milan: dolce & gabbana sartoria store opening

© dolce & gabbana

the innate peacock mentality of italian males not only sustains a large part of the italian fashion industry, but has also inspired a style-conscious demographic across the planet. dolce & gabbana has emphasized its leading position in high-end men's fashion by expanding its lavish boutique on milan's corso venezia with an atelier - the brand's very first - for bespoke men's clothes. located right next door in the same 16th-century neo-classical palazzo, the new store features a regal setting that does justice to the building. the atelier opens onto a typical milanese courtyard that was once the home of several artisan shops and which now is embellished with a genuine sicilian garden. divided into various rooms, meticulous attention has been given to the design and decoration.

floors are an alternation of no less than five different types of marble with parquet floors in typical 19th-century fashion and various design pieces chosen for their uniqueness furnish each room. highlights are the one-of-a-kind bookcase by giò ponti, originally designed for a hotel in st.-tropez, a table by ignazio gardella, and a majestic palmengrten chandelier with 140 light bulbs arranged in a radical pattern reminiscent of the palms in the outdoor garden. dolce & gabbana's new atelier is home to talented expert tailors who work in these rooms and are more than able to meet the requirements of the discerning male customer. location: corso venezia 13 [duomo].

© dolce & gabbana

paris: flying houses

© laurent chéhère

an artsy place with a highly personal vibe, hôtel jules & jim in the marais district is the obvious choice for those susceptible to anything creative. so, it's not surprising they go the extra yard to please hotel guests with appealing exhibitions. currently on at the hotel's gallery space is an exhibition set up in collab with galerie paris-beijing by french photographer laurent chéhère. entitled flying houses, the show presents a series of works which employ traditional photography and digital manipulation. depicted are various buildings, isolated from their urban context and allowing them to float in the sky, totally detached from gravity. the series is inspired by a poetic vision of a bygone paris, but also influenced by cult movies such as hayao miyazaki's howl's moving castle and le ballon rouge by albert lamorisse. chéhère scavenged the working class neighbourhoods of ménilmontant and belleville to trace the most interesting structures, be it an erotic cinema, a run down hotel or a non-descript home [on through sep 28]. location: hôtel jules & jim, 11 rue des gravilliers [marais].

© laurent chéhère

melbourne: hermès store opening

© hermès

australia's luxury boom is reaching ever-new heights and many foreign high-end brands have timely decided to enter the market or expand their existing footprint. the most dynamic place where retail activitiy of this kind is most evident is melbourne, and it's right in the heart of the city where hermès has recently opened a prestigious new store. situated on the ground floor of harley house, a 1920s landmark structure built in georgian revival style, hermès' new boutique measures 260 sqm. [2,799 sq.ft.] spread over two levels and is double the size of its previous downtown address. the store interior has been designed by rdai, a paris-based practice and longtime collaborator of the french luxury brand. known for its discreet chic, the store setting is very much a three-dimensional extrapolation.

it features a decor of walls clad in timber, matching shelving and displays, mosaic floors and sophisticated lighting. upon entering, shoppers encounter hermès' iconic ex-libris etched into the floor. the ground floor is dedicated to men's ready-to-wear, silk items, perfumes, jewellery and the brand's equestrian collections. a central staircase leads to a more intimate space on the second floor. a dedicated women's domain, it's here the women's ready-to-wear, watches, jewellery, homeware and tableware collections are presented. having a flexible configuration, this floor can easily be transformed into a private appointment showroom. location: harley house, 71 collins street [cbd].

© hermès

global: bwgh x puma a/w 2014 collection

© puma

for the second time around, the boys behind french label brooklyn we go hard - have collaborated with sportswear giant puma. the a/w 2014 collection is pretty much an extrapolation of the previous one, and david obadia and nelson hassan have picked a new range of iconic items from the extensive puma archives to rework and blend in their distinct urban flavour. as an avid art aficionado, obadia has a keen eye for colour and composition, and it isn't surprising he has drawn inspiration from american abstract expressionist painting, in particular the works of artists such as hans hofmann, helen frankenthaler and ethan cook. his notions have been translated into contemporary pieces that playfully marry sportswear, street style and modern art. shown here are some of the looks and items that we particularly like. the bwgh x puma a/w 2014 collection is now available at select stores across the planet.

