#JJStyle: Form, Shape, Colour, and Matter Matters

Look what i’m very much into at this moment. By the looks of the photographs of the latest products to come out of Hong Kong above… you can probably tell why. Modern Form? Check. Color Blocking? Check. Simplicity? Check. References to to Art and Architectural History like Art Deco, Post Modernism, the Bauhaus, Hopper, Warhol, Hockney, and Max Huber? Check.

The new Hong Kong based accessories label, Matter Matters, puts its fresh designer, Flora Leung, on the forefront of what and why “Design” really “matters” in Hong Kong, NOW. Since launching the brand at a pop-up shop at K11 end of 2013, Leung’s amazingly sharp and classic collection has been covered by the likes of Blouin Artinfo, Refinery29, Vogue Italia, and NOWFASHION. It’s really great that this is coming out of Hong Kong, and too an amazing testament to Leung, who’s had enough of a vision to get her act together to provide a niche product for the local market, which also happens to speak to a global fashion and design audience.

Years of working at a vintage shop selling Chanel’s and Hermes Kelly bags, allowed Leung to observe and see what it is that people are really into. And time and time again, they would always purchase classic bags over seasonal trendy styles. This got her thinking about her own label, Matter Matters, which she actually debuted and developed for her graduate show at the London College of Fashion in 2012. 

"Why do designers have to rack their brains and constantly come up with new designs," asks Leung in an interview, “You can pay a bit more effort and design something timeless that will run for years, even decades.”

The monogram and logo-free label now consists of fun bags… some an homage to the triangle shape, others an homage to dumplings, plus wallets, totes, and watches for both men and women fans of the label. Check out my own Matter Matters “Bay” Wristwatch via my Instagram account, below

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So talented…. and this is only the first collection!

SHOP Matter Matters Online . Matter Matters Gallery at K11 Select, Shop 101, No.18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, HK .T: +852 98894198 . For Stockists in Paris and Shanghai, Click Here

JJ.

SG_WOMEN_615x100 New Season

#theWanderlist: Menswear For All, New York City

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Going to New York City for work and play gave me a chance to make some visits to a few cool destination stores by my favorite brands, for men. If you’re a guy and you only have a day or two to fit in some shopping in the city, I strongly suggest highlighting Nolita and Bleecker Streets to your lists, since these two neighborhoods carry a good selection of casual menswear brands to fit most tastes.

Please note, nothing in my NYC #wanderlist covers formalwear or suiting, but there are some selections available at a few of these stores that can offer a full range of styles for most any occasion. (For bespoke suiting, I recommend the NYC outpost of Hong Kong’s iconic menswear tailor, The Armoury.)

+ FINE THREADS // Black Fleece on Bleecker Street

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In 2007, Brooks Brothers launched a youth oriented label,Black Fleece, in collaboration with Mr. Thom Browne, who won the 2006 CFDA Award Winner for menswear just a year before. Yearning to break free aesthetically, from their main Brooks Brothers line, the Black Fleece label allows for the brand to offer a selection of menswear for a new generation of guys who may not be so familiar with the traditional Brooks Brothers suiting, but are ready to embrace elements of “dandy” suiting in their day-to-day lives. With Black Fleece, designer Thom Browne gets to make clothing for a wider demographic of men who seek to embrace his modern look, underpinned by the Brooks Brothers level of quality and craftsmanship.

The corner store on Bleecker Street is intimate, carrying both men and women’s. Customers and staff know each other there on a first name basis, and when I went, everyone who showed up at the store, were pretty much return customers. This is a good thing for me to notice, especially because the clothes are so playfully quirky and a-traditional. I suppose the intimacy in shopping experience for Black Fleece is really about the support of their customers who just “get” the brand concept from the get-go. (And FYI, the service quality in Hong Kong’s flagship on Wyndham Street is absolutely the same level. Top notch and personal. I hope they keep it up!)

+ STREET STYLE // Saturday’s Surf NYC on Crosby Street

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Yes, Saturday’s is an urban shop in New York City for those into surfing culture. I know… crazy right, because where can you actually surf in Manhattan!? While I was there, twice, during my last trip, I did witness a guy purchase a surfboard and then packing it up on the spot. So yes, in New York City, surf sells at Saturday’s Surf NYC.

Saturday’s is essentially a casual men’s shop selling “street style” with a splattering of elegant buttoned down looks and up-market T’s and sweatshirts. The reason why I support this local brand, which first opened its doors in 2009, is that while it speaks to a particularly niche and quirky customer (urbanites who are engrossed in surfing culture), its collection… from apparel, to bags, to shoes, to accessories, pretty much have a strong and consistent aesthetic base line which a broader design-focused demographic can appreciate. Everything is either grey, black, or primary colors in palette, and for the patterns or stripes that appear in their collection, it’s pretty bold in a pop art kind of way… yet clean and modern. This kind of stylistic integrity is a great position to be in, especially for a young brand wanting to make a mark in casual street wear.

Some of my favorite things about the shop… browsing Saturdays Magazine, the brand’s modern take on the classic surfer magazine and checking out the back garden where you can just sit and chill with a cup of delicious La Colombe coffee from their destination coffee shop in store.

+ ARMED CANDY // Miansai on Crosby Street

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Miansai’s Crosby Street location in Nolita has only been operating for less than a year (opened in December 2013), but already it seems like the flagship has been there since the establishment of its brand in 2008. Founded in Miami, by New York born, Michael Saiger, Miansai’s men’s jewellery is now coolly retailed in 40 US States and 36 countries, including Mr. Porter (which ships internationally), and Kapok, Harvey Nichols, and Lane Crawford, here in Hong Kong.

