Bars

July 23 2008



Clubbers and night cats in Beijing not only shake their booties to the hottest beats at the new ChinaDoll club, they are also surrounded by work from some of China's best contemporary artists. Founded by award-winning Chinese actress/producer Ai Wan and club designer Wu Ying, ChinaDoll was conceived and designed via their studio E.P.I.C. Design where the original club first opened in Beijing at the end of 2006.



Relocated now to the main strip in Sanlitun, the new club is prominently located on the top floor of the '3.3' plaza building. The good news for party-goers is that this venue is three times bigger, comprising a lounge, dancefloor and eight VIP rooms. With their motto The Art of Play', the interior of ChinaDoll takes art out of the gallery and into the club. The overall theme of the interior revolves around 'The Kiss' with passion and sensuality taking centre stage.



The work of six contemporary chinese artists is integrated into the interior, custom made installations and furniture, depicting for example sexy female forms, Chinese dolls or modern Chinese love lives. A glossy backdrop of lightboxes adorned with abstracted fashion photography references the brush strokes and vivid colours of chinese water colours. When illuminated, it creates an electric atmosphere making ChinaDoll a lolly shop for the eyes and an amusement park for the senses. - Jeanne Tan



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Architecture

July 22 2008



Norihiko Dan
– born in 1956 in the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan – is the designer of the beautiful Munetsugu Hall, completed in 2007 in Naka Ward, Nagoya, Japan. It is a privately-funded concert hall that continues the age-old but almost-dead tradition of wealthy arts patrons initiating and financing the creation of art spaces. Fluid, white wall shapes are the distinctive feature of Munetsugu Hall’s main performance space. The walls bring to mind artistic sweep marks left by a gigantic builder who in his boredom doodled in his mortar tray with a massive trowel and then let the shapes solidify.

Norihiko Dan has won several architecture awards in Japan and Taiwan including the Distinguished Architect Award of the Japanese Institute of Architecture and the ARCADIA Award Gold Medal in 2007. His work has been part of exhibitions in Japan, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK. In addition to being a respected architect and educator, Norihiko Dan is also an architecture historian and writes novels and screenplays.

Munetsugu Hall’s generous benefactor is Tokuji Munetsugu who with his wife Naomi made a fortune in the restaurants business. Their company Ichibanya Co. Ltd. (based in Aichi, Japan) operates more than 1,000 curry and pasta restaurants under the names Curry House CoCo Ichibanya and Pasta de Coco. Munetsugu spent two billion yen to build the 310-seat concert hall. He has also set up a nonprofit organization to support welfare, sports and arts activities. - Tuija Seipell


Music

July 21 2008



Joining together two modern musical madmen like Beck and Danger Mouse seems almost dangerous, like it could easily descend into a battle of two outrageous imaginations. Instead, ‘Modern Guilt’ comes off like a sonic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, where the different elements meld together so simply and naturally that it defies the incomprehensible bent of their partnership. Beck and his music have always belonged in the sixties and Danger Mouse’s captures this in a twisted dream state. You only need to taste 'Modern Guilt' once before you’re stuck in its kaleidoscopic rapture. - Matt Shea

Events

July 15 2008



What’s an hourglass? Oh yes, it’s an ancient time piece, flowing fine sand quietly marking time in a perfectly balanced glass. Or, as everyone should know by now, it is the main prop at Never Stand Still. It was the kick-off party to start the countdown for BMW’s European launch of the latest model of BMW 7 series, slated to take place this fall. The car, displayed in the world’s largest hourglass in the Red Square, has not received much coverage but as soon as the construction of the hourglass marvel began four months ago, online buzz about it has been consistent. The 12-meter-high glass contraption was the centerpiece of the party thrown to 400 invited guests and celebrities. At the start of the build-up, more than 180,000 silvery balls concealed the car that was gradually revealed as the balls fell to the lower level. Moscow is a strong and growing market for BMW, and what better place to strut its latest but the historic location against the backdrop of the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and G.U.M. — all veterans of many a communist-era motorized military parade. By Tuija Seipell



Music

July 14 2008



Hercules And Love Affair, the musical odyssey of DJ Andy Butler and the likes of Antony Hegarty from Antony & The Johnsons, are the current stars of the dance scene.  Their sound is so sleek and shiny that it makes you want to don your rollerskates and glide right back to the 70s.

Only, this is disco for the modern era. More underground than the pointless retro homages that clog up club playlists every weekend, there is something irresistibly dark and alluring hidden between the synths, trumpets and smooth vocals.   Music critics are fawning over the album and the fashionistas are becoming wise to their ways too (Chanel used ‘You Belong’ in a Fall/Winter fashion show).

Tracks like ‘Blind’ and ‘Hercules Theme’ are so fresh they leave you aching to strut your stuff. Only in a really cool John Travolta disco way.

So, as Hercules And Love Affair finally starts to get the recognition it deserves, The Cool Hunter pays tribute to the label/production house DFA Records behind what could be the album of 2008 by looking back over their best musical creations.

The Rapture ‘House of Jealous Lovers’

Although it’s little more than Talking Heads fighting Television over a synthesizer, this soundtracked a million teenage parties and had drunken scenesters admiring New Yorkers who had a penchant for jerky riffs and cowbells, rather than skinny jeans and Converse.

