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Studio 6, 1-7 Unwins Bridge Rd
St Peters NSW 2044
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+61 414 808 205

LUMIRA is a luxury scented candle and fragrance house founded by Almira Armstrong in Sydney, Australia. LUMIRA products are your luxury lifestyle essentials. Copyright 2017 Atelier Lumira.

Journal

Off the grid: 4 paintings we love by Agnes Martin

Almira Armstrong

In 1967, Agnes Martin packed her belongings, donated her paint brushes and canvases, and drove into the desert. She’d been living in New York City for a decade, illegally sharing an abandoned warehouse space with a group of other artists that included Ellsworth Kelly, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Although she’d achieved early critical and commercial success, the stress of city life was becoming overwhelming, so she simply left. It would be seven years before Martin started making art again, from her new home in New Mexico.

In the years since her 2004 death, Martin has continued to resonate with audiences. On a purely aesthetic level, her neutral palette punctuated by the palest of pastels is immediately gratifying. Beyond that, however, her preoccupation with eastern philosophies such as Zen Buddhism are as relevant now as they were 50 years ago. She channelled the ideas into her paintings, in which she aimed to capture universal human emotions and themes, particularly joy and happiness. For this reason, she always insisted her work fell under the banner of abstract expressionism, rather than the minimalist tag with which she was often associated.

In short, these are feelgood paintings; their seeming simplicity belies the complex thought and work behind them. Here are four of our favourites.

‘Friendship’, 1963

It’s often been noted that Martin’s early work seems so accomplished, it’s as though she sprung “fully formed” as an artist in the world. The truth is that she sought out, bought back and destroyed as many of her early paintings as she could, literally erasing them  from record. By the time of her first brush with art-world fame in the late 1950s, she’d begun using a grid motif, hand-drawn with graphite, and often covering the entire surface of her large canvases. As in ‘Friendship’ from 1963, the colours were usually neutral – shades of black, white or brown. At first glance, it seems repetitive but a closer look is rewarded with minute variations across the surface: subtleties of shade, pockmarked smudges, even an errant hair or two stuck in the paint. Although she hated explanations of her work, preferring viewers to simply “feel” them, ‘Friendship’ seems to be a reminder of the beauty in consistency; a sense that companionship is a series of similar but different experiences, and that’s what makes it special.

Friendship-1963.jpg

‘This Rain’, 1960

Although she liked to work alone, Martin grew fond of giving lectures, particularly later in her life. And while she resisted explaining her work, she wrote enough about art, creativity and spirituality to fill a book (Agnes Martin: Writings, first published in 1998). The 1960 painting ‘This Rain’ was accompanied by a brief and beautiful poem about two lovers who became separated – one flew to the sky and the other plunged into the sea; it was only through the precipitation in the title that they were able to be reunited. The shimmering planes of colour in the picture, one a deep and dusty shade of indigo, the other soft and sandy, are exactly the same size and shape, to capture the lovers’ “equal hearts”.

This rain-1960.jpg

‘Gratitude’, 2001

Agnes Martin had a long history of subjecting herself to punishing situations. Her New York City loft had holes in the walls and no running water, and when she left, it was to build with her own bare hands an adobe hut in the remote reaches of the desert. Under the circumstances, it’s surprising to learn just how preoccupied she was with capturing feelings of true happiness and joy. She once told the New York Times: “People who look at my painting say that it makes them happy, like the feeling when you wake up in the morning. And happiness is the goal, isn't it?” After moving to New Mexico in the 1960s, Martin began to integrate more colour into her paintings, in particular a rainbow of washed-out pastel shades, like the seafoam and melon used in ‘Gratitude’. The tranquility of these shades is both calming and uplifting, a meditation on life itself.

Gratitude-2001.jpg

‘Untitled 5’, 1998

The tranquility in Martin’s paintings gives no hint of the effort that went into each and every one of them. The artist always waited for inspiration to strike her, so she knew exactly what she would paint before she began (if the process didn’t go according to her internal plan, she’d slice up her canvas and throw it outside). To create the milky pastels in ‘Untitled 5’, she first sealed the canvas with a thick layer of white acrylic, then layered the stripes of lemon, duck-egg and peach on top. The final addition was a thin graphite line that separates each band of colour, always drawn by hand and showing the occasional wobble or smudge. In an interview, Agnes Martin’s long-time friend and biographer Arne Glimcher captured it perfectly when he said:  “They are almost more like mantras than paintings — they have such a calming effect.”

Untitled 5-1998.jpeg

Written by Michelle Bateman

For modern lovers – perfect pink rooms to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Almira Armstrong

“[Pink is] the sweetest of all colours,” the couturier Christian Dior once wrote. “It is the colour of happiness and femininity.” Modern women may prefer to express their femininity through other means but on the matter of happiness, it’s difficult to disagree.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, however, there are other, more practical reasons to celebrate the occasion in a rosy-hued restaurant or hotel room. Pink is quite simply the most flattering colour on any complexion, bestowing it with a glow that mimics the first flush of true love.

