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The luxury voyage redefined, from remote retreats to spontaneous urban sprees

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August 24, 2014

Lane Coder x Larry Letters

A Fine Art-Inspired Trip to the Californian Outback

“I think there’s an inherent narrative that happens when taking pictures in Big Sur,” says American photographer Lane Coder of his recent collaboration with fellow image-maker, Larry Letters, in the remote Californian outback. “It’s a place stuck in time a little bit, you can still feel the presence of hippies past and present.” The pair, who found an affinity between their work while studying at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, escaped the confines of the studio for the great outdoors in between commissions for Vogue Japan and The New Yorker. “I find beauty in the details as well as giving the ‘whole’ picture; I think it helps tell a more complete story,” says Coder, who snapped the two aerial shots from the plane during his return journey back to New York. While they managed to fit in an impromptu fashion shoot using the rugged landscape and giant redwoods as a backdrop, the trip was not without a touch of danger, says Letters: “Killer seagulls, a bit of debauchery, a couple of trips to the hospital, fine wine in Wine Country, alien-like jellyfish, and California’s gorgeous, chameleon-esque light.”

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Fabriken Furillen: Island Escapism

The Stunning Repurposed Architecture and Lunar Landscapes of Gotland’s Refined Resort

London-based photographer Peter Guenzel explores the sparse and calming atmosphere of former limestone refinery turned eco hotel, Fabriken Furillen. Stretching across 600 acres of an old quarry site on the island of Gotland off the southeastern coast of Sweden, the minimalist retreat is set amid the area’s untrammeled natural beauty featuring rocky coastline, wind-swept pines and glistening sea. After discovering the deserted factory in the 90s, founder Johan Hellström preserved its original infrastructure and recycled local materials such as concrete, limestone and hardwood to build the hotel's 17 rooms. “The interior perfectly matches the industrial character of the buildings and the colors of the surrounding area,” observes Guenzel, who has shot for the likes of AnOther, Arena Homme Plus and The Observer. “But it still felt warm and welcoming in a minimalist ‘Swedish’ way. Much of the industrial infrastructure is still in place but not restored—the jetty with the crane, for example, felt like it was slowly disintegrating.” For those seeking complete solitude, Hellström erected Wi-Fi-free hermit cabins alongside the hotel to provide total escapism in between visits to its idyllic bakery or restaurant. “The greatest part about it is the unknown,” says Hellström. “Even if you look at the building carefully, you can't see what's on the inside, and that's very thrilling.”

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Spotlight

Dali City

A Fusion of Contemporary Art and Mountain Tradition Erupts in China’s Cultural Haven

Nestled alongside China’s Erhai Lake in the dramatic Cangshan mountains, the ancient Dali City is the subject of this dreamy short by filmmaker Eric K. Yue and writer Zachary Mexico. An arts enclave in the province of Yunnan, Dali’s mellow charm has long lured a vibrant community of artisans, poets and wayfarers, including artist H.N. Han, whose personal art museum houses works by Roy Lichtenstein, and coffee purveyor Gong Jiaju, who painstakingly seals his boxes of aromatic beans with hot ruby-colored wax. Dali is also a rare center of Bai culture, a Sino-Tibetan community famed for its artisanal expertise and elegant architecture featuring upturned gables. According to Mexico, author of 2009’s China Underground, the residents “are living for the sake of living”—something that captivated him when he first traveled to Dali 12 years ago. Finding the tranquil pace especially conducive to creative thought, he frequently visits from his home in New York for writing sabbaticals. New York-based director Yue, visiting the country for the first time, found experimental ways to break the ice with the local community. “I found I couldn’t interact with people, so I did magic tricks to get them to like me,” he explains. “It’s a purely visual language—there are no boundaries with magic.” Next up, Yue and Mexico will collaborate on a series of films about Chinese youth culture with Forever Pictures. 

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