Hong Kong Palace Museum: How to celebrate Lunar New Year like an Emperor

Written by Rebecca CairnsKristie Lu Stout, CNN

It’s Lunar New Year. Dressed in their best festive clothes, an 18th-century family sits down to feast on a sumptuous banquet in a room decorated with auspicious signs.

This scene will sound familiar to many of the families, across China and the world, who enjoy their own festivities, traditions and symbolic foods over the holiday period, which began on Sunday. But there are some significant differences: This hotpot dish is ornately decorated in cloisonné enamel, the signs are covered in turquoise, jade and rubies, and the patriarch’s fashion choice is a silk robe with dragon motifs hand-stitched in gold thread . It is a lunar new year fit for an emperor.

“It’s a symphony of the senses,” said Daisy Wang, deputy director of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, where these Qing Dynasty-era treasures are on display in a second-floor gallery focused on the daily life in Beijing’s imperial palace.

“You have to imagine what the emperor and his family would hear, what they would taste, what they would touch, what aromas they would smell,” Wang added. “We have to use all our senses to imagine what happened 300 years ago, inside the Forbidden City.”

The $450 million building opened last summer and has a rotating collection of more than 900 treasures on loan from Beijing’s Forbidden City, from rare ceramics to delicate scroll paintings. The museum celebrates its first Lunar New Year by inviting visitors to see how one of China’s longest-reigning emperors celebrated the occasion, through the auspicious objects on display.

Decode the past

The Qing Dynasty’s fourth emperor, the Qianlong Emperor, was “one of the most powerful rulers on earth in the 18th century,” Wang said. “He ruled over a vast area, with a population of probably more than 300 million.”

His reign, from 1735 to 1796, was also characterized by flourishing art and creativity in the country. Known to be learned and cultured, he published more than 40,000 poems during his lifetime, and amassed an enormous collection of ancient and commissioned imperial works of art during his six-decade rule.

Everywhere you look in the Palace Museum exhibit, the emperor’s penchant for luxury is on display, from hanging panels with jade floral motifs to a few gold gourd decorations. The latter, embedded with semi-precious stones and bearing the Chinese characters for “great fortune”, is among more than 60 gourd-shaped decorations commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor to decorate the Forbidden City during the Spring Festival in 1746 alone.

Some highlighted Lunar New Year-related objects on display include some golden gourd-shaped ornaments. Credit: CNN

As with many works of art, it contains “hidden meanings,” Wang said. A symbol of fertility, bottle gourds, or “hulu,” have a name that sounds similar to the Chinese words for “prosperous” and “wealth,” she added.

However, the emperor didn’t just commission works of art: His extravagant taste extended to his wardrobe. “(He) never commissioned (just) a single garment,” Wang said. “It always had to be two, four, six.”

Known to change his outfit up to seven times a day, one standout piece of clothing on display in the exhibition is a robe adorned with intricately hand-stitched dragons flying between bouncing, clouds in gold-wrapped thread.

This royal dragon robe was one of the Qianlong Emperor's finest ceremonial robes.

This royal dragon robe was one of the Qianlong Emperor’s finest ceremonial robes. Credit: CNN

Famous traditions

With a taste for large banquets, often consisting of hot pot, dumplings and roast duck, the emperor’s eating habits – and the serving dishes and utensils used – will be familiar to many. According to Wang, Qianlong loved hotpot so much that he ate 200 such meals in one year, which some say contributed to his longevity (he died in his late eighties).

New Moon Festivals were particularly special for the Emperor because it would be one of the few occasions he could eat in the same room as family and friends. “Due to security concerns, he usually ate alone,” Wang said.

An extravagant hot pot used by the Qianlong Emperor.  Although it is beautifully decorated using the cloisonné technique, the copper inside makes it completely functional.

An extravagant hot pot used by the Qianlong Emperor. Although it is beautifully decorated using the cloisonné technique, the copper inside makes it completely functional. Credit: CNN

The imperial items he used, in addition to being gilded and bejeweled, also reveal how many traditions have remained the same.

“One of the things that surprised me is how similar the way he celebrated the Lunar New Year is to our practice today.

“I hope that visitors will come to connect these ancient objects with their own lives.”

