The Coolest European Cities You Don’t Know, Part I

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We’ve been plenty busy in 2017, museum-hopping in Paris, flirting in Rome and clubbing in the Berlin Kreuzberg underground. But cultivated Europhiles that we are, we’re always feeling the call of some of our less-trodden, yet still favorite cities on the Continent.

Nothing beckons us to Europa quite like the turning of autumn, with its exhilaratingly crisp evenings, stylishly scarfed locals, and those transcendently evocative fragrances that fill the air of each city (the latter a particular treat for those forced to breath the noxious fumes of New York and LA every day).

Part I of our sojourn takes us to fashionable Antwerp (Belgium) and sophisticated Maastricht (The Netherlands). Take note, if you’ve yet to fall for the charms of the Benelux, a couple of days in each city will cure you of that straight away.

 

Antwerp

Clockwise from top left, The Jane Restaurant; Antwerp architecture; Hotel Julien; MoMu

 

If fashion has held a central place in your life and you haven’t yet been to Antwerp, you should readily acknowledge a slight tinge of embarrassment. From the Antwerp Six on to today’s new guard of Belgian design, the exalted Royal Academy of Fine Arts continues to turn out some of the most astonishing talent, whose creations can be found in the vanguard boutiques in and around Nationalestraat – where you’ll also stumble upon the hallowed flagships of the likes of Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester. Nearby, as well, is the MoMu, the city’s incomparable fashion museum, which as of December 10 will host Olivier Theyskens, She Walks in Beauty. (Between boutiques, stop in for a de rigueur lunch at Verso Cafe, within the concept shop of the same name.)

Antwerp is also a place of staggering physical beauty, with its gothic-looking Flemish Renaissance cityscape and majestic harbor. The latter is now home to industrial-chic restaurants like Het Pomphuis (in a grandiose former pump house) and the sleek, Michelin-starred ‘t Zilte, on the top floor of the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom).

And speaking of vanguard, the thought-provoking M HKA museum, and independent galleries such as Valerie Traan, Stella Lohaus and Annie Gentils are central to Antwerp’s thriving contemporary art scene. If it’s architecture that sets you atingle, plan a leisurely stroll along the Cogels Osylei, a street in the Zurenborg district where art nouveau, neo-Renaissance, neo-gothic and Tudor-revival styles (amongst others) all come together in a strange but elegant sort of harmony.

Antwerp nightlife, it must be said, is totally bonkers. Start with a glamorous dinner at The Jane, fitted into a stunning 19th Century former chapel; the 13-course prix-fixe menu is €140, but the upstairs bar has much more agreeable prices, and seats you closer to God. Continue on to the extravagant scenes at over-the-top dance clubs like Red & Blue, Publik and Cafe D’Anvers. Expect a significant degree of mind-altering.

Stay

Hotel Julien is a smart, mostly-minimalist guesthouse with an intimate subterranean spa; Hotel Banks is a stylish sleep amidst the best fashion shopping; De Witte Lelie is the joining of three 17th Century townhouses into a place of utterly ethereal beauty (and favored by notable fashion designers).

 

Maastricht

Clockwise from top left, Kruisherenhotel; River Meuse; Stijl boutique; Maastricht streets

 

Famous as the place where in 1992 the modern European Union and the euro were born (the anti-Brexit, if you will), Maastricht is actually a seductive mix of international college town and exquisitely cosmopolitan city. And seriously, nearly everyone seems to have a bloody great sense of style here. With its right and left banks straddling the majestic Meuse River, the ethereal setting might easily have you thinking it can’t possibly all be real.

Wedged almost covertly between Belgium and Germany (Cologne is just 70 km away), history and modernity play very well together in this comely Southern Dutch town. Roman cathedrals bookend narrow 17th Century streets, which are abuzz with urbane cafes, indie fashion boutiques and intimate contemporary art galleries. And to be sure, one of the vigorously recommended activities is just…walking around.

Remarkably, for a relatively small city, Maastricht packs in rather a lot of Michelin stars. Tout a Fait, Beluga loves you, Toine Hermsen, Au Coin des Bons Enfants and the glorious Chateau Neercanne, just outside the center, all boast at least one – and chefs can be wildly experimental. But there are also more bars per capita than even Amsterdam – so a jenever (gin) soaked night on the tiles requires little planning. Still, make sure to hit The Lab for perception-altering cocktails, and Complex for bleeding-edge dance music.

