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Anywhere, Anytime

Global

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Were travel, art, architecture, fashion, food and adventure meet. Founder and global adventurer Geren Lockhart was "Born Packed" when she started traveling at a young age and never stopped. This site follows along on her journey. 

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Filtering by Category: INSPIRE

CONSTRUCTION IN CANGGU

Geren Lockhart

THE EDGE OF THE PLANET AND TOP OF THE WORLD WITH BIRGITTE RABENS.


This cool building is the brainchild of Birgitte Rabens, who is the force behind Rabens Saloner, a women’s fashion lifestyle brand. Birgitte migrates around the world working and playing when she’s not camping out in Copenhagen.  She’s got a diverse itinerary which makes for a diverse collection, Italy for lots of stuff, Northern Thailand and Portugal for cotton, Nepal for cashmere and a yearly migration to her residence in Bali for a good part of the wares both clothing and house that make the up the brand DNA. 

Introduced by a mutual friend Birgitte generously met me moments after I arrived and whirled me away to a much needed perfect breakfast. On a scooter no less. My first glimpses of Bali were thru the eyes of an ex-pat who’s spent a good span of time here creating over the past decade. It couldn’t have been more perfect. 

Birgitte has impeccable taste combined with the exploration genes that I think all Danes have which had her taking on a few “creative projects” that weren’t about making goods to export; these were building projects. Construction in other countries is always fascinating. How materials are decided on and used. How the architects, builders, and contractors work together. I remember the first time I saw a 20+ story building in Hong Kong surrounded in bamboo scaffolding with people crawling all over it. I gasped, I was shocked, and then I got used to it. It works there. 

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The house pictured was being built to sell. It’s in Canggu, North Kuta where tons of ex-pats are are migrating. It’s a beautiful part of the island where there is good surf, good food, good fun and it's less chaotic than Seminyak. During my time with Birgitte, I wanted to explore her creative process and the reality of making things, including buildings in Bali. After a day of checking on production stuff for Rabens Saloner, we scootered out to the site to check up on the progress and say hello to the security guard who lives on site. 

We darted thru roads and paths that I wouldn’t want to try to figure out how to get building materials down for any amount of compensation. To ensure a successful outcome so much has to align everyday local know-how, new ideas and a great deal of human capital are just the beginning. It was a substantial building and when we saw it. It didn't look measurably different than some others we had seen at this stage, but it felt different. It was going to be different because of the unique collision of Brigitte's creative force, her knowledge of having lived on the island for so long and her passion for collaborating with the local artisans and maximizing even challenging the local know how. It is a physical manifestation of her focused lens on the island; it is all the learning from both sides coming together to create a unique collaboration that allows everyone to contribute. It is a pile of metal, wood and cement but it’s also magic. 

The house was just a framework when I saw it. But it was beautiful; it was straightforward and robust and organic but industrial, and I can’t wait to see what it ended up looking like when I’m back in Bali. 

More on my adventures with Birgitte soon. 


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SETIA POTTERY - JAPANESE BALINESE

Geren Lockhart

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Pottery and ceramics hold a special place in my heart. I love the way the art form completely represents a place. Whenever possible I try actually to meet the people that create this art since they are working directly with their hands and the earth they know the place well. The works at Setia in Ubud are by a Japanese-born potter working in Bali for the last two decades. The integration of the raw materials and resources of Bali with the workmanship of a Japanese artisan make for pieces that are unique, organic, simple, and thoughtful. There is a small gallery in Ubud proper where you can easily pop in and for prices that seem like sealing head home with a piece or five. Take it a step further and make your way from the gallery to the studio up in the hills just above the main drag where the open air layout and organized chaos is inspiring. The day that I visited the studio there was a meeting on for a new restaurant concept in Singapore where Setia would be creating the tableware. Very normal to witness at a factory, yet, in this case, it wasn't in a conference room or an office. This meeting for a massive project was happening at a work table in the middle of the studio open to the jungle with racks of works in progress surrounding you. Being this close to the person making the pottery with the raw materials surrounding you make anything seem possible. I started to daydream about ways to come up with an excuse to make products with them, an excuse to come back to Ubud for work someday. Still dreaming from afar at this point and loving the time I spend with the works I've brought home.

Setia Pottery

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THE GLASS HOUSE

Geren Lockhart

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Visiting the Philip Johnson designed Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut was a pilgrimage for me. I live in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles surrounded by mid-century architecture including the Case Study houses and my own home by lesser known architect Val Powelson all in some version of the style of The Glass House. It's a way of life, not just a type of architecture. The focus on paring back and merging indoor with outdoor is crucial and inspiring to live in. The Glass House is this idea on steroids. Everything was considered and labored over even if it was the smallest metal detail on a drawer. There were certain details that left you breathless, as the leather tiles on the ceiling of the small utilitarian bathroom. Small green tiles giving way to larger leather tiles, it was really sexy. Johnson is by no means my favorite architect and The Glass House is his most important work in my eyes. 

