Offices

May 27 2011

Berlin and Shanghai-based COORDINATION ASIA has just migrated its Shanghai office from an old textile mill to a glass-company headquarters. The former office was located on the banks of Suzhou Creek at No. 50 Monganshan Road in an old textile mill now known as M50 and housing a mix of creative businesses, cafes and restaurants.


 
COORDINATION ASIA’s new digs are located in the former headquarters of the Shanghai Glass Company at Huangpi Road 688, a building waiting for complete renovation in 2012.


 
COORDINATION’s CEO Tilman Thürmer, now more or less permanently located in Shanghai, says he misses the artistic community of M50, but loves the downtown location and the cool vibe of the new space.


 
The team at COORDINATION created a sleek 300 square-meter home for itself among the crazy “old-style European mansion” decor that was the result of a renovation in the 90s. They kept the marble, hardwood, built-in bookshelves, hidden storage, weird ceiling molding and the odd mix of ceiling light fixtures but covered most of it with black paint, a colour prominent in many COORDINATION projects.


 
The result is an elegant and artsy creative space that could be mistaken for a completely customized environment. - Tuija Seipell.

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Design

May 26 2011

Shanghai’s shiny new Museum of Glass opened last week as part of Shanghai’s campaign of becoming a globally important cultural and creative centre by launching 100 museums in a decade.

Shanghai-based German architectural firm Logon handled the architecture and exterior of the museum. Germany’s Glashütte Lambets supplied the enameled glass used for the museum’s façade inscribed with glass-industry terms in ten languages.

COORDINATION ASIA, also based in Shanghai, was in charge of the overall museum concept, art direction, design and  supervision of the museum interior. It was also the chief consultant for curation, marketing and operation, as well as coordination of an international team of architects, artists, designers, filmmakers and multimedia specialists.


 
COORDINATION’s Tilman Thürmer tells TCH that they used black lacquered glass for the interior (cases, floor, furniture, walls), but left the existing structure untouched. The museum building is a former glassmaking workshop, one of 30 former bottling-plant structures that the Shanghai Glass Co. still owns.


 
The black, sleek glass of the interior reflects the LED lights and screens positioned throughout the space, creating a shiny and glittering multi-dimensional feel. This emphasizes the interaction, interdependence and influences of periods, continents, materials and peoples involved in the art, craft and industry of glass.


 
The design of the space and exhibits and the use of various media help create an interactive and participatory museum experience where the visitor is directed through the story of glass.


 
“Designwise, we wanted to create a piece of black crystal glass. Sparkling, reflecting, sleek and deep,” Thürmer says. - Tuija Seipell.

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Fashion

May 25 2011

Spanish leather goods and women's accessories firm Malababa started in 1997 when pharmacy graduate Ana Carrasco realized she was more drawn to fashion than apothecary. She created a solid following in Madrid, then in the rest of Spain, and moved on to other markets in 2003. Malababa is now sold in more than 300 stores in Mexico, Argentina, USA, Japan, Kuwait, China and several European countries.



In Malababa pieces, there is a sense of traditional Spanish craftsmanship and handiwork. The use of natural-tone leathers and metal accents with timeless patina create a feel of value, elegance and timelessness. Purses, bags, wallets and shoes form the core of each collection, with cuffs, belts and other accessories completing the line.

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Music

May 20 2011

Great animated music video for the band Danger Beach. Their album Milky Way can be downloaded here:
dreamdamage.com/​2010/​07/​danger-beach/​

Directed by Ned Wenlock
Character animation by Rodney Selby

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Design

May 17 2011

Black and white are the safe choices in the design world. The color of luxury is elegant and subdued. Yet, at the same time, even top-tier designers, artists and luxury brands have always used bright colors as well. It is not about either or. It is not black-and-white or color.


 
Just try telling those who love Dale Chihuly’s art, Versace interiors, Karim Rashid’s Corian eco-house or Renzo Piano’s Central St Giles facades in London that the “designer look” is always predominantly black and white.

