melbourne: i love ugly store opening

melbourne: i love ugly store opening

© i love ugly

new zealand based menswear brand i love ugly has recently extended its brick and mortar arm to the usa [los angeles] as well as maintaining multiple stores in nz and a long rap sheet of stockists reaching from taiwan to norway. firmly placing themselves on the global radar, it would make sense that the first australian location would pop up in the cosmopolitan capital of the country, melbourne. housed in a linear concrete and glass ground floor space on russell place, the brand stays true to their minimalist aesthetic and pragmatic design approach featuring an almost entirely onyx coated interior, the only deviation being the light timber floor and shelving interior. the melbourne destination, like its predeccesors, is interestingly designed in house by the i love ugly creative team. inspried from feedback by their retail staff for functionality, then from a visual point of view, handed onto the design team for a consistent brand experience. an inspiring 21st century communal effort in both design and ergonomics to say the least.

apart from producing great looking clothes, whats curious about i love ugly is an obvious application of basic design principles into an immersive brand package. key characteristics are present not only in their garments but also integrated into architecture and the retail environment reflecting the teams deep design roots. the idea of the melbourne space is to immerse the customer in a unique micro world, blocking the outside atmosphere. and in tandem with the brands ethos revolving around offering a high quality and premium image at an accesible price, the russell street depot certainly achieves this. rumor has it i love ugly may land in new york and london sometime in the future, something which we're sure will have the locals in both capitals salivating. melbourne location: 33 russell place [cbd].

amsterdam: dutch masters of light

© philips

electronics multinational philips provided amsterdam's spectacularly redeveloped rijksmuseum with a sophisticated led light system to showcase its abundance of historic treasures. in fact, it's just one minor aspect of its involvement with the renowned museum's resurrection. extrapolating this voluntary entanglement beyond the realm of hi-tech, the company created dutch masters of light, a campaign that highlights – yes, pun intended – its innovative light division. the museum's current late rembrandt blockbuster showcase which presents over 100 later works by the dutch master from renowned museums and private collections from across the planet, served as a launching pad for the kick-off. philips arranged an invite-only event attended by many of the dutch capital's movers and shakers within the cultural field.

the event allowed the crowd to admire the master's impressive works until late in the evening over a glass of bubbly, civilized chit chat and even some disco bootyshaking for those inclined. meanwhile the electronics multinational flexed its muscle by putting up a nifty interactive light showcase with illustrator eelco van den berg that sort of mimicks rembrandt's gift as a true master of light. prior to the opening party attendees had been invited to upload a portrait which he then artistically would 'modify' during a live performance. as a result a total of 19 light portraits by the dutch illustrator – apparently the best ones among participants have been picked –  are currently on display inside rijksmuseum's arcade that leads to the main entrance [on through apr 8]. location: museumstraat 1 [amsterdam zuid].

© philips

bangkok: 56th studio private gallery opening

© 56th studio

passionate about design and all of its multi-faceted diversions, saran yen panya and napawan tuangkitkul run 56th studio, an acclaimed creative agency based in downtown bangkok. and just as much as the duo love their work, they enjoy a leisurely get together with co-workers, peers and like-minded spirits, preferably over a self-concocted cocktail or two. and while the 56th studio office pretty much is a versatile workplace where to easily shift into social gear, yen panya and tuangkitkul decided to think out of the box yet again and create an inspiring setting within the office dedicated to creative cross-pollination. both are well-connected in bangkok's creative scene, and their engaging attitude has provided them with an in-depth knowledge of the industry from just about any angle imaginable. 

by literally opening up the 56th studio office, they facilitate a new meeting place which in turn would contribute to dynamics of the local design community. situated on the top floor, the private gallery is a lofty space that has been conceptualized as a quirky blank space, using low-key materials, such as slan – a soft plastic mesh commonly used as temporary shading at construction sites – as partitions. these have been dipped in white paint, crumbling the skin for an aging effect. adding up to the artsy vibe are repurposed vintage thai lamps, usually seen in rural areas, and here rearranged in a diagonal alignment to add character. the setting has a versatile configuration and easily adapts to the number of attendees. mind you, the space even has a roofed terrace which allows a look onto the lush back garden. location: the green connect, 235/10 sukhumvit soi 31 [sukhumvit].

