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Interviews

 

SOFIE FATOURETCHI ROYER is wearing the Romy no.005. She is a musician and artist living in Vienna.

What is your favorite candy?
I really like peppermint fondant.

What is your perfect meal?
Beef consommé followed by beef tartare at Café Schwarzenberg. Eier im Glas at Café Prückel. Or Knödel mit Ei at Kleines Café.

What should we be reading?
Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland, or Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Mosfegh.

What do you collect?
It really used to be records, but I’ve come to realize inadvertently it’s now books.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Purple Listerine, get back into bed, revolting little morning iPhone scroll, get up and brush my teeth, hot water, coffee.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Floss my teeth, usually watching a movie.

What takes you to cloud 9?
When I manage to sleep longer than 6 hours!

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Lately it’s been a lot of Bruce Springsteen, Steely Dan, Alvino Rey, Francis Lai.

What is dear to your heart?
My parents!

What is a rule that should always be broken?
All of them!

The best arthouse film(s)?
This is difficult, so many, but some all time favourites — Salon Kitty by Tinto Brass (or honestly, anything Tinto Brass). Sweet Movie by Dusan Makavejev, Demonlover by Assayas, inanely obvious choice but Jodorowsky’s El Topo and Holy Mountain, also recently watched Kentucky Fried Movie by John Landis and it was really good.

What do you still wish to learn?
So much! Every day I wake up realizing how little I know.

What is still a mystery?
Honestly, almost everything.

What is your favorite mistake?
I’m always making them but probably all matters of the heart!

What is your favorite slogan?
Cult classic not bestseller!

 

RYM BEYDOUN is wearing the Romy no.007. She is a designer spending her time between Paris and Abidjan.

What is your favorite slogan?
There are 3 things you need in life… Guts, guts, and guts.

What do you collect?
Letters, tickets and stickers.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Craftsmanship, hand work, time.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
The internet.

What should we be reading?
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.

What should we listen to?
Rio de Mansanares - Gene Lawrence.

What is good design?
Something you had never thought of and you don’t think you’ve seen before.

What thoughts currently occupy you?
Where should I live and what shall I do.

What is your favorite animal?
Cats!

Where do you want to go?
Lately Italy, Japan, Brazil.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Don’t lie.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Do what you're asked to do.

What do you still wish to learn?
Anthropology, languages, fine arts, weaving, cooking.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Bag Lady by Erika Badu.

What is still a mystery?
Death.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
A house with the minimum in it, everything DIY and making the most with the least.

Where is happiness found?
In gratitude and alignment.

Can you recall a dream?
Yes, especially since last year.

Can objects make us happy?
Yes when you're emotionally connected to them.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Write my dream.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Play chess.

 

KEISUKE ASANO is wearing the Salvo no.001. He is a model and photographer living in Brooklyn, NY.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Coffee.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Water.

What takes you to cloud 9?
When I cut an avocado in half and it’s perfectly ripe.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
No but it’s going around BPM90 lately.

What is good design?
Giorgetto Giugiaro designs.

Where do you find good design?
Where and when I’m feeling great.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Most rules.

What did you have for breakfast?
Oatmeal with banana and coconut oil.

What is your favorite word in any language?
Alhamdulillah.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
New styles of music.

What do you still wish to learn?
Piano.

What is still a mystery?
Double cowlicks.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Eat good food → happy.

What do you find humorous?
Very bad rap songs.

What do you look forward to?
A golden toilet a friend promised to buy me when he’s rich.

What is a distraction?
Knowing that something is distracting.

What should we listen to?
Nice music with good people.

What was your last download?
Couple of workout apps that I think I’d never use.

What is your favorite mistake?
Saying goodbye a little too early after bumping into someone and ending up walking with that person to the same direction for another couple blocks.

Any last words?
Thank you.

 

RÓISÍN TAPPONI is wearing the Romy no.001. She is a film programmer living in London.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Remember my dreams.

What should we be reading?
I’m currently reading a lot of research material about grassroots political film collectives for my PhD, I recommend Working Together: Notes on British Film Collective in the 1970s. It’s an incredibly beautiful book with pamphlets from The Berwick Street Film Collective, London Women’s Film Group, Cinema Action and more.

What do you collect?
Film archival reels and cardigans.

What do you still wish to learn?
How to tell fortune using the sludge at the bottom of Turkish coffee.

What stands the test of time?
Love.

Who are your inspirations? ?
My mum and my community.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Stay With Me by Novelist.

Where do you want to go?
I have a dream to go to Iraq, where my family is from. I am Co-Founder of Independent Iraqi Film Festival (IIFF) and one of my dreams is to be able to host this safely in Baghdad (currently it runs online), and to help establish an industry where the film community there can be supported.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Faith.

The best arthouse film(s)?
I work in cinema, so this is difficult! I work primarily with video and documentaries from South-West Asia and North Africa - my streaming service Shasha caters to this - but some other films I’ve enjoyed recently beyond the region are Suneil Sanzgiri’s Letter From Your Far-Off Country (2020), Garrett Bradley’s Time (2020) and Prano Baily-Bond’s Censor (2021).

What do you find humorous?
Literally everything. It’s so important for me to have a sense of humour, especially in the art world!

Any last words?
Look after each other.

 

REMY RENZULLO is wearing the Salvo no.003. He is a decorator and antique dealer living between Connecticut and London.

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
Elegance is Refusal.

What do you want to find?
I’d like to find a ruin of a house that I can spend the rest of my life working on.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Interior scenes by Andrew Wyeth.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
18th and 19th century Ivory inlaid furniture from Vizagapatam.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ (which I am not) is always the first song I play at a party.

What is good design?
It’s pretty hard to top William Kent.

Where do you find good design?
I try to avoid sleeping on trains.

What should we be reading?
I read a fantastic book in 2019 called ‘Appeasement’ by a young English historian named Tim Bouverie. It’s a thrilling and well-researched account of the calamitous negotiations leading up to the German annexation of Czechoslovakia (as was then known) in 1939. Bouverie excels at illustrating the (what should be obvious) dangers of appeasing a despotic and tyrannical leader, and what can happen when such power goes unchecked. It Is also proof that history so often repeats itself - the cautionary tale at the heart of Bouverie’s book is as relevant today as in the waning days of 1938.
I read an equally interesting book titled, ‘All the Shah’s Men’ by Stephen Kinzer which deals with the CIA orchestrated coup that toppled the first democratically elected government in Iran’s history. While Americans are quick to point the finger at Iran today for sectarian violence in the Middle East, let us not forget that were it not for the nationalization of the AIOC oil-fields at Abadan in 1951, and the aforementioned Anglo-American coup that followed, we would likely be dealing with a vastly different political climate in the Middle East today.

What does your house smell like?
My mom always burns a mixture of piñon and juniper in a cast iron pan in the morning, whenever I’m at home, and carries it smoking throughout the house.

What does your house sound like?
A lot of crackling from the above. I’ve also been told I type incredibly loud.

What is dear to your heart?
A stuffed animal owl, which I’ve had for about fifteen years, that lives on my bed at home, a taxidermy owl, given to me by someone that I was very close to that is no longer alive, and a small collection of Regency papier-mâché snuff boxes from my grandmother.

What does progression mean to you?
Arriving at the last question of this interview.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Don’t seat couples next to each other at dinner.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Leave while the party is still full.

What stands the test of time?
It’s always reassuring to see really early American Saltbox houses still standing.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Growing up my family had a house in New Mexico. My mother developed an immense interest in Native and Indigenous culture, initially focused on art but gradually on their society and traditions as a whole. She became intimately acquainted, and involved with, a number of specific pueblos and tribal communities and from the time that I could walk would take me along with her. While attending sacred dances and rituals we would often be the only non-Native people in the room. While I took much of this for granted at the time, being exposed to cultures so visually immersive and in complete contrast to my own, left a lasting impression on me - and fostered my own interest and desire to bring awareness to Indigenous cultures.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
A lack of artifice, or a bit of self-deprecation.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
A more even playing field.

What do you collect?
Bits of Regency furniture, artist studies, enemies.

Who is an inspirational figure?
There have been a number of very inspiring women in my family, past and present.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
I’m quite a dreamer.

What do you still wish to learn?
I’ve always wanted to play the violin and the piano. Sadly, I do not have any musical aptitude. Much to the consternation of my friends I would also like to learn to speak Italian.

What is still a mystery?
It would seem a lot.

Where is happiness found?
I’m at my happiest when I’m in my boat, puttering along off the coast of Maine.

What do you see outside your window?
A very annoying nursery school.

What do you find humorous?
The pretenses of others.

What is your favorite slogan?
It’s not worth the commotion.

What are you working on at the moment?
Hopefully something very exciting.

What do you want to trade?
I have a large painting that I’d love to be rid of.

What makes a home?
Feeling at home.

Any last words?
Proust put it best when he wrote: “If we are to make reality endurable, we must all nourish a fantasy or two.”

 

ARIA DEAN is wearing the Romy no.004. She is an artist living in New York City.

What should we be reading?
Shameless plug for November–a new contemporary art publication of which I’m an editor. We just released our first full issue! But, uh, other than that . . . I’ve been slowly working my way through Memo from David O. Selznick–just a collection of memos from Hollywood producer Selznick sent during his time at various film studios. Like peeping at someone's “sent” email folder. Everything from asking for a raise to gushing about seeing Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin for the first time in theaters.

Can you recall a dream?
In my dream last night, I’d finally switched brands of dish soap. (Current one is too hard to squeeze). Disappointing to wake up with the original still in the kitchen.

What do you collect?
I was going to say nothing, but I’ve sort of accidentally begun to collect action figures and miniature statues. Started out as necessary for a series of sculptures I was making. Now they’re around the houses and growing in number . . .

The best arthouse film(s)?
Very big question! I often really enjoy films that are ostensibly narratively about a Thing, but are just about the social relations collected around the pursuit of that thing. Fassbinder’s Third Generation is in theory about a terrorist cell trying to execute their plot, but is really just a group of friends hanging out. Shirley Clarke’s The Connection: heroin addicts in 60s NYC wait for their connection, which drives the dialogue but we’re really just chilling in this room for 1.5 hours. So I guess this is to say, films that dress themselves in a genre’s clothing to do something more analytical, contemplative or generally strange.

What stands the test of time?
So little. . . a song you once truly loved rarely loses its appeal. Dunno if that means its music that stands the test of time, or love?

What takes you to cloud 9?
When I pick a book from my shelf to take on the train, and it turns out to directly relate to something I’ve been thinking about or working on lately. Finding in it an answer to a question I had only half-formed in the back of my mind. Almost everywhere I haven’t gone before that wouldn’t be physically dangerous to go to, but right now I’m interested in going to Romania, Taiwan, and Patagonia.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Take my night guard out.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Take melatonin.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Ugh, like melancholic indie pop or something. However, I might present it as “post-punk-soundtracked.”

Who are your inspirations?
Mostly artists who write, whether it’s about art, theory, culture, etc. A special kind of practice.

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
Climbing out of a mirror.

What is good design?
Functional design that makes room for frivolity in the gaps!

Where do you find good design?
Could be anywhere.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Backup your harddrive??

What is a rule that should always be broken?
“Make an outline of your essay before starting writing.” Never works.

What did you have for breakfast?
Muesli! After years of messing around with other breakfasts, I’ve finally found my love.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Heart! :(

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
A certain hunger >:)

What thoughts currently occupy you?
Kind of hungry as I’m writing this. Will I order lunch in or make something?

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Going to make a list because I can’t remember just one thing: In middle school I had a whole fairly intense Marc Chagall thing; I read Ayn Rand’s Anthem in 9th grade and touted it as my favorite book until I found out about her politics and later work; West Side Story; Billy Wilder’s The Apartment was probably the first film I watched over and over; No Age was the first band I saw play live more than one time; LA heroes.

For some reason, this question feels like it has two versions–second is: what was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you? 1. Pierre Huyghe show at LACMA in 2014 broke my brain and made me thirst after exhibition-making for the first time for real. 2. Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation freshman year of college.

What do you still wish to learn?
Would love to improve my foreign language capacities–basic Spanish, and restaurant French don’t really cut it.

What is still a mystery?
Continued sock disappearances at home.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Grid.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Grid.

Where is happiness found?
Lurking around the corner!

What do you find humorous?
Sucker for old school physical comedy.

What do you want to trade?
Current iPhone for an upgrade.

What do you want to find?
Usually some sort of truth about perception lol.

What is a distraction?
No such thing! I take an expanded approach to “focus,” which usually means doing a lot of things that look like “distractions” but will eventually be recontextualized as “productive detours.”

What should we listen to?
Spent this morning listening to Lust for Life for some reason; would recc an Iggy Pop breakfast. Also, “Spinning Away,” by Brian Eno and John Cale has really been getting me lately. (Just came on as I was finishing up these questions.)

What does progression mean to you?
Have some problems with the linearity it implies - the desires and needs that underwrite “progression” might be better served by like “expansion” and/or “sustenance.”

What was your last download?
A bundle of book pdfs for a project I’m researching: Claude McKay autobiography, a book about Black Germans during the Third Reich, and a history of the Frankfurt School.

Any last words?
xoxo

 

COLIN STOKES is wearing the Salvo no.001. He is the Associate Cartoon Editor and humor writer at The New Yorker living in New York City.

What is your favorite slogan?
Does exactly what it says on the tin (from an iconic advert for wood sealant in the UK).

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
I have a very large number of relatives on my mother’s side in a certain part of New Jersey, so I’d start looking there.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
I listen to “A Short History of Nearly Everything” most nights to help me go to sleep, avoiding the chapters about how we all may die suddenly without warning.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Cooking something that’s ambitious for friends or loved ones, and for it to turn out well.

What is dear to your heart?
Having spare time with no obligations.

Where do you want to go?
Almost everywhere I haven’t gone before that wouldn’t be physically dangerous to go to, but right now I’m interested in going to Romania, Taiwan, and Patagonia.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Say please and thank you. Though I have been told by a waiter once that I say thank you too much.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Pretty much every “style rule.”

What did you have for breakfast?
Scrambled eggs and leftover pernil.

What thoughts currently occupy you?
I’m working on redoing a cottage, so kitchen cabinet knobs and drawer pulls.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
In the past couple of years I have gotten into wearing plain white t-shirts, and now wear one almost every day. As someone who usually puts together relatively maximalist looks, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed having a simple thing to base a more interesting outfit around.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
I once visited a friend living in Chile, and we went to a village in a valley called Pisco (yes, like the drink). We went on a hike with a friendly Swiss guide and asked him what to do there at night, and he suggested walking up a hill, lying on a jacket with a bottle of wine and looking upwards. It’s so dry and unpolluted with light there that the visibility is unreal—the sky is utterly filled with stars, and you can see a shooting star every thirty seconds. You’re reminded that we are truly standing on a rock in an endlessly complex universe filled with things we will never see or comprehend. It’s not technically a representation maybe (depending on your religious or philosophical beliefs), but experiencing that was the most powerful vision of complexity I’ve had, and my favorite. If I had to stick to a more formal interpretation I would say a tiny Netherlandish boxwood carving of the Adoration of the Magi and the Crucifixion that’s currently at the cloisters, I believe.

What is your favorite animal?
My mother’s dog, TT.

What do you still wish to learn?
How to structure my life in a way that is resistant to the surprises of the day to day.

What is still a mystery?
How TT got so cute.

Where is happiness found?
Within. And also when I get a package delivery notification.

What do you find humorous?
My mother’s dog TT’s underbite.

What does your house smell like?
I have a Cire Trudon Solis Rex candle on my dinner table that, just because of the heat right now, emanates a wonderful scent even when unlit.

What does your house sound like?
My girlfriend and I installed a bamboo fence around my balcony last year, and a couple of times a day a piece of bamboo will make a popping noise as it settles, or moves. I enjoy the unpredictability of it.

Can you recall a dream?
I had a recurring dream as a child in which I tried to assassinate Hitler but every time I pulled the trigger, my gun was unloaded and he shot me. Bill Evan

What is a distraction?
Instagram.

What does progression mean to you?
Being able to look at yourself and realize that there are positive changes you’ve made in your life that would be unthinkable to an earlier you.

What frightens you?
Change, but stagnation frightens me more.

What’s the most frequent question you ask yourself?
How might another person see or think about this?

Are you an indoors person or an outdoors person?
I think indoors? But I also really love the outdoors, just in moderation—I’m not sure I’m cut out for camping, for example.

What was your last download?
Instagram (I delete it and redownload it frequently)

Any last words?
Thank you (and please).

 

MOLLY ALEXANDER is wearing the Salvo no.003. She is an antique dealer living in London.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
Dorset, c.1770.

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
Nightly baths, the water stained arsenic green with Wilberg’s pine essence.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Swimming and sucking salty pebbles on Eype Beach in Dorset.

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
‘The Answer is Yes’ (quote from Oisin Byrne’s song).

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
The voice of Jo Stafford.

