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Villa Eugenie is an "events" company in the most impressive sense of the word. These are not people who organize bridal showers and baby parties for minor movie stars. For the Brussels-based team of Villa Eugenie, led by Etienne Russo, routine means orchestrating a major runway event for a major fashion house. And stunning everyone.
Best known for its catwalk extravaganzas, Villa Eugenie is now involved in not just creating spectacular fashion shows, but staging major events for luxury business in all of its forms - magazine launches, major celebrations, and jewellery, perfume, art and opera installations, corporate events and fairs around the world. The team also advises major fashion brands on store concepts, stores space searches, lighting and branding. Although based in Brussels, Villa Eugenie operates in all major fashion and luxury centers and has a permanent office also in Miami.
We do not envy their task of having to impress the time-hardened fashion buyer or editor, or the celebrities that line up the runways of the famous fashion emporiums. These events are critiqued like major concerts or art exhibitions, and the shows themselves are as much about drama and ever-bigger surprises as they are about the designers, or the fashions - most of which are unwearable by mere mortals anyway.
Villa Eugenie must be doing it right. Year after year, its client list reads like a Who is Who in the fashion world: Chanel, Dries Van Noten, Miu Miu, Maison Martin Margiela, Lanvin, Hermés, Hugo Bosss, Sonia Rykiel, Olivier Strelli, and the
These are all major brands with huge production budgets. But even when you know that sky is not the budget's limit, it is still astonishing that the same production company can be creating several shows in one season - all attended by the same posse of cynical seen-it-all viewers - and not start to appear stale or formulaic. Boundless creativity and ruthless attention to detail, both most likely still sparked for each project by Etienne Russo himself, are the cornerstones of such a feat.
Russo started humbly in the 1980s as an artistic and creative barman at Mirano, a fashionable nightclub in Brussels. He was soon creating major events there and drawing serious attention. His first real fashion client was Dries Van Noten for whom he worked as a model, salesman, lighting engineer, cook and extraordinary producer of Van Noten's first fashion show in Paris in 1991.
In 1995, Russo started his own production firm, naming it after the charming villa where it was located. Since 2004, the Villa Eugenie team has worked out of a former factory close to Brussels South station (Bruxelles-Midi, Brussel-Zuid). The space, covered by a vast glass canopy, was redesigned by the Ghent-based architect Glenn Sestig
This is the same man who this year opened his first luxury hotel Sestig Hotel. In the cubic Huis Van Waes building in Ghent that he reconstructed. By Tuija Seipell
Seen any other interesting events we should know about? e-mail [email protected]
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
Forget the sport..some of the most interesting things happening at the Beijing Olympics are coming from clever sponsors who have dreamt up creative ways to promote their brands at the mega global event. We're loving the offering from Mini Cooper, who have dragged traditional Chinese street transport into the 21st century with these great bike-powered Minis. Samsung has been equally creative, giving Olympics' fans a chance to view all of the action from their own "private" alien-like pods. Both of these offerings are a lesson to global brands: get creative and innovative in your marketing or risk being drowned out by the noise. - Laura Demasi
Coinciding with Art Basel Miami, FriendsWithYou has unveiled its flagship boutique at 3930 NE 2nd Avenue in Miami, Florida. In their whimsical and inimitable style, they have created their very own fun house for their fans stocked with new limited-edition stuff — from clothing and toys to prints, books and art. We are also looking forward to our collaboration with Friends With You in 2010 on some special TCH projects.
Magical spiritual powers are not the only talents Miami-based art collaborative FriendsWithYou can claim as theirs. They also have a special skill for creating cuddly, cute and somewhat clever toys, events, experiences and other playthings for us mere mortals. We would never imply that their Fun Houses and other such entertainments are just for kids because if they were, we’d feel too envious to be nice.
In 2008, the FriendsWithYou duo — Sam Borkson and Arturo “Tury” Sandoval III — participated in the Hexagone (A hex is gone) group art show in Miami, curated by Jose Mertz. The FriendsWithYou playroom was filled with gigantic inflated buddies and called Wish World.
Also in 2008, a FriendsWithYou Fun House was part of the 944 Magazine’s Crime on Canvas surrealistic pop art show at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. And later in the year FriendsWithYou created another Fun House interactive exhibition for the SCOPE Miami lounge. SCOPE took place in the Wynwood Art District where the FriendsWithYou studio is also located.
Earlier this month, FriendsWithYou created another Fun House interactive exhibition for the SCOPE Miami lounge. This year’s SCOPE had nearly 90 exhibitors from more than 20 countries in a new 60,000-square-foot space in the Wynwood Art District where FriedsWithYou’s new studio is now also located.
