Thanks to Veuve Clicquot, i’m currently curled up on a cloud of a bed here in Paris after a beautiful flight from LA today! Left around 3:45pm got in to Paris around 11am ~ and in between? headed up past vegas/salt lake/etc through canada over greenland/iceland/uk and ended up in paris… and so many gorgeous views… lots of dramatically lit mountains, even flew over some pretty crazy fires, gorgeous scottish/british countryside, french coast… and glowingly red clouds… nothing like a flight to remind you how little all your emails and errands and life is ~ floating above the clouds really throws things back in perspective! Take a peek at some of my favorite views in this latest addition to Operation Window Seat on the next page!
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This could easily be a post about amazing photographs of seemingly endless dinner tables trailing off into breathtakingly magnificent landscapes… in fact, i have a hard time just getting past the images you’ll see on the next page enough to tell you why, beyond the table imagery, Outstanding In The Field is SO spectacular! (Quick side note: How fun is their LOGO?) The main image above is at County Line Harvest, Petaluma, CA ~ the swing just makes me smile.
Ok, but moving beyond the beautiful images of endless tables… (You can see plenty more of that on the next page too!) A friend of mine was telling me about these a few months back, but i had forgotten the name, and just discovered the website tonight! Outstanding In The Field hosts incredible farm dinners, bringing together farmers, celebrated chefs, and eager diners alike. From humble beginnings of “farmers dinners” in Santa Cruz hosted by chef and artist (whose work you definitely know if you’re reading this!), Jim Denevan in the summer of 1998… which coupled with his brother, Bill, a “pioneering organic grower in California was one of those farmers that brought his ingredients and his story to the restaurant.”… evolved into dinners on the farm! Now, over a decade later it has grown into a series of traveling around the world hosting Farm Dinner events as well as private events. Are you hooked yet? I’m seriously bummed right now that the remaining Los Angeles dinners are sold out already… perhaps we will need to think about a NOTCOT private dinner? Let’s discuss that more in the comments though… for now ~ go fall in love with the images on the next page!
Scotch and Photography go together so perfectly! Is it any surprise that the Macallan is incredibly inspirational to photographers? And has inspired Rankin to make a breathtaking series of 1000 polaroids of their estate? The Macallan Masters of Photography collaborations are incredible ~ after Rankin, the latest is with Albert Watson! But back to the topic at hand…
Upon moving, many things i meant to write about got hidden in boxes, and have been resurfacing bit by bit! Amongst them, this incredible book, A Photographic Essay of The Macallan Estate ~ which includes the 1000 polaroids taken by incredible photographer Rankin! These polaroids were part of the 1000 bottle series of Masters of Photography Rankin edition 30yr Macallan project, each bottle with a different polaroid image on the label, and boxed with the polaroid itself. Truly one of a kind! But sadly, when viewing the bottles a few at a time, you simply don’t get the whole picture that Rankin’s photographs as a whole tell of the place! He shot photos all around the Macallan Estate ~ of the buildings, of the stills, of the greenery, of the cows… and in many his nude muse/wife posed amongst them. I love that Rankin sees this project of 1000 polaroids more as a poem than a narrative as he created an amazing portrait of the Macallan world. It feels so meta to be sharing photos of a book of photos with you, but you really must see how amazing some of these images are! And i can’t wait to experience it all first hand! Take a peek at some of my favorites from the Rankin/Macallan experience on the next page!
Got to love the random inspiring emails that show up. Today’s from Alessandro Loschiavo Design just said “Hi everybody … believe me: it’s hard to forget a holiday in Andalusia! Alessandro” ~ and then attached a ton of pictures. And i couldn’t stop staring at them all! So here are peeks at some of the lovely design details, patterns, and colours he spotted on vacation! See more collections on the next page!