The Crosby street location offers the full array of Miansai’s products, plus leather goods, with all items Made in the USA by its team of 30 craftsmen. If you’ve been shopping in Asia, and think you’ve seen all of what Miansai has to offer re: nautical themed bracelets, think again, this tiny shop in New York carries everything you’ve seen and so much more, including new designs, fixings, and clasps, recently launched for its 2014 collection of wares.

My favorite is the cuff design,  made of .925 Sterling Silver, 14K Gold and Rose Gold, and for some items, 18K Gold. Have a sip and sit in the in-house tea room as you enjoy browsing and the trying on of all things Miansai. (FYI. You can also build your own bracelet.)

+ CURATED STYLE // Odin New York on Lafayette

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10 year old menswear boutique, Odin, has been on the curated menswear scene way before menswear became a staple on everything from everyone’s Pinterest and TUMBLR boards, to their multiple-broque closets. Founded by partners, Paul Birardi (ex-buyer at Macy’s) and Eddy Chai (ex-advertising art director), Odin has held their own, courting working gents from all walks of life who care about fashion and style, plus now college students and even some female shoppers.

The store on Lafayette Street, a 2000 square foot, ex-Chinese Noodles factory, was a hands-on experience for the founders, building and designing everything themselves to house menswear multi-brands from the ground up. Since establishing the boutique, Odin has collaborated with American retail giants like Target, the Gap, and boutique labels like Matsuda, Rag & Bone, Common Projects, Mark McNairy, Alex Mill, Todd Snyder, and Engineered Garments.

The Lafayette Street shop offers personal styling services for a wide range of products available from the house’s own label to the likes of Thom Browne’s main line, which I bought a few pieces on sale.

+ ALL AROUND STYLE // Club Monaco Men’s on 5th

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Not quite in Nolita and Bleecker (we’re talking 5th Avenue), but just a walk away from the iconic burger joint, Shake Shack in Madison Square Park where my friend Andy and I had our lunch, is the heaven that is Club Monaco’s 5th Avenue store. I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed about all things Club Monaco (and its been a few years now), since I’ve done style collaborations with them in Hong Kong years ago and since their menswear line was taken on board by Menswear designer, Aaron Levine.

The 5th Avenue store is indeed a mecca for those who are “Club Monanites” (okay Made this moniker up) offering a full selection of CM classics, essentials, and specialty seasonal items in playful prints, colors, and elegant (ie. non baggy) and fitting menswear silhouettes. Accessories and outerwear complement easy to wear CM items from the brand and partner “Made-In-America” labels. Shoes include a great selection from Grenson and New Balance. The huge two-story store looks like an old-time Department Store from the turn of the century, and also fits a florist, a bookstore by the Strand, and an outpost by my favorite Williamsburg café, Toby’s, for those inclined to stay awhile after a full shopping experience.

+ GROOMING // Fellow Barber on Crosby St,

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On Crosby Street adjacent to Miansai and Saturday’s, be sure to check out, Fellow Barber, one of four of these barber locations in New York City and Brooklyn. Fellow Barber is committed to offering all patrons a traditional barbershop experience without the pretense of a salon. Because everything is “traditional”, all Fellow Barbers are expertly trained to provide classic men’s cuts with straight-razor shaves.

The shop on Crosby Street carries a wide array of products, including shaving kits, body soaps, and moustache/beard wax for the discernible gentleman.

SHOP Black Fleece West Village . 351 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 . T: +12129292763 /  SHOP Saturday’s Surf NYC . 31 Crosby Street, New York NY 10013 . T: +12129667875 / SHOP Miansai Nolita . 33 Crosby Street, New York NY . T: +12128589710 / SHOP Odin New York Nolita/SOHO . 199 Lafayette Street, New York NY . T: +12129660026 / SHOP Club Monaco on 5th Avenue . 160 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010 . T: +12123520936 / VISIT Fellow Barber Nolita . 33 Crosby Street, New York NY . T: +12129296014

JJ.

SG_WOMEN_615x100 New Season

#JJStyle: Climbing High, the Kapok Bracelet Collection

Those who follow me on Instagram and on this blog, know that for this year i’ve completely re-feng-shui’d my life. And Because of this… i’ve got a few additional style items in the home and on me that I have to incorporate and get used to. For example, like I need to make sure that I have a continuously running water feature on the South corner of my flat, and having to constantly wear blue (or white or black), avoiding red at all costs on my persons, and (this one I like) getting used to wearing gold, silver, or metallic jewellery… and lots of it. 

Before this I never used to wear jewellery because I thought it was silly and lacked purpose (I used to be more of a no-bracelet-flair-one-watch-guy). Boy have I changed.

If you’ve seen my Instagram the last two months alone, you’d notice some newfound arm candy that i’ve been hooked on to since discovering certain brands, like Miansai, which are considered jewellery, and have real gold and silver elements which matched my whole dapper look. The best thing about Miansai is, it doesn’t look like traditional jewellery, but it counts towards my feng shui prescription, and looks great in a suit or on the beach. I purchased my first Miansai at Hong Kong’s curated shop, Kapok, just a couple of months ago… a golden cuff.