What is good design?
A working pepper mill.

What should we be reading?
Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice.

What does your house smell like?
Toasted coffee beans (on a piece of tin foil on the hob), to rid the house of lingering tobacco.

What does your house sound like?
On a Saturday morning, the quiet chatter from the sleepy old barber shop beneath my flat, a faint purring of hairdryers and gossip.

What do you treasure most in your neighbourhood or city?
In London - Saturday morning at the lentil soup van on Golborne road, sitting up at the hatch on tall stools with my tall friend.

What is dear to your heart?
My late great aunt Min Hogg’s weighty photo albums, each page is meticulously collaged and then captioned; it is a capsule of a fin-de-god-knows-what-siècle, a moment in time that now feels private.

What do you collect?
Ears.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Never describe something as simply, “interesting”. Christopher Gibbs once told me off for coming up with this bland observation whilst we were looking at the seaweed-like tendrils carved onto piece of stone - it was a very influential moment.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
“No entry”

What thoughts occupy you currently?
How many logs do I have left?

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Act I of La bohème.

What do you still wish to learn?
‘Petite Fleur’ by Sidney Bechet, on the clarinet.

What is still a mystery?
Fog.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Jasper Conran’s white panelled hall.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Bill Evans improvisations.

Where is happiness found?
Small and unexpected tender moments.

What do you see outside your window?
At the moment, primroses, and a still watered swimming pond.

What do you find humorous?
My daily phone calls with friends in Ireland.

What is your favourite slogan?
Kill them with kindness.

What are you working on at the moment?
Educating myself about 19th century Persian carpets, and finding the perfectly ‘shot’ period mercury glass plate to restore a George II mirror.

 

MOLLY ALEXANDER is wearing the Salvo no.003. She is an antique dealer living in London.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
Dorset, c.1770.

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
Nightly baths, the water stained arsenic green with Wilberg’s pine essence.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Swimming and sucking salty pebbles on Eype Beach in Dorset.

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
‘The Answer is Yes’ (quote from Oisin Byrne’s song).

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
The voice of Jo Stafford.

What is good design?
A working pepper mill.

What should we be reading?
Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice.

What does your house smell like?
Toasted coffee beans (on a piece of tin foil on the hob), to rid the house of lingering tobacco.

What does your house sound like?
On a Saturday morning, the quiet chatter from the sleepy old barber shop beneath my flat, a faint purring of hairdryers and gossip.

What do you treasure most in your neighbourhood or city?
In London - Saturday morning at the lentil soup van on Golborne road, sitting up at the hatch on tall stools with my tall friend.

What is dear to your heart?
My late great aunt Min Hogg’s weighty photo albums, each page is meticulously collaged and then captioned; it is a capsule of a fin-de-god-knows-what-siècle, a moment in time that now feels private.

What do you collect?
Ears.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Never describe something as simply, “interesting”. Christopher Gibbs once told me off for coming up with this bland observation whilst we were looking at the seaweed-like tendrils carved onto piece of stone - it was a very influential moment.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
“No entry”

What thoughts occupy you currently?
How many logs do I have left?

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Act I of La bohème.

What do you still wish to learn?
‘Petite Fleur’ by Sidney Bechet, on the clarinet.

What is still a mystery?
Fog.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Jasper Conran’s white panelled hall.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Bill Evans improvisations.

Where is happiness found?
Small and unexpected tender moments.

What do you see outside your window?
At the moment, primroses, and a still watered swimming pond.

What do you find humorous?
My daily phone calls with friends in Ireland.

What is your favourite slogan?
Kill them with kindness.

What are you working on at the moment?
Educating myself about 19th century Persian carpets, and finding the perfectly ‘shot’ period mercury glass plate to restore a George II mirror.

 

MIRABELLE MARDEN is wearing the Romy cardigan no.006. She is an artist living in New York and Paris.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
“You can’t do that as a single woman”

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Be yourself (you’re the only you lol).

What do you want to trade?
Kisses.

What is still a mystery?
Love.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Dancing. Or laying down in the sun on a hot rock after a swim. A kiss on the shoulder.

What should we be reading?
More poetry.

What do you collect?
Mostly images but also plastic bowls, straw baskets, Afghan wedding rings, children’s drawings...

The best arthouse film(s)?
Oof. During lockdown I rewatched a lot. Was alone in an apt in Paris. Rear Window. Not arthouse though. But my favorite, as a photographer/ clothes horse / voyeur who grew up in the West Village.

What stands the test of time?
A walk in nature to feel better.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Willie Nelson’s voice always & Otis Redding Live at Monterey.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Singing good morning to my dogs.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Prepare to dream.

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
A passing reflection in a train window.

What is good design?
Beauty in function, simplicity / eccentricity.

Where do you find good design?
Everywhere!

What does your house smell like?
Flowers and dust.

What does your house sound like?
Birds chirping.

What is dear to your heart?
The relationship I have with my niece & nephew.

What is your favorite word in any language?
A word I don’t know - describing light on water.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
A sense of calm maybe.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Open interaction.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
A shared picnic with a few good friends.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
An exchange of thoughts.

What do you find humorous?
Everything & I laugh very loud.

What is your favorite slogan?
(saying not slogan) one day onions, one day honey.

What is modern?
Isn’t it all?

Can you recall a dream?
I can, but I’d rather not!

What do you want to find?
A better studio practice.

Any last words?
Feel it, don’t fight it.

 

MIRABELLE MARDEN is wearing the Romy cardigan no.006. She is an artist living in New York and Paris.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
“You can’t do that as a single woman”

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Be yourself (you’re the only you lol).

What do you want to trade?
Kisses.

What is still a mystery?
Love.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Dancing. Or laying down in the sun on a hot rock after a swim. A kiss on the shoulder.

What should we be reading?
More poetry.

What do you collect?
Mostly images but also plastic bowls, straw baskets, Afghan wedding rings, children’s drawings...

The best arthouse film(s)?
Oof. During lockdown I rewatched a lot. Was alone in an apt in Paris. Rear Window. Not arthouse though. But my favorite, as a photographer/ clothes horse / voyeur who grew up in the West Village.

What stands the test of time?
A walk in nature to feel better.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Willie Nelson’s voice always & Otis Redding Live at Monterey.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Singing good morning to my dogs.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Prepare to dream.

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
A passing reflection in a train window.

What is good design?
Beauty in function, simplicity / eccentricity.

Where do you find good design?
Everywhere!

What does your house smell like?
Flowers and dust.

What does your house sound like?
Birds chirping.

What is dear to your heart?
The relationship I have with my niece & nephew.

What is your favorite word in any language?
A word I don’t know - describing light on water.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
A sense of calm maybe.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Open interaction.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
A shared picnic with a few good friends.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
An exchange of thoughts.

What do you find humorous?
Everything & I laugh very loud.

What is your favorite slogan?
(saying not slogan) one day onions, one day honey.

What is modern?
Isn’t it all?

Can you recall a dream?
I can, but I’d rather not!

What do you want to find?
A better studio practice.

Any last words?
Feel it, don’t fight it.

 


IGNACIO MATTOS is wearing the Salvo no.003. He is a chef and restaurant owner of Estela, Altro Paradiso and Caffe Lodi living in New York City.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
I treasure the access to a vast range of culture and museums. I love the parks, bike lanes, paths and the ways to get to all the boroughs. Really enjoy that we are surrounded by water.

Can you share some daily rituals?
There's a stretching moment, apple cider vinegar, coffee, shower and go.

Who are your ideal guests?
My ideal guests are those who are down for a good time, not too loud and pleasant.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
I would say Sun Ra Springtime again it's one of those blissing beats.

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
My assistant, Josey.

What is good design?
Unassuming and well thought out design definitely could be considered good. I like accidental design, that either comes from years of layering, or is just an accident.

What should we be reading?
I Ching, a good read for pretty much anyone at any time.

What does your house smell like?
It depends on the time of the day. Right now, it's a mix of winter greens, leeks and chickpea soup.

What does your house sound like?
Today, Tom Ze.

What does progression mean to you?
Improving whatever I did the day before.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Entering a space and acknowledging people, always saying good morning. I like that one rule that my parents taught me.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Never say talk to strangers, I guess that it was something I was taught.

What is a perfect meal?
Simple and carefully done.

What is your favorite word in any language?
Thank you.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Time.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Definitely the speed.

What do you collect?
There's random things l like to be surrounded by, yet I really don't like to. I don’t hold onto many things.

The best arthouse film(s)?
Ikuru, the Seventh Seal, and Rashomon.

What do you still wish to learn?
Japanese and carpentry.

What is still a mystery?
Nature for sure. Surprises me every day.

What is your favorite representation of simplicity?
An apple.

What is your favorite representation of complexity?
The 2020 covid-19 saga.

Where is happiness found?
Sparse and usually quite ordinary moments, like cooking, riding my bike, spending time with people I love.

What makes you nostalgic?
I like to say that I'm not nostalgic at all, or not that fond of the idea that everything was better before. But, summer 2019 was quite special in many ways.

What do you find humorous?
Fanaticism is quite humorous.

What is your favorite slogan?
“What else?”

The most important ingredient?
Olive oil.

What stands the test of time?
Time itself.

What are you working on at the moment?
A new space in Rockefeller center. It's a beautiful corner on 49th st, where we will be doing an all-day caffe, aperitivi bar with delicious simple bites. Oh, and we will have a bakery too.

Any last words?
Support small business as much as you can.
 


KATE BOWMAN is wearing the Polly no.004. She is a model, photographer, and host of Kate’s Podcast living in Los Angeles.

What do you collect?
Heart shaped trinkets.

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
In a 70s horror film.

What did you have for breakfast?
Scrambled eggs on a biscuit with jam.

What is your favorite candy?
Hershey’s kiss.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Listening to music.

What should we be reading?
Anything by Eve Babitz.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Laughter.

What does your house smell like?
Coffee.

What does your house sound like?
Quiet.

What is dear to your heart?
California.

What thoughts currently occupy you?
“I'm so happy I live in LA.”

What is your favorite animal?
Horses.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
An empty beach.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
A crowded beach.

Where is happiness found?
Within.

What do you find humorous?
The early seasons of The Simpsons.

What do you look forward to?
Traveling.

What do you want to trade?
Secrets.

What do you want to find?
Peace.

What should we listen to?
Durutti Column.

What was your last download?
The Leica camera App.

Any last words?
I’m just focusing on gratitude and kindness these days and hope others do the same.
 


CYNTHIA TALMADGE is wearing the Romy no.006. She is an artist living in New York City. Her solo exhibition Seven Sisters is currently on view at Carl Kostyál gallery, Milan through July 3rd.

What should we be reading?
Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer
Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
Devil’s Chessboard, Allen Dulles, the CIA by David Talbot
Season of the Witch by David Talbot
Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough

What do you collect?
I would collect art from 56 HENRY :)

The best arthouse film(s)?
Safe
To Die For
Lilya 4 ever
Dick with Kirsten Dunst
Anything by Artemis Shaw

What should we listen to?
Yung Lean, Lil Uzi Vert, Lee Hazelwood.

Where do you find good design?
Charlap Hyman & Herrero <3.

What does your house smell like?
Chauncey.

What do you still wish to learn?
Another language.

Where is happiness found?
I had a great time in Uzbekistan.

What do you find humorous?
Everything!

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Big wave surfing videos.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Uncut Gems or Good Time by the Safdie Brothers.
 


DUNCAN HANNAH is wearing the Gio no.002. He is an artist and writer living in Connecticut and Brooklyn.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
The hits of the British Invasion.

What is good design?
Classic Penguin paperbacks.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Coffee.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Put in my bookmark, turn off the lamp, and say goodnight to Tarzan (my cat).

What does your house smell like?
Oil paint and coffee.

What does your house sound like?
Vivaldi.

Who are your ideal guests?
Self-sufficient.

What should we be reading?
Cakes & Ale, by Somerset Maugham and Twentieth Century Boy: Journals from the Seventies" by Duncan Hannah (Vintage, 2019)

What do you collect?
Old enameled signs, 60s & 70s European film posters, autographed photos of obscure movie stars, drawings of the female nude, small paintings by my contemporaries, books, DVDs, CDs, newsboy caps, wooden ocean liners.

The best arthouse film(s)?
The Conformist, Trans Europ Express, Breathless, Babylon Berlin.

What takes you to cloud 9?
A good day's painting.

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
No idea.

What is a representation of simplicity?
Lakes, rivers and oceans.

What is dear to your heart?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

What thoughts currently occupy you?
Gratitude for my good fortune.

What is your favorite animal?
Cat.

What do you still wish to learn?
French.

What is still a mystery?
Life and Death.

Where is happiness found?
In the moment.

What is your favorite slogan?
“Only connect”, E.M. Forster.

What is modern?
The paintings of Richard Diebenkorn.

What is a distraction?
Ebay.

What should we listen to?
Bryan Ferry.

Any last words?
“Carpe Diem”.





 


LAUREN SERVIDEO is wearing the Romy no.007. She is a comedian living in New York City

Can you recall a dream?
I had a dream the other night that I was acting in a movie with Chloe Sevigny. When I woke up, I realized my boyfriend had been watching Zodiac while I was sleeping.

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
“If you're eating a shit sandwich, it's probably because you ordered it.”

What is the best cult classic?
Black Honey lipstick by Clinique! Get into it.

What is in your house?
Too much shit from eBay.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Watching a movie on the couch with my boyfriend while my little parrot naps on my shoulder.

What do you look forward to?
Warmer weather and longer days <3

What is your first memory?
Going to a petting zoo with my dad.

What should we listen to?
Your mother.

What is modern?
Oh god, I am so unqualified to answer these questions. Cell phones?

Where would you find your Doppelgänger?
In former interviewee Sasha Spielberg (my long lost sister).

What are you wearing?
Wide Leg Paper Bag Sweatpants by my friend Judi Rosen. They're the only sweatpants I know that make your butt look good.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Many soundtracks! I love hearing certain songs and remembering how I would listen to it at a certain age or time in my life. Lately it's been Strawberry Switchblade.

Where do you want to go?
Italy with my boyfriend! I want to take him on a Vespa ride or something.

What does your house smell like?
Maple syrup, weirdly?

What does your house sound like?
Creaking (it's a pre-war building).

What is dear to your heart?
Family.

What does progression mean to you?
Kidnappings, like age progression photos. Sad.

What did you have for Breakfast?
Corn flakes and coffee!

What is a rule that should never be broken?
I'm the wrong person to ask, rules were meant to be broken!

What is a rule that should always be broken?
See above.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Oh girl, I have nooo idea. An iron lung? I don't think they use those anymore since we got the polio vaccine.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
I feel like it's so much easier to find people who have the same interests as me! That's fun.

What was your last download?
This computer app called Voxal for vocal effects.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
What's for dinner?

What do you still wish to learn?
I would love to learn a new language.

Where is happiness found?
Food.

What do you find humorous?
The minutiae of the everyday, honestly.

What is a distraction?
I've been playing this card game called Pyramids on Neopets. I'm sorry that's such an unsophisticated answer and that my answer isn't, like, "learning to paint."

What is your favorite slogan?
You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.





 


MARIUCCIA CASADIO is wearing the Rosa no.001. She is a free spirited curator and Vogue Italia art consultant living in Milan, Italy.

What is your favorite meal?
Consommé and white wine.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Knowledge, retroactive memory, profoundness.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Amateurism and improvisation. They often may have interesting consequences.

What do you find humorous?
Being blocked by a Sars Co-V in 2021. Very old discounted science-fiction. Like a pre-Philip Dick, hilarious and stupid nightmare.

What should we be reading?
Gianna Manzini, Ritratto in Piedi, 1971. Don’t you think it is a very promising title? I feel very empathic with the brilliant style of this eclectic extraordinary writer, ranging from art to fashion to the self biographical portrait of her father of this book. Like Irene Brin she had a more frivolous side and signed as Pamela or Vanessa a great fashion column on Leo Longanesi’s Oggi magazine.

What do you collect?
Contemporary art, hares and rabbits in any material, style and size, objects and gadgets of any kind, then tamagotchis and robots, any kind of artificial intelligence.

The best arthouse film(s)?
Playtime and Mon oncle by Jacques Tati, Flaming Creatures by Jack Smith, Scorpio Rising by Kenneth Anger, Salomé by Carmelo Bene.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Thinking I will have my persona’s exact hologram living in my stead after I die.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
The generational soundtrack includes DNA, Lydia Lunch, Arto Lindsay and his songs from the early 80s, I love Pini Pini. The heart side is attached to REM, from songs like Losing my religion or Photograph to masterpiece albums like Murmur. I know it is obvious, maybe uncool, but I love dearly Michael Stipe in music The pilgrimage
Has gained momentum.
Take a turn
Take your turn
Take a fortune
Take your fortune!!!

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I have a coffee, espresso of course.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Make sure the TV is on.

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
I dream of meeting an Android looking like me. With a good budget I might try to commission my doppelganger to Boston Dynamics and have my robotic alter ego for sale to order.

