It is fitting that the 70-year-old Frank Gehry ended up re-envisioning the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) for his native city of Toronto. As a boy, Gehry visited the AGO often, and the effect of those visits on him and his future career was important. Gehry has lived most of his life in the U.S., but the AGO remake allows Toronto to reap some of the benefits of his massive talent before it’s all too late.
One of Gehry’s early sources of career inspiration was the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), known as the father of Scandinavian modernism. The influence of Aalto’s love of gently curving light-color wood, and his clean and airy architectural lines, can be sensed at the newly refurbished AGO. Whether or not Gehry thought of Aalto when he designed the spiraling plywood-faced staircase for the main entry hall is irrelevant, but the feel of the space is decidedly Aalto-esque. To those of us who love the work of both architects, the newly transfigured AGO is simply fabulous. - Tuija Seipell
If square wheels were even slightly workable, Danish designer Michael Ubbesen Jakobsen would have used them in his Bauhaus-inspired BauBike. The pared-down bicycle is designed around the geometric shape of the square, and its main raw materials are minimal: some metal and leather. The bike has the same astonishingly classy vibe as Marcel Lajos Breuer’s Wassily chair, a Bauhaus design icon Ubbesen Jakobsen most likely studied during his education at Southern Denmark’s respected design school in Kolding. From the small touches, such as the BauBike-embossed leather strips that wrap around the handlebars, and the gorgeous springs under the austere saddle, it is easy to see that Ubbesen Jakobsen is a meticulous designer, a serious tinkerer and, at least in the case of BauBike, an elegant minimalist not afraid to have some fun. So far this year, BauBike has appeared at the Salone in Milan and at the DMY International Design Festival in Berlin We are not yet clear when and how we can get our hands on one — equipped with the second saddle accessory — but we are hopeful it will be soon. - Tuija Seipell
Welcome to Matt W Moore's world. His retro, abstract inspired graphics with a steely, graffiti-edge have seen this young Portland-based artist's work traverse the globe. Moore's vast commercial portfolio includes gigs for mega brands including Burton, Nike, Wired, Citroen, Vodafone and many others. Fascinated with symmetry, geometry and saturated colour, he creates retro-spirited, abstract graphics with a wild, graffiti edge.
A process of experimentation led to Moore's lauded signature "Vectorfunk" style of digital illustration, inspired by abstract geometry, vibrant colour combinations, dynamic compositions, depth and contrast. He also works across the spectrum of design and art disciplines - from canvas paintings to textile/apparel design and to logo/identity work. His typography, type treatments and icons are featured in his annual monochrome series, and in a comprehensive solo book called Vectorfunk by ROJO. - Lisa Evans
The Mini Cooper has been created for a TCH Special Mini Cooper project which we will unveil soon.
Mecanoo Architects is designing the city hall and central train station for its home town of Delft, in the Netherlands. The top level will be glass-ceilinged, and even the underground levels will have a feel of transparency and light. Vaulted ceilings, archways and a strong use of white and blue will lighten the visual weight of the complex that will include a 30,000 square-meter public hall. The four-year construction will begin next year.
The Dutch-born and educated architect Francine Houben established Mecanoo Architects in the mid-80s. Mecanoo has since completed an incredible variety of public and private projects, including retail stores, theaters, hotels, libraries, museums, chapels, residential neighborhoods and parks. Houben’s focus on ”sensory beauty,“ color and light has produced many spectacular buildings in Europe and around the world. Most recently, Mecanoo won the competition to design the new master plan for a central business district in Shenzhen, China. The district will include 8,000 houses and 400,000 square-meters of commercial and cultural facilities. - Tuija Seipell
While most of us must accept sitting just AT our regular desks, the creatives at Hamburg’s Syzygy agency get to sit IN their swanky, new desks. Thinking up ads and interactive campaigns for clients such as Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and Fujitsu, will most likely go a whole lot smoother when your workplace is custom-designed for you.
The office of Syzygy Hamburg (they also have offices in London and Frankfurt) was created by Christoph Roselius and Julian Hillenkamp, the two founders of eins:eins architecten in Hamburg.
The sleek, white bullpens are not as inflexible as they may seem. On the contrary — the various configurations are endless, but the desks always join together and form a whole. This allows for close cooperation and reinforces the feeling of everyone being in the same boat. The flexible desks also make it possible to turn tight and tough-to-utilize spaces into productive working environments.
