Male grooming at Aveda, Covent Garden

The modern man's grooming experience
by Ed Corrigan

Modern men’s hairdressing is dominant in London now with the rise of Pankhurst, Murdock, Ted’s Grooming Room, and rumours of ‘peak beard’ abound. Usually masculine surroundings with leather, dark wood and musky aromas generally being the order of the day, these businesses are fundamental in changing the way that men preen themselves – making it more approachable, more fun and providing an experience rather than just a service.

Ted’s Grooming Rooms are making the experience more accessible by combining these spaces within their retail stores whilst Sharps also have concessions in both Topman on Oxford Street & Ben Sherman in Islington. Barber & Parlour (part of Soho House) in Shoreditch also incorporates a restaurant, bar, juice press and an Electric cinema in the basement – a great example of providing customers with a range of experiences all under one roof.

The Aveda Institute in Covent Garden has recently branched out into Men’s Grooming with a sleeker and more neutral approach. I was told that up to a third of their bookings now come from men – not unsurprising in Covent Garden with the media and theatre industries based locally.

On my recent visit there I opted for the full works of haircut, wash and style plus beard trim. This was not your average quick in-and-out trip to the barber; it was a much more ‘modern’ approach to barbering – my stylist discussed my preferences and what approach I took to my hair care (and beard care!)  Like I suspect many blokes – my only order was “low-maintenance, please.”

I was treated to some rather wonderful smelling beard oil and an exfoliating hot towel.  (At such establishments it is not unusual to be offered cut-throat shaves, moustache wax, ear singeing, man’s manicures and shoe-shines.)  Somewhat disconcertingly the men’s section is in full view of the Le Pain Quotidien café in the next room, so every nick of the barber’s razor can be witnessed by the lunchtime crowd. This is where I think Aveda customers may take time to adjust. Just as our approach to style is to look both presentable and elegant but thrown together without a moment’s thought or effort; modern men like to be pampered but they don’t necessarily like to admit it.

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…

Cagliari, Sardinia

Traditional, yet captivating retail experience in Sardinia

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Viewed and spoken about as a ‘laboratory’, Loredana Mandas’ shop in Cagliari is somewhere for people to watch and experience the fascinating process of her creating hand-made jewellery typical of Sardinia’s history and the island’s deep craft traditions. One of the few filigree jewellery artisans in southern Sardinia, the shop…

The Standard Grill, New York

A Meatpacking staple dining destination just off the iconic High Line

by Harry Wills

A trip to New York is not complete without a visit to the High Line. Originally built in the 1930s, it took dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district and raised them 30 feet into the air. From 1934 to 1980 it carried meat, goods and post…

Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Los Angeles

Recently dubbed, by GQ as ‘The Coolest Street in America’
by Nigel Gillingham

This is an absolute ‘must see’ for the wannabe retail expert going to LA!  This relatively long and standard, narrow two-sided street is home to some very cool independent brands. My favourite is Junk Food which has just opened and is a fabulous store fit-out selling urban unisex fashion.

Recently dubbed, by GQ as ‘The Coolest Street in America’ we can see why Toms opened their flagship concept store here. Toms is a great example of a concept store, the space acts as both a coffee shop, a hang out for the super cool of Abott Kinney and a retail hub for its foot and eye wear ranges. Selling local goods and hosting a variety of events from yoga, coffee tasting to jenga tournaments, Toms treats customers like welcome house-guests. Founder, Blake Mycoskie, reportedly commented that he wanted Toms be more than a store, for it to be a community, adding that building a community around a brand is much more important than marketing – and from the way this store buzzed, I cannot help but agree.

Loads of art galleries and cool restaurants are dotted along Abott Kinney Boulevard including Gilano’s  for brunch and a spattering of international brands including Kate Spade, Aesop and Gant Rugger.  This street restores your faith in independent retail when you move away from the big malls and Beverley Hills bling!

