Porto, Portugal

We’ve just come back from a whistle-stop visit to Porto and Lisbon. Here are our highlights from the Porto visit. Some top places to visit, some great architecture and the best places to chill out.

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This church was the first thing we saw when we emerged from the metro station in Porto and we were excited to explore more…

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Porto is known for its range of Azulejo tiles. Colourful ceramic tiles that line the streets and cover the facades of many of the buildings. This style of tile was influenced by the Moors and are typically Mediterranean colours.

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São Bento Train station built in 1916 is one of the most beautifully decorated train stations. Covered from floor to ceiling with over 20 thousand tiles that portray the history of Portugal. These magnificent scenes were painted by Jorge Colaço.

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As well as the more traditional artwork of the tiles Porto is full of modern art in the form of graffiti. From large scale portraits to little quotes of inspiration you can find bright new art surrounded by old and crumbling architecture. Showing Porto’s seamless link with keeping the old and embracing the new.

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Left – Alvaro Siza’s faculty of architecture, Porto. Right – Alvaro Siza’s Leça swimming pool, Leça de Palmeira. The architecture of the swimming pool fits perfectly with the landscape of the sea front in Leça de Palmeira. The building leading you to the open pools offer some great lines and perspectives. The pools slot within the rocks and make it seem as though you could swim all the way out to sea and the pools are tidal – so really do embrace the space around them.

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  Casa Da Musica, Rem Koolhaas, 2005. This music hall is an iconic building in Porto. With its main architectural focus on the sound proofing of the main music hall it is acoustically excellent. It also boasts a range of side rooms that allow you to view the main hall, but also hold classes and practices.

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The angles of the exterior of the building are mimicked within the building and its furnishings. It offers colour themed rooms with different uses and even a roof top terrace with a vast view of Porto.

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We managed to have a tour of the building whilst the Portuguese symphony orchestra were practicing and went back the next day to see them play. A definite must see when in Porto!

Of course there were a lot more things we did whilst there. Visiting the old town of Guimaraes was another highlight, the perfect place to sit in the sun in a square with a glass of wine.

Bethvictoria.com

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Happy New Year!

We celebrated in style this year. Using some of the tips we found whilst writing the previous blog post  we decorated the house in a classy festive way. The colour theme was black, silver and gold. The night incorporated the best things that happened last year and our wishes and resolutions for this year.

The main focus for our decoration was the dining table. We had a four course meal and spent the whole night around it. We also had a little Photo Booth set up for some family photo fun.

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Here is our little photo booth set up. A simple hung tassel curtain and a simple homemade glittery sign with a few props.

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On the table we had lots of glitter, little party hats, festive napkins and gift jars. In the gift jars we each had a horn, a straw, a paper fortune cookie and two games. The first game was a piece of paper with another guests name on it, we then had to think up an award for that person, I won the most artistic award and gave an award for most selfies taken. The second game was a piece of paper with questions like “moment that made you laugh the most” which we went around the table answering, writing them down and then putting the answers into a jar. This jar was also filled with our resolutions later in the evening and we will open it next New Years Eve.

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The other part of our table decorations was helium balloons with photographs of everyone throughout the year hanging from them. We also had balloons with numbers on them for the countdown which we released at midnight and some sparklers with our champagne. All in all a successfully fun New Years Eve!

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Happy New Year!!

Bethvictoria.com

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Making a Camera Obscura

The Camera Obscura is an optical device that was essential in the development of the camera and photography.

© 2013 Abe Morell. All rights reserved.
© 2013 Abe Morell. All rights reserved.

When done right creating a room into a camera obscura is an incredible thing.

Abe Morell is one of the top camera obscura makers. He travels around and makes hotel rooms into these beautiful naturally projected works.

Camera Obscura Image of the Eiffel Tower in the Hotel Frantour, 1999. Abelardo Morell
Camera Obscura Image of the Eiffel Tower in the Hotel Frantour, 1999. Abelardo Morell

In his early work he recorded the camera obscura with the use of long exposure black and white film photography. He then started to use the new technologies of digital photography.

Camera Obscura: View of the Manhattan Bridge-April 30th / Afternoon, 2010
Camera Obscura: View of the Manhattan Bridge-April 30th / Afternoon, 2010

He also then started to use lenses and prisms to flip the image and to make it as sharp as possible.

With the work that I am doing on my MA I decided to give it a go. The results weren’t the best. But neither is the view out the window… Its just the rail track and the cranes from all the building sites in Elephant and Castle.

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I need to practice and refine this work so that it creates the colourful and interesting images that Abelardo Morell has achieved.

How to:

It seems pretty simple to make. You black out all the window and other light sources. Then cut a hole in the black out. Play with varying sized holes until you get the image projecting at a good size and sharpness. Add a prism or a lens to sharpen and make the projection as clear as possible.

The key with this is that you need to wait 15-20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the light before you can actually see the outcome.

But, of course it isn’t that easy. It takes a lot of playing around and a completely blacked out room to get the right effect.

Good luck!

Bethvictoria.com

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London Life… So Far

The Masters in Interior and Spatial design course that I will be studying at Chelsea College of arts starts in October and to prepare for this I have recently moved to Elephant and Castle.

I’ve been living in London for a week now. The first few days I was busy training for my role as Student Welfare Mentor for UAL. The weekend was a stupidly busy time of moving in the undergraduates, welcome parties and meeting lots of new people.

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The building I am living in is a brand new student accommodation. The views from the 8th floor are pretty great. One side looks out over some of the most iconic buildings in London and the other side boasts the London eye and a great sunset.

