by Walter van Beirendonck at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam
Last Thursday, we were finally able to see the extraordinary 'POWERMASK' exhibition at the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam. Curated by none other than Walter van Beirendonck, sided by art historian Alexandra van Dongen and anthropologist Sonja Wijs, it had been on our wish list from September 1st when it opened for the public. For 'POWERMASK', the museum with a focus on ethnology gave the legendary Antwerp fashion designer a free hand to present his own unique, multi-faceted vision of the phenomenon of masks. The result is a stunning colorful display, carrying the designer's unique signature all-over, combining ethnic masks and ethnological documents with modern Western fashion, art, photography and culture — featuring the work of impressive names like Christophe Coppens, Diane Arbus, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Brian Kenny, Martin Margiela and Walter's own Dirk Van Saene.
The exhibition is both a feast for the senses and proof how relevant van Beirendonck's vision remains to this very day. He might have found a more niche position as a fashion designer (and a more invisible role as Head of Fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp), the exhibition, although much smaller, feels like an echo of his iconic Antwerp exhibition 'Landed/Geland' from 2001, which at that time set a new standard for fashion exhibition in terms of presenting pieces within its societal context, but still succeeding to convince aesthetically and therewith speaking to spectators in more than one way. With 'POWERMASK' van Beirendonck underlines, now more than ever, that we need powerful artistic voices like his to remind us of the unique beauty of all cultures on this planet and how exchange between them is what makes life interesting.
When in Rotterdam before the 7th of January don't miss out on this incredible exhibition! [ Continue reading ]
Julian Rosefeldt at the Berlin-based KÖNIG GALERIE
After having seen it ourselves this afternoon, for those in and around Berlin, make sure to drop by the incredible KÖNIG GALERIE to witness German artist Julian Rosefeldt’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. On view in the nave of former Catholic church St. Agnes is his large video installation titled 'In the Land of Drought' that was filmed in Morocco and the Ruhr area.
A condensed version of Rosefeldt’s filmic interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s 'The Creation', 'In the Land of Drought' confronts the relationship between man and his impact on the world. Set to atmospheric sounds and a pulsating hum, the 43-minute piece looks back from an imagined future upon the post-Anthropocene: the aftermath of significant human influence on Earth. An army of scientists appear to investigate the archaeological remnants of civilization after humanity has made itself extinct. Shot entirely using a drone, Rosefeldt’s images hover meditatively over the desolate landscape and ruins. Connoting surveillance, the drone’s bird’s eye view removes human perspective with us onlookers kept at a distance throughout. Increasingly, more figures dressed in white lab suits emerge to inspect the ruins of civilization – which are in fact abandoned film sets close to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.
Halfway through, the audience is transported to the comparably bleak Ruhr area of Germany, which is littered with the remains of industrialization. The same ‘scientists’ prowl the abandoned mining region, wandering among the headframes and coal pits before finally descending upon an amphitheatre. As seen from the audience’s heavenly outlook, the amphitheatre resembles an eye, and its all-seeing ability is reflective of the panoptic aerial viewpoint. A dialogue unfolds between the two perspectives of control: the eye on the ground and the drone’s eye overhead. As the steady hum livens to a climatic rhythm, the figures draw close only to disperse again. Reminiscent of cell division, the unifying aesthetics hint at a prospective optimism amidst a dislocated world man has created. The result is both mesmerizing and though-provoking, make sure to witness it first hand before it closes on the 23th of July! [ Continue reading ]
Last month, minimalistic Swedish fashion brand Axel Arigato opened their first gallery store in the heart of Stockholm, which in our eyes is among the most inspirational retail spaces out there. For the design of the space, the brand collaborated once more with acclaimed architect Christian Halleröd, who also designed the brand’s London SoHo flagship, that opened its doors last year. In the concept for the Axel Arigato Gallery the signature feel of Christian Halleröd industrial clean-cut designs is combined with the understated aesthetics of the brand through the creative direction of Max Svärdh. The space is left intentionally clean with few elements completely blown out of proportion, like for instance the 100-kg abstract oval display in plexiglass in the centre of the store, the yellow fur seats and the yellow illusion windows — resulting in the perfect platform for the products. The store carries the full range of men’s and women’s shoes, accessories and clothing as well as a selection of rare Japanese books, magazines and objects. In the future the store will also serve as a curated space with carefully selected brands, items and events.