What is good design?
A structural idea, a visual concept, a certain shape, material color in the environment or over your body you never get tired of. A matter of beauty perfect fit and personal affection.

Where do you find good design?
Any place, I am always full of wonder, excitement and gratitude for my ability to perceive it out of the blue, even in the most unexpected situations.

What does your house smell like?
A green garden for smokers.

What does your house sound like?
A polyphonic green garden.

What is dear to your heart?
Furniture with a story. The memory that objects absorb and return. The house of my parents without my parents in Bologna.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Respect and consideration of all beings.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Routine and adjustment.

What is your favorite animal?
Hare, wild rapid invisible in the landscape.

What do you still wish to learn?
How to live and how to fantasize well for more than 90 years. And, of course, how to get invisible.

What is still a mystery?
The Covid-19 vaccine, The next pandemic And, sure!, the universe.

What is your favorite slogan?
Bigger than life.

What is modern?
Someone or something inspired, innovative and distinguished. A shift in the known. A dream in real life.

Can you recall a dream?
I do not dream at night. But I dream a lot when I am awake and full of ideas. Walking fast and stepping forward.

What is a distraction?
Stumbling on a broken sidewalk.

What should we listen to?
Our insight, our sixth sense. We all are magic, in ways more potent than we know.





 


TOM ATTON MOORE is wearing the Salvo no.002. He is an artist living in London, England.

What is dear to your heart?
Zurich.

Where do you want to go?
Zurich. (Although anywhere but England would also be nice... Provence?)

Where is happiness found?
Zurich.

What do you still wish to learn?
German.

The best arthouse film(s)?
Evolution (2015) by Lucile Hadžihalilović.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Look at my phone.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Look at my phone (Welcome to now).

What stands the test of time?
Nothing (Im sorry).

Where would you find your doppelgänger?
I met him the first time in Milan, he’s actually really nice.

What is good design?
Good design is when something feels “right”.

Where do you find good design?
In places you don’t expect it.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
What is the new world we’re about to go into?

What is still a mystery?
Whether there was (or is) life on Mars.

What is your favorite slogan?
“Like A Fine Wine, I Just Get Better With Time” - Ramona Singer 2016

What is a distraction?
Carmen on Twitch… apparently I’m into streamers now.





 


NADIA GOHAR is wearing the Romy no.007. She is an artist living in Toronto, Canada.

What takes you to cloud 9?
A perfect uniform, purple wall to wall carpet, foil take-out swans, tahini & molasses combo, red brick, fawazeer Sherihan, summer smoke bush trees, the smell of mimosa flowers, hotel towel animals...

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
Maybe a bow or wheat.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
The only soundtrack I can listen to from start to finish on any given day is the Phantom Thread soundtrack.

Where do you find good design? ?
In older cities.

What should we be reading?
A friend recommended Etel Adnan’s newest book of poetry, "Shifting the Silence", so I’m reading that now and would also recommend it.

What are you wearing?
Haha sexy question.

What does your house smell like?
At the moment, chicken stock.

What does your house sound like?
The fridge making ice.

What did you have for breakfast?
I usually don’t eat in the morning...just coffee or tea, but recently I started eating eggs- which I’ve avoided all my life- so I had two boiled eggs for lunch.

What is your favourite candy?
I prefer chocolate or kettle corn.

The best arthouse film(s)?
The best is so hard to pick..some films I rewatched recently that were still just as incredible as the first time I saw them are: Felini’s Casanova, Last Year at Marienbad, Horse of Mud, and The Wind Will Carry Us.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
I’m thinking a lot about script writing. Over the last few years I’ve been really interested in making a film and the pandemic has allowed me time to explore things I have been putting off.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
When I was a kid, my best friend Ahmed’s house was like a museum. His parents collected Egyptian modernist paintings and every inch of their house was covered in paintings, even his bedroom that we used to hang out in. That experience as a whole I think mattered to me..being among so much work. There was one painting in particular by Mahmoud Said that always stood out to me. It was in the living room and sometimes we sat under it. There was always something mysterious about the woman in the portrait, and we often discussed who we thought she was. "La Femme Aux Boucles D'or.” It is a portrait of a woman posing in front of what I’m guessing is the Nile and Cairo’s cityscape by night. She had bright hazel eyes, thin, raised eyebrows, and tight blonde locks that reminded me of when you run the blade from a pair of scissors through ribbon to make it coil for a gift wrap or a bouquet of flowers.

What do you still wish to learn?
I sometimes wish I could go back to school for archaeology.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Cotton

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Cotton lace





 


ELEONORE CONDO is wearing the Romy no.004. She is a writer and actress living in New York City.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Going to see a play alone and then calling a friend who saw it last week to discuss while walking to the subway. Feeding the birds in Central Park.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
It would be so cool for me to say “Lou Reed” or something like that but in reality it’s show-Tunes.

What is still a mystery?
Have we figured out who framed Roger Rabbit? That looms large…

What do you look forward to?
Meeting up with a friend for lunch, walking around and going into a bunch of shops and then realize it’s getting late and you’re hungry again so you go and grab dinner and then realizing that a movie you both wanted to see is playing nearby so you go see it and then you leave the theater chatting about the film and you consider whether or not to get one last drink and maybe you do and maybe you don’t but either way you had so much fun.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Laughing uncontrollably with my sister. Being in love!

What is in your house?
My cat and my fiancé, Aaron.

What did you have for Breakfast?
Today? Black coffee. But I love to have a piece of toast with butter and homemade jam.

Can you recall a dream?
I remember most of my dreams. Most of them are completely demented and not meant for mass-retellings.

What is your first memory?
I remember the day my sister came home from the hospital. I threw up all over the place before she came but once she did, I couldn’t wait to hold her.

What is good design?
The little tray that comes in Maille cornichons jars that lifts the pickles out of the brine.

What should we be reading?
Oof! I’m really on a Steinbeck kick right now but Shirley Jackson is my all time favorite. Middlemarch gave me the escapism I was needing at the beginning of the pandemic. Passing by Nella Larsen. Plays—plays are perfect for reading in the bath—anything by Annie Baker, Adrienne Kennedy, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins, also Deathtrap by Ira Levin is SO much fun. More novels, The Dud Avocado! The Secret History! Anna Karenina for god’s sake! There are so many —email me.

What is dear to your heart?
My sister, mom, dad, Aaron, cat, friends — all the usual suspects.

What is your perfect meal?
The crudités basket from La Chaumiere, Zuni Cafe’s roast chicken, lots of seasonal fruit and fresh whipped cream. OR an everything bagel with cream cheese and a black coffee from Absolute Bagels.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Funding for the arts.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
The arts!

The best arthouse film(s)?
I appreciate that parenthetical “s” since there’d be no way for me to whittle it down to one. Babette’s Feast, Tampopo, Holy Motors, Moonlight, Rosemary’s Baby, Burning, The Florida Project, After Hours.

What was your last download?
The Craigslist app.

What do you still wish to learn?
How to speak French and Italian very well and how to beat Aaron at chess—I hate losing.

What do you find humorous?
Niles Crane.

What stands the test of time?
Love for one another, caring for your community, making sure the people you know and the people you don’t know have what they need to live happy lives.





 


ANDREAS SCHULZE is wearing the Gio no.003. He is an artist living in Cologne, Germany.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Ei
Egg

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Eiersalat
Egg Salad

Where would you find your Doppelgänger?
Gestern im Fernsehen hab ich 2 gesehen.
Yesterday on TV I saw two of them.

What is your favourite candy?
Brunsli from Heinemann in Düsseldorf.

What does your house smell like?
Nach gutem Essen.
Like good food.

What does your house sound like?
Kaputte Türklingel.
A broken doorbell.

What is dear to your heart?
Nebel
Fog

Where do you want to go?
Italien
Italy

What did you have for Breakfast?
Porridge and Lapsang Souchong Bio.

What is your favourite word in any language?
Comunque

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Originalität
Originality

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Zitate
Quotes

What is your favourite animal?
Faultier
A sloth

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
„Die vier Jahreszeiten“ by Caspar David Friedrich

What do you still wish to learn?
Italienisch
Italian

What do you see outside your window?
Ein Fenster
A window

What makes you feel nostalgic?
„Schön ist die Jugendzeit, sie kommt nicht mehr“
“Youth is beautiful; it won't come back“

What do you find humorous?
Contemporary art

What is your favourite slogan?
Niemals aufgeben.
Never give up.

What is the last thing you do at night?
Ich mache das Licht aus und lasse den Fernseher an.
I turn off the light and leave the TV on.





 


CHRISTIAN RAVNBAK is wearing the Rosa no.009. He is a florist living in Copenhagen, Denmark.

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
“Je me fais un jeu d’agiter les coeurs”, which translates as “I make a game of playing with hearts”. It's an old french motto I once saw inscribed in an antique, victorian intaglio signet ring. I so regret that I didn't buy it.

Can you recall a dream?
I only dream awake.

What would you want to find?
Love !

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
I eat out every day. It's not that I don't like cooking, but I love the feeling of life around me. It can be the person serving me coffee at a cafe or a waitress at a restaurant. It could even be a dog on my way.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Unfortunately not <3

What should we listen to?
I'm obsessing over Lana del Rey at the moment. It happens quite often.

What makes a home?
YOU make a home.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
The royal garden next to my place in Copenhagen; definitely a favourite garden of mine. It has a small castle in the middle, and beautiful tiny and very cared for gardens surrounding it.

What does your house smell like?
Perfumes are a big thing for me right now ! I'm all about santal notes.

What is dear to your heart?
Friends, flowers and antiques.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
I don't like rules, but I try my best, and always aim to exert myself. Putting an effort into dressing "well" or arranging flowers for example gives me a lot joy. And nothing is more sexy than exerting oneself.

What do you collect?
Antiques !

What thoughts occupy you currently?
I just took over a summerhouse near the ocean in Denmark, and I'm opening up a little antique shop.

What is still a mystery?
Many things luckily !

Any last words?
A quote by Walt Whitman - I don't necessarily agree with all the statements in the quote, but I like it as a kind of life guide; a guide to feel responsible, respecting everybody and everything. “I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.”





 


CLARA ZEVI is wearing the Romy no.006. She is the co-founder of ARTISTS SUPPORT and an art history researcher living in Rome, Italy.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Help old ladies cross the road.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Avril Lavigne in the morning, Schubert while I work, Sean Paul or Beyonce after 9. I’m a simple gal.

What should we be reading?
You choose but I’m reading Elena Ferrante. I know I’m way late in the game. It’s worth it for some of the characters’ names. There’s Gigliola Spagnuolo, the pastry maker’s daughter and Giuseppina Peluso, Marcello Solara, Pinuccia Caracci, Donato Sarratore…

Where would you find your Doppelgänger?
The little boys in Caravaggio paintings - dark eyes and round rosy cheeks.

What was your last download?
A YouTube video of Kara Walker talking about her work Fons Americanus that was installed at the Tate Britain last year. I’m adding it to the syllabus I’m helping put together for incarcerated students at Rikers island. Kara Walker is so eloquent and her art is a much-needed push to make us (wo)man-up and face our brutal past.

What takes you to cloud 9?
I bought a tulip bulb in the flower market in Amsterdam in December that grew to the height of two De Cecco spaghetti packets one on top of the other. Sticking with the Dutch theme, being on the top floor of the Rijksmuseum at 4:45pm as the guards start kicking people out and you have Vermeer and Rembrandt all to yourself-cloud 9, baby!!!

What is good design?
Gloves attached by a string that you slide into a coat. I don’t understand why only kids get them.

Where do you find good design?
In medieval illuminated manuscripts, particularly in the margins and borders. Medieval artists came up with the most inventive patterns and designs to surround the (usually) minuscule paintings in prayer/holy books. Sometimes the borders are pretty simple and just look like ornate, gothic frames. Some (mostly French) artists started to draw borders that looked like the facades of the cathedrals that were going up all over Europe. But my favorite designs are the totally absurd ones. In one prayer book, at the bottom of the page there’s a drawing of two rabbits walking on their hind legs leading a prisoner into his cell. In another, a monk is exposing his derriere to a praying nun. Art/design doesn’t always have to take itself seriously :)

What does your house smell like?
Often like burnt toast. I confuse well-toasted with over-toasted.

What does your house sound like?
My neighbors - their yappy dog and scheduled hanky panky (once a week, on Sunday).

What is dear to your heart?
My family. Blood and chosen.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Being able to see things on my computer. Getting access to libraries this last year has been difficult (duh) but it's amazing to me how much has been scanned and archived. God bless the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Met - so much material perfectly photographed and labelled.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
Is it bad to eat cheese at every meal?

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Pingu, then Titian.
The last work that mattered to me is a large hanging almanac by a young artist that my sister Alma introduced me to. He’s called Simone Carraro and he just graduated from the art school in Venice. Simone uses a lot of folklore and medieval imagery in his work. He's interested in the Venetian lagoon—its history, structure and what it gives/takes from the city. For the calendar he painted a local custom/natural phenomenon for each month, for example the pesce go which are eaten in March and two cultish witches for October.

What do you still wish to learn?
How to predict what’s going to happen in a thriller.

What is still a mystery?
How it took until the early 15th-century for artists to work out correct linear perspective. Somebody pointed this out to me last year and when you think about it, it is amazing to think that it took us that long to get it right.
I am also confused by boys that eat burgers all day and don’t get fat. And people with unadulterated straight teeth.

Where is happiness found?
Noise-cancelling headphones.

What do you see outside your window?
In NY, primary school kids playing tag in the playground. They make nice chalk drawings too, which I can see from my bedroom window. In Rome, cobalt blue skies and the man in the window across from me who smokes a cigarette shirtless every morning.

What do you find humorous?
The stories that children come up with.

What are you working on at the moment?
I started a non-profit a few months ago with my friend/artist Oscar Tiné. We asked eight NY-based artists to donate works to benefit local charities of their choice. Lorna Simpson made a collage to support Until Freedom, an incredible social justice organization that advocates and works to address systematic and racial injustice. Stephen Shore‘s photo of an NY diner will benefit in-need students in the photography program at Bard College. Hiroshi Sugimoto, Louise Lawler, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Rachel Rose, Kembra Pfahler and Pamela Hanson are also all participating in our initiative. They each selected a local charity dear to them and showed incredible generosity by donating works to benefit these great NY causes.
Oscar and I started working on ARTISTS SUPPORT when Covid hit and we wanted to help our city. We wanted to do something 100% charitable and we are so lucky that some of our heroes wanted to take part. Our NY sale closes next month and we're bringing the project to London and LA next.





 


PARKER VAN NOORD is wearing the Gio no.001. He lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Joe Colombo, Haruki Murakami, the Kimchi of my friend Aldo, good tomato compote mixed with cucumber and goat cheese, my little brother Korneel, the right Levi 501 fit: it has to be a wide fit(!!), Townes van Zandt, the meal my friend Joris prepares after a cold dip, Brigitte Bardot in Le Mepris, doing something (semi) mischievous, Hope Sandoval who is the lead singer of Mazzy Star, Josef Albers, Christopher Nolan, Jean Luc Goddard, Orchestra Baobab, sexual tension from someone who tries to be innocent, Peru, some clouds hanging far away, old white t-shirts in nice fabric worn together with some cool boots and a fast car, my childhood memories, the painting hanging above my bed, and shit don’t forget Sixto Rodriguez.

What do you see outside your window?
I am in the city right now and everyone’s at home of course. The street I’m on is narrow and it gives me that ‘Rear Window’ feeling.

What makes you feel nostalgic?
Driving home to my mom in the summertime. Once you turn away from the highway, the road accompanies you with running horses and always makes me think of my days as a kid. I would always get up to something bad and have so much fun.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
‘Diary of a Young Man’ by Television Personalities. Although I can never grasp a single lyric, the rhythm is so good.

What is good design?
Something that you can look at for a long time. It sure doesn’t have to be pretty.

Where do you find good design?
Anywhere, and anyone can.

What does your house sound like?
My floor is old and the wood cracks weird sounds, though I kind of like that. Otherwise, I am always listening to music; I’m having a big and long lasting Townes van Zandt moment going on.

The best arthouse film(s)?
8 1/2 by Fellini, and Elevator to the Gallows. Does Stanley Kubrick’s 2001; A Space Odyssey count as an arthouse?

What do you collect?
Old cars, tape records for old cars, Joe Colombo pieces, little/scattered bits of my dad, Wim Wenders books, Levi jeans, memorabilia, and pages that I write from the places that I’ve been.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
My mom did this project on freedom and it was mostly based on the geographical movement of breath linked to people living in a psychiatric institution. See, as they’re not able to travel places like most people can, she illustrated the process by tying their breath to a cloud, which then can travel to different places. The cloud would bring something like a familiar atmosphere from the psychiatric institution where the patients actually felt safe traveling outside of their barriers.




