Tag Archives: New York City

New York’s Fifth Avenue: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

From dazzling jewellery store and luxury retailer to Tiffany’s café, people take notice of Tiffany for its intricate and mesmerising colour palette, dominated by the iconic “Tiffany blue.”

This week, America’s house of design and fashion has just opened a new Tiffany’s café at the jeweller’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, and the café will operate during regular store hours.

Based on Truman Capote’s novel “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn about 50 years ago, the gastronomy trademark skyrocketed to fame, and today, it still carries a strong influence in the New York dining scene.

There’s no mistaking the café’s brand identity!

The first ever dining concept, The Blue Box Café was taken from the 1961 film segment where actress Audrey Hepburn was snacking on a pastry near the storefront on Fifth Avenue, and at the same time, looking through the shop window like certain attention is worth giving.

With the official opening of New York’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, the café will attract shoppers on Fifth Avenue. Visitors can now order breakfast at Tiffany’s or sit down comfortably and enjoy a fancy meal instead of having breakfast on-the-go.

The café will serve up breakfast using Tiffany china and silverware and American classics made with regionally sourced ingredients while the menu will change seasonally to cater to the diverse palates.

Created by Paris-based design duo Ronon and Erwan Bouroullec, The Blue Box Café sits on the fourth level, on the same floor as the accessories collection which opened earlier this month.

Along with breakfast and lunch menus, the café will also serve high tea. Prices start at $29.

Louis Vuitton’s ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ Exhibition Opens in New York

Opened to the public last week in New York City’s former American Stock Exchange building, ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ exhibition reviews the history of Louis Vuitton from 1854 until the modern day. The same exhibition first made an entrance at the Grand Palais, Paris in December 2015 and has since enjoyed successful stints in Tokyo and Seoul.

Curated by Olivier Saillard, French’s star fashion curator, historian, and performer, ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ in New York explores the archives of the House’s founding family members.

And opening up like a book, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the various chapters and discover from 1854, through depictions of the Maison’s founding members and how they have brought the brand’s journey to global success.

And continuing from the creators of Louis Vuitton of tomorrow – Nicolas Ghesquière, who is the current creative director, at the helm of the house of Louis Vuitton’s womenswear collections, breathes life into the brand with cutting-edge fashion offering for forward-thinking fashion designers and fashionistas in the world.

The journey continues…

Divided into ten chapters, the first chapter opens to an antique trunk fashioned with contemporary flair, signifying a symbol of the House’s signature luxury luggage options. The final room shares the story of the brand’s history in New York City and the US.

Louis Vuitton also created pop-up boutique to kick-start its exhibition at the city’s Brookfield Place. View a curated assortment of leather accessories to fragrances in the lovely boutique, which will run for a limited time only.

The ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ exhibition will run till Jan 7, 2018.

For more information, please visit http://eu.louisvuitton.com/eng-e1/heritage-savoir-faire/nycvvv#

Luxury hotels in New York: The James New York-NoMad Hotel on Madison Avenue opens in Summer 2017

Minutes from Madison Square Park and the Flatiron District, the James New York-NoMad will open on Madison Avenue, turning a 20th-century Beaux-Arts building into a boutique property with 344 rooms and 28 suites. Rooms will feature keyless room entry, in-room tablets, and a custom mobile app for in-room dining and streaming TV shows and movies.

The property is pitched as an urban retreat under a brand ethos that focuses on local, hand-crafted design and wellness. The NoMad hotel in New York will coincide with the opening of the James Hotel, Los Angeles, which is also set to open in May.

The LA outpost will open in the heart of Sunset Strip at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards and house 286 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop and lobby bar.  Existing James Hotel brands include another location in SoHo in New York and Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.

Last week, the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge opened its doors after generating no small amount of buzz for its prime real estate location just south of the Brooklyn Bridge and its sustainability efforts. The hotel uses 100 percent wind power energy, was built using local and reclaimed materials, operates a rain-water reclamation system, and a triple water purification system.

The James New York-NoMad opens this summer.

NYC Armory Show Galleries Revealed

NYC Armory Show Galleries Revealed

With Art Basel descending on Miami Beach, another major US art event, New York’s Armory Show, has begun to reveal plans for its 2017 edition.

Organizers of the Armory Show have been sharing details over the past few weeks for the 2017 event, which runs March 2-5 at Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan. Along with the gallery list, which includes 71 new exhibitors, the latest announcement includes details of major changes coming to next year’s edition.

“The Armory Show team has spent the last year listening to our gallery clients and visitors, and in response, we have made many radical changes and improvements to the show,” says Benjamin Genocchio, Executive Director of The Armory Show. Among those are expanded VIP and visitor services as well as a more spacious floor plan with larger booths and expanded public lounges.

One of the most significant changes is the decision to feature modern and contemporary art across both piers, rather than separating them.

The fair will feature 207 international galleries representing five continents and 30 countries. Among the new exhibitors this year are seven galleries from Asia, including 10 Chancery Lane Gallery (Hong Kong), Arario Gallery and Gallery Hyundai (Seoul), and Tomio Koyama Gallery and Mizuna Art Gallery (Tokyo).

For the main section of the fair, called Galleries, 20th- and 21st-century works will be presented in a range of media.

More than 70 galleries will present solo-artist and dual-artist projects, including many presented as part of the Insights sector, focusing on art made before 2000. Highlights include works by the Harlem Renaissance painter Jacob Lawrence (Jonathan Boos), a study of dreams in the works of René Magritte, Alexander Calder and Salvador Dalí (Mayoral), and prints and works on paper by David Hockney (Lyndsey Ingram).

New in 2017 will be the Platform sector, which will stage large-scale artworks, installations and site-specific commissions across Piers 92 and 94. Details will be announced next year.

