It's Asian cuisine engineered by a Cuban born and raised chef done with a Latin twist. It speaks true to the character of New York City as its innovative, appeals to the senses and runs the fine line between sophisticated and whimsical. There's a representation through the food of one man's dream to make it big in New York, this man being chef Luis Pous but more importantly it holds a much larger significance within a unique social context.
The menu is exquisite and genuinely original. From black bean & plantain empanadas to ginger & papaya marinated palomilla, there's something for every persons taste. What's most fascinating is how chef Pous has found intricate and delicate connections between two cuisines which traditionally have never mixed. It's a classic example of art imitating life as the worlds of innovation and cultural diversity have originated from within a social context and transferred into an exciting gastronomical experience. It's the New York mentality which has allowed such an amazing thing to occur.
The vision and inspiration behind the menu is particularly interesting as it's an exploration by chef Pous into the evolution of Cuban cuisine. His belief being that the menu he has developed is a representation of where Cuban food would be had they had access to a wider range of global ingredients within the past 50 years.
Food is only really half of this amazing tale though. The other 50% is in Asia de Cuba's sleek and modern design. Its clean, minimal, classical and a great interpretation of old Havana within a modern context. Conceived by renowned designer Rafael de Cárdenas this beautiful layout has characteristics of 1950's Hollywood, it's a little 'mad men', somewhere cool to escape the streets in salvation of a good drink and a nice meal.
The design evokes a seductive and hazy feeling which speaks true to Havana's gloried nightlife past. What Cárdenas has done so cleverly is managed to incorporate Asia de Cuba's personality back into the design without making it overcomplicated. There's touches of Cuba with Asian influences. This in many ways mimics how chef Pous has designed the menu and makes the whole experience even more special.
It's no surprise that Cárdenas has been commissioned by the likes of Barneys New York, Baccarat, Cartier, Nordstrom, Nike, Ford Models, and HBO.
Culture, food, cocktails and unique tastes; all within one of the most active metropolises in the world. Its original, new and ambitious; a perfect addition to the cultural landscape of New York City. - David Mousa.
Buren, known for his use of bold stripes in his installations, cooperated in this work with French architect Patrick Bouchain.
As his inspiration Buren used the ideas of Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (1782-1852), the German pedagogue who created the concept – and word - of kindergarten.
A large room on the museum’s first floor is now a colourful miniature city where the guests, adults and kids alike, can walk and play and interact with the many shapes.
The installation aims to celebrate the relationship between the museum the institution and its guests, the community.
We love the intriguing vistas, the complete lack of text or explanation, the honest openness of the invitation to enter, explore and play . - Tuija Seipell.
In this children’s indoor playground called Mama Smile, French-born, Tokyo-based architect, Emmanuelle Moureaux, has created a friendly and harmonious atmosphere that gives both children and parents a break from busy shopping.
Located inside a shopping mall in the town of Mito 100 miles North East of Tokyo, Mama Smile looks deliciously inviting with its soft, muted colour palette and its friendly visual language employing the simple shape of a house.
Moureaux says that the colourful space is also expected to help with the growth of the mind of the child from the viewpoint of “iro-iku”, a Japanese term describing a method of using the effect of colour to bring up concentration and imagination.
Moureaux, who moved to Tokyo in 1996 and established her architecture firm there in 2003, is known for her continuous study of colour. Her colour work includes the art installation “100 colors” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Mitsui Building, and in 2014 in 51 Uniqlo stores in 26 cities in eight countries.
She has also created the concept of shikiri, a made-up word that means “dividing space using colours.”. - Tuija Seipell.
How do you create a powerful experience that leaves a mark on your customers? This important question continues to drive brands of all sizes to seminar after seminar. And, sometimes, some brands do get it right, and sometimes, despite substantial investment, they don't. Which is why we loved it when, in 2009, we stumbled on a small, independent Australian resort that had nailed it. In the crowded market of luxury/boutique travel emerges Pretty Beach House, nestled in the escarpment above Pretty Beach on Bouddi Peninsula, on the New South Wales Central Coast just 100 kilometres north of Sydney, Australia.
From the beginning, Pretty Beach House set a new standard not just because of its exquisite location and its exclusive home-like setting of just four private villas, but it also exceeded all expectations in terms of cuisine.
We stayed there every year and consistently kept it on our 10 best places to stay list, together with Castello Di Reschio in Italy , El Palauet in Barcelona land Saffire in Tasmania
But it late 2012, a fire destroyed much of the main pavilion and our favourite resort closed for more than two years for complete restoration.
However, last month, the Pretty Beach House has reopened, and we can now breathe easier knowing exactly where our next vacation will take us!
The main pavilion is elegantly restored with decommissioned railway timbers from 1883 and each of the four pavilions – Treetops, Bayview, Hideaway and The Retreat – are beautifully appointed with works and craftsmanship of local and international artists and artisans.
The resort is run by Brian and Karina Barry, also proprietors of Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa.
The resort continues its tradition as a foodies paradise with its spectacularly cool new kitchen led by distinguished chefs and restaurateurs, Stefano Manfredi and Julie Manfredi Hughes, whose incredible cuisine impresses us every single time.
