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twinpalms lifestyle trends


Illuminating Phuket’s Smartest Investments since 1998 Features

Hidden treasures Just one of the others

It goes with a wet suit as well as with a tuxedo Undercover A red-hot business testing location

All in the jeans The world’s first spaceline

Paving the road for an exciting future

Papillon Pollock and Krasner in the Hamptons The best things in life are free Sassy, sultry and smooth Unsurpassed resonance Evoking the emotions Anything is possible Classical Studies in Italy An innovative creative challenge for chefs Riding the wave of success in Asia Felix Bergmeister goes around the world

Published and designed by Asia Design Consultants Ltd. for Twinpalms Phuket. For advertising email: kirjon@gmail.com Copyright © 2008 by Asia Design Consultants Ltd., Lucire – Jack Yan & Assoc. and other contributors. asia design consultants

All rights reserved. All other trade marks are the property of their respective owners. Printed in Thailand.

A U D I O V I S U A L C R E AT I O N S Watch our video online

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Recent works include: Ayara . Baan Thai Cherng Lay . Baan Thai Surin Hill . Baan Yamu . Cape Sol Cape Yamu . Jomchang . Malaiwana . Naissance . Phuket Fantasea . Plantation . Sai Taan . Samsara Sava Natai . Surin Heights . The Residence . Villas Overlooking Layan and many Private Residences

Electrical Engineering . Lighting Design . Structured Wiring . Home Automation . Lighting Control . Audio Visual

Embark on a discovery at Twinpalms Phuket While some actresses merely play “the girl next door”, Elizabeth Mitchell bends the term every which way to make it her own. The revolutionary launch of a luxury watch in a steel case 32 years ago. The history of lingerie, and its link to recent human history. With 41 million users and an expanding demand, this is the ‘cool spot’ for coders – It is the ‘IT’ company of 2007. The history of denim jeans in the context of popular culture. Virgin Galactic gives you the groundbreaking opportunity to become one of the first ever nonprofessional astronauts. The most successful Formula One designer of the last decade Rory Byrne talks about the new regulations for 2009. Couture at its best by Richard Machato. Forging distinctive vision by exposure to the elements. Seth Godin shows how anyone can champion new ideas. A simmering turbulence that can only be calmed through the creative process of making music. For over 30 years The Sleishman Drum Company has been producing unique, high quality drums. The creative passions of Cirque du Soleil. Untapped capabilities of human consciousness. Samples of Italian hospitality in three cities, and three properties that capture their characters. Would anyone care for some snail’s egg caviar? Beneteau is taking the region by storm as demand for their sail and motor models takes off. Ultra-triathlon champion on a ‘Long Way Round’ odyssey.

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Story and Photography Miguel Kirjon

inhouse

inhouse

Hidden treasures Embark on a discovery at Twinpalms Phuket

Penfolds Grange

Moët & Chandon

Penfolds Grange is an Australian wine, made predominantly from the Shiraz grape and usually a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Moët & Chandon is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of champagne and one of the best known champagne houses in the world. The house owns over 1,500 acres (6 km²) of vineyards and annually produces over 2,000,000 cases of champagne. In 1962 it became the first champagne house to be listed on the French stockmarket.

The first vintage of Penfolds Grange was made on an experimental basis in 1951 by winemaker Max Schubert. Penfolds Grange was styled as a powerful still wine in an age when fortified wines were in fashion. The great 1955 vintage was submitted to competitions beginning in 1962 and over the years has won more than 50 gold medals. The vintage of 1971 won first prize in Shiraz at the Wine Olympics in Paris. The 1990 vintage was named ‘Red Wine of the Year’ by the Wine Spectator magazine in 1995, which later rated the 1998 vintage 99 points out of a possible 100. Unlike most expensive cult wines from the Old World, which are from single vineyards or even small plots (called blocks) within vineyards, Grange is made from grapes harvested over a wide area. This means that the precise composition of the wine will change from year to year and it is the branding and expertise of the winemaking which purchasers value, rather than the qualities of the specific places where the grapes are grown or the particular vines. The quantity of Penfolds Grange produced varies considerably from year to year and is a carefully guarded secret. Despite the vagaries of grape sourcing and vintage variation due to growing conditions, some believe that there is a consistent and recognisable “Penfolds Grange” style.



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The company dates to 1743 when Claude Moët began shipping wines from the Champagne region of France to Paris. The reign of Louis XV coincided with an increased demand for sparkling wine. Moët expanded rapidly and by the end of the eighteenth century was exporting the drink all over Europe and to the United States. Claude’s grandson Jean-Rémy Moët took the house to international prominence catering to such elite clientele as Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte. Chandon was added to the company name when Jean-Rémy Moët turned over half the company to his son-in-law PierreGabriel Chandon de Briailles in 1832, and half to his son Victor Moët. Following the introduction of the concept of a vintage champagne in 1840, Moët marketed its first vintage in 1842. Their best-selling brand, Brut Imperial was introduced in the 1860s. Their best known label, Dom Perignon, is named for the Benedictine monk remembered in legend as the “Father of Champagne”. Moët & Chandon merged with Hennessy Cognac in 1971 and with Louis Vuitton in 1987 to become LVMH (Louis-Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy), the largest luxury group in the world. Moët & Chandon holds a Royal Warrant as supplier of champagne to Queen Elizabeth II.

Petrossian Caviar

Cohiba Siglo VI

It was in the 1920’s that two Armenian brothers – Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian – first introduced Paris to the magic of caviar and, in doing so, founded the company that today is the premier buyer and importer of Russian caviar worldwide.

Cohíba is a brand for two kinds of premium cigar, one produced in Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban stateowned tobacco company, and the other produced in the Dominican Republic for General Cigar. The name cohíba derives from the Taino word for “tobacco”. The Cuban brand is filled with top-quality tobacco which, uniquely to Cohiba, has undergone an extra fermentation process; it is a type as well as a brand.

Petrossian Tsar Imperial is the title of preeminence they bestow on only those Petrossian caviar, be they their prized Beluga, their incomparable Ossetra or their exquisite Sevruga, that reveal an unmistakable superiority in every essential of taste, texture, color and size. Born on the Iranian side of the Caspian Sea and raised on the Russian side, the two Petrossian brothers emigrated to France to continue their studies of medicine and law which had been interrupted by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. During the “années folles”, known as the “Roaring 20s” in the United States, Paris welcomed exiled Russian princes, intellectuals and aristocrats with open arms, and Parisians quickly embraced all things Russian, especially the arts, ballet, the choreography of Diaghilev, and the music of Igor Stravinsky. Nonetheless, there was one thing missing from the Russian expatriates’ lives: caviar. The French had yet to be introduced to this rare delicacy, a situation that the Petrossian brothers immediately set out to remedy. Their first attempts to create an awareness of caviar in Paris were assisted by Cesár Ritz, the great impresario of the European hotel trade. His initial reluctance to offer caviar in his prestigious establishment at the Place Vendôme was quickly overcome as caviar caught on and assumed its own very special niche in the world of gastronomy.

Cohíba was originally a private brand supplied exclusively to Fidel Castro and high level Cuban government and communist party officials. Often given as diplomatic gifts, the Cohíba brand gradually developed a “cult” status. It was released commercially for sale to the public in 1982. Cuban Cohíbas are known to use some of the finest cigar tobacco available in Cuba. The tobacco for Cohíba is selected from the finest Vegas Finas de Primera (first-class tobacco fields) in the San Luis and San Juan y Martinez zones of the Vuelta Abajo region of Pinar del Río Province. The tobacco used to fill the cigars is unique among Cuban marques because it undergoes a third fermentation process in barrels, which is reputed to give it a smoother flavor than other cigars. The flavour of these cigars tends towards medium to full-bodied. Originally all Cohíbas were made at the El Laguito factory, a converted mansion located on the outskirts of Havana. Later, production of some Cohiba vitolas was expanded to other factories. In 1992 Habanos SA launched the first sizes in what it calls the Línea 1492, commemorating Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the Americas, with each size named for a century since Columbus’ discovery. The initial launch included the Siglo I, Siglo II, Siglo III, Siglo IV, and Siglo V, with a Siglo VI added in 2002.

For more than eighty years, the Petrossian family has continued to develop this market, maintaining a rare and privileged relationship with the Russian fisheries. Even today, the family personally choose, on site, the very best of the fresh, high quality caviar produced in Russia during each catch.

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inhouse

Nespresso

Plumeria

Molton Brown

Lemongrass House

Nespresso at Twinpalms Residences offers you a unique selection of 4 coffee Grands Crus with a richness, subtlety of aromas and smoothness of crema to delight even the most discerning palate.

Plumeria (common name: Frangipani) is a small genus of 7-8 species native to tropical and subtropical Americas. The genus consists of mainly deciduous shrubs and trees. Plumeria has spread to all tropical areas of the world, especially Hawaii, where it grows so abundantly that many people think that it is indigenous there.

The year was 1973. Molton Brown opened at 58 South Molton Street in London’s Mayfair as a hair salon. The salon’s name paid homage to the location and the company set out to be unique from the start. This was a London very much in love with synthetics. But here came Molton Brown: soft, individual and Natural with a capital N. Out went hairdryers and tonging, in came finger drying. Identikit styles from TV or magazines were out, and Molton Brown brought in haircuts designed to flatter the client’s individuality.

Founded in 1996 by Bobby & Palita Duchowny the Lemongrass House is a pioneer manufacturer and supplier of aromatherapy products to major hotel spas in Thailand and around the world. For several years Bobby and Palita spent their summers in remote farm areas around the world, completely immersed in the universe of plants, harvesting Rosemary, Lemongrass, Orange Blossoms, and Thyme. They collected herbs and distilled their precious oils, gathering invaluable knowledge over the years, gaining first-hand experience of essential oils and plants, learning aromatherapy from the practitioners in the fields and from the herbs themselves.

Nespresso coffee varieties have incomparable flavour, since each Grand Cru coffee is cultivated and harvested according to traditional methods. Once roasted and ground, the coffee is packed immediately into a hermetically sealed capsule, which guarantees the freshness of the ground coffee and preservation of the aromas for several months. Each capsule contains just the right amount of coffee needed to prepare a perfect espresso, offering you always a unique tasting moment. Nespresso developed a coffee extraction system specifically adapted to the capsule that masters all of parameters essential to the preparation of a perfect espresso. Conceived in participation with prestigious machine partners, Nespresso machines are based on the latest technological advances. With their unique design, they always offer the same ease of use for unrivalled convenience. The strength of an espresso does not depend on the percentage of caffeine, but on the degree of roasting, body and bitterness. To preserve all the aromas of the decaffeinated coffee, Nespresso uses an entirely natural process which simply consists of washing the green beans in water.

Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, and simply dupe their pollinators. The moths inadvertently pollinate them by transferring pollen from flower to flower in their fruitless search for nectar. Plumeria species are easily propagated by taking a cutting of leafless stem tips in spring and allowing them to dry at the base before inserting them into soil. They are also propagated via tissue culture both from cuttings of freshly elongated stems and via aseptically germinated seed. The genus, originally spelled Plumiera, is named in honor of the seventeenth-century French botanist Charles Plumier, who traveled to the New World documenting many plant and animal species. The common name “Frangipani” comes from an Italian noble family, a sixteenth-century marquess of which invented a plumeria-scented perfume. In Mexico, the Nahuatl (Aztec language) name for this plant is “cacalloxochitl” which means “crow flower.” It was used for many medicinal purposes such as salves and ointments.

The salon became a hit and it didn’t stop at that. The first retail products were hand-mixed upstairs from nettles and camomile; Dale Daxon Bowers joined the team in 1978 fresh from Mary Quant cosmetics, and set to work in a makeshift lab in the kitchen above Browns boutique. Dale’s passion, creativity and belief that nature would be the focus for her new inventions, was the source of a whole new range. She was a perfectionist and she wanted to follow her own path.

Their formulas are based on a deeply rooted environmental commitment. All the ingredients are fresh and derived from safe, renewable resources. They contain no animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals. Simple but attractive packaging made from recycled or recyclable materials is used.

By the 1980s the salon had evolved into the Molton Brown emporium where Dale’s plant-based make-up, hair, body, skin and grooming products were sold to those in the know. This was just the beginning and from here they were approached to supply top-end stores, airlines and hotels in cities around the world.

Bobby & Palita believe that the secret of their success lies in the quality and concentration of essential oils, specialized hand blending and the unique aromatic effects of each product. The Lemongrass House product line has been known over the years for integrity, creativity and quality.

Two decades later and Dale is still at the heart of the company – having expanded out of her makeshift lab – and she runs a more glamorous set-up in Hertfordshire, just outside London. Today the scale is bigger, but the same passion still flows through the veins of the company and inspires everything they do.

The Duchowny couple are continually developing specialized farm fresh aromatherapy/spa treatments and products at a professional and therapeutic standard.

They are now common naturalised plants in southern and southeastern Asia, and in local folk beliefs provide shelter to ghosts and demons. The scent of the Plumeria has been associated with a vampire in Malay folklore, the pontianak. They are associated with temples in both Hindu and Buddhist cultures, though Hindus do not use the flowers in their temple offerings.



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inhouse

© Pevonia

© Artemide

inhouse

Pevonia

Artemide

Kenkoon

Yothaka

Launched in 1991, Pevonia Botanica spa face and body continues to uphold its commitment to deliver outstanding results to every skin type via holistic product formulations administered at the healing hands of skilled, highly trained, professional skincare specialists worldwide.

Artemide is a design-oriented Italian manufacturer founded by Ernesto Gismondi and Sergio Mazza in 1958. Based in Pregnana Milanese, a suburb of Milan, the company specialises in the manufacture of lighting designed by famous international designers and architects.

Kenkoon is a world leader in outdoor furniture manufacturing. Every piece is designed and manufactured in house to ensure top quality is handed to their customers.

Established in 1989, Yothaka pioneered the use of water hyacinth in the Thailand furniture manufacturing industry, and has produced a wide range of designer furnishings catered to the middle-upper class lifestyle.

Pevonia strongly believes lasting true beauty begins at the hands of the professional skincare specialist. Pevonia further believes in extending the spa experience for prolonged skin health and radiance by incorporating effective home care recommendations within the daily routine.

The company is probably still best known for the Tizio desk lamp designed by Richard Sapper in 1972 and the Tolomeo desk lamp, designed by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina in 1986, both of which have become icons of Italian modern design

Over 10 years, Kenkoon Co., Ltd. has received warm welcome and trust from many clients, domestically and globally. Unique products by Kenkoon have attracted many high-profile brands from USA, UK, Italy, Australia, Japan etc. to be part of their special collections. With timeless look and durability, Kenkoon’s furniture has been honorably trusted to be part of many projects such as world class hotels, resorts and spas. One simple touch, make you feel the difference.

Besides its extensive range of fine, hand-crafted water hyacinth furniture, the 182-staff company also creates hand-made home accessories such as straw boxes, basketry, stationery, photo frames, etc.

The world vision for proper skincare has positioned Pevonia as a global spa leader. Furthermore, Pevonia is acclaimed as a results-driven product and treatment line, proven to deliver a phenomenal in-spa and spaat-home experience. Pevonia prides itself in providing maximum holistic wellness, skin radiance and therapeutic relaxation.

Other Designers who have collaborated with the company include Mario Botta, Sir Norman Foster, Michele De Lucchi, Richard Sapper, Ettore Sottsass, Enzo Mari, Neil Poulton and Karim Rachid. The company has won numerous accolades, including the Compasso d’Oro award for lifetime achievement in 1995 and the European Design Prize in 1997. In 2006 Artemide won two Best of The Best Red dot design awards for lamps designed by designer Neil Poulton and by architects Herzog & de Meuron. Artemide lamps are included in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Musée des Artes Décoratifs de Montreal, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome.

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Kenkoon’s designer, Mr. Metchanun Suensilpong earned his education from MJM Art School in Paris, France with Interior-Architecture Design degree in 1995 and continuously began his career as an interior-designer for home residences, vocational houses as well as business offices for Thai and foreign clients. During 1995-1998, he has observed and collected the clients’ preferences and tastes toward their residences decoration who come from various cultural backgrounds, which later became a basis of his elegant furniture design.

Yothaka distinguishes itself through its creativity and dynamism, regularly restructuring its collections and constantly designing new models every year, Today, Yothaka offers a large collection of in-house design furniture and accessories, providing lifestyle concepts with unique Asian characteristics mixed with modern design concepts, and created with the most eco-friendly materials.

The idea of combining natural and synthetic materials influenced by Asian and temporary European architectures inspired Metchanun to design “Beo Collection” in 2001 which became famous in many European countries and Australia.

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Story Elyse Glickman Photography Andrew Matusik Styling Kevin Watroba/Exclusive Artists

people

Appearance Courtesy Craig Schneider/Pinnacle Public Relations

Just one of the others While some actresses merely play “the girl next door”, Elizabeth Mitchell bends the term every which way to make it her own

“It is nice to be surrounded by people going about their daily business and nobody’s trying to hand you a card or a script”

“I really enjoy the experience of witnessing a character undergo a major transition and transformation” – Elizabeth Mitchell

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Floral beaded dress by Jenny Packham (US$2,200); Chryso Beryl ring by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles (US$23,280); 18 ct gold St Lucia bracelet with diamonds by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles (US$43,200). Shoes by Charles David, www.charlesdavid.com 12

Tall, blonde, beautiful, born in Los Angeles and raised in Dallas. In short, Elizabeth Mitchell aptly fits the traditional description of the all-American girl. However, if she based her career and identity on that alone, she would be selling herself short. Instead, Mitchell picks her roles and projects carefully, taking risks that no doubt challenge this ideal. Today, she’s best known as Juliet, one of the intimidating and mysterious “Others” on the worldwide cult hit Lost. A decade ago, she unwittingly bewitched a passionate Angelina Jolie and then had to confront her own sexuality in the award-winning cable television film Gia. In between, she’s wowed the Brits as Ioan Gruffudd’s love interest on BBC’s Man and Boy, time-travelled with Dennis Quaid in Frequency, co-starred with Rénée Zellweger in Neil La Bute’s edgy comedy Nurse Betty and took a lap on man channel ESPN opposite Barry Pepper in The Dale Earnhardt Story. But let’s just say she’s found herself, or, at least, a compelling side of herself, in Lost. ‘My favourite role to date is Juliet,’ Mitchell muses. ‘Every day and with every script, I feel a certain sense of gratitude that I have a great character and story to work. What I love most [about the show] is the writing and the people. Beyond that, it is wonderful to be excited about going to work every day, and having a very compelling and meaty story. Also, the writers have kept things very consistent in terms of the overall quality of the show and the character I play on the show. Each scene and each twist in the story really surprises me and keeps me on my toes and my skills sharp as an actress.’ Perhaps its those ever-sharp acting chops that helped her build an impressive résumé that has kept her busy and helped rack up the frequent flier miles, as Lost is shot primarily in Hawai’i. And although she was born in Los Angeles and emerged as a successful working actress, she is reassuringly un-Hollywood in terms of her mindset and approach to her career. She became an actress the old-fashioned way—earning it through education at a performing arts high school, earning a BFA at university, and honing her craft at the regional but very well respected Dallas Theater Company and through such productions as As You Like It, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Chicago. Today, by choice, she calls Washington state home, as she loves the fact that the only agenda her neighbours know about are being good neighbours.

