the preferred stomping ground of global movers and shakers in the 1980s, les bains douches to this very day represents the golden age of parisian nightlife, and filled with nocturnal debaucheries. similarly to new york's studio 54, the club was extravagant, pretty wild at times, and whoever was allowed in, partied at least till the break of dawn. originally built as a full-fledged private bath house in 1885, the establishment was popular among influential fin de siècle circles, establishing that prerequisite notoriety that every leading establishment has very early on. but the golden era that a happy few are still raving about to this day started in the late 1970s when entrepreneurs jacques renault and fabrice coat transformed the place into an playground for a motley demographic of celebs, creatives, fashion models and other hedonists from around the planet.
david bowie, jean-michel basquiat, grace jones, andy warhol and mick jagger are but a few of an endless string of illustrious regulars who bestowed an almost mythical status upon the club in its prolific heyday. in the decades that followed its reputation slowly faded, and the premises were ordered to close down in 2010 as cracks had been detected and the building was deemed unsafe. but only one year on filmmaker jean-pierre marois comes into the picture, not only to set up a foundation to save this iconic landmark of parisian nightlife, but also to launch an audacious redevelopment. the renewed les bains remains true to its roots as a club and restaurant, but has also tweaked its formula to include 39 stylish rooms and suites, including one lavishly designed, 80 sqm. [861 sq.ft.] penthouse, replete with a private hammam and outdoor terrace.
architect vincent bastie restructured the building, adding light-filled courtyards, terraces and balconies, and interior architect tristan auer took care of the retro-inspired design of the pads. to keep matters adventurous and fresh, the design of the restaurant and club was entrusted to renowned agency rdai. the dining area – this is the domain of celebrated chef philippe labbé – is a rather stunning space dipped in a deep red hue, adorned by giant ceiling blobs and stalactite pillars. the club may have been sized down, but it has retained its edgy vibe of days gone by, featuring white cracked tiles and a matching checkerboard dance floor. completing les bains' bold makeover is the establishment's new brand identity, created by its creative director alexander kellas. location: 7 rue du bourg-l'abbé [étienne marcel].
since graduating from berlin's universitat de künste, artist klaus jörres  obviously didn't feel the need to move away from germany's main art hub that is the german capital. an undisputed rising star, his minimalist canvases offer an intriguingly modern dialogue between flickering nuances of white and the analytical clarity of filigree lattice structures. as of late, jörres' distinct artistic style is gradually changing, and now features bold colourful backdrops or seemingly erratic dashes of various bright hues. what remains is a tension between calculation and contingency, between the visual dynamic of computer-generated templates and the haptical presence of the objects. the artist currently shows a new body of work at dittrich & schlechtriem gallery in berlin. presented at the exhibition simply entitled 15 are six large-size canvases that exemplify the aformentioned artistic transition [on through jun 20]. location: tucholskystrasse 38 [mitte].
melbourne's elwood area has seen rapid gentrification these past few years, and it's now home to an increasing number of professionals who prefer its laid-back beachside location over the city's hugely popular but overpriced neighbourhoods north of the yarra river. the arrival of a moneyed demographic has already instigated a transformation of the cityscape by a number of new buisnesses, and one that has wowed this picky crowd since its recent launch is the milton. set up by vincent sciglitano and giuliano buttazzoni, two veterans from melbourne's hospitality scene, the place is conceptualized a wine bar with a culinary options. for this project, sciglitano took on the design of the bar – he actually collaborated with local practice biasol: design studio – while his partner, the chef from an establishment next door, selected the menu's wines and cheeses.
an elongated space of 190 sqm. [2,045 sq.ft.], the milton boasts both indoor and outdoor sections with an edgy contemporary feel. the building's original façade has been retained, and this consideration for its history is also evident inside. the setting is one that harmoniously blends the old and the new, featuring a mix of exposed red bricks, brass fixtures, blackened steel wine racks and carrara marble table tops. an elongated and beautifully tiled bar is paired with wall-mounted tables for two, while the back section features a lounge area lined with sofas below a slatted roof. a true bonus is the secluded patio at the far end. the milton lists an impressive number of wines on the menu, both from down under and renowned vineyards abroad. these are complemented by quality cheeses and a wide selection of gourmet bites. location: 134 ormond road [elwood].
