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Lifestyle

July 12 2007




Underwater scooters? Sounds a bit like James Bond-meets-Finding Nemo. But despite its name, this Scuba Doo is no cartoon. The brainchild of Aussie scuba-diving specialists ScubaDoo International, the funky ScubaDoo will revolutionise scuba diving as it slips coolly beneath the waves from a launching pad, allowing the rider to cruise the reef at a speed of 2.5 knots without tanks, weights or mask, and with head and shoulders dry and safe in a clear, fitted dome. The secret to the ScubaDoo's easy mobility is an external compressor, attached to the scooter by a cable which floats above the scooter on the ocean surface. At A$22,700 (US$17,000 approx) it' not a cheap thrill, but expect diving centres and hire operators to charge approx. $130 for a 15-minute scoot through the depths. -  Lisa Evans

Lifestyle

May 2 2006




Don't look now, but Old Man Winter is sneaking up on us and its just a matter of weeks before the outdoor landscape will be packed with frigid terrain. YAKTRAX aim to be a useful ally against the completely uncool action of slipping and falling in the winter months. Get YAKTRAX and get a grip! by Isla Verde

Lifestyle

January 23 2007




The days of the designer super gym have arrived. Leading the pack is London's GYMBOX; a new �5m mega gym located in the old Lumiere Cinema space at the St Martin's Lane hotel. Providing a unique experience is paramount in the new generation of fitness centre and Gymbox succeeds in breaking the old mould, with live nightly DJs and quirky classes such as 'Gladiator Games' - where participants engage in exercises from the eponymous early 90s TV show - and the 'Stiletto Workout, performed in heels.



The St Martins Gymbox is actually the second venue for the fitness center brand, with the first opening in Holborn in 2004. Getting fit has never been so hip.



Is there a super deluxe new gym, sports or fitness centre in your city that we should know about? Let us know as we would like to feature it in a special feature for our print magazine. By Bill T

Design

March 12 2007




Everyone is a pimp or a pinup, according to Simon Charrison and his cousin James. Not content with the current trend of hair salons - emaciated stylists, pissed-off pundits and sound systems capable of melting your face - the two South Australians decided something had to be done. So they decided to open their own hair salon that prioritised service over grandiloquence right in the heart of London's east-end.

“Both I and Simon have an 'old-school approach'. The stylists have a very close working relationship with the clients, old and new, and many of them come in just for a chat and a coffee. We offer a range of complementary refreshments in the salon and we even offer beer and wine, which is always well received, especially by the clients who have just finished work.”

The styling and design take a similar approach. Vintage Japanese chairs decked in thick black leather mould to your body while the vaudeville decor offers a sense of theatre. Simon has been cutting hair for over twelve years and James has worked in customer service for a similar period.  The sense of personal empowerment at the heart of Pimps & Pinups has attracted the likes of Green Day, not to mention local bands who regularly feature on the in house stereo. “The music we play is really important to the ambience.  There's a lot of indie rock, but Saturdays mainly just ends up being the ACDC day though,” muses James. By Matthew Hussey

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Fashion

June 19 2007




Emma Hope has come a long way from the overbearing florals of Laura Ashley fashions. After designing and manufacturing six collections with the company, Hope jetted on to bigger and better things - namely, her eccentric Emma Hope collection.

Since the commencement of her designing efforts, Hope has garnered five Design Council Awards, the Martini Style Award, and the Harpers & Queen Design Award. Hope's eponymous collection began solely with shoes - footwear could be considered Hope's forte, she's designed shoes for Paul Smith, Anna Sui and Mulberry. Hope later expanded her offerings to include handbags with quirky creations like a henna suede tote bag with delicate floral silhouettes carved out of its base, or a pair of men's white leopard print sneakers fashioned from ponyskin .

The designer's most eye-catching number is easily a velvet sneaker bag which offered in bright hues of violet, gold and fuchsia, among others. The unlikely juxtaposition of luxurious velvet to hold your sweaty workout ensembles seems a perfect fit for the celebs who emerge daintily coiffed - with nary a bead of sweat - after hours-long training sessions. And for the obsessively coordinated amongst us, Hope even offers matching "Magic Basket" sneakers, which are swathed in the same unlikely shades of velvet. These indulgent workout fashions are available at either of Emma Hope's three shops in London (Sloane Square, Westbourne Grove and Islington) as well as 150 additional stores, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods. By Harper Walsh

Architecture

July 9 2007




While it may look like an optical illusion from the outside, this housing block in Izola on the Slovenian coast offers bona fide affordable options for many young families. The team of Ofis Arhitekti won a national design competition for their design of two apartment buildings each containing 30 units of varying size ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. 

Internal spaces may be small, however the unique trapezoidal-shaped balconies accentuate external perspectives and views directly to the sea. Structural elements are located externally as well thereby allowing more spacious living areas while taking advantage of the limited area of each unit and helping to keep the square metre cost low.



Ofis wrapped sunshades in the form of colourful canvas awnings around the blocks balconies. These defining features provide ample external space for each unit, while innovative side paneling allows for both privacy and ventilation. From within, the canvas panels create unique environments in individual apartments. Each coastal-facing apartment is thereby effortlessly adapted to Slovenia' Mediterranean climate. By Andrew Wiener

Fashion

July 3 2007




Matthew Williamson was called 'the king of bling' by the Sydney Morning Herald for a reason.
 
Since his London debut in 1996, one thing has remained constant: Williamson's models will sparkle. His 2003 spring collection saw gold-sequined blouses and brocade jackets, while the fall of 2005 line had shiny velvets and satins and the fall of 2006 featured shimmering gold and silver jumpers, to name a few.
 
The trend continued most recently during February's New York Fashion Week. Williamson paraded his traditional flashy jewel-hued mini minis and doll-sized dresses - but this year there was also a noticeable smattering of fashions to file under - the bigger the better. Models processed down the runway in gaping shorts and trousers that were paper-bag-synched at the waist, as well as tent-sized sparkly muumuus and necklaces boasting fist-sized shell pendants. The most innovative of these enormous fashions could be credited to the pioneering of jewellery designer Scott Wilson.



Wilson and Williamson are both decorated alumni from the UK's finest art institutions. Wilson studied jewellery design at Middlesex Polytechnic and millinery at the Royal College of Art while Williamson began his career at star-spangled Central St. Martins. Both designers earned coveted fashion positions early in their careers. Immediately after graduation Williamson began working for Marni, while Wilson earned employment with Karl Lagerfeld as an undergrad. Williamson eventually went on to launch his own successful eponymous line. On the other hand, Wilson has garnered much of his renown through his collaborative efforts with showstoppers Burberry, Rifat Ozbek and Hussein Chalayan in particular � though he continues to maintain his own jewellery line. As Wilson explained to the International Herald Tribune, 'One-off pieces are the ultimate expression of my work, but they can be very time-consuming.'
 
In their collaboration, Wilson clearly embraced Williamson's predilection for shine with his jewelled bracelets, which are evocative of bedazzled bocce balls. The enormous bangles were seen on the lanky limbs of Hilary Rochas and Maryna Linchuk during Matthew Williamson's parade of jewel-colored frocks at New York Fashion Week in February. According to Fashion Wire Daily, Wilson's 'sequined bracelets [were] a deft accessory addition to a collection that underlined how British designers stint showing in America has helped him mature into a producer of highly wearable, yet always hip, clothes.'
 
The funky though undeniably glamorous bracelets have most recently been spotted cuffing the delicate wrists of Mischa Barton on the cover of UK Elle. The bracelets are custom-made, and available to the most audacious of luxury collectors for a mere $900 each. Contact the creator himself at (TK Scott Wilson's email address). By L. Harper

Lifestyle

August 20 2007




Here at TCH, we love riding bikes through the city. There's something immensely pleasing about sailing past scores of traffic with little more than a push of a pedal.  And at the same time, you're burning the calories, and doing your bit to stay green. But there's one thing we hate about this simple mode of transport.  People like nothing more than stealing them, damaging them, or driving buses into them. While your safe at work crunching the numbers, who's looking after your ride home?

Cue the bike dispensing machine. Brought to you courtesy of bikedispenser.com, a small firm from Amsterdam, the idea is to help facilitate bike rentals in urban areas. Cyclists pay a small fee to hire a bike, and then they can take it where they please. Once they've finished, they can return it either to that machine, or another one across town. And because they've been fitted with RFID tags, they won't all have been nicked before you can get one.
 
Now, if only they can do something about those van driver - By Matt Hussey


Ads

April 17 2011

TCH ACCESS agency’s collaboration with the world’s best brands and ad agencies continues. We are working on a number of fun projects and right now we are obsessed with LEGO.

LEGO is fun and games for children. Highly recognized and bringing a smile to everyone’s face, LEGO is also the object of countless creative ideas completed by adult fans who’ve created everything from kitchen tables to animation and fashion shows, to clothing made of LEGO bricks.


 
In addition to fun and creativity, LEGO is also a strong symbol of building. In our version of street-level LEGO promotion, we envision building massive LEGO sculptures — creations so big that they cannot go unnoticed.
 
LEGO is a brand that can get away with this kind of in-your-face stunt as the goodwill and positive attitudes allow consumers to see it all in a fun light.


 
In the world of social media, this kind of attention is priceless. People will notice, photograph, tweet, facebook and youtube this to their networks when they see one of these fun creations.
 
The shock value increases when these sculptures are placed in environments and contexts where no-one is expecting to see a big “toy.”


 
We are not talking about theme parks, we are talking about car parks. A Darth Vader with his light saber waiting for you in the underground garage — perhaps to your favorite shopping centre, sports facility or night club. He will raise or lower his saber depending on how you behave. Incredible opportunities to add sound as well.
 
Or a gigantic R2D2 as a gateway, or LEGO light fixtures or a road or bridge painted to look as if it were covered with LEGO bricks. Or a friendly, gigantic Smurf to brighten up an event in a park.


 
The extension of this type of street-level promotion to websites, video, in-store promotions and advertisements is natural, yet the main thrust comes from the consumers who will react with delight. Can you imagine seeing one of these for the first time and NOT telling anyone? - Bill Tikos

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Design

October 3 2007




For some time, designers, architects and builders all over the world have tinkered with the idea of turning excess standard shipping containers into living quarters. Some of the incarnations of the lowly metal box are downright chic, including artist-architect Adam Kalkin's Quik House for which he apparently has more orders than he can handle.

But these metal containers have also drawn the attention of some leading brands that have started to use the eye-popping ideas to full advantage. Holiday shoppers milling about the Time Warner Center in New York will have a fabulous chance to experience one of these soon. Between November 28 and December 29, 2007, they can rest, relax and sip a perfect cup of illy espresso in one of Kalkin's creations, the temporary Push Button House cafe that the Trieste, Italy-based illycaffe will install there.



The European premier of this concept by Alan Kalkin and illy took place at the 52nd Venice Biennale where illy continues to partner with the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia by providing the visitors each year a space to relax and enjoy their complimentary espresso. This was illy's fourth year of establishing the refreshment area at the Biennale but the Push Button House version created an unprecedented buzz.



With the push of a button, the house opens in 90 seconds like a flower and transforms from a compact container into a fully furnished and functional space with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, living room and library. All materials used in the Biennale house were recyclable or recycled. As Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of illycaffe, has been quoted as saying, illy was initially interested in Kalkin's idea as an examination of 'home as one continuous mouldable surface, a relief against which human activity would pop out.';

Kalkin's concepts have proven to be adaptable to many circumstances. His company has developed container-unit projects for everything from disaster-relief housing to luxury dwellings (pictured below), and for promotional purposes such as the illy cafe. By Tuija Seipell.



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Kids

October 9 2007





Let's just all rewind the movie of our lives a bit and go back to school. We at Coolhunter are thinking of heading to University of London's Birkbeck College and finding our way to the classes at its Film & Visual Media Research Centre.

You cannot tell from the outside that the odd set of buildings at London's Gordon Square offers anything remarkable at all. The older building does have a pedigree - it is the former home of both Virginia Stephens (later Woolf) and economist John Maynard Keynes. The drab 1970s extension to the building does not even deserve another look. Except inside.



Award-winning London-based Surface Architects won the competition to create within the buildings the permanent home of the Film & Visual Media Research Centre. Surface transformed the basement, ground floor and the extension into a unique state-of-the-art 80-seat cinema auditorium, surrounded by a media study suite, seminar rooms and offices.

Ian Christie, Birkbeck's Professor of Film and Media History, describes the exciting new building “...the new cinema auditorium - already being referred to as 'The Screen on the Square' is as soberly dedicated to ideal screening conditions as the surrounding break-out spaces and stairway are an exuberant display of pure form and colour. In fact, Surface's extraordinary projection of intersecting cones has various filmic associations: the jagged angles recall the Expressionist set design of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, an influential German film of 1921; and the lurid colours evoke Andy Warhol's silkscreen portraits of film stars.”



Key players at Surface are Richard Scott, who formed it in 1996, and Andy MacFee, who joined Surface in 2001 as director. Both have worked with Will Alsop and other notables. Surface is also one of 47 practices worldwide selected to work on the Athlete's Village for the London 2012 Olympics. By Tuija Seipell

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Design

November 21 2007




Whoever said that reading was a religious experience was right, especially when taking a visit to Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands.

Having just won the Lensvelt de Architect Interior Prize 2007, this newest addition to the Selexyz book chain is well worth the visit to this medieval city if you are ever in the area.



Erected inside a former 800 year old Dominican church, this bookstore is said to hold the largest stock of books in English in Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in the country.

It was always going to be a challenging task for Amsterdam based architects Merkx + Girod who designed the space, to stay true to the original character and charm of the church, whilst also achieving a desirable amount of commercial space (there was only an available floor area of 750 m2, with a proposed retail space of 1200 m2). Taking advantage of the massive ceiling, both have been achieved through the construction of a multi-storey steel structure which houses the majority of the books. This is one giant bookshelf, with stairs and elevators taking shoppers and visitors alike, up to the heavens (mind the pun), to roof of the church.



To maintain a sense of symmetrical balance in the space, lower tables of best sellers and latest releases have been added to either side, and of course a small cafe at the back for readers to relax and enjoy a hot drink.

Overall a great example of how with clever thinking, spatial solutions can both achieve a suitable retail presence, whilst still respecting and remaining true to the original structure. By Brendan Mc Knight

See also Pontificial Lateral University Library
                 LIBRARIES - CANDIDA-HOFFER
                 Kids Republic Bookstore

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Events

January 21 2008




Publicity stunts don't come on much of a larger scale than this. To celebrate the launch of the new Fiat 500 in London last night, one of the vehicles was placed into a pod on the London Eye where it will live for the next 2 weeks.

The launch of this 'time capsule' was at 8pm, exactly 500 hours into the year and as one would expect for such an event, was a star-studded affair and included a light show that lit up the river Thames, and performances by Mika and The Feeling.

The car itself is a remodel of the original version which was first presented 50 years ago, and is Fiat's go at re-releasing a retro classic, as VW (Beetle) and BMW (Mini) have arguably both done quite successfully in recent years.

The 500 was recently named the 2008 Car of the Year and has been praised in numerous auto publications. By
Brendan McKnight

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Design

January 22 2008




A house attic does not evoke images of style and chic design. Rather, we find ourselves thinking of dark, cobweb-infested, damp and dreary crawl spaces. We think of attics as leftover space under the roof where we abandon unwanted stuff - outdated clothing, old books, grandma's hat boxes, grandpa's hunting gear, coin collections and bags of seashells from that long-ago beach holiday.



But as space in our urban areas is at a premium - not a square metre can go to waste. Architects and designers are starting to see the potential of this extra space, and offer solutions that meet the needs of the most demanding style freaks. Sunlight, additional rooms, extra bathrooms - it is all possible in the attic. Starchitects around the world have made dramatic rooflines trendy, so we can all give up on our visions of the embarrassing drywalled and pine-paneled disasters that attics tended to morph into, every time we tried to make them livable.




Within very few square metres, designers are finding space for sleeping, cooking and eating, and using the sloping rooflines to create impressive skylight windows.



We can all see the delightful benefits of maximising the amount of livable and usable space � even if it involves clearing away the precious collections of bric-a-brac we've spent generations accumulating. Ample sunlight penetrating the attic apartment means than even nocturnal arachnids are sent packing. By Andrew J Wiener and Tuija Seipell

We're looking for more attic renovations, if you spot one, send to [email protected]
 


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Food

February 20 2008




Negro de Anglona is a stylish restaurant in Madrid created in a converted 17th century Spanish palace, Palacio de Anglona, by architecture and interior design virtuoso, Luis Galliusi. Known for his ability to combine unexpected elements and to create elegant spaces, Galliusi has designed houses, stores, hotels, restaurants, offices and clinics in Madrid, Paris, Cairo, Mexico, Morocco, Indonesia and Miami. His client list includes Manolo Blahnik, Chanel and Phillippe Starck. In the seven rooms of Negro de Anglona, Galliusi has shown his usual flair. He has combined a strong, black-and-white color palette - including enormous black-and-white, back-lit images of castles - with ornate floor-to-ceiling drapery and other, strong decorative elements. The task of overseeing the predominantly Mediterranean menu has been trusted to the 24-year-old chef, Aitor Garcia Cerro. By Tuija Seipell


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Lifestyle

March 19 2008




We don't go to the movies to admire the theatre, but would it kill theatre owners to build even one with an edge? Time and time again, we are disappointed in the new, mega multiplexes that are boring beyond belief in their sameness and recycled ideas. So, we must admit that there is not much to celebrate but are seeing little glimmers of hope and ingenuity once in a while.



One example is the AMC Pacific Place Cinema in Hong Kong refurbished by Hong Kong-based James Law. The entrance areas to the six auditoriums seating 600 in 1.2-meter wide leather seats plus the a VIP theatre for 39 offer some unusual eye candy, but we are still wanting more. If you know of a truly cool movie theatre, please let us know via the contact page on the bottom of the site. By Tuija Seipell.

Stores

March 25 2008




Alexandre Herchcovitch has come a long way since his humble beginnings of making his mother's party clothes. Having launched his first collection in 1994, things have only gotten bigger for the Brazilian-born designer.

Trained at the Catholic institution Santa Marcelina College of Arts in Sao Paulo, his designs have been sent down the runways of New York, Paris and London. Best known for avant-garde designs and eclectic prints, his trademark skulls became an icon of Brazilian youth in the nineties.

2007 was a memorable year for Herchcovitch. It was a year of branching out, particularly with his redesign of the uniform for McDonald's employees in Brazil, and the opening of his first store abroad. In this daring project, Herchcovitch chose Tokyo where a good part of his collections are purchased and where he has become somewhat of a fashion guru.

The 1,076sq ft store, which sits in the hip Daikanyama district carries his men's, women's and denim collections and is operated in partnership with Japanese fashion distributor and retailer H.P. France.

Changing the way the world thinks about Brazilian fashion, coupled with his new Japanese store and concessions in New York, Herchcovitch is fast becoming a big and serious name in the fashion world. By Brendan McKnight.

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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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Lifestyle

June 19 2008




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

Lifestyle

June 20 2008




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.

Stores

June 26 2008




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

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Design

August 4 2008




Let's face it, most conventional medical interiors aren't exactly attractive. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising to discover that most people are allergic to the blandness and sterility of clinic interiors. Well the new Allied Health clinic in Melbourne, proves that it IS possible for health and design (and a bit of fun) to go hand in hand.

Accommodating the rather unusual combination of podiatry, physiotherapy, pathology, dietetics and psychology, the clinic feels like '2001 Space Odyssey meets late nineteenth century Victorian'. Designed by the Melbourne-based studio Chameleon Architecture, the interior juxtaposes elements of heritage, science and future. Ornate period details like crystal chandeliers, cornices, skirting boards and ceiling roses provide a classical backdrop. Exploring the idea of the medical as molecular, large glossy white molecules or futuristic pods are planted throughout the clinic, serving as consultation suites. Once inside the suite/pod, the mood changes again. The interior of the pod, from the walls, ceiling, floors to joinery, is clad entirely in plywood stained with a clear lacquer which enriches and emphasises the grain of the wood. So instead of looking pale under the normally cold and harsh light of clinical spaces, visitors here are instantly bathed in a warm, healthy glow without any treatment having even begun. - Jeanne Tan

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House

September 2 2008




One thing we really love at The Cool Hunter is reinvention. Taking a fresh approach to an established form is at the foundation of innovation and we applaud anyone who can pull it off - like Ron Arad who has created this incredibly unique luxury bath concept, which turns the traditional bath on its head, literally. Aside from its obvious aesthetic appeal - it's like a giant art installation for your bathroom - its also multi-purpose, transforming from bath to shower as the whole unit revolves. Arad worked with Italian bathroom design brand Teuco to bring the concept to life. At this stage it's still a prototype but Arad is confident that with Teuco's production expertise his bath dream will soon be a reality in our own homes. We want one now. -Lisa Evans (via Sept issue of Wallpaper magazine)

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Fashion

September 5 2008




In a cluttered market like eyewear - where every designer and his chihuahua has a range - it's difficult to stand out. Which is why we were excited to discover Cassius, a hot new brand that hails from New Zealand, the fab antipodean country that gave the world the wonderful likes of fashion designers Karen Walker and Zambesi.

The Cassius range takes inspiration from architectural proportions, specifically from the work Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus movement. Cassius applies the sharp clean lines, beautiful solid monochrome colours and classic silhouettes to a range that is individual but still wearable. The luxe frames are handcrafted from Italian zyl acetate and integrated titanium spring hinges; fitted with CR39 protected lenses with a rating of UV400. Glam and functional. Impressive. 



The branch launched in the southern summer of 2008 season at the international apparel exhibition in Las Vegas, and was a hit with exclusive stockists in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo

The brand was founded by creative director Jason Ng. Cassius is right on the pulse of the way the fashion business is evolving, taking inspiration from more exclusive diciplines of design such as art, illustration and architecture. This trend has seen many non-fashion people get involved in fashion, who have created innovative fashion products by casting thier fresh eyes on tired old forms. They don't know the rules so naturally, they break them. Design anarchists. We like it. - Laura Demasi

Have you discovered a new eyewear brand we should know about? send us tips [email protected]

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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Platinum

November 11 2008




The Cool Hunter Platinum Trend Briefings
Making other people's business your business so you stay in the know

With close to a million readers each month, The Cool Hunter has become a global authority on cool and innovation. But what you see on the site is only a small sample of our research.

