mumbai: a thousand kisses deep

© chatterjee & lal / fabien charuau

hailing from the french coastal region of brittany, fabien charuau is a creative jack of all trades based in mumbai. working in photography and video since the beginning of his career, charuau also writes about photography and curates art shows. but now, the french indian – mind you, he has been living here for almost two decades and rightfully considers himself a local – has landed himself a major solo exhibition at chatterjee & lal, one of the city's few noteworthy contemporary art gallery's. the show, sensually entitled a thousand kisses deep, opens on fri - aug 14 and presents a collection of digital prints on canvas, works on paper and a video installation that the artist created during the past four years. the conceptual underpinnings of the showcase relate to contemporary life in india, including the expression of intimacy amongst young adults, and the manner in which devotional practices have moved online. technique-wise, charuau focuses on the materiality of digital images and, in particular, their auto-generation, both still and moving, by code-based processes. location: kamal mansion, haji niyaz ahmed azmi marg, first floor [colaba].

© chatterjee & lal / fabien charuau

nottingham: aesop shop-in-shop opening

© aesop

after opening no less than eleven stores in the greater london area, aesop has shifted its focus north, adding an outpost in nottingham's hockley area. for this venture the australian cosmetics brand has teamed up with renowned music retailer and label rough trade, opening a shop-in-shop on the second floor of the latter's store. measuring 33 sqm. [355 sq.ft.], it features an interior design by longtime collaborator, architecture practice ciguë from paris. the focal point of the design is an ingeniously looking three-tiered distillation unit whose components include a glass kettle, plants and feeding taps.

interestingly, the installation reaches into the stairway to diffuse aesop’s essential oil blends throughout the ground floor and luring shoppers to venture upstairs. fixed to a large table topped with belgian black stone, its steel pipes extend into slender taps over a chunky raw concrete sink used for product demonstration. sycamore is used for point-of-sale, shelving, and simple seating that issues an implicit invitation to linger; the emphasis on natural materials and palette extends to floors of washed pinewood. a vintage floor lamp complements abundant natural light provided by two windows. the new aesop shop-in-shop carries the brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: rough trade, 5 broad street [hockley].

© aesop

são paulo: boys always boys

© amoreira / photography: marcelo elidio

a treasure trove of beautifully crafted homeware, objects and gifts, concept store amoreira has garnered quite a reputation among design aficionados across são paulo ever since it opened in 2010. the focus of owners cristina rogozinski and fernanda rezende is one that's unapologetically quirky and ethical focus, honouring simplicity and sustainability. celebrating the store's fifth anniversary on sat - aug 8 [from 11am], a little party will be held on the premises with fun activities planned, such as educational games for both kids and adults, a cartoonist making live drawings, and anyone interested can send complimentary cards. these cards are part of amoreira's current meninos sempre meninos campaign, developed especially for this event by creative director ricardo gaioso and shot by photographer marcelo elidio. and that's not all, folks. shoppers purchasing over brl 300 of goods receive a wooden spinning top designed by estudio manus and a bottle of bubbly. and speaking of which, there'll be plenty of food and drinks to keep the party going. be there or be square! location: rua dos macunis 510 [alto de pinheiros].

© amoreira / photography: marcelo elidio

paris: la boutique des bains opening

© société des bains

we may have talked about the resurrection of les bains – a fixture in parisian nightlife in the 1980s and 1990s – in a previous post, but hadn't mentioned the property's related concept store yet. situated across the street, la boutique des bains as it's called, aims to offer a different retail experience to in-the-know shoppers, and it does so by way of a unique setting and a collection of cherry-picked items. local architecture practice diplomates created a striking interior with simple materials applied in an a rather ingenious way. a framework of wooden beams has been inserted, adding a deconstructed dynamic that seems to hint the store's evolving range of offerings. the floor and specifiic wall sections are covered in panels of dark wood, engraved with a geometric motif. so, what's on the shelves? la boutique des bains collaborates with thomas erber, the mastermind behind traveling haute bazaar cabinet de curiosités, to select a frequent rotation of collab offerings, and that can only mean sophisticated goods by various niche brands. the current collection includes le gramme's sleek bracelets, pierre hardy sneakers, bold shades by thierry lasry, leather bags by delfine delafon, crisp white shirts by officine generale, in addition to artworks by selected artists. location: 2 rue du bourg l'abbé [étienne marcel].

