Global Citizen 17

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history a n d heroes.

Contents Business 18

14 FIRST WORD Financing SME’s

16 INVESTMENT DESTINATION Peru’s growing link to the UAE

18 Wealth

Wealth-X CEO


22 Philanthropy Jake Hayman

24 Cover Story George Clooney

30 Entrepreneurship

Zuma co-founder Rainer Becker


32 Business

Start-up financing challenges

34 Profile

Patrick Liotard-Vogt

36 Entrepreneurship Technogym founder

40 Investment Hideaways Club

42 Global Citizenship Wealth on the move

44 Profile

Jenson Button

46 Investment

Vintage timepieces

24 Enjoy the convenience of having Global Citizen delivered

Fresh perspectives on the news and people that matter in the Middle East

6 GC November / December 2013

right to your door. We deliver worldwide to subscribers so be the first to get your hands on the latest issue.


58 80

50 gizmos

Cool gizmos and gadgets

52 Auto

Exclusive Bugatti Veyron test drive

56 Yachts

Benetti’s Ocean Paradise

58 Dining

Fine dining at home

63 Design

Messika jewellery

64 art

Yasemin Richie

66 Little Black Book Melbourne

68 design


The Edit


70 hotels

The region’s most luxurious

74 Travel

Washington DC


78 Fashion Mad for Plaid

80 Horology

Deepsea timepieces



2013 November / December GC 7

GLOBAL CITIZEN Senior editor Natasha Tourish - Business Editor Tahira Yaqoob - Lifestyle Editor Nausheen Noor - ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - CONTRIBUTORS Sara Hamdan, Sylvia Blatt, Rhiannon Carr, Dania Saadi, Sandra Tinari Tara Gally, Heba Hashem, Shane Phillips Printed by Masar Printing and Publishing

The GC team

Leaving a Legacy Our cover subject this month George Clooney, (page 27) raises the important issue of legacy, one that many of us allow our minds to indulge in but only a handful act upon. As Global Citizens we are in a unique and privileged position to leave a positive impact on other peoples lives, which is why we devote a section of the magazine to philanthropy. Jake Hayman redefines the traditional meaning of a philanthropist through his work at the Social Investment Consultancy by directing capital from some of the world’s wealthiest donors into the most needy hands around the world (page 20). Global Citizen first met Jake when we set the wheels in motion to launch our own philanthropic organisation, The Global Citizen Foundation, which will help fund children’s education in the Middle East and North Africa as well as helping students from the Arab world and Ethiopia come together to become leaders in sustainable development. For more information or to get involved in any of the foundations projects please go to: I’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new business editor, Tahira Yaqoob and Nausheen Noor as lifestyle editor to the GC team. Both have been with GC for some time as contributors so it’s a wonderful addition to be able to also harness their combined editorial expertise. NATASHA TOURISH Senior Editor

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MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE Fierce International Dubai Internet City Business Central Tower A | Office 2803 T: +971 4 421 5455 | F: +971 4 421 0208

REACH MEDIA FZ LLC publisher Armand Peponnet Advertising SUBSCRIPTION Dubai Media City, Building 8, Ground Floor, Office 87, PO Box 502068, Dubai, UAE T: +971 4 385 5485 Email: Copyright 2013 Reach Media. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of Reach Media. Where opinion is expressed it is that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of the publisher or Global Citizen. All information in Global Citizen is checked and verified to the best of the publisher’s ability, however the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistake or omission enclosed in the publication.

Getty Images / Micke Sebastien

Sara Hamdan is a Dubai-based stringer for the New York Times. She also regularly contributes to Rolling Stone and Variety magazine. Fluent in four languages including Arabic, Sara has lived and worked in the region for five years – two as a banker with Merrill Lynch and three in the media industry.

Shane Phillips is a leading executive search consultant in the region and managing director of Shane Phillips Consultants, a local boutique search firm. Shane hosts his own show on Dubai Eye 103.8 every Thursday at 8pm called Eye On Careers.

Sandra Tinari is an Australian business and luxury lifestyle journalist based in Dubai. With 19 years media experience, she contributes to publications around the world including The Financial Times and Sunday Times. Sandra has also worked as an editorial consultant in London for leading corporate firms, such as HSBC, Savills Plc and Four Seasons.

Heba Hashem is a freelance journalist based between Abu Dhabi and Cairo. She reports regularly on the solar and nuclear power sectors for CSP Today and Nuclear Energy Insider. She has a BA in communications and media studies from Middlesex University.

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Dare devil

the Big Picture

After the Red Bull team clinched this year ’s Formula One championship in Abu Dhabi, former F1 driver David Coulthard put on an audacious stunt on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, causing the rear tyres to leave a h a z e o f s m o k e i n t h e a i r.


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P e r s p e c t i v e s f r o m t h e to p

Where investment meets enterprise

“How has the availability of financing for the small and medium enterprises (SME) segment changed in the Middle East region?” By shane phillips

Raghu Malhotra

President for MasterCard Middle East & North Africa

"In the Middle East we have seen an accelerated trend in SME financing and the emergence of a sustainable cashless ecosystem. The SME space is easier to navigate for entrepreneurs now than ever before and my prediction is that it will continue to get easier."

David Moleshead

Co-chairman of entrepreneurial fund Envestors MENA

“When I arrived in the region, the public debt markets were quite immature and it was an exciting challenge to introduce new products instrumental in the growth of regional economies and infrastructure. Many of these innovations are now regarded as regular activities for the markets. Today, I believe a similar opportunity prevails in the SME market.”

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first word

Saygin Yalcin

CEO and founder of

"Capital has not been scarce in the region for at least two decades. However, when it comes to venture capital, specifically internet venture capital, entrepreneurs still struggle to acquire enough funding. The majority of investors are not from the region. Outside investors have seen how successful internet business has become and are faster to adapt and dedicate funds."

Travis Kalanick

CEO of Uber smartphone car hire app

"When a company develops a product or service that meets previously unmet demand, it generates strong returns for investors and additional investment follows. Dubai represents a key milestone for growth for any company with global ambitions."

Derv Rao

Co-founder of Duplays sports initiative

“Availability of financing has definitely improved since we first started but I believe many entrepreneurs launching businesses in the technology and web space struggle to get an audience with angels and venture capitalists. Approaching banks for loans, unless you have at least two to three years of audited financials, strong stable cashflows and some demonstrative assets, is still a non-starter.�

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Investment destination

Profiting in Peru Two years after Peru established its first Middle Eastern consulate in Dubai, ties between the two countries are stronger than ever

t is an ancient civilisation with a thriving economy and breathtaking monuments founded on gold. Now Peru’s immense reserves of valuable minerals and high quality agricultural products are attracting a growing amount of investments from the UAE. From trade in gold, silver and copper to agriculture and gastronomy, there has been a strengthening of ties

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between the two countries, so much so that Peruvian exports to the UAE rose by more than 35 per cent last year, with goods worth $25-30 million exported to the GCC country. Meanwhile investments in the country from the UAE have risen to about $1.5 billion. “We found 25 per cent of the gold being exported from Peru to Switzerland was coming to the UAE, even though there is a direct channel available,” says

Alvaro Silva-Santisteban, director of the trade and investment office of Peru-UAE. Despite the mineral sector accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the South American country’s exports, it is estimated that considerably less than one per cent of the country’s total territory has been explored to date – a fact which attracted 80 Canadian mining companies, as well as businesses from the US, China, Australia and Brazil.

Image courtesy of Corbis /

By Heba Hashem

Investment destination

While the UAE has yet to be involved in Peru’s mining sector, companies such as the Abu Dhabi government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company, which has three exploration wells in Peru and is bidding for two more, and General Petroleum have already invested in the Latin American country’s hydrocarbon sector. Abdulrahman Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was also looking at Latin American markets for new office branches. In May this year, a 40-strong delegation of Peru’s government ministers for economy, trade and tourism, as well as investors and business owners, visited the UAE and met leading organisations, including Mubadala investment group, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Emirates airline. The visit was part of the InPeru initiative, established last year to promote investment in the country, which has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Peru has also become a regular participant in Gulfood, Arabian Travel Market and Index Design and has established its own cultural events, such as Taste of Peru in Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah complex and Peru Mucho Gusto, a week-long celebration of food from the country in the Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai Marina. Its rich gastronomic culture earned the nation the title of world leading culinary destination last year from the World Travel Awards. Its soil cultivates an abundance of crops ranging from asparagus, avocado and quinoa to organic bananas, cacao and coffee, all of which could help the UAE secure its food supply by opening up opportunities for suppliers and reexporters. “After mining, agriculture accounts for the second largest portion of Peru’s GDP,” says Silva-Santisteban. “Abraaj Capital recently invested in one of the

The biggest export from Peru to the UAE is bulletproof glass, which is used as construction material for skyscrapers

Peruvian exports to the UAE rose by more than 35 per cent last year

biggest gastronomic groups in Peru. The fact that Middle Eastern private funds are looking into gastronomic opportunities shows you the ties between the countries.” Peru’s cotton industry is also booming, thanks to its products being used by global fashion brands like Giorgio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, to name a few. Its construction materials and plastics are other major Peruvian goods that the UAE could capitalise on, say trade experts. “The biggest export from Peru to the UAE is bulletproof glass, which is used as construction material for skyscrapers,” says Silva-Santisteban.

Being home to the largest single investment made by the UAE in South America – the DP World-operated port of Callao – Peru also offers many logistics-related opportunities. In fact, a logistics zone is now under development to link Collao with Lima international airport, which is being expanded to double its capacity. “This year is marking the difference for all the previous work that we have done in terms of events and fairs and taking missions to Peru. We strive to take one Peruvian company to the UAE each month and vice versa to keep the buzz going,” says Silva-Santisteban.

