Not everyone is lucky to work in a cool and inspiring office, and even those who are, can become stuck in an uncreative rut, or disturbed by loud coworkers, boring music, smells of someone’s lunch, outside noise. And those who work at home have all of the distractions — and attractions — of home to lure mind and body away from productive work. No wonder coffee shops around the world look more like offices than many offices. People sitting at their computers, talking on their phones, conducting business with coffee and muffins nearby. Yet anyone who’s done the coffee-shop-as-office thing knows that it is not without problems either. Too many people, loud conversation, screaming kids, familiar faces, bad wifi, no plugs, uncomfortable chairs, line-ups for coffee, managers wanting you to leave.
Luckily, creative people have started to think up solutions to meet the very clear need of cool working spaces for mobile workers. Urban Station in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has taken the best of both office and coffee shop and wrapped it all up in a funky urban space.
Urban Station is appropriately located at Malabia and El Salvador Streets in Buenos Aires’s hip Palermo Soho where fashion, design and art mix with the densest concentration of bars and restaurants in the city. You sit at one of the wide tables, pay by the hour and benefit from the calm atmosphere and comforts of an office with plugs and locks for your computer and super-fast wifi. The coffee shop part comes in the form of unlimited coffee, tea, mineral water, fruit, croissants and cookies, all part of the fee.
In addition, the large and airy Urban Station offers art and business magazines and books to read, comfortable armchairs for lounging and casual meetings, fully equipped meeting rooms, printers, fax and scanners, plus lockers for your gear. If you get bored, or need to dash out for a moment, they even offer a few bikes at the door for you to borrow. It feels like office, coffee shop AND home. More of this, please! - Bill Tikos
Address: El Salvador 4588 Palermo Soho.
A skillfully created illusion of scale and mass allows this large residence and office settle in its stark environment on the Swiss banks of Lake Geneva, off the Route de Lausanne.
Cape Town, South Africa-based SAOTA -- Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects designed this residence for a prestigious African client. The interior was created by SAOTA’s interior design and decor division, Antoni Associates. The project was completed in January 2010.
The demanding triangular, sloping site inspired a stunning design. The dramatic main house features rounded cubes and triangular masses that form an L-shaped living space. The impressive compound’s two buildings are linked underground by a spa, sauna, pool, garages, office and cinema. Jerusalem marble on all floors ties together the interior spaces while feature walls of marble, stainless steel and glass characterize specific rooms.
The sweeping and expansive interiors open up to a variety of outdoor spaces. Intimate and grand exist in harmony as both the interior and exterior exude calm and cool. There’s a sense of luxurious leisure and a connection between inside and outside that is part of the Afro-European aesthetic SAOTA understands so well.
SAOTA is a well-established architectural partnership of South African architects Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl and Greg Truen. Their international and local projects are characterized by understated luxury and airy clarity.
The company’s interior design arm, Antoni Associates, is led by Mark Rielly and Vanessa Weissenstein, and associates Ashleigh Gilmore and Jon Case. Antoni Associates creates exclusive interiors in South Africa and internationally in cities such as Paris, Moscow, London and Geneva. - Tuija Seipell
Lexus has taken its fifth hybrid, the compact CT 200h, on the road in more forms than one. This eerie and artistic sculpture, titled CT Umbra, was part of the Lexus debate series tour called Darker side of Green
Created by Los Angeles-based Nondesign, the installation aimed to highlight the two seemingly opposing features of the vehicle - luxury and eco-friendliness – by changing colors from luxurious gold to earthy green and blue. This contradiction was also the underlying question during the debates.
The sculpture is based on a map of vertical lines created from the CAD model of CT 200h. It was built of 2,500 half-inch anodized aluminum bars cut to the exact measurements of the map.
Lexus introduced the debate concept in March with a celebrity-attended press event at Skylight West in New York just before the car’s launch at the New York International Auto Show.
