Food

February 23 2016

Is there anything more basic, homey and familiar than a loaf of great bread? Yet it has become a luxury. More and more of us are sick of (literally and figuratively) the white, never-to-stale sliced bread in its never-to-biodegrade plastic bag.

We crave for fresh artisanal breads, natural ingredients, heritage grains, organic everything. Those who value great-tasting, healthy bread will pay for quality.

And with that quality and premium price comes the notion of design. Why should we buy that wonderful, healthy loaf at a horrible-looking bakery?

Hominess and hearty fare are great, but does the environment have to look so “homey,” too? Not any more. We are seeing more and more cool bakeries around the world.

Our fans and followers helped us track down a few examples that meet the requirements at least visually. If the loaves and other baked goods created at these establishments remain consistently as great as their environments, you can count us in as fans.

Praktik Hotels has again engaged their go-to designer, Lazaro Rosa Violán, to create their latest hotel, Praktik Bakery in Barclelona. It is a cool 74-room designer hotel where the bakery is not just a branding gimmick but the real soul of the hotel.



Forn Baluard at the Praktik Bakery is run by Anna Bellsolà, second-generation artisanal baker known for the family bakery located at the working-class seaside district of Barceloneta.



The bakery lets the hotel guests feel at home as the scent of fresh bread greets them in the lobby. It is also a visual feast as the baking takes place in full view. The bakery interior is rather grandiose, not a tiny hearth stuck in a corner, and it has that air of a busy urban bakery where people come and go throughout the day. The bakery/lobby/café is a living and lively place void of that mausoleum-like chilly emptiness still so prevalent in hotels.



As always, we love the clean lines, the textured surfaces and the minimalist color-scheme. And of course we love bread and bakeries. Doesn’t everyone?

Blé, Thessaloniki, Greece

Blé Bakery on Agias Sofias in Thessaloniki, Greece, most certainly fits the bill. It was designed by the minimalist architects at Claudio Silvestrin Giuliana Salmaso (London & Milan). It has the world’s largest wood oven – gigantic, at 12 meters (almost 40 feet) tall!


 
And the bakery is built from cob made of white clay from Crete and Milos, plus sand and straw. Blé’s four floors house a patisserie, bakery, delicatessen and a wine and mozzarella bar.

Electra, Edessa, Greece



Another cool bakery in northern Greece is located about two hours’ drive form Thessaloniki in a town called Edessa. This central Elektra Bakery location is a prototype redesign of the family-run bakery chain’s stores.

The open, minimalist design by Edessa-based Studioprototype Architects helps to disguise the tiny space of 35 square meters (376 square feet) at a busy intersection.



The large outdoor seating area adds to the appeal, and glass walls link the indoors and outdoors to each other. Furniture by Xavier Pauchard and lighting by Tom Dixon.

VyTA Boulangerie Italiana, Turin, Italy

In Italy, the drama never ends. Not even in a bakery. VyTA Boulangerie, designed by Rome-based architect Daniela Colli, is located at the epicentre of busy urban life, the Porta Nuova train station in Turin.

With its contrasting light oak and black polymer surfaces the shop resembles a high-end fashion boutique or bar much more than it does a bakery steeped in tradition or natural ingredients.



Yet, it is an engaging environment with its large L-shaped counter, the stylized natural-oak “hood” over the pastry displays, and the hexagonal beehive detailing. VyTA Boulangerie has stores in Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples.

Princi, Milan, Italy

Of course, the dramatic dawn of the designer bakery took place in Milan. Princi, also designed by Claudio Silvestrin, offers organic breads and other goodies made according to traditional recipes. And it is open 24 hours a day and even on Sundays.

Owner Rocco Princi opened his first bakery in 1986. He now has four stores in Milan and one in Soho, in London.

Joseph – Brot vom Pheinsten, Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, Austria, the latest cool destination for lovers of organic bread is Joseph - Brot vom Pheinsten (Translation: Joseph – Finest Bread), located in the 1st district at Nagelgrasse 9.


 
This is the first retail store for owner Josef Weghaupt and master baker Friedrich “Fritz” Potocnik whose Joseph delicacies are also available at the city’s finest cafés restaurants, delis and shops. Corporate and graphic design by Martin Dvorak.

Baker D. Chirico, Melbourne, Australia


 
In Melbourne, Australia, cravings for chic design and amazing bread will be satisfied at two shops owned by Daniel Chirico. In celebration of the artisan baker, his second Baker D. Chirico store in Carlton, unlike the first one in St Kilda neighbourhood, has no coffee machine, deli or other distractions.


 
It is all about bread. And of course, about design, wonderful curving wood slats infusing light and warmth into the tiny space. Created by March Studio, also responsible for a number of Aesop store interiors.

Bécasse Bakery, Sydney, Australia
 
The chic, French-inspired Bécasse Bakery is located in the new Westfield Shopping Centre in Sydney, Australia.

It is part of a group of establishments, all located on the fifth floor of the centre and all owned by Justin and Georgia North: Quarter Twenty One restaurant, store and cooking school, plus Bécasse Restaurant and Bécasse Bakery.
 