The interior design of the villas is un-pretentious and beautifully fitting for the environment. Natural fibres, muted colours and restful accents create a perfect setting for the views of the incredible landscape with hundreds of old gum trees standing there like living sculptures.
The villas interiors are luxurious but not over the top and feature raw, natural materials which blend in with the more 'designer' elements. Privacy is paramount which is why, three of the four villas also has its own private swimming pool. The villas have their own old school record player along with a selection of vinyl, iPods with songs already loaded on it, king size beds have linen sheets, bathtubs and wireless internet (for online-junkies) so there's nothing else to do but slide from day bed to pool and back again in a haze of sedation, facilitated by attentive staff who materialise at your every whim.
The setting is beautiful but the real thrill begins when it's time to eat. For us, it really is all about the food and everything else is a bonus. From the continental breakfast to the lunch and degustation dinners - everything is extraordinary.
Manfredi has exported and integrated his sophisticated, big-city fine dining into this laid-back environment. And he often serves guests himself. If anything, the trip to Pretty Beach House is worth it just for this. Where else can you experience one of Sydney's top chefs cooking just for you and a tiny handful of others?
Aside from sleeping, relaxing, eating and drinking, you can wander down to Tallow Beach for a swim, or take one of the charters to go swimming on secluded, secret beaches, or to go fishing or dolphin watching.Aside from sleeping (in extraordinary beds, we must note), lazing, eating and drinking, you can wander down to Tallow Beach for a swim and a dose of dolphin watching. Or if you're in search of a slice of adventure you hop into the Pretty Beach House boat or take out a helicopter ride over the area.
For more information check out the site prettybeachhouse.com.au. - Bill Tikos
For as long as architecture and music have coexisted they have been far more dependent on each other than one may have initially realized. There is an equidistance between how architecture has shaped the evolution of music and how music has done the same for architecture.
It’s the notion of harmony within spaces, that essential idea that the engrained harmony and vibrancy that flows through a space then goes on to give that overall place a particular identity and then in the reverse order.
As early as the 1400’s architects would use music to define structure for the most beautiful of building types.
Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti described it in this way;
“We shall therefore borrow all our Rules for Finishing our Proportions, from the Musicians, who are the greatest Masters of this Sort of Numbers, and from those Things wherein Nature shows herself most excellent and compleat.”
On the flipside to this, time has seen music progressively adapting to fit the containers in which it is being exhibited in, hence the birth of electronic music and stadium rock.
So how does this all relate to a somewhat hidden nightclub tucked away within a laneway in Melbourne’s CBD? The answer to that is it’s a further continuation of this evolutionary partnership between the worlds of music and design.
It’s ‘Bond’, a place built upon bold spaces, bold design and bold harmonies which evoke a sense of confidence, as if you’ve ordered a martini shaken not stirred and are playing it effortlessly cool.
The sleek lines and curvature in the design mimic the music which pulsates from wall to wall and overtime as the music has evolved so has the place, into a sophisticated sub-ground lair with just the right amount of retro edge.
Most impressively Bond holds a particular contextual importance as it is attached to an inner-city carpark facility, notoriously known as the big ugly villain with metal teeth within any city. Yet this carpark has now become the beautiful woman sitting at the bar with a hidden mystery.
Bond’s interior layout combines the fluidity, openness and vibrancy of an amphitheater with intimate corners, enclosed booths, and numerous private settings, brought to life by state of the art lighting and sound and custom made furnishings.
This kind of execution doesn’t come about cheap nor does it occur without the work of a design team which appreciates the harmonies and spaces within a place.
Fady Hachem of Melbourne-based design and architectural studio ‘Hachem’ first encountered Bond as 21-year-old graduate from RMIT, where he managed to do what any other student would struggle to and convince the then owners to let him develop the interior concepts, bold brand development and manage their sites $2m overhaul.
As does music and architecture go in circles drawing from the old to create new so has Bond. Hachem many years later was re-commissioned to do a $5m refurbishment creating an interior layout that is so far removed from anything you’ve seen in Melbourne, evoking a feeling of escapism and luxury. Ironically it does feel like you’re on the movie set for the latest James Bond film.
By creating a multi-functional space, Bond is now capable of catering to a wider variety of clientele. The bar promotes a New York styled bottle service and punters can enjoy a $50,000 exclusive experience that comes with helicopter rides, a personal chauffeur, masseuse, private waitresses to Cuban cigars and a range of drinks such as a personalised 15L bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and Bond edition Bollinger. Very Bond indeed!
Bond is more than a nightclub or a bar, its architectural elegance meets ultimate nightlife experience and has set the tone for future design within its field in Australia. To experience the harmonies, spaces and place visit Bond at 16-24 Bond St, Melbourne. - David Mousa
This elegant set of modern cutlery represents an incredible balance of tradition, style, luxury and practicality. Today’s heirloom without the stuffy grandmotherly undertones. Perfect as a wedding gift. Or a splurge for yourself when you know that you will want just one set of “better” cutlery to add a sense of occasion to any mealtime.
A modern, minimalist masterpiece that also happens to be factory made and even machine washable. No polishing, no fuss.
