Food

April 10 2012

Not being big meat-eaters, we may never become regulars at Yakiniku Master Japanese barbecue, but we do love the design of the chain’s latest, its third, restaurant, opened late last year on Shanghai’s Tianyaoqiao road.


 
The 300 square-meter (3,230 square-foot) restaurant seats 130 people. It was designed by Beijing-based Golucci International Design, lead by the Taiwan-born, London-trained designer, Lee Hsuheng, with team members Zhao Shuang and Ji Weng.

The interior of Yakiniku Master Japanese barbecue is a harmonious combination of minimalist modern design and references to both Japanese and Southern Chinese architecture and traditions.
 
We love the use of the wood frame structures of traditional Japanese architecture, and in particular, the oak lattice work or screens that simultaneously divide and unite the restaurant’s various sections.



We love the half-moon shaped ceiling light fixtures designed by Golucci and referring to small, traditional Chinese boats.
 
The seemingly random, rectangular patches of meticulously arranged pebbles create cool interest on the floor and resemble a typical Zen-like feature in a Chinese garden.


 
We like the large, black-and-white mural behind the bar area that shows the beautifully curving silhouettes of typical Chinese roofs.
 
But most of all we love the stunning, ink-black wall of stacked traditional Japanese barbecue coal. It is absolutely beautiful.


 
All of these quietly elegant elements are not just beautiful to look at, but tactile and interesting, with texture and life and stories to tell.
 
Lee Hsuheng established Golucci International Design in 2004. Its portfolio includes a number of high-end restaurant and hospitality projects. - Tuija Seipell

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Ads

April 2 2012

At first glance we thought this was a campaign for sunglasses, but no. This campaign of massive vinyl stickers hit the bathrooms of Beirut’s trendy spots to draw attention to Riviera Privé. It is an exclusive beach, pool and bar and lounge area in one of Lebanon’s most famous hotels, the Riviera Hotel.

Riviera is located right in Beirut city, facing the Mediterranean. The hotel has been a favorite destination of jet-setters since 1956.


The Riviera Privé area has seen several reiterations of glamour and luxury, as has the hotel itself, but it is definitely the place for beach-loving locals who want to see and be seen. The sticker campaign created by République Beirut  plays cleverly on this theme by implying reflective sunglasses and evoking the sense of being watched.

Our guess is that not so long from now, a sunglass company will use this same idea. Bill Tikos

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Architecture

April 1 2012



Over the past seven years, at our creative agency, Access, we have worked with a number of residential and commercial property developers from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, helping them with development and strategy.



Yet we see so often the sad sight of yet another mediocre building going up. We see city councils approving mediocre design and we see cities looking uglier because of it. We see property developers rushing to get their building up, wanting to make a quick sale and profit, and not really caring or thinking about the aesthetics of the building.



Does the building enhance the surrounding area or make it worse? Will the building still look great 10, 15 or 20 years from now? Will it become an iconic landmark and a beloved site, or will it become a dated gimmick?



What will the resale value be down the track? Will anyone want to live in or buy property like it?

Property developers — and city councils — need to wake up and realize their influence on the cityscape and take that role seriously. This is the case not just for residential development — the same applies to office buildings, hotels and all public buildings in general.



As a developer and as a city council, do you want to be known as an organization that values and understands design and creates iconic developments? Or will you be known as the ones who created eyesores, or worse, caused a devaluation of an entire area or neighborhood?



The aesthetic of a building should be the Number One priority. There is not much point in creating and promoting beautiful interiors when the exterior tells a different story. The whole building should tell a cohesive story.



So many developers do not see the value, or even think about the aesthetics of the car park, for example. Would it hurt to splash some colour and graphic design on the concrete? Would it hurt to make the lifts and foyer more like those of a great hotel and less like a jail or a warehouse?



What amenities does the building provide? Is there a café, a library, a car wash? Engage us and wow us to the point that we cannot wait to sign on the bottom line! Excite us enough that when you go to market, so much buzz has been created that the units sell in 24 hours and at the price you asked for.



If a building is desirable and unique, and offers something truly beautiful, trust us, consumers WILL buy. It’s a no brainer, yet so many buildings keep going up that do the absolute minimum. They may tick off a few boxes and get the interior right, but not the rest. It’s not enough.

Every day, I am inundated with material from PR people and developers about new projects. Literally hundreds of submissions a day. So, over the past seven years, I have seen everything. And believe me, so have consumers.



Your potential buyers, the couples and the mums and dads and even grandparents are design conscious these days. The internet has opened everyone’s eyes to what is possible. People browse sites all over the globe, they learn, they engage in design. Design is no longer a closed shop. It is everyone’s.



