Weekend rest

If I have to describe my weekend it will be the easiest thing to do! Great food and absolut rest. The snow fell all friday. Unfortunately by midnight the temperature changed and rain came into the picture. I had a nice evening. Amazing wine and a simple carbonara with a friend. Saturday was strange. It was a long time I didn't do such thing...absolutely nothing! Just a fast trip to a bookstore to came back home empty handed. I basically laid down on the couch looking outside the window towards north. The walls of the city castles filled with snow were a sublime spectacle! And I started thinking about going to ski soon!
Today same thing. Beside a long walk in the too wet snow with my dog I rested on my couch reading magazines. Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully a good one. I will be sitting at my desk and not on my couch but that is another story! Tomorrow story!

Snowy Taxes!

It finally came! This morning I woke up as usual with a coffee. Always in the kitchen with my gaze towards the world. Everyday from my window the world keeps moving. Traffic, people walking or drifting through this pseudo-urban town. This morning though it was different. It started snowing! What a beautiful start of the day! Looking outside I could see the traffic even worse than usual. People trying not to fall down on the snowy sidewalk. I was smiling and realized how the weather really changes moods. I adore the snow. It makes me happy! But I had to get ready to go to work. I am really close to it. 16 steps. A stair that divides my private realm from its public side. Happy! Happy until I opened the mail. My taxes arrived. I am sill happy about the snow...but my smile has faded! Damn taxes.

Scary or funny???

Not long ago I wrote a post about changes I brought into my life. I found myself in a moment where I needed to make couple of choices. Those sort of choices I guess many people find themselves confronted with. Was I living my life in the right way? Was I suroounded by good people? Where these people good in my ongoing path through the future? Well, at that time I did make choices. Did I made them too fast? What were the reasons for making them? Maybe I was projecting my fears, my crazy life my I don't know what onto other people when maybe I was the one who had to take responsabilities for some of my actions! Anyway, as if I owned the eraser of bad things I literally cancelled things and people from my life, but, looking back, I messed it up. I erased the wrong ones!!! As an architect I can tell you that the big difference between drawing by hand or with a computer, especially when you fuck up is simple: by hand you are the only one to blame! When doing it with a computer you can always blame it on external causes! I came t work and everything disappeared, somebody touched it and so on! But in this case is faster to put everything back together! Well, I screwed up but I blame it on others...thank goodness I can still fix it! Can I share with you a thing? One of the few people I thought was a good one turned out to be a complete psycho! What would you think about a person (no names because I am not sure who will read this post!), in her 40's who when speaking with her mother (which is every 5 min!!!) impersonating a 6 years old? Seriously I am not kidding...her voice like the one of a child... She lives in a room that is still the one she had when she was 4. I find this out of control and seriously absurd. Scary? Funny? Psychotic? The psycho-friend who talks like a baby! I thought these people were only fictional...shit, in reality they are even worse! Knock knock! Who's there?...if it's her do not open your doooooooooooor!!!!!!

Paris I am coming!

I just made hotel reservations! I'll be finally going to Paris (7-11 december). This is the first time I am not staying in the Latin Quarter. I thought it was a good idea to change area...but the one I chose is not that far anyway. Île Saint-Louis is amazingly calm, nice and very close to everything. And, of course, Berthillon, known as the best icecreams in town. But it's winter and I am not sure I'll have icecream!
I am very excited...I can't wait to go! With my Sony camera. And an almost empty suitcase...usually I buy soooooo many books that I can't never fit them anywhere!

Venice Biennale - Technical Paradise

Yesterday the Venice Biennale closed its doors. I still have bunch of stuff to share, so, here I am!
After visiting the Arsenale spaces, on sunday (now it seems ages ago) I went to the Giardini where all the pavillions are located. This one in particular is the German pavillion. Very interesting. An installation with 50 apple trees and medical facilities. Climate change, consumption and environmental destruction was the main issues behind it. Nice work.

What a weekend!

