Design & Lifestyle
I am really excited to feature Sharon Webber Zvik on my blog. By the time this post is published, Sharon will be in Cuomo, Italy, receiving the Golden A’ Design Award for Graphics and Advertising Design Category in 2012. The gold medal and this precious award will be given to her for the Pain and Suffering Research Branding she did.
It all started five years ago, when Dr. Smadar Bustan from Luxembourg University called Sharon and said: ‘I have an International project on pain and suffering…but maybe you won’t be interested…’ but this sentence only raised Sharon’s curiosity and urged her to learn more on this project and eventually, she supervised its design and branding. ‘I had two requests from Dr. Bustan‘ Sharon told me ‘First, to run away from cliches, and second; the freedom of creativity’.
For the shoot, I’ve decided to take Sharon to Jaffa’s Flea Market, which seems to be one of her favorite locations since she is obsessed with vintage articles and style. Needless to mention the look on people’s faces when they saw a woman in a fluffy white dress sitting on a vintage armchair in the middle of the road….
and here is a promo gif of my shoot with Sharon in Jaffa Flea Market. Doesn’t she look beautiful?
I love to visit and shoot hotels that tell a story. And if the stories are colorful and photogenic, it is even better!
One of the most intriguing, colorful and photogenic hotels I shot recently is Alma Hotel & Lounge, considered as one of the most talked about hotels in Tel Aviv these days. The hotel, which was recently opened in the heart of Tel Aviv, set up immediately a new standard in luxury boutique hospitality in Tel Aviv and in Israel.
Alma in Hebrew means a young unmarried woman. It is also becoming a trendy name for girls these days. In Latin, Alma means ‘soul’. I’m not sure if the hotel is named after a certain woman, but the name definitely adds a mystery and kind of appeal to it.
Imagine walking in dark long corridors that lead into 15 colorful rooms, each one is different that the other. Imagine opening each room’s door, not knowing what to expect. But each room is a marvelous surprise. This is how I felt while I was shooting Alma Hotel.
Everything is well planned in Alma Hotel; from the choice of the building’s location to the Bulgari soaps in the bathrooms or the colors of the pens in each room. I know it might sound like a cliche, but Alma has a rhythm and a character of its own.
Alma is located in Yavne street, at the heart of Tel Aviv UNESCO White City, among a collection of old but restored historic Bauhaus vivid buildings. The building’s history goes back to 1925, as the first private residence designed for families to live side by side in the heart of Tel Aviv. The facade of the building was colored in olived green and the windows and shutters were colored in a darker shade of green. But this is just a hint to what is happening indoors. The restored identity of the hotel is a collaboration between the leading architecture and interior design studio Shaltiel Kastiel and the mosaic and glass artist Lauri Recanati.
The hotel has eight spacious deluxe rooms and seven studio suites, each uniquely designed, telling a different story of the building’s bohemian past. The furnitures are a mix of vintage and heavily embellished unique furniture (hand picked for each room) with contemporary furniture and Art.
I’ve decided to start with my favorite suite, which some may call it (surprise, surprise) The Naughty Library.
The suite (image above and below) has the feel, as Recanati says, of ‘an English boarding school on acid’. The suite has turquoise and black walls with diamond shape mirrors. The red colored rug is a great contrast and blast of color to the room. It matches perfectly with the red background of the book shelves. The Art books collection is quite appealing and I can easily see myself spending few days in that suite, soaking in the colors.
This beautiful suite has a marvelous back bed of a French or Dutch Aristocratic woman. The turquoise colored wall matches perfectly the purple rug. By the bed, there are two beautiful bedside tables made of wood, and a mosaic of ceramic, glass, metal and fabric, by the artist Lauri Recanati.
The following suite can give you the feeling of Welcome to the Jungle but in a very chic style. Turquoise walls, red hot wall-closet and a zebra skin rug on a checkered floor. This room has a beautiful balcony that is overlooking Yavne street. It has a walk-in bathing room, with an oval white bath in the middle of it. I can’t think of the red sofas, but I’m obsessed with the red closet.
