tokyo: out in japan

© out in japan / leslie kee - matcha

japan is one of the most advanced of the planet's developed countries, but the hierarchical structure and strict social codes that are at the very foundation of its success have a flipside for anyone who doesn't fit in the mold. that certainly counts for the vast majority of the country's lgbt community, and as a result japan ranks at the bottom of the list when it comes to the acceptance and visibility of this specific demographic in japanese society. and that's what makes the out in japan project quite remarkable. backed through crowdfunding and also by american fashion giant gap, the project aims to document no less than 10,000 lgbt people by various photographers in the coming five years, obviously to increase their visibilty and claim more rights. tokyo-based leslie kee, a renowned fashion photographer who's openly gay, created the first series of the so-called out in japan project. kee shot 111 portraits of people from the japanese lgbt community, ranging from teens to adults and senior citizens, and from all walks of life. the first batch of out in japan portraits is currently on display at the gap flagship store in harajuku [on through apr 28]. location: gap, 1-14-27 jingumae [harajuku].

© out in japan / leslie kee - sarah partch-smith + rika arita and mitsuaki kishida 

hong kong: thom browne store opening

© joyce

after setting up shop in new york and tokyo, a third thom browne store has bowed on hong kong's on lan street. this is a collabe venture with luxury retailer joyce which has been carrying the thom browne label for many years. the 2,200 sq.ft. [204 sqm.] store is designed by thom browne himself and realized by studio mellone. based on the designer’s original store in new york city. spread over three levels, it features a glass box enclosed staircase veiled with white blinds that weaves back and forth to connect the floors. similarly, the store interiors evoke an office from the late 1950s and early 1960s, featuring poured terrazzo floors, grey marble-clad walls, and the aforementioned signature window blinds. each section is furnished with cherry-picked continental mid-century furniture by the likes of paul mccobb, edward wormley and pierre jeanneret. the ground floor has a lobby-like feel. this area will have very minimal to no merchandise and will house a small lounge area with a giò ponti-style bar and stools. but there's plenty to shop elsewhere as the store carries the full range of the men’s collection, including shoes and accessories. location: 18 on lan street, shop 1 [central].

© joyce

paris: genesis of a virtual life

© maxime antonin-passadore

a little while ago we talked about eko, an edgy new club in paris that draws inspiration from tokyo's inimitable urban buzz, in a previous post. this focus isn't just evident in the club's setting, but interestingly also puts a specific spin on the varied roster of gigs and events, and in the latter category falls an initiative by maxime antonin-passadore. the french curator and artist has teamed up with the musicians of hong kong express and cvltvre for an immersive digital installation at eko. entitled genesis of a virtual life, it's held on apr 24-25 [8pm-10pm] and is pretty much an extrapolation of the club setting, featuring an evocative mash-up of the cyberculture of akira's neo-tokyo and the cyberpunk universe of blade runner. mind you, the installation is multi-layered and boasts short film screenings and interactive works rhythmed by experimental sounds by the aforementioned musicians. futurists unite!  location: 14 rue st.-fiacre [étienne marcel].

© maxime antonin-passadore

london: jac+ jack store opening

© jac+ jack

founded in sydney little over a decade ago by jac hunt and lisa dempsey, the jac+ jack label has gained quite a following on home turf with its collections of luxurious men's and women's basics and a growing number of other designs. after opening a handful of signature stores at key locations in both sydney and melbourne, the duo have pursued expansion abroad by opening up shop in london. for this first store overseas, situated within the shopping complex of the newly opened ham yard hoteljac+ jack have once again enlisted george livissianis to create a matching store interior. the sydney-based interior architect concocted an understated yet luxurious palette that forms the perfect backdrop for the merchandise on offer. arabascato marble is paired with black + white steel fixtures, concrete and birch ply, and the austerity of the aforementioned materials is balanced out by grey surfaces and belgian linen drapings. the new jac+ jack store carries the brand's men's and women's collections, and the opening in the british capital is to be followed by an online store – it's scheduled to launch at the end of this month   and shipping to the u.k. and europe. location: 33 great windmill street [soho].