The Armory Show is part of Armory Arts Week, which includes nine fairs in all. Find out more about the Armory Show, including the full list of 2017 exhibitors, at www.thearmoryshow.com.

New York Steakhouse Offers $50,000 Thanksgiving Meal

In what can only be described as outlandish, a New York steakhouse has launched a Thanksgiving meal made with the world’s finest ingredients for the princely sum of $50,000.

It is a meal meant to go down in the books as the ultimate American Thanksgiving feast and the restaurant has a track record of similar spectacular offerings. 

In a Facebook interview with ABC News Live, co-owner Marc Sherry of The Old Homestead Steakhouse revealed details of the exorbitant package that features everything from caviar-topped sweet potatoes to foie gras stuffing.

To create the headline-grabbing package and bump up the price tag significantly, the restaurant snuck in a few non-edible, luxury trimmings, including front-row seats at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a suite at the Waldorf Astoria New York worth $5,000, tickets to the New York Giants game worth $10,000, and limousine service.

Meanwhile, the Thanksgiving feast itself is likewise pimped out in creative ways.

The star of the show is a 20-pound organic, farm-raised turkey at $85 a pound, basted with olive oil that clocks in at $17 an ounce.

The orange cranberry sauce is spiked with Grand Marnier, aged balsamic vinegar priced at $60 an ounce, and a splash from a bottle of $1,720 French wine.

What looks like ordinary stuffing is in fact made with Japanese Wagyu beef at $465 a pound, and foie gras.

Sweet potatoes are topped with caviar worth $1,600 an ounce, while the mashed potatoes are laced with imported white Stilton cheese.

And a loaf of sourdough bread will be imported from the UK to sop up the gravy infused with Kentucky bourbon whiskey, from a $2,890 bottle.

It is not the first time The Old Homestead has carved an outrageous Thanksgiving meal.

Last year, the restaurant launched a similar package for $45,000 that included a two-carat diamond engagement ring. Other cities have put together similar extravaganzas, including Singapore.

“The people who have bought it is a cross stream of America,” Sherry told ABC News.

“People from Wall Street to people from out of town who wanted to bring their family to the NYC to have the ultimate experience.”

Diners on a slightly smaller budget can also order the restaurant’s regular Thanksgiving special that features both beef and bird and all the trimmings for $85. The Old Homestead has been in business for more than a century but remains under the radar with Michelin and Zagat, for example. 

Top 5 Billionaire Hotspot Cities 2016

In advance of the likely the first billionaire presidency of the USA, our friends at Palace Magazine looked at cities around the world that draw the most attention from the billionaire class. It is of course no surprise that Donald Trump’s home turf, New York City, is a magnet for the one-percenters but you might be surprised to learn that Beijing trumps Shanghai in the billionaire stakes.

New York City

Home to the world’s top financial centres like Wall Street and Silicon Alley, New York draws more moneymaking tycoons than anywhere else in the world, with 79 billionaires holding a combined net worth of $364.6 billion residing in the city. The city also hosts three of the world’s 10 richest people: industrialists Charles and David Koch, each worth $44.6 billion, and ex-New York City Mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg, worth $49.8 billion.

Hong Kong

Asia’s financial capital comes in second with 68 billionaire residents worth a combined $261.3 billion. A lover of luxury, Hong Kong has more Rolls-Royce automobiles per capita than anywhere else in the world, and is home to the most powerful figures in Asia: business magnate Sir Lee Ka-shing, ranked the second-wealthiest man in Asia with a net worth of $32.8 billion, and real estate tycoon Lee Shau-kee, worth $25.1 billion and ranked the second richest in Hong Kong.

Moscowistock_81868491_xxxlarge

The financial capital of the Russian Federation, Moscow has the third most number of billionaires in the world; 60 individuals worth a total of $217.6 billion. Moscow’s super-rich include various self-made commodity moguls such as gas and petrochemical magnate Leonid Mikhelson, Russia’s richest man, worth $16.5 billion, and oil and banking mogul Mikhail Fridman, worth $15.6 billion.

Beijingistock_100563983_xxlarge

Beijing, one of the world’s ancient capitals, comes in fourth with 51 billionaires worth a combined $149.9 billion. Its wealthiest residents include China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, worth $30 billion, as well as Jack Ma, worth $28.3 billion. Both Wang and Ma have recently invested in American entertainment firms, with Wang purchasing Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, and Ma investing in several Hollywood blockbusters.

London

With a strong property market and a reputation as one of the world’s most glamorous cities, London remains an attractive destination for the super-wealthy (Brexit notwithstanding). The city counts 48 billionaire residents who boast a combined wealth of $187.7 billion. They include American businessman Len Blavatnik, worth $14.7 billion, and Indian-born businessmen Sri and Gopi Hinduja, worth $19.9 billion.

This article was first published in Palace Magazine.

USA flag moncler thom browne

Moncler Opens New York Flagship, Celebrates City with Art

French luxury outdoor apparel brand Moncler, after having imposed its signature down jackets around the world, opened its first American flagship in a city that will definitely enjoy the warmth, the comfort and the style of their products: New York City. Two locations have been announced: Madison Avenue (main venue) and Prince Street, Soho.
Celebrating this grand opening, Moncler wanted to pay tribute to the Big Apple and imagined two art projects that would both enlighten NYC creativity and the brand’s experimental style.

moncler-ny-madison-avenue-6

The first part of the tribute has been handed to Thom Browne. The stylist conceived an installation, called “USA Flag”, consisting of 28 special limited editions of the brand’s iconic jackets – same model, different design – all having the American as common theme. The jackets, each of them being unique and numbered, will be assembled to create mosaic decorating the background of the boutique before being sold online to benefit NPO Robin Hood.

Thom Browne also designed a full Special Collection, featuring jackets, cashmere sweaters and other special items, only available at the Madison Avenue boutique – and yes, they will all be Stars and Stripes.