Much talk on twitter this morning about clones… especially of the mentally networked type… so i could be in multiple places around the globe at once! One of the recent moments i wish i could be in NY and LA at the same time (or actually, i suppose teleporting would be ok too) ~ when the email came in with subject line: “CHANEL J12 Marine invites you to Montauk for Fireside Cocktails - Aug 21st”
As if i wasn’t bummed enough not to go see it in person, the pictures came in this morning ~ and it was just too picturesque not to share! Something fun about the way they were shot, it looks like the matte black and white Chanel logo’d surf boards were the stars of the party… in addition to their new brand ambassador, and the new J12 Marine watches of course! “Like CHANEL’s newest brand ambassador, Laird Hamilton, CHANEL has allowed themselves to be swept away by the beauty of the waves, and has incorporated these elements into the design of the J12 Marine, the newest addition to CHANEL’s fine timepiece collection.” I have a fascination with watching brands and experiences you don’t expect merging beautifully to create a whole new experience… Chanel + Surfing? Definitely quite the contrast to the socal surf scene and the art/design i usually imagine coupled with it… But lovely in its own way! Take a peek on the next page of the dinner Chanel’s J12 Marine and Laird Hamilton hosted in honor of “The Wave” by Susan Casey to benefit the Surfrider Foundation…
p.s. the email with pictures said “…dined on fresh seafood at wooden tables and then gathered around the fire pit for cocktails and smores.” How lovely does that sound right now?
On silly late night fascinations ~ last night we were playing with my microscope and a US Visa and Border Crossing card… and the TEENY TINY strips with all of our US Presidents (up to clinton) and all of the state flags in alphabetical order on it. It is… amazing. And then we ran into John Quincy Adames… feeling like a bad american here, but isn’t it Adams? Is it a microscopic typo? Beyond that it really is fascinating to see how detailed each tiny flag and presidential portrait is up close, especially when you can barely see them with the naked eye! See more pictures on the next page!
On fun unexpected inspiration ~ RUGenius sent over some pics of London department store, Harvey Nichols’, latest elaborate window display, ‘Everyday Things’, which certainly does not disappoint. The window series consists of everyday objects (pencils, clothespins, nails, cassette tapes and plastic toys) to create more elaborate sculptural pieces. Piano’s made of cassettes of all shapes and sizes, dresses of clothespins, cars of toys, men made of books, bikes made of tools, and more! Stunning! See the close ups on the next page!
AMAZING! I joked about an idea like this with people… bags that could protect my camera when needed, disappear to nearly nothing when i’m using the camera? Inflatableness to the rescue?!?! Kata ABS-HD inflatable protective casing comes folded up in a pouch. I love that they say “When on board with your camcorder it takes approximately 1 minute to inflate, wrap up your camcorder and stow it in the over head bin.” So you can basically sneak on seeming like you have very little, then poof you fill the bin? Slightly shady. But then again, perhaps you can use it as a flotation device in case or emergency? I also wonder how it handles the air pressure? Sadly they also say “This is inflatable protection not a camcorder bag, so while on the go use the camcorders strap or handle to carry and upon arriving at your destination it should be deflated and packed away in your working bag.” I’d love a purse/messenger bag fitting version for my dslr for those emergencies if i had to pack it in my check in, or let someone else handle my bags… see more images on the next page!
The snatching of purses happens far too often ~ and no matter where you are, you can never be too careful. So consider this french I Lock You device, like hand cuffs for your purse. Lock it to the super market cart, cafe chair, bike basket, etc. If someone thinks they can just grab it and run, they’ll be in for a surprise. Though this design doesn’t exactly “lock” in a way that someone who knows can’t open it… it will at least deter someone looking to walk by and grab your purse along the way. Though, i guess you could actually use real handcuffs for this too… See pics of their design and some use cases on the next page!
NY trips aren’t complete without a stop over to The Standard Hotel New York to catch up with everyone ~ right after the Absolut Brooklyn launch, popped over to finally see the pool on the 18th floor of The Standard Hotel New York in action ~ and WOW is it different compared to when empty in the day! Floor to ceiling black glossy tiles, a diamond shaped, large hot tub sized 4ft pool surrounded by endless NY views glittering in every direction. It’s incredible how the cave like darkness of the space is literally lit up by the NY skyline! For this night, a fun mix of internet week and lifestyle and travel industry folks ~ all coming together to celebrate the launch of location based members only site, TopGuest ~ “Topguest gives travelers real loyalty program points from top hotels and airlines for geo check-ins on all major applications, automatically.” Basically, it’s a membership program that will connect up your foursquare, gowalla, google buzz, yelp, twitter and more and sync it up with existing and upcoming partnership rewards from major hotels, airlines, and more. Fun potential with the concept, and i love that they are targeting carefully curated brands and experiences first ~ during the preview, their exclusive launch partner is the Standard Hotel group, and they’ve issued a challenge: check in to all 4 (NY, LA-downtown, LA-hollywood, Miami) Standard Hotels in a week to earn a free week stay! But first things first, you have GOT to check out the views from the glossy jet black Standard NY penthouse pool!