© société des bains

london: myths and rifts

© kkoutlet / stefanos andreadis

greece and grexit have made a string of dominating headlines these past few months, and although the truth might be akwardly tucked away somewhere in the middle, consequences of this high drama have resonated far beyond the financial arena. opening today [7pm-9pm] at london's kkoutlet is an exhibition that attempts, in a playful, artistic, and last but not least, somewhat cynical kind of way, to make sense of it all. well, sort of. graphic designer and illustrator stefanos andreadis has inked his reaction to the issue directly onto euro bank notes and sends them back into circulation, an eternally travelling protest exhibition. drawing on every bank note he can get his hands on, which to date is a couple of hundreds, banknotes.gr is an ongoing project that originally started in february of last year.

these mini works of graffiti use the grand buildings etched into the euros as the backdrops for his satire: a world of public hangings, clandestine business meetings, grim reapers and mob demos. entitled myths and rifts, the show presents 16 of andreadis' new illustrated banknotes. alternating the display of these banknotes are photographs of fellow countryman alexis vasilikos. the photos on display explore the presence of the sublime in everyday life, and in such a way that it seems as if hardly anything can obliterate the resilience of this ancient civilisation. location: 42 hoxton square [shoreditch].

© kkoutlet / alexis vasilikos - dream team, athens [2013] and fingers, leros [2011] 

london: alexander wang store opening

© alexander wang / photography: koen van damme

alexander wang is out at balenciaga and thus able to go full throttle again with his own brand. oddly coinciding with the departure is the opening of the designer's biggest flagship store to date in london's mayfair district – an area densely populated with luxury boutiques – and also his first ever outpost this side of the atlantic. the store's voluminous premises, previously home to a post office, measure 625 sqm. [6,727 sq.ft.] spread over four floors, and feature an understated interior design by antwerp-based architect vincent van duysen. the belgian creative fused the heritage of the building itself and that of the neighbourhood with wang's preference of less traditional materials, such as distressed chrome, rubber and embossed leathers, capturing these in proportions and configurations that abide by the golden 'less is more' principle. the new alexander wang store carries the brand's full range men's and women's ready-to-wear, t by alexander wang and accessories collections, in addition to the objects collection. location: 43-44 albemarle street [mayfair].

© alexander wang / photography: koen van damme

new york: hypnopompic

© bergdorf goodman

kustaa saksi [1975] is an amsterdam-based finnish artist who has dipped his toe in a variety of pools, and frantically continues to explore new ways to get his creative message across. two years ago, saksi created a collection of large-scale tapestries entitled hypnopompic. handwoven in a jacquard technique from mohair, alpaca, cotton and synthetic materials, such as phosphate and metallic acrylic thread, each work is inspired by the state of sensory confusion leading out of sleep, when the state of awakening gets mixed with the dream world into a surreal reality. it's an exceptional state of consciousness, in which one may experience the presence of, or see creatures and animals, such as spiders, monkeys and insects. a number of these colourful tapestries are currently on display at bergdorf goodman in new york city, gracing the illustrious department store's windows in installations that pair them with highlights from the new fall collections [on through aug 13]. location: bergdorf goodman, 754 fifth avenue [midtown].

© bergdorf goodman

los angeles: mama shelter opening

© mama shelter

following a much publicized expansion across france and to istanbul, design-led hotel chain mama shelter has jumped the big pond, opening its newest outpost in los angeles. occupying a historic 1920s building in hollywood, the property is designed by thierry gaugain, featuring 70 guestrooms and suites spread over five floors. the frenchman previously honed his skills as head of design at phlippe starck, a fellow countryman who designed all previous mama shelter properties. for this project gaugain has collaborated closely with a number of urban artists to create settings that would reflect – albeit in a bantering fashion – the flashy iconography of this larger-than-life tinseltown.

if you know mama shelter, rooms aren't just rooms, but offer a fun-infused style and modern comfort that's compatible with the ultra-picky demographic of savvy young thangs and like-minded adults. they come in three sizes, from the compact medium mama and slightly bigger large mama, to the xxl mama for those who like to splurge. each pad features a king bed and a 27-inch for tv, movies [including complimentary x-rated ones...], skype, and of course, internet access. the hotel's facilities are destinations in their own right, providing both guests and fun-seeking angelenos the perfect place to mingle, chill out or party.

the restaurant is the domain of chef ben bailly who serves an all-day menu of simple but flavoursome cuisine, inspired by french and american culinary traditions. the adjacent bar is an equally relaxed spot, serving a wide range of spirits and a number of whimsical 'mom-inspired' signature cocktails. as said, every nook and cranny of the new mama shelter los angeles is infused with urban art, but perhaps not as evident as the two venues' shared chalk ceiling – mind you, it's pretty much an ongoing art project that'll engage an even greater variety of creatives – covered in drawings and texts. and that's not all, folks. currently under wraps are additional facilities on the rooftop, including another restaurant, a lounge, and an ultimate california-style outdoor gym. location: 6500 selma avenue [hollywood].

