New York design studio Lim+Lu rethink the flexible modern home with the stunning, pastel-coloured Happy Valley Residence in Hong Kong

Posted in Architecture
By Sam Bathe on 30 Nov 2016

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Tasked with revamping a three-bedroom apartment in an aged Hong Kong residential building, New York design studio Lim+Lu wanted to challenge the structure of a conventional living environment. Show the rest of this post…

Creating a flexible, open-plan living space, while maintaining the option of privacy, suspended sliding doors can be closed to cordon off would-be ‘rooms’. The flexible, adaptive apartment has been designed to better suit our modern, transient way of living, especially in space-poor urban homes.

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The London List Abroad Review: Hotel G, San FranciscoThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 13 Sep 2016

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Just one block west from tourist haven Union Square, walking into the plush, foliage-lined foyer of San Francisco’s Hotel G immediately takes you out of the bustle of the city, and into your own, hip, oasis. Show the rest of this post…

Re-opening in May 2014 after a two-year renovation, Hotel G’s Geary Street location is steeped in history. A hotel ever since the building was first constructed in 1909, the new owners renovated each floor under the watchful eye of interior designers Hun Aw Studio, maintaining the original flooring throughout and fully restoring the building’s front façade.

In a style described by the Michelin guide as ‘demolition chic’, Hotel G has a modern and youthful vibe. Complementing the rough textures of original tiling and exposed concrete with mid-century furniture, plush rugs and warm fittings, the hotel splits 153 rooms over 12 floors to become a different sort of option for downtown San Francisco.

Location

Less than a 10-minute walk from downtown Market Street and just one block away from Union Square, Hotel G is perfectly situated for exploring the city.

The immediate surrounding area is known for shopping, with big chain shops like Niketown, Macy’s, the Disney Store just a few minutes walk away, and the Westfield Centre also nearby. Just beyond Market Street are the wonderful museums of the SoMa neighbourhood, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, plus SoMa’s burgeoning restaurant scene.

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To get further afield is just as easy. From the Powell St. Bart station, you can go north-east to the Ferry Building and into Oakland, while lines south-west go to the hip Castro, Mission and Lower Haight neighbourhoods. You’re also just a few block away from the end of the historic San Francisco cable car, which while touristy is still a must, and makes it easy to reach Fisherman’s Wharf and Lombard Street to the north.

Rooms

The style of the hotel carries through to the rooms. The interior is minimal and can feel a touch sparse if it’s not what you’re used to but the style works. The crisp, white walls, curtains and bathroom are softened by warmer, wooden furniture and slick detailing. The rooms are sleek and everything is functional, there’s no excess or clutter on show, meaning it’s the beds that really dominate.

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Big and comfy with excellent pillows, fluffy duvets and luxury linens in every room, Hotel G’s beds boast tall, feature headboards that are the real showpiece; perfect for lounging in bed, day or night. Blackout blinds really do the job too, so you’ll get a great night’s sleep, or well-deserved lie-in.

We stayed in a Greatest King, the largest of the hotel’s five room types. Akin to a suite, it was big and spacious with a sofa, small coffee table and armchair, with enough room to have a couple of friends up while we planned the day. Plus all rooms come with a mini-bar and espresso machine so you’re able to start and end your days right.

The original concrete floor was a touch cold but rugs covered the important floorspace, and it’s a small price to pay for original features. Guests are given hotel slippers for the room too.

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With Geery Street down below, we were worried about late night traffic and noisy pedestrians but we had no problem in the room. Unfortunately, however, being surrounded by similarly high rise buildings, there weren’t particularly impressive views, even on the 10th floor.

One great surprise though, the rooms and communal space throughout the hotel are decorated with art from a collaboration with Creativity Explored, a local non-profit arts centre that works with adult artists with developmental disabilities. The pieces are all for sale, with profits going back into the program. It’s a really nice touch and the artwork brings an individual personality to the space.

Bathroom

Our bathroom featured luxurious marble tiling and fittings, with larger rooms boasting a magnificent table sink, and smaller rooms just a freestanding basin. It was more of a classical bathroom but matched the sleek, minimal style of our room. The shower was excellent and very refreshing in the morning, while all rooms come with C.O. Bigelow toiletries.

