Bars

January 22 2016

Hong Kong’s already vibrant and versatile bar scene keeps receiving additions that would be right at home in any large global hub. In the Central business district, chock-full of banks, the design-aware and quality-conscious financial wizards now have yet another bar/club where they can spend all those gazillions.



The whiskey bar foxglove, at the Printing House on Duddell Street, is the second bar opened by the Ming Fat House owner team of Jonathan Bui (a Canadian), Eric Lam (an American) and Shakib Pasha (from Hong Kong.)



To provide an environment worthy of their demanding prospective patrons, they invited local architect Nelson Chow Chi-Wai, principal and founder of NC Design & Architecture, to iterate the story of a wealthy adventurer, Frank Minza who, as the owners coyly say, may or may not be a fictional character. To thicken the plot they add that he was the illegitimate son of a somewhat luckless entrepreneur from Hong Kong’s colonial days.



So there is a touch of high-end shadiness and secrecy in foxglove that really is a lovely hybrid: A masculine combo of an ocean liner, airplane, gentlemen’s club and speakeasy.



The entrance isn’t just a plain old door, in fact there is no bar entrance visible. Instead, you walk into an umbrella shop where exquisite specimens of luxury brollies are displayed in custom-design glass cabinets. Find the right silver  handle, touch it, and a secret door opens to the ‘air plane’ that seats 80. A marble-topped cocktail bar connects to the dining section.



A VIP room seats 32 guests and resembles a first-class dining car of a luxury train and the VVIP room brings you to an intimate gentleman’s library where time seems to have stopped and money is still made of paper.



The owner’s first Hong Kong bar, Mrs. Pound, opened a year ago in Sheung Wan. It tested the secret speakeasy entrance concept by offering a Chinese stamp shop as the entry environment. In that case, the story tells that Mrs.

Pound was a burlesque dancer who fell in love with a Chinese stamp shop owner. In an interview, Jonathan Bui was quoted as saying that the hidden entrance and secrecy work especially well in Hong Kong because “it is so different from the typical in-your-face shopfronts.” - Tuija Seipell.



Photography: Dennis Lo Designs

 

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December 14 2015

In their recruiting efforts, universities have featured memorable and inspiring stories of their alumni before.
 
But the story of Western Sydney University alumnus Deng Thiak Adut has touched a nerve. The short film – part of a TV campaign – tells a truly amazing tale.
 
Deng Adut’s path from a child-soldier in Sudan to a lawyer in Sydney nearly impossible to believe and demonstrates strength and resolve that seem unreal.

The 90-second TV ad is one of three stories, and part of a wider re-branding and re-positioning campaign by the University. The agency for the ad is VCD + WE.Collective with George Betsis as executive creative director.

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Architecture

December 12 2015

Architecturally alarming things could be expected when a movie mogul of big-budget action movies based on over-the-top special effects assigns his mega-million Los Angeles villa project to a globally recognized architect whose work includes a fantastical master plan for a place called Ice Cream City in Overtown, Florida.


 
Luckily, movie man Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor) and architect Chad Oppenheim have many other things in common besides far-reaching imaginations.


 
Bay’s much-praised and publicized 30,00 square-foot (2,787 square-meter) crash and party pad (his actual home is in Miami, Florida) is elegant, minimalist and modern, reflecting as much Bay’s reverence and appreciation of good architecture as it does Oppenheim’s incredible ability to conjure elegant, iconic buildings.


 
Bay sold his previous L.A. house in 2009, and paid $10.9 million for a mid-century house on a five-acre lot on Bel Air Road. He caused a disapproving uproar by tearing the house down as it was considered somewhat important, even by L.A. standards. It was designed in 1951 by Burton Schutt with interiors by Billy Haines, and was for decades home to socialite Marion Jorgensen and steel magnate Earle Jorgensen (close friends with the Ronald Reagans).


 
To replace this house, he selected Chad Oppenheim’s concept residence whose renderings had been up on Oppenheim’s website for a long time, just waiting for the right client.


 
The three-story house has a 50-seat movie theater designed by Jeff Cooper, a movie prop museum, parking for several cars, a spa and several bedrooms, plus two master bedroom modules that hover above the rest of the building with incredible views of Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

An infinity pool along the cliff edge emphasizes the exquisite plan that allows the structure to sit in the hillside site as if it had always been there.