We've been saving the rest for our professional readers who can now access this vast pool of knowledge for the very first time via our new Weekly Trend Briefings. Covering trends in product design, marketing, advertising, social trends and consumer thinking, The Cool Hunter Platinum Trend Briefings allows your business to stay ahead of the innovation eight-ball.

In a globalized 24/7 world staying "in the know" is crucial. Consumers are educating themselves and influencing each other at break-neck speed.

They know more and expect more, presenting a challenge to brands to come up with creative ways of attracting and holding their attention. Much of modern business is about staying ahead of this and keeping abreast of how the innovators are responding.

Which is where The Cool Hunter Platinum Weekly Trend Briefings come in. Our briefings bring the best of The Cool Hunter to your business, so innovation doesn't just become part of your company's internal program - but part of its identity and culture.

Supplied as a PDF, The Cool Hunter Platinum Weekly Trend Briefings are not meant to be hidden away on the desktops of a few select employees in marketing - they are designed to be printed as A3 sized posters and hung around your office so every employee can be inspired by innovation on a weekly basis as they go about their work. Our briefings are about creating and fostering a culture of innovation in your business - offering information as inspiration.

The Cool Hunter Platinum Weekly Trend Briefings are about accessibility - print as many as you want and place them everywhere - from the mailroom to the CEO's boardroom because innovation and ideas inspire everybody in your business to create success.    

This is a paid service. For Annual subscriptions of 48 editions, contact [email protected]

Lifestyle

November 17 2008



If the first and second generations of social networking portals were about opening up the world, the third generation is about closing it again. Invitation only sites are popping up everywhere, creating exclusive, gated virtual communities that shut out the “masses.”

A Small World
helped kick off the ‘invitation-only’ trend by restricting new membership to those invited by current members. But sometimes an invitation just isn’t enough. Gaining entry into this new generation of private online world can involve an intimidating process of review, such as career-orientated sites bluechipexpert.com and doostang.com, where aspiring members must submit their resumes to be considered for acceptance. Other sites are blatantly and proudly parochial, such as aprivateclub.com, which is only for New Yorkers in-the-know.

If you were lucky enough to score an invitation to the Cannes Film Festival, you would also have gained access to the festival’s ‘private’ online portal, cannes2008.ning.com, created for attendees only.

In Asia, well heeled society-types and business movers and shakers can network at dianefay.com, a members only online club where one has to be invited to gain entry. In Europe decayenne.com offers a similar exclusive club concept for invited members only. 

Wall Street types can commiserate the global financial meltdown with eachother in the privacy of cyberspace at bankersavenue.com, a members-only portal for bankers who must be invited to join.

Global expats can catch up on local knowledge and network at internations.org. The members-only site is for diplomats, members of IGOs and NGOs, foreign correspondents and other expatriates employed by multinational companies and their family members.

If you don't bat for the 'straight' team you can connect with other successful 'power' gays at cosmocircle.net .

If bizarre beliefs are more your thing then you can try getting into the spacecollective.org invite-only community, where "forward thinking terrestrials exchange ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe." Sounds like a blast. Where do we sign up?

American Express should jump into the fray here and create a network for people who use their ‘black’ card.  Are businesses missing out by not creating exclusive environments for their high end customers?- Laura Demasi

Do you know of any other ‘private’ networking portals like these? send us a tip

pics via cobrasnake

Fashion

March 25 2009




You can often divide people into two distinct groups - "hat people" and "non hat people". Wearing a hat takes confidence, courage and a unique personal style. Whether the hat is worn for comfort or a statement or both, the choice of hat says a lot about the person.  Rike Feurstein (a self-confessed hat-aholic) has done a lot for the hat industry with her clean, minimalistic, sculptural shaped designs. Her unique perspective breathes new life into classic shapes with the choice of irreverent fabrics or colors. She references iconic shapes from the 40's and 60's and reworks the look by injecting her own twist. Rike studied in New York and London before opening her own studio and showroom in Berlin and has an international stockist's resume including Barney's, Saks, Harvey Nichols, Tsum and Le Bon Marche.  — Kate Vandermeer

Platinum

November 3 2008




INNOVATION NATION brought to you by The Cool Hunter Platinum
Tracking Innovation so your brand or business stays in the know

Annual Subscription (USD)$500

With close to a million readers each month, The Cool Hunter has become a global authority on cool and innovation. But what you see on the site is only a small sample of our research.

We've been saving the rest for our professional readers who can now access this vast pool of knowledge for the very first time via our new weekly Innovation Reports. Covering trends in product design, marketing, advertising, retail, social trends and consumer thinking, INNOVATION NATION brought to you by The Cool Hunter Platinum allows your business to stay ahead of the innovation eight-ball.

In a globalized 24/7 world staying "in the know" is crucial. Consumers are educating themselves and influencing each other at break-neck speed.

They know more and expect more, presenting a challenge to brands to come up with creative ways of attracting and holding their attention. Much of modern business is about staying ahead of this and keeping abreast of how the innovators are responding.

Which is where INNOVATION NATION Weekly reports come in. Our briefings bring the best of The Cool Hunter to your business, so innovation doesn't just become part of your company's internal program - but part of its manifesto and culture.

This is a paid service launching soon. Annual subscription (48 editions) costs (USD)$500. To register your interest contact [email protected]This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

Design

December 4 2008



123dv Architectuur & Consult is yet another award-winning – and strangely numbered – multi-disciplinary Dutch design firm. The Rotterdam-based 123dv practices architecture and interior design in a wide range of areas from residential to commercial buildings, from small-scale to huge projects.
 
A commercial project, the new wing of the Media Plaza in Utrecht, was launched with a high-tech party in October.
 
The Media Plaza is one of many conference and exhibition venues under the wings of the venerable Dutch Fair organization
JaarBeurs.


 
The Media Plaza’s new expansion involves eight meeting rooms and a main congress hall that accommodates 700 people. The space 123dv created is an incredibly flexible blank-canvas for seminars, conferences and corporate events.
 
The design emphasis is on various light sources and different projection methods. The new wing is accessible via two tunnels in which 123dv designed all surfaces to be canvases for projection, with floors and walls reacting to the movement of people.


 
Light and projection are the main features also in the foyer and in the meeting rooms. To create different moods or to emphasize event-appropriate colors, the LED-light walls in the foyer and the fabric ceilings in the session rooms can change color.
 
123dv outfitted the main hall with a 100% transparent ETFE (ethylenetetrafluoroethylene) roof to mimic the feel of an ancient amphitheatre – a meeting under the open sky. The completely white congress hall seems an ideal backdrop for events where the organizer can really allow its colors or products to pop. We can already picture the possibilities for a fashion runway show. - Tuija Seipell



 
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News

October 28 2012




Our work has a side effect that we did not anticipate when we started TCH in 2004. From the start, we were clear that we do not want to follow or predict trends – we trust our own instincts and feature what we feel deserves to be featured. Plain and simple. But what we did not envision is that we seem to be creating trends.

We have created a trend of success for the creatives, designers, architects, artists, brands and entrepreneurs we have featured on our pages. By giving them the exposure and attention they did not previously enjoy, we have created trends that include their work, their style and their ideas.

Each week we receive excited emails from the individuals and brands we have featured reporting massive spikes in traffic on their websites, and avalanches of international enquires from agencies, retailers and other potential clients wanting to get their hands on their work.

Most of them also report being inundated with enquiries from the other international media - major magazines and newspapers who rely on The Cool Hunter and other great blogs to find content for their pages.


It's all part of the blog effect that has revolutionized global media and the practice of journalism. Print can no longer compete in terms of reporting information first. By the time newspapers and magazines hit news-stands, their content is old news, hence why they - and you - subscribe to our newsletter. And it is all free.

Blogs have become a crucial resource for other media, who rely on them to supply the raw, uncensored, immediate information they cannot afford or just simply don’t know how to find.

We receive daily emails from major publications asking us for high-res images and more information on posts, which we then see covered in their pages weeks or months later.

The world's most powerful mastheads, the Vogues, Vanity Fairs, BBC, CNN, and New York Times' of the world, now compete with the increasingly influential blogs not just for news and content, but for advertising dollars as growing slices of marketing budgets are being funneled into the blogs..

The bottom line is that blogs reach more people than print media.

Here at The Cool Hunter, we are happy to report that much of the benefit of our influence as an information source flows straight back to the people and brands we feature.

For the past seven years we've endeavoured to bring our readers the most inspiring stuff from across the globe and we are thrilled that the exposure we have provided has helped launch careers, build media profiles and taken businesses to a new, global level.

TCH is the world's most-read culture and design site, a leading authority on all things creative and a truly global hub for what's cool, thoughtful, innovative and original.

We thought we'd share some of these stories with you from a selection of posts.

"Almost immediately after TCH featured my paper sculptures, my email inbox became flooded with inquiries of every type. From magazine interviews, books and blogs, to a live radio interview in South Africa and a TV show on Fuji Television in Japan showing my sculptures. Inquiries have also included invitations to have exhibitions in Taiwan, China and Moscow, private commissions, and ad campaigns.

I was totally blown away by the power of the internet and the reach that TCH has to every corner of the World. Literally! Paris, London, Italy, Poland, Prague, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, India, Amsterdam, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Iran, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, Finland, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, USA ... I'm sure I missed someone. :)

I've been making paper sculptures for more than 28 years now, had exhibitions in Japan, China and the US. But never have I ever gotten this much attention before and probably never would have if not for TCH! Thank you TCH! I am humbled and filled with gratitude." Jeff Nishinaka

"The first symptom was a peak of high fever in the statistics, followed by a rash of e mails : a flush of enthusiastic feed back as enquiries erupted from everywhere.

Then the epidemic reached the Store with a regular stream of reproduction orders, before hitting the international press. A flurry of  interviews from South Africa, London, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, USA.

Then it spread into work opportunities: Diadora shoes advertising in Italy, Burton snowboard, Music artists requests for CD covers.

And even though we get contacts from all over the world, it seems that the fever holds on as the high température is maintained through a constant flow of Australian contacts.

That’s part of the visible Coolhunter effect and I don’t want to be cured ! Thanks to Coolhunter and it ‘s team, and congratulation for having created such an extensive and powerful web of art and beauty addicts around the world". Francoise Neilly



Within 48 hours of being featured in this post Amsterdam-based architecture and interior design group i29 was flooded with emails from design publications around the world including Frame Mag (Netherlands), Monitor Mag (Russia) Elle Decoration (Romania) CASE da Abitare (Italy), LOFT publications (Spain) BOB magazine (Korea), GULF interiors (Dubai) De Architect (Netherlands), ONoffice (UK) Cover Magazine (Venezuela), Sisustajalehti (Finland) Vivenda (Netherlands) Maru Magazine (Korea) and plenty of other print media and numerous design blogs.





Dutch architects and interior designers Uxus recieved a "tenfold" increase in traffic to their website after we featured their project Merus Winery in California. Uxus was flooded by queries from magazines around the world, including Wallpaper (UK), Noblese Mag (Korea), Marie Claire (Brazil), GQ India, Casa Da Abitare (Italy) FX Mag (UK), Absolute Marbella (Spain), Home Journal Mag (Hong Kong), ID Mag (USA), The Shorlist (UK), Future Laboratory (UK) and many more.




"What an honour to be featured in such an extraordinary, tasteful site!

The power of the internet and the incredible reach TCH has in the world, was an unexpected surprise several weeks ago, when I opened my morning emails!

It was an instant rush ~ numerous sales from my online Etsy shop, as well as gallery enquiries and interview requests. To date, I have been written up in a number of international magazines, blogged by well-known journalists, stylists and receive countless messages full of compliments and good wishes!

There has been a fun collaboration with a photographer along with another TCH discovery, MiiR bottles. A very large print installation created by a Greek Architect firm for a client’s home, a Random House book cover assignment and an invite to be featured as a watercolor artist in a new Chronicle book about ‘new watercolorists’, to be published sometime in 2012!

This has been an amazing year, since starting out as a self representing artist only 13 months ago. 
I am so grateful for the expose you have given me TCH. Thank you for all your incredible support....this is a fantastic journey, I am so excited about the future!" - Cate Parr



"Being on The Cool Hunter has resulted in a handful of opportunities - the NYTimes being one of them. After my work was posted on the site and I was commissioned to design an image for the cover of New York Times real estate magazine. My exposure on The Cool Hunter has allowed me to quit my day job." Andy Gilmore



"It’s because thanks too The Cool Hunter I’ve been featured in over 50 magazines that can be viewed on my website under editorials on the information page. The lights even ended up in Argentinean Playboy! Along that I also have generated many jobs within Australia, many o/s enquiries and an actual job in San Francisco.
 
I’m about to move out of my studio in my garage into a real studio which allows me to employ staff, too as business is growing fast and I desperately need more space as well as extra hands. So I can’t begin to tell you how much I thank you for making me famous!" Volker Haug



"The opportunities that thecoolhunter.net feature has provided me are beyond what I could have ever imagined. Not only did it kick start my career as an artist, but it did so almost overnight. I’m a graphic artist for network TV as my day job and fine art was solely a hobby. The day the feature came out I literally woke up, looked at my phone and had about 100 emails asking for information about the piece.  Within a couple of weeks the stats for my website showed over 300 other websites linking to me and nearly a half million visitors to my site from over 60 countries. 

I was written up in a number of international publications and was offered paid corporate speaking engagements such as at Disney animation. I just completed my first solo gallery show but have also had my artwork featured at 2 additional art galleries in group exhibitions. Additionally, I am working on commissioned pieces for international buyers all of whom found me on thecoolhunter.net. Currently my art is being considered for a feature film in which it would appear in a high end home. I am also about to show some pieces in homes for sale in the 10 million dollar plus price range.

There are no words I can use to express my gratitude for the exposure that you have provided for me." Matt Bilfield, artist



"Being featured on The Coolhunter has certainly increased awareness and understanding of Aesop to a very appropriate and progressive audience. Posts have resulted in communication with Case Da Abitare, Harpers Bazaar, Virgin Blue Voyeur, Surface, DIDD (industry), GDR (industry), A4 (Poland), Attitude (Portugal), BMW Magazine (Germany). Belle (Australia), Marie Claire (Australia), Cubes (Singapore) too many to list." Indi Davis - Aesop


"When TCH approached us to feature Saffire Freycinet on their website, we were thrilled. We understood the power of endorsement from such a popular brand and were happy to have founder Bill Tikos stay with us in our opening week. What we weren’t prepared for was the response to his post. The number of times his glowing review was re-blogged throughout the world was astounding. We have had media requests from as far a field as Mexico and Brazil, as well as throughout Europe and Asia, and we have no doubt that the far-reaching communications of The Coolhunter extended our brand beyond our wildest dreams considering we were within the first month of operation.” Matt Casey, General Manager". Saffire Freycinet

"The response from across the world to the images of my sculptures after being posted on TCH has been beyond amazing! As well as several actual books and and on line magazines picking up on the work worldwide, I have also recently been offered the chance to show some work at the Royal Academy with the ‘Sketch’ organisation. I have also just met (in London) curators from New York who are planning collaborations in New York Germany and Istanbul. The Cool Hunter is experienced by them as cutting edge in cultural terms and they watch it’s output regularly. The ripple effect of the posting is still on and looks likely to do so  probably well into the future. I now have work ‘within the same general  walls’ as Tracey Emin, Sophie Calle, Anthony Gormley, Stuart Hagarth (Haunch of Venison Gallery) . which is being seen by their audiences. It’s been great and thank you!". Robert Bradford.



"Ever since being featured on The Cool Hunter, interest in my work has increased massively. I've been contacted by several people from students, other designers and design blogs to magazines, books and brands, which have lead to some successful commissions with great clients. Other than my own personal work and portfolio site, The Cool Hunter has also helped my additional online project Random Got Beautiful gain a lot of attention. I now get photo submissions every week for the site. Although I was featured over a year ago and again several months ago, I still receive a high proportion of visits from The Cool Hunter site. The exposure has been very significant. Thanks a lot! - Nikki Farquharson"

“The Coolhunter effect” is incredible!  FieldCandy website traffic increased ten fold during the weeks following TCH feature. Sales enquires grew dramatically, as did the geographic spread of orders, with Russia, South America and the Middle East currently equalling our more traditional markets. Media enquiries, both on and off-line have increased significantly from around the globe.

Interestingly, other less obvious opportunities have been directly associated to TCH effect. FieldCandy was invited to display our Outstanding tents at the Grammy Awards in LA, leading to important celebrity endorsements. Several major companies have approached us to ‘own brand’ tents for their marketing and promotional purposes, and we are in talks with several well respected retailers and e-tailers.

Most importantly for a design led brand, Fieldcandy is now working with many designers and artists from around the world, some well know, other less so, but the long term benefit for Fieldcandy, caused by TCH effect is quite astounding.

Many thanks - John - FieldCandy founder

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Architecture

January 26 2009




Casa Monte na Comporta in Grândola, Portugal is a house that sits in its surroundings as if it had always been there yet it also manages to look completely fresh, cool, new and spectacular.
 
The house’s undulating shape echoes the gently sloping sand dunes, and its hard and angular surface planes contrast beautifully with the rounded shapes of the surrounding trees.


 
It has a bunker-like feel but it really does not look like a bomb-shelter because the exterior is broken into smaller sections with varying materials. The sky, the trees and the water in the pool provide all the color. Tactile texture is everywhere, inside and out. Light and shadow become the main players. The entire dwelling exudes organic calm.


 
Although it seems so, this house was not built into existing dunes. The exact opposite happened. Luis Pereira Miguel and team at Lisbon-based Pereira Miguel Arquitectos, built the dunes so that they could situate the house under them.


 
Pereira Miguel is a multi-disciplinary firm — architecture and interiors, commercial and residential — that works with various collaborators in Portugal and around the world. The seamless conversation between nature and house, surroundings and building is a theme visible in many of the firm’s projects but none as distinctively as in the Dune House.


 
The two crescent-shaped Barchan dunes that the architects created hide the house under a road. Eventually, it will look like the sand, the house and the wind have coexisted here forever. In a hundred years, it may look like some secret hub of notorious infiltrators or perhaps it we look more like a dwelling of friendly earthlings. Already the house shows a delicious hint of ancient cave and that aspect is going to get better and better after years of wind and weather action.


 
If you were able to look at the footprint of the house from the sky (and you are not, because it is partly under the sand), you’d realize that it consists of four slightly angled ”arms,“ almost like a wonky letter X with each section housing a separate function.


 
From each section, the view and feel are different from the others. With the constant action of the forces of nature, the view will also shift year by year, season by season, inviting contemplation and creating harmony.
 


Completed in late 2008, Casa Monte na Comporta in Grândola is, not surprisingly, drawing attention. It will be featured on Portuguese cable television this month and it will most likely be popping up in many design and architecture magazines in the coming months. That someone (other than me) is lucky enough to live in this house is almost too much to bear. - Tuija Seipell



Photography by ultimasreportagens.com

 

News

January 16 2009



TCH wins best culture blog for 2007 & 2008!

It's official. We are proud to announce that we have won the Best Culture Blog category at the Weblog Awards for 2008. We are thrilled to take out the prize, our second, after also winning the same category at last year's awards.



A huge thank you to all of our very progressive and active readers who voted for us. We thank you for supporting us. We look forward to continuing to inform and inspire you with our finds.



Pics via TCH Platinum

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Fashion

February 18 2009




Iconic retro brands possess strong currency right now. The latest hails not from the annals of fashion or apparel but from the world of toys - we're talking about LEGO, the multi-coloured building bricks that we all grew up with. While LEGO is still one of the top children's toy brands, it is spontaneously morphing into a credible street brand, adopted by Gen Y hipsters who still nurture happy memories of playing with the blocks as kids. It's part of a bigger trend, which has seen other iconic mostly 80s brands such as Reebok enjoy unexpected revivals.



LEGO has been appearing in all sorts of unlikely applications from watches to cameras, bags and belts, to usb sticks, mobile phones and even cupcakes. Our favourites include a recent ad for hot fashion house Lanvin, which used colour-spray guns made from LEGO in a recent campaign and adorable LEGO fashion show video by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac which cast LEGO figures as fabulous high fashion catwalk models.



We can only imagine what will be next. Lego for Louis Vuitton, perhaps? Marc Jacobs bags and Lego - a match made in heaven. Or LEGO sunglasses - it's a cult hit waiting to happen. - Laura Demasi

Art

March 6 2009



It is tough not to stare at Susy Oliveira’s clunky, 1980s-video-gamish polygon sculptures. Of course, sculpture is created for gawking, so clearly Oliveira has reached at least one of her goals with these large-scale pieces made of color photographic prints (c-prints) on archival card and wrapped onto foam core. Clockwise, these pieces are called Bird on a Log, The Living Boy, Time Is Never Wasted, and The Girl and the Bear. In her description of her 2008 solo show at Toronto’s Peak gallery, Oliveira wrote about examining “our preoccupation with replacing nature with fabricated versions of itself.” Fittingly, she adds that these sculptures express an “opposition between the round aspects of sculpture and the flat aspects of photography, much like bringing a virtual model into a real space.” Oliveira is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design (2000) and the University of Waterloo (2006). - Tuija Seipell

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Music

March 11 2009




Jack Brown is used to having labels stuck to his band. In twelve short months, White Lies — which Brown drums for — have been called many things, from the next big thing in indie rock, to slavish Joy Division impersonators and all ‘round miserable boys. And although White Lies can deal with the incessant hype-storm that’s been whipped up in the wake of their debut LP To Lose My Life, it’s those last two that Brown doesn’t care for. “That’s something which we’ve heard of a lot in the last year, that our music is so bleak we must be the most depressed people in Britain, but it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Brown says. “I know that we’ve got a sound which is quite darker than a lot of other bands going around right now, but that itself is a reflection of us as a band and as people. We’ve grown up and these songs represent that maturity,” Brown says of the band’s debut disc. “Listen to the title track of the album, it’s about being so in love with someone that you stay with them until the very end of your lives, I mean, how romantic is that? I feel like there’s so much color and energy to what we do, that to compare us to a band like Joy Division is just absurd, because that was a band concerned with making music that was as bleak as possible. That isn’t us.”

