new york: boro hotel opening

© boro hotel / photography: floto + warner

the remarkable transformation of williamsburg not only continues to make headlines home and abroad, but also seems to have inspired other neighbourhoods along the east river to gain the limelight. dotted with monumental warehouses and factory buildings and home to a sizeable, artistically inclined demographic, long island city is on its way to become the next big thing. and it's these two aforementioned elements that have proven to be quite beneficial for the area, having laid the foundation of a budding cultural infrastructure – the sculpture centernoguchi museum and moma ps1 already call this neighbourhood home – that pulls a ever-growing number of visitors.

and as the buzz continues, so does the arrival of cool new establishments, and the latest one labeled as such is the boro hotel. the very first design-led boutique property on the block, it features an understated, industrial-inspired interiors by grzywinski+pons, an architecture practice based in new york city. situated in a newly-built, modest highrise, the boro features 108 guestrooms and studios spread over 13 floors. the interior aesthetic makes clever use of the building's concrete shell, pairing it with a consideed palette of materials, colours and fixtures that's appealing to design aficionados and those in search of hospitality with a distinctive edge.

although the lodgings come in various sizes, they all feature floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views, custom-made furniture, unique light fixtures, and some even have spacious terraces and balconies. obviously, all these pads feature the modern amenities today's savvy traveler just can't do without, including complimentary hi-speed wifi, a samsung hdmi 40-inch led-tv abd speakman anystream showerheads. and for those who love to splurge, a 600 sq.ft. [56 sqm.] penthouse with a manhattan skyline balcony is readily available. conceptualized as seamless extensions of the rooms, the boro boasts welcoming public spaces with a similar understated style.

there's obviously the lobby, an open space flooded with daylight and sparsely furnished with custom-made pieces. here, arriving guest can self check-in at a communal table, while other sections are totally geared towards chilling out or mingle with other guests. the café bar serves plenty of good stuff, ranging from specialty coffee, cocktails and other beverages, to select bites and complimentary breakfast. soon to be added to the premises are a restaurant with terrace and courtyard seating and a rooftop bar with sweeping views of queens and manhattan. yes, it's easy to see the boro sets a new standard in hospitality in this happening part of town. location: 38-28 27th street [long island city].

© boro hotel / photography: floto + warner

beijing: beyond the walls

© louis vuitton

following the opening late last year at fondation louis vuitton in paris, the very showcase that highlights the venue's spectacular new building by architect frank gehry [1929], entitled beyond the walls, has headed to the far east for a stopover at the louis vuitton maison in beijing. the showcase, instigated by lvmh big boss bernard arnault to recreate the emotion that visitors feel when they discover the building, presents an elaborate insight into the creative world of one of today's leading architects, exploring the design process of fondation louis vuitton's stunning building in the french capital, with original drawings and models produced during the course of the project featured throughout the exhibition [on through aug 9]. interestingly, the acclaimed architect described the iconic building as a vessel that symbolises france’s profound cultural vocation. the show will travel onwards to tokyo coming october and additional stopovers will be announced at a later stage. location: china world shopping mall, 1 jianguomen wai da jie, shop L128 [cbd].

© louis vuitton

melbourne: aesop store renewal

© aesop

launched eight years ago, the aesop store on melbourne's flinders lane was one of the brand's first to open and help cement th brand's reputation for innovative store design. created by local architect rodney eggleston in just five days, it was actually intended as a temporary installation. but the look received such praise, aesop decided to maintain it as a sales outlet. the store has now been given a makeover, using the very same material: industrial cardboard. no less than 1,550 cardboard sheets have been used to create an undulating feature wall which softens, tears and evolves with age. the opposite wall is one of beautiful contrast, featuring a restrained palette of concrete flooring and furnishings of lacquered oak and blackened steel, including a display and sink rolled into one that prominently takes center stage. a sophisticated system of spotlights highlight various sections of the design and products. the renewed aesop store stocks the brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: 268 flinders lane, shop 1c [cbd].

