sydney: aesop store opening

© aesop

aesop have opened a beautiful new store in balmain, an upscale seaside neighbourhood of sydney. the space was designed in collaboration with local architect henry wilson, and utilises the stunning raw sandstone, fireplaces and hidden doorways that were discovered during the removal of the previous fit out. these incredible natural elements are combined with pale native timber and then off set by industrial components in the shelving and the demonstration sinks, giving the site a raw but beautifully tender feel. the site has an abundance of natural light which is harmonised with the soft palette of the space, creating a warm and inviting retail environment. the new aesop store carries the brand's complete range of skin, body and hair care products. location: 297 darling street [balmain]. 

© aesop

melbourne: aesop nasothèque

© aesop

aesop have taken over the typically ostentatious myer windows with a thought-provoking and visually stunning examination of the human olfactory sense. the oft forgotten and ignored 'nose' takes centre stage in this seven window performance piece, the aesop nasothèque. It includes a production lab with live nose castings, curing lab, installation lab and the aesop nasothèque display which houses the collection of hand-cast plaster noses, as well as a product display and explanatory notes on the evocative aromas of the aesop formulations. the aesop lab will be taking nose castings from the general public. your author having experienced the procedure himself, highly recommends you find time to not only visit these stunning windows but get your nose cast as well. the procedure involves mild, non-irritating substances that are suitable for use on most skin types. sessions will be held at 20-minute intervals according to the following schedule: thu-fri [excluding good friday]: 12pm-2pm and 3pm-5pm, sat-sun: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, and during the final session on apr 22: 12pm-2pm and 3pm-5pm. location: myer, 314-344 bourke street [cbd].

© aesop

berlin: supernova concept store opening

© supernova

have we exhausted you with news on bikini berlin? exactly, the retail there couldn't possibly have that effect. another gem we haven't talked about yet is supernova, an evolving concept store curated by berlin-based creative agency kemmler kemmler. supernova's first edition is a collab with the boys behind the firmament store and nike, and is themed future of football in celebration of the upcoming football world cup in brazil. the setting has been designed by architect christian weinecke, locally known for designing and running the original comme des garçons guerilla store in the german capital.

weinecke created an interior that's reminiscent of a brutalist-style science-fiction film set, taking shoppers on a journey of a talented football player from the streets who gets lucky and achieves global stardom. this journey kicks off amidst the meticulously crafted chaos of a futuristic city, replete with mini shops, video installations and changing rooms. the logical next setting is the training pitch where shoppers can try out the many products on display. hi-tech adds an interactive cool factor by way of a goal-shooting wall and sensors that visualize speed and goal-shooting accuracy.

obviously, it's connected to social media, so you can brag about your score. the player tunnel leads into the stadium, a gigantic, half-transparent steel construction, which towers above the store city. from there, shoppers reach a tunnel and a podium where they experience the stardom. a series of video and audio systems make it an immersive experience. what's on the shelves? nike has stocked supernova with an exclusive selection of football and lifestyle products, while firmament has also curated an eclectic mix of products for the trendsetting and stylish football fan. this football-infused edition of supernova runs through jul 13. location: bikini berlin, budapesterstrasse 38-50 [tiergarten].

© supernova

online: minute bike

© behave bicycles

as traffic congestion and related pollution continues to soar in many cities across the planet, a classic mode of transport is rapidly gaining in popularity among smart urban dwellers. aided by visionary city planners who need to provide the necessary infrastructure, bikes are definitely back and the boom has only just begun. just as quickly dozens of manufacturers have sprung up just about anywhere to cater to this mobile demographic that puts both environment and efficient mobility first when it comes to their daily commute. a clever new initiative comes from the netherlands, the iconic land of bikes, where behave bicycles have just released their first ride, the rather nifty minute. pronounced à la française, it's a small and highly agile bike for forward thinking commuters.

based on the mini vélo, a hugely popular bike model in asia, the minute is a handmade custom bike built to last a lifetime. the remarkable small wheels are a deliberate choice. small wheels are not only stronger, lighter and more agile, but also also allow greater speed. the minute comes in a men's and women's version, both equipped with a duomatic system with two gears and a coaster brake. a mounted rack with integrated bungee cord is positioned at the front. the two-wheeler will be available in the course of 2014 at select retailers. but that's not all folks. the first 100 bikes are offered in pre-sale as a limited edition, uniquely numbered and finished with stainless steel fenders and an authentic brooks saddle. and in case you wondered, bikes are shipped internationally. a cool deal? we certainly think so. 

