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Archive for Germany

Around the Town in A Day With Miami’s Most Vivacious Socialite, Barbara Becker

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On the Town with Barbara Becker

For the German-born socialite, actress and model, a day isn’t complete without caviar, wallpaper, Warhols and barbecue ribs.

BY Bill Kearney

Clockwise from top left: Becker (left) shows Sam Robin her latest collection of wallpaper; With Sandee Saunders at Caviar Kaspia; With Saunders at The Webster; With Dorothy Blau in front of Blau’s portrait by Andy Warhol; Chef David Whyko heads the table at Delishe; From left, Saunders, Author Lynn Gallow, Maryel Epps, Becker and Robin at Delishe

2:30 PMBarbara runs around the toy-strewn front yard of her Venetian Causeway colonial in bare feet with the kind of frenetic yet unflappable demeanor of someone who’s used to wrangling children.

https://i1.wp.com/www.gala.de/asset/Image/artikel/talk/2009/kw37/becker-quinze-miami.jpg Barbara with her handsome husband Arne Quinze

She has been back from Russia for 24 hours (there to help artist/designer hubby Arne Quinze scout for an event), the kids are still overseas, and right now we’re off to kibitz with mentor/ interior designer Sam Robin, who was mistaken for Barbara’s mother at her wedding last fall in Germany. Bulldog Rocco and cocker spaniel Diva Baby Girl greet us with Sam, and we’re immediately offered glasses of Blanc de Blancs. Billie Holiday plays on the stereo and the girls discuss Barbara’s latest collection of wallpaper (she’s huge in Germany). Soon the conversation turns to kids and weddings, but they both stop and listen to the music a moment, singing together, “If I should take a notion, to jump into the ocean, ’tain’t nobody’s business if I do.”4:30 PM

We hit friend Dorothy Blau’s Bal Harbour condo. Dorothy was the first to bring Andy Warhol’s art to South Florida, and he gave her her signature haircut. Barbara’s in the market for a Christopher Makos. There’s a triptych portrait of Dorothy that Warhol painted in the dining room, and a Jasper Johnsin the kitchen. Dorothy offers white wine and advice about dealing with the death of loved ones, which is pretty much to celebrate that you even knew them. She and Barbara talk art, how to manage expectations and happiness, and set up a meeting between Dorothy and Arne.

6:30 PM

We rush into The Webster to catch BFF Sandee Saunders. Barbara goes gaga over Sandee’s Krelwear dress (she must have one), and there’s an impromptu runway strut. After a caviar session with chef Todd Adkins at Kaspia and a quick shopping excursion for a new bag, we’re off to a gal-pal dinner party at Delishe.

8 PM

At Delishe, chef David Whyko’s private dining spot on the Upper Eastside, Barbara meets with Kiki Kuhnert, president of Dolphin Aid (Barbara is a spokesperson), photog Iran Issa-Khan, singer Maryel Epps and some other friends for a gourmet soul-food dinner of collard greens, truffled mac and cheese, barbecue baby backs and wings. David’s wife, Author, takes music requests, and before long the girls are up and dancing. When the Temptations’ “My Girl” comes on, they all form a kick line, arm-in-arm, and sing along, but change the lyric to “My Girls.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL KEARNEY

via [YouTube]

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The World’s Coolest Kiddie Playgrounds via [Mental_Floss]

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10 Unusual Playgrounds From Around the World by David K. Israel

Playgrounds have come a long way since the days of hot, steel slides and open-backed infant swings. Take a look at some of the many unusually cool designs popping up around the world.

1. Nishi-Rokugo – Tokyo, Japan

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In Japanese, Nishi-Rokugo means Tire Park. The Kawasaki plants are located not far away, so it’s possible they donated the 3,000 tires that make up the dinosaurs, monsters, bridges, slides, swings, and all the loose ones there for kids to stack and hop on. But this sand-bottom park is hardly just for kids. Parents can haul tires up specially designed tire steps and tube down wide concrete slides. I can imagine it’s the type of place you can spend hours at before you, er, tire, of it.
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2. The Fruit and Scent Playground –Liljeholmen, Sweden

A banana slide, strawberry spinners, a pair of cherry swings, an orange see-saw and a watermelon jungle gym are all part of this unusual, small park in the south of Stockholm. It’s a great theme because it also teaches kids the importance of fruit over junk food. Reports coming out of the country indicate that the outdoors-loving Swede is on the way out. According to a study by Karolinska university hospital, obesity among seven year olds in Stockholm has increased from 8.5% to 21% over the last fifteen years. What could be better than exercising in fruit as an antidote?

