Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vis Aan de Schelde

And now a post about interiors for a change. This time, a restaurant which has just gone through complete renovations recently: Vis aan de Schelde, in Amsterdam. I have spotted  it in my fave decoration and interior magazines:  More than Classic and Eigen Huis & Interieur at my local library this month. Studio Molen and Studio Modijefsky are responsible for the brand new interior where the main theme - fish - is very present: on china and on the walls.

The walls are covered with tiles, exclusively made for the restaurant by Harlinger Aardewerk en Tegelfabriek. Theres is everywhere an industrial/nautical atmosphere.
Some of the walls are decorated with maritime themes.

The wood on the wall seems to me to be de fish bone pattern, rather common on floors than on walls. I like to see it employed on a wall, though.
The blue fish reminds me of Portuguese porcelain and tile murals. But then it reminds me a bit of Delft porcelain as well.

Just like my previous post about Tjep projects for restaurants Fabbrica, this post was supposed to be about admiring Dutch design/interiors only. But I cannot resist posting the following pics as well... Mouth watering !!

Well, that is it for a short design entry. I love posting here about pretty Dutch design (and all things genuinely Dutch, of course). After blogging about this restaurant interior I want so much to go for a visit. That wouldn't be difficult, once it is located in Amsterdam. Maybe for my b'day in May ? Fish and fruit de mer meals make my heart beat harder. As soon as I go there, I shall write a  food review (and take my own pics) - and will let you know what I found about it !        wink

All pictures are, of course, from the restaurant website.
Info in English go to: www.visaandeschelde.nl/eng/

Monday, February 27, 2012

National Identities

Journalist and photographer Jan Banning challenges the forces of xenophobia in the NL with art... one picture at a time. The exposition National Identities has just finished on 25th February. However, since most of this blog readers are from outside NL I think it is interesting valid posting about it.  The idea of tis serie National Identies is to question narrow, divisive assumptions about European culture and ethnicity. On Banning's website he reminds readers that during the Dutch golden age of the 17th century, "(...) the percentage of immigrants was about the same as it is now."  The same !  And since I live here I hear the Dutch complaining that  Holland is already too full of immigrants...

Vermeer: "Girl reading a letter at an open window"
Vermeer: "The Milkmaid"
Nissrine, a Moroccan girl, reads an application for an inburgeringscursus (citizenship course) at a closed window. Photo: Jan Banning. Looking at the work of Vermeer in particular, he says: "It struck me that so many of the women in his paintings are wearing scarves". But now, he says, scarves are the lightning rod of debate and a symbol of "other"because Muslim women wear them. "People are making such a fuss !", he says.
Rembrandt: portrait of Jan Six, mayor of Amsterdam.

Celal Akin Coskun, a proud Turkish contruction worker at the reconstruction site of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Photo: Jan Banning. "I have no problem putting messages in my work that are commenting about society, and raising questions. What I try to stray away from is suggesting a one-dimensional solution to things".
Manet: Olympia.

A migrant version with a Jamaican woman, Yanique, as Olympia. Photo: Jan Banning. "His creative solution to addressing the hypocrisy in the right wing's position on immigration in Europe is brilliant," says Newsweek senior photo editor Jamie Wellford.

The following text is from Jan Banning, the author of the photographs above. I have copied it from Newsweek magazine. The title is  "The Clasp of Civilizations" - A subversive reimagining of three European masterpieces.                   

"Xenophobia, and especially Islamophobia, is on the rise in many European countries. In my native Netherlands, as well as in Italy, Austria, Denmark, and Hungary, for example, anti-immigration parties are involved in the national governments. In others, such as France, Sweden, Poland, and the Czech Republic, similar parties are represented in national parliaments. These anti-immigration parties have thrived on resentment, antiglobalism, rising inequalities, and the economic crisis with the resulting uncertainties, and are scapegoating non-Western immigrants.

Given these circumstances, I feel it is important to take a stand on these developments in European society, and mobilize against intolerance and narrow-mindedness. In this series (National Identities), based on national cultural symbols, I give immigrants a main role by using them as models in my photographic variations on classic iconic paintings. By doing this, I question the concept of homogeneous “national identities” of European countries.

The Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, with its political leader, Geert Wilders, demands strict measures against immigrants, presenting them as a safety risk for “ordinary Dutch citizens.” It demands that foreigners, especially if they are “nonwhite,” should assimilate and adapt to Dutch culture at breakneck speed or else pack up and leave.

But what is this supposedly monolithic and static national culture, in Holland and elsewhere? Migration is not a new phenomenon, and often immigrants have played an influential and constructive role in different sectors of society, such as economics and culture

The 17th century was economically and culturally Holland’s golden age. The percentage of immigrants in the Netherlands was about the same as it is now. One quarter to one half of all the sailors, soldiers, and other employees of the Dutch colonial VOC (Dutch East India Co.) fleet were from foreign countries. Many of the “Dutch” national figures were immigrants or the descendents of immigrants: philosophers Descartes (France) and Spinoza (Portugal), the great writer Joost van den Vondel (Germany), and painters such as Frans Hals and Gerard de Lairesse (Flanders), Govert Flinck and Caspar Netscher (Germany). These men are all considered protagonists of Dutch national culture. Many of the people in the Parliament or government now who are concerned with the cultural assimilation of immigrants are themselves descendants of incoming foreigners. "

(Jan Banning was born in the Netherlands in 1954 to immigrant parents from the Dutch East Indies. He studies social and economic history at the universtiy of Nijmegen  and has been working as  photographer since 1981. The central theme of Banning's practice is state power. He has recently finished a portrait series of World War II “Comfort Women” in Indonesia - gosh, shocking stories ! Other amazing series are Bureaucratics, The Face of Poverty, Law&Order. )

Follow me on Twitter: @AnnaGFH

Friday, February 24, 2012

The NL: The most unfriendly country in the world for expats !

Thats the result of a result from Forbes magazine. You can read the whole article here.

Do I agree with that ? Probably. I have suffered my share of prejudice - and I still do. I have to use all my persuassion techniques in a job interview in order to convince people I am able to do the job. This, despite my studies and resumé/experience. I guess to compensate the foreign accent you have to be twice as good as the average Dutch candidate.  There are mothers in my village who decided not to answer a "hello" or "good morning" from me the moment they learned I was Brazilian. Luckily, I have made friendships with many other mothers of kids who find my children nice. Other people look at me diagonally and suspiciouslly - but after a while they relax. The Dutch can be extremely boring, keeping the same eating habits, musical taste, hanging in a job for decades and prefering to keep the same small group of friends from childhood as if they were the most special people on Earth. Well, despite of the uncountable rejections from job interviewers I have always continuously guaranteed a place in the job market - because I do speak Dutch with an accent but compensate that with my bubbling personality, drive and three other languages in a high level (not including my mother language). So, for me, the saldo is positive.

Check the Forbes link for the rank of other countries as well. Please be quick - while the link lasts ! The comments are very interesting too, and they bring a perspective to the article. Very nice !

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Honesty #2 [Eerlijkheid] ( Honestidade)

Orchids. I need to have at least one. What I see around me in my home are cactuses, cacti, desert plants, lots of them.
The local flower shop. Bulbs and bulbs everywhere. No, thank you. I want a beauty that will last - at least - half a year. An orchid then. Phalaenopsis, the most popular, and cheap, and easy one.

I walked around for some seconds and my eyes found it immediately. That's it !!  Not white, not purple just yellow/greenish. It would fit in my yellow checkered/flowered pot. In my yellow kitchen nook. The price was quite reasonable too: € 9,99. Yay !!
- Hi ! I've made my choice: I'm going to take this one.
- Pretty choice !
- Please, some piece of advice ? How much water should I give  it?
- Very little. Once a week or so. Once in a month give some liquid fertilizer. Wanna buy some ?
- I have it home, thanks.
- And orchid soil ?
- As well...
- Oh, then you know already about how to take care of them ?
- Actually, I kill them all. Always. All of them. That's why I have been collecting cactuses lately. I am just double and triple checking with you about what to do.
- Ooooh, you are too gentle for your orchids. Just little water. Some fertilizer. Half light, half shadow. When the flower is dead and the stalk starts to get dark brown, cut it out where is not brown. And give even less water.  You have the guarantee of flowers for at least 7-8months. 10 euros please.
- Here you are. I have also this loyalty card. I need the last stamp on it please.
- Sure. Here you are. Now, you have a full card.
- And what do I get now this card is full ?
- You get a 10 euro discount during your next buy. A new orchid, for example, when you kill this one, hahah !
- Hahah ! Goodbye !
- I wish you a nice afternoon. It is dry and sunny. Veel plezier met je orchid ! Goodbye.

