Viktor & Rolf Flagship Boutique – Paris

Dutch design pair Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Viktor & Rolf brand by opening a massive Paris flagship store in the 1st arrondissement, at 370 Rue Saint-Honoré.

One expects nothing but spectacular from the brand that has been owned by Renzo Rosso’s group since 2008, with apparently deep pockets to support the label’s growth and expansion.

But we did not expect felt-padded walls or the omnipresent grey color – a hue that now seems to be the new black of retail environments and is in fact getting a bit boring already.

The charcoal surroundings do show off the more colorful pieces, but there’s something quite depressing and aggressive about all that greyness.

The 7,000 square-foot (650 square-meter) multi-level emporium was designed by the Paris-based Pierre Beucler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli of Architecture & Associés.

The store houses much of the Viktor and Rolf collection including ladies’ wear, handbags, shoes, eyewear, and a selection of menswear and limited-edition pieces. – Tuija Seipell.

Limantos Residence – Sao Paulo, Brazil

We are scratching our heads, searching for new words to describe the attraction we have for buildings such as the Limantos residence by Fernanda Marques Arquitetos Associados.

 
The one-family residence of 820 square meters (8,826 sq.ft) is built on three levels on a steep 780 square-meter (8,395 sq.ft.) plot in the upscale neighbourhood of Cidade Jardim (Garden City) in the West Zone of São Paulo, Brazil.

 
What is it that so appeals to us in this? Yes, it is the clean, classic lines, the Miesian harmony between nature and the indoors, the understated elegance of less is more.

 
It is also the achievement of open-space opulence without pretentious pomposity. It is the complete lack of unnecessary ornamentation. Balance. Harmony. Air to breathe.

 
Maybe it is that the building just seems to belong. Like waves on the beach or mountains in the skyline, the building occupies its space as if it were meant to be there.

 
To avoid sounding overly pompous ourselves, let’s just say that we wouldn’t mind living in this house.

 
The house consists of 13 rooms: living, dining, kitchen, mezzanine, kids’ playroom, three bedroom suites, powder room, two staff suites, plus laundry and garage.

 
The family engaged Fernanda Marques to create a home – both the architecture and interior are by Marques – that functions well as an everyday residence for the active family, but also lends itself to frequent entertaining.

 
Marques achieved a beautiful balance between maximum transparency and privacy, and managed to insert the building into a challenging plot while preserving the existing trees.

 
Using glass, concrete and steel, Marques created a timeless house in the spirit of Mies van der Rohe who was the architect’s inspiration for this project.

 
The elegant, white spiral staircase, resembling the inside of a shell or a curled strip of paper, is our favourite detail of this beautiful house. – Tuija Seipell.

Educational Centre – Tel Aviv, Israel

We love children’s spaces that celebrate the creativity and freedom of body and mind. This Educational Centre, located in the Kfar Shemaryahu area of Tel Aviv, Israel, surely does that.

 
The 2,400 square metre (25,833 square-foot) Centre includes six kindergartens for children aged three to six years, a common play area and an empowerment centre, a social services and wellness centre that also provides psychological services for children. Three of the six kindergartens are for the children of foreign residents and diplomats.

 
The architecture of the building is by Shoshany Architects and the interior and furniture design by Sarit Shani Hay.

 
Hay’s task was to create a friendly and informal integrated environment where each of the spaces functions as an independent unit.

 
She created individual color and design themes for each kindergarten space based on the agricultural history of the Kfar Shemaryahu area.

 
The kindergartens are named Olive (Zayit), Palm (Tamar) , Pomegranate (Rimon), Wheat (Hita), Fig (Te’ena) and Vine (Gefen).

 
The large, central lobby area connects the kindergartens and the empowerment centre and functions as a play area with equipment that encourages physical activity and interaction. Wooden tractors, lakes, trees and other equipment refer to the life of an agricultural village.

 
Our favorite area is the Palm kindergarten with its orange coloring derived from ripe dates, and its motifs referring to palm trees, oasis and camels. The little play huts provide nice cozy privacy and home-like details that encourage creative play. – Tuija Seipell.

