hong kong: i.t store opening

© i.t

when in need of style trophies, i.t stores consistently rank on the shortlist of hong kong's discerning hipster community. the retailer's sharp focus on fashion scenes across the planet has its stores stocked with the very latest and relevant, and it's no surprise additional stores are opening to meet the demand it has so generously fostered. and now i.t has once again expanded its operations with a new flagship store at city plaza, the leading mall in the city's fast-emerging quarry bay area, which happens to be home to a large contingent to japanese and korean expats. spacious and modern, the store measures 15,230 sq.ft. [1,415 sqm.] spread over two floors. very much a miniature department store, it features many separate and often branded store sections and shop-in-shops, each with a style of its own. the ground floor is home to menswear, and it's here where three streetwear brands are prominently featured.

there's aape, the diffusion line of a bathing ape, is presented in a setting of silver and black. the double park section stocks a selection of some of the planet's most coveted streetwear labels, while 5cm presents locally designed streeatwear items. one floor up the womenswear collections can be found. further anticipating the neighbourhood's demographic a korean fashion area is the first thing shoppers come across. the setting here is lighter and more frivolous, featuring an expansive organic wooden wall panel. additional sections are dedicated to popular apparel + cosmetics brand stylenanda and an assortment of hot contemporary women's brands from the land of the rising sun, such as mysty woman and as know as. location: city plaza mall, 18 taikoo shing road, shop 020 + 104 [quarry bay].

© i.t

new york: international playground store opening

© international playground / photography: shelby gates

after launching a modest boutique on new york city's lower east side only four years ago, international playground makes a bold move and opens up shop on the premium retail grounds of soho. headed by johnny pizzolato and virginia braddock, the store and brand collective is known for carrying a range of innovative men's and women's labels from home and abroad, and its penchant to blur the lines between fashion, art and commerce. being a distinctly fancier showcase, the soho store consequently oozes a more upmarket vibe and boasts an interior that's inspired by a luxury department store in art deco style. the quirky palette - using colours and materials of black, white, gold, glass, and also marble - intriguingly balances between lavish and minimalist, while it creates an inviting setting along the way where to roam around and browse international playground's many offerings. currently on the shelves is a coveted mix of contemporary brands with an edge, including wood wood, carin wester, soulland, filles à papa and anzevino getty. the lower section of the store is home to the showroom. location: 463 broome street [soho].

© international playground / photography: shelby gates

new york: boerum house & home store opening

© boerum house & home

with so many discerning manhattanites crossing the east river in search for loftier abodes, it's not surprising brooklyn's retail landscape has gone leaps and bounds to accommodate the steep demand of relevant quality goods by this demographic. opening on wed - jul 30 [6pm-9pm / invite only] in the heart of the boerum hill area is boerum house & home, a new home goods and accessories store housed in a dramatic double-height art deco space on atlantic avenue, redesigned to evoke a sophisticated brooklyn home. its many rooms are stocked with a stylish range of home goods, accessories, kitchen supplies, jewellery, handmade goods, books and sundries, from over 130 artisans and makers, many of which are locally made and exclusive to the store.

boerum house & home is a collab effort by new york-based architecture + development practice flank and creative agency + design studio partners & spade. the store's current offerings include work by designers and artisans such as patrick townsend, danish design store, haptic lab, wary meyers and uhuru design. interestingly, the store's proceeds will be donated to a number of local charities. mind you, coming fall boerum house & home will expand into the design gallery of the boerum, a prestigious 315,000 sq.ft. [29,265 sqm.] mixed development of condos and a hotel located just around the corner at 71 smith street, designed and developed by flank. location: 314 atlantic avenue [boerum hill].

