When we first saw the images of Villa SSK by Takeshi Hirobe Architects, we had mixed feelings. On one hand, the house is made of wood which usually helps us become interested, and it does afford the inhabitants many beautiful vistas.
On the other, the structure seemed somewhat out of place among its very plain-looking neighbours, and we could not shake the feeling that it was slightly Darth Vaderish, dropped from beyond the Outer Rim.
But the longer we looked, the more we liked this villa by Tokyo Bay. It reads like a thoroughfare between the mountain and the sea. The vistas are clear and beautiful from many angles, and each viewpoint is different. By combining rigid timber veneer walls and truss arches, the tunnel-like space is achieved without almost no right-angle walls, all of which adds to the feel of the unexpected.
The residence includes spacious living, dining and kitchen areas, a bathroom overlooking the ocean, and one guest room. It also boasts a special room that can be used to display the owner’s beloved car.
What we like most is the way the tiled central courtyard functions as an outdoor living room, where the owners’ dogs can play and where larger parties can be held. Water also flows into the courtyard to create a pond. The bathroom, with its round tub, has possibly the best view in the house.
When the residence is lit at night, the impression from both the inside and outside is that of lightness and tranquility. Great qualities for a home. - Tuija Seipell (Photos: Koichi Torimura)
On first glance, The Passenger restaurant, recently opened in the trendy Malasaña neighborhood’s Triball area in Madrid, Spain, appears like any retro dining establishment with heavy-handed use of leather, brass and dark wood. Yet there is a distinct undertone of a train, of a fine passenger train of a bygone era.
The bulky and clubby arm chairs, the iron table legs, the big windows all refer to a time when heads of state and industrialists, often travelling with their wives and servants, occupied entire train cars and dined in the most lavishly appointed dining cars rivalling the best-known fine establishments of the time.
But the real fun aspect of the 150-seat The Passenger -- coffee bar by day, rock bar by night -- is the illusion of movement. The three “windows” in the main seating area are actually video screens onto which a constant, synchronized stream of video is programmed so that it flows from window to window, creating a feeling of looking out the window of a moving train.
The stylized train view, evoking an alternate state of being in the middle of busy Madrid, was created by Spanish video artist Franger. The images of both urban scenes and natural landscapes were recorded from actual trains around the world.
The restaurant’s designers at Parolio took their inspiration from the long-and-narrow space and then continued with the train travel concept throughout. Consistent with the classic rock music played at night, the main hall of the restaurant is decorated with images of the greatest stars of classic rock pictured in trains and railway stations.
The Passenger’s owners are young Spanish actors Rodrigo Taramona and Jimmy Castro with entrepreneurs Miguel Peman and Carlos Carrillo. - Tuija Seipell
White Animal Life (WAL) tableware, a collection created by Amsterdam-based interior designer Emilie Kröner, attracted attention, for example, at this year’s New York and Milan Design Weeks.
The collection includes a rhino and hippo oil-and-vinegar set, elephants as salt and pepper shakers, a flamingo carafe, leopard napkin holders, and a crocodile serving dish perfect for candy, olives or asparagus.
In all, White Animal Life is a decidedly ill-functioning set of curiosities for the table. Or, if that is too harsh a description, at least Kröner puts form and beauty bravely ahead of function.
Playfully, she has modelled the white beasts on 17th and 18th –century tureens and other serving dishes that were created and displayed as curiosities and conversation pieces at lavish dinner parties. WAL is Kröner’s first foray into product design. We look forward to more. - Tuija Seipell
The Cool Hunter Pop-up boutique series starts this month in Melbourne, Australia continues in Sydney in December, and in 2013 we will be setting up temporary boutiques in New York and London.
THE COOL HOUSE at Rokeby Studios, Melbourne - 29 Nov - 2 Dec
THE COOL HOUSE at Pacific Bondi Beach, Sydney - 7 Dec - 16 Dec
Introducing the irresistible mix: The exclusive Penthouse display suite at Pacific Bondi Beach in Sydney, the coolest and newest photography studio Rokeby in Melbourne, a group of select exclusive feature sponsors and the design-savvy audience of The Cool Hunter, combined with an unexpected, limited-time designer product shopping experience.
