Springtime in New York – a sign of rebirth

Crowded restaurants and parks, bars and coffee shops full of people, musicians playing outside, in the streets. If it weren’t for the masks, which are still mandatory to wear even outdoors, walking around Soho on any weekend of April, it would be difficult to believe we still are in the middle of a pandemic. 

 In New York, a fresh wind has been blowing for the past few weeks. Thanks to the impressive vaccination plan, around 40% of New Yorkers have already received at least one dose of vaccine. 

The restaurants are full of people, while they serve mainly outside like the new formula adopted in Europe: a novelty introduced last spring as an experiment, then extended to the whole winter, despite the frigid temperatures that characterize the Big Apple during cold months. It was eventually confirmed indefinitely by NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio. 



Today NYC restaurant owners, who resisted the months of the lockdown, are ready to take their revenge. They can offset the reduction of the internal capacity with large external structures that have nothing to envy to the typical ones in the main European squares, for lunch and dinner “en plen air”. 

And so, in this New York spring 2021, one of the most affected sectors during the pandemic is now becoming the most evident and concrete sign of restart post-Covid. 



Even the real estate business hints that a turning point seems to be close. As confirmed by Andrea Pedicini, a real estate broker who has been living in New York for over eleven years: “In the first quarter of the year, in Manhattan 3,700 new sale contracts were signed, this has been the highest number since 2007, growing by 58% compared to the same quarter in 2020.” The combined effect of three factors has been impactful, “Prices are on average 10-15% lower, interest rates are low, there is a spread optimism that derives from a concrete and efficient vaccination plan”, he explained. 

Data related to the rental market are also positive, with an increase of 90% of new leases registered in March compared to the same month in 2020: a growth consistent with what already happened back in early 2021 between January and February. “It is the most evident sign that people are coming back to the city, attracted by convenient rents, with prices falling by 15-20% compared to before the pandemic”. 



These data challenge the thesis of the detractors of New York, who claimed that the emptying of the city recorded during the lockdown would be definitive. Moreover, at the moment only 10% of the employees who used to crowd the city from Monday to Friday have gone back to the office, and international tourists are absent because of the closing of borders still in force. 

In this context, despite the temporary impossibility to move there, even Italian investors’ interest in Manhattan and its surroundings is growing. “Since last summer, our compatriots’ interest in the real estate business in New York has increased significantly, as often happens in these circumstances”, said Pedicini, whose clients are mainly from Italy and are entrepreneurs, managers, but also actors and professional athletes. 

“Some people are just waiting for the borders to reopen and, in the meantime, they request to be kept updated about market trends. Others have invested remotely from Italy without even seeing face-to-face the acquired property.”



And so, within sight of the total reopening expected on July 1st, New York seems to be ready to welcome tourists with open arms, considering also the impressive budget approved by the New York Tourist Board, which has assigned the record amount of 30 million dollars for the “NYC Reawaken” campaign whose slogan is “Wish You Were Here in New York City”. 

Photo Credits: Federica Carlet

Manintown Talents: Meet Brandon Jay McLaren

Meet Brandon Jay McLaren of Netflix series FIREFLY LANE in a quick conversation with MANINTOWN.

Ph: Felipe Sanclemente

Firefly Lane is the new top of the chart Netflix series inspired by the New York Times bestselling books by author Kristin Hannah. It is a story about love, loss, and the magic of friendship. In the Netflix series, you play Travis. Tell us about him. If you had to introduce him to our audience, how would you describe him? 

Travis is a fellow PTA parent and friend of Kate’s daughter’s best friend. He’s a widow with a big heart and an equally big attraction to Kate. That being said, he’s sweet and respectful and thinks the world of Kate. Now that Kate is going through a divorce, he can finally acknowledge his feelings for her and see where they lead.

Brandon, tell us about what inspired you to be an actor. Which one, if you could choose, is your favorite character played so far?

I was inspired to be an actor because it gave me an outlet to express things that I didn’t feel I had permission to do in my real life. 

 DALE JAKES from the show GRACELAND is my favorite character I’ve played so far. I had so much fun on the show. I loved my co-stars, and the creator/showrunner Jeff Eastin created such a compelling character in JAKES. Jeff also gave me a lot of room to make him my own.

 Is there someone in cinema/tv that you look up to and who has somehow influenced and inspired you in your acting career?

I have a lot of admiration for Jordan Peele, and I was lucky enough to work on his project “THE TWILIGHT ZONE.” I am inspired by what he has created as a filmmaker and as a creator/producer. 

 Passions, apart from acting, tell us what drives your interest?

I am currently working hard on the development side of things. I want to give people who may otherwise have been looked over the opportunity to tell their stories and shine. 

 Your favorite inspirational quote?

My favorite inspirational quote is, “Time waits for no man, although I control the slow hand.”

 To me, it means that although a lot of things in our lives are out of my hands, the few things I can control I can focus on and maybe change the trajectory of my life.

 Food and Travel: favorite cuisine/ dish and first destination post-pandemic, unrelated to work travel.

I don’t have a favorite cuisine. It depends very much on what mood I’m in. The first place I’m going post-pandemic is Grenada, and I will be eating the national dish OIL DOWN, extra pigtail. My father is from Grenada, while my mother is from Trinidad. Both places have always been important to me. I’ve been going there since I was a young child, and it’s still the first place I go after I’ve filmed something or when I have a chunk of time off. For me, it’s a place to visit family, recalibrate, and ground myself. I also am involved with a charity there called REACH WITHIN. The mission is to improve the future outcomes of vulnerable children in Grenada with wellness programs. I ran my first marathon in Grenada to help raise money for Reach Within, and in 2019 I ran the NYC marathon for Reach Within as well. You can get more info about the cause at www.reachwithin.org or on Instagram @reach.within

Fashion: what do you think of it, what is fashion for you, and which style represents you best.

For me, fashion is comfort. Jeans, a pair of Jordan 4’s, a tee and a leather jacket and I’m good.

Future Projects for Brandon. What is ahead for you, any new project you can mention?

I am currently shooting the reboot of TURNER AND HOOCH on Disney +. It will be released sometime in 2021.

“Hey Elon here, can you hear me?” – on Clubhouse with Elon Musk

What you may have missed from the Uber talked event on Clubhouse, takeaways and fun facts with a plot twist:

A “snowy” usual pandemic Sunday (at least in NYC) suddenly turns into the hottest digital event, with Elon Musk joining a chatroom hosted on the trendsetting latest app on the net, Clubhouse, for 2 hours of entertaining, informative, and revealing banter with a grand finale.

With a max capacity of attendees at 5200 reached within seconds at 12.57 a.m., earlier than the start of the event, and later expanded to about 7k, we at Manintown thought of extending a few takeaways to our readers. The alarm clock set at 1 am, I was one of the lucky ones to join in and listen to Elon Musk’s conversation with the moderators, and it was all worth the effort. Topics of discussion as many as his many endeavors, including the final banter and quite the “entertaining ” unexpected plot twist.

With his profile pic set to one of his famous meme, “The short shorts,” a joke on Tesla stocks from the previous summer, Elon enters the room, setting a friendly tone ahead, claiming he is just trying to look “sexy.” For those who wonder, his sense of humor is, by far, one of my favorite discoveries during this event.



“Hey Elon here, can you hear me?”, Clubhouse is an audio app. The greeting made this geeky girl in love with anything space-related giggle with the thought of the unforgettable song by David Bowie. I found myself wondering if Elon was indeed calling us from Mars, already trying to get connected to the circa 5000 humans in the audience waiting for a signal from him to planet Earth. In all secret, it would not surprise me. This man has embarked on all the futuristic endeavors that we were hoping for in the Age of Aquarius. (yes, we are right in it).

Let’s explore what you may have missed in a summary of 6 fun facts: (and a plot twist)

Mars and the “holy grail of rocketry

  Elon spoke extensively of the mission of developing an alternative planet living on Mars, and his efforts to push forward this colossal project with Space-X. His insight on the future is that it will not be a luxury stay, not at least for the longest of time. When asked if his kids would ask him to go to Mars, he responded, “none of them so far wants to go.”

According to Musk, Space-X will possibly get the first people to Mars in probably five and half years.



“The Earth and Mars synch up every 26 months (approx. 1.5 years)” there are slots of time “when we can do Interplanetary transfers.” According to Musk, the rockets need to be fully and rapidly reusable, or in his own words, what is “the holy grail of rocketry,” and achieve what is now possible with regular aircraft, where the cost of air flight would be majorly covering the cost of fuel. That and local propellant production are, summarizing it, fundamental things that need to happen between now and then. The settlements will also be quite the austere environment for the first at least 3 or 4. Lots of work will have to be done. In brief, as expected, infrastructure to make it a livable place will require a long time. We are looking at about another 5 and a half years before that can be started.

Memes

Elon loves memes. He communicates through them; he dedicates some time off his busy schedule to producing or getting memes from what he called “meme dealers”. How funny is that? How cool is that? And it works. Elon’s memes talk to his audience, primarily on Twitter, where he was a pioneer with 10k followers at the time of his sign up. “People say I went crazy on Twitter, the fact is I started crazy on Twitter,” laughing along with his own funny jokes.



To Start ups and new entrepreneurs – a word of advice from Elon

There is something Elon said that I would not easily or soon forget about being a startup entrepreneur. It is something that entirely resonates with me as co-founder of a young creative agency, and that may also be the answer needed to dissolve a million questions we hear from new company owners all the time. It was:

“If you need encouraging words, don’t do a startup,” the drive to do a thing as Elon has done, founding and guiding multiple ventures, comes entirely from a compulsion to do it, he states. It compared it to a sort of mad demon in the skull.

“Seeing is believing”, he tells us of when he used to sleep on the factory floor (which he still does in times of crisis). People would see him there, and there would be no excuse, and hopefully, they would see also that “if he could take that level of pain, then they would do the same.” No doubt we are talking about a “leading by example” kind of leader here.

The vaccine distribution- “I am not an anti-vaxxer”

Elon is quite passionate about the topic. He suggests that it would work better to expedite the process with less limiting procedures on prioritized categories, entailing opening the vaccine distribution to a first-come, first-serve basis at CVS, Walgreens, like the flu vaccines. Also, we will have more vaccines that we may need by the end of the year, and we will have an excess of them. The good news is more vaccines are on the way. Good news seems to be quite on the way too.

Neuralink is hiring

A shout out was also given from Musk to professionals in AI and those who have worked on phones, robots to join Neuralink, the brain implant company he started in 2017. He then retweeted it, after leaving the conversation also on his account @elonmusk. The company seems to have made quite the progress in its research, and it aims in the first stages to be a way to assist people with brain and spine injuries.

Stocks and Crypto- Bitcoin is a good thing.

Before his intervention, the joke on the net was that most of the audience’s followers would be having Clubhouse on the phone and be on the laptop staring at their portfolios. Elon is known for being a Bitcoin supporter. As expected, he reconfirmed it in the chat, also admitting, “I am late to the party, but I am a supporter of Bitcoin,” probably due to the coin being more and more soon accepted by traditional finance players. With Musk’s track record of success in all he puts his mind to, it seems that Bitcoin may be something certainly crypto to keep an eye on. 


gold-colored Bitcoin

Dogecoin also made its appearance. The fun coin of the crypto bunch, Elon explains that was meant as a joke to make fun of cryptocurrencies, but he adds on, “But faith loves irony, and the most entertaining outcoming is often most likely,” he also jokes. Dogecoin has experienced a bullish, quite unexpected wave in the past week, and it seems quite certain that despite its comical origin, it has made itself known amongst the crypto community.