While in NY ~ popped out to DUMBO for the Absolut Brooklyn Launch Party with Spike Lee! Spectacular views on such an ominous night as the sun set through the on and off thunderstorms rolling through… They cleared out the Powerhouse Bookstore ~ and with the large altered seal on the windows, i must admit it reminded me of Starbucks at first. I suppose i’m just not quite used to their playing down the iconic bottle shape? They transformed the steps inside the space into a cute life sized stoop matching the one on the bottle! Perhaps the most visually intriguing are the water tower shirts the bar tenders wore with text and graphics creating the image! So for packaging design closeups, you can see my post here ~ To take a peek at the adventures with Absolut Brooklyn ~ see the next page!
Just experienced the Royalton Hotel while in NY for the Federated Media Conversational Marketing Summit (my annual catch up with my FM folks and intellectually immerse myself in the marketing/ad world)… since it’s practically in times square, the Morgan’s Hotel Group helped me try out the Royalton Hotel… and from the website i was already obsessed with seeing their soaking tub in person. It is HUGE and pretty deep. You could probably fit about 5-6 of me in there… comfortably. And it’s like being in an inverted discoball… Also noteworthy, it is the perfect luxurious NY hideaway, if you need a super comfy, cozy place to hibernate in NY. It can stay surprisingly dark in the room (with lots of nearly blackout curtains, dimmers and candle like lighting) regardless of what time of day/night it is. After a few too many late nights out, it was an incredible place to just curl up and catch up on sleep and work in a timeless space. And the bed is divine (pillows and duvet you just melt into!) with fun beautifully lit bedside port hole like shelves cut into the headboard which extends wall to wall and floor to ceiling including the closet and drawers. And that impressive darkness i was telling you about? It also flows through the hallways and into the lobby (which is an enticing lounge/bar space that leads to the restaurant) ~ so it’s a bit of a shock to the system every time i had to head out ~ back into the real world (or the chaos so near times square!)
Take a peek at my experience of the Royalton Hotel’s Room 904 on the next page ~ lots of pics of favorite details!
Baxter of California has opened an impressively adorable little retro barbershop in Los Angeles - the Baxter Finley, Barber & Shop at 515 N. La Cienega Blvd. (Already soft opened, the official launch party is next week!) Seems like the natural extension of their men’s skincare/shaving line ~ and what better way to learn about the products than actually experience the lifestyle of the brand as Jason or Shane treat you to the shave or haircut of your life? The incredibly carefully collected/restored vintage chairs are such a beautiful work of art in and of themselves… but even though i couldn’t get a shave, i couldn’t resist sinking into one while my friend offered himself up (and a few days of unshaveness) as my shave model!
A few fun facts - “The shop was designed and built with old world charm and is adorned with chairs from the early 1900’s (restored ultra-rare Koken “White King” models), reclaimed Douglas Fir flooring, and custom made oak & marble bars. All Baxter Finley barbers will don custom made gingham check shirts by Steven Alan. At the service‐ helm, Jason Simao (of Freeman’s Sporting Club fame) is the lead barber and manager for the shop.”
I want to drag all my guy friends in to experience a shave here! And Ladies, don’t be shy, grab a man in need of a shave and head on over for an excuse to check it out! I had way too many pics i loved, so take a tour through the amazing details of the Baxter Finley, Barber & Shop on the next page.
Latest Dear NOTCOT post fresh in from Julie Wolfson who was just exploring Shanghai for the 2010 expo! Absolutely awesome pics of the larger than life Louis Vuitton Suitcase… and the incredible exhibition within! Thanks for sharing, Julie!