In July, the debate travelled to Los Angeles, Miami and back to New York, and ended on August 5 in Chicago. Cool locations (Palihouse Holloway in L.A., Bowery Hotel in N.Y., Ivy Room in Chicago), music and art, and moderators (comedian Tracey Morgan and singer Mark McGrath and actor and comedian Jamie Kennedy), spiced up the 40-minute debate between two hard-hitters, one pro and the other skeptical about sustainable energy and the green economy.
The goal was to highlight these issue is general and to seek common ground between the two sides. The discussions highlighted the question Can green and luxury go together? In Miami, almost 750 people attended and enjoyed the pre-debate cocktail reception sponsored by Patrón.
After the debate tour, Lexus will take the CT 200h to each of the tour cities to offer local customers and VIPs the chance to test drive it. - Tuija Seipell.
A year before the Lexus launch, London-based designer, Laura Micalizzi, created a similar-looking “car” installation called 10M3 DI PAUSA for the Milan Furniture Fair
Micalizzi’s car-shaped sculpture aimed to draw attention to the value of space in the city and to the growing necessity of cars.
British jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge’s London flagship store is now open on the luxe Bond Street. In her typical fashion, Azagury-Partridge has handled the interior and furnishing design herself.
The store has the same luscious, red-velvet jewelry box feel as her first store that opened in 1995 in Notting Hill (and moved to Westbourne Grove in 2005). The most fantastic feature of the new store is the carpet. It stands out in Azagury-Partridge’s signature style – it is almost too much, but not quite. It brings a smile to your face, makes you look again. That’s the “rock-star” quality that everyone mentions about her work.
The first floor of the two-storey boutique offers an impressive meeting of theatrical and whimsical. Absolutely everything has been choreographed and specially made for the space. Downstairs is a private-member-style, discreet enclave of hidden doors, alcoves and padded walls. The ceiling is adorned with 600,000 Swarovski crystals.
When Azagury-Partridge launched her own jewelry line in 1990, she was completely self-taught. The first piece she had ever designed was her own engagement ring only three years earlier. She has been quoted as saying that “The advantages of being self-taught are that I have no preconceptions or received opinions about the rules of jewellery. Being an outsider is my raison d’être.” - Tuija Seipell
Brands are tapping into the art space and we are, perhaps surprisingly, noticing some pretty awesome art installations as a result. It is a precarious feat for a brand to attempt because it can easily go wrong and have the exact opposite of the desired effect. A branded piece of art can be viewed as too promotional, too gaudy, too imposing and an intrusion into “public space.”
But done right, this kind of branded experience can work wonders for a brand and achieve the desired kind of street credo. Of course, brands such as Absolut, BMW, Nike and Adidas have been doing this for years quite effectively. These brands nurture new and up-and-coming artists and also garner huge online buzz for the brand, for the art piece, for the location and for the artist.
We’ve gathered some examples of both branded and non-branded cool public (and private) art in the hope that great branded art will replace the already-so-boring pop-up shops and flash mobs.
Nike’s 20-meter-high, 4.75-ton Ball Man made of 5,500 Brazilian Skill Balls was a huge hit during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It was the centerpiece of a Nike installation Carlton Mall Atrium in Johannesburg. Leicester-based Ratcliffe Fowler Design created using a 3d image of Carloz Tevez. The Man was designed so that the balls remained virtually intact and can be donated to the community after the closing of the exhibition in August.
Also at World Cup, Coca Cola took advantage of the Crate Man craze and installed 54-foot CrateFan in Cape town at the Victoria an Albert Waterfront/harbor. It was built of 2,500 Coke bottle crates and weighed 25 tons.
At the BMW Museum in Munich, the Kinetic Sculpture of 714 metal orbs seems to float in space. The orbs hang from thin steel wires attached to individually controlled motors. The orbs animate a 7-minute “mechatronic narrative,” starting from chaotic and settling at the end into the six square-meter “flying carpet.” The installation, developed by Berlin-based ART+ COM is to be “metaphorical translation of the process of form-finding in art and design.”