Watch the video above for an inside look at the Lunar New Year objects on display at the Hong Kong Palace Museum.

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Experts are predicting 2023 as year baths fall out of fashion

There is good news for those of us who prefer showers to baths – as interior experts predict that this year we will everyone prefer a quick shower to a long, hot soak.

While the choice will always be subjective, experts shared that when it comes to bathroom trends for 2023, they are largely noticing a big swing toward showers over tubs compared to a few years ago.

In fact, the trend toward showers is seen in the Pinterest Predicts report (80% of their predictions over the last few years have come true). The report explains: ‘No bath, no problem. Gen X and boomers are [instead] looking for shower bombs and home spa bathrooms in 2023.’ So why are we all turning away from our baths, and towards our showers this year?

Pink tiled bathroom with critical shower screen

(Image credit: Future PLC / Simon Whitmore)

Why is there a trend towards showers over bathtubs in 2023?

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New year, fresh house: tips and tricks to get your year off to a clean start | Entertainment/Life

Forget waiting until spring. The new year, with all its promises of fresh starts, is a good time to give your home a little makeover.

We’ve looked around a bit and found some helpful tips that will help get your home in shape for months to come.

Make the most of the weather

In other words, take advantage of the cold. Everyone in Louisiana knows how unbearable it is to rummage around in your attic most of the year, but getting up there in the winter isn’t so bad.

Renée Ory, of the Lafayette organizing and design company Amazing Spaces, said January’s cooler temperatures provide an advantage when it comes to housekeeping.

“This is the perfect time to clean places that get really hot in the summer, like your attic and your garage,” she said.

Be consistent

While most say it’s best to clean one room at a time, others recommend that you’re better off picking a specific task — like dusting — and doing it in each room. However you go about it, one thing is clear: It’s important to have a system. If not, you’ll likely be going over old ground, making the process feel insurmountable.

Picking a start and end point in each room helps, and don’t forget to clean from top to bottom.

Go through the seanal decorations

Sure, picking up Christmas decorations is fun, but do you ever actually use them all? As Ory points out, cleaning in the new year means taking down Christmas decor, so take the opportunity to look at the decorations that haven’t been used for a while.

“Use that time to throw away anything you haven’t used in the past few years,” Ory said. “For example, you can donate it to a charity. It will help you prepare for the coming year’s decorating season.”

Ory said donating decorations to a charity reduces while it adds up.

Clear out trash

Decluttering is something that is definitely best chipped away at over a long period of time.

However, if you’re going to try it during your annual cleaning, there are a few things to consider. Attack storage areas first to make room. Try not to hold on to something with a “don’t worry, I’ll sell it later” approach since, let’s face it, it probably won’t happen.

If you also worry about whether you should keep or throw something away, consider the wise words of Marie Kondo: Does it bring joy?

Clean shelves, cabinets and appliances

Take a look around and give your kitchen appliances – oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher – a solid cleaning inside and out. Pay special attention to the toaster as there can easily be enough crumbs rustling around the bottom to start a small bonfire.

Also look at shelves, and don’t forget medicine cabinets and spice cabinets. While you’re at it, check expiration dates and throw out anything that’s gone bad. After all, it is easy for spices and medicines to hide in the back of the cupboard for years.

Clean the fridge

Refrigerators can get pretty dirty pretty quickly. The best idea is to go through them shelf by shelf, starting at the top.

Give the shelves a good wipe down, and if they are particularly dirty, carefully remove them and wash them in soapy water.

Over the holiday season, they can also easily become overloaded with unused and spoiled food, so use the time to throw out any old food while you’re at it.

Also give the bottoms of any jars a wipe if necessary, as you don’t want them to undo all your hard work once you put them back.

Don’t burn out

This one is important. Not only can cleaning be draining, but it can also feel overwhelming, especially if it seems like there’s a lot to cover.

The trick is to start small. Paddi Barnes, of the housekeeping organization FlyLady, suggests breaking your home into zones and working on a little bit in each one at a time.

“You don’t want to be overwhelmed,” says Barnes. “When you are overwhelmed, you sit on the floor and you cry. You have to make it fun.

“If you make it a chore, it’s not going to happen. But if it’s a five-minute mission, you can do five minutes. You can do two minutes. Take baby steps.”