The famous dinner took finally place last friday! We were supposed to be in 10 but, at the end, we were only 5. With food and drinks calculated for more people I realized the morning after that there was nothing left!
My friends Gio, Lelia, Filippo and Giacomo "Jack" had fun. We all had fun! Started the evening with couple of Mojitos (maybe more than a coulpe...!), Blue Chips and funky conversations! Then my enormous roastbeef came into the story! A portion for 10...nothing left! Roasted potatoes and some salad! All accompanied with (too) many bottles of wine! Sorbets and coffee. Cookies and Amaretto. More wine! And then the conversations started touching different topics. Architecture, art, food, politics and it was seriously fun! Black white, left right, sweet and salty... different people ( 2 engineers, 1 architect, one lawyer and one Ph.D) with different opinions, animated discussions, especially when talking about politics. But a very beautiful night!
The morning after was something totally different!!! Went to sleep at 4 and had to wake up early! Very heavy! Considering that I had to go to a family reunion! Heavy day!

Think. Pause. Rewind. Organize!

I am drinking coffe and eating some dries bananas and I am already stressing out!! Right now, some thoughts are in my mind: I need to eat less since Christmas is coming and you all know how much you eat during those type of holidays. I'm organizing a dinner/party at my home this coming friday and the only things I know for sure are those related with the drinking part: good coctails (Americano, Negroni, Mojitos), amazing wine for the dinner (I will post the funky list as soon as I have it all planned out!), and the Passito for dessert. Obviously lots of water, but I have no problem since I do not have to drive afterwards. Anyway, the problem is what am I going to cook? Tired of pasta. But maybe homemade gnocchi will be great...but I am lazy! Roatbeef? Lamb?
I still have to go to our friends awesome farm to buy homemade icecream (no additives, no milk, biologic, super healthy). I was thinking about many other things for dessert but good icecream will do it! I found these german cookies in a store yesterday. They reminded me of my childhood and Christmas. It's funny sometimes how food takes you back in time through fantastic memories! Elisen-Lebkuchen. Stupidly, I didn't read what was in them, damn me! 3 ingredients out of 4 made me so sick I will never eat them again! But my friends love them, especially at 3 am with some grappa! So many things still to plan. I will have to concentrate and plan the night!

Rainy Day...I knew it wouldn't last!

It was indeed a bit strange how the weather evolved these past couple of days. Initially we were all happy that the snow could already be seen on top of the mountains. The past years it had been aweful not to ski a lot since the lack of snow was the main issue here in switzerland! But then, the weather suddently changed. It started raining like crazy. No sun for a long time. I do love the rain but enough is enough!
Then yesterday the weather changed again. It was warm like summer was knocking again on this strange year's door. It was just the prelude to what's happening today. Freezing and raining. The colors seesaw is back! Today is still gray. I captured some of the colors that surrounded me yesterday inside and ouside my home. Dry, colorful and warm moments! Today I am just happy that I have my Hunter boots! At least I will have dry, trendy and warm feet!!!

Cheese's Daily News Trip

Still wondering if the famous chestnut cheese I bought saturday was more about taste or aesthetic formality! I took it with me through my daily readings! Maybe it is true...it is good, really good, but it is indeed more amazing to take picture of it! Especially when wandering in the food section of this italian magazine! Unfortunately (for me) it is gone now. Today, the only thing left is the chesnut leaf!

NaturooD - Natur(al)+(F)ooD

Another weekend is over! I've never appreciated the lake house as much as this year. Maybe because this year was different. Many things have happened and knowing the fact that having a house where I can escape to makes it a lot easier! Yes! I guess escaping from my city is what I do! But only during weekends!
During these days I am constanly searching for good things to eat and good things to see. Sometimes it happens that those things are just one: good things to eat that look amazingly interesting. Artistic culinary creations!
Since winter is almost here mostly all swiss people are happy because it is the time when we all have big dinners with friends eating fondue and, my favorite, raclette! But, I was so "lucky" to become allergic to diary products and it is quite tragic that I can't eat these winterly recipes anymore! Thank god there are goats and sheeps! I can eat cheese made with their milk without passing out! Even fondue and raclette! And, to tell you the truth, they are even better! Saturday I went in a popular italian store on the lake boardwalk and discovered an amazing cheese! Goat cheese covered with chestnut leaves! Very good and very beautiful to look at. But are the leaves just to make it look good or do they actually put a particular fragrance into it?
Photo: Lily Penelope. Sony Digital

Springly Autumn

After weeks of constant rain, today is finally sunny! Even the cold weather that we have been experiencing has disappeared. Outside it feels like the first day of spring. Colors, the odd warm climate but still, on top of the surrounding mountains you can see snow. I had to take advantage of this beautiful day! I took my camera at lunch. Nice!

