It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that toys and childhood play were the guiding inspirations for the recently completed children’s sports and recreation center in Saint-Cloud, a wealthy community located in the metropolitan area of Paris, about six miles from the city center.
Designed by Paris-based KOZ Architects, and coexisting with several older educational buildings and a residential development, the 1,600 square-meter facility is unexpected and bold in its riotous use of colors both inside and out. A more typical an approach for this type of neighborhood would have been a structure that vanishes into its surroundings.
The funhouse by KOZ has turned into a favorite of kids, parents and teachers, as the facility was planned and its wild colors used in specific ways that fosters the intended functions -- play and sports – and not just to shock or delight.
Joining cube-shaped, basic concrete structures with an overlay and creating a sports court on top of the building have not only increased the building’s usability and maximized the use of the site, but also accommodated the complex’s surprisingly easy fit into the site. A monolithic, monotonic approach would have created a mass much more imposing and seemingly unfriendly than the varying-height structure with its pixelated glass facade that now draws children in through color and an abundance of natural light.
KOZ was established in 1999 Christophe Ouhayoun and Nicholas Ziesel, graduates of the Paris-Belleville School of Architecture who both spent part of their childhoods in the USA. With three other architectural firms, KOZ established a collaborative collective, Plan01 in 2001. - Tuija Seipell
We are excited to soon be launching TCH customized designer car wraps, so that car can really feel they a cut above everyone else on the road. We are imagining the fun that owners will have in selecting their favorite design for their very own car.
We would love to hear from designers/illustrators/art directors who would be interested in submitting a design for consideration as one of the final 25 options. If you are interested, please email us and we will give you the details on how to submit your design. Have you seen our Mini in Neon colors?
Not so long ago, we noticed the handiwork of Deardesign when they created the Munich sports shoe concept store in Barcelona’s massive L’illa Diagonal.
Now Ignasi Llauradó and Eric Dufourd, the founders of the Barcelona-based design and architecture studio, have completed another flagship store in the same mall. This time, the store belongs to local fashion brand Lurdes Bergada, Syngman Cucala, established by the 30-year fashion veteran, Lurdes Bergada.
In keeping with the fashion brand’s industrial and minimalistic style, Deardesign created a vast hangar-like feel by including all of the functions of the store – both client-facing and back-room – under one roof, but separating them with a curving wall.
This wall, created with 1,000 pieces of beech wood screwed together by 2,400 screws, forms an igloo-like huge presence and becomes a focal point that emphasizes the size of the entire space. Each piece of wood is unique and each piece is visibly numbered – a necessary technical detail for building the wall and a creative design idea to expose the “making of” and to bring attention to the construction features. The use of concrete, wood and cement further adds to the warehouse-like atmosphere.
The clothing brand is all about simple, clean lines and technical ability, and the industrial feel of the store interior echoes this beautifully.
Lurdes Bergada and her son, Syngman Cucala, are known for the practicality and high quality of their fashionable clothing for both men and women, sold in their five stores (including two in Madrid) of which the first opened in 1978.
For Deardesign, this flagship is an impressive addition to their already impressive retail client list that includes LVMH Group, Burberry, Nike and Sephora. Ignasi Llauradó is an industrial designer educated in Barcelona and Eric Dufourd is a Paris-trained interior designer. They established Deardesign in 2005. - Tuija Seipell
The label’s first collection, designed by young Dutch designers, including Denmark-born Claes Iversen, launched with a flashy catwalk show at the Arnhem Fashion Biennale in 2007. The label is part of Stichting Mode Met een Missie (Fashion with a mission foundation) which, in turn, was founded in 2005 to help women with problems caused by addiction, homelessness or psychiatric issues. In “teach-them-to-fish” spirit, the women are taught to make the Ami-e-toi label’s clothing and so gain a profession, and self respect.
In Mentjens’s luxurious store design, Art Deco meets boudoir and is juxtaposed with red-velvet sofas, oak parquet flooring, marble, busts on mirror-top tables, and cameos on the wall. Two massive mirrored walls ensure that the fashions and the fashionistas are visible in endless repetition. The idea “Nothing is quite as it seems” is part of the design concept, echoing the contrast between have-it-all fashionistas and the women who make the fashions. - Tuija Seipell
Photography - Arjen Schmitz
September is always a busy month in the world of hip-hop and rap music, and this year's calender month marks another landmark period for the booming genre, with a host of big releases attracting attention. Amongst the release schedule, three records in particular standout, namely, Kid Cudi's debut LP Man On The Moon: The End Of The Day, Jay-Z's star-stuffed The Blueprint 3 and Wu-Tang mainstay Raekwon's long-awaited Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II. Yet although those first two records are securing the bulk of press hype, it's Raekwon that's seemingly walked away triumphant from this rap battle royal, delivering an album of blazingly fierce rap.
Whilst Raekwon's competitors have been focussing on dressing up their records with head-scratching concepts (Cudi's Man On The Moon is divided into five acts with Common narrating the action, go figure) and an overload of big name guests (Kanye West, Rihanna, Drake, Young Jeezy and even Empire Of The Sun make appearances on The Blueprint 3), Raekwon gets down to business on OB4CL2. The infamous Wu-Tang rapper sounds entirely uninhibited on the record, letting loose some serious lyrical fire throughout. Of course, there's a few hook-ups with producers like Dr. Dre and the late great J Dilla, but beyond that, the record is a reminder for all who'd forgotten that Wu-Tang Clan and especially Raekwon are as potent and essential as ever. - Dave Ruby Howe
Learning to ride a bike is one of the most valuable skills a child can learn, helping them master the art of balance, a skill crucial to so many other physical activities and sports. UK based Kiddimoto has created a range of cute-looking wooden bikes which are designed to teach young children precisely that - balance. The slimline, lightweight birch plywood bikes are easy steer and manoeuvre and feature proper rubber tyres, providing a smooth ride for little bottoms by gliding across outdoor surfaces.
