So after doing the beach thing, i realized i really needed to sit down and do some work between all the running around i've been doing in NY! And i guess the Ace Hotel New York really must feel pretty homey, because i ended up calling up and booking a few nights there to nurse my sunburn and curl up with my laptop to catch up. Of course while here, as the soft opening evolves, i noticed even more awesome typographic details (i also didn't have a chance to show you other rooms i poked around in last time as well!). In addition to what you saw of my room last time... here is a focus on the typographic details i'm obsessing on... instead of a smeg fridge i have one of the mini-fridges in a roadie case... and i LOVE the NOW/NOT NOW magnet (yes! the doors are magnetic!)... and this DESK is fabulous. I want one at home, so nice how it overlooks the bed too so i can still look out the window and work here all day long... so go see the pics on the next page already!
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I don't do conferences often, but i do get curious how marketers and advertisers view sites like this ~ and its always fun to hang out with my Federated Media friends! Anyhow, while checking out the FM Conversational Marketing Summit i felt determined to find something visually amusing/inspiring while here ~ and it ended up being in the form of the Golden Xylophone that the Millenium Broadway hotel guys walk through breaks and lunch playing as they tell you that you should basically... go away! Ok, so less go away, more go back to your talks... So i brought the camera to lunch and waited for them to chase us out, and this guy was fast! and zig zagging! But i tracked him down and got some pics of his instrument for you... really i think it should either be the gold one with a guy dressed in gold on rollerskates with wings or something... or they should let a little kid run through playing a colorful one... but none the less, it was bizarre and amusing, and i'm curious... is this a common occurrence? I suppose its far nicer than a loudspeaker... Oh! And it looks like he used a wine cork on a stick, but he moved too much for me to get a good pic of it...
Also the Hudson Theater is gorgeous! Bizarre to have tech talks amidst the lush red velvet curtains and incredibly ornate ceilings! More pics of both on the next page...
I've written about quite a bit of packaging design, and alcohol packaging in particular often has some beautiful designs, but i think this is a first where the detail that grabbed me most was the cork! Once we popped this cork, i couldn't help but spin it around and around, and as we drank the bottle the question really became, who's chasing whom?
This is the cork of the André Balazs Sunset Beach Rosé ~ which is a collaboration with his long time friend and local Long Island winemaker, Christian Wölffer. Apparently vines planted at his Sunset Beach hotel will also contribute to future réserves. The label is also a fresh, beautiful water color representing that French Riviera/Miami lifestyle ~ lounging on towels with toes dipped in the water, raising glasses of Rosé as the bartender wades into the sunset behind with tray over his head? Cute label ~ rumor has it the girls on it are his daughters? Anyhow, take a peek at more pics on the next page...
As promised, here is a look at the many different views from my window... down at the highline running directly below, the statue of liberty on the horizon, breath taking sunsets... every room at the Standard New York definitely gives you an amazing floor to ceiling window to watch (and be watched) as the world goes by around you...
I have so much to show you its hard to know where to start ~ especially when all i want to do is curl up in bed, stare at the view, and pass out! Sad to be leaving NY tomorrow already, but will definitely be back soon! SO, for starters, it only made sense to run a hot bubble bath to figure out what to write, and that lead to taking pics in the bath, and then of course i had to give you a peek into my favorite part of The Standard New York... while i did tour the facility (both open, and not - the roof is so awesome!) with Andre Balazs the other day, that will have to wait. Prioritizing, what you really need to see first is the TUB! You can literally open up the slats so from the tub you can watch the skyline ~ which is stunning whether its day, sunset, night, etc... or i guess you could watch tv too... or chat with whoever you have in the room with you. It's also such a deep massive tub you could easily sink into it, or fit a bunch of people in, whatever suits you.
So take a peek of the view from the tub ~ and around the room and various details that have caught my eye. While there are 16 different room layouts/color schemes in the hotel ~ of the ones i toured, this one is definitely my favorite! Take a peek on the next page, and view shots to come...