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So far I have managed to get to some galleries. The first art piece I saw was the balloons in Covent Garden. The installation by Charles Pétillion. 100,000 glowing white balloons have been suspended to the ceiling of the market in a work titled Heartbeat. Pétillion wants this giant cloud of balloons to bring back peoples attention to the buildings and history around Covent Gardens. It is definitely getting a lot of people to visit the building and to look up.

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The next gallery I visited was the Tate Modern. The building is having a lot of work done to it at the moment. Most of the contents of the galleries at the Tate I have seen many times before, but there were a few new pieces. On the river bank I found this guy with his crazy bubble making kit.

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I also managed to get to the Tate Britain and the postgraduate show at Chelsea. Which I hoped would help me to understand a little more what the course was about and what kind of work was produced. But the range of work and meanings behind them was crazy. It seemed like anything goes.

Bethvictoria.com

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Our 100th Post!

For our 100th post we’re just going to go back to a quote by Albert Hadley that we really enjoyed.

“Decorating is not about making stage sets, it’s not about making pretty pictures for the magazines; it’s really about creating a quality of life, a beauty that nourishes the soul.” – Albert Hadley.

Remember this when you’re decorating and getting muddled with trying to stick to a colour scheme or design style. At the end of the day if you don’t like it and won’t use it, you don’t need it. Make a space that you want to look at and will use to its potential. A space that makes you happy.

Bethvictoria.com

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UO Magazine Rack and Basket

A few posts ago we picked some of our favourite items from the sale sections of various stores. One of these was this industrial style Magazine Rack and Basket from Urban Outfitters.

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We liked it so much that we bought it!

We chose the black option as it would have clashed with the other colours in our room.

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It’s just the right size for the space and looks great with our record player and vinyl. The colour works well with the other colours around and the red and white egg chair looks great with it.

Available here : Magazine Rack

Bethvictoria.com

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Free Range 2015

Sorry the blog posts have been sparse the last few weeks, I’ve been super busy in London working on my degree show!

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Visit my portfolio on the Free Range website here:

www.free-range.org.uk/cgi-bin/portfolio.pl?yearID=20&exhibitionID=1157&memberID=27146

Free Range 2015 was fun, informative and a great networking opportunity. We set up on Wednesday (17th) and held our private view on the Thursday. Lots of people were complimentary of my work and to the exhibition as a whole. I also found out that I will be graduating with BA Photography, classification 2.1, from Nottingham Trent University ! For the rest of the weekend the exhibition had a constant flow of people looking at our work and collecting our business cards.

My work being on display in London was a great opportunity and hopefully more people will know my photography and Bethvictoria.com from it. I also got to live in London for the week and experience the commuting and working style of the city. Which has just made me even more excited to move to London and start my Masters in Interior and Spatial Design at Chelsea College of Arts this October.

The blog posts should continue as normal from now on!

Bethvictoria.com

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Fifth Wall

A week today Nottingham-Trent University’s 19th photo festival will commence.

Those that know Bethvictoria.com will know that owner and designer Beth Smith is a current (not for long!) Photography student at Trent and will be displaying work that she has been creating over the last year. Throughout this project she has created work that both looks at photography and interiors. Her practice has developed skills and grown over the course of the project and the work that she will displaying sums up her development perfectly.

All the images within this project have been made with film photography, in the colour darkrooms and the process of cyanotypes. Beth has been photographing Priory House and Oriental Brewhouse, a Bed and Breakfast in Long Bennington. It’s eccentric wonders lend itself to the classic styles of photography that Beth has been using. The images produced for this project look at the sense of the ‘Uncanny’, the familiar in the unfamiliar, the frightening in the unknown.

The festival will be open 26th May – 6th June 2015.

Beth’s work will be displayed at Chaucer Court Workshops, NG1 5LP. Open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm. With a private view held on the Thursday 28th May 7.30 – 9.30 pm.

Visit the Fifth Wall website to see Beth’s page: www.fifthwallphoto.com/photographers#/beth-smith/

And some more of the exhibiting photographers work: www.fifthwallphoto.com

Bethvictoria.com

-Apologies for the random blog posts! All will be back to normal in a week or two!-

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Stationary!

So, it isn’t really do with interiors but, who doesn’t love some good stationary? Here are few we’ve seen this week.

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Rhodia is a great brand for notebooks. Theres a whole range of them but nothing beats the classic orange and black, as above. We’ve recently bought a couple sizes of the blue notepad above and they look so nice.

Available here: www.cultpens.com/c/q/brands/rhodia

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Pocket typewriter are a great little stationary brand. They offer a range of cute little notepads, such as the ones above, as well as cards and gift bags.

Available at: www.pockettypewriter.co.uk/stationery

Intro colored ntb

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Moleskin – The classic notebook.

Available at: www.moleskine.com/en/collections/what-s-new

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A little gem from Etsy. A vintage map stationary set with notebook, pencil, eraser and pegs. This shop, of course, isn’t the only shop on Etsy that offers great little bits of stationary.

Available here: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/5ftinf?ref=l2-shop-info-name

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The school of life schools of thought: Buddhism set of 3 notebooks. They’re simply designed, the colours are soft and theres three of them. Urban Outfitters also offers them in other colours as well as many other notebooks and journals.

Available at: www.urbanoutfitters.com/uk/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=5622423050002&category=JOURNALS-NOTEBOOKS-EU

Bethvictoria.com

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