 
The project team was led by Chad Oppenheim with Oppenheim’s V.P. of Operations, Carl Romer, as the project manager. Also involved were L.A. architecture firms Rios Clementi Hale Studios and Stenfors Associate Architects, as well as interior designer Lorraine Letendre and decorator Lynda Murray. - Tuija Seipell.




Offices

December 6 2015


 
With a budget of more than 8 million Chinese Yuan ($1.25 million US), a time frame of two years and an existing building of 20,440 square meters (220,014.000 sq,ft), the project was a daunting one.


 
Add to the requirements the fact that the client is one of the major players in the highly competitive Chines digital industry – generally not known to pay much attention to branding or design – and throw in the lofty purpose of the project as a means to “translate into a figurative language the reality of the internet as a truly important agent of change in our life and society.”


 
Italian born and educated architect Alberto Puchetti received this assignment for his Hong Kong-based design firm Arboit Limited from Guangzhou-based Cloud DCS (Data Centers Service) in late 2013.


 
His task was to create for Cloud DCS corporate headquarters that would be the workplace for about 200 staff and include offices, showrooms and space for thousands of server racks.
 
The main area of the project, completed in November, involves 1958 square meters (21,075 sq.ft) , half of the ground floor area of the entire building.


 
This space includes the entrance lobby, offices, meeting rooms, server control room, a few pavilions for multimedia installations to introduce the services of the company within a 1050 square meter (11,302 sq.ft) showroom, a 180-degree projector room, a product gallery to exhibit Cloud DCS’s accessories, 3D video screens made of plastic balls, an interactive video pavilion and two display tables to present architectural models of Cloud DCS’s future plans for its own industrial parks designed by Arboit Ltd. The rest of the building is occupied by rooms for hundreds of thousands of server racks.


 
The design concept of “flying through the sky” emerged from the reality of a massive battery of servers humming, a monotone sound echoing the sound of airplanes. Flying through sky became the theme through which the designers translated the idea of the digital highway as a stream of data crossing the skies to serve our lives.


 
The designers described this:  “the aim of the project is a figurative celebration of internet seen as a stream of information crossing space, and people involved in this unearthly reality find themselves walking on clouds.”
 
The only colours used in the project are white and seven tones of blue. They have also become the brand colour throughout all touchpoints. The only exception are the cooling pipes that are coloured brightly in an attempt to evoke a happy and positive atmosphere to an otherwise monotonous factory setting.


 
In the showrooms, meeting rooms and entrance lobby, reflective, hard and transparent surfaces – stainless steel, glass, carrara marble, and spiralling shapes enhance the feel of walking in the sky, high above “normal” spaces.
 
In the 30 meters-long tunnel connecting the showroom to the entrance lobby, an aerial view of Guangzhou under cloud cover is projected onto the floor. When visitors walk on it, sensors react by opening the cloud cover and exposing a birds-eye view of the city.


 
The space-ship feel of this project is obvious, as is a sense of not quite touching the ground. We love the undulating formations that are repeated throughout and remind us of not just clouds but waves, sand, seashells and even the human ear. Definitely not your typical server-rack farm. - Tuija Seipell.


 
 Photographer: Dennis Lo
 


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Art

November 15 2015

To take people on a completely new journey while doing what you have come to be admired for is a creative’s dream. The latest piece by New York-based artist CJ Hendry is an epic example of just that.

She’s bought a pair of Nike AirMags for $9,000, dipped them in black paint, photographed them and then hand-drawn a massive nine-foot black-and white piece of it. She’ll auction it off in Miami at Scope Art Fair and with 100% of the profits she and The Cool Hunter are purchasing shoes for children in New York.

Yes it's still thousands of scribbles on a page, yes it's a hand-drawn enlargement of a high-end fashion item, and yes it's the same flawless attention to detail that we'd associate with CJ's work. Yet within this piece there are many cool firsts we haven't seen before.

For instance, CJ has never produced a piece that illustrates movement like this. As the paint drips off the shoes and pools at the bottom of the image, it evokes images of much greater issues. In many ways it mimics an oil spill tarnishing an irreplaceable commodity.



Also worth reflection was the outrage of some sneaker fanatics when rumors of CJ dipping the Nike AirMags in a bucket of black paint surfaced on social media.

