We are seeing more and more stores and services dedicated solely to the fine things in life for men. Salons, shops and spas are realizing that men have been treated like second-class citizens when it comes to luxurious, beautiful retail environments.
There are millions of sports bars, car dealerships, gyms and hardware stores, but that is definitely not all that men need and want. At New York Fashion Week, British luxury men’s brand Alfred Dunhill showcased its Winter 2010 collection in a vacant Meatpacking District warehouse transformed into a pop-up shop.
With aluminum panels and projection technology, London-based design workshop Campaign created an environment that brought a little bit of Dunhill’s London flagship store to New York.
Alfred Dunhill, who joined his father’s saddlery business in 1887, and planned to change the company’s focus toward the pioneering motorist, said it very well: “It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he has paid for...” We think men are ready to pay for the best -- and “the best” includes the environment in which he spends his money. - Tuija Seipell
HBO’s show HUNG has now made its New Zealand debut on TVNZ’s Channel One.
Auckland-based ad agency Colenso BBDO was retained to promote the show and to generate some buzz. They have definitely created a buzz with their risqué billboard, recently erected on Victoria Street in central Auckland. Whether you like the billboard or not, and whether it draws you to watch the show or not, you must admit that the old, tried-and-true subjects – well-endowed female and male bodies – never seem to fail to draw attention.
Established in 1969, Colenso BBDO is consistently one of New Zealand’s highest-ranked ad agencies. Campaign Brief has also named Colenso BBDO Agency of the Decade. - Bill Tikos
Some motorcyclists just want a cheap commute to work. Others are speed freaks seeking the ultimate expression of individuality and power.
For these guys and girls, the dream machine is a Confederate Fighter or MV Augusta F4CC. But a few riders will aim even higher, and these are the people the 135hp Ecosse Iconoclast was designed for. It’s effectively a shopping list of high-end motorcycle components, based on Ecosse’s existing Heretic model.
After handing over your £44,000.00 (US$69,000), you get a bike with car-sized 2-liter engine. It’s machined from solid billet aluminum, and wrapped in a hand-welded custom frame that also stores the engine oil. The bodywork is carbon fiber; suspension comes from the favored brand of MotoGP racers, the Swedish company Öhlins.
The Iconoclast is quick, at less than three seconds to 60 mph. But you’ll need to be even quicker to get your hands on one. Just eleven will be made, and they’re exclusive to 20ltd.com—an online gallery that only sells limited editions, from fashion to jewelry to furniture.
If the Ecosse represents the ultimate motorcycle available today, the RogueMoto KickBoxer reveals what might be in showrooms tomorrow. It’s a concept from designer Ian McElroy, and uses Subaru’s rally-bred WRX motor for propulsion. The engine is turbocharged for even more grunt, and feeds into a Baker Torquebox—one of the few motorcycle gearboxes able to handle sportscar levels of power. If the KickBoxer makes the transition from CAD program to showroom floor, the Ecosse will have a serious rival at the stoplight Grand Prix. - Chris Hunter
Robert Bradford creates his life-size and larger-than-life sculptures of humans and animals from discarded plastic items, mainly toys but also other colorful plastic bits and pieces, such as combs and buttons, brushes and parts of clothes pegs.
Contrary to some reports, he’s not a self-taught artist who tinkered in his shed one day and suddenly decided to create something out of his kids’ discarded toys. He is a London-born and U.K. and U.S.-trained visual artist who, like many artists, also had another career on the side. His was that of a psychotherapist.
In 2002, he started to consider the possibilities that his children’s forgotten toys could have as part of something bigger. Bradford says he likes the idea that the plastic pieces have a history, some unknown past, and that they also pass on a “cultural” history as each of the pieces represents a point in time.
