Tom Dixon’s career has taken him from discovering the idea for the S-bend chair while welding motorcycle parts, to being one of the hottest designers of lighting, furniture and interiors, and to occupying the chair of Creative Director at the venerable Finnish Artek.
Dixon’s latest showpiece, Tazmania Ballroom in Hong Kong, opened recently in the Central District (Lan Kwai Fong) where more than 100 bars, restaurants and entertainment venues attract people from around the world.
Tazmania’s owner is Hong Kong entertainment entrepreneur Gilbert Yeung Kei-lung. With his British boarding school and Canadian college upbringing, he wanted a British private-club atmosphere, but without the stuffiness.
He tapped Dixon’s Design Research Studio and lead designer Helene Bangsbo Andersen who employed refined James Bondish snobbery with its retro high-tech and combined it with a confident, cool club atmosphere.
The result is an exclusive and glamorous mix of a pool hall/private club/dance club/night club. Golden pool tables are magically lifted to the ceiling making room for one of Hong Kong’s largest dance floors where resident DJs keep the carefully screened guests hopping with the latest Funktion One ound system. The British street culture is emphasized with the staffers attire: they wear Doc Martens and Fred Perry.
Dixon’s own pieces decorate the opulent space including the Cone, Pipe and Copper Shade lights and the Offcut Stool.
Gilbert Yeung is also the founder of the Dragon-I bar and restaurant, Busy Suzie and Brother & Sister store and cafe. He is the son of Albert Yeung Sau-Shing, Hong Kong entertainment tycoon and chairman of the media conglomerate Emperor Entertainment Group. Tuija Seipell
Floral designers are just floral designers but Andreas Verheijen is a "flower engineer." The strange title may sound like a bit of bad PR until you see his work. It's startling, it stops you in your tracks. Are they real?
How did he do it? Wow. He sculpts a plant display the way a sculptor would handle marble or wood or clay. He reveals the sculptural beauty of a branch of a palm. He creates a hair piece of feathers and moss. He carves a gourd into sensual art. He makes color pop in ways that look unnatural, yet the pieces are real.
Events, shows, displays, massive theatrical floral extravaganzas. We never knew you could do all this with flowers. The master florist was born in the Dutch dahlia town of Zundert, spent 15 years in charge of sales at Harrods floral department in London and now works as a freelancer in Europe. - Tuija Seipell.
Math professor Dr. James Stewart, who is also a former violinist with the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra near Toronto, Ontario, has made millions writing calculus textbooks. When he decided to spend most of his fortune on a residence, he could have used any architect anywhere in the world.
Instead of an international star, he selected the then-relatively unknown pair, Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe of Shim Sutcliffe to create his residence in a ravine in the posh Toronto neighborhood of Rosedale.
Stewart was not looking to build just a residence, though. He also wanted a private concert hall and lots of curves. Other than that, he gave the architects unprecedented and probably never-to-be-repeated freedom. No schedule, and no design restrictions.
A decade after the initial discussions with Shim and Sutcliffe, the $24 million US, 18,000-square-foot Integral House was completed. It does, indeed, have a multitude of seductive curves, massive amounts of floor to ceiling glass and a spectacular staircase. And, Dr. Stewart now gives concerts and throws parties and costume balls in his 150-seat concert hall.
The house exudes a patina, a classic semi-Scandinavian simplicity that makes it seem older, more established and mature than a brash, brand-new house. There’s a lovely sense of dynamism as well, as if the building were in motion, rolling along ever so slowly, or perhaps just coming to stillness after a long architectural journey.
The fantastic staircase is really a commissioned work of art, a collaboration between the architects, glass artist Mimi Gellman, and structural engineer David Bowick. It is constructed of hand-blown blue glass rectangles that are supported by cast bronze clips and stainless steel cables.
