As the new year begins, let’s take a look back at some of the best retail projects of 2013. There were several great brick & mortars (and one bus) that launched in 2013…hopefully a sign of more great shops to come in 2014.
Hospitality branding is my favorite thing. I once read that “Good design tells a story. It doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle and end, but some kind of narrative must exist. Some sense of time and place – context is everything. The best restaurants exemplify this, portraying the vision of their creators in each light fixture, each piece of flatware, each choice of seating.”
Deep, but very true. I would add branding and marketing collateral to the mix as well. It all must work together. Art of the Menu is a site by the folks at Under Consideration dedicated to showcasing the best in restaurant branding and identity design.
I hate to paint with a broad brush, but if you live you New York City you probably fall into one of two categories: A Hamptons person or an Upstate person. Everyone in the city needs to escape now and then, some head east and some head north. The Hamptons, especially Montauk, has appealed to a younger, more “downtown” crowd lately. However, The Graham & Co. is about to change all of that. Located in Phonecia, NY in the Catskill mountains, The Graham & Co. is a new weekend destination designed for those who might usually go east to places like The Surf Lodge or Rushmeyer’s in Montauk.
OAK founder, Jeff Madalena and Jason Gnewikow, creative director at Athletics, acquired an old roadside motel and completely redesigned it with a rustic charm and new brand identity. With activities like bonfires, bikes and outdoor movies, The Graham & Co. is the perfect new alternative to a Hamptons escape.
Fellow Detroit native and Michigan State University graduate, Derek Mattison, was recently featured in the July issue of GQ. Derek founded ESN Interactive, an internet marketing company, but is now turning his attention to his true passion…tailoring. If you like the super-slim and super-contemporary look, keep an eye on his eponymous line, Mattison, which recently opened a store on Melrose Place. I’m even more interested in his bachelor pad in the Nichols Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles. Derek commissioned Commune Design to create the modern bohemian look. I wouldn’t mind enjoying a beer at that poolside bar. Go State!
Freehand, a new hostel brand, has opened its first location in Miami at the former Indian Creek Hotel. The concept is a partnership between the Sydel Group, the developer behind the Ace New York & Palm Springs properties and Yucaipa Companies. Created for a new generation of urban travelers, Freehand will incorporate innovative design, a local food and beverage experience, and a comfortable community atmosphere, all offered at an affordable price.
The interior design was done by Roman & Williams, who have done killer work for the Ace among other.
Sydel and Yucaipa have plans to open at least ten more locations within the next few years.
I love my hometown, but it hasn’t been a hot spot for cool fashion brands in a while. One new company is about to change all of that. Shinola, a new brand that takes its name from an old brand of shoe polish known mainly for a popular mid-century phrase “You don’t know shit from Shinola”, decided to set up shop in Detroit and make it their permanent headquarters. After a few years of R&D, Shinola is finally ready to start selling its line of American made watches, bicycles, leather goods and journals. And I can already tell they’re going to do a damn fine job at it…Now you know shit from Shinola.
Flipping through the new issue of Monocle I came across an article about the newly opened Oyster Inn on Waiheke Island in New Zealand. Similar to Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk, the owners put thought into every element. I love places like this.
White isn’t a color that usually conveys warmth, some don’t even consider it a color at all. When most people see a stark white room their first instinct is to paint. However, check out these examples of how white walls (and even floor) can be more powerful than any other color in the spectrum. Never underestimate the power of white.
Inspired by the old world utilitarian ideal of making something that is “built to last,” Izola and Aesthetic Movement have curated a collection of whimsical objects with a masculine sense of antiquity.
Made with great care and attention to detail, this series of functional every day staples is designed to be the perfect gifts for men. The products include flasks, soaps, candles, laundry bags, bamboo toothbrushes, handkerchiefs, shoe brushes, shower rings, ceramics and shower curtains.
The scent, developed by JOYA and hand poured at their Brooklyn studio, was inspired by a trip The Motley took up the California coast, with notes of Siam Citron, Orange Flower, Saddle Leather, Birch Tar and Woodsmoke. The artwork was designed by Caleb Owen Everitt, an Austin based Designer/Art Director with clients ranging from J.Crew to Deus Ex Machina.
A true coast-to-coast collaboration…and a perfect stocking stuffer.
Try typing “How to find Old New York” or “41 reasons to visit Brooklyn” into Google Maps, and you’ll either get no answer or the wrong answer. No doubt most folded paper maps are completely useless these days, but the folks over at Herb Lester are giving you a reason to buy them again. Not only are they awesomely designed, but with guides like “It’s Nice To Be Alone In Paris” and “An Uncle’s Guide To London”, they give you an insight into cities that technology simply can’t provide. So the next time you’re strolling around Greenwich Village looking for a good cup of New York coffee, don’t consult Google, pull out your “Truly Greenwich Village” map by Herb Lester.
The guys over at Huckberry are currently offering Herb Lester sets on the cheap. Get at them here.
For years, Restoration Hardware was lost somewhere in the middle of Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, they were always “the other one”. Over the past few years, however, the brand has really set themselves apart from the competition by taking inspiration from popular tastemakers and making those items available to the masses (a la J.Crew). Today, they’re less Pottery Barn and more Modern 50…and I’m down with that.
It seems the company is taking their rebrand one step further by shortening their name to simply RH…not sure if I’m down with that.