Those who’ve laid such claims against White Lies are seemingly missing the point of To Lose My Life. Yes, it’s a dark sound, and yes, it’s focused on narratives of lost love, betrayal, social and familial dysfunction, and of course death. But it’s really about passion. White Lies’ lyricist Charles Cave utilizes these emotive themes to compel both band and listener, and as a result, To Lose My Life is an equally exhilarating and ambitious record. It’s also one that makes the band befitting of the other label mentioned earlier, the one about being the next big thing in indie rock.

“When people say something like that about you, you’ve got to step back from it all, otherwise it’ll effect you,” Brown admits. “We never wanted to play any games with the band’s hype. We avoided it. We spent over two months rehearsing before we played any shows, we did extended studio sessions for the album and we never released any information about ourselves or our music online. And it worked for us,” he explains. “If the press had started saying those kind of things about us before we finished the album, we never would’ve got anything done. We’re terrible at actually finishing things. That’s why we’ve only got like two B-Sides. We’re rarely satisfied with everything we do and that would’ve made it so much worse.  Thankfully we weren’t under the immense pressure of the hype machine during recording. And when it finally caught up with us, our album was finished and ready to come out, so it didn’t get to our heads. We got really lucky,” he says before beaming widely. And so they should be. — Dave Ruby Howe

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Fashion

March 10 2009




This week in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld presented a poised, elegant and mostly black take on power suiting for Chanel that included this fantastically witty take on the working gal's briefcase. We hope that it's not just a prop for the catwalk. We're sure someone out there could pull it off in the real world. It's highly functional, after all. - Laura Demasi - via Fashionation
 

Ads

March 12 2009



If it’s bubbles you want, Aero offers them up in more ways than one, at least on video. Aero’s maker Nestlé chose Skate Fairy Ty Evans of the Lakai footwear Fully Flared video fame, to create a yummy video that is making the viral rounds. It features the Rio-born Bob Burnquist aka Robert Dean Silva Burnquist having some enviable fun on the bubbles.

Click to watch it - It's awesome



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Transportation

December 28 2009




Think back 70 or 75 years to a time when design began to break away from the traditional and elaborate rationalism that had ensued for hundreds of years. As the styles of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Streamline and Zigzag Moderne emerged after the Industrial Revolution, designers as well as consumers fully embraced the Age of the Machine.   Shiny chrome surfaces lay across curving forms or over expansive horizontal planes and glorified a dynamic new world on the move.

And suddenly, design was muted as World War II approached. Inspiration was buried away, along with some innovative and visually stunning design work. Skip ahead to 2005 when some curious members of BMW Classic opened a box and found the R7 bike 75 assembled - although not in shining condition. The engine was corroded, the metalwork was in dire shape, the battery was unusable, but the opportunity for restoration could not be ignored.



Various specialists at the BMW workshop discovered the original design drawings in the archive collections and conjured up the ghosts from Streamline Moderne’s past. Missing parts were sourced, others were rebuilt, the chrome was polished and the frame was painted black. And the final test, retuning the 1934 BMW motorcycle to the street, proved to be worth the wait nearly three quarters of a century later. - Andrew J Wiener via Bike Exif

 

Ads

March 17 2009



No more living in denial about the size of your waist line, thanks to this fantastic albeit terrifying guerrilla marketing initiative from the health club chain, Fitness First. Unsuspecting commuters in the Netherlands are faced with viewing their body weight in bright lights - quite literally - when they take a seat at this Rotterdam bus stop. Scary to say the very least, but extraordinarily clever and likely to increase membership numbers at the local Fitness First. The brainchild of Netherlands’ agency N=5, the initiative takes the concept of guerilla marketing to a whole new level. - Lisa Evans

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Music

April 17 2009



Poney Poney's latest EP is a glorious melting pot of French cool. The Parisian band - who've been touted as the scruffy, rock-inclined younger brothers to Phoenix - have cooked up a jubilant and unmistakably French slice of power-pop with When Do You Wanna Stop Working?

Produced by electro-maestro and countrymen Para One, and out on one of France's finest labels, Institubes , the single hits all the sweet spots, from the driving beat to the squiggly, erratic guitars. And the solemn-soul remix from Rob (keyboardist for Phoenix's live show among other projects) is just the cherry on top. Or the chocolate on the éclair, if we're really trying. - Dave Ruby Howe
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Stores

April 16 2009



Influences of nearby Scandinavia are apparent in Crème de la Crème, a fragrance and beauty care boutique that opened late last year in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The boutique is one of about 170 shops and restaurants that occupy the new, award-winning Panorama shopping centre, one of the largest and most expensive shopping malls in the Baltic countries.



The store’s physical concept is by the Lithuanian Plazma architects and specifically architect Evelina Talandzeviciene.
 
Light-colour wood, scarce furnishings, simplified lines and subdued edges create a feeling of weightlessness and free-flowing space.



We especially like the shipping-crate look of the central counter and the plywood-esque walls. They lend an air of impermanence and industrial chic to the simple, sophisticated boutique that stocks such perfume brands as Comme des Garçons, Anrdèe Putman, Nasomatto, Mona di Orio, Annick Goutal, Juliette Has a Gun, Escentric Molecules, Miller Harris and Acqua di Parma.



Felt-covered Tom Dixon lamp shades and tone-on-tone floor and wall materials add to the organic ambiance of the space...reminding us of fields of rye, and forests of birch and fir.

Crisp lighting on the merchandise and simple wall units for display allow the fragrances to take up most of the air space. Unstuffy. Simple. Clean. - Tuija Seipell
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Ads

April 20 2009



Brussel's agency TBWA took the concept of a 'splash of paint' quite literally when it created this striking print ad for paint manufacturer Levis. Drawing a parallel between interiors and fashion is nothing new but rarely does it work so well, particularly in a print context. Sexy and commanding. Not usually word you associate with paint. - Lisa Evans 

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Ads

April 23 2009



Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that make the best advertisements - and who doesn’t remember creating wacky hairdo’s with the bath bubbles in the tub as a kid. Well at least we do. Take a look at these simple yet effective ads by JWT Frankfurt for ‘extra strong’ Priorin shampoo. - Brendan McKnight



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Amazing Places

July 2 2011

Preachers Rock, Preikestolen, Norway

Blue Caves - Zakynthos Island, Greece

Skaftafeli - Iceland


Plitvice Lakes – Croatia

Crystalline Turquoise Lake, Jiuzhaigou National Park, China


Four Seasons Hotel - Bora Bora

Ice skating on Paterswoldse Meer, a lake just South of the city of Groningen in the Netherlands.


Marble Caves, Chile Chico, Chile

The Gardens at Marqueyssac http://www.frenchmoments.com/Marqueyssac.html


Ice Canyon - Greenland


Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia

Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

Multnomah Falls, Oregon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multnomah_Falls

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall on the South Coast of Iceland


Petra - Jordan (at night)

Verdon, Provence, France

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, Australia

Norway Alesund Birdseye of City

Benteng Chittorgarh, India

Riomaggiore, Italy


Keukenhof Gardens - Netherlands.


Sky Lantern Festival - Taiwan.

The Wave is on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes, which are in turn located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, on the Colorado Plateau, Arizona.


Mount Roraima - Venezuela.

Seychelles


Restaurant near Sanyou Cave above the Chang Jiang river, Hubei , China.


East Iceland.

Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.


New York City.

See also

More Amazing Places To Experience Around The Globe (Part 2 - click here)

More Amazing Places to Experience Around The Globe (Part 3 - click here )

More Amazing Places To Experience Around The Globe (Part 4 - click here)

Photographed a place we should include in Part 5 of Amazing Places? - get in contact

We'll be publishing Amazing Places as a book in late 2012

Stores

December 21 2009



As we have seen in various posts here on The Cool Hunter, footwear has become a genre of art all of its own.



Much like how the simple need for shelter has crescendoed into superfluous McMansions, the shoe started out as a humble necessity: to keep the toes out of harm's way. Currently - as anyone who's purchased a pair of platform sneakers or sky-high stilettos can attest - a need for beauty and style has far overshadowed the trivial want for comfort.



Oscar Wilde once professed, "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art". The financially fortunate seem to agree, with well-manicured feet peeking from artistic footwear worth their weight in rubies and diamonds. Cobbler extraordinaire Stuart Weitzman took this tendency to an unprecedented pinnacle with the unveiling of his "Cinderella Slippers" which were worn by singer Alison Krauss at the 2004 Oscars ceremony and priced at $2M.



Thankfully, enjoying the art of footwear is not limited to those of stratospheric bank accounts. The need for fashionable shoe has crossed all social boundaries. From retro-style sneakers to high-end designer fashion heels, shoes are a major part of the international fashion market, and shoe sales are a serious indicator of status and sub-culture.



Naturally, the shoe store has evolved, side-by-side, into an equally stylish hub of modern fashion. No matter if you're talking about a pair Jimmy Choo wedges (a must on the streets of Manhattan) or a rare collectable pair of original 1972 Adidas sneakers — there is a carefully manicured storeroom and market-analyzed price tag for each.



So what's your favorite shoe store?



We want to see stores that feature the most original display and merchandising techniques out there.



From sneaker shops to high-end department stores to exclusive boutiques, if you know of a great candidate then send us an e-mail.











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Amazing Places

August 29 2012

The Sphinx, Giza, Egypt

Fjadrargljufur, Iceland

Folegandros, Greece.

Green Lake in Upper Styria, Austria

Hotel Hospes Maricel, Mallorca, Spain

Seven Sisters Waterfall, Norway

Central Park, New York City

Platja D'Aro, Girona, Spain

 

 

Skatftafeli, Iceland

Bolgheri, Tuscany

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

Dingle Peninsula - Ireland

Trolltunga - Odda, Norway

Emerald Lake, Alaska (Pic Lynn Zaik)

 The Devetashkata Cave, Bulgraria

Lefkada Greece

El Nido Palawan Island, Phillippines

 More Amazing Places To Experience Around The Globe (Part 1 - click here)

 More Amazing Places to Experience Around The Globe (Part 2 - click here )

 More Amazing Places to Experience Around The Globe (Part 3 - click here )

 More Amaing Places to Experience Around The Globe (Part 4 - click here )

News

December 19 2011

Do you subscribe to our newsletter? Because sometimes, all it takes is one visual to stimulate your creativity, one grand design that will make you think differently or one idea that will simply inspire you to make things happen.

We offer a lot more visual goodies like these - just sign up (its free)

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News

March 1 2010

There are a million ways we can say this. But we’ll keep it straight. As of today, thecoolhunter.net reaches more than one million unique readers per month. And now boasts 1.8 million pages views. Hoorah for us!

We’d like to take a quick moment to thank you for coming back day after day. And can only trust that you continue to feel you’re “in the know” as we “roam the globe” for inspired content.

Every day we’re told by thousands of readers how TCH makes them think bigger and bolder. Most of you stumble upon us by chance, via Google or Twitter and Facebook, which didn’t exist when we first launched.
But of course we hope it’s the quality of our posts that keeps you coming back. This game ain’t a popularity contest! We're selective with what we feature, much like a curator in a museum. TCH works to the principle of “global information channeling” - it’s not regionally specific, but based on worldwide relevance.

As we all know, the media landscape is going through a massive shift. We connect more directly and we connect as we want to. As it serves us. Right now.

If you’re an advertiser or brand wishing to have intimate, relevant dialogue with TCH’s readers, please get in touch at xxx and we’d be happy to discuss creative branding opportunities. We have a million different ideas ready to go. - Bill Tikos

1 Million font by Fill Ryabchikov

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Travel

July 17 2011

Our search for much-needed calm, relaxation and revitalization ended earlier this month in Bali, Indonesia, where we spent two blissful weeks.
 
If you, too, want to give your weary body and mind a complete vacation, head to Southeast Asia where they really know how to do luxury relaxation well. They understand design; they set the trends. Some of the most luxurious resorts we have experienced have been in this region.
 
We’d seen the huge amount of media coverage of two Alila Villas properties — Alila Villas Soori and Alila Villas Uluwatu — and we wanted to experience them first-hand. We were not disappointed.
 
This is how to really experience Bali: Start at Alila Villas Soori for three nights to rest off your jetlag and get used to being relaxed. Then head to Central Bali’s Ubud and stay three nights at Four Seasons Sayan - Ubud. A few days’ stay at Ubud is a must for the bike tours, monkey forest and rafting experiences. Then continue your blissful vegging for another three or four nights at Alila Villas Uluwatu.
 
The best time to visit this region is from July to September when the weather is absolutely perfect.
 
We recommend skipping South Bali’s Seminyak although that is where all the shops, restaurants and bars are located. We found it to have the atmosphere of an adult school spring break with a few too many drunken tourists in hair braids. If you do go, enjoy dinner or lunch at the Fire Restaurant at W Hotel Bali or Sarong Restaurant or Metis Restaurant and experience the incredible massage services at Jari Menari the home base of many of the massage therapists that work at the resorts as well.

Our first stop was Alila Villas Soori, located a 90-minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. When you book with Soori, they will email you a confirmation to personalize your stay.
 
This includes everything from what kind of foods you don't eat to what kind of music you would like in your room to what experiences you would like to include in your stay.


 
The bliss starts on your arrival at the airport where a Soori concierge will greet you, take your luggage off the carousel, zoom you through express customs and whisk you to a car with fresh cold face towels and nibbles on your way to Soori. You feel like a rock star minus the noisy fans.


 
The images in this post are exactly how Soori looks like. Designed by Soo Kian Chan of SCDA Architects, the hotel’s contemporary villas are designed in a way you’d like your home to be designed. Alila Villas Soori’s setting is breathtaking, yet the villas feel like beach homes.


 
The resort’s harmonious design combines cool, grey and black volcanic stone and polished teak. The interiors are dramatic but understated.


 
The 48 villas are spacious, all with perfect postcard views, private pools and a fabulous outdoor deck. The villas’ standard equipment includes an Apple TV, iPod and a Nespresso machine, dramatic bath for two, an indoor and outdoor shower and linen sheets. Each villa is assigned a butler/host who will look after everything. We recommend the Ocean pool Villas.


 
The beach is covered in glittering black sand that looks as if fairy dust had been sprinkled on it. The waves are extremely strong which makes it virtually impossible to swim in the ocean, plus at night it can be quite loud so ear plugs are necessary if you are a light sleeper.



The ten bedroom Residence (pictured above and below) offers a sense of tranquility in seclusion with its lavish indoor and outdoor spaces spread over two levels, surrounded by West Bali’s pristine coastal beauty showcasing uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. Two master bedrooms and adjoining suites are on the upper level, each with its oversized Jacuzzi, in and outdoor shower and walk-in closet. Landscaped gardens within living spaces open onto the pool area creating generous living and dining spaces, which lead out to a private library, all interwoven with pavilions, and a 20-metre infinity pool, fronting an endless ocean beyond.


 
The massages and spa treatments are some of the best we experienced in Bali! Book one the moment you arrive to get you super relaxed.


 
We loved the breakfast menu that changed daily offering small servings of delicacies. The fresh juices are amazing as was the omnipresent Mangosteen fruit.

This is the kind of resort you don't leave or explore purely due to its location because everything is at least one hour away - (UBUD - Seminyak). You arrive, you sun bake, you read, you have spa-treatments, you eat, you switch off - you just enjoy it for what it has to offer. - Bill Tikos

Best time to visit Bali: July - Septemeber

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Stores

September 18 2006



The French take their perfume seriously, smelling fabulous is practically a national obsession. That's why this  new fragrance boutique is right at home in Paris. Cult perfumier Frederic Mallee's perfume workshop makes the amateur shopper feel like a seasoned perfumier, with smelling tubes to 'taste' the fragrances. Visitors can observe Mallee at work and take home a bottle of his latest scent. by Lisa Evans

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The Avant Garde Diaries

October 24 2011

Andre Saraiva's talent & passion for graffiti proved instrumental in graffiti's ascendancy from street art cred to art world currency. He has created a design language all his own through his alter ego Mr. A while reimagining Parisin nightlife with the venerable Le Baron. His friendship with the inimitable Olivier Zahm is enduring. Both share a limitless appetite for challenging conventional and pioneering the new.
Check out more here

The Avant Garde Diaries

October 25 2011

Michael Schmitz has a unique relationship to water. He's a professional surfer from a country which sits below the sea level. Being a surfer in Holland presents myriad challenges. Surfing on a daily basis isn't a given and the coastline is constantly eroding. The response is Zandmotor -- "An Island in the Ocean."  A sand bar over 100 soccer fields long, Zandmotor is an innovative approach to coastal protection. By wave, wind, & current, the sand bar will spread over 20 years to protect & preserve the Southern coastline in Holland.  All the while creating the best waves in Holland, a wonderful confluence of art and science for surfers like Michael Schmitz. Check out more here

Food

February 10 2007

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

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Design

August 29 2009

While the airline industry remains fiercely competitive through price wars, company's real ammunition should be found in the point of difference offered in their inflight experience. Oddly however this leverage is never taken advantage to its full potential as in-flight-experiences rarely stray away from offering a stock-standard service to their customers.



An airplane is of course transportation, and not a hotel, spa or restaurant, but we have been waiting for a long time for the first airline that is willing to embark on true differentiation. Taking cues from cool architecture, leading-edge design and the vibes we see ahead of, and outside of, trends, The Coolhunter is now working on creating truly cool airline experiences, giving premium-class passengers a real reason to select one airline over another.

Bred from the very culture that has made The Cool Hunter an international success, TCH is offering its insight in the world of trend forecasting to the airline industry to create a truly unique and progressive in-flight experience. The Cool Hunter will curate the design, aesthetics and functionality across on-board entertainment, furnishings and decor right through to re-inventing on-board shopping, all with the signature style that has placed The Cool Hunter in the forefront of style.

Airline Marketing Managers should contact [email protected] for more details.

Virgin Atlantic exterior designed by Andy Gilmore for TCH Design Studio

Lifestyle

December 4 2009

To create a perfume can be a very lucrative business move if you are an established fashion house, brand name or celebrity. It can be difficult to find a fragrance that is authentic, contemporary and created for those who appreciate a good quality scent.

So it is with this in mind, that we recently discovered the unique Nasomatto Project, created by Alessandro Gualtieri (who has created scents for Valentino, Versace and Helmut Lang, to name a few).

“This project is dedicated to people who have a strong interest in a distinguished perfume choice”, Alessandro says. He believes the senses are our primary instruments that guide our reactions and this project is about sharing his personal passion for perfumes. Through the Nasomatto project, Alessandro blends unique fragrances that make strong statements; so much so he’s named each blend to suit. Duro for enhancing male strength, Narcotic Venus for the addictive intensity of female sexuality, Absinth to stimulate irresponsible behavior, Silver Musk to evoke superhuman magnetism, Hindu Grass is about universal peace and love, China White reveals a sentimental journey and Black Afgano is temporary bliss. The descriptions are enhanced further with the clean lines yet organic feel of the bottle designs. We predict you’ll become addicted as well!  – Kate Vandermeer

Events

August 23 2011



What do you get when you combine the ultimate summer playground with a fun, cool brand that is willing to play with you? You get life-size Mini convertibles, inflatable beach toys that are as much fun for adults as they are for kids.



Most likely kids will have no chance at all to play with these toys as the Mini inflatable screams grown-up fun in an irresistible way. This is the ultimate beach accessory; too big for the ordinary pool but perfect for the warm waters and sandy beaches where the in crowds gather to see and to be seen.



Beach-goers can just grab one and play in the sand or on the water. They will be able to enjoy the sun, catch the waves, look cool, pose for some pics. These are pictures they will want to broadcast and post online because the beach Minis will not appear on every beach. People will want their friends to know where they are so that they can join the fun.



Mini Inflatables were created by Access Agency after the success unveiling of the Mini Indoor Drive-in cinema for the new Countryman in Italy.

Access’s cool car experiences for Mini include the car wraps and the recently launched Sephora's new Same Day delivery service using the Mini Clubman.



The Mini Inflatables are incredibly flexible as promotional and entertainment tools. They can be used not only at the beach over summer but in many other environments as well.

Additional uses for the beach include fun Mini rides in Mini Inflatables pulled by speedboats or jet skis.



Mini Inflatables are effective as massive “balloons” on top of actual Minis in showrooms, outdoor picnic promotions, parks, special events such as Art Basel and other large-scale festivals.



Mini Inflatables are also perfect for point-of-sale displays, as showroom props and as décor. - Bill Tikos

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Design

January 14 2010

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]

Packaging design by Amy Moss from EATDRINKCHIC and photography by MARIJA IVKOVIC.

See also McMobile McDonald's (below)

Travel

June 8 2006



Welcome from Amanpuri, Phuket, Thailand. The oasis playground to the wealthy and the well known. I've been here for 3 nights at $5,800 per night and just like Paris Hilton, someone else is picking up the tab. The incredibly generous folks at Amanpuri have provided the villa for me to review.

 

This place has more of a boutique feel to it. The first thing that strikes you is the grand black pool positioned in the centre of the lobby, most indulgent. I'm greeted by my host who provides me with a brief tour of the grounds, I'm then escorted by buggy to Villa 20, which is a fair distance from the lobby itself. At the entrance I'm greeted by 4 people - 3 Thais who I later find out are my servants and Antonio, an Italian manager who's been based here for 6 months.

 My initial thoughts are that perhaps Mick Jagger is standing behind me and none of this is for me . A quick scan of the room and no massive lips in sight means this really is all for me. Antonio leads me down the pathway which resembles a Beverly Hills home, I hum the tune to 90210 in my head and feel a little Luke Perry but I snap out of it quickly. At the end of the entrance lie 8 Buddha's. I'm getting the sense this place is going to be special - around the corner is a well manicured garden, we walk further, and I'm shown the most amazing black pool setting which has a wonderful Tuscan feel to it. Belissimo!.  In front of the pool is an enormous relaxation area, the shear size of this place is beginning to set in.

