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People/Style/Culture/Art

CRAFT Handmade Fashion. Chats with Flavie Audi, Khaled el Mays, Salim Azzam and StĂŠphanie Cachard. San Francisco Trek

no.93 February/March/April '18 LL10,000


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FAKHRY BEY STREET, Beirut Souk AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, Antelias

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93 No.

February/March/April 2018

Inside

The Craft Issue

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FRONT / 42 Who’s Who / 44 Editor’s Letter The inspiration behind this issue / 46

Contributors A brief selection / 52 Labors of Love Celebrating artists who work with

their hands / 74 In Focus Where we are this season / 92 Objects of Desire The bags and shoes on our wish list / 104 In the Studio with Tessa and Tara Sakhi /110 Handcrafted Treasures Honoring craft techniques on the runway / 116 A Family Affair Maria

Cristina Buccellati on tradition and business / 118 Making a Sound Lawrence Abu

Hamdan and protest music / 122 Subject In Conversation with Anastasia Nysten /

124 Make Me a Wardrobe What’s in our closets / 132 Magic Trick Trendy pieces to

covet / FASHION / 146 The Handmaid’s Tale Shot by Conrado Veliz, styled by Carrie

Weidner / 156 Underground Nina shot by Aly Saab and styled by Joe Arida / FEATURES

/ 170 Proper Power San Francisco’s brand-new design hotel / 174 Crystalline Cuts Flavie Audi’s otherworldly creations / 180 Crafting the Artistic City New York’s

public art / 186 Personal Touch The customer as the creator / 190 Tomorrow’s

Collectibles Mawsam’s handmade pieces / 192 Four Seasons in a Day The hotel that


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entertains from morning to night / 196 Trader Empires Vladimir Antaki’s guardians /

PLAYGROUND / 208 Where We’re Eating / 214 On Food The year’s trendiest desserts

/ 216 On Happiness Get crafty to get happy / 218 Where We’re Detoxing / 220 On

Drink Château Kefraya’s Comte de M / 222 Where We’re Drinking / 226 Take Me to

North Beach San Francisco’s extraordinary neighborhood / 230 Where We’re Staying

/ THE END / 232 The Last Page Why we love Beirut

People/Style/Culture/Art

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CRAFT Handmade Fashion. Chats with Flavie Audi, Khaled el Mays, Salim Azzam and Stéphanie Cachard. San Francisco Trek

no.93 February/March/April '18 LL10,000

On the Cover We are blurring the lines between art and fashion, incorporating craft in our designs and celebrating the uniqueness of handmade couture. It’s the artisan’s era. Our cover girl is Callie Dixon wearing Prada. Shot in New York City by Conrado Veliz / Styling by Carrie Weidner


People/Style/Culture/Art Publisher Tony SalamĂŠ Group TSG SAL

Editor-in-chief Marwan Naaman

Creative director MĂŠlanie Dagher

Senior art and production director Maria Maalouf Associate editor Rayane Abou Jaoude Coordinating editor Sophie Nahas Junior digital editor Nour Saliba

In-house fashion photographer Raya Farhat 42

Senior photo editor Fadi Maalouf

Feature photographers

Salma Abdelnour

Jimmy Dabbagh

Contributing writers Tracy Lynn Chemaly Sophy Grimshaw Karim Hussain

Michael Karam Niku Kasmai Shirine Saad Folio artist

Vladimir Antaki

Fashion photographers Aly Saab

Conrado Veliz

Lord Ashbury Tony Elieh

Bachar Srour Stylists

Joe Arida

Carrie Weidner Illustrator

Maria Khairallah

Advertising director Melhem Moussallem Advertising manager Stephanie Missirian

Chief marketing director Karine Abou Arraj Printing Dots: The Art of Printing

Responsible director Nasser Bitar

140 El Moutrane St., Fourth Floor, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon tel. 961.1.974.444, a@aishti.com, aishtiblog.com


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Skills and Thrills What defines luxury in the 21st century? There’s certainly a resurgent appreciation for handcrafted items, pieces that are made by skilled artisans, using traditional craft techniques and exuding both identity and know-how. In The Craft Issue of A Mag, we take a look at local and international designers, artists and creators who use their hands to produce incredible works. View Flavie Audi’s celestially inspired objects, touch Anastasia Nysten’s fantastical furniture pieces, wear Buccellati’s bespoke jewelry and admire the breathtaking art installations dotting various parts of Manhattan. When it’s made by hand, it inevitably comes from the heart. Marwan Naaman @marwannaaman


Contributors

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Conrado Veliz Photographer Conrado Veliz has been fascinated with fashion symbolism since a very early age. After studying advertising, he moved to New York City to pursue fashion photography. His images are filled with a youthful but sophisticated feel, creating powerful stories with both a lively and minimalist approach. His photography has been featured in Elle, Vogue, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, the Louvre Museum in Paris and Basel Scope Art Fair in Miami. Check out his shoot for A Mag on page 146.

Christian Abouhaidar Makeup artist Christian Abouhaidar transformed his lifelong fascination with painting and color into a career revolving around an artistic approach to beauty. Inspired by effortless European elegance and driven by the expressive and therapeutic power of makeup, Abouhaidar uses a more feminine, naturallooking effect in his work, which has been featured in several publications and television programs, as well as with brands like Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani and La Mer. Check out his work on page 156.

Tracy Lynn Chemaly Tracy Lynn Chemaly is a lifestyle writer based between Mexico City and Cape Town. Having worked in South Africa’s design industry for a number of years, her passion for promoting time-honored craft and traditional skills inspire her work. The work of the hand – be it in fashion, food or furniture – excites her almost as much as ice cream, of which she can never have enough. She was previously Managing Editor at Condé Nast House & Garden and Gourmet magazines, and ran South Africa’s Business of Design conference and Design Network Africa, a program linking product designers across the African continent. Read her piece about personalized fashion on page 186.

Carrie Weidner Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, fashion stylist Carrie Weidner moved to New York City after studying in Wisconsin and Paris, and spent several years as a fashion assistant for the likes of Vogue Italia and Dior. In her work, she explores elements of color, shape, texture and details to create a character and tell a story, while reflecting her love for art, photography, cinema and dance. She’s worked with Teen Vogue, Interview Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Helmut Lang and others. See her styling for A Mag on page 146.


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LABORS OF LOVE Words Rayane Abou Jaoude

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Photography Jimmy Dabbagh


“That’s the thing with handmade items. They still have the person’s mark on them, and when you hold them, you feel less alone,” wrote American novelist Aimee Bender. Here at A Mag, we couldn’t agree more. This issue, we celebrate the craftsmen and women, artists, jewelry-makers, architects and designers who work with their hands to create inimitable pieces. We bring you their stories.

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STÉPHANIE CACHARD

JEWELRY DESIGNER Stéphanie Cachard joined her family-owned jewelry atelier in 2009 before earning a diploma in diamond grading from the GIA School in Florence. By 2014, she had launched her own brand and set up a showroom in Beirut, with each piece handcrafted in the city by local artisans using responsibly sourced precious metals and stones. Her advice to young designers goes something like this: “I am lucky to be surrounded by very skilled local artisans who guide and advise me. This would be a good starting point.”

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When are you most inspired? There is no key moment for that, I think it’s mostly trial and error What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? My grandmother’s chocolate mousse Your most embarrassing moment A wardrobe malfunction at a poker table What is your earliest memory? Commercials playing repeatedly on TV How would you like to be remembered? I would just like to be remembered What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? I’ll try anything once Your favorite Beirut street Arax Street


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ABDUL RAHMAN KATANANI

INSTALLATION ARTIST AND SCULPTOR Having grown up in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp, 34-year-old Abdul Rahman Katanani’s foray into art began at a young age, when he started painting the harsh realities of living in the impoverished area. His works reflect feelings of both suffering and endurance, utilizing the camp’s material – tin and cardboards, old clothes and utensils – in his installations. “The most I was inspired was, and still is, in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp,” Katanani says.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? Everything, but the best was when I found myself totally devoted to my art Your most embarrassing moment It was when I was at the Fine Arts college, and I asked my parents for money to buy oil colors What is your earliest memory? When we were taking shelter under the JVC buildings in Corniche el Mazraa, and I went on a walk with my father late at night. I asked him why the clouds looked red, and he looked at the sky and said, “I don’t know.” But I felt how hard it was for him How would you like to be remembered? I don’t know, but I’m searching to be effective. I leave this answer for the people What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? There is always a solution, but we have to work and search for it wisely A word of advice to young designers Be yourself, and go crazy with your art Your favorite Beirut street Sabra Street

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SALIM AZZAM

STORYTELLER AND ILLUSTRATOR Salim Azzam uses his design and illustration skills to document spoken traditional stories and local customs from the village. As a storyteller, he uses fashion as a means of communication, and his work centers on the representation of these stories in a different context through handembroidered designs and illustrations, allowing craftsmen to tell their own stories with their needles and threads. He feels most inspired in the mornings, at his mother’s house in the mountains. 58

What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? Use my environment as a starting point for all my work Your most embarrassing moment I was communicating with a person by email for a while thinking it was a girl. He turned out to be a guy What is your earliest memory? I drew a self-portrait while I was in kindergarten and the teacher really appreciated the work How would you like to be remembered? By the impact that I had on people through my work What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? Be true to yourself A word of advice to young designers Do what you’re best at Your favorite Beirut street Pharaon Street in Mar Mikhael


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CARL AND CHRISTELLE BARDAWIL FOUNDERS OF WABU

Brother-sister duo Carl and Christelle Bardawil create sustainable furniture pieces handcrafted entirely from reclaimed wood. The pieces’ imperfections are preserved, combined with innovation and functionality, much like Beirut. Each collection is limited by the amount of wood they were able to source, and combined with the artisan crafting process, each finished product makes for a unique piece of furniture. Carl also manages design house Kitmo, and Christelle is an interior architect.

When are you most inspired? We get inspiration from our travels, discoveries and passion for welldesigned products What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? Carl: My first painting. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing but it felt great Christelle: A collection of clothing created from scratch with no experience whatsoever Your most embarrassing moment Carl: I once arrived at a so-called party dressed accordingly, but I had completely misunderstood; it turned out to be a Thanksgiving dinner, and the whole family was suited up Christelle: Once at a glamorous party, I accidently burned the tablecloth How would you like to be remembered? Carl: As someone who implemented the “street art” movement in oldfashioned industries Christelle: Full of life What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? Carl: Don’t make excuses, there is always another perspective Christelle: There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Stay positive A word of advice to young designers Carl: Ask questions, try new things, don’t think too much Christelle: Stay open to new ideas, and keep challenging yourself Your favorite Beirut street Carl: The narrow alleyways of Mar Mikhael Christelle: Paris Street, Corniche el Mazraa

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KHALED EL MAYS ARCHITECT AND DESIGNER

Khaled el Mays’ work centers on multiplicity and repetition. He launched his debut collection, Rhizomes, in 2013, and is the founder of Atelier Khaled el Mays, a multi-disciplinary design studio focused on furniture design, interior architecture and graphics in space. His works are produced by local craftsmen in the Bekaa Valley and are manufactured with the best suppliers. His favorite Beirut street? “Abdel Wahab and the surrounding area; so many well-kept architectural treasures.”

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When are you most inspired? At 2am while struggling to sleep What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? I didn’t do it yet  Your most embarrassing moment Going wild on somebody after a steamy phone conversation then realizing they are still on the line! That cannot be undone, trust me  What is your earliest memory? Climbing mulberry trees at my grandparents’ house  How would you like to be remembered? As a good human who always did his best to do good for others What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? Karma exists, and you only harvest what you plant  A word of advice to young designers Focus/perseverance is key in the design world; believe in your vision and others will follow 


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MARY-LYNN MASSOUD AND RASHA NAWAM CERAMISTS

Mary-Lynn Massoud and Rasha Nawam have been working in ceramics for well over a decade each, and have exhibited their works in major international cities. Together they create objects that play with symmetry and proportion, and investigate material such as stoneware, glass, iron powder, porcelain and others, exploring unchartered territories. “Always go with your craziest idea,” Mary-Lynn advises young designers. Adds Rasha: “Don’t undervalue your work. Seek criticism, always keep learning, never give up. Keep practicing.”

When are you most inspired? Mary-Lynn: When I am alone Rasha: When we have a deadline, and we are all pressed for time; it’s total panic mode, and then something happens and the most inspiring moment is right there What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? Mary-Lynn: My ceramics studio Rasha: I guess the building series were the most impressive in terms of impact Your most embarrassing moment Mary-Lynn: When I am caught lying! I never lie Rasha: Every time we start a new exhibition; I’m always embarrassed to show people our new babies What is your earliest memory?  Mary-Lynn: My Kenya trip Rasha: When I was a little girl, being woken up by my father to go to school How would you like to be remembered? Mary-Lynn: The girl with the boyish voice  Rasha: As a real honest person  What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? Mary-Lynn: Don’t pay attention to what people say or think about you Rasha: Just keep at it. It’s hard work that makes it happen  Your favorite Beirut street Mary-Lynn: The Furn el Hayek area Rasha: Baroudi Street in Ashrafieh

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STEPHANIE SAYAR AND CHARBEL GHARIBEH DESIGNERS AND INTERIOR ARCHITECTS

Stephanie Sayar and Charbel Gharibeh create nostalgic and dreamy pieces using an approach that encompasses their combined vision of experimental design with a touch of humor. Three years after completing their graduate studies, and after exhibiting their work at a number of international fairs, the duo realized what they call “the necessity of designing together to produce the best work,” and they opened Studio Sayar & Gharibeh. How would they like to be remembered? “As a game changer,” says Gharibeh. For Sayar, it’s “a girl who wasn’t afraid to dream.”

