If only we had a spare historic Barchessa in Italy and an extra million lying about, we, too, would build an office and showroom, just like fashion house Rubens Luciano’s in Villa Gritti, Stra, near Venice.
We’ve covered many a gorgeous office over the years in our quest for the world’s coolest offices, and although many of them a grand in scale and lavish in budget, each one has ideas just waiting for any of us to emulate in our own, perhaps more modest, surroundings.
In the case of the Rubens Luciano office architect Simone Micheli mastered several copy-worthy feats: The use of natural light and glass to create the feeling of openness; the combination of old and new in a way that is not pretentious; and the exquisite attention to detail.
Several of Micheli’s other hallmarks are also visible in this project: smooth, flowing lines; shiny, seamless surfaces; rounded edges; and organic-looking, bulbous shapes. We also love the meticulous detailing and the minimalist, clean overall look.
The four-year-long renovation collaboration between Simone Micheli and his friends, fashion-house founders Rubens and Luciano, was unveiled at a great party on September 1, a date that also marked the 49th birthday of the architect. - Tuija Seipell.
The work of Paris-based Matali Crasset always makes us smile. Her ability to take something basic and make it appear fun and fresh is unparalleled. More remarkable is her ability to do this while avoiding the gummy-coloured slide that so easily leads to overly cute, fake and just plain childish.
Including just enough colour to pop, adding just enough quirky shapes to make a point, and leaving everything else out, makes this little university grocery shop a delight.
Mini M grocery is a neighborhood grocery store at the Toulouse University where the student services organization is working to improving the options and accessibility of various food service alternatives from eat-in and take-out to grocery stores.
This colourful market is designed to stand out from the concrete buildings that surround it. Its overall feel is positive and fun; it is a market-stall-like casual shop, clearly different from the typical, boring convenience stores and corner stores elsewhere in the city.
With our fascination with both minimalism and colour, we’ve kept an eye on Emmanuelle Moureaux, the French-born and Tokyo-based architect famous for her use of candy-hued colours in many of her projects.
Since 2003, she’s run her own Architecture and design firm in Tokyo.
Her solo exhibition, “100 Colours” is currently on at the Shinjuku Mitsui Bldg., 55 Square, Tokyo, as part of the Shinjuku Creators Festa 2013.
For many years, Moreaux has explored the use of colour and the use of the traditional Japanese paper screens as dividers. Many of her projects in retail, hospitality and public spaces express some combination of the two, using colourful screens as dividers and using colour as a space maker. - Tuija Seipell.
See also The Power of Colour
Filmed at sunrise on the 57th floor of 4WTC in lower Manhattan, this short film captures an extraordinary and moving performance of Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a tribute to the future of the city that New York City Ballet calls home. Beautifully shot.
Spiegel Im Spiegel by Arvo Part
After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon
Ask la Cour
Directed by Davi Russo
Romita Comedor is a restaurant that is less than two years old yet it has the ambience of a well-loved, casual tradition.
The interior touches - the use of wood and tile, the wood furnishings, the many plants and various surface treatments - all seem to belong here, and they seem to have belonged for a long time. Nice vintage-chic patina that also looks fresh and modern – not easy to achieve.
The dining room is located in Mexico City, in the heart of Colonia Roma, at Avenida Álvaro Obregón 49.
The building dates back to early 1900s and its style was inspired by grand railway stations. It is also protected by the INBA (Instituta Nacional de Bellas Artes).
The massive windows, glass ceiling and a retractable awning all take full advantage of the station-style architecture, and let the light in for the benefit of the many plants.
The building’s current owner, Rodrig Espinoza, and his two partners, Marcela Lugo and Arturo, designed the restaurant with the idea in mind that it would become a gathering place that would attract not just the locals but visitors as well.
Romita Comedor is known for authentic Mexican cuisine, great cocktails at the two bars, and live entertainment by well-known DJs. The building also houses a design shop and a hair salon. - Tuija Seipell
As the ice cream and cupcake shop genre has become increasingly pink and cute, to the point of icky and utterly boring, we were delighted to run across Once Upon A Cream.
It is an ice cream shop in the beach resort town of Hua Hin, about 200 km south of Bangkok, Thailand. The refreshing shop was designed by Bangkok’s MADA Design Factory.
The design team was led by co-founder and creative director Nisachol Loetritsirikul. She managed to avoid the cute overload and instead came up with a crisp balance of whimsy and old-word dairy.
A few little nods to Willy Wonka are there – the pieces of machinery and copper fixtures, the pepperminty red-and-white round tables, the chewing-gum blue seating, the blue sky and fluffy clouds in the ceiling. But they are counterbalanced by the old-dairy accents: The white tiles, the clean surfaces, the wooden boxes.
The wood boards, rattan chairs and again the blue sky - references to the resort town location – round out the design concept. - Tuija Seipell.
This is what we call breathing room! A room in which one can breathe. Where the sea breeze moves freely. Where the scent of the ocean is ever-present. And the best part? It is not in a deserted island far, far away, but in an urban setting.
This 300-plus year-old house is located in the ancient port city of Jaffa, the oldest part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality in Israel.
The gorgeous renovation is by the Tel Aviv-based Pitsou Kedem Architects, already well known for their minimalist approach to architecture and design.
