Just before the Holiday shopping season last year, Greek Jewelry designer Ileana Makri opened an intriguing retail store on Patriarhou Ioakim Street in Athens’s posh fashion district of Kolonaki.
She hired Greek architect Stelios Kois to envision an environment for not just her own jewelry but also for fashionable creations of other designers. The Makri is not new to retail, as her first entry, Mageia, also in Athens, opened in 1987. Mageia was also the setting for the launch of her precious jewelry line in 1996. Steeped in symbols, nature, mystique and multicultural lore, her pieces featured snakes, evil eyes, insects and other nature-inspired themes created in gold, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other precious materials. Barneys New York noticed, and from there on, Makri has been part of the jewelry scene, and not just in the up-market fine jewelry segment but also in costume jewelry .
Celebrities and stars, from Jennifer Lopez and Faith Hill to Uma Thurman, Heidi Klum and Rita Wilson, have walked the red carpets of the world wearing Makri’s pieces.
As one would expect, Kois and project manager Antriana Voutsina with team members Nikos Patsiaouras, Marielina Stavrou, Konstantinos Karanasos and Alexandros Economou, used Makri’s work and philosophy as inspiration for the new Athens store.
The quality of light, geometric patterns, exquisite workmanship and intricate detailing are all essential in Ileana Makri’s work in which she transforms “memories to jewelry”, as Kois expressed it in a brief.
In the “peculiar forest” that Kois’s team created, our eyes are drawn to the strong, angular lines of the glass-and-metal trees on which jewelry and other items are displayed. The trees allow 360-degree viewing of the items inside the branch-boxes. We like the scarcity and strength of materials: metal, glass, wood and stone that gives the items on display a minimalist backdrop.
However, our favourite aspect of the store is the exterior. The window opening that appears like a big picture frame, was divided into three segments: Two windows framed with black stone protrude from the façade and, in between them, a narrow door made of black-stained oak leads into the store.
The narrower of the windows is for exhibiting the latest collections. It also frames a display tree and shows off our other favourite feature: the narrow, stone-clad staircase that leads to the jeweller’s workshop. - Tuija Seipell.
For someone born in 1977, Mexico-born and educated architect Manuel Cervantes Céspedes has scooped up his fair share of accolades. With his team at CC Arquitectos, he has completed both residential and commercial project that deserve attention.
One residential project in particular, El Mirador, located in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, and completed in 2013, has remained in our minds as an impeccable example of how to create elegant balance.
In this mountaintop residence, the architect and interior designers – as well as the owners – have resisted bravely the temptation to add just that annoying bit of attention-demanding “interest” - a contrasting dash of colour or a contemporary piece of furniture or art in a completely unrelated genre.
We admit that when we first saw the images way back then, we fell in love with the free-ranging horses. Then we admired the use of reclaimed railway ties as logs for the walls and then we were intrigued by the mirror-like pond at the entrance that also functions as a drinking fountain for the horses.
In the end, all of these features are essential parts of the balanced whole: A natural theme that is not disrupted.
There isn’t a single material or colour, inside or out, that breaks the theme, yet the house does not look or feel over-themed or over-designed.
The structure is a combination of steel and wood, and local stone is used extensively throughout.
The residence itself is a one-bedroom plan and takes up only about 550 square meters (5,920 sq.ft) and includes a kitchen and a large family room that connects to the outside terrace.
In El Mirador, Manuel Cervantes Céspedes’s team included José Luis Heredia Alvarez, Rafael Rivera Sanchiz and Javier Claverie. - Tuija Seipell.
Photos © Rafael Gamo
More recently, Thürmer’s team completed the Kids’ Museum of Glass located in the same Shanghai-based complex and opened a few days ago.
Cool and edgy, quite literally, the Kids’ Museum has none of the typical cute and cuddly kiddie features found in spaces dedicated to children. Instead, the target audience, kids aged 4-10, enter an environment of glass, particle board and metal realized in a colour scheme of black and white sparsely livened up with lemon yellow, saturated pink and cool blue.
The museum is designed to teach kids the basics of glass in a playful and fun way. The museum mascots, Bobo and Lili, guide children in their glassy hometown through various features, including The Beach, The Circus and The Factory.
Everything is designed to be touched and interacted with. Simple actions and gestures allow children to learn how lightning can create glass, how a glass prism works or what smart glass is. Performances, films and glass demonstrations entertain them in the Fire Theater and Up-Cycling Theater.
Kids can also practice their sketching skills in one of the ‘Draw Me’ installations. There are also two cafes and a shop for souvenirs, as well as a separate party space for rent for school groups, birthday parties or events by family-oriented brands.
The 2000 square metre (21,530 sq.ft) Kids’ Museum of Glass is located in the industrial Baoshan District of Shanghai and it is part of the massive former glass manufacturing site that covers about 30,000 square meters (322,920 sq.ft) and includes thirty existing buildings. When the redevelopment of the site was first envisioned and a 20-year plan created, the site was renamed G+ Glass Theme Park (Glass, Art, Research and Technology Park). - Tuija Seipell.
