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Our L’Esprit de la Mer dinners took place around the world on May 17, and here we’ve collected some of our favorite photographs from them. 

With just two global events happening this year, we found that the energy and excitement surrounding our May event was palpable and contagious, spreading from city to city and right back to our headquarters here in Portland, Oregon. This time around, the gatherings were all held on the same day, meaning that L’Esprit de la Mer celebrations were happening around the clock on the 17th of May. From Tokyo to Ojai—and everywhere in between—our faithful hosts made magic for their guests, all based around the concept of saltwater and the sea.

In Barcelona there was live music and a candlelit walk straight down to the sea, and in Berlin there were flowered ice cubes and a garden party. Friends in Lisbon shared a seaside picnic straight on the sand with fresh fish and shelled creatures, and in Melbourne, nasturtiums lined the tables while a wood-burning stove kept guests warm (it’s winter down South!). We can’t help but wish we could have attended each and every gathering, but the lovely images we share here remind us that the warm Kinfolk spirit we wish to spread lives everywhere.

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The early winter mornings are dark and quiet. Although your warm bed beckons you to climb back inside, starting your day before the day can leave you enlightened and ready to meet life’s later requirements that rise with the sun. It’s not a time to get ahead at work or skim your social media feed—those can wait, as can the laundry, the shopping list and the call to your mother.

Diana Yen, author of A Simple Feast: A Year of Stories & Recipes to Savor & Share (and a regular contributor to Kinfolk), talks about cooking with the seasons and teaches us how to make a delicious spiced coffee.

What was the inspiration for your new cookbook?
I was inspired to write this book when I first moved to New York from California. The seasons change so dramatically here that I felt it affected my cooking in a big way. I was introduced to apple picking in the fall and rooftop barbecues in the summer.

The life style and activities that wrapped around each season provided so much inspiration for me to cook along with. I hope that the book can be enjoyed throughout the year and revisited with each changing season.

Can you describe one of your earliest cooking memories?
My mother has always been in the kitchen preparing our family’s meals as long as I can remember. Walking into the kitchen and smelling the aromas drift through the air always made me feel warmed and cared for. She always had a comforting soup simmering all day on the stovetop. There was never a meal without a soothing soup to accompany it.

Which season’s foods and flavors are your favorite?
If I had to pick a season, it would be spring. After eating root veggies all winter long, I perk up at the sight of baby greens, radishes, carrots and asparagus. I love making open-faced tarts and salads that show off all the vibrant colors of the vegetables. Spring is also a time of year that is social and all about new beginnings. The weather is sunny and mild, and it’s such a pleasure to dine outside with friends again!

Where are some of your favorite places to have a picnic?
I live down the street from Brooklyn’s Pier 1 , a beautiful park that looks over the water into Manhattan. It’s so nice to pack up a basket of goodies, spread everything out on a blanket and take turns between reading, napping and snacking. I also love Prospect Park and Central Park. Any green area in the city is great and fun to meet up with friends for an afternoon in the sun.

If you had to choose one recipe from your cookbook to eat every day of summer, what would it be?
I would eat the Heirloom Tomatoes with Burrata (a cheese made from mozzarella and cream) every single day of the summer—actually, I think I did last summer. The best time is in August when we get the sweetest tomatoes at the farmer’s market. I fell in love with tomatoes after moving to the East Coast. The best ones are bursting with sweet flavors and ripened in the sun. And I love the weirdo rainbow tomatoes that come in funny shapes. Pairing tomatoes with burrata is a heavenly combination that melts in your mouth.

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Making the most of morning’s predawn hours can be the best way to start the day, whether it’s for reading, ruminating or romanticizing. 

The early winter mornings are dark and quiet. Although your warm bed beckons you to climb back inside, starting your day before the day can leave you enlightened and ready to meet life’s later requirements that rise with the sun. It’s not a time to get ahead at work or skim your social media feed—those can wait, as can the laundry, the shopping list and the call to your mother. These things will get done, but the predawn hours offer you the chance to do something for yourself and should therefore be protected.

Countless other early birds have refused to let menial daily tasks bully this golden time. Before entering her studio for the day, Georgia O’Keeffe woke at dawn to her dogs barking, warmed up with tea and then took a walk. Henry David Thoreau ventured out into the frigid morning to hear the first birdsongs. While his wife slept in, P.G. Wodehouse did calisthenics on his front porch before reading pop fiction over coffee cake, toast and tea.

Others rose early to pursue their passions before beginning their normal life. Sylvia Plath woke at 5 a.m. to write before tending to her two young children, as did Toni Morrison, who raised her two sons while working in a publishing house. (“It’s not being in the light,” she said. “It’s being there before it arrives.”) His days filled with business, Frank Lloyd Wright developed his architectural designs from 4 to 7 a.m., and Immanuel Kant meditated over a pipe and weak tea before heading to the local university to teach science.

