superfuture.com is the planets most comprehensive urban travel guide and resource for fashion and design related shopping experts. it has been online since september 1999 and was recently re-engineered and re-launched october 2011. superfuture comprises 4 main sections.
urban cartography for global shopping experts
over 8000 listings, reviews, and details maps in over 280 cities. concierge services, cartography, hotel bookings and more.
supershop till you drop
purchase our downloadable city superguides. 10 cities and counting.
the superblog according to superfuture
from shopping super-life to urban low-life and all else in-between since 2001. new shops, upcoming events, new products, interviews and updates from superfuture.
promiscuous social intercourse for shopaholics
endlessly expanding public messsageboard with around 50000 members and 2.4 million posts. superjetset, supershopper, superdenim, supermarket, superfashion, superculture, superblurber, supertech, superpersonals, supertrash and more!
november 2011 update
hello new superfuture. another extreme makeover and i think we have finally returned as the website we were always supposed to be! [i said the same thing in 2008 at the launch of superfuture 4.0, but that turned out to be cruel self delusional science fiction]. like astronaut lee 'we can rebuild him. we have the technology' majors in the six million dollar man, superfuture too has been rebuilt from the mutilated carcass of superfuture 4.0, a dismal clunky website that gave many of us logon anxiety for much of the past 3 years! but with a new bionic map here and an infrared review there, superfuture is again looking kickass. this has been no simple undertaking and involved a great team including design surgeons and technical geniuses [dressed in white martin margiela lab jackets] slaving away for what seemed like eternity. we all think it has been well worth the wait.
we are re-launching superfuture 5.0 with a fundamentally re-engineered supertalk, supershop and superfuture's original supertravel. supertravel has been massively re-architected and now includes over 8000 geocoded reviews in 280 plus cities though not all are published. sadly we have retired our maps and from now on will be using souped up google maps instead. however not all is lost, and our old skool maps will still be updated regularly on our pdf superguides for some time to come. [and the downloads will not get lost!!] supernews has been expanded and search too now works!! we have added plenty of new features such as browser detect layouts, plus mobile, blogs, photo galleries, chat and status updates in supertalk, and intergration with all the usual social media suspects. with a much more powerful set of tools to manage data the challenge for superfuture from now on is to maintain content more efficiently than we have been able to do in the past.
if you want to read more about superfuture's superpast then check out the original manifesto below [still word for word unedited] i wrote back in 1999 when i launched the site. ok. so yes, i totally cringe when i read it, but i guess it's necessary to remind myself that i haven't completely sold out and the website has largely stuck to the plan!... i like to think that superfuture still has as much integrity as it did when it first started. after all, an antique website that has survived 12 years - through tech bubbles, catastrophic hacking, endless server crashes and user riots - must still be doing something right. right?... come on, name 10 websites you regularly visit that started in 1999. shit. i can't.
september 1999 blurb
<< the scenario >>
I regularly have friends [and others] visit me in Tokyo, however in the last few years rarely find time to show people around. Instead, it goes something like this ::::: Rendezvous at friends hotel bar > grab their cheesy 'Official Tourist Map of Tokyo' > attack with flouro orange marker pen. Harajuku instantly becomes "groovy area", and essential places of interest are usually described as "...near the west exit of Shibuya station in the basement opposite McDonalds..." Of course the problem here is that Shibuya is the most congested shopping zone in Tokyo. Even worse, Tokyo is the most congested urban city on the planet. Add to that > no street names > everything written in Kanji > and constantly changing shop locations. Obviously my friends aren't really going to see half the things they should. Unfortunately there has never a been a solution – until NOW! >> the solution >> Redesign the cheesy 'Official Tourist Map of Tokyo' for me and my friends [...and of course anyone else who might be interested...]
<< urban obsession >>
Having said that...I should point out that I'm no journalist – [...and wasn't exactly planning on a career as a cartographer either] – I'm just a regular designer who happens to like roaming the world's urban jungles in search of cutting edge design, fashion, and street culture. Having lived in Tokyo for most of the past 7 years, this is becoming a bit of an obsession, though not difficult to understand when you realize I live 500 metres from Tokyu Hands – [the best department store on earth]...400 metres from GA gallery – [the best architectural gallery bookstore in the world]....and 300 metres from Shinjuku station – [the most congested railway station in the universe]. Incredibly, there is virtually nothing I can think of that I cannot purchase within a 10 minute mountainbike ride from home, though strangely, I rarely need to buy things [clothing the exception] and live content in swanky spartan minimalism – white concrete floor, piles of magazines, and CDs.That's it...