What is still a mystery?
I always like to think that everything is a mystery. When I try to lose my grip on the definition, the most mystic feeling comes over me but it is always a warm feeling because I am no longer trying to make sense. Right there I feel like I need nothing. It gets me thinking: what is quite the opposite of mystery? What if it’s definition? I feel definition is the biggest obsession for humans, and that sucks because definition feels so relative and limited. Maybe things would be much more smooth if we weren’t trying to define so much.

What do you still wish to learn?
Do away with guilt ridden feelings.

Where is happiness found?
The super 8 scenes in Paris, Texas.

What is dear to your heart?
My memories. Here is one that although you’re probably not waiting for it, is very extensive. My family tensions around holidays always build up so high. Our car was old and we travelled far. This one summer my parents broke down and my father turned the car off. As they went outside and started their fight I heard my mom's favorite song play on the radio. I quickly poked the volume on MAX and my parents ushered us to come outside. We started dancing and right there their struggle was solved. The song was Crazy by Gnarls Barkley and it always makes me smile to think of my parents like that. They loved each other so much.





 


LAILA GOHAR is wearing the Rosa no.006. She is an artist living in New York City.

What do you find humorous?
Self-deprecation.

Who are your ideal guests?
I have a theory on guests. You need the perfect mix of “characters” and “glue”. Characters are big personalities. People that are eccentric and loud and provocative. Ricky is a character. Glues are good listeners. People you can sit anywhere on the table and be sure they’ll be fine. If you have too many characters they can become competitive. Too much glue and it can be a little boring... so ideally, it’s the perfect ratio of glue to character.

What does your house smell like?
I like when it smells like quince. But it doesn’t right now.

What does your house sound like?
The heating pipes. You know that very NYC loud pipe bang.

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
I wake up early no matter when I sleep. Drink black coffee. Usually I don't really eat breakfast. Maybe I’ll nibble on a piece of stale bread or something if it’s laying around. And then I go to work. I’m usually out by 9 or so.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Cooking
A soup my bf makes
Flan
Louise bourgeois works
The right shade of brown
My phone not ringing the whole afternoon on Sunday

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
Sweet. I love embroidery especially on linens. I guess my name ? Is that boring ?

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Not really. I’d say more phases of soundtracks.

What is your perfect meal?
Simple things. Fish cooked in olive oil. Fresh vegetables. Anything cooked with attention to detail really…

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
Hmm ? Space ?

What should we be reading?
‘The Society of the Spectacle’. So relevant.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Well I just moved. Not far, just from Soho to TriBeCa so I haven’t really figured out what my new neighborhood spots are but my favorite neighborhood restaurant is Altro Paradiso…

What is your favorite word in any language?
Belraha in Arabic means slowly / take your firm but also “with comfort”.

What do you collect?
Nothing.

The best arthouse film?
Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
Anxiety always.

What do you still wish to learn?
So much.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
This quote by Sottsass:

What music makes you feel nostalgic?
I don’t really feel nostalgic.

Any last words?
Will do a better job on the next questionnaire for another cardigan?? :-P





 


QUINCY CHILDS is wearing the Polly no.005. She is a researcher in climate change and society at the University of Oxford living in Oxford, England.

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
Routine evades me, but I am enjoying reading about the daily rituals of others in a book by Mason Curry. Some of the most entertaining hacks have been Igor Stravisnky’s signature headstand if he ran into composer’s block or Thomas Wolfe who would start writing at midnight and use his refrigerator as his desk. Maya Angelou could only work in a hotel room: ‘a tiny mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin.’ She’d keep a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards, and a bottle of sherry. Of this solitary process she wrote, ‘it’s lonely, and it’s marvelous.’ I also love how Samuel Beckett described a period of intense creative activity as the siege in the room.

What makes you nostalgic?
Lily of the valley and tree swings. Cider doughnuts and leaf piles.

What is dear to your heart?
Anything that visualizes time: ammonite, a journal that becomes a palimpsest, or Japanese glass fishing floats with net imprints.

What do you collect?
Collect might be a euphemism for sentimental hoarding in my case. I tend to keep tickets to films, performances, exhibitions, and the sort. Detailed maps of fictional places. Redundant mechanisms once pioneering. Pressed flowers. Dioramas. Jotted notes on synchronicities. Found playing cards (I’m working on an entire deck). I love vintage postcards, especially those with intimate exchanges. I’m always amazed by how yearning for a loved one is so universally resonant and timeless, be it from Sappho, Neruda, or a certain Mildred from Brooklyn circa 1930.

Who is an inspirational figure?
My list is endless. To name a few who’ve been top of mind lately:

Ada Lovelace, b. 1815, wrote the world’s first algorithm designed to be run by computers. Her prescient concept of ‘poetical science’ led her to ask questions about how individuals and society relate to technology as a collaborative tool. This was a visionary concept that has only taken off in the design world in the last century.

Carter G. Woodson, b. 1875, lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month and dedicated his career to publishing African American history. I recently read his proposal to the NAACP to boycott racially discriminatory businesses in 1915, which resonates so acutely today: ‘I am not afraid of being sued by white businessmen. In fact, I should welcome such a lawsuit. It would do the cause much good. Let us banish fear. We have been in this mental state for three centuries. I am a radical. I am ready to act, if I can find brave men to help me.’

Rachel Carson, b. 1907, was a marine biologist and writer hailed as one of the most important conservationists in history. Recognized as the mother of modern environmentalism, her research led to the nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. Silent Spring is a book close to my heart and her persistence, along with many others, is what has inspired me to pursue a career in environmental justice.

Ana Mendieta, b. 1948, was a Cuban performance artist, sculptor, painter, and video artist best known for her ‘Silueta Series’ that express a resonant second-wave feminist sensibility. I read a book by Genevieve Hyacinthe called Radical Virtuosity (2019) that connects her work to the cultural aesthetics and sociopolitical currents of the Black Atlantic. This is an insightful read for those who might not associate her work beyond the periphery of the art world.

Mae C. Jemison, b. 1956, is the first African American female astronaut. Before joining NASA’s training program, she worked as a medical officer for the Peace Corps. I admire how she changed careers to pursue her childhood dream of going to space, making history as she soared above the atmosphere. She’s a great example that it’s never too late in life to do something extraordinary and break glass ceilings along the way.

Sheila Watt‐Cloutier, b. 1953, is a Canadian Inuit climate change activist and International Chair for Inuit Circumpolar Council. I recently learned she was publicly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Al Gore in 2007, only to be dropped before the prize was later awarded to Gore and the IPCC. However, making a nice parallel to this list, she won the Rachel Carson Prize that same year, and numerous accolades since. More representation of Indigenous leaders and activists, especially where socio-environmental issues are concerned, is desperately needed across academic, political, and cultural spheres.

Anasuya Sengupta, b. 1974, is an Indian poet, author, and activist for representing marginalized voices. She writes with compelling clarity on the importance of decolonizing the internet and the pervasive dangers of disinformation for democracy and social justice: “Accuracy is based on context and power. We need to recognize that in a post-truth world, it is not a simple binary between a fact and a non-fact. It is a spectrum from fact, multiple truths, propaganda, and lies.’ Mic drop.

What does your house smell like?
I like to have a bouquet and try to buy what’s local and in season. But I am most partial to fragrant, night blooming flowers like gardenia, jasmine, and tuberose. I’m rather nocturnal so perhaps that’s why I like flowers that are, too.

Where do you find good design?
It’s all around us in nature.

Plant intelligence. I think we can take a leaf out of a plant’s book for a lot of collaborative design concepts. One example is how plants process information from their environment through forms of integrated signaling. This system includes long-distance electrical signals and mycorrhizal networks of underground hyphal systems that connect individual plants. These networks also transfer water, carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients and minerals. This research topic is very compelling because it opens new ground (excuse the pun) for thinking about the complex agency of more-than-human life.

Railroad worms. Although these look like caterpillars, these are actually the female larviform of adult beetles. Through bioluminescence they can glow two colours: either yellowish-green from the abdomen, which warns predators they are toxic to consume, or bright red from their heads. Since other insects cannot see red, they can essentially camouflage themselves as invisible, nocturnal hunters with a headlamp. (The male beetles are not born as larviform and instead possess fancy feather-like antennae with the sole purpose of detecting female hormones; no light shows required!)

Shark skin. The skin of a shark is covered with so-called ‘dermal denticles’ that are basically flexible layers of small teeth. These create a low-pressure zone when the shark is in motion, enabling the shark to move with less resistance. It also provides antimicrobial protection from micro-organisms to prevent infection. With the lifespan of certain shark species reaching 400 years, scientists are at the cusp of learning the secrets to longevity through mitochondrial genome sequencing. Maybe their denticle skin holds part of the answer?

The Stenocara beetle. This critter can literally create water from thin air. Living in the arid Namib desert, it’s back is lined with nodes that collect moisture from the morning fog. The droplets then slide down those bumps into small rivets towards the beetle’s mouth. Researchers are currently using this anatomical design to develop biomimetic patterns that can harvest water from the air.

Beehives. From a design standpoint, a hexagonal shape applies to almost everything we build. It’s the most scientifically efficient packing shape because of how it distributes weight, affording even lightweight materials extra strength. What’s more, it can tessellate, which is noteworthy because it can circumscribe the largest area for a given perimeter. Beyond this, bees are responsible for pollinating almost a third of the food we eat! And their hives are the center of the action. Despite their importance, wild bee populations are at risk from climate change, toxic pesticides, and a loss of flowering habitat.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
J.M.G. Le Clézio describes the moon, as it is illuminated by the sun, as a prototypical film projector. This is such an enchanting way of thinking about nightfall as performing a camera obscura lit by other worlds. It is a simple concept that incorporates the vastness of space and time immemorial.

I love the opening lines of William Blake's “Auguries of Innocence” for how they capture the grandiosity of the world in simple objects:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
The mathematician John Conway’s Game of Life, which he described as a ‘no-player, never-ending game.’ He narrated a documentary Thoughts on Life that juxtaposes the deterministic game versus the Free Will Theorem that he proved in 2006.
- Hint.fm has created a mesmerizing real time map of the wind patterns across the US.

What should we be reading?
Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (2006). Hartman retraces the history of the Atlantic slave trade by narrating a journey she took along a slave route in Ghana. Along the trail of captives she confronts the gaps of her own genealogy and examines how slavery has shaped three centuries of African and African American history. Hartman is one of the most talented writers I’ve encountered, and her book is testament to the ways in which storytelling ‘can fill in the blank spaces of the historical record’ and ‘represent the lives of those deemed unworthy of remembering.’ I couldn’t recommend a text more.

Anna Tsing, et al., Arts of living on a damaged planet : ghost of the anthropocene (2017). This book starts with a compelling question—can humans and other species continue to inhabit the earth together? The editors offer urgent “arts of living” through critical and creative tools for collaborative survival in a more-than-human Anthropocene. I closed this book with a deeper appreciation for our entangled histories and situated narratives within wider ecosystems in which we can better understand our own positionality.

Kathryn Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes (2019). Yusoff challenges the monolithic term ‘the Anthropocene’ by revealing how it wrongly generalises the notion of accountability in climate change. Her main thesis critiques the very grammar of geology and uncovers how extractive economies exploit not only natural resources but the communities that surround them, thereby perpetuating the logics of colonialism and slavery.

Arturo Escobar, Designs for the Pluriverse (2019). Bridging autonomous design principles with the history of decolonial efforts of indigenous and Afro-descended people in Latin America, Escobar shows how reformulating current design practices can empower the creation of more just and sustainable social orders.

Sasha Costanza-Chock, Design Justice (2020). An exploration of how design in the hands of marginalized communities can work towards dismantling structural inequality, and advancing collective liberation and ecological survival. As an approach to design, the justice element aims explicitly to challenge, rather than reproduce, structural inequalities. Costanza-Chock shows how this approach has emerged from a growing community of designers working in unison with social movements.

Richard Milner and Whitney Phillips, You Are Here (2020). This book calls for a network ethics that looks beyond fanatic messaging (read: Twitter storms) to investigate the toxic downstream effects of information traffic. It shows how our media environment is in crisis, and how best we can attend to these issues by approaching information ecologically.

You can read these last two books open access here: https://design-justice.pubpub.org https://you-are-here.pubpub.org

What is a rule that should never be broken?
I like to ask for no phones at the table, although it can be difficult to enforce!

What is a rule that should always be broken?
This may sound obvious but bears repeating: any rule designed to discriminate people or things based on prejudicial treatment of different categories is worth defying.

What is your favorite word in any language?
Sila. It’s an Inuit concept translated by many non‐Inuit as climate but stands for so much more. The word has multiple significations from the environment, the weather, the breath, and even wisdom. As Zoe Todd writes: ‘The belief naturally evolved over time. Eventually, Sila became associated with incorporeal power, quite understandable, since not only does Sila — through breath — convey the energy that drives life, but Sila also manifests itself as tangible weather phenomena, such as the slightest touch of breeze, or as the flesh‐stripping power of a storm. Sila, for Inuit, became a raw life force that lay over the entire Land; that could be felt as air, seen as the sky, and lived as breath.’

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Privacy. In many ways the internet is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (draped in cookies and the like). With a little research, the dangers of data privacy become starkly apparent. On a more interpersonal level, it’s become increasingly difficult to truly disconnect.Growing up, I never thought I would aspire to anonymity and relish in the notion of feeling invisible. But then again, here I am doing an interview! So it’s reconciling this contradiction that can seem challenging at times: the expectation to represent oneself online (as authentically as possible) with the desire to maintain authenticity through privacy. It’s a balancing act. People who strive for fame when privacy is fast becoming gold dust confounds me.

There is also the paradox of our increasing connectivity in that it exacerbates polarity. Ulises Mejias writes about how online networks broaden participation yet also incite disparity, increasing exclusion rather than inclusion. In a similar vein, Costanza-Schock and others write about how algorithmic bias works to further discriminate data and users across neural networks.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
With careful maneuvering, contemporary culture can provide so many new outlets for emancipatory self-expression, especially for historically underrepresented voices and stories. Breaking down the barriers of mainstream media to allow minority stories become a majority would have to be the most exciting prospect for me. There is so much we can learn about history alone through its retelling from different perspectives. Just imagine the kind of kaleidoscopic future we could realise with a truly diverse chorus of cultural creators.

The best arthouse film(s)?
Within Our Gates (1920) by Oscar Micheaux. It’s a stunning rebuke of The Birth of a Nation with its undaunted portrayal of racial violence under white supremacy. As Patricia Mellencamp writes, the film shows ‘what Blacks knew and Northern Whites refused to believe’, turning the ‘accusation of “primitivism”... back onto White Southern culture.’
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939) by Kenji Mizoguchi. Sayat-Nova (1969) by Sergei Parajanov. Visual poetry. Every film by Tarkovsky, but especially Andrei Rublev: the scene with a pinhole image via a hole in the door of a medieval room. The first scenes of flight. The splattering of red paint in the chapel. The ringing bronze bell. The film is referenced in Mirror and Solaris, as if a biographic pinhole to Tarkovsky’s worlds within worlds. His book Sculpting in Time is also dear to me.
Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification (1979) by Barbara McCullough.
Losing Ground (1982) by Kathleen Collins and the fantastic short film it inspired: An Ecstatic Experience (2015) by Ja’Tovia Gary.
A Different Image (1982) by Alile Sharon Larkin
Sugar Cane Alley (1983) by Euzhan Palcy
Un jour Pina à demandé (1983), Nuit et jour (1991), and D’est (1993) by Chantal Akerman
Stormé: The Lady of the Jewel Box (1986) by Michelle Parkerson
Tongues Untied (1989) by Marlon Riggs
The Body Beautiful (1991), And Still I Rise (1991) and Welcome II the Terrordome (1994) by Ngozi Onwurah
Everything by Julie Dash. Her feature Daughters of the Dust (1991) vividly captures Gullah Geechee culture. Her shorts are also phenomenal, especially Four Women (1975) and Illusions (1982).
Orlando (1992) by Sally Potter, adapted from Virginia Woolf’s eponymous novel
Blue (1993) and Wittgenstein (1993) by Derek Jarmon
The films of James Benning are interesting for how they convey ‘landscape as a function of time’.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) by Apichatpong
Weerasethakul
House in the Fields (2017) by Tala Hadid
A Love Song for Latasha (2019) by Sophia Nahli Allison. The latest film I watched on this list and I’m still living inside of it. The director creates what she likens to a spiritual archive, or a re-imagining of Latasha Harlins that is poignant beyond description. She writes, “[w]hat does it mean to reimagine or rebuild an archive when that tangible evidence doesn’t exist, and how often that happens for Black women and girls, when their stories and their histories haven’t been properly preserved outside of oral history?” It’s on Netflix, watch it right away.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I read this at twelve or thirteen and it made a lasting impression on me. The story has so many layers to pick apart; as you turn the pages, those layers then peel to reveal themselves like the wallpaper itself. The descriptions of the nursery are still imprinted on my mind. Its patchy wallpaper with its ‘almost revolting’, sulphur tint. (‘A smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight’.) The barred windows. The floor scratched, gouged, and splintered. And the great immovable bed that the narrator believes to be nailed down.