 
Images by Amit Geron

The Cool Hunter Summer Lovers Store – Sydney

Here now and gone tomorrow. Summer is always too short which is why we love it so intensely and why we want to live it to the fullest.

To celebrate the kick-off of summer in Sydney, Rotate Store by The Cool Hunter in-sydney is dedicating its first-ever theme to the love of summer.

Rotate by TCH – Summer Lovers – is located at 1 Martin Place in the city’s urban hub where culture and commerce, cafés and high-end fashion meet, mix and mingle. (opposite the Xmas tree)

TCH has curated a cool summery product selection that reflects a sunny, playful vibe. There are beach towels and swimwear from the local brand “We are Handsome” as well as many international brands, including Danward thongs from Italy, beach bats and swimwear from Brazil and Bangkok.

As the summer themed selection will be available until mid February only, the goods will be gone fast. Here now and gone tomorrow. Just like summer itself.

The great execution of The Cool Hunter’s first Rotate store is by the talented Natalie Longheon and Peter Pengly of event company The Artistry. This young firm over delivered in record time by designing, producing, executing and styling in less than 2 weeks. We can’t wait to get them involved in our next rotate store.

TCH Summer Lovers Store is open Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm, Thursday 10am to 8pm, and Saturday 11am to 4pm. Closed on Sundays

The store is powered by Intel which we’re so grateful for them coming on board early on in the development. Check out this awesome collaboration with Flume & Intel.

Flowers in our windows are by Poho in Potts Point who were also involved in our cool house project last year.

A huge thanks goes to our marketing agency from Melbourne FLAUNT MARKETING who always get involved with much enthusiasm. Brands wanting to get involved in our next few Rotate projects contact Sharyn Lowe. [email protected] We’ll be popping up in Melbourne next year as well.

When you visit Summer Lovers store, you could win a free 3 night stay for 2 to Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island (voted best hotel in the world). Simply take a picture at the store, share it on Instragram using the hashtags – #tchsummerlovers and #qualia and you’ll be in the running.

Images by Felix Forest

ON Headquarters – Mexico City

Walls don’t often strike us as exciting, but in this office project for ON Headquarters, located west of Mexico City, we really do like the large surfaces. We also like the subtle, elegant lighting, and the subdued color scheme.

ON provides services to the oil and gas industry, so the designers at LSA Arquitectos and BLANCASMORAN (Imanol Legorreta Molina, Pablo Sepúlveda de Yturbe and Abel Blancas Morán) selected surface materials and textures that reflect the passing of time.

The boardroom exterior walls and the directors offices are covered in walnut veneer, the lobby walls and the customised assistants’ blocks in the concourse are of Iranian Travertine marble, and the interior walls of the boardroom are of wool fabric.

The floors in the lobby and concourse are covered with metal sheeting, and in the directors’ offices with oak.

Much of the furniture is custom-made, including the welcome desk that is made of metal sheeting and black Emperador marble. The chairs are desks are by VITRA and the lighting by Construlita, Delta Light and Tom Dixon.

The overall effect the designers have accomlished in this 780 square-meter (8,395 sq.ft) space is calm, opulent and restrained. – Tuija Seipell. (Images by Rafael Gamo)

See the world’s best in office design here

Rotate Store: Curated by The Cool Hunter Launches in Sydney

Rotate: Curated by The Cool Hunter – A completely new surprising shopping experience every 8 weeks. Always new, always different, always changing.

At  TCH, we are always into something new. Just cannot help ourselves. A year ago, we launched the temporary two-week The Cool House in Melbourne & Sydney. More than 10,000 people attended and it was a huge success.

 
But rather than repeat ourselves this year, we wanted to evolve this cool concept. The result: Rotate by The Cool Hunter – a store that will stay in place for a year but the theme will change every eight weeks. New theme, new store, new everything every two months. Blink, and the shop has changed completely! Blink, and you’ve missed it! If you want it, you need to buy it now. It won’t be there next time.
 
Good bye to the same old boring sets of stores. Every mall, every airport, ever shopping street – the same stores, the same brands, same standard look-alike themes. Welcome Rotate by The Cool Hunter – the shop full of surprises, the concept that does not stand still.

