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Architecture

January 8 2008




Escaping the big city used to mean keeping warm beside a fireplace in aquaint little wood cabin tucked away in the wilderness. But now we allknow impressive design can be found virtually anywhere, even in themost remote areas. At just over 200 square metres, the Steel House in New York�s Hudson Valley provides an ideal weekend retreat.



From a distance the length of the narrow house looks like a metallicscreen rising out of the surrounding meadow. The house opens to thelandscape on the narrow east and west facades. One end features adouble-height entry with a stairway leading up to two bedrooms on thefirst level. The bedrooms above overlook a small, private lake by wayof an enclosed balcony whilst below, the living and dining area openout to a screened patio.



Striving to remain economical, high priority was giving to theselection of materials and finished both inside and out. Allinterior walls, floors and ceiling as well as custom furniture andcabinetry were constructed of durable maple plywood. Specialconsideration was also given to the use and placement of glazing andskylights that allow for natural ventilation.



Exterior floating stainless steel panels run the length of the house.Besides obvious aesthetic considerations, these perforated exteriorscreens protect the house from seasonal weather variations. Theyprovide much needed shade from the summer sun, and buffer the home fromstrong winter winds.

At just under 150 kilometres from New York City, the Steel House ishardly at the end of the earth, however, the siting and design of theweekend retreat allows its guests a welcoming break from the urbanchaos. By Andrew J Wiener




See also Camouflage House


Stores

February 1 2008




The much awaited, fabulous, 6,000 square-foot M.A.C Pro space has just opened in New York. Occupying an entire floor at 7 West 22nd Street, the new facility is divided into two separate sections, each with its own entrance: A retail/studio and a training area. Unlike other M.A.C Pro stores around the world, this is a full-blown studio and experimentation facility for make-up artists and beauty professionals. With its dramatic open layout, the space is a true feast for the eyes.

M.A.C Pro's New York store is completely dedicated to serving the pros. At the mixing station, they can hone their skills, test samples and experiment with the product with all of the tools of the trade nearby. The reference library is stocked with books, magazines and other reference materials for those who want to learn more or do research. At the photography studio, they can record their processes and their results. A separate training area, a kitchenette and bathrooms with showers make this an ideal space for some serious learning.



Makeup Art Cosmetics (MAC) launched in 1984 when two Canadians, makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and beauty salon owner Frank Angelo, opened a single counter in the basement of the now-defunct Simpson's department store in Toronto. Staffed by professional make-up artists, determined to become the ultimate color authority in make-up, and blessed with an outrageous sense of drama and theatre, M.A.C gained huge popularity among professionals and consumers. The Estee Lauder Companies bought 51 per cent of M.A.C in 1995 and the rest of the shares in 1998. Sleek stores, a vast array of color options, and a sense of professionalism and artistry are still the hallmarks of M.A.C that now has more than 750 stores in 50 countries. By Tuija Seipell.

Music

January 14 2009



It’s best to get this out of the way early, otherwise it’ll just distract us later. Yes, Telepathe are very cool. They’ve got a wealth of New York City style, hookups with labels like Merok and Isomorph Records and their upcoming Dance Mother LP features friendly assists from !!! and TV On The Radio wunderkind Dave Sitek. But don’t let the hype of all that get in the way of Telepathe’s music, because that’s where the real magic lies. Coming together like an art-school student’s wet dream, the NYC three-piece cook up an exhilarating brand of tribal dance music, complete with boom and doom drum circles, séance-channelling vocals, a mess of fluttering synthesizers mixed with a nice touch of stuttered hip-hop production aesthetics. It’s all sorts of weird, but equally wonderful, of course. — Dave Ruby Howe

Events

January 15 2009



Fashion launches are a bit like romantic comedies; pretty people in pretty clothes in pretty places - and they all start to look and feel the same after a while. Louis Vuitton broke the mould with its latest launch for its new Stephen Sprouse collection. The mega party was held over three venues in New York, starting with a cocktail party at the Louis Vuitton store, followed by an exhibition of  Sprouse's artwork. The night ended with a packed after party at the Bowery Ballroom, where Debbie Harry took to the stage for a mini concert.

