sydney: dion lee store relocation

© akin creative / photography: sean fennessy

although relatively unknown overseas, dion lee operates at the forefront of australian fashion, and it's on home turf where the sydney-based designer has also established a network of boutiques. lee launched a pop-up store at westfield bondi junction, one of the city's leading shopping malls two-and-a-half years ago, but the retail operations have resonated well with shoppers, and a brand new and bigger store has now opened on the same floor. the retail space is a renewed collab with architect and interior designer kevin ho of local practice akin creative, and as with the previous stores, it features a minimalist and slightly futuristic aesthetic that's captured by a palette of conventional materials.

the floor-to-ceiling columns that make up the store façade largely define the store interior, and their visual rhythm is replicated inside by constellation of floor-to-ceiling poles of stainless steel, each incorporating tubular lights that add a adynamic edge, and interlinked by horizontal rods made from the same material. the space is uncluttered, and is furnished by just two sculptural concrete volumes, one being a display, and the other serving as sales desk, in addition to a wall with shelving at the far end of the store. large slabs of mirror, strategically placed, optically enlarge the premises. the new dion lee store carries the brands full range of women's apparel, accessories, shoes, and eyewear. location: westfield bondi junction, 500 oxford street, shop 4072 [bondi].

© akin creative / photography: sean fennessy

paris: roxane II

© viviane sassen – untitled from roxane ll – 017

coinciding with the release of her latest book, photographer vivane sassen [1972] exhibits photographs from the publication at colette. entitled roxane II, it's named after the book and the dutch lenswoman's muse, new york city-based fashion stylist and brand consultant roxane danset. it's the second time the two creatves hve collaborated, resulting in a new visual exploration of form, colour, composition, and last but not least, female sensuality. although it's danset's body that is presented throughout the pages of the book, sassen's presence is suggested by her shadow or through traces of paintings applied to the images. the photographs of this series are presented at colette through jun 17, and the cult photographer will drop by the store on wed – june 1 [from 6pm] for the exhibition's official opening and a book signing session. published in english by odee, roxane II comes in a full-colour hardcover version, and features 152 pages. store location: 213 rue st.-honoré [st.-honoré].

© viviane sassen – untitled from roxane ll  006 and untitled from roxane ll  016 

beirut: starch store renewal

© burau / photography: charbel saade

as the driving force behind starch, fashion professionals rabih kayrouz and tala hajjar have been guiding young lebanese designers towards a successful launch and introduction in a highly competitive market. an integral part of the foundation's annual programme is a presentation of the designs of these budding talents in starch's very own boutique in downtown beirut. as if to mimic fashion's seasonal cycles, the boutique setting transforms annually, and for the latest presentation, the aforementioned duo tapped architects candice naim, fadi mansour and lea helou of local practice burau to create a matching retail environment. interestingly, the architects have turned to the lebanese capital's urban surrounds, and its downtown area in particular, for inspiration, singling out an omnipresent element that often induces a sense of irritation with pedestrians and car drivers alike: road blocks.

comprising of a simple construction of five steel bars, x-shaped at either end and connected horizontally, this specific object has been abundantly duplicated to construct an installation, entitled unbounded, that fully transposes its original purpose. no less than 91 steel modules have been pre-assembled and allow endless configurations. some of the modules have been dipped in a textured, shimmering finish, adding a subtle sparkle to the intricate installation. additionally, matching benches have been designed, inspired by the same object and its. the renewed starch boutique carries designs by 17 emerging lebanese designers, and its current evocative incarnation will remain open until april of next year. location: rue said akel [saifi].

© burau / photography: charbel saade

global: pop!

© studioxag / photography: melvyn vincent

christian louboutin boutiques across the planet have recently been injected with a palette of bright colours, thanks to a new window installation concept of london-based studioxag. aptly entitled pop!, it takes cues from the world of comic books, and features graphic explosions made from powder-coated steel, combined with shards wrapped in baby blue glitter and vibrantly contrasting coloured vinyl. amongst an eye-catching colour palette of rich hues, at the centre of each explosion, the pop! word is literally emblazoned in red neon lighting. in the larger windows, the explosion bursts from a bespoke metal and mirrored acrylic box lined with golf ball filament lightbulbs. in addition to designing windows for christian louboutin boutiques worldwide, studioxag produced and installed the concept for a handful of the cobbler's european boutiques, including the flagship store in the british capital, geneva, and two stores in the st.-honoré area of paris, and it's at these latter boutiques that the explosion was complemented with a pink, yellow and blue glitter starburst back panel.

