toronto: chanel flagship store opening

© chanel

although chanel has been present in downtown toronto since the late 1980s, it sees opportunity to further raise its profile, opening a new high-profile boutique in yorkville, a neighbourhood known for its abundamce of luxury boutiques. the french fashion has had a prominent presence on west bloor street, but the new and bigger outpost is now officially designated as the canadian flagship store, and as such, it comes with all the prerequisite bells and whistles. chanel has secured a modern building with 600 sqm. [6,458 sq.ft.] of retail space, situated at the base of a multi-storey residential complex on yorkville avenue, and features an authentic 1930s brick façade. house architect peter marino was tapped to create a matching interior design, using the brand's iconic colours of black, white and gold throughout the premises, alongside elements inspired by the lavishly decorated coromandel screens of coco chanel's plush apartment on rue cambon in paris.

as said, these are palatial digs, and obviously, they come with appropriate settings that'll mesmerize the brand's large following. there are four rooms on the ground floor dedicated to accessories. to the right of the store upon entering, the first space is dedicated to costume jewellery, the second room is dedicated solely to shoes, while a third and fourth room is devoted to a selection of handbags and finally, to a range of eyewear, small leather goods and other accessories like scarves. one floor up, shoppers find two rooms, designed as a private apartment, but filled with the complete ready-to-wear collection. specially commissioned artwork dot the store's retail space, adding a strong personalized touch to the interior design. the new chanel flagship is one of the biggest in north america and also happens to be its only standalone store in all of canada. location: 98 yorkville avenue [yorkville].

© chanel

bali: icul8r

© the slow  / ben mccready

a stay at the slow comes with comes with cool extras, such as the hotel's rotation of curated exhibitions at room 13, its ground floor gallery space. opening sat – nov 25 [7pm-late] at the venue is an exhibition entitled icul8r by benjamin mccready. the australian artist is no stranger to the slow, or rather, it's co-founder george gorrow, as the two share a working history at ksubi. born in portugal, raised in thailand and australia, and later on attending art school in germany, you could say mccready has been exposed to a many cultures, and it's very likely that this has contributed to his multidisciplinary creative output that includes photogrpahy, design and experimental fashion. the body of work on display has been specifically made for the slow on the island of bali, using industrial materials commonly applied for the fabrication of dry walls. each piece aims to devalue the classically institutional styles of minimalism and abstraction by using similar strategies as dadaists and pop artists. in short, the show is a form of criticism on the unscrupulous commercial mechanism that rules our society. location: the slow, jalan pantai batu bolong 97 [canggu].

© the slow / ben mccready

berlin: to the bone restaurant opening

© to the bone / photography: rian davidson

following the launch of steak restaurant to beef or not to beef and the cicciabar street food stand in berlin's schöneberg area, talented tuscany-born chef giacomo mannucci has audaciously taken his operations to a higher level. shifting his focus to the city's happening mitte district, mannucci banks on its thriving restaurant scene and pitches in with a new hospitality of his own. it's a concept that comprises of a restaurant serving northern italian cuisine with a full-fledged cocktail bar. the venue is called to the bone, and is situated on a stretch of torstrasse that's dotted with boutiques, bars and restaurants. 

the interior design is a collab of mannucci with hong kong-based architect piero zanatta, and mimics the neighbourhood's eclectic vibe, featuring walls dipped in a dark green hue as a backdrop, an eclectic range of furnishings, and plenty of industrial elements that add a slight nightclub touch. and yet, the armosphere feels intimate and personal, thanks to artworks from the owner's private collection. to the bone is made up of three rooms: a bar area, a dining space, and a private dining room which can be booked for special events. also, in summer, the interior space opens up to an outside terrace facing torstrasse. under the supervision of skilled chef matthew davies, the menu lists food inspired by the regional cuisines of northern italy, building upon the traditional dishes and classic flavours, all prepared with a modern twist.

beef filet with yuzu-glazed carrots and miso butter, bone marrow crostini with oxtail confit, or pickled hokkaido pumpkin with wild herbs and stracciatella cheese are examples of the dishes on offer alongside a selection of on- and off-the-bone steaks from specialized Italian meat producers. and then there's to the bone's specialty dishes, including concoctions by longstanding friend and partner, panzano-based butcher dario cecchini, fassone beef steaks, and cuts of wild Italian venison. as said, this place comes with a well-stocked bar, and obviously, there's a range of cocktails to be had, all developed in collab with the operators of the locally renowned bar zentral, and quite compatibly takes cues from northern italy’s aperitivo culture. location: torstrasse 96 [mitte].