Culture vultures should make time for the architecture and design gallery Bureau Europa, as well as the Bonnefantenmuseum, with its fascinating mix of Italian and Flemish Renaissance and baroque works, and brilliantly curated – Richard Serra, Sol Lewitt, Neo Rauch, Gilbert & George – contemporary collection.

Stay

The Kruisherenhotel (a member of Design Hotels) might literally be the most spectacular hotel in the known universe, fitted as it is into an awe-inspiring, 15th Century former monastery and cathedral; the Beaumont, right on the buzzy Stationsstraat, has minimalist rooms and the chic Harry’s restaurant; Hotel Dis is an artistic 7-room guesthouse with its own gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

Live Like a British Pop Star: The Residence at John Lewis Debuts in London

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As fantasies go, getting accidentally locked in a luxury department store overnight is surely up there. But what if you were actually given permission to stay?

That’s sort of the idea behind the The Residence at John Lewis, a totally unique, furnished in-store-apartment concept. It opens this weekend at their Oxford Street London location (with versions in Liverpool and Cambridge, as well), featuring a gorgeously designed living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom. Exquisitely curated, everything within is available for browsing and purchase.

But surely, nothing so quotidian as shopping would get us this excited. Rather, the ultra posh apartment is on offer for impossibly luxurious sleepovers, as well as decadent dinner parties or brunches for you and your most fashionable friends. What’s included? A private concierge and mixologist, a fully Waitrose-stocked kitchen, a chicly stuffed wardrobe in guest’s size, as well as an hour’s worth of private shopping time. And, of course, the chance to live like your favorite British pop star or supermodel, if only for a brief spell.

Those hoping for the chance to experience an overnight stay or brunch/dinner, can apply at any of the three stores this weekend or next (16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th.) Godspeed.

 

 

 

NYC Nightlife Exports: 1 OAK Opens in Tokyo, PDT Coming to Hong Kong

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It’s a mad, mad, mad globalized world. And so the export of NYC’s top nightlife spots seems almost an inevitability. Especially as marquee chefs like Jean-Georges, Nobu Matsuhisa and Daniel Boulud have already taken their restaurant empires full-intercontinental.

And so it is that 1 OAK has just opened its first Asian outpost this month in the great metropolis of Tokyo. Richie Akiva and Ronnie Madra’s Butter Group had recently debuted their beach club spinoff in the Maldives; but the Japanese capital seems particular suited to the glitz-and-glamour ethos of 1 OAK – which has been notable for its supersonic-a-list clientele, including Beyoncé, Madonna, Rihanna and Halle Berry.

Roy Nachum has once again created the exclusive art installations adorning the wildly surreal space – which is certainly not lacking for V-V-V.I.P. areas where celebs can savor their luxurious privacy.

 

 

Some 2800 km away in Hong Kong, another Gotham late-night legend will be debuting this fall. Indeed, cocktail pioneers (meaning, they were doing it before everyone else was) PDT had previously collaborated on a pop-up at the city’s plush Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong hotel – and now it’s going permanent. Expect a dark, sexy space, a recreation of its secretive “phone booth” entrance and, of course, an unparalleled drinks program by exalted liquid alchemist Jim Meehan.

A definite opening date has yet to be set – but if your November travel plans include Hong Kong, you should be all set.

 

 

Foodie Ibiza? Superstar DJ Guy Gerber’s Insider Guide

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It’s no secret that the gorgeous Balearic Island of Ibiza is the clubbing capital of the world all summer long. But when the mega clubs close sometime in October, it becomes something totally else. And with autumn temps in the 70s, stunning beaches and scenery, and year-round sunshine (not to mention far lower hotel rates), those not disposed towards pumpkin picking and foliage might easily consider it for a fall weekend getaway.

Superstar DJ Guy Gerber knows Ibiza as well as anyone. A three-time Resident Advisor Top 10 Live Performer, the Israeli globetrotter has been a fixture on the scene for a decade, running critically-acclaimed nights at, amongst others, Pacha (which, for the record, stays open all year) – and he’ll be spinning at Paradise at DC10 there this Wednesday and next, September 13 and 20. In between, he’ll be making a very high-profile New York appearance this Saturday night, the 16th, bringing his Ibiza club RUMORS to the Knockdown Center in Queens. For dance heads, it’s an occasion not to be missed.

In the midst of his mad schedule, and as summer turns to autumn, we asked him to give us his expert guide to going foodie in Ibiza. And really, who wouldn’t love to settle down for a great meal after months of non-stop dancing?

