art. culture. wild. a coNde Nast publicatioN summer 2015
true romance: boho by the beach jeremy scott culture clash : Ny V la power towers uk/international
p66 Great Scott
p102 Designer Illusions
p78 Bohemian Like You
p114 Brick by Brick p122 Model Behaviour
p128 On the Up
LEYLA ALIYEVA, PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALAN GELATI.
each or mountains? It’s a question many people ask themselves when planning their summer breaks. Sunshine and relaxation amid the deepest blue skies and waters; or the exhilaration of the peaks and the chilly air that surrounds them? In Azerbaijan we are fortunate to be able to enjoy both (even in a single day, if you really try). Our mountains are higher than the Austrian Alps, and our beaches line the Caspian Sea in a warm Mediterranean climate. In this issue, the spirit of summer is evoked dreamily in our fashion shoot near the coast on the Absheron peninsula (page 78). Baku, itself one of the world’s great seafront cities, is developing a spectacular new White City not far from the sea, east of the present city centre, and it forms the basis of the architecture feature on page 128. Elsewhere, we have some magnifcent photographic memories of the European Games we hosted in Baku earlier this summer for you on page 96. A Lego Baku has been created to accompany a whimsical story on the madly successful toy company, on page 114. And the inaugural Azerbaijan Fashion Week is celebrated on page 122. Whatever your style or interests, enjoy the summer and all that nature has to offer at this blissful time of year. Leyla Aliyeva Editor-in-Chief
Contents SKETCHES PEDAL POWER The Tour d’Azerbaijan has us reaching for our Lycra.
CULTURE FIX Art, food, music and more – your summer cultural calendar is sorted.
MAPPED OUT The world’s wildest and most wonderful nature reserves.
OBJETS D’ART Impossible-to-resist products, from Meccano-inspired accessories to the Whitney Museum as a handbag.
ON THE RADAR Wunderkind artist Lucien Smith keeps everyone guessing.
A NEW RUSSIA The just-opened Garage Museum ensures Moscow’s place in the art big league.
GREEN LIGHTS Art + science = sustainable innovations that can change the way we live for good.
TAKE 5 Melissa Odabash, beachwear designer to the stars, reveals her summer hit list.
CULT & COLLECTABLE The most covetable items at this season’s art auctions.
GILDING THE LILY Age-old art-and-craft techniques are fnding their way into mainline fashion collections, with delightful results.
VIEWPOINT: KENNY SCHACHTER What’s with luxury labels opening art foundations? The writer and curator shares his insight.
BRICK BY BRICK
ON THE UP
Moschino’s fabulously famboyant creative director, Jeremy Scott, speaks up.
NEW YORK V LOS ANGELES Two great cities vie for art-world dominance.
BOHEMIAN LIKE YOU A romantic take on summer fashion.
READY, SET, GO We report on the spectacular opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games in Baku.
DESIGNER ILLUSIONS Surreal style at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
Backstage at the frst-ever Azerbaijan Fashion Week.
From Manhattan to Baku, residential projects are drawing in starchitects like never before.
Baku’s cultural barometer of cutting-edge trends on the international art scene.
THE KING AND I
ENDANGERED SPECIES NO. 1
53 54 57 61
CANVAS GREAT SCOTT
Lego has rebuilt itself, from near-defunct retro toymaker to style icon. But how?
66 72 78 96 102
Haydar Hatemi talks about his life’s work as the offcial artist to the Qatari royal family.
Kick-start summer on the Côte d’Azur, Azerbaijani style.
Russian favourite Mari Vanna restaurant opens its doors in Baku.
Inside Christine Suppes’s haute couture wardrobe.
Leyla Aliyeva on a conservation journey around Malaysia.
Chef Rose Ang brings her Asian cuisine to Baku.
A remote vineyard in Azerbaijan is producing some award-winning world-class wines.
Sabina Shikhlinskaya sheds light with her neon works.
Eternal fames at the Ateshgah fre temple.
Malaysia in bloom.
People, places and parties around the world.
The plight of the imperial eagle.
Belgian artist Wim Delvoye at the Heydar Aliyev Centre.
COVER. Photographed by EMMA HARDY. Styled by NIKKI BREWSTER. Top by THE CROSS. Vintage petticoat from ORSINI, LONDON. Jewellery by PEBBLE LONDON. Belt and sandals, stylist’s own.
ART. CULTURE. WILD.
A CONDE NAST PUBLICATION summer 2015
Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief, Condé Nast Creative Director Managing Editor Deputy Editor/Chief Sub-Editor Associate Editor Editorial Assistant
Picture Editor Designer Sub-Editor Production Controller
Deputy Editor, Russian Baku Magazine Director, Freud Communications Director, Media Land LLC in Baku/Advertising
Co-ordination in Baku
Deputy Managing Director President, Condé Nast International
Leyla Aliyeva Darius Sanai
Daren Ellis Maria Webster Abbie Vora Laura Archer Francesca Peak
Simon de Pury
Jarrett Gregory Dylan Jones Emin Mammadov Hervé Mikaeloff Harriet Quick Kenny Schachter
Nick Hall Arijana Zeric Andrew Lindesay Emma Storey
Tamilla Akhmedova Hannah Pawlby Khayyam Abdinov +994 50 286 8661; email@example.com Matanet Bagieva
Albert Read Nicholas Coleridge
BAKU magazine has taken all reasonable efforts to trace the copyright owners of all works and images and obtain permissions for the works and images reproduced in this magazine. In the event that any of the untraceable copyright owners come forward after publication, BAKU magazine will endeavour to rectify the position accordingly. BAKU magazine is distributed globally by COMAG Specialist, Tavistock Works, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7QX; tel +44 1895 433800. © 2015 The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU, United Kingdom; tel +44 20 7499 9080; fax +44 20 7493 1469. Colour origination by CLX Europe Media Solutions Ltd. Printed by Pureprint Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.
is an author and freelance journalist, writing regularly for the Telegraph and the FT. Best summer moment? I like the incongruous feeling of having those very long midsummer days over the Christmas holiday, particularly in Patagonia. Yacht or tent? Tent. Action or slump? Action, preferably at 6,000m above sea level. Favourite holiday drink? Sugarcane juice or masala lime soda. Did you like playing with Lego as a child (p114)? Yes – we used to make cars with battering rams and hold demolition derbies.
is fashion features editor for British Vogue, having previously been fashion features director on the Sunday Times Style magazine. Best summer moment? That frst plunge into a warm, blue holiday ocean. Yacht or tent? My reality is a tent but I spend my fantasy life in a yacht cruising around the Grecian archipelago. Action or slump? I tend to slump for three days to recharge, then I’m ready to explore. Favourite holiday drink? A scroppino in Capri. What do you like most about Jeremy Scott’s design aesthetic (p66)? It’s full of fun, vigour and verve. It never fails to get you noticed.
trained as an actress but prefers life behind her camera, with which she travels the world. Best summer moment? End-of-day sun on my back and warm ground beneath my feet. Yacht or tent? Yacht – preferably with dolphin-viewing possibilities. Action or slump? Action. Favourite holiday drink? Caipirinha. How did your photography style work with the beach-house setting for the fashion shoot (p78)? I think it worked well as the place was infused with quirky charm, intense artistry and a playfulness that completely entranced me.
used to work in the catalogue department at Phillips auction house and for two years has been freelancing at Baku. From the autumn issue he will be acting chief sub-editor. Best summer moment? Walking along the rocky coast path to Marmara beach near Loutro in Crete. Yacht or tent? Defnitely tent – at high altitude preferably. Action or slump? Action – but nothing too fast. Favourite holiday drink? A beer in the cafe on that beach in Crete.
is a Brazilian-born collage artist who has created work for Versace and Nike. He’s also the founder of two independent magazines. Best summer moment? Those moments with my family on a beach in the south of Brazil. Yacht or tent? Always tent. Action or slump? I am more into action these days. Favourite holiday drink? Caipirinha, of course – I’m Brazilian! What do you love about working with fashion images (p66)? It forces me to be unexpected.
is a stylist who has worked for various magazines including Per Lui, Lei, and Vogue. Best summer moment? Swimming in the Aegean sea. Yacht or tent? Tent. Action or slump? Action. Favourite holiday drink? I love fresh coconut water. What kind of mood did you want to capture through the clothes for your shoot (p78)? I wanted to convey an earthy, natural, strong, creative and feminine woman by using lace and embroidery with blocks of colour.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALICE STEVENSON.
Photograph by ROBERT WYATT
They skirted the Flame Towers and headed northwest from Baku to the coastal city of Sumgait, through the cobbled streets of Ismayilli, then mountainous Gabala, to Mingecavir, and fnally back to the capital for a challenging circuit darting through the ancient alleyways of the Old Town. This spring saw 148 local and international riders in 25 teams covering 870km of highly varied terrain over fve days, in the fourth Tour d’Azerbaijan. And the winner? Primož Rogliˇc, 25, of Slovenia, won overall, and Synergy Baku Cyling Project took home the team award. Prepare your Lycra for 2016.
( cultuR Re FI FIx x
WHERE IT’S AT THIS SEASON
THE LIFE OF A PRINCESS UNTIL 1 NOVEMBER GRACE KELLY: PRINCESS AND STYLE ICON
Where Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku What This extremely popular touring exhibition arrives in Baku, with more than 200 of Kelly’s possessions charting her extraordinary life through clothes, jewels and letters. Also on show is Kelly’s collection of motor vehicles, including a 1952 Austin Taxi. heydaraliyevcenter.az 35 Baku.
Get Wild Our pick of the world’s reserves are showing the way in wildlife and nature conservation.
Illustration by STEVEN WILSON
1 Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada It may be bleak and cold on the shores of Hudson Bay at times, but the polar bears like it, making this beautiful reserve one of the best spots to catch sight of one. pc.gc.ca
5 2 American Prairie Reserve, Bozeman, Montana, USA If you’re looking for a home where the buffalo roam, here it is. To preserve this historic landscape, the reserve is adding land when it can and eventually it’ll be 1.5m ha. americanprairie.org
3 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Famous for inspiring Darwin, these 19 islands are an icon for conservation. It is one of the richest and most fragile of ecosystems, so access is restricted. est cted. whc.unesco.org hc.unesco.org 38 Baku.
7 Göygöl National Park, Azerbaijan The country’s largest national park contains the stunningly clear Lake Göygöl and is home to rare species, such as the lammergeier, a bone-eating vulture. eco.gov.az
4 Torres del Paine National Park, Chile This Unesco biosphere reserve is roughly the size of Luxembourg and is one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife parks, and home to an endangered deer, the Chilean guemal. conaf.cl
8 Dana Biosphere Reserve, Taflah, Jordan With so much naked geology on view, you’d never think this park’s rugged landscape had such a rich fora and fauna, from plants unique to Dana to a fnch called the Syrian serin. rscn.org.jo
Alladale Wilderness Ranch, Scotland For those of you born to be wild, try the Alladale estate, which is being reverted from a man-made landscape to a wilderness with the introduction of native trees, elk and even wolves. alladale.com
6 Danube Delta, Romania At the end of Europe’s great river, this is one of the continent’s largest and best preserved areas of continuous marshland, with reedbeds, foating islands and pelicans as far as the eye can see. whc.unesco.org hc.unesco.org
9 Mefou Primate Park, Cameroon Volunteers at this sanctuary for gorillas and chimps provide a safe haven from forest destruction, hunting and the bushmeat trade, and treat the animals for any injuries before returning them to the the e wild. d. apeactionafrica.org
( maPPed out
8 13 11
10 13 Chengdu Moon Bear 10 Selous Game Reserve, Rescue Centre, China Tanzania Big game and big cats are here Home to more than 140 “happy, in this big reserve, the largest healthy bears”, as Animals Asia in Africa. It’s so big, in fact, that says, rescued from the appalling actual numbers of each species conditions they grow up in as are unknown and the ecology is sources of bile for traditional undisturbed. whc.unesco.org medicine. animalsasia.org 11 Kumbhalgarh Wildlife 14 Sanctuary, Rajasthan, India The Aravalli Hills where this sanctuary is was once the home of the tiger, and is now seeing the decline of many other species. There is a reintroduction scheme as well as popular safaris.
Bako National Park, Malaysian Borneo The richness of Bako’s offerings, not least the rare proboscis monkey, is down to its seven ecosystems and its 16 trails. Just watch out for the carnivorous plants. sarawakforestry.com
12 Baikal Nature Reserves, 15 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Buryatia, Russia Brisbane, Australia There are no less than three While there is all sorts of reserves around the vast Lake Australian wildlife here, what Baikal, which has been host to you really want to do is cuddle an equally vast range of fora a koala, just as previous and fauna for 25 million years. visitors have – such as Taylor baikalnature.com Swiftt and Swift a d the t e Pope. ope. koala.net 39 Baku.
It would only be natural for the designer who does neon like no other to base his frst make-up range on the brightest hues. Christopher Kane’s limitededition Neoneutral collection for Nars also includes neutrals to offset the vibrant shades – such as rose gold eyeshadow and lip-staining gloss in coral. narscosmetics.com
The eye-catching graphics synonymous with Londonbased design studio Kapitza, run by sisters Nicole and Petra Kapitza have been realized as Kapitza, woollen jumpers. As part of the Commes des Garçons spring/ summer menswear collection, the two designs add a colourful extra layer on cloudy days. doverstreetmarket.com
Covering up on the beach has never looked so chic. A summer collaboration between luxury swimwear label Orlebar Brown and king of the psychedelic print Emilio Pucci includes swimming shorts for men and women as well as long-sleeved long sleeved rash guards (above) (above). orlebarbrown.co.uk
Build Your Look
JW Anderson, creative director of Loewe, loved playing with Meccano as a child. So when designing his debut spring/ summer men’s accessories collection for the Spanish luxury leather brand he turned to the toy’s archives. The result? Quirky belts (above), keyrings, brooches and shoes. loewe.com
Rupert Sanderson’s shoes are always works of art, and he frequently looks to 20th-century icons, such as Frida Kahlo, for inspiration. This divine pair features a beaded image of the Mexican artist. rupertsanderson.com
What’s in Your Bag? Here’s an unusual one: an architect designs a handbag that resembles a building. Perhaps not so unusual when it’s Renzo Piano for Max Mara and the building is New York’s new Whitney Museum. maxmara.com
COMPILED BY ABBIE VORA.
( OBJETS DÕART
( 40 Baku.
Portrait by ADAM GOLFER
n just a few years, 26-year-old New Yorker Lucien Smith has risen to become one of the most sought-after emerging artists, hailed by Vogue, the New York Times and Forbes as a wunderkind. Yet behind these accolades is an artist who is thoughtful, articulate and supremely focused on his work. His experimental approach, refecting his fascination with the way man-made processes mimic the natural world, caught people’s attention. Smith’s Rain Paintings – created with paint sprayed from a fre extinguisher – were among the frst works of his to gain global recognition. Most recently, for his 2014 solo show ‘Tigris’ at Skarstedt Gallery, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Smith based his subject matter on camoufage patterns called ‘tiger stripe’, used during the Vietnam War. Using computer vectorization, he turned the shapes into vinyl stencils through which he applied transparent oil paints to stain raw canvas, creating an effect that resembles watercolours, much like the work of American painter Morris Louis. Smith has now surprised us again by taking a contemplative pause from making art. In the meantime, he has been making flms: frst a short, based on a children’s book, and he is currently developing a featurelength flm that deals with a signifcant moment in art history. He says he is looking forward to adapting his art processes to flm-making. And it will no doubt be a fruitful exploration for this inventive artist.
( on the RAdAR
Rain Paintings, tiger stripes and feature flms – what will New York artist Lucien Smith do next, asks Jarrett Gregory.
Lucien Smith at home in New York with his dog, Yoda.
Jarrett Gregory is an associate curator at LACMA in Los Angeles. 43 Baku.
t’s a sunny summer evening near the riverside. Hipsters are sipping Aperol spritzes while Sam Smith’s latest track echoes over the parkland treetops. People wander in and out of a vast, funky building that seems to be made of plastic, carrying drinks, art bags and books, and chatting or zoning out to music on their phones. Inside, gargles and screams emanate from one part of the interior: this is a cathedral to contemporary art, and the noise comes from a controversial installation. “Very, ah, challenging,” you hear one fop-haired art-ista whisper to another, looking a little shocked, on emerging from the show. A group of museum curators from Germany shuffes around, looking serious. The calm is broken by a herd of teenagers, escaping from an artimmersion lesson, their heads flled with concepts and images, talking animatedly. Everything feels very chilled, very creative: an infusion of numerous aspects of edgy contemporary culture in one space. Are you in San Francisco’s SoMa district? Maybe Portland, Oregon? Or the 19th arrondissement in Paris? Berlin? Melbourne? No – welcome to Moscow. Or, to be precise, the latest and undoubtedly greatest incarnation of Garage, the museum of contemporary art. Conceived by Dasha Zhukova, co-funded by her husband, Roman Abramovich, and designed by Dutch superarchitect Rem Koolhaas, the new Garage intends to be far
A New Russia With the opening this summer of the new Garage Museum, Moscow has its sights on the big league of contemporary art cities. Darius Sanai investigates. Photography by PHILIP VLASOV
more than a contemporary art gallery. For starters, it’s enormous: in summer, including its sweeping roof terrace, it encompasses more than 5,500sq m of space, meaning it is closer in scale to the likes of the Guggenheim than a private art gallery. But Garage is also far more than a gallery in its concept. In its original incarnation, in a former bus depot (hence the name) north of Moscow’s city centre, it made headlines for its cutting-edge shows (and for the identity of its patrons). From 2012 until earlier this
1. The ‘Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Theory’ exhibition at Garage. 2. Roman Abramovich with Dasha Zhukova, the founder of Garage. 3. The new Garage building design by architect Rem Koolhaas. 4. ‘The Sixties: Points of Intersection’ exhibition at Garage.
year, Garage resided in a fetching temporary pavilion in Gorky Park, a former rundown urban green space near the centre of the city. Garage II hinted at what was to come: as well as brilliantly curated shows there was a cafe, which seemed to have been beamed down directly from southern California, and an art shop selling a beautifully curated selection of books, toys and educational material that would have done a major Western art institution proud – let alone a city where postSoviet art has not always been universally welcomed. Next to the temporary pavilion was a series of halls where children focked in, on a daily basis, to be taught the basics of painting, sculpture and art theory – a haven of enlightenment. Then in June this year, the allnew, old-new Garage opened. Just a couple of hundred metres away from its temporary home in Gorky Park, it is a dramatic and expensive remaking of 46 Baku.