Its significance as a seminal piece of feminist literature escaped me at the time, but it nonetheless struck me as a radical indictment about oppression. There’s the physician husband who knows there is no reason for his wife to suffer, and ‘that satisfies him.’ So he confines her to a nursery room atop a ‘hereditary estate’, where the very architecture connotes an unsettling, colonialist hauntology. This adds to the mental entrapments of the husband’s machination in an attempt to stamp out her ‘imaginative power and habit of story-making.’ It’s in this setting that she writes entries in her diary sub rosa.

An acutely farsighted work, The Yellow Wallpaper didn’t gain a following until nearly a century after its publication, which I think is why it cuts across so many contemporary talking points today. For all its prescience, it highlighted for readers then how discrimination of women subtended the blanket diagnosis of ‘hysteria’ in the 19th century. Today, it remains a powerful cri de cœur to normalize conversations around mental health and challenges the biases of positivism. I think the takeaway that resonates most, however, is that it’s a story about being silenced, and therein shows the importance of telling suppressed stories. In asking what threat those stories pose to the metanarrative, one can better see what subversive truths they yield about established constructs and assumptions. There will always be power in amplifying marginalized stories, be it through publishing, film, or other cultural media. Besides, delayed reception is often a trademark for great works because it indicates an initial resistance or discomfort to what those peripheral stories uncovered about the metanarrative at the time.

What is still a mystery?
Living rocks. There are these rocks called thrombolites in Western Australia that are believed to be amongst the earliest forms of life on earth.

Lunar phenomena. There are so many fascinating, unnoticed ways the moon influences life on Earth that still mystify me. It concerns time, tides, and light. The lunar compasses of crustaceans like sand hoppers. The mass spawning of coral reefs under a full moon. The Ephedra foeminea plant in bright moonlight that ‘weeps’ so that its droplets of pollen-fluid are lit up to attract insects. So much of the planet relies on a stable lunar rhythm, making light pollution a growing threat for species survival and also poses a range of negative effects to human health.

Ingenious examples of mimicry in nature. Of course this process can be explained through evolution as positive adaptation, but exactly how natural selection develops mimicry only insofar it successfully deceives predators, and is then considered complete, is mind-boggling to me. Some captivating examples include the Strymon melinus butterfly with its extra ‘head', the larva of elephant hawkmoth with alarmed ‘eyes’, the ‘four eye’ butterflyfish, the inter-sexual beta male Paracerceis sculpta, parasitic cuckoo eggs, the pseudocopulation exhibited by orchids, and the harmless milk snake that resembles the deadly coral snake. I think there is so much poeticism in this process of mimicry as survival, as did Nabokov, whose writings on the tele mechanistic process of mimicry as a critique of Darwinism are worth looking into.

What do you still wish to learn?
How to make time feel slower.

What does progression mean to you?
Decolonizing every aspect of the planet. To see Indigenous communities empowered. To see the climate as a commons. To see global governance transcend an imperialist desire to dominate other communities, cultures, and ecosystems.

To approach understanding others through what Marisol de la Cadena calls ‘co-laboring,’ which yields ‘a cosmopolitical vision that prefigures the possibility of respectful dialogue among divergent worlds.’ Importantly, this also comes with ‘an awareness of the limits of our mutual understanding and... of that which exceed[s] translation and even stop[s] it.’

Where is happiness found?
In my dog when he sees me in the morning. He greets me as if it’s been an eternity since the day before. He would probably agree with what Blake says about eternity in an hour come to think of it. Perhaps I’ll read the poem to him after this.

What are you currently working on?
My graduate dissertation on how to ensure net zero initiatives, such as carbon capture, are opportunities to provide tools for social justice.
I’m researching the rise of data centers in the Arctic circle through a decolonial lens; I will juxtapose this with the imagined space of post-extractive modernity.
A film and essay about the colonial occupation of Jeju over the 20th century.
An online publication called the Commonplace where we invite media researchers to discuss collaborative modes of knowledge creation and dissemination.

Last words?
I think this past year has thrown into stark relief the slippages that have persisted across scales: the interdependence of communities and ecosystems alike. The pandemic, social inequality, racial injustice, and the climate crisis are all deeply intertwined. It’s essential we care for everyone as well as the planet we all share. We can only do so through abolitionist and decolonial paradigms, through which we can uproot exploitative systems and replace them through co-labouring to create new forms of community design, interpersonal governance, an infrastructure for privacy, and respect for the commons. To create a future in which all people and life forms are empowered with dignity and care. This notion of care is often scoffed at for its tender associations, but it’s the foundation for values that are still deemed radical in parts of the world, values such as equality, diversity, and inclusion. So I suppose my last words would be an earnest appeal to care, to care defiantly and without limits, because there’s power in giving oneself to the cause for others.





 


RICKY CLIFTON is wearing the Gio no.001. He is a decorator living in New York City.

What takes you to cloud 9?
The Color Murasaki
Persian Blue
Orange
Meiji Glass
Handmade Wallpaper
The Tale of Genji
Bel Canto Operas: Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini
Patsy Cline
Italian Glass
Matisse
Fornasetti
Italian Design
Carlo Scarpa
Carlo Mollino
Leopard
Luchino Visconti
Italian Movies
Japanese Movies
Aesthetic Movement
Museums
Charles James
Cecil Beaton
Carl Van Vechten
Plants
Kimonos
Paper Flowers
Milan
Monica Vitti
Kyoto



 


PAZ MENDEZ HODES is wearing the Rosa no.008. She is a video producer and writer living in Los Angeles.

What is good design?
Rex vegetable peeler, $9 knockoff Dieter Rams alarm clock (the Braun one ticks too loud), black silicone spoon and spatula from Muji. Pre-industrial hand knitting, especially socks and fisherman sweaters.
I recommend Bruno Munari's analysis of the orange as product design, best quote: "Apart from juice the sections generally contain a small seed from the same plant that produced the fruit. This is a small free gift offered by the firm to the client in case the latter wishes to start a production of these objects on his own account."
Other considerations, shaped by google searching "buddha on material possessions": Does it get better as it gets older? If it wears out, can you replace it easily? Is it accessible to everyone? Does it make a boring part of your life more beautiful? If it's cheap, would you buy it even if you had to pay a lot? If it's expensive, would you buy it if you found it in Walmart?

Where do you find good design?
Once I found four Artek chairs in a dumpster.

What would you embroider onto a pillow?
First of all, I'd needlepoint (basketweave of course; cross-stitch is T-A-C-K-Y) "Kill Them All, God Will Know His Own" :)

What should we be reading?
Dream: "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State" by Friedrich Engels. Reality: "Sweet Days of Discipline" by Fleur Jaeggy, because it is so sublime and terrifying that it will floor you for the rest of the year. I read it 2 months ago and I'm still lying down. PLUS it is 100 pages long. BONUS who doesn't love a story set in a Swiss boarding school?

Who is an inspirational figure?
Franz Fanon, Pope Francis.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
I moved to Los Angeles this year - It's a messed-up place riddled with fundamental failures. But every time I go outside I still want to cry with how beautiful parts of it are. Everything looks like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, fun colors and hand painted signs everywhere. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the Flintstones, for example yesterday when I watched a hawk maim a dove amidst my neighbor's giant agave plantings. I don't drive, so when someone takes me in their car on the highway I feel like I'm in the Jetsons, like "wow what is this spaceship life!?"

What takes you to cloud 9?
When the group chat is in deep flow, when the group chat experiences blessings & success, support and love from the group chat

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - P.P. Arnold
"Blues Run The Game" - Jackson C. Frank
"Jesus Was A Crossmaker" - Judee Sill
"Ain't Nobody Home" - Howard Tate
"I'm Set Free" - The Velvet Underground

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
My exes' exes - uncanny.

What does your house smell like?
Dream: cut flowers and palo santo
Reality: rice cooker, cabbage

What does your house sound like?
Unrelenting mosquito & paleta truck jingle with doppler effect.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Sincerity, pleasure, accessibility

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
The idea that another world is possible. Also films by Artemis Shaw, paintings by Cynthia Talmadge, sculpture by Kira Freije, design by Charlap Hyman & Herrero!

The best arthouse films?
1. now-instant.la - an LA cinema and bookstore closed for covid but now screening brilliant, important programs online. Do not miss the lovingly and rigorously presented accompanying texts.
2. Tiktok

What was your last download?
"The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State" by Friedrich Engels.

What do you still wish to learn?
How I can square my anarcho-syndicalist politics with my penchant for LUXURY & books set in Swiss boarding schools

What do you see outside your window?
A 1930s spanish-style bungalow courtyard: terracotta roof tiles, dwarf palms, all different kinds of ferns and figs on the balconies, cute cats sleeping on stairs. Yesterday I saw a possum hiding in one of the two-story banana trees (assume it was the same one that appeared in my living room a couple months back). Also an unidentified mammal trundling a bit too casually down the path - it was the size of a long guinea pig, stub tail, snub nose. Before you say mutant rat - it wasn't moving fast enough.

What do you find humorous?
Bathos

What is your favorite slogan?
You can't be stressed if it's not your fault!

What is the best cult classic?
The Passion Flower Hotel by Rosalind Erskine*. Aka the Tiktok version of Fleur Jaeggy. It's a fun story about a bunch of teen girls who set up a bordello in the theater of their Swiss boarding school. My mom gave it to me when I was little, her naughty aunt had given it to her. I think Ma kind of blocked out the subject matter and when I passed it on to my best friends she was horrified.
*Real name: Roger Longrigg. Plot twist!!!

What are you wearing?
I'm in bed, so nothing but Chanel #5 and a surgical mask. Leorosa cardigan wrapped around my head for warmth.

Any last words?
Send cardigans.





 


FAYE WEI WEI is wearing the Antonietta no.002. She is an artist living in London, England.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Spaghetti for breakfast.

What’s for Sunday dinner?
Sundays have such a special mood like an opal. I live near pudding lane and all the streets are cobbled and the street lamps gleam golden. The best sunday dinner...beef wellington at the Grenadier paired with London pride, or a candle lit dinner at Andrew Edmunds, or if I'm lucky maybe a long luxurious dinner party at Jago and Lowena's place surrounded by their candles and love and wine and wine and cheese and wine...and three different kinds of butter...and Lo's cakes, more beautiful than two swans dancing in love seen alone through the keyhole of a secret garden at night silent in dew...and a perfect roast piglet.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Honestly I love Laura Marling so much.

What is good design?
Those antique musical boxes with the little mechanical birds that sing and quiver around, or anything by JB Blunk, the beautifully expressed feelings in a single piece of clay with emotion pressed into its material by his hands, rolled up the sides or pinched into pots, they are so divine. Or a feather. When I was etching the other day Colin told me that you use feathers to disturb the bubbles on the surface of the acid, he has a big pot of lovely raggedy brown feathers.

Where do you find good design?
I would wander around with Adrián and Julian in Vienna! One day I bumped into them at a flea market and we snuck into an apartment building and walked to the very top, it was so wonderful the art nouveau details made the elevator look like a precious box with flowers in bloom and intertwined around it, the lights looked like little cakes made of moon and the stairs curved and swirled its way up like the curly bits that grow off the stems of garden pea plants. I couldn't believe that people live in and amongst such beauty.

What does your house smell like?
Oil paint.

What does your house sound like?
My family, nattering in cantonese.

What is dear to your heart?
Hong Kong, my cantonese food culture, roast duck and rice.

What do you collect?
Photographs people have taken of the sea that I find in junk shops in new york. I love the idea of us all finding the ocean so overwhelmingly beautiful that we must pocket some of its luck in a photograph. Sometimes you can't tell at first what is the sea and what is the sky, just the tension of the line in between them, which I often think of when I think of the tension between colours in a painting, vibrating and jostling for attention next to one another to form the planes of colour that make a painting full of feeling. I also collect so many books and old oil paint colours and old paper to draw on and ceramics and antiques and recipes and furniture and pearls and rings and cooking utensils and beautiful plates to decorate your dinner with, and table cloths and different shades of the same red lipstick.

The best arthouse films?
Happy Together is my all time favourite film. It is perfect in my mind, I cry every time I see him crying into the cassette recorder. It is the most poetic poignant heartbreaking thing that takes my heart away--burying words unsaid or secret things of your heart in the silence of your own breathing, heart thumping, lungs filled with thought and sadness. All of Wong Kar Wai's films even though they are full of love, are imbued with awareness that the world and what we love in it will forever keep slipping away from us... Recently too I watched Beanpole, Selfish Giant, Our Little Sister, Le Havre, Little Forest, the fountain scene in la dolce vita and i loved all of these so much.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
My mum just told me that all the chestnuts on the common got blown off the trees before they were ready and ripe!! So we won't be able to forage for chestnuts this year, which is so sad because it's my favourite treat, but actually the fishmonger has a really good batch this season, so big and full of sweet flesh right up to the husk, so maybe it's ok.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
I remember when me and my brother discovered the radio, we would listen to classical music and write down what we thought the story of the music was. It was our little music club and I would make miniature invitations to listening parties with little envelopes. The music--the lulls and leaps in the velvet blanket of music would wake up our imaginations. I remember, we would think of all the stories and tell them to each other, a white horse running through a field of blue flowers or a bird in flight we thought.

What do you still wish to learn?
How to write a song.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Painting a flower.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Painting the interlocking chains in the chain mail part of armour.

What was the last thing you photographed?
Me in this too pretty makes me squeal gorgeous Leorosa cardigan <33

What do you see outside your window?
A huge stained glass window as my home abuts a really old church in old london town - I really have the most special view in all of London. My own private stained glass window that occasionally glitters alight when there is someone singing opera in the church and I can hear her through the stone.

What stands the test of time?
Having dinner with someone you love will never get old and will always be my absolute favourite thing to do, and ordering cheese before pudding and always getting at least three puddings with dessert wine pairing.

Any last words?
I have a book of drawings called 'Hooker's Green Lake' that I made with my friend Manon Lutanie and Cob Gallery, it is coming out next month and it is a lovely little precious thing that is just so simple but is one of the most meaningful things I have ever made and I am just so proud of it! I can't really think of anything else so I hope it's ok for me to mention, thank you for this sweet interview, I think it is clear that I am feeling rather hungry... and I am a little greedy. <3 xxx
 


KETUTA ALEXI-MESKHISHVILI is wearing the Polly no.003. She is an artist living in Berlin, Germany.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Empathy.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
That it can tell us so much about ourselves.

What do you treasure most in your neighbourhood or city?
In Tbilisi I treasure how my daughter can roam, unsupervised on our street all day with the neighbourhood kids. In Berlin, multiple languages spoken in the nearby parks, as well as our proximity to our studios and friends, are all gems.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
As a child I imagined her on another planet, which was identical to ours, but with days and nights reversed. I would dream her waking life and she dreamt mine because we were connected in our sleep.

Who is an inspirational figure?
Anyone who overcomes their circumstances through their commitment to justice or art.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
I find soundtracks distracting, even in films.

What is good design?
Earth without humans sounds pretty good. Humans did create some good design however: from the Coca Cola logo to Carlo Mollino, from Aldi totes to Chanel 2.55 bags, there is so much to choose from.

Where do you find good design?
Everywhere

What should we be reading?
We should be reading Octavia Butler, of course.

What is your favorite word in any language?
ორსული. Which in Georgian literally means “two souls“ and refers to a pregnant woman.

What do you collect?
Trash to make art out of.

The best arthouse film?
I always go back to “Vagabond” by Agnes Varda.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Having grown up surrounded by art and artists, it is very hard to choose. As a young child I do remember attempting to visualise the vibrancy of colours in Russian fairy tales.

What is still a mystery?
Music

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Things that appear simple are usually complex underneath.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Capitalism.

What do you find humorous?
Everything

What do you see outside your window?
Trees.

Can you define the words ‘timeless’ and ‘contemporary’?
Something contemporary is inherently related to the particular time of its inception, while something timeless manages to stay relevant in multiple contemporaneities.

What are you working on at the moment?
Getting through the lockdown and coming Berlin winter. I reckon, there will be a lot of cooking and shooting of polaroids.

What is your favorite slogan?
Slow and steady wins the race.

What was the last thing you photographed?
Myself for this interview :)
 


LEE RANALDO is wearing the Gio gilet no.001. He is a musician and co-founder of Sonic Youth living in New York City.