 

 

La Paloma

Probably one of my favorite places, you can spend hours eating and drinking here. It’s in an absolutely stunning location, and there are few spots better to while away an afternoon or evening over freshly prepared, Tuscan-influenced cuisine.

Cala Bonita

Wow this place is amazing – such a beautiful little beach location. I once DJ’d a party for a friend here, so it always brings back that memory. It’s quiet, secluded and a really nice spot to hideaway. Not to mention the Mediterranean food is just phenomenal.

 

 

Izakaya

These guys have another spot in Amsterdam that’s next level – this one in Ibiza is brand new, and it’s also top. They’re super nice and always inviting us to go after RUMORS every Sunday. It’s definitely among the best Japanese food destinations on the island, if not the best. Make of meal of the creative Sakana small plates.

Hostal La Torre

This place is owned by the Mambo Brothers, who are very good friends of mine. I think it captures the essence of Ibiza for me, and it has an amazing view of the sunset. Perfect to have a drink and relax with creative tapas, fresh ensaladas and great ceviche.

 

 

Locals Only

This place is right in the middle of Ibiza town, it has a really relaxing vibe and the food is perfect every time. The seafood with an Italian influence is fantastic – and they use only the freshest produce. It’s a bit of an institution.

Maison Le Vrai

This place has a really interesting vibe, it’s sort of like a secret upscale rustic restaurant that makes really delicious, gourmet-level street foods. I’m also a big fan of the music they play here – it’s nice to listen to other styles on the island than just house and techno.

 

 

BlackBook Exclusive: Montreal Songstress Charlotte Cardin’s Iceland

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You might have guessed it – but oui, there is a French language version of The Voice in Canada. And in the first season of TVA’s La Voix in 2013, an 18-year-old girl from Montreal named Charlotte Cardin dazzled with her ethereal presence.

Main Girl, her US debut EP, was released by Atlantic this past week. It’s replete with soul-baring yet strikingly sophisticated, jazz-inflected confessionals, the lyrics exhibiting a remarkable depth of wisdom for her age. Indeed, on the title track she admonishes, “you misunderstood me all along.” And the startlingly self-possessed “Dirty Dirty” finds her gracefully acquiescing “You’re a mess in your own way / So let’s mess it up together”

Her alluring voice is at once self-assured and fragile – and through all the contemporary cool, one can readily make out the influence of one Billie Holiday.

For the haunting video accompanying first single “Main Girl,” Charlotte found herself fittingly wandering the isolated landscapes of Iceland. BlackBook asked her to share a few of the highlights of her visit.

 

The Place

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see many of Iceland’s most famous sites, as we were there on a mission. That being said, the landscapes that were filmed in nature are mind-blowing and definitely worth the trip.

The Shoot

We went a bit rogue when shooting the video, as no matter where you place the camera, the landscape was breathtaking. It’s a bit surreal to be amongst massive glaciers and all that natural beauty.

The Locals

Icelandic people are incredibly friendly and accommodating. We were made to feel at home no matter where went.

The Food

One night, in the basement of the Sæta Svínið Gastropub, the whole team and I did some karaoke. We had a blast!

The Drink

One of the guys from our team tried Iceland’s famously strong Brennivín (like a schnapps) – but maybe not something for everyone’s taste, haha. A lot of drinks were made with the Icelandic vodka called “Reyka.” It has a hint of vanilla to it.

A Secret

We usually have to use fake smoke on our shoots; but this time it wasn’t necessary because of the volcanos!

 

(N.B. Charlotte launches a North American tour with Nick Murphy – fka Chet Faker – this Friday at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. They’ll play Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right on October 3.)

What is Italian Dim Sum? Raviolo Opens with Carbonara + Cacio e Pepe Small Bites

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Remember “fusion cuisine”? When you couldn’t swing a bánh bao tagine without hitting a Viet-Moroccan hotspot…around 2003 or so? But then “authenticity” and “locabore” came along and ruined all that groovy internationalist fun.

The West Village’s hip new Raviolo doesn’t quite rise to the pretensions of those heady post-Millennium days. But dashing and dapper chef Paolo Meregalli (of MePa’s Mulino a Vino) has cleverly reimagined the Italian dining experience by giving it a groovy “dim sum” presentation. This means offering classics like carbonara, cacio e pepe and vitello tonnato in one- or two-bite pieces – and bringing together two unshakeable dining trends.

 

 

Italians can admittedly be stubbornly (yet charmingly) attached to tradition; but here, rather than going “experimental,” the trad is given a playful reinvention. To wit, there are fun pasta combos, like pesto di mare, and ameritriciana carbonara, as well as some surprising “small bite” raviolis – including the Polpo (octopus) alla Luciana and Risotto Scamorza Prosecco.

