The Shortlist

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01 Best domestic design

‘CX480’ full-surface induction cooktop, by Gaggenau

For the aspiring Adrià, Blumenthal or Bocuse, Gaggenau’s all-encompassing, full-surface induction cooktop is a kitchen must-have. Backed by intuitive technology, the ‘CX480’ hob allows pans of any shape and size to be placed anywhere on the surface, where sensors underneath will locate them and nudge some of 48 micro-inductors to heat them to the desired temperature. Heat is controlled by a digital touch display, which recognises the position, shape and size of cookware for easy manipulation, and should pans move, the hob checks if temperature and time should continue from its previous position, making it the smartest piece of cooking kit around.

Key features: The entire surface of this cooktop is one large cooking area
Materials: 48 micro-inductors and an optional stainless-steel frame
Price: on request
Based: Munich

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01 Best domestic design

‘Plug’ lamp, by Form Us With Love, for Ateljé Lyktan

The surplus of plugs, extension cords and charging cables is a modern-day plague. To solve the quandary, Form Us With Love has come up with a witty solution. The Swedish collective’s ‘Plug’ lamp is a charming assembly of rounded edges that comes with one added ingenious feature: a base that cleverly incorporates a power point, which takes the pain out of having to search for an empty socket when phones, laptops or tablets are running on empty. Available in five powder-coated colours, the dimmable lamp, produced by Swedish lighting specialists Ateljé Lyktan, would suit desktops, bedsides or public spaces, such as hotel lobbies and libraries.

Key features: A desk light that incorporates an empty socket, making it easier to charge phones and laptops
Materials: Die-cast aluminium and opal glass
Price: SEK2,800 (€ 325)
Based: Stockholm

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01 Best domestic design

‘Tower’ water filter carafe, by Sebastian Bergne

The London-based designer Sebastian Bergne has made good-looking kitchen and dining accessories his calling card, and his water carafe, which comes with a removable water filter attachment, doesn’t disappoint. Handcrafted from borosilicate glass, the streamlined vessel is not only deliciously weighty, but boasts shock-resistant and thermal properties, making it perfect for prolonged fridge-to-table use. The integrated design even uses standard filters, which puts it a step ahead of the competition. The carafe joins Bergne’s ‘Tower’ family of glassware, where matching glasses can be stacked on top for storage or as a stopper.

Key features: A water filter carafe with matching stackable glasses
Materials: Borosilicate glass
Price: £265
Based: London

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01 Best domestic design

Electrical switches and sockets, by Inga Sempé, for Legrand

Few designers possess the design panache to turn the humble electrical socket into a thing of beauty. Enter Inga Sempé, who has transformed these everyday necessities into a design feature in their own right. Sempé’s creative approach intuitively takes the familiarity of the fixtures into consideration and the sockets come in several forms to suit an array of modern needs. ‘Trompe-L’Oeil’ (pictured left) makes use of a decorative wall panel; ‘Longiline’ plays up the slender lines of door frames in an elongated toggle switch; the ‘Rotatif’ dimmer switch boasts playful dials; and the ‘Rotatif’ socket comes with its own pop-up ‘mask’ that either hides the socket holes or shelters the plug.

Key features: A collection of playful switches and sockets
Materials: Plastic
Price: prototype
Based: Paris

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01 Best domestic design

‘Grand Cuisine’ blast chiller, by Electrolux

Electrolux appliances are a mainstay in many a professional kitchen and in a move to bring those professional standards into the home, the Swedish giant has launched its ‘Grand Cuisine’ series, which includes everything from a chrome-plated sear hob and state-of-the-art vacuum sealer to this particularly impressive blast chiller. With its speed and power, it can be used to cool dishes straight out of the oven, set delicate desserts – from ice cream to parfaits – in mere minutes, and even blast chill ten bottles of champagne to the perfect 8°C in just 30 minutes. A three-prong temperature control and a range of automatic programmes ensure expert results.

Key features: Part of a professional cooking system designed specifically for the home, it freezes ingredients while perfectly preserving their taste, texture and flavour
Materials: Stainless steel and glass
Price: £12,000
Based: Stockholm

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02 Designer of the year

Ron Gilad

Ron Gilad had a bumper year in 2012. The Israeli-born artist/ designer was the talk of Milan’s Salone, where he demonstrated that his conceptual style could be functional and commercial to boot. He impressed with the Grado° furniture range for Molteni & C, which uses colour accents to experiment with geometry; a collection of marble pieces for stone specialists Salvatori; an exhibition on the 3D form at Milan’s Dilmos Gallery; irony-laden pieces for Adele-C; and quirky marble candlesticks for Established & Sons. Consistent across the board is Gilad’s ability to give weighty materials such as steel and marble a lightness and dynamism that make him a force to be reckoned with.

Company: Ron Gilad
Established: 2001 Based: Tel Aviv, Israel
Key projects: Soft Marble Collection for Salvatori; Grado° furniture range for Molteni & C; ‘The Line, the Arch, the Circle and the Square’ at Dilmos Gallery; furniture for Adele-C; marble candlesticks for Established & Sons

Photography: Alison Bradley

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02 Designer of the year

Studio Job

In late 2011, Dutch luminaries Studio Job transformed a modest Eindhoven house into a museum of future classics, reissues and contemporary work. The Bergeijk villa has since become a testament to the individuality of Studio Job’s Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel and their considered, detail-oriented approach. With its signature take on European iconography, the duo’s style has manifested itself in a classical grandfather clock, a cupboard and chest for Moooi; intricate rugs for Nodus; a ‘Taj Mahal’ table; and flatware for Sergio Herman. This year marked a key transition for the duo, with their products taking on a stronger relevance – a rarity in the design world today.

Company: Studio Job
Established: 2000
Based: Antwerp, Belgium
Key projects: Studio Job House, Bergeijk; ‘Altdeutsche’ furniture for Moooi; rugs for Nodus; ‘Taj Mahal’ table; kitchenware for Sergio Herman

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02 Designer of the year

Barber Osgerby

The Olympic torch was a golden design commission for British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby – and one they tackled with their characteristic mix of rigorous research and a pioneering approach to materials. Made from an aluminium alloy developed for the aerospace industry, this icon of London 2012 came perforated with 8,000 holes cut using a new, super-fast, laser-cutting technology called ‘fire-on-the-fly’. The duo have also channelled their finely honed design sensibility in a broad array of directions over the last year, from a sculptural table for B&B Italia to a flagship US store for Mulberry, the latter under the duo’s interiors arm, Universal Design Studio.