© studioxag / photography: melvyn vincent

tokyo: ginza six mall opening

© curiosity

indeed, we've been going on and on about the abundance of alluring flagships and boutiques at ginza six, but we haven't yet talked about the luxury mall itself. a major urban redevelopment project similar to the upscale roppongi hills complex halfway across town, it isn't surprising that mori building co. is once again behind such a prestigious endeavour. the japanese property development firm teamed up with sumitomo corporation, another behemoth in corporate japan, and l catterton real estate, a luxury retail developer that's partly owned by the lvmh conglomerate, to further enhance the ginza area's stature as a luxury shopping destination.

the land of the rising sun may have been outranked by china in recent years as the region's biggest market for high-end goods, it very much remains top of the bill in terms of customer sophistication. but let's go back to ginza six mall, shall we? straddling an entire block on bustling chuo dori, the neighbourhood's main thoroughfare, it features a total of 47,000 sqm. [505,904 sq.ft.] of floor space, spread over six underground floors and 13 above-ground floors – mind you, floors seven through twelve are set as office space – and is built on the former site of matsuzakaya department store.

the structure has been designed by japanese architect yoshio taniguchi, who has given it a façade inspired by traditional japanese norenbut the mall's central atrium features a sophisticated interior design by french architect gwenael nicolas of tokyo-based practice curiosity. the design here is similarly inspired by local culture, but it's paired with futuristic architectural elements as well, creating a subtle balance. the asanoha or hemp leaf motif has been used for the ceiling of the atrium, and this is also reflected in the design of six faceted light sculptures. washi-inspired fabric covers the three-dimensional sculptural ceiling, and adds up to the splendour.

the atrium is further adorned by a pattern of spiralling lattice strips that provide the premises a dynamic edge. the intricate project has been pulled of with the assistance of artisans and artists, and to keep shoppers mesmerized by visual splendour, ginza six unsurprisingly appointed fumio nanjo, director of mori art museum, to create a rotating art programme, showing an inaugural installation of suspended dotted pumpkins by none other than yayoi kusama. the connection of ginza six to the lvmh conglomerate is evident as no less than ten of its luxury brands have opened up shop here, including dior, céline, loewe, kenzo and fendi. additional features of this super mall include an underground noh theatre and event hall, and a lush 4,000 sqm. [43,056 sq.ft.] rooftop garden. location: ginza six, 6-10-1 ginza [ginza].

© curiosity

los angeles: tombeau tokyo

© nobuyoshi araki – tombeau tokyo [2016] courtesy of little big man

both revered and reviled, nobuyoshi araki [1940] always strikes a sensitive chord with his evocative, if not highly provocative, imagery. opening today at little big man gallery in los angeles, is the japanese photographer's tombeau tokyo exhibition. on display are 471 black + white works from araki's eponymous series which feature a large number of still life depictions, comprising mainly of floral compositions with various objects and sex toys blended in. viewed alongside the historical context of vanitas paintings and historic dutch flower still-life paintings, araki’s photos bear resemblance, but differ in that these blooms are no longer at their lush best, but in faded fetid form. within this withering foliage lie toy monsters that are set to corrupt this garden of earthly delights. additionally, a series of colour photographs titled photo-mad old man a 76th birthday, photos of noted dancer and muse kaori are exhibited. the lensman has documented her since 2002, shooting pictures on her birthday [open through jul 15]. location: 1427 east fourth street, unit #2 [downtown].

© nobuyoshi araki – tombeau tokyo [2016] courtesy of little big man

brussels: mad brussels relocation

© mad brussels / photography: maxime delvaux

better known as a bastion of eurocrats and a platform for high-profile political skirmishes, the creative side of brussels, and its many other appealing edges for that matter, are very often overlooked. the mad brussels institute  mad is short for mode and design  is an incubator of all things design and fashion, is funded by the public sector, and aims to promote the belgian capital's budding creative sector. as of late, the organization has relocated to an impressive new home in the very heart of the city, occupying a complex of three existing buildings on the historic nieuwe graanmarkt. measuring an expansive 3,000 sqm. [32,292 sq.ft.] spread across multiple floors, the complex is elaborate and elongated, stretching all the way to the next block.

the buildings have been largely retained, but were then spatially redeveloped by v+, and paired with interior designs by rotor, obviously two practices based in the belgian capital. the front building, erected in the 1970s, and has been given an additional floor, and accommodates exhibition, event, and also work spaces. the second structure has more industrial features, and flaunts the transformation's understatement at its best. the back side of mad brussels comprises of additional spaces, including a number of apartments, and features a separate entrance. the palette combines many shades of white, captured by a wide variety of materials, textures and patterns.

as said, mad brussels is a multi-faceted venue which fosters local creativity, and that's very much reflected in its varied programme. the inaugural exhibition, entitled occupation: designer  brussels vision on design, is an absolute highlight, exploring the various creative practices of annelys de vet, bas smets, benjamin loyauté, laurence soetens, thomas lommée + christiane högner, and xavier lust, all designers who live and work in brussels, but work across the planet. additionally, mad brussels offers the city's budding creatives a set of services to improve their skills and to successfully launch themselves in a competitive global market. location: nieuwe graanmarkt 10 [central brussels].