No surprise, it’ll pretty much be a party here every evening. The drinks program includes a dedicated Bubbles Bar ($10 prosecco + $7 refills!) and a Gin & Tonic Bar, which features fruit infusion “pairings.” But do try the Raviolo Italian Mary, an elaborate, three-tiered take on the classic.

Expect brunch, with its eggs sorrentina and goat fish panini (as well as the cool, convivial atmosphere), to be a genuine scene this fall.

 

From Cartagena to Portugal to Marrakech: Three Blissed Out Fall Yoga Getaways

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Admit it, your recent trips have included tequila binging in Mexico City, underground clubbing in Berlin and Budapest, and champagne-for-breakfast in St Tropez. Your body, mind and soul are all in need of, let’s call it…some spiritual repair.

That being the case, we strenuously recommend skipping that Loire Valley wine tour this autumn, to get your vinyasa on in somewhere transformationally exotic and inspiring. Being the ardent internationalists that we are, we discovered absolutely glorious yoga/wellness getaways on three different continents, with each destination offering something life-altering (and distinctly Instagrammable) to go along with all those holistically restorative activities.

 

Cartagena

Surely the BlackBook destination-of-the-moment – Lonely Planet also dubbed Colombia “the 2nd best country to visit in 2017” – Cartagena is a city of mystery, discovery, and almost ineffable beauty. And Blue Sky Yoga, led by Brooklyn natives Marion Mahima Jackson and Christina Mattus (from Greenpoint’s Usha Veda Yoga studio) has organized a remarkable five-night-retreat (October 4-9), in a private mansion within the 17th Century walls of the Old City.
The  experience will include candlelight yoga and meditation classes (using top quality yoga accessories by Manduka), sound bath, Rosarian Islands excursions, a walking tour, sound healing and mantras, and healthy, tasty meals. Free time can be used to explore what BlackBook called “Latin America’s most alluring city.”
And no one will mind if you pull a couple of late nights over aguardiente cocktails.

 

 

Marrakech

For something a bit more more plush and luxurious, the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech offers the best of both worlds: luxe pampering, and the possibility for far-flung, life-altering discoveries. And let’s face it – Morocco is one of the ultimate “I need to get there one of these days” destinations. So what better time?
The hotel itself sits on 20 hectares of fragrant gardens, just outside the city center. It offers private yoga sessions which can be taken in the studio or those aforementioned gardens (seriously, is that even a decision?), as well as Zumba and belly-dance classes. There’s a classic hamman for body-cleansing rituals, as well as endemic, traditional treatments like the Moroccan Caracal and the Berber-inspired Mour Akouch.
MOM is currently offering a Berber Beauty by marocMaroc package (through 9/30), in conjunction with Marrakech’s renowned skincare brand, which includes such amenities as a Ceremonial Massage, unlimited use of the spa facilities and a daily breakfast buffet of local specialities.

 

 
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Portugal

If you really, really want to clear the city smog from your lungs while you do the vajrasana, the Vale de Moses yoga retreats, in Portugal’s Serra de Estrela mountains, are serene and secluded, without actually requiring a connecting flight. Indeed, Lisbon is the closest EU capital to America, and it’s just a scenic, three-hour bus ride from the airport.
Something like an upscale camping excursion (run by husband and wife Andrew and Vonetta Winter, and voted a “Top 25” retreat by the Guardian), it includes silent forest meditation walks, yoga classes and workshops, Tui Na massage, swimming and mud baths in the Zêzere river, lots of healthy, home-cooked feasting, and even a Friday night dance party. The scenery, of course, is beyond breathtaking.
And do consider spending a couple of days in fabulous Lisbon, one of Europe’s truly beautiful yet unspoiled cities – with plentiful sunshine, an exciting culinary scene and absolutely electric nightlife.

 

BlackBook Exclusive: MisterWives’ Rocker Guide to Eating Vegan in NYC

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Probably no one was as surprised by the success of MisterWives‘ 2014 debut album as they were themselves. The charmingly oddball, genre-hopping New York sextet’s inaugural long-player Our Own House broke the Billboard Top 40 and spawned a pair of hit singles, “Reflections” and the crazy groovy title track.

Their follow-up, Connect the Dots, was released this May – and we’re loving songs like the funkified, over-the-top-dramatic “Coloring Outside the Lines” and the Middle-East-meets-ska “Machine”…especially its awesome, Mad Max style video.