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‘It’s nice to not have to get into that whole Hollywood lifestyle where everybody you meet is in the business all the time,’ ponders Mitchell, who was in Los Angeles – on business, naturally, during a break from the Lost set. ‘I prefer being around real people, so it is nice to be surrounded by people going about their daily business and nobody’s trying to hand you a card or a script. Like the best crews I have worked with, everybody around me is happy to be where they are, comfortable in their own skin and enjoying the life they have chosen for themselves.’ While Mitchell has always enjoyed a very consistent career, it was the ground-breaking, controversial and Golden Globe-winning telefilm Gia that put Elizabeth Mitchell into the spotlight. Although star Angelina Jolie used the cautionary role of Gia Carangi (fallen supermodel and one of the first famous American women to die of Aids as a result of persistent drug abuse) to prove that her entrée into acting was not a fluke, Mitchell also garnered kudos for playing Linda, the perfect foil and counterpart to the volatile model. While it opened doors for other roles, Mitchell sees the break as going deeper than winning more auditions. ‘With Gia, the breakthrough for me involved a lot of things—the complexity of the Linda character, playing off Angelina’s interpretation of Gia, Michael Christopher directing—that made it a wonderful, powerful experience for me,’ Mitchell recalls. ‘I was intrigued about Linda herself being a woman in transition. Here is a woman who thinks she has her life and career figured out, and then comes along somebody like Gia who pushes that out of the window. As a viewer and an actress in general, I really enjoy the experience of witnessing a character undergo a major transition and transformation. Furthermore, for a while, Linda is a source of love and strength for Gia, who needed that kind of grounding. Angelina (meanwhile) was intense and engaging, and it was very fulfilling to play off of that.’ Gia is also noteworthy for a rare and strong supporting performance from Hollywood diva Faye Dunaway. Although Mitchell only worked with Dunaway on one day of the shoot (a key transition montage set on an airplane intended to depict the high-flying, fast track and ungrounded nature of Gia’s life at that time), being around the veteran actress and seeing her play off Jolie and director Christopher had a profound impact. ‘There is a certain amount of trust that all of them had with each other and with their work,’ she says. ‘I had twinpalms

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“I loved the experience of working in London, being on an intelligent show and then going for a pint at a pub after the shoot”

“A good, meaty role is worth going after” – Elizabeth Mitchell

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Zambesi Bellini dress in Old Gold Lace (US$469), Zambesi Bellini dress in Pearl Silk (US$359), both available at Zambesi retailers and in the US from www.elizabethcharles.com; Zambesi dresses supplied for this shoot courtesy of Elizabeth Charles, 639½ Hudson Street, New York, 1 212 243-3201; Jewellery: 25inch peridot necklace in 18 ct gold by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles (US$13,440); yellow gold bar bracelet by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles (US$10,320); 18 ct gold heart earrings with green tourmaline by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles (US$12,156); Shoes by Christian Louboutin 16

to trust them in terms of how they did their work and approached their roles in this film, and that was really nice. It opened things up for me to really delve into the Linda character and my experience with the film’s story in ways I hadn’t done before on other projects. Other than some of my stage roles where I had some meaty characters, to date, that was the first role that really enabled me to work in such a deep thoughtful way.’ On the big screen, the major studio release Frequency brought her even greater visibility, especially in the presence of strong performances from Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel and André Braugher. While the time-travel drama won over critics and audiences, Mitchell found that her work in touching family scenes also added depth to the experience. She was also heavily influenced by Braugher’s attitude and professionalism. ‘I love all of that stuff (time travel, the notion of changing one’s destiny) a lot, and beyond that I had a life-long crush on Dennis Quaid,’ she admits. ‘However, working with André was a revelation to me. He had a very special, professional way he approached his work, and how he specifically brought his character in Frequency to life. There’s no drama about him except in what comes out in his character, and I like that. Besides being an incredible actor, he is also a really nice person and really brought a lot to his role in the film. Additionally, I liked the fact that my character was a bit of sanity in a world gone crazy, beyond being just a loving mother and wife. She was also smart on top of things.’ Mitchell also notes that although her part was small, she genuinely enjoyed working on Nurse Betty. ‘I played this soap-opera actress portraying a nurse,’ she says. ‘Neil (La Bute), the crew and the actors were laughing so hard throughout the entire shoot. It was one of those experiences, where although the film was a dark and edgy comedy, the work environment was loving and supportive. I haven’t had an experience like that in comedy since then, but I certainly hope to in the future.’ Her journey as an actress also brought her to London and the BBC, where she had the rare opportunity to play an American on a well received romantic series, and have the critics embrace her as the warm, intelligent love interest for proper London businessman and father abruptly abandoned by his wife. That experience, however, taught her a great crew and skilled writers are key to the success of a show and its actors, no matter where the story takes place. ‘I loved the experience of working in London, being on an intelligent show and then going for a pint at a pub after the shoot. Ioan [Gruffudd] was absolutely gorgeous in the lead, as well as stunning as an actor,’ she says, taking on the real flavour of that setting. ‘The crew, meanwhile, had a great attitude and spirit that reminds twinpalms

me a lot of the Lost crew and what they put into their work. They had a wonderful enthusiasm and channelled it into their work. Working with the BBC was also great, as the production of each episode was like working on an independent film with the fast and furious pace and compelling stories. However, beyond that, there is not a huge amount of difference between working on that show and some of the better shows on American television. No matter where you go (to work), what makes a production satisfying and memorable is good writing and a good crew that puts everything into it and really, really happy to be doing what they are doing.’ While Hawai’i is worlds away from London, Mitchell notes that a good, meaty role is worth going after, even if you have to put effort into adjusting to a new living environment and fitting yourself into an existing show where writing can make or break the emergence of a new character. While bringing in new people is often a challenge to both the production and the audience – and often does not work in the long term – she feels fortunate that Juliet and her presence make total sense to the viewers as well as her co-stars and the very openminded people behind the scenes. ‘I was drawn into it at first because the producers said Juliet would be an interesting character, and different from other roles I had played prior to the show,’ she says. ‘After I went in to audition for the show and then landed the role, the real thrill was reading my sides [script pages] for the first time. What was nice about how I got into the show was that I had worked with many of the other actors and the producers trusted me in allowing me to use my own instincts to bring Juliet to life – the black, the white and all the shades of grey in between that define her. It so happened that what I was thinking [in terms of how Juliet would act or react to certain situations] was what the writers and producers were thinking too. It was an incredible fit.’ While Mitchell personally finds Hawai’i to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, especially as her husband and young son are enjoying the surroundings, she also notes that it is an amazing backdrop for the kind of intense acting work required for Lost. ‘The landscape has a volatile quality to it, and yet there are rainbows everywhere. That is really inspiring. My little boy also really loves it here, especially with discovering all the hidden little places not far from our home, and seeing the ocean and exotic spiders and insects. As a mother, it’s great to be there as he is finding all these wonderful hidden treasures and seeing how it perks his imagination. We’re fortunate that our house is not far from all these beautiful little beaches and other nice little spots.’ Since the family relocated to the island in August 2006, Mitchell has found many wonderful ways to make herself at home and do it in style. She says that she’s

Experience Phuket

at i t s b e s t

Phuket’s most Exciting and Stylish Contem-

spa & wellness center – 100% pure and natural

porary Resort – Brilliant modern tropical interiors

products – Cutting edge technology... just some

– Fabulous restaurants – Enormous swimming

of the reasons to stay at the privately owned,

pools – Lushly landscaped tropical water gardens

passionately run Twinpalms Phuket.

– Thoughtful unpretentious service – World class

www.twinpalms-phuket.com

Twinpalms Phuket Phuket’s Most Exciting & Stylish Contemporary Resort 106/46 Moo 3, Surin Beach Road, Cherng Talay, Phuket 83110, Thailand t +66 (0) 76 316500, f +66 (0) 76 316599 e book@twinpalms-phuket.com


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tC ity >> ke

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Twinpalm s Phuket

to Kamala >>

s ngras Lemo IN SUR 1min walk

h >>

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PTT Gasoline Station

Condé Nast Traveller

to beac

“If you know what you’re doing and open to learning, you will become more of the person you want to be” – Elizabeth Mitchell

She waits a beat, and before she heads off to her next line of Lost-related professional business in Los Angeles, she realizes that throughout her career, she’s been anything but lost. While she didn’t always know where she would be headed, she knew a focused work ethic and an open mind would keep her going in the right direction. ‘When I got into this, I really only thought I would be doing theatre,’ she recalls. ‘After 10 years of my working life in theatre, I did a bit of television and moved into film. Everything you do extends into everything else you do, and expands on what skill set you started out with. The journey I have taken has been a fantastic one, even surprising me as I had turned out performances I didn’t realize I was capable of. If you know what you’re doing and open to learning, you will become more of the person you want to be.’

Lem o CH ngras ERN s TAL G AY

Lost is a highly innovative, creative and original show

eaten some of the best Thai food of her entire life, and found the most incredible and affordable locally produced beauty products lining the shelves at the local pharmacies. While she does find herself going to Neiman-Marcus and Sephora at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu for mainland staples, she’s picked up some of her favourite fashion finds at the local chain Cinnamon Girl as well as some of the charming one-off stores that line local malls in the residential section of town. And then there’s the surprise indulgence one just cannot buy. In one instance, a crew member on the Lost set gallantly scaled a coconut tree so Mitchell could savour the experience of eating the insides of a young coconut fruit. In terms of acting and personal style, it should not be a surprise that Mitchell has looked up to Jessica Lang, Emma Thompson and Katharine Hepburn. ‘I like the fact that they play tall, confident women,’ she affirms. ‘It’s an inspiration as I am a tall woman myself, and like the fact that they aren’t portraying conventional characters. [In terms of fashion,] you can’t go wrong with their kind of style.’ Mitchell’s other fashion favourites include Dolce & Gabbana (‘I am curvy and they design for curvy women. Their cuts come in in the waist, go out in the hips in all the right places’), Giorgio Armani, and some of Ralph Lauren’s eveningwear pieces. ‘Some things are so beautifully tailored and lined that when you put them on you simply feel like a princess. On the casual side, I love finding great hand-embroidered tops and sweaters, especially as we’re in Washington state and hand-knits are obviously big up here – local funky clothing. Just put one of those hand-knit sweaters on with your favourite jeans and a little tank top and you’re good to go.’ Although television shows and feature films come and go, Elizabeth Mitchell has the wisdom to know that building a successful body of work can last forever if it is nurtured and cared for intelligently. Still, she is hardly one to take success for granted. While some rumours have swirled around about Lost’s appeal and future, she feels the rumour mill is far less important than focusing on the day-to-day challenges Juliet offers her. ‘I can only take a certain perspective on it, and that’s the fact that Lost is a highly innovative, creative and original show, even with whatever else the media is reporting,’ Mitchell points out. ‘I really enjoyed working on the past season, and I think every show goes through growth phases where some episodes may be stronger than others. While some viewers may prefer the show better the way it was (in the previous season), our producers and writers have made some choices that were necessary to move the story forward and more interesting. I do not take anything directed at this show personally as it is so far out of my hands, and my responsibility is to bring Juliet to life the best I can.

Best of Asia” Time Magazine Hot List 2007”

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Story Miguel Kirjon Photography Patek Philippe

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“It goes with a wet suit as well as with a tuxedo” The revolutionary launch of a luxury watch in a steel case 32 years ago When Patek Philippe launched the Nautilus 32 years ago, the unusual concept of the watch and its striking statement of casual elegance instantly developed a cult following. Geneva, Switzerland in 1976: a little revolution takes place, the launch of a luxury watch in a steel case. The world of horology was perplexed and skeptical because time still advanced at the comfortable pace of the 20th century: Luxury timepieces are made of gold – or better yet with precious-metal bracelets – and, sometimes taking things a step further, with diamond hour markers and diamond-set bezels.

The Nautilus broke all established rules with the design and construction of its distinctive case

At the same time, manufactures were competing against each other to develop thinner and thinner wristwatches. And suddenly, this oversized watch in stainless steel emerged; it was not only more expensive than many gold watches in those days, it also violated all conventions with its prominent size and extravagant shape. Most surprisingly, it was the respected and eminent Patek Philippe workshops that dared commit this foul in the luxury category. But as Patek Philippe’s president Philippe Stern admits today, this disregard of a taboo was a calculated move. An ongoing paradigm shift had been observed. Many wealthy individuals were very active, not only in their professional lives but in their leisure activities as well. They were at the helm of sailing yachts, raced down icy ski-runs, and went running in Central Park at dawn to stay in shape. This new generation loved challenges and pursued dynamic lifestyles. A precious, scratch-prone 1970s gold dress watch, with its delicate movement, did not suit their everyday lives. Such timepieces were de rigueur at elegant evening events but were not what busy managers and entrepreneurs wanted to wear at the office, on the tennis court, or during a weekend golf game.

Water-resistant to 120 meters, a sensation for a regular-production casual watch by 1976 standards

1976: One of the world’s most expensive watches is made of steel

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Patek Philippe anticipated this trend well in advance and responded to it in 1976 by launching the Nautilus – a totally new type of watch. While it was designed to appeal to a new customer segment, it was also intended to convince current Patek Philippe owners to complement their precious gold one with a ruggedly strong alternative in a steel case. Both objectives were attained by a wide margin and an advertising campaign helped convert the iconoclastic style of the Nautilus into a principle. “One of the world’s most expensive watches is made of steel,” proclaimed one ad which received extensive exposure. The headline “It goes with a wet suit as well as with a tuxedo” also attracted attention and drove the point home. twinpalms

Indeed, the Nautilus was provocative. Not only was a stainless steel watch being hailed as the embodiment of luxury, the Nautilus broke all established rules with the design and construction of its distinctive case. The shape of the bezel was intriguing: neither round nor rectangular, it was an octagon with gently rounded corners. And then the hinges to the left and right … some called them ears. Not to mention the size, which in 1976 far transcended what was considered contemporary and aesthetic: the Nautilus was 42 mm wide (including hinges) and 7.6 mm high. But a plan was behind all this and a functional rationale existed for each design feature. The case did not consist of a back, a caseband, and a bezel as is still common today. Instead, it was a monocoque – milled from a block of solid steel – with a single bore for the winding stem. The bezel with the crystal was firmly screwed to the case at four points. People who remember construction details of old cruise ships will notice the resemblance of the case to the classic porthole whose round window was also pressed to the frame with hinge and tension bolts. The result: the Nautilus was water-resistant to 120 meters, a sensation for a regular-production casual watch by 1976 standards. This gave owners the reassurance that the Nautilus would be a loyal companion even under the most arduous circumstances. The response to the Nautilus varied widely, ranging from “shocking” to “fantastic.” Thus, it was clear from the very beginning that the Nautilus was not a watch for everyone. It had its own following. And during the 1980s, this community of aficionados grew significantly. The size of the watch, initially criticized, turned into a unique selling proposition. The original 1976 Nautilus was affectionately nicknamed “Jumbo” and over the course of time, it appealed to more and more women. After production of the large Nautilus was discontinued in 1990, it remained Patek Philippe’s only casual watch for many years. The collection featured models in steel, steel/gold, and gold, and some were also crafted in platinum. But the Nautilus always retained its inimitable form with the lateral case extension ridges that were readily identifiable even from afar. In 1998, Patek Philippe again presented a Nautilus in the original format, this time endowed with a proprietary complication: the WZI winding zone indicator. 2005 saw the launch of the first Nautilus with three additions: a power-reserve indicator, a moon phase, and an analog date. The waiting lists kept by authorized Patek Philippe retailers grew and grew, twinpalms

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and after a while, the first Nautilus watches appeared in the catalogs of prestigious auction houses, sometimes fetching more than the cost of a new model. The enfant terrible had turned into a cult object and, once again, Patek Philippe demonstrated a deep commitment to tradition combined with a penchant for innovations in technology and design.

32 years is not a venerable age for a Patek Philippe collection. The Calatrava line, for example, is 70 years old, and the Golden Ellipse will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary. The year 2006 marked a new chapter in the history of the Nautilus. The entire collection was redesigned to commemorate its’ 30th anniversary, and for five of the six new models, the construction of the case was changed as well. These new Nautilus watches now have three-part cases, which do not compromise their legendary ruggedness. Advanced manufacturing processes and new material technologies have made it possible to design classic cases with backs, casebands and bezels that equal the original monocoque construction in robustness and water resistance. Also, the porthole mechanism used to seal the bezel as well as the characteristic lateral ridges remain unchanged. But the originally straight hinges are now gently rounded, formally reflecting the lateral curvature of the bezel. This detail enhances the elegance of the new Nautilus case.

Romancing Phuket

The design of the new medium-sized Nautilus has been similarly refined, but it preserves the classic two-part monocoque-and-bezel construction, paying tribute to the 1976 original. All watches of the new Nautilus collection have a sapphire-crystal caseback that reveals the Patek Philippe movement with the coveted Geneva Seal.

Exotic Island Weddings . Twilight Snorkeling Trips with Dinner . Romantic Honeymoon Day Trips

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Story Sylvia Giles

fashion

Undercover The history of lingerie, and its link to recent human history

There’s underwear, and there’s lingerie. Men are left only to ponder, ‘Boxers or briefs?’ while the female body is sculpted and adorned in a way of its own. A friend of mine differentiates her ‘practicals’, from her ‘number ones’, the far superior, frequently lacy variety of undergarment (of which she has numerous pairs.) What determines the female ideal is influenced by a number of elements, not to mention a different approach from men and women. A collective female cry can be heard on Friday or Saturday night from women the world over swearing they look hot only to be shot down by tactless boyfriends. This “ideal”, tucked away in our society’s subconscious, means that when we come to buy lingerie, we are considering factors that are decorative, utilitarian, political and social, all the time wanting something we like and still holding out to knock someone flat. As a result, lingerie can be used as a barometer to our ideas surrounding the female ideal, a snapshot in time of what it means to be a woman. It is then no surprise that as women’s roles have undergone revolution in the last century, so has our underwear drawer. A century ago, after hundreds of years of dominance, the corset was still the standard undergarment, casting a patriarchal shadow over women’s silhouettes. Culturally, it has become a symbol for ill health, male dominance, and the immobilization of women into pretty objects to be seen and not heard. In the early 1900s, the Edwardian era saw the corset reach such extremes so that it was being extended all the way down to the knee. However, it was to entirely disappear within one short decade, never to be seen again, as women shifted away from their traditional roles and their undergarments changed as a result. The catalyst for such a dramatic shift in undergarments can be traced firstly to the appearance of women in the workforce during World War I. This created a much more utilitarian approach to underwear, reflecting women’s increasingly active roles. Following the long and brutal war, 1920s Europe entered a new phase of frivolity. Women’s realization that they could play more active roles in society was combined with sexual revolution that continued to the evolution of underwear, warding away any possible return of the corset. It is at this point we see the first signs of modern lingerie. In an ironic prelude to the bra-burning sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s, the introduction of this iconic undergarment was hailed as a move towards women’s liberation, flattening the bust and endowing young women with a playful boyishness. 26

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However, this progress was unable to be sustained with the intervention of the Depression in the 1930s. Hard times foster conservatism, and so women in the 1930s returned to the curvy silhouette of eras past, with lingerie returning the emphasis to hips and bust. The ’40s once again forced a utilitarian approach to underwear as men, once again, went off to war, and women returned to the workforce. A woman’s choice of underwear was again determined by necessity, rather than the luxury of æsthetic. By the 1950s, a traumatized generation of men had seen two World Wars in less than 30 years. While their reaction to World War I may have been to celebrate with a decade-long party, the 1950s set out to create the illusion of sublime domesticity, the affirmation of family with a mother, father and children. It is no surprise that in this climate, once again our “ideal female” returns to a voluptuous form. At this stage, technology also impacts on the face of lingerie. Our grandmothers would have been thrilled with the invention of elastine, which easily transformed the female body without the use of materials such as bone wood and metal. It is arguable here that, without it, the corset could have very well resurfaced. However, despite the supremacy of domesticity, women were not to forget their independence gained from the war. Bra manufacturer Maidenform ran a series of ads for years with women realizing their dreams in their undergarments, for example: ‘I won the election in my Maidenform bra.’ Though the empowerment of women through lingerie had no immediate effect on the “housewife ideal” promoted by contemporaneous society, it was an undercurrent that swept into the youth movement of the ’60s. Nineteen sixty-one saw the introduction of the pill, the first reliable contraceptive available to women, forever equalizing the gender equation in sexual affairs. Parallels between these changes and the sexual revolution earlier in the 1920s can be drawn namely the reoccurrence of the androgynous silhouette and a sexually liberated youth movement. And perhaps it was the invention of the pill, heralded as the most socially significant advance of the century, which allowed the sexual revolution of the ’60s to flourish where that of the ’20s had floundered. In the 1970s, not all women burned their bra, and the mood of this was reflected in freer, more natural underwear. In the ’80s, when a woman’s right to be in the workplace was cemented, power suits created an illusion of masculinity in a world where women were now securing careers, twinpalms

Women shifted away from their traditional roles and their undergarments changed as a result

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not just employment. Interestingly, lingerie trends polarized from this, becoming increasingly girly and frilly, a reactionary statement to having to conform to a masculine ideal in order to achieve success. And away from the workplace, the trend was even more extreme. Who could forget Madonna’s ‘lingerie as outerwear’ æsthetic? Perhaps in light of the culture of excess the 1980s is renowned for, women’s newfound careers and the resulting disposable income played a part. Thus, it could be argued that the 1980s saw a portrayal of women’s idea of the feminine ideal, as opposed to what males might like to see. The ’80s trend of sculpting the body to within an inch of its life in order to achieve an idealized perfection was an indication of what was to come. Scientific progress allowed women to make choices about how we embellish their bodies, and plastic surgery offered us the ability to tamper with it from under the skin as well. Note the curious inclusion of erect nipples in shop mannequins recently: it’s interesting to wonder where it is has any relation to the current climate of hyper-sexual identity in our society, or whether we have reacted in sexual identity to the ability to achieve physical perfection. Underwear has indeed responded: the Wonderbra had actually been around for 30 years but when it was relaunched in 1994, it struggled to keep up with demand.