Sinking into my bed barely conscious, debating what to show you before i give in and pass out... been quite the night of wandering, but the most bizarre and not so design week related event this evening brought me back to those awesome Artek Shigeru Ban chairs i showed you... only instead of being on a tour... this was the The Standard SPiN New York Classic - for those (like me) who know little about the ping pong world - here is the SPiN bio: "SPiN New York is a 13,000 square foot ping pong social club on Park Avenue in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The club offers unparalleled table tennis courts with Olympic quality cushioned flooring and 17 individual tables, including a stadium-like center court. In addition, SPIN New York houses a pro shop, lounge, bar, private room sponsored by Fred Perry and over a dozen internationally known professional coaches and players who are available for private and group instruction." Intense, right? Did you know Susan Sarandon is a huge ping pong lover?
Anyhow, in addition to this party of a ping pong classic (don't get me wrong, there were some there extremely serious about the sport, and alongside were many party goers and an open bar) - the sunset out on the deck and in the background was absolutely stunning. Jaw dropping to say the least... so check out the many pics of this scene on the next page!
There are some things you can read about and only when you play with it and get to take it apart in person do you fully understand how awesome it is. It also doesn't hurt to first see it in an awesomely large grouping arranged like a sculpture on the 3rd floor deck of the The Standard, New York with all of NYC as the backdrop... and then again back down on the ground in a shipping container both intact and taken apart...
Of course i'm talking about Artek's 10 Unit System by Shigeru Ban! Both Artek and Shigeru Ban are known for their love of beautiful simplicity, functionality, and sustainability ~ so it's no surprise that this 10 Unit System emobodies all of those qualities wonderfully. "Systematizing, Standardizing, Making It Accessible." This is the chair who's motto is boldly "One chair is enough"... and being constructed of 10 identical L shaped pieces, one can create chairs of varying designs, stools, coffee tables, and even combine them for benches and more. When feel like a quick change, simply rearrange the pieces! These are made from ProFi, an environmentally friendly wood-plastic composite - non-toxic, sustainable, and recyclable, it utilizes the surplus materials from the label stock production of UPM. (Artek also used this material for the Artek Pavillion that was sold by Sotheby's as well as floor tiles.)
Take a look on the next page for images from the The Standard, New York deck ~ in the Playful New Finnish Design 09 shipping container ~ up close ~ press photos ~ and even the really fun propoganda cut/paste/photocopy zine looking booklet!
Landed in NYC at the equivalent time earlier than i normally go to sleep in LA... huge points for the sweet Ace Hotel NYC guys for giving me a room at 7am and letting me curl up in bed with wifi and post to you now... yes, i'm a little deliriously giddy and going to crash in a few, but far too excited not to show you these pics first...
I think i'm *home* ~ but i must admit i was nervous ~ kind of like meeting someone you've talked to online for ever, and you know you like a lot of the same stuff, but when you finally meet in the flesh ~ well its nerve racking. And you hit your kinks and panic attacks along the way (they JUST soft opened yesterday after delays) ~ but then its love at first sight?
So we're going to do this the inside out way ~ starting with the room itself, its amazingly awesome details (my house so needs a black smeg, i wish i could just stick it in my suitcase and bring it home!) ~ adorably cozy vintage designy furnishings ~ glossy black outlets and faceplates! ~ big metal door ~ gorgeous lights ~ yummy treats ~ anyhow, see for yourself... pics of the room on the next page...
saw sunset in LA and sunrise in NYC ~ and in between it was incredibly clear out tonight ~ really bright moon and stars and darkness with patches of towns/cities in the middle... so also a few pics of the crazy view.
On stories that definitely fall under hollywood lore... here's a great one that showed up in my inbox...
Stephen Sprouse moved into Chateau Marmont in 1991 for a month but had no money to pay his bill when he was checking out. So Andre Balazs agreed to let him off if he designed some apparel for Chateau Marmont in exchange...a couple of months ago they were going through the archives stored in attic of the hotel and found 6 original sketches by Stephen by accident - all signed and dated. These are never-seen before sketches. And Andre had not seen them for years - he was really excited to be re-united with them.