© mama shelter

amsterdam: pudding

© artdeli / ulrike rehm - caroussel

approaching art with an unapologetic joie de vivre and providing it with a matchingly playful showcase along the way, the newly opened artdeli has intentionally shaken up amsterdam's creative scene. the venue aims to be an incubator of sorts, connecting with artists and creative professionals from various fields to establish a different interaction with aficionados. part of the venue's program is an exhibition series with guest curators, and currently ruling the premises with an immersive showcase is hester alberdingk thijm, director of akzonobel art foundation. whimsically entitled pudding, alberdingk thijm's exhibition obviously is a nod to the sugar-infused coloured jelly as we know it, but more profoundly, it references its stature as a trophy dish often depicted amidst opulently decked tables in 17th-century still life paintings. not surprisingly, food as a whole has proven to be a recurring theme in art up to this very day as it's seen as a metaphor for man’s fleeting existence. alberdingk thijm's pudding showcase presents an eclectic variety of artworks that more or less reflects the multi-faceted kaleidoscope of life itself, and interestingly, also its uglier side. the works on display are by a number of leading contemporary artists from home turf, including marcel van eeden, ulrike rehm, nicholas riis, daphne rosenthal and tim ayres [on through sep 28]. location: artdeli, rokin 93 [centrum].

© artdeli / marcel van eeden - cakes [top] and nicholas riis - noodle the poodle [bottom]

birmingham: harvey nichols store renewal

© harvey nichols

although london is by far the u.k.'s most prominent shopping destination in terms of size and variety, there are noteworthy pockets elsewhere that would appeal to a discerning international clientele. as the country's third largest metropolitan area, birmingham has always had the potential for an expanded high-end retail portfolio. now that things are looking brighter, luxury retailer harvey nichols seized the opportunity, and picked the city to introduce its renewed store formula there. an anchor tenant at the mailbox, an upscale mall in full redevelopment mode and situated just outside the downtown area, it occupies a 45,000 sq.ft. [4,181 sqm.] spread over the ground floor and a mezzanine level.

the renewed interior, designed by london-based agency virgile + partners, is actually conceptualized as a blueprint for all future harvey nichols stores. the focus of the design was to create engaging, versatile, and last but not least, luxurious settings that match the savviness and dynamic of today's shoppers. this has been translated into intentional juxtapositions of materials, furnishings, objects, and an infusion of hi-tech, all below a ceiling covered in shiny metal panels. when entering the store, shoppers walk through an immersive 12-metre long tunnel entrance, featuring a cutting-edge digital art installation that signals the contemporary atmosphere inside.

it's right here where the store's concierge team is readily available with services, such as coat check and valet parking, in a contrasting, somewhat theatrical setting with an oversized baroque crystal chandelier. the store is largely set across one floor with an open plan and lofty dimensions that add up to a sense of spaciousness. as said, the design is eclectic, but it shows a considered layering at the same time. a route has been created through the use of a soft white marble with characteristic grey and terracotta veining, offset by the grey concrete floor tiles around the perimeter of the space.

at the core of the store a beauty department is situated, featuring counters made from concrete with corian tops. the men's and women's apparel collections, as well as accessories and shoes are presented in the perimeter. but don't expect traditional display set-ups. the coveted merchandise is paired with adventurous installations made from a variety of often unexpected materials. anticipating the power shopper demographic, harvey nichols is dotted with stylish lounges where to sit back and recharge for another shopping spree. towards the back of the store, there is a ‘pod’, split in two levels, that dominates the space.

the architectural forms of the pod are sculptural and soft, the marble floor penetrating into the area where beauty services and a hair salon are on offer. an internal staircase leads to the mezzanine level, offering views of the store and creating no less than seven private beauty treatment rooms. a restaurant + cocktail bar seamlessly extends the shopping experience into an ultimate culinary one, and obviously with a similarly stylish setting. open all day, it features an open kitchen, a private space for parties, a special wine area with a wine tasting bar, and last but not least, a well-stocked foodmarket. location: the mailbox, 65 wharfside street [ladywood].

© harvey nichols