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IMG_0320Japan Garden at Brooklyn Botanical Garden: I totally had Monet moment here…! All the beautiful leaves…

Ahhh, It was a beautiful sunny autumn day to stroll around Brooklyn. We had visited Brooklyn Botanical garden to check out an artist, Patrick Dougherty and his work, “Natural History“: a first site specific art project that was done for Brooklyn Botanical Garden for garden’s 100 year anniversary, an amazing stick work that Dougherty had done for 3 weeks time period back in August this year.  It’s a beautiful work and I’m just about to share some pics and my thoughts with you, but also please enjoy the peak of beautiful autumn in right here in Brooklyn, NY!  It is almost a privilege to be able to see seasonal changes of the mother nature around us in a big city like NY. Gorgeous Autumn light and colors…



IMG_0343Patrick Dougherty’s  woven-wood sculpture in honor of Brooklyn Botanical garden’s centennial.

The woody materials come from Ocean Breeze Park on Staten Island. The harvest site was chosen of garden’s director of Science because of its proximity to the Garden and it’s large population of nonnative willow, which is designated an invasive species in New York State. The exhibition will run for a full year.



IMG_0355Weaving, snagging and flexing sticks into nest-like architectural forms evoke themes of shelter, habitat and sustainability.  Created of organic matter, Dougherty’s works have a natural life cycle that changes over the time as the sticks settle and decay, eventually returning to the earth where they came from…





The sculpture gives you endless possibilities of new shapes and angles. Honestly, I felt like I could stay at the site forever. It was hard to leave. Look up, look down, go in, come out, follow the surface in circle… I kept feeling like my hair will start swirling with curved sticks.  I can’t pinpoint out what exactly it is but it almost gave me a bit of butterflies in my stomach. I felt like I was a little kid and envied and imagined what if I had such a thing in our massive garden….



IMG_0378Gael mingled with bunch of excite kids for a while… If you only had a furry costume on, it could instantly turn into “Where the wild things are…”

Here we have a book purchased at Storm King Art Center: ” Natural Architecture“, The cover work is by Patrick Dougherty.






IMG_0011The Artist above and more shots from the Garden…






Get out there and Embrace this beautiful Autumn!

This trip is coming to an end and actually I am not feeling so great, so staying at Aunt’s home for a day with family feels priceless. Aunt and uncle have been living in Heyri Art Valley now for a few years and I think that is so great and am very happy for them to have such a beautiful living space in this artistic community sharing all the creative thoughts and life style. So excite to have really hearty good home food after the 2 weeks of trip on the road!!

IMG_0164A fine artist ( oil painting and pottery), story teller, farmer, amazing organic home cook and my aunt chopping and cooking. These leaves( Sorry, I do not recall what this was at all! Aunt had used maybe good 10 different kind of herbs and some kind of leaves from her garden to cook with) are going into her steamed rice with shitake mushrooms.


IMG_0170Sauteed home grown squash: Cut them in chunks and start them with olive oil in a hot wok, garlic, fresh red chili chunks, salt cured baby shrimps… And Mom helping!


IMG_0179Oven broiled  herring; Aunt poured over soy sauce with chopped green scallion right before serving it and below is quickly blenched calamaris on the bed of  fresh baby sesame leaves and mixed green from aunt’s garden. You dip them in the vinegary chili sauce. Delicious!


IMG_0176Dinner table is coming together!  Sliced cucumber dressed in chili paste and vinegar, baby radish kim chi, mountain vegies steamed and dressed in sesame seeds, garlic, onion, olive oil…

IMG_0180Yeah, dinner is on the table!  Steamed vegie rice, Kim chi soup, calamari, more kim chi Broiled herring, steamed squash leaves for ” ssam: wrap”, and many more. And a glass of red… Happy Happy!  Cousin Yoonhee on the left and her hubby, Sanghun back in the kitchen area. That was the most amazing  Korean food in a long time! We chatted, laughed and ate again and again. It was so nice to have everyone together in one place and enjoyed each others…!