The Fun House is a giant, anthropomorphic bounce house intended to help unleash the visitors’ inner brats and in doing so, take advantage of the healing power of fun. This is in keeping with FriendsWithYou’s mission of sharing the message of “magic, luck and friendship with the global community.” - Tuija Seipell
From August 5 to September 30, the cutely nostalgic Fiat 500 C, unveiled in February, appears on Milan’s world-famous fashion street, Montenapoleone, in an unexpected role. Exactly 20 fiberglass replicas, precisely the same size and shape as the little Fiat, have become planters for real trees of various shapes. The happening, called “Per fare un albero” (Create a tree), is a cooperative effort between the City of Milan, Fiat, and artist-designer Fabio Novembre. In Novembre’s words, his solution to merge into one object trees and cars, two elements always vying for urban space, is a “symbol of a new way of living.” According to Fiat’s spokespeople, Fiat 500 C’s cheerful, friendly, innovative and eco-friendly character is a perfect fit for such an undertaking. - Tuija Seipell
Our world is full of noise, coming from every angle. Consumers have seen it all before, creating an unprecdented challenge to marketers.
It’s not enough just to be noticed. To rise above the clutter brands need to be extraordinary in every way. Extraordinary is the new ordinary; a mandatory requirement in a globaiised world where consumers are savvier, better educated and more connected than ever before.
Over the last five years The Cool Hunter has sought out the extraordinary and these finds have been a source of inspiration for hundreds of thousands of readers. But what you see on the site is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg as we don't always give away content for free. For hundreds of examples of innovative brand communications - from guerilla marketing through to environmental and outdoor - visit our consulting arm The Cool Hunter Platinum.
We are excited to announce that our first offline event, TreeLife by TCH, will be unveiled in a major city in 2013.
This event will showcase innovative and creative sustainable architecture, and illustrate that green can co-exist with urban city life.
The world's first major public exhibition of 'green design' treehouses, TreeLife will bring the biggest names in international architecture, design and art into the one public place for the first time, showcasing cutting edge green and sustainable design.
Life in the trees
Treehouses have become creative eco-statements in the design world. They allow people to literally be "in" nature and peace above the stressful street level of life. The Cool Hunter will invite top local and international architects, artists and designers to design for the event a modern treehouse, created from sustainable and recycled materials
Global program of events:
To celebrate the incredible temporary environment created by TreeLife, the exhibition will host a program of events that will vary from city to city.
Art-life: Green-themed, organic art installations placed around treehouses including topiary.
Silent Cinema: Public, open-air "silent" movie screenings using wireless, sound-proof headphones.
Free bikes at each satellite venue for people to move from site to site in an eco-friendly manner
Hi-Tea: Refresh in the TreeLife High Tea Room
The Green Room: An off-site sister hospitality venue
Sleep overnight in a treehouse: The ultimate tree house experience.
Illuminating TreeLife at night: LED installations and nightly LIGHT SHOW
Rollerdisco: A 70s "rollerskate" rink.
Eco-stage: Artists will perform amongst the installations on the green-powered Eco-Stage
The Ecotarium: A showcase of green technology.
Graphic Art exhibition: 100 TreeLife posters designed by 100 of the world's top graphic illustrators
For sponsorship enquiries, contact here
Here at the industry arm of TCH, our agency Access collaborates with some of the world's best companies to help them stand out from their competitors. We specialize in developing ideas to help brands move into the new, niche Cool Age.
We also develop ideas to take TCH into the offline space, starting with TreeLife and now our Pop-Up skate park.
This innovative concept sees art, design and extreme sports collide creatively in an awe-inspiring, customized skate park entirely unique in the skating world. Using pop-culture icons and the latest trends, the Pop-Up Skate Park by TCH creates ultra-cool skating environments, designed to garner the ultimate media exposure through their incredible appeal and popularity.
Currently, we are creating two Pop-Up Skate Park themes – Transformers and Space Invaders — both ideal promotional media for high-energy brands that want to attract serious attention.
For Transformers Skate Park, we commissioned Christiann Klaassen and his amazing team from Rockhunter in London to visualize the recreational and promotional space where design, technology and skate culture meet with a cool Skate Park.
This is a fully customizable skating environment, designed for each specific location’s surroundings, and incorporating a range of innovative ramps, bowls, half-pipes and landings.
Two oversized Autobot Transformer robots, impressively positioned at either end of the skate park, signify guardianship of the ramp and those who use it, echoing seamlessly the Transformers film concept of robots protecting humans.
En all-encompassing landscape of illumination and light-projected designs enhance the skating environment. There is also the option of showcasing a range of rotating art works to further emphasize this hyper- real environment.
Space Invaders, in turn, are arguably the biggest pop-cultural icons of the 80s! The original characters that introduced the world to the realm of video gaming through their pixilated aesthetics, enjoy the unique advantage of multi-generational appeal. Globally, from children of the 80s through to Generation Y, the public has recognized and appreciated these characters for their cool simplicity.
