All photos courtesy Balcon Media Group.
No matter the destination, travel can often leave lasting impressions on visitors who want to experience new things. For those inclined to travel coast-to-coast, Trails of Indochina has become one of the most pioneering boutique tour operators in Southeast and East Asian countries. Having just marked its 20th anniversary, the firm continues to stay true to founder John Tue Nguyen’s approach to tourism by highlighting immersive experiences for a high-end audience.
Hang En cave, Quang Binh province.
When Nguyen was a young boy growing up in Hue, Southeast Asia barely had a tourism industry. These days, the region ranks among the world’s most sought-after vacation destinations with travellers flocking from all corners of the globe to sample its diverse array of experiences: a compendium of offerings spanning everything from culinary-themed discoveries and rip-roaring adventure to idyllic honeymoons at bucket-list resorts.
“Since the start we’ve been focused on delivering unique tailored tours in Asia,” Nguyen says. “What sets us apart from other tour operators is that we really believe in developing exclusive products and aim to deliver those to our customers in the most personalized way possible.”
Nguyen has been widely credited for popularising unique trips and selecting endeavors that are unforgettable, from watching a master artisan weave kimonos in Kyoto and private lessons in Shodo, an ancient Japanese calligraphy style exemplifying his innovative approach.
Experiences — many of which are exclusive to Trails of Indochina — might include a master class on Hue’s imperial gastronomy with a recognized authority on the cuisine. Or an audience in Hanoi’s backstreets with one of the few remaining practitioners of Hang Trong, a traditional genre of Vietnamese woodblock printing.
Trails is the anchor to an organization that also includes Heritage Line (river cruises on Mekong, Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers), Indotrek (adventure travel) and Ancient Hue (a collection of beautifully realised traditional-style garden homes in Vietnam’s imperial capital Hue).
Heritage Line cruise to Myanmar.
Over the course of the past two decades, Trails of Indochina has notched several prestigious industry accolades at awards events such as the World Travel Awards and the Luxury Lifestyle Awards, and has expanded its destination portfolio to cover most of Asia.
“Today, travellers are more willing to explore and they have certain expectations. That’s why it’s just as important for us today as it was in the beginning to really learn, understand and to innovate with the ultimate goal of delivering unforgettable experiences to our travellers,” Nguyen says.
Photo by Giacomo Maestri.
New design brand LATOxLATO, founded by the young architects Francesco Breganze de Capnist and Virginia Valentini, presents its first collection of furnishings and objects that strives to tell a story of true passion for Italian design. Exclusively made in Italy, LATOxLATO uses the finest materials and refined techniques, all built on a search for the best artisans and craftspeople.
“LATOxLATO comes from the wish of bringing the artisans’ knowledge passed down across generations to the public,” say designers Breganza de Capnist and Valentini, “and make people realize that in Italy we still have a great tradition of true masters of the art that mold one piece at a time with their hands … Our mission is to show the consumer everyday objects in a different way from the one they are used to seeing them, freed from the constraints of the usual trends through the constant dialogue between art, aesthetics and functionality.”
The duo is usually inspired by day to day life, taking their personal memories as well as the architecture of Italy and transposing generalized design concepts into household pieces. For those looking to outfit their home, both designers say that these pieces help to “tell a story about [the] owner.”
“Each product has a unique and recognizable identity and is meant to embellish its new home and also bring value to its new owner. The goal is to give the consumer the chance to own a very unique piece that tells a story about him, what he likes and what are his dreams.”
There are several pieces in the collection, varying in look and purpose. The Fourmosa storage chest draws on the clean formal lines of classic Italian design from the 1950s, updated for the modern age.
The piece is in varnished oak, with masterfully carved sharp edges bringing a sense of continuity to the surface. Designed to fit together in infinite combinations, these pieces create a dynamic, personalized piece that can even be expanded over time.
The trapezoidal modules easily lend themselves to various free combinations, without the use of joints.
Photo by Matteo Imbriani.
1950s design also provided inspiration for Aracne, an unconventional coffee table with an unexpected eight-legged silhouette. Its round glass top seems to float atop the elegant zoomorphic structure, solid and airy at the same time.