While I walked out the shop to where my bike was parked her words still echoed in my mind: "...a new orchid... you are going to kill this one too... kill... kill..."  I laughed inside. I really did. I even had to dry my eyes with the back of my hand. I am too long in the NL to feel offended about the so famous DUTCH HONESTY !!!!

(Psst ! For another episode of Dutch honesty go here.)

 Thanks for following Greetings from Holland !
On Twitter: @AnnaGFH

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tjep: Fabbrica Bergen & Fabbrica Rotterdam.

Bilingual Post, English - Portuguese
Today I have decided to take you readers to the idylic Dutch village of Bergen, for some pizzas at Fabbrica Bergen. That's the newest project of Tjep studio,  where meals can be enjoyed in special niches that you can access via small stairs.

Hoje a gente vai sonhar em comer uma pizza na idílica village de Bergen. Mais especificamente no restaurante Fabbrica, o mais novo projeto do estudio Tjep. (Se fosse um jantarzinho romântico eu iria querer ficar na cabine azul clarinha - ou verde ?... Adorei as escadinhas !) Segundo os designers do Tjep a idéia desse projeto é dar a sensação visual de ver "um trem em movimento". Tãotá !
Those lovely niches remind me of train cabins... And indeed they are called "coupés" and the intention here is to give an impression of  "a train in movement" according to the designers at studio Tjep.

 "As for the general looks we decided to take an earthly approach. In Bergen we show materials instead of using painted surfaces. We did this to be more in touch with the economic context of the moment." (Tjep)

Isso é uma das coisas que eu mais gosto da Holanda: a mistura do antigo com o contemporâneo, a alma no passado e os sonhos no futuro. Um país que ama e preserva seu passado arquitetônico e investe demais em novas técnicas, materiais, conceitos. Junto com o desgin escandinavo, o holandês é um dos mais inovativos nesse momento, apesar de não muito badalado.

And your pizza is prepared in such retro ovens - with Bisazza mini tiles. It reminds me the restroom of a stunning restaurant I had photographed a couple of years ago in Valencia, Spain.

Os projetos do Tjep eveitam bling bling e o lugar comum. Esse forno com pastilhas Bisazza então, tem uma ar retrô repaginado. Isso me lembrou de cara o banheiro de um restaurante que eu vi numa praia em Valencia, na Espanha, em 2010 e já postei a respeito aqui. Mas a atmosfera do restaurante em Bergen no geral me passou um ar industrial, muito descolado e muito iluminado. Adoro tetos altos, transparências, vidros e janelões !! Se tem uma coisa que é típica de 9 entre 10 projetos arquitetônicos holandeses são as janelas bem grande, muitas janelas. Muita luz.  

Above, Fabbrica Bergen main salon: high ceilings, industrial light fixtures and lots of natural light.

Abaixo: uma parede do resturante tem prateleiras industriais que servem para a contenção de lenha a ser usada nos fornos de pizzas. Claro, num restaurante chamado Fabbrica você tem que honrar o nome do lugar, neam ? Portanto muita madeira, metal e pé direito alto.

The very industrial containers hold all the wood to fuel the oven and all the electricity to fuel the lights. Below: I love this section of the restaurant in Bergen with wall paper from Studio Ditte.
Here above, a similar model to the previous oven but this time in the restaurant Fabbrica in Rotterdam. It is a mix of bold/industrial (concrete) with nostalgic (the mini tiles). Lovely.
Yes, now we are going to enjoy some pizzas in Rotterdam.
The logo of Fabbrica Rotterdam is based on a font in which the point on the "i" resembles the shape of a hand made pizza, but one can also see a full moon, as it enlightens Fabbrica at night.
Above: bling-bling in profusion...
The interior project from Tjep for restaurant Fabbrica Rotterdam is so stunning and innovative that it made the cover of prestigious magazine Eigen Huis & Interieur. Let's see more of this Rotterdam interiors, shall we ?

