Opened this spring in Poland’s second-largest city of Lodz, the Andels Hotel has one of the most stunning entrance foyers we have seen in a while. The restored, stoic, red-brick facade hides the entrance so well that the initial impression is very strong.If you need to host a large event and impress your guests in this city, this is the place to do it. Andels has a large conference space plus the city’s largest ballroom at 1,300 square meters, and it shares its expansive red-brick domain with the best in the city’s cultural and shopping offerings.
The hotel structure is Manufaktura, Polish textile magnate Izrael Poznans’s former textile mill, now meticulously restored under strict official guidelines for building preservation. We love the interplay of old and new, square and rounded, natural and artificial, intimacy and open space.
The design concept of Andels comes from Jestico + Whiles, an award-winning design and architecture firm with offices in London and Prague, and a long relationship with the Andels hotels. This month, Andels Hotel Lodz won the Best Conversion of an Existing Building in the 12th European Hotel Design Awards.
Andels Hotel Lodz is the first four-star hotel in Lodz and the latest addition to the Andels Hotels group, which in turn is part of the Vienna International Hotels & Resorts that has more than 40 hotels in Eastern European countries. - Tuija Seipell
These sculptural cast-concrete planters caught our eye as being perfect when presented in a massive row poolside at a Zaha Hadid-designed beach house. The tallest version of these is 45 inches (about 110 centimeters) high, an impressive presence even without plants. We’d imagine these will look spectacular used to display a bunch of tall dry grasses or branches, outdoors or in. The planters, made by Phoenix, Arizona-based Kornegay Designs, are called the Quartz Series.
The company has no inventory, as each planter is made to order. Custom colors shown in the image are azurite, citrine, topaz and amethyst. We also like Kornegay’s beautifully rounded Dune Series planters. - Tuija Seipell
T-shirt alert - New limited edition Tee's available for $35 from Toronto based brand, Handsome Clothing
What is it that makes Australian electro duo Tim & Jean so special? That's not meant as a corny opening line for this feature, that's a genuine question. We really want to know what kind of magic potion is running through the water in their hometown of Perth or how many virgins one needs to sacrifice in order to have what they have.
With just one song circulating around at the moment, the blissful synth-pop jam Come Around, Tim & Jean have already blown bloggers and industry types away. Indeed, after wowing Australian audiences as part of Triple J radio’s Unearthed competition, the duo has found itself in the middle of a major label bidding war in the US, cementing its buzz as the next big thing set to go supernova in 2010.
On Come Around the kids, and yes I do mean kids as the two are are just 15 and 18 respectively, show off a surprisingly masterful knack for melding mirror-ball electronics with stomping choruses and irresistible hooks. With more gold like this on the way now's the ideal time to fall for Tim & Jean as you can bet you'll be hearing a lot of them very soon. Listen below. - Dave Ruby Howe
See also 21 yr old Australian Jonathan Boulet
The work coming out of the talented team at OFIS Arhitekti of Ljubljana is consistently elegant and graceful, with a refreshing honesty and clarity. Many of their buildings exude a peaceful balance of curves that are never frivolous, sharp angles that are never harsh, and materials that are earnest and timeless.
Another recent example is their entry in the international competition to design the Ljubljana City Administration Center. OFIS’s suggestion came third in the competition that posed a considerable challenge of having to juggle the new buildings among existing, protected buildings and existing underground facilities as well. The total area of new buildings for the project is 42.288m2.
OFIS’s proposal is a series of rounded, low-rise glass-facade buildings that are modern yet toned-down and beautiful yet soberly sensible. All of the buildings in the entry convey a graceful sense of openness and appear welcoming and unstuffy — in stark contrast to the clunky, traditional “government office” style buildings so prevalent in Eastern European cities.
The proposal also meets lofty goals in terms of minimizing operational costs and maximizing sustainable practices — from optimizing indoor air, light and acoustic qualities, and using healthy and local materials, to minimizing the consumption of energy and water.
