Freedom: a mighty word. Something we all long for. But what does freedom actually mean? And how can you reach this state of mind? Searching for answers, we travelled to Cadaqués, right off Costa Brava in Spain. A place like a synonym for freedom. Here, art determines life. Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and many others found inspiration between breathtaking landscapes and unbridled nature. To this day, you’ll find studios and galleries of artists from all over the world in the narrow streets of Cadaqués. What could be a better place to find freedom?
Getting to Cadaqués, though, doesn’t allow for much freedom: There is only one road, steep and winding. In the sunshine, it’s a perfect place for a ride in the new E-Class Cabriolet. In Cadaqués, we meet artists Maria Sola, Tony Azorín and Erika Prüfert. And ask them what freedom means to them:
Two years ago, Maria Sola rented out her house in Barcelona and moved to Cadaqués. To a place of tranquillity. A tranquillity that felt constricting at first. Winters are especially rough in Cadaqués: The village is empty. Galleries and restaurants close down. Only the cold wind from the sea hauls through the streets. But today, Maria knows that she made the right decision: leaving her former life behind and starting over in this little town by the sea. More and more, she realizes how exhausting city life used to be, the noise, the speed and the commitments. How much it was taking her freedom away from her, the freedom to do what she really wants to do: paint.
When Spain descended into economic crisis, Tony Azorín started to feel helpless. She saw friends and family suffer, her own situation started to get difficult. She felt completely unfree, like she never had before. She nearly forgot what it meant to be free. It was a memory from childhood that saved her: the memory that once, she didn’t need more than a brush and paint to be happy. That’s what freedom was for her. And still is today: Tony makes art out of driftwood and lives in her own little art gallery in Cadaqués. One single room, gallery and home in one. Freed from ballast, she has found her freedom once again.
Erika Prüfert is a photographer. She was a child when she first came to Cadaqués with her parents. Ever since, the place has embodied freedom for her. Unsurprisingly, one day she decided to make it her home. Here, she lives in a former holiday house at the end of a steep road. A huge, open fireplace heats up the place. Every day, just before sunset, she leaves home to go to Cap de Creus, a rugged peninsula reaching roughly ten kilometres out into the Mediterranean Sea. Cap de Creus looks as though it came from another world: over centuries, the wind has moulded bizarre shapes out of the rocks. Erika roams the place for hours, snapping pictures, and searching for her own freedom – which she often does find.
The perfect day begins at Rothschild Boulevard, or more precisely at Café Rothschild 12, the hot-spot that serves the best breakfast in the city. Hipsters with laptops, students and families all sit together in the café’s bustling ambience, ensuring an easy get-together with new people. Rothschild 12 is famous for its pleasant cappuccino and diverse breakfast with crispy toast. The menu also includes fresh salads and a range of oriental snacks. A weekend-highlight: The regularly-hosted small live concerts that take place in the back part of the café.
In early 1932, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art opened its doors and now houses the most significant art classics of the 20th century. Among the museum’s exhibits are the most noteworthy collections of Israeli art since the 1920s, as well as an impressive profile of international pieces from the 19th century up until present day, including works by Chagall, Kandinsky and Picasso. The Herta-and-Paul-Amir building, which opened in 2011, also hosts a restaurant that enthuses art enthusiasts and more.
Once home to refugees living in makeshift shelters, Neve Tzedek is now the place to be for artists and an increasing number of the city’s billionaires. The neighbourhood continues to be diversified up until today and is perfect for an afternoon stroll through the countless pop-up stores, restaurants and galleries. Food-lovers should most definitely stop by the Suzana restaurant, located in the Shabazi street. Visitors can enjoy a variety of lamb, fish or couscous dishes underneath the fig trees on the restaurant’s beautiful rooftop terrace.
This traditional market is in close vicinity to Neve Tzedek. Both professional and self-proclaimed hobby-cooks love to shop their groceries here. And there is no place better than the Carmel market to experience the diversity of Israeli cuisine. Traders happily offer small samples, allowing to indulge in authentic Israeli dishes, with all its oriental and European influences. A popular favourite: kibbeh, egg-shaped hot dumplings made of bulgur, or pastries with cheese, tomatoes or spinach. Of course, Falafel and Shawarma are also on the list, as well as a wide selection of nuts, vegetables and oriental spices. A must-try dessert is Halva, a sticky sweet made of sesame.
HaCarmel Street, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
For those longing to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and simply relax by the sea, Herzliya Southern Beach is the perfect getaway. The wide beach, hidden behind high dunes, is a beautiful spot to enjoy the magical sunset. Herzliya Southern Beach is regarded as a true insider tip by locals, where families and friends enjoy an evening picnic or couples while away the evening with a bottle of wine in romantic ambience. During north winds, surfers can often be observed riding the waves.
