6 297000 388007
16 Global Calendar
18 First Word
20 Investment Destination
38 Special Report
56 Global Citizenship
22 Family Business
58 Global Citizenship
24 Cover Story
44 10 Questions
Winning expo 2020
Forging links with Guinea
Fine wine auctioneer Idris Elba
Alvy Ray Smith JustGiving
Rebuilding FabergĂŠ Eva Longoria
A British Shoo-in
Marco Pierre White The Supercar Club
Cyprus: EU gateway
Buena Vista Social Club
8 Jan / Feb 2014
84 Eating Out
86 Little Black Book
Cool gizmos and gadgets
Bentleyâ€™s new Flying Spur
Classic sailing For a younger market
Dubaiâ€™s best tapas
Luxury ski hideouts
Clinton Street bakery
Impact with texture
2014 Jan / Feb 9
Three hectic years ago, with only a handful of talented people, we launched Global Citizen magazine in Dubai as a niche title for ultra and high net worth individuals, from entrepreneurs and philanthropists to artists and visionaries. Like all worthy paths, our journey hasn’t been without its struggles. We launched Global Citizen in the midst of a global recession while Dubai was still struggling to repay its own debts. But in keeping with the spirit of our home city, we persevered and became market leaders in our own right - thanks to our loyal readers! As the founding publisher, I wanted to take this opportunity on our third anniversary to congratulate my team members for their tenacity and hard work. Our editorial team has evolved over the years but continues to bring sharp, diverse and relevant coverage under the stewardship of our editor Natasha Tourish, who has brought our title to the forefront of the ultra high net worth community in the UAE and beyond. Today, Global Citizen has a print run of more than 23,000 copies and is distributed throughout first class and business class lounges in the UAE and Qatar, as well as onboard private jets and international carriers. Our exclusive partnerships mean we are delivered direct to some of Dubai’s most exclusive addresses, from Al Barari and the Palm Jumeirah to Emirates Towers and Etihad Towers and most five star hotels in the UAE, connecting our readers to the most influential business communities and wealthy homes in the region. Our success in the marketplace has allowed us to live up to our responsibility as Global Citizens. At our inaugural Global Citizen Forum last year, we launched the Global Citizen Foundation, which will raise funds for children’s education in the Middle East and Africa. We also hope to host new charity events and bring concerts to Dubai in the coming year, which will contribute to our growing fund. Enjoy this issue’s refreshed design and our new understated look - like us, it is here to stay!
10 Jan / Feb 2014
Art Dubai 2014 • Contemporary: 313 Art Project, Seoul • Agial Art Gallery, Beirut • Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid • Art Factum Gallery, Beirut • Athr Gallery, Jeddah • Ayyam Gallery, Dubai/London/Beirut/Jeddah/ Damascus • Baró Galeria, São Paulo • Bischoff/Weiss, London • Bolsa de Arte, Porto Alegre • The Breeder, Athens/Monaco • Laura Bulian Gallery, Milan • Carbon 12, Dubai • Carroll / Fletcher, London • Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Le Moulin • Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris • D Gallerie, Jakarta • Experimenter, Kolkata • Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai • Galerie Imane Farès, Paris • Selma Feriani, London/Tunis • Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch, Rome • GAG Projects, Adelaide/Berlin • Galerist, Istanbul • Giacomo Guidi Arte Contemporanea, Rome • Gladstone Gallery, New York/Brussels • Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris • Alexander Gray Associates, New York • Green Art Gallery, Dubai • Grey Noise, Dubai • Leila Heller Gallery, New York • Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, London/Zurich • Galerie Hussenot, Paris • In Situ / Fabienne Leclerc, Paris • Rose Issa Projects, London • Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris • Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels • Kalfayan Galleries, Athens • Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna • Lombard Freid Gallery, New York • Lumen Travo, Amsterdam • Galerie El Marsa, Tunis • Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels • Victoria Miro, London • Marisa Newman Projects, New York • Galleria Franco Noero, Torino • Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco • Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/ Brussels • Omenka Gallery, Lagos • Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo • Paradise Row, London • Pi Artworks, Istanbul/London • Pilar Corrias, London • Galerie Polaris, Paris • Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York • Schleicher/Lange, Berlin • Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg • Gallery Ske, Bangalore • Tashkeel, Dubai • Tasveer, Bangalore • Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris/Brussels • The Third Line, Dubai • Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin • Yavuz Fine Art, Singapore • Modern: Agial Art Gallery, Beirut • Aicon Gallery, New York/London • Albareh Art Gallery, Adliya • Artchowk, Karachi • L’Atelier 21, Casablanca • Karim Francis, Cairo • Grosvenor Gallery, London • Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai • Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai • Janine Rubeiz, Beirut • Shirin Gallery, Tehran • Marker: ArtEast, Bishkek • Asia Art, Almaty • North Caucasus Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA), Vladikavkaz • Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project, Tbilisi • Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku. www.artdubai.ae
is the associate editor of Billionaire.com. Her articles span a wide range of subjects from fine wines and restaurants to watches, style and beauty. She is also the editor of Billionaire.com’s sister website (published in simplified Mandarin), Yiwanfuweng.com.
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 every Thursday evening called Eye On Careers.
is a journalist specialising in fashion, the arts and lifestyle. Over 14 years she has written for publications including The National, Menswear Insight, which she launched and edited, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and the Daily Mail.
Tara Loader Wilkinson
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.
is the editor in chief at Wealth-X and editor at large at sister publication, Billionaire. She was responsible for launching Wealth-X News, a news and analysis platform dedicated to the life and times of the world’s ultra high net worth community.
is media manager for global children’s rights organisation Plan International. He is a former journalist for the UK’s Press Association and was a freelance journalist in southeast Asia for UK national media, including the BBC and The Guardian.
12 Jan / Feb 2014
GLOBAL CITIZEN Senior editor Natasha Tourish - email@example.com Business Editor Tahira Yaqoob - firstname.lastname@example.org Lifestyle Editor Nausheen Noor - email@example.com ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Melissa Lwee-Ramsay, Shane Phillips, Gemma Champ, Heba Hashem, Tara Loader Wilkinson, Stuart Coles, Lashley Pulsipher, Aidan Cassidy, Nick Kochan, Hisham Wyne Printed by Masar Printing and Publishing www.global-citizen.com www.facebook.com/GlobalCitizenMag
Lashley Pulsipher is a Dubai-based blogger and regional director of public relations for a luxury hotel firm. She has a masters degree in international policy studies and has written about WMD delivery systems, asymmetrical warfare, fashion trends, and travel.
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Aidan Cassidy is editor of Newstalk Magazine Irelandâ€™s national news and sports talk radio station. He has worked for EMI Music and Bauer Media in the UK and Ireland. Cassidy now lives and works in Dublin, specialising in digital content for radio.
Getty Images / Todd Plitt
Dubai not only dazzled its way into the New Year but the emirate also smashed the world record for the world’s largest firework’s display on New Year’s Eve. It took 200 pyrotechnicians and 100 computers installed across the city to control the spectacular showdown to the millisecond.
Bright start to the New Year:
the Big Picture
Father of theYear OR INTERNATIONAL FRAUDSTER? We help you decide.
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1 1 jan
0 4 FEB International Corporate Jet & Helicopter Finance London, February 4th - 6th Corporate Jet Investor’s Fourth Annual Conference will analyze trends and key issues of the business aviation markets.
26 FEB Ross Chisholm testament, Green Art gallery, Al Quoz, January 11th - March 10th A British newcomer to the Middle East inspired by eighteenth century British artists including Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, Chisholm’s paintings consist of historical images with a modern twist.
0 5 FEB
DIFC’s Ayyam gallery open their first exhibition of the year with the Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul. Titled ‘Almost a Dream’, the exhibition runs from February 5th - March 13th Safwan moved from Syria because of the turmoil and now lives and works in Dubai.
16 Jan / Feb 2014
‘Art with no boundaries’ International exhibition – Al Badia golf course February 3rd - March 2nd Art Couture brings you a cutting edge exhibition with works from three artists - Antonio Verones - Brazil, Lionel Guibout - France and Nikola Zigon - Serbia - highlighting the fact that art is beyond boundaries.
Dubai International Boat show March 4th - 8th This year’s event will play host to seven specialist sectors and thousands of visitors from over 76 countries will gather to experience elite super yachts, leisure crafts and exotic supercars in Dubai marina.
The Kenya Summit 2014, Intercontinental Nairobi, February 26th - 28th Examine Kenya’s direction for economic and social transition to a middle-income country and gateway to East Africa.
1 5 mar
FotoFest’s 15th international Biennial of Photography and Photo-related Art, March 15th - April 27th Houston, Texas, USA An exhibition dedicated to contemporary Arab photo and media-related art, featuring over 47 artists from 13 countries.
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the first word Perspectives from the top
A win-win situation With Dubai’s population set to increase by three million and 20 million tourists expected to descend in 2020, some of the city’s top CEOs weigh in on how winning the World Expo 2020 will affect the business community By shane phillips
head of Cluttons Middle East property firm “We feel the much talked about ‘Expo boost’ has already been priced into the real estate market to an extent. Dubai has already seen a surge in property prices and we expect the ongoing development and growth of the city southward, away from the coast as Dubai’s urban boundaries are pushed out further. Population growth, hand in hand with job creation, will mean that housing demand levels will continue to rise.”
CEO of FFA Bank Dubai “This presents a tremendous opportunity for the country on so many levels, from infrastructure projects to geographical positioning and access to the world’s fastest growing markets, to boosting Dubai and the UAE’s reputation on an international level, as well as creating thousands of jobs and of course boosting tourism. But the most important thing is that the Expo will develop a social legacy.”
18 Jan / Feb 2014
The first word
Ahmed Bin Sulayem
executive chairman, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) “As the international hub for trade and enterprise DMCC has and will continue to play a significant role in bringing multinationals to the country as the Expo 2020 theme ‘connecting minds, creating the future’ will further drive Dubai’s position as more than just a transfer point between East and West.”
founder and CEO of chemical distribution firm Petrochem Middle East “Such a large-scale event will bring lots of goodwill as well as awareness and recognition to the UAE. Having said that, I sometimes wonder what the fuss is really about? We should take the hype with a pinch of salt and great fortitude. Let Dubai focus on its core business and what it is known for rather than any cosmetic and temporary stimulus.”
managing partner of Grant Thornton business advisory firm “World Expo will not only provide a well-defined development plan for the coming years, it will also provide the opportunity for the enhancement of regulations, which will jointly aid in attracting foreign investment into the nation and region.”
2014 Jan / Feb 19
Bauxite rock which is used to make aluminium is one of Guinea’s main exports
Forging links with Guinea
The West African country is rich with metals and raw materials - but will it develop its infrastructure enough to lure investors?
he UAE’s eagerness to find and source raw materials from Africa is no secret. So it’s no surprise that Guinea’s president Alpha Condé was in Abu Dhabi late last year with a delegation to make it clear his country was open for business and eager to discuss investment opportunities with foreign companies and governments. The West African president brought reinforcements in the form of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to add a touch of kudos to his message. Blair, whose non-governmental organisation, the Africa Governance Initiative, works closely with Condé, made a brief appearance at the brainstorming session.