The second part of that Tribute is a unique realization by famous NYC Film Director Spike Lee. His contribution, is a Short Musical Film celebrates the Big Apple’s heat of life and magical atmosphere.

Moncler Tribute to New York spike lee film

Frame from Musical Film “Brave” by Spike Lee for Moncler

The Film, called “Brave” – reference to the lead song, begins with Spike Lee himself reciting The Sonnet “The New Colossus, inscribed on The Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  “Lady Liberty’s Flame,” concluded Spike Lee, “welcomed millions of people arriving in the United States of America. Their first step onto American soil was in New York City. I hear that in this song, “Brave Suffering Beautiful”, which holds the essence of what it means to be an American in this particular period in time.”

Through Moncler’s tribute to New York, all can see the brand’s love and respect for the Big Apple. Thom Browne and Spike Lee bring their own vision of the common theme, making the project and innovative and exciting demonstration of Moncler’s personality.

 

Watch the full film below:

8 Urban Residences with Sky Gardens

A private garden, a backyard with trees and flowers, these are luxuries that city dwellers must sacrifice for the conveniences of modern urban living. At least, that has been the prevailing notion. However, some of today’s architects view the matter quite differently.

“There is a huge disconnect between how we live in our cities and what we need, as human beings, for quality of life,” says Eran Chen, Founder and Executive Director at ODA studio in New York. “I don’t think that we should be forced to choose between enduring life in the city, or escaping to suburban areas.”

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

Chen’s solution to this disconnect is to combine the two typologies. His studio recently released plans for East 44th Street, a slender residential tower in Midtown Manhattan that has open floors for sky gardens. By “stretching” the building vertically beyond its original program, the studio was able to create gaps, 16 feet in height, between every two floors. The gaps in the building will contain full floor sculptural gardens equal to the footprint of the building and will be directly accessible from each apartment. In other words, each 2,800 sq. ft. apartment will have 1,400 sq. ft. of open private garden. The tower will contain 44 residential units in total, with one, two or three-bedroom layouts and a duplex penthouse.

Other Manhattan studios are also inverting the traditional sealed box approach to tower design. Nearby on East 37th street, a slim residential tower proposed by Perkins + Will, will have built-in parks and an outdoor cinema.  The concept for the 700 foot tower, which features four open-air sky parks at various heights, was to take the urban fabric of Greenwich Village, where row houses will have a small park at the end of the block, and tip it vertically. “It creates this balance of your own private apartment and shared outdoor greenery that becomes almost like that park at the end of the street, except in a vertical way,” says Robert Goodwin, design principal at Perkin + Will.

Designing for dense future cities that will house an increasing number of inhabitants raises a number of questions. “How do you create livability in a dense city?” Goodwin says. “How do you make tall buildings that people really want to live in?”  This is a challenge that confronts architects around the world. Today, many design innovative new projects that aim to achieve densification without compromising on quality of life.

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, Chinese studio MAD has designed plans for Cloud Corridor, a high-density building with nine interconnected residential towers, that turns disparate neighborhoods into a vertical village with public spaces and gardens in the sky. The tower is meant to address the concern of suburban sprawl and also aims to connect people and nature. “The garden patios and courtyards provide a lush environment amid the surrounding urban density, and provide a retreat from the everyday among nature,” the studio says. The elevated corridors and multi-level garden patios shape the city skyline and provide viewing platforms for residents to overlook the city below and the natural landscapes beyond.

In Dubai, a new project called Suites in the Skai has 60 storeys with more than 500 apartments featuring their own sky gardens. Some also have swimming pools. Hussam Abdelghany, the associated design director at Atkins Global, says the sky gardens at the tower, which is due for completion in 2017, will increase shade and encourage wind penetration, producing a microclimate that will make the gardens a pleasant experience for most of the year, even when it is hot.

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

In Vietnam, studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently unveiled plans for the Diamond Lotus project, three 22 storey towers located on a finger of land between two rivers outside of Ho Chi Minh City. The project, which includes 720 residences, will be shielded from the tropical sunlight by swathes of bamboo and are connected via a planted roof garden that can be accessed from each apartment. “The connected roof provides the residents with a large green space, which rarely occurs in the city,” the studio said. While other developments are expediting the loss of greenery in the city, the architects say the green bridge and green façade of Diamond Lotus are not only a dedication to the comfort of inhabitants, but also “a contribution to the landscape, appearing as a green screen in the city.”

Bosco Verticale

Bosco Verticale

Allowing city dwellers to experience greenery and outdoor space is one factor motivating architects to incorporate sky gardens. But there are other advantages too. One of the first residential towers to incorporate sky gardens, Bosco Verticale, was designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri as part of the rehabilitation of the historic district of Milan between Via De Castillia and Confalonieri. The scheme comprises two towers, both of which incorporate trees, and one which houses 400 condominium units. In addition to providing residents with their own leafy oasis, the trees help to mitigate smog, produce oxygen and moderate building temperatures in winter and summer. The plants also attenuate noise.

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Now Stefano Boeri has designed a new 384 foot tall residential building in Lausanne, Switzerland, that bears many similarities to the Bosco Verticale. Named Tower of Cedars, the project is set to house more than 100 trees, 6,000 shrubs and 18,000 perennials. The apartment units protrude from the structure and offer views toward Lake Geneva, while their roofs are designed to accommodate plants.

According to Boeri, the building in the Chavannes-Près-Renens district of the city will be the first tower in the world to be covered with evergreen trees, selected in part for their ability to withstand harsh climates, and also the environmental function of their leaves which absorb CO2 and produce oxygen. “With the Tower of Cedar Trees we will have the opportunity to realize a plain building that will have a great role in the Lausanne landscape. An architecture able to introduce a significant biodiversity of vegetal species in the middle of an important European city,” Boeri says. The tower will comprise 36 floors and include private residences, offices and commercial space. There will also be a gym and a rooftop restaurant.

