In Amsterdam's restaurant scene, the names of Bert van der Leden, Douwe Werkman and Rob Wagemans pop up constantly, and usually all together. Werkman and van der Leden wield their influence through IQ Creative, a restaurant and hospitality conglomerate that is best known for the Supperclubs around the world, but also operates Witteveen, Nomads, Vyne, Envy and Nevy in Amsterdam.
For interior, architectural and conceptual creative output, they turn most often to Concrete of Amsterdam, a 25-member company founded in 1997 by the 37-year-old Wagemans. Concrete is a kit of three companies: Concrete Architectural Associates (architecture, design concepts), Concrete Reinforced (urban design) and Models+Monsters (scale models).
The prolific gentlemen's latest cooperation is Mazzo. It is a cool reincarnation of a notorious disco in a strange and ugly building on Rozengracht. The building may be odd but not that unusual in Amsterdam. Its spaces of varying heights and widths could have posed a problem, but for Concrete, they offered an opportunity to create an inviting yet industrial-feeling atmosphere and a place that is flexible without seeming temporary.
Mismatched chairs, exposed brick walls, rough wooden shelving, sepia-toned images and GUBI and MOOOI lighting manage to give the mismatched spaces a cozy sense of an impromptu meeting place where moms could meet for lunch and moguls could convene for an important deal. - Bill Tikos
Whatever you can think up, Cookieboy can bake it! In fact, Cookieboy can bake cookies of things you never thought of as being cookie potential. Such as feathers and bonsai trees and tents and eyeglasses. Or sheep with a necklace and Christmas wreaths. And shoes and socks and chairs and entire table settings. Cookieboy was born in 1984 in Kyoto and graduated from textile design course at Kyoto.
He’s found his canvas in cookies and is now appearing with brands such as Issey Miyake and LaForet Harajuku shopping complex and museum in Tokyo. In addition to the fantastic one-of pieces, Cookieboy bakes party packages that include a set for Anniversary, Tiara, Wedding and Basic party. We are off to ordering TCH cookies! - Tuija Seipell
The new D’Espresso on Madison Avenue (at 42nd) in New York has received more media attention than is generally awarded to a tiny coffee shop in this world of millions of new coffee shops.
The reason for the attention is the fun design by the Manhattan-based nemaworkshop, a team of designers and architects that has created numerous cool retail and hospitality concepts. Founder Anurag Nema took the idea of a coffee shop that looks like a library – giving a nod to the nearby New York Public Library’s Bryant park branch – and turned it on its side. The walls are not lined with books but the floors and ceiling are. Except that it is all an illusion, a life-size image of books printed on custom tiles. Pendant lighting does not hang from the ceiling; it sticks out from the walls.
The tiny coffee bar of 420 square feet (39 square meters) is the second for owner Eugene Kagansky (the first one is on the Lower East Side) who plans to create an entire empire of coffee shops. Apparently, the next one will be completely upside down. - Tuija Seipell
In the friendly tradition of ice-cream trucks and pop-corn carts, the highly visible McMobile brightens up the day at large sporting events, concerts, street festivals and any other events where large crowds are present — and hungry!
And for people waiting in long line-ups to get into such events or to buy tickets, the McMobile would be not only a welcome and entertaining distraction, but a chance to get something to eat that they would probably eat anyway when they get into the event.
Depending on the location and specific requirements, the McMobile could take the shape of just the one main car or it could become an entire fun train with various components of a meal depicted in each car.
To make most of the fun of this fun meal-on-wheels, the concept would be further enhanced by specific music, mascots, staff and entertainers interacting with the crowds — all part of the experience of encountering the McMobile.
With its bright colors and cute appearance, McMobile will be photographed and broadcast in social networks by consumers where-ever it shows up. McDonald’s could even run a “Spot McMobile” contest online to increase the visibility.
McMobile is a concept created by Access Agency which will be sold as a franchise model and also used as a branded marketing experience.
See also McFancy
It is not easy to impress in Paris. To create a restaurant, bar, hotel or retail establishment that stands out, surprises the locals and the jetsetting international visitors, and creates positive buzz that lasts more than a night, is a serious challenge.
