Archive for the ‘Style & Design’ Category

Joyful Entrepreneurs: Rickshaw Bagworks

June 30, 2010

Mark Dwight and Lisa Taylor of Rickshaw Bagworks

As part of our summer Road Trippin’ California campaign, we’ve met the cool folks at Rickshaw Bagworks, who have made some fabulous custom road trip themed bags for us to share with our fans. Their approach to sustainability, which encompasses community and environmentally-conscious design, is holistic and quite inspiring. Their founder, Mark Dwight, graciously agreed to be interviewed as part of our “Joyful Entrepreneurs” series.

Why did you start Rickshaw?
I started Rickshaw to pursue my passion for designing bags, building brands, exploring sustainable business practices, running my own business, and engaging in the local community. I love making things — especially things that require a certain amount of hand-work. I call it “artisanal manufacturing”. My first business was making stained glass windows when I was in high school. After college, I spent 15 years in Silicon Valley working for technology companies. I took a break from high-tech in 2001, and had the good fortune to join a popular SF bag company called Timbuk2. That’s where my passion for bags blossomed. The bag business has brought me back to my true passion for working with my hands. In fact, making bags has some similarities to making stained glass windows — just with fabric and thread instead of glass and lead.

How is sustainable design interpreted at Rickshaw?
I’m a student of Bill McDonough’s “Cradle to Cradle” manifesto on sustainable design. I’m very interested in the difficult challenges of balancing design criteria (such as appearance, performance, and price) and sustainability, as they relate to our choices for materials and processes. Here at Rickshaw, we have a design methodology called “The Power of Zero” — whereby we try to eliminate waste in every aspect of our business, and explore opportunities for closed-loop recycling of environmentally-friendly materials. (more…)


Road Trippin’: SF’s Richmond District

June 8, 2010

Getting up close and personal with a city you do not know is a bit like angling to meet the Rolling Stones after the show without a backstage pass: if you don’t have someone who can hook you up, you’ll have to be content with being held at a cordial arm’s length, no shots of Jameson with Keith for you.

For the next few months, as part of our Road Trippin’ California summer, we’re going to be sharing our personal itineraries from the places in California we love. We hope it inspires you to get out and explore the Golden State and experience some of the authentic sights and scenes we’d want people to share with us.

Today, I’m writing about my own neighborhood, San Francisco’s  fabulously untrendy Richmond District. If you’re looking for packaged faux-bohemian or sidewalk cafes avec the stroller set, the Richmond probably isn’t going to ring your bell. I love it for its sunny days, good food, cheap rents (with great views), and its nearness to both Golden Gate Park (the city’s legendary outdoor playground) and the beach. It’s also got humility going for it, like the best people and places who aren’t terribly aware of their charms.

Here’s my top 10 list for the Richmond. I hope you will read it with rapt attention, takes notes, and make a visit next time you are in our fair city by the bay.

1. Kamei Restaurant Supply – honestly, forget Chinatown for tablewares and tchotchkes and head to Kamei, where you can find all the sushi ware your heart desires, a vast selection of rice cookers, tea pots, and other culinary lovelies at affordable prices (525-547 Clement St., San Francisco).


Body of Art

April 27, 2010

I’ve been intrigued by tattoos for as long as I can remember, likely due to the influences of my brother and mother. Growing up, my older brother discovered his love for tattoos during his middle school years. I remember coming home one day to find he had taken apart my bedside fan to use the motor for his homemade tattoo gun. He and his friends always practiced on each other. Lucky for them, my brother is quite a good artist. By the time he was in high school he had a few dozen tattoos all over his body. As a child, I used to think his pre-teen doodle tattoos looked so silly. I didn’t see the appeal and never thought I would get one.

I later came to love the beauty tattoos can express…the insights into one’s life that can be seen on a canvas of skin. As horrible as I used to think my brother’s kid-made tattoos were, as I got older I could see the beauty in them – the story of his life scrawled across his body.