Recycling is not his primary concern, but each sculpture certainly keeps quite a few pieces from becoming landfill. Some of the sculptures contain pieces from up to 3,000 toys and sell for £12,000 (US$19,000). - Tuija Seipell
With rap mixtapes and DJ sets springing forth on blogs and Facebook accounts like an over-ripe harvest of late, it’s refreshing to find that someone isn’t sticking to the stock standard formula. With his new mixtape project Pianist Envy - yes, that really is the title -, Canadian piano genius Gonzales has flipped things, offering up a collection of quasi-covers in which Gonzales restrings populist jams from the likes of 50 Cent, Beyonce and Lil Wayne as ivory-thumping epics.
After past work with Feist and Jamie Lidell, cover work for Daft Punk and Boys Noize and turns as an MC and electro artist, Pianist Envy is Gonzales cementing his reputation as pop music’s artful chameleon, shifting from one idea to the next with not only swiftness but perfect execution. - Dave Ruby Howe
City of Utrecht in the Netherlands has developed a large complex, Cultuurcampus Vleuterweide, where half of the floor plan is taken up by a school and a sports facility, and the other half includes 55 residences, a church, cultural center, theater, and a library.
It is the internet “café” of the info centre/library that sparked our imagination with its bulky, woody mass and colorful, folkloric embellishments. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more internet cafes paid this much attention to design?
The architect of the complex is Vera Yanovshtchinsky Architecten based in The Hague. Interior design and furnishings are by Assen-based AEQUO BV Architects that is known for impressive school and library work.
Throughout the entire Vleuterweide facility, AEQUO has sprinkled fun embellishments, including lime-green, lemon-yellow and azure-blue walls, and pink carpets. Furnishings and lighting fixtures also draw attention: A prim, baroque chair covered in hot-pink fabric in one corner, a group of lumpy recliners upholstered in brown flour-sack material in another. - Tuija Seipell
Our new creative ideas agency ACCESS is helping brands and businesses see the world differently. We add substantial value by creating customized experiences that change the consumers’ thinking in some way. A simple idea for our McFancy project for McDonald's has already been viewed by over 3 million readers through this site. Millions more have interacted with it via hundreds of blogs that have featured it (google "Mcfancy Mcdonald's or McFancy by Access Agency"). And dozens of magazines internationally are featuring the concept in forthcoming issues. That's several million eyeballs before a single $ has been spent.
Enter our latest concept for Puma that we call SPINSTAR, which aligns perfectly with the brand image. It is a touring program that finds participants who can last the longest in a spin class, with Puma as the backdrop. Participants are offered a free pair of Puma sneakers and workout gear once they pass 2 hours (most spin classes run for 45 minutes). The winners of each session (which can last up to 8 hours) will receive the Puma bike and would then be invited to the final competition where the winner of the longest spin-class is crowned Puma SPINSTAR, receiving $25,000 cash along with $10,000 worth of Puma gear.
Puma renderings created by Dobson White
We have a hunch we will be seeing much more of the work by the young, London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Nikki Farquharson.
Her ongoing project, Mixed Media Girls, gives the viewer a lot to look at. The collages appear innocent and sweet but at the same time exude sharp, pent-up energy that does not feel altogether safe. The title of the work is also wonderfully suggestive – or not, depending on how the reader wishes to understand it.
Farquharson’s work extends from the one-dimensional world to book projects and 3D pieces in which she often ponders and twists the meaning of words and proverbs, spies on conversations, and questions established truths.
In 2007, she started the website Random Got Beautiful that is open for anyone to submit images focused on a specific color. - Tuija Seipell
Casa no Geres, designed by Porto-based Correia/Ragazzi Aquitectos, has received its fair share of international awards and exposure, but we cannot help but show it off one more time. This is the first project by Gracia Correia and her new Italian partner, Roberto Ragazzi. It is a bold statement that hides nothing.
This is also a house that is easy to love from certain perspectives and from others; it looks quite unsuitable for its surroundings. From some angles, the house seems like an accident, some kind of a mishap with transportation containers and building materials. One part of the building is buried inside the hill while another sticks out over the river. It appears about to teeter off the hill at any moment, just waiting to land in its final resting place in the river.
