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 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

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 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

tokyo: a+s store opening

© soph.

the store in harajuku of menswear brand soph. has long been a destination of pilgrimage for style seekers from home and abroad. contemporary, urban and with a distinct japanese twist, the silhouette of soph. is one that resonates well males who like their style effortless and with understated quality. the popular brand has now expanded its harajuku footprint by expanding one floor up. the new retail space is aptly called a+s – short for architecture + sneakers – and entirely dedicated to footwear. the setting is designed by architect nobuo araki, and in line with the renowned soph. aesthetic it features a clean design that adapts well to the building's modernist architecture.

a slight mid-century twist adds a bit of testosterone to the place. after traversing a lengthy hallway, shoppers find themselves in a setting of immaculately stuccoed walls and natural stone, paired with sections of lacquered timber and tile flooring that lend it a highly discreet look. a partition wall shields the retail space from a glass encased alcove which allows in floods of daylight. custom-made wooden shelving on either side of the retail space display shoes and a concise apparel selection. a+s currently stocks select models by variety of brands, including nike, cole haan and saturdays surf. location: 3-34-10 jingumae, second floor [harajuku].

© soph.

london: man

© art hole / bj broekhuizen - rough man

hailing from cape town, artist bj broekhuizen [1979] has been based in london since 2001. initially a visual merchandiser, broekhuizen later pursued a full-time career as an artist, exploring the intersection of art, science and human anatomy, and this has focus has triggered highly individual drawings with ink and paintings in oil. for as long as he can remember he was enthralled by the random beauty found within the minutest natural forms. not surprisingly, broekhuizen's workplace is more like a laboratory than a traditional studio with piles of medical books and magazines, patient's scans and x-rays. scientific programs, medical journals, and reports are very much at the foundation of his creative vision. the south african's next exhibition, entitled man and curated by art hole, will open at dalston superstore's gallery space on wed - apr 1 [6pm-10pm]. on displaywill be a number works on paper and canvas which are exemplary of his style and choice of topic. location: 11 kingsland high street [dalston].

© art hole / bj broekhuizen - faith and reassurance self

seoul: superstar hall of fame

© adidas

adidas originals has been celebrating its iconic superstar shoe on a few occasions around the planet, but not quite as elaborate as in seoul. in the south korean capital, one of asia's more mature markets, the festivities have adapted accordingly and taken shape of a conceptualized pop-up venue extraordinaire. boldly baptized superstar hall of fame, the sportswear giant teamed up with local creative agency urbantainer to give a low-rise building smack in the middle of the leafy shinsa-dong neighbourhood an industrial makeover with a raw, artistic edge. spread over three whole floors, this is very much a multi-purpose showcase that aims for maximum brand immersion.

situated on the ground floor is a special adidas originals shop stocked with a wide range of modern make-over models of the superstar sneaker, and it comes with a so-called superstar cleaning session – that's where old superstars are given an makeover – and photo booth from where the result can be instantly shared online. the second and third floors are dedicated to superstar history, and featured facts and memorabilia from 1969, the year it was launched, to the present day through carefully curated photos, products, and art works of street fashion, music, and also manifestations of culture where the shoe infiltrated are exhibited.

a second exhibition, entitled hardwood & backboard, features stories and archived photos of the signature rubber shell toe of superstar which was a court-dominating basketball shoe, and examples from 1969 through the 1970s are displayed. and yes, there's yet another showcase. this section is called music & culture connection, and elaborates on how the superstar made it big in the world of hip-hop in the 1980s. additional rooms display superstar artwork by photographers and illustrators, portraits of superstar-loving celebs, and last but certainly not least, there's ample room for fashion and the shoe's link with the current scene.

the superstar’s 35th anniversary collaboration is exhibited along with the 10th anniversary of consortium, a collab project of skateboard pioneer mark gonzales, japanese streetwear icon nigo, and last but not least, juun.j, arguably the most celebrated korean designer of late. obviously, there's no dull moment at the superstar hall of fame – well, if there ever was one in its short history... – and a larger part of the exhibitions will rotate, while a number of events and gigs are scheduled to keep avid adidas originals fans fully entertained [open through apr 19]. location: shinsa-dong 524-34 [shinsa-dong].

