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The Pacific Design Center, or PDC, is a 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) multi-use facility for the design community located in West Hollywood, California. One of the buildings is often described as the Blue Whale because of its outsize nature relative to surrounding buildings and its brilliant blue glass cladding.

The PDC houses the West Coast's top decorating and furniture market, with showrooms, public and private spaces, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and two restaurants operated by chef and restauranteur Wolfgang Puck. The Center has 130 showrooms which display and sell 2,100 interior product lines to professional interior designers, architects, facility managers, decorators and dealers.

 

The Pacific Design Center hosts many screenings, exhibitions, lectures, meetings, special events and receptions for the design, entertainment and arts communities. The annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party has traditionally been held at the PDC. The party is one of the longest running and best known of the post-Oscar parties as well as being a multi-million dollar fundraiser for the foundation.

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus opened in 1975, with the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) Center Blue. Center Green opened in 1988, adding 450,000 square feet (42,000 m2). A long planned third phase, Center Red, was announced in April 2006, with plans for completion in 2011. Center Red has evolved into a 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) structure with two state-of-the-art office towers—six and eight stories high respectively—sitting atop seven levels of enclosed parking for 1,500 cars.

 

West Hollywood. California.

GRUPPI:

 

- PRIMARI - NUOVI CON LIVELLI

 

0 "Elite Club" (Starting here!)

1 "Elite Club", premier Cercle

1 ONLY ONE PHOTO - SOLO UNA FOTO

♥♥ 2 HEARTS AWARD ♥♥ (Post 1 Award 5) SWEEPER ACTIVE!!!

*4 Times As Nice! ~Invite Only~ Post 1 Award 5

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14 Karat Gold: Post 1 - Award 5 - Sweeper Running ;)

300+ Faves 1-2-3 (Post one,Comment and Fave two)

400+ Faves FAVTOPMASTER Gallery Of Honour (P1:A/F2)

500 + comment Group

500+ Faves FAVTOPMASTER Gallery Of Honour (P1:A/F2)

2012 ♥♥♥ Joy in process ♥♥♥

  

AATV Bonus L 01 - 15000 Plus Views (P1 - C3)

AATV Bonus L 02 - 20000 Plus Views (P1 C3)

AATV Elite Level - 30000 and beyond

 

About You - (P2C2) - Best of JUne

Above and Beyond 500+ * L1 * Post 1 Award 5

A Constellation of Great Art Photographers L-1 {P1/A4-MANDATORY}

A Constellation of Great Art Photographers L-2{P1/A4 MANDATORY}

ADMIN TALK INTERNATIONAL

Administration Exquisite ( Level 1 )

Administration Exquisite ( Level 2 )

Administration Exquisite ( Level 3 )

♥Adriënnes Untouchable Dream -Textures by Admin's choice C2

AFOTANDO

 

ALPHA Awards from Sunriserjay's Circle o' Friends (Level 1)

ALPHA AwaRDs 2 of Sunriserjay's circle o' friends(LeveL 2)

ALPHA Awards of Sunriserjay's Circle O' friends Level 3 ;-)

Algoma's gallery

! !^A Little Bit of Soap Level 2

♥Alma flamenca♥ Sube1♦Comenta2

Amazing Moments in Photography Level 1 - Com 3

Amis Photographes Photographer friend's

Andromeda "50" (Special Invitation Only) No Reposting/Sweeper

***A Place For Great Photographers*** Level 1 Please Award 3

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! * Architecture and Cities *travelling with friends*

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Art@City Art *** Post 1/ Comment 1

ART ♦ CLASS AND VALUE ♦ NESSUN BAMBINI ♦ P1-A2

:: Arte De Luz ::

Arte, imaginacion y texturas en flickr

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Artistic Expressions - Invited Images Only

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Art Mix ♠3-COMMENTS, Please!!! ♠

Art Museion * POST 1 - COMMENT 1

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Art Touch - Contest 2011 - sweeper

A Touch of Magic - P1 / C3

A través de... (through)

A UNIVERSE OF PHOTOGRAPHY LEVEL 1

avp&a #1 - MAIN group (Post 1-AWARD 4) Read NEW procedures

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! ♡ Beautiful Shot ♡ Must award 5!!!

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Breathtaking {add 1, award 3}

Brigette's Beautiful Nature Gallery Add 1~ Award 3

Build your rainbow TRANSPARENT **level 1** post 1 - award 5

Build your rainbow RED ***level 2*** – post 1 - award 5

Build your rainbow ORANGE ***level 3*** – post 1 - award 5

Build your rainbow YELLOW ***level 4*** – post 1 - award 5

Build your rainbow GREEN ***level 5*** - post 1, award 5

Build your rainbow LIGHT BLUE ***level 6*** post 1 - award 5

Build your rainbow DARK BLUE ***level 7*** post 1 award 5

Callejones Encantadores - P.1 / A. 3

Calles ,callejones y callejuelas

Certified Photographer LEVEL 1 ( POST 1, AWARD 3) SWEEPER IS ON

Charlie's Group - Level 2 (Sweeper active)

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Charlie's Group - Level 5 (Sweeper active)

Charlie's Group - Level 6 (Sweeper active)

Charlie's Group - Level 7 (Sweeper active)

Charlie's Group - Hall Of Fame (Sweeper active)

Charlie's Group - Bronze Members (Sweeper active)

Charlie's Group - Silver Members (Sweeper active)

Groupe Charlie L11

 

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come lo vediamo .. post 1 - award 3

~CONTACT GROUP~ [Post ; 1 Award ; 5]

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Covert Painters & Photoshop Artists

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"Creative Photo Cafe" - Com 4

! ♥ Dagmar and Sonja ♥

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✿*DIAMOND NATURE & STYLE*✿{P1. G4}{Admin-INVITE ONLY}

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ECOLE DES BEAUX ARTS-P1/C1

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Elite Photographer Administrators Choice L-6

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Escrita com Luz 1 Invite only - P1/A3 - Challenge: Piers!

Escrita com Luz 2 (por convite/3 comentários; P1/A3)

Escrita com Luz 3 (por convite/3 comentários; P1/A3)

Étude ~ by Admin invitation ~ P1/A 2

EXCELLENT GALLERY ( P1, C2 ) SWEEPER !!

*Exhibition Of Talent* Admin Invite Only,Post1 and Award3

Exquisite Art +50 Fav award and fave 2 -sweeper running -

"^Exquisite Art "+50 Fav AW/FAV2 Please Use New Code

!!^Exquisite Art Gallery of MasterWorks (Post 1: Award/Fave 3)

EXTRAORDINARILY IMPRESSIVE = Moderated ◙ NO FIORI ◙ Cmt 2

E X T R A C O L O R ( Post 1 / Comment 2 )

* * Fantastic Yellow !! -- send your photo !!! * *

Fantastic Nature***Post 01***Award 03

:copyright: FASZINATION EARTH GROUP ◘ Post 1 ~ Award 4

FAVTOPMASTER 200+ faves

! !FAVTOPMASTER Gallery Of Honour 300+ faves

! !FAVTOPMASTER Gallery Of Honour 400+ faves

Fine Gold

Fine Platinum

Finest Diamond

Firelight.. by admin invitation ~ P1-C2

FIVE GOLD STARS Level 1 (P1-A3)

FIVE GOLD STARS Level 2 (P1-A3)

FIVE GOLD STARS Level 3 (P1-A3)

flickr Award (((MUST award 5)))

Flickr Bronze Award ~ Post 1, Award 5. No Reposting.

flickr clickx

Flickr Hearts- post 1- give 5 hearts

Flickrs heaven- post one- give 5 angels

Flickr Gold Award - Invite Only! Sweeper On. No Reposting.

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Flickr Smileys

Flickr Special - Post 1- Give 5 Comments

FLICKR'S EXQUISITE SHOTS (Invite Only! Award 3)

Flickrs True Reflection - Level 1 (P1/A5) Sweeper Active

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Flickrs True Reflection - Excellence Award - Level 8 (P1/A5)

* Focus on your work * L1 ~Invit Only~ Award 5 or more

* Focus on your work * L2 - Award 5 or more

Follow me my friends

F.O.O.F. (by invitation) P1/A2

FotoArtCircle - the miraculous world - Level 1 - (2P=5C)

FotoArtCircle - the wondrous world - Level 2 - (2P=5C)

FotoArtCircle - the extraordinary world - Level 3 - (2P=5C)

~~FOTOS CON MUCHO ARTE~~~(P.1-C.3)

~~FOTOS EXCELENTES~~EXCELLENT PHOTOS(P.1-C.4)**Invite Photo Only

FOUR SEASONS !

Frame It! ~Level 01~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~Level 02~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~Level 03~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~Level 04~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~Level 05~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~Level 06~ (P1/A5)

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Frame It! ~Level 08~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~Level 09~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~Level 10~ (P1/A5)

Frame It! ~~Level 11~~ Hall of 'Frame' NOW VOTING LEVEL 02

! !^Freedom Excellence 25+ Faves (Level 1)

! !^Freedom Excellence 25+ Faves Gallery (Level 2)

Freedom for ever !

! !^FreedomHawk Level 1

! !^FreedomHawk Level 2

! !^FreedomHawk Level 3

FRIENDS FOREVER (POST 1 AWARD 5) SWEEPER ACTIVE!!!

jesuscm's favorites Gallery (Admin invite only) P1►A/C3

Jotbe's Group (INVITE ONLY !!!!!) -Give 2 Awards

**Gallery of Fantastic Shots**(Admin's/Invite)P1/A3-ContestOpen

♪♥¸.•★*Gallery of Wonders¸.•*♪

Galerie Omega ~ by Admin Invitation only ~ Post 1 - Award 2

GATE OF PARADISE

give us this day.. by admin invitation (P1 - A2)

GLOW !! * POST 1 - COMMENT 1

GREEN - Group No. 3 (Post 1, Award 4)

Gold Star Award - Level 1 (p1/a5)

Gold Star Award - Level 2 (p1/a5)

Gold Star Award - Level 3 (p1/a5)

GOLDEN ARTISTS - Comment 5 - SWEEPER active

" "^Good Morning Happiness " P1Aw/FAVES3 Nuovi Codici

! !^Good Morning Happiness Level 2

! !^Good Morning Happiness Level 3

Gr8! Photos ۩ Post and Vote for various Contests ۩

Greeting Phantasy Cards - New games to play

! Günün En İyisi - The Best of Day

Grupo Flickr contra el cáncer #M4M

**HARMONY**(Post 1-Award 3)

! * HDR-pictures*High Quality Only P1-A2*Admin moderated

ღ Heart & Soul Photography ღ P1/C3

**Heart Awards** (P.1 Award 5) Rule Break= BAN

"HECHIZO" ♥Concurso Nº141 Tema:"Gatos Callejeros"

**imagines et phantasmata** (P1 / A2)

Incantevoli atmosfere e suggestive sensazioni ♪ Admin invite

InfiniteXposure L1 (P1, A3)

InfiniteXposure L2 (P1, A3)

InfiniteXposure L3 (P1,A3)

InfiniteXposure L4 (P1, A3)

InfiniteXposure L5 (P1, A3)

InfiniteXposure L6 (P1, A3)

InfiniteXposure L7 (P1, A3)

in your dreams.. by admin invitation ~ P1/C2

International Amateurs Photos (Invitation Only)

~in the mood~ p 1 / a 1 - NO pure floral elements

!*Irresistibly beautiful textures*! Moderated !!

"^ItalianLifeStyle" 15+F P1/Aw 2 FAVES2 Nuovi Codici

! !^ItalianLifeStyle Gallery Of MasterWorks (Post1:Award/Fave3)

* I tre angeli * LIVELLO 1: Angelo Azzurro (Premio 5) SWEEPER ON

* I tre angeli * LIVELLO 2: Angel Argento (premio 4)

.•*´¨*Just Passing Our Time - Post1/Comment1

L1* La passion de l'image (P1 A3 Sweeper)

L1 The Market Place (Nature Shots) P1 A3

L2* La passion de l'image*Ultimate* (P1 A3 Sweeper)

L3* La passion de l'image*Absolum* (P1 A3 Sweeper)

L4* La passion de l'image*Platinum* (P1 A3 Sweeper)

L5* La passion de l'image*Gold* (P1 A3 Sweeper)

L6* La passion de l'image*Optimum Gold* (P1 A3)

L7* La passion de l'image*Summum* (P1 A3)

L8* La passion de l'image*Elite* (P1 A3)

L9* La passion de l'image*Apologie* (P1 A3)

LA BOHEME / THE BOHEMIAN

LANDSCAPE DREAMS -Please comment on two (2)!!!

La magia de la fotografía

.*♪• La mia Sonata ~ by invitation ~ P1/A2

Legion of Final Levels -- Post 1, Award 2

LES AMATEURS D'ART ...P 1 / A3

l'espace de vie ~ by invitation only ~ P1/A2

LET'S CLEAN EXPLORE

Level 1 - Alpha Orionis - Post 1 / Award 4 (Mandatory)

Level 1 Auto Focus ( P/1 C/5 ) New Contest Vote 10/31

Level 1-Photography for Recreation (Sweeper)No Human Photo-P1/A5

Level 2 Auto Focus ( P/1 C/5 ) 6+ Comments Only

Level 2 - Beta Orionis - By invite - Post 1 / Award 4 (Mandatory

Level 2- Photography for Recreation - Silver - P1/A5

Level 2 - Silver - Lost con T - Perdidos (Post 1 - Award 5)

Level 3 Auto Focus ( P/1 C/5 ) 8+ Comments Only

LEVEL 3 - GAMMA ORIONIS - {P1/A4 MANDATORY}

Level 3 - Golden - Lost con T - Perdidos (Post 1 - Award 5)

Level 3- Photography for Recreation - Gold - P1/A5

Level 4 Auto Focus Bronze (P/1 C/5 )

LEVEL 4 - KAPPA ORIONIS - {P1/A4 MANDATORY}

Level 4- Photography for Recreation - Emerald - P1/A5

LEVEL 5 - DELTA ORIONIS - {P1/A4-MANDATORY}

Level 5-Photography for Recreation - Sapphire - P1/A5

LEVEL 6 - EPSILON ORIONIS - {P1/A4-MANDATORY}

LEVEL 7 - ZETA ORIONIS - {P1/A4 MANDATORY}

Lighting Aspects

- Lise´s Friends - L1

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- Lise´s Friends - L5

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LIVING LIFE BEHIND THE LENS *Sweeper Active

LO MEJOR DE LA FOTOGRAFIA - THE BEST OF PHOTOGRAPHY (P.1-C.2)

LO SCRIGNO / THE COFFER

LOST con T - PERDIDOS (Post 1-Award 5) CONCURSO NOVEMBER

"LOVE FOR THE LIFE" (INVITE)ONLY BLACK FRAME )*P.1 A3.*admin

**Love It!** Level 1 P1/A3

**Love It!** Level 2

**Love It!** Level 3

**Love It!** Showcase Group

Lovely Universe !!! - Post 1 - Comment on 3.

LO ZODIACO / THE ZODIAC * Admin Invite only P1/C2

Luminarie (P1=F/A2)

MagicaItalia

MAGICOS MOMENTOS EN TU VIDA Nivel 1 Sube 1/ coment 4 SWEEPER ON

MAGICOS MOMENTOS EN TU VIDA - LEVEL 2 [ AGREGA 1 COMENTA 5 ]

MAGIC MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE LEVEL 3 [POST 1 COMMENT 5 ]

MAGICOS MOMENTOS EN TU VIDA NIVEL 4 [ Agregar 1 Comentar 5 ]

Magic Universe (ADMIN Invite) 2-COMMENTS, Please!!!

!!^Make Me Wonder LEVEL 1 (P1: Awa/FAVES 3 Mandatory)

!!^Make Me Wonder LEVEL 2 (P1: Awa/FAVES 3 Mandatory)

!!^Make Me Wonder LEVEL 3 (P1: Awa/FAVES 3 Mandatory)

Mas Cien Favoritas (+ 100 *)

**Masterclass** Post 1 Award 3 (Admin Invite Only) Sweeper On !!

**Masterclass Exhibition** Admin Invite Only Level (2) P-1/A-3

**Masterclass Elite** Invite Only Post 1-Award 3 (Level 3)

MASTER GOLDEN AWARD LOST con T - PERDIDOS

Me 2 You Photography Level 1 * P1/A5 * Sweeper is Active

NOW !

Me 2 You Photography Level 2 * P1/A5 * Sweeper is Active NOW !

Me 2 You Photography Level 3 * P1/A5 * Sweeper is Active NOW !

Me 2 You Photography Level 4 HALL OF FAME Sweeper is Active NOW!

medulaparamateo~for a better world ( #M4M )

* Membri Qualificati * - Livello 1 (Post 1 Award 5)

* Membri qualificati * - Livello 2 (Post 1 Award 5)

* Membri qualificati * - Livello 3 (Post 1 Award 5)

MIS FOTOS, MIS SENTIMIENTOS / Post 2 - Award 3

My Friends Pictures ( Post - 1 Award - 3 )

My Friends Galleries ( Post - 1 Award - 3 ) Invite Only

My Gear and Me #1 - (Post 1 - Award 5) - Sweeper is ON

My Gear and Me #2 - Premium (P1A5 Only Invited Photos!)

My Gear and Me #3 - Bronze Selection (P1A5 Only Invited Photos!)

My Gear and Me #4 - Silver Selection (P1A5 Only Invited Photos!)

My Gear and Me #5 - Gold Selection (P1A5 Only Invited Photos!)

My Gear And Me #6 - Platinum Exclusive Selection (P1A5 Invited!)

Moon's Eclipse *2-COMMENTS, Please!!!*

Most Amazing Photos *¨¨* POST 1 AWARD 5 *¨¨* SWEEPER ON

Most Amazing Photos Level 2 *¨¨* POST 1 AWARD 5 *¨¨* SWEEPER

*Music To My Eyes* ~~ 7 Levels ~~ Active Sweeper ! ~~ P1 A5 ~~~

~nature meets structure~2 comments ~

Nice As It Gets~Level 1 /Post 1 Award 5

Nice As It Gets~Level 2 /Invite Only/Post 1 Award 5

Nice As It Gets~Level 3 /Invite Only/Post 1 Award 5

Nice As It Gets~Level 4 /Invite Only/Post 1 Award 5

Nice As It Gets~Level 5 /Invite Only/Post 1 Award 5

Nice As It Gets~Level 6 /Invite Only/ Post 1 Award 5

Nice Shot! ~ 7 Levels ~ P1 A5 ~ Sweeper Active

Night & Morning on Flickr! The best of June

NO ARTIST LEFT BEHIND - Post 1 Award 1

Nuska Top Gallery - P1/C2 SWEEPER ACTIVE 50 + FAVES

Oceans.. of Talent! ~ (by admin invitation) ~ A2

Only normal people

"Opera Premiere Gallery of Honour" P1/C2/fave2

PAESE MIO...VILLAGGI E BORGHI...RIONI...VITA PAESANA...

~PAR EXCELLENCE~ Level 1 ADMIN INVITE ONLY

~PAR EXCELLENCE~ Level 2

~PAR EXCELLENCE~ Level 3

~PAR EXCELLENCE~ HALL OF FAME

*Peace Awards* POST 1 AWARD 5...SWEEPER SUPER ACTIVE

*** PERFECTION IN PICTURES *** P-1/A-3 **NEW CONTEST **

***Perfection In Pictures Supreme Images*** Level (2) P1-A3

!Photo-Hobby! Level 1(Post 1 Award 4) SWEEPER IN USE!

!Photo-Hobby! Level 2 (Post 1 Award 4) SWEEPER ACTIVE!

!Photo-Hobby! Level 3 (Post 1 Award 3) Sweeper Active!

photoshop editions

Pics for Peace

Pictures from my friends *no animals* use award code please!

Pili's Gallery of Happiness - P1/C2

PIONEER IN CREATIVITY - Only Invited Photos - 1 post 2 comments

Platinum Best Shot (only photos with 6+ Best Shot Awards)

**Platinum Heart Awards** (Only photos with 8+ Heart Awards!)

Platinum Photography Group P1/A1 Post in 4 or 6 Star Awards

Poppy Awards * Post 1 - Award 3 * Sweeper Active *

Photography Passion

PHOTOMANIPULATION SALON

POWER of ART - Post 1 Com 5 (SWEEPER)

Power of Photography - L1 - RED Heart - Com 3 (NO PEOPLE)

Prestige Photography (Admin invited image only)

Prestige Photography - Hall of Fame

Prestige Photography - The very best

Prestige Photography - Masterpieces

primus inter pares ~ by admin inv. ~ P1-A2

Puntuame(sube 1-comenta - 3)♣Score me(Post 1-Comment-3)SWEEPER

RED - Group No. 1 (Post 1, Award 4)

Remember That Moment ☆ Level 1 Bronze (P1~A5) Sweeper Active!

Remember That Moment ☆ Level 2 Silver (P1~A5) Sweeper Active!

Remember That Moment ☆ Level 3 Gold (P1~A5) Sweeper Active!

Remember That Moment ☆ Level 4 Platinum (P1~A5) Sweeper Active

Remember That Moment ☆ Level 5 Earth (P1~A5) Sweeper Active!

Remember That Moment ☆ Level 6 Golden Crown (P1~A5)

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Richard's (admin-invite) PLEASE AWARD 2!

Richard's Gold (50+faves, admin-invite)

Ring of Excellence (Post 1/Award 5) - SWEEPER IN FULL EFFECT!

! !^Roby's Friendly Corner 25+ Faves Level 1

! !^Roby's Friendly Corner 25+ Faves Level 2

! !^Roby's Friendly Corner 25+ Faves Level 3

Sail the Seven Seas (Admin invite only)Post1~Award3

Score 1 to 20 on 20 - Follow the Rules or You will be Banned

Sgt. Peppers AMAZING IMAGES Club Band (Invited images Only)

SHINING★STAR - Post 1- Give 5 Stars

Shooting Stars Awards * Post 1 - Award 3 * *Sweeper Active*

Show Room (Comment 2)

°°SHOW THE BEST°° (Post 1 - Award 3 )

/ Simply..... Beautiful \\ POST 1 / C2/FAV2

**Simply Superb (Post 1 & Comment 3)**

SoloReflex

*Sonia's Picture Gallery*/Post 1 - Comment 3

Soul o' Creativity ~ Level 1 ~ Post 1 & Award 4

Soul o' Creativity ~ Level 2 ~ Post 1 & Award 4

Soul o' Creativity ~ Level 3 ~ Post 1 & Award 4

Soul o' Creativity ~ Level 4 ~ Post 1 & Award 4

Soul 'o' Photography Level 1 ~ 'Longing'. P1/A4

Soul 'o' Photography Level 2 ~ 'Seeking'. P1/A4

Soul 'o' Photography Level 3 ~ 'Flying'. P1/A4

SPARTACUS

·Spirit Of Photography (Post 1 Award 5) - sweeper active now

Stones.. (by admin invitation) ~ P1/A2

Stunning Art Gallery (only by invitation )

SUPREME PEOPLES CHOICE - POST 1 AWARD 3 INVITED ONLY

Sweet Shot Level 1 (P1, A3)

Sweet Shot Level 2 (P1, A3)

Sweet Shot Level 3 (P1, A3)

Sweet Shot Level 4 (P1, A3)

Sweet Shot Level 5 (P1, A3)

Sweet Shot Level 6 (P1, A3)

✿Talent Photographique✿ Invitation Only P1/A2/Fav 25+

✿Talent Photographique Gallery✿Invitation Only P1/A2/Fav50+

✿Talent Photographique Elite✿ Invitation Only P1/A2/Fav 100+

Texture infinite book ♠3-COMMENTS, Please!!!♠

Texture mon amour

That's What I'm Talkin About !! (Post 1, Award 3)

The Beautiful Image TOP - Admin Invite Only - P 1 A 3 NO FRAMES

! The Best Gallery BY INVITATION ONLY

"The Best of Beautiful Earth'' ~ NO PEOPLE (P1-A4) ~ Level II

The Best Shot - Post1/Award5 (Not commenting = Ban)

►the best shots◄ (Post 1 - Award 3) - SWEEPER IS ACTIVE !!!

►the best shots◄ level 2 (P1 - A5) - SWEEPER IS ACTIVE !!!

The Best Shot - Hall of Fame

**THE BEST VISIONS** ( Post 01, Award 03 )

THE CLUB OF 1000 + - LEVEL 1 / strictly sweeper

THE CLUB OF 1000 + - LEVEL 2 / strictly sweeper

THE CLUB OF 1000 + - FINAL LEVEL 3

The Elite Photographer L-1 P-1/A-5 NON AWARDING = BAN SWEEPER ON

The Elite Photographer Level 2! Post 1 Award 5 ((INVITE ONLY))

The Elite Photographer Level 3! Post 1 Award 5 ((INVITE ONLY))

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www.niemeyercenter.org/

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si se le añaden líneas rectas. Se sobrepusieron las letras Centro Niemeyer, sobre la imagen rectangular de la puerta, en blanco siguiendo el color principal de la obra entera del arquitecto.

 

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Oscar...

 

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on the 26 of May 2011.

 

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".

 

It is possible to see the buildings from different places, even from the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colours highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

 

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design

 

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most important architects in the world) was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present fort the 25 Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a big project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace. This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe.[3] That is the reason why its name is “Centro Niemeyer”.

 

Structure

 

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:

 

The open square: a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer’s idea of a place open to humankind.

The auditorium: around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, conferences... Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club (a small space for small concerts) and an exhibition room in the foyer.

The dome: its the exhibitions building.

The tower: sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge

The multi-purpose building: Film Centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, information point...

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer_International_Cultur...

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer ye la resultancia de la combinación d'un complexu cultural proxectáu por arquiteutu brasileru Oscar Niemeyer y un proyectu cultural internacional qu'integra distintes manifestaciones artístiques y culturales como esposiciones, música, teatru, danza, cine o gastronomía ente otres. Ta allugáu na marxe derecha de la ría d'Avilés, n'Asturies. Inauguráu'l 26 de marzu de 2011.

 

Una plaza abierta a toos y toes, un llugar per l'educación, la cultura y la paz.

 

Anguaño'l centru dibuxase nel paisaxe urbanu de la Villa del Adelantado, xunto a la ría d'Avilés, siendo visible, pol so color blanco y el so grandor, dende sitios estremaos y dende l'aire.

 

ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Osca...

 

arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California.

 

وصلت الصور التي شاركت بها في جائزة حمدان بن محمد الدولية للتصوير الضوئي 2011 إلى المراتب العليا بحسب الدرجات التي حصلت عليها من قبل المُحكمين، وقد تم عرضها اثناء الحفل الختامي للدورة الأولى لجائزة حمدان بن محمد بن راشد آل مكتوم الدولية للتصوير الضوئي الذي كان منقول مباشرة على قناة سما دبي الذي اقيم في برج بارك بمنطقة برج خليفة في دبي .. وسيتم نشرها ايضا في كتاب المسابقة السنوي ..

 

وذهبت المراكز الثلاثة الاولى ..

Zulkifli Zhu Qincay (Indonesia) - 1st place "

Pierpaolo Mittica (Italy) - 2nd place"

Oscar Cejas (Argentina) - 3rd place"

 

رابط الفديو

www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=270070893076073

 

اشرك الاخت Enas Photography

لتصوير هذا الفديو عند ضهور صورتي ..

طبعا ما لحكت تصور الصورة من بداية ضهورها لانها ضهرت اول صورة .. وبالرغم من هذا حصلت على بعض الثواني .. واشكرها :)

  

My picture that participated in the award Hamdan bin Mohammed International Photography 2011 to the top ranks, according to the grades obtained by the arbitrators, and have been presented during the closing ceremony of the first session of the Award Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography , which was shown directly on the Sama Dubai TV, >And my picture will be published also in the book of the competition

 

DOWNLOAD HERE

 

Mostafa Hamad

مصطفى حمد

Camera:Canon IXUS 110 IS

  

FOLLOW ME ON

FACEBOOK|TWITTER|FLICKR|500PX

www.facebook.com/stloureda

twitter.com/Woody_Twitt

 

Ⓒ Saúl Tuñón Loureda

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si se le añaden líneas rectas. Se sobrepusieron las letras Centro Niemeyer, sobre la imagen rectangular de la puerta, en blanco siguiendo el color principal de la obra entera del arquitecto.

 

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Oscar...

 

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on the 26 of May 2011.

 

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".

 

It is possible to see the buildings from different places, even from the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colours highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

 

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design

 

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most important architects in the world) was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present fort the 25 Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a big project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace. This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe.[3] That is the reason why its name is “Centro Niemeyer”.

 

Structure

 

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:

 

The open square: a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer’s idea of a place open to humankind.

The auditorium: around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, conferences... Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club (a small space for small concerts) and an exhibition room in the foyer.

The dome: its the exhibitions building.

The tower: sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge

The multi-purpose building: Film Centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, information point...

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer_International_Cultur...

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer ye la resultancia de la combinación d'un complexu cultural proxectáu por arquiteutu brasileru Oscar Niemeyer y un proyectu cultural internacional qu'integra distintes manifestaciones artístiques y culturales como esposiciones, música, teatru, danza, cine o gastronomía ente otres. Ta allugáu na marxe derecha de la ría d'Avilés, n'Asturies. Inauguráu'l 26 de marzu de 2011.

 

Una plaza abierta a toos y toes, un llugar per l'educación, la cultura y la paz.

 

Anguaño'l centru dibuxase nel paisaxe urbanu de la Villa del Adelantado, xunto a la ría d'Avilés, siendo visible, pol so color blanco y el so grandor, dende sitios estremaos y dende l'aire.

 

ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Osca...

 

www.niemeyercenter.org/

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si se le añaden líneas rectas. Se sobrepusieron las letras Centro Niemeyer, sobre la imagen rectangular de la puerta, en blanco siguiendo el color principal de la obra entera del arquitecto.

 

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Oscar...

 

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on the 26 of May 2011.

 

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".

 

It is possible to see the buildings from different places, even from the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colours highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

 

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design

 

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most important architects in the world) was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present fort the 25 Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a big project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace. This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe.[3] That is the reason why its name is “Centro Niemeyer”.

 

Structure

 

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:

 

The open square: a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer’s idea of a place open to humankind.

The auditorium: around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, conferences... Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club (a small space for small concerts) and an exhibition room in the foyer.

The dome: its the exhibitions building.

The tower: sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge

The multi-purpose building: Film Centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, information point...

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer_International_Cultur...

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer ye la resultancia de la combinación d'un complexu cultural proxectáu por arquiteutu brasileru Oscar Niemeyer y un proyectu cultural internacional qu'integra distintes manifestaciones artístiques y culturales como esposiciones, música, teatru, danza, cine o gastronomía ente otres. Ta allugáu na marxe derecha de la ría d'Avilés, n'Asturies. Inauguráu'l 26 de marzu de 2011.

 

Una plaza abierta a toos y toes, un llugar per l'educación, la cultura y la paz.

 

Anguaño'l centru dibuxase nel paisaxe urbanu de la Villa del Adelantado, xunto a la ría d'Avilés, siendo visible, pol so color blanco y el so grandor, dende sitios estremaos y dende l'aire.

 

ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Osca...

 

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Use without permission is illegal.

  

~ David Mallet, (Scottish Dramatist)(or Malloch) (c.1705–1765)

 

This is Henry, a beloved Barn Owl from the Fall Owl Fest in Apopka.

 

A tribute to Andy Williams who passed away yesterday evening (Tuesday) and a singer I admired~

 

Please view in lightbox ~

 

Here he is singing "Moon River" youtu.be/flm4xcOyiCo

 

Moon River - Andy Williams ~

 

BRANSON, Mo. -- With a string of gold albums, a hit TV series and the signature "Moon River," Andy Williams was a voice of the 1960s, although not the `60s we usually hear about.

"The old cliche says that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren't there," the singer once recalled. "Well, I was there all right, but my memory of them is blurred -- not by any drugs I took but by the relentless pace of the schedule I set myself."

Williams' plaintive tenor, boyish features and easy demeanor helped him outlast many of the rock stars who had displaced him and such fellow crooners as Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. He remained on the charts into the 1970s, and continued to perform in his 80s at the Moon River Theatre he built in Branson, Mo.

 

In November 2011, when Williams announced that he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer, he vowed to return to performing the following year: His 75th in show business.

Williams died Tuesday night at his home in Branson following a yearlong battle with the disease, his Los Angeles-based publicist, Paul Shefrin, said Wednesday. He was 84.

 

He became a major star the same year as Elvis Presley, 1956, with the Sinatra-like swing "Canadian Sunset," and for a time he was pushed into such Presley imitations as "Lips of Wine" and the No. 1 smash "Butterfly."

But he mostly stuck to what he called his "natural style," and kept it up throughout his career. In 1970, when even Sinatra had given up and (temporarily) retired, Williams was in the top 10 with the theme from "Love Story," the Oscar-winning tearjerker. He had 18 gold records and three platinum, was nominated for five Grammy awards and hosted the Grammy ceremonies for several years.

 

Movie songs became a specialty, from "Love Story" and "Days of Wine and Roses" to "Moon River." The longing Johnny Mercer-Henry Mancini ballad was his most famous song, even though he never released it as a single because his record company feared such lines as "my huckleberry friend" were too confusing and old-fashioned for teens.