The Rotate Concept:

These themed temporary pop-up stores will constantly evolve – and not just a changing window display or a few new products. The entire setup and product mix will change every 8 weeks.
 
There will be a new theme for each period e.g. Summer Lovers, The Art Hunter, Color Your World, Winter Wonderland. But this won’t be your regular, boring store either – Rotate will be fun, innovative, interactive and visually spectacular.
 
Products and brands will be carefully curated by The Cool Hunter Team and feature amazing local brands and unique international offerings.

Our first theme "Summer Lovers" launches in Sydney in 2 weeks – stay tuned for more info later this month.

Run Colors Sneaker Store – Poland

We like this Run Colors sneaker store in Poznań (Poland), because it breaks some very tired and boring patterns that have become the norm in sneaker retail.
 
We’ve seen more than enough of massive images of sports heroes among cavernous, multi-storey stores that feel more like warehouses than shops created for humans to enjoy.

 
The stuffy “gentlemen’s club” milieu has also been done to death, and no matter how hip or edgy the art on the walls or the celebrity behind the clichéd ideas, stuffy is still only stuffy.

In addition, sports stores and sports brands have become so incredibly logo-happy that it seems impossible to find great, functional sporty footwear, clothing or accessories without appearing like an ad for a brand. Tone it down already, we say.

 
But this minimalist shop – the second one of the Warsaw-based Run Colors – looks refreshingly different in its bare-bones simplicity.
 
The slate-grey surfaces work beautifully as a background for the colorful footwear selection that in this store consists mainly of limited series of Nike, Adidas and New Balance sneakers.

 
Poznań-based mode:lina architekci team of founders, Paweł Garus and Jerzy Woźniak, and designers, Kinga Kin and Agnieszka Owsiany, took the Run Colors name literally and had some understated fun with it.
 
They imagined colours running and thought of shoelaces, and from there they devised the simple colourful ropes theme that runs throughout the 110 square meter (1184 square foot) store.

 
We love the antique furnishings, and the complete lack of signs, logos, tags or images. It also does not hurt that this store is in Poznań’s famed Stary Browar complex that is a former Hugger Brewery and dates back to 1844. – Tuija Seipell

Graham’s 1890 Lodge – Douro, Portugal

This stylish restoration of a nearly 200 year-old wine cellar combines many of our favorite attributes in a renovation: generous use of aged and new wood, lavish open spaces and a minimalist color palette.

 
This stylish restoration of a nearly 200 year-old wine cellar captivates us with its overall minimalist approach. It transforms the historic space to meet modern needs yet does so without losing the elegant patina and without destroying the authenticity and uniqueness of this particular location. It is not easy know where to stop, which is why so many renovations damage what was already good. Not this time.

 
The renovation was completed earlier this year by Lisbon, Portugal-based P06-Nuno Gusmão. The creative director of the project was Nuno Gusmão and the design leads Giuseppe Greco and Joana Proserpio.

 
The building, Graham’s Lodge, is located in Portugal in Vila Nova de Gaia on the Douro river estuary near the Atlantic Ocean.

 
The granite-walled Lodge is now not just a real, functional working building where thousands of casks of Port are aged, but also an immersive visitor centre where Graham’s Vintage Ports can be tasted and experienced as part of guided tours.
 
W & J Graham’s was founded in Oporto, Portugal, in 1820 by two Scottish brothers, William and John Graham.

 
The Lodge opened to the public for the first time in 1993, but the current renovation, commissioned by the Symington family that owns the company today, takes the visit of the constantly increasing numbers of visitors from a typical “winery tour” to an exciting, authentic experience.

The guided visits now include a visitor reception hall leading to an auditorium, the two-level Graham’s Museum, the Lodge itself, a tasting room, the Vintage Room, a shop and a wine bar and restaurant. Among the fake historic environments so prevalent in wineries, it is refreshing to see the real thing once in a while. – Tuija Seipell.