Now, months later, Kapok (also a fashion and accessories label) is releasing their own line of bracelets which basically gives Miansai a run for its money. Dubbed the Kapok Bracelets Collection, the collection, produced in limited quantities, is really tailored for guys and gals who love the rougher things in life like sports and being outdoors. The collection was launched by Kapok’s co-founder, Carlos Granon, who himself is an avid rock climbing enthusiast… hence the bracelet’s rock climbing inspired details like the incorporation of rope knots methodology, pulley systems, and harness clasps. Two styles, the Kalymnos and the Yosemite, are named after two renowned climbing spots in the Aegean Sea in Greece and in California, respectively.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a few. Bye Bye Miansai! (maybe?) 

Enjoy the photos of the bracelets on actual rock climbers, set against the Hong Kong skyline’s gorgeous backdrop.

WEAR Kapok Bracelet Collection . Kapok Online / Kapok on 5 St. Francis Yard, Wanchai, Hong Kong . T: +852-25499254

JJ.

SG_WOMEN_615x100 New Season

#theWanderlist: Intersecting Art and Design at West Chelsea’s Hotel Americano

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After my six day stay in Williamsburg, I packed up my bags and moved to the opposite end of the map, to Manhattan’s West side, where I spent my last two nights at the Enrique Norten-designed, Hotel Americano. Enrique Norten’s firm, TEN Arquitectos, is originally from Mexico, however projects like Grupo Habita’s 56 room boutique- Hotel Americano, opening in 2011, helped Norten establish a permanent presence in New York.

Compared to Williamsburg, the West Chelsea/High Line art district, is too a bit off the grid from Manhattan’s usual buzzy and traffic-crazed neighborhoods. So technically, staying at Hotel Americano, with its chain-mail clad facade veiling the hotel like a soft protective blanket, gives the building a character of introvertedness re-establishing a getaway experience right in the middle of the city.

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The rooms have this minimalist Japanese x Scandinavian ambiance, with all the beds low on a timber-finish staging area. I stayed at the “Downtown King” room, where the soft glow of the window provides, a subtle Rothko-esque backdrop… and lifting this curtain allows for a more dramatic urban backdrop through the picture window. 

Materials are minimal… mirrored stainless steel working desks, fair-faced concrete flooring cool the touch, white marble tiles within the bathroom’s interiors, a glass and steel partition with a fritted pattern separating the shower from the bedroom area… all very modern reflecting contemporary architecture palate without losing the comfort sensibilities of “home”.

There are aspects of the room which is considered luxury… the iPad with an amazing selection of music and muzak which I had playing in the background the whole time, a great selection of self-labeled snacks (like the rich sea salt chocolate bar which everyone needs to try), and (the one item I loved the most), a bathrobe in soft denim. It’s fantastic.Unfortunately some items, ie. room speakers were not working (they are supposed to easily connect to the iPad), no complimentary drinking water in the room, and no coffee machine. But those are minor gripes for a hotel with just the right amount of comfort and generally amazing low key and personal Manhattan service.

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Public areas are cozy yet not cramped. The design is very streamlined and completely Manhattan-modern-minimalist done right. Ok, at the very least it reflects the general ambiance of this area of Chelsea, with the neighborhood’s rustic factory facades and cool gallery interiors of every ground floor space. I loved the negative/positives of President Obama in cool Instagram-ish glory in the lobby’s sitting area. We think we’re cool? He’s definitely been there and done that.

Speaking of “gallery interiors”, it was so cool to meet up with Hong Kong-turned-Manhattan graphic designer, Danielle Huthart, and art critic / consultant of everything, Shana Beth Mason, together for an art + hotel jazz brunch on my last sunny Saturday in the city before jetting back to Hong Kong.  According to the latest M art map, I counted roughly 200 gallery spaces in West Chelsea around Hotel Americano. Like Shana says, the West Chelsea art scene is largely commercial, and the real experimental stuff worth seeing is in the Lower East Side (understandably). However, we’re already here for brunch, so we might as well see what’s around right?

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Some cool shows we saw, digital prints on canvas by Linda Meiko Allen, titled Figmenta, closing July 31st, 2014 at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

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Physical large scale collage works on display by Gabi Trinkaus at Claire Oliver which ends this month.

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PACE Prints Chelsea has the latest neon works by Ryan McGinness on display.

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Our two favourite shows… this sexy one, titled Goldenboy by Jeff Bark, which has since ended at the Hasted Kraeutler, consisting of prints and a sculptural tableaux.

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And we also loved these very formal, yet hyper-real paintings by Pierre Dorion at the Jack Shainman Gallery.

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Every year, Paul Kasmin’s gallery exhibits a free curated not-for-sale-show. I was so lucky to have been there when the space across the street from Hotel Americano was curating a superb show by Russian-Jewish painter Chaim Soutine, noted for his amazingly thick and messy brush strokes in muted colours, depicting animals and items he finds at the market. Not since a 1950 MoMA retrospective of his work has all his works made it for a non-sell exhibition under one roof.

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A complimentary show by Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin’s other space on the corner of 10ave and Hotel Americano’s 27th street, feature vibrant watercolors of animal creatures from various fables depicted in a very illustrative moments.

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Architecture lovers will love walking around the the neighborhood to revel in buildings that seemingly never age…

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And the new sky-high mansions that take their place. This one below attempts at the quirk factor.

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There are some more cool buildings, as one gets further south around W. 14th Street, like this Samsung shop with a twisted tower. If you know the designer’s name, please let me know!

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There’s a wonderful building on 66 Ninth Avenue, called the Porter House, by SHoP Architects (with the black facade and vertical LED stripes.) You can’t miss it. It’s almost a landmark. It’a warehouse turned residential building.

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Speaking of twisted, watch out for Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum to open next year.