20 Jan / Feb 2014
Guinea, whose capital is the sea-bound Conakry, is a largelyforgotten West African country bordered by the Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Senegal. It has massive reserves of bauxite, diamonds, gold and salt, which have the capacity to make it rich. Guinea ranks number five in the world league table for bauxite, the raw material used in the production of aluminium, and 12th in league tables for rough diamonds. What it lacks is the investment to unlock its potential wealth of natural resources. According to an International Monetary Fund report, the country is impoverished with 55 per cent of the population earning less than a dollar a day. Delegates at November’s summit in Abu Dhabi revealed
Image courtesy of Gettyimages
By Nick Kochan
the UAE’s plans to build trade and investment links with the country, which will work to both countries’ advantage. “Guinea has entered a new phase of investment. It is attracting more bilateral and multilateral partners, as well as the private sector. Countries from the Gulf are key participants in the rebuilding of Guinea going forward,” Condé told a crowded room of delegates and investors. The recent announcement of a deal between Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC), a joint-venture company owned by the Abu Dhabi government-run Mubadala and the Government of Guinea, hints at a closer relationship between the two nations. The deal is estimated to be worth $5 billion and will involve developing a bauxite mine and alumina refinery. The agreement underscores a desire in the Gulf to obtain raw materials and secure bauxite for Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), formed last year from a merger of Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) with Emal. EGA is set to be one of the world’s five largest aluminium producers once a second phase of an Abu Dhabi smelter is completed next year. The merger was completed even as aluminium prices have languished amid global oversupply. Guinea announced the agreement with Mubadala and Dubai Aluminium at the conference. Mohamed Lamine Fofana, Guinea’s mining minister, says: “We are seeing further benefits from our longterm strategic partnership with the UAE.” The deal between the UAE and Guinea involved many high-powered brokers and negotiators, including Blair, who told the audience: “Guinea’s future depends on a thriving private sector and high quality investment from abroad. When countries are on the move, you see three things coming together. The potential in the country; the desire among its people for change; and a leadership with the strength and vision to make it happen. Under President Condé, Guinea has all three. My message to you as investors is: be there. With your eyes open, realistic about the challenges, but be there. The investors who move first won’t regret it.” Blair also drew attention to the country’s plentiful supplies of water and agricultural land, which is largely untapped. Added
“Guinea’s future depends on a thriving private sector and high quality investment from abroad.” to that is the country’s undeveloped mineral resources including graphite, iron ore, limestone, manganese, nickel and uranium. Mining currently accounts for 26 per cent of Guinea’s $6.7 billion GDP (as of 2012) and agriculture accounts for 20 per cent. GAC will develop a bauxite export mine and a port under the agreement, to be operational by 2017, and an alumina refinery with an initial capacity of two million tonnes per year. The first commercial production from the refinery should be within eight years. The deal has the potential to produce great change for Guinea. Fofana said the agreement would deliver an estimated $5bn of foreign investment into the country over the next eight years: “The development plan will create, at peak, 14,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute substantially to Guinea’s GDP.” Bauxite used in making aluminium and mining has long been seen as having potential to deliver significant wealth to Guinea. However some resources that are considered among the world’s best, such as Guinea’s Simandou iron ore deposit, have gone untapped, despite the presence of exploration firms like the Rio Tinto Group and BSGR in the country. Infrastructural and legal constraints have inhibited progress on the investment. Investors who prospect opportunities in Guinea are cautious of the country’s undeveloped infrastructure, with road and rail systems still requiring considerable investment. Guinea ranks at 195 in the World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ index, up from 197 last year. Companies seeking to set up mining projects in Guinea can take advantage of a recently passed mining code. Fofana says that will bring clarity to projects and give legal certainty to international investors.
2014 Jan / Feb 21
lyrical about wine Former hip hop producer John Kapon has transformed his family business, 200-year-old Acker Merrall & Condit, into the worldâ€™s largest fine wine auctioneer
Image courtesy of Photography by Karl Prouse
By tara loader wilkinson
22 Jan / Feb 2014
ohn Kapon is not your average third-generation wine merchant. After dropping out of New York University during his first semester -“I got bored with school”Kapon spent two hedonistic years as a rap music producer with a collaboration of artists called Smoked Out Productions. “I got a little burned out and kind of disgusted with the music industry. It was a fun time but we couldn’t quite get over the hump and I probably knew too much for my own good,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. Kapon discovered that his real passion lay closer to home. To the surprise of his parents and peers, he decided to join his father Michael in the family wine business, which, at the time, was considered a fusty and unglamorous industry. But he saw it in a different light. “There’s a camaraderie among wine lovers — you can take a rock star, an athlete and a CEO — and if they all love wine, they all share a bond,” he says. He spent a few years training and running the family’s small Upper West Side shop in New York. At the time, Acker Merrall & Condit sold wine solely in the US as an independent merchant and did not run auctions. Kapon saw an opportunity to go up against megaliths such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s in wine auctions and 14 years ago started running special events and auctions. In its first year of auctions, Acker Merrall & Condit raised $4 million and became a new alternative choice for collectors who did not want to deal with the bureaucracy of the larger houses, says Kapon. Since taking the reins of the company, of which he became chief executive officer last year, Kapon has increased revenues from $20.8 million in 2005 to $110.5 million last year, making it the first wine auctioneer to cross the $100 million threshold. He attributes the firm’s success to a crucial decision. As a small, 200-year-old boutique battling for market share against the global powerhouses, Kapon realised it would need a USP. And so, in a daring and controversial move, he shelved sellers’ fees. “We revolutionised the industry,” he says. “Before, as a seller you were having to pay 15 to 25 per cent to list your wine, which is crazy because sellers need money and buyers have money. So we cut the sellers’ fees and, as a result, we got more and more consignments, which buyers were happy to pay for.” Kapon’s early decision to expand into Asia, which now contributes up to 70 per cent of the firm’s revenues, was also
vital. “You can feel the energy of the economies here, it feels like what post-war America must have been like,” he says. “Pre2005 it was the age of America; since then it has been the age of Asia. All the best collections are now sold here.” In Asia, Acker sells over a quarter more wine than its biggest competitor and recently hosted a record wine auction in Hong Kong, raising $47 million through 1,300 lots of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Italian wine. The top lot was a vertical (same wine, different years) collection of eight Domaine de la RomanéeConti (DRC) vintages, which fetched $354,600. “DRC has become the most important wine in the world; regular bottles have sold at more than $100,000. It is becoming the wine of choice among collectors, over Lafite.” Burgundy wines have gained more interest among collectors as Bordeaux prices became over-inflated in the last few years, he adds. With his likeable face and boyish beard, Kapon emanates the straight-talking charm you get from people who are genuinely passionate about what they do. Dr Wilfred Jaeger, a wealthy US wine collector, calls him “the scruffy genius”. At auctions, Kapon is known to slam his gavel and tell overly raucous attendees to ‘shut the f**k up’. He talks slowly and deliberately with a gravelly transatlantic drawl, giving the impression of one surfacing from a hangover, which he possibly is. “I’m probably the biggest consumer of wine that I know; I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing,” he says. “There’s something about wine and civilisation that go hand in hand.” His pleasure is clear in his unconventional tasting notes, which have gained fame among wine circles, such as a 1911 Moët champagne, which had a “crazy nose of luscious honey while frolicking in an open field”. Almost as an afterthought, Kapon mentions he has recently published a book, a compilation of his tasting notes entitled The Compendium: Tasting the World’s Finest Wines. So where is the wine auction industry headed? He answers without hesitation: “Online”. The firm’s current website, which can be described as clunky at best, is undergoing a makeover which will enable it to sell more online and host further internet sales. “We are behind the curve on internet sales, as we spent the last few years focusing on live [sales]. Ten years ago I was barely sending emails and now look at us. That is undoubtedly where the future lies.” One thing is for sure — Kapon will do it his way and it will be radical.
2014 Jan / Feb 23
“I was struck by Mandela’s absolute need for tidiness and order”.
Image courtesy of Gettyimages
58 Jan / Feb 2014
Words courtesy of Jan Janssen/ The Interview People
As the world mourned the death of one of its greatest heroes, we spoke to Idris Elba about his own path to playing the lifetime activist and peace campaigner By Jan Janssen
laying Nelson Mandela is a little like playing God - an aura of saintliness comes with the job. The dashing British actor Idris Elba, who hails from Hackney, is now on the verge of Hollywood stardom with the recent release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the first definitive biopic of the South African freedom fighter and president. Elba, whose father hails from Sierra Leone and whose mother is Ghanaian, has spent the past decade trying to make his mark in the US, including an ongoing side gig as a DJ, going by the name Big Driis the Londoner. Having worked as a DJ since he was 14, Elba hit the big time when he worked with Jay-Z on his 2007 American Gangster album, loosely inspired by the Ridley Scott film of the same name, in which Elba also had a minor role. While living Stateside, the handsome 6ft 3in tall actor with the velvet voice managed to land key roles in films like the recent Pacific Rim, Prometheus, Obsessed (co-starring Beyoncé) and Thor. With the Mandela film, however, Idris is on target for a possible Oscar nomination that will undoubtedly propel him to the A-list. “He is hugely charismatic,” says Naomie Harris, who plays Winnie Mandela in the film. “He is one of those guys who comes in and lights up a room. He’s very charming and makes everyone feel special.” Earlier this year, the 41-year-old Elba spent an afternoon with Prince Charles as part of a ceremony where they presented awards to young achievers from The Prince’s Trust. Ironically, Elba’s career as an actor was born out of being given precisely such a grant himself as a teenager: “Without that £1,500, I don’t know what I’d have become. It got me into drama school.”
2014 Jan / Feb 25
Idris, how does it feel to be playing Nelson Mandela? I’m very, very proud to have the role. I can’t put it into words. Growing up, he was this amazing, inspirational figure. His influence can’t be measured. I’ve been acting for 20 years and this is the role of a lifetime. I really haven’t processed it in my mind but it was definitely momentous. I thought it was a joke - I couldn’t understand why anyone would come to me. I didn’t think I was accomplished enough as an actor to play someone like Nelson Mandela and that’s the truth, you know. Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington - these people have given massive performances of this nature, but I didn’t feel I was worthy of it. That’s the God’s honest truth and I actually didn’t respond [to the offer] for about two or three weeks. I wasn’t sure if I had that kind of performance in me but I knew I had to do it. How could I turn down the chance to play Nelson Mandela? Then I got an email from Zindzi, Mandela’s daughter, who just said: “We’re just thrilled, my father and I are thrilled.” Can you imagine a greater role to play than that of Mandela? No. You can’t think of a greater figure that you can play, especially for any African or any black man. It has been such an honour for me, not just to play Mandela, but to be the man who gets to play him in the film which is the story of his life, not just one aspect of it. I get to play him from his 20s to his 70s and as an actor you rarely get a chance to cover that kind of range in a man’s life.
26 Jan / Feb 2014
What kind of emotions ran through you while you were playing the role? It was very emotional on some days. One very difficult day came when I went on set and had to play Mandela in front of 600 Soweta extras. I felt this immense and also beautiful responsibility to be faithful to the grace and presence of the man. I gave everything I had to capture the soul of Mandela and be able to tell a story that celebrates his achievements as well as his spirit. Were you worried about taking on such an iconic figure? (Laughs) When my agent first told me I was being offered the part, I thought he was joking. I couldn’t believe it. He’s a prankster and I kept pushing him to tell me the truth but then I realised he was serious. It was a staggering moment. It would seem that I wasn’t completely right to play him. I don’t look like him and one could argue that I was too young and not experienced enough. If I had an Oscar, people would say, “Yes, perhaps — perhaps — you can play him.” I’m essentially a television actor who had done some films and this is a big trophy role to play. Do you know whether Mandela has seen the film? Yes. I know for certain that he saw footage from the end of the film where I’m playing him as an old man and he’s walking up a hill near his village. Mandela looked at the shirt and the way I was walking and said, “Is that me? Did I do that? How did you
get me up there?” What is really interesting is that people who know Mandela very well would come up to me and say, after they had seen the first few rough cuts of the film, “I love how you got Mandela to fill in there at the end.” That made me very proud. Did you visit Robben Island, the prison where Mandela spent most of his 27 years in jail in South Africa? I spent a night in the prison. I remember the guard was very nervous about locking me in. I was in there by myself and it was pretty harrowing. I had to really calm down. I did have a telephone and if I really wanted to get out, I could. But as soon as the guy left, I realised there was no signal. Were some scenes in the film particularly harrowing to play? Some of the hardest moments came while playing in the prison, especially scenes involving the white actors who played the guards and had to display the kind of brutality that was inflicted on Mandela. I could see from the look on their faces that [the actors] hated those scenes and were hesitant to go as far as they needed to go. But I just looked them in the eyes and told they needed to go to their very core and dredge up any racism that might be buried deep within and use that for those scenes. I told them that if there was any black person that they hated, they should use that and let me hear it and feel it. I needed that intensity to help me get to where I needed to go with my own performance.
