My 'grande amie' Bérengère came to visit me for the weekend. We met 10yrs ago in London where we were both working for Getty Images, and instantly became friends! I will definitely be interviewing Berenji for the blog as she has a very interesting life and a precious way of giving importance to things that most of us take for granted; and since she lives in Paris, I will get her to do a post on the 10 things she loves about her city, which I have no doubt you'll adore!
We spent an afternoon at the beach in Sitges, which is a typical beach town of the Costa Brava, super crowded beach but it was nice to walk around the old town doing impromptu photo shoots. (this visit to Sitges was a lot more civilised than when I used to live in BCN in my 20s: I used sun lotion, I was sober and I didn't get lost!) We also visited the Palau de la Musica which is a stunning building and has beautiful mosaics (see photo). I finally made it to see a Flamenco show Ryan told me about, I was sceptical as Catalunya is not known for its Flamenco but it was a great show at the Taller de Musics, a small music school with a little bar/stage, totally worth checking out! On Sunday, we had brunch at Granja Petitbo with MamaKikoy, then walked up to Casa Fuster for a last drink & view of the city before Berenji had to jet back off to Paris.
Last year, MamaKikoy was decorating her home in Barcelona in a Tropical/Colonial chic style - she grew-up in Kenya you see, so she has a natural feeling for it and the result is a classy, peaceful and inspirational space, no tackiness whatsoever which can be a risk with that style. At the time, Zara Home (give them credit, it's due), was way ahead of the curve and had some tropical style items, including these gold pineapple lamp bases which were fabulous (see first photo) - MamaKikoy swiftly snapped them up and promptly placed them on her bedside tables with nondescript white lampshades thus counteracting any chichi-ness protruding from the base. Since then, we've been pinning pineapples on our shared Pinterest board and have come to realise that we no longer have to seek them out, because PINEAPPLES ARE EVERYWHERE!!
Here is a curated selection from our Pinterest board:
I went to Switz this weekend for a little partial family reunion as for once in a blue moon, my grand-parents happened to be in the same place at the same time (they've been divorced since the 50s). My uncle Jean-Luc and his family live in Geneva, my grandfather lives in Rolle on the lake and my grandmother & mother were in town visiting. Being in Switzerland feels so normal probably because I grew-up there but it definitely doesn't feel like home, it just is the one place I know like the back of my hand and I take comfort in that since I move a lot. It was nice to see the lake, the mountains and the family, for a rare drama free reunion!
Somewhere in the back of my curious mind, I recall hearing that the Olsen twins had launched their own brand but I guess I was never curious enough to investigate further... until now.
I came across this article on WWD with a fantastic photo shoot of the flagship store for The Row, the Olsen twins brand. The Twins chose a spectacular midcentury modern LA space for their first store, the kind of architecture you'll have a hard time finding anywhere outside of LA or Palm Springs - it gives me design butterflies! I can't speak for the clothes as I have still not found the urge to look into it any further but here are some photos of the space from the WWD article.
There is something quite obscure and extraterrestrial about the Olsen twins, they were famous as child actors, they no longer act yet they have grown-up and become style icons, dating bizarros like the Sarkozy brother and launching their own brand. This article gives you a little insight into their nature: "in case anyone decides to take the plunge (into the pool), a leather basket of neatly rolled beach towels has been thoughtfully placed nearby" - how much fun would it be to go shopping, then jump in the pool, then continue shopping. Next time I make it to LA, I will definitely visit the store.
Since I have set-up my own consulting company, I have been obsessing about branding. I've been doing loads of research, brainstorming with friends, and have created a board on Pinterest for my inspirations.
My company name is bBusiness Solutions Ltd and I'm going with a simple, contemporary and sophisticated logo: bB. Because of the simplicity of the logo, the branding is all in the font, materials used and the voice of the website. The logo bB. reminds me of the symbols for chemical elements and I like the idea that we at bB. are a necessary element in the success of our customers. Of course that's a grandiose notion for a small start-up like mine but a motivating business vision nonetheless.
When discussing my brief with my friend Vale who's a graphic designer and is helping me design the logo and stationery, I told her that I wanted the logo to feel androgynous because although I'm a woman and my vision is for bB. to be a small boutique consulting firm, my company will be working with Legal, Finance and Tax organisations within the media, technology and internet sectors so there is a chance I'll be working with established corporations as much as I'll be working with springy start-ups so I don't want to alienate potential customers by being either too corporate or too design conscious, and I want my branding to imply professionalism without leaning too far either way. Also, because my service offering is project management and process improvement, my brand needs to breathe minimalism. Ultimately, my customers recognise brand identity and so should I!
Since we're in a more digital age, I am only going to invest in business and correspondence cards, then my main branding focus will be invested in my website. During my research, I have come across two amazing websites which have really inspired me: BP&O and Behance. Both these sites have a library of examples and specs surrounding various brands plus you can research brand by your industry, to get a feel of how your sector develops their brand image. BP&O's narrative included in each of their posts is truly design poetry and it gives me goosebumps!
I have decided to aim for sleek & simple: black & white colour palette, a bold logo type and elegant type hierarchy. I think it's classical, timeless, sophisticated and lastly, cost-efficient. I am going with letterpress printing and I would love a duplex Colorplan board for the business cards. Here are some of my brand inspirations.
The apartment I am living in at the moment is just a temporary let but living in Barcelona is not, so when the day came along that I was tired of fishing through a bag for my underwear, I decided it was time to invest in a chest of drawers. I got this fantastic antique wooden chest with a marble top at Mercantic, a massive outdoor & indoor antique market just outside of the city, for 250 euros. The only problem with the chest is that it had no handles on the drawers (?!) so I bought these fox handles from Anthropologie and pimped them up!
PS: If you're in Barcelona on a Sunday and have access to a car, it's totally worth visiting this Mercantic!