Mulafest is turning 6

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Mulafest is the festival of arts, of many arts, in many forms.

It’s a paradise for creative and curious people.

Mulafest is where the magic happens.

It’s art for the skin with the tattoo convention and art for musical notes in the form of concerts.

Visit Mulafest not just as a passive walker in a fair, Mulafest is also workshops, masterclass, learning how to customize your car with aerography for example.

In its sixth edition it’s definitely an unmissable event for 2017, because it’s not just a festival, it’s a frame around the future trends that start from the streets, the urban culture, the one that the cool hunters are studying and trying to understand everyday.

Only three days, from Friday 30th of June until the 2nd of July, the location is of course the official fair of Madrid Ifema, that now has it’s homonymous metro station.

Tattoo lovers, motor lovers, arts lovers, groupies and a cool space also for food, with a street food area where the best street food trucks have been gathered all together in a special location designer by the architects from Zuloark.

The Isla gely will be the chilling point for mainly music and Street food. Let me write “Finally a playa in Madrid”, it was the only thing missing in this gorgeous city.

Mulafest is a celebration of art but also for love, because especially this year it takes place in the love week, the orgullo, that this year is a worldwide celebration in town.

There is will a special art exhibition dedicated to erotism, and also screenplays dedicated to sexuality will be screened in those three days.

Art mixes with performance and becomes theatrical, another type of art celebration in Mulafest, pointing the importance of diversity in the art world.


The documentaries #VICELGTBQ will be previewed expressing stories of different people around the world, from Spain to the USA, Russia, Albania and México, how these people deal with sexual problem, though the eye of VICE.

More information here: Mulafest.

picasso arzabal

Arzabal does Picasso

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When I see a designer, an architect or a chef that creates a dress, a building or a plate inspired by work of art from a famous or even an unknown artists I am really impressed.

A chef is an artist and doesn’t need to be inspired by painters or sculptors, everything he does is magic, combining food in new ways is always a work of art.

But there are some rare and unique occasion where the two disciplines can merge and give birth to a really special art menu.

This is the story of two young chefs that almost one and half year ago opened a restaurant in one of the most important contemporary art museums in the world, I am talking about the restaurant Arzabal and the Reina Sofia Museum, in Madrid of course.

The name Arzabal should sound famous because the Arzabal Museo history might be recent, but the Álvaro Castellanos and Iván Morales work ,as owners and chefs, is known from the Arzabal tavern in Retiro since 2009.

They have always worked with attention to details and creativity in all the possible senses, putting the client experience always at the center of the research.

Having a restaurant inside a Museum can be challenging sometimes but can also offer unique opportunities, like as the title of this blog post have spoilered a bit, a restaurant like Arzabal Museo can offer a unique menu and an exclusive visit to the closed Reina Sofia museum for a really once in a lifetime dinner.

Arzabal does Picasso from the 4th of April until the closing date (5th of September 2017) of the Reina Sofia exhibition dedicated to Pablo Picasso called “Pity and Terror, Picasso’s Path to Guernica”.

How Álvaro and Iván are doing Picasso?

Well, there are paintings that really seem to be perfect as food reinterpretations and there Pisacco is not easy, he is not an impressionist with fluid colours and he’s not Giuseppe Arcimboldo with a blaze of fruits.

There arere painting, like the Guernica, so deep and so dark such a strong political message and and lots of restlessness, that transforming them into something eatable is taught challenge.

But Picasso’s life have been a lot things, a lot of places, colours and stories so that the Arzabal team was able to develop two special offers dedicated to mr Pablo P.

Two offers for all the wallets, one on a daily basis, 32 euro and an easy menu that doesn’t need to be reserved (drinks excluded), and a second one with a special tour of the exhibition when the museum is closed and for more than 13 courses at 185 euro.

Lots of Pablo Picasso obsessions have been transformed by the Arzabal duo into an eatable experiences. For example his passion for horns and bulls have been reinterpreted with a very typical spanish speciality: the robo de toro.

Same thing on the drinking side, the wines can be for example from Malaga, where Picasso was born, of from France where he spent most of his life.

