Music

May 20 2009




It's hard to imagine any band that's able to utilise the studio as effectively as Grizzly Bear. The Brooklyn-based quartet seamlessly weaves instruments into textures, rendering music that is almost irrelevant to discuss in traditional terms of rhythm and arrangement. But Grizzly Bear's art is not something to be thought about, it's something to be felt; it sweeps through you, feathering imagination and unlocking emotion. While this is prodigiously modern music, the cleverness of its coordination and restraint of delivery makes it seem of a porous and playful past, leaving the listener lying on a hardwood floor in the 60s, reading Kerouac and smoking Lucky Strikes. A spectacular triumph, Veckatimest is as absolutely enchanting as it is thoroughly impressive. - Matt Shea

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Food

May 14 2009




You know how good you feel when you have just tidied your workspace, and how much more organized and productive you seem to be. Do great surroundings affect other areas of life as well? For example, if school meals were served in well-designed and good-looking spaces - could this encourage healthy eating and improve the well-being of students?

That was the theory behind a pilot project of The School Food Trust, a government body in the UK chaired by Michelin-starred chef, writer and entrepreneur, Prue Leith. The Trust aims to improve the quality of school food and to promote the health of children and young people.



The Trust has been working with students to gain an understanding of the importance of the lunchtime environment. The goal is to create new school dining environments across the UK.

A pilot project - The Applemore College Canteen (or ACC as it has been rebranded) - was recently completed at Applemore Technology College in Southampton, where on a tight budget of £55K, the once-dull and lifeless dining hall was transformed into a buzzing eatery and hang-out space, extremely popular among the students.



Designed by renowned architects SHH, the 4,000-square-foot interior now has a relaxed cafeteria feel with areas zoned for eating and for casual hanging-out. The ACC’s innovative features include hanging graphic panels which help absorb noise, and an industrial feel and striped motif inspired by Manchester's popular Hacienda club.

“This pilot project proves that well-designed and suitably equipped kitchens and dining areas are solid investments for the future and contribute significantly to the whole school approach to healthy lifestyles and to the overall success of the school,”says Barbara Roberts, Delivery Manager at The Trust.



Clearly, you don’t have to be a trendy bar, a boutique hotel or the pop-up store of the moment, to create positive buzz. This project shows that with some well thought-out ideas and innovative planning, even the dullest of spaces can be transformed. And at reasonable cost. - Brendan McKnight
 

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Music

May 7 2009



Death. Abuse. Illness. Heavy-handed subject matter that, in hands less-skilled than those of US indie outfit The Antlers, could have ended up sounding like a concept album scripted by the guy who writes the sad bits in Grey's Anatomy.

Sentimental, introspective indie music has produced some of the best and worst music of this decade and The Antlers - like forerunners Arcade Fire, whose aptly named Funeral also took in ruminations on death and isolation - manage to create an album in Hospice that pours out more like poetic diary entries than a ham-fisted attempt at a linear, tear-jerking narrative. Musically, The Antlers build on the tension between intimate and sprawling dynamics. Beginning with a textured drone that moves into the album's most openly vigil-inviting track, Kettering, The Antlers maintain an affinity with ambience and abstract noises that makes proceedings both more sinister and disorienting. The vocals are suitably thin and at their loudest there's still an underlying fragility to it all.

This could have easily resulted in a big mess, but it's in treading so close to that line and ultimately pulling it off that Hospice becomes that much more exciting and vital. - Matt Hickey

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Architecture

April 30 2009




Reflection of Mineral is a 480-square-foot (about 45 square meters) residence located in downtown Tokyo’s Nakano ward. Designed by architect Yasuhiro Yamashita Reflection of Mineral has received wide architecture and design media attention and numerous international awards.



Depending on viewpoint, the house looks like a bulky camper van about to take off. Or it seems to be the result of a giant’s frustrated attempt to fashion a house from a square box. Realizing that the site is too small and the wrong shape for his house, the giant just stuffed the house into the site by force. The whimsy of this beautiful residence is a big part of its charm. At the same time, the house is also an elegant expression of modern Japanese minimalism, and an example of brilliant use of a sparse site, a requirement in the tight space of downtown Tokyo.



Also beautiful is the way in which the interior appointments — the lines of the bathtub, the curves of the waste bins, the wavy length of the utilitarian shelves — respond to the lines of the building. This makes the interior seem larger and much less boxy than one would assume from the outside.



Yasuhiro Ymashita who was born in Kagoshima in 1960. He established Atelier Tekuto in Tokyo in 1991.  - Tuija Seipell

 

Fashion

April 29 2009



The owl as a fashion trend originated from the craft world. It has since been interpreted on many a fashionable outfit, toy, tote bag and statement accessory since. But none quite like this fabulous singlet dress ($45) for mini fashionistas, complete with ombre background to really make the owl print stand out!  Not only is it likely to offer wisdom to your emerging hunter of cool, but it will help you find them in crowds!!   

Kidswear has undergone a huge transformation over the last few years, led by a new generation of designers who have applied their creativity to the children's category, usually after having kids themselves. Today kidswear is a carbon copy of adult fashion - incorporating key trends.



(Above) Flannel Overshirt - $75,  Mini cord skirt $55, Bunny half length sweater - $55 

You know a brand has succeeded when you look at a kids item and want to wear it yourself. Like this new collection, which features graphic print t-shirts, shorts and boardies, which wouldn't look out of place on the backs of urban hipsters.



