Monday, 30 January 2012

A sublime sanctuary

OK, I admit it, these pics are a repeat of a post I did back in July last year...but as it was just published in the latest Architectural Digest with some new images, I just couldn't help myself. The New York apartment of Claire Weiss was designed by Rees Roberts, and I agree with the owner, it is indeed sublime. The colours are a lot crisper in these images, and the mural which I hadn't really noticed before is in full view now. And on second viewing, it still makes my heart skip a beat.

Photography by Thomas Loof for AD (USA) Feb 2012.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

If the world's your oyster after only one night in Bangkok...

...what do you get after 7 nights??

Well, here's the low down.

We stayed at The Asadang, a charming boutique hotel with only 9 rooms. The sister property of nearby The Buthorn (which only has 3 rooms!) Both are lovely restored buildings in the heart of old Bangkok, owned and renovated by a local couple who are both architects. Each room is different, full of antique and vintage pieces and the overall feeling is more like staying with friends than at a sterile, characterless large chain hotel. Situated in a great area for sight-seeing - the Royal Palace and many Wats and Temples are within walking distance. This was the view from the balcony off our can see the top of the Ratchabopit Temple which is literally next door, and neighbourhood homes line the canal or klong.

These are a few more temples that are within walking distance of both hotels.

Overall I would give the hotel the thumbs up, do keep in mind though that if you plan to do a bit of shopping this place is not particularly close to Sukumvit or Chatuchak and was sometimes difficult getting taxis to venture over to this side of town. It always worked out eventually, and I think despite this I would stay here again.

Did someone say shopping?? Obviously the Sukhumvit area is great, and there are many huge malls in this area, depending on what you're looking for. I would say in terms of home furnishings by far the best are Siam Paragon (Barbara Barry concept store, Armani Casa, Ralph Lauren, other huge American brands not available in Hong Kong, plus an amazing variety of very high quality locally produced goods), Decor Promenade (Christian Liaigre store, Baker, Visual Comfort lighting and Promemoria, plus local designers) and the Emporium (the Emporium department store range was fantastic, and Jaspal Home which has lovely bed and bath linens - also in Siam Paragon). As for clothing, if you want something other than all the typical big luxury brands that can be bought anywhere I'd say Gaysorn Plaza would be best with lots of stores by local fashion designers at reasonable prices. BUT, if its a bargain you want, or you love the thrill of the hunt, then definitely Chatuchak market is a must see. This was my first time there this trip, and I have to say it is absolutely the best market I've ever been to. And apparently the largest in the world. Many markets in Asia repeat the same products and you've pretty much seen it all after a few rows, but Chatuchak is full of great stuff, unique things from clothing to home stuff. You'd need a full day to even think about seeing it all.

In terms of food, well Bangkok is as much an gourmet paradise as it is a shoppers paradise. I'm not sure even where to start. Perhaps chronologically...

Our first night we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Nahm, run by Aussie expat chef David Thompson. The food is modern Thai and is fresh and tasty. We then had a G&T or two at Face afterwards. There are also two restaurants on the same premises as the bar, and the setting is lovely...I've made a mental note that I'd like to come for dinner next time.

Other restaurants we enjoyed were Bo Lan - run by an Aussie/Thai couple (I swear we didn't just eat at restaurants run by Aussie chefs!)...the food is also modern Thai and was fantastic. I can also highly recommend Le Vendome, which as the name suggests is French cuisine. A charmingly decorated space, good service, reasonably priced (compared to HK that is) and great food. My only gripe would be a slightly insufficient wine list considering the price and type of food. Otherwise I highly recommend it.

For lunch, my favorite has to be Cafe Claire. Recently opened (in fact the GM told me there soft open was just the day before, and I was one of their first customers), the food was fantastic, and the service impeccable. Set within the new Oriental Residences (condos for sale or serviced apartments for slightly longer stays) which has been decorated with Barbara Barry furniture in a very light and airy manner. Here are a few of the sneaky pics I took...

I have to say I also highly enjoyed eating at the new Dean & Deluca within the new MahaNakhon complex. I discovered D&D when I lived in Tokyo and have been a big fan ever since. Why oh why are there 2 in Bangkok and none in Hong Kong? Anyway, I also managed a sneaky tour of the David Collins designed show flats within the complex, which are of course drop dead beautiful. I wish I could move right in.

