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I’ve looked at many city guides before I go on trips and the reason why I don’t purchase any of them is because I can’t seem to find the right things in one book. Lonely Planet has a good section on travel advice while Fodor’s has a great restaurant guide. I need something design-conscious. Phaidon *Wallpaper City Guides seem to be the perfect answer if I ever need to travel to a city I’ve never been to. I always loved the city guides in *Wallpaper magazine. The city guide provides must-see places to go, best places to stay, what to do in 24 hours, urban life, architecture and of course shopping. If you like Wallpaper, these city guides are a must for the next trip to a metropolitan.

Available October 2006 – Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, New York, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney and Tokyo.

Available April 2007 – Athens, Basel, Beijing, Berlin, Bilbao, Cape Town, Dubai, Havana, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Marrakech, Miami, Mumbai, Prague, St. Petersburg, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, Toronto (YES! We’re not left out!) and Vienna.

Only $12 CDN each.

[LINK]

Shirtflag

August 24, 2006

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Walking aimlessly on the streets of Shanghai, I must have spotted at least 3 or 4 Shirtflag stores. Shirtflag provides graphics and designs which take a retrospective look at Chinese propaganda art and mixes it with modern cultural icons and pop culture references (basically satirizes the Maoist era of China). Reminds me a lot of the store, Fill in the _____s store in Central, Hong Kong. Kind of suprised to see a store like this in mainland China but more power to them! Their products include their ever popular t-shirt designs, bags, buttons as well as stationary. The brand Shirtflag is very popular in Shanghai. Currently there are 6 Shirtflag stores in the greater area of Shanghai. Don’t be suprised if you see any of these stores expanding into cities like Beijing or Hong Kong. Apparently, their clothing will soon be available in Europe as retailers in the continent are ready to market their clothing. Click below to see some of the designs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shanghai : My Kind Of Town

August 22, 2006

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Having been there back in 2002 for only 3 days, I didn’t really have a good sense of the vibrant city. It was gritty, the people were rude, things are really badly disorganized. Okay, these things still definitely exist but one can notice the large differences made to the city. I’m not just talking about the infrastructure or the skyscrapers that weren’t dwarfing in the skyline a couple of years ago. I’m talking about the emerging culture that existed in the hearts of the Shanghaiese people but suppressed by the communist government for so many years.

I had the chance to see a lot of things I wouldn’t be able to see if I had visited with my family. Walking the many streets (I’m tired as hell) and several alleyways, you’d be suprised at what you might end up seeing. The city is completly vibrant and the balance between its commerce, its history and its culture/lifestyle are very evident.

Some of the areas I checked out were:

Xintiandi, where a batch of renovated houses offers everything from fine dining to chic nightclubs. The streets of Changde Le road as many youth streetwear boutiques are located, which rivals to Toronto’s Queen street. The newly renovated district of Haifang Road, where many new restaurants and clubs are being built. “Elite Club” from the Elite Modeling Agency is about to be finished. It’s a safe bet it’s going to be one of the hot spots in terms of where to party. The art district of Taikang where many artists and designers showcase their work. You also have the famous Bund which maintains the history of Shanghai pre-communism colonial period. However, many buildings have been respectfully renovated into hip new spots for nightlife and restaurants (particularly the places at Bund 18).

And it’s what I love about Shanghai. Their modernization to the city while maintaining the integrity of their history and culture. It has a great balance between the East and the West, between old and new, between traditional and modern. While many might disagree for those who live in Hong Kong, Shanghai has 2 things that Hong Kong doesn’t have. It’s culture. I’m not saying Hong Kong doesn’t have culture but their identity seems to be more leaning towards a commercial culture that I tend to hate. Everything revolves around buying and consuming particularly the art. Sorry, everyone knows I got love for Hong Kong but the lack of its culture and art scene makes me compare the city as a machine.

Shanghai also has class. Now, don’t get me wrong because its definitely not the most polite city in the world but there’s something about the people that separates the people in Hong Kong. I don’t really know how to explain it but their style and class is uncanning to how it is in Hong Kong. There’s nothing better than listening to jazz/big band music while eating Shanghaiese food. That alone won me over as a city. I love the style and the character Shanghai brings and although I doubt I’ll ever live or move there in the near future, its definitely a city I’d love to visit whenever I get the chance to.