Louis Vuitton Paris 1867- Shanghai 2010 - In Shanghai just down Nanjing Road from where I was staying as a guest of the Portman Ritz-Carlton, I found a building sized Louis Vuitton suitcase at Plaza 66. Seeing a major LV display on the outside is a sure sign that there will be something amazing to see inside. (I found that out last year when I saw a Murakami designed facade in Tokyo.)
On the bottom floor of Plaza 66, a customized luggage workshop filled a section of the LV store on the 4th floor of Plaza 66, the Paris 1867- Shanghai 2010 exhibit at Shanghai Plaza 66 celebrates the company’s participation in world exhibitions. Almost a century and a half ago the Louis Vuitton company was introduced to the world stage at the Paris World Exhibition of 1867. To enter the show Paris Shanghai show I walked through a giant red three-dimensional red book. Inside more red books open to reveal white cutout resembling children’s pop up books. Each display tells the history of Louis Vuitton’s luggage. From the wardrobe trunk made in 1911 to the Amiens Fitted Suitcase with toiletry containers from 1931, each case is made with incredible detail. Peering close up to one of the latches or handles reveals how LV luggage design has defined the art of travel. I’d be happy to have just one LV suitcase. It really would make any trip feel more glamourous.
Plaza 66 is located at 1266 Nanjing Road in Jing’an just down the street from The Portman Ritz-Carlton. The show is open on the 4th floor of Plaza 66 until October 31, 2010. For now see loads more pics on the next page!
Time for another installment of Operation Window Seat ~ a peek out the window at the teeny tiny world below. This time Nike Golf has brought me out to Fort Worth, Texas to check out the Crowne Plaza Invitational at the Colonial Country Club and the Nike Golf R&D Oven (which i’m extremely curious about!) But first things first ~ jetlag has me up bright and early, so figured i’d share a peek into my aerial tour of the southwest from Los Angeles to Fort Worth. The pilot was seriously like a tour guide the whole flight, with constant “To your left you can see….” and nuggets of history and random factoids. While it was nearly TOO bright and beautiful out, washing out some of the pics ~ i tried to pull some of the patterns that mesmerized me back out of the pics… and you can see squiggly winding rivers, craters, the salton sea, edges of the grand canyon, the southern coast of LA/OC, and more on the next page…
Wow. What a few weeks/months/etc its been ~ but the last week in particular feels like the quietest i’ve been online in a LONG time! So before hopping back into the design chaos ~ after design week in NY, i popped across the pond to the english countryside to celebrate my little sister’s wedding. Who knew, even with wifi, it would actually keep me busy enough to stop working nearly completely! So here are a few pics of some of the random, prettiness encountered over the last few days on the next page…
Wow. There is a definitely love of light bulb clusters at the Gramercy Park Hotel ~ particularly in this room that opens up to the Roof Club… but also in my bathroom! While it does feel a littler overwhelming, it is also completely mesmerizing, and makes for some fun pics! See more on the next page!
I must admit i was skeptical when one of the most common words that came up regarding the Gramercy Park Hotel Roof Club… was “Magical”. Sure some of the women who uttered the word seemed like the type that may use it in daily conversation, but some of the men who did, most certainly didn’t seem like the type.
Sure enough ~ as i stumble off my redeye, and at 7am find myself at the Gramercy Park Hotel, which was kind enough to invite me to visit their world while here for NY Design Week, my room wouldn’t be ready till 10. With the limited amount of energy, my options were minimal ~ but breakfast with wifi on the roof sounded like a good place to start. Take the elevator to the top, step out, and get lead to a ridiculously adorable and comfy couch to curl up on while breakfast comes up… and as i order and process where i am… i can’t help but notice the beautiful lights, the ivy hanging and intertwined above me, how much greenery and the variety of pots i’m surrounded by… and as my eyes focus, suddenly i realize what a stunning view i’m waking up to. No joke. It’s pretty magical. Everything seemed to sparkle in that early morning glow! It felt as if you were in a large intimate garden/deck at home… and i hear its even more stunning at night, so, i’ll have to find a night to see it glisten as you overlook all of manhattan… So take a peek on the next page of how pretty the Gramercy Park Hotel Roof Club looked bright and early!