Through the combination of the industrial framework of the building, the implementation of materials like plexiglass and the striking use of the color yellow, a beautiful contemporary hybrid space has risen that, without a doubt, will serve as Axel Arigato's perfect segway into greater things in the near future. [ Continue reading ]
We have encountered their inspirational work repeatedly throughout the last few years, but only recently became aware of the extraordinary Copenhagen-based headquarter and Studio Store of Danish multidisciplinary design firm Frama. A little under four years ago, the firm traded their industrial space for the former home of the St. Pauls Apotek (pharmacy) which was established in 1878, respecting all of the building's original woodwork and architectural elements, using it as a canvas to create something radically new. The synergy between the past and present elements of the space is a direct manifestation of how Frama defines their main interest within the creative field as a dialogue between two opposite poles; classical and contemporary approach – between digital and analogue production. In addition to their earliest interest of producing beautiful understated products — designed in-house, next to commissions to other Nordic creatives — in recent years a new focus on interior design was added to their activities, showing that remarkable signature of blending old and new materials, contexts, and influences within every project. The inspirational level of multidisciplinarity in the complete output of the firm today, makes the Studio Store more than just a 'showroom' for their product, but forms an incredible Gesamtvision for Frama's aesthetic design discourse and ideology. And it is exactly this, beyond that we really appreciate their design vision, what makes Frama one of the firms we feel is spearheading creation with a contemporary mindset. When in Copenhagen, make sure to directly step into their universe located at Fredericiagade 57. [ Continue reading ]
at MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp
Last week, we once again had the privilege to witness another highly anticipated (a little more than any other we have seen before) exhibition opening at our favorite museum in Antwerp: the MoMu Fashion Museum. In the new exhibition, for the first time ever, the museum focusses on genius Martin Margiela’s often forgotten Hermès collections that he created from 1997 to 2003. The exhibition also touches beyond his extraordinary work for the Parisian house and furthermore showcases the relationship between these collections and the complete vision he created with Maison Martin Margiela.
Groundbreaking deconstruction and timeless luxury –two worlds that Martin Margiela made his own– therefore are the starting point of the exhibition named 'Margiela, The Hermès Years', uniquely displayed in a "split-vision" Hermès orange/Margiela White scenography, designed by the museum's regular collaborator, but more importantly also Margiela's former trusted scenographer: Bob Verhelst. For anyone looking for a razor sharp yet very emotional insight into where many of today's ideas about fashion and modern luxury still find their core inspiration, we can only urge to travel to Antwerp before the end of August, as this extraordinary exhibition clearly showcases the work of an unparalleled visionary in what for us is already among the best exhibitions of the year. [ Continue reading ]
There was a time in which Egyptian cotton stood for the highest possible quality one could get. In particular Helmut Lang's t-shirts made from that particular fiber, for us at least, being the epitomy of understated luxury. Unfortunately, soon after the term and use became established within the globalizing luxury industry, it started to go down hill with the thriving industry. More and more farmers started mixing Indian and American seeds with their original sources for cotton, which caused both a quality drop and resulted in government involvement in the market that eventually toppled the whole industry drastically: with smaller amounts of true premium Egyptian cotton being exported every year. In spite of these developments, in our minds, cotton from Egypt never lost that connotation of the remarkable. Therefore, when at the beginning of 2016 we encountered a small Toronto-based fashion brand named Kotn —honoring the great heritage of true premium Egyptian cotton and understated basic clothing— that came as a wonderful surprise.
A year earlier, Kotn was founded by friends Mackenzie Yeates, Rami Helali and Benjamin Sehl. Based in Toronto, the company partners directly with cotton farmers and textile factories in Egypt's Nile Delta to produce their high-quality basics, including T-shirts, sweats, boxers and dress shirts. By scrapping the middleman, Kotn ensures a fair wage for their manufacturers and an honest price for the consumer. What started with a quest for the perfect white t-shirt has expanded into a full line of men’s standards – hoodies, henleys, sweatshirts, sweatpants, polos, oxfords, pajamas and underwear. Kotn launched with a direct-to-consumer online model, which has garnered a cult-following for the successful Toronto-based start-up. Last week, the company brought their vision to the next level by opening their first brick-and-mortar shop on Toronto’s Queen Street West. Whenever in Ontario's capital, make sure to drop by and get familiar with their inspirational vision! [ Continue reading ]
at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles
After it was first presented to the world at the MCA Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City last year, two weeks ago the MOCA in Los Angeles opened the tremendously exciting 35-year retrospective of one of our favorite painters working today: Kerry James Marshall. Marshall’s figurative paintings have been unparalleled in their consistent portrayal of African American culture and history. The now nearly 600 years of painting in America contains remarkably few African American painters and even fewer representations of black people. Marshall —being a child of the civil rights era— set out to redress this absence from the moment he consciously picked up his paintbrush, inspired by one of his personal heroes: social realist painter Charles White. 'Kerry James Marshall: Mastry' is the artist's first major retrospective in the United States, containing nearly 80 paintings, all of which contain images of Black subjects going about their daily business, presented with utter equality and humanity. A deeply accomplished artist, who makes ravishing paintings, Marshall’s strategy was three fold.