Louis Vuitton did the late designer proud, celebrating his unique Punk couture aesthetic by creating mini 'Sprouse worlds' - referencing his work at every turn, from the walls to the ceiling and the furniture, culminating in a spectacular 'hall" of graffiti, a 'tower' of vintage TV sets and custom neon signs. Even the food paid homage to Sprouse - neon coloured hors d'oeuvres and desserts spilled out in a kind of punk colored rainbow.



Sprouse, who was part of Andy Warhol's set, become famous in the 1980s for pioneering the uptown pop punk look; a wild and edgy mix of elements such as day-glo colours, high-tech fabrics, sequins, velcro, superb uptown tailoring and hand painted silks. The designer and artist, who died in 2004, also created elaborate costumes for the likes of Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, Trent Reznor, Courtney Love, David Bowie and Duran Duran.

And now, thanks to Louis Vuitton, a whole new generation will have the opportunity to discover his work. - Laura Demasi

Events

February 23 2009



Sick of going to the opening of an envelope new store opening party? The tried and tested formula is safe, uninspiring and obvious. (Eg. celebrity invites, cult dj spins some safe retro tunes and the real consumer is supposed to be inspired by this out pouring of elitism to then visit said store.) Always ready to challenge the status quo, Diesel's new store on Fifth Avenue in New York took a decidedly different approach at a time when consumer behaviour and creative marketing is not only revered but essential.
 
Titled "Five on Fifth", the guerrilla marketing campaign for Diesel allows the consumer on the street to witness real life installations in their store windows. Intimate dinner parties that would normally be held behind closed doors were staged in the windows featuring famous New Yorkers. Each night was a different theme (cleverly organised to appeal to a cross section of consumers) with a club night featuring key dj's like Richie Rich, Kenny Kenny and Patrick McDonald,  a sports night with the key players from the New York Giants and then a Fashion night featuring the girls from Ford Models.


 
Street teams also gave out free goodies in key spots alongside the intimate window dinners in an attempt to catch the busy eyes of the press who were running with blackberries in hand from Fashion week's shows to parties.
 
Bravo to Diesel for their creative, inspiring and well executed campaign that should hopefully set the bar for economic-chic alternatives for store openings! - Kate Vandermeer

Stores

June 29 2010

Sports brands, even those that are not official sponsors of the World Cup soccer tournament, are taking full advantage of the global celebrations and fan enthusiasm. In New York City, Nike is making full creative use of its Nike Stadium NYC, a multi-purpose experiential environment opened at the Browery Stadium in May and designed by New York and London-based architectural firm Rafael de Cárdenas.

In Nike Stadium NYC, Cárdenas has created a soccer-inspired space that feels right in the New York environment — not glossy or overly sleek, but somewhat lived-in, hard-edged and willing to take some wear and tear. Triangular wooden blocks allow for instant creative modification of the space, as users can stack them, sit on them or create their own seating areas.



At Nike Stadium NYC, various soccer-related programs and performances in architecture, design and art are taking place all summer and into the fall. These include film screenings, match viewings and other events, all focused on exploring creative expression of soccer.

Nike Stadiums
are the brand’s multi-purpose event spaces that have so far opened in Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris and Tokyo.



Nike Stadiums continue to reinforce Nike’s reputation as a creative supporter of soccer — something that their 2007 Cannes Lion-winning Stadium shoe box represented well. A limited number of shoe boxes were transformed to resemble a stadium with an image of a stadium and an embedded sound chip. When you opened your shoe box, you saw a miniature stadium and heard the crowd cheering, and you could imagine yourself inside a stadium cheering along or, better yet, playing on the field wearing your new Nikes. - Tuija Seipell

Travel

May 21 2010

When you travel constantly, you are not easily impressed by hotels. You have no patience for pretentious or poor service, and you have seen enough amenity kits and fluffy robes to turn you off bathing permanently. Design does not even enter the picture until the all-too-common problem issues, such as bad pillows, no wifi or no internet connection at all, noisy surroundings and slow service, are eliminated.


