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!
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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!
Octopus obsession is only growing more with each one i encounter! Two today so far! One good sized amazing Wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) on a dive (they are pretty rare and only found here in bali/sulawesi! Only recently named/officially discovered)… and then during lunch we spotted another octopus hiding a few feet from us in the low tide! So waded out to it with a camera and it was so tame and incredibly docile… i even pet it! So lots of fun pics of both the octopus and wonderpus on the next page!
UPDATE: We’re now pretty certain that the other octopus is a Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus ~ which was only officially discovered in 1998 in sulawesi. It is the one that the Wonderpus is commonly mistaken for… and it mimics everything from flounders and eels to lion fish and sea snakes… and ours impressively becomes one with the rock as well as the sand… see an amazing video i found about them on the next page!
On visual inspiration, there is something about the overwhelming sense of calm serenity with nothing but the sound of your own bubbles and the occasional boats overhead… as you just swim about watching the most incredible and mind blowing creatures going about their daily lives all around you… so, on “vacation pictures” ~ here are some of the many (there are hundreds of photos, here’s just a selection of fun ones!) creatures i’ve been encountering diving the Lembeh Strait of Indonesia this week (hiding out at Kungkungan Bay Resort)… and besides the diving creatures, you also get a peek at the large crab i ran into, and the impressive Tuna statue in the center of Bitung (tuna capital of indonesia?)… see it all on the next page!
p.s. and on design inspiration ~ it sounds silly, but i’ve totally been dreaming up redesigns, proposal ideas, and more while watching the creatures under the sea… also photo credits go to my dad who’s the photographer (i’ve been tasked more with helping find things in our team!)
I’m having one of those, sensory overload, exhausted yet giddy moments… sometimes we all need to step pretty far out of our daily lives to simultaneously reset, reflect, and find inspiration in the unexpected. For the next 5 days, i’m hiding out in the Lembeh Strait of Sulawesi, Indonesia… and they have awesome wifi, so when i’m not drop dead tired or diving exploring all the creatures around… the regularly scheduled content may be coming on vacation with me! So today was a morning flight to Manado from Singapore, followed by a 1.5 hour van ride through Bitung out to the dive spot, and now i’m curled up in my adorable cottage at Kungkungan Bay Resort. Certainly quite the contrast to the design overload i’m looking forward to in Milan in a few weeks! Although i thought about crashing after the day of travel, when i stared out at the possibly full moon with the intense clouds over the ocean… i couldn’t help taking a few pics, and i’m so in love with the view, i had to share them with you before i got some sleep! Isn’t it amazing how the palm trees and clouds look in the moonlight? See a few more pics of the night… some of the view on the flight in… and another random pic or too…
Heading off to Milan tomorrow… well… via a few weeks in asia and a quick stop in Stuttgart… but i’ll be in Milan April 8-19!!! And i can’t be giddier. It’s hard to believe the last time i was in Milan was when i was living there for a little over a year doing grad school… all pre-NOTCOT (the sites, the name was used on lots of random stuff for years before!)… so FINALLY, making it back for the salone, and to go see some of the old spots… but, that being said, its been 5 years!
SO! If you’re in Milan, or have some awesome recommendations, i’d love any ideas on what not to miss ~ people to meet up with ~ events at the Salone to check out ~ and more!
p.s. that image above? i found my old huge map of Italy… i totally forgot i used to highlight all the cities and towns i’d visited… so many left to see! Maybe if there’s time i ought to pop out and explore a bit more too!
After a long week, sometimes you just need something totally random and silly to reset you… tonight that ended up being…. grabbing a friend to get food, suddenly fog rolls in, and as we drive by the little santa monica airport… we vow to go wander around it if its still foggy on our way back (she was hungry, so food naturally had to come first). Well it only got foggier in the interim, so it was on! And here are the pictures that came from that exploration… driving around the parking lots, tiptoeing through bushes, and trying to find that perfect light that made the fog covered planes glow so awesomely. And suddenly we heard shouting and laughter… and as we got pretty close to the insanely foggy brightly lit soccer fields… we saw there were people playing! (Yes, it was foggy enough you had to get rather close to be certain!)… There’s something so other worldly about the way things felt in the ominous fog… see it all on the next page!
On travel obsessions, someone just reminded me one of the few items that has made my MUST PACK list ~ i’ve been so busy using, i have yet to write about it. humangear’s GoToobs have been indispensable. Sure they are similar to Paul Koh’s Bubble Bottles ~ but they are much better. A more airport security 1 quart ziploc bag friendly shape for packing… the ring allows you to select Soap, Shamp., Cond., Lotion, Sun, … so no sniffing to figure out what’s in there, and no need for labels… wide mouth opening for cleaning/filling… the one thing i never thought i’d use, yet have many a time ~ SUCTION CUP! So far they come in green, blue, clear, pink, and a newly added orange! See more pics on the next page…
Good morning 3am London ~ it’s been quite the evening with Nike Football/Soccer, running around and ending up on buses with ~400 international press folks ~ ending up at Battersea Power Station in the rain with its huge purple projections, only to delve deeper into what some felt was like a bat cave or villainous lair of lights and steps and shiny new products to tempt us with. But the main attraction announced tonight (with the help of Cristiano Ronaldo) ~ was what all this purple was about! And my favorite part of course is not only the new shoe, the Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II… but the magical glowingly purple glass/cement box that looked like an apple store in a shipping container. The purple dots on the glass became smaller and smaller until you could see the wall of shoes hung upon them… On the next page see pictures of the installation, the new Nike Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II, the new Nike Football+ iphone app (with twitter/facebook integrations), design sketches… and the full press release!
On unexpected surprises… did you know the Soho Grand Hotel will provide you with a roommate? An adorable little black goldfish? Strangely though, no food… i guess i will have to trust that housekeeping comes by and feeds the little guy? Their cheeky website says “If travelers cannot bring their pets, the Soho Grand offers surrogate animal companionship in the form of a goldfish in your guestroom.”
For those that asked on twitter ~ no i haven’t named it. No need to get attached, i don’t think i get to bring him with me to london… But i do wonder if there’s a mysterious room in the hotel somewhere with wall to wall goldfish bowls… do they really have enough for EVERY room? Or if you have two kids, can you request two? Or can you ask for two in the same bowl just so they dont get lonely while you’re out? Cute idea though ~ providing a bit more life to often sterile feeling hotel spaces! See more pics on the next page…
Laguna Beach ~ so many surf brands have their home base in the OC ~ and recently so many hotels with special designer suites ~ but somehow i never heard about the Casa Surf Project over at La Casa del Camino until now! The hotel is perched less than a block from the beach, has an old spanish styled look and feel… and somehow the smell and hallways remind me of college… something frat house-y about it? Or maybe that was the crowd too… fascinating thing about the Casa Surf Project is that they gave 10 brands and their designers 10 suites, and let them have their way with it - “Action sports icons like Billabong Men’s and Billabong Women’s, Rip Curl, etnies, Roxy, Quiksilver, L* Space, Lost International along with Riviera Magazine and Glaceau have teamed with Southern California’s finest designers to create the Casa Surf Suites with a portion of the proceeds from each room donated to key charities for the first year.” I love the moroccan inspired Lost room… how far they took the decor, and the furniture choices… you have to see how fun the lights looked at night! And the way they really customized the walls… so beautiful! Billabong and Quicksilver are my other favorites ~ see more pics on the next page, and see full information on each suite here!