hong kong: alto restaurant opening

© design research project

with an expansive infrastructure of a-grade dining establishments, it can be quite tough living the high life in hong kong. tough picking a spot where to indulge one's picky palate, that is. but at the same time, it's this demographic that inspires the same scene to evolve at such a pace and diversity few other cities can rival. a new arrival of late is alto, a new glamourous grill restaurant of the dining concepts hospitality group. perched on the top floor of v point tower in causeway bay, it features a contemporary yet lavish interior design by design research studio, the london-based practice led by acclaimed designer tom dixon.

the aesthetic takes cues from the practice of alchemy and the four elements earth, air, fire and water. evocatively reinterpreted, this has resulted in a carefully constructed, rich palette of luxurious materials and colours that's both warm and alluring. alto seats 95 guests, divided over the main dining section and a private dining room. the most striking element arguably is the canopy of 230 mini melt pendant lamps that unifies the interior design's eclectic use of blackened timber, green marble. terrazzo stone, and last but not least, an infusion of shiny brass. adding up to the sense of luxury are the priceless vistas of victoria harbour below.

as said, alto is a grill restaurant, and it's helmed by chef mike boyle. a celebrated name in the local hospitality scene, boyle is a true meat expert and has created a menu brimming with the finest grill items of exclusively sourced beef, an eclectic array of starters, salads and creative side dishes, and to top it all off in splurging style, a selection of decadent desserts that'll even sweep spoiled sweet tooths off their feet. and obviously, these dishes are accompanied by a selection top quality wines and various killer cocktails. location: v point tower, 18 tang lung street, 31st floor [causeway bay].

© design research project

paris: louis vuitton loves printemps

© printemps / photography: romain ricard

we talked about louis vuitton's recent launch of a new women's perfume collection and first dedicated pop-up store at printemps in paris in a previous post. but there's more going on between the iconic department store and the luxury powerhouse. in addition to the temporary retail space, the latter has taken over the store windows and the atrium space of the women's department to make an unprecedented brand statement on the premises. presented under the apt louis vuitton loves printemps moniker, the windows depict a fantastic voyage to a new horizon and one that happens to continue inside the store. the aforementioned pop-up store – obviously a specially designed structure – is situated in the atrium, and embedded in a larger, slightly futuristic setting with undulating surfaces. this setting forms the backdrop of mannequins wearing the brand's a/w 2016 collection, in addition to displays laden with a range of exclusive louis vuitton products, including bag charms, items from the ready-to-wear range, leather goods and footwear [on through oct 22]. location: printemps, 64 boulevard haussmann, lower ground floor [opéra].

© printemps / photography: romain ricard

tokyo: ambush limited edition items

© ambush  record pin

in just a few days, on fri   sept 2 to be precise, tokyo pop culture icons and designers yoon and verbal are taking their quirky jewellery label ambush to the next level with the opening of the first brick and mortar store in the japanese capital's shibuya neighbourhood – it's called ambush workshop and will be quite a high-profile statement, featuring an interior design by the renowned wonderwall practice. to celebrate the opening, ambush releases limited edition items that will be exclusively available at the new boutique. the items conists of three designs that reflect the brand's quirky aesthetic, including a record pin in black, a frisk case necklace, and a lighter case necklace. mind you, the latter two items come in gold and silver. location: 1-22-8 shibuya [shibuya].

© ambush – frisk case necklace [top] and lighter case necklace [bottom] 

global: louis vuitton pop-up stores

© louis vuitton – the louis vuitton pop-up store at printemps in paris

it's a move that has been eagerly anticipated for quite some time, but now at long last, fashion's biggest luxury brand has officially launched les parfums louis vuitton, its first women's fragrance collection in many years. flexing its retail muscle along the way, louis vuitton is opening five dedicated pop-up stores at leading department stores across the planet to celebrate the event. the collection comprises of seven fragrances that each represent a sense of travel. the newly released perfumes are entitled rose des vents, turbulences, dans la peau, apogée, contre moi, matière noire and mille feux, and they've all been created by jacques cavallier-belletrudthe company's very own maître parfumeur.

the ingredients? there's quite a few, ranging from rose petals and jasmin, to vegetal tannins that evoke notes of leather, sandalwood, and other precious substances from both grasse and regions far beyond. but let's go back to the louis vuitton pop-up stores, shall we? the design of each of the temporary retail settings is inspired by the luxury brand's iconic damier pattern. the motif is captured by the aesthetic of the sales counter, displays, and most significantly, a curved back wall. the very first temporary retail space has just opened at printemps department store in paris [1], and three additional perfume pop-up stores will be launched on thu – sep 1 at le bon marché in paris [2], harrods in london [3], the dubai mall in dubai [4], and last but not least, on mon – sep 19 at shinsegae department store in seoul [5].