I'm shown 2 mini Thai huts ì2 stories each, accommodating 8 in totalì. Antonio is pleased to point out my villa. A terrible feeling as though Antonio has made a mistake sweeps over me. However double checking with him, he assures me that this Villa which could accommodate both the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family with room to spare is all mine. Antonio introduces me to my three staff members who are here to accommodate my every need. I find this a little embarrassing, but I get over it in about six seconds and allow myself to enjoy the idea of being pampered.

I don't know what to do first, explore my villa, go for a swim, eat caviar or sunbake, so I do all four and get stomach cramps in the pool. The cramps immediately vanish when I see my hosts approach me  - one offering me a cold towel with infused Lavender, the other pours me a glass of iced water and the other a bowl of fruit. To think I didn't even have to ask . After my relaxing swim in a temperature controlled dream pool, I notice the book from my bag has been subtly removed and placed on my deck chair should I care to read. When I retire to my room, I notice my bags have been unpacked and my clothes neatly hung. This is like rubbing a magic lamp with endless wishes.



Back at my lounge chair, I take a moment to realize how easy it is for celebrities to get fat. Still that's no reason to be photographed in track pants eating Taco Bell. After my brief moment of sympathy for fatty celebrities I decide to partake in  another swim, this place is overwhelming, while floating on water, I look back at this scene that surrounds me and feel blessed for the experience , a 25 meter pool, 3 servants, a Zen garden, 2 relaxation areas, amazing weather and me.ì I'm S.I.T ( So Into This ). The hosts are back ( I'm thanking Buddha my first name isn't Ed ! ) anything we can get you?', 'No, No, I'm fine thank you', 'Are you sure Mr Bill?', 'Um, yes I'm fine thank you.' I'm feeling totally embarrassed that they have to look after me for three days. I'll seek therapy for it later, right now just enjoy! While I relax by the pool lounge, one of my kind hosts brings me a copy of the Bangkok Post newspaper and a selection of magazines from around the world. He offers me lunch, I order a seafood salad which, which is sensationally fresh. Even though the resort has 2 restaurants, for dinner, I decide to eat in (wonton Soup and Chicken Pad Thai). My personal hosts have set my table, one knocks on my villa and tells me dinner is ready, she walks me to the dining area, they've set up candles, I think ' how romantic', then I remember I'm on my own. None the less, I sit, one pours me a glass of wine, the other places my napkin on my lap, this is certainly the lifestyle of the rich & famous, I am yet to qualify for either category. Two days later, I head down to the beach. Whilst there I make the decision to return to my villa, sitting at the beach just wasn't the same, I felt ordinary there, where as in the villa I felt like a VIP, naturally I called the buggy and go back to my temporary life as a celebrity.

My generous hosts are back, this is slightly awkward as I don't need anything as they have given so much, however they naturally await any requests. At the risk of sounding indulgent the thought crosses my mind questioning the limitations of what they can bring for their guests. Are there any limits? Hard to find cuisine? A selection of hand made Belgian chocolates? A ride on a elephant? It seems nothing is impossible here. Later I call Antonio, the assistant manager and ask him to show me the best villa around. He takes me to Villa 23/24 & 17 (Bono's favorite), just as good as my palacial suite I'm in but larger in size. The villas here are as big as the homes in Beverly Hills, huge acres, some up to 9000 square metres. Like all Italians, Antonio is very animated, charming and passionate about what he does. I asked him are there any limits to their incredible service  - "We don't like to say no"ù he replies. Just the answer I expect the guests at Amanpuri appreciate. A recent guest who had his mega yacht moored in Asia wanted to experience Amanpuri with his yacht at his disposal but did not want to sail it here himself, no problem, Amanpuri organized to have someone sail it to the hotel for him and back again. And I wanted an elephant ride? Doh! You want Caviar from the best restaurant in France, no problem, we'll fly it inì It's that kind of environment. In terms of social interaction with other guests, I had none as I didn't leave my villa, but come peak period, Dec - Mar (one needs to book months in advance) this place hosts the 'creme de la creme' If your a networker, influential business contacts are a plenty. What a great environment to do business whilst indulging in the utmost of pleasures.

It is probably not very often that Belinda Carlisle gets quoted, however it is entirely appropriate at this point. "Ohhhh , Heaven is a place on earth", and Amanpuri is just that, Heaven On earth. by Bill T

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Lifestyle

April 19 2012

We will never tire of the positive effects of nature. Its calming, soothing and inspiring influence will never go out of style.

The more we rush, the more time we spend indoors staring at our screens and devices, the more urban our lifestyles become, the more we crave and need time away from it all.



It has been amazing to follow the newest solutions to the old dilemmas: How to bring more green space to cities; how to reclaim underused urban land for recreational and other "green" uses; how to provide more and more people the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature.



Lately, we have seen fantastic examples of how designers and architects, urban planners and citizens' organizations have accomplished both large and small-scale projects, from bringing a bit of greenery, and open space to otherwise bleak surroundings, to large-scale neighborhood-changing undertakings.



The most prominent of these large-scale projects in the past few years has probably been New York's Highline, the "park in the sky" that reclaimed a deemed-to-be-demolished industrial transportation structure for recreational and other uses.



It has been a massive project in all aspects of the word, and it has also become a poster-project whose publicity is helping other projects get off the ground. We hope it will continue to give citizens' organizations, city officials, designers and architects encouragement and inspiration as they tackle smaller projects, or even ones bigger than Highline.



We expect much more reclaiming of industrial and transportation lands, more green roofs, more natural features replacing concrete and asphalt, more walking and hiking paths, more waterways for recreational use, more spectacular viewing areas, more urban sanctuaries, more trees.



Getting back to nature is not a new phenomenon. For hundreds of years, wealthy city dwellers have travelled to summer residences and summer resorts, and withdrawn to their cottages and lakeside retreats. They've enjoyed fresh air in their gardens and hunting estates.



Of course, the need for recreational options has escalated since the industrial revolution. People, even ordinary citizens, now needed a place to catch their breath. They lived in more and more urban environments and also had the previously unknown luxury of a few days off per month.

Children went to summer camps, adults went hiking and camping, entire families went on long drives in recreational vehicles. Tourism boomed and being in nature became the vogue thing to do. And it has remained so ever since.

As we seek balance in our hectic lives today, we see solutions outdoors. "Green space" in the widest sense of the word in cities and surrounding areas is beneficial from recreational, ecological, economical, social and health purposes, but mostly we love it because it is just plain beautiful.

We love gardens and parks, ponds and water features, playgrounds and sports fields, open plazas, avenues and boulevards. We want more of it because even the smallest green feature lifts our spirits, while the wide open spaces can change our lives. - Tuija Seipell



 

The Avant Garde Diaries

October 23 2011

Bruno Kohlberg nurtured his art practice through collaboration with friends hosting underground parties.  Seeing Bella Berlin was a touchpoint for him and others. Bella Berlin's luminescent Living Disco Ball boldly challenged the conventions of the prevailing club scene. For Bella Berlin Living Disco Ball was merely a starting point for the personal journey of creativity and her expressionist kaleidoscope. Check out more here

Events

May 29 2005

 




These days Prada isn’t just a name in fashion. The venerable Italian fashion house has its elegant fingers in several other pies including mobile phones and staging mammoth events.



Last month the label hosted one of the parties of the year in the city of Valencia in Spain to celebrate the America’s Cup. As principal sponsors of one of the participating yachts, Luna Rossa, Prada spared no expense at its lavish VIP do held at the Central Market which is normally home to a buzzing produce market. 



The event attracted a slew of local and international celebrities who lapped up the unique ambience – organizers left a lot of the stalls intact including fruit stalls and delis, and guests were invited to sample the produce on offer. One deli housed the event’s DJ, who mixed tunes amid the Parma ham and anchovy tins, while other stalls where converted into mini showcases of Prada accessories; with belts and bags hanging from hooks as if they were pieces of fruit. In one deli stall Prada even displayed its silk turban range. 

Dinner was served on a series of intimate dining tables that were scattered through out the venue, giving party goers the feeling that they were at an elegant dinner party. By Laura Demasi. 

 

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The Avant Garde Diaries

September 2 2011

Rosemarie Köckenberger's experience as part of Balestra Berlin no doubt shaped the creation of KJOSK.
A double-decker bus reimagined - KJOSK is part kiosk, part urban oasis for Berliners seeking well-curated
staple goods sourced from local farms. It stands apart, much like Balestra Berlin, known for it's unique, collaborative approach and stand-out projects like Kubik, a lantern-like light installation. Check out more here:

Lifestyle

March 4 2011


Stella Artois Cannes Casting Call


Stella Artois Cannes Casting Call


Stella Artois Cannes Casting Call

Last year our friends at Stella Artois introduced us to Jacques d’Azur – the undisputed King of Cannes. He was the coolest man in the world – A boules champion, competitive water-skier, bon viveur and movie producer famous the world over. A man who was so cool that Sinatra uses to call him Sammy Davis Senior.

Then Jacques went missing, presumed dead - and 90,000 people entered the competition to be named his rightful heir and receive their inheritance: an unforgettable, once in a life time weekend at the Cannes Film Festival.

2011 sees Stella Artois take on something even more ambitious – they will attempt to bring the story of Jacques’ incredible life to the big screen.

The Cool Hunter is partnering with Stella Artois to hold the world’s biggest casting call to play Jacques d’Azur.

Men can audition online opposite a beautiful leading lady using their webcams. They we will then receive a scene from the film finished up to cinema quality of them starring in the film. They can share their audition film via social networks and have their film viewed and judged by a panel of experts.

The best budding actor will star in the final film which will premiere at Cannes during the Film Festival.

But that’s not where it ends – because the winner will also be attending the premier of his film. But first we need a venue fit for the premier of such an illustrious film. And the only place we could think of was Jacques’ own house. So this year at the Festival we will be painstakingly recreating Jacques mansion – not where it once stood but on the Ritz Carlton’s private beach, complete with his open air cinema screen and 40 person hot tub.

 

News

May 24 2009

The Cool Hunter is looking for a brilliant event sponsorship sales manager to work on our first major public event. The candidate must have experience in large events, with the ability to deliver on targets. The candidate must also be a strategic thinker who can offer creative ideas on integrating a broad range of categories into the event. You will be required to work across reporting & sales strategy and sales generation & preparation of sales materials.

Please send a brief email and your CV to [email protected]

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Travel

February 19 2007


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

COOL FACTOR
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.



FACILITES
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

COST
Villas from US $735 per night

 

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Food

February 16 2007

 

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

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Travel

January 6 2010

Elegant use of space, lovely surface texture and breathtaking sightlines help this new “stack of boxes” avoid the current architectural cliché and give it the appearance of a villa that is not new at all but rather an established retro holiday compound of someone with a confident sense of style and a stack of extra cash.


 
Casa Kimball is a much-publicized private house and rental villa on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Designed by New York’s Rangr Studio.


 
Casa Kimball owner, Google software engineer Spencer Kimball, found Jasmit Rangr via Google when he needed a designer for his New York loft. That cooperation led to the next project, the beach house in the Dominican Republic.


 
Casa Kimball’s lovely features include huge windowss and doors that pivot on ball bearings and have extremely thin and light frames made of a South-American hardwood as strong as steel. Floors and ceilings are covered with local coral stone. The 20,000 square-foot casa has eight suites. - Tuija Seipell

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Design

May 27 2014

Cooking is a serious and competitive business and professional cooking schools can have the air of military camps where fear and strict order dominate. Nothing wrong with that in the world of celebrity chefs, fame and Michelin stars.

But for the rest of us, cooking is either a fun and enjoyable creative endeavour or a boring daily necessity best avoided at all costs.



Many consumer-facing cooking schools, sensing a growing market niche, are offering relaxed, fun classes in cool surroundings that don’t intimidate the participants.

The all-female Japanese ABC Cooking Studio has more than 125 casual cooking studios in Japan, Hong Kong and China.

High-stakes chefs train elsewhere, but ordinary women who love sophisticated cooking in a happy, relaxed atmosphere flock to ABC whose studios draw more than 250,000 participants per year.

Their latest location, in Huangpu, Shanghai, China, is a new take on their already relaxed approach to cooking. Designed by Prism Design under the direction of Reiji Kobayashi, the new studio is all white, soft and friendly.



Black ceilings, light wood accents and white main features keep the studio’s ambiance clean and professional, avoiding the all-so-common trap of too cute that would have opened up with the introduction of pink, baby blue or yellow.

You can relax now and forget all of your bad memories (should you have any…) of drab and dreary home economics classes because the newest cooking schools are cool.


 
It is true that The Culinary Art School in Tijuana, Mexico is not of the high-school variety – it is for serious chefs with high aspirations – but it oozes a new, cool confidence that could potentially turn even the most nonchalant teenager into a passionate chef.


 
The elegant use of wood is the key attribute in The Culinary Art School. Its new building was designed by San Diego, California-based Jorge Gracia Arquitecto whose founder, Jorge Gracia, was born in Tijuana in 1973.


 
The entire school complex carries an air of strict order, almost an ascetic solemnity. If you didn’t notice the stoves or wine racks, you could mistake this for a place of religious study.


 
And, passionate chefs certainly express a fervour for food, ingredients and cooking that could be likened to religious zeal. It is easy to imagine how the colours, textures and aromas of various ingredients stand out in this kind of environment. It is like a stage for culinary creation or like a frame for gastronomic artwork.

Also in the category of cool cooking schools is the Sydney Seafood School established in 1989 and completely refurbished for its 20th anniversary. It conducts cooking classes for all skill levels and draws more than 12,000 students annually.


 
Words such as handsome and sexy come to mind when you look at this space, the creative work of Dreamtime Australia Design, based in Sydney, Australia.

Some time ago, we have featured Dreamtime-designed Churchill Butcher Shop in Sydney.



In Sydney Seafood School, a tactile intrigue, and a contrast between serious study and serious fun, are evident in every space. The school’s entry wall is a honeycombed sandstone creation by sculptor Michael Purdy.



The dark and impressive hands-on kitchen looks formidable with lots of shiny stainless steel and glass, but its gravity is lightened by chalkboard walls with “fish graffiti” as art. The cool auditorium’s walls are lined with Icelandic fish leather. In the dining room, the harbour view competes for attention with a row of fun fishnet chandeliers and their more than 6,000 little globes. Where do we sign up? Tuija Seipell

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Food

March 3 2007



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

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Ads

January 10 2010

While Italians take cars seriously, it doesn’t mean they cannot have some fun with them. The advertising campaign for the special edition of the Bologna Motor Show 2009 takes full advantage of this. With toys in a retro home playing at taking themselves seriously — including Barbie-like dolls and toy cars and bikes — the advertising campaign pokes fun at the clichés about boys and their toys, hot girls and hot cars.

The show's promo has a reputation of pushing boundaries and being provocative with Milan-based Armando Testa agency having been in charge of the advertising campaign for the past decade. The 2009 campaign — billboards, magazine and newspaper ads, online, TV and radio — was creative directed by Nicola Lampugnani and Francesco Guerrera, with Federica Saraniti Lana’s copy and Nicola Rinaldi’s art. The press campaign was edited by LSD studio. The TV ad was by The Family with Federico Brugia’s direction and music by Ferdinando Arnò. - Tuija Seipell

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Lifestyle

January 1 2011


 
Why do you read TCH? Does it inspire you to create, start a business, design a product, improve an idea? Does it make you want to innovate or imitate? Does it inspire you travel, or live in another city or country?
 
Do you need someone else to tell you your product/idea/execution/brand is great? We say don’t worry what anyone else thinks, trust your own judgment. When others doubt, be confident in your vision. Stop waiting for the perfect time to do what you want to do. Just go for it and do it now.


 
Don’t’ follow fashion trends. The most fashionable thing you can be is to be you. Travel the world, live in other cities, learn cultures. Learn because it keeps your mind young. You don’t need a university degree to be successful, although it may be helpful, but don’t do it because your parents – or you? – have status anxiety. Stop whining about it.
 
But what you do need is vision, tenacity and confidence in what you do. Do what you love now. Switch topics or schools now. Don’t wait till the last year of your education to realize that this isn’t your path. Listen to your heart, it knows what makes you happy.


 
If your job sucks, stop blaming others, your boss, your parents, the unverse. Just quit and take responsibility for your own choices. It’s not about the sucky job. It is about you being in the wrong place. There’s never a better time than now.
 
Start doing what your mind has been ticking away for you to do for years. Take risks. Be in a relationship that flows effortlessly. Trust your gut feeling. Intuition is strong and powerful.
 
Stop smoking, invest in your body, get off your ass and exercise. If you’re an entrepreneur , don’t spend all night on your projects. Practice balance and time management and have a life. Your family and kids are wondering why you aren’t home for dinner, again. What a waste of your time.


 
Have the tenacity and focus to execute an idea no matter how daunting it may seem at first. Have the confidence in what you’re doing even when others doubt. Create opportunities for yourself. It is time for you to step up.
 
Here at TCH, we practice what we preach and we learn something every day. Everything we feature here on TCH, is based on intuition. We don’t care if you or anyone else don’t like it or agree with what we feature. If we did that, we’d go insane and TCH would be fake and boring and bland.
 
The coolest thing you can do is doing it. - Bill Tikos

Fashion

November 3 2009

Jak & Jil blog - always delivers interesting looks

Stores

October 2 2007




The stark XXS Shop for Mobile Gadgets opened earlier this year in Hamburg’s Innenstadt, at Spitalen Hof 8. It is a minimalist showroom by Hamburg-based Spine Architects for Etronixx-Trading GmbH. The store is void of practically everything else but white surfaces and the merchandise itself. Mobile gizmos appear almost suspended in air, as they rest in small slots within the white expanse of built-in cabinetry that encircles the entire space. It is an excellent example of forcing the customer - in a pleasant way - to focus on the products, not on the props.



Spine is a German-English partnership that started between Boris Bähre, J'orn Hadzik, Jan Löhrs and Neil Winstanley in 2001 when they won one of the prizes awarded in the international design competition for Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv, Israel. They are known for their work in several areas, from housing to public places to TV shows, private homes and shops. In September, Spine Architects opened an office in Menlo Park, San Francisco. By Tuija Seipell


 

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The Avant Garde Diaries

September 3 2011

Former Tokion Publisher Chris Ambrose speaks with Paris Smeraldo, founder of the seminal Bushwick restaurant, Northeast Kingdom. Laying the foundation for the likes of Roberta's, Northeast Kingdom pioneered the farm-to-table concept in the midst of Bushwick's industrial landscape. 

Forgoing the more established Williamsburg, Smeraldo's restaurant created a hub for the creative community which has gone on to foster the growth of several cafes, galleries, & performance spaces which flourish to this day. Check out more here:

Stores

October 24 2007



Sensory overload is unavoidable in Paris, and after a while you become a bit numb. But like a sorbet that clears your palate between courses, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s (JC/DC) store at 10 Rue Vauvilliers will work as a visual palate-refresher.



The store has an air of theatre without being theatrical, drama without being dramatic and history without being historical. A retro, semi-aggressive undertone, popped up by whimsy and surprise. Oh yes, they do sell fashion, too.

The store’s flair and ingenuity are not accidental. Cooperation between super-talents such as JC/DC and Christian Ghion is likely to produce something remarkable. In his 40-plus years in the business of high-impact eye candy, the Casablanca, Morocco-born Marquis de Castelbajac has enjoyed enormous successes designing fashion, movies, cars, sportswear and interiors. Celebrities from Elton John to Pope John Paul II have worn his creations and added to his fame.



The 49-year-old Christian Ghion is no less prolific or versatile. He is known as a designer of high-end furniture and accessories, exhibitions, and home, store and hotel interiors. His chicest furniture design is the 2002 Shadow chaise lounge for Cappellini. By Tuija Seipell

 

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News

November 9 2009

Much has been said about the state of Dubai since its lightning speed of development almost ground to a halt, thanks to the global financial crisis. What, everyone is wondering, will come of Brand Dubai?

The Cool Hunter Platinum team has visited Dubai regularly over the last few years and on our most recent trip we asked ourselves the same question. Aside from the fact that Dubai was (and still is) trying to cram 100 years of development into less than two decades - the making of Dubai marks one of the most audacious and epic branding exercises undertaken in modern times. The task, to transform a Middle Eastern port into an ultra-modern global financial, business and cultural centre, has been attacked with gusto, to say the least, funded by incredibly deep local pockets. Like a new brand of soft drink, the marketers approached Dubai like a product and brought it to life.



The seemingly unending supply of money sparked an unspoken competition between developers and business leaders to create the most ostentatious - biggest, tallest, widest et al - of absolutely anything, not least the 'super' buildings, created by international star-architects, all vying for 'icon' status. More than anything, this was the cornerstone of Brand Dubai. Which worked quite well for a while. And then the world changed. The bubble burst and everything that Dubai stood for - overt displays of wealth and conspicuous consumption fell dramatically out of vogue. 

So where to now? We wondered, looking around at all of the unfinished skyscrapers on a recent trip.

Like a soft drink brand that has misjudged its market, Dubai needs a 're-brand' to reposition itself - that much is certain. The world doesn't like the flavor or texture of Dubai anymore, so R&D needs to go back to the drawing board.

Snapping at its heels are other centres in the region, such as Qatar, which appears to have learned from Dubai's mistakes. It too has dizzyingly deep pockets but appears to be taking the path of relative restraint. Which, in a world still reeling from the GFC, is totally on-brand right now. - Laura Demasi

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Design

February 8 2008



For many of us, taking our cars to the garage can be a daunting experience. Feeling anxious and uncertain over the price and duration over jobs, use of technical jargon and the like. This may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the launch of the major rebranding programme for car care network HiQ, starting with their new concept centre opening in Nottingham, UK.



The aim was to revolutionise the way fast fit car care is delivered and to develop a fresh retail concept that would set new standards in this sector. And it looks like they have come up with the goods.