The house has already been on the Architectural Digest annual Toronto tour and it has become a part of the city’s must-see architecture. In a Wall Street Journal article, Glenn D. Lowry, director of New York's Museum of Modern Art, was quoted as saying: "I think it's one of the most important private houses built in North America in a long time. Tuija Seipell
Photographs by Jim Dow, Ed Burtynsky & Bob Gundu
Supermachine Studio in Bangkok, Thailand, is a group of four multitasking architects that team member Pitupong “ Jack” Chaowakul describes as “small office – big projects.” “We work like guerrilla designers, everyone does everything, constantly shifting,” he told TCH.
Supermachine’s latest achievement is the interior design of two floors of one of Bangkok University’s new four-storey buildings that form the new, spectacular Landmark complex, designed by Bangkok-based 49 Group.
Supermachine’s work in the Bangkok University Creative Center (BUCC) - about 600 square meters in total – includes a workshop, library, exhibition space, viewing room and office.
According to Chaowakul, BUCC was set up as part of the government’s goal to transform the country’s economy from agricultural and industrial into the creative economy. To encourage creativity, communication and experimentation, the BUCC facility needed to be open, playful, expressive and flexible.
One of Supermachine’s solutions was the “Lo-Fi pixel wall” at the entrance. They covered a 180 square-meter wall surface with 10,000 custom-made rotating four-sided plastic pieces. Each piece has a pink, blue, green and yellow side. Students can rotate each unite and create color patterns, write messages or just experiment with the tactile wall.
In the student workshop, Supermachine enclosed the internet center in a space-ship like green pod that students can move around in the open space.
Construction at BUCC is coming to a close and the facility will open shortly for students. Supermachine is currently working on the interiors for the university's student lounge facility. - Tuija Seipell
Unexpected details make Griffins Steakhouse Extraordinaire more interesting than your typical American steakhouse. That, plus the fact that it is located in Stockholm, in the brand new Waterfront Building in the downtown area between the City Hall and the Central Train Station.
The concept and execution of this restaurant – with its homey atmosphere spiced up by hints of travel, science and glamour -- was designed by Stylt. The restaurant’s imaginary host couple, the Griffins, have a penchant for mysticism and alchemy that is reflected in the eclectic interior.
Led by creative director Erik Nissen Johansen, the Gothenburg-based Stylt has recently designed several other eateries in Stockholm including Marion's Gastro Diner and the Orangeriet. - Tuija Seipell.
We're completely obsessed with Margo from L.A - Wicked, original songs, videos and overall style. She holds her own, doing her own thing and totally OWNS it. Very Sheila E/Prince meets Cindy Lauper back in the day.
Born in Toronto, now based between L.A/new York, she's got the sexy, disco diva looks, individuality, talent, rockstar style, and performance skills to really make it big. Will keep an eye on Margo for now. Talent can only take you so far - we do hope she has good management behind her. Watch below
Paris has now joined Beijing, Beirut, Buenos Aires, Doha, Dubai, Florence, Geneva, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Macao, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Portofino, Riyadh, Shanghai and Tokyo as a location of an Officine Panerai watch boutique.
The Parisian shop opened in September in the 1st arrondissement on Rue de la Paix's jewelery row, between Place Vendôme and Opéra Garnier.
The Italian company was founded in Florence in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai. It became the official supplier of the Italian Navy and continued to build various precision instruments for the army's diving corps. Panerai remained relatively unknown in the civilian world until its bulky watches were brought to popular attention by Sylvester Stallone who wore a Panerai Luminor watch during the shooting of the movie Daylight in Rome. Stallone then ordered and signed a special batch of the watches called Slytech. He gave them to his friends, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stallone has since worn many Panerais, including the largest Panerai wrist watch, the limited-edition Panerai Egiziano, with a face that is 60mm in diameter.
The interior of the 41 square-meter Parisian boutique echoes Panerai's naval traditions by emphasizing precision and quality, and featuring such materials as teak and steel. - Bill Tikos
THIS is what we will want in our office now! Pinball may be living a second life as a retro thing to do and own, but what we really want now is to be living (or working, playing) IN a pinball machine!
