Soho House Plants Roots in Portland, and Other News

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Soho House Portland. Photography by Christopher Sturman

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Soho House Plants Roots in Portland

Soho House’s full-steam-ahead expansion has yielded new locations in Mexico City, Nashville, and São Paulo in the past year alone, not to mention sister company The Ned’s long-awaited (and well-received) arrival in Manhattan. The creative-minded social club has now pulled back the curtain on an elegant new clubhouse in Portland, which may strike some as unexpected given the Pacific Northwest city’s reputation as a blissfully offbeat hipster haven. The club occupies two floors of the restored Troy Laundry Building, a century-old brick structure in the Central Eastside that housed a scrappy artist collective for three decades.

Beyond a stylish members-only lounge and co-working space outfitted with veined marble surfaces and Victorian-inspired furnishings against a backdrop of exposed brick, amenities abound for the club’s 500 founding members. They can access daily fitness programs, a sauna and steam room, and a 62-foot-long rooftop infinity pool sporting panoramic views of the city, as well as an Italian-centric menu by Chef Matt Sigler (Il Solito, Renata) that melds open-fire cooking with local flavors. Works by more than 60 local artists root the club in the area, from the second floor’s pastel hand-painted mural by Salomée Souag and the restaurant’s custom room dividers by Jess Ackerman to a Julian Gaines painting modeled on a Jet Magazine cover depicting the first Black flight attendant. —Ryan Waddoups

Image courtesy of Banksy/Instagram

Banksy’s recent tree mural in North London gets defaced two days after it appeared.

Banksy’s recent mural, depicting a tree with a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose, appeared in north London’s Finsbury Park but was defaced with white paint merely two days later, sparking disappointment among residents. Islington council expressed support for the artwork, emphasizing its importance in highlighting the role of trees in addressing the climate crisis. Despite efforts to protect the mural, including installing fencing and discussing long-term solutions with the homeowner, it still fell victim to vandalism, following the anonymous artist’s previous work in Peckham that was swiftly removed amid controversy.

Sasaki and Foster + Partners are developing a Sierra Leone island city with Idris Elba.

Sasaki Associates and Foster + Partners are collaborating to masterplan a smart city on Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone, aiming to accommodate up to one million residents. Led by actor Idris Elba and Siaka Stevens, the project envisions a self-sufficient city with growth potential, drawing inspiration from Elba’s desire to create a retirement home for his mother. Financed through a public-private partnership, the initial focus is on the town of Bonthe, with plans to extend across the entire 230-square-mile island. Sherbro Alliance Partners, overseeing the project, is partnering with Octopus to devise an electricity strategy based on wind power, aligning with a global trend of proposed smart city developments, such as Akon City in Senegal.

The Lishui Airport by MAD Architects. Image courtesy of MAD Architects

MAD Architects shares visuals for an airport in Lishui, China, with a soaring white roof.

MAD Architects has revealed visuals for Lishui Airport in China, situated nine miles from the city center and intended to serve as its primary domestic airport. The structure’s distinctive feature is its sweeping white roof, inspired by soaring birds, reaching nearly 79 feet high and covering 129,000 square feet to accommodate an estimated one million passengers annually. MAD describes the airport as a “spiritual landmark,” blending seamlessly with the area’s mountainous terrain. Construction is currently underway, with completion expected by the end of 2024.

Hermès is facing a class action lawsuit over sales practices of its coveted Birkin bags.

Hermès faces a class action lawsuit in the U.S., with two California shoppers alleging that they were compelled to purchase additional products like apparel and homeware in order to buy the coveted Birkin handbags. Plaintiffs argue that this practice violates U.S. antitrust regulations, asserting that Birkin handbags are distinct from the ancillary products and consumers should have the freedom to choose independently. The complaint cites Hermès’ commission structure for sales associates as evidence, suggesting that staff prioritize pushing other items over Birkins due to lack of commission. While Hermès denies the accusations, CEO Axel Dumas acknowledges the company’s efforts to control resale activity by selling to “real” clients, a strategy similar to that observed in other luxury brands like Rolex and Tudor.

Fabrics and crafts retailer Joann files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid declining sales.

Joann, the 81-year-old fabric and craft retailer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid declining revenue and challenges from reduced consumer spending. The Ohio-based company has managed to secure $132 million in fresh funding, halving its debt which had reached $1 billion. Despite its financial struggles, Joann’s approximately 850 stores and online platform will continue operations. While the pandemic initially saw a surge in sales as people spent more on arts and crafts while at home, this trend has waned, compounded by rising inflation leading customers to cut back on non-essential purchases.

Image courtesy of Lincoln

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