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Monthly Archives: February 2017


For the new year, I got myself a new pair of glasses – another ic! Berlin – the fourth.

It came in the brand’s original iconic screw-shaped container, except this time it is in black opaque.


I am not a brand-loyal consumer except when it comes to eyewear. In the past, it had been difficult when it is time for changing prescription strength and frame. I have bounced between unbranded frames to traditional brand (e.g., Silouhette), to eyewear that licensed a designer’s name (e.g., CD for Christian Dior).


My last pair of ic! Berlin is a non-metal frame – see earlier post about the harmonic oscillator. This year I am back to wearing a minimalist metal frame. The style is very classical, some might say boring.


More than 10 years ago, I tried ic! Berlin the first time and really liked the weight, the screw-less hinge and the wide range of styles it offered.


It has something contemporary about it without being over-fashionable or techno. The model is “cinja s.” and in marine blue/pearl.


The frame and the limbs are of different colors and finishes. The frame is dark blue and matt, while the limbs are metallic and greyish. The orange background here might have made the matt dark blue to appear black.


Is this a QR code ? Must be the smallest I have seen. My iphone cannot focus close enough to test it.


Speaking about information printed on the limb of the glasses … the optical shop in Hong Kong where I bought this frame has been selling ic! Berlin for 20 years and they showed me a frame with a limb printed with a personalized congratulatory message.


The four models I own are: roman, hotel neutor, harmonic oscillator and cinja s.


These are the photos I (Chris) took and posted on Facebook. The series was started in March of 2013. There is no theme – just something random and visually interesting. We gave each a title and noted where it was taken (to the extent we could remember the city).

random photo #286 – smile 2 – Miami



random photo #287 – fire escape – Sao Paulofireescape-1

random photo #288 – dark energy – the Alps



random photo #289 – just do it – Serravalle


random photo #290 – green – Chenonceau

random photo #291 – curtained 4 – Turquant


random photo #292 – heavy – Aostaheavy-1


random photo #293 – sit – Barolosit-1

random photo #294 – under – Cologne


random photo #295 – geometry – Asti

If you are interested in seeing other Random Photos, click on the  random  tag on the left.
We have nothing to do with the ads below.

We were visiting Hong Kong during the Christmas period. One store that we went to multiple times on this trip is The Eslite Spectrum store in Star House星光行, Tsim Sha Tsui.


Its location just happened to be near the places that we were visiting and it is just a nice place to have a coffee while waiting for friends.


Not only it sells Chinese and English books and magazines, it is a full-fledged lifestyle store.


Hong Kong is very much filled with designer boutiques, department stores, malls packed with brand names along side tiny mom-and-pop shops, and even pop up stores. Eslite spectrum is a big bookstore with smaller stores/stalls/counters inside.


On its website, it says “visitors can browse their way through the store’s inspiring reading landscape to explore and create their own version of the good life.”


Mixing books and magazines with other lifestyle products is a current global retail trend – a bazaar selling books side by side with eye glasses, stationary, bags as well as house plants, cameras and even organic groceries.

eslite-7Farm direct.


Wooderful Life sells a range of small wooden figurines. There is a fun display of scenaries with moving figurines.


One can choose pieces to build a scene, including battery-powered base and magnetic pieces which move around the base.


The cafe in Eslite Spectrum is rather small. Local old fashion metal shutters are used as decoration. It looked like the decoration is put there to hide an unsightly column – after all, the building is at least 40-plus years old.

While in Tokyo, we went to the T-site “bookstore” in Daikanyama by Tsutaya which has a similar idea (see post here). It had the most gorgeous space for a coffee shop in a bookstore. Tsutaya has just opened their first bookstore in Taiwan (January 2017). Eslite will have some serious competition.


Eslite Bookstore was established in 1989. The first shop was located in Dunhua South Road, Daan District, Taipei, with a focus and emphasis on art and humanities-related books.


It was the first to set up a 24-hour bookstore in Taiwan at its Dunhua store and later in Hong Kong, attracting lots of night-time readers.


Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and even shitake mushrooms – we bought a huge jar of it.


In Hong Kong, the first Eslite bookstore opened in Causeway Bay in 2012. This 3-storey store in Star House opened in 2015. It stocks 200,000 books and 80,000 lifestyle items.


Eslite as a brand is branching into the hotel and home interior businesses – specializing in warm, modern and sophisticated spaces for living and reading. Love it.

Last year, IT and I went to visit the Vitra Campus – located just across the Swiss-German border in Weil am Rhein. See our earlier posts about the Campus and the company’s showrooms. We joined a walking tour of the private areas of the Campus – the factories, the warehouse and the fire station.


Zaha Hadid’s first completed building is perhaps the most famous fire station in the world. The building was commissioned after a disastrous fire at the Vitra factory in 1981.


Completed in 1994, the building housed a garage for fire engines along with another wing containing locker rooms, showers and common areas.


The slanting walls are not caused by my camera, they do not meet at right angles.


The sharp-angled sculptural forms yells “emergency!’ The walls seem to glide past each other.


According to her firm’s web site, the fire station “emerges as a linear layered series of walls, between which program elements are contained – a representation of “movement frozen” – an alert structure, ready to explode into action at any moment.”


This building is a key work of so-called Deconstructivism and of late twentieth-century architecture in general.


For architecture pilgrims, the Vitra Campus is a mecca and this fire station is a high point. Since it no longer functions as a fire station, we were invited inside to sit in the conference room.


The fire station represents the earliest attempt to translate Hadid’s fantastical, powerful conceptual drawings into a functional architectural space.


This Fire House project – a complex construction of tilted and clashing planes – looks very different from her later, organic designs.


Vitra’s voluntary fire fighting team decided to co-operate with the professional city fire brigade and dissolved the factory-based fire fighting teams. As a consequence Vitra no longer needed a fire station and the building became a space for lectures, concerts, and exhibitions.


Hadid was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004.


She worked for her former professors, Koolhaas and Zenghelis, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, becoming a partner in 1977.


Hadid established her own London-based architecture practice in 1980.


On 31 March 2016, Hadid died of a heart attack in a Miami. We did a post about her building in Hyde Park, London (here) shortly after her death.