Minimal metamorphosis

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As our eyes prepared to focus on the spring/summer 14 catwalks of New York, Converse and Maison Martin Margiela treated us to teasers of their much publicised creative coming together. For their first confident stride forward, Converse Chuck Taylor All Star and Jack Purcell trainers were drenched in Maison Martin Margiela’s iconic white paint. Covering all canvas, eyelets, laces and soles, the old favourites are altered simply yet radically. All white everything. A palette and sole cleanser. For me, the French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry best defined minimalist design as being “not when there is nothing more to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away.” This is a makeover from a true minimalist iconoclast. However, what interests me most is that the white washing is just the start. As soon as the paint filled brush leaves the Converse classics, they naturally crack and shed their outer coat to reveal their original selves beneath. So simple and transformative, the hand painted act is the beginning of a unique dialogue between both brands. As they advance with age with each step forward and evolve in the everyday, they reveal their true selves in their own way. Wear and tear is rarely so intriguing and so obvious.
From well loved wallets to beautiful brogues, the gentle ageing of leather is a an ever absorbing process but it takes its time. The blank Converse canvas encourages change. Thankfully, after following fashion’s conveyor belt through from London to Milan and Paris, two pairs of ice white Jack Purcells were waiting for me at the office. A few weeks of pacy peddling, puddle plummeting and pavement pounding has seen a rich burgundy hue peek out from beneath the cracks on one pair (black, blue and an exclusive yellow are also hidden behind the white wash) whilst the other is still perfectly wrapped in its thick blanket of white. Minimal metamorphosis. Using a recent paint tin spill in the car park as the ideal backdrop, I couldn’t resist documenting their difference.

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New new and old new. 
Converse and Maison Martin Margiela
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The Meeting of Two American Dreamers

We both like to inject a bit of attitude and our personality into classics,” George Esquivel excitedly exclaims whilst standing at the centre of his hive of craftsmanship, a lively leather scented, three and half thousand square foot workshop in Orange County. His voice races as he whizzes us around on a whistle stop tour of his world. Between three and four thousand shoes a year are clicked, closed, welted, finished and furnished by his close knit family of craftsmen but there is a discernible delight echoing around the space today. Why? The reality of two American dreamers’ shared fantasy is taking shape before their ever eager eyes. After creating exclusive shoes for Tommy Hilfiger’s autumn/winter 13 menswear show, the pair have taken their collaboration to the next level. Forming a dynamic duo draped in red, white and blue, the result is a limited edition capsule collection of footwear hand made in California.
It all comes out of here,” Esquivel proudly proclaims, arms and smile stretched wide. From the quiet, unassuming, commercial enclave that his workshop resides to the temples to high society in the centre of Los Angeles, this is very much George Esquivel’s world. Having been warned that is was something of a Marmite metropolis, that I’d either love it or loathe it, Esquivel and team Tommy combined to be the skeleton key to a once in a lifetime exploration of the ever sprawling an wildly eclectic city. They combined to make it the perfect summer getaway and I left in love. Esquivel’s first excited words of many as he welcomed this fortunate group of bloggers and journalists were a declaring that he’d be taking us bowling. “It’s at the Rosevelt Hotel, it’s a two-lane, it’s a gaming parlour with a vintage bowling alley called the Spare Room, I actually made the shoes. Everyone is there. I received a text the other night that Brad Pitt and Angelina were bowling in my shoes, it was amazing. It’s so much fun. It’s what I call cool LA not crazy LA.” Like any good guide, Esquivel combined local knowledge with a constant flow of captivating narrative. His path into shoemaking alone could easily translate to the silver screen and be a box office smash.