AND... NOTCOT has an exclusive to show you one of those 6 sketches (as to be expected, the other 5 will be popping up around the net as well)!!! Can you just imagine living the life in a hotel for a month? Only to magically work something out bartering your craft? And it certainly does seem timely that just as the new Sprouse book and LV's Sprouse revisit pop up, that they *happened* to find these sketches... For those unfamiliar with the late Sprouse's work, i'm sure you've seen it everywhere... he's known for pioneering that classic 80's graffiti/pop/punk melded with mainstream fashion with a love of the florescent ~ who went from 70's band photographer to 80's-90's fashion designer/artist! See the full sketch on the next page!
p.s. i'll add the other sketches when possible!
"I am reaching out to you because we have an amazing event coming up for which your presence is requested, WITCHES presentation by designers Lauren Alexander and Gabby Applegate. The most secretive of launches . . . Lauren Alexander started her fashion career with her namesake collection "Lauren Alexander" touted by LA's own Kitten Magazine and GenArt, then created a lasting impression on fashion world with her well-established basics line, LnA."
How can you resist something as vague and tempting as that? Promising... "WITCHES" the new shadowy, supernatural, and chic collection from Lauren Alexander and Gabby Applegate. An incredible editorial presentation in vignette style to showcase the occult collection. Friday, the Thirteenth of March, Seven to Ten in the evening. Chateau Marmont, Bungalow 4"... fascinating part, not even the Dietch PR folks had seen the line before this evening... the designer's description? ""This line is a modern take on Goth, Grunge, and Victorian dressing. The entire line is comprised of black lace, velvet, silk, and spandex. The collection includes everything from floor length velvet cloaks to lace cocktail dresses with rope details. The goal has been to combine all of these style elements to create something that we feel has been missing in our closets. This collection truly embodies the idea of a "modern witch"."
Intriguingly vague? Well the scene at Bungalow 4 was surreal... magic carpet vignettes with models wandering about and posing in their "avant-goth" outfits (credit for the term definitely goes to Whitney Pierce)... the truly amazing part beyond the gorgeously wearable (and affordable, $200-400) pieces... the details! Take a look at the glam/goth styling for the whole setup and pictures of the event and clothing on the next page...
It's just not possible to get mail with retro/official booklets from the Dept. of Cultural Engineering with the Technical Specifications for Ace Hotel Properties... pop them open and see pages with figures that remind me of grade school readers... and not post about it! Two booklets just showed up showing off and explaining the latest additions to the Ace Hotel line up ~ first was Seattle, then Portland, Palm Springs opens this weekend, and New York City in March! While i've yet to see any of them in person STILL ~ i've been wanting to get to Seattle and Portland and stay at them since... 2006? SO, on exciting news ~ we will be staying at the Ace Hotel NYC in May for ICFF and Design Week!!! (Also, if you're doing the ICFF thing and don't have a place to stay yet, check them out ~ they are doing promotional $99+ promotional rates)
Anyhow, i digress, the booklet! It's so cute, you have to take a peek at the cover and insides on the next page! And ok, i'll admit ~ the Smeg fridges, customized Gibson guitars, record players, and free wifi are huge draws to me... all of their hotels are so different down to every room, yet seemingly homey for design/detail junkies ~ they support passionate incredible independent businesses like Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Ken and April of The Spotted Pig which will both be in the NYC hotel! And they have one of the most adorable/tempting looking minibars and Smeg fridges filled with everything from vitamin water to mini kegs to coke in classic bottles... not to over-gush, but i love the concept ~ and these quotes seem to sum it up so nicely... so before i send you off to the pics on the next page: Re:Up Magazine said "... a highly developed sense of how culture functions best when left unmolested by over-production", and Best Designed Hotels in North and South America said "... the Ace clientele - hip urbanites in for a visit who like a lick of luxury, but don't necessarily need all the indulgences of a typical high-class hotels"... basically these feel chock full of character, but with a designer's eye, without sacrificing functionality...
But, back to the booklets! So cute! Check out the details and cover on the next page... and maybe we'll see you in NY!
As you know by now, there is nothing standard about The Standard ~ their logo likes to be upside down, their decor unexpected, their store schwag designer... is it any surprise that their Staff Calendar this year resembles a retro yearbook? Well, a yearbook where everyone is incredibly attractive and calling out all the stereotypes... from the prom queen and the stoner to the jocks and nerds... which were you?
