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Travel Quote | What travel teaches us…

March 3, 2013


“Travel is not defined by the miles you cover.  

~ Wayfare Magazine, Launch Edition

Travel Quote | Erin Hiemstra on travel as inspiration

March 3, 2013


Travel Quote_Erin-Hiemstra_Lifestyle-Blogger-SF-CA-US-1

“I love to walk a city, whether I’ve been there once
or a hundred time before.
It’s amazing what sort of inspiration you’ll find
when you steal a second glance

~ Erin Hiemstra, Lifestyle Blogger, Apartment 34

Inspiration: Design Conundrum; Apartment 34 Blog

Travel Quote | Pat Conroy on the power of travel

March 3, 2013


Travel Quote_Pat-Conroy_Novelist_The-Prince-of-Tides_US-1

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends…
the mind can never break off from the journey

~ Pat Conroy, Novelist

Inspiration: Wayfare Magazine, Anthropologie

Unique Pop-Up Hotel made from Shipping Containers [2]

February 21, 2013

A novel concept of mini mobile pop-up hotel that doesn’t skimp on design and comfort sensitivities, and gives guests the peace of mind that they have participated in an eco-friendly leisure activity. Photo: Frederik Herregods


Dockside, Antwerp Port, Belgium. Photo: Frederik Herregods

Logo_Sleeping-Around_Pop-Up-Container-Hotel_www.sleepingaround.euindex.asp-taal=en_dian-hasan-branding_BE-1I found the Sleeping Around Pop-Up mobile hotel (please see my previous post) so fascinating and decided to dig a bit further, and found a relevant article in Design Boom on the background of its inception. I’ve seen a few similar concepts, based on using (or re-using) shipping containers as hotels, and other types of building functions, so it’s nice to see the Sleeping Around concept that marries green philosophy and low environmental impact.

A team of Belgian entrepreneurs: Geoffrey Stampaert, Didier Opdebeeck, and Ellen Wezenbeek decided to elevate the status of shipping containers from a 1950’s stock steel crate, to a viable structural framework for architectural programs. mr.stampaert, also a restaurateur in addition to an experienced hotelier, is expanding the ideas of luxury, design, adventure, and comfort with ‘sleeping around’, a pop-up hotel the travels the globe according to user-input demand. ‘pop-up’ as a concept has long been applied to a range of events, exhibits and the like and denotes the temporary presence of a relevant, usually cultural, showcase. the fleeting nature of ‘pop-up’ phenomena often calls to mind exclusive, often surprising, specialized concept structures.

Sleeping Around uses these qualities to offer a range of traveling experiences that employ an effective supply-and-demand model; the shipping containers can take refuge in the countryside or thrive in a stimulating city center. the crux of the business model is that visitors can request a site with something that static architecture may not be able to offer– namely, unique views or fantastic hidden locales. the hotel, for example, has spent some weeks on the banks of the scheldt in antwerp with a view of st anna’s beach, and is now on the move. in the five months it has been open, ‘sleeping around’ hotel has traveled to three locations and successfully accommodated over one hundred visitors. travelers can check back periodically to see if the hotel has moved to an area of interest and enter the location into a GPS device to find it. Sleeping Around hotel can be set up and fully functional within 5 hours of arriving at a location.


The raw material. Before the transformation. Photo: Frederik Herregods


The transformation takes place. From a functional shipping containers void of soul into… Photo: Frederik Herregods


It takes a good amount of work to convert the ugly box into a mobile hotel room. Photo: Frederik Herregods


Hoisting the “ready product” into place. Location: Dockside, Antwerp Port, Belgium. Photo: Frederik Herregods


And voila! Hotel is open and ready to welcome its nomadic guests. Photo: Frederik Herregods


Sleeping Around’s hotel guestroom interior. Modern, clean, functional and practical. Photo: Frederik Herregods


Sleeping Around’s hotel guestroom interior. Modern, clean, functional and practical. Photo: Frederik Herregods

Sleeping Around comprises 7 shipping containers, 4 for hotel rooms, and the other 3 containers function as a breakfast and lounge area, a sauna and a kitchen. All containers feature an openable side with sliding glass doors. Each of the 20-foot room container comes with a a bed, en-suite bathroom and shower, iPod docking station and HVAC system.

Shipping containers are of course an ubiquitous and common sight on any port around the world. In line with the growth of global trade, there are more of them sitting idly at docksides and logistic parking lots. Plenty of them get disused and it is too costly to ship them back to their place/country of origin. The vast majority of them are scapped for their steel, but they do have excellent architetural elements and present an opportunity for designers to be ecologically responsible.