Designed by the London team at Fitch, the brand has been repositioned by using simple language, illustrations, and the centre itself has clever features like glass walls that allow customers to see onto the garage floor for themselves.



We have seen this uncomplicated, tell it like it is mentality popping up all over the place, especially as banks try to re-align themselves with their customers. It is now nice and refreshing to see this evolving into other touch points of consumers' lives. I wonder if this approach would make going to the dentist any better? By Brendan McKnight



 

 

 

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Design

February 15 2008



For eons, walls of greenery have surrounded people and creatures living in jungles, rainforests and other lush places.



Ancient Asians and Europeans since Roman times have paid gardeners to create green art and sculpture for their gardens, from elaborate topiary sculptures and mazes to vine-covered walls.



And, of course, we’ve seen inventive uses of built outdoor space – including rooftops, patios and balconies – as places to bring more green into our overly concrete-covered lives. Smudging the line between indoors and outdoors, and playing with the illusion of greenery where it doesn’t really belong, are also the basis of some recent installations that we like.



Mass Studies, founded in 2003 by Minsuk Cho in Seoul, Korea, has produced some great examples of this. Among them is Ann Demelmeester’s store (pictured above) in Soul. It is one of only four concept stores showcasing the fashions of the Flemish designer.



Green walls are not just visually interesting and environmentally beneficial, they add a sense of calm and peace that is difficult to achieve by other means. The inclusion of real, living plants on a large scale in places where you don’t expect to see them, also adds other sensory elements – the scent of the greenery, the sound of water, perhaps the feeling of humidity around the installation. The organic texture invites touch and inspires conversation – how was this installed, how is it cared for, who did it?



We’ve found some interesting green installations, such as this school in the UK and a hair salon in Japan, but we’d love to see many, many more. We think there’s room for much more creativity and daring in this arena, so let us know if you spot remarkable and unusual examples. - Tuija Seipell. Send to [email protected]

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Food

June 5 2008



Rumor has it that Bangalore Express, opened a few months ago across Waterloo Station in London, is the first of many to come. Both menu and decor of this modern, Indian fresh-food place have received mixed reviews, but we like the inventiveness of the “scaffolding” used to build the booths and the upper level. Some have called it a recipe for disaster and other thought it looked like bunk beds. Both may be true as you do need to climb step ladders to reach the second level and much of the exposed structure is, indeed, made of FastClamp, a construction-site scaffolding system.



The interior colour scheme is organic in muted greens and browns. We love the peacefulness this creates. Bangalore Express is the newest venture of proprietors Charles Hill and head chef Yogesh Datta who also run the Painted Heron in Chelsea. By Tuija Seipell




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Food

September 29 2011

The 15-room Parisian boutique Hôtel Thoumieux in the Left Bank is yet another cool, art-deco-ish creation by Thierry Costes and designer India Mahdavi. Some time ago, we wrote about their Germain cooperation



Located above the popular Thoumieux Brasserie, the hotel also offers its own significant culinary input in the form of the 20-seat dining room Jean-François Piège, where chef Jean-François Piège is apparently creating gastronomic masterpieces.



The dining room’s tongue-in-cheek decor, also by India Mahdavi, exudes a somewhat out-dated and perhaps even a bit underworldly glamor of a bygone-era -- potted plants on doilies and elaborate wallpapers included. The pastelly furnishings, carpets and wall treatments bring out an aura of an elderly, once-quite-elegant aunt, who would not allow you to enter the room with a drippy chocolate ice cream cone.



The 20-seat dining room is not likely offer ice cream cones, but the atmosphere is relaxed, with no sommelier and no menu just “Les Règles du Jeu” (today’s market). - Tuija Seipell

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Travel

July 28 2008



The Limes Hotel recently opened by Damian Griffiths in Brisbane, Australia, is the first Australian hotel to join the worldwide boutique hotel group Design Hotels .

Holistically designed by globe-trotting Australian-based designer Alexander Lotersztain, The Limes Hotel reflects Lotersztain's vision in every facet - from cocktail ingredients to bed linens, bench tops and the facade. By incorporating the 'Limes' branding into the hotel's striking external facade, Lotersztain sought to communicate the 'Limes' aesthetic on a grand scale.

Located in Brisbane's 'Valley' district, The Limes Hotel sits between the bustle of Brunswick St. Mall's pubs and clubs and the classier restaurants, boutiques and cafes of James St.



From the in-room iPod docks and 32-inch flat screens to the complimentary hand-made chocolate brownies and L'Occitane cosmetics the hotel is full of memorable touches. Perhaps the hotel's most hip feature is its rooftop bar. Taking in sweeping views of the city, the open-air atmosphere makes the most of Brisbane's balmy tropical surrounds transforming seamlessly into a cinema for a more upmarket viewing experience.  

For first-time visitors to Brisbane, The Limes Hotel is a perfect choice, combining the energy and vibrancy of a growing city with world-class sophistication and design. - Nick Christie

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Design

July 28 2008



The consulting arm of The Cool Hunter, Platinum, is taking on some exciting global design projects covering architecture, interior design, fashion, events and product design.   Specifically we are putting out a call to our vast Coolhunter community; architects and designers who have created amazing spas & wellness resorts and architecture/interiors of kids pre-schools/play centres/playgrounds/community centers. If you are an architect or interior designer with some great work in either of these areas please let us know, we'd love to see your work - past, current or future. Watch this space for new projects.

If you're not a design professional but have seen something inspiring in the world of kids or spas/wellness resorts we'd love to hear from you too. Send your work/tips to [email protected] with either kids and spas in the subject box.


 

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Stores

August 21 2008



Aesop continue to deliver outstanding, intelligent and considered design in not only their product but with their individual approach to each retail concept store they launch. Their latest offering in Zurich embodies this philosophy perfectly. Utilising a long, narrow space to advantage, the focal point of the store is located in the centre of the space allowing consumers to walk around and interact with the products which are located on a series of suspended shelves.  There’s a sense of weightlessness and room to breathe due to the fact that the shelves don’t make contact with the ground and only the necessary products and shelving is featured.  The repetition of the shelves seem to co-exist with ease but not at the peril of functionality. Using Aesop’s signature store sensibilities of incorporating water, merging modernity and recycled materials and not “over-designing” or adding unnecessary objects, this Zurich store is no exception.  — Kate Vandermeer.



 

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Fashion

November 18 2008



It would take a bold and confident photographer to work with Ms Grace Jones — she of the panther like qualities and iconic outlandish style! Andrea Klarin seems to have created not only a working relationship with Ms Jones but also a truly collaborative experience with startling results. Ms Jones prowls across the studio space commanding your attention with her dramatic poses and facial expressions. See more visuals over at Fashionation

Design

November 8 2011

Here at TCH, we started ACCESS agency for the sole reason of giving brands the opportunity to be BOLD, to do something more than what is safe, more than what is easy, more than what is comfortable, accepted, standard, just good enough.

We are excited to work with brands around the globe who seek us out for that reason. They ask us to shake them up a bit, create something unboring, something truly DIFFERENT

Those in the creative and even in the marketing fields will recognize the syndrome we are fighting against: Everyone wants a great idea. A great idea is found. Everyone is ecstatic. The idea goes through the system, though the layers of approvals, discussions and hesitations, and comes out unrecognizable, ordinary, safe and boring. We see this happen over and over.

Companies that do not have a Steve Jobs-like creative visionary at or near the top, have extreme trouble getting innovation of any kind approved or produced. Bold ideas just do not survive the system.

Recently, we were approached by Sephora’s great team because they had seen our work with MINI car wraps.

Sephora wanted to launch a same-day delivery service for online cosmetics sales in New York. We designed a series of six different head-turning MINI Cooper wraps for their fleet of six vehicles. We were going for bold designs that will really stand out in the busy New York street scene, among the taxis and delivery vehicles. We were gunning for big impact and quick recognition, immediate attention, a bold and cool vibe, something that would generate on-street buzz, even with only six vehicles.

They loved the ideas but in the end asked us to design a black-and-white style that was on-brand. We were sad to see the boldness gone. The black-and-white MINIs have been on the streets since July. - Bill Tikos

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Architecture

June 2 2011

Ideally, wouldn't we all like to live in a climate where outdoor living is possible year-round? And wouldn't we love to live in a space where the divide between indoors and outdoors is non-existent? São Paulo-based Fernanda Marques achieved this idealistic balance in her Loft 24-7 residence, presented at the CasaCor exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil.



In the 250-square-meter (about 2,700 square feet) space, Marques has erased the barriers by using "outdoor" elements inside and "indoor" elements outside and creating easy visual links between the two. Limestone, rough stone, steel, glass, wood paneling and furnishings that speak to the architect's modernist style, all create a harmonious, seamless environment where you are never quite in and never quite out.



Fernanda Marques is the chief architect at Fernanda Marques Arquitetos Associados that is involved in both residential and commercial architecture, interior design, furniture design and real estate. - Tuija Seipell.

Design

October 14 2009

It seems that quite a few things will benefit from a Scandinavian touch. Munchausen, a duo formed by Parisian designers Simon Pillard and Philippe Rosetti, took a bold approach with their own kitchen by venturing to IKEA for the basic kitchen island and then spending the next week covering it with more than 20,000 pieces by another Scandinavian brand, Lego



The result is a one-of-a-kind creation that serves as an artistic centerpiece for the space, in addition to functioning as a kitchen counter. Pillard, who works with fashion house JC de Castelbajac, and Rosetti who works with Hugo Boss France Identity, formed Munchhausen in 2004.



The two have recently contributed a collection of T-shirts, cushions, wallpaper and accessories for the new French label Commune de Paris, 1871. Munchhausen was one of three initial contributors for Commune de Paris, 187. The other two were Julien Langendorff and David Herman Dune. - Tuija Seipell.

Images - Hrvoje Goluza for Maison Française

See also the Lego office table

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News

July 25 2009



We're getting ready to launch the real estate portal of TCH next month - 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.

For the first time, The Cool Hunter Living gives vendors access to this hard-to-reach market. The site also offers vendors an unparalleled opportunity to “position” their properties amongst the best and most luxurious in the world, endorsed by the highly-credible voice of The Cool Hunter, which has become a global authority on design.



The Cool Hunter Living offers technology savvy agents and vendors a new way to market their properties in a “designer” online environment, unlike other ‘real estate’ sites which are pitched at a mainstream audience and offer low value aesthetics in terms of site design.

TCH Living showcases properties in an unparalleled design-led, online-editorial environment positioned amongst the world's great architecture and design. Properties will be hand picked by our editorial team. For pricing, more info - contact [email protected]
 


We'll also be adding rentals and commercial properties, so next time you find yourself in a new city setting up an office and home, you'll have to look no further than TCH Living - a gateway to inspiring design you live in.

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News

March 16 2010

This week, TCH launches TCH Singapore which joins our list of geo-targeted sites - TCH UK and TCH AUS.

A big welcome also to our Brazilian readers. As of this week, TCH will have a weekly column in O Estado de S. Paulo, one of the most important newspapers in Brazil with a daily readership of 1 million.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the numerous print magazines/newspapers that have published feature stories on TCH and our numerous projects.

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Ads

March 25 2010

The bloggerati have well and truly taken over the various fashion weeks around the globe, front rows filled with social networkers tweeting to their faceless fans. So how does an old-school fashion magazine stand out?



French Grazia magazine tackled the challenge recently at Paris Fashion Week with pug dog balloons. Of course!! Why not?? A simple, old-school talking-point stunt that certainly got their girls noticed. We're guessing they're referencing the chi-chi practice of carrying a lap-dog to such events. We're not sure. And who cares. We just think they're cute. Lisa Evans

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Transportation

June 22 2010

This little blue boat may be beyond our budget but some powerboat collectors will take advantage of the opportunity to bid on RAL5105 on July 20, when it will be auctioned off at Hôtel Hermitage in Monte-Carlo by the Parisian Artcurial.

RAL5105 is estimated to fetch 180 000 - 220 000 Euros. The “monochrome nautical sculpture” is the latest masterpiece of Parisian multidisciplinary artist Xavier Veilhan (born in 1963) whose work we’ve featured before. John Dodelande invited Veilhan to think about creating a boat, and after accepting, Veilhan worked with the 80-year-old Frauscher shipyard of Gmuden, Austria, to make it a reality.

Potential buyers had a chance to view it in Paris at Hôtel Marcel Dassault in Paris till June 14th. From there, it moved on to Saint Tropez (June 15 to July 12) and then to Monte Carlo on July 20th.

As the 6.9 meter, eight-person blue beauty is equipped with a MerCruiser 220 HP motor, the owner will most likely want to actually drive this boat, not just look at it. - Tuija Seipell

The Avant Garde Diaries

October 22 2011

Architect Sabine Chardonnet reflects upon a collaborative project with her students exploring the relationship between space & the inherent movement of soundscapes. Choreographer Vanessa Le Mat mines her experience as a dancer to apply the principles of choreographic movement to unorthodox spaces. Check out more here:

News

July 16 2010

Click the images

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House

September 10 2010

We have offered a few special products for sale on our site before and we are now excited to continue this by bringing to you this super sexy light made of wood.
 
The American Oak veneer shade has a big presence — 40 inches (101.1 cm) in diameter and 27.5 inches (70 cm) in height — yet it seems to float serenely in the air. The shade adds a warm Scandinavian glow on to you decor in any room at home, and it looks great in the office, too, over a conference table or above a seating area. The light comes fully assembled and delivered within a few days.



 You can order it here and pay by PayPal. Delivery is free

Purchase Here
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Food

September 21 2010

Issey Miyake is the fashion icon and creative powerhouse behind the latest in Evian’s line of cool glass bottles for the Evian Natural Mineral Water. Countering the year-end season’s tendency to darker hues and wintry and icy treatments, Miyake’s creation is exuberant in its colorful bounce. Like the other fashion icons who have designed for Evian, Miyake takes a nod to his fashion creations by endowing the petals of the simple flower with a pleated texture reminiscent of Pleats Please Issey Miyake. With the design, Miyake has captured a sense of the youthful joy to be found in life’s simple pleasures. Your Fall and Winter dinner table will gain a fresh, high-spirited hue with these bottles!

There are two versions of the bottle, a pink one for wider distribution, and a green one sold exclusively at Issey Miyake stores globally. Click here to discover more.

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News

September 22 2010

Forget thinking outside the box. Forget the box. Where brands need to go today, there is no box.

As consumers, we are all skeptical, cynical and tired of being marketed at. We crave relevance, value, real connection, engagement, something surprising, an experience. And we crave entertainment that is worth our while. The success of Avatar, Toy Story 3, Cirque du Soleil or the iPad, or the virtual runaways of Evian Rollerbabies or Old Spice, testify that no matter how depressed the economy, how uncool conspicuous consumption, we happily spend our hard-earned money and our scarce time on entertainment, products, ideas and campaigns that pick us up, dazzle us, and give us more that we imagined.

With social media, the experience economy has exploded to cover every type of brand, nearly all socio-economic groups, and almost every part of the world. Everything has sped up and amplified. By the time traditional marketing catches up to an idea, the leading edge of consumers has seen it somewhere already, moved on, and told everyone else about it.

Now more than ever before, brands need to be fast, smart and way ahead of the curve to speak directly and engagingly to each consumer segments. That's where Access comes in.

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Art

February 29 2012

Japanese artist Makoto Tojikil is fascinated by light. He uses it in ways that create amazing illusions and out-of-this-world experiences in a subtle, inquisitive way.

But what we love most is the way his No Shadow pieces – large animal and human sculptures made of strands of light - evoke a sense of playfulness, awe, possibility and wonder. We find ourselves unable to stop staring, unwilling to leave the area of influence of the magical, somehow celestial beings and creatures.



Tojiki was born in 1975 in Miyzaki, Japan, and graduated from Kinki University in 1998 as an industrial design engineer. After a stint designing home appliances, he launched his artistic career full-time in 2003. Of the No Shadow pieces, he says “An object is seen when our eyes capture light that is reflected from the object. If we extract just the light that is reflected from ‘something,’ are we still in the presence of that ‘something?’ Using contours of light, I try to express this ‘something.’” We envision all sorts of opportunities for brands to use this type of sculpture at events, launches, stores, showrooms… - Tuija Seipell.

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Design

February 11 2013

As much as we love temporary stunts, happenings, art installations and large-scale sculpture in the urban space, we want more.

We are on a quest for truly transformed urban spaces. We are looking for instances where a council, city, town, municipality has taken the initiative, come up with the funds and actually transformed a mediocre, unused, ugly space into an inviting and fun public environment.

The spectacular reincarnation of High Line in New York from an impossibility to a cool urban environment comes to mind. Or the transformation of an ugly view-blocking concrete barricade between skyscrapers and beach to a colorful seaside promenade at Paseo Marítimo de la Playa Poniente in Benidorm, Spain.

Or the 324 meter-long meandering bench (world’s longest, apparently) by Studio Weave on the seafront at Littlehampton in the UK. It is not just a bench, it is an experience and an environment.

Or Copenhagen’s Skuperkilen neighborhood, where in a decidedly urban and straight-forwardly artificial way the designers and planners at Topotek1, Bjarke Ingels Group and Superflex invaded the entire available space to create a delightful expression of the various cultures and backgrounds represented by the area’s residents. Superkilen received the Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design by the National AIA Awards 2013.

We need more councils that have the vision and passion to do these things. We need people to demand and rally for them, and we need visionary designers, architects, planners and artists to design and propose and speak for them. Let’s just do it!. 

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Lifestyle

March 24 2011



We're looking to hire super talented CGI artists, if that's you, get in contact.

Lifestyle

April 10 2011

This is a promo video for Tempest Freerunning Academy in California. It is dedicated to the growth and spread of freerunning and parkour and has a special Super Mario Bros area so gym-goers can feel like they are in the game.

The song's called "Lights" by Ellie Goulding, it's the Bassnectar remix.

Lifestyle

April 20 2011

Beck’s has created a long-standing culture of creativity & innovation dating back to the brand’s inception. In 1874 they introduced their iconic green bottle in defiance of the conventional brown bottle. Fast forward to today, Beck’s is celebrating another iconic moment – 25 years of dialogue with the art community through the Beck’s Art Label.



Art & culture enthusiasts have a way of getting involved. Through the end of April Beck’s is presenting the best of their 25 year archive via an Art Crawl in London.



The Art Crawl is part of Beck’s Beer Into Art concept, transforming ordinary beer bottles into works of contemporary art. Head over to one of the participating bars, or learn more here.

Kids

July 29 2011

Youth Factory, Factoría Joven, in Mérida, Spain, is an example of what can be done if a regional government works with the community and local designers to meet the needs of youth that may otherwise be heading down the slippery path of street life.
 


The structure may not be a permanent monument to architecture, but it is definitely a better place than the back streets of Spanish cities. We are all for any attempt at all to provide children and youth a place to be kids, to be creative and just have some fun.


 
Factoría Joven was designed by Madrid-based Selgascano Architects, a partnership between husband and wife, José Selgas and Lucía Cano.
 
Using recycled furniture, inexpensive building materials and temporary solutions, the designers were definitely not looking to build a monument to architecture; they were much more interested in affordable ordinariness and practical possibilities.


 
Factoría Joven helps attract the restless, unemployed street youth off the streets and provides them with a place to skateboard, hip-hop dance, climb rocks, create graffiti — whatever they would otherwise do in much more sinister surroundings. There are also a computer lab and a dance studio, both 800-square-meters in size. Meeting rooms and spaces for theatre, video and music are all included.


 
This is one of several such “youth factories” in the area; recreational centers and places that are inclusive, open and safe. - Tuija Seipell

Photography by Roland Halbe.

 

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Food

May 16 2014

Is there anything more basic, homey and familiar than a loaf of great bread? Yet it has become a luxury. More and more of us are sick of (literally and figuratively) the white, never-to-stale sliced bread in its never-to-biodegrade plastic bag.

We crave for fresh artisanal breads, natural ingredients, heritage grains, organic everything. Those who value great-tasting, healthy bread will pay for quality.

And with that quality and premium price comes the notion of design. Why should we buy that wonderful, healthy loaf at a horrible-looking bakery?

Hominess and hearty fare are great, but does the environment have to look so “homey,” too? Not any more. We are seeing more and more cool bakeries around the world.

Our fans and followers helped us track down a few examples that meet the requirements at least visually. If the loaves and other baked goods created at these establishments remain consistently as great as their environments, you can count us in as fans.

Praktik Hotels has again engaged their go-to designer, Lazaro Rosa Violán, to create their latest hotel, Praktik Bakery in Barclelona. It is a cool 74-room designer hotel where the bakery is not just a branding gimmick but the real soul of the hotel.



Forn Baluard at the Praktik Bakery is run by Anna Bellsolà, second-generation artisanal baker known for the family bakery located at the working-class seaside district of Barceloneta.



The bakery lets the hotel guests feel at home as the scent of fresh bread greets them in the lobby. It is also a visual feast as the baking takes place in full view. The bakery interior is rather grandiose, not a tiny hearth stuck in a corner, and it has that air of a busy urban bakery where people come and go throughout the day. The bakery/lobby/café is a living and lively place void of that mausoleum-like chilly emptiness still so prevalent in hotels.



As always, we love the clean lines, the textured surfaces and the minimalist color-scheme. And of course we love bread and bakeries. Doesn’t everyone?

Blé, Thessaloniki, Greece

Blé Bakery on Agias Sofias in Thessaloniki, Greece, most certainly fits the bill. It was designed by the minimalist architects at Claudio Silvestrin Giuliana Salmaso (London & Milan). It has the world’s largest wood oven – gigantic, at 12 meters (almost 40 feet) tall!


 
And the bakery is built from cob made of white clay from Crete and Milos, plus sand and straw. Blé’s four floors house a patisserie, bakery, delicatessen and a wine and mozzarella bar.

Electra, Edessa, Greece



Another cool bakery in northern Greece is located about two hours’ drive form Thessaloniki in a town called Edessa. This central Elektra Bakery location is a prototype redesign of the family-run bakery chain’s stores.