Remember: a little at a time goes a long way. All you have to do is try it.

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The year of AI art

The year of AI art

by AryanArtnews

If 2021 was the year art NFTs burst into the center, then 2022 is when they were assaulted by AI art. The past few months have only heightened the tremendous potential and concerns surrounding AI art, much of which will play out in the coming months.

The conversation around AI art started strongly from July 2022 after the machine learning model DALL-E2 was made available to one million people on the waiting list. DALL-E2 was the long-awaited beta of DALL-E (named after artist Salvador Dali and Disney Pixar’s WALL-E) by Open AI, an AI research lab. DALL-E2 was officially released to the public in September and users couldn’t get enough of the images and art generated by language prompts that could be as simple or as bizarre as “astronaut relaxing on moon beach” or “Darth Vader walking on ‘ riding a tricycle”. outside on a sunny day” (the latter was a command used by AI image generator Craiyon).

In just one month, an estimated three million people used this AI art generator to produce more than four million images per day, according to reports.

Users have used DALL-E2 to generate images that are inherently absurd, surreal, humorous, and sometimes satirical.

Another major AI art generator that has dominated the conversation over the past year, and seen more complex results from it, is Midjourney, which runs on the server Discord and also uses text prompts. In its initial days, Midjourney became synonymous with otherworldly landscapes, often with a dystopian touch. It quickly attracted interest and various artists, illustrators and designers, especially those who design concepts and storyboards, found it attractive. For example, concept artist Andrei Riabovitchev used Midjourney to create fantasy compositions that included angels, supernatural beings, aliens, and astronauts. Closer to home, Goa-based design studio The Busride used Midjourney to think about alternative futures for the Taj Mahal and to think about other monuments in a whole new way, available for viewing on their Instagram page. In their explorations, the following scenarios were considered to be paired with artwork made by Midjourney. In one, a massive 9.3 Richter scale rocks northern India in 2031 and the monument is “irreparably damaged”. Restoration follows, and the reconstructed Taj has Persian poetry filling the cracks.

Concerns about Midjourney and AI-generated art came to a head when an artist won the Colorado State Art Fair’s competition in the “emerging digital artists” category. Jason Allen’s work, Théâtre D’opéra Spatial (Space Opera Theatre), was made using Midjourney. As the title suggests, the artwork depicted a space setting with robed figures looking out through a viewport. The work brings together space opera and classical Baroque elements.

According to reports, Allen submitted it in the digital art category under the name “Jason M Allen via Midjourney”. As The New York Times reported, the category’s rules allow any “artistic practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.” This could mean that using AI programs to create art is no different from using other software such as Photoshop.

Many believe that with the increasing popularity of AI art will lead to the creation of a separate category that sets it apart from other forms of digital art. However, as the controversy surrounding Allen’s work has shown, artists and designers are increasingly concerned about the apparent ease with which AI appears to provide multiple options of artwork, something that would normally take a human professional hours, if not days. In recent months, the art and design community has questioned the way in which AI seems poised to put many artists out of work as well.

In a viral social media post by a user named “loish,” the artist said they wholeheartedly support the ongoing protest against AI art because “my artwork is included in the datasets used to train these image generators without my permission… Many have compared image generators… to human artists seeking inspiration. Those two are not the same…”

This will largely become the story in 2023, where the community attempts to find a balance between the expansion possibilities of AI art and the ethics surrounding it.

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What does the first year of motherhood look like? For this photographer — and many other women — it was dark and complex

Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

In the weeks after photographer Rachel Papo gave birth to her son, Ilan, in the summer of 2013, she monitored herself. She watched for signs of anxiety, insomnia or loneliness, for the fog that had covered her brain for months after the birth of her daughter, Zohar, three years earlier, making it difficult for her to function day to day. .

I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, Papo recalled thinking as the days passed in Berlin, where she had moved from New York with her musician husband, Micah, and Zohar, while she was pregnant. After Ilan’s birth, Papo took pictures of her surroundings, as she always did, of the lightning-lit skyline, rain-soaked yellow leaves, and her newborn sleeping in striped pajamas, his tiny features bathed in moonlight. But uneasiness crept into her text exchanges with family and friends overseas – her hard-earned sense of stability felt fragile.

