Nothing grabs an audience's attention more effectively than a clever optical illusion. Combine that with an ingenious ad campaign and you get this brilliant mobile billboard for The Red Cross, currently gracing the streets of San Francisco.
It's photo journalism, meets Hollywood blockbuster movie poster, and it is turning plenty of heads wherever it parks itself. Enthusiastic onlookers have been snapping up photos of the mobile billboard and posting, uploading and sharing them online with friends. This is a brilliant example of how an audience can further promote the exposure of a great advertising campaign through mobile phones, blogs and sites such as flicker. By Andy G
Atkin's Architecture Group recently won the first prize award for an international design competition with this stunning entry. Set in a spectacular water filled quarry in Songjiang, China, the 400 bed resort hotel is uniquely constructed within the natural elements of the quarry. Underwater public areas and guest rooms add to the uniqueness, but the resort also boasts cafes, restaurants and sporting facilities.
The lowest level runs with the aquatic theme by housing a luxurious swimming pool and an extreme sports center for activities such as rock climbing and bungee jumping which will be cantilevered over the quarry and accessed by special lifts from the water. With a stunning visual presentation as shown here, it's no wonder this project took home the first prize. This is a fine example of an ultra modern facility co-existing amongst its natural environment.
by Andy G
Not content with selling their fruit concoctions in shops, the people at Innocent have created two mobile smoothie-vans to help quench thirst in the forthcoming months. The first, known as the Dancing Grass Van (DGV), is a turf-tarnished ice-cream van with matching cow-lined interior. Oh, and it dances. The vans have a hydraulic system attached to the wheels that makes it bob around to attract the attention of potential smoothie-drinkers. They’ve also got Tiny Grass Vans (TGVs) for emergency fruit cravings around town. These little pasture clad nippers are perfect if you need a fruit-fix pronto.
If buying squashed fruit from a grassy van isn’t your thing, Innocent have also made Cow Vans. Complete with horns, eyelashes, udders and a tail, these bovine impersonators ‘moo’ on command.
Over to LA for the Hearts Challenger’s candy-colored van selling top international ice-cream, candy and toys. As part of the fairy-tale story; boy from country meets girl from city, girl designs ice cream van to spread fun and magic, boy makes soundtrack to accompany van and sells fun and pleasure, Lo and Benjamin are obsessed with spreading the love they have for things flavor-some and fun. Their motto, “the greatest challenges are ones from the heart” will be ringing in your ears as the two bring impromptu dance parties to a street near you.
Packing a more philosophical punch for ice-cream lovers, The Tactical Ice Cream Unit (TICU) provides a bit more than just food for thought. With its primary aim to replace cold stares with frosty treats, the TICU is an oasis for community activists. Supplying water, first-aid, film, gas masks, water balloons in addition to ice-cream, who knew caring-for-the-community could be so much fun?
Look out for the TICU around California this spring, Vancouver in the summer followed by the San Francisco Bay Area in Autumn.
Something for real kids now, the “Own Your C” is a traveling advice centre for teens unsure about what decisions to take in their lives. The van travels around rural and mountain communities in America distributing tobacco cessation leaflets and free advice for anyone who may need it. All conducted from the C-Ride — a branded ice cream truck with custom alloys, graffiti paintwork and a freezer full of C Popsicles. The C message combines social responsibility with a love for iced treats and will be traveling across America this summer. By Matthew Hussey
As a brand, the W chain of boutique hotels has practically claimed the concept of luxury to be its own; turning their properties into - must-do destinations for the hip, famous and wealthy. Just the mention of a new W property going under construction creates an immediate buzz that few other international brands could generate.
The latest W, and quite possibly the jewel in W's empire - is the newly opened W Retreat & Spa in Fesdu Island, Maldives. Already critics and patrons seem to agree its as close to paradise as you'll find on earth; a luxury playground whose physical beauty is almost overwhelming, where guests are totally indulged on every level.
The W experience begins even before you even arrive. Male airport boasts a chic W operated transfer lounge, where guests are greeted with all the modern conveniences of a big city airport - drinks, food, magazines, plasma TV and internet. It's here that new arrivals are supplied with a W kit before boarding the seaplane to W'ss private island.
From the moment of arrival its obvious that W is a master of branding. Stepping off the seaplane, I was greeted by a fleet of W golf buggiesì with W styleù number plates - lining the pier waiting to take guests to their villa. Even the luggage trolleys were shaped into a W.
Forget the bi-level Beach Oasis villas, W Maldives is all about the water Ocean Oasis villas, they are truly exceptional, sexy even. It's almost as if they've gone to every other island in the Maldives and taken the best their competitors had to offer and made it better, giving it the unique W twist that makes most W hotels standouts in their cities.