2013 November / December GC 17



Where do the ultra-wealthy live, work and spend? We talk to the author of a new report that lifts the lid on their fascinating lifestyles By Tahira Yaqoob

t was while walking on Madison Avenue past the Hermès store that Mykolas Rambus first noticed shoppers buying expensive Birkin bags and carrying them out of the store wrapped in brown paper bags. This was 2009 when the world was still in the throes of licking its wounds post-recession. The semi-rich were keeping a close eye on their finances and while the ultra-rich were still spending, they did not want to be conspicuous while doing so. It sowed the seed of an idea in Rambus’ head. Then head of information technology and special projects at Forbes Media, he started to wonder about the spending and investment habits of ultra high net worth individuals and concentrations of wealth around the globe. The result was Wealth-X, an annual report which sheds light on the über-rich, their spending habits, passions and philanthropic interests together with the private companies they control. Rambus and his two co-founders work with private banks, educational institutions, not-for-profit organisations and luxury brands to marry them to individuals who share the same outlook and business perspectives. “You can think of us as a matchmaker,” says Rambus, 34, originally from Detroit in the US. “In 2009, it was very clear the Bloombergs and Reuters and Dow Joneses of this world were making money focusing on company data. “It made sense to focus on insightful data on the world’s most substantial individuals in an ethical, meaningful way. “Back then, everyone needed to revive their businesses.” After three years at Forbes, he quit in 2010 to set up Wealth-X with friends David Friedman and David Leppan. Rambus, who is now based in Singapore, says: “We saw Wealth-X’s ability to innovate in something that was

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fundamentally missing from the marketplace — a platform to connect substantial individuals financially with those who wanted to engage with them, whether that was non-profits looking to fundraise, private bankers or manufacturers who have problems finding clients. “It is about connecting people and helping them find each other so everyone benefits.” With the third report just out, the team has now expanded to more than 200 staff in 12 offices covering 160 countries, with a command of 35 languages between them. They even have research staff on the ground in North Korea. The only criteria is that individuals must have a personal net worth of at least $30 million after accounting for shares, property and passion purchases like art and planes. That amounts to a worldwide population of 199,235 men and women worth an astonishing $27.8 trillion. The report makes fascinating reading. Collated from publicly available information on the ground, newspapers and in some cases, from the über-wealthy themselves, they provide a global map of pockets of wealth and show where there has been growth. China, surprisingly, dipped last year while the Middle East was the fastest growing region in the world in terms of increase in the number of ultra high net worth individuals and their total worth. The 5,300 multi-millionaires who qualified in the region this year were worth $880 billion between them, up from $710 billion last year. Of those, the UAE was the fastest growing country in terms of wealth with 1,050 super-rich worth a total of $190 billion, up more than a fifth from the previous year. Only Saudi Arabia has a greater number of multi-millionaires with 1,360 worth $285 billion. Significantly, nearly 60 per cent of those in the UAE were

Image courtesy of Paul Macleod



Wealth-X CEO Mykolas Rambus at the Global Citizen Forum November / December GC 21in Dubai


Wealth-X info graphic showing the concentration of global wealth among ultra high net worth individuals

self-made rather than inheriting wealth. “I am hoping to see substantial diversification in the holdings of those in the Middle East as the necessary next step,” says Rambus. “We are only at the beginning of potential for the second wave of wealth creation here. “The Indian community has been extremely successful and continues to be. The question is can that be built over many years from now?” China’s dip, he says, was an anomaly after growth in previous years: “We are finding some of the impact of visibility of wealth. “There have been lots of anti-corruption pushes and the government is scrutinising individuals who have that kind of capital. “It used to be said that the Forbes list was the government target list in mainland China.” The report found there were 2,170 billionaires globally worth $6.5 trillion between them, nearly a quarter of the total wealth of the ultra high net worth. Overall, the 199,235 individuals included in their survey equivalent to one in every 35,000 people - represented 12 per cent of the world’s total net worth. Men dominated their study and accounted for 88 per cent

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of those who qualified. Most were company chairmen or chief executives, were typically married, degree-holders and owned jets and yachts as well as property worth $14.5 million. By contrast, more than half of female multi-millionaires inherited their wealth while a third were self-made. They were, on average, aged 54, shareholders and had degrees. North America was described, as the “captain of wealth” while there was cautious recovery in Europe. Brazil plummeted down the chart thanks to a drop in exports and consumer spending. The report is as useful to the super-rich in telling them where to live and invest, says Rambus. “Safety and certainty is paramount to the ultra high net worth,” he says. “Service is another factor — where they can get what they need, whether it be lifestyle, advisors or bankers - and the community, depending on who they spend their time with, whether it is family or business.” What is unprecedented, he adds, is the extent to which their lives and spending can be analysed: “I do not think it has been seen or understood before to this granularity. “There is a general assumption that this world is opaque but in reality, it is not. There are a great many sources all over the world.”

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Raising the Stakes

Born and bred in London and a former poker player, 31-year-old Jake Hayman now advises some of the world’s wealthiest business leaders on how to invest their money in philanthropy By Tara Gally

ake Hayman believes in taking risks. While it might seem anathema to charities and business leaders to take a leap into the deep end, he is a case in point of how taking a gamble can pay off. A decade ago, Hayman started playing high stakes poker at 21 after graduating with a history degree from Nottingham University to earn some extra cash. In 2005, he moved to New York to pursue a career in finance and management consultancy. Starting a career in a new city was not without its challenges, however, and he soon realised he needed to find a second source of income. “I was getting paid $30,000 a year in Manhattan and I didn’t want to live in Queens and commute every day,” says Hayman, who was born in Camden, north London. “I decided to start playing poker regularly and found a good game with

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some Wall Street guys. Eventually, I made enough to subsidise my living expenses and to come back to the UK to start my own business.” Today, he is the chief executive of The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC), an organisation which advises clients – whether they are wealthy philanthropists or large corporations looking to invest in charitable causes – on where to allocate their capital. TSIC describes itself as operating “at the intersection of the for and nonprofit worlds.” That has meant providing impact advisory reports on everything from water projects in Malawi to community centres in central London. Hayman’s clients includes the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, the John Lewis Foundation, Dubai hotel group Jumeirah, technology firm Ericsson, the UAE’s Standard Chartered Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Holly and Sam Branson, the children of Virgin

entrepreneur Richard Branson. With teams in Dubai, London and New York, the consultancy also offers its services to social enterprises and entertainment firms. Hayman, who has three brothers, was not an academic success but discovered an instinct for risk assessment at a young age. He went to a school in a mixed neighbourhood where students spoke more than 90 different languages, double the national average at the time. At university, he did not excel but was prompted to pursue a different path by a chance encounter. “I met a really pretty girl who would not go on a date with me, but invited me to a lecture with her on the Middle East,” says Hayman. “I went along and spent the next four years working for the guy who gave the talk.” That speaker was Mohammad Darawshe, a Palestinian who, together


with Mexican entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky, founded One Voice, an initiative campaigning for a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which aims to empower people on both sides. Hayman helped them strengthen their foundation and ended up working with major firms such as technology firm IBM and YouTube as a result. “It was the first time I met someone I thought was truly visionary and who had the guts to fail, which is something I have come to value more than anything else,” says Hayman. “That is the main problem with the sector today. A lot of people providing funding do not have the guts to fail. “I got introduced to [the idea of] making social change in a slightly different way. “It is about people who want to think big and hold themselves accountable. Those were the key values I took on

and the values the consultancy is based on today.” He adds TSIC fills the gaps governments are unable to rather than replicating their work. Philanthropists or charitable organisations, he says, have become too conservative “in the name of professionalism” and often have the same mission as those in authority, failing to effect change. “The whole purpose of the philanthropic sector is innovation and in order to innovate, you have to take risks,” he adds. “What should have been a positive development – and to some extent has been – has led to a movement away from what the charity sector was designed for, which is to help those most in need whom the government could not.” So how can TSIC make a difference? One needs to take a step back and find “great ideas and entrepreneurs” to invest

"We want to be the premier organisation people come to when they want to change the world."

in “the diamond in the rough that can change the world,” says Hayman. He believes philanthropists would benefit from adopting an entrepreneurial outlook, especially when it comes to taking risks and investing in areas they might not traditionally consider. “You will find the bravest business leaders approach philanthropy with the biggest fear – fear of being ripped off, of corruption, inefficiency and doing something that does not work. They need to find a way through that fear,” he says. The organisation focuses on areas of human development such as education, the wellbeing of the planet, poverty alleviation and health. TSIC, which charges a fee for projects, goes to great lengths to educate people before they spend their money so they can understand the problems they will solve and the markets they will invest in. That can include taking them to schools, hospitals and small businesses. As for the future, Hayman is considering opening offices in Nairobi in Kenya and Almaty in Kazakhstan to establish a presence on the ground. “We want to be the premier organisation people come to when they want to change the world,” he says.

Hayman addressing a rally on conflict resolution outside of parliament in 2010 alongside senior British politicians

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Up in the Air star George Clooney has taken to the skies once again for his latest film, Gravity. He talks about wanting to make films he can be proud of and escaping the pressures of Hollywood

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

By Jan Janssen

Words courtesy of Jan Janssen/ The Interview People

Cover Story

he word charisma doesn’t even begin to describe the aura that surrounds George Clooney. He’s the epitome of the debonair playboy - the naturalborn movie star, the no-strings celebrity multi-millionaire with the devil-maycare-grin who divides his life between work and his idyllic Italian villa. Clooney, whose neon smile and magnetic personality rival that of Hollywood’s greatest screen legends, has reached a point in his life where his legacy is the only thing which matters.

His new film, Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, sees Clooney costarring alongside Sandra Bullock as a pair of astronauts facing doom after their space shuttle is destroyed and they are left drifting in the void. Critics have raved about the film since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and most industry observers are touting it as a serious Oscar contender. It is Clooney’s second foray into outer space, having previously produced and starred in the remake of Solaris in 2002. Gravity, however, is a far more engaging

picture that demonstrates Clooney’s resolve to make meaningful films. Over the last five years, the 52-year-old actor has earned three best actor Oscar nominations for his bravura performances in The Descendants, Up In The Air, and Michael Clayton, having previously won a best supporting actor Oscar for Syriana. Clooney recently split from his girlfriend of the past two years, Stacey Keibler. Previously he was involved with Italian TV presenter Elisabetta Canalis. Last year, in a rare observation about his love life, Clooney made the following observation: “Anyone would be lying if they said they didn’t get lonely at times...I have been infinitely more alone in a bad relationship; there’s nothing more isolating.”

Gravity is a very unique film. What is your take on it? It’s a very philosophical and speculative film. It’s about coming to terms with death and conversely with life. The environment of solitude that Alfonso Cuaron has created is something very rare and exceptional and will provoke a lot of discussion. This is one of the most remarkable films I’ve ever worked on and there are some truly gamechanging aspects to the cinematography and technology that have gone into the making of it. It’s a very beautiful and elegant work and Sandra Bullock does an incredible job.

Clooney with Gravity co-star Sandra Bullock at the film’s premiere at the 70th Venice International Film Festival

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There were some physical challenges for both of you, weren’t there? When I first arrived on the set and

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

"I want to be able to leave some sort of legacy and not have any regrets down the road that I didn’t do my best to make interesting films."

