Offices

June 2 2009

While most of us must accept sitting just AT our regular desks, the creatives at Hamburg’s Syzygy agency  get to sit IN their swanky, new desks. Thinking up ads and interactive campaigns for clients such as Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and Fujitsu, will most likely go a whole lot smoother when your workplace is custom-designed for you.
 
The office of Syzygy Hamburg (they also have offices in London and Frankfurt) was created by Christoph Roselius and Julian Hillenkamp, the two founders of eins:eins architecten in Hamburg.


 
The sleek, white bullpens are not as inflexible as they may seem. On the contrary — the various configurations are endless, but the desks always join together and form a whole. This allows for close cooperation and reinforces the feeling of everyone being in the same boat. The flexible desks also make it possible to turn tight and tough-to-utilize spaces into productive working environments.


 
Syzygy’s staff is lucky in other ways, too. Their cool office is located in the central part of Hamburg, near the city hall, the Binnenalster artificial lake, and the upscale shopping promenades of Jungfernstieg and Neuer Wall. Seems unfair, doesn’t it? -Tuija Seipell

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Design

June 2 2009




You must feel comfortable being surrounded by really bright colours if you plan on studying at Tokyo's famous Senzoku Kaguen College of Music's latest addition. It is called Black Hole on the school's site, but Black Hall on the site of Terada design & Architects, the Tokyo-based architecture firm that designed it. We want to believe the school, especially when we know that one of the large studios is called Big Mouth. The Black Hole has recording studios, multimedia studios, electronic organ classrooms, PC labs, and practice studios for jazz, jazz vocal, pop and rock. In the otherwise basic hallways, intense wall and ceiling colours have become the main design element, and the way finding ' large-scale painted signage on the walls ' is the main artwork. Terada is an architecture and design studio established by the Osaka-born, 42-year-old Naoki Terada in 2003. - Tuija Seipell


 

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Travel

June 1 2009

The travel world is full of designer boutique hotels and resorts - cities and seaside locations are teeming with them. Winter resorts, on the other hands, have left a lot to be desired in the design stakes. Until now. Developers, architects and designers are turning their attention to ski resorts, help to redefine the experience of the typical ski holiday.



Taking inspiration from classic European chalets, sophisticated, design-led ski resorts and lodges are popping all over the world. From Australia to Austria, the new ski holiday is as much about the experience of kicking back in beautiful surroundings at the end of a long day of skiing, as it is about the runs.

Paul Hecker is the interior designer behind some of the most beautiful public interiors in Australia, including the Prince Hotel in Melbourne and more recently in Sydney, the Ivy and stunning adjoining penthouse hotel suite. The latest from Hecker and his Melbourne-based team at Hecker, Phelan & Guthrie, is the new ski lodge, Fjall, located at Falls Creek in Victoria.       



Falls Creek is on its way to becoming something of a hot spot for those seeking the luxe version of a ski holiday.  The Hecker designed Fjall lodge joins the hip Huski Lodge and Frueauf Village; luxurious architect-designed self-contained apartments and chalets. Next month the ski town will add another high-end resort to its stable, with the Quay West Resort & Spa Falls Creek set to open its doors.



Fjall lodge consists of spacious, private apartments. With the Fjall, Hecker has taken the modern Scandinavian chalet aesthetic up a notch. Working with a crisp, very Nordic palette of charcoal, white, black and pale gray, Hecker brings a strong sense of nature into the interiors, working with  smoked and limed oak timber floors and wall paneling, and custom-designed oak timber joinery. Calacutta marble, heated balconies and cozy window banquettes complete the sophisticated space. - Lisa Evans

Photography - Peter Bennetts
 

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Architecture

May 29 2009




Stockholm-based Sommarnöjen (Summer Enjoyment - or Entertainment - in English) has just unveiled the designs for five new beautiful 15-square-meter second houses. Sommarnöjen houses are  designed by Sweden's top-tier architectural offices Kjellander + Sjöberg Arkitektkontor, Sandellsandberg Arkitekter and Tham & Videgard Hansson Arkitekter.



Sommarnöjen provides the houses ready-built on site. Some are suitable for year-round use as well. The mini-houses are also great as additions to a larger dwelling - as guest houses, studios, workshops, separate bedrooms and of course, saunas. For those of us with Scandinavian backgrounds, these cottages look like home. They look perfectly suited to join the thousands of tiny cottages that dot the small islands, rocky seashores and lakesides of Scandinavia where people take July off and also spend every weekend from April till September (or more) at the cottage, rain or shine. Sommaren har kommit! - Tuija Seipell

Ads

May 27 2009




Thanks to Apple the standard of marketing undertaken by computer and tech companies has dramatically increased. Apple showed the world that tech products can be 'sexy' and marketed creatively. The latest brand in this realm to take a creative approach to advertising is Microsoft. New Zealand agency Y&R zoomed in on the idea of home entertainment for this series of ads for the software giant. Promoting Microsoft Vista, which allows you to access your phone, music and photos etc from your PC, the ads are anchored around the idea of making your home a theme park of entertainment - a bouncy castle of fun. - Lisa Evans.

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Transportation

May 25 2009




Another iconic vehicle is about to be reborn and brought into the 21st century. This time it is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL that is getting the make-over treatment (that’s the car with the batman-esque doors to you and me, or Gull-wings as they are known in the car business).