© puma

tokyo: andaz tokyo hotel opening

© andaz - sweeping city views from the new andaz tokyo

with a unique hospitality formula that blends in design and creativity, andaz hotels have quite logically popped up in some of the leading creative hubs across the planet, and it was only a matter of time that the andaz tokyo would open its doors. the first andaz property in japan, it occupies the top floors of toranomon hills, a new 52-storey mixed-use highrise in the heart of tokyo. similarly to other andaz hotels, great attention has been given to the interior design of the andaz tokyo to create a unique hospitality experience. renowned interior designers tony chi from new york city and tokyo-based shinichiro ogata were enlisted to do the job.

they succeeded in creating a contemporary design distinct setting that emphasizes japanese cultural sensibilities, using a range of natural materials, such as washi paper and walnut. mind you, the japanese penchant for authenticity of material and textures has been translated to sophisticated and modern interiors. the andaz tokyo features 164 spacious guestrooms and suites, all with sweeping views of the city. the bathroom is a key feature of the room design, equipped with deep soaking tubs inspired by japanese bath culture. obviously, the rooms feature all the modern comfort and amenities today's travellers expect from a five-star properties.

and in true andaz fashion, all non-alcoholic mini-bar drinks and locally-inspired snacks are complimentary, as are local telephone calls and wireless internet access. andaz tokyo features a string of facilities that further entice with exquisite settings and offerings. the andaz tavern on the 51st floor is the hotel's main dining venue. soaring floor-to-ceiling windows form the backdrop for suspended undulating wood sculptures by british artist charlie whinney. the menu here features refined european provincial cuisine prepared with seasonal japanese ingredients, offering uncomplicated and wholesome dishes with simple flavours.

on floor up the rooftop bar is situated and here the decor morphs into a modern take on a katsura imperial villa, the quintessential example of japanese architecture. the main area of the bar is separated into three different spaces with a variation of ceiling heights, providing the right ambience for each guest’s personal choice. the drink menu features crafted cocktails infused with delicate teas and fresh seasonal fruits, domestic draft beers, bubbles and fine sakes. interestingly, there's an open-air roof-protected terrace overlooking tokyo bay. last but not least, there's the ao spa + club with special treatments and exclusive products which help you to unwind or rejuvenate in a state-of-the-art environment. this area comes with a full-fledged fitness center and swimming pool. location: toranomon hills, 1-23-4 toranomon, floors 47-52 [toranomon].

© andaz

melbourne: marais store opening

© marais

marais, the renowned melbourne-based retailer, has opened their second door located at 73-77 bourke street. their newly constructed 'temple to high fashion' is opulent, extravagant and a pioneering new retail space. it was designed and built in conjunction with built, f2 architecture, dcg and the flaming beacon – and features two expansive levels, including their standard retail fare, micro stores, a shoe salon, a v.i.p. fitting room and a lingerie department. the intricately concocted visual drama of the space is anchored a three-tonne dcg-designed chandelier, and backed up by smoked mirror ceilings and counters, an infinity lift, walls draped in chainmail and seashell pink marble walls housing their lingerie department. the space elevates the traditional retail store into a gallery in which the beautiful works of art and design are given the recognition and presentation they deserve. the current range of labels stocked, include  givenchy, céline, balenciaga, linda farrow, isabel marant, alexander mcqueen, lanvin, erickson beamon, mawi, bernard delettrez, rick owens and atelier bordelle. location: 73-77 bourke street [cbd]. 