Cover Story

was hooked up into the [space] suit, [suspended in air] I wondered how the hell I was going to do it. The hardest part was trying to speak normally while controlling your body so that you are reproducing the slow movement that comes with weightlessness. I didn’t realise it would be that difficult, but it took some time before we were both able to slow down our movements while speaking quickly or at a normal pace. Being suspended in the air and wearing the suit was very uncomfortable and I was glad that Sandra and I could laugh a lot between takes to ease that physical strain.

friends think of it as their home. They come even when I’m not here (laughs). What draws you to Italy? What I love about Italy is being able to feel very free there. The Italians have a great joie de vivre and way of looking at the world. Very little bothers them, except when their local football team loses. So that kind of spirit is incredibly stimulating. As soon as I set foot in Laglio, I feel truly at home and at peace there. No one cares about the film business there. It’s all about food and wine and the beauty of being there. I get to do some

in LA when I first arrived there, basically broke and not having a clue how I was going to make it as an actor. Nearly 30 years later, we still get to hang out and have fun together. You seem incredibly relaxed and happy. Do you feel that you are one of those lucky few who has exactly the life he wants? Things are easy when you’ve figured out how to live. You’re able to cut through all the c**p that tends to weigh people down and you just focus on what you want out of life and pursue that. For me,

Picture courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Matt Kowalski in the dramatic thriller Gravity

When you’re not hooked up into space suits, do you still enjoy the good life in Lake Como? Life doesn’t get much better than that. It’s a place where I can get away, read scripts, do some writing and invite friends over to have a good time. It’s really nice to sit down and have a two-hour lunch, which the Italians do. I realised I had spent probably 15, 20 years standing up and shovelling food down my throat. It’s not about wealth; it’s about taking time and actually enjoying things. All of my

work, I get to ride my motorcycle and that still leaves plenty of time for food and drink. Mostly drink. Why do you think you have been able to remain close to your producing partner Grant Heslov and some of your LA buddies for so long? You always remember the hard times and the people who stayed with you for the ride. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve stayed close to pretty much the same group of guys I met and hung out with

the key to life is knowing what you want and being able to go out and get it. It takes hard work, but once you get to the point where you’re achieving your goals and not wasting time, everything in life becomes much easier. I’m pretty close to where I want to be. I’m doing the kind of work I want to do and I still have a lot left to accomplish and that keeps driving me. You have to be willing to work hard to create your own sense of freedom and that’s where the real art of living comes in.

2013 November / December GC 27

Cover Story

Unlike some movie stars, you seem so relaxed and at ease with your rather considerable fame. How do you stay so cool and calm? Before I arrived in Los Angeles, I was the son of a very famous newsman and my aunt Rosemary had been one of the biggest stars in the music business in her day. So I knew what it meant to be a celebrity and how it could all go away pretty fast. My aunt also taught me how to keep a perspective on everything that happens to you. Rosemary was once one of the most popular singers in America. But I learnt from how her career sank in the 60s (with the advent of rock and roll.) I saw how little it has to do with you. It’s all about luck and being at the right place and the right time. The problem with famous people in general is that they actually think they’re geniuses. You get famous and you think, ‘Yes, of course I should be famous and I’ve earned it all’. You haven’t, though. You got lucky. I got lucky. I was in a TV show [ER] that got a Thursday night time slot and was a massive hit and we were drawing 40 million viewers each episode. Because of that success, I was able to work in film and eventually get to do the movies I wanted to do…but I’m also the guy who nearly killed Batman for good. So I never take anything for granted.

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How has your father’s attitude towards life influenced you? My dad [veteran journalist Nick Clooney] is an idealist. He believes there’s a right way to live and a right way to run a government. So he has never shied away from speaking his mind on certain issues and being politically outspoken, even if that cost him his job or made his life difficult. I grew up appreciating the meaning of the notion of integrity and I owe that to my father. If you decide to live your life that way, you’re going to be constantly looking for ways to avoid selling your soul. That’s why I’m trying very hard to make films that will leave a mark. I want to be able to sit back in my rocking chair when I’m 80 and be able to talk about some of the films I made and hold my head high.

nights. If my life is all about these satellite moments, what then? They come and they’re gone. I have to live it whole. In the end, it’s all about friendship and loyalty and treating people right. That’s one of the reasons I always make a point of being as pleasant to people I’m working with as I possibly can and why I will not work with people who treat others badly on a set. How do you adjust to the constant loss of privacy? I remember walking through the streets of New York during the first season of ER and people starting to wave or smile as if they knew you personally, or going: ‘Hey, George.’ Your life becomes more complicated when that starts to happen. I try never to complain because no one

Clooney with Ocean’s Thirteen co-star and close friend, Brad Pitt

You have often spoken about not wanting to waste time. Do you approach your work with a sense of urgency? I’m aware of how brief life is and how you have to mark every day and make it matter — not just the best moments, the award nominations, the opening

wants to hear that. I will say, though, that I don’t think many actors from the 1940s or 50s would have survived very long under the kind of scrutiny we get today. But privacy is an issue for everyone now and not just celebrities. With the internet and social media, almost everyone is facing a loss of privacy.

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

You long ago decided to dedicate yourself to the kind of career you can be proud of. Do you feel you have accomplished most of your goals? (Laughs) I’m not drowning in sorrow. But I also don’t take anything for granted. This is the point in my life where I can get a lot of interesting films made and that window can close very fast if you’re not careful. I feel I understand the process that goes into making films that will stand the test of time and I’m more determined than ever to take advantage of the opportunity I have. I want to be able to leave some sort of legacy and not have any regrets down the road that I didn’t do my best to make interesting films.

Cover Story

My LOVES PRACTICAL JOKES “Brad Pitt and I were staying in a hotel in Italy while we were shooting Ocean’s Twelve. One evening before Brad came back to the hotel, I went out onto his balcony and started waving to the crowd below. When Brad finally arrived, he had to put up with girls screaming: ‘George, George,’ outside his balcony window below, expecting me to come out again.”

ITALY “The Italians have a very infectious spirit and that makes me feel very relaxed and less caught up in the business of being who I am.”




“Several years ago I built this egg-catapulting machine which would whip eggs like missiles at the paparazzi when they followed me out on the lake. My friends and I got really good at targeting their boats.”

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN “All the President’s Men really is a perfect film. And the reason it’s a perfect film is you start the movie knowing how it ends….and you’re still chewing your fingernails off through the whole movie.”


BEING HELD CHILDHOOD AT GUNPOINT SICKNESS I was 14 and just IN THE DESERT “When starting high school, half “I was with my father in the middle of nowhere in Sudan and we were pulled over by a bunch of 13-yearold kids with Kalashnikovs and that’s where it’s dangerous because it’s random violence.”

my face was paralysed for six months. That’s a long time...You do not know when it’s going to end; you do not know if it is going to end. And there’s no treatment.”

Clooney with ex-girlfriend Stacey Keibler


“I’m not against marriage as long as it doesn’t apply to me... I like marriage - in the movies.”

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A Marriage of Tastes The man behind Zuma, Rainer Becker, tells how he created one of the most successful restaurant concepts in the world By Sara Hamdan

ith its sophisticated decor, creative menu and convivial air, it is clear why Zuma stands out in an overcrowded Dubai market competing for the same high-end clientele. Zuma Dubai launched in 2008 on the back of the Japanese restaurant’s success in London’s Knightsbridge and unlike so many other restaurants that have made the leap from the UK, Zuma has not only become one of DIFC’s most popular restaurants but is probably one of the most profitable restaurants in the world, with outposts in Miami, Hong Kong and two more scheduled to open in Florida and Abu Dhabi. Co-founder Rainer Becker believes its success comes down to attention to minute details. “With Japanese cuisine, it looks very simple from the outside, but it is very complicated to make correctly behind the scenes,” he says from his home in London. “The entire procedure is sophisticated – and that is how it is with the concept of Zuma as well.” Becker, a German trained chef, says he married his favourite concepts to develop Zuma by merging the idea of a barbecue with a sushi counter and a bar at the heart of the restaurant. He was inspired by the Japanese izikaya style of eating, where different dishes are introduced to the table continuously throughout a meal. “Izikaya is as much about atmosphere as it is about great food,” he says. He loves that Japanese food demands the freshest produce to taste good and uses cutting techniques that make a world of difference to the outcome of a dish. It is that meticulous attention to detail that gives his food the gourmet edge.

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“People think making sushi is easy - that you just boil rice and put it in seaweed and wrap it around some fish and vegetables,” he says. “There is a special technique of washing rice with hands, boiling it the exact amount so it is al dente at the centre of the rice grain, using wooden spoons to cut it, cooling it down to room temperature by fanning it by hand, seasoning it while it’s still warm - and that’s just the rice. The more I learned about Japanese cuisine, the more I fell in love with it.” Becker is no stranger to the international culinary industry. Before becoming a restauranteur, he worked for the Hyatt international hotel chain for 12 years. He was based in Australia and was involved in developing restaurant themes at the Park Hyatt hotel, which overlooked the Sydney Opera House and boasted an award-winning menu. He then moved to Tokyo, Japan, in 1992 and in the city’s Park Hyatt - where the film Lost in Translation starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson was shot - he worked on restaurant and bar ideas. Heavily influenced by the Australian love of barbecue and the art of Japanese cooking, he eventually branched out on his own and created trendy Zuma in London in 2002 with the notoriously private Waney brothers, who are also behind La Petite Maison. “At that time, it was kind of revolutionary to have a bar in front of a sophisticated restaurant with a barbecue,” he says. “Every Zuma that we have opened carries this mix of style but has its own speciality.” After the restaurant’s success in London, Becker and his team opened Zuma in Hong Kong, a venue with a striking glass staircase and a bar on a separate level from the main restaurant. The Dubai location followed, which similarly had a top-floor bar and separate restaurant, with a glass elevator surrounded by chic decor. Zuma in Miami, Florida, overlooks a river, while the newest Zuma, to be located in Abu Dhabi’s new financial centre, will open in February. A Zuma in New York is also in the works as the Miami location has proven so popular. “We do not want to do too many at the same time because it is very labour intensive, detailed, and we do not want to compromise on quality,” says Becker, who is also opening a new grill restaurant called Oblix in London’s tallest building, The Shard. “We could open 10 restaurants a year because there is strong demand and while it is great validation, it is not as easy as it looks and we do not want to over-expand too quickly. “It is not a chain of restaurants. Each one is very individual. We follow the same concept and passion but for it to be successful, we treat each one as its own entity.” Zuma Dubai’s sleek interior design 2013 November / December GC 21


Playing the Long Game

How an online platform is turning fun into a lucrative business opportunity, thanks to private equity By Dania Saadi

t started with a group of friends wanting to find somewhere to play ultimate frisbee. What began as a bit of fun in 2007 has now grown into a start-up to be reckoned with. The firm Duplays, which has an online platform called to help individuals find and organise sports activities, now has more than 50,000 members in five cities and is turning to private equity in its bid to grow and finance its operations beyond its home in Dubai. Starting a business is never easy and in the Gulf region, it is doubly hard for expatriates, who have to abide by certain regulations. For Duplays, that meant lateral thinking when they were turned down by traditional financiers. Co-founder Ravi Bhusari says: “It was important to develop a business model that could generate revenue and a degree of gross profitability from the onset to help fund our big idea of building a great web platform.” The founders initially tried banks to seek funding but hit

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a roadblock because their asset-light start-up did not have the attractive collateral financial institutions wanted to fund a business. “Early on in our business, we approached a few banks to gauge our ability to raise some debt financing. However, most banks we spoke to required at least three years of audited financials, backed by real assets,” says Bhusari. “Because we were trying to raise money for a service-based business with a technology component, banks would not lend to us. After about two years we had generated enough revenue and had enough traction from the market to feel we could look to angel investors and venture capitalists to help fund our ideas and accelerate our growth plans.” He started Duplays, which operates sporting communities in the Middle East and southeast Asia, after leaving the property industry at its peak. He and his friend, co-founder Derv Rao, pooled money raised from savings, friends and family. The firm was an attractive enough prospect to secure two rounds of funding worth more than $1million in total, at a time when the banks had tightened lending following the financial crisis in 2008. The first came from Mena Venture Investments, the venture capital firm set up by entrepreneur Fadi Ghandour, who also founded the global logistics and transportation firm Aramex. The second cash influx came from Beco Capital, a firm that invests in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the UAE’s Wamda Capital fund, which invests in early-stage start-ups. “When we started, we knew we could not immediately raise capital from outside investors because the idea of connecting sports enthusiasts through a website and then charging them to play offline admittedly did not sound like a conventional business,” says Bhusari.