The Wonderbra had actually been around for 30 years but when it was relaunched in 1994, it struggled to keep up with demand

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Elle Macpherson Intimates Boudoir contour bra and suspenders u

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So after the pleasure of perusing through a century of lingerie and considering its role in portraying women’s sexuality, I couldn’t help but relate it back to my recent experience. As a male friend pointed out recently, with my first pay cheque after four years of student hardship, it was hardly sensible of me to go out and buy beautiful expensive designer lingerie before prioritizing such practical necessities as my groceries for that week, a diary for the coming year, and the need to replace my slowly dying cellphone. As it were, with no significant other in the picture, there was going to be no second party admiring this extravagance. It was pure self-indulgence. However, a month previous, I had accidentally found myself “dating” three men at once. At this point, I feel I have to point out that being in the dating category, none of them were seeing my delicates. But there is that subconscious, selfconscious packaging of oneself on first dates. With three men involved, it was exhausting. After this experience, the lingerie for me represented the reclaiming of my feminine identity for myself as opposed to packaged up for someone else. And perhaps keeping that identity close to my chest, so to speak. In this one scenario I had encountered all the elements that influence us as women when buying lingerie. How I see myself in relation to the female ideal, how men are to view me, all with a little regard to such practical matters and fit and practicality thrown in for good measure. twinpalms

Granted, women can often be guilty for attaching significance to all the wrong things. It was a lot of thought put into buying what is fundamentally some material, elastic, under wire and some (albeit divine) lace. But we are women, and we like these things. For men, take note, it is similar to good sound production values on your favourite films. You may not be aware this kind of maintenance is taking place in the background, but you will notice if it’s done badly. This season’s offerings follow outerwear’s fashion trends. With so much fear in the world, the response has been to head back along the continuum towards the more conservative. The colour palette is muted and traditional with pastels, in a dusty pink or mint green, with perhaps a chocolate brown as an accent. Detailing has been kept quiet, but exquisite. There has been a return to frilly knickers, and the G-string has returned to being subdued after an obnoxious outburst, out from under the waistbands of young women everywhere. When considering the cut of your lingerie, it is coming down to choosing the most flattering that will deliver on fit while being occasion appropriate. Choosing lingerie is a serious business and for those that might be a little intimidated by the choice, The Lingerie Handbook, by Rebecca Apsan will be your godsend. It is written with the greatest enthusiasm – she describes Gstrings as ‘artfully placed nothing’. Apsan has a solution for everything. Have you heard of Nippets? Nipple covers that protect your extremities from the elements in a sheer or tight fitting top. She leaves no stone unturned, from the adolescent female in her first training bra, to maternity underwear, from breasts that are either too small or too large to fit within most sizing systems to silhouette repressing elastomeric wear. For any top, dress, situation, problem, there is an answer here in this book. It is an “everything you ever wanted to know about lingerie but were too afraid to ask – couldn’t find a shop assistant – felt lost with the amount of choice” kind of a book. So the “panties’ pendulum” is clear, with its cyclical swing from conservatism to liberalization and back (and forth) again, with its resulting formation over our bodies. Lingerie is pertinent portrayal of not only fashion trends, but of elements of gender and the sociopolitical. Lingerie isn’t only an indicator of the perception of the female ideal, but actually maps for us how gender itself undergoes fluctuation, revision and sometimes even revolution.

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Story and Illustration Miguel Kirjon

A red-hot business testing location With 41 million users and an expanding demand, this is the ‘cool spot’ for coders – It is the ‘IT’ company of 2007 Zuckerberg famously turned down a $1 billion buyout offer from Yahoo in 2006

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that he isn’t really sure what it means, he is referring to a recently created application which enables Facebook users to toss sheep at each other. Users send the sheep to each other’s online profiles as a means of expression. Zuckerberg is amused at how popular the activity has proved to be, and it could potentially net more than a million dollars in advertising revenue in this year.

Facebook opened its software platform to applications from outside developers

Zuckerberg, a college dropout and self-confessed hacker who rejected a $1 billion takeover bid by Yahoo in 2006, launched Facebook only three years ago. Currently the company of the ‘tech’ world, Facebook quickly prompted a whole industry to mushroom around the site. As the user base expanded to 41 million, the race to make money from it became frantic. Facebook opened its software platform to applications from outside developers in the Spring of 2007, which preempted all notable Web 2.0 competition. Approximately 80,000 developers have added over 4,000 new applications, ranging from virtual bookshelves to sheep throwing since that time.

“For a long time, we resisted even forming a company” - Mark Zuckerberg

While venture funds have been put together to seek out interesting ideas relevant to Facebook, developer conferences have been sold out and almost twenty advertising networks have sprung up to enable developers to profit from their applications. Those ready to take advantage of the possibilities are reaping rewards – Nick O’Neill, aged twenty five, began the blog AllFacebook and then turned his talents towards consultancy. Now, his client portfolio includes some Fortune 100 companies and there is a tidal wave of interest. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the sheep-throwing phenomenon won’t earn money for Facebook. Neither will any of the potentially thousands of innovative new applications now running on the site. But Zuckerberg has no problem with this. He says that he’s content that it’s all good for the ecosystem, the product and the users. But, if Facebook is actually a business, how can it profit from the chance created by Zuckerberg? Another question is when will the cash flow commence? Speculation has begun regarding possible advertising models and next stage transformations of the business model. It is reported that Microsoft is interested in getting a 5% stake that could prompt Facebook to be valued at $10 billion. This is certainly a very large amount for a company that is expecting a revenue of $150 million 30

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this year. Interest in acquiring some of the company has been expressed by Google and venture funds, but comments are not forthcoming from these parties. Some light has been shed on the situation by a person close to Facebook, who admits that it’s important for Zuckerberg to set up the right financial match which will allow the company to expand so it can meet demand. The atmosphere is laid-back at Facebook’s main office in Palo Alto, where there lingers a start-up feeling. Rebellious murals adorn the walls and beanbag chairs provide resting places for employees engaged in twentyfour hour workathons. About three hundred people work at Facebook – staff has increased by 50% in a six-month period – and, although some disorganization prevails, there is an optimistic, youthful energy. Chief technology officer, Adam D’Angelo, aged 23, sees the people involved as being calculated risk takers. But he admits that that could change. Zuckerberg has signed a big advertising deal with Microsoft since declining the Yahoo offer. But, although the user base is rapidly increasing, Zuckerberg has yet to prove that his prediction of Facebook changing the world wasn’t just wishful thinking. He explains that he and his friends resisted forming a company for a long time while they were coding Facebook throughout the night in sublet apartments and he was driving around in a beatup automobile. Although he still resembles a programmer, Zuckerberg now radiates confident maturity. His expectations of success have been proved by Facebook’s growing popularity and reputation. The fastest-expanding demographic is aged over twenty five and sixty percent of those frequenting the site are not in college networks. Just two years ago, the site was personally coded by Zuckerberg and he was rushing to check overloaded servers. He is now unimpressed by rumours of IPO’s and parties waving blank cheques. Facebook is committed to providing for its users, with an all-important philosophy of remaining open and representing what is good and true. Their strategy is an amalgam of those of Microsoft and Google and Zuckerberg’s team are attempting to construct a sociallybased platform for communication that other functions can form layers on. Facebook is now treading the same slightly precarious path that Microsoft and Google once negotiated. Having been cautious to exploit the earning potential of the site, twinpalms

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Establishing a platform is not uncommon in tech businesses. However, D’Angelo admits that this was a risky move for Facebook. He says that there were many scalability problems previously and the engineering team can be pushed to the limit, meaning that the servers die and the service breaks down.

© Anders Frick

“It would be impossible for us to police every application” - Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg ensures that advertisements are minimal and outside developers place their applications on the site free of charge. As Facebook continues to become more successful, critics are now admitting that Zuckerberg’s strategy has been wise.

“We want a system where anyone can develop without having our permission” - Mark Zuckerberg

By opening its platform to outside content, Facebook had made it fast, effective, and cheap for Web entrepreneurs to get their ideas in front of the public

As high school students, Zuckerberg and his CTO, D’Angelo, created their first application. This was a plug-in for an MP3 player that noted the music you liked to listen to and automatically created a playlist according to your preferences. This product was given away on the Internet. When companies such as AOL and Microsoft approached the young men, they chose college instead of the money and jobs that were offered. Zuckerberg’s vision of Facebook reflects this experience. He remembers that he and D’Angelo had a lot of ideas of creating a developer’s environment that came from their social connections. Zuckerberg’s close friend D’Angelo was responsible for bringing about the transition of Facebook opening up to outside developers this year. It was important to Zuckerberg that there was a system in which anyone could develop without gaining permission first because there would be things that Facebook’s team could never come up with and having outside developers involved could only intensify the user’s experience. Facebook’s growth has been stimulated by the large amount of free software resulting from this practice. Having grown up on a small Connecticut farm, D’Angelo attended Caltech after high school. Zuckerberg visited D’Angelo in Palo Alto during the summer after his sophomore year at Harvard and ended up staying there. At the beginning of Facebook’s creation D’Angelo was heavily involved, but he then went away to complete his degree. Now he is back, leading the ‘platform team’.

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Copyright restrictions and user privacy can be trampled by ruthless developers. Non-technical employees were especially concerned by potential problem of melting servers and user revolts. As Dave Fetterman, who came from Microsoft at the start of 2006, remembers, there were many doubts voiced during that year. Seven members of the team, including Zuckerberg and D’Angelo, worked hard to alleviate legal, marketing, privacy and customer service fears. Outside developers were consulted to find out what they would like to happen in an open environment. Zuckerberg allows that it would be out of the question to check every application. When an employee makes a mistake, it can be rectified and if an employee does anything nasty, they can be told to leave the company. But with an outside developer, it’s a different ball game. D’Angelo’s team conducted an all-night coding session to reveal any loopholes just thirty days before the launch. Engineers were requested to imagine how an outside developer would think. Applications were doing ridiculous things like buzzing and blinking. There were irritating animations and these were all totally in contradiction to the minimalist Facebook image. Revised rules were swiftly brought in to combat the problems. The San Francisco Design Center was to be the venue for the launch of the site on May 24th, 2007. Zuckerberg reports that internal discussion was taking place concerning how an industry could be formed, but this was kept private. However, the launch was an extravagant event, taking place in a hall with a party atmosphere created by couches, the omnipresent beanbags and a DJ supplying music. Unfortunately, the discovery of last-minute bugs caused the party to be scaled back, but the full debugged code was released to the world within twenty four hours. A huge crowd of eight hundred developers greeted Zuckerberg when he made his forty-five minute presentation on the stage and he enjoyed this first successful public appearance. Zuckerberg was proud to announce to the audience that Facebook planned to open up the platforms of social networks and Dave Fetterman recalls that he felt like a rock star as he walked through the Design Centre. A speedy revolution took place. As Facebook opened its platform to outsiders, Web entrepreneurs found that presenting their ideas to the public became financially viable, fast and efficient. The Seattle-based music-

sharing social network, iLike, launched a Facebook application allowing people to list their favourite music on profile pages and it earns money by enabling music to be bought through iTunes, and tickets for concerts via Ticketmaster. By joining Facebook, iLike’s users grew from 3.5 million to 8.5 million in about two months. News Feed is the most important accelerant. This is a feature that shares information between friend networks and groups. An industry has formed – ‘News Feed optimization’, which is the science and art of composing an eye-catching News Feed announcement. Entrepreneur and blogger Dave McClure, who teaches the Stanford course says that News Feed has the same relevance to Facebook as AdWords and AdSense do to Google. The new VP of product marketing and operations, Chamath Palihapitiya, is responsible for ensuring that the power of News Feed and the rapidly growing user base will be financially profitable for Facebook. He joined the company a year ago with the primary challenge of exploiting the ‘social graph’; this being the thousands of threads that form users’ connections to others. He was also made responsible for creating Facebook’s targeted advertising programme. Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Canada, this former electrical engineer was in charge of AOL’s instant messaging group before joining the venture fund, Mayfield. Last winter, he made an appearance in an arthouse film, making suggestive comments about the ‘Old Boys’ club’ of Silicon Valley.

as level as it could be. Zuckerberg and his seven-man senior team make all vital decisions together and the team reports directly to him. The change has been described by van Natta, now VP of operations, as being totally efficient as it allows him to now concentrate on increasing revenue on an international scale.

The music-sharing social network iLike added 5 million users on Facebook in just 60 days

Zuckerberg can now turn his focus to motivating developers to produce more programmes for the platform, with financial incentives. Facebook announced the formation of FbFund, offering grants from $25,000 to $250,000 to developers with feasible plans to build business on the platform. Whereas he could now be wondering how to satisfy Wall Street expectations as a public company – his team is now possibly planning for an IPO – Zuckerberg is now enjoying applications such as Scrabulous, whereby users can play Scrabble with each other. This application was designed by two brothers from India and became extremely popular. Half a million users signing up during the initial ten weeks, including Zuckerberg. He is happy to report that Scrabulous was also the reason that his grandparents finally got onto Facebook and that they love playing with him.

Facebook offers grants of $25,000 to $250,000 to developers with promising plans to build a business on the platform

Palihapitiya makes a distinction between demand generation, the marketing messages that work on encouraging consumer to want a product, and demand fulfillment, the desire of the consumer to want a product immediately. He sees great potential for earning big money between the two. Pointing out that Facebook users are more engaged with each other, he adds that they are more likely to have interest in what their friends are doing. Focusing mostly on demand fulfillment, Google is a company worth $160 billion. Palihapitiya highlights the fact that for every dollar that is invested in fulfillment, hundreds are spent on generation, especially by bigger brands. When asked whether Facebook’s value could be as much as ten times that of Google, he smiles and agrees that this is possible. Praise for Facebook’s achievements has been mixed with criticism. For the dedicated workforce, the latter has not been easy to ignore. When Palihapitiya was on board, Zuckerberg dissolved the COO position held by Owen van Natta. Its functions were divided between the two men. This move was reported as a demotion for van Natta. The observation annoys Zuckerberg as he clarifies that it was simply designed to keep the organization twinpalms

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Story Sylvia Giles

All in the jeans The history of denim jeans in the context of popular culture

Popular culture has a lot to answer for. Of all the cultural carnage created for the sake of being popular with the masses, fashion could be considered the worst offender. Defined as the ‘culture of the people,’ it relies on mass communication, mass media, mass recognition but most importantly, mass acceptance of symbols and icons that are presented to us. It often involves the use of icons that become so everyday their original meanings are lost. While this certainly could be said of denim, the longevity of its popularity has meant it has transcended all fads and fashions, making it a fluid gauge of popular culture that has morphed and reinvented to suit the requirements of an erratic society. While everyone is all too familiar with the Levi Strauss story, the influence of pop culture over denim includes rock stars, artists, intellectuals and film stars, and began with the emergence of the USA as a superpower after World War II. This supremacy would slowly translate to dominance of popular culture across the globe. Denim was quintessentially American, typically branded and fundamentally mainstream. In its early history, denim embodied the wholesome all-American hero, the cowboy and the labourer. It was seen as having been bastardized by biker gangs around the 1940s, and it was the first sight of what would be a long-standing relationship between denim and the rebel. Denim companies had a token attempt to portray themselves as a socially responsible choice of apparel. In 1953, Lee ran its first advertisement to teenage youth that promoted denim as an appropriate choice for school, in response to the banning of denim in schools. But ultimately, denim was to cash in on a rebellious youth and an American cultural explosion. It wasn’t until Marlon Brando endorsed jeans with the kind of placement companies dream of in 1947. In A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway, and the resulting movie, jeans emerged into the realm of pop culture. James Dean, Paul Newman and Marilyn Monroe all reciprocated and jeans reached their cult status, with associations of stardom and celebrity. Pop icons were also used to export to other markets, such as ventures into France with Brigitte Bardot, and her Italian equivalent Gina Lollobrigida. It also became an icon of intellectuals, particularly in New York, as early as the 1940s. In 1949 Jackson Pollock was photographed for the cover of Life fittingly in paint splattered denim, and began something of a craze within the world of abstract expressions. The style 34

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was echoed by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Saul Bellow. Warhol, in particular, was fastidious about his jeans. He also went on to became the cover star for l’Uomo Vogue’s special denim issue in 1980. He once said, ‘I wish I could invent something like “blue jeans”. Something to be remembered for. Something mass.’ During the 1970s, western pop culture’s influence was being felt across the rest of the world. Within my parents’ library is a beautiful Russian book that my mother acquired while on a train travelling through Russia. The currency for this book was, in fact, her pair of Levi’s, spotted by a local passenger desperately wanting them for ‘his girlfriend’. The trade took place. She still treasures the book, and effortlessly bought a replacement pair on her arrival back in the UK. The reality is that in Russia in the 1970s, a pair of Levi’s could have reached a much higher price than a paperback. Jeans had become a symbol of western decadence because of the difficulty involved in getting a pair in non-western countries. But that the demand existed at all was an indication that the influence of western pop culture was now sweeping across the entire globe. Fashion took on a life of its own in the 1980s, and the creation of pop culture-turned-monster. The cult of the supermodel and celebrity reigned. In 1980, Calvin Klein used a 15-year-old Brooke Shields to communicate the sexuality of jeans. The use of the boldly stated line, ‘Between me and my Calvin’s there is absolutely nothing … if they could talk I would be ruined,’ was married with a provocative, leg-spread pose. The ad was pulled from many television stations. Klein’s rebuttal was left at a ‘Jeans are sex.’ He hardly needed to say more. Conservative Middle America could not tame the beast that had become pop culture, and Klein’s sales leapt to $180 million a year. Likewise, fashion houses such as Versace and Dior launched high-end denim wear lines, modelled only by supermodels in sexual, powerful poses. Music’s contribution to fashion is generally a treasured one. As a true voice of the street, it is unlike the devised marketing strategies in the name of consumerism. Music is also, in general, more politically charged than the impression left on pop culture by movie stars. Elvis, for example, refused to wear jeans on stage, after having been schooled by black musicians in Memphis, where denim rang of cotton fields and share cropping. In 1975, in a small bar in New York called CBGB, Television bassist Richard Hell graced the stage in a ripped T-shirt and jeans. It was observed by a very impressed Malcolm McLaren, who recreated the look twinpalms

Denim became also an icon of intellectuals

“I wish I could invent something like ‘blue jeans’” (Andy Warhol)

Denim was quintessentially American, typically branded and fundamentally mainstream

Communicating the sexuality of jeans

t A 2007 Levi’s image for its Super-Fit line, continuing the trend for “sexy” jeans 35


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with the recent tendency towards very blue denim with very little interference, anecdotal evidence filters through the web of fashion victims refusing to wash their jeans in an effort to keep them as authentic to the original denim as possible. But giving a voice to the public that sits on the same forum as fashion reviews from Paris, New York, London, suddenly equates the consumer with the label, giving a new voice and authority to fashion at the ground roots.