The song was first performed by Audrey Hepburn in the beloved 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's," but Mancini thought "Moon River" ideal for Williams, who recorded it in "pretty much one take" and also sang it at the 1962 Academy Awards. Although "Moon River" was covered by countless artists and became a hit single for Jerry Butler, Williams made the song his personal brand. In fact, he insisted on it.

"When I hear anybody else sing it, it's all I can to do stop myself from shouting at the television screen, `No! That's my song!"' Williams wrote in his 2009 memoir, titled, fittingly, "Moon River and Me."

 

www.niemeyercenter.org/

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si se le añaden líneas rectas. Se sobrepusieron las letras Centro Niemeyer, sobre la imagen rectangular de la puerta, en blanco siguiendo el color principal de la obra entera del arquitecto.

 

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Oscar...

 

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on the 26 of May 2011.

 

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".

 

It is possible to see the buildings from different places, even from the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colours highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

 

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design

 

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most important architects in the world) was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present fort the 25 Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a big project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace. This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe.[3] That is the reason why its name is “Centro Niemeyer”.

 

Structure

 

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:

 

The open square: a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer’s idea of a place open to humankind.

The auditorium: around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, conferences... Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club (a small space for small concerts) and an exhibition room in the foyer.

The dome: its the exhibitions building.

The tower: sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge

The multi-purpose building: Film Centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, information point...

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer_International_Cultur...

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer ye la resultancia de la combinación d'un complexu cultural proxectáu por arquiteutu brasileru Oscar Niemeyer y un proyectu cultural internacional qu'integra distintes manifestaciones artístiques y culturales como esposiciones, música, teatru, danza, cine o gastronomía ente otres. Ta allugáu na marxe derecha de la ría d'Avilés, n'Asturies. Inauguráu'l 26 de marzu de 2011.

 

Una plaza abierta a toos y toes, un llugar per l'educación, la cultura y la paz.

 

Anguaño'l centru dibuxase nel paisaxe urbanu de la Villa del Adelantado, xunto a la ría d'Avilés, siendo visible, pol so color blanco y el so grandor, dende sitios estremaos y dende l'aire.

 

ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Osca...

 

The Pacific Design Center, or PDC, is a 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) multi-use facility for the design community located in West Hollywood, California. One of the buildings is often described as the Blue Whale because of its outsize nature relative to surrounding buildings and its brilliant blue glass cladding.

The PDC houses the West Coast's top decorating and furniture market, with showrooms, public and private spaces, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and two restaurants operated by chef and restauranteur Wolfgang Puck. The Center has 130 showrooms which display and sell 2,100 interior product lines to professional interior designers, architects, facility managers, decorators and dealers.

 

The Pacific Design Center hosts many screenings, exhibitions, lectures, meetings, special events and receptions for the design, entertainment and arts communities. The annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party has traditionally been held at the PDC. The party is one of the longest running and best known of the post-Oscar parties as well as being a multi-million dollar fundraiser for the foundation.

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus opened in 1975, with the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) Center Blue. Center Green opened in 1988, adding 450,000 square feet (42,000 m2). A long planned third phase, Center Red, was announced in April 2006, with plans for completion in 2011. Center Red has evolved into a 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) structure with two state-of-the-art office towers—six and eight stories high respectively—sitting atop seven levels of enclosed parking for 1,500 cars.

 

West Hollywood. California.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Actress Scarlett Johansson arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage) *** Local Caption *** Scarlett Johansson

L'expérience est le nom que chacun donne à ses erreurs. [Oscar Wilde]

Thanks for all your comments, awards and faves.

 

Highest position: 167 on Wednesday, June 29, 2011

www.niemeyercenter.org/

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si se le añaden líneas rectas. Se sobrepusieron las letras Centro Niemeyer, sobre la imagen rectangular de la puerta, en blanco siguiendo el color principal de la obra entera del arquitecto.

 

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Oscar...

 

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on the 26 of May 2011.

 

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".

 

It is possible to see the buildings from different places, even from the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colours highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

 

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design

 

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most important architects in the world) was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present fort the 25 Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a big project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace. This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe.[3] That is the reason why its name is “Centro Niemeyer”.

 

Structure

 

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:

 

The open square: a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer’s idea of a place open to humankind.

The auditorium: around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, conferences... Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club (a small space for small concerts) and an exhibition room in the foyer.

The dome: its the exhibitions building.

The tower: sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge

The multi-purpose building: Film Centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, information point...

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer_International_Cultur...

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer ye la resultancia de la combinación d'un complexu cultural proxectáu por arquiteutu brasileru Oscar Niemeyer y un proyectu cultural internacional qu'integra distintes manifestaciones artístiques y culturales como esposiciones, música, teatru, danza, cine o gastronomía ente otres. Ta allugáu na marxe derecha de la ría d'Avilés, n'Asturies. Inauguráu'l 26 de marzu de 2011.

 

Una plaza abierta a toos y toes, un llugar per l'educación, la cultura y la paz.

 

Anguaño'l centru dibuxase nel paisaxe urbanu de la Villa del Adelantado, xunto a la ría d'Avilés, siendo visible, pol so color blanco y el so grandor, dende sitios estremaos y dende l'aire.

 

ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Osca...

 

140

 

Hello again, actors and actresses. As the world is still a stage, and all men and women are still merely players; in order not to get axed, we will need to keep on acting. There are quite a few different ways of acting; I am not a big fan of method acting, I prefer putting on a different persona as in the good old Greek tragedy.

 

How to act accordingly

 

1. Get to know the set and surroundings

 

2. Understand the scenes you are in, do not get turn up in the wrong scene, things may get awkward

 

3. Do not stay in the scene for too long, you may become a scene queen

 

4. Then get to know the acts

 

5. Acts are the overall pictures of the scenes, which means it's the bigger picture

 

6. Know the other players

 

7. Try and understand the sort of interaction you will have and practise with the players

 

8. Put on a Persona once you start to real deal

 

9. Hide yourself behind these personae

 

10. No one cares to see the real you, because the whole play revolve around personae

 

12. Read the other personae and their body languages

 

13. Avoid Italian body languages because it is closer to being in a ballet; avoid Japanese gestures too, it is rather stiff and formalised

 

14. Remember to change your persona really quickly once you are switching scenes

 

15. Read the lines/blurbs clearly, even when your voice is obscured by the persona

 

Caution

You will not be awarded an Oscar or a BAFTA, but at least you will remain on stage if you are a good actor and handle your personae well.

 

Extra-Caution

Remember: wearing a persona for too long will mould your face; you are advised to change your persona, or remove it once it a while - unless you wear a happy one all the time; but do be careful, tears still crack through and your persona will forever be ruined.

  

This theatrical tutorial is brought to you by Linus & The Feel Good Factory.

The Pacific Design Center, or PDC, is a 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) multi-use facility for the design community located in West Hollywood, California. One of the buildings is often described as the Blue Whale because of its outsize nature relative to surrounding buildings and its brilliant blue glass cladding.

The PDC houses the West Coast's top decorating and furniture market, with showrooms, public and private spaces, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and two restaurants operated by chef and restauranteur Wolfgang Puck. The Center has 130 showrooms which display and sell 2,100 interior product lines to professional interior designers, architects, facility managers, decorators and dealers.

 

The Pacific Design Center hosts many screenings, exhibitions, lectures, meetings, special events and receptions for the design, entertainment and arts communities. The annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party has traditionally been held at the PDC. The party is one of the longest running and best known of the post-Oscar parties as well as being a multi-million dollar fundraiser for the foundation.

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus opened in 1975, with the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) Center Blue. Center Green opened in 1988, adding 450,000 square feet (42,000 m2). A long planned third phase, Center Red, was announced in April 2006, with plans for completion in 2011. Center Red has evolved into a 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) structure with two state-of-the-art office towers—six and eight stories high respectively—sitting atop seven levels of enclosed parking for 1,500 cars.

Eine Meerjungfrau, auch Seejungfrau oder Fischweib, ist ein weibliches Fabelwesen, das den Legenden und dem Aberglauben nach im Meer oder anderen Gewässern lebt.

  

Charakterisches Merkmal der Meerjungfrau ist ihre Erlösungsbedürftigkeit. Meist handelt es sich um ein seelenloses oder verdammtes Wesen, das nur durch die Liebe eines menschlichen Gemahls von seinem Schicksal befreit werden kann.

  

Schwer abzugrenzen ist die Meerjungfrau von ähnlichen Wesen

  

Wasserfrauen (Aspekt der Mütterlichkeit bzw. der Liebe)

Nixen (Aspekt der Bedrohung bzw. Verführung)

Bei zahlreichen Wasserwesen ist eine eindeutige Zuordnung zu einer der Kategorien nicht möglich (z. B. „Die schöne Lau“ von Eduard Mörike). Zudem werden gerade in neuerer Zeit die genannten Begriffe häufig verwechselt – falls es überhaupt jemals eine klare Trennung gab – und wie Synonyme verwendet.

  

Die Sirenen sind in der griechischen Mythologie weibliche Fabelwesen (Mischwesen aus ursprünglich Frau und Vogel), welche durch betörenden Gesang die vorbeifahrenden Schiffer anlocken, um sie zu töten. Sirenen werden fälscherlichweise oft mit Meerjungfrauen und Nixen verwechselt oder gleichgesetzt, da sie im Mittelalter auch mit Fischschwänzen dargestellt wurden. Sie gehören jedoch ursprünglich in den Bereich der Todesdämonen und waren mit den Harpyien und Lamien verwandt.

  

Wie alle weiblichen Wasserwesen ist die Meerjungfrau in der tiefenpsychologischen Deutung eine Form des Mutterarchetyps, einer Ausprägung der so genannte Anima (vgl. Carl Gustav Jung). Anders als insbesondere bei den schützenden Wasserfrauen und den bedrohlichen Nixen kommt bei der Meerjungfrau aber eher der Aspekt des schutz- und erlösungsbedürftigen Weibchens zum Ausdruck.

  

Ihre äußere Gestalt teilen die Meerjungfrauen mit den bereits genannten anderen weiblichen Wasserwesen. Ihre schönen jungen Körper sind nur in der oberen Hälfte menschlich, die untere Hälfte (meist ab der Hüfte) wird als mit Schuppen bedeckter Fischschwanz beschrieben. Auf den meisten Abbildungen ist die Schwanzflosse aber keine senkrechte Fischflosse, sondern eine waagerechte Fluke wie bei den Meeressäugern. Ihre Haare können grün schimmern oder ganz und gar grün sein.

  

Die Beschreibung geht auf die Eindrücke von Seefahrern zurück, die schöne junge Frauen gesehen haben wollen, die sich bei gutem Wetter auf Klippen sonnen. Möglicherweise sind viele dieser Sichtungen damit zu erklären, dass Seekühe oder andere Tiere von den Seeleuten für Meerjungfrauen gehalten wurden.

  

Älteste Vertreterin des Typus ist Undine, ein weiblich-jungfräulicher Wassergeist, der erst nach Vermählung mit einem Menschenmann eine Seele bekommt. Sie taucht erstmals in Schriften des frühen 14. Jahrhunderts auf.

  

Abgewandelt wird das Motiv bei Melusine, einer dem schwäbischen Raum entstammenden Volkssage. Die Seejungfrau wandelt an sechs Wochentagen als Menschenfrau umher und erlangt nur an Samstagen ihre ursprüngliche Gestalt. Die Neugierde ihres menschlichen Gatten verhindert ihre Erlösung.

  

Darüber hinaus tauchen Seejungfrauen insbesondere in den Märchen/Sagen Die Wasserjungfer und Die Grüne Jungfer (beide Harz) sowie Die schöne Brunnenfrau (Lothringen) auf. Besondere Bedeutung kommt insofern der Sage vom Stauffenberger (Schwarzwald) zu, die unter anderem Paracelsus in seinem liber de nymphis aus dem 16. Jahrhundert und Achim von Arnim in Des Knaben Wunderhorn von 1808 aufgreifen.

  

Die bekannteste Meerjungfrau stammt aus der Feder des dänischen Märchendichters Hans Christian Andersen (1837): Die kleine Meerjungfrau. Auch ihre Erlösung scheitert, da sie trotz schwerer Opfer nicht die Liebe des Prinzen gewinnen kann und zu Meerschaum wird. Verewigt wurde die Figur im Wahrzeichen Kopenhagens. Eine ähnliche Statue (Havis Amanda) befindet sich in Helsinki. Sehr bekannt sind auch die tschechischen Märchenverfilmungen sowie Walt Disneys Umsetzung in dem Film Arielle, die Meerjungfrau.

  

Als Nebenfiguren tauchen Meerjungfrauen auch in Peter Pan auf. Das Motiv der Meerjungfrau in der wandelnden Badewanne stammt aus dem modernen Märchen „Die Meerjungfrau im Trockenen“ von Christian Peitz.

  

In der Jugendserie H2O – Plötzlich Meerjungfrau verwandeln sich drei australische Mädchen bei Wasserkontakt zu Meerjungfrauen.

  

In der Jugendserie Mako – Einfach Meerjungfrau geht es um drei Meerjungfrauen, die viele Abenteuer an Land erleben und bestehen müssen. Alles nur, weil ein "Landmensch" in den Mondsee gefallen ist, und nun ein "Meermann" ist. "Meermänner" sind eine Bedrohung für Meerjungfrauen, da sie durch den Dreizack gewaltige Kräfte besitzen und diese Kraft nicht gut verwenden.

  

Bildlich dargestellt wurden Meerjungfrauen als Galionsfiguren am Bug von Schiffen. Häufig anzutreffen sind sie auch als Motiv in der Kunst des Jugendstils.

  

A mermaid is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.[1] Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, Africa and Asia. The first stories appeared in ancient Assyria, in which the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings. In other folk traditions (or sometimes within the same tradition), they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.

  

Mermaids are associated with the mythological Greek sirens as well as with sirenia, a biological order comprising dugongs and manatees. Some of the historical sightings by sailors may have been misunderstood encounters with these aquatic mammals. Christopher Columbus reported seeing mermaids while exploring the Caribbean, and sightings have been reported in the 20th and 21st centuries in Canada, Israel and Zimbabwe. The U.S. National Ocean Service stated in 2012 that no evidence of mermaids has ever been found.

  

Mermaids have been a popular subject of art and literature in recent centuries, such as in Hans Christian Andersen's well-known fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" (1836). They have subsequently been depicted in operas, paintings, books, films and comics.

  

The word mermaid is a compound of the Old English mere (sea), and maid (a girl or young woman).[1] The equivalent term in Old English was merewif.[2] They are conventionally depicted as beautiful with long flowing hair.[1] As cited above, they are sometimes equated with the sirens of Greek mythology (especially the Odyssey), half-bird femme fatales whose enchanting voices would lure soon-to-be-shipwrecked sailors to nearby rocks, sandbars or shoals.

  

Sirenia is an order of fully aquatic, herbivorous mammals that inhabit rivers, estuaries, coastal marine waters, swamps and marine wetlands. Sirenians, including manatees and dugongs, possess major aquatic adaptations: arms used for steering, a paddle used for propulsion, and remnants of hind limbs (legs) in the form of two small bones floating deep in the muscle. They look ponderous and clumsy but are actually fusiform, hydrodynamic and highly muscular, and mariners before the mid-nineteenth century referred to them as mermaids

  

Sirenomelia, also called "mermaid syndrome", is a rare congenital disorder in which a child is born with his or her legs fused together and small genitalia. This condition is about as rare as conjoined twins, affecting one out of every 100,000 live births and is usually fatal within a day or two of birth because of kidney and bladder complications. Four survivors were known as of July 2003.

  

The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria c. 1000 BC. The goddess Atargatis, mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis, loved a mortal (a shepherd) and unintentionally killed him. Ashamed, she jumped into a lake and took the form of a fish, but the waters would not conceal her divine beauty. Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid — human above the waist, fish below — although the earliest representations of Atargatis showed her as a fish with a human head and arm, similar to the Babylonian god Ea. The Greeks recognized Atargatis under the name Derketo. Sometime before 546 BC, Milesian philosopher Anaximander postulated that mankind had sprung from an aquatic animal species. He thought that humans, who begin life with prolonged infancy, could not have survived otherwise.

  

A popular Greek legend turned Alexander the Great's sister, Thessalonike, into a mermaid after her death,[7] living in the Aegean. She would ask the sailors on any ship she would encounter only one question: "Is King Alexander alive?" (Greek: "Ζει ο Βασιλιάς Αλέξανδρος;"), to which the correct answer was: "He lives and reigns and conquers the world" (Greek: "Ζει και βασιλεύει και τον κόσμο κυριεύει"). This answer would please her, and she would accordingly calm the waters and bid the ship farewell. Any other answer would enrage her, and she would stir up a terrible storm, dooming the ship and every sailor on board.[8][9]

  

Lucian of Samosata in Syria (2nd century A.D.), in De Dea Syria (About the Syrian Goddess) wrote of the Syrian temples he had visited:

  

"Among them – Now that is the traditional story among them concerning the temple. But other men swear that Semiramis of Babylonia, whose deeds are many in Asia, also founded this site, and not for Hera Atargatis but for her own mother, whose name was Derketo."

"I saw Derketo's likeness in Phoenicia, a strange marvel. It is woman for half its length; but the other half, from thighs to feet, stretched out in a fish's tail. But the image in the Holy City is entirely a woman, and the grounds for their account are not very clear. They consider fish to be sacred, and they never eat them; and though they eat all other fowls they do not eat the dove, for they believe it is holy. And these things are done, they believe, because of Derketo and Semiramis, the first because Derketo has the shape of a fish, and the other because ultimately Semiramis turned into a dove. Well, I may grant that the temple was a work of Semiramis perhaps; but that it belongs to Derketo I do not believe in any way. For among the Egyptians some people do not eat fish, and that is not done to honor Derketo."[10]

One Thousand and One Nights

The One Thousand and One Nights collection includes several tales featuring "sea people", such as "Djullanar the Sea-girl".[11] Unlike depictions of mermaids in other mythologies, these are anatomically identical to land-bound humans, differing only in their ability to breathe and live underwater. They can (and do) interbreed with land humans, and the children of such unions have the ability to live underwater. In the tale "Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman", the protagonist Abdullah the Fisherman gains the ability to breathe underwater and discovers an underwater society that is portrayed as an inverted reflection of society on land. The underwater society follows a form of primitive communism where concepts like money and clothing do not exist. In "The Adventures of Bulukiya", the protagonist Bulukiya's quest for the herb of immortality leads him to explore the seas, where he encounters societies of mermaids.

  

The Norman chapel in Durham Castle, built around 1078 by Saxon stonemasons, has what is probably the earliest artistic depiction of a mermaid in England.[12] It can be seen on a south-facing capital above one of the original Norman stone pillars.[13]

  

Mermaids appear in British folklore as unlucky omens, both foretelling disaster and provoking it.[14] Several variants of the ballad Sir Patrick Spens depict a mermaid speaking to the doomed ships. In some versions, she tells them they will never see land again; in others, she claims they are near shore, which they are wise enough to know means the same thing. Mermaids can also be a sign of approaching rough weather,[15] and some have been described as monstrous in size, up to 2,000 feet (610 m).[14]

  

Mermaids have also been described as able to swim up rivers to freshwater lakes. In one story, the Laird of Lorntie went to aid a woman he thought was drowning in a lake near his house; a servant of his pulled him back, warning that it was a mermaid, and the mermaid screamed at them that she would have killed him if it were not for his servant.[16] But mermaids could occasionally be more beneficent; e.g., teaching humans cures for certain diseases.[17] Mermen have been described as wilder and uglier than mermaids, with little interest in humans.[18]

  

According to legend, a mermaid came to the Cornish village of Zennor where she used to listen to the singing of a chorister, Matthew Trewhella. The two fell in love, and Matthew went with the mermaid to her home at Pendour Cove. On summer nights, the lovers can be heard singing together. At the Church of Saint Senara in Zennor, there is a famous chair decorated by a mermaid carving which is probably six hundred years old.[19]

  

Some tales raised the question of whether mermaids had immortal souls, answering in the negative.[20] The figure of Lí Ban appears as a sanctified mermaid, but she was a human being transformed into a mermaid. After three centuries, when Christianity had come to Ireland, she was baptized.[21] In Scottish mythology, there is a mermaid called the ceasg or "maid of the wave",[22] as well as the Merrow of Ireland and Scotland.

  

Mermaids from the Isle of Man, known as ben-varrey, are considered more favorable toward humans than those of other regions,[23] with various accounts of assistance, gifts and rewards. One story tells of a fisherman who carried a stranded mermaid back into the sea and was rewarded with the location of treasure. Another recounts the tale of a baby mermaid who stole a doll from a human little girl, but was rebuked by her mother and sent back to the girl with a gift of a pearl necklace to atone for the theft. A third story tells of a fishing family that made regular gifts of apples to a mermaid and was rewarded with prosperity.

  

A freshwater mermaid-like creature from European folklore is Melusine. She is sometimes depicted with two fish tails, or with the lower body of a serpent.[24] Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" was published in 1837. The story was adapted into a Disney film with a bowdlerized plot. In the original version, The Little Mermaid is the youngest daughter of a sea king who lives at the bottom of the sea. To pursue a prince with whom she has fallen in love, the mermaid gets a sea witch to give her legs and agrees to give up her tongue in return. Though she is found on the beach by the prince, he marries another. Told she must stab the prince in the heart to return to her sisters, she can't do it out of love for him. She then rises from the ocean and sees ethereal beings around her who explain that mermaids who do good deeds become daughters of the air, and after 300 years of good service they can earn a human soul.[25]

  

A world-famous statue of the Little Mermaid, based on Andersen's fairy tale, has been in Copenhagen, Denmark since August 1913, with copies in 13 other locations around the world – almost half of them in North America.

Rusalkas are the Slavic counterpart of the Greek sirens and naiads.[29] Although the Russian word rusalka is commonly translated as mermaid, they lack a fishlike tail. The nature of rusalkas varies among folk traditions, but according to ethnologist D.K. Zelenin they all share a common element: they are the restless spirits of the unclean dead.[29] They are usually the ghosts of young women who died a violent or untimely death, perhaps by murder or suicide, before their wedding and especially by drowning. Rusalkas are said to inhabit lakes and rivers. They appear as beautiful young women with long pale green hair and pale skin, suggesting a connection with floating weeds and days spent underwater in faint sunlight. They can be seen after dark, dancing together under the moon and calling out to young men by name, luring them to the water and drowning them. The characterization of rusalkas as both desirable and treacherous is prevalent in southern Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus, and was emphasized by 19th-century Russian authors. The best-known of the great Czech nationalist composer Antonín Dvořák's operas is Rusalka.

  

In Sadko (Russian: Садко), a Russian medieval epic, the title character—an adventurer, merchant and gusli musician from Novgorod—lives for some time in the underwater court of the "Sea Tsar" and marries his daughter before finally returning home. The tale inspired such works as the poem "Sadko"[33] by Alexei Tolstoy (1817–75), the opera Sadko composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and the painting by Ilya Repin.

  

A 15th-century compilation of quotations from Chinese literature tells of a mermaid who "wept tears which became pearls".[34] An early 19th-century book entitled Jottings on the South of China contains two stories about mermaids. In the first, a man captures a mermaid on the shore of Namtao island. She looks human in every respect except that her body is covered with fine hair of many colors. She can't talk, but he takes her home and marries her. After his death, the mermaid returns to the sea where she was found. In the second story, a man sees a woman lying on the beach while his ship was anchored offshore. On closer inspection, her feet and hands appear to be webbed. She is carried to the water, and expresses her gratitude toward the sailors before swimming away.

  

Suvannamaccha (lit. golden mermaid) is a daughter of Ravana that appears in the Cambodian and Thai versions of the Ramayana. She is a mermaid princess who tries to spoil Hanuman's plans to build a bridge to Lanka but falls in love with him instead. She is a popular figure of Thai folklore.[36]

  

Apsaras (Ap = waters/rivers, saras = flowing on) are river nymphs co-resident with mostly male gods for their pleasure in the rivers of their heavenly abode.

  

Mami Wata are water spirits venerated in west, central and southern Africa, and in the African diaspora in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America. They are usually female, but are sometimes male.[37] The Persian word "برایم بمان" or "maneli" means both "mermaid"[38] and "stay with me".

The Neo-Taíno nations of the Caribbean identify a mermaid called Aycayia[39][40] with attributes of the goddess Jagua and the hibiscus flower of the majagua tree Hibiscus tiliaceus.[41] In modern Caribbean culture, there is a mermaid recognized as a Haitian vodou loa called La Sirene (lit. "the mermaid"), representing wealth, beauty and the orisha Yemaya.

  

Examples from other cultures are the jengu of Cameroon, the iara of Brazil and the Greek oceanids, nereids and naiads. The ningyo is a fishlike creature from Japanese folklore, and consuming its flesh bestows amazing longevity. Mermaids and mermen are also characters of Philippine folklore, where they are locally known as sirena and siyokoy respectively.[42] The Javanese people believe that the southern beach in Java is a home of Javanese mermaid queen Nyi Roro Kidul.

  

In 1493, sailing off the coast of Hispaniola, Columbus reported seeing three "female forms" which "rose high out of the sea, but were not as beautiful as they are represented".[44][45] The logbook of Blackbeard, an English pirate, records that he instructed his crew on several voyages to steer away from charted waters which he called "enchanted" for fear of merfolk or mermaids, which Blackbeard himself and members of his crew reported seeing.[46] These sighting were often recounted and shared by sailors and pirates who believed that mermaids brought bad luck and would bewitch them into giving up their gold and dragging them to the bottom of the sea. Two sightings were reported in Canada near Vancouver and Victoria, one from sometime between 1870 and 1890, the other from 1967.[47][48]

  

In August 2009, after dozens of people reported seeing a mermaid leaping out of the water and doing aerial tricks, the Israeli coastal town of Kiryat Yam offered a $1 million award for proof of its existence.[49] In February 2012, work on two reservoirs near Gokwe and Mutare in Zimbabwe stopped when workers refused to continue, stating that mermaids had hounded them away from the sites. It was reported by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the water resources minister.

  

In May 2012, a Mermaids: The Body Found, a television docufiction[51] aired on Animal Planet which centered around the experiences of former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, showing a CGI recreation of amateur sound and video of a beached mermaid and discussing scientific theories involving the existence of mermaids.[51] In July 2012 in response to public inquiries, the National Ocean Service (a branch of NOAA) stated that "no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found".[52][53]

  

A year later in May 2013, Animal Planet aired another docu-fiction titled Mermaids: The New Evidence featuring "previously unreleased video evidence",[54][55] including what a former Iceland GeoSurvey scientist witnessed while diving off the coast of Greenland in an underwater submersible. The videos provide two different shots of what appears to be a humanoid creature approaching and touching their vehicle.[56] NOAA once again released a statement saying "The person identified as a NOAA scientist was an actor."[57][58] The actor is separately identified as David Evans[59] of Ontario, Canada.

  

In the middle of the 17th century, John Tradescant the elder created a wunderkammer (called Tradescant's Ark) in which he displayed, among other things, a "mermaid's hand".[60] In the 19th century, P. T. Barnum displayed a taxidermal hoax called the Fiji mermaid in his museum. Others have perpetrated similar hoaxes, which are usually papier-mâché fabrications or parts of deceased creatures, usually monkeys and fish, stitched together for the appearance of a grotesque mermaid. In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, pictures of Fiji "mermaids" circulated on the Internet as supposed examples of items that had washed up amid the devastation, though they were no more real than Barnum's exhibit.[

  

According to Dorothy Dinnerstein’s book The Mermaid and the Minotaur, human-animal hybrids such as mermaids and minotaurs convey the emergent understanding of the ancients that human beings were both one with and different from animals:

  

[Human] nature is internally inconsistent, that our continuities with, and our differences from, the earth's other animals are mysterious and profound; and in these continuities, and these differences, lie both a sense of strangeness on earth and the possible key to a way of feeling at home here."

  

Famous in more recent centuries is the fairy tale The Little Mermaid (1836) by Hans Christian Andersen, whose works have been translated into over 100 languages.[63] The mermaid (as conceived by Andersen) is similar to an undine, a water nymph in German folklore who could only obtain an immortal soul by marrying a human being.[64] Andersen's heroine inspired a bronze sculpture in Copenhagen harbour and influenced Western literary works such as Oscar Wilde's The Fisherman and His Soul and H.G. Wells' The Sea Lady.[65] Sue Monk Kidd wrote a book called The Mermaid Chair loosely based on the legends of Saint Senara and the mermaid of Zennor.

  

Sculptures and statues of mermaids can be found in many countries and cultures, with over 130 public art mermaid statues across the world. Countries with public art mermaid sculptures include Russia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Denmark, Norway, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, India, China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Guam, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Saudi Arabia (Jeddah), the United States (including Hawaii and Virgin Islands) and Canada.[66] Some of these mermaid statues have become icons of their city or country, and have become major tourist attractions in themselves. The Little Mermaid (statue) in Copenhagen is an icon of that city as well as of Denmark. The Havis Amanda statue symbolizes the rebirth of the city of Helsinki, capital of Finland. The Syrenka (mermaid) is part of the Coat of Arms of Warsaw, and is considered a protector of Warsaw, capital of Poland, which publicly displays statues of their mermaid.

  

Musical depictions of mermaids include those by Felix Mendelssohn in his Fair Melusina overture and the three "Rhine daughters" in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Lorelei, the name of a Rhine mermaid immortalized in the Heinrich Heine poem of that name, has become a synonym for a siren. The Weeping Mermaid is an orchestral piece by Taiwanese composer Fan-Long Ko.[67]

  

An influential image was created by John William Waterhouse, from 1895 to 1905, entitled A Mermaid. An example of late British Academy style artwork, the piece debuted to considerable acclaim (and secured Waterhouse's place as a member of the Royal Academy), but disappeared into a private collection and did not resurface until the 1970s. It is currently once again in the Royal Academy's collection.[68] Mermaids were a favorite subject of John Reinhard Weguelin, a contemporary of Waterhouse. He painted an image of the mermaid of Zennor as well as several other depictions of mermaids in watercolour.

  

Film depictions include the romantic comedy Splash (1984) and Aquamarine (2006). A 1963 episode of the television series Route 66 entitled "The Cruelest Sea" featured a mermaid performance artist working at Weeki Wachee aquatic park. Mermaids also appeared in the popular supernatural drama television series Charmed, and were the basis of its spin-off series Mermaid. In She Creature (2001), two carnival workers abduct a mermaid in Ireland c. 1900 and attempt to transport her to America. The film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides mixes old and new myths about mermaids: singing to sailors to lure them to their death, growing legs when taken onto dry land, and bestowing kisses with magical healing properties. Animated films include Disney's musical version of Andersen's tale, The Little Mermaid, and Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo. The Australian teen dramedy H2O: Just Add Water chronicles the adventures of three modern-day mermaids along the Gold Coast of Australia.

  

In heraldry, the charge of a mermaid is commonly represented with a comb and a mirror,[69] and blazoned as a "mermaid in her vanity".[70] In addition to vanity, mermaids are also a symbol of eloquence.[71]

  

A shield and sword-wielding mermaid (Syrenka) is on the official coat of arms of Warsaw.[72] Images of a mermaid have symbolized Warsaw on its arms since the middle of the 14th century.[73] Several legends associate Triton of Greek mythology with the city, which may have been the origin of the mermaid's association.[74]

  

The city of Norfolk, Virginia also uses a mermaid as a symbol. The personal coat of arms of Michaëlle Jean, a former Governor General of Canada, features two mermaids as supporters.

  

Interest in mermaid costuming has grown alongside the popularity of fantasy cosplay as well as the availability of inexpensive monofins used in the construction of mermaid costumes. These costumes are typically designed to be used while swimming, in an activity known as mermaiding. Mermaid fandom conventions have also been held.

  

The Ama are Japanese skin divers, predominantly women, who traditionally dive for shellfish and seaweed wearing only a loincloth and who have been in action for at least 2,000 years.[78] Starting in the twentieth century, they have increasingly been regarded as a tourist attraction.[79] They operate off reefs near the shore, and some perform for sightseers instead of diving to collect a harvest. They have been romanticized as mermaids.[80]

  

Professional female divers have performed as mermaids at Florida's Weeki Wachee Springs since 1947. The state park calls itself "The Only City of Live Mermaids"[81] and was extremely popular in the 1960s, drawing almost one million tourists per year.[82] Most of the current performers work part-time while attending college, and all are certified Scuba divers. They wear fabric tails and perform aquatic ballet (while holding their breath) for an audience in an underwater stage with glass walls. Children often ask if the "mermaids" are real. The park's PR director says "Just like with Santa Claus or any other mythical character, we always say yes. We're not going to tell them they're not real".

  

Quelle:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaid

de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meerjungfrau

 

Fotografie oder Photographie (aus griechisch φῶς, phos, im Genitiv: φωτός, photos, „Licht (der Himmelskörper)“, „Helligkeit“ und γράφειν, graphein, „zeichnen“, „ritzen“, „malen“, „schreiben“) bezeichnet

  

eine bildgebende Methode,[1] bei der mit Hilfe von optischen Verfahren ein Lichtbild auf ein lichtempfindliches Medium projiziert und dort direkt und dauerhaft gespeichert (analoges Verfahren) oder in elektronische Daten gewandelt und gespeichert wird (digitales Verfahren).

das dauerhafte Lichtbild (Diapositiv, Filmbild oder Papierbild; kurz Bild, umgangssprachlich auch Foto genannt), das durch fotografische Verfahren hergestellt wird; dabei kann es sich entweder um ein Positiv oder ein Negativ auf Film, Folie, Papier oder anderen fotografischen Trägern handeln. Fotografische Aufnahmen werden als Abzug, Vergrößerung, Filmkopie oder als Ausbelichtung bzw. Druck von digitalen Bild-Dateien vervielfältigt. Der entsprechende Beruf ist der Fotograf.