residing elsewhere? no worries. from thu – sep 1, the full range of les parfums louis vuitton can also be purchased at selected louis vuitton stores worldwide, so call your nearest official depository now to inquire about availability. pop-up location [1]: 64 boulevard haussmann [opéra]. pop-up location [2]: 24 rue de sèvres [st.-germain]. pop-up location [3]: 87-135 brompton road [knightsbridge]. pop-up location [4]: financial centre road, grand atrium [downtown dubai]. pop-up location [5]: 176 sinbanpo-ro [seocho-dong]. the duration of each temporary store is different, ranging from just three weeks, to a more extensive seven-week period. 

© louis vuitton – all seven fragrances

tokyo: drop time

© makoto azuma / photography: shiinoki shunsuke

following the flower huddle art showcase by hiroshi fujiwara in osaka last december, the japanese style guru launches a new installment today at the mass, a newly opened gallery space nestled in the buzzing maze of alleways of tokyo's harajuku district. raising his effort to a whole new level, fujiwara has now collaborated with next-generation floral artist makoto azuma. the latter has previously set up an exuberant pop-up installation on the premises of fujiwara's much publicized but now defunct the pool concept store in the aoyama area of the japanese capital. the new exhibition in tokyo is entitled drop time, and presents nine exuberant flower arrangements on pedestals in a grid configuration [on through sep 25]. but that's not all, folks. for the duration of the show, the venue will also serve as a flower shop, and stock vases and specially designed t-shirts that commemorate the show. location: the mass, 5-1-1 jingumae [harajuku]

© makoto azuma / photography: shiinoki shunsuke

melbourne: notel opening

© notel / photography: andrew curtis

soaring urban skylines are a fascinating sight to behold, and the views can usually be enjoyed best when standing amidst these highrises. the newly opened notel in melbourne's central business district qualifies hands down, delivering sweeping vistas of towering structures. the quirky hospitality concept, comprising of six luxury airstream trailers from the 1970s, is set up on the third floor of a carpark by entrepreneur james fry, who also happens to be co-owner of the building. the streamlined silvery vehicles – they measure 31 feet [9.5 meter] each – have been imported from the u.s. and fully refitted to meet the requirements of an adventurous, design-conscious target demographic.

the design by acclaimed local design practice edwards moore features a sleek modern interiors, replete with a queensize bed with premium linens, a well-stocked free minibar, wifi, and an ipad pro loaded with essential goodies such as like netflix, and last but certainly not least, an ensuite bathroom featuring a full height shower and complimentary (malin+goetz) toiletries. and if you feel like splurging, why not book the trailer that comes with a secluded private outdoor spa and the best views of the city? the rooftop has also been revamped to match the edgy concept, and sees an expansive and colourful paint sprayed wall by contemporary artist ash keating as the perfect backdrop for notel's one-of-a-kind hospitality format. location: 388 flinders lane, third floor [cbd].

© notel / photography: andrew curtis

portland: tanner goods store relocation

© tanner goods

the creative surrounds of homebase portland have been quite beneficial to tanner goods. during the past decade, the high-end leather goods company has become a household name in circles around the planet that are appreciative of heritage inspired quality goods. to celebrate the company's tenth anniversary, the company has gifted itself – and the city of portland for that matter – a brand new and expanded flagship store in albina, a buzzing neighbourhood just north of downtown portland. tanner goods occupies a 2,600 sq.ft. [260 sqm.] ground floor location at albina yard, a modern four-storey complex that's anchored by an existing building from the late 1920s. the opening follows previous launches in los angeles and san francisco, and the store interior presents a similar pairing of a semi-industrial base with an infusion of timber..

but here, at this newly built structure, it's been taken to a more awe-inspiring and sleeker level. the latter material is first and foremost captured by a beautifully constructed ceiling and matching support beams, paired with extensive shelving that lines the walls, and matching displays and other furnishings. building on the success of the tanner goods and woodlands retail combination over the past five years, the expanded footprint also features a shop-in-shop for sister brand mazama wares, in addition to a laid-back bar and café section with a private and green outdoor back patio that's called the wayback that's bound to become a popular neighbourhood destination in itself. location: 4719 north albina avenue [albina].

