Several years ago, Claus Sendlinger began contemplating ways to address his concerns about overdevelopment in the boutique hotel industry, the one he helped nurture with Design Hotels, an international network of independent, style-focused properties, which he founded in 1993 and led as CEO until 2018. Fascinated by various mindful practices he observed germinating across society—such as the Slow Food movement, adaptive reuse, and regenerative agriculture—the German entrepreneur found himself shifting away from the man-made design and technological innovations that drove his earlier work, and toward a more considered notion of travel. His philosophizing resulted in his co-founding, with consultant Peter Conrads, of Slow, a hospitality venture dedicated to creating places that draw upon their locations’ culture, environment, and history as a means to help visitors reconnect with nature, with others, and with themselves. To bring each property to life, Sendlinger assembles a transnational collective of designers, farmers, artists, chefs, and architects whose work engages with slowness and well-being.
The company’s first project, completed in 2016, transformed an agricultural plot in Ibiza into an elegant, contemporary take on an agriturismo (farmhouse retreat) called La Granja. The working farm practices regenerative agriculture, and teaches visitors how it benefits the planet through workshops and community-based projects. (The initiative is taking a break this year, but plans to reopen in another location soon.) Additional properties include Mexico’s Tulum Treehouse, a five-room guesthouse with an open-air restaurant and ceramics studio, and an ancient grains bakery in Berlin’s Mitte district. Upcoming projects range from a multi-building retreat in Lisbon’s historic Graça neighborhood to a buzzing creative campus (the site of Slow’s headquarters) along Berlin’s Spree River. A blend of artist residencies, classes, exhibitions, and collaborations with area arts and environmental organizations further connect visitors with the literal and figurative landscapes surrounding each property.
Sendlinger eschews online booking and social media, preferring to investigate ways to enhance Slow (an acronym for Sensitive, Local, Organic, and Wise) in the physical realm. We recently asked him about his media diet, which focuses on stories about the built and natural environment and apps that help him slow down.
How do you start your mornings?
I used to wake up to read and worry about the [excess] in the hotel market. You can see that everywhere, in Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, but also in The Wall Street Journal. There was so much money in hotels, yet everyone was merely replicating their own brand with another brand. All of this went against the original concept of boutique hotels, and I felt it was not very innovative.
Now, I start my mornings with Japanese green tea. While I’m drinking my tea, I read the news: Süddeutsche [Zeitung], a daily newspaper from Munich, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, from Frankfurt. On the weekends, I’ll add Die Zeit, the German national newspaper. I read the news in German, but ninety-five percent of my other reading is in English.
Then I do my morning workout with the Seven app, which really does allow you to keep in shape in just seven minutes a day. Three or four times a week, I go on the Waking Up app, created by neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, and meditate.
What are you watching or reading for fun?
Learning about how to be extremely healthy, for ourselves and for the earth, has been feeding into what we’re doing with Slow. My boys are 9 and 13 years old. Together, we love to watch movies like Kiss the Ground, a documentary about regenerative agriculture, and the new documentary The Year Earth Changed, which is narrated by David Attenborough. It’s a fantastic look at how locking humans down [during the pandemic] allowed nature to flourish.
I also read a lot about urbanism. Right now I’m working through Rem Koolhaas’s Countryside, A Report, the companion book to his 2020 exhibition “Countryside, The Future” at the Guggenheim Museum. Instead of traveling far, it’s about going close. I’m finding a lot of relevance with that concept in my current work.
Any guilty pleasures?
Before I read the world news in all of those papers, I start with … the sports pages.
What media do you bring with you on an airplane?
Airplanes are for magazines, because I still love print. Wherever I travel, I stop at the airport newsstand to see what publications I can discover. My latest find is Holiday, which originally started just after World War II and featured contributors including Truman Capote and John Steinbeck. I enjoy not turning anything on while I’m up in the air.
The jagged spine of the Rocky Mountains is too beautiful to mar. Yet over the years, developers and builders have manageBuckminster Fuller, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eliot Noyes, and Eero Saarinen completed commissions in the Western United States, transforming it into a hub for architectural modRocky Mountain Modern: Contemporary Alpine Homes (Monacelli Press).
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In 1938, two years after completing one of his first realized public artworks, “History Mexico,” a sculptural, colored chis namesake museum in Long Island City, Queens, which he founded in 1985).
In the early 1860s, an advertisement in The New York Times offered $10,000 to anyone who could invent a new material for billiard balls. At the time, elephant ivory was the matercamphor, a waxy substance found in the wood of the camphor laurel tree. Though celluloid would later prove to be less than idea
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With their audacious, gravity-defying forms, skyscrapers have captured the public’s imagination for more than a century.Skyscraper Page, a zany website with a skyscraper discussion forum that has spread to some 100,000 threads. But what’s the point of obs
In the early ’90s, artist, aesthetics expert, and writer Leonard Koren was bathing at a hot-springs resort near the Japa
“Magazines may be a dying breed,” says Jon Kelly, a former Vanity Fair editor who founded its politics, business, and technology website, Hive, in 2015, after working as a staff editor for The New York Times Magazine and as a founding team member at Bloomberg Businessweek. (His career in media began at Vanity Fair, as an assistant to the legendary editor Graydon Carter.) “But magazine-style writing is always in vogue.” With this coPuck, a subscription-based website where elite writers tell insider stories that lie at the nexus of Hollywood, Wall Street,
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New York–based Nigerian artist Toyin Ojih Odutola often uses her creations—eclectic multimedia drawings and works on papA Countervailing Theory” currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. through April 3, 2022, are possiblyIntersections,” a new body of work by artist Sanford Biggers, who was the guest on Ep. 66 of our At a Distance podcast, on view through Jan. 9, 2022.) Commissioned by the Barbican Art Gallery in London, where it was presented from August
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Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists Translate Nature’s Sonic Landscapes Into an Emotive Spectacle
To the attentive ear, symphonies abound—especially in the wild. Musician and author Bernie Krause has been recording natEp. 127 of our At a Distance podcast, has captured more than 5,000 hours of audio created by more than 15,000 terrestrial and marine species in some 2,000 h
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Gucci. The luxury fashion house’s name alone conjures up images of vibrancy, extravagance, experimentation, and offbeat latest episode of Hello Fashion, Young’s YouTube show created with The Slowdown, she investigates how this “world” came to be by illuminating the house
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In 1847, French jeweler Louis-François Cartier established a business that bore his last name and specialized in jewels
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The nonprofit collective MASS Design Group astutely understands how to promote equity and hope through the built environThe Architecture of Health (Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum), as well as the upcoming Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum exhibition “Design and Healing” (December 10–August 14, 2022)—MASS understands how architecture can impede or advance our collective human rights. (ThEp. 13 of our At a Distance podcast.)