 
However, if the service and comfort issues are handled well, we start to really appreciate design. This is why, when in London, TCH stays at the Firmdale Hotels. Our favourite is The Soho Hotel, situated right in the centre of Soho but tucked away in a quiet lane with theatres, shops and cafes within walking distance. The rooms are spacious and luxurious, and the penthouse is extraordinary.



Firmdale is a UK-based boutique hotel operator with six hotels in London and now one in New York. Firmdale is privately owned by husband and wife team of Tim and Kit Kemp. In each Firmdale property, Kit Kemp has been in charge of interior design and her attention to detail is impeccable. Colour, texture, quirky themes and art collections are part of her signature style that manages to translate into an inviting and beautiful hotel experience. Kit Kemp’s eclectic but luxurious design work makes her hotels akin to the refined British Airways business class.


 
Late last fall, Firmdale opened its first-of-many-to-come North American hotel, the Crosby Street Hotel, in New York. Again, it is in the perfect location in the heart of SoHo between Prince, Spring and Lafayette Streets. It is a few cobblestones away from all the action, but on a quiet street.


 
The brand new 11-storey, 86-room Crosby Street Hotel was built on a vacant parking lot over a two-year period. A short film by Jean Roman Seyfried “The Reconstruction of My Views” chronicles the construction period using time-lapse photography. The film premiered in the hotel’s own 99-seat screening room. (all images here are of Crosby Street Hotel). - Bill Tikos

Firmdale's next opening will be in London. They have acquired a site in Piccadilly (called Ham Yard) and will begin to develop later this year.
 

Food

October 14 2010



The new D’Espresso on Madison Avenue (at 42nd) in New York has received more media attention than is generally awarded to a tiny coffee shop in this world of millions of new coffee shops.



The reason for the attention is the fun design by the Manhattan-based nemaworkshop, a team of designers and architects that has created numerous cool retail and hospitality concepts. Founder Anurag Nema took the idea of a coffee shop that looks like a library – giving a nod to the nearby New York Public Library’s Bryant park branch – and turned it on its side. The walls are not lined with books but the floors and ceiling are. Except that it is all an illusion, a life-size image of books printed on custom tiles. Pendant lighting does not hang from the ceiling; it sticks out from the walls.


 
The tiny coffee bar of 420 square feet (39 square meters) is the second for owner Eugene Kagansky (the first one is on the Lower East Side) who plans to create an entire empire of coffee shops. Apparently, the next one will be completely upside down. - Tuija Seipell

Bars

May 13 2010

Juliet Supperclub opened late last year in the West Chelsea area of New York. The elegant, opulent, sexy and thoroughly shimmery establishment owes its looks to Bluarch Architecture + Interiors, whose ability to make the blue, hard surfaces look luminous and richly textured is astonishing.


 
Juliet is an impressive coming-together of big names that keep popping-up in the restaurant and nightclub scene. It is the 15th-or-so restaurant of celebrity chef Todd English. English’s influence is evident in the Mediterranean menu and overall attention to food, something that often ends up overpowered by glittery and glamorous nightclub surroundings.



Juliet is one of three restaurant/nightclubs in which nightclub tycoon Jon Bakshi (Jon B.) is currently a partner. His other two are the Greenhouses he operates with Barry Mullineaux in New York and Hallandale Beach, Florida. Mullineaux, in turn, is currently also partner in Via dei Mille in New York with Giuseppe Tuosto and Marcello Villani.
 
Greenhouse New York was also designed by Bluarch as are several other prominent nightclubs, stores, hotels and residences in New York and around the world. Tuija Seipell

Stores

June 2 2010


The first OHWOW Book Club has opened its doors in a tiny 150 square-foot space in New York’s Greenwich Village. The retail space is located below street level in a historic brownstone on Waverly Place.


