In Transylvania, a hotel that offers beekeeping and hay baths

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Just outside the small town of Simon, in the Romanian Carpathians, an NGO called Foundation Conservation Carpathia is creating a 66,000-acre national park. In this context, hotelier Bogdan Calulanu inaugurated Matca, a 16-room hotel with 10 private villas. Matca is the Romanian word for “queen bee,” the name referring to the beekeeping practiced in this honey-producing corner of Transylvania and also to the pastoral serenity of a region that has barely changed since the Middle Ages.

Reflecting the architectural style of the area's traditional fortified farmhouses (Transylvania was once the western frontier of the Hungarian Empire and subject to periodic raids by the Turks), Matca's rooms are located within two stone and wood farmhouses with interior courtyards. . The rooms' earth-toned color schemes are evident in the natural linen curtains and upholstery, raw oak floors and furniture, undyed wool blankets and cane baskets that contrast with the elegant lighting and bathroom accessories. Italians. Stup, the hotel's restaurant, serves dishes based on seasonal produce from small Transylvanian farms, including mamaliga, a Romanian version of polenta; Wild mushrooms; and excellent sheep cheeses. The hotel's Ambrozie Spa features a heated indoor pool with spectacular views and offers a variety of treatments including phytothermotherapy and a fermented hay body wrap. Guided walks, beekeeping lessons, and visits to workshops with local artisans are also offered. Rooms from about $523 a night, matcahotel.com.


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For Rodrigo García, founder of Paris-based candle brand Amen, candlelight reminds him of the first house he lived in. “I come from a small town in Flores, Uruguay, and there was no electricity in the countryside until I arrived. about 10 years,” he says. Years later, while dining outdoors by candlelight on a windy afternoon in Uruguay, García and his partner, sculptor Katharina Kaminski, were inspired to create a protective container for the flame. The Amen light sculptures are the result of the couple's creative collaboration, a series of cavernous earth candles available in three of the brand's signature scents, each with a desired effect: vetiver is meant to be calming, sandalwood soothing and invigorating eucalyptus. The pieces' different clay finishes were inspired by Kaminski's travels: his visits to the Moroccan desert and the volcanoes of Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, gave rise to the collection's earthy palette of burnt amber, sandy beige and pale limestone. Like all Amen offerings, these candles are made from natural paraffin-free plant wax. Each light sculpture provides up to 1200 hours of candlelight. $1,250, amencandles.com.

Artist Rick Lowe, who grew up in rural Alabama on his family's sharecropping farm, now based in Houston, spent his free time drawing presidential portraits and illustrating maps. Over the past 30 years of his genre-hopping career, cartography and placemaking have played a decisive role, since his radical revitalization of five blocks in Houston's historic Third Ward, known as “Project Row Houses” (1993 -2018) until his “The Black Journey of Wall Street” Series, begun in 2020 as a response to the 1921 white supremacist terrorist massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which Lowe maps domino games that were played in the former center of the prosperous black neighborhood known as Black Wall Street.

This month, a new monograph celebrates Lowe's practice and its impact on various communities. Published by Gagosian in association with the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, the tome includes five essays, an interview with the artist, and complete images of Lowe's paintings, drawings, installations, and architectural reinventions. Dominoes are everywhere in the book: graphic and abstract, partially erased and stacked on top of each other, they represent a record of the game and a metaphor for urban development. Lowe, who plays himself, wasn't sure why he was so drawn to laying out dominoes until, as he says in the book, he realized that he saw them as landscapes and maps of accumulated knowledge. “Dominoes are often a kind of academy where a lot is taught and learned,” he said. “I feel fortunate to have been a student of many thinkers who may be excluded from traditional academic institutions.” $100, gagosianshop.com.


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Design collective Threeasfour, formed by Lebanese designer Gabriel Asfour, Tajikistani Angela Donhauser, and Israeli designer Adi Gil, was founded in 2005 (the three cheekily refer to themselves as “the United Nations of fashion”). Threeasfour, there was its previous permutation, Asfour, which in 2000 launched the Circle Bag, a shoulder bag made of two ring-shaped pieces of leather sewn at their edges, resembling a frisbee. His graphic geometry was an immediate hit among the downtown New York art community at the time; Early users included actress Marisa Tomei, musician Björk and Lady Miss Kier, the vocalist of the dance music group Deee-Lite. Its status as a cultural touchstone was solidified in 2004, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired a Circle Bag for its collection, this one with a metallic pewter finish and engraved with floral arabesques. Now, 25 years after the style's heyday, Threeasfour is resurrecting the Circle Bag in two sizes: the largest, the size of a hubcap, and the smallest, a vinyl record. Updates for the re-release include additional interior pockets and a gusset for additional storage on the smaller style. The bag is also offered in nylon, perfect for both casual users and vegans. In the US, Circle Bags are available in New York at the Canvas 3.0 Gallery, located inside the Santiago Calatrava-designed Oculus Center in the Financial District, and on the brand's website. From $300, tresasfour.com.

Christmas makeup looks typically lean toward the festivities (think red lips and lots of glitter), but for a more subtly sophisticated look, consider this season's array of new matte eyeshadows. “I love the contrast of a matte eye shadow with a luminous complexion,” says celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon. Laura Mercier's Caviar Stick Eyeshadow comes in moody colors like Dusk, Mauve, and Navy Midnight Blue, which can be drawn onto the lids and blended for a smoky eye. For daytime, Ami Colé's Lid Joy is a super-pigmented liquid shadow in deep browns that complements a variety of skin tones. For those interested in exploring something more electric, Aharon (who recently worked with Gwyneth Paltrow for the CFDA Awards) suggests starting with a liner, like the 19/99 Precision Color Pencil All-Purpose Pencil. It comes in a bright orange and cornflower blue that can be drawn on the lash line for a pop of color or buffed onto the lid. Merit's creamy Solo Shadow offers bold shades like navy and army green that go on sheer so you can add depth as you layer. When she works with powder shadows, like those found in Hermès Beauty's Ombres d'Hermès palette, Aharon likes to use a base first and then place a folded tissue under her eye to catch any debris. To achieve Aharon's suggested luminous complexion, apply Westman Atelier Liquid Super Loaded Highlighter to your cheekbones.


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Delhi-born jewelery designer Hanut Singh grew up surrounded by precious gems. His family, part of India's Kapurthala royal lineage, inherited a jewelry collection from the 1920s that inspired Singh to eventually establish a line of his own. Now 50 years old and with a business two decades old, the self-taught designer has sold his pieces to Diane von Furstenberg, Madonna and Mary-Kate Olsen. “It's very modern jewelry with touches of the past,” Singh says of his work, which he makes alongside master craftsmen in India. “My pieces are usually talismanic: it's about protection. Something you keep close. Something that is deeply comforting.” In his first collaboration, Singh has created a line of jewel-embroidered cashmere shawls with Jyotika Jhalani, creative director behind the Delhi-based brand Janavi. A cream feathered cape is hand-sewn with sequins and gold beads; Merlot and black shawls are woven with flower-like beads and pearls, and a beige version is sewn with Lord Shiva's trident, symbolizing the defeat of darkness. “The trident is my meditation shawl,” says Singh. “It's a very powerful reason.” From $850, janaviindia.com.




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