© behave bicycles

mumbai: kulture shop opening

© kulture shop

india's transformation goes leaps and bounds, and just as quickly emerges an interesting new infrastructure that specifically caters to the lifestyle requirements of a savvy new generation. retail is very much at the forefront of new initiatives, and it's in the country's top-tier cities where these manifest most visibly. the newly opened kulture shop in mumbai is emblematic of this trend. situated in bandra west, an upscale suburb of this sprawling city of over 18 million inhabitants, it's an initiative of arjun charanjiva, founder and c.e.o., and kunal anand, jas charanjiva and rajeev sathe. these four professionals share a wealth of prior work experience in the creative and corporate fields both in india and abroad, and they've now joined forces to set up shop out of a sheer passion for graphic art.

they see the craft as the art of the modern age, one that also provides commentary on a new india and aptly capable of reflecting a dynamic indian identity. and abiding by this belief, the entrepreneurs conclude that lifestyle products are logically the very canvas of our time as they're accessible to anyone. but the modern approach doesn't stop there. kulture shop aims to establish itself as a hub of sorts of a new wave of art that’s driven by graphic art and inspired by the many facets of culture both indian and global. so, what's the deal here? in support of established and emerging indian artists, kulture shop serves as a platform with a financially viable eco-system that helps these creatives to monetize their work. for every artwork sold on a product the artist involved is compensated fairly.

kulture shop works with a curated mix of graphic designers, illustrators, urban artists and graphic novelist who mastered a style and technique that not only reflects the store's modern vision but which also will connect with next-generation shoppers in india and across the planet. the collective of artists are spread across the shop’s three current labels: select, labs and showcase. a fourth more premium label called presents will be launched very soon. artists are categorized by labels based broadly on how established they are within the realm of graphics art and contemporary art. to keep shopping matters tantalizing, each month 5 new limited edition art tees and 5-10 new limited edition art prints will be released, each under a new theme. happy shopping! location: hill view 2, 241 hill road, second floor, above dcb bank [bandra west].

© kulture shop

paris: julien soulier + adrien landre

© julien soulier + adrien landre

julien soulier and adrien landre are two french photographers that we've come to know through their striking collaborations with fashion label bwgh. coinciding with the release of issue #13 of photography magazine fast , an exhibition of their work has opened at galerie spree in montmartre. the very talented duo joined forces and headed earlier to blackpool a.k.a. the city of lights of northern england. they shot a body of new work, entitled fast night, that's entirely inspired by the resort's somewhat fading nightlife and features portraits, still life shots and street photography in which various forms of lighting are masterfully captured [on through apr 28]. location: 11 rue lavieuville [montmartre].

© julien soulier + adrien landre

berlin: uniqlo flagship store opening

© uniqlo / photography: hufton + crow

indeed, there's a lot going on in berlin's retail scene. another hotly anticipated opening has just taken place, and this time it's uniqlo that has gained the limelight with new flagship store. it's the japanese brand's biggest store in all of europe, and occupies 2,700 sqm. [29,063 sq.ft.] spread over three floors of a modern building in the charlottenburg area. huge floor-to-ceiling windows allow in floods of daylight to penetrate the ground and mezzanine floors. reflecting japan's modernity in retail, a range of rotating mannequins are placed in the window. the atrium-like entrance is enhanced with an expansive, animated led screen that displays uniqlo locations across the planet, while other screens are placed throughout the store to promote the many collections.

the store has been designed by tokyo-based agency wonderwall which is known for its futuristic designs. the uniqlo flagship is no exception, featuring modern and highly functional displays and fixtures. wooden flooring adds a warm and welcoming touch to the setting. the new uniqlo store carries the brand's full range of men's, women's and kids collections, as well as accessories. the opening also marks the kick-off of expansion in germany and additional stores nationwide have already been planned. as such, the opening party had been turned into a major media event, pulling a huge crowd of 350 guests, including uniqlo dignitaries, the japanese ambassador, and even wonderwall architect masamichi katayama was flown in for the occasion. location: tauentzienstrasse 7 [charlottenburg].