While buildings with sky gardens easily invoke a sense of utopian wonder, they are not built without challenges, particularly when it comes to structural support. At the Bosco Verticale in Milan, the engineering team worked with botanists and horticulturalists to ensure that the structure could bear the load imposed by the plants. The steel-reinforced concrete balconies are designed to be 11 inches thick with 4.2 foot parapets.

Slender residential towers such as those proposed in Manhattan have small floor plates and architects must ensure the building porosity does not compromise the tower stability.

At East 44th street, ODA utilized structural lateral systems in addition to a central core that act as the main supporting spine. The initial design did not include beams as the floors were supported by the building’s core, but Eran Chen says this proved structurally challenging. “By adding the beams we created ‘sculptured gardens’ that doubled as a way to protect against inclement weather while still providing 360 degree views.” Each garden is effectively covered by the floor above it and is protected from rain and snow.

Chen says the garden gaps at East 44th street also serve to lessen the wind load impacting the building — other skinny skyscrapers accomplish this via unused gaps throughout the structure. And the expansive height of the garden space with also permit a suffusion of sunlight throughout the central core and perimeter.  “We are used to seeing New York City’s towers as monolithic boxes usually housing corporate power. But today, as these towers become more residential, they do not need to have the same scale or design. They shouldn’t express the same thing,” he says. “When it comes to residential towers, they should all contain accessible outdoor space for all residents.”

Still, some critics argue that outdoor gardens at these heights is impractical in a city like New York, where temperatures drop well below freezing in winter months and the wind, which is known to howl down the avenues, would in this case howl both below and above you.

In London some critics allege that developers use the guarantee of lush green spaces to get building plans approved, but rarely deliver on their promise. At 20 Fenchurch Street early CGIs showed a storyboard of seductive images with residents mingling among cherry blossom from a soaring vantage point. The tower was given planning permission in an area never intended for tall buildings on the basis that it would deliver a public sky garden. Once complete, however, the garden amounted to nothing more than a few spindly trees in pot planters.

While down in Singapore, green design is on everyone’s mind when it comes to new architecture and not just to get buildings approved. The latest project by architect Christoph Ingenhoven is at the forefront of green technology. Ingenhoven Architects coined the term “Supergreen”. A concept they live and work by. Their definition of Supergreen: ‘an awareness of energy and resources, both in design, construction and operation and in the realization of the building and its use.’ Marina One was designed with this in mind. Located in the heart of Singapore, at Marina Bay. The two towers will be able to take advantage of rainwater harvesting, solar power and natural ventilation. Most importantly, at heart of the development is a 65,000 sq. ft. park, landscaped to fit its natural surroundings. Whether or not other future developments will follow suit to this extreme in Singapore, remains to be seen. However, Marina One is certainly taking being green, to the next level.

As with all new building trends, early incarnations will include hits and misses. It may take some time determine which types of sky gardens are truly used and enjoyed by residents. But architects like Chen are bullish about the potential for vertical parks to transform the contemporary urban reality.  “We believe that true luxury evolved from the ability to have the best of multiple worlds without compromise, and in this tower, the best of urban living melds with the dream of a suburban backyard,” he says. “There’s going to be a time in New York City where living without a substantial outdoor space is just going to be unacceptable.”

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth & Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Monet Haystack Painting Set for Christie’s Auction

Monet Haystack Painting Set for Christie’s Auction

One of Claude Monet’s celebrated “Haystack” paintings – estimated at $45 million – is coming up for sale at the Christie’s auction house in New York City. If it achieves or exceeds the estimate, it will confirm that Impressionist art still moves collectors.

With wealthy Chinese collectors expressing keen interest in such works, the painting – part of a series of haystack pictures painted by Monet during the winter of 1890-91 from his French home in Giverny – will first be presented next week in Hong Kong. It will then be shown in London before returning to New York in early November.

This canvas, representing a simple cone-shaped haystack at dusk, is one of the rare works in this series to still be in private hands, Christie’s said.

Most of the others are in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or the Art Institute of Chicago. This painting, to be auctioned on November 16, was acquired in September 1891 by the Knoedler & Co. art gallery, which brought it to the United States.

In recent years, prices for works by Monet or other celebrated Impressionists have shot through the roof.

The record for a Monet was set in June 2008, when a work from his “Water Lilies” series – “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” – was sold by Christie’s in London for GBP40.9 million ($80.1 million).

4 Street Art Stars Cities that Love Them

4 Street Art Stars and Cities that Love Them

Street art is by its nature transient, with city authorities in a race to paint over work that seemingly pops up spontaneously – these four artists and three cities defy this stereotype. We haven’t included Paris on this list but it is actually the first to open a dedicated permanent space for the voice of the street, so to speak. The AFP Relaxnews used the occasion of that opening to highlight three artists and the cities that have – sometimes – hosted them warmly. We added Blek le Rat to the list because, well, ignoring Blek is just criminal.

Banksy

In the age of doxxing and wikileaks, the artist (or collective) known as Banksy is an anomaly. He (for want of a better pronoun) is certainly the world’s most famous anonymous street artist, whose subversive and satirical humor has been reaching ever larger audiences since he surfaced in the 1990s.

Hailing from the underground activist culture of the southwestern city of Bristol (also the birthplace of trip hop), his unmistakable stenciled output generally features an anti-establishment bent.

In artistic terms, be it on the street or in the gallery, he is emphatically Big League, rubbing shoulders with Damien Hirst for the “Keep it Spotless” collaboration, which fetched $1.8 million at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008.