The open, minimalist design by Edessa-based Studioprototype Architects helps to disguise the tiny space of 35 square meters (376 square feet) at a busy intersection.



The large outdoor seating area adds to the appeal, and glass walls link the indoors and outdoors to each other. Furniture by Xavier Pauchard and lighting by Tom Dixon.

VyTA Boulangerie Italiana, Turin, Italy

In Italy, the drama never ends. Not even in a bakery. VyTA Boulangerie, designed by Rome-based architect Daniela Colli, is located at the epicentre of busy urban life, the Porta Nuova train station in Turin.

With its contrasting light oak and black polymer surfaces the shop resembles a high-end fashion boutique or bar much more than it does a bakery steeped in tradition or natural ingredients.



Yet, it is an engaging environment with its large L-shaped counter, the stylized natural-oak “hood” over the pastry displays, and the hexagonal beehive detailing. VyTA Boulangerie has stores in Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples.

Princi, Milan, Italy

Of course, the dramatic dawn of the designer bakery took place in Milan. Princi, also designed by Claudio Silvestrin, offers organic breads and other goodies made according to traditional recipes. And it is open 24 hours a day and even on Sundays.
 
Owner Rocco Princi opened his first bakery in 1986. He now has four stores in Milan and one in Soho, in London.

Joseph – Brot vom Pheinsten, Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, Austria, the latest cool destination for lovers of organic bread is Joseph - Brot vom Pheinsten (Translation: Joseph – Finest Bread), located in the 1st district at Nagelgrasse 9.


 
This is the first retail store for owner Josef Weghaupt and master baker Friedrich “Fritz” Potocnik whose Joseph delicacies are also available at the city’s finest cafés restaurants, delis and shops. Corporate and graphic design by Martin Dvorak.

Baker D. Chirico, Melbourne, Australia


 
In Melbourne, Australia, cravings for chic design and amazing bread will be satisfied at two shops owned by Daniel Chirico. In celebration of the artisan baker, his second Baker D. Chirico store in Carlton, unlike the first one in St Kilda neighbourhood, has no coffee machine, deli or other distractions.


 
It is all about bread. And of course, about design, wonderful curving wood slats infusing light and warmth into the tiny space. Created by March Studio, also responsible for a number of Aesop store interiors.

Bécasse Bakery, Sydney, Australia
 
The chic, French-inspired Bécasse Bakery is located in the new Westfield Shopping Centre in Sydney, Australia.

It is part of a group of establishments, all located on the fifth floor of the centre and all owned by Justin and Georgia North: Quarter Twenty One restaurant, store and cooking school, plus Bécasse Restaurant and Bécasse Bakery.
 
The bakery was designed by Sydney-based Mima Design with principals Mark McConnell and Micheline Li Yoo Foo.

Panscape Bakery, Kyoto, Japan

In Kyoto, Japan, Panscape bakery represents the new look of bakeries. The tiny space, just over 26 square metres (280 square feet), looks sleek and clean in the understated, minimalist way the Japanese master so well.



Yet, with its select, massive components of cement and aluminum plus a half-tonne log, the space also exudes solidity and strength.

The concept, architecture and interior are by Osaka-based Hiroki Kawata Architects: ninkipen!

Komsufirin, Istanbul, Turkey

In its fewer than five years of existence, Komsufirin has grown to some 60 stores in Turkey and it sells predominantly pre-baked products, so it is by no means an artisan boutique enterprise, but we like the clear, minimalist interior, redesigned by Istanbul-based Autobahn.



The store name translates as “the oven in the neighborhood” and Autobahn principals Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Cağlar used natural oak and white tiles to create a modern and visually spacey environment as a backdrop for the ancient process of baking.

Komsufirin is operated by the Doruk group and it is growing at a breathtaking pace, aiming for 350 stores by  2013 and 1,000 stores by 2020.

Helsinki Bakery, Osaka, Japan

One would expect to find Helsinki Bakery in Finland, but no, this one is located in Osaka, in the three-year-old Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens shopping mall.

And not just the name, but also the white and natural-wood design have direct connections to Finland.

The store’s Japan-born designer Arihiro Miyake is based in Helsinki-Finland, and has studied in both Japan and Finland.

Simple, healthy and natural are the key words of the bakery and the Scandinavian design supports those notions perfectly.

Lagkagehuset Bakery, Copenhagen, Denmark
 
Lagkagehuset Bakery’s name translates as “pie house” but there is definitely no homey pie atmosphere in this location, designed by SPACE Copenhagen.
 
Lagkagehuset’s principals, Steen Skallebæk and Ole Kristoffersen, have been baking independently of each other since the early 1990s. But in 2008, they combined their successes in and started Lagkagehuset that now has 18 locations in Denmark. - Tuija Seipell

Discovered any new designer bakeries we should know about? Get in touch

 

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Design

November 20 2011

Those in the market for a megayacht are already familiar with the 70-meter (229-foot) Numptia. There isn’t a luxury yachting magazine on the planet that hasn’t noticed it. Some at the upper end allocated as much as 25 pages of opulence-oozing imagery and painstaking scrutiny of every minute fact to this steel-hulled, aluminum-structured floating residence.


 
And those who didn’t get enough of Numptia in the printed media, had an opportunity to view it at the 21st Monaco Yacht Show in September, where it was hailed as one of the highlights among the 100 top meagayachts from around the globe.


 
The vessel launched in April in Genoa, after a three-year building process. It was completely custom-built for an unnamed Italian-born American businessman who wanted it for his multi-generational family.


 
Two specific things about Numptia have attracted the interest of the yachting world. Every aspect of Numptia was custom-created with the highest, most exquisite quality of design, materials, craftsmanship and functional performance. Even in the megayacht circles, this kind of grandeur and obsessive attention to quality and detail are rare.


 
The other unusual aspect is the fact that the owner selected a relatively unknown shipyard, Rossinavi Yachts of Viareggio to build it, and a little-known designer Salvagni Architetti of Rome to design the interiors.


 
Working closely with the owner, Achille Salvagni combined modern sensibilities with touches of traditional luxury to achieve a timeless feel of well-being. Every piece of furniture, every surface treatment, every doorknob and hinge was custom-designed for Numptia. Silk carpets woven in Tibet, solid marble in the steam bath, quartz floors in the galley, and an oval dining table covered in riveted alpaca nickel silver are just a few examples.


 
Exterior design of the vessel was completed by Design Studio Spadolini of Florence.


 
Numptia features lavish rooms for up to 12 guests and includes an impressive master suite, a VIP suite, three queen-size double cabins and one twin stateroom. The owner’s suite includes a bedroom, TV area, reading room, his and hers dressing rooms and a bathroom with the solid-marble bath. Numerous common areas, sundecks, a spa deck plus crew accommodations and all behind-the-scenes space complete the spacious picture.


 
Numptia is available for charter through Burgess for about $646,000 per week, and for sale for an undisclosed price, rumored to be around $85 million. - Tuija Seipell

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News

November 21 2011

THANK YOU to our first half-a-million Facebook fans! We are excited about and challenged by your interest in what we do, your comments and your feedback!

With over 2.5 million page views per month on our site, the most popular articles generating more than 8 million views, 168,000 newsletter subscribers and 123,500 followers on Twitter, what else can we do but work even harder, and to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! - Bill TIkos

Illustration by Fernando Volken Togni.

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Design

November 27 2011

FieldCandy tents do not give you camouflage protection in the natural setting, nor do they help you blend in with the rest of the crowd at the campsite. FieldCandy tents are designed to stand out.



When we saw the first images of these limited-edition designer tents with their cool flysheets, we had to really stop and think. Is it true that no-one else has manufactured these types of tents for sale before? We have seen individual pieces displayed as art, but we had not seen anything quite like this.



It was one of those moments when you think: Why have all tents always looked pretty much the same? We customise everything else, why not tents? And even more remarkably: Why have we been satisfied with those boring, standard tent colours for so long?



So, through a two-year development process, Jersey, UK-based FieldCandy has created what we did not know we needed. Until now. They selected a group of 20 or so artists and designers – photographers, graphic designers, illustrators, branding and advertising designers – to create designs that were then transferred to the ultra-light, waterproof flysheet that covers the two-person tent.



They now offer more than 40 different designs by 18 artists. The designs are grouped in several collections. In The Legend Collection, for example, includes Terry Pastor’s black design with psychedelic guns and Philip Gatward’s blue and yellow parrots on a grey hued background.


 
On the FieldCandy website, a counter next to each design indicates how many of that design are still left. Each tent comes with a label that shows the edition number and the design name. Prices range from $430 for the black FieldCandy signature tent to over $1,000. FieldCandy ships around the world The tents are available exclusively through the website. - Tuija Seipell

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News

December 1 2011

A good sense of humor & storytelling are part of the fabric of close friendships.  Chivas Regal has partnered with Academy Award® winning short filmmaker Joachim Back to produce two short films honoring the journey of modern friendship, from trial to triumph and all the idiosyncrasies in between.

The two short films have narratives, which are independent of one another, but  share a common idea.  Through the bond of friendship, heartbreak & despair can be mined for nostalgia & laughter.

Here’s to Big Bear’, follows a group of friends as they find themselves stranded at a train station in the middle of nowhere after getting off at the wrong stop. Stranded in the desert in black tie, they embark upon a journey that finally leads them to an awkward moment with Big Bear.



Here’s to Twinkle’, recounts a difficult break-up and the unwavering support of friends. The group share stories, reflect on the good times and in the end toast the welcomed arrival of Twinkle.

Check out all the videos here:

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The Avant Garde Diaries

December 5 2011

The Dada art movement found a spiritual home in Zürich with the founding of Cabaret Voltaire in the midst of World War I. To this day it remains a pillar of the Dada movement, led by Philipp Meier. While Meier is charged with preserving the Cabaret Voltaire's artistic tradition, his passion lies beyond that gallery walls, imaging the Dadaist practice in contemporary terms. Not surprising that inspiration comes from city streets and from the likes of MacGhillie -- an unsettling, camouflage suit, which at it's core, defies our innate desire to classify and apply judgement.  Check out more here:

The Avant Garde Diaries

December 4 2011

The culture is rarely impacted by honoring the status quo. An authentic, lasting contribution requires a disregard for convention while turning a blind eye to risk. That's undoubtedly the experience of Matt Kliegman & Carlos Quirate, modern-day Renaissance men who together, have re-imagined the social & cultural landscape of lower Manhattan with venues like The Jane & The Smile. Scott Lipps, a veteran shot caller in both the music & modeling industries details their rise. Check out more here:

Events

December 15 2011

Ever since we posted our first idea featuring Mini Inflatables, other blogs immediately featured them

And we were immediately inundated with orders. Individuals, agencies, Mini dealers, other brands, retailers, hotels, art & design festivals are crazy about them.

We now have more than 13,000 orders but we have no product yet! So we are super excited that we are now negotiating with Mini Germany to make it all happen!



This is a perfect example of a win-win for all concerned. Mini gets its brand out there in an unexpected space and in a fun and active environment. It is interacting with consumers who love to show off their Mini inflatable on the beach because compared to other boring inflatables, this is just too much fun. It's big, it’s bouncy, it’s fun.

People react to it with “I want one!” and “I want to try that!” Perfect reaction and brand atmosphere for an active, fun brand.



We even designed a fun Xmas installation using the Mini inflatables as reindeers.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the Mini Inflatables. We expect it to be all ready by Summer 2012!

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Art

January 29 2012

Is it visual art, audio art, a sculpture, a product, a machine? Byoungho Kim's works could be described as all of these. They are visually stunning, make sounds, have a sculptural quality and they are manufactured just like any other highly-engineered industrial products.

Born in Seoul, Korea, in 1974 Kim has explored the edges of art and product, sounds and visuals throughout his career. As his sound sculptures have no “practical use,” they are defined as art but their intrigue lies in the technology behind them.


 
The two lighting fixture-like pieces we are featuring are made of aluminum and they use both piezo and arduino technology. A piezo is an electronic device that be used to both play and detect tones. arduino is a popular open-source single-board microcontroller. None of this means much to most of us, but the result — sounds being emitted and changed by the sculptures — is fascinating.
 
The rounded Soft Crash (330 x 330 x 165 centimeters, or 130 x 130 x 65 inches) was one of the pieces on display at Kim’s solo exhibition at the end of 2011 at the Arario Gallery in  Seoul. The second piece, from 2010, is called Horizontal Intervention (96 x 280 x 25 cm, 38 x 110 x 10 in.)
 
Byoungho Kim describes his pieces as “constructed fantasy” that expresses mankind’s continuous pursuit of new desires. - Tuija Seipell

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Transportation

January 7 2012

Is there anything that Marc Newson hasn't designed? We are running right out of superlatives describing one of his fairly recent collaborations, the Aquariva by Marc Newson luxury yacht. We tried looking away, yet here we are, talking about it.

Everything about the ridiculously cool and expensive arrow-of-a-speed-boat is a bit much. Yet it is also deliciously good-looking in its faux mahogany, retro turquoise upholstery and overall 60s vibe.



To create the Aquariva, the Australian-born, London-based mega-designer collaborated with Officina Italiana Design of Bergamo, Italy. It is the studio that for the past two decades has been in charge of designing yachts for Riva shipyards, established in 1842 by Pietro Riva. Riva is one of the brands in the Ferretti Group portfolio.



Aquariva by Marc Newson was introduced last fall but paraded again at the beginning of this year not at a lowly boat show or even a luxury yacht salon, but Arte Fiera, the 36th annual, historical art fair in Bologna.



Only 22 of these beauties were manufactured and they are sold though the New York-based Gagosian Gallery and also by Riva dealers, apparently at $1.5 million. The sales pitch is no doubt rich with superlatives and absent of the word recession. - Tuija Seipell

The Avant Garde Diaries

December 24 2011

Susie Lau and Saga Sig are influencers in fashion and visual culture.  For them avant-garde is a mosaic of memory, mythology, & experimenting – fusing unique personal histories with the current moment to produce something truly exciting and forward-looking. Check out more here:

The Avant Garde Diaries

December 23 2011

For Parisian-born artist Adanowsky, family and the artistic traditional are inextricably linked.  Through an intimate discussion with his brother Cristobal, the brothers articulate deeply personal, yet humanistic visions of the avant-garde life.  Check out more here:

The Avant Garde Diaries

December 22 2011



As co-founder of the avant-garde art & fashion magazine HUSK, Vinz Hölzl champions the symbiotic relationship between content creator and consumer.  For him, a central tenant of creation is preserving a culture hospitable to creators. Hölzl discusses Flatrate, a model of ensuring access to content and compensating creators. Check out more here:

The Avant Garde Diaries

December 21 2011

A self-described renaissance man, Mark Hunter’s sensibility is shaped from an early immersion in the vintage scene.  Open to artistic expression through all forms, Hunter takes a break from his well-documented portrait work to share his views of culture, and the role vintage plays in influencing the runway.

Check out more here:

Art

January 10 2012



Based on Dr. Seuss's final book (Oh, The places You'll Go) before his death, this is a story about life's ups and downs, told by the people of Burning Man 2011. Genius idea Teddy Saunders

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Fashion

February 13 2012

We have a weakness for geometric patterns, especially ones that also carry a slightly retro sensitivity. The harmonious Winter 2012 collection of the Australian up-and-coming label, Secret Squirrel, fits the bill perfectly. The triangle patterns are beautifully tone-on-tone, yet they have a nice retro edge that evokes thoughts of earlier times, maybe even as far back as the 30s? Somehow we find ourselves imagining Greta Lovisa Gustafsson, a.k.a. Greta Garbo, wearing these. Yet these deliciously flimsy and funky skirts and tops are totally fit for today.

This lovely time-travel in the form of clothing is part of the magic with which Sydney-based couple Bri Cheeseman and Andrew Prince has been wooing all sorts of celebrities to their label. Currently available only in Australia and online. - Tuija Seipell

 

Ads

April 2 2012

At first glance we thought this was a campaign for sunglasses, but no. This campaign of massive vinyl stickers hit the bathrooms of Beirut’s trendy spots to draw attention to Riviera Privé. It is an exclusive beach, pool and bar and lounge area in one of Lebanon’s most famous hotels, the Riviera Hotel.

Riviera is located right in Beirut city, facing the Mediterranean. The hotel has been a favorite destination of jet-setters since 1956.


The Riviera Privé area has seen several reiterations of glamour and luxury, as has the hotel itself, but it is definitely the place for beach-loving locals who want to see and be seen. The sticker campaign created by République Beirut  plays cleverly on this theme by implying reflective sunglasses and evoking the sense of being watched. -

Our guess is that not so long from now, a sunglass company will use this same idea. Bill Tikos

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Events

May 1 2012

There’s something about hot air balloons that makes us all smile. Perhaps it’s the colors, the roundness, the weightlessness? Or maybe it is our eternal desire to fly, to be weightless, to float happily in the air?
 
At home, colorful balloons have been used to decorate parties, and maybe that is one of the reasons why we associate all balloons with fun and happy times from early childhood on.


 
Outside the home, massive inflatables often decorate celebratory parades, with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade the best known and oldest (since 1924).


 
Balloons are part of store openings and sale events, and they create brand awareness in TV commercials  and crowd gatherings. Blimps float above baseball stadiums and inside hockey arenas, sometimes towing banners with commercial messages.


 
Balloons have also been a part of movies, from Jules Verne's Phileas Fogg’s stylish voyage in Around the world in 80 days in the 1956 movie, to Karl Fredricksen’s trip to Paradise Falls in his house lifted by thousands of balloons in Disney/Pixar’s Up (2009).



At country fairs and all kinds of festivals, hot air balloon rides are a big draw and a once-in-a lifetime experience for many.

Interestingly, hot air balloons – like so many technological inventions including the internet – have their beginnings in the military. Unmanned balloons were used in China for military signaling and other purposes more than 2000 years ago.


 
It’s also been amazing to learn how big a hobby hot air ballooning has become for thousands of people today! Large festivals and races take place around the world with competition categories ranging from speed to size to creativity. It seems that our fascination with balloons will continue for another couple of millennia. - Tuija Seipell


 

If you have recently seen a super-cool balloon, please let us know!

Nike Extreme

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Bars

June 6 2012

Summer months herald the arrival of al fresco dining and a smart wardrobe update. The Vivi in Stile App from Peroni alleviates the guesswork by seeking out the finest Italian-inspired food, style and design in your city.

The Vivi in Stile Peroni App is your personal concierge providing insight and recommendations from stylish and influential tastemakers on the UK and Italian style scenes including Antonio Berardi, Giorgio Locatelli, and Fabio Novembre. With a plethora of bars, restaurants, boutiques and design picks you’ll be guaranteed to stay in the know.

Start discovering your city’s Italian Style now – download the iPhone App or Android App now.

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Fashion

June 11 2012

From humble beginnings less than five years ago, Sydney, Australia-based COLAB has gained an enthusiastic following on all continents for its cool shades.

Releasing 1000 numbered pairs per style, COLAB keeps the new and unusual in the forefront. Collaborating with mostly local artists, street artists, designers and illustrators, COLAB comes up with models that stand out each season.



The latest are the new colors for the well-known CORBU model, designed by Geoff McFetridge. The original champagne-colored CORBU is long sold out, but the new colours – Blue Tortoise (or Blue Tort) and Tortoise (Tort) – are still available.

And as before, these are not just shades to protect your eyes from the sun. They are also vehicles of literary wisdom. The poetry on the inside of the arms reads: “Poems that hate painting that hate music that hates architecture that hates graphics”. - Bill Tikos

Bars

July 5 2012

Peroni Nastro Azzurro is launching Opera di Peroni, a magical event that is inspired by authentic Italian opera, but reimagined to deliver a contemporary performance.

Born out of a collaboration between renowned recording artist and producer Kwes, and innovative opera producer GO OPERA, Peroni will create an outdoor experience that is not to be missed.Opera di Peroni launches in London from 5 July, and is followed by a series of performances in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

To celebrate the launch of Opera di Peroni, weʼre giving you the chance to win a pair of exclusive tickets for one the UK performances.

Simply visit Operadi Peroni and use the clue below to seek out the hidden item, then register your details and you could be attending Opera di Peroni at one of five UK locations.

Hidden clue: A timepiece that as its name suggests is bold, aggressive and oversized. This watch embodies force and style, and revealed the unique personality of the man behind the revival, Italo Fontana.

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Lifestyle

August 13 2012

When was the last time you did something for the first time?
 
When did you actually do what your first impulse, or that nagging, persistent feeling is asking you to do?
 
It is easier to stay where you are, do what you know about, be safe, not push. Take the same route, order the same meal, hang out with the same people, do the same job.
 
But if you do not constantly test your boundaries, you will never find out what you are capable of.
 
If you always go over where the bar is the lowest, you will never know how high you can jump.


                                                                                                                                   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
We say: Jump now!
 
NOW is the absolutely most perfect time to try those new things, to explore new cities, to taste new foods, to start a business, to write a book, to enter a marathon, to go skinny dipping, to start playing squash, to start a blog, to give that dinner party, to propose.
 
Now is the time to find out what you are here to do. How much can you do? What can you achieve?. How much fun can you have? How much can you give?
 
Now is the ideal time to experience your life. To LIVE your life. We all know this is not a rehearsal, yet we live as if it were.


 
And we are not talking about pushing so that you’d be approved by others. Or achieve their goals or what they think you should be achieving. Or pushing beyond your healthy or safe limits.
 
But we are talking about using all of your talents, skills and abilities now. Because now is all any one of us has. And because that is why we are on this earth. To live our own lives fully.


                                                                                                                                       (Pic/Thomas Hawk)

And when we do, we will find millions of new reasons to be grateful. We will find hundreds of ways to give more. We will find out how wonderful life is.

Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance. - TCH Team

News

October 3 2012

Eight weeks ago, our Facebook (FB) page (facebook.com/thecoolhunter) with all of its content and our 788,000 fans – resources we have created and nurtured meticulously over the past five years - was gone.

Not blocked or invisible, but completely gone. Disabled. “Page does not exist.” No explanation, flimsy warnings, no instructions on what to do next. None of our numerous attempts to rectify the situation and resurrect the page have worked.

