Weï¿½re constantly in awe of the incredible ideas coming out of the world of retail and hospitality interior design. Over the last few years we've seen an influx of creative new minds enter the field who are redefining the concept and making their own rules. The latest inspiring example of innovative interior commercial design is the new Maedaya Grill & Sake bar in Melbourne, created by local design firm, Architects Eat. The sushi restaurant's interior, mostly 'bound' by ropes, demonstrates the possibility of using ordinary recyclable material for hospitality projects without compromising sophistication.
The rope idea originated from the classic design of sake bottles, which are traditionally secured with ropes. The principal materials for this project are Manila ropes, timber and concrete, all reflecting natural elements such as vegetation and earth.
EAT took a different path with the first-floor function room, which is in stark contrast with the ground-floor 'rope' room. Here they have created a modern, minimalist space with white-washed walls, Japanese black-stained timber flooring, simple timber benches and raw stainless steel canopies. By Lisa Evans.
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
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
If decidedly unfashionable cuckoo clocks, Tyrolean kitsch and yodeling form your memories of Austria, update your impressions next time you are in Innsbruck. It is hard to not look up in Innsbruck, the provincial capital of Tyrol, with the Nordkette Mountains hulking all around. But focus a bit lower and zero in on the new Town Hall. The Dominique Perrault-designed building is on the Old Town’s (Altstadt) main artery, the 17th century Maria-Theresien Strasse.
Go up to the rooftop Lichtblick Cafe (also by Perrault) and marvel at the magnificent 360-degree views. The place is fashionable, sleek and definitely void of Alpen-kitsch. The walls are floor-to-ceiling glass and the roof is a translucent membrane allowing daylight through. At night, the entire cafe looks like a large glowing lighting fixture in the sky.
The 54-year-old Perrault is highly regarded for his ability to allow landscapes to be transformed but not interfered by his buildings. His notable upcoming projects include the EWHA Women’s University in Seoul, Korea (2008), the new Mariinski Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia (2009), and the Olympic Tennis Centre in Madrid, Spain (2009). By Tuija Seipell.
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
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