One fashion devotee that had buried his jeans in his back yard for an entire year

Music is more politically charged then the impression left by movie stars In true denim democracy, global influences are beginning to prevail

The 21st century would signify the emergence of subcultures and individualization

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James Dean, one actor well associated with popularizing jeans. 36

with the Sex Pistols, with the help of Vivienne Westwood. This was the beginning of the punk movement, which was to take on a life of its own. Denim sat alongside leather, vinyl and safety pins. While the untrained eye was to brand it an “uglification”, punk communicated a deep dissatisfaction of a generation that felt deeply let down by the world. The Ramones, also Television fans, created a variation of their own, teaming their jeans with black leather jackets and white T-shirts. Their manager, Danny Fields, was also a figure in the Andy Warhol Factory scene. He easily identified why their look resonated with youths: ‘It’s an easy enduring look and costume that any kid in the world can create. It’s the way you face the street.’ If the pop culture influences on denim history read like a Who’s Who of the 20th century, the 21st century would signify a break-down of the concept of “the mainstream”, and the emergence of subcultures and individualization. The internet is now the ruling authority on pop culture. Information is traded in an instant. It has reduced the cycles of fashion and fads, which now happen instantaneously and the globe. But by far the most interesting outcome has been the explosion of subcultures—a fragmentation of the mainstream. If you put denim distressing into Google you will find many a website and thread devoted to home ‘distresseurs’. The most interesting include one fashion devotee that had buried his jeans in his back yard for an entire year. After a wash they came up better than jeans one might find in the scientific laboratories of any well-known, excessively funded denim factory. Likewise, twinpalms

Furthermore, with globalization has come the realization we are all citizens of the world. While the dominance of the USA is still hard to refute, in true denim democracy, global influences are beginning to prevail. In 1999, Levi’s released a collaboration with Droog, a Dutch design collective that usually focuses on furniture and architectural elements. Another initiative took inspirations from the streets of Tokyo, with a jean named the ‘Carrot’ cut. The ‘Carrot’ sits comfortably within the context of Japanese street culture, but internationally was never released. Although it may indeed be a gesture from what is undoubtedly a highly commercial corporation, fashion is an industry reliant on the mood of the consumer. The majority of the reasons we buy clothing are superfluous to our needs. With the changes in pop culture being as they are, large companies have to do a far sight more listening, as opposed to dictating to the market. Then there is a backlash against the idea of pop culture itself. New Zealand label Stolen Girlfriends’ Club is part of the movement that raises a finger to the establishment. With the use of some clever satire, and cheeky slogans and oversized T-shirts as their weapon of choice, nothing is safe. Targets include Marc Jacobs, the Eiffel Tower and guitar picks. Even religious imagery has got a look in. They have gained momentum, and their denim, in particular, has come into its own this season. Their current collection, This is Not a Threat … Just a Warning, features jeans that perhaps could be better described as denim leggings. While other brands are moving away from the deconstruction that has dominated over the last few seasons, SGC features the perfect amount of ripped knee, reminiscent of Vivianne Westwood and the Ramones. They are part of the larger æsthetic movement that battles against the uniformity of fashion. Marc Moore is one-third of the design team behind the label, and believes ‘We are probably more focused on the æsthetic rather than function.’ This could be deducted by the pair of skinny PVC pants, which, unfortunately, fall out of the jurisdiction of this article. Hitting the nail on the head for a young audience that blows every dollar on crazy fashion affords this luxury. Their clothing speaks in identity, not branding. ‘We are not big fans of branding on the outside of jeans. We love understated details.’ Presumably not referring to the PVC pants; however, could it be that

in the swing in the other direction, we have found an appreciation of dress as objects that talk about us, rather than what label is hanging out from behind the pocket? Denim has typically been fuelled by branding. The significance of the label has been mistaken for, or seems to equate to, an identity in itself. The reactionary movement to this is what Melbourne denim collective Nobody is about. Sourcing denim from Japan and handcustomizing each pair in the laundry, individuality and anonymity are currency over status and notoriety. ‘We are just doing what we love, and not bullshitting about it, through advertising and constructed images. Because that is irrelevant.’ As each label finds its own niche and voice, Workshop, the matriarch of New Zealand denim, as always, delivers on silhouette. For this winter they are carrying a skinny leg through to a low slouch jean, and a high-waist flare for those who are game. They do rest firmly on the dark side of denim, bypassing any distressing or washes. It’s entirely consistent with everything happening overseas, but, as a result, have a limited choice in colour. Lee is also producing very blue denim, with its new campaign, ‘Clean’. It sums it up as keeping it simple, steering right away from the kind of distressing and washes that have dominated over the last few seasons. Levi’s can always be relied on for variety of cut and colour, all your bases covered within one shelved wall of denim heaven. Wrangler also is doing some great variety of cut and colour. While all the major brands continue to offer a wide range, it is clear that denim is going back to basics. It’s all about Indigo you can get lost in, with an aversion to washes and distresses. This is also a bonus for Mother Nature as well—anyone with an environmental conscience should always steer away from enzyme washes and chemical treatments. It also means you can get more wear about of your purchase—distressed jeans can often be a liability. If you purchase them with holes in them to begin with, there is no telling how they will end up in a year’s time. And while revealing in a bit of refreshing simplicity, pick up what’s on offer for clever detailing on pockets, zips, belt loops and rivets. The other overall trend that affects our denim consumer habits is that, recently, jeans have worked their way up the social order of garments. It can now be incorporated as part of a formal outfit. As a teenager, there was never a pub without a ‘No black jeans’ sign on the door. Even taking into account that I was from Hamilton, if I ever cared to go back there I would be fascinated to see if they survive with our current enthusiasm for stovepipes. Dave Byrne, from Hurricane Jeans, has sold jeans for 18 years. He maintains that, currently, if you are to be denied entry out on the town, it will be your shoes and

collar that will be the first targets. Your jeans may be third on the list, but really only if they are looking for a reason to get rid of you. As a result, people are buying jeans like never before. There is very little alternative on the market without upgrading formal or work wear. All of this enforces the shuffling where every brand finds its niche and identity, where people align themselves with the æsthetic of the brand. There may no longer be a clear mainstream, but anonymous jeans with no visible branding will take their place alongside the jeans with branding like there is no tomorrow, because both customers exist simultaneously. No one could have predicted that a uniform for coal miners in the pioneering US would turn into a fashion icon. The narrative of denim is one that marries the conformity of fashion with an anti-establishment sentiment. Denim, all at once, has connotations of a struggling working class, but survives simultaneously as a status symbol. It began as the all-American hero, morphed into an enfant terrible, and now exists as a complete fashion food group. It is loaded with cultural meanings, many of them contradictory, some of them hard to swallow. But when the masses speak, even a garment can be elevated to cultural icon status. Pop culture may be guilty of various crimes, but jeans certainly aren’t one of them.

Jeans have worked their way up the social order of garments

Denim has typically been fuelled by branding

No one could have predicted that a uniform for coal miners in the pioneering US would turn into a fashion icon

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Story Miguel Kirjon Illustrations and Photography Virgin Galactic

travel

The world’s first spaceline Virgin Galactic gives you the groundbreaking opportunity to become one of the first ever non-professional astronauts “I feel very strongly that it is not good enough for us to have generations of kids that think it is ok to look forward to a better version of a cell phone with a video in it; they need to look forward to exploration, colonisation and breakthrough. We need to inspire them because they need to lead us and help us survive in the future”

As the winner of the 2004 aviation prize ‘Ansari XPrize’, accepted by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen for their prototype ‘SpaceShipOne’, Virgin Galactic took the US$ 10 million prize money and started the first commercial enterprise to travel into space in a privately funded reusable spacecraft twice within a two week period. Virgin’s vast experience in aviation, adventure, luxury travel and cutting-edge design combined with the unique technology developed by Burt Rutan will ensure an unforgettable experience unlike any other available to mankind. With safety at the forefront, their unique spacecraft is being designed at Rutan’s base in Mojave, California alongside a concerted research and development programme. “The deal with Mojave Aerospace Ventures is just the start of what we believe will be a new era in the history of mankind, one day making the affordable exploration of space by human beings a real possibility” says Richard Branson. It is these spaceships that will allow affordable suborbital space tourism for the first time in the history of the universe.

“100,000 people will have been on suborbital flights by 2020. There are no adequate safety solutions to take the public to orbit yet. Three governments have been doing this for 45 years and still 4% of the people who have left the atmosphere have died and you know, you don’t want to run a business with that kind of a safety record” – Burt Rutan

Is it safe? Due to the unique technology, developed by Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites and now exclusively licensed to Virgin, the spacecraft design overcomes many of the safety and cost issues that had previously made space travel the preserve of the privileged few. Safety is at the heart of the design and will be at the core of the Virgin Galactic operation. Agreed designs for SpaceShipTwo have multiple levels of redundancy on all key systems in order to achieve an extremely robust system in every phase of flight. Commercial operations will only start once a full testing programme has been completed. Work on the SpaceShipTwo design and construction is well advanced and SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo will be unveiled in 2008, with 12-18 months of test flights before commencing commercial flights.

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What training is involved? Virgin Galactic’s goal is to end the exclusivity attached to manned space travel which means designing a vehicle which can fly almost anyone to space safely without the need for special expertise or exhaustive, time consuming training.

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There will be 3 days of pre-flight preparation, bonding and training onsite at the spaceport .The goal is to provide you with the most incredible experience of your life. The trip will be intense, approaching sensory overload and the more that can be simulated beforehand, the better the real thing will be! Learning how to make the most of your time in zero gravity and tips on how to be most comfortable in macro gravity will form an integral part of the preparation. Virgin Galactic expects to use the WhiteKnight carrier aircraft which will feature a duplicate SpaceShipTwo cabin, as an integral part of the preparation experience. They will ensure that all the passengers can fly safely. This will involve some pre-flight medical checks. Early indicators show that the required medical assessment will be simple and unrestrictive and that the vast majority of people who want to fly, will not be prevented from doing so by health or fitness considerations. What will the experience be like? The journey starts from the moment you make a firm reservation and book your place amongst the first to go. In the lead up to the start of Virgin Galactic commercial operations and to your flight itself, they will keep you fully involved and informed. There will be opportunities to contribute ideas and participate in pre flight events. Astronauts tell us that nothing can really prepare you for your first experience of space, but they will ensure that you are fully equipped to savour every second of an experience which will be intense, wonderful and truly unforgettable. And, as you would expect from a Virgin company, your comfort and enjoyment will be their primary aim right up until you leave the spaceport, complete with a fully documented record of the whole experience and of course, with your astronaut wings! Are You Ready? Your journey to space will be one of incredible contrast. From the spaceport to 50,000ft, you will be in the spacecraft attached to the mother ship, a specially designed jet carrier aircraft. It will be a time of anticipation and perhaps contemplation of what’s ahead. You will know the rest of your crew and enjoy the confidence that has come from preparing with them and the highly trained pilots for the trip you are about to take together. Then the countdown to release, a brief moment of quiet before a wave of unimaginable but controlled power, surges through the craft. You are instantly pinned back twinpalms

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“Once it starts we will see very quickly those resort hotels in orbit and that real easy thing to do, that swing-around the moon so you have this great view. That would be really cool because the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, you can do an Olympic orbit and miss it by ten feet. That’s going to be so much fun!”

“Something is out there to inspire our kids now. Relatively soon you will be able be able to buy a ticket and fly higher and faster then the highest performance military operational airplane. That’s never happened before” – Burt Rutan

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Sir Richard Branson with SS2 model p p p

Spaceport vision p p

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into your seat, overwhelmed but enthralled by the howl of the rocket motor and the eye-watering acceleration which, as you watch the read-out, has you travelling in a matter of seconds, at almost 2,500 mph, over 3 times the speed of sound. As you hurtle through the edges of the atmosphere, the large windows show the cobalt blue sky turning to mauve and indigo and finally to black. You’re on a high, this is really happening, you’re loving it and coping well. You start to relax; but in an instant your senses are back on full alert, the world contained in your spaceship has completely transformed. The rocket motor has been switched off and it is quiet. But it’s not just quiet, it’s QUIET. The silence of space is as awe inspiring as was the noise of the rocket just moments earlier. What’s really getting your senses screaming now though, is that the gravity which has dominated every movement you’ve made since the day you were born is not there any more. There is no up and no down and you’re out of your seat experiencing the freedom that even your dreams underestimated. After a graceful mid-space summersault you find yourself at a large window and what you see would make your hair stand on end if the zero gravity hadn’t already achieved that effect. Below you (or is it above you?) is a view that you’ve seen in countless images but the reality is so much more beautiful, so much more vivid and produces emotions that are strong but hard to define. The blue map, curving into the black distance is familiar but has none of the usual marked boundaries. The incredibly narrow ribbon of atmosphere looks worryingly fragile. What you are looking at is the source of everything it means to be human, and it is home. You see that your fellow astronauts are equally spellbound, all lost in their own thoughts and storing away the memories. Then the pilots are asking you to return to your now reclined seats. Gravity is starting to return as you knew it had to. The deceleration produces strong G forces, but you’re lying down and deal with them just as you’ve been taught. You can hear and feel the feathered wings of the spacecraft producing a powerful drag as the thickness of the atmosphere increases, although out of the windows it still looks like space. The G forces quickly ease off and you hear the pilot announce that she is about to refeather the craft for the graceful glide home. Later that evening, after the celebrations and wings ceremony, you are finally alone and know that life will never quite be the same again. You also know you need to sleep, although maybe there is just time to read about Virgin Galactic’s plans to fly through the Aurora Borealis - now that would be something!

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When can I go? Virgin Galactic expects to be the first company to provide sub-orbital flights to the general public (and certainly the best!) but does not regard itself as being in a race . They have no absolute or forced deadlines for launch, made possible by the fact that they are fully and independently funded by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group. They will launch as soon as possible, but only when they are happy with the results of the exhaustive WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo test flight programme. That test flight programme is scheduled to begin following the unveiling of the prototypes and all being well, commercial operations should start little over a year later. Importantly Virgin Galactic is the only company with the rights to Burt Rutan’s design and technology, proven by SpaceShipOne, which is unrivalled in its potential to give passenger astronauts a fabulous experience, safely. Where will I fly from? Virgin Galactic’s space flights will initially operate from the Mojave Spaceport, a stunning location in the Californian desert which will afford spectacular views of the Pacific Coast. It is also the home of Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, the birth place of SpaceShipOne and where SpaceShipTwo is now being built. It will provide a fitting launch site for this amazing venture. Virgin Galactic will then establish its headquarters and operate its space flights from the world’s first purpose built commercial spaceport, ‘Spaceport America’ in New Mexico. Funded by the New Mexico state government and now in the process of design and construction, it will provide cutting edge facilities and a wonderful location for fledgling astronauts to realise their dreams. Virgin Galactic is also already looking seriously at other potential spaceport locations around the world, with a view to expanding the enterprise and making the wonder of space travel as accessible to as many people as possible.

How many passengers and pilots will there be on each flight? SpaceShipTwo will carry 6 astronaut passengers and two pilots. How far will I be able to see? Over 1,000 miles in any direction out of many large windows positioned strategically all round the craft. How long will the flight last? Approximately 2 1/2 hours. How long will the spaceship take to reach maximum speed after starting its rocket burn? Maximum speed will be reached approximately 30 seconds into the ‘boost’ phase of the flight. This phase lasts around 90 seconds in total. How many G’s will astronaut passengers pull during the rocket burn? Approximately 3 to 4 G for around 90 seconds. How many G’s will you pull during re-entry? G’s will build on rentry over a relatively short period of time and are expected to peak very briefly at around 6 -7 before quickly declining. Will passengers be able to leave their seats? Emphatically yes! They expect most of the flight to be ‘unbelted’ and the period of weightlessness particularly so. Zero G is a uniquely wonderful sensation and needs to be enjoyed!

“Before we know it, the progress in human space flight, with no tax payer dollar, will be at a level of about 5 times as much as the current NASA budgets for human space flight.” “That is because it’s us, it’s private industry. You should never depend on the government to do this sort of stuff and we’ve done it for a long time”

How much does a space ticket cost? Tickets are starting at US$200,000 (around £107,000) - around one hundred times less expensive than that paid by the only space ‘tourist’ to date. Virgin Galactic will seek to reduce this price as fast and as far as possible, allowing many thousands of people to experience space for themselves. For bookings see virgingalactic.com. “We‘ve shied away from it because we’re afraid of it but starting back in June in 2004 when I showed that a little group out there can actually do it everything changed after that “– Burt Rutan

Will I officially become an Astronaut? Yes. The term Astronaut is a derived from Greek words Ajstron (“star”) and nautes (“sailor”). The criteria for determining who has achieved human spaceflight vary. In the United States, people who travel above an altitude of 50 miles (80 km) are designated as astronauts. The FAI defines spaceflight as over 100 km (62 miles).Virgin Galactic passengers will receive their Virgin Galactic astronaut wings and may receive FAA astronaut wings as well. Our spaceflights will travel well beyond this boundary to around 109 km (68 miles). How frequent will the flights be? Initially, there will be one flight per week. As operations progress, this will increase to one and potentially two flights per day. twinpalms

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Interview Miguel Kirjon Photography Courtesy Ferrari / Fondmetal Technologies

racing

Paving the road for an exciting future The most successful Formula One designer of the last decade Rory Byrne talks about the new regulations for 2009 Rory Byrne (born January 10, 1944) is a South African engineer and racing car designer, currently Engineering Consultant for the Scuderia Ferrari. Since joining Ferrari in 1997 Byrne designed cars have won over seventy Grand Prix races, six constructors titles and five drivers titles from 1997 to 2004. This outstanding record of success makes Byrne the most successful Formula One designer of the last decade. What was the reason for having to create new designs for Formula 1 cars? Over the last 40 to 45 years Formula 1 has undergone a dramatic transformation in terms of performance of the cars. The big improvement, particularly in braking and cornering performance, has resulted in the race tracks having to be modified to keep speeds under control. In the 50s and early 60s the racing was very exciting as there was a lot of overtaking. Cars could follow each other closely and overtake on straights, commonly known as ‘slip streaming’. In a typical race, like Monza in Italy, you would have 5 or 6 cars racing for the lead right up to when the chequered flag came down at the end of the race. Nowadays, overtaking is much more difficult and most of the overtaking is done during the course of pit stops for refuelling. This happened mainly because of the car design or the race track design? Both played a role. 50 years ago the race tracks had long straights with fast corners. The cars’ cornering ability wasn’t so great so their speeds through the corners were too high. Their speed on the straights was not dangerously high, either. The other important aspect was that the air flowing over the cars of the 50s and early 60s produced a certain amount of lift which meant that the downward pressure on the tires was actually reduced at speed. The grip of the tires is dependent on the downward pressure so the faster the car went, the less grip it had. When you were following someone in a race, because you were travelling in disturbed air, which wasn’t flowing smoothly over the car, the lift you normally had was reduced, or even maybe cancelled out altogether, if you were very close. At this moment you had more cornering performance, so it was relatively easy to closely follow another car in the corner and onto the straight, then slip stream past it. This technique of slip streaming was widely used. The races were incredibly exciting with a lot of overtaking.