“Having Fadi Ghandour believe in us and invest in our vision helped to further validate our start-up and secure that vital second round of funding.” Private equity firms have been a boon to many start-ups. Abraaj Capital, the private equity firm which invested in successful ventures such as Aramex and the Arab internet service firm Maktoob, set up Wamda in 2010 as a website and a platform to help budding entrepreneurs and later created the Wamda Capital fund. Wamda is one of many subsidiaries Abraaj has created to target different kinds of entrepreneurs. They include the Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), which invests in SMEs. Duplays’ strategy of using private equity money to flourish has worked, with revenue doubling each year since inception. The firm broke even in 2010, but all profit has been reinvested to support the development of the firm’s web platform, recently renamed “We are looking to expand into new cities through a franchise model. We have had inquires from Muscat and Beirut and as far afield as Singapore, Sydney and São Paulo,” says Bhusari. Duplays, which offers more than 20 sports to members, will continue to rely on private equity amid plans to spread to Qatar, Jordan and India. The firm is expected to launch in Saudi Arabia this year while another round of investment is imminent in the next year, says Bhusari.

"We are looking to expand into new cities through a franchise model."

Image courtesy of Corbis /

Duplays organises community sports

“There are benefits to getting loans but the downside is, you do not get to learn from some of the most successful and accomplished people in the region who invest in you. Going forward, we probably will look at raising equity as opposed to debt financing,” he adds. “Our big idea is to expand and allow other sport providers to use our site to manage, monetise and organise their own sports activities. We want to foster sports entrepreneurs by offering them a great platform to launch their own sport-based businesses. We will also be franchising Duplays by offering our operational expertise, brand and know-how to partners in new cities.” Duplays is expanding its online business with a new platform called Playpass

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Swiss Synergies

The Nestlé heir with the world’s most desirable little black book tells GC how he isn’t afraid of taking risks

epending on who you talk to, Patrick Liotard-Vogt is either the most loathed man on the planet or the most popular. When the Nestlé heir disbanded all 850,000 members of his exclusive invitation-only social club A Small World (ASW) in one fell swoop, thousands joined Facebook hate groups with him as their target and his face was superimposed on images of toppled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. “We cleaned out a little bit,” says the 29-year-old chairman by way of understatement. In reality, he admits, that meant “kicking everyone out and starting at zero again.” It was a brave move, particularly when his members included some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people, many of whom were disgruntled to find themselves out in the cold. But three years after buying ASW’s majority stake from media mogul Harvey Weinstein, its membership had soared from 450,000 to 850,000; in short, it was no longer the selective travel and lifestyle network it purported to be. So in May this year, he closed the website and reopened ASW five days later with a select group of 40,000 invited members.

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Image courtesy of Paul Macleod

By Tahira Yaqoob


They will each have three invitations and within two years, the company, whose members share tips on the most exclusive restaurants, hotels and nightclubs around the world and are offered perks from high-end establishments, will grow to a maximum 250,000. If Liotard-Vogt seems to play hard and fast with the rules of business, shrugging off opprobrium from his critics, it has become something of a way of life for the Swiss-born millionaire. At 16, he was a rebel and a dropout from several boarding schools. “I was not always the easiest and had a problem with rules,” he says. His despairing parents gave him $54,000 and an idea born from his difficulty at getting into the Parisian nightspot Les Bains Douches sprouted. He used the money when he was 17 to set up The World’s Finest Clubs, a membership card costing $2,700, which ensured easy access for its 2,000 holders into any one of 120 prestigious nightclubs around the world. Like many of the 40-odd companies on his portfolio, it was a venture which appealed as much to his lifestyle as to his business acumen. In fact, it is hard to separate LiotardVogt the international playboy and jetset millionaire from the business executive and serial investor. He is a familiar face on the party circuit and is as likely to be spotted with the likes of singer Beyoncé Knowles and actress Carey Mulligan or hosting soirees on his rooftop terrace during New York Fashion Week as he is in the boardroom. That is strangely at odds with the image he is keen to cultivate now. “I prefer to see myself not in tabloid pictures with beautiful girls but more [to be seen] in the financial sense,” he says at the Global Citizen Forum in Dubai. Yet despite his fourth decade looming next year, he admits enjoying the single

life and not being ready to settle down: “Life has certain phases…I cannot tell when the next stage is but it is certainly not 30. I will always be a kid in some ways.” Born in Zurich, where he still lives with his parents, he has often had to counter the notion that he was born with a silver spoon. His connections have certainly opened doors; his great-grandfather was the chief executive of Nestlé but he did not go into the family business.

"If you feed peanuts, you get monkeys. Good people have their price."

ASW membership card

“We all have shares,” he shrugs, “but it is a $160 billion company so you are a nobody. “I am an entrepreneur at heart. It is not like I have inherited a lot of money and done nothing. People who have not met me assume ‘he is arrogant, he is young’ but after a certain amount of time, they feel they underestimated me.” His skill, he says, is “creating synergy” between different companies which complement one another: “I know who to contact and how to put people

together.” That portfolio has included a Swiss social students’ online network, bought when he was 21 and sold 18 months later for nine times the amount he invested, a nightlife portal firm and a Swiss private bank, whose board he sits on. He even at one point invested in a Swiss hand sanitiser called Silkmed after being approached by a doctor. “It was an exclusive hand sanitiser,” he insists. At any one time, he owns between 35 and 40 companies with many of his business transactions done with friends or contacts. In most cases, as with A Small World, the firm is already up and running and is given a boost with his cash injection. But he says: “I do not invest to sell. I love making deals. I would not like to invest in something I could not identify with. I am looking to have an input and shape a business.” He has learned from his mistakes along the way: only invest in 30 per cent of a project because there will always be second and third rounds of bidding and do not scrimp on human capital: “If you feed peanuts, you get monkeys. Good people have their price.” For now, he will be focusing on his shareholding in Kittitian Hills, a new luxury development in St Kitts in the West Indies where he also holds a passport, and A Small World, which now has 1,200 members in Dubai and a total of 3,000 across the Middle East. When those numbers expand, they will be, he hopes, the kind of people he likes to both party and do business with. “There is nothing more boring than a party of rich people,” he declares. “You need a bit of everything. You need the billionaires, the models, the creative people and the normal people. “The community is its own democracy. They decide who comes in and who goes out. It is a synergy of mindsets.”

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Planet Fitness Italian entrepreneur Nerio Alessandri marks the 30th anniversary of his Technogym global empire By Rhiannon Carr

Nerio Alessandri believes in a healthy mind and body

Mens sana in corpore sano!” exclaims Nerio Alessandri, the Italian entrepreneur and president of exercise equipment firm Technogym when I ask how he is doing at the beginning of our interview. The Latin phrase meaning ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’ has underpinned the 52 year-old’s business philosophy since he established his fitness products

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and solutions company 30 years ago. “The idea of wellness is a lifestyle we’ve loved and developed for many years at Technogym,” he says. “It’s a mental approach to nutrition and regular physical activity that dates back to the Romans.” An industrial designer by trade, Alessandri’s brainchild took seed when he was 22 and built prototypes geared towards peak fitness and rehabilitation in his garage.

Today, from its headquarters in Cesena, Italy, Technogym equips 65,000 wellness centres and more than 100,000 homes worldwide. The company has been the official supplier to the Olympic Games five times and its sports partnerships range from Formula One teams to Premier League football clubs. “When I started, the main international trend was bodybuilding, which just


appealed to a niche,” he says. “Then the trend I saw was people transferring to fitness and wellness - and Technogym does not just sell equipment, we sell wellness.” The firm’s equipment ranges from state-of-the-art treadmills, exercise bikes and elliptical trainers through to practical products for everyday use in the home or workplace. “You can spend from around $200

the holistic concept too, including racing car driver Michael Schumacher, tennis player Rafael Nadal and former US president Bill Clinton. The global economic downturn did little to dent Alessandri’s profits or curb his customers’ enthusiasm. “In general, we experienced that people continued to invest in what really mattered to them and health represented one of those areas,” he says.

understanding that healthy people mean a creative and productive workforce.” Already present in 100 countries, emerging markets like China, Brazil and pockets of South America feature prominently in Technogym’s business plan. The Middle East is high on the list of priorities too, with the region accounting for approximately 15 per cent of annual revenues.

"Every user will have access to Technogym’s equipment from anywhere in the world."

Technogym’s founder counts former US president Bill Clinton among his many high-profile clients

for our new wellness ball – which is not a chair but keeps you moving all the time when seated - up to $100,000 for a customised personal gym,” says Alessandri. Health has translated to wealth in recent years for the founder, with the company’s turnover pegged at $564.5 million last year, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous year. High-profile clients have bought into

The company founder remains bullish on Technogym’s growth forecasts in the near and long-term. “We see a big international opportunity, because health and prevention are becoming big global trends. Governments know that to create a sustainable society, they need to invest in preventative health policies, including better education. “Private companies, as well, are more

“The UAE and Gulf area is a strategic one for us, due to the presence of important hospitality operators and the public sector,” he says. “Diabetes type 2 is growing at a rapid rate and we have many organisations there who are ready to promote programmes [combatting it]. It is one of the pathologies that, although caused by a bad lifestyle, can be treated with good nutrition and exercise.”

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"The only way we know how to stay at the top is by going faster and we do that through innovation in product, service and digital applicationS."

Former F1 champion Michael Schumacher

Winning formula: Alessandri uses his celebrity friends to promote the Technogym brand internationally

Current world No 1 tennis player Rafael Nadal

When it comes to the next frontier, Alessandri is determined to provide all clients with what he dubs “wellness on the go”. It is a process that is transforming his company from a design to a digital one. “We recently launched our new product line, which is completely connected with our wellness cloud technology. Basically, every user will have access to Technogym’s equipment from anywhere in the world. They can log in and get a fully personalised experience on their screen. From our platform they can download their training programmes, social networks, favourite TV channels,

bookmarks and their personal trainer’s advice. All the data will be accessible from the gym equipment, their laptop and even on their phone through a mobile app.” Alessandri has come a long way since his days tinkering in the family home among the bicycle pumps and oil cans. Bearing testament is his company’s gleaming HQ where last year, a Technogym village was inaugurated. The purpose-built wellness campus comprises a factory, university, organic restaurant and a gym for its 2,200 domestic and international employees. Around 10 per cent of that workforce,

says Alessandri, are based in the research and development department. “The only way we know how to stay at the top is by going faster and we do that through innovation in product, service and digital applications,” he adds. Creative and forward thinking though he undoubtedly is, has spearheading a wellness empire for three decades made Alessandri in any way health-obsessed? “No, I’m not a fitness or a sports fanatic,” he says. “But I like to work out three times a week. At weekends I do sports and I ski in the winter. It is just a normal part of my lifestyle.”

