Polish Cold War neons illuminate a unique history


One of the most surprising legacies of Cold War-era Poland is its brilliant variety of neon signs, the first of which went up in Warsaw in 1929. Popular from the start, neons saw a flourishing in the cities in the 1950s, -60s and -70s. The earliest neon signs were made to order—free in design, shape, and color, and very influential on other forms of advertising, like poster design and typography. After the Communist regime gained power after World War II, it largely took over neon production with its state-run agency, Reklama. Designed and built by prominent architects, graphic designers, and artists, Polish neon signage was renowned worldwide for its outstanding technical and artistic qualities.

Of more than 1,000 that once existed in the country, only a few dozen neons remain in their original locations—some fully renovated, like the Mozaika neon on Pulawska St. (below, bottom), Izis on Marszalkowska (below, middle, inset), the Tkanina sign (Polish for “cloth”) on Wilsona Sqare, or a giant globe advertising a travel bureau (below, bottom, inset).Many other neon signs have been rescued and put on display at the Neon Muzeum (top) in the industrial Praga district, where many former factories now house a range of cultural venues, shops, and restaurants. Continue reading “Polish Cold War neons illuminate a unique history”

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

How Boston’s crate-digging duo Soul Clap travels

In another excerpt from Sound Travels: DJs in Transit, Berlin 2012-2017, the crate-digging Boston DJ duo Soul Clap talks life behind the decks and on the road. Lauded for their all-vinyl sets, famously lasting upwards of six hours such as during the legendary DJ Kicks series, Soul Clap, a.k.a. Charles Levine and Eli Goldstein blend many shades of house with elements of funk, jazz, disco, and techno. Between their label, Soul Clap Records, and teaching the occasional college course, it’s clear Levine and Goldstein are dedicated to their craft. Continue reading “How Boston’s crate-digging duo Soul Clap travels”

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Silent knowledge in the Danish capital


Back in October, the extended Design Hotels community gathered in Copenhagen for our annual Arena* conference, the best attended in the company’s history. Built around the theme of “Silent Knowledge,” it was especially meaningful because this year’s conference marked the 25th anniversary of Design Hotels, a benchmark on which we reflected in various ways throughout the week. Get-togethers took place at some of our favorite venues throughout the city, from the Glyptoteket museum to Nobis Hotel to Copenhagen Contemporary, the city’s newly reopened art space set within an industrial landmark on the edge of town. Continue reading “Silent knowledge in the Danish capital”

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Where to go in 2019


It’s that time of year again! From the Zambezi River to the East China Sea, the Hudson Valley to Provence, we think these seven underrated travel destinations are primed for exploration in the coming year. So as 2018 draws to a close, here’s a bit of inspiration for the months ahead. Continue reading “Where to go in 2019”

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

A Thai Brutalist masterwork rises in lush Pattaya


As the sun’s rays fall on the staggered cubed villa complex of Mason, interwoven by an abundance of tropical flora, you may find it hard to register that you are, in fact, on a beach in Thailand. Opening in early 2019, the ultramodern resort is yet another head-turning achievement by award-winning studio VaSLab, based in Bangkok, which is known for its angular Brutalist masterpieces juxtaposed with the lush setting of Thailand. Each of Mason’s 35 villas, positioned for first-class views of the stunning ocean backdrop, boasts a private pool, a spacious bathroom with an oversized bathtub, and a large sundeck terrace.  Continue reading “A Thai Brutalist masterwork rises in lush Pattaya”

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018