© uniqlo / photography: hufton + crow

milan: paul smith x carl hansen & søn

© paul smith

in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of designer hans wegner, paul smith and maharam have collaborated with carl hansen & søn – the planet's largest manufacturer of furniture designed by the renowned danish designer – on a limited edition collection of some of wegner's most iconic works. with a pioneering modernist aesthetic, wegner is best known for his idiosyncratic chair designs, such as the wishbone chair. created in 1950, this piece became one of his greatest successes. to mark the momentous year, designer paul smith has selected his favourite classic wegner pieces to launch a capsule collection that gives the designs an injection of vibrancy. each piece is upholstered in a fabric created by paul smith himself, in collab maharam. the two worsted wool textiles explore stripes at dramatically different scales, conveying the fashion designer's imaginative approach to colour and proportion. the collection will be presented at three locations in milan during this year's edition of the salone del mobile: the paul smith store [1], the carl hansen & søn showroom, and also at the latter's booth at the furniture fair [3]. location [1]: via manzoni 30 [brera]. location [2]: viale piave 27 [porta venezia]. location [3]: fiera milano, via sempione, hall 5, stand 004 [rho].

© paul smith

new york: the monarch room opening

© the monarch room

in a recent post we talked about gilded lily, a gold-infused bar in chelsea which pulls the savvy party people from across manhattan to its doorstep. it would be a flagrant omission on our part if we didn't mention its equally new and sister establishment one floor up. called the monarch room, owners lisle richards and eric marx created another downright stunner with the help of interior design by new york-based design practice roman and williams. housed in a 1930s warehouse, the 180-seat restaurant has very much retained an industrial feel, but in a polished and sophisticated kind of way, resembling grand parisian bistros of yesteryear. the abundance of concrete is offset by dark wood, sofas clad in tufted burgundy leather and rather stunning light fixtures.

a circular opening in the ceiling with matching chandelier amps the visual drama. an elongated 10-seat raw bar occupies a corner of the premises near the entrance, and serves the freshest of seafood with matching side dishes. and speaking of food, the monarch room is headed by michael citarella, a chef with michelin star training and a true gourmet who knows his food. accordingly, the menu is quite eclectic and lists a slew of honest and seasonal farm-to-table dishes, using locally sourced ingredients. whether you pick the red pepper gnocchi, a succulent spiced duck breast or halibut with beets, watercress, poblano chili, it's all good. presentation and service are equally key here, but you may have gathered that already from the establishment's name. location: 408 west 15th street [chelsea].

© the monarch room

london: ace hotel london x tokyobike

© tokyobike

london's buzzing shoreditch area has a lot to offer. perhaps a little too much? but if you explore the neighbourhood from the comfy back of a sleek, lightweight bike it's much easier to take it all in. it makes perfect sense that ace hotel has teamed with cult bike brand tokyobike to take you on a guided tour around the neighbourhood, highlighting the many fascinating twists and turns through these storied streets. starting sat - apr 19 these tours will be largely led by writer and brand consultant duncan riches, who'll also serve as curator for future ride guides - a good mix of local journalists, bloggers, designers and personalities that provide an authentic insider's view of london's streets. tours meet in the lobby for a cup of coffee from bulldog edition at 10am sharp, and then head straight over to tokyobike to pick up the bikes and helmets.

following a solid three-hours of sightseeing, you'll be taken back to the lobby for freshly made juice from lovage, ace hotel's onsite juice bar. besides these monthly scheduled tours, ace hotel and tokyobike also offer special bed and bike tours for hotel guests. these are tours that can be pre-arranged with the front desk staff on a case-by-case basis. simply use rate code bedandbike when you book your room at ace hotel to receive gbp 20 per person to spend at hoi polloi restaurant, lovage, bulldog edition or the lobby bar, in addition to access to a custom-made ace hotel x tokyobike for each day of your stay, and a cycling map of london. the offer is based on availability and applies only to reservations for deluxe rooms, with a maximum of two guests per room [on through end of june]. location: ace hotel, 100 shoreditch high street [shoreditch].

© tokyobike