IMG_0232The next morning after another big morning meal ( ha!), Aunt, Mom and I went out for a stroll around the Art Valley. There were quite a few exhibitions including a famous Korean singer, Jo Young Nam’s Solo exhibition at ” Hangil Gallery” right by the Aunt’s place.


IMG_0201These plastic pieces with design are called ” Wha-To”:  pretty much Korean ‘Cards”, like Poker in a sense. The artist had used wha-to in such a clever way. Wha-To is such a gamble that is beloved by entire nation for a longest time and also a national issue since people over do this down to loose their homes and family. Some people get so addict to this… like any other gambles out there.

IMG_0194Oh The Artist loves, the poet ‘ Lee Sang’..!








And again, the whole culture of architecture in Heyri Art Valley is quite innovative. Every building in the valley needs to be consist of using Metal, Glass, Wood , Rocks and Concrete as main materials with no pointy roof and painted exterior. It sounds bit limiting yet also it harmonizes the valley as a whole and also I believe it pushes the architects to be creative in different area such as shape, light and space.

IMG_0227The ” Book House”, a book store above the Hangil Gallery.




IMG_0245Underground level of Moa Gallery is just as bright as or even brighter than any spaces on the ground level. Smart usage of minimum amount of glass panel allows to have maxim effect of enough natural light for the space.


IMG_0234Outside of “Ssamji” galley and below: the stair case to the gallery space.


IMG_02634 very different Rooms to crash for rent with organic cooking classes and a small roof garden growing greens then 2 gallery spaces: all with peaceful hearty and artsy farming and nature in mind. It’s called ” Field Art School” ( Non Baat Art School). They are not just fully opened yet. The rooms are available for rent already though. Below, the cooking class schedule.


IMG_0265The cooking class room and dining room.

IMG_0270The outdoor lounge: a part of lobby/cafe’ they are building. We have the same lamp in our kitchen!

IMG_0275Cool outdoor passage way. The natural wall-field I like to call it. Love it!


IMG_0281The roof top green garden.

IMG_0302One of the 4 room to rent. Each room is completely different in sizes and layouts.  4 different artists were hired to design each room.

IMG_0289Above and below: 2 gallery spaces and Mom and Aunt…


IMG_0181By the way, I picked out this book ” Seoul, have you ever been places like this? 100 spots you want to check out!” at Hangil Book House. (Aunt’s treat)  This book excites me so much!! Beautiful pics and interesting places!






It’s so interesting to me to see all these great movement and ideas at Heyri. Ideas to be closer to the nature in style and a peace in your mind, I feel everything here feels modern yet peaceful but not trendy or fast. Maybe forward  and ahead but not fast.

Hopefully Heyri Art Valley will be always the leader of the pack showcasing what you can do with your finance and ideas. A forward thinking  that is good for your body and soul!

VivA, HeYri!!!!!





Book Chon Han-Ok ( Traditional Korean Homes with pagoda roofs with open living room and typically a court yard in the center) Village is just next to Sam Chung Dong  where houses traditional Korean homes since the early 30′s.  Especially the area falls in the postal code ” 30″ is where you want to check out.  Walking around area ” 30″ completely reminded me of my home back in Brooklyn, Clinton Hill and our own home, a brown stone house of 150 years old. Regardless the cultural back ground, people’s mind to preserve and protect things are about the same. Cynthia and I had spotted a couple Han Ok been getting taken care of while we strolled the beautiful hilly Book Chon Village.

















Watch this video to see how Han Ok is built and  it’s typical interior and exterior details. And if you are interested in staying at Han Ok style guest house in this area in Seoul, please check out this site I had found. It looks quite lovely.    www.seoul110.com  

The real charm of Book Chon Village to me is actually the mix of old and new. I am loving the juxtapose of almost 100 years old traditional homes real people living in and many small galleries showing mostly contemporary fine arts through out the area tucked in between small boutiques and restaurants. This nice contrast makes this homes real and relevant to today’s modern life I believe. 


Subodh Gupta Exhibition at Arario Gallery in So Ghuk Dong ( a little area that  connects with Sam Chung dong and Book Chon Han-Ok village) . I totally remember seeing Gupta’s work and his published book at Venice Art Bienalle last summer! I only have couple pictures here but Gupta had done a series of larger than life scaled sculpture work out of white marbles for his debut at Seoul for the first time.  Below shows the roar of the ocean covered in oil.









