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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

Angelika Taschen: Page Turner

The Pioneering Publisher Looks Back at the Novels That Shaped Her Life

Book publisher Angelika Taschen’s favorite novels––and where she read them––are wittily illustrated in this retro comic book-inspired series by artist Joe McKendry. The daughter of bookshop owners, Taschen (née Herbert) grew up surrounded by reading matter and famous German authors, such as Siegfried Lenz and Sarah Kirsch, who would regularly visit her parents’ store in Bonn. “I always knew my life would never be boring as long as there were books around to read and inspire me,” she says. Last year she established Angelika Publishers in Berlin after 23 years of working with her ex-husband Benedict Taschen’s eponymous publishing company, where she helped define the current popularity of coffee table art and design books. Angelika Publishers has so far released two titles––On Perfume Making by Frédéric Malle and Anna Bauer’s Backstage––but Taschen is not rushing to put out the next. “I have to really believe in a book,” she explains. “The subject must be special and it must be very well done conceptually.” Here the bibliophile talks us through the books and places that have colored her life so far.

Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan; a camping site, England
This is one of the highlights in my life. It was quite a long time ago when my daughter was born, and we went camping somewhere in England. I was studying German literature at the time. It is written in medieval German. I was fascinated by the poetry and simplicity of it. It’s a skill to write about complex things with simple words, so you understand the depth. I can only read these very sad books in a very beautiful environment.

Hans Fallada’s The Drinker; Ayurvedic resort, Sri Lanka
I loved being by the ocean and living this super healthy life, not drinking alcohol and only eating vegetarian food. This very sad book is about an alcoholic man who had a nice marriage, a good business, but he destroyed everything by drinking. He takes out his guilt on his wife and becomes aggressive. Probably this was the only moment, at a health resort, where I could read such a hard book. He ends up in the psychiatric hospital, and I was at this luxury retreat. 

Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser; in my bed, Berlin
I tried many times before to read Bernhard but it never clicked. Like reading James Joyce, you need a certain understanding of literature to be able to enjoy his books. It’s a description of [pianist] Glenn Gould. What I like about this book is that it demonstrates the difference between genius and skill. From the first line to the last line there is not a chapter, or paragraph break—there’s no pause. It’s very difficult to read.


Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin; Chemosphere House, Los Angeles

At the time I was living in the Chemosphere House and had a conversation with David LaChapelle about Bob Fosse’s Cabaretstarring Liza Minnelli—it’s our favorite movie. After that I decided to read the original book, which is completely different from the film. It’s a time and a place that really interest me: Berlin in the 20s and 30s. 


Paul Morand’s The Allure of Chanel; on an airplane to Sri Lanka
You can really focus on reading on an airplane because there’s nothing else to do. Morand met Chanel several times in the 50s and early 60s and made notes after their meetings. I’m interested in biographies and this is about how she developed from a very poor, hard background and was able to become such a successful woman.

Stefan Zweig’s Marie Antoinette; by the pool in Argentario, Tuscany 
I was on holiday and both my friend and I were reading Marie Antoinette by the pool. It was after the film by Sofia Coppola came out. Zweig is a master of psychology—he really draws a figure in history. For me, this is a much more enjoyable way of understanding history than reading actual history books.

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables; in hospital, Cologne
I had to be in the hospital, and reading this book, which is over 1,000 pages long, was an escape from the boredom. I like when novels develop groups of interconnected characters and this has some of the most complex, multifaceted character development I’ve experienced. Hugo writes about the human condition, which is timeless.

Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone; Hydra, Greece
Every year [gallerist] Sadie Coles organizes an exhibition in Hydra with [collector] Pauline Karpidas. Curator Clarissa Dalrymple was also reading this book there. We were lying on a beautiful beach and reading about the most tragic time in German history, how the Nazis created this distrust in people that enabled them to do terrible things to their neighbors and friends. It is one of the only books that helped me understand, even a little bit, how this was possible.

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