© jac+ jack

los angeles: play chandelier

© 6817

6817 is a new art gallery that has popped up in the expansive west hollywood grid, set up by young gallerist theo niarchos. a graduate from chapman university, he followed his gut feeling to establish himself in this part of town. niarchos is similarly intuitive regarding his artistic focus, aiming to push a quirky mix of both younger and older interesting artists into the limelight and a variety of media. and judging by the very first exhibition, it's certainly a place to keep an eye on. 6817's inauguration show, entitled play chandelier, is by los angeles-based australian artist benjamin barretto [1985], and opens on fri - apr 24 [6pm-9pm].

it presents an intricately constructed sound sculpture. the artwork is made up of a collection of seemingly random materials and objects, but upon closer inspection each element contributes to its audio purpose as a whole. a mirror-ball motor rotates a 16-foot screw-lift, raising a billiard ball to begin its course along a series of slanting planes. it travels at varying speeds along precarious assemblages of found objects and sculptural elements, making contact with musical instruments in the process. pedestal fans become composers, their constant oscillation is experienced audibly in gentle cyclical patterns.

a projection of two iphones videoing each other in ‘selfie mode’ illuminates the corner of the room with a pulsing, rhythmic glow. additionally, a series of new paintings are on display, and in similar experimental fashion, these utilize the paint, finish and hardware of a classic electric guitar. jack plates, pick guards, buttons and guitar cables are idiosyncratically composed to create ‘marks’ on the slick, glossy base of guitar paint. the absence of electricity running through the works and their subsequent impossibility of creating music suggests an attention toward ocular composition out of materials usually used to articulate an audible composition. location: 6817 melrose avenue [west hollywood].

© 6817

bali: bisma eight hotel opening

© bisma eight - view from the hotel

the magic of bali largely spawns from the island's unique hindu culture, and widely regarded as the very heart of this centuries old legacy is the town of ubud. nestled in the hilly countryside amidst terraced paddies and dense forests, ubud is home to a number of notable museums and artisans that bear witness to its cultural stature. and although it's very much part of the tourist trail, the town remains surprisingly slow-paced and boasts plenty of tranquil pockets where to retreat and enjoy relaxed country life. it's this rather idyllic setting that tempted singapore-based indonesian fashion entrepreneur suraj melwani to join forces with his father suresh melwani and third partner sunil alwani, to lovingly create a boutique hotel that ticks all our boxes.

called bisma eight, it's totally in sync with its unique location. the property features just 38 suites, in three categories, each boasting an interior design that blends modern design and traditional balinese craftsmanship, and in such a way, it defines what engaging hospitality is on this tropical island. the forest suites are located at the west end of of the hotel near the pool pavilion and pool. these pads offer sweeping views of the surrounding forests and a spectacular sunset from your private balcony. the canopy suites are situated on the second floor of bisma eight’s main building. with views of the canopy courtyard below and the jungle in the distance, each suite has a large living space which can be screened off from the sleeping area, and comes with a shady private balcony with bamboo railings and cascading ivy.

top of the bill are the garden suites. tucked away in the canopy courtyard, each suite features a large living space which can be screened off from the sleeping area. a huge plus is a private outdoor garden. obviously, all suites come with the level of comfort today's modern traveller expects to find, featuring prerequisites such as a king-sized bed, a rain shower, high-speed wifi and an in-room safety box. the hotel's spacious suites invoke a sense of place and a feeling of home. subtle touches, such as handcrafted japanese-inspired soaking tubs, a large living area, and nods to traditional balinese art and architecture provide stylish comfort in an authentic context. conceptualized as a modern retreat, bisma eight offers a number of facilities that allow guest to fully unwind, relax or indulge on more than one level.

as food and drink are considered integral elements of the bisma eight experience, the hotel provides a number of tempting appealing options. every dining experience begins at bisma gardens, the property's nearby organic farm. its organic produce is the secret to the flavours concocted at the copper kitchen + bar, a cool informal dining spot and a destination in its own right. this is also the domain of chef miles belfield whose take on asian cuisine not only makes as much use possible of local produce, but also incorporates exciting modern twists. keeping matters eclectic, dishes are matched by an expertly made range of classic drinks. for good coffee and a tasty bite the library café is an ideal spot to hang out. finally, the pavilion is bisma eight’s style-infused take on the poolside tiki bar, and with much better views.

the temperature-controlled pool has an infinity ledge and overlooks the lush canopy of the surrounding jungle. those in need to break sweat need not worry, there's a fully equipped gym on the premises which has a rotating schedule of classes and workshops. last but not least, there's ubud. as said, it's fertile ground for the arts and many other kinds of creativity, and that is pretty evident everywhere you turn. and bisma eight is very much part of the scene, what more could you ask for? indeed, you just found your new fav spot where to leisurely hang out this summer. location: jalan bisma 53 [ubud].

