Hong Kong K11 Musea – The Outernet

Anna Bourgeois

At the beginning of 2020, I was lucky enough to visit Hong Kong’s K11 MUSEA  ‘Art Mall’ concept. Opened in 2019, the ‘art mall/museum’ overlooks Victoria Harbour, and the beautiful red sail junk boats which are so iconic to Hong Kong. It sits amongst the busy Tsim Sha Tsui district, overshadowed by skyscrapers. On first impression it didn’t stand out, sitting well beneath the spectacular skyline, but as soon as I entered, I was totally blown away.

The centre features a mix of 250 retailers, 70 restaurants, 40 artist installations, and a broad array of educational programs. Some of my favourites were: an interactive Golden Goose store, which distresses sneakers whilst you wait, the Loewe store with the most incredible shop fit out, and an Agnes b. store, serving tiny little cardigan shaped cream cakes. The best part was the atrium, which looked almost as if it had been sculptured out of wood, spiralling up towards a huge glass globe, which was suspended over the entire mall.

I’m not sure ‘mall’ is the right word to describe K11 ‘MUSEA’. It’s a far cry from our traditional British shopping destinations such as Westfield or the Trafford Centre. I didn’t think anything in Britain could compare until I watched a video this week on ‘The Outernet’, Consolidated Land’s new project on Denmark Street. Their ideas and concepts reminded me so much of K11, the way they incorporate history, art and culture within a cutting-edge retail and leisure environment. Placemaking and creating a destination is so important with modern developments, and I can already tell that ‘The Outernet’ will be a really exciting cultural hub.

Karavan, Budapest

Simple food court concept with international cuisine in the Hungarian capital

by Harry Atcherley-Symes

The Orange Bakery, Watlington

A great example of a powerful little footfall driver

by Tracey Pollard

We often travel across the world looking for retail inspiration and ways to help our clients drive footfall. However, sometimes we find it right on our doorstep. Just 3 miles from my home, in the tiny Oxfordshire village of Watlington is The Orange Bakery. Opened 2 months ago by a father…

Amazónico, Madrid

Excellent Jazz and Hangout for Madrid's Glitterati

by Nigel Gillingham

Having learned that these guys are soon to open in London, I felt it necessary to pay them a visit on a recent trip to Madrid – all in the name or research you understand! Part of the Dogus group, Amazónico opened its doors in the summer of 2016, and has quickly become…

Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid

One of the world's leading gastronomic markets

by Nigel Gillingham

When Mercado de San Miguel first opened its doors 100 years ago, it was as a wholesale food market.  Today, this beautiful old building has become one of the world’s main gastronomic markets and one of Madrid’s treasures.  If you want to get a flavour of every type of food Spain has…

Cargo, Wapping Wharf, Bristol

A container park and hub for small businesses in Bristol
by Victoria Broadhead

Cargo is part of Bristol’s glamorous new Wapping Wharf development.  Whenever I visit my friend in Bristol, it is our go-to destination for lunch and a bit of shopping and is a great example of placemaking.

Cargo is a relatively large container park with approximately 35 local businesses operating out of it which has swiftly become not only a destination in its own right, but a wonderful community for the retailers who operate there, and a fantastic attraction to those looking for new homes in the development.

Described by many of the operators as the perfect solution to their requirements for their first bricks and mortar store, Cargo is a great launch pad for restauranteurs, entrepreneurs, retailers and up and coming niche brands.  Great examples are: The Pickled Brisket; a dedicated salt beef bar, serving locally sourced hot salt beef sandwiches, Something Elsie; vintage retro clothing and accessories, The Bristol Cheesemonger and The Clifton Seafood Company which sell seafood caught in home waters.  Not to mention Bandook – a fun, Bollywood themed Indian diner from the team that created the award-winning Mint Room restaurants in Bath and Bristol.

There is also yoga, massage and wellness, bubble tea, cider, craft beer plus a plethora of food, gifts and ethical clothing.

With regular events which see the retailers working closely alongside and supporting each other, Cargo really is a great example of the retail world being fantastically alive and kicking, just in a slightly different guise.  The community spirit and fun atmosphere translates into the customer experience and makes Cargo a place you want to keep going back to.