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In the late 60s all the engineers in Formula 1 became aware that instead of having a classic cigar shaped race car, which was designed to be as fast as possible on the straights, but which produced a lifting force, it would be better to have a car shape that actually would produce a downward force. The engineers realized that it was more important to have the car going fast around the corners then on the straights. Wings and spoilers appeared on racing cars and everything progressed from there. Now, when following another car, the downforce, instead of the lift, was reduced and the following car had less cornering performance, which meant that it couldn’t keep up through the corners and was not able to stay close enough on the following straight to slipstream past. The drivers therefore had to follow at a reasonable distance behind one another in order for their cars to have a good, clean airflow over them and preserve their cornering performance. As the aerodynamics of the cars improved, overtaking became more and more difficult. It’s got to the stage that today you have to be about two seconds per lap faster than the car in front to be able to overtake it because you can’t get close in the corners. Unless a driver makes a mistake, the only chance to overtake is on the straight but because you end up too far behind in the corners your chance of overtaking is very limited.

“In the 50s and early 60s the racing was very exciting as there was a lot of overtaking”

“Following closely got worse as the aerodynamic of the cars improved” - Rory Byrne

Two seconds in Formula 1 is a lifetime… Yes, two seconds is the difference between a car in pole position and someone in about 18th position in qualifying. So if the driver in the pole position is racing the driver who qualified 18th, and is behind him, he is going to struggle to get past, unless the driver ahead makes a mistake. That’s why nowadays in Formula 1 the overtaking is done during pit stops for refuelling, there’s strategic overtaking, not much actual overtaking, and of course Formula 1 has lost some of its spectacle as a result of that. The other thing that’s happened of course is because the cornering performance of the cars has gone up so much, the old circuits that were long and fast became unacceptably dangerous so they had to be modified. At the old Monza circuit for instance, you had the high speed banking and high speed corners with long straights and no slow corners. Now all the banking has been eliminated and slow speed chicanes have been added in the middle of the straights. These changes have made overtaking even more difficult.

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This progress over the last 40-50 years has resulted in making overtaking today of two similar cars almost impossible. You’ve seen it - cars follow each other until a pit stop. If they don’t pass during the course of the pit stops, they very seldom pass.

“We needed to find a solution to make F1 racing more exciting” “Testing two cars simultaneously in a wind tunnel has never been done before”

Yes, most of the time you could say that the race order was determined after the first few corners. Who realized, and when, that Formula 1 needed a change? I think the promoters of Formula 1 have been concerned about this trend for a while, partly because of the decline in TV viewer numbers. There was simply not enough action and overtaking for the non-Formula 1 enthusiast. So, the technical directors of all the teams, who hold regular meetings about four times a year, determined that the best way to improve the situation was to set up a small group whose task it was to investigate the problem, then to propose a solution. This was first discussed during 2005/2006 and finally the “Overtaking Working Group” was set up in the beginning of 2007. The group consisted of a senior engineer from the three top teams: McLaren, Renault and Ferrari. Ferrari proposed me as their representative due to the fact that my full time involvement and responsibility for the F1 Ferrari cars ended in 2004 and I work on a 50% consultancy basis spending half of my time with my family here in Phuket and half at Ferrari in Italy. My 27 years experience in Formula 1 race car design has helped as well. I was joined by Pat Symonds, Engineering Director at Renault, who worked with me at Benetton F1 for 15 years, and Paddy Lowe, the Engineering Director of McLaren. Our group was tasked to formulate proposals to present to the group of technical directors by October 2007. We had about six months to complete the task, to do whatever was necessary. After an initial meeting it was fairly obvious that it wasn’t really practical to change any of the circuits in the short term, so we really had to concentrate on doing something about the shape of the cars.

“We knew that the problem was related to the fundamentals of aerodynamics”- Rory Byrne

Generally, considering the time frame, it also wasn’t practical to change anything for 2008; there was simply not enough time. So we decided, whatever our proposals would be, to introduce them in 2009. At our inaugural meeting the three of us were aware that the problem was related to the fundamentals of the aerodynamics. We had to devise an experimental programme to understand what changes needed to be done to the shape of the cars in order to improve the possibility of overtaking. What needed to be done was to reduce the negative effect of disturbed airflow over the following car. In simple terms we were looking at improving the performance of

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the following car in the disturbed air (the ‘wake’) from the car in front of it. Experimental work on track or in simulated situations? Most of the aerodynamic experimental work in Formula 1 is done in wind tunnels. Instead of the car moving through the air, a scale model of the car is fixed in a tunnel and air, driven by a fan, flows over it. It’s just like an aircraft wind tunnel. But of course we couldn’t just have one car in the wind tunnel. We needed to have one car following another car to be able to measure the forces on the following car, which had never been done before, to the best of my knowledge.

“We conducted a series of four sets of experiments, 5 days wind tunnel testing followed by 3 weeks analyzing, designing and manufacturing for the next test”- Rory Byrne

We discussed the problem and came up with a collaboration agreement with Fondmetal Technologies, a company specializing in aerodynamic research, which is situated only about 60 km from Maranello, where Ferrari is based. They did have the capability to run two models in a wind tunnel, one following the other. We used their facilities and engineering staff to design and prepare the models, run the wind tunnel, review at the results and produce the reports. Having the experimental tool available, you have to think how you are going to use this tool and what solutions to propose for testing. There were two aspects to this. In terms of overall grip it was apparent that we should try to increase the grip of the tires and reduce the amount of downforce generated by the cars. A car with a higher proportion of the grip from the tyres themselves and a lower proportion from downforce will have its cornering performance less affected by the wake of the car in front. Reducing the down force on the cars would make their lap times slower. There are limits to this; you don’t want to make Formula 1 cars slower than any racing category below them. It wouldn’t do much for the image of F1. So we did some simulations to determine how much we could reduce the down force without slowing down the cars unacceptably. Did you consult with Bridgestone, now the sole F1 tire supplier, for experimenting with the tire grip? We asked Bridgestone to give us an estimate of how much grip increase could be achieved. Nowadays Formula 1 tires have a grooved tread; they have been grooved for the last 8 or 9 years. They had been grooved to try to reduce the cornering performance. But now we have adopted a new approach where we want to increase the tyre grip and reduce the contribution of aerodynamics to cornering performance. So we will revert to, what is called a slick tire, where the surface is completely smooth, which increases the grip quite a lot. Grip would be increased compared to, let’s say 2007, by around 10%. That was the first step.

Our initial target was to reduce the aerodynamic performance by about 50%. The combination of 10% tire grip increase and 50% percent less down force would mean the cars would be between 3 and 5 seconds per lap slower, depending on the circuit, which was deemed to be acceptable. The final task was, having arrived at these numbers, to make sure that the car shape was changed in a way that it would make it less affected in the wake of a leading car. We needed to understand what parts of the car were sensitive in wake and what parts were not. Do you mean the parts receiving the wake or creating it? Both. During the course of wind tunnel testing, the shape of the leading and following models were changed for a fuller understanding. Using the Fondmetal Technologies’ wind tunnel we actually conducted a series of four sets of experiments, each set of experiment taking about 5 days in length over the course of the next four months. We would have 5 days of wind tunnel testing, followed by 3 weeks analyzing data, determining what should be tested next, as well as designing, manufacturing and assembling the new parts for the next test session. Did the time you spent researching the new designs influence your work at Ferrari? I am in the fortunate position that I am 50% employed by Ferrari so I could manage quite well, especially having the testing facilities so close by. Pat Symonds

and Paddy Lowe, on the other hand, were based in the UK which made it more difficult for them to just drop in. Naturally I ended up doing quite a high portion of the work in conjunction with the engineers at Fondmetal Technologies. Simply put, you changed driving characteristics in three areas: tyres, down force and performance in wake? Yes. During the course of these experiments it became clear that the central section of the car, approx. 600mm wide and quite close to the ground, is very sensitive to the wake. This area normally would produce quite a reasonable amount of down force. We found that, when you were following in wake, that down force was lost. What we needed to do was to configure that area of the car so it didn’t produce too much down force. The central section of the front wing, instead of producing down force, had to be neutral so we completely redefined shape and height of the front wing in this area. This area is now defined by the new regulations and it cannot be changed.

“Testing with a simulator we can be pretty sure that we will get the results we expect”- Rory Byrne

Likewise, we found we needed to reduce the downforce created by the area of bodywork underneath chassis and engine because this area also lost downforce in wake. We also found out that all the small pieces of bodywork behind the front wheels were very bad for performance in wake and we have completely eliminated those. Having eliminated the downforce from the central part of the wing we needed to increase the width of the front twinpalms

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Wind tunnel testing at Fondmetal Technologies 45


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wing in order for the wing to generate enough down force. You wouldn’t have balanced down force from the front to the rear otherwise. The width was increased from 1400mm to 1800mm. Now only the outer edges of the wing are producing the down force. Narrowing the width of the rear wing and raising it also had beneficial effects in wake. So the 2009 cars will have a wider front wing, no small aerodynamic devices between the front wheels and the side pods, much smoother bodywork, a narrower, raised rear wing and restrictions to the shape of the floor. The combination of all of this has made quite a dramatic effect on the ‘in wake’ performance. Have you tested the final results with a prototype? No, because nowadays we have such sophisticated simulation tools we really don’t need to test the fundamentals on track. We can always be pretty sure that we will fundamentally get the results we expect. The starting model for our work was the 2004 Ferrari F1, the last car I was responsible for the design of. If you were following with this car about 3 meters behind another car you would lose at least 50% of your down force. You would have a huge reduction of grip in the corners.

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That 50% loss we managed to reduce to about 20-25% loss by changing the shape as I’ve already described. To find out how a combination of this new shape for improved performance in wake, as well as a much higher proportion of the overall grip from the tyres, would affect the possibility to overtake, we used a driving simulator.

Rory Byrne 46

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Yeah, my son loves playing these as well… It’s pretty much the same as the kids’ version you find in amusement arcades, but, of course, far more sophisticated and with a very big screen. For the baseline we put in the 2004 Ferrari data and the Formula 1 driver would ‘race’ around the virtual circuit until he achieved a consistent lap time. After that we had him trying to follow another Ferrari, with exactly the same reference characteristics, three meters behind, and so we could determine how much faster the following car had to be to be able to overtake the leading car. As mentioned in the beginning, the following car had to be at least two seconds faster to overtake the leading car. We repeated exactly the same experiment with the proposed new configurations that we spend four months developing and found that the following car would only have to be between 0.5 and 0.9 of a second per lap faster to overtake the leading car. We had improved the situation by somewhere between 50-75%, depending on the circuit. You must be looking forward to 2009 to see the results of your development in action? Absolutely. I am convinced there will be much closer racing. Time will tell, but that’s the work we’ve done. It will be quite interesting!

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art

Story Helen A. Harrison

Pollock and Krasner in the Hamptons Forging distinctive vision by exposure to the elements

In liberating the landscape from the element that blocked it, Pollock released a similar expansiveness in his own creativity

By 1947 Pollock had made the transition from promising newcomer to mature innovator

Both artists must have sensed that the move into unfamiliar territory might be just the stimulus their work most needed

Krasner often destroyed whole bodies of work, burning her artistic bridges as a way of forcing herself to explore new territory

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Lee Krasner, “Thaw,” 1957 from the Earth Green Series. Oil on canvas. 57 x 58 1/4 ins.; Private collection; © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation (displayed image is cropped) 58

In 1945, the painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner shared a summer rental with friends on the shore of Gardiner’s Bay near Amagansett, a rustic eastern Long Island village that was, and still is, popular with seasonal renters and tourists. Now internationally celebrated as “The Hamptons,” Amagansett and neighboring Springs, East Hampton, Bridgehampton and Southampton in those days were just charming rural communities. Walking the pristine beaches and biking along the country lanes, Pollock and Krasner marveled at the wealth of unspoiled natural beauty just a three-hour train ride from Manhattan. They began to toy with the idea of quitting New York altogether and living year-round on the East End – a notion that must have seemed as absurd as the Surrealist parlor games they and their friends were playing. But after a month exploring the neighborhood, where spacious properties were available at modest prices and daily life moved at an unhurried pace, the couple returned to the city only to realize how miserable they were there. They decided to marry and find a place for themselves in the farming and fishing community of Springs, then a hamlet of some 300 souls, tucked into the picturesque backwater of Accabonac Harbor. A more radical departure from their East Eighth Street walkup in Greenwich Village would be hard to imagine, but both artists must have sensed that the move into unfamiliar territory might be just the stimulus their work most needed. Newly married and bankrolled by a loan from Peggy Guggenheim, Pollock’s dealer and patron, the couple bought a rundown homestead on Fireplace Road and spent the winter of 1945-46 getting the place in shape. The house lacked certain creature comforts (like central heating and plumbing) but had two compensations that outweighed the initial hardships: it belonged to them, and it boasted a glorious location on Accabonac Creek, looking across meadows and salt marshes to the harbor beyond. Unfortunately, the small barn that was earmarked for Pollock’s studio sat directly behind the house, obstructing the view. Both artists wanted to take full advantage of their new surroundings, so before they converted the building they had it moved out of the way. Once the barn was moved aside and a north window installed to provide even light for painting, the view was opened up and with it Pollock’s artistic imagination. In liberating the landscape from the element that blocked it, Pollock released a similar expansiveness in his own creativity and quickly made the breakthrough to twinpalms

spontaneous imagery that flowed as naturally as the creek and filled his canvases with the same energy that impelled the bittersweet vines to weave their tangle in the undergrowth. Within weeks of his move to Springs, Pollock began a group of paintings that he later titled the Accabonac Creek series to acknowledge the stimulus of his new environment. Although none of them are landscapes, they are brighter and more open than his previous images, as if they were invaded by the light reflected off the water and had air breathed into them by the breeze that rippled its surface. His next series, known collectively as Sounds in the Grass, did away with figurative references altogether and vibrated with the sensory stimuli he experienced and internalized. By 1947, after little more than a year in his new surroundings, Pollock had made the transition from promising newcomer to mature innovator—an artist whose distinctive vision had been forged by exposure to the elements. Krasner, too, responded to the natural environment, although her process of assimilation and interpretation was slower and less decisive. It would take her nearly a decade to arrive at her own abstract approach to the phenomena that surrounded her and whose influence she discussed eloquently in later years. Still, as she weathered the periods of self-doubt and aesthetic reappraisal, she had the satisfaction of knowing that she and Pollock had chosen wisely when they headed east from Manhattan. During her nearly fifteen-year relationship with Pollock, Krasner made a number of attempts to chart a more spontaneous course for herself. She often destroyed whole bodies of work, burning her artistic bridges as a way of forcing herself to explore new territory. After moving to Springs, she spent some four years on a series of so-called Little Image paintings that recall mosaics in their rhythmic patterns of small, thickly textured color areas. In the mid 1950s, she began to work in collage and soon moved toward the voluptuous organic imagery that would preoccupy her in the difficult years following Pollock’s untimely death in an automobile accident in 1956. Like an antidote to the aftermath of grief and guilt that shadowed her personal life, Krasner’s Earth Green series blossomed with forms resembling fruit, seed pods, and other symbols of regeneration. Now, more than sixty years after Pollock and Krasner made their fateful move from what he called “brutal” New York to the nurturing environment in which both of twinpalms

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Sixty years after Pollock and Krasner made their move from New York to the nurturing environment in which both of them flourished, the continuing growth of the region’s art community reminds us of the gravitational pull artists exert on one another

them flourished, the continuing growth of the region’s art community reminds us of the gravitational pull artists exert on one another. It would be daunting even to try to count the number of painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, and performance, installation and video artists who make eastern Long Island their full-time or seasonal home. The succeeding generations that populate the region’s village streets and country lanes attest to the vitality of the Hamptons art community, a self-perpetuating wellspring of creativity that shows no signs of drying up. Helen A. Harrison, Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, is an art historian who specializes in 20th century American art. She is a former art reviewer and feature writer for the Long Island section of The New York Times, and a former Curator of the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton and Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton, and the author (with Constance Ayers Denne) of Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach, published in 2002 by Chronicle Books. The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, 830 Fireplace Road, East Hampton, NY 11937, is open to the public from May through October. For museum hours, guided tours and other information, please visit the Web site, www.pkhouse.org.

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Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in Pollock’s barn studio, Springs, East Hampton, 1949; Photograph by Lawrence Larkin, courtesy of PollockKrasner House and Study Center p p

Jackson Pollock, "Croaking Movement", 1946 from the Sounds in the Grass series; oil on canvas; 54 x 44 1/8 ins.; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation

Private Development of Exquisite Rarity

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Jackson Pollock in his barn studio, Springs, 1947, holding his pet crow, Caw-Caw; on the floor is a painting in progress, “Alchemy,” streched on his mothers’s quilting frame; photographer unknown; courtesy of Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

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business

Story and Photography Seth Godin

business

The best things in life are free

No free prize lasts forever, which is why it’s essential that we get better at making new ones.

Seth Godin shows how anyone can champion new ideas

“The only way to achieve growth is to market a product or service worth talking about”

In an excerpt from his book, Free Prize Inside!, Seth Godin shows how anyone can champion new ideas.

Jack box – it stops being a gimmick. And the only way to find out is to try it.

Where do remarkable products come from? If your goal is growth, the only way to achieve it is to market a product or service worth talking about – a purple cow (as I called them in my other book). With all the clutter out there, you’re either remarkable or invisible.

Were frequent-flier miles a gimmick? At first, people treated them that way. Today, American Airlines understands that they are one of its great assets. Is product design a gimmick? If we need a music player or a car, shouldn’t we focus on the way the thing works, not the way it makes us feel? Well, unless you’re driving a used Yugo and listening to an old Aiwa cassette player, I think you’ve already voted with your dollars.

As this idea has spread, people keep coming back to me, saying (okay, whining) three things:

Our stuff is boring and we can’t change it. I want to make a purple cow, but my boss won’t let me. I don’t have any great ideas for making something remarkable.

This is my answer.

“Innovation is soft, not hard – the commonsense, creative stuff that requires initiative and curiosity, not an advanced degree”

Our Stuff Is Boring! (Innovation Is Soft, Not Hard): Most writing on innovation is about paradigm shifts, big projects, huge R&D, and technical innovations. It’s about nanotechnology and space farming. Most real innovation, though, is actually about stuff such as fast lube-job shops, cell-phone pricing plans, and purple ketchup. These are what I like to call “soft innovations.” That’s what really works – the commonsense, creative stuff that requires initiative and curiosity, not an advanced degree. If it satisfies the consumer and gets him to tell other people what you want him to tell them, it’s a soft innovation. And if it catches on and becomes something the consumer wants, then it becomes a “free prize.” A free prize is the thing that makes a product remarkable. It’s the thing that gets talked about. And more often than not, the free prize has nothing to do with the core benefit the product offers. It’s something extra. Free prizes are fashionable or fun or surprising. They rarely deliver more of what we were buying in the first place.

