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01/03/24: Rule Britannia (From Your Living Room)

The vast treasures from six season of "The Crown" go up for auction; a design editor shares his favorite accounts to follow; and an Italian architect reimagines one of Buddhism's most holy sites.

January 3, 2024 By THE GRAND TOURIST
“The Crown” (Netflix) recent ended after six seasons. Photo: Courtesy Bonhams

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Left: Dung Ngo, editor and publisher of August: A Journal of Travel + Design. Photo: Leslie Williamson. Right: High Court of Punjab and Haryana States by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in Chandigarh. Photo: Adam Stech

An Ultra-Connected Editor Shares His Shortlist of Instagram’s Best Design Accounts
If I had to single out someone for being the ultimate design connoisseur, I would choose Dung Ngo. The New York–based consultant, editor, and collector was the former creative director and senior editor at Rizzoli, where he amassed one of the world’s best Rolodexes, and currently publishes a biannual magazine called August: A Journal of Travel + Design, which will release its latest issue this April on the topic of utopia (past issues have normally centered around a city, such as Tokyo or Milan). In 2023 he was the jury chair for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards, and he’s currently working on a book that documents his extensive personal collection (containing more than 1,000 sets) of flatware that dates from 1900 to the present day. I asked Ngo which accounts on Instagram routinely catch his eye.
—Dan Rubinstein

Ana Elena Mallet
“I was introduced to Ana Elena Mallet as the ‘queen of Mexican design,’ and it was no false boast. This is especially true in 2024, when Ana Elena will curate the first exhibition on Latin American design at the Museum of Modern Art. As they say, ‘Watch this space.’”

Okolo Architecture
“I first met Adam Štěch by accident about 10 years ago at the Casa Mollino, where we were taking lots of pictures of the architecture. It’s fair to say that he’s taken many more than I have since then (that’s saying a lot), and has made a career out of his passion of discovering unknown and lost 20th-century architecture and design.”

Esoteric Survey
“If you are a fan of California midcentury modern design, Esoteric Survey is your man. Steve Aldana attends every flea market and modern sale up and down the California coast, then posts the very best finds with encyclopedic knowledge. He generates FOMO with footnotes.”

Graham Hart
“It’s winter and we would like to see tropical skies, palm trees, and beautiful vintage architecture—preferably all on one account. That would be Graham Hart, a Hawaii-based architect who wrote his Ph.D. on tropical modernism, and it’s all over his feed.”

Critical Eye Finds
“Do you like unique, beautiful things? Every Sunday Critical Eye Finds’ Kate Hackman lists ten items for sale that she has found on her weekly sojourns around New England. If you get to her post too late (within 60 minutes) they’re all gone, but such special objects you won’t find anywhere else.”

Alexandra Lange
“She doesn’t sell anything, and she doesn’t need an IG boost, but Alexandra always has a very specific point of view of things, mostly design. You will need to read her essays for the likes of The New Yorker to really understand her point of view, but with such incisive writing, why wouldn’t you?”

A rendering of the proposed Ramagrama Stupa project. Image: Courtesy Stefano Boeri Architetti

Buddhist Wisdom, Italian Simplicity
This is not your average renovation: the Ramagrama Stupa, located in western Nepal, is the world’s only original and undisturbed stupa, a Buddhist shrine with relics buried underneath a mound of earth. Italian architect Stefano Boeri has been entrusted with creating a masterplan for revitalizing the sacred site (currently on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List), which dates back to the 6th century B.C. The expansion and enhancement of its facilities will preserve the stupa itself, centered around a centuries-old Bodhi Tree. Boeri, who is known for his sustainable architecture that includes his lauded Vertical Forest—a residential skyscraper in Milan which hosts hundreds of trees on its facades, completed in 2014—has incorporated lush flora into much of the mandala-shaped design. A “Peace Meadow” will encircle the ancient stupa without disturbing it, encircled by a biodiversity garden with 80,000 native plants from 70 different species. On the outer perimeter are four domelike facilities for meditation and prayer for the thousands of monks, pilgrims, and tourists that the stupa attracts. The heavenly plan will trigger a feasibility study to attract funding from UNESCO and the government of Nepal. —Vasilisa Ioukhnovets

The State Coach replica used in The Crown part of the Bonhams auction, seen here in a still from Series 3. Photo: Courtesy Bonhams

Rule Britannia (From Your Living Room)
Have you ever dreamed of exiting your front door, approaching a lectern on your driveway, and making a rousingly defiant speech to the neighborhood about a new local ordinance? Or perhaps arriving at your sister’s wedding in a golden, horse-drawn state coach? Well, this might be your chance. Bonhams New Bond Street is about to put 450 props, furniture, and costumes from the Netflix show “The Crown” up for bids. The sale includes both a live (Feb. 7) and online auction (Jan. 11), as well as a (free) ticketed exhibition opening Jan. 11. Aside from a recreation of Number 10 Downing Street’s facade and Gold State Coach, less regal items will be available, including a bureau cabinet used by Imelda Staunton (Queen Elizabeth II) in the recently debuted final season, as well as Elizabeth Debicki’s (Princess Diana) leopard-print swimsuit and Versace sunglasses. Typically the best course of action in such instances is to do nothing, but The Grand Tourist might need to bid on a wicker picnic basket from season two. —DR

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