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3. Clemyjontri Park – Fairfax County, Virginia

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Not just the name is unusual at Clemyjontri Park in Fairfax County, Virginia. This place is one of the few playgrounds in the world where children with disabilities can play side-by-side those without. The entire park is equipped with ramps for wheelchairs and the ground surfaces are specially designed with a non-slip material. The park is named for Adele Lebowitz’s (a major donor) four children: Carolyn (CL), Emily (EMY), John (Jon), and Petrina (Tri). Mrs. Lebowitz and her husband were also sponsors of a local children’s television show, The Pick Temple Show, in the 1950s. The star of that show, a clown named Bozo, was played by Willard Scott. Bozo, as you might know, would later morph into Ronald McDonald.

4. Pruessen Park – Berlin, Germany

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This next playground is not for kids at all. In fact, anyone under 16 is not allowed inside Berlin’s Pruessen Park, nicknamed the “Playground for Grown-Ups.” The equipment is specifically designed for people over five feet tall and caters to Germany’s fastest growing age demographic: seniors. The idea, obviously, is to encourage them to get out and exercise more.
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5. Zabeel Technology Park – Dubai

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Perhaps the first playground in the world with a technology theme, Dubai’s Zabeel Technology Park has two zones featuring futuristic technology and alternative energy exhibits, a series of high tech interactive displays, and a maze modeled on the solar system.

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6. Takino Hillside Park – Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan

The Children’s Playground in the Takino Hillside Park in Japan borrows ideas and images from nature. Varied lighting and sound conditions create a unique sensory experience for kids, unlike anything else on this list. Check out the cool net play tool in the rainbow nest dome. You can see how a lot of the park is built into, and under the hill.
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7. St. Kilda Adventure Playground – Adelaide, Australia

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St Kilda Adventure Playground is one of Australia’s best known parks and covers 4 hectares along the beautiful South Australian seafront. The park was opened in 1982 and recent upgrades include a wooden castle, a small maze, and a submarine, nicknamed “The Yellow Submarine.” But the park’s biggest attraction is the beached pirate shipwreck, which is especially popular with dolphins and other sea wildlife.

8. Teardrop Park – New York City, NY

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Located between residential buildings in Battery Park City, Teardrop Park is unlike anything else in NYC. Built for a whopping $17 million, the park features prominent rock outcroppings, geologic formations, a secret path, a bluestone ice wall, a humongous, almost dangerous looking slide, sandboxes, water play areas, a reading space with rock seats, and places to rock hop. Best of all, because it’s not so easy to find, Teardrop Park is a real insiders secret. (Shhhhh.)
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9. Yerba Gardens – San Francisco, California

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It may sound like an unsafe setting, but the rooftop at Yerba Gardens in San Francisco is home to one of the most elaborate playgrounds ever constructed. Aside from the ice-skating rink, bowling center and the 130,000 square feet of open space to play in, the playground includes a beautiful 103-year-old hand carved carousel. The Zeum carousel was constructed in 1906 but could not be installed in San Francisco as originally planned because of earthquake issues. It was eventually housed at Luna Park in Seattle, where it was the only piece of equipment to survive a horrific 1911 fire. The city of San Francisco bought the carousel from a collector in 1998 and restored it to its original condition. It now serves at the centerpiece in Yerba Gardens
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10. Playground – Boadilla del Monte, Spain

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Spanish architects Eduardo Navadijos and Csaba Tarsoly designed this stunning modern playground with the intention of giving children inspiration to pursue their dreams in an airy and cool environment. I’ve never been to Madrid, a mere 30 minutes drive from Boadilla del Monte, but when I do finally get there, this playground is my first stop.
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Chic Designer Floating Abodes via [TDG]

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Seven cool homes that float

Gone are the days when houseboats were pokey little barges, all of a similar design. Today, you can find some truly amazing, designer floating homes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Many are eco-friendly while offering the style-conscious homeowner a unique living space.