© boerum house & home

amsterdam: construct - de - construct

© droog / photography: mo schalkx

with innovation at its core, the droog collective has been a relevant force in the world of design for quite some time, and it continues to explore new possibilities, solutions and perspectives. it isn't surprising that droog's headquarters in amsterdam's canal district reflect the company's quirky focus, featuring a shop filled with nifty designs, a sleek one-room hotel, a restaurant, and a number of gallery spaces. currently on within this nucleus of appealing venues is construct - de - construct, an exhibition which challenges the visitor's often restricted perception of design.  a select number of designers has been invited to demonstrate the evolving design vocabulary and indicate both simple and hybrid examples of current design initiatives.

included in the show is don't run beta, a design by eugenia morpurgo who developed a high-street micro-factory where customers can make, customize and repair their own shoes, using laser cutting and 3d printing. another display is terrabites' mushroom farmkit which allows you to cultivate and harvest your own mushrooms. designer cindy strobach's electro colour shows that hidden electrical parts of plain white household items could get a new thrilling, colourful visual character with the implementation of red cabbage juice. other participatign designers include nick brennan, dian simpson + sudha kheterpal and jess fügler [on through aug 31]. location: hôtel droog, staalstraat 7b [centrum].

© droog / photography: mo schalkx

antwerp: chanel store opening

© chanel

chanel has had a presence in brussels for as long as we can remember, operating a flagship store on prestigious waterloolaan. but last week, the french luxury brand expanded its belgian footprint with a second store in the historic heart of antwerp. the store occupies the elongated ground floor of a striking red brick structure, situated amidst a slew of other high-end brands. as all other chanel stores, its interior has been designed by new york-based architect peter marino, and features a luxurious palette of rich materials, fabrics and hues that mimic the style of founder coco chanel's lavish apartment in the french capital. the chanel boutique occupies an area of approx. 100 sqm. [1,076 sq.ft.] and is divided into four sections. upon entering, shoppers encounter two consecutive spaces dedicated to bags, seasonal must-haves, small leather goods, shawls and sunglasses, followed by a salon-like setting with sofas and fitting rooms where the brand's ready-to-wear collection is presented. location: schutterhofstraat 12 [centrum]. 

© chanel

tokyo: talking heads

after showcases at dover street market's flagships in london and new york city, gary card's talking heads installation has arrived in tokyo. the london-based artist has dipped his toe in a multitude of creative pools, making quite a name for himself with highly original designs that are exciting, fun and meticulously crafted. card was commissioned by comme des garçons' c.e.o. adrian joffe to create a traveling installation that would showcase the collection of various sunglasses available at dover street market stores, and he used clowns heads as an inspiration. entitled talking heads, the pieces are all hand-made from polystyrene and coated with jesmonite, and each head has been given a wildly decorative mask of neon colour paint. card has made different series for each of the stores, but all have now been united for this final showcase here in the japanese capital [on view through aug 12]. location: dover street market, 6-9-5 ginza, 6th floor [ginza].

© dover street market ginza

london: ace hotel 7th floor event spaces

© ace hotel / photography: andrew meredith

we talked about the opening of ace hotel's first international property in london in a previous post, but that was merely the beginning. in the meantime the hospitality formula has been tweaked to further perfection, resulting in a range of rather stunning new facilities on the 7th floor. allowing an increase of business and pleasure, the top floor of ace hotel london features an adaptable collection of six confer­ence rooms, meeting places and event halls. at 600 sq.ft. [56 sqm.] the 100 room has been the only space that has been operational for a while. the other five are new additions, and form a patchwork of meeting spaces that work as well for both banquets and board meetings. there’s the spacious britannia [837 sq.ft. / 78 sqm. with a private balcony], the sibling griffin and empire rooms [respectively 886 sq.ft. / 82 sqm. and 721 sq.ft. / 67 sqm.].

the range continues with the economical bower [391 sq.ft. / 36 sqm.] and stingo [424 sq.ft. / 39 sqm.] spaces, each named with reverence to the east end’s rich theatri­cal heritage. all rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art teleconferencing systems, wifi, multi-zone audio and portable projection screens and flatscreen tv's. being perched on the top floor, a great bonus are the sweeping views of london and some of its greatest landmarks. needless to say the aesthetic of the new facilities seamlessly matches the rest of the stylish property. included are furnishings have been designed by michael marriott and a striking lighting installation by fabien cappello. full service catering is available the on-site restaurant, serving locally-sourced, english modernist bras­serie cuisine for breakfast, brunch and lunch, and can be fully customized when required. location: ace hotel london, 100 shoreditch high street, 7th floor [shoreditch].

