Transportation

March 10 2009



Bespoke is the new black — we’re living in a world where we can design anything we could ever possibly want exactly how we want it. Here are TCH, we’ve become bespoke gurus — from supercars to track shoes to mobile devices, we’ve been talking about custom design for as long as we can remember. For this latest installment of custom-made products, we’ve found some pretty cool brands that let you build your own bike.

In Los Angeles, James Perse provides a platform to build a custom vintage-style beach cruiser (pictured above) — a quintessentially Californian bicycle typically seen meandering along the Venice boardwalk and down through Santa Monica. The James Perse Cruiser, available in a variety of colours, is instantly recognisable with its fat tyres, wide handlebars and soft, cushy saddle perfect for cruising along the beach with your surfboard in tow.



Republic Bike invites you to custom-build bicycles based on shared designs — choose from an array of colours for the frame, saddle, grips, chain, rims, tires and crank.  Who says your front tyre can’t be yellow, while your back tyre is pink? Ever dreamed of having a blue bike frame with red handle grips and a white saddle? Republic can make this dream a reality. The Aristotle is a singles peed bicycle with a fixed/free hub.  Typically a fixed gear bicycle does not allow a rider to coast as the rear cog continually spins. But Republic has made it possible to shift from fixed to free if coasting is your thing.



And finally, there’s a Japanese company called Pedalmafia, a place to build a 1/9 scale bicycle, the Pedal ID, not quite the bike to ride around town but cool nevertheless. The website allows you to choose practically every part of a fixed-gear bike in many different color combinations. Pedalmafia has also teamed up with Yamamoto, one of Japan’s largest toy/model makers, and provided the basic component set along with optional accessories to create the perfect bespoke bicycle. - Andrew J Wiener.






Fashion

March 10 2009




This week in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld presented a poised, elegant and mostly black take on power suiting for Chanel that included this fantastically witty take on the working gal's briefcase. We hope that it's not just a prop for the catwalk. We're sure someone out there could pull it off in the real world. It's highly functional, after all. - Laura Demasi - via Fashionation
 

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Art

March 8 2009

Gianluca Fallone is a designer/illustrator from Argentina, currently based in London. At only 23 years old, he has managed to build up an impressive folio that includes work with clients such as MTV, Nike and Cartoon Network.

Fallone’s stance is simple —’I love type and design, and I particularly like when both are present — and evident in much of his work. He is inspired by Japanese animation and comic books that also triggered his ’illustration-design rollercoaster,’ and his pieces are beautifully crafted and extremely detailed. Fallone is putting his mark on the Argentinean design world, and we are expecting to see great things from this young and amazingly talented artist. - Brendan McKnight

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Food

March 4 2009



Subtlety is not in the vocabulary, if Toronto’s club king, Beirut-born Charles Khabouth, is involved in an entertainment or hospitality venue. The CEO of Toronto-based Ink has done it again with the reopened ULTRA, designed by Toronto’s Munge Leung. Partners Alessandro Munge and Sai Leung were also in charge of the award-winning design of the original ULTRA five years ago.
 
The new ULTRA has a dark, hellish and somewhat mad vibe with black and red as the dominant colors, and gigantic images of threatening roosters looming over the 400 or so diners. Photographer Stephen Green-Armytage created the threatening bird pictures.


 
Khabouth’s Ink is engaged in a range of prominent hospitality venues, including the Pantages Suites Hotel & Spa in Toronto (club) and The Beatles Revolution Lounge in the Mirage in Las Vegas. - Tuija Seipell

Architecture

February 28 2009




Paris-based Agence Jouin Manku took on its first large-scale integrated architectural and interior design commission in 2003, when YTL Design Group from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, invited it to design the residence of a Malaysian power family.


 
Completed in the latter part of 2008, the residence is the ultimate expression of the taste, influence and industrial-scale capabilities of the prominent family whose entrepreneurial activities have shaped Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.


 
Three generations of the family inhabit the 3,000 square-meter residence designed to accommodate both private and public functions.


 
The building includes nine bedrooms, two family rooms, a family kitchen and a private dining area, a family library, a game room, a study, a public reception area, a formal dining room, a ballroom, chapel, 21 bathrooms, a swimming pool, two guest suites plus indoor private and guest parking.