First, as a young artist he decided to paint only black figures. He was unequivocal in his pursuit of black beauty. His figures are an unapologetic ebony black, and they occupy the paintings with a sense of authority and belonging. Second, Marshall worked to make a wide variety of images populated with black people. This led him to make exquisite portraits, lush landscape paintings, everyday domestic interiors, and paintings that depict historical events, all featuring black subjects as if their activities were completely and utterly normal. Third, Marshall concentrated on painterly mastery as a fundamental strategy. By mastering the art of representational and figurative painting, during a period when neither was in vogue, Marshall produced a body of work that bestows beauty and dignity where it had long been denied. Both on the individual level of Marshall's extraordinary unique artistic vision and today's context granting an ever-growing relevance to his body of work: making that when you are somewhere near Los Angeles, there is no reason whatsoever to miss this incredibly relevant exhibition! [ Continue reading ]
We've been appreciating the work and creative vision of Berlin-based duo Jacob Klein and Nathan Cowen, better known as Haw-Lin Services, for many years and last month they returned —after last Summer's exhibition 'Shows You' at the HVW8 Gallery— with another inspirational project. Created in collaboration with a second duo we hold in high regard; Geckeler Michels and Schroeder Rauch, the Haw-Lin guys were responsible for the complete redesign of Berlin's reopened No74 store, which became adidas’ first select store worldwide when it opened its doors in 2008, followed by Parisian No48 in 2013. The new vision for the Berlin store brings a fresh elan, combining clean displays in sharp lines in a toned down color palette, complemented with floating linear lighting that both represents Haw-Lin and adidas perfectly — resulting in a rich minimalist space with beautiful silent details, which above all puts focus on what's on display: the broad variety of different lines being designed under the adidas umbrella. [ Continue reading ]
Harley Weir presents her first solo-exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam
The official opening is tonight, but the very first solo-exhibition of the talented British photographer Harley Weir at Foam in Amsterdam has been open for the public since the 2nd of December and we had a chance to see it for ourselves this week. It marks an important step in the rise of the 28-year-old, who has been receiving international acclaim and a growing attention in the last years, after kick starting her career at age 17, when she shot her first fashion editorial for Vice UK. Although presentation-wise the exhibition at Foam isn't the best thing we have ever seen, the curation of the imagery shows the incredible talent of Weir, far transcending the specific subject-matter, showing an intriguing coherent body — undisputedly making her one of the most interesting voices in contemporary photography.