If you are longing for an oriental atmosphere, than the street level’s suite can be a great choice. Painted in greens and reds (with an amazing red-white-black wallpaper) and an iconography image of the Spice Trail as a back bed, this suite is a real gem. The heavy brown curtains can create a perfect isolation from the busy street. This suite has the perfect oriental look bath tub of green-blue shades that match the colors of the windows.
And if you are looking for a great restaurant, than you have it right there. Alma Lounge is a bohemian chic space with a mix of Georgian inspired furniture blended with local contemporary Art. The chef, Yonatan Roshfeld, is a well known figure in Israel and the restaurant is one of the most expensive restaurants these days in Tel Aviv ($300 dinner for 2). It is a good way for visitors to meet the trend setters in Israel; restauranteurs, bankers, public figures in addition to expats.
If you are looking for one of the best hotels and the best experiences in the heart of Tel Aviv, look no further. Alma’s professional crew will take care of you; from arranging a personal trainer, special tours in Tel Aviv and Israel, wine tasting, local deliveries, airport transportation, car rentals and even cooking lessons with the in house chef, you name it.
Alma Hotel & Lounge, 23 Yavne St. Tel-Aviv
It all happened very fast. I have just finished shooting my friend’s Naomi Ben Shahar’s beautiful apartment in Chelsea, when I suggested her that I submit some of the images to Design Sponge. The day after, I got an email back from Amy (the managing editor) who said she would LOVE to feature it in the next Sneak Peek column.
I just love Naomi’s apartment. Very clean lines, big windows, lots of light (good for a photographer’s apartment such as Naomi) and her Art is on the walls. Naomi writes a blog about New York, targeted for Hebrew speakers who come to visit. She knows everything about the city, and she knows almost everyone. Take a look at her blog here and here.
You can see and read more about Naomi and her design choices, in Design Sponge Sneak Peek here.
Thank you Amy and Grace!
Here are some of my favorite images from Naomi’s apartment.
I love shooting Life style productions for magazines. Moreover, I like it even more when I’m shooting my friends and my friends’ homes to these kinds of productions.
My friend, Karen Shavit, who is wearing lots of creative hats – popular blogger, home-stylist, lifestyle entrepreneur and a mother of two, has agreed to open her new home she just moved into with her family and allowed me to shoot her beautiful and sunny kitchen. Her kitchen, which is the center of her home and a master piece by itself, is filled with vintage items and dishes she collected throughout the years.
The family was having a late Saturday brunch while I was humming around with my camera.
And here is the photographed article in At Magazine, February Issue.
For years I wanted to travel to Tokyo.
I was curious about Tokyo ever since I watched Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (at age 16). Years later when I watched Lost in Translation my curiosity to this place increased even more.
I finally made it to Tokyo last year in 2012.
I was there for only 72 hours to shoot two articles in a row. And even for a person like me, who lives in the midst of Manhattan for the last 11 years and always thought that New York has it all, after visiting Tokyo, I realized that I was wrong.
Tokyo, mind you, DOES have it all. Imagine New York City but on steroids. This was Tokyo for me.
I’ve always wanted to write about the correlation between Architecture and Haute Couture in Tokyo and how top world-wide architectures design these great buildings for the top world wide fashion designers. I’m so glad I finally got the chance to do it for Sister Magazine in their latest issue (no.6).
On September 2012 I was visiting Rome to shoot RetRome, a boutique hotel in Celio neighborhood, few steps away from the Colosseum. The hotel, managed by two Israelis, is unique by its retro and vintage design and furniture. You can read more about it here, in a previous post I wrote about my experience and my impression.
Today, my photographed article about RetRome is featured in At Magazine, January 2013 issue
‘In Rome, live like the Romans do’
What a great way to start my weekend with my interview for SisterMag blog.
If you want to know what are my favorite magazines these days and what were my favorite books when I was a kid, you can find the answers right there.
Thanks Thea and Toni for this great opportunity.
