this painting of course focuses on the balcony at the heart of the studio space, there are a few tantalising glimpses of some of the paintings which have filled the space… from the large Palma landscape which I was working on for 6 months, to Arrival, the first work I completed in Palma, and a thin slice of Pink Bf, one of my most beloved paintings. Also in the painting are various other personal touches, from the collection of Alexander Girard wooden dolls which I always keep close at hand, to the little cuddly pear which I recently collected with a series of vouchers from my local supermarket, El Corte Ingles.

Ocho Balcones VIII: The Artist's Studio (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Ocho Balcones VIII: The Artist’s Studio (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

And so, with my art studio, I close the Ocho Balcones collection. And this closure is appropriate in a number of ways, not only because it shows the heartland of my creative life, but because it is posted just days before we leave this lovely apartment for good. For we are moving on to pastures new, not outside of Mallorca, but somewhere close by… a fresh new apartment with a new art studio space. And amongst those works which I am sure will be made there, maybe our new balcony/terrace will feature too.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2000-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included on this website without express and written permission from Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Ocho Balcones (No. 7): Dominik’s Office

After a week’s break, it’s back to business as usual this week as I share the penultimate balcony from my new Ocho Balcones collection of gouaches, all of which feature one of the eight different views we enjoy from our old town apartment here in Palma de Mallorca.

This week, I feature the exclusive little office space which my partner Dominik occupied with such enthusiasm from the first days of our time in this apartment, filling this classic study space with his many books, a fancy glass desk, a whole host of my norm sketches, and best of all… a balcony full of cacti of every different shape and size. And in wanting to focus in on this verdant feature of the balcony, I used a small dose of artistic license to tone down the colours of the street outside in order to create a more uniform sepia backdrop, allowing the green of the cacti to pop.

Ocho Balcones No. 7: Dominik's Office (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Ocho Balcones No. 7: Dominik’s Office (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

But while the cacti may be the protagonists of this piece, Dominik’s simple desk lamp tends to take on its own staring role, its angular black structure contrasting perfectly with the curving wrought iron balconies and horizontal stripes of the electricity cables outside in the street.

7 down and 1 to go. The Ocho Balcones collection is nearing its close. See you soon, for the final instalment.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2000-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included on this website without express and written permission from Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Ocho Balcones (No.6): Angled Perspective

This sixth gouache in my collection, Ocho Balcones, is all about angles. Viewed from a seated position in our dining room, and with a door open to the right, the street outside another of our balconies benefits from a sloping reflection and a slightly different perspective from the rest of the collection. And since it is viewed from below, this painting is the first of the set to include the bright blue sky which so often graces the beautiful views we enjoy in our Mallorca home. Glowing with all its unmistakeable Mediterranean glory, the sky marks a striking contrast against the dark interior whose moody shadows frame this 6th balcony view. 

Ocho Balcones No.6: Angled Perspective (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Ocho Balcones No.6: Angled Perspective (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2000-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included on this website without express and written permission from Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Ocho Balcones (No.5): The Summer Bathroom

The fifth gouache painting of my collection Ocho Balcones is not strictly speaking a balcony. That is to say the window it features sits right next door to the fifth balcony of our apartment, located within the light bathroom we loved to use in the summer. But with its square framing, this window provides a far more interesting reflection on the same view, not least because on the windowsill sits my first and only ever completed sculpture of a female nude created some 4 years ago and delicately transported out to Mallorca from London. 

I love the time of the day when the sun hits the buildings opposite at an angle and the result is a striped sun dance bouncing across the coloured facades. And now that the effect is captured in my painting, I can rest assured that even with the changing seasons, a little slice of summertime in the old town of Palma has been captured to enjoy, siempre. 

Ocho Balcones, No.5: The Summer Bathroom (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Ocho Balcones, No.5: The Summer Bathroom (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2000-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included on this website without express and written permission from Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Ocho Balcones (No.1): From the bedroom

Beloved readers of The Daily Norm may remember that during my recent blissful honeymoon, I painted a group of bedroom views which collectively became knowns as The Honeymoon Suite, for obvious reasons. I would never have thought that something so simple as a bedroom and its view might provide such potent inspiration, but then again, I am a home-loving man, and this applies as much to my trips away as to when I am in my own humble abode… and the cosier the bedroom, the happier, and consequently inspired, I feel within it.

