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art space tokyo

Written by Elsa Brown: Art Space Tokyo is the kind of gallery guide we wish we could find for every city. The book features intimate portraits of twelve contemporary art spaces in the city, accompanied by black and white illustrations from artist Nobumasa Takahashi. The pages include in-depth interviews with curators and directors, as well as maps of each gallery’s neighborhood, plotted with recommendations of “the best food, coffee and sights to enjoy an afternoon of art viewing.”

The book’s first printing has been sold out for a year, so the editors are fundraising for a reprint, and to develop an iPad edition of the guide. You can help support our friends, Craig Mod & Ashley Rawlings, in their efforts here. Click Read More for additional information and photos.

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Featured in: TOURISM / Categories: art & design, culture, museums, people



Written by Elsa Brown: Cities are constantly looking to for ways to maintain their green space and get residents involved in sustainability. The Greenaid Dispensary, a seedbomb vending machine designed by Daniel Phillips and Kim Karlsrud of Commonstudio, addresses both of these issues in one free-standing, coin-operated device.

Seedbombs are made of a mixture of clay, water, compost and seeds that can be formulated to specific regional conditions. Part public awareness campaign and part grassroots fundraising strategy, the project ups the accessibility of guerilla gardening efforts and enables city dwellers to become “common day Johnny Appleseeds”. Click Read More for additional information and photos.

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Featured in: TOURISM / Categories: innovations


meet the neighbors

Written by Elsa Brown: With the opening of their outpost at Ace Hotel, fashion retailer Opening Ceremony found opportunity to expand its New York presence, and build new connections in a previously unexplored neighborhood. While settling into Ace’s area—29th and Broadway in the Flatiron District—members of the OC team met owners of other shops and restaurants housed at the hotel. They recently posted introductions to their new neighbors on their blog. The result is a nice survey of the people and histories behind a small community of New York businesses. Meet the owners of The Breslin restaurant, cult shop Project No. 8A, roasters Stumptown Coffee, No. 7 Sub Shop and Ace Hotel at the Opening Ceremony Blog.

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Featured in: TOURISM / Categories: hotels, food, shop


fair folks

Written by Elsa Brown: Fair Folks & A Goat is a studio apartment on E. 88th Street in New York where you are welcome to come in and purchase whatever you like. Former resident Anthony Mazzei and his partner, Aurora Stokowski, transformed the living space into a concept shop that sells modern furniture, artwork and vintage clothes. According to the Cultivated Home, “unlike other furniture stores [the owners] encourage their visitors to sit and enjoy the space and furniture.” Sight Unseen describes a visit, “like two incredibly stylish friends have invited you over to share their latest finds.”

Other things that make the store feel like someone else’s home: Visits are by appointment only (email them to set one up), and the clothes are displayed in pre-existing closets, rather than on racks. Mazzei and Stokowski have plans to open an entire house under the same concept in a recently purchased bed-and-breakfast in New Orleans. Click Read More for additional information and photos.

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Featured in: TOURISM / Categories: shop



Written by Elsa Brown: FriendHouse Hotel’s name could be a reference to its relationship with the environment in which it was built. Recently completed on the Orel River in Ukraine, the designers of the ecohotel considered the project’s effect on the environment in every respect. Detailed plans mapped out how the construction would impace the site, and only eco-friendly material were used: clay, reed, wood and stone.

The space blends organic forms with clean design, with rooms that resemble austere updates of cozy hobbit dwellings. The hotel is a single-floor group of buildings featuring open yards, gardens, parks, and even an apple orchard—a reference to local legend about a amiable farmer who invited guests over to gather the fruit twice a year. Click Read More for additional information and photos.

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Featured in: TOURISM / Categories: hotels


absolute arrows

Written by Elsa Brown: Visits to public restrooms are rarely planned in advance, but they can be as memorable as some travel experiences. In the best case scenario, they do so by providing unexpected encounters with good design. A public restroom project by Bunzo Ogawa of Future Studio currently holds this potential for park visitors in Hiroshima city.

The restrooms are a series, plotted throughout the city’s parks, and each is designed to act as an “absolute axis” referenced from the horizontal and vertical axes that align the earth. The design responds to the idea that when we walk around a city, an “absolute” experience of space is unavailable. We understand our position relative to the streets, buildings, people, cars and trees that immediately surround us, but never as a set of objective coordinates. Ogawa’s project inserts the possibility of absolute urban spatial awareness in the respite of public, multi-purpose restrooms. Click Read More for additional information and photos.

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Featured in: TOURISM / Categories: architecture, innovations




Written by Elsa Brown: Artist and designer Ebony Bizys captured our attention with her post about Shimokitazawa a suburb in Japan and must-visit destination for lovers of vintage shopping, cozy cafes and general cuteness. She describes it as “packed with teeny tiny six-seater bars, adorable cafes, loads of cheap and cheerful restaurants, vintage and retro clothing stores, live music venues, secondhand record stores, homewares and vintage stores…Come here if you fancy an afternoon wondering around people spotting, stay until sundown, have a G+T at Mois cafe, and try some delicious okonomiyaki.”

In addition to Mois, a relaxing cafe set in an old two story home, Bizys highlights several shops and thrift stores in the suburb. One is Sou, a crafty clothing and homewares store that makes a custom calendar just for customers. Commune is another shop, with a tiny gallery, that sells zines, art and other handmade items. Click Read More for additional information and photos.

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Featured in: TOURISM / Categories: shop

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