If Lisbon’s place in world history is impressive, the city is by no means focused on its past, fully embracing the present. The city is also changing. Lisbon offers a mixture of styles with a unique flavor.
A mixture of extravagant frescoes, megalomaniac delusions, political engagement, appropriation and aesthetic refinement, these four areas offer an oversized playground. It is a chessboard with a changing configuration that must be traversed.
From Banyalbufar to Sa Calobra, from Valldemossa to Cala d’Or or the peninsula of Formentor, the island resumes a rhythm that lies somewhere between nonchalance and neglect. The melancholy feeling of time that freezes and stops.
Using primary colors and geometric lines as their only tools and arguments, they create a balanced, subtle space that suggests a deep harmony. In a limited area, they implement a language that dispels all the conditioning and conventions of previous eras.
Above all, Prague is a whole collection of urban mythologies, in which resonates a certain European spirit. From the idea of Mitteleuropa to political and literary dissent, Prague is a symbol that has become a magnet for tourists.
Ephemeral by nature, street art is sometimes captured and found in some rather surprising places, returning to its roots. Recently, casemates in the fortified town of Neuf-Brisach, a UNESCO World Heritage site, have begun to host just such a project. This location, frozen in time, is given a new lease on life and changes vocation. The venue is in development. It’s a work in progress punctuated by artists’ residencies.
There is something fascinating at the heart of Dubai. Time is its standard as it chases after a kind of satiety. The city’s two creeds must be read in a kind of superlative bidding war, the highest or the greatest, combined with an eccentric dimension. Simultaneously a futuristic city with innovative architecture, global shopping center (e.g. Dubai Mall and its giant aquarium), super-kitsch or stylishly-designed holiday resort, or intercontinental hub, Dubai is the ultimate stage.
Abu Dhabi balances on a knife edge, between being anchored in a centuries-old tradition and a future yet to be built, and the two are not always compatible. Sitting on oil wealth that has its limits, the attraction exercised by imported international standards, the desert as a backdrop; the capital of the United Arab Emirates is located on a chessboard comprised of contradictions and juxtapositions that are to varying degrees both radical and unique. Five stops in the city show the main outlines and question the city in transition.
The imperial or princely residences, such as the Hofburg and Albertina in the city center, the Belvedere Palace that lies further out, or Schönbrunn Palace on the city’s outskirts, are all representative of a political use of architecture. They have a dual function: to be an incarnation of the established order and to symbolize the cultural model of the dynastic and absolutist Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries. An elitist culture which is in complete opposition to popular culture.
Here are some of our favorite sites: a mix of contemporary architecture, Grands Cafés from the Belle Epoque, the Jugendstil spirit, and unusual places. Exploring Vienna for a weekend means diving head first into a Mitteleuropa culture. If Vienna is comprised of multiple facets that lie beneath the surface, the puzzle and the spirit of Central Europe are revealed.