Archive for August 2009


Survey: Best European Street Corner

"Seen in Antwerp /1"

After extensive research (consisting of some considerable loitering around Europe) our survey of the Best European Street Corner is complete. It has taken quite some time to finish, but patience is a virtue.

We first set off in Liguria, dashing down Via Garibaldi in Genoa. Lorenzo Bagnara was a charm, as always, but we felt as if the corner itself lacked the overall feeling of hospitality that we were expecting. Moving on. A swift Lufthansa Italia A320-flight later, and the warm tarmac of Lyon welcomed us. We went straight to Place Saint Paul, where a small, rustic, bakery had charmed us on the corner of Rue de la Lanterne. Perfectly connected with a convenient TCL tram stop just outside, surely this was it?

The charm of the childish interior mixed with the scent of freshly made flutes and Pain aux Raisins left us tempted to permanently move in at the Collège Hôtel further down the same street. Still, something was lacking. No cosy cinema. The metrics just didn’t add up this time.

Our quest went on. But this time we knew where we were heading – a mental image of a Flemish neighbourhood kept reoccurring in our minds. We boarded the TGV that brought us up state in a briskly fashion. As was expected, the corner was to be found in Antwerp. Kloosterstraat & Blarenstraat received us with open arms, with barista Rob Berghmans still remembering how short we prefer our ristretto to be.

In the end, the proximity of everything one could possibly ask of a street corner proved to be unbeatable. Brasserie Chez Fred for breakfast, a quick stop at Limonsoda to pick up a pair of shoes for our niece, or simply a relaxing muse through Erik Toonen Books. It’s simply all there.

Brûlé Airways: The Management

"Basically You're Asking Me Why I'm No Longer the CEO of Dell"

Continuing in our series on TB´s airline, we have reached the management. Crucial, in harsh aviation times like these. In some positions there are clear stand out candidates, but an airline of this caliber requires titles that are yet to be defined. Recruiting will therefore be a challenge. We set five of the more obvious titles in our top management, with some essential criteria for success:

1. CLO – Chief Lounge Officer. We looking for someone with the hospitality of Adrian at the George V in Paris, but with experience from modern retail and property development. A tricky one.

2. CAO – Chief Apparel Officer. What could be more important in an airline cabin that what the crew are wearing? We can’t think of anything. So we would be looking at someone from Asiana, obviously.

3. CMC – Chief Maître de Cabine. No point improving perfection, so the legacy from Swiss should live on. The regular six languages and concierge knowledge of the normal top 50 cities will do.

4. CISO – Chief Inflight Service Officer.
This one is easiest, by far. We’ll just get Terence, the butler from the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong, straight away.

5. CTO – Chief Timetable Officer.
If you take your airline seriously, you take your timetables seriously. And as often as we’ve had to experience downloaded and badly designed PDF:s, instead of gripping on to a sturdy and finely printed dito – we feel that this is an issue that needs its own manager. Probably a German.

With a management like that, it would take more than a global economic depression to keep Brûlé Airways on the tarmac.

The Wallpaper tragedy

A wallpaper mall

Wallpaper, the magazine Mr. Brulé left in 2002, has since then been operating further and further away from our radar. Since it all of a sudden made a comeback in our newstands, being prominently placed in eye-level. We thought, for a moment, that we had missed something. That Wallpaper had went back to its roots, with extensive coverage of international travelling and Scandinavian design.

After a couple of glances we felt at ease again. Wallpaper is certainly not in it for a comeback. Readers, you are well aware of our hunger for outstanding, independent retail, that is as intoxicating as it is service-minded. Especially as retail sets the foundation of an economic comeback that can take us out of our current gloomy situation.

Hence, we were at least mildly excited to take a closer look at Wallpaper’s Retail Directory. People, even your next door automotive CFO will write down a more interesting list faster than you finish a sweet and dense espresso from Fernanadez & Wells.

Some examples; Diesel Store (New York), Tiffany (Tokyo), Lacoste (Paris) and so on. If we wanted Lonely Planet recommendations we would have bought one in that crowded, sweaty newsstand at Hauptbanhof when we arrived from our low-cost airline flight. As if.

Wallpaper, we grew up with you. You helped us take our first stumbling steps in international travelling. Such as which frequent flyer program to choose, which airy, friendly hotel to pick during our carribbean get away or how to pick a decent travelling bag. Now you are ill of all thoose mall advertisers and mainstream buyers, get well or don’t bother contacting us again.