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Hidden Treasures Canny investors are buying into the holiday destinations where they like to relax By Sandra Tinari

hey have been dubbed the barons of the boltholes with their promise of exotic holidays in far-flung destinations - with a potentially lucrative investment to boot. When co-founders Stephen Wise and Helmut Schön first came up with the idea of the Hideaways Club, it was simply because they wanted their pick from a portfolio of luxury properties coupled with the security of ownership. To begin with, it was simply friends who signed up through word of mouth. But one has only to look at the calibre of the investors and directors in those early days to see why their model has proven such a success.

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They included some of the most successful British businessmen in recent years. As well as technology magnate Wise and banking executive director Schön, there was Mike Balfour, the founder of gym chain Fitness First, Debenhams chairman John Lovering and Patrick Henchoz, the man behind the Esporta sports firm. With that initial investment of $24 million, the club now has more than 400 members in 25 countries, of whom one in 10 are from the Middle East. “We love people in the Middle East. Our properties are predominantly in Europe and Asia at the moment and the Middle East is in the centre of the portfolio,” says Wise. The club is based on the US part-ownership model, where


an investor buys a percentage of a portfolio of properties and has the right to use them for part of the year, typically from four to six weeks. But unlike the timeshare schemes of the 1970s, which attracted criticism because of the hard sell techniques used and the lack of benefits compared to the high cost, Hideaways entitles investors to a share in the equity of the properties and allows them to benefit from any increases in capital growth. In short, it is timeshare for the wealthy but with the added perk of part-owning a ski chalet in the Alps, a Balinese retreat or a luxury apartment in London’s Knightsbridge. According to Wise, fractional ownership is proving increasingly popular with those seeking to combine their lifestyle and investment choices but without the management hassle and cost of full possession. “There is now a broader movement toward collaborative consumption. Why own something that you only use part of the year?” says Wise. “Fractional ownership gives you flexibility. You are not tied to just one place for your holidays. All our members enjoying travelling to different locations. “With timeshare, you typically get to use a certain property for a certain period of time but all our members benefit from access to, and ownership of, all of our properties.” The concept of fractional ownership started in the US with groups of friends who pooled resources to buy holiday properties. It has since developed into a lifestyle and investment opportunity to own a share in hundreds of upmarket properties worldwide. Each scheme is slightly different but at Hideaways, investors

have the opportunity to buy into two distinct portfolios - the classic collection of 40 luxury villas, with an average value of $2 million and, typically, a minimum of four to five en suite bedrooms, and the city collection, comprised of about 50 apartments in cities across the globe. The club offers varied tiers of ownership and at the top end, the classic collection premier fee requires an initial investment of just over $400,000 with annual membership charges of $22,500, which covers a concierge service and management costs. The buyer has a share in the equity of the properties, which can be sold at any time. The shares are revalued periodically based on the value of the property portfolio. Wise and Schön came up with the idea when they realised while several companies offered certain features, no one had created a concept of equitable ownership coupled with lifestyle. “We created our own model that we would be happy to join ourselves and that we would be happy to encourage our friends to join. We buy the properties and then put them in a fund to share with likeminded, successful individuals,” says Wise. While the average growth in Hideaways share prices were about five per cent in the first five years, it plummeted to zero during the recession. Long term, Wise says Hideaways expects to mirror the average growth of property markets at between three and five per cent. He is aiming to expand to 100 properties in the classic and 120 in the city collection, with locations like Sydney, Tokyo and Shanghai in his sights. “You are really benefitting from being able to use the properties,” he says.

From Hideaways classic collection, Villa Asmara in Bali

A city collection property in Dubai overlooking the Burj Khalifa 2013 November / December GC 41

Global Citizenship

Wealth on the Move he increasing concentration of wealth in the MENA region and China is fuelling a rapidly growing trend in Global Citizenship amongst high and ultra high net worth individuals. A series of high profile events tackling everything from Global Citizenship through immigrant investor programmes (IIP’s) to tax planning to due diligence have been happening around the world in recent months; including the Global Citizen Forum in Dubai in September, all in a effort to shed light on an industry that is worth billions of dollars in investments. With more HNWI’s surfacing around the world, the need to protect their personal assets, diversify investments

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more and more economically struggling countries are now offering Economic Citizenship Programs and ensure financial safety for themselves and their families has become the driving factor for the huge demand for investment immigration options around the world. Therefore, more and more economically struggling countries are

now offering Economic Citizenship Programs such as Bulgaria, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and Cyprus. Wealthy foreign nationals who invest in these IIP’s are granted visa free travel to a number of EU countries, including the UK in return for hefty investments. However, competition among countries offering these investor visas is greater than ever so it’s important for foreign investors to choose wisely as some immigrant investor programmes (IIP’s) such as Malta can have major drawbacks, while others offer numerous benefits and can provide an investor and their families with long term security for generations to come.

Image courtesy of Paul Macleod

GC looks at the growing trend amongst wealthy individuals in obtaining a second residence and citizenship

Global Citizenship


Image courtesy of Gettyimages


In 2009, Bulgaria took Canada’s immigrant investment model which has been in place for more than 25 years and adapted it to attract wealthy foreign investors to their own struggling economy. Speaking at last month’s EU-Balkan Summit in Sofia, the country’s president Rosen Plevneliev forecasted that more than €48 billion will be invested in Southeastern Europe by 2020, with significant infrastructure improvements also in the works. However, according to Milen Keremedchiev, Vice President of Arton Capital, a global financial advisory firm who advised both the Bulgarian and Canadian governments on setting up and managing their IIP’s: “Bulgaria and other Balkan countries must offer additional incentives to foreign investors if they are to stifle off competition from more than 20 countries around the world who also provide residency and citizenship opportunities.” It seems Keremedchiev’s advice didn’t fall on deaf ears. In October, Bulgaria’s parliament voted for a fast track citizenship option, due to come into effect from November. This will allow investors to double their investment in government bonds, increasing it to a total of two million leva or approx €1 million after one year of permanent residence, allowing investors to apply immediately for Bulgarian citizenship. Investors can also quality for an EU passport within 18 months at a lower cost of €380,000 if they choose alternative financing options available to them.

As a result of Cyprus’ imploding financial crisis last year, the country’s cabinet approved amendments to their existing citizenship by investment programme - similar to that of many countries - to reduce the amount of investment required for foreign nationals to be eligible for the programme from the previous €10m to just €5 million. The new IIP provides investors with more options and more flexibility as long as they meet certain requirements set out by the interior ministry. The first option requires investors to invest in addition to the €0.5 million in real estate for residence, a deposit of €2 million in the state treasury to purchase shares or bonds with the state-run investment company and also donate €0.5 million towards the government’s Research and Technology fund. The second option requires an investment in addition to the €0.5 million in real estate, of at least €5 million deposit in any Cypriot bank

for a 3 year period. Arton Capital has developed a financial program allowing investors to leverage this investment and pay a one-time interest and service fee of €300,000 to complete the required investment in a bank deposit. Those investors who lost deposits of €3 million or more in Bank of Cyprus or Laiki Bank since March 15th of this year are also eligible for citizenship.


Marketed as a means of visa free travel to the US and UK, as well as the rest of Europe, the Malta Individual Investor Programme has been at the center of controversy since its proposal by second residence and citizenship consulting firm Henley & Partners, due to “a lack of transparency” in the bill, according to the country’s opposition party. It offered investors a fast-track option for those who pay an extra 50%, pledging to process their application within 90 days. However, opposition MP Jason Azzopardi says there is no such fasttracking in the proposed amendments to the Maltese Citizenship Act. MP’s say the scheme is harmful to Malta’s reputation and could attract money-laundering operations. The opposition have also threatened to revoke all citizenships granted under such a scheme when they return to power, however the country’s Attorney General Peter Grech refuted this saying: “The wholesale deprivation of citizenship of a particular class of naturalised citizens irrespective of their conduct is not possible under our Constitutional and legal system.” Moreover, opposition MP’s also strongly object to the donation scheme that has been proposed by programme advisors as an alternative to the usual investment option for foreign nationals. Although this is a similiar model to the one operated by caribbean countries who offer economic citizenship, it differs to other EU countries as it doesn’t offer any long term investment prospects to foreign investors.

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10Questions for

Jenson Button

Fresh from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Global Citizen caught up with the Formula One former world champion By Natasha Tourish

You’ve been to Abu Dhabi a few times now for the F1. What do you enjoy most about the city? The weather – it’s a beautiful dry heat. It’s so consistent too.

much about Formula One. I hope Rush will help change that and show there’s a lot of emotion in the sport [and] the excitement of driver against driver.

Who is your dream-racing partner? Alain Prost. He was my childhood racing hero. You could learn so much from him and his ways of working.

Do you still enjoy the glamorous aspects or would you rather walk off the circuit and go home and put your feet up at night? There are benefits to it, yeah. I’ve seen both sides but you don’t usually see me on the red carpet. I much prefer to keep myself to myself.

How often do you visit the McLaren HQ in Woking in the UK to spend time with the engineers? I’m at the factory pretty much after every race. We have an engineering debrief, looking back at the previous Grand Prix and also looking ahead to the next one. I think the perception that Grand Prix drivers don’t have much interaction with the team is a misleading one. Spending time with the team is an essential part of the job, on both a practical and a social level. You didn’t like it when you were compared to the playboy James Hunt, who is portrayed in the movie Rush. Do you think the F1’s reputation for excess has evolved since the 70s? I think that Formula One has always been an extreme sport, whether that’s through perseverance or determination. It’s financially tough. It’s physically and mentally draining, too. And I don’t think those aspects have changed much since the sport began in 1950. The people who go racing each weekend do it because they’re incredibly passionate about motor racing, and they’re all determined to win. I think you can look at Formula One as a glamorous sport, but it’s only really glamorous on one side of the fence. Do you think the movie Rush will alter the general public’s perception of F1 in any way? I hope it’s the movie that helps us break America. It’s a very difficult market because the general public doesn’t know that

You travel extensively and get to stay in luxury hotels in some of the world’s most fascinating cities but what is your idea of true luxury? Time is luxury. For me that is the only real luxury. How do you unwind when you have time off? For me, the best place to unwind is in Hawaii. You can relax and do a bit of sunbathing. You can also jump on a bike and go up a mountain, go swimming in the sea. There’s so much to do. I love outside living. You’ve partnered with TAG Heuer to become one of their brand’s ambassadors. Why the association? They have been in Formula One for 30 years, they’ve raced at Le Mans; the Carrera was named after the Carrera Panamericana, the classic South American cross-country event. So there is a lot of history there. TAG Heuer is also a brand that I grew up with. The first watch I had was a TAG Heuer - I actually won it at a kart race. I just remember it was a black one! What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done in a car? It involved a field of wet grass, a handbrake turn and a 200ft drop. Let’s leave it at that…

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A Timely Investment No longer the preserve of a few, the vintage watch is increasingly being sought after as an investment piece By nausheen noor

intage watches have long been the purview of hobbyists and collectors eager to hold on to a period of history. Up until half a century ago, most old gold and silver watches were melted down. But following a global trend of renewed interest in vintage items, historic timepieces are increasingly being sought, not only for their heritage value but as possible investment pieces. Watches fall into a unique category of investments. While simultaneously flashy and pleasurable, they can also potentially appreciate in value. Like other swag (silver, wine, art and gold) investments, watches have performed well, if not better than their more conventional counterparts in recent years. They also require relatively less maintenance. Wine can spoil and must be consumed, vintage cars need space and maintenance, property prices fluctuate unpredictably. Watches, on the other hand, can be worn, enjoyed and then conveniently stored in a box. “It’s basically another form of boys’ toys,” says Frederic Watrelot, a jewellery and watch specialist at Christie’s Middle East. “Take cars - unless it is a rare antique car, it is going to lose most of its value over the next few years. That is not the case with watches. There is a good chance they will hold most of their value and there might be a chance you will make some.” The value of a vintage watch can be difficult to ascertain. The likelihood that the accessory will increase in value depends on how few were made, how complicated the movements are and how well it has been maintained. A watch’s condition can be more difficult to assess than its authenticity. If gold prices are

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L-R Collector Oliver Wulff and Tariq Malik, owner of Momentum vintage watch store in DIFC

high, a watch’s precious metal components might actually be worth more than any value a collector would place on the piece. “It is important to understand that not every expensive watch increases in value,” says Tariq Malik, the owner of Momentum Dubai, a vintage watch shop in Dubai International Financial Centre. “It makes a difference if a watch is manufactured in a precious material with a diamond setting. A few essential points to consider are brand, model, provenance, history and most importantly, collectibility.”