When it is original, fresh and fun, this kind of public art is cool because it creates real viral attention. As actual live pieces, even if seen only online, they are exciting and seem real for the viewers who feel they are sharing it with those who have actually experienced it live.
There are also many ways of enhancing and expanding the live experience with online and on-site kiosk applications. As a way to create viral buzz, brand recognition and positive impressions, they are an effective marketing tool for the brands. - Bill Tikos.
Yes, Advertising can be beautiful.
For more info contact our marketing agency ACCESS
The motorcycling world loves a ‘barn find’—an old, obscure machine wheeled out of the woodwork for the first time. And this is one of the biggest revelations of recent months. It’s a 1930 Henderson that was customized before WW2 by a fellow called O. Ray Courtney and fitted with ‘streamliner’ bodywork.
The art deco influence is obvious; legendary automotive designer Harley Earl could have drawn those curves. It’s all the more unusual because the mechanicals are hidden: even at the height of the Art Deco movement, most motorcycles were a triumph of form over function, with exposed cooling fins, brake drums and suspension springs.
The bike is owned by collector Frank Westfall of Syracuse. It caused a stir in June 2010 when it appeared at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet, a motorcycle show held a couple of hours drive north of NYC. Grail Mortillaro (of the chopper blog Knucklebusterinc) had a camera to hand, so we have him to thank for these images.
Henderson was a Chicago brand and one of the American ‘Big Three’ (with Harley-Davidson and Indian) until the onset of the Great Depression. It went bust in 1931. But you can see the influence of the ‘streamliner’ style on another contemporary North American brand—Victory. If there’s a spiritual successor to this Henderson custom, it’s the Victory Vision Tour, a gargantuan cruiser with completely enclosed bodywork and not a leather tassle or saddlebag in sight.—Chris Hunter of motorcyle design website - Bike EXIF .
Large companies with thousands of employees often give just a cursory nod to creating an appealing, exciting and comfortable workplace. Enter the thousands of pool tables and vending machines that are supposedly making work more fun. Lucky for its 3,200 employees, one of Thailand’s leading telecommunications firms, Total Access Communication PCL under the dtac brand, did much more.
In June 2009, dtac gathered its massive team from six separate buildings and relocated them to the newly designed dtac House in Bangkok’s Chamchuri Square office tower. Now under the same roof for the first time ever, the dtac team occupies 62,000 square metres (about 662,000 square feet) on 20 floors, a move that marks the largest-ever office lease in Thailand’s history.
Opened to the media and VIPs on the auspicious day of 09/09/09, dtac House reflects the company’s desire to become the employer of choice, to enhance cooperation and communication, strengthen common goals, increase creativity and make it easier for the brand to react quickly to changing conditions. For staff and customers, the new environment aims to communicate dtac’s brand approach “play and learn.”
Australian Hassell won the competition to design the space and align it with dtac’s vision. Hassell created an open and flexible environment with natural wood, natural light and purpose-built spaces. Some of the highlights include a massive circular library amphitheatre, and an entire Funfloor with indoor soccer, table tennis, running track, and concert and performance spaces.
Other custom-designed spaces include the Conversation Pit, the Freeform Meeting, the Picnic Table and the Dining Room, all created to encourage informal, face-to-face meetings. An open terrace atop the building overlooks Bangkok’s skyline. It is easy to imagine that employees used to this environment would find it difficult to adjust to a boring row of cubicles ever again, in spite of the pool tables and vending machines. - Tuija Seipell
Sports brands, even those that are not official sponsors of the World Cup soccer tournament, are taking full advantage of the global celebrations and fan enthusiasm. In New York City, Nike is making full creative use of its Nike Stadium NYC, a multi-purpose experiential environment opened at the Browery Stadium in May and designed by New York and London-based architectural firm Rafael de Cárdenas.
In Nike Stadium NYC, Cárdenas has created a soccer-inspired space that feels right in the New York environment — not glossy or overly sleek, but somewhat lived-in, hard-edged and willing to take some wear and tear. Triangular wooden blocks allow for instant creative modification of the space, as users can stack them, sit on them or create their own seating areas.
