It was a long, long summer, as you know. The good news is, that, despite the stresses and strains, life is again returning to the city. It’s autumn and Istanbul is like that kid in the schoolyard that won’t submit to the bully. Sure it’s taken some hits. But it keeps on picking itself up. That attitude inspires us at Union Pacific. Our sign is properly mounted and lit up. We have a fantastic team led by the inimitable Chris James Maxwell, formerly of Cochine, who are plating up a great mix of flavours and experiences from the vast and varied shores of the Pacific. We have a fierce baker in-house whose skills with sweet or savoury are becoming legend. We have coffee from some of Istanbul’s artisan roasters. We have new items coming to the menu weekly (check up above). But most of all, what do we have? A great time.
Like to travel? You don’t have to go far to begin the journey. Step on in. We’ve got places to take you.
Union Pacific General Store & New World Eatery – Şah Değirmeni Sokak 6A, Şahkulu Mahallesi, Tünel, Beyoğlu,
+90 212 252 7274.
Summer, when it passes, leaves a certain hazy vagueness. A pleasurable dream reluctantly relinquished. The way the sun warms your limbs. The blueness behind your eyelids as you stretch laze beneath the sun. Some places in the world, they’re about to drift back into that dreamy state. Just before summer disappeared here in Istanbul, I was fortunate enough to complete an assignment for my client, Atolyia, as Kurban Bayram, approached. Hopping on and off a sailboat around the Islands shooting beautiful women in pestemals and beach wraps is not a bad way to spend a few days. Here’s a glimpse of some of the highlights.
All styling by the inimitable Selin Sönmez-Tokgozlu.
Here’s a small sample of photos from a lifestyle shoot I did here in Istanbul with some stunning all-natural textiles hand-loomed right here in Turkey for Atolyia. The shots, which are being used for mail-outs and for the media will also soon adorn their new website too. The collection, which is produced using traditional methods, includes blankets, throws, hamam towels (pestemals), cushions and goat hair kilims all of which possess the sort of amazing lustre you can only really find in traditional craft textiles. On the two-day shoot I was also so fortunate to work with the multi-talented, knee-slappingly funny Selin Sönmez, a great friend from my days at 34 Magazine, as my stylist. With the combination of great content and a superb stylist, the photo shoot was really a rewarding experience.
Atolyia (previously Hamamist) has been enjoying big success lately, growing from both online retailing and wholesale operations and will soon open a shop in Sydney, Australia where two of the partners currently live. I’m really pleased and proud to help communicate the beauty of these unique products which are made using traditional Anatolian methods.
It’s well known Istanbul doesn’t lack for shopping malls. What it does lack for, however, are good, free, publicly available leisure spaces for children. Yet every once in a while something really surprising occurs and you find much more than you expected. Such is the case with the children’s park outside Zorlu Shopping Mall. Other parents had extolled its virtues for some time but I didn’t realise I was in for as much a surprise as my favourite small person. I could go on and on about the clever design by CARVE and WATG LAND ARCHITECTS (but you can read about it here instead) and that it has several different thoughtfully prepared play structures, or that no smoking is allowed on the grass or around the play structures. The possibilities for climbing, crawling, jumping, sliding, exploring, are nearly endless — and more than one adult was unable to resist the gravity of the slide. But the most important case for the park is evidenced in the expressions you see above. And that the person pictured above also slept straight through the night thereafter until 07:10 AM. Just remember to bring at least one change of clothes. The water play zone is particularly irresistible for the little people. The squeals of pure delight still ring in my ears.
In Istanbul between Wednesday and Sunday this week? Give yourself a little gift. Take a wander through THE MOVING MUSEUM which has turned a multi-storey carpark in Şişhane into an exhibition space. Open from 12-6pm it’s definitely worth the small entrance fee. I hope to see more novel uses of public space like this in the near future. This city needs the inspiration. And it’s a couple of short steps from the metro line. So, no excuses. Make a date before it’s too late.
Pomegranates. Steaming tulip shaped glasses of tea. Walnuts and wood fires. And, most importantly, good company. Blue may be a theme this October, but there’s no reason not to pair it up with a little warmth, right?
Today it’s all about you, blue. You show up anywhere and everywhere. You’ve even claimed the planet. You tend to play it cool, sometimes too cool, but you know you’re just too primary to ignore. You extinguish fiery reds to create presentable purples and silence screaming yellows until they’re gentle greens. You’re the hero of summer and the tyrant of winter. What would we do without you?
Is imagination something that’s inborn? Is it something that develops after birth? Is it a gift of the spirit? Or a reward that’s earned? Is it the product of certain genes? The outcome of curious play? Personally, I think it’s all of that and more. And I’d also be willing to bet that as long as humans have indulged and exercised their imaginations, and wanted to share their stories, they’ve turned to wood. Read More…
If you haven’t ventured out to see Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at Sabancı Museum in Emirgan you’re really missing something. I think the only somewhat negative comment I have about this exhibition is that it might have made even more impact if there had been fewer works included. This might be a case where more really is less. There’s really something quite ‘epic” about the scale of many of Mr Kapoor’s works and it sometimes felt they deserved a bit more room to breathe and be navigated.
I’ve visited twice now and even though I didn’t have my junior art critic with me — who, incidentally, got a lot out of the experience for a three-year-old — I passed over some of the pieces much more quickly because I want to spend a bit more time with some of the ones I was most taken with the first time. I’ve only shared a couple because pictures don’t do the tactile, sensual feeling of these sculptures and their media the justice they deserve. So go feel it for yourself.
I’ve always admired people who can make music. There’s something about them, as if their minds existed in two or more universes simultaneously. Which makes me think that the people who craft musical instruments for professionals must be attuned to some truly special wavelengths. On Friday I happened to meet such an exceptional guy, someone who has been creating instruments since his mid-teens. While he’s now approaching 30, he has the keen gleam in his eye of someone who is making a living doing exactly what he loves. A self-described “gypsy” originally from Albania, Briken Aliu came to Istanbul with no friends and no Turkish as a teenager and has since set himself up as a preeminent musical instrument artisan, first apprenticing with Murat Sezen. While the economy has had an impact on his trade, at any one time he’s working on at least 6-7 projects, including a remake of a guitar that Django Reinhardt favoured. His expertise isn’t restricted to any particular style, either. He’s adept at fashioning Balkan instruments, electric guitars, jazz, classical, bass — you name it. Mr Aliu loves music, which is probably how he infuses such spirit into his work. His custom projects usually take about 3 months to complete. To see more from this gifted craftsman, please visit Briken Guitars. He’s making the music of our sphere more beautiful one note at a time.