What makes something cool? That quintessential factor is something the self-proclaimed Cool Hunter, Bill Tikos, has no doubt been asked to define countless times over his past decade spent scouring the globe for "it" design, architecture and art.
"It's one of those things where cool is subjective, like music...what I think is interesting and innovative someone else might not. For me [recognising what's cool] is always 100% instinctive immediately. When you ask a five year old, they know instinctively straight away if something's cool enough."
Going with his gut has earned this Australian-based hunter millions of readers and slavish followers from as far flung places as Kazakhstan. Collectively, we might not know what cool is exactly, but we know it when we see it. And now, we know where to find it. The latest real life The Cool Hunter store has opened up—temporarily—next door to the very cool Cullen hotel in Prahran.
The space was intended to be a gallery but Bill prefers to do things differently, "I can't just have artwork in here and then have nothing else. I don't find art galleries that interesting. People come in and out and then they leave. I'd rather have a lot of things going on, things that I find that are interesting."
New pieces arrive daily. "It's stuff that I want," laughs Bill, " it has to be legitimate and quite authentic to me." Inside the store you'll discover treasures like crockery invented by dead kings, gilded crustaceans, local skincare label Hunter and a marble surfboard by Alexander Wang. There are plenty of desirable objects to provide you with a luxe fix, including fascinating, hyper-realistic illustrations by CJ Hendry, the first and, at this stage, only artist the Cool Hunter represents.
Just in case you've literally got money to burn, check out the $325 Tom Dixon candles (they do smell like excellence though). But don't be deterred if you only have a few pennies to splash during your lunchbreak. Mini IQ tests, cloud-like marshmallows and donuts and coffee chocolate blocks by L.A.'s Compartes sit at the other end of the spectrum.
Bill himself is currently lusting after the studded marble book ends in store as well as French photographer Mathieu Missiaen's transfixing metallic bubble prints. His most recent discovery to spark excitement at Cool Hunter HQ? "An artist that emailed me out of Ireland". Any further details are strictly under wraps for now. We can reveal however that The Cool Box, The Cool Hunter's version of a non-boring gourmet gift hamper, will be available exclusively at the store in time for the festive season.
Until then, the hunt for the new zeitgeist and what resonates personally with Bill continues. "I love sharing stuff that I find to a global audience, especially if it's a new artist, a new restaurant or hotel. I get emails 'oh my god, you've changed my life!' Particularly if it's a young artist drawing away and—bang—I've featured them and then—bang—they've blown up overnight."
The Cool Hunter Store is open now at 142 Commercial Road, Prahran, until December 31st.
Image credit: The Cool Hunter