Bilder, die für das Kino aufgenommen werden. Beliebig viele fotografische Bilder werden in Reihen von Einzelbildern auf Film aufgenommen, die später mit einem Filmprojektor als bewegte Bilder (Laufbilder) vorgeführt werden können (siehe Film).

  

Der Begriff Photographie wurde erstmals (noch vor englischen oder französischen Veröffentlichungen) am 25. Februar 1839 vom Astronomen Johann Heinrich von Mädler in der Vossischen Zeitung verwendet.[2] Bis ins 20. Jahrhundert bezeichnete Fotografie alle Bilder, welche rein durch Licht auf einer chemisch behandelten Oberfläche entstehen. Mit der deutschen Rechtschreibreform 1901 wurde die Schreibweise „Fotografie“ empfohlen, was sich jedoch bis heute nicht ganz durchsetzen konnte. Gemischte Schreibungen wie „Fotographie“ oder „Photografie“ sowie daraus abgewandelte Adjektive oder Substantive waren jedoch zu jeder Zeit eine falsche Schreibweise.

  

Allgemeines

Die Fotografie ist ein Medium, das in sehr verschiedenen Zusammenhängen eingesetzt wird. Fotografische Abbildungen können beispielsweise Gegenstände mit primär künstlerischem (künstlerische Fotografie) oder primär kommerziellem Charakter sein (Industriefotografie, Werbe- und Modefotografie). Die Fotografie kann unter künstlerischen, technischen (Fototechnik), ökonomischen (Fotowirtschaft) und gesellschaftlich-sozialen (Amateur-, Arbeiter- und Dokumentarfotografie) Aspekten betrachtet werden. Des Weiteren werden Fotografien im Journalismus und in der Medizin verwendet.

  

Die Fotografie ist teilweise ein Gegenstand der Forschung und Lehre in der Kunstgeschichte und der noch jungen Bildwissenschaft. Der mögliche Kunstcharakter der Fotografie war lange Zeit umstritten, ist jedoch seit der fotografischen Stilrichtung des Pictorialismus um die Wende zum 20. Jahrhundert letztlich nicht mehr bestritten. Einige Forschungsrichtungen ordnen die Fotografie der Medien- oder Kommunikationswissenschaft zu, auch diese Zuordnung ist umstritten.

  

Im Zuge der technologischen Weiterentwicklung fand zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts allmählich der Wandel von der klassischen analogen (Silber-)Fotografie hin zur Digitalfotografie statt. Der weltweite Zusammenbruch der damit in Zusammenhang stehenden Industrie für analoge Kameras aber auch für Verbrauchsmaterialien (Filme, Fotopapier, Fotochemie, Laborgeräte) führt dazu, dass die Fotografie mehr und mehr auch unter kulturwissenschaftlicher und kulturhistorischer Sicht erforscht wird. Allgemein kulturelle Aspekte in der Forschung sind z.B. Betrachtungen über den Erhalt und die Dokumentation der praktischen Kenntnis der fotografischen Verfahren für Aufnahme und Verarbeitung aber auch der Wandel im Umgang mit der Fotografie im Alltag. Zunehmend kulturhistorisch interessant werden die Archivierungs- und Erhaltungstechniken für analoge Aufnahmen aber auch die systemunabhängige langfristige digitale Datenspeicherung.

  

Die Fotografie unterliegt dem komplexen und vielschichtigen Fotorecht; bei der Nutzung von vorhandenen Fotografien sind die Bildrechte zu beachten.

  

Fototechnik

Prinzipiell wird meist mit Hilfe eines optischen Systems, in vielen Fällen einem Objektiv, fotografiert. Dieses wirft das von einem Objekt ausgesendete oder reflektierte Licht auf die lichtempfindliche Schicht einer Fotoplatte, eines Films oder auf einen fotoelektrischen Wandler, einen Bildsensor.

  

→ Hauptartikel: Fototechnik

Fotografische Kameras

→ Hauptartikel: Kamera

Der fotografischen Aufnahme dient eine fotografische Apparatur (Kamera). Durch Manipulation des optischen Systems (unter anderem die Einstellung der Blende, Scharfstellung, Farbfilterung, die Wahl der Belichtungszeit, der Objektivbrennweite, der Beleuchtung und nicht zuletzt des Aufnahmematerials) stehen dem Fotografen oder Kameramann zahlreiche Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten offen. Als vielseitigste Fotoapparatbauform hat sich sowohl im Analog- als auch im Digitalbereich die Spiegelreflexkamera durchgesetzt. Für viele Aufgaben werden weiterhin die verschiedensten Spezialkameras benötigt und eingesetzt.

  

Lichtempfindliche Schicht

Bei der filmbasierten Fotografie (z. B. Silber-Fotografie) ist die lichtempfindliche Schicht auf der Bildebene eine Dispersion (im allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch Emulsion). Sie besteht aus einem Gel, in dem gleichmäßig kleine Körnchen eines Silberhalogenids (zum Beispiel Silberbromid) verteilt sind. Je kleiner die Körnung ist, umso weniger lichtempfindlich ist die Schicht (siehe ISO-5800-Standard), umso besser ist allerdings die Auflösung („Korn“). Dieser lichtempfindlichen Schicht wird durch einen Träger Stabilität verliehen. Trägermaterialien sind Zelluloseacetat, früher diente dazu Zellulosenitrat (Zelluloid), Kunststofffolien, Metallplatten, Glasplatten und sogar Textilien (siehe Fotoplatte und Film).

  

Bei der Digitalfotografie besteht das Äquivalent der lichtempfindlichen Schicht aus Chips wie CCD- oder CMOS-Sensoren.

  

Entwicklung und Fixierung

Durch das Entwickeln bei der filmbasierten Fotografie wird auf chemischem Wege das latente Bild sichtbar gemacht. Beim Fixieren werden die nicht belichteten Silberhalogenid-Körnchen wasserlöslich gemacht und anschließend mit Wasser herausgewaschen, sodass ein Bild bei Tageslicht betrachtet werden kann, ohne dass es nachdunkelt.

  

Ein weiteres älteres Verfahren ist das Staubverfahren, mit dem sich einbrennbare Bilder auf Glas und Porzellan herstellen lassen.

  

Ein digitales Bild muss nicht entwickelt werden; es wird elektronisch gespeichert und kann anschließend mit der elektronischen Bildbearbeitung am Computer bearbeitet und bei Bedarf auf Fotopapier ausbelichtet oder beispielsweise mit einem Tintenstrahldrucker ausgedruckt werden. Bei der Weiterverarbeitung von Rohdaten spricht man auch hier von Entwicklung.

  

Der Abzug

Als Abzug bezeichnet man das Ergebnis einer Kontaktkopie, einer Vergrößerung, oder einer Ausbelichtung; dabei entsteht in der Regel ein Papierbild. Abzüge können von Filmen (Negativ oder Dia) oder von Dateien gefertigt werden.

  

Abzüge als Kontaktkopie haben dieselbe Größe wie die Abmessungen des Aufnahmeformats; wird eine Vergrößerung vom Negativ oder Positiv angefertigt, beträgt die Größe des entstehenden Bildes ein Vielfaches der Größe der Vorlage, dabei wird jedoch in der Regel das Seitenverhältnis beibehalten, das bei der klassischen Fotografie bei 1,5 bzw. 3:2 oder in USA 4:5 liegt.

Eine Ausnahme davon stellt die Ausschnittvergrößerung dar, deren Seitenverhältnis in der Bühne eines Vergrößerers beliebig festgelegt werden kann; allerdings wird auch die Ausschnittvergrößerung in der Regel auf ein Papierformat mit bestimmten Abmessungen belichtet.

  

Der Abzug ist eine häufig gewählte Präsentationsform der Amateurfotografie, die in speziellen Kassetten oder Alben gesammelt werden. Bei der Präsentationsform der Diaprojektion arbeitet man in der Regel mit dem Original-Diapositiv, also einem Unikat, während es sich bei Abzügen immer um Kopien handelt.

  

Geschichte der Fotografie

→ Hauptartikel: Geschichte und Entwicklung der Fotografie

Vorläufer und Vorgeschichte[Bearbeiten]

Der Name Kamera leitet sich vom Vorläufer der Fotografie, der Camera obscura („Dunkle Kammer“) ab, die bereits seit dem 11. Jahrhundert bekannt ist und Ende des 13. Jahrhunderts von Astronomen zur Sonnenbeobachtung eingesetzt wurde. Anstelle einer Linse weist diese Kamera nur ein kleines Loch auf, durch das die Lichtstrahlen auf eine Projektionsfläche fallen, von der das auf dem Kopf stehende, seitenverkehrte Bild abgezeichnet werden kann. In Edinburgh und Greenwich bei London sind begehbare, raumgroße Camerae obscurae eine Touristenattraktion. Auch das Deutsche Filmmuseum hat eine Camera obscura, in der ein Bild des gegenüberliegenden Mainufers projiziert wird.

  

Ein Durchbruch ist 1550 die Wiedererfindung der Linse, mit der hellere und gleichzeitig schärfere Bilder erzeugt werden können. 1685: Ablenkspiegel, ein Abbild kann so auf Papier gezeichnet werden.

  

Im 18. Jahrhundert kamen die Laterna magica, das Panorama und das Diorama auf. Chemiker wie Humphry Davy begannen bereits, lichtempfindliche Stoffe zu untersuchen und nach Fixiermitteln zu suchen.

  

Die frühen Verfahren

Die vermutlich erste Fotografie der Welt wurde im Frühherbst 1826 durch Joseph Nicéphore Nièpce im Heliografie-Verfahren angefertigt. 1837 benutzte Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre ein besseres Verfahren, das auf der Entwicklung der Fotos mit Hilfe von Quecksilber-Dämpfen und anschließender Fixierung in einer heißen Kochsalzlösung oder einer normal temperierten Natriumthiosulfatlösung beruhte. Die auf diese Weise hergestellten Bilder, allesamt Unikate auf versilberten Kupferplatten, wurden als Daguerreotypien bezeichnet. Bereits 1835 hatte der Engländer William Fox Talbot das Negativ-Positiv-Verfahren erfunden. Auch heute werden noch manche der historischen Verfahren als Edeldruckverfahren in der Bildenden Kunst und künstlerischen Fotografie verwendet.

  

Im Jahr 1883 erschien in der bedeutenden Leipziger Wochenzeitschrift Illustrirte Zeitung zum ersten Mal in einer deutschen Publikation ein gerastertes Foto in Form einer Autotypie, einer um 1880 erfolgten Erfindung von Georg Meisenbach.

  

20. Jahrhundert

Fotografien konnten zunächst nur als Unikate hergestellt werden, mit der Einführung des Negativ-Positiv-Verfahrens war eine Vervielfältigung im Kontaktverfahren möglich. Die Größe des fertigen Fotos entsprach in beiden Fällen dem Aufnahmeformat, was sehr große, unhandliche Kameras erforderte. Mit dem Rollfilm und insbesondere der von Oskar Barnack bei den Leitz Werken entwickelten und 1924 eingeführten Kleinbildkamera, die den herkömmlichen 35-mm-Kinofilm verwendete, entstanden völlig neue Möglichkeiten für eine mobile, schnelle Fotografie. Obwohl, durch das kleine Format bedingt, zusätzliche Geräte zur Vergrößerung erforderlich wurden, und die Bildqualität mit den großen Formaten bei Weitem nicht mithalten konnte, setzte sich das Kleinbild in den meisten Bereichen der Fotografie als Standardformat durch.

  

Analogfotografie

→ Hauptartikel: Analogfotografie

Begriff

Zur Abgrenzung gegenüber den neuen fotografischen Verfahren der Digitalfotografie tauchte zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts[3] der Begriff Analogfotografie oder stattdessen auch die zu diesem Zeitpunkt bereits veraltete Schreibweise Photographie wieder auf.

  

Um der Öffentlichkeit ab 1990 die seinerzeit neue Technologie der digitalen Speicherung von Bilddateien zu erklären, verglich man sie in einigen Publikationen technisch mit der bis dahin verwendeten analogen Bildspeicherung der Still-Video-Kamera. Durch Übersetzungsfehler und Fehlinterpretationen, sowie durch den bis dahin noch allgemein vorherrschenden Mangel an technischem Verständnis über die digitale Kameratechnik, bezeichneten einige Journalisten danach irrtümlich auch die bisherigen klassischen Film-basierten Kamerasysteme als Analogkameras[4][5].

  

Der Begriff hat sich bis heute erhalten und bezeichnet nun fälschlich nicht mehr die Fotografie mittels analoger Speichertechnik in den ersten digitalen Still-Video-Kameras, sondern nur noch die Technik der Film-basierten Fotografie. Bei dieser wird aber weder digital noch analog 'gespeichert', sondern chemisch/physikalisch fixiert.

  

Allgemeines

Eine Fotografie kann weder analog noch digital sein. Lediglich die Bildinformation kann punktuell mittels physikalischer, analog messbarer Signale (Densitometrie, Spektroskopie) bestimmt und gegebenenfalls nachträglich digitalisiert werden.

  

Nach der Belichtung des Films liegt die Bildinformation zunächst nur latent vor. Gespeichert wird diese Information nicht in der Analogkamera sondern erst bei der Entwicklung des Films mittels chemischer Reaktion in einer dreidimensionalen Gelatineschicht (Film hat mehrere übereinander liegende Sensibilisierungsschichten). Die Bildinformation liegt danach auf dem ursprünglichen Aufnahmemedium (Diapositiv oder Negativ) unmittelbar vor. Sie ist ohne weitere Hilfsmittel als Fotografie (Unikat) in Form von entwickelten Silberhalogeniden bzw. Farbkupplern sichtbar. Gegebenenfalls kann aus solchen Fotografien in einem zweiten chemischen Prozess im Fotolabor ein Papierbild erzeugt werden, bzw. kann dies nun auch durch Einscannen und Ausdrucken erfolgen.

  

Bei der digitalen Speicherung werden die analogen Signale aus dem Kamerasensor in einer zweiten Stufe digitalisiert und werden damit elektronisch interpretier- und weiterverarbeitbar. Die digitale Bildspeicherung mittels Analog-Digital-Wandler nach Auslesen aus dem Chip der Digitalkamera arbeitet (vereinfacht) mit einer lediglich zweidimensional erzeugten digitalen Interpretation der analogen Bildinformation und erzeugt eine beliebig oft (praktisch verlustfrei) kopierbare Datei in Form von differentiell ermittelten digitalen Absolutwerten. Diese Dateien werden unmittelbar nach der Aufnahme innerhalb der Kamera in Speicherkarten abgelegt. Mittels geeigneter Bildbearbeitungssoftware können diese Dateien danach ausgelesen, weiter verarbeitet und auf einem Monitor oder Drucker als sichtbare Fotografie ausgegeben werden.

  

Digitalfotografie

  

Die erste CCD (Charge-coupled Device) Still-Video-Kamera wurde 1970 von Bell konstruiert und 1972 meldet Texas Instruments das erste Patent auf eine filmlose Kamera an, welche einen Fernsehbildschirm als Sucher verwendet.

  

1973 produzierte Fairchild Imaging das erste kommerzielle CCD mit einer Auflösung von 100 × 100 Pixel.

  

Dieses CCD wurde 1975 in der ersten funktionstüchtigen digitalen Kamera von Kodak benutzt. Entwickelt hat sie der Erfinder Steven Sasson. Diese Kamera wog 3,6 Kilogramm, war größer als ein Toaster und benötigte noch 23 Sekunden, um ein Schwarz-Weiß-Bild mit 100x100 Pixeln Auflösung auf eine digitale Magnetbandkassette zu übertragen; um das Bild auf einem Bildschirm sichtbar zu machen, bedurfte es weiterer 23 Sekunden.

  

1986 stellte Canon mit der RC-701 die erste kommerziell erhältliche Still-Video-Kamera mit magnetischer Aufzeichnung der Bilddaten vor, Minolta präsentierte den Still Video Back SB-90/SB-90S für die Minolta 9000; durch Austausch der Rückwand der Kleinbild-Spiegelreflexkamera wurde aus der Minolta 9000 eine digitale Spiegelreflexkamera; gespeichert wurden die Bilddaten auf 2-Zoll-Disketten.

  

1987 folgten weitere Modelle der RC-Serie von Canon sowie digitale Kameras von Fujifilm (ES-1), Konica (KC-400) und Sony (MVC-A7AF). 1988 folgte Nikon mit der QV-1000C und 1990 sowie 1991 Kodak mit dem DCS (Digital Camera System) sowie Rollei mit dem Digital Scan Pack. Ab Anfang der 1990er Jahre kann die Digitalfotografie im kommerziellen Bildproduktionsbereich als eingeführt betrachtet werden.

  

Die digitale Fotografie revolutionierte die Möglichkeiten der digitalen Kunst, erleichtert insbesondere aber auch Fotomanipulationen.

  

Die Photokina 2006 zeigt, dass die Zeit der filmbasierten Kamera endgültig vorbei ist.[6] Im Jahr 2007 sind weltweit 91 Prozent aller verkauften Fotokameras digital,[7] die herkömmliche Fotografie auf Filmen schrumpft auf Nischenbereiche zusammen. Im Jahr 2011 besaßen rund 45,4 Millionen Personen in Deutschland einen digitalen Fotoapparat im Haushalt und im gleichen Jahr wurden in Deutschland rund 8,57 Millionen Digitalkameras verkauft.[8]

  

Siehe auch: Chronologie der Fotografie und Geschichte und Entwicklung der Fotografie

Fotografie als Kunst

  

Der Kunstcharakter der Fotografie war lange Zeit umstritten; zugespitzt formuliert der Kunsttheoretiker Karl Pawek in seinem Buch „Das optische Zeitalter“ (Olten/Freiburg i. Br. 1963, S. 58): „Der Künstler erschafft die Wirklichkeit, der Fotograf sieht sie.“

  

Diese Auffassung betrachtet die Fotografie nur als ein technisches, standardisiertes Verfahren, mit dem eine Wirklichkeit auf eine objektive, quasi „natürliche“ Weise abgebildet wird, ohne das dabei gestalterische und damit künstlerische Aspekte zum Tragen kommen: „die Erfindung eines Apparates zum Zwecke der Produktion … (perspektivischer) Bilder hat ironischerweise die Überzeugung … verstärkt, dass es sich hierbei um die natürliche Repräsentationsform handele. Offenbar ist etwas natürlich, wenn wir eine Maschine bauen können, die es für uns erledigt.“[9] Fotografien dienten gleichwohl aber schon bald als Unterrichtsmittel bzw. Vorlage in der Ausbildung bildender Künstler (Études d’après nature).

  

Schon in Texten des 19. Jahrhunderts wurde aber auch bereits auf den Kunstcharakter der Fotografie hingewiesen, der mit einem ähnlichen Einsatz der Technik wie bei anderen anerkannten zeitgenössische grafische Verfahren (Aquatinta, Radierung, Lithografie, …) begründet wird. Damit wird auch die Fotografie zu einem künstlerischen Verfahren, mit dem ein Fotograf eigene Bildwirklichkeiten erschafft.[10]

  

Auch zahlreiche Maler des 19. Jahrhunderts, wie etwa Eugène Delacroix, erkannten dies und nutzten Fotografien als Mittel zur Bildfindung und Gestaltung, als künstlerisches Entwurfsinstrument für malerische Werke, allerdings weiterhin ohne ihr einen eigenständigen künstlerischen Wert zuzusprechen.

  

Der Fotograf Henri Cartier-Bresson, selbst als Maler ausgebildet, wollte die Fotografie ebenfalls nicht als Kunstform, sondern als Handwerk betrachtet wissen: „Die Fotografie ist ein Handwerk. Viele wollen daraus eine Kunst machen, aber wir sind einfach Handwerker, die ihre Arbeit gut machen müssen.“ Gleichzeitig nahm er aber für sich auch das Bildfindungskonzept des entscheidenden Augenblickes in Anspruch, das ursprünglich von Gotthold Ephraim Lessing dramenpoetologisch ausgearbeitet wurde. Damit bezieht er sich unmittelbar auf ein künstlerisches Verfahren zur Produktion von Kunstwerken. Cartier-Bressons Argumentation diente also einerseits der poetologischen Nobilitierung, andererseits der handwerklichen Immunisierung gegenüber einer Kritik, die die künstlerische Qualität seiner Werke anzweifeln könnte. So wurden gerade Cartier-Bressons Fotografien sehr früh in Museen und Kunstausstellungen gezeigt, so zum Beispiel in der MoMa-Retrospektive (1947) und der Louvre-Ausstellung (1955).

  

Fotografie wurde bereits früh als Kunst betrieben (Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll und Oscar Gustave Rejlander in den 1860ern). Der entscheidende Schritt zur Anerkennung der Fotografie als Kunstform ist den Bemühungen von Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) zu verdanken, der mit seinem Magazin Camera Work den Durchbruch vorbereitete.

  

Erstmals trat die Fotografie in Deutschland in der Werkbund-Ausstellung 1929 in Stuttgart in beachtenswertem Umfang mit internationalen Künstlern wie Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham und Man Ray an die Öffentlichkeit; spätestens seit den MoMA-Ausstellungen von Edward Steichen (The Family of Man, 1955) und John Szarkowski (1960er) ist Fotografie als Kunst von einem breiten Publikum anerkannt, wobei gleichzeitig der Trend zur Gebrauchskunst begann.

  

Im Jahr 1977 stellte die documenta 6 in Kassel erstmals als international bedeutende Ausstellung in der berühmten Abteilung Fotografie die Arbeiten von historischen und zeitgenössischen Fotografen aus der gesamten Geschichte der Fotografie in den vergleichenden Kontext zur zeitgenössischen Kunst im Zusammenhang mit den in diesem Jahr begangenen „150 Jahren Fotografie“.

  

Heute ist Fotografie als vollwertige Kunstform akzeptiert. Indikatoren dafür sind die wachsende Anzahl von Museen, Sammlungen und Forschungseinrichtungen für Fotografie, die Zunahme der Professuren für Fotografie sowie nicht zuletzt der gestiegene Wert von Fotografien in Kunstauktionen und Sammlerkreisen. Zahlreiche Gebiete haben sich entwickelt, so die Landschafts-, Akt-, Industrie-, Theaterfotografie und andere mehr, die innerhalb der Fotografie eigene Wirkungsfelder entfaltet haben. Daneben entwickelt sich die künstlerische Fotomontage zu einem der malenden Kunst gleichwertigen Kunstobjekt. Neben der steigenden Anzahl von Fotoausstellungen und deren Besucherzahlen wird die Popularität moderner Fotografie auch in den erzielten Verkaufspreisen auf Kunstauktionen sichtbar. Fünf der zehn Höchstgebote für moderne Fotografie wurden seit 2010 auf Auktionen erzielt. Die aktuell teuerste Fotografie "Rhein II" von Andreas Gursky wurde im November 2011 auf einer Kunstauktion in New York für 4,3 Millionen Dollar versteigert.[11] Neuere Diskussionen innerhalb der Foto- und Kunstwissenschaften verweisen indes auf eine zunehmende Beliebigkeit bei der Kategorisierung von Fotografie. Zunehmend werde demnach von der Kunst und ihren Institutionen absorbiert, was einst ausschließlich in die angewandten Bereiche der Fotografie gehört habe.

  

Photography (see section below for etymology) is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film, or electronically by means of an image sensor.[1] Typically, a lens is used to focus the light reflected or emitted from objects into a real image on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a timed exposure. The result in an electronic image sensor is an electrical charge at each pixel, which is electronically processed and stored in a digital image file for subsequent display or processing.

  

The result in a photographic emulsion is an invisible latent image, which is later chemically developed into a visible image, either negative or positive depending on the purpose of the photographic material and the method of processing. A negative image on film is traditionally used to photographically create a positive image on a paper base, known as a print, either by using an enlarger or by contact printing.

  

Photography has many uses for business, science, manufacturing (e.g. photolithography), art, recreational purposes, and mass communication.

  

The word "photography" was created from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), "light"[2] and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing",[3] together meaning "drawing with light".[4]

  

Several people may have coined the same new term from these roots independently. Hercules Florence, a French painter and inventor living in Campinas, Brazil, used the French form of the word, photographie, in private notes which a Brazilian photography historian believes were written in 1834.[5] Johann von Maedler, a Berlin astronomer, is credited in a 1932 German history of photography as having used it in an article published on 25 February 1839 in the German newspaper Vossische Zeitung.[6] Both of these claims are now widely reported but apparently neither has ever been independently confirmed as beyond reasonable doubt. Credit has traditionally been given to Sir John Herschel both for coining the word and for introducing it to the public. His uses of it in private correspondence prior to 25 February 1839 and at his Royal Society lecture on the subject in London on 14 March 1839 have long been amply documented and accepted as settled fact.

  

History and evolution

Precursor technologies

Photography is the result of combining several technical discoveries. Long before the first photographs were made, Chinese philosopher Mo Di and Greek mathematicians Aristotle and Euclid described a pinhole camera in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.[8][9] In the 6th century CE, Byzantine mathematician Anthemius of Tralles used a type of camera obscura in his experiments,[10] Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (965–1040) studied the camera obscura and pinhole camera,[9][11] Albertus Magnus (1193–1280) discovered silver nitrate,[12] and Georg Fabricius (1516–71) discovered silver chloride.[13] Techniques described in the Book of Optics are capable of producing primitive photographs using medieval materials. [14][15][16]

  

Daniele Barbaro described a diaphragm in 1566.[17] Wilhelm Homberg described how light darkened some chemicals (photochemical effect) in 1694.[18] The fiction book Giphantie, published in 1760, by French author Tiphaigne de la Roche, described what can be interpreted as photography.[17]

  

The discovery of the camera obscura that provides an image of a scene dates back to ancient China. Leonardo da Vinci mentions natural cameras obscura that are formed by dark caves on the edge of a sunlit valley. A hole in the cave wall will act as a pinhole camera and project a laterally reversed, upside down image on a piece of paper. So the birth of photography was primarily concerned with developing a means to fix and retain the image produced by the camera obscura.

  

The first success of reproducing images without a camera occurred when Thomas Wedgwood, from the famous family of potters, obtained copies of paintings on leather using silver salts. Since he had no way of permanently fixing those reproductions (stabilizing the image by washing out the non-exposed silver salts), they would turn completely black in the light and thus had to be kept in a dark room for viewing.

  

Renaissance painters used the camera obscura which, in fact, gives the optical rendering in color that dominates Western Art. The camera obscura literally means "dark chamber" in Latin. It is a box with a hole in it which allows light to go through and create an image onto the piece of paper.

  

First camera photography (1820s)

Invented in the early decades of the 19th century, photography by means of the camera seemed able to capture more detail and information than traditional media, such as painting and sculpture.[19] Photography as a usable process goes back to the 1820s with the development of chemical photography. The first permanent photoetching was an image produced in 1822 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce, but it was destroyed in a later attempt to make prints from it.[7] Niépce was successful again in 1825. He made the View from the Window at Le Gras, the earliest surviving photograph from nature (i.e., of the image of a real-world scene, as formed in a camera obscura by a lens), in 1826 or 1827.[20]

  

Because Niépce's camera photographs required an extremely long exposure (at least eight hours and probably several days), he sought to greatly improve his bitumen process or replace it with one that was more practical. Working in partnership with Louis Daguerre, he developed a somewhat more sensitive process that produced visually superior results, but it still required a few hours of exposure in the camera. Niépce died in 1833 and Daguerre then redirected the experiments toward the light-sensitive silver halides, which Niépce had abandoned many years earlier because of his inability to make the images he captured with them light-fast and permanent. Daguerre's efforts culminated in what would later be named the daguerreotype process, the essential elements of which were in place in 1837. The required exposure time was measured in minutes instead of hours. Daguerre took the earliest confirmed photograph of a person in 1838 while capturing a view of a Paris street: unlike the other pedestrian and horse-drawn traffic on the busy boulevard, which appears deserted, one man having his boots polished stood sufficiently still throughout the approximately ten-minute-long exposure to be visible. Eventually, France agreed to pay Daguerre a pension for his process in exchange for the right to present his invention to the world as the gift of France, which occurred on 19 August 1839.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Hercules Florence had already created his own process in 1832, naming it Photographie, and an English inventor, William Fox Talbot, had created another method of making a reasonably light-fast silver process image but had kept his work secret. After reading about Daguerre's invention in January 1839, Talbot published his method and set about improving on it. At first, like other pre-daguerreotype processes, Talbot's paper-based photography typically required hours-long exposures in the camera, but in 1840 he created the calotype process, with exposures comparable to the daguerreotype. In both its original and calotype forms, Talbot's process, unlike Daguerre's, created a translucent negative which could be used to print multiple positive copies, the basis of most chemical photography up to the present day. Daguerreotypes could only be replicated by rephotographing them with a camera.[21] Talbot's famous tiny paper negative of the Oriel window in Lacock Abbey, one of a number of camera photographs he made in the summer of 1835, may be the oldest camera negative in existence.[22][23]

  

John Herschel made many contributions to the new field. He invented the cyanotype process, later familiar as the "blueprint". He was the first to use the terms "photography", "negative" and "positive". He had discovered in 1819 that sodium thiosulphate was a solvent of silver halides, and in 1839 he informed Talbot (and, indirectly, Daguerre) that it could be used to "fix" silver-halide-based photographs and make them completely light-fast. He made the first glass negative in late 1839.

  

In the March 1851 issue of The Chemist, Frederick Scott Archer published his wet plate collodion process. It became the most widely used photographic medium until the gelatin dry plate, introduced in the 1870s, eventually replaced it. There are three subsets to the collodion process; the Ambrotype (a positive image on glass), the Ferrotype or Tintype (a positive image on metal) and the glass negative, which was used to make positive prints on albumen or salted paper.

  

Many advances in photographic glass plates and printing were made during the rest of the 19th century. In 1884, George Eastman developed an early type of film to replace photographic plates, leading to the technology used by film cameras today.

  

In 1891, Gabriel Lippmann introduced a process for making natural-color photographs based on the optical phenomenon of the interference of light waves. His scientifically elegant and important but ultimately impractical invention earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1908.

  

Black-and-white

See also: Monochrome photography

All photography was originally monochrome, or black-and-white. Even after color film was readily available, black-and-white photography continued to dominate for decades, due to its lower cost and its "classic" photographic look. The tones and contrast between light and dark shadows define black and white photography.[24] It is important to note that some monochromatic pictures are not always pure blacks and whites, but also contain other hues depending on the process. The cyanotype process produces an image composed of blue tones. The albumen process, first used more than 150 years ago, produces brown tones.

  

Many photographers continue to produce some monochrome images, often because of the established archival permanence of well processed silver halide based materials. Some full color digital images are processed using a variety of techniques to create black and whites, and some manufacturers produce digital cameras that exclusively shoot monochrome.

  

Color

Color photography was explored beginning in the mid-19th century. Early experiments in color required extremely long exposures (hours or days for camera images) and could not "fix" the photograph to prevent the color from quickly fading when exposed to white light.

  

The first permanent color photograph was taken in 1861 using the three-color-separation principle first published by physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1855. Maxwell's idea was to take three separate black-and-white photographs through red, green and blue filters. This provides the photographer with the three basic channels required to recreate a color image.

  

Transparent prints of the images could be projected through similar color filters and superimposed on the projection screen, an additive method of color reproduction. A color print on paper could be produced by superimposing carbon prints of the three images made in their complementary colors, a subtractive method of color reproduction pioneered by Louis Ducos du Hauron in the late 1860s.

  

Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii made extensive use of this color separation technique, employing a special camera which successively exposed the three color-filtered images on different parts of an oblong plate. Because his exposures were not simultaneous, unsteady subjects exhibited color "fringes" or, if rapidly moving through the scene, appeared as brightly colored ghosts in the resulting projected or printed images.

  

The development of color photography was hindered by the limited sensitivity of early photographic materials, which were mostly sensitive to blue, only slightly sensitive to green, and virtually insensitive to red. The discovery of dye sensitization by photochemist Hermann Vogel in 1873 suddenly made it possible to add sensitivity to green, yellow and even red. Improved color sensitizers and ongoing improvements in the overall sensitivity of emulsions steadily reduced the once-prohibitive long exposure times required for color, bringing it ever closer to commercial viability.

  

Autochrome, the first commercially successful color process, was introduced by the Lumière brothers in 1907. Autochrome plates incorporated a mosaic color filter layer made of dyed grains of potato starch, which allowed the three color components to be recorded as adjacent microscopic image fragments. After an Autochrome plate was reversal processed to produce a positive transparency, the starch grains served to illuminate each fragment with the correct color and the tiny colored points blended together in the eye, synthesizing the color of the subject by the additive method. Autochrome plates were one of several varieties of additive color screen plates and films marketed between the 1890s and the 1950s.

