Creative Lives – Cisco & George at The Slow

George Gorrow and Cisco Tschurtschenthaler created The Slow, a modern island escape near one of Bali’s best surf spots, offering accommodation, dining, art and fashion in one immersive experience. It’s a place where you can check out of your life and check back in with yourself.

Aah, The Slow. Even the name just makes you want to pause and exhale. Both tranquil and achingly cool, this amazing Bali stay is the creation of model turned ceramic artist Cisco Tschurtschenthaler and her husband, Ksubi co-founder George Gorrow.

Located in Canggu, metres from one of the island’s best surf spots, it combines accommodation (12 chic suites), eatery (café by day, private dining and bar by night), gallery (artwork to admire and shop) and fashion boutique (George and his Ksubi co- founder Gareth Moody’s new menswear line, Non-Type, is sold exclusively out of Room 14) in one. Industrial meets modernist meets tropical brutalism, with sustainably made furniture and a tagline (‘Get here fast, take it slow’) vibing off The Beach Boys’ perennially chill hit Kokomo, The Slow is indeed where we wanna go. Cisco and George told us all about it.

When did you two get together? Cisco: George and I met 10 years ago in Sydney and got engaged in Bali three weeks later on an underwater photoshoot. I said yes and found myself four metres deep on the back of a motorbike, cuddling my husband to be. It was the start of a really great adventure. We’re expecting our first child any day now.

How did you come to build a life in Bali? George: When we moved here, we were ready to just relax, raise a family and enjoy life’s simple freedoms. But then we were both offered work in New York that we just couldn’t refuse, so we put that life on hold and moved to the US. Life in NYC is wild and the contrast to Bali was intense. Previously, I was 100% down with that lifestyle and could run with the bulls, but I’d experienced a real shift, so after about a year and half, we returned to Bali.

We arrived back to find that our dream piece of land for our island home was now right in the middle of the busiest part of the island, so we had to turn one dream into another. The island home became the island stay.

So, how would you describe this incredible place you’ve created? George: The Slow is an immersive experience, a modern island escape that’s a collision of all our interests and things we’ve done in our careers so far – from music, design and interiors, to fashion, art and architecture. It’s a place we built to inspire ourselves as well as others, somewhere in which you can check out yet in a way check back in to life by relaxing, getting re-inspired and having some fun in the sun.

I was lucky enough to travel extensively throughout my career and basically lived in hotels, so I knew what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what I thought was and wasn’t relevant. Our concept offers a variety of different elements under the one roof but centres on our personal art collection, which is currently more than 100 pieces. A lot of it represents special moments in our lives. All the artists are great friends or people I’ve worked closely with over the years. For me, walking through the different spaces in our venue is like walking through a photo album.

We did the same with the music: the sound throughout the venue is solely curated by our friends at Reverberation Radio. This concept of a single sound encourages guests to discover new artists and expand their understanding of music.

And what’s on the menu? Cisco: Our restaurant Eat & Drink focuses on sane eating. We want it to be fun – a place for family, friends, misfits and lovers. Our food is uncomplicated and lets people try lots of small sharing plates and taste an array of local flavors.

We’ve been very fortunate to explore many destinations and be exposed to many cultures and cuisines. All of our dishes are what we love to eat now, and don’t follow fads. Our menus by chef Shannon Moran evolve according to the seasons and the new ingredients that pass through our kitchen.

Our mixologist Mr Sid devised our cocktail list, and is a mad, true post-modern barman. A son of a drunken shaman, he spent time working in the acclaimed bar White Lion in London. The point of difference here at The Slow is that he makes potent pre-batched cocktails using fresh and non-perishable items, using his father’s teachings of ancient herbal remedies.

The interior design at The Slow is incredible. Cisco: The interior features very simple, clean lines, so for me the use of the textures of Bali was really the core concept of the design. We used an abundance of different treatments and locally sourced and made materials to create depth and warmth, and really connect it to the island.

What we call ‘warm minimalism’ is a clash of culture, eras, textures, furnishings, finishes and colours. We have bedrooms that are full of natural textures and colours, with man-made stone walls, polished aggregate floors, rattan furniture, linen curtains and panelled ceilings, then right outside the door are stark white walls with invisible doors, ultra-clean lines, floating metal stairs, terrariums, bold statement artworks, modern metal furniture, timber furniture and more.

It feels a little experimental, and to me that’s the most exciting thing about this whole project.

Cisco, you’re also a ceramic artist – tell us about your aesthetic… Growing up in a family of four girls with an Italian father who’s a great cook, meals and family gatherings were a big influence. We always put a lot of effort into table settings, because eating from nice plates with nice cutlery really does enhance the experience.

Ceramics were always a passion of mine and I have a big selection of pieces that I picked up on all my travels. We wanted to make everything specially for The Slow, so I designed a ceramics collection specific to our venue, concept and outlook. I worked closely with our chef and George to design something that worked perfectly and I also curated a beautiful selection of pieces by local artisans that would work well for our style of food. We received so many requests to purchase them that I couldn’t resist it any longer – and Cisco & the Sun was born.

What’s it like working together? George: We’ve spent many years together and really understand each other’s tastes and have a huge amount of respect for one other. We complement and inspire each other. There are so many elements to The Slow that we are able to split the creative process without having to second-guess ourselves, which makes working together fun.

What are you going to do next? George: We’re expanding The Slow to new locations and our concept store, Non-Type, to incorporate The Slow’s permanent art collection and merchandise, along with our furniture collection and homeware. We have a very cool music collaboration coming up too.

Photography: Greta Kenyon Interview: Philippa Prentice