The digital music file has undoubtedly changed…

…the way we listen to our favorite artists.  Its portability and ease of use is surpassed only by the cool design aesthetic of the iPod and the now ubiquitous white ear buds which are more prevalent on our streets than the green siren of Starbucks’ logo.  To audio purists, however, there is still only one way to listen to and appreciate music and that is via vinyl, a format long considered dead, but which has experienced noticeable growth the past five years (CD sales on the other hand have been heading in the opposite direction.)  The sound produced by the 12″ albums is fuller, richer, and void of the lifeless and tinny quality evident in its digital counterparts.  What then to play them on ?  Affordable turntables are easily obtained these days and their sales are increasing, too, but you may want to dig in your heels and go high-end.  Clearaudio’s latest entry should do the trick but it comes at a steep price.  A piece of art in and of itself the new Innovation Compact Turntable is clearly designed for those who refuse to compromise and want to listen to Abbey Road, Sticky Fingers or So in all their glory.

ClearAudio

© 2013 / 14

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Having landed a number of high-profile…

…international architecture and design projects over the years, Oslo-based Snøhetta has won universal praise for that city’s opera house, an understated but elegant structure located in the Bjørvika neighborhood.  Home to The Norwegian National Opera, Ballet, and Opera Theatre, the building’s characteristic gentle slopes and stark white exterior convey its cold, white winter environs.  It’s also, just as importantly, pedestrian friendly as its design facilitates and encourages strolling around its buildings.

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© 2013 / 14 commons.wikimedia.org

One of its most recent exhibits is as impressive as the building which sponsors and hosts it.  Artist Monica Bonvinci’s Hun Ligger, or “She Lies,” is a permanent sculpture floating on the water outside the Opera House.

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© 2013 / 14 commons.wikimedia.org

Made of stainless steel and glass, and intended to resemble a chunk of ice, the structure is able to move with the wind and tide.

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© 2013 / 14 commons.wikimedia.org

Piquadro, the Italian leather company…

…has somehow managed to top themselves with the introduction of their Blue Square Line.  Although designed for the business person, particularly those who travel frequently, their latest products will appeal to any and all design enthusiasts.  Pictured below, for example, is their leather shopping bag.  Of course, this being an Italian company, it’s no mere bag.  It contains pockets for laptops, iPads, an umbrella and is convertible to a backpack.

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© 2013 / 14 Piquadro

With the design brilliance and technical expertise of Steve Jobs…

…Apple proved consumers can–and should–be seduced by form as much as by function.  The fact virtually every consumer product company in the world has mimicked their philosophy is further proof.  But, for every wow the iPad can illicit, for example, there is no doubt the tablet can become, let’s face it, gross with fingerprints and myriad stains.  Jacob Moesgaard’s AM, a company his father launched more than 40 years ago, is on the rise with a brand new series of cleaning products for the electronic gadgets in our lives.  He has brought his Danish design philosophy to the proverbial table and created a series of very hip products which are as cool as the iPods, laptops and tablets they’re designed to clean.

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© 2013 / 14 Design Boom

A Nordic Gem and the City of Light

Chefs across Scandinavia and the greater Nordic region have catapulted restaurants in their respective countries to some of the world’s greatest, and garnered long-overdue attention to the area’s local ingredients, by importing French culinary techniques and putting their own unique interpretations front and center.  The results, in places like NOMA and Geist, are impressive to say the least.  The French are returning the mutual admiration in a different area, albeit one which still centers around the home.  NØRDIK MÅRKET has opened at 13 rue Charlot in the Marais and the locals cannot get enough of the concept store which features genuine Scandinavian / Nordic home goods and vintage items.

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© 2013

The Louvre is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest museums.

It’s only drawback is the same that characterizes other urban collections of art–its inability to showcase truly large-scale works.  The Paris branch of the Gagosian Gallery, however, can.  The prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel designed the building which sits at 800 Avenue de l’Europe, Le Bourget in a former airplane hangar, near the French Air & Space Museum.

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© 2013 / 14 Le Monde

As is typical with Nouvel’s work–he is, after all the genius behind Barcelona’s Torre Agbar and New York City’s Tower Verre / MOMA–the exterior is light, fluid, and experimental and more than hints at the great spaces within.

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© 2013 / 14 Bloomberg