Tag Archives: London

Vibrant Positivity: Paul Smith SS17

This SS17 sees the usual loud injection of colors. We’re talking about a kaleidoscopic palette of yellows, reds and greens coming together in the classic Paul Smith stripe. Throw in 1960s tailoring references and an athletic touch, and we have the season’s collection in sum.

But of course, fashion isn’t always just about aesthetic pleasure – although Paul Smith certain does satisfy in that area. With London close to the designer’s heart (he calls West London home), the bright use of color appears to be an offering of positivity and a reminder for peace. And amidst the current Brexit turmoil, ladies and gentlemen, we all know that’s what the UK needs most now.

Read more about the collection on Men’s Folio Singapore.

London Frieze Fair Artist Lineup Revealed

As a non-profit event run by the publishers of the Frieze magazine, the London Frieze Fair enjoys a large amount of visitors annually, going well beyond buyers to countless spectators as well. Last year, the total number of visitors accommodated was 55,000, showing exactly how great the stature of the art fair is at promoting contemporary art. Running alongside the London fair is a special variant called Frieze Masters – which specializes in art from the ancient era and Old Masters to the late 20th century.

With more than 160 galleries from 30 different countries on show though, it may be hard to decide what to look on. Here’s some of the highlights for you to check out – should you be interested.

‘The 90’s’ curated by Nicolas Trembley

The Geneva-based curator set up a new section that plans to revisit exhibitions from the 1990s – capturing the best and most seminal hits of the decade. Examples of galleries on display include the New Museum for its underground-inspired ‘NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star’ exhibit; the Massimo de Carlo gallery for the globally relevant ‘Aperto ’93’exhibit; and the Anthony Reynolds Gallery’s notorious 1996 display of photographer Richard Billingham’s iconic ‘Ray’s a Laugh’ series.

‘Collections’ with Sir Norman Rosenthal

As one of the most established curators out there, Sir Norman Rosenthal has had a long history of outstanding exhibitions over the years. Now he’s putting all that knowledge to use in Frieze Masters by putting together a showcase of eight specialist galleries – each with a completely different focus. Some of the examples of art on show includes early Christian Art, traditional Japanese armor, Supremacist ceramics, and German Expressionist art. All this will add up together as a display of historical art and objects of the highest quality.

Frieze Music and Talks

Going beyond just exhibiting art, the Frieze fair aims to be a space for communication and socialization. In order to encourage this, the fair has set up the off-site ‘Frieze Music’ program as well as a series of talks and workshops by a variety of critics, artists, and writers. Some of the critics who’ll lead talks includes Alistair Sooke and Sheena Wagstaff (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

You can check out more information on the Frieze Art Fair’s website

3 Fashionable London Addresses

London, despite some faults, remains a destination for lovers of the high life and high fashion. Despite recent events (read Brexit although the city itself voted to Remain) London will likely continue to be an important center for the wealthy and the canny alike. On the plus side, now is the time to take advantage of favorable exchange rates!

From designer clothes to the luxurious properties available, the British capital has lots to offer if you don’t look past the superficial. For this story, we’ll dive a little deeper and make straight for three homes that would be sound investments and put you in close proximity to any luxury goodies that your wardrobe cannot resist.

205 Holland Park Avenue 205-Holland-Park-Avenue-1

Located just minutes away from Kensington, Notting Hill and Knightsbridge, this Redrow London development provides you access to some of the finest attractions in London. The 17 apartments — one, two and three bedrooms— bring a level of luxury and comfort to its residents, who are also assured of exclusivity, what with just 16 neighbours. Those familiar with the area might realize that this is the first new-build on this famously fashionable street in more than 50 years.

The apartments range in size, from 584 square feet to 1,285 square feet, with a breath taking view of west London; the highest you can go here is the 10th floor so be aware. While shopaholics will have their playground just minutes away, the location provides art lovers a space to enjoy their craft as it has its very own studios on the ground floor that measure a combined 8,500 square feet. Yes, this property has the vibe of an artists’ commune to it.205-Holland-Park-Avenue-2

The interiors boast luxurious fixtures and fittings such as polished chrome door handles and kitchens fitted with Nobilla units as well as built-in wine coolers. To keep residents warm in the cold British winter, the property also has underfloor heating and flush oak. The bathrooms in each home, are draped – if we might be permitted some liberties in using this word – in porcelain stoneware tiling, making it a peaceful sanctuary.

Residents of course may avail themselves of Holland Park itself, as well as Royal Crescent Gardens. 205 Holland Park Avenue even features a private courtyard with secure underground parking and a 24-hour concierge.

Thomas Earle HouseThomas-Earle-House-1

One of Kensington Row’s most recent property developments, Thomas Earle House is also a Berkeley Group development. With numerous boutique and specialist antique stores at the doorstep, the 83 apartments here feature luxurious amenities and access to a Harrods Estate concierge. From the pool, to the spa and sauna as well as state-of-the-art gymnasium, staying fit has never been this fancy. For entertainment, residents need not venture far as the apartments have their very own private cinema.Thomas-Earle-House-21

Even with a one-bedroom apartment, residents can be assured that their homes will be 500 square feet larger than an average London new home. Buyers can also choose between two or three bedroom apartments but the important thing to note here is the overall size advantage of the Thomas Earle House, seeing as how most properties within the capital are significantly smaller.