IMG_0398 A beautiful installation by artist Kim So Yyun. I find them quite beautiful yet also bit sad. I can’t pin point it out. Is it a little one trying to fish something from the small hole out of stack of construction bricks…? Is the artist trying to say kids living in this modern day society lacking real thing..?  For more details, Check out the website, www.suncontemporary.com 

And to finish up,  the under passage way near this area below. Quite modern, isn’t it?



Sam Chung Dong, Book Chon village and So Ghuck Dong all together is a great small area you want to check out if you are ever in Seoul. It’s a short cut to find out where Korea is from and heading to in such a diverse way. Taste hearty and delicious traditional Korean food to most amazing authentic coffee shops that make Italians shy then tasty nostalgic old street snacks in the most humble manners to lavish historical emperor’s cuisine then experience the Korea’s contemporary art scene today.

Drop me an e-mail if you need any more info, I’m glad to provide!  Visit Seoul, It’s a fascinating city!





IMG_0257Galleria Department Store, Apgujung-Dong, Seoul :  Filled with Korean designers and also international designers as Louis Vuitton and all. The Facade covered with giant metal disks are impressive.


Paris to Tokyo to Seoul. It’s getting into week 2 now and  this is our last stop for this trip and we are excite to learn about the city. Personally I only started exploring Seoul since the late last year, and it has been pleasant surprise and eye opening for me to re discover my home city where I was born, and I must say it has been hell out of good time and much inspiration I get every time I’m in Seoul, so I am only thankful that I get to do this quite often.

Apgujung-dong was already trendy and popular area then ( south side of Han River since the mid 80′s) to all the hipsters, teen agers and beautiful good looking people chasing the newest trend in fashion and food culture.  I still hear the Apgujung-dong is quite popular. Is it the most inspiring?  I’ll say ” No” to that but if you ever visit Seoul, You want to check it out. There is a trendy street called ‘ Rodeo’ after the famous fashion street in L.A and there are ton of cafes and bars for entertaining.

IMG_0254Korean peeps looove coffee. And every place me and Cynthia dropped by were delicious. There’s a big chain” Coffee Bean” from L.A and also “Star Bucks” as well but also there are million places of independent coffee shops with all the charm and great ideas.




Then we had stopped for a lunch at ” Gaeh Wa Ok” in this area. Concierge at Park  Hyatt in Seoul had suggested for their clean and hearty traditional Korean food. I’m already liking the store front.  A traditional Pine on the side and simple wood and iron decor is quite chick and beautiful. ( It’s located right off the Rodeo Street)




IMG_0239White cloth covered chairs become the focal point of this restaurant. Simple and serene wall almost feels like a gallery space.


IMG_0234The menu.

IMG_0235While waiting for the food, a bottle of water and a brass bowl  containing a humble steamed corn, sweet potato and garlic is served. The table looks like props arranged for a painter to start his still. And typical hot towels for the customers to refresh before their meal. 

IMG_0244Clear Dikon ( radish) kimchi . Not spicy at all. Got clean and refreshing taste. Miso paste to dip fresh cucumber sticks and loose cabbage wraps. Miso paste also works as touch of garnish for any kind of wraps.

IMG_0245Restaurants in Korea love to slice things on the table. It’s typical to see  waiters using kitchen scissors to do so. This applies to cut noodles, BBQ meat or any other things on the table.

IMG_0246Now our ” Bossam” is ready.  Bossam was a treat for the family and a good excuse for Dads to go through a bottle of Soju when moms prepare for ” Kim Jang” : a tradition of big quantity Kim Chi making for long and cold Korean winter. Kim Jang was a good source to take fresh vegetable to survive cold winter especially back in the days where there wasn’t much of winter farming. Clockwise from the left top corner:Filling for Kim Chi with chilli, garlic, salt and other spices before it gets fermented. Pretty much left over from Kim Jang. A stack of salt pickled Korean cabbage ( all cabbages prepared this way before the filling is filled to make Kim Chi), Regular Kimchi with Sesame oil, a bowl of salt cured baby shrimp ( a garnish to add on to Bossam) and finally, the main guy, steamed Pork Belly.  How do you eat it? Take a piece of Salt picked cabbage, then a pice of meat, then bit of everything else all stacked up and a big bite out of it. It’s delicious! I believe Momofuku in NY is famous for this and also many restaurants in Korean Town serves this.

