seoul: platform place store opening

© platform

platform is a leading retail and wholesale company in seoul. founded little over a decade ago, the company has introduced quite a number of leading foreign lifestyle brands in south korea, and now manages 36 stores and shop-in-shops nationwide. in 2009 it launched platform place, a separate retail entity with a heightened focus on fashion and culture-inspired merchandise that has a certain authenticity and history. gradually expanding, platform place has opened its fourth branch in the dynamic korean capital. the store is situated in the popular shopping district of itaewon where it occupies the ground floor of a lowrise building. the shop interior contrasts sharply with the rather bland façade, featuring walls and a ceiling covered in slabs of sandblasted plywood.

subtle tube lighting divides the vast ceiling into grids, and is paired with rows of spotlights. linoleum in an ivory white hue has been chosen as flooring. furnishings are equally simple and consist of a modular shelving system and modular display tables and cabinets. the new platform place store carries an edited selection of lifestyle goods that caters to the lifestyle of a growing number of young shoppers that prefer quality over quantity, mixing both current and classic styles. the range of goods includes furniture pieces, homeware, kitchenware, tableware, bath amenities, apparel pieces and footwear. currently on the shop's brand list are a string of coveted brands such as saint james, new balance, reigning champ, g.h. bass and soludos. location: 268 itaewon-ro [itaewon].

© platform

rome: diesel flagship store opening

© diesel

diesel has done some reshuffling in its retail network in rome, and the outcome resulted in the opening of a new flagship store in the heart of the city. situated at piazza di spagna, an iconic location visited by millions of tourists each year, the italian fashion brand occupies a highly prestigious retail space of 400 sqm. [4,306 sq.ft.] and no less than 11 windows that look out onto the historic square. given this top spot, the store interior has intentionally been luxed up, featuring luxurious materials, shiny finishes and a sophisticated lighting system. the central area of the store presents the diesel main line, in addition to accessories, watches, eyewear and fragrances, all amidst a setting of slatted wooden floors and concrete ceilings. the furniture is marked with natural black iron fittings, black lacquer and chrome details.

diesel being a leading name in denim, there obviously is a denim lounge with a particular focus on models of denim washes. also available is the brand's more exclusive diesel black gold collection. it's showcased in a sleeker setting with polished marble, mirrored walls and chunky modern furniture. in celebration of the store opening, diesel decided to pay homage to the eternal city with a special art installation. in collab with postmatter magazine, berlin-based artist andreas nicolas fischer created a digital installation of 65 led screens that cover the walls and ceiling of the store's entrance hall. showcased for the next three months, the immersive installation is continuously provided with topographic data from the city, resulting in ever-changing patterns on the screens. location: piazza di spagna 12 [tridente].

© diesel - store interior and screen shots of artist andreas nicolas fischer's digital installation

new york: boris bidjan saberi flagship store opening

© boris bidjan saberi / photography: wataru shimosato

although based in barcelona for quite some time now, german-iranian fashion designer boris bidjan saberi chose to open his first flagship store in new york city. occupying a unit of 2,100 sq.ft. [195 sqm.] on the ground floor of a six-storey building with a red brick façade, the store interior is understated and very much compatible with the boris bidjan saberi aesthetic, featuring brick walls dipped in pristine white and dark aged-wood flooring. all furnishings are custom-made and include industrial chain-link clothing racks, steel framework displays and a very sophisticated lighting system. the new flagship store carries the avant-garde brand's full range of men's and women's ready-to-wear collections, including coveted cult pieces such as the men's j1 oiled bock leather jacket for men and the body-molded open-seamwork horse leather jacket for women. co-hosted by stylezeitgeist magazine, the official opening party was held during the recent edition of new york fashion week and pulled a crowd of friends and fans of the fashion forward brand. location: 494 greenwich street [hudson square].