Do you expect a film like this to take you to the next level in Hollywood? I’m hoping I get the chance to do more and more interesting films. I’ve been fortunate to get recognition from doing The Wire and Luther but people in Hollywood don’t necessarily remember my name. (Laughs) I’m not a household name in the US, where people might know me on sight but that’s all. Maybe that is going to change with Mandela. But I don’t necessarily want to be famous. I want to be known for great work. I want to be known to surprise audiences. That, to me, is what is really fulfilling. You’re also coming back to your highly popular role as DCI Luther. What made you want to return to TV while your film career is soaring? It’s always been a huge thing for an English actor to be the lead on a BBC series. I love the character and even though some people on my management team thought I might be making a mistake by returning to the role, I always took pride in it. I also won a Golden Globe and got an Emmy nomination for the role so that told me that it was something I should carry on with.
Was there anything you discovered in your research that surprised you? I was struck by Mandela’s absolute need for tidiness and order. There was no one tidier than him. His desk was always in perfect order and nothing could be out of place in his office. He was compulsively tidy. What was your experience in South Africa like? The people were very generous and welcomed me with open arms. I felt their love and respect and that just added to the sense of responsibility we all felt in the making of the film and doing honour to Mandela. The spirit of the South African people helped me portray the spirit of the man and bring his character to life. Did you pay a lot of attention to getting his voice and mannerisms right? (Laughs) The hardest thing was getting his voice right. I worked for months and months on that because I knew that everyone knows his voice. I watched hours and hours of footage of him speaking to help me master his voice and his cadence. It is such a distinctive voice and my own London accent and the way my own voice sounds is nothing like his. Mandela’s voice also has such beautiful dignity and gravity. He speaks in such a distinguished and statesmanlike way and I had to study that and try to come as close as possible to it.
2014 Jan / Feb 27
Have you gained a huge following for your work in two seminal TV series - The Wire and then with Luther? Yeah, both have been big. Playing Stringer [in The Wire] brought me lots of attention but the same thing happened with Luther, which was also shown in the States. Luther gave me an opportunity to show that I love to act. I’m a character actor in my heart of hearts. So, Luther gave me not only a confidence, but a showcase to kind of go, “Oh yeah, that’s right, I do play these other characters and I can act.” Plus, it changed the kind of people that were calling. I got Pacific Rim because [the director] Guillermo [del Toro] loved the show.
Did growing up in some fairly rough areas as a child make you more determined to succeed in life? You learn to defend yourself and not be pushed around. When my family moved from Hackney to Canning Town, I stood out because I was black and tall and I was immediately picked on by the best fighter in the school. It wasn’t easy for me and you learn from those tough times. I used to get into fights all the time with white kids and I got a reputation as someone who wouldn’t take any s**t. I never looked for trouble but you can’t back down from it either. I was fortunate that my teacher, Miss McPhee, thought that I had talent and pushed me towards acting.
When you won the Golden Globe for best actor in a miniseries (Luther) you stated that Luther changed your life. In what sense? Prior to Luther, I was doing drop-in film work: Obsessed, Takers, This Christmas — films that were sort of more in a space that was skewed urban, if you like, and smaller films. Good parts, but smaller. With Luther, I bring American sensibilities
Where do you call home these days? Whatever hotel I happen to be staying in (laughs.) I’ve been living in LA a lot but I’m always travelling for work. I enjoy that. I think getting to know different cities and different kinds of people gives you a different perspective as an actor. I’ve also lived in places like Brooklyn, New York, Miami and east London. Your imagination gets stimulated and all that winds up informing the characters you play. I also own a home in Atlanta and my daughter, Isan, lives with family there. I’m in and out there, and she’s in and out to see me. Is DJing still a big part of your life? It’s my secret hobby and it’s been a big part of my life. I supported myself working as a DJ while I was struggling to make it as a young actor and when I went to the States [in the late 90s] I was able to make good money to pay the bills until I start getting enough work in TV. Then when I did my album, people would see me as an actor making music and say, “What do you think you’re doing, stick to what you know.” I think a few people were surprised when they enjoyed it. How did you start out as a DJ? I worked with my uncle. I would do African weddings, lots of calypso and African music, the electric slide. I still get asked all the time, “Mr. Elba, can you come DJ at my wedding?” (Laughs)
Elba with his co-star Naomie Harris who portrays Winnie Mandela
to an English character. Luther is way bigger in his manner than an English cop would ever be. He’s very American in that way. I think part of the TV show’s popularity in England is that it is sort of ridiculous to see an Englishman play that big in a lot of these scenes. But it actually works because of how grandiose some of the crimes are.
28 Jan / Feb 2014
Would you like to keep your hand in music? I just want to build it up slowly. I’m not in it to be a superstar DJ, I just want to do what I love. I’ve DJed since before I was an actor. Over the last few years, I’ve collaborated with a few people [including Jay-Z and Mumford & Sons] and it’s gone down pretty well. What I really want is to converge my film and music work. I want to write the tracks for my films and make a musical. I’m hanging about with the people that Baz Luhrmann goes to and getting some great inspiration – it’s something I’m taking very seriously. I already have some projects in mind. Sean Penn presented you with the Britannia Humanitarian award. Coming after playing Mandela, how does that make you feel? There are moments in an actor’s life where you feel like, “Wow, I’ve made it.” That was one of those moments.
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Rich Pickings You are known as a gem hunter, which all sounds very exciting and Indiana Jones, but what exactly does your job entail? I travel around the world to source gems either for myself or for private clients. I have about 10 clients around the world and all of them collect gems for investment purposes. What this means is that they buy loose gems — not jewellery — that are polished and certified but that have yet to be set. These gems cost anything between $2 million and $15 million and while some will set the gemstone in a ring or something that can be worn, most of these go straight into the safe and that is where they remain until they show up in an auction a few years down the road. Very rarely, but sometimes, I do work for jewellery businesses, but only if and when they are looking for a gemstone that is extremely specific or rare, and they don’t have the resources to do it themselves.
30 Jan / Feb 2014
Still, that is quite a career path you’ve chosen for yourself. How did you end up in this trade and what does it take to do what you do? I grew up in Africa and my family used to deal in rough diamonds but initially, I started out as an investment banker. About five or six years ago, I started thinking about starting my own company. I felt that there was a real niche in the market for people who specialise in hunting down rare gems so I went to study gemology and when I became a certified gemologist, I started Primacy Holdings. It is very rare for someone to have the ability or the willingness to go to places such as Africa or Myanmar, and spend large amounts of time in unsavoury conditions and situations looking at mines and understanding what’s available. It is equally rare to find someone who is a gemologist with an investment banking background. You need to have all these qualities to do what I do.
Photography by Tom White
Melissa Lwee-Ramsay talks to Claudio Ribeiro of Primacy Holdings, a man who sources rare gems for a highly select group of private investors
But what does investment banking have to do with gem hunting? Why is investment banking relevant? Because more and more clients are looking for an alternative investment and asset plan. They want to use gemstones as a real source of asset value. So the type of dialogue that I have with clients is completely different. It’s almost like a trading floor, investment banking-type of conversation when we discuss which gems they should buy. With that in mind, what is it about gems that makes them worth investing in? Simply, the rarity value of gems. For example, when you talk about Burmese rubies, you think of pigeon blood rubies and there is only one mine in the world where you can find pigeon blood rubies and it’s in the north of Myanmar. Or let’s talk about diamonds. The last diamond mine or diamond deposit was found about a decade or so ago. In the past decade, despite the investment of billions of dollars in prospection for diamonds, no meaningful deposit has been found. So already, diamonds are in short supply. And even if some lucky guy finds a gigantic deposit tomorrow, it will still take about a decade to get a mine up and running. So at the very least, for the next decade, diamond supply will be highly constrained and demand is going up, which will push prices upwards. I don’t think it’s very far off to predict that gems, because of their rarity, make for good investments because their prices are bound to appreciate.
Let’s say somebody wants to start collecting gems but on a smaller scale — in the six-figure price range — what would you advise them to buy? At a small level, it all depends on what your liquidity needs are. If you’re looking to buy something that you need to be able to sell within a four-to-five month time frame then you definitely have to buy diamonds. And, you would have to buy a specific subset of diamonds, so those between one-and-a-half to three carats within the top range (from D to F to IF to VVS clarity.) With $200,000 or $300,000 you can buy anywhere between 10 to 15 gemstones and that would be a good diamond portfolio that can easily be liquidated for a small profit within three to six months. And what if the budget runs upwards of $1 million? Then I would consider investing in coloured gemstones. As of this moment, I would say either sapphires from Sri Lanka or Myanmar, or Burmese rubies, but at this price bracket it’s a different ball game altogether. My clients who are within this bracket either look for perfectly clear stones with unbelievable lustre (stones that have significant potential for appreciation and that have a very high probability of holding value) or gemstones that have provenance, for example, gems that used to belong to royalty in the 17th and 18th century. You need to be willing to wait for their prices to appreciate, but the payoffs are bigger in the long run.
One of Claudio Ribeiro’s star finds- a 20.29ct pigeon blood ruby from the Mogok mines in Myanmar (Burma)
2014 Jan / Feb 58
Pixar co-founder Alvy Ray Smith lifts the lid on life at one of the biggest animation studios in the world and the innovators who dream in pixels
Image courtesy of Thomas Hawk/ Flickr
Interview courtesy of Newstalk Magazine www.newstalk.ie/magazine
By Aidan Cassidy
32 Jan / Feb 2014
e live in a time where entire industries get turned upside-down, reshaped, born and destroyed practically overnight, catalysed by technology which is getting exponentially more powerful every few years. It is a time where innovation and creativity are the tools for survival, where curious minds and dogged determination will thrive and shape the world to come. Alvy Ray Smith was at the forefront of that innovative era, a pioneer who dreamed in pixels and came up with the notion of an entirely computer-generated animation movie long before the technology existed. It was 20 years after he first hatched the idea that Toy Story, the first computer-generated film, was launched on the world. A former director of computer graphics research at Lucasfilm, where he worked with Star Wars director George Lucas, Smith went on become co-founder of Pixar with Ed Catmull but says the notion of film is about to become obsolete. “The word film seems so quaint. There is, or is about to be, no more film,” he says. “There is no more tape either. I am writing a book - a long way from completion, sadly - on the biography of the pixel. I talk there about the great digital convergence that happened around the millennium. All old media types coalesced at that time into one, namely bits.” Smith sees himself as part artist, scientist and technologist: “I learned to paint from my artist uncle. His only rule was that I had to be absolutely silent. So I watched and learned how to stretch canvas, prepare, mix colours, care for brushes, lay out a painting and build it up.” In school Smith excelled in maths and physics and when computers came along he “fell in love”.
Computer graphics group at Lucasfilm. Smith (centre) controlling the remote shutter. Ed Catmull to his right, new hire, John Lasseter, on his left.
“I was also an animation aficionado. I taught myself animation, as have many, from the great Preston Blair’s $1.50 how-to book.” In 1973, while laid up for three months with a broken femur following a ski-ing accident - a time he has described as “one of the most wonderful of my life” - Smith, now aged 73, had time to reflect and concluded he was failing to do anything about his artistic skills. When the cast came off, he went to California in the hope “something good would happen” and in 1974, aged 31, he hit the jackpot. “I stumbled into Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre, the place where computation as we now practice it was being crafted—the personal computer, window-based user interface, the mouse, laser printer, ethernet and colour graphics, the last one being my bit.” He was hired to experiment with the first paint programme in the world, called SuperPaint, and “went nuts”. With his colleague Dick Shoup’s tools, and his knowledge of painting and animation, he set about writing code and inventing computer animation as we now know it. “It was pursuing all this that eventually led to Pixar. My animation love was what bonded me with John Lasseter, Pixar’s star animator, and the best hire of my life.” Lasseter is now chief creative officer at Pixar and Disney. After a productive year, and imbued with new ideas, Smith left Xerox PARC and headed east to join the pioneering New York Institute of Technology’s computer graphics research team where, in 1975, he met Catmull and began a partnership that would last 20 years and revolutionise the motion picture industry. “There was a cel animation team of about 100 people there when we arrived. We learned how animation production works
Smith and his team at Pixar created Toy Story - the first computer-generated film
2014 Jan / Feb 33
Smith (right) and Ed Catmull (left), just after their arrival at Lucasfilm 1980. The lamp between the two would become famous when animated by John Lasseter as Luxo Jr (and in the Pixar logo.)