And because we suspect there are other businesses in the same bind, we are writing this to seek help and encourage open conversation. This is not a minor problem. This is a huge issue and potentially fatal to businesses. We feel that FB must change its one-sided, secret policies and deal with us, and others like us, openly and fairly.


                                                                                          (Image found on Facebook without image credit.)
Important part of our business

Up till that day eight weeks ago, our FB fan base increased by about 1,500 to 2,500 per day, and the page generated more than 10,000 click-throughs to our site, TheCoolHunter.net (TCH), per day.

TCH is an almost eight-year-old design and pop-culture site. We have 2.1 million monthly site visits, a 186,000-strong newsletter subscriber list that reads like the Who-Is-Who of the design and marketing media. We have 247,000 Twitter and 100,000 Instagram followers.

But our Facebook presence has been a unique and extremely important part of our strategy. It is the water cooler of our global community. Losing our FB page is not just a minor hick-up. It is a serious loss of connection and interaction, and of a massive amount of content.

We post items on FB that may not make it to the actual blog, giving hundreds of artists and designers exposure, and thousands of fans something new to see. Our FB page provides the interaction, comments and ideas that help us keep our editorial fresh. It helps us generate ideas for our weekend playlists, gives us tips for our world tours on what to do and see in each city. Most important, our FB community keeps us on our toes, generates great ideas and feedback, and lets us know when we are on the right track.

Our FB community is truly global. At any time of day or night, we would get immediate reactions from hundreds of fans around the world on pretty much any question we would ask. It has become crucially important to us to stay connected in this way. It is a vital link to our community.

Since our page has been disabled, we have also receive hundreds of emails and messages daily from fans worrying where we have gone.


                                                                                        (Photo by Christopher Wilson)
What did we do?

In essence, we want to know this: What did we do? How do we rectify it? We have never intentionally broken any FB rules and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get our page back. But we do not have the answers and we do not know how to get them. We have tried everything in our power, and we are getting nowhere.

We had a momentary glimpse of hope when we asked for help via Twitter. The young and savvy Nina Mufleh @ninamufleh contacted us and said she could help reinstate it. And she did! We got our page – minus its content. In five days, we had more than 400,000 fans back. But then FB disabled it again. Again, no email, no warning - just gone. That’s when we started to get really annoyed.

Infringement of what?

When our page was initially disabled, we contacted FB. The only response we received was “This user was disabled for repeat IP infringement.” We have no idea what we were infringing on. Which image/s or posts, specifically, have caused this?

We know of only two infringements – two situations where FB closed our account , and we argue strongly that they were not infringements at all.

The problem with this is that you don’t know if what you are posting could irk FB.

But even if FB disagrees with the images we posted, are two images enough to kill our account with no chance of recourse?

The other reason that could have caused the closure of our FB page is that we sometimes use images even when we do not know who has taken the picture. 

With FB, Tumblr, Pinterest and all the other image-sharing opportunities today, millions of people and organizations share images – theirs and someone else’s - freely every day. We WANT to give credit always, but in many cases we cannot find that information. On our “About Us” page and on our (now extinct) FB page we specifically state that if we have posted an image that belongs to you, we want to know, so that we can give you the appropriate credit.

Similar issues were discussed in a Huffington Post article here:

If they made any sense at all, they would give you us the contact info of the person who is complaining, so that we can resolve the issue with them. Right now, a completely anonymous and faceless Facebook tells you that a completely anonymous and potentially even false third party has complained about your page. Why can they not be open?
 
We have no idea why openness is such a foreign thing to them. And more important, we cannot believe that they think that everyone who clicks “share” on FB has checked that they personally have the right to post that image! That is a ridiculous idea. If people did that, FB would not be the business it is. It would be a tiny little official online group of insiders who share each others’ images and copy. Facebook is founded on FREE SHARING. They make their money based on that sharing.

The key point is that absolutely every one of us has posted images AND COPY whose author we do not know and whose authors’ permission we do not have. Facebook is built on this sharing. As are pretty much all other social media platforms. So, why do they attack a few and not all, if they are the police?

Bottom line: We need and want our Facebook account back. But we do not know how.

Do you? Do you have a back-up plan for if this happens to your business? Can you be sure it won’t happen to you? We think not.

It seems ridiculous to severely penalize a business for doing what most Facebook users do daily.

UPDATE: Media coverage:

The Next Web

cNet

Graphic Design

A Photo Editor

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Offices

October 12 2012

It’s the ceiling. Definitely the ceiling. And the wood, of course. We just cannot take our eyes off of cool wood features, so, naturally this studio in Melbourne drew our attention.

It is for Assemble an architecture, design and property development company focused on small footprint projects. Joachim Holland, one of the three key players at Assemble, is also the design principal at Jackson Clements Burrows whose work with the Trojan House we wrote about some time ago.


 
True to their hands-on spirit, the Assemble team participated in the actual building of the studio and, with professional help, put together its pine batten-and-stud latticework ceiling that was loosely modeled after origami.


 
In addition to looking lovely, the ceiling is highly functional. It conceals a network of pipes, ducts, tubes, fire alarms, smoke detectors and air-conditioning units, and also improves the acoustics in the space otherwise dominated by exposed concrete and glass.


 
The ceiling is constructed from five triangles repeated five times across the length of the ceiling. We like how the ceiling’s sense of light weight and openness livens up an otherwise fairly standard, boxy space. - Tuija Seipell.

Food

November 5 2012

Combining their three loves -- coffee, cycling and sustainability -- inspired two London Royal College of Art product design students to create a mobile espresso bar, the Velopresso, that operates on pedal power. No electricity, no tethers. A truly free-wheeling carrier of caffeine!

This concept has surfaced before in more tentative forms but the Finnish designer Lasse Oiva and London designer Amos Field Reid have taken it to a sophisticated level. To a point where they are now looking for an industrial producer for their invention that has won the Deutsche Bank Award 2012 (Design) and placed second at the 2012 Pininfarina Design Contest.



Just five seconds of pedaling the trike will grind enough for a double shot while a camp stove heats the water and steam than powers the espresso machine. The designers are also working on a way to generate their own fuel by repurposing the used coffee grounds.

We think that Velopresso would be perfect for events, camping areas or any other location where a good espresso is absolutely necessary, even if electricity is not available. - Tuija Seipell

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Stores

November 29 2012

The creative aesthetic was designed by the talented Daniel Frigo, Art Director at Things Project. Authenticca Creative Agency provided concept assistance and were responsible for all interior styling with the visual merchandising students from RMIT University helping to pull it all together.

The creative aesthetic was designed by the talented Daniel Frigo, Art Director at Things Project, the visual merchandising students from RMIT university pulled it together along with the help of 2 very savvy stylists at Authenticca (Tamara Hansen & Elle Begely)

Koo Koo letterboxes by Playso make their debut

Putting the fun and the excitement of discovery back into retail.

Wired for some serious sound.

Slouchy arm chairs and a nature mural: Roughing it in the city.

Playing house and breaking all the rules.

Floral installation by Fleur's Florist in Armadale,

Everywhere you look, there’s a new surprise. Shopping CAN be fun!

Everyhting can be bought then and there.

 

All images by Ms Rokeby studios herself, Marija Ivkovic.

 

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News

December 2 2012

Moët & Chandon is proud to introduce Roger Federer as the House’s new brand ambassador. Roger Federer, with his shining aura of big bold wins and elegant moves, is the absolute perfect match for Moët & Chandon, symbol of success and style.



Discover the reveal video unveiling Roger Federer as the new Moët & Chandon Ambassador with an exclusive track signed by Bob Sinclar, one of the world's most famous music generators.

MOËT AND ROGER FEDERER: A NATURAL MATCH THAT SAYS STYLE AND SUCCESS

Like Moët & Chandon, the worldwide sports and lifestyle icon Roger Federer radiates boldness, elegance and generosity, from the tennis court to the red carpet to giving back to the world community. Moët & Chandon, the world’s most-loved champagne, and Roger Federer share the values of doing what they do with excellence. In his new role as brand ambassador, Federer will take centre stage in the House’s upcoming advertising campaign, certain to generate lots of buzz when it is revealed in March 2013.

To celebrate a partnership between two living legends, no one but a third living legend could immortalize the event. Renowned photographer Patrick Demarchelier shot a series of pictures of Roger Federer for Moët & Chandon. Chosen for his signature style, Demarchelier captures Federer’s masculine, larger-than-life athletic grace in visuals that pop with all the elegance, boldness and generosity that have made Moët & Chandon famous.



A TOAST TO ACHIEVEMENT

Moët & Chandon and Roger Federer, Moët & Chandon and tennis. A perfect match both on and off the court, Roger Federer, one of the top athletes of all time and a man of gracious, generous, winning sportsmanship, is the ideal choice as Moët & Chandon brand ambassador. An active sponsor of major international tournaments, the House supports excellence in tennis and is the official champagne of, among others, the ATP World Tour and ATP World Tour Finals, the Shanghai Masters and the US Open.

The game of sportsmanship par excellence, tennis combines prowess, skill and distinction. Tennis is about the ultimate quest for success, the overcoming of an opponent that culminates in a win that thrills like few other sports. Moët & Chandon makes for a congratulatory toast and the House is proud to be a part of the excitement. 

Discover Roger Federer’s own words on this new partnership on moet.com

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Stores

December 20 2012

This funky pharmacy with its unconventional exterior and startling interior volume is not something you’d expect to stroll into in a small, ancient town in north-central Portugal.


 
Yet the 50,000 or so inhabitants of Vila Real (=Royal Town) who can trace their town’s history back to the paleolithic era, were quite used to an imposing pharmacy building on this site.


 
But when the private owner of Farmácia Lordelo - which had already operated nearly quarter-century on this site - decided to rebuild, she did not go for timid.
 
Instead, the architecture and interior design by JOSÉ CARLOS CRUZ – ARQUITECTO went all the way to a super-modern, taking advantage of the fact that the area does not have strict building style restrictions. The building certainly stands out in this residential neighborhood located slightly off the city centre.


 
Many of us are used to the type of “drug store” where the actual pharmacy part is squeezed into a back corner somewhere and given as little space as possible – as it is not the part generating the profit - while the rest of the store space is taken up by everything from diapers and toilet paper to books and food, and with the tacky packaging and POS material that goes with that. A pharmacy this clean and beautiful is a rarity, indeed.


 
Farmácia Lordelo is not only a compounding pharmacy but also a laboratory, which is one of the reasons the designers toned everything down and kept the interior airy, white and logo-less. How wonderfully refreshing! And yes, it does look a bit sterile and clinical as well, but that was the  intention.


 
The oval-shaped space is 522 square meters in size (5618 sq.ft.) and the various functions are divided into two levels with the retail floor on ground level..
 
We also love the cool aluminum coated and perforated exterior where the only opening is the main entrance to the retail floor. The enormous cross logo and the external lighting changes creating an animated and lively contrast to the monochrome interior. - Tuija Seipell


 
Images by Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Fotografia de Architectura 

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Events

February 1 2013

Rope, wood and 39 foam board flowers decorated with fashion patterns. These were the elements of a display of Spanish children’s shoe brands at the 76th annual children’s fashion fair, FIMI (Feria Internacional de Moda Infantil) in Valencia, Spain, at the end of January.



Valencia-based design studio Masquespacio with designer Ana Milena Hernández Palacios at the helm of the project, was charged with creating a stand-out exhibit for the shoes amid the colorful children's fashion exhibitors. They needed to achieve the results by using either materials already in the Fair’s warehouse or materials that could be manufactured at a low cost internally.



Foamboard and vinyl became the key elements for the two-sided flowers, clouds and circles, hand-cut by the fair’s sign makers. When suspended from the ceiling with nylon line, the pastel-hued mobile twirled lightly in the space.



The trees at either end were part of an earlier exhibition, but reused for this stand as a place to hang the information of each of the 39 participating brands.



We like the overall effect of juicy warmth and crafty playfulness achieved with very few elements yet expressing an idyllic child’s world effortlessly. The shoes appear as if they were an afterthought, which makes the display even more appealing, considering that the fair’s visitors were seasoned children's fashion experts who were perfectly capable of zeroing in on the shoes without the display pushing them in their faces. Tuija Seipell



Photography:

Exposition: David Rodríguez from Cualiti

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Amazing Places

April 15 2013

Tropea, Calabria, Southern Italy.

The garden of Saiho Ji in Kyoto, Japan.

Sagrada Família Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain

Atlantic Ocean Rd, Norway

The Dunes of Lencois, Brazil

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California

La Grotta Cove, Corfu Island, Greece

Vintgar Gorge, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Qikeng Don in Wulong, China

Valloires Abbey Garden, France

Blanket Bay Lodge, New Zealand

Tulip Fields, Amsterdam

View the previous listings on our Amazing Places page here

Travel

April 19 2013

KLM are at it again with their savvy ideas, this time they’re giving one person the chance of a trip to SPACE!

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Lifestyle

June 5 2013

Lee Broom Table Lamp A$330.00 Francoise Nielly Print A$1500.00 Squirrel Pencil Sharpener $17.00 Leather Pencil Holder With Pencils A$110.00 Candy Vase A$280.00 Tea Egg Infuser A$19.00 Francoise Nielly Print A$1500.00 Tom Dixon Candles $89.00 Koo Koo Letterbox With Side Panels $420.00 Atollo Table Lamp A$2,300.00 Iitalla Sarjaton Glass Tumbler A$55.00 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker A$69.00 Passport Wallet A$55.00 Chalk Money Box A$90.00 Luxury Dog Bed $279.00 iPhone 5 Case $60.00 Tid Designer Watch A$210.00 Turf Paper Weight A$75.00 Francoise Nielly Print A$1500.00 Geo Thermos A$95.00 Tom Dixon Paddle Chopping Board A$165.00

Design

June 23 2013

Should you be so lucky as to be asked to design a Film Museum, how would you feel? Most likely, overwhelmed. The many juicy aspects of the dream factory of film business make one’s head spin! The technology – from the first scratchy silent films to today’s 4D experiences. The genres – from drama and documentaries, to sci-fi and animated movies. And the intrigue and mystery of film as propaganda tool and promotional vehicle. The stars and the drama of their lives online and off. The various awards, the gowns and the glitter. Even the people behind the movie cameras – the directors, the movie moguls and the critics – all seem to carry an extra aura of glamour and fascination. Add to that the sets, the locations, the props, the car chases, cliff-hangers, fantasy worlds and the historical epics created and recreated through film. Indeed, no lack of material.



When Tilman Thürmer the German-born architect and founder of Coordination Asia (that we have covered before), was selected as the Art Director of the Shanghai Film Museum, he had “film” and “Shanghai” as his directives. No more, no less.



The Shanghai Film Museum
, opened on June 17 and currently hosting screenings for the nine-day 16th International Shanghai Film Festival, is therefore a highly commendable feat in its minimalist yet immersive approach.


 
It’s goal is to celebrate and introduce to visitors the past and future of Shanghai’s involvement as the centre of Chinese film. The 15,000 square-meter, four-storey building is located in a former film studio in downtown Xujiahui.



The new museum involves more than 70 interactive installations and 3,000 historic exhibits. The visitors can ad-lib for famous Chinese films in a real sound studio, walk the red carpet, or Carpet of Light, or learn about animation, post-production, sound and live broadcasting in fully equipped studios.


 
Thürmer chose light and shadow, black and white, as the main themes, with grays and metallic accents referring to the silver screen, the film equipment and the glittering awards.


 
We especially love Thürmer’s involvement in the other aspects of the customer experience as well, not just the design of the actual space and exhibits. Too often this is all left to the last minute and not considered important. Yet the visitor interacts with people and with the entire experience, not just the walls and “props.”


 
Thürmer’s role as consultant and art director was extended to the communication design and operations of the museum. He created a visual identity and a graphic design concept, and consulted the museum on selecting and training the right team.


 
“The opening of the new museum is the start of a longer development process,” Thürmer says. “The coming year will be about professionalizing operations, visitor services and management. To me, this museum can be considered a success when it stimulates a new generation to identify with Shanghai Film. I will be satisfied when I see young people leaving the museum inspired, thinking: ‘The Shanghai film industry, that’s what I want to dedicate my future to.’”


 
We love this kind of thinking! -Tuija Seipell.

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Kids

July 8 2013

Once again, we find ourselves featuring the work of Masquespacio, the Valencia, Spain, based studio with an eye for crisp, fresh interiors.

Masquespacio’s principal, Ana Milena Hernández Palacios, has been hard at work completing the graphic design and interior design for a just-opened language school with a minimal budget.



The 183 square meter (1,969 sq.ft.) language school called 2Day Languages is located in a heritage building in central Valencia. Its target audience is a 20 to 30 year-old international student for whom the school offers flexible learning options, cool surroundings and even a cooking class!



The space is divided into three class rooms, a staff room and a lounge. The colors and components of each space stem from the speech bubble/flag logo of the school. The three brand colors – blue, yellow and pink – represent the three levels established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.



Additional influence comes from the neoclassical architecture of the building, new and old architecture of Valencia, and parts of the Spanish language.



We love the use of pine wood and crude-looking stackable and light-weight furniture. We love the semi-domestic feel created by this furniture, the casual cushions, lighting and plants.



The entire space looks inviting and friendly, yet the lovely skeleton of the grand building is visible in the plaster moldings, the height of the rooms and the gorgeous windows.

Particularly intriguing are the 10 frames of crafty nails-and-wool-thread artwork, created by Masquespacio and involving 6400 nails and 2500 meters of wool. Tuija Seipell.



Photography: David Rodríguez from Cualiti

 

Design

July 15 2013



We became obsessed with inflatables ever since we created the Mini Inflatables. The reaction they generated told us that we were on to something – we were not the only ones crazy about them.



We wanted to see more, do more and create more of them, and as always, we wanted to see what ideas others could come up with. So we launched a competition and asked for submissions. 

Tons of suggestions came in, one more imaginative than the other. But to us, many of them were too complicated and cumbersome, trying a bit too hard.



But finally, we can reveal the winning design. It is a masterpiece in minimalism and function created by Pablo Crespo Pita from Spain.

Pablo’s CHAT inflatable is a series of three models with unlimited ways to link and enjoy them. We love the flexibility, practicality and the juicy colors.



For two weeks only, you can now purchase the CHAT Inflatable from here.



Pablo's other entry and our favorite is Air Couture below

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Travel

July 28 2013

Get off your butt and go already!
 
As we said in our long-ago post “It’s time to do your own thing
 
You need to trust your gut and go. But to do your own thing, you also need perspective. Pretty much everything can be improved, and the solution is often on the other side. The second look, the upside-down view. The kid’s version. The new perspective.
 
You also need inspiration. Change the scene. Behave differently. Take a new route. Walk backwards. Jump. Watch others jump. Go somewhere scary. Shut down your gadgets and just look, listen, smell and feel.
 
You need to figure out the big picture, or at least give yourself the benefit of the wonder that you’ll experience when you do see the bigger picture.
 
Travel is the cure and the answer for all those needs. Get out and go somewhere new. Do it now and do it often.
 
We at TCH believe strongly that travel helps not just every individual but also the world at large. The more you see, the more you want to see. The more you see, the less you think your way is the only way. The more you understand others.


 
Even our tagline says: Roaming the Globe so you’re in the know.
 
In an interview, retired Commander Chris Hadfield – the Canadian guitar-playing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station – commented on his experience in space. “In space, your convictions get heightened. You find yourself laughing and crying much more.”
 
“You start to think, about all those people you know in, say, Saskatoon, and how they’re not that different from the people in the city in Africa that you’ve never been to – trying their best, raising their kids – and how your particular set of loves relates to everything else.”
 
This is what happens on this Earth, too, when you travel and let yourself live a bit differently, and see others live differently.
 
No text book, degree or diploma will give you the valuable experience of what another city or country can provide
 
Travel the world, live in other cities, learn cultures. Learn because it keeps your mind young and your ideas developing.
 
Traveling offers you possibilities. When you’re stuck about what to do next in life, get on a plane and spend time in another country. You not only learn about others, you learn about yourself.
 
Travel opens up options you never knew you could have. You’ll become clearer on what to do in life or what exactly you should be doing.
 
Answers become clearer when you are in another country, exploring a different culture. We don’t know why or how, but something triggers answers when you are out of your environment in a place different from yours.
 
The answers have probably been there all along, but they’ll pop up when you are exploring the globe.
 
Travel now, not some other time when you have more time, more money, more this or that. Those days may never come and you may never have enough if this is your attitude.
 
Just make it work now. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be. The less you need, the richer the experience. Your true value is what is left if you lost everything you own.
 
When you are old, it is your memories that you have to feast on. Don’t make those be regrets. Don’t be one of those who says: I wish I had, Why didn’t I, When I still could I should have…
 
The only thing constant is change, so you have to learn to embrace it.


 
We think we’ve figured the Answer to Life – and no, it is not 42. It is about moving forward. Whatever tragedy you face – and you will:  you may lose a parent or someone close dies from cancer, you will go through heartache, a divorce, an end of some sort  - and you cannot remain in that place of grief and heartache and worry forever.
 
You have to keep on moving forward, no matter what. Don't look back, keep moving forward. Pain is temporary, it may last for an hour or a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. Just keep moving forward. Travel is an incredible cure for the pain in life.
 
Everyone keeps being amazed at how quickly life passes by, so do yourself a favor, don't think about it any longer - make a choice, just decide, book your ticket and explore the world and keep on doing it, year after year after year, a new city, a new experience.
 
You'll become far more interesting than the person you are now. And you will learn to love life on a totally different level.
 
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions," says the Dalai Lama
 
Make your life a wonderful adventure.


 
The Cool Hunter Team - Images via Amazing Places

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Fashion

November 12 2013

The heartbeat of American manufacturing has always resided in Detroit. It’s no coincidence that the most thoughtfully made artisan timepieces and leather goods are also created in Detroit, handmade by Shinola.

This Fall we’re excited to introduce the All Black Collection from Shinola, inspired by the only color that's never needed to declare itself the new anything.