 
The initial sketches exploring the owners’ usage requirements reveal resemblances to the boring stacked-boxes look still so ubiquitous in residential architecture. And while traces of the ”heaped trailers“ syndrome remain in the finished building, this is not the Jetsons, neither are we looking at EPCOT, Tomorrowland or the 1964 New York World's Fair.


 
We are in the lush vegetation of a posh Kuala Lumpur residential area, and in spite of the boxiness of the structure, an elegant circular softness manages to permeate the sightlines and key details of the building, making it an agreeable part of its landscape.


 
Inside, prominent examples of this curvilinear elegance include the amazing staircases resembling the inside of a shell when viewed from above, and the round ballroom chandelier of 13,000 custom-designed undulating petals of unglazed cast porcelain biscuit.


 
The curved walls both inside and out have a functional purpose of providing privacy and enclosing each function gently in its own space. The overall sweeping feel inside the spaces invites the viewer in and creates soft, arching vistas.


 
The concept consists of three layers: the base for public functions, the ring for guests and the private house for the family.


 
The inside of the magnificent residence is gorgeous with its high ceilings, large windows and abundance of light. White color and natural wood are dominant elements but they allow the view from the vast, mostly retractable, windows to remain the main visual attraction.


 
The residence is also a wonderful study of contrasts between inside and outside, private and public, traditional and ultra modern, man-made and natural.


 
YTL Design Group of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was the architect of record. The Agence Jouin Manku design team included Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku, Yann Brossier (architect), Richard Perron (designer). Officina del Paesaggio from Lugano, Switzerland was in charge of the landscape design, and L’Observatoire, New York, USA handled the lighting. - Tuija Seipell

Images - Roland Halbe

 


Music

February 25 2009



Solo albums suck. Well, most of the time they suck, because most of the time they're lousy and ill-considered cash-ins that end up shedding little light on this new side of the artist and just end up damaging our opinions of the original band. History (and record store discount bins) are littered with failed solo-grabs and side projects. How many jokes end with a punch-line about David Bowie's Tin Machine experiment? Was anyone even awake for Nicole Scherzinger's lone-Pussy Cat Doll phase? And really, who wants to listen to an hour's worth of material from the drummer from Weezer? But people do get it right every once in a while. Like Victoria Bergsman's split from the Concretes, or Nick Littlemore's work with Teenager and Empire of the Sun outside of Pnau. This is not to forget someone like Marvin Gaye's creative peak after leaving the Moonglows or even the obvious work of Michael Jackson once he broke free of his brothers. And while Morrisey never quite matched the lightning in a bottle after the Smiths' end, his has been one of the most consistent and enduring solo careers in memory. So here's two fine examples of how to make pretty great solo record.



NICKEL EYE

With the Strokes' hiatus continually stretching over the last couple of years, we've seen the band's members peel off into a multitude of side and solo projects. From Albert Hammond Jr's confident strides on his two solo discs, to Frabrizio Moretti's new island-indie group Little Joy, and Julian Casablancas and Nick Valensi's shuffling guest spots with the likes of Queens of the Stoneage, Pharrell and Regina Spektor. The latest Stroke to go it alone is Nikolai Fraiture, masquerading here as Nickel Eye with Time of the Assassins. It's a bold and surprising move from the notedly reserved bassist, but an impressive to be sure. Hints of the classic Strokes' sound litter the disc, but Nickel Eye's strength lies in the variations on that sound. There's added harmonicas, whistles and plenty of acoustic guitars. It's like if the Strokes were concerned with classic Americana instead of New York cool and lived on throat-scraping moonshine instead of famous models.