Company: Barber Osgerby
Established: 1996
Based: London
Key projects: Olympic torch for London 2012 Olympic Games; ‘Tobi Ishi’ table for B&B Italia; ‘Western Façade’ for Established & Sons ‘Bench Years’ exhibition, at V&A Museum; ‘Ascent’ exhibition for Haunch of Venison gallery; US flagship store for Mulberry

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02 Designer of the year

Francesco Rota

Francesco Rota might not yet be a household name, but that looks set to change. Although the veteran Italian designer has worked throughout his career with big-name brands such as Moroso and Knoll, it was his latest creations that really caught our eye. Rota’s classic simplicity is an exercise in restraint and sophistication, which he applied to refined outdoor loungers, a concrete table and a sofa for Paola Lenti; a modular coffee table inspired by the tangram puzzle for Lema; a geometric stool for Living Divani; and a series of Plexiglas lamps for Oluce – all simple, effective and executed with ease. Rota has long been under-appreciated, but we think that is about to change.

Company: Francesco Rota
Established: 1994 Based: Milan, Italy
Key projects: ‘Beryl’ tray for KME; furniture for Paola Lenti; ‘Hinge’ stools for Living Divani; furniture for Lema; lamps for Oluce

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02 Designer of the year

Ludovica and Roberto Palomba

Since opening their studio in 1994, Ludovica and Roberto Palomba have worn both architect and designer hats, creating products for brands such as Zucchetti and Kos, as well as offering art direction for the likes of Technogym and Zanotta. Known for their prolific bathroom and kitchen projects, the couple have recently broadened their scope to include outdoor furniture, sofas and lighting. However, it was still their bathroom and kitchen creations that most impressed. Their sculptural bathtub for Laufen and geometric cooker hood for Elica both bear the pair’s refined signature, but also bring an elevated, avant-garde quality to the most mundane of everyday objects.

Company: Palomba Serafini Associati
Established: 1994
Based: Milan, Italy
Key projects: ‘Sunrise’ outdoor furniture and ‘Fenix’ sofa for Driade; ‘Altopiano’ sofa for Zanotta; ‘Birdie’ lampshade for Foscarini; ‘Palomba’ bathroom collection for Laufen; ‘Tangram’ cooker hood for Elica

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03 Best new restaurant

Attimo, São Paulo

Attimo is described by its owner Marcelo Fernandes as an Italo-caipira, or Italian/rustic Brazilian restaurant. By which he means that chef Jefferson Rueda serves both classic pasta dishes and local specialities such as coxinha de galinha. Attimo is housed in a 1950s house by local architect David Libeskind, carefully restored by Fernandes’ long-time collaborator Naoki Otake. The architect preserved the building’s signature cobogó (patterned partition) and used marble and hardwoods to craft a clean, sophisticated space. The interiors, together with Gilberto Elkis’ stunning landscaping and Rueda’s flawlessly executed offering, make it one of the best new restaurants we’ve seen this year.

Address: Rua Diogo Jácome 341, Vila Nova Conceição, São Paulo
Key features: A carefully restored 1950s modernist gem by one of the country’s leading restaurateurs, Marcelo Fernandes
Cuisine: A flawless mix of Italian favourites and Brazilian classics
Chef: Jefferson Rueda
Interiors: Naoki Otake

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03 Best new restaurant

The NoMad, New York

Three Michelin-starred chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park and restaurateur Will Guidara have responded with brio to the pressure of creating a menu fit for the Sydell Group’s new property, NoMad. Housed in a 1903 Beaux-Arts building, with new interiors by Jacques Garcia, NoMad offers a myriad of dining experiences. The cuisine is sophisticated, yet familiar – the house speciality is a roast chicken for two – and guests are encouraged to order à la carte and to sit in various areas such as the atrium, located under a pyramid-shaped skylight; the mahogany bar, where classic cocktails are prepared by Leo Robitschek; or the stunning summer terrace (pictured left).

Address: 1170 Broadway & 28th Street, New York
Key features: Sophisticated dining in a variety of spaces, from plush lounges to private dining rooms to a rooftop terrace
Cuisine: The focus is on expertly executed classics, such as roast chicken and chocolate tart
Chef: Daniel Humm
Interiors: Jacques Garcia

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03 Best new restaurant

Geist, Copenhagen

Michelin-starred chef Bo Bech has teamed up with Danish design gurus Space to create this relaxed eaterie, decorated in an elegant palette of black, grey and white and furnished with specially designed ‘Spine’ bar stools. ‘We wanted the restaurant to be both dynamic and calm. It is a modern design that has a nostalgic tone,’ explain Space’s Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou. The menu offers new Danish cuisine with dishes such as turbot with cheese ravioli. For Bech, the most important thing is that guests are enjoying their time at Geist. And for that purpose, it seems he’s also hired some of the best-looking staff we have seen in any restaurant this year.

Address: Kongens Nytorv 8, Copenhagen
Key features: Interiors by leading Danish practice Space, and food by one of the country’s top Michelin-starred chefs
Cuisine: A new Danish menu featuring dishes such as turbot and cheese ravioli, and baked celeriac with buttermilk
Chef: Bo Bech
Interiors: Space

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03 Best new restaurant

Dabbous, London

Dabbous is London’s hot table of the moment. The power of London food critic Fay Maschler and a Twitter frenzy have made getting a reservation an almost surreal exercise in delayed gratification. And it doesn’t hurt that Michel Roux protégé Oliver Dabbous is young and looks like a rock star. The menu is short and the food simple, in that intense-flavoured, on-its-way-to-a-Michelin-star way, with dishes that include barbecued lamb chump with violet mustard and chilled lemon verbena infusion. The interior, by Brinkworth, is classic bare-duct functionalism, with polished concrete floors. If you can’t bear the wait, snacks are served in the basement bar helmed by Oskar Kinberg.

