vienna: krypt. bar opening

© büro klk / photography: david schreyer

home to university faculties, historic palaces and museums, and once also the stomping ground of sigmund freud, the elegant quarter of alsergrund isn't the preferred destionation of vienna's nightcrawlers. but it's right here where the city's coolest bar of late has nestled, pulling a well-heeled crowd from across town to its doorstep. it's a design-led speakeasy called krypt.,, and toally living up to its name, it's situated no less than eight metres underground. the bar is founded by andreas pustteresa kerbler and chris schilcher, a young trio with collective background in industrial design, real estate and hospitality. interestingly, the subterranean space was only discovered during a thorough renovation project of a complex of historic 18th century buildings, and the owners immediately saw potential to establish an exceptional watering hole here.

local architecture practice büro klk was tapped to design an interior that would match the venue's unusual, and thus, challenging spatial dimensions, and reflect a timeless quality at the same time. not surprisingly, the project needed to be executed with meticulous care, and it took three years to finish. anonymous as a true speakeasy should be, krypt. obviously doesn't have any sign outside, and its growing platoon of patrons gain access to the premises by way of an inconspicuous door that gives way to a narrow corridor and a staircase, enclosed by backlit wooden panels, that leads downstairs. a backdrop of exposed of old red bricks immediately unfolds upon entering the premises, and can be found across the premises, tying in all the modern interventions.

down below, a wardrobe and vestibule precede an adjacent vaulted room featuring an elongated marble-clad bar with a walnut counter, and which transforms into a seating area at the far end. the floor is also covered in marble, but laid in a herringbone pattern. two adjacent rooms offer additional seating, including a striking lounge furnished with chairs andf built-in sofas. there's a similar marble floor  in a herringbone pattern, but here it's in black and white, and extends onto the sofas. furnishings and fixtures have been carefully sellected, and include ubald klug's ds-1025 sofa, alexander wang's bean bags for poltrona frau, and ingo maurer's evocative light fixtures. as said, krypt. is a cocktail bar, and its menu is anchored by twelve signature concoctions and a rotation of classics, in addition to curated mezcal, gin and whiskey options. location: wasagasse 17 [alsergrund].

© büro klk / photography: david schreyer

online: loverprint with daubal

© frédérique daubal

graphic designer frédérique daubal has a quirky view on life which luckily also translates into her creative output. whimsical, eclectic, and infused with colour, daubal's work instantly puts a smile on your face. the designer's latest work is a 72-page zine, entitled loverprint with daubal, and features a new series of unique overprints. it's accompanied by texts by luca grelli and amandine hamet, and in a design by julie joliat. the booklet, measuring 20 cm x 20.5 cm, is personally signed by the daubal, and comes with 17 witty stickers that'll spice up almost any surface of choice. the loverprint with daubal booklet is available at colette [paris] and kapok [hong kong], but if you reside elsewhere, it can also be ordered online.

© frédérique daubal

tokyo: chinese cutting edge

© c.h.i. – science gathering hot pot [2012]

opening today at diesel art gallery in tokyo is an exhibition, entitled chinese cutting edge, dedicated entirely to the work of chinese photographer c.h.i. curator of the show is cult editor, lensman and scenester yasumasa yonehara who got acquainted with c.h.i. in 2012. that year, yonehara visited the artist's solo exhibition in beijing at a gallery that was managed by the same curator who had handled his own exhibition, and was blown away by the pieces he saw on display. launching his creative career in 1996, he initially formed a punk band and created flyers for their live gigs, and gradually expanded his creative skills and focus. the works of c.h.i. represent contemporary life in china: uncensored, energetic, and last but not least, with a rebellious edge, all elements which are rarely documented, let alone be seen by outsiders. on display are around 60 photographs, including c.h.i.'s newest work. mind you, this is a sale exhibition, so works can be snapped up, in addition to a collection of related merchandise [on through feb 14]. location: cocoti building, 1-23-16-b1f shibuya [shibuya].