Somewhat ironically, it took a trip away from Mallorca for me to realise just how inspirational are the surroundings of my home here in the beautiful city of Palma, and soon enough I set about painting a new collection, still very much in the production line, of views from my apartment. I am lucky enough to live in a home benefitting from some 8 little balconies, and hence my collection of the super-colourful street views we enjoy from those balconies is appropriately named: Ocho Balcones. Today I present you with the first – the view from our bedroom.

Ocho Balcones (No.1): From the bedroom

Ocho Balcones (No.1): From the bedroom (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2000-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included on this website without express and written permission from Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

Mallorca’s ultimate eden: The Son Viscos Bed & Breakfast

Many may smirk when the inhabitants of paradise complain, but even we locals of Mallorca know when enough is enough. And having lived now for almost two months of temperatures in excess of 35 degrees, every so often, one just has to get away from it all. Nothing extreme mind you – I’m not talking the 20 degrees drop which a visit to London may entail, but rather a drive up into the stunning Tramuntana mountains where, at night at least, the air is notably fresher than city life in Palma and sumptuously comfortable. And as this very hot weather happened to coincide with my 32nd birthday (yesterday!) it seemed like the perfect excuse to treat ourselves a little, and book a little night away in a cooler, lusher paradise.

The location we chose could not have been more perfect. Located in the footfalls of the Tramuntana in the valley which gives the magical town of Valldemossa its name, the Son Viscos Bed and Breakfast was like a home from home, but we’re talking the kind of home which only the most avid readers of interior design magazines could wish for.

Interiors of the Son Viscos

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Owned by the proprietors of the popular interior design store, Mosaic, located in cool Santa Catalina in Palma, the Son Viscos hotel is a euphoria of design harmony, with understated muted tones and natural woods offsetting perfectly amongst carefully chosen rustic antiques and ceramic items. The west-facing kitchen, which was flooded with light in the afternoon, and filled with a bounteous feast of the freshest breakfast produce in the morning, was the beating heart of a guesthouse which maintained all of the characteristics of the most welcoming of family homes.

The Son Viscos garden

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Our room, the Menta suite, offered the very best of comfort with a lavish but pared down minimalist wooden four poster bed, together with haphazardly placed original art, design arm chairs and super soft towels. Flooded with light from an ample terrace, the room boasted enviable views of the Valldemossa monastery, and benefited from all of the freshness of the lush mountains opposite.

And it was precisely that fresh air which so loving nurtured us as we settled down for our night at the Son Viscos, finally able to escape the suffocating heat which had tampered with our dreams for months. Waking enlivened and refreshed, we had yet more pleasures to discover, for opposite the Son Viscos, the hotel’s extensive grounds extended to sun dappled woods hugging the side of the valley, and included fresh water streams, ancient moorish mills and even a dainty stone bridge which had more than survived the tests of time.

The Son Viscos’ sumptuous grounds

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The Son Viscos hotel was frankly an experience in a million, for its meticulously conceived design, its perfectly bucolic location, and for the sheer welcoming comfort it offered. As I sit here now, back in hot Palma, recounting my time there I long to return. Something tells me it won’t be long.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 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.

The Gaudi which eluded me: Palau Güell

While I am as familiar with the works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi as the next Barcelona aficionado, there is one Gaudi masterpiece which has managed to elude me in all of the years I have been visiting the city: the Palau Güell. For many years this was due to extensive renovations of the property which saw it closed to the public both partially and entirely for some 7 years. But latterly I just never seemed to be in the city when the palace was open to the public. But no longer is this unsatisfactory position the case! As soon as our Barcelona trip was booked, the first thing I did was to reserve our entrance to the Gaudi masterpiece, and within hours of our arrival in the city, we had entered its impressive lofty interior. 

The Palau Güell

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Built between 1886 and 1888 in the El Raval neighbourhood of Barcelona, the Palau Güell was in fact one of Gaudi’s earliest works, and the first major collaboration with the industrialist Eusebi Güell who was to become Gaudi’s most significant patron. Although its sombre interiors show somewhat more restraint from the man who was later to go on to design such fantastical masterpieces as the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Mila, the exterior of the house already showed the young architect pushing the boundaries of socially acceptable architecture, filling his facade with magnificently twisted wrought iron, animal forms, and his terrace with his now iconic multi-coloured tile chimneys. 