  

Kodachrome, the first modern "integral tripack" (or "monopack") color film, was introduced by Kodak in 1935. It captured the three color components in a multilayer emulsion. One layer was sensitized to record the red-dominated part of the spectrum, another layer recorded only the green part and a third recorded only the blue. Without special film processing, the result would simply be three superimposed black-and-white images, but complementary cyan, magenta, and yellow dye images were created in those layers by adding color couplers during a complex processing procedure.

  

Agfa's similarly structured Agfacolor Neu was introduced in 1936. Unlike Kodachrome, the color couplers in Agfacolor Neu were incorporated into the emulsion layers during manufacture, which greatly simplified the processing. Currently available color films still employ a multilayer emulsion and the same principles, most closely resembling Agfa's product.

  

Instant color film, used in a special camera which yielded a

Theater District, Midtown Manhattan, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

 

The Music Box Theater survives today as one of the historic playhouses that symbolize American theater for both New York and the nation. Constructed shortly after the end of World War I, the Music Box was built by producer Sam Harris to house Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues.

 

Sam Harris was a legendary Broadway producer, who first reached fame through his successful partnership with George M. Cohan, and then collaborated with Irving Berlin and later with Kaufman and Hart. Irving Berlin is among the greatest and best-known American songwriters of this century. Together they staged Berlin's Music Box Revues for the first five years of the 1920s.

 

C. Howard Crane was a nationally prominent theater architect when Harris and Berlin hired him, along with his associate E. George Kiehler, to design the Music Box. Besides his two Broadway houses (the Music Box and the Guild -- now the Virginia), he designed legitimate theaters and grand movie palaces in cities across the country, and later in England.

 

The Music Box Theater represents a special and important aspect of the nation's theatrical history. Beyond its historical importance, its facade is an unusually handsome Palladian-inspired design.

 

For over half a century, beginning with the Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues, the Music Box Theater has served as home to countless numbers of the plays through which the Broadway theater has come to personify American theater. As such, it continues to help define the Broadway theater district, the largest and most famous concentration of legitimate stage theaters in the world.

 

DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS

 

The development of the Broadway Theater District

 

The area of midtown Manhattan known today as the Broadway theater district encompasses the largest concentration of legitimate playhouses in the world. The theaters located there, some dating from the turn of the century, are significant for their contributions to the history of the New York stage, for their influence upon American theater as a whole, and in many cases for their architectural design.

 

The development of the area around Times Square as New York's theater district at the end of the 19th century occurred as a result of two related factors: the northward movement of the population of Manhattan Island (abetted by the growth of several forms of mass transportation), and the expansion of New York's role in American theater. The northward movement of Manhattan's residential, commercial, and entertainment districts had been occurring at a steady rate throughout the 19th century. In the early 1800s, businesses, stores, hotels, and places of amusement had clustered together in the vicinity of lower Broadway. As New York's various businesses moved north, they began to isolate themselves in more or less separate areas: the financial institutions remained downtown; the major retail stores situated themselves on Broadway between 14th and 23rd Streets, eventually moving to Herald Square and Fifth Avenue after the turn of the century; the hotels, originally located near the stores and theaters, began to congregate around major transportation centers such as Grand Central Terminal or on the newly fashionable Fifth Avenue; while the mansions of the wealthy spread farther north on Fifth Avenue, as did such objects of their beneficence as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

The theater district, which had existed in the midst of stores, hotels, and other businesses along lower Broadway for most of the 19th century, spread northward in stages, stopping for a time at Union Square, then Madison Square, then Herald Square. By the last two decades of the 19th century, far-sighted theater managers had begun to extend the theater district even farther north along Broadway, until they had reached the area that was then known as Long Acre Square and is today called Times Square.

 

A district of farmlands and rural summer homes in the early 1800s, Long Acre Square had by the turn of the century evolved into a hub of mass transportation. A horsecar line had run across 42nd Street as early as the 1860s, and in 1871, with the opening of Grand Central Depot and the completion of the Third and Sixth Avenue Elevated Railways, it was comparatively simple for both New Yorkers and out-of-towners to reach Long Acre Square. Transportation continued to play a large part in the development of the area; in 1904 New York's subway system was inaugurated, with a major station located at 42nd Street and Broadway. The area was then renamed Times Square in honor of the newly erected Times Building. The evolution of the Times Square area as a center of Manhattan's various mass transit systems made it a natural choice for the location of legitimate playhouses, which needed to be easily accessible to their audiences.

 

The theater business that invaded Long Acre Square at the end of the 19th century consisted of far more than a few playhouses, for at that time New York was the Starting-point for a vast, nationwide entertainment

 

network known as "the road." This complex theater operation had its beginnings in the 1860s when the traditional method of running a theater, the stock system, was challenged by the growing popularity of touring "combination" shows. In contrast to the stock system, in which a theater manager engaged a company of actors for a season and presented them in a variety of plays, the combination system consisted of a company of actors appearing in a single show which toured from city to city, providing its own scenery, costumes, and sometimes musical accompaniment. Helped by the expansion of the nation's railroads after the Civil War, the combination system soon killed off the majority of stock companies. By 1904 there were some 420 combination companies touring through thousands of theaters in cities and towns across the country.

 

Of crucial importance to the operation of the combination system was a single location where combination shows could be cast, rehearsed, tried out, and then booked for a cross-country tour. Since New York was already regarded as the most important theater city in America, it is not surprising that it became the headquarters for the combination system. In addition to the many theaters needed for an initial Broadway production for the combinations before they went on tour, New York's theater district encompassed rehearsal halls, the headquarters of scenery, costume, lighting, and makeup companies, offices of theatrical agents and producers, theatrical printers and newspapers, and other auxiliary enterprises. Close to the theater district were boarding houses catering to the hundreds of performers who came to New York in the hope of being hired for a touring show or a Broadway production.

 

As theaters were built farther uptown, the auxiliary enterprises also began to move north. By the turn of the century,

 

the section of Broadway between 37th Street and 42nd Street was known as the Rialto. Theater people gathered or promenaded there. Producers could sometimes cast a play by looking over the actors loitering on the Rialto; and out-of-town managers, gazing out of office windows, could book tours by seeing who was available.^

 

The theater district that began to move north to Long Acre Square in the 1890s was thus a vast array of business enterprises devoted to every facet of theatrical production.

 

The movement of the theater district north along Broadway had proceeded at a steady pace during the latter part of the 19th century. The Casino Theater was opened on the southeast corner of Broadway and 39th Street in 1882. A year later, it was joined by a most ambitious undertaking--the construction of the Metropolitan Opera House on Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets. In 1888, the Broadway Theater was erected on the southwest corner of Broadway and 41st Street. Five years later, the American Theater opened its doors at Eighth Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets, as did Abbey's Theater at Broadway and 38th Street and the Empire Theater at Broadway and Fortieth Street.

 

It remained for Oscar Hammerstein I to make the move into Long Acre Square itself. At the close of the 19th century, Long Acre Square housed Manhattan's harness and carriage businesses, but was little used at night,

 

when it seems to have become a "thieves' lair."^ In 1895 Hammerstein erected an enormous theater building on Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets. The original plan for the Olympia called for a "perfect palace of entertainment--which would have included three theaters, a bowling alley, a turkish bath, cafes and restaurants." Only part of this visionary plan ever became a reality. On November 25, 1895, Hammerstein opened the Lyric Theater section of the building, and a little over three weeks later he inaugurated the Music Hall section. Never a financial success, the Olympia closed its doors two years after it opened. Nevertheless, it earned Hammerstein the title of "Father of Times Square."

 

By the turn of the century Hammerstein had built two more theaters in the Long Acre Square area, and in the years 1901-1920 a total of forty-three additional theaters appeared in midtown Manhattan, most of them in the side streets east and west of Broadway. Much of this theater-building activity was inspired by the competition between two major forces in the industry, the Theatrical Syndicate and the Shubert Brothers, for control of the road. As each side in the rivalry drew its net more tightly around the playhouses it owned or controlled, the other side was forced to build new theaters to house its attractions. The result was a dramatic increase in the number of playhouses, both in New York and across the country. After World War I, as the road declined and New York's theatrical activity increased, the general economic prosperity made possible the construction of thirty additional playhouses in the Times Square area, expanding the boundaries of the theater district so that it stretched from just west of

 

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Eighth Avenue to Sixth Avenue, and from 39th Street to Columbus Circle.

 

The stockmarket crash of 1929 and the resulting Depression causec a shrinkage in theater activity. Some playhouses were torn down, many were converted to motion picture houses, and later to radio and television studios. From the time of the Depression until the 1960s no new Broadway playhouses were constructed. Fortunately, the theaters that survive from the early part of the century represent a cross - section of types and styles, and share among them a good deal of New York's rich theatrical history.

 

Evolution of Theater Design

 

The frenzy of theater construction that occurred in New York during the first thirty years of this century brought with it an evolution in architecture and decoration. At the close of the 19th century American theaters were still being built in the style of traditional European opera houses, with high proscenium arches, narrow auditoriums, two or three balconies built in a horseshoe configuration, and dozens of boxes, some set into the front of the first balcony. Although contemporary notices of the theaters attributed specific (though often vague) styles or periods to them, their interiors were more often than not a melange of styles and colors.

 

With the increase of theater construction after the turn of the century came a new attitude toward theater architecture and decoration as firms such as Herts and Tallant, Thomas W. Lamb, and others, began to plan the playhouse's exterior and interior as a single, integrated design. The

 

Art Nouveau style New Amsterdam Theater, which opened in 1903, signalled this new seriousness in theater design.

 

Perhaps influenced by such European experiments as Wagner's Festival Theater at Bayreuth, American theater architects after the turn of the century began to structure their playhouses along different lines. Proscenium openings were made lower and wider, auditoriums were made shallower, seating was planned in a fan shape, and the number of balconies was usually reduced to one. Boxes were cut back to a minimum. The theaters that were built just before and after World War I for the most part shared this new configuration.

 

Because many of New York's extant playhouses were built during the period in which New York was serving as the starting-point for nationwide tours, they represent a style of theater architecture that is characteristic not only of New York but also of other cities across the United States, for a show which was originally produced in a New York theater would require similar conditions in the theaters in which it toured, and theater owners often hired the same architects to design and build theaters in several cities. Thus, New York's theaters set the standard for theater construction across the United States, as an inspection of designs for theaters in various cities will show.

 

The Broadway Theater in American Theatrical History

 

The playhouses scj.ll standing in the Broadway theater district share among them over eighty years of American theatrical history. In the early years of the century, when American theater was still heavily influenced by Europe, the theaters played host to such great international stars as Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, and to adaptations of such European successes as The Merry Widow and Floradora.

 

It was in the Broadway theaters that the beginnings of a distinctly American drama could be seen in the Western melodramas of David Belasco, the social comedies of Clyde Fitch and Langdon Mitchell, and the problem plays of Edward Sheldon and Eugene Walter. With the rise of the "little theater" movement in the second decade of the century, it seemed that theatrical leadership had passed from Broadway to such experimental "art" theaters as the Provincetown Playhouse and the Neighborhood Playhouse. Before long, however, the innovations of the little theaters infused Broadway with new life. Beginning with the production of Eugene O'Neill's first full-length play, Beyond the Horizon, on Broadway in 1920, the playhouses of Broadway presented the work of a new generation of playwrights, including, in addition to O'Neill, Maxwell Anderson, Philip Barry, S.N. Behrman, Rachel Crothers, Sidney Howard, George S. Kaufman, George Kelly and Elmer Rice.

 

The Depression of the 1930s brought with it a new concern with political and social issues, and the dramas presented in the Broadway playhouses reflected that concern. Commercial producers gave us plays by Lillian Hellman, Robert E. Sherwood, and Thornton Wilder, whle the Group Theater and other new organizations introduced such writers as Clifford Odets and Sidney Kingsley. The Broadway theaters continued to house

 

challenging plays during the 1940s and 1950s, when new talents such as Tennessee Williams, Arthur Killer, and William Inge first began writing for the theater.

 

Meanwhile, musical comedy had blossomed from the adaptations and imitations of European operetta popular at the turn of the century to a uniquely American art form. By the 1940s and 1950s the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and many others, were being exported from the stages of Broadway to theaters around the world.

 

The 1960s and 1970s were decades of ferment and change, both in and out of the theater. As in the 1920s, the impetus for theatrical experimentation came from outside of Broadway, and as in the 1920s, the experimentation helped to revitalize the Broadway theater. Today, the playhouses of Broadway are showcases for the best plays of the Off- and Off-Off Broadway theaters, as well as for exciting productions from theatrical workshops, regional theaters, and outstanding foreign companies.

 

Having moved gradually northward all during the 19th century, New York's theater district finally came to rest at Times Square, where it has remained for almost ninety years. The economic Depression of the 1930s discouraged speculative ventures such as the construction of new theaters, while after prosperity returned in the wake of World War II, the cost of renting land and constructing a theater was prohibitively high. The northward movement of the theater district may also have been discouraged for a number of years by the existence of the Sixth Avenue Elevated Railway, which crossed from Sixth to Ninth Avenues 53rd Street, thereby providing a natural northern boundary for the theater district.

 

The Music Box Theater, as one of the Broadway playhouses surviving today in the theater district, contributes to the totality of the district's history by virtue of its participation in that history.

 

Irving Berlin and Sam H. Harris

 

The Music Box was built for Sam Harris and Irving Berlin, legendary Broadway figures who each played an important role in shaping the history of American theater entertainment. Sam Harris was a soft-spoken, behind-the-scenes genius whose percentage of hits is still one of the highest in Broadway history.^ Irving Berlin is one of the great American

 

songwriters of this century. Together they created the Music Box Theater and made it what one writer called "the home of the hits!"

 

Sam Harris, a native New Yorker, was born February 3, 1872, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He left school at the age of fourteen, and by the age of seventeen was organizing local holiday entertainment and athletic exhibitions. Harris also raised thoroughbred racing horses and promoted prize fighters, including the featherweight champion of 1897, "Terrible Terry" McGovern. The enterprising Harris figured "Terrible Terry" could do more than just box in the ring, so beginning in 1898 he had McGovern delivering punch lines on the stage, first in The Bowery After Dark, a financial success which went on to tour the country, and then in The Gay Morning Glories, not nearly as popular.

 

In 1904, Sam Harris began a lengthy collaboration with composer George M. Cohan. Their first great success was Little Johnnie Jones. It was Cohan's show; he acted in it and wrote the music, including the songs "Give My Regards to Broadway." Harris, however, knew better than anyone the

 

business end of good popular entertainment; together Cohan and Harris are still regarded as one of the most successful teams in Broadway history.

 

Harris also controlled several theaters with Cohan: in 1913, they built the Bronx Opera House on East 149th Street and Third Avenue (extant), and together they took control of the Cohan and Harris Theater. Their personal lives were linked through their marriages to sisters, Alice Nolan (Harris's first wife), and Agnes Nolan (Cohan's wife). Their partnership eventually dissolved over a disagreement during the actors' strike which preceded the formation of Actors' Equity in 1920. Despite their feud, Cohan and Harris remained good friends and even revived their partnership in 1937 to produce one more show, Fulton of Oak FalIs.

 

When Harris parted with Cohan, he joined Irving Berlin in the Music Box Theater project. In addition to Berlin, Harris went on to collaborate with George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart on a number of productions, including Once In a Lifetime, Dinner At Eight, and The Man Who Came To Dinner. Three of his productions won Pulitzer Prizes: Icebound in 1923, Of Thee I Sing in 1932, and You Can't Take It With You in 1937. Harris died in 1941, a successful and respected stage figure whose name, Max Gordon once said, "stood for impeccable taste and something called for lack of a better word, 'class.'"

 

Irving Berlin, still alive today at the age of 99, has been one of the most versatile and popular songwriters of the twentieth century. Born May 11, 1888, in Eastern Russia, Israel Baline immigrated to the United States with his family in 1892 when he was only four years old."* His first published song (1907) was "Mario From Sunny Italy." A printer's error on the cover spelled his name I. Berlin, and he kept the name. Unable to read music and without any formal training, Berlin nonetheless has had over 1500 songs published, many of them internationally known. He can play the piano only in the key of F-sharp, and even has a special instrument furnished with a clutch that enables him to switch automatically to any key.

 

At the beginning of his career, Irving Berlin was a "Tin Pan Alley" pioneer, helping to win wide acceptance for ragtime jazz and the accompanying dance craze. His first great musical success, "Alexander's Ragtime Band," became an international hit when vaudeville star Emma Carus introduced its syncopated march rhythms to Chicago audienpes in 1911. By 1915, the song had sold over two million sheet copies and Berlin had become identified in the public mind with ragtime.

 

In 1914 Berlin wrote his first complete score for the Vernon and Irene Castle revue Watch Your Step that popularized "Play a Simple Melody." At that time he was also performing in vaudeville, appearing at such theaters as the London Hippodrome, where he was billed as the "king of ragtime." Drafted into the army in 1918, Berlin wrote and starred in Yip-Yip Yaphank, a service musical in which he first introduced "I Hate to Get Up in the Morning."

 

In 1919, the songwriter formed his own musical publishing company, Irving Berlin, Inc. During the 1920s Berlin wrote for a number of revues including the Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 and 1927 and his own Music Box Revues of 1921-24. In 1925, he scored his first musical comedy, The Cocoanuts, for the Marx Brothers. His work took on a more sober tone in

 

the early 1930s with two political satires, Face the Music (1932) and As Thousands Cheer (1933), the latter featuring his holiday classic, "Easter Parade." In 1935 Berlin began writing for the movies. Bing Crosby, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland owed some of their greatest hits to him. Top Hat (1935) featured Rogers and Astaire dancing to "Isn't This a Lovely Day" and "Cheek to Cheek," Crosby introduced "White Christmas" in Holiday Inn (1942), and Garland and Astaire walked up the avenue in Easter Parade (1948). On Broadway, Berlin was particularly identified with Ethel Merman who starred in his greatest hit Annie Get Your Gun (1944) and later spoofed Perle Mesta in Call Me Madam (1950).

 

In 1954 Berlin went into retirement. He returned to Broadway in 1962 with the score for Mr. President, a great popular success despite a lukewarm reception from the critics. In 1955, President Eisenhower presented Berlin with a gold medal "in recognition of his services in composing warm patriotic songs," the most famous of these being "God Bless America."

 

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C. Howard Crane and E. George Kiehler

 

During a career that spanned almost fifty years, Charles Howard Crane designed more than two hundred theaters in the United States and some 125 more in Canada and Great Britain. Among the most widely publicized of these were his only two Broadway playhouses, the Music Box (1921) and the Guild (later the ANTA, currently the Virginia; 1924-25). Quite different from each other in appearance - - the GuiId is mode 1 ed on a Tuscan villa while the Music Box is severely Palladian in style -- both theaters display Crane's academically correct eclecticism. Crane believed that

 

theaters ought to exemplify architecture as an art of dramatization. Unlike many other theater architects of the time, who blended various historical elements into a personal style, Crane never developed a "signature" in his work.

 

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1885, Crane began his career in that city in 1904. He moved to Detroit in 1905 where he apprenticed himself to Albert Kahn. Only a year later he had become the chief draftsman for the firm of Field, Hynchman & Smith, and by 1909 he had established his own practice. His expertise in theater design and construction, and specifically in acoustics, gained him a solid reputation and kept his services in constant demand, particularly during the 1920s. At one time he employed fifty-three draftsmen who assisted him with projects in almost every major American city. In Detroit alone, he designed almost fifty theaters, the most heralded two being the Majestic (1917) and Orchestra Hall (1919).

 

Crane employed two senior associates: Ben A. Dore, chief designer in the Detroit office, who collaborated on, or was in charge of, many mid-western projects' and Kenneth Franzheim (1891-1959), who ran Crane's New York City office. Two well publicized examples of Crane and Franzheim's collaboration were the twin Selwyn and Harris Theaters in Chicago. Archie and Edgar Selwyn, both prominent New York producers, commissioned one; and Sam Harris, impressed with his architect's 1921 Music Box design, commissioned Crane to build the other. The two separate but adjoining structures were roughly the same size and consisted of similarly fashioned Renaissance style facades. Another Crane and Franzheim collaboration was the Capitol Theater and Office Building in Boston in 1926. This elaborate design incorporated a two-story Ionic colonnaded facade into a standard fourteen-story office tower with an extremely plush and decorative interior. E. George Kiehler was also a collaborator on some of Crane's theater projects, including the Music Box, but his specific contributions are not known.

 

At the height of Crane's career, shortly before the Depression, many American film studios and theater corporations had attained their greatest financial and popular success. Individual theaters and theater chains became one part of an expanding entertainment empire. Beginning in 1925, for example, the Fox Theater Corporation embarked on a campaign to build or acquire what would amount to 800 theaters by the year 1929. Crane alone was commissioned by Fox to design twenty-five new theaters. Two of them, the Detroit Fox and the St. Louis Fox, both completed in 1928, were among the largest theaters in the country. Typically for Crane, the style of the Detroit Fox blended East Indian, Byzantine and Baroque motifs. Another similar theater in the Fox chain, the Brooklyn Fox, also by Crane in 1928, had a seating capacity of 4,305, and became a famous showcase for first-run motion pictures.

 

United Artists took advantage of Crane's talents too in 1927 when they commissioned him to design the Spanish Gothic style United Artists Theater in Los Angeles. With a lobby that resembled a vaulted Spanish cathedral, the theater also featured intricate tracery and a mirrored auditorium ceiling.^

 

In 1932, one of the worst years of the Depression, Crane moved to Europe, first to Milan where he designed Italy's first skyscraper, then to London where he settled permanently. Although his reasons for leaving the United States remain unclear, Crane continued to build theaters in England and maintained his office in Detroit. Perhaps his greatest architectural challenge, and certainly his finest engineering accomplishment, resulted in 1937 in his Earl's Court Exhibition Hall, sports and amusement center. Faced with a triangular twelve-acre site above a network of railway tracks, Crane created a modern curvilinear structure with a 118-foot high arena and five exhibition halls which could be opened into one vast amphitheater seating 30,000. It also featured an Olympic-sized swimming pool which could be raised, frozen for skating, or used as a stage or playing field. All this, it Is said, was erected without stopping a single train below the construction.

 

During and after World War II, Crane rechanneled his efforts into industrial design while working on the rebuilding of London factories and the modernization of other British plants. He continued to visit the United States frequently to lecture, but resided in London until his death there in 1952.

 

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The Music Box Theater

 

According to one account, Sam Harris first mentioned his interest in building a theater to Irving Berlin in 1919. Berlin responded, "If you ever do, I have a great title for you." "A title for a song?" asked Harris. "No, a title for a theater, the Music Box," replied Berlin.

 

The following year Harris joined with Berlin to build the Music Box Theater, shortly after the termination of Harris's partnership with George M. Coh an. Harris built the Music Box Theater specifically to house Berlin's Music Box Revues. (Harris and Berlin were joined in the venture by a mutual friend, motion picture magnate Joseph Schenck, who soon after the theater's completion sold his interest to the Shubert Organization.) A site on 45th Street was purchased from the Astor Realty Co., and on September 22, 1921 the Music Box Theater opened with an extravaganza Berlin wrote especially for the new house. The property cost $400,000, the building $600,000, and more than $240,000 was spent for Hassard Short to produce and stage the first show. Theatre Magazine's reviewer obviously thought the expense well worthwhile, for he proclaimed Berlin's Music Box Revue and the Music Box theater "a wonderful new show in a superlatively beautiful new theatre.""*

 

For another reviewer the theater and show were "the most eye-filling and appealing combination of play and playhouse that local playgoers accustomed as they are to things gorgeous theatrically -- have ever been treated to." "Say It With Music" became Berlin's theme song for the theater and for his Music Box Revues of 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924.

 

The Music Box was one of the small number of theaters built in the 1920s for an individual producer, rather than for a large organization like the Shuberts or the Chanins. Harris and Berlin turned to C. Howard Crane for an unusual and individual design that would mark the theater as the home of Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues.

 

Crane's design for the Music Box combined Palladian and Adamesque motifs from an architectural tradition that was essentially English and neo-Georgian. Its most prominent feature was a delicate limestone Ionic

 

colonnade screening the gallery, with pedimented doorways and finely designed lanterns. The bays on either side were framed by double pilasters and punctuated by Palladian windows on the second level, and a single window on the third. The theater was then crowned by a mansard roof with four dormer windows and a decorative wrought-iron balustrade running the length of the 100 foot theater. As described by the contemporary architectural press:

 

The delicate limestone colonnade and gallery with its finely designed doorways and lanterns is the central feature. Pylon like at the sides the structural masses give strength and proportion to the design and the mansard roof with its dormer windows and balustrades is decidedly a crowning feature. The freedom of the front from the blatant electric advertising sign is a relief. Two signs of small size designed and proportioned in keeping with the whole scheme proclaim the purpose of the building and the marquise-a concession to the needs of a stormy night-is so submerged as not to obtrude to the detriment of the composition.

 

The overall effect of Crane's design for the Music Box was distinctly domestic. The combination of Palladian and neo-Georgian elements was suggestive of a grand country house. Such an approach was not new to the

 

theater district; a number of earlier theaters built as headquarters/homes for theatrical impresarios followed similar themes. David Belasco's Stuyvesant Theater (today the Belasco) used a neo-Georgian facade to suggest an Intimate, if luxurious, 1ivingroom housing his productions. Winthrop Ames's Little Theater used a similarly styled facade to suggest a domestic home for his intimate "little theater" productions, and his architects, Ingalls & Hoffman, did something similar for Henry Miller's Theater a few years later. Contemporary with the Music Box was the Theater Guild's home (also designed by Crane), whose Italian pa1azzo-inspired facade deliberately evoked the homes of the Renaissance princes who patronized the theatrical arts. This connection between neo-Georgian architecture and intimate theater appears to have been generally understood at the time, and a contemporary architectural periodical noted of the Music Box:

 

This small theatre seats one thousand and is designed for the so-called "intimate" production. This idea is well carried into the design by the use of the style of the Georgian period following the delicacy of domestic architecture more than the monumental.

 

From the first the Broadway critics were impressed with the beauty and refinement of the Music Box's design. Jack Lait of Variety called it "the daintiest theatre in America," and the Evening Telegram's reviewer dubbed it "a theatre unparalleled....so beautiful and so satisfying that its like is not to be found here or even on the continent.." For the Herald's reviewer the Music Box's facade provided a welcome contrast to the more mundane theater buildings then going up in the Broadway area:

 

The audience which gathered to witness the brilliant opening of the Music Box last night had its first surprise on approaching the building. The new theater actually has a front -- it even deserves to be called a facade -- Vith pillars and other dignified architectural decorations....

 

The architectural press was equally enthusiastic, though perhaps less colorful in its praise. A number of journals published photos, plans, and descriptions of the Music Box. The American Architect-Architectural Review devoted eight pages to Crane's playhouse in the February 1, 1922, issue, calling it one of the most "artistic additions to New York's large number of theaters." The journal added "how remarkable" the Music Box was "for the quiet dignity of its desien and in its plan for those elements of comfort and luxurious ease____"

 

A few years later in the American Spirit in Architecture, Talbot Hamlin ranked the Music Box "among the most beautiful of modern theaters" saying:

 

It is in a modernized Adam style, and borrows much from our own native tradition in its quiet wall and roof surfaces and its delicately proportioned loggia. Proportion, detail, atmosphere make its facade a true ornament to the city, and prove that gayety is quite compatible with repose and dignity.

 

Berlin presented a Music Box Revue in each of the next four years. He moved on to other creative projects after 1925 but maintained his controlling interest with Sam Harris in the Music Box Theater. Their careful supervision of outside productions using the theater gave the Music Box an outstanding performance record: in its first twenty-five years only three shows ran less than 100 performances.

 

Today Irving Berlin retains a share in the ownership of the Music Box Theater -- "What the hell does a songwriter want with a theater?" he said in 1971. "I've sold real estate, but I've held on to the Music Box. It's a sentimental interest." The Music Box remains remarkably intact inside and out, its facade largely unaltered from the day it was built.

 

The Music Box as a Playhouse^

 

Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues occupied the Music Box Theater for its first four years. The Mail called the Revue of 1922 "four hours of jazz, girls, gorgeous costuming, spectacles that at times were dazzling, dancing acrobatics, arui all the hurly-burly of color movement associated with its predecessor."

 

The first straight play produced at the Music Box following Berlin's Revues was The Cradle Snatchers (1925), whose cast included the young Humphrey Bogart. Two more hit comedies followed, Chicago with Charles Bickford and Francine Larrimore in 1926 and Philip Barry's Paris Bound with Hope Williams in 1927. Music returned to the theater in 1928 with Cole Porter's Paris starring the glamorous Irene Bordoni. The following year Clifton Webb, Fred Allen and Libby Holman appeared in the Little Show revue. In 1931, the third edition of this series also appeared at the Music Box featuring Bea Lillie's rendition of Noel Coward's "Mad Dogs and Englishmen." For the most part, however, during the 'thirties the Music Box was given over to the the works of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart who either together or in collaboration with others supplied the house with one hit after another. The decade opened with Kaufman and Hart's first joint effort,

 

Once in a Lifetime, a Hollywood satire with Jean Dixon that convulsed audiences for 410 performances. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind collaborated on the Music Box's next production, the Gershwin musical Of Thee Sing, which ran 446 performances in 1931-32 and won the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a musical. Subsequent productions involving Kaufman or Hart included Dinner at Eight (1932, Kaufman and Edna Ferber), As Thousands Cheer (1933, book by Hart), Merrily We Roll Along (19 34, Kaufman and Hart), First Lady (1935, Kaufman and Katherine Dayton), Stage Door (19 36, Kaufman and Ferber) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (19 39, Kaufman and Hart). Kaufman also directed all of the above productions as well as John Steinbeck's dramatization of his novel Of Mice and Men which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1938.

 

Following the death of Sam Harris in 1941 the Music Box was leased to independent producers on a show-by-show basis. Continuing to attract strong productions, it retained its reputation as one of the most successful theaters on Broadway. Contributing to this success was Mike Todd's Star and Garter, a rowdy revue starring Gypsy Rose Lee that racked up an impressive 605 performances in 1942-43. Rodgers and Hammerstein's productions of John Van Druten's I Remember Mama also enjoyed great success with 714 performances in 1944-45. The young Marlon Brando made his Broadway debut in this production which also starred Mady Christians and Oscar Homolka. Other notable productions from the forties included Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke (1948) and the Maxwell Anderson-Kurt Weill musical Lost in the Stars (1949).

 

The fifties were marked by a happy association between the Music Box and playwright William Inge who supplied the theater with three hits: the Pulitzer Prize winning Picnic (1953), Bus Stop (1954), and Dark at the Top £f the Stairs (1958). Other highlights of the 'fifties included Separate Tables which featured a Tony Award-winning performance by actress Margaret Leighton, and Five Finger Excercise which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best foreign play of the 1959/60 season.

 

During the 1960s the Music Box housed a number of distinguished dramas, inc luding A Far Country (1961) with Steven Hill and Kim Stanley, and The Homecoming (1967) with Ian Holm and Vivien Merchant. Its most popular attraction, however, was a romantic comedy Any Wednesday (1964) which ran 983 performances and and garnered paeans of praise from the critics for actress Sandy Dennis.

 

Two thrillers dominated the 1970s, Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth (1970), a British import with Anthony Quayle and Keith Baxter, and Ira Levin's Deathtrap (1978), the Music Box's longest running play to date. In addition there was another long running comedy with Sandy Dennis, Absurd Person Singular (1974), and a revue of songs by Stephen Sondheim, Side by Side by Sondheim (1977), with Millicent Martin and Julie McKenzie. In recent years the Music Box has housed the stark drama Agnes of God (1983) with Elizabeth Ashley, Geraldine Page and Amanda Plummer, a charming revival of Noel Coward's Hay Fever (1985) with Rosemary Harris and Roy Dotrice, and a critically acclaimed production by the Royal Shakespeare Company of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1987).

 

The success of the Music Box as a theater may be best summarized in the words of Moss Hart:

 

The Music Box is everybody's dream of a theatre. If there is such a thing as a theatre's making a subtle contribution to the play being given on its stage, the Music Box is that theatre. Except for the Haymarket Theatre in London, I know of no other that possesses so strong an atmosphere of its own, as living and as personal, as the Music Box. Even in broad daylight, as we stepped inside its doors and into its darkened auditorium, there was an undefinable sense that here the theatre was always at its best.

 

Description

 

The Music Box Theater has a symmetrically-organized facade which is wider than it is high. The ground floor, which is of stone (with concrete infill and patches) is dominated by its doorways. Four pairs of original bronze and glass doors adorned with curvilinear motifs, lead into the ticket lobby at the right (east). These are flanked by original bronze -painted wood and glass signboards, framed by colonnettes with grotesques and crowned by stylized pediments (of sheetmetal over wood) composed of waves f 1 ank ing lyres in wreath surrounds. A modern marquee extends out over the entrance doors. Three pairs of original bronze and gl ass exit doors from the auditorium are flanked by similar s ignboards of bronze -painted iron, and doorways, that to the east with a single door, and that to the west with a decorative painted wrought - iron gate at the foot of the fire stairs. Decorative iron railings flank the two granite steps leading from the gate. Two large original iron signboards are placed on the wall adjacent to the recessed paired bronze stage doors.