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When are you most inspired? Mainly while traveling, and if we’re in town the perfect time for us to get inspired is at night while everyone is asleep What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? Charbel: Opening Studio Sayar & Garibeh Stephanie: Deciding to work together as a team Your most embarrassing moment Charbel: I have a terrible memory, so I always face those embarrassing moments when I forget faces and names Stephanie: Calling a client “mom” while in a meeting What is your earliest memory? Charbel: Stealing candies and chocolate that mom used to hide in the kitchen while everyone was asleep Stephanie: Crossing the streets at night sitting on my dad’s shoulders, looking for mango ice cream What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? Charbel: It’s all about experience, never be afraid to try Stephanie: Always wait for the surprise and never put expectations, it’s less risky A word of advice to young designers Charbel: Be honest in your designs Stephanie: Designing should be fun Your favorite Beirut Street Badaro Street


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In Focus Where Are My Dragons?_____ Game of Thrones fans behold! Gucci has launched a new bag with multicolored-thread dragon embroidery as part of its 2018 cruise collection. Part of the Ophidia line, this must-have piece evokes the mystery and romance of the Far East, and it comes on a blue suede base or in bright crocodile colors. Now you can become Daenerys Targaryen, mother of dragons. Available at the Gucci boutique in Downtown Beirut and AĂŻshti by the Sea

Gucci

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In Focus Analyzing Spaces_____ Inspired by artist Eduardo Chillida’s collaboration with philosopher Martin Heidegger on the book Art and Space, the Guggenheim Bilbao’s exhibition of the same name features over 100 works by international artists who have been reinterpreting the history of abstraction over the past six decades. It also celebrates place and architecture, allowing viewers to explore the different interactions between space and volume, as seen with São Paulo-based artist Marcius Galan’s “Diagonal Section.” A riveting experience. Until April 15, arteyespacio.guggenheim-bilbao.eus

Bruce Nauman/Guggenheim, Robert Indiana/Paul Kasmin, Taschen, Wheel Fun Rentals

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You’ve Got the Love_____ Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” sculpture is one of the most recognizable artworks in the world. In celebration of this iconic work and of the pop artist’s 90th birthday, Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York is hosting a solo show with two pieces that capture the essence of Indiana’s oeuvre. “LOVE WALL” consists of four of Indiana’s classic “LOVE” compositions, arranged in mirrored orientations with the four Os joined at the center, constructing a 12-foot-high monument. And then “ONE Through ZERO” shines in glossy colors like green, blue, yellow, red and white, with the numbers standing as pillars that the artist associates with the various stages of life, from birth, infancy, youth and adolescence to the autumn of life and ultimately the end of the living cycle. Until March 3, paulkasmingallery.com

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The Search for Eden_____ Dubbed “An Illuminated Manuscript for the Times We Live In,” David LaChapelle’s Good News, Part II is an explosively colorful contemplation of mortality, a continuation of the artist’s quest for paradise. The sensual, immersive photographs in this new Taschen volume include shots of Pamela Anderson, Lana Del Rey, Miriam Makeba, Tupac Shakur, Elizabeth Taylor and many more stars and celebrities. As with other LaChapelle projects, this latest publication attempts to photograph that which cannot be photographed – it’s a testament to sublime artistry that took 10 years to complete. Available at Aïshti

Biking the Bridge_____ For sheer exhilaration, few experiences compare to biking across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Visitors to the city who wish to try out this feat can rent easy-tooperate bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals in Fisherman’s Wharf, complete with helmets, locks and GPS. You start off at Fisherman’s Wharf, bike along the water’s edge in the Marina and down to Fort Point, where you can stop for a moment and capture dramatic pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from below. Then you head up toward the bridge for a once-in-a-lifetime ride across this most famous of San Francisco landmarks, flying over the Pacific Ocean and breathing in the heady ocean air. Your trek ends at the lovely waterfront town of Sausalito, where you take the ferry back to San Francisco, along with your bike. Unforgettable. wheelfunrentals.com/ca/san-francisco/fishermanswharf-taylor-and-north-point


In Focus A Better Way to Live_____ It’s the biggest destination for technology, furniture and home accessories in Lebanon, and it’s right next to Aïshti by the Sea. Aïshti Home Solutions takes up five floors and carries exclusive home appliances from JBL and Bang & Olufsen, state-of-the-art electronics including Apple, Samsung and Google products, and furniture collections from the likes of Zaha Hadid Design, Sawaya & Moroni and Flexform, among numerous others. Quality design all around, and all in one space.

Maria Khairallah

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In Focus

London in Bloom_____ The Bloomsbury, London’s classic West End hotel, has been transformed, following a multimillion-pound renovation in collaboration with Martin Brudnizki. The 1928 Sir Edwin Lutyens building now sports brand-new public spaces, restaurant and bar The Coral Room and original art by illustrator-of-the-moment Luke Edward Hall. The original paneled walls have been retained and given a high-gloss lacquer finish in vivid coral – a color that Lutyens favored – and the bar features a Calacatta marble top with a high-gloss molded timber front. Hall created 36 original pieces of art inspired by the surrounding Bloomsbury area and by Lutyens’ architecture. The relaunch coincides with a wider rejuvenation of London’s literary district – one of the most beautifully preserved and historic districts in the capital, and generally little known to all but the most knowledgeable Londoners. doylecollection.com

A Celebration of Bach_____ It’s been 25 years since Al Bustan Festival first opened its musical doors to the public, and to celebrate, it’s going all out. Centered on German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, the festival, which takes place at Beit Mery’s Al Bustan Hotel as well as other locations across the country, is focusing on both his classical masterpieces as well as different experimental approaches to his music. Highlights include Breakdancing Bach, Arabic Poetry Evening with Bach, Jazz Sebastian Bach and The Magnificat. Expect to be completely blown away. Until March 21, albustanfestival.com

Art of Tile It’s the loveliest tribute to Beirut in years. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Lebanese jeweler Nada G is releasing a new collection of rings and cufflinks inspired by the intricate tiles that grace the floors of Beirut’s glorious old residences. Named “Blat Beirut,” the line features delicate jewelry pieces in 18-carat yellow, white or pink gold, with a tile design imprinted on enamel and adorned with diamonds, rubies or sapphires. Cufflinks for him and a ring for her? A great gift on the most romantic day of the year. Available at the Nada G boutique in the Beirut Souks, ABC Ashrafieh, ABC Dbayeh and ABC Verdun, and at Sursock Museum

The Genius Portrait-Maker_____ Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani led a short and tumultuous life, but his work has posthumously been hailed as groundbreaking. The Tate Modern is now staging the most comprehensive Modigliani exhibition ever held in the United Kingdom by showcasing his portraits and sculptures. Including almost 100 works, the exhibit also focuses on his nudes, provocative pieces of art that reveal the compositions that modernized figurative painting. Not to be missed. Until April 2, tate.org.uk

Al Bustan Festival, The Bloomsbury, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nada G

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In Focus

Deconstructing Margiela_____ Palais Galliera in Paris is dedicating a retrospective to fashion’s invisible man, Belgian designer Martin Margiela, tracing his career from 1989 to 2009. Known for deconstructing garments and pushing their boundaries, Margiela offers a deeper approach to fashion, questioning its structure and the system as a whole. “Margiela/Galliera, 1989-2009” displays more than 100 silhouettes, videos, special installations and archives, providing insight into the work of a man who remains a brilliant mystery. Until July 15, palaisgalliera.paris.fr

From the Airport to Paris_____ If Demna Gvasalia has taught us anything, it’s that pushing the boundaries of fashion is easier than it looks, and it’s very à la mode, too. For Balenciaga’s 2018 resort collection, the designer and creative director takes your everyday airport shop souvenir bag and, with a few (haute) changes, gives us the multicolored leather Bazar Paris Shopper small tote, emblazoned with an old image of the Eiffel Tower. Why not add a little humor to your outfit? Available at the Balenciaga boutique in Downtown Beirut and Aïshti by the Sea

Balenciaga, Crimella/La Triennale di Milano, Françoise Cochennec, Julien Vidal, Galliera/Roger-Viollet

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Italian Rewind_____ Italian art and culture take center stage at a new Fondazione Prada exhibit in Milan. This latest show, titled “Post Zang Tumb Tuuum. Art Life Politics: Italia 1918-1943,” uses documentary and photographic evidence from the interwar years to reconstruct the social and political contexts in which the works of art were created and exhibited, and the way in which they were interpreted and received by the public at the time. A totally immersive experience, the show consists of full-size recreations from period photographs that contain original works by artists such as Giacomo Balla, Felice Casorati, Giorgio de Chirico, Fortunato Depero, Filippo de Pisis, Arturo Martini, Fausto Melotti, Giorgio Morandi, Gino Severini and many more. A highlight of the spring season. February 18-June 25, fondazioneprada.org


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In Focus

Dior Goes Wild_____ Inspired by the Lascaux cave in southwestern France and the hundreds of animal wall paintings that adorn its walls, Maria Grazia Chiuri takes a wilder approach to femininity and brings magic and mysticism to Dior’s 2018 resort collection. Earthy-toned sheer dresses abound with sequined motifs, embroideries of fauna and flora, and frills, all of which are topped with flat-brimmed hats. A real return to man’s (fashionable) relationship with nature. Available at the Dior boutique in Downtown Beirut

Dior, Fouad Elkoury/Kaph Books, Roberto and Fernando Luna

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Half a Century in Lebanon_____ A new book pays gorgeous tribute to Lebanese photographer and filmmaker Fouad Elkoury. Titled Passing Time and published by Kaph Books, the volume features 160 previously unseen photographs shot by Elkoury between 1960 and 2017. To select the images, Elkoury worked closely with curators Gregory Buchakjian and Manal Khader, as they sifted through his 50,000-image archive to choose the photographs that best reflect Elkoury’s oeuvre. There are breathtaking pictures of abandoned places, Lebanese people in mountain villages and even images that show the devastation of war. It’s a book to have, to gift, to cherish.

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North American Neighbors_____ The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is exploring the impact that California and Mexico had upon each other in the fields of architecture and design. The show, titled “Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915-1985,” features 250 objects, ranging from furniture, metalwork, ceramics, costumes and textiles, to paintings, sculpture, architectural drawings, photographs and posters, by over 200 artists, architects, designers and craftspeople. Through these fascinating pieces, visitors can gain a better understanding of the many similarities and differences between the two neighboring lands. Until April 1, lacma.org


In Focus

Sporty Femme_____ “Hip hop as a melting pot. Sport: a system of signs and an attitude.” It’s the concept behind Valentino’s 2018 resort collection, inspired entirely by streetwear, athleisure and urban identity, but with an upped ante, of course. Pierpaolo Piccioli brings us chic fur-lined pool slides, calf-length pleated skirts and tracksuit material in blue and burgundy with soft flower details. Sporty meets femininity and elegance? We’re hopping on that sartorial train. Available at the Valentino boutique in Downtown Beirut and Aïshti by the Sea

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Citco, Valentino

Magnificent Marble_____ Italian marble producer Citco has teamed up with renowned architects and designers to create luxury home accessories, all made of marble. One particularly dazzling collaboration comes courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects, who imagined limited edition, three-dimensional products inspired by patterns and mirroring the rhythmic elegance of natural movements. Products include wall ornaments, tables and various lifestyle complements. Citco’s Zaha Hadid collection is available in the company’s Miami and London showrooms, and directly through the head office in Verona, Italy. citco.it


Vivaio Riva, Milano #EtroRoots

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ETRO.COM


In Focus

What Money Can’t Buy_____ In a time when true luxury has become synonymous with privileged access – the experiences that money can’t buy – The Gilt Club launched an ingenious concept. This new property-and-assets-exchangeclub offers members a new way to travel: unprecedented opportunities to stay in some of the world’s most exclusive private homes, and to travel to them in a private jet (they’ve partnered with privatefly.com). Whether it’s a luxury villa in Monaco, your

Oscar Party_____ Oscar de la Renta’s 2018 resort collection conjures up images of sunny skies, swaying palms and white-sand beaches. Optimistic and playful like most of the label’s collections, the range features lots of cocktails dresses that are ideal for the coming spring and summer months, including a stretch wool crepe asymmetric hem gown in a fresh mandarin color and with stylish cording detail – a number that’s sure to be the hit of the party! Available at Aïshti Downtown and Aïshti by the Sea

own island in the Maldives, a Scottish castle, an opulent Courchevel ski chalet, a cool Brooklyn brownstone or a Mediterranean super-yacht, every property or asset on The Gilt Club’s ultra-prestigious list has been visited and approved by a team of luxury travel specialists. Gilt is about experiencing properties that never come onto the normal rental markets – exclusive, off-the-radar homes and villas – and being able to visit a different one with every holiday. thegiltclub.com

Daniel Azoulay, Jimmy Choo, The Gilt Club, Oscar de la Renta

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Sea Almighty_____ The images of desperate migrants fleeing on boats, from the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa to reach European shores, are embedded into the psyche of most 21st-century beings. Addressing the current and past waves of immigration across the globe, Scottish artist Hew Locke has created a spectacular artwork at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami titled “For Those in Peril on the Sea.” The monumental installation consists of dozens of scaled-down replicas of ships suspended from the ceiling, creating the impression of a massive exodus. The artist showcases a broad range of vessel types, from cigarette boats, catamarans and cruise liners to ragged fishing skiffs and timeworn cargo ships, all taking place directly above the viewer. Until August 26, pamm.org


