Fashion

October 30 2008



Irony -  check.  Careful, considered design — check.  Desirable product with cache — most definitely check. Natalia Brilli has managed to create a signature that is immediately identifiable with her blend of taking the every day and creating a finished product that appears as if dipped into leather. A laptop bag becomes a functional leather laptop case that has the keyboard carved out in the leather, a wallet has the credit cards and coins moulded onto the zip front cover, a pair of sunglasses are embossed into the leather sunglass case. At once quirky and humorous but undeniably cool and chic, the latest Men’s 09 Collection is no exception to this designers range and ability.  — Kate Vandermeer









Bars

October 29 2008



Renowned English interior designer Tom Dixon is behind Paramount, London's hottest new venue located on top of city landmark Centre Point tower. The bar's aesthetic is a blend 60s retro and futurism, articulated through the use of hard-edged materials like concrete and stone to create a kind of space-ship meets super-club. The star of course, is the spectacular view, which is only enhanced by Dixon's clean, modern interior. 



Anyone hoping to pay a visit to Paramount better get to work on their "applications" for membership, a process which, rather frightfully, mirrors a job application. Aspiring members must be "assed" by a panel including English actor Stephen Fry. We're not generally fans of such pretense but thanks to Dixon, it looks like all of the hoopla may actually be worth it. Start typing. - Lisa Evans



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News

October 20 2008




The web's most read culture, architecture and design site will soon launch in early 09, The Cool Hunter Living, an uber-luxe real estate listings portal which connects vendors to a discerning, hard-to-reach market of high-income architecture and design aficionados.

Since its inception in 2004, thecoolhunter.net has amassed a global readership consisting of close to 1 million unique visitors a month who visit the site for the absolute latest in innovation and inspiration in all disciplines of design - from the most awe-inspiring architecture to the coolest new artists and products. 

The site's subscriber list reads like a who's-who of the international design, media, fashion, architecture and publishing industries. For the first time, The Cool Hunter Living gives vendors access to this high end market. The site also offers vendors an unparalleled opportunity to "position" their properties amongst the best and most luxurious in the world.



Also, in 09, we'll launch The Cool Hunter Hotel booking service, an online store, global job lists, Cool Hunter TV, magazine, retail stores and some major offline events. We’re eager to see our efforts translated into major global markets such as India, China, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Brazil and more. STAY TUNED!

New site designed by TCH Design

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Music

October 18 2008

Much like designers, musicians are continually swinging through history, cherry-picking the best bits from long-forgotten eras and reinterpreting them with a modern slant. Recently, we’ve trudged through nostalgic New Order clones and the post-post-punk boom with bands like Interpol and Editors, but now it would seem that the much maligned genre of disco is coming back. So break out the bellbottoms because disco is about to be cool again.



FAN DEATH

Fan Death are the princesses of new-disco strut. Their stunning debut single, Veronica’s Veil, sounds like it was recorded in the early hours of the morning after the Canadian duo stumbled out of an all-nighter at Studio 54, their breath gone from dancing and their heads ablaze with dreams of disco stardom. From the ever-so-perfect string sweeps, the throbbing bassline, the shimmering production courtesy of Erol Alkan (Mystery Jets, Late Of The Pier), and the hollow-eyed vocal, it is truly thrilling stuff that manages to breathe life back into disco.



SISTERS OF TRANSISTORS

Not content with leading the genre’s renaissance, UK revivalists Sisters Of Transistors seem to have carved their sub-genre in the resurgence of disco, with what we’re calling mystery-disco. Not only does the group have a fondness for capes and shooting their videos in 3D, but there’s also a hint of unseen orchestration behind this twisted organ quartet. Pulling the strings is Graham Massey of 808 State fame, and the only person on this list who’s old enough to remember the heights of disco. Massey and the ‘Sisters create some brilliantly dark yet oddly danceable disco, with undeniable grooves working under the looping, hypnotic organ swirls. It’s mesmerizing and dramatic, and exactly what disco should be.



