Never thought we’d say we love an abandoned quarry. But through a massive six-year restoration, replanting and re-imagining process, the Quarry Garden in Shanghai Botanical Garden, in the Songjiang District, in Shanghai, China, has become not just a thing of beauty and wonder but a successful travel attraction. An abandoned quarry has indeed been turned into something beautiful.
The Quarry Garden has also earned the American Society of Landscape Architecture 2012 Honor Award.
We love the tranquility and eerie otherworldliness that comes from the ongoing process of a destroyed natural environment returning back to nature but in a completely new, transformed guise. We are left to contemplate both the scars and the forgiveness of nature. - Tuija Seipell
There is something mouth-wateringly yummy and creamily liquid going on in the interior of Cioccolato, a bakery boutique in Monterrey, Mexico. The designers aimed for a Willy Wonka factory feel of slight madness, and we think they’ve succeeded.
The new shop focuses on custom desserts and special events, and it is a specialized spin-off concept of the existing, fairly traditional Cioccolato pastry and cake brand.
The designers of the new concept are Savvy Studio Savvy-Studio.net of San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, México. One of the main concerns of the design team was to ensure clear differentiation of the new concept, without confusing the brands current customers.
The gooey concept evokes cravings of sweet sugary treats and thick whipped cream, strong chocolate and colourful candies, feather-light macaroons and juicy cupcakes – anything sweet and happy and festive.
Our favourite is the white table with one leg formed by dripping something, perhaps jam or some other irresistible filling. Chocolate drips off shelves and the seats seem to be made of licorice and ice cream.
Savvy Studio was in charge of the entire rebranding concept, from visual identity to interior design and packaging. Savvy is a multi-disciplinary studio involved in industrial design, architecture, graphic design, marketing and communications. Tuija Seipell
The trend for customising 1970s and 1980s motorcycles continues apace. The blinged-out chopper with raked forks and shiny paint is officially dead: today, customers are demanding sleek, minimal café racers.
The shift was inspired a few years ago by workshops such as Denmark’s Wrenchmonkees. Today, builders like Café Racer Dreams (Spain) are buying up and stripping down old Hondas and BMWs. Like the CRD machine we’re looking at here. Called “Brownie”, it’s a 1980 Honda CB750 on a diet.
It’s also a textbook example of the mods that custom bike fans are looking for in 2012. The electrics are hidden—even the battery—to throw focus on the mechanical components. The brown, gold and black colour scheme is low-key but luxurious, like a fine piece of leatherwork.
Unlike many builders, Pedro Garcia of CRD is not a one-trick-pony. His latest creation is a 1971 BMW R75/5 (above) converted for dual sport use. When not being ridden around the streets of Paris by its new owner, it’s blasting down fire trails and kicking up dust.
And the Wrenchmonkees, who kick started it all? Things are good in the state of Denmark. There’s a clothing line in the works and they’re collaborating with major brands such as Levi’s. They’re even getting commissions from switched-on nightcubs, with the “Club Black” series of display bikes (above). - Chris Hunter, editor of Bike EXIF
The Sphinx, Giza, Egypt
Green Lake in Upper Styria, Austria
Seven Sisters Waterfall, Norway
Central Park, New York City
Platja D'Aro, Girona, Spain
Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia
Dingle Peninsula - Ireland
Trolltunga - Odda, Norway
Emerald Lake, Alaska (Pic Lynn Zaik)
The Devetashkata Cave, Bulgraria
El Nido Palawan Island, Phillippines
We’ve said this many times but we’ll repeat it again: Complicated is easy, simple is difficult. When we see work like this student entry to the New York-based Graphis magazine’s New Talent Annual competition of 2012, we feel like cheering!
Design Student Maxwell A. Davis of London’s Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design created this stunning poster for mock client WWF using exquisite images and avoiding all visual and verbal clutter. Effective, stunning and informative. Not an easy feat - Bill Tikos
What a cool ride so far!
The Cool Hunter was born seven years ago. I never thought it would lead to what we have today.
It started as a newspaper column and, surprisingly, grew quickly into a globally syndicated column.
When TCH went online, the number of subscribers and readers it drew immediately was astounding. There was clearly a pent-up need for the type of material we were featuring.
Our enthusiastic readers were not just regular people, but editors and reporters from all other media, as well as brand managers, marketing executives, CEOs, designers – professionals whose job it is to know about, and create, innovative ideas, cool products, exceptional communications, fantastic events.
Over the years, well-known brands started contacting us for help and ideas with advertising and marketing.
Our daily exposure to literally hundreds of brands, designers, architects, artists, ideas, design images and PR material has given us not just a super-solid view of what is out there and what stands out, but also access to the best talent in the world.
