Should anyone need an excuse to travel to Naples, we can offer the perfect one: Go there to explore Metro Napoli’s Art Stations. (That’s subway or tube stations for the rest of us.) The Art Stations program has been going on for some time with artists, designers and architects, including, Alessandro Mendini, Anish Kapoor, Gae Aulenti Jannis Kounellis, Karim Rashid, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Sol LeWitt contributing.
What drew our attention is the 13th Art Station of the Naples Metro system, the Toledo Metro Station, that opened finally after many delays in September 2012, during the European Week of Sustainable Mobility. It was designed by the Spanish firm of architect Oscar Tusquets Blanca.
The station is on Via Toledo (Via Roma), one of the main shopping streets in Naples. A second entrance to the Toledo Station will open in February 2013 in the Spanish Quarter, Quartieri Spagnoli. Oscar Blanca also designed the public squares above the two metro entrances.
The Toledo station is one of the deepest in the line at 50 meters, and it is themed around water and light. The art of the station, curated by art critic and former Venice Biennale director, Achille Bonito Oliva, includes two mosaics by the South African artist, William Kentridge, as well as Light Panels Robert Wilson and works by Francesco Clemente, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Shirin Nehsat and Oliviero Toscani.
We especially love the deep, blue, sparkling crater that connects the ground level with the great lobby 38 meters below. No wonder that The Daily Telegraph included the Toledo Station on its Europe’s Most Impressive Underground Railway Stations list. - Tuija Seipell
This funky pharmacy with its unconventional exterior and startling interior volume is not something you’d expect to stroll into in a small, ancient town in north-central Portugal.
Yet the 50,000 or so inhabitants of Vila Real (=Royal Town) who can trace their town’s history back to the paleolithic era, were quite used to an imposing pharmacy building on this site.
But when the private owner of Farmácia Lordelo - which had already operated nearly quarter-century on this site - decided to rebuild, she did not go for timid.
Instead, the architecture and interior design by JOSÉ CARLOS CRUZ – ARQUITECTO went all the way to a super-modern, taking advantage of the fact that the area does not have strict building style restrictions. The building certainly stands out in this residential neighborhood located slightly off the city centre.
Many of us are used to the type of “drug store” where the actual pharmacy part is squeezed into a back corner somewhere and given as little space as possible – as it is not the part generating the profit - while the rest of the store space is taken up by everything from diapers and toilet paper to books and food, and with the tacky packaging and POS material that goes with that. A pharmacy this clean and beautiful is a rarity, indeed.
Farmácia Lordelo is not only a compounding pharmacy but also a laboratory, which is one of the reasons the designers toned everything down and kept the interior airy, white and logo-less. How wonderfully refreshing! And yes, it does look a bit sterile and clinical as well, but that was the intention.
The oval-shaped space is 522 square meters in size (5618 sq.ft.) and the various functions are divided into two levels with the retail floor on ground level..
We also love the cool aluminum coated and perforated exterior where the only opening is the main entrance to the retail floor. The enormous cross logo and the external lighting changes creating an animated and lively contrast to the monochrome interior. - Tuija Seipell
Images by Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Fotografia de Architectura
Yes, yes! We LOVE the cool, clean, minimalist interior (no news here to our readers) of the brand-new 100 square-meter retail store, the HITGallery, opened at the end of September in the Times Square shopping center in Hong Kong.
The elegantly retro store, designed by the talented Milan-based architect and designer, Fabio Novembre, is the first iteration of a new global multi-brand retail concept of the Pettoranello-based fashion house, Ittierre S.p.A. Ittierre holds the licenses, manufacturers and markets several brands, including Aquascutum, C’n’C Costume National, Galliano, GF Ferré, Fiorucci, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Pierre Balmain and Tommy Hilfiger Collection. The latest brand to sign with Ittierre is Jean Paul Gaultier, with his men’s collection launching in Fall/Winter 2013-14.
The HITGallery boutiques, slated to open around the globe, feature\s several, if not all, of the lines Ittiere represents. The next store in line will be the Milan flagship but in the meanwhile, Ittierre has just opened a 1,000-square-meter temporary store, IT'S 30 MANZONI, at Palazzo Scotti Gallarati in Milan's luxury neighborhood.
In a media release, Fabio Novembre is quoted as saying that The HITGallery stores capture the essence and spirit of Italy by, for example, taking inspiration from the surreal atmospheres of the artist Giorgio De Chirico.
He continues: “Upon entering the concept store in Hong Kong, people will promptly notice the strong Italian imprint of the architectural design’s classical matrix: symmetrical structure, row of arches, one dominant hue offset by two-tone flooring. The color defining the walls – a neutral shade bordering between green and sky or cerulean blue – defies classification, so becoming the ideal backdrop for all the brands sold in the store.”
We love the uncluttered feel, the delicious Casamania Her chair (also by Novembre) and the complete lack of brand-clutter, especially signs and logos. The latter, of course, will pose the most massive of all retail challenges that trumps all design and merchandising feats: The need to provide relevant and sincerely customer-centric service. Don’t even get us started on THAT topic! - Tuija Seipell
Photography by Dennis Lo
The ultimate lifestyle shopping experience has arrived to Australia’s most iconic beach: The Cool House by The Cool Hunter. After the huge success of The Cool House in Melbourne last week (4,500 people attended over four days), Sydney's Bondi Beach welcomes the ultimate pop-up boutique.
For 10 days only, The Cool Hunter lifestyle is available in the real world - detailed throughout The Lighthouse, Pacific Bondi Beach's f finest penthouse.
As you'd expect from The Cool Hunter, it is all wall-to-wall style, progressive design and understated luxury – and it is all available for purchase; every single items is for sale, as is The Lighthouse itself
Styled by Steve Cordony from Belle Magazine.
There are three kitchen displays with the latest designer kitchen accessories to purchase.
Everything is available to buy, including The Lighthouse.
Flowers by Poho Florist in Potts Point.
Balcony Design by Garden Life
Balcony Design by Garden Life
Large mobile artwork chandelier by Sydney-based paper artist Benja Harvey
The Cool House Sydney
Friday 7 Dec - Sunday 16 Dec
10:00am to 6:00pm
Pacific Bondi Beach
6th Floor of the Swiss Grand Hotel
180 Campbell Parade
The 12-year-old Clube Disco night club in São Paulo was reborn this fall. It now carries its past proudly yet offers a completely upgraded experience.
Brazilian architect Guto Requena worked with architect Mauricio Arruda on this project. We like the retro custom-designed furniture that gives a nod to the 1970s Brazilian style and mixes nicely with the black-leather, exposed-pipes underground disco feel. And we like the tunnel that was re-envisioned by Brazilian artist Kleber Matheus.
The lighting of the dance floor consists of 250 linear meters of metallic rails with LED tape that run as a frame along the perimeter of the space. This allows for an endless variety of lighting programs and color mixes to create and accentuate different effects based on the music. The entire system is controlled by the MADRIX software. - Tuija Seipell
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.