When was the last time you had a real conversation with somebody you didn't know?
The Openhouse project began with Andrew Trotter and Mari Luz Vidal, who run a photography studio and B&B in the gothic quarter of Barcelona. “After one of the dinners we like to share to close an exhibition, I was sitting, talking with Mari," says Andrew. "She commented how wonderful it was that a group of 16 people, mostly strangers, could come together around one table and talk as if they had been friends for a long time. Most of us are so busy, especially in the cities: rushing from work, to the gym, to home. On the odd day maybe we will go to a restaurant or to a bar, but usually these outings are done with people that we already know: our families, friends and workmates."
Instead of opening up a restaurant or a gallery, Andrew and Mari chose instead to open up their home in the form of their combined B&B and studio. Guests can stay in one of two spare bedrooms in the house, make use of the garden and explore the exhibition. The atmosphere is a relaxed one: the shared kitchen is open for guests to use whenever they please, or they can help Mari as she makes a pasta or risotto in the evening.
Openhouse magazine is dedicated to exploring other homes or private spaces which have been opened up to the public, whether for cookery classes, workshops or exhibitions. Creative people from all over the world open their doors and lives to explain who they are, what they do and how they use their space. Some interviewees even throw in a favourite recipe or location from their town, giving more depth to the fabric of their stories.
The photography throughout is beautiful; it has a sort of breezy freshness that really reminds me of Cereal Magazine. In fact many of the spaces featured in the two magazines are very similar in style and presentation, so if you're a regular Cereal reader you'll find plenty to love here. Featured here is a preview of the pages of issues one and two, both of which are available for purchase here (€22 inc. postage to UK).
In issue one, the magazine's founders Andrew Trotter and Mari Luz Vidal take us on a tour of their own Openhouse projects: their photography gallery which hosts sushi parties, dinners, talks and concerts; and their B&B. Other features include the Japanese studio of Jo Nagasaka, a designer and architect who hosts events and dinners; Bless, a shop in Berlin which opens its doors to customers only once a week; the East London home of Tony Hornecker, which is transformed into a magical restaurant and cabaret a few times a year; and Gnambox in Milan, who invite guests into their kitchen to cook their favourite recipes, which are subsequently documented for their website. With stories bouncing between countries all over the world, it's no surprise that the magazine is multilingual: alongside the English translations, many of Openhouse's interviews are also published in the original language in which they were conducted.