 

A single bronze stage door in an iron frame is at the western end. These two stage door openings flank a single original sign board. The ground floor is surmounted by a cornice with a wide Adamesque frieze containing vertical ribs, urns, and swags. The major portion of the facade, rising from the ground floor base, is faced with stone and is organized into a colonnaded center section with flanking end bays. Double-height fluted columns with stylized Corinthian capitals are linked by wrought-iron railings with cast-iron panels which shield a recessed portion of the facade. The gallery thus created serves as the exit for a set of fire stairs at the east and for the three doorways from the balcony level of the auditorium. These doorways have pane led doors and are surmounted by entablatures with urn- and swag-adorned friezes supporting triangular pediments (at the outer doors) and a scrol led broken pediment with pineapple finial (at the center door). Three wrought-iron and glass lanterns are suspended from the ceiling of the gallery. The end bays are flanked by pilasters with stylized Corinthian capitals.

 

A Palladianesque window with fan-filled tympanum is placed at the second floor of each bay. The windows have multi-paned casement sash. At the third floor of each bay is a window with a simple molded surround. The sash are mul ti-paned casements. A vertical sign projects from the wall of the eastern bay. An entablature with rosette-adorned frieze, dentils, and modi 11ioned cornice spans the facade. This is surmounted by a slate -covered sloping roof punctuated by round-arched sheetmetal dormers with multi-paned sash. Wrought - and cast - iron railings are placed above the cornice and at the roofline.

 

- From the 1987 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

Belgian postcard by P Magazine, no. 37 in the series 'De mooiste vrouwen van de eeuw' (the 100 most beautiful women of the century). Photo: Sante D'Orazio / Outline.

 

Vivacious Kate Winslet (1975) is often seen as the best English-speaking film actress of her generation. The English actress and singer was the youngest person to acquire six Academy Award nominations, and won the Oscar for The Reader (2008).

 

Kate Elizabeth Winslet was born Reading, England, in 1975. She is the second of four children of stage actors Sally Anne (née Bridges) and Roger John Winslet. Winslet began studying drama at the age of 11. The following year, Winslet appeared in a television commercial for Sugar Puffs cereal, in which she danced opposite the Honey Monster. Winslet's acting career began on television, with a co-starring role in the BBC children's science fiction serial Dark Season (Colin Cant, 1991). On the set, Winslet met Stephen Tredre, who was working as an assistant director. They would have a four-and-a-half-year relationship, and remained close after their separation in 1995. He died of bone cancer during the opening week of Titanic, causing her to miss the film's Los Angeles premiere to attend his funeral in London. Her role in Dark Season was followed by appearances in the made-for-TV film Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (Diarmuid Lawrence, 1992), the sitcom Get Back (Graeme Harper, 1992), and an episode of the medical drama Casualty (Tom Cotter, 1993). She made her film debut in the New Zealand drama film Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994) . Winslet auditioned for the part of Juliet Hulme, an obsessive teenager in 1950s New Zealand who assists in the murder of the mother of her best friend, Pauline Parker (played by Melanie Lynskey). Winslet won the role over 175 other girls. The film included Winslet's singing debut, and her a cappella version of Sono Andati, an aria from La Bohème, was featured on the film's soundtrack. The film opened to strong critical acclaim at the 51st Venice International Film Festival in 1994 and became one of the best-received films of the year. Winslet was awarded an Empire Award and a London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actress of the Year. Subsequently she played the second leading role of Marianne Dashwood in the Jane Austen adaptation Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1995) featuring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. The film became a financial and critical success, resulting in a worldwide box office total of $135 million and various awards for Winslet. She won both a BAFTA and a Screen Actors' Guild Award, and was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. In 1996, Winslet starred in Michael Winterbottom's Jude, based on the Victorian novel Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. She played Sue Bridehead, a young woman with suffragette leanings who falls in love with her cousin (Christopher Eccleston). She then played Ophelia, Hamlet's drowned lover, in Kenneth Branagh's all star-cast film version of William Shakespeare's Hamlet (1996). In mid-1996, Winslet began filming James Cameron's Titanic (1997), alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. She was cast as the passionate, rosy-cheeked aristocrat Rose DeWitt Bukater, who survives the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic. Against expectations, Titanic (1997) became the highest-grossing film in the world at the time and transformed Winslet into a commercial movie star. Young girls the world over both idolized and identified with Winslet. Despite the enormous success of Titanic, Winslet next starred in were two low-budget art-house films, Hideous Kinky (Gillies MacKinnon, 1998), and Holy Smoke! (Jane Campion, 1999). In 1997, on the set of Hideous Kinky, Winslet met film director Jim Threapleton, whom she married in 1998. They have a daughter, Mia Honey Threapleton (2000). Winslet and Threapleton divorced in 2001.

 

Since 2000, Kate Winslet's performances have continued to draw positive comments from film critics. She appeared in the period piece Quills (Philip Kaufman, 2000) with Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix, and inspired by the life and work of the Marquis de Sade. The actress was the first big name to back the film project, accepting the role of a chambermaid in the asylum and the courier of the Marquis' manuscripts to the underground publishers. Well received by critics, the film garnered numerous accolades for Winslet. In Enigma (Michael Apted, 2001), she played a young woman who finds herself falling for a brilliant young World War II code breaker (Dougray Scott). She was five months pregnant at the time of the shoot, forcing some tricky camera work. In the same year she appeared in Iris (Richard Eyre, 2001), portraying novelist Iris Murdoch. Winslet shared her role with Judi Dench, with both actresses portraying Murdoch at different phases of her life. Subsequently, each of them was nominated for an Academy Award the following year, earning Winslet her third nomination. Also in 2001, she voiced the character Belle in the animation film Christmas Carol: The Movie, based on the Charles Dickens classic novel. For the film, Winslet recorded the song What If, which was a Europe-wide top ten hit. Winslet began a relationship with director Sam Mendes in 2001, and she married him in 2003 on the island of Anguilla. Their son, Joe Alfie Winslet Mendes, was born in 2003 in New York City. In 2010, Winslet and Mendes announced their separation and divorced in 2011. In the drama The Life of David Gale (Alan Parker, 2003), she played an ambitious journalist who interviews a death-sentenced professor (Kevin Spacey) in his final weeks before execution. Next, Winslet appeared with Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004). In this neo-surrealistic indie-drama, she played Clementine Kruczynski, a chatty, spontaneous and somewhat neurotic woman, who decides to have all memories of her ex-boyfriend erased from her mind. The film was a critical and financial success and Winslet received rave reviews and her fourth Academy Award-nomination. Finding Neverland (Marc Forster, 2004), is the story of Scottish writer J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Winslet), whose sons inspired him to pen the classic play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. The film received favourable reviews and became Winslet's highest-grossing film since Titanic.

 

In 2005, Kate Winslet played a satirical version of herself in an episode of the comedy series Extras by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. While dressed as a nun, she was portrayed giving phone sex tips to the romantically challenged character of Maggie. Her performance in the episode led to her first nomination for an Emmy Award. In the musical romantic comedy Romance & Cigarettes (John Turturro, 2005), she played the slut Tula, and again Winslet was praised for her performance. In Todd Field's Little Children (2006), she played a bored housewife who has a torrid affair with a married neighbor (Patrick Wilson). Both her performance and the film received rave reviews. Again she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, and at 31, became the youngest actress to ever garner five Oscar nominations. Commercial successes were Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy The Holiday (2006), also starring Cameron Diaz, and the CG-animated Flushed Away (2006), in which she voiced Rita, a scavenging sewer rat who helps Roddy (Hugh Jackman) escape from the city of Ratropolis and return to his luxurious Kensington origins. In 2007, Winslet reunited with Leonardo DiCaprio to film Revolutionary Road (2008), directed by her husband at the time, Sam Mendes. Portraying a couple in a failing marriage in the 1950s, DiCaprio and Winslet watched period videos promoting life in the suburbs to prepare themselves for the film. Winslet was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her performance, her seventh nomination from the Golden Globes. Then she starred in the film adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's 1995 novel The Reader, (Stephen Daldry, 2008) featuring Ralph Fiennes and David Kross in supporting roles. Employing a German accent, Winslet portrayed a former Nazi concentration camp guard who has an affair with a teenager (Kross) who, as an adult, witnesses her war crimes trial. While the film garnered mixed reviews in general. The following year, she earned her sixth Academy Award nomination and went on to win the Best Actress award, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress, a Screen Actors' Guild Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

 

In 2011, Kate Winslet headlined in the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, based on James M. Cain's 1941 novel and directed by Todd Haynes. She portrayed a self-sacrificing mother during the Great Depression who finds herself separated from her husband and falling in love with a new man (Guy Pearce), all the while trying to earn her narcissistic daughter's (Evan Rachel Wood) love and respect. This time, Winslet won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Roman Polanski's Carnage (2011) premiered at the 68th Venice Film Festival. The black comedy follows two sets of parents who meet up to talk after their children have been in a fight that day at school. Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz co-starred in the film. In 2012, she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In Jason Reitman's big screen adaptation of Joyce Maynard's novel Labor Day (2013), she starred with Josh Brolin and Tobey Maguire. Winslet received favorable reviews for her portrayal of Adele, a mentally fragile, repressed single mom of a 13-year-old son who gives shelter to an escaped prisoner during a long summer week-end. For her performance, Winslet earned her tenth Golden Globe nomination. Next she appeared in the science fiction film Divergent (Neil Burger, 2014), as the bad antagonist Jeanine Matthews. It became one of the biggest commercial successes of her career. This year, Winslet also appeared alongside Matthias Schoenaerts in Alan Rickman's period drama A Little Chaos (2014) about rival landscape gardeners commissioned by Louis XIV to create a fountain at Versailles. Next she can be seen in the crime-thriller Triple Nine (John Hillcoat, 2015), the sequel in the Divergent series: Insurgent (Robert Schwentke, 2015) and in The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 2015). Since 2012, Kate Winslet is married to Ned Rocknroll, a nephew of Richard Branson; The couple's son have a son, Bear Blaze Winslet. They live in West Sussex.

 

Sources: Tom Ryan (Encyclopedia of British Film), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

 

HDR on PHotoshop CS6.

The Pacific Design Center, or PDC, is a 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) multi-use facility for the design community located in West Hollywood, California. One of the buildings is often described as the Blue Whale because of its outsize nature relative to surrounding buildings and its brilliant blue glass cladding.

The PDC houses the West Coast's top decorating and furniture market, with showrooms, public and private spaces, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and two restaurants operated by chef and restauranteur Wolfgang Puck. The Center has 130 showrooms which display and sell 2,100 interior product lines to professional interior designers, architects, facility managers, decorators and dealers.

 

The Pacific Design Center hosts many screenings, exhibitions, lectures, meetings, special events and receptions for the design, entertainment and arts communities. The annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party has traditionally been held at the PDC. The party is one of the longest running and best known of the post-Oscar parties as well as being a multi-million dollar fundraiser for the foundation.

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus opened in 1975, with the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) Center Blue. Center Green opened in 1988, adding 450,000 square feet (42,000 m2). A long planned third phase, Center Red, was announced in April 2006, with plans for completion in 2011. Center Red has evolved into a 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) structure with two state-of-the-art office towers—six and eight stories high respectively—sitting atop seven levels of enclosed parking for 1,500 cars.

The King's Speech

 

My pick for Best Picture; the movie was brilliant. How can you say no to Geoffrey Rush?

 

You can't; that's how.

© yohanes.budiyanto, 2012

 

HISTORY

Park Hyatt Sydney was built on the site of the former water police station on Hickson Road at Campbell's Cove, which was in operation from 1865 until 1986. The curvaceous low-rise building is designed by one of Australia's most celebrated architects, Ken Woolley (Ancher, Mortlock and Woolley) and opened in 1990. Ken Woolley is a prominent figure in the Australian architecture field with a career spanning more than 50 years and a recipient of many high-profile awards, including Australia's highest architectural honor, the RAIA Gold Medal, in 1993. The Gold Medal is the Australian equivalent to the much coveted annual Pritzker Architectural Prize (coincidentally founded by The Pritzker family, who owns Hyatt hotels). Pritzker Prize is the architectural equivalent to an Oscar award.

 

After its inauguration in 1990, Park Hyatt Sydney quickly established itself as the best and most luxurious hotel in the Southern Hemisphere. A series of cosmetic renovations were completed between 2004 - 2007 for most of the rooms; restaurant and bar; with a cutting edge contemporary design, most notably with the addition of Radar Chairs and other iconic designer furniture in the guestrooms and public areas. It is not until April 2011 when the hotel embarked on the biggest transformation in its entire history, renovating all rooms, bathrooms, public areas and added 3 rooftop Suites that finally completed in February 2012.

 

LOCATION

Park Hyatt Sydney is located at an enviable spot at The Rocks, an historic area that is perfect for all travellers and any first-time visitors to Sydney as it has a plethora of entertainment, cultural, shopping and dining options. The Harbour Bridge is literally on the back of the hotel and the Opera House is a lovely stroll away via Circular Quay. The Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) is literally next door to the hotel, allowing guests a glimpse of the gigantic Queen Mary 2 when it berths in Sydney.

 

Some of Australia's best and most high-profile restaurants could be found around The Rocks area promixity. Peter Gilmore, -Australia's most critically-acclaimed chef-, opened his eponymous restaurant at OPT, called Quay, earning him the much coveted 3 hats award, which is the Australian equivalent to a 3 Michelin Star. Its iconic Snow Egg dessert is as iconic as the Opera House now, since making a stint at the MasterChef TV shows. I have personally tried it and it exceeds my expectation. A visit to Sydney is not complete without visiting the Quay and sampling the Snow Egg.

 

Neil Perry, -another Australian icon, also has a flagship 3 hats restaurant nearby, called Rockpool; and so has Guillaume Brahimi with the venerable, 3 hats Guillaume, - housed in the smaller sail structure of the Opera House. If it's not enough, ARIA by celebrity chef Matt Moran is just next door with 2 hats. The Bridge Room, an impressive new restaurant in the area run by an extremely talented chef formerly of Amanresorts, Ross Lusted, is a pleasant walk just down the block near Circular Quay; and has been creating a buzz since its opening just a couple of years ago. It immediately scored an impressive 2 hats within a year of operation. It is without a doubt, one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. You can certainly expect an Amanresorts caliber of service here.

 

Chef Shaun Presland also has a presence at the historic Argyle precinct with his 1 hat Japanese Restaurant, Sake; and a Sydney institution with 1 hat, Sailor's Thai is also nearby, serving award winning Thai cuisine that has been inspired by and continued the legacy of prominent Australian chef, David Thompson. Back in the 1990s, David used to run the restaurant and pioneered Thai cuisine in Australia. He quickly rose to stardom with the critical success of his Thai restaurant in London, Nahm, which was the first Thai restaurant in the world to earn a Michelin Star.

 

The Rocks area is a shopping mecca with the popular weekend outdoor street markets that are ideal for local shopping; and there is no shortage of luxury boutiques around this area, from Louis Vuitton to Gucci and Ralph Lauren; and many other luxury brands represented at the DFS. Pubs, restaurants and cafes are abundant nearby.

 

ROOMS:

Originally housing 158 rooms including 3 Premier Suites (73m2); a Diplomatic Suites (145m2) and The Governer Suite (185m2) over 4 levels, Park Hyatt Sydney has reconfigured all its rooms during the massive top to bottom renovation that lasted almost a year. It now has an inventory of 155 rooms including 11 Suites: Cove Suites (73m2); Quay Suites (120m); Rooftop Suite (142m2); Harbour Suite (145m2); Opera Suite (185m2); and a palatial 350m2 Sydney Suite on the rooftop, commanding a 360-degree views spanning Sydney’s iconic Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge; and a staggering price tag of $16,000 per night.

 

All rooms were completely remodelled by Melbourne-based interior designer BAR Studio and now sporting a more elegant look with residential feel, similar to that of Tony Chi's Park Hyatt Shanghai with dark wood furniture, limestone and luxurious fabrics against beige, ivory and natural tones background. A significant part of the renovation was the refurbishment of all bathrooms, which was left intact during past renovations. The new bathrooms are smartly designed with twin sinks; separate powder room (how clever); separate "wet" area with rainforest shower and a bathtub from the German-brand Kaldewei, who introduced the first free standing bathtub back in 1934 and was named "Brand of the Century" in 2010. Another amazing high-tech showcase at Park Hyatt Sydney's bathroom is the installation of a Japanese washlet by Toto as a standard in all rooms. Unlike other Park Hyatts in Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul; the washlet here only has basic function (heated seat; electronic flush; bidet and deodorizer) and does not have the sensorized version that could detect occupant presence and automatically opens the lid. Having said that, it is already an astonishment and blessing to see its debut in an Australian hotel.

 

Standard features in all rooms include Sealy ‘Grand Pillow Top’ beds, 40” LED Television by Sharp; Electronically controlled sheer and black out screens; Dining Table cum working desk for two; Bose ‘iPod/iPhone’ Digital Music System; Multimedia hub; Digital alarm clock in bathroom and bedroom; Steam Iron and Ironing Board; large safe deposit box enough to store your Macbook Pro or your old chunky laptops; and my personal favourite feature: a beautifully designed, custom-built, full height "mini-pantry" cabinet housing these wonders: Nespresso coffee machine and capsules; glass-fronted mini fridge; in-room wines (chargeable) and minibar; standard cutlery and electric kettle. Bathroom amenities are supplied by the famous New York perfurmer, Le Labo.

 

Despite criticism and skeptics in some online forums regarding the decision of using Le Labo amenities over the usual Park Hyatt standard of Aesop, Blaise Mautin, Acca Kappa and Aromatherapy Associates; I personally like the Le Labo's Bergamote 22 series,- which was part of the original debut lines of fragrances in 2006-, as it gives the room such a distinct, refreshing and calming smell. The number "22" in the fragrance line refers to the number of ingredients that make up the whole composition, and Bergamote is the ingredient with the highest concentration.

 

One fact that most people has yet to realize is that Le Labo founders, Edouard Roschi and Fabrice Penot, used to be the perfumers at Giorgio Armani. I am sure that this fact alone will silence any doubts and prejudice over Le Labo. This brand currently takes the hospitality world by storm. The Fairmont hotels has now ditched Miller Harris for Le Labo; Le Meridien has bathroom amenities with unique scents created by Le Labo, named LM01; and even the celebrity-hotspot Gramercy Park Hotel in New York uses Le Labo.

 

ROOM TO BOOK:

Personally, I would opt for one of the Opera Deluxe Rooms as it is technically a Suite; and in fact bigger than the standard Suite (Cove Suite). The 75 m2 room has open plan arrangement with two balconies; two-seater sofa; a round dining table that double as a work desk; and a bathtub with an Opera House view. These rooms are located at both ends of the hotel's elongated structure. The east end is closer to the lift bank; and has direct uninterrupted water and Opera House view; while the west end fronts Campbell's Cove with a framed view of Opera House and the hotel's low rise building on one side.

 

DINING:

There are 3 food and beverage outlets in the hotel: The Living Room and The Bar, both adjacent to the Lobby; and the former Harbour Kitchen & Bar has been resurrected into the elegant Dining Room with beautiful postcard views of the Opera House. Breakfast is served at both Living and Dining Room every morning with a choice of hot food to be ordered a la carte; and a buffet spread consisting a limited variety of pastries, fruits and cereals, all nicely presented in individual glass boxes, much like a jewelry showcase. Breakfast orders were delivered in a timely manner and cooked perfectly.

 

The choice of all day dining food is also limited in variety but consists of Australian-inspired cuisine and all time favourite dishes, from Caesar salad to burgers and pastas; to fish and chips and Wagyu beef steak.

 

LEISURE:

The small rooftop area has been expanded and refurbished with a larger sun deck area; three poolside cabanas; outdoor seating areas; a revamped existing small lap pool by the harbour bridge side; and an outdoor jacuzzi with the most amazing city views. There is a small gym located directly one level below the rooftop area, connected by an internal stair. Guests staying on Level 3 has easy direct access to the 24-hours gym (accessed by hotel card), which is conveniently located next to the lift bank. The Spa facilities has also been enhanced with 5 newly-designed treatment rooms, a relaxation room; whirlpool, sauna and 2 aromatherapy steam rooms. During my stay for almost a week at the hotel, I notice one favourite ritual by many in-house guests by the rooftop pool area is to order room service and celebrate a special occasion with champagne and killer views on the background.

 

MEETING & CONVENTION:

There are three different meeting venues within the hotel with 5 meeting rooms; The Gallery, which could accommodate up to 150 guests but could also be divided into three separate intimate event spaces; and a Guest House at the western edge of the hotel with the most beautiful, uninterrupted views of the Sydney Opera House. The Guest House is converted from what used to be The Little Kitchen and Harbour Bar; and is conveniently connected to both The Dining Room and The Gallery. There is an open theatrical live kitchen located at the center to serve these three interconnected areas. It is a unique venue, perfect to accommodate up to 70 guests.

 

X-FACTOR:

Park Hyatt Sydney is the preferred home of many Heads of State, dignitaries, royalty, rock stars and celebrities. Frank Sinatra & Billy Joel were rumoured to made headlines for a fight over a Suite in the past. Now the fight is surely to get even feistier with the arrival of the ultra-glamorous, 350m2, 360 degree view Sydney Suite at $16,000/night. In fact, the whole new rooftop suites addition could be booked as a whole (3 Suites altogether) for a "modest" $50,000/night with a minimum of 2 nights required. The bad news is? The Suite is reportedly fully booked until the end of the month.

 

The Opera House view on many rooms is unrivalled and has been so synonymous with the Park Hyatt Sydney; but with the recent addition of the TOTO washlet, the cult followers are surely to get even stronger.

 

SERVICE:

Park Hyatt Sydney has always raised the bar to a new height, and this applies to the level of service too. Based on my experiences at other top Australian hotels, the Park Hyatt service remains the best. Friendly staffs greeted me by my last name every time I walked pass through the Lobby and Living Room; and they always seemed so eager to please. There were a few stand outs, i.e. Ms. Honja from the reception; Chad from the Living Room; and most female staffs from The Dining Room performed at a different level to the rest of the staffs. They were truly exceptional and their service level was world class.

 

Park Hyatt Sydney has a staggering battalion of 20 butlers to serve all guests on its 155 rooms. They are on hand to help you with your minor tech glitches, packing and unpacking and other requests. This is probably a feature that sets Park Hyatt Sydney apart from the rest of the competitors. My charming butler even took a lengthy time to fix our IT glitches and make sure we are well taken care of. Another interesting note worth mentioning is the fact that many staffs here could be mistaken as fashion models. They do have good looks and the beautifully-designed uniforms on each staffs alone could already steal the show. Not sure if this should be included on the X-factor section.

 

VERDICT:

Park Hyatt is my favourite hotel brand. It has a collection of design-driven ultra luxury boutique hotels with unique unrivalled locations; contemporary design; fine food and highly-personalized service. The same applies to Park Hyatt Sydney as it is without a doubt the best hotel in Sydney; and one of the finest in the world. With such pedigree, amazing features and exceptional service, it is clearly in a different league from the rest of other Sydney hotels. No other hotels in Sydney have balconies with Opera Views; a team of 20 butlers and a TOTO washlets in the standard room. Any stay here is a lifetime experience and is recommended to visit at least twice before you die. I have stayed here a couple of times already and I still could not get enough of it and am longing for an excuse to come back to Sydney just so I can stay at the hotel again.

 

Make sure to book the Opera Deluxe Rooms on the top floor (3rd floor) for the most breathtaking view of the Opera House. If money is no object, I fully recommend the 350m2 Sydney Suite for a life time experience. It is actually a wise way to spend your $16,000 because the experience here is priceless. No money can buy..

  

PERSONAL RATING:

 

1. Room: 100

2. Bathroom: 95

3. Quality of Bed: 100

4. Service: 90

5. In-room Tech: 95

6. In-room Amenities: 95

7. Architecture & Design: 100

8. Food: 85

9. View: 100

10. Pool: 90

11. Wellness: 85

12. Location: 100

13. Value: 85

 

Overall: 93.84

 

PARK HYATT SYDNEY

7 Hickson Road, The Rocks

 

General Manager: Andrew Mensforth

Executive Chef: Andrew McKee

Architect: Ken Woolley, (Ancher, Mortlock and Woolley)

Interior Designer (Opening, 1990): Hirsch Bedner & Associates

Interior Designer (Refurbishment, 2004: Rooms): Chhada Siembieda Australia

Interior Designer (Refurbishment, 2007: Harbour Bar): BAR Studio

Interior Designer (Refurbishment, 2012): BAR Studio

 

sydney.park.hyatt.com

www.niemeyercenter.org/

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si se le añaden líneas rectas. Se sobrepusieron las letras Centro Niemeyer, sobre la imagen rectangular de la puerta, en blanco siguiendo el color principal de la obra entera del arquitecto.

 

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Oscar...

 

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on the 26 of May 2011.

 

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".

 

It is possible to see the buildings from different places, even from the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colours highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

 

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design

 

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most important architects in the world) was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present fort the 25 Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a big project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace. This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe.[3] That is the reason why its name is “Centro Niemeyer”.

 

Structure

 

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:

 

The open square: a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer’s idea of a place open to humankind.

The auditorium: around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, conferences... Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club (a small space for small concerts) and an exhibition room in the foyer.

The dome: its the exhibitions building.

The tower: sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge

The multi-purpose building: Film Centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, information point...

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer_International_Cultur...

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer ye la resultancia de la combinación d'un complexu cultural proxectáu por arquiteutu brasileru Oscar Niemeyer y un proyectu cultural internacional qu'integra distintes manifestaciones artístiques y culturales como esposiciones, música, teatru, danza, cine o gastronomía ente otres. Ta allugáu na marxe derecha de la ría d'Avilés, n'Asturies. Inauguráu'l 26 de marzu de 2011.

 

Una plaza abierta a toos y toes, un llugar per l'educación, la cultura y la paz.

 

Anguaño'l centru dibuxase nel paisaxe urbanu de la Villa del Adelantado, xunto a la ría d'Avilés, siendo visible, pol so color blanco y el so grandor, dende sitios estremaos y dende l'aire.

 

ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Osca...

 

© yohanes.budiyanto, 2014

 

PRELUDE

The 1st of August, 2014 was such an historic day as the world finally welcomed the birth of the first in line to the Parisian throne after a painstaking and extraordinary "labor" process that took four years in creation, and almost a decade in the making. I was not talking about a French rival to baby George, but instead a newborn that has sent shivers down the spines of Paris' oldest and current Kings and Grand Dames from the day it was conceived. Yes, I was referring to The Peninsula Paris, the youngest sister to the legendary Peninsula Hong Kong (circa 1928).

 

Ever since the project was announced to the public four years ago, it has been on my top list of the most eagerly awaited hotel openings of the decade. So when the hotel announced 1st of August as an opening date back in March, I immediately issued my First Class return tickets to the City of Light, risking the usual opening delay. A man of his word, Peninsula Paris finally opened as scheduled.

 

HISTORY

The Peninsula brand needs no introduction, as it is synonymous with quality, technology, innovation, craftsmanship and sophistication, -much like a slogan for French top brands and their savoir faire. Despite having only 10 current properties worldwide in its portfolio (Paris is its tenth), each Peninsula hotel is a market leader in each respective cities, and consistently tops the chart in many bonafide travel publications and reigns supreme as the world's best, especially elder sisters in Hong Kong and Bangkok. The Peninsula model is different from other rival hotel groups, which usually expand aggressively through both franchise and managed models worldwide. Instead, the Peninsula focuses on acquiring majority to sole ownership on all its properties to ensure control on quality (Hong Kong, New York, Chicago and Tokyo are 100% owned; Bangkok, Beijing and Manila are over 75%; Shanghai is 50%, while Beverly Hills and Paris are the only two with only 20% ownership).

 

The history of the Peninsula Paris could be traced back to a modest villa aptly called Hotel Basilevski on the plot of land at 19 Avenue Kleber back in 1864, -named after its Russian diplomat owner, Alexander Petrovich Basilevski, which caught the attention of hotelier Leonard Tauber for his prospective hotel project. The Versailles-styled property was partly a museum housing Basilevski's vast and impressive collection of 19th century medieval and Renaissance art, which eventually was acquired by Alexander III, -a Russian Tsar, at the sums of six millions francs. These collections were later transported to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and formed the base collection for the newly established Department of Medieval and Renaissance Art. After Basilevski sold the villa and moved to a more palatial residence at Avenue du Trocadero, the property was then acquired and rebranded the Palais de Castille as the residence of the exiled Queen Isabella II of Spain in 1868, who seeked refuge and continued to live there until 1904. Upon her death, the property was later demolished in 1906 to make way for the Majestic hotel, which finally opened in 1908 with much satisfaction of Leonard Tauber, who has eyed the premise from the very beginning.

 

The Majestic Hotel was exquisitely designed in the Beaux-Art style as a grand hotel by prominent architect of that time, Armand Sibien. Together with The Ritz (circa 1898), the two became the most preferred places to stay and entertain in Paris of the time. The Majestic has attracted the well-heeled crowd, and hosted many high profile events, most notably for a particular dinner hosted by rich British couple Sydney and Violet Schiff on 18 May 1922 as the after party of Igor Stravinsky's 'Le Renard' ballet premiere, and the hotel becomes an instant legend. The guests list were impressive: Igor Stravinsky himself, Pablo Picasso, Sergei Diaghilev, and two of the 20th century most legendary writers: James Joyce and Marcel Proust, who met for the first and only time before Proust's death six months later. Since then, the Majestic continued to draw high profile guests, including George Gershwin on 25 March 1928, where he composed "An American in Paris" during the stay.

 

If the walls could talk, the Majestic has plenty of stories to tell. It was once converted into a hospital during the infamy in 1914, and the British took residency at the hotel during the Paris Peace Conference back in 1919. The hotel was then acquired by the French State in 1936 as the offices of the Ministry of Defence; and later had a stint as the German Military High Command in France between October 1940 to July 1944 during the World War II. Post war, it then became the temporary home for UNESCO from 16 September 1946 until 1958. More than a decade after, the Paris Peace talks was opened by Henry Kissinger in one of its spectacular Ballrooms in 1969 with the Northern Vietnamese. Four years later, the Paris Peace Accord was finally signed at the oak paneled-room next to the Ballroom on 27 January 1973, which ended the Vietnam War. This triumphant event has also led to another victorious event when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize that same year.

 

The hotel continued to serve as the International Conference Center of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs until it was up for sale by the government in 2008 as part of the cost cutting program to the Qatari Diar, -which later transferred its ownership to Katara Hospitality, for a staggering USD 460 million. An excess of USD 600 million was further spent on the massive rebuilding and refurbishment not only to restore the hotel to its former glory, but also to transform it into a Peninsula with the highest standard.

 

The epic restoration work was led by prominent French architect, Richard Martinet, who has also previously work with the restoration of Prince Roland Bonaparte's former mansion into the Shangri-La Paris and also the Four Seasons George V; and involved teams of France's leading craftsmen; heritage designers and organisations; stonemasons from historic monument specialist; master glass crafters; crystal manufacturer; wood, moulding and gilder restoration experts, -many of whom are third generation, and have carried out high profile projects such as the Palace of Versailles, Louvre Museum, the dome of Les Invalides, the Grand and Petit Palais, and even the flame of the Statue of Liberty in New York. The result is truly breathtaking, and it was certainly money well spent to revive and recreate one of the nation's most treasured landmark. One of my favorite places within the hotel is the Main Lobby at Avenue des Portugais where the grand hall is adorned with a spectacular chandelier installation comprising 800 pieces of glass leaves inspired by the plane trees along Avenue Kleber. The work of Spain's most influential artist since Gaudi, Xavier Corbero, could also be found nearby in the form of a beautiful sculpture called Moon River.

 

Katara Hospitality owns 80% of The Peninsula Paris, and already has a spectacular portfolio ownership consisting some of the world's finest hotels, including The Raffles Singapore, Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris, Ritz-Carlton Doha, Schweizerhof Bern, and most recently, 5 of the InterContinental Hotel's European flagships, including Amstel in Amsterdam, Carlton in Cannes, De la Ville in Rome, Madrid and Frankfurt. It is interesting to note that Adrian Zecha, founder of the extraordinary Amanresorts chain is a member of the Board of Directors at Katara since September 2011, lending his immense hospitality expertise to the group.

 

At over USD 1 billion cost, the Pen Paris project is easily the most expensive to ever being built, considering it has only 200 rooms over 6 storeys. As a comparison, the cost of building the 101 storey, 494m high Shanghai World Financial Center (where the Park Hyatt Shanghai resides) is USD 1.2 billion; whereas Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building on earth at 163 storey and 828m, costed a 'modest' USD 1.5 billion to build. The numbers are truly mind boggling, and The Peninsula Paris is truly an extraordinary project. It might took the Majestic Hotel two years to build; but it took four years just to restore and reincarnate it into a Peninsula.

 

HOTEL OPENING

On a pleasant afternoon of 1 August 2014, the hotel finally opened its door to a crowd of distinguished guests, international journalists, first hotel guests and local crowds who partake to witness the inauguration and rebirth of a Parisian legend and grande dame (Many A-list celebrities and even Head of State flocked to the hotel to witness its sheer beauty). It was an historic day not just for Paris, but also for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Group as it marks their arrival in Europe with its first ever Peninsula, while the second is already on the pipeline with the future opening of The Peninsula London, located just behind The Lanesborough at Knightsbridge.

