The Instagram Chefs and Bakers Turning to Brick and Mortar
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New Ace Hotels, One on Either Side of the World
Over 20 years after launching, Ace Hotel Group retains its reputation for catering to creative types with its cool, unconventional design. At one of its newest locations, in Toronto, and more specifically the city’s boutique-lined Fashion District, guests are greeted by a lobby with soaring, steel-edged concrete arches, red oak wall paneling and a three-story art installation by A. Howard Sutcliffe that recalls the sparkling waters of nearby Lake Ontario. With interiors designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects (which also designed the building itself) and Atelier Ace, this and the adjacent bar area are accented with plush midcentury vintage sofas and chairs, and opaque plexiglass and wood lights that were inspired by kites. The 123 guest rooms were conceived as urban cabins, so each one features a deep-set window bench and a vinyl collection curated by the local record label Arts & Crafts. Over in Sydney, Australia, Ace worked with the architecture firm Bates Smart and the interiors firm Flack Studio to renovate — and add eight floors to — the Tyne Building, which was built atop the country’s earliest kiln site in 1916 to serve as a dispensary and warehouse for a well-known pharmacist. Now 18 stories tall, it has 257 rooms that, with their textural straw wall paneling and tangerine-colored carpets, feel appealingly retro. Upstairs and down, guests can enjoy inviting dining options, whether the Italian- and Japanese-inspired plates at the forthcoming rooftop restaurant, Kiln, or the vegetable-forward ones at the ground-floor restaurant, Loam. From $290 (Sydney) and $305 (Toronto), acehotel.com.
It’s only natural that Ulla Johnson is expanding into premium denim. So many of the brand’s pre-existing pieces look great with jeans, and the designer herself has always loved them. Until she designed her own, however, she had trouble finding the kind of extra-special pairs that you wear and love for years. “Everything I’ve always wanted [in denim] is in this range — impeccable quality of fabrication and craft, and pieces handmade with sustainable washing and finishing,” she says. Indeed, each garment in the offering, which is produced in a longstanding Los Angeles factory that uses eco-friendly stones for washing and keeps the use of chemicals and water to a minimum, takes over a day to make. There are four jeans styles, including one with pin tucks down the center front and another with a wide leg, and a jacket. All are designed to be worn year-round, reflecting, says Johnson, “the essential nonseasonal role that denim plays in our lives.” But that doesn’t mean they’re nondescript. Rivets and buttons come, depending on the wash, in either copper, matte gold or polished gold, and all of the jeans feature a hand-hammered ring made in partnership with the Kenyan artisans who work on the brand’s jewelry and bags that hangs from a back belt loop. From $425, ullajohnson.com.
Artistic Tiles On and Off the Wall
Gilles de Brock is best known for far out silk-screen poster designs that combine found images, pop culture references and a dizzying palette. In recent years, the Netherlands-based graphic designer and art director, who previously created designs for companies like Nike and Red Bull, has turned his attention to exploring how color and form can be represented in other media, namely clothing, carpets and ceramic tiles. For the latter, de Brock, who is interested in providing designers with access to their own means of production, has spent much of the last three years working with Studio GDB, the design studio he runs with Jaap Giesen, to build a CNC ceramic tile printer that translates his digital designs into the physical world. The resulting pieces are covered in abstract motifs rendered in brilliant green, soft red and cobalt blue glazes that seem to capture movement and light. Since the completion of the printer, Studio GDB has shifted to become a small ceramic tile factory, working with clients to bring its wares to storefronts, home interiors and cafes. More of de Brock’s tiles, as well as a selection of his posters and textile works, can be viewed at an exhibition up now at Le Signe National Centre for Graphic Design in Chaumont, France. It’s aptly titled “If It Works, It Is Not Just a Temporary Solution.” On view until Sept. 23, centrenationaldugraphisme.fr.
In the early days of the pandemic, cooks flocked to Instagram to sell homemade goods such as flaky croissants and golden Jamaican beef patties. Some were out of work on account of restaurant closures; others were amateur bakers attempting to pivot into the food industry. Despite the challenges that came with navigating food production and order pickups in cramped apartments, a few gained fervent followings and have since opened brick-and-mortar locations. In May, the French bakery L’Appartement 4F moved on from l’appartement, located in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, that it was based out of and into a small shop a bit north in Brooklyn Heights. Crowds regularly line up outside before it opens in the hopes of snagging sourdough baguettes and raspberry almond croissants. Earlier this month, the pastry chef and archivist Doris Hồ-Kane of Bạn Bè, who found fame through tins bearing Vietnamese-style cookies flavored with coconut pandan and black sesame ube (at one point, the waiting list hit 10,000 people), began selling her coveted treats, as well as new offerings like bánh mì chay and durian ice cream, through the Dutch door of a Carroll Gardens storefront. “I felt a physical representation of our work and art as Vietnamese people was important,” says Hồ-Kane, “and person-to-person interactions are so valuable.” Over on the West Coast, Jihee Kim of Perilla, known for its seasonal banchan like dandelion green namul, is gearing up to open a lunch spot in Los Angeles’s Echo Park this fall. Get ready for loaded rice bowls and hand-rolled gimbap, plus plenty of fresh tomato kimchi to take home.
Though all of the prints in Louisa Ballou’s line of moody resort wear are adapted from her paintings, she doesn’t actually imagine the finished clothing pieces while working in her studio in Charleston, S.C. “I’d lose the playfulness of it,” she says. When she paints, she’s thinking more about the color and vibrancy in the landscape around Charleston, her hometown, which she didn’t fully appreciate until spending a few years in London while studying fashion at Central Saint Martins — sure enough, her canvases often draw from the region’s waterways and barrier islands, or from flora like the night-blooming cereus that have been in South Carolina for generations. She’s thinking, too, about how other artists have communicated movement and rhythm in their work, as in Charlotte Rudolph’s 1920s-era photographs of dancers, or Brice Marden’s layered lines. Only once a painting is digitally scanned does she turn her focus to how, as an abstract print, it might “sit on the body and embrace the body,” she says. “I want you to feel painted in the pieces.” While the brand, which she started in 2018, has found success in its swim and swim-adjacent offerings (with customers like Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa), the designer wants to expand her ready-to-wear categories and is working on a collection of accessories: an effort, she says, to imagine the Louisa Ballou woman not just on a tropical vacation but at lunch in Paris or dinner in New York. louisaballou.com.
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