The collective talents and star power of the team behind Le Restaurant Matignon are significant enough to suggest that a new, permanent player may have arrived on the scene.
Opened two months ago, at 3 Avenue Matignon, just a few steps off Champs‐Elysées, Matignon promotes itself as “restaurant and playground” but in plain terms it is a restaurant, bar and lounge that has already hosted several lavish private parties for high-end brands and media.
Matignon was founded by Paris-born international promoter and artistic director Cyril Péret (Paglinghi) and Gilbert Costes, one of the Parisian Costes hospitality triumvirate (brothers Jean-Louis and Gilbert and Gilbert’s son, Thierry) that seems to have its hands in half the new restaurant and cafe concepts in Paris.
Péret has entertained and cooperated with celebrities throughout his career in Miami and Paris, while the Costes brothers are no strangers either to working with celebrities and top-level designers and architects.
To create the physical environment, Costes and Péret retained the formidable and prolific French architect and designer Jacques Garcia, whose rich and luxurious signature touch can be witnessed in hotels and restaurants around the globe. Garcia’s work includes Hôtel Métropole in Monte Carlo, the Spice Market restaurant in New York, Hôtel Costes in Paris and dozens of others around the world owned by sultans and sheiks, royalty and even Garcia himself (Château du Champ-de-Bataille).
Several years ago, Garcia was quoted as saying that 50 million people ate at his restaurants and five million people slept at his hotels. These numbers have only grown since.
At Matignon, Garcia has created a luxurious mix of eclectic and opulent, subdued and bold, elegant and funky. Matignon has no online presence at this time, so the only way to get to know it is to go in person. Tuija Seipell
Matignon is located at 3, Avenue Matignon 75008 Paris, telephone : 01 42 89 64 72.
Rosa’s, a modern Thai restaurant in Soho in London’s West End, is the second Rosa’s for managing partners Saiphin and Alex Moore. The success of their first, in Spitalfields in the East End, spurred them to open a three-month “tester,” a pop-up restaurant called Noodles in the Soho space. Its success, in turn, gave birth to a full-blown Rosa’s with its bright-red exterior and wood-paneled interior.
Designed by London-based Gundry & Ducker Rosa’s is an elegant nod to the temporary plywood-booth air of Noodles, the red-light heritage of Soho, and the warm and homey style of the Thai food. Its design features match those of the Spitalfields Rosa’s, also by Gundry & Ducker.
The main feature in the Soho Rosa’s street-level space is the modified oak ogee-curved mouldings. They form coat hooks, lamps and the 'pie crust' edge of the tables. The ceiling is made of gloss pink panels in a brick pattern, set behind a deep frame. In the basement, the same themes prevail but in black gloss and grey and reclaimed teak.
Gundry & Ducker was founded by Tyeth Gundry and Christian Ducker in 2007, both former employees of Nigel Coates. With backgrounds in architecture, furniture and exhibit design, Gundry and Drucker have completed several award-winning hospitality and residential projects. - Tuija Seipell
Didn’t think you’d ever end up window shopping for beef tenderloin? Get ready for a rethink, especially if you are on Queen Street in Woollahra, Sydney, Australia.
In the well-established suburb, tree-lined streets offer a perfect enclave for cafes and boutiques, and for that most unlikely of things, a supremely cool butcher shop. Victor Churchill is the first, and so far the only, butcher shop established by Vic and Anthony Puharich, the father and son duo behind Vic’s Premium Quality Meat, the leading meat supplier to some of the finest restaurants in Australia, China and Singapore.
A butcher shop -- Churchill’s Butchery -has operated in the space since 1876, so it was an appropriate location for what the Puharichs envisioned as a European-inspired designer shop of meaty delights.