Well while you ponder that ~ jump over to the next page where you can watch a fun little video where all the characters unfold ~ followed by a candid "making of" the video and calendar shoot!
There are only 500 copies of this 4th annual calendar available, and while traditionally they were only sent to say thank you to their most regular guests... this year and they can be found in The Standard Shop! "Shot at on location at The Standard, Downtown LA by Michael Elins, this year's is perhaps our favorite yet. Staff flew to LA from each of the Standards' home towns after being cast for the shoot. Designed as a desktop or bookshelf calendar, it measures 7.5" tall by 3" wide when folded, and about 6" wide when assembled."
Freshly back from adventures in downtown LA, with our excuse being the Unique LA VIP night ~ which was honestly a bit bizarre ~ lets get the weirdness out of the way first, most vendors less than friendly and not quite prepared, meh music, and a strangely super bright spacious layout ~ BUT, that being said, still found some really fun randomness i'm super giddy about, and it was an awesome excuse to finally meet up with our winter intern, Alyssa, in person finally after all her help keeping me afloat with the gift guides, giveaways, and coupons ~ and finally check out The Association (that new dark, moody, retro cocktail bar ~ delicious!) and grab a bite at The Standard... random animal sightings: massive rat trying to climb its way out of a trash can, and a mouse darting towards the car and into a drain....
Things i'm most excited about and possibly worth getting over to Unique LA for this weekend? Imaginary Friends Inc. with the gorgeous nature inspired prints, cards, clothes, and more... has a secret stash of overprints to pick from (you can see an example above, and a few more scans below)... and i'm trying to convince them to make more woody ones (also see below!)... Designer Poptarts from Cake Monkey ~ yum! The meringue samples were yummy too. I Heart Guts did not disappoint, adorably cuddly innards and really cute sticker packs (see scans below!) ~ anyhow, see pics of some other finds and an overview of some of the what you'll find there!
Finally! An artist's twist on the usual city tourist t-shirt ~ a much classier more exciting gift for those who didn't get to go... Starting today, 3 limited edition t-shirts will be available at The Standard Hotels in LA, NYC, and Miami... Andre Balazs has commissioned three contemporary legends, Natas Kaupas, Eric Haze, and Jose Parla to design these t-shirts for their respective cities, and only 1500 of each design have been produced! When first described to me, i wasn't sure what to make of it, but upon seeing images, it is gorgeous black and white typography bringing out the feeling and culture of the cities ~ and especially when seen together you can really feel how different the vibe is of each... not surprising my favorite is really the LA one, NYC next... and for designs which are so blatantly screaming out the name of a city, they feel more like artwork than branding. Also adorable? The red pouches sporting the artists signatures that the t-shirts come in!
So check out the shirts and more about the artists and this collaboration on the next page!
Collaborations i'm giddy about? The W Hotels are launching another "Design Dreams" package with Jonathan Adler! Here's a sneak peek at the upcoming deal that launches Nov 24th! Consider this on the list for awesome gifts for overworked designers in need of some R&R and a little something to get their inspiration flowing...
The exclusive "Design Dreams Package" includes "a stylish room rate", two exclusive Adler pieces for W (Wonder/Lust Candle with wax in signature W purple and ceramic Key Keeper - see pic on next page!), 20% discount on Adler items at the W store, and two "Creative Cocktails"! For the NYC folks, there is even an expansion package - "For an additional $10,000, Jonathan Adler will join guests for lunch and a private shopping spree at one of his stores in New York City."
Really, i'm lusting after the Wonder/Lust candles, which apparently will become available in the W stores soon! And they are so perfect with the rest of Adler's Apothecary of Emotions.... see the exclusive key keeper and press release on the next page!
I was watching Chuck tonight - the one where the best buy ("buy more") geek squad ("nerd herd") like guy has all the nations secrets downloaded into his brain and he has to run around and have crazy adventures playing spy, as created by the OC guy (josh schwartz) - and while it was as amusing as usual (with bizarre special guests nicole richie and ben savage) - the interiors of Sarah's apt/hotel room were terribly distracting! The wallpaper, the green chair, headboard, and door, the lamps, the side table, the punching bag hanging from the ceiling. So, i took some mediocre shots of the TV to post here before it drove me nuts trying to track down tonight's episode online... maybe i'll update it the screenshots when the online versions are ready. How gorgeous is that green?