The Pall Mall Collection PenthousePall-Mall-Penthouse-1

With three lateral apartments and a stand-out duplex penthouse, the Pall Mall Collection is one of the newest additions to an area that has seen very few new builds over the years. The development, by Amazon Property, manages this feat because it is a former office building that is now an example of how modern design can integrate into a Georgian area. With boutiques and tailors who cater to clients who demand only the finest just doors away, the penthouse is a dream come true for any fashionista or style maven in fact, given that Jermyn Street (home of John Lobb and Turnbull & Asser) is right around the corner. For those who love their gems, New Bond Street is also just around the corner, which makes Ted Baker, Hugo Boss and Michael Kors neighbors.Pall-Mall-Penthouse-2

Measuring 2,575 square feet, the Pall Mall Collection penthouse boasts views of Buckingham Palace, Green Park and Piccadilly from the North and South facing terraces. The open plan sees the kitchen, dining and living areas blend seamlessly and makes a perfect fit for those who love to entertain. Apart from the solid oak flooring, the penthouse boasts other fine materials such as the Calacatta Michelangelo Marble that was taken from the same quarry as that used to create the Stature of David. The wet walls of the master en-suite and bathrooms as well as the kitchen use this distinctive natural stone that has varying grey veins.

Future Drive: Rolls-Royce Vision 100

Last week we drove headlong into an exhibition at the Turin Motor Show that investigated the possible futures of cars. This week, Rolls-Royce made like Neil Armstrong and took a giant leap into that future with the Vision 100. The luxury car firm debuted the Vision 100 at a special event in London, echoing something its parent company BMW did back in March. We’re talking about the BMW Vision Next 100 of course and indeed we’ll be seeing this from all BMW brands but perhaps Rolls-Royce is even bolder in its vision than BMW itself.

The Vision 100 ditches a good deal of the familiar ‘car-like’ trappings in favor of an exterior that feels more like an otherworldly rectangular pod. When we saw ‘car-like’ trappings, what we mean is that the Vision 100 is a fully autonomous zero-emissions vehicle. Seriously, there’s no steering wheel or instrument panel here (there is instead a cabin-wide OLED display)… Yet there’s still that iconic Spirit of Ecstasy gleaming at the front, marking it as, unmistakably, a Rolls-Royce. Also, at close to 6 meters in length and more than a meter tall, the two-door Vision 100 comes from a future where bigger is clearly better.

Speaking of the Spirit of Ecstasy, there will be one inside the vehicle too. This happens to be Eleanor – the virtual personal assistant that can be viewed on the visual display in the interior. She’ll track your personal tastes, make recommendations, and run your appointments. All this falls in with one of the basic tenets of luxury, which is to do nothing that you don’t want to do. Even the design for the interior is set up like a comfortable cocoon with fine wool, leather, woods and a sofa. Yes, this vision of the future comes with a couch because someone at Rolls-Royce was paying to all those jokes car writers make about the Goodwood firm’s penchant for creating luxury living rooms on wheels.

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“The grand arrival of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 boldly points to a bright future for our marque where our patrons’ individual demands for complete and authentic personalization will be met through an exquisite fusion of technology, design and hallmark Rolls-Royce craftsmanship,” said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös at the concept’s launch. In coming up with the Vision 100, the design team led by Giles Taylor tried to imagine what cars would look like a century into the future. They decided that four key ingredients were important – personal vision; an effortless journey; a grand sanctuary; and the grand arrival.

Well, this is only the beginning. As things develop we can easily expect more automation, more convenience, and more exclusivity. In keeping up with their vision of the future, Rolls-Royce even released a 3D video to showcase exactly what the model can accomplish. You can view it down below.

3 Menswear Trends from London Collections 2016

Gray skies and damp sidewalks didn’t stop some of London’s finest designers from showing their best at London Collections. The four-day event, organized by the British Fashion Council showed creations by both established and up-and-coming designers such as Christopher Kane, Craig Green and Oliver Spencer. Here, ahead of Spring/Summer 2017, is a quick overview of some of these trends to get you prepared for the season to come.

Pile It On
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Craig Green Spring/Summer 2017 at London Collections

Designers dished out plenty of outerwear to create layered looks that are versatile and cold weather-ready. Craig Green, recipient of this year’s BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund showed an eclectic collection of embroidered jackets and layered parkas that stole the show with textured striped pastel details. You would be hard pressed to find something ordinary at Henry Holland though. The English designer went all out (as usual) with tracksuits, this time plastering Britain’s kitchen staple Heinz Baked Beans’ logo all over.

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Coach Spring/Summer 2017 at London Collections

Meanwhile, Coach brought a good dose of Americana to London with its collection of all-American favorites with a rebellious twist. The highlight of the collection (not so coincidentally), happened to be biker jackets, bomber jackets and the varsity jacket. These were either given a hand-painted finish by Gary Baseman or embellished with fringing, studs, zips and badges added a punk rock flair to the youthful collection.

Keep It Simple

Fashion’s golden boy J.W. Anderson showed elongated tunics, wide trousers and coats that focused on clean tailoring and minimalist silhouettes. The collection was far from mundane though – broken, beaded crowns and snorkel-inspired shades added a youthful appeal to the Le Petit Prince influenced pieces (top).

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Sibling Spring/Summer 2017 at London Collections

There isn’t much that brings to mind a holiday in sunny Santorini like Sibling’s louche summer- sky blue and white striped chinos and luxe towel-esque outfits. Oliver Spencer also referenced the Island of Capri in the 1950s, focusing on the modernist lines and contemporary architecture of Casa Malaparte. The gentle mix of Aegean blue, ocher, terracotta red and a dash of Madras checks on airy linen give his collection a weightlessness that should fit in perfectly with that holiday ensemble you were planning.

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Oliver Spencer Spring/Summer 2017 at London Collections

Dior Unveils Exclusive Creations by Marc Quinn

It’s been a big week for Dior – besides the opening of its biggest store on London’s famous New Bond Street, the French couture house has unveiled a selection of Lady Dior bags and small leather accessories that have undergone one of its most striking reinterpretations ever by Marc Quinn.

