WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS

Paris is always a good idea . . . and I always make a stop when I am back in France visiting family and friends. I lived in Paris for seven years before moving to Sydney six years ago, and while I immediately fell in love with Sydney and decided to make it my home, the City of Light will always hold a special place in my heart.

It goes without saying that Paris is a haven for design lovers and fashionistas, but there are a few places that I absolutely adore and must visit every time I go back. Returning to Sydney after my recent trip abroad, I decided I could no longer keep these treasured places a selfish secret, because seeing is believing and sharing is caring, and I know you will love them as much as I do. So, join me on my recent journey through the streets of Paris as I visit my favourite concept stores. Be prepared to fall in love . . .

MERCI

My walk through the streets of Paris always leads me to my first stop, the most trendy concept store in France, MERCI.

MERCI 01.png

This three storey store offers an incredible variety of unique goods for all budgets, from interior design to fashion. The range includes luxury bed linens, indoor and outdoor furniture, wallpapers, light fittings, decorative objects and a gorgeous selection of ceramics. If you need a coffee fix, I highly recommend you stop by the very charming Merci Book Store Café. 

Merci  111 Boulevard Beaumarchais

Merci 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais

HOME

My second stop is HOME, Autour du Monde. Serge Bensimon’s first shop located in Le Marais opened its doors back in 1989. It’s a small concept store that offers a carefully selected range of rare and beautiful objects from all over the world with iconic and colorful Bensimon tennis shoes as well as stylish clothes.

HOME  Autour du Monde, 8 Rue des Francs Bourgeois

HOME Autour du Monde, 8 Rue des Francs Bourgeois

FLEUX

I continue my journey to FLEUX’ – a huge and must go-to destination with four different stores on the same street. The perfect place to find inspiration as well as a range of design furniture and light fittings, home decoration and original gifts. You can easily spend a couple of hours (like I always do!) in these stores as they offer a refreshingly different selection from any other shop in the world.

Fleux ’ 39 Rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie

Fleux’ 39 Rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie

KAOLIN

This visit, towards the end of the day, I came across a store I never heard of called KAOLIN. When I saw the gorgeous and luxurious accessories, furniture and lights showcased in the window, I couldn’t resist stepping inside. Authentic furniture and objects made with natural and carefully selected materials, the small shop boasts a unique collection of limited-edition objects and furniture that I absolutely loved! Even an old local like me can find new love and surprises in Paris!

Kaolin  17 Rue du Temple

Kaolin 17 Rue du Temple

STAURE

Last but not least, my love for timber, traditional and handmade furniture brings me to the amazing workshop STAURE run by two brothers who truly care and respect old techniques, detail and original materials. Together, they restore antique finds but also create new and unique pieces. Their collection is timeless and features meticulous details and elegant lines. Bravo!

Staure  95 Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine

Staure 95 Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine

All images via ©Alexandra Kidd Design

#AKDONTOUR: THE JAPAN EDIT

Last month I dusted off my passport after a 16-month hiatus to travel to Japan, a destination that had been on my travel bucket list forever. A part from the odd stop-over, this was my first taste of traveling in Asia and it did not disappoint! Japan was truly unlike any place I had ever been before.

The delicate mix of traditional Japanese life and a modern city combined to reveal an extremely eccentric vibe that I loved! From the unbelievably complicated toilet technology to matcha flavoured everything, every day was a new adventure or discovery. I could fill a book about all the design inspiration and ideas filling my head, but here is an edit of my absolute favourite places, spaces and experiences. Enjoy!

HARAJUKU

I was like a kid in a candy store in Harajuku! The crowds filled Takeshita Street which was a haven for all the gimmicky Japanese gifts you could ever dream of. For an extreme sugar high, I couldn't go past the crème brulee crepes and towers of rainbow fairy floss! The streets were constantly buzzing with people, the entrance to the Tokyu Plaza adorned with angled mirrors reflecting the hive of activity on the street. I discovered a little piece of Sydney (and sugar-reprieve) on the top floor of Tokyo Plaza – a Bill Granger restaurant. There was so much to do and see in Harajuku, I would have been happily entertained for weeks simply people watching.

FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE

One of the most recognizable monuments in Japan – The Fushimi Inari Shrine – is incredible in real life with its unmistakable orange arches. The arches (Torii Gates) begin small at the entrance and increase in scale as you ascend a long, winding hill taking two hours to reach the top! Although simple in design, the execution of the arches is mesmerizing, with their bright colour and scale filling the landscape.  

NIJO CASTLE

Nijo Castle is a World Heritage Site that absolutely blew me away! Behind a moat and huge stone walls in suburban Kyoto stands the three Nijo Castle buildings and hidden private gardens. The main building included private living quarters decorated with beautiful hand-painted murals with scenes of cherry blossom trees and streaks of tigers. With no photography allowed, I can only hope that the striking image I captured in my mind of traditional Japan nestled within the modern city of Kyoto never fades from my memory. 