Stack, Newcastle

The North East's freshest and up-coming independent eateries, businesses and bars all in one place

by Victoria Broadhead

Sprout & Co., Dublin

Eat as nature intended in the Irish capital

by Victoria Broadhead

On a recent visit to Dublin, I came across this little gem of restaurant and was totally blown away.  Set up by the Kirwin brothers, who are behind the Sprout juice business, they now have 6 restaurants across Dublin and Meath and a farm in Rathcoffey, Co. Kildare (about 30 km away).…

Gallow Green, New York

Charming rooftop bar and restaurant in Chelsea

by Natasha Troiano

This urban horticultural paradise nestled in the heart of Chelsea on W27th Street above the McKittrick hotel is a hidden gem. Once inside, a mysterious elevator ride took us to the top floor where we were led down a dark hallway before reaching a clearing. The secret garden on the…

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

The new Tottenham Hotspur stadium is finally open, and it is certainly worth the wait

by Dominic Tixerant

With a capacity of 62,062 it is the largest Premier League stadium in London,  but what really makes it stand out is the attention to detail.  Every element of the stadium has been designed to the most intricate level, with an aim of creating the highest level of fan entertainment.…

IKEA, Greenwich

The global brand's latest UK opening sets a new sustainable standard for retail
by Andrew Gibson

“You are 24 years old and you have never been to IKEA?!”, exclaimed my co-workers in disbelief as I pondered over visiting the new Greenwich store.  The embarrassment was reason enough to explore the latest outpost from the Scandinavian homeware stalwart, so it was a bonus to discover the incredibly sustainable foundations which the store has been created on.

Arriving on the Jubillee line, unavoidable signage ushered me towards the new store, and as I rounded the corner, I was to be greeted by a behemoth 344,445sq ft structure.  The Greenwich IKEA is the brand’s 22nd big box format store in the UK and is their most sustainable incarnation yet.  Inside, it is awash with natural light, greatly reducing the dependence on artificial lighting, however the glowing green credentials don’t end there.

The store also has a BREEAM Excellent accreditation, photovoltaic solar panels, rainwater harvesting and grey water treatment to reduce water consumption by 50 per cent; and as well as aiming to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Snaking through the wonderful conveyor belt of sleek interior design, each room is beautifully put together and is instantly followed by a whirlwind of creative ideas for home, office, restaurant and retail premises. Spearheaded by Generation Z, interest in homeware has mushroomed in the UK, with traditional clothing stores such as H&M and Zara jumping on the trend, and providing stylish yet affordable solutions for the home. Gen Z are fuelled by social media and are attracted by the fast-fashion nature of the homeware ranges, with a strong desire to buy into the latest look.

IKEA’s responsible efforts transcend beyond their building and into the lives of their customers and employees as they seek to integrate in to the community with products, workshops and advice to help them lead healthier and more responsible lives.

The Swedish mantra, “Lagom är bast” means “the right amount is best”, and they believe it to be the key to sustainable living.

The community focus within the new store includes a multitude of opportunities for people to use the area as a somewhere relax, unwind and socialise. The grand shop also features ‘IKEA’s Learning Lab’, which is an in store creative hub where upcycling workshops and demonstrations take place, creating opportunities to reuse more and waste less.  There is also a serene rooftop pavilion and garden with panoramic views over London, which can be used as a workstation and to be rented out for functions.

When mainstream stores and landlords begin to realise the importance of sustainability in the design and construction of their units, we should begin to see rapid and major changes in the retail and property landscape.

Until we do see more trailblazing efforts to set a new sustainable standard in retail, you may see me in IKEA more often.

La Maison Plisson, Paris

A concept store in the French capital, entirely dedicated to the pleasure of eating

by Tracey Pollard

allbirds, Covent Garden

London store for the brand making beautifully crafted, natural shoes that will last

by Zoe Schoon

October 2018 saw the perfectly timed opening of allbirds in London’s Covent Garden.  At a time when the fashion industry is addressing its carbon footprint, this San-Francisco based shoe manufacturer is a pioneer in the world of sustainable fashion. Started by New Zealander Tim Brown, (an ex-professional football player) and…

The Coal Office, Kings Cross

Each guest at the Coal Office is witness to an entirely different, engaging experience beyond just eating.

