Monday, 30 April 2012

Jack Spade London Store

American menswear brand Jack Spade has selected London as the location of its first European store. With seven stores in the US and one in Japan, this is the ninth Jack Spade store in the world since the brand’s original shop opened on Greene Street in New York City in 1999.

The London store is located at 83 Brewer Street in the new mixed-use building Quadrant 3 in London’s Soho. It is also strategically close to prestigious and historical commercial areas of the British capital, such as Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus

The interior of the new 1,200 square foot retail space was conceived by designer Steven Sclaroff following a brief that respected the brand’s reputation as purveyor of casual, classic, and elegant clothes and accessories for men. To achieve this, Sclaroff designed an intimate and welcoming space decorated with cabinets and intricately detailed objects across one single room in one single floor. However, by opting for a double-height ceiling and for the subtle division of the shop floor into different thematic areas, the layout allows a sense of discovery as customers will be invited to travel through the different areas and engage not only with the merchandise but also with the displays and objects that construe the image and history of the brand.

In the London store, Jack Spade’s customers can expect the label’s full assortment of products including bags, clothing, wallets, ties, small goods, laptop and phone accessories, and other diverse accoutrements. When The Style Examiner paid a visit, we found ourselves spending a considerable amount of time admiring the small leather accessories, the stylish pocket squares, and the striking tote and weekend bags that come in different colours and materials. 

In addition, and rather importantly, on our visit we found a team of staff who were knowledgeable of the collections, supportive of the brand, and who naturally embraced the importance of providing efficient and friendly customer service. If this may seem like an obvious attitude for any business to thrive, it is undeniable that it is not as commonly found in London retail as one would expect. Although the shop has only been open for a few weeks, in a conversation with The Style Examiner, the store manager, Robert Grogan showed tremendous knowledge of menswear and of Jack Spade as a brand. Amongst other things, we discussed the collections’ cycles, assessed the success that the store has been having with consumers and the press, and debated the likelihood of expansion plans, such as the feasibility of opening a store in fashionable East London, or a store-in-store in a suitable multi-brand large-scale retailer.

Regardless of plans for the future, Jack Spade’s newest store in central London has already garnered a much deserved positive reputation amongst men in the British capital. The Style Examiner believes that, when shopping in London’s West End, many of us will find ourselves galloping towards this new corner of the city with the sole purpose of checking out what’s in store at Jack Spade.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

London Olympic Torch Wins Design of the Year 2012

British design studio Barber Osgerby have won the Design of the Year 2012 for their design of the London 2012 Olympic Torch. The overall winner was chosen from 89 entries to claim the winning title. The award, designed by Swarovski, was presented by Anya Hindmarch at the awards ceremony held at the Design Museum in London on 24 April. 

The London 2012 Olympic Torch by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.
Photographer Sandro Sodano

The London 2012 Olympic Torch is not only a symbol of the Olympic Games but it also addresses a demanding design brief. The aluminium-made torch will be carried over 8,000 miles and is perforated with 8,000 circular holes, each representing a bearer who will run with the torch. Aside from being decorative, the holes also act to reduce the weight of the torch and prevent heat from the flame being conducted to the bearer’s hand. 

The London 2012 Olympic Torch by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.
Photographer Sandro Sodano

Seven category awards were also presented at the ceremony:
  • The Architecture Award went to the London 2012 Velodrome.
  • The Fashion Award went to Issey Miyake 132.5 collection.
  • The Digital Award went to Kinect by Microsoft.
  • The Transport Award went to the redesign of the Emergency Ambulance.
  • The Graphic Award went to Nokia Pure, a font design that can adjust to all languages.
  • The Furniture Category was won by recent RCA graduate Kihyun Kim for his balsa wood 1.3 Chair.