Five years ago, under the cloak of darkness, New York–based floral designer Lewis Miller packed his team and 2,000 dahlias and carnations into a van, and headed for the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. W
Can clothing be at once opulent and utilitarian, traditional and unexpected, ugly and sublime? Can it be both a statemenlatest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, stylist Kate Young explains the ways in which the Italian luxury fashion h
According to business coach Holly Howard, those looking to run a flourishing enterprise should begin by taking a deeper Ask Holly How, in 2012. Since then, she’s worked with more than 500 businesses and founders, guided by the belief that effective entr
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As a stylist, Kate Young has a particular affinity for well-designed things—that is, iconic items that stand the test ofknow what Cartier is. It’s sexy. It’s French. It’s sort of, always, for me, rooted in the seventies.” To kick off Season 2 oHello Fashion, her YouTube show created in collaboration with The Slowdown, the stylist walks through some of the famed French jewelr
Since 1915, New York Public Library users in search of visual information have consulted its Picture Collection. It consists of images cut from magazines, catalogues, and books, each glued to backings and organized into folders enc
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In Chicago, more than 10,000 city-owned lots currently sit vacant, concentrated within predominantly Black and brown comChicago Architecture Biennial in 2015. Now, as the latter biennial’s 2021 artistic director, Brown further expands upon his project, using it to info
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Floral jewelry has been a tradition of the French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels since it opened its first boutique atFlorae” (on view through November 14), presented alongside floret-filled photographs by Japanese photographer and film directo
In 1983, French photographer Simon Chaput arrived in New York City for a weeklong trip, and ended up staying for nearly –1991) in California and Japan to “The Floating Piers” (2014–2016) in Italy. Along the way, in 1984, Chaput met the artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who recognized Chaput’s love oNew York,” which he began in 1996, that chronicled the developing built environment of Lower Manhattan.
“In the last few years, something distinctly different has been happening in the ways that technologies come to market, The Economist, and launched a popular tech newsletter and podcast called Exponential View. (Last year, he discussed the present-day role of the smartphone, among other digital-related issues, as the guest on Ep. 56 of our At a Distance podcast.) Azhar cautions against the speed with which innovations such as artificial intelligence, automation, and big data emeThe Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology Is Transforming Business, Politics and Society (Diversion Books), out next week. With clarity and insight, he outlines new ways of thinking about technology, alongsid
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In 2018, contemporary art dealer David Zwirner hired the young Elena Soboleva to optimize his galleries’ online sales operation and digital presence—prompting some critics to respond with skepticis
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The first Monday in May is synonymous with the Met Gala, a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume InstitutVogue. “Designers live for it.” This year, the affair hasn’t happened yet—it may happen this fall—but to mark the annual occathe eighth episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown.
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Blackness as a color and, in some ways, as a culture often finds itself in close proximity to death. Despite the vivid b
In 2019, Madrid-based designer Jorge Penadés founded Extraperlo, a nonprofit exhibition platform for unorthodox work andCurating Curators,” on view Feb. 18–20 at Penadés’s warehouse-like studio as part of this month’s Madrid Design Festival, upends the conv
Hanna Nova Beatrice is the founder and editor-in-chief of The New Era, a recently launched independent Scandinavian design publication. “It grew out of a strong belief in the [power of] priResidence magazine, prefers to consume media the old-fashioned way, with an eye toward periodicals that innovate on physical page How do you start your mornings?
As the world adapts to pandemic life, we’ve seen creativity heroically emerge, in nearly every sector, amid limitations.Kei Truck Garden Contest in Osaka, which brings nature closer to city-dwellers in the form of compact, foliage-filled creations. (The date for t
For most of us, the urge to bring smartphones into our bedrooms is too strong to resist—even when science, and firsthandattest to the habit’s harmful effects. One way to curb the temptation: Loftie, an alarm clock designed to transform sleep spaces into phone-free sanctuaries. Calibrated for the digital age, the dev
Those visiting Japan’s beloved gardens during the winter might be struck by the sight of trees confined within mysteriouyukitsuri—the term for these intriguing rope webs—is a traditional Japanese gardening technique intended to protect trees’ long b
Design can be a powerful tool in times of crisis, when creativity is a crucial element for survival. At the start of theDesigners Against Coronavirus, and in the fall, took the project a step further by documenting 272 of the works in a book of the same name. Nearly all the resources to publish it, from the paper to securing the copyright for each image, were donated, and the
Formgivning, the Danish word for “design,” serves as both a thesis and a call to action in a new book, Formgiving: An Architectural Future History (Taschen), by the Copenhagen-born architectural practice Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). This is no project-by-project compe