It is risky to try to express luxury for an 18-28-year-old, wealthy male audience - and not turn them totally off. Rafael de Cardenas of New York's Architecture at Large took on this challenge with the rebuilding of Ubiq Philadelphia, the destination of choice for sneakerheads from far and wide.
As sneakers and streetwear do not lend themselves all that well to wine-colored velvet or chandeliers, de Cardenas approached the redesign of the large store with a cold and bold, simplified black-and-white palette. Hard, black-lacquered surfaces, op-inspired patterns, harsh lighting and simplified displays mix with beautiful detailing and white ceilings and floors.
Thrown into the mix is a posh back room, where streetwear is displayed in a traditional gentlemen's tailor room complete with dark-wood panels, antique furnishings, restored Victorian plasterwork and a magnificent, restored mahogany fireplace. It is all a nice fusion of mansion and showroom, inviting and cold, pared-down and rich. With his approach, de Cardenas has managed to teeter in the wobbly middle-space between the reassuring - 'you can tell this is expensive, can't you?' - and the nonchalant 'I don't really care.'
The entire store is up about a meter from street level, so you can be assured that you are seen, day or night, on display, shopping for your latest pair of Clae, Stussy Deluxe, Vans Vault, Original Fake, UMBRO by Kim Jones and many others. Apparently, rap artist Kanye West has shopped there, so it should be good to go for the rest. By Tuija Seipell
Mark our words: skinny legs are on their way out. Hard to believe, we know, given that every hipster from Hobart to Helsinki is sporting licorice legs right now but the tide is slowly turning, thanks to the world's top designers who have decided that they've had enough of the look. Enter Prada, who are still setting global trends and leading the way in true fashion innovation, despite being a global mega brand (which usually spells one thing: boring). The brilliant fashion house is on a mission to bring back seriously voluminous "flares," but with a fabulous signature quirky Prada twist in the form of lavish fabrication and intricate prints. Not for the faint-fashion hearted.
Still with Prada, parts of their beautiful new shoe collection look as if they have slipped straight out of a Salvador Dali painting or some other strange alternative universe where there are no design rules. We love the decorative heels, which look more like pieces of grand, hand-carved furniture than a pair of pumps. They're almost too good to wear. By Lisa Evans
Weï¿½re constantly in awe of the incredible ideas coming out of the world of retail and hospitality interior design. Over the last few years we've seen an influx of creative new minds enter the field who are redefining the concept and making their own rules. The latest inspiring example of innovative interior commercial design is the new Maedaya Grill & Sake bar in Melbourne, created by local design firm, Architects Eat. The sushi restaurant's interior, mostly 'bound' by ropes, demonstrates the possibility of using ordinary recyclable material for hospitality projects without compromising sophistication.
The rope idea originated from the classic design of sake bottles, which are traditionally secured with ropes. The principal materials for this project are Manila ropes, timber and concrete, all reflecting natural elements such as vegetation and earth.
EAT took a different path with the first-floor function room, which is in stark contrast with the ground-floor 'rope' room. Here they have created a modern, minimalist space with white-washed walls, Japanese black-stained timber flooring, simple timber benches and raw stainless steel canopies. By Lisa Evans.
Collaborations are the way forward now in a rapidly changing fashion landscape. Everyone from high-street retailers right through to smaller, niche labels are collaborating with interesting creatives from all disciplines in an effort to bring a bit of true individuality, exclusivity and authenticity back into fashion.
French label Surface 2 Air Paris has taken a unique approach to the concept by collaborating with cult French dance music outfit Justice to produce a mini collection. Epitomizing the personal style of Justice members, the collection includes 2 worn-in biker-style leather jackets, which are fitted to the body, in keeping with the ï¿½super-skinnyï¿½ silhouette still favoured by most hipsters around the world. Jeans are also part of the collection, which, you guessed itï¿½.are super skinny. The result is a hot look but one that requires the long-term abstinence from traditional French staples - cheese and croissants. Ahï¿½what we do for fashion. By Lisa Evans
Not so long ago, you didn't even know the sex of your baby until the day of birth. Today, we'll know just about everything there is to know -- especially now that expectant mommies and daddies can gaze upon their progeny with the help of Echographic images 4-D. Apparently, these are the best medical images available. Echographic imagery is not new, but it has not been widely used for this purpose. For the old-fashioned among us, who feel that emailing even ultrasound images of your baby to everyone is intrusive and somewhat disturbing, this is bad idea. And one might wonder if we shouldn't be concerned about interfering with the baby's scarce months of peace and quiet before he/she must face our noisy, over-lit world. Add to this our impulsive need to share every single moment of our rather uninteresting lives with the rest of the universe, this could become rather tiresome. However, once the Genie is out of the lamp, there's no stuffing him back. So, expect to see images and video of unborn babies all over your desktop soon. By Tuija Seipell.
From Berlin Germany, Metrofarm Studio has produced a number of stunning, custom built DJ Desks. Having released a concrete DJ table a couple of years back, the new desks, in folded stainless steel and wood painted black and neon orange demand attention. But they're not just for finely tuned vinyl slingers looking for the perfect ergonomic ratios to heighten their musical flow. They're for anybody with a musical mind and an eye for detail, looking to add spark to a lounge room, club or gallery. It's art for the DJ's sake. By Nick Christie