In the world of fashion, luxury brands, excess and opulence, brands must shout louder and louder – or at least create something dramatically different and new - to be heard, to be noticed, to cut through the noise, to make an impact.
Moderation or modesty have never been Karl Lagerfeld’s style (an iceberg from Sweden being among his best-known past props), so once again this year, he selected a buzz-worthy location to showcase Chanel’s 2014/2015 cruise collection.
This year’s event was a glitzy do with wall-to-wall actresses, stars and princesses and 300 representatives of the world’s most influential fashion media, on a manmade island – THE Island - off the coast of Dubai.
For one night, and sparing no cost, Chanel miraculously conjured up running water, palm trees, luxury shelter and yes, also a full-scale fashion show with all the necessary AV and ambiance.
And yes, plied with that much gutsy craziness, star power and money, the world’s media has, indeed, noticed. Most likely, Chanel and Karl would call it a success. The rest of us are still slightly blinded by the glitz, wondering how far brands are willing to go to gain attention. - Tuija Seipell.
Is there anything more basic, homey and familiar than a loaf of great bread? Yet it has become a luxury. More and more of us are sick of (literally and figuratively) the white, never-to-stale sliced bread in its never-to-biodegrade plastic bag.
We crave for fresh artisanal breads, natural ingredients, heritage grains, organic everything. Those who value great-tasting, healthy bread will pay for quality.
And with that quality and premium price comes the notion of design. Why should we buy that wonderful, healthy loaf at a horrible-looking bakery?
Hominess and hearty fare are great, but does the environment have to look so “homey,” too? Not any more. We are seeing more and more cool bakeries around the world.
Our fans and followers helped us track down a few examples that meet the requirements at least visually. If the loaves and other baked goods created at these establishments remain consistently as great as their environments, you can count us in as fans.
Praktik Hotels has again engaged their go-to designer, Lazaro Rosa Violán, to create their latest hotel, Praktik Bakery in Barclelona. It is a cool 74-room designer hotel where the bakery is not just a branding gimmick but the real soul of the hotel.
The bakery lets the hotel guests feel at home as the scent of fresh bread greets them in the lobby. It is also a visual feast as the baking takes place in full view. The bakery interior is rather grandiose, not a tiny hearth stuck in a corner, and it has that air of a busy urban bakery where people come and go throughout the day. The bakery/lobby/café is a living and lively place void of that mausoleum-like chilly emptiness still so prevalent in hotels.
As always, we love the clean lines, the textured surfaces and the minimalist color-scheme. And of course we love bread and bakeries. Doesn’t everyone?
Blé, Thessaloniki, Greece
Blé Bakery on Agias Sofias in Thessaloniki, Greece, most certainly fits the bill. It was designed by the minimalist architects at Claudio Silvestrin Giuliana Salmaso (London & Milan). It has the world’s largest wood oven – gigantic, at 12 meters (almost 40 feet) tall!
And the bakery is built from cob made of white clay from Crete and Milos, plus sand and straw. Blé’s four floors house a patisserie, bakery, delicatessen and a wine and mozzarella bar.
Electra, Edessa, Greece
Another cool bakery in northern Greece is located about two hours’ drive form Thessaloniki in a town called Edessa. This central Elektra Bakery location is a prototype redesign of the family-run bakery chain’s stores.
The open, minimalist design by Edessa-based Studioprototype Architects helps to disguise the tiny space of 35 square meters (376 square feet) at a busy intersection.
The large outdoor seating area adds to the appeal, and glass walls link the indoors and outdoors to each other. Furniture by Xavier Pauchard and lighting by Tom Dixon.
VyTA Boulangerie Italiana, Turin, Italy
In Italy, the drama never ends. Not even in a bakery. VyTA Boulangerie, designed by Rome-based architect Daniela Colli, is located at the epicentre of busy urban life, the Porta Nuova train station in Turin.
With its contrasting light oak and black polymer surfaces the shop resembles a high-end fashion boutique or bar much more than it does a bakery steeped in tradition or natural ingredients.