“GARAGE AT THIS MOMENT IS THE PLACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THEMSELVES AND GROW UP.” what was once a Soviet-era restaurant called Seasons of the Year. Built in 1968 in the modernist style, it was once a place for Muscovites to take lunch in the park on gentle weekends when, by all accounts, there wasn’t a surfeit of thrilling cultural activity on offer. After the end of the Soviet Union, the restaurant fell into disrepair, its windows smashed, its interior open to the harsh Russian elements. And so it remained for more than 20 years, until Abramovich, Zhukova and Koolhaas put together their plan to turn it into Moscow’s equivalent of the Pompidou Centre. “We are doing a lot of projects which connect to each other, to Russian avant-
garde, Russian modernists, contemporary artists, young local artists. We’re translating and publishing a lot of international books to put the art into context here. At the same time the museum is a big communication platform for open lectures, for courses, for children and families and everyone.” Anton Belov is speaking rapid-fre, occasionally breaking into a wry smile. He wears a T-shirt and jeans, the uniform of the staff at Garage. The director of the museum, he is young, intellectual, speaks fuent English and has the air of a man who has a lot he wants to achieve. Any patronizing fears I may have had that Garage would present a sanitized perspective on contemporary art have been dispelled instantly by the show I have just been through, ‘Grammar of Freedom/Five Lessons: Works from the Arteast 2000+ Collection’. It’s a pretty rigorous and shocking examination of post-Soviet culture in eastern Europe. I ask Belov the obvious question about politics ever being a problem. “For us it’s never been a problem,” he says, “because Garage is a place where you simply come and see shows – we always have a special programme. There are people in Garage T-shirts and anyone can ask them to explain everything about any piece of art in this room. At the same time we have audio guides, and a big lecture series connected to this exhibition. We always talk about these things in an artistic way. We don’t make political statements with our shows, even if a specifc piece of art is a political statement. A previous exhibition was a non-conformist show – it had pieces by Pussy Riot – and there weren’t any problems. We always talk about not wanting to make political statements in our art. For us we want to show the stories. Everybody can choose how they see this. “Of course we understand that it’s possible that there could be problems,” Belov continues. “But at the same time I couldn’t tell curators not to do something, because I don’t think that’s right. We always try, with our shows, to explain it from all different angles of how you can feel and understand this piece of art. My opinion is that if you talk about contemporary art, it makes it much easier for people to understand it. So of course if you don’t talk about it as a political statement, there won’t be a problem.” Today, Zhukova and Abramovich jointly fund around two-thirds of Garage’s running costs, with the rest coming from revenue, and the aim is ultimately to become selffunding. Education is a key emphasis, Belov says. “We have more and more education and public programmes, and at the same time we have just opened the library. For us every element of this feld is a really big part of our work and it’s all connected. Artists who we are supporting come to use the library and we’re working with local curators and artists to come to our conferences and take part. The whole system is all interconnected and if we don’t do it, no one will.” There are no self-imposed constraints, Belov says. Garage showcases Russian and
1. The monumental painting Come to Garage! commissioned from Erik Bulatov for the atrium at Garage. 2. Inside the Speaker (2014) by Katarina Grosse. 3. Dasha Zhukova with Rem Koolhaas at Garage. 4. Garage director Anton Belov in front of a tiled wall from the original cafe. 5. The exhibition ‘Rirkrit Tiravanija: Tomorrow is the Question’. 6. The interior of the new Garage building. 7. Garage’s exterior.
ARTYOM GEODAKYAN/ITAR-TASS PHOTO/CORBIS. PHILIP VLASOV. NIC TENWIGGENHORN © KATHARINA GROSSE UND VG BILD-KUNST BONN, 2015/ COURTESY JOHANN KÖNIG, BERLIN.
international art, Soviet and post-Soviet, contemporary and modern. Under Belov and chief curator Kate Fowle, there are collaborations with leading curators and institutions from around the world. “Garage at this moment is the place where people can change themselves and grow up. We’re more thinking that it’s a cultural point to reach out to local people,” he says. “We want to show them the possibilities of the world, to open their eyes, and to teleport them to other cultures. At the same time, for Russian people, it’s a place where they can come and feel the same as they did in other contemporary art museums around the world, but see something different because we’re not your typical museum.” I wonder whether Garage takes inspiration from the Kunsthalle movement in Europe, which has gathered such momentum in recent years: no permanent collection, extensive collaborations,
MUSEUM SPACES ARE TAKING AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE CULTURAL LIFE – AND THE BRANDING – OF CITIES AND COUNTRIES.
relaxed ambience, cutting-edge curation. Belov agrees: “We are bigger, but our style is based on the Kunsthalle model. We only do exhibitions, but more in an institutional way – we do a lot with our connections around the world and we have big ideas to work on. It’s not just connected to our exhibition space here, it’s also our publishing programme, which has already resulted in 150,000 copies of different books, and we’ve translated 50 different titles from English, German and French. So we have a lot going on beyond what we’re doing in our exhibitions. Sometimes we even do research for exhibitions going on not here but elsewhere in Moscow.” Museum spaces are taking an increasingly important role in the cultural life – and the branding – of cities and countries. It all started with the Pompidou in Paris, the world’s frst egalitarian museumas-cultural-and-social-space. MOCA in LA, London’s Tate Modern, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Zaha Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku – more than being synonymous with their cities, such institutions defne their cities in a particular way. If Garage can defne Moscow, Russia’s intriguing, historic, complex capital will be a wonderful city indeed. As Belov says: “If Garage were one day to close, it would be catastrophic for the scene in Moscow because a lot of Russian professionals, and even just ordinary people who visit us, really love Garage.”
HISASHI MIBUCHI. MARK CHILVERS/REX.
mong the most arresting works at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition last year was a painting by Bob and Roberta Smith that spelt out the words: ALL SCHOOLS SHOULD BE ART SCHOOLS. It was a popular piece, and it’s an interesting point. Consider the number of stellar British-born industrial designers who have connections with the Royal College of Art (RCA). The entrepreneur and inventor Sir James Dyson, creator of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner among other things, was a postgraduate student there. Thomas Heatherwick, designer of London’s new Routemaster buses, the Rolling Bridge, the London 2012 Olympic cauldron and any number of architectural projects, is another alumnus. And Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design offcer, without whom we wouldn’t have iPhones, has been given an honorary doctorate. Perhaps then Bob and Roberta Smith (the nom de guerre of a man named Patrick Brill) has a point. “New advances often occur when we are able to look at things from a different perspective,” noted Sir Paul Nurse, the geneticist, Nobel laureate and president of the Royal Society, when it was announced that artist Conrad Shawcross would be creating a work to stand outside the Francis Crick Institute in London, a major new medical research centre due to open in 2016. “Conrad’s stimulating design for Paradigm [as the work is called] draws on both artistic and scientifc inspiration.” Increasingly, then, academe is waking up to the fact that there is a synergy to be harnessed between science, industry and the arts, and all have much to learn from one another. To this end, the UK’s elite science university Imperial College London has an artist in residence (physics graduate-turned-painter Geraldine Cox). The RCA, meanwhile, as well as having long-standing departments dedicated to vehicle design and engineering, has SustainRCA, a programme that, says its head Clare Brass, develops “graduate ideas that could radically change the world”. The RCA is increasingly harnessing the creative minds of its students to work in more obviously practical ways.
Ahead of this year’s SustainRCA exhibition in London, Claire Wrathall celebrates the startling, and often world-changing, innovations that emerge when art and science collide.
“Many of the design projects are business propositions,” Brass said at last year’s SustainRCA Show, an exhibition of projects from the course. “You can have amazing ideas and imagine some fantastic future scenarios but if there’s no way of making them actually happen then there’s no point in them. We want the students to think of entrepreneurial ideas based on social and environmental challenges.” These can be anything from altering our diets and boosting nutrition in the developing world to low-cost ways of delivering information and political messages.
Above: dress and shawl made from recycled printed fabric for Hana Mitsui’s project The New Value of Waste. Left: Patrick Brill, aka Bob and Roberta Smith.
Clockwise from above: dress by Hana Mitsui; Ento’s restaurant in London for insect fne dining; Pierre Paslier’s Streettoolbox project OpenSquare; and the Chicken Run research programme with FAI Farms.
of intensive farming, agriculture’s dependence on fossil fuels, and global inequality in food production. All the data they mined suggested they were on to a winner. But how to convert the public? Enter chef Nuno Mendes, then of the Michelinstarred Viajante, now of Chiltern Firehouse and a protégé of Ferran Adrià. With support from the French vodka brand Grey Goose (“to get you over the shock of what you were eating and give you courage,” quipped one nervous diner), they opened a pop-up restaurant, designed by fashion designer Giles Deacon, in London’s on-theup-if-not-quite-there Elephant & Castle. The menu paired cocktails mixed by Tony Conigliaro (of the gin joint and cocktail
Its four student founders now run a company called Ento developing foodstuffs from insects. Their products may not yet be available in supermarkets, but in 2013 the jury of the O2 Smarta 100 Awards voted them the UK’s Most Innovative Business. So it’s only a matter of time. Food also played a role in another project that looked at improving the brief lives of intensively reared poultry. It addressed the confusion that arises from labelling and welfare (just how free are free-range chickens?) to the fact that birds tend to gain weight too quickly for their bodies to cope
kimono fabric. “Really it’s a form of upcycling, where you’re adding value,” says Brass. “Design can add an aesthetic that gives a product a higher value than its raw materials.” Likewise, with another project, graduate Pierre Paslier’s OpenSquare, lowvalue objects are brought together (in this case, a remote-controlled car, opensource electronics and some powder) to enable activists to
with and succumb to diseases as a result. One solution, for instance, is to redesign cages and barns so that they incorporate perches to encourage them off the foor, which prevents them getting hock burns on their legs, prompts them to exercise a bit and gives them a reason to use their wings. This project has become part of an ongoing research programme run in conjunction with FAI Farms, the UK’s leading agricultural consultancy. FAI Farms’s other clients include 2 Sisters Food Group, a supplier of chicken to supermarkets, and McDonald’s, which seeks to ensure that it sources its ingredients from farms that conform to its high welfare standards. It also advises the Chinese government on animal welfare standards.
provide “new ways of public expression” using a low-cost message writer. The RCA’s course doesn’t offer prescribed training as such; rather it runs a programme of lectures and tutorials, with an annual exhibition and competition for the best ideas. It also does research and consulting. “The work we do here,” says Gina Lovett, curator of the RCA’s forum Sustain Talks, “is a marriage of creative thinking and science, especially when the creativity is underpinned by real need. You are designing for a market, but isn’t it better to be designing for a better world as well rather than just for the sake of it?” If the purpose of art is, like the purpose of science, to help us to understand the world and make it a better place, why could it not stimulate fresh thinking about business, too? As the RCA is proving with Sustain, far from operating in opposition to one another, art and science, not to mention art and commerce, have a synergy that every place of learning might do well to harness.
“YOU ARE DESIGNING FOR A MARKET, BUT ISN’T IT BETTER TO BE DESIGNING FOR A BETTER WORLD RATHER THAN JUST DESIGNING THINGS FOR THE SAKE OF IT?” speakeasy 69 Colebrooke Row) with a fourcourse menu that offered mozzarella balls and compressed watermelon sprinkled with faked, seasoned insects; a consommé of dashi poured over grasshopper dumplings; gold-faked locust wings with honey caterpillar and grasshopper medallions alongside ravioli flled with girolles and black truffe. 50 Baku.
The ideas and innovations celebrated in last year’s annual show were no less original and potentially game changing. For instance, Hana Mitsui’s project The New Value of Waste was a way of weaving unwanted fabric into luxurious cloth (as opposed to felt), derived from an ancient Japanese process known as sakiori that has been used since the 18th century to recycle
SustainRCA 2015 runs from 18 September to 3 October; rca.ac.uk
HISASHI MIBUCHI. JACK HILL/THE TIMES.
Both of these initiatives started as student projects at the college and have since gone on to infuence thinking in the commercial world. In 2012 four graduate students, Aran Dasan, Jonathan Fraser, Julene AguirreBielschowsky and Jacky Chung, concluded that humans should eat more insects. Their project, The Art of Eating Insects, began as a roadmap for introducing insects as a more energy- and resources-effcient protein than meat. Mentored by Brass, they explored issues as various as loss of biodiversity in areas
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, London
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The A-listÕs beachwear designer of choice tells us her top summer escapes, from sculpture to snorkelling.
I love the outdoor dining that this new restaurant – sister to The Ivy in Covent Garden – offers. You feel like you are out in the country even though you are actually next to the King’s Road. The tuna carpaccio is amazing! theivychelseagarden.com
TAKE 5 Melissa Odabash
SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain
I try to take good care of my body, but sometimes I need some extra help. The SHA Wellness Clinic helps restore physical, mental and spiritual well-being through practical methods such as nutrition, exercise and alternative medicines. I always leave feeling revitalized. sha ellnessclinic.com shawellnessclinic.com
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
If it’s true escapism I’m after, I always choose the Maldives. The shimmering turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and absolute peace all help me switch off. After a day of snorkelling in the Indian Ocean, I’ll take an evening swim in my villa’s pool watching a breathtaking sunset. Perfection. oneandonlyresorts.com
Nikki Beach, Greece
As a beach lover, I always have Greece on my list of places to go. Resort company Nikki Beach opened a hotel at Porto Heli in June, so although that’s the time of year my schedule starts to get very hectic, I’ll defnitely be trying to clear a few days in my diary to give this new resort a visit. nikkibeach.com
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, Florida
Whenever I return to my home state, I try to make time in my schedule for a trip to the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in Palm Beach. The range of art on display there makes a visit a worthwhile cultural outing as well as providing a great source of ideas and inspiration for my future collections. ansg.org
( Cult & Collectable
HOTTEST UPCOMING AUCTIONS
Turning Japanese SALE ‘First Open/NYC’ at Christie’s, New York, 22–23 July. PADDLE UP! ÔOugiÕ (1968) by Kazuo Shiraga, oil on canvas. Estimate: $100,000Ð150,000.
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VICTOR VIRGILE/GAMMA-RAPHO/PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GETTY.
Forget street style or the underground scene, designers are now plundering the past to revive long-forgotten crafts, as Harriet Quick discovers.
Gilding the Lily
n the volatile world of high fashion, designers are taking a break from their usual routine of watching the red carpet or seeking inspiration in the underground scene. Instead they are immersing themselves in the fne and decorative arts as new sources of ideas. The result is a range of designs that appeals to the aesthete at every turn. The techniques of tapestry, gilding, marquetry, stuccowork, focking and lacquer-ware, rarely used today but once the essential Top and above: The Dries Van Noten a/w 2015 womenswear show at Paris Fashion Week. components of interior design,
are proving rich seams to mine, providing myriad ideas for opulent surface patterning for this autumn’s fnest fashion. Studio teams have been setting off on research trips to study architecture and belle époque and art deco interiors to uncover and reinterpret the techniques of the original craftspeople who sold their skills to patrons and clients in previous centuries. The passion and interest is shared by fashion minds everywhere. For autumn/ winter 2015 the team at Mulberry used a dictum from William Morris, the pioneer of the Arts and Crafts movement, as its guide: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” 57 Baku.