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A Real Kick_____ Jimmy Choo’s 2018 cruise collection is one of the brand’s most playful. Amusingly named I Want Choo, the line features seven different styles, including the Brandon, a provocative sock boot available in black, white and gold, with the words I Want Choo sexily running up the back. Put them on, and strike a pose. Available at the Jimmy Choo boutique in the Beirut Souks and Aïshti by the Sea


In Focus

Meet Me in New York_____ New York’s Armory Show is one of the world’s leading art fairs. A must for the artistic circuit, the Armory Show uses technological innovation to shine the spotlight on the most significant artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. This year, for the fair’s 24th edition, the 188 new and return exhibitors from 31 countries include Galerie Eigen + Art, Gagosian, Perrotin and Regen Projects. As in recent years, the Armory Show reflects increased representation of the Asian art scene, with several Asia-based galleries, including Empty Gallery from Hong Kong, Bank from Shanghai, Yamamoto Gendai from Tokyo and The Drawing Room from Makati City. The Armory Show takes place on Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan. March 8-11, thearmoryshow.com

Call to Action_____ As one of America’s most liberal and revolutionary cities, San Francisco provides a most appropriate venue for “Get with the Action,” a fascinating exhibit focusing on the protest poster. Taking place at the SFMOMA, the show examines the protest poster’s impact over the past 50 years, presenting it as a powerful tool for organizing and activating communities in response to pressing issues like the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements, as well as social justice, immigration and environmental causes. The inspiring works on display highlight the power of applied graphic design and its utility in presenting information while rallying citizens around a cause. Until April 8, sfmoma.org

Gabriele Beveridge/Parisian Laundry, Don Ross/Guerrilla Girls, The Switchblade

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I Believe I Can Fly_____ Remember when a flying car was something out of The Jetsons? Oregon-based Samson Motors is releasing the world’s first flying sports car, The Switchblade. The high-performance vehicle is made for the ground and the air, and combines the use of current and airport systems to bypass traffic. Best of all, it carries the looks of an Italian sports car and has the power-to-weight ratio of a 2017 Corvette. “Instead of asking ‘how do you make a car fly?’ we asked ‘what layout should a flying/driving vehicle have?’ and designed a vehicle based upon that layout,” says Sam Bousfield, CEO of Samson. We’re totally on board. samsonmotorworks.com


OBJECTS OF DESIRE Photography Aly Saab

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Bag Fendi __________ Oh Fendi, how you tease us, but we love it. And we especially love the By The Way Embellished Leather Crossbody Bag with orange studs. We’re treating ourselves to celebrate the new season


SHOES CÉLINE EVERYONE DESERVES SOME FANCY FOOTWEAR, AND WHO BETTER THAN CÉLINE TO CHAMPION THE POINTY VELVET PUMP THAT TAKES US TO NEW HEIGHTS

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BAG CHLOÉ “YOU’RE NOBODY IF YOU HAVEN’T GOT A NILE,” STATES THE BROWNS BOOK OF WOMANLY WISDOM. WISE INDEED. WITH A HALF-MOON SILHOUETTE AND GOLD-TONE STUDS, WE’RE KEEPING THIS CLUTCH CLOSE

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Lebanon: Aïshti Downtown Beirut Aïshti By the Sea Antelias Aïshti Verdun dvf.com


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BAG SAINT LAURENT __________ SAINT LAURENT MASTERS LAID-BACK FRENCH ELEGANCE, AND THERE’S NOTHING BETTER THAN THIS CROSSBODY WITH A FOLDOVER TOP TO COMPLETE A PARISIAN OUTFIT


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Shoes Gianvito Rossi _______ The mule takeover is still going strong, and we’re opting for Gianvito Rossi’s Reeve heels in off-white leather: anything but ordinary


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Shoes Prada __________ If it doesn’t have a crystal buckle, is it worth it? Prada’s vintage-inspired slingback suede mules with a pointed toe complement any party outfit, so get to shopping


BAG CÉLINE WITH CÉLINE‘S MINI CLASP BAG IN LIZARD SKIN, IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH TO STAND OUT. IT ALSO COMES WITH BRUSHED GOLD-TONE HARDWARE AND A LAMBSKIN INTERIOR FOR ADDED OOMPH

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Clutch Prada __________ Prada’s nude clutch is oh so charming and has just enough room for the necessities


SHOES MIU MIU __________ LEOPARDS ARE ALWAYS AHEAD, NOT LEAST IN THE STYLE GAME, AND MIU MIU’S POINTED BOW BALLET FLATS IN LEOPARD PRINT HAVE JUST MADE IT TO THE TOP OF THE WISH LIST

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Bag Loewe __________ Unusual? Absolutely, but so is Jonathan Anderson, in the most spectacular of ways. It’s no wonder Loewe’s Puzzle bag, with its cuboid shape and hand-painted edges, is the latest it-bag


LEBANON BEIRUT SOUKS +961 1 991 111 EXT 595

WATCH THE FILM AT JIMMYCHOO.COM


IN THE STUDIO WITH TESSA AND TARA SAKHI

Words Rayane Abou Jaoude Photography Tony Elieh

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A MAG SPENDS A MORNING TALKING DESIGN AND SPACE WITH THE SISTERS BEHIND ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN FIRM ATELIER2TÉ


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Tara’s Kodak films; she loves black and white films because you can sense the light with the different gradations of grey Our alphabet and number stencils in oxidized brass from Karen Chekerdjian that we love to use to personalize some writings

Tara’s 2.8F Rolleiflex, a perfect travel and city strolling companion

Some of our favorite material samples; we are very fond of metal due to all its complexities in its aging process

Our favorite paint color palette and inspirational mood colors for spaces from Farrow & Ball Tara’s favorite brass vintage tripod

Tessa’s Muji sketchbook

Tessa’s favorite book Diary of a Leap Year by Rabih Mroue

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Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona couch miniature model, a big inspiration to us with its linear elegance, materiality, simplicity and functionality Tessa’s vintage sunglasses that she always wears on site

Tessa’s vintage hand-carved bird knife from Jezzine Tessa’s favorite wooden and brass pencil box from 200grs with her Muji pens and pencils and Rotring etching and felt pens

Dark blue/green resin sample with wood and leaves done as an experiment for a commissioned work


Our infinite “Story” sketch pad by 200grs; we love drawing on it because of the paper texture and ability to see the evolution of ideas

Our miniature model of the first chair we designed from the “Wireframe Collection”, commissioned for Sax

Our very first architecture project, a renovation of a beautiful 1920s building with a modern extension in the heart of Saifi village, still in progress

Our Tom Dixon copper paper stapler Tara’s leather pencil case

Our memory USB key, always in our pockets Architectural technical drawings of one of our projects, in progress

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Tara’s headphones. She can’t work without music, her inspiration and motivation Tessa’s “Catene” goldplated round rings from Karen Chekerdjian. Her favorite symbol, the circle of life, represents the wholeness of one’s self

Our important Kutch ruler for when we draw by hand

Tara’s drawing canvas book for a getaway from work Tessa’s favorite and most used sketching wooden pencil and Muji black pen

The laptop embodies most of our work and is a medium for different architecture software

Tara’s WindowScape: Window Behaviourology by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, a great book on the various window behaviors in all the different cultures in the world


“We did not have a vision to work together, it happened that way, and that’s what I like about it because everything, even our identity or the way we work, it just happened like that, we discovered ourselves while working together,” Tara says. “And we had never worked together, ever.” Both sisters studied architecture at university, and while their interests differ, that’s what makes the work all the more exciting and unique. They’re now venturing into short film, blending those different interests and exploring concepts of space using Sax, which was inspired by David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, as their setting.

“The entire process of creating a space is a story that we always tell,” Tessa says. “First of all with the clients, the environment of the space, the user groups that are going to use them, what the function of the space is, so it’s always a different kind of story.” Designing a space is about engaging the five senses, they explain, citing the work of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor as an influence. It is the architect’s job to stimulate, Tara adds, which is why it is imperative to also focus on ventilation, texture, scent and sound when designing.

Their work process is a meticulous one, beginning with brainstorming sessions, going through briefs when they are commissioned, underlining key elements and producing one concept. It’s also about listening to what the client wants and conducting separate research first. They do argue, as sisters do, but it’s an essential part of their creative process. They push each other, which yields the best results. 108

Tessa and Tara Sakhi’s apartment and workspace in Downtown Beirut is a veritable haven of inspiration. Hundreds of architecture books line the bookshelves, dozens of photographs hang on the walls, and beautiful light fixtures and wireframes fill the bright space; the plants are numerous, the colors warm and inviting, exuding an air of softness and calm in a loud city. Out on the patio, surrounded by greenery and their three dogs, the sisters are markedly different in demeanor and appearance, but their passion is a common one, and it’s entirely noticeable as they begin to discuss architecture and design.

“At the beginning it was very hard to define the lines between being sisters, because we used to sleep in the same room, we know what our flaws are, what she likes in me, so we learned and we’re still learning how to set the limits between being sisters and then just working together, and not forgetting that we’re sisters when we work together,” Tara says.

Not having a team also means they’re completely engaged in a project, from drawing on design software AutoCAD to site execution. Their inspirations come from books, film, photography, music, talking to people and their own diverse backgrounds. They travel extensively, taking photographs along the way and learning from other cultures, but Beirut remains their primary muse.

“I LOVE THE EMOTIONS THAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING. YOU REALLY GO THROUGH EXTREME EMOTIONS, AND IT’S ALSO THE MOST What’s most rewarding is seeing BEAUTIFUL THING” a project evolve

“I love the emotions that you feel when you’re doing something. The excitement, even the anger sometimes, you would get angry, you would never know you could have this anger in you,” Tessa says, laughing. “You really go through extreme emotions, and it’s also the most beautiful thing.” The Lebanese-Polish sisters behind Atelier2té, which they founded in 2015, had been working in separate offices and separate countries when Tessa, now 26, called Tara, now 28, with an offer from her landlord: renovating a building from the 1920s in Beirut’s Saifi neighborhood. The project took off, and since then they’ve designed O1NE nightclub, the new Skybar, Sax lounge and more. They’ve also collaborated on several product design projects, most recently the “This Side Up” exhibit at the Joy Mardini Design Gallery. They’re now working on their fourth commercial project.

and come alive, becoming more meaningful as individuals fill it. “How you work on AutoCAD, it’s all plans, and then you see the project growing. You’re seeing life, you’re seeing the curve that you drew on the computer and now it’s being executed on site,” Tessa says, smiling. “And the more exciting thing, I’m talking about commercial and residential, is how people start living how you actually planned it. They make your project alive.”


Pastel Multitone Calf and Napa Puzzle, 2018

loewe.com Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias


Words Niku Kasmai

HANDCRAFTED TREASURES

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This spring, designer collections celebrate traditional craft techniques

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If you take a look at the spring season’s major fashion collections, you’ll immediately notice that ancient crafts have made a spectacular comeback. These crafts, like needlepoint, quilting and knitting, were once relegated to grandmothers, who often spent their free time quilting gloves, hats, blankets and more for their grandkids. Not so anymore. For spring/summer 2018, Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana, Loewe, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Céline, Calvin Klein, Sonia Rykiel and others have gleaned inspiration from traditional craft techniques, but turned them upside down by adding a strong dose of 21st-century flair and pushing these practices into total trend territory.

Looking back to the past to create contemporary wear is common. And this year, creative directors seem to have borrowed a page from the 1970s, when, in reaction to the shameless self-promotion of ‘60s designers – Guy Laroche, Emilio Pucci, Paco Rabanne, Mary Quant – a new generation of fashion creators steered clear of the limelight in order to focus more strongly on their craft. While the ‘70s certainly had their super-designers, including Yves Saint Laurent, Halston and Diane von Furstenberg, many others operated under the radar, focusing on weaving, knitting, millinery and other crafts that hadn’t previously been affiliated with fashion. Thus fashion and craft came together, producing clothing that was rich in quilting and embroidery. At the same time, a new way of creating fashion was born, as designers sought to blur the boundaries between

This page: Alexander McQueen Opposite page: Dolce & Gabbana


Left to right: Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino

widely differing fields, resulting in brilliant moods of total contrasts.

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Fast forward to 2018, and craft techniques are back in full force, but this time around they’re being presented in a new way: threads are uncut, hems are unraveled and clothes in general appear as if they’re handmade. In the age of mass consumerism and machine-made products, the new luxury is all about the personal, the exclusive, the manmade. It was perhaps Karl Lagerfeld who first revived the interest in craft, when he introduced his fall/winter 2016-17 haute couture

A belted coat by Céline

Major designers have pushed traditional craft practices into total trend territory

This page, left: Loewe’s traditional handwoven fabrics


THOM BROWNE ADDED A TWIST OF FANTASY TO THE CRAFT TREND

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Thom Browne’s spring runway show was inspired by The Little Mermaid

collection for Chanel. During his Paris runway show, he transported Chanel’s workers – referred to as les petites mains – from Rue Cambon, where Chanel’s four ateliers are located, to the Grand Palais. In this Paris landmark, he set up the workers’ sewing machines, fabrics, dummies and other artisan tools, while asking them to carry on with business as usual while the models showcased Chanel’s latest couture collection. In this manner, Lagerfeld shone the spotlight on les petites mains, detailing how each garment can sometimes take hundreds of hours to produce. This newfound appreciation for human handwork and imagination was evident at the spring/summer 2018 shows, most notably at Céline, where Phoebe Philo

presented plush belted coats, dresses with long fringes of suede and giant envelope leather totes, all featuring exquisite workmanship. For Loewe, Jonathan Anderson took a trip around the world, with traditional handwoven fabrics from South America and North Africa, a patchwork quilt from the United States and paisley fabrics from India.