Plot Twist- “Spill the beans man- The people demand an answer”

I have to say this CEO-to-CEO was, without a doubt, quite the plot twist and the highlight and the perfect end to the event. As heard in the news, the trading app Robinhood limiting trade activities to its customers of some stocks in the past few days. Gamestop and AMC, Elon asked a couple of direct questions to Vladimir Tenev, whom he introduced as “Vlad the stock impaler,” CEO of Robinhood. Elon’s is a no-frills, straight to the point, no going in circle attitude and communication style. With straight-shooter, truth seeker Elon calling on stage the CEO of Robinhood, a series of direct and to-the-point questions seemed inevitable in retrospect. Questions on behalf of the people, and investors, like what exactly happened last week? “the people want to know.”

 It was quite the show. It seems that Elon on Clubhouse is here to stay, and we look forward to hearing more from him.

Barbera’s Biella handmade shoes

“All our lives, we have heard our father called Maestro, and that has always made us proud of him, now that they call us Maestro, we know that it is our father who is very proud of us.”

Barbera Sandro & Figli is an artisan company rooted in a long tradition of working with leather to create fine, entirely handmade footwear. For over 50 years, our family has been producing shoes according to our area’s ancient shoemaking traditions.

Founded in 1968 in Biella, thanks to our parents’ will, Sandro and Luciana, Barbera Sandro & Figli has its headquarters in the city.

Just on the occasion of our 50th year of activity, the company obtained the recognition of “Eccellenza Artigiana Piemonte”; an award followed by “Eccellenze Italiane” and “Artigiano del Cuore.” Together with the collaboration with leading companies in the fashion industry, three awards have filled us with pride and satisfaction for our work.



Barbera shoes are unique and completely customizable models because they are created one at a time and proudly Made in Italy.

The desire is to offer a refined, long-lasting accessory to meet each customer’s style and comfort needs. The collections range from the most youthful, modern, and exclusive models to the classic and timeless ones (both for men and women).

Each shoe is produced with the utmost care, aimed at searching for the best materials (strictly Made in Italy), design and development of exclusive processes and colors, such as hand-dyed, stone waxed, and garment-dyed.

Let’s review the history of the company with Andrea Barbera.

Tell us about your journey and how your company was born.

Barbera Sandro e Figli is an artisan workshop producing quality footwear for over 50 years, strictly by hand and selecting 100% Made in Italy materials. The company was started in 1968 by our parents Sandro and Luciana, and over the years we brothers, Stefano and Andrea, took over.



For both of us to continue the family business was a natural path. It was born by learning the trade secrets from our father and, above all, being “infected” by his passion.

The aim is to create unique products with our own hands, capable of enclosing all the beauty and quality of Italian handmade products.

How do you carry on the tradition while keeping up with the times?

For us, making shoes by hand means creating elegant footwear and researching innovative processes and materials to ensure maximum comfort to our customers even when they buy a leather shoe. After long years of studies, we have reached this goal, experience in the field, and the continuous updating on the market news. Besides, we wanted to give a green footprint to many of our collections, selecting eco-friendly materials, such as Merino wool for our iconic Wooly, or ecological rubber for the soles.



We also focused a lot on the digital sphere, making ourselves known and keeping a channel of communication open with our customers near and far. We have opened our social media with Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube and created a website with e-commerce, to be always reachable and tell a bit of us to those who follow us.

What are the iconic pieces that characterize the brand?

Our Wooly unisex sneaker is one of the most appreciated creations. It was created in collaboration with the designers of Reda Active.

It is a New Zealand Merino wool shoe, a tribute to our land known for its fine fabrics. Thanks to this material’s properties, it can be worn all year round (wool provides exceptional thermal comfort) and can be combined with a casual style, but also with a broken dress.



To celebrate our 50 years of activity, instead, we have created our Barberini, Belgian loafers with an exclusive design, made of calfskin, suede, and fabrics and with Flex processing, which combines maximum comfort with an elegant and ultra-trendy style. Last but not least, the Multicolor shoes that have made us known all over the world. This is a line of men’s brogues entirely handmade and dyed. One of their strengths lies in the extensive possibilities of customization, as the customer can choose the color of every single part of the shoe.



Which craft techniques are part of your heritage and still used today?

As already mentioned, we make extensive use of the Black Flex technique, one of our exclusive processes, which increases the shoe softness, giving it a particular aesthetic, but above all, considerable flexibility. Another traditional method that we still use for some models is hand dyeing, which gives the shoes unique shades of color.



Finally, there is the “stonewashed” process: as the name suggests, with this technique, shoes are “washed” with stones to give them a vintage effect, soften the leather and create a unique texture, with a gritty and very current style.

Plans for the future and what strategies are you developing to overcome this moment.

In this period, we are focusing a lot on the digital part: we continue to invest in online communication, but also to implement new services to meet the needs of our customers, such as the Virtual Shop.



The latter consists in the possibility of scheduling a video call on WhatsApp to virtually enter our laboratory and get advice on the sizes and style of our models. Beyond the fact that the relationship with people is one of the aspects we love most about our work, today more than ever, we believe that the human connection, even if at a distance, makes the difference for our customers and us.

Karim Rashid: welcome to Utopia, the future of design.

“If it’s style, it is a thing of the past.”– Karim Rashid




Let’s start with your training. Is there a figure who was like a mentor to you?

Early in my career, Ettore Sottsass taught me that there are many beautiful design objects, but you have to ask what they do for us? In the sense of human, inspiring objects, Memphis was a revelation. Many imposing design objects need to stand by themselves to impress. I always ask myself, what is left, if you take the design away? If it’s style, it is a thing of the past.

Also, Sottsass taught me not to be too much of an artist to be a great designer. I keep his vases, and a few Memphis works around to remind me of this. An artist is not a designer, and a designer is not an artist. What counts in the end is to help the world become a better place from aesthetics to human behavior, from the ecology to the economy. Hence design is a creative act, a social act, a political act, and an economic act.


Bladensburg Condo in Washington D.C.- 2019

During our conversations, you have mentioned you were also a student of Maestro Gaetano Pesce; what is that you learned and remember from Pesce as a teacher. Is there something of that time and of his teachings that still influence your work? And what is the best memory you have of this experience? 

I studied under Gaetano Pesce near Naples in 1983. Gaetano gave us an unusual assignment to design a drinking glass with a head or a person’s face. It was an unusual assignment. He reminded me of my father a lot because my father was quite figurative that way, and a sculpture and an artist, just like Gaetano. I learned from him the notion of Variance. Back in the 60s and 70s, he did many experiments where he would take a plywood box and inject polyurethane foam but not allow the box to fill up with foam fully. Every time he would open up the box, it would be a different chair. It was is non-serialized production. And I took his ideas of non-serialized production to a company called Nambe in Santa Fe back in the 90s. I used a CNC machine and created a software that the CNC machine would cut out of alloy vases. But because of the algorithm, it would cut a different form every time. This process was non-serialization through mass production, but obviously, I was doing it digitally. Whereas when Gaetano was doing the experiments, it was a hands-on way of creating non-serializations. He also did a beautiful table for Cassina where the workers poured the colored resin in the mold, and the colors world mix, so each table came out differently. That peculiarity was the most crucial aspect of his design philosophy.

Minimal and futuristic shapes are often the leitmotif of your creations. 


Heartbeat- Nienkamper- 2019

How would you define your style?

I don’t have a style. I focus on new social behaviors, new paradigms, new technologies, new materials, and embracing and mirroring the age we live in. To design using contemporary criteria, in turn, shapes the future. If I style, I only imitate the past.

Completely new shapes, volumes that develop within different volumes, shapes that overlap, you have given your best in fashion too. Among your collaborations with various brands, if you had to choose an experience that touched you particularly, which one would you prefer to tell us about?

I was greatly inspired when working on the HUGO BOSS Boat. Here was an opportunity to speak about speed, exclusivity, energy, power, and courage through the sailboat’s visual aesthetics. I intended to make a graphic statement by embracing new technologies and materials. I worked with Solar panels, techno paints, and techno printing technologies to shape a photogenic, memorable sailboat. Meeting Alex Thompson and touring the boat showed me the great passion needed for these races and projects. Meeting with HUGO Boss and the ATR team members, having a constant back and forth dialogue was essential in shaping the final design. Meeting with Stewart Hosford, showing me the carbon fiber samples helped steer us in the right direction for what we should base our design around. Using carbon as the direct inspiration for the livery as this boat is made of carbon fiber is the first of its kind.


Every round of designs required analysis from a performance perspective. It led to many iterations and revisions but ultimately helped us narrow down the best possible design functionally and aesthetically, marrying the Hugo Boss brand & ATR with my aesthetics. I have worn Hugo clothes and cologne for many years and always appreciated the simplicity but innovation of materials and perfection of quality. I understand the desire for innovative materials and the need to embrace new technologies in all they do. Hugo does not follow the flippant recycling of trends. I see myself with these same attributes- precision, elegance, minimal, yet humanized. 

Let’s talk about the future. What is innovation for you? Both in the field of fashion and design.

Innovation only comes when one focuses on contemporary issues and works with recent social changes, needs, and desires. Innovation and design are inseparable, as technology and design are also inseparable. Fashion should talk about how we live and not repeat antiquated derivative styles of the past. We live in a data-driven digital age, and like our digital tools, our physical world should have the same seamlessness, ease, immateriality, functionality, and smartness.


Karimotel- Concept Building Design

Why the choice of often bold colors? What is their meaning to you?

As a 5-year-old child, I loved neon colors and colors that were alive. Until today I find these colors (as accents) can change our mood, create more positivity, make us feel more alive. Color can alter our behaviors and elevate our mental well-being. Of course, color needs to be used in a very sensitive way, and then it can be a beautiful phenomenon, be it an entire building, an interior space, a product, a piece of furniture, a piece of clothing.

You are a reference point for design enthusiasts, a key figure for the new generations, especially for the transversal way you manage to develop your projects. What message would you like to give to them?

I would tell design enthusiasts and consumers to sincerely question what they’re purchasing, creating, and bringing into their homes. We must remember the obvious HUMAN issues in a product. Are consumers flippantly purchasing useless kitsch at the checkout? Are they assessing a product for criteria like Emotion, ease of use, technological advances, product methods, humor, meaning, and a positive, energetic, and proud spirit? 


Bounce- Concept Building Design

Can you tell us about your relationship with music?

I listen to a very broad range of music. Music affords me to concentrate, be inspired, dream, imagine, and become completely engrossed in what I am working on. It is an essential part of my process. I mostly listen to electronic or jazz – without lyrics since it takes me into my lyrical state of mind, and I also write my own lyrics while I am drawing.

This pandemic has forced us all to stop and reflect deeply. What do you imagine in the future of design?

Even in this hyper-consumptive world, in the future, we will own nothing – this is nature- we lease cars, we rent houses, and soon we will learn to lease or rent everything, experience it for a short while, and go on to the next. We will create a forever dynamic, ever-vast changing human condition, where everything will be cyclic, sustainable, biodegradable, customizable, personalizable, and seamless. This is Utopia, this is freedom, and this is nirvana. All the goods in the world will only exist if they give us a new or necessary experience. We will dematerialize.


Pebble Sink- Relax Design- Multicolor 2019

Eclectic characters like you are also great visionaries. Do you dream of something revolutionary?

In the next year, I plan on building my dream house! I’ve designed so many spaces for others, but this will be my own Utopia. For so long, I was inspired by Pierre Cardin’s Bubble House (Palais Bulles) in addition to his fashion and product design. The space is so soft, curved, organic, and conceptual. Like this, my dream home will engage technology, visuals, textures, lots of colors, and meet all the intrinsic needs of living a simpler, less cluttered, but more sensual envelopment. 