The Cool Hunter is taking these alien invaders and super-sizing them for their unique skate park. A pair of larger-than-life Space Invader characters frame the two ends of the skating environment. Made from translucent Perspex, these illuminated figures create the visual masthead for the Skate Invaders Park.
The skating surface itself reflects the playing environment of the original 80s game. This design comprises of illuminated alien ships, fighter units and laser beams as seen in the games architecture.
The entire Skate Invaders environment will be visually enticing and provide innovative user functionality for Skate Invaders. Skate Invaders has been rendered by Per Krogsgaard and Jason Idris Alami from What!
If your brand is ready to launch a Pop-Up Skate Park by THC in your city, get in touch.
Mini Cooper by TCH is also another project we'll soon announce online.
How can TCH work with your brand on innovation and creating new brand experiences worth talking about? - get in contact with Access Agency.
A new permanent exhibition, LEVEL GREEN, dealing with the complex topics of car manufacturing, sustainability and the use of global resources, opened last month at the Autostadt (Car city in German), near the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburgh, Germany.
The architectural firm of J. Mayer H. of Berlin and interactive an digital media specialists, Art+Com Berlin, developed the concept for the 1,000 m2 interactive exhibition. The themes of the exhibition — Personal use, Sustainability at Volkswagen, The three aspects of sustainability, Mobility of the future, Sustainability and the economy, Effects of climate change — wind their way among an organically-shaped, sustainably built web of green structures.
Established in 1994, the vast is a seven-pavilion Autostadt visitor attraction area has ultra-modern pavilions for Volkswagen, Bentley, Škoda, Lamborghini, Audi and SEAT, and draws about 2 million visitors annually. - Tuija Seipell
Last week, Martell Cognac flew TCH to Paris to attend the unveiling of the Martell Amber Lamp by iconic French architect, Jean Nouvel.
We were delighted to discover that Lionel Breton, CEO of Martell is a big fan of TCH as is the team at Nouvel's studio.
In his presentation, Mr. Nouvel told us how he was brought up in the same region where Martell Cognac is made, and so it was natural for him to want to create the lamp as a tribute to the excellence of Martell cognac. Only about 50 of the sculptural lights will be manufactured and they will be exposed in prestigious outlets across the globe, art galleries, museums, etc and at Martell's Chateau de Chanteloup in Cognac.
The 65-year-old Nouvel created not so much a lamp as a sculpture – a large glass bulb with a metal staff that glows warm, golden light almost as if the glass were still semi-liquid and hot, and in the process of becoming its final shape. The glow of this warm light is a perfect place to enjoy the company of friends and to sip some Martell cognac!
Martell was founded by Jean Martell in 1715. From the Firino-Martell family, it passed through the hands of the Canadian Seagram family to its current owners, the Pernod Ricard Group, that also owns Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Absolute Vodka, Kahlua, Malibu and many other premium alcohol brands.
The Martell brand has been creating some buzz recently by launching a Martell-branded window display at Harrods in London and a look-at-me-style pop-up at Hong Kong airport.
Last but not least, a huge thank you to Katja Graisse from Balistik Art who handled all of the details of our visit with impeccable style and superior efficiency – in English and French! We deal with dozens of PR firms each week, and we can say with conviction that Katja is the best of the best. It is no wonder that French luxury brands form the bulk of her clientele. - Bill Tikos
When we saw this great idea in Montreal, Canada, we immediately thought how wonderful it would be if city councils around the world took this on as a way to draw attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month! The cause deserves this kind of prominence.
However, this presentation by landscape architect Claude Cormier is not for breast cancer awareness. It is part of Aires Libres a summer-long celebration that has turned the street to a pedestrian-only mall of arts and culture. Aires Libres will end September 12, 2011.
Pink Balls/Les Boules Roses consists of more than 170,000 pink balls hanging over a 1.2 km distance from Berri to Papineau Street in Montreal’s Sainte-Catherine Street East Village.
There are three sizes of pink plastic balls, stretching over the street in nine sections, each with its own pattern. Pink Balls was produced by Impact Production in partnership with Société de développement commercial - SDC du Village. - Bill Tikos
Today’s demanding consumers expect even their beloved, favorite brands to step up their game. Many run-away online successes of offline brand “stunts” attest that consumers expect, and get really excited about, experiences that are unusual, fun, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging. With the power and immediacy of social media, surprising offline events and stunts have now turned into truly powerful promotional tools.
In 2010, TCH will launch Access Agency. It is a dedicated entity that will continue our work of creating highly original, transformational, yet eminently practical and results-oriented strategies for companies to stage the kinds of offline brand experiences that will increase the economic value of their offering.
Access specializes in helping brands and businesses see the world differently. We add substantial value by creating customized experiences that change the consumers’ thinking in some way. The surprise element changes the thinking patterns, and the change makes the experience memorable. People want to talk about it, tell everybody about it. And that, in turn, translates into added brand awareness and ultimately sales.