Photo: Lily Penelope. Sony Digital

Different Plans

Get into the car. Drive to Lugano. Buy an Ipod cable to attach it to the car. Get some new DVDs, including the one ML told me. Buy grocery. Mint and sugarcane so I can fix some Mojitos tonight. Go back home. Cook. Bring the food in the living room. Sit down in front of the tv. Eat and watch a Dvd. Well, that was my plan for last night. I didn't calculate that something would completely change it! And this is what actually happened:
walked in the park with my dalmatian Tiger. I didn't pay attention to his wildness. I didn't see the freaky cat coming. I didn't realize the dog starts running like a maniac. I just felt my arm detaching from my body! Damn it hurt! I couldn't move it! So, bottom line I had to change my perfectly structured plans for the night! I didn't move from home. Took a bath. Started a new book (Borkmann's Point) and had a fantastic dinner: nettle gnocchi with a gentle sauce! But the pain is huge! Damn-crazy-dog!
Photo: Lily Penelope. Sony Digital

Life's drawers

I have to say that lately the many changes I brought into my life were really good. I sometimes see my life as a closet! How many times during the year you open your closet/wardrobe and realize that you need to put some order in it? How many times you ask yourself "oh my god, what was I thinking when I got this?" or "I need to be strong and just throw this thing away...I will not wear it aanymore anyway!" or "maybe I should put the t-shirts on the left side and the sweaters on the rght one" or "damn...it's getting cold out there, maybe it is time to put the spring stuff away and finally bring out the warm winter clothes". Life is sort of the same thing! There comes a time during the year when you start wondering if things are ok, if instead of going on with a certain routine maybe it is time to change it, to evaluate if certain people are as you've always believed they were or if you simply need to put them in a box and give it to the Salvation army. Well, I am in the middle of the yearly cleansing routine! It is funny because I realize that these thoughts also come in other people's mind! Every morning, when I sit at my desk, before starting my workday I read couple of blogs. My friend form Manila, Mel, I guess did her cleansing!! She started a new way of looking at things, and it is nice to read her thoughts and see her daily amazing photographs. Then I read another blog from a friend of Mel. Paolo is such a creative person and this morning I was reading about his thoughts on the 80's generation (damn you are young!!!!)! I come from the 70's but I was smiling quite a lot reading it because it doesn't matter how old you are and where you come from, ultimately we all have sort of the same thoughts regarding life! And we all agree...life is fun! And when you realize it is not...just make it as such! Do the things you really love, read a good book, go to the movies, hang with people who respect you and share at least couple of your interests, enjoy your day! That's what I am doing right now. I had to do the yearly cleasing routine though! Cleaning and put some order throught the drawers of my life!
Photo: Lily Penelope. Sony Digital

Venice Biennale - Recycled Toys Furniture

Greg Lynn-Form's project is about constructing prototype furniture and toys with recycled plastic. It is ultimately a project about the re-use of a material for functional things. The forms and structures of these toys are colorful, rough, curved, big and funny because ultimately that's their function: a playful function!
Photo: Lily Penelope. Sony Digital

Venice Biennale - S1NGLETOWN

S1NGLETOWN by Droog & Kesselskramer, is an event based on the world of contemporary single people. It investigates on ideas, desires and fears of this huge category of our society. Ultimately it studies products for them!
S1NGLETOWN asks: why are we single? Are single people lonely or free? Rich or poor? The action field of this resaerch is a city, obviously called singletown. It is composed by 9 types of housing of modern singles with products made especially for them! I loved this work, not only because I am single (!!) but because it was one of the few you could feel very close. No extravaganza, nothing impossible, nothing weird. Realitiy as it is but displayed in a very interesting way by having all these people and objects hanging around the room. And it made me smile quite a lot!
Photo: Lily Penelope. Sony Digital

Venice Biennale - Hyperhabitat

This is one of the work I liked the most at the Arsenale. Guallart Architects designed a model that allows to redefine the physical world by assimilating it by the digital world. Everything begins from the components of a computer network. These components will define a multiscale structure that contains all the elements of the physical world that have a digital identity.
The room was absolutely impressive. They redefined basically everything: beds, tables, chairs, clothes and every other thing that belongs to our daily routine. Very imaginative and very interesting!