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Famous in the realm of contemporary art for his vivid hyper-realistic oil paintings, Quinn applies his fascination for orchids and irises to the iconic carriers. Several models see the same floral print on both sides of the bag but in reversed colours, while ‘In the Night Garden’ features blooming orchids against a dramatic backdrop of snow or volcanic earth. For something a little subtler, Quinn also created the floral-embossed metallic Lady Dior ‘Fossil Record’ bag. The British artist also celebrated individuality with bright blue irises from the series ‘We Share Our Chemistry with the Stars’.

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The new Dior store will not only showcase the French couture house’s full range of ready-to-wear, jewelry, timepieces, children’s collection and Baby Dior, but will also debut Dior HOME, a collection dedicated to homewares and the art of living.

Gucci Cruise at Westminster Abbey

Held in the same venue that hosts the coronation ceremonies of the British monarchy and that sealed one of the most popular unions for the British royal family in the last two centuries, Westminster Abbey played host to Gucci and the brand’s Cruise 2017 collection. Filled with prints, colors and a truckload of materials the collection was all kinds of fun. It may have even given many a new appreciation for granny-chic.

To learn more about the collection and to see our favourite looks, head to L’Officiel Singapore.

Dior Welcomes Bella Hadid, Opens London Store

Dior is on a roll this week, with two major announcements: ingenue Bella Hadid as makeup ambassador and its newest and largest ever store, in London. First up, we look at model Bella Hadid, whom the French brand sees as quite the pretty picture as its latest makeup ambassador. The American model joins Jennifer Lawrence who is currently the face of Dior Addict.

The advertorial campaign will be her biggest solo venture to date, and is proof of her ability to be more than just a shadow of her famous sibling and friends. For her new role, she will appear in a series of online videos. Due out June 6, the first video will see her discuss her favorite beauty products with Dior’s in-house creative director and image director, Peter Phillips. Apart from being the new ambassador of the brand’s makeup, Hadid will also be seen on the runway as she walks for Dior’s Cruise Collection show in, wait for it, London.Bond-Street-London-Dior-Store-Opening

The second announcement this week by Dior is the opening of its largest store in London. Located at New Bond Street in the city’s Mayfair district, the four-story building will house several elements by the brand under one roof. Apart from the women’s ready-to-wear collections, accessories, jewelry and timepieces, the store will also carry the brand’s Baby Dior and children’s wear sections. The space will also feature a Dior Homme area that will offer a demi-measure service and three private salons for VIP clients who wish to enjoy their shopping experience.

Other highlights of the store opening include the Dior Home collection that will offer crystal glassware collections embellished with gold couture stitching and limited edition collaborative pieces fabricated with artists and designers. To commemorate the occasion, Dior will unveil limited edition Lady Dior bags and small leather accessories. The interior of the store will highlight the blend of British charm with the brand’s French history. The décor will see stone matched with silk carpets and neo-Louis XVI-style furniture.

The House of Dior will open its doors on June 3

Moncler Flagship Opens in London

Moncler is expanding and one boutique in a cosmopolitan city that happens to be a global style capital just will not suffice. Located at London’s Bond Street, the spanking new flagship by the brand is very impressive. As the second boutique for the brand in London, it is safe to assume that Moncler will continue to expand aggressively here, and probably other markets too.

To learn more about Moncler’s new flagship in London, click here.

Lodha Reveals First UK Residential Development

Lodha has just unveiled its first residential development in the UK, Lincoln Square. Situated in-between Covent Garden and the City of London, the 10-story Lincoln Square is, needless to say, prime real estate. Within a stone’s throw you’ll find the London School of Economics, the Royal Courts of Justice, Lincoln’s Inn and King’s College. The Lodha Group, India’s largest real estate developer by sales and one of its most famous, is looking to make a big push into London with this prestigious project.

The apartment building is a collaboration between architect PLP, designer Patricial Urquiola, famous for her Mandarin Oriental design in Barcelona and interior designer Bowler James Brindley. The private courtyard, on the other hand, will be courtesy of Gustafson Porter who designed the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial in Hyde Park. Lee Polisano of PLP Architecture commented: “The thoughtful selection of high-quality British and Portuguese sandstone provides visual continuity to the building’s façades, each responding to the scale, form and palette of their surroundings: amongst them, the grand Victorian Gothic Royal Courts of Justice to the South, and the neo-Jacobean Land Registry building to the North.”

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Lincoln Square comprises of everything from studios all the way up to four-bedroom apartments and two penthouses. Residents will have access to a wide array of amenities including: a private cinema, 25-meter swimming pool, a private club and library, gym and a spa. Completion is set for 2018 and prices start from GBP895,000.

Visit Lodha Group for more details.

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Renault, Central St Martins Pair Up

Famed British art and design school Central St Martins and French automaker Renault have unveiled their collaborative collection produced in time for Clerkenwell Design Week. The collection of works will envision ways in which autonomous driving will impact on car interiors, as driver inputs become less and less necessary.

Designers on board Central St Martins’ current MA in Industrial Design certification course have been preparing entries for a competition whose winners will be revealed at Clerkenwell Design Week by Renault’s Vice President of Exterior Design on May 25.

The design event is held May 24-26 in the central London borough of Clerkenwell, with Renault its headline sponsor, and further support coming from a host of groups including mobile phone charger manufacturer AirCharge, Chinese interiors event Design Shanghai, the British Institute of Interior Design, and high performance folding bike firm Vello.

Robert De Niro To Open London Hotel

Robert De Niro is best known for being an award-winning actor of course but he is also a film festival organizer, restaurateur and hotel owner. On the back of the success of the Greenwich Hotel in New York, that last one is set to move to a whole new level soon. Should all plans and approvals be a success, the Raging Bull star will be part of a project that will build a new luxury boutique hotel in London.