 

The eagerly-awaited opening ceremony was attended by the Chairman of Katara Hospitality, His Excellency Sheikh Nawaf Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani; CEO of Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited (HSH), Clement Kwok; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius; General Manager of the Peninsula Paris, Nicolas Béliard; and the event kicked off with an opening speech by the famous French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, Madame Fleur Pellerin, who clearly stole the show with her public persona. A ribbon cutting and spectacular lion dance show concluded the event, which drew quite a spectacle on Avenue des Portugais as it brought a unique display of Asian heritage to the heart of cosmopolitan Paris.

 

LOCATION

The Peninsula Paris stands majestically at the tree-lined Avenue Kléber, just off the Arc de Triomphe. Personally, this is an ideal location in Paris as it is a stone's throw away from all the happenings at the Champs-Élysées, but is set away from its hustle and bustle, which is constantly a tourist trap day and night. Once you walk pass the leafy Avenue Kléber, the atmosphere is very different: peaceful and safe. The Kléber Metro station is just a few steps away from the hotel, providing guests a convenient access to further parts of town.

 

Champs-Élysées is the center of Parisian universe, and it is just a short and pleasant stroll away from the hotel, where some of the city's most legendary commercial and cultural institutions reside. For a start, Drugstore Publicis at the corner by the roundabout has been a legendary hang-out since the 1960s, and is my ultimate favourite place in town. The Post Modern edifice by architect Michele Saee (renovated in 2004) houses almost everything: a Cinema; side walk Brasserie & Steak House; Newsagency; Bookshop (you can find Travel publications and even the Michelin Guide); upscale Gift shop and Beauty corner (even Acqua di Parma is on sale here); Pharmacy (whose pharmacist thankfully speaks English and gladly advises you on your symptoms); upscale deli (stocking pretty much everything from Foie gras burger on the counter, to fine wines & cigar cellar; to Pierre Herme & Pierre Marcolini chocolates; Dalloyau bakery; Marriage Freres tea; and even the Petrossian Caviar!). Best of all, it features a 2 Michelin star L'atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile on its basement; and the store is even opened on Sunday until 2am. It is a one stop shopping, eating and entertainment, showcasing the best of France.

 

Further down the road, Maison Louis Vuitton stands majestically on its own entire 7 storey building, which was opened in 2005 as one of the biggest flagship stores in the world, covering a total area of 1,800m2. Designed by Eric Carlson and Peter Marino, the entire store is an architectural marvel and the temple of luxury, elegance and sophistication. This is one of the very few stores to open in Sunday as the French Labour Unions prohibits commercial stores to open on Sunday, unless if it involves cultural, recreational and sporting aspect. Initially, Maison LV was ordered by the court to close on Sunday, but LVMH finally wins an appeal in 2007 on the grounds of cultural experience; and the store has continued to draw endless queue on Sunday.

 

A block away from Maison LV is the legendary Parisian Tea Room of Ladurée, which was founded in 1862 by Louis Ernest Ladurée on its original store at 16 Rue Royal as a bakery. The Champs-Élysées store was opened in 1997 and has since attracted an endless queue of tourists and locals who wish to savour its legendary Macarons and pastries. The Ladurée phenomenon and popularity could only be rivaled by fellow Frenchmen Pierre Hermé, who has also attracted a cult of loyal fans worldwide. It may not have a flagship store at Champs-Élysées, but one could easily stop by Drugstore Publicis for a quick purchase to ease the craving.

 

For those looking for upscale boutiques, Avenue Montaigne located just nearby on a perpendicular, and features the flagship presence of the world's finest luxury fashion labels: Armani, Bottega Veneta, Valention, Prada, Dior, Versace, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Fendi and Salvatore Ferragamo to name a few. For the ultimate in shopping extravaganza, head down to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré where all money will (hopefully) be well spent.

 

Champs-Élysées is the most famous and expensive boulevard in the world, yet it has everything for everyone; and myriad of crowds flocking its grand boulevards for a pleasant stroll. It has no shortage of luxury stores, but it also offers mainstream stores for the general public, from Levi's to Zara and Lacoste; to McDonalds and Starbucks; and FNAC store (French answer to HMV).

 

In terms of fine dining experience, the areas around Champs-Élysées has plenty to offer. I have mentioned about the 2 Michelin L'atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile at the Drugstore Publicis, which was excellent. Robuchon never disappoints as it consistently serves amazing French cuisine amidst its signature red and black interior everywhere I visited, including Tokyo (3 Michelin), Hong Kong (3 Michelin), Paris (2 Michelin) and Taipei.

 

During my stay, I also managed to sample the finest cuisine from the kitchens of two, 3-Michelin Paris institutions: Pierre Gagnaire at Rue Balzac, just off Champs-Élysées; and Epicure at Le Bristol by Chef Eric Frechon on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which was undoubtedly the best and most memorable dining experiences I have ever had in Paris to date. It is certainly the gastronomic highlight of this trip.

 

Other 3 Michelin establishment, such as Ledoyen is also located nearby at an 18th century pavilion by the Gardens of Champs-Élysées by newly appointed famous French Chef Yannick Alléno, who previously also resided at the Le Meurice with 3 Michelin, until Alain Ducasse took over last year during the Plaza Athénée closure for expansion.

 

August is a time of misery for international visitors to Paris as most fine dining restaurants are closed for the summer holiday. When choices are limited, foodies could rely on Epicure and Robuchon, which are opened all year round; and also the 2 Michelin star Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V. Although its food could not compete with Robuchon, Epicure and Gagnaire, guests could still enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

 

ROOMS:

On my visit to Paris last year, I was not too impressed with my stay at the Four Seasons George V, as everything seemed to be pretty basic: the room design; the in-room tech and amenities; and even the much lauded service. It simply does not justify the hefty price tag. The only thing stood out there were the ostentatious designer floral display at the lobby, which reportedly absorbed a six digit figure budget annually. When I saw them at the first time, this was what came to mind: guests are paying for these excessive flowers, whether you like it or not.

 

Fortunately, the Peninsula Paris skips all this expensive gimmick, and instead spends a fortune for guests to enjoy: advance room technology; a host of complimentary essential amenities, including internet access, non-alcoholic minibar, and even long distance phone calls. In fact, every single items inside the room has been well thought and designed for guest's ultimate comfort.

 

Ever since The Peninsula Bangkok opened in 1998 to much success, the group has used it as a template for its signature rooms for future sister hotels, which consists of an open plan, ultra-wide spacious room equivalent to a 2 bays suite, with 5-fixtures bathroom, and a separate Dressing Room, which soon becomes a Peninsula signature.

 

The Peninsula Tokyo followed this template when it opened in 2007 to rave reviews; and it was soon adopted as a model for Peninsula Shanghai, which later opened in 2009 as the flagship property in Mainland China. This layout is also being applied at The Peninsula Paris, albeit for its Suites categories, i.e. Junior Suite, which measure at an astonishing 50 - 60m2. The entry level Superior and Deluxe Rooms lack the signature layout with smaller size at 35 - 45m2, but they are already spacious for a Parisian standard; and each is equipped with Peninsula's signature technology.

 

Technology is indeed at the core of the Peninsula DNA, and no expense is spared in creating the world's most advance in-room technology. When other hotels try to cut costs and budgets on in-room technology with lame excuses, the Peninsula actually spends a fortune to innovate and set a new benchmark. In fact, it is probably the only hotel group to have its own Technology laboratory at a secret location deep inside Aberdeen, Hong Kong, where in-room tech is being developed and tested. It was here where innovative devices, such as the outside temperature indicator; my favourite Spa Button by the bathtub; or even the portable nail dryer for the ladies are invented. The Peninsula took the world by storm when it introduced the Samsung Galaxy tablet device at the Peninsula Hong Kong in 2012, which is programmed in 11 languages and virtually controls the entire room, including the lights, temperature, curtains, TV, radio, valet calls and Do Not Disturb sign. It even features touch screen Room Service Menu, hotel information, city guide, and a function to request room service and housekeeping items, thus creating an entirely paperless environment.

 

All these technological marvel are also being replicated at the Peninsula Paris, together with other 'standard' features, such as Nespresso Coffee Machine; flat-screen 3D LED television; LED touch screen wall panels; an iPod/iPad docking station; memory card reader; 4-in1 fax/scanner/printer/photocopier machine; DVD player; complimentary in-house HD movies; complimentary internet access and long distance calls through the VOIP platform. Even the room's exterior Parisian-styled canopy is electronically operated. All these technological offerings is so extremely complex, that it resulted in 2.5 km worth of cabling in each room alone.

 

Bathroom at the Junior Suite also features Peninsula's signature layout: a stand alone bathtub as the focal point, flanked by twin vanities and separate shower and WC compartments amidst acres of white marble. Probably the first in Paris, it features a Japanese Toilet complete with basic control panel, and a manual handheld bidet sprayer.

 

When all these add up to the stay, it actually brings a very good value to the otherwise high room rates. Better yet, the non-alcoholic Minibar is also complimentary, which is a first for a Peninsula hotel. The Four Seasons George V may choose to keep looking back to its antiquity past and annihilate most technological offerings to its most basic form, but the Pen always looks forward to the future and brings the utter convenience, all at your finger tip. The Peninsula rooms are undoubtedly the best designed, best equipped and most high-tech in the entire universe.

 

ROOM TO BOOK:

The 50 - 60m2 Junior Suite facing leafy Avenue Kléber is the best room type to book as it is an open-plan suite with Peninsula's signature bathroom and dressing room; and the ones located on the Premiere étage (first floor) have high ceilings and small balcony overlooking Kleber Terrace's iconic glass canopy. Personally, rooms facing the back street at Rue La Pérouse are the least preferred, but its top level rooms inside the Mansart Roof on level 5 have juliet windows that allow glimpse of the tip of Eiffel Tower despite being smaller in size due to its attic configuration. Superior Rooms also lack the signature Peninsula 5 fixtures bathroom configuration, so for the ultimate bathing experience, make sure to book at least from the Deluxe category.

 

If money is no object, book one of the five piece-de-resistance suites with their own private rooftop terrace and gardens on the top floor, which allow 360 degree panoramic views of Paris. Otherwise, the mid-tier Deluxe Suite is already a great choice with corner location, multiple windows and 85m2 of pure luxury.

 

DINING:

Looking back at the hotel's illustrious past, the Peninsula offers some of the most unique and memorable dining experiences in Paris, steep in history.

 

The area that once housed Igor Stravinksy's after party where James Joyce met Marcel Proust for the first time is now the hotel's Cantonese Restaurant, aptly called LiLi; and is led by Chef Chi Keung Tang, formerly of Peninsula Tokyo's One Michelin starred Hei Fung Terrace. Lili was actually modeled after Peninsula Shanghai's Yi Long Court, but the design here blends Chinese elements with Art Nouveau style that flourished in the late 1920s. It also boasts a world first: a spectacular 3x3.3m fiber optic installation at the entrance of the restaurant, depicting the imaginary portrait of LiLi herself. The Cantonese menu was surprisingly rather simple and basic, and features a selection of popular dim sum dishes. The best and most memorable Chinese restaurants I have ever experienced are actually those who masterfully fuse Chinese tradition with French ingredients: Jin Sha at the Four Seasons Hangzhou at Westlake; 2 Michelin Tin Lung Heen at Level 102 of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong; Jiang at Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou by Chef Fei; and Ya Ge at Mandarin Oriental Taipei. Ironically, the world's only 3 Michelin star Chinese restaurant, Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons Hong Kong failed to impress me.

 

The former Ballroom area where Henry Kissinger started the Paris Peace talks with the Vietnamese has now been transformed as The Lobby, which is a signature of every Peninsula hotels where the afternoon tea ritual takes place daily. The spectacular room with intricate details and crystal chandeliers has been meticulously restored, and is an ideal place to meet, see and be seen. Breakfast is served daily here, and guests could choose to have it either inside or outside at the adjoining al fresco La Terrasse Kléber, which connects all the F&B outlets on the ground floor, including Lili. Guests could choose from a Chinese set breakfast, which includes dim sum, fried vermicelli, and porridge with beef slices; or the Parisian set, which includes gourmet items such as Egg Benedict with generous slices of Jamon Iberico on top. The afternoon tea ritual is expected to be very popular as renowned Chef Pattissier Julien Alvarez, -who claimed the World Pastry Champion in 2009; and also the Spanish World Chocolate Master in 2007 at the tender age of 23, is at the helm; and the venue quickly booked out from the opening day.

 

Next to the Lobby is a small, intimate bar covered in exquisite oak panelling where Henry Kissinger signed the Paris Peace Accord back in 1973 that ended the Vietnam War. Kissinger politely declined the offer to have the Bar named after him, and instead it is simply called Le Bar Kléber.

 

On the top floor of the hotel lies the signature restaurant L'Oiseau Blanc, which is named after the French biplane that disappeared in 1927 in an attempt to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight between Paris and New York. A 75% replica of the plane has even been installed outside the main entrance of the restaurant with the Eiffel Tower on its background. The restaurant is divided into 3 distinct areas: a spectacular glass enclosed main dining room; a large outdoor terrace that runs the entire length of the hotel's roof; and an adjoining lively bar, all with breathtaking uninterrupted views of Paris' most identifiable landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Cœur at the highest point of the city at Montmartre.

 

L'Oiseau Blanc is led by Chef Sidney Redel, a former protégé of Pierre Gagnaire, and serves contemporary French cuisine focussing on 'terroir' menu of locally sourced seasonal ingredients from the region. During my stay, tomato was the seasonal ingredients, and Chef Redel created four courses incorporating tomato, even on dessert. While the food was of high quality, personally the menu still needs fine tuning, considering the sort of clientele the Pen is aiming for: the ultra rich (Chinese), who usually seek top establishments with luxury ingredients, such as caviar, black truffle, foie gras, blue lobster, Jamon Iberico, Wagyu beef, Kurobuta pork and Challans chicken.

 

LEISURE:

The Peninsula Paris features one of the best health and recreational facilities in the city, housed within the basement of the hotel, and covers an expansive area of 1,800m2. For a comparison, rival Mandarin Oriental Spa covers a total area of only 900m2 over two floors. The Peninsula Spa is undoubtedly one of the nicest urban spa that I have been to, it easily beats the Spa at the Four Seasons George V. The pool is also one of the city's largest at 22m long, -compared to both the Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental at 15m; the George V at only 9m, which is more like a bigger jacuzzi. The only two other pools better than the Peninsula is the one designed by Phillippe Starck at the Le Royal Monceau at 28m; and the spectacular grand pool at the Ritz.

 

There is the usual 24 hours gym within two fitness spaces equipped with Technogym machines and free weights; and the locker rooms features steam, sauna, and experience shower room. There is a total of 8 treatment rooms within the Spa area, and the highlight is certainly the Relaxation Room, which is equipped with amazing day beds with specially placed deep cushions. The best part? the beds are electronically operated, much like a first class seat on a plane.

 

X-FACTOR:

The Peninsula signature technology; The Spa Button in the bathroom; VOIP technology for complimentary long distance calls; The top suites (Historic, Katara and Peninsula Suites); Xavier Corbero's Moon River sculpture at the Lobby; Lili; The Lobby and Bar where Henry Kissinger signed Paris Peace Accord; L'Oiseau Blanc Restaurant; The 1,800m2 Peninsula Spa; and the 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II.

 

SERVICE:

There are a total of 600 staffs for just 200 rooms, so the service level is expected to be high; but it is perhaps unfair to judge the service during the opening weeks when all staffs were not at their best due to the intense preparation leading to the opening event. Furthermore, teething problems are expected for a newly opened hotel as great hotels are not born overnight, but takes a good few years of refinement.

 

Nonetheless, I was actually quite impressed with the level of service during the whole stay, as the majority of the staffs showed great attitude and much enthusiasm, which is a testament of great intense training. As one of the first guests arriving on the opening day, check-in was truly delightful and memorable as a battalion of staffs of different ranks welcomed and wished the most pleasant stay. The mood could not have been more festive as moments later, the hotel was finally inaugurated.

 

I was also particularly impressed with the service at both LiLi and The Lobby where staffs performed at an exceptional level like a veteran. There are two distinct qualities that made a lot of difference during the stay: humility and friendliness, which is quite a challenge to find, not only in Paris and the entire Europe, but even in Asian cities, such as Hong Kong. It is like finding needles in a haystack. A genuine smile seems to be a rare commodity these days, so I was happy to see plenty of smiles at the Peninsula Paris during the stay, from the signature Peninsula Pageboys to waiters, Maître d, receptionists and even to Managers and Directors. In fact, there were more smiles in Paris than Hong Kong.

 

When I woken up too early for breakfast one day, the restaurant was just about to open; and there were hardly anyone. I realized that even the birds were probably still asleep, but I was extremely delighted to see how fresh looking and energetic the staffs were at the dining room. There was a lot of genuine smile that warmed the rather chilly morning; and it was a great start to the day. One of the staffs I met during the stay even candidly explained how they were happy just to be at work, and it does not feel like working at all, which was clearly shown in their passion and enthusiasm.

 

That said, the Shangri-La Paris by far is still my top pick for best service as it is more personalized and refined due to its more intimate scale. The Shangri-La Paris experience is also unique as guests are welcomed to a sit down registration by the historic lounge off the Lobby upon arrival, and choice of drinks are offered, before being escorted to the room for in-room check-in. Guests also receive a Pre-Arrival Form in advance, so the hotel could anticipate and best accommodate their needs. During the stay, I was also addressed by my last name everywhere within the hotel, so it was highly personalized. I did receive similar treatment at The Peninsula Paris, -albeit in a lesser extent due to its size; and even the housekeeping greeted me by my last name. Every requests, from room service to mineral water were all handled efficiently at a timely manner. At times, service could be rather slow at the restaurants (well, it happens almost everywhere in Paris), but this is part of the Parisian lifestyle where nothing is hurried; and bringing bills/checks upfront is considered rude. I did request the food servings to be expedited during a lunch at LiLi on the last day due to the time constraint; and the staffs managed to succeed the task not only ahead of the time limit, but also it never felt hurried all along. Everything ran as smooth as silk.

 

VERDICT:

It was a personal satisfaction to witness the history in the making during the opening day on 1 August 2014, as the Peninsula Paris is my most eagerly awaited hotel opening of the decade. It was also historic, as it was a first in my travel to dedicate a trip solely for a particular hotel in a particular city (in this case Paris, some 11,578km away from home), without staying at other fine hotels. It was money well spent, and a trip worth taking as it was an amazing stay; and certainly a lifetime experience.

 

The Peninsula Paris could not have arrived at a better time, as two of the most established Parisian grande dames (Ritz and de Crillon) are still closed for a complete renovation, and will only be revealed in 2015; so there is plenty of time to adapt, grow and hone its skills. But with such pedigree, quality and illustrious history, the Pen really has nothing to be worried about. The Four Seasons George V seems to have a cult of highly obsessed fans (esp. travel agents) worldwide, but personally (and objectively), it is no match to the Peninsula. Based on physical product alone, the Pen wins in every aspect as everything has been meticulously designed with the focus on guest comfort and convenience. In terms of technology, the Pen literally has no rival anywhere on the planet, except from the obvious sibling rivalry.

 

The only thing that the Pen still needs to work on is its signature restaurants as all its rival hotels have at least 2 Michelin star restaurants (L'abeille at the Shangri-La; Sur Mesure at the Mandarin Oriental; and 3 Michelin at Epicure, Le Bristol; Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V and Alain Ducasse at Le Meurice). L'Oiseau Blanc design is truly breathtaking and would certainly be the most popular gastronomic destination in Paris, but at the moment, the food still needs some works.

 

There were the expected teething problems and some inconsistencies with the service; but with years of refinement, The Peninsula Paris will no doubt ascend the throne. Personally, the Shangri-La Paris is currently the real competitor, together with the upcoming Ritz and de Crillon when they open next year, especially when Rosewood has taken over Crillon management and Karl Lagerfeld is working on its top suites. The two, however, may still need to revisit the drawing boards and put more effort on the guestrooms if they ever want to compete; because at the moment, The Peninsula Paris is simply unrivaled.

 

UPDATE 2016:

*I have always been very spot-on with my predictions. After only two years since its opening, The Peninsula Paris has been awarded the much coveted Palace status. In fact, it is the only hotel in Paris to receive such distinction in 2016. Congratulations, it is very much deserving*

 

PERSONAL RATING:

1. Room: 100

2. Bathroom: 100

3. Bed: 100

4. Service: 90

5. In-room Tech: 100

6. In-room Amenities: 100

7. Architecture & Design: 100

8. Food: 80

9. View: 80

10. Pool: 95

11. Wellness: 95

12. Location: 95

13. Value: 100

 

Overall: 95.00

 

Compare with other Parisian hotels (all with Palace status) that I have stayed previously:

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, PARIS: 95.00

PARK HYATT PARIS-VENDOME: 90.00

FOUR SEASONS GEORGE V: 85.38

 

My #1 ALL TIME FAVORITE HOTEL

LANDMARK MANDARIN ORIENTAL, HONG KONG: 95.38

 

THE PENINSULA, PARIS

19, Avenue Kléber, Paris

Awarded Palace Status in 2016

 

General Manager: Nicolas Béliard

Hotel Manager: Vincent Pimont

Executive Chef: Jean-Edern Hurstel

Head Chef (Lili): Chi Keung Tang

Head Chef (L'oiseau Blanc): Sidney Redel

Head Chef (The Lobby): Laurent Poitevin

Chef Patissier: Julien Alvarez

 

Architect (original Majestic Hotel, circa 1908): Armand Sibien

Architect (renovation & restoration, 2010-2014): Richard Martinet

Interior Designer: Henry Leung of Chhada Siembieda & Associates

Landscape Designer: D. Paysage

 

Art Curator: Sabrina Fung

Art Restorer: Cinzia Pasquali

Artist (Courtyard installation): Ben Jakober & Yannick Vu

Crystal work: Baccarat

Designer (Lili fiber optic installation): Clementine Chambon & Francoise Mamert

Designer (Chinaware): Catherine Bergen

Gilder Specialist & Restorer: Ateliers Gohard

Glass Crafter (Lobby Installation): Lasvit Glass Studio

Master Glass Crafters: Duchemin

Master Sculptor (Lobby): Xavier Corbero

Metalwork: Remy Garnier

Plaster & Moulding Expert: Stuc et Staff

Silverware: Christofle

Silk & Trimmings: Declercq Passementiers

Wood Restoration Expert: Atelier Fancelli

  

Hotel Opening Date: 01 August 2014

Notable owners: Katara Hospitality; Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Group (HSH)

Total Rooms & Suites: 200 (including 35m2 Superior, 45m2 Deluxe, 50m2 Grand Deluxe, 55m2 Premier and 60m2 Grand Premier Rooms)

Total Suites: 34 Suites (including 70m2 Superior, 85m2 Deluxe and 100m2 Premier

Top Suites: Historic Suite, Katara Suite, and The Peninsula Suite

Bathroom Amenities: Oscar de la Renta

 

Restaurants: The Lobby (All day dining & Afternoon tea), LiLi (Cantonese), L'Oiseau Blanc (French), La Terrasse Kléber

Bars and Lounges: Le Bar Kléber; Kléber Lounge; Cigar Lounge; and L'Oiseau Blanc Bar

Meeting & Banquets: Salon de l'Étoile for up to 100 guests, and 3 smaller Function Rooms

Health & Leisure: 24 hours gym & 1,800m2 Peninsula Spa with 22m indoor swimming pool and jacuzzis; Steam & Sauna, Relaxation Room, and 8 treatment rooms

Transport: chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Extended Wheel Base Phantom; a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II; 2 MINI Cooper S Clubman; and a fleet of 10 BMW 7 Series

 

Complimentary facilities: Non-alcoholic Minibar; Wired and Wireless Internet; VOIP long distance calls; HD Movies; Daily fruit Basket; International Newspaper; Chauffeured MINI Cooper S Clubman for Suites guests; and Chauffeured Rolls Royce for top Suites

 

paris.peninsula.com

www.niemeyercenter.org/

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si se le añaden líneas rectas. Se sobrepusieron las letras Centro Niemeyer, sobre la imagen rectangular de la puerta, en blanco siguiendo el color principal de la obra entera del arquitecto.

 

es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Oscar...

 

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on the 26 of May 2011.

 

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".

 

It is possible to see the buildings from different places, even from the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colours highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

 

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design

 

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most important architects in the world) was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present fort the 25 Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a big project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace. This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe.[3] That is the reason why its name is “Centro Niemeyer”.

 

Structure

 

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:

 

The open square: a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer’s idea of a place open to humankind.

The auditorium: around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, conferences... Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club (a small space for small concerts) and an exhibition room in the foyer.

The dome: its the exhibitions building.

The tower: sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge

The multi-purpose building: Film Centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, information point...

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Niemeyer_International_Cultur...

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer ye la resultancia de la combinación d'un complexu cultural proxectáu por arquiteutu brasileru Oscar Niemeyer y un proyectu cultural internacional qu'integra distintes manifestaciones artístiques y culturales como esposiciones, música, teatru, danza, cine o gastronomía ente otres. Ta allugáu na marxe derecha de la ría d'Avilés, n'Asturies. Inauguráu'l 26 de marzu de 2011.

 

Una plaza abierta a toos y toes, un llugar per l'educación, la cultura y la paz.

 

Anguaño'l centru dibuxase nel paisaxe urbanu de la Villa del Adelantado, xunto a la ría d'Avilés, siendo visible, pol so color blanco y el so grandor, dende sitios estremaos y dende l'aire.

 

ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro_Cultural_Internacional_Osca...

 

© yohanes.budiyanto, 2014

 

PRELUDE

The 1st of August, 2014 was such an historic day as the world finally welcomed the birth of the first in line to the Parisian throne after a painstaking and extraordinary "labor" process that took four years in creation, and almost a decade in the making. I was not talking about a French rival to baby George, but instead a newborn that has sent shivers down the spines of Paris' oldest and current Kings and Grand Dames from the day it was conceived. Yes, I was referring to The Peninsula Paris, the youngest sister to the legendary Peninsula Hong Kong (circa 1928).

 

Ever since the project was announced to the public four years ago, it has been on my top list of the most eagerly awaited hotel openings of the decade. So when the hotel announced 1st of August as an opening date back in March, I immediately issued my First Class return tickets to the City of Light, risking the usual opening delay. A man of his word, Peninsula Paris finally opened as scheduled.

 

HISTORY

The Peninsula brand needs no introduction, as it is synonymous with quality, technology, innovation, craftsmanship and sophistication, -much like a slogan for French top brands and their savoir faire. Despite having only 10 current properties worldwide in its portfolio (Paris is its tenth), each Peninsula hotel is a market leader in each respective cities, and consistently tops the chart in many bonafide travel publications and reigns supreme as the world's best, especially elder sisters in Hong Kong and Bangkok. The Peninsula model is different from other rival hotel groups, which usually expand aggressively through both franchise and managed models worldwide. Instead, the Peninsula focuses on acquiring majority to sole ownership on all its properties to ensure control on quality (Hong Kong, New York, Chicago and Tokyo are 100% owned; Bangkok, Beijing and Manila are over 75%; Shanghai is 50%, while Beverly Hills and Paris are the only two with only 20% ownership).

 

The history of the Peninsula Paris could be traced back to a modest villa aptly called Hotel Basilevski on the plot of land at 19 Avenue Kleber back in 1864, -named after its Russian diplomat owner, Alexander Petrovich Basilevski, which caught the attention of hotelier Leonard Tauber for his prospective hotel project. The Versailles-styled property was partly a museum housing Basilevski's vast and impressive collection of 19th century medieval and Renaissance art, which eventually was acquired by Alexander III, -a Russian Tsar, at the sums of six millions francs. These collections were later transported to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and formed the base collection for the newly established Department of Medieval and Renaissance Art. After Basilevski sold the villa and moved to a more palatial residence at Avenue du Trocadero, the property was then acquired and rebranded the Palais de Castille as the residence of the exiled Queen Isabella II of Spain in 1868, who seeked refuge and continued to live there until 1904. Upon her death, the property was later demolished in 1906 to make way for the Majestic hotel, which finally opened in 1908 with much satisfaction of Leonard Tauber, who has eyed the premise from the very beginning.

 

The Majestic Hotel was exquisitely designed in the Beaux-Art style as a grand hotel by prominent architect of that time, Armand Sibien. Together with The Ritz (circa 1898), the two became the most preferred places to stay and entertain in Paris of the time. The Majestic has attracted the well-heeled crowd, and hosted many high profile events, most notably for a particular dinner hosted by rich British couple Sydney and Violet Schiff on 18 May 1922 as the after party of Igor Stravinsky's 'Le Renard' ballet premiere, and the hotel becomes an instant legend. The guests list were impressive: Igor Stravinsky himself, Pablo Picasso, Sergei Diaghilev, and two of the 20th century most legendary writers: James Joyce and Marcel Proust, who met for the first and only time before Proust's death six months later. Since then, the Majestic continued to draw high profile guests, including George Gershwin on 25 March 1928, where he composed "An American in Paris" during the stay.

 

If the walls could talk, the Majestic has plenty of stories to tell. It was once converted into a hospital during the infamy in 1914, and the British took residency at the hotel during the Paris Peace Conference back in 1919. The hotel was then acquired by the French State in 1936 as the offices of the Ministry of Defence; and later had a stint as the German Military High Command in France between October 1940 to July 1944 during the World War II. Post war, it then became the temporary home for UNESCO from 16 September 1946 until 1958. More than a decade after, the Paris Peace talks was opened by Henry Kissinger in one of its spectacular Ballrooms in 1969 with the Northern Vietnamese. Four years later, the Paris Peace Accord was finally signed at the oak paneled-room next to the Ballroom on 27 January 1973, which ended the Vietnam War. This triumphant event has also led to another victorious event when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize that same year.

 

The hotel continued to serve as the International Conference Center of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs until it was up for sale by the government in 2008 as part of the cost cutting program to the Qatari Diar, -which later transferred its ownership to Katara Hospitality, for a staggering USD 460 million. An excess of USD 600 million was further spent on the massive rebuilding and refurbishment not only to restore the hotel to its former glory, but also to transform it into a Peninsula with the highest standard.

 

The epic restoration work was led by prominent French architect, Richard Martinet, who has also previously work with the restoration of Prince Roland Bonaparte's former mansion into the Shangri-La Paris and also the Four Seasons George V; and involved teams of France's leading craftsmen; heritage designers and organisations; stonemasons from historic monument specialist; master glass crafters; crystal manufacturer; wood, moulding and gilder restoration experts, -many of whom are third generation, and have carried out high profile projects such as the Palace of Versailles, Louvre Museum, the dome of Les Invalides, the Grand and Petit Palais, and even the flame of the Statue of Liberty in New York. The result is truly breathtaking, and it was certainly money well spent to revive and recreate one of the nation's most treasured landmark. One of my favorite places within the hotel is the Main Lobby at Avenue des Portugais where the grand hall is adorned with a spectacular chandelier installation comprising 800 pieces of glass leaves inspired by the plane trees along Avenue Kleber. The work of Spain's most influential artist since Gaudi, Xavier Corbero, could also be found nearby in the form of a beautiful sculpture called Moon River.

 

Katara Hospitality owns 80% of The Peninsula Paris, and already has a spectacular portfolio ownership consisting some of the world's finest hotels, including The Raffles Singapore, Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris, Ritz-Carlton Doha, Schweizerhof Bern, and most recently, 5 of the InterContinental Hotel's European flagships, including Amstel in Amsterdam, Carlton in Cannes, De la Ville in Rome, Madrid and Frankfurt. It is interesting to note that Adrian Zecha, founder of the extraordinary Amanresorts chain is a member of the Board of Directors at Katara since September 2011, lending his immense hospitality expertise to the group.

 

At over USD 1 billion cost, the Pen Paris project is easily the most expensive to ever being built, considering it has only 200 rooms over 6 storeys. As a comparison, the cost of building the 101 storey, 494m high Shanghai World Financial Center (where the Park Hyatt Shanghai resides) is USD 1.2 billion; whereas Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building on earth at 163 storey and 828m, costed a 'modest' USD 1.5 billion to build. The numbers are truly mind boggling, and The Peninsula Paris is truly an extraordinary project. It might took the Majestic Hotel two years to build; but it took four years just to restore and reincarnate it into a Peninsula.

 

HOTEL OPENING

On a pleasant afternoon of 1 August 2014, the hotel finally opened its door to a crowd of distinguished guests, international journalists, first hotel guests and local crowds who partake to witness the inauguration and rebirth of a Parisian legend and grande dame (Many A-list celebrities and even Head of State flocked to the hotel to witness its sheer beauty). It was an historic day not just for Paris, but also for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Group as it marks their arrival in Europe with its first ever Peninsula, while the second is already on the pipeline with the future opening of The Peninsula London, located just behind The Lanesborough at Knightsbridge.

 

The eagerly-awaited opening ceremony was attended by the Chairman of Katara Hospitality, His Excellency Sheikh Nawaf Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani; CEO of Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited (HSH), Clement Kwok; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius; General Manager of the Peninsula Paris, Nicolas Béliard; and the event kicked off with an opening speech by the famous French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, Madame Fleur Pellerin, who clearly stole the show with her public persona. A ribbon cutting and spectacular lion dance show concluded the event, which drew quite a spectacle on Avenue des Portugais as it brought a unique display of Asian heritage to the heart of cosmopolitan Paris.