Address: 39 Whitfield Street, London W1
Key features: London’s hottest table, with a young prodigy at the helm and ultra-minimalist interiors
Cuisine: Light, modern dishes focusing on fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, juices and infusions, and wild foods
Chef: Oliver Dabbous
Interiors: Brinkworth

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03 Best new restaurant

Stokehouse, Brisbane

On a sunny day, there is no more glorious place to find yourself than Brisbane’s South Bank, with the city postcard-perfect and gleaming across the water. And the best spot to soak in this vista is Stokehouse. The much-younger sibling of Melbourne’s renowned restaurant, it opened late last year after the devastation of the New Year floods. Local practice Arkhefield designed the building with an expansive terrace and interiors that boast a curving wall of stacked timber battens inset with spaces for the bar, wine cellar and private dining room. Chef Tony Kelly serves a modern Australian menu – think Kurobuta pork cutlet with pumpkin, and ginger and coconut truffle cakes.

Address: Sidon Street, South Bank
Key features: A contemporary building on the banks of Brisbane River
Cuisine: Modern Australian, with a focus on seafood dishes and local ingredients
Chef: Tony Kelly
Interiors: Arkhefield

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04 Best new or renovated hotel

Conservatorium, Amsterdam

Commissioned by Georgi Akirov, the Conservatorium’s Israeli owner, to transform a former century-old bank-turned-music-school into a luxury hotel, Italian designer Piero Lissoni delivered a huge glass box insertion that sweeps into the courtyard of the red brick building, with angular steel staircases; precisely designed guest rooms in metal, glass and dark wood; and a beautifully lit swimming pool, which is part of the hotel’s Akasha spa. Accessed through impressive arched corridors is Tunes, the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant and bar, where chef Schilo van Coevorden prepares dishes such as smoked venison fillet with marinated mushrooms in the glass-walled kitchen.

Address: 27 Van Baerlestraat, Amsterdam
Key features: A grand turn-of-the-century building in the heart of Amsterdam, revamped by Italian designer Piero Lissoni
Number of rooms: 129
Room rates: from €345

Photography: Misha de Ridder

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04 Best new or renovated hotel

Tierra Patagonia, Chile

Located an hour’s drive from Puerto Natales in Chile’s Patagonia, this five-star retreat was designed by local architect Cazú Zegers to minimise its impact on the dramatic terrain surrounding Lake Sarmiento. Zegers says she shaped the resort to resemble a fossil, and relied on local materials and low-tech techniques used by Patagonian craftsmen since the 19th century. Explorers returning from their daily immersion in the glacial scenery of the Torres del Paine park can relax in the hotel’s lounge, which boasts an open fire and stunning views over the lake, before heading to one of the 40 luxury rooms and suites, or rewarding themselves with a treatment or a steam bath in the Uma Spa.

Address: Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
Key features: A remote retreat built out of traditional wood and stone, boasting contemporary interiors and stunning views
Number of rooms: 40
Room rates: from $2,460 per person for four nights

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04 Best new or renovated hotel

Fasano Boa Vista, Brazil

Located on a sprawling farm a short drive away from São Paulo, Boa Vista is the Fasano hotel group’s first golf estate, with two championship golf courses created by Randall Thompson. Like the other Fasano properties, it was designed by Isay Weinfeld, who created a two-storey glazed structure cut by a long balcony with retro-style stonework. The lakeside complex is surrounded by 750 hectares of rolling hills, forest and lakes, and all of its 40 rooms and suites have balconies to make the most of the stunning views. The restaurant serves a menu of Brazilian-Italian dishes created by Rogério Fasano and chef Laurent Suaudeau using fruit and vegetables grown on the ranch.

Address: Rodovia Castello Branco, Porto Feliz
Key features: The Fasano group’s latest property is a new state-of-the-art golf resort designed by legendary Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld
Number of rooms: 40
Room rates: from BRL$ 1,190 ($ 587)

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04 Best new or renovated hotel

Hôtel Americano, New York

Mexican Grupo Habita’s first venture abroad, Hôtel Americano provides Chelsea with a fashionable new hang-out, complete with sexy rooftop pool; 56 rooms designed by Paris-based Arnaud Montigny and inspired by traditional Japanese ryokan inns; and a happening ground-floor eaterie serving a fusion of French and Latin cuisines. The highlight of Enrique Norten’s design is the exterior elevator to the rooftop area, hung off the façade of the building so that foot traffic doesn’t spoil the atmosphere of the lobby. Offering stunning views, the rooftop space is open all year round, serving Greek-inspired grills in the summer and Argentine asado during the winter months.

Address: 518 West 27th Street, New York
Key features: A new Chelsea hotel with a striking metal mesh façade, minimalist interiors, and a great rooftop space
Number of rooms: 56
Room rates: from $245

Photography: Joe Fletcher

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04 Best new or renovated hotel

Ett Hem, Stockholm

When art collector Jeanette Mix found the house she wanted to transform into her special place to stay, its Carl Larsson-inspired Arts and Crafts heritage made the appointment of Ilse Crawford a shoo-in. Crawford’s design for Ett Hem, ‘A Home’, is supremely comfortable. The 12-room townhouse, located in the embassy quarter of Stockholm, features romantic interiors with wood- burning stoves and chandeliers. Furnishings are a glamorous yet casual mix of antique, modern (Eero Saarinen tables) and bespoke (brass-covered cocktail cabinets designed by StudioIlse). A short menu of dishes using local produce is available around the clock and served anywhere in the house.

Address: Sköldungagatan 2, Stockholm
Key features: A cosy boutique hotel in an Arts and Crafts townhouse, with elegant interiors by Ilse Crawford
Number of rooms: 12
Room rates: from SEK3,800 (€ 438)

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05 Best new private house

Daeyang Gallery and House, South Korea, by Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects’ house and gallery in Kangbuk, Seoul, is a bold composition that breaks the functions of the space into three separate pavilions: a reception space, a residence and an event room, all arranged above a half-buried gallery space, and linked by a shallow reflecting pool. Holl, who often works with watercolour sketches, shifted tack for this project, drawing inspiration from Symphony of Modules, a 1967 music score by István Anhalt. Holl’s palette includes copper and stained wood, with the water and skylights ensuring an ever- shifting pattern of sunlight through the space, reaching down into the gallery via glass lenses set into the base of the pool.