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Amenities

Hotel G has all the amenities you’d expect from a modern city hotel. WiFi is free downstairs and in your room, and if not particularly fast, it’s perfectly acceptable for holiday planning and just about streams Netflix if you need a little SF breather. The gym on the second floor boasts four Technogym machines for a range workouts, plus there’s floor space for yoga or stretching. It’s not a huge gym but perfectly functional and definitely big enough for a hotel of this size.

Hotel G also have a well-equipped conference room available for hire, and as an extra little sweetener, if you book directly, they’ve partnered with a local limo company to pick you up from SFO for free.

Restaurant and bars

Two excellent restaurants and a superb cocktail bar are the Hotel G’s surprise up its sleeve. On the corner of the building, Three 9 Eight is a French-American brasserie menu serving hearty breakfasts from 7am, and classic French sandwiches, steaks, moules frites and charcuterie and cheese boards until late.

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On the other side of the hotel foyer, Klyde Cafe and Wine Bar is a little more snacky, serving a small yet composed menu throughout the day alongside an excellent local wine list.

But the Benjamin Cooper Cocktail lounge is the jewel in the crown and has rightly become a local hangout. Styled like a speakeasy, the cocktail list is superb while the bartender also made an excellent rendition of a couple of our favourites. If it’s your thing, Benjamin Cooper also serve local oysters until close.

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At the time of reviewing, Hotel G was not offering a breakfast service, but the hotel does now offer packages with breakfast at the Klyde included.

Verdict

A modern and stylish city hotel, Hotel G finds a balance between being a hip yet welcoming stay for leisure travelers, and a more edgy, suave stay for business guests.

Perfectly situated for downtown exploration and the vibrant, traditional neighbourhoods beyond, Hotel G stays true to the history of the building, the attention to detail while renovating each floor and the period features they were able to retain really pays dividends.

But most importantly the Hotel G is an escape. The second you step inside the foyer, the bustle from outside is cut off, and while you can certainly have fun at the excellent restaurants and bar, the rooms and superb beds will ensure you can recoup precious energy, ready to go again the next day.

For reservations and more, please visit: www.hotelgsanfrancisco.com
Hotel G, 386 Geary Street San Francisco, CA 94102

Filmmaker Greg Dennis follows a getaway to Norway where for weeks on end, they live without the sun

Posted in Film, Short Films, Travel
By Sam Bathe on 27 Aug 2016

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Visitng Norway every year to escape the stresses and strains of the modern world, Jeff Allen finds peace in northern Scandinavia during the ‘blue time’, where the local Sami people can go for months on end without sun rising above the horizon. Jeff kayaks with whales and longtime friend Bjørn Eines, dog sleds under the wing of Tore Albrigtsen and now guides expeditions so others can experience the beauty of this wonderful place. Captured by filmmaker Greg Dennis, short film The Blue Time charts one of Jeff’s trips, as much about relaxation and meditation as recreation and entertainment.

Mihaly Slocombe Architects’ Chamfer House intersects the original timber structure with modern glass and concrete materials

Posted in Architecture
By Sam Bathe on 2 Aug 2016

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Located in Frankston South, Victoria, Australia, when Mihaly Slocombe Architects were approached to renovate Chamfer House, it came with the condition of maintaining the wooden structure of the stunning modernist cabin. Show the rest of this post…

Reconfiguring the living and sleeping areas to better connect with the garden, Mihaly Slocombe built around the house’s exploded formation with glass to create light and space, and concrete for character and support. With a swimming pool on the terrace and modern additions for a young family, Chamfer House has maintained its romanticism of old while receiving the update it required to be a functional modern home.

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Fiona O’Leary’s clever Spector device is an eyedropper tool for fonts and colours in real life

Posted in Design
By Sam Bathe on 20 Jul 2016

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While on the web you can ‘inspect element’ to identify a font or colour, it’s never been quite that easy in real life. So for her graduation project at the Royal College of Art, Fiona O’Leary designed a unique tool that lets you eyedrop a magazine, book or pretty much anything in real life. Called Spector, the device will relay information back to your computer and detail the font, size, kerning and colours. Connecting via a plugin for InDesign, essentially Spector is a Bluetooth camera with some complicated software doing the legwork to analyse the image, plus if you’re out and about when you take a shapshot, Spector will cache up to 20 samples until you’re back at your machine. Currently Spector is just a prototype – a working prototype at that – but with its sleek design and an audience clamouring for this sort of technology, hopefully Fiona is able to turn it into a commercial product.