With 83 rooms, the Wellington Hotel project will be situated at Covent Garden and will feature a spa and two restaurants. “London is one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the world,” the 72-year-old star said in a statement released May 14.

This is far from his first jaunt away from the silver screen, as mentioned earlier. For those unfamiliar with his ventures outside cinema, he is one of the co-founders of Nobu, a high-end restaurant chain that can be found all over the world.

The London project has not yet been given planning approval by local officials but construction is expected to start next year, with a projected completion date of 2019.

 

Focus: Interior Designer Shalini Misra

The unmistakable source of Shalini Misra’s inspiration for this residence is industrial design—one that celebrates rather than conceals the underpinning and ballast of construction. From the exposed shutter concrete and bricks to the reclaimed wood planks and colorful concrete floor tiles, the authentic feel of building and construction is harmonized and refined to create a homely feel.

This property, a detached family house spaced over four floors, is situated in London’s upscale Hampstead area. The project included a complete redesign of the internal layout of the lower ground floor to create a large open space for the entrance hall and family area, as well as a complete new kitchen extension. On the upper ground floor, period features are kept in the existing formal dining room and reception room, and the look is completed with the addition of timber Herringbone flooring.

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Complementing the client’s collections of art and oriental style antique furniture, Shalini Misra has incorporated new furniture and lighting elements in a more contemporary style.

Misra, who obtained her masters in architecture at UCL Bartlett in London, is no stranger to full-blown redesign. Among her earliest commissions after graduating was the design of the interiors of a four-bedroom flat in London for a client who lived overseas. Being a pure-play architect, designing a personal pied-a-terre was a true challenge which commenced her beautiful journey into the world of interiors.

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This first interior design project kick-started an ever evolving style, with a deep-rooted understanding of volumes of spaces. Twenty years later, and with the trained eye of an architect, Misra has designed several homes internationally. Her love of travel and ability to absorb different cultural designs have helped her to create exclusive and eye-catching high end interiors.

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In this project, Misra positioned the master suite, consisting of a bedroom and sitting area, a bathroom and dressing room, on the first floor. Warm tones were used throughout in the bedroom as well as new and vintage timber furniture. The master bathroom boasts unique handmade Moroccan tiles on the counter top with sleek chrome fittings. Two further ensuite bedrooms on the second floor are designed to be comfortable and practical spaces for the client’s children. Fulfilling the brief, Shalini Misra has created a home that is unique, stylish and perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

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Shalini believes in eco-friendly design whenever possible and often re-uses or updates existing fittings, sourcing one off vintage items and recycling pieces of furniture. Shalini loves to create drama, energy and a freedom which can flow seamlessly through a space. Her guiding principle is to introduce the element of surprise and not to make any of her interior designs feel predictable.

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Understanding the need of the client and proposing the right mood to suit their lifestyle is the key essence of her work and she considers a disappointed client to be her biggest failure. Happily, many of Shalini’s clients return time and time again, seeking her fusion of classical and contemporary design and signature “always lived there” feeling.

You can find out more about Shalini Misra here.

This story first appeared in FORM Magazine.

Michael Kors New Flagship Store in London

Fashion label Michael Kors has opened the doors to its largest flagship store in Europe. Located in London’s Regent Street, the firm’s new store calls a historic building with an elegant façade its home. The interior boasts a sophisticated and modern design concept, blending the past with the future. “London is one of the world’s great fashion cities and an endless source of inspiration for me personally,” says Michael Kors on the store opening. “I’m thrilled to be opening a beautiful new flagship on Regent Street that represents everything we do and offers our customers the full world of Michael Kors.” Regent_Street_Ground_Floor

The flagship store’s entrance starts off with pale and weathered limestone that also acts as a runway of sorts through the rest of the store. Dark Macassar wood floors, brushed stainless steel shelves, Venetian wallpaper and Calcutta marble fixtures showcase the subtle changes in Michael Kors signature store aesthetic. The mix of soft neutrals against warm wood, textural finishes and luxurious materials, gives customers a glamorous and sophisticated place to shop.London_Regent_Street_Menswear_034

Spread out across three levels, the 16,275 square foot flagship will carry every category of the designer’s products with areas dedicated to accessories, shoes, menswear and another just for women. “London is one of the world’s great fashion cities and an endless source of inspiration for me personally,” says Michael Kors on the store opening. “Our Regent Street flagship illustrates the evolution of the Michael Kors brand and the scope of our commitment to the business in Europe,” says John D. Idol, Chairman and CEO of Michael Kors. “This new European flagship enables us to present the full range of our luxury offering, including our exciting and fast-growing menswear line.”London_Regent_Street_1st_Floor_075

 

Viking Ocean Cruises Launches New Ship in London

Viking Ocean Cruises, the first entirely new cruise line in a decade, has officially welcomed its second ship, Viking Sea. Italian shipbuilders Fincantieri built the new ship.

Viking Sea made its debut at the grand party, pictured above, on the Thames River in Greenwich, London, May 5. This follows the launch of the cruise company’s first ship Viking Star, less than a year ago and signals the growth of Viking Ocean Cruises, cementing the reputation of cruise industry’s most recent arrival.

Able to accommodate up to 930 guests and weighing 47,800-tons, the Viking Sea is officially the largest ship ever launched in London, but only the second of six ocean cruise ships currently planned for the fleet. The third and fourth ships, Viking Sky and Viking Sun are under construction and will be delivered in early 2017 and late 2017, respectively. The two remaining yet-to-be-named ships will be delivered in 2018 and 2020.