at a time when collaborations are common in the design hemisphere, the concept of a partnership has become more formulaic than a true collision of worlds. that is until a small batch whisky company located on a remote island off the scottish coast comes together with an american potter to produce a unique series of clay vessels. ny based helen levi recently partnered with scottish malt brand, bruichladdich and created a collection of ceramics that are equal parts charming and functional. a photogrpaher by trade, helen has been producing inventive ceramics for a few years that have been picked up by the likes of steven alan home, mociun and various commissions for local nyc eateries. and after travelling to the scottish isle of islay last summer [where bruichladdich whisky is made] the designer fell in love with the local habitat, including three types of traditional drinking vessels native to the area: a tumbler, a bottle, and a quaich - which is a handled bowl used to drink whisky in the 17th century.
as a result a partnership was born and after travelling throughout the usa to collect clay materials, the whisky series was launched in tandem with the scotch malter. the natural clays used have only subtle visual differences but interestingly in islay, the different varieties of barley used in whisky production have various effects on taste. after much trial and error, the potter was able to come up with the perfect balance. not only do these babies look great, but they enhance the spectrum of flavors bruichladdich are renowned for. so whether you're a seasoned whisky drinker, a ceramic enthusiast... or both, this unique collection of cups and bottles are a must have accoutrement for any modern gathering. helen levi for bruichladdich is available at the primary essentials in brooklyn and online at helen levi.
much more than their bigger counterparts, niche brands require a specific exposure in order to thrive. and while an online presence contributes a great deal to this objective, a brick and mortar shop still remains the best tool to create brand awareness and communicate one's values. and that's exactly the strategy that l/uniform has followed. the french accessories brand, known for its contemporary range of a-grade bags, wallets and pouches crafted from durable canvas, has made quite the effort to make a real statement when establishing their very first shop. it has done so with a little help from masamichi katayama, the renowned chief designer of tokyo-based design practice wonderwall. the store is situated on rive gauche, occupying a compact space that's hardly bigger than a shoe box.
but what it may lack in size, it makes up with a rather fabulous interior design. conceptualized as a traditional cabinet of curiosities, albeit one captured in distinctly modern materials, it features an abundance of seemingly stacked open boxes left and right. these extend from the ground up, all the way up to the ceiling, where they seemingly evolve into a back-lit grid. the floor is covered in a subtle mosaic of wood that not only creeps up halfway the sales counter, but also extends all the way to the backroom where it pretty much covers all surfaces. this space stocks all the elements that shoppers need to have their new trophy item of choice customized or monogrammed. the new l/uniform store carries the brand's full range of products. location: 21 quai malaquais [st.-germain].
singaporean artist mark ong a.k.a. sbtg has long been customizing sneaker staples for footwear giants like nike, dc shoes and new balance. what started out as a hobby painting up kicks in his parents kitchen themed with military and punk rock iconography, led to his involvement with several sneaker customization contests, notably a winning submission for a nike talk contest in the early 2000s. he then went on to create an exclusive nike dunk [sbtg sb dunk] for the asian market six years later. the artist has since become a fixture in the custom sneaker world and continues to transform some of the world's best known footwear into veritable walking art.
more recently sbtg has paired up with legendary online purveyors of high end streetwear hypebeast to create a series of custom nike shoes titled 'awol camo'. the first rendition is with the ever popular nike huarache featuring an upper in olive green with intricately crafted panels of camouflage, an sbtg signature. the next is a take on the classic white nike air force 1 model with the inclusion of an intricately made camouflaged swoosh and hand painted gold logos on the uppers. the rest of the sneaker shines in pristine white, with the tongue incorporating the notorious sbtg label in contrasting green. both styles are available via the hypebeast store as of april 30. catch them while you can.