PaperCity Magazine

December 2015 - Houston

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DECEMBER | PAGE 8 | 2015 Equinox in River Oaks District opens Thursday, December 3, at 10 am. Houston's most fit and fabulous will be there, along with the rest of us who long to carve our bodies into shape, at the Texas flagship's new 33,000-square-foot digs. This is no run-of-the-mill gym. Bespoke personal training, cycling, group fitness, Pilates and state-of-the-art fitness equipment are standard, set among the stylish walnut, natural stone, smoked mirror and metallic surroundings. Equinox's yoga studio and full-service spa with deep-tissue and post-workout massages, a full range of facials and waxing set it apart from most fitness clubs, and Houston is the first location in the U.S. to experience the newly introduced barre program. The locker rooms are stocked with Kiehl's products, and fresh fare in the cafe includes salads and juices and other healthy bites. The Shop@Equinox carries workout and casual clothes from Stella McCartney, Splendid and Beyond Yoga (the River Oaks District location is the largest store in the country). Serious fitness enthusiasts will be stoked by the focused, hardcore programs offered here. But we also expect Equinox to become a hot hub for meeting and greeting among the many spacious, beautifully designed lounge areas overlooking River Oaks District's treed landscape. This location joins Equinox's worldwide lineup of 76 clubs along the East and West Coasts, Texas, London and Toronto. Equinox, 4444 Westheimer, 281.936.0963, Pre-sale rate through December 3: no initiation fee, $149 monthly for one year. After opening: $300 initiation fee, $154 monthly. Rebecca Sherman GYMS ARE NOT ALL EQUINOX T he newly opened Aria Stone Gallery is just what its name implies: a stylish gallery-like space with monumental slabs of some of the most exotic and thrilling stones available in the world. "There's a huge art community in Houston that can look at these stones and see their artistic value," says April Renee Graves, Aria's director of marketing and operations. The 10,000-square- foot showroom showcases marble, natural quartzite and exotic granite slabs the way a museum might display canvases by modern masters. The vertical displays lend ideas beyond standard countertops, kitchen backsplashes and bathrooms — interior designers are already placing them as large-scale artwork on walls in living areas and bedrooms. Blue and green marble is the hardest to keep in stock, Graves says, since they are prized for their intense colorations and rarity. They include marbles quarried from Brazil such as Lumen, a soft blue and canary yellow; green Verde Aurora with pockets of color; and emerald quartzite, which has a stippled quality. Textured stones with a brushed or honed finish are sought after, and Graves notes that "our granites don't look like what most people know as granite. They're gorgeous and look more like marble. And, we'll always carry polished white Calacatta, because that's a look that will never go away." Aria Stone is also pushing the envelope on technology, perfecting the exclusive production of thin, one-centimeter stone slabs for weight-sensitive projects such as private aircraft and floating countertops in minimalist kitchens and modern fireplace surrounds. Aria Stone Gallery, Decorative Center Houston, 5120 Woodway, Suite 1016, 713.614.3663, Rebecca Sherman STONE AGE The year was 1995. President Bill Clinton was ensconced in the White House, America Online brought us onto the World Wide Web, OJ Simpson was on trial, and at the movies we were Clueless. In Houston, budding restaurateur Benjy Levit garnered loads of buzz as he opened his restaurant Benjy's in Rice Village. This year, the beloved eatery celebrates 20 years in the competitive dining world — a longevity that has much to do with staying relevant and evolving along with the tastes of its clientele and the times. Benjy's was born a hip hangout for drinks, lunch, dinner and that famous brunch (so adored that it's now served seven days a week). It all began with a macrobiotic menu banishing butter and cream from its kitchen. Many evolutions later, both blacklisted ingredients are now embraced — after all, where would Benjy's famous Mom's Chocolate Cake be without them? — while the focus of the sophisticated American comfort food menu subtly shifts to seafood. Always sartorially on point, the dining room has undergone numerous facelifts over the last two decades as well. The latest, care of Aaron Rambo (who fashioned Levit's other concept, Local Foods), impresses with its bold malachite-patterned wallpaper. Help Benjy's celebrate its milestone anniversary December 1 through 15, when you can dine on oldies but goodies, circa 1995 (with their original menu prices). And don't be surprised if you find the waitstaff at either Benjy's location dressed '90s style (fanny pack and all), with a playlist of tunes from the era when it all started. Laurann Claridge HAPPY ANNIVERSARY All of Houston's hot spots, fun fashion finds and beautiful people are now in one place: your inbox. Go to the new to sign up for our weekly edit feed. YOU HAVE CHIC MAIL H ouston's new art district holds its first national- stage, headline-grabbing event Saturday and Sunday, December 19 and 20: Day For Night, a winter music and arts festival headed by Free Press Houston's Omar Afra and Manhattan's Work-Order. While Silver Street Studios is credited as the fest's home address, DFN will encompass six acres in and around the Washington Avenue Arts District, with outdoor installations and an indoor gallery. More than another mere music festival, DFN pairs large-font headliners with experiential and experimental visual artists. Saturday night, New Order will play its only 2015 U.S. date at Silver Street Studios — the group's first Houston show since 1989. Kendrick Lamar headlines Sunday to close the two-day fest. Other musical acts include Philip Glass Ensemble, Janelle Monáe, Flying Lotus, Nicolas Jaar and Holly Herndon. Visual and performance artists/practitioners of the avant-garde who employ light, projection, LED screens and sound include Casey Reas, Mark Eats, Alex Czetwertynski and Refik Anadol. Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards St.; single-day and weekend tickets $98 to $750; information Matthew Ramirez Refik Anadol's Infinity Room, 2015, recently on view at the Istanbul Biennial, to be staged during Day for Night New Order Nicolas Jaar Erica & Benjy Levit, New Year's Eve, 1995 FREE PRESSWINTER FEST Casey Reas' installation from "Linear Perspective," 2015, at Charlie James Gallery Slabs of exotic stone at Aria Stone Gallery B E L F I O R E | $ 2 , 8 0 0 , 0 0 0 M E M O R I A L | P R I C E U P O N R E Q U E S T Luxury PROPERTIES. Utmo DISCRETION. M E C O M P R O P E R T I E S . C O M | 7 13 . 5 5 8 . 3 3 18

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