[and] that was when we decided we would be the first group ever to make a completely digital feature film [Toy Story]. It only took us 20 years to do it. “It was that single-minded goal, pursued through thick and thin, that made it appear that we were leading innovators. Actually, we were simply a magnet for the most creative programmers in the country, who found their way to us, just wanting to be a part of it. Without much guidance, these creative folks simply invented what had to be invented to make a digital animated movie. They would look around and find something that needed to be done - then do it. “These were very exciting times. The talent was incredible. The goal was realistic. The world trooped to our doorstep to see what we were doing, because nobody had seen anything like it yet. We tried not to go to sleep, because we might miss something.” “There were low times too, usually having to do with money and power,” he recalls, likely referring to well-documented personal clashes with Pixar investor Steve Jobs. Pixar looked set to fail before Jobs injected $50 million of his own money and took the company public, effectively saving it from bankruptcy and turning it into one of the most valuable movie companies in
34 Jan / Feb 2014
the world. Smith does not dwell on this long, swiftly returning to the highs: “We all embarked on a grand adventure to a new land. Everything we touched was new. We got to pick all the low-hanging fruit and name everything. We got used to blowing people’s minds.” Computers today are a billion times more powerful than they were when Smith made his first computer graphic in 1965. Having been at the heart of the digital film revolution, Smith is well placed to predict what might happen next. “There are lots of true believers in computer land. Many believe that computers will become as intelligent as human beings and even transcend us. A corresponding claim among the computer graphics folks is that any day now actors will be replaced with computer simulations. I don’t believe this anymore than I do AI [Artificial Intelligence] will happen in my lifetime. We haven’t a clue what consciousness is, for starters. Surely to simulate a human actor with a computer, we must have a model of consciousness?” He is confident however, that we will soon be seeing realisticlooking avatars powered by human actors. “One reason I believe this is that it’s already happened. It seems to have gone almost unheralded. The Strange Case of Benjamin Button features scenes of Brad Pitt that are not [the actor] but a computer-generated avatar of him. I knew this going into the movie so went in eagle-eyed, prepared to catch the telltale giveaway signs. I failed. Rather, the producers succeeded. I had to have the scenes pointed out to me. That’s the Turing test of digital actors. “Animators convince us that stacks of polygons, or pencil sketches in the old days, are alive and conscious and suffer pain.” Pixar, he adds, hires animators by how well they act: “The holy grail is a completely computer-generated live action film.” When asked if he thought the old maxim ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’ is true, he dismisses it, saying, “There are tremendously good movies being made. I do cringe every time I see yet another movie that seems centred only on gratuitous in-your-face 3D computer graphics. I suppose we have to get it out of our system.” Despite his troubled relationship with Jobs, one cannot help but see the parallels that brought these two men together: art, technology and business colliding, combusting, and in the process, propelling Pixar to extraordinary heights. As Jobs himself famously stated, “technology alone is not enough— it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing”. And therein surely lies the next innovation that will turn our world upside down and revolutionise the movie industry once again.
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THE BUSINESS OF GIVING Co-founders Anne-Marie Huby and Zarine Kharas of the London based charity JustGiving are using innovative new data tools to target potential fundraisers online By Gemma Champ
36 Jan / Feb 2014
We want to aid serendipity,” says Anne-Marie Huby, who co-founded the charity fundraising website JustGiving with Zarine Kharas in 2000. She’s talking about the company’s development of “big data” tools, with which they are starting to more precisely target potential fundraisers online. But serendipity is more than just a key word for JustGiving – it has been at its heart since Kharas, an investment banker, first came up with the idea of a website that would help people find charities they cared about and enable donations, more than a decade ago, and it has powered the company’s success ever since. This was in the early days of the worldwide web, of course, pre-dotcom bubble, and finding people to believe in the internet was always going to be a challenge. It was lucky, then, that a common contact decided to introduce Kharas to Huby, at that time running the UK branch of Médécins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders.) She, too, was considering how charity could harness the internet for fundraising. “This was 1999 and I had been looking for a while at the internet and thought okay, there must be a service that we can plug and play with. But as a charity, once you got close to it, you realised it was really complex: your systems need to talk to the bank, you need to hire people, you maintain whatever you cobble together, there’s nothing that’s really suited to charity.” They met, they sparked, they got excited and started to pull JustGiving together. But then the bubble burst. Suddenly, no one trusted the internet and they began to run out of money. That’s when serendipity struck again, in the form of investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Bela Hatvany. Huby credits the company’s success over that of its numerous competitors to Hatvany’s approach to business. “He’s a very unusual values-driven investor. He invested and enabled us to expand the team and we were able to bring the tech in-house, to start building a platform, and most importantly to establish a culture of long-term thinking. It took us five years to break even, which is not unusual for a tech company, but for a private company it is.” Hatvany allowed JustGiving to take its time, says Huby: “When we are asked how we survived when similar companies failed, it was through lack of investment or impatient capital that they were forced to make decisions that basically killed them,” she explains. “It gives you an enormous competitive advantage to be able to say we are taking time to test this model, we are learning and pivoting and having another go at the same question over a period of time. Bela is such a visionary. He has a passion for more community-minded industries.” Of course, the community-minded, or socially conscious,
industries are where JustGiving had something of a wobble a few years ago, when an indignant public began to realise that five per cent of their money – hard-earned on a marathon or bike ride or other sponsorship – went to JustGiving rather than their chosen charity. Huby and Kharas offered a robust defence at the time, and continue to do so. “We have never maximised profit,” says Huby. “We needed to be profitable, because we needed to generate a surplus, because a surplus enables us to reinvest more, but we have never maximised it.” Kharas adds: “Right from the word go, on every page we would say how we make money. I think often charities create this rosy impression of costing nothing to run and they have educated their donors into thinking everything happens for free. But you want world-class people and there are some hard realities. We never tried to hide it, but we behave in a trustworthy way. The money got to the charities on time, no one was being paid huge sums of money and the charities started endorsing us.” Indeed, with a growing community of around 21 million users and having raised in excess of $2.3 billion, the difference JustGiving has made to charitable donations is immense. “Big charities have told us that on any fundraising event, such as a marathon, they typically wouldn’t get a third of the money that was promised to them,” says Kharas, adding that it was less through dishonesty than the simple embarrassment of having to chase friends for cash. And it is this embarrassment that the company hopes will end with its clever use of social data and that serendipity they are so keen on. JustGiving has, says Huby, become uniquely good at measuring the value of social shares on networking sites such as Facebook. “The idea of privacy has really evolved and people are much more likely to share what they are doing, what they like, and so on,” she says. “That gives us an opportunity to work out better what your network is doing [as well as] other people’s current activities to create more visibility for the generous actions of others in your network.” Even better, says Kharas, is that as participants prepare for their events, they can tell their stories on their timelines and it does not simply feel like asking for money. And in an era when people are increasingly stretched financially, this softly-softly approach and sense of trust (“One thing you will not find on JustGiving is adverts for insurance or credit cards,” says Huby) are a clever way of keeping the funds coming in. Not that they need too much encouragement even now, says Kharas. “The world over, the poor are more generous than the rich.”
2014 Jan / Feb 37
Images courtesy of Plan International
The new normal: The international charity Plan has initiated a five-year recovery plan that will help victims rebuild their homes and allow children to return to school in the Philippines
AFTER THE TYPHOON What happens after the devastation of a natural disaster has been cleared? Our special report from the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan sheds light on the tireless work that continues after search and rescue teams have left By Stuart Coles
eneath the framed, sun-bleached picture of a house was a sampler, stitched with the homily ‘God bless our home.’ Both would be unremarkable if they were not hanging on one of the few remaining walls of a house, ravaged by the fury of super-typhoon Haiyan and surreally exposed for the world to see. The owner was below, attempting to patch up the teetering wooden structure with a hammer. Major disasters are cruel and odd. The mundane becomes profound; the once innocuous becomes tragic, ironic or even inspiring. The most powerful storm to have been recorded at landfall, Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of southeast Asia and was the deadliest storm to ever hit the Philippines. In that country alone, more than 6,100 have been killed, 1,700 people were left missing and 12,000 badly injured. A total of 1.1 million homes were destroyed, five times that of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and about four million people were displaced. I saw the devastation firsthand when I was dispatched to the Philippines for a fortnight last November, shortly after the typhoon struck, as part of the global deployment team for the international children’s charity Plan. Initially, our role was providing water, shelter and food but is now centred on a five-year $75 million recovery programme tackling child protection, education, rebuilding schools and livelihoods. Walk around any of the coastal towns which fell prey to Haiyan and the most likely sound you will hear now is hammering. Fourteen million people desperately trying to nail back the pieces of their homes, their businesses, their lives. Much of
the country now resembles one impromptu huge building site - mixed with the look of an enormous junkyard awash with black sludge. Search and rescue teams have long gone, the recovered dead are buried and the typhoon quickly gone from a fickle news agenda. Meanwhile, people have to rebuild. Life must go on. Markets, businesses and schools have re-opened, some power and water is being restored but life is far from normal. The 300kmph winds and accompanying storm surge took not only buildings and lives but livelihoods. Many people in rural areas depended upon rice crops or harvesting the coconut trees, the stumps of which now dot a Somme-like landscape. About 15 million (one tenth) of all trees were destroyed in Eastern Samar alone. Coconut fronds are used for roofing, husks as fuel and cleaning fluid, the flesh can be eaten or made into oil and the sap made into tuba (wine.) But the trees will take between seven to 10 years to re-grow. “We depend most upon coconut,” says Melchor Margal, mayor of Salcedo, one of the first towns to be hit. “Coconut is the tree of life; we can get everything from it. What we will do now, I don’t know.” It is not just the tenant farmers and landowners but those who worked in the processing plants which make this the world’s second largest coconut exporter. They will need support to find alternative work from government and aid agencies like Plan who offer cash-for-work schemes, often involved in typhoon clear-up. But longer-term solutions are needed. The long-term impact upon children and young people is a worry too. There is the risk of a ‘lost generation’ – children whose vital education has been brutally cut-short along with
2014 Jan / Feb 39
Lost generation: Ronald dropped out of school to provide for his grandmother who is his sole guardian
around 7,000 schools damaged or destroyed. As schools are often built of concrete and on high ground, many were used as evacuation centres – and some still are. Teachers were killed or are missing and many have no functioning school or education authority to which to return. “My family’s house is okay, we’re further up inland. But my dad has no income now so I want to start working,” says Ronel. He has decided not to go back to school in January. “I want to work as a carpenter, just like my dad. He is also building boats and teaching me how to do it.” Ronald, 13, wants to return to school but is forced to find an income to support his grandmother, who is now his sole guardian. “We go around looking for copper in old cables and then we sell it in the village. All the money I earn I give to my grandmother to buy food,” he says. Post major disasters, children can become more vulnerable, at risk of being forced into hazardous labour while adolescent girls especially face the threat of being trafficked and ending up working in the sex industry. Understandably, great strains are put upon already struggling families, leading to increases in domestic violence, substance and alcohol abuse. It is just as well the people of the Philippines are so optimistic. One Filapina journalist recently objected to over-use of the word ‘resilient’ about her nation. “We are not jelly,” she said. But wherever you go, the openness, smiles and humour of people
40 Jan / Feb 2014
Search and rescue teams have long gone, the recovered dead are buried and the typhoon quickly gone from a fickle news agenda. Meanwhile, people have to rebuild.
are the things which strike and stay with you. A young woman called me over. She and her friend were barely visible behind the mountain of twisted metal and debris in front of what had been her house. “Did you ever come here before? It was a really nice town with a beautiful beach,” she said sadly and then with a sweep of her hand inland – “the trouble is, now the beach is everywhere,” and laughed. They will need to cling to this sense of humour when times get even harder. To donate, go to www.plan-international.org/what-you-can-do/ emergency-appeals/philippines-typhoon-appeal/
STRIVING FOR EGGCELLENCE The 172-year-old House of Fabergé once furnished Russian tsars with exquisite trinkets but more recently, has fallen on hard times. GC talks to its creative director about re-establishing the brand as a leading jewellery maker
We’ve come a long way in four years,” says Katharina Flohr, creative director of the historic jeweller Fabergé. She’s not kidding: five or six years ago, Fabergé was a lost name, a brand that had once represented the zenith of craftsmanship in jewellery and objets d’art but had been devalued and degraded by licence after licence until, by 2007, the name was appearing on detergents and toiletries produced by its then owner Unilever. When, in 2007, the name and all its licences were bought by Pallinghurst, an investment company specialising in natural resources, with a view to restoring Fabergé’s glory, the news was met with widespread scepticism – especially when the world plunged into recession soon afterwards.
