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
Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem describes itself as the first luxury lifestyle hotel in Israel and Jerusalem. With its city-center location and views of the old city walls, it connects old and new gracefully. Mamilla is a refined and elegant reminder that just as the word “urban” comes from the ancient Latin word urbs for “city,” luxurious city living in aesthetic harmony with the surroundings is not something we have invented in the last few hundred years. So, yes, this may indeed be the first luxury lifestyle hotel in Jerusalem that we will have the chance to enjoy today, but it probably has predecessors in the distant past of this historic, global city.
Deftly, by letting the milieu and setting speak their language, Mamilla’s main creative forces, Massachusetts-based Moshe Safdie and Milan’s Piero Lissoni, have avoided one of the syndromes that has become boringly common in hotels aspiring to exude luxury and cool — the overuse of black and white with a few splashes of bright color.
Many of us have vivid sensory memories about Jerusalem: the ever-present sand and stone, the strong sun, the subtle surface textures, and the soft, sun-bleached tones of color. Mamilla expresses all of this, and that harmony creates a peaceful, classy and confidently un-trendy hotel environment.
To protect Jerusalem’s ancient ambiance, all new construction must by law use the local light-hued limestone called Jerusalem Stone. In this hotel, the use of the stone is prevalent, but not pretentious. For example, in each of the 194 rooms, the bedside walls are of exposed Jerusalem Stone in harmony with the massive metal headboards and dark wooden floors, and in contrast with the modern, Piero Lissoni custom-designed furnishing and bathrooms.
The Israel-born architect Moshe Safdie is also the planner of the adjacent Alrov Mamilla Avenue, a shopping and entertainment area overlooking the Old City.
The Mamilla Hotel is part of Alrov Luxury Hotels Holding – the hotel and hospitality subsidiary of Tel-Aviv-based real estate company Alrov, founded in 1978. In addition to Mamilla, Alrov Luxury Hotels owns the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem and is developing two properties in heritage buildings in Europe: the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam and the Café Royal Hotel in London. - Tuija Seipell
See also Neve Tzedek Hotel, Tel Aviv
The bloggerati have well and truly taken over the various fashion weeks around the globe, front rows filled with social networkers tweeting to their faceless fans. So how does an old-school fashion magazine stand out?
French Grazia magazine tackled the challenge recently at Paris Fashion Week with pug dog balloons. Of course!! Why not?? A simple, old-school talking-point stunt that certainly got their girls noticed. We're guessing they're referencing the chi-chi practice of carrying a lap-dog to such events. We're not sure. And who cares. We just think they're cute. Lisa Evans
The annual Leipzig Book Fair (Leipziger Buchmesse) has just ended. Attracting some 150,000 visitors each March, the four-day Fair is one of Europe’s largest bookish events.
At this year’s Fair, the trade show exhibit that received some serious media attention was made of 15,000 pencils — the writing instrument hardly anybody uses for writing. Interior Architect and product designer, 29-year-old Johannes Albert and Book Designer Helmut Stabe designed and realized the pencil concept for Mitteldeutscher Verlag Publishers.
The pencils function as giveaways, as decorative objects and as parts of the construction of the booth. The idea is that the visitors can decide to take a pen, alter the display, or leave it all as is. 315 of the pencils actually held the perforated boards in position while others functioned as wall stands for the books. - Tuija Seipell.
see also Matt Bilfields - Peggy
Macquarie investment bank’s new harborside office building, One Shelley Street, at King Street Warf in Sydney has been collecting accolades and awards for not only architecture and design but also for environmental sustainability and workplace functionality.
The main players in the team behind the building are Sydney-based Fitzpatrick & Partners, responsible for the design of the actual building, and West Hollywood’s Clive Wilkinson Architects that led the design team in the interior design and outfitting with Woods Bagot as the local executive architect.
Apart from the obvious visual appeal of the 10-storey office space, particularly impressive is Clive Wilkinson’s execution of the idea of using design as a key component in causing change — in encouraging and facilitating a new way of working. Macquarie wanted to adopt a new collaborative working style — Activity-Based Working (ABW), a flexible work platform developed by Dutch consultant Veldhoen & Co. — and the new office facility would play an important part in making this happen.
Macquarie’s 3,000 employees now work in an open and highly flexible space where, for example, in the 10-storey atrium, 26 various kinds of ‘meeting pods’ create a feel of ‘celebration of collaboration’ and contribute to openness and transparency.
The interior staircases have already reduced the use of elevators by 50%, and more than half of the employees say that they change their workspaces each day, and 77% love the freedom to do so.
We like Wilkinson’s own description of the result: “. . . a radical, large-scale workplace design that leverages mobility, transparency, multiple tailor-made work settings, destination work plazas, follow-me technology, and carbon neutral systems. The result is part space station, part cathedral, and part vertical Greek village.”
Clive Wilkinson Architects is known for creative workplaces. Their clients include ad agencies such as Mother, JWT and TBWA\Chiat\Day, and technology firms in the Silicon Valley and Nokia in Finland. - Tuija Seipell.