Access is hard at work creating ideas and concepts for some high profile brands. For McDonald’s, we envision a cool, surprising and fun mix of concepts. First is McFancy, an upmarket temporary McDonald’s store that launches at Fashion Weeks around the globe — London, New York, Paris, Milan, Sydney, Hong Kong. McFancy is part art installation, gathering spot and, of course, a restaurant that offers a traditional McDonald’s menu but packaged in a way that makes a playful yet stylish nod to the lifestyle of the highly desirable, influential consumers that attend Fashion Weeks.
Waiters in tuxedos, silver service, private dining areas, and packaging co-created with the fashion brands that present at Fashion Week — Burberry burgers, Chanel fries on black packaging, Paul Smith Sundaes…A bit of fun among the serious business of fashion. A bite of comfort food among all the elaborate cocktail fare, Private dining rooms, a raised catwalk that winds around the perimeter of the space, and with a central bar area providing a dramatic focal point. The ceiling is constructed from stretched fabric, ribbed to provide articulation and define zones. The form of the ceiling is accentuated through the use of LED lighting
We believe that McDonald’s can have major presence at events like NY Fashion Week, movie premiers and other high-profile events by creating a space to fit that environment.
This is just one of many concepts that Access Agency will be launching in 2010. Brands wanting to create something innovative and extraordinary should contact [email protected]
See also McMobile McDonald's (below)
National Geographic Channel have created a real-life version of the animated film Up — launching a house thousands of metres into the air using balloons.
A team of scientists, engineers, and two world-class balloon pilots successfully launched a 16' X 16' house 18' tall with 8' coloured weather balloons from a private airfield east of Los Angeles, and set a new world record for the largest balloon cluster flight ever attempted.
Using 300 helium-filled weather balloons, the lightweight building reached an altitude of more than 3000m and remained in the air for about an hour.
The filming of the event, from a private airstrip, will be part of a new National Geographic Channel series called How Hard Can it Be?, which will premiere in fall 2011.
Our new creative ideas agency ACCESS is helping brands and businesses see the world differently. We add substantial value by creating customized experiences that change the consumers’ thinking in some way. A simple idea for our McFancy project for McDonald's has already been viewed by over 3 million readers through this site. Millions more have interacted with it via hundreds of blogs that have featured it (google "Mcfancy Mcdonald's or McFancy by Access Agency"). And dozens of magazines internationally are featuring the concept in forthcoming issues. That's several million eyeballs before a single $ has been spent.
Enter our latest concept for Puma that we call SPINSTAR, which aligns perfectly with the brand image. It is a touring program that finds participants who can last the longest in a spin class, with Puma as the backdrop. Participants are offered a free pair of Puma sneakers and workout gear once they pass 2 hours (most spin classes run for 45 minutes). The winners of each session (which can last up to 8 hours) will receive the Puma bike and would then be invited to the final competition where the winner of the longest spin-class is crowned Puma SPINSTAR, receiving $25,000 cash along with $10,000 worth of Puma gear.
Puma renderings created by Dobson White
Forget about wandering through an art gallery and wondering if you’re the only one who has no idea what anything means. Acess Agency has brilliantly invited the cultural elite to grab a glass at an exhibition in Dresden, Germany, and drink away the art.
Regardless of what we do or do not understand about art, we can all agree, it stimulates our senses. Access has aroused our sense of taste (not to mention eliminated the need of elbowing our way to the bar) by hanging flat, glass containers with a variety of cocktails in the exhibition space. As the night progressed, the levels of the multi-coloured infusions diminished. By the end of the event, the art, itself, ran dry, and empty drinking glasses were returned to where they were originally placed. - Andrew J Wiener.
Simple ideas meticulously executed make a big impact in Glocal Design Magazine’s trade show booth presented at the May 2011 Habitat Expo in Mexico City.
The 258 square-foot (24 square meter) exhibit was created by Mexico City-based ROW Studio, a partnership between Álvaro Hernández Félix, Nadia Hernández Félix, Alfonso Maldonado Ochoa.
The sponsor of the construction and material for the booth was Masisa Mexico, a leading manufacturer of MDF panels in Latin America. Masisa was looking to showcase the versatility of its 15mm DecoMDF Masisa panel, covered on both sides with a decorative foil in a wide range of colours and designs.
We love the way ROW’s creative team of Luis Larumbe and Daniel de Leon used fluid and undulating forms making the hard material seem pliable and inviting. We also love the use of colour, and the cocoon-like enclosure – all fitting qualities for a design magazine. - Tuija Seipell
Pencil Fair Stand
Grazia Magazine Pug Balloon Stunt
The annual Leipzig Book Fair (Leipziger Buchmesse) has just ended. Attracting some 150,000 visitors each March, the four-day Fair is one of Europe’s largest bookish events.