What was your last download?
Hmm! Vintage program and photos from a performance benefit for The Kitchen art-center in NYC, two nights in June 1981 at the huge discotheque Bonds here in New York. I performed with Glenn Branca on one of the nights. Other performers included DNA, Laurie Anderson, John Giorno, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, David Byrne, Bush Tetras and many more. It was an amazing time, culturally, in New York just then – we were still an isolated, ‘island’ city, off the coast of the USA…

What do you collect?
As an artist working in sound, I’ve long been using bells and recorded bell sounds in my work. I began my own collection of bells some years ago, and it’s growing. Mostly hand bells which can sound so beautiful, but also industrial bells, church service bells, sleigh bells, the little bell to ring on a hotel desk.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
Sonic Youth was often compared to The Beatles – an extreme high compliment! We were the Fab Four of noise! In that meta-verse I was always deemed ‘the George Harrison’, whatever that means.

What music makes you nostalgic?
There were what we called ‘AM radio singles’ when I grew up, just as the Beatles hit the airwaves and quickly changed all of our listening habits – often one hit wonders from the days of the 45 rpm single – be it Midnight Confessions by the Grass Roots, Dancing In The Moonlight by King Harvest, Be My Baby by the Ronettes – or almost anything by The Monkees – remind me of my earliest listening experiences, when rock n roll was coming out of tiny radios and turning on our young minds and bodies.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Rules were made to be broken – I’m not sure there is one that shouldn’t be.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
‘Don’t take that apart, you’ll never get it back together again!’

Who is an inspirational figure?
To choose only one is nearly impossible, but I choose American artist Robert Smithson. His works, his writings, his thinking on art and culture have been informing my vision since the late 70s. He brought brand new practice and thinking to the contemporary art conversation.

What takes you to cloud 9?
A sunny day in summer is all it takes.

What should we be reading?
I recently finished The Overstory, but Richard Powers. A magical contemporary tale on the life of trees and the ecological precipice man finds himself in today, it was very moving, one of the most affecting books I’ve read this year.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
I am obsessed with the upcoming US election – between that and the pandemic, it’s been the most anxiety-producing year on record for me and, I sense, many others. First the isolation factor, and on top of that, Tramp. He must be defeated if our country is to survive. We’ll know soon…

What is dear to your heart?
I must tell you truly, my bicycle. I can obsess over my bike, and going out for long rides 2-3 times per week is a must for me, year round. It keeps me sane and is a meditative time with the body and the breath.

What is your perfect meal?
I like food, so this is a hard question! Maybe a Japanese meal of sushi and other delights, with cold crisp sake to drink.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
The soundtrack changes constantly – I can be totally hooked on a song or an artist’s catalog, and then another takes its place. New music, old music, music made by friends or made 100 years ago -

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
One of the most difficult things for me to find is time for silent reverie. I obsess over my phone, the information and distraction it presents. Add on the daily news and household duties and work desires. New York is a very active city – there are always 10 things possible to be doing, so carving out quiet time is essential but not always easy.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
To me adding modern technology into the mix of contemporary art practice makes for exciting new possibilities.

The best arthouse films?
Lately I’ve been immersed in Fellini films! I never knew his body of work deeply, so I’ve started with some of the earliest and working through them all. I loved I Vitelloni, La Strada and especially Nights of Cabiria.

What is good design?
Good design fulfills a function – it can be a fork or a car or a pair of socks – and does so elegantly, made with care and consideration.

Where do you find good design?
Everywhere I look. I was standing next to an elderly Chinese man in Chinatown the other day, and I noticed a tiny pair of folding scissors – bright metal – hanging from his keychain. They were fully functional, and folded for protection and transport, and cheap (he said, “you buy here in Chinatown, one dollar fifty cent!”). Good design need not be expensive.

What do you still wish to learn?
I’ve been trying for many years now to learn/improve my French speaking skills. I start to get somewhere, but then slip back again. I’d also like to learn how to knit.

What do you find humorous?
People who take themselves too seriously.

What is your favorite slogan?
“Change is good”. I found this out some years ago. Change is almost always good, in spite of our resistance to it, and leads to growth and a new look at life.

How do you define the words ‘timeless’ and ‘contemporary’?
Contemporary is NOW, everything that’s happening all around us, and timeless is FOREVER – the quality of being as fresh and ‘modern’ today as at any other point in history, free of fad or fashion.

What does your house smell like?
There are plenty of good food smells in our house! Aromatic herbs and sauces simmering. But otherwise, we don’t burn incense or smoke in our house, and the windows are always open. Occasional smells of men working on the street, construction in New York City is endless! But mostly there is a pure smell of the air – meaning almost no smell, like water tastes.

What does your house sound like?
Sometimes the house is dead quiet, if Leah and I are both home and working. Sometimes – especially in these last months, with pandemic and elections – the news radio is on. Other times there is music, either being made live or records played, lots of music

What stands the test of time?
Time is relative and in constant flux – not much really stands the test. We humans have a warped sense of time - the entire history of our species is just a blip on the cosmic timeline.

Any last words?
Stay safe and healthy out there! I hope we’ll meet again once all this is over.
 


ADAM CHARLAP HYMAN is wearing the Leo cardigan no.002. He is a designer living in New York City.

Where is happiness found?
A dollhouse furniture store.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Old ladies on the bus and my 24 hour bodega.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Eugenia Errazuriz's broom with a bow tied on it.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Paper mache Napoleon III furniture with inlaid mother-of-pearl designs.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Turin on a cloudy day

Who do you find to be an iconic person?
Helena Rubinstein

What is dear to your heart?
The artichoke-shaped salt and pepper shakers my friend Grace gave me.

What should we be reading?
I am reading a light book on Eugenia Errazuriz - a Chilean patron of Modernism who laid a lot of groundwork for what became modern interior design. Late in life she became a nun and wore a habit by Chanel. She was pretty rad.

What does progression mean to you?
I'm not sure I believe in the idea of progression.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Don't knock people off.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Not to take photos of houses you want to remember :/

What do you collect?
Shell-shaped objects.

What do you find humorous?
When things are the wrong size.

The best arthouse film?
"To Die For" by Gus Van Sant

What do you still wish to learn?
A lot more about the art and design history of Japan.

What is still a mystery?
That some people seem not to destroy their clothes instantly.

What was your last download?
An amazing book on tape called "Hitler's Northern Utopia" by Despina Stratigakos

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
The French period rooms at the Met.

What is good design?
One reason I form this opinion about a thing is that it looks like it could look no other way.

Where do you find good design?
I think anywhere where people are being thoughtful and sincere.

What was the last thing you photographed?
Some wallpaper I designed with my mom getting installed!

What is your favorite slogan?
"It ain't over till it's over" - Yogi Berra

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Reflection

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
A growing awareness of systems of power and how they shape us.

What are you working on at the moment?
Interiors in New York and Los Angeles, a few fabrics, and some jewelry designs.





 


PASQUALE LECCESE is wearing the Gio gilet no.001. He is an art dealer living in Milan, Italy.

What do you collect?
This question makes me nervous because of the word collect ! To collect is an art. I am a compulsive accumulator!! I collect everything ! From ties to tram tickets, art, furniture, and rare books. One of my favorite writers Bruce Chatwin, his book Anatomy of Restlessness is a sort of bible for me.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
A gypsy camp or in a movie by Emir Kusturica.

What is your perfect meal?
I enjoy cooking simple recipes from my hometown. It is a form of relaxation for me. I will usually mix spices from different countries like turmeric (curcuma) and cumin. Risotto milanese con curcuma, it’s yellow too !

Who are your ideal guests?
My house is always open for friends to cook and eat. It's the best way to share stories and emotions. I like when they say yes and after they ask me shall I bring something?! I never answer! I like the surprise! Once we were 10 people and 8 cakes! And no wine!! Ahhh

What is dear to your heart?
My land in Puglia where I meet my family and friends. The smell of basil and rosmarino.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
I live in Milano, not an easy town, with no big piazzas like Torino or Roma. Milano is full of secret corners...One is Orti di Leonardo, a magical place close to Santa Maria delle Grazie where Leonardo made the last supper.

What does your house smell like?
I like to burn a small piece of palo santo in the morning. It gives you a positive vibe !!

What does your house sound like?
In the morning, a minuetto of J.S. Bach and in the evening Caruso or Callas on the terrace. After dinner James Brown ! Now I’m listening to Meredith Monk.

Who do you find an iconic person?
We discover icons too late because when they are alive and close to you they are too clever and hide their aura ! Among some are Alighiero Boetti and J.M. Basquiat. I was lucky to share with them some moments of my life! I still have a drawing collage that was a gift from Basquiat during his stay in my house in Milano in 1983. It was an homage to Leonardo‘s Mona Lisa.

The best arthouse film?
I think Pasolini was a great poet and created fantastic movies but if I want to have fun ‘Mon oncle d'Amérique’ directed by Jacques Tati...and Antonioni, and Hitchcock...difficult to say ! Blow Up is a “Capolavoro”!

What is good design?
Eames, Prouvé, Giò Ponti, Mollino, Sottsass, and Corbusier. Also unknown tailors, a jacket by Antonio Marras, a gilet by Leorosa, socks by Missoni, and a shirt from Paul Smith. Architecture? Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano for the museums. I don't like to live in a house that is too modern.

Where do you find good design?
Good design is everywhere but you must have an eye. Anywhere from Ikea to a flea market to the Miami design fair to a vintage shop. You can find shit or good things but you must read and know the history. That makes the difference !

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Quality.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
The german word Zeitgeist. There’s no translation.

What do you still wish to learn?
My dream is to learn the Tango and dance with my daughter.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m playing myself in a documentary on the Milano art scene in the 80’s and I’m trying to organize my old photos and invitation cards of my gallery...when Milan was called ‘’Milano da bere’’...but to be honest at that time the wine was not so good !

Can you draw something for us?
Yes of course where should I send the invoice ?

Any last words?
Finché si è inquieti, si può stare tranquilli - Julien Green
 


MARIUS COURCOUL wearing the Gio gilet no.001. He is a law student living in Paris, France.

Who is an inspirational figure?
Christiane Taubira.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson.

What should we be reading?
“Une vie” by Simone Veil. Just because this woman was an incredible feminist.

What do you still wish to learn?
To play the piano.

What do you find humorous?
Guillaume Meurice on “France Inter” (it’s the best radio in France haha!)

What is still a mystery?
Interpersonal relationship.

What is good design?
When it’s simple, friendly, creative and not an overload.

Where do you find good design?
In a few second hand shops.

What does progression mean to you?
Challenge.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Tolerance.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
“Do not cross a red light, even if it’s 3am and no car is coming!”

What is your favorite word in any language?
Genau!

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
The Game Boy.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Diversity.

What was your last download?
Channel Tres – Weedman.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
How should I dress today?

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Elektra by Richard Strauss. It’s an opera from the beginning of the 20th century.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
A smile.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Shoelaces.

Where is happiness found?
Happiness can be found at a dinner and a party with my best friends

What was the last thing you photographed?
2 friends walking on the street.

What do you see outside your window?
Trees and parisian balconies.

What music makes you feel nostalgic?
Oh Woman Oh Man – London Grammar.

What stands the test of time?
A tale.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am reading my notes from my lesson in intellectual property before I begin university again.
 


SASHA SPIELBERG wearing the Romy cardigan no.003. She is a musician under the name Buzzy Lee living in Los Angeles, California.

Who is an inspirational figure?
Kate Bush, Taryn Simon, my grandma Lee, Michaela Coel, Donna Tartt, Alice Coltrane, all of my friends, my parents, my boyfriend.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Never to lie when swearing on one’s life.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
It used to be listening to music during take off, but now they allow it so: parking in a 2 hour zone longer than two hours.

What should we be reading?
Insomniac City by Bill Hayes. It’s a love story, it’s nostalgic, it’s escapist in a sense.

What takes you to cloud 9?
Playing live, matcha, a new perfume, guttural laughing, falling in love

What is good design?
Recliner chairs

Where do you find good design?
Crossword puzzles.

What does your house smell like?
Green tea, bergamot and cedar wood

What does your house sound like?
Wind chimes, distant far away cars driving 40 mph, an occasional train, many coyotes, me singing a lot.

What does progression mean to you?
Chords.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
Is the Zoloft working?

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
The book “Where Did I Come From”.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Flip phones.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Access to discovering the undiscoverable.

What do you still wish to learn?
Coding.

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Corners.

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Perfume: base notes and top notes.

Where is happiness found?
In an embrace.

What do you see outside your window?
Many a tree.

What do you find humorous?
Earnestness proceeded by a slapstick fall, the things people do with their hands when they are uncomfortable.
 


MARGHERITA MACCAPANI MISSONI wearing the Rosa cardigan no.001. She is the Creative Director of M Missoni living in Varese, Italy.

What do you see outside your window?
Lake Varese and Monte Rosa.

What music makes you feel nostalgic?
Lucio Battisti.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
È l’eccezione che conferma la regola.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
To have to walk around clothed.

Who is an inspirational figure?
Tina Modotti.

What is good design?
Beauty responding to needs.

Where do you find good design?
Fuorisalone, Flea Markets, Instagram.

What should we be reading?
Sapiens: a brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, and Malalai by Ortensia Visconti.

What does your house smell like?
Diptyque Baies.

What does your house sound like?
Currently Otto holds the remote and plays tacky italian trap music.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Margherita by Riccardo Cocciante.

What does progression mean to you?
Being in touch with one’s inner person and responding to our true needs, which evolve through time. The saddest thing is witnessing people being stuck in a period of their life.

What is your perfect meal?
A mix of raw and cooked veggies from the garden, uni sushi, superior quality gelato.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Readiness to make efforts.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
The melting pot.

What do you collect?
Daisies, fish, fake flowers, headpieces.

What was your last download?
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Memorie d'una ragazza perbene by Simone de Beauvoir.

What do you still wish to learn?
Mandarin, and driving with gears.

What is still a mystery?
The human brain.

What is a representation of simplicity?
A Greek island.

What is a representation of complexity?
Cancer.

What thoughts currently occupy you?
How to evolve the nanny situation in our life, kids are outgrowing the current set up.

What is your favorite slogan?
Shall we?

Can you define the words ‘timeless’ and ‘contemporary’?
Timeless- eternally fresh, Contemporary- suddenly fresh.

Any last words?
Leorosa Fan Club founding member ♥️
 


BARBARA SUKOWA wearing the Rosa cardigan no.007. She is an actress living in Brooklyn, New York.

Who are some of your inspirations...writer, artist, politician, director, actor?
Observing my cats has inspired me more than any artist.

What is your favorite word in any language?
The Swiss word for curious is “wunderfitzig”.

What do you find humorous?
That I still believe the world is changing all the time for the better.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
The first piece that really touched me was the sleigh of Joseph Beuys that I saw as a young girl at the National Gallery in Berlin.

What should we be reading?
Reading should not be a “should”. If you go to the bookstore and a book spine sticks out at you check it out !

What do you collect?
Nothing.

The best arthouse film(s)?
Too many to choose from.

What do you still wish to learn?
To shut my mouth when it can get me in trouble.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Never say never.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
One that you really, despite trying hard, don’t understand.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
My breath.

What is a representation of simplicity?
Love

What is a representation of complexity?
Love

What stands the test of time?
Nothing

What is your favorite slogan?
Just do it.

What makes you feel nostalgic?
Looking at children’s photos of my grown up children.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood?
Oldest neighborhood association in the nation.

What does your house smell like?
As a German I have that obsession with fresh air and so the windows are always open and it smells like the outside. Sometimes flowers, sometimes rain, and sometimes weed.

What does your house sound like?
Mostly silent and the noise comes from outside. My neighbor has chickens, kids who play on the street. Couples arguing or laughing.

What is still a mystery?
The human mind.
 


GIGI ETTEDGUI wearing the Romy cardigan no.002. She is a Creative Assistant at Hermès, living in Paris, France.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood?
Café de Flore

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
My morning breakfast at Café de Flore - noisette, tartine, cigarette and a couple of pages of whatever I am reading before walking across the Tuileries gardens in Paris to work

Who is an inspirational figure?
Lorenzo de’ Medici.

What should we be reading?
The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon Davis. A fascinating and magical jump through time and across humanity into the early modern mind. Over four centuries old, a thrilling account of how and why someone could step into another man’s shoes...there is also a pretty wonderful film with Gerard Depardieu...

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Sarà perché ti amo.

What is good design?
Yakumo Saryō In Tokyo might be the most magically designed place I have been lucky enough to visit.

Where do you find good design?
At your fingertips.

What does your house smell like?
On Sunday nights it smells of incense, cigarettes, and roast chicken...

What does your house sound like?
And it rings with laughter.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Be Kind.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Please do not take photos of the paintings.

What is your perfect meal?
Freshly shaved fennel carpaccio with lots of lemon and Parmesan. Bistecca Fiorentina with gratin dauphinois. Fondant au Chocolat. Washed down with a Montalcino wine.

What is your favorite word in any language?
Buonasera.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Holding onto the present.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Its energy.

What do you collect?
Friends.

The best arthouse film?
The Wedding Banquet directed by Ang Lee.

What thoughts occupy you currently?
Dreams of Greek islands and Italian cities.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
The idea of Lord Byron rowing into the Pantheon when the Tiber flooded and composing part of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage under the moonlit oculus.