The famous terrace

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That is not to say that the interiors were boring. Far from it. Past the initial somewhat gloomy entrance which was intended to be the preserve of carriages, the upstairs rooms showed every sign of the virtuosity for which the architect would become know, with magnificently intricate woodwork, wrought iron and personalised furniture heavily influenced by the Moorish design which is so prevalent in Spain as well as the innovations of line and shape which were becoming modish in what was to be known as the modernist or art nouveau era. By far the most spectacular feature of the house is the main atrium: a dazzling space which cuts through the entire height of the house, topped with a dome into which little holes cut are like stars twinkling in space.

The impressive central atrium

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So the house which had long eluded me did its best to impress, and certainly received from me the admiration it deserved. I did however leave somewhat concerned by some of the renovation works undertaken, not least the extent to which staircases have been modernised, for example, with swish inlayed lighting which is clearly out of character with the original house, and worst of all the adaptation of the roof’s famous chimneys such that on one, a contemporary artist has shamelessly attached a tacky toy lizard as some kind of new interpretation of an otherwise perfect Gaudi icon. Why this was allowed I will never know. As they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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The Honeymoon Chronicles, Part I: La Colombe d’Or

To say that my wedding and the honeymoon which followed was a whirlwind of emotions would be no exaggeration. Within minutes of cutting our sensational ombre wedding cake in Chelsea, we were whisked off in the old fashioned style, straight to our honeymoon, leaving our guests behind, and sadly no tied up cans trailing our vehicle. Our destination was the French Riviera, and with only further wedding cake to keep post-wedding hangovers at bay, we tried to prepare ourselves mentally for this further change in circumstances as we were whisked through the night to the South of France.

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Our arrival in the tiny village of Saint-Paul de Vence near Nice could not have been more different from the city we had departed. Utterly at peace, with a distinctive fragrance of pines and cypresses freshening the air. As darkness had already descended, the village was permeated by little yellow street lamps, subtly illuminating the central plaza where pétanque balls lay in wait for the following day’s play. And amidst the darkness, one sign glowed more than any other: Lighting a golden dove on a blue and yellow sky, it was the sign of La Colombe d’Or – we had arrived.

Our bedroom at La Colombe d’Or

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La Colombe d’Or (the golden dove) is a legendary destination in the South of France. First opened in the 1920s by Paul and Baptistine Roux, it began life as a quaint little inn nestled against the magnificent ancient ramparts of the village of Saint-Paul de Vence. Its stunning garden terrace abundant in shady fig trees together with its cosy restaurant interior soon began to attract a faithful clientele, and as the French Riviera became progressively more a centre for thinkers and artists, so too did La Colombe become a gathering place for the crème of the artistic set.

Around the pool and in the gardens

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As the years went on, and the Roux family continued to welcome and befriend some of the world’s most famous artists and intellectuals, so too did La Colombe’s remarkable collection of modern art grow, much of which was swapped in exchange for accommodation and their famously delicious Provençal cuisine. So La Colombe d’Or grew, both physically (gradually subsuming neighbouring buildings) and reputationally, and its art collection today stands as one of the most staggering private collections of modern art you could ever hope to see. On its walls, original works by Picasso, Braque, Sonia Delaunay, Calder, Miro, Chagall, Cesar and so many others hang; its leafy terrace is dominated by a stunning ceramic mural by Fernand Leger; and its most stunning swimming pool languishes alongside a remarkable Calder Mobile, a mosaic by Braque, and a recently installed ceramic mural by Sean Scully.

Interiors, and La Colombe’s incredible collection of modern art

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For any enthusiast of 20th century art, or indeed for anyone beloved of the utmost aesthetic tranquility, La Colombe d’Or is a paradise on earth, beyond mere description – it has to be experienced. In the unpretentious little chairs which are clustered on its restaurant terrace, one can see the ghosts of the famous writers and artists who used to sit there in the shadows of the fig trees Jacques Prévert, Yves Montand, James Baldwin, Pablo Picasso… In the unapologetically rustic walls and furniture, you feel as though invited into the warmest of family homes. And in its paradisal gardens, fringed by pillars and scattered with fallen blossom, and alongside that most sensational of swimming pools, you feel as though you have entered some kind of parallel world. Utterly at peace. This was paradise found.