Commenting on the launch, Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises said the company looks forward to bringing more guests to London this spring and in future years, via the launches of both ships.

“Our ships are built for exploration; they are vessels that help our guests spend more time immersed in and surrounded by their destination. With the arrival of our second ship – and with four more sister ships on the way – we are focused on introducing travelers to the Viking way of destination-centered cruising, a unique style that was inspired by our success on the rivers.”

Kelly Hoppen Reshapes London Home

This stunning listed property spans across four floors comprising four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms along with three cloakrooms, a gym and a roof terrace. (Unfortunately, aside from being in London, we cannot reveal any other information about it – Ed).

This remarkable project was a collaboration between client and designer. Having worked together for many years Kelly Hoppen was truly able to capture the client’s desires.

The brief for this property was to create a twist of Kelly’s signature style of neutral luxury and construct an eclectic mix of new and old with splashes of color.

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As you enter into each room of the property you are captivated by its elegance, softness and quirky twists with pops of color blended into the furniture; hidden like treasure in the interior of cupboard doors or subtly expressed through upholstery, artwork and decorative cushions.

Each room is as inviting and intriguing as the next with the iron staircase adorned with waterfall feature lights guiding your pathway through the space. The use of natural materials throughout the bathrooms is in keeping with Kelly’s famously sought-after style; elements that add to the soft and luxurious feel of the property.

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Photos courtesy of www.kellyhoppen.com.

This story was first published in FORM. 

Interview: Designer Tim Bowder-Ridger

Conran + Partners has become one of the most well known and respected design studios in the world. Founded in 1989 by Sir Terrance Conran, they design everything from hand crafted furniture to large-scale mixed use developments. At its helm is Mr Tim Bowder-Ridger. An 18-year-old veteran at the company. He joined Conran in 1997 and today leads teams across the globe as it’s Managing Director. Our friends at Palace magazine sit down with him to get an insight into what it takes to oversee a company at the forefront of international design.

How did you come about joining Conran + Partners and what’s been your favorite project over the years?

I joined Conran and Partners 18 years ago, at a time when the London restaurant scene felt truly explosive. Conran were instrumental in this change in consumer attitude to eating out and I was attracted to this exciting cultural shift. Consequently for a few years following my arrival, I led on all Conran Restaurant projects, overseeing the design and implementation of what have today become classics. This part of our work continues today with the completion of our 100th restaurant and bar just before Christmas.

But my passion for residential and hotel design is at the core of what we do as a practice. Inevitably my favorite project is the one I am in the middle of working on at any one point. Currently that is Centre Point in central London.

In this project we are reinventing an icon of 1960s brutalist commercial architecture into a spectacular apartment building, whilst repairing the city fabric at the East end of Oxford Street.

How has your design philosophy and style changed throughout the past almost 19 years you’ve been with Conran + Partners?

I began with a relatively conventional professional approach of white modernist architecture that imposed a language onto whatever the context was.

Our approach at Conran and Partners has a greater flexibility in the ways of answering the user’s needs. It is always contextual, engaging with the physical and cultural reference points of its location to create a narrative that is explicit in the design solution. Always trying to create a specific sense of place in a world that is in danger of becoming ever more generic.

What do you believe has made Conran + Partners so successful?

The success of Conran and Partners rests upon the core value that has been with the company from its founding which is to make aspirational design accessible to as many people as possible.

We work across all sectors and scales around the world, but our underlying thread is always to bring about quality design that is articulate and tangible to the people who are going to use the buildings whether as occupants or simply as members of the community within which the building exists. The world population has become much more design savvy. People travel more, read more, eat out more, shop more.

There is a greater level of expectancy when it comes to design and creating a memorable experience. An indication of success to us is when people not involved in our project can describe the point of design without being told it… hopefully in positive language!

We focus on mainly luxury residential property at Palace. Can you tell me a bit about any upcoming residential projects you will be working on? Centrepoint? Any others?

Culture, for me, is the new luxury. Centre Point, which I mentioned earlier, is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful listed buildings in London. It is a prime development where we are converting what was office space into 82 extraordinary apartments which marry the spirit of the 1960’s with the vibrant hot bed of creativity London exuberates today. The building is located in the very heart of London’s cultural district within a few minutes’ walk of the British Museum, Theatre Land and the national galleries.

Once the project has finished in 2017, it will be one of the most exciting addresses in the heart of one of the most exciting cities in the world.

Blake Tower, Richard John Seymour

Blake Tower

Our Blake Tower project is another exercise in reinventing a 1960s piece of Brutalist architecture located within London’s Barbican Estate; a cultural oasis within itself. The apartments have been strategically planned to engage with the building’s original architectural anatomy of pickhammered concrete structure, with a contemporary palette to provide extremely stylish homes.

Both developments are outside of London’s traditional luxury neighbourhoods but are incredibly sought after in the fact they are rare opportunities to buy into a creative way of life and to own a unique piece of London’s art and design scene.

We work all over the world, with live projects currently in Copenhagen, Tokyo, Istanbul, Jakarta and Auckland. With all these projects, the overarching story stems from the culture of the area and the building, to create unique experiences of their location.

They will appeal to a generation that is fundamentally very cultured, though of course that is not a pre-requisite.

How is Conran + Partners expanding across Asia?

Our love affair for working in Asia began in the late 90’s with a new urban quarter in the heart of Tokyo.

Appointed as part of an international design team, we were involved in the architecture, interior design, landscape design, product design and graphics for the Roppongi Hills Development. The scheme, which occupies an 11-hectare site, is as significant to Tokyo as Canary Wharf is to London, and is well known for the mix of luxury apartments, restaurants, bars and private members clubs which we created at the time.

