Art

November 23 2006


The V&A museum in London has a display of a new interactive audio-visual installation in the John Madejski Garden. Volume is made of a series of vertical light columns and will respond to visitors' movements, triggering a display of light and sound.

The collaboration is between lighting designers United Visual Artists (UVA) and Robert Del Naja (aka 3D) of Massive Attack and his long-term co-writer Neil Davidge (as part of their music production company, one point six). The installation is part of the Playstation Season, a series of contemporary, interactive events at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts, The English National Opera, Sadler's Wells, The British Film Institute and the V&A.  

Times:
Daily, 10am -5.45pm. Late night opening until 10pm on Wednesdays in 2006 and Fridays in 2007.

Prices: Free Nearest Tube station: South Kensington

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Travel

November 20 2006


It's a brave concept for a hotel: modeling the entire aesthetic on the industrial oil rigs of 1950's Mexico. Especially for one that's "moored" at the hedonistic Caribbean adventure playground that is Playa Del Carmen. But Hotel Basico  - the chic offering from boutique hoteliers Grupo Habita pulls it off with unapologetic conviction.

The gist is as follow.  The building, perched on Playa del Carmen's exclusive Fifth Avenue shopping and restaurant strip, references Mexico's rustic petroleum industry, with the rooms looking out onto a central mess hall-like restaurant area (note: best fish tacos in the 'hood). Above is a rooftop cocktail bar that features luxurious cabanas made from the back of old trucks with inbuilt mattresses and white-as-white cushions, two concrete petroleum tanks that serve as swimming pools (note: from the pool you can sip old-school margaritas and look down on the crowds below and out to the Caribbean, one block away). Breezy house music and handsome hotel staff waft throughout the building all day. Effortlessly surreal.



Now, I personally go by the theory that if you're going to work with a gimmick, be sure to go the full distance. Basico's architect, Hectar Galvan, seemingly agreed with the sentiment when he put this project together.

In the rooms, no detail is left un-themed. Exposed pipes with fire hydrant-style taps run along the walls. An industrial-strength bath and the king-sized, multi-purpose bed (perched on an elevated palate) sit in the middle of the room. Everything is exposed and raw; the toilet is the only thing in the room concealed. There are rubber curtains on the floor-to-ceiling window and pulley chain detailing throughout. The signage around the hotel references the typography of Mexican taxis from the 1950s. Superbly construction-worker chic!

The effect is softened, however, with what one of the managers referred to as "nana touches". Continuing with the retro feel, mosaic planter pots are smattered throughout and the recycled floor tiles are straight from "a Mexican grandmother's patio". Or so said the manager. The freight lift that takes you from the open-air reception to the rooms and restaurant above is decorated with succulents in red pots.



Some adventures in life are about the journey. And some holidays are about a wild hotel room experience. A sojourn at Basico taps into this ideal. This isn't the romantic experience for honeymooners wanting to hide in their own Caribbean cocoon. No, it's all about the exhibitionist couple who get into the flirtatiousness of the concept, who want to be part of the party that goes on up at the rooftop bar every night until 1am. And who are open to "having lots of sex", as suggested in the hotel introductory manual that's chained to the bed. It doesn't have to be alone.

PS. Be sure to borrow the hotel snorkeling gear and visit the surrounding cenotes (underwater caverns teaming with colorful fish).

PPS. While in Mexico check out the other offerings in the Grupo Habita chain: Deseo in Playa Del Carmen and Condesa in Mexico City.. by Sarah Wilson

 

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Fashion

November 20 2006


If you're just a kid at heart, you'll love this fairytale range of clothes, shoes and other accessories by London brand, Eley Kishimoto. The label was formed by textile design duo Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto, whose fabric designs have appeared in collections by Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen (to name a few). For their own the range, the team drew upon the innocent cartoon images of childhood. Now all you need is a lollipop and the look is complete. by Lisa Evans




Music

November 12 2006



There's a trend sweeping the UK that's so big, even British Vogue in their current December issue felt the need to dedicate a page to òThe Rave Revival", which as they put it, is all aboutòacid grooves and colors being back in the house". Most people are calling it òNu-Rave, and British bands such as Klaxons, Hadouken and Shitdisco are at the helm, powering the music and London club nights such as Anti-Family, Bosh! and NamaleeLovesPop that the fashion-followers feed off. 