© to the bone / photography: rian davidson

chicago: dior store opening

© dior

the luxury shopping scene in chicago may not have the global appeal and allure of equivalents in new york city, los angeles, or even miami, but it certainly is a sizeable one with the potential to gain an equally prominent stature. the house of dior acknowledges the city's significance, and has recently opened a brand new flagship store. it occupies an existing yet redeveloped two-storey building on north rush street, a downtown thoroughfare which has seen an influx of luxury brands in recent years, and as such, the area is increasingly becoming a shopping alternative to the magnificent mile's downtrodden path.

as said, the location has been revamped with the help of new york-based architect and longtime dior collaborator peter marino. the store’s façade features transparent frit glass and a glass canopy with illuminated signage above the entrance. a dior star has been fixed to the top of the building as a symbol of good luck from monsieur christian dior, and it's a feature that's bestowed upon only a handful of the brand's standalone boutiques. as for the interior design, which takes cues from the brand's illustrious flagship store on leafy avenue montaigne in paris, acclaimed architect and longtime dior collaborator peter marino has been tapped.

the setting on both floors is largely defined by a modern, clean aesthetic, captured by pristine white walls, timber flooring, cabinets and displays with glass tops, sleek chrome shelving and clothing racks. on the ground floor, dior's signature handbags are displayed, in addition to an assortment of small leather goods and accessories. one floor up, a dedicated shoe space can be found, followed by a ready-to-wear area with seating designed by hamilton conte. dior also commissioned french contemporary artist julie gauthron to create a work of art exclusively for the boutique. designed to reflect the house codes, the piece is a wrought iron sculpture entitled la muse de tim, and hangs over a console designed by malherbe édition. location: 931 north rush street [near north side].

© dior

amsterdam: ballenesque – a retrospective

© reflex gallery / photography: roger ballen – homebnound, new york [1969]

as one of the planet's most influential photographers, roger ballen [1950] hardly needs further introduction. born in new york city, the lauded lensman has resided in johannesburg since the 1970s, capturing many concealed aspects of local life in numerous iconic shots. originally trained as a geologist, ballen explored large swathes of south africa and its people, occasionally crashing people's homes on ther way nd becoming acquainted with their life and habitat. opening on thu – nov 23 at reflex gallery in amsterdam is ballenesque, a concise retrospective of 30 works, alongside a commissioned selection of 150 polaroids which condense his unique vision in a small format that's also going to be sold onsite – mind you, two days later is the official opening [4.30pm-7pm] in the presence of the master himself. the commissioned polaroids are an extension of the series ballen is currently working on, and these shots comprise of the first display of colour images during his entire career. the show is accompanied by two new must-have publications. location: reflex gallery, weteringschans 79a [centrum].

© reflex gallery / photography: roger ballen – puppy between feet [1999]

vienna: krypt. bar opening

© büro klk / photography: david schreyer

home to university faculties, historic palaces and museums, and once also the stomping ground of sigmund freud, the elegant quarter of alsergrund isn't exactly the preferred destination of vienna's nightcrawlers. but it's right here where the city's coolest bar of late has nestled, pulling a well-heeled crowd from across town to its doorstep. it's a design-led speakeasy called krypt., and totally living up to its name, it's situated no less than eight metres underground. the bar is founded by andreas pustteresa kerbler and chris schilcher, a young trio with a collective background in industrial design, real estate and hospitality. interestingly, the subterranean space was only discovered during a thorough renovation project of a complex of historic 18th century buildings, and the owners immediately saw potential to establish an exceptional watering hole here.

local architecture practice büro klk was tapped to design an interior that would match the venue's unusual, and thus, challenging spatial dimensions, and reflect a timeless quality at the same time. not surprisingly, the project needed to be executed with meticulous care, and it took three years to finish. anonymous as a true speakeasy should be, krypt. obviously doesn't have any sign outside, and its growing platoon of patrons gain access to the premises by way of an inconspicuous door that gives way to a narrow corridor and a staircase, enclosed by backlit wooden panels, that leads downstairs. a backdrop of exposed of old red bricks immediately unfolds upon entering the premises, and can be found across the premises, tying in all the modern interventions.

down below, a wardrobe and vestibule precede an adjacent vaulted room featuring an elongated marble-clad bar with a walnut counter, and which transforms into a seating area at the far end. the floor is also covered in marble, but laid in a herringbone pattern. two adjacent rooms offer additional seating, including a striking lounge furnished with chairs andf built-in sofas. there's a similar marble floor  in a herringbone pattern, but here it's in black and white, and extends onto the sofas. furnishings and fixtures have been carefully sellected, and include ubald klug's ds-1025 sofa, alexander wang's bean bags for poltrona frau, and ingo maurer's evocative light fixtures. as said, krypt. is a cocktail bar, and its menu is anchored by twelve signature concoctions and a rotation of classics, in addition to curated mezcal, gin and whiskey options. location: wasagasse 17 [alsergrund].

© büro klk / photography: david schreyer

online: loverprint with daubal

© frédérique daubal

graphic designer frédérique daubal has a quirky view on life which luckily also translates into her creative output. whimsical, eclectic, and infused with colour, daubal's work instantly puts a smile on your face. the designer's latest work is a 72-page zine, entitled loverprint with daubal, and features a new series of unique overprints. the publication is accompanied by texts by luca grelli and amandine hamet, and has been designed by julie joliat. measuring 20 cm x 20.5 cm, it's personally signed by daubal, and comes with a separate sheet of 17 witty stickers that'll spice up almost any surface of choice. the loverprint with daubal zine is available at colette [paris] and kapok [hong kong], but if you reside elsewhere, no worries, it can also be ordered online.