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And along the High Line park (a newly opened public green park ON TOP of the old High Line railroad tracks) designed by Diller + Scofidio, there’s an architectural view of  the big everything else; the “white sails” building by Frank Gehry dubbed the IAC, on the West Side Highway, and adjacent to it Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue. 

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Speaking of the High Line, the second phase of the tracks just opened up, and it’s wonderful to be there. Views are framed… literally.

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As for the first phase, the area closest to the Meatpacking District… the park’s architecture and its fixtures, are aging quite elegantly.

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Across the street there’s a cool concept store called, STORY… claiming to have a “point of view of a magazine, changing like a gallery, and selling things like a store.” So basically the shop’s VM changes four times a year to a theme. And when I was there, the theme was “COOL”… which is appropriate for the summer. The “COOL” idea is reflected in the lightweight structure of straws, and held together by snowflake fixings at its intersection.

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For restaurants, you can check out fusion-dim sum at the new, Buddakan NYC, a “modern-Asian” dining destination in a converted cookie factory designed by Christian Liaigre and founded by Stephen Starr also of Chelsea’s Morimoto. I enjoyed my drinks and food here and wish I had more than just bar snacks. The staff were very friendly, and the innovative selections, like their classic, “Edamame Dumplings”, is something definitely to look forward to, again on my next visit. It’s adjacent to the Chelsea Market… you won’t miss it.

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I will miss this neighborhood. It’s in the middle of Manhattan, yet generally less rushed and more relaxed.

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Thanks Smith Hotels and Hotel Americano for a great stay!

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FYI. The red “summer wool” jacket i’m in the wearing in the #selfie above was tailored by Moustache in Hong Kong. I strongly recommend them and their work if one has time in Hong Kong to get anything tailored. 

STAY Hotel Americano . 518 W 27th St. New York NY 10001 / BOOK Mr and Mrs Smith Hotels / VISIT Art Galleries in West Chelsea / SHOP Story . 144 10th Avenue at 19th Street, NY NY 10011 / EAT Buddakan NYC . 75 9th Avenue, NY NY 10011 / VISIT The High Line, New York NY 10011 

JJ.

#theWanderlist: A Williamsburg Guide

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This month was the first time I really ever experienced Williamsburg. Before this visit i’ve only heard about the district or passed through it in Brooklyn… but have never been to hang out. On my last New York trip, I wanted to give Williamsburg a go for the sake of the blog. I ended up staying there for a solid six days!

Most would call Williamsburg a quintessentially “cool” neighborhood. It’s hard to believe that so much happens here, and its only about a size of 10 city blocks… a mere fraction of the total size of all of Brooklyn

Me below in my Williamsburg Airbnb Loft.

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Additionally, Williamsburg style is now a kind of global style… at least within the last five years. What’s going on in this little corner of the world in terms of its “Old is New Again” lifestyle, i’ve seen exported replicated in many new destination hospitality and dining establishment everywhere else, including Hong Kong. 

Basically I was back in New York City to attend a friend’s wedding and to get some work done for the firm. In the free time that I did have, I was able to check out aspects of what actually is cool to see and do in the Williamsburg ‘hood, and why it’s earned a reputation as a global trendsetter. Check out our findings below!

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+ THE LOWDOWN

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Overall, from a purely urban observation… I categorize Williamsburg as a calm sibling of Manhattan. The kind of frenzy that one would find in the main city, you just do not get in Brooklyn. Brooklyn’s generally low building heights and lush tree lined streets guarantee an oasis, reflecting its role as a historical suburb. With the on-going gentrification as of late, especially in Williamsburg, you get a careful mix of old buildings, juxtaposed with newer architectures. Some buildings attempt at quirkiness, in a subtle and usually non-offensive way. A good example of this is perhaps the new EMS station clad in glass I photographed above on the intersection of Roebling and Metropolitan Avenue by Michielli + Wyetzner Architects 

Of course there are worse offenders. On the way to the Domino Sugar Refinery to visit some public art, I saw new buildings lined up on the Kent Avenue waterfront reflecting that general middle-america aesthetic, the kind of mixed-use development and architecture design solutions which mirror urban redevelopment in anytown inner city. The rent here is indeed expensive (i’ve asked), but apparently going for only half the price per square foot still of a comparable property in Manhattan.

+ ART

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Speaking of public art, we ventured to see the summer’s “IT” show, new commissioned work from African-American female artist, Kara Walker, via urban art programmer, Creative Time. The piece, titled, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plan, is located at the soon-to-be-demolished-but-urbanistically-iconic Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg. The exhibition is free, and when it closes in July, the refinery will be torn down to make room for more of the gentrified development expected of Williamsburg’s waterfront. 

Walker, whose work is defined by her interest in race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity, sculpts a female sphinx 80-feet long and 40-feet high in 80 ton blocks of white sugar. Life-sized child figurines, (perhaps children of the sphinx???), were cast in boiled sugar, reflecting the color of the sugar before undergoing refinement. The art was free, urban in scale, and open to the public, and got everyone from different boroughs into Williamsburg for the weekend. The work asks the public to contemplate the disappearance of the historical refinery for a more gentrified waterfront, and perhaps mull over the community of people who populated the neighborhood before gentrification took hold. 

Besides the Kara Walker exhibition, there is hardly an art scene in Williamsburg. Artists DO live and work here, but showing is all in the Lower East Side, West Village, or Chelsea High Line (we’ll get to this in later posts.)