Sleeping Around hotel comes with its own water system and is adaptable for the additional use of solar or wind energy when required, making it a truly self-sufficient and sustainable building.


Versatility is key. Moving them around to virtually any location, both urban and rural. Photo: Frederik Herregods


Versatility is key. Moving them around to virtually any location, both urban and rural. Photo: Frederik Herregods


Dockside, Antwerp Port, Belgium. Photo: Frederik Herregods


Dockside, Antwerp Port, Belgium. Photo: Frederik Herregods

Inspiration: Design Boom

Unique Pop-Up Hotel made from Shipping Containers [1]

February 21, 2013

Logo_Sleeping-Around_Pop-Up-Container-Hotel_www.sleepingaround.euindex.asp-taal=en_dian-hasan-branding_BE-1The term “Sleeping Around” may conjure up rather negative images to denote someone who’s hops beds, and not necessarily of the business-travel or leisure-travel kind! But this is exactly the description that this unique pop-up hotel concept from Antwerp, Belgium wanted. Sleeping Around is a mobile hotel made from shipping containers that can be moved around to temporary locations that require them. Think concerts, sporting events, and other large events that require practical accommodation nearby. And furthermore this pop-up hotel can also be moved to other locations where there are no hotels, where travelers can enjoy natural beauty in remote areas. There’s one condition though – so long as you can move the containers to the site.

What I particulary like about it is that they are designed with travelers’ comfort in mind, and not merely as a barebones place that caters to backpackers or modeled after the capsule hotels that were made popular by sake-thirsty Tokyo “sarariman” (literally translates to “salary man”, which is what they call corporate executives in Japan). So expect to find higher thread count in their linens and ensuite bathrooms so you don’t have to venture into a communal one like in most hostels.


Sleeping Around comprises 6 containers that can be moved from one location to another, and is configured into 4 containers for bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, 1 container for Breakfast & Lounge Area, and 1 container for the sauna. Sleeping Around hails from the port city of Antwerp in Belgium.


The hotel rooms provide a superior and comfortable night’s stay and include: floating box-spring bed with high quality linen, XXL Hansgrohe Raindance Shower, Rituals amenities, Dyson air conditioning system, …


Sleeping Around is a unique pop-up hotel. The term “pop-up” goes beyond merely “making an appearance”. Here, it denotes exclusivity, flexibility and innovation: a unique experience with a strong element of surprise. Already successfully employed in retail, the concept has never been extensively applied to hotels. Until now, that is.


Our pop-up hotel offers a ready-made answer: a compact yet luxurious hotel room, equipped with all the mod cons: a box-spring bed, rain shower, iPod docking station and air conditioning – all contained in a 20ft recycled sea container.

We think green and employ only ecologically responsible materials. The containers themselves are produced in China, after which they are used for worldwide transport. As it is not always profitable to return the containers empty, they are often left behind in ports, including Antwerp’s. This unique concept offers the ideal mix of adventure and comfort at some of the most impressive locations in the city.

Sleeping-Around-Container-Pop-Up-Hotel_dian-hasan-branding_Antwerp-BE-2 Sleeping-Around-Container-Pop-Up-Hotel_dian-hasan-branding_Antwerp-BE-1 Sleeping-Around-Container-Pop-Up-Hotel_dian-hasan-branding_Antwerp-BE-8

Inspiration: Eye-Maps; Ideas Inspiring Innovation; Design Boom

Happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful, be joyful, and remember those who are less fortunate

November 23, 2012

My dear readers,

As the year winds down, Jack O’ Lantern’s done greeting trick or treating juvenile posses, green leaves decide to join the carnival and burst into a riot of amber-hued pageantry, and Christmas shopping lists get longer… the fourth Thursday of November is before us and Thanksgiving is here.

It may be a quintessential American tradition, but for me the significance is universal. Set aside one day in a year where all people regardless of race, color, creed, or social status, gather around for a feast with their family and friends and give thanks. What are YOU thankful about?

