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Geneva, Capital of Peace

In the city that boasts 1000 delights, there remains hundreds of discoveries to make. So each time I pass through Geneva, there's always something new to discover. Recently, I visited the European headquarters of the Palais des Nations where important discussions are held throughout the year to keep the fragile peace that binds our nations. 
In front of the United Nations building is the wooden sculpture, Broken Chair by Daniel Berset, a Swiss sculptor. It is a reminder of the victims of landmines, cluster bombs and the ¨desperate cry of war torn populations¨. Rising to a height of 39 feet tall, it dwarfs visitors who pose by those long legs. Broken Chair was crafted by Louie Gèneve. 
Melancholy is the most poignant sculpture I've ever seen. Nothing speaks of emptiness more than the gaping hole through which one can see the peaceful lake in the background. Melancholy was created by Romanian artist, Albert György, who experienced this void when his wife passed away. 

The Jet d'…

Frankfurt am Main - of Half-Timbered Houses and Skyscrapers

The last time I was in Frankfurt am Main was to drop off our rental car and catch a flight home. This time around, I was planning to stay in Frankfurt for a couple of days before leaving for the U.S. But as luck would have it, I had to change my itinerary and stayed a little bit longer than expected. Which was a good thing. Because Frankfurt has changed in the years since I visited and I had a lot of catching up to do.
Most of Frankfurt was destroyed during World War II. But its historical center was painstakingly reconstructed in the 1980s from original floorplans. These pretty half-timbered buildings on the Römerberg in the Alstadt (Old Town) provide a rich contrast to the city of skyscrapers. 
This building in the Alstadt has an unusual roofline. The grey-tiled roof flows into the dormer windows like a wave.
The Römer with its three-gabled façade has been the City Hall of Frankfurt since the 15th century.
The Gothic-style Frankfurter Dom or the Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomew is …

Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart - Inspiring Book Culture in a Cube

When I stepped off the elevator on the 8th floor of the Stadtbibliothek (City Library), I unconsciously said ¨wow¨. I had only seen the library in pictures and was captured by the design. Seeing it for the first time in person was truly a wow moment. It appeared I wasn't the only one who felt like this. I noticed that other people stood rooted to the spot just outside the elevator doors and were  staring at the expanse of sleek white space and books in colorful binding neatly stacked on shelves against the walls. 

Launched in 2011, the Stuttgart City Library was designed by Eun Young Yi, a Korean architect from Yi Architects of Cologne and Seoul. He describes the Stadtbibliothek as a "homogeneous, calm, monolithic building that contains a great many of the secret values of  our civilization. These values are neutralized and polished to the point where they possess a universal value that applies to all ages so that only our pure spirit are projected onto the material".

The …

Sculptures that Stand Out from the Crowd

Melancholy. Albert György. Bronze. Lake Geneva. Geneva. Switzerland

Before I embark on any trip, I always check the net for public art or street art in the cities I plan to visit, especially places I have been lucky to visit a few times. These searches give me options which I may otherwise have missed since these works of art are seldom listed on the "must see" lists. On my recent trip to Europe, I had the opportunity to see these sculptural pieces that beg explanation, are meaningful, controversial, poignant, thought provoking and Instagrammable (lol). These discoveries were lessons in art appreciation and added mileage to a deeply satisfying trip.

Nothing represents emptiness better than this sculpture about melancholy. 

Inverted Collar and Necktie. Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Polymer concrete, steel, fiber-reinforced plastic. Westendstrasse 1. Frankfurt am Main. Germany.

The tie as a "traditional part of office attire, its loosening could signify the relief f…

Inside Albi Cathedral

The austere brick exterior of the 13th century Sainte-Cécile Basilica Cathedral of Albi (or Albi Cathedral) reveals nothing about its opulent interior with its painted vaulted ceiling and columns, the Gothic lacy stonework in the Choir, the exquisite rood screen, and the 15th century mural of the Last Judgment under the monumental organ by Christophe Moucherel.

The altar of the Church of the Canons within the Cathedral.

The Choir of the Canons is hidden behind the rood screen which divides the Cathedral in two.  It is decorated with a host of angels, the twelve apostles, the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Paul. The statue of Sainte Cecile, the patron saint of the Cathedral, is at the center of the screen below the crucifix. The figures of the emperors Charlemagne and Constantine face one another above the north and south entrances to the Choir.

The ambulatory around the Choir is decorated with carved figures from the Old Testament. Notice the painted columns.
The side altars in…

Planta, From Ice Plant to Art Space

There's a burgeoning art scene in Roxas City. Following the successful run of the Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (Viva Excon) Biennale in November 2018 led by Black Artists Asia, the seafood capital is welcoming a new outdoor art space in the heart of the city. 
Planta is just across the river from the cluster of cultural heritage structures of Roxas City. It recently hosted Primero, an arts and crafts fair which formally introduced the murals painted by the group, Vinyl on Vinyl (VOV) of Manila with the help of fourteen local artists hand picked by Lloyd Develos. This project is the gift of Atty. Blas Viterbo who owns Planta, a former power station and ice plant, to his hometown.
The first mural (above) is of a hand lifting the curtain to reveal a wider perspective of what Capiz has to offer. Alternatively, it may represent how artists from neighboring towns perceive Capiz from an artistic point of view. A monitor lizard has planted itself on the hand of Dr. …