In Sydney: Catching the wave of the temporary boutique phenomenon, The Cool Hunter (TCH) will refit the Pacific Bondi Beach Penthouse Suite for an unprecedented and unforgettable 10-day (including 2 weekends) event where potential buyers can not only view the suite but buy any and all of the furnishings, accessories and artwork.
In Melbourne: Rockeby studios becomes the setting for a 4 day designer shopping experience featuring the latest in home and housewares, designer accessories and unique products for the discerning home.
For the guests, shopping at THE COOL HOUSE at Pacific Bondi Beach penthouse and at Rokeby Studios will be unlike any other shopping experience – a striking break from the mind-numbing sameness of stores and malls around the world.
Combining their three loves -- coffee, cycling and sustainability -- inspired two London Royal College of Art product design students to create a mobile espresso bar, the Velopresso, that operates on pedal power. No electricity, no tethers. A truly free-wheeling carrier of caffeine!
This concept has surfaced before in more tentative forms but the Finnish designer Lasse Oiva and London designer Amos Field Reid have taken it to a sophisticated level. To a point where they are now looking for an industrial producer for their invention that has won the Deutsche Bank Award 2012 (Design) and placed second at the 2012 Pininfarina Design Contest.
Just five seconds of pedaling the trike will grind enough for a double shot while a camp stove heats the water and steam than powers the espresso machine. The designers are also working on a way to generate their own fuel by repurposing the used coffee grounds.
We think that Velopresso would be perfect for events, camping areas or any other location where a good espresso is absolutely necessary, even if electricity is not available. - Tuija Seipell
We love order and minimalism in buildings. New, freshly planned, pristine and perfect are great attributes for new structures , yet we also find ourselves drawn to things that aren’t so flawless. Recycled, repurposed, previously loved, salvaged. Buildings that have a previous life carry a character that brand-new ones just cannot master.
When old structures are preserved and lovingly restored, we gain in so many ways. Not only do we preserve materials that would otherwise end up in the waste stream, we also respect the heritage of each building, and add to the character of the surrounding area. Sadly, restoring the old is often more costly than building anew, yet we believe that more and more people and companies will continue to do it.
We see combinations of materials that would probably not end up side by side if the opportunity to do something radical didn’t present itself in the often impossibly complex demands of creating livable space from the old and unlivable.
We see solutions to gain more space – add height, increase the number of rooms, expand the footprint - that would never be used in a new structure. Creative ideas that do not really follow any known rules of style, yet produce a unique, cool style of its own.
Combining existing structures with a linking new segment is also gaining popularity. The resulting combos are often unexpected, fun and practical as well.
Often, there is a need to add light – larger windows and more openness in general – to older structures that have tiny openings due to the cost of (or unavailability) of window glass, or the cost and labour-intensity of heating.
In some cases, a new superstructure combines a disparate group of existing buildings and makes the entire cluster seem coherent and cosy.
Mimicking or echoing, yet distinctly differing from existing materials, colors, shapes and styles forms is also an elegant way to create a harmonious and elegant new style.
And, then of course, there are the rather mad, but delightfully so, mix-and-match ideas that make a point of not trying to fit in.
Whatever the result, we will be keeping an eye on these New Again structures because we know it is a trend that will keep growing. - Tuija Seipell
If you have seen cool examples of this, please let us know.
Image 1 - Refurbishment of west tower in Huesca City, Spain
Image 2 - Shoreham Street, Sheffield, UK
Image 3 - Brighton College, UK
Image 4 - Health Centre for Elderly People
Image 5 - Casa He - Italy
Image 6 & 7 - Convent of Sant Francesc in Santpedor, Spain.