The Brakeman 46mm, an American-made timepiece built with respect and admiration for the steel-nerved locomotive brakemen it’s named for. Black case, black dial, black Horween leather watch strap.

An elegant mini backpack that makes a bold understatement. Artisanal craftsmanship. The first-ever Shinola leather good in all black.

Artisan simplicity in a classic card wallet made from genuine Horween leather.

A pretty little watch you'd never call dainty - The Birdy 34mm. Coin-edge and a double wrap strap.

The All Black Collection. All the pieces are sold separately online through Shinola.

 

Lifestyle

November 12 2013

Even the most minimalist and monochromatic of environments needs a drop of color to anchor the restrained surroundings. This is especially true in the kitchen, the place where we often spend more time than in the living or dining room that seem to get all the attention.

So we call in Tom Dixon and his Fluoro Orange – the deliciously sleek fluorescent shade of carrot. Dixon uses this shade in many accessories but we have our eyes set on the wooden Tower Pepper and Salt Grinders.

These punctuation marks for the kitchen – and for the dining room table - are substantial yet functional. The taller one, the pepper grinder, is 36 centimeters (14.2. inches) tall and happily takes the role of a center piece in any setting. Buy here.

Lifestyle

December 17 2013

1. Marble Hooks - 2. Metallic Pig Moneyboxes - 3. Tom Dixon New 3 Large 3 Wick Candle - 4. Wow Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

New iPhone5 Cases exclusive to TCH

1. Polished Steel Watch - 2. Passport Wallet - 3. Red Wine Glass - 4. Rose Gold Head Phones

1. Linen Totel Bag - 2. Tom Dixon Cutting Board - 3. Candy Vases - 4. Koo Koo Letter box

 

Summer Beach Towels

There's a lot more goodies from our Sydney store at No.1 Martin Place which is not available online.

Fashion

October 11 2014

A simple take on the classic time-teller. Featuring a sandblasted, matte-black stainless steel case, with cool grey face and premium tan and black leather band.

With Japanese Quartz Movement, Stainless Steel Bezel, Case & Caseback this watch is both beautiful and high quality. $129 - Purchase here



 

Food

May 15 2014

Sometimes you don't have to travel for a vacation. Such is the case with Talenti. It’s gelato and sorbetto crafted from old world methods.  The result is your new summer obsession.

The Talenti Philosophy is simple: you should love what you eat.  We love Talenti for its marriage of style & substance.  Smart design and craftsmanship paired with premium ingredients.  The result is simple and elegant -- a dessert that goes beyond the ordinary.

Talenti roams the globe to source local ingredients. Vanilla beans from Papua New Guinea are individually split and hand scraped for the purest flavor.  To achieve a delicious bitterness, Callebaut chocolate morsels from Belgium are used.  Bold flavor profiles emerge – from travel inspired favorites like Sicilian Pistachio and Caribbean Coconut to the comforting tastes of Toasted Almond and Sea Salt Caramel.

Have an adventure with Talenti this summer.  Get the inside scoop here.

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More Food
Tags: News
Lifestyle

June 3 2014

Photographer - Eric Johansson

This is not a photograph - It's hand drawn with a pen by CJ Hendry for her upcoming IT Bag exhibition.

Flower paintings by Thomas Darnell

Marcel Marongiu designed pool - Mexico

Mirage House with an infinity pool forms the roof of this house designed as a concept by Athens studio Kois Associated Architects for the Greek island of Tinos.

Trou Normand Opens in San Francisco

Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice

Road to Como, Italy

Floral Installations by Rebecca Louise Law

Tree Trunk Kitchen by Werkhaus

A House in the Trees

Giusti Gardens, Verona, Italy

HALL Winery's new Winery & Tasting Room in Napa Valley designed by Signum Architecture.

Lifestyle

July 21 2014

Finally, an ideal case for your iPhone 5. Not just stylish, but cool and practical as well! These cases are meticulously finished and made of durable leather look-alike material in crisp, solid colors.

The unbeatable practicality comes from the solid clip that locks the phone onto the case safely, the removable strap that keeps your hands free when not using the phone yet assures the phone is immediately handy at all times, the card slots for credit or hotel key cards, and the best part: you can take pictures and talk on the phone while the case is closed!


 
Just this case, your credit cards and you are ready for shopping and sight-seeing, theatre or movies.


 
The passport, credit-card, boarding pass and pen case in the same materials and styles is the perfect, cool accompaniment of the iPhone case. In fact, this will be your favourite globetrotting set from here on!

Happy travels from TCH! Buy here

Offices

July 20 2014

Working in a shared space - in a café or a rented-by-the-hour office - is nothing new, but sometimes a concept pops up that is worth a second look. Now into its third week of life, Joint Café + Workspace in Bangkok stands
out in its whiteness.



We will not speculate on what it will look like after a few months of coffee spills and foot traffic, but for now, it appears inviting like a new notebook, all ready to be filled with people, ideas and inspiration. The space, designed by Thailand’s 56th Studio, is located on the 12th floor of the Asia Hotel’s car park building.



The space is flexible and can be rented in various configurations for workshops, lessons or meetings. Joint Café + Workspace looks more like an office and less like a café, which may make it a unique proposition in that it will not become a coffee shop where people hang out for hours working on their laptops and tablets over one cup of coffee. - Tuija Seipell.

Design

July 31 2014

Many of the trends we are seeing – and liking - in retail, hospitality, services and even urban planning, deal with smaller size because a strong, growing segment of us is tired of Big.

We want small, independent, pop-up, mobile, local, rogue. But – and this is an important but – we want it served up to us in a professional manner, we do not want amateur fumbling even from the smallest providers.

In essence, we want what we cannot have from the mega-malls, big boxes, airports, big brands or grocery giants. And that leads to another important ‘but’. We want small BUT we still want the big, too. Nothing new here, but it still seems that many brands, marketers and researchers have a hard time dealing with the fact that we are not black-and-white, either-or. We are both-and, plus a little extra.

You cannot divide consumer habits into age categories or behaviours the way you could a decade or two ago. We are indeed picking and choosing from each basket, and we will continue to do so, but we are choosing small significantly more often than we used to.

It is hard to imagine someone whose ideal living environment - city, town or village – would be a vast expanse of gigantic malls where global brands offer indistinguishable wares in boring lookalike stores, or where cavernous big boxes ply cheap goods stacked up floor to ceiling. Acres of parking lots; people always in cars. And actual “living” taking place separately in isolated enclaves, and working in yet another isolated location.

More and more frequently, we envision the ideal living environment as something quite similar to a traditional small town or vibrant village. Or a neighbourhood with people, services and work all within walking or biking distance.

We believe that this trend is going to get stronger and stronger, and it will be good for the businesses that understand their niche and offer their customers true value: something that is worth their money and time.

Small businesses are the essence of such neighbourhoods and towns. They are the glue that makes it all stick together. They bring people together, they create small oasis of lovely interaction.

But just like in the traditional small town, today’s small businesses must try harder. From the startup on, they must earn their place in the circle. The merchants and service providers in the old towns were professionals of their trade. They knew their customers, they respected them and they worked hard at earning their trust. The same is true today.

This trend, as we said earlier, is nothing new. It has been brewing for a long time in step with our overall dissatisfaction with the big, faceless brands and their outsourced, hopelessly horrible “service.” When Seth Godin wrote about the topic in 2005, we all took notice. Yet today, almost a decade later, it is still only a trend. But we believe it’s time has finally come.

Big brands offer smaller

One aspect of this trend is seen in the behavior of many big brands that are opening smaller-scale stores, restaurants and hotels that are more intimate, offer a more tightly edited selection of products and services, are targeted and tailored to meet individual local markets, and usually also pay more attention to design and local tastes.

Boutique-scale businesses

We are also seeing a renaissance of boutique-scale businesses; stores, hotels, restaurants and services that do not plan to grow bigger, only better. These are often one-store or one-hotel operations that gain a dedicated, loyal client base by understanding their customers better than their bigger competitor chains.

Unfortunately, many of these become so successful that the bigger competitors want to buy them out in order to either remove them from the market or to gain some of their halo. Usually, with such buy-outs, the aura of the independent, owner-operated business disappears and the previously so loyal clientele moves on. The heart is gone from the business and the clients can see it.

Pop-up

Of course, another much-talked-about aspect of this trend are pop-ups. Any brand worth their reputation has opened pop-ups by now, but it is still an appealing proposition for both brands and customers. Pop-ups liven up neighbourhoods, malls and streets with new, temporary offerings. They give big and small businesses an opportunity to test markets, products and services. They give businesses a chance to benefit from temporarily empty spaces. And they liven up potentially dead storefronts.

Pop-ups will still continue although we are also seeing some fatigue as some businesses now use pop-up as their chance to have regular blow-out sales and other repeating offerings that dilute the surprise factor and excitement of pop-ups. Perhaps there will be a new, more exciting reiteration of the pop-up that will bring back the excitement?

Mobile

In the manner of the ice cream truck, milk man, shoe-polish box and hot-dog stand of the past, mobile offerings are also growing around the world. From food carts and mobile cafes to bike services and mobile pet spas, new, exciting businesses are popping up as mobile carts.

Many cities have been forced to alter their laws to accommodate these temporary, mobile businesses that often do not fit under the laws created for permanent, bigger operators. We think this is all to the good. While laws and regulations are necessary, they need to become much more flexible and nimble to adapt to startups and small operators that add desirable flavor, colour, excitement and convenience to their surroundings.

Also part of the mobile, portable phenomenon, are the various dwellings, hotels and businesses housed in repurposed shipping containers. The Illy Café in New York in 2007 garnered a much attention  and a multitude of reiterations of the idea now pop up daily.

Helping

One valuable consequence from striving for smaller, portable, mobile, inexpensive, sustainable pop-up is that many forms of temporary housing options, portable clinics, schools and water purification stations and so on have become not just curiosities but real solutions in far-flung places and/or difficult conditions to help in areas of catastrophe, extreme poverty and environmental crises.

As poverty has often turned out to be the mother of invention, we believe that this is one area where sometimes even the silliest-seeming ideas can actually be transformed into real relief and smart solutions where they are most needed. As we who have everything in excess “play with our food”, perhaps we will in the process find ways  – and the will – to relieve suffering everywhere.

We also believe that our exasperation with conspicuous consumption – that is partially expressed in our desire for everything smaller – has also helped to bring about a new kind of helping culture. We are starting to consider the consequences of all of our actions as companies, teams and individuals, rather than doing whatever it takes to momentarily satisfy our desire for the next fix for our inner emptiness, or to blindly and impotently try to meet the shareholders’ relentless demand for bigger profits.

Local

The small mobile business is tied to another aspect of this trend – locality.  More and more people want to buy local, not just food but other products and services as well. And while it is difficult for a small, new operator to compete with the prices of an established, strong brand, we feel that local businesses and local initiatives will continue to grow in popularity.

What we do know as well is that whether a business is local or small, it still has to meet the needs of today’s demanding clientele.

Many small operators seem to believe that just because they are passionate about their business and because they want to do it, customers somehow owe them their patronage. That is not the case today, and it never was.



We will not part with our time or money – at least not repeatedly – if we are not getting great service and great products. Being small, local or independent will carry a business only so far. A loyal customer base will not develop out of pity or shame.

Professional branding is also a given today. And that does not necessarily mean having to spend a lot in the creation of logos and package design, although it may mean those as well. What it does mean is that if you are going to succeed, you will need to be able to charge a premium price. And to charge that price, you need to look and behave like a brand that knows who it is and what it does and why it exists.



Clear messaging, cohesive visuals, well thought-through customer experience, professional staff – all of these are important. And yet, you can achieve all this without having to appear or behave like a pretentious branding exercise with a fake story and dumb logo. It is all about knowing who you are, what you offer and why your valued customers should spend their time and money with you. All the basics of business still apply.

Rogue

The last aspect of the Small is the New Big trend that we’ll cover in this article is what we’ll call Rogue concepts. They incorporate many of the other aspects of the trend with the added appeal of a grass-roots initiative.

Concepts such as Diner en Blanc, Helsinki-born Restaurant Day, Cleaning Day are part of this.

The Rogue concepts add the empowering angle of people taking to the streets, creating their own “brands”, doing it their way, breaking the rules.

This, perhaps more than any of the other aspects, speaks to the true core of the entire trend. We are tired of giving our power – and time and money – to the Big Brand. There’s an undercurrent of sophisticated protest. Call it idle nonsense of the well-heeled, if you like, but we think it is part of a serious undercurrent. The world of Wall-E is not quite as absurd as we’d perhaps like to think and the power to change it is in our hands. - Tuija Seipell.

Images 1,2,3 - Happy Bones Cafe, NYC, images 4/5 - Grey Goose Pop up bar in Edinburgh., Image 6 - Intelligentsia coffee van, Image 7 - Sigmund Pretzels, Image 9 - LA Distributrice - Montreal, Image 10 - Omotesando coffee - Japan, Image 11 - Velopresso Mobile Espresso bar, Image 13 - Box Park - London, Last image - Homer Wine packaging

 

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Amazing Places

September 29 2014

Dolomites, Italy

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park by Brazil (Pic - Massimo Vitali)

Chamonix Mont Blanc (Pic - Isabelle Jouvie)

Cathedrals Beach, Galicia, Spain

Loggas beach, Corfu island ~ Greece

Lofoten, Norway

Winnats Pass near Castleton Derbyshire, UK

Amsterdam (Pic - Sander Fennema)

The Seven Sisters Waterfall in Norway.

View the previous listings on our Amazing Places page here


 

Food

August 16 2014

Although there is not a samovar in sight – neither anything resembling the ornate boiler of tea water - the two-month-old Samovar tea bar in The Mission area of San Francisco is most decidedly dedicated to tea. This is the fourth Samovar in owner Jesse Jacobs’ little empire (the other three are also in San Francisco), and clearly different from the others which are more traditional tea houses.



The Mission Samovar is a feast for the eyes and soul in its fine minimalist balance. What is NOT there makes this altar of tea-time contemplation so incredibly beautiful. The antidote to the bustling, loud, constantly connected coffee shop, this is “a retreat from the rat race” as Jacobs said in a magazine interview.

In addition to the highly edited selection of teas and scones, the central focus of this Samovar is the peaceful, almost prayerful atmosphere brought out by the exquisite surroundings.

The thick, white walls, against which hefty white shelves are suspended appear old and slightly weathered. And on the substantial shelves, in harmoniously spaced rows, sit the thick, white cups, custom-created by ceramists at Oakland’s Atelier Dion.



These handle-less cups are meant to be cradled in the hand, held and enjoyed, as opposed to held with the pinky pointing skyward, or clutched like a beer mug. These cups informed the design of the store, skillfully executed by the style masters at San Francisco’s Arcanum Architecture.

The limited assortment of black, green, herbal and iced teas plus masala chai and matcha, is not made from dustings out of dangly bags with hot water poured on. Instead they are ceremoniously yet swiftly prepared in a stately row of tablet-controlled, glass crucibles manufactured in Utah by Arcanum Architecture. - Tuija Seipell.

via Spotted SF

 

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More Food
Tags: News
Food

September 9 2014

Good coffee was not on an average consumer’s radar in 1971, when the story of the brand now known as Starbucks began. This was the case especially in North America where coffee culture was nonexistent.
 
That all started to change when Howard Schultz bought Starbucks in 1987 and started its expansion outside Seattle with the first outside the U.S. store opening that same year in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
 
Today, Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world with about 23,500 stores in 65 countries. With the changes in lifestyles around the world, Starbucks’s idea of the local coffee shop being the “third place” between work and home has really become a reality.
 
Working, meeting and cooperating at coffee shops has become the norm, as has the lingo of special coffees as customers around the world order tall skinny lattes fluently.


 
What Starbucks has also done is open the market for smaller specialized coffee shops for those markets where the giants don’t want to go, and for those customers who don’t want the same old, standardized stores, at least not all the time.
 
As a result, we see daily examples of new, stylish, individual and small-chain coffee shops that manage to feel appealing even to the consumers that are by now completely coffeed-out.
 
And, Starbucks itself creates original concepts to fit special locations.Leaving no market or location un-Starbucked, the brand opened an amazing shop at the main entrance to the Dazaifu Tenman-gū, one of the most revered Shinto shrines in Japan.

About two million visitors a year trek to the shrine, established in 919 A.D. To match the task at hand, Starbucks recruited the 60-year-old Japanese master architect and master of the wooden slats, Kengo Kuma.

Kuma used 2000 wooden slats to weave a latticework structure that encases the entire four-meter (13 ft.) high space, creating a nest or a cave. The latticework reflects traditional Japanese architecture and fits harmoniously among the traditional buildings of the area.


 
In the last decade, we have covered many coffee shops that stand out. These include D’Espresso
that opened in 2010 in New York and made waves with its startling floors and ceilings covered in images of books. The Manhattan-based designers at Nemaworkshop took their cue from the nearby New York Public Library’s Bryant Park branch and went delightfully bookish.



At the edge of Little Italy on Manhattan, A New Zealand coffee culture is brewing. Luke Harwood, one of the founders of Happy Bones café on Broome Street is also one of the founders of Kiwi fashion brand Stolen Girlfriends Club.



Originally, in 2012, Harwood and artist Jason Woodside satisfied their obsession with great coffee in a space at the back of a retail boutique on Bond Street.



Then Harwood and Woodside were joined by New Zealand’s power couple Craig Nevill-Manning (Google's engineering director in NY) and wife Kirsten (previously of Facebook and Google) and now Happy Bones is its own independent little box offering espresso, art publications and an eclectic mix of retro design pieces.



We love the white-painted brick walls that make the little shoebox seem so bright and clean.


 
The three-store Coffee Bar group in San Francisco is one of the showcases of the coffees of Mr. Espresso, a well-known Bay Area roaster.


 
Coffee Bar’s tiny Kearny Street shop by Jones Haydy sits right at the entrance to a large parking garage and caters to the busy people of the Financial District.

It is also located on a stretch of street that has suffered from vacancies and neglected lots, and the store is optimistically attempting to bring life back to the area.



Adorned with lovely wooden walls, some of which are scorched with the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique that prolongs the life of the wood, the shop still retains the slightly rough industrial air with its minimalistic furnishings and exposed-concrete features.



Another San Francisco favourite is the three-location Sightglass Coffee Bar & Roastery.



The flagship coffee bar, company headquarters and roaster are now located at 270 Seventh Street in San Francisco’s SoMa neighbourhood in a restored building dating back to 1925.
 
The building remains unchanged outside – it’s still an ugly concrete cube – but the inside exudes the company’s artisanal expertise and obsessive focus on all things coffee.


 
The fabulous, multi-level building took its new shape through cooperation between Sightglass owners Justin and Jerad Morrison and Seth Boor of Boor Bridges Architecture.
 


Saint Frank Coffee is yet another great San Francisco renovation, located in the historic Russian Hill neighbourhood at 2340 Polk Street.

The boxy shape of the space is nicely divided with wood paneling and bright white walls that draw the eye to the center of action - the white coffee bar.



This shop is the handiwork of Amanda Loper of David Baker Architects and Ian Dunn of Open Scope Studios.



Far from San Francisco’s coffee culture, Origo Coffee Shop in Bucharest, Romania, features the same kind of great restored surroundings and smooth expanses of wood paneling .



Local architecture and design studio Lama Arhitectura discovered beautiful wood beams underneath the layers of plaster and these beams became the hanging posts for the 270 teacups that hang above the bar.

The space is a coffee shop by day and a bar by night and the solid-oak bar can be raised from sit-down height to stand-up height accordingly.
 

Paris is also renewing its coffee culture among stiff traditions and competition. The creative minds at L'Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris set their eyes on “High Coffee.” They don’t call it that, but it certainly looks and feels like it.


 
Every afternoon, superior gourmet coffee varieties are served accompanied by dainty carts full of mouth-watering sweet delicacies created with the supervision of Luc Debove, Chef Pâtissier of the Grand Hotel of Cap Ferrat.

Adding to the High Tea feel, the coffee is served in the hotel’s deliciously prissy first-floor restaurant, with its magnificent views of Place Vendôme. When the restaurant opened in 2009, it was Florence-based architect Michele Bönan’s first restaurant and hotel project in France.

The two men leading the Paris coffee revolution are Frenchman Antoine Netien and his Australian partner Tom Clarke. They opened their first Café Coutume in Paris in 2011, and brought a cool and playful sense of ‘science’ to the coffee shop.

Clean white surroundings, glass beakers and coffee origins marked in scientific-like abbreviations, such as ‘Gu’ for Guatemala.



They have since expanded in France and recently opened their first Japanese café in Tokyo’s Aoyama district.

To design this store, they invited CUT Architecture  that designed their original flagship and the coffee cart for the Finnish Institute in Paris.



The Tokyo store repeats the science theme with white tiles, glass beakers and a lovely pattern of squares everywhere. The ceiling lattice and lighting, the shape of the tables, the shelving, the tiles, all bring a sense of order and harmony. Tuija Seipell

 

See also The Rise of the Designer Bakery

 

 

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Stores

September 13 2014

Belgian twin brothers, Kristof and Stefan Boxy have dipped their culinary hands in several Michelin-star restaurants and catering businesses, and they’ve authored a cook book as well: Just Cooking.

We loved their food store/catering space, Boxy Fine Foods, in Ghent, but unfortunately it closed earlier this year. While we do not know the reason why it closed, we bet it wasn’t because of the interior design.



With the help of Frederich Hooft of Ghent, the Boxy brothers created an elegant, white, open space to display and sell gourmet foods.

The elaborate moldings on the ceilings, the sparkling chandeliers, the gilded mirrors and the wide floor boards speak of tradition, history and heritage, but not in a stuffy way. It feels fresh, new and modern with a few clever twists in the display set-ups.



From one angle at a doorway, a triple take on hanging items welcome the visitors: hams, chandeliers and hanging baskets with their mossy root balls.

The setting reminds us of a museum or an art gallery, which is partly the reason the whole enterprise appears opulent and luxurious and sets one up to expect high prices and superior quality. - Tuija Seipell.

See also Victor Churchill Butcher in Sydney

 

 

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