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 that Marc Newson hasn't designed? We are running right out of superlatives describing one of his fairly recent collaborations, the Aquariva by Marc Newson luxury yacht. We tried looking away, yet here we are, talking about it.
Everything about the ridiculously cool and expensive arrow-of-a-speed-boat is a bit much. Yet it is also deliciously good-looking in its faux mahogany, retro turquoise upholstery and overall 60s vibe.
To create the Aquariva, the Australian-born, London-based mega-designer collaborated with Officina Italiana Design of Bergamo, Italy. It is the studio that for the past two decades has been in charge of designing yachts for Riva shipyards, established in 1842 by Pietro Riva. Riva is one of the brands in the Ferretti Group portfolio.
Aquariva by Marc Newson was introduced last fall but paraded again at the beginning of this year not at a lowly boat show or even a luxury yacht salon, but Arte Fiera, the 36th annual, historical art fair in Bologna.
Only 22 of these beauties were manufactured and they are sold though the New York-based Gagosian Gallery and also by Riva dealers, apparently at $1.5 million. The sales pitch is no doubt rich with superlatives and absent of the word recession. - Tuija Seipell
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Devetashkata Cave - Bulgaria
Ben Bulben at County Sligo, Ireland
Shark Island - Sydney
Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Tannourine - Lebanon
Abel Tasman National Park - New Zealand
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia - Greece
Sichuan - China
In The Gardens of Prague Castle
Neist Point, Isle of Skye - Scotland
Aiguill e du midi, Chamonix, France
The Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve in Texas, USA
4 Hands - Etretat, France
Río Tampaón in San Luis Potosí -México
Six Senses Evason Ma’In Hot Springs, Jordan
Méandre - En-Vau - Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône)
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We'll be publishing Amazing Places as a book in late 2012
The incredibly beautiful "A Path in the Forest" by architect Tetsuo Kondo was a temporary installation in the Kadriorg Park near Tallinn, Estonia.
It was part of Tallinn's 2011 European Capital of Culture activities and in particular, part of LIFT11, a festival of 11 urban installations. All other installations in LIFT11 were selected through a design competition, but Kondo was invited to create the Path. It was realized in partnership with the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee.
Kardiorg Park is an urban forest, only 15-minutes' walk from the Old City of Tallinn. While it has some intact treed areas, it is mostly an urban park of man-made structures and tended gardens.
With his light touch, Kondo created a 95-meter (311-foot) suspended walkway among some of the park's 300 year-old trees. The unobtrusive Path is similar to Kondo's 2010 work Cloudscapes for the Venice Architecture Biennale. Both works put humans on an uncommon level in relation to their surroundings, creating a new viewpoint and inviting further examination. - Tuija Seipell
Even those who are afraid of flying might enjoy the experience of piloting a Boeing 737 at the simmINN Flight Simulation Center in Stuttgart, Germany.
The reason for our confidence is two-fold. One: The aircraft does not leave the ground as the full-size replica of Boeing 737 with its Learjet 45x cockpit are firmly indoors. Two: The outside of the plane looks so cool that you will forget your phobias and just want to hop in and fly!
Frankfurt-based architect Boris Banozic is responsible for the concept, interior and graphic design of this center that is open to the general public. Yes, you, too can book a two-hour flight, piloted by Captain You and no crew! Now, if only an airline company picked up this concept as their head-office design, then we would be really impressed. - Tuija Seipell
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We return to the creative work of Supermachine Studio, the multidisciplinary design firm that architect Pitupong (Jack) Chaowakul established in 2009 in Bangkok.
Last year, we covered Supermachine's design of Bangkok University Creative Center.
This time, our attention was piqued immediately by the first images we saw of Supermachine's ideas for the rebirth of Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand's office.
Supermachine was the team of choice for Saatchi & Saatchi's regional creative director, Joel Clement, because he was looking for playful and unexpected design solutions. Clement wanted a space "that inspires, is genuinely fun to come to everyday, and that didn't take itself too seriously."
The agency's move to the Sindhorn Tower, on Wireless Road in Bangkok, was part of parent firm Publicis's goal to gather its affiliated companies in one building for shared resources.
The somewhat dated building, tight space (400 m2, about 4305 ft²) and the tight budget posed challenges that Chaowakul and team solved with bold ideas that leave much of the space open but accented by strong visual elements. This openness was also part of Clement's brief to Supermachine, as the previously scattered teams had to learn to work together and become one functioning family.
We love Supermachine's happy nods to motion and mobility. The reception desk is on wheels and resembles a big white bus. Bicycles work as the legs of a large glass-top conference table that is fully mobile. The meeting cabins that feel like train compartments. There is also the reoccurring visual theme in the shape of a racetrack, hockey rink or stadium.
A large outer wall is covered with small, white "wood pixels" that are made of wood recycled from the agency's previous office. With this wall, Supermachine achieved not just practical goals -- to cover the ugly red marble wall and to save costs by recycling materials from the existing office -- they also created a visual link to the organization's past.
Perhaps in a nod to even further into humanity's past, there is the "monster wall." Its main feature is a 20 meter-long (65 feet), lizard whose skin is constantly redecorated with current work and inspirational items. Its jaws work as a bookshelf. The monster has already become the agency's new mascot and will appear on a T-shirt soon.
In addition to Pitupong (Jack) Chaowakul, the Supermachine project team included Suchart Ouypornchaisakul, Peechaya Mekasuvanroj, Santi Sarasuphab, Kasidis Puaktes, Jetsada Phongwasin and Korthong Thongtham Na Ayutthaya. - Tuija Seipell