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Sep 2014

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Design

Breakfast with Patrick Jouin at the Eiffel Tower

portrait-patrick-jouin-french-designer…………

Appointment with: French designer Patrick Jouin
Where: 58 Tour Eiffel (Alain Ducasse restaurant on 1st floor of Eiffel Tower)
Date: June 9th, 2009
Time: 10am
On the agenda: Learn about Patrick Jouin’s 10-yr retrospective in São Paolo as part of the Year of France in Brazil

…………

I have been living in Paris for ten years and until last month I had never climbed the Eiffel Tower. Somehow I just never got around to it. I wasn’t deliberately avoiding it but the thought of waiting in line for hours to squish inside an elevator full of scarily-clad tourists (e.g. the kind who wear “I love Paris” varsity sweatshirts with mint green leggings, Birkenstocks & socks and backpacks worn over chests), and shell out the price of an excellent bottle of wine just to do so, never appealed.

Call me blasé, but I needed more incentive…

paris-eiffel-tower1

The calling came in the mail in the form of a 3-D rendering of Paris viewed from the sky. Even without the words “Le Paris de Patrick Jouin” splayed across its center, it had the prolific designer’s named all over it. The raised-type medallion was an invitation to preview Jouin’s first monographic show, a traveling exhibition that kicks off in São Palo this July at the Instituto Tomie Ohtake as part of the Year of France in Brazil (Brazil is returning the favor after being featured in France in 2005).

eiffel-tower-restaurant

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Baby-Faced Cabinetmakers Redefine Their Craft

Avenel-christophe

It’s only my fourth post but I already have a confession to make (and no, it’s not about the cutie above).

One of the reasons why I’m doing this project is to satisfy my longstanding curiosity for people who pursue unusual professional paths. I have never been blessed (or cursed, perhaps?) with a burning career calling, but I am fascinated with those who are—especially when their shtick is super obscure.

Working as a journalist has served me well in this department. Interviewing someone is like having a giant question pass printed on your forehead. From challenging and quirky to just plain personal, you can ask your subject just about anything.

For me, the ultimate “jackpot conversation” is when I walk out of the experience with a juicy slice into someone’s life and a completely new window into the world.

That’s how I felt after my visit to Avenel L, a year-old workshop and design firm dedicated to the art of woodworking.

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