As we’ve reported here many times, Banksy’s identity is unknown. The last stab at unmasking the artist produced the idea that he may be Robert “3D” Del Naja of trip hop band Massive Attack.

4 Street Art Stars and Cities that Love Them

By Eric Lin from San Francisco, USA – blek le rat sleeping, CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons

Blek le Rat

Born Xavier Prou in Paris, 1951, Blek is the elder statesman of global street art and the clear influence behind none other than Banksy. Blek was himself influenced by the street art of New York in the 1970s and adapted the style for Paris, acknowledging the vast difference between the architectures of the two cities. Blek’s true identity was only exposed in 1991, when he was arrested by police in Paris. Nevertheless, Blek says he prefers to street to the gallery, with his first solo exhibition just 10 years ago, in London.

In keeping with this, Blek is not well represented in museums and galleries but you can see his work at the Quin hotel in New York City, which includes his work in its permanent collection.

JR

While Blek may have inspired Banksy, JR is his French successor and some would say a more original artist than Banksy. He started out on the streets of Paris before making waves in a clutch of venues, from Rio’s favela slums (featured image: 28 Millimetres: Women are Heroes, Action in Kibera Slum – Train Passage 6 – Kenya, 2009, JR) to Shanghai and New York. Certainly, JR is a wildly ambitious artist whom our friends at Art Republik call “a master of manipulating images in context.” As far as contextual art goes, street art is tough to beat.

One of JR’s most emblematic projects involved collecting some 4,000 portraits via his mobile photo booth truck and putting the resulting “participatory” mass collage on display at the newly restored Pantheon temple in the French capital.

Earlier this year he wrapped the glass Louvre Pyramid in photographic prints, creating a trompe l’oeil effect appearing to make the structure blend into the actual palace facade.

A ceramic mosaic of 1970s US cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey created by Invader. © AFP PHOTO / FILES / Philippe Lopez

A ceramic mosaic of 1970s US cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey created by Invader. © AFP PHOTO / FILES / Philippe Lopez

Invader

Monikers are par for the course in street art and this one is particularly good. The contemporary French artist Invader gets his nom de guerre from “Space Invader” because he produces pixelated works reminiscent of early videogame figures.

Invader is a very active artist, who travels far and wide like the others on this list. With some 3,000 “invasions” on his CV to date, Invader has on occasion been taken in for questioning by inquisitive US police. Invader himself calls his artistic excursions “invasions.”

Last year his replica mosaic of 1970s American cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey sold at auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, fetching HK$2 million ($258,000). The popular piece of street art had been destroyed by the Hong Kong authorities, infuriating residents, and was later re-made for sale.

New York

New York City is the obvious cradle of the street art movement, graffiti artists having used subway tunnels and handy walls as canvases since the late 1960s.

The 1990s saw a move towards the mainstream with the Queens district hosting the 5 Pointz mural space on Long Island.

For two decades, some 1,500 artists had the run of 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) of space, creating an open-air museum and tourist magnet – until the site owner in 2013 had the area demolished for construction of a condominium complex.

Berlin

Berlin’s East Side Gallery – a 1.3 kilometre (one mile) surviving section of the Berlin Wall – merits mention with its gallery of 1990 (the year after the fall of the Berlin Wall) paintings by more than 100 artists from across the globe.

With the site receiving an annual three million visitors, renovation was required in 2009.

One of the best-known frescoes depicts the “fraternal kiss” between former Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker, painted by Russian artist Dmitri Vrubel.

London

London’s edgy-but-trendy eastern district of Shoreditch is a true hive of street art in the British capital, “hosting” a raft of Banksy creations that see visitors beat a steady path to the area.

Somewhat less known is Leake Street Tunnel, an “authorised graffiti area” behind Waterloo railway station which lures an alternative crowd. Most output gets covered over on a regular basis.

Banksy, himself involved in turning “a dark forgotten filth pit” into “an oasis of beautiful art”, has also fallen victim to this artistic licence at what was for a while dubbed “Banksy Tunnel”.

NYC Landmark Returns to Life as The Beekman Hotel

The Temple Court complex has returned to life as The Beekman hotel and it is more luxurious than ever. One of the earliest skyscrapers in the Big Apple (it has nine stories which was pretty impressive back in the 1800s), the building has been returned to its former glory much as it was in 1881. Having been a regular office building for most of its existence, this revamp sees the landmark located between the East and Hudson Rivers become a new luxury hotel and dining destination. Beekman-hotel-new-york-3

Step through the doors and guests are greeted by a soaring nine-story Victorian atrium and pyramidal skylight; this atrium was Temple Court’s claim to fame when it opened and remains impressive today. Another ode to its Victorian-era past are cast iron railings, balustrades and dragon-shaped cast iron brackets. The 287 rooms within the hotel are decorated with vintage furnishings from around the world, sourced from antique dealers. Custom-designed oak beds will welcome guests along with a bathroom that is tiled in Carrara marble.Beekman-hotel-new-york-2

Apart from luxurious amenities for guests from out of town, the hotel also boasts a two dining options. The first is Fowler & Wells by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio that serves up modern American dishes such as lobster Thermidor and beef Wellington that pay tribute to cuisine of turn-of-the-century New York City. The second is a brasserie-style restaurant, Augustine, by Keith McNally. Featuring French classics, a special rotisserie and grillades section for meat, fish and poultry, it is set to be a treat for those choosing to dine here.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Chef Vongerichten Opening Vegetarian Restaurant

Jean-Gorges Vongerichten will be setting up a new restaurant in New York City come September. Aimed at being a vegetarian restaurant, named abcV, the chef will feature ingredients such as cabbage, mushrooms and beets as the highlights in dishes.