The team embarked on a research tour of English Georgian country houses to study the architecture of Robert Adam and Sir John Soane and the ornate stucco cornicing and rich fabrics of the interiors. Filigree motifs from those houses found their way on to textured bouclé tweed coats, while antiqueeffect silk jacquard was reimagined on little black dresses and a jumpsuit. Morris’s vision of a utopian society, united through a joy of craft, also struck a note for Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley in the duo’s fnal collection for Marc by Marc Jacobs before the label closed. They
ÒI IMAGINED A NOBLE BOHEMIAN FAMILY IN VENICE, TRYING TO HOLD ON TO THEIR PALAZZO.Ó reprised Morris’s acanthus leaf and tree patterns for printed jeans and jackets. In Paris, Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci plucked the beloved leitmotif of the Victorian era – the peacock feather – for his futtering devoré velvet dinner dresses, while tufted black fock fabric, once popular for drapes and cushions, provided a new tactile indulgence on handbags. In London, young designer Simone Rocha also tapped the trend for her autumn/winter 2015 collection, creating swaggering capes and founce-hem dresses in rich ruby red chenille velvets, fastened with strings of giant pearls and sometimes boasting decorative swags of hair. Her fusion of infuences included the installation work of artist Louise Bourgeois, Victorian interior architecture
1. 1. Michael van der Ham a/w 2015 at London Fashion Week. 2. Kendall Jenner modelling Marc by Marc Jacobs a/w 2015 at New York Fashion Week. 3. Louis Vuitton cruise 2016 show, Palm Springs. 4. Lee BroomÕs chaise-longue. 5. The Givenchy a/w 2015 show at Paris Fashion Week.
and Tudor portraiture. “Tapestry, tweed, tulle and lace,” she said backstage, neatly summing up her obsessions. While fashion moves in contrary directions season on season, sometimes there are moments that galvanize the mood. ‘Illusions’, the impressive and poetic exhibition on Belgian designer Dries Van Noten that was staged at Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris in 2014, provided the most powerful catalyst for the trend. Van Noten has shown a fascination with the decorative arts, sculpture and interiors since he started out in the early 1980s. To refect that interest, curator Pamela Golbin imagined the show as a series of decorated rooms flled with artefacts from the museum’s permanent collection. Van Noten continues the meme for autumn/ winter 2015 with sweeping brocade maxi-skirts and beige trench coats, tooled velvet mules and plaited silk-rope necklaces reminiscent of curtain tassels, also adopting Morris’s ‘useful and beautiful’ maxim. The world of Venetian baroque interiors provided a rich source for society designer Andrew Gn. “I imagined a noble bohemian family in Venice, trying to hold on to
their palazzo. The children are going around grabbing carpets, tapestries, brocades, trying to use whatever they have to make up a new wardrobe for themselves,” says Gn of his kilim-patterned duffe coats and fringed piano-shawl skirts. This make-do-and-mend decorative impulse also emerged with both Erdem and Michael van der Ham piecing together opulent furnishing-style fabrics for elegant party dresses. While turn-of-the-19thcentury opulence consumed many designers, it was not the only era to light up minds. Roksanda Ilincic became fxated with 1970s arts and crafts
“WHEN YOU CAN FEEL THE HEART OF THE PERSON WHO HAS MADE SOMETHING, IT GIVES IT A SPECIAL ENERGY.”
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9. including hand spinning and rug-making. It translated into textural knits and gilets with wave-like patterns in vegetable-dyed wools. “I love the mix of the organic and the industrial,” says the designer. Storytelling and a sense of nationalism also emerge through this decorative impulse. Thirtysomething Ukranian couturier Ulyana Sergeenko collaborates with local craftsmen to realize her exquisitely detailed collections. “There is a lot of diligent work in the handcrafted and decorative details in our couture collections; we love using traditional Russian lace-making and embroidery techniques,” says Sergeenko. “Those antique crafts are scattered like precious pearls around the small towns of our country, and on our trips there we search for the craftsmen who have maintained centuries-old traditions.” Sergeenko mostly uses handmade Vologda lace that dates back to the 17th century as well as Yelets lace. Other sources of materials and ideas include Krestets embroidery from the Novgorod area, golden cannetille (a type of fligree work popular in the early 1800s), freshwater pearl and coral beaded embroidery, wood and stone carving, and hand-painted fabrics. In the context of fashion, history can often be ‘heavy’ and craft ‘folksy’ but designers are translating skills with a lightness of touch. Lebanese-born and Dubai-based designer Nathalie Trad works with marquetry artisans in the Philippines to create her inlaid pearl and shell clutch bags. “Each one of our clutches is carefully hand-inlaid
10. 11. 6. Roksanda a/w 2015 at London Fashion Week. 7. From the Erdem a/w 2015 collection. 8. Louis clutch by Nathalie Trad. 9. Acanthus wallpaper by William Morris, c. 1875. 10. Furniture and lighting by Ochre, including its Sable chair. 11. Top by Simone Rocha a/w 2015.
using a combination of distinctive shells and a variety of other materials such as wood, copper, brass and steel,” explains Trad. “Our shells are sourced from all around the Far East, which really is a treasure trove of exquisite materials. They are then sorted through one by one to pick only the fnest pieces. Each meticulously crafted clutch requires at least two weeks to be made. This involves moulding, curing, preparing each piece of shell, inlaying, lining and applying the fnishing touches. This process is executed by artisans whose craft is passed down from father to son,” she adds. Trad also spends time studying the principles of architects including Louis Kahn, James Stirling, Walter Gropius, Frank Gehry and
Zaha Hadid to better understand form and shape. Sienna Miller was recently seen carrying a Trad-designed art deco patterned clutch on the red carpet at the Cannes flm festival. Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton shares a similar passion for historical crafts. For the resort collection, he melded infuences of Palm Springs modernist architecture with patterns derived from stained glass, with the leading replicated by scallop-edge leather, on long evening dresses that evoked the medieval mood so beloved of the Pre-Raphaelites. Interest in craft is to be found in interior design as well as fashion. In London, the trio of designers behind the home furnishings company Ochre are adept at tracking down esoteric techniques to create their elegant handcrafted objects. The range boasts chainmail wall lights, saddle-stitched upholstered leather Sable chairs and handblown glass chandeliers that hang from cast-bronze chains. The witty British product and interior designer Lee Broom, meanwhile, has commissioned carpet-makers to weave long rugs to form his undulating ‘fying carpet’ chaise-longue that debuted at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan. “I love it when you can feel the heart and even character of the person who has made something, it gives it a special energy,” says Sergeenko, summing up the trend’s appeal. “When an item is created by a team of specialists with such care, it acquires a soul of its own and never becomes irrelevant.”
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1. Tracey Emin at Turner Contemporary in Margate, UK. 2. Damien Hirst at Tate Modern, London. 3. Kanye West at the Venice Biennale, 2015. 4. The Damien Hirst exhibition in Doha, Qatar, 2013.
ensing a (big) shift in public awareness, Hollywood talent agencies have recently joined the fray and undertaken the representation of fne artists in the pursuit of affliations with luxury brands and their ubiquitous art foundations. And, only just recently announced, the museums presently under construction on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates will now be co-developed with LVMH (purveyor of its very own Frank Gehry-designed foundation in Paris) into a new Abu Dhabi mega mall – and I mean monstrously mega. In a way, why not? More often than not, the same upscale clientele frequents galleries and Gucci. Brands are motivated more than ever to pursue such strategies due to a very simple fact of life in 2015: art and artists are on fre the world over as the newest, latest, must-have accessory for celebrities in flm and music, hedge funders and corporate titans alike. In 1980 Style with Elsa Klensch became the frst mainstream television show dedicated to fashion, before models were considered super and designers were deemed dignitaries. Now it’s art’s turn. Not since Picasso, Dalí and Warhol in their times, have so many artists simultaneously been at the forefront of popular awareness and adulation, such as Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and tons more. If Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Pharrell, Beyoncé and Kanye (the list goes on and on) are all clamouring to be seen as part of the arty set, like JayZ’s collaboration with performance artist Marina Abramovic´ on his 2013 ‘Picasso Baby’ music video, and Miley’s more recent art-making, it was only a matter of time before more brands jumped in hook, line and sinker into a bout of me-tooism. If it’s good enough for the A-listers, it certainly passes muster with the notoriously fckle fashionistas. The benefts to companies affliating with artists are evident: you may not be able to buy love but you can certainly acquire some hipness and coolness, at a price. Why would artists want to be involved with mainstream companies and is it making art too corporate, you might ask? In the most reductive sense, art-making is making products to market and today some objects are bought (then sold) like expensive handbags. But, also, art is about communication and reaching out to as wide an audience as possible.
( viewPoint: KENNY SCHACHTER
Fine art is the latest musthave accessory for everyone from Hollywood A-listers to hedge funders, which explains why luxury brands and their art foundations are hot, hot, hot.
On top of social media – a thing that could well have been invented for exploitation by artists – what better way to speak to your constituency than via the brands they already consume? So, really, art is corporate in and of itself; it has grown from a cottage industry to a veritable media machine, sucking in celebrities as much as spitting out stars of its own. The close relationship of brands and art is a mutually benefcial lovefest, with all equally washing each other’s back (with Hermès soap) by promoting each other and creating new revenue streams in the process.
1. Mask II (2001–02) by Ron Mueck at Fondation Cartier, Paris. 2. Pharrell Williams with his portrait by Takashi Murakami. 3. Cindy Sherman at a Louis Vuitton event, New York. 4. Jef Koons at the Whitney, New York. 5. Work by Sarah Lucas at the Venice Biennale, 2015. 6. Raquel Paiewonsky on a Davidof Art Residency in Berlin. 7. Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. 8. Cipher of L (2014) by Angela Bulloch commissioned by Rolls-Royce. 9. La Bocca sur Zanker (2005) by Bertrand Lavier at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. 10. Lost Love (2000) by Damien Hirstt at Fondazione Prada, Milan. Hir
CHARLES PLATIAU/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS/ANDREA SPINELLI/DEMOTIX/MICHAEL JACOBS/CORBIS. MONICA SCHIPPER/ FILMMAGIC/TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/ NICKY J SIMS/GETTY IMAGES. CIAO PIX/XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM. © BERTRAND LAVIER, ADAGP, 2015. PHOTO: COURTESY GALERIE XAVIER HUFKENS, BRUXELLES. ATTILO MARANZANO/COURTESY FONDAZIONE PRADA.
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Are we at 55? I just want to play See you at Le Zoute Come in, number 722 Marguerite, I hear you A British concession
His exuberant, pop-art creations for Moschino are a colourful reminder that luxury fashion can be fun. We speak to Jeremy Scott about how he went from small-town Kansas to Lady Gaga’s go-to designer. Words by LAURA WEIR Illustrations by ROMEU SILVEIRA
66 Bak ku.
eremy Scott is a walking, talking ode to fun. Part leopard printclad Ken doll, part Los Angeles health guru, he speaks slowly with a baritone voice, which is enough to lull one into a meditative trance, but his outrŽ fashion collections are anything but soothing. Scott, 40, is the creative director of Moschino Ð a job he jumped at two years ago, and heÕs been charming us with his unique brand of opulence ever since. Remember that French-fry cover that every girl from Baku to Berlin had on her iPhone? Yep, that was him and his tongue-in-cheek take on fashion, one that we havenÕt seen since the eighties heyday of the late Franco Moschino, the labelÕs founder. ÒI hark back to FrancoÕs true vision,Ó declares Scott. ÒHaving humour and poking fun at fashion and consumerism, having a more surreal approach to the whole thing.Ó As a boy growing up in smalltown Kansas, Scott dreamt of a creative career Ð this was the boy who, at the age of 14, used to wear his pyjamas to school and who had a true passion for fashion, even then. ÒI believe there is fate but you cannot just sit around and wait for good things to happen,Ó says Scott, when I catch up with him in London on a stopover for a recent Moschino show. ÒYou have to make good things happen. My entire life is an example of this. I was born on a farm and grew up in rural America [and look at] the career and life I have today.Ó His is indeed a life of glamour, from private jets to parties and pop stars. If fashion hadnÕt come knocking at his door, then Scott claims he would have been a pop star Ð which perhaps explains his regardezmoi ice-cream curl quiff and a wardrobe worthy of a sell-out stadium tour. ÒI was once front row at a Rihanna concert when she came down to the audience and sat on my lap,Ó he recalls, wincing. ÒShe pointed the microphone towards my mouth and I couldnÕt sing a line!Ó
1. Britney Spears in the video for ÔToxicÕ. 2. Jeremy Scott backstage at his show at MADE Fashion Week at New York Fashion Week, 2015. 3. Lady Gaga in the video for ÔPaparazziÕ. 4. Katy Perry performs her closing number during the half-time show at the 2015 Super Bowl.
Scott and front women go together like selfes and Instagram. He is the goto costumier for the diva elite: Britney Spears’s air hostess outft in the ‘Toxic’ video was designed by him, as was Lady Gaga’s outft in ‘Paparazzi’, and almost everything that Katy Perry wears (ever) is his creation. Scott is also responsible for conjuring up the costumes that Miley Cyrus donned for her infamous Bangerz tour and the two frequently party together; Art Basel in Miami is a typical jolly for them. 68 Bak ku.
Of the Moschino woman, Scott says: “She is chic, but has a sense of humour. Sometimes she laughs too loud and dances too much – because she’s full of life.” Cyrus certainly fts that bill and so it seems natural that they would take their friendship into the business zone. They collaborated on a collection, which showed during New York Fashion Week back in September 2014. The line is typical Jeremy Scott: a junk-couture collection bursting at the
KUDOSPIX/LANDMARK MEDIA. GRANT LAMOS IV/KEVIN C. COX/GETTY. PLANET PHOTOS.
seams with outlandish tracksuits and witty slogans. Its title? ‘Dirty Hippie’. Fittingly, Scott lives his own brand of bonkers bohemia – imagine a haute couture hippy, and you’re halfway there. Scott drinks green tea rather than coffee, he’s a committed vegetarian (almost vegan) and passionate about healthy living – he is of course a green juicer and gym bunny in keeping with his LA lifestyle. Scott pitched up in La La land after leaving Paris in 2001. The French capital
was his frst stop after graduating from New York’s prestigious Pratt Institute in 1996 (Betsey Johnson, a designer with an equally cheerful aesthetic, is a fellow alumna). He had moved to Paris hoping for an internship, and a year later he put on his frst catwalk show in a bar in Paris. He showed hit collection after smash hit collection and job offers from major fashion houses fooded in. But Scott declined to work for anyone else and, fve years after he had arrived Paris, he decamped to LA. “I remember when I told 69 Baku.
Anna Wintour I was moving to LA, she said: ‘You mean New York?’. Well, the word LA just came out of my mouth, so… Her face just scrunched and she said: ‘Why?’” But it was a move that would defne his career. His debut collection in spring 2000 was described by British Vogue as “a witty reply to all his detractors, who had accused him in the past of producing outlandish clothing that no one would wear”. Fast forward to spring 2015 and his debut show for Moschino, with its parody of American consumerism, also caused a stir within the fashion industry. “There’s too much hardship ÒFASHION HAS TO in the world INSPIRE US, TO PUSH to take clothes US, TO EXCITE US. IT seriously,” Scott declares. PUTS A SMILE ON I ask him if he considers YOUR FACE.Ó himself to be an industry agitator: “Honestly, I don’t think of myself as being ‘industry’ – rather I am ‘indie’,” he says. “As far as being an agitator is concerned, I think of myself as being a motivator – I try to motivate people to have a little more fun.” Fun is the operative word, but there was also substance at work because Scott had done the seemingly impossible and resurrected Franco Moschino’s playful sensibility. Franco Moschino founded the label in 1983 and was notorious for taking pot shots at the fashion system. He rose to fame by parodying the fashion victims who rushed to buy his clothes. 1. Katy Perry during her beachball routine at the 2015 Super Bowl. 2. Rihanna onstage in Las Vegas, 2012. 3. Jeremy Scott with Miley Cyrus backstage at the launch of his ÔDirty HippieÕ collection at New York Fashion Week, 2014.
“There is literally no reason for anyone to buy another top, or skirt,” admits Scott. “We all have enough clothes. So fashion really needs to make someone feel good for it to have a purpose. It has to inspire us, to push us, to excite us. It’s exciting and new and it puts a smile on your face.” It’s no mean feat to be able to entice fashion fans to the degree that they will pay £1,000 for a bag that looks (intentionally) like it dropped out of a Christmas cracker. In a world where cheap fast food is his inspiration, how does Scott defne luxury? “Freedom is my defnition of luxury,” he 70 Bak ku.
KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE/CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY. HIROKO MASUIKE/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX/EYEVINE.
says with a smile. “I’m into being unique and I have a liberal vision about how people interpret my work.” And who wears it best? “I am inspired by the Middle East,” he says. “I’m so happy to have a fan base there.” The DNA of Moschino has always been the tailleur – a women’s tailor-made suit – and Franco’s original signature was a matching skirt and jacket set with big buttons and outsized pockets. It seems ironic, then (although nothing should be a surprise where Moschino is concerned), that streetwear has always been important for the brand. Moschino jeans were a
phenomenon in the 1980s and 1990s, and the iconic gold emblem belt has been adopted by an eclectic customer base, from hip-hoppers in Harlem to rich kids in the Hamptons, which says something about the brand’s democratic appeal. “I am inspired by all of those things that have been a part of the brand,” adds Scott. “I want to touch on that, there’s so much stuff out there already. You have to fnd a way of setting yourself apart.” So what’s next for the label? “I want to make Moschino into the coolest brand ever,” he declares. So far, he’s on the right track.
ItÕs East against West as two urban titans square up in the battle to be named AmericaÕs art capital. Anabel Pomeroy makes the case for Los Angeles while Mark C. O’Flaherty roots for the Big Apple.
