291 articles by Christopher

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Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

The historically and culturally rich city Barcelona in Spain dates back to Roman times and holds many secrets, but even this one was new for me. Having lived here for quite a few years I thought I knew about most of the well known places from the past, but this lost underground shopping mall just appeared out of the depths one night. Knowing that Barcelona is somewhat like a Swiss-cheese when it comes to underground locations; from train stations, subway...

Apparently, there once were secret tunnels with direct access from underneath the Playboy Mansion in Hollywood to the basements of some of the crème de la crème actors of the 1970s and 1980s. Legendary “bad boy” Hollywood casanovas such as Jack Nicholson had his own direct access to Bunny haven. The tunnels were built around 1977, and as you can see in the diagrams, they were linked to several other nearby Hollywood properties, owned by some of Hollywood’s greatest. In...

To travel the skies today is as innate as sipping on a chai latte. Jetting across the world upon a chair suspended 30,000 feet above the ground, all while enjoying a dry Martini, has become the norm. Once reserved to describe the rich and famous, the words ‘jet set’ have entered our common jargon. However, air travel hasn’t always been painless and unstrained. Once upon a time, flights were rough and uncomfortable, and were largely favored by wealthy business men...

I have always felt that there is something cosy and homey about the color schemes of the 1970s. Dark and powerful earth colors dominated the design of the corporate, home and commercial western world. From shopping malls, to the basement den to the airport. So, follow us as we visit some airports of the period to experience what checking in was like in the 1970s. American author Tom Wolfe labeled the 1970s as “the Me Decade”. He based this on...

Huddle was a chain of coffee-shops and restaurants primarily located around California. Designed around the ever so popular and playful Googie-type theme that was found all over the state in the 1950s and 1960s. Bold and colorful lettering, shapes and swirls and patterns that was meant to be a reference to space-age living. But, what happened to them? Huddle was the brainchild of entrepreneur Paul Cummins, whose original ideas and vision spawned some of the most intriguing and enjoyable dining...

The Time & Life Building, located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, were designed by the Rockefeller family’s architects, Harrison & Abramowitz & Harris. The iconic building was completed in 1959, and actually serves as base of operations for fictional ad-agency Sterling Draper & Partners. Let’s explore further. It is evident by looking at these photos that the set designers of AMC’s Mad Men took cues and inspiration from the Time & Life building. Everything from the furniture, to the...

“Roll out the red carpet, spotlight on a dream, hip horary for Hollywood where stars are born to glitter and gleam.” Yes! Glitter, glam, rubbing shoulders with stars and and plethora of Champagne. Or so you’d think a film festival would be wouldn’t you? Well, this is not Los Angles, this is not London, this is not Cannes. Follow Ultra Swank as we head over to the Sitges Film Festival. The festival is held annually since 1967 in Sitges. A...

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