IMG_0250This is Soon Dae: kind of Korean sausage with clear noodles in. Steam and sliced and dip it in the simple rock salt with chili flakes or this restaurant also served it with Soy dip with bits of Scallion. Yum!

This restaurant is clean and simple with delicious hearty food! We had very much enjoyed the meal. Here for more info, www.gaewhaok.com


After a delicious lunch, Cythia And I headed out to Chungdam -Dong which is located right next to Apgujung-dong. Chungdam- dong is a quite fancy and rich area of Seoul with expensive residential homes and both international and Korean high end boutiques.





IMG_0266A leather bags and accessories with silver jeweleries. A cool building.



IMG_0273I find this last shop, “Boon The Shop”  as an ultimate high end and most beautiful store in Seoul. Apart from architectural beauty, We saw may be the most complete and well edited selection of Marni, Jason Wu, Balenciaga and everything else out of all 3 cities we had visited ( Paris, Tokyo and Seoul).  By the way, I really liked the Jason Wu for TSE line…!

It’s exciting to see how Seoul is changing and developing. Seoul is moving forward yet keeping beautiful traditions with  modern day twist. A good and tasteful twist. I like it. People go back and see where we had come from and are making the best out of it. Especially if you are an architect, you should really check out Seoul. A lot of interesting things are happening here in Seoul now!


Boon the Shop Address: Gang nam Gu 89-3 tel 542-8006, www.boontheshop.com




IMG_0179From the Top: “Midtown” in Ropponghi, Wig haired dogs at Opening Ceremony in Shibuya, Covered grand piano store fixtures at Martin Margiela at Harajuku, Sho Bun Japanese Restaurant at Grand Hyatt, Ropponghi, Lunch box at Sho Bun below.








IMG_0207Polka dot Tees at Harajuku, Lovely Organic clothing shop “kurai” at Harajuku, Fusion organic Restaurant “House” at Ropponghi with Jane and Cynthia, Multi Bike Seat chair at ” Beams’ Boys”, Shibuya, below.













IMG_0219Train to Shimo Kitajawa and Stroll around the town. Shimo Kitajawa is a kind of Williamsburg of Brooklyn. Maybe just safer. Ton of vintage shops and hipster and hippie stores. North side is bit quieter than the south side with less bars and restaurants but more clothing stores. Low rises and residential.

The last pic is the infamous intersection of Shibuya station.




IMG_0271The store front. Actually more Paris than Tokyo but it got that funky vibe of Tokyo.  www.restir.com  Restir Midtown 9-7-4  Akasaka, Minato -ku

IMG_0269The ground floor: It feels like a Surreal night club in a very nice way.




IMG_0276After the club scene like entrance/ground floor, the staircase with cool light fixture leads you to the upstairs where there are cutting edge assortment of both Men’s and Women’s wear. 

IMG_0278Great men’s wear selection from McQueen to Marc Jacobs along ton of progressive jeweleries and accessories.



IMG_0281Cool shoes, Ha? 

IMG_0285A line of Vionette was at the shop. I have not seen Vionette for a longest time. I was pleasantly surprised! A beautiful dress with amaizing bead work. Quite modern too.




Check out Restir if you are in Tokyo.  It’s very different from Typical Tokyo shops.





Entrance of Leclaireur  in Marais, Paris. One of the most cutting edge and influential shop in Paris. I saw leather, PU, Pleather, fur, feathers, spikes, studs, woods and more leathers from the street to stores everywhere in Paris. The Mad Max is Back for this fall! The stretch leather leggings or leather like ( pleather or laminated PU) leggings are the hottest bottom right now. No sign of any jeans in Paris! Also big on whatever mixed hard wear embellishment for tops to bags. Think nuts and bolts and pots and pans!  


