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Murakami In Versailles

From cultural heritage to stylish contemporary art.

When Marc Jacobs, creative director for Louis Vuitton, collaborated with the art world’s celebrated painter and sculptor, Takashi Murakami, the result was a hive’s worth of buzz. Murakami transformed the company’s LV logo into a multi-color riot of cartoon-eye designs on a white sterile background. Needless to say, the artist suddenly found himself fashion’s latest it-boy in Paris. The rest is fashion retail history.  Not unlike Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami picks up low culture and tweaks it for the “high-art” market. The end products are often innovative and forward-moving design concepts.

It took ten years before the French government honored him with another major exhibition, the last ones at the Fundacion Cartier and the Emmanuel Perrotin gallery. In the fall 2010, the most discussed art exhibit had to be the “Murakami in Versailles.”
When the artist was asked what Versailles conjured for him, Takashi Murakami was quoted as saying, “For us (the Japanese) the Palace is both a symbol of Western history and a dream world with its own aesthetics.” In effect the artist creates tension between two cultures: the high and low, the superficial and the profound.

Versailles belonged to a particular moment in French history and was conceived by the French monarchy as the solution to its political problems. It was meant as a symbol of the glory of the French monarchial system. It was fitting and right that the Palace of Louis XIV should reveal its inexhaustible novelty and not become another relic of a worn past. To Murakami, the Palace itself is a site of such decorative elements that it is three-dimensional in nature. In a sense, the Japanese artist gave the chateau a breath of new life.
It’s in the Hall of Mirrors where Louis the King was painted by artist Le Brun in an epic narrative of the glories of monarchy. The King is depicted in a tableau leading the French crossing of the Rhine River in 1672. Dressed like a Roman god with hair streaming, he holds a thunderbolt projectile sitting in a silver chariot pushed by Hercules. In contrast, Murakami’s sculpture, “Flower Matango,” which graces the fabled room, depicts in fiber glass, acrylic and iron  a character which appears in a film done by the makers of Godzilla. It’s painted in an explosion of garish pop colors.

The whole audacity of the sculptural piece looks stunning in the Hall of Mirrors, a confectionary of unabashedly glorified Louis XIV’s reign. The effect is both dissonant and harmonious as Murakami’s artwork is set against a European tradition of perspective and abandons subject in favor of color. The artist’s initial goal was indeed to weave his personal Japanese identity into the fabric of Versailles creating a new chemical reaction for the viewers.

Louis XIV believed in the principle of an open palace. He wrote in his memoirs, “ If there is anything singular about French monarchy, it is the free and easy access which subjects have to their prince.” These days the Chateau de Versailles and its gardens constitute the most breathtaking cultural heritages of France. And indeed one of its patrimonial missions is to enhance it and to keep it available to the public. And by introducing a rich and varied artistic program, the chateau is brought back to life. Murakami declared that from a technical standpoint, he was locked in a battle with one of the world’s most difficult installation sites.


  • by JING RAMOS photo courtesy of Galerie EMMANUEL Perrotin


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THROWBACK THURSDAY. Our Stylish Voyage on a Boat with Loida and Richard


With hosts Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau, we take entertaining to the high seas.

by Shari Quimbo photography Steffen Billhardt

The sky was decidedly gloomy on the Sunday afternoon Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau invited a small group of us for a sail, the clouds getting darker as I make my way to Porter’s Marina, where the Blue Planet was docked.

“Richard built the boat himself in Cebu,” Loida explains, going on to share that he was the former honorary French consul in Cebu. “It was built here, and I designed the interiors.”

All that work certainly paid off—Loida and Richard would often sail the boat out to different Philippine destinations such as El Nido, Siargao, Boracay and the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo. These could mean days-long journeys that sometimes meant dealing with some rough seas. Quick day trips, much like the one we were about to embark on, were also a regular past time.

Loida gives me a quick tour of the boat then shows off her tropical spread. With its bright blue and white floral seating, the cabin’s dining area is already a pretty festive site. “I wanted to keep it simple,” she tells me, arranging her fresh fruits around on the banana leaf-covered wooden slabs she was using as serving trays. “And I wanted it to look more local, more tropical. We are on the water, after all.”