Places you might want to check out when in Shanghai:

Shanghai Restaurant (Name unknown)
House 13 No 537 Haifang Road
Restaurant

Great restaurant, serves traditional Shanghaiese food. Traditional decor, plays jazz/big band music in the background. Historic ambience. Home of a wealthy Shanghaiese man, renovated into a restaurant. Soft opening just recently. Grand opening date unknown.

Elite Club
No 536 Haifang Road
Club

Opening very soon. Will definitely be a hotspot. Owned by the people of Elite Modeling Agency. Places for models to go when travelling to Shanghai.

Shirtflag
6 locations in the Shanghai Area (Check out the one on No. 27 Duo Lun Rd.)
Streetwear store

Click here for my thoughts of Shirtflag.

Club Shanghai
Luwan District
Club

Crowds old, utterly dead on a Friday but it gives a bit of nostalgia to the Old Shanghai in the 30s. The live big band is decent and the glitsy interior gives potential to this exclusive Hong Kong-run club. In my opinion, it’ll be really cool if they attract a younger crowd to the luxury spot.

Captain Hostel / Captain Club

37 Fuzhou Lu
Hostel/Club

Suprisingly not everything in the Bund is expensive. The view alone is worth going up. This hostel is smack in the middle of the Bund. It also provides a spectular view of the Pudong skyline especially when its a hostel. With hostel prices and a rooftop view at the bar, it’s a bargain considering what’s around the area.

Bar Rouge
At Bund 18
Club

Apparently one of the best bars/clubs in Shanghai right now. It’s chic, it’s cool, its on the Bund. Best view in Shanghai, overlooking Pudong skyline. Definitely one of the most popular places to party. The interiors are great. More mature crowd though. Didn’t quite fit in. Ages vary from 27-60. Drinks are moderate priced.

Click here for my thoughts of Bar Rouge.

Guandii
Fuxing Park, 2 Gaolan Lu
Club

It’s simple, it’s straightforward. Nothing pretagious about what it is. It’s a great crowd. Young, a lot of Ex-pats and Overseas Chinese. Reminds me a lot of Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong but better. The music was pretty cool (sometimes you just need meaningless ‘let’s get drunk off our ass and dance’ rap music). I heard a couple of repeats but sometimes you just gotta let some shit slide, you know?

The Thing
No 266 Changle Road
Streetwear Store

Click here for my thoughts of The Thing.

Babyface
180 Maoming Lu
Club

Like Guandii, it’s a younger crowd. Club seperated by 2 rooms, 1 playing dance music, the other playing rap and mainstream hip hop. Many ex-pats, overseas Chinese go to this spot but majority of people are made up by local Shanghaiese. There might be the occasional prostitute around so beware. Ahem, I won’t get into that haha! Club suprisingly busy on a Sunday night. Interiors are terrific. Coolest washroom I’ve seen in Shanghai.

Sorry, I wish I had taken photos but it’s a pain in the ass to carry around my 5 pound camera.

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Comme Des Garçons Guerrilla Store
– Back Exit of Unit 11, G/F 18 Ka Yip Street, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
(Really lovin the black Ferrari 612 in the front of the store. #3 on my list of cars I’ll buy when i become fucking rich. #1 being the F430 Ferrari and #2 being the Rolls Royce Phantom)

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Undercover Concept Store
Unit 11, G/F 18 Ka Yip Street, Chai Wan, Hong Kong

Well theres only 2 that I know of. Unless you have a car and got fuck all to do on a Saturday afternoon, I suggest you go to the guerrilla/concept stores of Comme Des Garçons and Undercover in Chai Wan, Hong Kong. If you’re taking the MTR, it’ll roughly take a 20-30 min walk from the Chai Wan station. I expected it to be worth the walk but having to walk in the summer heat in Hong Kong ended up to be a bad idea. Why they put it in Chai Wan in the first place, I have no fucking clue. The only reason why I wanted to go there is to gather some ideas and because I was looking for actual Comme Des Garçons clothing (which is non existent in Hong Kong and I’m not looking for the ‘Play‘ t-shirts everyone seems to wear in HK).