IMG_0162A guy at at Martin Margiela store on Rue de Montpensier.  

From the top, WHAT’s in stores Now: Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owen, Haider Ackermann, Rick Owen, Dries Van Noten, Isabel Marantl, Balmain, Helmut Lang, Elise Overland, couple ladies out of million Parisians with Leather like bottoms on.00230m
















And it continues on to Paris Spring Runways! From the top: Haider Aclermann ( By the way , Exquisite Collection!), Costume National, Ann Demeulemeester.





and more…!

One piece you want to invest for this Fall and up coming Holiday? A pare of Leather bottom!

Believe me. Go get one!





If Merci shows it, then it is in.  They got great instinct of what is going to happen. The color that is coming to you? Red. All kinds of Red!








IMG_0178By the way, my favorite thing in the shop. This Bell lamp. love it! How beautiful is it to look it up?



IMG_0175Then the textures. Bell  lamp shade as well. Lots of open Texture. This is was couch throw, Not sure I’ll use that way, it looked bit scratch , but liking the look of it.



IMG_0183Cool plates! would work out great for appetizers.

Raining yet also quite warm, Paris is always Paris. Beautiful as it is as always and  actually bit of rain adds bit more of misty charm to our walk along all those little streets branched out like telescopic images of crumbled sweet Pralines… I quite enjoy this rain. The fashion week just had started for Paris and you can feel the city is getting slowly filled with fashion peeps (Leather is Huge from the street to store level) and I’m in Paris for research with colleagues at Gap. Fashion is all good but you need to eat too! So you have energy to keep fashioning!  We are in charming St. Germaine and dying for some quiet sit down time and simple and good food to fight the fatigue from late night emailing and Jet lag. So we stop at Laduree on Bonaparte.

IMG_0361I have always walked by this location ( on rue Bonaparte) of Laduree but somehow I never walked in. And I did not know not only you can buy those sumptuous Laduree’s Macaroons but also you can have these beautiful meals and decadent dessert in charming and nostalgic setting that I can only guess it would have been in 50′s Hong Kong somewhere… (Somehow the ambiance feels bit of that beautiful movie: Mood for Love, but only in very Parisian way and brighter). Lucky we are!  Having the lunch at 3:00 pm, it was easy to get the table (right before the rush hour of  tea time)!!

IMG_0364Love the frescos on the wall and faux palm polls. The big windows and natural lighting gives you a big break in the middle of Paris like we are away  for a vacation or something…  I was bit envious of this corner seating the whole time. It felt very intimate and romantic regardless two teen boys sitting together.


IMG_0372A entrance to the Laduree shop full of stationary, perfume, teas…


IMG_0365The Menu.

IMG_0366We all got beautiful salads. I got “Salade Concorde” and it was just perfectly seasoned and delicious. You can totally feel the great quality of Sea Salt brining all the flavors together and slight touch of mustard there but not too creamy or heavy. Sliced fresh cucumber wraps function as a little bowl for fresh baby spinach and delicious chicken fillet.


IMG_0381It is so fresh and delicious with packed flavor!

IMG_0386Cynthia had ordered hearty and comforting Laduree’s french fries. Yum..!

IMG_03832 best things in Paris: Bread and Butter. And here’s Laduree’s Butter. Cute ha?


IMG_0390Cafe ole for everyone. How nicely they serve it here! I mean quality is important but also the presentation definitely does it.


IMG_0394Pink off the green against the dark burgundy wooden table is quite nice. And the soft beige of cafe ole!

IMG_0396Dessert Arrived! Rose water custard with fresh raspberry and rose water cream and vanilla cream crispy puff. Sooooo good!


IMG_0399Felix’s beautiful fig cake. Isn’t the color just amazing? When you eat hearty, your eyes also experience hearty colors. Rich in hues and tones. Also each texture carries it’s own color. It’s a “WHOLE” experience.



It’s a great way to feel the Autumn in Paris. Rich burgundy colored Fig cake and drizzling rain over the trench coats on Parisians….