This week with Ace: our director of food and beverage in DTLA, Olivier Rassinoux, enjoying a salmon croissant at Stumptown LA's weekly Pancake Epidemic for Los Angeles creatives; Ace Palm Springs' singing hostess and fairy godmother Linda Gerard at Miller’s Children’s Hospital for a day of bingo and music with kids for MyMusicRx and the hospital’s in-house TV program ” The Giggles Show”; and two friends from think-tank Fabrica stopping by for a visit in the lobby at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch.
If there’s no greater honor than saving a life, imagine the boss status that comes with saving an entire species. Those bragging rights belong to horticulturalist Carlos Magdalena, who single-handedly brought a very special African waterlily back from the brink of extinction.
Discovered by Professor Eberhard Fischer in 1987, the world’s smallest waterlily, Nymphaea thermarum, was found growing exclusively among the hot springs of southwestern Rwanda. Alarmed by their rapid disappearance in 2008 due to the exploitation of the plants’ water source, Professor Eberhard quickly sent seeds of the remaining waterlilies to Bonn Botanic Gardens for preservation. Eventually the seeds made their way to Kew Gardens in London where horticulturalist Carlos Magdalena began his life-saving research.
After much trial, error and frustration, Magdalena’s perseverance led to him to a crucial discovery. Unlike most waterlilies which grow submerged deep underwater, the Nymphaea thermarum actually thrives in warm mud. By maintaining steady of temperatures of 25°C along the banks, Magdalena has been able to cultivate over 30 healthy new plants which are currently on display at Kew Gardens.
If you’d like to help prevent plant extinction but lack the botanical skills, you can adopt a seed from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London for £25. They’ll even throw in a personalized certificate, so your friends will know your hero status is legit.
Change is everything. London accessories designer Ally Capellino agrees with us her in her gentle, idiosyncratic, useful, graceful, self-made, sturdy way. Not only has she created a small leather tray for the datums in Ace London guest rooms — useful for pens, leaves, pills, non-GMO seeds and, yes, change — but she also brings her signature design aesthetic to an iconic piece of furniture, the tubular stacking chair. Initially conceived by the Bauhaus group, they were the inspiration for many manufacturers in the interwar period in Britain. The PEL (Practical Equipment Limited) name quickly became synonymous with the product, and exploited the interest in modern shapes and design durability. These chairs have been the mainstay of schools, church halls and factories ever since.
Originally manufactured by Cox of Solihull, this set has been stripped back to their raw steel frames and taken in a new and inventive direction. Making inquiries into the way we position ourselves when seated, Ally and her team, which includes her son and daughter, made eight variations on the theme with seats that have been hand stitched and polished Italian bridle leather in her London studio before being branded with their name — ‘Left Leaning’ and ‘Cantilever’ for example.
Ally’s long-time collaborator Donald Christie created a short film examining the human use of accidental props in the style of 1957 Oscar-winning short A Chairy Tale. Meanwhile IRL, PEL chair enthusiast Rupert Blanchard has created installations of the chairs at Ally’s Shoreditch shop and at the junction of Portobello and Golborne Roads, up through the end of the London Design Festival this weekend.
London’s Three Word Commission matchmakes a winsome roster of mostly East End artists with three-word prompts, puts their keys in a bowl, gives them some mushroom cookies and then sets them free in the anarchic yonder of imagination that is low-to-no presh art-making. Here, Steven Quinn creates a natural habitat for banana + dog + space, Hattie Stewart lays hands on NYC + triangle + fluorescent and finds a muse, and Rose Blake, daughter of Sir Peter Blake, conjures an homage to Magic Eye for this lonely enthusiast for whom earnestness is the wallpaper, water and air in a land of thunderbirds + love + Union Jack.
Pablo and David of Bistrotheque are responsible for our new London eatery, Hoi Polloi, a modernist take on hyper-seasonal English produce and flavors, in a setting as well-suited to a quick lunch or long dinner as it is to a full day of laptop work or midnight drinks. Their work is featured in a new exhibition by London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, ICA Off-Site: A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now, at the Old Selfridges Hotel. Installations formed around 50 custom-made vitrines, featuring works and designs by the likes of Giles Deacon, Zaha Hadid, Sarah Lucas, Lucky PDF, Studio Voltaire and Jonny Woo, showcase the creative culture of the capital city, from the post-punk era to the current day.
We debuted our custom Ace radios with Scotland-based Revo today when we swung the doors open at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch. Each radio in-room boasts a curated set of hot buttons that act as a portal to our favorite new discoveries and classic standbys, including independent radio, soundscapes and Monocle's round-the-clock coverage of everything on the planet. We want to treat your ears as well as we can, and the planet, too. These radios feature a digital amplifier that reduces power consumption but increases the amount of creative power in your own mind.
We’ll be changing stations and sounds on the hot buttons over time. You can keep track of them all hear, just kidding here, and we’ll be posting more about the waves in the air over time right here.
1 : KEXP Born in Seattle, KEXP is our #1 homie. But we share so much beyond a hometown. Our love of music, discovery and community have made us steadfast friends and long-time collaborators. On the air for over four decades, this tiny radio-station-that-could started as a 10-watt transmitter is located on top of McMahon Hall on the University of Washington campus. It’s since grown to one of the most celebrated and respected independent, community-driven radio stations on the planet. It won a Webby for Best Radio Website when the internet was just a wee baby in 2004, and even opened a branch in New York City, serving all five boroughs. For a few years, we’ve collaborated with KEXP to broadcast live from the lobby at Ace Hotel New York during CMJ, and we’ve made some really good friends along the way.
2 : NTS Radio With their first radio broadcast just months behind them, London’s NTS was born, in a sort of KEXP reversal, from the blog nutstosoup.com (now laid to rest). NTS aims to fill a void in the community of musically and progressively minded Londoners (and citizens of the world). A unique platform for inspired people to present their findings, passions and obsessions, NTS draws on local wisdom of the young and old in London from label founders to magazine editors to style icons to musical discoverers sailing the rocky seas of basement shows and pirate internet stations and tape deck-only road trips to bring the best and brightest to your ears day and night.