To realize their vision, they engaged Sydney-based Dreamtime Australia Design whose many restaurant, bar and resort projects around the world combine traditional and modern elements in a deliciously layered and multi-textured way. This was Dreamtime’s first retail project but too juicy to pass, says Dreamtime director, Michael McCann
The store boasts so many unique, custom-designed and exclusive features that the only way to absorb it all is a real-life visit. The features provoke, intrigue and amuse the customer – starting with the façade with its double-glazed, refrigerated vitrine for viewing the ever-changing array of hanging meat and poultry, plus selections displayed on custom-made copper and glass shelving.
Inside, butchers work at timber butcher’s blocks on a “stage” behind floor-to-ceiling glass while specialty cuts of meat and carcasses, hung from a custom-designed cog gear and metal chain rack, slowly pass by. The backdrop for all this is a Himalayan rock salt brick wall that infuses the hanging meat with flavor and sterilizes the air. In a humorous nod to a recent Louis Vuitton window display, multiple video cameras are trained onto the daily special inside a glass dome on a pedestal.
Victor Churchill is definitely on the leading edge of redefining the meat shop category. (See also their iPhone application) We are seeing this happening slowly in other food, restaurant and grocery categories as well as our McDonald's -McFancy. We are all for a future without a single sprig of plastic parsley! - Tuija Seipell
Whatever Parisian pastry chef extraordinaire, Philippe Conticini, does gets noticed. His talent for creating desserts that are art in all meanings of the word has found yet another expression this September when he unveiled his latest creation, La Pâtisserie des Rêves (the patisserie of dreams), in the chic 7th arrondissement in Paris. Nothing in the design of the sleek 29 square-meter boutique is reminiscent of a traditional European konditorei. Most strikingly, the stars of the space — the desserts, cakes and pastries — are displayed on a round platform in the center. Each of the 15 culinary masterpieces is presented under its own temperature-controlled glass bell suspended from the ceiling. Customers order their selection from the staff, after which each order appears directly from the kitchen. Both ideas evoke the feel of a meticulous laboratory where precious specimens are handled. Conticini has been in the culinary limelight for more than two decades with his own TV show, several books, restaurants and awards. - Tuija Seipell
Germain is a Parisian restaurant in a newly revitalized space at 25-27 rue de Buci in the 6th Arrondissement. The prolific, Iranian–born and Paris-based architect, India Mahdavi, created the interior architecture of the three-storey, funky establishment.
The most striking feature of the space is a massive yellow sculpture of a woman in an overcoat and high heels. Its lower half stands on the café’s first floor while the upper body and head break through the ceiling to the upper level VIP lounge area. The sculpture is one of three that the multi-disciplinary, Paris-based artist, Xavier Veilhan, made of his friend Sophie for an exhibition at the Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery (Miami) in 2006.
When Thierry Costes, scion of the Parisian hospitality family that owns Germain, asked Veilhan to contribute to Germain, Veilhan studied the multi-storey location and envisioned the drama that would be created if one of his Sophies “grew” in it, almost as if it were a feature that pre-existed the restaurant.
The Costes family is no stranger to using the talent and drawing power of well-known designers and artists in its hotels, restaurants and cafés. The fact that the 36-year-old Veilhan’s sculptural installation work has a prominent presence currently at Versailles cannot but help attract customers and the curious to the left-bank location of Germain. - Tuija Seipell
Tobias Rehberger won the best artist Golden Lion this summer at the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. This year’s Exhibition is titled Making Worlds (Fare Mondi).Rehberger won the prize for the cafeteria of the Palazzo delle Exposizioni della Biennale, formerly known as the Italian Pavilion. The cafeteria is open to the public at least till the end of the Biennale Art Exhibition (November 22).
Rehberger calls his cafeteria “Was du liebst, bringt dich auch zum Weinen” (Whatever you love, will bring you to wines). It is a crazy, retro-inspired space, juxtaposed with a jumble of forms and colors with black and white as the combining theme. He collaborated with the Finnish furniture house Artek that created custom furniture for the space.
The Art Exhibition is part of the venerable Venice Biennale, established in 1895. The Biennale promotes new artistic trends and organizes events, including the International Film Festival, the International Art Exhibition, the International Architecture Exhibition, the Festival of Contemporary Music, the Theatre Festival and the Festival of Contemporary Dance. - Tuija Seipell