THE SCENE NY: While its art fairs, even the recent instalment of Frieze New York, don’t quite compete with London and Basel, its auction houses still set world records in their fne art sales. Russian and Chinese buyers may skip this loop of the art circuit, but the market is robust, as Manhattan plutocrats – as well as collectors such as Charles Saatchi and Jean Pigozzi – shop locally. Politics around the moves and expansions of the major institutions are headline news. There have been controversies aplenty (such as the one surrounding the Guggenheim’s new outpost in Abu Dhabi), and there are accusations of dumbing down in the curatorial styles of some major spaces. The Lower East Side (LES) is the focal point for serious new work, with a less blue-chip, more downtown edge than Chelsea – try the Art on Paper fair down on Pier 36 for a favour of this new buzz.
LA: This certainly won’t be the frst time you’ve heard murmurings – or even emphatic gushings – that Los Angeles, not New York, is the best place to be for art and artists. Any trend can gain traction here and even the newest of emerging artists and gallerists can easily get their hands on space (and sunshine). Imagine the wild, untamed feeling of São Paulo or Mexico City, and add a dose of New York sophistication. And, of course, we can’t forget Hollywood: LA is, after all, a city that made its name (and money) in a creative industry, not on Wall Street. However, the often overlooked heart of the LA art scene is in its schools, which, thanks to their phenomenal professors, release swarms of talented and savvy MFA grads into the city every year. If one can momentarily disregard the art market and accept that artists are the core players of the art world, LA is the most important American city for art.
THE PLAYERS NY: Far from the nearest subway station in Brooklyn, the neighbourhood of Red Hook represents one aspect of the New York art world’s future. A new wave of artists are thriving here in an area that’s industrial, but fast gentrifying. Sculptor Dustin Yellin of Pioneer Works is the area’s overlord: in the past four years he’s turned a behemoth of a brick warehouse into an arts centre, mixing art with science projects, and parties galore. Tellingly, Warhol acolyte Bob Colacello is on his advisory board. Elsewhere, away from the gallery circuit, Manhattan socialites turn to the likes of Elaine Ronson and her ArtKapsule art consultancy when collecting, with plenty of artists in the city keeping it real by shunning the gallery system.
4. LA: In order to appreciate the LA scene for what it is, one has to consider the professionals and practitioners who work in it. Michael Govan, Philippe Vergne and Annie Philbin – directors of LACMA, MOCA and the Hammer Museum respectively – have all come here from New York. Helen Molesworth, Franklin Sirmans and Connie Butler are among the city’s leading curatorial lights, as is Paul Schimmel, the ex-chief curator of MOCA, who has taken on the new megagallery downtown, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. The Getty Research Institute brings an annual infux of scholars and thinkers. And then there are multi-disciplinary talents. The critic Andrew Berardini, for example, who has worked with Lauren Mackler’s art space and publication Public Fiction; artist Laura Owens with her studioturned-exhibition space 356 Mission; Eric Kim, a director of the gallery Human Resources who started the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive; writer Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer who runs the Finley Gallery in the stairwell of her Los Feliz apartment building; and artist Piero Golia, a founder of The Mountain School of Arts.
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DEALMAKERS NY: Jeffrey Deitch returned from his troubled stint at MOCA in LA with rumours of a vast new gallery HQ in Red Hook. The plans were scrapped, but he’s working on ad hoc, typically pop- and counter-culture shows; his prodigal homecoming makes him one of New York’s most powerful private dealers. The hot young dealers of the moment include Ellie Rines of 55 Gansevoort, Andi Potamkin of Kasher Potamkin and the duo behind The Lodge on the LES, Jason Patrick Voegele and Keith Schweitzer.
14. 15. 16. 17.
LA: The best way to really get to know LA is to diversify your routine. Be sure to hit up the intensely trendy openings downtown at Night Gallery and François Ghebaly. Don’t miss the non-proft spaces, such as the Mistake Room and the Depart Foundation, as well as the new group of underthe-radar galleries, including Jenny’s and Chateau Shatto, and two galleries run from private residences, Del Vaz Projects and Park View. Check out what’s happening in Hollywood, where gallerists such as Esther Kim Varet of Various Small Fires, Hannah Hoffman and Sarah Gavlak show how even emerging galleries can look as polished as their older siblings. And if you really want to make it in LA, get nerdy. The free and open Tuesday evening MFA lectures at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena are among the essential places to be seen.
20. 1. Helen Molesworth of MOCA. 2. Artist Laura Owens of 356 Mission. 3. Elaine Ronson of ArtKapsule in her NY apartment. 4. Dustin Yellin outside Pioneer Works in Red Hook. 5. The Getty Center, LA. 6. Lisson Gallery exhibiting at Frieze New York 2015. 7. Curator Connie Butler with artist David Schafer at the Hammer Museum. 8. Philippe Vergne, Annie Philbin and Michael Govan in LA. 9. Curator Franklin Sirmans at LACMA. 10. Critic Andrew Berardini with Piero Golla. 11. An exhibition by the Human Resources art collective with artist Liz Glynn. 12. Sculptor Nancy Rubins with Paul Schimmel. 13. The exterior of LACMA. 14. Keith Schweitzer and Jason Patrick Voegele of The Lodge on the LES. 15. Work by Aaron Bobrow at 55 Gansevoort. 16. Jeffrey Deitch back in New York. 17. Aerial view of Red Hook. 18. Grear PattersonÕs show ÔSeek and DestroyÕ at the Depart Foundation. 19. Tim HailandÕs ÔNew Gold DreamÕ exhibition at Kasher Potamkin. 20. Andi Potamkin. 21. LAÕs Mistake Room. 22. MOCA, West Hollywood. 23. Fran•ois Ghebaly in his gallery with Amanda Ross-HoÕs Untitled Sculpture (ONCE U GO BLACK), 2015. 24. Night Gallery, LA.
DEAL-BREAKERS NY: Klaus Biesenbach, of PS1 in Queens, brought the Bjšrk retrospective to MoMA in Manhattan earlier this year. In terms of critical reception, he may have been better off handing a wing of the gallery over to Duane Reade. MoMA’s board apparently loathed the pop-tourist-fodder he brought to the building so much that they had to get up especially early in the morning to hate it enough each day.
3. LA: Jeffrey Deitch’s tumultuous stint at MOCA is no longer a passable topic of conversation; discuss instead the promise that Helen Molesworth brings to the museum. Even New Yorkers have heard of producer and dealer Stefan Simchowitz’s bad business; stay clear (although it’s a good story). Discussing mega-grossing local artists such as Thomas Houseago, Mark Grotjahn and Alex Israel won’t ingratiate you to many; better to mix with the recent MFA grads. Be sure to follow Israel on Instagram, though, as he goes to Ôsnuggie’ parties Ð gatherings where art-world players don one-piece pyjamas and hang out at collector Rosette Delug’s Beverly Hills home. That may be the number one deal-breaker right there. 8.
CEM OZDEL/ANADOLU AGENCY/BARBARA ZANON/ASTRID STAWIARZ/RYAN MILLER/JOHN SCIULLI/DONATO SARDELLA/WIREIMAGE/MELANIE STETSON FREEMAN/THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR/STEFANIE KEENAN/JOHN PARRA/VINCENZO LOMBARDO/ MIKE WINDLE/VIEW PICTURES/GETTY. ANDREA RENAULT/POLARIS/DAN WINTER/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX/EYEVINE. JOHNS PKI/SPLASH NEWS/DAVID MCNEW/REUTERS/CORBIS. PATRICK MCMULLAN/AP IMAGES. COURTESY GAVLAK GALLERY. COURTESY VARIOUS SMALL FIRES.
NY: Were you at the Max Mara dinner for Renzo Piano, with Julian Schnabel and Brooke Garber Neidich, to celebrate the new Whitney? Or were you at the pre-opening opening protest, when Occupy Museums and Occupy the Pipeline projected artwork onto the side of the building to point out that Spectra Energy’s controversial fracked-gas pipeline terminates in a vault underneath? Will collectors be keen to lend to a space so potentially, literally, incendiary? Meanwhile, in the East Village, just what is Peter Brant of the eponymous Brant Foundation going to do with Walter De Maria’s landmark home, the old Con Ed substation at 421 East 6th Street, which he bought recently for $27m? 1. MoMA’s divisive Bjšrk retrospective. 2. Klaus Biesenbach of PS1. 3. The Beverly Hills home of collector Rosette Delug. 4. Thomas Houseago. 5. Alex Israel. 6. Rosette Delug. 7. A Nancy Rubins sculpture at MOCA. 8. Controversial dealer Stefan Simchowitz at Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2013. 9. Julian Schnabel at the opening of the new Whitney. 10. Brooke Neidich and Renzo Piano at the Whitney opening. 11. Esther Kim Varet. 12. Various Small Fires gallery. 13. Sarah Gavlak. 14. Gavlak Gallery in LA. 15. The new Whitney building, designed by Renzo Piano. 16. Peter Brant. 17. Free Throw, 1984, by Mary Ellen Caroll on display at LACMA in 2014. 18. LACMA Broad & Resnick Pavilion. 19. A reception at MOCA.
14. 11. 12.
15. LA: Los Angeles’ recent and impending growth is the talk of the town. Major galleries like Sprüth Magers, Maccarone and Hauser Wirth & Schimmel are all investing in LA bases that will open within the next year, adding a healthy dose of competition and potentially exciting programming to the landscape. Parisian art fair FIAC will make the French obsession with LA offcial, bringing the frst major fair to the city in its inaugural edition next year. LACMA is gearing up for a major new building project, and MOCA’s new chief curator Helen Molesworth is rolling out her programming for the autumn. LA is developing at breakneck speed and seems unstoppable as every day reveals a new space and a new idea.
Dreams play out in the warmth of a summer afternoon at an artistﾃ不 beach house on the shores of the Caspian. Photography by EMMA HARDY. Styling by NIKKI BREWSTER.
Previous spread. Dress and sandals by Valentino Earrings by Tribu Bangles and rings by Pebble London This page. Vintage blouse and petticoat from Orsini, London Jewellery by Pebble London Hat by Angels Opposite. Top by The Cross Vintage petticoat from Orsini, London Belt stylistâ€™s own Earrings and bangle by Pebble London
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82 Bak ku.
Previous spread, left. Dress by Vilshenko Earrings by Tribu Head scarf stylistﾃ不 own Previous spread, right. Top by Su Mason Trousers by Collectif Plimsolls by Toast Hat by Angels Earrings and bangles by Pebble London This spread. Dress by Talitha from Matches Sandals by Valentino Jewellery by Pebble London
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Opposite. Top by Roberto Cavalli Trousers by Margaret Howell Belt stylistﾃ不 own Bangles and ring by Pebble London This page. Dress by Still Ethical Sandals by Valentino Earrings by Tribu Bangles by Pebble London
88 Bak ku.
Dress by Alberta Ferretti Earrings and bangles by Pebble London
Opposite. Vintage dress from Orsini, London Earrings by Tribu Bangles and ring by Pebble London This page. Waistcoat by Margaret Howell Trousers by Donna Karan Bangles by Pebble London
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Previous spread, left. Dress by Dolce & Gabbana Previous spread, right. Trousers by J&M Davidson Bangles and ring by Pebble London This spread. Shirt by Still Ethical Vintage skirt from Orsini, London Bangles by Pebble London Plimsolls by Toast Hair Stephen Beaver at Jed Root using Kﾅｽrastase Make-up Karina Constantine at CLM using MAC Cosmetics Model Irina Kulikova at IMG Models Casting Ben Grimes Fashion assistant Grace Joel Photographerﾃ不 assistant Gabrielle Laurent Art director Daren Ellis Producer Maria Webster Special thanks to Elnur Babayev for the use of his house, which belonged to his late father, artist Rasim Babayev.
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And so it began. Baku 2015, the inaugural European Games, opened with a bang, as a cast of 2,000 took to the stage in a fiesta of colour. Photography by KALPESH LATHIGRA
ow to mark the opening of the frst ever European Games? With pomp and circumstance or glitz and glamour? A formal occasion for heads of state or an invitation to the masses to get the party started? Baku 2015 opted for all of the above in a colourful, two-hour ceremony before a sold-out crowd at the new Olympic Stadium. Artistic director Dimitris Papaioannou, who oversaw the opening ceremony for Athens 2004, said he wanted to create â€œa connection to something primalâ€?, citing as inspiration the voice of mugham singer Alim Qasimov, the work of Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi and the tradition of Zoroastrianism. Sure enough, we saw the ancient rocks of Gobustan rise out of the stage, fre fickering around them. Europa, the mythical princess from which the continent got its ts name, a e, pirouetted p ouetted mid-air da 96 Bak ku.
1. The ancient rocks of Gobustan. 2. Lady Gaga serenades the athletes. 3 & 7. A pomegranate releases its ‘seeds’ into the sky. 4. London 2012 gold medallist Nicola Adams leads Team GB into the stadium. 5. Spectacular pyrotechnics drew reference to Azerbaijan’s moniker as the Land of Fire. 6. Europa and the bull.
above the back of a mechanical bull. Leyli and Majnun, Nizami’s star-crossed lovers, danced on a set of scales as villages, ships, palaces, gardens, sea monsters and elephants revolved below. A big cheer went up when a giant pomegranate – a symbol of Azerbaijan – descended from the rafters and split open to release hundreds of balloons which foated out of the stadium into the twilight sky. Curiously, there was even a little tribute to the work of CERN, with a light show that briefy, and somewhat bizarrely, turned the stadium into the Large Hadron Collider. But, of course, for all the razzle-dazzle, the opening ceremony was about one thing, and one thing only: the athletes. To which end, the organizers pulled out possibly their biggest stop yet, presenting the assembled sports men and women from 50 countries with “someone who would like to sing you a song”. That someone turned out to be Lady Gaga, who had been hidden in a hotel in Baku for several days to keep her appearance top secret. Sitting at a fower-strewn piano she sang John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, its message of unity refecting the Olympic ideals and the days of competition to come.
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1, 2 & 5. An enthusiastic home crowd. 3 & 4. Dancers with coloured layered skirts created the Azerbaijan national flag. 6. The ring of fire. 7. Leyli and Majnun above a garden of miniatures.
Car: C111 Concept, 1969 Dress by CĹ˝line Earring by Stella McCartney
102 Bak ku.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart is a spiral of history, some surreal, some too real. Welcome to another world. Photography by MARCUS GAAB. Styling by NIKI PAULS.
Opposite, top. Car: C-Class DTM, 2010 Shirt and trousers by Joseph Earring by Stella McCartney Ring by CŽline Opposite, bottom. Car: ESF22 S-Class, 1976 Jumper and skirt by Capara Socks by Falke Shoes by CŽline Rings by Ina Beissner This page. Jumpsuit by Pallas Paris
Car: 300SL ÔGullwingÕ CoupŽ, 1955 Coat by Hugo Boss Shirt by Coperni Belt by Acne Studios Boots by Aileen Klein
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This page. Car: 300 Messwagen, 1960 Dress by Stella McCartney Trousers by Joseph Socks by Falke Shoes by CŽline Earring by Stella McCartney Rings by Ina Beissner Vintage gloves. Opposite. Car: 300 SLR ÔUhlenhautÕ CoupŽ, 1955 Jumper by Sandro Skirt by & Other Stories
110 Bak ku.
Car: 300 SLR ÔUhlenhautÕ CoupŽ, 1955 Shirt and skirt by Coperni Boots by Aileen Klein Rings by Ina Beissner
Opposite. Car: C111-III Concept, 1978 Top by Capara Coat, trousers and shoes by Pallas Paris Earring by Stella McCartney This page. Car: McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1, 2008 Top by Versace Jacket by Weekday Trousers by Pallas Paris Socks by Falke Shoes by Cﾅｽline Earring by Stella McCartney Rings by Ina Beissner Hair and make-up Benjamin Becher Model Alexandra Hochgﾅｸrtel at East West Models Casting Jacob Mohr Styling assistant Anni Kuenstle Photographerﾃ不 assistants Johannes Wink and Jonathan Schule CGI Sucuk und Bratwurst Production co-ordination Shotview Art director Daren Ellis Shot on location at Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany. Special thanks to Mercedes-Benz.