Image 8 & 9 - Wolzak Farmhouse
Fiddian-Green was at Reschio, working on a commission for the owner, Count Antonio Bolza. And, of course, the subject matter of his massive sculpture was the horse, in this case Count Antonio's favorite stallion, Punto, born and bred at Reschio.
We say "of course" because the British sculptor, who normally works at his hilltop studio near Guildford in Surrey, UK, has been obsessed with the equine head for nearly three decades.
Ever since he saw a fifth-century B.C. carving of the head of a horse of Selene from the Parthenon at the British Museum he has worked at perfecting the form of the horse's head, as well as mastering the ancient 'lost wax' technique. He works in clay, plaster, beaten lead and marble, and he oversees the casting into bronze himself.
Fiddian-Green's colossal, classically inspired equine heads are exhibited around the world in prominent locations, including 'Still water ', the 30-foot head of a drinking horse right next to the Marble Arch in London.
Celebrities have also found his work irresistible and collectors include J.K. Rowling, Ringo Starr, Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe.
Of his work at Castello Di Reschio, Fiddian-Green said in a statement: "At Reschio, I found new inspiration not only from the study of these wonderful Andalusian horses, but from the light, the smell, the hills, the sense of ancient peace that pervades the land from the days when St. Francis wandered through these hills, and before, way back to the time of the Etruscans. In fact the very air that fills this land upon which Reschio sits has ignited a new fire in my work." - Bill TIkos
Contact: [email protected]
Our work has a side effect that we did not anticipate when we started TCH in 2004. From the start, we were clear that we do not want to follow or predict trends – we trust our own instincts and feature what we feel deserves to be featured. Plain and simple. But what we did not envision is that we seem to be creating trends.
We have created a trend of success for the creatives, designers, architects, artists, brands and entrepreneurs we have featured on our pages. By giving them the exposure and attention they did not previously enjoy, we have created trends that include their work, their style and their ideas.
Each week we receive excited emails from the individuals and brands we have featured reporting massive spikes in traffic on their websites, and avalanches of international enquires from agencies, retailers and other potential clients wanting to get their hands on their work.
Most of them also report being inundated with enquiries from the other international media - major magazines and newspapers who rely on The Cool Hunter and other great blogs to find content for their pages.
It's all part of the blog effect that has revolutionized global media and the practice of journalism. Print can no longer compete in terms of reporting information first. By the time newspapers and magazines hit news-stands, their content is old news, hence why they - and you - subscribe to our newsletter. And it is all free.
Blogs have become a crucial resource for other media, who rely on them to supply the raw, uncensored, immediate information they cannot afford or just simply don’t know how to find.
We receive daily emails from major publications asking us for high-res images and more information on posts, which we then see covered in their pages weeks or months later.
The world's most powerful mastheads, the Vogues, Vanity Fairs, BBC, CNN, and New York Times' of the world, now compete with the increasingly influential blogs not just for news and content, but for advertising dollars as growing slices of marketing budgets are being funneled into the blogs..
The bottom line is that blogs reach more people than print media.
Here at The Cool Hunter, we are happy to report that much of the benefit of our influence as an information source flows straight back to the people and brands we feature.
For the past seven years we've endeavoured to bring our readers the most inspiring stuff from across the globe and we are thrilled that the exposure we have provided has helped launch careers, build media profiles and taken businesses to a new, global level.
TCH is the world's most-read culture and design site, a leading authority on all things creative and a truly global hub for what's cool, thoughtful, innovative and original.
We thought we'd share some of these stories with you from a selection of posts.
"Almost immediately after TCH featured my paper sculptures, my email inbox became flooded with inquiries of every type. From magazine interviews, books and blogs, to a live radio interview in South Africa and a TV show on Fuji Television in Japan showing my sculptures. Inquiries have also included invitations to have exhibitions in Taiwan, China and Moscow, private commissions, and ad campaigns.