UPDATEs: So i have swapped out all the pics of my tv screen for some better ones (and even more on the next page now too!) ~ and thanks to Andrea, we've figured out that its the Viceroy right down the street in santa monica! Wonder if they would ever let us go wander around and take pics of rooms... or now i feel like getting a room there just to see it (which seems silly living so near by) - So Sarah apparently lives in Room 832 of the Viceroy.
On feeling too giddy not to share ~ i just popped down to the Montage Laguna Beach for the night thanks to Toyota (i can't wait to tour Calty - their design studios in the morning and learn more about the new Toyota crossover car the 2009 Venza!) ~ and the views here were far too breathtaking not to share quickly. Also the bed and bathtub too ~ you know how i can't resist posting quick hotel pics. Anyhow, if i get a bit quiet tonight/tomorrow you know where i am...
Even just an hour here, i can't stop staring out at the ocean ~ in contrast to paris, this is definitely confirming i'm far more of a calm, rolling oceans, beach kind of girl than a city girl.
I've updated this post four times now ~ so images of bunnies, sunsets, and their insane mosaic pool at night... and 6am shots of moonlight peeking through the clouds... on the next page...
UPDATE!: The bathroom was so gorgeous and huge as well i've added pictures of that as well....
Ok, we're going to jump out of order a bit, but i am far too excited by the gorgeously inspiring chateau Veuve Clicquot moved us to today... imagine waking up from a jetlagged nap and feeling like you fell into a time warp? Welcome to Chateau Les Crayeres in the heart of the Champagne of France... the grounds, decor, rooms, lounge, restaurant.... it's all breath takingly stunning. Don't believe me? You have to take a look at the rest of the pictures on the next page... wow. I'm sitting on that bed in the pic right now, and i can't help staring off every few minutes discovering new details, from the paintings, to the wallpaper patterns, to how ornate the extra high ceilings are!
Basically for the ultimate escape, i can't imagine a more surreal and beautiful space to relax and catch my breath in... and the whole "room" is probably three time the size of tiny SF apts i've ended up in...
The pics on the next page of the circular bar areas with the petticoat like curtains are so sweet!
So yesterday was a whirlwind day of hopping on air france in LA, finding myself in Paris, whisked from CDG to Le Faubourg Sofitel, and before i even get into meeting everyone - drinks with Christophe Pillet - meeting the veuve team - dining on a yacht up and down the Seine - and more... here's what i first encountered upon arrival ~ breathtaking clouds, quite possibly the most comfortable bed i've ever lay in, gorgeous Veuve Clicquot gifts and notes awaiting on the desk, adorable awesome packaging for the Hermes soaps in the bathroom, and the Buddha Bar outside my window... take a peek at the photo series part one on the next page!
For now... its 7:30 am, and i have to run to meet everyone at 8, so more images as i find time/internet!
"The 24th Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow will take place from 24 to 27 January 2008. Year after year, the organizers manage to tempt the world's very best polo players to St. Moritz. The Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow is part of the Polo World Tour, which includes the roughly thirty top tournaments that take place annually worldwide. This makes it the world's most prestigious polo tournament on snow." I just noticed this on Area Daily, and had to share it... and add it to the "things to see one day" list.
On bizarre ways to kick off Thanksgiving week ~ i'm trying that whole "live blogging" thing from the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay today where Oakley is holding their Oakley Norcal Shootout, and there are some serious golfers out here! But i'm hiding out in the library/high tea room at the moment... the parts you'll probably most interested in are their road crew of two large trailers that roam the states from event to event - fondly known as the Rolling O Lab... consider it a mini of the intense testing and research lab in their Foothill Ranch HQ! Anyhow, more on the research one soon... but first things first, take a look at this HUGE slick black Oakley'd out Freightliner they have hauling the lounge around? And take a look at the interior of the lounge ~ huge flat screens inside and out, comfy couches, surfboard, skateboard, kitchen, and even Oakley Tap for the kegerator. Not a bad way to travel around the states? (These guys are on the road 300+ days a year.) Anyhow, more pics below to give you a feel... check their schedule to see where you can run into them next (next stop Tahoe tomorrow, then salt lake, then the UCLA/USC game!)... Oh, and being a golf tournament... naturally Caddy Shack is playing.