However, there is one band at the moment who surpasses all of the above- their Nu-Rave sound, their gangsta style, and the blinding amount of neon and glitter they flash really are something to behold, and unusually enough they are not from England, but from Iceland - they're called Steed Lord. A true dance party act, they are equal parts gangsta, rave and glam. On their Myspace page they say their influences range from, 808 state, Prince, The Neptunes and genres such as ghetto tech and house, minimal electro, Chicago house, sensational 90's house music and the old-skool hardcore jungle massive.

They are absolutely a breath of fresh air, one of the highlights at the  Iceland Airwaves Festival that ran from October 18th-22nd (the festival is about new music, whether rock, pop or electronic, with international and Icelandic acts playing). Steed Lord are made up of M.E.G.A, Kali, Demo and A.C Bananas and during their performance at local Reykjavik club Pravda they packed the small venue to the rafters.



Their keyboardist, Demo, was reminiscent of a Batman baddie, just dipped into a pot of electric-pink paint. Someone in the crowd told me he's only 17 years old, which will explain why they referred to him as "the whiz kid" on stage.  M.E.G.A is the producer of the band and works at the controls at the back of the stage, although he had a stripe of pink painted over his face for good measure. A.C Bananas is a tattooed thug rapper who wore a black hoodie with 'Steed Lord' proudly emblazoned on the back in numerous day-glo colours, worn open with only gold chains adorning his bare chest. He had a fake diamond and gold grill over his teeth, with dramatic eye make up just visible from under his sunglasses, and a painful looking purple diamond, (their logo), tattooed right over his Adam's Apple. From the waist-down he looked very Nu-Rave - lycra black leggings with electric-pink shooting stars on them, the look was topped off with Nike Dunks, he looked like a total hard-nut, but also the sort of man that a fashion designer like Bernard Willhelm would lust over to use as a model in his Paris runway shows.  One of the most amusing moments was, when halfway through their act, a camp-as-you-like glittered male dancer appeared with a platter of gold chains for A.C to load up on. Done dead-pan and totally seriously, the crowd went wild, cheering and laughing as he loaded up his neck with gold of proportions that even Mr.T would have been proud of.

The hardness of A.C was counteracted by their female lead singer, (and star of the band), Kali who, resplendent as she was in an electric blue flower fairy top, neon leggings and peep-toe black high heeled boots, could give Kylie a run for her money in the 'petite, blonde and seriously sexy' stakes any day. However, it's her relaxed yet tough chick attitude with her mˆtley crew of band members on stage that clearly sets her apart from anything too poppy. This girl is street. Then there's her voice, which is incredible, at times sounding like Eartha Kitt as she purrs to the crowd "He's a very dirty mutha fucker" in the menacing electro 'Dirty Mutha' and in the uplifting sexy old-skool rave anthem 'You' she drove the crowd crazy when she started singing "Yooouuuu! Make me feel so good boy you're making me high! Yooouuuu!!! Make me feel so high, boy I feel so alive! Cos every time I'm near you I really wanna touch you and hear you say, you'll always be mine!

By the time she finished singing the atmosphere was charged with a sexy electricity, the crowd were sweating, salivating, grabbing each other and reaching out to this gorgeous chanteuse on stage and loving the feeling of the pounding baseline throbbing through them.

Hopefully they will start touring soon for sure cities such as Berlin, London, Paris (and maybe even New York) would just eat them up given half a neon-coloured chance. by Elizabeth McGrath

www.myspace.com/steedlord

Ads

November 2 2006




There's nothing like excessive exaggeration to push a product, like the latest ad for Norway's Alta Bike demonstrates so well. It's not the type of in your face advertising that demonstrates dicing, slicing, grating and peeling all with a free set of steak knives, its smarter and more aesthetically interesting than that. The Alta Bike is a unique bicycle created by a combination of graphic Bleed, furniture Norway Says and product designers Frost produkt from Norway. The bike has only one gear and focuses on developing the leg muscles. Advertising gurus at Shnel & Mynychuck have played on this point in a deliberately misleading yet humorous way. The Herculean legs, juxtaposed with the feather weight figures on this breed of exercise hybrid freaks is a stunning image that packs a witty punch. What makes this cool is that it's just as much about the ad, as it is the bike. by Billy T Visit Alta Bikes

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Transportation

November 1 2006



The Mini Mokes was perhaps the most loved sun buggy of the 60's, 70's and even the 80's. What sealed its success was the simple lack of doors. The convenience of jumping in and out of a car without opening doors and then the added bonus of driving around topless made it very appealing.

