Visuals as Anything

It started for fun in front of a curry plate, a white page, a few creative minds chatting and the ultimate goal to help the community out. A couple of months and some curries later, we can finally see the results hanging on the walls of Lentil as Anything restaurants: 16 colorful posters featuring happy faces and powerful messages that will make you laugh.

Jan H. Stoerkel arrived in Australia nearly a year ago in search of a meaningful change in his life. To his corporate regular job in Berlin he preferred an exciting adventure and decided to leave for the unknown, working as a freelance while exploring this big wild country. He opened a blog named Visual Walkabout where he could keep track of his life journey, packed his equipment and he was ready to travel Down Under.

The idea of Essentials of Lentils was born in Sydney, where he fell in love with Lentil as Anything Newtown. Attracted by the delicious vegan food, the good vibes and the feeling of inclusion that he immediately had as he stepped in, he became an habitual customer. He enjoyed the time there, made good friends and eventually started to participate as waiting staff. And it’s when he met Nicole Khoury, Volunteer & Community Coordinator in Sydney, that the magic happened. Inspired by her words, his creative mind started to think about a different way of helping.

“I noticed that people do not always know everything that goes on in the community space”, says Nicole. “For many months I had this idea floating in my mind to visually communicate the core components of Lentils”. Then she met Jan and they started brainstorming. Why don’t we play with photos and texts to show that every single volunteer is a hero? How can we communicate the complexity of Lentils’ world? How to share our values, be appealing and encourage everyone to join? How can we improve our image?

As we know, keeping alive a sharing community is not easy. Someone may think that not having a price on the menu means you can eat for free. Others might not understand why food is vegetarian, tables are full of smiling strangers with different background and social status. They may underestimate the value of this not-for-profit that proudly stands on a strong network of volunteers and kind donations of time or money. Or, not knowing that for many of our volunteers it also represents a stepping stone into the workforce and a tool for community development, some people could even complain because of the relaxed atmosphere. Talking to customers, friends and other staff members, Jan and Nicole thought that maybe this can be fixed with more – and different – information.

“Even if you know Lentils already, you may miss something”, says Jan with passion, “with these visuals I wanted to show all the facets of this beautiful community: the quality and presentation of the food, the interesting workshops, the effort that every superhero here is giving any single day need a professional look that will meet a higher standard and will give a boost to Lentils’ image”. And he did. Seven days of photo shooting in the workshop space, over 1300 shots, 53 volunteers involved, more than 20 meals involved, countless hours of post production, lots of chai, lots of love.

Not only. As a thank you gift from Jan and special souvenir, all the models and helpers that participated had the opportunity to get some portrait photos. The make up artists were enthusiast students thrilled by the chance to get some experience. Some of the photo equipment was bought from the recycling shop Reverse Garbage and are now part of the tools available in the workshop space in Lentils Newtown. Even part of the clothes used for a shoot were gently offered by the Red Cross shop down the corner. When you put together people with a positive can do attitude, synergies happen. Like with Adam, a talented autistic guy that happened to be around at the right time and unexpectedly got a photoshoot for his t-shirt e-commerce Adam’s Apples. While most of the models were selected to show the diversity of the community, many of them just popped in and joined the shooting for fun.

“I liked that the project was a collective effort”, Nicole comments. “Volunteers were involved in the pre-production planning as well as production itself. All the volunteers were cast over a week each attended a day of shooting without knowing much about the project. This made it a lovely surprise and created a great energy.” And when they saw the finished result, they were elated and grateful, although a bit embarrassed to see their face on such a high-end presentation.

As Ken Baird, Operations and Communications Manager of Lentil as Anything Thornbury says, he and his team were delighted when Jan reached out to show them Essentials of Lentils. “The time, energy, commitment and love put in to the project is commendable and sums up the Lentil experience today. Full of insights into volunteering, food, environment and community, its’ a must see for those wanting to understand more about Lentil as Anything. We are thrilled to showcase it at our Birthday Party on Oct 14th.”

In fact, the posters will be exposed in Melbourne Thornbury during the second birthday party next Saturday Oct 14th and in Sydney Newtown after its renovation this month. Maybe someone will help finance a broader distribution of posters and postcards, maybe we will be able to see the visuals arounds our cities and collect postcards from bars and shops. Everything is possible, stay tuned.

Article published on Lentils as Anything website



Rainy days remember me about London: after my first few days in the city two years ago, I understood that boots, coat and umbrella were the elementary equipment I needed to survive without sneezing all the time. After that, I found out that the capital of the queen is lovely with the rain, and started to appreciate it.

Water washes away dirt from the streets, it lows down the pollution and cleans the air, while it nourishes those wonderful plants that adorn parks and gardens. It makes people socialize when taking refuge at a bus stop, under a roofing or in a bar. It can also be romantic, if you have someone to share the umbrella with, and fun for any kid who loves to get wet. I love it because it leaves inspiring puddles everywhere, generous pools that double the world and change perspectives for a while.

I remember one day in spring, when I was walking down the street towards Maida Vale in West London, and the sun was warming my face. After something like ten minutes, a storm arrived and my little umbrella couldn’t face the wind. I had to wait at a bus stop until the clouds passed and the sun came out again, with a rainbow.