During his Paris debut, American designer Thom Browne added a twist of fantasy to the craft trend by using The Little Mermaid as a background for his show. The fantastical flair extended into his clothes, which featured plaid, madras and quilting, but all made of tulle, resulting in a collection that was both highly imaginative and replete with nods to American


Both images: Floral embroidery and plastic sequins from Valentino

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craft traditions. At Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli took embroidery on a sci-fi journey, with flowers and clear plastic sequins adorning little T-shirt shift dresses. And over at Sonia Rykiel, while Julie de Libran used the oyster as a theme for her spring collection, she still showcased craft-inspired knit tops, dresses and skirts, ponchos with fringes and delicate, sheer lace tops that celebrated handmade savoir-faire. Jil Sander’s spring collection marked the debut of designers Lucie and Luke Meier. While the duo restyled and reinvented Sander’s signature white shirt, offering it up with puffed sleeves or elongated into a dress, the craft imprint was quite evident, with pieces like color-blocked sweater dresses in an openwork stitch and sensually smoked white dresses. Sarah Burton’s collection for Alexander McQueen went even further into the craft trend, creating quilt- and wallpaperinspired patchwork coats, pink chiffon ruffled dresses and abundant black-and-white and military checks.

What perhaps stands out most in the spring/summer 2018 collections is a true concern for quality and longevity. By emphasizing the importance of crafts and of the handmade, fashion designers have paid tribute to the skilled behind-the-scenes workers who are often the unsung heroes of fashion. At the same time, they have extended the life of fashion items that often exist for only a single season by creating non-disposable treasures to last for years to come.


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Words Rayane Abou Jaoude

A FAMILY AFFAIR Maria Cristina Buccellati and how tradition can power a business

“When we say it’s Buccellati, it’s always the same. You know that if you buy it now, it won’t go out of fashion after two years. You can wear it all your life,” she says.

The jewelry is both Renaissance-inspired and modern, moving with the times but retaining its spirit, with recent pieces becoming more geometric and fluid. The new collection, for example, is focused on creating extensions of the old ones, and it’s this business model that’s made the house so ubiquitous. But with more boutiques opening worldwide, it’s now more challenging to create more products, so the house established a goldsmith’s school five years ago to train artisans, many of whose fathers or grandfathers were artisans at the jewelry house. Buccellati considers them to be artists because of

Buccellati

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Maria Cristina Buccellati is strikingly elegant, standing out in a red outfit at the Buccellati boutique inside Aïshti in Downtown Beirut. Radiant and soft-spoken, the jewelry brand’s communications director explains that she grew up with gems and precious stones, developing a passion for her work at an early age. She takes pride in the fact that the house remains one of the few businesses employing the same tools it has for decades, with artisans whose techniques have been passed down through generations, resulting in what she calls “timeless” pieces.


the intricate and delicate workmanship it takes to produce each piece, which inevitably becomes unique in its own way.

“All the engravings that you see, each single line is made by hand. And sometimes, in some products like the Honeycomb Ring, you recognize from the style of the hole which artisan made it, because it’s kind of a signature,” she says. Buccellati studied management and gemology in college and went straight to work with her father, Gianmaria. Studying gemology helped her acquire the knowledge she needed to recognize

stones and their properties, but she says the creative aspect has never been her forte, leaving that to her brother Andrea, the president of the company.

“What I love is traveling and to get the chance to meet amazing people every time I go somewhere. And as I travel a lot, I must say I’m really lucky because I do exactly what I like: meet new people, see new places,” she says. “Apart from that, I love my job because I love being able to communicate, in an organic way, what our company is. Being from the family, it’s easier probably, I have more passion in transmitting the concept of Buccellati jewelry.” 117

“YOU CAN WEAR A BUCCELLATI PIECE ALL YOUR LIFE”


Words Shirine Saad

MAKING A SOUND

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan creates sonic maps of power as a most artistic form of political protest

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While thinkers have always analyzed the role of language in society, dissecting its impact on political and cultural arenas, now speech is being analyzed by a new wave of radical researchers in the forensic field as a reflection of power dynamics, discrimination and censorship.

would allow me to do all these things at once, and that didn’t have such a closed idea of itself – you could experiment.” Hamdan, who now lives between Berlin, Beirut and London, recently won the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2018. He is a fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Architecture at the New School in New York.

“I was always interested in the intersection of a few things – a more expanded musical sound practice, writing, thinking, trying to address some political questions in the way we think and hear,” says the conceptual artist, who grew up between Amman and London and once played in a DIY rock band, Cleckhuddersfax. “It was really the only place that

For the Saydnaya project in 2016, the artist worked with Amnesty International on an acoustic investigation into a prison north of Damascus, where over 13,000 people have been executed since 2011. Because the prisoners are blindfolded, he relied on survivors’ earwitness testimony to help reveal the functioning of the prison. The installation consisted of an automated

Jordanian-British artist and “private ear” Lawrence Abu Hamdan is completing his PhD at Goldsmiths University of London’s pioneering forensic architecture program, where he explores the legal status of the voice. Connecting conceptual art, sound, video, theoretical research and legal investigations, he makes sonic maps of power that expose abusive procedures and protocols in international politics. To him, the increasing legal focus on accents, inflections and other particularities of speech are symptomatic of a new level of pervasive surveillance and discrimination, through architecture, technology and geography.

Navigating cultural, disciplinary and geographic borders, Hamdan unveils the ways in which the world’s dynamics are inextricably linked. “I don’t see my work as activism because it’s been used by activists, but the work itself is much more political. I question the world through an aesthetic practice,” says the artist. “For me it’s about using the space offered to critique the confinement of the discourse of politics to very rigid legal structures, where the threshold of what you can or cannot say is highly policed. It’s about working within those confines, but having a space to experiment with the ways we hear and listen to each other in a political way.”


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scenography containing a sound work and a light box. The sound piece is played back in a darkened room, from a dimly lit mixing desk/sound board on which the volume controls are motorized and autonomously move according to the voices one is hearing in the room, recreating the atmosphere of the prison.  For “Earshot,” 2014, a similar collaboration with another human rights organization, Abu Hamdan investigated the shooting of two West Bank teenagers by Israeli soldiers. Through acoustic analysis, the artist found that the soldiers had not used rubber bullets, as they had claimed, but that they had broken the law by using live ammunition on the two unarmed victims. The evidence, broadcast on the news, led to the renouncement by the Israeli government of its original statement. After Abu Hamdan completed his report, he expanded on the original body of evidence and created an installation encompassing sound, photographic prints and a video, “Rubber Coated Steel.” “In the service of these and other cases,”

says Abu Hamdan, “I have acted in a hybrid capacity between technical specialist and artist to develop a spatial and aesthetic language able to expand forensic work beyond its immediate or expected parameters. Accompanying each investigation that I have helped to produce, have been different visual and radiophonic artworks and installations I created in order to experiment with the conditions and platforms for listening to evidence and testimony.”

The artist unveils the ways in which the world’s dynamics are inextricably linked


nancygonzalez.com

Aïshti, Downtown Beirut 01.99 11 11

Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias 04. 71 77 16


Words Marwan Naaman

IN CONVERSATION WITH ANASTASIA NYSTEN Through her unusual pieces, the designer tells tales of enchantment

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While Nysten has been designing for years, it’s really over the past 12 months or so that her work has come under the spotlight, first at House of Today in December 2016 and more recently in September 2017, when she won the Talent Award for most promising young designer at the Beirut Design Fair. The two pieces that Nysten introduced at the Beirut Design Fair, Troll Chair and Bookcase, exude her structured, sophisticated design philosophy. A postmodern interpretation of a traditional piece of furniture, Bookcase functions as a tool to highlight possessions rather than simply shelves on which to line books. “The vertical design elements are a backdrop to the elements on display,” says Nysten. “Today, people have less books, so this is a modern cabinet of curiosities. Not everything is visible at the same time, you discover objects as you go around it.”

Elie Nohra, Anastasia Nysten

Anastasia Nysten’s world is inhabited by magic. In a nod to her Nordic heritage, the 30-year-old Finnish-Lebanese designer creates otherworldly furniture with fantastical names – troll, cloak, hobbit – reflecting her boundless imagination.


The Troll Chair is also a reinvention, that of the ubiquitous beanbag chair, but in a more defined manner. “I visualized how a person would sit in the chair if they wanted to be super relaxed,” says Nysten. “So I thought about amassing pillows to create something that looks and feels comfortable, as if trapping a cloud in a structure.” Both Bookcase and Troll Chair are made of walnut wood, and both are produced in Lebanon, using local labor. The chair is available in various fabrics and colors, allowing the owner to customize it into a oneof-a-kind piece.

The recognition that Nysten has received is recent, but the young woman has been involved with design for the best part of a decade: she studied industrial design at Lebanon’s ALBA, and she worked at Karen Cherkedjian Studio in Beirut for five years. “My experience at Karen’s was hands-on, but I also felt I needed to change environments in order for my creativity to grow,” Nysten says. On a chance visit to London during a particularly snowy January, she decided to try out her luck in the British capital, sending out her CV to over 50 London design studios. She got three internship offers, including one with Michael Anastassiades, which she accepted and which eventually became a permanent position. “What I liked about both Karen and Michael is that you could experience everything,” says Nysten. “We worked with metal, brass, stone and got to understand how the object ages.”

In late 2015, after her three-year stint at Michael Anastassiades in London, Nysten decide to move to Dubai to join her family’s art publishing business.

While this may seem like a radical departure for the designer, she explains that the move provided a complete break that helped her acquire her very own design identity. “My designs now represent me, my ethos, my way of thinking.”

Her Dubai location, closer to Lebanon, also allowed Nysten to participate in House of Today, the Beirut nonprofit organization that nurtures and promotes up-and-coming designers. For House of Today’s December 2016 exhibition, she created the distinctive Cloak Chair, a large, generous piece made of leather and wood. “The leather sits on the shoulders of the chair,” she says. “You’re sitting as if someone or something is holding you.” Next up for the young designer is Farouge, a Lebanese restaurant in Helsinki, Finland for which she’s creating new interiors inspired by both Lebanese and Finnish cultures. She’s also creating a special edition of the Troll Chair to adorn the Rabih Kayrouz showroom during Beirut Design Week in May 2018. “It’ll be like having two worlds in one place,” Nysten says. More than a profession, design is literally a way of life for Nysten. “I’m very manual. I’ve been designing on my own ever since I can remember. Design clears my mind, it allows me to create stories.”

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IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS. EMBELLISHMENTS, STITCHING, NEEDLEWORK, LACE-UPS, THIS SEASON IS A SALUTE TO THE 1970S. TIME TO THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND AND FORGO THE RULES FOR SOME STATEMENT-MAKING OUTFITS


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AÏSHTI BY THE SEA ANTELIAS | 04-717-716 EXT 232 AÏSHTI DOWNTOWN BEIRUT | 01-991-111 AÏSHTI DUNES CENTER VERDUN STREET | 01-793-777


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E M I LY R ATA J K O W S K I , PA L M S P R I N G S 148 SAAD ZAGHLOUL STREET, DOWNTOWN BEIRUT / AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, ANTELIAS


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MAGIC TRICK PHOTOGRAPHY BACHAR SROUR

SHOT AT THE AÏSHTI FOUNDATION


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Gucci top and Balenciaga bag


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THE HANDMAID’S TALE PHOTOGRAPHY CONRADO VELIZ STYLING CARRIE WEIDNER SHOT ON LOCATION IN NEW YORK CITY


She wears a dress and shoes by Azzedine AlaĂŻa


She’s in a Balenciaga total look


She’s in a Bottega Veneta total look


She’s in a Dolce & Gabbana dress and Azzedine Alaïa shoes


She’s in a Céline total look


She’s in a coat and top by Burberry and pants by Roberto Cavalli


She’s in a Gucci jumpsuit, a Diane von Furstenberg skirt, Falke tights, Balenciaga shoes and CÊline earrings

She wears a skirt, jacket and shoes by Gucci, and a blouse by Dries Van Noten


She’s in a Prada total look Model Callie Dixon at Next Models Hair Sirsa Ponciano Makeup Mariko Hirano


UNDERGROUND PHOTOGRAPHY ALY SAAB STYLING JOE ARIDA SHOT ON LOCATION AT AÏSHTI BY THE SEA WITH THE AUDI RS5


She’s in Gucci pants and Off-White boots


She wears a CĂŠline dress, Balenciaga boots, a Gucci hat and Saint Laurent earrings. Her bags are by Balenciaga


This page: She wears an Off-White dress, Gucci scarf, Oliver Peoples x Alain Mikli sunglasses and Miu Miu slippers. Her bag is by Miu Miu Opposite page: She wears a Dolce & Gabbana blazer, Off-White dress, Gucci scarf and Oliver Peoples x Alain Mikli sunglasses


She’s in a Azzedine Alaïa dress, Balenciaga top, boots and bags, Gucci cap and Oliver Peoples sunglasses


She’s in a Stella McCartney skirt, Delirious sunglasses and Gucci top, shoes and hat. Her bags are by Gucci


She’s in a Saint Laurent blouse and earrings, Prada shoes, Gucci scarf and Dior sunglasses. She’s carrying an Off-white bag


This page: She wears a Céline shirt over a Fendi top, Céline pants, Balenciaga boots and Victoria Beckham sunglasses. Her bags are by Fendi, Gucci and Saint Laurent Opposite page: She wears a Balenciaga dress and scarf, Gianvito Rossi shoes, and she carries a Loewe pouch and Balenciaga wallet Model Nina at Velvet Management Makeup Christian Abouhaidar Hair Eddy at Urban Retreat, Aïshti by the Sea


Words Marwan Naaman

PROPER POWER

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San Francisco gets a brand-new design hotel

Famed interior designer Wearstler, who in the past

created various Viceroy hotels and recently completed a multimillion upgrade of Los Angeles’ Westfield Century City mall, sought to introduce contemporary luxury into the new San Francisco Proper Hotel, while retaining the building’s historic appeal.