LCD Soundsystem ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’

James Murphy has a vocal style so unique it needs to be heard to be fully understood. Imagine a bear with a cold singing in the shower and you’re halfway there. Here, he simultaneously scares off the neighbours while inviting in for an impromptu rave.

The Juan Maclean ‘Happy House’

This dirty track is so sleazy it has ‘4am at some grotty indie disco, staring at some god awful concoction of a drink you’ve ordered and wondering whether that person with the angel wings and eyeliner is actually a man’ written all over it.

Hot Chip ‘Over and Over’

Not big but certainly clever, this is the sound of pre Nu Rave dance, when crisp yet clunky beats belonged to the streets rather than the High Street. By Rob Facey

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Music

July 9 2008

Economics, technology, ice hockey, tennis, personal grooming: the Swedish list of triumphs is long and extensive. With the new breed of indie pop artists emerging from the kingdom, the rest of the world has yet something else to be jealous about. Here are three brilliant exemplars:



When Lykke Li sings her voice is so delicate, so ethereal that she sounds as though she’s transmitting from a submarine stranded on the seafloor.  What’s more, Li brilliantly plays to this amazing strength, matching it to productions so lean and carefully stripped back that they drive you straight to the heart of her bristling songcraft.

Lacrosse



West coast-flavoured guitars struck through with bittersweet lyrics and anchored by a skin tight rhythm section, with their debut ‘The New Year Will Be For You And Me’ this sextet have written the soundtrack to the relationship you’ve just ended and are taking a weeklong surf trip to forget.  Sweet, cathartic tunes to sooth your irascible soul.

El Perro Del Mar



Imagine that Burt Bacarach once shared a piano stool with Brian Wilson while Neil Young crooned a lyric about the trio’s favourite girl. The girl they were singing about was probably El Perro Del Mar’s Sarah Assbring. Assbring matches beautiful laments on busted love with music that squeezes every last drop of hurt from her stricken soul. Amazing stuff. By Matt Shea


Events

July 8 2008



The team behind the Danish pavilion at the World Expo 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain consists of three Copenhagen-based firms – architects Spektrum Arkitekter, graphic agency Loop Associates and communications agency 2+1.

The Danish pavilion houses Círculos de Agua (Circles in the Water), an exhibition about sustainable living and lasting solutions that echoes the World Expo 2008 theme of water and sustainability. Círculos de Agua highlights Danish technologies that have started out small yet have the potential to affect global change. The underlying message is that everything we do spreads like ripples through water. The pavilion will be used again at the COP15 Copenhagen – United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009.



The pavilion consists of five cylinders with five themes. The Wind Cylinder explains how the tiny country of Denmark with only five million inhabitants has become a leading supplier of wind power technologies. The Water Cylinder explores the planning of cities to cope with rising water levels and the extreme climate of the future. The Daylight Cylinder showcase natural light as a vehicle for both style and sustainability. The Biomass Cylinder extols the virtues of bio fuels produced from harvest waste. The Restaurant & Shop Cylinder, dedicated to creativity, showcases the latest in Danish design and crafts. The World Expo runs till September 14, so it's not too late to see it. - Tuija Seipell.

Architecture

July 7 2008




Golf and drab are synonyms, right? And the mere mention of Golf and Country Club makes you run. Away. Fast. Golf may indeed have a bit ofan image problem but that did not deter the 'rich-based' Smolenicky & Partner Architektur when they were retained to work on the expansion of the venerable Sempachersee Golf Club located near Lucerne in Switzerland.



In addition to the new club house-restaurant building and the newmaintenance building, both of which Smolenicky designed, the expansionincluded a second 18-hole golf course. All of this has made Golf Club Sempachersee the largest golf club in Switzerland and, quite likely,the club with the coolest club house.



In their approach to the club house, Smolenicky sought to manifesttwo things: what they call the country character of the golfing culture of the Sempachersee course - and the course's worldly sophistication. They took their design cues from the rural warmth of a timber barn and the clear lines of a Maserati sports car. The resulting building, the sleek and minimalist interior, and themagnificent 180-degree panoramic views of the Sempachersee lake and theAlps might just be reasons enough to give golf another chance. Or, atthe very least, rethink what a golfing environment could look like. By Tuija Seipell

Events

July 7 2008




Karl Largerfeld never puts a pedicured foot wrong and hispresentation for Chanel at this week's Couture shows proves that he isstill one of the most innovative and creative minds on the planet. Largerfeld unveiled his collection amid an extraordinary 50-foot setmade up of steel-grey tubes inspired by organ pipes. Lagerfeld worked the tubes theme into the collection, showing tubular shapes in severaldifferent manifestations.

Lagerfeldis one of the masters of catwalk theatrics, dreaming up incrediblelarger-than life sets that seem to get more elaborate each season. Forsome of the best of recent shows check out Runaway Runway Success. By Lisa Evans via Fashionation

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News

July 5 2008




The World's Coolest Hotel Rooms - the first in a series of the cool hunter-branded books has just been published by Harper Collins Publishers (US). Next in the line will be The World's Coolest Houses, The World's Most Creative Work Environments, The World's Most Innovate Retail Stores, The World's coolest kids spaces/playgrounds and a few other special book projects.

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