Venice Biennale - Lotus

I have to say that Hadid is one of my favorite architects. No wonder I was ec-static when I saw her "Lotus". Her work here at the Biennale wants to be a system of furnished-spaces that want to capture the immediate world, the closer one and the more distant one. The Lotus space wants to be as programmatic as our actual everyday. Rest, amusement, study and so on. Many folds as many are this programs. Formality and functionality.
But still...I had a problem here too! I mean: you talk about seducing the viewer, you talk about this being a space for the everyday where you have incorporated a bed, a desk, cabinets and every other piece we all have in our homes...and all you can see on every folds was the "Please DO NOT TOUCH" sign!!!?!!?
Beside that a very beautiful job!

Venice Biennale - Prototypping the Future: Three Houses for the Subconscious

Asymptote Rock! What else can I say??
Aaron Betsky, Director of this year Biennale said:
“what should be an obvious fact: architecture is not building. Architecture must go beyond buildings because buildings are not enough. They are big and wasteful accumulations of natural resources that are difficult to adapt to the continually changing conditions of modern life”.
Wise words! There is one thing, in my opinion, that must be said: architecture as we know it, and I speak not only as an architect but also as a inhabitant of it, can be felt, seen, sometimes even heard, smelled...my god how awesome is the smell of concrete after the rain! and, obviously, architecture can be touched! It is unfortunate that during the entire walk through the Arsenale's spaces, you could yes look at the pieces, photograph them, but you couldn't be an actual part of them. This piece for example was under glass so I am wondering: you want to make people dream, hope and think and you dont let them touch their possible probable future???

Venice Biennale - Hall of Fragments

The theme of this year Biennale is "Out there:Architecture Beyond Building". Obviously many of the participants expressed their vision of space and spatiality beyond the ordinary transforming their final piece into extra-ordinary compositions.
The work made for the Biennale by David Rockwell, Reed Kroloff and Casey Jones is one of those. A work that takes you in a new dimension created by fragments of a reality we all know. Of movies, of history, of culture recombining them to into a new way of creating and perceiving a new space. A space where no real architectural elements are actually used. That's why the group used fragments of famous movies where architecture was portrayed and constructed in different ways. With technology, with virtuality. From Metropolis (Fritz LAng) to Blade Runner (Ridley Scott), from Playtime (Jacques Tati) to The Truman Show. Technology, capitalism, future, 50's modernism, perfect urbanism. No wonder that some of the best visions of architecture and urban planning ever were made by writers, movie directors and production designer!
I adored this piece...and I was at the first one!!!!

Venice Biennale - before entering

Before entering the Arsenale, there was this amazing space! So amazing that I didn't even bother to look who did it! I therefore have no absolute clue about ts author! Still, I want to share with you some images about it! Then it is up to you to make up whatever you want out of it. Because it is true that "we do not see things as they are, we see them as WE are".

Venice Biennale - Urban Pastoral

Before entering the actual space of the Arsenale, heart of the Biennale, I stopped at this space where this extremely attractive piece of Eric Shuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu got my total attention. Their work tries to find a dialogue between nature and artifice in Hong Kong. They try to alternate the high density of the city in opposition to the extremely rural aspect of other regions around it. This is their proposal: a vertical landscape that incorporates more nature in our daily lives.
"Here we grow firecracker plants that entwine with th balconies, we place a trellis to hang our daily herbs and plant bauhinia flowers, an emblem of Hong Kong first classified here in 1908"..."we encourage inhabitants of Hong Kong to farm in their own urban space. In fabricating a vertical landscape we promote the potential of an Urban Pastoral, where artifice and nature fully complement each other".
Very beautiful the vases made of plexiglas. Wonderful piece.

Venice Biennale - Deep Garden by A12

This time I decided to pick a hotel closer to the Biennale rather than to the center of tourism! Last time the I picked Riva degli Schiavoni, but it was too chaotic. On the contrary, Sant'Elena, known as the greener part of Venice (and apparently the only one) was a perfect match for my needs: extreme relaxation! On the way to the Arsenale, floating on the sea, there was this piece by A12. I have to admit that it didn't really trigger my interest since it reminded me too much of all the work I had seen during the Expo 01 here in Switzerland. Yet, seen it in the morning there is no doubt that it expressed the culmination of relaxation and energy! The fragmented reflection of the water movement on its facades becomes the strenght of the entire work.
"The installation by A12 takes on the force of nature and opposes it, offering an isolated place in which to enjoy the silence and submerge oneself in a surreal space. In a city like Venice, where the unique feature of the town is its immersion in the lagoon, A12's creation becomes a symbol of that flow of energy through which man constructs new experiences in seemingly inconceivable places".