For the ground floor lobby, which has two main entrances, one on Market Street and the other on McAllister Street, Wearstler created adjoining spaces that function as a reception area, dining room and lounging area, and which exude a cozy residential flair thanks to an astute use of color, fabrics and furnishings that combine elements from various European modernist styles. Carefully selected art

San Francisco Proper Hotel

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, perhaps the city’s last real estate frontier, got its first major hotel in decades with the opening of the San Francisco Proper Hotel in summer 2017. This brand-new property, designed by Kelly Wearstler and set inside a historic flatiron building on the corner of Seventh and Market streets, symbolizes the Tenderloin’s 21st-century renaissance: a beacon of glamour during the roaring 1920s, the neighborhood fell into decay during the ensuing decades but has recently experienced a rebirth due to the various tech companies – Twitter, Spotify, Salesforce, Zendesk – that have set up their offices here.


This page and following page: Details from the San Francisco Proper Hotel Opposite page: The San Francisco Proper Hotel’s façade, a Tenderloin landmark

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THE LOBBY EXUDES A COZY RESIDENTIAL FLAIR THANKS TO AN ASTUTE USE OF COLOR


pieces, by Bay Area artists such as Jonathan Anzalone and Joseph Ferriso, add an offbeat flair to the space. 172

“While carefully preserving the original elements of this classified landmark, we looked to bring something new to San Francisco by collaging a reimagining of past, present and future,” says Wearstler. “The spirit of premodernist European influence, hand-selected vintage furnishings and works by local artists are all part of the warm, inviting design mix.”

This mix of urban modernity and French and Italian sensibilities carries on to the 131 guestrooms, where baroque wallpaper, custom-designed by Wearstler, provides a wild backdrop to sleek wood floors, purist bed linens and industrially inspired bathrooms. While the hotel lobby and other public areas explode with vibrant and contrasting colors, many of the rooms are doused in shades of black, white, grey and beige, offering a completely different sensory experience.

Hotel attractions include Villon, the ground floor, allday restaurant and lounge that feels like a postmodern speakeasy. Here, you can enjoy an elaborate breakfast, a dinner inspired by contemporary American cuisine, courtesy of executive chef Jason Franey, or an artisan cocktail to seal a busy day. You also have Charmaine’s, the rooftop bar and lounge, where chef Franey cooks up imaginative bar snacks, served around blazing fires and amid expansive, breathtaking views of San Francisco.

While San Francisco Proper Hotel is one of the first properties to open under the Proper Hotels and Residences umbrella, there are many more locations in the works, including hotels slated to open in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, as well as in Austin, Texas. If they’re anything like the San Francisco property, these upcoming additions to the Proper Hotels portfolio will be dazzling indeed. properhotel.com/hotels/san-francisco/

CAREFULLY SELECTED ART PIECES ADD AN OFFBEAT FLAIR TO THE SPACE


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CRYSTALLINE CUTS WITH HER INTRIGUING OBJECTS, FLAVIE AUDI BLURS THE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THE NATURAL AND THE SYNTHETIC

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BULBOUS, SWIRLING GLASS FORMS, THEY EVOKE PULSING JELLYFISH OR EVEN A WIZARD’S PROP

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In the middle of French-Lebanese artist Flavie Audi’s West London studio, a meteorite has landed. “Lithic Fragment” is among her newest works, made in late 2017: a waist-high, rippling ball of what appears to be dark rock. Its rugged, apparently organic surface was, in fact, computer mapped by Audi. She has studded its contours with a variety of synthetic and naturally occurring materials, including real meteorite fragments. “I like the ambiguity of something that looks earthy, aquatic and digitally rendered – all at the same time,” she says. Much of Audi’s work that looks organic is manufactured, or vice versa. The point is often the indistinguishable blend of the two. “I enjoy the tension between the synthetic and the natural,” she says. “It’s interesting, the importance we put on authentic materials, even when some synthetic materials are better performing.” She is, for example, a skilled glassblower, who also sometimes uses crystal-clear resin in place of glass. “It has almost the same index of refraction, so you’d never be able to tell as a viewer, but chemically it’s slightly different.” She also works with highest-grade artificial diamonds, which even the best technology can “no longer distinguish from the natural thing.” Some aspects of her practice are more freeform than others. “With the glassblowing especially, there are always


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“I HAVE THINGS FLOATING IN THE SKIES THAT LOOK LIKE NORTHERN LIGHTS, BUT WERE CREATED DIGITALLY”


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shapes and patterns created that can’t be replicated, and I deliberately allow for chance formations,” she says. “I control the uncontrollable.”

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Having trained in London at the Architecture Association, including a year out working for leading architecture practice John Pawson, Audi eventually changed tack. “During the last year of my architecture studies, I was working a lot with structured glass, and became very frustrated with minimalism,” she says. “I wanted buildings to reveal more humanity and be more sensual. Glass is one of the most used materials in building construction, but everyone just uses it as a flat panel.” It was a turning point for her. “I started manipulating glass and realized that I wanted to be more sculptural with it. One of the things that’s so interesting about glass in an increasingly digitized world is that it is the liminal space in between the digital and the real. It materializes the tension between the two realms.” She embarked on a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art, working in glass and ceramics. “I dug into the making process, and learned how to craft.”

Small in stature but with an easy confidence and commanding presence, on the day we meet Audi is bundled up in black knitwear, her silhouette broken by flashes of her neon manicure as she gestures at objects around us in her studio. Most look as though they could either have fallen from space or have been mined from the earth’s crust. Walls and plinths are studded with her signature “Fluid Rocks,” which featured prominently in her London solo show at Tristan Hoare gallery. Bulbous, swirling glass forms, they evoke pulsing jellyfish or even a wizard’s prop. “The Fluid Rocks always have a sense of energy and look as though they are in movement,” she says. “I use liquidity to give a sense of life.” Also on the walls are some of a series of panels called “Gemscapes.” “These almost look like MacBook computer screens,” she says, “as well as resembling landscapes. I have things floating in the skies that look like northern lights, but were created digitally. I’m

interested in the landscapes of the future, which might be made artificially.” As an architect who became an artist via a craftsperson’s training, Audi is wary of drawing any firm lines between creative disciplines. “I have done collaborations with jewelers, in fashion and in furniture design, because I don’t think art should sit in a totally different pigeonhole to those things,” she says. “The difference between a sculptural space and architectural one is sometimes as simple as whether or not people move through it.”

As well as the London solo show, Audi has participated in group shows from Mexico to Lebanon and completed a glass-themed artist’s residency in the Maldives. Her next showing will be as part of “True Beauty; Tales of Research and Imagination,” a kind of art-meets-science extravaganza at the Stedelijk Museum in Breda, The Netherlands, which runs from March to August 2018. It sits well with Audi’s fascination with landscapes and forms of the far future, and whether we might will them into being today. “I’m interested in that moment,” she says, “when geology and gemology might align.”


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Words Niku Kasmai

CRAFTING THE ARTISTIC CITY

Over the past 50 years, New York has become a dizzying showcase for public art

How did New York City become a gigantic artist’s canvas? While there is no clear-cut answer to this question, various factors have come into play to transform the American metropolis’ streets into a yearround, open-air art museum.

Across New York and in all five boroughs, parks, plazas, subways, empty lots, buildings and random walls are adorned with various forms of art. Walking around the city, you constantly come upon thousands of murals, statues and installations, both temporary and permanent, attesting to New York’s powerful artistic punch. In celebration of this grand, everexpanding artistic output, the Museum of the City of New York is staging an exhibit that examines the roots and development

of public art, from its inception in 1967 to the present day. Aptly named “Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York,” and running until May 13, 2018, the show chronicles five decades of the city’s artistic history, via 125 works by such artists as Kara Walker, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein and Christo and Jeanne-Claude. New York public art finds its roots in the urban decay of the 1960s, when families fled the perceived danger of the city for the safety of the newly developed suburbs. As city structures fell into disrepair, artists moved in, looking upon building walls as a giant canvas upon which to let their imagination run wild. In parallel, activists and city leaders launched various initiatives to move

Amy C. Elliott, Edmund Vincent Gillon, Museum of the City of New York, Public Art Fund NY, Kara Walker

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“A Logo for America” by Alfredo Jaar (above), “Walk the Walk “ by Kate Gilmore (below) and “Red Cube” by Isamu Noguchi (bottom left)

“A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the Cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant” by Kara Walker

art into the public sphere. The first such initiative kicked off in 1967, when abstract artworks were placed on display in various city landmarks, including the Seagram Building, Bryant Park and Astor Place. Pioneering exhibits like “Sculpture in Environment,” staged that same year, invited artists to revitalize urban centers with distinctive artworks, as city officials like mayor John Lindsay devised a wide range of such strategies to keep New York relevant, dynamic and attractive. In the 1970s, as historic townhouses and brownstones were demolished and New York underwent vast redevelopment, the city lost its human scale, with new residential high-rises and office towers soaring to previously unforeseen heights. While many bemoaned the loss of the city’s gracious character, the new developments also created vast spaces for public art, just as the economic downturn, declining population and empty structures encouraged a spirit of experimentation that fed the public art movement. It’s true that public art wasn’t well received at first, with critics often calling it “plop art,” as in art that was “plopped” into a random city space, but artists continued to use the city as their canvas, and 50 years after the first initiative, public art has found

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“The ubiquity of public art is a big part of what makes New York City so special,” says Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel director of the Museum of the City of New York. “From parks to the subways, from Staten Island to the Bronx, creativity is all around us. Experiencing the wide variety of art created for public spaces, gathered together within the walls of a museum, offers visitors a new lens for appreciating and understanding our city’s extraordinary 50-year commitment to public art.”

This page: “The Andy Monument” by Rob Pruitt (above) and “Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close (right) Opposite page: “Perfect Strangers” by Vik Muniz (top) and “Human Nature” by Ugo Rondinone (bottom)

Bart Barlow, James Ewing, MTA Arts & Design, Public Art Fund NY

its expression in spectacularly successful new venues, including Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park and, most famously of all, the High Line. On the corner of Sixth Avenue and 55th Street, Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture is now one of the city’s most photographed attractions.


PUBLIC ART IS AN ESSENTIAL LENS THROUGH WHICH TO UNDERSTAND NEW YORK

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As it explores the evolution of public art, the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit presents public art not as ornamentation, but as an essential lens through which to understand this most dynamic of American cities. “The audacity of public art programs in the five boroughs in the last half-century reflects the ambition,

New York city streets have become a yearround, open-air art museum

energy and controversy that define New York City,” says curator Lilly Tuttle. “In our attempts to beautify our public spaces, we see the diversity of people, places and ideas that make the city great. Visitors to this show will be able to explore 50 years of public artwork in one exhibition, and hopefully they will emerge eager to join the conversation about outdoor art that doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.”

Ultimately, one of the purposes of public art, it seems, is to bewilder and mesmerize the viewer. And with New York offering more public art than any other city in the world, it is perhaps no wonder that so many people continue to fall under its spell.

“Freedom of Expression National Monument” by Laurie Hawkinson, Erika Rothenberg and John Malpede (left), “Night Presence IV” by Louise Nevelson (top) and “Wheatfields of Manhattan” by Agnes Denes (above)

Edmund Vincent Gillon, Erika Rothenberg, Public Art Fund NY

While public art developed steadily in New York since 1967, particularly with such incredibly creative projects as MTA Arts & Design (launched in 1985 and formerly named MTA Arts for Transit), which oversaw the installation of permanent artworks in subway and commuter rail stations, the movement really boomed under the tenure of mayor Michael Bloomberg. In office from 2002 to 2013, Bloomberg enthusiastically promoted over 500 public art projects that beautifully reflected the city’s resurgence and the revitalization of its parks and public spaces. Such projects included “The Gates,” initially proposed by Christo and JeanneClaude in 1979 but only installed in 2005 in Central Park, and Olafur Eliasson’s “The New York City Waterfalls,” which consisted of four monumental waterfalls (two in Brooklyn, one in Lower Manhattan and one in Governors Island) on display from midJuly to mid-October 2008.


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PERSONAL TOUCH When it comes to luxury fashion, the customer has become the most discerning designer

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Custom-creating a restaurant meal has become an everyday occurrence. “Let me have the Chef’s Special, but lay off on the onion, replace the feta with ricotta and add a dash of lemon juice.” And now fashion is following suit. “I’ll order the Lady Dior. Change the color to powder pink, add a hashtag, four-leaf clover and heart badge to the shoulder strap, and throw in another bohemian-inspired strap for special occasions.” It might take 12 weeks longer to reach you than the gourmet meal, but if social media feeds featuring these bespoke fashion items are to be believed, the reward is oh-so-satisfying.

The 2015 Deloitte Consumer Review titled Made-toorder: The Rise of Mass Personalization highlights how those empowered by social media are dictating what they want. It states that consumers have become both critics and creators who expect a more personalized service from brands. The review’s findings were clear: consumers are drawn to brands that allow them to shape the products and services they consume – and luxury fashion houses have taken note. Be it a monogram on a suitcase, an alternative shade on the sole of a stiletto or a scarf embroidered with a loved one’s initials, the new luxury is a reminder of the unique touch of the hand, revered as a soulful form of self-expression.