I was totally blown away by the power of the internet and the reach that TCH has to every corner of the World. Literally! Paris, London, Italy, Poland, Prague, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, India, Amsterdam, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Iran, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, Finland, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, USA ... I'm sure I missed someone. :)
I've been making paper sculptures for more than 28 years now, had exhibitions in Japan, China and the US. But never have I ever gotten this much attention before and probably never would have if not for TCH! Thank you TCH! I am humbled and filled with gratitude." Jeff Nishinaka
"The first symptom was a peak of high fever in the statistics, followed by a rash of e mails : a flush of enthusiastic feed back as enquiries erupted from everywhere.
Then the epidemic reached the Store with a regular stream of reproduction orders, before hitting the international press. A flurry of interviews from South Africa, London, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, USA.
Then it spread into work opportunities: Diadora shoes advertising in Italy, Burton snowboard, Music artists requests for CD covers.
And even though we get contacts from all over the world, it seems that the fever holds on as the high température is maintained through a constant flow of Australian contacts.
That’s part of the visible Coolhunter effect and I don’t want to be cured ! Thanks to Coolhunter and it ‘s team, and congratulation for having created such an extensive and powerful web of art and beauty addicts around the world". Francoise Neilly
Within 48 hours of being featured in this post Amsterdam-based architecture and interior design group i29 was flooded with emails from design publications around the world including Frame Mag (Netherlands), Monitor Mag (Russia) Elle Decoration (Romania) CASE da Abitare (Italy), LOFT publications (Spain) BOB magazine (Korea), GULF interiors (Dubai) De Architect (Netherlands), ONoffice (UK) Cover Magazine (Venezuela), Sisustajalehti (Finland) Vivenda (Netherlands) Maru Magazine (Korea) and plenty of other print media and numerous design blogs.
Dutch architects and interior designers Uxus recieved a "tenfold" increase in traffic to their website after we featured their project Merus Winery in California. Uxus was flooded by queries from magazines around the world, including Wallpaper (UK), Noblese Mag (Korea), Marie Claire (Brazil), GQ India, Casa Da Abitare (Italy) FX Mag (UK), Absolute Marbella (Spain), Home Journal Mag (Hong Kong), ID Mag (USA), The Shorlist (UK), Future Laboratory (UK) and many more.
"What an honour to be featured in such an extraordinary, tasteful site!
The power of the internet and the incredible reach TCH has in the world, was an unexpected surprise several weeks ago, when I opened my morning emails!
It was an instant rush ~ numerous sales from my online Etsy shop, as well as gallery enquiries and interview requests. To date, I have been written up in a number of international magazines, blogged by well-known journalists, stylists and receive countless messages full of compliments and good wishes!
There has been a fun collaboration with a photographer along with another TCH discovery, MiiR bottles. A very large print installation created by a Greek Architect firm for a client’s home, a Random House book cover assignment and an invite to be featured as a watercolor artist in a new Chronicle book about ‘new watercolorists’, to be published sometime in 2012!
This has been an amazing year, since starting out as a self representing artist only 13 months ago.
I am so grateful for the expose you have given me TCH. Thank you for all your incredible support....this is a fantastic journey, I am so excited about the future!" - Cate Parr
"Being on The Cool Hunter has resulted in a handful of opportunities - the NYTimes being one of them. After my work was posted on the site and I was commissioned to design an image for the cover of New York Times real estate magazine. My exposure on The Cool Hunter has allowed me to quit my day job." Andy Gilmore
"It’s because thanks too The Cool Hunter I’ve been featured in over 50 magazines that can be viewed on my website under editorials on the information page. The lights even ended up in Argentinean Playboy! Along that I also have generated many jobs within Australia, many o/s enquiries and an actual job in San Francisco.
