new york: the monarch room opening

© the monarch room

in a recent post we talked about gilded lily, a gold-infused bar in chelsea which pulls the savvy party people from across manhattan to its doorstep. it would be a flagrant omission on our part if we didn't mention its equally new and sister establishment one floor up. called the monarch room, owners lisle richards and eric marx created another downright stunner with the help of interior design by new york-based design practice roman and williams. housed in a 1930s warehouse, the 180-seat restaurant has very much retained an industrial feel, but in a polished and sophisticated kind of way, resembling grand parisian bistros of yesteryear. the abundance of concrete is offset by dark wood, sofas clad in tufted burgundy leather and rather stunning light fixtures.

a circular opening in the ceiling with matching chandelier amps the visual drama. an elongated 10-seat raw bar occupies a corner of the premises near the entrance, and serves the freshest of seafood with matching side dishes. and speaking of food, the monarch room is headed by michael citarella, a chef with michelin star training and a true gourmet who knows his food. accordingly, the menu is quite eclectic and lists a slew of honest and seasonal farm-to-table dishes, using locally sourced ingredients. whether you pick the red pepper gnocchi, a succulent spiced duck breast or halibut with beets, watercress, poblano chili, it's all good. presentation and service are equally key here, but you may have gathered that already from the establishment's name. location: 408 west 15th street [chelsea].

© the monarch room

london: ace hotel london x tokyobike

© tokyobike

london's buzzing shoreditch area has a lot to offer. perhaps a little too much? but if you explore the neighbourhood from the comfy back of a sleek, lightweight bike it's much easier to take it all in. it makes perfect sense that ace hotel has teamed with cult bike brand tokyobike to take you on a guided tour around the neighbourhood, highlighting the many fascinating twists and turns through these storied streets. starting sat - apr 19 these tours will be largely led by writer and brand consultant duncan riches, who'll also serve as curator for future ride guides - a good mix of local journalists, bloggers, designers and personalities that provide an authentic insider's view of london's streets. tours meet in the lobby for a cup of coffee from bulldog edition at 10am sharp, and then head straight over to tokyobike to pick up the bikes and helmets.

following a solid three-hours of sightseeing, you'll be taken back to the lobby for freshly made juice from lovage, ace hotel's onsite juice bar. besides these monthly scheduled tours, ace hotel and tokyobike also offer special bed and bike tours for hotel guests. these are tours that can be pre-arranged with the front desk staff on a case-by-case basis. simply use rate code bedandbike when you book your room at ace hotel to receive gbp 20 per person to spend at hoi polloi restaurant, lovage, bulldog edition or the lobby bar, in addition to access to a custom-made ace hotel x tokyobike for each day of your stay, and a cycling map of london. the offer is based on availability and applies only to reservations for deluxe rooms, with a maximum of two guests per room [on through end of june]. location: ace hotel, 100 shoreditch high street [shoreditch].

© tokyobike

berlin: bikini berlin mall opening

© bikini berlin

move over mitte! when the notorious berlin wall fell in 1989 and berlin ceased to be a divided city after almost three decades, the eastern part almost instantly fell prey to expansion urges by individuals and businesses from across the former border who obviously were way more adapted to the mechanisms of capitalism. the infrastructure of the area around alexanderplatz - better known as mitte or center in english, and historically the heart of this sprawling city - proved to be appealing in more ways than one. in a short period of time the area became the most happening part of time, surpassing plush kurfürstendamm as the most popular address for leading hipster brands and retailers to set up shop.

for little over a decade mitte has been berlin's most happening shopping area, but as of late all eyes are transfixed once again on the western part of the city due to the opening of new concept mall bikini berlin. it's situated in tiergarten, a neighbourhood with no reputation as a noteworthy retail hub. but a gradual influx of edgy art galleries in recent years could be seen as an indication that a shift of some sort was going on. it was officially acknowwledged when the stunning andreas murkudis concept store arrived in 2011, followed by the opening of five-star hotel das stue one year later. bikini berlin occupies a mixed-use complex from the 1950s by german architects hans schoszberger and paul schwebes.

it's situated along budapesterstrasse, squeezed in between the landmark kaiser wilhelm memorial church and the berlin zoo, and it was very much part of the post-war reconstruction of the city. the two architects designed complex buildings of different sizes, including a 16-storey high-rise and a cinema building. this was followed by a separate six-storey building which was quickly termed bikinihaus or bikini house by berliners because of its open-sided storey and which was reminiscent of a bare midriff in a bikini, the swimwear item that caused quite a stir at the time. it was initially designed as the head office of the local centre for women's apparel.

due to its modern style and expansive dimensions, bikinihaus became the symbol of berlin's post-war reconstruction. fast forward to the 21st century: since 2010 munich-based project development company bayerische hausbau supervised the redevelopment of the complex with the skillful assistance of belgian architect arne quinze. the maine idea behind his design is the combination of shopping, working and relaxing, complete with a cinema and hotel in an urban setting. given the magnitude of the project, the redevelopment of the bikini berlin concept mall has given a huge impulse to the rather bland surrounding area along the way.

tenants have been tightly curated, creating a cool mix of boutiques, concept and flagship stores, as well as bars, restaurants, various service providers, a cinema and an anchoring design hotel. on the lower three floors of bikini berlin stores are situated hat have not yet been fully established in the german capital's retail scene or the rest of germany. so, which establishments can be found here? well, we've already talked about the opening of 25hours hotel, gestalten pavilion and two new andreas murkudis stores, but other interesting stores on the premises include aspesi, mykita, carhartt w.i.p., supernova and mauro grifoni. so, is tiergarten the new mitte? given the size of the mall project and the incredible buzz it has generated, let's say it's a serious contender. location: budapesterstrasse 38-60 [tiergarten].