“Free prizes are fun but rarely deliver more of what we were buying in the first place” - Seth Godin

Is soft innovation a gimmick? No, it’s the gimmick transformed. It’s yogurt in a tube so you don’t need a spoon to eat it. It’s filmlike strips that whiten teeth without any messy trays or lasers. It’s a mail slot added to every FedEx truck to make it easier to drop off a package. A gimmick is cheap – a trick, a ruse, something not worth the time or attention. Once it becomes something consumers want and talk about – the prize in the Cracker

We often believe that it’s someone else’s job (the guys in R&D) to make the cool stuff – we just sell it, market it, and service it. That’s wrong. In our fashion-crazy world, we’re all marketers, and being a marketer means changing the product, not changing the ads.

People don’t buy a watch just to tell time. They can check the time with a more accurate device than anything mankind could have conceived (until a couple of decades ago) for a few dollars at the drugstore. Turns out, they also want a watch that is beautiful, slim, lightweight, handsome, Russian, Swiss, retro, clunky, prestigious, expensive, glamorous, almost invisible, without computerized parts, with a second hand, with a pedigree, and with a sense of humor. A Franck Muller watch (such as the Perpetual Calendar with Retrograde Monthly Equation, Tourbillon and SplitSecond Chronometer) could easily cost well into the five figures without the fancy jewels. Muller figured out what his customers wanted. He doesn’t sell watches. He sells tourbillons with complications. After buying a Muller complication, what are the chances you’ll say to a friend, “Wanna see my watch?” The product is the marketing.

If you’ve been told that you’re not qualified, authorized, or entitled to pursue breakthroughs of any kind, you’re getting bad advice. Sure, it’s fine with me if you cure cancer or build a faster computer chip. Most of us can’t wait for R&D to deliver the latest insight. We know that a better ad isn’t going to cut it. We need a free prize.

So if you’re committed to selling just the time (whatever “time” means for your product or service), then you’re doomed to slow growth and commodity pricing. After all, you can’t improve time. If, however, you embrace the fact that people rarely buy what they say they’re buying, you have a chance to create a free prize.

The opportunity here isn’t subtle: Whatever you do, wherever you do it, you have the opportunity to create this sort of innovation. You have the power to find and develop a free prize. It’s not based on your power in the organization or your desire to become an entrepreneur or how creative you are. So you may be wondering, if this is so effective and productive and requires so little training, why doesn’t everyone do it? Good question.

The reason soft innovation works is that all breakthroughs (big and small) require quantum leaps. Of course, it’s much easier to create a quantum leap with style or insight or guts (a nontechnical breakthrough) than it is to change the physics of the product you offer. Muller doesn’t tell time better. Instead, he adds soft innovations that are different. The perception of how we should do innovation is wrong. We’ve drawn it as a complicated, expensive, time-consuming process that should be done like most corporate initiatives: slowly, expensively, with massive buy-in and with lots of planning. No organization ever created an innovation. People innovate, not companies.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that there’s still room to innovate your product or service. While it seems as if the world is changing faster and faster, that everything that can be done has been done, that’s not true. Every product, service, feature, and benefit is open for improvement. There’s nothing that’s finished, nothing so complete that it can’t carry another free prize. No, not carry a prize . . . be transformed by a prize – transformed so completely that the product category finds new life.

My Boss Won’t Let Me! (How To Make Something Happen): If you decide you want to make something great, more often than not your organization will follow you. And if it doesn’t, there are a hundred organizations waiting for you that will. I call the person who makes an innovation happen a champion. And without a champion, nothing happens. My goal is to sell you on your ability to champion an innovation in your organization. And then to do it again.

Guess what? There’s no correlation between how good your idea is and how likely your organization will be to embrace it. None. It’s not about good ideas. It’s about selling those ideas and making them happen. If you’re failing to get things done, it’s not because your ideas suck. It’s because you don’t know how to sell them. The reason for focus groups, market research, and the like is the continuing mirage that somehow, if we do enough work (and work enough hours), we can figure out in advance if something is the right idea or not. After all, organizations believe that if they only knew what the right idea was, they’d do it. But our resistance to ideas has nothing to do with the idea and everything to do with the process. It’s clear that all of these focus groups and research are just another hurdle to slow down change. Without a champion navigating these obstacles, most projects will slow down and eventually stop. Someone who cares too little won’t put in the effort to overcome the obstacles; she’ll give up and walk away. The forces of mediocrity will band together to water down your innovation. They’ll try to make it more popular, easier to understand, easier to build, easier to fit within the existing retail/factory/media business model. Well-meaning folks will water down your edgy idea into something safer, without realizing that their contribution makes the idea riskier. (Riskier? Yes, because now it’s less remarkable.)

“No organization ever created an innovation – people innovate, not companies”

Champions turn “no” into “yes.” Champions understand that the internal sales process is at least as important as the idea itself. Champions are able to bring together all of the elements they need to turn a soft innovation into a free prize, creating a remarkable product that reaches the market and potentially transforms an industry. If you can do it alone, you probably should. It’s not unheard of to create a free prize on your own. If you’re a real estate agent, an artist, or a landscape architect, you can probably do something in your business or work that is truly remarkable. The rest of us, though, have to count on other people. We need an organization filled with people, money, and other assets to help make our dreams real. We need their leverage. To get leverage from your organization, you’ll need its willing help. Regardless of what you do and whom you do it with, the steps to generating leverage remain the same. As people consider your idea, they will ask themselves three questions:

“Every product, service, feature, and benefit is open for improvement” - Seth Godin

Is it going to be successful? Is it worth doing? Is this person able to champion the project? If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding no, it’s unlikely your project will happen. Understanding twinpalms

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how the three pieces fit together and what to do about them is a big part of choosing the right project and getting it done. Remember, these people don’t care one bit about what your answers to these three questions might be. What matters is what they think the answers are, based on the evidence you give them. If you think you’re stuck because “my boss won’t let me,” what’s really happening is that she has decided that the answer to at least one of these three questions is no.

“Please don’t think you have to know all the answers – you don’t... you just need the posture of a champion and the guts to ask hard questions”

“If you’re a real estate agent, an artist, or a landscape architect, you can probably do something in your work that is truly remarkable – the rest of us, though, have to count on other people” - Seth Godin

The goal is to go through the steps necessary for your colleagues to believe (because they want to believe). It’s an emotional ticket you need stamped, not an intellectual one. Here’s a partial grab bag of tactics that will work some of the time for some champions: Ask questions, don’t give answers. Please don’t think you have to know all the answers. You don’t. You just need the posture of a champion and the guts to ask hard questions. My first real job involved informally managing 40 world-class software engineers in a bet-the-company launch of five major new software products. Everyone knew that I couldn’t possibly have a point of view when it came to engineering issues, so they were happy to have me kibitz. I spent my entire day going from one team to another, asking questions. Ask obligating questions. Generally, it’s a bad idea to answer objections. If you spend all your time answering one objection after another, sooner or later the people you’re selling to will find an objection you can’t answer. Better to answer the objection with a question. Keep working your way backward until you uncover the actual problem – not the symptom of the problem. Then, before you try to answer the objection associated with the real problem, take two more shots. First ask, “If we can solve this problem, can you see any other reason not to move ahead?” This obligates the person to speak up or put up. It means that the objection you’re going to tackle is the real problem, not a stalling tactic. Second, work to get them on your side. “If I could convince you that solving this problem was really important, how would you do it?” Build a prototype. The first time you see Reebok Travel Trainers, or the Segway, or the iPod, or the Nokia music phone, you “get it.” But until you see it and hold it, it’s merely a concept, a flaky idea, something that may (or may not) happen. A prototype makes it concrete. To hold it makes it possible, makes it likely, and reinforces your role as the champion, the owner of the vision. Prototypes also help us get over our desire to make it perfect before we start. If it’s easy to make one prototype, it’s easy to make a hundred. Each prototype gets better, more useful, more real.

Walk into a meeting with a key power broker. Announce you have a prototype in your case. That’s all she wants to see. Now you have her. Take your time. Lay out the vision. Then let her hold it. Put it on her desk. Leave it on her desk! As the days go by, people will pass by her desk, see the prototype, and ask about it. As each person gets more and more excited about this cool innovation, word spreads. It becomes a reality. All that’s left is to actually make it. I Don’t Have Any Great Ideas (Don’t Brainstorm, “Edgecraft” Instead): The free prize is the element that transcends the utility of the original idea and adds a special, unique element worthy of more money and notice. The way to find these ideas is what I call “edgecraft.” It is a methodical, measurable process that allows individuals and teams to identify inexorably the soft innovations that live on the edges. It can be done quickly or over long periods of time. And you can even do it by yourself (I do my edgecraft in the shower. It has the added benefit of dramatically increasing personal hygiene). Edgecraft is a straightforward process: 1. Find an edge – a free prize that has been shown to make a product or service (in someone else’s industry) remarkable. 2. Go all the way to that edge – as far from the center as the consumers you are trying to reach dare you to go. Moving a little is expensive and useless. Moving a lot is actually cheaper in the long run and loaded with wonderful possibilities. It’s easy (but pointless) to open your store another 30 minutes a day. It’s more difficult (but possibly a fantastic strategy) to open your store 24 hours a day. Little changes cost you. Big changes benefit you by changing the game, but only if you go first. Brainstorming might create the occasional breakthrough, but edgecraft can inexpensively and quickly churn out lots of ideas – good ideas and sometimes great ideas. Ideas you can rapidly implement. If people aren’t blown away, they won’t talk about it. If they don’t talk about it, then it doesn’t spread fast enough to help you grow. There are hundreds of available edges – things you can add to, subtract from, or do to your product or service. Here are a few to consider. The network. This is perhaps the most valuable edge available to most products. If you make it fun and easy (and profitable) to talk about a product, it’s likely that people will. Derek Sivers runs CD Baby, an e-commerce site that sells CDs from more than 59,000 independent

musicians. Those musicians send their fans to the site to buy their CDs, and while the fans are there, of course, they discover thousands of other artists. Sivers also writes very funny customer-service emails. When a company tells you that your CD order was placed on a satin pillow before packing, you tell a friend. Or 10.

as Gillette or Henckels or Oster or Braun or Playtex or Toro or Sony decided to go to the same edge in their industry?

Packaging. Yes, of course, the package is part of the product, and the free prize can very easily be the package itself. Packaging is not a gimmick when it works. Juice boxes, for example, would not be worth seeking out if it weren’t for the innovative packaging – the juice is the same. The package did more than call attention to the product – it changed the product.

Don’t copy the specific tactics. Figure out how you can get to the same edge but in a different way. If a restaurant captured the attention of its audience by offering an allyou-can-eat chili-pepper night, that doesn’t mean your hardware store should start selling chili peppers. Instead, realize that people are attracted to excess. You can offer the contractors in town all the bricks they can carry to their truck for $9. And post the name of the guy who carried the most on a sign by the cash register. (And why not list the guy who carried the least while you’re at it?)

You can go over the top by adding more packaging (like Rhino Records and its amazing boxed sets), or you can take an industry where the packaging is a hindrance and strip it away. Audio content provider Audible will sell only the digitized voice for your favorite book on tape, not the cassette or the box – the company’s product has zero packaging.

It’s all about marketing now. The organizations that win will be the ones that realize that all they do is create things worth talking about. The future belongs to people who can invent, implement, and sell the ideas – the free prizes – that become remarkable products. It sounds daunting, but it’s not. Just start. Start now. Fail often. Enjoy the ride. Make something happen.

Technology. Moore’s Law says that every 18 months, the power of computer chips you can buy for a dollar doubles. This opens two kinds of opportunity. The first is at the cutting edge. Xbox and PlayStation pack supercomputer power into video-game machines. If you could add a supercomputer to your product or service, what would it do? The second approach is to take advantage of the cheap part of the curve. Yesterday’s technology is always (much) cheaper. The latest innovation: The $11 digital camera. If computer chips were a penny, how would you use them?

Joe Perrone, FedEx When Perrone, retail sales manager for FedEx’s eastern region, thought to put a slot in every FedEx truck to make it easier to drop off a package, it’s unlikely that management would have been happy if he had taken a Skilsaw and started cutting holes in trucks. So he chose to champion the soft innovation through the system.

Design aesthetic. Design is the single highest-leverage investment you can make. A well-designed product is usually cheaper to make and service than what you’re doing now. It will also improve sales because people notice it and talk about it. Not only the user interface but also the entire user experience is now dictated by design. Of all the edges I know, embracing amazing design is the easiest, the fastest, and the one with the most assured return on investment. We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of what great design can do for a product, a service, a form, even an organization.

Perrone approached every department in the company. He didn’t ask for permission. He didn’t say, “I’ve got this great idea, do you guys want to do it?” Instead, he asked whether they were willing to hear more (if someone else did the work!). They agreed. Everyone had concerns, but no issue was big enough to give the project a permanent no. Perrone focused on internal coordination. He’d ask, “If we can solve that problem, are you willing to try this?” As each department bought in, he made sure the other departments knew about his progress. The key was that he championed it, step by step, until there was no one left to object. Along the way, he kept painting his vision (increased convenience, free marketing) and the puny costs in giving it a try.

“When a company tells you that your CD order was placed on a satin pillow before packing, you tell a friend, or 10”

“The future belongs to people who can invent, implement, and sell the ideas – the free prizes – that become remarkable products”

“Big changes benefit you by changing the game, but only if you go first”

A 9-year-old can do edgecraft. While the edges always change, the process never does: 1. Find a product or service that’s completely unrelated to your industry. 2. Figure out who’s winning by being remarkable. 3. Discover what edge they went to. 4. Do that.

“We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of what great design can do for a product, a service, a form, even an organization” - Seth Godin

Crest figured out how to make money with remarkably cheap electric toothbrushes. What if companies such twinpalms

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Story Paulo Blasi Photography Miguel Kirjon

music

Sassy, sultry and smooth A simmering turbulence that can only be calmed through the creative process of making music Introducing Leanne Paris, a Sydney based Singer/ Songwriter pianist, who is boldly forging her own musical path. Sassy, sultry and smooth with an unrivalled groove to everything she points her Fender Rhodes piano at, Leanne can lead the charge through a thrilling range of styles from smoky, emotional ballads and gritty blues to upbeat acid jazz and captivating funk workouts.

A thrilling range of styles

“I was naturally drawn to the sounds and feelings brought on by minor keys” - Leanne Paris

Her innate sense of melody and world-class delivery have led to her selling out Sydney’s premier music venues over the recent years, as well as securing her supports with a range of high profile Australian and international artists such as Savage Garden, Jon Cleary (New Orleans piano monster) and Ian Moss (Cold Chisel). Leanne has also been a regular fixture on the festival scene in Australia playing alongside the likes of Silverchair and Donovan Frankenreiter. Leanne’s connection with her audience springs from a deep well of emotion, spanning the entire spectrum from feel-good and uplifting to passionately heart-melting. However, at the core of this individually gifted and creative soul lies a simmering turbulence that can only be calmed through the creative process of making music. Born and bred in Sydney’s southern suburbs, Leanne is the youngest of four siblings and grew up in the quintessential Australian household. Her childhood was spent in a nurturing, loving environment that has kept the family extremely close-knit even in spite of the heartbreaking death of her only brother Michael, who tragically died in a car accident when Leanne was only ten years old. Michael and Leanne were the eldest and youngest siblings, respectively, and shared a very special bond. They were inseparable and were often responsible for causing havoc around the house. Obviously, the death of her brother at such a young age has had a major impact on her.

Impeccable live reputation

The summer before his death, Leanne was given a small keyboard for Christmas. In her final telephone conversation with Michael, who was on a holiday at the time, Leanne promised him that she would learn his favorite song, “Hotel California.” Devastatingly, he never returned to hear her play, but Leanne continued teaching herself the keyboard, and in time learnt the song in her brother’s memory.

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Leanne Paris at Catch Beach Club, Phuket 66

keyboard whenever I could. I was always approaching the keyboard in a creative sense, playing what felt right to me at that time. I followed my ears and consequently developed a skill that has grown with me over the many years I have been playing music. I now have the ability to express directly from the heart through an instrument or my voice.” “It’s really interesting when I think back to what I was playing at that initial stage because I really didn’t know much about music theory. I was naturally drawn to the sounds and feelings brought on by minor keys, and found them very consoling. This was the start of my eternal love for music. A love that has given me so much in life so far and I know will always continue to do so.” Jump ahead fifteen years and Leanne is playing piano regularly on the Sydney scene with several different outfits ranging in many styles from blues and funk to jazz and pop. Leanne is well regarded on the Sydney music scene as an accomplished piano player, but underneath this ‘funky blonde piano playing chick’ is a songwriting dynamo with a voice that comes straight from the soul. Until recently, Leanne was content to support many fine acts with her piano skills but was secretly composing and singing her heart out in the privacy of her own home. When some of Leanne’s closest friends realized what a tremendous gift she had been keeping to herself, they encouraged her to step into the limelight and perform her own songs in public. The response from the first few ‘screenings’ was so positive that she knew it was time to change the direction of her musical focus and be brave enough to let the real musical style of Leanne Paris shine. Leanne has since recorded a self titled E.P. and in 2007 recorded and released a “Live at the Basement” CD/DVD which showcases her impeccable live reputation, but that’s only the tip of an impressive iceberg for what this genuine talent has to offer. With an individual musical feel and versatile voice, this soul queen recalls the true musical greats without ever falling into blind imitation. Leanne Paris treads a unique musical path and invites us to walk it with her. Leanne Paris’s debut album is due for release midway through 2008. For more information visit: www.leanneparismusic.com

“Originally, music was a private outlet, a way of grieving the loss of my brother. When he died I withdrew and found solace in my keyboard. I would relentlessly play the twinpalms

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Story and Photography David Sleishman

music

Unsurpassed resonance For over 30 years The Sleishman Drum Company has been producing unique, high quality drums and accessories Don Sleishman (drummer, inventor and company founder) has gained a reputation within the drum industry as somewhat of a sonic guru. His innate knowledge of sound and relentless pursuit of a better performing instrument, have steered both Don and his growing company (now headed by his son, David) to achieving a solid place in the fickle music products market. Don has truly been a pioneer of his chosen field. Firstly, Sleishman invented what is known as the Twin Pedal for the bass drum. It is now an industry standard. Don was the first to produce a pedal that played with both feet way back in 1968. This pedal allowed drummers to achieve rhythms that were previously unheard of as all bass drum pedals were played with only one foot. Sleishman have just re released a brand new version and are already receiving rave reviews on its performance. Secondly, Sleishman are famous for their patented ‘Free Floating’ or ‘Suspended Shell Drums’ (another innovation that has proven to be a great success for the Sleishman Drum Company). To understand the ‘free floating shell’ concept, it is necessary to try and gain a little knowledge about just how an acoustic drum works. Looking back in history, ethnic, tribal and marching drums were made very simply. The shell is often referred to as the heart of the drum as this is where the majority of the instruments sound is created. The shell was always covered with animal skins, which were stretched over the top by leather twine and rope thus gaining tension enough to produce a desired note. Skins have long been replaced by plastic (mylar) drum heads. As the metal age evolved, the shell then had to take the tension by the means of bolted fittings. This is still the way that most ‘conventional’ drums are constructed today. Unfortunately, by bolting lugs to a drum’s shell, its performance is reduced considerably in 2 ways: 1. The shell’s natural vibration is inhibited. 2. The shell is locked & unable to move in concert with the drumheads’ natural vibrations. This is where Sleishman Drums differ from any others available. With the Sleishman drum, the shell rests inside the skins via a patented suspension system. This allows unsurpassed resonance.