The owners, Mica and Eduardo Pinto Ferreira, have been Correia's clients for more than a decade, and gave her carte blanche to create their dream house on the 5,000 square-meter site by the Cevado river - as long as no trees were cut and the 60 square-meter house (maximum allowed footprint for the site) was made of concrete. The house is located in Peneda-Geras National Park, along the Spanish border in northern Portugal, so the environment and its inviolability were crucial and the rules strict.
But looking out from the inside, the awesome beauty of the home becomes apparent. The simplicity of the structure, the openness of the views and the calm balance of the elements seems to speak the same language as the bleak surroundings. Nature has a way of being beautiful even when it is not, and this house knows that secret.
The warmth and proper scale of the building become even clearer when the illuminated house is viewed at night. It may look like it landed from some other planet, but it appears to be right at home now. - Tuija Seipell
photos from Nelson Garrido
The Cool Hunter looks ahead to the feast of new music on the horizon, bringing you what look like some of the early standout releases for 2010.
Goldfrapp - Head First
Having pitched a seriously beguiling curveball with their fourth record, 2008's ambiguous Seventh Tree, UK electronic boffins Goldfrapp have seemingly stepped back onto the dancefloor for new LP, March's Head First. From the first taste of the album, coming in the form of new single Rocket, the band have rediscovered their love of electro, festooning the radio jam with neon-embossed hooks and Atari-aping synths. We like this a lot.
The Sound Of Arrows - TBA
Thus far Sweden's The Sound Of Arrows have given us just a handful of songs, released on labels like Labrador and Neon Gold, and whilst quantity is (unfortunately) not their thing, quality surely is. The Scandinavian duo have managed to breath life into whatever they touch, lacing their singles with widescreen pop sensibilities, buoyant synthesisers and un-ironic slices of Euro-pop. With a full length finally at hand it's time for The Sound Of Arrows to truly shine.
She & Him - Volume Two
Just like our album forecasts, good things come in twos, right? It's therefore fitting that the indie nerd's dream-come-true collaboration of Merge stalwart M Ward and Zooey Deschanel as She & Him would return for a second round of twee-pop loveliness. Set for a staggered March/April release, Volume Two will pick up where the duo left off, namely making boys and girls in cardigans swoon
The Drums - TBA
With every music sheet in the world teetering on the verge of delirium over The Drums and the surf-pop resurrection found on their debut EP, Summertime, from last year, the band were an easy shoe-in for this list. But beyond the deafening buzz that The Drums are stirring up as they march ahead to their first full length the group manage to back it all up, delivering lean and polished indie-rock tunes with style, accessibility and intelligence.
Vampire Weekend - Contra
Having brought afro-leaning indie sensibilities and boat shoes back into the mainstream with their irrepressible debut album way back in 2008, New York prepsters Vampire Weekend essentially set themselves up as the poster boys of the difficult second album. After all that hype and crossover success, how could they better themselves? From the first tastes of their follow up disc, Contra, due in January, not much has changed, with the band still rocking polos and summery hooks, but it's clear their charm hasn't faded in the slightest with the band now rocking more self-assured playfulness than ever.
Uffie - Sex, Dreams & Denim Jeans
Bursting onto the electro scene with over-sexed raps and over-dosed electro beats courtesy of the Ed Banger crew, Miami-via-Paris MC Uffie seemed poised to take a lofty position as the middle ground between Peaches and M.I.A., but, uh, she just never really released anything. That's going to change when she finally drops the delightfully titled Sex Dreams & Denim Jeans LP next year. With hook ups from Mr Oizo, SebastiAn and Mirwais she's definitely in good company, but time may've passed her by. Whatever the result, we'll definitely be listening.
Delphic - Acolyte
Sounding like the spiritual heirs to New Order's brand of immaculate electronic pop, young Machesterites Delphic have been making all the right moves in their short career. Already they've partnered up with the tastemakers behind labels like Modular and Kitsune, not to mention scoring the coup of having golden-touch producer Ewan Pearson helm their debut album Acolyte. Packing an arsenal of soaring vocals, champagne synthesizers and driving hooks, get ready to hear a hell of a lot about Delphic. - Dave Ruby Howe