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

~ Melody Beattie, Author

  • I’m thankful for plenty of things. Among others, for my wife’s successful surgery; and speedy recovery; for our eldest son doing well in college and for choosing the right path in his proverbial “fork in the road of his academic life”; for our youngest son’s early acceptance at a prestigious college on the East Coast. I’m of course thankful for turning 50 with my sanity in tact; but most of all for the rare opportunity of having all my four parents (who flew in from afar), both sons (and my eldest’s girlfriend), and believed close friends by my side… helping me celebrate my half a century walking the earth and still acting like a 12 year old!
  • I’m thankful for all my guardian angels for their incessant hard work and overtime (my brother-in-law always reminds me that mine do, and his are therefore working part time!); I’m thankful for my parter-in-crime and best friend for never ceasing to teach me the values of compassion with her random act of kindness of helping friends and often practical strangers.
  • I’m thankful for the big mouth, social skills, talents, and decent confidence I am blessed with in seeking new businesses and working with great clients who keep my solution searching and brand building skills in overdrive; I’m thankful for all the business partners, and colleagues who make all work possible. And of course I’m thankful to you, my dear readers, for welcoming me into your world, giving me the attention and the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge.
  • And finally I thank God for giving me good health, an indescribable family, a sane mind, and steady fingers to type this message and keep all my blogs alive.

PS: I searched for Thanksgiving messages that had a decidedly modern design, and found the ones you see on this page. I particularly like Google’s Thanksgiving banner this year.

Inspiration: Inspired Every Moment; Cinnamon Hollow; I am a reader, not a writer; 365 Give; Simple as That

Eco Chic | Six Senses Resort & Spa, Con Dao Island, Vietnam

October 3, 2011

That Vietnam’s economy is booming is a known fact, rising steadily as part of the dynamic Asian region, located just south of China, and benefiting directly from the giant dragon’s economic muscle. Vietnam has been enjoying the spill-over effect, seeing a relocation of manufacturing jobs from China where labor cost has been increasing a few notches.

One promising sector that has also seen increased activities is Tourism, and Vietnam is firmly taking the middle-to-upper luxury segment, and is pursuing it with a vengeance. A spate of development along its beautiful coast is witnessing high-end hotel brands coming in.

Among them is the new Six Senses Resort & Spa on Con Dao Island. A gorgeous villa compound that is introducing the latest in eco-consciousness, through green architecture and hotel operations that practices responsible tourism.

The 50 spacious villas, single and duplex style, each have their own private infinity pool and unobstructed views of the South China Sea. They sit up along a mile of sandy beach, sheltered by the green forested hills behind. The main restaurant offers world class food and wine, the chefs using fresh, locally grown and sourced ingredients. The center of the resort resembles a Vietnamese market with a traditional Vietnamese open kitchen and a Deli, offering guests the chance to browse and try local delicacies. Surrounded by tropical gardens, Six Senses Spa offers 4 indoor treatment rooms, one Thai therapy room, three outdoor treatment salas, a Yoga and Meditation pavilion, a Juice Bar and changing facilities.

Bangkok-based Six Senses Resorts & Spas is a hotel and spa management company that has built a reputation on eco-friendliness from its inception. Ensuring that all its hotels bring positive impact to its immediate community and environment. This approach is embodied in their core purpose on: Social and Environment Sustainability Policy:

To create innovative and enlightening experiences that rejuvenate our guests’ love of SLOW LIFE* 

True to its commitment to supporting and protecting the environment, Con Six Senses Resort & Spa Con Dao has been built with the very lightest ecological footprint.

All building materials are from natural, sustainable sources and local where possible. The teak is reclaimed from the Vietnamese interior and includes more than a thousand beautifully carved antique panels.

Location: Con Dao is a 16 island archipelago within Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province, in south east Vietnam. It is famed for its crystal clear blue-green waters, soft golden sand beaches, lush mangrove forests and beautiful coral reefs. Six Senses Con Dao is nestled in a beautiful secluded bay 8 km from Co Ong airport. The resort has a magnificent beach, a beguiling 1.5 km strip of golden sand with sloping dunes leading to turquoise waters, and dramatic Elephant Head Mountain as a backdrop.

Con Dao is approximately 230 km from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) which is served by many of the world’s leading airlines. The transfer flight to Con Dao takes approximately 45 minutes.

Read more…

Eco Chic | Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand

October 3, 2011

Soneva Kiri Eco Resort by Six Senses is an absolute gem of a resort. Not merely because of how it looks amid the natural setting overlooking the bay, but because of the revolutionary promise of what an eco-conscious resort can look like. From the organic flow of bamboo and how it coils into shape at the resort’s Children Center, to the unusual option for guests to dine in a lofty woven Tree Pod perched 16 feet off the ground. And as if that wasn’t already cool enough, all of the food and beverages arrive courtesy of a flying waiter via a zip line.