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How and why did Don come up with this invention? He simply observed the natural sound laws that apply to all acoustic musical instruments. He then went about applying logic to create the company’s unique tuning system. All acoustic instruments employ two basic principles for sound production. These are: 1. The Basic Sound Source A. String instruments - The string B. Brass/Woodwind - The mouthpiece C. Drums - The skin

The patented suspension system allows unsurpassed resonance

2. The Acoustic Chamber A. String instruments - Body of instrument B. Brass/Woodwind - The horn/bell C. Drums - Shell Combining the two together gives us the tone that musicians work with to give us the sounds we are used to. The Basic Sound Source is activated (struck, blown or plucked), then the Acoustic Chamber adds the tonal character and amplifies the sound. If the Basic Sound Source (skin) is activated but the Acoustic Chamber (shell) is choked or inhibited in some way, then the sound waves will be interfered with. A more simple approach would be to compare the drum to the violin. The town of Cremona in Italy is famous for its high concentration of violin makers. They have worked painstakingly for years to achieve the perfect marriage between the Basic Sound Source (string) and the Acoustic Chamber (hollow violin body). When achieving the perfect rich sound depends on the tiniest detail, they would never dream of bolting metal fittings into the body. The sound that this would produce would be much like that of a solid body electric guitar without amplification.

Sleishman’s clients include Roger Taylor (Queen), Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting) and Tony Floyd (Men At Work)

By basing this concept over to the modern day acoustic drum, Don was onto something. It was this very train of thought that became evident to him in the early 1970’s. Don held a raw (unpainted and without bolts) drum shell from the inside, on the tip of his thumb. Then he tapped it and found that it gave a warm and resonant tone. By drilling and bolting just one tension block on the shell, he found that the shell lost its tone and resonance. So began Don’s race to develop the world’s first drum tuning

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system without shell-drilled fittings since the African rope drums. Truly a life’s work, the first Sleishman Suspended Shell Drums started making their mark in the late seventies. Drummers were quite stunned to hear a drum that resonated with such clarity and tone that the word soon spread around Sydney, Australia and the globe about these amazing drums from ‘down under’. Constantly re defining his drums, Sleishman attained 3 world-wide patents. The last version (circa 1995) is still the base of Sleishman’s drum design today. Apart from being a world leader in design technology, Sleishman have built a solid reputation through building countless ‘custom’ drum kits that are made to order. It’s a niche business that serves them well as the customer truly receives a one off drum kit that can help them achieve their own ‘signature’ sound and look. From shells to metal work, painting and special design requests, Sleishman cater for a wide array of drummers. Another feather in the Sleishman cap is the fact that they offer their shells in a number of different Australian hardwoods. This has become increasingly popular with their international client base. Woods such as West Australian Jarrah, Cooktown Ironbark and South East Australian Blackwood all have qualities that make excellent sounding instruments. Its about grain structure. A wood needs to be able to resonate at frequencies that allow it to project clear notes. Too soft a wood and you don’t have a note. Too hard a wood and you… don’t have a note. But if you get the mix right somewhere in between, drummers certainly get excited by what they hear. Some of the many drummers that have become Sleishman’s clients include Roger Taylor (Queen), Steve Prestwich (Cold Chisel), Will Calhoun (Living Colour), Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting) and Tony Floyd (Men At Work). With such a great sounding product, expect to see many more famous drummers choosing Sleishman. For more information visit www.sleishman.com.

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Story Miguel Kirjon Photography Cirque du Soleil

evoking the emotions The international success story known as Cirque du Soleil is, above all, the story of a remarkable bond between performers and spectators the world over. For at the end of the day, it is the spectators who spark the creative passions of Cirque du Soleil. It all started in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Quebec City, in Canada. There, in the early eighties, a band of colourful characters roamed the streets, striding on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music. They were Les Échassiers de BaieSaint-Paul (the Baie-Saint-Paul Stiltwalkers), a street theatre group founded by Gilles Ste-Croix. Already, the townsfolk were impressed and intrigued by the young performers – who included one Guy Laliberté who became founder of Cirque du Soleil.

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The troupe went on to found Le Club des talons hauts (the High Heels Club), and then, in 1982, organized La Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul, a cultural event in which street performers from all over met to exchange ideas and enliven the streets of the town for a few days. La Fête foraine was repeated in 1983 and 1984. Le Club des talons hauts attracted notice, and Guy Laliberté, Gilles Ste-Croix and their cronies began to cherish a crazy dream: to create a Quebec circus and take the troupe travelling around the world. In 1984, Quebec City was celebrating the 450th anniversary of Canada’s discovery by Jacques Cartier, and Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun) succeeded in convincing the organizers to book their show. And Cirque du Soleil hasn’t stopped since!

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Cirque is based on a totally new concept: a striking, dramatic mix of the circus arts and street entertainment, featuring wild, outrageous costumes, staged under magical lighting and set to original music. With not a single animal in the ring, Cirque’s difference is clear from the very start. 74

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Upon being hired by Cirque du Soleil, performers come to the Creation Studio at the International Headquarters in Montreal for a few weeks or months of preliminary training before joining a show. Some forty nationalities undergo artistic and acrobatic training while at the Creation Studio. Artistic training includes acting, movement and percussion workshops. Performers come from a variety of backgrounds, including artistic gymnastics, tumbling, acrosport, swimming, diving, dance, singing and music. The Props Workshop is focused both on stage props (acting props, sculptures, mechanics, etc.) and costume accessories (masks, leather and shoe finishes, textured fabrics, etc.). A typical props person needs to be a jack of all trades. In the Cirque du Soleil workshop, props construction is truly a team effort. The props team develops a wide range of prototypes and prop mock-ups, and then carries them through to completion for Cirque du Soleil productions. The team doesn’t work from detailed blueprints, but rather from the (sometimes wild!) visions and ideas of the designers, who oversee the entire construction process.

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All Cirque du Soleil costumes are custom-made and the majority are produced at Cirque du Soleil’s Costume workshop. The workshop, the only one of its kind in North America, employs specialists in fields as varied as shoemaking, textile design, lace-making, wigmaking, patternmaking, costume-making and millinery. In 1984, 73 people worked for Cirque du Soleil. Today, the business has almost 4,000 employees worldwide, including close to 1,000 artists. Close to 80 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil show since 1984. In May 2006, the company announced its intention to develop new markets in Asia, notably by creating a new permanent show in Macau in partnership with Las Vegas Sands. The new show is scheduled to debut in 2008. 78

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In the past few years Cirque du Soleil has been developing business initiatives based on its shows. Through its multimedia division called Cirque du Soleil Images, Cirque creates original and innovative content for television, DVD and film. Cirque du Soleil has also acquired extensive experience in organizing unforgettable private gatherings. Their merchandising division seeks to leverage the unique experience through the development of high quality products which meet the expectations of their fans. With the collaboration of business partners, Cirque du Soleil is developing innovative projects, particularly in the field of hospitality (restaurants, bars, spas, etc.). Through on its own unique approach, Cirque du Soleil extends its creative energy to other types of initiatives in order to create a new form of entertainment. The Revolution Lounge at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas is a case in point.

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Story Miguel Kirjon

mind

Anything is possible Untapped capabilities of human consciousness

‘Anything is possible, everything could be very different.’ This motto represents Harald Wessbecher and he applies this approach of life not only to himself, but has also conveyed it to others in his practical seminars, lectures and numerous books for over twenty five years, through various routes and methods. Although Harald initially worked as an architect, he explored relatively early in life the still untapped capabilities of human consciousness and their use in practical life to achieve greater health, success and quality of life. He believes every person has the ability to expand his awareness and his perception beyond the limits of the physical body, and to therefore intrude into the realms of extrasensory reality. That means to actually perceive what the physical senses can’t experience and to thereby develop abilities such as clairvoyance. Wessbecher developed these skills from childhood through out-of-body experiences and he uses them to enhance his personal life, as well as to provide assistance to the police and mountain patrols when they are searching for missing persons. He also works in scientific research institutes to support selected projects. In his seminars and books he shows how surprisingly quickly almost every person, given the right exercises and proper guidance, can enjoy advanced states of perception. Harald Wessbecher claims that, through controlling our expanded awareness, we also encourage the discharge of strong mental energies, through which we can successfully shape our lives. He calls these energies ‘creative forces of consciousness’, and these, if accordingly bundled and selectively used, can strengthen any aspects of our lives and even attract new or dissolve old ones. He explains in simple terms how we can develop and use these creative qualities of our consciousness to achieve more success in our lives, to heal our relationships and partnerships and to enjoy physical and mental health. “We are more than our bodies. We are eternal consciousness, unlimited and free.” His goal is to remind people to recall their memories and to access the related opportunities readily available. Everyone can live happily and intensely, experience love and joy, if they recognize their true nature and deliberately use their potential. People like Harald Wessbecher were not taken seriously just a few years

ago and they were regarded as an insignificant outgrowth of the esoteric wave. But now he is not only a well established personality in the esoteric/spiritual seminar scene, but also a sought after consultant and seminar leader employed by international companies because he leaves, even in the intellectual and analytical economic world, marks of success. “Anything is possible, everything could be very different.” With this statement he encourages people to look more closely at their lives and to consider leaving worn-out paths. Just to live and to be financially secure, in his view, is insufficient. “Life should touch us deeply, should fill us with enthusiasm and joy. We all want to love, be loved, and to feel alive. When we die and fears of financial security, loneliness and disappointing others lose their importance, we might ask ourselves whether our life really was worthwhile living. Whether we used every single opportunity to enjoy it, or whether we had more ‘important’ things to do. By then it does not matter anymore why we haven’t done that, but only if we did that, and what we actually have experienced and saved forever in our memories.” Although such statements by Harald sound very seriously and intellectually provocative, he himself is a thoroughly cheerful man and is hugely contagious with his lightness of manner. His long, successful career is not immediately apparent when people first meet him. He appears casual and accessible and people tend to listen to him because he exudes exactly what he is talking about: love, joy and intensity. He is seen as a refreshing counterpart to representatives of commonly performance-oriented economic structures, as well as to the often only sweet talking representatives of the esoteric scene. For more information see www.haraldwessbecher.de twinpalms

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Story and Photography Stanley Moss

Classical studies Samples of Italian hospitality in three cities, and three properties that capture their characters In Italy, hospitality is more than a tradition, it is a fine art. So when a hotel brand effectively expresses that beautiful combination, miracles happen. Every Italian city has its own unique character, thus the challenge is a more daunting one: to be faithful to the place, while you deliver a consistent quality hospitality experience. Baglioni Group has created a sensitive strategy for its properties, where the true essence of each city is encouraged to come forth. It’s a philosophy which strikes an elegant balance between beauty, the joy of living, classicism, heritage, service and the all-important location. Through a mix of method, magic and mystery, the delight follows, as a recent look at three of their signature properties in Italy proved. The Carlton Baglioni Milan, the group’s 104-room flagship luxury establishment, is located optimally in a heritage building on the via Senato. It is the only hotel in Milano with a private entrance leading directly onto the via della Spiga. That’s a geographical advantage alone whose value cannot be overstated. Milano, a city driven by the fashion business, is known primarily as a couture capital, an assertion which a walk through the surrounding neighborhood immediately validates. If you seek inspiration, an odyssey of window-shopping lies only steps away, delivering an overwhelming feast of style to nourish the heart and mind. Milano also has la Scala (Baglioni is the official hotel of the famed opera house) and Leonardo’s Last Supper (a tough ticket to obtain, but the concierge can score you last-minute admission into the newly-reopened and restored, climate-controlled sanctuary), but you must first pry yourself away from the Carlton, where comforts are legion and distractions are many. Throughout the hotel, fresh white roses are artfully placed, a signature element of décor, which subtly reinforces the brand promise from property to property. Another design signature capitalizes on the Italian flair for lighting: in this and every other property in Baglioni’s portfolio, illumination figures as a soothing and carefully considered part of the environment. Comfort and elegance are hallmarks of the brand. Anyone from the fashion industry will relish suite 310, whose quiet situation and canopied terrace overlooks the legendary shopping street, far from the traffic noise. The Carlton’s suites feature pleasing dusky green walls, gold and velvet details, luxurious marble baths, and a complete amenity package.

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The Carlton’s bar (hint: quiet on Sundays and Mondays), a sumptuous room with soft couches and low tables, offers signature snacks worth a try (salami, goat cheese, spinach, tomato, smoked salmon); the difficulty being one could easily make a meal of them. Franco, the beverage manager, compounds the problem. You will find him a superior and accommodating host, eager to keep you relaxing in his cosy domain. Far too many temptations abound in the bar, among them a crisp chardonnay from Friuli, nine grappas on display (several varieties from Jacopo Poli and the ever-reliable Nonino) or eponymously named fresh fruit drinks available at Euro 15 a glass: Mauritius (pineapple, papaya, coconut); Zanzibar (watermelon, peach, grapefruit); Ceylon (pineapple, ginger, lime); Sumatra- (kiwifruit, mango, orange); Waikiki (melon, strawberries, blueberries); Giava (pineapple, melon, lime). Gabriel, the barman, discreetly turned his eyes away as I grabbed for a greedy handful from the great heap of milk and dark branded Caffarel chocolates spilling out onto the bar from an elegant glass globe. It’s advisable to devote some time and attention to the Baretto Ristorante, a Milano landmark itself, now residing in the corner of the Carlton’s building, with its entry just off the bar. Baretto was an established dining room elsewhere in the neighbourhood, who Baglioni invited to reopen on premises as a joint venture. Politicians, models, international VIPs and local luminaries favour the restaurant, both for its menu and welcome. You might discover meaty cerignola-style olives from Venezia on your table, or request the tuna tartare, which is superb. An artichoke and shrimp salad accompanied by a glass of crisp Pio Cesare chardonnay is another worthy choice to sample at lunch. From the end of May until early October, on Wednesday nights from 1 to 5 p.m., the Carlton turns its outdoor public terrace into an exclusive aperitivo bar, welcoming only a select number of guests. This would be an ideal location and elegant setting for a chic business rendezvous, a romantic tryst, a high-power reception or glass of Franciacorta taken before your evening’s activity. As a footnote, Milano is deserted from August 12 to 22, which might be an excellent week to drop in when the hustle-bustle is reduced. For those in search of a luxury spa, look no further than the Carlton’s lobby, where Guerlain recently launched the first of its elegant new centers in Italy. Guerlain custom tailors each programme, personalizing for its guests the ultimate well-being experience. twinpalms

In Italy, hospitality is more than a tradition, it is a fine art

Milano, a city driven by the fashion business, is known primarily as a couture capital, an assertion which a walk through the surrounding neighborhood immediately validates

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The Carlton is not flashy or trendy; it is calm, classic and comfortable and in the truest sense of the word cool. It will always be. The Carlton is not about advertising yourself, it is about enjoying yourself. Carpe diem, as they say.

If Milano is a city of fashion and business, Venezia is a city of history

In Firenze the real city lives in the streets

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If Milano is a city of fashion and business, Venezia is a city of history. Here Luna Hotel Baglioni delivers the essence of the place, 65 rooms in the oldest hotel in Venezia, a palazzo dating back to the 12th century. The entry way, just across the passage from the door to the legendary Harry’s Bar, is gondola-accessible, so your water taxi can bring you swiftly to up a little-travelled canal to Luna’s private front door. A second entrance on the opposite side of the lobby leads to a narrow shopping street and vaporetto stop, where you have the opportunity to ogle the latest from Missoni, or ponder the endless possibilities of elegant made-to-order Italian shirtings in a fine tailor’s window. A half-minute away are the western portals leading to Piazza San Marco. You are no more than a five-minute walk over small, picturesque bridges to la Fenice, the legendary opera house. You can cross the Rialto Bridge on foot in about 15 minutes. A recent refurbishment means the Luna boasts the ultimate in posh lodgings, with attention to the finest details: one lovely touch are discreet reading lamps nearly invisible on the classical headboards. Luna’s duallevel Presidential Suite is another major plus, a favoured location for private meetings (Nelson Mandela slept here), with a private terrace overlooking the lagoon. This hotel is not young and hip; rather it is classic and timeless. The repeating black motif adds a hint of Venice’s mystery, and the suggestion of Carnivale masques: black Murano chandeliers, black uniforms, black-wrapped amenities, offset by the ubiquitous white rose signature which I came to recognize and appreciate in all the properties visited. Luna is certainly about taste, texture, colour and ambience. But Luna is also about service. I am, by nature, a demanding customer, testing the limits of my hosts wherever I go. I am relentless, probing, and do not take particularly well to the word ‘No’ as an answer. But all requests were possible with Luna’s master concierge Antonio Massari, whose elegance, grace, charm and prodigious knowledge were able to meet my every inquiry. The man is uncanny, a mindreader, an encyclopedia of Venezia, and a tireless friend at the ready to go the extra distance to make a guest feel informed, prepared and at home. Case in point: five years earlier I had purchased some Italian handkerchiefs (fazzolette) at an obscure store somewhere in the Venetian back streets I could not remember. Antonio knew. Knew the name (Stylmann), knew the owners, knew the tiny neighbourhood where they could be found. I asked for the name of a top-grade Murano glass artisan: Antonio had printouts the next time I passed his desk. I challenge any other concierge in Venezia to demonstrate twinpalms

such laser vision or specialist knowledge, delivered with such aplomb, gentility and humanity. He could be the finest concierge I have ever met in all my travels. Hats off to him. The Luna is home to the 65-seat Canova Restaurant, domain of the celebrated chef Giampaolo Cosimo, whose expert variations on traditional regional fare prove to be another high point of the Luna experience. The menu changes three times a year. To the accompaniment of harp music, under the soft light of an ornate glass chandelier, white rose on the table top, I perused the expanse of fine wines, a list assembled in partnership with Frescobaldi. It was too daunting. The sommelier guided me to an aperitivo of local Prosecco, followed by a bottle of 2003 Russolo Chardonnay, a wine that rivalled its white Burgundian cousins, but with a chalkiness, buttery palate and character of its own. And then began the meal. Chef Cosimo first sent out an amuse bouche of shrimp and melon, dribbled in balsamic vinegar, adorned with dill sprig. Next he produced an assorted fish appetizer consisting of lobster, schie and polenta (tiny local shrimp from the lagoon, a Venetian standard), a scallop done to the perfect temperature, a dollop of tuna tartar with cream, shrimp in pastry, accompanied by long stem capers and a medley of greens: watercress, parsley, rugola and dill. That would have been enough, but Venice is opulent by nature, and Cosimo is an artist. For the pasta course he soon delivered a risotto with scampi, prepared in a fish broth, a dish of perfect consistency, superior, so good it could have been a dessert. Cosimo could not restrain himself, next proffering sea bass done to perfection, falling off the skin, accompanied by artichoke, zucchini, carrots, and potato. The dessert course became a test of bravery, for only the heroic could choose from three chocolate mousse flavors, Tiramissou, ricotta cheese cake, pear tart or zabaglione. Should you take a sweet, do not ignore the vin santo. Another piece of good news: the same kitchen supplies Luna’s room service, with some smaller items available, but still an astounding possibility. Mention also needs to be made of breakfast in the Marco Polo room, a theatrical experience in a vaulted space decorated with monumental murals attributed to the school of Tiepolo. It’s impossible to feel anything but privileged when you start your day in such an opulent setting. The Luna is a top-grade luxury property, with every comfort and outstanding service, set in a brilliant location. But it is largely about the ability to time-travel, for Luna’s personality allows you to feel the history and culture of Venezia in an immediate, genuine way. I think the word here is authenticity, the actual, traditional, real Venetian

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experience, which this unique destination exclusively provides. There is no better way to meet La Serenissima than from this wonderful property as your base of operations. It takes very little time in Firenze to understand that the real city lives in the streets. Within the teeming centre, navigable by foot, you find exceptional art – known and undiscovered – of the Renaissance. Alternately, you can shop to exhaustion, seek out leatherwork or artisan ceramics from Deruta, peruse the couture stores, or browse the boutique windows for silver and gold jewellery, punctuating it all with unforgettable meals at legendary trattorias. Or simply find an outdoor table and bear witness to the pulsing energy of the city that spills out onto the sidewalks. Hotel Bernini Palace, a supremely comfortable luxury property sits at the epicentre, Piazza della Signoria, housed in a fifteenth-century building lovingly restored to modern grandeur. It’s an amazing neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from everything. The property provides an elegant bedroom for the discriminating traveller, in a structure which was once (1865–70) the parliamentary seat of the kingdom. Today, Bernini’s typical Tuscan floors of terracotta tile, its coffered ceilings, rich fabrics and four-poster beds evoke memories of elegant days past.