Kim Kardashian’s Instagram post featuring her Hermès bag hand-painted by then one-year-old daughter North West caused a stir in 2014. In 2016, the brand introduced a fully customizable option to its Bolide

Above and left: Dior looks and accessories from the current spring/summer 2018 collection


Left: Dolce & Gabbana is playful for spring/ summer 2018 Right: Futuristic and unique Gucci spring and summer looks

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1923 bag, allowing the public to create a bespoke Hermès with which they too can wow their Insta crowd.

That was not Hermès’ first foray into personalized products. The Custom Silk Corner, introduced in 2011, offers a bespoke embroidery service for its iconic scarves, while the brand’s #Hermèsmatic pop-up has seen foulard owners dip-dying their old scarves in-store, reviving vintage pieces with a contemporary hue.

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In luxury fashion, the idea of handing over the reins to the masses may appear to be a misnomer, but that’s exactly the point of this “self-service” approach. By allowing the consumer to play designer, the idea of the handmade, limited-edition piece is reconceptualized, resulting in an exclusive product that can claim familyheirloom status. “In our era, customization is the ultimate expression of luxury for our clients,” said Pietro Beccari, president and CEO of Fendi, when the brand launched its online Customize It service for its Kan I F bag and Strap You last year. The service allows bag and strap to be combined in myriad ways,

with 120 possible combinations for the bag, and 70 for the strap, including features like colored leather, wrapped silk twill, conical studs and leather carved flowers.

its Ace trainers are available with a range of interchangeable patches in thread and crystal – think panthers, bows and pineapples – to suit any change of mood.

Gucci’s Do It Yourself service is dipping into this movement of bespoke exclusivity, too. Launching with the opportunity to decorate its Dionysus bag with a choice of embroidered patches and rock-chic detail, the DIY offering now includes items in its ready-to-wear collection, and

Jimmy Choo’s customization statement reads “designed and handmade to your specification,” and two minutes spent on its website will have customers completely transforming shoes and bags as they flip through size, color, clasp and fabric options (from leather and satin to suede or limited-edition vintage fabric), adding

Remaining true to the artisanal essence of luxury, such customization allows consumers the opportunity to own a crafted item of their own imagining, as in the case of Dolce & Gabbana’s recent ultra-exclusive chance to have a Sicily bag hand-painted by a globe-trotting Milanese artisan, who creates brushstrokes of individualized inspiration per specification.

Jimmy Choo and Prada have upped the ante on shoes too, with Prada last year expanding its customization service to 18 shoe styles with eight heel heights to choose from, while introducing new fabric prints. Taking the personal touch one step further, the sole can be inscribed with initials, a memorable date or lucky number.


The new luxury is a reminder of the unique touch of the hand, revered as a soulful form of self-expression

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four discreet letters or symbols to the sole as a finishing touch. Be it a Burberry scarf with a monogram embroidered in a choice of thread, or a Louis Vuitton Neverfull handbag or Keepall tote decorated in a choice of color stripes and customer’s initials – thanks to its Mon Monogram service – it seems fashion is in the hands of the creators who matter most.

This page: Various Prada looks from the spring/summer 2018 collection Opposite page: Jimmy Choo’s collaboration with Off-White (top) and Jimmy Choo heels for spring/ summer 2018 (bottom)


Words Marwan Naaman

TOMORROW’S COLLECTIBLES

Lebanese design label Mawsam creates handmade pieces that change with every season While Lebanon seems to be undergoing an unprecedented design boom, most new designers are generally creating modern pieces that reflect the country’s contemporary know-how. Very few are looking to Lebanon’s past and reinterpreting it for the present day. Enter Mawsam, whose distinctive pieces provide a nostalgic nod to the past, but with a refined contemporary edge. Mawsam’s handcrafted objects, now available at L’Artisan du Liban, include a cake plate, cheese platter, rolling pin and more, all made by Lebanese artisans using noble materials like wood and gold leaf. The idea behind these products, according to Cecile Farah, production manager at L’Artisan du Liban, is to offer new items that are contemporary, yet linked to Lebanon’s history. “We’re trying to diversify our range and reach a younger, trendier clientele,” says Farah. “Mawsam’s designs, which are modern but inspired by things like traditional Lebanese utensils, Lebanese cuisine and Lebanese heritage, fit what we’re trying to achieve.” The first Maswam collection, launched in December 2017, includes a pestle and mortar, the kitchen device traditionally used by Lebanese cooks to crush and grind garlic. This time around though, the mortar is adorned with gold leaf, while the pestle comes in rich hues of either blue or red. And the shape is sleek and elongated, modernist rather than old-fashioned.

Then there’s the sushi plate, which captures Lebanon’s current obsession with the Japanese specialty. But this particular plate can also be used to serve asbe naye (raw liver), so it in fact blends two different cultures, reflecting the Lebanese people’s international outlook.

For its second collection, inspired by Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and unveiled in February 2018, Mawsam has two star items, a hand mirror and a jewelry box. The jewelry box – a must for women who enjoy their precious stones – looks like a simple wooden box, but once you slide the cover off, you discover individual compartments with gold leaf, providing space to store a variety of jewels. The hand mirror, also made of wood, was created using the same mold used to prepare maamoul, the traditional Middle Eastern sweet served during traditional holidays. So while one side has the actual mirror, the back showcases the intricate embossing that adorns the maamoul. Mawsam designs are available at L’Artisan du Liban’s two Beirut stores in Gemmayze and Clemenceau, and at the organization’s third store in Tripoli. There are also plans to collaborate with Beirut’s major museums in order to create limited edition, seasonal collections. It’s a blast from the past and a peek at the future, all at once. Facebook: facebook.com/mawsamseason.season.3 Instagram: @mawsamdesign

Raya Farhat

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FOUR SEASONS IN A DAY BEIRUT’S BIGGEST HOTEL KEEPS YOU ENTERTAINED FROM MORNING TO NIGHT

Four Seasons

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The success of the Four Seasons in Beirut’s Minet el Hosn can be attributed to a number of things: its location, for one, provides guests with unparalleled views and sceneries, right between the Mediterranean and the metropolis. Its 26 floors comprise 230 rooms (each of which include a balcony and a bathtub), with suites on every floor. Amenities include meeting rooms that are both wide and comfortable; a ballroom ideal for private events and weddings, with two merging into one to accommodate a large number of guests; and close proximity to the Beirut Waterfront and the Beirut Souks. The trendy restaurants and bars around Downtown and Gemmayze are all within walking distance.

But we’ve decided to dig a little deeper, and explore everything else the five-star hotel has to offer. There’s always something more to a hotel than rooms to spend the night in, right? A SWIM ON THE ROOFTOP The hotel pool and Jacuzzi are open by March, but if you fancy a cold dip in the morning like we do, ask the hotel, and they’ll give you exclusive access. The Four Seasons’ rooftop is the highest in Lebanon, so picture a daybreak swim with panoramic views of Zaitunay Bay and the marina. The exclusivity of it all also means that unlike your typical pool clubs, you get to swim in a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere.

BREAKFAST AT THE GRILL The Four Seasons’ restaurant, The Grill, serves local plates of labneh, cheese, manakish bites and bread right at the table. À la carte dishes include shakshouka, awarma, knefe, eggs, pancakes and waffles, to name a few. If you want more, the breakfast buffet serves a wide range of pastries, cereals, jams, fruits, cakes, salads, cheese and numerous other indulgences. Side note: for something a little simpler but just as good, the lobby lounge also offers a continental breakfast every morning (followed by afternoon dessert and tea to sweeten the palate).

THE GYM We decide to burn off our meal and make our way to the Four Seasons’ fitness facilities. Like everything else in the hotel, the gym comes with a panoramic view of the city and the marina. It’s small but spacious, offering cutting-edge equipment, weights and trainers upon request. LUNCH AND THE LOUNGE Celebrated for its Sunday lunches, The Grill serves an extremely elaborate buffet (one of the longest, in fact), which goes straight into the kitchen, where we get to see the cooking as it happens and request a plate directly from the chef. Nearby is The Bar, a cozy, dimly lit space packed with black leather and red chairs, a fireplace, books, vases and paintings, perfect for a glass of high-end cognac and a cigar after an extraordinary meal. April also sees the opening of Arabesque, a lounge terrace overlooking the marina and offering Lebanese cuisine with a modern twist.

THE SPA A whiff of soothing smells, dim lighting, six treatment rooms and a Thai massage area: the spa is a genuine delight after a heavy lunch – and a thrill to our senses. It also includes a pregnancy massage, which is quite unique, facials and body treatments, all using organic products from Sodashi and Dr. Burgener.

DRINKS ON THE ROOF We end the night where it all began, on the 26th floor by the pool, a drink in hand at the open-air bar and a remarkable view of the sunset. The menu includes Asian fusion food, sushi, sashimi and specially blended cocktails. A great way to finish off the day.

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TRADER EMPIRES WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY VLADIMIR ANTAKI

For A Mag’s exclusive series of artistic visions, photographer and storyteller Vladimir Antaki ventures into different cities to capture craftsmen and women, artisans and merchants in their vibrant – and oftentimes shambolic – workspaces. His show, “The Guardians,” is on view at The Alternative/Platform 39 until March 7 196

“My approach for ‘The Guardians’ is based on a principle of hazardous perambulation: the idea is to have no benchmark and enter spontaneously in places where the visual attraction is strong. I like to think of a city as a maze in which I enjoy getting lost and finding treasures. Random encounters are a big part of my creative process. Once I decide if a workshop or a shop is indeed an ‘urban temple,’ I briefly introduce myself to ‘The Guardian’ and ask if I can take their portrait. The portrait must occur within the first few minutes of my encounter. This step is very important because I want to capture the look of a stranger looking at another stranger. It tells a lot about the personality of my subject and allows my audience to connect with them on a human level. ‘The Guardians’ is a tribute to shopkeepers and artisans around the world, that’s the reason why I decided to make them look majestic in their own working space. People are attracted to what’s visually beautiful and tend to forget about the essence of these places. I hope that my work helps them reconnect with these magical places.”


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Alyssa in Montreal


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Abdo in Beirut


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Adric in Mexico


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Pierre in Bordeaux


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Birdman in New York City


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Mario in Mexico


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Richard in Montreal


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PLAYGROUND Artful Escapades THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU CAN GIVE ABOUT THE FOOD AT MOST MUSEUM CAFÉS IS THAT IT DOESN’T DISTRACT FROM THE ART, BUT A BUNCH OF EXCITING NEWCOMERS ARE GOING WAY BEYOND THE BLAND, OVERPRICED SANDWICH. THESE SIX INNOVATORS AROUND THE WORLD ARE BRINGING IN TALENTED CHEFS TO CREATE ADVENTUROUS, FLAVOR-PACKED OPTIONS THAT ARE TURNING MUSEUM CAFÉS INTO DESTINATIONS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT

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Untitled

Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, whitney.org “Untitled” is a common name for works of art, but calling your restaurant “Untitled” takes courage and a certain amount of notoriety. The Whitney Museum of American Art’s new restaurant has both, thanks to a team of risk-taking talents, including restaurateur Danny Meyer, famed opening chef Michael Anthony and new rising-star executive chef Suzanne Cupps. Inside the soaring, sunlit space at the Renzo Piano-designed building that houses the Whitney’s new Meatpacking District location, Cupps is serving up a menu that shows off local produce and blends Asian and American influences skillfully, as in the duck meatballs with coconut curry or the marinated beets with yuzu yogurt, ginger chia seeds and black radish. 208

PARIS

Café Jacquemart-André

Musée Jacquemart-André, 158 Boulevard Haussmann, musee-jacquemartandre.com This little museum in a Second Empire mansion in the city’s eighth arrondissement isn’t yet a predictable stop on every Paris tourist’s list, and that makes for an especially intimate, surprise-filled visit. The experience of discovery applies both to the galleries – filled with 19th century collectors Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart’s private art collection – and to the lovely café. After a stroll through rooms filled with opulent 19th-century furnishings and ogling the Renaissance and Flemish paintings on the walls, stop at the Café Jacquemart-André for a glass of wine and one of the maincourse salads like the Botticelli, a tangle of angel hair pasta, crayfish, prawns and avocado in a sesame-honey dressing. The selection of cakes deserves its own still-life painting.

Café Jacquemart-André, Smithsonian NMAAHC, Whitney Museum of American Art

Where We’re Eating

NEW YORK

Words Salma Abdelnour


WASHINGTON, DC

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Sweet Home Café

National Museum of African American History and Culture, 1400 Constitution Avenue NW, nmaahc.si.edu “Southern food” means much more than shrimp and grits and collard greens, and Sweet Home Café is as committed to displaying the cuisine’s variety as it is to serving delicious food. The restaurant showcases the culinary history of African Americans in the South and elsewhere, with a one-of-a-kind menu created by culinary historian Jessica Harris and honoring four distinct regional traditions. Unforgettable dishes include the Thomas Downing oyster pan roast, named after a freed slave who opened an oyster restaurant in New York and hid escaped slaves in his basement. The metal-lattice-wrapped building was designed by David Adjaye, who also created Lebanon’s Aïshti by the Sea.


BEIRUT

ART People

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Aïshti

Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias, aishti.com Is food art? Is art food? The answer to both questions is yes, at least if you’re standing in front of the chocolate fountain installation by Doug Aitken, which greeted guests at ART People with the word “ART” spelled out in melting chocolate. A day at Aïshti by Sea, home to the Aïshti Foundation, is full of such sensory experiences, from architect David Adjaye’s striking red-aluminum latticed building itself to the luxury shops and the world-class art collection. At the leisurely restaurant, unwind over a lunch of fresh panMediterranean specialties like salmon confit with olive oil, lobster linguine with crushed tomatoes or a fragrant pizza Margherita.