A decade ago, Lego was nearly bankrupt. Now, the family-owned maker of plastic bricks is one of the worldﾃ不 superbrands, and a style icon. What happened? Words by RHYMER RIGBY Photography by SARA MORRIS
hese days, the Lego Group is riding high. It is, according to the consultancy Brand Finance, the world’s most valuable toymaker and the most powerful brand from any sector. This is partly thanks to The Lego Movie, which was 2014’s highest grossing flm in the UK, and to the attention Lego receives from celebrities such as David Beckham, who has revealed that he still plays with Lego as it “sometimes helps to calm me down”. Not surprising then that Lego is rated the world’s ffth most reputable company according to a survey of the public in 15 countries. But it wasn’t always so. If you ask people to name a
great corporate comeback, they’ll probably say Apple. If they know a bit more about business, they might mention IBM or GM. But they’re very unlikely to cite Lego, not least because they probably don’t remember its dark days. Yet in 2004, the world’s most famous maker of plastic bricks was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. So, what happened to stop this catastrophe? The appointment of Jorgen Vig Knudstorp as CEO. Knudstorp himself has said that the secret of the company’s extraordinary revival and subsequent success lies in being “extremely focused on the core Lego idea” and executing that idea consistently throughout the world. He defnes the “core Lego idea” as bricks that stick together and can be used to “build anything you can possibly imagine”. In case this sounds like management boilerplate, it isn’t. It is at the very heart of what Lego is. Until the mid-1990s Lego had been a rather charming, very Danish success story. It was founded in 1932, when a carpenter called Ole Kirk Christiansen set up a workshop to make wooden toys – early products included a duck. Plastic bricks frst appeared in the 1940s, but the current
system of bricks, which should stick together nearly 40,000 times before they fail, frst appeared in 1958. The following three decades were good for Lego, largely because it managed to differentiate itself from other toymakers. At a time when plastic playthings were often seen as cheap and tacky, Lego positioned its products as high-quality, wholesome toys that encouraged children’s development while being great fun. The company also had a very clear set of values, long before most businesses worried about such things. And so, Lego’s run of good fortune lasted well into the 1990s. But when the fall came, it came hard. The company had been moving away from its core – the brick – into areas such as theme parks, video games and clothes. In 1998 it made its frst loss. In 2004 it announced losses of 1.4bn krone ($210m) on the back of sales which had slumped 29 per cent. “The Lego Group,” says spokesman Roar Rude Trangbæk, “had lost faith in the company’s reason for being – the Lego brick.” It has also been suggested that part of the reason it got into such trouble is that 60 years of unbroken
proftability generates a certain complacency – and a belief that the way you’ve always done things is the only way. In Lego’s case, this may have been compounded by having a company culture that wasn’t particularly focused on proft. Lego is privately owned by the Kristiansen family with no shareholders to answer to and no dividends to pay out. Whatever the various causes, the company had to act. It was losing the equivalent of a million dollars a day and there was talk of it being bought by a private equity group or the US toy giant Mattel. Knudstorp’s appointment represented a signifcant gamble. At the time, he was only 36 and had been working for Lego for three years. Prior to that he’d been at the consultancy McKinsey and had a doctorate in economics. Perhaps most crucially of all, he was the frst CEO of Lego who was not a member of the Kristiansen family. In fact, before his appointment, there had been only three CEOs in more than 70 years. Knudstorp has said that he soon realized the company did best when it was true to itself. So he set about refocusing the company on its core products. He rationalized the diverse >
The Baku cityscape recreated in Lego by Bright Bricks.
Versions in Lego of (below) Roy Lichtensteinâ€™s Crying Girl (1964) and (opposite) a Banksy mural, both built by Bright Bricks.
portfolio of businesses. The Legoland parks were sold off to another operator and the range of Lego bricks was cut. Approximately 1,000 people were laid off and some production was shifted to cheaper countries such as the Czech Republic. Decisionmaking, timekeeping and much else was tightened up. Some of the high-mindedness went and a greater emphasis on performance and turnover was introduced. “The family values had made the company too undisciplined,” Knudstorp told the Financial Times. Although Lego has refocused on its core, it has also embraced new ways to bring its product to market. It is now a social media phenomenon, much loved on Instagram and Vine, and its apps are hugely successful. It is commonly cited as an exemplar of how the physical and digital can work together. And The Lego Movie has been described as the greatest piece of content marketing ever. For all this, there is still a serious, almost anthropological side to its recent success that is more in keeping with its past. The company does enormous amounts of research into how children play and has a Future Lab whose job is to devise new
“play experiences”. And there is still the old, quirky charm such as Lego executives giving out little fgures rather than business cards. As for why everyone now loves Lego and thinks it’s so cool, the company has been very smart in its appeal, managing the neat trick of appealing to a younger generation while simultaneously tapping into an enormous reservoir of goodwill from an older generation who grew up with the product. Richard Sunderland, chairman of the branding agency Heavenly, says, “Lego has reminded its ‘lapsed users’ (parents) to pass on their enjoyment to ‘new users’ (their children), knowing they won’t be able resist getting involved themselves”. The brand, he adds, manages to be at once relevant, nostalgic and a champion of play. The future looks bright, too. In 2014 sales increased by 15 per cent and operating profts rose by 16 per cent. A sequel is planned for the movie. The company has signed a deal to produce Doctor Who sets. And it’s not likely to lose sight of the Core Lego Idea anytime soon. As Trangbæk says, “The key to our success is to reinvent the Lego brick year after year”.
1. Models line up for the finale of the Maria Shosheva show. 2, 4–7. Hair, make-up and pre-show preening backstage. 3. Georges Mak designs. 8. Gown by Gunel Behbudova.
1. In a furry of feathers, tulle, tassels, neon lips and mirrored shades, Azerbaijan Fashion Week made its debut in Baku this spring. A grand ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel, in one of the capital’s iconic Flame Towers, played host to shows and presentations over four days highlighting the country’s most dynamic designers – such as Libas Couture, Nadit, Gunel Behbudova and Menzer Hajiyeva – as well as those from neighbouring Russia (Maria Shosheva), Georgia (Diana Kvariani, Nino Babukhadia) and Kazakhstan (Zherebtsov, Ainur Turisbek), and even France (Georges Mak, Alexandre Delima). The front row was as glossy as you’d expect from a region that favours high-octane glamour. In between shows guests were treated to screenings of fashion flms, such as Lagerfeld Confdential, and popup shops at the Fairmont, and a soirée thrown by L’Offciel magazine (the event’s sponsor) at the Kichik Gala Gallery in the Old Town. So, if you didn’t make it this time, make a large note in your diary for November, for round two.
From front row to backstage, Baku brings you a snapshot of the recent inaugural Azerbaijan Fashion Week â€“ set to be the frst of many. Photography by ELMAR MUSTAFAZADEH
1 & 6. Waiting in the wings before Maria Shosheva. 2. A look from the Nino Babukhadia show. 3â€“5. Scenes from Fashion Week. 7. A blue feathered creation by Gunel Behbudova. Catwalk models wearing (8) Alexandre Delima, and (9) Zherebtsov.
1. Menswear by Ainur Turisbek. 2, 4 & 6. Models wait patiently backstage. 3. Another showstopping look by Gunel Behbudova. 5. A model poses in Natia Tkhelidze.
eveloper Aby Rosen not only collects contemporary art Ð he also collects architecture. Along with 90 Andy Warhols, and works by Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Jean-Michel Basquiat, he owns some of New YorkÕs classic buildings including Mies van der RoheÕs 1958 Seagram Building and Gordon Bunschaft and Natalie de BloisÕs 1952 Lever House. Several years ago his company, RFR, set up in 1991 with childhood friend Michael Fuchs, bought the East 53rd Street site next door to the Seagram because he didnÕt want its cherished setting ruined by someone elseÕs bad building. Instead, he commissioned the worldÕs leading hi-tech architect Sir Norman Foster to build him a 61-storey residential tower on the site. ÒNormanÕs a friend, so I called him up,Ó Rosen has revealed. ÒHe came over, took out his sketchbook, and 10 minutes later he had drawn up the building.Ó HowÕs that for chutzpah? Forget the prestige of owning a serious art collection: ÒPeople now say, ÔOh, Aby, the guy who owns the Seagram BuildingÕ.Ó Not all of us have the worldÕs leading architects on speed dial, but then neither did
The future lies in the skies as worldclass architects turn their attention to designing cloud-skimming residential towers that are changing cityscapes from London to New York to Baku. Words by ROBERT BEVAN
Previous spread: the distinctive towers of Marina City, Chicago. 1. Aby Rosen. 2. The Seagram Building, NY. 3. Mies van der Rohe. 4. Foster + Partnersâ€™s One Hundred East Fifty Third Street, NY. 5. Sir Norman Foster.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: RADIUS IMAGES/GETTY. THIS SPREAD: ANDREW H WALKER/SLIM AARONS/FLYING CAMERA/FREDERIC LEWIS/ARCHIVE PHOTOS/HARRY TODD/FOX PHOTOS/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY. GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO/EPA/BETTMANN/CORBIS. DBOX FOR CIM GROUP & MACKLOWE PROPERTIES.
6. many residential property developers until recently. True, architects have been building prestige apartment blocks for well over a century. Think of New York’s Central Park West and the 1880s Dakota Building by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, or the twin towers of its 1930s neighbour, the San Remo by Emery Roth. By the 1960s the residential skyscraper had morphed into proposals for vertical future cities, such as the ‘corn cobs’ of Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City in Chicago – the world’s tallest concrete building when completed in 1964 and containing a gym, bowling alley, ice rink and shops. Over in 1970s London, the Barbican Estate’s three residential towers above an arts centre by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon became the tallest of their kind in Europe. They remained so for some decades, as modernism fell from favour and the following generations of city dwellers were much more keen to restore brownstones, Georgian terraces or colonial town houses than live in the skies of the future. Meanwhile, architects of any stature preferred a commission to design a parliament, museum or a company HQ, all of which offered more potential for instant icon status than a
6. The 1930s San Remo, NY, by Emery Roth. 7 & 8. Interior and exterior views of Rafael Viñoly’s planned 432 Park Avenue skyscraper, NY. 9. Peter Chamberlin, Geoffry Powell and Christof Bon with their model of the Barbican development, London, in 1956. 10. The Barbican today.
humble block of fats. With a few notable exceptions, such as Richard Rogers’s Montevetro development on the Thames, completed in 2000, apartment blocks were best left to huge housing companies with their off-the-peg solutions – what in Britain are called ‘volume house builders’, with clear ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ disdain. In the 1990s Aby Rosen’s
RFR was unusual in commissioning architects such as Robert Stern and Michael Graves as a means of differentiating itself from the herd, but it is precisely this luxury end of the scale where big-name architects are now courted. Architect Rafael Viñoly’s 425m-tall Park Avenue skyscraper will, he says, be “ridiculously luxurious,”
with 4m-high ceilings and killer views. International ‘starchitects’ have become part of the branding story for high-end apartments. And while design has always been about pleasure to some degree, now it is used as much for manufacturing desire as meeting a need. This trend would have been noticeable sooner but for the 131 Baku.
global fnancial crisis of 2007–08, after which countless high-profle skyscraper developments were cancelled – an estimated $5 billion-worth in New York alone. Among the recession’s casualties was architect Santiago Calatrava’s 150-storey Chicago Spire which, with its spiralling narwhal tusk, was intended to be the world’s tallest residential building and the second tallest tower in the world. Today the spire remains a seven-storey hole in the ground by Lake Michigan, but elsewhere across the world residential towers are back with a vengeance. In London alone there are more than 230 towers above 20 foors in the pipeline, causing alarm that the city’s skyline will be transformed without any clear idea of the consequences. More than 80 per cent of these are residential. Foster + Partners is behind several, from Docklands to Islington to Battersea. Others include Neo Bankside by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the Shard by Renzo Piano and Canaletto by Ben van Berkel. The more prestigious the development, the more likely there is to be a well-known architect attached. The same is true of other global cities. In New York, for example, developer Sumaida + Khurana commissioned frst Tadao Ando from Japan and then the much-admired Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza to design residential buildings in the city. Zaha Hadid’s 11-storey curvaceous condo near the High Line has joined others in the area by Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel, and she has since turned her attention to Miami, where the 1000 Museum tower is promising 62 levels of ultraluxury with full- or half-foor apartments and a private helicopter pad (with associated lounge) on the roof. 132 Baku.
RICHARD SEYMOUR/CULTURA TRAVEL/MARCO BERTORELLO/ AFP/GETTY. BARRY LEWIS/IN PICTURES/CORBIS. ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS. VIEW PICTURES/MARTIN BERRY/ALAMY.
1. A rendering of Santiago Calatravaâ€™s Chicago Spire, which fell victim to the 2007-08 recession. 2. Zaha Hadid. 3. 520 West 28th Street, NY, designed by Hadid. 4. Canaletto, London, by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel. 5. NEO Bankside, London, by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. 6. An aerial view of the sprawling White City development in Baku. 7. The Miami Edition Residences by Ian Schrager. 8. Renzo Pianoâ€™s Shard. 9. Renzo Piano. 10. One Central Park, Sydney, by Jean Nouvel.
7. There is now a demand for high-rise living across the English-speaking world (South East Asia has long taken the concept in its stride). Melbourne is building some 41 towers across the city centre, including the Australia 108 which will be the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere. In Sydney, meanwhile, following a recessional pause for thought, residential towers are going up by, among others, Foster, Nouvel and Rogers. The ubiquitous Foster is, together with fellow UK practice Atkins, also building the massive Baku White City development that will eventually be home to some 50,000 people. Recently the trend has gone beyond using architects. Product designers are now having their names attached to prestige apartments. In Miami, the 60-storey Porsche Design Tower is being developed in
partnership with the sports car company. The massive apartments come with amenities including plunge pools on most balconies and car lifts to each foor. The Atlantic magazine’s Citylab website reports that 22 billionaires – two per cent of the world’s total – have bought units in the building. Elsewhere in Miami, minimalist architect John
lamps to apartment blocks, each with bespoke Dixon kitchens and bathrooms. In Azerbaijan, as well as designing the atrium, interior designer David Collins’s name has been used to help sell the luxury apartments of the Port Baku Residences. While developers argue that these towers are crucial to meeting a demand for housing and are sustainable because
UK DEVELOPERS HAVE TO WIN CONSENT FOR THEIR SCHEMES ON THEIR ICONIC MERITS Ð A BIGNAME ARCHITECT CAN HELP SECURE THESE PERMISSIONS. Pawson is designing apartments and even hotelier Ian Schrager is lending his name to ultraluxury residential development in a city that is awash with international cash. Meanwhile in Malaysia, British celebrity designer Thomas Heatherwick is proposing umbrella-shaped apartment towers that are part building, part rainforest. Similarly, on London’s Greenwich peninsula, Tom Dixon has gone from designing 134 Baku.
they densify cities, critics note that the purchase prices will be out of reach of most city dwellers, and that the higher towers reach, the less sustainable they become. Peter Rees, former chief planning offcer for the City of London, has described this new wave of towers as vertical safety deposit boxes – places where footloose global capitalists can safely invest their cash in an uncertain world. The foreign buyers of
many London tower apartments have no intention of living in them, he says, with some investors preferring to leave kitchens unftted and interiors shrink-wrapped to keep them pristine ahead of re-sale. Last year Carol Willis, director of Manhattan’s Skyscraper Museum, staged an exhibition, ‘Sky High & the logic of luxury’, to examine high-rise living phenomena. The form these take varies from city to city. In New York, tall, slim towers are favoured, made possible by advances in lift technology, materials and windbracing. Manhattan’s zoning system does not cap heights in some areas as long as the set ratios of foor space to height are adhered to. Developers can even buy up the unused development rights from neighbouring sites. A dozen towers of between 50 and 96 storeys are on their way. “Slenderness is a strategy that produces several benefts; fewer apartments per foor allows for panoramic views and speaks of exclusivity and luxury,” says Willis. “New
York and London are both hot markets for luxury housing, and in both, developers are adding conspicuously tall new towers to the skyline.” While New York wants a super-slim profle, London is looking for the next crazy shape to add to the Gherkin, the Shard, the Walkie-Talkie, the Cheese Grater and the other towers whose novelty outlines have given rise to their nicknames. This is partly because, without North America’s fxed zoning and plot ratios, UK developers have to win consent for their schemes on their iconic merits – a bigname architect and a building’s bump-and-grind curves can help secure these permissions. And there is another good reason for using ‘trophy’ architects. Research suggests that – in London at least – it gets you more foor space. A 2014 study by the London School of Economics’s Paul Cheshire and Gerard Dericks found that: “Provided the site is not in an absolutely heightrestricted area, employing a [trophy architect] gets the
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1. Jean Nouvel’s New York residential tower, 100 Eleventh Avenue. 2. Jean Nouvel. 3. Lord Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. 4. Frank Gehry. 5. The penthouse of One57, designed by Christian de Portzamparc, broke New York real estate records when it sold for $100.5m in January 2015. 6. Christian de Portzamparc.
7. 7. The David Collinsdesigned atrium of Port Baku Residences. 8. Port Baku Residences. 9. Beekman Tower, NY, by Frank Gehry. 10. The late Philip Johnson. 11. The Field Building, Chicago, was the last skyscraper to be completed before the Great Depression.
developer an extra 19 foors: a 27-foor building on average compared with the eight storeys of buildings designed by conventional architects.” This can add a signifcant 130 per cent to a site’s value. Interestingly, the same report found that using a big name did not necessarily increase the sale price per square metre, and sometimes their buildings took longer to let and had higher maintenance costs because of their novel design. These potential drawbacks do not put off the likes of Sumaida + Khurana. “As developers we are dedicated to creating projects that have meaning,” says Amit Khurana. “Buildings that inspire, architecture that matters. We are dedicated to purity in design and so we collaborate with master architects who have uncompromising dedication to the same. We are not interested in star architects. We are interested in great architecture.” Khurana acknowledges that big design names may bring brand prestige but says “this is secondary to creating projects that are special”. Some people, it would appear, are just big architecture enthusiasts. Soon, Aby Rosen’s One Hundred East Fifty Third Street by Foster + Partners will become part of Manhattan’s ‘Architects Row’, where Jean Nouvel, Christian de Portzamparc, Rafael Viñoly and Philip Johnson have also built. But a note of caution: should the residential market bubble burst, prestige tower projects might come to a grinding halt. In 1934 work was fnished on the Field Building in Chicago. The Great Depression followed and the next Chicago tower to be topped out was the Prudential in 1955 – 21 years later. In the wrong market it can be a hell of a long time between skyscrapers, no matter how prestigious the names attached.