The title of the exhibition, 'Boundaries' refers to what is ultimately dissolved in the work of the photographer. But even as she crosses the lines of what usually holds people apart, on personal as well as political levels she is not out to make any statements. The exhibition therefore reads, as Weir specifically intended it, as a visual poem, open to interpretation. The exhibition shows a mix of Weir’s ethereal portraiture with still life images and reportage work in Israel, India, Jordan and the series that struck us deeply when we encountered it on Dazed some weeks ago: the haunting depictions of the temporary homes at the refugee camps of Calais. Whatever it is in front of her lens, Weir always seems to get to its essence by framing that what seems to speak to her most, creating captivating visual narratives that stick. [ Continue reading ]
Although Saint Laurent’s visionary creative director Hedi Slimane left his position six months ago, the design of the just opened second Miami store, immaculately clad in white marble, located within the Miami Design District, seems to indicate that his artistic ghost still lives throughout the brand as it did for many years (until this day?) after he left Dior Homme. And why not, as it brought a distinct new elan to the (Yves) Saint Laurent label, which translated into record sales, a widely recognized brand and some highly inspirational elegant design explorations, particularly in the stores that were opened under the creative directing of Slimane. With Belgian creative director Anthony Vaccarello now responsible, new accents have been formulated in the visual language, steering away from the Slimane signature grunge influences which he mixed with modern rock and roll decadence, but in the design of this new Miami store, the Slimane touch, as seen for instance in the last year's opened new Parisian Saint Laurent store, feels as strong as six months ago. [ Continue reading ]
at BOZAR/Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels
Evidently part of the Pantheon of the most important painters of the 20th century, Spanish artist Pablo Picasso also created sculptures throughout his life that were as innovative as they were (and still are!) influential. After the MoMA in New York and the Musée national Picasso-Paris, BOZAR/Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels has just opened the next chapter of the exhibition, bringing together 80 of Picasso’s sculptures for the very first retrospective of the artist’s sculptures in Belgium. After having seen it ourselves last Sunday (the exhibition opened on 25 October 2016: Picasso’s birthday), it is safe to say that the exhibition will be among our favorites of the year, marvelously showcasing the extraordinary scope of the artistic vision of Picasso and revealing the inspirational development in finding the right 3D equivalent of his canvas-bound painted expressions.
'Picasso. Sculptures' is laid out in a chronological and thematic circuit elaborated in collaboration with the former host of the biggest part of the curation; Musée national Picasso-Paris — the sculptures positioned into a dialogue with around twenty of his canvases, around fifteen ceramics, and objets d’art from non-European cultures which belonged to his personal collection. Without a doubt, Picasso will always be first remembered as the prolific and groundbreaking painter. However, 'Picasso. Sculptures' incredibly presents Picasso the sculptor, having created some of the most radical forms in modern sculpture, making those works just as profoundly influential and inspirational today. [ Continue reading ]
Last week, leading Canadian outerwear brand Arc’teryx started an ambitious new chapter for their inspirational Veilance collection. Through a new partnership with renowned creative architecture firm Snarkitecture, headed by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham who aim to marry architecture and art with their joint endeavor, for the first time ever the brand opened a unique concept store experience in New York City — open for the public until January 8th, after it closes its doors for good again. Accompanying the new project in New York, Veilance introduces a new strategy in the grouping of its minimalist pieces of clothing: having created the new categories Wind, Rain and Cold protection systems.
From this new direction of thinking, Snarkitecture created a space that highlights Veilance’s multiple apparel solutions built from the highest performing materials and proprietary construction techniques. Conceptual, structural and innovative, the collaboration of Veilance and Snarkitecture delivers a progressive shopping experience, in our eyes giving another peek of where physical retail as a whole is unavoidably moving towards in the (near?) future. No surprise that this progressive creation comes from Arc'teryx Veilance, having led the way in hybridizing cutting edge technical features with future-proof aesthetics in their designs since its inception, now beautifully translated into a fitting retail experience. [ Continue reading ]
Running for only a few more days, (so when around New York City make sure to still catch it!) 'The Keeper' is an inspirational and remarkably designed exhibition dedicated to the act of preserving objects, artworks, images and to the passions that inspire this undertaking — which makes it for us, as avid collectors and collection lovers, a must visit. The curation that's on display in the New York City-based New Museum forms a reflection on the impulse to save both the most precious and the apparently valueless, bringing together a variety of imaginary museums, personal collections, and unusual assemblages, revealing the devotion with which artists, collectors, scholars, and hoarders have created sanctuaries for endangered images and artifacts. In surveying varied techniques of display, the exhibition also reflects on the function and responsibility of museums within multiple economies of desire. The eye catcher of the exhibition is 'Partners (The Teddy Bear Project)' (2002), a vast display conceived by Ydessa Hendeles. Composed of over 3000 family-album photographs of people posing with teddy bears, and vitrines containing antique teddy bears, Hendeles’s project establishes the teddy bear as a metaphor for the consolatory power of artworks and images and underscores the symbiotic relationship that ties people to their objects of affection.
