melbourne: notel opening

© notel / photography: andrew curtis

soaring urban skylines are a fascinating sight to behold, and the view can usually be enjoyed best when standing on solid ground. the newly opened notel in melbourne's central business district almost qualifies, but nevertheless delivers just that: sweeping vistas of highrises. 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 linen, 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 features full height shower and complimentary (malin+goetz) toiletries. and if you really 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 air sprayed wall 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

moscow: sibir bar opening

© sibir

as in almost any dynamic city across the planet these days, not all cool and happening places are situated downtown. spurred on by today's generation of creatives and their new-economy businesses, practically any abandoned industrial complex or sleepy suburb potentially is the hottest new creative hub. since 2009 the flacon complex, a cluster of buildings on the grounds of a former glass factory in the east of moscow, has been a magnet to designers and artists alike. as such, boasts an evolving infrastrastructure that also includes appealing retail and hospitality venues. a new arrival at the venue is sibir – or siberia in plain english – a laid-back bar and eatery with a quirky artisanal twist. primarily a watering hole, it offers its patrons homemade liquors made from blackcurrant, siberian currant, sea buckthorn, and other berries.

but sibir goes the extra yard, and also offers a variety of tasty bites that go down well with its artisanal beverages, including various hamburgers options, homemade paté, and bruschetta, in addition to a number of desserts that perfectly top off the informal dining experience. a fan of karaoke? then you've also found the right spot to belt out your fave russian crooner. occupying a lofty space that's still marked by an industrial past, it's divided into a lower floor and mezzanine floor, flooded by daylight that enters through large windows on either side. the interior design subtly builds on the location's legacy, but the austerity of the concrete and steel is cleverly countered by an infusion of natural materials, fabrics, and last but not least, an abundance of lush potted plants. location: ulitsa bolshaya dmitrovskaya 36/4 [basmanniy].

© sibir

new york: apolis community centre opening

© apolis

founded little over a decade ago by brothers shea and raan parton, the apolis brand spawned from a specific consciousness that aims to bridge commerce and sustainable development. the fraternal duo set out to build an alternative, more ethical business model in support of the simple idea that people can live better lives when they are given equal access to the global marketplace, and at the same time, one that would create appealing contemporary menswear along the way. following the successful opening of the brand's first store in los angeles five years ago, apolis heads east to launch an outpost in new york city's coveted shopping neighbourhood of soho. the flagship store,

officially dubbed apolis community centre, occupies a lofty 850 sq.ft. [79 sqm.] ground floor unit of a mid-rise structure built in 1910. similar to the first store on the west coast, it's conceptualized to fully comply with the brand’s mission to empower communities and bring people together. so, next to stocking the full range of apolis apparel, denim, accessories, footwear and fragrances, all presented in a whitewashed interior furnished with a quirky blend of vintage items and modern pieces, it'll also host an engaging program of gallery exhibits, dinners, film releases, new apolis collection debuts and keynote speakers.

these participants will also be asked to curate a library of for-sale books, featuring their very own works, but also key titles that have inspired founders raan and shea. next month, the apolis community centre kicks off a partnership with compadres coffee called coffee workshop that is sponsored by la colombe. it's actually a partnership--part coffee bar, part workshop that'll offer private barista training sessions every friday during that month by appointment for the latte-curious. in the same period, coffee will also be available for shoppers in return for a donation. location: 243 centre street [soho].

© apolis

beirut: saleh barakat gallery opening

© l.e.ft / photography: ieva saudargaite

when it comes to modern art, beirut has an impressive track record that often surprises those unfamiliar with this dynamic city. its origins and concept may have come from elsewhere, but over time the interest, appreciation, and also creation, have arguably taken root here like nowhere else in the middle east. last year, the eagerly anticipated reopening of sursock museum – an influential institution that has shaped and defined the lebanese capital's art scene from the early 1960s until the disruptive civil war – and the inauguration of aïshti foundation, an imposing monolithic structure that's home to the region's largest privately owned modern art collection, have both given much needed impetus to cultural life in the city.

however, beirut's art scene continues to evolve, and also sees stellar small-scale initiatives that deserve global attention. as the owner of agial art gallery and with a plethora of curatorial projects under his belt, saleh barakat is a prominent player in the local art scene, and certainly one who aims to set new boundaries. in celebration of his gallery's 25th anniversary, barakat decided to launch a second exhibition space, aptly called saleh barakat gallery, and picked the former premises of a storied cinema theatre in the swanky kantari neighbourhood. at 900 sqm. [9,688 sq.ft.] spread over two floors, it's an exceptionally large space that has proven to lend itself well to art exhibits, especially after the stellar makeover by by local architecture practice l.e.ft. 

