frankfurt: jil sander – present tense

© raymond meier – jil sander cosmetics campaign: sander for men

a fixture in fashion land for many decades, jil sander [1943] stood at the forefront of understatement. although the german-born is generally credited for masterfully pairing minimalism and luxury in fashion, it's her much-publicized multiple exits from her own company which have stuck in our minds. a new exhibition at museum angewandte kunst in frankfurt, entitled präsens, or present tense in english, aims to set the record straight, focusing on sander's design philosophy and creative legacy instead. it's the designer's first ever solo exhibition in a museum, and it comprises of large-scale, multi-media installations and tableaus devoted to the impact of her design approach on the aesthetics, material and form of fashion and product design, architecture, and even garden art. curated by museum director matthias wagner k, and in close cooperation with jil sander herself, the showcase lays bare many aspects of the latter's craft across 3,000 sqm. the show opens as a multimedia spectacle, combining architecture, colour, light, film, sound, text, photography, fashion and art in dynamic spatial compositions [on through may 6]. location: schaumainkai 17 [brückenviertel].

© craig mcdean – jil sander campaign s/s 1996 

london: sonos store opening

© sonos

following last year's much-publicized launch of sonos studios in shoreditch, sonos has reshuffled cards, closing down the venue again, and establish a flagship store in london's seven dials neighbourhood instead. the new venue, due to open its doors on thu – nov 16, is modeled after its first ever retail space in new york city, an event we covered in a previous post. the store occupies a sizeable 2,500 sqm. [26,910 sq.ft.] across two floors, and offers a similar immersive environment that aims to raise local brand awareness. the ground floor features homey settings two house-shaped listening rooms, created with various materials and surfaces to improve the acoustics, including rugs, bookshelves and glass, and adorned with colourful artwork by local artists neil raitt and camille walala.

nifty products of the home sound system brand are obviously installed in the rooms, and a demo can be activated on an ipad, replicating a sound experience as if at home. mind you, shoppers can also select their own music to be played here. as to boost interaction, the store will host a programme of exhibitions and other events, showcasing local creative talent and musicians throughout the year. the basement is home to a furnished event space with felt-clad walls and carpeting, and suitable to sit back and enjoy a live gig. the space will be inaugurated with a night of talks that celebrate david bowie’s iconic music legacy. sonos has already set its sight on a second store in the old continent, and it's scheduled to open next year in berlin. location: 21-23 earlham street [seven dials].

© sonos

seoul: snake pool – down the rabbit hole

© lee kang-hyuk

platform place is the brick and mortar division of korean online retailer platform. the company targets the country's young and savvy, offering a selection of streetwear brands, but also by engaging with this crowd on a cultural level. enter platform place 629, a gallery space at the platform place store in seoul's popular hongdae shopping district. situated on the second floor, the gallery has its very own exhibition programme, featuring six young artists a year. the latest show, entitled snake pool – down the rabbit hole, is by lee kang-hyuk [1981], a photographer with a penchant for the korean capital's subcultures and various youth scenes, and who has worked for a string of leading publications. on display is a series of lee's photographs, all shot during the period 2015-2017 and reflecting his prime interests. next to portraits of millennial scenesters, lee also presents imagery that aims to capture the atmosphere of his subculture or scene of choice. the show is accompanied by an eponymous book published by vostok press, and which will be for sale on site [on through nov 30]. location: platform place, 113 wausan-ro, second floor [hongdae].

© lee kang-hyuk

amsterdam: unrecorded. store opening

© unrecorded. / photography: daniel archutowski

borne out of a vision to counter mass consumption in fashion – mind you, it's ranked as the planet's second biggest polluting industry after the oil business – with a stylish alternative, jolle van der mast abandoned a steady corporate trajectory to team up with art director and designer daniel archutowski. the dutch duo's new adventure is about redefining a men's wardrobe by way of an evolving collection of timeless basic pieces, all released under the newly launched unrecorded. moniker. the launch collection comprises of tees, polos, shirts and sweaters in various subdued colours, and each design reflects the quality standards as set by the founders.

avoiding a logo and other frills, the emphasis on a clean designs made of only organic gots-certified materials in a factory in portugal, and because of its direct-to-consumer business model, the garments come with a friendly price tag. in order to have their target demographic experience the look and feel of the designs, van der mast and archutowski have simultaneously launched a brick and mortar space in amsterdam's canal district. located on the ground floor of a modest red brick building which dates back to 1921, it features 70 sqm. [754 sq.ft.] of retail space that flaunts an understated aesthetic compatible to the brand's apparel design codes.

the interior design, created by the owners themselves, embeds some of the building's original architectural features, notably the old granite flooring. walls and ceiling flaunt a fresh lick of white paint, and form the backdrop of just a few well-chosen furnishings: a boxy sales desk and matching displays, all crafted from untreated wood, a single hans jørgensen wegner-designed chair, and lush potted plants. the unrecorded. store carries the brand's full range of apparel, in addition to a compatible selection of indie lifestyle reads. the store is a temporary venture, at least at this location, and is scheduled to close its doors at the end of this year. location: oude spiegelstraat 10 [centrum].