Hudson Yards, New York

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

by Nigel Gillingham

KaDeWe, Berlin

The largest department store in continental Europe

by Tracey Pollard

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…

Springer Spaniel, Launceston

Traditional Cornish pub from a former Mastechef winner

by Woody Bruce

On the Launceston to Plymouth road is a new venture by Anton Piotrowski, the 2012 winner of Masterchef and his head chef Ali who have been working together for the past 10 years. Eight of us went for a  family lunch on bank holiday Saturday. From the outside it feels…

Baileys, Herefordshire

Destination homeware store in the Herefordshire countryside

by Nigel Gillingham

Set in a rural location in Herefordshire, Baileys sells a wide range of homewares from kitchen equipment, lighting, 1930’s Bathrooms, sofas and vintage milk bottles. Located in a series of farm buildings called the Threshing Barn, Stable tack room and Loft, the retail offer has developed to include a café…

Bounce, London

A hip table tennis club and social entertainment experience
by Victoria Broadhead

Always keen for a different night out, I ventured down to Bounce one Thursday night, convinced it was a good idea to add some form of exercise with a few beers and a pizza! A new craze on the scene is a beer and a game of Ping Pong. Leaders in this field are Bounce, a hip table tennis club and social entertainment experience from Adam Breeden, also co-founder and ex CEO of All Star Lanes.

Their first and flagship location is in Holborn a slightly off pitch location just past Chancery Lane so  is starting to become a destination in its own right. The venue really does have everything under one roof, a buzzing bar, fun music, quick and easy food, friendly service and a game of ping pong.

If you are a party smaller than 8 you cant book, but when you turn up you are given a 30 min slot, trust me if you are just a party of 2 that’s enough time! They have a late licence so it stays open till 1pm so you don’t have to go anywhere else!A really good fun night out and not going to break the bank either; definitely worth a try.

Zorlu Center, Istanbul

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

by Nigel Gillingham

Mud Dock, Bristol

Cycle shop meets restaurant - a Bristol institution

by Victoria Broadhead

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…

Marunouchi, Tokyo

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

by Tracey Pollard

Mitsubishi have over 120 years’ ownership in Tokyo’s central business district and now own over 30 mixed use buildings within the 120 hectares that make up Marunouchi. Mitsubishi have proactively engaged in maximising the retail and restaurants elements of their development which include internal malls, so common with the rest…

Otto Restaurant, Sydney

A Sydneysider's perspective

by Jane Horton

In celebrity interviews, they often ask what would be your last meal ever. Well, for me it would have to be at Otto Ristorante in Sydney, New South Wales. Not for the waterfront views or the sunshine that warms your face as you sit on the terrace with your first…

Eliseyev Emporium, St Petersburg

A luxury food emporium in the heart of St Petersburg
by Emily Dumbell

Nevsky Prospect is the famous street that cuts through the centre of St Petersburg and bustles with life as it is lined with restaurants, bars and shops.  At the crossroads with the Kazan Cathedral is the beautiful Art Nouveau building of the Eliseyev Emporium. With its prominent corner position, beautiful design and vibrant lights, plus moving puppets in the windows, I had to go have a peek.

Eliseyev is a luxury food emporium. They stock everything from caviar, tea, coffee, vodka and a charcuterie counter to the most unbelievable homemade confectionary. Having a huge sweet tooth I was a bit like a moth to a light bulb with marzipan corn on the cobs, carrots and homemade jellies of every colour imaginable.

The centre of the Eliseyev store is dominated by a huge pineapple! This is the centre-point of the store with cafe tables dotted underneath its fronds. The Emporium was packed with Russians and tourists alike all buying treaty foods or sitting under the pineapple supping coffee or champagne.  There was a sense of theatre throughout the store, from the stucco ceilings, huge glittering chandeliers and endless gold leaf to the musicians playing on the balcony all of which added to the buzzy atmosphere.

Bristol Lido

The oldest surviving Lido in the UK

Rupert Bentley-Smith

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