© marais

tel aviv: gathering

© design museum holon / photography: itay benit

in today's industrialised modern society mass production and consumption has not only erased the human scope, but also the necessary perimeters to safeguard sustainability and thus the future of our planet. many in the global creative community have shown a disdain for a boring global market coupled with a fear of the virtualisation of society, and this has inspired them to create work that is linked to the humanisation of the making process and the contextualisation of a more responsible lifestyle. as a result, craft has become one of the major movements of our time and can be understood as the repetition of skills that belong to our common past, exuding a sense of belonging and continuity. currently on at design museum holon in suburban tel aviv is gathering - from domestic craft to contemporary process, an exhibition curated by li edelkoort and philip fimmano.

ths interesting show presents contemporary design themes that reflect traditional domestic crafts - think pleating, draping, layering, ribboning, smocking, wrapping, folding, needlework, felting, quilting, and yes, even baking - in an effort to remain connected to authenticity. but the show has an interesting catch, as the showcased work is by designers who've applied nifty new technologies and techniques to make bold creative statements that add to the existing design idiom. a special section of the exhibition explores issey miyake's 132 5. women's collection. presented at the exhibition are works by some of the planet's top creative talents, including patricia urquiola, tord boontje, erwan + ronan bouroullec, tokujin yoshioka and fredrikson stallard [on through oct 25]. location: 8 derech pinhas eilon [holon].

© design museum holon / photography: itay benit

kuala lumpur: aesop store opening

© aesop

following their collab on a store at kuala lumpur's lot 10 shopping mall earlier this year, aesop has once again enlisted melbourne-based kerstin thompson architects to create a signature store in the malaysian capital. situated at bangsar village II, the new extension of one of the city's other popular shopping malls, it features a store design that takes cues from traditional local architecture in an interesting way. locally sourced timber louvres have been repurposed timber as shelving units for product display, while timber slats dipped in a pale pink hue dress the walls, referencing the structure and palette of many local shopfronts and domestic façades. a cement sales cum demonstration sink counter is prominently situated in the centre. the new aesop store carries the australian brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: bangsar village II, jalan telawi 1, shop ugf11 [bangsar baru].

© aesop

hong kong: pop

© above second / tristan eaton - eddie vedder

it's an irrefutable fact that mural art and graffiti were the first true democratizations of fine arts in contemporary culture. what started out as an underground and almost anarchic form of expression has now been fully embraced by renowned museums and art galleries across the planet. as such, the works of these artists exemplify this generation’s transition of mural art and graffiti to the established gallery space. it so happens that above second, a savvy little gallery in hong kong that's well-connected to the global urban art community, is dedicating its upcoming summer exhibition to some of that generation's most brilliant stars. opening fri - jul 18 [7pm-10pm] on the gallery's premises in sai ying pun is pop, a showcase of a range of artworks by various leading artists influenced by pop culture, and which aims to capture the diverse colours and eclectic styles of the streets into the gallery. the show's participating artists include tristan eaton, cyrcle, okuda, joram roukes and takahiro komura. location: 9 first street [sai ying pun].

© above second / cyrcle - trials [top] and joram roukes - line backer [bottom]

new york: levi's commuter workspace

© levi's / photography: jorge quinteros

finding appealing new ways to connect with its following iconic denim brand levi's has launched a levi's commuter workspace in williamsburg. the very first of a series, it's a hybrid creative hub that serves as a gathering place, a resource center for avid cyclists and a shop stocked with the latest levi's commuter apparel. the temporary space boasts a low-key, utilitarian setting that's thoughtfully designed at the same time, using a range of compatible materials. the launch party took place earlier this week, indulging attendees with a complimentary bike valet, wash and tune-ups, goldsprints competitions to win a trophy tokyobike, complimentary beer and grilled cheese, and special gig by beach fossils and a sinkane dj set. mind you, a program of cool events is scheduled for the duration of pop-up space  [open through jul 26]. following this opening levi's is to launch levi's commuter workspace editions next - and almost simulateously - in both los angeles and london. location: 261 metropolitan avenue [williamsburg north].

© levi's / photography: jorge quinteros