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].
currently based in los angeles, photographer clint woodside  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].
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].
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].
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.
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
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].
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].
this one's for all you aspiring jetsetters! on fri – aug 19 absolut will offer anyone in london with the über app the opportunity to be whisked off to the ultimate summer party location on a private jet, for a once in a lifetime #absolutnights experience, showcasing that the best nights happen out of the blue. the winners will have to be located in central london and ready to go with a valid passport, a bag and a friend nearby when an über taxi pulls up to pick them for this adventure. to enter, download the über app and enter the promotional code ‘privatejet’ before the aforementioned date to unlock a special view for brit capital. for a chance to win, users over 25 will have to open the app, slide to überjet and successfully request a car on friday from 9am. four lucky winners and their plus ones will be picked up by an über taxi and taken straight away to the airport where a private jet will be waiting to whisk them away for 24 hours of fun and spontaneity. adding true paparazzi exposure, the experience will be hosted by tv and radio presenter arielle free and absolut’s global ambassador and mixologist rico dynan, who'ill bring the fun by showing how the best nights happen out of the blue.
the massive redevelopment of forum des halles, one of paris' largest shopping malls and also the most important hub in the city's transporation system, has finally been completed. the new curvilinear structure, modernly inspired is by plant life, flaunts an awe-inspiring undulating canopy of steel and glass, lending it the appearance of a spaceship that has just landed in the lush greens of the adjacent city park – yes, that too is part of the urban transformation project. champeaux, the latest restaurant – or rather brasserie – by legendary chef alain ducasse and entrepreneur olivier maurey, is one of the many new tenants of the complex, and named after a popular establishment that was founded in the neighbourhood in 1800.
champeaux is conceptualized as an accessible dining venue, but one that pairs a cool contemporary setting with quality french cuisine. paris-based architecture practice ciguë created an interior that honours the concept, but added a number of subtle twists to make it stand out. champeaux occupies a spacious 620 sqm. [6,674 sq.ft.[ ground floor unit, seating no less than 180 guests and another 80 on the outdoor terrace. the setting is clearly inspired by the classic american diner, but the palette of materials and hues makes it european, if not distinctly french. a backdrop of walls covered in plaster stucco and slabs of mirrors form the backdrop of custom-made elongated sofas paired with tables with a terrazzo top and chairs crafted from steel and leather.
there's actually heaps of terrazzo to be found, as the material is also used for flooring throughout the premises. a sizeable bar, dipped in an offsetting white hue, takes center stage in the setting as mixology is a pivotal part of the venue's concept, and a series of signature cocktails have been created. adding the aforementioned edge are suspended tubular light fixtures and brass pendant lamps that beautifully blend with the utility pipes that meander across the ceiling, and a split flap board that was once used in a train station now announces the establishment's extensive range of dishes. champeaux also features a private salon for fourteen people, overlooking the adjacent square.
it's an intimate dining area, ideal for celebrating a family event with friends, or for a business meal. the setting has been given special attention, and features tables sourced by ducasse himself from a local antique shop. the appealing menu, supervised in collab with executive chef bruno bangea, lists a wide range of french classics, from small bites, such as croque monsieur and a sandwich with beef and pickles, to full blown dishes with fish, poultry and meat, and iconic french specialties you always wanted to try. indeed, we're talking snails and foie gras. location: forum des halles, 12 passage de la canopée, porte rambuteau [étienne marcel].
© ciguë / photography: maris mezulis