nothing short of an icon in japanese contemporary art, keiichi tanaami  has been frantically active in graphic design, illustration, and fine arts since the 1960s, and he has established quite a reputation for seeking new ways to get his creative message across. to this very day he has appropriated the vast design technique of ‘compilation’ as he takes on experimental approaches in challenging themes. the artist's works created between the late 1970s to the 1980s could be described as a departure from the american pop-style he had developed earlier. during this period he had strengthened his interests towards concerns of mysticism and symbolism, and had produced an array of works in forms of wooden sculptures, paintings, and prints. what makes tanaami's work so intriguing is the hybrid and dynamic blend of references he uses, ranging from mere observations, to childhood memories and also a range of elements from abroad. nanzuka gallery in tokyo currently hosts passage in the air (1975-1993), the first chapter of an elaborate retrospective exhibition which puts tanaami's diverse creative output between the late 1970s and the early 1990s in a well-deserved spotlight [on through aug 8]. location: shibuya ibis building, 2-17-3-b1 shibuya [shibuya].
a not-your-average asian diner. but then again, torafuku was never conceptualized to be one. situated on the edge of vancouver's lively chinatown district, it presents an elongated space in which concrete plays a key part. the material literally anchors the design by scott & scott architects, as is evident by the flooring, a cast communal table and kitchen bar. but that's so far as the boldness of the aesthetic goes since most other additions exude a balancing refinement. the benches, tables, a strikingly sleek linear pendant lighting and hardware were all specifically produced by the architect’s studio for the project, using range grade harness leather, canvas trucking tarpaulin and red oxide shop primer painted metal work. the wall-mounted panels, made from quilted cargo pad and denim cotton, may look as matching understated wall decoration, they're actually functional in the first place, regulating the overall acoustics. led by steve kuan and clement chan, two hospitality entrepreneurs who initially made a name for themselves with an award winning food truck, torafuku demonstrates the duo's bigger aspirations in the hospitality field. so, what's cooking? more of the good stuff that locals have come to appreciate at the food truck. the menu has drastically been expanded, featuring traditional pan-asian dishes, but tweaked in a contemporary way by using locally sourced seasonal ingredients, sustainable seafood and organic meats. location: 958 main street [chinatown].
alan yau is at it again. the london-based entrepreneur has added a new gem to his already extensive portfolio of lauded eateries strewn across the globe, and this time it's on home turf. called duck + rice, it's another excercise of brilliant conceptual thinking that not only encompasses the food that's being served, asian obviously, but also cleverly feeds off – pun intended – soho's neighbourhood vibe and its pub culture. enabling lau to create this hybrid gastropub is acclaimed istanbul-based practice autoban. graphic-patterned stained glass windows adorn the façade and are a pretaster of the contemporary yet alluringly exotic setting that unfolds when entering the premises. duck + rice's ground floor features an actual pub section, replete with an elongated bar, tables, and shiny brass beer tanks that are more than just decorative. walls are clad in glazed tiles with a floral motif and are paired with parquet flooring. a cast iron spiral staircase, ornately decorated, leads upstairs to a dining area, and here the atmosphere is a tad more formal with a a variety of seating arrangements for two and large groups. what about the food? first of all, there's a wide variety of it. obviously chinese, the menu lists gourmet bites that go well with one of the many quality beers from across europe, to good old yet expertly cooked classics, and a number of signature dishes from the recipe book that bestowed yau with global culinary fame. location: 90 berwick street [soho].
© duck + rice / photography: ed reeve
the newly engineered chuck II is designed with innovation and product enhancements including nike lunarlon cushioning, super soft micro-suede lining and a padded non-slip tongue which provide modern comfort solutions in a premium execution. the new model becomes available across the globe from tuesday july 28 at converse stores and selected retailers.
in a city as densely populated as shanghai, every nook and cranny is utilized, and the recently opened all shop proves just that. set up by a group of taiwanese business partners who saw an increasing demand in the local market for coveted international sportswear, related urban garments and sneakers. all has picked a ground floor unit of just 20 sqm. [215 sq.ft.] on wuxing lu, a tree-lined street in what once used to be the city's french concession. local architecture practice linehouse entirely stripped the retail space, laying bare the structure's concrete shell. a series of white vertical panels have been installed diagonally, and which continue as stainless steel strips on the floor and ceiling. the configuration has been conceptualized as such to enable ultimate exposure of the merchandise to passers by. slabs of mirrors are placed in between the panels and conceal storage space and a fitting room. as said, all stocks a selection of mostly imported brands, including nike, undefeated, asics, stüssy and golden denim. mind you, a related online store is to be launched very soon to reach a broader demographic in mainland china. location: 94 wuxing lu [xu jia hui].
