Backyard Bliss

Ottawa Magazine - - Contents - By Ash­leigh VanHouten

There’s noth­ing more invit­ing than a nap in the warm af­ter­noon sun­shine — but some­times your old camp­ing ham­mock just doesn’t quite cut it. Ottawa’s own Ham­mock Uni­verse of­fers com­fort­able and at­trac­tive out­door fur­ni­ture that is both sturdy and stylish, adding se­ri­ous de­sign ap­peal to your out­door oa­sis. The Deluxe Polyester Rope Ham­mock boasts a stand made from un­stained bamboo that’s vir­tu­ally harder than steel, so it will hold up through many nap-filled sum­mers. Best of all? This ham­mock can eas­ily be moved to the sun­ni­est (or shadi­est, depend­ing on your pref­er­ence) cor­ner of your

backyard es­cape. $650. Ham­mock Uni­verse, 1-888-505-3679,

Ham­mock­u­ni­verse.com. And when it comes to backyard bashes, all you re­ally need is some­thing to draw in your guests like a moth to a flame. The So­lus Hemi is per­fect for sto­ry­telling and marsh­mal­low roast­ing and is cer­tainly a state­ment piece. De­signed in Bri­tish Columbia and made from ul­tra-high-per­for­mance con­crete, it’s avail­able with nat­u­ral gas or liq­uid propane brass burn­ers. The 36-inch­di­am­e­ter pit comes in 10 colours and built to with­stand all four sea­sons. $3,195. Hu­bert’s Fire­places, 101 Pin­hey St., 613-728-3786.

Your mu­si­cal trav­els have taken you around Europe, as well as to North Amer­ica and Asia. Does your ex­po­sure to so many cities and cul­tures play into your style at home? Ab­so­lutely — it is one of the joys of my pro­fes­sion that I am able to travel so much and to revel in the di­ver­sity that makes our world so very rich and colour­ful. I love ob­serv­ing the sub­tly dif­fer­ent trends and looks from coun­try to coun­try, some­times even from city to city. With­out doubt, they all have their in­flu­ence on my own style. You have been chief con­duc­tor of the Nurem­berg Sym­phony Orches­tra since 2009. What style trends have you picked up on while in Ger­many? Ger­mans have a nice line in smart ca­sual cloth­ing — a lit­tle like the Scan­di­na­vians — which is a style that has al­ways ap­pealed to me. Hugo Boss and Armani are trusty go-tos for suits, I find. You’ve been lauded for think­ing out­side the box in terms of ini­tia­tives to at­tract young adults to the con­cert hall. Does that con­nec­tion to youth mean a more ca­sual style on and off the stage? At 35, I don’t yet feel that old my­self, but it is true that my var­i­ous projects have helped to keep me con­nected with youth cul­ture. I have to be a lit­tle bit of a chameleon in pro­fes­sional life, as what we per­form is so as­ton­ish­ingly di­verse. Tell me about your per­for­mance tuxes. I have quite a few dif­fer­ent op­tions for con­cert at­tire, and which op­tion I go for de­pends on the oc­ca­sion and the cli­mate. I have a few tuxe­dos: a cou­ple from Hugo and a cou­ple from The Kooples. I of course have a cou­ple of pairs of tails (pen­guin suits!), and then I have a black high-col­lared suit from Shang­hai Tang in Hong Kong. How would you de­scribe your per­sonal style? Although I love va­ri­ety, I would say that my de­fault is smart. I like a crisp shirt and nicely tai­lored trousers or suit. What item of cloth­ing can you not live with­out? Even though they count as ac­ces­sories and not cloth­ing, I would have to say my watches — I have been col­lect­ing for a few years now and en­joy the fi­nesse of a beau­ti­fully crafted time­piece. Some­thing about con­duct­ing and keep­ing time, I guess. What do you wear on a lazy Sun­day morn­ing, as­sum­ing you get those ev­ery once in a while? Sweat­pants, T-shirt, and some big comfy socks. What’s your favourite city in which to peo­ple-watch? Oh, gosh, there are so many pos­si­bil­i­ties ... New York or Ber­lin for the sheer di­ver­sity of styles, Tokyo for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent, and per­haps Rome for pure el­e­gance. Ul­ti­mately maybe it has to be my home­town of Lon­don, but then I’m biased! NAC Orches­tra mu­sic direc­tor Alexander Shel­ley teams up with pi­anist Benjamin Grosvenor on May 14 and 15 for Shel­ley & Stravin­sky’s Firebird. Both per­for­mances in­clude the op­por­tu­nity to min­gle with Shel­ley af­ter the show.

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