North Audley Cantine, London

It’s still beloved by the Instagram crowd, but the Gallery at Sketch is no longer the only pink palace in London. The Mayfair basement bar North Audley Cantine reopened late in 2017 with one eye firmly on la vie en rose. Channelling vintage Hollywood style, it pairs musk-coloured walls with sumptuous emerald velvet booths and plenty of gilt accents. The underground setting combined with an intimate size (it seats just 22) makes it easy to settle in and get cosy over shared plates and bespoke cocktails.

gundryducker.com/North-Audley-Canteen

North Audley Cantine, London

North Audley Cantine, London

North Audley Cantine, London

North Audley Cantine, London

Pietro Nolita, NYC

Like its New York City hometown, this little Italian restaurant isn’t afraid to embrace a more-is-more ethos. Legend has it that founder Pietro Quaglia wanted to stand out by bringing the colours of Positano to the Big Apple; as the restaurant’s design progressed, it became clear that every last detail – from the walls to the chairs and even the tiles on the bathroom floor – would be coloured pink. Against this gloriously kitsch backdrop, the menu is a healthier version of traditional Italian fare, closely supervised by Quaglia’s own mother.

pietronolita.com

Pietro Nolita, NYC

Pietro Nolita, NYC

Pietro Nolita, NYC

Pietro Nolita, NYC

Tate Dining, Hong Kong

The blush-coloured palette and curved seating at Tate Dining might be reminiscent of a starlet’s boudoir, but there’s nothing frivolous about the menu. The brainchild of one of Asia’s finest chefs – the Michelin-starred Vicky Lau – each dish is composed as an homage to a specific ingredient (Ode to Scallop) or destination (Ode to Hong Kong); Lau calls them Edible Stories. What better place to celebrate the story of your own romance? Just be sure to leave room to sample the delicacies at the ground-floor patisserie, Poem, before you leave. Like the main establishment, its decor is as sweet as its fare.

indesignlive.com/the-work/tate-dining

Tate Dining, Hong Kong

Tate Dining, Hong Kong

Tate Dining, Hong Kong

Tate Dining, Hong Kong

Casa Faena, Miami Beach

Looking directly over the ocean at Miami’s Mid Beach, Casa Faena’s bold white-and-red-trimmed facade is unmistakable. Inside, however, the white suites and rooms are all accented with macaron-sweet pastel pink details, including embroidered cushions and throws. Waking up in an artfully carved four-poster bed, with sunlight streaming through the plush, rose-coloured curtains, could well be the start to the most romantic Valentine’s Day on record. If you can tear yourself away, take a stroll to the hotel’s equally pink atrium, which doubles as a well-stocked library. 

mrandmrssmith.com

Casa Faena, Miami Beach

Casa Faena, Miami Beach

Casa Faena, Miami Beach

Casa Faena, Miami Beach

Caffé Palladio, Jaipur

Among her many well-documented witticisms, the magazine editor Diana Vreeland famously dubbed pink “the navy blue of India”. And Jaipur is undoubtedly the pinnacle of this philosophy; known as the pink city, the terracotta walls of its buildings shimmer in the sun’s baking heat. There are countless historic interpretations of the pink theme but for something a little more modern, Caffé Palladio, on the grounds of the Narain Niwas Palace Hotel, fuses a thoughtful combination of Indian and Italian styles. Light and airy, the salmon-coloured walls adorned with fanciful murals are an ideal setting for an al fresco lunch à deux.

architecturaldigest.com

Caffé Palladio, Jaipur

Caffé Palladio, Jaipur

Written by Michelle Bateman

The Valentine's Gift Guide

Almira Armstrong

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, show some love with our hand-picked edit of the most beautiful fragrance gifts.  LUMIRA’s luxury lifestyle essentials are proof that good things come in small packages.

“Scent has the ability to transport you to anywhere you want to be,” says Founder and Creative Director Almira Armstrong. “The power of fragrance can trigger the senses, a memory and even a person's emotional state making it the perfect gift”.

FOR HER

LUMIRA Perfume Oils

LUMIRA Perfume Oils

LUMIRA Tropical Gardenia Candle

LUMIRA Tropical Gardenia Candle

FOR HIM

No.352 Leather & Cedar Candle

No.352 Leather & Cedar Candle

A GIFT FOR YOU

LUMIRA Tuscan Fig Candle

LUMIRA Tuscan Fig Candle

LUMIRA Balinese Ylang Ylang Candle

LUMIRA Balinese Ylang Ylang Candle