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby with the London 2012 Olympic Torch
Photographer Luke Hayes
Architecture Winner - London 2012 Velodrome
Hopkins Architects
Fashion Winner - 132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE
Miyake Design Studio
Photographer Hiroshi Iwasaki

Digital Winner - Microsoft Kinect and Kinect SDK
Microsoft Games Studios, Microsoft Research and Xbox

Transport Winner - Re-design for Emergency Ambulance
Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Vehicle Design Department, RCA

Graphics Winner - Nokia Pure Font
Dalton Maag

Furniture Winner - 1.3 Chair, Balsa Furniture, Kihyun Kim
Photographer Nicola Tree

The London 2012 Olympic Torch and all other shortlisted designs are currently on show at the Design Museum in London until 4 July 2012.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

London Approves Plans for First New Theatre in 30 Years

London’s Westminster City Council has granted planning permission for a regeneration project in the city’s centre at Number One Oxford Street that will include the West End’s first new theatre in 30 years. The project of office, retail, theatre and public realm was designed by AHMM Architects and includes two nine-storey buildings between Charing Cross Road and Oxford Street, on the site formerly occupied by the Astoria and the Mean Fiddler.

The two buildings will comprise a total of 28,400 square meters of office space, 3,900 square meters of retail across three storeys, and 3,800 square meters for cultural use including the 350-450 seat theatre. This is all set around a 720 square meter plaza, creating a new public space opening views of St. Patrick's Church and the route to Soho Square.

Meanwhile, developer Almacantar has submitted plans for approval for a site just across the road from these two new buildings to convert the iconic 34-storey Centre Point office tower in London into 82 luxury residential flats. Almacantar, which is run by former Land Securities director Mike Hussey, bought Centre Point (designed by Richard Seifert in the 1960s) for £120 million two years ago after its previous owner Targetfollow went into administration.

The huge refurbishment would not see any part of the grade-II listed tower demolished. Instead, the building would be upgraded to cut energy consumption with new high performance glazing, a central combined heat and power system and sedum roof.

Architect Rick Mather has designed the proposed retail parts of the scheme whereas Conran & Partners have been responsible for the design proposals for the tower’s apartments.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Maison Martin Margiela Presents New Furniture Line

Maison Martin Margiela has unveiled its new range of furniture produced by cerruti baleri in the form of the installation ‘Chers Voisins’ (‘Dear Neighbours’) at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. For the display, the Maison created a temporary apartment that blends interior architecture and design in a style inspired by real life, disproportion and trompe-l’oeil.

As visitors enter the space, suspended ‘door rugs’ reveal the rooms apertures. In the dining room, night time reigns with a disco-ball ottoman and ‘bottle lamps’ set on the floor. New ‘parquet’ and ‘tile’ print carpets reveal the kitchen and the bathroom. The living room plays up perspective and dimension with a checkerboard floor and undersized furniture. Mouldings are interrupted and a wallpaper displays X-rayed paintings.

To illustrate an interior day-time environment, a white room is hung with diminishing curtains that echo the asymmetric ‘Telo’ headboard. The ‘Sbilenco’ console and the ‘Lazy’ table accentuate the sense of imbalance and disproportion. Dressed in white jackets, the adjacent dressing room presents the ‘Lolo’ armoury. Guest exit the apartment through the garden decorated with the ‘Groupe’ sofa set and white ‘Emmanuelle’ armchairs. Even the sky over the garden is in trompe l’oeil, bearing Second Empire salon paintings borrowed from the Hotel La Maison Champs- Elysees.

The furniture line by Maison Martin Margiela is one of the company’s 13 lines of products, which also includes clothes and accessories, designed to create a branded lifestyle universe.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Façonnable and Italia Independent Unveil Sunglasses Collection

Façonnable, the French high-end retailer that specialises in tailored men's and women's clothing, has just unveiled an exclusive collection of limited-edition sunglasses in Monte Carlo during the ATP tournament. The collection, produced in partnership with Italia Independent, is exclusively available for a limited time in all Façonnable stores worldwide, including the online boutique.

The frames feature a colourful striped motif along the frames and matching tinted lenses to illustrate how Italian design and French Riviera allure can be perfectly combined. The sunglasses (which come in blue, turquoise, orange, yellow, pink and green) also have a philanthropic aspect to them as Façonnable will donate a portion of sales of the pink shade from the collection to The Lyla Nsouli Foundation for Children's Brain Cancer Research, a UK registered charity.