Key features: Three pavilions arranged above a half-buried gallery space and linked by a shallow reflecting pool
Architects’ previous work: Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki; Linked Hybrid complex, Beijing
Based: New York and Beijing

Photography: Iwan Baan

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05 Best new private house

Haus 11 x 11, Germany, by Titus Bernhard Architekten

Titus Bernhard’s architectonic approach results in solid, tough structures that seem to have their domestic qualities carved out of them. Named after the size of its footprint, Haus 11 x 11 is located near Munich and sits within verdant gardens. Described by the architect as an ‘inhabitable sculpture’, the residence is a prefabricated structure clad in vertical planks of wood, facing outwards so that the edges bring texture and colour. The spacing between planks is varied and gives the house a strong graphic quality. Inside, the layout is kept straightforward thanks to a large open-plan living space, with the arrangement of services minimised to ensure it is as spatially efficient as possible.

Key features: A striking residence with a prefabricated structure, a graphic wooden façade and open-plan interiors
Architects’ previous work: Haus M, Grünwald; Haus 9 x 9, Stadtbergen; Rathaus Bernried, Bavaria
Based: Augsburg, Germany

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05 Best new private house

House 10 x 10, Chile, by Max Núñez Arquitectos and Nicolás del Rio

Located in a suburb of Santiago, this new house by young Chilean architects Max Núñez and Nicolás del Rio takes its name from the impressive 10x10m courtyard at its heart. Displaying a simple material palette that includes concrete, glass and steel, the house’s volume is designed to turn its back to the street, securing privacy for its residents, while opening up inwards towards the courtyard, as well as the mountain views beyond. The rough concrete’s strong presence – both inside and outside – makes for a powerful statement, with the steel frames and columns elegantly balancing out the effect and resulting in an airy, light and bright residence.

Key features: Concrete and glass composition, layout arranged around a central courtyard
Architects’ previous work: Chalet C7, La Baronia House, Los Canteros mountain retreat
Based: Santiago, Chile

Photography: Erieta Aitali

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05 Best new private house

Maison L, France, by Christian Pottgiesser ArchitecturesPossibles

Designed as an extension to an 18th-century house near Paris, Maison L is arranged as a cascade of concrete cubes atop a flowing ground floor. Designed by Christian Pottgiesser, the house draws inspiration from the organic appearance of traditional hilltop settlements and the medieval towers of San Gimignano. But the unusual arrangement arose out of sheer pragmatism: each of the five towers has been designed to conform to a local building regulation that only allows for flat roofs of less than 25 sq m. The tower rooms are thus configured as self-contained bedrooms, each with a large bay window carefully angled so as to avoid overlooking the others.

Key features: A series of five bedrooms housed in concrete cubical towers and surrounded by trees and greenery
Architects’ previous work: Chargey House, Chargey-lès-Port; Pons + Huot offices, Paris
Based: Paris

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05 Best new private house

House NA, Japan, by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Sou Fujimoto and his studio are no strangers to an experimental approach, and their ‘house like a single tree’ is one of the most extreme examples of Japanese residential architecture in recent years. The Tokyo house is arranged like a tree, with a central ‘trunk’ dividing into branches dedicated to the separate functions of everyday life in an interlocking arrangement of steps and platforms. The architect stresses that the house and its occupants are permanently connected to one another. ‘To hear one’s voice from across and above, or hop over to another branch – these are some of the moments of richness encountered through such spatially dense living,’ he says.

Key features: A Mondrian-esque grid of rectangular glass-clad rooms, this townhouse isn’t for recluses or introverts
Architects’ previous work: Musashino Art University Library, Tokyo; House N, Oita
Based: Tokyo

Photography: Iwan Baan

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06 Best new public building

The Shard, London, by Renzo Piano Building Workshop

It may not be fully open for business quite yet, but The Shard has been dominating the London skyline for some time now, rising as it is to a dizzying 87 storeys. Built for the Sellar Property Group, Renzo Piano’s iconic tower is the centrepiece of the London Bridge area’s £2bn regeneration. Its construction methods included a pioneering technique that allowed for the top and the bottom of the building to be built simultaneously. Designed to appear floating lightly above ground, the slender glass pyramid, described by its architect as a ‘vertical city’, is deceptively substantial and will include a range of commercial spaces, a hotel, private residences, and a viewing platform.

Architect’s previous work: Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Nouméa, New Caledonia; California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; The New York Times Building, New York
Based: Paris / Genoa

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06 Best new public building

Parrish Art Museum, USA, by Herzog & de Meuron

Inspired by artists’ studios at Long Island’s East End, Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron created the Parrish Art Museum, a brand new space for the institution’s growing American art collection. Adopting a simple outline, the architects produced a long, low, pitched-roof building, made using locally sourced materials and regional construction methods. Overhangs run across the length of the roof providing shelter for visitors, while a meadow surrounding the structure references the rich green fields typical of the Long Island landscape. Opening in November 2012, it is the first art museum built on the East End of Long Island in more than a century.

Architect’s previous work: Tate Modern, London; Vitra Haus, Weil am Rhein; Beijing National Stadium (in collaboration with Ai Wei Wei), China
Based: Basel

Photography: Matthu Placek

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06 Best new public building

Fogo Island Studios, Canada, by Saunders Architecture

The rocky island of Fogo, off Canada’s eastern coast, is a powerfully elemental, remote piece of land on the edge of the North Atlantic. Thanks to Fogo-born businesswoman Zita Cobb’s Fogo Island Arts Corporation, it is also the home of a network of artists’ studios designed by Norway-based Newfoundlander Todd Saunders. His concept for the studios revolves around a series of strong geometric shapes that stand in contrast to the nature around them, without competing with it. Designed to be a vital part of the local community, the studios are key in this arts experiment that incorporates culture and sustainable tourism, and will have a leading role in the area’s regeneration.