Soneva Kiri is located on Koh Kood, a pristine and untouched island on the east coast of Thailand. It comprises 42 pool villas along the beach front and on the hillside, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Each pool villa offers living areas and air-conditioned bedrooms surrounded by water features. Several villas feature private spa suites. Three restaurants present a range of dining experiences. In addition to many leisure facilities, the resort will feature a Six Senses Spa village and a celebration pavilion. Honeymooners will be pampered with a complimentary Soneva honeymooner benefits.

Flights from Bangkok take 60 minutes by the resort’s own lightplane, then 2 kilometres by motor boat. Round trip BKK airport transfer (land/boat) from USD380 per person, excluding. tax & service charge. Prices are subject to change.

Soneva Kiri’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy
We care for a better environment and our place with the local community!

Soneva Kiri, Six Senses Spa and the hosts are committed to improving the ecological and carbon footprint from activities associated with the resort and spa industry namely providing accommodation, dining, excursions, spa, sports and aquatic activities. We are committed to developing a sustainable environment by using the indictors highlighted below. We will continuously monitor our performance and sustainable activities against the targets and goals set by Six Senses, which will be adjusted, amended and acted upon wherever appropriate, and we will continue to submit performance data to Six Senses.

Social Responsibility
Soneva Kiri Resort and Spa’ philosophy is to give something back to the local community in which we operate. For this reason, we set aside funds for social and environmental purposes following the Social and Environmental Responsibility Fund: – 0.5% of the revenue

Inspiration: Lux Interior Designs, Architecture-View

Eco Chic | Jean Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji

October 3, 2011

One of the most renowned vacation destinations in the South Pacific, the award-winning, five-star Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort is located on 17 acres of a coconut plantation on the island of Vanua Levu, overlooking the turquoise blue waters of Savusavu Bay.

The celebrated resort is a favorite spot for romance, honeymoons and weddings. It’s a great choice for families who want to combine breathtaking surroundings and superb dining with a wide range of eco-friendly activities such as snorkeling, a day of ecological awareness or a trip to the rain forest capped off by a dip in a gorgeous freshwater jungle pool.

Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort is a gorgeous little resort on peninsula next to some amazing diving and snorkeling in a marine reserve. Traditional Fijian architecture coupled with an organic garden, a plan to restore the surrounding eco system, and a community foundation that gives back to the local people are just a few of the factors that make this resort special.


• Full-time, on-site Marine Biologist
• Aware-winning Cultural Host
• Each day of the week is devoted to making guests aware about a different aspect of our culture and environment
• First recycling program on Savusavu
• Organic garden that grows many vegetables, herbs and fruits for our guests
• Edible landscaping
• Protecting the Namena Marine Reserve
• New waste water system using coconuts and recycled bottles to product clean water in picturesque lagoons
• Local involvement with our environmental efforts through the community and schools
• Fishing outside the reef, in the deep ocean where fish are plentiful

The Resort is a partner of Ocean Futures and The Good Night Foundation, a non-profit organization that builds on the concept that a guest’s Resort night can contribute to doing good in the community and beyond. In partnership with leading hoteliers and caring guests, The Good Night Foundation raises funds to support local and global programs that help make all parts of the world safe, healthy and desirable places to live and visit.

At Good Night Foundation partner hotels, a four dollar (FJD) charitable donation is added to each Bure per night. The Good Night Foundation addresses global challenges by funding programs focused on improving health, education, poverty and the environment, including the Savusavu Community Foundation. In this way, guests know their contributions benefit each community they visit. Guests who do not wish to participate may opt out by contacting the Resort front desk at any time.

As no garbage collection is available for the resort, waste management is a high priority because the resort has to deal with it all themselves. Plastic and metals are recycled by facilities nearby on the island, while paper is collected and then transported to another island. The resort operates a community foundation that raises money to help support the local community and it also employs locals from the nearby village and offers job training.

The resort only buys fish that are sustainably caught by local fisherman, which has created a sustainable market in the area that encourages environmentally friendly fishing habits.


Eco Chic | Bamboo Bridge School, China

October 2, 2011

Located in a rural Chinese village, bamboo Bridge School in Xiashi, China has rejuvenated the entire community by providing a place for children to learn, a means to cross the town’s river, and a public gathering space. Architect Li Xiaodong designed the little two-room schoolhouse as a multi purpose facility for the whole village, and it has become the heart of the town.

The school is constructed out of two large steel spans that cross the bridge and smaller steel supports and framing. Local materials and wood were used to create the facade, interior furnishings and school furniture. While the steel is very modern, especially in the context of a rural village, the material will last a long time while creating a structurally-sound school. The use of local materials helps the building blend texturally and aesthetically with the rest of the village.


Inspiration: Archietcture-View