FEVER RAY

After the Knife's Silent Shout conquered everyone's world in 2006, O. Dreijer and his sister K. Dreijer Andersson put their musical partnership on hold. This led to the birth of Fever Ray, Karien's latest solo-output. While the self-titled debut of Fever Ray isn't far removed from the Knife's spooky electronic terrains, this record does feel different. It's sparse and paced against the tension heard on the Silent Shout and the attitude of Deep Cuts. Most remarkable of all is the glimpse at Driejer Andersson herself that Fever Ray offers. Beyond the Knife's stark exterior, we see a little of what drives Karin and how she's still steps ahead of the game. - Dave Ruby Howe

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Stores

February 25 2009

Established by the Berneda family in 1939, Barcelona’s own sports shoe house Munich continues to stay on top of things. In the 1970s, Munich made tracks with the Made in Barcelona footwear line and the X logo.

The Munich flagship store was designed by Ignasi Llauradó and Eric Dufourd of dear design, a design and architectural firm the two established in Barcelona in 2005.

Dark-glass surfaces, mirrors, metal trees and cage-like boxes hanging from the ceiling (from which the shoes have “escaped”), all carry a carefree, experimental and impermanent air. The angular and clunky space with its hard edges and seemingly moving parts is clearly an attempt to say that the septuagenarian brand is nowhere near slowing down. - Tuija Seipell

Events

February 23 2009



Sick of going to the opening of an envelope new store opening party? The tried and tested formula is safe, uninspiring and obvious. (Eg. celebrity invites, cult dj spins some safe retro tunes and the real consumer is supposed to be inspired by this out pouring of elitism to then visit said store.) Always ready to challenge the status quo, Diesel's new store on Fifth Avenue in New York took a decidedly different approach at a time when consumer behaviour and creative marketing is not only revered but essential.
 
Titled "Five on Fifth", the guerrilla marketing campaign for Diesel allows the consumer on the street to witness real life installations in their store windows. Intimate dinner parties that would normally be held behind closed doors were staged in the windows featuring famous New Yorkers. Each night was a different theme (cleverly organised to appeal to a cross section of consumers) with a club night featuring key dj's like Richie Rich, Kenny Kenny and Patrick McDonald,  a sports night with the key players from the New York Giants and then a Fashion night featuring the girls from Ford Models.


 
Street teams also gave out free goodies in key spots alongside the intimate window dinners in an attempt to catch the busy eyes of the press who were running with blackberries in hand from Fashion week's shows to parties.
 
Bravo to Diesel for their creative, inspiring and well executed campaign that should hopefully set the bar for economic-chic alternatives for store openings! - Kate Vandermeer

Stores

February 20 2009



The second U.S. store (after N.Y.) of the Japanese brand BAPE has become a solid street-corner anchor at 8001 Melrose Avenue in L.A. With only a few flimsy palms outside, the eye-catching, BAPE signature camo print in juicy neon tubes strikes a commanding visual presence especially at night.



Inside, a huge glass cylinder, six meters in diameter, dominates the cool 4.5-meter-high space. Inside the cylinder, sneakers revolve on conveyer belts giving both an industrial and a museum-like feel. The oldest BAPE stores in Japan have already celebrated their first decade, but in Europe and the U.S., the brand has only recently started to gain a retail presence. In addition to Japan, BAPE stores exist in Hong Kong, Paris and London, and now two in the U.S.



The L.A. store was designed by Masamichi Katayama and his company Wonderwall. The 43-year-old Katayama is well known for retail work in Japan, France, U.K., the U.S., Russia, Hong Kong and China. - Tuija Seipell

Stores

February 13 2009




Lovely shoes and bags will literally be on pins and needles this Saturday, when the Kymyka shoes and bags boutique opens in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The beautiful store, established by Chantal Hermans and Jurgo Mouthaan, begins its life with an impressive line-up of brands, including Dolce & Cabbana, Etro, Stella McCartney, Dsquared, YSL, Giuseppe Zanotti, Luciano Padovan and Theory. Jimmy Choo will join the list soon, as will other brands.

Hermans and Muthaan chose well when they picked the industrious Maurice Mentjens to design their store. His work has been rewarded at many design competitions, including the Dutch Design Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007.



His design for the Stash bag shop won not just the Dutch Design Award in the Retail Category but also the German Design Award. Maurice Mentjens Design is engaged in a vast variety of project ranging from interior, exhibit, retail and hospitality design to product and furniture design. - Tuija Seipell

Related article - Shoo Biz - The World's Best

Photography - Arjen Schmitz