los angeles: la rosa social club

© brayden olson

coinciding with this year's edition of the l.a. art book fair, acclaimed urban artist aaron rose pulls off an art bar that's inspired by a similar installation by pop art icon claes oldenburg in the early 1960s. partnering with the conversation and alldayeveryday, two los angeles-based creative entities, the artist's set-up is entitled la rosa social club and builds on the traditional idea of a consumer space – indeed, a bar... – but it's tweaked as such to immerse visitors in a full-on artistic experience. and speaking of artists, the lineup is comprehensive and pretty stellar as it's exclusively made up of leading contemporaries, and who all created art works for the showcase. adding a specific dynamic to this ephemeral showcase is the fact that these pieces can be snapped up on the spot.

additionally, a series of limited edition bottles of wine, also designed by the artists, are thrown into the artistic equation to make the merchandise even more accessible. as said, many an artist participating in la rosa social club has gained quite a reputation in certain circles across the planet, and the wide range features aaron rose himself, ed templeton, stefan strumbel, chris johanson, wes lang, barbara stauffacher-solomon, gusmano cesaretti, chris lux, brian roettinger, terry richardson, alia penner, geoff mcfetridge, alexis ross, jesse spears, wyatt troll, lola rose thompson, benjamin barretto, cheryl dunn, barry mcgee, ray pettibon, olivier zahm, and nate walton [on through feb 14]. location: allday l.a. project space, 2028 east seventh street [downtown].

© brayden olson

new york: voyager espresso bar opening

© michael vahrenwald / esto

austerity isn't a term that's often associated with new york city's financial district – and a considerable chunk of its white collar workforce, for that matter – but as of late voyager espresso, a new specialty coffee bar, single-handedly changed that perception by way of a sleek interior that's masterfully designed by local architecture practice only if. tucked away in a subway concourse of fulton street station, this inconspicuous spot seamlessly matches the company's niche stature and operations. voyager espresso is founded by ballsy australian entrepreneurs prudence reid and aaron barnard whose ardent fascination with the space age not only contributed to the venue's name, but also its understated setting. as said, the carefully formulated design code is light years – pun intended  removed from the artisanal aesthetic of many contemporary coffee parlours found across the planet.

and only if's design isn't just looking good, but comes with a keen eye for practicality as well. the retail space measures a compact 550 sq.ft. [51 sqm.], and is based on the organization of two circles: one for service, the barista station, and another for seating, the so-called grotto. the barista station can be read as a positive volume, whereas the grotto can be read as a negative volume excavated from the surrounding walls. the layout consolidates the storage and back of house at the rear of the space, and maximizes visibility of voyager espresso along its glass storefront facing the subway concourse. the layout is as such that it creates a variety of different social settings for seating, from more secluded and intimate, to exposed and interactive. this coffee parlour's rotating menu lists a carefully curated range of seasonal, fresh crop coffees from the best roasters stateside. location: 110 william street / access: through the john street subway entrance [financial district].

© michael vahrenwald / esto

london: cycle revolution

© design museum / photography: james harris

to us urban dwellers, cycling isn't just a mode of transport, but an increasingly popular way of life that contributes to make cities across the planet more livable. yes, also across the united kingdom. the design museum in london sheds light on the peeps and machines that make contemporary cycling what it is, and explores how it might develop in the future in a cool exhibition. appropriately entitled cycle revolution, it's a showcase which puts on display some of the finest bikes currently available, including fine examples from pinarello, brompton and boardman, high-end gear and accessories by rapha and vulpine, personal items belonging to celeb cyclists such as paul smith, in addition to specially-commissioned film and photography to tell remarkable stories of cycling in britain today.

considering the huge appeal that cycling has today in urban culture, this part of the exhibition zooms in on subcultures through four well-known communities: high performers who reach olympic speeds, thrill seekers who take on all terrains, urban riders who pedal the city mile by mile, and last but not least, cargo bikers who work on two wheels. and that's not all, the quintessential models favoured by each tribe are put on display as well. and finally, the show also examines the future of cycling, how it is changing the infrastructure of the city, and how designers and urban planners are anticipating the changing needs of a new generation  [on through jun 30]. location: shad thames [southwark].