Of course, most of what we see is not remarkable. Which is why we knew there was yet another niche, and we established ACCESS agency to meet those needs, to help brands stand out from the mediocre, boring sameness.
Mini Pram and Supermarket Trolleys
Since those times, we have worked with great brands, from Swarovski and Gucci to Nike and Mattel.
We do not always showcase all of ACCESS’s work here, but we wanted to show you some of the fun ideas we’ve created for the many Mini offices that have contacted us over the years.
It has truly been a cool ride so far! - Bill Tikos
Mini Rickshaw Tourist Bikes in Athens
Mini Indoor Drive-In Cinema to launch the Mini Countryman in Italy
See more at Access Agency
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
When did you actually do what your first impulse, or that nagging, persistent feeling is asking you to do?
It is easier to stay where you are, do what you know about, be safe, not push. Take the same route, order the same meal, hang out with the same people, do the same job.
But if you do not constantly test your boundaries, you will never find out what you are capable of.
If you always go over where the bar is the lowest, you will never know how high you can jump.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
We say: Jump now!
NOW is the absolutely most perfect time to try those new things, to explore new cities, to taste new foods, to start a business, to write a book, to enter a marathon, to go skinny dipping, to start playing squash, to start a blog, to give that dinner party, to propose.
Now is the time to find out what you are here to do. How much can you do? What can you achieve?. How much fun can you have? How much can you give?
Now is the ideal time to experience your life. To LIVE your life. We all know this is not a rehearsal, yet we live as if it were.
And we are not talking about pushing so that you’d be approved by others. Or achieve their goals or what they think you should be achieving. Or pushing beyond your healthy or safe limits.
But we are talking about using all of your talents, skills and abilities now. Because now is all any one of us has. And because that is why we are on this earth. To live our own lives fully.
And when we do, we will find millions of new reasons to be grateful. We will find hundreds of ways to give more. We will find out how wonderful life is.
Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance. - TCH Team
Niche “bars” are the new Third Places. Your preferred, distinctive, highly specialised places between work and home.
We’ve noticed restaurants, bars and services specialized in a not just a specific style of cooking, but on one ingredient, or one way of preparing an ingredient . Or one essential service. Or establishments that are taking the typical environment in a new direction. Doing something new, with a bold, clear focus. Not following others.
The images in this post are of BeefBar in Montre Carlo specialising in meat and established by European meat importer Riccfardo Giraudi who needed an uboring meat restaurant to showcase the best of meat and to entertain his clients.
The fairly recently refurbished interior is by Monaco-based Humbert & Poyet Agency. Especially impressive in the Monte Carlo BeefBar are the custom-made Murano glass chandelier and the marble bathrooms.
In our search for specialisation, we’ve encountered the Obika Mozzarella Bar in Rome/Florence/London/Milan/New York/Los Angeles/Toronto/Istanbul/Tokyo. We fell in love with their website’s sensuous Fabrizio Ferri-directed intro video about the art of making those delicious orbs of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, mozzarella made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo.
And the Poncelet Cheese Bar in Madrid with its cool, angular interior by Gabriel Corchero Studio.
Or San Francisco’s Coffee Bar, a coffee bar decidedly moving away from the atmosphere of scruffy armchairs and permanent residents with their laptops, to creating an elegant, minimalist stage for making an espresso drink .
We’ve also noticed the Asian Noodle Bar, Zozobra, in Kfar-Sabba, Israel, where chef Avi Conforti prepares Asian food based on centuries-old recipes in a shockingly vast and modern environment, designed by BK Architects.
The recently opened Masters Craft ceramic ware boutique in the basement shopping area of Palace Hotel Tokyo is pure proof of what we already know: nobody masters the art of minimalism as well as the Japanese.
Everything in this store, including how each individual item is displayed on the shelves and counters, manifests the skill of leaving all else out except what is needed for balance; of not being afraid of empty space, and of allowing every piece to tell its complete visual and tactile story.
The 45 square-meter (484 sq.ft.) store was designed by Akemi Katsuno & Takashi Yagi, founders of Kyoto-based Love the Life.
For inspiration, they visited the Masters Craft headquarters in Mizunami city, located in the Tono region of Gifu in central Japan, where ceramics production dates back 1300 years. The trees, mountains and silence of the neighboring area inspired the 14 tree-trunk- poles suspended from the ceiling. The visually prominent materials of the shop interior -- Castor Aralia tree and ceramic tiles – also speak the language of the region.
Palace Hotel Tokyo is located in the business centre of the city, and it faces the Imperial Palace and a lush park. It replaces the Hotel Teito and Palace Hotel that occupied the same site from 1947 and 1961, respectively. The 290-room Palace Hotel Tokyo opened in May this year and includes the second Evian Spa outside France. - Tuija Seipell