the timeless silhouettes of alexandre mattiussi has hit a sensitive nerve among a demographic of fashion-conscious males, and although his ami label can already be found on the shelves of many a respectable store across the planet, the paris-based designer continues to expand his network of branded boutiques. following last year's opening of a boutique in tokyo – an event we talked about in a previous post – the designer has now struck a collab with luxury retailer i.t to set up shop in hong kong. the new ami outpost adds up to a cluster of stores that the company already operates at the location, but as a branded retail space it obviously distinguishes itself through ami's distinct design codes. in fact, the retail space follows the vintage-inspired design codes of the tokyo store, and which were once laid down by paris-based architecture practice studio ko, featuring a mosaic mirror wall backdrop, mirrored pillars, ornamented parquet flooring, brass fixtures throughout the premises, and all off-set by ceiling in dipped a dark blue shade. the new ami boutique carries the brand's full range of men's apparel, shoes and accessories. location: 53 paterson street [causeway bay].
andenken gallery owner hyland mather is a busy jack of all trades who also easily aligns his artistic vision and preferences with interesting artists around the planet, and making vital connections along the way. as a result, he automatically befriends the creatives that he professionally represents – well, it actually works both ways – enabling him to stage many an interesting show. mather's upcoming event, two tandem solo exhibitions by american artists evan hecox and drew leshko, opens fri – oct 28 [6pm-10pm], but instead of his own gallery space, he has opted to host the event at amsterdam's newly opened venue of makeversity. entitled northern, hecox's show presents 15 new paintings, all in his distinctive style, and based on photographs from his visits last october to amsterdam, utrecht, and iceland. leshko's presentation is called heaven is whenever, and puts on display his highly representational intimate sculptures of gritty urban landscapes and worn travel vehicles, all in a 1:12 classic dollhouse scale. location: makerversity, kattenburgerstraat 5, building 27e [centrum].
it's safe to say that the democratization of travel in the modern age got a kick-start in the late 1970s with the airline deregulation act stateside. the transition of control over air travel shifting from the political to the market sphere has since then been adopted across the planet, and spurred on by new technology – think bigger or more fuel-efficient airplanes, and let's not forget the miracle that's called internet – it has hugely expanded both our travel range and options. but the travel bug also affects infrastructures equally far and wide, and has now even reached the sunny shores of ecuador.
contemporary budget hotels may have been all the rage for quite some time in europe, asia and across north america, but only recently did the first such property open in the equator-straddling country. situated in guayaquil, its biggest city, the so-called yu! hotels chain cleverly launched its first venue in las peñas, a scenic quarter with many historic buildings that draws in visitors by droves. local architect alfredo de león méndez designed a new structure from sustainable materials that takes full advantage of the modest plot of land, and it was constructed in such a way that all of the 20 rooms, spread over five floors, have a good view to the city, thorough ventilation, and plenty of natural light.
the rooms at yu! hotel measure just 15 sqm. [162 sq.ft.], but what it may lack in size, it surely makes up with the package of comfort and amenities that modern travellers expect these days, including a kingsize wall-to-wall bed, a bathroom with rainshower, a 32-inch led television, free wifi, and as said, air-conditioning. additional facilities at the hotel include a self-service snack bar, a meeting room and an upper balcony for the best views in the house. needless to say, this place arguably is the best option for budget travelers heading to this part of the world to explore its many treasures. location: avenida vicente rocafuerte 250 [las peñas].
the name giorgio armani is synonymous to milan's reputation as a global fashion capital, and as the top creative honcho of his empire, he's undoubtedly put his stamp on the city. profusely acclaimed for his skills in fashion design, armani hasn't stopped there, and branched out with a growing number of hospitality venues across the globe. not surprisingly, he has bestowed his homebase milan with a number of sleekly designed downtown venues. one of those hospitality concepts combines the co-owned nobu restaurant, opened in 2000 and still a fave among well-heeled milanesi, with an adjacent club called armani/privé.
the latter venue has recently been given a thorough make-over by the designer and his team of architects, featuring a new interior design and configuration that makes it appear more spacious than its actual 640 sqm. [6,889 sq.ft.]. a new logo in the shape of a lit lantern discreetly beckons its patrons at the entrance, while a new and exclusive entrance around the corner on via manzoni has been created for v.i.p. guests. indoor access via nobu restaurant remains available. the club now boasts a lounge with a central bar and dance floor, in addition to a second, more intimate bar area. the chosen palette is monochromatic and sensual, comprising of tones of gold and bronze, captured by luxurious materials and sleek design.