“Then there was this little obstacle,” Papo recalled during an interview at a cafe in Brooklyn. “I was suddenly worried about something and it kept me up all night. And the next night I was like, ‘Well, I better sleep tonight. I hope it’s not that.’” It was a small worry — about which preschool was best for her daughter — but she didn’t sleep the next night either. “And it was almost like I could feel it developing. I couldn’t control it,” she said.

Papo can name what she felt this time: postpartum depression, which affects about 1 in 7 women in the United States and can seriously affect the lives of pregnant people for months or years. The first time, after Zohar’s birth, Papo didn’t understand what had happened to her until someone else offered the term. She had never dealt with depression before and considered herself generally happy and satisfied with her life.

“And then it hit me. And once it hit me, I went downhill really fast,” she explained. Struggling to keep up with freelance work, her main source of income, she thought she might need more space or greenery than New York could offer. She and her family moved to Woodstock, just over 100 miles north of the city, but her memories — captured in images she took at the time — are “haunting,” she said.

Now, years later, Papo has published the photography book “It’s Been Pouring: The Dark Secret of the First Year of Motherhood,” which chronicles her two experiences with postpartum depression through images and text messages, along with interviews with other parents who are silently the condition.

Stigma and expectations

The first depressive period in New York lasted a full year for Papo, as did the second in Berlin. After homeopathic approaches failed while she was abroad, Papo sought psychiatric help and medication—care she first tried to seek but couldn’t afford in Brooklyn. One day she takes an image of her and Ilan’s reflection after a bath, her foreboding gaze the only clear detail in the steamy mirror. The portrait later became symbolic of the hazy uncertainty she felt and is now the book’s cover.

Although many of Papo’s photos are cellphone images she shot during the first hazy months after her children were born, they are interspersed with photos she later took of other mothers’ daily lives, as well as texts they sent to loved ones. their most difficult moments.

Together they form a searing testament of the physical pain, emotional anguish and disconnection that many struggle with after childbirth, but hide from fear or shame. The idea of ​​what it means to be a good mother is deeply entrenched in society, Papo said.

“You have to breastfeed, you have to dedicate yourself to your child, you have to let go of your old self, you have to not get angry — and you have to love your child immediately,” she said of the pressure. “Everybody expects it to happen, and then it doesn’t.”

Connected stories

When Papo began interviewing the other women, whom she met primarily through a Facebook group for expat parents in Berlin, she noticed threads of connection running through their experiences. Many suffered extreme trauma during childbirth and did not immediately feel a sense of connection with their children. Intrusive, violent thoughts came unbidden, either from severe anxiety or bone-deep exhaustion. The women she spoke to felt lonely and isolated from everyone in their lives. When they couldn’t breastfeed, or their recovery from severe vaginal tears or C-sections was difficult, they felt like failures.

“There is one outfit my family sent my daughter; it’s such a cute little thing. And I remember looking at her in that dress and thinking, ‘I really don’t like you,'” one woman, Miriam, recalled in the book. “You know, this feeling, like, ‘I want to get away from you’.”

Another woman, Carolina, echoed that sense of resentment when she recalled a moment when her husband presented her with a photo album containing images of their newborn baby. “I hated that gift. I immediately rejected it and I didn’t tell him,” she told Papo. “It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t sweet. And there was one particular page I couldn’t stand; my baby looked like a stranger to me.”

There are only a handful of portraits of mothers with their children in “It’s Been Pouring,” seen in reflections, partially obscured, or photographed in shadows. Instead, the women often guided Papo’s image-making by sharing specific objects, places, smells or sounds that triggered their emotions. One photo depicts a series of mantras — such as “I feel safe” and “My body knows exactly what to do” — written on index cards that one of the women, Anita, used daily while pregnant. In Papo’s photo, they are taped to a white tiled wall above a vase with a rose.

“Her (child’s) birth was so brutal and traumatic for her that this (mantras) became like a memory of something that didn’t happen,” Papo said about Anita’s experience. The photographer asked her to divide them into two groups on the wall — one she still believes in and one she doesn’t.

For the women who still felt like they were drowning when Papo met them, she hoped to help them by showing them they weren’t alone—now she hopes the same for readers.

“I was there to keep their heads above water and say: ‘You will get through it’,” Papo remembers of the women she met.

