online: the quarter century pant

© rpmwest

from launching an innovative denim product and business model two years ago, RPMWEST has continued to venture into untrodden grounds. the los angeles-based company is led by savvy entrepreneur manuel rappard, and has now introduced the quarter century pant. and that's not all, this made-in-california trophy product comes with an astounding 25-year guarantee! so, what's the deal? it's made from the highest quality 3-ply 100% cotton twill fabric. extremely rare, it weighs 280 grams and is designed to have an amazingly soft feel, but able to withstand the toughest wear 'n tear. this durability is further sustained by special detailing, such as an extra strong inseam and a reinforced double crotch, and the use of heavy duty zippers and military-grade rivets. RPMWEST cleverly sells the quarterly century pant through wholesale via kickstarter, allowing it to cut costs and offer them for a bargain price of only usd 85. fancy a pair? then click here to order yours.

© rpmwest

paris: generator hostel opening

© generator / photography: sinue serra

generator has been changing the hostel game this side of the atlantic since it first launched in london nearly two decades ago. now a growing chain with properties at key destinations across the old continent, it appeals to a savvy young clientele with a hospitality formula that tickles all senses. and very recently the city of paris has joined the generator ranks, and with 916 beds it's the chain's biggest property to date. situated in the happening canal st.-martin area, the hostel occupies a former office building and features both shared and private rooms. there are even premium twins on the eigth floor with private balconies overlooking the treetops of place du colonel fabien.

needless to say, they're all beautifully designed and at budget rates. the aesthetic of the place, best described as a cool mash-up of styles that takes cues from the local culture, is another collab between designagency from toronto and generator's creative director anwar mekhayech. very much offering a total lifestyle experience, every nook and cranny of generator paris has been designed as such, featuring a number of welcoming public spaces for different purposes and moods. a welcoming lounge area offers relaxation from a busy day of out on the town or to mingle with fellow guests and visitors, and when you're feeling a little peckish café fabien and its beautiful conservatory readily accommodates.

on the menu are traditional french dishes and classics such as burgers, salads and artisan sandwiches, made with local produce whenever possible, and paired with local beer, cocktails and mocktails. not sleepy yet? the debaucherous night owl in you is lucky to have a cosy bar on the premises, big enough to show off your slickest dance moves. there's no stopping the generator chain as equally appealing new budget hostels are in the making in amsterdam and rome as we speak, and are scheduled to open later this year. paris location: 9-11 place du colonel fabien [canal st.-martin].

© generator / photography: nikolas könig + sinue serra

bangkok: absolute siam fashion capital

© siam center

sean freeman is an acclaimed illustrator + typographer based in london. a love for words and beautiful images pushes him to explore new ways of approaching his work with a love for happy accidents and a passion for visual storytelling, texture, type, and pretty much everything in between. very recently, freeman collaborated with siam center, one of bangkok's most popular shopping malls, on a two-day lifestyle event called absolute siam fashion capital. multi-faceted and with the participation of leading names in thai fashion and retail, it featured a fashion show of s/s 2015 collections by more than 40 thai brands. for this specific showcase freeman created giant typographic masterpieces, spelling the event's name, and an additional alphabet range, which collectively formed the backdrop of the presentation. following the show, notorious creative collective dude sweet took over siam center's third floor with the help of gender-bending electro-pop icon gene kasidit for a fun party until the wee little hours. mind you, freeman's colourful typographic pieces are on display through apr 9. location: 989 thanon rama 1, idea avenue, first floor [siam].

