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Freccia Rossa TrainA host of Italian politicians and businessmen became on Saturday the first passengers of the newly launched high-speed Milan-Bologna line dubbed Frecciarossa (red arrow). The inaugural crowd (which consisted, as would be expected, almost entirely of middle-aged men in suits) talked cheerfully to journalists and didn't even try to contain their excitement. "The country's longest subway line" was just one hyperbole coined during that amicable chatter.

One can easily understand the reasons for their enthusiasm. After 99 months of work and almost 7 billion euros of investments, the high-speed Milan-Bologna line is operational and they are probably going to be its most loyal customers. The new line promises to radically improve travel times between Italy's industrial centers..

Read the rest of: "Milan to Bologna in One Hour with High-Speed Train
University Village (IMPei & Associates)Any architecturally curious visitor to Downtown Manhattan would probably remember three buff-colored high-rise towers occupying the southern fringes of Central Greenwich Village, just above Houston Street. They are University Village (also known as Silver Towers) - a residential complex designed by James Ingo Freed (I.M.Pei & Associates) and owned by New York University. And they've just been landmarked, protecting them from future alterations or modifications...

Read the rest of: "I.M.Pei-Designed Apartment Buildings Landmarked
104: New Modern Art Center
Posted by Gromco in Paris + Places on 10/Nov/2008
104After more than two years of reconstruction, a former funeral parlor in the 19th arrondissement of Paris reopened in its new incarnation as the city's newest modern arts center christened "104" (Centquatre)...

Co-directed by Robert Cantarella and Frédéric Fisbach, the center, at 104 rue d'Aubervilliers was green-lighted by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë in 2005. More than two years and 100M euros later, Centquatre opened to the public in October.

Read the rest of: "104: New Modern Art Center
Mama Shelter RoomAffordable design and even 'affordable luxury' is not an oxymoron. Well, not exactly, anyway... In fact, it's a trend that's been sweeping the hotel industry in recent years. Using modern construction methods in combination with innovative cost-cutting techniques and choosing slightly off-prime locations, a handful of hoteliers have attempted to reshape the industry by providing low-cost designer hotel experience for the younger, tech-savvy crowd.

Mama Shelter is the latest example of the trend. (De)signed by Philippe Starck, this modern hotel on Rue Bagnolet in the 20th arrondissement of Paris opened just a couple of weeks ago....

Read the rest of: "Mama Shelter Hotel Aims for Affordable Design Experience
Marine Façade (Teaser)Although the construction of the new passenger port in St.Petersburg is far from finished (in fact, it won't be finished until at least 2011), the first cruise liner, the 292-meter long Costa Mediterranea, docked at a recently completed terminal on September 10th...

Read the rest of: "First Cruise Liner Docks in St.Petersburg's New Port
AVE TrainsStarting this week, RENFE, the Spanish railroad company, is increasing the frequency of its high-speed train service (AVE) between Barcelona and Madrid by one third. Instead of the previous 19-20 scheduled trains, there will be up to 26 daily departures in each direction. Two of the newly added trains will be direct, making no stops, the others - local, extending the existing Madrid - Zaragoza line service...

Read the rest of: "More AVE Trains Between Madrid and Barcelona
Hilton Garden Inn (Centre-ville)Construction crews are still crawling over the central tower of the new Hilton Garden Inn on Rue Sherbrooke, but the hotel is already open for business, as made evident not only by the banner that says as much, but also by a quasi-permanent line of cabs picking up departing guests...

Read the rest of: "New Hilton Garden Inn / Centre-ville
Athénée: GalerieBack in June, Parisian decorator Pascale Benhamou finished her project for Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris's 8th arrondissement. The lobby restaurant, La Galerie des Gobelins (named after Manufacture des Gobelins - a former factory, now a museum, which supplied furniture to French monarchs) got new carpet, furniture and redesigned lighting.

But actually, what caught our attention was not so much the decorative changes of the space as the restaurant's updated menu, which features desserts by world famous pastry chef Christophe Michalak, the winner of the 2005 "Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie"...

Read the rest of: "La Galerie des Gobelins: New Look, Cute Cakes
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