At this year’s Fair, the trade show exhibit that received some serious media attention was made of 15,000 pencils — the writing instrument hardly anybody uses for writing. Interior Architect and product designer, 29-year-old Johannes Albert and Book Designer Helmut Stabe designed and realized the pencil concept for Mitteldeutscher Verlag Publishers.
The pencils function as giveaways, as decorative objects and as parts of the construction of the booth. The idea is that the visitors can decide to take a pen, alter the display, or leave it all as is. 315 of the pencils actually held the perforated boards in position while others functioned as wall stands for the books. - Tuija Seipell.
see also Matt Bilfields - Peggy
Creating compelling and unique brand experiences is what our new marketing agency ACCESS does best. The incredible interest that media, brands and readers have shown in our postings of just some of our ideas -- McFancy McDonald’s, Puma Spinstar, Mini Car wraps and Transformers Skate Park -- shows clearly why brands are so keen on creating these kinds of experiences.
These are experiences that are talked about, blogged about and written about. Just Google McFancy McDonald’s and you will get over 10 pages and over 6 million views. Not one of these concepts even exists yet, (with the exception of Mini) but the media interest, online buzz and brands approaching us to experience our way of thinking offers rock-solid proof that they are an effective way to create brand awareness.
Our agency ACCESS taps into our global creative community to offer brands exceptional ideas and execution. If a brand is unable to register an image, product or service in the public’s mind with impact, it has little hope of being relevant. Traditional methods of creating visual impact and effective recall are no longer enough. Today’s consumers demand much more. It takes much more to register under their radar. Imaginative and impactful marketing is now more than ever a core function of a successful consumer-facing business. And to be successful in today’s increasingly competitive environment, companies must learn to stage experiences that engage and speak directly and personally to each of their customer segments. Exciting, unusual, cool brand experiences -- both on and offline -- are capturing the imagination of today's consumer. If it is not memorable, then it is just wallpaper.
Our latest project is for Moët - a champagne & chandeliers event showcasing over 100 chandeliers, made from crystal, glass, neon, plastic, paper in a space that can be adapted to suit any environment, from a digital-style marquee at the races to a smaller venue.
Here’s a glimpse at what we are working on.
Transformers 3 Media launch - pop up skate ramp
Who says you cannot become the host of your very own pop-up movie theatre? Just book a room, put up a big screen, build a seating theatre from cardboard and you are set. While you are at it, you might as well make the seating interesting. Don’t just pile up square boxes upon boxes but have some creative fun and allow the audience to experiment and experience different ways of sitting, lounging and viewing the screen. Can this be done?
It has been done in temporary museum and exhibition settings so why not at home or at the office? Cardboard is an amazingly versatile recycled and recyclable material just waiting for more creative uses. Contact ACCESS if you want to know more, or send us your cardboard discoveries. Bill Tikos
In the friendly tradition of ice-cream trucks and pop-corn carts, the highly visible McMobile brightens up the day at large sporting events, concerts, street festivals and any other events where large crowds are present — and hungry!
And for people waiting in long line-ups to get into such events or to buy tickets, the McMobile would be not only a welcome and entertaining distraction, but a chance to get something to eat that they would probably eat anyway when they get into the event.
Depending on the location and specific requirements, the McMobile could take the shape of just the one main car or it could become an entire fun train with various components of a meal depicted in each car.
To make most of the fun of this fun meal-on-wheels, the concept would be further enhanced by specific music, mascots, staff and entertainers interacting with the crowds — all part of the experience of encountering the McMobile.
With its bright colors and cute appearance, McMobile will be photographed and broadcast in social networks by consumers where-ever it shows up. McDonald’s could even run a “Spot McMobile” contest online to increase the visibility.
McMobile is a concept created by Access Agency which will be sold as a franchise model and also used as a branded marketing experience.
See also McFancy
Audi, a brand exuding an attitude of self confidence and progressive thinking, and associated with the latest technology and innovative design, is a perfect brand to pioneer this entirely original concept, a new breed of “billboard” created by Access Agency.
It is a display of four life-size Audi cars, suspended inside the silver rings of a massive Audi symbol attached to an iconic bridge structure or in front of landmark spaces — the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Tower Bridge, Venice. The rings rotate around, light-up at night, and move up and down the bridge. Against the backdrop of spectacular urban architecture, the Audi installation reflects Audi’s continuous challenging of the status quo, its capacity to innovate, and its ability to avoid the bland and the ordinary.
But what will create valuable media attention and social media buzz is not just the actual final display, but the entire anticipation, the process of creation, the engineering feat of the installation and the spectacular launch event.
The manufacturing and transportation of the gigantic rings, the installation of the rings, the hoisting of the vehicles, the first test of the lights, the rehearsals of the launch…By the time the installation is complete, and the unveiling event is about to start, the news about it will have reached those in the know.