Vintage timepieces from Wulff’s private collection

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It’s all about access

Access a world of visa-free travel and global mobility. Whether you are seeking permanent residency, citizenship or global mobility, it all starts with our unparalleled range of innovative, bespoke investor programs and services. Learn how becoming a Global Citizen can help you create the opportunities you need to make the world a better place for yourself, your family, and for all of us. Discover the power of Global Citizenship now. + 971 4 319 7665 | iNFO@aRTONCapiTal.COm TORONTO | mONTReal | paRis | lONdON | BUdapesT | sOFia | isTaNBUl | BeiRUT | dUBai | JOHaNNesBURG | Cape TOWN | BeiJiNG | aRTONCapiTal.COm

Arton Capital is a leading global financial advisory firm providing custom tailored services for immigrant investor programs to government agencies and high net-worth individuals and families from around the world. The firm is supervised by the Quebec Financial Markets’ regulator, l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers and is recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Finance as an International Financial Center.

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"It’s basically another form of boys’ toys...BUT UNLIKE CARS, There is a good chance they will hold most of their value."

Auctions are also unpredictable litmus tests for watch values as so much of an event is propelled by euphoria and the auction house typically pockets between 12 and 15 per cent of the sale price. “One of the biggest mistakes potential investors in watches make is that they do not look at an exit strategy,” says Oliver Wulff, a fund manager at Avantgarde Capital who has been collecting vintage watches for more than 20 years. Wulff started with a passion for early aviation pilot watches and has now amassed a collection of more than 300 vintage timepieces. By choice, he has only ever sold one of his watches. With a background in investment banking, Wulff takes a more strategic approach to his collection. He sees watches not as an investment but a safe haven for cash in an increasingly unpredictable financial climate. “Normally with an investment, I buy and sell, which I do not do with my collection,” he says. “But it is still an investment in the way that you are taking a substantial amount of cash and diverting it to an asset that is going to retain its value, no matter what happens internationally with currencies. “Yes, if there is a crash in the market, they will probably lose some of their value because no one wants to buy at that time. But 10 years later they will have re-appreciated, whereas cash could have been devalued. In my book, it is a safe haven for money.” Continued interest in vintage pieces in the region led to the re-launch of the Christie’s watch auction in October. Among the brands represented were historical high-performers such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, IWC and Rolex. Sales ranged

from $1,125 for a Blancpain lady’s gold and stainless steel wrist watch to $106,250 for a diamond-set Piaget. Christie’s itself is hesitant to enforce the notion that the timepieces will greatly appreciate in value. “We have reference points for certain models like a vintage Patek Philippe, or a Rolex Paul Newman,” says Watrelot. “If you buy a nice watch and after a few years, it does not lose money, that’s great. But in terms of investment potential, it is very difficult to say. We are not investment bankers.” Wulff, who also collects airplanes and antiquities, is holding on to his collection for sentimental reasons; he hopes to pass it on to the next generation. “Thankfully, my five-year-old son seems to have the collecting bug as well,” he says.

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Blackhawk Secretary

If you like the idea of an industrial workspace that can close up when you’re not using it, then you’ll love the Blackhawk Secretary Trunk. Inspired by the gleaming nose cones and fuselages of mid-20th-century aircraft, this trunk is clad in a patchwork of polished aluminum panels accented with exposed steel screws. Rounded corners and inset drawer pulls give it sleek, aerodynamic lines. $4,395 /

Cykno bicycle

Cykno’s vintage style bicycles are designed for the fashion savvy rider with a monocoque frame, radial spoked wheels and front forks made from carbon fibre and stainless steel tubing. Each piece is manufactured in Italy and offers customisable upholstery, ranging from silk velvet, cashmere, and choice Hermès fabrics. Leather choices include including, iguana, ostrich, ray, crocodile and eel. The bike gets its power from the central motor which uses the latest technology; a lithium polymer battery with high energy density. $19,000 /

Vertu Constellation

The new Constellation comes in an array of colours with leather sourced from an 150 year-old Alpine tannery. The 5.1 inch sapphire display, weighing more than 100 carats, takes two weeks to make and is scratch resistant, except of course, by a diamond ring. For the security minded, it offers encrypted speech and personal protection and tracking capabilities. Fret not, even at a somewhat lower price, the phone still gives access to a rarified world of exclusive VIP clubs, invitation-only events, and closed-door shopping experiences. $6,600 /

Kayak 1

This bespoke recreational Kayak is handmade in Auckland, New Zealand using a gloss carbon fiber. More reminiscent of fine furniture than a piece of sports equipment, it was built by America’s Cup boat builders with timber detailing and gold-plated brass fittings. It can be ordered in a variety of colours, materials and finishes to suit any requirement. $15,000 /


Bugatti Veyron 16.4 grand sport Vitesse GC exclusively test drives the fastest four-wheel drive production car ever, the Grand Sport Vitesse

he Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is the 1,200 horsepower version of the open-top model Grand Sport. To date 100 models have been sold worldwide, with the final production run due to be capped at the 150th model. The Veyron represents a remarkable technological achievement with an eye watering price tag of €2 million. It is not only the fastest car in the world, but also the most expensive with the Middle East accounting for more than a quarter of global sales. According to former F1 driver and official Bugatti test pilot Pierre-Henri Raphanel, the Veyron would not have been possible without three intertwining components. First, it requires a brand like Bugatti. “If this car was a Toyota, even if it was twice as good,

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then no one would spend two million on it. You need a luxury brand that represents history and heritage.” Second was the vision of Ferdinand Piëch, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. “He said we would build the fastest car in the world that went over 250 miles with 1001 horsepower.” Fifteen years ago, the maximum power for cars was 550 horsepower. “This wasn’t easy and for three years the project was going down, the engines were overheating and the gearbox exploding but the man knew what he wanted. He changed the president of the company and finally they made the first Veyron in 2005.” The final requirement is a group like Volkswagen to invest and support this type of project. “This is why a car like this comes around only once in a lifetime,”


explains Raphanel. Bugatti made 27 prototypes of the Veyron before they officially launched the model costing them €27 million. The investment has almost certainly been recouped from sales. The car was also tested in extreme conditions, cold temperatures in Sweden and hot temperatures in Death Valley, however it is unlikely that anyone would leave their supercar parked outside in the snow. This goes some way to explain why Bugatti expect customers to pay €2 million for a supercar when their competitors such as Ferrari and McLaren charge half the price. But as Raphanel points out, “Nobody will spend €2 million when they can get an equivalent for €1 million. They spend €2 million because they know it is worth €2 million.”

Technical Specifications Top Speed: 410 km/h Performance: 1,200 horsepower/6.400 rpm Acceleration: 2.6 sec 0 - 100 km/h Engine: W-16, 8 liter capacity

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ugatti don’t do advertising. Instead they invest the back into the technology of the carbon fibre car and, from what I experienced when I drove the Veyron around Dubai’s industrial area, it certainly pays off. My Bugatti co-pilot, Pierre-Henri Raphanel who smashed the world record driving the Veyron at 431km/h around a race track in Germany, described the car as “beauty and beast”. At first I took it with a pinch of salt as I thought he was spinning off some kind of marketing drivel. However, once I got behind the wheel for myself, I quickly realised that perhaps this man’s 5,000 plus test drives around the world meant that he knew what he was talking about. The first important point for any driver, male or female, is not to be fooled by the hype that precedes this car. It is the fastest and most powerful car that you’ll probably ever drive, but unlike many supercars, it’s quite comfortable to drive at normal speeds. Just out of the gate, I managed to get up to 70-80 km/h in sixth gear using only 60 horsepower, without even knowing that I had changed gears at all. The ride is that smooth, due to a softening of the suspension system. But you can’t take out the Veyron for a test drive without using the remaining 1,140 horsepower, so at Raphanel’s instruction, I

put my foot down on a clear stretch of the road. Needless to say, my neck jolted back and the car was in full destroyer mode. I managed 250 km/h in just over seven seconds. Bugatti has developed a new roof spoiler that significantly reduces wind noise and buffeting in the interior. Although the noise is muffled, the engine still resembles that of a jet plane taking off, which is something remarkable in comparison to the loud roaring noise of other supercars I have driven. There’s also a new windbreak for the roadster that can be stored away compactly in the luggage compartment when not in use. The Veyron interior, although small, is clad in leather with the exception of a few metal trims combining ultra-luxe bespoke materials with old-fashioned, no thrills ‘do it yourself’ buttons. You won’t find the electronic buttons to move your seat back and forth in this two million-euro car! The Veyron is likely to represent the far end of the automotive performance spectrum for some time to come. To create a car much faster will require adding more weight and delivering even more power to the wheels. The added weight means diminishing returns in the power-to-weight domain. Additional power means more wheelspin. When the Volkswagen chairman set the mission for the Veyron, he asked for a car that could set speed records, do zero to 60 in under three seconds and still “drive it to the opera”. Bugatti have indeed managed to make a useable yet über luxurious supercar with the Veyron.

world sha Tourish with GC editor Nata r Pierre-Henri Raphanel ve dri g record breakin

Driving the World’s Fastest Car

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Paradise on the Ocean Benetti’s custom superyacht offers a lavish onboard experience

f you didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of this 55 metre-long megayacht when it was unveiled in September at the Monaco Yacht Show, it has most likely been handed over to its new owner, a wealthy young Singaporean businessman, who had it custombuilt in the Livorno boatyard in Tuscany and designed by Benetti’s own, Mauro Izzo. The Ocean Paradise combines high-end technology such as iPad controlled audiovisual systems with an interior based on minimalist lines and a luxurious mix of leather, wood and glass finishes. Light is of primary

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importance throughout the yacht. The combination of crystal skylights and long, sleek windows keep guests perpetually connected to views of the sea. The yacht includes four guest cabins with ensuite marble bathrooms. The master cabin features a private terrace at the bow of the main deck. Every detail is opulent, such as the leather surfaced interior of the wardrobes and the plexiglass displays encasing Zen gardens. Cruising range is 4,000 nautical miles at an economical speed of 12 knots, with an easily reachable top speed of 17 knots and a fast cruising speed of 15.5 knots using 85 per cent of the available propulsion power.