although the entrance is on street level, the actual exhibition space is well below ground, and can be reached by newly installed staircase that also connects a mezzanine floor with offices on its winding way down. much of the building's original architectural elements has been retained in honour of its history, but are paired with new elements to create a distinctly modern environment. the ceiling of the theatre has been renovated to highlight its steel catwalks, transforming it into a repository for the gallery lighting, both ambient and accent lighting. a new electric chain hois is fore fronted in the ceiling of the ground floor to carry the art work crates down to the main gallery space.

storage aisles on either side of the main gallery space have been turned into intimate art galleries, and in the lower basement a sizeable archive gallery was also created for private client meetings. similarly to its sister establishment, saleh barakat gallery predominantly aims to exhibit homegrown talent. its inaugural show has recently closed, but the venue is currently in preparation of the next art showcase which is due to open coming fall. location: minkara building, rue justinien [kantari].

© l.e.ft / photography: ieva saudargaite

amsterdam: love land stop time

© jur oster + vera van de sandt  diamantes 

although japan arguably is the country best known across the planet for the love motel phenomenon, it certainly isn't the only one, as brazil has had a history – and a matching infrastructure for that matter – since the 1960s. the first venues were initially opened to accommodate low-income couples who lacked privacy in their small abode,, but these days they've evolved into a slew of variations, anc include both luxurious or outlandish options in the country's biggest cities for those who can afford to splurge. amsterdam-based art director vera van de sandt and photographer jur oster have extensively documented brazil's love motels on film during a two-year period, brilliantly capturing their many fascinating, quirky, but also gloriously authentic settings.

the duo set out on this mission right before the country would be flooded by a wave of foreign visitors, evoked by the soccer world cup and summer olympics, and rendering many of these lodgings into mere commercial extensions of the tourism industry. the collab effort of van de sandt and osten, entitled love land stop time, is currently on display at volkshotel featuring a compelling selection of these photographs [on through sep 9]. mind you, a special publication accompanying the show has also been released, comprising of four full-colour prints, a poster featuring 60 full-colour and two black + white photos, and an 8-page fold-out booklet. fancy one? then click here to order yours [international shipping available]. exhibition location: volkshotel, wibautstraat 150 [amsterdam oost].

© jur oster + vera van de sandt – paraíso, le royale, las vegas and álibi [top to bottom]

groningen: the student hotel opening

© the student hotel / photography: kasia gatkowska

nestled in the grassy plains of the netherlands' far north, the sleepy town of groningen has become the country's newest academic hotspot for foreign students. in little over a decade their numbers have soared sevenfold, from 717 in 2004, to a whopping 5,118 last year, and arrivals are expected to increase by 400 to 500 students annually in the near future. the student hotel, a design-led hospitality format geared towards this brainy demographic, has cleverly anticipated the accelerated growth in the low countries, and has just opened its fourth property up north, following earlier launches in the country's better known education hubs of amsterdam, rotterdam and the hague.

wedged in between the historic heart of the city and the university medical centre, the property is the chain's first puprose-built structure, and features 365 rooms spread over eight floors. the well-designed pads come in four categories, and provide all-inclusive short-stay and long-stay options for students, and regular stays to other guests. but the appeal of the student hotel's newest outpost, designed by amsterdam-based agency ...,staat, is anchored by the total package it offers – very similarly to its sister establishments. the hotel's facilities seamlessly complement its primary objective, and includes workspaces, a library, and a game area where to chill, play, or get some work done.

also to be found on the ground floor are four differently sized classrooms or event spaces, suitable for just about any occasion imaginable. another trump card, and very much the student hotel's buzzing social hub, is bar + restaurant the pool. conceptualized as a semi-separate gastronomic entity, it was first introduced at the student hotel amsterdam city, and has now found its way up north. the diner aims to be an informal meeting place for hotel guests and locals alike, serving breakfast, lunch, a loosely mediterranean-inspired dinner menu, and last but not least, killer cocktails that'll keep you happily hydrated until the wee little hours. any overindulgence can easily be undone at the hotel's well-equipped gym. location: boterdiep 9 [ebbingekwartier].

© the student hotel / photography: kasia gatkowska