seoul: aesop store opening

© aesop

aesop makes a bold move into untrodden retail territory, opening its first signature store in the bustling korean capital seoul. situated in the popular shopping area of apgujeong, amidst a myriad of high-end boutiques, bookshops and art galleries, the store occupies a compact 40 sqm. [431 sq.ft.] and boasts an interior created by wise architecture. the design is exemplary for the korean practice, featuring streamlined forms captured in pure materials that take cues from local history and tradition. this principle starts right at the shop entrance where chunky granite stepping stone marks the transition from the hectic sidewalk to the serene calm within the aesop boutique. once inside, shoppers encounter walls covered in traditional handmade hanji, and which form a subtle backdrop for the single piece of reclaimed korean pine which was used for the elongated sales counter. one opposite wall features rows of suspended shelving, laden with merchandise. additional furnishings include a charles pollock chair and striking pendant lamp by gaetano sciolari. the new aesop store stocks the brand's full range of skin, hair and body care products. location: 13 apgujeong-ro 12-gil [apgujeong].

© aesop

tokyo: hatch up!

maison hermès ginza has unveiled another stunning window installation, this time created by nacho carbonell, an acclaimed spanish designer who's known for his playful yet critical investigation of the reciprocal relationship that people have with objects and the significance they attach to them. entitled hatch up!, it presents an pristine white world, inhabited by strangely shaped animals, never seen before on the face of the earth. these creatures seemingly roam around the installation compound, which is scattered with tiny fragments, as if to vigilantly guard the mannequins dressed in garments from hermès' a/w 2014 collections. to carbonell metamorphosis is the process of change, and within this snowbound window context he aims created a series of movements that evoke an imaginary world [on view through jan 13]. location: maison hermès, 4-1-5 ginza [ginza].

© hermès japon / photography: satoshi asakawa

hong kong: mrs. pound restaurant opening

© mrs. pound / photography: dennis lo

previously one of the many food stalls at the popular pmq night marketmrs. pound has reinvented itself as one of hong kong's hottest new diners. tucked away in the maze of back streets in sheung wan, concealed behind a faux façade of a traditional chinese stamp shop unfolds a funky modern interior by architecture practice ndca. mind you, this place has a hybrid concept which adds up to the overall appeal. the disguised façade references an o.t.t. narrative of fictional lovers who secretly reunite in midlife. as the legend suggests, the restaurant’s namesake character mrs. pound was a renowned burlesque dancer in 1950s shanghai. the architects took cues from the cult classics of film director wong kar wai, and created a setting that blends elements of east and west.

the result is something that teters on pastiche, but well-executed in luxe materials and a with a great fun factor. mrs. pound is divided into two main spaces with yin and yang aesthetics: the lower dining area is all about feminine glamour through the use pink leather banquettes, mirrored marquee lights, pink patterned chinese tile and delicate gold accents, while the upper dining area features an opposite counterpoint through the use of diagonal concrete panels, green floor tiles, green barstools and striking neon artwork. the menu of mrs. pound is equally eclectic and very much a pan-asian feast of street food classics, ranging from spiced lamb skewers and razor clams, to beef rendang and lemongrass meatballs. needless to say, it's already a fav among the city's in-the-know crowd. location: 6 pound lane [sheung wan].

© mrs. pound / photography: dennis lo

online: afriek

© afriek

africa no longer is a continent burdened by negative incidents and connotations, and is slowly emerging as the new frontier. and that event includes fashion and lifestyle if you ask afriek, the newly established men's label by amsterdam-based duo sivan breemhaar and kars gerrits. as students the two spent considerable time in east africa and immersed themselves willingly in the many riches of local culture. once back on home turf, breemhaar and gerrits refused to come to terms with the stubbornly prevaling prejudice of their compatriots towards africa and decided to launch afriek. a witty dutch transcription of afrique or africa in french, this venture aims to reach beyond the realm of fashion, and also contribute to the welfare of local african communities. for its collections afriek collaborates with designer jo luymes, and sources its fabrics from a market in kigali. all garments are made by a number of talented tailors who are all based in the buzzing rwandan capital. from cutting to sowing, each jacket is entirely hand-made, allowing a personal sartorial signature. fancy one? then click here to purchase yours.