© bisma eight

berlin: #genxbeat

© generator / photography: nikolas könig

generator is a happening design hostel brand with a fast-growing network of properties in exciting destinations across europe. all generator hostels boast comfy private and shared rooms, but what makes a stay even more special is that a great effort has gone into the design concept of each property, making them no less than appealing social hubs that tap directly into the local culture of each city. perfectly in line with this connectivity to urban culture, generator has teamed up with beat, an opinionated and artsy music + culture magazine, to curate a series of creative talks at three of its hostels across the old continent, and the second edition of this so-called #genxbeat series will be held in berlin. these talks are very informal, yet informative meet-ups where the magazine's multi-tasking founder hanna hanra will be chatting with leading deejays and recording artists little bootshorsemeat disco and nts radio.

these meet-ups aim to give the audience an insight into the music industry and inspire a new generation of creatives. the talks will cover everything, from the empowerment of women in music, to dj’ing across the planet, or starting your own online radio station. and that's not all, folks! the talks end with a matching party until the wee little hours, featuring exclusive dj sets by all of the aforementioned participants, in addition to budding local dj talent. mind you, all the events are free and include entrance to the talk, a welcome drink upon arrival and access to the after party. you fancy? then register here for access. the first #genxbeat talk will be held on thu - apr 23 [talk: 8.30pm-9.30pm / party: 9.30pm-2am] at generator berlin mitte, featuring the mischievous boys of horse meat disco as special guests. see you there! location: oranienburgerstrasse 65 [mitte].

© horse meat disco - the boys looking their best

sydney: the smoking panda bar opening

© the smoking panda

adding up to sydney's cosmopolitan vibe is the smoking panda, an eclectic fusion of a cool watering hole in downtown l.a. and a retro chinese diner. the interior shows an abundance of elements from both, albeit tweaked or glossed over here and there for hipness' sake. a distinctive neon malboro sign, created especially for the venue, and the sultry pink, red and black colour scheme pays homage to the seductive clubs of los angeles, while the retro cherry red banquettes, timber beaded curtains, illuminated live fish tank, and red and gold accents allude to the classic chinese feel. the dark wooden bar top and back bar, exposed brick and desert-scape murals all add a pastiche that's pretty hard to resist. and not surprisingly, so does the smokey panda's menu.

mind you, the back bar features over 65 bourbons, 50 rums and an extensive range whiskies and tequila, and is the most elaborate spirits list down under. and we haven't even begun talking about the equally wide choice in wines, craft beers and the very tempting list of classic american cocktails, all curated by world-renowned mixologist grant collinsfoodwise, this place shouldn't be overlooked either, boasting a bar food menu created by acclaimed chef danny russo and chef roy nair that draws inspiration from suburban chinese restaurants. signature dishes include sweet and sour pork ribs, soft shell crab slider with asian slaw and the chairman’s wings served with barbecue sauce. location: 5-7 park street [town hall].

© the smoking panda

online: renard elite collection

© renard

based out of amsterdam, renard is a newly extablished watch brand that fuses an aesthetic inspired by the 1960s and 1970s with modern analogue technology. its name – meaning fox in french – has an elegant ring to it, and aims to reflect the brand's values that are rooted in a context of longevity, character and a timeless style void of superfluous frills. renard accommodates style seekers with a varied range men's and women's watches, and its elite collection accordingly features sophisticated duo of styles. with a keen eye for detail, dials are vertically brushed and slightly domed mineral glass rests over a classic face. classic yet understated, the brand's first collection is available in two different sizes [35.5 mm and 25.5 mm] and with a variety of straps styles, ranging from small linked stainless steel to calf leather straps with smooth, crocodile or lizard finishes. renard's watches are currently only available at select depositories across the netherlands and belgium, but if you reside elsewhere it's possible to snap up your fav timepiece online as well.

© renard

london: nudie jeans repair shop opening

© nudie jeans

the second nudie jeans repair shop in london has just become a fact, and not surprisingly it opened  in shoreditch, an area of town which has transformed into one of the city's most dynamic areas in terms of retail and hospitality. the store is situated on redchurch street, generally seen as the area's most desirable address for fashion brands. given this surge in popularity, gentrification is in full swing, and nudie jeans has secured a lofty 73 sqm. [780 sq.ft.] unit on the ground floor of a newly redeveloped stretch of real estate on this axis of style. the store has been designed by the brand's in-house interior architecture team, and features an interior with the distinct minimalist-industrial hallmarks we've all come to appreciate.

a focal point of the store, similar to any nudie jeans repair shop across the planet, are the repair stations, and these are paired by a 3 meter steel-fabricated denim wall with a matching ladder on a track, situated directly opposite. flooring made of reclaimed victorian pine and vintage furniture pieces from post-1930s era not only adds further patina to the retail setting, but also a homey touch. a playful hit of swedish art is represented with a nudie jeans raven-shaped puppet created by artist maline nordin holding open the door. the new nudie jeans repair shop carries the brand's full range of men's and women's denim. location: 19-29 redchurch street, unit 3 [shoreditch].

© nudie jeans