HEARTBREAK

Fan Death traverses a more traditional, platform-boots and mirror-balls era of disco, but UK-by-way-of-Argentina two-piece, Heartbreak, reaches back to somewhere between Giorgio Morodor’s arrival on the scene and the eventual death of disco when the synths-‘n-eyeliner crowd of the 1980s broke out. Heartbreak is more Human League and early Depeche Mode than Chic. They’re all about waves of bubbling keyboards and the bombastic production gloss of an ABC record. But beneath this there is a clear debt to disco, from their would-be Moroder arpeggio fetish, to the group’s penchant for Bee Gees-like falsettos. It’s scarily good music. — Dave Ruby Howe

Music

October 16 2008


The Death Set make music akin to being mauled by an enraged pitbull. It's a messy, violent and bloody mix of rabid gutter-dwelling punk and frenetic electronic noise that's consistently in your face. So when the Baltimore via Sydney group decided to link arms with infamous Australian party-starters the Bang Gang Deejays for a remix release on their self-established Bang Gang 12 Inches imprint, it was safe to assume that the final result of the hookup would be as twisted and terrific as the source material.

With an enviable selection of technically and stylistically diverse remixers on board, each artist’s revision on the vinyl-only collection somehow manages to remain faithful to the Death Set's vicious energy and style, so much so that the partnerships between band and remixer seem believable and ultimately natural. From the squeal and bounce party-funk of Bonde Do Role's take on Distressed, to the robo-disco of Treasure Fingers' mix, and the glitch and grind of the G.L.O.V.E.S. remix, each wildly different remix still screams Death Set. The whole package is an impressively warped look through the eyes of the Death Set and into their raucous sound-meets-wall/face-meets-bitumen world. - Dave Ruby Howe

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Art

Art

October 16 2008




New York artist Tara Donovan is a master of seeing. Not just looking, but actually seeing. Her sculptural, one-of-a-kind art is based on her ability to see, imagine and create forms, shapes and textures from ordinary objects that most of us don't even notice. She creates art from rolls of tape, pieces of pencil, Styrofoam cups, paper plates, napkins. Her sculptural works evoke thoughts of nature. A perfect example is the 'Untitled' cloud formation she created in 2003 from Styrofoam cups and glue.

The 38-year-old Donovan has recently accomplished several things many artists never achieve. This September, the first monograph of her work was published by visual book press, Monacelli Press (now owned by Random House). A couple of weeks later, on October 10, a traveling retrospective of her work opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

But perhaps the biggest deal is the extra half-a-million dollars that she will have to work with in the next few years. In late September, she received a phone call from the John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation. She was informed that she had been made a Fellow of the Foundation and that she will receive a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation 'genius' grant. It is a no-strings-attached support of her work over five years. She was selected as one of 25 recipients in 2008. Others include a physician, an astrophysicist, a violinist, a computer scientist and representatives of many other endeavours who were selected for their creativity, originality and potential to make important contributions in the future. - Tuija Seipell

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Travel

October 15 2008




Thanks to the jet-set generation, demand for boutique hotels is increasing around the world. The first boutique "chain," W, started the trend for a network of branded urbane-style properties and has just launched its latest edition - W Hong Kong.



Located in West Kowloon, the hub of the buzzing financial district of Hong Kong, the new W brings a large dose of New York style to this cosmopolitan Asian business capital. 



The area is right on the commercial waterfront, so instead of luxury yachts you are more likely to look out onto imposingly large freight and cargo ships. It works though, juxtaposing the designer, luxury environment with the gritty, functional realism of the hotel's location.



Overall the hotel's design is pitch-perfect for the W brand - New-York- style interiors with the W signature quirk in the form of butterflies (butterfly motifs everywhere, we loved it) and surprising contemporary art works such as a fiberglass seal holding up a grand piano (yes, a seal holding up a grand piano, it's for real and a feat of creativity and engineering).



Other standouts include the spectacular rooftop pool, featuring an incredible mega-scale mosaic of a butterfly graphic created by Australian designer Fabio Ongarato. The pool looks out over the whole island - one of the most breathtaking in the city. 



The rooms, designed by Australian interior desiger, Nicholas Graham and Japanese designer, Yasumichi Morita, are comfortable and welcoming. Each designer was assigned a specific floor to design, so each floor has its own personality, countering the cookie-cutter feel of most large hotels.