The Kiddimoto range comes in four styles, each based on a motorbike classic. From the 'Scooter', inspired by the mod scooter of the 60s, and the 'Chopper', a nod to future Easy Riders, to the Super Bike, based on real race bikes and the Srambler, a more traditional bike shape - the range has something for every dad, we mean, kid to get into. Now there's a thought. Do they make them in adult sizes? - Lisa Evans
Japan is a hot-bed of out-of-the-box creativity and retail design is one of the areas in which it excels. The latest store with more is the new Patrick Cox boutique in Tokyo's Aoyama district, a mecca for fashion.
Local architect Chikara Ohno designed the store using only three elements - the color white, the circle shape and lighting - to great effect. Forming a canopy, huge, cylindrical pendants hang from the ceiling resembling imposing sculptures that also illuminate the products perched just below on cylindrical counters, lit from their bases.
Ohno's design demonstrates the power of simplicity. By working with a few key elements and playing around with proportion he has achieved a dramatic space that also stays true to its function - which is of course to cast the merchandise in the best possible light - pardon the pun - so we are compelled to buy it. - Lisa Evans
You’re in a difficult position when you find a new band and are ready to swear your undying love to them but you find out they’ve released one solitary song. You don’t know where they’ll go from here, you don’t know if you’ll even like it when they do because of you listened to that one little tune around fifty times already. Undeniably, you’re in a quandary. I know the feeling. For the last month we’ve been playing to death a track called Look At Me by UK synth-poppers Mirrors. It’s filled with pillow-soft synth bubbles, chilly atmospherics and glumstruck vocals which result in a resolutely stunning three and half minutes. But it’s not enough. As is common with such cases of new-band fixations, we had to know more about this enigmatic four piece.
As it turns out, Mirrors are as shrouded in mystery as their music, with scarcely little about the band yet to be revealed other than that they came together following the unfortunate conclusion of Mumm-Ra. “Since the growth of the Internet as a promotional tool, bands have become extremely accessible, and the mystique has vanished,” Mirrors says. “Mirrors aim to preserve that sense of mystery. Everything about us is presented subject to our vigorous aesthetic. What might be expected with other bands, we do not expect from ourselves.”
Beginning with such a bold and ambitious declaration as that makes it clear. Mirrors know what they want. Call it calculated, but I’d call it considered. They’re constructing an environment around the band itself, which, like Look At Me, is frighteningly easy to become immersed in.
“Our aspirations are to make a sort of electronic soul music,” Mirrors reveals. “. Individually, we had all come from a background of traditional pop music, and each of us felt as though we had taken it as far as we wanted to. Gradually we started falling in love with the seemingly limitless possibilities of electronic music as well as those artists that have managed to imbue stark electronic sounds with emotion and feeling.”
From here, Mirrors confirm that their next move is to reward the faithful and get out some new material. “We’re currently working towards an album’s worth of material. The process is very slow as we effectively build our songs in the studio, piece by piece until we have something that fits the band aesthetic. It’s very methodical, but it works. We want to alter the way people approach commercial/pop music. We want pop music to be an experience, not just a song.” Sounds like a plan. – Dave Ruby Howe
We love a fine wine, especially when it can be ingested in as thoughtful an environment as this one. Welcome to Merus, a "designer" winery like no other. Located in the Napa Valley in California, Merus looks more like a Michelin-starred restaurant than your average cellar-door retail outlet. Exposed beams are the only nod to the past in this interior design strategy, which is thoroughly modern with a hint of Californian warmth.
Amsterdam-based Uxus Design is the architecture and design firm behind the winery. With more than a few inspiring, high profile projects under its belt, Uxus is one of the Netherlands' hottest design studios - with an office to match.
It's been a busy year for Uxus, who have unveiled a number of other great retail design projects recently including the new Heineken 'concept' bars which will open in airports across the globe and one of Europe's coolest McDonald's play areas in Amsterdam. - Bill Tikos
See also Design Wine
Tokyo-based architect, Shin Ohori, and his firm General Design Co, have recently completed a beautiful private weekend residence in the mountains at Kawakami-mura, Minamisaku-gun, Nagano.
Ohori designed the recreational property, titled Mountain Research, for his friend, fashion designer Setsumasa Kobayashi, who also owns Tokyo’s Cow Books (also designed by Ohori.)
And that explains the odd name for the retreat. Setsumasa’s fashion line used to be called General Research but it is now known as .......Research, with the dots being a placeholder for the defining word of each season’s collection. The Spring 2009 collection was called Mountain Research, and its namesake mountain hideaway is the place where Setsumasa and team dream up most of the brand’s fashion ideas.
Life takes place mostly outdoors at the Mountain Research. The various functions — kitchen, storage, bath, wood shelter — are located in nearly separate, simple structures, all resting on a multi-level platform. The material of the structures is local pine, and the owner hopes that the buildings will eventually biodegrade into the mountain soil and return to nature’s endless cycle of re-creation.
The one stark exception to this woody serenity are the two permanent, bright yellow sleeping tents (made by North Face), located atop of the building. The entire retreat has a feel of a casual, classy and unpretentious camp that has all of the conveniences of modern life. A perfect environment for a creative brainstorm. - Tuija Seipell