Such a reaction is true to the time we live in, when sneaker culture and being a sneakerhead is no longer a hobby but a near-religion. To sneakerheads their collection of shoes is their holy book and each piece is like a part of scripture. When you consider CJ's bold statement in this light, it was essentially the ultimate act of blasphemy. Sneakerheads, movie fanatics and fashionistas alike have dreamt for thirty years of owning these shoes, ever since 1985 when Michael J. Fox took us back to a future that we now live in.

Not everybody can own a pair of AirMags though, even if you did have a lazy $9,000 laying around. With only 1500 pairs ever made, finding your size and a seller is a near-impossible task. This makes destroying them seem even more like the ultimate act of insanity.

But as controversial as this piece may be, there is an equal amount of generosity attached to it. CJ and The Cool Hunter will be donating 100% of the profits to charity in the form of sneakers to those less fortunate than ourselves. Instantly, this work goes from being far more than just an outrageous conversation piece.

Instead, it inspires discussion on important and socially challenging questions and at the time, attempts to do something that helps. Would you have dipped the shoes in paint? How much do material items really mean to you? At what price would you destroy something so rare and cherished? And most importantly, would you destroy that item if it meant you could be helping many people far less fortunate than yourself?



In essence CJ has taken an expensive, highly valued and sought-after item, devalued it and then transformed it into a valuable commodity – much-needed footwear - to help those who are less fortunate.

There's no affiliation with Nike, the shoes are very real and the possibilities as to how many people can be helped rely squarely on how much someone is willing to pay for this career-defining piece when it goes up for auction at her upcoming Miami show.

They say you can't understand a person's journey until you've walked a thousand miles in their shoes. This transformation of Nike AirMags is an attempt to help in that understanding.

CJ Hendry’s show in Miami was extremely successful with the Half-dipped Nike Air Mags selling for US$130,000. She is now busy turning the funds into thousands of pairs of sneakers for needy kids in New York.


 
The rest of the show was a huge success as well with CJ drawing her distinctive art in a transparent booth. This drew enormous crowds as most people thought the pieces were black-and-white photographs, not hand-drawn one-of-a kind works.


 
Several private commissions were ordered with more orders coming in after the show.


 
Countless celebrities came by, including Alicia Keys’s husband Swizz Beats who shared some of CJ’s work on Instagram @therealswizz.


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Events

November 12 2015

French minimalist conceptual artist, Daniel Buren has since the 1960s been known for his stripes and bold colours. Temporary, bold, wide stripes created by Buren have graced the walls of – and transformed the spaces themselves - at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Picasso Museum, in Paris, for example. Permanently, Buren’s stripes adorn a bridge in Bilbao and the Palais-Royal in Paris, stunning his critics who have implied that his work is not art at all.



In Naples, at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (The Madre museum), an installation and solo exhibition by Buren opened a month ago (and will stay open till early July 2017). Axer / Désaxer. Lavoro in situ, 2015, Madre, Napoli – #2, curated by Andrea Viliani and Eugenio Viola, was commissioned to celebrate the museum’s first decade of activity and to highlight the relationship between the museum and the community.



This installation is the second of two commissioned by the Madre on this occasion. The first, Come un gioco da bambini. Lavoro in situ, 2014–2015, Madre, Napoli – #1, will close at the end of February 2016.

Axer / Désaxer was created specifically for the atrium of the museum building, the 19th-century palazzo Donnaregina located in the historical centre of Naples.



Walls painted in bold, warm colours of orange and yellow dominate the installation that includes mirrors and Buren’s famous 8.7-cm-thick black-and-white stripes that cover part of the floor, suggesting an unusual escape route and the street outside.

The description of the installation says that the artist has created “… an area of perceptual and cognitive mobility, of vision, mediation, mutual attraction and communion, in which interior and exterior, museum and community penetrate into each other and merge. Each visitor is thus welcomed and invited, literally at a glance, to be a part of the work, to actively participate in the relation it celebrates between the institutional sphere and public dynamics.”



In our view (and in plain language), the Axer / Désaxer installation acts as an art installation in itself while creating a happy, welcoming and whimsical entry point into the museum. - Tuija Seipell.

 


Offices

November 5 2015

When designer Jean de Lessard was called in to create the new digs for PixMob out of a massive, old textile factory in Montreal’s fashion district, he did what all good designers do: Listened to the client.


