{happy halloween!}

Couldn’t think of a more fitting artist for a Halloween post than Damien Hirst, an artist born in Bristol to a lapsed Catholic mother and a mechanic/car salesman father who left their family when he was only 12 years old.

Despite his humble beginnings, (or perhaps because of them), Hirst would later become the most extravagant living artist in the world.

Damien Hirst's work centers around death as its main theme. The artist is best known for his Natural History series, in which dead animals (a shark, a sheep or a cow) are preserved in


In May 2007, Hirst exhibited his latest work, Beyond Belief, at the
White Cube gallery in London. The centre of this exhibition was a Memento Mori titled For The Love of God, which featured a human skull recreated in platinum and adorned with 8,601 diamonds weighing a total of 1,106.18 carats. Approximately £15,000,000 ($30,944,726.60 USD) worth of diamonds were used. The work was based on an 18th century skull, with the original teeth incorporated into the artwork. The work's title comes from Hirst's mother who asked him, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?”

This piece, which was cast from an 18th-century skull he bought in London, was influenced by Mexican skulls encrusted in turquoise. “I remember thinking it would be great to do a diamond one — but just prohibitively expensive,” he recalls. “Then I started to think — maybe that’s why it is a good thing to do. Death is such a heavy subject, it would be good to make something that laughed in the face of it.”
{from the NY Times}

August 30, 2007, For the Love of God sold for £50,000,000 (100 million dollars or 75 million euros), giving the piece the auction record for the most expensive work of art by a living artist.

White Cube gallery sold several limited-edition silkscreen prints of this work, priced from £900 to £10,000, for one sprinkled with diamond dust.

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{josephine queen}

Metallics in décor, especially gold, is a trend that is showing no signs of fading away any time soon. Whenever I dream of gold for interiors, (with the exception of this), I usually think of
Jaime Hayón's luxe and extremely beautiful Josephine Queen series of hanging lamps (above). Its height and wonderful combination of traditional and modern aesthetics make it all-out style icon.

The series was reconfigured from a porcelain lamp originally designed for metalarte and is available in black, white, platinum and gold, each in a combination that is a multiple of 3 (6, 9. 6/3, 9/6 or 9/6/3).

(happened to find a few other pretty things (below) while there . . .)

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{ivanka & madison avenue}

Ivanka Trump has partnered with Dynamic Diamond Corp. to design a collection of jewellery that was recently unveiled at the opening of her brand new, flagship store on Madison Avenue. While the collection is beautiful, (especially the Diamond briolett double tassel lariat, pictured below) it's her super stylish boutique, done in black and white with splashes of yellow and coral, that is really quite stunning.

The design of the shop was done by Brian Humphrey with Kramer Design Group.

{images: GlamChic, nytimes.com & ivankatrumpcollection.com}

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{completely & utterly inspiring}

The amazingly talented Ditte Isager proves it takes more that special equipment and lighting to get the perfect shot . . . As one of pdn's 30 new and emerging photographers to watch, Isager needs no introduction (you may recognize her work at Fritz Hansen, Domino, Living etc. and many others) and is fast becoming one of my all-time favourites.

{And I've just discovered that
LauraB has also posted about Ditte Isager this morning as well--click here to read her post.}

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{samourai 1947}

While I definitely appreciate a good handbag, mine are usually large and while beautiful, they are also a little practical (this one in black was my favourite for travelling), for carting around my daybook, BlackBerry and all of the things I can't live without. Dior's new Samourai 1947 pieces, however, are complete works of art. The bags are part of Dior's 60-anniversary collection and come in five limited-edition designs.

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{lovely glow}

Came across these lovely hanging pendants at elle decor, and was reminded that Zenza's new catalogue is out and full of beautiful, handcrafted things, especially hand-pierced metal lights that emit a soft, luxurious glow.

(And if you think these lights are romantic, you should read the Zenza story.)

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{rosenbaum design}

My maximalist tendencies went into overdrive at the site of all these mismatched framed photos at Rosenbaum Design. The grouping reminded me of Liza Giles' south London home and seems to be current Bohemian-meets-old-Victorian look of the moment. In fact, the large table-setting, piled up china, and white furniture against the graphic and dramatic floor made everything feel as it were in a dream . . .

{all images: Rosenbaum design; via Review Australia}

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{travel, taj lake palace}

. . . a day off to catch up on a few things and a moment to dream about the 250-year old Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India, a marble palace that appears as if it's floating on the waters of Lake Pichola. Guests, of course, arrive by boat.

Built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar, Taj Lake Palace was originally built as a summer palace. It has recently been transformed to its former glory and is now possibly one of the most romantic hotels in the world. Filled with marble pillars, glasswork, silks, intricate paintings and ornately carved wood furniture, the palace is every bit as luxurious inside as it is dramatically stunning on the outside.

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{villa monticello}

I may have a thing for all things French, but may make an Italian exception--after all, who doesn't love the sound of a villa in Tuscany?

