Tag Archives: news

Indian Chic – Lodha Fiorenza, at Goregaon in Mumbai

The ultra-hip global design firm, yoo, just recently launched their latest and one of their most audacious projects yet, Lodha Fiorenza, at Goregaon in Mumbai.

With India going from strength to strength every day and with many Indian luxury properties redefining luxury for the world, it was only a matter of time before yoo appeared in India. Founded by the world’s most celebrated designer, Philippe Starck, and one of the most influential property developers in Europe, international property entrepreneur John Hitchcox, the celebrity-aligned design company has names such as Kelly Hoppen, Marcel Wanders and Jade Jagger working for them.

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With experience spanning 33 different projects and 27 countries, yoo exists to help developer clients compete successfully in the property marketplace, by providing the very best in design, branding and marketing. Their latest foray in India is, fittingly, in Mumbai and it is also fittingly designed by Jade Jagger, the 39-year-old daughter of Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger.

Jagger has already designed homes in Morocco, properties in Turkey and apartments in New York, and her work is always respectful of the culture within which the project is located. This is undoubtedly the case with Lodha Fiorenza, which blends India’s rich and varied tradition with unique cultural elements from across the world and Jagger’s trademark style of relaxed luxury.

“I am absolutely delighted to be partnering with Lodha to design Lodha Fiorenza. I have always been inspired by the vivid colours and exotic textures of India; it’s been a wonderful experience to incorporate them in the design of Lodha Fiorenza – a perfect balance between luxury and comfort,” commented Jagger at the launch.

When completed in 2014 the primely-located position project will boast 452 apartments, across four buildings. Milano, the tallest of the four structures, is a 52-storey tower which will rise to a breathtaking height of 600 feet. The building will feature luxurious four bedroom residences and lavish duplex sky villas of just one per floor. Residents will get to enjoy such lavish facilities as a rooftop lounge, an observatory with stunning views of the Aarey colony and the Arabian Sea plus an infinity edge cantilevered swimming pool. The other three towers, Venizia, Sienna and Roma, offer stylish two, three, and four bedroom residences in the Jade Jagger for yoo style. All the homes will be fitted with the highest specifications and include lighting and sounds controls by iPad, German Poggenpohl kitchens, and Italian marble flooring.

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Area Guide – Beijing

China World Summit Wing / Regus Business Centre –

It has been said that a new skyscraper is built every five days in China. Beijing, as one of the most populous cities in China, definitely has its fair share of super-tall structures.

Many of these buildings are located in well-planned business complexes that are more like mini cities, with offices, accommodation, restaurants and shops for the many travellers and workers that the developments are aimed at.

A perfect case in point is the China World Summit Wing hotel, one of the capital’s newest luxury accommodation establishments. Managed by Shangri-La and situated in the heart of one of the city’s premier business districts, the property is unmatched in convenience, with plenty of transport links in the immediate vicinity and the Capital International Airport just 45 minutes away by car. Companies in the area span a broad variety of sectors including finance, insurance, trade, telecoms and IT.

The hotel itself is housed in the upper section of the 330-metre-tall China World Trade Centre Tower, which is the tallest building in Beijing and the 33rd tallest in the world. Inside you’ll find a whole host of facilities, many of which are geared towards corporate events. The more notable facilities on offer include one of city’s largest pillar-less ballrooms, a 95-seat auditorium, a rooftop garden and a number of exquisite dining venues, all offering spectacular city views.

Another prominent new opening in the city is the latest Regus Business Centre on the top floors of Parkview Green, a unique pyramid-like structure as accommodating as it is easy to spot.

The suites and offices in the business centre offer all the amenities expected from a modern office. Receptionist and secretarial services are also available, as are a number of plush meeting rooms. Both long- and short-term leasing arrangements are available.

Originally published in South China Morning Post, August 2012

Area Guide – Central

LUPA / Compass Offices (Aon China Building) –

As home to some of the city’s leading companies, Central remains unsurprisingly one of the best areas in town for corporate dining, be it for a casual business lunch or gala dinner.