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Today, it’s a different story. Those Pallinghurst resources included ownership of the coloured gem company Gemfields, whose ethically mined emeralds have provided the basis for some of Fabergé’s most spectacular pieces, and earlier this year the two brands merged, offering the jeweller the prospect of access to an extraordinary supply of amethysts, rubies and sapphires. Points of sale are increasing around the world, albeit in very carefully selected spots; there is no chance yet of an overexpansion like the one that nearly destroyed the Fabergé name in the 20th century. “I think the resonance for what we have achieved today is finding an ever-growing group of Fabergé connoisseurs and aficionados and obviously we are building on that,” says Flohr.
Images courtesy of Fabergé
By Gemma Champ
“There is a wonderful saying: that [Gustave] Fabergé had the luxury of being born into a time that could afford him. I suppose today, in terms of workmanship, I aim very precisely to adhere to this ethos and spirit. “That is the thing that struck me when I first held a piece of Fabergé in my hand. I was blown away by the sheer sophistication of the hinging and the refinement of the setting. That is what we want to continue.” The route to this has been, rather than employing an atelier of jewellers in the London headquarters, working with the best individual workshops in the world to create unique pieces of high jewellery that can take upwards of a year to make. The numbers tell an interesting story: where many companies will boast of the billions of dollars made or millions of units produced, Flohr’s Fabergé is proud to have seen around 2,600 pieces crafted, of which just over 65 per cent have been sold. This is not a numbers game; it is a vocation. “We’re working with the finest workshops in Europe to create something that both they and we think of as a challenge,” she says. “We don’t like things too easy. And in the name of Fabergé, one would expect nothing less than that. We have a lot to live up to.” The Middle East is, then, a natural market for Fabergé, and the brand’s considerable presence in the UAE and Qatar (three points of sale in Dubai and one in Doha) is indicative of those countries’ importance in the world of artistic jewellery and goldsmithing. “I have a great affinity for the cultures in the Middle East,” says Flohr. “Today, the Middle Eastern customer knows exactly what they’re looking for; they have a great sense of appreciation for refinement and for extraordinary, one-off creations.” Indeed, some of the jeweller’s most exquisite pieces have been bought by the great collectors of the Gulf and Fabergé’s return to making not just jewellery but objets d’art – including the famous eggs – has had a strong appeal in the region. “My favourite piece that we’ve created to date, the ribbon egg, has gone to Qatar,” says Flohr. “And sometimes it is difficult to let these things go. All are extremely artistic pieces that have taken over a year to conceptualise and manufacture, real works of art. It goes beyond investment appeal. I like to say it is where reason doesn’t prevail.” For the next two years, the expansion continues, with a small high-end jewellery collection to be complemented by more “entry-level” fine jewellery pieces, such as the small egg-shaped pendants, which currently start at around $4,100 for a plain rose gold and diamond version. The thriving cufflink collections will continue and the brand is also talking to watchmakers in Switzerland with plans to start making its own watches, rather than licensing out their manufacture. “I have just returned from meeting some of the finest watchmakers and it is interesting to see how the brand resonates through the world of making and manufacturing jewellery,”
“...the Middle Eastern customer... has a great sense of appreciation for refinement and for extraordinary, one-off creations.”
says Flohr. “It was much harder of course a few years ago, when we tapped on the doors of the workshops but still had various products under licence. It has taken so long to clean up that legacy of licences.” There is one legacy of the brand, though, that Flohr is determined never to forget: the intricate genius of Carl Fabergé, who created the great works of art that enchanted Europe and pre-revolution Russia. “It is very hard to find jewels with this attention to elaborate detail and that is what we want to continue,” says Flohr. “We try to do what we believe Fabergé would be creating today.”
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10 Questions with Eva Longoria Actress, producer and philanthropist, Eva Longoria, 38, sat down with Global Citizen on a recent trip to Dubai ahead of her Global Gift Gala charity event, which raised more than $350,000 for the Noor Dubai initiative By Natasha Tourish
It’s the first edition of the Global Gift Gala (GGG) in the Middle East. Why did the Global Gift Foundation choose Dubai to host their fundraiser? We’ve got a lot of friends in Dubai who have been asking us for a while to come here. The foundation is partnering with Noor Dubai, whose main goal is to raise money to treat preventable forms of blindness. How has your own Eva Longoria Foundation benefitted from being part of GGG? We’ve been able to raise a lot of funds to help Latino women and children, especially to get women college degrees and good jobs. The gala has raised money all over the world to help us achieve our goals. Ricky Martin is being honoured by GGG for his efforts, Will this be a special moment for you as he is a good friend? Ricky is someone I have admired and respected for a long time. His foundation [the Ricky Martin Foundation] is working endlessly in countries like Thailand to prevent young children from being forced into prostitution. I just wish everyone could have the chance to sit down with Ricky and talk to him for 10 minutes - he is so inspirational. Your elder sister Elizabeth was born with a mental disability, which is what you say instilled that sense of giving in you. Would you still be involved in charity work without the fame? You do not need to be a celebrity or wealthy or famous to be a humanitarian or to make a difference to someone’s life. We can all do it in our own way, it’s just about being willing to help and recognising when someone else is in need. It is our responsibility as global citizens. How do you deal with the paradox between your two worlds? One day you’re on a field with immigrant farmers, the next on a red carpet with Victoria Beckham? I don’t think it is a paradox. They go hand in hand and do not pull against each other. My platform and my celebrity bring light
and awareness to the causes and charities that mean a lot to me. It is fun to do what I do in acting but it is also necessary to do what I do in philanthropy. My life is definitely a big spectrum but I come from a very humble family and beginnings so it is not shocking for me to get down and dirty. You campaigned for Barack Obama in both elections and he selected you as a commissioner to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission. Do you intend to campaign for Hilary Clinton if she runs? I would love to see a female president but I think we have to focus on the president we have instead of looking at elections that are three years down the road. We need to support the initiatives that are happening right now in our country and show our support for the president we have. You have just finished your masters in chicano [Latin] studies and political science. Would you ever consider going into politics? No, I don’t want to be political. I think you can participate in the political process as a citizen. That is the most powerful position in the political process. So you don’t intend to use your masters? No, that was just for me! In terms of acting, will we be seeing you on our screens this year? I produce a show called Devious Maids, which is doing really well in the States and has just started in Europe. I’m directing the first episode of the next season this month and producing eight TV shows so I’m really just behind the camera right now. Besides Global Gift fundraisers, what philanthropic projects have you in the pipeline in the next few months? I was just in New York promoting a philanthropy book with Howard Buffett called 40 Chances. We will both be going to central America and Mexico for our second trip to help farm workers there. I am constantly working on my own foundation and Eva’s Heroes [special needs charity] - it is non-stop.
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Images courtesy of John Lobb and Cheaney Shoes
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A very British shoo-in It may be a far cry from its heyday 30 years ago but the British shoe industry has regained its stride By Gemma Champ
ou would never know now that the British shoe industry almost collapsed a few years ago. As international shoppers today clamour for benchmade brogues and wait half a year for handcrafted Oxfords to go with their Savile Row suits and Jermyn Street shirts, it feels like boom time again for the cordwainers and cobblers of the UK. It marks quite a change. A couple of decades ago, the industry, mostly based in Northampton, faced catastrophe as brands began to outsource to the Far East, chasing higher margins. Jobs were lost, apprentice programmes closed, and quality and enthusiasm dwindled. Then, in 1999, Prada made a surprise acquisition: it bought Church and Company, one of the oldest shoe manufacturers in the UK and already the subject of interest from Tod’s president and chief executive Diego Della Valle. The Italians – makers of some of the world’s best shoes – were suddenly interested in British footwear and this traditional, old-fashioned industry began to acquire a luxurious, fashionable sheen. “If you look at the few of us that are left, we are all operating at the top end of the spectrum,” says William Church. Together with his cousin Jonathan Church, he bought the 128-year-old brand Joseph Cheaney & Sons in 2009, which had already been run under the umbrella of the Church Group since 1966. “Obviously over 30 years, the industry is a shadow of what it was and a huge amount of jobs have been lost, but that has now distilled itself down to the top end. “It is a more resilient area of the market to compete in and we are export-led, so we have got a diversified market structure out there.”
The stalwart brands still made in Northampton, including names such as Cheaney, Crockett & Jones, Grenson, Trickers and Edward Green, are of course known for their Goodyear welting technique. Named after the 19th century innovator Charles Goodyear, who came up with a method of creating shoes which could be resoled repeatedly and last for decades, it gives British shoes their trademark appearance and reputation for quality – a factor which grew in importance following the recession and focused shoppers’ minds on tradition and craftsmanship. “There are a lot of people who had turned away from it historically and are coming back to it, so the interest is there for the heritage,” says Church, whose Cheaney factory has barely changed since 1896 (the brand was founded in 1886.) “With that comes a confidence for us, because we’ve been around so long. Buying into the ‘made in England’ tag, there is a certainty that it is made by skilled craftspeople. And there are people who are perhaps buying welted for the first time in their lives and want to understand what they are getting for that.” Unlike the thin soles and slender profile of most Italian shoes (excepting Salvatore Ferragamo, which uses an adaptation of Goodyear welting, executed on elderly British machinery), a Northampton brogue is solid, honest and a shoe that can last for decades. “Obviously a Goodyear-welted shoe can be repaired many times,” says Dean Girling, one half of the new generation bespoke shoe firm Gaziano & Girling. “My father had shoes for 25 years plus. A lot of the thin-soled, Blake-stitched Italian shoes are only for fair weather, in my opinion. They can’t withstand the streets of New York or London.” Girling and his partner Tony Gaziano met while working for
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the bespoke shoemaker George Cleverley. In 2006, following a period in which Gaziano, a designer and pattern-cutter, worked for Edward Green, Girling suggested that the pair combine forces to create a brand. By 2009, they had their own shoe factory in Kettering, Northamptonshire, producing benchmade shoes. In spite of the global financial crisis, the two felt confident enough to launch a best-of-the-best, ready to wear collection to complement the bespoke business. The key to their success is surely their distinctive, sleek aesthetic, which combines the slim elegance of European shoes with the superb construction of British footwear. “When we looked at the Northamptonshire industry, the companies that were left seemed a bit starchy, making bogstandard brogues, and we wanted to bring to the marketplace a classic shoe with a contemporary twist – with a sharper last, a pitched heel and a fiddle-back waist,” says Girling. A fully bespoke shoe from Gaziano & Girling, which can take up to six months to produce, starts at about Dh17,400 ($4,737). It is no small undertaking but those who are familiar with the process of ordering bespoke shoes from the likes of John Lobb will understand the appeal – especially once the last (the hand-carved wooden block, in the exact shape of the client’s foot, upon which the shoe is moulded) has been made. “Everybody in the world wants to have a bespoke handmade
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pair of shoes, without exception probably,” asserts John Hunter Lobb, the present director of John Lobb (as distinct from the Hermès-owned John Lobb Paris, which originated in the same company). “Not many people can afford it, not many people have the time to spend on it, because it is a bit of a thing to have your foot measured and then wait six months and come for fittings and so on.” For Lobb, it is the human touch that still makes a pair of his bespoke shoes, made in St James’s in London, worthwhile – in spite of computer-aided design techniques (CAD). “CAD is something we have been looking at for the last 10 years but it does not actually do quite the same job as a handmade last,” he says. “You can fiddle around these computers, digitising and what-have-you, and in the end you might as well have done it all by hand from the start.” The techniques for Lobb have barely changed, whatever the customer is looking for (and he will make anything required, he says). “My great-grandfather would feel quite at home if he walked in today. The lasts are being made by hand, the uppers are being closed by hand, the shoes are being put together by hand entirely. And the thing we pride ourselves on is doing exactly what a customer wants, no matter what,” he says. “Every pair we make is unique in some way or another.”
