EL City Barometer

Experienced globetrotters – for business or pleasure – make up a large part of the  esensualliving.com community. Donning its concierge cap, esensualliving.com each month profiles a city through the eyes – or address book – of a local notable, from Louisa Guinness’s Dublin to Ennio Capasa’s Milan. Bon voyage! 

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Dasha Zhukova's Moscow

A mover and shaker in Moscow's thriving contemporary art world, Dasha Zhukova has been on the move since she founded the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in 2008. With a gleaming new structure in Moscow's Gorky Park, designed by Rem Koolhaas, Garage has made its mark on the contemporary art scene with a series of international exhibitions including Louise Bourgeois and an upcoming triennial exhibition devoted to Russian art.

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A city that never sleeps.....
everything is possible and
accessible 24/7, from food to
blowouts & manicure."
                   -Dasha Zhukova

Madison Cox's Tangier

Tangier…made an international zone in 1923, for thirty years the party never ended in a city of controversy, spies, bohemians, intrigue, and glamour made famous by the likes of Barbara Hutton, Yves St. Laurent, the Rolling Stones, and William Burroughs.

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After losing some its luster over the last decade, Tangier is back as the go-to-destination of designers and eccentrics seeking an authentic experience. Despite all of the changes to this exotic port city, it still manages to retain its authentic flavor without becoming too polished. Renowned Landscape Architect and long-time resident Madison Cox gives us his take on this mysterious and intriguing crossroad on the northern tip of Morocco.

To get the essence of Tangier,
Go to Place du Kasbah
which takes you back centuries.
But my favorite secret gem is
Fondouk Chejra where you
will find the textile weavers and
scores of beautifully handcrafted
blankets and scarves

- Madison Cox

Barbara Hulanicki’s Miami

For anyone familiar with the Art Nouveau and Art Deco-perfumed aesthetic of Barbara Hulanicki, founder of the iconic ‘60s London clothing store Biba, it’s a no-brainer that she ended up living in Miami. Hulanicki, who has been based in the sun-drenched city for the past 25 years, lives in a tall Art Deco building stood one street back from the seafront in the South Beach neighbourhood, one of the city’s only building’s from the period boasting a pool.

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Ennio Capasa’s Milan

“With Expo Milano, there’s been a kind of a renaissance of addresses in Milan”

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Terunobu Fujimori’s Tokyo

Terunobu Fujimori is one of Japan’s most influential architects and has charmed the world with his playful tree houses and tea huts. A longtime resident of Tokyo, he cherishes the mega-city’s traditional neighbourhoods, which remind him of village life in the countryside where he grew up. With new projects on the way in Japan, Europe and Taiwan, the former Tokyo University professor recently finished “Storkhouse” – a micro-hotel in Raiding, Austria, the birthplace of composer Franz Liszt.

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In Tokyo’s concrete-fuelled construction world Fujimori has no enemies, no competitors, no envious colleagues. And why should he? His creations are made of wood, earth, plants and stones, and often sit on top of trees. Sometimes he builds houses with his own hands, or “together with friends,” as he emphasises. His sense of humour and humble approach to his profession are legendary and have drawn to him environmentalists, writers, artists, Buddhist priests, philosophers and luminaries like Morihiro Hosokawa. Hosokawa, the former Prime Minister of Japan, who now devotes his life to pottery making, and recently ran for the office of governor of Tokyo, asked Fujimori to build his studio and an adjacent teahouse in a tree. “My work is all about keeping the fun of childhood alive,” says Fujimori.” I guess that’s why people can relate to my work instantaneously.

Louisa Guinness’s Dublin

The Louisa Guinness Gallery is unique in that it is dedicated to jewellery made by famous contemporary artists and sculptors. Commissioning custom-made pieces from the likes of Anish Kapoor, Gavin Turk, Antony Gormley, Lucio Fontana, Sophia Vari, Marc Quinn, Jeff Koons, Pol Bury and Ross Lovegrove, each piece is a rarity, a mini sculpture, rendering them highly collectible pieces of wearable art. Entirely handmade in London’s Hatton Garden or Artist’s Studio, many of the pieces are one-offs or from limited edition batches.

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“Designing cufflinks, necklaces and rings presents a unique opportunity for artists to express their creativity in a different medium,” says the gallery’s founder, Louisa Guinness, who is present every step of the way. “Each new project is an artistic challenge. I invest myself totally in the creative process from the first sketch to the final object,” she adds.