Architect’s previous work: Aurland Lookout, Norway; Hardanger Retreat, Norway; Solberg Tower and Parks, Norway
Based: Bergen

Photography: Todd Saunders

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06 Best new public building

Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre Museum, Paris, by Rudy Ricciotti and Mario Bellini

This new wing by Rudy Ricciotti and Mario Bellini was especially designed for the Louvre’s exceptional collection of Islamic art. Instead of closing off the allocated space, the Cour Visconti, and building upwards, the architects played with the ground level, extending the existing foundations to create a vast, light-filled exhibition space with black concrete walls and no structural partitions. Above ground, the architects created an undulating golden roof – a sinuous steel frame with over 2,000 triangular metal and glass panes – that seems to float within the courtyard like a flying carpet. The textured surface diffuses sunlight and protects the fragile works below.

Architects’ previous work: Jean Cocteau Museum, Menton (Ricciotti); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (Bellini)
Based: Bandol (Ricciotti)/Milan (Bellini)

Photography: Antoine Mongodin

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06 Best new public building

Liyuan Library, China, by Li Xiaodong Atelier

Contrasting with China’s reputation for fast-paced, large-scale building, this small community library in Huairou, a two-hour car ride from Beijing, is a sensitive interpretation of a contemporary shelter for reading and contemplation. Designed by Chinese practice Li Xiaodong Atelier, the fully glass-enclosed building is bright but protected from excessive sun by an external screen made of sticks. They diffuse the light, help the structure blend effortlessly with the surrounding forest, and reference the sticks found regularly in piles around the village, where they are used in cooking stoves. Inside, a timber frame transforms into a fully integrated shelving system accommodating seats and desks.

Architects’ previous work: Bridge School, Fujian; Yuhu Elementary School Expansion Project, Lijiang
Based: Beijing

Photography: Li Xiaodong

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07 Best city


Bolstered by its designation as World Design Capital in 2012, Helsinki has been doing its utmost to strengthen its design and architectural profile. New builds, such as K2S Architects’ elliptical Kamppi Chapel of Silence (pictured left), abound, and a burgeoning restaurant scene is abuzz with imaginative fusions. Elsewhere, a former abattoir, Kellohalli, has been turned into an urban culture centre, and a new public sauna, Kulttuurisauna, is opening on the waterfront. The plans for the Ring Rail Line, connecting the city to Helsinki-Vantaa airport, and a metro line to neighbouring Espoo, both due in 2015, confirm Helsinki’s arrival as a European metropolis as good as the rest of them.

New architecture: Kamppi Chapel of Silence; Helsinki Music Centre; University of Helsinki City Campus Library
Under construction: Kulttuurisauna
Restaurants: Boulevard Social; Shanghai Cowboy; Gaijin; Mattolaituri
Cultural draws: Helsinki Design Week; Kiasma contemporary art museum; the Aalto House

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07 Best city

San Francisco

Less aggressive than NYC, more compact than LA, San Francisco is blessed with a laid-back mindset and a dramatic setting. It’s always been one of most progressive cities in the US, but Fog City is now entering a new age of architectural exuberance: Snøhetta will begin a $555m expansion of SFMOMA next year, while Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s arts centre at Berkeley is due for completion in 2015. And, given San Francisco has one of the country’s biggest Asian populations, it comes as no surprise that its new eateries are paying homage to the East, most notably at Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese Food. Frisco’s steep streets, cool charm and rolling fog are finally proving their worth.

New architecture: UCSF Stem Cell Building, by Rafael Viñoly Architects (pictured left)
Under construction: SFMOMA; Mashouf Performing Arts Center at SFSU; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Restaurants: Mission Chinese Food; Outerlands; Locanda Osteria; Mission Cheese
Cultural draws: Contemporary Jewish Museum; the Mission district

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07 Best city


Having pulled off the neat trick of becoming a major engine of pop culture, as well as a leading supplier of high-end gadgetry, South Korea’s capital has evolved into a major modern city. Eye-catching new builds include Zaha Hadid‘s Dongdaemun Design Park, due to be completed in 2013, and waterfront projects such as the Floating Islands (pictured left). Culinary tastes are shifting, too, with chefs like Jungsik Yim reinventing traditional cuisine; while many fashion trends are born in the university district of Hongdae, which has a dynamic street style scene to rival Ginza’s. Welcoming visitors to all this is an abundance of hotels, from historic hanoks such as Rak Ko Jae to the new Banyan Tree.

New architecture: Floating Islands, GT Tower East; Kukje Gallery K3
Under construction: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park
Restaurants: Lab XXIV; Jung Sik Dang
Cultural draws: 313 Art Project

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07 Best city


Few cities have been on such an upward curve as Bogotá. Less than a decade ago, it was the capital of a near-failed state. Now it is the most vibrant city in Spanish-speaking South America, thanks to the radical policies of its progressive mayors. Its myriad museums have been joined by municipal libraries and community projects built in deprived areas. The culinary movement is evolving towards levels of European sophistication. The art scene is in shocking good health, with young artists gaining global recognition. And, as design-conscious tourists arrive, boutique hotels are springing up. The archetypal phoenix from the flames, Bogotá has an important lesson to share.

New architecture: BOG Hotel; El Dorado International Airport
Under construction: Bioxury Hotel; Ágora Bogotá convention centre
Restaurants: Harry Sasson; Criterión
Cultural draws: Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez; Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango; ArtBO; Gold Museum; Parque de la Independencia and Torres del Parque (pictured left)

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07 Best city

Cape Town

In 2010, Cape Town (and South Africa) proved it could compete on a world stage, hosting one of the most successful World Cups in recent years. It brought significant new infrastructure, including Cape Town Stadium (pictured left), and a renewed sense of civic pride, and surely helped the city to snap up the 2014 World Design Capital title. The new Portside Tower, due to be completed by then, will be the city’s tallest building, and will add to the CBD’s already cosmopolitan character, where artisanal bakeries, micro-breweries and coffee roasters are now de rigueur. The city centre is home to ambitious galleries like Commune.1, while boutique hotels continue to open in Camps Bay.

