Advertising
Advertising

Latest Articles in Travel

modern design hotel in Berlin, Germany

Propeller Island Hotel, Berlin

In 1997, musician Lars Storschen started renting out rooms in his house to supplement his income. Bored with the idea of a traditional guest room, Storschen created different themes for each of the four rooms. Inspired by Jules Vernes’ science fiction novel, Propeller Island, Storschen’s guestrooms-cum art installations, like Symbols (A room filled with 300 symbols) became an extension of his career as an artist. Soon after, the rooms became popular and Storschen began toying with the idea of expanding Propeller Island into a proper hotel. When the pension hotel in his building became available, Storschen bought it and spent the next five years expanding. Now, with three floors and 27 rooms, Propeller Island is part art gallery and part hotel. It’s impractical and slightly gimmicky, but I love Storschen’s madcap approach and imaginative décor. Click through the slideshow to view my favorite rooms.
April 14, 2012
Hau tree overview

Hau Tree Lanai in Honolulu

I was in Honolulu, Hawaii, last week to talk at a green design conference, and in my two quick days there I was able to see a few of the sights. Though I managed to eat at some trendy, and rather well-designed spots—tip of the cap to Salt and Morimoto—I was reminded of a fundamental lesson of design over a decidedly unhip breakfast at the Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. Sometimes a single element of a space's design (in this case, the hau tree) can make it so magical that the fetishism so often shown for meticulously sourced tablewares and organic pork belly goes completely out the window. Located down at the Diamond Head–end of Waikiki in an unspiffy old hotel, on a pretty but pedestrian stretch of beach, the Hau Tree Lanai eschews just about every design trick in the book—see the pink tablecloths, white wrought-iron patio furniture, and institutional tile floor. But that hau tree creates such a perfect canopy, shielding diners from the hot sun while giving us this ribbon-width view of the flat blue sea, that you don't want to be anywhere else. 
April 13, 2012
ff jaime 033012

Friday Finds 03.30.12

In this installment of Friday Finds, a look at tennis's most entertaining athlete, Pantone swatches that are good enough to eat, and answers to all the grade-schol test questions you never knew. Scroll down for more!
March 30, 2012
Mox big open

Chester Mox Passport Wallet

I was very excited to head to Morocco for my weeklong visit with a new accessory in my back pocket: Chester Mox's Passport Cover. I was giving this Horween leather travel wallet a test drive on the mean streets and in the cavernous airports of San Francisco, New York, Marrakech, and Casablanca. And it passed with flying colors.
March 26, 2012
zecavo terrace

Villa Zevaco

On my last morning in Casablanca I had the good luck, and lots of local recommendations, to swing past Chez Paul for breakfast. Considering the strong influence of French cuisine on Morocco's pastry life, it should come as no surprise that the croissants were extra flaky and the butter rich as can be. But Chez Paul also has the good fortune of residing in the splendid modern villa that Jean-Francois Zevaco and Paolo Messina designed in 1949 as Villa Sami Suissa.
March 21, 2012
tile casa mosaic

Tiles of Casablanca

Wandering the streets of downtown Casablanca, one sees a whole other use of tile on building facades. Instead of the reddish concrete with colorful accents you see in Marrakech (which I documented here), the White City has a decidedly less decorated feel. As an early 20th century laboratory for art deco, art nouveau, modernist, and neo-Moroccan design, Casablanca emphasizes form over ornament. And yet, that great ceramic tradition can still be felt. Here's a glimpse of the use of tile I saw over the course of a couple days wandering around Casablanca.
March 19, 2012
tile bahia palace

Tiles of Marrakech

I was in Morocco last week and it should come as no surprise to design fans that I was ensorcelled by the variety and complexity of Moroccan tilework. From elaborate mosaics on palace walls to simple geometric designs on the street, I found myself snapping photo after photo of tiles. Here are a handful of highlights from my time in Marrakech. Look for more in the next couple days from Casablanca.
March 15, 2012
Julio Julio

Julio Miranda Thiel's Workshop

I had the chance to visit master potter Julio Miranda Thiel's workshop at the Beldi Country Club just outside of Marrakech. I met Thiel at a dinner a few nights before and he graciously invited me out one morning to see how he marries traditional Moroccan craftsmanship—the town of Safi is the hub of the country's considerable ceramics trade and turns out loads of potters—with more modern forms. Thiel himself studied design in Chile and Argentina and told me that his education was "thoroughly modernist." Here's what I saw.
March 9, 2012
biennale pots

Marrakech Biennale: Higher Atlas

The Marrakech Biennale is in its fourth go here in Morocco's cultural capitol, and though much of the citywide exhibition deals with photography, sculpture and the like, the main show Higher Atlas—installed in the never-completed Theatre Royale—is decidedly architectural. From a fully-erected Maine backwoods shack by Ethan Hayes-Chute to a massive satellite dish by German architect Jurgen Mayer H., these works of art must contend with the presence of a raw, unfinished building. Started decades ago as an opera house by the previous king, one gets the sense that the actual theater, done only in raw concrete, will never be finished. I had a splendid time wandering around the structure discovering installation after installation. With no information given about what each project is, who made it, or what it's made from, one had the sense of pure discovery walking around the building, like finding ancient frescoes in a ruin. The exhibit runs through June 3rd.
March 6, 2012
Advertising