We subsequently continued with large scale architecture across the city, completing Japan’s largest single mixed-use development last year with Futako Tamagawa. I fly out to Tokyo next week to develop another residential project and will be visiting every six weeks or so. It’s a fantastic city and I love the Japanese approach to design, culture and, of course, food.

Our other thrust in Asia, however, is led by our hotel work, having designed a plethora of private members clubs, hotels and restaurants throughout Hong Kong, India and South Korea. We are currently in the midst of designing a new luxury 5 star hotel in Jakarta. It will include over 200 rooms, a luxury spa, multiple bars and restaurants, and another (whilst not strictly in Asia) in Auckland.

What trends are you currently seeing in Modern Architecture and Design?

A strong recognition of the quality of 20th Century Modernism, which represented a clarity of thought and an honesty of implementation. Many of our briefs are currently about reinterpreting that into the 21st Century, taking on-board the technical and lifestyle changes that have happened in the interim. A credible representation of our time.

Horseferry Road

Horseferry Road

What would you say is the most exciting city for Modern Architecture?

London for its combination of enormous energy and a value attached to quality design.

On the other hand, Tokyo, for me personally, whilst a difficult market to get into for foreign designers, is fascinating to work in, not least because of the synergy between the Japanese design values and our company perspective, such as clarity of approach, the importance of narrative, attention to detail, clean lines and a simple palette of materials. Possibly the least ostentatious culture in the world.

Walk me through your daily routine.

I tend to arrive to the studio early. An hour or so before everyone else to answer emails, read the news, gather my thoughts and focus on designing uninterrupted. The day quickly becomes a mix of back-to back management meetings and project reviews, of which I am either the lead designer or is being directed by another member of the senior team. On average I have three business lunches a week, sometimes along the River Thames but quite often around Soho or Mayfair. It’s a chance to properly catch-up, throw some ideas around and work through a design. Either way, always armed with an A5 sketchbook and 2B pencil. I’ll then head back to the studio, touch base with my design team, before finding a quiet corner to work through some ideas. I finish the day either by going out to dinner with clients or friends, or visit our local independent cinema with my family. Otherwise, subject to how big my lunch was, I will drive down to the country to exercise my horses.

When you travel, what do you like to bring with you? Smartphone, tablet laptop etc…

I take all of the above plus a pile of magazines. Air travel in particular is a chance to escape from my phone and find time to think. My constant companion is my luggage. Rimowa, a classic German brand made of solid aluminum looks beautiful new but over the years patinates fantastically.

Favorite restaurant to take clients?

Quo Vadis in London is a great location to take clients. The atmosphere is glamorous enough to be interesting but not pretentious. In Tokyo I would recommend a table at Plate. It’s a small independent establishment with exceptional dishes made of quality ingredients. The owner is very eccentric and offers a Japanese take on Italian cuisine.

Liked or respected?

Hopefully a bit of both, achieved through keeping a sense of humor; no matter how challenging a task at hand is.

Leadership style?

To give everyone I work with ownership of their task and therefore ownership of the overall strategy.

Tim Bowder-Ridger Portrait edited colour 2

Story Credits

Text by Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE Magazine

Degustation: 3 Chefs Talk Creativity, Cuisine

Imagine sitting in a restaurant and savouring five to 10 exquisitely prepared dishes over a period of three or more hours. You get to taste the food on your palate, relish the visual spectacle on the plate, and indulge in the freshness of the produce and surprising combinations of flavour. These, combined with immaculate table service, are all part of the degustation experience. But what is degustation, really? Originating from the French word “dégustation”, the culinary term refers to a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods that focus on the gustatory (taste) system, the senses, high culinary art, and, of course, good company.

A degustation often involves the sampling of small portions of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting. It usually begins with the lightest dishes that segue into heavier ones. In between, slightly acidic dishes such as sorbet act as palate cleansers. Cocktails and wines are also an important component of a degustation menu and are suggested as accompaniments to certain dishes.

This is a form of art and science that requires a chef to have an innate sense of gastronomical aesthetics and a knowledge of sophisticated culinary techniques, reflecting the chef’s creativity and innovation, and his or her propensity to induce a sense of curiosity and surprise in the diner.

Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara, Kaiseki YoshiyukiYoshiyuki Kashiwabara

Japan has its own version of degustation in the form of kaiseki. One of the highest degrees of culinary art in Japan, this traditional Japanese multi-course haute cuisine was derived from 16th century tea ceremony rituals in Kyoto. And no one knows it better than award-winning chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara, who spent seven years as the personal chef to Japanese ambassadors based in San Francisco and Singapore. According to Yoshiyuki – whose résumé includes a stint at the esteemed Kyoryori Hosoi in Tokyo, where he joined as a trainee and eventually headed the kitchen – the essence of kaiseki is an emphasis on natural flavours, a balance of taste and texture, and delicate presentation. 

What inspires your kaiseki menu?

Japan’s four seasons and the finest ingredients each season has to offer. For example, I will only use the chestnut in autumn – when it is at its freshest – and not in spring. When it comes to presentation, I will plate the dish with flowers and birds symbolic of a particular season.

Kaiseki Yoshiyuki Interior

Kaiseki Yoshiyuki Interior

What does your kaiseki menu include?

We have a seven-, eight- or nine-course kaiseki menu. For the latter, I create it on the day itself with the freshest and most refined ingredients available that day. It is done in the style of Omakase, which refers to a meal consisting of dishes that are selected by the chef – so it’s up to me. For the other menus, I start with Hassun which features the best vegetables of that season in the form of small appetisers. This is followed by Suimono, a soup with light broth. After this comes Tsukuri, which features sashimi such as akami (tuna) – also known as maguro – and chutoro, a fattier version of akami. Chutoro, or tuna belly, is a premium part of the tuna. When it’s fresh, its taste is unbeatable. I usually served it as small, sliced cubes so that it is not too rich for the palate.

