Plus: wine classes in New York, vibrant geometric pillows and more recommendations from T Magazine.
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After traveling across China as a college student — from Shanghai to Yunnan, Guangzhou and Beijing — to reconnect with her roots, Céline Chung returned home to her native France with a dream to one day disrupt classic Chinese canteens with restaurants that would emphasize style as wells as the diversity of the cuisine. “I’m French Chinese and inspired by my family’s heritage, but also by Paris — its sense of design and its gastronomic scene,” says Chung. Bleu Bao is the restaurateur’s third and most recent spot: Designed by Atelieramo, the Paris-based interiors studio known for its work on prestige salons at the department store Samaritaine, the bao and dim sum restaurant nods to traditional Chinese teahouses and incorporates bold materials and colors, particularly the blue and white of traditional porcelain. The ground floor features velvet banquettes and an oversize reproduction of a Ming painting offset by neon yellow trim, while the upper level has more of a boudoir feel. Armchairs and daybeds replace tables and chairs, and Maison Martin Morel floral wallpaper inspired by Wong Kar-wai’s film “In the Mood for Love” sets a romantic scene for throwing back char siu bao, Dongpo pork and ginger milk pudding. “I wanted to show a different side of Chinese dining,” Chung says, “without the clichés.” 8 Rue Saint-Lazare, Paris, baofamily.co.
Avery Thatcher has developed a range of techniques over the course of her creative life, as evidenced by her Portland, Ore.-based wallpaper line Juju Papers — the designs of which feature paper cutouts, sponge paintings and screen prints — and her namesake pigmented concrete tile company. This month, she celebrates the merging of these two businesses into one design studio, Thatcher, with a collection of geometric Form pillows. The release reflects yet more past endeavors, including her training in sculpture and a formative stint in theatrical puppetry. “I never had a traditional career path, and I notoriously always had so many jobs at all times,” says Thatcher, “but I really learned about craft and how to construct things working there.” Several colleagues from that gig helped to construct and develop the playful set of six, available in colors like bottle green, dandelion and port wine. Upholstered with responsibly sourced New Zealand lambs’ wool, the pillows are filled with CertiPUR-US foam, in keeping with Thatcher’s climate-neutral status. Each one might (somewhat literally) punctuate a space with a jolt of energetic color, and can be tossed around for wear. “My two kids destroy them on the daily, and they’ve been keeping their sculptural shape,” Thatcher says. From $200, thatcherstudio.com.
In his four years since taking the helm at Celine, the creative director Hedi Slimane has made it a priority to resurrect the precision of haute couture, as well as the intimacy — the multiple fittings required for each commission ensured a close relationship between couturier and client. After re-establishing a couture salon at the French fashion house in 2018, and reintroducing Celine’s perfumery in 2019, Slimane now turns his attention to leather goods with the Haute Maroquinerie collection. Each made-to-order handbag is crafted from start to finish by a single artisan at the brand’s leatherwork facility in Tuscany, with two shapes on offer. The 16, a top-handle satchel, is named for the address of Celine’s atelier, at 16 Rue Vivienne in Paris, while the Triomphe, a smaller shoulder bag, has a clasp that resembles the wrought-iron chain circling its namesake arch. Both bags are rendered in the finest materials, with an array of customization options: clasps and hardware in 18-carat yellow or white gold, possible diamond detailing, goat leather interior and crocodile exterior in 14 shades, from inky patent black to a lovely lilac. Leave it to one of the Frenchiest of houses to redefine luxury. Price upon request, celine.com.
In the Taiwanese American painter Phaan Howng’s imagined landscapes, flora have evolved to take on a riot of Day-Glo hues as a survival tactic against years of toxic industrial waste in a post-Anthropocene future. It’s a theme the artist has explored since the late aughts, when she held down a particularly wearying day job at an electronics manufacturing company in South Florida and gained a mounting awareness of the industry’s environmental impact. “I did not want my ghost to live in that cubicle forever,” she recalls. This month, Howng, now based in Baltimore, presents her first solo show in New York, “I’ll Be Back,” a meditation on domesticity, feminism and the extractive history of house plants. The practice of taming and commodifying nature within the home dates to the Victorian era, and the artist’s research included Kate Chopin’s novel “The Awakening” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” as well as the sci-fi flick “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Among the works is an immersive installation, staged as an interior overrun with acid yellow, orange and fluorescent green plants and patterns, a dizzying array of paintings, sculptures, wallpaper, furniture and more. It elicits a sort of despairing joy — an end-of-days, rave-party aplomb. “I’ve always been interested in how humans attempt to control and manipulate nature to fit their vision,” Howng says. “Why do we do that?” “I’ll Be Back” is on view through June 25 at Dinner Gallery, New York, dinnergallery.com.
“I am naturally thirsty to understand the endless mystery of wine,” says Alessio de Sensi, the general manager of the New York Italian restaurant Scarpetta. This week, he begins sharing that oenophilia and vast knowledge — he experienced his first harvest at age six in Maremma, Italy, and received a formal education through the Italian Sommelier Association — with VinVivo, a series of in-person wine classes. The first sessions, called “World of Wine,” will explain terminology, discuss tasting techniques and explore the history of winemaking while students enjoy a three-course meal (and leave with a copy of de Sensi’s book, “Uncork Your Senses”). They are lessons he first provided to his colleagues as the wine director at Minetta Tavern a decade ago and continued once he joined Scarpetta in 2019, and which the LDV Hospitality founder John Meadow wanted to make accessible to the public. “Our biggest hope of our attendees is that they are empowered to find and drink what they truly love,” says Meadow. $150 per ticket, exploretock.com.
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