The first time I’ve heard about sisterMAG was few months ago, when Saloona, a blog platform in Israel I am writing for, invited Thea and Toni Neubauer (aka Sister Magazine) to participate in a blogger conference in Israel.
As I was not in Israel at that time, my girlfriend Einat from DesignBreak was telling me all about the Sisters and their doing. Since that time, I’ve started following Thea and Toni’s magazine, and was amazed how these two were putting together such a great product. With time, sisterMAG became more and more familiar to me. I remember Anne from Pret a Voyager posted some images from The Hive in Berlin with Thea and Toni, same as Lindsey, from Lost in Cheeseland. So even without meeting Thea and Toni in person, thanks to my colleagues bloggers, I felt as I know The Sisters.
In my recent visit to Paris, Lindsey suggested I should contact sisterMAG and maybe contribute for their next issue. One thing led to another and I found myself writing a photographed article about Ospedale della Bambole, a hospital for dolls I’ve shot in my recent visit to Naples. The article is part of a series, The Crafters, which sisterMAG will probably continue in future issues.
I’m so honored to have my story featured in the Christmas issue. 300 plus pages of great inspiration!
You know it is the Holiday Season in New York by the window displays in the big department stores. A week before ThanksGiving, the windows, which were covered and under constructions, are getting revealed and unveiled with its Christmas decorations.
I must admit that from all Midtown department stores windows displays, Bergdorf Goodman is, by far, the most creative and interesting one. It has been like that for years. And yet, if there is a trend in this year holiday window displays, it has something to do with interactivity.
David Hoey, the creative guru of Bergdorf Goodman’s windows’ display was inspired this year by the Jazz Age. In an audio tour he talks about The BG Follies of 2012, and how he was inspired by entertainments such as the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville revues and Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals of the 1930s.
Act I: By Request
In this first window, there is a black and white homage to Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder’s movie Some Like It Hot. The Window is featuring a bird’s eye view of fashion from Marc Jacobs, 3.1 Phillip and Elie Saab. The bird’s eye perspective, according to Hoey, is a well known trick in the design world and in the window displays’ arene and his creative team loves to use that perspective.
Act II: Naughty and Nice
The second window is a tribute to burlesque performer Sally Rand, the inventor of the risque fan dance. The main and only character in this window is covered in thousands of white feathers, used as a mosaic and was constructed feather by feather (!!!) I can’t even imagine the patience needed for this entirely white window.
The third window showcases a collection of mid-century miniature American mannequins once used for display and merchandising, as well as for sewing practice. It is already well known that David spends months over months, building up these collections until the time is right to use them. So this year Hoey decided it was the right time to use his miniature mannequins collection as 1920s Ziegfeld Follies girls on fifteen miniature stage reproductions made from replica 18th-Century wood moulding in A Cast of a Thousands.
Act IV, Daredevil Act
The forth window (which is my favorite) is Bergdorf Goodman’s novelty act, featuring a runway look from Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2013 runway collection. As David said, every show needs a novelty act, and Bergdorf Goodman’s highlight this year is the 24 plaster dogs performing every trick under the sun. ‘Our windows are a practice in making the impossible possible — in twisting complexities to new levels by using old-world craftsmanship and artistry’ David says. Every surface of Act IV is covered in gold and silver leaf. I just love the red and gold combination and the dogs’ character.
Act V, The Finale
The fifth window’s installation, is a giant mirrored, rotating kaleidoscope. David and his team were sketching prototypes until the team discovered that beveled mirrors moving in both clockwise and counterclockwise movement created the best result. Approximately 1,000 individually beveled mirrors were used to create this kaleidoscope set into motion by seven separate rotating motors. The effect should be dizzying, psychedelic… an homage to Busby Berkeley’s overhead kaleidoscopic camera shot seen in Footlight Parade. To complement the mirrored effect in this duo act are two custom-created gowns from Naeem Khan.
Make sure to check out the Behind the Scene of Bergdorf Goodman’s Holiday windows. You will be amazed of how many people, hours and thoughts are invested in this experience called Bergdorf Goodman Christmas Display. The crew has been working for weeks but the theme has been thought for months already.