Project leaders for the entry were Rok Oman and Spela Videčnik, the two 39-year-old architects who established OFIS in 1998. They are both graduates of the Ljubljana School of Architecture and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. - Tuija Seipell
Look inside any of the best-dressed list wardrobes and you’ll find a mix of key designer looks, carefully selected vintage and some stand out one off pieces that have stood the test of time. The kind of pieces that you reach for over and over as you know that no matter how tired you are, how old the rest of your outfit feels, you’ll be happy with the overall look as long as you are wearing that piece.
Well, TCH a piece that will be the missing jigsaw piece to your wardrobe puzzle. For the ladies, a stylish, printed silk tunic dress that could be worn easily in winter with tights and a trench or in spring with heels and a statement necklace. At US$650, it’s an investment that will bring you plenty of return in your wardrobe. (Sizes 0 +1 only). Purchase exlusively through TCH below. - Kate Vandermeer
Just over a year ago, the former municipal mortuary at 104 de la rue d’Aubervilliers in the 19th arrondissement of Paris was transformed by Atelier Novembre into Centquatre, one of Europe’s largest artists-in-residence complexes.
There are no traces of what went on in the red-brick buildings before — coffin making, hearse repair and other such grim undertakings — it is now a place that exudes joy and play. Prolific and always fun Parisian designer Matali Crasset has now created a special 1,500-square-foot space for tiny artists as well. Maison des Petits (House of Little Ones) is an activity center for kids under six, where creativity and discovery are the only goals. Centquatre’s resident artists are encouraged to create toys and activities, but there is no set program.
Crasset’s colorful, surrealistic garden has a cozy and soft “navel” at the centre for the littlest ones to crawl in and for older kids, whimsical “activity mushrooms” and fun seats that look like gas cans or curling stones. - Tuija Seipell
Kettner’s in London’s Soho has hosted the famous since 1867 when Auguste Kettner, chef to Napoleon III, first opened the venue. Close to the theatres and other entertainment, the venue has undergone many incarnations with regular patrons from Oscar Wilde and King Edward VII to Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby each leaving their famous vibes in the space.
The four Georgian houses that form Kettner’s have now been refurbished, upgraded and reconfigured into several spaces: The Brasserie, The Pudding Bar, Champagne Bar, The Apartment and several private dining rooms and event spaces including the famed Cabinet Particulier and the grand The Salle.
The new Kettner’s with its fun, delicious and semi-sinful French undertones and furnishings was designed by London-based Ilse Crawford of Studio Ilse. Crawford’s other hospitality and retail assignments include a restaurant for Grand Hotel Stockholm, interiors for Kranzbach Spa Hotel in the Bavarian Alps and Aesop’s Mount Street shop in London. - Tuija Seipell
Jak & Jil blog - always delivers interesting looks
Hôtel de Sers in Paris exemplifies a building that fits magnificently in its new role as a hotel because the current owners’ expensive and extensive renovation retained the initial feel and the structural bones of the original mansion, and managed to insert today’s touches in a way that does not feel like a pretentious afterthought.
Today, Hôtel de Sers has 45 rooms, four junior suites, two large suites with terraces that overlook all of the splendor of Paris, and one 80-square-meter apartment. The original building was a four-storey mansion designed by architect Jules Pellechet in 1880 for Henri-Leopold Charles, the Marquis de Sers.
In the early 1900s, the building served as a medical facility and gained four more floors and a six-storey attachment. It has been a hotel since 1935. In 1999, the Vidalenc family took over the building that was then known as Hôtel le Queen Elizabeth, and the family's younger son, Thibault Vidalenc, became the general manager. He engaged his cousin, recently graduated architect Thomas Vidalenc, and together the two began the 11 million Euro transformation of the old mansion into the chic and desirable Hôtel de Sers it is today.
Thomas Vidalenc designed most of the furniture as well, and added the latest comforts, technology and amenities to the rooms, but the new never overpowers the French classical elements.
The designer touches -- such as modern, sculptural occasional tables, and chairs and cushions covered in retro-floral fabrics -- add a Scandinavian, modernist feel, but it all seems to somehow belong in this environment that is resplendent with gold, and old paintings and red velvet. Not an easy balance to achieve. - Tuija Seipell