With fuzzed out guitar swells, biscuit tin snare drums, drowsy, shuffling vocals, and a Google-defeating band name, Portland’s 1,2,3 have everything a day-dreaming indie rock romantic could hope for. Already courting both blogs and indie radio waves, this duo will be on repeat for the rest of the year without question.
With just one track to their name - the epic synths and vocoder frenzy named Futuretapes - it’s probably too early to proclaim Philadelphia based collective CSLSX the best new act we’ve heard in 2010. But screw it, we’re going to say it anyway. Because what we’ve heard so far is bordering so close on perfect that it’d be scary if we weren’t too busy dancing.
Hailing from a seriously chilled hideaway in Australia’s Queensland, Flight Facilities are two young dudes causing a big stir with their smoothed-out house tracks. Already grabbing the attention of heavies like Aeroplane and the Bang Gang, these guys are making sax solos in dance tracks cool again. And that can’t be a bad thing.
The next heiress to the pop princess crown, Florrie has been making all the right moves towards chart domination, including star hook-ups with bonafide hit-makers like Fred Falke and Xenomania, the same team that made Girls Aloud and Sugababes so inescapable. That’s a very tight pedigree, but of course it always comes down to the tunes, and so far it’s looking as though has a knack for hooky, delirious pop tunes. Expect big things.
With every rapper with a mic rallying to be a part of the next crop, 2010’s break out star seems to unanimously be North Carolina’s J. Cole. Having already impressed hip hop big guns like Wale, No I.D. and Jay-Z (who signed the 25 year old to his Roc Nation label) and a debut album (Cole World) due to drop in a matter of months you can expect be hearing a lot from him at every turn.
With a knowing nod to ‘80s smoothies like Toto and Hall & Oates, Sydney tunesmith Matt Van Schie has brought the pop back to synth-pop with his Balmy Nights EP from earlier this year. He’s got another run of tunes due before he settles back into his fulltime band Van She, so lovers of seriously smooth music should get their fill while they can.
Mixing pounding tribal drums with glowing neon synths for some twisted ‘calypso-electro’ sounds kind of terrible on paper, but one listen to New York production team Tanlines and their infectious tracks and we promise you’ll be converted to the gospel. - Dave Ruby Howe and Oli Queen
People have always wanted to climb higher and see farther. We’ve built towers and turrets, spires and steeples, lookouts and skyscrapers to see and to be seen. The achievement of height makes us proud and somehow secure. We can see all enemies from here. Our church is visible from everywhere. Our building is the tallest in the world.
There’s power and prestige in being high up but there’s also exhilaration. People want to go up, maybe even to be a bit scared, and they want to see far and wide.
A week doesn’t go by without us seeing at least one new observation deck, luxury tower, ski lift or lookout structure that meets those needs. The Stockholm Globe Arena, known as the Ericsson Globe, apparently the world’s largest round building, is not a new project, but we’ve grown fond of its brand-new addition: the cute little glass orbs that climb up the rounded skin of the structure. The pair of classic-looking orbs, called unimaginatively SkyView, carry 16 passengers each as they scale the Globe on rails operating based on ski-lift technology. The trip up takes three minutes and a round-trip visit takes 20 minutes.
The multi-use complex of the Globe includes a 16,000-seat arena that will host Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston and Rod Stewart among others this spring. Tuija Seipell
And just opened this week in Singapore is Marina Bay Sands.
Loft Hamburg, located in a restored building in Winterhude district of Hamburg, is a private 118 square-meter residence designed by Graft. The focal point of the high-ceilinged and otherwise white space is a large pod paneled with walnut. The pod contains the residence’s kitchen and bathroom, hides its central heating, cooling and plumbing, and even provides some cupboards and bookshelves. The owner was looking to use a wide variety of materials, and the walnut pod contrasts beautifully with the soft fabrics, leather and natural stone used elsewhere in the loft.
Graft is an architecture, urban planning and design company established in 1998 in Los Angeles by German architects (,) Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit and Gregor Hoheisel, all now in their early forties.
Their Berlin office opened in 2001, and Beijing office in 2004. Alejandra Lillo joined Graft as the fifth partner in Los Angeles in 2007. - Tuija Seipell.
