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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]

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96 Hours

September 10, 2006

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96 Hours is the end result of the collaboration from Puma and designer Neil Barrett. The collection is urban, smart and meant for the style conscious on-the-go traveler/urbanite. I’d write more about it but you might as well read the philosophy of the brand Y-3. Because it’s LITERALLY Puma’s answer to their head rival Adidas and their collaberation project with Yohji Yamamoto, Y-3.

96 Hours is available via retailers in various cities. Unfortunately not available (suprised?) in Canada yet.

Bar Rouge, Shanghai

August 23, 2006

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Bar Rouge is one of the hottest spots in Shanghai. Right smack in the historic Bund district in Shanghai. Its chic, its classy, its elegent. The musics banging and so are the women. Ah, the women..if only I wasn’t short..damn genetics..haha. The design of the place and the interiors are second to none. It’s layout is terrific in terms of sitting, lounging and if you’re in the mood, theres plenty of room to dance. The crowds mainly in the range of late 20s to middle aged 50 (felt kinda out of place) but regardless of how old you are, it’s still one of the coolest places to grab a drink in Shanghai. Suprisingly, drinks aren’t quite that expensive as I thought. I believe a beer was only 50 rmb. Be sure to check out if you’re in Shanghai. The view of the Pudong skyline from patio area is priceless.

For more photos (only managed to take 2 good photos), follow the link below:
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.

Macau Redux

June 26, 2006

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Hardly getting any sleep during the weekend and with a mild case of heat stroke, I still managed to take a couple of photos with my camera. Click here to take a look at some of my photos.

To TurboJet Express Ferry Service: if you want your passengers to not freak out on the ferry, maybe its wise NOT to play the FULL trailer to 'Poseidon'. They don't have to show it twice, going to and from Macau. I know they're selling advertising space but some things just aren't appropriate. You're not gonna see 'United 93' on a plane I'll tell you that.

Macau Baby Macau!

June 24, 2006


Damn doesn't have the same ring as Vegas but it'll do. Going to Macau for the weekend so nothing but gambling and hookers! 😉

Rooms of Hotel Du Petit Moulin in Paris

If you're in a big metropolitan, boutique hotels are the best places to stay when it comes to hotels that are stylish and affordable. But boutique hotels has been over done and over done, people are looking for something new. Even the legendary Ian Schrager, one of the pioneers who started the trendy boutique hotel idea, mentioned boutique hotels (otherwise known as 'cheap chic' hotels) were over with. Although he went into a different direction with his Gramercy Park Hotel project, many have tapped into the art world to create a new breed of hotels. Art themed hotels have been popping all around Europe particularly France, England and Spain. The concept allows different artists and interior designers to work together and design each individual room. This provides guests to have a different experience from the people in the next room. It's definitely fresh, unconventional and kinda neat to pick an unique room to your own liking. I don't know how successful these hotels will become but these hotels are an experience onto itself especially when boutique hotels have become generic. Check out some of these themed hotels (Be sure to check out Jean Nouvel's contribution to Hotel Puerta America – simple amazing):

Hotel Du Petit Moulin – Paris Hotel Pelirocco – UK Hotel Puerta America – Madrid

Been away from Toronto for a while now and I just found out that West 8 won the competition to revitalize Toronto's much needed waterfront. It looks to be very interesting in terms of design. I especially like the curvy bridges connecting the current harbour-front with the proposed man-made ports. I especially don't like the huge maple leaf island they proposed. I know nationalism is important but lets not get carried away with the maple leaf. You don't see the Americans with a huge island of a star. I would like to see more commercial development in their plans as it would be great to do some ACTUAL shopping along the boardwalk (stuffed beaver toys and maple syrup don't count). But overall, it seems like a well thought out proposal and will go nicely with the Expo 2015 bid if we win. Currently, its not a bad place to go but there's really not much to do other than skating in the winter and going for a stroll during the summer. Hopefully this project will change that.

Link

Superfuture Toronto Maps

June 16, 2006

Yeah. I'm extremely procrastinating at work and even though its only 5 00 and I got at least 3 more hours before I can leave, I feel like I already called it a day. Anyhow, been surfing the web and going on practically every single site I've been to, I jumped to the Superfuture forums. If you haven't heard or been to Superfuture (www.superfuture.com), its a great site for global shoppers where you can find a database of where to buy things all over the world. Incredibly useful if you're looking for rarities, where all the trendy spots are or what people are buying in general. Noticed that they have FINALLY finished the Toronto maps for Superfuture. Check it out. It's definitely not has elaborate as the maps of New York, Tokyo or Hong Kong and there are definitely a lot of cool stores/bars that seem to be missing but nevertheless, its still pretty cool to look at especially if its your hometown.

Click to Enlarge