No easy solution

Time has given Papo more perspective on the depressive periods she endured, but the years she spent putting together “It’s Been Pouring” meant she relived the darkest moments of her life – and the lives of others – over and over again. must revisit again. As grateful as she is to recover, the experience changed her deeply.

The book does not offer a neat, uplifting solution, although Papo has not experienced depression since her second encounter with postpartum. (Many of the women she interviewed also improved or recovered, she said, although some have since experienced depression after giving birth again.)

“It’s hard to explain, but it’s like I felt possessed by a dark spirit while I was sick, and then it slowly started to leave my body, and then one day it just disappeared completely and I was like myself again feeling,” she explained in a subsequent email. “For me it was literally an overnight feeling.”

Papo and her family have since moved back to New York City, where she has returned to freelancing, and her children are now 12 and 9 years old. Although she said she still feels “the weight of motherhood,” it’s a very different sensation.

“I would say my life is back to being as independent and fulfilling as it was before … to return to New York, and ground myself and get my job back.

“I want to say that I’m stronger, but it’s really hard to say that with confidence because depression is always something that’s around the corner,” she added. “A few nights of (lack of) sleep can start messing with my head… But I feel that as long as I keep certain things in order or in place, I can maintain the life I have.”

It’s Been Pouring: The Dark Secret of the First Year of Motherhood” is now available through Kehrer Verlag.

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Houston interior designer Nina Magon, ACC’s Entrepreneur of the Year

Magon opened her design firm in Houston in 2008 as Contour Interior Design and later rebranded as Nina Magon Studio. Design has taken her around the world and to a competitive home renovation show for NBC. Magon, whose parents were born in India, was named Houston’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asian Chamber of Commerce.

She sat down with the Houston Chronicle to talk about what the award means to her, and how her identity and experiences have influenced her work.

Q: What got you into interior design?

A: I was in fashion at first. I ended up opening a store in the Galleria, and I was more interested in the design of my store. A few years later I closed the shop, and I decided I wanted to build houses. While building the house, I fell in love with design even more. It was then that I discovered that there is something called interior design. I went to the Art Institute of Houston for interior design, and it was from there that I just fell in love with interior design and haven’t stopped since.

Q: What made you fall in love with it?

A: I like to create interesting spaces because they are art, but they are functional art because people live in them. If you think of art like a canvas, and people live inside that piece of art, that’s really what interior design is. We create this atmosphere for clients, and every atmosphere is different because the person is so different. Since we do luxury, residential, hospitality and commercial design, we do it all. We are always intrigued, it is never boring. We don’t look to the past for anything, we like forward-thinking, modern design approaches to traditional aesthetics.

Q: You’ve mentioned in the past that sometimes you’re the only Texan in the room. how does it feel

A: Texas is starting to make its mark. The thing that bothers me the most is that Houston is such a progressive city, it is the fourth largest city in America, but for some reason we are not recognized for anything – not for fashion, not for design not, not for video, not for anything creative. I think it’s important for us creatives to put ourselves on the map by involving ourselves in different activities that can help Houstonians.

Q: How has living in Houston impacted your approach to interior design?

A: Houston is a melting pot. My parents are originally from India, and I was born and raised in Canada, but being in this melting pot in Houston, I was exposed to so many different cultures, which taught me that nothing is right, nothing is wrong, it’s all preferences. This is what I put back into my business, and this is the philosophy I tell everyone who works here.

Q: Do you have any other lessons that helped shape your career?

A: There are so many lessons I learned from my parents and being of Indian descent. First of all you have to work very hard because without hard work it doesn’t matter how smart you are because someone will be smarter. The other thing my father taught me at a very young age, rightly or wrongly, that no one will ever remember number 2, they will only remember number 1. If you are a tennis player, everyone will always remember who the winner is. of Wimbledon, they will never remember who they played against.

But I don’t think there can be a no. 1 in this industry because it’s very creative, and when you’re in a creative field, there’s no right or wrong, everything is subjective, it’s not like playing tennis where you have to follow the rules. There are no rules, you do what you feel is right. And that’s one of the things I love about our industry.

Q: How did it feel to be selected as the Asian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year?