© 56th studio

tokyo: m/m (paris) sugoroku de l'oie

© m/m (paris) - points on a line [2011] - design for a film by sarah morris

even if the name m/m (paris) doesn't ring a bell, it's very likely you're familiar with their work. for the past 20 years this paris-based creative agency, led by the multi-tasking superwizards mathias augustyniak and michael amzalag, has made an indellible mark on fashion, art, music and areas beyond, with an impressive array of work. well-connected to leading inviduals, brands and companies in the global creative scene, m/m (paris) is continuously on a roll with a diversity of high-profile projects. shedding light on the agency's creative output is an upcoming exhibition at parco museum, one of two exhibition venues within the massive shibuya parco department store in tokyo. entitled m/m (paris) sugoroku de l'oie, the show opens fri - apr 3, and features a scenography that's inspired by traditional boardgames. on display is an extensive, curated selection of beautifully designed posters by m/m (paris). location: shibuya parco part 1, 15-1 udagawa-cho, 3rd floor [shibuya].

© m/m (paris) - cosmodrome [2001] - dominique gonzalez-foerster + j.j. johanson and françois curlet: crustinien des galapagos [2013]

sydney: nel restaurant opening

© nel

sydney is a melting pot of people and cultures, and this fortunate disposition has had a profound effect on the local hospitality scene, making it one of the most exciting culinary destinations on the planet. adding up to the city's flourishing dining landscape is a new establshment headed by celebrated australian chef nelly robinson. his new restaurant nel situated in the very bowls of the central station hotel, a heritage property which is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. situated underground, the space designed by local practice guru projects, has an intimate, secluded feel, featuring a backdrop of bare bricks, sections of timber and cement flooring. the authenticity of the venue's original shell is balanced by well-chosen modern furnishings, shiny copper surfaces and sophisticated light fixtures. the open kitchen allows peeks of the kitchen and its smartly clad brigade in action.

and speaking of which, chef robinson is a highly experienced food magician who has, amongst others, honed his skills at a michelin-starred restaurant in britain. at nel, he's pioneering a global-infused culinary experience, using his thorough understanding and appreciation of the best seasonal produce through a monthly changing seasonal degustation menu. accompanying the menu are ten expertly selected wines with two served per dish, allowing guests to enjoy unique taste sensations with every bite. the menu is rich and varied, and currently lists irresistible dishes such as venison carpaccio with pepper, chocolate, and pickled enoki mushrooms, or for a true local flavour there's kangaroo, charred leaf, carrot, dijon, blackcurrant. vegetarian? chef robinson has got you covered in similarly masterful fashion. location: 75 wentworth avenue [surry hills].

© nel

bangkok: essential eames

© herman miller

following stop-overs in a number of major cities across the far east, furniture manufacturer herman miller presents its star exhibition essential eames - icons of 20th century design at the thailand creative & design center in bangkok. it's an elaborate design-oriented showcase, co-hosted with the renowned exhibition venue and chanintr living, a local retailer of luxury furniture, and explores how ideas and creations can become immortal and remain influential in contemporary life. needless to say that the event captures this outlook, and quite brilliantly so, by way of the spirit, philosophy, and last but not least, many designs by iconic design couple charles and ray eames.

curated by eames demetrios, their grandson and director of the los angeles-based eames office, the essential eames showcase delves into the life and work of the designers, covering an array of topics, from architecture, furniture, and exhibition design, to films, toys, and philosophy in a number of interactive zones. included in the presentation are rare and never-before-seen images, sketches and collector’s pieces from the vast herman miller archive, in addition to over 90 pieces of furniture designed by the eameses [on through may 31]. location: emporium mall, 622 thanon sukhumvit, 5th floor [sukhumvit].