New architecture: Old Biscuit Mill
Under construction: Portside Tower; Cape Town International Convention Centre
Restaurants: The Pot Luck Club and Gallery; The Test Kitchen; Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room; Babel
Cultural draws: Design Indaba; V&A Market on the Wharf

Photography: Marcus Bredt

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08 Best new women's fashion collection

Alexander McQueen A/W12, by Sarah Burton

Sarah Burton’s USP is the way she conceives a collection, obsessively realises it and gives it a feminine touch. Her fourth catwalk collection since taking the helm at Alexander McQueen was inspired by the forest and its undergrowth, and featured embroidered feathers and furs on embellished silhouettes, increasingly dense in texture, exploding into dramatic organza shapes. Bell-shaped dresses with delicate ruffles delightfully mimicked the domed caps and gills of mushrooms, while futuristic silver visors, slicked-back bleached hair, and mink and leather ‘hooved’ ankle boots nudged an already fantastical collection into the arena of the unforgettable.

Creative director: Sarah Burton, since 2010
Joined brand: 1997
Brand based: London, UK
Key features: An accomplished feat of craftsmanship and creativity with embroidered furs, feathers, organza
ruffles and embellished silhouettes

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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08 Best new women's fashion collection

Comme des Garçons A/W12, by Rei Kawakubo

Three-dimensional and two-dimensional worlds merged at Comme des Garçons, where Rei Kawakubo made radical advances using her signature dots and whimsical style. The models wore huge, stiffened clothes that had the simplicity and flatness of paper doll cut-outs. Oversized volumes on A-line skirts and bell-shaped overcoats looked like they had been ironed down, emphasising their cut and raw edging. The bright, cartoonish hues were emboldened by helmets of plastic-coloured hair. For all of its improbability and weirdness, Kawakubo also proposed the most lovely – and wearable – of rose-printed velvet gowns.

Creative director: Rei Kawakubo
Brand launched: 1969
Brand based: Tokyo, Japan
Key features: A wonderfully weird collection of brightly coloured, compressed voluminous shapes, emphasising cuts and raw edges

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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08 Best new women's fashion collection

Lanvin A/W12, by Alber Elbaz

Alber Elbaz threw himself into a high-octane fashion extravaganza to celebrate ten years at the top creative post at Lanvin. The mood was jubilant as he ticked off a list of his greatest fashion hits: first came the single shots of pure colour – from grape and lemon to tangerine and cherry – on his signature cocktail dresses; then he moved on to black, with tufts of glossy fox fur and sleek leather. The magnificent draping that Elbaz is known for was there as well, but the biggest crowd-pleaser was the chunky, jewelled embellishment, which he pioneered nearly eight years ago and has influenced fashion design ever since.

Creative director: Alber Elbaz
Joined brand: 2002
Brand based: Paris, France
Key features: Elbaz reels off his fashion hits, from pure colour to sleek black, to his signature big-jewelled embellishment

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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08 Best new women's fashion collection

Marc Jacobs A/W12, by Marc Jacobs

Minimalism? What minimalism? Piling on and layering his looks like a kid making his own ice-cream sundae, Marc Jacobs proved that there was more than one way to present the future of high fashion. A wool dress, for example, studded with wasp-sized embroidery, was paired with satin leggings, a printed blouse, a wool jacket with fur tufts, decked-out Pilgrim shoes and a plucky multicoloured fur hat. And that was just the seventh out of 54 looks. It seems sometimes more is more – Jacobs’ skilled hand at blending colours, silhouettes, decoration, and inspiration certainly made this autumn/winter collection a maximalist treat.

Creative director: Marc Jacobs
Brand launched: 1986
Brand based: New York, US
Key features: More is more in Marc Jacobs’ collection, with layering, texture, embellishment and colour in every look

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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08 Best new women's fashion collection

Valentino A/W12, by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli

No one could ever accuse a Valentino woman of looking vulgar. In the hands of co-creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, refinement reigns, even when they dabble in potentially risqué materials like sleek black leather. Using clean lines and embroidered seams, the leather coats and dresses transmitted a prim allure rather than a dominatrix edge. Just as sweet were the smock-front, long-sleeved silk dresses that covered every inch of skin, falling to the floor in a demure bell shape. Modern silhouettes, like the one-piece jumpsuits, gave a sporty spin to otherwise very demure, ladylike luxury. The result was extremely assured, highly covetable haute couture.

Creative director: Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli
Joined brand: 2008
Brand based: Milan, Italy
Key features: A demure collection with sleek leather details and embroidery, true to the classic, refined Valentino style

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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09 Best new men's fashion collection

Prada A/W12, by Miuccia Prada

Sadly, photographs will never convey the full extent of the electrifying live Prada show experience, which featured the likes of Gary Oldman and Willem Dafoe strutting down the red carpet runway. That said, even without the high-voltage performance, this collection, which had a manic precision, stood on its own as an absolute triumph. Austere full-length coats, cut close to the body, set a decidedly militaristic mood. Each piece – from crisp, white shirts to fitted waistcoats and elegant poplin underwear (worn with knee socks and shiny shoes) – was a rigorous exercise in perfect cutting. Miuccia Prada’s razor-sharp vision made these designs a beauty to behold.

Creative director: Miuccia Prada
Joined brand: 1978
Brand based: Milan, Italy
Key features: An austere, military collection executed to perfection and modelled by a stellar cast on the runway

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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09 Best new men's fashion collection

Louis Vuitton A/W12, by Marc Jacobs and Kim Jones

The Louis Vuitton catwalk space comprised a 12m-wide, air-filled globe suspended over a runway covered with tatami matting. Men’s style director Kim Jones was exploring the cultural dialogue between Paris and Tokyo and the creative cross-fertilisation it encouraged. Vuitton’s famed monogram, known the world over as a symbol of French luxury, has its roots in Japanese floral art, while Japanese designers had a profound effect on French fashion in the 1980s. This was not only another stand-out collection, but also an extraordinary display of skill in execution and technique – seen in the likes of the specially developed reflective thermo-bonded sportswear and detailed Derby shoes.