For many years, Pelletier has been researching and experimenting with methods of creating multidimensional portraits. Using his research in thermal imaging and MRI scanners as a technological basis and as inspiration, he started using Microsoft’s motion-sensing Xbox device, Kinect, to create cool artwork with a strong, edgy look.
Pelletier’s 3D images made of a sitting subject appear to be pictures of a metallic sculpture, strangely alive yet scarily cold at the same time. An updated C-3PO with a beating heart, perhaps?
Pelletier has participated in exhibitions and festivals around the world including the Netherlands, Canada, Finland, Spain, UK, US and Australia.
He is originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, and works currently at Random Studio in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. - Tuija Seipell
These designs are printed on metallic paper and mounted behind perspex for a dazzling and bold look. They can be wall mounted or free standing.
Last fall, José Miguel Herrera and Nuria Morell closed their popular SushiHome restaurant in Valencia, Spain. Fans and patrons were surprised, but they did not have to wait long for the answer.
In December, the couple opened Nozomi Sushi Bar in the funky Ruzafa neighbourhood of the city.
For interior design and branding of their new venture, they employed Valencia-based creative consultancy Masquespacio established in 2010 by Ana Milena Hernández Palacios and Christophe Penasse.
The founders selected the name Nozomi, popular for restaurants and businesses, including the Japanese bullet train. It is a lovely word with dual connotations. The word itself means wish or hope in Japanese and with the bullet-train implications, it also signifies efficiency and modern lifestyle. The whole project was then envisioned around two concepts, ‘emotional classic’ and ‘rational contemporary.’
In the 233 square-metre (2508 sq.ft) space, Hernández Palacios, creative director for this project, managed to evoke the feel of a Japanese street. “We have been studying photography from the most authentic Japanese streets with the aim to create a reinterpretation on a metaphoric way of those streets,” she says. Nozomi Sushi reminds many people of a typical street in Kyoto where traditional Japanese houses are well preserved.
The best feature of the restaurant is the overall quiet balance. It does not appear to be trying too hard like so many concepts today. Instead, it feels natural and coherent with its light-weight wood slats, shelves and partitions contrasted with the strong and solid concrete features.
We love the entrance where the slanted-roof overhang creates a nice play with scale. The otherwise quite basic doorway now appears both inviting and intriguing.
Inside, the chefs ply the ancient trade of sushi – the original fast food – behind a neutral bar with a fantastic origami-inspired cherry-tree-blossom ceiling above them. - Tuija Seipell.
Photography: David Rodríguez y Carlos Huecas.
Mention caviar and champagne, and most of us will think of opulent, lavish environments, luxury bling and furs, high heels, tuxedoes.
But not so in Helsinki. Finland-born, Los Angeles-educated and now Helsinki-based designer Jonna Laajisto took the Finnish approach: She focused on creating an understated setting and fitted it to respond to the historical harbour environment. And left out everything else.
Laajisto was commissioned by the Finnish fish and seafood purveyor Savu-Kari to create a caviar (and roe and oyster) shop and restaurant in one of the most enviable locations in Helsinki, Eteläranta 20, overlooking the main harbour where the commuter ferries and sight-seeing boats dock and depart for the archipelago, and right across from the city’s famed open-air public market (Kauppatori) and the recently renovated and re-opened Old Market Hall (Kauppahalli).
She adorned the tiny 45 square-metre (485 sq.ft) space with only the essentials: a few tables, chairs, counter, shelves - all Finnish origin. We love the tiled floors, aged clip boards for menus, minimalist lighting and unpretentious chairs, as it all harkens back to the Old Market Hall feel yet with a lovely modern urban seaside café essence.
The only real touch of colour comes from the blue Rocket stools designed by Eero Aarnio and available at Artek.
Finlandia Caviar has only 11 seats plus four more outside (when the snow thaws) and it is also available for private events, such roe-tastings and parties.
Various types of caviar and roe are served straight from the tin, nestled in ice, accompanied by crackers and truffle cream. And of course champagne or vodka.
Jonna Laajisto is also responsible for the design of Minna Parikka Universum, the Helsinki (and only) retail boutique of our favourite Finnish ladies’ shoe brand. It is also an understated, minimalist white shell that offers up Minna’s fun, limited-edition shoes like pearls inside an oyster. - Tuija Seipell.
The interior design of the 80 square metre (861 sq.ft.) space is by Isabel López Vilalta.
We love how the cozy, traditional taverna atmosphere is first achieved with the reclaimed wood, felt-coated walls (great for for acoustics as well as appearance), unpretentious furniture and colourful cushions, and how it is then nicely balanced with the sleek, hard, white floor and bar to conjure up a casual, urban ambiance.
We are especially spellbound by the large, spindly pendant lighting fixtures by Arik Levy. There’s just something adorably clumsy and benignly spooky about them. Plus they remind us of the Black Widow spider lady in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. - Tuija Seipell.
Images: Alejo Bagué.
When the annual London Collections fashion show opens, brands strive to out-do each other not just with their seasonal fashion shows but also with the parties and events.
This year, heritage menswear brand Thomas Pink offered up an unusual setting for the brand’s launch party at the venerable London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. A cocktail bar made of paper.