I’m about to move out of my studio in my garage into a real studio which allows me to employ staff, too as business is growing fast and I desperately need more space as well as extra hands. So I can’t begin to tell you how much I thank you for making me famous!" Volker Haug
"The opportunities that thecoolhunter.net feature has provided me are beyond what I could have ever imagined. Not only did it kick start my career as an artist, but it did so almost overnight. I’m a graphic artist for network TV as my day job and fine art was solely a hobby. The day the feature came out I literally woke up, looked at my phone and had about 100 emails asking for information about the piece. Within a couple of weeks the stats for my website showed over 300 other websites linking to me and nearly a half million visitors to my site from over 60 countries.
I was written up in a number of international publications and was offered paid corporate speaking engagements such as at Disney animation. I just completed my first solo gallery show but have also had my artwork featured at 2 additional art galleries in group exhibitions. Additionally, I am working on commissioned pieces for international buyers all of whom found me on thecoolhunter.net. Currently my art is being considered for a feature film in which it would appear in a high end home. I am also about to show some pieces in homes for sale in the 10 million dollar plus price range.
There are no words I can use to express my gratitude for the exposure that you have provided for me." Matt Bilfield, artist
"Being featured on The Coolhunter has certainly increased awareness and understanding of Aesop to a very appropriate and progressive audience. Posts have resulted in communication with Case Da Abitare, Harpers Bazaar, Virgin Blue Voyeur, Surface, DIDD (industry), GDR (industry), A4 (Poland), Attitude (Portugal), BMW Magazine (Germany). Belle (Australia), Marie Claire (Australia), Cubes (Singapore) too many to list." Indi Davis - Aesop
"When TCH approached us to feature Saffire Freycinet on their website, we were thrilled. We understood the power of endorsement from such a popular brand and were happy to have founder Bill Tikos stay with us in our opening week. What we weren’t prepared for was the response to his post. The number of times his glowing review was re-blogged throughout the world was astounding. We have had media requests from as far a field as Mexico and Brazil, as well as throughout Europe and Asia, and we have no doubt that the far-reaching communications of The Coolhunter extended our brand beyond our wildest dreams considering we were within the first month of operation.” Matt Casey, General Manager". Saffire Freycinet
"The response from across the world to the images of my sculptures after being posted on TCH has been beyond amazing! As well as several actual books and and on line magazines picking up on the work worldwide, I have also recently been offered the chance to show some work at the Royal Academy with the ‘Sketch’ organisation. I have also just met (in London) curators from New York who are planning collaborations in New York Germany and Istanbul. The Cool Hunter is experienced by them as cutting edge in cultural terms and they watch it’s output regularly. The ripple effect of the posting is still on and looks likely to do so probably well into the future. I now have work ‘within the same general walls’ as Tracey Emin, Sophie Calle, Anthony Gormley, Stuart Hagarth (Haunch of Venison Gallery) . which is being seen by their audiences. It’s been great and thank you!". Robert Bradford.
"Ever since being featured on The Cool Hunter, interest in my work has increased massively. I've been contacted by several people from students, other designers and design blogs to magazines, books and brands, which have lead to some successful commissions with great clients. Other than my own personal work and portfolio site, The Cool Hunter has also helped my additional online project Random Got Beautiful gain a lot of attention. I now get photo submissions every week for the site. Although I was featured over a year ago and again several months ago, I still receive a high proportion of visits from The Cool Hunter site. The exposure has been very significant. Thanks a lot! - Nikki Farquharson"
“The Coolhunter effect” is incredible! FieldCandy website traffic increased ten fold during the weeks following TCH feature. Sales enquires grew dramatically, as did the geographic spread of orders, with Russia, South America and the Middle East currently equalling our more traditional markets. Media enquiries, both on and off-line have increased significantly from around the globe.
Interestingly, other less obvious opportunities have been directly associated to TCH effect. FieldCandy was invited to display our Outstanding tents at the Grammy Awards in LA, leading to important celebrity endorsements. Several major companies have approached us to ‘own brand’ tents for their marketing and promotional purposes, and we are in talks with several well respected retailers and e-tailers.
Most importantly for a design led brand, Fieldcandy is now working with many designers and artists from around the world, some well know, other less so, but the long term benefit for Fieldcandy, caused by TCH effect is quite astounding.