 
The black-and-white tiled floor and the turquoise walls create a decidedly aquatic mood although the designer, Rafael de Cárdenas, was thinking less of marine habitats and more of a classic pre-war NYC water closet when he themed the space.
 
Experience designer/architect Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture At Large is a master of creating moods. In OHWOW Book Club, he has explored not only the sensations of disorientation and floating through neon lighting and random wall color patterns and placement of shelves, but also the feel of direction through the Navajo carpet-like tile pattern of the floor.


 
All of these themes are evident also in OHWOW’s Miami exhibition space at NW 7 Avenue, that de Cárdenas designed in 2008 and to which the Miami Art Basel crowd took right away.
 
OHWOW (Our House West of Wynwood) is a collaborative creative enterprise conceived by New York’s event impresario Aaron Bondaroff and Miami art and publishing powerhouse Al Moran. - Tuija Seipell


 

Architecture

March 21 2013



Not your typical weekend cottage, LM Guest House in Dutchess County, New York, is a study in minimalist elegance. The 2,000 square-foot (approx. 187 Square meter) house was designed by New York-based Desai/Chia Architects on the private client’s working farm that had no existing buildings.


 
What must have been a rather sizeable budget gave Desai/Chia Architects’ founders, husband and wife Arjun Desai and Katherine Chia, an opportunity to create an updated interpretation of the iconic Farnsworth House, that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed in 1951 in Illinois.


 
Although Farnsworth House was considered by some at the time to be cold and characterless, an aquarium or a pavilion rather than a dwelling, it has held its place steadily as a superior example of understated sophistication and as a timeless expression of van der Rohe’s desire to create balance and discourse between the indoors and the outdoors.


 
Similarly, the LM Guest House allows the residents an expansive view of the landscape by framing it with the triple-pane glass windows that are 20 feet wide and more than 10 feet high.


 
And although the LM Guest House is deceptively simple in appearance, it is a marvel of engineering and sustainable features. Geothermal heating and cooling, radiant floors, natural ventilation, motorized solar shades, photovoltaic panels and rainwater harvesting for irrigation, are just some of the examples of how this modern retreat attempts to fit in with the surrounding nature rather than conquer or harm it.


 
The property’s landscaping follows the same philosophy. Native plants frame the views and provide privacy while also managing storm water run-off. The bluestone slabs excavated from the site are used in the outdoor seating, pathways and terrace. Indoors, in addition to glass, the main materials include American white oak that is used for sliding panels, floors, ceilings and built-in furniture. - Tuija Seipell

Offices

November 7 2011

Horizon Media, founded in 1989, is the largest U.S. independent media services company. It is growing fast and needed a new space to accommodate its New York City staff that was scattered within ten blocks in three buildings and on nine floors.

Its new digs, designed by New York’s  a+i Architecture are a cool mix of industrial-scale open space – 115,000 square feet in total on three floors – and warm, inviting working environments.



Horizon’s new offices occupy the 14th, 15th and 16th floors at 1 Hudson Square on 75 Varick Street between Grand and Canal Streets. It is part of the Hudson Square Business Improvement District established in 2009 by Mayor Bloomberg and envisioned to attract media and creative organizations as tenants and to become a major creative hub.

The building was originally a printing factory with an impressive concrete structure, 360-degree views and high ceilings. With such good bones to start from, a+i further amplified the grandeur by cutting a wide staircase through all three floors.

This not only opened the light-filled space up even more, it also met another requirement: it helps the staff see the “hive” at work and connect and interact with each other.



This cohesiveness and interaction was an important goal for Horizon, especially because this is the first time its large headquarter staff was under one roof. The goal of taking fuller advantage of the proximity of the talent of all teams is also reflected in the number of huddle rooms, screening rooms and flexible spaces that have the latest technology to enable cooperation, interaction, brainstorming, presentations, video conferencing and client meetings.