By Dominic Tixerant

Less than a generation ago, Kings Cross was typified by post-industrial degradation, notoriously unsavoury behaviour and its one redeeming feature; the historic St Pancras station. Now, following Argent’s extensive regeneration, the transport hub is fast becoming the most relevant shopping and leisure destination in the capital.  At the heart of…

The Brasserie of Light, London

A destination restaurant within a department store

by Tracey Pollard

Just in time for the dark days of December, Richard Caring’s sparkling Brassiere of light is a sumptuous combination of Selfridges and Damien Hirst. What’s not to like? Located on Selfridges’ first floor, opposite St Christopher’s Place, Caring’s latest venture is the epitome of its name with floor to ceiling…

FEED, New York

Creating good products that help feed the world
by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Tucked away in Brooklyn’s DUMBO district (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in case you’re not a New Yorker) is FEED, a café and shop on a bit of a mission to make more than a dent on world hunger.  Founded by Lauren Bush in 2007, this is the foundation’s first bricks and mortar shop, and combines retail and coffee elements to give you a chance to fully engage in its mission.

Lauren started FEED following her travels around the world as honorary spokesperson for The World Food Programme during which she witnessed poverty first hand.

It started with the simple idea of creating products that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way.  Every product has a number stamped on it that signifies the amount of meals or micronutrient packets provided with its purchase. On the day I visited, the counter display said they had provided 103,321,347 meals to children globally, so I felt instantly compelled to purchase a coffee and pastry so I could add to this total!

As I munched away, I was able to take in a carefully curated selection of spoils from their website which they display in the shop on a rotating basis, mainly bags, lunch boxes, mugs and pins each imprinted with the amount of meals their purchase would provide.  I ended up buying a FEED shopping bag which had “ten” imprinted on the back, and I instantly felt more cheerful.

Since its inception just over 10 years ago, FEED has evolved into a whole movement, offering events at its café, and a whole following of people who regularly host suppers at their homes to raise money.  Bruce Gillingham Pollard is expecting to see more bricks and mortar offerings from charities as they engage consumers in their causes.  I can definitely vouch for the little bit of happiness it brings to your day!

Matches Fashion, Mayfair

A pioneering response to the changing retail landscape

by Charlotte Roberts

With the High Street under threat and online companies such as Amazon doing so incredibly well, it’ll come as no surprise to hear that retailers are having to be imaginative (to say the least!) in order to reach their consumers. Matchesfashion.com has pioneered this change by becoming so much more than simply…

Stella McCartney, Bond Street

Stella brings a breath of fresh air and personality to Bond Street

by Zoe Schoon

I’ve always been a great admirer of Stella McCartney (mainly for her ethical values and compassion for animals) so when she opened her new flagship store in Bond Street, which is meant to be reflection of these things and more, I was keen to take look. Armed with my 5 year old…

Benamôr, Lisbon

One of Portugal's oldest and most beloved beauty brands

by Millie Edwards

As a company we are forever seeking out the latest trends, innovation and unique concepts which we can take inspiration from, this we partly achieve through regularly visiting other cities and countries around the world.  Most recently, our travels took us to Lisbon; Portugal’s coastal capital and one of the…

LX Factory, Lisbon

An authentic regeneration of a post-industrial area
by Tracey Pollard

Bruce Gillingham Pollard recently took a break from the office to explore Lisbon, Portugal’s ‘City of light’.  In the wake of Portugal’s economic recession, Lisbon has emerged an avant-garde, cultural hub of restless creativity, its ancient foundations reinvigorated with a vibrant, youthful energy.  Nowhere does this new Lisbon synchronize so eloquently with its historic bedrock than within the gates of LX Factory.

This strip of delapidated fabric factories, now decked out with vibrant street art, has reinvented itself as a hub of cafés, bars, independent art spaces, vintage shops, restaurants, concept stores, yoga studios and music venues. Of all LX Factory’s enticing qualities, we found ourselves most impressed by its integrity.