PR — locally and globally — plus participation and rallies by dealers, and other in-town and on-site activities and happenings leading up to the unveiling, will add to the echo effect of this one-of-a-kind promotion.
The anticipation, excitement and buzz will culminate in an epic night-time launch event that we envision including a live symphony orchestra playing on a barge right under the suspended rings or on the bridge itself, a fireworks presentation or a LED light show above the bridge, and the ultimate unveiling of the rings. Bill Tikos
THIS is what we will want in our office now! Pinball may be living a second life as a retro thing to do and own, but what we really want now is to be living (or working, playing) IN a pinball machine!
Our hopes for this were aroused by the super clever exhibit of Modular Lighting Instruments at Interieur 2010, the 22nd International Design Biennale that took place October 15 – 24 at Kortrijk Xpo venue in Kortrijk, Belgium .
In a colorful and fun human-scale pinball machine, completely lit by LED lights, Modular introduced its latest LED ceiling lights, Spock and O’Leaf, for the first time to the general public.
The playing field of the game was divided into the same sections as the Modular lighting catalogue: Orientation, Accent, General and Dynamic making it easy for the “players”-- potential specifiers and buyers of the new lights – to pay attention to the lights, and not just the fun surroundings. Apparently, this energy-efficient exhibit used 70 % less energy than the company’s 2008 exhibit at the same event.
The Roeselade, Belgium-based Modular Lighting Instruments has showrooms across Europe and additional offices in the Netherlands and France.
Both of the new fixtures, Spock and O’Leaf, were designed by Bram Couvreur and Bjorn De Vos of Couvreur & Devos, also located in Roeselade. - Bill Tikos
TCH ACCESS agency's collaboration with the world's best brands and ad agencies continues. We are working on a number of fun projects with car brands, property developers, sports brands, beverage (alcohol and non) brands, movie studios.
Last fall, BMW's event agency, EWT invited ACCESS to create the Mini Indoor Drive In Cinema for the launch week of Mini Countryman to the Italian media. We also created a video presentation about the World of Innovation for the same event.
Since we first featured the drive-in cinema and the Mini car-wraps, we have been asked by numerous Mini dealers around the globe to create them for their showrooms. So, this year, we will be creating many more exciting and innovative Mini experiences in various international markets. Stay tuned - Bill Tikos
DDB Paris created this simple, fun “Escape Machine” experience for the French travel company Voyages SNCF.
Menacing, glowing black cubes wait till someone goes close enough. Then the cube asks where the person would like to travel. Pushing the red button produces a crazy celebration, complete with gigantic walking kisses, and provides the wishers large, customized mock tickets to their destination. Watching the faces of the onlookers is just as much fun as the experience itself!
The underlying message is that the company’s Escape service lets you travel to any destination you want. DDB Paris with executive creative director Alexandre Harve created this, as it did last year’s flash-mob “Welcome Service” scenes for Voyages SNCF. - Tuija Seipell
It's good to see that the Mattel Hot Wheels brand is experimenting more and more in guerrilla style stunts globally. With such a fun brand the potential for creative expression is endless. Our own agency Access had been approach by Mattel to create some unique campaigns for the brand as they are now marketing Hot Wheels to a much more older demographic.
Expect to see more of the Hot Wheels brand!
Here are some fun examples:
Ogilvy & Mather, Bogota, Colombia, created this eye-popping funwheel for a highway underpass.
Big Brothers Are Watching! A great example of scale gone crazy, created by Ogilvy & Mather, Mexico.
A Really Big Boy watching the cars — another one in the same maxi-scale genre by Ogilvy & Mather, Mexico.
Hot Wheels Race Off - A global competetion to find the fastest Hot Wheels Car Racer by Access Agency.
The incredibly beautiful "A Path in the Forest" by architect Tetsuo Kondo was a temporary installation in the Kadriorg Park near Tallinn, Estonia.
It was part of Tallinn's 2011 European Capital of Culture activities and in particular, part of LIFT11, a festival of 11 urban installations. All other installations in LIFT11 were selected through a design competition, but Kondo was invited to create the Path. It was realized in partnership with the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee.
Kardiorg Park is an urban forest, only 15-minutes' walk from the Old City of Tallinn. While it has some intact treed areas, it is mostly an urban park of man-made structures and tended gardens.
With his light touch, Kondo created a 95-meter (311-foot) suspended walkway among some of the park's 300 year-old trees. The unobtrusive Path is similar to Kondo's 2010 work Cloudscapes for the Venice Architecture Biennale. Both works put humans on an uncommon level in relation to their surroundings, creating a new viewpoint and inviting further examination. - Tuija Seipell
Just like fireworks, originally used in celebrations to reach up to and greet the spirits in the sky, this LED-light cathedral aimed VERY VERY high! We’re not sure if it was visible from space (or higher) but it certainly glowed brightly.
