This week with Ace: our director of food and beverage in DTLA, Olivier Rassinoux, enjoying a salmon croissant at Stumptown LA's weekly Pancake Epidemic for Los Angeles creatives; Ace Palm Springs' singing hostess and fairy godmother Linda Gerard at Miller’s Children’s Hospital for a day of bingo and music with kids for MyMusicRx and the hospital’s in-house TV program ” The Giggles Show”; and two friends from think-tank Fabrica stopping by for a visit in the lobby at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch.
If there’s no greater honor than saving a life, imagine the boss status that comes with saving an entire species. Those bragging rights belong to horticulturalist Carlos Magdalena, who single-handedly brought a very special African waterlily back from the brink of extinction.
Discovered by Professor Eberhard Fischer in 1987, the world’s smallest waterlily, Nymphaea thermarum, was found growing exclusively among the hot springs of southwestern Rwanda. Alarmed by their rapid disappearance in 2008 due to the exploitation of the plants’ water source, Professor Eberhard quickly sent seeds of the remaining waterlilies to Bonn Botanic Gardens for preservation. Eventually the seeds made their way to Kew Gardens in London where horticulturalist Carlos Magdalena began his life-saving research.
After much trial, error and frustration, Magdalena’s perseverance led to him to a crucial discovery. Unlike most waterlilies which grow submerged deep underwater, the Nymphaea thermarum actually thrives in warm mud. By maintaining steady of temperatures of 25°C along the banks, Magdalena has been able to cultivate over 30 healthy new plants which are currently on display at Kew Gardens.
If you’d like to help prevent plant extinction but lack the botanical skills, you can adopt a seed from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London for £25. They’ll even throw in a personalized certificate, so your friends will know your hero status is legit.
Change is everything. London accessories designer Ally Capellino agrees with us her in her gentle, idiosyncratic, useful, graceful, self-made, sturdy way. Not only has she created a small leather tray for the datums in Ace London guest rooms — useful for pens, leaves, pills, non-GMO seeds and, yes, change — but she also brings her signature design aesthetic to an iconic piece of furniture, the tubular stacking chair. Initially conceived by the Bauhaus group, they were the inspiration for many manufacturers in the interwar period in Britain. The PEL (Practical Equipment Limited) name quickly became synonymous with the product, and exploited the interest in modern shapes and design durability. These chairs have been the mainstay of schools, church halls and factories ever since.
Originally manufactured by Cox of Solihull, this set has been stripped back to their raw steel frames and taken in a new and inventive direction. Making inquiries into the way we position ourselves when seated, Ally and her team, which includes her son and daughter, made eight variations on the theme with seats that have been hand stitched and polished Italian bridle leather in her London studio before being branded with their name — ‘Left Leaning’ and ‘Cantilever’ for example.
Ally’s long-time collaborator Donald Christie created a short film examining the human use of accidental props in the style of 1957 Oscar-winning short A Chairy Tale. Meanwhile IRL, PEL chair enthusiast Rupert Blanchard has created installations of the chairs at Ally’s Shoreditch shop and at the junction of Portobello and Golborne Roads, up through the end of the London Design Festival this weekend.
About eighty kilometers from Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, at Tiptree, Wilkin and Sons grows strawberries, medlars, quinces, rhubarb, loganberries, damsons and mulberries on their farm in the Essex countryside. It’s a family tradition that stretches back over 300 years. And their coveted conserves are still made simply, from fruit harvested and boiled within hours at Tiptree, without preservatives or added colors. This year, an unusually bountiful autumn means their classic Little Scarlet jam — made from a tiny, outlandishly savory variety of strawberry brought from North America by C.J. Wilkin in the early 1900s and only grown today at Tiptree — will abound. In this season of plenty, so will the acorns in the New Forest, just as commoner pigs begin to remember pannage, and the chestnuts ready-for-roasting in Greenwich Park. After a summer that started slow then settled in, Britain’s bumper harvest bodes well for teatimes, farmers and people who wait for what the soil will bring.