LITTLE ESCAPES

Visual and conceptual artists, a photographer, and a filmmaker shift from their preferred mediums to tarry with interior design.
In disregard of normal limits, each artist brings a unique aesthetic to everyday spaces. Materializing as worlds within a world, they reveal fragments of the beyond. Irony, cynicism, fluffy fiction, and retro sci-fi are a few of the chosen methods, and are as present as the next drink. And even though these are spaces for pleasure, you’ll probably end up going home with more than just a fuzzy head
and full stomach.

 

 

Text by Ben Barlow

 

GREEN DOOR

Berlin’s bars are never far from kitsch tones. But while many seem happy to replicate the cluttered living rooms of capricious hoarders, others push things a little further. Green Door, with its backdrop designed by Berlin artist Thomas Hauser, does just that. In an ironic and intentional style, the walls have been oil-painted with oversize gingham and magnified wood-grain. The careful lighting leaves dark enclaves of decadent furniture to the whims of romantics. This is the place to go if you want to experience an honest and bold articulation of kitsch. Rest assured, there are no broken chairs or wobbly tables here, and the cocktails are made beautifully.

 

 

BAR LUCE

1950’s Milan springs into life at Bar Luce, the Wes
Anderson designed café. Inside, the spatial aura is not far from “The Grand Budapest Hotel” lobby scenes — glowing drop lamps, rich colours, and uniformed waitstaff seem destined for the silver screen. Despite Anderson’s insistence that it’s a space “for real life”, there’s not only a nostalgic vibe here, but a playful, fictional one as well. Dark wood panelling, teal formica, and brightly lit cabinets skew reality, opening a space that will have every Anderson fan’s imagination running through possible backstories for their neighbour.

 

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SKETCH

The London restaurant Sketch is currently home
to 239 pieces of David Shrigley’s work. His witty
drawings line the walls of the plush, pink-saturated room. It’s as if the room itself was a frustrated older sister to Shrigley, desperately trying to wipe out his boyish doodles. Of course, she doesn’t succeed but overdoes it to the point of turning The Gallery into an arrested paradise where childish questioning and excess reign. Off the walls and onto the tables, Shrigley’s art pops up everywhere as white china provides an ideal surface. Salt and pepper shakers are labelled in trembling script, “Dust”, “Nothing”, and “Dirt”. There’s no letting up from the needlepoint cynicism — you’ll have to be able to laugh at yourself to eat here. 

 

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ETIENNE MARCEL

Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe are the two artists behind the retro-future design of restaurant Etienne Marcel. Their shared commitment to exploring the concepts of time and space is evident in this vibrant yet semi-sterile environment. Electric red and blue chairs, along with streaks of lime climbing from floor to wall, pinpoint forgotten ideas of the future. Think Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire”, except instead of making a paranoid descent into virtual realities, you’re reassured with the calming appearance of food. But then, after some light French wine, you might find yourself looking around, wondering if this is in fact a simulation after all.