Five Good Things: what to do, visit, admire and enjoy this September
It may be something of a transitional month, but that doesn’t mean September’s without some seriously stand-out offerings. Join us as we whizz around our top five
If you haven’t yet been to Sessions Arts Club, why not? And if you have, you need to go again, because now it’s even better. It’s all thanks to the seriously stylish intervention of Faye Toogood, who has designed not just new outfits for the London restaurant’s staff, but has also created an expansive, expressive curtain for the space.
Gone are the white shirts, smart black trousers and sensible shoes of restaurants past. Instead, the Sessions uniforms – taking Faye’s studio, Toogood’s, universal shapes as their springboard – are colourful expressions of personal style, designed to celebrate what Faye calls the “fluid, fun and fabulous” team here. Likewise, the curtain has been conceived with the aim of making spirits soar, its hand-painted landscape inspired by the wild scenery that surrounds Boath House, Sessions founder Jonny Gent’s project in the Highlands that we visited last year.
Sessions was already a feast for the senses, but now there’s even more to dazzle. As the duo say of the launch of these new visual victuals for the soul: “freedom, fun, romance and art. What a delicious club sandwich.”
To book, visit Sessions Arts Club’s website.
Pelican House’s debut collection, available now
We first came across the brilliant work of Pelican House when we visited Kin House. Enamoured by the chirpy chequerboard rugs we spotted in almost every room, we did a little digging on this new name on the scene – and are thrilled to announce that the studio’s debut collection of designs is now available to buy.
“Our mission to empower women, while protecting and celebrating artisanal communities, underpins everything we do,” says co-founder Isabella Valenzia, referencing the company’s collaborators: a group of 150 makers in India, many of them female, who use traditional techniques to transform Isabella and co-founder India Holmes’ ideas into beautiful, useful pieces “steeped in culture, place and the tales of our artisan communities”. The new range features five designs in a variety of colourways, all inspired by antique textiles from around the world (we’ve got our eyes on ‘Serpent’, which takes cues from a 1910 Austrian fragment).
While some are knotted using the softest New Zealand wool, others are hand-woven using either jute or PET yarn, a regenerative fibre made of recycled plastic – all part of Pelican House’s admirable commitment to ethical and environmental standards. Can’t say fairer than that.
For details, visit Pelican House’s website.
Joana Vasconcelos’ ‘Wedding Cake’, the Dairy at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, tours run until 26 October
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride? Stuff that. Visit Waddesdon Manor – itself an awesome architectural confection of the highest drama – and the whole world will become your wedding, thanks to an extraordinary new installation by Joana Vasconcelos.
The Portuguese artist has created for the grounds of the stately home an enormous, enchanting work named Wedding Cake – a 12m sculptural fantasy clad in tiles of sugar pink, palest green and baby blue. Great British Bake Off, eat your heart out.
Vaconcelos’ most ambitious work to date, this “temple of love” was conceived as an utterly joyous celebration – an ode to festivities and the culture of hospitality at Waddesdon, the prodigious Neo-Renaissance château in the middle of Buckinghamshire built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1874. Inspired by wedding traditions around the world and the ceramic traditions of Vasconcelos’ native Lisbon, as well as the collections held at Waddesdon and its sumptuous architecture, this most exuberant of garden pavilions is a must-see – a fanciful folly for our age, reflective of and responsive to its extraordinary surroundings. Who could say no to a slice of that?
Tours of the Wedding Cake will run until 26 October. For details, visit Waddesdon’s website.
Maak presents the collection of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild, Ascott House, Buckinghamshire, 12-21 September
Speaking of those incorrigible collectors, the Rothschilds, we’ve been having a lovely time flicking through the catalogue for Maak’s upcoming sale. Turning its focus on the collection of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild, the auction house – which specialises in contemporary ceramics – has asked designer Tomasz Starzewski, a designer and friend of the late Lady de Rothschild, to curate a public display of the lots at her Buckinghamshire home, Ascott House. Running 12-21 September, it will culminate in the sale of the 100+ objects.
Known for her extraordinary eye, Lady de Rothschild – an American who married a scion of the banking dynasty – amassed an enviable array of craft pieces in her lifetime, not only in ceramic, but also silver, wood, glass and more, many of which are by some of the best craftsmen of the 20th century. Look out for the likes of Lucie Rie, Junko Mori and Rupert Spira among the treasures on display in six of the Jacobean Revival country house’s rooms. (Incidentally, it’s almost worth going for these alone; the couple enlisted the help of Robert Kime and Renzo Mongiardino for their interiors.)
For details, visit Maak’s website.
‘On Reflection’, Wondering People, Nunnery Gallery, 13-17 September; ‘Collection 04’, Felt, MKII, 21-24 September
A slight cheat, granted, but this dynamic duo of small shows both deserve a mention. First up is ‘On Reflection’, presented by our old friends Wondering People. Running 13-17 September and on display at Nunnery Gallery, a former convent in Bow, the exhibition is made up of the work of photographers currently represented by the affordable-art platform. To form the body of the show, founder-curators Isabella Rothman and Sophie Merrell set exhibitors a brief, asking them to submit shots they believed best embodied the concept of reflection. The results are as wide-ranging as they are though-provoking – and all hold a mirror up to the world around us.
Once you’ve filled your boots on more philosophical fare, get ready to rejoice in the joy that is Felt’s autumn show of shoppable contemporary craft, running 21-24 September at MKII in Clapton. As with Felt’s previous exhibition, ‘Collection 04’ is filled with the wild, wondrous and witty, the kind of things you see in someone’s house and can’t stop thinking about, from Freya Bramble-Carter’s organic ceramics to Alex Williamson’s graffitied quilts and Moira Frith’s playful watercolours. Displayed with Felt’s usual panache – hanging not just on walls but from beams – it’s set to be a not-so-serious celebration of a new wave of makers. (p.s. If you miss it, it runs online til 31 December).
Shown, from top: Daniel Buren, Marseille, 2008; installation shot of Felt’s ‘Collection 03’, 2022, photography Lesley Lau
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