© unrecorded. / photography: daniel archutowski

new orleans: the drifter hotel opening

© nicole franzen for design hotels

as the very first property of a newly launched boutique hotel chain, the drifter in the mid-city neighbourhood of new orleans takes full advantage of the building's classic 1950s architectural features. mind you, it was origijnally built as a motel, and design agency nicole cota studio created an updated version that not only retains its legacy, but also ticks all the boxes of what modern lifestyle is about. the name, however, is inspired by the iconoclastic beat generation of postwar america, and as such it's a firm nod to the past. the look of the property is a balanced mix of old and new, colour-infused, and thanks to a curated selection of artworks by local creative talent, it has also acquired a slight bohemian feel. the two-storey building features just 20 rooms in four different categories and configurations.

comfortable and stylish, the decor of these guestrooms include custom-made furniture, troweled concrete walls and oaxacan tilework. the hotel is flanked by a lush tropical courtyard, replete with swimming pool – it's even heated in cooler months – and bar, given the fact that art shows and live gigs ar hosted here, it's a popular social hub. a cantilevered disco ball and a barragan-inspired wall adorn the pool area while fresh frozen cocktails, japanese beers and sakes, and local wines are served. additionally, a café on the premises of the drifter serves specialty coffee from la colombe and local baked goods, while the hotel’s culinary programme features a daily rotating cast of pop-ups and food trucks that offer a wide selection of cuisines, from mexican to cuban, trinidadian and beyond. location: 3522 tulane avenue [mid-city].

© nicole franzen for design hotels

london: i will make a way

© thomas giddings

founded in 1860, sunspel has built a long tradition of creating quality garments. the rich legacy hasn't hampered the company to develop a forward and open vision that befits the modern lifestyle of its customer base. this approach spawns connectivity with contemporary culture, inspiring sunspel to host an interesting book launch on thu – nov 9 [6pm-9pm] at its boutique in shoreditch. the book in question is i will make a way by new york city-based photographer thomas giddings. hailing from london, giddings initially jumped the big pond to work with the legendary nan goldin, and later on pursued a career of his own, gaining high-profile clients in media and fashion. 

the young brit's 106-page hardcover publication features a diverse range of photographs, shot over a period of five years and divided into three groups that giddings spent time with: motorcycle guides in southern india, stunt performers in london and los angeles, and marching bands in alabama and brooklyn. reading like a narrative captured by poetic images, the book is basically about people finding meaning, freedom, and transcendence in their lives. fans residing in gidding's adopted hometown will be able to attend a second book launch at the end of this month at bookmarc. location: sunspel, 5-7 redchurch street [shoreditch].

© thomas giddings

london: aesop store opening

© aesop / photography: paola pansini

aesop and london have proven to be a good fit as the cosmetics company recently added a thirteenth store. situated in chelsea, an affluent area of town and previously a blank spot for the brand, a signature boutique has opened at duke of york square, a shopping complex in the former army territorial barracks. occupying a street level unit of 108 sqm. [1,163 sq.ft.], the store has been given a unique interior design by snøhetta, an acclaimed norwegian architecture practice which has previously collaborated with the brand on a number of boutiques. interestingly, the aesthetic for this boutique takes cues both from exhilarating opening scenes of classic james bond films and the immediate surrounds, taking full advantage of the location's voluminous dimensions. walls of earthen render in a soft pink hue are a nod to the masonry prevalent in this part of town.

an existing central column serves as a focal point, and anchors twelve silhouette-like arches that curve up and across to the store’s perimeter. these sweeping structures create zones of intimacy around a large circular demonstration sink that seemingly levitates in space. the sink is edged by a shallow reflective pool; during the night, light reflected off the water shimmers on the walls. fine steel lines set into the concrete floor mirror the arches and subdivide the monolithic surface into smaller geometric components, fusing utilitarian metal and rough cement. the new aesop boutique carries the brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: 22-24 duke of york square [chelsea].