Yet, it is an engaging environment with its large L-shaped counter, the stylized natural-oak “hood” over the pastry displays, and the hexagonal beehive detailing. VyTA Boulangerie has stores in Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples.
Princi, Milan, Italy
Of course, the dramatic dawn of the designer bakery took place in Milan. Princi, also designed by Claudio Silvestrin, offers organic breads and other goodies made according to traditional recipes. And it is open 24 hours a day and even on Sundays.
Owner Rocco Princi opened his first bakery in 1986. He now has four stores in Milan and one in Soho, in London.
Joseph – Brot vom Pheinsten, Vienna, Austria
In Vienna, Austria, the latest cool destination for lovers of organic bread is Joseph - Brot vom Pheinsten (Translation: Joseph – Finest Bread), located in the 1st district at Nagelgrasse 9.
This is the first retail store for owner Josef Weghaupt and master baker Friedrich “Fritz” Potocnik whose Joseph delicacies are also available at the city’s finest cafés restaurants, delis and shops. Corporate and graphic design by Martin Dvorak.
Baker D. Chirico, Melbourne, Australia
In Melbourne, Australia, cravings for chic design and amazing bread will be satisfied at two shops owned by Daniel Chirico. In celebration of the artisan baker, his second Baker D. Chirico store in Carlton, unlike the first one in St Kilda neighbourhood, has no coffee machine, deli or other distractions.
It is all about bread. And of course, about design, wonderful curving wood slats infusing light and warmth into the tiny space. Created by March Studio, also responsible for a number of Aesop store interiors.
Bécasse Bakery, Sydney, Australia
The chic, French-inspired Bécasse Bakery is located in the new Westfield Shopping Centre in Sydney, Australia.
It is part of a group of establishments, all located on the fifth floor of the centre and all owned by Justin and Georgia North: Quarter Twenty One restaurant, store and cooking school, plus Bécasse Restaurant and Bécasse Bakery.
The bakery was designed by Sydney-based Mima Design with principals Mark McConnell and Micheline Li Yoo Foo.
Panscape Bakery, Kyoto, Japan
In Kyoto, Japan, Panscape bakery represents the new look of bakeries. The tiny space, just over 26 square metres (280 square feet), looks sleek and clean in the understated, minimalist way the Japanese master so well.
Yet, with its select, massive components of cement and aluminum plus a half-tonne log, the space also exudes solidity and strength.
The concept, architecture and interior are by Osaka-based Hiroki Kawata Architects: ninkipen!
Komsufirin, Istanbul, Turkey
In its fewer than five years of existence, Komsufirin has grown to some 60 stores in Turkey and it sells predominantly pre-baked products, so it is by no means an artisan boutique enterprise, but we like the clear, minimalist interior, redesigned by Istanbul-based Autobahn.
The store name translates as “the oven in the neighbourhood” and Autobahn principals Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Cağlar used natural oak and white tiles to create a modern and visually spacey environment as a backdrop for the ancient process of baking.
Komsufirin is operated by the Doruk group and it is growing at a breathtaking pace, aiming for 350 stores by 2013 and 1,000 stores by 2020.
Helsinki Bakery, Osaka, Japan
One would expect to find Helsinki Bakery in Finland, but no, this one is located in Osaka, in the three-year-old Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens shopping mall.
And not just the name, but also the white and natural-wood design have direct connections to Finland.
The store’s Japan-born designer Arihiro Miyake is based in Helsinki-Finland, and has studied in both Japan and Finland.
Simple, healthy and natural are the key words of the bakery and the Scandinavian design supports those notions perfectly.
Lagkagehuset Bakery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Lagkagehuset Bakery’s name translates as “pie house” but there is definitely no homey pie atmosphere in this location, designed by SPACE Copenhagen.
