18 October 2019
Hi MLE,When I was in Israel last week, I noticed that each hotel room door had a little box outside on the doorframe. I learned that it is called a "mezuzah."They must always be on the door frame, not the door. Also they must also always be outside the door, not inside.They must be situated at about shoulder level, so that they may be kissed or touched upon entry.They are often leaning in towards the door, to signal that this is the direction in which God should pass.Inside the Mezuzah case is a Kosher parchment, with two handwritten paragraphs of the Torra. The writing must be done by a licensed Sofer Stam, a scribe who can transcribe the Torah. There must be intension in the writing of it.The verses say such things as there is only one God, you must teach your children about the God, you must love your children, and so on.The effect is that when you go into a Jewish home, you are made aware of the laws written on the scroll.Many people think that it is a good luck charm or a home protector. Some people even have special ones for their cars, etc. thinking it is an amulet against evil. It is none of these things - it is a reminder that helps one make conscious of their responsibilities to God.I bought the Mezuzah pictured above. When I looked at my credit card statement, it was about four times more than I thought it was. I'm terrible with currency conversions. And I didn't know it was ceramic and also 24K gold. It is not just a tourist souvenir, but rather a special item one may give someone on a special occasion, and now I appreciate that.I will fix mine in the right way on the outside my front door, and knowing me, I will probably also touch it each time I enter the house and it will make me happy.However, I have decided not to get a scroll to go inside. People have a lot of different opinions about this, but to me, as I am not Jewish, it just doesn't feel right to have the scroll. The case is enough to give a nod to this interesting Jewish custom.Suzan
18 January 2019
Hi MLE,I just discovered the most amazing shop! It's easy to miss, as it is hidden in a beautiful Grade I listed church right in the middle of busy Shoreditch, near our studio. The church itself (a maze with its mezzanine and chapels), is the perfect backdrop to the gorgeous 18th and 19th century architectural items from around Europe.It's actually more like stepping into the back room of a museum, where pieces are getting ready for presentation.It's fun to walk around and imagine what what the residences and owners of all these items must have been like... I discovered it on a walk back from lunch and ended up getting stuck in there for over an hour!On my way out, I found this plaque near the door:IN LOVING MEMORY OF GEOFF WESTLAND, 1940 - 2013FOUNDER OF WESTLAND LONDON"There is a need for our civilisation not to trash and rationalise everything. Once the soul departs from a concern and it is viewed only as a brand or a product and left to the blinkered herd of fiscal or commercial professionals - the game is over."Westland London. Let's go when you're here next,Suzan
21 October 2016Hi the MLE,Almost the weekend right? Well, you’re an hour ahead, so maybe it is the weekend already for you.I’m sure you admire Astier de Villatte as much as I do. Whenever I am in Liberty’s here in London, I go and see their beautiful white tableware. The ceramic is so thin, you feel scared picking it up. This is what makes their pieces so different - but it is also their uneven forms, irregular surfaces, and their milky glaze that covers an unusual black terracotta clay. Something else that sets it apart is that piece is made by hand in Paris. (And it is actually very strong! Yes, dishwasher and microwave safe).I understand that Astier de Villatte is completely unaffordable to most (including myself), this is true. However, this brand is admirable not only for its beautiful design, but because it is made in small batches to be passed on to future generations, friends, or be sold, not simply put into the bin when you’re done with it.Suzan
22 April 2016
This project brings back memories of our happy days at art school. Not at all because the project seems inexperienced, but rather because it is all about concepting rather than just the final product, and that is nice to see.
Seven door designs commemorates the 70th anniversary of Abe Kogyo, a Japanese manufacturer of wooden front and interior doors, partitions, fixtures and custom-made furniture.
From top to bottom:
Much like a window blind, this door can create small spaces to let light in, to let a breeze through, and to create a greater sense of connectivity between rooms.
A door fitted with internal 2.5mm magnet sheet, allowing the user to attach various accessories to it such as trays, dust bins, flower pots, vases, and other containers. This design feature has given a new function to the door as a storage device, rather than just a thing to go in and out of.
A door that applies kumiko, a technique of assembling wooden interior lattices without nails, most often used in creating door fixtures for traditional Japanese tatami rooms.
By covering this door with shelves and picture frames that one would usually fit to a wall, this unit dims the very concept of a door, allowing it to blend into the wall to an unprecedented extent.
A door that allows the user to enter and exit through corners of a room, transforming the way we think about interior layout. As this door opens particularly wide, an additional practical result of this design
Abe Kogyo also manufactures various interior fittings for nurseries and pre-schools, and this gave rise to the idea of having adults and children walk through doors that match their respective sizes.
A door and lighting fixture in one, employing the wiring techniques used in electronic locks.
More info can be found on the Nendo’s site, where I found this project.
Have a nice weekend!
8 January 2016
MLE happy 2016!
I always like when a fresh new year begins after some time off. For my first note of the year, I’d like to tell you about a special little shop I went to when I was in Wales: Jane Beck Welsh Blankets.
One would be surprised to learn that this tiny shop (that we had to drive a few hours into the middle of nowhere and could barely find), actually holds the largest collection of Welsh blankets, new and vintage, anywhere in the world. They are beautiful! So of course they have been featured in all the interior magazines, in various television programmes, theatre productions, and even a Vogue fashion shoot. Welsh blankets are a passion for Jane, and you can tell. Her personal collection has been loaned to museums and is regularly accessed by students and artists.
Wales was once covered with small independent mills and weavers who supplied the local community. Jane is one of the few people who can accurately identify the date and mill of a particular blanket pattern design/weaving technique. With the commercialisation of the wool industry at the end of the C19th, almost all these mills have been lost except a handful.
Her Heritage Collection of blankets reproduces some of her favourite vintage patterns, dating from the C18th. They are made in Wales, as they have always been: at a small independent mill, using age old looms and traditional methods.
In my pictures above, you can see Daniel in awe at the gorgeous blankets everywhere. You can also see some of the incredible Welsh blankets that were on sale. Of course we couldn’t leave without one!
Have a nice weekend my friend,