Coqui Coqui

In/Out - OUT/ABOUT: Coqui Coqui Perfumery Yucatán

In/Out - OUT/ABOUT: Coqui Coqui Perfumery Yucatán

In/Out - OUT/ABOUT: Coqui Coqui Perfumery Yucatán

In/Out - OUT/ABOUT: Coqui Coqui Perfumery Yucatán

In/Out - OUT/ABOUT: Coqui Coqui Perfumery Yucatán

In/Out - OUT/ABOUT: Coqui Coqui Perfumery Yucatán

medium_ED_CH_v1.73_COQUI_Bottle

In/Out - OUT/ABOUT: Coqui Coqui Perfumery Yucatán

medium_ED_CH_v1.73_COQUI_TabacoBottle

medium_ED_CH_v1.73_COQUI_TulumBeach

The Coqui Coqui brand story is a rather romantic one, organically expanding from a simple humble little spa safari tent on a beach to a perfumery and now to four highly sought-after hotels and spa residencies, as well as a full range of boutique products. What ties Coqui Coqui together is the Yucatan Peninsula, a flat, limestone-rich stretch of southern Mexico, scattered with palm trees and white sand, hot sun and coconuts! Owned and run by husband and wife duo Nicolas Melville and Francesca Bonato, the Coqui Coqui brand has at its heart one particularly dreamy sense of place.

From the first time he visited the Yucatan, Melville was instantly captivated. With an interest in botanicals and a background in landscape architecture, the natural environment, traditional buildings and way of life appealed immediately – so much so that he relocated to the Yucatan to set up what would be the beginning of Coqui Coqui, a simple massage tent on Tulum beach. Not long after, Bonato happened upon the place while on holiday. Falling in love instantly; Coqui Coqui would then become a joint venture of love and creativity between Melville and Bonato. The tent that offered tea and massages became a house (built on the same beachfront land) with a spa and boutique, then the duo began renting the house because “friends and family started asking for rooms and a place to stay,” and – as if by accident – Coqui Coqui Tulum was born. Coqui Coqui Coba, Coqui Coqui Merida, and Coqui Coqui Valladoid (which houses the perfumery) followed, each located in their own special location across the region.

Captivated by the dreamy landscape, the local building techniques, the handcrafts and the general way of life, a philosophy that celebrates the Yucatan was only natural for the pair. “It’s really going back to our roots, a healthy and simple way of living,” says Melville. Coqui Coqui products are locally sourced ingredients, “We weren’t going to buy shampoo at the supermarket,” says Nicolas, “so we found a guy here that makes incredible shampoo by hand with the pulp from locally cultivated aloe vera plants.”

The hotels have an effortlessy beautiful appeal, a kind of bohemian romance that respects the local aesthetic – rich, earthy colours and gentle hues, fresh cotton fabrics, roughly polished floors, understated furniture and hand-made accessories. At Coqui Coqui Tulum, for example, the beach front structure is made from limestone, as if extending from the very earth that it sits upon.

In the same vein, the Coqui Coqui perfumes are made with native ingredients and artisanal production, blended at their flagship perfumery in Valladolid, and inspired by the truly local. From warm and woody scents, to alluring hints of spice, to notes of sweet coconut and citrus, fresh flowers or smoky tobacco, every perfume embodies the romance of the Yucatan. Each hotel has its signature scent; Coqui Coqui Tulum having ‘Coco Coco’, created from three different coconuts that grow on beaches nearby, and ‘Orange Blossom’, which has become “the signature smell of the hotel.”

It is a romantically simple sentiment to honour the landscape so poetically. As Melville sums up himself, “The Coqui Coqui brand showcases a lifestyle; a cocoon which represents the flora, the earth, the fruit, the woods and the landscape, the folklore and the traditions of the culture: At the soul of everything is the Yucatan.”

Credits: The Line

KOO BOHNCHANG ‘VESSELS’

In/Out: Koo Bohnchang

In/Out: Koo Bohnchang

In/Out: Koo Bohnchang

In/Out: Koo Bohnchang

In/Out: Koo Bohnchang

In/Out: Koo Bohnchang

Koo Bohnchang’s reunion of Korean ‘dal-hang-a-ri’ or ‘moon jars’ is tender photographic portraiture. Long lost relatives, these unadorned treasures are reunited in Bohchang’s ‘Vessels’ series of photographs. Rare white porcelain all fired from only a couple of kilns from the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) they are reunited again after centuries of being dispersed to collectors in far reaches of the globe.

Renowned for their white milky glaze that earned them the name ‘moon jars’ these curvaceous beauties, so simple in form, are symbols of purity. Through Bohnchang’s soft monochromatic gaze you sense the historical importance of an object. ‘Vessels’ are a heartfelt reminder that what we create is a representation of the era, an immediate connection, not only to the aesthetic nature of that time but most importantly to the state of mind.

Affectionate imagery conveys the preference for restraint typical of the Confucianism period, white porcelain vessels so serenely perfect with their slight imperfections. Soulfully this is Bohnchang’s family tree that he shares with us.