Villa Monticello was built by the counts of Orsolini at Avenza in 1766 as a small country retreat. In the late 19th century, it was acquired by French Dervillé family, who did some renovating by adding grand flights of steps at the front and back, as well as loggias (balconies or entrance porches) on three sides of the villa. Statues and fragments of ancient sculptures still adorn the main entrance, while marble vases and a marble gable were placed on the roof.

Today, Villa Monticello is owned by Marzia Vanelli Dazzi, who lives there with her husband and children.

{images: Taschen}

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{high-end halloween}

It's that skull and crossbones time of year again and what could be more fun than wearing posh, brightly-coloured skulls?

Dior Joaillerie's Coffret de Victoire collection includes: ring in 18K yellow gold, diamonds, pink sapphires, turquoise and mother-of-pearl (above left); and pendant in 18K yellow gold, diamonds, pink and green tourmalines, aquamarine, tanzanite, pink sapphires, amethysts, chrysoberyl, sapphire, emeralds, cultured pearl and coral (above right). Any piece from this collection (or anything by Dior, for that matter) will ensure you're the talk of the costume ball . . .

Not to be outdone is Tom Binns' Tough Chic collection of less precious, but still loads of fun punk-infiltrated creations (below). The Irish-born Binns was a one-time collaborator with Vivienne Westwood and favours rock and roll interpretations of jewellery classics, where diamantes and pearls sit alongside bullets and skulls.

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I have never worn the colour blue.

I once wore a turquoise-coloured silk blouse, but I have never worn that deep, bold, royal blue and I've certainly never considered it as a décor possibility . . . That is, until recently.

The colour blue is believed to be the last colour to become visible to the human eye, yet it is the first primary colour from which all other colours are made possible. I've been inexplicably drawn to its richness and mystery, the way it reminds me of the sea after a summer storm, or the sky moments before nightfall . . .

{Cuff by Tom Binns}

{the ever-glamorous Bruna Tenorio for the Dsquared Spring 2008 RTW show at Style.com}

{images from top: barney's new york; bnodesign; g hotel in Ireland; the golden apple hotel}


{marvelous marble}

There has been a recent resurgence of marble in design, leading style forecasters to herald its comeback, but certain it never went away . . .

Marble is a metamorphic rock form composed of coarse crystals from limestone or dolostone rocks. (If you remember from your geology classes, metamorphic rocks are rocks that have changed from one form to another by the high pressure and temperature environment of the Earth). This metamorphic process causes a complete recrystallization of the original rock into an interlocking mosaic of calcite, aragonite and/or dolomite crystals.

There are many, many types of marble, from Bianco Carrara to Calacatta Imperiale to Fior Di Pesco Carnico, only to name a few. Some types of marble are named after the locations of their quarries, for example, Black Marble from Kilkenny, Ireland; Boticena and Onyx(Green) from Pakistan; Carrara and Luni from Italy; Macael from Spain; Royal White from China, and Makrana from India.

{marble coffee table in a New York loft}

The word 'marble' comes from the Greek marmaros, meaning "glittering" or "shining stone". When polished perfectly, marble gives a soft glitter that seems to come from the inside, and when rays of light penetrate it, marble comes to life and gives off pink, yellow, grey, blue, greenish, reddish, brown, and black tones, as well as various other beautiful colour combinations.

{a stunning marble facade elevates the look of this office designed by 3rd uncle}

The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored types of marble are usually caused by mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to limestone with high magnesium content or dolostone with silica impurities which have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure and heat of metamorphism. A recent post, {
luxury is in the details}, gives an example of green colouration in marble and {beautiful bathrooms} showcases some beautiful marble bathroom fixtures.

{ring coffee table by autoban}

The temperatures and pressures necessary to form marble usually destroy any fossils and sedimentary textures present in the original rock. However, if you look closely at certain varieties such as Verona, Fossile Marrone, Jura or Rosso marble, you may be able to glimpse the shapes of ancient shellfish, corals, petrified algae, and shells. Some types of marble with quartz and pyrite 'veins' glitter with crystal and golden tinges.

{marble fireplace in a hotel lobby}

Pure white marble (the kind favoured by Michelangelo) is composed of the mineral calcite, and is the result of the metamorphism of very pure limestones. White marble has always been popular for sculpture and building construction because of its beauty and relative softness. This softness, however, also makes it vulnerable to weathering, as the calcium carbonate content in marble is easily damaged by acid rain.

White marbles, like Carrara in Italy, Royal White and Bejing White in China, have been the number one choice for sculpture since classical times. This preference has to do with the softness and relative isotropy and homogeneity, as well as a relative resistance to shattering. Additionally, the low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate into the stone before being scattered out, giving a "waxy" or life-like look to marble sculptures of the human body. The Venus de Milo, Parthenon, Zeus of Olympus temple, columns of Artemis temple in Ephesus,(one of the Seven Wonders of the World), were all made of soft white marble.

Whether it's Carrara or Bianco Perlino or Rosso, a status symbol, a floor, or a fountain, there's no denying the luxury and glamour of marble, and its timelessness by all of the history that it represents.

{the venus de milo}

{images: Elle Decoration, 3rd Uncle, Autoban, Livingetc}

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