SWITCH, Dubai- 2020

Finally, the concept of sustainability seems to have entered concretely within the most varied areas of production. Could you give us your idea of quality of life”?

Recycling is in a cyclic paradigm now in the United States and many other countries. Conserving resources means using less raw materials and energy throughout a product’s entire life — from its development and manufacture to its use, reuse, recycling, and disposal. I am interested in biodegradable materials. I am trying to use bioplastics; the Garbo can is made of corn, and the Snap chair by Feek is made of 100% recycled polystyrene and is 97% air. A while ago, I designed packaging for a fast-food restaurant using starch and potatoes that are injection molded and have the exact appearance of plastic. These innovations are finally becoming part of the consumer zeitgeist.

Karim Rashid is one of the most groundbreaking, vibrant, and prolific designers of his generation. Over 4000 designs in production, over 300 awards, and working in over 40 countries attest to Karim’s legend of design. Each of his designs carries a unique color signature and fluidity that is inspiring and unforgettable.

His award-winning designs include luxury goods for Christofle, Veuve Clicquot, and Alessi, democratic products for Umbra, Bobble, and 3M, furniture for Bonaldo and Vondom, lighting for Artemide and Fontana Arte, high tech products for Asus and Samsung, surface design for Marburg and Abet Laminati, brand identity for Citibank and Sony Ericsson and packaging for Method, Paris Baguette, Kenzo and Hugo Boss.

Karim’s work is featured in 20 permanent collections and he exhibits art in galleries worldwide. Karim is a perennial winner of the Red Dot award, Chicago Athenaeum Good Design award, I. D. Magazine Annual Design Review, IDSA Industrial Design Excellence award.

Illustrated portrait by Maria Angela Lombardi

Photo courtesy of Karim Rashid Studio in NY

www.karimrashid.com

Beauty alert: LAFCO New York

Founded in 1992 by Jon Bresler in New York, LAFCO combines traditional craftsmanship and the purest ingredients to create transporting home fragrances and personal care products. The luxurious collection of soaps, lotion, diffusers, and candles are made from rigorously sourced essential oils. The products are hand produced using both time-honored botanical production practices and cutting-edge technology. The fragrances are designed to evoke an emotional, sensory response. We met the founder, here below our conversation:

How and when did u develop the brand and launch? Philosophy and values behind it

Our founder, Jon Bresler, began the LAFCO brand after leaving New York City and moving to Switzerland in the ’90s. While living in Europe, he discovered and fell in love with the continent’s traditions in aromatherapy and botanicals. His hunger for travel, combined with a new love of fragrance and old-world craftmanship, led him to beautiful cities in Italy, Portugal, and Greece. It was there he had his first experiences learning about and then launching unique European brands to the American market; brands such as Santa Maria Novella, Claus Porto and Korres Natural Skin Care, all of which are globally recognized today. In 2010 Jon launched his own home fragrance line, LAFCO New York, based on these European traditions, but with a modern New York twist.

Our concept has always been to create a full ambiance with the elements of mood, scent, and color. We design our home fragrance offerings with these details in mind and associate them with a place in a house or a type of setting. For example, our Chamomile Lavender candle is calming in scent, and the glass vessel color is a warm, neutral beige that evokes the relaxation of a bedroom. Our Office candle fragrance combines notes of rosemary and eucalyptus, both invigorating and revitalizing scents. The glass color is a vibrant green, a stimulating color, making it the perfect choice for an office environment.fo

Since LAFCO New York has its roots in botanical and natural fragrance and skincare, and because our philosophy is to create products that smell good (and are good for you), it was imperative to us we use the cleanest and safest ingredients available. We create our candles with a clean-burning blend of soy wax, with no petroleum. Our reed diffuser fragrance formula contains zero alcohol, so it not only is good for you, but the fragrance lasts much longer. Also, all of our candle glass is hand-blown, using techniques from one of the oldest glass factories in Bohemia. Each glass piece is a creation as unique as our customers!

Which are your core products? 

• Signature Candle – Our original creation has a 90 hour burn time and is hand-poured here in the USA.

• Signature Diffuser – Our reed diffuser has an innovative design that allows it to be completely refillable; it’s eco-friendly luxury! The glass vessel is hand-crafted and may be enjoyed for many years.

• Hand Care Collection (Liquid Soap + Hand Cream + Bar Soap) – Artisanally crafted in Italy and Portugal, our hand care collection uses natural ingredients, without any sulfates, parabens or palm oil, that is gentle to your skin, as well as the environment.

Can we have a message of hope and support to other small-medium companies from NY to Italy

As business slows right now, and we all hunker down together as a call to public safety, our hope is that we help remind people that there is still so much beauty in the world. Now, more than ever, people are looking to their favorite brands to offer inspiration and escape. We feel our mission, as with all brands, is to continue to connect with our customers during this challenging time and lean in to their stories and ideas. We will all get through this darkness together, and in the process, learn valuable lessons that not only strengthen us, but also our companies.

Pick up your 5 favourite products and explain why?

Feu de Bois 3 Wick Candle – My NYC studio doesn’t come with a fireplace, but this is the next best thing. I love how the woody notes of cedar and sandalwood combine to create the warming effect of a roaring fire during cold winter nights. In the summer, it reminds me of the campfires of my childhood. I love it so much, I burn this candle all year long!

Amber Signature Candle – Amber has always been a fragrance I’m drawn to and this candle captures its essence perfectly. The deep blue color of the glass makes it feel modern and timeless at the same time. 

Sea and Dune Classic Diffuser – Our Classic Diffuser is a new design that we just introduced this year. The small size of the diffuser fits perfectly in a smaller space, like a guest room or even a closet. Sometimes I don’t have the time to burn a candle and this is a great alternative for adding scent to a room. The Sea and Dune fragrance transports you to a house by the ocean. Bring this as gift wherever you stay, and I guarantee the host or hostess will invite you again and again.

Discovery Trio– This is just brilliant! If you’re shopping online, the challenge is you can’t smell fragrance through the computer. How many times have you come across a product online and wished you could smell it? The Discovery Trio is the idea we came up with. You select 3 different candle fragrances of your choice. Each sample is a mini candle so you can experience the product before you commit to the full size. Its a great gift for those hard to shop for friends!

Wick Trimmer + Snuffer– I have a candle obsession (clearly), so I understand how important it is to take good care of your candles. My golden rule: you must trim the wick each time you burn your candle. Otherwise, the wax will tunnel and the glass becomes smokey black. There is nothing worse! Our Wick Trimmer + Snuffer is an ingenious design our team created that simultaneously extinguishes the candle flame and trims the wick. No mess and your candle always burns perfectly.

Where can people find your products? 

LAFCO may be found in many independent boutiques, hotels and spas across the USA. We are also available in department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales. Of course we also ship worldwide through our e-commerce store at LAFCO.COM.

Giorgio Armani’s open letter to fashion

Published this week on WWD an open letter by the pen of Maestro Giorgio Armani to the world of fashion. After being one of the very first one leaders to recognize the danger of the pandemic, showing his new collection behind closed doors during Milan Fashion Week, donating 2 ml euros to the local hospitals for research and cure, Armani also converted his manufacturing facilities in Italy to produce single use-disposable gowns, leading by example in this global fight against COVID- 19.

Giorgio Armani Julian Broad

The reflection explores, in Giorgio’s words this “absurd” current state of affairs exposing a world where fashion industry has fallen in “a criminal nonalignment between the weather and the commercial season” in a frenetic pursue of fast fashion.

The decline began when we pursued fast fashion

He continues on stating that the slow down forced by the pandemic is bringing to light a necessary redemption of value to the work and world of designers, which would ultimately bring the customers to the understanding of the value of fashion and its collections.

“The decline of the fashion system as we know it began when the luxury segment adopted the operating methods of fast fashion, mimicking the latter’s endless delivery cycle in the hope of selling more, yet forgetting that luxury takes time, to be achieved and to be appreciated. Luxury cannot and must not be fast. It makes no sense for one of my jackets or suits to live in the shop for three weeks before becoming obsolete, replaced by new goods that are not too different.”

Luxury takes time

Giorgio Armani’s creations as we know them are the indisputable symbol of timeless elegance. This pause is giving the world a chance to renew the pace of proposing ideas to the world especially giving the chance to refocus on production cycles and seasons, allowing to a more livable and therefore quality-driven fashion. 

It is a moment of reflection that calls for a more ethical approach to fashion.

Timeless Elegance

“I don’t work like that, and I find it immoral to do so. I have always believed in an idea of ​​timeless elegance, which is not only a precise aesthetic code, but also an approach to the design and making of garments that suggests a way of buying them: to make them last. For the same reason, I find it absurd that, in the middle of winter, one can only find linen dresses in the shops and alpaca coats in the summer, for the simple reason that the desire to purchase must be satisfied immediately.”

Who buys an item to put it in the closet waiting for the right season? None or just a few, I believe. But this, driven by department stores, has become the dominant mind-set, which I think is wrong and needs to change.

This crisis is an opportunity to slow down and realign everything; to define a more meaningful landscape. I have been working with my teams for three weeks so that, after the lockdown, the summer collections will remain in the boutiques at least until the beginning of September, as it is natural. And so we will do from now on.”

Slow down and realign

“Special events should happen for special occasions, not as a routine.” The expense of a grandiose show far surpasses and is no longer justifiable especially when, according to Armani, it carries just a mediocre message. The letter denounces a scenario where too much is spent on “vulgar” displays of “mild ideas”; the designer reinforces his invitation to focus on slow-paced high-quality measured communication adding on to the message of focusing on authenticity to “regain human dimension”

“It is nice to see that in this sense we are all united. For retail, this will be an important stress test. I want to send my heartfelt encouragement to the American fashion operators for the difficult weeks they will face ahead. United, we will make it. But we have to be united and operate in unison: This is perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from this crisis.

United we will make it

Giorgio Armani

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“Beat the virus with creativity” 8 Questions to Mauro Porcini

Mauro Porcini joined Pepsi in 2012 as its first ever Chief Design Officer. Living in NYC and Italian native, he shares with us his experience during the Covid-19 epidemic. Mauro is an expert in design as well as global branding, a supporter of the Made in Italy and Italian style.  We have asked his view, experience and a message for businesses and individuals during this global pandemic.

  1. Who has been or is inspiration and reference for you? 

First of all my parents, though I may sound pretty obvious, probably for many. I took for granted for a long time. They taught me the importance of culture, of knowledge and of learning with curiosity. Culture was the most important thing in my family, and they passed on the love for it, leading by example. They studied, they read and they were interested in anything that was relevant. They were in owe of and loved people with culture: University teachers and people in television that somehow were showcasing that level of culture. 

One very important value they taught was the need of being a good person. They are devoted Catholic, very Christian, very religious. My father is an architect and a painter, so I was surrounded by paintings in my house. So that was a great inspiration for me on the art side, and as a kid, I could draw very well. So it was really fun for me to draw with him and learn all kinds of techniques. 

My mother instead was in love with literature, writing and reading and she loves writing poems with religious backgrounds and content. 
Still today they work together to publish daily paintings and thoughts online. You know, my parents are totally non technological but they figured out how to create a blog. They self-published different books, paintings, sketches with poems. They have been such an inspiration all my life.

2. Your personal definition of design and how did you apply it in your professional experiences?

Design is all about people. It’s all about understanding the needs and wants of people. Therefore, understanding what is important, what is relevant, what is meaningful to people, and then creating solutions. It could be a product, a service, a brand, an experience: all solutions that solve those needs and those wants, those desires and dreams. This is what designers do.

