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Reflections on the Dubai Death Star

It’s not often that a vision of its destruction precedes the construction of a large high profile building. Poor Rem Koolhaas. His master scheme for developing Dubai includes an ominous orb that has been blogged to bits as the “Dubai Death Star”. Images of Darth Vader’s devastated Death Star are … Continue reading

2008 Perfect House Award

The Susi Johnston Homeless Nomad Architecture Award for the Perfect House of 2008 goes to Alberto Campo Baeza’s Olnick Spanu House. There is nothing more to say.

Joel Cooner : The Zen Texan

An in-depth interview with tribal art dealer Joel Cooner has just been posted on the Tribalmania website. Joel is known for his exquisite eye and his talent for arranging artefacts in such a way that the arrangements are works of art in their own right. In the interview Cooner reveals … Continue reading

BLUE Until 18 September

The colour blue has calming and restorative properties. If the stresses of a roller-coaster economy and the strains of everyday life are taking a toll, visit the BLUE exhibition at the Textile Museum in Washington DC. At least visit the website, then download the gallery guide, and look deeply into … Continue reading

Intermission – The Congo

We interrupt this show to share with you the story of a remarkable woman, my sister, Emily Johnston. She just arrived back in America after a stint in the Congo, passing through Rwanda, working as a doctor (that’s her team above). The faces say it all. Here on my little … Continue reading

Liaigre by Liaigre

Christian Liaigre’s new book Liagre will hit the shelves this September. Reserve your advance copy now, at $125. Or click it on for just $78.75. Authored by Liaigre, and Thomas Luntz, with photos by Jean-Philippe Peter, the book features six exclusive properties in Spain, Bora Bora, Switzerland, France and elsewhere. … Continue reading

Pure Form in Gold @ Joe Loux

Asian and tribal art dealer Joe Loux offers a piece of pure form among new acquisitions just posted on his site. This Han period gold torque from Southwest China, mounted on a metal stand, weighs 169 grams and is priced at $15,000.  Image © 2008 Joe Loux

Just Posted : Ataoro Figure

A group of new posts just went up on SFTribal, among which is this rare figure from Ataoro Island, Indonesia. The piece is offered by SFTribal member, Eric Farrow at $4800. SFTribal is an association of art dealers from the San Francisco Bay Area specialising in African, Oceanic, Asian, pre-Columbian and … Continue reading

Barragan Fountain Found in LA

The LA Times reports that a courtyard fountain by Louis Barragan has been “found” at a 1927 house in Beverley Crest. The house was built in 1927, and fifty years later when the swimming pool was re-concepted, Barragan was commissioned to create a dramatic waterfall-fountain flowing into it. The house … Continue reading

Remarkable Dzi @ Art Tibet

We are serious about ancient beads, and have a large collection which my partner, Bruno uses to compose striking necklaces which are eminently wearable. We study bead history, and often comb the web looking for images and information. Today I found an extraordinary ancient natron-etched  Dzi bead that has just … Continue reading

Reality of Shadows, Shadows of Reality

Tonight we attended the delightfully thorny vernissage at Biasa Artspace of an exhibition enigmatically entitled Reality of Shadows, Shadows of Reality. The show marks the highly-charged collision of two artistic talents: Indonesian Ugo Untoro and Italian Filippo Sciascia, both working in Bali. Everyone who is anyone (and then some), packed the gallery … Continue reading

Stranger II: The Sequel

Bali’s doyen of tropical island style, Made Wijaya has been penning his pithy column, Stranger in Paradise, for decades beyond count. A lush softcover compendium of these outpourings was published in 1979 by Wijaya Words, and since then it’s been an awfully long dry spell for Stranger fans, book-wise.  Well, … Continue reading

Bali’s Own Karma Chameleon

Made Wijaya (neé Michael White) is everyone’s favourite Bali pundit, whose witty column Stranger in Paradise has delighted and confounded generations of Baliphiles. His resumé reads: yachtwreck survivor, tennis coach, pouch poser, garden designer, architect, interior designer, hotelier, carrot-topped-Oscar-Wilde-of-the-tropics, hypocrite auteur mon semblable mon frere. He’s a pen-slinger who’s never … Continue reading

Who Put the “Boutique” in Batik?

Quarzia did. This boutique-chic little enterprise has been making slinky high art batik fashion in silk for years. Mixing a  Marimekko-meets-Peter-Max eye for pattern with a subtle sense of colour and an acute understanding of cut, their clothes have given gorgeousity to the gorgeous-in-the-know of Bali (mostly Italians) for quite … Continue reading

Best-Looking Bali Villas Site

Maison Bulle was Pierre Cardin’s kinky bubble house near Cannes where he welcomed the bright young things of Europe during his heyday. Now the name of Cardin’s Cannes crash pad has been recycled by a French expat for her super stylish website showcasing super special rental villas in Bali. There’s … Continue reading

Bactrian Gold on Tour in America

This is a dazzling travelling exhibition not to be missed. Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul is touring US museums until September of next year. The show includes over 200 pieces dating from 2200 BC to 200 AD, which were thought to have been looted from the National Museum … Continue reading

Java Folk Art Furniture Book

My old friend David Smith is an enigmatic character who divides his time between three islands: Bali, Java and Vashon Island near Seattle. His business is furniture, and he’s been collecting antiques in Java for 20 years. As the supply of antiques in the field dwindled, David shifted his focus … Continue reading

Bali Commercial Photog with Technical Saavy

I keep coming across the work of a particular Indonesian photographer, Imp Winartho. His Ubud royal cremation photos are among the most dramatic and technically perfect out there. Frankly, I don’t know how he managed to process his raw files and perfect his finished work so quickly, as his images … Continue reading

The Nature of Bali Fashion Week ’08

The theme of this year’s Bali Fashion Week is “Fashion Meets Nature.”  I’m not sure what that means in style terms, but be there from 24 to 30 August and find out for yourself. Perhaps bamboo bikinis and pineapple fiber Carmen Miranda tango dresses? Who knows. Anyhow, this is an … Continue reading

Best Photog Blog in Bali : Rio Helmi

Rio Helmi is one of the most extraordinary characters in Bali. He’s best known as a photographer of culture, travel, buildings and food (sometimes), but there is much more to him than that (as if that wasn’t enough). I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to describe Rio here, and risk … Continue reading

Brains + Taste + Restraint = Curated.

I chose to use the word “restraint” here deliberately. Restraint as in “child restraints” or “self restraint.” The concept of restraint is something I sermonise about every day. Good design requires a lot of restraint. There are a tremendous number of wonderful products out there for interiors, from flooring to … Continue reading

It’s All Greek to Me

I love it when I see antique textiles serving as inspiration for new ones. And here is a lovely example: Naxos upholstery fabric by the Pollack Studio in a high-tech cotton blend, woven in Switzerland. The inspiration for this elegant jacquard seems to have been an embroidered pillow cover from the … Continue reading

Ogle Great Gold Online

The Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore has an impressive collection of ancient ornament from South and Southeast Asia. Early Javanese pieces like this large Sri ring (7th-9th century), are one of the collection’s strengths. Many of the most beautiful gold ornaments exhibited, including this ring, were part of a substantial … Continue reading

Royal Cremation in Ubud

The royal cremation in Ubud yesterday was the biggest ever, and the best publicised. A media centre was set up for the event, marshalled by Edelman PR Indopacific. I think this must be the first cremation in Bali to have its own publicists and press office. And its own blog, … Continue reading

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