Venice Biennale - The Arrival

There is something uncanny about Venice! Maybe it is because of its form that is very similar to a fish. Maybe it is because of its history. Or maybe it is about the many stories that it can tell from whatever perspective you look at it. Italo Calvino in its "Invisible Cities" understood it. Many different stories to talk about one thing. But I guess that can be said for any things.
But something was really weirdly uncanny this time.
There is this funny anecdote that I will never forget. Once, when living in the states, I asked a guy if he had ever been to Venice and he told me "yes, I have been there, but in Vegas"! I have to admit that the simulation of the real, the fake version of Venice in Vegas is very impressive. It is done with such a precision that I can understand that some go there at least to grasp the essence of this city. But it is not Venice, a very beautiful copy of it but yet it is not the original experience, with the smell of the sea, the feel of the seasons, ecc.
Friday, upon my arrival, something really strange got my attention. Something was unreal. There was a very artificial light coming from one of the small canals. So, I get there and this is what was there (image above). A very scary thought penetrated deeply in my brain. "This is not Venice! It looks more like Vegas! Is reality starting to reverse??? Is reality starting to simulate the fake, the simulation of itself????" Scary thought. In that precise moment you had no feeling of being in Venice. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, a big-huge rat running like a maniac crossed the brigde. That was the moment that you knew: "ok, I am in Venice". Can you imagine a rat running through the Venice-Vegas-canal? No...!!!


Here I am, back from my trip to Venice. I have to admit that I needed a "cultural journey". A journey through a place that is not my own. With its streets, its history, food and lots of strange people! 99% of the trip was amazing! The remaining 1% was a different story. I learned a big lesson. Remember this important thing: do not give a book to an illiterate. Do not go to a movie with a person who is blind and deaf. Chose carefully, when organizing a trip, the people who will come along with. Enough said!

Beautiful Day

I was already thrilled about Obama's victory today that I didn't expect any more good news for the day! It's raining outside, as it has for the past week. I am still drinking coffee like a maniac to stay awake here at the office. More caffeine than blood in my body!
But then, a phone call I was waiting for months came in. My new car has finally arrived! It sounds so superficial but I am out of control right now. This is the story in few words. Saved money to buy this awesome car, not just a car, as the ads say, but "Das Auto". I ordered it ....the 2nd of december! Yes! Almost a year ago. "It will arrive in february", "it will arrive in april", "it will arrive in june" and so on. I didn't even remember its color! But I still do not have it! Two more days to wait! "Das Auto" will be in my parking friday...and guess what? Friday I'll be at the Venice Biennale...damn Auto!

Change has Come!!!!!

I am back! Very tired since I was up almost all night watching the live coverage on CNN. It has been a very emotional night. Many coffees to stay awake, couple of cigarettes and text messages with friends sharing our feelings about the long night ahead of us. Eventhough I had couple of double shots espresso there were times I felt asleep, to wake up couple of minutes later trying to figure out what I've missed! There were times where it was worse than watching a tennis game.
But then finally the big moment came: Barack Obama - the next President of the United States of America. Unbelievable! Eventhough I was miles away I could feel the joy of people assembling in parks, piazzas, street across the country. Obama's speech made me cry of joy. Listening to him you really realize there is hope. For america and for the rest of the world.
Even the candidate who lost the "battle" turned out to be a great man. His speech to congratulate obama was very touching. Only in America these things happens.
The best part of all was the participation of people. Not only during the day, but during the entire campaign. People finally started to believe again. Believe that a change is really possible. Yesterday was the perfect example. When I hear people here during election times say "I dont care...one or the other is the same...nothing is going to change"...open your eyes people! It is you, us who can make changes. By chosing who we believe can make it happen!
""It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference".
"This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can".
Congratulation Obama!
Image and excerpts from Obama's victory speech Via The Huffington Post

Vote for Change

Tomorrow, november 4th, is going to be a very import day for all of us. Election day will be followed from eveywhere around the world to see who the next President of the United states of America is going to be. I will do the same here, in switzerland. I will closely follow during the day (and night since I will be on a different time zone!) the developments around this important choice americans are asked to do. I will shut down my blogs (no posts!) until wednesday the 5th when the name of the next president will be official because during my breaks I will be watching on tv what's going on . Good luck america! Go vote for a change! For your country and for the rest of the world!