Verde

MIAMI

Where We’re Eating

It’s one of the most pleasant and off-thebeaten path settings in South Florida. Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Boulevard, pamm.org Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron created a fluid indooroutdoor building for the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s collection of contemporary international art, and the open-air experience extends to the museum’s Verde restaurant. Sit on the terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay, and choose from chef Kaytlin Dangaran’s flavor-packed specialties, like chicken under a brick with Argentine chimichurri sauce or shrimp tacos al pastor with grilled pineapple and pickled onions. It’s one of the most pleasant and off-the-beatenpath settings in South Florida.

Rijksmuseum, 1 Museumstraat, rijksmuseum.nl The Rjiksmuseum couldn’t exist anywhere but in the Netherlands: its collection covers more than 800 years of Dutch history, ranging from intricately crafted 17th-century furniture to numerous works from Dutch masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. Rijks restaurant follows suit, focusing on Dutch ingredients and highlighting world-class talent. Star chefs from around the world rotate for seasonal stints, joining Rijks executive chef Joris Bijdendijk to create exceptional dishes like pheasant breast with sauerkraut and apple tartelette, and earning the restaurant its first Michelin star in 2016.

Pérez Art Museum Miami, Rijksmuseum

Rijks

AMSTERDAM

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www.aeronautica.difesa.it - www.aeronauticamilitare-collezioneprivata.it AĂŻshti by the Sea, Antelias T. 04 71 77 16 ext. 273 and all AĂŻzone stores T. 01 99 11 11 Produced and distributed by Cristiano di Thiene Spa


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Words Salma Abdelnour Illustration Maria Khairallah


HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT Dig into 2018’s trendiest desserts

Why does gingerbread only make an appearance once a year? Why is avocado toast served for breakfast only? I’ve been contemplating profound existential questions like these lately, because we all know that food cravings don’t just magically appear once a year, or once a day, then vanish. Luckily, the most talented pastry chefs and innovators around the world understand this, and they’re creating dessert trends that break all the rules of time and space. Sure, you can save these sweets for Valentine’s Day, or Easter, or whatever time of year or day sparks your sugar cravings, or you can indulge yourself anytime you want. GINGERBREAD PINECONE 189, Los Angeles Gingerbread houses and assorted gingerbread desserts typically show up only around Christmas, then sadly disappear. But the unforgettable Gingerbread Pinecone by pastry chef Dominique Ansel (yes, the Cronut guy) is giving the traditional winterholiday treat more staying power. Ansel shapes a rich ganache made of speculoos (the Belgian-style spiced biscuit) into a pinecone, and decorates it with dozens of chocolate “petals.” Ginger mousse and spiced cake add extra gingerbready flavor, for a dessert that’s helping turn Ansel’s new Los Angeles bakery 189 into a must-visit destination.

CHERRIES MELBA FLAMBÉ The Grill, New York A flashy, cherry-filled, red-and-white dessert flambéed tableside would typically mean it’s Valentine’s Day. But even though you can order this trendy twist on a classic for your big February date night, you can also order the Cherries Melba Flambé anytime you want at The Grill. In the historic restaurant formerly known as the Four Seasons Grill Room, which recently underwent an overhaul by star chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, the dessert becomes a head-turning extravaganza of cherries set aflame in bourbon, then poured on top of vanilla ice cream. If you’re here to see and be seen, you’ll definitely get what you came for. AVOCADO TOAST Arthur’s Oysters and Seafood, Sydney If you’ve had one too many avocado toast breakfasts over the past few years, ask yourself this: Have you ever had avocado toast for dessert? Chef Jason Wright of Arthur’s, in the New South

Wales suburb of Sydney, rescues the once-novel, now-ubiquitous breakfast trend from its morning doldrums and turns it into a stunning dessert. First, he purees avocados and vanilla ice cream, then he spreads the result on “toast” made out of dried coconut, white chocolate and breadcrumbs. He tops the whole thing with mango puree and, for an added “breakfast for dessert” twist, an addictive cornflake sauce.

COTTON CANDY AND ICE CREAM Al Falamanki, Beirut One of the downsides of adulthood is the decreasing availability of cotton candy. No one is pulling over by the side of the road to buy you a neon-colored cloud of sticky sugary mess, but luckily pastry chefs have adopted the childhood favorite and are turning it into totally non-humiliating desserts for grown-ups. At Al Falamanki’s new waterfront branch in Raouche, you can shamelessly order cotton candy after dinner, no matter how many years have elapsed since you turned six. And because those towering puffs of cotton candy dissolve all too quickly, the chefs hide a little something extra inside the sweet cloud: a scoop of ice cream. NESTS Maison Aleph, Paris The world’s most elegant Easter dessert? It’s not a chocolate egg, and it’s not those bird’s-nest-shaped candies that show up everywhere in April. It’s the delicate, cream-filled pastries made with crunchy kataif at Maison Aleph. This new patisserie in Paris’ Marais, launched by the Aleppo-born Myriam Sabet, serves the nest-shaped desserts topped with anything from mango confit and jasmine-flavored ice cream, to almond praline and hazelnut, to pistachio and mastic. Give a dozen of these to your friends for Easter and score major points, or save them for yourself. But there’s no need to hoard: these nests are available year-round, in an ever-changing variety of brilliant flavor combinations.

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How We’re Detoxing

Words Karim Hussain

CRAFTY AND HAPPY

Making things with your hands may be the key to happiness

When it comes to wellbeing, people are starting to understand that experiences, not things, might be the key to fulfillment. With this in mind I set out to discover which crafts are currently getting people’s creative juices flowing and found that making and doing is the true route to feeling good and the perfect antidote to using social media and digital distractions. The first surprise is the variety of crafts courses on offer. My attention was caught by traditional Arabic coffee making in Qatar and yoga in the London Victoria and Albert Museum sculpture hall, before settling on the more traditional paths of pottery, printing and something intriguing called terrarium-making.

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Pottery is an ancient art form, which has recently been enjoying a surge in popularity, notably by live potters working on their wheels at Paris’ Maison et Objet, inside department stores in London and Tokyo and with the hit reality TV show The Great Pottery Throw Down. At Longfield Studio, overlooking Richmond Park outside London, you can take courses that show you how to work clay, by creating pots while using a wheel, or by applying traditional Japanese glazing techniques. These tactile exercises allow you to acquire a new skill while learning how to disconnect and relax. Over the period of an afternoon I learned to work with clay, and later understood how glazes are absorbed and colors change in the kiln. The fruits of my labor are now happily ensconced among my store-bought cereal bowls. As an alternative to pottery, you can create your own artwork by attending courses at a printing studio. I took part in a group test exercise on riso-printing and worked through a few art production techniques, and then I experimented on an individual artwork with such materials as pre-made templates, inks, stamps, clippings and charcoal. A teacher is always nearby while you work to give you advice on your art piece. Once done, you’ll witness the live printing action of your master creation.

You can also create your very own self-contained botanical ecosystem with London Terrariums. During a demonstration, I learned about each of a terrarium’s components and their importance, all of the varied plants and mosses that can be used, and how to use each of the special, unique (and handmade) tools. Then I had to get my hands in there and build my own. At the end of the session I headed home with a living terrarium, to watch as it develops and flourishes, and also a care guide with details to ensure it had some life after the workshop. Taking crafts courses and making real things is a way to connect with people, ideas and self that can’t be achieved through a massage or diet. There is output here that is other than self, and this stimulates the mind, as well as the fingers. hatopress.net/workshops vam.ac.uk/whatson/programmes/workshops


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Phum Baitang

It’s understated but luxurious, a place where you can truly recharge and feel like you’ve been born again. zannierhotels.com Five-star resort Phum Baitang, designed by Paris-based architecture firm AW2, is located near Siem Reap in Cambodia, and it offers sprawling suites hidden within a landscape lush with meadows and rice paddies. One of the biggest attractions here is the spa, which is set apart from the rest of the resort and whose architecture is inspired by the famed temples of Angkor Wat. The spa’s reception building features a stone façade and sculpted columns, and each treatment room is elevated and surrounded by gardens. Open pavilions host yoga sessions and serve as soothing relaxation rooms. Phum Baitang is one great way to experience Cambodia. – Niku Kasmai

ROTTACH-EGERN, GERMANY

Hotel Bachmair Weissach This idyllic Alpine-style hotel pays homage to traditional Japanese bathing culture, with the recent addition of a 700-squaremeter Mizu Onsen spa. bachmair-weissach.com It features Onsen baths, which are deep hot water pools with submerged seating steps, designed to soak in (either alone or with friends), after a cleansing shower or scrub, and are known to stimulate circulation, cleanse and refresh. The Onsen suite joins a Finnish sauna, heated indoor pool, tepidarium, herbal steam bath and a Rasul Bath, making Hotel Bachmair Weissach a veritable United Nations of bathing, cleansing, heat-treatment and spa options. – Karim Hussain

Hotel Bachmair Weissach, Alex Teuscher, The Library

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SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA


KOH SAMUI, THAILAND

The Library thelibrarysamui.com This spectacular resort houses 46 studios, suites and pool villas, all of which are spread over 12,800 square meters of land right along Chaweng Beach, giving guests ample opportunities to roam, relax and reflect. The stark white library, from which the hotel takes its name, is a sleek, ultramodern space in which to while away the hours. There is also a beachfront restaurant and a glass-enclosed gym on site. Koh Samui is the essence of Thai wellbeing. – Karim Hussain

THE FIRST THING YOU’LL WANT TO DO WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT THE LIBRARY IN THAILAND’S KOH SAMUI IS DIVE INTO THE BLOOD-RED POOL. AND THEN LET YOURSELF FLOAT ON THE CRIMSON TIDE AND ADMIRE THE LUSH, SOARING TREES AND THE TROPICAL SKIES.

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What We’re Drinking

Words Michael Karam

A Mighty Splash of Red With Comte de M, Château Kefraya has achieved wine excellence

Everyone has his or her favorite premium Lebanese red wine. It may be a thoughtful Château Musar, beloved of aficionados the world over but, like a stinky yet delicious French cheese, not for everyone. It could also be one of the more approachable “international” style wines, like Château Ksara’s Le Souverain, Domaine des Tourelles’ Syrah du Liban, EL Ixsir or a whole host of other mighty blends designed to show the power and elegance of the Bekaa Valley’s phenomenal terroir. But before them was a wine that took Lebanon out of Château Musar’s long shadow and demonstrated that worldclass wines were not the sole domain of the late, great Serge Hochar. The Comte de M – even the name suggests

Château Kefraya

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unapologetic grandeur that other wines have never really been able to conjure up – was unleashed upon the world by the late and equally great Michel de Bustros, founder of Château Kefraya over two decades ago.

There was a time when trying to convince the world about the undoubted quality of Lebanese wine wasn’t as easy as it is today. Lebanon needed a wine with class and pizzazz. De Bustros knew what needed to be done: Lebanon was a Francophone country and its spiritual home was the Rhône Valley, where the finest Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre are grown, and it was these grapes, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, that were to be the backbone of what would be his finest creation. The Rhône philosophy was initially championed by Château Kefraya’s first winemaker, Yves Morard, a man who was raised in Ventoux at the back door of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It would take 11 years for this strategy to pay off. Impressed with the quality of the new Syrah and the vineyard’s first Cabernet Sauvignon, de Bustros and his new oenologist, Jean Michel Fernandez, decided on the first incarnation of his new wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Syrah (20%) and Mourvèdre (20%), aged in new oak barrels for one year and released after a further three years. “We were very excited by the quality,” he told me in 2004. “We knew we had a beautiful wine, one that would define our vineyard.” It would do more than that; it would define the way in which premium Lebanese wines were made, while among international critics, it gave those who had not been won over by Hochar’s controversial creations another opportunity to assess the quality of Lebanese wine.

Enter Robert Parker, the maverick American wine critic who awarded The Comte de M ‘96 a score of 91 points, a score Parker says denotes “an outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. I consider these terrific wines.” Of de Bustros’s new creation he wrote: “Château Kefraya’s – remember the name – 1996 Comte de M is scheduled to be released next year... Kefraya’s Comte de M should provide further proof that Lebanon has selected viticultural sites that can turn out world-class wine.” Today, only 4,000 cases of Comte de M are produced each year. The blend can change from year to year, and the wines are now aged for 18 to 24 months in fine grain French oak barrels.

“The Comte de M is the perfect synthesis of carefully selected, micro-terroir and the grapes used to make it,” says Château Kefraya’s current winemaker Fabrice Guiberteau, who since has worked with the superstar French consultant Eric Boissenot to perfect the blend. “The grapes are grown in the most suitable parcels of land and harvested at low yields. The fruit is expressive, with defined aromas, the weight is perfect, the tannins are integrated and the finish is sustained. It has brooding flavors of black and red fruit, spice, leather and tobacco; there is complexity, balance, power and length. It is a wine that can be drunk now or aged for over 20 years. I didn’t create it, but it is a privilege to make it. It is my baby.”

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Mel’s

BEIRUT

Open Monday to Saturday 10am-1am, Sunday 5pm1am. Armenia Street, Mar Mikhael But we’ve found that the more appealing ones – and the ones with the best pick-me-ups – are always a little bit farther down the road. Mel’s is not your typical rowdy bar; it’s a quaint and intimate space with a plethora of plants and luminous bike wheels that hang from the ceiling for lighting. Gin enthusiasts will relish The Mare Who Dared (gin mare, Dolin blanc, orange and rosemary shrub), the bar’s specialty drink that frankly calls for another round (or five). For a smokier taste, try the Mexican or Mexican’t (Espolòn blanco, vida mezcal, pineapple and dill syrup), paired with a rich and flavorful roast beef sandwich or an artichoke chorizo skillet. A great new addition to Mar Mikhael. – Rayane Abou Jaoude

A bar dedicated entirely to prosecco? We jumped at the opportunity.