© boris bidjan saberi / photography: wataru shimosato

rotterdam: the future of fashion is now

© hussein chalayan / photography: nick knight - laser dress from the s/s 2008 readings collection

it has always been a volatile matter, but with the accelerated advancement of technology in recent years, creativity in fashion has been given a major boost. a new generation of savvy designers has emerged which has avidly adopted new possibilities to redefine the concept of fashion. opening sat - oct 11 at museum boijmans van beuningen in rotterdam is the future of fashion is now, an exhibition which explores the current fashion system and the role of apparel in today's society. very much aware that existing consumer demands are not sustainable, and new developments in technology and materials, many of today's designers adopt a new approach to what fashion can and should be. the future of fashion is now features futuristic designs - often straddling the realms of fashion and art - of over fifty emerging and established names in fashion from across the planet, including hussein chalayan, anrealage, comme des garçons, minä perhonen and sruli recht. an international team of fashion experts has commissioned six designers to create exclusive pieces for the exhibition. location: museumpark 18 [centrum].

© masayuki toshinaga - pyuupiru, mercury [2001] and jouke bos [top + bottom]

london: the alchemist bar opening

© the alchemist

a manchester institution migrates to london and gives the molecular mixology scene - yes, there is a scene - a run for its money. nestled in city banker central, the alchemist is a glittering gem twinkling with the alchemical instuments of yesteryear, super-flattering lighting and flickering black and white victorian footage in the background to complete the transportation. whilst it serves breakfast, lunch and all in between, the cocktail list is where all the funs at, perfect for a late night sip and supper. the team work furiously in the lab distilling aromatics and scented powders with bunsen burners and pipettes to create the most surprising drinks experiences possible. 

what arrives in your glass are unexpected flavours and delightful theatrics. a colour-changing cocktail comes in two conical flasks, pour in turn onto your ice ball as it changes colour in front of your eyes in a dramatic swirl of dry ice. the dead red zombie looks like a swirling cauldron of voodoo lava, you're almost too afraid to sip. a cola bottle libra tastes just like the sweet stuff but runs completely clear whilst the cereal killer is a spiked breakfast bowl served with a side of crunchy cereal loops. the bubble bath looks freshly scooped from the nearest tub. big sharers include the mad hatter's tea party served in a distiller with tea cups.

the fun is endless with bizarre components on every item...gingerbread syrup, white chocolate foam, frozen orchids, dried rose buds, metal powder, citric acid, raspberry dust, oak smoke and bergamot drops. hip flasks of premium spirits and a decent wine list accommodate the uninitiated. heaps of fun, an impressive place to take a hot date and everything on the menu is pretty affordable too – the alchemist is a top london pick. location: 6 beavis marks [city].

© the alchemist

paris: muji flagship store opening

© muji

forum des halles is a massive shopping complex in the heart of paris. it sits directly above the city's biggest public transportation hub which clusters seven subway lines and all five rer metropolitan train lines, and instantly became a leading shopping destination when it opened in 1979. over the years this expansive 40,000 sqm. [430,556 sq.ft.] complex of glass and steel became outdated but is currently seeing a major redevelopment to meet modern standards of shoppers and commuters alike. after launching a number of smaller outlets across town, it's here where japanese retailer muji has recently opened a european flagship store.

known for its well-designed and no-brand quality goods - mind you, that's the literal translation of its full name mujirushi ryohin - parisians have embraced muji like no other european city has, and its international reputation as a leading shopping destination also made it the ideal place to make such a major retail statement. the new muji flagship store occupies a spacious unit at forum des halles of 700 sqm. [7,535 sq.ft.] and features an interior by florian brillet, roberto murgia and gilles poirée - a collaborative trio of designers responsible for the interior of muji stores across france - that complies with the company's newest retail design aesthetic. upon entering the premises shoppers first encounter the muji kids department below a solid wooden structure that references old japanese tea houses.

within the area a colouring table and an embroidery machine to customise muji t-shirts with animal patterns are situated. the next section is dedicated to muji to go, a collection of travel products, and found muji - merci a selection made by french concept store merci of artisanal and other themed offerings. from there, a mosaic of metal sheets, cut tubes and grids in subtle shades of gray leads to muji basics, a segment with a vast range of classic basics which makes its european debut at the store. the contemporary retail setting is tied in by a polished concrete floor, alternated by segments in oak. location: forum des halles, place carrée [étienne marcel].