And although bright color is often associated with being a sort of primitive, wild, folk-art aesthetic, and therefore black and white would seem the serious and civilized alternative, color is not just wild, frivolous, and primitive.


 
Just think of your favorite brand’s logo and you will most likely visualize some color. Imagine a weekly market at a Peruvian mountain town, an Indian wedding party, a Norwegian fishing town, Marimekko fabrics, a Cirque du Soleil show or Avatar, and you cannot avoid feeling uplifted and happy because of the colors.


 
In fact, we are seeing a clear increase in the use of color in the broad design world.

We see more color in commercial and residential architecture, interior design, art and installations, events, retail and hospitality. We also see more color in products — from aircraft to fashion to everyday items — and in marketing and communications as well.

All you need to do is click through the various categories on this site – architecture, design, art, kids, Lifestyle, fashion etc. – and you’ll get a sense of how color is gaining ground.


 
The recent super-enthusiastic online reaction to the redesign of the logo of the City of Melbourne in Australia is a good example of this. People are interested and they do see the difference. When did people last get that excited about a city logo? Disneyland’s soon-to-open World of Color and the Dubai Fountain are also great examples of what technology and color are bringing to entertainment experiences.



We are hard-wired to notice and react to color, and marketers (and Pantone and the Color Marketing Group) and psychologists have long known this. Children generally love bright colors. Fast-food restaurants use bright colors because they want us to notice, grab and go. Red is stop, green is go. Colors affect and express our everyday lives, even when we don’t notice it.


 
Throughout history, color has expressed and represented status, religion, origin, feelings and many other things, and its use has been dependent on resources. To be able to afford clothing or other possessions in certain colors meant you were wealthier than most, as some ingredients to produce specific colors were not available everywhere.


 
As we have seen so vividly in the widely circulated “color wheel” by David McCandless and Always with Honor, different colors mean different things in various cultures. And apparently, people from warm climates respond favorably to warm colors while northerners like cooler colors.


 
Perhaps it was the recessionary economy that enticed designers to use more color, and attracted the rest of us to it. Whatever the underlying reasons, we see more color and we love it. - Tuija Seipell

Brands wanting to see ideas and concepts about how to use colour effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.

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Architecture

May 6 2011

This residence in the Pavilniai Regional Park, near the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, is one of those that we just have to point out, although it is neither brand-new nor unfamiliar to many readers.

The confident combination of history and modern needs of an upscale family was achieved by the architectural firm G. Natkevicius & Partners.



Located by in the valley of river Vilnia that gave the city its name, the park and the city have a rich history with the oldest written records dating back to 1323. The Puckoriu escarpment in the park has rare rock formations from the Ice Age. A large munitions factory on the site dates back to the 17th century.



It seems that in Vilnius private residents can buy pieces of such storied land, and when the current owner of the site - a banker and collector of antique books - bought it, a single bright-yellow building stood on it. On further examination, the owners found out that the building was part of the cannon foundry and it was built of valuable, historic Vilnius-made bricks.

The yellow house itself was not as big as the four-member family wanted their home to be, so they decided to build their new home of glass and erect it around the historic brick house. The exposed brick adds a tactile sexy feel and softens the potentially cold atmosphere of the glass structure. A sensuous curved opening, cut for the staircase that is outside the brick house, adds another focal point that works beautifully with the square elements around it.



The owners' antique library is now in the basement of the old brick house, the kids' rooms are on the ground floor, the master bedroom on the top floor. The other functions - living, dining, cooking, baths, garages - are all within the new glass structure. As a stunning bonus to the historically sensitive solution, the residents enjoy an amazing 360-degree view of the park. Sigh. - Tuija Seipell


Stores

May 5 2011

In a refreshing departure from the now so routine dark-mahogany “men’s club” feel of men’s stores, New York-based architect and interior designer Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture At Large approached Cape Town’s Unknown Union with a much lighter touch.