Men’s style director: Kim Jones
Joined brand: 2011
Artistic director: Marc Jacobs
Joined brand: 1997
Brand based: Paris, France
Key features: A mix of cultural and creative influences from Paris and Tokyo, with immaculate attention to detail

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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09 Best new men's fashion collection

Z Zegna A/W12, by Paul Surridge

Jil Sander alumni Paul Surridge’s debut as creative director of Z Zegna proved that he’s learned a thing or two about minimal sharp dressing from his former mentor and current Dior artistic director Raf Simons. But this inaugural collection also confirmed Surridge’s emergence as a creative force in his own right, as he brought a cool veneer to clean, well-cut suiting and sportswear. Classic suits sported new, unusual details such as nylon hoods, techno jersey inserts and even 3D mesh, but most commendable was Surridge’s deft handling of Z Zegna’s always impeccable fabrics – leather, wool, tweeds and mohair.

Creative director: Paul Surridge
Joined brand: 2011
Brand based: Milan, Italy
Key features: Paul Surridge’s inaugural collection for the brand, with sharp tailoring combined with unusual detail

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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09 Best new men's fashion collection

Dries Van Noten A/W12, by Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten commissioned Dutch artists Gijs Frieling and Job Wouters to create not only prints for this collection, but also to work on a mural which formed the backdrop for the show. Featuring artful calligraphy, including Oscar Wilde quotes, the mural was painted before, during and after the show, and was referenced in the collection, appearing on coats, jackets and trousers. There were also plenty of blazers, frock coats, pea coats and chunky, oversized knits, worn with slim, cropped trousers and slip-on shoes. Van Noten also employed a fusion of pattern and texture, combining velvet, vinyl and plasticised mohair to create an astrakhan fur effect.

Creative director: Dries Van Noten
Brand launched: 1986
Brand based: Antwerp, Belgium
Key features: Art meets fashion, with a mural painted as a backdrop during the show, and its psychedelic design referenced on coats, jackets and trousers

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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09 Best new men's fashion collection

Dior Homme A/W12, by Kris Van Assche

Kris Van Assche’s soldiers marched down a wide runway of herringbone parquet, coated, booted and capped in military green with enough polish to please a captain. Outerwear options, including pea coats, trench coats, army jackets and parkas, were explored in cashmere, serge, gabardine and moleskin. By introducing linings or panels of shearling, Van Assche gradually shifted the palette to winter white before ending in ceremonial black. A full-length zip created plenty of drama up the back of a long coat. Contrasting toggles featured in one sportier group of looks, but otherwise detail was very restrained, bar the embroidered white birds that adorned the finale.

Creative director: Kris Van Assche
Joined brand: 2007
Brand based: Paris, London
Key features: Subtle outerwear with minimal detail, including pea coats, short army jackets and parkas, in refined fabrics

Photography: Jason Lloyd Evans

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10 Best new grooming product

Tsuya skin serum, by Shu Uemura

Japanese skincare brand Shu Uemura has added another marvel to its library of outstanding products. Its new skin serum Tsuya (Japanese for ‘ideal skin’) is the outcome of research inspired by Enju flowers’ longevity and the result of a scientific breakthrough in cellular biology. In fact, the serum contains a molecule called rhamnose, whose properties encourage the skin’s natural regenerating ability by activating its built-in ‘youth power switch’ (beating the cell weakness that comes with age). The promised result of using Tsuya is porcelain, translucent skin that is soft and rejuvenated. The precious serum is enclosed in a small, pearlescent, Nendo-designed bottle.

Based: Tokyo, Japan
Key features: Designed to rejuvenate and strengthen cells, this new serum is packaged in a beautiful little bottle by Nendo

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10 Best new grooming product

Travel sprays, by Pierre Hardy, for Frédéric Malle

Collaboration comes naturally to Frédéric Malle, who has worked closely with the most respected perfumers in the industry to create his highly original and influential range of scents. This year, inspired by accessories maestro Pierre Hardy’s trademark ability to combine luxury and geometric rigour, Malle asked him to redesign the Editions de Parfums portable fragrance atomiser. The result is a limited-edition run of 1,500 metal cylinders, each hand-sprayed in high-gloss colours. The contents are selected from the existing range of fragrances, but Hardy’s new design for the handbag sprays brings new pleasure to the experience of a mid-meeting spritz.

Based: Paris, France
Key features: A limited-edition of Frédéric Malle’s classic fragrance spray, redesigned in high-gloss colour by Pierre Hardy

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10 Best new grooming product

Body skincare creams, by Sepai

The technical, multi-layered approach of Spanish skincare specialists Sepai has been extended to include this exacting system. It represents everything we look for in our body care: a serious but sensuous science-inspired design; substance in its technological make-up; and a clever customising aspect that means it can take the place of umpteen products at once. The system comprises a restorative body cream and seven high-performance serums each targeting specific concerns, from lifting to slimming, prolonging tans or increasing skin elasticity. Each base moisturiser can accommodate up to three elixirs, making for the ultimate in personalised body therapy.

Based: Barcelona, Spain
Key features: A restorative body cream base with seven additional serums to target a range of specific concerns, for the ultimate in customised body care

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10 Best new grooming product

Combs, by Pernilla Ohrstedt, for Antipodium

Trained as an architect and best known for her collaborative work with Asif Khan, Swedish-born Pernilla Ohrstedt freely experiments in the fields of art, set and product design. Most recently, she has turned her architect’s eye on hairstyling for London brand Antipodium, with a set of leave-in combs that sculpt hair into architectural shapes. Modelled on the traditional utilitarian Swedish steel combs of the 1950s, they are machine- cut from tempered polished aluminium. Developed with the help of session stylist Lyndell Mansfield, they can be used to create a blocky beehive, prompting what Ohrstedt describes as ‘a tension between the natural and artificial’.

Based: London, UK
Key features: A set of hair combs inspired by Pernilla Ohrstedt’s Swedish roots, designed for creative, sculptural ‘dos

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10 Best new grooming product

Make-up Concept Collection, by Faye Toogood and Ayami Nishimura, for Make

New make-up brand Make is on a mission to ‘incubate the next generation of women-led cooperatives’. So says its instigator, Ariana Mouyiaris, daughter of the founder of Mana Products. A third of profits will go to the We See Beauty foundation, set up by Nikos Mouyiaris to support these community projects. But aside from worthy intentions, Make is something we want on our dressing tables, too. A collaboration between London-based Japanese make-up artist Ayami Nishimura and British designer Faye Toogood, the deeply pigmented line transcends trends. The pair developed a palette that breaks all the rules, and encourages a make-up application that is ‘painterly, primal, instinctive and gestural’.