Lagkagehuset’s principals, Steen Skallebæk and Ole Kristoffersen, have been baking independently of each other since the early 1990s. But in 2008, they combined their successes in and started Lagkagehuset that now has 18 locations in Denmark. - Tuija Seipell
Discovered any new designer bakeries we should know about? Get in touch
Hong Kong seems to have more than enough restaurants, yet new ones keep opening up and the best candidates always do well. The latest in the Chinese restaurant genre is Mott 32, in the Standard Chartered Bank Building in Central.
We love the echoes of the past that are visible everywhere at Mott 32 without turning the establishment into a traditional Chinese restaurant. It is all cool vibes and modern touches perfectly suitable for urban Hong Kong
of today, but in a skilfully prepared wrapping of patina and allure.
The name Mott 32 has its roots in 32 Mott Street in New York City where it was the address of the city’s first Chinese convenience store, opened in 1851 by pioneering Hong Kong families whose entrepreneurship and hard work helped establish Chinatown and spread the global love of Chinese food.
Metal, wood, rattan, leather, eccentric lighting, and countless details make Mott 32 a place where there are cool stories everywhere.
A massive abacus in the ceiling, a spectacular display of brushes, newly “decaying” ceilings in the bathroom, cool art on the walls, all of these aspects of the interior are carrying stories that echo the bygone industrial vibe of New York and the agrarian traditions, craftsmanship and hard work in China and Hong Kong. - Tuija Seipell.
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
Wirra Willa is a tiny, tranquil pavilion located in Somersby, NSW, Australia, on an 80-acre property that formerly operated as a citrus fruit orchard.
Designed by architect Matthew Woodward for his father, the pavilion is only 72 square meters (775 sq.ft) in size and it is surrounded by a 36 square meter (387 sq.ft) courtyard.
The villa complements the existing larger residence on the remote property and provides a special, separate place for reflection and rest. It can also be used as a self-contained guest house.
The architect’s inspiration was the Fansworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1951. Just as Mies’s famous dwelling appears to be floating above the landscape, Woodward’s pavilion seems to float on the lily pond, creating a scene straight from a Monet painting.
Achieving the appearance of effortless floating became a particularly challenging aspect of this project. To gain the approvals of the local council, the building had to be raised twice during the building process.
The area is flood-prone and the finished floor level had to be half-a-meter above the “1 in 100 year” flood level although there is a dam with two overflow spill ways. In spite of the two forced raises, the structure has retained its feel of floating and the residents can still enjoy the sensation of walking on water.
Our eyes were drawn initially to the clean lines and basic materials - steel, concrete, glass, sandstone – with wood the dominant feature. Complexity is easy, but elegant, functional minimalism requires restraint and tact, both evident in this lovely villa.
We can imagine – and envy – the guests loving the relaxed, cool feeling of waking up in this pavilion, with the warm morning breeze gently shifting the white drapes. - Tuija Seipell
Opening this week in Antwerp, Belgium, The Jane restaurant designed by Piet Boon has all the building blocks of a success. An intriguing building: A chapel of a former military hospital that gives the restaurant the aura of a sacred place mixed with a certain darkness. An interesting location: Antwerp’s ’t Groen Kwartier that with its lofts in restored buildings and green areas designed by famous architects is developing into a trendy area.
A famous chef-owner: Sergio Herman with his young right-hand man Nick Bril running the establishment. A renowned designer: Dutch Piet Boon restaurant who used fantastic collaborators to add customized spunk. The massive lighting fixture (weighing 800 kg) in the middle of the main dining room was created by Beirut, Lebanon-based PSlab and the stained-glass windows by the Antwerp-based Studio Job led by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel.
Our favourite aspects of The Jane are the scale of the space - its height, massive arches and large windows, the lovely decaying celling, and the almost complete lack of colour. We like how the interior touches respect the building and echo its history.