 + HOTEL LIFE

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There are not too many new destination hotels in Brooklyn at the moment due to the city’s organic and slow approach to development. However, there are two prominent low-scale urban boutique hotels in Williamsburg adjacent to each other and along McCarren Park worth checking out. A destination for locals and seasoned travelers alike, one hotel is the Wythe Hotel, located in a converted factory, and the other, where I stayed via booking through Mr and Mrs Smith Hotels, is the McCarren Hotel & Pool, a destination for Brooklyners in search for weekend sun at the pool or stars on its scenic rooftop bar.

I can’t really say much for the Wythe Hotel, since I didn’t have enough time to visit (I’ll check it out next time), but I was pretty content with my stay at McCarren Hotel. It’s got this quirky and minimalist Scandinavian-chic interior design in a completely new-build block development. Compared to most luxury urban stays i’m used to, McCarren is generally straightforward urban hotel when it comes to offerings, but the rooms are fully stocked with all the drinks and snacks you need, plus good wifi and a great espresso machine. The hotels’ bars and pool area is a local destination, and not intimate by any means because it’s such a nightlife and weekend destination for brooklynites.

With it’s central Williamsburg location, a mere 5 minutes walk to all the best “IT” cafes, restaurants, and tourist must-sees… this tastefully designed hotel is a great option for urban travellers and at the right price. My only gripe is I wish they had breakfast options in the weekend (which they don’t because the restaurant which caters for the hotel only opens for Brunch on Weekends). But besides this minor gripe, the staff was generally friendly and helpful with everything and anything I needed.

+ COFFEE HOUSE CULTURE

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I really enjoyed having breakfast and chilling out at Toby’s Estate Coffee. Toby’s has two locations, the original roaster in Williamsburg on N. 6th Street and another one in the Flatiron District in the new Club Monaco Flagship store  (will get to this in a later post.) But Toby’s prides itself in roasting all its coffee in Brooklyn, and sourcing beans direct from source in Congo, Bolivia, Rwanda, Brazil, Colombia, and Ethiopia without in-betweens.  

For me the best part was the selection of food available on the menu. I can still taste the amazing “Espresso Glazed Bacon” with scrambled egg breakfast sandwich (please let me know if I got this wrong, but I couldn’t find the menu anywhere online). I also loved grabbing iced coffee and sitting outside to watch dreadfully “trendy” people pass. North 6th Street is such a scene! (The game I liked to play is count the tattoos… you figure it out.)

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Another place to check out for coffee is Urban Rustic Market & Cafe, a few blocks down from McCarren Hotel on McCarren Park. Urban Rustic is a fantastic small grocers and full deli, seemingly offering all the kinds of sandwiches you can think of made to order, utilising “ethically sourced” ingredients. What this means? All meats are “cage free”, all eggs are organic and from local farms, and meats are roasted in house.

I again had a bacon, cheese, and egg sandwich here on onion bagel, with a great cup of simple all American black coffee. (There’s nothing like the bacon on offer in the states… it’s just more hearty.) Also check out Urban Rustic for sunset beers. They carry an amazing assortment of beer from all the local breweries in the New York State… this plus the comfy bench seating outside next to the park, you’ve got an amazing way to end the day right there.

+ WHAT THE HIP EAT AND DRINK

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Williamsburg has a pretty amazing amount of destination cafes, bars, restaurants and eateries for such a mid-sized burrough. I don’t have any more room on this blog post to post all on offer, but I can pretty much zero in on a few of my favorites.  

For breakfast it’s all about Pies ‘N Thighs adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge for some unforgettable signature “Chicken and Waffles”. I don’t know how Americans can have a plate of three chicken plus waffle plus fixins, when I barely finished one plate sharing with a friend. I didn’t get to taste the donuts and pies here but I heard they were legendary.

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For general gastro-pub fare plus some good people watching, there’s always the highly-rated restaurant, Five Leaves. I came here at the suggestion of my friend who’s friends with the owner. There’s plenty of inventive and playful food serving “New American” dishes at this bistro. The place is run by Ozzies and is a brunch favorite for locals. I was hooked on their truffle fries and deep fried oysters.

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To keep it “real”, we grabbed dinner at Marlow & Sons, also on lower Williamsburg (near Pies N’ Thighs) adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge. Marlow & Sons, was one of the first handful of restaurants which placed Williamsburg on the culinary map many years ago before anything in Williamsburg was considered hip. To this day, Marlow & Sons still serve innovative (also New American) fare, fully flavoured. Although their fish mains are the best here, the real highlight is their broad selection of oysters. The wine selection to pair the meal with is just as fantastic.

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For those who like Mojitos and Margaritas (I Don’t), the cool hang out at Nights and Weekends, a-see-and-be-scene kind of bar with that almost “block party” kind of atmosphere. Drinks are are rum-centric and bar snacks, like fried shishito peppers, have a Caribbean bent. Everything is casual.

+ SHOP STYLE

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What Williamsburg lacks in art galleries, makes up for it with the amount of retail places where you can spend their hard earned cash. The neighborhood is just inundated with design shops, bookstores, boutiques, gift stores.. you name it. I was close to buying a few things at GANT, but the staff was less than hospitable so I left… and I walked in (and quickly walked out) of the new Urban Outfitters there. For some reason I was always at Duane Reade… anyway, there’s a couple of shops I want to highlight, however. 

Check out the new “style meets street” Menswear shop, Gentry, next to Toby’s Estate on North 6th Street, and has great frontage. Gentry is the brainchild of menswear connoisseur, Justin Dean (photographed above), and features a curated selection of the world’s top niche menswear labels including, knitwear from S.N.S. Herning, blazers from Ovadia & Sons, colorful printed buttoned down shirts from Gitman Vintage, and delicious dress shoes from Carmina. Justin is generally on hand to help customers find and style, a serious-yet-casual bespoke look that’s right for them.