© frédérique daubal

calistoga: calistoga motor lodge and spa opening

© calistoga hotel group / photography: aubrie pick

sunny napa valley is generally associated with rustic viticulture, but as of late, the area has also gained a distinct hipster edge. we're talking the opening of the calistoga motor lodge and spa in, yes indeed, calistoga. a small town, set amidst numerous wineries, it's a popular weekend getaway for urban dwellers. the new property occupies a classic 1940s roadside motel that has been meticulously tweaked to meet modern standards by acclaimed design practice avroko, but has very much retained its authenticity and charm. the lobby is a fusion of a small town general store and a 1970s living room, featuring with green velvet sofas and fireplace provide a cozy area for guests to relax and unwind.

the space also features a vintage-style cooler with beverages and snacks, as well as games for the pool, in-room, or on the road. a retail and sundries concept with goods from both local and recognized apparel brands add to a welcoming communal space. calistoga motor lodge and spa has just 50 rooms in three different categories, and all designed with a firm nod to the aesthetic of camper vans and motor lodges of back in the day. the accents include vintage inspired fabrics, bold carpets, retro art and camper van style bench seating in suites that can be converted into a double bed.

as the property's name already implies, this isn't just a place where to lay down one's head. the spa is modeled after a classic bathhouse, featuring seven treatment rooms, a mud bar, a bathing room with four mint green claw foot tubs for medicinal salt soaks, a menu of cutting-edge facials, coed mosaic-lined steam room, and last but not least, an outdoor spa relaxation garden. do we hear frivolous fun and relaxation? check. an outdoor pool is readily available, and comes with a deck of blue and white striped umbrellas, pool loungers and cabana beds shaded under a trellis covered in greenery.

additionally, three mineral pools, kept at three different temperatures, are fed from the geothermal hot springs below the property grounds where the water sits at 180° fahrenheit. a large navy graphic wraps the exterior of the jacuzzi building, while an outdoor fire pit, bocce court, analog games and hammocks round out the offerings. and that's not all, folks. next year, a new culinary facility will open that'll add to the appeal of the calistoga motor lodge and spa. it's fleetwood, a concept restaurant with an open, wood-fired kitchen and beer garden. offering a seasonal menu of tasty dishes. location: 1880 lincoln avenue [calistoga town].

© calistoga hotel group / photography: aubrie pick

tokyo: chinese cutting edge

© c.h.i. – science gathering hot pot [2012]

opening today at diesel art gallery in tokyo is an exhibition, entitled chinese cutting edge, dedicated entirely to the work of chinese photographer c.h.i. curator of the show is cult editor, lensman and scenester yasumasa yonehara who got acquainted with c.h.i. in 2012. that year, yonehara visited the artist's solo exhibition in beijing at a gallery that was managed by the same curator who had handled his own exhibition, and was blown away by the pieces he saw on display. launching his creative career in 1996, he initially formed a punk band and created flyers for their live gigs, and gradually expanded his creative skills and focus. the works of c.h.i. represent contemporary life in china: uncensored, energetic, and last but not least, with a rebellious edge, all elements which are rarely documented, let alone be seen by outsiders. on display are around 60 photographs, including c.h.i.'s newest work. mind you, this is a sale exhibition, so works can be snapped up, in addition to a collection of related merchandise [on through feb 14]. location: cocoti building, 1-23-16-b1f shibuya [shibuya].

© c.h.i. –  desire in the can [2015], six feet under [2012] and tumbledown splendid performance [2015]

paris; balenciaga store opening

© balenciaga / photography; françois halard

the changing of the guards at balenciaga in 2015 has to be one of the most dramatic in fashion history. firmly in the saddle for a few seasons now, creative director demna gvasalia continues to make his mark, and it's not only on the parisian runway. since his tenure, the retai spaces of the luxury brand have seen an equally striking transformation, but none as dramatically different as its new flagship store on avenue montaigne in paris. the store, balenciaga's third in the city, occupies the spacious ground floor of an elegant hausmannian landmark building erected in 1900. the interior design, created by gvasalia in collab with berlin-based architecture practice gonzalez haase, is an extrapolation of the design created for the recently revamped store on rue st.-honoré. 

but the backdrop of fresh concrete that defines that boutique is absent here. the premises have been fully stripped and reveal walls and molded paneling marked by smears of paint, children's scribblings, and a gradation of lightly damaged surfaces. the raw setting alllows the modern interventions, captured by floors in resin and granite tiles, chunky aluminum furnishings and meandering warehouse conveyor rails, to gain a sightly surreal quaiity. sculptures by american street artist mark jenkins, clothed in gvasalia's newest looks, adorn the store, and certainly add to an exceptional shopping experience. the new ballenciaga store carries the brand's fulll range of women's and men's apparel, accessories, bags, shoes, jewellery and eyewear. location: 57 avenue montaigne [champs-élysées].

© balenciaga / photography; françois halard