Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Falling in love with handmade shoes

At the risk of sounding shallow, one of the best things about Argentina is the gorgeous handmade shoes at reasonable prices (well, less so now, but they're still good value). I won't tell you how many pairs of Mishka shoes I own.

During my nine months away from Buenos Aires a fab new handmade shoe business opened on Thames, just near to my favourite bookshop cafe (the newly named) Libros de Pasaje in Palermo Soho.

This is the pair that stopped me in my tracks as I headed to the bookshop for wifi and medialunas:

Aren't they pretty? But I needed a pair of shoes to wear with a vintage style black and white spotted dress. The style was perfect, but they only had the raffia style, or red or olive green patent. Handy then that they hand make their shoes, in a small mezzanine floor above the shop. Strips of leather were pulled out from doors and piece by piece put aside for my black shoes. Here's how they turned out?

Of course I was tempted by other pairs, a gorgeous one in navy blue with strips of leather running vertically down the side in rainbow colours, but I do have a fairly similar pair at home. Then I had to pop into Mishka,
just to see their Spring look and they're also into stripes and have a very cool pair of pointy heels striped red and blue....

Chicco Ruiz, Zapatos y Zapatitos, Thames 1780 Palermo Soho. Tel: 011 48 31 12 64. Open Monday to Saturday, 12-8pm.

Creative six minutes and forty seconds at the Konex

My sore, sore throat is lifting, with the help antibiotics and gallons of Intizen Patagonia Bee tea (try it! it's my favourite Argentine blend), and I'm heading out to the Ciudad Cultural Konex tonight for Pecha Kucha Night Vol.19, part of the 2nd Buenos Aires International Festival of Design. Creatives from different disciplines will be given 6 minutes and 40 seconds to present an idea or project. Sounds interesting.

 Tonight it is also the inauguration of Buenos Aires Photo at the Palais de Glace, which is consistently good each year. I'm missing the opening but hope to go there with Ollie, who returns on Thursday (hopefully with a new camera for me) after seven weeks in India finishing research for his book. You can see his photos here.

Signing out to catch the no24 bus. Blog catch up to follow soon.

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Secret Garden

I am totally smitten with Pamela Murphy's Garden B and B. I posted about it last week, but today, after a fractious ride on the no12 bus back from Palermo, we called in as promised to see Pamela's place in the daytime. Wow. I had no idea from the photos or from the dinner last week how vast the place is. She has the full lot, a whole block deep, with the main entrance on Piedras, the house and the garden in between, with a little door, hidden away behind creepers, leading to the garage on Tacuari.

Photos don't do it justice or give a sense of how atmospheric the place is. Guests, staying in the rooms, or for the dinners on Thursday and Friday evenings don't see the main house upstairs which is quite spectacular. Each room its own vibe, and there's so much space and light, and several really unusual features. It's bohemian, not my style in some places, but that's not to say I don't love it. I do like places that are full of character, that give an insight into the person whose home it is, wher they've travelled, what their passions are, and Pamela's house is just that.

The onda is old Havana, but with an attention to detail -and bathrooms - that reveal an American is behind the job (owner Pamela hails from New York).

Barracas may seem a long trek from Palermo or Recoleta, but it's absolutely worth it to discover this wonderful secret garden.

Rooms from 115 USD including bed and breakfast
Dinners on Thursdays & Fridays, 8.30 drinks for 9pm dinner, 125 pesos per person (excluding wine)


Friday, 15 October 2010

Dos Minas to your doorstep

Well, my first glass of a very fruity Dos Minas Malbec has gone down very nicely. Just missing a lomo to eat with it. My temporary state (two months) of single parenting is taking it's toll and El Horno de Barracas are doing very nicely out of me in empanada deliveries.

But back to the wine. I was very excited to try it, as one of the 'Dos Minas' ('two chicks' in old school Argentine slang) is my lovely friend Heather Willens. Dos Minas is one of two labels that she has launched this year, and while most of the bottles are for export, I'm selling the Dos Minas Malbec and Torrontes in Buenos Aires. I'm also offering free delivery* on Thursdays.

Malbec: Bottle $28, Case $300

Torrontes: Bottle $25, Case $240

To place an order, please email me at dobleMdesign@gmail.com or call me on 15 4024 0251.

*This applies to orders over $90 (e.g. two bottles of each varietal) and within the city limits. Delivery elsewhere and other days can be arranged, as can collection from me in San Telmo.

10 things to know about Buenos Aires

I stumbled across this great list today: ten things to know about Buenos Aires and design. It could be renamed, 10 reasons why I love Buenos Aires. Here's the list, and click on the link to read the summaries under each point.