Designed and manufactured in Portugal, the pieces are light-weight but still have a substantial feel. They are elegant, not dainty. Traditional but not dated.
This stunning 24 piece cutlery set with sleek resin handles contains six knives, six forks, six spoons & six tea spoons made of stainless steel with a chic white matt gold finish.
We cannot take our eyes off the eerie umbrella-holding human figures that dangle seemingly in mid-air in the 7,000 square-foot (650 square metre) office of ad agency Fold7 Farringdon (Clerkenwell, London).
The figures were created by Czech artist Michal Trpák who has used similar humans-with-umbrellas themes, most notably in his large-scale work, Slight Uncertainty, installed in an office complex in Prague in 2012.
In Fold7’s office, the humans float in the entrance area of the ad agency’s premises located in a refurbished 1980s office building. The sheer volume of the space gives the artwork the visual open air it requires in order to appear fun and inviting, as intended, rather than spooky and menacing.
Fold7’s founder Ryan Newey and Paul Crofts Studio acquired the art as part of the design of the swanky digs for the 45 Fold7 employees. A large part of the space is unassigned and functions as an open plan with various options for employees, clients and projects to move around as needed.
Fold7’s slogan, “Welcome to the Fold,” greets visitors in the form of a massive sign by Voodoo Design.
Paul Crofts Studio was established in 2003 in London by furniture design graduate, Paul Crofts, and it is known for creating interiors as well as customized products and furnishings.
Ryan Newey’s career began with the creation of the Ted Baker brand that was the founding client of his firm. Since that time, his Fold7 agency’s clients have include British Airways, Carlsberg, Disney, Nike and Reebok. - Tuija Seipell
Andee Hess, founder of Portland, and his Oregon-Based Osmose have done their magic in Miami where they have helped revive what was a tired Coral Gables neighborhood bank by turning it into Small Tea, a tea boutique concept by Daniel Charles Joseph Benoudiz.
Small Tea extolls the benefits of real human connection via the consumption of tea under a canopy of 1,250 boxes wrapped in abaca or manila hemp, a type of banana-tree fiber used for baskets in some tea-growing areas.
We, of course, notice the elegant use of wood and wood slats, and oval and rounded accents, all of which helps evoke a tranquil sense of order and serenity.
Last fall, Hess and Osmose helped Portland’s Stumptown Coffee establish its swanky presence in New York’s Greenwich Village with reclaimed church pews and other previously loved pieces creating a great been-here-forever atmosphere. - Tuija Seipell.
Contextually it’s pivotal, an artistic exploration of the metaphysical, developed in the digital; all rhymes aside, Los Angeles based artist Anthony Gargasz,’s new collection ‘Metallic Faces’ simply cannot be ignored for these three reasons.
Fifteen years ago there was no such thing as ‘Photoshop art’. The thought that art could be generated on computers would have made traditionalists cringe.
However, what Anthony has managed to achieve by using his background in digital design is breathtaking and its art in the finest sense of the word.
His work is far more than simply ‘generated’, instead it’s an array of elaborate details carefully constructed, layer upon layer to create clean and unique imagery.
Anthony follows the exact same artistic progression as somebody who paints, sculpts or draws yet the main point of difference is that his tools are a keyboard, mouse and drawing tablet.
Essentially it’s digital collaging and in the same way architects and other designers are moving into the technological age, so are artists. This is why Anthony’s work holds such contextual importance because he is using such a widely spread platform in a unique manner to create beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces.
It’s a process which has allowed him to collaborate with the likes of Paramount Pictures, VH1, Sony Pictures and Nickelodeon; designing key art.
His work does what good art should do, it takes familiarity and makes you question it. In relation to ‘metallic faces’ he uses the familiar organic form of the human head, giving it mechanical and architectural qualities.
There is a real juxtaposition of the familiar and unfamiliar in this collection. In one sense the overall form is clearly a human face yet then you begin to question if it really is as you study all the small details that hold similar properties to a luxury car design, e.g. liquid fluidity and metallic solidity.
In many ways these pieces are on a similar frequency to Joseph Kosinski’s 2010 remake of the 1982 hit ‘Tron’. Kosinski used objects people would be familiar with, however repurposed them, gave them digital qualities and this in turn forced the viewer to consider what life could be like in the not too distant future.
Anthony Gargasz has done exactly this by repurposing the human face and giving it digital qualities.
Another unique aspect of Anthony’s work is the movement each piece seems to have, despite it being a still print. Each individual element meticulously flows into another through a variance of colours, shadows and tones; as to suggest some sort of motion far beyond being passive.
It’s more than just a series of conversation pieces, in fact each piece appears to be having an internal conversation with itself. How each element comes together and blends strikes a chord with the way music is composed or some sort of digital brain-storming process.
Is this collection the story of a bionic man? Is it some sort of futuristic exploration? Perhaps it’s a representation of how complex the human form is, either way the beauty is in looking at each piece and trying to decipher its true intention for yourself.
Anthony Gargasz has well and truly found his way onto the list of The Cool Hunters favourite artists and has been commissioned to complete three very impressive prints. Purchase from our online store here - David Mousa.