The windows will be up till January 3, so if you are in New York, make sure to see them.
In my recent visit to Israel I had the opportunity to shoot one of the most ‘talked-about’ boutique hotels, The Efendi Hotel in Acre, North of Israel.
Travel + Leisure magazine was doing a book about some of the most beautiful hotels in the world and contacted me for a shoot. Since there was a big buzz around The Efendi already, I was curious to visit it myself, not to mention to photograph it as well as the opportunity to meet the owner Uri Buri was exciting.
Uri Buri is known for his prestigious seafood restaurant in Acre Port (as a little girl, my family always used to make a stop at his restaurant after a long trip to the North) and he is a well known character in Israel for his great restaurant, and now for his luxurious hotel as well. Let it be known that when someone is so passionate about great food and wine, like Uri is, he will be totally involved with aesthetic, good taste and the little details of the hotel he has envisioned.
Before you dwell your eyes in the photos of the hotel, I highly recommend to read the history of the building that used to be two palaces and get the details of the restoration process that lasted for over eight years, in order to understand how special this hotel is, and how courageous and visionary Uri is.
The name Efendi by the way, was used in the Ottoman era to give respect and courtesy to a person. It is the equivalent to the English word ‘Sir’. No coincidence that The Efendi house is a combination of two buildings that were once glorious palaces, which served the rulers and rich Ottomans in the 19th century in Acre.
The Lobby of the Efendi and the entrance hall is dotted with blue color armchairs imported from Italy. There is a wine cellar and a restaurant on the lower level and a great Spa with an original 400-year-old Turkish bath, that has been preserved. The lobby, in my opinion, is just the beginning of the beauty you will see throughout the rest of the hotel.
Central Communal Salons
The Efendi has twelve guest rooms spread out equally over three floors. On every floor there is a central communal salon (I love that idea) with appealing sitting areas for the guests to relax and recharge. Big windows overlooking the Mediterranean sea are the perfect backdrop for relaxation. Uri worked closely with an interior designer who chose specific chairs from Damascus, Syria, a wooden table that used to be a trough in Tibet and some heavy brown armchairs from England. The white ceiling is completing the scenery with original and restored Italian frescos. Quilted rugs give warmth to the rooms.
The Original Wall Painting
Another communal area on the third floor is well defined by its colorful ceiling and an original wall painting from the Ottoman time. The original wall painting was a gesture of the Efendi (the home owner) to Turkish emperor at that time. Uri explained us how difficult it was to restore this wall painting and how he gladly hired special Italian painters to do so. The outcome and the final restored wall painting is mesmerizing.
Each room of the 12 guest rooms is different than one another and has a unique style and character. One of my favorite rooms was The Presidential (room number 10) which was actually the first room I shot. This is the biggest guest room with high ceiling decorated with the Italian frescos of course, marble floors and a stunning sea view. I loved the freestanding bathtub next to the window. Imagine taking a bath and looking outside at the sea?
The enormous bed is covered with Egyptian cotton linens and goose down pillows and blankets, quality towels, robes, and pampering slippers. Even though I am an outdoor person, during Winter time, I could stay all day in this Presidential room.
The Royal Room (room number 1) was also one of my favorites, thanks to the beautiful blue view of the Mediterranean Sea from one window and the old city Mosque from the second. This room is quite big as well, with spacious sitting area, separate bathtub and a shower. I loved the colorful dishes in this room (in fact, in every room) from PIP studio. How creative of the interior designer to combine PIP elements.
The terrace of The Efendi is overlooking the sea, the Galilean mountains and the old city Mosque. Turquoise soft pillows are scattered on the marble floors, allowing the guests complete relaxation while inhaling the blue of the sea. A second terrace is located in the upper level, on the roof, where guests can enjoy a BBQ dinner, glass of wine and a great sea breeze, overlooking the old houses of Acre.
Learning about the history of the hotel, and hearing all the details of its restoration made the shooting experience even more meaningful. I made it as a priority to capture all its beauty, even in its little details, so the story of The Efendi will be beautifully told.