© design museum / photography: james harris

jakarta: st. ali café opening

© st. ali

once a backwater compared to other capitals in the far east, jakarta's boomtown status in recent years has had an astounding effect on the local hospitality scene, spawning a wide variety of successful homegrown concepts largely geared towards a fast-growing demographic middle class adolescents. this obviously hasn't gone unnoticed elsewhere on the planet, and many a mainstream foreign chain has been present in this sprawling city  and across the vast indonesian archipelago for that matter  for quite some time. but now it looks like the local jakarta market has sufficiently matured to create evolved cravings and sustain a new wave of highly niche hospitality operators from abroad. last week's official opening of a st. ali's first overseas café in the capital's prestigious kuningan neighbourhood seems indicative of this trend.

hailing from melbourne, this specialty coffee conglomerate is a fixture in the lifestyle of many urban dwellers, offering a variety of quality blends by way of a popular downtown café, pop-up venues and an online store. but that's not all. founder and coffee apostle salvatore malatesta loves to spread the word about his black gold offerings and how to serve them, and his company has also staged barista masterclasses on home turf and abroad. at one point, the lure of expanding overseas resulted in a branch in london, traditionally a magnet to many aussies and businesses from down under. this venture eventually was rebranded and parted ways, but now st. ali has kicked off a new expansion plan that targets promising markets closer to home, and the indonesian capital simply is the very first step of a bigger roll-out.

the new branch is a collab with aston utan, another coffee connoisseur and also owner of indonesian hospitality group common grounds. it's situated on the ground floor of an entertainment building, featuring a welcoming interior with an open plan configuration that fully complies with st. ali's signature urban coffee house aesthetic. the space boasts prisitine white wallis and latticed wood as a backdrop, and is furnished with sleek, simple furnishings. although natural light gains easy access, lighting has been given special attention, and comes in a variety of forms that add up to the contemporary vibe. so, what's on the menu? obviously, a variety of expert coffee brews styles, but also tasty examples from st. ali's melbourne homebase, and yes, including that iconic avo on toast dish. location: setiabudi one, building 2, jalan h.r. rasuna said 62 [kuningan].

© st. ali

online: mackintosh x hyke s/s 2016 capsule collection

© mackintosh

mackintosh makes further strides on the trajectory that'll raise its profile as a contemporary fashion brand, releasing another capsule collection in collab with forward japanese fashion label hyke. this s/s 2016 collection, their fourth since launching in two years ago, will see the first release of men's designs. on offer are consists three similar styles for both men and women: a single-breasted coat with a hood fuses practical rainwear with contemporary urban leisurewear. military inspired details appear on a coat with a button-up collar and epaulettes. complementing the range is a classic yet minimal single-breasted coat with narrow lapels offers. as is a tradition at mackintosh, meticulous attention has been given to fabric innovation, and this range of designs is no exception. each style in the mackintosh x hyke collection appears in one of four fabrics.

the signature mackintosh rubberized cotton is seen in a soft beige colourway, reminiscent of traditional trenchcoats. a nylon satin fabric gives an ultra-luxe sheen and comes in navy and black, the black styles lined with orange evoking an ma1 bomber. and that's not all, folks. a japanese bonded denim has the appearance of chambray. taped seams and a rubber bonded cotton construction ensure that each coat is completely waterproof. a black rubber tape appears on hems and sleeves, adding a distinct contemporary edge to each style. the mackintosh x hyke s/s 2016 collection is available at the mackintosh flagship stores in london and tokyo, but if you live elsewhere on the planet, no worries. these trophy coats can also be ordered online.