The stores are located on the West end of Chai Wan, particularly on Ka Yip street which is mainly occuiped by service gargages and industrial companies. It’s extremely out of place and very easy to miss so patience is key when visiting the two discreet stores.

Comme Des Garçons Guerrilla Store is well decorated and uniquely designed. Various colours, missing large sections in their hard wood floors and several wallpapers decorated the Guerrilla store. It’s definitely a concept store. It’s pretty cool. Definitely exceeds what expected. Although I was frankly disappointed. There wasn’t as much products as I expected from the store. Expected more products especially when people who purposely go to Chai Wan just for their store.

Undercover was even more disappointing. The store consists of 1 large room which is similar to an old Gothic European hall with its dark wood and surrounding brick wall. However, they had the amount of merchandise one would see in a small boutique store. Very limited number of products/clothing.

Overall, I felt cheated after leaving both the stores. One question comes to mind. How do these stores survive in the middle of nowhere?.. I guess theyre just wealthy companies just finding ways to blow the money? My theory but high-end, high-quality concept stores can’t seem to survive in the heavy industrial district that is Chai Wan.

Sorry I attempted to take photos inside the 2 stores but as you can tell from the first photo, security (or rather their employees) seemed relaly tight about that sorta thing.

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I’ve been quite busy at work and I’ve been pretty lazy to upload my pics from my camera. Nevertheless, here it is. Great exhibit. I underestimated the artists in Hong Kong and after seeing several artists and their work at the 450 Sq Ft Exhibition, I see a huge foundation building in Hong Kong’s street art scene. Their style is very unique. It’s not quite graffiti and it’s very “mainstream” as one would put it. But I like what they’re doing out here. It’s not as established as places such as New York or Berlin but I have to say I saw a lot of unique works at this exhibition. If you’re looking to check out, the exhibition was held during the month of July so unfortunately you’re too late (I went on the last day ;-))

Here are some photos just in case you missed it:
Read the rest of this entry »

OMM Handkerchief Design

August 2, 2006

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Here’s something I made for OMM‘s Handkerchief Design Competition. The theme was Asian heritage and mind-healing zen so this is what I came up with. It’s not the best work I’ve done but I’m kinda satisfied with it. Don’t really mind if I win, just glad I made something during my spare time.

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Here are some pics from last week’s Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Toys and Household Products at Hong Kong Convention Centre. Read the rest of this entry »

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The photo is from Sudden Weekly, June 30th-July 7th’s edition of the Hong Kong weekly magazine. The article features my boss and his interior design project in Fortress Hill, Hong Kong. I helped with the photo shoot. It was a pretty cool experience. The view from the apartment was amazing.

I played the stereotypical Asian guy with glasses studying diligently for his exams. Actually, it turned out better than expected. I didn’t really want them to take the photo but they insisted they needed a “model”.

Thanks to Sudden Weekly for making me look incredibly taller than I actually am but my feet look monstrous. I guess thats not a bad thing. Ha.

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Walking aimlessly around my office during lunch, I managed to find a cool tshirt/graphic store oddly placed on Gage Street, which is mostly dominated by food markets. Fill In The _____s creates their own line of tshirts, clothing and graphics. Their current limited edition tshirts are mostly influenced by Chinese propaganda and Maoist ideals. Check it out if you happen to be in the Soho, Central district of Hong Kong.

Fill in the _____s, G/F 47 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong, http://www.fitb.com.hk

Here are some pictures of the 'Art Of Hysteric' exhibit in the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre. I must say it was quite disappointing. Although, there wasn't much that could change my mind with the whole experience after walking through Hong Kong Park in the rain for 1/2 hour. I wasn't expecting much from the exhibit but it was awfully awfully small. I know it was free but it only took me 10 mins before I found myself walking out the door. There wasn't much I missed that I couldn't see from the brochure. Though I saw some nice pieces from Stash & Ariel, Mike Giant and Tatsunoho Baby (which btw i must say did a great job on that fucking hot ass girl) but overall, it wasn't particularly worth going to. Hysteric Glamour is seen as a street, urban label and to see their exhibit burrowed all the way in Hong Kong Park didn't seem appropriate. It definitely would have worked better in a small art gallery in the SoHo district of Central or in Causeway Bay. Nevertheless, enjoy the photos!

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