An incredibly beautiful setting, but next time, I wish I could walk in the rain despite the violence of nature. Here’s what I need: I found a special umbrella which never breaks and can withstand 100 km/h wind, much more that my body can do without starting to fly, I guess.

The umbrella is called Senz, and its aerodynamic weird shape, besides being a design job, protects against all weather conditions: it doesn’t go inside-out, poke you in the eye, limits your visibility, and also protects your back. Plus, there’s a nice story. Senz was created from the smart idea of a Dutch guy, who made a graduation project about it in 2004, then founded a company with two friends, and now has a worldwide known brand with different collections and colors. I absolutely want one, and it would be a perfect excuse to fly to London for a weekend, and test it.

Foto web



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Una navicella spaziale è atterrata a Milano in una notte senza vento. Due alieni alti e con la testa a punta sono scesi in ricognizione tra le case della città, hanno studiato una posizione strategica con i loro marchingegni ipertecnologici e hanno borbottato qualcosa. La mattina dopo, era nato un nuovo quartiere che sembra venire direttamente dal futuro: Porta Nuova.

Mi piace pensare così, quando mi aggiro tra le pareti specchiate di questo angolo di modernità nel cuore della città del Salone del Mobile, dove ho appena realizzato un reportage per Latitudeslife. Eccone un anticipo.

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Porta Nuova è il più recente quartiere di Milano, un progetto firmato da architetti di fama internazionale per riqualificare la zona vicino alla stazione di Porta Garibaldi. Ne è stata inaugurata una parte lo scorso ottobre, ma alcune zone sono ancora in costruzione.

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Con i suoi edifici a specchi dalle linee regolari, Porta Nuova ha ridisegnato lo skyline della città. Spicca con la sua punta affilata la Unicredit Tower, il grattacielo più alto d’Italia.

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Dall’alto è ancora più evidente il contrasto tra la nuova e la vecchia Milano. Ecco le vie della movida e le colorate case di ringhiera dove gallerie, negozi e altre realtà si preparano agli eventi di design organizzati in occasione del Salone del Mobile.

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Questa foto è stata scattata dalla terrazza della galleria Sozzani in Corso Como 10, uno spazio espositivo che ospita mostre di fotografia, moda e design. Nello stesso complesso, si trovano anche un negozio, la libreria, una caffetteria e un hotel esclusivo con sole tre camere.

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Leggi tutto il reportage che ho realizzato per Latitudeslife nella versione iPad del magazine (apple store) e sullo sfogliabile online, a partire da venerdì 5 aprile.


Terme di Kyoto @ Enterprise Hotel

Situated at the seventh floor of the Enterprise Hotel with a panoramic view on Milan, Terme di Kyoto is an exclusive wellness area that melts Japanese style and glamour, designed by FZI Interiors. Tissues and colours are chosen in line with the concept of the modern and classy four star hotel. Open spaces, glass séparés with white flower applications, minimal shelves in dark wood give to the spa an oriental touch. Everything is composed in detail, from the square pool to the hot bench in white-mosaic, from the lamps to the tatami, from the little candles here and there, to the original gong, standing at one side of the room. The relaxing area is created as a real bedroom, with two beds in Japanese style, surrounded by warm wood and decorated with nature inspired drawings at the walls. Here, skilful hands would help the body to relax, with shiatzu, thai and ayurvedic massages. Precious materials and clean shapes are also in the sauna, in the steam bath and in the simple changing rooms. A large window lets the natural light come in the room, and also gives a wonderful view on the roofs of Milan, which becomes magic in the dark. According with the light, the setting is more simple and traditional during the day, and more smart at night: what never change, are silence, privacy and wellness.


Amore e Psiche @ Chateau Monfort

In the dungeons of Chateau Monfort, a five stars hotel in the centre of Milan, Fzi Interiors created an original spa dedicated to the mythological gods Amore and Psyche. The ambience is relaxing and evocative, in line with the concept of the building. The dream of the urban castle continues in its basement, where there’s a hidden and magic world, far from the stressful rhythm of the city. Behind glass doors, the natural marble pavements match with the coarse texture of the bronze walls like desert sand. The circle downpour of the agora falls on little stones, giving energy to the room and reflecting the soft lightning outwards. Three synchronized jets of water come out of the wall, sided by the Mediterranean bath and a wooden sauna. A corridor leads to a wide room with a hot bench that looks towards a salty pool: enlightened from the inside and dominated by an eccentric iron chandelier, the water stays still, crystallized and surrounded by silence. Separated by a glass at the other side of the pool, a relaxing area is glamorized by little details and bag chairs in a beige tissue, which give an exotic touch to the ambience. The changing rooms are linked to a common space with a long round mirror and heavy curtains. The spa continues with the treatment rooms, one for massages and mud baths, with a stone couch topped by a shower jet, another one with a round floating bath of salty water. A private spa is also hidden behind a secret door in a bookshelf outside the wellness area. Inside, low lights, silence and a sexy atmosphere surrounds the bath, the relaxing chair, and the hot rooms. Everything is exclusive, warm and smooth, like it is in the best fantastic dreams.