© tanner goods

hong kong: y's store opening

© i.t

retailer i.t knows a thing or two about luxury brands, and during the many years it has operated multibrand stores across homebase hong kong, china, and a handful of other countries across southeast asia, the company has managed to nurture a sizeable demographic of fashion forward shoppers. not surprisingly, i.t's main focus remains hong kong – mind you, in terms of size and diversity in the region's fashion retail scene, it's rivalled only by tokyo – and since the appreciation of many brands have soared, i.t has opened a string of monobrand boutiques at an accelerated pace. its latest endeavour is a store dedicated to japanese designer yohji yamamoto's women's diffusion line y's in causeway bay, and the first of its kind in asia outside japan. the interior design, comprising of pristine white walls, wooden planking dipped in a similar hue, and pillars clad in slabs of mirrors, follows the aesthetic of y's boutiques in the land of the rising sun. furnishings are sparse, and consist predominantly of sleek steel clothing racks, shelving and two metal-clad tables. the new y's boutique currently stocks the full a/w 2016 women's collection. location: 50 paterson street [causeway bay].

© i.t

los angeles: undercover cars

© clint woodside – oceanside, ca [2012]

currently based in los angeles, photographer clint woodside [1976] dips his toe in different pools, and is also a publisher and distributor of small books and publications, and whose roster includes a number of leading names. woodside's first show in his adopted hometown is to open on sat – sept 10 [7pm-10pm] at these days, a gallery and store in downtown los angeles that features emerging artists, alongside collectible and out-of-print photography books and zines, and vintage design objects. the show is aptly entitled undercover cars, and presents a collection of photographs from woodside's recently published book of the very same title.

the work spans five years of shooting, and represents a intriguing photographic study of covered cars that the lensman spotted while traveling around the world, including his very own habitat of southern california. each photo is alive with endearing residential architecture and everyday human habitation, well-worn apartments and houses, painted garage doors, oil-stained driveways, and the familiar local flora. the series documents a place and a time, but is also a true record of photographic obsession, a long-term attachment to a simple theme from which more complex themes can emerge and evolve. location: 118 winston street. second floor [downtown].

© clint woodside – san francisco, ca and los angeles, ca [top and bottom]

brussels: jam hotel opening

© jam / photography: oana crainic

europe's major cities are in a constant flux, changing form, character, and sometimes even face, when economic circumstances take a tumble. similar to many other european capitals, brussels has seen quite a lot of empty downtown office space in recent years, but sometimes little miracles occur that make these, often colossal structures, unexpected happy places with a new lease on life. such is the case with jam, a new budget design hotel in sint-gillis, a neighbourhood of the belgian capital that is slowly climbing the hipster ladder with a growing number of cool retail and hospitality businesses.

the hotel occupies a 1970s office building that later became home to an art academy, and now, after a meticulous makeover, it has become a funky hospitality concept that fully complies with the requirements of today's young and savvy globetrotters and adventurous grown-ups alike, and it's the first of its kind in the city. the jam hotel features 78 rooms, set across seven floors. the interior design, created by local interior designer lionel jadot, is intentionally rough around the edges, and uses the building's bare concrete shell and patches of exposed red bricks as a blank canvas.

throughout the premises an infusion of pinewood can be witnessed, applied as a decorative element or in pure functional form, softening any excess of austerity along the way. as said, there's a variety of rooms, ranging from private pads for two, to differently sized communal rooms, and even a so-called giga room that comfortably accommodates no less than 18 peeps. each room comes with obviously all the modern comfort and amenities, but also an edgy aesthetic and playful extras-on-demand that make a stay truly fun – oh yes, we mean the brompton bikes and skateboards. but that's not all, folks. the jam's public spaces are equally cool, and a destination in their own right.

situated on the ground floor is a bar and restaurant, both matchingly fitted out with a cool interior, serving a plethora of drinks, in addition to tasty pizzas, pastas and other italian bites by chefs vincenzo marino and giambattista suizzo. a sweeping city view? unless you've booked a room on one of the upper floors, catch one at the other bar on rooftop. the game room, replete with arcade consoles, a table football and ping pong tables, and other fun stuff, where to break some sweat and bond with other hotel guests. but jam's most impressive feature has to be the outdoor pool + terrace. with ample space to chill and play, it's a unique place in brussels where to meet up with friends, or indeed, swim a few laps. location: charleroise steenweg 132 [sint-gillis].

© jam / photography: oana crainic