The bakery was designed by Sydney-based Mima Design with principals Mark McConnell and Micheline Li Yoo Foo.

Panscape Bakery, Kyoto, Japan

In Kyoto, Japan, Panscape bakery represents the new look of bakeries. The tiny space, just over 26 square metres (280 square feet), looks sleek and clean in the understated, minimalist way the Japanese master so well.



Yet, with its select, massive components of cement and aluminum plus a half-tonne log, the space also exudes solidity and strength.

The concept, architecture and interior are by Osaka-based Hiroki Kawata Architects: ninkipen!

Komsufirin, Istanbul, Turkey

In its fewer than five years of existence, Komsufirin has grown to some 60 stores in Turkey and it sells predominantly pre-baked products, so it is by no means an artisan boutique enterprise, but we like the clear, minimalist interior, redesigned by Istanbul-based Autobahn.



The store name translates as “the oven in the neighbourhood” and Autobahn principals Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Cağlar used natural oak and white tiles to create a modern and visually spacey environment as a backdrop for the ancient process of baking.

Komsufirin is operated by the Doruk group and it is growing at a breathtaking pace, aiming for 350 stores by  2013 and 1,000 stores by 2020.

Helsinki Bakery, Osaka, Japan

One would expect to find Helsinki Bakery in Finland, but no, this one is located in Osaka, in the three-year-old Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens shopping mall.

And not just the name, but also the white and natural-wood design have direct connections to Finland.

The store’s Japan-born designer Arihiro Miyake is based in Helsinki-Finland, and has studied in both Japan and Finland.

Simple, healthy and natural are the key words of the bakery and the Scandinavian design supports those notions perfectly.

Lagkagehuset Bakery, Copenhagen, Denmark
 
Lagkagehuset Bakery’s name translates as “pie house” but there is definitely no homey pie atmosphere in this location, designed by SPACE Copenhagen.
 
Lagkagehuset’s principals, Steen Skallebæk and Ole Kristoffersen, have been baking independently of each other since the early 1990s. But in 2008, they combined their successes in and started Lagkagehuset that now has 18 locations in Denmark. - Tuija Seipell

Discovered any new designer bakeries we should know about? Get in touch

The third store of Madrid-based bakery Pany Y Pasteles looks very different from the first two, although all were designed by local architectural studio Ideo Architectura, founded by architect and designer Virginia del Barco.



The first two are clean and modern and sleek with the corporate pink colour prominent in both. But the third store is located on the ground floor of a historical, 150-year-old building in Madrid’s historical hear, Alcalá de Henares. When the demolition revealed old brick walls full of texture and character, del Barco knew she had her key element.



She brought in a strong modern touch and the corporate pink colour by installing an eye-catching ceiling made of 12,000 pink wooden bars of various lengths hanging above the guests.



Ideo Architectura also designed the lighting, tables, stools, shelves and bar counters.



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Art

February 6 2016

Carpe Diem – seize the day – is an image that evokes many kinds of emotions and questions. What is happening in the picture? Is it dangerous or just plain fun? What happened afterwards? We are not going to spoil the intrigue by giving our version, but let’s just say that it is a fantastic case of serendipity and creativity. A fashion shoot, smoke bombs of various colours, a foggy forest and a deserted highway. Click.

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Design

February 4 2016

In 2012 Parisian Mikou Studio submitted the winning proposal for the competition to design a swimming pool complex for the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.

The city is located in the Boulougne-Billaincourt arrondissement on the left bank of the river Seine about seven kilometres south-west from Notre Dame in Paris. It is considered one of the entrances to the city of Paris itself.

The swimming-pool  building, recently completed and called Piscine du Fort, is part of a larger Digital Fort complex. It, in turn, is a European Union Smart City Initiatives pilot area, described in a EU-published book as “a new eco-district that combines sustainable development and new technologies - home automation, fibre optics, air-powered waste collection, straw bale school, geothermal energy, feng shui swimming pool and a digital cultural centre.”



The 14.5 million Euro Piscine du Fort structure includes the swimming pools, a fitness centre, a solarium, squash courts, a sauna, a hammam and a cafeteria.

With Piscine du Fort, the Miko Studio designers, well versed in designing swimming pools and other public spaces, strived for a balance of energy.

They engaged feng shui specialist Laurence Dujardin to guide them in the understanding of the Chinese philosophical system of feng shui that translates literally in English as “Wind-Water.”



Another distinctive feature of the Piscine is the smart use of daylight. It streams throughout the building through skylights and windows that are not square or rectangular, but softly rounded “cut-outs.”
This gives the entire space a somewhat swiss-cheesy appearance but the rounded corners also come across as a cool, retro 1960s ambiance and they also help soften the hardness created by all the tiles, concrete and glass.



The third notable characteristic of the building is the use of wood slats. The rooftop outdoor “beach” is covered with wood slats and accessible through a ramp from the pool area.

Inside, the use of wood slats softens the pool area and other spaces as well. Most prominently, though, wood slats cover the building’s exterior walls in a wave-like undulating pattern creating a soft visual impact. - Tuija Seipell.

 

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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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Ads

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

 


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