Fellpack, Keswick

Hearty, modern fare for fell-walkers in the heart of the Lake District

by Rosie Higgins

Finisterre, Covent Garden

Surf brand with a commitment to sustainability

by Charlotte Roberts

A British clothing brand that offers so much more than just surf related merchandise have opened a beautiful store in Seven Dials. Think framed coastal pictures, storm lights and a relaxed, surf shack vibe. Despite the brands apparent lack of interest in being ‘in fashion’, their plain, subtly branded clothes…

Peter’s Yard, Edinburgh

Swedish inspired cafe and bakery next to the University of Edinburgh

by Helen Smith

Peter’s Yard is a Swedish inspired café and bakery within the Foster and Partners Quartemile development of Edinburgh’s Old Infirmary site next to the Meadows park. It is popular with residents from the tenements of Marchmont, students in the nearby conglomeration of Edinburgh University buildings and tourists. Scandi chic in…

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

Modern tapas restaurant signifying Camberwell's gentrification

by Harry Badham

Ask a lot of people what they think of Camberwell and the only answer usually involves Danny’s famous Camberwell carrot (because it was invented in Camberwell and it looks like a carrot……duh). But change is definitely afoot, at least to the non-Withnail generation. Perhaps it started with the brave opening…

Devi Garh, India

Heritage hotel and resort in Udaipur
by Ivor Peters

After an hour of sucking in our breath, dodging overladen lorries carrying marble on the national highway to Delhi, we arrived at the kilometre long driveway leading to our hotel, with its stark silver on black signage. The imposing sight of Devi Garh, the 17th Century fort cum palace occupies one of the most strategic passes in Rajasthan and rises from its perched hill position with terrifying dominance. The uplighters casting impressive shadows against its many towers, balconies, and crenulations. Very rarely are our expectations exceeded, but on this occasion a Howitzer blew them out of the water. Uniformed guards saluted our arrival, porters scurried to open our doors and we exhaled a sigh of satisfaction. We hopped out and followed the long low-lit path to the main entrance and staff sporting designer black Nehru tunics greeted us. We gathered our jaws off the manicured central lawn as our eyes struggled to take in the magisterial sight of Devi Garh, domineering, stark, confident and undeniably the most impressive translation of hospitality we had encountered in Rajasthan. Stone sculptures lay casually strewn across the lawn as if ditched from the sky by the gods.

At each turn casual elegance promised mystery after mystery. Historic frescoes twinned with floor sculptures in the shape of lotus plants, housed in a courtyard riven with marble patios softened by jade clipped hedging. Even the air tastes tranquil here. Several flights of granite steps leading to secret chambers and a series of courtyards led us to our suite. Which was designed and assembled with an immaculate eye, sinuous marble with a quadruple aspect inserted with a window seat the size of a generous bed. The split-level led us to our low-slung marble based bed. We shrieked with a lottery winner’s surprise and with childlike fascination we explored cupboards, boxes, wardrobes, drawers and anterooms, gasping at the multi level dressing area and bathroom, rather than gilding the lily, this is simple opulence. That evening we celebrated our arrival with pre-dinner drinks, served in a bar styled from a Bond villain’s lair. The Maharani made herself at home with a ginger infused Champagne cocktail and I put up with…a Martini, of course. Dinner would have melted the hardest of hearts, the hotel was a scene lit by a thousand candles, soft glow resting on the curls of a carpet of rose petals.

Imaginative, modern Indian food was served buffet style, fireworks rocked the clear sky and we filled our mouths with food created by a gastro God. Being a nosy chef and food adventurer has its advantages. I wanted to meet the brigade behind the silkily smooth Murgh Palak (Spinach and Chicken curry) and their interpretation of a fiery Rajasthani classic, Laal Maas, mutton soaked and slow cooked in Kashmiri chillies, but this version was tempered with almonds and the gentle touch of buffalo milk. The region is known for its opulent and sometimes heavy food, however the talented chef, Rakesh and his team delivered course after course with the lightness of a ballerina’s pirouette. This kitchen was capable of delivering world peace with these astounding treasures, truly unifying and crossing cultural and culinary boundaries.Devi Garh attracts a cosmopolitan set, French Trustafairians, Hollywood casting agents, Scandinavian designers, Indian oligarchs and apparently Liz Hurley…in our situation it was definitely a case of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. How to describe Devi Garh? In a fast changing culture which is thousands of years old, I think it’s the definition of Indian Heritage shod in a pair of Louboutins.