© siam center

berlin: bazar noir store opening

© hidden fortress

ingeniously constructed simplicity rules fierce at bazar noir. launched a little while ago, the design emporium in berlin's kreuzberg district has made waves with a stunning decor that not only makes the merchandise on display pop, but is an artsy statement in itself as well. designed by hidden fortress, a local practice led by jan maley and björn meier, the store occupies 85 sqm. [915 sq.ft.] spread over two floors that each have been given a contrasting setting. the ground floor dons pitch black shade, captured by a variety of materials and forms. elements of copper, glass and other high-quality fabrics add a sophisticated touch. 

but the main material used here is maritime pine, and due to its decorative large grain, it has also been used in its original colour for the mezzanine floor. an encased and seemingly gravity-defying staircase perfectly demonstrates the dual use of this specific kind of timber as it's coated on the outside and plain within. bazar noir's configuration is fairy flexible as a structure of frames covers an entire wall with shelf modules in different sizes. although the mezzanine floor is quite compact, a wide wall cut-out gives it an airy feel and allows a view of the floor below. bazar noir carries tightly edited goods from local and international brands and designers, ranging from handcrafted small furniture pieces, objects, books, and art, as well as select vintage objects. location: kreuzbergstrasse 78 [kreuzberg].

© hidden fortress

new york: uneven growth

© map office - oyster farm in the shadows of tin shui wai new town, hong kong [2014]

it's estimated that by 2030 the planet's population will have reached eight billion people, and two-thirds will be living in cities. unfortunately, it's also expected that not every urbanite will be able to make a decent living. in fact, most will be downright poor. with limited resources, this uneven growth is going to be one of the greatest challenges worldwide. in order to tackle this doom scenario head on, city authorities, urban planners, designers, economists, and many others will have to join forces to ensure that many of these fast-growing urban hubs remain habitable, and thus functional. the latest exhibition in moma’s issues in contemporary architecture series is uneven growth. the show brings together six interdisciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners to examine new architectural possibilities for six sprawling global cities: hong kong, istanbul, lagos, mumbai, new york and rio de janeiro. and similarly to the series' previous editions, each team will develop proposals for a specific city in a series of workshops that occur over the course of a 14-month initiative [on through may 10]. location: moma, 11 west 53rd street [midtown].

© situ studio + cohabitation strategies - the other new york - axonometric view [2014]

copenhagen: 66°north store opening

© gonzalez haase

founded in 1926, 66°north is a household name in iceland. the outdoor apparel brand has eleven stores there, and we can only assume it's a staple in wardrobes across the rugged island nation. very recently 66°north has ventured abroad for the very first time, opening a rather stunning store in copenhagen. the danish outpost occupies a ground floor unit of a low-rise structure and features a fabulous minimalist interior design by berlin-based architecture practice gonzalez haase. the façade of glass and steel has been retained but everything else inside has been stripped to reveal, and quite literally so, a perfect blank canvas for the added elements.

below a bare ceiling, marked by utility pipes and a linear mosaic of suspended fluorescent lights, shoppers find a setting that excels in decorative austerity. placed on a floor of light wooden planking are modular display units in a soft grey hue, each different in size and height, and which collectively add a beautiful sculptural element to the space. a sleek metal rail features apparel pieces, while two boards of untreated wood feature the brand's accessories. the austere aesthetic is further softened by giant cabins, that serve as changing rooms, and are crafted from a similar material. the new 66°north store carries the brand's full range of men's and women's apparel and accessories. location: sværtegade 12 [indre by].

© gonzalez haase

new york: kehinde wiley - a new republic

© kehinde wiley - femme piquée par un serpent [2008] - courtesy of sean kelly, nyc

a celebrated artist of mixed nigerian and african-american descent, kehinde wiley [1977] is known for portraits which initially seem merely realistic depictions, but, in fact, are a brilliant investigation of race, power, and the politics of representation. wiley's colourful paintings are provokingly out of context, yet aim to give new meaning to the social codes of gesture and dress, past and present, while challenging corny stereotypes about masculinity and class today, in both the u.s.a. and around the planet.

currently on at the brooklyn museum in new york city is the first museum overview of wiley's creative output. the show is entitled kehinde wiley - a new republic, and presents approximately 60 highlights from his work so far, ranging from early portrait paintings, inspired by the artist’s keen observation of street life in harlem and set to the visual language of classical european portraiture, to bronze busts, his recent portraits of women from the economy of grace series, and new stained-glass paintings [on through may 24]. location: 200 eastern parkway [prospect heights].