Images courtesy of John Lobb and Cheaney Shoes
J O I N T H E B R I T I S H P O L O DAY A RO U N D T H E WO R L D As British Cavalry Officers travelled the four corners of the earth, they learnt to play and love polo, spreading the game from Argentina to Australia. Polo is thriving everywhere it is played. British Polo Day celebrates the heritage of the game in each country, reviving some of the old rivalries whilst bridging cultures, in a quintessentially British Day.
22nd March 2014
28th March 2014
19th April 2014
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21st June 2014
26st July 2014
13th September 2014
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Image courtesy of Gettyimages
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I’M JUST MARCO
We caught up with celebrity chef Marco Pierre White in Dubai and got an extra helping of honesty as he talked about life, love, family and his stellar career By Tahira Yaqoob
can’t take my eyes off Marco Pierre White’s shoulder. Balanced on it is my dictaphone, which he wedged between his shoulder blade and neck when I murmured something about making sure I caught every word, glinting fiercely every time it catches the light. It remains on its uncomfortable perch for the next hour-and-a-half while we talk about everything from his childhood on a deprived council estate in Britain, to family relationships, to the path of self-discovery he has been on since retiring from the kitchen in 1999 and handing back his three Michelin stars. The dictaphone is one of those eccentricities which have come to define White. There are few people who have not already formed an opinion about him, whether it is based on one of the many epithets trotted out every time he is mentioned (“volatile”, “hot-headed enfant terrible of the kitchen”, “temperamental”) or his reputation in the kitchen (White famously reduced his protégé Gordon Ramsay to tears while stories abound of him throwing out customers who objected to his food and even slashing the clothes of a chef who complained about the heat). Does it annoy him that so many have preconceived notions of who he is? “You should never judge me by the illusions around me,” he says, sparking up another Marlboro Red on the terrace of his eponymous restaurant in Dubai. “Judge me by who I am.” White, 52, is in town to check on his latest opening, the Marco Pierre White Grill in the Conrad Dubai hotel. It is his third trip in 10 months - he also has a hand in Wheelers of St James’ in DIFC as well as another grill restaurant in Abu Dhabi and Frankie’s, the chain he launched with jockey Frankie Dettori, although the ill-fated Titanic in the Melia Dubai hotel did not run the course - and it is clear he is as much in thrall to the UAE as it is obsessed with him. “The only way to describe Abu Dhabi and Dubai is mesmerising,” he says. “It is a mirage - but it is real. Every time I come, it changes again. I don’t know another place on earth where you get such quality of life.”
White has just returned from the spice souq and fish market, where he was fascinated to see seafood “stacked beautifully, almost like a dry stone brick wall in Yorkshire. It was just extraordinary.” It is his childhood in Yorkshire to which he returns time and again, lingering over memories which shaped his palate and still influence his decisions today. He came from three generations of chefs and was brought up in poverty-stricken post-war Britain, growing up on a council estate on the outskirts of Leeds. His father, English cook Frank White, met his Italian mother Maria-Rosa Gallina while playing cards in the Griffin Hotel and had four children with her but Gallina’s life was cut tragically short when she died of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 38, a fortnight after giving birth to her youngest, Craig. White was just six at the time and her death left a profound impact on him. “If it was not for my mother’s death, none of these opportunities would have been given to my children because their father came from the most humble side of society. “My mother’s death was the catalyst for their father being so insecure and stripped of all his securities, being treated badly because he had an Italian mother and an Italian name. I never felt accepted as a boy because I came from that world.” But it took him years to confront his demons. At 16, he left Yorkshire for London armed with only “£7.36, a box of books and a bag of clothes” and began training as a commis chef under Albert and Michel Roux in Le Gavroche. He went on to work under Raymond Blanc, Pierre Koffman and Nico Ladenis before opening his own restaurant in 1987, the first of many. It did not take him long to impress his peers. At 33, he became the first British chef to be awarded three Michelin stars. White buried himself in work, often doing 100-hour weeks and accumulating professional accolades - but personal happiness eluded him. “When you work in a restaurant kitchen like I did for 22 years, six or seven days a week, you become institutionalised,” he says.
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“All your energies go into your food, your restaurant, your staff, and very little into yourself.” So 15 years ago, he decided to quit the kitchen and hand back his Michelin stars to pursue a question which had been plaguing him since he was 31: who had his mother been? “My father had programmed me to be like he was and that was fine from 16 until 31,” says White. “It had taken me through life and the insecurities within me were the fuel to drive and push myself to realise my dream. I did what I did, not for fame, but acceptance. “I wrote every single memory I had of my mother and dissected them..then I realised for the first time in my life I was my mother’s son.” He began, he says, to understand himself by “putting myself in nature” and returning to the countryside he remembered as a child, where he still loves to fish, stalk deer and plant orchards filled with hundreds of pear trees. “Since I retired from the stove full-time,” he says, “it has allowed me to invest in myself and my [four] children and my family, to discover myself.” But White is a long way from resting on his laurels. He has
Marco Pierre White with his new team at the Conrad Hotel, Dubai 58 Jan / Feb 2014
carved a successful career as a restauranteur and a TV chef with a string of restaurants across the UK, the UAE, and even on cruise ships, several cookbooks and appearances on shows ranging from Hell’s Kitchen to Marco Pierre White’s Kitchen Wars. Has he laid his demons to rest? It is not entirely clear but with three marriages behind him and an on-off relationship (he won’t be drawn on it but celebrity websites have linked him to actress Emilia Fox) he seems to be more content and at peace, certainly more reflective and thoughtful than pugilistic. “I’m just Marco,” he says simply. “It is not a brand, it is a name, the name my mother gave me and [one] I am very proud of. “My mother and father brought me into this world to better myself as a person, not to be successful in whatever form you want to label me. “I don’t have a job really apart from being myself. I crave ordinary and normality.” And in the countryside amid the pear trees, where he loves cooking in private for friends and family, it looks like he might have found it.
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THE ROAD TO LUXURY The supercar club that holds the keys to an exclusive lifestyle By Hisham Wyne
n enthusiastic motorist and serial entrepreneur, Chirag Shah was keen to sign up to a supercar club. But instead of joining Écurie25 as a member, he ended up buying the club outright. “I was introduced to Écurie25 years ago both as a business I might be interested in investing in and a supercar club I might want to be a member of,” he recalls. “And because I had looked at joining as a member, I understood the market it served and its benefits.” Those perks are manifold for its 25 newest members in Dubai - there are 11 branches around the world but it has just launched here in the UAE - who have their pick of a fleet of coveted luxury cars, from a Lamborghini Aventador and McLaren MP4-12C Spider to a Ferrari 458 Spider and an Aston Martin Vanquish. For fees which begin at Dh4,500 a month, members earn points which they can redeem against up to an average of 30 days behind the wheel of Écurie25’s super cars. Higher fees mean more points but there is no timeshare deal or fractional ownership. Instead, members are buying time and access to sought-after cars.
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But Shah believes it does not stop there and is keen to promote Écurie25 as a lifestyle club as much as one for supercar aficionados. That means organising days out where members drive in a group along a planned route, stopping to swap cars at various points, and celebrating the experience with cigar nights, cognac tastings and golfing expeditions. The club also has two yachts docked in Dubai Marina and offers days on board in exchange for points. “What ties everyone together is the love of cars and boats,” says Shah. “I have known for years this region was right for our club but we had to wait for the right time to make that move. “There is a buzz about this place that isn’t seen anywhere else. What we have to offer our members fits in perfectly with their lifestyles in the UAE.” Écurie25 began life in a London warehouse in 2005. It was not an entirely original concept; members’ clubs offering shares or access to yachts, cars, planes and luxury holiday homes have sprung up around the globe in recent years. It survived the recession when its original founders were
looking for investment in 2008 and were bought out by Shah. He had just sold off a successful software start-up and was looking for opportunities closer to his training as an automotive engineer and his passion for motoring. Rather than investing in Écurie25, Shah bought the club wholesale. The first branch outside the UK opened the following year and when the Dubai club opened in November last year, Shah relocated to the city with his family. The company executive believes Écurie25’s model appeals across the board to high net worth individuals. First, there’s the opportunity to enjoy supercars and yachts around the world, in any location where there is a branch, without the constant outlay of maintenance and berthing. Exotic assets tend to require substantial upkeep, depreciate very rapidly and are often underutilised. It offers members all the social perks of these assets without the responsibility of ownership.
“There is a buzz about this place that isn’t seen anywhere else. What we have to offer our members fits in perfectly with their lifestyles in the UAE.”
Chirag Shah, owner of Écurie25
Its other attraction is a vehicle owner’s plan, which gives members who own supercars the opportunity to hire them out for club use when they do not need them. “It is beneficial for both parties,” says Shah. “For the club, it works well because we do not need to borrow money from a bank to buy our own assets. In return, we maintain these assets and offer owners income from their use.” Joining any of the Écurie25 clubs worldwide entitles members to benefits wherever they exist - so a Dubai member could use his or her points to pick up a Lamborghini in Milan for a few days or drive a Ferrari around London for a weekend. With plans to cap membership at 150, there is also the promise of exclusivity. Steve Hamilton Clark, chief executive of custom market research organisation TNS MENA, was one of the
first to sign up: “I like being at the forefront of new things and ideas,” he says. “ I also like being able to drive a variety of supercars any time I want without having to be tied down to any particular one.” It might be early days, but Shah already sees opportunities to expand Écurie25’s offerings into hospitality for affluent visitors. “We are thinking about Expo 2020 and the influx of visitors it will bring to the region,” he says. “And we’re looking to expand Écurie25’s lifestyle elements to offer certain services to high net worth visitors. That could include temporary memberships that would allow them to experience luxury apartments, concierge services, tickets for shows and events, with a car in the driveway along with a chauffeur. “You really cannot buy this sort of networking.”
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Millionaire Migrants The rising trend in business migration amongst the super wealthy - a billion dollar industry that props up ailing economies in Europe, North America and the Caribbean - will be the subject of a new WEF report
ore and more wealthy migrants are investing in a second passport or even multiple passports via immigrant investment programs (IIPs). The reasons vary from millionaire to millionaire but the most common is because his/her current passport/nationality restricts mobility, while others are in search of lower taxes and a better education system for their children. Regardless of the reasons, the fact is that the wealthy are on the move and it’s big business for countries to issue passports in exchange for hefty investments. But are countries simply selling passports in return for money or do these investors contribute much more to the economy by generating employment and creating an eco-system for entrepreneurship? This will be the subject of a new report by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Migration, in collaboration with Arton Capital, a global immigrant advisory firm, according to Dr Khalid Koser, who is the Global Agenda Council chairman. The report will also examine the growing trend among the wealthy to shop around for passports or, as Wealth-X has dubbed it, “jurisdiction shopping” for the wealthy. Why has WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Migration decided to join forces with Arton Capital to produce this research report on trends in the immigrant investment industry? For the past two years we’re been pursuing a pretty targeted strategy which is to look at the intersection between business and government on migration and migration policy. I was in Abu Dhabi during the WEF and had a meeting with Arton Capital’s President and CEO Armand Arton. The work which his company
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global comparative picture, which is what we want to develop here.