© adidas

jakarta: stow store opening

© stow

sometimes two is whole lot better than one. jakarta's retail landscape has been in a turbo spin for quite some time now, and a sizeable demographic of extremely savvy shoppers is fuelling a drastic overhaul of both stores and offerings. retailers are stepping up their game while the merchandise on offer, and specifically lifestyle goods manufactured in the homeland, has seen a steep quality increase. mind you, many brands are on the cusp of conquering alluring foreign markets. two of such indonesian brands that currently ride the wave of local popularity are bluesville, a contemporary fashion label which specifically uses natural dyes, and leather goods manufacturer voyej.

the two emerging brands have joined forces and entered jakarta's competitive retail arena with a signature shop at common house, a well-known hub of lifestyle hipness in the leafy kebayoran baru area of town. called stow, it occupies a compact ground floor unit that's stocked to the guilds with coveted products from both. the shop has a friendly vibe with an aesthtic that's clean and simple, featuring carefully selected wooden furnishings and props that seamlessly complement the artisanal edge of the goods on offer. stow currently carries pieces from bluesville's men's + women's s/s 2015 collection, all mixed and matched with the extensive range of voyej's leather goods. location: common house, jalan panglima polim 9 no. 16 [kebayoran baru].

© stow

chengdu: fang suo commune store opening

© chu chih-kang space design

no longer the land of bonanza with double digit growth rates, china shifts into lower gear while its urban population has adopted a more sophisticated view on the good life and all the prerequisite trophies that come with it. and although this new state of mind has resulted in fewer openings of luxury retail establishments in the country's top-tier cities than in the years before, a growing number of initiatives are seen that aren't less high-end, but clearly signal a new awareness and a ditto definition of lifestyle. a good example of this trend is fang suo commune, a new retail concept which was launched last year with a much-publicized flagship store in guangzhou, china's third largest city.

interestingly, it's a joined effort by three chinese entrepreneurs: fashion mogul mao jihonghong kong-based graphic designer stanley wong, and last but not least, co-founder of taiwan's renowned eslite bookstore empire, liao mei-li. thinking out of the box, the trio set out to establish a lifestyle retail concept with a distinct chinese cultural identity, instead of importing yet another foreign formula like so many other local tycoons had done before them. four years after the store concept was launched, fang suo commune opened a second and even bigger flagship store in chengdu, china's newest top-tier city.

the store occupies a whopping 3,800 sqm. [40,903 sq.ft.] subterranean unit at taikoo li, a mixed-use downtown complex next to the ancient daci temple. shoppers descend by way of a lengthy escalator, and immediately find themselves in a rather spectacular environment. mimicking the lay-out above ground, the store maintains an open-plan design by chu chih-kang. the shenzhen-based taiwanese architect added to the store's 'national identity' by drawing inspiration from xuanzang, a monk, scholar, and avid traveller from the tang dynasty. extrapolating matters from there, kang aimed to design an equivalent to a sutra depository, a traditional storage space for all kinds of knowledge, such as books, letters, and of course, sutras.

this has resulted in two spaces, each with a distinct look and feel. the first space, eight meters in height and impressively voluminous, is dotted by no less than 37 colossal columns that support a concrete canopy adorned by an abundance of utility pipes. two storeys of wooden shelves, laden with thousands and thousands of books, line the walls, paired with a system of intersecting walkways. and while fang suo commune's store concept is firmly anchored by books, it's playfully mixed with an edited range of lifestyle goods from across the planet, and even includes flowers. the ground floor features a number of sizeable displays that showcase this merchandise, in addition to a separate section dedicated to women's apparel.

the second space has an entirely different setting. less voluminous, arched and supported by one row of concrete columns, it's dotted with kiosk-like structures, laden with even more lifestyle goods and homewares. and it's here where a stylish café is situated where shoppers can recharge before splurging some more. fang suo commune has accelerated its expansion, adding new stores in some of china's biggest cities. the soft opening of a branch in chongqing has just taken place, and additional flagship stores are planned for qingdao later this year and shanghai in 2017. chengdu location: taikoo li, 8 zhong shamao jie [jinjiang].

© chu chih-kang space design

singapore: k+ mondo

© k+

little boy wonder. we're talking mondo okumura, an 11-year old from fukuoka with a penchant for drawing, and we mean excellent drawing. a true prodigy, little mondo started drawing portraits at the age of three, inspired by the extensive record collection of his musician dad. while not formally trained, he has developed his own inimitable style over the years. a keen observer, mondo's drawings capture the essence of his subjects with verve and style using just humble black markers with an occasional splash of colour. it's hardly surprising that he's already had a few noteworthy accomplishments, including stints as a magazine cover designer + illustrator, he’s published a book, and his blog gets as many as 40,000 hits a day. the newly opened k+ gallery in singapore currently hosts an exhibition of mondo's many portraits and other drawings. just for k+ gallery, the japanese talent has drawn a series of personalities and things unique to singapore in celebration of sg50, the country's 50th anniversary [on through apr 12]. mind you, mondo will drop by the gallery on mar 28-29 [2pm-6pm] allowing visitors to see him draw live. location: scotts square, 6 scotts road, unit 03-14/15 [orchard west].

© k+ / mondo okumura - dick lee and marina bay sands