And you can't really talk about food in Bangkok without mentioning Greyhound. These guys recently opened their first cafe outside of Thailand in the IFC mall right here in Hong Kong. Well designed spaces, great menus, and locations all over the city. Good for lunch or dinner, really.

That's all folks. I should be back in BKK in a month to follow up on some meetings I had there, and then hopefully not too long after that I'll be able to fill you in on some exciting stay tuned!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Hot off the press!

I'm back, but before I regale you with tales of the Orient, I would love to share with you these images of the Flint lights from Caste - their very first lighting collection! The lamps are all cast in bronze with handmade shades of French paper. Very cool indeed.

Along with the rest of their collection, the lights will be available directly from Caste…or in the US through Holly Hunt in NY, LA, Miami and Chicago and Jennifer West in Seattle.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Bangkok, bring it on!

I'm off to Bangkok over the Chinese New Year weekend, for part work, part pleasure. I hope everyone in Hong Kong enjoys the long weekend, and Happy Year of the Dragon everyone!

A couple of pics of where I'll be staying...will share more with you when I get back!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Shoe Library

I'm very excited to be able to share these images with you (especially with those of you outside of HK!) of the recently completed 'Shoe Library' in the new Lane Crawford flagship store in Tsim Sha Tsui. For those of you who don't know, Lane Crawford is to Hong Kong as Barney's or Bergdorf's would be to New York, or Harrods & Harvey Nichols to London. Simply put, its a shoppers paradise. And I've considered moving in there on several occasions. Known for their stylish modern interiors, which had previously been done by the super retail duo Yabu - Pushelberg, this time around Lane Crawford has asked local design wunderkind Andre Fu (the designer behind the uber chic Upper House Hotel) to design some of the spaces.

Stepping through the Canton Road entrance of the store you find yourself in the 'Great Room', the mainstay of the entire space, featuring a soaring 5m high ceiling, library armoires in bronze and abstract French panels. Floors are finished in Romano marble and covered with elaborate rugs from the Andre Fu Collection for Tai Ping Carpets. There are also eighty-something bespoke pieces of furniture dotted around the entire Library, among them The Salon's 5m long table with Alberto Giacometti inspired legs, and hand-embroidered silk wall panels echoing the work of French fashion illustrator Christian Berard, in warm shades of solferino and lilac.

The entire experience is somewhat surreal considering the quietude and sophistication of the space (not to mention all those shoes!) in contrast to the chaotic streetscape just outside. I would make the Shoe library my home, if only I didn’t have to leave the island to get there ;)

All images care of AFSO

Monday, 9 January 2012

more from Mohn

A couple of treasures from James Mohn's online portfolio...the top one has kept me going all looks like such a snug spot to spend a cold winters day...

although knowing Hong Kong, just give it a few months and I'll be dreaming of somewhere cool and calm, just like this...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Loft living

My husband and I have recently been thinking about converting some warehouse space to live in, and while I'm obsessing over how I would furnish it, I was reminded of this amazing duplex loft apartment in New York that is the home of architect/designer James Mohn and his partner. The space was published back in the Feb/March 2004 edition of Elle Decor, but its been firmly planted in the back of my mind ever since. The high ceilings and sheer amount of light is definitely appealing, but they've used the space so perfectly I think. Plus, I'm in love with the artwork and their furniture...

Thursday, 5 January 2012

in search of the perfect chai

I came across the spicy chai blend by French artisinal apothecary company, Mad et Len, in the Causeway Bay I.T. store before Christmas. I couldn't wait to get back to the Hong Kong winter after my holiday to give it a try. Its not quite as spicy as the label suggests, its actually quite mild, but still very nice. It seems my hunt continues. I'm not sure anything will ever come close to my favorite tea house, Kusmi.

As I've admitted before, I'm a sucker for packaging, and of course this is partly what attracted me to the tea (although the list of ingredients also sounded pretty yum). So, I think I need to track down a local stockist for their perfume and bathwares as those black bottles with atomisers are so cute I don't even care what's in them!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

What a way to start the year!

Happy New Year everyone! I think 2012 is going to be a good one, I can feel it in my bones. And what better way to kick-off the blogging year than with these images from what is fast becoming my favorite online read, Nuevo Estilo? Maybe one of my new years resolutions should be to learn Spanish? For a start, I'm loving this green. My trip back home to Australia over Xmas saw me fall in love with all shades of green all over again. Its quite an eclectic look, but I adore the coziness of it, and I think I'd be quite happy curling up on any of those chairs with a cuppa and a book and while away the rest of winter. What do you think, sound good?