Its eight wooden supports, with rounded edges that allow the top to nestle into place with a natural elegance, create an evocative visual rhythm, interacting with its surroundings by projecting delicate threads of shadow into the light.
Precise woodworking and organic design make Aracne an elegant presence full of personality.
Photo by Giacomo Maestri.
Candleholders, vases and a centerpiece are a tribute to the Italian art and architecture that inspires their form and character.
The Vestalia candleholder boasts the natural elegance of the most precious marbles, from Carrara White to Carnico Gray and Imperial Green.
A complex process of water-jet carving, entrusted to historic Venetian ateliers, brings out the stone’s edges and veining.
Their design, rich in tactile emotions and interactive possibilities, makes them objects of compelling sculptural presence.
Photo by Matteo Imbriani.
The arched ceramic vases Marcello, Massimo and Vittorio offer a subtle allusion to Italy’s Palladian villas and palaces and to the perspectives of Metaphysical art.
The detailing in precious 24k gold or platinum creates reflections of light and motion in perspective.
The pure white of the surface showcases the precious glaze finish and the imperceptible differences in intensity that come from handmade artistry.
Left photo: Marcello; Right photo: Massimo
Both photos by Giacomo Maestri.
The beauties of artisanal ceramic return in the Sophia table centerpiece, inspired by the great piazzas of the città d’arte, Italy’s “Cities of Art.”
A meticulous study in proportion, Sophia presents itself as a scale model of the arches and porticoes of Renaissance architecture.
The result is an abstract geometric form, rich in sensory character and vibrant with luminous details that enrich the pure white of the ceramic.
Photo by Matteo Imbriani.
Hanover’s Sconset Landing Continues to Experience High Demand with Phase I Sold Out, and Phase II Over 95 Percent Sold.
Sconset Landing, one of the South Shore’s most sought-after new residential communities, has launched pre-sales for Phase III of the 130-unit condominium and townhome development. With rapid sales momentum bringing Phase II to over 95 percent sold and Phase I completely sold, Nickerson Real Estate Partners, the exclusive sales team behind Sconset Landing led by Director of Sales Sharon Viens, has unveiled details for the development’s latest phase.
“The volume of sales at Sconset Landing over the last quarter is outstanding with 39 homes under contract. The South Shore has shown great enthusiasm, and the continued demand has allowed us to begin sales for Phase III,” said Viens.
Phase III at Sconset Landing, which includes 32 residences encompassing an outdoor pool, will feature a mix of townhomes and condominiums. All homes will feature private outdoor space overlooking the professionally landscaped property, along with extra storage.
Sconset Landing’s Phase III Townhomes will feature 2- and 3-bedroom homes with dens ranging in price from $599,900 to $639,900. Finishes will include oak hardwood flooring and oversized windows throughout, with available upgrades including custom millwork and backsplash. Kitchens will feature granite countertops and GE Energy Star® appliances. Select townhomes will include walkout basements.
“Phase III of Sconset Landing is unique in that it offers homes tucked away within a beautifully landscaped wooded area with direct access to an outdoor pool and sundeck, creating a tranquil living experience not typically available on the South Shore” — Viens.
Photo courtesy of Sconset Landing
Sconset Landing’s Phase III Flats will feature 1-bedroom homes with dens and 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom homes. Finishes will include oak hardwood flooring, granite countertops and stainless-steel GE Energy Star® appliances, with upgrades available. Each home will offer elevator access with select homes featuring underground parking. Phase III Flats range in price from $399,900 to $469,900.
Conveniently located off Route 53 in Hanover, Sconset Landing is nestled within a nearly 60-acre private wooded setting. Sconset Landing is a pet-friendly community with a maintenance-free lifestyle that meets the needs of all types of buyers. Offering a range of full-service amenities, Sconset Landing features “The Landing,” an award-winning clubhouse, equipped with a catering kitchen, entertainment room and planned fitness area. Residents also enjoy insider access to the neighborhood’s top businesses including Smileboston South Shore, Harmon Golf & Fitness and the Norwell Athletic Club.