Japanese artist Makoto Tojikil is fascinated by light. He uses it in ways that create amazing illusions and out-of-this-world experiences in a subtle, inquisitive way.
But what we love most is the way his No Shadow pieces – large animal and human sculptures made of strands of light - evoke a sense of playfulness, awe, possibility and wonder. We find ourselves unable to stop staring, unwilling to leave the area of influence of the magical, somehow celestial beings and creatures.
Tojiki was born in 1975 in Miyzaki, Japan, and graduated from Kinki University in 1998 as an industrial design engineer. After a stint designing home appliances, he launched his artistic career full-time in 2003. Of the No Shadow pieces, he says “An object is seen when our eyes capture light that is reflected from the object. If we extract just the light that is reflected from ‘something,’ are we still in the presence of that ‘something?’ Using contours of light, I try to express this ‘something.’” We envision all sorts of opportunities for brands to use this type of sculpture at events, launches, stores, showrooms… - Tuija Seipell.
The cool story of David Webb, jewelry designer since 1948 to elite stars, socialites and others who love bold statement pieces, continues beautifully today.
With the 2010 change in ownership – from the Silberstein family to Sima Ghadamian, Mark Emanuel and Robert Sadian – the New York tradition has managed to hold the attention of the luxury jewelry buyer from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor to Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez.
The most recent buzz around David Webb is not about the iconic pieces’ animal and other organic forms or the incredibly rich settings of precious stones, but about the design of the Madison Avenue Flagship boutique, above which the artisans still work in the in-house atelier.
Designed by architect Peter Pennoyer with interior design by Katie Ridder, the boutique seems more like a mansion or series of salons, and less like a store or showroom. With prices starting at $4,000, the David Webb pieces require surroundings that are both luxurious and intimate. Pennoyer and Ridder have achieved an edgy ease that lets the jewelry remain the center of attention. - Tuija Seipell
Just like fireworks, originally used in celebrations to reach up to and greet the spirits in the sky, this LED-light cathedral aimed VERY VERY high! We’re not sure if it was visible from space (or higher) but it certainly glowed brightly.
More than half-a-million people were drawn to the Luminaire De Cagna LED-light display at the 2012 Light Festival in Ghent, Belgium. Luminaire De Cagna became the main attraction of the Festival that included more than 30 other displays and exhibitions.
Constructed of wood, covered with 55,000 LED lights and reaching 28 meters (92 ft.) into the sky above Belfortstraat, the Romanesque cathedral-like Luminaire De Cagna used only 20 kWh of energy.
Luminaire De Cagna is an Italian family business that has created light displays since 1930. They started with oil and carbine lights, moved on to electric and, since 2006, have used LED-lights exclusively. - Tuija Seipell
Is it visual art, audio art, a sculpture, a product, a machine? Byoungho Kim's works could be described as all of these. They are visually stunning, make sounds, have a sculptural quality and they are manufactured just like any other highly-engineered industrial products.
Born in Seoul, Korea, in 1974 Kim has explored the edges of art and product, sounds and visuals throughout his career. As his sound sculptures have no “practical use,” they are defined as art but their intrigue lies in the technology behind them.
The two lighting fixture-like pieces we are featuring are made of aluminum and they use both piezo and arduino technology. A piezo is an electronic device that be used to both play and detect tones. arduino is a popular open-source single-board microcontroller. None of this means much to most of us, but the result — sounds being emitted and changed by the sculptures — is fascinating.
The rounded Soft Crash (330 x 330 x 165 centimeters, or 130 x 130 x 65 inches) was one of the pieces on display at Kim’s solo exhibition at the end of 2011 at the Arario Gallery in Seoul. The second piece, from 2010, is called Horizontal Intervention (96 x 280 x 25 cm, 38 x 110 x 10 in.)
Byoungho Kim describes his pieces as “constructed fantasy” that expresses mankind’s continuous pursuit of new desires. - Tuija Seipell
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Toronto’s latest TA-ZE store, at 120 Adelaide Street West, is only 800 square feet in size, but it is airy and uncluttered. TA-ZE is a chain of retail stores focusing on premium olive oils and related product.