SHINJUKU GYOEN

I lined up with hundreds of people to get through the gates at the Shinjuku Garden and was delighted to find the most perfect picnic spot in all of Tokyo. Shinjuku Garden is home to 1,500 cherry blossom trees and expansive parkland where you can stretch out and run all that sugar off (!) – a rarity in dense Tokyo. Even though the cherry blossom trees had just past their fleeting full bloom, the scene was spectacular nonetheless. It was truly a breath of welcome fresh air to find such a generously lush space in the city.

YAYOI KUSAMA

I felt extremely lucky to be in Tokyo during the Yayoi Kusama exhibition My Eternal Soul at the National Arts Centre, Tokyo. The building was impressive enough with its large concrete curves and extravagant glass curtain wall . . . but it was the exhibition beyond those walls was extra special. The walkway to the entry of the Arts Centre was lined with trees wrapped in bold red and white polka dots! Hundreds of Kusama’s works were on display including her iconic giant pumpkin, as well as an interactive installation where visitors could contribute to her work by adding coloured dots to as much of the surfaces as possible!

And even though now I have been to Japan, I can't bear to cross it off my bucket list. I simply must go back and do it all (and more) again!

Images 1 - 4 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 5 via Nagoyago / Image 6 - 11 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design 

DESIGNER HOLIDAYS

Suddenly we’ve blinked, the New Year is over and its already February!

As the summer temperatures continue to soar through the hottest month we can remember, it seems the only way to escape the heat is to get out of Sydney all together! 

But where to? 

Going on holidays often means hauling over-packed bags, traveling for days at a time, dealing with delays, unruly children (your own or strangers!) and multiple modes of transportation to get anywhere, hoping that in the end the destination is well worth the effort! 

We’ve been daydreaming of our ideal holidays where it’s not about the journey but all about the destination! Why don’t you come and join us . . .
 

GLAM STAY

Maddie is dreaming of places she has never travelled, such as Milan! She is lusting over Senato Hotel Milano and its beautiful interior, made up of a plush material palette boasting of black and white. The character of the building’s neo classical exterior remains intact and the interior given a much-needed face-lift and contemporized with bright brass features.
 

Senato Hotel, Milano
Senato Hotel, Milano

Senato Hotel, Milano

CULTURAL GETAWAY

Jess can’t wait to return to the The College Hotel, Amsterdam that she discovered a few years ago on a ‘design getaway’. She fell in love with the building’s historical charm and details such as the high ceilings, large fireplaces and luxurious suites decorated with muted but bold colour palette.
 

The College Hotel, Amsterdam
The College Hotel, Amsterdam

The College Hotel, Amsterdam

HAWAIIAN HAVEN

Demi is planning her return to the Modern Honolulu, Hawaii. Designed by one of her all-time favourite designers, Yabu Pushelburg, the hotel has a contemporary design with a tropical twist. She adored every detail from the shadow lines to pivoting timber plantation shutters to the secret bar hidden behind a bookcase!
 

The Modern Honolulu, Hawaii
The Modern Honolulu, Hawaii

The Modern Honolulu, Hawaii

NEW YORK ADVENTURE

Stuart can’t wait to jet off to the Big Apple to stay in The Hudson Hotel, New York. Designed by Phillipe Stark, The Hudson Hotel is filled with fun unique pieces, each designed specifically for the hotel. The unconventional combination of interiors creates an urban adventure throughout New York, all combined in the one building.
 

The Hudson Hotel, New York
The Hudson Hotel, New York

The Hudson Hotel, New York

MAGICAL RETREAT

Alex is daydreaming of the magical Il Sereno Hotel, designed by Patricia Urquiola and with vertical gardens by famed botanist Patrick Blanc. She is drawn to this modern marvel built of stone, bronze and copper which stands on the shore of Lake Como, Italy. It’s amazing architectural detailing creates an intimate connection to the lake with specially framed glimpses created throughout the hotel interior.

Il Sereno Hotel, Lake Como, Italy

Il Sereno Hotel, Lake Como, Italy

A CHARMED LIFE

Julia longs to return to charming Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a French town she fell in love with as a solo twenty-something backpacker. This time, however, she would love to rest her weary head on a pillow at the Hotel De Tourrel and experience the luxuries she could only previously dream of on a backpacker’s budget. She loves the elegant mix of original features and modern interiors that are housed within the buildings 17th century architecture. Handmade furniture by ClassiCon designers Eileen Gray and Konstantin Grcic fill the seven exclusive suites of the hotel.
 

Hotel De Tourrel, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Hotel De Tourrel, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Image 1 via Senato Milano / Image 2 via The D Pages / Image 3 & 4 via The College Hotel / Image 5 via Boutique Travel Blog / Image 6 via Yabu Pushelburg / Image 7 & 8 via Morgans Hotel Group / Image 9 & 10 via Sereno Hotels