O projeto do estúdio Tjep para o restaurante Fabbrica em Rotterdam é tão inovador que na época (2006)  virou capa da revista holandesa Eigen Huis & Interieur (tradução: Casa Própria & Interiores). Nas próximas fotos, mais ângulos do interior desse projeto. Dêem uma olhada:
Será que é bão confortável sentar nesse trem coupé ? Será que não é melhor uma cadeira convencional e acolchoada ? E essas mesas comunais ? Se você não está com um grupo de amigos, vai ter que jantar olhando para estranhos ? A paleta de cores metálicas é rosa antigo, verde e azul bebê, com muita reflexão. O verde lembra o sabor pistachio de sorvetes italianos, assim como o rosa... Há mais bling bling do que no restaurante de Bergen (reparem que lá os tons eram foscos, os lustres de cristais menores, as cadeiras escuras, etc.), mas acho que reflexão e brilho tem a ver com Rotterdam. Bergen é uma lugar pequeno, calmo, caro e muito clássico. Rotterdam é um porto grande e com muitas indústrias e escritórios, tem mais adrenalina no ar, galerias de arte, museus, arquitetura moderna, barulho, gente jovem e turistas. Então esse restaurante Fabbrica representa tudo isso. Esse projeto do estúdio Tjep em Rotterdam foi feito antes do projeto de Bergen.

Here, the "train cabins"(or coupé, as the designers prefer to name them) are open on both sides and therefore the intimate atmosphere is a bit gone. All of them are blue. The lovers sit in a coupé that floats in the center of the space.

Fabbrica is located  in the harbour of Rotterdam, right between the boats and the cranes, in a nineteenth century warehouse. All the structures were left in original state.  I think this project in Rotterdam much more contemporary and interesting than the more recent one in Bergen. There are not those huge windows. But the overall result is very pretty, don't you think ? It is a mix of curves and sharp edges, classic elements (the light fixtures) with industrial (the pipes, the long tables) and nostalgic (the Bisazza tiles on the walls and ovens) or retro. All this mix in order to be succesful has to be meticulously planned - and is something that I personally find very difficult to do. Notice that here on this Rotterdam project much more shiny colours were employed in comparison to the project in Bergen. Bergen is a very small and gracious village, with snobby people amazing restaurants and residential areas. But the atmosphere is overall very classic and conservative. Rotterdam is basically known abroad due to its harbour. The city was heavily bombarded during WWII and therefore boasts a lot of modern architectural projects. It has many international offices and factories and of course people from all corners of the world. Rotterdam deserves a restaurant like that ! A very romantic factory with long communal tables coloured in pink and pistachio green - like in Italian ice cream shop style.

I know, I know, it's not the simplest thing of the world to pack your things and board an airplane to the other side of the world and visit the Netherlands just for... some pizzas. But if you could pick up one Fabbrica for a dinner, which one would it be ?  The one in charming and cozy Bergen or the other in dynamic Rotterdam ?

No geral, eu achei esses projetos do Tjep muito bonitos.  E tenho certeza que tanto em Bergen como em Rotterdam atraem públicos muito específicos. Eu sei, seu sei que não é a coisa mais simples do mundo empacotar as malas e ir dar um giro em Rotterdam, por exemplo. Nem prá mim que já estou aqui na Holanda é. Depois do meu dia puxado de trabalho vou voando pra casa, cozinhar pra galerinha faminta. Francamente, não dá para decidir repentinamente convidar uns calegas pra sair de Amsterdam e ir tomar uns gorós em... Rotterdam. Mas bom...  prá isso que servem as revistas, livros e blogs de decoração e arte né ? A gente viagem na imaginação, limpa as vistas e sai tudo de graça (ou quase, heheh !).  
E aí ? Curtiu, não curtiu ? Diz aí...