© c.h.i. –  desire in the can [2015], six feet under [2012] and tumbledown splendid performance [2015]

paris; balenciaga store opening

© balenciaga / photography; françois halard

the changing of the guards at balenciaga in 2015 has to be one of the most dramatic in fashion history. firmly in the saddle for a few seasons now, creative director demna gvasalia continues to make his mark, and it's not only on the parisian runway. since his tenure, the retai spaces of the luxury brand have seen an equally striking transformation, but none as dramatically different as its new flagship store on avenue montaigne in paris. the store, balenciaga's third in the city, occupies the spacious ground floor of an elegant hausmannian landmark building erected in 1900. the interior design, created by gvasalia in collab with berlin-based architecture practice gonzalez haase, is an extrapolation of the design created for the recently revamped store on rue st.-honoré. 

but the backdrop of fresh concrete that defines that boutique is absent here. the premises have been fully stripped and reveal walls and molded paneling marked by smears of paint, children's scribblings, and a gradation of lightly damaged surfaces. the raw setting alllows the modern interventions, captured by floors in resin and granite tiles, chunky aluminum furnishings and meandering warehouse conveyor rails, to gain a sightly surreal quaiity. sculptures by american street artist mark jenkins, clothed in gvasalia's newest looks, adorn the store, and certainly add to an exceptional shopping experience. the new ballenciaga store carries the brand's fulll range of women's and men's apparel, accessories, bags, shoes, jewellery and eyewear. location: 57 avenue montaigne [champs-élysées].

© balenciaga / photography; françois halard

global: hwyl

© aesop

aesop's new fragrance, its third, is another collab with french perfumer barnabé fillion. it's a unisex fragrance that takes cues from hiba trees in japanese forests and lush temple moss gardens. called hwyl, it opens with smoky notes, followed by rich aromas of wood, moss and spices. the smoky introduction folds in aromatic spices and fresh thyme extract, and the addition of cypress leads to a warm and woody heart, while the notes of vetiver extract, frankincense and moss deliver an earthy base. hwyl is packaged in a 50 ml amber glass bottle encased in a box featuring the beautiful work of australian artist jonathan mccabe, and is available at aesop signature stores, select department store counters. no depository near you? no worries, you can also order online.

© aesop

jakarta: museum macan opening

© museum macan / photography: yori antar

as the capital of a nation in full transition, jakarta's infrastructure hasn't exactly been able to keep abreast in a synchronized pace. while the government and city council can only do so much, it's the private sector that occasionally improvises with initiatives that raise the bar in various fields and disciplines. and such is the newly opened museum macan, indonesia's first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. the venue is founded by haryanto adikoesoemo, an indonesian business mogul and philanthropist with a penchant for modern art, and is intended to house the latter's expansive collection with exemplary pieces by a string of the planet's leading artists.

it isn't a coincidence macan museum has found a home of akr tower, a glass and steel highrise in the kebon jeruk area in west jakarta, as the building is part of a prestigious mixed-use complex that houses, amongst others, the head office of adikoesoemo's eponymous industrial conglomerate. called museum of modern and contemporary art in nusantara in full – nusantara is a name rooted in old javanese and currently used in indonesian to refer to the indonesian archipelago – the macan abbreviation, pronounced as mah-chaan, is indonesian for 'tiger' and undoubtedly a nod to the country's dynamic transition on many levels. museum macan covers an area of 4,000 sqm. [43,056 sq.ft.], of which well over half is exhibition space, including a sculpture garden, and featuring interiors designed by london-based practice met.

as the museum audaciously aims to take on a trailblazing role in indonesia's modern art scene, it comes with an international team of curators that'll concoct world-class programmes. the affluent adikoesoemo has garnered art since the early 1990s, and his collection now exceeds 800 works of both homegrown and international top talent. additionally, a children’s art space can be found on the premises, and it forms an integral part of the museum's education programme that brings the world of artists and education for kids together through a series of art commissions.

for its much anticipated inaugural show, entitled art turns. world turns., museum macan's curators agung hujatnikajennong and charles essche have delved 90 artworks from the vast collection, and the selection on display presents an interesting narrative that not only explores the resonances between indonesia and the world, but also offers a unique reading of indonesian art history in dialogue with global art history along the way. on display are works by top indonesian and international artists, including kusama affandi, willem de kooning, handiwirman saputra, yayoi kusama, i gusti nyoman lempad and damien hirst. location: akr tower, jalan panjang 5, fifth floor [kebon jeruk].

© museum macan / photography: yori antar + museum macan

bangkok: sawasdee sexy robot

© echo one art space

founded by karoon sosothikul and prakasit phornprapha, two movers and shakers in bangkok's media and business scene, echo one art space was recently launched into the city's thriving contemporary arts scene with a big bang. in collab with nanzuka gallery in tokyo, japanese cult artist hajime sorayama [1947] is bestowed with his very first solo exhibition in this neck of the woods. sorayama originally trained as an illustrator, and is arguably best known for his precisely detailed erotic portrayals of feminized biomechanoid robots, and which eventually evolved into sculptures as well. the exhibition at echo one art space, aptly entitled sawasdee sexy robot, opened in attendance of the artist, and presents a lifesize sexy robot sculpture amidst a series of paintings, and robot-like bearbrick 2000% statues that have been introduced in thailand for the very first time [on through dec 31]. die-hard sorayama fans are able to snap up a number of sorayama-branded items onsite. location: siam motors building, 891/1 thanon rama 1, 9th floor [siam].

