Monday, September 26, 2011

Casa FOA Design Market

Casa FOA is, in their own words, "a space for the development of creativity; a meeting place where designers, architects, decorators and landscape artists, who are selected for their talent and prestige, share their journey and discoveries with the public."  This year the location is an old industrial market-style warehouse in Barracas, the exhibition runs for just over a month and raises money for the Fundación Oftalmológica Argentina Jorge Malbran, who work in the medical field of Ophthalmology.

The exhibition is reminiscent of the Milan Design festival in Italy, with the idea of showcasing all things cutting-edge and the local trendsetters of the design industry.  There were some interesting things going on, but overall my expectations were a lot higher.  When I first arrived in Argentina I thought there was quite an innovative design industry and there were many things that impressed me, such as the clothing and textile designer Juana de Arco or some of the designers represented in the museum shop Tienda Malba.

But rather than a lot of innovative installations I found it to be a showcase for these designers to find new customers, basically where people with a lot of money go to comission furniture for their apartments.  There were some aesthetically pleasing things going on, and of course the idea is to showcase Argentina´s creative talent and raise money for a charity.  However for me the standout feature was the location in Barracas, an old industrial suburb of Buenos Aires.  When everything design related usually happens in Palermo, it´s nice to have a change of scenery.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bond Street

Bond Street is where the kids go to get tattooed in Buenos Aires; an arcade full of tattoo parlours, piercing stores and the clothing and onda that goes with it.  It´s a huge subculture right in the middle of the shopping strip on Avenida Santa Fe, in the suburb of Barrio Norte.  Three floors buzz with the sound of needles and neon signs, a little creepy and a little bit cool...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Barracas Street Art

Way down south in the industrial suburb of Barracas was this warehouse painted in all shapes and shades of blue.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apartment #5 - Almagro

Jonathan has been living in Buenos Aires for over three years and has only been in his new apartment in Almagro for a week, but it already feels like home for him.  The apartment is right at the back of the group, in a property that originally housed many families and people together in a kind of communal living.  These buildings were known as conventillos, where rooms in each apartment were rented by different people and existed predominant in the southern neighbourhoods of San Telmo and La Boca, close to the port around the early 1900s.  This style of living was common for recently arrived immigrants and people that were from the lower classes.  Today some of these buildings remain and are divided into separate apartments.  

The entrance and internal courtyard space is vast for Buenos Aires standards and there is a huge palm tree that greets people when they enter the complex.  When you enter Jonathan´s apartment you find a hallway with windows on one side looking out onto the courtyard entrance, and the three bedrooms one after the other, each with access from the hallway.  At the end of the hall around the corner is a common area with a dining table, and an attached kitchen with a breakfast bar.  Light fills the hallway and dining areas and the old windows reflect their patterns and shapes in shadows.

The apartment is a glimpse into the history of Buenos Aires and it´s inhabitants.

This last photo is of the footpath in front of the building, and is a plaque in remembrance of someone who lived in the building and was kidnapped and killed by the military government that took control of the country during the 1970s and 80s.  Many of these plaques exist around the city as a way to rememeber some of the more than 30,000 people that "disappered" and were killed during this time, and a constant reminder of their presence and the recent dark history that belongs to Argentina.  The plaque says:

"Alicia Pardo lived here and was kidnapped, political activist, detained and disappered by the terrorism of the state, 02.06.76. Neighbourhoods for the memory and justice."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Recoleta, the Neighbourhood

Walking around Recoleta today my Argentine other-half remarked that it felt like we were in Europe.  And it did, what with all the spotlessly clean streets and beautiful old European buildings.  It´s a different side to Argentina, a side that the tourists like to see and I think the way many people still like to think of this Paris of South America: with romance, history and beauty.

Some of the buildings are stunning, from their roof-top details to the vast entrances and imposing doorways.  The suburb is home to the luxury shopping mall Patio Bullrich, originally owned by the Bullrich family and used as an auction house for collections, livestock and thoroughbreds. And there is my newest favourite French bakery L´épi that has the best almond croissants and pain au chocolat that I have tasted in this city, or anywhere outside of France.

Perhaps it was due to the obvious beauty of the neighbourhood that I found it difficult photograph, or it could have just been that my little digital camera just wasn´t up to the task, but anyway, you get the idea...