(links in red)
Wood Design & Building editor for three years: see Editorials & Publications
National Gallery of Canada Magazine: An understated icon, the Canada Pavilion in Venice is reborn
World Architecture Community (country reporter, Canada):
When it opened in 2014, Winnipeg’s $350-million Canadian Museum for Human Rights – designed by acclaimed American architect Antoine Predock – was both criticized and celebrated, much like Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim, which despite the derision of many locals quickly defined the rebirth of Bilbao, Spain; hence, the “Bilbao effect” became a common term for architecture’s power to regenerate the local economy, and a city’s overall reputation – but at what cost, Canadians often ask. (read more)
“The interesting thing about art is the only function is its own existence, so it leads to very interesting works of geometry, colour composition, shape and proportion. As a strictly formal piece of inspiration, art is always extremely interesting, especially American minimalist art from the 1960s – in terms of form-generating, it was a very exciting time…”(read more)
Together, these retail interiors – from a clothing store by Nendo to a sake shop by Kengo Kuma – illustrate the timeless and ethereal quality of design in Japan…(read more)
Bridging indoor and outdoor spaces and private and common zones, up-and-coming firm Höweler + Yoon creates a multi-generational home in Virginia with maximum appeal…(read more)
Breaking from expected conventions, the interiors for both a bank’s online design division in San Francisco by Studio O+A, and for an insurance company in Mexico City by Space Arquitectura, are filled with bright, creative spaces…(read more)
In Situ Design and Lilian B. Interiors transform two classic brownstones into a colour-infused hotel. Inspired by (and featuring) William Engel’s bright “pour” paintings, The William blurs the line between art and environment, and offers guests an extended stay…(read more)
After more than two years of consultation with community members, and with a $7.2-million budget, Koning Eizenberg had several objectives for the Pico Branch Library project: public engagement, energy efficiency, use of healthy materials and indoor-outdoor connectivity. The building, after all, would serve as the crowning jewel on the four-hectare Virginia Avenue Park – the first LEED-certified park in the country – also designed by the 33-year-old firm…(read more)
In an 1850’s heritage building across from the historic St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto, Barsa Taberna presents a more sophisticated iteration of the often-typical tapas bar. The 275-square-metre space, originally used as horse stables for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, features original stone walls and arches that instantly conjure the old world. In contrast, +tongtong installed bold graphic murals, giving the space a modern, vibrant ambiance…(read more)
If there’s one thing I love, it’s a road trip!
A jaunt to the southernmost tip of Canada, near Chatham, Ontario, is a trip any classic car lover would enjoy.
I found the perfect location for our stay in Chatham, coincidentally owned by the RM of RM Auctions, Rob Myers; he grew up there, and his award-winning RM Auto Restoration headquarters is located just outside town. He also owns the best reason to stay in Chatham: the Retro Suites hotel, a block of heritage buildings that Rob and his artist wife, Cathy, transformed into a high-end location popular for weddings and corporate events; it has won several awards from TripAdvisor, including a Travelers’ Choice Award last year…(read more)
You won’t hear many resort keepers chatting casually about visitors who left on the first day of their vacation. But at Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-Ji, a nonprofit Zen monastery that hosts weekend retreats and intensive meditation sessions, one of the monks laughingly tells the story of a woman and her teenage son who barely made it through the first day of their “vacation.” Considering the monastery’s 5 a.m. wakeup call, minimalistic vegetarian meals, and three-hour work sessions each morning – a requirement for all course participants, whether weeding, cooking, or cleaning – it’s no wonder there’s the occasional dropout. But spiritually motivated and culturally curious travelers will delight in the traditional monastery’s otherworldly aura, just a three-hour drive upstate from downtown NYC.
Amid a pastoral paradise – complete with expansive meadows, wildlife and a river that follows the road – a bumpy drive finally leads visitors to their first glimpse of the estate, a view from a narrow bridge bordering a serene, 30-acre lake, the heart of the Zendo property. Situated on 1,400 acres in the Catskill Mountains, the Zendo – established by one of the founders of Xerox – offers an environment uncluttered by modern annoyances, although the resident monks admit to owning a collection of videos, including Austin Powers and The Matrix (two of their favourites).
While the monastery hosts week-long retreats, the best program for beginners is the Introduction to Zen Weekend ($150 per person for two days and nights), which we attended. On arrival Friday evening we were greeted by the monastery residents, shown to a sparse room complete with futon bunk beds, fresh linens, and meditation robes, and then given an orientation including zazen (silent meditation) instruction and a mind-boggling walk-through of the meal ceremonies, from chants and prayers to dish-washing techniques. Just when we were wondering what’s next, the bedtime bell rang at 9 p.m. in preparation for the 5 a.m. wakeup gong. As one monk warned us, “You can’t miss it!”
Sure enough, Saturday morning the bells rang up and down the halls at an hour when many New Yorkers are more likely on their way home from a party than waking up to meditate – but within half an hour we were in our robes and chanting in the meeting hall. An hour later close to 50 participants – including an Academy Award-winning actress and SoHo resident (who later asked us to keep her presence hush-hush) – sat in the meditation hall for half an hour of zazen. In true Zen practice, most course participants respectfully ignored the celebrity presence and concentrated only on their breathing and posture.
At 7:15 a.m. we rose from meditation, legs cramped, and hobbled in single file to the dining room, where each morning breakfast begins with prayer and continues in silence except for the rustle of folding napkins, passing dishes and manoeuvring chopsticks. The first morning’s breakfast of barley porridge, seaweed flakes, ground sesame seeds, and pickled cabbage took some getting used to, but overall the weekend’s meals were tasty and well prepared (their recipes were recently compiled in a cookbook, 3 Bowls).
Every day at the monastery, breakfast is followed by another meeting – basically, more chanting and prayer, some in English, some in Japanese, but all in unison and often almost at a shout. By then it’s 9 a.m., which means time to work, followed by a formal lunch (on our visit, a hearty vegetable stew). Afterward the participants scattered, some gathering for a tea ceremony demonstration and others lounging by the lake while SoHo-based Sachiyo Ito taught traditional Japanese dance.
That evening an informal dinner was followed by more meditation and a lecture about Zen, after which we headed to the lounge for a snack and ended up talking past midnight with several other attendees, including a few monks-in-training. When Sunday afternoon arrived, we had a final feast of burritos and cheesecake. After seeing our famous friend load up with goodies from the gift shop and wish everyone her fond farewells, we can say one thing: She’ll be back (and so will we).
Originally published in SoHo Style magazine – and yes, I still plan to go back someday, I hope!
During the two years I was editor of Audi magazine (2012–2014), I produced a fashion shoot for each issue along with two cover shoots, from concept and model/photographer/stylist bookings to fashion direction/styling (especially, jewellery) and location/set management; I also wrote the copy (along with many other articles and cover interviews).
PDF: Style Is in the Details Audi magazine, Fall 2013
I also wrote the majority of fashion portfolio copy at Nylon and SoHo Style.
Speaking of which, don’t miss my interview with David Bowie! I had recently moved to New York City after a few months with Nylon magazine, when the opportunity of a lifetime almost passed me by… but with some luck and plenty of determination, I ended up in a room alone with my rock idol, for an hour that felt like an eternity. Less than a year later, I met (and interviewed) his wife, Iman. They’ll always be two of my favourite people!
Few can measure up to Bowie and Iman, but I’ve enjoyed every interview I’ve done – and I’m happy to say, more than a few said to me, as we said goodbye, “it was the best interview I’ve ever had,” which I consider to be one of the highest compliments!