The upper deck is dedicated to a private beach club, equipped with a solarium, waterfall pool, gym and minibar with DJ mixing tables.

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Fine Dining at Home Host the perfect soirée at home with GC’s guide to finding the best resources and produce in town

The Gourmet Purveyor - Chez Charles Chez Charles, the brainchild of chefs Charles Boghos and Gregory Khellouf, is an online gourmet shop launched last year to fill a gap in the UAE’s fine food market by offering a curated collection of ingredients sourced from all over the world. The site proved so popular that it compelled the duo to upscale their private chef business. “Customers kept calling us and saying ‘You have all these amazing ingredients but we don’t know how to cook them!” says Khellouf. What started with quiet sit-down dinners has now evolved into barbecues with whole spitroasted lamb. More than your average weekend grill, this version uses imported woodchips and charcoal from Italy. They also offer live paella stations with blue lobster from France. All of the ingredients are sourced from Khellouf explains: “We don’t come with anything from the supermarket. Everything is from an artisanal producer. We are firm believers in using the best ingredients to give the best results.“ News spread by word of mouth and last season they were booked for six months solid. The chefs have added another team this year but that is where the expansion ends. “We don’t plan to add any more teams. We want to be able to visit all of our events and check the quality. We want them to remain special,” says Khellouf., +971 55 763 3999

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The Caterer - Dish The de rigueur caterer for any high profile event in the Emirates, Dish does not compromise on attention to detail, whether it’s a 10-course degustation menu for Russian diplomats or a 1,000-strong party during an Eagles concert. Started in 2008 by husband and wife team Henry and Kate Dyer, Dish aims to do “everything hotels don’t”. It excels at individually-plated meals and a wholesome approach to cooking. Ingredients are all sourced specially, from cheese, fish, and poultry from France to fruit and vegetables primarily from Australia. What sets it apart is an acute sense of style and knowledge of food trends. “We change our menu every six menus. I travel all over the world and I’m from Melbourne. If they’re having a craze in Spanish street food, that might be something we incorporate into our menu,” says Henry. The menu items reflect the couple’s creativity and invention. Even a simple vegetarian pasta dish is artfully prepared as courgette and goat’s cheese tortellini with silken cauliflower and saffron puree, parmesan crisp and soused fennel. Everything is made from scratch, which ensures more control over quality. Dish also recently launched Innovative Hiring, a service that can style your home or location with stunning results, recreating the perfect atmosphere for everything from a beachside bonfire to a formal wedding., +971 4 422 1613

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The Gourmet Fishmonger – Market & Platters With the holiday season in full swing, Market & Platters is the perfect solution for the home cook who wants an elegant supplement to their menu. Market & Platters’ offerings include platters of salmon, tuna and seabass carpaccio, sushi and sashimi, salmon, lobster, prawn sandwiches, salads and cheese. Most impressive are their ready-to-go raw bars. Platters are packed on ice with your selection of lobsters, prawns, langoustines, mussels, whelks, crabs and French oysters. They’ll even send you off with all the necessary accoutrements-- mignonette, cocktail sauce and even baguettes and country butter. Fresh Express has been importing and distributing high quality ingredients and luxury food products to five-star hotels and fine dining restaurants in the region for nearly 20 years. Up until recently, only industry insiders had access to such a bounty. Market & Platters brings that to the consumer. Chef Eric Martinet and his team are always available at the store to personally advise customers on how to best select and prepare the seafood. Market & Platters is located at Pinnacle Tower, Dubai Marina +971 4 450 4466

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The Celebrity Chef - Andy Campbell As a private chef, Andy Campbell has prepared dinners for presidents, footballers, A-list celebrities and rock and roll stars. These events have taken place on superyachts and motorhomes parked on remote stretches of beach in Ras Al Khaimah. But you won’t hear the British chef divulging any names. Campbell has carved a career for himself by masterminding truly bespoke evenings for high profile clients and above all, using discretion. Following stints at several London fine dining restaurants including Marco Pierre White’s Café Royal as head chef, Anthony Worrell Thompson’s Ménage à Trois, and the famous French House in London’s Soho, Campbell arrived on Dubai’s shores five years ago. He always starts any engagement with a consultation, sitting with the client and designing a menu. Sports stars typically have special dietary requests, a performance-enhancing balance of protein and carbohydrates. He once catered a Thanksgiving dinner for a couple who wanted a Russian and Indian influenced menu, a spread that included kebab hors d’oeuvres and cabbage side dishes. Whatever the menu, it is Campbell’s attention to detail and integrity that ensures success. Everything is made from scratch. He uses the same suppliers as local five star hotels and where possible, tries to source ingredients locally from the fish market and organic shops such as Ripe and the Green League.,

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Newest Jewel

GC talks to the father daughter founders behind the Paris haute diamond jewellery house, Messika

unisian born, André Messika has been in the wholesale diamond business for more than 40 years. He supplies precious gems to some of the most famous jewellery manufacturers and retailers in the world, counting Cartier among his clients. He always imagined his children would carry on his tradition of working in the diamond trading business. However, his eldest daughter Valérie, shortly after finishing marketing school in Paris, surprised him with the idea of creating her own jewellery brand. Her reasoning was simple: it would be nearly impossible to follow in her father’s footsteps. He is the head of the Messika Group, a Parisian based operation comprising Messika Trading,

L-R André Messika and founder of Messika jewellery Valérie Messika Messika Jewellery and a diamond manufacturing business. “She said: ‘Papa I want to be better than you and I can’t do that with diamonds, because you are an expert’,” recalls Messika. “But she felt she could do it with her own jewellery line.” With her father’s support, Valérie launched Messika jewellery in 2005. She was in Dubai last month alongside her father to announce their distribution partnership with high-end retailer Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons. Valérie was no stranger to her father’s laboratory growing up and often spent time there as a child watching him at work. “She used to sit and watch me cutting and polishing the diamonds so I truly believe that it was always something that has been in her heart,” Messika recalls. However, there was no room for sentiment when it came to

the nitty-gritty of business. Messika made sure that his daughter agreed to sign not just a legal but an “emotional” contract with him before he invested in her idea. “Before I would back her, I told her she must make a contract with me. I told her it was because I never want to see anything that has already been produced. I told her she must never copy. It has to be something completely new or else the people in our industry wouldn’t take it seriously,” he says. “I believe she has found an empty corner in our industry,” Messika states, proudly. Messika’s four collections; Promess, Eden, Move and Butterfly will form the crux of the special selection that was adapted for Middle Eastern tastes and will be on display in all of Seddiqi’s stores, along with their men’s Cordon diamond bracelet.

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Capturing Storylines British artist and designer Yasemin Richie is turning her passions into creative works of art By Sylvia Byatt

I’m a film buff and quite often like films for their colours and how they affect you visually as much as the story,” says Yasemin Richie. She is referring to the concept behind her current project, Storylines. Art inspired by cinema is not new but the Dubaibased artist and designer has taken the symbiotic relationship even further with her collection of art and interiors. “I wanted to use the colour palette of films to inspire a space, rather than just putting up a favourite film poster. That is really where the idea came from.” Richie, who moved to Dubai from the UK six years ago, hired a computer programmer to help her extract frames from films, compress, stretch and then average out the colour. The resultant thin colour blocks are laid out in the sequence of each film. A work inspired by Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back starts with a lighter palette from the snow scenes on Hoth that lead to strands of green when Luke is training in the swamp with Yoda. This is her most popular piece with men in the region.

Storylines: Star Wars - Empire Strikes Back [1980] Uncut

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Richie presented Colin Firth with an artwork inspired by The King’s Speech last year. “He said he could recognise the film immediately and that he felt like he lived in that colour palette for two years while he was filming,” she recalls. The pieces, which are currently sold in Bloomingdales and Galeries Lafayette, have been showcased in some of the region’s most elite homes. “I don’t really refer to myself as an artist, I much prefer designer,” says Richie, who initially focused on law before studying interior and furniture design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. “I found law too restricting from a creative point of view. “Designing is something I have always had a passion for and I have always made custom artwork and furniture for my own home. I suddenly realised that other people liked what I did and were asking me not only to design their interiors but create bespoke artwork for them and that is really how my career evolved.” Richie, who set up her own home decor brand two

Atlas: Human Presence - Dubai 60x70cm

years ago, also designs bespoke furniture and reworks vintage and antique furniture with her locally-based team. “In an effort to support and develop the local creative community, each element of a bespoke piece is produced entirely within the UAE,” she says. “I’m also careful to ensure that all materials are ethically sourced.” This month, Richie is tapping into another one of her interests, urban landscapes, by launching a new collection of works called Atlas: Human Presence. Using satellite imagery from the NASA earth observatory, she has looked at various cities around the world and used the landscape’s palettes as the basis for this next series of work. “I’m fascinated by exploring how we live in our urban landscape,” she explains. “[This collection] aims to capture the organic yet invasive nature of our urban development and attempts to depict the way in which our urban expansion mirrors that of any other organism enveloping its host.”

Atlas: Human Presence - Cairo 50x50cm

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little black book

Little Black Book Melbourne world to promote his latest When he’s not jetting around the taurant in Mykonos, cookbook or checking in on his res ge George Calombaris is in Greece, Masterchef Australia jud ere he oversees four more his home town of Melbourne, wh shares some of his favourite award-winning restaurants. He city hangouts.

My favourite coffee shop is Proud Mary for coffee done well. I’d say the best milk-based coffee in the world is in Australia. Best espresso, Italy. But Melbournians are all coffee connoisseurs. Bad coffee places go broke really quickly. I always order a short macchiato.

The Perfect Burger The best burgers can be found at Huxta Burger. That sugary bun, lots of pickles, good grilled beef…. delicious.

little black book

A Head Start 6.

Two Birds One Stone is my favourite breakfast joint. I order the eggs, avocado, gluten-free bread and baked beans. It’s a very industrial, New Yorkish kind of place.

Essential Ingredients in the Prahran Market has great artisanal ingredients – good pasta, great saffron – all the stuff you can’t really find in the supermarket. And great cooking tools as well.

Outside of Melbourne, the Bellarine Peninsula belt has the best seafood, the mussel farms, the oysters are just phenomenal.

A Short History We are such a young country. Let’s not proclaim to have the Louvre. The National Gallery of Victoria has understood that. It focuses on local artists. The architecture and design of the place is very Australian and indicative of who we are and what we are.