© kehinde wiley - napoleon leading the army over the alps [2005] and shantavia beale II [2012] - courtesy sean kelly, nyc

seoul: givenchy flagship store opening

© givenchy / photography: shin kyungsub

if you run a luxury fashion brand, it's no longer just the collections that matter. these past two decades glittering fashion shrines gave been erected in the planet's most dynamic retail markets, adding up to the prestige and image of its occupant. the most striking architecture continues to pop up in asia due to the region's buying power, and to a lesser extent also because building regulations are a little less fussy than, let's say, the u.s. and western europe, allowing bolder architectural statements. although already present in seoul, one of asia's more mature shopping grounds, the french house of givenchy has recently added a flagship store of its own. creative director riccardo tisci closely collaborated with milan-based architecture practice piuarch on the design.

cube-shaped, the structure is clad in electropolished steel plates which not only create a kinetic effect, but combined with the façade incisions on one side, they also reference givenchy's distinctive tailoring t-cut. the store measures 400 sqm. [4,306 sq.ft.] spread over three floors, and features a series of open spaces and secluded sections, captured in luxurious materials such as marble and stone basalt, paired with herringbone parquet flooring. a true eye-catcher is the internal staircase which is lined with black marble. the new givenchy flagship store carries the brand's full range of women's and men's collections of ready-to-wear, shoes, bags and accessories. location: cheongdam-dong 78-11 [cheongdam-dong].

© givenchy / photography: shin kyungsub

hyères: archimode

© oma - prada transformer, seoul [2009]

both technical advancement and an ongoing globalization have made us aware of so much more than our own little habitat. seen from a corporate and creative perspective, companies have had to go the extra yard to distinguish their products. and few products are as evocative as fashion, indicating that image building is a meticulously planned process in this specific field, and that it has increasingly been done by more than garments alone. trailing the planet's top luxury brands are smaller niche names in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle arena that now also aim to make an indelible mark on the consumer through experiential architecture. currently on at villa noailles in hyères, is an exhibition which explores this growing phenomenon which makes architecture an integral part of many a fashion brand's image and prestige.

curated by jean-pierre blanc, founder of the annual fashion and photography festival in hyères, the aptly entitled archimode showcase focuses on high-profile projects by six leading architects and practices, and six renowned fashion brands. each project reveals the planning process, their particular requirements and challenges, and obviously the end result as many of us have seen or know it. the participating architects and projects are: zaha hadid and chanel mobile art, oma and prada transformer, christian de portzamparc and tour lvmh, ciguë and isabel marant's tokyo boutiqueciguë and kris van assche's paris boutique, and last but not least, diplomates with damir doma's paris boutique [on through mar 26]. location: villa noailles, montée de noailles [parc st.-bernard].

© ciguë - isabel marant boutique, tokyo [2012] / françois lacour - chanel mobile art, tokyo [2008]

london: southerden café relocation

© southerden / photography: chris tubbs

mel southerden is a classically trained patissier who has indulged a picky demographic of sweet tooths with a wide range of artisanal pastry concoctions. the entrepreneur has recently relocated her southerden store + café to a new location in london's fast-emerging southwark neighbourhood, and has given the place a brilliant look, once again with the help of design practice studio maclean and textile + fashion design duo eley kishimoto. previously a run-down hairdressing salon, the space has been transormed into a modern and inviting environment where to sit back and enjoy the freshly made delicacies on offer.

the most striking interior element is eley kishimoto's fabulous venice grid pattern which pretty much covers all surfaces. southerden's café section is sparsely furnished with sleek tables and simple black chairs that beautifully correspond with row of wall-mounted, boxy displays, each featuring a different type of pastry, and studio maclean's pendular lights. as said, southerden is a place where to indulge, but if you're too busy to drop by, it just as easily provides your sugar fix through a bespoke order online. and those who'd like to learn a few tricks of their own can enroll in one of the special workshopslocation: 72 bermondsey street [southwark].

© southerden / photography: chris tubbs