Ocean Oasis villas boast private plunge pools (or hop down the steps and dive into the turquoise lagoon if you'd prefer) and massive daybeds built for serious relaxation. Inside, the villas offer peep through glass sections of flooring in the living rooms so you can check out the marine life swimming below. Flip a switch to illuminate underwater lights for a night-time peek at the fauna. Stay connected while cast away with Samsung Plasma TVs, BOSE gadgets and High-Speed Internet Access (but who comes here to use the internet?). Drift off in the signature W king bed.
Even the names of some of the places have been carefully chosen.
WAVE - Water sports facility
AWAY - Spa which even has a hair salon but only for blow-drying, yep its that kind of resort.
DOWN UNDER - Snorkeling gear provided
SWEAT - Fitness Center
Oh, and you have to just love the Whatever/Whenever Service. They will deliver whatever you want, whenever you want it, just dial whatever/whenever from your room.
All of the restaurants are excellent. The breakfast buffet from the Kitchen restaurant is brilliant (pic above), the Fish restaurant is extraordinary and the seafood BBQ buffet at FIRE was amazing, they've certainly got the food part right.
There's a games space with table tennis, table soccer, billiard table, but not just any table billiard table, and they have the coolest brands of everything.
Which brings me to the guests. This is the serious Jimmy Choo gang, Sex in the City by the beach. I spotted one woman who changed her bikini and outfit three times every day.
If it all sounds too relaxing, you can indulge in a bit of partying at '15 below', the subterranean nightclub which plays host to some of the world's top DJs. As for the spa, we werent sure he would apart from the underground nightclub, 15 Below, the see through Kayak's and the snorkeling) are these mobile kiosks splattered around which have fridges stocked with ice creams - drinks - sun tan lotion - all free to use whenever you feel like it provide more than a few moments indulgence.
Everything about the W Maldives resort is perfect, its the perfect fantasy Island. - Bill Tikos.
BEST TIME TO GO
NOW UNTIL MAY
By far the coolest thing on the island (apart from the underground nightclub, 15 Below, the see through Kayak's and the snorkeling) are these mobile kiosks which have fridges stocked with ice creams - drinks - sun tan lotion - all free to use whenever you feel like it.
Night club and wet pool bar, Infinity edge pool, Watersports including kite surfing, Hobie Cats, water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, canoes, jetskis, scuba diving, handline fishing, excellent snorkelling, table tennis, pool tables and table football, Yoga, Fitness centre
Villas from US $735 per night
Sunday - what a terrible day it is. Itís the day before you have to go back to work, and often the day after a big night. Past experience tell you it involves either hours vegging in front of the TV, some banal family occasion, or worse - both. But thankfully Petersham Nurseries are on hand to get you out of this familial mess.
Located in leafy West London among flowers and their oak brethren, this cafe and teahouse is the perfect place to get away from the in-laws. Oh, and the foodís pretty good as well. Sourcing the best local ingredients, and growing most of the fruit and vegetables in the surrounding gardens, it gives off just the right amount of homemade nostalgia without conjuring images of your niece putting mud in the oven.
Potter around the award-winning shrubberies, saunter through the lemon trees, or sample the herbs growing wild in the herb bed. Sundays here are what Sundays should be ñindulgent. And who needs family when your fellow diners may include Mick Jagger, Paul Smith and Madonna. A belly of lamb with mustard and a glass of Merlot, or screaming kids and burnt gravy - need one really ask? - Matthew Hussey
If celebrity patrons are an indicator of a hotel's popularity, the Maldives super-lux Huvafen Fushi is about as hot as it gets. George Clooney popped in for lunch last month, Kate Moss partied in her Ocean Villa, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes booked in a massage during their honeymoon, Alexander McQueen had left when I arrived and when I left the island, Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana and John Galliano were set to arrive (separately).
Trendsetting Huvafen Fushi has been raising the benchmark since its first inception two years ago. Opening its doors to feature the world's first underwater spa, Huvafen Fushi has since earned its spot on the coveted Conde Nast Traveller MagazinesUK and US Hot List.
This discreetly luxurious, contemporary retreat is located on its own lagoon on a tiny island in North Male Atoll. I arrived late into the night direct from Singapore, the flight doesn't get in until 10pm (note: book Emirates instead to arrive during the day).
When I was escorted into my over-water bungalow, I felt like I'd walked into an Apple store/Armani showroom, with a bed in the middle surrounded by all my favorite gadgets. Surround sound Bose indoor/outdoor music system, Plasma TV screens, Bang & Olufsen phones, iPod Nano with an incredible selection of music that had already been installed, a separate massive bath which overlooks the ocean, my own private plunge pool, oversized king size bed, Frette linen, designer furniture (including pieces by Frank Gehry) electronic curtains, waterfall shower, the list goes on and on.