 

LOCATION

The Peninsula Paris stands majestically at the tree-lined Avenue Kléber, just off the Arc de Triomphe. Personally, this is an ideal location in Paris as it is a stone's throw away from all the happenings at the Champs-Élysées, but is set away from its hustle and bustle, which is constantly a tourist trap day and night. Once you walk pass the leafy Avenue Kléber, the atmosphere is very different: peaceful and safe. The Kléber Metro station is just a few steps away from the hotel, providing guests a convenient access to further parts of town.

 

Champs-Élysées is the center of Parisian universe, and it is just a short and pleasant stroll away from the hotel, where some of the city's most legendary commercial and cultural institutions reside. For a start, Drugstore Publicis at the corner by the roundabout has been a legendary hang-out since the 1960s, and is my ultimate favourite place in town. The Post Modern edifice by architect Michele Saee (renovated in 2004) houses almost everything: a Cinema; side walk Brasserie & Steak House; Newsagency; Bookshop (you can find Travel publications and even the Michelin Guide); upscale Gift shop and Beauty corner (even Acqua di Parma is on sale here); Pharmacy (whose pharmacist thankfully speaks English and gladly advises you on your symptoms); upscale deli (stocking pretty much everything from Foie gras burger on the counter, to fine wines & cigar cellar; to Pierre Herme & Pierre Marcolini chocolates; Dalloyau bakery; Marriage Freres tea; and even the Petrossian Caviar!). Best of all, it features a 2 Michelin star L'atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile on its basement; and the store is even opened on Sunday until 2am. It is a one stop shopping, eating and entertainment, showcasing the best of France.

 

Further down the road, Maison Louis Vuitton stands majestically on its own entire 7 storey building, which was opened in 2005 as one of the biggest flagship stores in the world, covering a total area of 1,800m2. Designed by Eric Carlson and Peter Marino, the entire store is an architectural marvel and the temple of luxury, elegance and sophistication. This is one of the very few stores to open in Sunday as the French Labour Unions prohibits commercial stores to open on Sunday, unless if it involves cultural, recreational and sporting aspect. Initially, Maison LV was ordered by the court to close on Sunday, but LVMH finally wins an appeal in 2007 on the grounds of cultural experience; and the store has continued to draw endless queue on Sunday.

 

A block away from Maison LV is the legendary Parisian Tea Room of Ladurée, which was founded in 1862 by Louis Ernest Ladurée on its original store at 16 Rue Royal as a bakery. The Champs-Élysées store was opened in 1997 and has since attracted an endless queue of tourists and locals who wish to savour its legendary Macarons and pastries. The Ladurée phenomenon and popularity could only be rivaled by fellow Frenchmen Pierre Hermé, who has also attracted a cult of loyal fans worldwide. It may not have a flagship store at Champs-Élysées, but one could easily stop by Drugstore Publicis for a quick purchase to ease the craving.

 

For those looking for upscale boutiques, Avenue Montaigne located just nearby on a perpendicular, and features the flagship presence of the world's finest luxury fashion labels: Armani, Bottega Veneta, Valention, Prada, Dior, Versace, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Fendi and Salvatore Ferragamo to name a few. For the ultimate in shopping extravaganza, head down to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré where all money will (hopefully) be well spent.

 

Champs-Élysées is the most famous and expensive boulevard in the world, yet it has everything for everyone; and myriad of crowds flocking its grand boulevards for a pleasant stroll. It has no shortage of luxury stores, but it also offers mainstream stores for the general public, from Levi's to Zara and Lacoste; to McDonalds and Starbucks; and FNAC store (French answer to HMV).

 

In terms of fine dining experience, the areas around Champs-Élysées has plenty to offer. I have mentioned about the 2 Michelin L'atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile at the Drugstore Publicis, which was excellent. Robuchon never disappoints as it consistently serves amazing French cuisine amidst its signature red and black interior everywhere I visited, including Tokyo (3 Michelin), Hong Kong (3 Michelin), Paris (2 Michelin) and Taipei.

 

During my stay, I also managed to sample the finest cuisine from the kitchens of two, 3-Michelin Paris institutions: Pierre Gagnaire at Rue Balzac, just off Champs-Élysées; and Epicure at Le Bristol by Chef Eric Frechon on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which was undoubtedly the best and most memorable dining experiences I have ever had in Paris to date. It is certainly the gastronomic highlight of this trip.

 

Other 3 Michelin establishment, such as Ledoyen is also located nearby at an 18th century pavilion by the Gardens of Champs-Élysées by newly appointed famous French Chef Yannick Alléno, who previously also resided at the Le Meurice with 3 Michelin, until Alain Ducasse took over last year during the Plaza Athénée closure for expansion.

 

August is a time of misery for international visitors to Paris as most fine dining restaurants are closed for the summer holiday. When choices are limited, foodies could rely on Epicure and Robuchon, which are opened all year round; and also the 2 Michelin star Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V. Although its food could not compete with Robuchon, Epicure and Gagnaire, guests could still enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

 

ROOMS:

On my visit to Paris last year, I was not too impressed with my stay at the Four Seasons George V, as everything seemed to be pretty basic: the room design; the in-room tech and amenities; and even the much lauded service. It simply does not justify the hefty price tag. The only thing stood out there were the ostentatious designer floral display at the lobby, which reportedly absorbed a six digit figure budget annually. When I saw them at the first time, this was what came to mind: guests are paying for these excessive flowers, whether you like it or not.

 

Fortunately, the Peninsula Paris skips all this expensive gimmick, and instead spends a fortune for guests to enjoy: advance room technology; a host of complimentary essential amenities, including internet access, non-alcoholic minibar, and even long distance phone calls. In fact, every single items inside the room has been well thought and designed for guest's ultimate comfort.

 

Ever since The Peninsula Bangkok opened in 1998 to much success, the group has used it as a template for its signature rooms for future sister hotels, which consists of an open plan, ultra-wide spacious room equivalent to a 2 bays suite, with 5-fixtures bathroom, and a separate Dressing Room, which soon becomes a Peninsula signature.

 

The Peninsula Tokyo followed this template when it opened in 2007 to rave reviews; and it was soon adopted as a model for Peninsula Shanghai, which later opened in 2009 as the flagship property in Mainland China. This layout is also being applied at The Peninsula Paris, albeit for its Suites categories, i.e. Junior Suite, which measure at an astonishing 50 - 60m2. The entry level Superior and Deluxe Rooms lack the signature layout with smaller size at 35 - 45m2, but they are already spacious for a Parisian standard; and each is equipped with Peninsula's signature technology.

 

Technology is indeed at the core of the Peninsula DNA, and no expense is spared in creating the world's most advance in-room technology. When other hotels try to cut costs and budgets on in-room technology with lame excuses, the Peninsula actually spends a fortune to innovate and set a new benchmark. In fact, it is probably the only hotel group to have its own Technology laboratory at a secret location deep inside Aberdeen, Hong Kong, where in-room tech is being developed and tested. It was here where innovative devices, such as the outside temperature indicator; my favourite Spa Button by the bathtub; or even the portable nail dryer for the ladies are invented. The Peninsula took the world by storm when it introduced the Samsung Galaxy tablet device at the Peninsula Hong Kong in 2012, which is programmed in 11 languages and virtually controls the entire room, including the lights, temperature, curtains, TV, radio, valet calls and Do Not Disturb sign. It even features touch screen Room Service Menu, hotel information, city guide, and a function to request room service and housekeeping items, thus creating an entirely paperless environment.

 

All these technological marvel are also being replicated at the Peninsula Paris, together with other 'standard' features, such as Nespresso Coffee Machine; flat-screen 3D LED television; LED touch screen wall panels; an iPod/iPad docking station; memory card reader; 4-in1 fax/scanner/printer/photocopier machine; DVD player; complimentary in-house HD movies; complimentary internet access and long distance calls through the VOIP platform. Even the room's exterior Parisian-styled canopy is electronically operated. All these technological offerings is so extremely complex, that it resulted in 2.5 km worth of cabling in each room alone.

 

Bathroom at the Junior Suite also features Peninsula's signature layout: a stand alone bathtub as the focal point, flanked by twin vanities and separate shower and WC compartments amidst acres of white marble. Probably the first in Paris, it features a Japanese Toilet complete with basic control panel, and a manual handheld bidet sprayer.

 

When all these add up to the stay, it actually brings a very good value to the otherwise high room rates. Better yet, the non-alcoholic Minibar is also complimentary, which is a first for a Peninsula hotel. The Four Seasons George V may choose to keep looking back to its antiquity past and annihilate most technological offerings to its most basic form, but the Pen always looks forward to the future and brings the utter convenience, all at your finger tip. The Peninsula rooms are undoubtedly the best designed, best equipped and most high-tech in the entire universe.

 

ROOM TO BOOK:

The 50 - 60m2 Junior Suite facing leafy Avenue Kléber is the best room type to book as it is an open-plan suite with Peninsula's signature bathroom and dressing room; and the ones located on the Premiere étage (first floor) have high ceilings and small balcony overlooking Kleber Terrace's iconic glass canopy. Personally, rooms facing the back street at Rue La Pérouse are the least preferred, but its top level rooms inside the Mansart Roof on level 5 have juliet windows that allow glimpse of the tip of Eiffel Tower despite being smaller in size due to its attic configuration. Superior Rooms also lack the signature Peninsula 5 fixtures bathroom configuration, so for the ultimate bathing experience, make sure to book at least from the Deluxe category.

 

If money is no object, book one of the five piece-de-resistance suites with their own private rooftop terrace and gardens on the top floor, which allow 360 degree panoramic views of Paris. Otherwise, the mid-tier Deluxe Suite is already a great choice with corner location, multiple windows and 85m2 of pure luxury.

 

DINING:

Looking back at the hotel's illustrious past, the Peninsula offers some of the most unique and memorable dining experiences in Paris, steep in history.

 

The area that once housed Igor Stravinksy's after party where James Joyce met Marcel Proust for the first time is now the hotel's Cantonese Restaurant, aptly called LiLi; and is led by Chef Chi Keung Tang, formerly of Peninsula Tokyo's One Michelin starred Hei Fung Terrace. Lili was actually modeled after Peninsula Shanghai's Yi Long Court, but the design here blends Chinese elements with Art Nouveau style that flourished in the late 1920s. It also boasts a world first: a spectacular 3x3.3m fiber optic installation at the entrance of the restaurant, depicting the imaginary portrait of LiLi herself. The Cantonese menu was surprisingly rather simple and basic, and features a selection of popular dim sum dishes. The best and most memorable Chinese restaurants I have ever experienced are actually those who masterfully fuse Chinese tradition with French ingredients: Jin Sha at the Four Seasons Hangzhou at Westlake; 2 Michelin Tin Lung Heen at Level 102 of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong; Jiang at Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou by Chef Fei; and Ya Ge at Mandarin Oriental Taipei. Ironically, the world's only 3 Michelin star Chinese restaurant, Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons Hong Kong failed to impress me.

 

The former Ballroom area where Henry Kissinger started the Paris Peace talks with the Vietnamese has now been transformed as The Lobby, which is a signature of every Peninsula hotels where the afternoon tea ritual takes place daily. The spectacular room with intricate details and crystal chandeliers has been meticulously restored, and is an ideal place to meet, see and be seen. Breakfast is served daily here, and guests could choose to have it either inside or outside at the adjoining al fresco La Terrasse Kléber, which connects all the F&B outlets on the ground floor, including Lili. Guests could choose from a Chinese set breakfast, which includes dim sum, fried vermicelli, and porridge with beef slices; or the Parisian set, which includes gourmet items such as Egg Benedict with generous slices of Jamon Iberico on top. The afternoon tea ritual is expected to be very popular as renowned Chef Pattissier Julien Alvarez, -who claimed the World Pastry Champion in 2009; and also the Spanish World Chocolate Master in 2007 at the tender age of 23, is at the helm; and the venue quickly booked out from the opening day.

 

Next to the Lobby is a small, intimate bar covered in exquisite oak panelling where Henry Kissinger signed the Paris Peace Accord back in 1973 that ended the Vietnam War. Kissinger politely declined the offer to have the Bar named after him, and instead it is simply called Le Bar Kléber.

 

On the top floor of the hotel lies the signature restaurant L'Oiseau Blanc, which is named after the French biplane that disappeared in 1927 in an attempt to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight between Paris and New York. A 75% replica of the plane has even been installed outside the main entrance of the restaurant with the Eiffel Tower on its background. The restaurant is divided into 3 distinct areas: a spectacular glass enclosed main dining room; a large outdoor terrace that runs the entire length of the hotel's roof; and an adjoining lively bar, all with breathtaking uninterrupted views of Paris' most identifiable landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Cœur at the highest point of the city at Montmartre.

 

L'Oiseau Blanc is led by Chef Sidney Redel, a former protégé of Pierre Gagnaire, and serves contemporary French cuisine focussing on 'terroir' menu of locally sourced seasonal ingredients from the region. During my stay, tomato was the seasonal ingredients, and Chef Redel created four courses incorporating tomato, even on dessert. While the food was of high quality, personally the menu still needs fine tuning, considering the sort of clientele the Pen is aiming for: the ultra rich (Chinese), who usually seek top establishments with luxury ingredients, such as caviar, black truffle, foie gras, blue lobster, Jamon Iberico, Wagyu beef, Kurobuta pork and Challans chicken.

 

LEISURE:

The Peninsula Paris features one of the best health and recreational facilities in the city, housed within the basement of the hotel, and covers an expansive area of 1,800m2. For a comparison, rival Mandarin Oriental Spa covers a total area of only 900m2 over two floors. The Peninsula Spa is undoubtedly one of the nicest urban spa that I have been to, it easily beats the Spa at the Four Seasons George V. The pool is also one of the city's largest at 22m long, -compared to both the Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental at 15m; the George V at only 9m, which is more like a bigger jacuzzi. The only two other pools better than the Peninsula is the one designed by Phillippe Starck at the Le Royal Monceau at 28m; and the spectacular grand pool at the Ritz.

 

There is the usual 24 hours gym within two fitness spaces equipped with Technogym machines and free weights; and the locker rooms features steam, sauna, and experience shower room. There is a total of 8 treatment rooms within the Spa area, and the highlight is certainly the Relaxation Room, which is equipped with amazing day beds with specially placed deep cushions. The best part? the beds are electronically operated, much like a first class seat on a plane.

 

X-FACTOR:

The Peninsula signature technology; The Spa Button in the bathroom; VOIP technology for complimentary long distance calls; The top suites (Historic, Katara and Peninsula Suites); Xavier Corbero's Moon River sculpture at the Lobby; Lili; The Lobby and Bar where Henry Kissinger signed Paris Peace Accord; L'Oiseau Blanc Restaurant; The 1,800m2 Peninsula Spa; and the 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II.

 

SERVICE:

There are a total of 600 staffs for just 200 rooms, so the service level is expected to be high; but it is perhaps unfair to judge the service during the opening weeks when all staffs were not at their best due to the intense preparation leading to the opening event. Furthermore, teething problems are expected for a newly opened hotel as great hotels are not born overnight, but takes a good few years of refinement.

 

Nonetheless, I was actually quite impressed with the level of service during the whole stay, as the majority of the staffs showed great attitude and much enthusiasm, which is a testament of great intense training. As one of the first guests arriving on the opening day, check-in was truly delightful and memorable as a battalion of staffs of different ranks welcomed and wished the most pleasant stay. The mood could not have been more festive as moments later, the hotel was finally inaugurated.

 

I was also particularly impressed with the service at both LiLi and The Lobby where staffs performed at an exceptional level like a veteran. There are two distinct qualities that made a lot of difference during the stay: humility and friendliness, which is quite a challenge to find, not only in Paris and the entire Europe, but even in Asian cities, such as Hong Kong. It is like finding needles in a haystack. A genuine smile seems to be a rare commodity these days, so I was happy to see plenty of smiles at the Peninsula Paris during the stay, from the signature Peninsula Pageboys to waiters, Maître d, receptionists and even to Managers and Directors. In fact, there were more smiles in Paris than Hong Kong.

 

When I woken up too early for breakfast one day, the restaurant was just about to open; and there were hardly anyone. I realized that even the birds were probably still asleep, but I was extremely delighted to see how fresh looking and energetic the staffs were at the dining room. There was a lot of genuine smile that warmed the rather chilly morning; and it was a great start to the day. One of the staffs I met during the stay even candidly explained how they were happy just to be at work, and it does not feel like working at all, which was clearly shown in their passion and enthusiasm.

 

That said, the Shangri-La Paris by far is still my top pick for best service as it is more personalized and refined due to its more intimate scale. The Shangri-La Paris experience is also unique as guests are welcomed to a sit down registration by the historic lounge off the Lobby upon arrival, and choice of drinks are offered, before being escorted to the room for in-room check-in. Guests also receive a Pre-Arrival Form in advance, so the hotel could anticipate and best accommodate their needs. During the stay, I was also addressed by my last name everywhere within the hotel, so it was highly personalized. I did receive similar treatment at The Peninsula Paris, -albeit in a lesser extent due to its size; and even the housekeeping greeted me by my last name. Every requests, from room service to mineral water were all handled efficiently at a timely manner. At times, service could be rather slow at the restaurants (well, it happens almost everywhere in Paris), but this is part of the Parisian lifestyle where nothing is hurried; and bringing bills/checks upfront is considered rude. I did request the food servings to be expedited during a lunch at LiLi on the last day due to the time constraint; and the staffs managed to succeed the task not only ahead of the time limit, but also it never felt hurried all along. Everything ran as smooth as silk.

 

VERDICT:

It was a personal satisfaction to witness the history in the making during the opening day on 1 August 2014, as the Peninsula Paris is my most eagerly awaited hotel opening of the decade. It was also historic, as it was a first in my travel to dedicate a trip solely for a particular hotel in a particular city (in this case Paris, some 11,578km away from home), without staying at other fine hotels. It was money well spent, and a trip worth taking as it was an amazing stay; and certainly a lifetime experience.

 

The Peninsula Paris could not have arrived at a better time, as two of the most established Parisian grande dames (Ritz and de Crillon) are still closed for a complete renovation, and will only be revealed in 2015; so there is plenty of time to adapt, grow and hone its skills. But with such pedigree, quality and illustrious history, the Pen really has nothing to be worried about. The Four Seasons George V seems to have a cult of highly obsessed fans (esp. travel agents) worldwide, but personally (and objectively), it is no match to the Peninsula. Based on physical product alone, the Pen wins in every aspect as everything has been meticulously designed with the focus on guest comfort and convenience. In terms of technology, the Pen literally has no rival anywhere on the planet, except from the obvious sibling rivalry.

 

The only thing that the Pen still needs to work on is its signature restaurants as all its rival hotels have at least 2 Michelin star restaurants (L'abeille at the Shangri-La; Sur Mesure at the Mandarin Oriental; and 3 Michelin at Epicure, Le Bristol; Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V and Alain Ducasse at Le Meurice). L'Oiseau Blanc design is truly breathtaking and would certainly be the most popular gastronomic destination in Paris, but at the moment, the food still needs some works.

 

There were the expected teething problems and some inconsistencies with the service; but with years of refinement, The Peninsula Paris will no doubt ascend the throne. Personally, the Shangri-La Paris is currently the real competitor, together with the upcoming Ritz and de Crillon when they open next year, especially when Rosewood has taken over Crillon management and Karl Lagerfeld is working on its top suites. The two, however, may still need to revisit the drawing boards and put more effort on the guestrooms if they ever want to compete; because at the moment, The Peninsula Paris is simply unrivaled.

 

UPDATE 2016:

*I have always been very spot-on with my predictions. After only two years since its opening, The Peninsula Paris has been awarded the much coveted Palace status. In fact, it is the only hotel in Paris to receive such distinction in 2016. Congratulations, it is very much deserving*

 

PERSONAL RATING:

1. Room: 100

2. Bathroom: 100

3. Bed: 100

4. Service: 90

5. In-room Tech: 100

6. In-room Amenities: 100

7. Architecture & Design: 100

8. Food: 80

9. View: 80

10. Pool: 95

11. Wellness: 95

12. Location: 95

13. Value: 100

 

Overall: 95.00

 

Compare with other Parisian hotels (all with Palace status) that I have stayed previously:

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, PARIS: 95.00

PARK HYATT PARIS-VENDOME: 90.00

FOUR SEASONS GEORGE V: 85.38

 

My #1 ALL TIME FAVORITE HOTEL

LANDMARK MANDARIN ORIENTAL, HONG KONG: 95.38

 

THE PENINSULA, PARIS

19, Avenue Kléber, Paris

Awarded Palace Status in 2016

 

General Manager: Nicolas Béliard

Hotel Manager: Vincent Pimont

Executive Chef: Jean-Edern Hurstel

Head Chef (Lili): Chi Keung Tang

Head Chef (L'oiseau Blanc): Sidney Redel

Head Chef (The Lobby): Laurent Poitevin

Chef Patissier: Julien Alvarez

 

Architect (original Majestic Hotel, circa 1908): Armand Sibien

Architect (renovation & restoration, 2010-2014): Richard Martinet

Interior Designer: Henry Leung of Chhada Siembieda & Associates

Landscape Designer: D. Paysage

 

Art Curator: Sabrina Fung

Art Restorer: Cinzia Pasquali

Artist (Courtyard installation): Ben Jakober & Yannick Vu

Crystal work: Baccarat

Designer (Lili fiber optic installation): Clementine Chambon & Francoise Mamert

Designer (Chinaware): Catherine Bergen

Gilder Specialist & Restorer: Ateliers Gohard

Glass Crafter (Lobby Installation): Lasvit Glass Studio

Master Glass Crafters: Duchemin

Master Sculptor (Lobby): Xavier Corbero

Metalwork: Remy Garnier

Plaster & Moulding Expert: Stuc et Staff

Silverware: Christofle

Silk & Trimmings: Declercq Passementiers

Wood Restoration Expert: Atelier Fancelli

  

Hotel Opening Date: 01 August 2014

Notable owners: Katara Hospitality; Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Group (HSH)

Total Rooms & Suites: 200 (including 35m2 Superior, 45m2 Deluxe, 50m2 Grand Deluxe, 55m2 Premier and 60m2 Grand Premier Rooms)

Total Suites: 34 Suites (including 70m2 Superior, 85m2 Deluxe and 100m2 Premier

Top Suites: Historic Suite, Katara Suite, and The Peninsula Suite

Bathroom Amenities: Oscar de la Renta

 

Restaurants: The Lobby (All day dining & Afternoon tea), LiLi (Cantonese), L'Oiseau Blanc (French), La Terrasse Kléber

Bars and Lounges: Le Bar Kléber; Kléber Lounge; Cigar Lounge; and L'Oiseau Blanc Bar

Meeting & Banquets: Salon de l'Étoile for up to 100 guests, and 3 smaller Function Rooms

Health & Leisure: 24 hours gym & 1,800m2 Peninsula Spa with 22m indoor swimming pool and jacuzzis; Steam & Sauna, Relaxation Room, and 8 treatment rooms

Transport: chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Extended Wheel Base Phantom; a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II; 2 MINI Cooper S Clubman; and a fleet of 10 BMW 7 Series

 

Complimentary facilities: Non-alcoholic Minibar; Wired and Wireless Internet; VOIP long distance calls; HD Movies; Daily fruit Basket; International Newspaper; Chauffeured MINI Cooper S Clubman for Suites guests; and Chauffeured Rolls Royce for top Suites

 

paris.peninsula.com

July 18, 2011 - New York, New York, U.S. - K20513HMC.SUSAN LUCCI.The Michael Awards 2000 ''The Oscars of Fashion''.NY Hilton Hotel, NYC. 2000(Credit Image: :copyright: Henry McGee/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)

© yohanes.budiyanto, 2014

 

PRELUDE

The 1st of August, 2014 was such an historic day as the world finally welcomed the birth of the first in line to the Parisian throne after a painstaking and extraordinary "labor" process that took four years in creation, and almost a decade in the making. I was not talking about a French rival to baby George, but instead a newborn that has sent shivers down the spines of Paris' oldest and current Kings and Grand Dames from the day it was conceived. Yes, I was referring to The Peninsula Paris, the youngest sister to the legendary Peninsula Hong Kong (circa 1928).

 

Ever since the project was announced to the public four years ago, it has been on my top list of the most eagerly awaited hotel openings of the decade. So when the hotel announced 1st of August as an opening date back in March, I immediately issued my First Class return tickets to the City of Light, risking the usual opening delay. A man of his word, Peninsula Paris finally opened as scheduled.

 

HISTORY

The Peninsula brand needs no introduction, as it is synonymous with quality, technology, innovation, craftsmanship and sophistication, -much like a slogan for French top brands and their savoir faire. Despite having only 10 current properties worldwide in its portfolio (Paris is its tenth), each Peninsula hotel is a market leader in each respective cities, and consistently tops the chart in many bonafide travel publications and reigns supreme as the world's best, especially elder sisters in Hong Kong and Bangkok. The Peninsula model is different from other rival hotel groups, which usually expand aggressively through both franchise and managed models worldwide. Instead, the Peninsula focuses on acquiring majority to sole ownership on all its properties to ensure control on quality (Hong Kong, New York, Chicago and Tokyo are 100% owned; Bangkok, Beijing and Manila are over 75%; Shanghai is 50%, while Beverly Hills and Paris are the only two with only 20% ownership).

 

The history of the Peninsula Paris could be traced back to a modest villa aptly called Hotel Basilevski on the plot of land at 19 Avenue Kleber back in 1864, -named after its Russian diplomat owner, Alexander Petrovich Basilevski, which caught the attention of hotelier Leonard Tauber for his prospective hotel project. The Versailles-styled property was partly a museum housing Basilevski's vast and impressive collection of 19th century medieval and Renaissance art, which eventually was acquired by Alexander III, -a Russian Tsar, at the sums of six millions francs. These collections were later transported to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and formed the base collection for the newly established Department of Medieval and Renaissance Art. After Basilevski sold the villa and moved to a more palatial residence at Avenue du Trocadero, the property was then acquired and rebranded the Palais de Castille as the residence of the exiled Queen Isabella II of Spain in 1868, who seeked refuge and continued to live there until 1904. Upon her death, the property was later demolished in 1906 to make way for the Majestic hotel, which finally opened in 1908 with much satisfaction of Leonard Tauber, who has eyed the premise from the very beginning.

 

The Majestic Hotel was exquisitely designed in the Beaux-Art style as a grand hotel by prominent architect of that time, Armand Sibien. Together with The Ritz (circa 1898), the two became the most preferred places to stay and entertain in Paris of the time. The Majestic has attracted the well-heeled crowd, and hosted many high profile events, most notably for a particular dinner hosted by rich British couple Sydney and Violet Schiff on 18 May 1922 as the after party of Igor Stravinsky's 'Le Renard' ballet premiere, and the hotel becomes an instant legend. The guests list were impressive: Igor Stravinsky himself, Pablo Picasso, Sergei Diaghilev, and two of the 20th century most legendary writers: James Joyce and Marcel Proust, who met for the first and only time before Proust's death six months later. Since then, the Majestic continued to draw high profile guests, including George Gershwin on 25 March 1928, where he composed "An American in Paris" during the stay.

 

If the walls could talk, the Majestic has plenty of stories to tell. It was once converted into a hospital during the infamy in 1914, and the British took residency at the hotel during the Paris Peace Conference back in 1919. The hotel was then acquired by the French State in 1936 as the offices of the Ministry of Defence; and later had a stint as the German Military High Command in France between October 1940 to July 1944 during the World War II. Post war, it then became the temporary home for UNESCO from 16 September 1946 until 1958. More than a decade after, the Paris Peace talks was opened by Henry Kissinger in one of its spectacular Ballrooms in 1969 with the Northern Vietnamese. Four years later, the Paris Peace Accord was finally signed at the oak paneled-room next to the Ballroom on 27 January 1973, which ended the Vietnam War. This triumphant event has also led to another victorious event when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize that same year.

 

The hotel continued to serve as the International Conference Center of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs until it was up for sale by the government in 2008 as part of the cost cutting program to the Qatari Diar, -which later transferred its ownership to Katara Hospitality, for a staggering USD 460 million. An excess of USD 600 million was further spent on the massive rebuilding and refurbishment not only to restore the hotel to its former glory, but also to transform it into a Peninsula with the highest standard.

 

The epic restoration work was led by prominent French architect, Richard Martinet, who has also previously work with the restoration of Prince Roland Bonaparte's former mansion into the Shangri-La Paris and also the Four Seasons George V; and involved teams of France's leading craftsmen; heritage designers and organisations; stonemasons from historic monument specialist; master glass crafters; crystal manufacturer; wood, moulding and gilder restoration experts, -many of whom are third generation, and have carried out high profile projects such as the Palace of Versailles, Louvre Museum, the dome of Les Invalides, the Grand and Petit Palais, and even the flame of the Statue of Liberty in New York. The result is truly breathtaking, and it was certainly money well spent to revive and recreate one of the nation's most treasured landmark. One of my favorite places within the hotel is the Main Lobby at Avenue des Portugais where the grand hall is adorned with a spectacular chandelier installation comprising 800 pieces of glass leaves inspired by the plane trees along Avenue Kleber. The work of Spain's most influential artist since Gaudi, Xavier Corbero, could also be found nearby in the form of a beautiful sculpture called Moon River.

 

Katara Hospitality owns 80% of The Peninsula Paris, and already has a spectacular portfolio ownership consisting some of the world's finest hotels, including The Raffles Singapore, Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris, Ritz-Carlton Doha, Schweizerhof Bern, and most recently, 5 of the InterContinental Hotel's European flagships, including Amstel in Amsterdam, Carlton in Cannes, De la Ville in Rome, Madrid and Frankfurt. It is interesting to note that Adrian Zecha, founder of the extraordinary Amanresorts chain is a member of the Board of Directors at Katara since September 2011, lending his immense hospitality expertise to the group.

 

At over USD 1 billion cost, the Pen Paris project is easily the most expensive to ever being built, considering it has only 200 rooms over 6 storeys. As a comparison, the cost of building the 101 storey, 494m high Shanghai World Financial Center (where the Park Hyatt Shanghai resides) is USD 1.2 billion; whereas Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building on earth at 163 storey and 828m, costed a 'modest' USD 1.5 billion to build. The numbers are truly mind boggling, and The Peninsula Paris is truly an extraordinary project. It might took the Majestic Hotel two years to build; but it took four years just to restore and reincarnate it into a Peninsula.

 

HOTEL OPENING

On a pleasant afternoon of 1 August 2014, the hotel finally opened its door to a crowd of distinguished guests, international journalists, first hotel guests and local crowds who partake to witness the inauguration and rebirth of a Parisian legend and grande dame (Many A-list celebrities and even Head of State flocked to the hotel to witness its sheer beauty). It was an historic day not just for Paris, but also for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Group as it marks their arrival in Europe with its first ever Peninsula, while the second is already on the pipeline with the future opening of The Peninsula London, located just behind The Lanesborough at Knightsbridge.

 

The eagerly-awaited opening ceremony was attended by the Chairman of Katara Hospitality, His Excellency Sheikh Nawaf Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani; CEO of Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited (HSH), Clement Kwok; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius; General Manager of the Peninsula Paris, Nicolas Béliard; and the event kicked off with an opening speech by the famous French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, Madame Fleur Pellerin, who clearly stole the show with her public persona. A ribbon cutting and spectacular lion dance show concluded the event, which drew quite a spectacle on Avenue des Portugais as it brought a unique display of Asian heritage to the heart of cosmopolitan Paris.

 

LOCATION

The Peninsula Paris stands majestically at the tree-lined Avenue Kléber, just off the Arc de Triomphe. Personally, this is an ideal location in Paris as it is a stone's throw away from all the happenings at the Champs-Élysées, but is set away from its hustle and bustle, which is constantly a tourist trap day and night. Once you walk pass the leafy Avenue Kléber, the atmosphere is very different: peaceful and safe. The Kléber Metro station is just a few steps away from the hotel, providing guests a convenient access to further parts of town.

 

Champs-Élysées is the center of Parisian universe, and it is just a short and pleasant stroll away from the hotel, where some of the city's most legendary commercial and cultural institutions reside. For a start, Drugstore Publicis at the corner by the roundabout has been a legendary hang-out since the 1960s, and is my ultimate favourite place in town. The Post Modern edifice by architect Michele Saee (renovated in 2004) houses almost everything: a Cinema; side walk Brasserie & Steak House; Newsagency; Bookshop (you can find Travel publications and even the Michelin Guide); upscale Gift shop and Beauty corner (even Acqua di Parma is on sale here); Pharmacy (whose pharmacist thankfully speaks English and gladly advises you on your symptoms); upscale deli (stocking pretty much everything from Foie gras burger on the counter, to fine wines & cigar cellar; to Pierre Herme & Pierre Marcolini chocolates; Dalloyau bakery; Marriage Freres tea; and even the Petrossian Caviar!). Best of all, it features a 2 Michelin star L'atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile on its basement; and the store is even opened on Sunday until 2am. It is a one stop shopping, eating and entertainment, showcasing the best of France.

