Bongeunsa Temple is a peaceful getaway in the middle of the urban chaos of Seoul. As you approach the temple, long rows of hanging lanterns line the pathway up. When you walk through the second gate, a beautiful courtyard opens up and hundreds of these white paper lamps hang creating a delicate white ceiling. Each lantern has a written prayer tied on it; mothers wishing for their children to attend a top college or to find a good match. Patrons give generous donations to the temple to have their prayers hang from one of these lanterns, some for up to a year. Every morning, monks hold a ceremony to read new wishes received, meditate, and pray on them. I am not a Buddhist, but admittedly I did leave my mark in the form of a prayer. Who knows, perhaps the mothers are on to something.
London, England. March 2016.
I saw Sugarhouse Studios featured on a few Instagram feeds I follow and was taken by the hand painted tiles on the exterior. I took mental note and when I visited London in March, I was excited to have the chance to see this in person. Sugarhouse is an artist's space tucked in East London near Stratford and the Olympic Stadium, a long trek by tube and double decker from city center, but worth every step. The working space was closed the day I visited so I did not get a chance to see Sugarhouse in action, however I did get an up close view of this beautiful pastel patchwork. It's impressive both in scale and craftsmanship; springtime on a façade.
Copenhagen, Denmark. February 2015.
Copenhagen is an architecturally rich city; knowing this I took the time to research and compile a shortlist of buildings to visit. On the top of my list was this iconic building on the waterfront. Aptly named Gemini, this modern building was converted from neighboring seed silos in the early 2000s. From an aerial view, the two silos look like a figure eight and the interior is this incredibly strange looking space ship. Designed by Dutch based architectural firm MVRDV, the most surprising part of the plan is that the living spaces are actually clipped on to the outside of the silos.
In minimalist fashion, their is no obvious entrance into the building. I waited until a resident walked out of a silo and convinced her to let me in to take videos and photos. I could not get enough of the black and white interior. I must have become hypnotized by the spirals because I took photos from every possible curve and lost track of time; it was hard for me to leave. I was just waiting for someone to report me and chase me out, however I think folks are used to having hypnotized strangers wander aimlessly in their atrium.
Let There Be Light
Copenhagen, Denmark. February 2016.
This was my first step into a Lutheran Church and man was it a memorable one. When my friend and I visited Grundtvig's Kirke in Copenhagen, I expected significant foot traffic because it is one of the most recognizable churches in the city, however we walked into complete silence and this stunning, light-filled nave. Grundtvig's Kirke is known for it's Expressionist exterior and Gothic-inspired interior. While the exterior reminds me of a crazy space ship straight out of Krypton the interior is beautiful in its silence and simplicity.
San Diego, Winter Wonderland
San Diego, CA, USA. February 2015.
I never knew what a "real" winter felt like until I moved to the east coast. Growing up in San Diego was a dream. The days average about 70F/21C and, being a desert city, the evenings can dip pretty low, but never ever below 32F/0C. San Diego has an average of nearly 3000 hours of sunshine per year so even when it is cold and crisp, the sun is typically shining.
I took this photo during a visit in February. While the east coast is bracing for snow storms, this southwest corner oasis looks like this. In fact, the chilliest part of of San Diego may be the Pacific Ocean*.
Pictured here is a pier on Scripps Beach that is located next to the UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in north La Jolla. The pier is closed to the public, but the beach is not. Scripps Beach is quieter than its southern sister La Jolla Shores so if you are looking for a beach that is more peaceful and one that locals retreat to, Scripps is a good place to go.
*In fact, let's hope it stays this way. Donald Trump, climate change is not a hoax.
Doorway To Heaven
Marrakech, Morocco. February 2015.
The Spa at the Royal Mansour in Marrakesh may be one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever walked into. You enter the spa and walk down a candle lit hallway towards this glorious white birdcage. The Royal Mansour was commissioned by the King Mohammed IV and he wanted it to be a landmark that honored Morocco's regaled history of craftsmanship. You will see this craftsmanship reflected in the design and handmade details of the hotel and spa.
I took this photo as I was entering the spa lobby and it was a like walking into a piece of heaven. If you are looking for a brief and serene getaway from the medina, THIS is the place.
Private Vaporetto Ride
Venice, Italy. September 2015.
Milan, Italy. July 2015.
One of the benefits of living in Milan is being in the middle of high fashion. The same day Expo Milano 2015 opened, so did Armani/Silos, a fashion museum dedicated to creations by Giorgio Armani. When I visited last year, Armani/Silos was hosting a retrospective exhibition displaying 40 years of Armani's works over 4,500 square meters of industrial space designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Tadao Ando. The building was actually a silo for grain in the 1950s and is now home to roughly 600 dresses and 200 accessories. Walking through the corridors, you have to fight every impulse to touch and feel everything, although, on second thought, it would be a good way of catching the attention and starting a mild flirtation with one of the black-suited models/docents.
Blue Over You
Houston, Texas. August 2017.
I had a long layover in Houston, Texas this afternoon so I decided to leave the airport and head over to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston to spend a couple hours with their collection. I was not familiar with the museum in advance of visiting so it was a pleasant surprise to see a James Turrell installation*. It is always hard to capture a Turrell correctly through the camera because it is such an immersive light experience, however this guard's silhouette against the rich, blue backdrop of light provided a poignant moment that was worth capturing.