© afriek

london: several store opening

© several / photography: morgan

shoreditch is a hub of creativity with a global appeal, and with an accelerated pace the steadily growing influx of related businesses has transformed the area in one of the most dynamic on more levels than one. the retail and hospitality sectors have also seen dramatic growth, and have greatly contributed to a buzz that, as said, has gone global. it's not surprising that graeme fidler, a fashion veteran who has previously honed his skills as creative director at renowned high-end brands, decided to set up his newly established business here. called several, fidler now simultaneously juggles a menswear label, an e-commerce business and a design consultancy, and he has accommodated all three activities at the rochelle school, a well-known cluster of quirky creativity. the several label has its roots firmly embedded in british sub-culture, and offers a contemporary take on classic menswear with a strong focus on detail, quality and craftsmanship.

next to an online presence, several has also launched a retail space which occupies one of the victorian classrooms of the rochelle school. open by appointment only, the design of the shop is simple and functional yet betrays a keen eye for aesthetics. against a backdrop of whitewashed walls and wooden planking, the artfully repurposed vintage furnishings, linear shelving and modular displays conjure up a smart and inviting retail environment with a distinctly masculine touch. so, what's there to discover for you at several? next to the full range of items from its very own collection, the store stocks a curated collection of compatible brands and items. yes, you could say the offerings constitute several's take on the discerning lifestyle of today's urban dandy. currently on the brand list are coveted names such as doek, porter yohida, aspesi, mont-bell, dr marten's and levi's vintage clothing. location: rochelle school, arnold circus, studio L [shoreditch].

© several / photography: morgan

paris: n°0

© études studio / photography: tom de peyret

we've come to know études studio as a collective of versatile talents whose interests straddle a number of disciplines, including retail. they've dabbled in the field of pop-up stores, with editions in paris and new york city. to inaugurate a permanent space in the french capital, études studio decided not to flex their creative muscle, but enlisted paris-based agency perron & frères to create a temporary installation. the store is situated in the heart of the marais district and occupies a 200 sqm. [2,153 sq.ft.] split-level unit cum secluded courtyard, it's intended as a multi-purpose space, accommodating a private workspace and a flexible exhibition area where to display the seasonal études studio men's apparel collections, new book editions, and exclusive collabs. in addition, it'll also be a place where a scheduled range of artsy events will be held. the site-specific installation is aptly entitled n°0, and consists of panels in smokey black glass and matching wooden displays in a smilar hue. showcased within is études studio's a/w 2014 collection, and the apparel pieces integrate this season’s designs that are inspired by rap and heavy metal symbolism, as well as a capsule collection featuring prints by canadian photographer jessica eaton [open through dec 31]. mind you, this temporary setting will be followed next spring by a new interior design by edgy architecture practice ciguëlocation: 14 rue debeylleme [marais].

© études studio / photography: tom de peyret

online: lee x other/woman collection

following last year's sell-out success and marking its 125th anniversary, lee has once again collaborated with other/shop's womenswear label on a women's capsule collection. the lee x other/woman consists of ten versatile pieces and include unique denim and premium jersey staples that explore handcrafted customisation techniques on modern womenswear silhouettes. mind you, this is an exclusive collection that fuses signature lee pieces with other/woman's distinct creative aesthetic. the latter's classic menswear shapes have been reworked into contemporary womenswear items that retain a bold masculine twist.

each item has been custom-made using techniques such as fraying, dip-dye and over printing and embroidery, resulting in a range of garments that ooze a heightened sense of craftsmanship. in addition, artist marcus james has developed an exclusive print inspired by the paintings of renowned swiss artist paul klee. the hand-drawn design features heavily throughout the range, printed on denim jackets, jeans and basic jersey and sweatshirts. pieces from the lee x other/woman capsule collection are available at other/shop in london, but can be also be purchased online. store location: 21 kingly street [soho].