To do that, we need to understand three dimensions. One is the world of the human beings, psychology and anthropology. Semiotic and semantic, hence understanding people. Second dimension is business: how to do branding, distribution, how to work with your customers: it is important because once you understand those needs, you also need to find a way to create solutions that can be sold. Third dimension is technology: the one of the product, to manufacture the product. 

The product needs to be feasible, sellable and you need to have the right technologies to do all of that. The connection between people, strategies slash business and technology is the key to create solutions that are meaningful to people to their needs and wants. Design is all about people and is all about fulfilling those needs, and those ones in a meaningful way. 

3. How do you live in New York and how does it influence your work? What are the other places that inspire or relax you?

I deeply Love NY, I define it as the capital of capitals. People all around the world come to NY to do business, to create and inspire. There is a density of unbelievable people with great ideas and unbelievable drive to change the world that you cannot find in any other city in the world. This makes NY an amazing “piazza” where people with ideas meet people with resources to make things possible.

Having this density of people with amazing ideas, drive and energy to make things happen is very inspiring, but at the same time could be draining. You always have the desire to be out and join and meet these people that can inspire you. 

To balance this out I have a house where I can escape in nature 2 hours away from the city, in the Hamptons. I love waking up and seeing deers in the garden and the sound of the fireplace crackling. In my life I have always been in a sort of suspension between two worlds: on one side a full energy of the city and on the other the full energy of nature, I love them both and a balance of two is what I feel comfortable with.

4.  How are you facing the coronavirus situation and which stereotypes or preconceptions would you like to fight?

Mauro takes a deep breath and sighs, and I know he is gearing up to deliver his honest opinion with most empathy. If you follow Mauro on his IG account you already know his posts are often filled with social involvement messages and human sensitivity. The impact of coronavirus issue, the healthcare shortage of staff and gear, the impact that this pandemic has on our country and the others, is one that he has deeply at heart.

The Corona virus situation is absolutely mind blowing in so many different ways. Nobody expected it. Nobody understands how to face it: it’s scary and difficult to understand. The problem is that many people are underestimating the magnitude of this crisis.

As an Italian living in New York my message is “Wake up! This is not just something happening in Italy”. 

Italy has the second-best performing healthcare system in the planet according to the World Health Organization. The US is far behind: there are by far less hospital beds per person than Italy.  

My thoughts and my prayer go to all the families and all the individuals that have been and will be impacted by this. We need to make sure we are safe as individuals, families and if we have teams and companies is necessary to prioritize the safety of our people. We also need to find ways to maintain the basic business needs, in specific industries in particular: healthcare system, food and beverage, production and delivery, the production of any safety equipment, as well as information and entertainment.

The solution is to stay home. Many of us will need to be in the front line fighting this virus. Some of us may be able to work remotely, while many other will not.

Try to better yourself, to do something to grow: You have an amazing opportunity to invest your time. “Beat this virus with creativity. 

In my case: I’m reading multiple books that I was planning to read and I never had time for, I started drawing again. I’m also writing my book. Actually, I’ve been writing this book for years. But now I am full on dedicated to it.

My goal is to grow and become better as a professional and also as a human being. So this is how I’m reacting to this virus and how I’m fighting it.

5. Your message of solidarity and energy to overcome this moment 

My message of solidarity is: Beat the virus with Creativity. 

As I mentioned already, we are living a tragedy with a very heavy death toll, but we also have the unique opportunity of getting time back in our life to slow down, invest on yourself and grow as a human being by learning new things. Read as much as you can. In brief do something that you always wanted to do, but you never had the time to.

This is how we’re going beat this virus from an emotional level. Obviously, you know, we still need to fight obviously this virus in a more practical way and contain it.

Let us use creativity to better ourselves, to grow and eventually share it also with others in order to inspire as many people as possible in this moment of difficulty.

6. Let’s talk about Made in Italy, of which you are a big supporter, and specifically how the role of the designer in future business in a world where the impact and physical interaction seems to be less and less prevalent?

A designer is a creator of meaning. A designer is somebody that understand the needs and wants of people and creates solutions. In the past those solutions were often material, and the material we were working with was wood, metal, or leather. These materials will stay in the future as well, obviously, you know, as there will always be a place for physical things. 

Today, there is a new material that designers can play with and need to play with and it is bytes and gigabytes of information that you can translate in so many different ways: videos, digital content, all those megabytes of information the fly in the air.

As yourself: how does communication among devices work? what is the user interface and how do products connect with each other creating dialogue with each other? how do human beings connect with those products from their smart thermostats to wearable technology to their smart phone or device of the future that will interact with their home and their clothing and car. We design the connection of all these devices. Even when is intangible we design the way you interact with them and how user friendly, intuitive, simple to use it is. We design something that at the end of the day can be synthetized and defined as an experience and therefore there is a physical component of it and there is also an intangible component of it

At the end of the day, however, we do exactly what the designers of the past were doing. We understand people, their needs, their wants, and we create solutions that are meaningful for them, where material is not just wood metal or plastic but also intangible as bytes and the intangible experience of people with these contents made of bytes and these physical products that some how carry, receive or send the contents away.

7. Have you traveled the world to educate brands and their professionals on best practices : an advice to brands in this moment of stalemate and crisis?

My recommendation to any brand around the world right now is to be sensitive and be part of the global conversation. Create a content that is authentic. It needs to be aligned to your brand promise, to what you stand for. It needs to be relevant to your target audience. Be part of the conversation, have a specific message that invokes energy and positivity or offer solutions that can be informative or entertaining. Offer value to your audience in a way that is informative, entertaining and authentic as possible, aligned to your promise, to your positioning and with the tonality that is typical of your brands.

8. Last but not least Mauro let’s talk about YOUR SHOES. you left NY temporarily to stay at home in the Hamptons, to stay at home, retreat and to contribute and rightly follow the guidelines dictated by the concept of “Social Distancing” as a weapon to combat the spread of this terrible virus. Are your beloved shoes (from you and us) now in quarantine?

My shoes, I miss my shoes in New York! I have my emergency collection you know, Here in America some people have collections of tomatoes and flowers and cookies and chips to use this in case of catastrophes, I have that and my shoes, about 50 pairs of them. It is you know My emergency collection!

 “In this way,you know, while the other pairs, stay in New York resting and being safe, I will just as safely, enjoy this smaller collection here. “ 

He jokes about it, but truly Mauro is a lover of shoes and he has a collection of approx. 350 shoes, 50 of which now in quarantine with him, the rest back in his apt in NYC.. 

We wish Mauro to be safely reunited with his beloved quarantined shoes soon, curious to see what he will design next, and we wish all of you to stay safe, stay in and work on a better future by utilizing Creativity to beat the virus! 

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Tulemar, a jungle luxury adventure in Costa Rica

Escaping to Paradise it is a natural instinct for those living in the Northern hemisphere, especially during those dreadful long cold winters.  

Natural beauty, lush forests, palms for miles and waves for the brave: this is what Costa Rica has to offer.
This winter, right at the end of the rainy season, we took a trip from our hub in New York to visit the very acclaimed Trip Advisor best hotel in 2019: Tulemar in Quepos, on the Pacific side. 

Arriving in San Jose’ at the airport, where alas not much can be found, we were greeted by our private Tulemar driver, sent from the resort to rescue us from the noise of the Capital and take us to the area of Manuel Antonio, home of Tulemar and also of one of the most amazing natural parks and ecosystems.
Within 3 hours drive through the only “national carrettera” (in Costa Rica there is one national highway that runs throughout the country connecting relevant cities and towns like a major aorta), we reached the lusher and tourist-friendly Quepos region.

The green surrounding, the infinite beaches and lush rainforests are definitely some of the reasons why this area needs to be on your bucket list.

But this is not just it, as you may not yet know that Tulemar, on top of being gracefully built within the ecosystem with his private jungle bungalows and villas, it is also home of something fantastic: the Sloth Institute since 2015.

TSI is a non-profit organization with the mission to enhance the well-being and conservation of wild and captive sloths through research and education. They are also dedicated to collaborating with other sloth rehabilitation and release programs.
Tulemar hosts some of the species in its lush and peaceful protected environment and offers educational walks to guests and other visitors upon reservation. We took the tour and it was quite fascinating. The rescued sloths, roam freely (but not fast so to speak) in fact around the property, and some were visible even as a guest at one of the Café’ within the property, on our first night there, almost as magically they knew we had come all the way from another country to write about them.

The area of Quepos/Manuel Antonio is actually a real treat for nature lovers. The park of Manuel Antonio, which is a few km from the resort also offers magnificent VIP tours for those who care about knowing more about the ecosystems as well as the behavior of the animals who reside in the park. We took a 2 hours walk through the park with a specialized guide and it was worth it all the way!

Tulemar is one of a kind resort with 4 pools, a private beach, private villas as well as cozy bungalows, all immersed in a Jurassic Park like environment for the nature lovers with a taste for luxurious pampering and adventure.

The service at Tulemar falls within the rhythm of the place and the Pura Vida style, everything is as it should be when on vacation, by a friendly staff smoothly coordinating shuttle rides to the beach and back or delivery for room service in those lazy mornings where watching palm trees for capuchin monkeys sipping delicious coffee by a private pool is on the top to dos.

We highly recommend organizing a tour of the property with your own personal concierge as assigned to each guest upon arrival (yes a personal concierge for your stay, isn’t that marvelous!), and that you spend your mornings either at the private lovely bay that is one of the gems on-site or at one of the pools when you are not exploring the park of Manuel Antonio. For the more adventurous types, there is a little hiking trail on both sides of the bay that leads down to the wonderfully secluded beach.

Costa Rica tips/should know:

  • Do take it slow, time is perceived quite differently than our busy capitals from which you may travel from
  • US Dollars are also accepted at store and restaurants, ask first
  • Do bring an umbrella if you are traveling during or around rainy season ( May to Mid November)
  • “Pura Vida” means  Thank you, hello, how are you, you are welcome… 
  • Do steer clear of rivers and estuaries, as in Costa Rica crocs like to hang out there
  • Rent a car and explore whenever possible.

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Holiday Gifts 2019: colorful design objects to love

For this Christmas, we have thought of some original gift ideas inspired with modern and innovative style. Design objects are sumptuous thoughts when we want to amaze our loved ones, the best choice to give our living room a touch of style, but also perfect last-minute gifts. Discover the selection in the gallery.

GAETANO PESCE 

The works of the great Maestro Pesce are never the same. Handmade, these splendid contemporary objects are each accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the creative genius. In the prolific production of chairs, cabinets, armchairs, Gaetano Pesce’s house objects are a line accessible to the collector of taste and style. Not to be missed!

www.gaetanopesce.com

STEFANO GIOVANNONI 

The designer Stefano Giovannoni took inspiration from this meaning to create the Velvet Rabbit Chair: a seat that combines sweetness and sympathy with comfort and imagination. A chair in two versions, adult and child, in which the rabbit’s ears become a backrest. In a third version, the Rabbit chair lights up becoming also a lamp.

https://qeeboo.com/it/rabbit-chair-velvet-finish-by-stefano-giovannoni

LATERAL OBJECTS BY STEFAN BECKMAN

Stefan Beckman Studio is a New York-based design studio specialized in set design and art direction for the fashion industry. Their work has been part of the most iconic advertising and editorial campaigns of the last fifteen years. In addition to designing fashion shows for the biggest names in New York Fashion Week season after season, they plan events, fashion presentations and exhibitions around the world.