The band hit the road for a 23-date tour beginning in Nashville on September 21. Said road tripping actually presents a particular challenge for them, as singer Mandy Lee and drummer Etienne Bowler are dedicated vegans. So when we caught up for a chat with Lee, in true BlackBook style, we also asked her to turn us on to their fave meat-and-dairy-free spots when they’re back home in NYC.

 

 

Did the success of Our Own House catch the band by surprise?

We are forever surprised and thankful for all the support that has come our way. We are living out our wildest dream together, and to have people connect to Our Own House or come out to a show singing all the words gives us chills every time.

How is Connect the Dots a departure from the first album?

Connect The Dots was incredibly liberating to write and record because it was the first time we had the luxury of time to create together. Our Own House was recorded in between several tours with a lot of pressure and deadlines constantly weighing on us. For the second record we went out to Woodstock, far away from the chaotic city, to simply enjoy ourselves and get back to making music the way you did when you were a happy-go-lucky kid. Funny enough, getting to work in that type of environment helped us dig a lot deeper lyrically and sonically to create what we’d hope sounds like a graduation from Our Own House.

You’re launching a full tour in September. What will be new about the live shows?

Besides getting to weave a whole new album into the setlist, the stage design will be more Connect The Dots centric. Beyond all the technical differences, we just hope the infectious energy and sweaty fun that the crowd always brings continues to grow. That’s really where all the magic happens, and reminds us that live music is the most freeing, unifying language us beings have.

The whole band isn’t vegan, right? 

I wish, still workin’ on that! Etienne and I are vegan, Jesse and Will are vegetarians and Murph eats everything and Marc survives off candy. The guys are incredibly open to veganism though, and are always down to eat out veg or eat the meals I cook on the bus – which always makes me a proud mama.

What makes NYC a great city for vegans?

NYC is the mecca for vegans! Any and every type of cuisine exists vegan in New York, and it just keeps expanding. It’s been ten years since I shifted to the lifestyle and it’s so amazing to watch how much it’s grown and evolved. Even spots that aren’t plant based are now adding vegan options to their menus, regular grocery stores are now carrying a vast selection of veg meats, cheeses, ice creams, etc.  Going vegan for the animals, for the planet, and for your health is easier and tastier than ever!

Do you find it tough to keep up the vegan lifestyle when out on the road?

This is a question I get asked quite often and it makes me happy to always answer how it’s been super easy being vegan on the road. I have an app called “Happy Cow” that tells you vegan restaurants closest to you – fast food chains like Chipotle or Noodles & Co have super tasty tofu options, plus I’ve always cooked on tour. It’s really fun and kindaa makes me want to put together a vegan guide for bands on the road…or a cookbook when I’m too old to jump around on stage.

 

MisterWives’ Fave Vegan Haunts in NYC

 

Champs Diner

Champs is my go-to hangover cure, so we frequent this place just about every weekend. It has a fun, old-school-diner feel to it, where a fat stack of pancakes, tatertachos and a milkshake will fix you right up.

Hangawi

Be sure to wear socks to this restaurant because you’re required to take your shoes off at the door! Korean food done vegan has to be one of my favorites, and their homemade kimchi, avocado stone bowl, and spicy baby dumplings always hits the spot.

 

 

Dunwell Doughnuts

“Donut” skip out on this place! World’s Best Donut (vegan or not) goes to Dunwell, hands down. And as if their donuts fluffier than clouds with flavors ranging from classics to PB&J to Almond Joy to French Toast weren’t enough, you can fill that hole with ice cream.

Cienfuegos

This colorful and vibrant oasis transports you to Cuba and makes it hard to believe you’re in the East Village. They serve the most flavorful vegan Latin small plates alongside massive rum punch bowls so delicious you will want to swim in them. Empanadas, fried guac, white bean ceviche paired with any punch bowl on a Monday night when they have live Latin jazz will rid you of those Monday blues.

 

Double Zero Pizza

Growing up in Queens, pizza is just as vital to your body as water. That being said, I couldn’t be more elated that the golden era of vegan pizza has finally arrived in New York – proving the “vegan cheese taste like plastic” stereotype so very wrong. Double Zero takes the cake – or should I say “pie” – for unmatched vegan pizza. Their wood-fired dough is topped off with the works such as farro-fennel sausage, spicy marinara arrabiata sauce, homemade mozzarella, smoked almond ricotta, the list goes on and on. Have a tiramisu to finish.