© bikini berlin

amsterdam: twin peaks screening

to celebrate the closure of faceless - an exhibition which explores the ongoing trend in art, fashion and media to hide, alter or mask the face - the people at mediamatic throw a fun party on sat - apr 12 [8pm-12am]. and they do so in matching dystopian style with the screening of twin peaks. the epic television series created by david lynch and mark frost first aired in the u.s. in 1990, and not only became one of the top-rated shows of the year but gained a huge cult following abroad as well. it will provide the perfect backdrop for the finale, highlighting the fragmentation of character through cinema. there'll be an array of food and drinks, in addition to beats by dj nicks a.k.a. butterfly. mind you, he'll be mixing eclectic electro with a multitude of samples from the renowned twin peaks series. location: mediamatic, v.o.c. kade 10 [centrum].

photo: the black lodge from the twin peaks series

tokyo: todd snyder store opening

© todd snyder / photography: tohru yuasa

things are going well for new york-based menswear designer todd snyder. previously honing his skills at both ralph lauren and j.crew, he decided to launch his own brand in 2011. after opening up shop in nolita, he has followed up a previous pop-store by boldly planting a flag in tokyo's boutique-infested shibuya neighbourhood. the permanent store measures 1,200 sq.ft. [112 sqm.], spread over three floors of a modern structure. dubbed the townhouse in good preppy fashion, the store interior references a classic tailor shop, and modern elements and materials are paired with a curated range of vintage props to reinforce the design concept.

the ground floor presents a selection of sought-after goods, including shoes by alden and tricker's, moscot shades and aesop cosmetics. and there actually is a tailor shop on the premises, it's situated on the top floor of the store, alongside a whiskey bar serving stumptown coffee. the basement section references the store in new york and boasts a vintage sportswear aesthetic. the new store in the japanese capital is a collab with a local wholesale company and plans are already underway to add more stores nationwide and across asia in the future. location: 6-18-14 jingumae [shibuya].

© todd snyder / photography: tohru yuasa

seoul: blue hours

© kukje gallery / gimhongsok - untitled

opening today at kukje gallery in seoul is an exhibition by korean contemporary artist gimhongsok [1964]. entitled blue hours, it's the artist's second show at the venue and presents a body of new work from his acclaimed series of mop painting series, as well as new drawings that explore time and labour through the accumulation of marks on paper by using the fine tip of either a ball-point pen or a delicate brush. all the are part of gimhongsok’s ongoing project people objective which he started in 2011, but this show also sees the introduction of their new group, being hourly art. interestingly, the artist deploys day laborers and part-time students to produce his artwork, thereby challenging the value of art and the socio-economic environment that supports its proliferation. the exhibition's title in fact alludes to manual work, and speaks directly to his personal interest in the social hierarchy of labour and the market forces that assign value.

by turning the formula that equates an artist’s industry with marketable goods, gimhongsok’s proxy labourers follow his instructions to create art based solely on their labor-for-hire, explicitly critiquing the commodification of aesthetics, as well as the model in which an artist can employ surrogates to create his or her own art. this critique is poignantly illustrated in works such as mop-131014, one of the primary artworks on display. one important factor in gimhongsok’s conceptual framing of blue hours is the creation of a 'relationship' between the artist and the hired labourer. this showcase at kukje gallery aims to lay bare how contemporary society defines and values artwork and how this shifting definition reflects greater shifts in social values [on through may 11]. location: 54 samcheong-ro, pavilion k2 [sogyeok-dong].

© kukje gallery / gimhongsok - untitled (112 hours) and mop-131208

berlin: andreas murkudis store opening

© bikini berlin

this past week the buzz in berlin is all about the city's new concept mall: bikini berlin. accommodated in a beautifully redeveloped 1950s chunk of real estate, the elaborate project is anchored by a design hotel, a movie theater and a string of tightly curated shops. retailer andreas murkudis is a hailed retailer who has longtime been an influencer with his meticulously crafted store concepts. when murkudis audaciously opened his expansive concept store in 2011, he propelled the german capital straight into the league of must-go shopping destinations. only a few blocks away from that much publicized store andreas murkudis has embarked on a new project and is one of the chosen few to have opened up shop at bikini berlin. in fact he has opened two shops. similarly to the initial concept store, the smaller satellite one has been designed by architecture practice gonzalez haase. and although the setting is very different, the stunning minimalist resemblance is evident.

the interior design incorporates the buildings concrete shell and its visual interplay of utility pipes, and subtly blends in a series of discreet interventions. these are furnishings made from a number of mostly inconspicuous materials, making up a palette of understated beauty. sleek linear fixtures, lining the ceiling in suspended rows add a stunning touch. murkudis' other shop is called am+, and is separately designed by german architect ludwig jenssen. it will cater to a younger client base with a specific range of brands. the two stores carry men's + women's apparel, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and design objects. the combined brand list features a good mix of coveted fashion labels such as dries van noten, a.p.c., maison martin margiela, valextra and orlebar brown. location: bikini berlin, budapesterstrasse 38-50 [tiergarten].