© The National Gallery, London
RegentÕs Park, London 14Ð18 October 2015 Preview 13 October frieze.com Discover thousands of years of art history. Antiquities Asian Art Ethnographic Art Illuminated Manuscripts Medieval Art Modern and Post-War Old Masters and 19th century Photography Sculpture Wunderkammer
THE GLOBAL CULTURAL BAROMETER
CULTURAL MRI Creative mash-up in Tel Aviv.
MEME The politics of the dandy.
ARS LONGA Shanghaied by the art world.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY MIGUEL MONTANER MONTANER.
SCI-ART Are you experienced?
ART AGONY UNCLE The next big thing.
Tel Aviv is a cultural oasis in the Middle East, where history and art meet, says Laura Archer.
aya Gelfman is kneeling on the foor of her small apartment in Tel Aviv in Israel, one slender arm holding a black woollen bird above her head as if in fight. It’s a creation left over from one of her site-specifc installations that can be found in hidden and not-so-hidden corners throughout the city. Red woollen hearts in cardboard picture frames appear on walls overnight, plaster stalactites hang from doorways, brightly coloured yarn spools out from faucets and drainpipes like toy spaghetti. Amid the general chaos of this large and busy city these small, quiet works are easy to miss, but that’s the point. In Hebrew, when you talk about putting your heart into something, it means you are paying attention; so, by 137 Baku. Eye.
installing physical hearts, Gelfman is alerting people to the space, encouraging them to be present and to connect with their surroundings. “My intention is to be part of this organism we call a city, not just come and sign my name,” she explains. “Most of us just walk from A to B, we’re not really paying attention. I really believe in being in the moment, taking what’s around you and making magic with it.” Street art in Tel Aviv, as in most cities, is technically illegal but many of the boldest, most in-your-face works are right in the shadow of the main police station, and artists like Gelfman have a lot of local support. Many of her installations stay in situ for years, the owners of the properties they adorn carefully painting around them when redecorating. Some, inevitably, are taken by admirers or collectors but Gelfman is indiferent to the fate of her work: “Once it’s on the street, it’s not mine. It’s for the people.” Gelfman, 37, a graduate of Tel Aviv’s prestigious Shenkar college of art, design and engineering, is a hot name in street art but her work also appears in leading galleries and art museums. This seems like an anomaly but it perfectly embodies the creative spirit of
Tel Aviv – at once respectful of established traditions yet forging a new path ahead. Evidence of this duality is everywhere in Tel Aviv. It is a city in an ancient land yet a third of its population is aged 21 to 35. It is both Jewish and Arabic while also being renowned for its German architecture – the Unesco-listed White City of about 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings. It is a modern urban hub and the fnancial centre of Israel, yet it also has a laid-back, California-surf vibe with a 24hour party scene to rival that of New York. Tumbledown streets lead of smart boulevards. There is so much construction as the
city’s development surges forward that it is hard to tell what is being built and what is being torn down. History is worn lightly here. Attitudes are relaxed and tolerance is high. Small wonder, then, that Tel Aviv is known – both appreciatively and critically – as ‘The Bubble’. It is a microcosm of liberalmindedness on the shores of the Mediterranean in the heart of the Middle East. Wrap your head around that, if you can. Of course, it’s all useful material for the impassioned artistic community here, which interprets the city’s unique socio-political mix in surprising and often arresting ways.
“It’s a very intense art scene,” is how designer and architect Ron Arad described his hometown to me from his London studio. “It enjoys and sufers from the fact that it’s on the periphery.” But increasingly Israeli art is no longer on the periphery, as the artists who thrive in Tel Aviv are gaining prominence internationally. Sotheby’s has long had a thriving outpost in the city, specializing in Judaica and aided in more recent years by organizations such as Artis – founded in 2004 by collector Rivka Saker, who is also chairman of Sotheby’s Israel – which takes Israeli artists to international art fairs and also awards grants to fund their work. Many of Tel Aviv’s top galleries – Sommer and Dvir among them – represent local artists alongside blue-chip international names. Politics, inevitably, is an everpresent theme – even within the bubble. When I visited the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in February this year, there was a temporary exhibition entitled ‘And the Winners Are’ which showcased the recipients of prizes in art and design awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Sport. If that sounds innocent enough, the reality was a highly charged series of works with distinctly unsettling undertones, such as Eyal Assulin’s Virus (2013), a bleeping, vibrating cardboard digger that crouched in one corner like a giant spider ready to pounce and devour you in its mechanical jaws. At the 2015 Venice Biennale, Tel Aviv-based Tsibi Geva – one of Israel’s most eminent artists – has covered the outside of his country’s pavilion entirely in worn black tyres, giving it a somewhat defensive look, as if expecting attack. It’s easy to see it as a political statement but it also speaks of displacement, of being literally worn down by constant upheaval. In the streets of up-andcoming Florentin, a grafti park has sprung up among the dilapidated warehouses. Many of the works on the walls rif on themes of power (or lack of it) and alienation, featuring fgures on the fringes of society. One of the most poignant and clever series of works is braille grafti by Vered Dror. Being grafti, it’s intended for sighted people, yet being braille they cannot read it. “Fear is blinding,” one piece says; another spells out: “‘I know that you can see’ (man to woman) / ‘I must remember that I am blind’ (woman to herself).” Open your eyes, the artist seems to be saying. In Tel Aviv, there is always something to see.
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1. Tel Aviv Museum of Art. 2. A Bauhaus-style building in the White City area. 3. A market beneath some graffiti in Jaffa. 4. ‘Mind the heart’ (2013) by Maya Gelfman. 5. A typical Friday night scene in Tel Aviv, renowned for its 24-hour partying. 6. Design Museum Holon. 7. Bugsy bar and restaurant in the Florentin district. 8. The Dolphinarium decorated by street artist Dede. 9. Artist Tsibi Geva. 10. Interior detail of the Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar. 11. Fashion designer Maya Bash.
Ben Yehuda Street
PLACES TO GO
WHITE CITY Rothschild Boulevard
NAMES TO KNOW
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAGE COLLECTION/GALIT SELIGMANN/HEMIS/ALAMY. MASSIMO BORCHI/ATLANTIDE PHOTOTRAVEL/CORBIS. ROIE AVIDAN. GRAZIANO ARICI/EYEVINE. BEN YUSTER. LIYA GELDMAN. YAEL PINCUS.
MAYA GELFMAN Street artist whose work has been displayed in museums and galleries around the world. As well as site-specifc installations, she produces intricate largescale paintings woven with metallic thread. Having had heart surgery aged four, she uses the heart as her moniker.
Ben Gurion Airport
TSIBI GEVA One of Israel’s leading artists, Geva is representing his country at the 2015 Venice Biennale. His work takes familiar subjects – foor tiles, walls, the kefyeh (Arabic headdress), fowers, birds – and transforms them into political statements.
DEDE Street artist Dede’s signature motif is a Band-Aid, of which there are thousands throughout the city. He recently transformed the abandoned Dolphinarium (attacked by a suicide bomber in 2001) into a pair of comedy chattering teeth.
2. DESIGN MUSEUM HOLON A short drive from Tel Aviv, this Ron Arad-designed museum is a triumph, its sculptural steel curves graduating from red to orange like the sand dunes that inspired it. Inside, the minimalist space hosts cutting-edge exhibitions; Iris van Herpen and Alessi have been recent subjects. dmh.org.il 3. JAFFA Alexander the Great, Richard the Lionheart and Napoleon Bonaparte have all conquered this historic Arab port on the shores of the Mediterranean. Now a mix of Arab and Jewish, it is one of the trendiest parts of Tel Aviv, with a vibrant artistic community, fea markets, and chic galleries nestling in the sandstone city walls.
MAYA BASH Originally from Russia and a graduate of Shenkar, Bash is a fashion designer making an international name with her hip, deconstructed clothing. She has presented at Tokyo and Shanghai fashion weeks and is stocked in New York and Japan.
SOMMER CONTEMPORARY ART One of Tel Aviv’s top galleries located in an elegant mansion in Rothschild Boulevard. The gallery represents Israeli and international artists, and owner Irit Sommer is a co-founder of the ART TLV biennale.
1. ILANA GOOR MUSEUM Israeli sculptor and collector Ilana Goor has opened her astonishing home to the public, displaying her own works alongside those she has collected over the past 50 years. She still lives here and many of the rooms are functional, including the kitchen and dining room, which lends the space added interest. You may even spot Goor walking around with her dog. There are great views over Jafa from the rooftop sculpture garden. ilanagoormuseum.org
4. IMPERIAL CRAFT COCKTAIL BAR Inside a distinctly down-atheel hotel, past a grumpy doorman, and behind an unmarked frosted red-glass door lies one of Tel Aviv’s coolest bars, regularly voted one of the world’s best. What it lacks in space it makes up for in attitude, with cocktails that go beyond the ordinary and knowledgeable staf with requisite hipster beards. imperialtlv.com 5. TEL AVIV MUSEUM OF ART Sprawled across three buildings, the city’s main cultural institution features world-class collections of Israeli art alongside Old Masters and contemporary big-hitters, Pollock, Rothko, Klimt, Doig and Keifer among them. tamuseum.org.il 139 Baku. Eye.
Meme The sapeurs of Brazzaville and Kinshasa are keeping it dandy, but dressing this way is more than just joie de vivre, as Sally Howard discovers. 1.
oday Alexander Youngbo Da is kitted out in a sunfoweryellow three-piece suit set of with a plump, pink bow tie. His moustache is carefully curled into handlebars and his brogues are polished to a mirror-like sheen. The 24-yearold Congolese student wouldn’t look out of place on a Milanese runway. Yet Youngbo Da is not strutting his peacock stuf in Europe’s haute couture capital but on the streets of Brazzaville, the capital of a country recovering from decades of civil war and a city in which 46 per cent of the population live below the national poverty line. Youngbo Da is among the latest generation of Sapeurs, an unlikely sartorial subculture that’s thrived in Brazzaville, and latterly Kinshasa, for almost a century. The two cities, neighbours across the Congo river delta, are the respective capitals and largest cities of the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Loosely following the geographical territories of former French Middle Congo and the Belgian Congo, these nations both achieved their independence in 1960, but have since been wracked by a series of civil wars. “I learned La Sape from my father,” Youngbo Da explains. “Some say dressing like this is not good taste in a poor country. For me, it is not about faunting. It’s about making style with what you have, but 140 Baku. Eye.
it’s also about an attitude: pride and a gentleman’s code of honour.” The vogue for slick, tailored dressing frst emerged in Brazzaville in the 1920s, when the west African city was part of the colonial bloc of French Equatorial Africa. Some say the obsession frst arose among the Congolese soldiers who fought for the French against the Germans in the First World War; others that it originated with Congolese houseboys working for French colonial administrators in Brazzaville, a proportion of whose income was paid in imported clothing. Whatever its catalyst, Sapeurism
bloomed with the coming of the jazz age, when the AfricanAmerican music genre crosspollinated, on west African soil, with a preoccupation with French élan. La Sape is an acronym for La Société des Ambianceurs
et des Personnes Elégantes (the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People). This Brazzaville-based society formalized the Sapeur style and code of honour in the mid-20th century under the leadership of ‘dapper’ Papa Wemba, a rumba artist who was known for his taste for dazzling white suits and monochrome spats. “We should view La Sape subculture in its historicalpolitical context,” says Daniele Tamagni, a photographer who documented the famboyant Sapeurs of Brazzaville suburb Bacongo for his 2009 book Gentlemen of Bacongo. Tamagni understands La Sape as being in a two-way relationship with French colonialism. “This way of dress is a throwback to colonial patterns of behaviour and conditioning,” Tamagni tells me. “At the same time it signals a post-colonial appropriation of the master’s style and manners, remixed for the society of the spectacle.”
she says. “This was the era of the Sapeur stars like Papa Wemba; and Djo Balard, a Sapeur musician who was regularly ambushed by fans when he few back into Brazzaville from Paris.” Youngbo Da is part of a new generation of Sapeurs who see in La Sape less a political stance, more of a way of navigating their masculinity in a fast-changing west Africa. Héctor Mediavilla documented this new crop of Sapeurs in his 2013 book S.A.P.E. and also directed a short flm on them as part of last year’s Guinness advertising campaign. In the book’s introduction he explains the code of conduct that pertains among Sapeurs today: “The Sapeur is a model of gentlemanly behaviour and mannerisms; it’s also the language he uses, the way he walks. How you treat people is very important. For a man to be a Sapeur he must be gentle, he must not be aggressive, he must be against war, he must be calm-tempered.”
Others argue for a stronger link between Sapeurism and anti-colonialism. Historian Ch. Didier Gondola, author of The History of Congo (2002), points to a prominent early Sapeur, Brazzaville clerk Camille Diata. “He was an interesting fgure and also a key player in L’Amicale, an infuential anticolonial movement that formed in late 1920s Paris,” he says. Journalist Ticky Muamba was a university student at Brazzaville in the 1970s and early 1980s, in the turbulent decade after both Congos were granted independence. She saw a second wave of politicized Sapeurism frst hand. “Back then the Sapeurs were often young men who adapted this style à la mode as a way of protest at not having a stake in the newly independent society,”
Youngbo Da sees his own Sapeurism as imbuing him with a gentlemanly pacifsm. “Life may be difcult in Brazzaville, but as a Sapeur you have to be respectful to others,” he explains. Among the most recent adherents to La Sape are women, known as Sapeuses. Young women, such as 22year-old Mamicho, who lives in Kinshasa, see the Sapeur tradition as a vehicle for emancipation from restrictive African gender roles – a return to the powerful women of precolonial west Africa. Mamicho dresses in pinstriped suits and patent shoes and carries a silver-tipped cane that’s often a whimsical signature of the Sapeur look. “Sapeurs are normally men,” she says. “However, I live with my brother who is a Sapeur and
1, 4 & 5. Sapeurs in Brazzaville, photographed by Daniele Tamagni. Sapeurs in Brazzaville photographed by HŽctor Mediavilla, with (2) Hassan Salvador and friends and (3) Severin Mouyengo, who has been a sapeur since the 1970s.
that inspired me to become a Sapeuse. People tell me, ‘Mama Africa, you should wear a traditional women’s dress. Not this, this is not good.’ I don’t listen to them. Dressing like this makes me feel good.” In the past decade, La Sape has arrived in the Congolese cultural mainstream at events such as the Salon africain de la mode et de l’artisanat (African Fashion and Crafts Fair) promoted by the divisive Republic of Congo president Denis Sassou-Nguesso, himself a former Sapeur.
But for all its political and sociological nuance, Sapeurism is perhaps best celebrated for its life-afrming joie de vivre. It’s impossible to look at famboyant, impeccably groomed Sapeurs, dressed in their magpie appropriation of Edwardian English gentlemen’s dress, jaunty silk scarves draped just-so and clashing technicolour hues and not raise a smile. Didier Gondola also sees in the revival of Sapeurism a cause for optimism. “Today, with
DANIELE TAMAGNI. HECTOR MEDIAVILLA.
both countries [the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo] in turmoil, La Sape’s exuberance may well serve as a lighting rod for the Congolese disenfranchised youth to map out their itinerary from Third World status to a modern cosmopolitanism.” When asked to sum up what La Sape means to him, Youngbo Da invokes a quote that’s dear to the Sapeurs and often attributed to Sapeur daddy Papa Wemba: “White people invented the clothes, but we make an art of it,” he says, with a broad smile.
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Ars Longa contemporary local art, rather than internationally renowned work, and a lot of them are looking in Shanghai. As I was looking for one particular gallery, the taxi driver turned round to my guide and said, “Are you sure this is the right address? There are now so many galleries that it’s impossible to
rt in China is more than big business, it is a tourist attraction. Anyone with a passing interest in the art world will have paid a visit to the 798 Art Zone in Beijing, although not so many will have been to the M50 art district in Shanghai. I was in the city not so long ago as part of the GREAT Festival of Creativity, along with the Duke of Cambridge, Thomas Heatherwick, Tom Dixon, Jo Malone, Patrick Grant, Neville Brody and many other examples
of what’s meant to be wonderful about the art, design, fashion and tech worlds in the UK. Having escaped the festival for a couple of hours one afternoon, I went on a tour of M50, a cluster of former warehouses turned into studios and galleries showcasing mainly local artists. Because of Beijing’s appalling pollution, there has been something of an art brain drain in the past few years, with many artists and gallerists moving to Shanghai. They come for the cleaner air, the cheaper rents and the hope of fnding a less corporate art environment. There is also a new generation of Chinese collectors who want 142 Baku. Eye.
know where they all are.” Which is not something he would have said fve years ago. There is even a printed guide nowadays, the Shanghai Detour, a bilingual art guide published every two months that ofers a city map and provides an extended overview of commercial galleries, museums, not-for-proft showrooms and independent exhibitions. As well as in M50, there are galleries all over the city. Leo Xu Projects, for example, in West Fuxing Road, appears to be in a private house, and without a guide there is no way I would have been able to fnd it. I’m glad I did, as there was a remarkable exhibition called ‘Alias: aaajiao’, which incorporated all the trendy media in today’s Chinese art – video, installation, sculpture and LCD screens. There was no neon, however, although I soon found a large amount of that. I visited the Island 6 gallery at M50, and as I stared at a neon sculpture of a loudhailer proclaiming “Sshhh!” (Seen and Heard and Felt the Words, 2014, by Liu Dao), an assistant came up to me and said, “We have to have neon even if we don’t like it ourselves, because everyone loves neon…” M50 is surrounded by a long stretch of grafti that itself manages to reinvent the genre, not unlike the Wynwood Walls in Miami. There is traditional tagging, lots of use of iconic pop art motifs – Warhol is very much in evidence – yet there is a genuine sense of the new and the diferent here, and rather than simply p y Instagram g
the images (which I did), you feel inclined to remove parts of the wall itself. But the juxtapositions here are obvious to see: colourful street art set against looming tower blocks that appear to crawl up into the sky. “We do dystopian scenery very well in Shanghai,” said one gallery owner. This is indeed true, as the city itself feels as though it goes on forever, a massive sprawl of urban development that has obviously been designed solely by fnancial transactions. This is no esoteric outpost of the new, however, and practically every gallery owner I met was preparing for the forthcoming trip to Art Basel in Hong Kong. “It’s the highlight of the season,” said one gallerist. “You can make a lot of money, and get instant recognition for one of your artists.” As I walked around M50, I started sending Instagram pictures, something that would have been impossible not so long ago. The app was shut
down by the authorities last September during the Umbrella Movement and Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong, as it was used as a news feed. It is now up again, and although the service is intermittent, you can post pictures from anywhere in China. The Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei is still restricted from leaving the country, however. An outspoken critic of the government, he was detained for almost three months in 2011. As part of his bail, he was banned from travelling abroad, although one of the people I spoke to on my art tour said that this had been the artist’s dream for years: “He was validated when that happened, and it made him even more famous than he was before. After all, what’s the point of being the most famous Chinese artist in the world if the government condones what you do? Seriously, what would be the sense in that?”
