tokyo: book & sons store opening

© book & sons

as any shopping expert who's been out and about in tokyo can contest, there's an abundance of quirky and appealing retail concepts to be found here that you won't easily come across elsewhere on the planet. and the diversity of stores isn't the only thing that's impressive, it's also the pace at which the shopping landscape changes that gives the city an exceptional edge. but let's go back to the city's quirky retail concepts, shall we? very recently another one of those opened at the far end of the meguro district, and it's called book & sons. as the name already implies, it's a bookstore and occupies a compact 89 sqm. [958 sq.ft.] ground floor unit of a three-storey building.

what's special about book & sons is the fact that it's exclusively dedicated to secondhand typography books and a concise assortment of related merchandise. emphasizing the purity of the craft of typography, the store setting of book & sons has been kept equally clean and functional, and merely features a range of simple wooden furnishings, a single design chair and carefully picked, artisanal-looking light fixtures. the store owners are keen on a good atmosphere, and perhaps even more so on maintaining one, so special attention has been given to the sound system. indeed, we're talking that nifty wooden thing dangling from the ceiling. location: 2-13-3 takaban [meguro].

© book & sons

paris: saint laurent store renewal

© saint laurent

what hedi wants, hedi gets. since hedi slimane took over the creative reigns at saint laurent, the fashion house is not only making headlines again, but it has also become one of the bestsellers of the kering luxury conglomerate's extensive portfolio. slimane's irreverent but highly successful tenure spawns further tweaking of tne iconic saint laurent brand, and the ongoing transformation has also been visible within its global retail network. the latest project to be completed is the renewal of the women's boutique on swanky rue du faubourg st.-honoré in paris, at a prominent retail location that the brand has occupied for many years.

the makeover has infused the retail space with minimalism of a glamourous kind, featuring swathes of mirrors, white marble flooring and walls, and somewhat surprisingly yet beautifully eclectic, it's adorned with cherry-picked african sculptures and masks from the vast art collection of yves saint laurent and pierre bergé. for its most discerning clientele of power shoppers, the boutique has a separate v.i.p. section readily available, decorated in a similar style but homely furnished with striking modernist pieces by french and danish designers. the renewed saint laurent women's boutique carries the brand's full range of women's apparel, bags, shoes and accessories. location: 38 rue du faubourg st.-honoré [st.-honoré].

© saint laurent

london: hermès wanderland

© saatchi gallery

wake-up call! these are the final days of hermès wanderland, an immersive showcase of the illustrious fashion house at saatchi gallery. the exhibition refers to the very origins of hermès and its initial range of products which had everything to do with travel, exploration or simple flânerie if you were a bourgeois parisian. quintessentially a part of 19th-century life in the city of light, flânerie is all about revelling in the unexpected and this activity incorporates dreaming and freedom of spirit. the exhibition presents a scenography by set designer hubert le gall which instantly enders visitors into flâneurs with a paris-inspired landscape as its backdrop.

the eleven rooms present a series of installations in various media, created by a diverse selection of artists. from the parisian square, to the covered passage, or a café of forgotten objects this veritable extended cabinet of curiosities will delight and intrigue visitors, inviting each of them to open their eyes, free their minds and be enveloped by the colour, sounds and images that surround them. the objects on display have been carefully gathered from the vast hermès archive, the museum collection of émile hermès in paris, and hermès’ contemporary collections [on through may 2]. location: saatchi galleryduke of york's hq, king's road [knightsbridge].

© saatchi gallery

vancouver: neighbour store opening

© neighbour

vancouver's gastown area is synonymous to modern lifestyle with a specific edge, and as a result an abundance of appealing establishments have mushroomed there over the years, catering to a demographic of young in-the-know consumers that love the good life. one of the businesses that caters to this demographic and which has helped define the neighbourhood's retail landscape is men's fashion store neighbour. founded in 2012 by saager dilawri, the store offers a tightly edited range of contemporary men's fashion in a setting that's equally appealing. and now, only three years on, neighbour expands with a second store.

situated a stone's thow away at 45 powell street, the new retail space aims to establish a similar solid reputation, but among savvy female shoppers. the store setting is an understated one, featuring sets of sleek tables, steel clothing racks and shelves, all against a backdrop of whitewashed walls and concrete flooring. the neighbour woman store carries the sister collections to the men's lines, in addition to a number of new brands. the emphasis remains on european designs that easily fit in clients' exisiting wardrobes. labels currently in stock, include stephan schneider, lemaire, comme des garçons, christopher raeburn and common projects. location: 45 powell street [gastown].

© neighbour

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