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Buildings & Monuments

Preserving old Jeddah

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2012-04-25 10:53

Old Jeddah is worth discovering!  An accumulation of intertwining streets bordered with old facades, old Jeddah is home to various markets for textiles and fabrics, food stuffs of all kinds including honey from the Himalayas, perfumes and spices, etc. 

Old Jeddah is what has been spared by a forceful march towards modernity, a testimony of a time not so long ago, that artist Safeya Binzagr, the first Saudi woman to take a stand as an artist, painted in all its rich and colorful details. 

With a building activity growing by up to 20% every year, Jeddah seems to strongly position itself among the leading cities in the region for the 21st century, and even in the global arena, with the world’s next tallest tower due to be completed in 2017 according to unofficial sources.  Let simply hope that the race towards “who has the tallest building” does not turn Jeddah into yet another regional city-sized-shopping center, but that the Jeddah officials understand the necessity to preserve architectural and urban gems from the past.

Date of publication: 
25
April
2012

Lalique’s crystal door

Submitted by admin on Fri, 2012-03-23 13:20

Designing his Paris home and showroom back in 1902, René Lalique made sure guests and friends would step right into the Lalique world as they were about to push open the door into the building.

The building's Art Nouveau style is clearly identifiable by a glimpse at the façade and its pine tree sculptures. The Lalique touch discreetly becomes overwhelmingly present as you approach the entrance. Sculpted crystal tiles extend the pattern on the stone façade. 

Pine tree branches sculpted in crystal seem to cover the door, thus creating a sense of depth. And pushing open the door feels like penetrating under the cover of pine trees, into a different world.

Date of publication: 
23
March
2012

Le Metro

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2011-11-27 00:45

Created by engineer Fulgence Bienvenue the Metro opened during the Paris World Fair on 19 July 1900. Though it was first conceived in 1845, a classic case of ‘conversation’ (read conflict) ensued for Paris: The railroad companies proposed extending the suburban lines to a newly built underground network (using London’s tube as a boilerplate), but Paris wanted nothing to do with the nearby banlieue (‘burbs), instead proposing a fully independent network. Paris won its autonomy from such soiled associations (until 1977 when RER line A debuted), taking care that the Metro trains traveled on the right, in the opposite direction of trains, to prevent a future link-up.

The system boasts 211 km (131 miles) of track and 16 lines, shuttling 3,500 cars on a precise schedule between 380 stations (not including RER stations), 87 of these offering connections between lines. Approximately 5 million passengers ride it per day, and over 15,000 RATP workers run it. The Metro-RER station Chatelet-Les Halles is the world’s largest subway station, according to Wikipedia. 86 of the original Art Nouveau entrances are by the hand of architect Hector Guimard (this station, N-D de Lorette, is not one of them. Photos to come).

Statistics aside, the system is efficient (though slightly noxious in the summer months), often music-filled and many stations are a museum in and of themselves, due to a campaign for themed stations launched by Andre Malraux in 1967.

by Charlotte Louise Ho

Date of publication: 
1
March
2008

Grand Rex

Submitted by admin on Sat, 2011-11-26 22:58

Where NY has the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Paris has the water works show at the Grand Rex. Last of the movie-palaces of Europe, The Grand Rex was inspired from the American concept that a movie-palace was to impress the spectator into feeling like he was outdoors while he was sitting in the luxury of a red velvet seat. The Rex’s stats certainly impress: 2,650 seats; a 3,100 sq-foot screen…

Built in the 1930’s, the Grand Rex has preserved its 30’s architecture and décor. The façade is Art Deco, and its interior evokes the shores of the Mediterranean. The waterworks date back to the years when a show was put on before the movie started. This year’s show is an evocation of the four seasons: if you go, you’ll see rain and snow from the very comfort of your seat!

Date of publication: 
1
November
2007

Jacques Garcia at Versailles

Submitted by admin on Sat, 2011-11-26 22:51

World famous interior architect Jacques Garcia just finished the artistic layout of the latest exhibition in Versailles, “When Silver Furnished Versailles”. A total of 150 pieces all made of silver are displayed in the King’s Apartments to recreate the atmosphere of the Sun King’s flamboyance.

All of the pieces on exhibit were made for European Royal houses in the early XVIIIth Century. The Sun King’s collection was rapidly melted, having to be turned into money to finance a war against the Augsbourg League. On display are decorative pieces of impressive dimensions: 6 feet tall candelabras, mirrors weighing a ton, 1-ton balustrades, and even tables…

Date of publication: 
1
November
2007

Lelievre

Submitted by admin on Fri, 2011-11-25 13:47

Lelièvre, the high-end fabric designer and manufacturer, redesigned its historic showroom at 13, rue du Mail (the high-end textile street in Paris ’ 2nd arrondissement) in 2007. Since its establishment in 1914, many still see Lelièvre as the paragon of French fabric excellence. Unique creations and unparralled know-how are Lelièvre’s trade-mark. Lelièvre’s portfolio of brands include: Kenzo home, Missoni home, Tassinari et Chatel, Alcantara, Gaston y Daniela.

Architect Jean-Philippe Nuel has designed this exquisite space. To respect the individual character of each brand and yet highlight each product the renovation had to be discreet. Nuel refreshed the traditional Parisian style, applying shades of prune and echoing the circles on the ceiling with the circles on the floor.

by Charlotte Louise Ho

Date of publication: 
1
November
2007
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