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The ramparts that once protected the Maltese capital Valletta from attack have since become arbitrary barriers between the upper and lower town. Local firm Architecture Project has built a lift that, as well as providing a great view, forms part of a new link between the two sides of the harbour.
Konrad Buhagiar, a partner at the firm, wanted a modern structure that respected its 16th-century surroundings. The shaft is virtually freestanding with no lateral restraints on the old wall but the architect feared that the lift’s galvanised steel mesh would anger residents. “In fact, they seem to really love it,” he says.
Though we’re told never to judge a book by its cover, sometimes food tastes better when eaten from beautiful china. London-based illustrator Yasmin Sandytia is the hand behind Mira Santo, a young fine-bone-china brand breathing life into the ailing potteries at Stoke-on-Trent. Mira Santo has five ceramic collections, each handmade and handpainted by Sandytia and featuring her charming, whimsical illustrations. We have two favourites: the Clerkenwell Blue, with its cobalt blue British heritage feel combined with a Finnish folkloric touch. Equally covetable is the more refined Symphony range, inspired by musical composition with a little dash of Wiener Werkstätte about it too. Perfect for cake.
These delicate porcelain-and-brass pitchers are from the atelier of New York designer Anna Karlin. Karlin is a multitasker: her extensive debut collection includes exquisite glassware, robust brass furniture, playful wooden seating and an intricate “beauty bar” to boot. Flying the flag for American craft, Karlin only works with small foundries and workshops in New York. What links such a diverse brood of designs? “They are things so beautifully made, I want to live with them forever,” Karlin says. We completely agree.
Inspired by the original lamps used in his family atelier, seventh-generation shoemaker Markus Scheer of Rudolf Scheer & Söhne launched the Schusterkugel (Shoemaker’s Ball) at the end of last year as part of a collection of shoe-themed accessories. The simple design consists of a wooden frame and leather straps (sourced from the family archive) that hold a hand-blown glass globe made in Leipzig. The light works by filling the ball with water and putting a candle behind it, giving off a haunting, soft-focus effect.
Opened in December in Lisbon’s upscale Lapa neighbourhood, Pátria Interiores is run by Brazilian architect Euclides Barros. His shop-cum-gallery sells new and vintage pieces from northern Europe, including Louis Poulsen lighting and Peill & Putzler glassware, next to pieces from Italy (Artemide, Flos) and the Iberian peninsula – his store doubles as a showroom for the collection of wooden sideboards, chairs and tables from young Portuguese design brand Wewood. Barros even finds space to exhibit paintings, ceramics and illustrations by contemporary Portuguese artists.