14th Architecture Biennale Venice

An impressive light installation in the shape of a Renaissance-era Venetian façade has been set up in the Arsenale venue in Venice for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

Fundamentals, which opens its doors on Saturday 7 June, 2014. The installation, titled Luminaire, is the result of a collaboration between the curator of this year’s Architecture Biennale Rem Koolhaas and the Swarovski Foundation.

Measuring 20 metres in length and consisting of thousands of coloured-glass bulbs and 15kg of Swarovski Crystal Rock, all mounted on an elaborate wooden structure, the installation frames the main entrance to the Monditalia exhibition which offers a timeline of Italy’s history connected to its architecture. The Monditalia exhibition is but one of three interlocking exhibitions comprising this year’s Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia again curated by Koolhaas with the ambition of illuminating the past, present and future of architecture.

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Spiler Shanghai : Budapest

Shanghai in the 1930s: “lust, women, style, dimmed lights, sensual music, and erotica”. Sounds damn good to us, but with time travel still in the pipeline (someone chivvy that along please) why not swing by Spiler Shanghai in Budapest for an atmospheric facsimile? That alluring description of the Chinese city comes from Roy Zsidai, the Hungarian entrepreneur who wowed us with his first Spiler venue and has done the same with this Asian sequel.

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Hotel Not Hotel

HOTEL NOT HOTEL is a hotel with quite a difference. Collaboration-o, a group of designers form the Design Academy Eindhoven, have let their imaginations run amok within the spacious walls of Piri Reisplein 34, taking the concept of individually-designed boutique rooms several stages further than simply varying the colour scheme or sticking in some mismatched chairs.

The rooms at HNH sit inside the building’s superstructure like stand-alone cottages, and bear almost no relation to each other in their layouts or furnishings. Take for example the little semi-detached rooms that make up the Crisis Free Zone. One red, one blue, both bedecked in busy wallpaper, enough room for the bed and nothing else, and fronted by a wonderful carved wooden archway of hearts and skulls, the facade of the rooms themselves equally ornate with an almost church-like window/steeple arrangement. Then there’s the Crow’s Nest, which offers an unusual vantage point of the rest of the hotel through its scaffolding platform on the room’s roof. A secret room hidden behind a bookcase, another fashioned from an antique tram trolley… what will you discover next? Great fun.

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citizenM Hotel : New York

Dutch hotel group citizenM has set up home in the old New Amsterdam, right in the core of the Big Apple: a stone’s throw from Times Square. Midtown Manhattan is the quintessential New York layover for first-timers and seasoned fans looking to rekindle their romance with The City That Never Sleepsalike, and citizenM has developed a hotel right in the sweet spot on Broadway and 50th. The area has its critics, but there’s enough kitsch and craziness left in the triangular intersection to warrant your time, no matter how cultured you may think you are. The brand’s debut American outpost is brimming with the modern attitude and outlook that the city is famous for, but leaves out the extraneous bells and whistles in a bid to keep costs down in a notoriously pricey part of town. No one has used a hotel trouser press since the 1980s anyway. That said, in a city famed for its can’t-swing-a-cat bedrooms, citizenM’s compact pod feels oddly spacious when we checked in recently – familiar too, the Dutch brand are unwavering in their successful model.

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Urban Outfitters : Herald Square

Urban Outfitters opened its newest location in Herald Square. At 57,000 square feet, this outpost is the company’s biggest store yet. And with all that space, you’ll find much more than the usual offerings of music-fest–ready clothing, novelty books and home-decor goods. This location also features a hair salon, an expanded makeup department, an in-store shop from eyewear company Tortoise & Blonde, a large record department with more than 800 vinyl titles curated by Amoeba Records and a coffeeshop powered by Intelligentsia Coffee.

You’ll also find a booth that prints out your own Instagram photos, a huge department dedicated to workout clothes and a large department-store-worthy shoe section. It’s all part of the latest trend in retail, where stores are offering extras that encourage hanging out.

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CMB56 : Antwerp Belgium

Back in the 1990s, Jambers rented this former hostel, squatting upstairs with friends while running a gallery downstairs with the performance artist Ludo Mich. It was only five years ago that he was able to buy the townhouse and renovate, fixing to the roof one of his more extraordinary finds: an old barge wheelhouse, which now provides views over the River Scheldt. Jambers named the new ground-floor gallery CMB58 or Compagnie Magnifek Belge. These days, Jambers lives on the second floor but rents out the first and third floors, which are outfitted in flamboyant saleable midcentury collectibles and local art that prompts the odd double take. A horse’s head mounted over the balustrade was once attached to a beloved champion racer, a silver-suited astronaut was an old prop of Ludo Mich’s, and a seven-foot-tall, fame-red figure is a 1997 work by Jambers’ brother, Mark Jambers.

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The Line Hotel : L.A

Conceived as a starting point for urban explorers and comfort zone for stressed out city dwellers, The Line Hotel, a full on luxury boutique hotel by the Sydell Group. Located alongside the area’s famous 1940-prebrick colonial revival buildings, it provides an oasis of raw luxury and design right in the middle of L.A.’s never ending urban sprawl. Displaying full sensitivity to its exciting location, designer Sean Knibb has achieved much much more than merely refurbishing and restyling this former middle range hotel dating from the 60s. 

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ACE HOTEL Downtown : LA

Hipsters and Business-folk alike, the Ace Hotel Downtown is open for business. The beautifully ornate United Artists building, originally built in 1927 as a film studio, theatre and tower, has been lovingly restored and is the newest addition to the Ace Hotel familia. A rooftop pool, restaurant, 3 bars and the retained theatre are all available to guests staying within their 166 rooms and 16 suites. Check out the pics, and I’m sure you’ll want to check in yourself. 

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