It’s really a matter of a unique experience because the exhibition with 150 exclusive pieces from all over the world is going to be a powerful message as the title states, and I guess walking along the rooms in a very tiny group of 20 people when the museum is closed will be hit the visitors with stronger feelings about Picasso state of mind, how he perceived the world and most of all how he ended up painting a masterpiece like the Guernica.

The art section of Madridiana has a quote on the top of it and it’s from Picasso, so you can just imagine how excited we can be about the exhibition and even more about these two menus, it is really like a once in a lifetime opportunity, never happen to me living in London or Milan, or travelling to Paris. A lot of restaurants that are connected with famous museums are inspired and might have dedicated menus to an artist or to an exhibition but the Arzabal initiative is something different and comes in two alternatives, one opened everyday for everyone, one for few people (only 20 seats every dinner) that needs to be reserved.

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Probably each of the 13 courses will let tablemates discover something new about Picasso, something that Álvaro Castellanos and Iván Morales have seen browsing between hundreds of paintings and thousands of lines about his story.

Hearing them talking about Picasso is fascinating, because it really seem that they know him, talking like if they really understand his feelings. It’s like the work of a curator, but instead of collecting and organizing works of art, the two chefs are organizing a special menu.

For more information and reservation: Arzabal Museo.

The city of the three cultures: Toledo

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There are many gateways from the Spanish capital that you can handle in a day in a relaxed way, just one-hour drive or half an hour train journey would take you to awesome retreats.
The most common are: El Escorial, Segovia and Toledo. Every touristic stall in Madrid offers all these one-day trips for usually more than 50 euro with the bus tickets and some museum entries.
The truth is that you can organize a very pleasant route for half, or even less than half of that price.
Between these three options, the first unmissable is Toledo.
Less that one hour by bus, around 10 euro for the round trip, and amazing escalators will load all the tourists right at the top of the hill where all the main attractions are.
The first thing that everyone needs to know about Toledo is that it is called “the city of three cultures” which is its most emblematic feature, intertwining three different worlds.
As most of our favorite sights, Toledo is a part of the UNESCO Heritage for its unique history and untouched patrimony.
The first thing to visit is the Museum Santa Cruz, very close to Plaza de Zocodover. It’s a cultural space born from the merge of the Hospital de Santa Cruz and the Convento de Santa Fe, offering different temporary exhibitions all year.

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The front side of the Alcazar over the terrace

Then it’s time to move to Alcázar, the place where you can spend hours admiring all the historic pictures and military armaments. Four floors, I don’t know how many rooms and topics and things to see, but you should spend at least two hours in here. It is not just about the inside, the special location of this building gives the mind-blowing view from the top of the hill.
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This position gave Alcázar an opportunity to become an important and strategic venue during Spanish Civil war.

Time to rest and eat something typical in one of the numerous tapas bars in the tiny streets that connect Alcázar with the second most important venue of the city: the Cathedral.
Before arriving at the Cathedral, it is interesting to step into these tiny streets where a lot of Arabic buildings can be found, easily recognizable by their architecture and decorations.
As all the city museums have military collections on display, the local souvenir shops also specialise in this merchandise, most popular tourist take-aways are souvenirs dedicated to the war history.
Knives and guns are everywhere, it is really impressive. By the way, the choice of marzipan is enormous, at it is considered the most typical food of the area.
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The Cathedral of Santa María de Toledo is huge and gothic, and the entrance ticket is 10 euros, but there is a dedicated free entrance (in the picture) if you want to pray, exactly on the opposite side from the main entrance.