I recently began working on my latest tattoo, which is by far my largest: a full back piece of a phoenix and a dragon.  The journey began with an idea, a vision of what I felt represented my life.  I began saving money because I knew it was going to be an investment. I started researching artists. I’d look at portfolios online and pop into shops all over San Francisco.  After two years of looking around I found a tremendous amount of talent in the city, but when I stepped into the shop where I found my artist, I knew I’d found the one. I told him what I was thinking and just let him run with it. The first time I went in to see his sketch, I was blown away. His vision of my idea was incredible.  (more…)

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2010

April 5, 2010

Skinny jeans, gladiator sandals, exposed zippers—trends usually come and go as quickly as the seasons change. Lucky for us, trendy brides keep our weddings interesting all year round. Here are some recent favorite wedding trends we’ve seen at The Citizen Hotel.

*Shoes that pop: Ever since Carrie Bradshaw sported those blue Manolo Blahniks on her wedding day, Brides have been making statements with stylish footwear. We’re seeing lots of colorful pumps, and even glittery flats.

*Vintage charm: We love this trend because it truly suits the look and feel of our hotel. We’re seeing lots of side swept hair, vintage hair accessories, and bright red lipstick.

*More intimate gatherings: In today’s economy, brides are choosing to plan smaller weddings in order to maximize their budget. While it can be difficult to trim your guest list, smaller weddings often allow the bride and groom to spend more time with each individual guest—a memorable perk!

*Comfort food: Brides are also learning to serve great food on a smaller budget with casual items like mac-n-cheese, sliders, and soup shooters. We haven’t heard any guests complaining about that menu!

*Dessert bar: Let them eat cake? Who are they kidding—we need more than that!  Brides want to give their guests more options, especially when it comes to dessert. Common dessert bars include everything from cakes and cupcakes, to ice cream and candy.

The Citizen Hotel has quickly become the ideal venue for Northern California brides, boasting a magnificent Metropolitan Terrace with a breathtaking 7th floor view of the city. Need a visual? Head over to our new and improved wedding blog to see photos of some of our favorite weddings. If you like what you see, please visit the KCRA A-list and give us your vote for Best Wedding Venue. Hope to see you soon at The Citizen Hotel!

Holiday DIY at Hotel Rex

December 9, 2009

Check out this great video segment featuring  Hotel Rex’s Terry Haney on how to fashion inexpensive (or even, gasp, foraged and free!) eco-friendly holiday decor. The Rex is a really sweet little boutique hotel in San Francisco, and USA Today even named it one of the country’s top literary hotels this year. The “View from the Bay” piece also talks about a fabulous holiday deal we are offering at our San Francisco hotels, the “Home for the Holidays” package. It’s full of sweets and cultural treats and if you’ll be in the Bay Area for the holidays, worth a look see!

Shiny, Happy (New) People

November 20, 2009

Japantown? Where’s that? These words were uttered by many friends and family the year I began working at Hotel Tomo, and have been heard many more times from new friends and colleagues yet to be introduced to the allure of one of San Francisco’s most interesting neighborhoods. (more…)

I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Bamboo.

November 5, 2009

Sonoma County’s become quite the cycling mecca over the last few years.  A few weeks ago I met 22-year-old national cycling champion Nick Frey there after he finished the 103-mile Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge GranFondo (along with 3,499 others out for the fun ride).  A cyclist friend of mine had recently bought one of Nick’s bamboo bikes; it’s a gleaming golden showpiece (and workhorse), and was the first Boo in California. I wanted to hear more about Nick’s new boutique bicycle company because in the green design realm bamboo-anything is hot right now, and Nick seemed the perfect individual to begin our “Joyful Entrepreneurs” series. (more…)

Chalk Value

October 9, 2009

hotelerwin_scionA friend of mine used to do restaurant reviews for a local publication based on what he termed “The 3 Ms”: the menu, the milieu, and the men’s room. He figured that if an establishment cared about the cleanliness and ambiance of that third, oft-neglected (and often vile) member of the triad, then it would, more often than not, score higher on other unseen aspects of one’s dining experience.   (more…)