Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Luxe Life

"Standout Stores
Putting provincial craftsmanship in the spotlight with an exquisite curation of vintage embroidery and textiles handmade by Miao artisans."

The first LUXE City Guide I encountered was Bangkok in 2007. My in the know expat friend Helene turned me on to LUXE. She promised that even if we didn’t hit the majority of the guide's recommendations, we would enjoy reading their sassy and sophisticated content. The LUXE Guide stood out to me in a sea of travel information because it was so literate and sharp. We have since used the guides for a number of their 30 plus cities.

Luxe offers a curated selection rather than an encyclopedic list. They achieve this by using resident writers/curators. Early promotion stated their writers were selected for “style, knowledge and expertise”, in that order. I actually enjoy the pocket sized guide because it is compact and can be lingered over while traveling.

LUXE is a hit for anyone interested in exceptional shopping, dining, spas, bars and service experiences. The guides have a distinct sense of humor which I dare say seems a bit droll and British. Perhaps Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes for them in her spare time?!

There are no references to chain stores or tourist traps. While this is not a budget guide, the recommendations offer insight into interesting places that you might suggest to a friend. The value of “can’t miss” suggestions is high, in my opinion.

We wondered into a Shanghai textile shop called Brocade Country. The store is unassuming from the outside: white with simple black signage amidst a number of chic fashion boutiques. We ended up buying two pillows from the Yun Nan Province crafted by the Miao people.

The shop is like a museum with exquisite handcrafted tapestries, clothing, ornaments and shoes. Brocade was a living museum with a friendly owner. She was floored to discover we ended up there because her shop was in the LUXE guide. It was a nice feeling that this was obviously not a paid for placement experience.

LUXE offers an app as well, where one can make itineraries and lists and keep it all sorted on your mobile phone.

Listen to a conversation with Luxe CEO Simon Westcott. Subscribe to amuz podcasts

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. - Nancy

Friday, May 8, 2020

The Museum the Cinquecento Built

If you have impeccable taste and sufficient assets to create a world class museum in your home town, it would be a dream to follow the model of Gianni and Marcella Agnelli.

They acquired an amazing art collection. The Agnelli’s were a stylish power couple who were cultured and had impeccable taste. With a dozen homes on three continents, they cultivated a life of glamour and success. They epitomized the urbane Italian style. Their art collection includes Picasso, Renoir, Caraletto, Manet, Matisse, Modigliani and Canova masterpieces.

Pritzker award winning architect Renzo Piano designed the Pinacoteca Giovanni and Marcella Angelli on the roof of Turin's Lingotto, a former Fiat Factory. Reminiscent of his work at the Pompidou in Paris, Piano created a modern, industrial homage befitting the Fiat empire. The lift offers fabulous views of the sleek building and palm courtyard.

The roof, in addition to a test track made famous by the 1969 film "The Italian Job", sparkles with Turin and the Alp views. Visitors may explore the track during the gallery's opening hours. The film's chase scenes were filmed in Turin. The Quincy Jones soundtrack is hip.

Perhaps the greatest element to the success of the Pinacoteca is the leadership of Marcella Pralormo. She is the astute and dedicated curator who has been with the museum since its founding in 2002. Marcella has successfully built on the Agnelli’s vision and established a world class reputation. She describes the importance of trust and cooperation with other galleries around the world.

Marcella shares her thoughts on how the museum world may evolve as a result of a the global pandemic. She is open minded enough to consider new interactions and promotion venues. Perhaps there is a way of creating a smaller, more intimate viewing of the Agnelli Collection. Her recognition of the role of art to heal a troubled world and foment human connection echoes the words of the founder, Gianni Agnelli.

“If I’m nervous or keyed up or excited or any of those emotions it’s always extremely calming and extremely balancing if you have the opportunity to look at something beautiful.” - Gianni Agnelli

We hope you enjoy listening to this podcast. It’s also great fun to hear Marcella list her top 5 museum suggestions. And, don’t miss her a day in Turin recommendations.

May thoughts of Turin and the wonderful Pinacoteca generate calm in your life.

Listen to this podcast, here. Subscribe to amuz podcasts

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