My childhood was pretty crazy. We grew up mostly in and out of motels, on welfare and food stamps. I’m the oldest of five so there were seven of us in the motel room and then my dad went to jail.” From running drugs in his youth to watching his father go to jail for murder and homelessness to a life backstage at punk gigs, Esquivel is not your typical shoemaker but it is fuelled by a familiar passion. He fell into shoemaking in the mid 1990s after a failed attempt to find the perfect vintage-inspired shoe. A muso, the designer was immersed in California’s rich punk and rockabilly scenes and needed shoes to match his unique aesthetic. “I used to buy vintage clothes and shoes but I could never find anything I liked in terms of new footwear,” he reminisces. He spent years scouring the state for an able shoemaker to realise his whims and fancies but to no avail. After arguing with one cobbler over a pair that didn’t meet his insatiably high standards, he was about to throw in the polishing rag but his shoe salvation arrived in the form of a bystander who, intrigued by Esquivel’s impassioned pleas, followed him out of the shop. “He introduced himself as a shoemaker and said, ‘I don’t know why but I like you and I want to make you some shoes.’” The man was Emigdio Canales, a retired master cobbler who operated a cottage industry shoe factory out of his garage. He quickly became Esquivel’s collaborator and mentor.
In the beginning, it was just a hobby, selling shoes to friends,” he modestly explains. These friends soon morphed into musical heroes. From admiring glances towards his own feet at gigs to requests from musical friends and ultimately to touring buddies, the good word of Esquivel spread. “The small local bands that I used to hang out would go on tour with the big bands, and they would often ask about their shoes and they’d hand them my card and say ‘Call George, he’ll sort you out.’” A business began to thrive. Esquivel has never stopped learning. From scurrying around shoe repair shacks to crafting shoes for the elite of Los Angeles and beyond, the collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger marks another confident step forward. As Esquivel’s tale bounces around your brain, take our hand and let us lead you, as he did to us, on a quick tour of his world as the fruits of his latest creative coming together began to take shape.

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Much like Tommy Hilfiger,  George Esquivel is a great American dreamer. Stars and stripes pulsate through this authentic product of California. Artefacts of this technicolour world are scattered throughout his studio. Like two well crafted canoes, a pair of size fifteen dress shoes destined for the feet of a New Knick’s baller float on the wood floor are joined by a battered and well weathered trunk belonging to Sylvester Stallone that the actor had hoped would be transformed into footwear fabulousness, whilst a mood board of leathers provoke daydreams for the sole of Janelle Monae grace the wall.

Tommy used to have my whole wall. but as it went in to production it shrank. It started with ten styles, twelve colours and all manner of different leather options. There wasn’t a brief. the styles just evolved out of our conversations. We looked at what Tommy does, he does preppy Americana and we explored what we liked and it reduced down to a brogue and a loafer. It was then about making preppy but adding the soul of rock and roll, a little bit rebellious. For example, the perforation on the toe is a really cool design process that mimics the signature plaid pattern of Tommy Hilfiger,” adds Esquivel as an interested, ever analytical eye is focussed in on one his experts applying the described touch to the toe of a brogue. His love of the craft is both obvious and infectious.

Having first roamed onto Hilfiger’s radar as a Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund finalist in 2009, Equivel was one of ten designers included in an “Americans in Paris” showcase sponsored by Vogue and Tommy Hilfiger 2011 and a friendship blossomed. They are two kindred spirits, each dedicated to their own craft within Americana. Whilst Tommy Hilfiger is a sartorial star bangled banner gently blowing outside the college of preppy, Esquivel’s carefully crafted shoes are inherently Californian, rebellious and a little rock ‘n roll. It makes for a happy marriage. “He adds a fresh take to timeless pieces. His designs use unique details that give classics an updated look,” Hilfiger declares of Esquivel. “Tommy calls it the twist. We’ve both been transforming the familiar into the exciting in our way for years but it’s been fun putting our heads together,” adds Esquivel. Every pair is hand-crafted by skilled workers, adding unique and distinctive elements to the styles whilst each is assigned a one-of-a-kind shoe number that’s hand-written on the shoe and its hangtag to make these objects of desire even more desirable. Ten weeks after our visit to the workshop and as their collaboration hits stores global wide, Tommy Hilfiger and George Esquivel sent through my own limited edition brogue.

Delighting in the duality of new and old, expected and unexpected, traditional and modern, the two complimentary world’s collide beautifully in a collaboration that sees two prepster staples re-imagined. With antiqued washed leathers, hand punched perforations and contrasting hues, both the humble brogue and loafer are elevated to new heights. The Tommy Hilfiger + Esquivel logo has been burned into the leather using a hot branding iron. Soles and heels are polished individually using layers of polishes and creams. The results are unique but elegant, whimsical yet sophisticated.

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