Here we present seven really cool floating homes:

schwimmhaus houseboat by architects confused-direction
(Photo: Confused-Direction)

Schwimmhaus

This elegant houseboat, designed by German architects Confused-Direction, is ideal for those looking for a compact, stylish, and environmentally friendly floating home. Built using reclaimed wood from an old farmhouse and other sustainable building materials, the green roof adds to the eco-friendly appeal. The simple-yet-sleek interior design offers all the conveniences you could want and is thoroughly modern and unique. The Schwimmhaus was designed to float around or to stay docked permanently.

dubai houseboat
(Photo: X-Architects)

Dubai Houseboat

As with most architectural designs coming out of Dubai, this houseboat is simply stunning. The 220-square-meter home was cleverly designed by Dubai-based architectural firm X-Architects. Set on two catamaran beams, this two-story structure is practically encased solely in glass windows, allowing sunlight to flood the interior. It’ll take the average person more than a few bank loans to get their hands on the swish fittings and up-market features of this chic and spacious floating home, even if it’s just to rent for a week!

arctic houseboat from covey island boatworks
(Photo: Covey Island Boatworks)

Arctic Houseboat

The term “really cool” takes on new meaning with this amazing houseboat, developed specifically for the Arctic winter. Inspired by the Inuit practice of turning their hunting boats upside down for winter shelter, the builders of this unique structure — Covey Island Boatworks — took the idea to a new level by creating a prefabricated, highly insulated home that can endure harsh climates. Equipped with solar, wind, and marine power systems, this self-contained unit can be placed virtually anywhere. The interior is cozy and compact and contains all the modern conveniences most people crave.

floating solar house by mark kingsley architects
(Photo: Mark Kingsley Architects)

Floating Solar House

Environmentally conscious, UK-based Kingsley Architects have reinvented caravan holidays with these unique and eco-friendly solar-powered houseboats. Apparently, the ingenious design enables the structure to be totally self-sufficient for up to a year at a time. It can also be docked at a floating home community to utilize the site’s power, fresh water, and sewage treatment facilities. Similar in design to a camper van, this 75-square-meter houseboat has an open kitchen and living area space with enclosed sleeping areas in the back.

summer houseboat by vladimir plotkin for archstoyanie
(Photo: Vladimir Plotkin / Archstoyanie)

Summer Houseboat

This completely unique design by Russian architect Vladimir Plotkin was created for the 2008 Archstoyanie Summer Festival in Russia, where the theme was Noah‘s Ark. A rather odd-looking structure, the giant disc-like living space is suspended above a floating platform and is accessed via ladders. The interior is very compact, but by no means claustrophobic. The lattice walls ensure constant ventilation and the large portholes provide ample natural light.

cosmic muffin boat converted from an airplane
(Photo: http://www.planeboats.com)

Cosmic Muffin

This extraordinary home certainly gets tongues wagging. Once owned by Howard Hughes, the 1930’s Boeing 307 Stratoliner was converted into a houseboat and is now a famous tourist attraction in Fort Lauderdale. Surprisingly roomy inside, it houses a small sleeping area and bathroom at the rear of the aircraft, while the main hull is dedicated to living space that features a large bar area and even a PC workstation.

luxury houseboat in kerala india
(Photo: http://www.keralagreenery.org)

Indian Luxury Houseboat

This beautiful houseboat is an ideal holiday home for those wishing to explore southern India without having to change hotels on a regular basis. This two-bedroom, three-bathroom luxury houseboat is fully air-conditioned and even has a Jacuzzi on board. All the crew are English-speaking, and there is a chef aboard to whip up amazing gourmet meals. What a wonderful way of seeing the rural area of Kerala!

From the staff of moneycompare.com.au