This beautiful badboy, first introduced to the roads in 1954, is to be modified by Arturo Alonso and his company, Gullwing America. This time round it will be much more powerful, easier to handle and of course, it will feature all the mod-cons that one has come to expect from a vehicle of its caliber.



Alonso is perhaps the best man to complete this task, being no stranger to the exotic car sector. He raced for years in a Mercedes 300SE, and he is also the engineer behind the Bentley S3 E concept from last year.



With an aluminum body constructed with aircraft composite technology and chassis made of powder coated steel, the car will be powered by Mercedes’ M-133-55 engine, wired to raise the horsepower to 370. The new model will also feature striking red leather interior and an old-school instrument panel. The only hard thing left to do is to decide if you want the white one or the black one. - Brendan McKnight


Travel

May 25 2009




We first stayed at Macakizi – the sexiest pontoon beach club frequented by Istanbul’s super-chic A-list jet-setters – a couple of years ago when we were setting up TCH Turkey.


 
Now is the perfect time of the year to head back to Macakizi as it gets incredibly hot and busy there when the season really kicks off. Macakizi is the best place to stay in the Bodrum area.


 
Located in the village of Turkbuku, half-hour drive from Bodrum, Macakizi is named after proprietor Sahir Erozan’s mother Ayla. Her nickname is Macakizi, the Queen of Spades. Ayla is the originator of the pontoon beach club concept in which you never really touch a beach but instead lounge on terraces carved into the steep hillside.


 
Creating a perfect stage for the eye candy coming at you from all sides in the form of immaculately groomed, beautifully tanned and designer-gear-attired bodies, the hotel itself is elegantly down-played. It is concealed by the lush vegetation but the view of the Aegean is ever-present. The architecture is loosely Mediterranean, the rooms are classy, unadorned and sparse.


 
Celebrities and other VIPs parade from morning till night in Chanel swimsuits, Pucci sunglasses and William Richardson sarongs. Money and attitude and a penchant for gossip are prevalent, and the whole scene reminded us of a French Vogue shoot live with Steven Meisel shooting.


 
The highlight of the visit is always the food: absolutely amazing Turkish cuisine served buffet-style and al fresco. Having said that, now we really need another Macakizi fix! - Bill Tikos

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Transportation

May 22 2009



Whether your cargo is kids, laundry, groceries or beach gear, the coolest way to haul it is the Madsen Cargo bike. These handy urban transporters from Salt Lake City, Utah, can carry 271 kg (nearly 600 pounds) either in a bucket or on a rack. The bikes and the buckets come in three colors: dramatic black, yummy cream and sweet baby blue. Accessories for the bucket include seat belts and a seat for your progeny, pet or bride. The creative heads at Madsen are constantly tinkering with the bike and accessories, and according to their blog, a lid for the bucket is in the works. With their long tails, these bikes command attention. - Tuija Seipell

Food

May 14 2009




You know how good you feel when you have just tidied your workspace, and how much more organized and productive you seem to be. Do great surroundings affect other areas of life as well? For example, if school meals were served in well-designed and good-looking spaces - could this encourage healthy eating and improve the well-being of students?

That was the theory behind a pilot project of The School Food Trust, a government body in the UK chaired by Michelin-starred chef, writer and entrepreneur, Prue Leith. The Trust aims to improve the quality of school food and to promote the health of children and young people.



The Trust has been working with students to gain an understanding of the importance of the lunchtime environment. The goal is to create new school dining environments across the UK.

A pilot project - The Applemore College Canteen (or ACC as it has been rebranded) - was recently completed at Applemore Technology College in Southampton, where on a tight budget of £55K, the once-dull and lifeless dining hall was transformed into a buzzing eatery and hang-out space, extremely popular among the students.



Designed by renowned architects SHH, the 4,000-square-foot interior now has a relaxed cafeteria feel with areas zoned for eating and for casual hanging-out. The ACC’s innovative features include hanging graphic panels which help absorb noise, and an industrial feel and striped motif inspired by Manchester's popular Hacienda club.

“This pilot project proves that well-designed and suitably equipped kitchens and dining areas are solid investments for the future and contribute significantly to the whole school approach to healthy lifestyles and to the overall success of the school,”says Barbara Roberts, Delivery Manager at The Trust.



Clearly, you don’t have to be a trendy bar, a boutique hotel or the pop-up store of the moment, to create positive buzz. This project shows that with some well thought-out ideas and innovative planning, even the dullest of spaces can be transformed. And at reasonable cost. - Brendan McKnight
 

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Music

May 7 2009



Death. Abuse. Illness. Heavy-handed subject matter that, in hands less-skilled than those of US indie outfit The Antlers, could have ended up sounding like a concept album scripted by the guy who writes the sad bits in Grey's Anatomy.

Sentimental, introspective indie music has produced some of the best and worst music of this decade and The Antlers - like forerunners Arcade Fire, whose aptly named Funeral also took in ruminations on death and isolation - manage to create an album in Hospice that pours out more like poetic diary entries than a ham-fisted attempt at a linear, tear-jerking narrative. Musically, The Antlers build on the tension between intimate and sprawling dynamics. Beginning with a textured drone that moves into the album's most openly vigil-inviting track, Kettering, The Antlers maintain an affinity with ambience and abstract noises that makes proceedings both more sinister and disorienting. The vocals are suitably thin and at their loudest there's still an underlying fragility to it all.

This could have easily resulted in a big mess, but it's in treading so close to that line and ultimately pulling it off that Hospice becomes that much more exciting and vital. - Matt Hickey

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