A: It’s interesting because when you’re so busy working, you don’t notice how you affect other people or if they even notice you. It was such a nice surprise to hear from the Asian Chamber of Commerce and have them say, “You are the entrepreneur of the year for these reasons, you work very hard and we see what you do for the community and how you is an impact on the younger generation.” I’m very honored and humbled by this. There are so many women, especially women who are minorities, who are really raising the bar in many different areas. I think it’s so important to recognize that. It’s something I want my daughter to see because she learns by watching me and that’s how she learns and sees her mother working very hard.I want her to never think that she has to rely on a man for anything.

Q: Does it feel like a moment where you can say, “Now I made it?”

A: I don’t have that moment, even to this day. One thing my parents taught me is that you have to stay humble all the time. There is so much more to learn, and so much more to experience, that I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like, “I got there.” There is so much growth in this industry, from design to learning to product development. I don’t think I’ve been there yet, there’s still a lot to learn.

[email protected]

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Paint him out: Katy Hessel’s retelling of art history is Waterstones book of the year | Waterstones

Katy Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men, which started as an Instagram account highlighting female artists, has been named the Waterstones book of the year.

The book was chosen by the retailer’s booksellers, who each year vote for the books they enjoyed the most to recommend to customers. As well as book of the year, they also named Bonnie Garmus, who wrote Lessons in Chemistry, author of the year and children’s book of the year to Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by AF Steadman.

‘A feast for the senses, as well as the mind’… The story of art without men by Katy Hessel. Photo: Penguin Books

Hessel is an art historian, presenter and curator who founded @thegreatwomenartists on Instagram after visiting an art fair and realizing she would struggle to name 20 female artists. She also hosts The Great Woman Artists podcast and writes the great women’s art newsletter, a fortnightly column in the Guardian.

Kate Skipper, Waterstones’ chief operating officer, called The Story of Art Without Men “as essential as it is delicious” and said it was “written with wit and ease” and could be “devoured in one sitting or immersed in a whim “.

“This is a book that will be praised for years; a feast for the senses, as well as the mind,” she added.

Hessel said she was “completely overwhelmed” by the Waterstones Book of the Year award, but said it was “a testament to all the stories, the untold stories” in her book. “I often think of my book as a kind of party, all these amazing people who fought everything to be there, and to be recognized on this scale is just amazing,” she added.

The book’s title is modeled on The Story of Art by EH Gombrich, a survey of art history first published in 1950. It had no women in its first edition, and the most recent edition features only one.

In reviewing Hessel’s book for the Observer, Bidisha Mamata said it was a “positive, beautifully written corrective” and should become a foundational text in the history of art by women.

“We live in such a culturally, socially, politically changing time,” Hessel said. “Women have been oppressed for millennia and I think it is so important that we make these corrections.

“The goal is for equality; it’s not at all to avoid men from our history. The book does this in a way that only celebrates the women. I think we’re in this very culturally interesting time when we have to go overboard to make equality and have equality in the future.”

The book covers artists from all over the world and, says Hessel, “breaks down the canon in terms of gender, but it also breaks down the canon in terms of the hierarchy of art forms, so we have things like pottery, textiles, weaving, sculpture , everything”.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, named Waterstones' Author of the Year.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, named Waterstones’ Author of the Year. Photo: Doubleday

Meanwhile, Bea Carvalho, head of fiction at Waterstones, said Garmus had been recognized as author of the year for “the astronomical success of her wonderful debut novel, Lessons in Chemistry”.

The novel is about chemist Elizabeth Zott, who hosts a cooking show that challenges women to change the status quo. “Bonnie has written that rare novel that readers of all tastes will adore: funny yet infuriating, uplifting yet heartbreaking, it’s a deft piece of social history, and a triumphant testament to the art of fiction writing that underlines how powerful and joyous the genre is is. can be,” Carvalho said.

The children’s book of the year, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, is the first in a series and follows Skandar Smith, who has only ever wanted to be a unicorn rider.

Florentyna Martin, head of children at Waterstones, said AF Steadman’s book was a “lively and original debut” which, with its “brilliant unicorn creations and impressive combinations of elemental magic, successfully plays with readers’ expectations of the traditional fantasy adventure, which the next shake.wave of storytelling”.