Space Ninety8, Brooklyn

Amongst the modish cafes, bars and industrial space of Williamsburg, New York, lives Space Ninety 8

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Hay Design, Bath

Bath flagship for this iconic Danish homeware brand

by Nigel Gillingham

Vintage Village, Paris

A concept store based around genuine vintage and antique pieces from Habitat

by Ed Corrigan

On the northern fringes of the 18th arrondissement  is the famous Marche aux Puces de Saint Ouen. “Les Puces” has evolved (and is still evolving) from flea market to tourist hotspot to antique and art dealer collective. Off one of the side streets is a walled enclave called Vintage Village.…

Valvona Crolla, Edinburgh

Scotland's oldest delicatessen and wine merchants

by Tracey Pollard

Scotland’s oldest delicatessen and wine merchants celebrated their 80th anniversary this year. Valvona and Crolla were founded as a market store in 1934 by an Italian immigrant and now serves a vast breadth of wine, food and a range of kitchenware from all around the world, as well as their…

Palomar, London

A modern Jerusalem menu and creative, crazy environment

by Nigel Gillingham

Chefs from Jerusalem’s coolest restaurant Machneyrda have not disappointed with The Palomar at 34 Rupert Street, London. Following its opening in May 2014, this restaurant seems to have received nothing but positive praise. The modern Jerusalem menu and the creative, crazy environment is inspiring and the non stop showmanship, theatre…

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon

A modern take on a food court
by Tracey Pollard

There has been a market in this building since 1882 and it was once the most famous fish market in Europe but in May 2014, part of the market hall reopened as the “Time Out” Food Hall,  housing 35 of Lisbon’s top chefs and restaurants. Set within a beautiful building topped off with a Moorish style dome, the large open space is a really a modern take on a food Court , focusing on local quality product and independent operators.

The food choice is vast but it remains authentic and maybe that’s the reason for the success. With no global chains in sight, you find everything from traditional Portuguese cuisines, beers, wines and plates of ham from Alentejo, Azeitao sheep’s cheese and the Lisbon classic, the custard tart. Other foods are also represented with Italian, Thai, fresh sea food and dessert counters all being served by local independents.  The quality of food is high, as some of Lisbon’s top operators are here.  One of Portugal’s top chefs  Henrique Sa Pessoa’s has a counter, serving the likes of truffle mash potatoes and Portuguese style steak and egg.  Other well known Lisbon names with representation, include Sushi from Confraria, Café de Sao Bento, who are acknowledged to have the city’s best sirloin steak in Lisbon and ice cream from Santini.

Each operator has a small kitchen area where they cook in front of you and then everyone shares the communal seating area located in the centre of the hall. The signage through out is a contemporary black and white style.  Simple wooden tables and chairs are shared by all the operators and although it’s a modern take on a food court, it has a great vibe and is busy throughout the day serving both locals and tourists. Open until 2 am at weekends, this venue is a great example of a destination which appeals to its immediate catchment as well as the international tourist. With meals ranging from 6 – 12 Euros, it really is an all day option and appeals across the board from families to the cool contemporary set.

The Ginger Pig

The Ginger Pig has Christmas covered

by Woody Bruce

Now with seven stores across London and their ‘head office’ in the heart of Yorkshire, The Ginger Pig has fast become one of the most popular butchers in London. Ginger Pig is your old school, quintessential butchers. They give excellent advice, are happy to chat about what to do with…

Lime Wood, New Forest

Quintessential 'boutique hotel' in the heart of the New Forest

by Tracey Pollard

The first boutique hotel was believed to have been invented in the early 80s with The Blake Hotel in South Kensington and The Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco which both opened for trade in 1981. Classic design qualities for the Boutique Hotel require it to be small and intimate,…

Uniqlo, Le Marais, Paris

Old meets new in Uniqlo's new flagship store

by Woody Bruce

The Marais is almost as old as some of the first inhabited parts of Paris and still maintains some of that old world charm, it is the only area in Paris that has preserved the narrow streets and architectural styles of the Medieval and Renaissance-era. In stark contrast to the old…

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