<< tasty >>
Making superfuturecity suit everyones tastes is also not the point.. It is aimed at people who might like the same sort of 'things' that I do...luckily for everyone I like a lot of 'things' – 'taste' often has nothing to do with it. I appreciate cultivated trash just as much as vulgar extravagance and like the extremes no matter how weird, wacky, tacky, obnoxious, or pretentious. The only thing I dislike is all the monotonous mediocrity in the middle.
<< yuppies >>
So maybe I should describe my [visiting Tokyo] friends...Given this unenviable task, I would unfortunately have to stereotype many of them as design / fashion / music / photography / architecture / art / related urban professional 'edgy creative types'. [...they sound like a pack of REALLY vile people who you would want to avoid – however some of them are actually real nice...] I must also add to that group my mother and her assorted contacts who seem to frequent this place.
<< maps from hell >>
I have being telling people for years that I would one day make specialized maps of Tokyo [and for once have actually lived up to the promise] Having worked as Art Director for 3 Tokyo city magazines [who all used bad maps] I know that maps of Tokyo are the last thing any graphic designer wants to make, so I have procrastinated for ages.
<< mutation >>
In the end this website has mutated into something quite different from what I originally envisioned. These maps are specialty maps of selected areas for anyone vaguely interested in the same things as me. I have decided for you what you need to see, and in Tokyo that usually means the streets. If you really need to see a temple then go to Kyoto...
<< the monster >>
What started out as a simple solution to [what was not exactly a huge problem in the first place!?] has turned into relatively complex monster. Maybe there was no problem to start with? Maybe I just invented a problem to justify a solution?! ...I'm not too sure. However, whatever way I look at it, one thing is now certain – the SOLUTION is now the problem...
<< globe >>
It all depends if anyone actually uses this site...??? and finds it useful. If it is popular, then I plan to attack other cities around the globe...so if you are at all interested in getting involved – please contact me.
<< arigato >>
to all those fab people who have helped with getting this website completed up to this stage.
wayne > tokyo > september 01 1999
so you can get an idea of how the site has developed over the decades, here are a few screenshots taken at various times since 1999...
superfuture 1.0 [1999 - 2003]
superfuture started as a city guide and was often refered to as superfuturecity. at the time i was also running a design consultancy in tokyo and that became superfuture media. it started with tokyo, my then second home in sydney became city 02, and new york was the third city we attacked as i travelled there regularly. the focus was on neat and highly functional shopping maps and short sharp reviews of all my favorite stores.
if only making websites was as simple as it was in 2000... the first version of superfuture was made in html however that quickly became a nightmare to keep updated. after about a year we started working on a database to manage the rapidly growing shop reviews. the database was made in cold fusion and was quite advanced software at the time. getting it to work on netscape or explorer was another matter...
superfuture 2.0 [2003 - 2006]
front page screenshot taken on our forth birthday. the ad in the center was for diesels brilliant 'work hard' campaign by kessels kramer. every day for a month we loaded up a new 'calender image' on the site. the month previously, we had worked on designing promo stuff for the extravaganza opening party of the herzog & de meuron designed prada store in aoyama. by this stage we had a fully populated text news blog [wordpress hadn't even started], our 'schnaps' photo blog, hotel bookings, concierge, and heavy duty cartographic services pumping out reviews, maps and other stuff. a few month later, in december 2003 we launched our supertalk community messageboard.
superfuture 3.0 [2006 - 2008]
supertalk went ballistic and quickly took on a life of its own. it grew so quickly that we were crashing our servers monthly and needed to upgrade our systems several times a year. the review database also kept expanding and cities grew from about 20 to 200. of course all this growth created other problems - the biggest being that we were running several different databases and all were on different platforms and located in different servers in different countries. it was obvious that at some point we were going to need to consolidate... and eventually this consolidation became superfuture 4.0.
the old 3.0 review layout...
superfuture 4.0 [2008 - 2011]
i can now safely say that superfuture 4.0 was clearly the clunkiest dogs breakfast of a website i have ever known. while it did solve many issues and might have looked largely ok, the functionality and design was unfortunately never completed to the level that had been originally planned. in retrospect i think we simply created something so ambitious and beyond the technical skills and patience of most coders on earth that it just ended up half-baked and unmanageable. that said, it still did function, but barely enough to manage the data being constantly amassed by an ever growing user community. in fact, it was a miracle we didn't have a monumental crash during 2010 - 2011 as the site seemed to be held together with a few bits of string and a magic wand. clearly it was a data jungle in need of some digital de-forestation.
the launch of supertalk 4.0 was too painful to even recall. it makes me sweat just thinking about it. uurk. what a sludgebucket mess that was!. but the supertalk community continues to grow and remarkably, some topics like the monumental 'what are you wearing today?' thread have now had over 14 million page views.
superfuture 5.0 [2011 - ]
so in late 2010, we decided to bite the bullet and went back to the drawing board to create the current superfuture 5.0!