Ta-ze means fresh in Turkish, and the company is rooted in the long traditions of olive-oil production. Its product comes from six provinces in the Aegean region of Turkey, from 33 co-operatives that include more than 28,000 olive producers.
The purity and clarity of the oil is reflected in the minimalist store concept designed by Toronto-based Burdifilek, led by managing partner Paul Filek, and creative partner Diego Burdi. They are also responsible for retail design for W Hotels, Holt Renfrew department stores, Club Monaco and Joe Fresh, among others. - Bill Tikos
Wine tasting is passé and the English have already perfected the High Tea, and nothing surpasses the Japanese tea ceremony. So what’s next? The creative minds at L'Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris set their eyes on “High Coffee.” They don’t call it that, but it certainly looks and feels like it.
Every afternoon, superior gourmet coffee varieties are served according to the expertise of France’s Best Roaster of 2011, Antoine Netien, and Tom Clark, owners of Paris’s high-profile Coutume Café, and importers and roasters of vintage coffees.
Enticing the coffee-drinkers to elevate their experience to a sinful level of indulgence are dainty carts full of mouth-watering sweet delicacies created with the supervision of Luc Debove, Chef Pâtissier of the Grand Hotel of Cap Ferrat, that belongs to the same group as 1 Place Vendôme.
This culinary extravagance is served in the hotel’s deliciously prissy first-floor restaurant, 1 Place Vendôme with its magnificent views of the Place Vendôme. When the restaurant opened in 2009, it was Florence-based architect Michele Bönan’s first restaurant and hotel project in France.
Bönan created a completely customized, elegant setting in a couture-style theme with silver-studded black-and-white hounds’ tooth chairs, plush silk and velvet sofas, silver satin curtains, and cushions of pink silk satin with black and white ribbed motifs.
And to amplify the luxurious effect, all this is contained in a space with virgin-white walls, floors and ceilings. All furniture and fittings, including curtains, cushions and carpeting were custom-designed by Bönan and manufactured in Florence from fabrics by the Italian fabric house Dedar. - Tuija Seipell
Based on Dr. Seuss's final book (Oh, The places You'll Go) before his death, this is a story about life's ups and downs, told by the people of Burning Man 2011. Genius idea Teddy Saunders
Is there anything more basic, homey and familiar than a loaf of great bread? Yet it has become a luxury. More and more of us are sick of (literally and figuratively) the white, never-to-stale sliced bread in its never-to-biodegrade plastic bag.
We crave for fresh artisanal breads, natural ingredients, heritage grains, organic everything. Those who value great-tasting, healthy bread will pay for quality.
And with that quality and premium price comes the notion of design. Why should we buy that wonderful, healthy loaf at a horrible-looking bakery?
Hominess and hearty fare are great, but does the environment have to look so “homey,” too? Not any more. We are seeing more and more cool bakeries around the world.
Our fans and followers helped us track down a few examples that meet the requirements at least visually. If the loaves and other baked goods created at these establishments remain consistently as great as their environments, you can count us in as fans.
Blé, Thessaloniki, Greece
Blé Bakery on Agias Sofias in Thessaloniki, Greece, most certainly fits the bill. It was designed by the minimalist architects at Claudio Silvestrin Giuliana Salmaso (London & Milan). It has the world’s largest wood oven – gigantic, at 12 meters (almost 40 feet) tall!
And the bakery is built from cob made of white clay from Crete and Milos, plus sand and straw. Blé’s four floors house a patisserie, bakery, delicatessen and a wine and mozzarella bar.
Electra, Edessa, Greece
Another cool bakery in northern Greece is located about two hours’ drive form Thessaloniki in a town called Edessa. This central Elektra Bakery location is a prototype redesign of the family-run bakery chain’s stores.
The open, minimalist design by Edessa-based Studioprototype Architects helps to disguise the tiny space of 35 square meters (376 square feet) at a busy intersection.
The large outdoor seating area adds to the appeal, and glass walls link the indoors and outdoors to each other. Furniture by Xavier Pauchard and lighting by Tom Dixon.
VyTA Boulangerie Italiana, Turin, Italy
In Italy, the drama never ends. Not even in a bakery. VyTA Boulangerie, designed by Rome-based architect Daniela Colli, is located at the epicentre of busy urban life, the Porta Nuova train station in Turin.
