May 26 2015

Build a massive house made of concrete in the middle of a grove of 130 beautiful protected old oak trees and you have an ugly disaster in your hands.
This scenario sounds likely but it was elegantly avoided in the Oak Pass Main House that Walker Workshop designed for a private client in Beverly Hills, California.

The house sits on a 3.5-acre site at the rim of a canyon, which is why the fantastic views were the main consideration of the house plan.
The ornate oak trees provide a contrast for the hard edges of the low-lying house - a delicate balance not easily achieved.

The use of glass allows for views and vistas over and through the house and makes the mass of the house seem much smaller than it is.

Structural concrete is the main building material as it lets large spans of space to flow into each other without columns or supports.

All of this leads to a calm harmony between the site and the elegant minimalist house.

The 8,000 square-foot (743 sq.m.) single-family residence includes four bedrooms on the lower level beneath the green grassy roof, two kitchens, a dining room, a living room, an office, a 900-bottle wine room, an exercise room, a media room, four bathrooms and a powder room, a foyer and an art gallery courtyard plus a garage.

A 75-foot lap pool with infinity edges on three of four sides, bisects the house.

This large residence is on the same property with the much written-about Oak Pass Guest House that Walker Workshop completed in 2013. - Tuija Seipell.


May 24 2015

Imagine any city as if it were the human body and think of all the crucial aspects of it which keep us living. Within a city you could consider the people to be the blood; the thing which circulates constantly and gives life. Transport systems are the vessels which allow that blood to move and public infrastructure is the brains of the operation which facilitates the growth and movement of blood cells.

Equally important though is that essential organ called the heart. From a geographical sense, the centre of the city is considered the heart however more importantly it's the spaces within a city which have character, inspire and shape society that are indeed the most heartfelt.

Rainbow Chapel, located inside the G+ Park in Shanghai is a new addition to a large organ of cultural landscape which has redefined this large bustling Chinese city. It's a collaborative effort between award-winning design agency COORDINATION ASIA and logon; who have so successfully used the credo of 'developing art spaces which nourish a city' to form their concept.

The team from COORDINATION ASIA have featured previously on The Cool Hunter with their designs for the Shanghai Office and Kids Museum of Glass. They continue to tackle interesting social projects in a market which is ever growing and developing; Rainbow Chapel certainly is no exception to this as founder Tilman Thürmer explains its conception:

"Over the years of operating the museum park we experienced an increasing demand to have a new type of venue that caters to the Chinese public, now avid for living a creative life, gathering new and exciting experiences and mixing art and lifestyle. There was a lack on the Chinese wedding market that mainly offers city centre locations and classic settings and we went on to fill that gap."

Designed around the Shanghai Museum of Glass the G+ Park recently celebrated its 4 year anniversary by unveiling a lifestyle addition to its premises that includes the Rainbow Chapel which is attached to the museum park. It's a first for China and provides an alternative to classic wedding venues which appeals greatly to young and creative couples looking for something different.

It's only fitting that the structural form of the Rainbow Chapel is a circle, as essentially a circle is an infinite line. This was indeed the intention of having a circular form within a square as it alluded to the nature of the connections made inside the place. It was also intended to represent fundamental Chinese symbolism with the circle representing fullness and unity, whilst the square stands as a symbol of honesty and virtue; when combined they lend a sense of perfection and provide good-luck.

The building in total covers 390 square meters and is a vivid and fascinating exploration of the endless possibilities of glass.

The façade of the building appears to be kaleidoscopic as it comprises of 3060 elements, using 65 different colours and mixture of both transparent and semi-transparent glass. As the sun moves around the structure and the lighting changes so does the effects of the glass on the interior; creating a clever moving instillation. This effect brings the chapel to life.

Sitting just next to the chapel is a banquet hall which covers 1200 square meters, built upon a former industrial glass workshop. This workshop has been converted into an elegant and sophisticated space which marries in well with the Rainbow Chapel. Whilst extremely elegant it's also highly versatile and is capable of facilitating a wide range of events from weddings and anniversaries to concerts.

