Pro Tip / All About Tadelakt

Current tadelakt inspiration courtesy of the Wandsworth House, London.

Current tadelakt inspiration courtesy of the Wandsworth House, London.

Tadelakt has been steadily gaining popularity in the design world in recent years, but what exactly is this wall finish all about? While relatively unknown in the United States, tadelakt has been used in Moroccan architecture for centuries, and is perhaps most well-known for its presence in traditional hammam baths. This wall finish is favored now for its natural materials and organic look, and is most commonly used in showers or baths.

Made from limestone and olive soap, this durable material is simple to maintain and offers a luxurious, textured finish. Tadelakt is a perfect alternative to tiles in the bathroom, as it is naturally mildew and mold resistant, and its smooth application means no grout lines. We love that this material is free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and requires no special maintenance. Also, since the pH is very basic, insects are repelled by tadelakt.

Tadelakt as backsplash in kitchen designed by Leigh Herzig (  image source  )

Tadelakt as backsplash in kitchen designed by Leigh Herzig (image source)

Given its properties, tadelakt is a great choice for kitchen backsplashes as well as fireplace surrounds. For a slightly less expensive alternative, one may use lime plaster, tadelakt’s cousin, which forgoes the extra waterproofing steps.

Tadelakt fireplace surround from Elizabeth Roberts Architecture (  image source  )

Tadelakt fireplace surround from Elizabeth Roberts Architecture (image source)

We recently visited Color Atelier here in San Francisco to learn about the process of tadelakt application. Applied over plywood and waterproofing, the application process can be lengthy at 4-5 days to install a standard shower and 30 days to fully cure. A wax or sealant is applied at the end to complete the process. The final outcome is a smooth, resilient surface with a look and feel that will stand the test of time; tadelakt does not fade. Costs are comparable to mid-range tile and stone installations. While highly resistant to cracking, if tadelakt is sufficiently damaged, it cannot be spot repaired and must be replaced.

A variety of colors and finishes for tadelakt and lime plaster at Color Atelier in San Francisco

A variety of colors and finishes for tadelakt and lime plaster at Color Atelier in San Francisco

If you want to achieve a similar look in dry areas of the house without the cost, lime paint or lime plaster can create a comparable finish. These are not recommended for the bathroom as they lack the water-resistant qualities of tadelakt, however they offer a similarly rich texture to elevate your space.


Pro Tip / The Mexico City Guide

Architect Luis Barragán’s Casa Pedregal

Architect Luis Barragán’s Casa Pedregal

Last month we took an inspiring trip to Mexico City, which in recent years has become a top food and design destination! After five days of leisurely exploration, we distilled our trip down to our favorite stops for design-minded travelers. The best part? The flight from SFO to CDMX is only 4.5 hours!

TETETLAN + CASA PEDREGAL

Founded by art collector César Cervantes, Tetetlán is a modern cultural center housing a restaurant, café, local store, library, wellness center, and cheese cellar. It began as an effort to preserve and restore Luis Barragán’s Casa Pedregal, located in a suburb built on volcanic rock on the southern outskirts of Mexico City. The new architecture of Tetetlán is just as impressive, so visit for both the restaurant and the guided tour of Casa Pedregal. Make sure to reserve your tour spot in advance via email.

The restaurant at Tetetlån - built on volcanic rock   (image source)

The restaurant at Tetetlån - built on volcanic rock (image source)

BLANCO COLIMA

Located in the hip, historic neighborhood of Roma, Blanco Colima is a perfect lounge spot for food, drinks, and good music. Housed in a restored mansion, the space holds three restaurants as well as traveling exhibitions, movie screenings, and workshops. Reservations are a must for tables, otherwise you can take food at the bar!

Blanco Colima’s beautiful setting   (image source)

Blanco Colima’s beautiful setting (image source)

KURIMANZUTTO

La Condesa is one of the best neighborhoods for a stroll with its beautiful small streets and modernist architectural gems such as Kurimanzutto. Check out the contemporary art exhibitions and the stunning gallery spaces.

Contemporary art gallery Kurimanzutto

Contemporary art gallery Kurimanzutto

TAMALES MADRE

While in Mexico City, we caught up with our friend Regina at her minimalist, jewel box of a tamales shop, Tamales Madre. With a simple menu of gourmet tamales and sides such as cactus salad, this was hands-down my favorite meal of the trip. Save room for the dessert tamales - they are not to be missed!