© aesop

amsterdam: the garden which is the nearest to god

© oude kerk / wim hanenberg

standing tall smack in the middle of amsterdam's red light district, the oude kerk – old church in dutch – dwarfs all houses in the area, signifying its great prominence in a bygone era. founded around 1213, it's amsterdam's oldest structure and steeped in history. but if you think all of the building's excitement lies in the past, you've got it wrong. sure, the oude kerk has retained some of its clerical stature, but also serves as one of the dutch capital's most unusual exhibition venues. this summer an audacious new chapter is being added with a little help of taturo atzu [1960], a japanese artist known for projects that tweak people's perception and experience of art and architecture. preceding a major roof maintenance check later this year, atzu has been commissioned to create an installation right on top of the building. 

entitled the garden which is the nearest to god, it consists of a rather unusual viewing platform in a celestial white hue and held up high in the air by a myriad of scaffolding, and referencing the classic image of church as a meeting place. the temporary venue is centered around the church's weather vane and the roof turret with clock, and even features a seating arrangement to eye the latter up close. needless to say it's a unique epxerience being up there, giving visitors unique views of amsterdam's oldest neighbourhood. fancy a monumental climb? if so, then click here to book your ticket [open through sep 6]. location: oudekerksplein 23 [centrum].

© oude kerk / photography: wim hanenberg

milan: marni store opening

© marni

fashion brand marni has raised its profile at homebase milan during the latest edition of men's fashion week, relocating its flagship store to an imposing courtyard of a historic downtown palazzo. a full-blown statement of understated luxury, the new store measures a very spacious 310 sqm. [3,337 sq.ft.] and boasts an interior design collab between consuelo castiglioni, marni's creative director, and the brand's interior architect luz maria jaramillo. the aesthetic of the boutique takes marni prisma, the cycle of high-profile events that were launched earlier this year on the occasion of the brand's 20th anniversary, as a departure point, featuring a forward amalgamation of geometry, materials and vibes. the prism and its many facets, has been used as a key symbol for the design.

upon entering the store, shoppers are immersed in a box-shaped geometric space which opens up in all directions, including upwards by way of expansive ceiling lights that provide a similar illusion. contrasting materials and colours, captured by marble inserts, various different and brass accents all add up to a dynamic palette. the ground floor is where marni's collection of shoes and leather goods is presented, and when taking the spiraling concrete stairs down to the basement section, separate sections are dedicated to women's and men's apparel and also jewellery, and situated around a glass-encased, light-filled patio. the setting here pairs stretches of bare concrete with inlaid concrete flooring and carefully picked furnishings and props. location: via montenapoleone 12 [duomo].

© marni

berlin: am ma store opening

© andreas murkudis / photography: gonzalez haase

when opening his spectacular concept store back in 2011, retailer andreas murkudis propelled berlin into the forefront of noteworthy global shopping destinations. he managed to uphold the store's reputation ever since, and with one look it's easy to see why. sure, the retail space is awe-inspiring, but it's also the curated selection of goods that make the concept store a must-see address for the most discerning of shoppers. offerings are tightly curated and have a seamless coherence that betrays a rare and meticulous sense of aesthetics. furniture and homewares have always been an integral part of the collection, but now andreas murkudis has stepped up their visibility by launching a separate retail entity right next door.

dubbed am ma – a german abbreviation of andreas murkudis möbel und architektur or andreas murkudis furniture and architecture – it presents an equally fine selection of merchandise, ranging from handcrafted furniture, ceramics and the finest italian linens, to samples for floors, wall paint and tiling. the brand list is elaborate and higly specialized, and currently includes niche brands from across the planet, such as imamura design, linck keramik, muller van severen, classicon and christophe delcourt. but that's not all, as am ma also provides interior design services by a team of architects, interior designers and artists that'll allow customers to navigate any design process from a to z. location: potsdamerstrasse 77 [tiergarten].

© andreas murkudis / photography: gonzalez haase