Thomas Pink joined with the 170-year-old paper brand James Cropper to produce a stunning centerpiece bar for the launch of Pink’s London-inspired Fall/Winter 2015 collection.
Designer Sam Robins of design studio Flow Creation envisioned the white Corinthian columns and mouldings of the ICA, the pristine white men’s shirt and the White Kendal Manilla paper and created a free-standing bar with paper glasses, lamps and architectural detailing. At the end of the event, VIPs were handed pink pens so that they could leave their personal marks on the white paper surfaces. Tuija Seipell.
We first discovered CJ Hendry hyper-realistic drawings at the end of last year and were stunned immediately.
In early April this year we launched the Art Hunter in Sydney in conjunction with Jaguar and introduced CJ Hendry’s work as one of the featured elements of the occasion. Her reputation took off like a rocket and her work is selling out at record time.
For those who have just discovered The Cool Hunter or CJ Hendry, here’s some of the background story.
Her rise is extraordinary in the art world as it has all happened in just six short months. It is a testament to her talent and once again, a testament also to what we call “The Cool Hunter Effect.” We hear about it all the time. How careers have taken off, reputations have been established, sales taken off because we have featured their work on The Cool Hunter.
We are happy to be the catalyst and supporter of excellent work, but CJ Hendry is unusual even among the ones we’ve supported before. So much so, that we became her exclusive agents/gallery.
And we HAVE supported her from the start because we saw the striking talent and the strong appeal of her old-school hand-drawn artistry in today’s technology-heavy world.
A few days prior to opening the Art Hunter, we posted an image of one of CJ Hendry’s works on Instagram to introduce her as one of the many artists we’ve been showcasing.
Within a few hours, we had received more than 50 enquiries from international buyers wanting to buy the piece we just posted. We did the same thing the following day and posted a different image and continued that a few days in a row. The result: All of her works were sold BEFORE we even opened The Art Hunter!
And this is how 90% of CJ’s work have been selling ever since. We recently introduced her playing card series, also on Instagram, and sold out the entire set within five days. All 54 cards, including two Jokers
Her $50K Fashion IT Bag series sold out. Her Boxing gloves were sold to a buyer in Saudia Arabia, the Nike ball went to London, the basketball to an employer at Apple in San Francisco. Even Kanye West now has one of CJ’s pieces.
Her mailing list now exceeds 1000, all serious potential buyers wanting to know what’s next.
So, to market her work further, we have wanted to take a new route, to continue to do things differently. To put an extraordinary talent into the boring same-old, white-walled art-gallery setting somehow just did not make sense to us. Her work deserved to be the talk of the town, an event, a happening, a celebration.
We decided to showcase her work in a private home in Sydney - a perfect match to her talent. After a long period of scouting, we found the incredible house that fits the style of CJ Hendry’s work impeccably.
It is a two-storey warehouse in Surry Hills converted to what is possibly Sydney’s coolest house. Home to a young savvy entrepreneur who likes to entertain, the house features its own private nightclub complete with gold bar, see-through glass smoking room, four bedrooms/bathrooms, a pool that looks into the nightclub and a super impressive sound system.
Plus a sleeping pod shaped like a UFO - the owner’s bedroom. The house alone offers limitless talking points, yet it served perfectly as the background for CJ’s pieces. They literally belong there. Neither overpowers the other, both the art and the house get to shine, they are flawlessly aligned.
Opening night was a huge success with over 500 people turning up to an art event they hadn’t experienced before - all being driven to and from the space courtesy of Uber.
The CJ Hendry art show residence was open only for four days to the public (4 Dec - 7 Dec). All the works sold out, 95% were sold before we even opened the doors and only 3 were available on opening night which were snapped up fast.
The gold bar in the private nightclub with flowers by Melbourne based florist FLEURS who we flew up for the event to create flower installations within the space. The gold flowers on the bar were sprayed 24 carat gold.
Pool balls, gold sofa and gold flowers.
Cj's sports artworks
The entrance to the private nightclub was a perfect setting to display Cj's playing card and pool ball series.
The bathroom in the private nightclub.
We had 2 large grazing tables that our talented event guru Natalie Longheon from Just Add Cream had created. Natalie also did the event design and production and we have used her previously for the Art Hunter & Summer Lovers Store.
The food was the talk of the night, super quality provided by the Louis Vuitton of butchers - Victor Churchill in Woollahra and incredible cheeses by Salt Meat Cheese in Alexandria. Mud Australia provided the plate ware
Guests admiring the detail in CJ Hendry’s work
Admirers taking selfies in front of CJ’s work.
A huge thanks to our sponsors: Penfolds wine, Ciroc Vodka, San Pellegrino, Peroni, Rekorderlig Cider.
Up close and personal
"Can you believe this is an actual drawing” was the most frequently overheard comment of the night.
- In March 2015, we’ll be showcasing CJ’s new works in Melbourne in yet another exceptional, un-gallery space.
- And Summer 2015, we’ll show more of CJ’s works in New York City and Art Basel Miami.
- CJ is exclusively represented by TCH. To be updated on CJ’s upcoming works and to get on her mailing list, send an email to - [email protected]
Photos by David Wheeler and Damien Milan.