Best of CH 2017: Most Popular

Hotels, cars, Kyoto cafes, logo redesigns and more in our most-read articles of the year

While it might not sound like the most exciting activity, there’s always a surprise in store when exploring Google Analytics—especially when taking a look at all our content across a year. We’re always fascinated to see what our audience connects with most on Cool Hunting. Sometimes we can see it coming, and other times we’re amazed. This year’s most-read collection is wide-ranging—from test drives to tech essays and travel—proving that CH readers are curious, inquisitive and diverse.

How and Why Converse Redesigned Their Logo

It’s possible you haven’t seen the new Converse logo, but it’s also possible you’ve seen it and not even realized it’s new. That’s because the redesigned mark draws inspiration directly from the brand’s heritage and uses elements that have been in their visual vocabulary for decades. The new identity began rolling out earlier this month on and in some marketing materials, but will take almost a full year to complete. Simply stated, the new logo replaces the wordmark that has a star in the letter “O” by combining the star chevron (that has been used as an embellishment on many of their sneaker styles) with a refreshed wordmark. The result is an enthusiastic and forward-looking identity that respects its brand heritage.

Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound Shape

After roughly four years of development, a new sound system—with home acoustic performance and pristine design at the forefront—will be making its way out of Denmark’s innovative Bang & Olufsen headquarters. Known as the BeoSound Shape, this wireless speaker system—fashioned in the form of modular, hexagonal wall tiles—approaches filling a room with sound in a new way. While each panel of the Shape looks the same, there are actually four technical iterations, positioning sound components accordingly. A basic kit includes four Shape panels, one amp, the BeoSound Core unit that provides wireless streaming and two sound absorbing/decorative tiles. Consumers can purchase additional Shape sets (uniting up to 44 panels) to create their own wall of sound installation. For such an endeavor, B&O had to develop a new system that allows all of the components to work together.

Six International Skin and Body Care Brands to Know Now

If you’re constantly on the search for that just-right product and haven’t found it yet, it might be worth looking a little further afield. With different ingredients, research and formulations, here are six skincare brands that are based everywhere from Tel Aviv to Seoul. Several are making their US debuts for the first time, so they’re even easier to buy—and even more surprising is how affordable some products are.

Test Drive: 2018 Range Rover Velar

“Design is a balance of things,” says Land Rover’s Design Director and Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern, and that six-word maxim is personified in the brand’s newest vehicle, the 2018 Range Rover Velar. It inherits its name from the first Range Rover prototype, whose designers felt the Latin word (less the “e” at the end) meaning to veil or cover up was fitting for an all new vehicle. Then, as now, the Velar seduces. Today the seduction comes in a form that is sleeker, more refined and more elegant than its very capable stable mates. Meant to fill the gap between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport (which it does size wise), the Velar also raises the bar for the brand as a whole with its reductionist design. It has drawn a new line in the sand for the SUV category—a line that all others can only aspire to match.

Word of Mouth: Kyoto Cafés

When we were researching a visit to Kyoto we found Inside Kyoto to be an invaluable resource. It’s run by Chris Rowthorn, an American who has been in Kyoto for more than 20 years. Rowthorn is also the editor of the Lonely Planet guidebooks for Japan and many southeast Asian countries, and even offers private tours of Kyoto and other cities. Rowthorn shared his hometown with us, helping us explore highlights of must-see tourist destinations as well as the little-known. In between we spent a lot of time checking out Kyoto’s cafés. Here are our favorites.

Cadillac Introduces BOOK

For three months this past Fall we had the opportunity to participate in a pilot program exploring a new business concept and consumer experience for luxury car sharing. Today, BOOK by Cadillac goes live in the NYC metro area with a $1500 monthly service that removes the hassle from car ownership, with added benefits like being able to swap between the brand’s different models (all are the latest models with top level appointments) based on your specific need or whim and having the car delivered when and where you desire, and additional benefits like a concierge to help take care of other things. The intent is to allow you to enjoy life’s experiences by eliminating the hassle, cost and inconvenience of owning a car.

Introducing Volcan De Mi Tierra Tequila

For two and a half years Moët Hennessy has been secretly developing their first-ever tequila. An organization that counts some of the world’s most prestigious alcohol brands in its roster—Ruinart, Glenmorangie, Belvedere and more—could have easily purchased an existing brand that sprung up in the last decade’s infatuation with the agave spirit. Rather than acquire, however, they partnered with Mexico’s Gallardo family and began developing a joint venture: Volcan De Mi Tierra tequila. A facility was built, Maestra de Tequila Anna Maria Romero Mena was brought in to develop the liquid, and today a limited amount of two distinct expressions—a zesty, vibrant Blanco and a creamy Cristalino—becomes available in premier US and Mexico City venues.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, NYC

Most of the greatest Manhattan skyline vantage points are outside of the island. For a long while now, anyone hoping for a hotel room with a view selected midtown skyscrapers or committed to upper floors in downtown establishments. In the past few years though, Williamsburg, Brooklyn has seen an emergence of vista-laden hotels. And now, a rather uncommon and eco-conscious destination has emerged in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, as the name implies, sits directly beside the iconic 19th century architectural marvel. There, on Pier 1, with nothing but a park and the East River separating it from Lower Manhattan, this brand new luxury hotel delivers unprecedented views and packs a handful of surprises. Its proximity to charmed and ever-developing DUMBO further supports its value. And with numerous subway lines in the area, and the bridge just right there, guests can access Manhattan with ease—if they want.

Cadillac’s Escala Concept Car

Cadillac has been on a five year journey expressing three driving experiences and demonstrating the brand’s evolution while also tracking back to its luxury roots. We’ve been fortunate to see the debut of each car in the fitting surroundings of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, America’s most prestigious event celebrating automotive history, design and performance (and its many adjacent events). This year we’ve had the exclusive opportunity to follow the car’s development, to get behind the scenes and experience a creative process that few outsiders (let alone journalists) have witnessed. Visiting the GM design studio in Detroit, where the car was conceived, designed and created, several times, we met the team who brought the Escala to life, and we are proud to present the story on its launch in the slideshow above and story below. We learned so much throughout this journey—too much, in fact, to include in just one story. This is the overview and in subsequent features we will dig deeper into the car’s many details.

Hero and hotel image courtesy of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge; respectively courtesy of Converse, Bang & Olufsen, NatureLab, Cool Hunting