A Taste of Trends

Reopening culture in world cities: adapting to the new reality

Cultural venues are introducing a huge range of distancing and hygiene measures – from managing visitor routes and extending opening hours to installing screens and new ventilation systems. While it is often national governments determining the rules, cities have a vital role to play in interpreting the regulations, and providing guidance for their local context and needs of the sector. The Cities of Vienna and Los Angeles have worked directly with public health departments to launch guidelines for cultural venues with extensive sector consultation. via

Capital gains: what is driving the demand for high-end homes in London?

Prices in prime central London have in fact held firm throughout the year, with pockets of buoyancy and some record sales: a treble-fronted, 62,000 sq ft white stucco mansion on Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, owned by the Saudi royal family, was sold to Chinese businessman Cheung Chung-Kiu for a record £210m in January, in a deal brokered by Gary Hersham, founder of Beauchamp Estates. It followed what has been billed as the ‘Boris Bounce’, with the super-rich deciding that 2020 was the year to snap up luxury homes in London. via

Snøhetta Busan Opera House

A cultural architecture design, Snøhetta was winner of the Busan Opera House Competition in 2012.

The elements of heaven, earth and water make up the layout of the attraction, with these meeting areas surfacing and touching. Using soft wrapping, the skin of the building is protection to the foyer, which is laid against panels of glass and marble.Busan-Opera-Snohetta-3

Residential Architecture – Architecture as Branding (Part 2 of 2)

© 2012, by Opus Hong Kong 

The second part of a two-part series of posts (Link to Part One on Retail Architecture) regarding architecture as branding focuses on residential architecture.

Frank Gehry’s recently completed residential building, Opus Hong Kong is located in one of the prime real estate land in Hong Kong, undoubtedly also a prime real estate land in the world. The exclusivity of this residential building is amplified as this is the renowned architect’s first residential building in Asia. The luxurious residential building overlooking Victoria Harbour is nested in the forest with 12 luxury residential units, and 10 unique apartments in one of the busiest cities in the world. These characteristics branded the residential building to be one of the most exclusive in the world.

One of the units is reportedly sold for $ 61 million (More information on the Wall Street Journal Blog) to measure the success of this piece of architecture. This is Asia’s highest price per square foot, with London’s One Hyde Park by Richard Rogers  taking the top spot for the highest real estate price per square foot.


“They’re selling it not as an apartment, they’re selling it as a masterpiece… It’s just like buying artwork”


Mr Wong Leung-Sing, Head of Research at Centaline Property Agency was quoted as saying.

Venice Biennale 2012

© 2012, by Naoya Hatakeyama 

Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale continues to be one of the most respected cultural institutions. Initially launched as an International Art Exhibition, the Biennale eventually expanded into other areas such as music, cinema, theatre, architecture, and dance.

The Architecture Exhibition, one that I follow closely, was launched in 1980. It is one of the most important event on the architectural calendar. This year, David Chipperfield was appointed as the Director and Curator for the Architecture Exhibition. The exhibition titled Common Ground will present 69 projects, with participants from the likes of Toyo Ito (Awarded Best Pavilion 2012 for his Japan Pavilion shown in the image above)

David Chipperfield speaks about Common Ground:

“We began by asking a limited group of architects to develop ideas that might lead to further invitations: everyone was asked to propose a project along with a dialogue that reacted to the theme and showed architecture in its context of influence and affinity, history and language, city and culture.


We want to emphasise the common ground that the profession shares, notwithstanding the apparent diversity of today’s architectural production. The sharing of differences is critical to the idea of an architectural culture.”

The exhibition is open until 25 November 2012.

Retail Architecture – Architecture as Branding (Part 1 of 2)















© 2012, by Louis Vuitton

In today’s competitive world, many individuals and companies seek to stand out from their peers. One of the ways to become outstanding amongst strong competitors include commissions of high profile architects to build offices, residence etc. This new age of high profile architecture is using architecture as a branding tool.The first part of a three-part series on Architecture as Branding views the topic in terms of retail architecture.

Aside from superior craftsmanship, various collaborations with prominent artists and designers such as Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami to name a few, Louis Vuitton, one of the leading international fashion houses has a reputation as one of the most influential trendsetter in retail architecture.

Besides the brand’s growing e-commerce business, 460 and more stores globally, the fashion house had also launched 16 Maisons (the latest in Shanghai, China). It is not called a “store” but a “maison” (translated to “house” in french) simply because it is more than just a store, the Maisons are “Reflecting Louis Vuitton’s art-de-vivre and savoir-faire, conceived as the home of a collector… opportunities to discover new and exciting experiences.”

Opened in 2011 in Singapore, the first Louis Vuitton Maison in South East Asia is located at Marina Bay Sands. According to representatives from Louis Vuitton, it is inspired by travellers with a nautical spirit. Designed by prolific architects Peter Marino and Moshe Safdie, the former with an extensive portfolio in retail architecture, the architecture of this Maison sits on an island. With a striking façade, it is built using glass and steel structure. Using architecture to establish the presence of the brand in Singapore and South East Asia, the architecture of this Maison extends to the interior, to include a grand 11 metres ceiling height in the Women’s Universe area.

For an aerial view of the Louis Vuitton Island Maison, have a look at the video:

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012

© 2012, by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

The twelfth commission for the annual summer Pavilion at Serpentine Gallery in London (June 1st – October 14th, 2012) is designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. For the first time, the entire interior is made of cork and can hold up to 200 people. Above the Pavilion’s round steel roof lays a thin layer of water (25mm) that reflects the surroundings and the changes in the skyline.

The design is a response to the previous pavilions like from Frank Gehry and SANAA. This year, the architects and artist gave a new life to the past memories of former pavilions, by constructing on site and utilizing ghosts of each pavilion to form what is there today. Each pavilion from year 2000 to 2012 is given a column within the space of the pavilion, with each post extruding out of the foundation and the twelfth column as a part of this commission.

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