Lateral Objects is a design laboratory born within the Stefan Beckman Studio. The bold pop colors of California Art from the 60s and the Supergraphics design movement of the 70s were the inspiration for the first collection of objects that are ideal as a Christmas present, like the hand-blown gradient glasses or the coasters to match.

https://www.lateralobjects.com

https://www.stefanbeckman.com

@stefanbeckman @lateralobjects

MISSONI HOME 

Missoni is the home par excellence and a must-have for lovers of multicolored patterns in bright colors and first-class fabrics and elegance. Here are the best gift ideas for this Christmas:

American set in waterproof fabric with multicolored chevron macro. Solid color matching napkin.

https://www.missoni.com/it/missoni-home/set-americano-gift_cod46681538vu.html

Unisex hooded bathrobe in curly terry/cut quality cotton. Motif small multicolored dice. 100% cotton.

https://www.missoni.com/it/missoni-home/accappatoio_cod46646516xk.html#dept=hw_hmbthrbs

Plaid embroidered in Polyester, with chevron pattern lurex. With fringes. Measure 130×180 cm.

https://www.missoni.com/it/missoni-home/plaid_cod46649912vd.html#dept=hw_hmblnk

ALESSI

Food à porter is a lunch box that doesn’t look like a lunch box, but an elegant fashion accessory. A functional and beautiful object, to be worn as a bag with a sophisticated design.

https://www.alessi.com/it_it/food-a-porter-10779.html

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Design Masterpieces: a tribute to Gaetano Pesce

Maestro Gaetano Pesce, an authoritative voice of international design, turns 80 years old. A prolific creator of myriads of masterpieces amongst which monumental sculptures, vases, chairs, wardrobes and small resin objects that have defined the history of art and design of the 20th and 21st century.

Maestro Gaetano Pesce at work. Photo Courtesy of Olga Antipina.

Gaetano Pesce, who turns 80 years old on November 8th, is an unstoppable force of self-discipline, he works every day with stamina of steel and laser focus resolution to achieve his creative goals with the drive that only belongs to strong leaders, he leads by example and expects the best from his team, dedicating his time to creating daily, no matter what. Every day, weekends included, he visits his workshop in Brooklyn, where a team of assistants aid him to make his masterpieces come to life.

A fierce leader, he knows exactly the real meaning of creative expression, through the means of multidisciplinary approches, cannot exist without the diligence of the maximization of the use of time. As Pesce declared in a 2017 interview for Manintown, magnificent plans for 2019 exhibitions were in the works. These plans have been punctually delivered such as the ‘Maestà Soffrente’ displayed in Milan’s Piazza Duomo up to the exhibitions and shows that opened in the last week of October in New York.

At the new spaces of Salon 94 Design, in New York City, Gaetano’s legendary workshop, usually closed to public view is recreated, including assistants, machinery and works, opening hours and the Maestro himself included and available to direct the work and meet his admirers. A unique performance of excellence, in which art and design lovers are generously invited to experience the work of Gaetano Pesce in person, circulating between existing iconic works and able to observe the production of new works, witnessing the making of yet another chapter of history. Although the experience of the open laboratory ended on November 2, on the other side of the city, in Chelsea, Friedman Benda Gallery hosts until December 14 “Age of Contaminations” (catalog) a critical investigation into the work of Gaetano Pesce since 1968 to 1995. What a treat for NY and visitors! We welcome this gift and celebrate his creative genius and charismatic presence in the design ad art world throughout the decades with a little voyage through his work in pictures.  

On the occasion of this special anniversary celebration, we have met Gaetano Pesce to talk about his approach to design and future projects.

1) What was your success or the most satisfying result? Or a moment of particular satisfaction (among thousands) during these first 80 years?

Discover certain values ​​of our time still hidden, or almost. Feeling that men, in the so-called developed countries, are a little tired and that women have the energy necessary to help the world to be better… Finding out that most of what we call Architecture is actually Construction, suggested to me that it was necessary to find a way to overcome the formalism and the cosmetics that today most architects produce, and to indicate that the way out of this “cul de sac” is most likely the use of the” figure “, of recognizable representation and abandoning abstract and reactionary geometry too long in use… Identify the evolution of Design in enriching its traditional motifs by integrating them with political, religious, or personal-existential components … Also, to understand, for a long time, that expressing oneself with materials means, as it is correct to do, with the means of one’s time, including, very importantly, the materials. It’s a way to be honest and historically honest.

2) What would you like to do in the future?

 In the future, I would like to be more busy and active in the Architecture industry. I realize, however, that innovating with architectural projects is very difficult. It is because finding those who invest in innovation is difficult. This is demonstrated by the fact that what is seen built in the various countries of the world is repetitive and already seen.

Years ago I was lucky enough to realize the idea of ​​”vertical garden” with a building in Osaka. (“Organic Building”, Osaka, 1989). That work was much copied and trivialized. In particular from a designer from Milan who also copied the title, without bothering to evolve from the one I made.

3) Maestro, you are an undisputed leader of multidisciplinary. Which one do you consider your masterpiece, should you choose one.

I indeed express myself through different disciplines. I don’t have one that I prefer, but I choose the one that best suits the idea of ​​the moment. This way of using multiple disciplines also serves to avoid the tiredness and boredom that come from repetitive activity.

4) How is your relationship with the resin. Why does it create in resin?

I think I have already explained why I work with so-called synthetic materials: I express myself with the means of my time, so not with the materials of the past.

 5) Choose three words/adjectives that describe Gaetano Pesce. 

Curious, picky, easy to get bored

6) What inspires you above all: passion, a new challenge or curiosity?

What touches my attention.

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Food talk: Ettore Bocchia talks about molecular cuisine

He has been defined as a revolutionary who overturned the approach to the kitchen. Ettore Bocchia, founder and top authority of molecular cuisine, is a person of discreet charm who can also explain complex concepts simply and directly. From his words emerges the great passion for the research of the best ingredients and the result of long journeys to discover food excellence. We met him in his kingdom, the starred restaurant Mistral, a breathtaking place by the Como Lake. A special place at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, a unique place in atmosphere and style, dating back to 1873 when it was transformed from a private home into a luxury hotel.

When did you realize you become a chef?

I started in this field at twelve and then at twenty-seven, I decided to study and work hard to achieve specific goals.

The most important experiences for your career?

Surely when I decided to study in the most important cooking school in the world, the Ecole Lenôtre in Paris. There I had the chance to study and learn the French approach and some of the most important concepts. I spent a lot of time in schools and in what were my hobbies: researching the product and understanding what the philosophy of my colleagues was, even those of previous generations. I started traveling twenty-five years ago for fun and study. I met many colleagues and continued to travel to taste and understand the cuisine of the world.

ettore-bocchia-presso-il-ristorante-stellato-mistral-sul-lago-di-como

Have you always been a curious traveler?

Yes. I have been and still am a curious person. It is also important for me to compare myself with young people. They have a completely different perspective of what cuisine is, it is more stylistic. It’s a very interesting and reciprocal exchange. I’m glad to note that they pay a lot of attention to the product because a dish is never an end in itself and that the quality of the ingredients matters.

Last year you celebrated the hundred years of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. What did you do for the event?

The property required a certain style for the centenary: the classics of French cuisine. This language is still spoken in certain kitchens. French cuisine has laid down the law for over a couple of centuries, from the late 1700s to the early 2000s.

What dishes would you suggest to those who try for the first time your Mistral restaurant?

I was the first in Italy to apply science to cooking. I would recommend the molecular cooking menu that mixes its products following the cycle of the seasons. Molecular cuisine has changed the culinary language.

molecular-dish-made-by-ettore-bocchia-at-mistral-restaurant-in-bellagio-lake-como

What brought you to write a book?

I wanted to point out and make known my years in career and where I am right now. I did it more for myself. I didn’t want to make myself known to the public, but I wanted to certify what I did and how my journey in the molecular kitchen started.

In your opinion, what is most misunderstood by the public in regards to molecular cuisine?

This cuisine was talked about solely as “dishes that require a high technical rate (that is important)”, but we should not forget what is the quality of the product, the focus of what you put on the plate. I don’t want to make a cuisine that becomes a show for its own sake. Molecular cuisine has called into question all the preparations of traditional recipes.

piatto-di-cucina-molecolare-creato-da-ettore-bocchia-presso-il-ristorante-mistral

How did you develop the scientific skills you apply to your cuisine?

It was a slow journey, step by step, done together with physicists and chemists, university professors with whom I studied the cooking processes of food and their structure.

Which product are you particularly proud of?

The challenge today is to have excellent products. I am very proud to have Aleandro Sousa’s fat goose liver, an ethical foie gras as the animal does not have a forced feeding, rather feeds naturally. A rare ingredient made in very limited quantities, which has become one of the most important ingredients of a signature dish.

What do you think of the many food-themed television programs?

It was positive. They put a magnifying glass on the figure of the Chef. Once we were ashamed of being a cook, today it is a job we are longing for and it is very appreciated. All this is also due to television, which has made what we do spectacular.

ettore-bocchia-at-mistral-restaurant-bellagio

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Stars & The City: an exclusive talk with Susan Miller who unveils her life and our future

One of the many perks of living in the constant bustle of New York City is the ability to access a multitude of cultural experiences and the inspirational people who create them. Recently, I had the chance to meet star astrologer Susan Miller, a world-renowned published author and columnist for many internationally acclaimed fashion publications. 

Susan is also the founder of website Astrology Zone, which she started in 1995 and now serves 300 million-page views a year and is read enthusiastically by 11 million unique readers annually. All of them eagerly await the 1st of each month when Susan will publish her in-depth comprehensive astrological forecasts for the month ahead in a very stylish and informative manner. 

Susan suggested the date after consulting her astrological wall calendar for the year (The Year Ahead). That day featured a conjunction of Sun and Venus, which she kindly explained simply meant a wonderful day for any communication and collaboration. 

I could not be more excited to have such a respected astrologer pick a perfect date for our interview!

That day I was energized about the million possible answers I would get to my many questions. She is a wonderful conversationalist and splendid person to spend a few hours getting to know. Here is this exclusive interview about her life and work and a sneak peek forecast for the months ahead, but coming soon we will release her MANINTOWN Special Forecast for 2020.  

So, we were wondering: when did you feel this passion for astrology rising in you? 

I wanted to learn astrology but, I never wanted anyone to know I knew astrology. It was going to be my secret because astrology was not accepted.  I was 14 years old and I had just spent a full year in the hospital. I had been through a harrowing surgery to fix a birth defect but unfortunately, I had a different problem when I woke up: I was paralyzed from the knee down. There was no guarantee I would be able to walk normally again. I did pray to my saints, but being 14 years old at the time, I wanted to know if I would ever be able to walk again. The plan was that I never tell anyone I knew astrology. My mother, you see, did not want to teach me because she feared I would study too little and then give advice to a friend. She refused to teach me, and this went on for a year, but she finally relented when I promised to study for 12 years and never read a chart from anyone outside the family until she said I was ready. People think they just learn astrology in a few months, she said you need 12 years, or you would not be any good.

If you could travel back in time which historical character/personality would you be and why?

SM: Thomas Jefferson!

She states and with much passion, she explains that at that moment in history in 1776, though she would need to be dressed as a man she would want to be part of the brave group that were the Founding Fathers of United States willing to sacrifice their lives for freedom.

MT: I thought you’d be saying maybe, Cleopatra…

SM: I like Egypt! Egypt put astrology on the map.  You know what would be fun? If she was getting her chart read. 

Tell us about your typical day as an astrologer. Let’s say we follow Susan for 24 hours in NY. What do you do?