two imposing bar counters dominate the space with backlit tops, covered with sleek bronze-finish brass, and the dance area has its own dj booth. sophisticated lighting contributes a great deal to the atmosphere, created largely by backlit wall panels that have been embellished by gold metallic mesh. the space is dotted with a compatible range of furniture pieces, including tables, again with backlit tops, contoured armchairs covered in gold leather and scatter cushions. the armani/privé club is open from september through june, and presenst a rotating schedule of both italian and international deejays that keep you entertained until the wee small hours. location: via gastone pisone 1 [duomo].
french fraternal duo ronan and erwan bouroullec belong to a select group of creatives that have helped shape the world of design during the past decade. following their exhibition album two years ago, they return to the renowned vitra design museum in the south german village of weil am rhein for a new showcase. the new exhibition, entitled rêveries urbaines and held at the venue's zaha hadid fire station, presents concepts for urban development, and is a wide-ranging study of possible development solutions for cities that may be imagined in very different urban settings. like a large open sketchbook, the proposed solutions are presented as a gentle walk through models and animations.
the show is designed to be immersive and to bear the visitor away into different scenarios, with each model showcased as a chapter in an urban fiction, and features brothers' first projects that concentrate on public spaces. films and research models are arranged around twenty proposals that re-invent certain motifs for urban spaces: vines, torches, parasols, a fountain, a kiosk etc. the aim is to give a new sense of magic to the places where we walk, meet, and talk, by the use of lines, harmony and transparency. the installation is not only a collection of abstract ideas but also points to some of the ongoing projects the brothers are developing for several cities around the world [om through jan 22]. location: charles eames strasse 2, zaha hadid fire station [weil am rhein].
as the capital city of one of asia's most affluent nations, seoul has an already impressive lifestyle insfrastructure, but it continues to expand and diversify to cater to its savvy inhabitants' fast-changing preferences. one of the south korean company's which has closely followed the growth curve is kt&g, the country's largest tobacco company, and interestingly, it's also affiliated to manufacturers of traditional ginseng, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. it's the ginseng manufacturer, best known across the planet through its kweon-jang-chan brand, that has branched out to the hospitality segment by way of a design-led café that's specifially geared towards a young demographic.
called café sapoon sapoon – a play on the word saponin which also is an important ginseng ingredient – it's not accidental that the establishment has found a home on the ground floor of kt&g tower, a soaring office building in a leafy district of seoul. local interior practice betwin space design was enlisted to create a setting for the café that would fully reflect the brand's values, but also designed the building's loby area. café sapoon sapoon occupies a voluminous 221 sqm. [2,379 sq.ft.] space, and boasts a design that revolves around the focus on the elements of nature and lab to evoke the aforementioned design objective.
a giant rectangular canopy has been inserted into the space, replete with an intricate built-in light installation that's also trimmed with fluttering noren, as a nod to a traditional wooden structure that provides shade and coolness in a ginseng field. directly below, two large concrete communal tables are situated, decorated with potted plants that further heighten the sense of rural surrounds. smaller seating arrangements surround the setting, and the use of a variety of carefully selected design chairs. a large part of the furnishings are wood-based, adding an eclectic yet warm touch. the slightly sloping terrace, semi-shielded from bustling yeongdong-daero by lush greenery, is a seamless extension of the aesthetic inside.
spacious and offering similarly inviting seating arrangements, it easily lures customers to sit outside when weather permits. sitting at the far end is a counter and service station, decorated by filigrain dark timber, and here's where the lab element of the design concept kicks in. subtly incorporated in elaborate steel shelving is an installation that fills bottles with cold brew ginseng coffee – mind you, ginseng is the main ingredient of café sapoon sapoon's many capuccino offerings. other than coffee options, the menu also features fresh juices, detox drinks, a wide selection of herbal teas, cakes and ice creams. location: kt&g tower, 416 yeongdong-daero, ground floor [daechi].
the history of hermès in italy dates back to the 1950s, but it wasn't until twenty years later that the first franchise stores opened in the country. fast forward to 2016, and the luxury brand raises its profile in the capital rome with a new flagship, in the downtown area of tridente. it's actually the third store incarnation in the city, but this one is by far the most prestigious. it has found a home at the so-called palazzetto arconati-negroni-caffarelli, an ornate mansion built in the late 16th century, and a structure that simply oozes history. at 630 sqm. [6,781 sq.ft.], set across a series of inter-linked rooms, the retail space is as such that it easily accomodates hermès' elaborate range of products.