For more information visit

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Veja Footwear and Accessories: Style with a Conscience

With its exciting ranges of footwear and accessories, Veja is a footwear and accessories brand that has been on The Style Examiner’s radar for a while. Since it was established in Paris in 2004, the company has been growing from strength to strength and have never forgotten their eco-friendly and sustainable credentials. Instead, they have produced stylish designs while always striving to manufacture shoes and bags with a conscience.

Since it was founded, Veja has been working with co-operatives of small producers in Brazil that use organic cotton and wild rubber to create trainers that respect the environment as well as human and workers’ rights. Even the product packaging is made of recycled and recyclable cardboard of reduced dimensions to optimize efficiency.

Once finished, Veja trainers are transported by boat from Porto Alegre, in Brazil, to Le Havre in France. Upon arrival, the trainers travel in barges along the canals to the Parisian suburbs. The Atelier Sans Frontières (an association that promotes the social, professional and personal development of people facing social exclusion by helping them find work) then becomes responsible for storing and distributing the trainers to stores.

Veja prefers not to advertise; instead, it uses the resources saved by integrating them back into the production chain, thus allowing for the farmers and producers with whom Veja works to be reasonably remunerated. Production is also tightly controlled and Veja only manufactures orders placed six months in advance. This means that no extra stock is made and that production has to adapt to the availability of organic cotton. As a consequence, sometimes Veja has to reduce the quantities ordered by retailers to reflect the harvest.

If most designs produced by Veja have been outstandingly stylish, one of their most popular footwear lines – Veja Mediterranée – manages to combine effortless elegance with environmental conscience very successfully. The shoes are a cross between a sneaker and a boat shoe, and come in several colour combinations that have made them very coveted since they were launched a year ago.

For more information, visit

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Regent Street Windows Project 2012

This April, Regent Street, one of London’s premier shopping destinations, will be transformed by some of the world’s best up-and-coming architects as part of the Regent Street Windows Project, organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

As part of the project (now in its third year), architects have been challenged to create spatial installations that reflect their retail partner’s brand, as well as their own practice, while also responding to this year’s overarching theme of ‘Play’. The end result is a veritable outdoor exhibition open to the public until 6 May 2012.

Banana Republic - Ushida Findlay Architects and Visitor Studio

Banana Republic - Ushida Findlay Architects and Visitor Studio

Banana Republic - Ushida Findlay Architects and Visitor Studio

This year’s partnered architects and retailers are:
  • Banana Republic - Ushida Findlay Architects and Visitor Studio
  • Ferrari - Feix & Merlin
  • Bose - 00:/
  • TM Lewin - Liddicoat & Goldhill
  • Reiss - De Matos Ryan
  • Anthropologie - Gort Scott
  • Folli Follie - Studio Egret West
  • Moss Bros - Delvendahl Martin Architects
Furthermore, and following the success of the Regent Street Windows Project, the RIBA is collaborating with the British Council and Shui On Development Limited to export the concept to Shanghai as part of the UK Now festival, which celebrates British creative talent in China. Using the same model as the London project, the Shanghai project will partner nine London architects with nine prominent retailers in Shanghai to design and create eye-catching displays in the windows of the Xintiandi Style shopping centre during September 2012.

To have an idea of what the project looks like, view a film of the 2011 Regent Street Windows Project below: 

For more information, visit the RIBA website

Ferrari - Feix & Merlin

Ferrari - Feix & Merlin
Bose - 00:/

Bose - 00:/

Bose - 00:/

Bose - 00:/

TM Lewin - Liddicoat & Goldhill

TM Lewin - Liddicoat & Goldhill

TM Lewin - Liddicoat & Goldhill

TM Lewin - Liddicoat & Goldhill 
Reiss - De Matos Ryan

Reiss - De Matos Ryan

Anthropologie - Gort Scott

Anthropologie - Gort Scott

Anthropologie - Gort Scott
Folli Follie - Studio Egret West

Folli Follie - Studio Egret West

Moss Bros - Delvendahl Martin Architects

Moss Bros - Delvendahl Martin Architects
Moss Bros - Delvendahl Martin Architects

Photography © Agnese Sanvito