I am afraid that you may find my day quite normal. I get up at 6 AM, and I first call the bank’s service line, to pay my staff as I want to be sure they received their checks and cashed them. While I am checking with the bank, I first wash my face and apply a mask. Then I take my vitamins, and after my shower, I apply my serums and my moisturizers.  At 9 AM I do an international interview in Europe (if the reporter is in Asia, I do those interviews at midnight New York time). By 10 AM, I’m outside. I pick up one cup of coffee and maybe a croissant, and I start writing at the coffee shop. I may stay there for three or four hours and then change locations. I stay up until 2 AM, so I don’t need a lot of sleep.

@Photo courtesy of The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, New York

Do you work locally? 

SM: You may find this funny; I go to Dunkin Donuts. Everybody makes fun of me because it is a fun, orange and pink shop with very friendly people working there. It’s not like Starbucks. Starbucks is too dark. I like the vibe better in Dunkin’ Donuts. I only drink one cup of coffee a day.

When I leave, I find somewhere else to write, I write all day, for when I am writing my website, Astrology Zone, each sign takes me at least 7 hours to finish. Aries and Taurus are the first two signs so those two may take the whole day to write because I am still doing calculations and memorizing the aspects of the month.

“Here I can show you…,” Susan says while handing me a folder of 40 something pages of charts and calculations for transits and eclipses coming up, which she reveals will play a big part for all of us in December,” Christmas Day to be precise. It will be a nice one!”

Susan says she goes to Los Angeles once a month, for that is where she several members of her website team.

Some of your favorite spots around the city

Everyone who comes here should go to Ellis Island. It’s my favorite spot to show friends around the city.

Also, I love seeing Brooklyn Bridge from the Soho House terrace—it is so beautiful.  If I were taking a child to New York, I would take them to the carousel in Central Park because that’s where my mother would take me when I was five years old and also to the small boat basin on 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue. 

New York has also so many great restaurants it’s almost impossible to pick one either. For a gorgeous view, I like Top of the Rock-it is a far better view than on the top of the Empire State Building. I like the Carlyle Hotel for tea and go there all the time. —that is the hotel President Kennedy and Jackie used to stay when in New York. New York, she adds with a glowing look in her eyes is “glamorous” and “no other city is quite like New York on Christmas. The entire city is lit up – New York knows how to celebrate the holiday, plus if often snows in December. I belong to the National Arts Club, and at Christmas, it makes you feel like you are in a time machine, going back in time to the historical days of early New York, which is charming.

Please explain the influence of Mercury retrograde on our lives

This is one astrological aspect that affects everyone uniformly, although it does affect Gemini and Virgo a bit more because those signs are ruled by Mercury. Mercury rules publishing, broadcasting, and the digital world so it affects people who work in those industries quite hard too.  

You will have miscommunications, machine breakdowns, software problems, computer problems. It is a frustrating time. Mercury doesn’t actually go retrograde, but it appears to go backward to other planets.  it goes retrograde. And it’s the proportion between the two planets, Mercury goes retrograde 3 times a year for three-and-a-half weeks. I travel during Mercury retrograde, even though Mercury rules travel—you just have to be a little bit more deliberate. 

 MT: And for business people that may be reading, you should not sign any contracts, right?  

Do not sign a contract during Mercury retrograde because you’d just have to redo it later—things would be missing, confusing or otherwise not to your liking. Check addresses. I once went to Detroit to see an advertising agency and it was the address, I had was wrong for they had moved to the other side of town. If you are mailing a package or letter, it also is important to check addresses, for Mercury rules the mail. 

“The worst days for Mercury retrograde period are at the start and end dates of the retrograde.” – she gives us the advice to be extra careful to allow a space of a week before and after the dates of the retrograde. Susan has a clear description of Mercury retrograde on her home page of Astrology Zone. Scroll down and you will see a list of her pieces, including that one, on the left side of her homepage screen.

This is a funny question but what do you think an influencer should not do on social media during mercury retrograde?

Oh! the answer to this is not to overshare. It is like a scene out of the show “Gossip Girl” –an influencer should not share too much. They would end up regretting what they wrote.  Talking too much during Mercury retrograde gets you in trouble.

You’ve been the first to understand the importance of the Internet and you launched your website astrologyzone.com in 1995. How is the web evolving today? 

The internet has more features now. It was 1995 when I started, they didn’t even have color—everything was black and white, and when you saw a film, the window was as big as a postage stamp and soon crashed your computer.

E-commerce was so hard at the start, the internet switches information all over the globe at the speed of light, such as sending the information from Alabama to Denmark, then to Alaska to Texas—you get the idea. E-commerce was hard for, in the movement, information was lost. information. I thought the engineers would never get this right, but they did. Then I launched the Astrology Zone app in 2002 but changed app developers in 2012 and have redone it several times. The official name is “Daily Horoscopes Astrology Zone + More by Susan Miller” (http://apple.co/2gcVDnn  Android.  http://bit.ly/2y7pHaT

When I started on the internet, during the first six years, and when I’d do a TV appearance, the producers would not let me give the viewers the URL of my website. They would say that the audience doesn’t know what a URL is, but I would say, they will never know if we don’t tell them. It seemed forever for the world to catch up with technology.

How can you best use astrology?

Susan said that astrology can be a beneficial tool for those who are willing to seize an opportunity. Like she mentioned “It is like getting options”, it is up to readers to know what they want, recognize opportunity when they see it and act upon it when it comes.

What do you think of the rise of social media like Instagram?  

I love Twitter because people discuss ideas. I like Twitter better because you can put in a link easily and the photos are far larger than on Instagram. Whereas Instagram doesn’t let you post a link—it has to go on your profile which is backward. 

I like both. I’m on both and in each case, my name is the same, @AstrologyZone. There are too many Susan Miller’s in the world!  The problem on Instagram is 12 people are pretending to be me. Well, I would like to see people sharing opinions and ideas. Not just photos wearing a new coat or holding a designer bag. I do love fashion but for that, I prefer magazines to keep me up to date.  Magazines choose their editors carefully and those experienced editors will put a designer’s collection in context to his or her past collections and how each current collection differs from the others. On Instagram, you can see work by Versace or Valentino, but you cannot get an explanation of the direction the designer decided to take this year. Magazines give you much more information.

        I start to lighten up and almost want to reach out for a hug when she states: 

“Editors are brilliant. And I want their advice. Thank you.”

Susan writes for Amica in Italy as well as Vogue (Japan), W (S. Korea) and Claudia (Brazil), SModa (Spain), Vogue (China), Vogue (Greece), and frequently writes cover stories for Grazia (France) and Elle (Australia) to name a few. Her connection with the fashion world has always been strong.

She tells us she wanted to be a fashion designer when she was growing up and would like to work more with designers, so our next question is a must:

 In fashion who are the designers and the styles you love more and why?

Ha! Dolce & Gabbana- she sighs in awe; you can tell she loves the brand. 

 Valentino, she says with a determined voice. I just spotted this dress and I am contemplating getting it. It is red, my favorite color. It has ruffles. I love feminine touches and Valentino (as well as Dolce & Gabbana) understand women. In America, I love Oscar de la Renta, though his cuts don’t quite line up with my body. I love Akris, the Swiss designer. But I love Dolce & Gabbana best—all those flowers!

Susan’s tone takes a higher pitch, her enthusiasm about fashion and design is taking form and her answers flow with confidence and passion.

“I love flowers. I love anything that is quite feminine. 

I also like a slightly more formal design. New York is formal. Los Angeles is far more casual, even in business meetings, which takes me a little time to get used to every time I go.”

Brands have soon enough realized the value of teaming up with your expertise as an astrologer. Which are the brands you have collaborated with?

Oh, so many! Dior (Lady Dior handbags), Apple, Furla, Veuve Clicquot, Chanel, Guerlain, Clarins, Lancôme, Chopard, Mac Cosmetics, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, to name a few. You will note many French brands—I would love to work with more Italian brands! I am half Italian—my father’s side is Sicilian. (Susan’s mother’s side of the family is German.)

From fashion to beauty and beyond: she has also been the ambassador for beauty company Fresh, owned by LVMH since 2015 and the Edition Hotel in Miami.

Blending astrology in brand collaborations is a very unique and effective way to reach the audience and it can be extremely creative. 

From January to March 2020, for instance, Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City will feature an Astrology Zone boutique curated by Susan that will offer selected unique items from menswear to women’s apparel to jewelry, tech, and design to even baby clothing with astrological theme, signs, and symbols. These collaborations are curated in detail by Susan as well as Bloomingdale’s fashion directors. It is massive branding operations that can involve at times the talent of 30 people! 

Favorite cities?

I love Kyoto, I want to go to Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil, I want to go to Sicily, and I am dying to go to Milan as I have never been. I love Rome and have spent a good amount of time there. It’s time to see Milan!

Must have when you travel?

My jewelry. Moisturizers and my masks. I love La Mer and all the masks from Fresh part of LVMH. I’ll use some other company brands too but Fresh has the most amazing masks. I love the Black Tea mask, the one called Rose Hydration, the Honey mask, and the Lotus Youth Preserve mask and Vitamin Nectar mask. They are all superb.

Favorite Fragrance? 

Alien by Thierry Mugler, it is all flowers. I also like Bal a Versailles by Jean Desprez, it is a gorgeously soft and powdery scent with some hint of vanilla. It is an old French perfume.

We then dove into the specifics that you all have been wondering about:

What lies ahead for all of us for the rest of the year? And in 2020? 

The news is: according to Susanit looks pretty good! 

Make sure to follow us as we are planning a big story and a stylish horoscope 2020 in collaboration with Susan, which we will announce the end of the fall. 

But let us read Susan’s forecast for the upcoming months: 

Best dates for business in the remaining part of 2019? And for Love?

With no hesitation almost without me being able to complete the sentence she states December!

 SM: December. December is phenomenal. It starts with Dec 15thJupiter trines Uranus. A trine aspect is one of pure harmony. Also, mark the date! I love Dec 27: Jupiter conjuncts the Sun: the luckiest day of the year. It will not happen again in a different sign until 2021.  

What should we do in those lucky days, if you could give us advice.

 Plant a seed. Start a relationship or a business. Take an important trip for Taurus for instance. Cancer? Decide about a relationship, and if you are in love, commit to marriage. Every sign will be affected in different ways. I am writing a large book on the Year Ahead 2020, and there is too much to say here!

 We are planning on a story for the what is in store for each sign in 2020 as well as talk in-depth about signs and styles, I would like to give our readers a preview of what we have in mind:

 Which is the most stylish of signs?  

Leo and Pisces, although Libra is the arbiter of taste. Leo, you see they want to make a grand entrance, while Pisces like to mix vintage with new designs as they do not want to look like the next person next to them

 Which one the trendiest? 

Gemini, definitely and they do brilliant things with accessories.

 The more classic?

That’s definitely Capricorn. Think, for instance, Princess Kate…

Scorpios love black. They like simple, classic lines so that they can mix and match and feel almost as if they have a daily uniform that they need not spend too much time thinking about.

 Aries doesn’t like frou-frou, they want sleek lines, striking but beautifully cut

Virgos are perfectionists, so for Virgo, God is in the details. Virgos understand excellent fit and have long ago made friends with their tailor.

Pisces and Cancers are romantic. Sagittarius is on the move, and they demand comfort.

Taurus loves classic things made of beautiful, tactile fabrics.

Libra is the arbiter of taste and they love being up to date on the latest styles.

Aquarius, they do not need social approval—they don’t follow trends, they start them.