Many of the neighbourhood’s bars, restaurants and cafes have accordingly molded their services, furnishings and cuisine to cater to the needs of the area’s many busy-bodies.

Hearty New York Italian eatery LUPA is one such establishment. The newly opened restaurant has squarely positioned itself in the all-important sweet-spot between casual lunch establishment and formal dining hall. At 5,500 square feet in size, the sprawling interior is equally fitting for large events, particularly when combined with the 2,500 square-foot outdoor terrace, which in and of itself is perfect for a small cocktail affair.

Also new to the district is the latest serviced office complex from Compass Offices. The exquisitely furnished establishment takes up the 16th and 17th floors of the Aon China Building which, situated in the heart of the district, an ideal place to base yourself if you’re in town for a business trip.

The building itself has recently undergone renovation, and now boasts three ultra-posh elevators that are sure to impress even the most pernickety of business clients.

The spaces on offer are each beautifully furnished and offer equally beautiful city views, together with all the connectivity one would expect from a modern office. The shared office facilities include a large private lobby and three well-equipped meeting rooms with comfortable seating for four, six and 14 people.

Compass Offices also houses a banking-grade data centre on site for those with more demanding information technology needs.

Virtual offices are also available and start at HK$598 per month. Meeting rooms on their own go for about HK$50 per 15-minute session. Custom office fittings are also available for long-term clients.

Originally published in South China Morning Post, June 2012

St. Regis Bangkok

As far as luxury city hotels go, the new St. Regis Bangkok is pretty much as good as they get, with a world of well-appointed convenience and luxury on offer to guests lucky enough to stay here. This luxurious world is a world where every room gets complimentary well-made coffee and tea and on request at any time of the day; a world where every room category comes with its own on-call butler; and a world where high-class amenities appear alongside top food and beverage outlets and expedient business facilities.

The 176 guest rooms and 51 suites range from 45 to 250 square-metres, and all come equipped with DVD players, LCD televisions, a multimedia hub, wifi internet and floor to ceiling windows which bring unobstructed views of the city skyline into the rooms. Unique to Bangkok and pretty new to Asia as well is the St. Regis butler service, which is easily the highlight of the hotel.

The indulgent services on hand for all guests include packing and unpacking, garment pressing, bathtub preparation and beverage service as well. In addition to the refined service, there are also a collection of fine dining outlets serving up cuisines from all over the world ranging from Japanese at Zuma (imported from London and Hong Kong), Italian at JoJo (named after one of the founders, John Jacob Astor) and international at Viu (which offers sweeping views of Bangkok). There is also a wine bar, a poolside bar and the St Regis Bar. Recreational facilities include the first Elemis Spa (1 of 4 in the world) in Southeast Asia, an outdoor swimming pool and a gym.

If it is work guests are visiting for though, the hotel comes equally equipped for business as well as leisure. Equipped with the latest technology, the 1,515 square-metres of flexible meeting space ensure large and small business groups can be graciously accommodated at any given time, and the highlight of these is the elegant and sizeable 515 square-meter Astor Ballroom. There is also a designated business centre, plus plenty of parking spaces as well.

For longer-staying guests and those in the know there are also super-luxe residences at the top of building the hotel which are frequented and inhabited by the upper crust of Bangkok. It is no wonder that these types visit the property though, as the design is incomparable. Overseen by the leading New York-based Brennan Beer Gorman Architects with interior design by Studioaria, the property was designed as a contemporary abstract monolith and it features emotion-injected motifs and detailing. If one is in Bangkok on business or simply looking to impress a client, one could do a lot worse.

Originally published in South China Morning Post, September 2011

Interior Design Supplement – Interior Design’s Tighter Space

Though the Hong Kong interior design industry is flourishing, the city currently faces a dearth of well-trained interior designers – and this looks set to continue as work from emerging markets in the region is on the rise. The pinch is being felt across the industry, with even the larger interior design firms finding it difficult to recruit designers.