New sponsored content series ~ this time Las Vegas is letting me rant and share some vegas awesomeness NOTCOT style! As usual, my pics, my story, they just give me an excuse to talk Vegas.. and share some of my favorite bits!
There’s something so nostalgic and beautiful about the early days of Las Vegas and the incredible neon signage that was unmissable. Sadly as more and more of these come down, they tend to end up in the Neon Graveyard! Which is only a PART of the Neon Museum which is trying to save this critical part of Las Vegas history. Graphically they are absolutely stunning ~ i’m particularly a sucker for those which move… They Neon Museum has even been reviving some of these signs and have them up around vegas, with 10 amazing ones from the 50s and 60s up on Fremont Street ~ in what they are calling their gallery… but they are basically on the main street 24/7 for your viewing pleasure! So on the next page you can take a peek at some of my favorite neon signs spotted around Las Vegas from a few trips ago…
It’s fun to step back from the design madness here in Milan during the design week ~ and really just appreciate how AMAZING details in and around the city are too… so in the evening we popped up to the roof of the Hotel Dei Cavallieri at sunset and the views are truly awe inspiring. Then a late night wander lead us through the Duomo and Galleria ~ and with big camera in tow, naturally couldn’t help snapping away… it’s just breath taking ~ even after seeing it so so many times on a daily basis for over a year… But the best details? Bizarre mylar ballons that escaped some poor child’s reach, only to create a silly juxtaposition in all my pics of the Galleria grandeur… there’s a tiny hot pink unicorn/pegasus up there… and in the hallway the next day… a tank. See it all on the next page!
About to run out to try and actually check out the insane fiera filled with design goodness ~ but wanted to leave you with some of the many stickers and street art bits that keep grabbing my attention as i wander through the city! Some fun silly craziness on the next page! Enjoy!
As we warm up to Milan Design Week, it’s been awesome having a few days to just catch up with the city! On todays few hours of walking/shopping ~ here’s more randomness that caught my eye besides the Hermés Paper Sculptures! From slightly evil wooly sheep ~ to the milan marathon i ran into by the castle and throughout the city ~ to the giant camera lens screens at Tod’s ~ to rekindling my door knocker and gargoyle obsessions ~ tv sunglasses! ~ the blue cubes popping up around sculptures being restored ~ awesome signage ~ and these beautiful linen lamp like structures that fill Monte Napoleone, some designed by fashion designers!… and so so much more! See it all on the next page!
The Mercedes-Benz Museum ~ you’ve seen the elevators and tornado and while the cars and exhibitions are amazing, there are so many parts of the architecture that were surreal and beautiful! From the way they play with the constant combination of sun and artificial lighting, to the way the building is constantly leading you to swirl downwards from past to present, to the engraved concrete markings to denote what section you’re in, to the horse ~ the first… pre-automobile? It’s much like a car museum meets history museum meets sweeping art gallery filled with surprising textural juxtapositions at every turn… so take a peek at the next page for a full gallery of images ~ it’s less about the cars and more about the amazing images the space creates for you.
As you’ve noticed by now, i have been recently fascinated by the world from above ~ and not in just a google satellite view ~ but amazing views of cities and the in betweens as dramatic sunsets and sunrises hit them… So thanks to Mercedes who was incredibly kind to bring me to Stuttgart to learn more about their world (even when i needed to come from Singapore and leave to Milan)… here’s another installment of what my friend and i have been calling Operation Window Seat! Doing it backwards, on the next page you can see pics as i come in to Milan from Stuttgart… then Stuttgart on my way from Singapore… amazing how the terrain changes ~ and the lighting!
Just finished my last dive of the trip ~ and this whole trip has definitely reinvigorated my childhood love of nudibranchs and frogfish! Frogfish have the coolest elbows ~ and the way they walk… and eat (with their signature anglerfish family style lure!)… and the variations they come in! (So fascinating, saw about a half dozen color variations this week! And soooo many nudibranchs i haven’t seen before too. So in this last installment of fun creatures from the Lebeh Strait ~ check out frogfish, nudibranchs, and more (including a super tiny baby lion fish!) on the next page!