Of course, there is a sort of a fence of this area, but you can at least see and have an idea of the style and the dimensions of the church from the inside.
It was built in 1226 during Catholic monarchy and is considered one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture in Spain.
On the 15th of August, there is a strange tradition during the Virgen del Sagrario celebrations. The Cathedral is full of water from the Pozo (well) del Claustro because it is considered miraculous, and you can later buy this water all year long, at the entrance.
On Sundays at 9 am when the holy mass starts, it is also great to hear the incredible pipe organ.
The Jewish area is very close to the Cathedral, that’s why visiting at least one of the synagogues right after the Catholic marathon is a very good idea.
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The view from the Alcazar (the Cathedral on the left)

Toledo is famous for its tolerance and who different cultures that have coexisted together for such a long time, even though the Jewish community was expelled from Spain in 1492 with the edict of expulsion.
If you are not a staunch devotee of any religion, visiting churches is still a good idea, you can focus totally on art instead of religion.
Inside Santo Tomé church, in fact, there is one of the most famous Spanish works of art by El Greco. 
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El entierro del señor de Orgaz – El Greco (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Foundation)

Do you recognize it? It’s the representation of “el entierro del conde de orgaz” which means “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” right at the entrance of the church. It’s oil on canvas dated 1588. It illustrates a popular local legend. Being an exceptionally large painting, it is clearly divided into two zones: the heavenly above and the terrestrial below, brought together in a single composition.

The entrance is not free, but for meager 2 euros you can see this masterpiece and the church of course.
It is strictly prohibited to take pictures inside Santo Tomé, a bodyguard is constantly observing the visitors ready to block every attempt to shoot.
Not enough of El Greco? Well, Toledo is the right place for El Greco lovers. You can finish the day visiting the museum dedicated to him.
Make sure to visit this city when in Spain because “You haven’t seen Spain until you saw Toledo”.
Curious about the other two one day trip mentioned at the beginning of the blog? A new article about them is coming soon.
[Previously posted on Routes.tips]
street art madrid

Street art tour in Lavapiés

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I had the chance to discover a new Madrid, a Madrid that I’ve always admired without knowing nothing about it, while when I was living in Milan I could recognize names and techniques of these works of art.

I am talking about the street art surrounding us everyday in Madrid, especially in the Lavapies area.

Three hour street art tour in Madrid with an exceptional guide, Javier from CoolTourSpain.

We met up just outside the Atocha Station, where the tour usually starts. Javier gave us the big picture immediately, and it was not only about the things that we were going to see as different stops, but dividing the tour experience in three main pillars: history, technique and names. It’s funny because it is not an ordinary tour where you listen the speaker like an audio book with a monotone voice. Javier knows how to entertain and make it easier to learn keeping his audience engaged.

In the first stop of the street art tour in madrid we discovered together “La Neomudejar, Museo y centro de artes de Vanguardia”. This place is Amazing, a real discovery for me that I am always looking for special art exhibitions. And I need a Spanish word to describe it, it’s “raro”, which means unique with something special.

The first pictures here above are all from La Neomudejar, from the outside to the inside, where the main topics developed through the art collection. The freedom of expression that the directors of this Museum have built in these years can give to the invited artists the total freedom to express themselves and their art through taboo topics likes the politics, the media and women.

On the first floor where the permanent collections and the artists in residence laboratories are, I was totally surprised to see a work of art dedicated to Luigi Pirandello. One of the most important Nobels for Literature won in Italy. You can see a picture of a flower wall with different paintings

The street art tour in Madrid moved from Atocha back to Embajadores for the walls of “La Tabacalera”, an old cigarette factory reconverted as cultural center. I’ve already been around the wall and inside the Tabacalera for an exhibition in November, but discover each wall one after another with the sneaky information that Javier have collected is a different thing.

The walls on the outside are called “Muros” and have been painted by renewed artists from Spain and from other countries with the topic of the urban nature in 2016. My favourite is the one by Casassola with this naked woman full of flowers.

From the Tabacalera to Campo de la Cebada I started developing a different sensibility to the techniques and the names of the artists, recognizing them in all the different shapes.

We saw, and you can see in the pictures above so many different techniques, that we might even don’t see while walking, like E1000 (read Emil in Spanish) that uses the gates or the house door to reproduce his name buy colouring online a part of the gate.

Last part of the tour at La Cebada was very interesting too, because it’s a place that I know and walk through everyday, without knowing the names of the artists, or how the Cebada works.

I can’t wait to discover more about the street art in Madrid, also because there will be important festivals in the next months, where all the community of this incredible art will be reunited.