On strange days ~ i woke up at 6am in LA, jumped on a flight at LAX by 9... didn't take off for well over an hour after that (which was a result of mechanical issues, followed by what i only later found out to be a 30 min delay b/c VP Cheney was taking off at the same time)... end up hanging out at the airport in philly for a while, end up on a shuttle full of dieticians... then find myself at the gorgeous Rae Restaurant at the new Cira Center... and now i'm curled up in a big plushy bed at the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia. So before i can process everything, here's a random post to show you the bizarrely lush world of the philly ritz around me right now... things to note? The over the top Chocolate Thursday Nights... with a lobby filled with choc fountains, etc. And this cloud of comfiness of a giant bed to work from. And the beautiful glass dome in the lobby.
I know it is a bit of a Chanel OD at this point, but there was just so much that they showed us that really kind of blew my mind... but this should be the last post ~ big news that this whole trip was about, the Keira Knightly Coco Mademoiselle film is finally online (go watch it now)... cool thing to look out for, that last scene, she runs into place vendome (yes the No. 5 bottle shaped plaza), and basically runs right past the hotel they put us up at! I wonder if that was intentional.
Things i've been dying to show you, but they asked me to wait till today... We got to go inside Coco Mademoiselle's Apartment ~ which has been frozen in time, filled with tons of pieces filled with stories... from books, to chinese screens she split and used like wallpaper (with her favorite symbol the Camellia on them - which was traditionally for courtesans), and loads of superstitious pieces i was smitten with... my favorite being this crystal ball with the lions holding it up (she was a leo and collection lions)... and there is even a chandelier with 5's, G's and C's worked into the framework of it... So pictures below, but the majority of them are for your browsing in the Gallery.
I also have a map and walkthrough to show you her secret path/shortcut to Rue Cambon through the Ritz which we took ~ and i envy her set up. She lived in the Ritz... and then at 31 Rue Cambon on the first floor was the Chanel Store, second floor is the Haute Couture dressing rooms, third floor is her apartment for entertaining, and forth floor is the workshop... with a rooftop that allegedly has some of the best views in paris (i tried, but they wouldn't let me go past the third floor... apparently karl lagerfeld and his team were busy preparing for fall fashion week). OH and they are all linked with the most incredible faceted mirrored staircase, that she built so that she could stand in one spot and basically see what was happening on every floor.
Being the packaging/product junkie that i am ~ as cool as traditional Chanel products may be, i found great pleasure in the attention to detail they took to every aspect of our adventure. The name tags... super thick rubbery tags with our names embedded in them with the Chanel logo (see the side view pic below to fully understand)... i have had an obsession with black on black pencils since high school (they were somehow my good luck pencils for SATs and all scantron tests ~ wow did i just date myself?), and the Chanel black pencils with silver logo were so classic, with matching note pads with tiny logo and black backing... the gloss on matte folders for press kits... and the headshots were just to funny not to share, i'm quite sad we didn't get them first so we could play full on starstruck fan kids and get them autographed. See it all below...
Of the many stories, myths, and just all around Chanel lore that i can't seem to get out of my head yet (expect a few more posts just so i can clear my head)... the one i woke up with that was driving me crazy was that Coco Chanel designed her first Chanel No.5 bottle to perfectly match the shape of Place Vendome (where the Ritz is, and where she basically lived... although her apartment for inspiration and taking guests was just behind it on Rue Cambon... but more on that in a few days). They also claim that it is unknown whether this matching shape was intentional... and its not like THEY had google maps back in 1921. So i HAD to check. The designer in me had to know for sure, while the rational part of me assumed the Chanel folks wouldn't just make something like this up. And as you see, they weren't kidding. Below, more images... and also some quick pics from the Assouline set of Chanel books they left on my bed... its really fun to see the old sketches of the bottles, and even how they have evolved over the years... but still fit the Place Vendome proportions.