With so many eclipses and one remaining due in December and while we wait for your wonderful year ahead of publication and our 2020 astrology story in Manintown January, can we give some brief but very juicy forecast for our readers for the last months of 2019? If you had to give one word of advice/caution which one would it be? 

December will show us what 2020 will be like.

Aries: You can look forward to a major career breakthrough.

Taurus: Travel. Long-distance travel or the decision to go back to the university for an advanced degree

Gemini: Gemini will be the recipient of plenty of money and it will not emanate from a paycheck but rather from a bonus, commission, royalty or outside cash, like venture capital. 

Cancer: Marriage! Or Cancer may get extraordinary help from a business partner, agent, manager, publicist, accountant, and similar type collaborations. 

Leo: fine, enviable work assignments also advances in health and fitness

Virgo: Virgo has the finest romance aspects in 2020. If Virgo wants a baby, she can have one this year. Her creativity will also reach new heights. 

Libra: Home and real estate shines for her.

Scorpio: Contracts and luck with clients with some short distance away. The key to Scorpio’s success will be in how well they communicate with others.

Sagittarius: Finally—2020 will be a huge year of financial reward. 

Capricorn: This sign is the celestial favorite this year and will get a cornucopia of goodies. They are entering their once-in-12-year Emerald Year, where one grand wish comes true. 

Aquarius: Aquarius will get help from VIPs behind the scenes. Aquarius will prepare for 2021 this coming year, their Emerald Year. They must start to detach from obligations or associations they no longer find useful or interesting. 2021 is their big year.

Pisces: Friends and joy from groups to which they belong. This also includes work on a charity or humanitarian effort—this is where so much of Pisces happiness lies. 

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In memory of Carlin Dunne, a Ducati’s champion

“Everything was ready. After weeks of waiting, test sessions, frantic hours of preparation, emotions, despair and excitement, all those sensations that create the thrill of competition, finally Sunday.

The checkered flag greeted your departure, and you accepted the invitation to the challenge. Gas wide open, knee on the ground, and off, curve after curve. They were 156 in total, and you made 155 of them. Perfect, without any burrs, fighting against the chronometer that, meter by meter, was decreeing your success, that of the team that had worked and dreamed with you in the long days of preparation for this race. 155 curves out of 156, only one was missing. Only a few meters and you would have crossed the finishing line as a winner, conquering that laurel that belongs to you, for which you fought, you made sacrifices, you gave your life. You would have registered the new race record. You could have enjoyed media and public applause. You would have conquered the place in Olympus and definitely written your name in the history of this race. Well 4 times you ended up as a winner, but this would have been special, absolute! That damned off, that absurd fatality, that mocking and bad fate. Why was your triumph denied? Why couldn’t we all enjoy your success? Why?

Before leaving, in one of the many interviews you released, always accompanied by that smile that will remain indelibly present in all of us who knew you, to the journalist who asked you if you aimed at the record, you replied: “Certainly. But if the mountain does not agree, the record is not made … “. Today, those words sound like an ominous prophecy, but they confirm the great respect you had for this challenge and for this granite colossus that, with your bike, you climbed and faced, curve after curve. Did the mountain win? No Carlin, you won, my friend. You won the “Race of Clouds”. You won the biggest challenge, the one that consecrates the heroes. The tribute that all the participants, the competitors, the most aggressive opponents, wanted to give you at the end of the race, was the confirmation of how much Pikes Peak was yours and how much you belonged to this race, to this mountain that had conquered and kidnapped you and of which today – and forever, you will be part of. Now you are in those clouds that protected the top when, before leaving, you looked at the much sought-after goal. This race is yours. The mountain is yours. The story is yours. Thanks Carlin, we will miss you so much. ”

These are the words with which Francesco Rapisarda, Director of Communications of Ducati, honors and remembers champion Carlin Dunne. He leaves us as a generous champion who in the same spirit of giving had documented the preparation for the race in a series of videos, which remain in memory of his determination and of the joyous and special person he was. This is his last video, filmed the day before the race.

The next day, on June 30, 2019, Carlin left us a few meters from the finish line of Pikes Peak, ready to set a new record, he leaves us as a champion, due to a hump, as described in the words of the friend and colleague of the Ducati “family”. Exactly like a family member, Carlin Dunne was loved by everyone.

Carlin Dunne ran with the number 5. During the annual Superbike event at Laguna Seca from 12 to 14 July, Ducati chose to celebrate the 25th birthday of the 916 by unveiling a version of the Panigale V4. Thus, was born the Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916, unique and made in a limited series and numbered with only 500 units.

Jason Chinnock (CEO of Ducati North America) and a long-time friend of the champion, announced Ducati’s decision to dedicate the number 5 of the Panigale V4 series in honor of Carlin Dunne. The number 5 of the Panigale V4 series has been “withdrawn” from the market and will be auctioned to dedicate the proceeds to the collection of funds to offer support to Carlin’s mother. In addition to the auction, Ducati has created a GoFundMe initiative, again in support of the mother.

Finally, on July 14th, the Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Team raced the Superbike at Laguna Seca with the number 5 on the hull of the official bikes of Alvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies and with a special livery inspired by the bike presented. Victorious on his new Panigale V4 R, the same day Chaz Davies also announces the donation to the auction of the race suit in honor of Carlin. Ducati and fans are a united and faithful family.

 Ride in Peace Carlin!

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The Caesar of Instagram: Gianluca Vacchi

For those who do not know (how can you not?) who Gianluca Vacchi is, we invite you to take a peek at his Instagram profile which lists 13 million, yes MILLIONS of followers.  This year in May he has been honored the GRAND PRIX at the World Bloggers Awards in Cannes. The WBA (World Bloggers Award) is the world’s first ever awards ceremony for the best bloggers worldwide. Gianluca Vacchi was this year’s star nominee and received the event’s top prize. As he enters the lobby of the gorgeous Four Seasons Downtown, we know from his smile and great energy that it is going to be a pleasant and fun interview.

The 52-year-old influencer has become famous for his “always chasing the sun’ (his words) lifestyle, his ability to be fitter than fit and his will and success at reinventing himself as DJ and music producer. He has collaborated with Luis Fonsi and Yandel amongst others, starred in the music video of J. Balvin’s ‘Mi Gente’ and has in only few years boomed in a new career as a performing DJ in key clubs worldwide.


1. If you were a historical figure… Who would you be?   And why?

GV: Caesar or Attila the Hun.

MT: Why Caesar? Why Attila?

GV: Because I like to think big and conquer. I am in a hurry to conquer the world and achieve goals that I impose on myself as an endless and consistent measure of my own talents. I feel good about myself when I know I am fully utilizing the talents I have been blessed with. I also feel good when I know I made the best of what is one of the most important assets in my life: “TIME”. I also like to think that there should still be an animal instinct in a man, something somewhat primitive.

2.Sea or mountains? Your favorite destination.

GV: Both. Sea and mountains. I was a professional skier in Cortina. Skiing was the training ground for my competitive spirit. I’m also a solar type. I would say that my job nowadays is to “chase the sun”. I am just joking but I like both actually.

MT: If you had to choose a destination today, where would you go? What would you choose?

GV: I can’t stay in a place where there is no sea and sun. Maybe I would choose Los Angeles for its creative environment and the weather. I have a house In Miami and I feel content there. It is a place that is like my personality. It is full of Latin Americans whom I like a lot.

3.Let’s talk a little about fashion. In Gianluca’s suitcase: three accessories/items of clothing or gadgets that you cannot do without.

GV: definitely clothing: Jeans, a T-shirt and a tuxedo. These 3 items for sure.

4.Let’s talk about work. Which is something that many people want to know. What is your career about?

I’m certainly an entrepreneur at heart. It is part of my DNA. I still have an automated machinery company of which I own shares and sit on the board of directors. I am also thinking of what to do in the next two to three years, but I don’t know yet. As I said I am an entrepreneur at heart.

5. Let’s talk about your career as a DJ? How is it going?

 GV: it’s going super well

 MT: You just came out with a new single correct?

GV: yes, I came out with a new single. I produce a lot and I enjoy being a musical director, I do not use software as many young DJs do. I have many ideas, so I give input on what melody is to be used. So far I have played in amazing locations around the world.

6. You are considered a Web star, how do social media influence your life?

This a delicate question. We live in an era where there is a real life and a virtual one, then there are people who separate their virtual life from real life and represent themselves differently in both lives. For example, when you and I take a picture here and we say we’re in Sydney, no one will argue. They believe it. You can only succeed if your real life and your virtual life “overlap” and therefore coincide. You have to show who you really are. I’m not influenced, I’ve always lived like this even 20 years ago, I’ve always been out of the norm …

7. Gianluca Vacchi: Eccentric or Extrovert?

GV: probably both, but certainly anti-bourgeois. The Bourgeois tend to impose respectability and conformity as the way to live, and I do not support that.

8. What advice would you give to those who want to break out in the world of social media?

Whether it is in the world of social media or real life, if you do not have real talents, you can’t break out. You don’t have to invent something special to be on social media. On social media I think you are successful when you are successful in life. Being fairly anti-conformist for example is important, just as dreaming very big is very important. There is no virtual success if there is no real success.

9. How many tattoos do you have?

GV: Probably more than 120.

MT : That’s a lot. Can you identify the most important one and why?

GV: definitely the portrait of my father. Each tattoo has its own meaning and is connected to someone or something important in my life. For instance one of them is a fragment from a letter from a friend, another one is my aunt’s portrait.

10. The cities or locations that are for you a source of inspiration

GV:Definitely New York, which is an incredible place. An electric city, a city that gets inside you and makes you feel you are alive. Though I love it, I can’t stay in NY too much because it feels like time slips out of your hands. Everything moves so fast in this place.


11. What is next for Gianluca Vacchi?

The next step for me is to start a third life. In my first life I worked as an entrepreneur, in the second one I became a DJ and in my third life it could be that I become an actor. ’We’ll see. The secret lies in being open to always reinvent yourself.

We are pleasantly interrupted by a fan who enters the lobby, a distinguished gentleman who works on the NY Stock Exchange approaches us and asks Gianluca to be able to take a selfie with him. You can read delight in his face, the delight of a fan meeting his social media hero. He also confesses that he has grown his beard to imitate Gianluca’s and that he loves and dances to his music. Right there and then we witness the power of being a social influencer, we decide to leave it this way and with a smile and a note of absolute optimism we wish Gianluca Vacchi a third life of absolute success. (ndr)

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Belize: a place to discover

A jump from the United hub in Houston, Texas, and about 7 hours flight time from New York, Belize is a wonderfully centrally located destination from the United States.

Traveling to Belize from Europe is certainly a longer journey, but we recommend it, at least once in your life, perhaps through New York or Miami as ports of entry.

Jungle, Mayan temples, caves, warm and turquoise waters, atolls, sunshine and great food make it truly an irresistible destination. This time we decided to explore two of the main cayes, or islands: Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.

Caye Caulker: the paradise of divers.

Caye Caulker can be reached by boat or plane from Belize City. To date it is still a rather unknown destination. This emerging destination is perfect for divers and travelers looking for an authentic experience away from the usual beaten tourist trail. The island moves to the rhythm of its motto “Go Slow” which clearly reflects the atmosphere of the city, its rhythm and its wonderfully relaxed nature. Despite having an accommodating pace, it offers a great variety even for the active traveler: the coral reef is superb and there are lots of wonderful excursions organized by local businesses to choose from.

We chose to dive with Frenchie’s, we planned the few days with some training classes and various local dives and we enthusiastically joined in their weekly planned journey to explore the Blue Hole.