1. The M50 grafti wall. 2. Still from test footage for an unrealized artwork by the Liu Dao Art Collective. 3. Island6 Gallery. Two works by Carsten Höller, (4) ‘Half Clock’ (2014), and (5) ‘Phi Wall II’ (2002).
DAVE TACON/POLARIS/EYEVINE. © 2015 CARSTEN HÖLLER COURTESY THE ARTIST AND TBA21 COLLECTION/ATTILIO/MARANZANO/BILDRECHT, VIENNA, 2014. FARGFAKEN STOCKHOLM.
The proliferation of grafti and galleries in Shanghai’s art district has Dylan Jones, British GQ’s editor-in-chief, reaching for his map.
Science x Art If you want to be in two places at once, then you had better visit the new immersive Carsten Hšller exhibition, where your presence(s) will be part of the art, explains Michael Brooks.
ow many art exhibitions come with a health warning? Artists have long sought to refect what it means to be human, but visitors to ‘Decision’, Carsten Höller’s current exhibition at the Hayward Gallery (until 6 September) are advised to steel themselves – or stay away if they think the artworks on show might be too challenging. The challenge comes from Höller’s determinedly confrontational combination of art and science. Formerly a research scientist, he creates works that often play tricks with perception and so depend upon the observer. His works are only complete, he says, when viewed and interacted with. This idea ofers an interesting point of contact with the work of the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961), who understood that perception has an important role to play in the interpretation of science. The dominant school of thought, pioneered by Schrödinger, in quantum physics says we create reality with our observations. That’s because subatomic particles such as electrons or the photons of light can exist in multiple states, in two or more places at once, or spinning both clockwise and anticlockwise. It is only the act of observing the particles that forces them to take up one defnite characteristic or the other. We don’t yet understand how this extends into the world that we experience. This is why Schrödinger came up with his famous thought experiment, where quantum efects mean that a cat, unobserved inside a sealed box, can be both dead and alive. Interestingly, modern neuroscience is also producing surprises about our observational acts. Our brain, it turns out, registers only a tiny portion of the world around us, and reconstructs the rest from its few slivers of perceived information. We now know that when visitors look at Höller’s work, they will, at any one moment, see detail in only a tiny part of their feld of vision, something akin to a thumbnail held at arm’s length. After taking this in, the eye shifts its focus to look at another tiny area. This is repeated three times every second;
4. in order to avoid creating a jerky or disorientating experience, the brain takes in no visual information in between these moments. The result is that you are functionally blind for four hours of every day. That is not the only reason each visit to ‘Decision’ will be unique. Visitors will be confronted by a series of choices about how to approach it; their decisions will create their path through the exhibits. What’s more, Höller’s work is often both immersive and disorientating – he has frequently talked about his installations as part laboratory, part playground – and visitors will no doubt have their senses confused in ways that depend on who they are. Hence the health warning. The depth of the experience will be augmented by an unprecedented use of the Hayward’s space. Because the gallery is about to undergo major renovations, closing for two years after the ‘Decision’ show fnishes, the directors have allowed him to take liberties with the structure of the building. The exhibition is certainly one of a kind, bursting out from the physical confnes of the gallery. Schrödinger once said the task of the scientist is “not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.” With Höller demanding that his visitors undergo experiments on their perception from the moment they enter the exhibition space, that is exactly what each will be able to do, and, for a few months in London, everyone can be a scientist.
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Art Agony Uncle Confused about art? Kenny Schachter is pleased to help out. I’m told I shouldn’t buy any mid-level artists, only unknowns or superstars (I wish!). Matthew, Portland. A mid-level artist is an indeﬁnable concept, really. Once you set a budget as a parameter, the best approach is to see everything you can digest and sharpen your capacity to appreciate more. There are middle-aged artists, sometimes selling more or less than practitioners decades younger (or older), so these kinds of categorizations are very hard to deﬁne. There are kids just out of school making work, and artists who have been at it ages – it’s
a matter of personal tastes and being drawn to things. The more you look and learn, the better your chances to discover talent, even latent or unappreciated, and it will ultimately make the search more rewarding. How do I discover the next big star? Michele, Singapore. You don’t. The next star discovers you when you do a lifetime’s worth of legwork to be able to uncover what such a thing might look and smell like. If you are always trying to hit grand slams, rather than just get on base, you are likely to spend a lot of time striking out. As previously stated, art is an organic process of growth to understand and appreciate to its fullest; it’s a life sentence of learning. When you can achieve the more humble position of trying to discern what
Silver power – Yoko Ono at MoMA, Cher for Marc Jacobs, Joan Didion for Céline. It’s not just youth rocking the art and fashion worlds.
144 Baku. Eye.
is good, you are a star yourself. And after 25 years of ferreting out art like a trufe pig, I can attest to the fact that it ain’t easy, trust me. I want to buy work from an upcoming sale at one of the big auction houses. It will be my frst time. Can you give me a few pointers on etiquette? Ed, New York The only protocol necessitated to play the auction game is to have enough cash to pay for whatever you may lift your paddle for. And in this day and age of wickedly ﬁerce competition for market share and proﬁts the houses would pretty much tolerate a toddler bidding. In all seriousness, if you are determined to bid for a work, it’s best to get in touch prior to the event and register: sign up and provide some banking information to ensure you won’t commit a hit and run in the excitement of bidding and winning, then not paying. Happy bidding!
Email your art dilemmas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dressing up dogs on Instagram – if we see one more dog in a threepiece suit, we’ll go barking mad!
vienna international art fair 24Ă?27 september 2015 marx halle vienna www.viennacontemporary.at
THE KING AND I For almost two decades, Haydar Hatemi has devoted his artistic career to one man, the emir of Qatar. And for a master of miniatures, heÕs created some exceptionally largescale works along the way. Where to from here? Words by TIM TEEMAN Portrait by LEE P. THOMAS Top: Haydar Hatemi’s Ottoman Empire furniture series with views of Istanbul and ostrich eggs with Ottoman women. Above: Hatemi at work. Opposite: view of the Bosphorus in a painting from the Ottoman collection.
146 Bak ku.
f all the places to fnd the painter in residence to the Qatari royal family, this resolutely modest suburb of Lexington, Kentucky seems unlikely. But we drive on, past manicured lawns and ambling dogwalkers. Lachin Hatemi is at the wheel, talking about his father, Haydar Hatemi, who was born and raised in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran, and since 1997 has been creating artworks for Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar from 1995 to 2013 (when his son became emir). Using his formidable wealth, the former emir made Qatar an artistic centre, presiding over the opening of the Museum of Islamic Art, the enshrining of the Doha Film Festival and the purchase, in 2012, of Cezanne’s The Card Players (1890-92) for a reported $250m. His son and daughter are continuing the tradition. Damien Hirst’s The Miraculous Journey (2005-13), which comprises 14 monumental sculptures documenting a foetus from conception to birth, was unveiled in Doha in October. Haydar Hatemi’s art couldn’t be more different to the controversial bombast of modern art: he specializes in classical Ottoman-style painting and in the Persian miniaturist style. He creates his art in the basement of the home he and his wife, Shams - they have been married for 36 years - have lived in since the mid-1990s, when his sons (Lachin and his older brother, Aydin) came to the US to attend university. Outside their home in a quiet cul-desac I laugh that, for a rich, internationally renowned artist, this feels a long way from the bustle and hype of New York, London or Los Angeles. “He’s very laid-back,” says Lachin. “He’s not one of those artists who wants to be in the centre of things. As long as he can jump on a plane and fy to Qatar, he’s happy.” Of course, Lexington isn’t such a strange place to fnd Hatemi: lots of very rich people come here to breed, buy and sell horses for absurdly large sums of money. One sheikh pays $100,000 a day to park his jet at the city’s airport, says Lachin. It’s Haydar Hatemi’s wide smile that strikes me frst. He has white-grey hair, his eyes shine and he is instantly welcoming. He is a humble man, kind but also sharply witty and speaks broken English, so Lachin translates for him. Shams serves us delicious food: pistachios, traditional Iranian candies and Turkish delight (Hatemi lived in Turkey for 15 years and is a Turkish citizen). His paintings of Azerbaijani homes, with tables laden with food for a winter’s night, hang on the walls and our drinks and plates sit on beautifully crafted tables of his own design. Hatemi and Shams frst met in the city of Julfa, on the Azerbaijan side of the border with Iran. They were neighbours when Hatemi was a teenager and she a little girl. They got together when he was 33 and she 21. “Everybody knows everybody,” says Hatemi of Julfa. The city is split between
the two countries by the Araks river (the Iranian city is called Jolfa). Hatemi still visits his family there regularly. He started painting aged seven. One day a dentist friend of his father, a fabric seller, saw a map of Iran and Azerbaijan that Hatemi had drawn and, on being told it was by an eightyear-old, said if it was true the boy should paint something similar in front of him. The young Hatemi did and was rewarded with a gift of his frst watercolour paints. “I grew up in the felds, playing and working on farms. I loved nature – the mountains, rivers and seasons,” rhapsodizes Hatemi. “It’s a very pure, untouched region. It is like you can pick the stars out of the sky. I climbed all of Iran’s mountains.” Hatemi began selling his work at 12. His two brothers studied architecture. “I was the talented one,” he says, laughing, adding that his parents were “very disappointed” when he became an artist. “They did not have
ÒART IS NOT A JOB, ITÕS A LIFESTYLE, AND A BIG RISK. IF YOU DO IT RIGHT YOU MAKE MONEY EVENTUALLY.Ó much respect for art or artists,” says Hatemi. “Art could be a hobby, but it was not a decent way to make a living, so they discouraged me a lot when I was younger. My father wanted me to be a policeman or engineer.” Hatemi enrolled at Tabriz Art Academy (having threatened his parents with leaving high school if they obstructed him), then attended the Fine Arts Academy of Tehran University, coming third in its entrance exam. He designed 20 gold coins celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian empire, received a national award for designing a medal for the International Cancer Society and won other competitions, including one for logo design for a chemical company. Also while in Tehran he designed public sculptures, including one of Shah Abbas on horseback. “Art is not a job, it’s a lifestyle, and a big risk,” says Hatemi. “If you do it right you make money eventually.” 148 Bak ku.
Top: works from Hatemi’s Ottoman Empire furniture series and ostrich eggs. Above, from left: The Birth of Christ, David’s Flute, Story of Two Mothers and King Solomon, and Zoroaster, from his series Stories of the Messengers. g
He secured the patronage of art dealers in Iran, though in 1979 his life - and those of many other artists - changed dramatically in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, which was hostile to artists. Nudity was not allowed in paintings, and “there was a lot of chaos,” says Hatemi. “People did not want to invest in art. Artists need to be free, it was very oppressive.” The gallery owners all left for New York, Los Angeles and London. Hatemi made his own escape by moving to Turkey in 1983. Istanbul inspired his interest in the Ottoman Empire and Persian miniatures. He began painting images of old Istanbul. Lachin says: “Turkey was secular and modern art was so popular, but nobody else was doing what my father did.” His work became coveted among collectors in Turkey. Yet, since his appointment in 1997 to work for the emir, he has been working for just one person. It must be strange as an artist to work this way, I say. Hatemi smiles. He reveals he is not allowed to work for any other royal family, but he can work for other rich clients and sell his work to them. “I paint very fast,” he says, showing me the ceiling of one of the Qatari palace rooms, separated into 22 vividly painted panels. How long did that take, I ask, thinking it must have been years such is the level of detail. “One year,” Hatemi says. “It’s amazing being able to paint on a large-scale when fnances are not a problem. You can experiment in a grand way.” The size of his painting is now so large Hatemi is having to fnd a warehouse space in Lexington to work in, as his basement is no longer big enough. Does the Sheikh commission particular paintings? “My father decides what to paint and the Sheikh accepts it,” says Lachin. His subjects have included falconry and pilgrimages to Mecca. He is paid not a yearly salary but by individual commission; his works command seven fgures, Lachin reveals. It must be strange, I say again to Hatemi, that he is painting this for one person. Don’t all artists want their work to be seen as widely as possible? Father and son confer: a diplomatic answer is being crafted. “He wants his artwork to be seen by the general public, the masses, not just by the elite,” says Lachin. 149 Baku.
“He doesn’t want it to be confned just to the palaces. That’s the drawback of Middle East sheikhdoms – only the privileged few can see it.” Hatemi jokes that he once said to the emir’s wife that his paintings were like children; a few years later she asked if he would like to “visit his children” one day. Hatemi plans to donate a signifcant portion of his work to a new museum in Turkey. “I am impressed not so much by wealth,” he says, “but with what is achieved with what wealth you have.” Lachin laughs about his father lecturing the emir on not wasting food. “I don’t think there are many people who could do that. They are very close friends. Sometimes the Sheikh just calls him to talk.” Hatemi agrees, recounting a time when the Sheikh called him “my brother”, to which Hatemi shot back that if it were
“I WANT TO RETURN TO BAKU SO I CAN SEE THE CASPIAN. I WANT TO GO BACK TO MY ROOTS. I HAVE BEEN AWAY FOR SO LONG.” true, could the emir please bequeath him the $100,000 watch he was wearing. “He doesn’t see himself as an employee,” says Lachin. “The relationship is very personal. He produces art not for money – he lives a very low-key life anyway.” In Qatar, the Sheikh has used art to bring prestige to the kingdom. “You can build tall buildings, open boutiques, or make any brand, but you cannot produce art with money,” insists Hatemi. He says he has never personally experienced any Islamophobia or racism in the US, even though his best-known series of works was created in the wake of 9/11. Stories of the Messengers (2003), in his signature precise miniature style, was inspired by his readings of the Qur’an as well as the Bible and Torah. Ageing doesn’t concern him. “I see myself as young,” Hatemi says, laughing. But Lachin 150 Bak ku.
From top: Ottoman Cavalry with Byerley Turk and Portrait of Rumi from the Ottoman collection, and Jesus from Stories of the Messengers. Opposite: View of Water Canal from the Ottoman Palace, from the Ottoman collection.
has noticed him listening nostalgically to Azerbaijani music and watching movies from his childhood. Modern Azerbaijan, says Hatemi, is “very globalized. You can see any European fashion there, there are new cars, everybody has access to Western things.” Such is Hatemi’s enduring love for Azerbaijan that he plans to stop working for the Qatari royal family, “in the next couple of years, after the next big project”, and return to his homeland. He plans to move back to Baku, “so I can see the Caspian Sea and paint largescale works for the people. I love Istanbul and Baku. I want to go back to my roots. I have been away for so long.” With a magnifying glass, Hatemi shows me the astonishingly detailed brushstrokes that comprise his miniaturist paintings. In his studio basement on a huge table are canvases of vivid Ottomaninspired scenes, including one of a wedding procession, rendered in bright acrylic paints. He is creating canvases for both the Sheikh and Lachin, who fondly remembers as a young boy watching his father paint for hours. “Dad is always happy, I’ve never seen him depressed,” Lachin says. Hatemi interrupts to say an Iranian poet once said, “don’t think about yesterday, don’t worry about tomorrow, just live in the present.” An artist is never fulflled, he says, because they are “always thinking of how to make their art better. I am always excited about a new painting because I do not have time limitations nor do I have to sell it.” Lachin says his father “doesn’t care” about fame; all he wants is to paint without “the constant attention of others, which can overwhelm him”. Hatemi’s parents must have been happy that they needn’t have worried about their son’s success, I say. Hatemi laughs merrily. “They were very proud of me, but until his very last day my father didn’t believe I made money from art. He thought I was doing something that must have been wrong and that I was hiding it.” In reality, Hatemi was making both money and his name in the best way possible, driven by passion and a calling – both of which will next, he hopes, bring him home to Azerbaijan.