 
The two-level boutique, located in a historic building, exudes light and color. On the first level, white walls serve as the background to the pared-down stacked-box shelving painted in softly muted yet vibrant colors. This simplified setting, gives the owners, Sean Shuter and Daniel Jackson, an ideal showcase for the brands that they represent, including ANYthing, Pendleton, Surface to Air, and Penfield USA.


 
The second level is an ever-changing, creative space, where local and international creators and artist showcase their work. The opening event for the space featured the work of Rafael de Cárdenas/Architecture at Large, Gazelle, Surface to Air, Milkbeard, Cornrow Rider and THECAST. - Tuija Seipell.

Offices

May 4 2011

As recently as in October 2010, the Luxembourg-based Skype’s Stockholm office in Slussen housed only 35 employees. But the video- and audio-focused team’s digs were bursting at the seams and new offices were needed.

Skype found its next Stockholm home in a completely restored massive historical building, Münchenbryggeriet, a landmark of Stockholm’s skyline. Built in 1846 as a clothing factory, the building became Sweden’s largest brewery in 1857 and operated as a brewery until 1971.



Skype’s new offices in the München Brewery now have room for 100 employees. Head architect Mette Larsson-Wedborn of PS Arkitektur with team members Peter Sahlin, Thérèse Svalling, Beata Denton and Erika Janunger, was charged with expressing the Skype brand’s playful spirit and its mission to connect the world in the working environment.

To do this, the designers used round shapes, fun light fixtures and bright-color furnishings in an otherwise almost completely white space. The rounded shapes of the furnishings and cloud-like lights speak the same language as Skype’s rounded font and cloud logo. The custom-made wallpaper is literal, depicting the audio and video world of the staff.



The design team sourced the furnishing from around Europe. The soft, round furnishings come from Blå station; the large, soft green seating from Offecct, the poufs and sofas from Johanson design; the white chairs and barstools from Crassevig, the conference seating from Arper and the workstations from Martela. Customized furniture was designed by PS Architectur and built by Olle Lindelöf AB/Linjon AB.



The lighting is from Stockholm lighting, Foscarini/Diesel, Zero and Fagerhult. - Tuija Seipell



Photography: Jason Strong

Travel

May 3 2011



La Banane on St. Barts is an exclusive, retro-chic hotel of nine distinctive bungalows. This hotel's cool vibe of the 1950s is not a fake as it has a great storied past and its stories are based on real life, real events, real personalities.



La Banane's founding father was the late Jean-Marie Rivière, a luminary of the Parisian cabaret world, who was often photographed with Zaza Gabor, Brigitte Bardot and other stars.



His first sexy revue called La Banane was performed in this hotel where celebrities and Rivière's friends mixed and partied, and enjoyed the green lushness of the surrounding nature. The welcoming Rivière and his show ruled the hotel and gave it its name, its sexy glamorous air and the show-piece island in the middle of the pool.



And even more real-life story has been added when La Banane was recently completely revamped. Each of the bungalows and all of the common areas are furnished with pieces that one would expect to see in a home of an avid collector of original pieces by great modernists, with Le Corbusier the chief figure.



Several of the pieces are originals created in the mid-1950s when Pierre Jeanneret, went to India to help his cousin, Le Corbusier, who was creating a bold, new city, Chandigarh in the Punjab. There they designed and commissioned local craftsmen to build leading-edge, new-style furniture of rosewood and teak.

Each bungalow at Le Banana is named after an artist, designer or craftsman, ranging from Hungarian designer Mathieu Mategot (1910-2001) to American painter and sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976). Each piece of furniture is individually identified and its origin and design explained, so that the guests can appreciate the pieces that surround them. - Bill Tikos

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Transportation

May 2 2011



Our latest car porn introduces Lamborghini's new super sports car Aventador with its 700 HP bull power - powerful and classy just like his namesake, Spanish bull legend Aventador - relentlessly fighting the forces of nature in a 3-minute special effect thunderstorm, shot in the Californian desert Coyote Dry Lakebed and directed by Ole Peters.