Wednesday, 31 July 2013

IAD unveils masterplan for 2015 Pan-African Games in Brazzaville, Congo

I admit that, in the vast majority of times, the architecture of buildings designed for sports purposes do not fill me with much joy and interest. Such buildings tend to be either rather bland or extremely ostentatious, particularly when their purpose and sustained legacy are taken into account. However, I could not help but feeling drawn to the recently unveiled renderings of the masterplan proposal for the 2015 Pan-African Games in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo (and host city of the inaugural Pan-African Games 50 years ago) by architecture practice IAD (Independent Architectural Diplomacy).

The masterplan’s layout mirrors the vitality and the sinuous paths of the Congo River to delineate three programmatic areas and organise public spaces, whereas the design proposed for the buildings is inspired by the oblong shapes often found in traditional African crafts, textiles and fabrics. In total, the masterplan includes a stadium with 68,406 seats, two training fields, an aquatic centre with two swimming pools and seating areas for 1,000 people, a 10,000-seat sports hall, an athlete’s village with 2,000 rooms occupying 84,000 square meters, and a 120-room hotel. With such ambitious scales and seductive renderings, The Style Examiner much hopes that IAD’s vision can be translated into reality, not only for the benefit of the athletes taking part in the 2015 Pan-African Games but also for the pleasure of architecture lovers worldwide.

Images © Independent Architectural Diplomacy

Clarks autumn/winter 2013 men’s shoes: embracing the heritage of footwear

Over the last few weeks, anyone who has paid a visit to a Clarks store must have realised that the British footwear brand has been making its autumn/winter 2013 men's collection available in a piecemeal fashion. As summer days start becoming shorter, Clarks’ predominant trends for next season have been slowly emerging to reveal an embrace of the heritage of style, with a particular emphasis on the Edwardian era and the 1990s grunge subculture.

For the impending colder months, Clarks has fused a nostalgic appreciation for a bygone sense of masculine style with contemporary colours, materials, details and the realm of sportswear in brogues, lace-ups, buckled and strapped shoes that feature a colour palette of classic black, rich browns and burgundy. Reinterpreted styles from the brand’s archives incorporate modern details such as fabric and colour-pop laces in a varied collection of shoes and boots that, in spite of a cautious reliance on traditional designs, will most certainly appeal to many male consumers.

Founded in 1825 by Cyrus and James Clark in the town of Street in Somerset, England, after the brothers realised that they could make slippers from the off-cuts of their sheepskin rug business, Clarks has grown to become a global business with its shoes (which are sold in around 1,000 stores in 160 countries) generating a turnover of £1.3 billion.

Images courtesy of Clarks

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

UNStudio to Design Yongjia World Trade Center in Wenzhou, China

Architecture practice UNStudio was recently announced as the winner of the competition to design the Yongjia World Trade Center in Wenzhou, the Chinese city in the Yangtze River Delta region. Located in the Oubei Sanjiang Area of Wenzhou, the concept proposes five towers ranging between 146 and 287 meters that will accommodate office spaces, commercial areas, residential apartments and a hotel across 500,000 square meters of building surface.

Image © UNStudio

Reiss menswear autumn/winter 2013

For its autumn/winter 2013 menswear collection British fashion brand Reiss found inspiration in the images produced by Czech author and illustrator Miroslav Sasek for his This Is series of children’s books. Not only do Sasek’s popular drawings illustrate the daily activities performed by grown-ups with a playful approach but they are also renowned for conjuring an idea of mid-twentieth century classic elegance, an ideal starting point for a collection that Reiss’ creative director James Spreckley describes as being anchored by “sartorial finesse and elegance with a new modern spirit”.

Underpinning an overall sense of refinement and masculinity, the collection explores modern silhouettes and balanced proportions to great effect, with emphasis on three-piece suits, pea coats, reinterpreted military overcoats, leather jackets, bomber jackets, fur collars, and checks and houndstooth patterns. The choice of fabrics reflects the importance of the notions of maturity and sophistication in the high-quality wools, cashmere and Italian leather which come in a colour palette of black, white, soft greys, blues, burgundy, dark browns, camel, custard, moss green and accents of teal and bright orange.

Photographs courtesy of Reiss