Credits: Koo Bohnchang

Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

IN/OUT: Michael Anastassiades 2015

London-based, Cyprus-born designer Michael Anastassiades is a master of balance. His collection of fifteen new designs launched at Salone del Mobile in Milan earlier this year, is minimal and elegant, quite exclusively focusing on the purity of line and simple geometry.

A lyrical extension of Anastassiades’ previous pieces, the 2015 collection explores mobile chandeliers and spherical lamps in deftly explores re-configurations of the simple sphere, as well as subtle deviations away from it. Each piece in the Bob family, for example, is derived from the common levelling tool the ‘plumb bob’. While taking a slightly more organic approach, however – also introducing a curve to the Mobile Chandelier series – the range is no less harmonious.

In each family of lights, proportion is central. To achieve the particular sense of balance Anastassiades does, one that is surprising and yet wholly satisfying to the eye, he seeks to create a perfect ‘equilibrium’. In Happy Together, for example, vertical rods (in brass, nickel or black-patinated finishes) are exaggerated in length, the long elegant arms quite perfectly off-setting the delicate, glass spheres they hold. “The idea is almost like an exercise in some sort of mathematical sequence, exploring how you position these things together,” says Anastassiades. “It’s quite a playful way to address light.”

Credits: Michael Anastassiades

OUT/ABOUT: ALAN JONES ‘Paintings From Coogee’

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

Out/ About: Alan Jones 'Paintings from Coogee'

It is well known, the nearly impossible plight of the artist to make a living from selling their wares. Let’s be frank not all of us can afford to buy the art we desire and with only limited gallery space just getting your work on the wall can be the biggest challenge. Fortunately many private and public institutions have annual competitions that allow artists the opportunity to win some serious prize money and perhaps, more importantly, some time in the spotlight.

A couple of weeks ago Sydney painter Alan Jones was awarded the coveted Mosman Art Prize and collected $30,000 for his work ‘Painting 131 (North Coogee)’. The winning work depicts an atmospheric rendering of his local park in Sydney’s coastal suburb with two highly textural self portraits floating curiously above the headland.

The autobiographical theme is central to most of Jones’ artmaking of the past decade with images taken from his personal history forming the nexus of his work in a variety of media. He examines notions of identity through his paintings of immediate family members but also goes to considerable effort in researching his distant heritage right back to a convict forebear who arrived on the First Fleet. Jones explains ‘making work that has a significance for me feels more relevant, and has a greater importance; this personal connection to the work keeps me going back into the studio.’

There is definitely a shared desire (this is the third major prize won in so many years) for him to stay in the studio as his highly original paintings provide a fresh perspective on contemporary Australian painting, both in subject and technique. Together with the exhibition at the Mosman Art Gallery (current until August 30) Alan Jones is preparing for a solo exhibition at Olsen Irwin Gallery, Sydney opening on August 26.

Mosman Art Gallery
Art Gallery Way & Myahgah Road
Mosman NSW 2088
10am – 5pm, 7 days a week
Until 30th August

Alan Jones ‘Paintings from Coogee’
Olsen Irwin Gallery
63 Jersey Road
Woollahra 2025 NSW
Monday: 12-5
Tuesday-Friday: 10-6
Saturday: 10-5
Sunday: 12-5
26 August – 13 September

Credits: Courtesy of the artist Alan Jones and Mosman Art Gallery & Olsen Irwin
Words by Katrina Arent

Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains

In/Out: Moving Mountains

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In/Out: Moving Mountains

In/Out: Moving Mountains

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In/Out: Moving Mountains

In/Out: Moving Mountains

In/Out: Moving Mountains

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In/Out: Moving Mountains

There’s a fine, often confusing, line between art and design. What distinguishes one from the other? Can something be both? Are there rules? Moving Mountains, a New York-based studio founded by designer Syrette Lew, treads this precarious intersection, even bringing fashion into the mix, and quite purposefully. Syrette would like to be known as “a contemporary designer, but not just for furniture. I want to do products, clothing, jewellery and even pop-up shops,” she says, “I don’t want to be confined to any one thing.” So perhaps it is difficult to define what she does precicely, but we’re not convinced that it matters, and nor is she.

Taking the direction of her career in her own hands, after leaving a five-year long stint working for West Elm, Syrette began Moving Mountains and designing (but not making, which she leaves to her stable of craftsmen) mostly custom-made pieces that are part-art, part-design. The pieces are artful and practical; they stand the test of time and usually have a strong concept embedded in them, or a little detail that makes you take a second look. Take the Palmyra Lamp, a stunning piece of art on the one hand (just imagine this in your home), which is named after the ancient caravan city in the Syrian desert that now sits as monumental ruins in the sand but lives on through its name – given to a species of majestic palm trees found in the tropics and an atoll in the Pacific. On the other hand, Palmyra is a working light with excellent form.

Among the Studio’s collections of furniture and accessories are the usual suspects – tables, benches, lamps, as well as bags and jewellery. Moving Mountains also does one-off projects, like the custom newsstand they made for fashion house COS, if it feels right to do so.

With Moving Mountains, there are no definite rules. It’s inspiring to see a studio forging their own definition of what design is.

Credits: Moving Mountains

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