Our hopes for this were aroused by the super clever exhibit of Modular Lighting Instruments at Interieur 2010, the 22nd International Design Biennale that took place October 15 – 24 at Kortrijk Xpo venue in Kortrijk, Belgium .
In a colorful and fun human-scale pinball machine, completely lit by LED lights, Modular introduced its latest LED ceiling lights, Spock and O’Leaf, for the first time to the general public.
The playing field of the game was divided into the same sections as the Modular lighting catalogue: Orientation, Accent, General and Dynamic making it easy for the “players”-- potential specifiers and buyers of the new lights – to pay attention to the lights, and not just the fun surroundings. Apparently, this energy-efficient exhibit used 70 % less energy than the company’s 2008 exhibit at the same event.
The Roeselade, Belgium-based Modular Lighting Instruments has showrooms across Europe and additional offices in the Netherlands and France.
Both of the new fixtures, Spock and O’Leaf, were designed by Bram Couvreur and Bjorn De Vos of Couvreur & Devos, also located in Roeselade. - Bill Tikos
We have all seen more than enough of the stacked-boxes genre of architecture. Boring, cold, uninviting, uninhabitable and so last decade.
Yet, once in a while, a set of images crosses our desks of a project that could potentially fall into the has-been category but doesn’t, and instead makes us look again and ponder the beauty of great architecture.
This is the case with Casa Fez, a new house in Porto, Portugal, designed by architect Álvaro Leite Siza Vieira. The architect calls it “the work of my life” as it is a residence he created for himself. “This project and everything behind it was a huge challenge,” he told TCH. “I needed a lot of willpower and courage -- even more than when I decided to become an architect. I try sew up objectives, interests and goals. I followed an ideal and I finally achieved my dream.”
From some angles, we see glimpses of Tomorrowland, but we are willing to overlook that because from so many other viewpoints, the statuesque poise of the structure and the stark clarity of lines brings back memories of Alvar Aalto. One can almost imagine this house in the birch forests of Finland.
With this residence, Álvaro Leite Siza Vieira aimed to “achieve a new kind of romanticism” and he continued this artistic thought throughout.
The architect started planning his dream house in 2004 and the construction was finally finished earlier this year. He did absolutely everything himself – not just planning, coordinating and supervising the construction but also creating the interiors and the tiniest of details, including the doors and doorknobs, hand rails, furnishings, lighting, furniture and even some paintings. Mixed with the new pieces are historical and timeless pieces inherited from the family and perfect for this environment.
Architect Álvaro Leite Siza Vieira, who was born in 1962 in Porto, graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Escola do Porto in 1994. He has an impressive pedigree that includes touches of Finland, which perhaps explains the Aalto-like feel of this house.
He is the son of one of the best-known Portuguese architects, Álvaro Siza Vieira, winner of the 1992 Pritzker Prize and the 1988 Alvar Aalto Medal, among many other accolades.
Father and son collaborated in the creation of their competition entry for the Museum of Contemporary Art, KIASMA, in Helsinki in 1992 (won by American architect Steven Holl.)
The son Álvaro Leite Siza Vieira is best known for his Casa Tolo in northern Portugal, a residence that cascades down a steep hill like a clunky staircase fit for a giant.
For this latest residence, his own dream-come-true, he has conjured up a tranquil sense of sculptural beauty.
The white structure, sitting on a non-descript site, draws you inside where magnificent, bold ceiling details assist in creating a sense of wonder and interest.
Natural light, wooden floors, unadorned windows all add up to a simplicity that resembles a gallery, museum or concert hall.Casa Fez does not pretend to be a cozy home, but is instead a statement residence that fits the owner’s’ lifestyle – and is perfect for him. - Tuija Seipell. Photos © Fernando Guerra