Archive for ART DIRECTION

The Deep Blue Sea

© Music Box Films, 2011

We missed this stunner the first time around in theatres last year. But just caught in on demand and it is, without question, unbelievably gorgeous. Directed by Terence Davies and based on the Terence Rattigan play, this beautiful swoon of a film starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russel Beale will transport through its sheer loveliness (with Cinematography by Florian Hoffmeister, Film Editing by David Charap, Production Design by James Merfield, Art Direction by David Hindle and Costume Design by Ruth Myers). But this is not an uplifting evening in the making. Plan on a stiff cocktail or two and an episode of 30 Rock or the Daily Show as a much needed chaser. Lovely!

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Moonrise Kingdom

© Focus Features, 2012

Another long-awaited charmer from the always-inspiring director, Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom is the sweet love story/adventure of two good, but troubled tweens (played by the adorable and talented Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman) who run away to be together badlands-style on a remote fictional Eastern Seaboard Island in 1965. With wonderful characters played by a stellar cast, including Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel and Bob Balaban as an extremely elfin narrator, the quirky and stylized film won us over from the very first frame. Anderson’s always-astonishing, period art direction is in full swing here. And the screenplay by Anderson and Roman Coppola is completely … can we use the word charming again? In this case, the choice is definitively “yes.”

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Saturday Brunch at Wallsé

photos: m&j

Who knew that practically right under our noses on the corner of Washington and West 11th Street exists a pretty terrific and lovely restaurant we had never even heard of, filled with enough modern art to feast our eyes, as well as a plethora of modern Viennese treats to make for a particularly delicious and leisurely brunch? Tucked under a giant Julian Schnabel painting at Wallsé, we enjoyed a first course of Bloody Marys made with fresh tomato water and “cucumber delight” cocktails made from pear-infused vodka, muddled cucumbers, elderflower syrup, lemon and Sekt. The meal continued with hits like spätzle, braised rabbit, wild mushrooms & tarragon, poached eggs, creamed spinach & Bavarian ham and a particularly amazing assortment of desserts including Salzburger Nockerl – a creamy soufflé of buttery meringue over a warm huckleberry compote – YUM!

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El Bulli: Cooking in Progress

© Alive Mind Cinema, 2011

This documentary about famed Spanish Chef and food provocateur, Ferran Adrià and his legendary El Bulli (now, sadly shuttered) just blew our minds. Creative to the point of “avant garde” as Adrià puts it, this food is not for everyone. And much of it seems less like food than science. But it is definitely art. And watching this documentary about the creation and coming to life of one of the last season’s menus of what many called “the greatest restaurant in the world” is completely engaging. The personalities alone in that kitchen are worth the trip. Our favorite quote from the film: Ferran Adrià to his sommelier – “Our problem is, there are a thousand combinations. At the moment, the taste doesn’t matter to us. That comes later. At the moment, what matters is whether something is magical, and whether it opens up a new path. And later, in the restaurant, the dishes are created. Constructed. Now it’s more research and there is more research with creativity.” Simply riveting.

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Brideshead Revisited

© Miramax Films, 2008

Just at the height of our Downton Abbey withdrawal, this gem from 2008 reappears and satisfies with all the splendor, drama and “upstairs” British finery we’ve been longing for – based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh. Upon second viewing, we’re once again struck by the lushness of the setting, the wonderful taboo of the story and sheer magnificence of the truly disgracefully wealthy in the earlier part of twentieth century England.  Beautifully directed by Julian Jarrold and starring Matthew Goode, Emma Thompson and Ben Wishaw who a year later went on to star in one of our all-time faves, the glorious Jane Campion beauty, Bright Star. Its chock full of everything period and pretty you want in a drama about obscene inherited wealth and class, including a perfect unseemly, disturbing underbelly. Enjoy!

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Birdsong

© BBC Original Drama, 2012

Did we say we were missing Downton Abbey? Well, this two-part Masterpiece Classic adapted from the modern classic, epic novel by Sebastian Faulk is just what we needed to get our fix of GORGEOUSLY filmed (touché, Director, Philip Martin & Cinematographer, Julian Court – this is absolutely STUNNING film, indeed!) period drama with the backdrop of World War One. The Trenches are shot with amazing finesse and a gritty, dark reality, while the flashbacks of forbidden love in the French countryside (Manor house – with ALL the fantastic details) between Eddie Redmayne and Clémence Poésy just absolutely took our breath away. Though thoroughly cinematic in every way, we feel quite lucky that this is actually a TV series (BBC, of course) – as we get feast our eyes on a full three hours of it and recommend you do the same!

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purple party!

photos: m&j

When a taste-making two-and-three-quarters-year-old requests that her third birthday party have a particular color scheme, there’s only one thing to do: start making purple food and purchasing all things lilac through violet for the occasion. And with a house full of twirling, pointing and donkey-tail-pinning lavender ballerinas – what an auspicious occasion it was! Happy birthday, beautiful CeCe – we love you!!

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Haven’s Kitchen shopping spree!

photos: m&j

Thanks to the lovely new downstairs shop that recently opened in the Haven’s Kitchen cooking school around the corner from our studio on 17th street, we’ve been doing quite a bit of prop and gift shopping. With such lovely and inspiring offerings, we can hardly control our purchasing impulses and ALWAYS come out with a beautifully designed bag full of stunningly art directed (and delicious – aka our new favorite blueberry cinnamon & raspberry cardamom muffins!) items – these porcelain, linen, cotton and wooden beauties are just a smattering of the vast collection for table, home and larder that are now available in this gorgeous space. We’re also super excited to be attending Haven’s Kitchen’s first Supper Club ever – wherein the two chefs of the Little Wisco team – Eric Milley of Jeffrey’s Grocery and James McDuffee of Joseph Leonard – will be collaborating on a menu for a lucky 40 of us, together. Dinner will be served in the upstairs space on March 27th – and we cannot wait … keep you posted!!

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one more Alexia ad in print

photos: m&j food styling: Maggie Ruggiero prop & set styling: Theo Vamvounakis

The fourth of four of our Alexia print ads has cropped up in the latest/March issue of Saveur and we’re delighted to see the finished product – with hand-rendered typography and the pretty warm sweet potatoes with cool metals and yummy bar-b-que ketchup dip. Thank you again, Maggie and Theo for making these tasty little puffs so incredibly sophisticated and delicious!

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our champagne and oysters in Swedish

photos: m&j

The lovely Swedish magazine, HOOM, picked up our champagne & oysters story from the first of January – always fun to see their lovely art direction and our words translated!

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