© mad brussels / photography: maxime delvaux

seoul: the selby house

© daelim museum

a photographer, illustrator, artist, author, and last but not least, an avid blogger, todd selby has firmly anchored himself in the upper echelons of fashion and design. thanks to a quirky and personalized approach that's clever, amusing, in addition to being far removed from the usual tedious deference, his scope is widely seen as a sign of the times. in a current show at daelim museum in seoul, fittingly entitled the selby house, the multi-tasker exhibits his key photographic works, expressive illustrations, video works, and also new large-scale installation works created especially for the exhibition. it offers visitors an immersive visual experience, and to such an extent that parts of the venue have been fully transformed, from entrance to exhibition halls, garden and café, creating an environment that lives up to the name of the showcase.

on display is a collection of some 230 photographs, from early works portraying the private spaces of celebrities to the dynamic studios and creative kitchens of figures from the worlds of fashion and cuisine. in the following space, selby is presented as an illustrator and storyteller, featuring drawings of everyday topics such as animals, food and nature, infused with his own unique colour and pure energy. in the so-called selby's room, recreations of the artist's own living room, bedroom and studio provide a peek into his private lifestyle. going back to his childhood days, the selby's jungle section presents the artist's childhood dreams and memories [on through oct 29]. location: daelim museum, 21 jahamun-ro 4-gil [jongno-gu].

© daelim museum

singapore: holystic sneaker laundry opening

© holystic sneaker laundry

having grown up with the world at their fingertips, millennials are the most visually inclined demographic, and appearance is key in almost any aspect of their budding sphere. offering a service that adds to the glorification of this generation's ultimate trophy possession, the opening of holystic sneaker laundry shop at singapore's wheelock place mall is a well-timed one. the island state is home to a thriving community of sneaker aficionados, and it's one that could certainly use some help in maintaining a crisp appearance. it occupies a compact booth on the shopping center's ground floor, expertly equipped to tackle the grittiest of sneakers, but there's an additional studio in the bukit merah neighbourhood where most of the work is done.

the holystic team comprises of crafty professionals who are equally passionate about sneakers. totally living up to its name, the shop's list of services is quite comprehensive, ranging from basic dry clean and mid-soles de-yellowing, to deodorizing – obvious, no? – and sneaker repair. generally, turnaround time for basic sneaker cleaning takes at least five days, but customers can opt for express service at an extra charge. and that's not all, folks. staff also provide customization services and hold workshops in sneaker id stencil tagging and sneaker care and cleaning for those with an above-average interest in their prized possession. location: wheelock place, 501 orchard road, shop 01-k3 [orchard west].

© holystic sneaker laundry

amsterdam: sarah van sonsbeeck

© oude kerk / photography: gert-jan van rooij

initially trained as an architect, sarah van sonsbeeck [1976] later transfered to amsterdam's renowned gerrit rietveld academie, following a trajectory with more artistic objectives instead. interestingly, van sonsbeeck's very first artwork spawned from being subjected to loud neighbours in a specific phase of her private life, and ever since, she's had a fascination of silence as a conceptual phenomenon, discovering a connection between architecture and visual art along the way. van sonsbeeck is the first of a new series of contemporary artists to exhibit at oude kerk, the oldest structure in the dutch capital, who will incorporate the ornate medieval backdrop in a presentation that not only connects past and presence, but also lends it a new cultural relevance. the showcase, elaborately entitled we may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now, is anchored by the artist's sojourn on tristan da cunha, a remote island situated in the vast expanse of the south atlantic ocean.

both its geophysical isolation and the variety of washed-up debri and objects have left a deep impression, and it's one that van sonsbeeck has now artistically linked to europe's current problem of seafaring illegal immigrants. opening at oude kerk on fri – may 19, the exhibition presents the floor of the church covered in a grid of gold, and which upon further inspection turn out to be space blankets, the very same objects that have become a fixture in today's media coverage of the mass migration. three sizeable replicas of a beached oxygen tank that the dutch artist found on the island, are featured in a separate installation, and similarly to the recycled use there, they're chimed with hammers, alluding the urgency of this ongoing humanitarian tragedy. location: oudekerksplein 23 [centrum].

© oude kerk / photography: gert-jan van rooij