1. Major supply of tertiary and university education in design.
2. A large number of design professionals able to respond to the demand of the industry.
3. Business urban corridors entrenched as design circuits.
4. Design is incorporated into the urban environment.
5. Local government is strongly involved in promoting design and its relationship with business and industry in general.
6. A great amount of fairs and exhibitions devoted to the field.
7. A large number of design competitions.
8. Important design tradition.
9. Several specialised media outfits and coverage.
10. Buenos Aires is a cultural and creative city with a wide range of activities catering to every taste.

10 Things to Know About Buenos Aires, UNESCO City of Design

(In case you're wondering, Buenos Aires was named UNESCO City of Design back in 2005, this isn't breaking news.)

Doors open at a new puertas cerradas restaurant in Barracas

With good friend Matt Ward of BAIT Hostel, Justina Maiz Casas de Ward of Medialuna Fotos, and Good Airs bloggers, Ian Mount and Cintra Scott we went to the opening night of Cocina Garden, a new puertas cerradas restaurant just around the corner from my place in Barracas. The host, New Yorker Pamela Murphy, has spent seven years loving restoring a rambling old mansion Piedras street, just as it dips down the hill after Avenida Caseros. Barracas entrances, like San Telmo and La Boca can sometimes be as tall as 4 metres, and you feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland stepping through those oversized doors, especially when you step into a place as magical as Pamela's home, which is now open as a bed and breakfast.

Built around several patios, with pillars rising up from the perfectly intact, and most unusual ceramic floors, which date back to when the house was built, in 1907, there were several natural corners for guest to have dinner. Our party of five sat in the first patio, shuttered doors to the bedroom were left open for us to see, jazz played through the speakers, and candle-lit lanterns were dotted around the patio floor and the tables, with plants tumbling over the wall to nextdoor.

The food was very tasty, especially pulled pork, slow cooked with fennel and red chilli flakes. Perfectly hearty and warming meal for an unusually chilly October evening. There are plenty of great restaurants in the city, but if you want a meal out with a really special and different location with a wonderful atmsophere, try Cocina Garden.

125 pesos per person for four courses. Wine extra. We chose Las Perdices Malbec.
Cocina Garden will be open each Thursday and Friday, and the menu will be changed every fortnight.
For more info, drop a line to Pamela Murphy at: pamela@gardenbuenosaires.com

Thanks to Bridget Gleeson for the photos.

doble M design back online

My website is back online and virus free. It had be

doble M design on hold

Ugh, my camera has broken, making it difficult to blog AND now my website www.dobleMdesign.com seems to have a virus and the content has disappeared. Don't visit it unless you have a Mac, otherwise the virus may invade your computer. I'm trying to sort it so it's up and virus free again by next week.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Art en Casa

These kids art classes look great! More at Art en Casa

They take place on Pasaje Santa Rosa, just behind Plaza Serrano in Palermo. I'm signing up my boys for next year.

Cafe San Juan reality show

Stride four blocks from Parque Lezama in any direction and you'll stumble across a good eatery: Caseros, El Volcano, Ill Matterello, the new Hierbabuena, and...Cafe San Juan. Understated venue, fantastic food. If that corner of San Telmo (Av. San Juan between Defensa and Bolivar) is too far for you to trek, you can turn onto Fox Argentina where Cafe San Juan is the focus of a new reality show. Watch the first episode here.

Casa Foa 2010

The first time I visited Barracas was in 2005 for the Casa Foa exhibition on Pasaje Lanin. The design exhibition takes place each year in a different location, usually in a disused building which is renovated for the event by local architects and designers, with rooms and different areas turned into sets. Even the public loos are part of the exhibition.

The locations have been completely different each year I've been: 2006 the old biscuit factory at Parque Lezama, 2007 under the railway arches on Godoy Cruz in Palermo, 2008 Tigre, 2009 at the Hippodrome on Av. Libertador. This year it's down the road in San Telmo, at Defensa 269. It's a beautiful old building, the best part being the roof terrace nestled next to the dome of Convento San Franscisco.

My camera has broken, weary from overuse and smudged and scratched by the grubby fingers of my eager photography assistant, 2 year old Seth. So these snaps are terrible, but show some of my best picks from Casa Foa 2010.

There are always rooms by a few boutiques, mostly from Palermo, and it was good to see some newcomers this year. Picnic are there with their collection for kids and pets. Their origami lamp was fun.

Almost everything in the room by Tintha stationary store was made from paper...even the white dress and the cushion on the sofa.

I liked the stairwells and the plastic netting looked ok, so I have a solution now for childproofing our balconies...

Every inch of my father's study is covered in bookshelves, all added over time and totally uneven, so I'm always attracted to wonky bookshelves.

Justina and Seth chillin'at Casa Foa 2010

Casa Foa 2010 until 14 November
Daily 12-8pm
Defensa 269, San Telmo
Entrance $35