Offering an explanation for the shortage, Logan MacWatt, managing director of Aedas Interiors, points out that the majority of skilled designers are essentially all fully employed.

Continue reading Interior Design Supplement – Interior Design’s Tighter Space

Designing for Junior

While it may seem pretty straightforward, designing a children’s room can be quite a difficult yet rewarding procedure.

As a place to spark imagination, children’s bedrooms are always uniformly colourful. They always feature elements which are designed to set off creativity. Children’s bedrooms are spaces where parents and children share dreams, excitement and comfort – a room for building bonds.

Continue reading Designing for Junior

Interior Finesse – The Hampton

This apartment features some of the finest materials, ornaments and furnishings from some of the best interior suppliers in the industry, which blend perfectly with the cream and dark black colour tones that run throughout.

Located in the leafy residential setting of Happy Valley, The Hampton is an exceptional portfolio of apartments boasting distinct designs for each of the eleven individual 2,500 square-foot plus units. Equal dashes of naturalism and Haute Couture, the pinnacle of high fashion, served as the inspiration for this particular one, which was designed by Steve Leung, the local home-grown and now internationally-renowned architect and interior designer.

Continue reading Interior Finesse – The Hampton

HK employees struggle to maintain work-life balance

The lines between work and personal lives in the city are blurring, according to staffing and human resources consulting provider Randstad.

With detailed feedback from 405 local employees, the new survey – part of their debut Workmonitor Report for Hong Kong – captures sentiments towards local work practices.

Of those polled, 36 per cent said their employers expect them to be available at all times, while 61 per cent reported receiving work-related phone calls or e-mails during their time off.

Commenting on the results, Brien Keegan, director of Randstad Hong Kong, says that they have done similar surveys in other countries, but a notably larger proportion of local respondents claimed to work outside office-hours, a fact he attributes largely to the city’s role as a financial hub.

“We are literally in the centre of the world here in terms of our access to global markets. And to maintain good business relationships, one often has to keep in sync with other time zones,” he says. “This practice puts a severe strain on effective work-life balance and can also have a negative impact on productivity in the workplace.”

The survey also showed that 69 per cent of the respondents said they tended to deal with private matters during work hours, while 68 per cent indicated they handled work-related matters in their private time.

Keegan believes that to counteract this “blurring”, staff and employers should set guidelines defining priorities.

“The balance between working and living is really an individual preference, so employees and employers should set boundaries and expectations and find what is personally and professionally important,” he says.

Keegan notes that striking a balance between work and life commitments can be a good thing for both workers and their managers. Flexible working arrangements, he adds, can increase productivity, aid employee retention and enhance staff engagement.

Nevertheless, Keegan concedes that flexible arrangements are not for everyone.

“While some part-time workers might give 40 hours of work on a 20- hour timesheet, other employees need the routine, support, guidance and social structure of a traditional workplace,” he says, adding that this may explain why 65 per cent of respondents also indicated a preference for face-to-face contact.

Keegan expects work-life balance to become an increasingly crucial issue. “One of the things we need to think more about is how to create a more efficient workforce, especially since the war for talent is about to pick up again,” he says. “Providing flexible work options [for some] is going to be really important.”

Originally published in South China Morning Post, March 2011 

Gentrifying Dining – 208 Duecento Otto

Although it’s been happening for a while, 208 Duecento Otto officially secures Sheung Wan’s position as the trendy gentrified dining extension to Lang Kwai Fong and Soho, and when one experiences the idiosyncratic interior one can see why the official transformation of a district can rest on a single restaurant.

208 Duecento Otto is the kind of restaurant that makes us design addicts happy at Today’s Living. Although the design is stunning, this time we are impressed with more than just the aesthetics as the story behind the restaurant is just as appealing, and the people who put the hard work into the restaurant are just as deserving as the designers. Originally a two-storey frozen meat storage warehouse at the end of Hollywood Road, the Singaporean founder of JIA Boutique Hotels – Yenn Wong – decided to build on the success of her eccentric Philippe Starck designed hotel and, combining an attention-grabbing design scheme with a New York-style Italian-American bill of fare, this captivating restaurant was born.