At Nike Stadium NYC, various soccer-related programs and performances in architecture, design and art are taking place all summer and into the fall. These include film screenings, match viewings and other events, all focused on exploring creative expression of soccer.
Nike Stadiums are the brand’s multi-purpose event spaces that have so far opened in Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris and Tokyo.
Nike Stadiums continue to reinforce Nike’s reputation as a creative supporter of soccer — something that their 2007 Cannes Lion-winning Stadium shoe box represented well. A limited number of shoe boxes were transformed to resemble a stadium with an image of a stadium and an embedded sound chip. When you opened your shoe box, you saw a miniature stadium and heard the crowd cheering, and you could imagine yourself inside a stadium cheering along or, better yet, playing on the field wearing your new Nikes. - Tuija Seipell
When you think Italian fashion design, Armani, Valentino and Versace spring to mind, having paved the way for strong, bold aesthetics. Quality and tailoring is also intrinsic to the Italian sensibility. A new label that epitomises both has emerged from a 20-year strong lineage. Italian company “Paoloni Group” launched a new label “MSGM” recently with strong acceptance domestically and internationally with the likes of Harvey Nichols, Joyce, Lane Crawford, Matches and Browns plus being named as one of the best new emerging designers for Vogue Talents.
Created by and for a youthful demographic of under 35, the label has both a men’s and women’s collection. Blending comfort and function with a distinctly Italian preppy edge, the Men’s collection is fresh and modern yet combines achingly simple pieces together. The Women’s is more fashion focused with an emphasis on print and staying current to the season. Either way, this is one label to watch as they make their mark on the international fashion scene. – Kate Vandermeer
OMG! This is insane! Those were the most common — and in some situations the only — comments we made during our stay at Saffire Freycinet, the luxury resort that just-opened on Tasmania’s East Coast in Australia.
Very few resorts manage to get all the ingredients right when opening but we can assure you, this beauty of a hotel has ticked all the right boxes. We were literally left speechless — and that takes some doing — as we feasted our eyes on the breathtaking vistas, indulged our senses in our gorgeous suite and in the spa, and devoured the food that made any thought of a diet ridiculous. A four-hour walk on the pristine beach helped, too.
These were the first notes we scribbled just after departing: “Expectations were far exceeded. The resort, the location, the backdrop, the mountain walks, the spa, the room, the excellent service, the attention to detail, the happy staff, and the food, OMG the food! — Saffire is truly one of Australia's most exciting places to stay.” Without wanting to sound cocky, it takes a lot to get us to write something like this.
In the suite, the amazing bathroom was all marble with heated tiles. Our suite’s amenities included, of course, wireless internet and remote controlled blinds, but the best part was the sweet turn-down service. They supplied a hot water bottle for the bed and a thermos of hot chocolate as it is winter in Tasmania.
One of the highlights of our stay was Saffire’s restaurant Palate. The multi-course degustation menus matched with the outstanding local wines are the specialty of head chef, Hugh Whitehouse, who is an Australian icon and a master of fresh, local, imaginative food prepared and served with style, love and care. We would go back for the food alone.
Designed by Tasmanian architects Morris Nunn and Associates, Saffire consists of only 20 suites ranging in size from 80 m² (860 sq. Ft.) to 140 m² (1506 sq. ft.). The buildings are super-modern yet reflect the surrounding environment perfectly. Waves, manta rays, sand dunes are all forms that come to mind both inside and out.
The interior design, by Chhada Siembieda Australia (CSA) www.chhada.com ,takes advantage of the surrounding materials and vistas. Stone and timber are the key materials but they are used in a light, airy fashion. The color palette reflects the surroundings as well focusing on soft grays, greens and a snap of orange.
It truly was an amazing stay, and it felt sinfully delicious to work on our laptops while surrounded by this kind of luxury and gazing at the amazing views this place affords. - Bill Tikos
Rates start from $1550 per night, per suite for 2 people and includes dinner, all beverages.