With its walls, turrets and winding alleys, Old Jaffa resembles an oriental fairytale city. Jaffa, also known as Yafo, is the oldest and historically most significant district of Tel Aviv. One of the most impressive sights is St. Peter’s Church that dates back to the 17th century. Visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of the Tel Aviv skyline from the walls of the old building.
Adress: 51 Yeffet St., Jaffa, Tel Aviv 61083, Israel
In the early evening, businessmen and families meet at Sarona for a snack or a glass of wine. With an area of 8,700 square metres and a total of 91 stores, Sarona is one of Tel Aviv’s largest indoor markets. Within the rustic market hall, visitors can enjoy everything from seafood to veal from the Golan Heights to oriental sweets. The district was founded in 1871 by German Templars. Following a 15-year restoration period, visitors can now view 37 historic buildings, characterized by oblique, bright red roofs and little wooden windows.
Whether it’s an aperitif before meals, a convivial tasting with friends or a shopping excursion for wine, the Tasting Room is the place to be. Located in a stylishly arranged basement in the immediate vicinity of the Sarona market, the wine store houses a large repertoire of exquisite wines – including 40 variations from Israel.
Located in a former industrial hall at Tel Aviv’s port, The Container fascinates with its industrial charm. Visitors are not only enthused about the restaurant and the large round bar in the hall, but also value the exhibitions, concerts and readings that take place. A hot-spot for artists, families and students – the container is one of the liveliest locations in Tel Aviv, especially in the evenings.
It is considered one of the best cocktail bars in the Middle East – The Imperial Craft Bar. Bar-lovers get enthusiastic about the style of mixologists, whose drinks never fail to fascinate the taste buds. The bartenders’ secret? Oriental spices that form an exciting symbiosis with the aroma of local fruits. To enhance the culinary experience, the drinks are served with Asian tapas. The happy hour between 6 and 8 pm is a must-do. Due to the bar’s high popularity with locals, a reservation is strongly recommended.
There’s one woman on the NYC subway system that every rider knows because she always stands out from the crowd—supremely confident, her hair is a dazzling orange afro, her lips the reddest red, and behind her shockingly yellow round glasses, the New York skyline swims in her eyes. She’s not a passenger but rather a ubiquitous poster, created by world-renowned illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli.
Despite the swirling organic forms bursting with colour in Zagnoli’s work, the Italian artist is not in the game just to make pretty pictures—she’s hoping to radically change the representation of women, and thereby set them free.
We met the prolific Olimpia Zagnoli in her Milan studio and followed her through the grey city streets on a Mercedes-Benz bike to learn how she sparks her own inspiration to make a difference.
In a time where the definition of “luxury” has expanded to include unique experiences and adventures, a private members-only club for women who love art and culture really hits the mark. Berlin’s Art Lovers Club, founded in 2010, operates according to the enticing motto “We can do things that money can’t buy”. Through the salience of the concept and the work of the fantastic team behind it, the club was able to expand to Munich in 2015, and more cities are planned for the coming year.
Besides studio visits and speeches, the ALC also offers access to high-end events all around the globe and introduces companies to the exciting and radical possibility of uniting art and business. The bedrock of the organization is Anja Groeschel, a communication expert who also studied art history. With her own blood, sweat and tears, she created a living cosmos which not only revolves around art, but also around promoting shared experiences through the club’s environment and those of its affiliated institutions. Building this cosmos requires a lot of time and energy, so at the end of each year, Anja Groeschel leaves Berlin for a few days to reflect on the past twelve months in peace and quiet. Before she took off, we asked her to recap the past year’s events. Here she shares her reflections on 2016 and goals for 2017 with us.
I drink a lot of green tea in the mornings and I use this time to read all the important global news as well as my emails. Then I usually go for a long walk with my dog and organise my daily schedule before I go to the office. At lunchtime I like to go for another walk and call my friends and family. I prefer to schedule my meetings for the morning or late afternoon. Most nights I attend social events.
My biggest highlight was a trip through Israel with my sister. I completely fell in love with the country and it inspired me a lot. Media coverage gives you an idea of current events in other countries, but it hardly ever conveys the cultural and historical context that would be necessary to really comprehend events. I think in order to understand events occurring in another country, a personal exchange with people who live there is required.
2017 will be a lot calmer. It’s important for me to spend more time with my family and friends, to travel more and finally start writing. 2016 really made me change my priorities, and I started to act upon this realisation by making sure to be less involved in certain aspects of the club’s operations.