© muji

london: nigel cabourn - the army gym opening

© nigel cabourn

following two successful store openings in tokyo's naka meguro area, nigel cabourn shifts its focus to the homeland. it's in the heart of buzzing covent garden in london where the heritage brand has recently opened up shop. the store occupies two floors of a historic 18th-century building with a red brick façade. the interior is one that aims to emphasize the structure's origins, albeit in a modern way, with of exposed brick walls and sturdy wooden planking. vintage leather chairs are paired with faux vintage furnishings and selected props that blend well with the merchandise on offer. next to the full range of nigel cabourn men's + women's collections, the new store stocks selected items from compatible brands such as yuketen, merz b. schwanen, taylor & kent, c.c. filson and converse. location: 28 henrietta street [covent garden].

© nigel cabourn

amsterdam: one cannot get fingerprints from a rock

© barry reigate / reflex amsterdam

london-based artist barry reigate [1971] studied at both camberwell college of arts and goldsmiths. a true exponent of the current zeitgeist, reigan is known to blend cartoon elements with bold graphics that aim to portray his critical view on current times. but it's not just works on paper that he crafts, sculptures are also very much a fixture in his highly eclectic creative output. opening on sat - oct 4 [5pm-7pm] at reflex amsterdam is reigate's first exhibition in the low countries. wittily entitled one cannot get fingerprints from a rock, the showcase presents a new body of work. of the 15 paintings on display a few are populated by a cartoon wolf figure, a talismanic figure that recalls the three little pigs fairy-tale and other childhood memories, and a typical reigate motif. although merely whimsical at first, the series feature composite images that insist on multiple interpretations. location: weteringschans 79a [centrum].

© barry reigate / reflex amsterdam

toronto: holt renfrew men store opening

© holt renfrew

as things are heating up in canada's expanding luxury market, retailer holt renfrew plays a trump card by opening a dedicated men's department store in the country's leading and most dynamic shopping destination. situated on toronto's golden mile, the newly launched holt renfrew men occupies a lofty retail space of 16,500 sq.ft. [1,533 sqm.] spread over two floors of a lglass-encased modern structure. the store has been designed by new york-based architecture + interior design practice janson goldstein and has resulted in a welcoming modern setting with a distinct testosterone edge.

carefully selected modern and vintage furniture pieces blend into a backdrop of sleek surfaces, impressive slabs of mirrors and shiny finishes. unique touches, such as fitting room walls upholstered in suiting fabric, and rotating installations of art and cultural objects, all curated by interior designer tommy smythe, add further character to the retail space. holt renfrew men is conceptualized as a one-stop shop for savvy male shoppers, and accordingly its offerings encompass an entire men's wardrobe, even bespoke tailoring. the department store has teamed up with walter beauchamp tailors, and offers all the services and perks that come with top sartorial men's fashion.

mind you, this includes luxurious shopping suites with a fully personalized experience, complimentary suit alterations, valet service, shoe shine, a cobbler for shoe repairs, on-site monogramming and, oh my, a doorman. and we haven't even talked about holt renfrew men's collections yet. the store is packed to the guilds with apparel, shoe and accessories collections by leading names in the galaxy of men's fashion styles - be it formal, not so formal or forward - and includes illustrious names such as neil barrett, bottega veneta, paul smith, valextra and gucci. location: 100 bloor street west [yorkville].

© holt renfrew

san francisco: @large

© for-site foundation / photography: paul jürmann

we can't help thinking of the odd coincidental timing of the current uprising in hong kong and dissident artist ai wei wei's much-publicized exhibition that's taking place halfway across the planet on alcatraz. entitled @large, it's held across four spaces of the island's notorious penitentiary facility, and is a compelling showcase which explores human rights and freedom of expression. ai wei wei has created site-specific installations which have all been inspired by the island's historic significance as a military fortress, federal prison, a site of native-american heritage and protest, and lately as a national park. the works on display not only raise questions about the aforementioned issues, but also reflect the artist's personal experiences. ai wei wei has been confined to remain within the city limits of his hometown of beijing and is prohibited to travel abroad [on through apr 26]. to visit the exhibition on alcatraz island, click [here] for ticket information + ferry details. location: new industries building [alcatraz].

© for-site foundation / photography: paul jürmann