Kids growing up now understand that design plays a crucial role in everything they consume, from the car they buy to the clothes they wear, to the headphones they listen to, to the cookware they cook, to the hotels they stay.

My advice to developers and city councils: Save yourself a lot of money, time and headache, and get it right the first time! Take design seriously now and you will be glad you did. - Bill Tikos


 



Music

March 25 2012
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House

March 20 2012

These minimalist, slightly retro — and dare-we-say cute – lamps come from New Zealand. They are the result of cooperation between veteran craftsman Douglas Snelling and his artist daughter Rebecca Snelling.

They established their company, Workroom, in 2008 and its collection currently includes tables, stools and lamps. In 2010, Rebecca and her partner Paul Dowie opened a physical retail store Douglas + Bec on St. Mary’s Road in Ponsonby, Auckland. It sells not just Workroom pieces but also others that fit their sensibilities of natural raw materials, clean lines and craftsmanship. Douglas + Bec sells also online. - Tuija Seipell


Art

March 14 2012

If Paul Gauguin hadn't died four years before Frida Kahlo was born, one might suspect that Gavin Brown is their lovechild. Certainly his art carries the organic lushness and slight madness of Kahlo's many self-portraits and Gauguin's Polynesian-period art.

You cannot blame the Melbourne-born, 47-year-old Brown for subtlety or minimalism. His world is populated by richly coloured graffiti-like images of people and situations where fleshy faces and tattooed skin compete for attention with birds, fruit and flowers. The vivid richness and underlying drama contradict each other.



The colour palette is happy and lovely, but these people are not happy. There is something sinister, tormented, going on. Which of course brings us back to impressionists and the most tormented of them all, Vincent van Gogh, whose self-portraits, if combined with his sunflowers would look completely comfortable with Brown's gallery of people.



Brown has had an illustrious and multi-faceted career in fashion, film and many other forms of art and design, but his focus is on painting.

He has participated in more than 25 solo and group exhibitions. Several of his large commissions adorn the luxurious Marina Bay Sands Singapore hotel and casino. - Tuija Seipell

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Stores

March 7 2012

Complicated is easy, minimalist is difficult. Even more difficult is minimalist design that stands out. That is why we love this little contact lens shop in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is a store concept for Adashot by EyeCare designed by Lee-Ran Shlomi Gidron of Tel Aviv-based Miss Lee Design.

It is apparently the first and only store in Israel that sells nothing but contact lenses. And that posed the main challenge of this project: How to display something as tiny and indistinguishable as contact lenses?


 
To start, Miss Lee created a word cloud to describe contact lenses: Cleanliness, Transparency, Clarity, Reflection, Gliding, Lightness and Tension between black &white. From that, the two main design elements emerged: The embossed-digits-wall inspired by sight tests, and the six light fixtures with concave mirrors. Minimalist, beautiful and stunning.
- Tuija Seipell

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March 6 2012

'L'Odyssée de Cartier' which premiered worldwide on March 5th is a three and a half minute  film celebrating the jewellery house’s 165 years of history.

According to the Telegraph, Cartier UK’s executive chairman Arnaud M. Bamberger said at  a preview at Cartier’s London HQ: “This project has been treated like a real movie, we wanted the best special effects, a big director, an incredible model and props to intertwine with our incredible history.”

The stunningly dramatic film follows the brand’s iconic panther on a worldwide journey from St. Petersburg to China, India and Paris. L'Odyssée’s 110-member team was directed by advertising film director Bruno Aveillan. The original score was composed by Pierre Adenot. - Bill Tikos

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Stores

March 2 2012

UK-based shoe and accessory retailer Kurt Geiger has been rolling out its new retail store concept in the UK and around the world with the help of its long-time collaborators at Found Associates of London.


 
Kurt Geiger’s flagship store and headquarters at 198 Regent Street in London’s West End is a glamorous shoe emporium within a five-storey historically protected building.


 
Red carpet covers the ramp leading to the men’s department, and it also links visually to the red glass walls at the rear of the store. The walls are lined with dark grey glass shelves forming a beautifully formal “library of shoes.”


 
Mirrors and glass, and the colours red, white and black create the entire visual structure of the store, allowing the shoes to remain the main focus. The Kurt Geiger Regent Street store occupies 2,800 square feet (260 square meters) of space.



The other main store in London, the 4,000 square-foot (371 square meters) Covent Garden store, is a maze of mirrors circling around a massive staircase.



The mirrors, distorting the space and creating infinite reflections, are all the props that are needed to create a luxurious, fantastical environment.



This Covent Garden store received RetailWeek’s 2011 Fashion Retail Interior of the Year award.- Bill Tikos

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