La Colombe’s stunningly cosy restaurant terrace

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And so in La Colombe d’Or, we happily stationed ourselves for the first four days of our honeymoon. And so the rush of emotions which had commenced at our wedding continued. It was to be the most sensational few days imaginable.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 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.

Santa Lucia and the Joy of Rialto Living

To be honest, it didn’t take me much to make up my mind to move from London to Mallorca. After a sustained period of dissatisfaction with the big city in the smoke, the comparative paradise of Palma de Mallorca took little persuasion. And yet I think I can pinpoint the exact moment when my mind was made up as being the moment when my partner and I discovered Rialto Living.

Situated in the Carrer Sant Feliu, a dark cobbled street in the heart of Palma’s old town and lined with the very best of Palma’s old palaces, Rialto Living is a lifestyle concept store which sells the very best in interior design, art, and fashion. Happily for us it also contains one of the cafe hot spots in Mallorca, a blue and white symphony of open space and high couture eating, all set within a stunning renovated palace. In short, Rialto Living is a sumptuous, stunning shop. The kind of place where you could happily while away the hours as though it were your own home (I should be so lucky), and it was upon finding this place that we knew Palma had the kind of mentality which meant that we could make the city our new home.

A paradise of interior design

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Harking from Scandinavia, and founded by one of the three founders of Gant, Klas Kall, along with grafic designer Barbara Bergman, it is no wonder that Rialto Living is such a temple of interior chic. Here you will find a magazine shot in every corner, furniture to die for, and quality which bounces and glides and glitters in one’s hands. Its many sections are a delight for the eyes. Its clothes section is so chic and welcoming that it makes you want to discard your old clothes there and then for something delightfully fluffy and new. Its home section is like a paradise of design; my favourite section has to be the Alhambra recreation within whose moorish arches roll after roll of colourful material unfold; I also adore the dining area, where sun floods through the south facing windows to illuminate the multicoloured glassware.

Rialto Living’s fresh blue café

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Yet despite its inherent sophistication, Rialto Living is utterly welcoming, as demonstrated last weekend when customers were welcomed to the store on Saturday lunchtime to join in carols and glogg (mulled wine) in a celebration of Santa Lucia’s day. They even had an angelic choir fitted with all of the regalia of Santa Lucia festivities, the likes of which inspired both my Norm sketch yesterday, and brought tears to my eyes.

Rialto’s celebration of Santa Lucia

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So this long overdue post on Rialto Living is both a dedication to the sumptuously sophisticated palacial surrounds of my favourite shop, and a record of last weekend’s very Christmassy affair. Rialto Living: you truly are an inspiration. As long as you are in Palma, I too will remain.

The Marbella Terrace Project – Part 2: the Transformation

On yesterday’s Daily Norm I showed you the first stage of my little piece of Marbella DIY – the transformation to my family’s roof terrace in Spain. With my Matisse-inspired mural finished in limited shades of blue and terracotta, I was free to complete the scheme with accessories and plants. 

Our main concern was that the plants should be succulent and require little care – it gets HOT up on that terrace and so weak florals would never suffice. I therefore decided to go for a collection of hardy cacti, the more spikes the better. Recalling the garden design of another favourite artist Frida Kahlo, I was going for more of a Mexican theme of dark and light blues, while retaining the Andalucian look of whitewashed walls. Meanwhile the filthy terracotta lamps adorning the many pillars and walls of the terrace got a lick of their own blue paint, resulting in an altogether more Moroccan vibe. 

Before the transformation…

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Painting pots and lamps

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Huge terracotta pots in varying sizes lugged from one of Marbella’s biggest garden centres were painted in the same shades of blues with a few dark red pots to break up the scheme. It was thirsty work, but they never said that a man made desert of Spanish Cacti was going to come easy. 

Finally, stretched across the big empty air space we attached two large shade sales to give the space much needed shade and cosyness. 

The result is a terrace oozing Mediterranean chic with all the spice and vitality of Mexico. Like a boutique hotel, we complemented the scheme with plump cushioned loungers and a shiny glass and black weave table. The result is a spectacle so departed from the previous ramshackle of a deserted terrace. 

After the transformation

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All of this work was finally toasted with a romantic candlelit opening gala party. The terrace looks good by day, but with lamps glowing from within and candles flickering across the terrace floor, it never looked better. A job well done, a transformation achieved. 

and at night

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A gallery of details

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.