Subsequently, through a selection of studies and portraits that spans the twentieth century, the exhibition tells the stories of various individuals through the objects they chose to safeguard, exposing the diverse motivations that inspired them to endow both great and mundane things with exceptional significance. As responses to loss, chronicles of experience, subjective quests, and archives for the future, the unusual collections and personal museums that are presented range from staggeringly maximalist efforts to modest struggles charged with urgency. [ Continue reading ]
As shared by dezeen two days ago, we are very impressed by the second BMW Museum, which will be opening its doors very soon in Beijing, China. Beijing- and Frankfurt-based firm Crossboundaries’ design for the gallery space on the third and fourth flour of the BMW building brings forth the exclusiveness of the cars while it references the Chinese aesthetic heritage in an innovative but elegant way.
The museum exhibition starts on the third floor of the newly built building in the Chinese capital; entering through an grande, almost two floors high and bright area, which houses the reception zone, whose vertical surfaces are accentuated with horizontal lighting strips interpreting the motion of speed. Subsequently the visitor is being absorbed into a lower, more transitional lounge which was created as a cozy touch. The key feature in the design of the space are the hite, light and slightly transparent fabric banners are hung from the open ceiling on this floor. While the fabric’s verticality reduces the high ceiling to a more human scale, the vast amount of white textile surfaces indicates generority and the “Chinese red gate” as backdrop transmits an imperial feeling. The horizontal lighting strips continue into the main exhibition area and information walls, with integrated screens for multimedia presentations at the perimeter walls of the space. Projections can be also screened on to fabric banners in the middle of the space where seating areas are provided around the exhibition pieces, which adds up to a very impressive exhibition space, if you ask us.
Combining references to the old within a contemporary aesthetic, we can only hope for more interior design like this as this is what the future should look like... [ Continue reading ]
Haw-lin's Jakob Klein and Nathan Cowen at HVW8 Gallery Berlin
On the 22nd of July, Berlin-based duo Jacob Klein and Nathan Cowen, the creative forces behind the ever-inspirational online mood board Haw-lin and the accompanying studio Haw-lin Services, presented their very first solo exhibition in Germany at the HVW8 Gallery in the German captical in a collaboration with adidas. For the exhibition, named 'Shows You', Klein and Cowen will showcase a selection of spacial and graphic imagery that reflect their eclectic and detail based process. The German and American creatives founded their online moodboard Haw-lin when they met in 2008 while both working at Eike Koenig's inspirational Berlin-based design studio HORT and started working for clients some years after as Haw-lin Services, building on the reputation they had gained all over the world through their excellent curation of imagery and art projects/collaborations that were created under their Haw-lin eponym. Now for the first time, the exhibition 'Shows You' has created a physical overview of their working process across different mediums and the way Jacob Klein and Nathan Cowen communicate content, which resulted in a unique insight into the minds of these highly inspirational minds, who we hold in the highest esteem.
When in Berlin this Summer, make sure to drop by HVW8 before 'Shows You' closes on the 3th of September of this year. [ Continue reading ]
Aldo van den Broek at Galerie Ron Mandos
Although the official run of the exhibition ended last week, the highly inspirational show named 'FERNWEH' presenting the latest works by the Berlin-based Dutch artist Aldo van den Broek, continues to be open by appointment at the Amsterdam-based Galerie Ron Mandos until the 20th of August. Giving those who have missed it a last chance to see, what we feel is one of the most interesting exhibitions of the Summer to be found in Amsterdam. Recurring themes in all of Aldo van den Broek's dark and mesmerizing work are history, underground, punk and romanticism. His creations characterize the world where he lets architecture and people meet. He is fascinated by the urge of people to strive for safety and freedom simultaneously and the deconstruction that usually follows. Travels and experiences bring valuable inspiration to his work. His researches brought him to Berlin, where he has been living since 2010, but also the post-communistic suburbs of Belgrade and Tbilisi.
Aldo’s work reflects his interpretation of purity and beauty within ugliness. Therefore, he choses to work with wasted materials with no apparent value. Used and re-used by himself, or found on the streets and abandoned places. By literally using his own past failures as a beginning for his new works, these different themes are constantly transforming and melting together till they reach their final appearance. [ Continue reading ]
Sarah Faux at Stems Gallery in Brussels
At the beginning of this month the Brussels-based Stems Gallery has opened yet another great show in 2016. After it presented 'apocatastasis' by Greek artist Panos Tsagaris in January, now, for the first time in a solo exhibition, they created a show named 'Gemini' featuring new work by the very talented American painter Sarah Faux.
