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  Chief Editor Anuraag S | Editor Swati Bhalla | Powered by GigaSoft™ Issue 11, 2010

Paleoanthropologist Erik Trinkaus purports that man started wearing shoes between 26,000 and 40,000 years ago. The average American woman today is said to own 27 pairs of shoes. This is all interesting stuff if shoes are your passion as they are for Maecenas Dirk Vanderschueren, owner of Cortina, one of the world's largest shoe manufacturers.

To share his passion Vanderschueren created a “shoe experience” SONS Shoes Or No Shoes in Kruishoutem (Cruyshautem), in East Flanders, Belgium, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Antwerp and Brussels, and close to Cortina's hometown of Oudenaarde.

 



 

SONS consists of three collections. The Ethnographic Collection, amassed by former shoe distributor William (Boy) Habraken, includes 2,700 pairs from 155 countries and is acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the largest collection of tribal and ethnological shoes.

Antwerp-based shoemaker couple Veerle Swenters and Pierre Bogaerts contributed the Modern Collection -- some 1,200 pairs acquired from artists, many of whom customized the shoes, evoking the question: Are they art or shoes? Shoes or no shoes?

The Designer Collection, also accumulated by Habraken, showcases unique footwear form 20th-century and contemporary designers including Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.

SONS is housed in a building designed and built by gallery owner Emile Veranneman and architect Christiaan Vander Plaetse in 1973. Architects Lode Uytterschaut and Johan Ketele revamped the structure for the constantly growing shoe collections. Outside, they covered the building with lead and inside, they created an unpretentious warehouse look using industrial shelving systems and almost no colour. - Tuija Seipell

Contributed by: Priyanka Singh

 
   
 

Didn't think you'd ever end up window shopping for beef tenderloin? Get ready for a rethink, especially if you are on Queen Street in Woollahra, Sydney.

 
 
In the well-established suburb, tree-lined streets offer a perfect enclave for cafes and boutiques, and for that most unlikely of things, a supremely cool butcher shop. Victor Churchill is the first, and so far the only, butcher shop established by Vic and Anthony Puharich, the father and son duo behind Vic's Premium Quality Meat, the leading meat supplier to some of the finest restaurants in Australia, China and Singapore.  
 
   
  A butcher shop -- Churchill's Butchery -has operated in the space since 1876, so it was an appropriate location for what the Puharichs envisioned as a European-inspired designer shop of meaty delights.

To realize their vision, they engaged Sydney-based Dreamtime Australia Design whose many restaurant, bar and resort projects around the world combine traditional and modern elements in a deliciously layered and multi-textured way. This was Dreamtime's first retail project but too juicy to pass, says Dreamtime director, Michael McCann.

The store boasts so many unique, custom-designed and exclusive features that the only way to absorb it all is a real-life visit. The features provoke, intrigue and amuse the customer starting with the façade with its double-glazed, refrigerated vitrine for viewing the ever-changing array of hanging meat and poultry, plus selections displayed on custom-made copper and glass shelving.
 
 
Inside, butchers work at timber butcher's blocks on a “stage” behind floor-to-ceiling glass while specialty cuts of meat and carcasses, hung from a custom-designed cog gear and metal chain rack, slowly pass by. The backdrop for all this is a Himalayan rock salt brick wall that infuses the hanging meat with flavor and sterilizes the air. In a humorous nod to a recent Louis Vuitton window display, multiple video cameras are trained onto the daily special inside a glass dome on a pedestal.  
 
   
  Victor Churchill is definitely on the leading edge of redefining the meat shop category. (See also their iPhone application) We are seeing this happening slowly in other food, restaurant and grocery categories as our McDonald's -McFancy.. We are all for a future without a single sprig of plastic parsley!- Tuija Seipell.  
  Contributed by: Priyanka Singh  
 
 

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