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On the opposite end of “curation”, there’s the all-in-one junks shop, Brooklyn Junk, located on Driggs Avenue. Brooklyn Junk is every junk shopper’s dream come reality. Plenty of eighties prom dresses here for aspiring Bushwick drag queens, lots of ceramic ware, mod lighting, and antique furniture here for the new home, and lots of memorabilia, knick knack, and old photographs that people just love to collect. I found my sister a beautiful leather purse for 10 US Dollars.

+ LIVING LOCAL VIA AIRBNB

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It was my first time ever booking and staying with Airbnb, and I have to say… I absolutely loved it. Thanks to Airbnb, I was able to spend four nights at this loft in a converted factory all by myself. The cool owner of the loft, an artist named Daphne, was actually a friend of a friend (the website/app shows mutual friends), and lives next door in her own studio space. I only saw her when checking in, and was occasionally in touch via sms.

Overall, for those who can’t be bothered to stay in a Hotel, and would rather have a travel experience, as close as possible to a local way of life, Airbnb, has plenty of properties right within any destinations’ “it” neighborhoods. My loft was on the second floor of a multi-level artist factory farm, also in the center of Williamsburg. The sheets and towels were clean (maid service was offered), and the design and decor was truly my style, reflected by a masculine and old world aesthetic which I loved. The wifi was fast and efficient (great for working), and there was plenty of cable (great for being lazy.) The kitchen had all the utensils and things I needed to make simple meals (which I did not do), and the space was big enough for 2-4 people, just in case you were keen on inviting friend/s over. 

My first impression? This was a great first time experience with booking and staying in an Airbnb property, and I would definitely do it again.

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Overall I found my Williamsburg / Brooklyn experience really lovely and a nice respite from Manhattan’s busy streets. I’d like to thank some really cool friends… my friend Veronica for spending time with me and showing me Marlow & Sons, which I think is now one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan. 

Also I’d like to thank my best pal, Andy Chow, founder and curator of Doppelstandard (ex-Standard Vintage), for taking the time to hang out with me and show me around Brooklyn (and basically other cool parts of Manhattan.)

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I’d also like to thank this gorgeous lady for allowing me to take a photo of her at the Kara Walker exhibit. She’s just gorgeous. That’s the face of New York chic, right there. Elegant, relaxed, urban, and sophisticated.

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Others things to try… try walking across the Williamsburg Bridge from Williamsburg to the Lower East Side. It’s free, and a great way to experience the city… from both sides!

STAY Airbnb / STAY McCarren Hotel & Pool . 160 N 12th Street, Brooklyn NY 11249 / EAT Pies N’ Thighs . 166 S 4th Street, Brooklyn NY 11211 / EAT Five Leaves . 18 Bedford Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn NY 11222 / EAT Marlow & Sons . 81 Broadway, Brooklyn NY 11249 / DRINK Nights and Weekends . 1 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn NY 11222 / DRINK Toby’s Estate Williamsburg . 125 N 6th ST, Brooklyn NY 11249 / EAT Urban Rustic Market . 236 N 12th St, Brooklyn NY 11211 / SHOP Gentry . 127 N. 6th St, Brooklyn NY 11249 / SHOP Brooklyn Junk . 567 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn NY / VISIT Kara Walker via Creative Time . Domino Sugar Refinery, S 1st ST at Kent Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

JJ.

#JJStyle: Urban Tropico. Tangram for Goods of Desire x Glenn Eugen Ellingsen, Photographer

A second collection unveiled two weeks ago for Hong Kong based, niche fashion label, Tangram in collaboration with the iconic G.O.D. Goods of Desire boutique. Tangram’s Colombian designer, Paola Sinisterra, is again on form here for the Tangram for Goods of Desire collection, using her signature hand picked materials, and some with unique prints. The line is quintessentially light and comfortable, and defined by modern shapes and cuts derived from traditional Chinese pattern making. 

Photographer, Glenn Eugen Ellingsen for Parasol Studios took the collection’s aesthetic cues and narrative to formulate a fictional character; a female half urbanite and half jungle dweller, taken in a forested area only steps away from Hong Kong’s busy industrial district. 

Via Paola Sinisterra

"We took cues from the lively urban landscape of Hong Kong and its close entwinement with nature. The flavor of this collection is summery and jungle-like, urban and green, wild and fun, hot and humid and full of unexpected adventures - an exploration of Hong Kong’s more tropical side."

WEAR Tangram for Goods of Desire . G.O.D. Hollywood Road, 48 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong T: +852-28051876 . G.O.D. PMQ, Corner of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong / DESIGNER Tangram / PHOTOGRAPHER Glenn Eugen Ellingsen

DESIGN NOTES: The Judd Foundation, Intimate Artist’s Studio on Spring Street
I thought I would just drop a quick note about my amazing New York trip so far. It’s now Day 3 of a 10 Day long trip to the Big Apple, and i’ve been re-discovering and #wanderlisting the city’s streets non stop. Definitely as stated on my Instagram, the biggest highlight of Day 2 was being able to have a chance to visit the newly opened Judd Foundation on 101 Spring Street, home to the late great artist, Donald Judd’s private residence and east coast workshop (the other one being in Marfa, Texas). The five storey plus basement building was owned entirely by Judd, and purchased in 1968 for about 68,000 USD, which I guess was a lot of money at the time, though it doesn’t seem much by today’s standards.
The building was built to house garment factories in the late 1800’s, and according to one of my Instagram followers, is actually the oldest cast iron structure in New York City. Groups of 8 ppl maximum are led throughout the house by two art guides who give a sneak peek into the intimate lives of Judd’s family and private work spaces. Works by Judd’s friends, including his closest artist pal, Dan Flavin with furniture by Judd and Aalto, are dispersed throughout the house. It’s definitely a must see, but book early… theres a 2-3 month wait!
jjthewanderlister:

Today’s #nyc Highlight, visiting the home and work studio of the late great artist, #DonaldJudd. Now open to the public by online request only. We loved our private tour of 101 Spring Street. Works by his best pal, #DanFlavin everywhere. #style #travel #destination #wanderlust #newyork #soho #interiordesign #architecture #art (at Judd Foundation)

VISIT Judd Foundation on 101 Spring Street, New York City / T: (212) 219 2747

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: The Judd Foundation, Intimate Artist’s Studio on Spring Street

I thought I would just drop a quick note about my amazing New York trip so far. It’s now Day 3 of a 10 Day long trip to the Big Apple, and i’ve been re-discovering and #wanderlisting the city’s streets non stop. Definitely as stated on my Instagram, the biggest highlight of Day 2 was being able to have a chance to visit the newly opened Judd Foundation on 101 Spring Street, home to the late great artist, Donald Judd’s private residence and east coast workshop (the other one being in Marfa, Texas). The five storey plus basement building was owned entirely by Judd, and purchased in 1968 for about 68,000 USD, which I guess was a lot of money at the time, though it doesn’t seem much by today’s standards.

The building was built to house garment factories in the late 1800’s, and according to one of my Instagram followers, is actually the oldest cast iron structure in New York City. Groups of 8 ppl maximum are led throughout the house by two art guides who give a sneak peek into the intimate lives of Judd’s family and private work spaces. Works by Judd’s friends, including his closest artist pal, Dan Flavin with furniture by Judd and Aalto, are dispersed throughout the house. It’s definitely a must see, but book early… theres a 2-3 month wait!

jjthewanderlister:

Today’s #nyc Highlight, visiting the home and work studio of the late great artist, #DonaldJudd. Now open to the public by online request only. We loved our private tour of 101 Spring Street. Works by his best pal, #DanFlavin everywhere. #style #travel #destination #wanderlust #newyork #soho #interiordesign #architecture #art (at Judd Foundation)

VISIT Judd Foundation on 101 Spring Street, New York City / T: (212) 219 2747

JJ.

jjthewanderlister:

T Minus 2 Days. Hotels via @smithhotels and @airbnb are booked! Places to #wanderlist are set and ready to go! A little work, a little play… NYC you are mine! More to come in the next few days! #JJTravel #travel #destination #style #newyork #design #hotelamericano #smithotels #airbnb #mccarrenhotelandpool #brooklyn #manhattan #williamsburg

#JJTravels: New York City in less than 2 Days!
I’m hitting the Big Apple in two days for a little work and a little play. I’d like to thank Smith Hotels in APAC for getting me connected with stays at two cool hotels while I’m there, and Airbnb for letting me experience four nights in Williamsburg at my first Airbnb adventure. Also thanks to my pal, Bite Me editor, Katrina Tran, for amazing tips on places to go and things to do. I can’t wait to share these with you when I end up #Wanderlisting them!
Any more tips on what’s cool to eat, shop, see, and do in NYC, now? Let me know. Send me an email at info@wanderlister.com or info.wanderlister@gmail.com and I’ll see if I’ve got time to check it out!
JJ.

jjthewanderlister:

T Minus 2 Days. Hotels via @smithhotels and @airbnb are booked! Places to #wanderlist are set and ready to go! A little work, a little play… NYC you are mine! More to come in the next few days! #JJTravel #travel #destination #style #newyork #design #hotelamericano #smithotels #airbnb #mccarrenhotelandpool #brooklyn #manhattan #williamsburg

#JJTravels: New York City in less than 2 Days!

I’m hitting the Big Apple in two days for a little work and a little play. I’d like to thank Smith Hotels in APAC for getting me connected with stays at two cool hotels while I’m there, and Airbnb for letting me experience four nights in Williamsburg at my first Airbnb adventure. Also thanks to my pal, Bite Me editor, Katrina Tran, for amazing tips on places to go and things to do. I can’t wait to share these with you when I end up #Wanderlisting them!

Any more tips on what’s cool to eat, shop, see, and do in NYC, now? Let me know. Send me an email at info@wanderlister.com or info.wanderlister@gmail.com and I’ll see if I’ve got time to check it out!

JJ.

#ArtBaselHK14: Christopher Doyle Is Allergic To Art Basel

Now this is interesting… sort of, kind of… maybe. Award winning Hong Kong based cinematographer, Christopher Doyle (famous for his work with Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood For Love 2004 and Ashes of Time 1994), just took it to another level, releasing an iPhone friendly 2min 49sec movie with collaborator, Director Jenny Suen, titled Allergic To Art. In the short film, we see Suen wander around the latest Art Basel sneezing all over the place.

"I was hungover when Chris sent me a message saying that he was at the Convention Center and sneezing from the air-conditioning. So we decided to make a film about the ‘side-effects’ that we suffered during Art Basel." says Suen, "I love the fanfare that the whole event brings to Hong Kong… but after all those white walls and black suits, there’s only so much you can take before you reach for a box of tissues, and sneeze." 