upon entering through one of two doors, either side of the arched portal, from the left into men’s silks, with a full spectrum of ties. the men’s section, to the right, offers ready-to-wear, belts, hats, bags, briefcases and shoes, all in a setting of cherry wood furnishings and walls in lacquered boiserie. adding up to the exclusive men's domain is a special men's lounge replete with exclusive products, such as leather footballs made in the colours of local soccer teams lazio and roma. the sumptuousness of the interior is further defined by floors in hermès' classic faubourg pattern and a stretch of calacatta marble finished with the fashion house's 'ex libris' insignia in stainless steel.
also to be found on the ground floor are sections for watches, jewellery, the iconic silk scarves and fragrances. at the back of the store a room full of bags is situated, furnished with a specially designed sofa and coffee tables that allow shoppers to sit back and take in the exquisite hermès craftsmanship in a comfortable fashion. another room presents accessories, small leather goods and more bags, as well as the full equestrian collection. it's here where a staircase leads upstairs, opening out onto a glazed canopy, and lures mesmerized shoppers upstairs to explore more of the flagship. a series of intimate rooms unfold, furnished with specially designed pieces.
it's here where the collections of women's ready-to-wear, accessories, hats, belts and shoes are presented against a backdrop of walls clad in an luxurious mix of textile and mineral, achieved through layers of pigment which has been engraved, sanded and polished to achieve subtle but deep colour tones. two other spaces showcase the home collection of furniture pieces, textiles, fabrics and wallpaper, porcelain, crystal, in addition to where a complete universe includes furniture and textiles, fabrics and wallpaper, porcelain and crystal, in addition to accessories for sports and leisure. also on this floor is a homey library, replete with carpet and comfy seating. especially for the store opening, dutch artist noa verhofstad has created a series of store windows, inspired by the equestrian worlds of both paris and rome. location: via bocca di leone 23 [tridente].
it's only two more weeks until hennes & mauritz's latest designer collab collection with kenzo drops in a select number of its stores across the planet, but the global hype and anticipation is already in full swing. we should applaud the swedish retailer for taking on paris-based visual wizzard jean-paul goude  to create the collection's ad campaign, and clearly, he hasn't lost his golden touch. in a similar iconic style of cut-up transparencies with which he immortalized cult songstress and then girlfriend grace jones in the early 1980s, he has shot the new h&m x kenzo ad campaign. the fashion brand has cleverly recruited a number of well-known faces as brand ambassadors, including former model iman, musician ryuichi sakamoto, actresses rosario dawson and chloe sevigny, rapper suboi, environmental activist xiuhtezcatl martinez, and chance the rapper. shown here are three shots of the ad campaign that we particularly like.
études studio loves to go places and interact with its global fanbase, and following temporary retail spaces in new york city, seoul, tokyo and paris, the multi-disciplinary brand has opened an outpost on the u.s. west coast. situated on the premises of the museum of contemporary art's very own store, the pop-up venue comprises of an understated setting created by branding and architecture practice savvy that's defined by sleek metal shelving, a clothing rack, and wall panels that depict both visual and textual brand messages. so, what's in stock? first and foremost, a curated selection of études studio's a/w 2016 collection and a current range of books. additionally, an exclusive tote and t-shirt especially made for the moca store can be purchased. both items are based on the notion of dérives, an act of wandering and letting ideas flow as one takes in familiar and new sites [open through jan 8]. location: moca, 250 south grand avenue [downtown].
a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, and these days that includes taking good care of his appearance. launching stateside on thu – oct 18 is shodai, a new men's grooming brand rooted in japan's longstanding knowledge of natural, local ingredients and the knowledge to effectively apply these in skin products. founder justin brown has concocted a face wash and a face moisturizer that pair these traditional yet powerful ingredients with the latest skincare tech. and to complete shodai's contemporary focus, the products are paraben-free, cruelty free and gluten-free. so, what are these ingredients? a rare and premium substance, hiba oil is sourced from aomori hiba trees, and has natural anti-bacterial properties that help to calm skin.
green tea is widely acknowledged as a potent source of antioxidants, anti-aging effect and overall health effects. when blended with the other ingredients in shodai products, green tea brings amino acids, b vitamins and caffeine to revitalize and invigorate skin texture. sake is perhaps an ingredient you wouldn't expect, but it has positive effects on skin as it contains so-called kojic acid, which helps brighten skin and reduce skin spots, and amino acids that prevent wrinkles and reduce dryness. and last but not least, there's purified onsen water which helps control free radicals and control rough and dry skin. shodai's products are made in japan, and although delivery is currently only available for u.s. residents, the company aims to serve european shoppers in the near future.