Dr Khalid Koser
does fits our strategy but is appealing to me beyond that for three reasons; one is that it has a global perspective and reach, and a second is that it’s a business which is run by migrants, which I think is very important because we are a global agenda council for migration, so the focus should be on migrants and entrepreneurs. Thirdly, we wanted to be more innovative as a council. This is a good example of how we might support new ideas. How will this joint report differ from other research carried out previously on the immigrant investment industry? There have been one or two studies that have looked at specific countries: What’s the impact? How many people have arrived? What’s the impact of investments on the local economy - whether positive or negative? However, there haven’t been any comparative studies done. If we can look across a range of countries that are involved in this industry such as Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Bulgaria and the newly opened Malta, in each of which policies differ, we can compare the impact of investment, then we can get a bigger
What findings do you expect to arise from this study? There are a few issues that we expect to arise. The first is that different countries clearly have different policies, for example the amount of money that investors must contribute. Obviously these investors can afford to shop around so one interesting question will be to what extent policy influences their choice of country/ programme. A second issue is the economic impact that these investments have on each country. Some countries have been accused of simply selling passports and there may be a body of evidence to prove this is true of some, but for others, there’s a belief that investors contribute far beyond their initial investment by generating employment and entrepreneurship in these countries. How broad a reach will this report have? Our ambition is to carry out a largescale comparative in-depth study with interviews and questionnaires covering at least eight to10 key countries around the world including Europe, North America and the Caribbean - the countries that offer economic citizenship programmes. The report will be released at this year’s Global Citizen Forum in October in Toronto. www.globalcitizenforum.org
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Seize the opportunity today, for future generations to shine tomorrow. Whether your clients are seeking permanent residency, citizenship or global mobility, discover how our exclusive Certified Partner Network can offer them an unparalleled range of innovative, bespoke Global Citizen investment programs and services. Because together, we can ensure that they have everything they need to make the world a better place not just for themselves, but for all of us, for generations to come. Join our Certified Partner Network and discover the benefits. + 971 4 319 7665 | inFo@artoncapital.com artoncapital.com | toronto | montreal | paris | london | BUdapest | soFia | istanBUl | BeirUt | dUBai | JoHannesBUrG | cape toWn | BeiJinG
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 (AMF) and is recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Finance as an International Financial Center (IFC).
EU open doors s European governments struggle to find innovative ways to fill in their bourgeoning deficits, they are increasingly opening the doors to wealthy foreign nationals seeking second residence and citizenships in return for direct investments. Several European countries offer citizenship in return for large sums in investments but each come with a different set of criteria. Countries like the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal tend to be more restrictive, requiring physical residency and knowledge of their native language before citizenship is ever granted. However, as EU economies continue to dwindle and competition between the countries that offer immigrant investor programs heats up, the allure of affluent Chinese, Russian and Gulf investors is resulting in an expedited path to EU citizenship. Cyprus is a prime example. It was sink or swim for Cyprus after the country’s financial meltdown in 2012 steered it towards bankruptcy, so as a means of injecting cash into its weakened economy it offered citizenship through a ‘fast track scheme’ to foreigners who were willing to plow at least €10 million in direct investment into the country. However, by April last year, as the economic situation worsened due to the banking collapse, and as a way of offering an olive branch to the hundreds of foreign investors (mainly Russians) who lost €3 million or more in Cypriot banks, the country’s President Nikos Anastasiades said he would grant residency to foreigners for as little as
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€300,000. The Chinese were quick to react to Cyprus’s new offer by snapping up prime real estate - pushing property prices up on the island. “Cyprus is already booming with Chinese investors,” says Nikolas Michalias, a property valuer at G&P Lazarou in Cyprus who spends half the year in China promoting fast-track visas tied to real estate investments. “Every
day there are more than 20 Chinese nationals landing in Cyprus to search for property.” Under the new citizenship by investment scheme, Cyprus now grants full EU citizenship within just three to four months - making it one of the most attractive programmes in an already overcrowded EU market - but it’s the freedom of movement that really resonates with foreign investors. The passport holder is entitled to live and do business in any of the EU states, as well as having visa free access to Canada. Under the new programme, investors who want to retain their liquidity for
investments elsewhere in Cyprus or Europe can opt for a financing option on the required investment of €5 million, lowering their cost to under €900,000 including a €500,000 investment in property. Global financial advisory firm Arton Capital which specialises in immigrant investment programmes for ultra high net worth clients, has been advising the Cypriot government on ways to make the programme even more competitive and attractive to wealthy investors. “We decided that we needed to have a team on the ground in Cyprus to handle any citizenship or real estate enquiries we get, so we joined forces with one of the most prominent law firms in Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos & Associates,” says Armand Arton, President and CEO of Arton Capital. “The law firm will complete all banking transactions necessary to complete the fast track citizenship process in the most hassle free way possible within less than three to four months.” Malta also planned to sell citizenships at an even lower cost in a bid to edge out its competitors but their plans provoked public outrage and as a result the programme will be debated in EU parliament in January. In the meantime however, the Maltese government has made amendments to the bill, which has meant the cost of the programme has rocketed to €1.15 million, with an additional €500,000 required in property, bonds and shares on the island.
Image courtesy of Gettyimages
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Obtain Cypriot Residence and Citizenship in 3 months*. Whether you are seeking permanent residence, citizenship or global mobility, discover how the Investor Program for Residence and Citizenship in Cyprus can help you secure the benefits for generations to come. Contact us to find out more about the program specifics, investment requirements and financing options. Become a Global Citizen™ + 971 4 319 7665 | inFo@artoncapital.com artoncapital.com | toronto | montreal | paris | london | BUdapest | soFia | istanBUl | BeirUt | dUBai | JoHannesBUrG | cape toWn | BeiJinG
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BUENA VIDA CUBANO The Buena Vista Social Club put Cuba on the international map with its throwback to the Caribbean country’s golden age. GC talks to one of its leading lights about keeping the music alive
brahim Ferrer was shining shoes on the streets of Havana when he was plucked from obscurity by American guitarist Ry Cooder and thrust into the international spotlight. His melodic boleros and sons (a mixture of Spanish guitar, African drums and percussion) formed the backbone of the reformed Buena Vista Social Club after Cooder’s intervention, a tale which has now become the stuff of legend. More than eight years after his death, his son Ibrahim Ferrer Junior is now fulfilling his promise to keep alive the ethos and sounds of Cuba’s golden musical age of the 1930s and 1940s, when his father was first starting out as a musician. Like his father, Ferrer sings songs which hark back to a time when the streets of Havana first pulsed to the beat of the mambo, pachanga and cha-cha-cha. Then, few people outside Cuba knew the magic of irresistible foot-tapping beats and haunting melodies like Dos Gardenias and El Cuarto de Tula. It was the reunion of the club’s original musicians in 1997 for Cooder’s album, which went platinum, and a subsequent Oscar-nominated documentary about the troupe, both called Buena Vista Social Club, which catapulted them to international fame. Many of the reformed Buena Vista Social Club have since died but it is down to the next generation of musicians, like Ferrer, to keep the torch burning. At the newly-opened Latin American supper club Izel in the Conrad Dubai hotel, where he is performing for the first of a series of gigs over the coming year, the 56-year-old singer says: “I feel it is almost an obligation to carry on playing traditional sounds that were played in the fields and farms and mountains, a tradition of music that was brought to the masses by Buena Vista Social Club. “Cuban music has built the biggest bridge in the world. My father was not the principal creator of that bridge but like many others, he put his stone in that bridge. He was a grain of sand of Cuban musicians that will make a beach one day. “I consider myself to be carrying the flame as a cultural ambassador.” In its heyday, the original Buena Vista Social Club was a thriving members’ club in Havana, bringing together
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musicians and music-lovers for a series of dances and concerts. Ibrahim Ferrer senior, who was born at a social club dance in 1927, began singing at 14 and was well-established by the 1950s. After Fidel Castro ousted ruling president Fulgencio Batista and instigated the 1959 Cuban revolution, music halls and nightclubs associated with Havana’s former hedonism were shut down. Among them was the Buena Vista Social Club and as salsa and pop music took over in popularity it soon fell by the wayside, while many of its musicians found themselves out of work. But they still performed in their own homes. Ferrer Junior, one of six siblings, recalls growing up in a “very happy and musical household.” “Music was always present,” he says. “We would have family gatherings and sing and play instruments. That was our way of keeping it alive.” It was a collaboration between Cuban musician Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and Cooder, who had travelled to Cuba to work with some of its musical stars, which brought them into the limelight once again. The subsequent album featuring classics and original compositions was a surprise hit, selling more than five million copies worldwide and winning a Grammy in 1998. Together with Wim Wenders’ Oscar-nominated documentary on the musicians in 1999, it sparked a revival of interest in Cuban music. Ferrer Junior came late to the game at the age of 42 after his father insisted his children should not pursue music as a career. “My father pushed me away from singing,” he says. “He wanted us to finish university degrees and have what he called a normal life, so I was a sailing engineer on merchant ships for 25 years.” It was when his ship Blue West was blockaded in Iran for a year that he finally persuaded his father to let him perform. He sings with the three surviving members of the original club, who have forged links with other musicians and still go on tour, but even the so-called new generation are in their 60s and 70s, sparking fears about the long-term future of Buena Vista. “The feeling will never be the same as it was with the founding fathers, but it will always exist,” says Ferrer. “I pray we can bring it back to the golden age.”