© gonzalez haase / photography: thomas meyer

milan: urbem

© michael franke

it's that time of the year again that the planet's design community descends upon milan to showcase its finest, newest and most advanced. one of the participating creatives in this year's edition of the salone del mobile is christopher jenner. the london-based designer will present the so-called urbem collection of eight light fixtures in a visually arresting installation at area sciesa. the lamp designs take cues from the late 19th century milanese street lighting, and jenner employs the era’s profound industrial and technological ambition to devise an emotive collection of contemporary lighting. the designs measure 400mm x 600mm and are crafted from handmade triple layered opal with glass shades. each model features a crafted chain which integrates the power source with design, a hand crafted aesthetic married which fulfils modern-day requirements. the installation aims to project the effects of an ever-changing electrical storm, presenting the urbem collection in a visually immersive display through the use of wireless led and a reflective stainless steel vortex [on through apr 13]. location: area sciesa, via amatore sciesa 3 [porta vittoria].

© michael franke

new york: gilded lily bar opening

© gilded lily

okay, so you're way too young to have lived the debaucherous golden age of disco, when making a grand entrance on a white mare was almost customary and partying hard until the break of dawn on weekdays was pretty much a rule. well, you've got another shot at gaining instant dance floor stardom and all the perks that come with it. we're talking the opening of gilded lily, a happening and rather glitzy - and we mean that literally - late night haunt in chelsea. the club is the latest venture of lisle richards and eric marx, a duo who've already made their mark on nightlife in the big apple with a number of eye-catching eateries. mind you, one of their other new venues sits right atop this bar.

they enlisted new york-based agency roman and williams which designed a mischievously o.t.t. interior with an industrial edge, and infused it with a shiny gold hue. and that includes the specially designed fixtures, leather sofas and even floors. gilded lily's absolute decoration showstopper is this gigantic spiky chandelier, synced to the deejay's pulsating beats and with a sunken dance floor below. obviously, there's a state-of-the-art sound system with gilded speakers to match. and speaking of music, the club also aims to revive some the fun and glam of the hedonistic heyday of the disco era in that department. needless to say gilded lily pulls a crowd that instinctively knows how to party. you better practice your dance moves. location: 408 west 15th street [chelsea].

© gilded lily

global: gucci s/s 2014 sunglasses

© gucci

gucci's new range of s/s 2014 sunglasses ticks all of our boxes. both for men and women, the models blend a sophisticated sense of italian style - or should we say la bella figura - with advanced technology. each frame has a patented ultra-lightweight construction, and is paired with high-quality lenses in beautiful exotic shades. the gucci touch is evident in the design: classic, functional and effortlessly chic, making them pretty easy to flaunt at any occasion and compatible with any style mood you're in. the pilot-shaped unisex shades combine a masculine allure with a modern bright colour palette. as with the sunglasses for women, all the lenses feature a distinctive mirrored blue reflective effect.

the available colour combinations are yellow lenses with a dark ruthenium frame, lilac lenses with a red gold frame, green lenses with a ruthenium frame, orange lenses with a dark ruthenium frame, brown lenses with a gold frame, and smoke lenses with a dark ruthenium frame. the gucci logo is printed on the lenses and subtly engraved on the temples. there's also a softly rounded minimal design with a glam twist for women. the colours of the lenses highlight the eyes behind them for a seductive come hither look, and all have a mirrored blue reflective effect. obviously, there are quite a few colour combinations to choose from. there are yellow lenses with a dark ruthenium frame, lilac lenses with a red gold frame, green lenses with a ruthenium frame, orange lenses with a dark ruthenium frame, pink lenses with a palladium metal frame, brown lenses with a gold frame, and smoke lenses with a dark ruthenium frame.

the gucci logo is printed on the lenses and subtly engraved on the temples. for girls seeking to make a bold style statement this summer, the rectangular-shaped mask model is the obvious choice. it comes with bright lenses that add full-on glamour to the cutting-edge design: lilac with blue flash on red gold frames, yellow with blue flash on dark ruthenium frame, green with blue flash on ruthenium frame, pink with blue flash on palladium frame, brown flash on gold frames and black flash on dark ru-thenium frame. the bridge is embellished with a natural bamboo detail, an iconic gucci detail which reflects the luxury brand’s philosophy of fusing tradition and innovation. the gucci logo is printed on the lenses and subtly engraved on the temples.

© gucci