amsterdam: shoebaloo flagship store opening

© shoebaloo / photography: jeroen musch

a purveyor of stylish shoes and bags since the 1980s, shoebaloo today has grown into seven stores across the netherlands, and we dare say they've very much monopolized the luxury segment. keen on trends, the retailer has always sought to create matching retail settings for its merchandise, and for its latest shop, adjacent to an existing men's store in amsterdam's canal district, shoebaloo has once again enlisted the services of mvsa architects, the dutch architecture practice which signed up for the majority of its stores. similar to their previous and much publicized project for shoebaloo elsewhere in the dutch capital, it's a renewed exercise of haute futurism, and one that elegantly mocks the building's historic façade. 

upon entering the store, shoppers are time-warped to an artificial grotto, made up of meticulously stacked and translucent hi-macs components. continuing the undulating play of lines of the walls, displays are fashioned from thinner layers and underlit with led's. these man-made elements are paired with slabs of luxurious marble, laid in elliptic configurations that give the retail space a dynamic edge, and a dark space ceiling. furnishings consist of two benches and a sales counter in an equally stacked design. the new shoebaloo store complements the men's store next door, and will offer trophy women's shoe and bag designs by a string of luxury brands, including guccilanvinalexander wangprada and maison martin margiela. the two stores combined now make up shoebaloo's first and only flagship store. location: koningsplein 5-7 [centrum].

© shoebaloo / photography: jeroen musch

new york: artbook store

© agnès b. / photo from this equals that by jason fulford and tamara shopsin

artbook and agnès b. are joining forces again for a second installation of the artbook bookstore at the agnès b. galerie boutique in soho. artbook runs the world-renowned museum bookstores at moma ps1, walker art center, swiss institute, and curated temporary stores at leading art fairs across the planet. in addition, artbook produces vibrant book events with artists, authors and publishers at these and other venues. and agnès b. being a brand that has contemporary culture in its dna, the alliance is pretty much a match made in heaven. the temporary retail setting is brimming with an abundance of trophy books to either give away or keep for yourself, it stocks a carefully edited pick of more than 150 new and classic publications on art, music, photography, design, architecture and popular culture by the planet's most influential museum and independent publishers. mind you, a calendar of special events and book signings is coming up, and if you make a purchase, a specially designed tote bag will be offered while supplies last [open through feb 28]. location: agnès b. galerie boutique, 50 howard street [soho].

© agnès b. / photo from this equals that by jason fulford and tamara shopsin

berlin: house of small wonder opening

© house of small wonder / photography: stefan kühne

while berlin's mitte district may have lost some of its edge over the years and become a little commercialized, it hasn't lost an iota of its appeal, and interesting new establishments continue to pop-up. a new arrival in the neighbourhood is house of small wonder, a cool daytime café and sister establishment of the namesake original in williamsburg. founded by husband-and-wife team shaul margulies and motoko watanabe, their café quickly became known as the area's gourmet central. the new outpost in the german capital is designed by jonathan margulies, and features a similar boho vibe. house of small wonder occupies a spacious second floor unit of a listed early 20th-century building. rows of huge windows allow floods of daylight into this laid-back den with a bohemian edge.

the decor is a blend of new, vintage and recycled elements and materials, and lots of potted plants that collectively conjure up a happy 'n homey vibe. add to that the tasty comfort food, made from organic produce and concocted with a japanese twist, it's bound to create a loyal following in no time. this place serves breakfast, brunch and a wide range of yummy bites, and as said, the menu has a distinct japanese influences, actually lost if it. next to homemade bread, croissants and pastries, the culinary highlights include a juicy japanese hamburg steak with melted gruyère cheese, sashimi zuke don with avocado, mushrooms and sesame, and okinawan taco rice with pork, chopped veggies and rice. location: johannisstrasse 20 [mitte].

© house of small wonder / photography: stefan kühne