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Gestalten’s Clara Le Fort: Leisure and Travel is Important

Gestalten’s Clara Le Fort: Leisure and Travel is Important

Where do we relax? It can be anything anywhere – a quiet stroll outdoors, a weekend away or simply taking a moment to lay back on the couch a home. Here we speak to Gestalten’s ‘Once in a Lifetime Vol. 2: Places to Go for Travel and Leisure’ editor Clara Le Fort about the importance of slowing down and crafting a space for relaxation, leisure, health and wellbeing.


Can you talk a little to the importance of leisure and travel in general?

Celebrated mathematician Cédric Villani looks at traveling as a system of reference: one during which we move with our personal tunes, mobile computers and phones filled with data from home. Whether we move around or not, we stay at the center of our own universe, as the ancient cosmogony has it. “Travel is not about rushing to reach some goal or refuge. It’s about stopping to take in the changing surroundings, like a stormy sky. It’s about folding up your umbrella and let- ting the rain fall on your soul,” Villani writes. It is true that one travels best without a shield or protective roof. Let culture, scents, and emotions rain down on you, that is always the best way to embark on a journey of discoveries.


In your view, how do relaxation, wellbeing, and health relate to design? What type of spaces do you think help develop feelings of relaxation, wellbeing and health?

A retreat in the middle of a Tasmanian reserve, the Pumphouse Point is equally about being isolated as it is about being nurtured by the surrounding nature and knowledge available. Being closer to oneself is a journey in itself: camp out in fields of blooming flowers, explore a private island off the coast of Zanzibar, or head out to a monastery for a silent week-end.


How can we create spaces in which relaxation, wellbeing and health can be fostered?

Yes. If the words “stripped,” “detox,” and “barren” sound like fiends at first sight, heading to Aro Ha in New Zealand is about getting rid of the clutter. It’s about turning one’s back to the digital world for a moment, and accessing a healthier way of life. Gathered around a team of experts—nutritionists, yoga teachers, meditation gurus, reiki masters, physiotherapists, wildlife researchers, and sometimes even doctors—guests are offered to rebalance body and soul. Treat yourself first, the rest will follow.


What design elements do you believe are most important in achieving this?

Great vistas, silence, clean tones and natural fabrics. They all create a ‘sensorial door’ into natural surroundings or great interiors.

Can you provide some examples of how to create leisure and sense of travel or adventure at home?

Through High Grade Living. It is always in those terms that Aussie meditation teacher Jacqui Lewis refers to the life we deserve to embrace. In favor of an enhanced daily life that can easily be achieved through mindfulness, simple pleasures, and honest meals. Think positive, embrace the moment, re-center on yourself to unlock boundaries.

onceinalifetimevol2_press_p030-031_0Can you tell us about Once in a Lifetime Vol. 2: Places to Go for Travel and Leisure?

A century agao, traveling was only accessible to a handful of people; on the back burner, the industry was drafting the transport revolution that was about to take place. 50 years ago, slow travels started to emerge; one would speed, in style, around the French Riviera or embark of The France, an elegant New York-bound steamer. It would take weeks. Luggage came with colorful stickers and handwritten tags. Bags were crafted in leather. Traveling was generous and open-minded; it was about journals and being at one with the journey. Every destination seemed exotic, then.

Today millions travel constantly at an every-increasing speed. And inconstantly, one would tend to say. We leave with a target-airport set in our GPS, transfers planned, hotels booked; even on holiday, we manage for our traveling schedule to be overwhelmingly full, leaving no space for random discoveries and walks out of the beaten path! In our long to-do list of things to pack we have simply forgotten the most essential: the journey.

One of the greatest explorers of all times, writer Ella Maillart wrote: “I wanted to forget that we had inevitably to return home. I even lost the desire to return, and would have liked the journey to last for the rest of my life. To dawdle is my usual fashion, as if I had the whole eternity before me.” Ella Maillart’s approach to travel was unique: she liked traveling slowly, absorbing the culture, and she understood the importance of finding the similarities rather than the differences between people.

Being on a journey is a state of mind: let’s change spirits and go out and explore the world.

Photographs from Once in a Lifetime copyright Gestalten 2015