sarah spi­teri, ed­i­to­rial di­rec­tor

Living Etc - - CONTENTS -

I am writ­ing this hav­ing just feasted on Is­raeli cui­sine at Bala Baya in Lon­don’s South­wark. The chef Eran Tibi hails from Ot­tolenghi her­itage, but it wasn’t food that drove my par­tic­u­lar visit. I made a pil­grim­age to the buzzy restau­rant for its in­te­ri­ors and the fact that they were in­spired by the Bauhaus. The Greek de­signer, Afroditi Krassa, who master­minded the scheme ac­tu­ally calls it ‘desert Bauhaus’; she trans­formed the rail­way arch into a sleek and chic des­ti­na­tion us­ing plenty of white, ter­razzo floor­ing, slate table­tops and a breeze-block fres­coes. My trip forms part of a Bauhaus deep dive that I am cur­rently un­der­tak­ing, 2019 be­ing the year that this great Ger­man de­sign move­ment cel­e­brates its cen­te­nary. It started with weaver Anni Al­bers at Tate Mod­ern (see my piece in the De­cem­ber is­sue) and it has also taken me to the Cur­zon in Vic­to­ria. The Bauhaus, although at the time a most rad­i­cal con­cept, is ar­guably the most in­flu­en­tial move­ment in de­sign his­tory. The man be­hind it all was ar­chi­tect Wal­ter Gropius, who founded the school in 1919 in the city of Weimar. His ob­jec­tive was to break down the bar­rier be­tween fine art and ap­plied art; ‘there is no es­sen­tial dif­fer­ence be­tween the artist and the crafts­man,’ he ar­gued – con­tro­ver­sial at the time, but per­haps not so much nowa­days. The school has evolved sub­stan­tially over its 100-year life­time, so how best to de­fine its style to­day? I’d say it’s about func­tion over form and a ‘less is more’ ethos. Just think of the sim­plic­ity of Mar­cel Breuer’s tubu­lar steel arm­chair, or al­most any piece by Lud­wig Mies van der Rohe. As part of the cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tion, The Con­ran Shop is re­leas­ing an ex­clu­sive fur­ni­ture col­lec­tion that rein­ter­prets many of the clas­sics; read about it in our news (page 18). There is only one other thing on my radar right now and it sits at the less se­ri­ous end of the de­sign spec­trum. My daugh­ter was re­cently given a teeny pi­ano by Vi­lac. It is just so sweet. I do sug­gest you check it out if you have a lit­tle one in your life. Mine may only be 11 months old, but I’m sure she’ll soon be ser­e­nad­ing us in style...

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