Jo’burg’s Creative Energy Infuses a New Stay, and Other News

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Penthouse at Hallmark House by Tristan Du Plessis and Black Coffee

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Jo’burg’s Creative Energy Infuses a New Stay

When it first opened in Johannesburg’s creative quarter, the David Adjaye–designed Hallmark House solidified the Maboneng Precinct’s transformation from a neglected industrial neighborhood into the beating heart of the city’s cultural scene. Nearly five years later, two of South Africa’s favorite sons are teaming up to add another jewel to its crown. Interior architect and rising star Tristan Du Plessis and Grammy Award–winning DJ Nkosinathi Maphumulo, known as Black Coffee, put their touch on a new penthouse that blends high design with musical notes. 

“Black Coffee and I have a shared passion for design and a friendship that has grown from that, the penthouse suite was aimed to be representative of the African dream in a contemporary context,” Du Plessis says. To wit, the two-room suite is done up in Nelson Makomo artwork, sumptuous furnishings by celebrated fashion and lifestyle designer MaXhosa, and marble-set turntables in case the urge to spin strikes. This being the Black Coffee suite, we’d hope late-night noise rules don’t apply. —Nate Storey

Thom Browne Tennis Pro Shop at EPI in Saint-Tropez. Image courtesy of Thom Browne

Thom Browne’s love of tennis stars in his new shop at the EPI resort in Saint-Tropez.

“Thom Browne had to make a choice in college: play tennis or swim competitively. He picked swimming. But his love for tennis remains and it’s on full view in his Thom Browne Tennis Pro Shop, an exclusive new store he opened at the private club EPI in Saint-Tropez. The 500-square-foot space is located at 1128 Route de l’Épi, 83350 Ramatuelle along the beach and is near to some of the community’s best-known restaurants and luxury resorts. The appointment-only shop with Browne’s signature Venetian blind-covered windows mimics the design of the company’s Miami flagship but in lighter tones to complement EPI’s minimalistic wellness and sport-inspired aesthetic. The assortment includes the designer’s ready-to-wear, tailoring and accessories along with a limited-edition, EPI-branded Thom Browne capsule collection that will be further developed every season.” [H/T WWD]

The U.S. crypto lender Celsius Network files for bankruptcy as token prices plunge.

“U.S. crypto lender Celsius Network said on Wednesday it had filed for bankruptcy in New York, becoming the latest victim in the cryptocurrency sector of a dramatic plunge in token prices. New Jersey-based Celsius froze withdrawals last month, citing “extreme” market conditions, cutting off access to savings for individual investors and sending tremors through the crypto market. In a court filing at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Southern District of New York, Celsius estimated its assets and liabilities as between $1 billion to $10 billion, with more than 100,000 creditors. The company has $167 million in cash on hand.” [H/T Reuters]

Jiaxing Train Station by MAD Architects. Photography by Yang

MAD Architects creates a “train station in a forest” near the Yangtze River delta.

“On the run from the police in 1921, early Chinese Communist Party members in Shanghai hightailed it to Jiaxing and wound up having the first party conference there, on a rented tourist boat in a lake. Officially opened in time for the 100th anniversary of this meeting, MAD’s futuristic station, which serves regional commuters in the Yangtze River delta, especially those traveling to and from Shanghai or Hangzhou, replaces an aging and undersized facility. The new station, which will serve 5.3 million people each year, is largely submerged underground, with its main waiting rooms 27½ feet below an expansive green roof. By seamlessly integrating this new landscape with Jiaxing’s existing People’s Park, and planting 1,500 canopy trees, Ma has created an 87-acre oasis in the center of the city for what he calls a ‘station in a forest.’” [H/T Architectural Record]

The NFT marketplace OpenSea lays off 20 percent of its staff amid a “crypto winter.”

“OpenSea, one of the largest NFT marketplaces, joins the list of companies feeling the sting of the crypto market downturn. On Thursday, the company’s CEO Devin Finzer tweeted that OpenSea is letting go about 20 percent of its team and attached a note that he shared with employees. As for the reasoning, Finzer cited the so-called crypto winter—an industry term to describe cyclical downturns—and the macroeconomy.” [H/T Fortune]

Apple and Jony Ive end their contractual agreement three years after he departs.

“When Jony Ive, Apple’s influential design leader, exited the company in 2019, Tim Cook, its chief executive, reassured customers that Mr. Ive, the man who gave the world candy-colored computers, would work exclusively with the company for many years. Not anymore. Mr. Ive and Apple have agreed to stop working together, according to two people with knowledge of their contractual agreement, ending a three-decade run during which the designer helped define every rounded corner of an iPhone and guided development of its only new product category in recent years, the Apple Watch.” [H/T The New York Times]

(FROM LEFT) Still from “Blue,” a short film by dayday. A painting by Basque artist Gala Knörr at Guggenheim Bilbao

TikTok users call out the plagiarism of a painting on view at Guggenheim Bilbao.

“A recently opened exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao has sparked social media controversy over the artworks of participating Basque artist Gala Knörr. Depicting a Black cowboy from various angles, the paintings have been called out over concerns of plagiarism by TikTok and Instagram users, who have spotted similarities between Knörr’s works and ‘BLUE’, a short film by queer Black multidisciplinary artist dayday, who is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. After a few days of commenting and tagging on social media, the Guggenheim Bilbao, the curators and artists dayday and Gala Knörr, announced that they have agreed that together with Knörr’s work, the film ‘Blue’ will be exhibited along with an artist statement, marking it as the visible source of inspiration for Knörr.” [H/T Designboom]

The Calder Foundation launches a Web3 experience that seeks to gamify art history.

“Alexander S. C. Rower, the grandson of artist Alexander Calder and president of the Calder Foundation, is a self-proclaimed NFT skeptic. He had fielded numerous pitches about the possibility of an Alexander Calder NFT by the time he spoke with TRLab founders Xin Li-Cohen and Audrey Ou at Art Basel Miami Beach last December. This week, the foundation is unveiling something different. Teaming up with TRLab—which seeks to bring blue-chip art-world cred to the NFT space—the foundation is unveiling a Web3 interactive platform designed to teach the public about Calder’s art, gamify art history, and perhaps make some money to put towards conserving Calder’s IRL work along the way.” [H/T Artnet News]

Microsoft’s new Hardwear collection. Image courtesy of Microsoft

Today’s attractive distractions:

Microsoft’s new “Hardwear” apparel features the Windows XP wallpaper.

Archaeologists find a previously unknown Roman city at the Pyrenees.

Karlie Kloss brings five virtual fashion pop-ups to the Roblox metaverse.  

Tulsa’s futuristic “Jetsons house” was just on the market for $415,000.

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