By CHLOE.

Created by the vegan mastermind Chloe Coscarelli, whose cookbooks are the bible in our household, it brings vegan fast food to those on the go who want to keep it plant based. Her mac and cheese is the most heavenly creation and you’d never guess that the main ingredient in the sauce is sweet potato; she’s a mad scientist! Do try the kale avocado caesar topped with almond parm and shitake bacon, paired with coconut water straight from the coconut itself, to help keep you feeling refreshed and energized.

 

 

Creative Sao Paulo: Loupe Artist Paul Kurucz’ Fave Spots in the Buzzing Brazilian Metropolis

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Daniel Melim – Image Courtesy of Choque Cultural

 

The repeated charge that the art world is lofty and often out of reach has been recently challenged by the launch of the exciting new art app Loupe. Allowing for the easy streaming of a well-curated collection right on your computer, phone or television screen, it has something of a populist mission while also maintaining its impeccable sense of taste.

Some of Loupe‘s featured artists have become our new faves – to wit, Brazil’s Paul Kurucz. His provocative photographs play with perception and context, making the seemingly bizarre or surreal seem funny and curiosity-inspiring. They leave you wanting to know more about what you’re seeing.

“I was born in a Hungarian hospital to a French mother,” he explains, “who was expelled as a child from Egypt in 1956 for not being an Arab. She went to Europe instead of Israel because her Jewish family was pro-Arab.”

That tumultuous early life experience would go on to have a profound effect on the way he sees the world. Which, in turn, inspired his approach to creating such unexpected imagery.

“My life has been a long journey outside the boundaries of normality,” he says. “What one sees as bizarre or ambiguous is not only natural for me, but is the very essence of natural. This is how I see, feel and portray the world.”

Continuing a BlackBook-Loupe collaborative series which has included the likes of Bushwick, Atlanta and Denver, we asked him to share with us where local creative types might be found gravitating to in the endlessly chaotic but thrilling city of Sao Paulo.

“It’s Latin America’s New York City,” he tells us. “Its art scene is urban, vibrant, cosmopolitan, competitive, attracting the most creative minds. That could not be said of Rio de Janeiro, where I lived the past four years. One is extraordinarily fertile soil for the mind, while the other is a paradise for the body. Most inspiring is Sao Paulo’s lack of artistic elitism, its joyful habit of embracing new ideas, even the ones that are doomed to fail.”

 

 

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Paul’s Sao Paulo Picks

Kof

In the alternative-chic district of Pinheiros, Kof is a perfect blend of imported coffees, ultra thick cookies, and race bikes in a small shop. Adorable waiters also serve homemade lemonades on the street, inside and in a small, hidden garden. It has super fast Wi-Fi that makes my home office feel like jail.
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Studio Offe

My second home, where we do our shootings. It is an old, 10m-high bunker with no heating or A/C, but always the same nice temperature. It has a wide corridor to the surface from where the light comes in, if we want. It’s a surreal setting, a modern day cavern that inspires us to avoid cliches associated with works done in downtown fashion studios.
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Museum of Image and Sound (MIS)

The PS1 and Centre George Pompidou of Sao Paulo. In a city located, or rather dislocated far from the world’s prime art scenes, the MIS brings the best multimedia art exhibitions [recent major shows have include O Mundo de Tim Burton and Frida Kahlo: Her Photos). To survive the hour long waiting lines, I like to call forgotten friends to get a life and or art update.
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Museum of Image and Sound – Photo by Leticia Godoy
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Pinheiros Galleries

For any art savvy globetrotter, I would definitely suggest to visit the more progressive galleries in Pinheiros. Then hang out at night at Roosevelt Square, where alternative subcultures are celebrated by the city’s “marginals.” Also have a long walk on the Paulista Avenue on Sundays (when the it is closed to traffic), where the best museums and most diverse exhibitions in town are. Some of the notable galleries are Choque Cultural, Galeria Millan and Instituto Tomie Ohtake.

Roosevelt Square

The meeting point of the city’s most eccentric subcultures, my favorite spot for free, open-air electronic parties. I love to chose among the 30 types of fresh pressed juices in one of the square’s hipster juice bars and just watch the the show of new fashion tendencies by the most extroverted people in town.

Mundo Pensante

A music venue with a name that tells it all: “Thinking World.” Mundo Pensante is an agnostic paradise located in a former church. Every night a different style, a different tribe, never mainstream. This is the place where I feel most at home, where curiosity, subversion, and alternative culture feel “true” and flow naturally.