Time to have some offline fun with The Cool Hunter! Once again, we are aiming to create some buzz all over the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Paris, Barcelona, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Rome, Tokyo, Toronto.
People who may not have heard about TCH yet, will find themselves Coolhunted. We will place cards at art galleries and events with inspiring visuals. We’ll slide bookmarks in certain business books in bookstores.
We’ll put stickers on magazines on magazine stands. We’ll stick them on cars that need an upgrade and on cars that already have a sense of style. Bikes, vespas and cool helmets will not be safe either.
And the most talked-about version of this stunt: In clubs, at parties, fashion week, and other events, people will find stickers on the backs of their friends -- or on their own back -- that say “OOWWWAA, aren’t you a hottie! You have been Coolhunted.”
Whenever we have done this kind of offline campaign, we see huge numbers of people find us for the first time. They talk about it on Twitter and Facebook and we love all that talk! Welcome to all those who’ve already been Coolhunted.
When it happens to you, we want to know about it! Have you discovered TCh via our stickers?
The headline implies that there is a “body” whose anatomy you can analyze. The whole point of cool is that it does not have a body available for analysis. It’s like a ghost instead of a corpse. That’s why it is cool.
Just like all comments on cool, our analysis is completely individual and ever-changing. Cool is whatever you like and want. Cool is subjective. It is an opinion. But that does not mean that we — as individuals, brands, media — are not interested in or influenced by others’ views of what cool is.
In this sense cool is a bit like fashion. You decide and choose for yourself what you feel is fashionable within your peer group, your culture, your age group, at your financial level. But someone somewhere has given you the initial clue. Marketers and media have brought out the type of sneaker, the kind of jeans, the brand of handbag that you now like and want. In addition, someone you admire is most likely also wearing it. You follow fashion.
But cool is also definitely NOT like fashion. Cool is more about what the norm is NOT. Cool is elusive, indefinable, covetable. It is original, desirable, and not accessible to everybody. If everyone has it, if the brand becomes saturated, it stops being cool.
Occasionally, a brand manages to remain cool and covetable, and becomes a classic. Of the world-wide brands, examples of this include Apple, Absolut and Mini. Many niche brands have also achieved classic status in their relatively small circle. The defining characteristic of these cool classics is that they keep innovating constantly.
Visual & instant
Cool is visual and instant. When you see it, you like it instantly. If it takes a lot of work to figure out, it is not cool. This does not mean that only simple or simplified things or ideas can be cool. What it does mean is that you need to be able to see it.
This is one reason why cool and coolhunting and trend forecasting became so important to marketers as soon as the internet gave everyone instant access to images. Magazines, TV or advertisers could no longer control what cool looked like. Marketers who were used to being the ones who decided what the next trend or the next fashion was going to be, suddenly had to face this uncontrollable deluge of messages, opinions and information that consumers were passing on to each other. Viral marketing, as opposed to just word-of-mouth, emerged, and it scared traditional marketers.
Today’s consumers are sick of mass marketing and the sameness of brands. They want to be delighted, surprised and wowed by something that is authentic, different and off the mainstream. One of the reasons www.thecoolhunter.net has become so popular and influential is that we do not sell, market or create cool. We just give it an audience.
We process an enormous amount of information and identify what’s hot, exceptional, interesting, covetable. It must have an instantly obvious x-factor. Detecting it is always intuitive. There’s no formula, no rules, no parameters. We do find patterns, parallels and trends, but we do not become stuck in them and start looking for similar things. The intuitive reaction, the ability to observe the world, and the skill to process massive quantities of unrelated information is what we are good at.
All major media outlets follow us at thecoolhunter.net and fill their pages with ideas we feature. When we post a piece about an idea or a brand or a product, it gets an immediate global reaction from traditional media. Brands come to us for ideas and consultation. Individuals enjoy the fact that we prowl the world and bring original ideas to them. And as soon as we gained an audience, marketers, PR people and brands started to send us their material. So it’s an endless cycle.
For me, coolhunting is a fascinating, ever-changing process that no-one can control. You start with a blank space every day and look for something that deserves to fill it. If you don’t find it, you leave it blank. We are not like a newspaper or a daily blog that must find something to fill the space. We only put it out there if it has that elusive, indefinable wow-factor.