What is a representation of simplicity?
A smile. A man’s shirt. A beautiful cardigan...

What is a representation of complexity?
Shyness.

What do you see outside your window?
A tree.

What is still a mystery?
Almost everything...

What makes you feel nostalgic?
Holiday photos of my heroes.

What stands the test of time?
Love.

What are you working on at the moment?
It’s a surprise!

Any last words?
Thank you!
 


ADRIÁN PRIETO wearing the Leo cardigan no.001. He is an architectural historian living in Vienna, Austria.

What takes you to cloud 9?
The experience of architecture is one of my main motivations to travel and to explore different countries and cities. I love visiting buildings that I am able to touch.

Is there an architect or building that you feel a particular admiration for?
I feel enormous admiration for many architects and buildings, from Palladio to Herman Czech. I especially admire the architects who are able to explore the emotional and symbolic realm. I think some Scandinavian architects such as Gunnar Asplund and Lewerentz or Viennese architects like Josef Frank and Oskar Strnad are good examples of this.

What is good design?
The result of priorities that have been correctly executed. The black watch by the Swiss brand Swatch is good design and what comes to mind. My grandmother, my mother and I all have or still wear one…there is something completely universal about it. A Patek Philippe might ease status anxiety, but a black swatch does and has everything you need.

Where do you find good design?
You can find good and bad design everywhere. Our life is conditioned by it in all sort of ways, from urban planning to every object in your house. I find it beautiful to realize something ordinary is ‘good design’. For example, the Oil Cruet, by Rafael Marquina from 1961 - the simplicity is apparent yet also provides functionality by preventing any oil drippings while using it, just brilliant. Apparently, it is one of the most copied objects, and yet only the original has the perfect proportions to make it stable and resistant.

Who do you find to be an iconic person?
Today we use the word ‘iconic’ for all sorts of things, from a building to a dessert. I don’t exactly know how it applies to a person but I would say Susan Sontag is sort of iconic. I am currently reading her biography by Benjamin Moser. Although, I still find her collection of diaries is where you experience her conscious, complex, and brilliant mind.

What should we be reading?
Coming back to Susan Sontag I would say the first volume of her diaries, Reborn, edited by her son. And Marcel Proust, Ha!

What does your house smell like?
I don’t use scents for the house. I like the feeling of fresh air and keeping the windows open. Houses have their own smells, materiality, and people living in them. Covering those smells seems unnecessary. I particularly enjoy the smell of coffee in the morning, many days I just prepare a cup for a ritualistic pleasure and the smell.

What does your house sound like?
Radio in the early morning. I enjoy listening to ‘France Culture’ during breakfast, it brings a sense of productivity. Otherwise total silence or the dishwasher.

What is dear to your heart?
My family and friends. Some beautiful memories.

What does progression mean to you?
In 2016 I visited the exhibition of Tino Sehgal at Palais de Tokyo, a group of different performers guided you through the entire space. One performer approached me and asked the exact same question. I replied, “it means nothing to me”. Honestly I don’t think progression is necessarily anything positive. It can mean we are alive and still moving, something I am glad for.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Always trust your intuition.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
No more candy for today!

What is your favorite word in any language?
"Extrañamiento" from the verb "extrañar" which has many nuances and meanings. This word often resonates in my work and life.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Ideals. Truth.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
I am intrigued by the way we use and react to digital images. It is exciting to see how digital archives are changing the course of research and providing us access to a database of material. However this access also can introduce a lack of understanding that could be a problem in contemporary culture.

The best arthouse film?
“Inside Rooms: 26 Bathrooms, London & Oxfordshire, 1985” directed by Peter Greenaway. We should not forget that it isn’t about fancy bathrooms or noble materials. It’s about the importance of claiming the bathroom as one's own-living space.

What is the most enigmatic work you have seen?
I was particularly struck some years ago in Paris by Lucinda Child’s dance company. I don't know much about dance and postmodern dance, but the materials she used to design the choreography, resulted in something beautiful and moving.

What do you still wish to learn?
Many things. I wanna learn to race a car.

What do you find humorous?
Frasier.

Who is an inspirational figure?
I keep the writings of the Spanish Art Historian, Ángel González García close to my heart. His poetic work has been an enormous inspiration. His book, “El Resto, Una Historia Invisible del Arte Contemporáneo” is always by my side. Read, “La meditación de los cactus”(cactus meditation), written on the use of cactus plants in modern expressionist and bauhaus interiors.

If you were interviewing a fellow historian, what would you ask them?
I would ask for their personal experiences and anecdotes. I love a good story.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Vienna is probably one of the most beautiful European cities. Beyond the surface you can discover an atmosphere that is truly magical. It is a hidden treasure of the East. I won’t say any in particular, people and tourists ruin everything.

What are you working on at the moment?
The quarantine has been a balsamic time for writing and reflecting for me. I am correcting my Ph.D thesis and preparing myself for the next move.

Any last words?
Thank you.
 


GILLES KHOURY wearing the Gio gilet no.002. He is a writer and journalist living in Beirut, Lebanon.

What does progression mean to you?
Not to worry about the notion of ‘normality’ anymore.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Some silence.

What is most exciting in contemporary culture?
The anger everywhere.

What thoughts currently occupy you?
What I’m going to have for my next meal. That’s because I want to distract myself from what is really worrying me: the future of my country Lebanon.

What should we be reading?
A book: Dans ma chambre by Guillaume Dustan (1996). A poem: En Montagne Libanaise by Nadia Tueni (1979). An Op-Ed: Désormais on se lève et on se barre by Virginie Despentes, published in the french daily newspaper Libération on the 1st of March 2020 (I want to tattoo every word of it on my forehead.)

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
A sacred morning ritual: I have my Bulletproof coffee while 3elke, my cat, sips on some cold water in her yellow plate. I also wash my hands a zillion times a day, and that’s way before COVID.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
The light in April and October, when the city looks dipped in gold.

What is good design?
My cat’s coat.

Do you have a mantra during this time?
Brace yourself, embrace the collapse.

What is your favorite word?
Hayété. It means ‘you are my life’ in Lebanese arabic.

What do you wish to learn?
To be realistic and reasonable.

Where is happiness found?
In a giant bowl of taboulé.

What is outside your window?
A country giving birth to another one.

What is dear to your heart?
My nine hours of sleep.

What music or sound makes you nostalgic?
The creaking of a rusty swing on a mountain balcony, preferably in Lebanon. Fairuz singing Kifak Inta.

Who is an inspirational figure?
Each and every rebel carrying the Lebanese revolution on his/her shoulders since October 17th.

What is a powerful slogan?
Kellon Yaane Kellon (Everyone means everyone). It’s the main slogan of the Lebanese revolution that wants to take down the (whole) corrupt political mafia that has been ruling the country for the past 30 years, and shamelessly stealing our money.

What are you working on at the moment?
Apart from my writings for L’Orient-Le Jour, I’m working on a magazine out of Beirut. It’s supposed to launch as soon as this madness is behind us.

Any last words?
Do I get a Leorosa cardigan for replying to this questionnaire?
 


ADRIEN COTHIER wearing the Leo cardigan no.003. He is a filmmaker living in New York City.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Any music I can associate with a late 90s feel or an iconic cinematic memory. Everything But The Girl, Moby, Talk Talk, Lighthouse Family, Miles Davis, Vangelis... The Vanilla Sky O.S.T probably embodies that sentiment the most.

The best arthouse film?
Controversial films made for the sake of Art with no political agenda. La Grande Bouffe or Murmur of the Heart are great examples.

What was your last download?
Derek Cianfrance’s new HBO show “I know this much is true”. It’s pure melodrama at its finest.

If you were interviewing a fellow film director, what question would you ask them?
I would probably ask Steve McQueen what is the driving force behind his work. John Cassavetes said it was love. I’d be curious to know his.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Being a foreigner in New York is a precious burden. It forces you to be an eternal student of America’s enigmas.

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
I’m terrible at this. During the quarantine I’ve barely mastered making decent filter coffee.

Who do you find to be an iconic person?
Gena Rowland, Sade and Susan Meiselas. Dare I say Dennis Rodman?

What is good design?
Something simple in both its beauty and usage. Like a minimalist poplin white shirt.

Where do you find good design?
Sweetu Patel who owns the store CHCM on Bond street has an incredible eclectic taste for well made, authentic clothing.

What do you still wish to learn?
Spanish guitar.

What should we be reading?
I’m a globalist at heart so I try to study and embrace thinkers from all sides of the political spectrum. I recommend Thomas Sowell, Zadie Smith, Reza Aslan, Coleman Hughes as a start. Not gonna lie, I loved reading David Mamet’s most controversial work to date, “The Secret Knowledge” on the dismantling of American Culture. He’s often full of shit but I needed to understand how he went from a being liberal hero to a fierce conservative advocate.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Creative originality, genuine tolerance and a sense of humor.

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
I struggle with this on a daily basis but I would not live in any other period.

What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Vivaldi’s four seasons made me start playing the violin. I quit after 8 tedious years.

What is the most enigmatic work you have seen?
Going to a midnight screening of Michael Mann’s HEAT at the Max Linder theater in Paris is arguably my best cinematic experience to date. It made me realize that this classic crime story was really a metaphor on the alienation of putting artistry in what you do.

What is still a mystery?
Hatred

Where is happiness found?
In the warm seat of a theater at an 11am screening, by myself.

What was the last thing you photographed?
A selfie I had to take for this brand called Leorosa. They make good jumpers!

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m the development stages of a documentary on the life of musician Darondo and adapting a book on the Crown Heights riots of 1991 by French writer Colombe Schneck.
 


Leorosa stands in solidarity with the Black community in the United States and globally. We support the protesters who demand justice on the systemic racism, oppression, and violence inflicted on black Americans every day.

American Civil Liberties Union
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The Bail Project
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Black Lives Matter
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Black Visions Collective
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Campaign Zero
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Color of Change
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Emergency Release Fund
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Equal Justice Initiative
donate

Grassroots Law Project
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The Legal Aid Society
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LGBTQ Freedom Fund
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The Marshall Project
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Minnesota Freedom Fund
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NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
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National Association of Black Journalists
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National Bail Out
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Reclaim the Block
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Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List
donate

Southern Poverty Law Center
donate
 


EMMA McCORMICK-GOODHART wearing the Rosa cardigan no.004. She is an artist and writer living in New York City. Her sister, ANNA McCORMICK-GOODHARTis wearing the Maria pullover no.002. She is a researcher with the Arshile Gorky Foundation also living in New York City.

What should we be reading?
EMMA: Robert McFarlane’s Underland, a book of musings on subterranean spaces that reminds us of the vastness of geological timescales – and helps relativize our months of quarantine
ANNA: Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics – to set the mind spinning and Marina Warner’s Forms of Enchantment – for her seeing eye, the breadth and play of her associations, and the electricity of her prose.

What is your favorite word?
EMMA: The sound of Virginia Woolf incanting “incarnadine”
ANNA: Rhizomatic

What do you still wish to learn?
EMMA: To think less
ANNA: How to make a ship-in-a-bottle. It is still a mystery to me!

Is there a work of art that you feel a certain kinship with?
EMMA: Anicka Yi’s Biography perfume line, developed with perfumer Barnabé Fillion and launched at Dover Street Market, for its highly conceptual process, transhistorical currents, and deeply sensual scent-outcomes
ANNA: Roger Callois’ The Writing of Stones; Noguchi’s set designs for Martha Graham and Rauschenberg’s for Merce Cunningham; Joseph Cornell’s shadow boxes; Joan Jonas’ work; at the moment, Andrew Wyeth’s windows

What does progression mean to you?
EMMA: Flow, growth, and coalescence
ANNA: Continuum

What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
EMMA: A child’s drawing of a horizon

What is your favourite representation of complexity?
EMMA: A fishnet

What is good design?
EMMA: When it becomes invisible, or when it provokes (worthwhile) new behaviors
ANNA: The moon-viewing platform, old shoin, Katsura Villa, Kyoto, early Japanese scrolls - calligraphy

Where do you find good design?
EMMA: In a boat hull, and in Braille or tactile writing systems
ANNA: Always in nature

Can you define the words ‘timeless’ and ‘contemporary’?
EMMA: Why not as synonyms? The earliest cave paintings, for instance, are both hyper contemporary and timeless

What is the best cult classic?
EMMA: Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Red Desert” for its images of Monica Vitti dressed in mist from Northern Italian power stations
ANNA: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Charleston House in East Sussex

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
EMMA: In a late silent film (or early 1930s talkie)

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
EMMA: I add a dash of pearl powder to my coffee every morning
ANNA: A strong coffee in the morning and, during these quieter weeks, reading in bed of an evening.

Do you have a mantra during this time?
EMMA: “In the woods, is perpetual youth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who do you find to be an iconic person?
EMMA: My mother, Stephanie, and my sister, Anna: they have always been my muses!

What does your house smell like?
EMMA: We’ve been isolating at our childhood home along the Patuxent River in Maryland, where thick sillages of honeysuckle waft in late. This meeting of land and salty, brackish water makes for ongoing aromatic conversation
ANNA: Wood smoke, even in summer

What does your house sound like?
EMMA: Like being aboard a boat, waves lapping against the shore
ANNA: Our family’s home in Maryland is very much a living house – it breathes throughout the day. As Emma says, the trees that surround us are “vocal” – with windows open, the rushes of wind and birdsong are amplified.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
EMMA: “The first food is air,” sayeth philosopher Luce Irigaray
ANNA: Instinct

What is a rule that should always be broken?
EMMA: The idea that it’s ever too late to change course, or that neutral tones necessarily bring clarity: paint your walls deep colors!

What is your perfect meal?
EMMA: Mermaid food: kelp noodles bathed in fresh lemon-mint-tahini pesto
ANNA: Our mother's Thanksgiving. Crisply roasted potatoes are ever-dependable, too.

What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
EMMA: The loudness of social media that so often gets in the way of being in the world. Here’s to going info-vegan now and then!

What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
EMMA: Speculative design proposals coming out of this moment: for face shields, wearable body cocoons, prosthetic door handle accessories to facilitate remote ‘touch’… new media that returns us to Space Age imaginaries

What do you collect?
EMMA: Books, shells, ephemera, and the occasional second hand Alaïa piece
ANNA: Books; shells; stones of all kinds; matchboxes; Emma’s, our mother’s, and our father’s creations …

The best arthouse film?
EMMA: Maya Deren’s “Meshes of the Afternoon,” or some of the first underwater films by John Ernest Williamson
ANNA: Sally Potter’s “Orlando” – for us both

What is the most enigmatic work you remember seeing?
EMMA: Composer-mystic Maryanne Amacher’s “Mini Sound Series,” a live performance-installation reinterpreted by the collective Supreme Connections at the Stedelijk Museum in 2017. Amacher was interested in psychoacoustic phenomena, where ears themselves emit audible sound, but this piece was as lushly visual and non-linear as it was sonic

What is still a mystery?
EMMA: That our senses work imperceptibly fast

Where is happiness found?
EMMA: In the surprise of synchronicity
ANNA: With presence in the moment

What was the last thing you photographed?
EMMA: The interior of an abalone shell
ANNA: Emma in her lambent orange Leorosa sweater, with a Japanese trumpet conch shell in hand

What do you see outside your window?
EMMA: Moss growing on old roof slate that slopes towards a river
ANNA: The Patuxent River - a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, where we are both sheltering. Sometimes, if I am lucky, a great blue heron rests on a piling in view; if the night is clear, the stars radiate

What is your favorite slogan?
EMMA: “Voices have legs”, “Make haste slowly”
ANNA: “there is nothing in the Understanding which was not before in the Sense” – Johann Comenius, The Visible World, “A line that incorporates oscillation and interruption is better able to survive as a continuous line” – Camille Henrot

What are you working on at the moment?
EMMA: An edition of conceptual face masks, called Particle Ethics, with embroidered language (on sale here — one design pictured on Anna); a perfume for a Boston Ballet commission in May 2021; an exhibition text to be printed on fabric for an upcoming show around James Joyce’s Ulysses at Belmacz (London); and an interview with artist-researcher Susan Schuppli for PIN-UP
 


Alma Zevi wearing the Polly cardigan no.002. She is a gallerist living in Venice, Italy.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Here in the mountains in Celerina, where I am isolating, it is a river that I try to jump into as often as possible. When in Venice it is Paolin, the coffee shop in Campo Santo Stefano perfectly situated between my house and my gallery - always the meeting place with friends.

Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
Every day I play with my son, annoy my husband, check in with my artists, video call with my gallery team (now spread out in 3 countries), and try to stay sane.

What is good design?
Charlap Hyman and Herrero. Everything they do (from buildings, to fabrics, to furniture) is exquisite, humorous and clever. We did a project together last year in Venice which was incredible - I am so lucky to work with them.

Where do you find good design?
Flea markets in Venice, Artek 2nd Cycle in Helsinki, Six Gallery in Milan.

