Sunday, November 18, 2007

Objet d'Art.

I've been noticing that the more modern art museums I go to, I'm seeing an increasing amount of chairs. Not chairs for weary travelers to rest upon, but chairs as art installations. This thought strikes me as I'm wandering through the Centre Pompidou's Musee National d' Art Moderne. Truth be told, I don't know that a chair belongs in a museum. As if the well of obscure paintings is running dry, they're now turning to the chair as objet d'art.

In fact, they much resemble the ones in my home, but perhaps that's the point. Chair at home is a replica of revolutionary design that has been mass produced and knocked off to no end, so as to seamlessly become something so commonplace that one does not give it another thought.

I suppose I can understand this sudden insurgence of household items from a design standpoint. From a purely design perspective, there was once a problem (fatigue) that needed solving, and this led to the development of the chair. But that is problem singular. Just how many other problems could there be, other than perhaps ones addressing posture?

As I pass a gnome stool designed by Phillippe Starck, I have to wonder, what correlation could a mythical garden dweller have with exhaustion or respite?

The thing is, I've grown rather fond of these chairs. The fanciful designs, the graceful curvatures. Had I the resources, I certainly wouldn't protest a work by Eames. As I migrate from room to room, contemplating the selection of furniture, all I want to do is sit down in one of them. But I suppose that's the problem with the chair as art. You can't use them in the capacity they were intended for.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tout Sweet.

I now realize why I've come to Europe. (You know, aside from that soul searching bit.) I've come to eat and wander - to walk around and observe, constructing narratives in my head. There's nothing really, aside from these two things, that I care to do.. except maybe the occasional store or two.

More and more, I recognize that my travel style is simply to walk down streets. Sometimes with a map, sometimes without. Main streets are fun, but back or side streets are even better. Going in and out of boutiques, easily distracted, and sampling the goods at the occasional bakery or street vendor. The less money spent, the better. I don't even need to go into the museums. I'm in it for the local culture.

I'm simulateously infatuated with and sick of shopping. However, I think if I could only shop at the following two stores for the rest of my life: A.P.C. and Comptoir des Cotonniers, I could be happy. Wishful thinking. Oh, and Topshop's fun too.

The food here is amazing. And by food, what I really mean is dessert. Not a day goes by when I do not consume some form of chocolate. Milka, Kinder, Lindt, Cadbury - this is all readily available in all parts of Europe.

And then there are the bakeries.

The local patisseries featuring the most decadent of sweets and confections. From the tortes of Vienna to the postres (notably, the Creme Catalans of Barcelona), I am in a gourmand's paradise. I have indulged in the original Sachertorte at Cafe Sacher in Austria, licked happily at my several cones of panna cotta e fragola gelato in Milan, and sampled Movenpick ice cream on the French Riviera. And there is no stopping this consumption.

Hawaii and its beaches and (gulp) bikinis are less than a month away, but this is too good to resist. Perhaps a one piece is in order.