 
After many discussions and much research, the Montreal-based, award-winning designer gave the PixMob team a 10,000 square-foot (930 square meter), two-level club/workshop/office that reflects the spirit of the company with the slogan “Connect crowds – reinvent rituals.”

Words that de Lessard used as cues included collective movement, intensity, beat, music, moment, spectacle, chaotic, nocturnal
 
PixMob is known for its wireless remote LED light technology that uses glowing objects, balls and wristbands for crowd activation. PixMob’s creations have been seen, for example, at the Sochi Olympics, in Vegas and at Superbowl games.


 
The most interesting component of the project are the ‘sculptural monoliths,’ angular conference pods that break up the massive open space and reverberate with the sound when PixMob puts on a big party on their premises.


 
We like the yellow accent colour and we love the raw, unadorned surfaces that reflect both the character of the company and the working-class history of the building. - Tuija Seipell.


 
Photos Adrien Williams

 

Transportation

November 1 2015

We will most likely never lease or own anything as grand and suave as the Symmetry super yacht – in fact, we may never even set foot on such a floating palace – but we are enjoying a close look!

Sander J. Sinot, The Netherlands-born and based custom-designer of super yacht concepts and their lavish interiors and furnishings, introduced the concept of Symmetry at the Monaco Yacht Show in September.



And while the James Bond villain-worthy mega yacht is still just a concept, Sinot’s lengthy promotional video lets us in on the detail and grandeur.

At “just” 180 meters (590 feet) in length, Symmetry is not the largest yacht ever designed – Christopher Seymour’s recent Double Century concept is all of 200 meters – it is certainly massive in scale.



Yet, with all that length and a 29-meter (95 foot) beam Symmetry looks relatively sleek.

With its six decks, it could easily appear bulky and heavy, but its symmetrical hull and stern not just allow for bi-directional manoeuvring at sea, they also allow for a surprisingly lean profile.



Sinot designed the concept from the center out, organizing all of the functions around a central void.



The yacht has room for 34 guests and 48 crew and six decks worth of bliss! A beach deck with a sea-water pool, a guest deck with a 56-foot (17 meter) glass-bottom pool, a hotel deck with a garden, and the owner’s deck with a stateroom opening up to a private outdoor lounge and infinity pool.



In total, Symmetry will have 10,700 square feet (almost 1,000 square meters) of useable exterior deck space.

Inside, the 34 guests can choose from four VIP suites with their own lounges and balconies, and 12 cabins. The owner’s staterooms include a private spa, an office, a library and a skylounge.



And for those hasty escapes - to a casino perhaps - there are two 33-foot (10-meter) tenders, a 46-foot (14-meter) day boat and six personal watercraft. And James is always welcome to land his chopper on the aft helipad.



More about the largest super yachts here: - Tuija Seipell.

 

Art

October 19 2015

This is another photograph from the U.S.-based photographer Kate Holstein, who brought us the Silver Surfer of Venice Beach.
 
This one was taken in the Yukon territory in northwest Canada known for its untouched, mountainous and sparsely populated wilderness.


 
The awesome power of the cold mountain scenery takes over the viewer immediately and starts the thought processes of: How cold would that be? How high is that? Is it always snow covered? 
 
And that’s the beauty of nature photography. Even when they present inaccessible and inhospitable locations, they are somehow open to everyone’s comments and admiration.


 
Thanks to photographers such as Holstein, we get to see - and hang in our rooms – stunning images of breathtaking, unreachable vistas.

 

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Art

October 13 2015

Even in phone-screen size, this image of a tranquil field of lupins in the volcanic moonscape of Iceland looks incredibly beautiful.



Blown up to oversize poster proportions, the same view is absolutely mesmerizing with its magical sense of undisturbed, cool silence.

In Lupins Mountain, in a dramatic contrast to the other image we feature by him – Chasing Epic – photographer Jared Chambers shows off his ability to capture different moods perfectly.



As a decorative centerpiece, Lupins Mountain works in an amazing variety of interiors. In a soft pastel-toned environment, it adds to the feel of tranquility yet holds its own as a center of attention rather than fading into the background.



In more dramatic and stark surroundings, it adds a surprising contrast of colour and softness, while also exuding strength, power and drama.

Limited Edition of 50

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