Rather than replacing meat with vegetables, such as with a vegetarian burger, the French chef is taking up the challenge to serve vegetable centric options for diners. The concept of a vegetable centric eatery is a first for New York. While the full menu has yet to be released, he did tease a few dishes such as sauerkraut, buckwheat crêpes, dosas and congee.

His latest venture is in response to the increasing popularity of vegetarian and vegan restaurants that cater to hose who are health and environmentally conscious. The new restaurant is Vongerichten’s third collaboration with furniture and design store ABC Carpet & Home. It is a follow up to ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina.

Vongerichten is now following in the footsteps of other chefs such as Alain Passard, Alain Ducasse and René Redzepi. Michelin-star chef Passard first removed red meat from the menu of L’Arpège following the mad cow disease 10 years ago while Ducasse replaced the red meat with cereals and vegetables in 2014. This spring, Denmark’s most famous chef René Redzepi announced plans to turn his next restaurant into a part-time vegetarian eatery.

Lotte New York Palace

Top 10 ‘Pokétels’ New York City: Catch ‘Em All

Listen up Pokémon Go fans: One hotel-booking site has found one major city with a host of Pokéstops and Pokégyms that any fan of the game would be happy to hear about. Hotels.com now provides users with a list of what they call the best “Pokétels” in the US with several found in New York City.

Alright, we grant you that it is slightly unusual for us to cover a game such as Pokémon Go. Needless to say, the global phenomenon is so powerful that it has swept up major names in luxury such as The Peninsula, the Four Seasons and the St. Regis. Yes, Pokémon Go has indeed come to the rarefied world of high end living, ready or not.

With nine out of 10 New York hotels making the list, it is clear that the city is a hotspot for those looking to get their fix for their addiction to the game. Cashing in on the craze, the site reveals that the top spot is occupied by none other than The Towers at Lotte New York Palace. With 11 Pokéstops and Pokégyms within 500 feet and another 231 within a 1.25-mile radius, the area is certainly a hotspot for those looking to expand their collection.

The geo-location-based game has taken off in various locations in recent weeks, which gets players off their couches and out exploring the world. Venturing out to see the city landmarks, monuments and public spaces, the game has even gotten players considering visiting new destinations. The majority of respondents agreed they’d take free Wifi over free breakfast if they had to choose, and expressed a booking preference for hotels that are Pokéstops.

While New York is the city to beat in the US, it is in fact Paris that holds the title of home to the most Pokétels, with six out of 10 spots taken by the French capital. We bring you the full Hotels.com list of top 10 US hotels within 500 feet of Pokéstops and Pokégyms:

5 Must-Visit Design Exhibitions L'esprit du Bauhaus

5 Must-Visit Design Exhibitions Fall 2016

The world of decoration and design kicks off a new season with the Maison & Objet exhibition in Paris, which will be held from September 2 to 6, 2016. It is the first in a raft of interesting upcoming design exhibitions around the globe.

1. Playing on an amalgamation of “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones”, the “House of Games” is the theme of the upcoming Maison & Objet interior design trade fair. Gearing up for exhibition in the Maison & Objet Inspirations Space from September 2 to 6, this year’s concept was conceived by trendspotter Vincent Gregoire from the NellyRodi agency.

True to its name, “House of Games” paints an offbeat kind of fantasy, while mirroring the need for games in modern society. It is a revival of baroque style combined with Alice in Wonderland eclecticism: masked balls and private clubs bask in a fin-de-siecle ambiance, while acknowledging the increasing popularity of board games. On that note, feather artisan Julien Vermuelen’s creations (pictured below) might best represent this year’s theme.

Feathered samurai by Julien Vermeulen © Julien Vermeulen All rights reserved / Maison & Objet 2016

Feathered samurai by Julien Vermeulen © Julien Vermeulen
All rights reserved / Maison & Objet 2016

2. “How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior” from October 1, 2016 to April 23, 2017 at the MoMA, New York

With this exhibition, New York’s Museum of Modern Art will explore the complex partnerships, materials and processes that have shaped interiors from the 1920s to the 1950s. The exhibition will bring together over 200 objects, including some from the MoMA collections. Big names in design will be featured, including Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand, Alvar Alto, and Charles and Ray Eames.

5 Must-Visit Design Exhibitions L'esprit du Bauhaus

Triptychs (2014) in walnut and colored mirrors by Jean Nouvel (Gagosian Gallery and Galerie Patrick Segui). © Aline Coquelle

3. “The Spirit of Bauhaus” from October 19, 2016 to February 26, 2017 at the Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris

From 1919 to 1933, the Bauhaus art school in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin produced many influential artists and designers including Vassily Kandinsky, Marcel Breur, who invented bent tubular steel furniture, and the photographer Florence Henri, who took classes with Paul Klee. By bringing together painters, architects, craftsmen, engineers, actors, musicians, photographers and designers, the school created a new approach to daily living. The Musée des Arts décoratifs will pay tribute to this artistic movement via the historical periods and art forms which fueled its spirit, and will also display original Bauhaus pieces.

5 Must-Visit Design Exhibitions L'esprit du Bauhaus

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. Architect: Louis Kahn. © Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Photo by Lionel Freedman.

4. “Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture” from November 5, 2016 to January 31, 2017 at the San Diego Museum of Art

The renowned American architect Louis Kahn is the subject of an exhibition in California’s San Diego Museum of Art. His most notable works include the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Capital Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The exhibition will include architectural models, original designs, photographs and films.

5. “Konstantin Grcic – Panorama” from November 25, 2016 to February 26, 2017 at the Hong Kong Design Institute

Konstantin Grcic, who designed such iconic pieces as the Chair One and the Mayday lamp, is considered one of the leading designers of our time. This new exhibition at the Hong Kong Design Institute examines the German designer’s career through drawings and installations specifically created by Grcic for the event.