According to astrology the Boston-born is a Gemini (who are characterized for a violent temperament) which forms a starting point for this show. Without being a devout believer in astrology, Faux does strongly believe in the idea that a single person contains multiple selves — resulting in a exhibition full of pairs. 'Torn at the shoulder' and 'Into her inner' are mirrored reflections of each other. In one a woman looks back at her own naked body through scraps of fabric. In the other, her image is overwhelmed by a deep green field of desire. Calm versus anxiety and openness versus impediments. In a looser pairing, 'Dig me in' and 'Dig me out' derive their compositions from twisted aloe stalks winding through the surface of each canvas. Both are meditations on painting itself: a tongue lapping up a twisted gray to reveal intense ultramarine behind it; hairy legs shooting through pink gaps, leaving smears of umber in their wake.
In all, the dynamic created by pairing pieces as the described example, ensures a captivating exhibiting, in which even different pairs seem to communicate with each other filling up the space of the Stems gallery, catching every visitor that enters..
Like doppelgangers, the twins in this show harken back to each other in ways both familiar and strange, providing one another with company while eerily unsettling any static notions of sensory life. [ Continue reading ]
We have been following Bergen-based elegant rainwear brand Norwegian Rain from the very inception of the label in 2009. Over the years it has found a close following worldwide, both through their ever-evolving cutting-edge collection of supreme quality outerwear and because of their now famous founders, designer Michael Tetteh Nartey also known as T-Michael and Alexander Helle, being the perfect ambassadors of what the brand stands for, having become street style blogs favorites since they arrived in the menswear world. Two weeks ago, an incredible new chapter started for Alexander and Michael, when they opened their first stand alone store outside of Norway —where they house in hometown Bergen and Oslo— crossing the water of the Northsea landing at an iconic London location, taking a big step forward in their endeavors. Opened on the 11th of June, the 1450 ft2 space houses the entire collection of Norwegian Rain’s iconic rainwear for both men and women including their signature pieces like the Raincho, the incredible Moscow coat and the Warrior. The store will also stock suits, shoes and leather goods from T-Michael's namesake label, as well as a carefully curated selection of Scandinavian mid-century furniture by Modern Tribute. When in London make sure to step into the elegant universe of Norwegian Rain, and what better place to do so in another city (next to Bergen — the rainiest city of the world) renown for its rain. [ Continue reading ]
Last Saturday, an inspirational new exhibition opened in Antwerp's current temporary new platform for its creative community named Born in Antwerp. After some of the city's younger creatives were given (literally, in several former warehouses at the former harbor area named Kattendijkdok) space to present their vision, now renown fashion designer Bruno Pieters took the stage to put together an exhibition which explicitly portrays the new direction he has taken in his discipline. Formerly known for his namesake label and three years as menswear designer of HUGO by Hugo Boss, in 2010 he stepped away from it all and took a sabbatical, in which he spent a lot of time traveling through India in search for peace of mind. In January 2012, he returned to make what Oliver Horton in The New York Times described as a “revolutionary” new statement in the fashion world with his new company, Honest By - the world's first 100% transparent company and pioneer in price transparency. Honest By publishes its entire supply chain for every product it creates and translates this into total price transparency.