© ace hotel / photography: andrew meredith

global: monocle mediterraneo 2014

hitting newsstands and bookstores today is one of our fav summer reads, monocle's newest edition of monocle mediterraneo. issue #5 features 68 pages of beach-inspired fun, and this year its editorial scope is somewhat further off the usual med, with stories from rome and montijo. an innovative addition is a commissioned piece of original fiction by anne zouroudi, author of the hermes diakatoros crime series, and will be accompanied by audio programming on monocle 24. other highlights of monocle mediterraneo include a feature on the expertise of portugal's 751 squadron at close quarters with a visit to air base no. 6 in montijo, an insider article on 10 brands on the verge of a major come-back, open-air cinemas in greece, a proper bar crawl around the sunny mediterranean, and a trip around the colourful italian pop dancefloor from past to present. monocle mediterraneo will be available for the next eight weeks at sales points in 110 countries and territories across the planet.

© monocle

tokyo: ninehours hotel opening

© ninehours / photography: nacása & partners inc.

when ninehours launched its first property in kyoto in 2009, the sleek and forward design not only redefined the capsule hotel formula but also changed the often biased perception by many of today's modern travelers. after a teaser showcase earlier this year at tokyo's narita airport - the japanese capital's main international gateway - ninehours has opened a second property right next to terminal 2 in anticipation of the growing global demand for accomodation and short-stay facilities at major air hubs. similarly to the kyoto property, the new venue is a collab effort of architect fumie shibata of design studio s, masaaki hiromura who designed the signs and graphics, and interior designer takaaki nakamura.

ninehours' hospitality concept is simple and entirely based on an infrastructure of pure essentials, packaged in easy-access modern comfort. mind you, its name is consequently inspired by the notion that a hotel stay is made up of 7 hours of sleep, 1 hour of chilling out and 1 hour of grooming. the setting is one of simple design, void of any frills yet hospitable at the same time. the property features 129 capsules - 71 for male guests and 58 for female guests in separate sections - which have all been fitted out with a specially designed mattress and pillow, and a nifty sleep ambient control system to help guests rest well.

a stay at ninehours may be based on the essentials, but that doesn't mean it's stripped of the pleasurable things in life. when staying the night, guests are offered quality loungewear and indoor slippers, in addition to quality towels and a set of sophisticated bathroom amenities. the hotel also offers well-designed communal facilities, including plenty of lockers to store your luggage, a lounge where to eat, drink or work on your laptop, and a modern washroom with ample shower cabins. location: parking building 2, level b1f, next to terminal 2 [narita airport].

© ninehours / photography: nacása & partners inc.

johannesburg: where paradise grows

© goethe-institut johannesburg

ingrid lafleur is a detroit-based curator with a keen interest in the black american cultural legacy. lafleur has ralllied complex movements, a multidisciplinary art collective from her hometown, for an exhibition at goethe-institut's experimental project space goetheonmain in the heart of johannesburg. entitled where paradise grows, it's a reference to the asian paradise tree, an invasive non-indigenous flora of detroit, and used as a metaphor for contemporary colonization. quite ironically, the venue is situated in the rapidly gentrifying maboneng precinct, and aims to invite viewers to think more deeply about their own communities and share change-making ideas for their communities. according to lafleur detroit and johannesburg are surprisingly similar cities.

both have a majority black population, experience rapid urban renewal, and have transformed because of racial tensions that caused businesses and investors to leave for 'safer' areas. the show itself is a multi-media presentation that outlines the influences and ideas behind complex movements’ ongoing project and science-fiction parable of their creation beware of the dandelions. the show is an immersive setting built on the aesthetics of hiphop, and is embedded in a larger curatorial project by lafleur, called afrotopia' and which uses the arts movement afrofuturism as a tool for transformative education in detroit and elsewhere [on through aug 3]. location: goetheonmain, 245 main street [city + suburban].

© goethe-institut johannesburg