© herman miller

são paulo: bronx street food shop opening

set up by three good friends with mutual travel experiences in the u.s., the bronx street food shop is a pop-up eatery which brings a slice of america's niche burger culture to são paulo. nestled amidst the moema neighbourhood's obscure high-rise buidlings, this compact pop-up venue open for just another few days. the set-up of the place is simple but funky, featuring an open kitchen + bar and modest seating arrangements in front. against a backdrop of bare red bricks, shelves feature vintage memorabilia from the states. it's not only the funky low-key style of bronx street food shop that has the neighbourhood hipsters raving, the gourmet menu obviously forms the greater part of the appeal.

although there's a good variety of burger options, the absolute star of the concise menu has got to be the bronx burger, made up of succulent beef and served with generous helpings of cheddar cheese and caramelized onions on a freshly baked australian bun. obviously there are matching side dishes to order as well, including classic french fries and the perennial fav corn on the cob. these savoury bites are paired with a variety of liquids, most notably chilled bottles of local and foreign beers. indeed, just like in america! [open through apr 3]. location: rua inhambú 683 [moema].

© bronx street food shop

london: lean dean

© nudie jeans

as an emporium of the finer things in life, liberty's offerings include a well-edited selection of brands that fall into its highly discerning scope. and that includes the contemporary designs by nudie jeans. launching today [5.30pm-7.30pm] on the department store's historic premises is lean dean, the swedish denim brand's latest unisex model. it's in fact the 11th model to join the so-called slim division with a fit that's straight from the top all the way to the bottom with a narrow leg opening, and similar to the other models it's made from organic denim. the launch of the lean dean is an exclusive one, and coincides with the brand's renewed shop-in-shop, which now features a setting of raw materials, such as leather, metal and wood that, similarly to a pair of nudie jeans, will age organically through wear and tear and thus creating a unique history. in celebration of both events, nudie jeans and liberty have created a unique film that you can see below. location: liberty, 210-220 regent street [soho].

san francisco: maison margiela store opening

© maison margiela / photography: drew altizer

following the opening of a boutique in los angeles way back in 2007, maison margiela opens a second outpost on the u.s. west coast in san francisco. having steered away from the tradition to open up shop in inconspicuous places, the luxury brand's newest store sits pretty in one of the city's most prestigious stretches of inner city real estate, around the corner from iconic union square. situated in a classic townhouse amidst peers from the luxury segment, the store covers approx. 2,900 sq.ft [269 sqm.] spread over two floors. the decor bears all the hallmarks of maison margiela, in the sense that it's all-white and accented elaborately with dégradé effects and trompe l'œil techniques. this is especially the case on the ground floor which is entirely dedicated to maison margiela's men's collections, leather goods, accessories and footwear.

another design statement is made with a set of sofas by pierre paulin, a prominent french industrial designer. the staircase cloaked in black and white persian tromp l’oeil inspired rugs, leather-wrapped hand rails and backward mounted picture frames. in matching manner, the interior of the fitting rooms are evocatively wallpapered with a motif resembling a film negative. one floor up is the women's domain, and the setting here is equally quirky. the dégradé effect is implemented into the classic oak wood floors, paired with faux ceilings and scaffolding-inspired chrome fixtures. a surrealist sofa inspired by legendary artist salvador dalí has been added as an eye-catcher, complemented by bistro tables and matching chairs. location: 134 maiden lane [union square].

© maison margiela / photography: drew altizer

online: fakasaka new collections

© fakasaka - e-bow table lamps from the newest darkskin collection

you can't say fernando akasaka doesn't take risks. the são paulo-based designer initially graduated in engineering and business administration, followed up by a secure corporate career path. but somewhere in 2006 he broke free from that rather expected trajectory and u-turned straight towards a passion that had been smouldering below the surface all along: design. self-taught and with a clear aesthetic vision, akasaka founded the fakasaka design company as a launch pad for his creative output. akasaka's aesthetic is intuitive yet is guided by his preference for sculptural forms and a non-conformist, artisanal approach, and so far this has resulted in collection of swanky jewellery pieces, lighting and other design objects for your home. he draws inspiration from a wide array of sources, and currently favours a dark aesthetic as can pieces from his latest collection demonstrate. made from black oxidized bronze, the designs incorporate an organic quality that's enhanced by distinct textures. since its inception, fakasaka has grown into an exclusive archive of contemporary design, and one that's bound to see many quirky additions. fakasaka's designs are exclusively available online, and are shipped internationally.

© fakasaka - the fa29 table lamp and fa25 coffee table from other collections