  • The Story of Art without Men by Katy Hessel (Cornerstone, £30). To support The Guardian and Observer, order your copy from guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply.

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Record year for interior design and fit-out firm

Estilo Interiors turned in a record year, signing £27.6m worth of business.

The figure is more than double the previous year-end of £12.7m – when the Birmingham-based commercial interior design, fit-out and refurbishment company’s business was hit by the pandemic – and a third more than 2019, when Estilo Interiors served £ has 20.3m of contracts.

Andrew Moore, managing director of Estilo Interiors, said the change in working practices since Covid is driving growth.

He said: “Office occupiers are on the move, looking for better quality space and high-end interiors to match. Employers are keen to make the office a true destination. Facilities such as dog kennels/pet corners are some of the new features employers are asking us to build in to improve the work experience.

“We also find that occupiers and landlords are keen to obtain external accreditation for their spaces. The costs associated with achieving standards such as BREEAM, WiredScore, Smart Spaces and SKA* have often proved prohibitive in the past. But post-pandemic, health, wellness and digital connectivity have all moved to the top of the agenda and employers want to be seen to deliver and we are able to provide solutions. “

Among the fit-out projects completed by Estilo Interiors is the £1.6m refurbishment of property manager MAPP’s offices in London and Birmingham. Law firm Clarke Willmott turned to the company to complete the £1.5m facelifts at its Birmingham and Taunton offices, while

Kite Packing’s new office in Coventry has also benefited from a £1.4m Estilo Interiors refurbishment.

Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley Switchgear’s £2.9m works were also delivered by the company.

In addition to working for occupiers, Estilo Interiors has worked with landlords to deliver building renovations. Projects include the £2.5m refurbishment of Interchange, in Birmingham’s Edmund Street, and a £2.3m spend at Blake House, Birmingham. Cat A alterations have been completed or are in progress at Lombard House, Great Charles Street; 54 Hagley Road and Newater House, Newhall Street, all in Birmingham. The £4.2m refurbishment of 10 Victoria Street, Bristol, was completed during the firm’s record year.

Moore said: “Landlords have also raised the bar, with Cat A+ retrofits now becoming more common. These fully-equipped ‘plug and play’ solutions help attract tenants and get them into a building faster.

“We also advise landlords on net zero strategies as they seek to green their buildings.”

Although based in Birmingham, an increasing amount of Estilo Interiors’ work is outside the Midlands.

Moore said: “Over the past year we have delivered projects in London, Exeter, Bristol and Cardiff. Broadening our geographic net has also benefited our bottom line.”

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The Top Photos from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022

The Greenwich Observatory’s annual 2022 Astronomy Photographers Contest unveiled the finalists of the year from around the world.

Competition for the world’s largest space photography

The prestigious contest received over 3,000 entries from amateurs and professionals from 67 countries around the world. Now in its 14th year, the contest will be attended by a jury of experts from the world of art and astronomy.

Photographers seek skyscapes, aurora, people and the universe, our sun, our moon, planets, comets and asteroids, stars and nebulae, galaxies, and up-and-coming astronomers under the age of 16 this year. Compete in nine categories of young astronomers. The title of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 14, which was coveted as the overall winner. The judges will also award two special awards. One is Sir Patrick Moore’s Best Newcomer Award and the other is Annie Maunder’s Image Innovation Award.

All winners will be announced at the online awards ceremony on September 15, 2022. The award-winning photographs will be exhibited at the National Maritime Museum along with selected candidate works.

The prize pool consists of a £ 10,000 prize for the overall winner and a £ 1,500 prize for all other category winners. Top prize winners and highly regarded applicants will be awarded £ 500 and £ 250, respectively, and special prize winners will be awarded £ 750. All award-winning photographers will also be offered a one-year subscription for the next year. BBC Sky at Night Magazine.

Below are entries from this year’s finalist list.