Puttin’ on the Ritz
Some Mediterranean summertime destinations have opening parties to kick-start the season. The Côte d’Azur city of Cannes, synonymous with sultry glamour, does it rather more stylishly. The sea in front of La Croisette, the fabled beachside promenade, lights up every July with one of the world’s most spectacular freworks displays, with the opening show hosted, this year as every year, by Azerbaijan. Never has relaxing on the poolside terrace of the Martinez, the hotel where so many movie legends have stayed, been more colourful. Let the summer commence.
DANIELE SALVADORINI. JEROME BRIERRE/RDA/ AFP/GETTY. BETTMANN/CORBIS.
Clockwise from left: Pablo Picasso at his art studio in Vallauris, near Cannes, and with Brigitte Bardot during the 1956 Cannes Film Fe Festival; tival; last summerﾃ不 Azerbaijan fireworks light up the sky over La Croisette; H邃｢tel Martinez.
THE BUZZ :
From Moscow to New York and now Baku, Russian comfort eating and nostalgic design get a glamorous makeover in the shape of the swanky Mari Vanna restaurants.
WORDS BY FRANCESCA PEAK.
Nope, you haven’t taken a time machine back to 19th-century Russia; this is the elaborately decorated Mari Vanna, where more is more and everything, from the fgurines dotted about the shelves to the colourful crockery, is just the right side of kitsch. With restaurants in New York, London and Moscow, and a celebrity clientele including Kate Moss, Natalia Vodianova and Sarah Jessica Parker, the Mari Vanna brand now has an outpost in Baku. Complete with its own dacha and garden, the new restaurant has a homely, grandmotherly atmosphere, with waiters running between the rustic wooden tables in red pinstriped shirts. The same vintage vibe applies to the food: traditional Russian dishes such as borscht, pelmeni, kholodets and pierogi are presented with a subtle contemporary twist, plus there’s an extensive vodka-based nastoyka list. Just make sure you save room for the multilayered honey and cream cake – one mouthful and it’s love.
CIUDAD DE MƒXICO MEXICO CITY CENTRO BANAMEX SALA D / HALL D www.zonamaco.com email@example.com
MY COLLECTION :
Ready to Wear
Californian fashion writer Christine Suppes has amassed a collection of hundreds of haute couture garments. And each has a tale to tell. Photography by FREDERIC ARANDA When did you start collecting? In 1990, when my husband was awarded the National Medal of Science, I wanted to wear Yves Saint Laurent for the ceremony at the White House and I chose a green tweed suit. That marked the beginning of my collection. How did your love of fashion begin? About the age of 12, I began to accompany my mother to her fttings for charity fashion shows in which she modelled. It was during her fttings that I learned the fner details of cut and ft. I even met great designers, such as James Galanos, in those dressing rooms. Which designers did you admire at frst? Geoffrey Beene and YSL especially, but also Japanese designers such as Commes des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. I also loved Dries Van Noten and Vivienne Westwood. Do you wear the clothes you collect? I usually buy a piece for a gala and then put it away, so I have worn every piece at least once, some of them dozens of times, so each garment has its own story. How has writing about fashion affected your collection? In 1999 I began my online magazine fashionlines.com and started going to shows in Paris and New York. I really learned about the business then, about how so much artistry and craftsmanship goes into a garment from conception to runway.
INTERVIEW BY ANDREW LINDESAY. FREDERIC ARANDA.
Is your collection meant to be historically complete, and are there any gaps? I only collect what I am interested in and, yes, I’m needing more YSL accessories from the 1990s but I’m glad to have a few pieces. The West Coast is not known as a major centre of the fashion industry… You are forgetting Hollywood. We joke that the red carpet is often the “fashion shot heard around the world”. Their photographs appear in the tabloids, even before Vogue. It makes the West Coast a major style hub. But there are precious few commentators. I regard Cameron Silver, owner of Decades in LA, as my only colleague in driving a dialogue in California about fashion.
Above: Christine Suppes wearing a Chanel blouse from 2010, and, from far left, three favourites from her collection: a Commes de Garçons apron skirt (2000); a Christian Lacroix evening dress (2005); and a Geoffrey Beene gown (1991). Her new book, Electric Fashion, is out now (published by Skira).
Conservation in Malaysia
“Visiting the national parks of Malaysia was an amazing experience. I witnessed much conservation work, particularly in forest protection. In spite of this, there are still endangered species, such as the tiger, which I was lucky to see at the A’Famosa safari park. When you spend time in a wondrous natural environment like this, you realize just how fragile it is. No matter how many amazing things we can create, we can’t build what nature has already given.”
KEVEN OSBORNE/FOX FOTOS/GREG ELMS/JOHN S LANDER/LIGHTROCKET/ANDERS BLOMQVIST/GETTY.
Left: Hindu temple at the Batu Caves, near Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur. From top: a Rajah Brooke’s birdwing butterfly; the Old Bus Station Bridge over the Malacca River; a great hornbill at the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park.
Baku is the latest stop for globetrotting chef Rose Ang, whose Asian cuisine is proving a hit with the cityÕs discerning diners, as Francesca Peak discovers. Portrait by NATAVAN VAHABOVA When Rose isnÕt in the kitchen, she isÉ
Walking through the Old Town. Baku is the safest place I’ve ever lived. I have no worries about walking through this fascinating part of the city at 2am.
Being pampered. When I need to relax and let go, I head straight to JW Marriott. The spa is beautiful and the massages are incredible. It’s such a treat.
People watching. The best places for a lively but relaxed drink are Buddha-Bar or Chinar. Both have a great atmosphere and plenty of character.
cuisine to her new team. “I had to teach them how the ingredients worked together and how to cook my recipes, but everyone was so enthusiastic that it didn’t take long.” The same goes for her diners, she says, who tried her food with gusto. Ang has grown to love the city and praises the constant openings and changes in Baku. “I love bringing friends here because there’s so much going on – every week there’s a new restaurant launching or something exciting happening.” The globetrotter feels settled in Baku, but will it be more than just a stop on her world tour? “Before I moved I was working in Mykonos in the summer and St Moritz in the winter. I didn’t think I could beat that, but Baku has convinced me otherwise.”
Hitting the slopes. I’m still blown away by the beauty of the landscape outside Baku, so I always look forward to my days off during the ski season.
Enjoying a healthy bite. Baku Cafe is such a great spot for a coffee and a nutritious meal, and to enjoy a quiet afternoon. 160 Baku.
EMIL KHALILOV. SHUTTERSTOCK.
ose Ang is the defnition of an international citizen. Born in Singapore, the 41-year-old had lived and worked in Malaysia, Australia, Switzerland, Japan and Greece, among others. But she had never visited Azerbaijan, so moving to Baku in June 2013 to become group chef for the Asian restaurants owned by Saffron Group, including Chinar and Masu, was a huge leap. “I had no clue what to expect,” Ang says. “When I did eventually come, it was defnitely a ‘wow’ moment. I realized it was a great place to be, and there is such great opportunity for development and expansion. To be here now feels like being a pioneer for the future of Baku.” Having worked with Asian food all her life, Ang’s biggest challenge was to explain the
Bordeaux, Chianti, AzerbaijanÉ Wait. What? ItÕs not so surprising, says Laura Archer, as she sips an award-winning Savalan cabernet. Photography by RICHARD HAUGHTON
it down. You look tired. Let me pour you a glass of something restorative. A crisp, fruity viognier, perhaps? A muscular cabernet sauvignon? I have just the thing. But what would you say if the label on the bottle read ‘product of Azerbaijan’, not France, Italy, California or any other place more usually associated with wine? It’s not as surprising as you might initially think. The Caucasus is one of the oldest wine-making regions in the world, dating back some 8,000 years. “A fne Bordeaux” has an undeniable ring to it, but could we one day be saying, “I’ll have another glass of that excellent Savalan”? We will if Aspi Winery has its way. Located in Gabala in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, in northeast Azerbaijan, Aspi’s Savalan range (named after the valley) includes merlot, syrah, chardonnay and riesling, as well as a Châteauneuf-style red blend and a cabernet sauvignon made in the celebrated ripasso style of northern Italy. The clay soil and temperate climate create ideal conditions, while French oak barrels and state-of-the-art Italian technology do the rest. With two bronze medals at the 2015 Decanter World Wine Awards, Savalan is defnitely one to watch. Pass the bottle...
Above: Savalan vines in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains. The high-tech laboratory (left) utilizes state-of-theart Italian wine-making technology to create a wide range of wines, including sweet merlot and moscato (below).
y work follows a natural process – everything that affects my life is expressed in my art. That’s how it’s always been. In it, you can trace my creative development and the path that my whole life has followed, too. During different periods of my career as an artist, I have experimented with various genres and techniques, starting with easel painting and graphic art, then site-specifc projects, before moving on to video art from 2000 onwards. For the past three years I have been working with light installations. Many of my artistic projects are multimedia-based and combine several genres at once, which is very typical of my art. I never face a shortage of subjects because I am not indifferent to the world around me, with its ups and downs. On the contrary, the problem is that too many things worry me! It is simply unrealistic to try to fnd the time to create an artistic representation of everything that concerns you. I have long wished that time could somehow stretch out its parameters so that I would have a lot more of it. I love trying out new materials and technologies. What matters most to me is that I can create a piece of art when I experience the subject and it seizes my mind and imagination. At the moment, I’m completing a two-year project making light installations for the Landmark Hotel and Business Complex in Baku, including a neon stainedglass work in the windows of the Rotunda, one of the buildings in the complex. I’m also getting ready to go on tour with my solo exhibition ‘Illusions’, which was at MoMA Baku last year. There have been requests to show the exhibition in Turkey, Germany, Italy, Russia and Georgia. I was born in Baku and when I was four I made a conscious decision to become an artist. I have regarded myself as one ever since, and not just because I received professional training in this feld and that this is my area of work, but also because it has become my way of life. Being an artist offers a unique outlook in which you are given both the burden of needing to create but great happiness, too.
The Light Fantastic
COURTESY THE LANDMARK COMPLEX, BAKU.
Sabina ShikhlinskayaÕs life has been one of experimentation and curiosity. Now she is lighting up Baku Ð literally Ð with her new neon works. Photography by NATAVAN VAHABOVA
Clockwise from far left: Sabina Shikhlinskaya; ÔObject No. 2Õ from the series Movement (2014); a neon light installation from the series Classical Elements – Fire (2015) at the Rotunda, Baku; ÔObject No. 1Õ from the series Murano Flowers (2014); and The Light of the Roots (2013) on the facade of the Rotunda, Baku.
Keep the Flame Alive
hy fre? Azerbaijan is known as the Land of Fire – even its name translates as such (azer meaning fre). This is because of the country’s abundant reserves of natural gas, which can create dazzling displays of fames where it seeps out of the earth. Yanar Dag, or Fire Mountain, not far from Baku, is one such spectacle: eternal fames leap and dance from the side of a hill via tiny vents in the rock face, appearing as if by magic. OK, but where does the temple ft into all this? It was a temple used for Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion that regards fre as a purifying element and one that represents God’s light, warmth and energy. It was the dominant religion of the region for thousands of years; it still has 166 Baku.
a small number of adherents. You can make a pilgrimage to the temple – in the quiet town of Surakhani on the Absheron peninsula, about 15km or so from Baku – just as the Indian and Persian Zoroastrians once did, though probably by hire car rather than camel. So Zoroastrians worshipped fre? No, they didn’t – that’s a common misconception. But it was integral to all of their religious rituals. A naturally occurring gas vent in the ground once fuelled the fre that burns and glows from Ateshgah’s central temple, but the gas is now artifcially piped in, since the natural supply here ran out in 1969. This square temple with its open archways dates back to 1713 and is the oldest part of the stonewalled complex, which also includes a caravanserai and other temples. What happens at the temple these days? Well, frst and foremost, it’s a popular tourist attraction with guides and literature available. The whole complex of buildings including the temple has been a museum since the mid-1970s, and in 1998 it was nominated as a Unesco World Heritage site. And, to bring you right up to date, in April this year President Ilham Aliyev captured the offcial fame of the Baku 2015 European Games during a special ceremony at Ateshgah, from where it started its journey around the country.
Top: the Ateshgah temple as it is today, and (above) depicted in a print from c. 1860.
WOLFGANG KAEHLER/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY. GROSVENOR PRINTS/MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY.
Fire has been central to culture in Azerbaijan for hundreds of years, and thereÕs no better place to experience this than the mesmerizing Ateshgah temple on the edge of Baku.
THE ILLUSTRATOR :
By Leyla Aliyeva
THE CIRCUIT Sporty SoirŽe Celebrating Baku magazineÕs special European Games issue. The night after the opening ceremony of Baku 2015, the inaugural European Games, an international crowd gathered on the terrace of the JW Marriott to mark the special edition of Baku Sport. Produced to commemorate the Games, Baku Sport featured striking photographic features on wrestlers, cyclists and gymnasts, as well as a spectacular aerial shoot, images from which greeted guests as they walked up the red carpet. In the balmy evening air, guests sipped champagne and vodka shots before taking to the dance foor to bust some serious moves. The talk of the night was of the lavish opening ceremony and some good-natured repartee over who would top the medal table in the end.
Leyla & Arzu Aliyeva, Samed Gurbanov.
Joshua Malat & Martin Kleinmann.
Ekaterina Andreeva & Dusan Perovic.
Johnny Ekperigin & Karina Constantine.
SERGEY KHODAKOVSKIY. KALPESH LATHIGRA.
Nargiz Mammadova, Natalia Shkuleva & Andrey Malakhov.
Dmitry Turcan & Lana Sokolova.
Claudio DÕAmico, Gabriela Jurubita & Anar Alakbarov.
THE CIRCUIT Ciao, Bella!
AzerbaijanÕs pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The art world descended on Venice for the opening of the 56th Biennale, on until 22 November. The Azerbaijan pavilion is split over two beautiful palazzos tucked away among the winding streets behind the Grand Canal. One houses ‘Beyond the Line’, a display of Azerbaijani avantgarde art curated by Simon de Pury. The other features ‘Vita Vitale’, with conservation-themed works by Tony Cragg and Julian Opie among others.
Soheil Dadfar, Aida Mahmudova, Leyla Aliyeva & Simon de Pury.
Anar Alakbarov & Alexander Boroda.
An array of famous faces entered a magical forest at the Royal Academy in London for a special fragrance launch to close the second Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts. Intended to evoke the earthy scents of the forest of Lankaran, in southern Azerbaijan, the perfume was created by Italian nose Maria Candida Gentile and bottled in Lalique facons – themselves miniature works of art.
Mary Charteris & Bip Ling.
SERGEY KHODAKOVSKIY. AZERTAG.AZ. CARL SUKONIK.TRENT BATES.
Lankaran forest perfume launch.
RegentÕs Park 14Ð17 October 2015 Preview 13 October frieze.com
ENDANGERED NO. 1:
Seen soaring over the central lowlands of Azerbaijan, the imperial eagle is a magnifcent bird of prey that is forced to choose some odd sites for its nest. Illustration by MARGAUX CARPENTIER
Found: The eastern imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca, covers a widespread area from eastern Europe to the Far East. But it is a native breeding bird only in Azerbaijan, central Turkey, areas of northern Iran and in Turkmenistan, and still counts as a rare species.
Under threat because: Like many raptors, the imperial eagle is under the multiple threat of wind farms, overhead power lines, loss of habitat, and, sadly, poisoning. The eagleâ€™s natural site for its nest is at the top of a tall sturdy tree, so if there is any deforestation, they have to resort to shorter, fimsier trees that cannot protect the nests as securely. In the absence of a suitable tree, they have even been known to build nests in electricity pylons with the added danger of electrocution.
Outlook: While there are estimated to be 3,50015,000 imperial eagles worldwide, which is better than previous surveys have suggested, the species is still classifed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
’ve been to Baku a couple of times now. In fact, I know the region quite well – I’ve visited Iran often – and I was happy to go to Azerbaijan again. Most recently I was there to install my exhibition at the Heydar Aliyev Centre, a cavernous space that made even my largest sculptures look small. We got around this by taking works that allowed us to play with the organic shape of Zaha Hadid’s architectural style. It’s the frst time I’ve done a show in one of her buildings; it was incredibly gratifying. I also had a good look around Baku. The Carpet Museum has a great collection – it is astonishing to think that carpets like this appeared in 15th-century Flemish paintings. I went to the new Yarat space, too, to see the Shirin Neshat show. She’s done an interesting show there – the space is beautiful and feels very alternative and very professional. Just outside the city, I visited the ancient rock carvings at Gobustan. I was so warmly welcomed when I went to Baku, from the moment I arrived. With its European outlook, the capital is the perfect example of the new direction in which this region is heading.
ÔWim DelvoyeÕ is on at the Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku, until 27 September. 176 Baku.
INTERVIEW BY ANDREW LINDESAY. PORTRAIT BY TITUS SIMOENS. © STUDIO WIM DELVOYE, BELGIUM.
Tabula Rasa WIM DELVOYE
Far left: Belgian artist Wim Delvoye in his studio in Ghent; installation shots of his work at the Heydar Aliyev Centre, with Untitled (Suppo) (2010) and (left) Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel 971.73.00.4 (2013).
Baku issue 16 summer 2015