Many thanks - John - FieldCandy founder
Anyone who has ever designed food and beverage packaging knows how difficult it is to stand out in the crowded sameness of food stores. This difficulty is magnified in the wine category. You must, in essence, express the wine’s distinctive qualities in the tiny space of the label, the cap, and perhaps some carton or POS applications.
To make matters worse, various laws and regulations require that much of the label space is taken up by small print. There is also very little cost-effective wiggle room in the basic package: the bottle.
Bottles are universally more or less the same, and the sameness is dictated by standardized manufacturing, transportation, storage and displays. Wine quality plays a major role in this as well, as does consumer perception. Wine that comes out of a box or a plastic container just doesn’t feel quite right.
In the retail selling environment, education and information now also demand their share of space as more and more novices want to know about wine.
For the wine retailer, and for the designer of spaces where wine is sold, all of this poses a challenge: How to display hundreds of seemingly similar bottles in an attractive, interesting and functionally effective way. How to make shopping enjoyable and easy, and how to help consumers learn more about wine.
Dutch online wine seller Grapy hired the Amsterdam-based Storeage to design its first physical selling space. Located in the Het Verbogen Rijk bookstore in Roosendaal, the shop-in-shop helps integrate the bookstore’s wine and cook books with the wine.
We love the massive graphics and the simple, clear “signage” that gives only minimal direction: creamy whites, fresh whites, bubbles. This simplicity – rather than the common and confusing information overload – is what makes shopping easy. Storeage used minimalist, mobile and modular displays to facilitate the move of this shop into other locations.
It will come as no surprise to our readers that we love wood, minimalism and Scandinavian design. Mistral Wine & Champagne Bar in São Paulo, Brazil, is the Mistral wine company’s first physical space.
Designed by local architect Arthur Casas it is a perfect example of how to make a boring, long space look magnificent. We like the bottle display system that shows each bottle label-up, and eliminates the need to handle the bottles. The long “selection hall” leads to a bar area, designed for learning about wine by reading and tasting.
Peter Poulakos, son of Sparta, Greece-born restaurateur Harry Poulakos, operates not just 22 restaurants, including the well-known Harry’s in New York City, but also the focus of our interest here: Vintry Fine Wines
According to Rogers Marvel Architects, the designers of the Battery Park neighbourhood store, the design is based on the parallel rows and rolling hills of wine country. In addition to the beauty of the clean lines, we love the clarity of the space, and the fact that the educational aspect is handled though simple tablets mounted in the central table.
With more than 2,500 bottles on display, the ease of finding what you need is absolutely essential.
In our review of wine stores, we have seen a fairly clear division into two categories: The earthy and traditional winery-related, rustic concepts, and the minimalist, pared down, urban schemes.
The latter was taken to the extreme in this small wine shop in central Stuttgart, Germany, where the designers at Furch Gestaltung + Produktion had to take drastic measures to fit 1,200 types of wine in about 12,000 bottles into a selling space that was not really fit for the task at all.
The store, located at Dorotheenstraße 2 (at Schillerplatz) and operated by Weinhandlung Kreis, is only 70 square meters (about 753 sq.ft) in size on two floors, and has no storage.
Here, the uniformity of wine packaging became the solution. The standards of wine bottling (more or less all bottles are the same size), storage and transportation became the literal and conceptual framework for the entire store.
The designers created a utilitarian, spreadsheet -like metal grid from wire mats that were welded together to form cubes, each with space for 25 bottles.
The real genius of the concept, however, is in the color. The tall stacks of industrial-looking racks could have appeared unappealing and daunting to the consumer – and yes, this is still probably a bit of a challenge to shop for the first time around – but the color adds a significant uptick to the mood.
The store looks cool and playful, and the shelf colors can become a way finding color code for shoppers to find their favourite wines the next time around. - Tuija Seipell
* See also the rise of the designer bakery