With its contrasting light oak and black polymer surfaces the shop resembles a high-end fashion boutique or bar much more than it does a bakery steeped in tradition or natural ingredients.
Yet, it is an engaging environment with its large L-shaped counter, the stylized natural-oak “hood” over the pastry displays, and the hexagonal beehive detailing. VyTA Boulangerie has stores in Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples.
Princi, Milan, Italy
Of course, the dramatic dawn of the designer bakery took place in Milan. Princi, also designed by Claudio Silvestrin, offers organic breads and other goodies made according to traditional recipes. And it is open 24 hours a day and even on Sundays.
Owner Rocco Princi opened his first bakery in 1986. He now has four stores in Milan and one in Soho, in London.
Joseph – Brot vom Pheinsten, Vienna, Austria
In Vienna, Austria, the latest cool destination for lovers of organic bread is Joseph - Brot vom Pheinsten (Translation: Joseph – Finest Bread), located in the 1st district at Nagelgrasse 9.
This is the first retail store for owner Josef Weghaupt and master baker Friedrich “Fritz” Potocnik whose Joseph delicacies are also available at the city’s finest cafés restaurants, delis and shops. Corporate and graphic design by Martin Dvorak.
Baker D. Chirico, Melbourne, Australia
In Melbourne, Australia, cravings for chic design and amazing bread will be satisfied at two shops owned by Daniel Chirico. In celebration of the artisan baker, his second Baker D. Chirico store in Carlton, unlike the first one in St Kilda neighbourhood, has no coffee machine, deli or other distractions.
It is all about bread. And of course, about design, wonderful curving wood slats infusing light and warmth into the tiny space. Created by March Studio, also responsible for a number of Aesop store interiors.
Bécasse Bakery, Sydney, Australia
The chic, French-inspired Bécasse Bakery is located in the new Westfield Shopping Centre in Sydney, Australia.
It is part of a group of establishments, all located on the fifth floor of the centre and all owned by Justin and Georgia North: Quarter Twenty One restaurant, store and cooking school, plus Bécasse Restaurant and Bécasse Bakery.
The bakery was designed by Sydney-based Mima Design with principals Mark McConnell and Micheline Li Yoo Foo.
Panscape Bakery, Kyoto, Japan
In Kyoto, Japan, Panscape bakery represents the new look of bakeries. The tiny space, just over 26 square metres (280 square feet), looks sleek and clean in the understated, minimalist way the Japanese master so well.
Yet, with its select, massive components of cement and aluminum plus a half-tonne log, the space also exudes solidity and strength.
The concept, architecture and interior are by Osaka-based Hiroki Kawata Architects: ninkipen!
Komsufirin, Istanbul, Turkey
In its fewer than five years of existence, Komsufirin has grown to some 60 stores in Turkey and it sells predominantly pre-baked products, so it is by no means an artisan boutique enterprise, but we like the clear, minimalist interior, redesigned by Istanbul-based Autobahn.
The store name translates as “the oven in the neighborhood” and Autobahn principals Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Cağlar used natural oak and white tiles to create a modern and visually spacey environment as a backdrop for the ancient process of baking.
Komsufirin is operated by the Doruk group and it is growing at a breathtaking pace, aiming for 350 stores by 2013 and 1,000 stores by 2020.
Helsinki Bakery, Osaka, Japan
One would expect to find Helsinki Bakery in Finland, but no, this one is located in Osaka, in the three-year-old Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens shopping mall.
And not just the name, but also the white and natural-wood design have direct connections to Finland.
The store’s Japan-born designer Arihiro Miyake is based in Helsinki-Finland, and has studied in both Japan and Finland.
Simple, healthy and natural are the key words of the bakery and the Scandinavian design supports those notions perfectly.
Lagkagehuset Bakery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Lagkagehuset Bakery’s name translates as “pie house” but there is definitely no homey pie atmosphere in this location, designed by SPACE Copenhagen.
Lagkagehuset’s principals, Steen Skallebæk and Ole Kristoffersen, have been baking independently of each other since the early 1990s. But in 2008, they combined their successes in and started Lagkagehuset that now has 18 locations in Denmark. - Tuija Seipell