More than half-a-million people were drawn to the Luminaire De Cagna LED-light display at the 2012 Light Festival in Ghent, Belgium. Luminaire De Cagna became the main attraction of the Festival that included more than 30 other displays and exhibitions.
Constructed of wood, covered with 55,000 LED lights and reaching 28 meters (92 ft.) into the sky above Belfortstraat, the Romanesque cathedral-like Luminaire De Cagna used only 20 kWh of energy.
Luminaire De Cagna is an Italian family business that has created light displays since 1930. They started with oil and carbine lights, moved on to electric and, since 2006, have used LED-lights exclusively. - Tuija Seipell
We have experienced dozens of brand and product launches. Much of the time, we are not impressed. Small baby-steps, same-old-same-old, reiterations of existing and stale ideas, broken brand promises, confusing off-brand presentations, mind-numbing marketing-speak, boring PR. Blah blah blah.
No matter how much we are lavished and pampered with free trips and swag, if we are not impressed, we are not impressed, and we will not write about it. If it’s not cool, it’s not cool. Simply, if it does not resonate with us, we will not write about it.
That is the integrity you our readers expect of us, and we expect it of ourselves, too. So, when we sometimes do publish a sponsored post, we always make it clear that it is a sponsored post. This is not one of them.
We’ve attended Mercedes launches before and not written about them. But this time, they got us excited! The last few days in L.A. have shown us that Mercedes is serious about creating cool concepts and producing cars that are more edgy, sporty, cool and engaging for a younger audience, a group whose language they have not spoken before.
Waiters in black t-shirts with tuxedo print which makes it look like a short sleeve jacket - cool idea
We love it that Mercedes is really trying to do something different. In cars, in events, in branching out, in their approach to reaching a new audience.
The “multidisciplinary festival” we attended last Thursday at The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in L.A. is called Transmission L.A: AV CLUB - presented by The Avant/Garde Diaries and curated by Mike D of the Beastie Boys.
The festival runs from April 20 to May 6 and it is free and open to the public. It is a mixture of contemporary art, design, music, film and food.
The star vehicle of the event is the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé, the new midsize four-door luxury coupé scheduled for market launch next year.
With the release of the A class later this year, Mercedes started to approach the younger, savvy consumer market. They’ve had to rethink and redevelop their design strategy and marketing but, while the car drives beautifully, the look does not match the promises hinted at during the concept stage. We wanted more. Bolder, edgier, something that really does draw the eye.
We think this latest concept, the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé, has the potential to make a splash. This week in L.A. Mercedes certainly pulled out all the stops with the festival, celebrations and parties attended by the Who is Who in hipster L.A.
Mercedes launched this new car in a way they have not launched before. They understand that street art matters and they enlisted Mike D of the Beastie Boys to bring into this international meeting point of the avant garde his favorite artists and musicians, including Benjamin Jones, Mike Mills, Tom Sachs, Lauren Mackler from Public Fiction, Sage Vaughn, Isaac from Still House Group, Peter Coffin, Roy Choi and Will Fowler.
Mercedes had the new car as part of an installation with headphones you listen to while the lights above created a light show on the car, bathing the “new baby” in a cool artistic shower. Very impressive.
We have been to many, many car launches before and they are mostly boring. This one was different and interesting, with lots of talking points and lots of ways to engage the audience.
Here's a video of what the exhibition looks like. Go visit it while it’s still on! - Bill Tikos
What a cool ride so far!
The Cool Hunter was born seven years ago. I never thought it would lead to what we have today.
It started as a newspaper column and, surprisingly, grew quickly into a globally syndicated column.
When TCH went online, the number of subscribers and readers it drew immediately was astounding. There was clearly a pent-up need for the type of material we were featuring.
Our enthusiastic readers were not just regular people, but editors and reporters from all other media, as well as brand managers, marketing executives, CEOs, designers – professionals whose job it is to know about, and create, innovative ideas, cool products, exceptional communications, fantastic events.
Over the years, well-known brands started contacting us for help and ideas with advertising and marketing.
Our daily exposure to literally hundreds of brands, designers, architects, artists, ideas, design images and PR material has given us not just a super-solid view of what is out there and what stands out, but also access to the best talent in the world.
Of course, most of what we see is not remarkable. Which is why we knew there was yet another niche, and we established ACCESS agency to meet those needs, to help brands stand out from the mediocre, boring sameness.
Mini Pram and Supermarket Trolleys
Since those times, we have worked with great brands, from Swarovski, Evian and Gucci to Nike, Sephora and Mattel.
We do not always showcase all of ACCESS’s work here, but we wanted to show you some of the fun ideas we’ve created for the many Mini offices that have contacted us over the years.