yes, it's that time of the year again. similar to the sister flagships in london and new york city, dover street market ginza refurbished floor after floor in order to provide the new a/w 2015 collections with alluring, eye-popping settings. there's quite a lot to take in, and we're not only talking decoration as a number of interesting new brands are also being introduced. let's start with the new aesop counter on the second floor, featuring a selection of skin, body and hair care products. one floor up the seasonal transformation accelerates with new corners dedicated to maison margiela, paris-based bag brand l/uniform, and an exclusive presentation of apple's new trophy watches. the fourth floor arguably presents the biggest surprise of all: a new gucci corner.
the italian luxury brand makes its debut at dover street market in a clear effort to demonstrate its drastically changed fashion trajectory under the guidance of new creative director alessandro michele. the setting is inspired by the brand's a/w 2015 women's collection, featuring a concrete panel and tufted pink partitions. mind you, similar set-ups have been launched at the other dover street market stores in around the planet. on the fifth floor affiliate brand noir kei ninomiya presents its collections, alongside comme des garçons homme plus, followed by new corners by miu miu, chrome hearts and craig green on the sixth. location: ginza komatsu west, 6-9-5 ginza [ginza].
for the first time in iittle over a decade, fine art photographer wolfgang tillmans  lands a museum exhibition in japan. the german-born lensman shot to fame in the early 1990s, capturing britain's exuberant youth culture in all its forms on camera, and gain a cult status with this specific focus and style. ever since, his creative output has been heavily influenced by contemporary themes and issues such as sexuality, politics and economics. tillmans' new exhibition, entitled your body is yours, opens today at the national museum of art in osaka, and presents 200 of his works, ranging from photographs he has shot in the past to his most recent photographs. the exhibition space has been designed by the artist himself and will also feature book for architects, a video installation he especially created for last year's venice architecture biennale [on through sep 23]. location: 4-2-55 nakanoshima [nakanoshima].
although fairly similar in atmosphere, this particular slice of cuauhtémoc has long stood in the shadow of mexico city's more fashionable residential neighbourhoods polanco, condesa and roma. but as of late, the tide has turned and it could eventually join the ranks of the aforementioned, thanks to the recent opening – and the expected spin-off effect for that matter – of a stellar new establishment that pulls the cool crowds to its doorstep. opened years ago as a budget property, hotel jardín amazonas was more loved for its low rates than its comfort or available facilities. let's just say the previous owners never really saw the potential – the location alone, just off paseo de la reforma, the city's iconic thoroughfare, is a major plus – and the hotel gradually slid into a derelict state before it closed down little over a decade ago.
but luckily, it has been given a brand new lease on life, and now known as hotel carlota, it has become the toast of the town in hipster circles. responsible for the remarkable turnaround is ignacio cadena, a local designer with slew of high-profile projects under his belt. and although cadena created the new hotel concept, he couldn't have pulled it off without the expertise of architect javier sánchez. interestingly, instead of totally erasing the building's original lay-out, sánchez quite brilliantly rearranged it to fit modern standards and utilize its full potential. the new understated aesthetic oozes a distinctly modern vibe, subtly revealing an older blueprint, but at the same time it also firmly anchors the complex in the neighbourhood's urban context.
needless to say, the 36 guestrooms and suites exemplary showcases, each featuring furniture piecess by local design collective la metropolitana – mind you, they furnished the entire hotel – and unique art pieces by emerging mexican artists. the strict division between private and public spaces is intentionally blurred and has resulted in a new, more communal sense of hospitality, which of course, still allows retreat and privacy. an additional trump card of hotel carlota is a cool eponymous restaurant with an outdoor section overlooking the patio, and it's this particularly facility that pulls in the cool crowds in droves from across town. helmed by celebrated chefs joaquin cardoso and sofia cortina, the restaurant proposes a menu of market-to-table dishes, all made from the best local ingredients, and served in an unpretentious way. needless to say that the setting adds up to a contemporary culinary experience that's unique in the mexican capital. location: calle río amazonas 73 [cuauhtémoc].
© cadena y asociados / photography: camila cossio
hot on the heels of last month's store opening in munich, viu's first ever expansion abroad, an additional retail chapter has launched in berlin. the swiss eyewear retailer may have its roots in the digital realm, it sure knows about the added value of a brick and mortar presence in key markets such as the buzzing german capital. here, it has decided to settle in tiergarten, an area of town which is slowly emerging as the edgier version of the overtly gentrified mitte district. viu has secured a ground floor unit at a colossal office building which was once the head office of a major national newspaper.
the building's lower façade is clad in white stone, and this particular hue extends well into the store, covering the walls, floor and ceiling, visually creating added volume and light. the design is by viu's founders fabrice aeberhard and christian kaegi who decided to recreate their signature eyewear wall in an eye-catching, and dare we say rather exotic, green marbled version. furnishings are matchingly sparse, consisting of a sleek industrial-inspired table and stools and a single display unit. the new viu store stocks the brand's full range of sunglasses and prescription eyewear frames. location: potsdamerstrasse 77-79 [tiergarten].