As for the suites - let's just say that they're apty titled  - "Wow" and "Extreme" - and are suitably enticing. Enough to turn a short stay in long one....- Laura Demasi

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Music

October 13 2008



You kind of have to feel a little bit bad for Foals. When everyone else was out getting girls, each and every member of the band was most likely holed up indoors, listening to Gang Of Four's Entertainment! and doing their philosophy homework. Their tracks are such focused lessons in tight, mathematical indie rock that’s there’s no doubt in my mind that they perennially struck out with the ladies. But we mustn’t feel too bad for Foals, after all it lead them to harness all that angst, awkwardness and romantic dysfunction and stuff it inside the Antidotes LP, which is still dripping out tantalizing singles, the latest of which happens to be the standout Olympic Airways.

While the remixes from minimal royalty Supermayer and disco revivalist Ewan Pearson are a big draw, we can’t forget the original Olympic Airways which has got the same scrupulously constructed rattle and hum you'd expect from UK group, from the fret-choking guitar work to the nod-'n-jerk chorus. And that soaring build midway through is like a fringe-swinging cherry on top. It's the band doing what they do best with an air of total effortlessness. And it's not getting old anytime soon. - Dave Ruby Howe

Foals MySpace

Watch Olympic Airways directed by Dave Ma

Music

October 8 2008

It’s difficult to find a new world culture that's as musically rich as that of New Zealand. Picking up your brother’s guitar and starting a band with your best friend and his sister is a rite of passage for most Kiwis. The Cool Hunter finds three grown-up versions of these backyard operations who are now taking the music of New Zealand to all corners of the globe, and that's just scratching the surface.



Liam Finn is very much a product of his genealogy, but that only partly explains the appeal of his beguiling music. Finn plays through a memory of family holidays and kids toying in the backyard while his delicate arrangements cast you into a spell conducted only by your own reminiscences.



Equal parts fastidious and inspired, there is barely a hip-hop album coming out of New Zealand that doesn’t have P-Money's production and DJ nous behind it. The epitome of the quiet performer, P-Money keeps schtum and lets the stomp of his gleaming productions blow your headphones.



In a world plagued by the manic, Fat Freddys Drop stand back, holding up a ‘hi-tek soul’ elixir.  This is music to be shared by close friends over a quiet cookout that runs from the long breezy summer afternoon into a warm, star-lit evening. By Matt Shea


Architecture

October 7 2008




Dupli Casa, a private residence by the Neckar river, near the old town of Marbach in South- Western Germany, is a wonderfull example of connection and fluidity. It connects the inside with the outside, up with down, air with ground and - most cleverly - past with present and even future.



From the outside, the three-storey concrete villa looks like a bit like some sort of a fiberglass motorboat job gone funny, yet it also manages to look immensely appealing and intriguing. From some angles, the structure appears to be standing upside down - the lower exterior rim spilling onto the lawn and forming a part of a roof structure, if the building were to stand the other way around. It could have been blown there by the wind; it could be a StarWarsian vehicle frozen in place; it could be just taking off to outer space.



The outdoor swimming pool and the white surface surrounding it seem like a perfect reflection of the house, almost as if the house had been face down on the ground, and when it was lifted off the ground, the process had left an imprint of a swimming pool on the ground and the large window opening in the house.



The views from the inside are amazing, especially from the vast ground-level openings that again, give the sensation of flying, being airborne, weightlessness. Everything is fluid, flowing and smooth.
 
All of this is very much in keeping with the main inspiration for the house. The new residence follows the footprint of the previous dwelling and its numerous extensions. The idea was to let the 'family archaeology' continue in the new building. It's a house that remembers its beginnings in 1984 yet projects boldly into the  future.



Dupli Casa is the work of Jurgen Mayer H., founder and principal of his cross-disciplinary studio. J. Mayer H. Architekten in Berlin. Other team members include Georg Schmidthals, Thorsten Blatter and Simon Takasak, plus Uli Wiesler's architecture studio based in Stuttgart. - Tuija Seipell