It has truly been a cool ride so far! - Bill Tikos
Mini Rickshaw Tourist Bikes in Athens
Mini Indoor Drive-In Cinema to launch the Mini Countryman in Italy
See more at Access Agency
We have written about a Nike store display by the Finland-born, Amsterdam-based illustrator Kustaa Saksi before, but this time, it is his fantastical paper display at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair that drew our attention.
Saksi and Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh created the breathtaking display for the Fair’s third annual combined exhibition and talk show area called Hello!
The project is an initiative by the Fair to inspire and start a conversation about contemporary and future workplaces. This year’s theme was Communication.
Saksi created the intricate and delicate display from 1120 stacks of A4-size paper (total of 700,000 sheets of paper) suspended from 44,000 points in the ceiling. Ceiling frescoes, church domes, altars – these were all part of the inspiration for Saksi and Wingårdh who concluded that paper is still them most commonly used means of communication and therefor the perfect material for the display.
The Finnish forestry and paper giant Stora Enso donated the paper for the space that also hosts uses seminars and panel discussions. Tuija Seipell
Photos by Tord-Rikard Söderström
With our fascination with both minimalism and color, we’ve kept an eye on Emmanuelle Moureaux, the French-born and Tokyo-based architect famous for her use of candy-hued colors in many of her projects.
Since 2003, she’s run her own Architecture and design firm in Tokyo.
Her solo exhibition, “100 Colors” is currently on at the Shinjuku Mitsui Bldg., 55 Square, Tokyo, as part of the Shinjuku Creators Festa 2013.
For many years, Moreaux has explored the use of color and the use of the traditional Japanese paper screens as dividers. Many of her projects in retail, hospitality and public spaces express some combination of the two, using colorful screens as dividers and using color as a space maker. - Tuija Seipell.
See also The Power of Colour
In the world of fashion, luxury brands, excess and opulence, brands must shout louder and louder – or at least create something dramatically different and new - to be heard, to be noticed, to cut through the noise, to make an impact.
Moderation or modesty have never been Karl Lagerfeld’s style (an iceberg from Sweden being among his best-known past props), so once again this year, he selected a buzz-worthy location to showcase Chanel’s 2014/2015 cruise collection.
This year’s event was a glitzy do with wall-to-wall actresses, stars and princesses and 300 representatives of the world’s most influential fashion media, on a manmade island – THE Island - off the coast of Dubai.
For one night, and sparing no cost, Chanel miraculously conjured up running water, palm trees, luxury shelter and yes, also a full-scale fashion show with all the necessary AV and ambiance.
And yes, plied with that much gutsy craziness, star power and money, the world’s media has, indeed, noticed. Most likely, Chanel and Karl would call it a success. The rest of us are still slightly blinded by the glitz, wondering how far brands are willing to go to gain attention. - Tuija Seipell.
When the annual London Collections fashion show opens, brands strive to out-do each other not just with their seasonal fashion shows but also with the parties and events.
This year, heritage menswear brand Thomas Pink offered up an unusual setting for the brand’s launch party at the venerable London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. A cocktail bar made of paper.
Thomas Pink joined with the 170-year-old paper brand James Cropper to produce a stunning centerpiece bar for the launch of Pink’s London-inspired Fall/Winter 2015 collection.
Designer Sam Robins of design studio Flow Creation envisioned the white Corinthian columns and mouldings of the ICA, the pristine white men’s shirt and the White Kendal Manilla paper and created a free-standing bar with paper glasses, lamps and architectural detailing. At the end of the event, VIPs were handed pink pens so that they could leave their personal marks on the white paper surfaces. Tuija Seipell.
Last November, TeamLab, a Japanese collective of architects, designers, artists, programmers and engineers, installed a large-scale retrospective of its work at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo.
The two main interactive digital art exhibitions of the retrospective – “Digital Art” that toured the world in 2014, and “Learn and Play! teamLab Future Park” experience park for children – have been so popular at the Miraikan that the show has been extended till May 1, 2015.
In addition to the two exhibitions, the installation event has also included new pieces and components that have rotated from time to time.
One of the recently re-installed pieces is the interactive experience called Floating Flower Garden that involves more than 2,300 living and growing plants suspended from the ceiling.
The plants interact with the visitor so that the plants closest to the viewer float up while the others stay lower. This creates a cocoon or a personal, airy flowering “room” with the viewer at its centre.
The plants are constantly in motion reacting to the movements of the viewers. If several people approach an area simultaneously, the plants react by re-creating the space around them.
TeamLab describes the thinking behind this meditative space: “Japanese Zen gardens are said to have been born as a place for Zen priests to carry out training so that they can become one with nature. The garden is a microcosm of the vastness of the surrounding natural mountain areas where they gathered to train.”
TeamLab’s group of “ultra-technologists” is lead by 38-year-old CEO Toshiyuki Inoko who co-founded TeamLab in 2001. He is also currently serving as a creative industry private sector expert for the Cool Japan project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. - Tuija Seipell