© mackintosh

tokyo: what ever

© stereotennis

stereotennis is a tokyo-based graphic artist and illustrator with a penchant for 1980s-inspired pop culture and music. both eclectic and colourful, this style has resulted in a series of collabs with a number of creative brands and retailers in the land of the rising sun, and not to say the least, it has gained quite a cult following as well. the artist currently has a solo exhibition at voilld gallery in tokyo's naka meguro district. antagonistically entitled what ever, this quirky showcase presents around 20 new works, all created while traveling and inspired by her hometown tokyo and the destinations she visited: new york, hong kong and india. fans of stereotennis will be able to snap up a special range of merchandise that will be for sale at the gallery [on through feb 18]. location: casa aobadai, 3-18-18-b1 aobadai [naka meguro].

© stereotennis

singapore: whitegrass restaurant opening

© takenouchi webb

while fine dining usually has connotations far removed from a happening buzz, fun atmosphere and culinary adventure, the newly opened whitegrass has arrived onto singapore's thriving hospitality scene to prove the city's refined palates otherwise. occupying a spacious ground floor unit at chijmes, a historic landmark complex which was originally built as a catholic convent in the mid-1800s, the venue is a collab effort of acclaimed australian chef sam aisbett and his business partners sean and karen h'ng, a malaysian power couple best known for setting up the design-infused macalister mansion in penang three years ago. whitegrass offers three separate dining sections, each with a vibe of its own and seating a total of 70 guests. the outdoor bar is able to host an additional 24 people, and also allows for al fresco dining.

local architecture practice takenouchi webb was enlisted to design the settings, and they've come up with a concept that offers a softened and a tad frivolous kind of formality that's subtly infused with soft pastels. the detailing of each room is elaborate, but is coherently framed by sandblasted parquet flooring and a ceiling that resembles an ornate wedding cake. the wooden furnishings are mid-century inspired, but have been given a contemporary twist. the restaurant's lighthearted vibe is further boosted by the wall art created by singapore-based artist zi xi a.k.a. messymsxi. chef aisbett, at 32 already a fast-rising star, has honed his skills at renowned establishments down under, and with this new venture he once again aims for the stars with sophisticated australian fare. open for dinner only, whitegrass offers five-course and eight-course tasting menus, featuring unexpected parings of ingredients flown in from australia and local produce. location: chijmes, 30 victoria street, unit 01-26/27 [city hall].

© takenouchi webb

tokyo: incursion

© hermès japon

ginza maison hermès is both the head office and flagship store of the illustrious french luxury house in the land of the rising sun. housed in a glass tower by starchitect renzo piano, it was the first of a huge wave of signature flagship stores in tokyo. a true showcase of the brand's artisanal expertise in a wide range of merchandise, the store has additionally been renowned for its evocative window installations by directional artists from across the planet. the most recent showcase is entitled incursion, and features work by british sculptor kate mccgwire. this year's theme is nature at full gallop and mccgwire fully complies, using organic materials for an alluring narrative with a slight dark undercurrent.

the main window installations, flanking both sides of ginza maison hermès' main entrance on buslting harumi dori, present a backdrop that resembles a rundown warehouse, replete with suspended leather bridles, and an ominous form that seemingly breaks through the corrugated back panels and sinking right into the floor again. crafted from shiny, colourful rooster feathers, it looks both appealing and sinister, and adds a strong sense of energy to the setting. in the smaller windows rooster feathers are used to describe much smaller forms, alongside a series of works made with pheasant feathers [on through mar 15]. location: ginza maison hermès, 5-4-1 ginza [ginza].

© hermès japon

paris: origin

© galerie perrotin

south korea's track record in contemporary art isn't one that's well known beyond its borders, yet the country has seen noteworthy developments that still stand their ground in this day and age. a current exhibition at galerie perrotin, one of the leading modern art venues in paris, sheds lights on a movement from the early 1960s which helped to lay the foundation of the the country's modern art scene. aptly entitled origin, named after the eponymous group of artists, it traces back the footprints of the original founding members: choi myoung-young, suh seung-won, and lee seung-jio. the accomplished trio was born in the early 1940s and they've witnessed the japanese occupation, the korean war, and the april revolution

these three events hugely influenced south korean society, and not surprisingly, also the principles and identity of the origin movement. although the exhibition exclusively presents works by the illustrious trio, it aims to demonstrate how south korean artists who are rooted in tradition, confronted and overcame the ever-changing contemporary issues of their era. each of the artists emphasizes asceticism through repetitive actions, such as layering, spraying, or markings, but they also clearly have a style of their own. choi myoung-young demonstrates the expandability of space and, assuming that the canvas is a small universe, hee feels obliged to make countless contact with it by using his fingers.