Annie Maunder Award

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
EarthCyanotype © Lynda Laird, using open source data from Suomi NPP satellites
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Busy Star © Sergio Díaz Ruiz, NOAA GOES-16, Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) open source data


2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Spectrum © Stefan Liebermann
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Solar Wind © Esa Pekka Isomursu
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Iceland Saga © Carl Gallagher
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Electric Wizardry © Shane Turgeon


2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Arp 271: Space Collision © Mark Hanson, Mike Selby
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Hydra Windmill © Peter Ward
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Interacting galaxy in Eridanus © Terry Robison

Our moon

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Above the Moon’s South Pole © Tom Glen
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Reverse minerals © Noah Kujawski
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Fly over Antarctica © Andrea Vanoni

People and the universe

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Los Angeles Moonrise © Sean Goebel
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Along the Funagawa River in Spring © Takanobu Kurosaki
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
The starry sky of the world’s best national highway © Yang Sutie
Stacks and Stones © Derek Horlock
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Equinox Moon and Glastonbury Tor © Hannah Rochford

Planets, comets, asteroids

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Jupiter’s Family © Damian Peach
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Comet Leonard C / 2021 A1 (Comet Leonard) © Lionel Majzik
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Saturn and its moons © Flávio Fortunato

Patrick Moore Award

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Messier 78 © David Loose
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Radio Telescope © LiuXuemei


2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Circles and curves © Sean Goebel
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Crossing Madison © Jake Mosher
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Chidiya Tapu © Vikas Chander
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Ladder to the Stars © Mikhail Minkov
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Oregon Coast © Marcin Zajac
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Diagonal © Kazuma Kiryu

Stars and nebulae

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Suburbs of the Carina Nebula © Ignacio Diaz Bobillo
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
NGC 6888 – Crescent Nebula © Bray Falls
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Vera’s swelling waves © Paul Milvain

Our sun

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Solar Inferno © Stuart Green
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Hydrogen gas cloud © Simon Tang
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Partial solar eclipse on Hα line © Alessandro Ravagnin

Young astronomy photographer

2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
IC 1871 – Little Devil Riding on the Head of a Dragon © Nan Wang, Binyu Wang
2022 Astronomy Photographer Candidate List
Pickering triangle in a light-polluted city © Zezhen Zhou

For more information on the contest, please visit the Royal Museums of Fine Arts website.

Image credit: All photos are individually credited and courtesy of the Royal Museums Greenwich.

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Design trends and contemporary India motifs in decor that are a mood this year

A good design is timeless and a fusion of old and new traditions, creating designs and spaces that not only reflect the personality of the end user but also satisfy functionality, this is where the contemporary Indian theme comes in trend. Weaving traditional Indian with modern patterns has its own vocabulary, so we asked several home interior experts to explore design trends and contemporary Indian patterns in decor, which is a mood this year.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Krsnaa Mehta, Executive Director of Godrej and Boyce Venture – India Circus by Krsnaa Mehta, shared, “All natural elements and patterns will be in high rises in 2022, and combining bold patterns with warm colors definitely brings us back to life. Create a connection with nature. Although minimalism is a classic trend, when all design elements are subtly blended together, it can create a space that is both beautiful and bold. Ancient patterns are combined with colors such as chevrons and chevrons and A heavenly combination of patterns that sprinkle a delightful touch on the eyes while creating art with a touch of warmth.”

He added: “We are now seeing Indian prints and patterns all over the world. Elephant, lotus, paisley, etc. are inherently versatile and can be used seamlessly in any decorative element. Whether it’s an OTT platform’s Wallpaper and sets, or everyday items like bags, cushions, bottles (copper), etc.” Shweta Jain Birla, founder and chief designer of Spacekarma, agrees, saying, “When it comes to design trends, I firmly believe that there is no Particular trends can follow. Old buildings, different cultures, and the myriad colors and forms of nature are a constant source of inspiration to create and set new design trends, while patterns, on the other hand, can be an integral part of any design. Depending on their source of inspiration, they can be a very powerful element to complement any design. Indian contemporary patterns are heroes in their own right, creating not only the drama of continuous patterns, but also edgy design features.”

Saheba Singh, founder and chief designer of Kinaray, emphasises that the mood of this year’s design trends is very earthy, “Anything with a touch of nostalgia is appreciated and desired. People borrow from Indian patterns and art and propose it in a contemporary form. Since indigo is a very Indian and rich shade of blue, it was included in the range of designs specifically for this shade. Peacock is another traditional pattern that can be etched on brass and looks absolutely stunning. The carried elegance makes it perfect for printing on clothing and accessories. The versatility of these prints creates timeless designs for spaces and products.”


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