Luxury jewelry and giftware stores are waking up. They have been as traditionally stuffy as banks in their design, but their globe-trotting clientele is demanding an upgrade. Bored out of their minds, they want an edge, a spark, a something, to break up the monotony and to add some interest.
We've featured a few, including Octium in Kuwait,- Podium Paris and Solange Azagury-Partridge London and here is another to add to that list: The two-level Faraone jewelery boutique in Milan, on Via Montenapoleone, envisioned by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini. whose retail design work includes showrooms for Maserati and Ferrari.
At Faraone, his subdued, metallic setting for the items on display symbolizes the precious-metal setting of a ring or pendant that sets out the stones, engraving and minute details.
There is also a cool, retro factor, reminiscent of the mysterious estate jewelry areas in luxury department stores of the past. The soft nappa leather chairs and the tone-on-tone carpeting add to the feel of being inside a jewelry box. - Tuija Seipell.
This is how you market real estate and take advantage of social media. Draw attention like this fantastic video drew ours! It was created by Tronic Studio in New York, the same team that is busy putting on the finishing touches on the TCH TV video we will be showing here next week!
The real estate in question here is the 57-story luxury residence, 56 Leonard, in Tribeca, designed by the Pritzker-prize winning, Beijing Bird Nest-creating Swiss firm of Herzog & de Meuron. Tronic tapped into their architecture background to envision this video where the elements of each floor fall down from the Manhattan sky and land on the custom-designed sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Absolutely brilliant.- Bill Tikos
The era of chrome-and-billet choppers is drawing to a close. Even Harley-Davidson dealers are swapping the leather tassels for carbon fiber and murder-black paintjobs. In the UK, a south coast dealer called Shaw Speed and Custom is setting the pace, creating show bikes that win at the world’s top custom motorcycle shows—and beating the Americans at their own game.
In the build-up to the AMD World Championship held at Sturgis, the latest two bikes from SS&C are creating a stir. The ‘Nascafe’ is a low-slung, dragster-influenced machine created in association with the American watch manufacturer Bell & Ross. Embedded in the tank is a $4,000 BR 01 Carbon timepiece, a further touch of originality.
The XLST3 is another radical departure from the norm. Dirt-track tires and race plates give the bike a sporty look rarely seen on Harleys, and the stock suspension has been replaced by high-performance items more commonly seen on superbikes.
These are not the sort of motorcycles the Teutel family builds on American Chopper, and they’re all the better for it. Harley-Davidson is taking note too, with a new ‘Dark Custom’ range designed to attract younger, more style-conscious bikers. - Chris Hunter of Bike EXIF
National Geographic Channel have created a real-life version of the animated film Up — launching a house thousands of metres into the air using balloons.
A team of scientists, engineers, and two world-class balloon pilots successfully launched a 16' X 16' house 18' tall with 8' coloured weather balloons from a private airfield east of Los Angeles, and set a new world record for the largest balloon cluster flight ever attempted.
Using 300 helium-filled weather balloons, the lightweight building reached an altitude of more than 3000m and remained in the air for about an hour.
The filming of the event, from a private airstrip, will be part of a new National Geographic Channel series called How Hard Can it Be?, which will premiere in fall 2011.
The stunning Sunset Chapel in Acapulco, Mexico, was completed only recently, but it has already gained much attention for its stark and arresting design by Esteban and Sebastián Suárez of Mexico City-based BNKR Arquitectura.
It is a memorial chapel that will eventually be surrounded by a "garden" of crypts. With its bare-concrete structure that appears eternal, and its slatted walls and glass cross that allow the light to perform its daily magic in the space, Sunset Chapel looks and behaves like a modern-day Stonehenge. Mysterious and stark, yet reassuring and calming; protective, yet part of the surrounding nature.
The elevated shape was partly dictated by an enormous boulder that already ruled the site, and by the wish to allow the spectacular view to be visible from within. At only 120 square meters in size, the chapel evokes a surprising sense of strength. - Tuija Seipell
Illegal Burger, at Møller Gata 23 in Olso, capital of Norway, opened in secrecy late last year but it has since become a hit among those who appreciate a delicious charcoal-grilled burger.
Located in a space that used to house a “knock-three-times” club, the fresh-looking burger place still carries some of that mystery, hence the name, too.