The London gallery has also amassed an impressive collection of historic jewellery by the modern masters such as Pablo Picasso and Max Ernst. “I first discovered Picasso, Braque and Niki de Saint Phalle jewellery in my mother in law’s private collection, then on the fingers and around the necks of friends,” she explains.

The launch of her gallery 10 years ago was a radical but logical career move for Louisa who worked as a stockbroker for over a decade. The entrepreneur grew up surrounded by art and design and had always been a collector of art, design and photography. Initially she began showing pieces by the modern masters, before venturing further and working directly with her contemporaries. Marking the gallery’s 10th anniversary, Louisa has opened a beautifully designed space by Maybank and Matthews in Mayfair. Clearly following in the footsteps of her inventive and entrepreneurial Irish ancestors, who better than Louisa to take us back to her roots and lead us through the streets of Dublin in this month’s City Barometer?

Federica Palacios’s Geneva

Designer Federica Palacios is known for juxtaposing natural, contrasting textures to create tactile, sensual and luxurious interiors. Based out of Geneva, Frederica is one of today’s most talented decorators leading the way in redefining mountain chic, where the interior elements reference the alpine environment in a strong salute to the traditional ski hut. 

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Frederica’s own history is equally as varied; born in Argentina, she has a Swedish/French mother, has lived in London and calls Geneva her home. Excellent credentials it seems to join us as Esensual Living’s guide to Geneva in this month’s City Barometer. Federica knows Geneva inside out, from the roof top apartments she has transformed to the banks of Lac Léman.

Before hitting the slopes of her beloved Gstaad for the holidays, where she revamps hotels and private chalets, Frederica takes us on her exclusive tour of Geneva, the city she not only describes as the threshold to the world’s greatest mountain resorts, but also the “centre of the world”.

Pierre Marcolini’s Brussels

“Each day, my ‘raison d’être’ is to offer my customers a dream.” 

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No festive season is complete without the world’s favourite treat: chocolate. Man’s love affair with the dark stuff stretches back over three millennia, exchanged as royal gifts by the Mayan And Aztec civilisations and offered by priests to the deities during religious ceremonies. The first European contact with chocolate was through Emperor Montezuma who introduced Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes to “Xocolatl” in the form of a bitter beverage in the 16th century. Today, the new king who reigns over the chocolate realm is none other than Belgian chef Pierre Marcolini who has revolutionised the world’s approach to the precious bean.


David Rockwell’s New York

“There’s something about the combination of spontaneity, vibrancy, and the history. While the bird’s eye view of the iconic Manhattan skyline defines New York, what I think is most thrilling about living in the City is the explosion of activity on the ground level. New York has the amazing ability to encapsulate everyday lives.”

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As one walks through the many floors of the David Rockwell Group HQ on Union Square, the sensation is akin to penetrating a huge beehive, with a labyrinth of spaces inhabited by 140 multi-talented individuals – architects, set designers, graphic designers, chefs, to name a few – each deeply immersed in the design project at hand, spanning hotels, restaurants, retail spaces, residential and office buildings, film and stage sets, environmental design and interactive technology design.

Gaye Cevikel's Istanbul

"I love chaos and Istanbul is chaotic and unpredictable. It’s full of surprises. I love the view and different colours on the Bosphorus every morning. I love Begonvilles every spring, and the snow in my garden and in the summer, I escape to Princess Island to unwind. "

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Moving through time, from the historical artistic references of the Ottoman Empire to today's progressive and international urban lifestyle, we take our readers on a unique journey through the buzzing streets of enchanting Istanbul. A modern yet traditional place, Turkey’s largest city comes under the spotlight in our second edition of City Barometer, bringing you a curated sneak peek of what this unique metropolis has to offer.

And to match the vibrancy of this intense place, who better than Gaye Cevikel, founder and CEO of award-winning design house Gaia&Gino, to share with Esensual Living what she loves about living in Istanbul — or “Istancool”, as she puts it? “I love chaos and Istanbul is chaotic and unpredictable. It’s full of surprises. I love the view and different colours on the Bosphorus every morning, I love Begonvilles every spring, and the snow in my garden,” says the designer. “I love to look at Galata Tower at sun set, the view of golden horn from Pierre Loti, the small fish restaurants in Anadolu Kavagi...” Read on for more of her treasured Istanbul hotspots.

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