The colour palette of the space is neutral with accessories, furnishings and millwork providing splashes of colour. The coldness of polished concrete and steel is softened by curving wood features made of maple veneer.



Horizon Media employs 500 people in total with additional offices in Los Angeles, San Diego and Amsterdam. a+i Architecture is a full-service architectural firm with projects ranging from workspace consulting, planning and design to retail and hospitality design. - Tuija Seipell

Architecture

December 9 2011

Much architectural jargon has been lavished on this Tribeca warehouse loft renovation but we just like the look of the cool, dynamic, elongated space.

This is not exactly a cozy home but its brutalist strength fits an old Manhattan warehouse well.



The Inverted Warehouse Townhouse has received numerous U.S. awards. It is the creation of Dean-Wolf Architects of New York, where architect Charles Wolf and designer Eunjeong Seong were in charge of the project.



We like the visible stairs that create a sense of lift and movement upward. We like the large surfaces of brick, steel and glass. We like the visibility between floors and from space to space that solves the potential problem of dark boxy rooms inside a windowless warehouse.



It is an impressive conversion of a loft (of 10,500 square feet) within a vast warehouse that covers the entire lot, leaving no room for outside space, garden or patio.

The main achievements of Dean-Wolf's work are cutting the roof open to let the natural light in and then using glass panels to let it shine into the dark centre of the expansive structure.



By doing this, they also created "outdoor" space inside, making the residence feel like it has a courtyard. They also created a large garden deck off the main living room.



To open up the key areas of the residence to this natural light, the main entry, via an elevator, is now on the fifth floor where public spaces and the bedrooms, playrooms and study are located. In a more typical townhouse, this "parlor" floor would be accessed through the front steps of the building. - Tuija Seipell

Stores

February 28 2012

The cool story of David Webb, jewelry designer since 1948 to elite stars, socialites and others who love bold statement pieces, continues beautifully today.



With the 2010 change in ownership – from the Silberstein family to Sima Ghadamian, Mark Emanuel and Robert Sadian – the New York tradition has managed to hold the attention of the luxury jewelry buyer from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor to Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez.

The most recent buzz around David Webb is not about the iconic pieces’ animal and other organic forms or the incredibly rich settings of precious stones, but about the design of the Madison Avenue Flagship boutique, above which the artisans still work in the in-house atelier.



Designed by architect Peter Pennoyer with interior design by Katie Ridder, the boutique seems more like a mansion or series of salons, and less like a store or showroom. With prices starting at $4,000, the David Webb pieces require surroundings that are both luxurious and intimate. Pennoyer and Ridder have achieved an edgy ease that lets the jewelry remain the center of attention. - Tuija Seipell

Design

June 18 2013

The Cool House, the first ever pop-up concept created and curated by The Cool Hunter (TCH), was an unprecedented run-away success at Pacific Bondi Beach(10 days), Sydney, Australia and at Rockeby Studios, Melbourne (4 days).



Close to 10,000 people attended both events. Media attention, both online and off, and the overall reaction of the public – both in person and online – was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.



To take advantage of the momentum and to realize the incredible HOUSE potential of The Cool HOUSE concept, TCH will now take this concept to the next level.

TCH will create a temporary pre-fab house, designed by an American architect and an American interior designer – selected though an invited architecture competition – and located in yet-to-be-determined spot  in New York City.



The house will be open for 2/3 months and celebrate a selection of items and their designers. The space will be personally curated by TCH, and include the most desirable and most covetable furniture and designer accessories for the home including fashion.



New global designer destination:

The Cool House will create an exciting new designer “destination” and draw attention to American architecture and design.

The global media attention for this exclusive concept will be unprecedented in part due to the unequalled reach of TheCoolHunter.net blog of more than 2 million monthly readers plus other social media outlets (Instagram 240,000 followers, twitter 294,000 followers, plus 210,000 readers-strong newsletter subscribers. The partners involved in this concept will together reap the benefits of their collective marketing power.