© aesop / photography: paola pansini

tokyo: tokujin yoshioka glass project

© 21_21 desgn sight / photography: masaya yoshimura

as an acclaimed designer, tokujin yoshioka [1967] has wowed design aficionados with a wide array of poetic, experimental, and last but not least, nifty designs. straddling the fields of industrial design, architecture and art, yoshioka's creativity continues to show both innovation and sophistication, incorporating intangible elements such as light, sound and scent. the japanese multitasker currently has an exhibition at 21_21 design sight gallery in tokyo that's entitled tokujin yoshioka glass project. the show focuses upon glass as the most appropriate medium through which to express the qualities of light, and features designs by yoshioka that reflect the land of the rising sun's unique concept of nature held within people’s minds and memories. the selection of works ranges from his much publicized water block and water block – katana benches and footage of architecture projects kou-an glass tea house and rainbow church, to his glass watch for issey miyake and the prism statuette for the dom pérignon art project [on through nov 13]. location: 21_21 design sight, 9-7-6 akasaka [roppongi].

© 21_21 design sight / photography: masaya yoshimura

abu dhabi: louvre abu dhabi museum opening

© louvre abu dhabi / photography: mohamed somji

following a lengthy, ten-year period of prepping, the louvre abu dhabi museum is to open its doors to much fanfare on sun – nov 11 at a specially developed cultural zone in abu dhabi. bordering rival emirate and city of superlatives dubai, its capital abu dhabi is steadily raising its profile with a different, more sophisticated approach that's anchored by culture and hi-tech. louvre abu dhabi is the first ever outpost abroad of the renowned louvre museum in paris, and not surprisingly, it oozes a similar grandeur and prestige. mind you, the french museum has agreed to loan its name to the emirati venue for 30 years, in addition to providing temporary exhibitions for 15 years, and artworks for ten years.

the complex, comprising of a dome structure that seemingly hovers over a myriad of structures below, has been designed by architect jean nouvel, and measures approx. 64,000 sqm. [688,890 sq.ft.] with 8,000 sqm. [9,568 sq.ft.] dedicated exclusively to exhibitions. the dome is 180 meters in diameter, the same size as the louvre’s cour carrée, and covers two thirds of the museum complex, providing shade and reducing energy consumption. the layout and look of the buildings below the dome is a nod to the prototypical oriental city or medina, and features a cluster of rooms that appear like a small neighbourhood.

some thirty of these structures line a promenade, rising up to heights of four to 12 metres, each with a differently decorated façade. inspired by the ancient falaj system of arab engineering, a water channel runs right through the premises, adding to the venue's appeal as a refreshing oasis. louvre abu dhabi has already started to build a permanent collection of its own, and aims to acquire high-quality works by way of an acquisition committee. this collection not only includes pieces from the middle east and the west, but also a sizeable range of pieces from other regions and their cultures.

it's a collection that's multidisciplinary, encompassing every medium: painting, sculpture, tapestry, goldwork, paper collage, photography and decorative arts. the inaugural show, entitled from one louvre to another, will open coming december, and explores the history of the mothership in the french capital, from the royal collections at versailles formed under king louis xiv to the creation of the modern museum as we now know it. as said, louvre abu dhabi is situated in a newly developed urban zone called saadiyat cultural district, and which will see further openings of high-profile venues in the near future, including zayed national museum, guggenheim abu dhabi and a performing arts centre. location: saadiyat cultural district [saadiyat island].

© louvre abu dhabi / photography: mohamed somji

online: abel – discovery set

© abel

abel is a a fragrance brand founded in amsterdam by new zealand native frances shoemack with a simple goal – to create the planet’s best natural perfume. as a former winemaker with a penchant for scent and a holistic philosophy, shoemack was looking for a modern natural perfume, and eventually teamed up with fellow countryman isaac sinclair, a european trained and são paulo-based fragrance perfumer and nose. the abel fragrances cobalt amber, white vetiver, golden neroli, grey labdanum and red santal – contain 100% natural ingredients, and rather than clouding your personality with a consistent intensity, they evolve on your skin, working with your natural body chemistry to create a unique scent. a newbie to the brand? lucky you. abel has just launched three discovery sets that allows you to explore the fragrances or have it delivered as a gift. each set comes in a beautiful box of five 15 ml sample vials, and can also be accompanied by a1.5 ml bottle or a 50 ml bottle. fancy one? then click here to order yours.

© abel