The Rainbow Chapel is modern, it's sleek and highly artistic; most impressively though it maintains these aesthetics whilst still having character, heart and a deep connection to those using it. It's a perfect cultural response to a gap in society and a heartfelt addition to Shanghai City - David Mousa.


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May 23 2015

It’s yet another example of the worlds of food, design and architecture colliding as this clever modern adaption of the pizza parlour has forever changed the way people grab a slice. Maybe it didn’t seem possible that this experience could be revolutionized yet a collaboration between Voodoo Ray’s and London based design consultancy firm Brinkworth has done exactly this.

The collaborative effort these two entities have come up with is mouth-watering both aesthetically and in taste. In every sense of the word Voodoo Ray’s is iconic.

Just as a pizza is modular and has an adaptable form, so does the architecture of this small quirky pizzeria. It’s a carefully constructed design, engineered to fit within the bounds of three shipping container units in Shoreditch’s award winning BOXPARK. Even the bold, striking, signage on the front and the fit-out has been modelled around the constraints of a container.

This form of design has a strong contextual importance as it sets a tone that Voodoo Ray’s can be moved and adapted to fit within a wide range of sites all around the world. It so successfully follows suit with a concept explored earlier by The Cool Hunter with the notion of ‘small is the new big’, as were seeing more pop-up stores and adaptive retail.

The pizzeria itself has a strong and recognizable interface that is both alluring and a great representation of what Voodoo’s stands for. They don’t appear to take themselves too seriously yet still offer vibrancy and colour; qualities which are consistently mimicked through their branding, menu and design. 
It seems far more than just a slice of pizza, in fact Voodoo’s have found a clever way of making pizza an icon again; something maybe not seen since the days of folding your slice in half whilst you ate it because that’s what the ninja turtles did.

Everything has been thought out and the level of detail which has gone into the whole concept is impressive. For instance high bars have been implemented to create a unique bar style eating experience which fits within the modular set up.

Voodoo’s even has its own dynamic range of coloured tiles which provide a playful vibrancy to the whole scheme and Brinkworth have so carefully implemented materials in their design which pay homage not only to the brand but the shipping container which facilitates this unique concept.

It is no surprise that with such amazing design like this Brinkworth has been commissioned by the likes of Nike, Supreme, Ben Sherman, Selfridges, Carhartt WIP, Dabbous, LBi, Dinos Chapman, Converse, Karen Millen, Heineken, Tinello, Rapha, Google and Casio.  

Voodoo Rays are currently in the process of evolving the brand further and locating to more permanent locations in the future. It truly is more than just a slice of pizza, it’s now that cool new place for people to meet and share a love of something so simple yet tasty. - David Mousa.




May 22 2015

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.



May 20 2015

It’s a natural phenomenon where gravity is defied and so be it is logic, a point in a vast ocean where one wave does the unnatural by going against the grain. You can either attempt to understand it or you can simply go with the flow, appreciate it and feel blessed you were there to see it. Relax the mind and appreciate with the heart.
This is in essence what photographer and writer Philip Thurston does, capturing the seldom moments which most of us may never get to see, delivering them via beautifully taken photographs. This stunning piece is far more than just a black and white photograph, instead it’s a collection of shades and tones, which have come together at the exact right moment; consider it a highly artistic postcard which depicts the experiences and travels of a person coming from where you’d rather be.
As it sits perched up in a space it is exactly that, a constant reminder of the beautiful unexplainable natural things in the world. This photo was commissioned by The Cool Hunter. 
Limited Edition of 50. Purchase Here


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May 15 2015

If you are in Naples this summer, check out the Madre contemporary art museum’s, Child’s Play, created by the 77-year-old French artist Daniel Buren.

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.

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May 10 2015

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.

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May 8 2015

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 - Bill Tikos

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April 30 2015

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

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April 26 2015

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.

Available online




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