Indefinable & in motion
We are not in the business of defining cool, although I am asked to do that every day. Cool cannot have a definition.
But we do run into brands who seem to live under the illusion that if someone just defined for them what cool is, then they would be able to become cool, too. Then they’d know how to create it, market it, promote it, make money from it.
To a limited, impermanent extent, this is, of course, possible. We are regularly asked to come up with cool ideas, cool events, cool promotions — and we do that — but at the core there must already be a cool product, idea, cause, concept. You cannot make something cool by promo. And, if by the sheer brilliance of a cool promotion, you do succeed in creating a publicity or even sales boost for a brand, that does not make the brand cool. Coolness needs to be earned again and again.
To me, the essence of cool is motion. To become and remain cool, a brand must keep innovating constantly. It must remain in constant motion. This same is true for those of us who hunt for it.
While I don’t worry about defining cool for anyone else, I am always fascinated by how the people who follow us define it for themselves. We’ve posed that question recently on our Facebook & Twitter,and received hundreds of responses. They are such a perfect example of the fact that NOBODY can define it and EVERYBODY can. Here’s a sampling of the responses we’ve received. It shows that the definition of cool is always individual. - Bill Tikos
something sleek, simple and bold, that feels effortless.
to be the first, the original that starts a trend and is iconic.
forward-thinking, breaks boundaries, confident. Cool is the idea you wish you thought of first.
the audacity to be different for reasons that don’t need to be articulated & unconsciously achieving it.
effortless style, a hint of madness and heaps of attitude
a mindset —being informed, relaxed, and expressing it effortlessly.
the word 'cool' is just confidence in aesthetic form.
wonderful, clever and beautiful. From oh wow, ahhh, I get it! to it would make me look *good*
Cool is a person not being affected by other peoples opinons, or behaviour -staying cool in a critical situation. A cool person stick to what he/she thinks is right no matter what. A person who works hard to appear cool is the oposite. What is "Cool stuff", like on the Cool Hunter page, is defined by if it stands out, doing it's own thing.
the art of not needing to try to be it, of possessing enough confidence in your own ideas and style to turn heads.
the new ideal; it is moving confidently forward into a better future, assured that things to come will be better.
a person/place/thing pleasurable to observe as it appears to fulfill its nature effortlessly and with signature style
the time you spend to define what cool is, cool is already gone somewhere else. Welcome in the tiring cycle of coolness. :)
We see 'cool' in things/ideas/people that have an innate and untouchable authenticity about them. Things that redefine genres. Spawn global fads and inflame our insatiable appetite for originality and roads even more less travelled than the ones before.
Remaining unaffected and composed in a world which is filled with trouble and uncertainty. Living with a constant Miles Davis soundtrack in the background, acting accordingly.
Cool its everything that makes you think “WOW...“
Cool has nothing to do with the external. There is no object, gadget, fashion, or built environment which is cool by and of itself. The term is only manifest when the external thing becomes utilised and inspired by a person. Cool is merely confidence of character which is then made cool by the appreciation of an audience.
Anything within reason can be made cool by somebody with the power and subtlety to make it individual and authentic - except a Toyota Prius maybe.
Cool is not about trends or fashion, it's about being timeless and effortless.
Something that makes you feel like telling someone else about it.
Cool is only a momentary flash of brilliance ...Before it transforms to conventional.
When pessimistic people say something is cool, I pay attention and usually agree. It takes a lot to impress pessimism
1st image (Woodface) by Nelson Garrido
We are wondering why it is that car manufacturers are tripping over each other inventing boring and redundant “super modern” and “high design” cars, when the end result is a sea of lookalikes. One can no longer recognize a “premium” make from a lower-end car, certainly not by distinctive and recognizable design features.
They are unimaginative, uninspiring and suffer from a serious case of follow-itis. As opposed to being leaders and, in particular, design leaders. We see design tweaks and add-on features advertised as if they were a revolution when in fact, there’s nothing really significantly new or exciting. No wonder so many are giving up cars altogether. Why spend all that money to get what?