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Ceramic heads from the Teatro Verdi have been added to the lobby décor, an interesting and unusual detail at the ceiling line above the reception desk. You quickly realize that the hotel is a welcoming and comfortable refuge after the day’s activities on the cobblestone streets, which can be strenuous. The Bernini lobby is home to the Brunello lounge bar, a cosmopolitan meeting point, which suits a number of needs: quick snack, aperitif, chill out zone or dining solution. Tucked in among the gold-leafed urns, you’ll find it easy to relax in the graceful ambience where traditional Tuscan furniture blends in with contemporary design. There’s endless people-watching available through the windows. Granted, there are many fine restaurants in Florence, but Chef Walter Ferrario has created an international menu, which changes on a monthly basis, bringing together both national and international cuisine concepts. You might sample anything from tapas to local appetizers. Another plus is afternoon tea accompanied by homebaked cakes. The Bernini’s bedrooms are up to the usual Baglioni standards, with elegant appointments, wifi, spacious marble baths, superior amenities. In the area of the hotel where I stayed, a light-filled lounge has been created, with comfortable seating, drinks and snacks set out on

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Statue in Firenze p

Typical old town house wall in Venezia twinpalms

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an ornate tabletop, another oasis from the demanding life outside. Breakfast in the Sala Parlamento proves to be a unique experience as well. Between 1865 and 1870, the Bernini in fact served as the seat of the parliament of the young Kingdom of Italy, when Firenze was capital. Today the elegant chamber’s parquet floors, 30 ft ceilings with fresco portraits, wicker furniture rendered in yellow, cream and gold reveals the original style of this room. Your breakfast is arrayed on linen and white china, offset with classic silver, and the white rose centrepiece. It’s a breakfast experience unlike any other, and sets the tone for your day’s activity. The Corsini Room is available for functions of up to 35 seats. There’s an exclusive private parking garage, which is a real plus for those touring Toscana by car. Firenze is mostly about art and shopping, two arduous interests requiring stamina and a calming place to rest. The Bernini is the perfect lodging solution, with its central location, comfort and discretion, operated under the highest standards of service. It’s a superior place for either business or leisure travelers to call home while sampling the delights of this exhausting world capital of Renaissance art. What’s in the future for Baglioni? I had the opportunity to query Luca Magni, the group’s senior VP, during a long conversation over a typically extended lunch in Milano. I wondered how the chain had achieved such a high standard, with such a broad reach. After all, these are smaller properties in highly competitive markets. To achieve success, incredible sensitivities must be in place company-wide. Magni replied that the group works hard on cross-border understanding, one of the critical keys. To the rest of the world, Italy represents beauty, the joy of life, and the mindset “not to be too worried”. This is not to say every experience needs to be light-hearted, but Baglioni’s corporate culture recognizes that life is there to be savoured, and Italians have refined every aspect of living. Baglioni epitomizes this imprint. In order to be sure its “cross-culture” programme worked, management studied the major behaviour of each target demographic who come to the properties. Staff were trained to recognize the particular needs of many groups, and how to respond appropriately, an enormously successful outreach that has contributed to the increase in repeat traffic. It was not only a recognition of nationalities which created the unique ambience. Baglioni also instituted a Women Traveller Alone programme, tailored to the unique needs of this growing demographic. Special attention is paid to amenities, in-room check in, affordable room service, best seating

for those dining alone, preferential room placement near elevators and the all-important staff sensitivity training. To aid the process, Baglioni has two psychologists in the Human Resources area, dedicated to monitoring high level hiring to locate the best-suited people. I asked Mr Magni where Baglioni wanted to go with new locations and he revealed that two properties already in the pipeline are Budapest, opening in 2007, a 62-room property with two restaurants, plus a renovated Ottomanera spa with hammam; and a new construction of only 100 rooms in Dubai’s financial district, slated to open in 2008. The company is now actively looking for New York and Paris locations. It’s a courageous plan, jumping into markets with so many able players already established. But Baglioni brings a singular Italian stile di vita to everything it does, and that should put the fear into any of their worthy competitors.

Italians have refined every aspect of living

Carlton Hotel Baglioni Via Senato, 5 20121 Milano Telephone 39 02 77-077 carlton.milano@baglionihotels.com Luna Hotel Baglioni San Marco, 1243 30124 Venezia Telephone 39 041 52-89-840 luna.venezia@baglionihotels.com Hotel Bernini Palace Piazza San Firenze, 9 50122 Firenze Telephone 39 055 28-86-21 bernini.firenze@baglionihotels.com

Firenze is mostly about art and shopping, two arduous interests requiring stamina and a calming place to rest

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Story and Illustration Miguel Kirjon

food

An innovative creative challenge for chefs Would anyone care for some snail’s egg caviar? Caviar and champagne are usually reserved for special occasions in France, whereas ‘escargots’ (snails) are commonly served in garlic and parsley butter and enjoyed by a large number of the population. However, an enterprising pair of snail farmers from Soissons, in the Picardie region located northeast of Paris, have discovered a way to combine caviar and snails. Their snail caviar, named ‘De Jaeger’, became available in October 2007. In the eighties, some French people began enjoying snail eggs, but the idea did not become popular. A couple – Dominique and Sylvie Pierru – gave up their regular jobs as construction worker and market stallholder in 2004 to establish a snail farm and they began to develop the idea of producing snail caviar. Dominique and Sylvie devoted the next three years to perfecting ways of harvesting eggs from their large population – fifty thousand – gastropoids. Living outdoors, the creatures were provided with a diet of herbs and cereals, all designed to tenderize the snails without changing the taste. The resulting caviar, according to the producers, can be described as having ‘subtle autumn flavours with woody notes’. Laurent Couegnas is the Head Chef and owner of the ‘Escargot Montorgeuil restaurant in Paris, which is one of just a few establishments where guests can enjoy this delicacy. He says that he had previously tasted snail caviar and thought it was boring. “But when Dominique let me taste his product, it was something different, slightly salty, but very interesting.” The recommended way of serving the caviar is lightly peppered with a dab of sour cream on a tiny slice of toast. It should be at room temperature and a glass of chilled champagne is the perfect accompaniment. Upon returning from a French ‘food salon’, Dominique Pierru reported that the feedback had been ninety five percent positive. “People say that it’s totally different from sturgeon caviar in taste and appearance. Chefs seem to be enjoying the creative challenge that this product offers them. They like the colour, texture and subtle flavour.”

creamy celeriac puree and a milk and courgette mousse. This should be garnished with fresh coriander leaves and some toasted rosemary brioche. A batch of caviar is sometimes produced by snail farmers, but the eggs have a brittle, slippery shell in their raw state. Pasteurisation is believed by some to spoil their flavour, but this technique is employed to preserve the eggs. The variety of snail that Dominique uses is the ‘Petit Gris’, a plump, grey North African breed. Thousands of them are placed in a nursery and they lay approximately one hundred small eggs each once a year, in one time. Dominique feeds the snails on powdered cereal and green leaves until they produce a small batch of tiny white eggs, resembling small pearls. The eggs are then tenderized by a secret process before being plunged into brine with an added dash of rosemary essence. The jars are then stored, unpasteurized, for three months. Dominique Pierru claims that they are the only snail farmers producing caviar in this way. He is proud of the way that the couple has developed the procedure from scratch. He explains that the gathering of the tiny eggs – each only about three or four millimeters in diameter – is a precarious job, for which custom-made ‘egg traps’ have to be used. The entire production process is done by hand from beginning to end, which justifies the high cost of the eggs. Although snails are hermaphrodites – meaning that they have both male and female sex organs – and all can lay eggs, their breeding must be intensified so that caviar can be produced all year round.

Only 100 eggs a year

Subtle autumn flavours with woody notes

Everything is done by hand

Snails have both male and female sex organs

The snails languish in a climate controlled environment with a steady temperature of twenty degrees centigrade (sixty eight degrees fahrenheit). The humidity level is eighty percent and eighteen hours of sunlight is simulated. This optimal atmosphere encourages the snails to produce more eggs. Selected restaurants are supplied by the Pierrus and orders are now being received from Japan, Australia and Belgium. Rising demand and a limited supply mean that a jar of 120 grams costs about US$ 290.

A renowned chef from Luxembourg, Joel Schaeffer, also describes the taste as being woody and salty. He adds that there is also a hint of rosemary, which makes the caviar combine well with nutty ingredients like truffles. “This is interesting because it’s completely new. A lot of people don’t enjoy regular caviar, but they do like the snail caviar.” According to Joel Schaeffer, ways of serving the caviar include warm in a celeriac soup, or with a morsel of truffle in a glass dish that is layered with 92

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Story and Photography Simpson Marine

boating

Riding the wave of success in Asia Beneteau is taking the region by storm as demand for their sail and motor models takes off Beneteau may be the world’s leading builder of sailing yachts, but the popular French manufacturer is anything but plain sailing in Asia. Rather, Beneteau is taking the region by storm as demand for their sail and motor models takes off… as fast as their stylish new high-speed sports boats!

nominated for the title of European Yacht of the Year, the judging panel announced ‘Beneteau’ the winner, creating a special award in recognition of Beneteau’s commitment to innovation, technology and development.

It is not really surprising Beneteau has become so popular in Asia. It has, after all, been a leading French manufacturer for more than a century and is the world’s largest sailboat builder, with 20 facilities around the world and 6,000 employees – 80 per cent are based in France. Today, Beneteau produces over 40 different models of sailing yachts and power boats from more than six different ranges. There’s a wide selection which can seem quite daunting to the first-time buyer – cruising yachts, racing hulls, racing-cruisers, cruiser-racers... and that’s just the sailing boats which Beneteau is most famous for. The power range is just as comprehensive.

SAIL: Beneteau First 50 Since its launch in 2006, the First 50 (15m) and new flagship of the popular Beneteau First series has won several design awards and was named ‘Best Boat for 2007’ by SAIL Magazine in the USA. The first unit arrived in Asia earlier this year and another is set to follow in 2008. This model is the ideal racer-cruiser.

According to Grant Saunders at Simpson Marine, (www. simpsonmarine.com) Beneteau’s exclusive representative, Asia is an important emerging market for Beneteau and there is a growing demand for their yachts which are prized for their cutting-edge design and robust construction. “Over 8 new models have been sold to local buyers around the region over the past twelve months – an increase of 100% compared to the same period last year.” “We are seeing a number of significant arrivals from across the various Beneteau ranges, including the flagship Beneteau First 50 and Beneteau Oceanis 50; sold into Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia,” says Grant. “There was also a significant purchase of ten Beneteau First 40.7 units by the China Cup International Regatta earlier this year – the first significant yacht purchase of its type from China – where the yachts were used by teams from around the world in a special One Design Class. The event, held over three days, was the first big sailing event ever held in China and follows other successful sailing regattas events in the region, like the Kings Cup in Phuket.” In Phuket, the local sailing scene is dominated by Beneteau’s. In the last Kings Cup, over fourteen of the sailing yachts contesting the prestigious trophy were Beneteau models.

A leading French manufacturer for more than a century

Some of the popular models:

SAIL: Beneteau First 40.7 The First 40.7 is an exceptional performance-yacht with a proven design and impressive racing record. There are over 700 First 40.7 yachts around the world making waves on the racing circuit – the internationally renowned offshore Sydney to Hobart Race was won by a Beneteau First 40.7 in 2003.

The world’s largest sailboat builder

SAIL: Beneteau Oceanis 50 The Oceanis 50 (15m) is the impressive flagship yacht of the Beneteau ‘Oceanis Range’ which has become hugely popular internationally, with over 100 yachts sold since its launch at the Paris Boat Show 2005. More creature comforts than the First 50. POWER: Beneteau Flyer 12 The fast Flyer 12 is a multi-function high-speed sportsboat that offers high speed, long-range ability, with easy maneuvering, and comfort at sea or at anchor – the hull has been designed specifically for the new Volvo IPS propulsion system. It is ideal for activities like waterskiing / wakeboarding. POWER: Bénéteau Flyer 750 The Flyer 750 Open model has the unique Air Step© technology to soften the ride in choppy seas, increase stability and reduce consumption. It has superb décor and is ideal for water sports, like wakeboarding and water-skiing, a recent acquisition of this superb model has been made by Twinpalms Phuket and is branded as “Catch One”.

In Europe, Beneteau continues to win accolades and was named ‘European Boatyard of the Year’ at the ‘European Yacht of the Year’ Awards earlier this year. While both the First 34.7 and First 50 models were 94

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Story Miguel Kirjon Photography Felix Bergmeister

travel

Felix Bergmeister rides around the world Ultra-triathlon champion on a ‘Long Way Round’ odyssey

Champion of a 38 km swim followed by a 1800 km bike ride and topped by a 422 km run

As did Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman before their Long Way Round odyssey, former world triathlon champion Felix Bergmeister decided that his own ‘neighbourhood’ wasn’t big enough, so he went on a ride around the world.

support UNICEF. After years of competing I have good connections in the media and they write about me. That way I can help people understand how much help is needed. I act as a spokesman and try to persuade individuals and companies to support UNICEF.”

It’s hard to imagine just how fit you have to be to compete in ‘ultra-triathlons’ such as the 10 times Ironman event, which Felix won in 2004. Picture this for a minute: it took him 13 days and nights of continuous effort to finish the world’s longest and toughest multi-sport event consisting of a 38 kilometre swim followed by an 1800 kilometre bike ride and topped by a 422 kilometre run! “It was worthwhile in many aspects. Crossing the finish line of this race gave me the necessary power and strength to leave all the comfort behind and set sail for a challenge that would surely bring up one question: Will it make me or break me?”

Practical preparation included finding the right bike. Felix wanted a “strong, sturdy and reliable machine” and bought a BMW R 80 GS Basic from a woman doctor in Vienna. Felix explained: “The flat-twin engine is extremely reliable and its two-carburetor set-up is simple to repair. A good rear shock and forks were already standard. For the worst roads around the world 50 hp does the job perfectly. I just added an oil cooler – centrally mounted behind the forks. I also changed the original beautiful gas tank for a 32-litre version. This gave me a range of 500 kilometres.”

Only a select handful of athletes could even contemplate entering an athletic event such as this, but 29-year-old Felix Bergmeister believes it was great preparation for his 2-year around the world tour. It started at the UNICEF Info Centre in Vienna, Austria, in October 2006, on a BMW R 80 GS motorbike.

“You can end up going round a ‘motocross track’ not able to circumnavigate obstacles because land-mines beside the road force you to ride in a rut” - Felix Bergmeister

His fame as an ultratriathlete is very rewarding but humanity is more important than personal objectives

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On a boat to Panama q q

Road in Namibia q q q

Over the Austrian Alps 96

Surprisingly, it took Felix nine years to fulfill his dream of an around the world ride. Obviously, it wasn’t fitness that was the problem, so why did it take so long? “I believe that luck favours the prepared,” said Felix. “As an ultratriathlete, racing distances 10 times those of Ironman events, good preparation is always crucial. And this became even more important for a motorbike trip around the world. Any endurance race – no matter how tough it is – still gives you some sort of safety margin. Being out there solo on the bike, crossing rivers in the Congo or being held up by AK 47 carrying militias in Nigeria, there is no security. The rules you live by at home don’t mean anything out on the road, so preparation becomes important and enables you to assess the risks, figure out what could happen in whichever country and make an action plan just in case it does! Of course, there were other more pressing objectives and Felix is acutely aware that, in many aspects of his life, he has been lucky. His fame as an ultra-triathlete is very rewarding but humanity is more important than personal objectives. “We should share our luck,” said Felix with some intensity, “especially with those that need it the most - the children of Third World countries. That’s why I twinpalms

Once he had the bike, Felix needed to become as proficient at off-road riding as his aptitude allowed. He immediately signed-up for BMW’s training course at the company’s off-road facility at Hechlingen in Germany. “With the help of great instructors I quickly saw my weakness at close-quarter maneuvering,” Felix admitted. “After only two hours I developed a new feeling for the bike – you often get into critical situations on a motorcycle – but a rider who knows how to handle the bike will always get there in the end.” And get there he did. “Crossing Europe was beautiful but the roads of Africa were the biggest fun,” said Felix. “Traffic is unpredictable but people take care not to hit you. The secret is communication. People look at each other, use their horns, and shout!” Congo and Angola were different. Felix explained: “You can end up going round a ‘motocross track’ not able to circumnavigate obstacles because land-mines beside the road force you to ride in a rut.”

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However, Felix prefers to remember beauty rather than banality: “Riding through Africa was a marvelous experience to me. To see the change of the landscape all the way from the Sahara to the deep rainforests in equatorial Africa and the Kalahari Desert in Namibia was unmatched so far. Namibia has the most scenic landscapes I have ever seen.” “All over Africa I was always treated with respect and in a very friendly way. Even in places where people would tell me not to go, the experience was fine. I came to the city of Calabar in the south of Nigeria. Cash machines were not working because there was no power in the whole

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city. Fuel was not available and you could only get it via the black market.” “In order to change money I ended up in a garage guarded by private gunmen. The whole scene was looking dangerous. The guy wanted to see all my cash and then he offered me a bad rate. So what to do – lose a lot of money or try to become his friend? I went for the second option. After telling him how bad it is that the people of Nigeria have to suffer so much due to having no power and fuel in the city and that no proper steps are taken by the government to help them out, he turned nice. We shook hands and the gunmen started laughing.” “Needless to say, I got a good exchange rate as well. It depends so much on how you ‘step up’ to people. If you show respect you normally get respect back. Most outstanding was probably the village chief in Gabon. He and his people blocked the road to make me stop so that they could invite me for drinks and food.” Upon his arrival in Buenos Aires in Argentina, South C America, Felix didn’t speak any Spanish at all and he M expected difficulties during travel. “Conversation,” Felix Y says, “is always the key to a country and its local culture, so traveling is much more rewarding when you are able CM to properly talk to the people.” However, the South MY Americans he met also saw it that way and they took every opportunity to teach him Spanish. Truck drivers, CY policemen, restaurant owners, mechanics and others did CMY their best to help him become familiar with the Spanish language and they involved him in conversations as K much as possible! “It was such a great experience how locals appreciated that I came to visit them on a bike from such a distant place and how hard I tried to adapt to their culture.” Although there are quite a lot of tourists in South America, Felix got the impression that most people particularly enjoy meeting bikers. It seemed that it is always something special for them when a foreigner on a motorbike stops at their place. Even in big cities like Buenos Aires, where people are used to both foreigners and bikers, they still came up to him and wished him a safe journey. Sometimes he even got discounts on accommodation just for traveling on a bike. What advice would he give anyone considering a global trip? “Do they really want to do it? It takes commitment to turn the key and ride the long way round. It might be the experience of somebody’s life but it also means leaving comfort behind. Things like solitude or fear have to be coped with. When you are ready to face these things, then it is time to go.”

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