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.
The night scene in Phuket, Thailand, changed permanently last fall, when SOUND Phuket night club opened. The launch night audience included the who-is-who of local and international jetset elite, and the vibes have only improved since.
Located on the third floor of the Jungceylon shopping and entertainment complex in the Patong resort, SOUND can accommodate an impressive 700 clubbers.
It is part of the stable of upscale boutique hotels, destination restaurants, clubs and bars conceptualized and operated by the Bed Management Company, the group behind the popular Bed Supperclub in Bangkok that opened seven years ago.
SOUND’s design theme, realized by Orbit Design Studio (Bangkok, London and Tokyo) in association with Bed Supper Club, is the human ear in all of its super-human awesomeness, so everything in the interior is rounded, curved and tubular. While mimicking the human body, the SOUND environment with its intense audio and visual effects offers a surreal, out-of-body sci-fi experience.
The walls and décor contribute integrally to creating a superior acoustics and audio environment. The fantastic lighting, designed by Inverse (London and Bangkok) uses the latest club lighting technology. One of the central attractions is the bar lit by a stunning 19-meter graphic equalizer LED screen that is synchronized to the music that ranges form electronic music, hip-hop and R n' B to house depending on the DJ and the theme of the night. - Tuija Seipell
In a world where people appreciate good design everywhere, cool mini hotel rooms are the latest ‘it’ trend. In Tokyo, the Capsule Inn exemplifies the bare-essentials hotel rooms for brief use, and similar concepts are popping up at airports, train stations and downtowns around the world, replacing and mimicking the “day rooms” already existing at many airports.
Unlike Tokyo’s bed-only cabins where customers climb into a human equivalent of a honeycomb for a night’s rest, Yotel pods at Gatwick and Heathrow airports in London and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam come in larger and more comfortable formats. These self-contained mini hotel rooms are equipped with a bed, table, HD TV and Wi-Fi.
The fourth Yotel is set to arrive in New York in 2011 with a location opening on 42nd and 10th street boasting 669 luxury rooms and the largest outside terrace in any hotel in New York
Also in Amsterdam, Citizen M has a hotel with 230 mini rooms at Schiphol Airport and a 215-room hotel in Amsterdam City. Citizen M plans to open similar hotels across Europe.
Qbic Hotels has opened two “cheap chic” hotels with mini rooms in the Netherlands: Qbic World Trade Centre Amsterdam and Qbic Maastricht, plus one in Antwerp, Belgium.
Taking the next step in rest and space efficiency, Russia’s Arch Group designed the SleepBox.
Along with an airport version of the rest pod, equipped with the usual, high-tech necessities offered by other companies, Arch Group has also designed an easy-to-relocate version fit for hostels. A small, mobile compartment, 2m (l) x 1.4m (w) x 2.3m (h), SleepBox is made of wood and MDF. SleepBox is meant to “allow very efficient use of available space and, if necessary, a quick change of layout”, making it perfect for hostels where demand and space available often come in conflict with each other. The hostel-specific SleepBox features bunk beds, flip-out tables and sockets for computers or phone chargers and not much else. Yuri Pushkin, Tuija Seipell.
A big welcome also to our Brazilian readers. As of this week, TCH will have a weekly column in O Estado de S. Paulo, one of the most important newspapers in Brazil with a daily readership of 1 million.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the numerous print magazines/newspapers that have published feature stories on TCH and our numerous projects.
Didn’t think you’d ever end up window shopping for beef tenderloin? Get ready for a rethink, especially if you are on Queen Street in Woollahra, Sydney, Australia.
In the well-established suburb, tree-lined streets offer a perfect enclave for cafes and boutiques, and for that most unlikely of things, a supremely cool butcher shop. Victor Churchill is the first, and so far the only, butcher shop established by Vic and Anthony Puharich, the father and son duo behind Vic’s Premium Quality Meat, the leading meat supplier to some of the finest restaurants in Australia, China and Singapore.
A butcher shop -- Churchill’s Butchery -has operated in the space since 1876, so it was an appropriate location for what the Puharichs envisioned as a European-inspired designer shop of meaty delights.
To realize their vision, they engaged Sydney-based Dreamtime Australia Design whose many restaurant, bar and resort projects around the world combine traditional and modern elements in a deliciously layered and multi-textured way. This was Dreamtime’s first retail project but too juicy to pass, says Dreamtime director, Michael McCann
The store boasts so many unique, custom-designed and exclusive features that the only way to absorb it all is a real-life visit. The features provoke, intrigue and amuse the customer – starting with the façade with its double-glazed, refrigerated vitrine for viewing the ever-changing array of hanging meat and poultry, plus selections displayed on custom-made copper and glass shelving.
Inside, butchers work at timber butcher’s blocks on a “stage” behind floor-to-ceiling glass while specialty cuts of meat and carcasses, hung from a custom-designed cog gear and metal chain rack, slowly pass by. The backdrop for all this is a Himalayan rock salt brick wall that infuses the hanging meat with flavor and sterilizes the air. In a humorous nod to a recent Louis Vuitton window display, multiple video cameras are trained onto the daily special inside a glass dome on a pedestal.
Victor Churchill is definitely on the leading edge of redefining the meat shop category. (See also their iPhone application) We are seeing this happening slowly in other food, restaurant and grocery categories as well as our McDonald's -McFancy. We are all for a future without a single sprig of plastic parsley! - Tuija Seipell
L’Arc Paris, Restaurant-Bar & Club, has been open for four months and at least the Club has already become the place where you go if you want to be with the chic, the famous and the beautiful. Mostly, you go there to be seen.
Last month, one of the must-see occasions at the Club was the Chloé Van Paris’s Fashion Burlesque Ball, a masquerade where the dress code, according to the Club’s Facebook page. Party - Club Party was “13 cm heels, nylon, glamorous stockings, retro, pine-up, dandy, sexy, smart and glamorous.”
At the Restaurant, chef Antony Germani (of L’Atelier Joël Robuchon) presides over menus of seasonal everything-made-from-scratch delicacies.
L’Arc occupies the former premises of l’Etoile Nightclub at 12 rue de Presbourg, with views of Arc de Triomphe but it was completely redesigned by Cannes-based Prospect Design.
Prospect was established in 1996 by Samy Chams (and expanded into Dubai in 2005) whose night-club design work includes VIP Room in St Tropez, Baili in Cannes, and Maddox and Movida in London. - Tuija Seipell