In a media release, Nick Bril explains why they named the restaurant The Jane “…Jane is the name of a fictional woman with the same qualities as our restaurant. The Jane will be sensual, exciting and chic. It will have an attractive international air, but also a hint of darkness. It will be tasteful and sophisticated, but also rock-’n’-roll. Like our perfect woman.” - Tuija Seipell
We discovered Australian artist CJ Hendry through her Instagram account and were immediately blown away by her work. Armed with only paper and pen, she creates magnificent, photorealistic black-and-white images in large format. Her subjects are generally high-end fashion objects, such as a Hermes scarf or a Louis Vuitton horse head, but they can also be other inanimate objects including sculls and guns.
The pieces are mesmerizing visual objects in their own right, but once you realize they are created by just pen and ink, you really start to appreciate the skill and patience involved.
We are very happy to be the first to introduce her work to the world at large. We are usually pretty good at knowing when we have found a winner, and we know she’s one.
All six of her pieces were sold prior to the opening of The Art Hunter in Sydney and all via Instagram.
CJ Hendry’s creative process starts with selecting an object, or in some cases the objects selects her and she becomes obsessed with it to the point of having to create an image of it in ink. She then photographs the object in different positions and lighting, sometimes taking more than 100 images. She looks for a strong contrast with negative space that then draws the focus onto the object itself.
She selects the image that evokes a sense of simplicity and balance, or that in her words “shows off” the item the best. She then prints a black-and-white image and creates a grid on a large sheet of Arches paper. She spends sometimes more than 200 hours painstakingly creating the final piece using only black UniPin pens
Having dropped out of two university programs, the former almost-Olympic-level swimmer (she just missed the Athens Olympics and left full-time swimming after that) has now found a satisfying life to channel her creativity, mental endurance and obsession with fashion.
CJ explains: “The main reason I am so obsessed with expansive white backgrounds and highly detailed objects was through my early years of studying architecture. I was completely obsessed with the large plans with perfect lines, and this is where I was introduced to the black UniPin pens. I was not very good on the computer so I drew all my plans for all the assignments and drew detailed renderings of the buildings. The lecturers were not happy with me because I wasn’t using CAD and said I better learn, so I dropped out.”
CJ Hendry does not do private commissions and is exclusively represented by TCH. We will be having 4 shows a year of CJ Hendry's work in the coming next 12 months. Subscribe to our newsletetter to be updated.
More than 400 invited guests attended the opening event of The Art Hunter in Sydney on Tuesday night.
The Art Hunter launch is a collaboration between The Cool Hunter and Jaguar, and the opening night was also the Australian debut of the spectacular Jaguar C-X17 concept car.
To present The Art Hunter, we engaged our dream team of collaborators, led by the incomparable Natalie Longeon, Peter Pengly and Phil Barker from The Artistry (they designed and executed our Summer Lovers store as well), to transform a 500 m2 warehouse in Alexandria into a genuinely exciting, temporary three-week art exhibition experience.
The Art Hunter is not a white-walled space where you quietly walk past pieces of art. Instead, it is an eclectic and vibrant environment where every wall is a different colour (by our paint sponsor Taubmans), where there is no natural light and where the work of more than 40 artists, curated by us, is not only on display but also for sale.
Every one of the seven exhibit spaces has its own unique theme in addition to having its own wall and floor texture and colour.
In this corner, more CJ Hendry art with Oliver Tanner sculpture and floor designed by Hollie Martin.
The incredible artwork of CJ Hendry -all hand drawn by pen – drew much attention via Instagram even before her public debut at The Art Hunter. Five of the six works shown, were pre-sold before the opening night. (CJ Hendry is now exlusively represented by TCH)
At every turn, The Art Hunter surprises by serving up powerful, stunning art, capable of turning heads in any environment, from private residences to public spaces.
And to further prove the point that art does not need to presented in a boring, bland environment, we engaged Joe Crossley to create an incredible pattern with tape on the concrete floor.
The video room at The Art Hunter has a continuous show of five videos by different artists but you need to visit The Art Hunter to find out who they are!