4 Brazilian Restaurants 2016

4 Brazilian Restaurants: Rio Away From Rio

Not all Olympics fans will be lucky enough to go to Brazil (we know we aren’t!). In any case, you could argue that something as big as the Olympics is perfect for television but whoever you are and wherever you might be, food is not something best enjoyed vicariously. This is by no means perfect but maybe try Brazilian cuisine (hopefully not for the first time) at one of the four popular restaurants the AFP has picked out for you from around the world.

Maloka (Paris, France)

As Oka restaurant moves to the 5th district of Paris at the end of November, Rio de Janeiro-born chef Raphaël Rego has transformed its old location into a new restaurant called Maloka. With solid experience at Taillevent and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon behind him, Rego transports his customers to Brazil with no stopovers, serving local cuisine made with ingredients imported from his homeland. Parisians are introduced to cassava, a new twist on the traditional feijoada (a pork and black bean stew), and pao de queijo (cheese rolls) as they partake of genuine caïpirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail. This has become a hot culinary destination in Paris since its recent opening.

28, rue de la Tour d’Auvergne, 75009 Paris

Beach Bistro 96 (New York, USA)

Rockaway Beach — a free beach accessible from Manhattan via the subway — has become a cool neighborhood of Queens beloved by surfers. Since May, a chef has been attracting foodies, and even a New York Times restaurant critic, to his Beach Bistro 96 here. A native of the town of Santos, in southern Brazil’s São Paulo state, Carlos Varella is the Big Apple’s latest hot favorite. Like his fellow Brazilian Raphaël Rego in France, he prepares culinary specialties from his home country such as pao de queijo. This former professional surfer’s menu also includes picanha, a cut of beef with a layer of fat that protects it during grilling.

95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Beach 96th Street, The Rockaways, New York

Cabana (Newcastle, UK)

The latest Brazilian eatery to open in the UK is in Newcastle. Cabana restaurants have opened their tenth address in this northeastern English city, offering a relaxed atmosphere and traditional Brazilian cuisine that has been given a modern twist for a new audience. This new business has also sourced some of its furnishings from Brazil’s poor communities such as the recycled jeans from a favela in São Paulo that have been used to line the restaurant’s chairs. Cabana already operates in London and Leeds, and plans to open another restaurant in Southampton in the near future.

117 Newgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

Regina’s Farm (Fort Lauderdale, USA)

If you live in Florida, Regina’s Farm can transport you to the Brazilian countryside. Regina, a young Brazilian living in Fort Lauderdale was missing her native state of Minas Gerais, so decided to recreate a traditional Brazilian farm in her backyard. Brazilian culinary specialties are prepared on a wood stove in the company of roosters and chickens. Regina serves soups, cheese bread, fresh guarapa (iced sugarcane juice) and much more. The farm is a non-profit-making venture, which is only open to diners on Saturday.

1101 Middle St., Fort Lauderdale

New York iStock generic with Central Park

New York Tops US Livability Ranking: Report

A new report ranking the top US cities in categories such as culture, education, diversity and prosperity places New York at the top of the heap, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. Curiously, for those who care to know, the Big Apple losses out in the prosperity stakes to unlikeliest of cities…

Released by consultancy group Resonance, the 2016 US Place Equity Index measures major cities across the US with populations of more than 500,000 across 23 areas that are grouped into six core categories: place, product, programming, people, prosperity, and promotion.

Cities are evaluated based on statistics and reviews on social media sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. After topping the leaderboard in four of the six categories — place, programming, product and promotion — New York is ranked the best overall city in the US.

Place is defined as the quality of a city’s natural and urban infrastructure; product is characterized by a city’s key institutions and attractions, and programming defined as its arts, culture and entertainment.

The People category considers a city’s diversity, immigration, educational attainment. Prosperity is defined by its economy and promotion, the quantity and quality of online reviews.

Where New York failed to take the top spot is in the category of People, which was awarded to Miami, a city rich in “human capital” with its diversity and education levels.

Likewise, the Big Apple loses to Plano, Texas in the category of prosperity, where unemployment and poverty rates are lower and average household incomes higher than their counterparts.

Here are the top 10 overall US cities for 2016:

  • 1. New York
  • 2. Los Angeles
  • 3. Chicago
  • 4. San Francisco
  • 5. San Diego
  • 6. Boston
  • 7. Houston
  • 8. Miami
  • 9. Washington
  • 10. Seattle

Design: Campana Brothers Turn Trash Into Art

One man’s trash is another man’s art it seems, especially for the Campana brothers. The Brazilian designer duo made up of Humberto and Fernando find their inspiration from what many would not think twice about discarding. Their studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil is filed with a slew of items made from the unlikeliest of materials.

From armchairs made from rag dolls and stuffed toy crocodiles, the designers have made a name for themselves in the design world with their quirky creations. Unlike a normal studio, the brothers who have no formal training in design. What they have is a team of artisans who not only sew leather and brush fleeces but also enter data on computers. “This is a laboratory,” says Humberto, the elder of the brothers at 63. “We are always seeking new forms of expression” added the former law student.

They pride themselves in surprising viewers with their work, such as sofas made out of cardboard and plastic packaging that is transformed into chairs. Another design that has caught the attention of fans is the ‘Favelas’. The artwork, as explained by Fernando, is their interpretation of how Brazilians living in the country’s slums build their homes out of objects they find in the street.

While they have had their work featured in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions such as New York’s MOMA and the Pompidou Center in Paris, the brothers also give back to society. They work with small cooperatives and artisans to support traditional local crafts to help show off the cutural riches of the country.

Joel Robuchon Opening New York Restaurant

In the culinary world, the return of Joel Robuchon to New York is something many are looking forward to. The chef will be opening his new fine dining restaurant in a condominium tower that is currently under construction in midtown Manhattan at 100 East 53rd Street.

