I’m a journalist, travel writer, editor and copywriter based in Melbourne, Australia. I write pacy travel features, edit edifying websites and fashion flamboyant copy. My articles and photographs have appeared in publications worldwide, from inflight to interior design: I’ve visited every continent, and have lived in three. Want to work together? Drop me a line… 

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Kartell does Cairo

Last night, I went to the opening of the new Kartell store (www.kartell.it) Yes, Kartell, the Italian home of Phillipe Starck – he of the occasional tables made from plastic garden gnomes and transparent furniture – amongst others of the designer world’s elite. I confess I was super surprised by the annoucement – sure I know there’s enough cash in Cairo to buy Kartell, I just wasn’t sure it was so firmly within the Egyptian taste point. But hey, I’m wrong.

It was a bit of a blast back to Milan, with the red carpet up to the door, though a few differences – the glamorous building is still being finished so they were running on generator power (though you’d never know) and the cocktails were mocktails, as far as I could see. Beautiful Egypt was out in force, with lots of leggy young girls in fashions you’d never see on the metro, and plenty of interested young blokes serendipitously placed outside for a rare glimpse of nude legs.


Close encounters

The crush of the design precinct ZonaTortona was so great, it took 15 minutes to walk the tiny footbridge from the railway tracks to via Tortona the other night. The crush was mighty. The man behind me was squished to me a level of closeness normally associated with three dates and dinner.

Never have I seen such an obsession with design. Last year, it was amazing to see some queues into the public exhibitions during Melbourne Design Week but this took it to a whole new level, with hundreds on the streets drinking (but never drunk) and eating panini (that’s Italian for toasted ham and cheese rolls), dancing and snapping photographs of each other.

There are so many art exhibitions and design galleries, one phone company has launched an application just to let you download the day’s events, hence this guy who was having fun posing outside one of the 400-odd events.


Milan: passion for passion…and fashion

What to wear today: shall I choose the black outfit, or the black outfit? The question asked by a thousand designers in Milan each morning for the past week. Interestingly, the people of Milan are not adverse to uber-bright colour. There were plenty of canary yellow accessories and memorably, yesterday, a woman walked past me in a short black skirt with thick, tomato-soup red stockings on her long legs. They really were the most spectacular red. It was a sight to behold. Girls mix it up with plenty of sneakers and stripy long socks – just by being in Milan makes them edgy, whereas in other cities, they’d be dubbed walking fashion crimes. Boys are immaculately turned out, as is the young Italian man’s want, with perfectly pressed shirts turned up neatly at the sleeve to expose plenty of jewellery, large sunglasses, a coiffed ‘do and a pastel jumper knotted at the neck. The look is complete with the girlfriend’s large handbag. It’s also funny after spending months in such a publicly polite society as Egypt to see couples pashing furiously in any spot they deem fit – say, on the way up the stairs, leaving people behind waiting while they finish exchanging throat secretions. They operate in groups on the metro platforms, everyone’s jaws working simultaneously in the pursuit of romance.


Conversation from Milan during design week

Conversation1:
Me: Can you suggest somewhere good to eat around here (in the design precinct Zona Tortona)?Design fetishist: Sure Go down via Savona, past the garden full of Dedon furniture, and turn right. Conversation 2: ‘Dark Matter’ by Wyssem and Cécile Nochi. The blackest and most humorous display around, the signature piece of this display of sculptural objects is a biodegradable, 100 percent cashmere body bag, also conveniently available in reusable acrylic. “We are all dark matter,” Lebanese designer Wyssem Nochi told me, in an intense fashion. “And when we decompose, what’s left becomes human consciousness.” Wins points for the most original conversation at Milan ‘09. http://www.wyssemnochi.com/


Designs on life

You may or may not know, but I’m in Milan at the moment, at the Milan Design Fair. It. Goes. Off. Officially goes off.

There are 400 events on this week, from cocktail parties to art gallery launches. Apparently this number is down on last year, thanks to boring credit crunches.

I think I have second-day blues: I feel totally overwhelmed and have barely touched the surface. Last night, I narrowly avoided putting my drink on a Mark Newson marble table in an art gallery. Luckyyyyyyyy. If yesterday was the day of emerging designers and weird protoypes, today was the big designers: Starck, Urquiola, Jasper Morrison. Had a lot of fun in Edra, Moroso and Kartell.

By the bye…
I loved the Pudelskern rung made from Tyrol sheep wool by a group of young Tyrol based designers. Ditto Chiara Lampignami lights. Gorgeous in an iridescent finish that changes from copper to green to purple. Both are very new on the market, from designers in the design incubator that is iSalone Satellite.

Talking Points
Campana Bros new Cipria sofa in faux fir, like a series of big fluffy marshmallows. EVERYONE was getting photographed on it. So I did too. I will post a link and show you that I am bucking the trend of designer black: how can everyone talk about inspiration and innovation when they are always wearing top to toe black. Today I wore white trousers and a red tunic/blouse and wheeled my red press bag – THE SAME RED. WE MATCHED.

The Him & Her chair, designed by Fabio Novembre for Casamania, takes ‘moulding to the human form’ to a new level, don’t you think?

And finally, Objects for Obama was an exhibit by an American design college, hinged around a series of key words he used in his campaign like Diplomacy, Honesty etc. It was one of the few seriously funny gigs in this massive fair. Nuff said.

HOT WORD: upcycling. It is where you recycle something, but add extra value, like turning a car tyre into a woven rug.


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