© echo one art space

vienna: aesop store opening

© aesop

in neighbouring germany and switzerland, a sizeable network of 15 shops has already been rolled out in some of the biggest cities of these two countries, and now, aesop has finally forayed into austria. the melbourne-based cosmetics brand has opened up shop in the historic heart of vienna, occupying a compact 32 sqm. [345 sq.ft.] ground floor unit on bauernmarkt, a narrow thoroughfare with considerable foot traffic. the interior design, created by the company's inhouse design team, is inspired by early 20th century architecture, and especially the buildings of austrian-czech architect adolf loos.

the new façade features large windows that not only allow in floods of daylight, but also ample views of the shop interior. the setting, inspired by the plentiful art déco architecture in the neighbourhood, comprises of walls covered in a calming green hue, oak flooring, cabinets, a sales desk and paneling in walnut, and all with striking shimmering accents of brass, most notably the accordeon-like cabinet doors. in the middle of the shop aesop's signature sink is situated, here crafted from the same materials, and right below a cluster of sphere-shaped pendant lamps. the new aesop store stocks the brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: bauernmarkt 2a [innere stadt].

© aesop

hong kong: plastic/paper

© aishonanzuka

born in san francisco, matthew palladino [1985] studied painting at the california college of the arts, and currently resides and works in new york city. the artist has had exhibitions at leading galleries across the u.s.a., and his work was acquired by the whitney museum of american art. palladino's creative practice revolves around the exploration of watercolor painting on paper and three dimensional sculptural reliefs. currently on display at aishonanzuka gallery's new venue in hong kong is plastic/paper, an exhibition which explores both trajectories. in the plastic series, palladino continues to explore relief works, a space that exist between painting and sculpture. inspired by ancient hand carved reliefs as well as mass produced plastic products, the new series follows along the aesthetics of his earlier relief works, having an appearance of vacuum formed plastic.

for this most recent series, the classic mold making process that was used in previous reliefs has been replace with computer aided design programs, as well as 3d scanning and additive manufacturing techniques. in the paper series, palladino introduces the viewer to a set of characters as they move through an unending nighttime backdrop. the skeleton, acting as a universal human character, wanders through a lush underworld accompanied by two guides in canine form. the ever present full moon watches down on the three as they search through this unknowable purgatory. all pieces are hand-painted on cold pressed watercolour paper with a mix of watercolour and ink, and without the use of masking fluid or tape [on through nov 18]. location: mee lun house, 2-4 mee lun street, ground floor [central].

© aishonanzuka

new york: the webster store opening

© the webster / photography: andrew rowat

following outposts in bal harbour, houston, and since last year also on the u.s. west coast in costa mesa, it was only a matter of time before the webster would set up shop in new york city. the boutique was founded eight years ago in south beach by laure hériard dubreuil, and former partners milan vukmirovic and frédéric dechnik, a trio of french professionals with a solid background in the upper echelons of fashion. the webster very quickly gained a reputation for its sharply edited men's and women's collections, pioneering multibrand luxury retail the miami area had never seen before. for its new outpost in soho, a historic 19th century has been secured, featuring no less than 12,000 sq.ft. [1,115 sqm.] of retail space across six levels. taking quite a lot of cues from the main store – a former hotel built in art déco style – in south beach, the settings have been designed by architect chris osvai.

colourful, plush, and furnished with an abundance of custom-made furnishings and fixtures, the store oozes the vibe of a sophisticated private apartment. turn of the century light wells guide shoppers onto a vintage loading dock entrance, and step out into a room that’s a mix of new and vintage pieces. increasing the personal feel of each floor is the infusion of cherry-picked art pieces and plenty of cozy seating areas. a salon of paris-based star hairdresser david mallett and a v.i.p. suite with terrace on the upper floors both add further to the store's aura of unadulterated luxury. the webster's newest retail space stocks some of the planet's most coveted luxury brands and niche labels, including vetements, thom browne, the row, dries van noten, sies marjan and dior homme. location: 29 greene street [soho].

© the webster / photography: andrew rowat