The striking Beoplay H5 earphones are B&O’s first-ever wireless headphones

Posted in Music, Technology
By Sam Bathe on 6 Jul 2016

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Their first-ever wireless earphones, the Beoplay H5 is Bang & Olufsen’s latest collaboration with Danish designer Jakob Wagner. With users able to choose from preset sound profiles or adjust audio specifications through an accompanying app, the H5 is designed with comfort in mind, and comes with seven different eartips; three sponged, four silicone. Connecting to your phone via Bluetooth, the Beoplay H5′s cloth cable loops around the back of your neck and the earphones will run for roughly five hours on a two-hour charge. Plus when they’re not in use, you can click the earphones together and they automatically power down to conserve battery. Also in the box, the Beoplay H5 comes with a charging cube, cable clip and carrying pouch, and is available now for £199 from the B&O site: www.beoplay.com/products/beoplayh5

The London List Abroad: SoHo’s slick 11 Howard hotel pits Scandinavian minimalism against New York coolThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 30 Jun 2016

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At the corner of Howard and Lafayette, New York’s chic 11 Howard hotel breathes new life into the site of an old Holiday Inn. However, step inside and the building is unrecognisable. Decked out top to toe with swish minimalist furniture – bar the stylish bar which feels every bit like a seductive New York speakeasy – 11 Howard apart feel like a Scandi retreat against the bustle of the New York City streets. Show the rest of this post…

With rooms available from Queens to the hugely spacious Terrace Suite, the mid-century rooms are crisp and yet homely, with the soft furnishings taking an edge of the minimalist aesthetic. “There is something about the honesty of these materials that ultimately, even used, they might look better than new. It’s not all distressed and it’s not all polished — it’s a balance,” explains creative director Anda Andrei. Plus the hotel are promoting a mantra of socially-conscious hospitality, with a portion of every room rate goes towards the Global Poverty Project. Right at the heart of New York’s happening SoHo neighbourhood, 11 Howard is now booking with rooms available from $270.

11 Howard Hotel, 11 Howard Street, New York, NY 10013
www.11howard.com

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Photographer Kasper Nyman celebrates his love of shooting hoops with series ‘Cities of Basketball’

Posted in Art, Photography, Sport
By Sam Bathe on 23 Jun 2016

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Shooting basketball courts from around the world, Danish photographer Kasper Nyman juxtaposes the sacred hoop against backdrops from the project blocks to the beach. Finding a commonality instead in the game on-court, his series Cities of Basketball celebrates the sport going back to its routes, and classic pick-up games against friends and fellow locals players. Show the rest of this post…

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Check out the rest of the series on the Cities of Basketball site: www.citiesofbasketball.com

The London List Abroad: The Rivertown Lodge in Upstate New York re-invents roadside motels for the design-consciousThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 13 May 2016

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Two hours out of New York City, the Rivertown Lodge is a 27-room retreat in Hudson, Upstate New York. Stylish for a purpose, the former movie theatre was converted into a motel in 1958, and more recently into the Rivertown by local makers using only authentic materials. Decked out with stunning mid-century furniture, the minimal rooms boast everything you need to get away, and nothing more, with a communal kitchen and retro Papillionaire bicycles also available to guests. Show the rest of this post…

“There’s no stress, you don’t worry about anything — and if you do need anything, we take care of you. It’s a very simple thought, but it’s very rare,” explains co-founder Ray Pirkle. Sounds good to me. Rooms start at $199 for a double, $219 for a queen.

Rivertown Lodge, 731 Warren St, Hudson, NY 12534
www.rivertownlodge.com

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Nike release the limited edition Mercurial Superfly Heritage iD to celebrate one of their most iconic ever football boots

Posted in Design, Sport
By Sam Bathe on 12 May 2016

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Inspired by the iconic 1998 Mercurial R9, Nike have released four limited edition colourways for their Mercurial Superfly football boot. Available through the NIKEiD customisation service, the Heritage iD designs turn back the clock for four retro-futuristic looks. One of the last Superfly releases before Nike release a new Mercurial for Euro 2016, the Heritage iD boots feature all of the standard Superfly features and can be built with a soft-ground, firm-ground or artificial grass soleplate, available for a limited time only through the Nike Football online store: www.nikefootball.com

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

We’ve been featured on the front page of Reddit and produced off-shoot club night Friday Night Fist Fight, launched a Creative Agency and events column The London List.

FAN THE FIRE is edited by founder, Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief, Sam Bathe. Site by FAN THE FIRE Creative.

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