Waking up in the Maldives is something everyone should experience before they die. The view from the bed in my room overlooked the plunge pool which overlooks the Ocean. Itâ€™s an incredible sight, serious postcard material.
The day at Huvafen Fushi starts off with a buffet breakfast in Celcius, luxe-but-laid-back dining on a white sand floored deck branching out over the lagoon. Next it's off snorkeling where you'll see the most amazing colored coral and sea life including sting rays. It takes approximately 3 hours before you realize you have a tan, the sun is extremely bright and even with 30+ sunblock, you tan quite fast and you notice tan lines by the time you've finished breakfast.
My day was busy, yet I did nothing. I snorkeled, I tanned, I read, I snorkeled again, I read more, I walked over to the over-water gym, and walked back out (are you kidding, who can face the gym on holidays) and before I knew it, the sun was already setting. So I headed to Umbar to order a cocktail and sit back in the seriously comfy lounge chairs and watch the sunset while the chill band played, very Cafe Del Mar. The music, the sunset, the people, the atmosphere - it's an amazing vibe. Dinner at Salt restaurant (barefoot) is a highlight. The food was fine dining at its best, as good as anything you'll find in the world's best restaurants.
Famously, the highest point in the Maldives is only four meters above sea level, so perhaps its not surprising that the Huvafen spa is underwater, something totally exclusive to this resort. It's like entering a glamorous fishbowl where you are the main attraction to the fish. It's the perfect environment for a massage. I chose the Maldivian monsoon ritual massage and it defies description. All I can say is that I don't think I will ever be able to top the experience. Incredible is an understatement.
BEST TIME TO GO
NOW UNTIL MAY
The friendly, laid-back staff: guests in pavilion accommodation get a 24-hour butler service, while the rest of the resort gets a FISH (Fast Island Service Host), which amounts to the same thing. The underwater spa is a must.
Three restaurants, a lively bar, a seriously cool well-stocked underground wine cellar, an over-water yoga pavilion and the world's first underwater massage treatment rooms complete the picture.
Bungalows from US$880
This year, Huvafen Fushi is proud to announce three new initiatives. An übercool 70ft luxury yacht, an exclusive compilation with one of the world's most famous DJ and Producer, Ravin from Buddha Bar, Paris as well as an uplift to the world's first underwater spa.
When Huvafen Fushi first opened two years ago, Per Aquum Resorts, Spas & Residences, CEO, Tom McLoughlin, commented, "This is just the beginning. We will continue to refine the original Huvafen Fushi concept, while constantly pushing the boundaries in delivering the ultimate guest experience."
Huvafen Fushi has certainly made this statement its driving force with more amazing concepts on the way. - Billy Tikos
Bathroom, washroom, toilet, powder room, ladies’/men’s room, whatever we call it, it is the one place in any public or semi-public place – including restaurants, hotels, concert halls, clubs or bars – that really tells what the entire establishment is all about.
Gone are the days when surly ice-cream men trawled suburbia with their diesel spitting vans and bags of flakes. Those travelling sweet-sellers forever condemned to the cultural quirks of childhood. Well, almost. Adam Ellis, design director of brand agency Coley Porter Bell (CPB) has rekindled his love affair with ice-cream in a van and hopes you will too. Say hello to Scoop.
- was inspired when, recently, I bought my four-year-old daughter an ice cream, and the whole theatre of my childhood came flooding back. Wouldnít it be great to relive the excitement of getting butterflies when you heard that kitsch music playing from around the corner?
Winning CPB's 'Blue Sky'competition, Ellis took the £2000 (US$ 3900) prize money and put it straight into his winning design. ìI wanted to rekindle the magic with a mantra of style with a smile and the ice creamís not bad eitherî, says Adam.
Playing on that sense of nostalgia, Scoop breathes life into the run down image of selling ice cream on the streets. Taking a blinged out van fitted with chandelier and a host of fancy puddings, Scoop brings boutique eating to the masses. And with flavours including Turkish Delight, organic champagne and traditional marmalade, it's not exactly child's play. Delivering it all in bespoke cutlery, who said Mr Whippy was just for kids?
So far Scoop has only been available in Londonís East End, but Ellis has big plans for the summer. “I'd like to do music festivals, art galleries, weddings, anything with that sense of theatre”.
So kids, I mean adults, what are you waiting for? This is a great business opportunity. Contact us for Adam's e-mail address.
By Matthew Hussey