When touring the property, the welcome committee is a gigantic sculpture a cement circle by Donald Judd it is so brutal, organic and magical. The property is grounded by The Glass House in the center of a multitude of outbuildings and sculptures. All in very different styles for the most part, it's good that there is a lot of space on the 40+ acre estate to give each building room to be what it wants to be. There are two galleries one below ground filled with paintings, mostly Frank Stella works, and a sculpture gallery in another outbuilding nearby. The pond below has a structure built off to the side known as Lake Pavilion, a cement outbuilding for the purposes of entertaining and I can only imagine the parties that Johnson and his friends threw. There is a small library set off from the main house, and the Bunker directly behind the main house functioned as a guest house. The pool...oh the pool. It is oval. It is perfect. I dream of having one just like it someday. 

The galleries were especially impressive in their unique approach to viewing art. In the Painting Gallery - a bunker underground - there are large carpeted flipping walls strewn primarily with masterpieces from our mid-century. The docent that gave us our tour noted that a part of Johnson's will was that there must be a Stella on view at all times. They are beautiful and it is a very intimate view of an alpha collector that believed in the work and the artists before it was popular to do so. Johnson amassed one of the largest collections of Frank Stella's work to date, it was worth the trip alone to see these pieces. The sculpture gallery is an odd 80's feeling building but proves to be a great place to view large scale sculptural works. Below is a short film capturing a more recent visit by Frank Stella back to the site now that it's no-longer private. It's charming to hear him speak about the reality of the site and of his relationship with Johnson. It's Frank Stella's birthday today, and this seemed like a fitting way to celebrate. 

The house is worth a visit. In season, it's booked up so keep checking in and maybe there will be a cancelation. I ended up buying tickets three times in advance and only being able to actually make the dates work the third trip. Still very worth it. 

The Glass House

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Multiple Frank Stella works on display in both of the gallery spaces.

Multiple Frank Stella works on display in both of the gallery spaces.


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CAMP WINE

Geren Lockhart

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Abe's abode. This is what I call "wine camp, camp wine", but really it's Abe's house in Napa Valley. The home of Scholium Wines where I stomped some grapes. The property sits on the river in Napa and houses an eclectic collection of art and foodie treasures. 


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THE SCHOLIUM PROJECT

Geren Lockhart

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The Scholium Project is the brainchild of Abe Schoener, a former professor from St. John's College and someone I am lucky enough to call a friend. I have always wanted to participate in a wine grape harvest and began pestering him over the last few years for the chance to help out. Having grown up in California near enough to Napa for school field trips there from a young age, it was in my blood. In retrospect deciding to participate in the harvest, is most closely aligned with waiting for the birth of a baby. Abe and I exchanged many e-mails and calls. The conversations were filled with guesses about the weather and when it might be right to harvest. As luck would have it I was attending a birthday party for another friend in Marin County in early October, and the grapes cooperated. I woke up the morning after a wonderful celebration and I hit the road to Scholium’s home base on the river in Napa. A small group of us gathered early that foggy morning. Most of us were meeting for the first time over coffee while gathering the supplies needed, bins, clippers and gloves. 

A caravan collects and we’re headed out to the groves to began the harvest. Abe works with many growers and different grape varieties for the brands vintages. This is part of what makes his wine unique and so special. He processes the wine in his own winery, but the grapes come from various spots throughout the valley. I realize while we are in the vineyard picking that Napa is good for the soul, there is something about the place that is peaceful and chaotic at the same time. It’s almost like the ground knows the value of the crop it supports both economically and emotionally. We pick hundreds of pounds of grapes and head to the winery to set-up for the processing. We load the haul into a contraption that primarily operates as a boa constrictor to the grapes. Abe makes the most amazing “orange” wine which I have come to learn is white grapes put through a skin-on fermentation and this is the process we were working with. Wine making is a science with a bit of magic thrown in. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. There were test tubes and thermometers and conversations that bordered on sounding like the biology classes I remember from long ago, but even with all that there’s the sun and the air and the variables that all need to come together over weeks and years to birth a beautiful vintage. 

The moment has come and I GET TO STOMP GRAPES. Not in a barrel like on I Love Lucy but still! I recommend that this is added to your bucket list. It’s freeing and fun and productive all at once, and you’re part of something that won’t really come to life for a year at least. I love the cooperative work style that is a part of the culture Abe had created, everyone including him is learning all the time. After we finished the days pressing we check the development of the rest of the seasons work. There was more stomping and a lot of conversation contemplating the progress each barrel had made and what it might mean to each vintage’s future life. We then hit the road to go look at the ripening progress of some other more precious varieties with the idea that the upcoming pressings could be scheduled…or not depending on the verdict. 
 
It was a perfect sunny day in Napa, I learned so much more than I expected to, and I felt the magic. Abe pens the most amazing newsletters which are worth signing up for, the wine is supremely good and it’s worth a visit to their digital world for the knowledge to be gained alone. There are forward thinking retailers and restaurants that stock the wines, however I think it’s more fun to digest the information on the site and ask the winemaker directly if you have questions. I’ve got two cases waiting for me at home in LA and I can’t wait to find excuses for dinner parties just to be able to partake of the wines with my friends. Especially the 2011 Prince aka “orange wine."  

 


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