For more information about the tour visit Javier Website.

museo cerralbo madrid

Pure hedonism at Museo Cerralbo

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The Museo Cerrablo is one of the “cinco museos” de Madrid, together with:

  • Museo Lazaro Galdiano
  • Museo National des Artes Decorativas
  • Museo del Romanticismo
  • Museo Sorolla.

The owner of this Museo-casa, Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa (1845-1922), XVII marquess od Cerralbo, was an aristocratic active member of the carlista party. He conceived this Museo-casa from the beginning with the purpose of collecting all his works of art and transform it as a Museum.

The position is incredible, right behind Plaza de Espana and a few minutes walk from Templo De Debod. Like all the other “cinco museos” it is free and Sunday and Thursday night, but the full ticket is just 3€.

The richness of the details and more than the paintings, I don’t know why I was so impress by the curtains, I mean is some of the rooms there were curtains made with tapestry similar to the Italians “arazzi”.

There is not that creativity atmosphere that Casa Sorolla, a painter’s house can give, with all his instruments left aside. In Casa Cerralbo it’s all about opulence, from the main entrance with the huge gold chandelier, to every single room. I would say that it is clear that this house belong to a man with a political role, because of all the armour the the army, and the portraits in uniform.

I really suggest to visit this place, it’s really increbidle.

More information here: Museo Cerralbo.

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abc madrid

Museo ABC de Dibujo e Ilustración

Not one of the most famous museums in the Madrid and definitely not a museum you’ll find in your Lonely Planet, but the great news is . . . this museum is always free!

Yes, every day of the week and it has a collection of illustrations, both in the exhibition and at the library shop, that will make avid collectors lick their lips in anticipation.

The complete name of the museum is the Museo ABC de Dibujo e Ilustración, directed by the Fundación Colección ABC (from the very famous ABC Magazie).

They have the biggest collection of drawings in Spain. More info here: Museo ABC.

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ca2m mostoles

CA2M Centro de Arte Dos De Mayo

One of my favourite sentece is, especially when your walking and not in a hurry is:

“Always do a different route when you return”.

I know that it sounds like a Alice in Wonderland quote, but it’s mine, really mine, because I do believe this is the best way to discover new places.

I am telling you this because with my return route I discovered a better way to ge to Móstoles Centro de Arte Dos De Mayo. On my way there it took me more than one hour from the center of Madrid with the metro. On my back it was much easier with the cercanias from Móstoles central station, and even cheaper.

Centro de Arte Dos De Mayo is the reason for a trip to Móstoles. It’s a huge center and there is a special installation by Sergio Prego until the 26 of febraury that you’ll probably see more than once in Instagram. I have to admit, this huge room was made for Instagram shooting.

This installacion is ispired by J. G. Ballard novel (and movie) “Highrise”. Probably because I know the movie I could enjoy it even more.

I post a picture without people and one with, just to give an idea of the proportions.

All the other works of art are part of the collections of the CA2M.

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conde duque madrid

Conde Duque

I’ve spent so many nights watching movies this summer in Conde Duque that I really love this place. Not to mention the interesting events, markets and activities connected with this cultural center.

I’ve found a nice day, witout the usual crowd, and I decided to take some picture, inside and outide thia Amazing place.

For more info About Conde Duque visit thi website: condeduquemadrid.es/

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La Casa Encendida MADRID

La Casa Encendida

I have to admit that this location is great, not as cool (I am sorry) than Matadero or Conde Duque which are my favourite cultural centres, but La Casa Encendida is also a good alternative.

The exhibition I’ve shoot is called “El curso natural de las cosas” which means the natural course of things.

More information here: La Casa Encendida

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matadero madrid

Matadero

matadero madrid

Such a unique place, no matter if you go there because of an event, or just chilling, this is the real Madrilenian place to be.

Exhibition, theatre, cinema, food markets and many interesting activities for all the ages.

The Rio is a great reason too, the whole park on the river is great for chilling, skating or even biking.

I love it! Creativity is raising in all its corners 🙂

More information here: Matadero Madrid

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