Hand-made tamales are at Tamales Madre

Hand-made tamales are at Tamales Madre

BIBLIOTECA VASCONCELOS

Built in 2007, Biblioteca Vasconcelos is a massive library that feels both futuristic and magical at the same time with its endless, cantilevered shelves of books. It’s a sight to see in person.

Biblioteca Vasconcelos

Biblioteca Vasconcelos

NIDDO

Both restaurant and cafe, Niddo is a beautiful and delicious spot to take a break from sightseeing. The attention to detail that went into the design of the cafe is an absolute delight, and we’re only showing you the exterior! Try the locally bottled Tamarind kombucha for a refreshing drink.

Niddo Café

Niddo Café

STUDIO DAVIDPOMPA

For a functional souvenir, stop by Studio davidpompa and pick up a light fixture designed and fabricated in Mexico City! The lighting and objects are displayed alongside the raw material from which they’re created, elevating the showroom experience.

Studio davidpompa

Studio davidpompa

CASA GILARDI

Last on our list is another Luis Barragán work: Casa Gilardi. What makes Casa Gilardi and Casa Pedregal interesting to visit is that people still live there! The tour for Casa Gilardi is run by the sons of the man who commissioned Luis Barragán. While a small house and Barragán’s last work, the use of color is brilliant and a sight to behold. You can book the tour directly through Facebook Messenger.

Casa Gilardi

Casa Gilardi

There’s still many more places on our list that we didn’t get a chance to visit this time around. Tell us your must-see Mexico City destinations in the comments below!

Pro Tip / Paris for Design Lovers

Hot on the heels of our Thanksgiving trip to Paris, we bring you our guide to Paris for design lovers! Here we feature some of our favorite places in Paris - some more well-known, others lesser known - but all places full of inspiration.

Exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo

Exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo

PALAIS DE TOKYO

If you’re someone who doesn’t “get” contemporary art, this is THE contemporary art museum for you. Palais de Tokyo hosts some of the most interesting and beautiful contemporary art exhibits that at times cross disciplines into nature, science, and social commentary. Case in point - currently on view is “ON AIR” by the Argentinian artist Tomås Saraceno which explores human and non-human ecosystems and interdepencies in haunting, poetic ways. The exhibit begins with a large dark room with spot-lit intricate spider webs that make you stop and wonder, goes into space and particles, and ends with an interactive audio and physical installation that encourages play.

Monsieur Bleu

Monsieur Bleu

MONSIEUR BLEU

While you’re at Palais de Tokyo, you might as well stop by the delicious and stunningly luxurious yet understated Monsieur Bleu. Designed by the French architect and interior designer Joseph Dirand (one of our favorites), the restaurant is a beautiful experience from the service to the food to the interiors. You won’t find many tourists here either. Reservations are recommended.

Le Corbusier’s Studio-Apartment

Le Corbusier’s Studio-Apartment

LE CORBUSIER’S STUDIO-APARTMENT

For any architecture enthusiast, Le Corbusier’s Studio-Apartment is a must-see and located just west of central Paris near Bois De Boulogne. While Le Corbusier is a major figure in modern architecture, he actually started out as a painter and continued to paint throughout his life. His studio-apartment, where he lived for over 30 years, is fascinating as a work in progress where he experimented with painting, furniture, and architecture. Reservations required.

Merci

Merci

MERCI

While Colette, the original retail concept store, is no longer with us, there is still Merci, located in the Marais neighborhood of Paris. This charming lifestyle shop is approachable and unpretentious, selling everything from charcoal soap to Marni to used books. The best part? 100 percent of the profits go to a charitable foundation dedicated to helping women and children in Madagascar, but you’d never know it because they keep it on the down low.

The modern & contemporary wing at Musée des Arts Décoratifs

The modern & contemporary wing at Musée des Arts Décoratifs

MUSÉE DES ARTS DÉCORATIFS

An often overlooked museum whose primary location is right next to the Tuileries Garden and Louvre Museum, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is dedicated to beautiful, useful things throughout history. We love their exhibits on furniture and fashion design, and currently on view is an exhaustive retrospective of the influential 20th century architect and designer Gio Ponti - the first held in France.

These are just five of our current favorite spots in Paris. We’d love to hear where you go for inspiration - share with us in the comments below!