(Above) Bunny longsleeve tee $45,  Tote Bag - $35, Green Cave Man tee - $45, Panel Spray Jacket - $95


Unfortunately you need to be aged six or under to squeeze into them so we've accepted that they are strictly for kids. If you have any little people in your life, you can purchase a limited number of these pieces through us - email [email protected]



(Above) Mini cord dress - $75, dip dye sweater - $65



(Above) - Cave man tee - $45, Mini cord dress - $75)



(Above) - Pack Man tee - $45 - Smiley tee $45 - B+W shorts - $55


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Stores

April 27 2009



After having re-designed the Toronto flagship of Canada’s only luxury department store, Holt Renfrew, in 2005, design duo Paul Filek and Diego Burdi of Burdifilek received another great commission by the same owners.
 
They were asked to revitalize another retail icon: Dublin’s menswear retail destination Brown Thomas.


 
Brown Thomas (and its BT2) and Holt Renfrew are both part of the Wittington Investment Group that also includes Selfridges in the UK.
 
In Dublin – as in the Holt Renfrew store of their home town of Toronto – Burdi and Filek took a bold approach to luxury retail by using both traditional luxury touches and completely new materials.
 
In the lower-concourse men’s department of Brown Thomas’s Grafton-Street flagship, Burdifilek created two environments: An old-world bespoke-inspired haven of luxury, and a bold, ocean-blue contemporary zone that says luxury in a more modern language.


 
A walnut wall sculpture, custom wool carpeting and chocolate-brown suede walls deck the more traditional bespoke section and its tailoring area. The art-gallery atmosphere of the blue fashion-forward zone sparkles and gleams in silver, blue and polished stainless steel.
 
Responding to the client’s desire to evoke a progressive sensibility to international luxury retailing, Burdifilek used exclusive custom furnishings, unexpected materials and bold statements.


 
Brown Thomas’s Grafton Street store has been a destination of demanding worldly consumers since 1849. It offers high-end designer fashion, accessory, cosmetics and home ware brands from around the world.
 
Diego Burdi is the design and creative lead of Burdifilek while Paul Filek is the dealmaker and managing partner. The two graduates of the Ryerson interior design program, together with their growing team of designers and specialists, occupy an 8,000-square-foot studio at Queen and Bathurst Streets in Toronto. - Tuija Seipell


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Music

April 27 2009



Having already released their first single on iconic Parisian label Kitsune, German duo Hey Today! are gracing another prestigious boutique imprint, Bang Gang 12 Inches, as spearheaded by notorious Australian party-people the Bang Gang. The result of this hookup is Wonderman, a mutant disco mess of spine-shaking beats and glitched-out vocoder tweaks. From the skyscraper-sized drums to its wild and wide-eyed breakdown, Wonderman is super-powered music from two super-powered producers. And now that Justice have jumped the shark with that U2 remix, we could use some new heroes. - Dave Ruby Howe

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Ads

April 23 2009



Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that make the best advertisements - and who doesn’t remember creating wacky hairdo’s with the bath bubbles in the tub as a kid. Well at least we do. Take a look at these simple yet effective ads by JWT Frankfurt for ‘extra strong’ Priorin shampoo. - Brendan McKnight



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Ads

April 20 2009



Brussel's agency TBWA took the concept of a 'splash of paint' quite literally when it created this striking print ad for paint manufacturer Levis. Drawing a parallel between interiors and fashion is nothing new but rarely does it work so well, particularly in a print context. Sexy and commanding. Not usually word you associate with paint. - Lisa Evans 

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Architecture

April 20 2009




Marcio Kogan’s Panama House is a residence designed for art. Located in São Paulo, Brazil, the house makes a powerful but subdued statement in its low, open, elongated elegance — a hallmark of Kogan’s architecture.


 
In the past few years, the award-winning, Brazilian-born architect’s Studio MK27 has produced a steady stream of low-rise, boxy work – all with an uncanny intimacy, yet without any of the usual stuffy treatments that supposedly create intimacy.



At the Panama House, there are no cozy nooks, no soft furnishings, no homey touches. And yet, there is a feeling of comfort and livability in this art-gallery-of-a-house that makes you want to move in tomorrow.



All levels of the three-storey house — including the bedrooms, office, gardens and patio — are used to display the owner’s substantial collection of predominantly modern Brazilian art and sculpture.



An uninterrupted connection between inside and out makes the entire space seem unlimited, translucent, as if without walls, although the structure is essentially a wooden box inside a C-shaped concrete cask made of cement slabs and a wall.



The sliding vertical wood lathes that form the brise soleils for each room’s facade, are also an important part of establishing the prevailing openness. The brise soleils also provide comfort and privacy, and enable the control of the artworks’ exposure to direct sun.



Most beautifully, they also create the soft play of light that matches the overall linear shapes — created by creases in window treatments, the floor boards, the rows of pillows on long sofas, the stone work outside — continuing the elongated language of the entire building.



The São Paulo-born architect Marcio Kogan graduated from Mackenzie University in 1976 and created films until the age of 30. His considerable talents of creating drama, understanding a setting and leading the eye are certainly evident in the award-winning Panama House. - Tuija Seipell