Illegal Burger does not quite fit in any standard restaurant or club category and it does not look like a burger joint. Low-ceilinged and only 43 square meters in size, the heavily wood-paneled space looks a bit like a below deck of a ship, with the tight kitchen resembling a galley. Flexibility was one of the key points in the design brief because the space functions as a party space, hosting intimate events with DJs and late night parties.
Illegal Burger was established by three partners, Emil Hesselberg, who is a well-known local restaurateur and owner of the city’s top dance club, The Villa at Møller Gata 25, and two passionate cooks with a skating background, Mike Henriksen and Jostein Kristiansen.
The interior and furnishings were designed by Al Coulson with visual communications, including logo and graphics, by The Metric System. - Tuija Seipell.
There are no alligators outside this cool kindergarten, located in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel. But inside, there definitely are alligators and they are white.
White alligators may not be the first things that would come to mind if you were asked to design a kindergarten environment. But Tel-Aviv-based designer Sarit Shani Hay, creator of fun kindergarten spaces, doesn’t think like the rest of us.
She took her inspiration from the surroundings of the kindergarten — an agricultural training farm with lush vegetable gardens and purposeful functionality.
In her projects, Hay combines sleek functionality with unexpected whimsy, typified here by the white crocs that function as lounge chairs for the little ones.
Other focal points include a large mushroom that serves as a house, a hiding place and a play station; and a wooden house with windows and a red roof; and shelving units in the shape of trees. All of these have a functional purpose and look inviting and cool, but the main benefit is their inspiration for play and interaction. Rather than just sitting there like any furniture, these pieces are also playthings that invite the children to discover and experiment.
The space has two rooms for two age groups: one for 1.5-2.5 year-olds, and the other for 2.5-3.5 year-olds. A large block of white closets divides the two spaces and hides the kids mattresses and contains each kid’s own drawer.
And, if you are like us and would like one of those gators, you will need to be in touch with Hay, because she both designed and made them by hand. Apparently, they are available in three sizes – we imagine them to be tiny-ish, plain scary and horrendous. - Tuija Seipell
Tourism offices around the world pay attention - this is how you promote a country.
Tim and Fiona Slack (T&F Slack) are married to each other and to their love of creating shoes, considered “modern classics” by industry standards. Their collection gives the classic “Gibson” or “Derby” shoe shape new life when unexpected color combinations, stitching details and fabrications are blended together.
You can choose from the perforated Punch Derby in white leather with yellow peaking beneath, or have a custom pair made to order in their Notting Hill Shop, or use the simple “build your own shoe” system they’ve created within Selfridges and Liberty.
Dedicated to keeping manufacturing local, they make around 150 shoes per month in their factory where old-fashioned machinery is salvaged and customized to create their “modern classic” shoes. With so much repetition in the world of shoes, it’s so refreshing to see a unique and bespoke solution that really does draw the eye downwards! – Kate Vandermeer
The interior design of Bank of Moscow’s offices in central Moscow’s Kuznetsky Most area (Kuznetsky Most street 13) retains the building’s great historical bones and matches customized adornments to them.
The office — one of the Bank’s many offices — occupies 7,000 square metres on the third floor and in the previously unused mansard (attic) space. Moscow-based designer, Alexey Kuzmin, retained by architectural office Sretenka for this assignment, used the space’s key feature, the large, hexagon-shaped central hall, as the defining point. He placed the client services functions in this grand, open area to evoke and retain the elegant feel of the entire building.
It is windowless, so Kuzmin created a stained-glass ceiling, that echoes the forms and style of the building. Everything in the client zone was customized, including the tall wooden doors with glass, stained-glass windows, chandeliers, oak paneling for walls and ceilings and the marble floors.
Kuzmin located the staff offices on the wings or balconies surrounding the client zone. The dividers in the office area are made of glass with wooden arches around them.
The attic had no historically significant features and it was designed as a typical, effective office. Glass dividers allow light into the space from the small narrow roof-top windows. The ceiling is made of fire resistant panels, covered with birch veneer. The white office furniture is by Vitra.
The storied building has housed the Tretyakov Trading House (same Tretyakovs that are behind the Tretjakov Art Gallery) and the expansive shop of the famous Russian photographer, J. Daziaro. Over time, the Kuznetsky Most area has changed from an upper-class shopping district (early 1800s) to financial district (mid 1800s), to Bolshevik and KGB offices, and back to elegant shopping (since 1980s). Tuija Seipell.