The visual artists represented at The Art Hunter include both well-established masters and startling new discoveries, such as CJ Hendry. Other artists involved include Stephen Oramndy, Dorryce Rock, Daniel Hollier, Phil James, Friends With You, Paul Ryan and Jasper Knight to name a few.
I would like to thank Jaguar & Black Communications for making this all possible. It is incredibly rewarding to work with an iconic brand like Jaguar and to create an environment that is truly worth experiencing. And, of course, the Jaguar C-X17 is beyond incredible.
Matthew Beaven, Jaguar’s Chief Designer, Exteriors, Advanced Design, flew in from London to host the evening with us.
At The Art Hunter, the Jaguar C-X17 concept car and brand positioning – How Alive Are You? was brought to life by The Creative Shop through the use of both audio and visual stimulus. Entering the room to hear a solid heartbeat that increased in speed and tempo, all the while visualising this through red pulse graphics on the walls, helped to create an immersive experience that demonstrated that the Jaguar C-X17 is a living and breathing machine.
I also want to thank our creative producers The Artistry specifically. I have never worked with a team of people who so enthusiastically showed so much interest and care in everything they do. The attention to detail, the design and execution, the construction of our enormous set, the managing of the food and drinks of the launch evening - every single detail was executed to an extraordinary level of professionalism. I am so lucky to be working with them.
In this space, the floor was created by Tania De Bono of #thewritings and the photograph is by Nick Samartis.
The confession room designed by Hendrik Gericke where people walk into a neon-lit room to write a confession and share it on the wall.
Neon art in this space is paired with the Rainbow Trooper by Super Future Kid.
At the opening, we also had incredible edible food art provided by the talented team of Studio Neon with Andy Warhol soup cans for serving fermentad tomato gazpacho with prawns. Large terracotta pots with zucchini flowers, goats cheese hazelenut and honey and vegetable puree served as edible paint. And of course, we had the best mobile bar staff in Sydney with the Trolleyd boys along with our partners, Peroni, Nakd Water from NZ, Grey Goose, Karma Kola, Bombay Sapphire, Milagro Tequila.
The Art Hunter – open for three weeks only at
90-96 Bourke Road
Alexandria (directly opposite the Grounds)
Mondays - CLOSED
Tue-Fri - Midday until 8pm
Sat & Sun - 10am - 5pm
Closes Sunday 30 March
Want to see more? Use the hashtag #thearthunter on instagram to see everyone’s images.
The Art Hunter is The Cool Hunter’s latest, and so far the largest, offline experiential endeavour. It started with two The Cool House wildly successful temporary boutiques in Sydney and Melbourne in 2012, followed by The Cool Hunter ‘Rotate” Summer Lovers store in Sydney in 2013, and now in 2014, The Art Hunter
We can do much more with this fabulous warehouse space, the sky is not the limit! If you have a corporate event, product launch, fashion show, or other happening in mind in Sydney the near future, let us know. We have not only the ideas, but also the teams to make your next event a stunner.
The Art Hunter – open for three weeks only at
90-96 Bourke Road
Alexandria (directly opposite the Grounds)
Blame us, Norwegian designers and/or their possible dislike of communication, or a slight language barrier, but Norwegian design is not often seen in design media.
We would love to change that and we are currently liking the award-winning work of Oslo-based Inne Design’s Interior Architect Vigdis A. Bergh.
We noticed her work with hair salon and spa INCH whose owner Kirstin Arnesen is clearly onto something. Her little unisex emporium for the balance of body and mind has been gradually growing in Oslo.
We love the design features Inne Design brought to the first store. The eclectic mix of custom-furnishings and individual finds from flea markets and antique stores creates a fun and interesting environment. Also worthy of mention is the ocreative repurposing of such simple pieces as the retro round tables fitted with mirrors that can be removed should they be needed for serving drinks or buffet food at events held in the space.
We like the flexibility, the balance between the feminine and the masculine, and the raw and funky concrete flooring and street art contrasted with velvety plush seating and classic pieces.
Another project worth a note by the same design team is Melkerampa.- Tuija Seipell.