The bamboo slats of the dining table were the perfect backdrop to Loida’s spread, which featured tropical fruits alongside an entire roll of lechon belly, fresh lumpia, empanada and steamed shrimp.

The highlight of the table, though, was the chicken liver pate, a dish that Richard makes himself. “Luckily, the French love to cook,” Loida jokes conspiratorially.

Finally, it was time to take the vessel out onto the high seas, and the group makes its way above deck to enjoy the view. The cool sea breeze was a bit stronger than usual, something that had to do with the dark rain clouds looming above us—something that would have deterred any other group, but not this adventurous bunch. Armed with a glass of champagne in one hand and a biscuit smeared with pate on the other, many stand against the railing, admiring the sight of the sky turning orange above the Mactan Channel.

And then it starts to pour. No matter, though—as the rain pounds against the deck, the party finds its way down below. A bottle of wine is opened, and then another, while a second pot of pate is transferred on a plate. Our captain waits until the waves calm before he brings us back ashore.

(This story has already been published in the printed edition of Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s November 2016 issue as one of the Entertaining Features on pages 82-85.)

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Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant

Filipinos are crazy for Korean barbecue. As such, there are a lot of places that are offering Korean barbecue. But Da-In restaurant isn’t just one of those restaurants.

Located in Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu, Da-in restaurant is a joint project between the Creative Cuisine Group and Da-Won restaurant. With state-of-the-art grilling stations in each table and various Korean cuisines ready to be served, Da-In would surely sate your Korean barbecue cravings without any hassle.

Visit Da-In restaurant today!

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Head Up North, Where A Relaxing Escapade is in Store at Maayo San Remigio

On your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a relaxing escapade awaits.

Oftentimes, when it comes to deciding the next travel destination, the Northern part
of Cebu is overlooked in favour of its Southern end. The South boasts of sunny beaches,
cascading waterfalls and the popular whale sharks who have made its waters their home.
While these are beautiful aspects that the South has to offer, the North is just as—if not
more—abundant in offerings. The North’s natural scenery is relatively untouched, and on top
of that, it’s less likely to be flocked by tourists.

This means more opportunities for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the
city. The roads heading North are long and winding, yet the beauty that lies at the end of the
journey proves that the trip is worth it. Knowing that, where does one go in the North?

Hidden away in the northern part of Cebu, Maayo San Remigio is a haven for those
who seek peace and serenity, making it an alluring abode for a sojourn on the island.

The resort’s guest rooms are vibrant and reminiscent of the Carribean.

Approximately a 3-hour drive from the city, the resort grants access to a tropical
retreat with a captivating beachfront setting—a charming destination away from the daily
hustle. Whether on its fine white sands and blue waters or inside the cozy rooms, Maayo
San Remigio is a delight to local and foreign tourists alike.

A newly-opened resort under Maayo Hotels flagship, Maayo San Remigio is a
destination that guarantees a refreshing, laidback experience, sure to wash away the worries
you brought with you from the city.

A clean white aesthetic is made tropical with bamboo accents and greenery.

It’s equipped with a mix of luxurious relaxation and wellness, fun and entertainment,
and enticing wining and dining options. This Caribbean-inspired resort is a serene hideaway
on a lush slice of tropical paradise with emphasis on ultimate comfort and exclusivity.

The resort’s location makes it doubly precious; scattered throughout the resort
grounds are viewing areas that grant you access to the sunset. Watch the sun sink down the
horizon by the infinity pool, on the beach’s shoreline, or atop the cliffside with the waves
crashing below. When night falls, the stars come out to dance across the clear skies, making
for an unparalleled stargazing experience.

Sunsets at Maayo San Remigio are a sight to behold.

Maayo San Remigio blends authentic Cebuano hospitality with its tranquil
atmosphere and exceptional design. Its well-appointed rooms and villas ensure a relaxing staycation, while its thoughtful amenities and facilities evoke a feeling of belonging in
paradise. The resorts brings the culinary excellence that is found in the Maayo Hotels brand,
creating palate-pleasing Filipino dishes with a modern twist. Complemented by the resort’s
wide menu of drinks—from juices to cocktails to shakes—one will truly enjoy a stay here.

So on your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a
relaxing escapade awaits.

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