Raya Farhat. Prosecco House

Prosecco House

Open Sunday to Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday to Saturday 11am-12am. 1 Crown Square, One Tower Bridge, London, proseccohouse.com The aptly named Prosecco House in London features over 20 different proseccos on the menu, and even brings its interior décor straight from Italy: burnt orange bar stools, comfy green and blue chairs, imported marble and antique bronze tables with mirrored glass surfaces. Prosecco House serves premium bubbly from Veneto, including our favorite, Marchiori, a perfect amalgamation of acidity, juiciness and hints of lemon. The other four featured wineries include Rivalta, Cirotto, TASI Bio and Andreola, beautifully paired with cicchetti (Italian side dishes), like pickled artichoke, gorgonzola and ricotta with sundried tomatoes, salami Lovison and prosciutto. Bottoms up! – Rayane Abou Jaoude

LONDON

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The majority of drinking holes that open in Beirut tend to do so on Mar Mikhael’s main street.


Where We’re Drinking

Open daily 4pm-midnight. 138 King Street, hotelviasf.com/bar/

San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood now has its own casually elegant bar, Bar VIA, located directly across from AT&T Park, the city’s stunning waterfront sports complex. Under a Hybycozo light fixture, patrons can knock back a variety of signature cocktails, including Coit Tower, made with Tanqueray gin, lillet, chamomile syrup, lemon and egg white, and Alcatraz, a delicious mixture of El Tesoro tequila, serrano pepper tincture, lime, simple syrup and passion fruit. The restrained but tasty food offerings include charcuterie and cheese platters, beef tartare and baby greens with shaved market vegetables. Expansive, comfortable and featuring massive windows, the street-side bar invites long, lingering stays – Marwan Naaman

Hotel VIA

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San Francisco – Bar VIA


Words Marwan Naaman

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TAKE ME TO NORTH BEACH AND SET ME FREE ONE SAN FRANCISCO NEIGHBORHOOD ENCAPSULATES THE CITY’S LEGENDARY MAGIC


Caffé Roma

San Francisco has long captured the imagination of rebels, writers, singers and poets. This mythic California city on the western edge of the United States and on the breathtaking shores of the Pacific Ocean was the center of the Beat movement, the birthplace of the hippie and ground zero for the Sexual Revolution. It was here that the LGBT community found its voice, in a cry for freedom that resounded the world over. Many aspects of San Francisco give it its distinctive aura: soaring hills lined with lovingly restored Victorian homes, magnificent landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and that haunting, mysterious fog, which so often envelops the city with its dense and cooling cloak.

The city’s diversity is also one its most appealing aspects. Gays and lesbians congregate in the Castro and nearby Noe Valley, while yuppies and young couples favor the Marina and Cow Hollow. Chinatown, steps from the Financial District, and Japantown, near Pacific Heights, are both vibrant Far Eastern enclaves. The Mission is the beating heart of the Latino community, while the Jewish community resides in elegant Presidio Heights. But one neighborhood in particular best evokes San Francisco’s incredible history, from the Gold Rush days in the mid 19th century to the present day. Set in northeastern San Francisco, right next to Chinatown, North Beach has long been home to the city’s Italian community. With its classic retail establishments, vintage architecture, amazing restaurants, historic churches and eclectic crowd, North Beach represents the Barbary Coast that once was and a San Francisco that continues to evolve into the future.

The best way to get to know North Beach is by foot, and whether you’re a first-time or repeat visitor, you may miss some of the neighborhood’s treasures along the way. One way to ensure that you really get a feel for the place and hit the area hotspots is through Local Taste of the City Tours. While the three-hour jaunt is described as a “food tour,” it’s really so much more, mainly thanks to tour guide Blandina Farley, a longtime North Beach resident, complete with blond pigtails and billowy, colorful clothes, who will navigate you through the neighborhood’s secret attractions and introduce you to its residents and business owners.

Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Café

CAFFÉ ROMA You’ll start off your walk at Caffé Roma, North Beach’s iconic coffeehouse, where handsome owner Tony Azzollini (and son of founder Sergio Azzollini) still roasts his coffee beans on-site, in a massive coffee roaster set right in the café’s front window. A cut above the rest, the coffee here is fragrant and addictive, and all popular coffee drinks are available, of course: espresso, macchiato, cappuccino and more.

MARIO’S BOHEMIAN CIGAR STORE CAFÉ You won’t get cigars at this joint, but you will sample the tastiest oven-baked meatball focaccia you’ve ever had, with melted Swiss cheese, rich sauce and soft red onions. While North Beach hasn’t been completely spared by the wave of gentrification that’s swept much of San Francisco – many neighborhood establishments are new and trendy – Mario’s retains much of its old world Italian charm. The place has a crowded bar where locals congregate over beer

Molinari Delicatessen

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The view from Coit Tower

and wine, and a very small seating area where you can sample the various sandwiches and other hearty delights on offer.

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MOLINARI DELICATESSEN Yes, yes, you’ve just had a massive focaccia, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move on to Molinari, a deli wonderland of meats, cheeses, pastas, olive oil and almost anything else Italian you can imagine. Since you’re visiting San Francisco, you may not need to stock up on Italian produce, but you can still enjoy the delectable food items on offer: order Joe’s Special Sandwich, a dizzyingly delicious affair with fresh mozzarella, sweet bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes and garlic basil spread. You can scarf it down right outside the store, on one of a handful of tables set up for eat-in customers. ST. PETER AND PAUL CHURCH After consuming such rich Italian fare, you may need to ask for absolution. And you won’t have to go far to do so: St. Peter and Paul Church, the neighborhood’s splendid Roman Catholic church, is set right on Washington Square, in the middle of North Beach. The church was originally built in 1884, destroyed during the 1906 earthquake and rebuilt between 1913 and 1924, and it houses statues, mosaics and other religious icons, as well as a magnificent 14foot rose window that depicts a verse from the Book of Revelation. If you’re near Washington Square in the morning, you’ll witness residents from nearby Chinatown practicing tai chi in the park – a San Francisco tradition.

MACCHIARINI CREATIVE DESIGN Walk up the hill, and you’ll reach Macchiarini Creative Design & Metalworks Gallery, where you have to ring a doorbell to be let in. Macchiarini was founded in 1948, and it’s the oldest ongoing Modernist gallery and metal arts production studio in the United States. Three generations from the Macchiarini family are involved in the design of the metal jewelry and sculptures sold here. Ask to check out the atelier in back, where you can view master craftspeople plying their trade. You can even sign up for workshops to create your own designs – like coins or wedding rings – and take classes in casting and fabrication.

Stella Pastry & Café

STELLA PASTRY & CAFÉ Head back down to Columbus Avenue and drop by Stella Pastry & Café. Opened in 1942, this traditional Italian bakery makes fresh Italian goods daily, including cakes, cupcakes, pastries and cookies. Grab their signature cannoli, a flaky dessert filled with cream and chocolate chips – it’s a little bit of heaven.

Z CIOCCOLATO One dessert simply isn’t enough though, so next visit Z Cioccolato, where you can try innumerable fudge concoctions. This delightful candy store has America’s only seven-layer fudge – the Peanut Butter Pie – as well as other sinful flavors like dark Cabernet Sauvignon swirl and turtle cheesecake, all freshly made on the premises.

BIORDI Take a break from eating and visit Biordi, one of the most pleasing stores in San Francisco. First opened in 1946 and owned by Gianfranco Savio, Biordi sells classic Italian Majolica ceramics imported mainly from

North Beach in the 1970s


NORTH BEACH AND BEYOND There are many other incredible places to visit in North Beach, like Caffé Trieste, the oldest café in the city and a place where Bohemian poets once congregated, The Saloon, which is the oldest bar in the city and a great spot to hear live blues music, and the legendary City Lights Bookstore. Once you’re done with North Beach, you can explore San Francisco’s other iconic neighborhoods, then drive down the coast on Highway 1 and discover the magnificent oceanside towns of Half Moon Bay, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel. But don’t stop there: you’re in California, you’re on Highway 1 – just keep going. For more info, visit sffoodtour.com and sftravel.com Caffé Trieste

Umbria and Tuscany. Colorful dinnerware, objets d’art and other gift items are all handmade, using ancient Italian craft techniques. The sheer beauty of the objects makes Biordi feel more like a museum than a retail space. MONA LISA Okay, so you’ve had dessert already, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sample Mona Lisa’s legendary pizza. You’re in North Beach after all, and pizza here is even more coveted than in New York. Choose the Diavola, with mozzarella, tomato sauce, spicy salami and pepperoni. Then sit back and enjoy the restaurant’s classic Italian feel while sipping on a glass of red vino.

City Lights Bookstore

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The Betsy-South Beach

MIAMI BEACH

Where We’re Staying

Few Miami hotels are as special as The Betsy-South Beach.

1440 Ocean Drive, thebetsyhotel.com Set right on Ocean Drive, among the Art Deco glamour of Miami Beach, the bijou property recently underwent an expansion that saw it merge with the historic Carlton Hotel to become a single unified destination. Attractions at the hotel include LT Steak & Seafood restaurant, operating under the helm of celebrated chef Laurent Tourondel; the Ocean Deck, a spectacular rooftop on which guests can enjoy alfresco cocktails and nibbles under Miami’s tropical skies; and The Conservatory, South Beach’s hottest espresso and wine bar. In the words of Pulitzer Prize finalist Hyam Plutzik, who was also The Betsy-South Beach owner’s father: “Expect no more. This is happiness.” – Marwan Naaman

Raya Farhat, Le Pavillon de la Reine, Javier Sanchez, The Betsy-South Beach

Le Cedrus

Main Road, Cedars, Northern Lebanon, cedrushotel.com The Cedars, Lebanon’s soaring mountain peaks, provide a breathtaking backdrop to Le Cedrus. The intimate boutique hotel first opened in 2006, and it has since become the favored haunt for Lebanese seeking to escape the Beirut and Tripoli city bustle, and enjoy winter-sport and après-ski activities in blissfully snowy surroundings. The 40 rooms and suites, warm with natural wood and dark winter colors, feel like cozy, private mountain chalets, while El Privado cigar lounge and the Lobby Lounge, with its fully stocked bar, invite long, lingering stays. Onsite restaurant Le Pichet is a star in its own right, serving up delectable dishes, including onion soup, Cedrus beef burger and a variety of pizzas. Musthave specialties include cheese raclette, fondue Bourguignonne and the particularly tasty Pierrade – prime cuts of beef medallion that you grill at your own table. With the Cedars of God sanctuary, ski slopes and Qadisha Valley all within easy reach, there’s really no better place to experience the full majesty of the Lebanese mountains. – Marwan Naaman

THE CEDARS, LEBANON

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PARIS

Le Pavillon de La Reine 28 Place des Vosges, pavillon-de-la-reine.com The Paris hotel, located inside a 17th-century building in which Queen Anne of Austria once resided, was just reinvented by interior architect Didier Benderli, founder of design firm Kerylos Intérieurs. In keeping with Benderli’s philosophy to create interiors that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, the revamped hotel features a plush mix of contemporary amenities and antique furnishings. This fabulous fusion is evident in the suites, which have been doused in orange and yellow hues, further enhanced with black and white accents. The on-site Spa de la Reine houses a gym, Jacuzzi and steam bath, as well as a full menu of treatments. If you’re strong enough to tear yourself away from the hotel, the Marais awaits right outside your door, promising endless Parisian adventures. – Niku Kasmai

IF YOU’VE EVER DREAMED OF A QUEENLY GETAWAY, THEN LE PAVILLON DE LA REINE IS THE PLACE FOR YOU.

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THE LAST PAGE WHY WE LOVE BEIRUT It’s easy to fall in love with Beirut. Although it’s chaotic and often overwhelming, Lebanon’s capital city exerts a strong seductive pull. Here’s what each A Mag team member loves most about Beirut

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“The old houses. They’re so beautiful. Beirut is the only place in Lebanon where you have so much beauty.” Karine Abou Arraj, chief marketing director

“Masrah al Madina in Hamra. Because it’s been around for so long, and you always have different options for plays.” Rayane Abou Jaoude, associate editor

“The old architecture, noise, small alleys, food, the Corniche and the people smiling.” Mélanie Dagher, creative director

“It’s a melting pot. There’s unity in Beirut’s diversity.” Raya Farhat, in-house photographer

“The spirit. The people are always warm, welcoming and ready to do something. You can always find something to entertain you.” Maria Khairallah, illustrator “The nightlife. It’s a hub for the country and the region.” Fadi Maalouf, senior photo editor

“I feel it’s home. Whenever I travel, I’m always happy to return.” Maria Maalouf, senior art and production director “The vibes. Everything is close, everything is easy. Beirut has a youthful vibe.” Stephanie Missirian, advertising manager “The nightlife and restaurants. You have 24hour service and so many choices.” Melhem Moussallem, advertising director

“The social scene. Friends and family are always around. You never feel lonely.” Marwan Naaman, editor-in-chief

“The parties. Even if you go out alone, there’s always going to be someone you know.” Sophie Nahas, coordinating editor “You’re always taken care of. There’s always someone who has your back.” Nour Saliba, junior digital editor


Profile for Aïshti

A Magazine, Issue 93  

A Magazine, Issue 93  

Profile for aishti
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