Doyle, who shoots the movie here in a quick black and white… the opposite of his usually bold and colorful compositions, is happy to play it down and play around with the the subject matter of Art. “I have always hesitated to call what I do ‘art.’ To me, most so-called ‘video art’ is what I do every minute of every day on a film set… only it is slowed down a lot, and more self indulgent. The only difference is packaging. That’s when the metaphor became apparent; the point is we are all just tissues and art marketing is a tissue box.”

Enjoy! And try not to sneeze!

FOLLOW Christopher Doyle / FOLLOW Jenny Suen

JJ.

#ArtBaselHK14: Photobook

The second official Art Basel in Hong Kong ended well, with some higher profile galleries selling off their entire fairs inventory even before the highly anticipated Vernissage event. Gallery Edouard Malingue had to fend off disappointed buyers, while White Cube had no problem earning several millions from sales. In addition, some smaller scale Asian galleries, like the Tina Keng Gallery, sold over 50 percent of works displayed in their booths on the first day. Concurrently, Simon Lee Gallery hosted an off-Basel show on Pedder Street with solo works of oil on aluminium by Toby Ziegler, which also sold out 100% that week. 

With over 65,000 visitors this year in attendance, the obvious success of the fair over last year’s showing is evident in the sharpness of what’s on exhibit in each booth. This time each gallery has come into Hong Kong with a more focused exhibit approach that’s strongly curatorial, unlike the hodge podge of Pop-contemporary leftovers which filled gallery floors last year. 

From Top to bottom some of my more favorite works from this year’s fair includes; Tobias Rehberger’s “Change of Mind 9 (Yes/No) 2014” via Pilar Corrias, Discoveries Sector winner, Nadia Kaabi-Linke's award winning “Modular 2014”, which I heard was snatched up by M+, Wang Nindge’s Visible Light Filter Series, the strong and forceful paint work of Jhu Zinshi via Pearl Lam, a black and white panda by Rob Pruitt, the intense photomontage work of artificial landscapes by Yang Yongliang, Anastasia Klose’s “One Stop Knock-Off Shop” shirts, Yu Cheng Ta’s hilarious “The Letters”, Heman Chong’s 2D works, and lastly the subversive work of Lee Wen.

I wanted to highlight a special work by Sun Xun in the Encounters Sector, the only work in the sector which really took advantage of its public positioning by imagining a country on the back of a whale, which art fans are allowed to purchase a visa application for 100 USD or a Citizenship for about 13,000 USD.

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I really enjoyed this painting by Toby Ziegler, an homage to English Pastoral Art via Simon Lee.

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Last year I went to the fair 1.5 times because I was pretty much bored, this year I was floored, literally I kept going up and down two floors for about 3 days. While the works that I appreciated from the fair is pretty much all over the place in medium and subject matter, I need to point out that this year the trend was on 2D works (easy to sell) of paintings and photography, but done in a very new and innovative way which everyone appreciated.

Off basel there were several spots of interest… the unveiling of English duo, Frederikson Stallard’s “Prologue” at the PMQ, in collaboration with Swarovski…

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Marc and Chantal’s room of mirrors for the Swire Lounge…

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The Super cool light show (I don’t know by whom) at the Audemars Piguet event…

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The prolific works by Peter Yuill at the Converse Open Studio

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Photographs of Havana by Quentin Shih, hosted by Christian Louboutin…

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The amazing light show by Carsten Nicolai on the ICC…

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And The Frog King appearance at Chai Wan Mei…

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Overall the parties didn’t really “kill” it this year, but they were fun. Loved the atmosphere at the Nadim Abbas’ Absolut Art Bar that Vernissage night, and the lovely set up in the Fringe Club for the Quentin Shih opening with Louboutin.

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And we had so much fun at Dee Poon’s party at FlyHK for artist, Ran Huang, with Domus Collection.

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… Where we also met the cool architect, David Adjaye (an idol of mine), who just happened to be hanging out with my friend, Mina.

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Some tips for future Art Basel visitors…

Tip 1) Wear comfortable shoes that keep you up, especially if you ever feel like you’ve just #hadit. So I thank Jimmy Choo Men’s for outfitting my Art Basel week with this amazing pair of pastel and electric blue high tops…

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Tip 2) Consolidate and Carry all your invites, just so you don’t forget what’s happening at what day. Sometimes emails get lost and forgotten on weeks like these…

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Tip 3) Make sure to bring along some beautiful art loving friends to help walk with you through the fair. Of course it helps if they color coordinate…

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Tip 4) Always take advantage of talks, workshops, and shopping opportunities on and off fair. Although not specifically “art”, I loved the design based events at Chai Wan Mei this year!

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…where I discovered Hk Brand, Tangram’s, Menswear collection for the first time.

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Overall, this year’s fair left me with a great impression and a good hope for other fairs to come in the consecutive years. Too bad about a few of these other pieces that leave a lot to be desired…

The work where we had to step on it to help an artist make a statement…

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And this… I cant even…

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Anyway great to bump into Alex Seno and Louise around town.

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And a very happy gallerist from Edouard Malingue, Jennifer Ellis at Dee Poon’s party.

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Good to see Mark Goss and Peter Yuill again at the Converse Open Studio.

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And Simon Birch at the PMQ, who was really happy with his showing at the fair. Read his interview with us here.

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I can’t wait to post up pages from my Art Basel #SeenandScene for Conde Nast’s BAKU Magazine, later in the summer… so watch out for that. Also on Instagram, we collaborated with @artbasel by hashtagging #myArtBasel on my IG Photos. Check out all the hashtagged photographs here!

The next Art Basel in Hong Kong will be less than a year away since it’s been bumped up to March.

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VISIT Art Basel in Hong Kong

JJ.