The Blue Hole is one of the most exciting and “must dive” places for experienced divers. It is a gigantic marine sinkhole made famous by Jacques Cousteau who declared it one of the top five diving sites in the world. Diving in the Blue Hole is exciting, it doesn’t disappoint and it is certainly never a boring experience.

It is interesting that this portion of the sea is not really blue at all, at least not under its surface. Devoid of aquatic plants and the usual tropical marine life that so fills the surrounding cliffs, it is a geological adventure, a marvelous and suggestive scenario of monochrome stalactites full of underwater wonders.

A few nautical miles later a stop in paradise is lined up. Half Moon Caye is remote, isolated, green, sunny, a splendid gem, an emerald surrounded by an infinite sea of ​​turquoise. The perfect escape for dreamers.

On the way back from the underwater trip it is impossible not to stop at the pier at Frenchie’s to taste the dish of coconut curry with shrimp from chef Kareem, the best on the island. Street food in Belize is widespread and genuinely fabulous.

Ambergris Caye, the luxury escape for a dream vacation.

After getting your fill of aquatic adventures, diving with sharks and turtles, waking up at 5am, rum-flavored sunsets and days full of sports, it’s time to relax at Ambergris Caye’s Victoria House, the Belize’s largest island, and made famous under the nickname of the “Isla Bonita” by Madonna.

Entering the curated green rooms of the Victoria House it is inevitable not to feel an immediate happiness that only the tropics can give to sea lovers. We promptly decided to embrace the hotel rituals: the morning yoga class and the spa session. The Spa is really not to be missed. Ask Roxanne, the manager, for advice on organic body scrubs from the local product body and their personalized massage packages. Our choice was a two-hour treatment including a coffee body scrub, an energizing treatment for skin rejuvenation and a spectacular massage with local organic coconut oil. The villas and casitas of the Victoria House Resort and Spa are managed by a dedicated staff. The oceanfront resort is also equipped with a state-of-the-art water activity center with scuba gear, kayakers or snorkelers. Its suites and casitas with their Mayan hammocks that swing in the ocean breeze give the resort a quiet, authentic and smooth atmosphere.

The island itself is a wonderful surprise. Ambergris Caye and its vibrant city of San Pedro is charming, colorful and refreshing, with a variety of different accommodations possible. Taking advantage of the golf cart rental, we promptly set off on an adventure to explore the pristine areas of the island by discovering the beauty of Secret Beach. About four miles north of the city and three miles to the west Secret Beach is a delight for lovers of clear blue waters. Semi-submerged wooden tables where you can have lunch or drink to keep cool while socializing with the locals. It is a semi-discovered beach untouched by progress: only a few colored cabanas and no electricity. Leaving Ambergris Caye and Belize is certainly a difficult greeting.

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COCO CLUB CHANEL event SOHO NEW YORK

It is not a regular Friday night in New York City when Chanel transforms a women only co-
working space (the Wing) in Soho into a fabulous all immersive Coco Club an exclusive
“mademoiselles only” club inspired by the traditional men’s only social clubs.
Following the notion that “what is good for a man is better for a woman”, maison Chanel
envisioned a pop up club that takes what is best from men’s lifestyle as an inspiration and makes it even better for a woman. The borrowed from the boys lifestyle concept has turned out in fact to be a real winning and star studded launch event in the Big Apple.
All of this to celebrate the Boyfriend watch a fabulous and elegant Chanel designed watch with a masculine flair.
Interlocking C’s at every corner and motivational quotes inspired by the legend Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the club is a really full immersion Chanel experience, a Shangri -la and a corner of heaven for the luxury loving fashionistas of the iconic brand, be men or women.
At the entrance the check in staff greeted each and every guest with a personalized membership gold card to be complemented with a personal photo taken in an exquisitely decorated space and fun photo booth.
Inspired by the celebrated Chanel Boyfriend line, the whole concept space is a true tribute to the legendary Coco’s signature style. A beauty room filled with dreamy make up by Chanel and puffy feathery stools to be pampered on, a library filled with monogrammed Coco stationery, pool tables, ping pong tables, a café serving themed items like a girl’s club sandwich and a girl’s club sandwich and a locker room in which even the towels have been specifically styled in timeless black and white, and a numerologist: did you know that Coco was fascinated with numerology?
The floor of course is set on the iconic no. 5 in an elevator on Mercer Street.
Ultimately a wonderful success for the launch and a lovely reminder on how men’ s fashion and lifestyle can inspire women’s fashion and lifestyle, just like Coco would forsake the long gown and feathers remainders of the old siècle fashion for more practical men inspired streamlined and designed for elegant practicality modern outfits. Creativity at its highest it’s a wonderful thing to share and borrow.
Infin, bravo Chanel encore and toujours!

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Power to Imagination: Lenny Kravitz for Dom Pérignon

 

IF YOU THINK THIS IS JUST A PARTY, THEN YOU ARE MISTAKEN. IF YOU THINK THIS IS JUST A PLACE, THEN YOU ARE MISINFORMED. BECAUSE THIS ISN’T JUST A PLACE.  IT’S THE PLACE WHERE IT HAPPENS.

LENNY KRAVITZ

 

The words are true to their message about the “Assemblage” opening party in Chelsea, New York City, last week where Manintown was there to witness the vibrant happening. Dom Perignon sponsored and hosted the event rich in milestones for the creative division of the heritage maison. With Lenny Kravitz as its new creative director there is indeed much to celebrate! The 54 years old multi-talent not only is planning to design a special edition for the illustrious champagne maison in 2019, he has also launched his new album Raise Vibrations.  The collaboration with Dom Perignon stems out of Kravitz’s friendship with Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy and it is a liaison promising outstanding and unique high creativity and inspiration. It cannot be otherwise when you name as creative director a talent of multi-disciplinary nature as Kravitz. Not only a solid world renown legendary rock icon, Lenny Kravitz is an artist at 360 degrees who transcends the barriers between creative disciplines, mastering them all from music to art, design, photography as well as art direction. We have had the opportunity to meet him and his wonderful entourage of inspiring friends, including timeless beauty, Academy Award winner and woman entrepreneur Susan Sarandon. The atmosphere and the attendance could not have been more vibrant.

At the center of this memorable event is the celebration of friendship, creativity and human interactions immortalized by the camera of Lenny Kravitz. Not many probably know that Kravitz is a talented, avid photographer since the age of 21 when his father (a correspondent for CNBC News) gifted him with his very first camera.

 

“Assemblage” the exhibition of Macro Photographs depicts a single evening dinner starring various different unique personalities in the field of creativity and across the board of age range from the young talented Alexander Wang to a more mature star as Harvey Keitel. (Zoe Kravitz, Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Millepied, Hidetoshi Nakata, Abbey Lee). The photographs in black and white are penetrating the walls almost coming out of them to touch the souls of the audience with the intensity of their group and single portraits. A powerful interpretation of the souls of these characters through the lenses of a wonderfully precise talented photographer and his Leica. It is a symphony of smiles, glares, natural poses and penetrating beautiful personalities where the interaction acts as catalyst to the creation of a new powerful creative source. The exhibition will be open to the public until October 6th in New York and to the delight of us all will also tour the World in 2019.

“I am fascinated by the process of making things” says Lenny Kravitz and we cannot wish him and us all to be delighted by his creations more and more in the years to come.

 

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BRAND TO WATCH: VICTOR LI DEBUTS NEW YORK

Born in United States and raised in China, Victor Li graduated Parson School of Design to then launch together with Claudia Li his own brand that had its debut recently during New York Fashion Week.
It is a project that sees eastern and western influences come to harmonious fusion, inspired by the world of the arts and cultures the designer has come in contact with throughout his several trips around the world, from Ny to Asia passing by and touching in considerable ways Italy as well. The collection presents a mix of clothes from the most formal to casual looks, suitable for leisure and perfect for traveling. The lines are simple and the details become the focal point on which attention is focused, such as the bow that is applied on jackets, trenches and shirts, in a next generation revisitation of a gentleman’s pocket pochette. Simple lines and comfortable wearability for a total look that ranges from white to beige and brown through pink and gray. Great attention is given to the choice of the finest fabrics, selected through careful research in Italy, France and Japan.

ritratto VICTOR LI

On the occasion of his presentation, we met him in New York to learn more about his journey.

Tell me more about your background.How did your love for mens fashion start?
I was born in U.S. but grew up in China. I was very into the arts, and started taking drawing classes when I was a child. I knew I would do something art-related in my future career but wasn’t sure if it would be as an artist or a designer. I came back to the U.S. in my junior year of high school and started to narrow my focus. I attended the pre-college fashion design program at Parsons and an art program at Cooper Union which confirmed my love for design. I later received my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons.

Who is your favorite/ inspirational designer?
Miuccia Prada. For me, Prada is wearable art.

3 adjectives to describe your fashion
Next-generation menswear, sophisticated, unique 

Where do you see yourself on 5 years?
Business and design are equally important for me. I hope to create a culture of men who will appreciate and enjoy my work and my hope is to continue to build on that with each collection. In five years, we are hoping to have a loyal customer base around the world who is shopping with us season after season.

How do you see the menswear is evolving?
I design for myself, and those who can appreciate feeling comfortable in high quality clothing –men who appreciate a garment, and the details within it like our carefully sourced Italian and Japanese fabrics. I want to give a fresh perspective on what some of the young generation wants to wear aside from their everyday streetwear. 

You have jetsetted the world, where is home? Your favorite city?
Home is where my family is, but my life is in New York. My favorite city is Tokyo.

Let’s talk about the collection: what inspired it and how do you choose the fabrics?
Since this was my first collection, it was very personal to me, and I was designing for my own closet. I travel quite a bit and I wanted this first collection to be filled with key pieces that work well for that lifestyle –pieces I would pack and wear on a summer trip. Practical pieces but a little more dreamy than traditional.

 Why did you launch it in NY?
Because I am an American and we are a New York brand, located in New York.

We spoke about your favorite collection piece: the trench coat. Where did you draw the inspiration to design it from?
For this season we played with the knotting detail and layering. For me, a lot of trench coats feel a bit mature for the younger generation. I am trying to make the trench coat more fun and younger.

Something fun: if you could choose to dress a celebrity of today…
Timothée Chalamet

Fashion is ?
Fashion is Lifestyle. Fashion is what you choose to wear, what you choose to put in your suitcase when you are travelling.

 

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A GAME NIGHT FOR TITLE OF WORK /CFDA

In New York, for Men’s Fashion WeekCFDA, Cadillac House and Assouline came together to create a special Tribeca edition of a Las Vegas Casino Night in the heart of Soho to celebrate the launch of NYFW. Inspired by Assouline’s book “Poker, The Ultimate Guide”, Jonathan Meizler, from Title of Work, reinvents a casino night and ambiance bubbling with fun and dare filled poker and black jack tables. A full immersion experience in the “dare greatly” campaign by Cadillac; a full force collaboration of ground breaking and inspiring trend setters. Upon arrival the guests were greeted with a cocktail and a chip to play with custom made cards, as they entered the location that had been magically transformed in a casino with video screens portraying cheeky queens and kings with a daring attitude. CFDA’s designer Jonathan Meizler’s of NY based label Title of Work launches his newest collection, “Dirty Words” which is dazzling and refreshing, cheeky and yet endearing.  Title of Work is a menswear accessories collection which integrates the worlds of art, fashion and architecture. Meizeler shocks and provokes with unexpected elements and choice of material.  Neckties that dazzle, men’s jewelry that mesmerizes. We invite you to check it out! A wonderful collaboration, an astounding design set and catchy collection. We “dared  greatly” attending and we were pleased to do so.

www.titleofwork.com

www.cdfa.com

www.cadillac.com

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