The single owner of the house asked the designers to maximize the sea view while keeping the historical feel of the building intact. The project team - Pitsou Kedem, Irene Goldberg and Raz Melamed - has achieved this beautifully.
The residence consists of a 100 square meter (1,076 sq.ft) living area (living, dining and kitchen) plus an additional 80 square meters (861 sq.ft) that includes the master bed room, a study and a guest room.
Our main attraction points in this cool sanctuary are the gorgeous arches, the exposed texture of the old stone, the subdued colour pattern, and the lovely balance between the old and the new. It looks so easy and natural, but it is very tough to achieve such poise.
There is an overall sense of peace and harmony that is a luxury in itself. Breathtakingly lovely. We are seriously envious of the owner. Tuija Seipell
Design team: pitsou kedem, Irene Goldberg, Raz Melamed
Photographer: Amit Geron
We are quite easily charmed. Or, perhaps more truthfully: When certain elements exist we are highly likely to take a second look.
Give us beautiful use of wood, minimalist approach, classic lines, incorporation of nature in design, and we are intrigued.
And, if you can add that elusive ‘something,’ that special stroke of genius that makes your design unique, delightful, quirky, even weird, and we will really take a really good look.
The Tree Snake House in Pedra Salgadas by Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Tiago Rebelo de Andrade fits the bill perfectly.
The Lisbon-based architect duo has worked in the spa town of Pedras Salgadas in northern Portugal for some time, creating an Eco-Resort in the park. The resort huts are little eco-lodges made of modular systems and built on stilts.
The two Tree Snake Houses have many of the same characteristics and the architects worked with the Modular System Company to come up with innovative ways to create the feel of a tree house.
Each Tree Snake House has a studio, a bathroom and a kitchen.
The architects are working on additional versions of the Tree Snake House for different environments and climates, including mountainside, riverbank, urban and sand. They expect those to be available to purchase to the general public.
So, we suggest you start saving up for your own Snake House now. We certainly have been snake-charmed and can picture our office in one of them one day! - Tuija Seipell
Photographer: Ricardo Oliveira Alves for TCH
See also Treelife by TCH
Get off your butt and go already!
As we said in our long-ago post “It’s time to do your own thing”
You need to trust your gut and go. But to do your own thing, you also need perspective. Pretty much everything can be improved, and the solution is often on the other side. The second look, the upside-down view. The kid’s version. The new perspective.
You also need inspiration. Change the scene. Behave differently. Take a new route. Walk backwards. Jump. Watch others jump. Go somewhere scary. Shut down your gadgets and just look, listen, smell and feel.
You need to figure out the big picture, or at least give yourself the benefit of the wonder that you’ll experience when you do see the bigger picture.
Travel is the cure and the answer for all those needs. Get out and go somewhere new. Do it now and do it often.
We at TCH believe strongly that travel helps not just every individual but also the world at large. The more you see, the more you want to see. The more you see, the less you think your way is the only way. The more you understand others.
Even our tagline says: Roaming the Globe so you’re in the know.
In an interview, retired Commander Chris Hadfield – the Canadian guitar-playing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station – commented on his experience in space. “In space, your convictions get heightened. You find yourself laughing and crying much more.”
“You start to think, about all those people you know in, say, Saskatoon, and how they’re not that different from the people in the city in Africa that you’ve never been to – trying their best, raising their kids – and how your particular set of loves relates to everything else.”
This is what happens on this Earth, too, when you travel and let yourself live a bit differently, and see others live differently.
No text book, degree or diploma will give you the valuable experience of what another city or country can provide
Travel the world, live in other cities, learn cultures. Learn because it keeps your mind young and your ideas developing.
Travelling offers you possibilities. When you’re stuck about what to do next in life, get on a plane and spend time in another country. You not only learn about others, you learn about yourself.
Travel opens up options you never knew you could have. You’ll become clearer on what to do in life or what exactly you should be doing.
Answers become clearer when you are in another country, exploring a different culture. We don’t know why or how, but something triggers answers when you are out of your environment in a place different from yours.
The answers have probably been there all along, but they’ll pop up when you are exploring the globe.
Travel now, not some other time when you have more time, more money, more this or that. Those days may never come and you may never have enough if this is your attitude.
Just make it work now. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be. The less you need, the richer the experience. Your true value is what is left if you lost everything you own.
When you are old, it is your memories that you have to feast on. Don’t make those be regrets. Don’t be one of those who says: I wish I had, Why didn’t I, When I still could I should have…
The only thing constant is change, so you have to learn to embrace it.
We think we’ve figured the Answer to Life – and no, it is not 42. It is about moving forward. Whatever tragedy you face – and you will: you may lose a parent or someone close dies from cancer, you will go through heartache, a divorce, an end of some sort - and you cannot remain in that place of grief and heartache and worry forever.
You have to keep on moving forward, no matter what. Don't look back, keep moving forward. Pain is temporary, it may last for an hour or a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. Just keep moving forward. Travel is an incredible cure for the pain in life.
Everyone keeps being amazed at how quickly life passes by, so do yourself a favour, don't think about it any longer - make a choice, just decide, book your ticket and explore the world and keep on doing it, year after year after year, a new city, a new experience.
You'll become far more interesting than the person you are now. And you will learn to love life on a totally different level.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions," says the Dalai Lama
Make your life a wonderful adventure.
The Cool Hunter Team - Images via Amazing Places