'(Behind) the Clothes' distills this inspirational new vision of the designer back into the large exhibition space at the Kattendijkdok. With the insightful exhibition, Pieters shows how he not only offers totally ethical, environmentally-friendly designs, but also leads the way in offering 100% transparency to the consumer. There are two parts to the exhibition: ’The Clothes’ and ‘Behind the Clothes’, which combined form a remarkable insightful representation of what the future of fashion should be, and hopefully at least partly will be. [ Continue reading ]
Oki Sato's Japanese studio Nendo is among those institutions that never cease to surprise and inspire us through their ever-evolving design vision and truly perfected holistic approach in their practice. The day before yesterday, to our great excitement, the studio succeeded to outstrip itself once again, presenting its biggest-ever project: the exterior and interior renovation of a department store in Bangkok that Sato believes represents a new way of shopping. Going by the name of Siam Discovery, the department store is operated by Thai retail and development company Siam Piwat, which invited Nendo to oversee the refurbishment of the interior and exterior of the 40.000 m² shopping mall on Bangkok's Rama 1 thoroughfare. The studio was tasked with implementing a radical vision for a new retail experience built around curated environments rather than the familiar branded concessions. Instead of categorizing products by brand, as is typical in traditional department stores, the different retail points present customers with a range of lifestyle experiences, including a digital lab, street lab, creative lab and play lab. The result is very likely the first real peek into the future of (department / multibrand) retail in which a physical location will need to have this level of experience to not totally loose its relevance as has become the trend in the last decade. We would literally fly to Bangkok just to see this with our own eyes. [ Continue reading ]
At the MoMu – Fashion Museum in Antwerp
The MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp is among our favorite museums period (for more than one reason) yet their latest extraordinary exhibition named ‘Game Changers – Reinventing the 20th century silhouette’ might very well be their greatest creation until date. The exhibition looks at the groundbreaking work of fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga and forms a special passion project of the museum's curator Karen van Godtsenhoven, in a collaboration with Balenciaga expert Miren Arzalluz. The innovations of the Spanish designer in the middle of the 20th century created a radically new silhouette, in which the body got freedom of movement and architectural volumes created a space around the body. Along with the pioneers of haute couture in the 1920s and 1930s and later on also the (Japanese) designers of the 1980s and 1990s, Balenciaga provided an alternative for the prevailing constrictive hourglass silhouette, being an elementary frontrunner in pushing the aesthetic enveloppe and inspiring the world to rethink certain prevailing paradigms. Balenciaga and those who stepped into his footsteps, all Game Changers within their personal context looked at fashion of the 20th century from a new perspective shaking up the status quo. Very different than for instance the way more eclectic 'Dries van Noten Inspirations' exhibition, the scenography created for the new remarkable curation of fashion history is minimal, letting the different themes speak for itself — making the exhibition an extraordinary captivating overview of some of the most iconic avant-garde moments in modern female fashion. When in Antwerp before the 18th of August this exhibition is a must visit! [ Continue reading ]
At the beginning of this year, a new specialty coffee bar named Voyager Espresso opened in a subway concourse in Manhattan’s Financial District, which we discovered last month through our friends of Superfuture. Architecture firm Only If was commissioned to develop an innovative architectural and interior design for its initial retail location in this unusual underground site. In contrast to the oh so familiar and saturated artisanal aesthetic of contemporary coffee culture, the shop’s design and material palette refers to the namesake spacecraft and scientific approach behind the Voyager. This resulted in walls which are clad in oriented strand board, transformed through the application of aluminum enamel paint. Work surfaces consist of black marble countertop, which refers to the texture of the walls. Elsewhere, perforated aluminum, copper, and black rubber are used. Without a doubt this forms one of the most interesting, perfectly executed industrial futuristic interior designs we have seen in a while, not to mention it being done for a coffee bar which is super refreshing to say the least. [ Continue reading ]
Last year we first mentioned the thrilling New York-based Greek artist Panos Tsagaris. To our great excitement, the 14th of this month marked the day that the work of the artist crossed the ocean and travelled to Brussels once more (after his show at BOZAR), where it is being exhibited at Pascaline Smets' inspirational Stems Gallery. Given the moniker 'apocatastasis', the exhibition features two series of works; on the one hand the truly incredible 'Golden Newspapers' works on paper, next to a group of dark shaded abstract paintings. Despite its differences, the two series are very connected - aesthetically and conceptually - inspired by the same search for the emanation of the Divine which is the great motivation in all of Tsagaris' creations. Combining a societal arena of great relevance in subject-matter (the financial crisis in Greece) and immaculate style, Tsagaris' works are a hybrid of extraordinary aesthetics and a sharp thought-provoking frame, making it the epitome of what in our eyes great contemporary art could (or should) be. [ Continue reading ]
As much as we love elegant well-balanced design, it are those makers who create with a similar precision, but always inhabiting a certain element of friction, who continue to stand out rather than loose real relevance over time. Among the artist who have proven to be just that; exquisitely precise but always finding ways to be represent friction into in their case timeless sculptural creations based on animals and nature - full of humor - are the French artist duo Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, who have inspired us with their timeless work since we discovered it through the Yves Saint Laurent art sale in 2009. Following a retrospective exhibition in 2009, inspired by the death of François-Xavier, last month on the 12th of December, the Paris-based Galerie Mitterrand opened another grande exhibition devoted to extraordinary work of Les Lalanne, celebrating 40 years of collaboration between the artists and Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand, and 25 years with the gallery. This exhibition is the opportunity to discover (or rediscover) the art works of this internationally renowned, extremely talented couple of sculptors. [ Continue reading ]