Form + Field 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

For our second annual gift guide, we’re taking a slightly different tack to the usual gift guide. As we’ve gotten older, gift-giving has mostly given way to spending meaningful time with our loved ones, whether that be through food, travel, or new experiences. This year we’re sharing some of our favorite ideas for creating memories with your friends and family - experiences that we’ve either done ourselves, given as gifts, or have on our bucket list!

FOR THE FOODIE

Outstanding in the Field     image source

Outstanding in the Field image source

Outstanding in the Field

Forget farm to table, Outstanding in the Field takes the table to the farm! Set in stunning landscapes, this dinner party at a single long table is an unforgettable experience.

Kaori’s Kitchen     image source

Kaori’s Kitchen image source

Kaori’s Kitchen

Mochi class, anyone? If you don’t share our love of mochi, you can learn how to make ramen, sushi, or any of the other Asian dishes offered by daughter and mother team Kaori and Yuki.

FOR THE MAKER

Meryl Pataky  Neon Art: Joseph Kosuth

Meryl Pataky Neon Art: Joseph Kosuth

Meryl Pataky - Neon Workshops

Make your own neon masterpiece! Meryl is a local Bay Area artist focusing on neon and mixed media, and she happens to also hold neon workshops where you can create your own abstract designs or a pair of neon boobs from a selection of pre-designed patterns.

sfclayworks     image source

sfclayworks image source

sfclayworks

Ceramic art has made a huge comeback in recent years, so why not make your own? sfclayworks is located in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco and offers all-levels ceramics classes for wheel throwing and handbuilding in the evening. The best part? There’s plenty of parking.

FOR THE TRAVELER

Esalen     image source

Esalen

Even for the non-hippies, Esalen is a must-do at least once in your life! Built on the side of a cliff in Big Sur, Esalen offers hot springs, intimate workshops, and the most delicious vegetarian meals that will win over even the most ardent of carnivores. One of our most memorable experiences period.

Sea Ranch     image source

Sea Ranch image source

Sea Ranch

For the architecture enthusiast, Sea Ranch is the perfect weekend getaway just 2-1/2 hours north of San Francisco. The upcoming SFMOMA exhibition sums it up perfectly, “Designed by a small group of Bay Area architects and designers in the early 1960s, the development was envisioned as a progressive, inclusive community, guided by the idealistic principles of good design, economy of space, and harmony with the natural environment.” Rent an iconic house designed by Charles Moore, William Turnbull, or perhaps, Joseph Esherick.

What are some of your favorite experiences to give or receive? Share with us in the comments!

Pro Tip / Our Favorite L.A. Design Shops

Last month, we took a trip to Los Angeles for a glorious week of art and design inspiration. In addition to checking off the Broad, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House (perhaps his most stunning living room) from our bucket list, we made the rounds at Los Angeles’ design shops. Here’s a handful of our favorites for your next trip to L.A.:

The dining room at Casa Perfect

The dining room at Casa Perfect

Casa Perfect is the Los Angeles outpost of The Future Perfect, one of the nation’s foremost contemporary design galleries with locations in San Francisco and New York City. It’s housed in a former residence of Elvis Presley, and has stunning views inside and out.

Galerie Half’s Belgian-esque aesthetic

Galerie Half’s Belgian-esque aesthetic

Galerie Half is a beautifully curated showroom of 20th century design, primitive furniture, and European antiques, and features stand-out pieces such as a complete George Nakashima dining set. The spare, minimalist set-up puts all the emphasis on the furnishings.

Unique wood pieces at Reform Gallery

Unique wood pieces at Reform Gallery

Reform Gallery is full of unique wood furniture and sculpture, and beautiful ceramics with an emphasis on California Modernism. Go here for pieces that showcase the handiwork of lesser known designer craftsmen such as J.B. Blunk and Sam Maloof.

Vintage lighting at Gallery L7

Vintage lighting at Gallery L7

While Gallery L7 carries furniture and objects, what we loved most was their stunning selection of vintage 20th century European lighting from diverse French, Italian, Scandinavian, etc. designers.

Object’s beautiful display of cutting board

Object’s beautiful display of cutting board

Object is retail at its finest, showcasing a beautiful collection of mid-century European and American objects for the home. Wood pieces, ceramics, and glassware are all on display.

Any shops we missed that are at the top of your list? Share with us in the comments below!