How do you get your fresh produce?

Every morning at 1am, I call the suppliers from Tsukiji market, the largest fish market in Japan, to check what’s available that day. Sometimes, I fly to Japan to select the freshest ingredients in season and deal with suppliers directly, and have the ingredients flown in to the restaurant at least twice a week. If there’s an unforeseen circumstance (such as when a typhoon in Japan affects the produce), I will have to improvise and think of something different for the menu.

Hassun (seasonal vegetables appetiser) that features Japan’s spring

Taste, texture and presentation – how important are
these factors?

Creating subtle, fresh tastes, light textures and intricate food presentation is key. Whether it’s the thought process, the act of cooking or the presentation, it is of utmost importance to pay great attention to detail. Also, all the flavours have to be balanced and reflect the seasonal theme of the dish.

To what extent is kaiseki a form of art and showcase of technique?

Kaiseki cuisine requires a lot of patience, cooking and skilful knife techniques, especially when it comes to carving birds and flowers out of real food and plating them. I have a personal set of knives – they are my tools. A knife is very important to a chef, just like a brush is to a painter. In fact, the way you slice a fish can change its taste and texture.

Daikon (mild flavored winter radish) with crab

In three words, describe your brand of kaiseki.

Poetic, beautiful and pure.

What kind of kaiseki experience do you want diners to have at your restaurant?

I want them to feel good and healthy while tasting the freshest seasonal ingredients, all of which have high nutritional value.  And I want to bring them on a journey of Japan’s four seasons through the ingredients and the beauty of the dishes; I want to transport them from Singapore to Kyoto.

Ryan Clift, Tippling ClubRyan-Clift

Over the course of his 23-year career, Wiltshire-born Ryan Clift has worked with some of the world’s finest chefs, including Marco-Pierre White, Peter Gordon, Emmanuel Renaut, Shannon Bennett and Raymond Capaldi. In 1999, Clift was ran the show in the kitchen at Vue de Monde, one of Australia’s most acclaimed restaurants. 

What is your concept of degustation?

I believe that customers need a level of trust in the chef in order to select the degustation option for a meal. For me, it allows us to be truly creative – with the flexibility to select the freshest produce that may only be available on a particular day, or to create something special for a customer.

Snow Crab

Snow Crab

How important are taste, texture and presentation?

For me, taste and texture take precedence over presentation. Taste is always the most crucial factor, while textures make the dish that much more exciting and memorable for the diner. Presentation, for us, is based on coming up with the best way to showcase the ingredients and it’s quite fluid – we’re not sticklers for that.

What inspires your degustation menu?

Our latest menu reflects the kitchen team’s travels around the world, particularly Tokyo. The ingredients that we discover on our trips abroad constantly inspire us and we want to share that with our customers and introduce them to unique flavour profiles.

Mangalica Pork Collar

Mangalica Pork Collar

What are some of the highlights of this new menu?

We’ve got a number of really interesting dishes such as the Mangalica Pork Collar, where we brine the meat, then slow cook it for 19 hours at 72 degrees for fork-tender texture. It’s served with cinnamon-infused dashi broth, vegetables pickled in nuka (Japanese rice bran) and nori crackers – all made in-house.

The lobster menu is a really delicate dish of lobster from Brittany served with horseradish, chive gel and, for contrast, a puree of sea buckthorn for some acidity. We then pair it with the Daruma-Mazuma cocktail, which contains lime and lemon that reflect the acidity of the dish.

Our Snow Crab features a refreshing delicate crab salad made from Western Australian crab topped with sliced Kyoho grapes from the Yamanashi prefecture in Japan. It’s all about showcasing the best produce we can find and create matches that really excite the customers’ taste buds.

What kind of experience do you want guests to have with your degustation menu?

I believe everyone has his or her own unique experience. For me, I do not want my guests to feel like they’re in a stiff, formal restaurant, but rather, in a place that’s fun – with damn good food!

Kirk Westaway, Jaan

Kirk Westaway

Kirk Westaway

Growing up in Devon, England surrounded by farm-fresh produce, Westaway’s passion for only the most excellent ingredients is evident in his gastronomic creations. Recently promoted to Chef de Cuisine of Jaan, the 29-year-old spent a term at two-Michelin-starred The Greenhouse in London’s Mayfair. Last February, he was crowned the South East Asian regional winner in the semi-finals of the inaugural S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition.   

What inspires your degustation menu?

Ingredients are what inspire me, they change all the time depending on what produce is at peak. We have five to seven courses that are set and printed daily, depending on the availability I get that day from each fish, meat and vegetable.

The 10-course, being the inspirational menu, is not printed – I create the dishes on the spot before they come in and as they go along during the dining experience, depending on availability. For example, I might have live lobster from Scotland, but that could change to a different fish or meat according to how many dishes are served that night.

I am open to ideas. I talk to diners and listen to their feedback. I value their opinions; sometimes, they inspire me.Jaan at Swissotel The Stamford

What is your most intricate dish?

The Tomato Collection – it’s fresh, clean, sweet and savoury, and has a smooth texture. It is a tomato within a tomato. Firstly, we hollow out the centre of the vine-ripened tomato, semi-dry the part that is taken out overnight, chop it up and add some fresh shallots, parmesan, capers, smoked olive oil and other good ingredients, and stuff them back inside the vine tomatoes. It takes 16 hours for them to dry. We also make some tomato water, add basil sorbet and croutons for crunch. People think they are just looking at a tomato, but when they slice it open, they see all work that goes into it. 