Based: London, UK
Key features: A new make-up collaboration with a good heart, featuring bold colours, pleasing textures and striking packaging

Photography: Chris Peun for Make

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11 Life-enhancer of the year

AGV Italo high-speed railway, by Alstom, for NTV

In 2006, Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo teamed up with Tod’s CEO Diego Della Valle and entrepreneurs Gianni Punzo and Giuseppe Sciarrone to found NTV. The venture set out to create an innovative travel experience, taking advantage of Italy’s newly completed high-speed train network. The result is an aerodynamic train that can reach a speed of 360km per hour. Its features are designed by Alstom to maximise comfort and include ergonomic Poltrona Frau leather seats, free Wi-Fi and live TV (thanks to partnerships with Sky and Medusa Films). On-board catering is provided by Eataly, with locally sourced breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and coffee is by Illy.

Key features: Connects nine cities, from Milan to Salerno, Venice to Rome at speeds of up to 360km per hour, with seating by Poltrona Frau, a choice of live TV channels and free Wi-Fi
About the team: A global leader in power and rail infrastructure, known for state-of-the-art, high-speed train design, Alstom joined forces with NTV, Italy’s first private rail operator, for this innovative venture

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11 Life-enhancer of the year

‘MonoLight’, by Lanzavecchia + Wai

Forward-thinking design duo Lanzavecchia + Wai have produced a series of pieces designed to stylishly answer some of the challenges of ageing, under the banner ‘No Country for Old Men’. Our favourite is the ‘MonoLight’, a table lamp composed of a magnifying window and LED components set into an aluminium frame and anchored in a marble base chiselled to roll and settle at the desired position. Singaporean Hunn Wai and Italian Francesca Lanzavecchia, who met at Design Academy Eindhoven, complement each other perfectly. Lanzavecchia focuses on the relationships objects have with the body and soul, while Wai explores the fusion of material and form.

Key features: Set to revolutionise reading for the short-sighted, the lamp both illuminates and magnifies, with LED components contained within an aluminium frame fixed to a marble base
About the designers: Singaporean Hunn Wai and Italian Francesca Lanzavecchia design a range of pieces from limited editions for galleries and museums, to mass-produced items or special commissions for major brands

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11 Life-enhancer of the year

Gardens by the Bay, by Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter

Spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore, the ambitious Gardens by the Bay is composed of three waterfront gardens, and signals the ambition of Singapore, a metropolis working towards becoming a model garden city. Grant Associates (leading a team including Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Atelier One) and Gustafson Porter created the master plans which incorporated the latest eco-engineering. The project’s colourfully planted expanses include themed gardens, two large conservatories and a forest of Supertrees – 18 multi-function, tree-like structures of up to 50m that feature vertical gardens and provide shade and panoramic views.

Key features: An urban green lung that is the first stage of Singapore’s plan to become a model garden city and showcasing the latest in eco-engineering and horticultural design
About the designers: UK-based landscape architects Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter both specialise in contemporary creative design

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11 Life-enhancer of the year

Revamped Routemaster, by Heatherwick Studio

When London’s beloved AEC Routemaster was finally withdrawn in 2005 after half a century of service, there was much lamenting, especially as its replacement was the dreaded ‘bendy bus’. But in 2011, the city’s mayor, Boris Johnson, raised the Routemaster from the dead. Enter Heatherwick Studio’s NB4L, or ‘New Bus For London’. With two staircases and three doors, it brings the Routemaster’s hop-on, hop-off capability into a modern shell, powered by an advanced diesel-electric hybrid. Heatherwick Studio oversaw every element of the design, from stop buttons to seat fabrics, wrapping up the whole package in curvaceous lines. The end result is a fitting vehicle for a modern city.

Key features: Modern inside and out, the NB4L features a hop-on, hop-off door at the back, à la Routemaster, and a low-emission, diesel-electric hybrid engine all wrapped up in a curvaceous, geometric design
About the designer: Heatherwick Studio, established by Thomas Heatherwick in 1994, is recognised for its architecture, urban infrastructure, sculpture, furniture design and strategic thinking

Photography: Iwan Baan

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11 Life-enhancer of the year

The Art of Packing service, by Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton’s interest in travel cases and trunks is what made him found his eponymous travel goods company in 1854. The founder’s legacy now lives in the brand’s new service, The Art of Packing, offered in all Louis Vuitton stores worldwide. Each customer can receive a personalised tutorial tailored to the type of travel, the length of the trip and the size and shape of bag they wish to take. It includes tips on how to maximise space and minimise weight and suggestions on how to protect fragile items. The Art of Packing is also illustrated with helpful step-by-step interactive guides, created in collaboration with Scheltens & Abbenes, available on the brand’s website.

Key features: Louis Vuitton’s Art of Packing, helping you minimise creases and maximise space, is available as an in-store service or as interactive online guides
About the designer: Founded in 1854, Louis Vuitton was inspired by the designer’s love of travel cases and is now one of the world’s leading fashion houses

01 Best domestic design

‘CX480’ full-surface induction cooktop, by Gaggenau

For the aspiring Adrià, Blumenthal or Bocuse, Gaggenau’s all-encompassing, full-surface induction cooktop is a kitchen must-have. Backed by intuitive technology, the ‘CX480’ hob allows pans of any shape and size to be placed anywhere on the surface, where sensors underneath will locate them and nudge some of 48 micro-inductors to heat them to the desired temperature. Heat is controlled by a digital touch display, which recognises the position, shape and size of cookware for easy manipulation, and should pans move, the hob checks if temperature and time should continue from its previous position, making it the smartest piece of cooking kit around.

Key features: The entire surface of this cooktop is one large cooking area
Materials: 48 micro-inductors and an optional stainless-steel frame
Price: on request
Based: Munich