Rising at the same time every day with ceremony can establish a ritual (plus, the consistency helps prevent you from giving up). Whether you wake to work on a passion project or indulge in doing nothing, beginning with a routine makes this time distinct. The night before, prep your French press or set out your loose-leaf tea so all you have to do in the morning is stumble in and blearily boil water. Listen to Glenn Gould’s version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations—or Daft Punk if you prefer. If you crave a more ascetic start, put on a sweater and slip over to your desk without a sound. The morning may be cold, but you’ll warm as you awaken and devote a fresh and unadulterated mind to your fascinations.

And if you can’t rouse yourself despite your best intentions? Perhaps you incessantly push the snooze button or decide that no amount of predawn enlightenment is worth the lull you fall into by midafternoon. Thankfully, the fullness of life is not proportionate to how early you rise. Proust slept during the day and worked through the night, George Gershwin came home after evening parties to compose music until dawn, and George Sand often left her lovers’ beds to write in the midnight silence that inspired her.

Whether their gravitational pull was toward morning or night, these visionaries all established a daily space only for themselves and refused to let their creative spirits hibernate. Their efforts were both large and small, but always deliberate. If all you do is wake up 15 minutes earlier to sip and not gulp your coffee, then you’re opening yourself up to a more intimate life. As the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “The early morning hours have gold in their mouth.” And who doesn’t want to be dusted with gold?
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Hans Ulrich Obrist, renowned critic, art historian and curator at the Serpentine Galleries in London, tells us how he assembles the objects next to his bed and shares a few of his early-bird rituals.

I like morning rituals: They’re a way of liberating time when you’re not online yet. The artist Paul Chan calls it “delinking,” which is super-important in an ever-connected world. Every morning when I wake up I read the late French Martinican writer Édouard Glissant for 15 minutes. He is a great inspiration. The morning hours and the moments before sleeping are the best moments to read.

“I like morning rituals: They’re a way of liberating time when you’re not online yet”

I don’t sleep very much. I once tried the da Vinci sleep schedule (also known as the polyphasic method), which means sleeping for 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours 7 to 8 times a day, but it didn’t prove to be sustainable or productive. Now I always go to bed at midnight and get up really, really, really early, around 5 a.m.

When I moved to London in 2006, I introduced one more morning ritual with urbanist Markus Miessen: It’s called the Brutally Early Club. It can be difficult to find time to gather with friends—artists, architects, scientists—so we’d meet in a café at 6:30 a.m. to talk. Nobody can say they have a prior engagement at that time! It’s a way to get everybody together when the city is completely empty.

Another one of my rituals is going to a bookstore and buying a book every day, so there are always books everywhere: on the bedside table, in the kitchen, piled in the office, even at my parents’ house. There are at least 15 of them in my bedroom at one time.

I spend quite a lot of time in hotels. I was a freelance curator in the ’90s and traveled the world living a nomadic existence. The curation of a bedroom is still very important, even when traveling. When you’re basically never home, you start thinking about bedside tables differently. I always have magazines and books piled on them, and I love hotel stationery: It gets put in a suitcase, goes to the next city, then to the next city, and then ends up at home. I sometimes even go to a hotel to work in my own city because I can get distracted if I’m surrounded by too many things. Hotels give me new constraints.

Wherever I am, I always seem to have Post-it notes nearby. Curating is about junction-making and bringing things, people and objects together. So I put ideas on Post-its and put them all over the place—windows, furniture, wherever—so that they somehow enter new junctions. They help me sort out my own thoughts. I’ve started writing a diary, and I record myself for 10 or 15 minutes on a voice recorder too, so I always have one of them near me. I often lose pens and pencils, so the ones I have are always changing.

Apart from that, I have very little by my bed. I used to have an alarm clock, but now I use my phone for that. I don’t have a specific reading light, but I do have one of Olafur Eliasson’s Little Suns, which are small solar lamps that he helped design.

I’ve always thought I have a good work-life balance because I’ve always done the work I’ve wanted to do. But it’s not all about work. There’s a lot of liberated time in the day: a time for reading, writing, conversation and for being with friends.

Kinfolk’s take on Hans’ bedside table: 90° Wall Lamp by Frama. Sandy Gray Bedspread Fabric by Tapet Café. Bed frame and step stool by IKEA, both painted in Farrow & Ball’s color Mole’s Breath. Wall drawing by Auguste Rodin. Photograph by Christian Brunnström. Books by Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin, Egon Schiele, Daniel Graham and Francesco Clemente.

Special thanks to the Serpentine Galleries. 

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One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked

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BELSTAFF X MR PORTER : ON THE ROAD 2 - Vimeo
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One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.

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One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked

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