Spread across two floors, the restaurant is the decorated chef’s first foray in the Big Apple after a four-year absence. The 150,000 square-foot space will feature a French marketplace and bakery on the first floor while the restaurant will occupy the second floor. The floor plan is reminiscent of Thomas Keller whose Michelin-starred restaurant Per Se at the Time Warner Center also features a bakery in a similar layout.

The restaurant will be designed by French architect Joseph Dirand who has been responsible for designing several boutiques for luxury brands around the world. The comeback will see the chef compete in an already crowded scene with competitors such as Alain Ducasse, Eric Ripert, Keller and Daniel Boulud. Bould currently runs the upscale eat-in and take-out market called Epicerie Boulud. Located at Lincon Center it is one of the eight restaurants, bars and cafes by Boulud within New York, and serves fresh baked goods, as well as gourmet French Food.

Street Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham Dead

Legendary New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham died Saturday, according to the paper where he worked for nearly 40 years. He was 87.

Cunningham, whose watchful eye brought images of New Yorkers – from the well-heeled to unsuspecting trendsetters – to the public, had been hospitalized recently after a stroke, the Times reported.

Credited with creating the genre of street fashion photography, Cunningham held a passion for capturing a subject or trend’s look, whatever it may be.

He was, as the Times called him, an “unlikely cultural anthropologist.”

Cunningham, who plied New York in his trademark blue workman’s jacket with a camera slung around his neck and traveled on his bicycle, had an uncanny talent in unearthing major, even avant-garde trends on the street, on the catwalk or at glittering parties.

In a 2010 documentary about Cunningham, Anna Wintour — the powerful editor of American Vogue and one of the photographer’s muses — marveled at his ability to “see something, on the street or on the runway, that completely missed all of us. And in six months’ time, that will be a trend!”

Frank Rich, a former New York Times columnist and executive producer of the HBO series Veep, tweeted: “Bill Cunningham was as delightful and fascinating a person and colleague as he was as artist. An independent mind, big heart, no airs.”

A 2008 recipient of France’s Legion of Honor, Cunningham was also named a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2009.

“Today we lost a Living Landmark, not that he ever stood still. Let’s all be more fabulous in Bill’s memory,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office wrote on Twitter.

De Blasio added: “We will remember Bill’s blue jacket and bicycle. But most of all we will remember the vivid, vivacious New York he captured in his photos.”

The discreet man, born in Boston in 1929, “doesn’t say much,” one of the founding editors of InStyle magazine, Hal Rubenstein, told AFP in 2014.

“His wealth of knowledge is absolutely staggering and he is self-effacing. He knows exactly who he is, he is nobody else’s guy but his own… It’s beyond scholarly.”

Times publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr added: “His company was sought after by the fashion world’s rich and powerful, yet he remained one of the kindest, most gentle and humble people I have ever met.”

“We have lost a legend, and I am personally heartbroken to have lost a friend,” Sulzberger added.

Central Park Reopens Secret Garden

Eighty years after it was shut off to the world, New York has reopened a secret woodland sanctuary a stone’s throw from Fifth Avenue and multi-million residential towers, just in time for summer.

The four-acre (1.6 hectare) Hallett Nature Sanctuary is one of three areas of woodland in Central Park, the huge expanse of nature in the Big Apple visited each year by an astonishing 43 million people.

The little sanctuary is hidden away at the southeastern end of the park, just meters from bustling designer boutiques and luxury high-rise apartment blocks. For decades it was fenced off and allowed to overrun.

“It was closed by the park commissioner Robert Moses in the ’30s and Robert Moses thought it would become a bird sanctuary,” said Doug Blonsky, president and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy, a non-profit organization that raises 75 percent of the park’s annual budget.

“Unfortunately what happens, particularly in a urban environment, if you leave an area closed for a long time, invasive species or plant material take over, forcing out the natives,” he said.

In 2001, the Central Park Conservancy decided to restore the sanctuary, which at the time had been completely taken over by wisteria strangling the woodland.It took years to win the wisteria war. Schools and volunteers were enlisted. “A lot of people think wisteria is a beautiful plant with purple flowers. But if you let it go, it will take over an entire environment,” Blonsky explained.

Rustic foot paths have been designed and covered in woodchips, and a pretty wooden gate has been installed at the entrance.

Wild local plants have been replanted and benches at the top of the promontory allow people to take in the view or listen to the birds while sitting hidden in the greenery, the skyscrapers south of the park poking out above the canopy.

Much Wilder

“It is quiet. It is much more wild. I like to think when you are coming here you are almost getting a glimpse of what maybe New York City looked like before it was developed in the 1600 and 1700s,” said Blonsky.

Maintaining a wild landscape, is “very difficult,” he told AFP. “You want it to look like it is wild, but it is not. It is very manicured, every plant you see or almost see has been planted. We are constantly battling with invasive species,” said Blonsky.

Some trees are dead, which, if elsewhere, would have been cut down and pulped into woodchips. But here they are being preserved for local habitat. “Look what the woodpeckers have done,” said Blonsky, pointing to a dead tree.

There are around 270 species of bird in Central Park. You can see many of them in the Hallett sanctuary, along with squirrels, racoons, ducks and birds pecking at puddles on the rocks. There is even a woodchuck which Blonsky says “is very unusual.”

For now, the sanctuary is open only three afternoons a week from 2pm to 5pm. In July and August it will also be open for two hours on Sunday.

But only 20 visitors will be allowed in at once to maintain the solitude and peace of the sanctuary. On sunny weekends as many as 200,000 people can flood into Central Park as a whole to relax or exercise.

The park’s annual budget is $65 million, of which 25 percent is financed by City Hall and the rest raised by the Central Park Conservacy thanks to donations from park lovers and well-heeled residents living close by.