In what sequence are the dishes presented?

Step by step, from warm to dense and complex. The menu usually starts off with a Langoustine Cannelloni dish served ice cold. The next dish is served at room temperature – one example is the Tomato Collection. This is followed by an egg that’s served at 55 degrees, then fish with a hot sauce right off the stove. I always finish off with meat and then a palate cleanser before dessert.

Langoustine Cannelloni

Langoustine Cannelloni

How much emphasis do you place on presentation?

My main focus is on taste but I try to make every plate pretty as well; my style of presenting is clean, tidy and elegant. I like to put interesting items on each plate. Colour is important – I generally finish plating dishes with fresh and unique green herbs, and flowers, such as fennel blossom, garlic flowers or carrot flowers – all of which you might not see locally.

How do you come up with all the combinations of flavours and textures in your degustation menu?

We have many ingredients, all of which become different components in each dish. Each flavour serves a purpose, and complements another. For example, when I cook a meat with a sauce, and it works, I’ll leave it. But if I think it needs something interesting, a bit of richness, a bit of crunch, a bit of acidity or sweetness, then I’ll add ingredients accordingly. But if I taste the dish and I feel that one of the elements is not needed, I’ll take it out straight away.

Tomato Collection

Tomato Collection

What sort of experience do you want diners to have?

I want to create memories and evoke emotions. The menu might look simple, but when the food comes, diners are impressed by how intricate the dishes are. They get to taste fresh organic vegetables, fine cheese and flavoursome quality products from around the world. It’s not just a meal to fill your stomach, but also a multi-sensory experience put together by the culinary team.

Story Credits

Text by Abigail Chia

This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore. 

Letter Detailing Queen Elizabeth Romance Sold

On Saturday, one private collector walked away from an auction at Chippenham Auction Rooms in southwest England with a rare handwritten letter from Queen Elizabeth. The letter, written nearly seven decades before by the, then—Princess Elizabeth, recounted the early years of her meetings and romance with the man who was born a prince of Greece and Denmark.

The love story that now sees the couple in their nineties, with great-grandchildren, has weathered many a storm. While the letter does not feature detailed accounts such as the time she threw her shoe at the Duke of Edinburgh in a fit of rage, it does give us a first hand account of how the relationship first began. Sold for £14,400 ($20,750, 18,475 euros), the letter was written to author Betty Shew for her book Royal Wedding as a wedding gift.

“The first time I remember meeting Philip was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in July 1939, just before the war. (We may have met before at the coronation or the Duchess of Kent’s wedding, but I don’t remember),” the future monarch wrote.

“I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet just due to leave. He joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, and I only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave — I suppose about twice in three years.

“Then when his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, were away he spent various weekends away with us at Windsor. Then he went to the Pacific and Far East for two years as everyone there will know.”

She said the wedding ring was to be made of Welsh gold and her fiance designed it himself.

“I don’t know the history of the stone, except that it is a very fine old cutting. It was given to me not long before the engagement was announced.”

She told of how Prince Philip danced with her at two London nightclubs and spent six weeks with the royals at Balmoral, their Scottish private retreat.

“We both love dancing — we have danced at Ciro’s and Quaglino’s as well at parties,” she wrote.

“We first started seeing more of each other when Philip went for a two-year job to the R.N Petty Officers School at Corsham — before that we hardly knew each other.”

 

Report: Damien Hirst Art Leaks Deadly Gas

British artist Damien Hirst is extremely provocative and divisive but apparently some of his work might also be deadly or at least sickening. The notorious works of art (basically dead and variously sliced up animals preserved in giant tanks) in question at London’s Tate Modern gallery have evidently been quietly reeking…literally. Scientists testing a new sensor for the remote detection of formaldehyde gas (a known carcinogen) in the 2012 exhibition found levels well above those legally permitted, it emerged last week.

According to an AFP report, the findings were published in the monthly journal Analytical Methods. The scientists insisted they did not believe their findings showed there was a risk to the public at one of Britain’s most popular attractions, visited by 5.8 million people in 2014.

“It has been found that the tanks are surrounded by formaldehyde fumes, constantly exuded in the atmosphere (likely via the sealant), reaching levels of five ppm (parts per million), one order of magnitude higher than the 0.5 ppm limit set up by legislation,” the journal abstract states.

One work that emitted high levels was “Away from the Flock”, a 1994 exhibit showing a lamb preserved in formaldehyde solution in a glass and steel box.

Gas was also detected around “Mother and Child (Divided)”, a 1993 work which comprises four boxes containing a calf and cow, each bisected, although the exact level was not written in the journal article.

Unrelated to Hirst’s preserved bloody works, the scientists found similar results in the Summer Palace in Beijing, particularly around some artworks. No levels were given in this case and the study’s authors suggest the results could be blamed on new lacquer painted on old works. This illustrates that formaldehyde is found all around us, particularly in applications of lacquer and the like in furniture. Typically, only prolonged exposure is harmful.

“Tate always puts the safety of its staff and visitors first, and we take all necessary precautions when installing and displaying our exhibitions,” a spokesman for the Tate Modern said.

“These works contained a very dilute formaldehyde solution that was contained within sealed tanks.”

Later in the week, Hirst responded on his website to the study, which was led by Pier Giorgio Righetti at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy.

“We do regular testing and our experts tell us that at the levels reported by this journal, your eyes would be streaming and you would be in serious physical discomfort. No such complaints were made to us during the show —or at any other shows or sites featuring the formaldehyde works. We don’t believe any risk was posed to the public.”

In a statement, Righetti said the research “was intended to test the uses of a new sensor for measuring formaldehyde fumes and we do not believe that our findings suggest any risk to visitors at Tate Modern”.