Syzygy’s staff is lucky in other ways, too. Their cool office is located in the central part of Hamburg, near the city hall, the Binnenalster artificial lake, and the upscale shopping promenades of Jungfernstieg and Neuer Wall. Seems unfair, doesn’t it? -Tuija Seipell
You must feel comfortable being surrounded by really bright colours if you plan on studying at Tokyo's famous Senzoku Kaguen College of Music's latest addition. It is called Black Hole on the school's site, but Black Hall on the site of Terada design & Architects, the Tokyo-based architecture firm that designed it. We want to believe the school, especially when we know that one of the large studios is called Big Mouth. The Black Hole has recording studios, multimedia studios, electronic organ classrooms, PC labs, and practice studios for jazz, jazz vocal, pop and rock. In the otherwise basic hallways, intense wall and ceiling colours have become the main design element, and the way finding ' large-scale painted signage on the walls ' is the main artwork. Terada is an architecture and design studio established by the Osaka-born, 42-year-old Naoki Terada in 2003. - Tuija Seipell
The travel world is full of designer boutique hotels and resorts - cities and seaside locations are teeming with them. Winter resorts, on the other hands, have left a lot to be desired in the design stakes. Until now. Developers, architects and designers are turning their attention to ski resorts, help to redefine the experience of the typical ski holiday.
Taking inspiration from classic European chalets, sophisticated, design-led ski resorts and lodges are popping all over the world. From Australia to Austria, the new ski holiday is as much about the experience of kicking back in beautiful surroundings at the end of a long day of skiing, as it is about the runs.
Paul Hecker is the interior designer behind some of the most beautiful public interiors in Australia, including the Prince Hotel in Melbourne and more recently in Sydney, the Ivy and stunning adjoining penthouse hotel suite. The latest from Hecker and his Melbourne-based team at Hecker, Phelan & Guthrie, is the new ski lodge, Fjall, located at Falls Creek in Victoria.
Falls Creek is on its way to becoming something of a hot spot for those seeking the luxe version of a ski holiday. The Hecker designed Fjall lodge joins the hip Huski Lodge and Frueauf Village; luxurious architect-designed self-contained apartments and chalets. Next month the ski town will add another high-end resort to its stable, with the Quay West Resort & Spa Falls Creek set to open its doors.
Fjall lodge consists of spacious, private apartments. With the Fjall, Hecker has taken the modern Scandinavian chalet aesthetic up a notch. Working with a crisp, very Nordic palette of charcoal, white, black and pale gray, Hecker brings a strong sense of nature into the interiors, working with smoked and limed oak timber floors and wall paneling, and custom-designed oak timber joinery. Calacutta marble, heated balconies and cozy window banquettes complete the sophisticated space. - Lisa Evans
Photography - Peter Bennetts
Stockholm-based Sommarnöjen (Summer Enjoyment - or Entertainment - in English) has just unveiled the designs for five new beautiful 15-square-meter second houses. Sommarnöjen houses are designed by Sweden's top-tier architectural offices Kjellander + Sjöberg Arkitektkontor, Sandellsandberg Arkitekter and Tham & Videgard Hansson Arkitekter.
Sommarnöjen provides the houses ready-built on site. Some are suitable for year-round use as well. The mini-houses are also great as additions to a larger dwelling - as guest houses, studios, workshops, separate bedrooms and of course, saunas. For those of us with Scandinavian backgrounds, these cottages look like home. They look perfectly suited to join the thousands of tiny cottages that dot the small islands, rocky seashores and lakesides of Scandinavia where people take July off and also spend every weekend from April till September (or more) at the cottage, rain or shine. Sommaren har kommit! - Tuija Seipell
Thanks to Apple the standard of marketing undertaken by computer and tech companies has dramatically increased. Apple showed the world that tech products can be 'sexy' and marketed creatively. The latest brand in this realm to take a creative approach to advertising is Microsoft. New Zealand agency Y&R zoomed in on the idea of home entertainment for this series of ads for the software giant. Promoting Microsoft Vista, which allows you to access your phone, music and photos etc from your PC, the ads are anchored around the idea of making your home a theme park of entertainment - a bouncy castle of fun. - Lisa Evans.
Another iconic vehicle is about to be reborn and brought into the 21st century. This time it is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL that is getting the make-over treatment (that’s the car with the batman-esque doors to you and me, or Gull-wings as they are known in the car business).
This beautiful badboy, first introduced to the roads in 1954, is to be modified by Arturo Alonso and his company, Gullwing America. This time round it will be much more powerful, easier to handle and of course, it will feature all the mod-cons that one has come to expect from a vehicle of its caliber.
Alonso is perhaps the best man to complete this task, being no stranger to the exotic car sector. He raced for years in a Mercedes 300SE, and he is also the engineer behind the Bentley S3 E concept from last year.
With an aluminum body constructed with aircraft composite technology and chassis made of powder coated steel, the car will be powered by Mercedes’ M-133-55 engine, wired to raise the horsepower to 370. The new model will also feature striking red leather interior and an old-school instrument panel. The only hard thing left to do is to decide if you want the white one or the black one. - Brendan McKnight