Home away from Home The Lindrum is the best boutique hotel. It is small and unassuming and what a hotel should be about - service when you need it, feels like a home and doesn’t feel like a big, boisterous hotel where you are another number.

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Dubai has become a regional hub for creatives to gather with international art and design exhibitions taking place throughout the year. In homage to the recent Downtown Design fair, here are some pieces worth investing in for a contemporary twist on the Arabian home.

By Sylvia Blatt

Vintage inspired furniture

Inspired by Keno’s racing car collection ‘The Flying Buttress’ tabletop is compared to a wing. It almost defies the laws of gravity as it “hovers” above the delicate arched legs. $1,500

This table took incredible skill to create. The dramatic zigzag veneers are a feature not found on even the very best work by 18th century Parisian craftsmen. $2,140

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The Theodore Alexander Keno Bros company takes vintage and classic styles of fine furniture and reworks them with a contemporary finish, like this rippled Ocean chest of drawers. $2,450


Preciosa’s European artisans manufacture all of their chandeliers by hand, which results in impeccably pure glass. So don’t be afraid to add a little sparkle to your ‘man cave’ with their Tourbillon chandelier. $1,417

Vases don’t have to be girly and feminine. Just take these metallic homewares by Israeli designer Aril Levy and fill them with manly plants, like cacti or bonsai trees. $125 to $221

The circular discs spin with opposing sides revealing fiddle back sycamore veneer and hyedua veneer to match the graining of the panel surroundings. $3,811

Add an industrial feel that’s not too cold or harsh with these metal-plated coffee and side tables from contemporary Italian design house De Castelli. $1,465 to $2,227

This contemporary take on the customary Arabian tradition is a must for any concerning Arabian gentleman. Hooka by Karim Rashid at Gaia & Gino, $1,755

2013 November / December GC 69


Private Retreats As the temperature cools, GC discovers some of the region’s most private and luxurious hideaways By Natasha Tourish

Zighy Bay Oman Tucked away in the Musandam peninsula just over the UAE border, Six Senses Zighy Bay is one of the most coveted private retreats in the region. From the peak of the mountain, guests are able to paraglide down to the resort’s reception. Riding in tandem with an experienced flyer, one can absorb the stunning views of the bay and fishing village below from a spectacular vantage point. Each of the low level villas has its own private infinity pool and an outdoor shower, shielded from view by a palm leaf fence. They were built with the help of the indigenous community using local stone and have since integrated eco-friendly touches where possible, from the in-house refillable water to the whitewashed walls, dark wood interiors and natural stone floors.

70 GC November / December 2013


The beachside villas harbour magnificent views, especially at sunset overlooking the east coast. Charming touches enhance the experience: chessboards, his and hers bicycles for cycling around the resort in the cooler months and a secluded Omani styled summer house in the garden. The real marvel of the resort is its destination dining experiences. Ideal for a romantic dinner, the team will whisk you away to Senses on the Edge to a cliffside fine dining restaurant or prepare a more intimate dinner on the beach, in their wine cellar, or on a sunset dhow cruise.

from $1,039 per night

2013 November / December GC 71


St.Regis Saadiyat Island Billed as the largest hotel suite in the UAE, the St. Regis’ newly-appointed royal suite is a lavish affair. Spanning more than 2,100 square metres, the duplex occupies the top two floors of the resort’s west wing. The suite exhibits the American St. Regis’ tradition of classical grandeur. A stunning spiral staircase, with a reflective water feature at its base, runs through the heart of the palatial apartment, which also features a Steinway grand piano, a 12-seater dining room and a curated collection of artwork from around the world. A personal butler caters to guests’ every whim. After the indulgence, guests can retreat to their own private spa treatment room.

From $35,000 per night,

72 GC November / December 2013


Anantara Al Yamm Villas Sir Bani Yas Island The newly-opened collection of 30 beachfront villas on Sir Bani Yas sits on the UAE’s largest natural island and is home to one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves. As guests enjoy a sundowner on their private terrace, it is likely they will catch a glimpse of some of the freeroaming animals including the Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes and cheetahs. Each of the luxury villas comes with its own pool and boasts either seafront or lagoon views. The minimalist whitewash interiors draw inspiration from the sea and the dwellings of the fishermen and pearl divers who lived on the island seasonally.

From $1,152 per night,

2013 November / December GC 73

Image courtesy of Gettyimages


74 GC November / December 2013


Washington DC

Obama-era Washington DC is a much cooler destination By Nausheen Noor

he US capital has long been known for its genteel charm. Manicured lawns, marble monuments and museums abound in the shadow of the Capitol dome. If Los Angeles is driven by beauty and New York by money, what has always steered Washingtonians is a sense of gravitas. This has earned the city a reputation for being serious and a bit stuffy. But the Obama-era has ushered in a more style-conscious town. The restaurant scene is booming, hipster neighbourhoods are sprouting and the nightlife is diversifying. Cool and sophisticated, this is the new Washington DC. The winter months bring a sense of serenity to the capital. A snowfall can transform the National Mall, the podium of the people, into a historical winter wonderland. Its illumination at twilight is breathtakingly beautiful. With more than two dozen free museums spread across the city, Washington is a centre of culture as much as it is the seat of power. Designed by Parisian Pierre L’Enfant, laws mandate that buildings cannot be higher than the width of the street they occupy. Which means that while strolling through the wide-open avenues and gazing at river views, one can always still see the sky. Twenty years ago, tourists limited their trips to the mall and its monuments and museums. But DC’s burgeoning culinary scene is now sending them further afield to up-and-coming neighbourhoods such as Eastern Market, the U Street corridor and 14th street in pursuit of some of the most innovative dining in the country. Restaurants rely on coastal trends of eating locally and seasonally but with influences that borrow heavily from DC’s immigrant communities, Vietnamese, Ethiopian and Indian among others. The nightlife can accommodate anyone’s taste in music from local bands to jazz and burlesque. And once the evening is over, there are a host of chic new boutique hotels to unwind and rest. But even in its new iteration, one cannot escape DC’s most defining characteristic – its inextricable link to politics. The US government system is the beating heart that gives life to the town, which was even more evident during the recent government shutdown. Nearly everyone, no matter what his or her occupation, ultimately works for or alongside the government. If Congress is in session, restaurants are packed. Snippets of conversations in cafes or on the metro are often impassioned debates about everything from foreign policy to the budget crisis. And while other major US cities might purport their influence, Washingtonians know that the decisions made in their backyard reverberate globally, which can make a trip here even more enriching and profound.

2013 November / December GC 75


Must SEE

National Gallery of Art, Sculpture Garden

In the winter, the pool at the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art turns into an enchanting ice skating rink. One can glide on glass as classical music fills the air, surrounded by sculptures by renowned artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein. Stop for a hot chocolate at the Pavilion Cafe afterwards. 7th St. and Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC

14 Street

Forty-five years ago, this portion of 14th Street NW was the site of riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Buildings were burned and The National Guard patrolled. Twenty years later, the avenue was still marked by boarded-up commercial buildings and abandoned car showrooms. Today, it is DC’s hippest restaurant row, where senators dine alongside interns in the very embodiment of democracy. Steven Starr’s Le Diplomate is a veritable who’s who for people-watching. 601 14th St NW, Washington, DC, DC 20009

Once known as Black Broadway because Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Nat King Cole regularly played its clubs, it was one of the areas most devastated by the 1968 race riots. In recent years, the area has been reborn with hip cafes, funky bars and vintage stores. Ben’s Chili Bowl, a stalwart establishment of the now increasingly gentrified neighbourhood, has had a cult following since it opened in 1958. 1115 U St NW, Washington, DC, DC 20009

76 GC November / December 2013

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

U Street Corridor


Gala Hispanic Theatre

Formerly the Tivoli Theatre, a landmark movie theatre built in 1924 with art deco opulence - marble, plasterwork, painted murals and a crystal chandelier beneath its dramatic domed ceiling. It is now home to the Gala Hispanic theatre where one can watch a show with all the history, elegance and charm of the Kennedy Center but at half the cost. 3333 14th St NW, Washington, DC, DC 20010

Where to stay Donovan House

A sexy new boutique hotel in central DC that has its fair share of cool credentials, including an eggplant-and-white colour scheme, pod-shaped cocoon showers and rowdy rooftop parties. 1155 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005, From $250

The Hay Adams

This 145-room luxury boutique hotel is as close as you can get to staying at the White House without a personal invitation from the President. Originally designed in the 1920s as a residential hotel, the Hay-Adams recreates the ambience of a distinguished private mansion on Lafayette Square. 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC, DC 20006, from $675

The Jefferson

After a massive renovation in 2009, The Jefferson reopened and regained its place among the district’s elite hotels. The hotel blends subtle colonial charms with the latest tech gadgets. President Obama is said to entertain there often. 1200 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC, DC 20036, From $600

2013 November / December GC 77


Lapel, Lanvin, The Dubai Mall $147 Tie, Hackett, The Dubai Mall $162 Marc by Marc Jacobs, Mall of the Emirates $92

Mad for Plaid From bold and boxy to subtle check patterns, plaid is a classic choice for fall. GC embraces the plaid suit for a distinguished, sharp and traditional style.

Braces, Drake’s at $78

Trousers, J. Crew $100 Tie, Carolina Herrera, The Dubai mall $150

Hat, Lock & Co Hattera at $106

Modern adaptations of classic plaid Brogues, Grenson at $333

78 GC November / December 2013

Shirt J. Crew at $100


Scarf, Hackett, The Dubai Mall $133

Shirt, Carolina Herrera, The Dubai mall $206

The contemporary gentleman

Boots, Dolce & Gabbana at $854

Trousers, YMC at $204

Blazer, Thom Browne at $1,780

Holdall, Hackett, The Dubai Mall $262

Loafers, John Lobb at $1,230 Swimshorts, J.Crew at $90 2013 November / December GC 79


DEEPSEA TIMEPIECES GC examines classic diving watches


Omega introduced the first Seamaster in 1948. It now features a helium escape valve with co-axial escapement movement and an impressive power reserve of 60 hours. Omega Boutique Mall of the Emirates $6,300


Designed in 1953 for the frogmen of the French navy, the original model has been faithfully revived with its original canvas strap in this updated version. Water resistant up to 300 meters. Blancpain, Dubai Mall, $16,000


IWC AQUATIMER Automatic 2000

Pressure resistant to 200 bar with a rubber or steel bracelet with a quick-change system and a sapphire-glass ring. IWC Schaffhausen Dubai Mall, $17,850


Introduced in 1953 as the first watch to be water resistant to 100 meters, its 40 mm steel case with scratch resistant ceramic bezel can dive down to 300 meters. Rolex Dubai Mall, $8,800

80 GC November / December 2013

IN THEIR OWN LITTLE WORLDS The tiny precision components in our mechanical movements dance to the rhythm of our lives – and they have been with us on some of mankind’s greatest adventures. Available at:

OMEGA Boutiques - Dubai: BurJuman • Deira City Centre • Dubai Mall • Dubai Festival City • Mall of the Emirates • Mina A'Salam • Mirdif City Centre • Sahara Centre • Wafi and at select Rivoli Stores. Toll Free: 800-RIVOLI

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