for suh seung-won, it's all about geometry, creating large sections of overlapping of diamond shapes in various colours, solid lines, and box-shaped structures. the style of lee seung-jio is largely composed of elongated rectangles that resemble of cold metallic matter. by repeatedly applying brush strokes, the artist painted horizontal, vertical or diagonal strips that were darker towards the border and lighter towards the center, essentially creating the appearance of a three-dimensional cylinder. at a later stage in his career, lee began to cross light and shade in blue or black hues and blur the clear borderlines [on through feb 27]. location: 76 rue de turenne [marais].

© galerie perrotin

los angeles: neuehouse opening

© neuehouse / photography: emily andrews

work and play. to many a professional working in the creative industry today, there's hardly a distinction between the two. such a perception creates a challenge when providing this savvy workforce with an environment that aims to facilitate both. well, they can always rely on neuehouse. following a successful launch in new york city in 2013, a new and much larger co-working space has been opened a little while ago in another global creative hub, los angeles. similar to the east coast location, great effort has been made to find an appropriate venue, and if we may say so, the scrutiny has certainly payed off.

neuehouse hollywood occupies the cbs radio building, an architectural landmark built in 1938 by swiss-american architect william lescaze. box-shaped with an austere façade, it was designed according to the principles of the international style, and as you can imagine, it was ahead of its time when it first opened. the sevent-storey building has been restored by acclaimed new york-based architect david rockwell, who in turn has created a series of interventions that enhances the modernity of these premises. members enter neuehouse hollywood through an open courtyard, finding a polished white marble reception desk behind a board-formed concrete exchange counter in the lobby.

directly opposite sits a coffee bar framed by textured board-formed concrete serves as the area's social hub. the original reception desk has been playfully converted into a flower shop. the ground floor also features a variety of working spaces, ranging from a gallery with lounge seating and rows of oak library tables, to a row of leather banquettes with up-lit wood-paneled high surrounds. one floor up, a library lounge can be found. the space is very much defined by two museum vitrines that display artifacts from the building’s broadcasting past. a wood-paneled banquette that runs along the back library wall of the library and a fireplace add up to the homely atmosphere.

this vibe extends onto outdoor terrace where it's captured by cabanas, outdoor rugs and rows of potted plants. on the third floor, the design of neuehouse hollywood once again takes a subtle turn, largely taking cues from the building’s original historic details and pairing these. the use of moroccan rugs echoes the abstract geometry and softens the industrial setting at the same time. the spacious outdoor event terrace, includes lounge areas, private cabanas, a covered conference room, and a refreshment table. the fourth and fifth floors offer a balance of atelier desks and more private studios, in addition to cozy lounge areas.

the conference rooms come with distractingly beautiful views of the hollywood hills and downtown los angeles. the historical corridors with modernist elevator indicators that can be found here, have been carefully restored. the sixth floor is home to the so-called paley penthouse, a spacious 18-seat boardroom. featuring a more lavish aesthetic, it's furnished with eye-catching bauhaus-inspired pieces, against a backdrop of plaster walls and millwork. a spacious foyer with a chandelier leads to a private roof deck with sweeping views of the urban surroundings. further boosting the appealing work/play balance of neuehouse hollywood is table restaurant. 

this welcoming gastro hub of sorts is furnished with a mix of banquettes and chandeliers and comfy poltrona frau chairs. vitrines serve as partitions, and are featured on the back wall of the restaurant, holding artifacts from the building’s days as the cbs studios. a third neuehouse branch is already in the making at adelphi house, a 1930s art déco structure on the banks of the river thames in london. the upcoming venue occupies an expansive 65,000 sq.ft. [6,039 sqm.] space and is scheduled to open late this year. los angeles location: 6121 sunset boulevard [hollywood].

© neuehouse / photography: emily andrews