 

Further down the road, Maison Louis Vuitton stands majestically on its own entire 7 storey building, which was opened in 2005 as one of the biggest flagship stores in the world, covering a total area of 1,800m2. Designed by Eric Carlson and Peter Marino, the entire store is an architectural marvel and the temple of luxury, elegance and sophistication. This is one of the very few stores to open in Sunday as the French Labour Unions prohibits commercial stores to open on Sunday, unless if it involves cultural, recreational and sporting aspect. Initially, Maison LV was ordered by the court to close on Sunday, but LVMH finally wins an appeal in 2007 on the grounds of cultural experience; and the store has continued to draw endless queue on Sunday.

 

A block away from Maison LV is the legendary Parisian Tea Room of Ladurée, which was founded in 1862 by Louis Ernest Ladurée on its original store at 16 Rue Royal as a bakery. The Champs-Élysées store was opened in 1997 and has since attracted an endless queue of tourists and locals who wish to savour its legendary Macarons and pastries. The Ladurée phenomenon and popularity could only be rivaled by fellow Frenchmen Pierre Hermé, who has also attracted a cult of loyal fans worldwide. It may not have a flagship store at Champs-Élysées, but one could easily stop by Drugstore Publicis for a quick purchase to ease the craving.

 

For those looking for upscale boutiques, Avenue Montaigne located just nearby on a perpendicular, and features the flagship presence of the world's finest luxury fashion labels: Armani, Bottega Veneta, Valention, Prada, Dior, Versace, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Fendi and Salvatore Ferragamo to name a few. For the ultimate in shopping extravaganza, head down to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré where all money will (hopefully) be well spent.

 

Champs-Élysées is the most famous and expensive boulevard in the world, yet it has everything for everyone; and myriad of crowds flocking its grand boulevards for a pleasant stroll. It has no shortage of luxury stores, but it also offers mainstream stores for the general public, from Levi's to Zara and Lacoste; to McDonalds and Starbucks; and FNAC store (French answer to HMV).

 

In terms of fine dining experience, the areas around Champs-Élysées has plenty to offer. I have mentioned about the 2 Michelin L'atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile at the Drugstore Publicis, which was excellent. Robuchon never disappoints as it consistently serves amazing French cuisine amidst its signature red and black interior everywhere I visited, including Tokyo (3 Michelin), Hong Kong (3 Michelin), Paris (2 Michelin) and Taipei.

 

During my stay, I also managed to sample the finest cuisine from the kitchens of two, 3-Michelin Paris institutions: Pierre Gagnaire at Rue Balzac, just off Champs-Élysées; and Epicure at Le Bristol by Chef Eric Frechon on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which was undoubtedly the best and most memorable dining experiences I have ever had in Paris to date. It is certainly the gastronomic highlight of this trip.

 

Other 3 Michelin establishment, such as Ledoyen is also located nearby at an 18th century pavilion by the Gardens of Champs-Élysées by newly appointed famous French Chef Yannick Alléno, who previously also resided at the Le Meurice with 3 Michelin, until Alain Ducasse took over last year during the Plaza Athénée closure for expansion.

 

August is a time of misery for international visitors to Paris as most fine dining restaurants are closed for the summer holiday. When choices are limited, foodies could rely on Epicure and Robuchon, which are opened all year round; and also the 2 Michelin star Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V. Although its food could not compete with Robuchon, Epicure and Gagnaire, guests could still enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

 

ROOMS:

On my visit to Paris last year, I was not too impressed with my stay at the Four Seasons George V, as everything seemed to be pretty basic: the room design; the in-room tech and amenities; and even the much lauded service. It simply does not justify the hefty price tag. The only thing stood out there were the ostentatious designer floral display at the lobby, which reportedly absorbed a six digit figure budget annually. When I saw them at the first time, this was what came to mind: guests are paying for these excessive flowers, whether you like it or not.

 

Fortunately, the Peninsula Paris skips all this expensive gimmick, and instead spends a fortune for guests to enjoy: advance room technology; a host of complimentary essential amenities, including internet access, non-alcoholic minibar, and even long distance phone calls. In fact, every single items inside the room has been well thought and designed for guest's ultimate comfort.

 

Ever since The Peninsula Bangkok opened in 1998 to much success, the group has used it as a template for its signature rooms for future sister hotels, which consists of an open plan, ultra-wide spacious room equivalent to a 2 bays suite, with 5-fixtures bathroom, and a separate Dressing Room, which soon becomes a Peninsula signature.

 

The Peninsula Tokyo followed this template when it opened in 2007 to rave reviews; and it was soon adopted as a model for Peninsula Shanghai, which later opened in 2009 as the flagship property in Mainland China. This layout is also being applied at The Peninsula Paris, albeit for its Suites categories, i.e. Junior Suite, which measure at an astonishing 50 - 60m2. The entry level Superior and Deluxe Rooms lack the signature layout with smaller size at 35 - 45m2, but they are already spacious for a Parisian standard; and each is equipped with Peninsula's signature technology.

 

Technology is indeed at the core of the Peninsula DNA, and no expense is spared in creating the world's most advance in-room technology. When other hotels try to cut costs and budgets on in-room technology with lame excuses, the Peninsula actually spends a fortune to innovate and set a new benchmark. In fact, it is probably the only hotel group to have its own Technology laboratory at a secret location deep inside Aberdeen, Hong Kong, where in-room tech is being developed and tested. It was here where innovative devices, such as the outside temperature indicator; my favourite Spa Button by the bathtub; or even the portable nail dryer for the ladies are invented. The Peninsula took the world by storm when it introduced the Samsung Galaxy tablet device at the Peninsula Hong Kong in 2012, which is programmed in 11 languages and virtually controls the entire room, including the lights, temperature, curtains, TV, radio, valet calls and Do Not Disturb sign. It even features touch screen Room Service Menu, hotel information, city guide, and a function to request room service and housekeeping items, thus creating an entirely paperless environment.

 

All these technological marvel are also being replicated at the Peninsula Paris, together with other 'standard' features, such as Nespresso Coffee Machine; flat-screen 3D LED television; LED touch screen wall panels; an iPod/iPad docking station; memory card reader; 4-in1 fax/scanner/printer/photocopier machine; DVD player; complimentary in-house HD movies; complimentary internet access and long distance calls through the VOIP platform. Even the room's exterior Parisian-styled canopy is electronically operated. All these technological offerings is so extremely complex, that it resulted in 2.5 km worth of cabling in each room alone.

 

Bathroom at the Junior Suite also features Peninsula's signature layout: a stand alone bathtub as the focal point, flanked by twin vanities and separate shower and WC compartments amidst acres of white marble. Probably the first in Paris, it features a Japanese Toilet complete with basic control panel, and a manual handheld bidet sprayer.

 

When all these add up to the stay, it actually brings a very good value to the otherwise high room rates. Better yet, the non-alcoholic Minibar is also complimentary, which is a first for a Peninsula hotel. The Four Seasons George V may choose to keep looking back to its antiquity past and annihilate most technological offerings to its most basic form, but the Pen always looks forward to the future and brings the utter convenience, all at your finger tip. The Peninsula rooms are undoubtedly the best designed, best equipped and most high-tech in the entire universe.

 

ROOM TO BOOK:

The 50 - 60m2 Junior Suite facing leafy Avenue Kléber is the best room type to book as it is an open-plan suite with Peninsula's signature bathroom and dressing room; and the ones located on the Premiere étage (first floor) have high ceilings and small balcony overlooking Kleber Terrace's iconic glass canopy. Personally, rooms facing the back street at Rue La Pérouse are the least preferred, but its top level rooms inside the Mansart Roof on level 5 have juliet windows that allow glimpse of the tip of Eiffel Tower despite being smaller in size due to its attic configuration. Superior Rooms also lack the signature Peninsula 5 fixtures bathroom configuration, so for the ultimate bathing experience, make sure to book at least from the Deluxe category.

 

If money is no object, book one of the five piece-de-resistance suites with their own private rooftop terrace and gardens on the top floor, which allow 360 degree panoramic views of Paris. Otherwise, the mid-tier Deluxe Suite is already a great choice with corner location, multiple windows and 85m2 of pure luxury.

 

DINING:

Looking back at the hotel's illustrious past, the Peninsula offers some of the most unique and memorable dining experiences in Paris, steep in history.

 

The area that once housed Igor Stravinksy's after party where James Joyce met Marcel Proust for the first time is now the hotel's Cantonese Restaurant, aptly called LiLi; and is led by Chef Chi Keung Tang, formerly of Peninsula Tokyo's One Michelin starred Hei Fung Terrace. Lili was actually modeled after Peninsula Shanghai's Yi Long Court, but the design here blends Chinese elements with Art Nouveau style that flourished in the late 1920s. It also boasts a world first: a spectacular 3x3.3m fiber optic installation at the entrance of the restaurant, depicting the imaginary portrait of LiLi herself. The Cantonese menu was surprisingly rather simple and basic, and features a selection of popular dim sum dishes. The best and most memorable Chinese restaurants I have ever experienced are actually those who masterfully fuse Chinese tradition with French ingredients: Jin Sha at the Four Seasons Hangzhou at Westlake; 2 Michelin Tin Lung Heen at Level 102 of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong; Jiang at Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou by Chef Fei; and Ya Ge at Mandarin Oriental Taipei. Ironically, the world's only 3 Michelin star Chinese restaurant, Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons Hong Kong failed to impress me.

 

The former Ballroom area where Henry Kissinger started the Paris Peace talks with the Vietnamese has now been transformed as The Lobby, which is a signature of every Peninsula hotels where the afternoon tea ritual takes place daily. The spectacular room with intricate details and crystal chandeliers has been meticulously restored, and is an ideal place to meet, see and be seen. Breakfast is served daily here, and guests could choose to have it either inside or outside at the adjoining al fresco La Terrasse Kléber, which connects all the F&B outlets on the ground floor, including Lili. Guests could choose from a Chinese set breakfast, which includes dim sum, fried vermicelli, and porridge with beef slices; or the Parisian set, which includes gourmet items such as Egg Benedict with generous slices of Jamon Iberico on top. The afternoon tea ritual is expected to be very popular as renowned Chef Pattissier Julien Alvarez, -who claimed the World Pastry Champion in 2009; and also the Spanish World Chocolate Master in 2007 at the tender age of 23, is at the helm; and the venue quickly booked out from the opening day.

 

Next to the Lobby is a small, intimate bar covered in exquisite oak panelling where Henry Kissinger signed the Paris Peace Accord back in 1973 that ended the Vietnam War. Kissinger politely declined the offer to have the Bar named after him, and instead it is simply called Le Bar Kléber.

 

On the top floor of the hotel lies the signature restaurant L'Oiseau Blanc, which is named after the French biplane that disappeared in 1927 in an attempt to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight between Paris and New York. A 75% replica of the plane has even been installed outside the main entrance of the restaurant with the Eiffel Tower on its background. The restaurant is divided into 3 distinct areas: a spectacular glass enclosed main dining room; a large outdoor terrace that runs the entire length of the hotel's roof; and an adjoining lively bar, all with breathtaking uninterrupted views of Paris' most identifiable landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Cœur at the highest point of the city at Montmartre.

 

L'Oiseau Blanc is led by Chef Sidney Redel, a former protégé of Pierre Gagnaire, and serves contemporary French cuisine focussing on 'terroir' menu of locally sourced seasonal ingredients from the region. During my stay, tomato was the seasonal ingredients, and Chef Redel created four courses incorporating tomato, even on dessert. While the food was of high quality, personally the menu still needs fine tuning, considering the sort of clientele the Pen is aiming for: the ultra rich (Chinese), who usually seek top establishments with luxury ingredients, such as caviar, black truffle, foie gras, blue lobster, Jamon Iberico, Wagyu beef, Kurobuta pork and Challans chicken.

 

LEISURE:

The Peninsula Paris features one of the best health and recreational facilities in the city, housed within the basement of the hotel, and covers an expansive area of 1,800m2. For a comparison, rival Mandarin Oriental Spa covers a total area of only 900m2 over two floors. The Peninsula Spa is undoubtedly one of the nicest urban spa that I have been to, it easily beats the Spa at the Four Seasons George V. The pool is also one of the city's largest at 22m long, -compared to both the Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental at 15m; the George V at only 9m, which is more like a bigger jacuzzi. The only two other pools better than the Peninsula is the one designed by Phillippe Starck at the Le Royal Monceau at 28m; and the spectacular grand pool at the Ritz.

 

There is the usual 24 hours gym within two fitness spaces equipped with Technogym machines and free weights; and the locker rooms features steam, sauna, and experience shower room. There is a total of 8 treatment rooms within the Spa area, and the highlight is certainly the Relaxation Room, which is equipped with amazing day beds with specially placed deep cushions. The best part? the beds are electronically operated, much like a first class seat on a plane.

 

X-FACTOR:

The Peninsula signature technology; The Spa Button in the bathroom; VOIP technology for complimentary long distance calls; The top suites (Historic, Katara and Peninsula Suites); Xavier Corbero's Moon River sculpture at the Lobby; Lili; The Lobby and Bar where Henry Kissinger signed Paris Peace Accord; L'Oiseau Blanc Restaurant; The 1,800m2 Peninsula Spa; and the 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II.

 

SERVICE:

There are a total of 600 staffs for just 200 rooms, so the service level is expected to be high; but it is perhaps unfair to judge the service during the opening weeks when all staffs were not at their best due to the intense preparation leading to the opening event. Furthermore, teething problems are expected for a newly opened hotel as great hotels are not born overnight, but takes a good few years of refinement.

 

Nonetheless, I was actually quite impressed with the level of service during the whole stay, as the majority of the staffs showed great attitude and much enthusiasm, which is a testament of great intense training. As one of the first guests arriving on the opening day, check-in was truly delightful and memorable as a battalion of staffs of different ranks welcomed and wished the most pleasant stay. The mood could not have been more festive as moments later, the hotel was finally inaugurated.

 

I was also particularly impressed with the service at both LiLi and The Lobby where staffs performed at an exceptional level like a veteran. There are two distinct qualities that made a lot of difference during the stay: humility and friendliness, which is quite a challenge to find, not only in Paris and the entire Europe, but even in Asian cities, such as Hong Kong. It is like finding needles in a haystack. A genuine smile seems to be a rare commodity these days, so I was happy to see plenty of smiles at the Peninsula Paris during the stay, from the signature Peninsula Pageboys to waiters, Maître d, receptionists and even to Managers and Directors. In fact, there were more smiles in Paris than Hong Kong.

 

When I woken up too early for breakfast one day, the restaurant was just about to open; and there were hardly anyone. I realized that even the birds were probably still asleep, but I was extremely delighted to see how fresh looking and energetic the staffs were at the dining room. There was a lot of genuine smile that warmed the rather chilly morning; and it was a great start to the day. One of the staffs I met during the stay even candidly explained how they were happy just to be at work, and it does not feel like working at all, which was clearly shown in their passion and enthusiasm.

 

That said, the Shangri-La Paris by far is still my top pick for best service as it is more personalized and refined due to its more intimate scale. The Shangri-La Paris experience is also unique as guests are welcomed to a sit down registration by the historic lounge off the Lobby upon arrival, and choice of drinks are offered, before being escorted to the room for in-room check-in. Guests also receive a Pre-Arrival Form in advance, so the hotel could anticipate and best accommodate their needs. During the stay, I was also addressed by my last name everywhere within the hotel, so it was highly personalized. I did receive similar treatment at The Peninsula Paris, -albeit in a lesser extent due to its size; and even the housekeeping greeted me by my last name. Every requests, from room service to mineral water were all handled efficiently at a timely manner. At times, service could be rather slow at the restaurants (well, it happens almost everywhere in Paris), but this is part of the Parisian lifestyle where nothing is hurried; and bringing bills/checks upfront is considered rude. I did request the food servings to be expedited during a lunch at LiLi on the last day due to the time constraint; and the staffs managed to succeed the task not only ahead of the time limit, but also it never felt hurried all along. Everything ran as smooth as silk.

 

VERDICT:

It was a personal satisfaction to witness the history in the making during the opening day on 1 August 2014, as the Peninsula Paris is my most eagerly awaited hotel opening of the decade. It was also historic, as it was a first in my travel to dedicate a trip solely for a particular hotel in a particular city (in this case Paris, some 11,578km away from home), without staying at other fine hotels. It was money well spent, and a trip worth taking as it was an amazing stay; and certainly a lifetime experience.

 

The Peninsula Paris could not have arrived at a better time, as two of the most established Parisian grande dames (Ritz and de Crillon) are still closed for a complete renovation, and will only be revealed in 2015; so there is plenty of time to adapt, grow and hone its skills. But with such pedigree, quality and illustrious history, the Pen really has nothing to be worried about. The Four Seasons George V seems to have a cult of highly obsessed fans (esp. travel agents) worldwide, but personally (and objectively), it is no match to the Peninsula. Based on physical product alone, the Pen wins in every aspect as everything has been meticulously designed with the focus on guest comfort and convenience. In terms of technology, the Pen literally has no rival anywhere on the planet, except from the obvious sibling rivalry.

 

The only thing that the Pen still needs to work on is its signature restaurants as all its rival hotels have at least 2 Michelin star restaurants (L'abeille at the Shangri-La; Sur Mesure at the Mandarin Oriental; and 3 Michelin at Epicure, Le Bristol; Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V and Alain Ducasse at Le Meurice). L'Oiseau Blanc design is truly breathtaking and would certainly be the most popular gastronomic destination in Paris, but at the moment, the food still needs some works.

 

There were the expected teething problems and some inconsistencies with the service; but with years of refinement, The Peninsula Paris will no doubt ascend the throne. Personally, the Shangri-La Paris is currently the real competitor, together with the upcoming Ritz and de Crillon when they open next year, especially when Rosewood has taken over Crillon management and Karl Lagerfeld is working on its top suites. The two, however, may still need to revisit the drawing boards and put more effort on the guestrooms if they ever want to compete; because at the moment, The Peninsula Paris is simply unrivaled.

 

UPDATE 2016:

*I have always been very spot-on with my predictions. After only two years since its opening, The Peninsula Paris has been awarded the much coveted Palace status. In fact, it is the only hotel in Paris to receive such distinction in 2016. Congratulations, it is very much deserving*

 

PERSONAL RATING:

1. Room: 100

2. Bathroom: 100

3. Bed: 100

4. Service: 90

5. In-room Tech: 100

6. In-room Amenities: 100

7. Architecture & Design: 100

8. Food: 80

9. View: 80

10. Pool: 95

11. Wellness: 95

12. Location: 95

13. Value: 100

 

Overall: 95.00

 

Compare with other Parisian hotels (all with Palace status) that I have stayed previously:

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, PARIS: 95.00

PARK HYATT PARIS-VENDOME: 90.00

FOUR SEASONS GEORGE V: 85.38

 

My #1 ALL TIME FAVORITE HOTEL

LANDMARK MANDARIN ORIENTAL, HONG KONG: 95.38

 

THE PENINSULA, PARIS

19, Avenue Kléber, Paris

Awarded Palace Status in 2016

 

General Manager: Nicolas Béliard

Hotel Manager: Vincent Pimont

Executive Chef: Jean-Edern Hurstel

Head Chef (Lili): Chi Keung Tang

Head Chef (L'oiseau Blanc): Sidney Redel

Head Chef (The Lobby): Laurent Poitevin

Chef Patissier: Julien Alvarez

 

Architect (original Majestic Hotel, circa 1908): Armand Sibien

Architect (renovation & restoration, 2010-2014): Richard Martinet

Interior Designer: Henry Leung of Chhada Siembieda & Associates

Landscape Designer: D. Paysage

 

Art Curator: Sabrina Fung

Art Restorer: Cinzia Pasquali

Artist (Courtyard installation): Ben Jakober & Yannick Vu

Crystal work: Baccarat

Designer (Lili fiber optic installation): Clementine Chambon & Francoise Mamert

Designer (Chinaware): Catherine Bergen

Gilder Specialist & Restorer: Ateliers Gohard

Glass Crafter (Lobby Installation): Lasvit Glass Studio

Master Glass Crafters: Duchemin

Master Sculptor (Lobby): Xavier Corbero

Metalwork: Remy Garnier

Plaster & Moulding Expert: Stuc et Staff

Silverware: Christofle

Silk & Trimmings: Declercq Passementiers

Wood Restoration Expert: Atelier Fancelli

  

Hotel Opening Date: 01 August 2014

Notable owners: Katara Hospitality; Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Group (HSH)

Total Rooms & Suites: 200 (including 35m2 Superior, 45m2 Deluxe, 50m2 Grand Deluxe, 55m2 Premier and 60m2 Grand Premier Rooms)

Total Suites: 34 Suites (including 70m2 Superior, 85m2 Deluxe and 100m2 Premier

Top Suites: Historic Suite, Katara Suite, and The Peninsula Suite

Bathroom Amenities: Oscar de la Renta

 

Restaurants: The Lobby (All day dining & Afternoon tea), LiLi (Cantonese), L'Oiseau Blanc (French), La Terrasse Kléber

Bars and Lounges: Le Bar Kléber; Kléber Lounge; Cigar Lounge; and L'Oiseau Blanc Bar

Meeting & Banquets: Salon de l'Étoile for up to 100 guests, and 3 smaller Function Rooms

Health & Leisure: 24 hours gym & 1,800m2 Peninsula Spa with 22m indoor swimming pool and jacuzzis; Steam & Sauna, Relaxation Room, and 8 treatment rooms

Transport: chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Extended Wheel Base Phantom; a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II; 2 MINI Cooper S Clubman; and a fleet of 10 BMW 7 Series

 

Complimentary facilities: Non-alcoholic Minibar; Wired and Wireless Internet; VOIP long distance calls; HD Movies; Daily fruit Basket; International Newspaper; Chauffeured MINI Cooper S Clubman for Suites guests; and Chauffeured Rolls Royce for top Suites

 

paris.peninsula.com

Center Green opened in 1988, adding 450,000 square feet, almost half of which is office space for creative businesses. Green is north of Blue on San Vicente. The buildings are connected over a shared lobby which, in addition to the information desk, displays several major pieces of public art, including a set of giant keys and a ca.-1912 hang glider, modeled after an 1896 design by Wright-brother mentor Octave Chanute suspended from the ceiling of the atrium.

 

The Pacific Design Center, or PDC, is a 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) multi-use facility for the design community located in West Hollywood, California. One of the buildings is often described as the Blue Whale because of its outsize nature relative to surrounding buildings and its brilliant blue glass cladding.

The PDC houses the West Coast's top decorating and furniture market, with showrooms, public and private spaces, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and two restaurants operated by chef and restauranteur Wolfgang Puck. The Center has 130 showrooms which display and sell 2,100 interior product lines to professional interior designers, architects, facility managers, decorators and dealers.

 

The Pacific Design Center hosts many screenings, exhibitions, lectures, meetings, special events and receptions for the design, entertainment and arts communities. The annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party has traditionally been held at the PDC. The party is one of the longest running and best known of the post-Oscar parties as well as being a multi-million dollar fundraiser for the foundation.

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus opened in 1975, with the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) Center Blue. Center Green opened in 1988, adding 450,000 square feet (42,000 m2). A long planned third phase, Center Red, was announced in April 2006, with plans for completion in 2011. Center Red has evolved into a 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) structure with two state-of-the-art office towers—six and eight stories high respectively—sitting atop seven levels of enclosed parking for 1,500 cars.

 

West Hollywood.. California.

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Created By : Prateek Mathur

German postcard by Film und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 1799. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Film.

 

English actress Hayley Mills (1946) began her acting career as a popular child star and was hailed as a promising newcomer for Tiger Bay (1959), and Pollyanna (1960). During the late 1960s she played in more mature roles. Although she has not maintained the box office success she experienced as a child actress, she has always continued to make films.

 

Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills was born in London, England in 1946. She was the daughter of actor Sir John Mills and playwright Mary Hayley Bell, and the younger sister of actress Juliet Mills. As an infant she made her first film appearance in her father’s So Well Remembered (1947). At 12 she was noticed playing at her parent's home by director J. Lee Thompson. He was looking for a boy to play the lead role of a murder witness in his thriller Tiger Bay (1959) opposite Horst Buchholz and John Mills, but immediately cast Mills’ tomboy daughter. For her role she won the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer and a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Walt Disney's wife, Lillian Disney, saw her performance and suggested that Mills be given the lead role in Pollyanna (1960, David Swift). The role of the orphaned but infectiously optimistic girl who moves in with her crusty aunt Polly (Jane Wyman) made Mills a superstar in the USA. She earned a special Juvenile Oscar and a Golden Globe. Disney subsequently cast Mills as twins Sharon and Susan who reunite their divorced parents (Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara) in the charming and highly entertaining The Parent Trap (1961, David Swift), based on the classic book by Erich Kästner. In the film, Mills sings the song Let's Get Together, which reached no. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The success led to the album Let's Get Together with Hayley Mills, which also included her only other hit song, Johnny Jingo (1962). She made four additional films for Disney in a four-year span, including In Search of the Castaways (1962, Robert Stevenson) with Maurice Chevalier, and Summer Magic (1963, James Neilson). Her final two Disney films, The Moon-Spinners (1964, James Neilson) with Pola Negri, and the suspense comedy That Darn Cat! (1965, Robert Stevenson), did well at the box office. During her six-year run at Disney, Mills was arguably the most popular child actress of the era. In addition to her Disney movies, Mills starred in several British films. Opposite Alan Bates she appeared in Whistle Down the Wind (1961, Bryan Forbes), based on the book of the same title written by her mother Mary Hayley Bell. The Chalk Garden (1964, Ronald Neame) with Deborah Kerr was based on a play by Enid Bagnold, and in The Truth About Spring (1965, Richard Thorpe) her real father, John Mills, was cast as her father. The 16-year-old Mills was considered for the role of Lolita Haze in Stanley Kubrick's film version of Lolita (1962). However, Walt Disney discouraged the casting, feeling the role was not up to Disney's wholesome standard, and the part eventually went to Sue Lyon. In later years, Mills admitted that she regretted not taking the part.

 

After her contract with Disney expired in 1965, Hayley Mills starred in the comedy The Trouble with Angels (1966, Ida Lupino), opposite Rosalind Russell. Looking to break from her sunny, innocent Pollyanna image, Mills returned to England to appear as a mentally challenged teenager in the film Sky West and Crooked (1966), which was directed by her father and written by her mother. She made her stage debut in a West End revival of Peter Pan (1966). Shortly thereafter, Mills starred with Hywell Bennett in the comedy The Family Way (1966, Roy Boulting) as a couple of newlyweds having difficulty consummating their marriage. The film, in which she played a brief nude scene, featured a score by Paul McCartney and arrangements by Beatles producer George Martin. She then starred as the protagonist of Pretty Polly (1967, Guy Green) , opposite famous Indian film actor Shashi Kapoor in Singapore, and another film for director Roy Boulting, the thriller Twisted Nerve (1968) again opposite Hywell Bennett. While filming The Family Way, the 20-year-old Mills had fallen in love with Boulting, who was 53-year-old and married. After his divorce, they married in 1971. Boulting took control of his young wife’s career, and, as a result, she made bad film choices that left critics and audiences cold, such as the Agatha Christie adaptation Endless Night (1972, Sidney Gilliat) co-starring Britt Ekland and George Sanders. After the even worse drama The Kingfisher Caper (1975, Dirk de Villiers) and the comedy What Changed Charley Farthing? (1976, Sidney Hayers), Mills dropped out of the film industry for a few years. In 1977 she divorced Boulting. And as Tommy Peter at IMDb observes: “her film career had pretty much tanked”.

 

In 1981 Hayley Mulls made a come-back in a starring role in the TV Mini-series The Flame Trees of Thika (1981, Roy Ward Baker), based on Elspeth Huxley's memoir of her childhood in East Africa. The series was well-received, prompting Mills to accept more acting roles. She returned to the US, and hosted for TV an episode of Disneyland (1981), sparking renewed interest in her Disney work. In 1986 she reprised her roles as twins Sharon and Susan for a trio of Parent Trap television movies: The Parent Trap II (1986, Ronald F. Maxwell), The Parent Trap III (1989, Mollie Miller), and The Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989, Mollie Miller). Mills also starred as the title character in the Disney Channel-produced television series Good Morning, Miss Bliss (1987-1989). The show was cancelled after 14 episodes, and the rights were acquired by NBC, which reformatted Good Morning, Miss Bliss into Saved by the Bell (without Mills). Hayley Mills was involved with the ‘Hare Krishna’ movement, and wrote the preface to The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking (1984). In 1988 she co-edited, with Marcus Maclaine, the book My God, which consisted of brief letters from celebrities on their beliefs (or lack thereof) regarding God and the life to come. She then concentrated on a stage career and had success as Anna in The King and I, which she played in touring stage productions throughout the 1990's. In 2000 she made her Off Broadway debut in Sir Noël Coward's Suite in Two Keys, for which she won a Theatre World Award. In recognition for her work with The Walt Disney Company, Mills was awarded the prestigious Disney Legends award in 1998. Mills recalled her childhood in the documentary film Sir John Mills' Moving Memories (2000) which was written by her brother Jonathan. Later she appeared in the acclaimed short film, Stricken (2005, Jayce Bartok), the ITV1 African vet drama Wild at Heart (2007-) with her sister Juliet Mills, and in the family adventure Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure (2010, Joy Chapman), based on one of the popular Mandie novels of Lois Gladys Leppard. Most recently she was seen in Foster (2011, Jonathan Newman) with Toni Colette. In 2008, Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and chemotherapy and told Good Housekeeping Magazine in January 2012 that she had recovered. Hayley Mills currently lives in New York City. Her son, Crispian Mills (1973), is known as the lead singer and guitarist of the psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker. He is now part of The Jeevas. She has a second son, Jason Lawson, from British actor Leigh Lawson, with whom she had a relationship between 1976 and 1984.

 

Sources: Tommy Peter (IMDb), Reel Classics, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

www.niemeyercenter.org/

 

El Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer o Centro Niemeyer, es el resultado de la combinación de un complejo cultural proyectado por Oscar Niemeyer y un proyecto cultural que intregra distintas manifestaciones artísticas y culturales como exposiciones, música, teatro, danza, cine o gastronomía entre otras. Está ubicado en la margen derecha de la ría de Avilés, en Asturias, España. Fue inaugurado el 26 de marzo de 2011.

 

"Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz".

 

El centro, diseñado por Oscar Niemeyer, se dibuja en el entorno de la ría de Avilés, dentro del paisaje urbano de la llamada Villa del Adelantado, siendo visible, debido a su predominante color blanco y a su tamaño, desde distintos puntos y desde el aire.

 

El centenario arquitecto brasileño Oscar Niemeyer (creador de la ciudad de Brasilia, mito de la arquitectura universal y hasta su muerte en 2012, único arquitecto vivo cuya obra es considerada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco) recibió el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes en 1989, siendo éste el origen de la relación del arquitecto con el Principado de Asturias.

 

Años más tarde, con motivo del XXV Aniversario de los Premios Príncipe de Asturias, Niemeyer donó un gran proyecto al Principado. Su idea se ha convertido en un proyecto que pretende ser uno de los referentes internacionales en la producción de contenidos culturales, un espacio asociado a la excelencia dedicado a la educación, la cultura y la paz: "Una plaza abierta a todo el mundo, un lugar para la educación, la cultura y la paz" Esta es la única obra de Oscar Niemeyer en España y, según sus propias palabras, la más importante de todas las que ha realizado en Europa. Por esta razón el Centro recibe el nombre de su creador.

 

Estructura

 

El complejo cultural consta de cinco piezas independientes y a la vez complementarias:

 

La plaza: abierta al público, en la que se programan actividades culturales y lúdicas. Refleja el concepto de Oscar Niemeyer de un lugar abierto a todo el mundo.

El auditorio: tiene un aforo para alrededor de 1000 espectadores, con la peculiaridad de un escenario que se abre hacia el auditorio, pero que también se puede abrir hacia la Plaza, para las actuaciones al aire libre; y El Club para pequeñas actuaciones. También dispone de 3.000 m2 para exposiciones fotográficas y pictóricas (en el foyer).

La cúpula: un espacio expositivo diáfano de aproximádamente 4.000 m2 para exposiciones de todo tipo, este edificio tiene funciones de museo.

La torre: mirador sobre la ría y la ciudad, de 18 metros de altura, donde actualmente se ubica el restaurante y la coktelería, ambas instalaciones se encuentran en un entorno agradable para relajarse contemplando las vistas sobre la ría, la ciudad y el propio centro cultural.

El edificio polivalente: que alberga el Film Centre, el gastrobar, varias salas para reuniones, conferencias, prensa, exposiciones..., la ludoteca y tienda.

 

Estilo y colores

 

Las obras de Oscar Niemeyer se caracterizan por sus líneas curvas y por sus colores, rojo, amarillo y azul. ¿De donde salen estos colores? En 1909 Piet Mondrian empieza con la experimentación de los colores en su obra Red tree. En los años siguientes, y con sus respectivas evoluciones, Theo van Doesburg llega a la conclusión de que los colores usados han de ser separados por líneas negras; los elegidos son los primarios -azul, rojo, amarillo- (Neoplasticismo).

 

Siguiendo esta evolución y uso de estos colores, en la etapa de los años 30 y la Bauhaus, Oscar Niemeyer empieza a proyectar su obra y no por seguimiento pero si por inspiración, empieza a usar estos mismos colores en su arquitectura. A lo largo de toda su obra han estado presentes esos colores, incluso en el Centro Niemeyer. El logotipo de este centro tiene su origen en la puerta del escenario exterior del auditorio (rectángulo rojo). Un logotipo siempre es llamativo si s