For, developers, brands and marketing opportunities, contact us here.

Architecture

July 24 2013

Imagine the renovation dilemmas. A huge penthouse of a converted 1930s office building in TriBeCa, New York, is to be turned into a functioning home for a family with three teenagers.

In fact, we can not quite imagine the issues that faced Steven Harris Architects when the family showed up, literally, at the doorstep of the celebrated architect and asked if he’d like to work on their home. Harris said yes and proceeded to make his magic.



The scale of the apartment is huge and the freedom from budget constraints allowed for some spectacular solutions.

Harris’s work is often distinguished by clarity and light, by the use of glass, by the maximization of views and, above all, bold solutions. All of those are evident in this project.

What emerged as a result of the TriBeCa Penthouse project,  is a multi-level (27th and 28th floors) nearly 8,000 square-foot (743 square meter) family-friendly residence that includes self-contained guest quarters and a new glass-and-teak-beam rooftop pavilion that functions as a recreation room.


 
The most frequently used areas of the apartment – kitchen, master bedroom, rooftop gym, even the laundry room – have the best views, including those of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and many of the city’s significant landmarks.

The double-height living area on the lower floor boasts an 18-foot high window with the view of the Woolworth Building. The room gained its height by necessity because adding the rooftop pavilion took the condominium conversion over its allowable floor area ratio. The team solved this problem by cutting off part of the lower-level ceiling, thus creating the double-height living area.



Harris’s team replaced the existing 70 double-hung windows with single-panel tilt-and-turn versions, and used glass in dividers and doors where-ever possible. The window panes were limited to 61⁄2 by 91⁄2 feet in size because of the size of the building’s freight elevator.

Early on, when the owners and architect realized they were looking at a substantially dramatic remodeling but the owners did not want to move out of the building, the family bought a couple of other apartments in the same building for temporary residence – and had them renovated before move-in, too. Those two apartments are now for sale.

One of our favourites in this apartment are the stairs. They are made of ¾-inch-thick steel plates wrapped in leather. The stairs appear to float in space and take up almost no visual room yet they are also stunning eye-catchers. Stairway to heaven, indeed, or at least toward it. - Tuija Seipell.

Art

September 16 2013

Filmed at sunrise on the 57th floor of 4WTC in lower Manhattan, this short film captures an extraordinary and moving performance of Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a tribute to the future of the city that New York City Ballet calls home. Beautifully shot.

MUSIC
Spiegel Im Spiegel by Arvo Part

CHOREOGRAPHY
After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon

DANCERS
Maria Kowroski
Ask la Cour

VIDEO
Directed by Davi Russo

 

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Bars

April 9 2014

New York restaurateurs, Eric Marx and Lisle Richards, known for the Wayfarer at The Quin, have taken on a massive project and turned a Meatpacking District haunt into party central.


 
The pair opened the elegant Monarch Room earlier this year and just recently, right below it, the Gilded Lily bar. The location of the Monarch and the Gilded Lily is 408 West 15th Street, the former home of the 70s and 80s gay party spot, Crisco Disco. The building has stood empty for three decades while the District around it has been transformed.
 
To create the interior for Gilded Lily, Marx and Richards worked with New York-based Roman and Williams (of Highline Hotel, Ace, Standard and numerous high-profile restaurants and residences).


 
They gutted the entire building right down to the support joists and then recreated from these bare bones a special blend of rough industrial brutalism and slightly sinful glamour.
 
Dancers on the sunken dance floor can now enjoy raw cement surfaces, golden leather seating and a new take on the disco ball: an enormous chandelier of long spikes that is synchronized to the deejay’s music beats.


 
Apparently the name Gilded Lily comes from the idiom of “gilding the lily” that means covering something with a thin layer of gold and/or unnecessarily enhancing something already beautiful. In Gilded Lily both are true. The already handsome raw space has been embellished by a thin touch of gold. But not completely unnecessarily as it all seems to belong perfectly and echo the past of the District and the building itself. - Tuija Seipell

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