208 duecento ottoThe main district-changing factor of 208 Duecento Otto is the eye-popping design of the place, with an attention to style and detail running inside and even out. As the first overseas project by a Turkish design firm called Autoban, the interior is a spectacular bohemian work of art, and it is clear to see this design firm won’t be strangers abroad after this. The exterior is marked by a striking intentionally-oxidized rustic-looking iron frame, which somewhat resembles an oversized Louis Vuitton suitcase. This is appropriate; given that Chef Vinny Lauria’s cooking style has been defined as “a New York interpretation of rustic Italian cuisine.” Inside the rusticness continues in the spacious bar area on the ground floor where sophisticated walnut wood squared panels decorate the ceiling and flooring, and somehow complement the blue and white ceramic wall tiling, which also bring in an extra touch of orientalism. Some dramatic overhanging lights stand out as well, appearing alongside gorgeous textured wooden tables, a slick marble bar counter, refined leather bar stools and old-looking holed stairs, which have a slightly nautical feel about them. Upstairs, there is more of a sophisticated ambience, with the walnut wood ceiling and flooring continuing alongside more ceramic tiles, but here they are complemented by some leather sofas, an authentic wood-fired Napoletana pizza oven (specially imported from Naples), and a spot of natural light coming in from the large window out the front.

Pastiera Napoletana Of course with such a spectacular design scheme it would be a crime if the food failed to make an impression as well, and luckily the Italian-American fare it does not even come close to disappointment. Overseen by Chef Vinny Lauria, formerly a cook at Mario Batali’s famous Babbo inNew York City, there is a home-made vibe to the food, with every dish prepared on-the-spot using the freshest ingredients available. Apart from the pizzas and antipasti, these are not your generic dishes, with many of the items featuring top-quality ingredients and a signature touch of creative flair, much like the rest of the restaurant.

Originally published in Today’s Living magazine, August 2010

China Movie Magic

So by now the majority of you have had your brain cells burnt out by the mindfuck of a film that was Inception, and most of us should have at least some basic infantile grasp of what the movie was about (dreams and spinning tops, or something like that). The film is now currently doing the rounds in Chinaand, as one of the only 20 foreign films to be shown in the motherland each year, this is a big deal. Furthermore, the film was released three weeks ahead of schedule since it apparently passed through censorship without any cuts. Christopher Nolan was probably buying drinks all round (or should’ve been), as the film soon went on to be the fourth-biggest opening ever for an American movie in China, behind Avatar and the two recent Transformers movies.

Nevertheless, like most movies shown in our proud motherland, Chinese audiences have taken to the film in quite profound ways. In Chinese the name of the film loosely translates to ‘a space for stealing dreams,’ which is a lot more helpful than the English title. But, obliging title or not, this didn’t stop some locals seeing the film over 4 times. The hype was so big that shops even started selling replicas of the signature spinning tops used in the film, and they sold fast, considering they were priced at for $130RMB each. An online buyer claimed he needed the spinning top to distinguish dreams from reality. In another province a special competition was held to find who could design the best 7 layers of a dream, and over inChongqing a man even tried to hire a psychologist to perform inception on his own wife ahead of their wedding.

This is not the first time a foreign film has generated weird reactions in China. Last year a young transformer fan was found to have been drinking gasoline for 5 years, after being inspired by Optimus Prime and his robotic crew. Also there was that other stupidly popular 3D movie about oversized smurfs which sent China into a frenzy when it was first released, with losers camping out and cueing for Avatar tickets from as early as 4am. The fiendish demand for Avatar led China to become the most expensive place in the world to watch the film, with tickets fetching up to $200RMB a pop. Lifeless locals saw it as a kind of status symbol, and our humble counterfeit nation even started printing fake cinema tickets. And let’s not even begin to mention the overly-detailed criticism or the popular tourist spot that was controversially renamed after a place in the film.

Originally published in the now defunct The Dark Side Hong Kong, 2010