What should we be reading?
I have just ordered ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo. It should be a nice antidote to the Paddington Bear books I read incessantly to my son.

What does your house smell like?
Mountain flowers that we are not meant to pick.

What does progression mean to you?
Hopefully it could go hand in hand with learning from history?

Do you have a mantra during this time?
One day at a time.

What is a rule that should never be broken?
Mixing fish and cheese.

What is a rule that should always be broken?
Mixing things up - I love living with art and furniture from different periods and styles.

What is your perfect meal?
Harry’s Bar in Venice. Or meals cooked by artists - they usually make excellent chefs, and if not at least you know the company will be interesting!

What is your favorite word in any language?
Right now the word that sums up my mood is - "basta” - enough!

Who or what is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Quiet and focus. Isolation makes a space for these things.

Who or what do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
The accessibility and democratisation it has allowed.

What do you collect?
I’ve collected contemporary art for the past ten years. It’s been fascinating watching the careers of artists flourish and evolve. I suppose I am working on two collections - one of the artists that I represent, and the other of artists who I just love!

The best arthouse film?
Bagdad Cafe directed by Percy Adlon; and Pane e Tulipani directed by Silvio Soldini and starring the unforgettable Bruno Ganz.

What was your last download?
I just downloaded Skype which was quite a blast from the past! It was to interview an artist who doesn’t have a cell phone and refuses to use zoom.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on forthcoming exhibitions for my Venice gallery by Katy Stubbs, Not Vital, Studio Mumbai and Luisa Lambri. Also a publication on Not Vital which will span 50 years of his work.

Any last words?
A mantra of the late, great Swiss artist Heidi Bucher (1926-1993), Räume sind Hüllen, sind Häute (Spaces are shells, are skins). This seems so fitting to what the world is going through. Her work is all about the connections between memory and spaces, whether physical or conceptual. It is an honour to represent the Heidi Bucher Estate and to have held exhibitions of her powerful and moving work.
 


David Ostrowski wearing the Gio gilet no.002. He is an artist living in Cologne, Germany.

What is good design?
Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion, Marcel Breuer's Thonet Freischwinger and Christian Louboutin.

Where do you find good design?
I don’t joke around: at Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

Who are your ideal guests?
My family or Adam Sandler.

What do you collect?
Arthouse DVD films, which I will never watch. Otherwise I swap art with my colleagues.

Can you recommend an arthouse film?
C’était un rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch.

Can you share with us a fun game?
Connect 4, it’s the only game I have ever won.

What are you wearing?
I wear the same uniform everyday. A Cotton shirt and cotton pants in either navy or dark green.

Can you share some habits or rituals?
Washing my hands for 20 seconds as soon as I get home.

What is your perfect meal?
Jewish Penicillin (Chicken Soup).

What takes you to cloud 9?
I just bought the iCloud this year, so it will probably take a while for Cloud 9.

What is dear to your heart: person, place or thing?
At night watching TV in bed.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Every day my son and I go to the ‘Kap’ which is a skatepark on our street. We watch skaters being cool and I hope my son doesn’t break his bones.

What does your house smell like?
There’s a warm scent of love in the air, unless laundry or the dishes have not been taken care of.

What does your house sound like?
We live by the Rhine river and at home we listen to music around the clock - "Alle meine Entchen".

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Groundhog Day.

Do you have a mantra during this time?
Survive.

Who do you find an iconic person?
Adriano Celentano because he just got it.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
In any Jewish quarter of this world.

Who or what is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Good Art.

Who or what do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
Good Art.

What was your last download?
Insurance papers.

What do you reserve for Sundays?
Working in my studio.

What are you working on at the moment?
Trying to eat less sugar and meat.
 


Myung-Il Song wearing the Rosa cardigan no.002. She is a store owner living in Vienna, Austria. Her daughter, Song-I Saba wearing the Romy cardigan no.002 lives in London, England.

What flower best represents your mother?
SONG-I SABA: A bright pink peony

What flower best represents your daughter?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Lily of the Valley

What quote from your mother would you embroider onto a pillow?
MYUNG-IL SONG: It’s going to be OKAY.
SONG-I SABA: Are you hungry?

What are you wearing?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Paul Harnden flower print cotton pyjamas.
SONG-I SABA: My white house-Crocs were the best $30 I ever spent.

What do you collect?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Art and fashion by people who inspire me.
SONG-I SABA: Memories and mistakes. I also like miniatures.

What is good design?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Recently I am more excited to learn about pieces like furniture or textiles with no known designer, like a worker suit, carpenter’s pants, or photographer's jacket with three dimensional pockets. Designer Paul Harnden found a unique 18th century Windsor chair, made only once by basket maker, it’s not only beautiful but exceptionally comfortable.
SONG-I SABA: Leorosa is good design.

Where do you find good design?
SONG-I SABA: At my mother’s home.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
MYUNG-IL SONG: I love the Lessing statue near my apartment in Vienna.
SONG-I SABA: Hampstead Heath in London is a revelation every time.

What is your perfect meal?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Any meal cooked with love.
SONG-I SABA: One shared with my boyfriend and our friends, and an increasingly rowdy one.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Beethoven's 5th

Who or what is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Good manners.
SONG-I SABA: A phone charger at a house party.

What are you working on at the moment?
MYUNG-IL SONG: My book, and dreaming up my next challenge.
SONG-I SABA: On myself... A real fixer upper

Can you recommend an Arthouse film?
MYUNG-IL SONG: 1984 (BBC production, 1954). That story is very contemporary and apt
SONG-I SABA: ‘A Pervert’s Guide to Cinema / Ideology’ directed by Sophie Fiennes

Can you share some habits or rituals?
SONG-I SABA: Coffee and a book in bed first thing.

Who are your ideal guests?
MYUNG-IL SONG: People with a good sense of humour.
SONG-I SABA: Anyone who doesn’t ask you what you “do"

What does your house smell like?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Palisander wood

What does your house sound like?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Church bells
SONG-I SABA: Our neighbour’s questionable taste in music

Can you share with us a fun game?
SONG-I SABA: Does Chatroulette count?

Do you have a mantra during this time?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Do things wholeheartedly, otherwise what’s the point?
SONG-I SABA: WASH YOUR HANDS

Who do you find an iconic person?
SONG-I SABA: Jackie Chan is my icon and hands down the cutest person alive today

What takes you to cloud 9?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Eating fresh, cold watermelon
SONG-I SABA: Fireworks

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
SONG-I SABA: Wherever she is, tell her to stay the hell over there

What do you reserve for Sundays?
MYUNG-IL SONG: Staying in bed
SONG-I SABA: Absolutely nothing! I believe in total equality for all days of the week, which is pretty woke of me

What is dear to your heart: person, place or thing?
MYUNG-IL SONG: My daughter
SONG-I SABA: Revenge
 


Rebecca Fourteau wearing the Polly cardigan no.003. She is a director living in New York City.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
At the rodeo, I’d hope!

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Walking everywhere, from one neighborhood to the next. The variety of lives crammed together on top of one another and the energy it produces. The sense of humanity emanating from the cracks in the sidewalks, to the top of the tallest roofs.

What is your most indispensable household item?
A wooden spoon for stirring stews.

Do you have a mantra during this time?
Carpe Diem! and a daily reminder that the end is nigh.

What should we be reading?
I'm reading Marie Antoinette's biography by Stefan Zweig as a way of escaping life in my apartment and to think about how things can be a lot better, and a lot worse.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a little film about the effects of confinement and isolation on everyday life in NYC.

Who or what is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Honor and life lasting quality.

Who or what do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
The increasing democratization of distribution.

The best Anti-showbiz film?
‘Revanche’ directed by Götz Spielmann, ‘A Woman Under the Influence’ directed by John Cassavetes, ‘L’Humanité’ directed by Bruno Dumont, ‘Wanda’ directed by Barbara Loden etc …

Can you share some habits or rituals?
I journal in the morning and read before bed.

What is your perfect meal?
Homemade spaghetti bolognese

What do you collect?
I collect souvenir magnets for my fridge and souvenir mugs - I even have some from places I’ve never been. I also collect orchids that people receive as gifts and throw out when their flowers fall off, for my orchid rehab center. I take them in and resuscitate them. I’m thrilled to report that they are all currently blooming!

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Radio in the mornings and for chores, the rest of the time I spend seeking silence amidst the noisy New York life outside my porous window.

Who are your ideal guests?
Those who like to laugh a lot.

Who is a storybook character you still love?
I still love The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was such an important book for me growing up. I love that the little Prince illustrates the importance of questioning everything "grownups" say and shows the intelligence of imagination and the unique value of empirical knowledge. Those are all values that I still hold as fundamental.I still love The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was such an important book for me growing up. I love that the little Prince illustrates the importance of questioning everything "grownups" say and shows the intelligence of imagination and the unique value of empirical knowledge. Those are all values that I still hold as fundamental.

What is dear to your heart?
Freedom.

Your favorite expression?
"Vague à l'âme" which translates directly to "waves to the soul" and means something melancholy or sorrow.

What are you wearing?
Right now, I’m wearing cotton leggings and an oversized button down. Soon I will pull over some jeans to go outside.I love colors and patterns and mostly wear vintage and thrift clothes. Occasionally I’ll buy something new and nice, but I try to be very careful about the way I consume clothing, and everything else!
 


Curtis Leslie Anderson wearing the Leo cardigan no.001. He is an artist living in Potsdam, Germany.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
Here in Potsdam, I cherish the paths taking one through the Lenné designed garden linking the Sacrower Schloss to the Heilandskirche, which lies on the shore of the Havel River, although for a boy from the Pacific Northwest this river resembles a swamp. Still a very picturesque site for walks with my partner and our two Rehpinscher dogs, Eri + Bambi.

Who do you find an iconic person ?
Ad Reinhardt has probably influenced me as an artist more than anyone else. So diverse and consequent in his many languages. And like myself looking to Asia for a certain sense of resolution.

What takes you to cloud 9?
When I turned 50 in 2006 I made plans to spend six weeks in Arizona earning my glider pilot license. My partner didn’t approve and expressed herself as follows, “Go ahead, but don’t come back. I don’t want to live with a pilot!” So I’m afraid that I’ll be viewing the clouds from below, including number 9.

What do you collect?
I collect friends above all. Then come books. And then artworks – but limited to works on paper, photographs and objects. No canvases. I’m not a fan of Joseph Kosuth but he did get one thing right – “Canvas is very useful – for making tents!”

What is your most indispensable household item?
My most indispensible household item is without question my Gaggenau steam oven. It offers a gentle and fat free method of cooking – up to four dishes simultaneously. And steam – a vaporized form of water – which I would most like to be. To gently enter the tissue of other beings.

What does your house smell like?
I often use the L'Occitane room scent called ‘Rameau d’Hiver’ and imagine that I still live in an area defined by virgin conifer forests.

What does your house sound like?
My house has no characteristic sound. My life is more like a jukebox with an ever changing soundtrack.

What are you wearing?
My daily uniform consists of pants from Arc’teryx, the great outdoor outfitter from British Columbia, near to my hometown of Seattle. I wear t-shirts from Calida, the Swiss firm, from their MicroModal product line. Round these off with compression stockings – which protect me from thrombose and keep my aged ankles trim. I have a wide variety of fleece jackets and shells, almost all from Arc’teryx. The logo of this firm originated with a fossil example of the flying dinosaur which resides in the Humboldt University in Berlin. In the meantime the Chinese have found a larger example, of course. On cold days I like to wrap a large and heavy wool coat from Christophe Lemaire around me.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
I pity even the idea that someone might be my Doppelgänger.

What do you reserve for Sundays?
I enjoy sharing lunch, not dinner, with friends on Sundays.

What was your last download?
What is a download?

Can you share some habits or rituals?
When I left the US of A for good in 1985 I decided to celebrate my distant friends with birthday greetings once a year. Since then I collect birthdays and in our age of telecommunications write emails. Often with oversized and colorful typography and photos attached. I try to never miss a day although I don’t write to everyone every year – and subscribe to the behavioral psychology principal of indeterminate reinforcement.

What is dear to your heart: person, place or thing?
This remains my secret.

What is your mantra?
I recently lost my father. In my eulogy I announced that I would in the future have to recite the Lord’s Prayer in two alternating versions, like a mantra: “Our father who art in heaven” and “My father who art in heaven.”

Can you share with us a fun game?
I have no fun with games. I have had a lifelong aversion to confinement and rules. My dear friend Ketuta Alex-Meskhishvili once wrote, “You are an oasis of freedom in a world full of rules!” I have no enthusiasm for anything involving a ball. My introduction to European football: The very day of my move from New York to Cologne in May of 1985, with my flight taking me to Bruxelles, I sat with two friends in a private automobile on the way to JFK Airport. On the radio we heard the news about dozens of people being trampled to death in a Bruxelles soccer stadium. I thought at that moment, “Fuck me! I thought that I’m moving to Europe because it’s MORE civilized!” I prefer pure and simple movement out of doors - bicycling, rock and mountain climbing, cross-country skiing and Nordic walking.

What is good design?
Hans Wegner is for me the greatest furniture designer of the 20th Century. I live with an abundant number of his ‘Wishbone’ chairs in soaped oak. One never tires of sitting in these. And then the grand ‘Ox’ chair in which one can assume numerous positions. He himself lived with six of these, the female and male versions, in a circular arrangement in his own living room – which brings us back to the number six for an agreeable gathering of persons.

Where do you find good design?
I hope to find good design at the tips of my fingers, whether of my own creation or something which I’ve just had the pleasure of stroking.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m still struggling to free myself from the tyranny of known and named objects in the world.

The best Anti-showbiz film?
I find it impossible to remove showbiz from the commercial film world. I really enjoyed watching my friend Cyprien Gaillard’s 3D film ‘Nightlife’ at the Sprüth Magers Galerie in Berlin a few years ago. I also work with film in a plastic way, making video and film installations and more recently transportable silk / video works, one meter square and of sewn silk based on the ‘black paintings’ of Ad Reinhardt with round video images cast into the fabric from behind. My favorite verbal sparring partner in the world, the now 90-year-old Mario Diacono, reacted to my first series of such works as follows: “You have launched Ad Reinhardt into outer space! And he has been reborn as Innerspace Curtis. You have made the painting to end all paintings into a transition toward the post-painting, the video, but at the same time you let them co-exist, as if you were refusing to choose between the past and the future.”

Who or what is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
Exquisite extemporaneous speech.

Who or what do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
This remains my secret.

Who are your ideal guests?
At home I never have more than six people at my table, the ideal number for a single conversation and not a group splintering into numerous simultaneous conversations. Anyone who is verbally fit and has something to share is welcome at my table.

Can you draw something for us?
I don’t draw on commission.
 


Brunhilde Bordeaux-Groult wearing the Rosa cardigan no.006.
She is an artist who lives in Bornheim, Germany.


What is your most indispensable household item?
A broom to sweep the mind of unnecessary dust thoughts.

What do you treasure most in your neighborhood or city?
The gravel pit down in the woods.

Can you share some habits or rituals?
Hot water, apple vinegar, lemon in the morning and a gentle conscious breathing.

What is your perfect meal?
Depends on the seasons & the hour of the day of course.

Who are your ideal guests?
Witty but also polite.

Who do you find an iconic person?
Scarlett O’Hara and all the anachorètes throughout time.

What do you collect?
I collect the presence of beauty of different kinds and in no particular form...

What does your house smell like?
Opoponax from Diptyque which reminds me of walking down my childhood corridor to my father‘s office. Also Sage & other magic helpers too.

What does your house sound like?
Podcasts of all kinds mixed with bird songs & agriculture machinery.

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Life is my track. My heart is the sound.

Do you have a mantra during this time?
“May the importance lie in your gaze, not in the object of your observation“ “Que l'importance soit dans ton regard, non dans la chose regardée.” Les Nourritures terrestres (1897) de André Gide.

The best Anti-showbiz film?
Oh films, so many beautiful ones..... Sayat Nova’s ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ directed by Sergei Parajanov, ‘Meetings with Remarkable Men’ directed by Peter Brook, ’Le Quattro Volte’ directed by Michelangelo Frammartino, and ‘Les Contes de l'horloge magique’ directed by Ladislas Starewitch.

What is good design?
Good design for me is when design grounds itself within the sensitive coherence of nature - whether violent or hard.

Where do you find good design?
No specific place to find good design but definitely harder these days.

Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
Where I don’t know but hope not to find too soon because this will mean ... My End !... Curse of the self in the doppelgänger.

What takes you to cloud 9?
When I'm truly in the present moment.

What is dear to your heart: person, place or thing?
My loved ones.

Who or what is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
The lack of elegance of the heart.

Who or what do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
All the self initiatives which rise around the world.

What was your last download?
Right now as I’m downloading myself to answer these questions.

What are you working on at the moment?
The garden and the perfect tuning if that exists.

Any last words?
Last words to William Morris “Have nothing in your house that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful“.
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