My Cup of Tea, Rome

A former cave, turned secret studio packed full with design wonders
by Rupert Bentley-Smith

This Roman cave, located in Via Gregoriana, is a secret studio packed full with design wonders. My Cup Of Tea was originally an events trend spotting company, which more latterly opened a retail arm, portrayed as less of a shop, and more of a “creative space”; operating a carousel of new talent including designers, artists, high fashion, and jewellery. Based around a relevant story, the space features a constantly changing roster of artists and designers creating a space where there’s continuously something to appeal to a varied audience.

Previous collaborations have included the woven gold bracelets of Nicotra di S Giacomo and the chic couture aesthetic of Anna Sammarone, and they remain focussed on discovering and exhibiting young and exciting with talents less typical of the high street. A converted apartment in an particularly charming part of Rome, this is a retail space which epitomises the idea of ‘slow retailing’ but at the same time remains dynamic and hugely interesting by showcasing a spectrum of shifting talent, and works in tandem with their well established expertise in communications and continued reports on fashion trends.

This idea of retailing space configured in a way that encourages the consumer to roam and imagine appears to be something that is becoming increasingly prevalent, with parallels seen from Goodhood Store, to Jigsaw, Dover Street, creating environments to wonder, dwell, and be inspired.

Cagliari, Sardinia

Traditional, yet captivating retail experience in Sardinia

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Hudson Yards, New York

Hudson Yards opens in phases from 2017 and includes 14 acres of public realm

by Nigel Gillingham

South Milton Sands, Devon

A slap board shack on the edge of the National Trust beach

by Tracey Pollard

From a distance, this slap board shack on the edge of the National Trust beach looks like the perfect ice cream stop, but The Beach House at South Milton Sands on the stunning South Hams coast serves far more than ice creams. This unique venue seats 30 internally and more…

Badeschiff, Berlin

A slice of Ibiza in the heart of Berlin

by Tracey Pollard

Set behind a rundown warehouse on the Eastern banks of the Spree in Berlin is an area which could still be referred to as “up and coming”; Badeschiff – a floating swimming pool and sauna, with a cool bar, deck area and DJ. Badeschiff, first opened in 2004 and was…

KaDeWe, Berlin

The largest department store in continental Europe

by Tracey Pollard

The Kaufhaus des Westerns, abbreviated to KaDeWe, is the largest department store in continental Europe. With over 60,000 square metres, trading over 8 floors, it attracts 40 – 50,000 people a day. Whilst full of the typical cosmetics, fashion and homewares you would associate within a world class department store,…

The Rum Kitchen, London

A great example of a restaurant working well on a first floor inward facing scheme
by Victoria Broadhead

Having been to The Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill, I was excited to try out their newest restaurant. Located on the first floor of Kingly Court in Carnaby Village, The Rum Kitchen is situated in a corner without very much else up there. Despite this, booking a table, especially in the evening is recommended as it gets extremely busy, particularly towards the latter end of the week. A late evening table isn’t a problem as food is served throughout the night.

On our visit, we were greeted by friendly staff who took us to our table and handed us our menus. We were pre-warned about the strong rum cocktails here, and couldn’t wait to choose our tipple from the long list of Caribbean inspired cocktails. Spice is the name of the game with regards to the food. Our starters, the sticky BBQ ribs and jerk chicken wings, left our lips feeling like we had just had lip fillers! The soft shell crab and jerk chicken burgers were generous in size and highly recommended alongside the sweet potato chips. Now we are ready to go again and try the rest of the menu!

The Rum Kitchen is a great place for a fun and tasty meal with friends, the music is cool and you really get into the party spirit. A ‘buzzy’ atmosphere is certainly the way to describe it, from the background music, the hum of the chatting diners to the clatter of rum bottles as the various cocktails are made.

I was also a big fan of the fit out, a real shack-like feel with various signs and drums dotted around the place. This is a cool space and, like the Notting Hill restaurant, located in an equally cool area attracting the right crowd. It is a great example of a restaurant working on a first floor inward facing scheme, however we have to remember this is in the heart of central London.


Bounce, London

A hip table tennis club and social entertainment experience

by Victoria Broadhead

Zorlu Center, Istanbul

Superb public realm and an enviable tenant mix in this Turkish shopping centre.

by Nigel Gillingham

Who said that the best retail is only found in the “recognised” retail cities of the world!  The Zorlu Center in Istanbul is home to Crate and Barrel, Eataly and one of the coolest Apple stores I have seen outside of Fifth Avenue. It is a fantastic example of Istanbul’s…

Torvehallernekbh, Copenhagen

A great example of a modern food market

by Tracey Pollard

As a complete foodie I was keen to visit Torvehallernekbh, which is Copenhagen’s answer to London’s Borough Market or Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel. Covering some 70,000 sq ft, the market is split into two glass structures, with over 80 stalls inside the building and within a central piazza between…

Mud Dock, Bristol

Cycle shop meets restaurant - a Bristol institution

by Victoria Broadhead

Long before it was fashionable to serve a latte in a bike shop, Mud Dock combined great food and drinks with a high quality cycle shop. Over the last 10 years, the concept has evolved and now includes a deli selling jam and chutney, a bike shed allowing you to…

Omotesando Hills, Tokyo

A mecca for shopping in Tokyo
by Tracey Pollard

The area around Omotesando Hills is a mecca for shopping, specifically the surrounding side streets adjacent to the main retail street, where international architects have designed world class buildings for the world’s top fashion brands. Omotesando has more buildings designed by world class architects than any other neighbourhood in the world.

The most talked about is the Prada Aoyama building which was designed by Herzog and de Meuran, this glass honeycomb structure also includes an underground warehouse with direct underground connection into the adjacent store. Although this is amazing during the day, it’s best seen at night, when lit up.

The building also benefits from a space around it, which is contrasting to most of Tokyo, further highlighting the design. Other surrounding statement buildings include Stephan Jaklitsch’s design for Marc Jacobs and the Cartier Building design from Bruno Moniard and Jun Mitsui & Associates.

Marunouchi, Tokyo

First class public realm creates a calm, relaxed, atmosphere so contrasted to the rest of Tokyo

by Tracey Pollard

Bristol Lido

The oldest surviving Lido in the UK

Rupert Bentley-Smith

The Chiltern Firehouse

Our Ruby Wedding Anniversary at Chiltern Firehouse

by Maureen Buckley

In March, we were lucky to celebrate our Ruby Wedding anniversary. Forty years, where has it gone? As a truly memorable treat, our daughters [not forgetting our son-in-laws] planned and organised a stay at the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. This was particularly special as the building holds wonderful memories for…

Six d.o.g.s Garden, Athens

An amazing subterranean urban hang out

by Mike Ingall

The great thing about economic disruption is that the creatives get to have a say and none more so than in Athens where the green shoots in the F&B world have reached this once great City. The area around Monastiraki on the way to Psirri is starting to resemble the…

Mamma Agata cookery school, Ravello

An authentic cookery school overlooking the lemon groves

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Cookery schools both at home and abroad have become hugely prevalent alongside an explosion in popularity of all things food. These can range from a 45 minute course that’s possible to take in during a lunch hour, to detailed high-end corporate evenings preparing five course Michelin Star food. In the…