Our hopes are up a bit with a sighting of the carbon fiber-bodied “Bella Figura” Bugnotti. It is Delahaye USA’s tribute to Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean, and it was inspired by the 1937 classic Type 57S. This retro beauty will debut at the Retro Auto at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Aug. 13-15 in Monterey, CA.
We are all for going back to the basics, to looking at the best and most beautiful models of the past and resurrecting them. For example, there is nothing to add to the iconic design of a classic Saab. It was designed for minimal drag and that was partly the reason why the Saab was such a hot ticket as a rally car in the 1960s. And they had 3-cylinder engines, too.
Imagine if we could again drive cars this cool? Of course, they’d have the relevant and useful modern technology and electric power as well. Why is that not possible? - Bill Tikos
Nothing turns heads faster than a cool retro print on an über hot car, and our Space Invader and Pac Man inspired Mini Coopers had half of New York & L.A in a neckbrace from all the attention. Average Joes on the street became home-schooled paparazzi as they snapped away at the Mini on their mobile phones and forwarded them on to friends.
If you think your design has what it takes to get wrapped around a Mini then send it in to us this month and you could see your work blazoned across our exciting new global launch.
See also our Space Invaders pop up skate ramp
Two Door Cinema Club inhabit a curious position in the current musical landscape. On the surface they’re a typical indie-pop band, that’s obvious from the haircuts right down to the masterful knack for melody that these three Irish lads posses. But there’s more to it than that. The group’s energetic guitar blasts that riddle debut album Tourist History betray some serious punk leanings, not to mention the trio’s connection with French hipster den Kitsune has made them crossover stars with the dance and electro crowd. Indeed, the trio laid down parts of Tourist History with club stalwart Philippe Zdar of Cassius, an experience treasured by the trio.
“He is the best producer working in dance music right now, hands down,” says Kevin Barnes from Two Door Cinema Club down a crackling phone line from Northern Ireland. “And he was great to work with, he just wanted us to try out all his toys in the studio,” he says, adding that the current musical climate helped facilitate the hook-up with Zdar. “Now those genres have really blurred and the label you put on the music doesn’t matter so much anymore.”
Indeed, the melting pot of styles found on Tourist History only serves to enhance the accessibility and sheer fun of Two Door Cinema Club. It’s an intensely listenable record, and its thoughtful simplicity is something to be cherished in an age of grand designs and high pretension in indie rock. “We just wanted to make something that was true to the music that we have all been influenced by, and this is what we came up with” Barnes explains. “We did our best to ignore all the hype and just focus on doing what we love.” Dave Ruby Howe
This may not be your idea of a home but it is bold and fun, and it has certainly attracted wide media attention. The 8,500 square-foot Casa Son Vida is a cooperation between three powerhouses: Luxury residential developer Cosmopolitan Estates, eclectic Dutch designer and founder of Mooi, Marcel Wanders,, and award-winning Los Angeles, Switzerland and Hong Kong-based tecARCHITECTURE.
Casa Son Vida is located in the Balearic Islands off Spain, on the Island of Mallorca, where humans have lived since 6000–4000 BC and where more recently, tourists have over-crowded every beach. But Casa Son Vida avoids the touristy kitsch and aims much higher. It is in the exclusive Son Vida community, just 15 minutes from the capital of Palma.
Casa Son Vida is in fact a reno of a 1960s Mediterranean villa, but it has been turned into an fantastic, sprawling luxury residence, designed to attract the young, discerning and bold, who are confident and design-savvy enough to know what they are looking at.
The handiwork of Marcel Wanders is evident everywhere in the Casa that looks a bit like an unruly movie set with its dino-bone exterior staircase, and various bits and pieces that remind you of Tomorrowland, Mickey Mouse, Finding Nemo and, of course, Alice in Wonderland.
With its retro synthetic vibe, the house clashes happily with its lush surroundings, but the interior, in its white-dominant serenity is much less startling, although fun and unexpected detail is found in every space. There is absolutely nothing ordinary in this house. Everything is customized, every aspect considered a million times. It is a great example or considered chaos.
This is the first of six villas planned for the Platinum Estates development by the just less than a year-old Cosmopolitan Estates. The eclectic plans for the remaining villas reveal a series of large residences, radically different from each other. Casa Son Vida is currently not for sale but the other five are. Dream on. Tuija Seipell