Today, riding on that success, Fiat have created the Fiat Jolly Panda. Although it sounds like a Japanese game show, this car is a successful remake of all the things that made the Moke a hit. The FJP was first launched over summer where it was used to ferry VIP's on the island of Capri.

With the interiors created by Italian design co. Paolo Lenti who specialize in the use of innovative fabrics, the FJP looks stylishly sixties from within.  On the outside, the car has been designed with nontoxic and UV ray resistant materials, centered around a simple structural design which makes the car appear almost seamless. It's simplicity is its beauty, with an added element of fun throughout the design. by Andy G


Kids

November 1 2006



Lets face it.  Being a hospitalized kid sucks. Apart from the obvious physical issues, the mental issues such as boredom can keep sick children feeling very low indeed. Design team, Jetske Verdonk, have come up with this simple and fun solution to trailing a drip frame around all day.

The Zieken+Huis is a drip-cum-tricycle which allows the pint-size patient to zip around the ward whilst remaining attached to their vital fluids and intravenous medication. In addition to this three wheeling wonder, the release of a curtain frame which drapes around the patient's bed has also been launched.

The frame allows 'get well' cards to be hung around it, acting as a decoration for the otherwise sterile looking beds. by Bill T

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House

October 30 2006


With suction cupped feet and a warm inner glow, these rechargeable , stick on anywhere lights are not only cool but rather handy. The lights are surrounded by a rubber outer shell which houses and protects the inner bulb.
Three suction cups at the base act as feet, allowing the bulb to be placed just about anywhere.

As they are battery operated and fully rechargeable, the bulbs are cordless  and can travel with you and take up new real estate in the most unusual places. They will be available to purchase from online store sometime in 2007. by Bill T


Lifestyle

October 22 2006


There's little left in life that hasn't had a style-makeover - even the most banal everyday, domestic items - with everything from can openers to wooden spoons designed with aesthetics in mind.  And now the last bastion of artless functionality, the humble band aid, has succumbed to the trend.

Superficial cuts and grazes are cause for glamor with Kiss Lips, Skulls & Cowboys, without doubt the coolest band aids you’ve ever seen. Camp as a pink tiara at Mardi Gras, the bright, glossy lip-shaped bandages come in a cute tin which includes a little novelty toy. Who said fun (oh, and bumps and bruises) were just for kids. They cost $16 and come with 15 per tin.

If your boo-boo needs more than a band aid, then you can't go past these stylish bandages in assorted colors. Complete with logo and clips, the bandage can compliment any outfit and steers away from the dramatic off white traditional bandage of the past.  by Lisa Evans


Design

October 22 2006


As yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years, the art is being practiced in often sterile and inappropriate places such as crowded gymnasiums and recreational halls thatlack the ambiance traditionally associated with the practice.
 
The Y + Yoga Centre in Shanghai appropriates the traditional settings for Yoga practice and fuses it with a modern, yet appropriate, setting. The center is nestled on the second floor of a building which houses a variety of shops and shares its space with a day spa.

Y+ creates an instant ambiance of tranquility through the use of delicately chosen colors in the entrance and main area of the facility. The choice of bronze walls and a combination of bright green and wood inside create a fresh and rejuvenating environment upon entry. The yoga centre comprises of three yoga rooms totaling 1200 meters squared, four massage rooms, a meditation room and a number of communal facilities including a shop and cafe.



The main yoga room is draped with dozens of ropes hanging from the ceiling, giving the room a modern art installation feel, blended with the tranquility of the gentle swaying of the ropes. Subtle leafy patterns decorate the two smaller yoga rooms further enhancing the peaceful ambience.
 
The key of creating a communal feel throughout all three separate yoga rooms is the inclusion of rounded openings in the walls . These circular openings, varying in size, allow participants and onlookers to indulge into a glimpse of what is happening in the next room, and connect by mentally transforming their individual experiences into a  group experience.
 
The Y + Yoga Centre brings Yoga back to it's origins whilst simultaneously adapting it to a modern environment through a subtle process. by Bill T
 

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