Images courtesy of Gettyimages
By Tahira Yaqoob
Top: Ibrahim Ferrer Snr and Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social in Havana Below: Today, Ibrahim Ferrer Jnr keeps the Cuban musical tradition alive
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Creative Rebel Maximilian Büsser on keeping his unconventional watch brand MB&F pure By Natasha Tourish
aximilian Büsser spent 22 years bound by the conventions of the traditional haute horlogerie industry. The Swiss-born entrepreneur started out with Jaeger-LeCoultre as an engineer and climbed through the ranks to become managing director for Harry Winston, where his passion for rare timepieces really took hook with him starting the Opus line, until he finally created his own unique brand in 2005: MB&F. While it’s an unusual name for a brand, it entirely explains the concept and genius behind the manufacturing of it. The brand’s acronym stands for Max Büsser and friends because Büsser partners with various independent watchmakers, artisans and specialists to create his timepieces, which he refers to as “horological machines.” Each of his movements celebrates a level of technical and artistic complexity that is rarely seen in modern day watchmaking, earning Büsser a reputation as an innovator and creative genius, always plotting his creations at least five to six years in advance (currently he is working on a machine that will be released in
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2018 or 2019.) Although the artistic design and complexity cannot be denied, MB&F’s outlandish pieces are not to everyone’s tastes, something the founder relishes, according to Charris Yadigaroglou, Büsser’s right hand man and chief communications officer: “Max says if everyone likes what we’re doing then we’re doing something wrong and should stop.” Openly criticising his industry for producing “boring” products with the exception of a few small independent watchmakers such as Urwerk, it is clear Büsser saw himself as a visionary, even when he was fresh out of engineering college. “When I first got into the watch business 22 years ago, my whole industry was virtually bankrupt. All of the big brands that you see today that are making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and profits were microscopic companies trying to survive back then. We were the creative rebels trying to save something that seemed unsalvageable.” However, for a man who claims he got into the industry more than two decades ago “to save it” from the depths of bankruptcy,
Büsser is not doing much to financially support it today. MB&F has a profit margin of zero and Büsser says he has no intention of ever making money from the brand. “Every cent that is made is reinvested into the company, which allows us to be able to continually create.” That is something Büsser considers part and parcel of MB&F’s DNA. He points out creativity has two main enemies; its number one is market research. “The minute you start asking people what they want, you never create anything,” he says over the phone from his home in Geneva. “Second is shareholder value. If you have shareholders, they will always be risk-averse and naturally they will want to maximise their profits so you can never take any creative risks and that’s why all the big companies create such boring products.” Büsser is fiercely protective over his brand’s independence, with the exception of giving his technical director 20 per cent of the company because he showed him great loyalty in the beginning and is the best in the industry, according to Büsser. But he says he steers clear of investors, adding: “MB&F will always remain completely pure.” However, the 47-year-old innovator concedes he has plans to start a second brand that will be “purely commercial” in the near future. Büsser may practice modesty when it comes to making money but in every other aspect of his life he makes up for it. His fanatical appreciation for technologically-advanced horological machines can at times be overwhelming. He even got himself into hot water with some of the Swiss watch industry’s
heavyweights when he started to list each of the friends associated with MB&F on his website so they too would gain recognition for the brand’s bold creations, something he says was taboo in the industry until then. “When I first decided to name our friends on our website, I got phone calls from people in the industry telling me that I couldn’t do this. They said: ‘Are you crazy? This isn’t how things are done.’ I said: ‘Why not?’” These specialist watchmakers who Büsser refers to as friends of his brand’s name are scattered all over Switzerland and work remotely to provide specialist parts and assistance to his in-house team of just 14, which includes five master watchmakers, who assemble each of the complex watches in the MB&F factory in Geneva. “The truth is that most big brands in Switzerland use these same specialists as well but they don’t like to publicise the fact. I have no problem with it. I believe they deserve recognition for playing a huge part in the process,” explains Büsser. MB&F usually comes out with one new movement each year but this year they will release two— the first in May followed by another in October, which Yadigaroglou describes as “the most crazy creation” they have done to date. Yadigaroglou was in Dubai recently to showcase MB&F’s latest offering, the Legacy Machine 1 (LM1), which is a step in a more modest direction compared to previous mechanisms. However, the timepiece still has innovation at its core. In the middle of the watch is a balance wheel on top of the two dials, with a first-of-its-kind vertical power reserve (a three-dimensional movement consisting of 279 components and 23 jewels).
L-R Megawind and Legacy Machine 1 (LM1)
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11 Football Table
A football table so stylish, it could be an art installation. This award-winning design was first showcased at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2008 and is currently in limited production. The curves mimic the lines of modern stadiums. The players, whose numbered jerseys remain illuminated throughout the match, are made from brushed chrome. The next best thing to owning your own team. $66,600 www.11thegame.com
Buben & Zorweg Titan Safe
Because no ordinary contraption should house your Pateks and Rolexes, Buben & Zorweg presents a safe that is as beautiful as your precious timepieces. It holds 32 watches and includes two storage drawers for additional jewellery, an optional humidor, a remote open and closing system and the latest in LED technology. The free-form chassis with high gloss varnish comes in several finishes including James Bondâ€™s favourite, the Aston Martin colour quantum silver. From $155,000 www.buben-zorweg.com
Stealth-X by Snolo
No childâ€™s toy, this sled is built for serious adult fun. With a seated positioning similar to a racecar, it has steering ability and major speed. It is capable of going in excess of 65 km/h (40 mph) but can also be manoeuvered to stop in much the same manner as a snowboard using feet and body positioning. This contraption will leave your winter travel companions trailing in the snow. $2,549 www.snolosleds.com
Beolab 19 by Bang & Olufsen
Plato believed that the dodecahedron was the model the gods used to construct the constellations. B & O is using the three-dimensional, 12-sided shape to showcase their new wireless speaker. Wherever you place the object, a shifting of its position will tailor the music to spread perfect sound waves evenly throughout the room, as if the tune was being transported in the ether. $3,395 www.bang-olufsen.com
Fit for Royalty Bentley’s new 2014 Flying Spur is a smoother ride
t’s become the sedan of choice for the young British royals. Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have been spotted being ferried to their various engagements in this car, which comes complete with bulletproof glass and protective steel armour costing a reported $400,000. The new look 2014 Bentley Flying Spur is only 110 pounds lighter than its predecessor but is able to reach speeds of 200mph and, as expected from the high-end British car maker, it hosts a bevy of luxuries, including wi-fi internet, back seat TVs, handcrafted walnut wood interiors and leather seats with climate control adjustments and massage capabilities. With an extra 100 lb-ft coursing through its Pirelli P Zeros, accelerating from zero to 60 mph takes just 4.1 seconds. The front and rear air springs are up to 13 per cent softer than that of the outgoing model while the new model’s front and rear anti-roll bars are also less stiff, resulting in a much smoother ride, an added benefit for buyers in emerging markets where road infrastructure isn’t as developed. A new exhaust system and full-length acoustical shielding also
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makes the car 40 per cent quieter than its predecessor. The overall width is unchanged but the front track is 2cm wider and the rear grows by nearly 3.6cm. The front fenders feature a striking new wing vent complete with an elegant Bentley B motif. From here, an additional feature line forms a sharply defined edge running from the front wheel all the way to the rear bumper, underlining the shape’s dynamic character.
Technical Specifications Top speed: 200 mph Engine: twin-turbocharged DOHC 48-valve W-12, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection Power: 616 hp @ 6000 rpm Torque: 590 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm Performance: Zero to 60 mph: 4.1 sec Starting Price: $254,000
Classic Sailing The Scheherazade effortlessly combines the tradition of old-fashioned craftsmanship with futuristic technologies
amed after the famous enchantress and narrator of the Arabian Nights, this stunning vessel designed by Bruce King of Newcastle, with interiors by Andrew Winch, is the most technologically-advanced Hodgdon Yachts has ever built and at more than 154ft (47m), the largest sailboat currently in the United States. The Scheherazade is made entirely of wood, a considerable aesthetic and engineering challenge. King and his team needed to inspect every section of wood, every joint and junction. But by
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adhering to this traditional method and straying from the futuristic trend of todayâ€™s yachts, the Scheherezade retains a softness and elegance in her gleaming navy hull and teak decks. Thatâ€™s not to say the yacht is not technologically equipped. The 17 computers on board control all aspects of the boatâ€™s systems, including pumps, hydraulics, and the sail handling system, as well as the engine and the electrical system. The crew had to travel to Holland, where the system was developed, to learn more about operating and installing the new technology.
The Scheherazadeâ€™s saloon, with its numerous overhead ports and hatches, creates an atrium-like atmosphere in the main living space. The pilothouseâ€™s dining area offers a panoramic view of the seas. The side windows have also been lowered so guests can have a clear view of the beauty around them. The master suite, a beautifully appointed multi-cabin apartment, has a king-size bed, a built-in sofa, his and hers marble bathrooms and a staircase leading directly onto the private deck sitting area. Two ensuite cabins can be used as offices or libraries. Moving forward from the yachtâ€™s main saloon, there are two identical twin staterooms with ample beds and ensuite bathrooms. The yacht proudly displays the meticulous attention to detail used in its craftsmanship. Custom furniture features harlequin book panels in the unique grained European fiddleback sycamore
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(typically used to make violins) finished in a soft taupe. More than 350 hand-carved seashells in walnut ornament the furniture. Handrails, countertops and the carving line are made of natural coloured walnut. Matching all these wooden elements posed another design challenge as most pieces of furniture are adjacent to each other and interwoven. Even more planning went into the practicalities, such as configuring electrical wires and pipes for water and gas behind the built-in pieces. But the end result is equally sumptuous and charming. Even the air conditioning friezes are adorned with painted carvings and delicate seahorses. A combination of classical elegance and modern amenities, this Scheherazade is guaranteed to keep you entertained for far longer than 1001 nights.
RISING CIGAR SALES GIVE SOMETHING TO CHOMP ON The cigarâ€™s popularity continues to grow attracting a younger and more global audience By Nausheen Noor
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Hand rolling cigars at Davidoffâ€™s factory in the Dominican Republic
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igars are famous for the powerful and influential men who have smoked them. Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud and Mark Twain (among many others) were all cigar aficionados. And while the picture of a grey-haired man, velour jacket and cravat, brandy snifter in one hand, cigar in the other, may have become something of a cultural cliché, cigars are now conquering a new frontier, appealing to a younger and more global audience. Similar to wine, coffee and chocolate, growing tobacco is dependent on climatic and soil conditions such as temperature, humidity, sunlight, all of which come into play when creating the distinct characteristics in tobacco leaves. Tobacco grown in different regions lends different notes; wood, blackberry, chocolate and coffee are all common characteristics. Cigars are created by blending different tobacco leaves to create particular bouquets. Master blenders at Davidoff, the Swiss luxury tobacco brand, created 355 test blends last year, only 10 of which went into production. The tobacco’s unpredictable growth cycle, combined with handcrafted blending and nuanced flavour profiles, have helped cigars find a new niche among young moneyed types. It is not just a luxury product, but has something of an esoteric appeal. It needs to be understood to be enjoyed, which only increases its cache. “It is clearly an elite product, but affordable still, not like buying a watch or a piece of jewellery. There is, of course, the banker who can afford to have one everyday and there is the individual who saves all week to enjoy one on a Saturday,” says Hans-Kristian
Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of Davidoff
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Hoejsgaard, the CEO of Davidoff. The tobacco industry has not had it easy in recent years with smoking bans, escalating prices and the global economic downturn. It is equally blamed and held accountable for a myriad of health risks. Still, as the global popularity of cigarettes has declined, the relative popularity of cigars has increased. In the global tobacco products market, cigars emerged as the leading growth driver in recent years. “The cigar has carved out that niche [as] a product of pleasure. You do not inhale a cigar, it’s something that you taste. I’m not going to say that it’s health risk-free. But since the average cigar smoker smokes less than five per week, it doesn’t even compare to the risks associated with smoking cigarettes,” says Hoejsgaard. And while the relative health risks are still debatable, the perception that the cigar is something to be savoured and enjoyed occasionally persists. This has attracted a new crop of cigar aficionados. Davidoff estimates 10 per cent of its clientele are now women. “We know women have a better palate than men, so there are some women who have gotten into it for purely a tasting reason,” says Hoejsgaard. Davidoff has now introduced women’s masterclasses. “The female cigar consumers are generally more informed than the men are, ” says Kim Krienke, the cigar sommelier at the Iris Lounge in the Oberoi Dubai. “They know what they want. Because cigars have always been seen as a male thing to do, women have taken it on, and if they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it right. I get a lot of women
“It is clearly an elite product, but affordable still, not like buying a watch or a piece of jewellery. There is of course the banker who can afford to have one everyday and there is the individual who saves all week to enjoy one on a Saturday.”
who come here with their own cigar cutters in their handbags,” she adds. Europe and North America continue to be the largest consumers of cigars, while Asia Pacific represents the fastest growing regional market worldwide. Cigar consumption is projected to rise at a compounded annual rate of 3.6 per cent in volume in the next year. Though it is widely known that Cuba and the Dominican Republic produce some of the finest cigars, the popularity of the product has expanded the trade to other countries in Central and South America, including Nicaragua, Mexico and Honduras. Indonesia and the Connecticut Valley in the US are some of the more unusual destinations for growing. In the UAE, cigar smoking seen as far more fun and hip than serious and refined. Cigars have been popping up in nightclubs and buzzing restaurants and are enjoyed by a younger audience. “This is the only place I’ve seen the more creative sommeliers pairing up cigars with a cocktail, wine, or even tea and coffee,” says Krienke. “Back in the day, the cigar lifestyle was associated with affluence and power. With a lot of young money on the market, now it’s definitely more of a trend thing.”
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Little Bites GC’s top pick for authentic Spanish tapas
TAPEO Following in the tradition of great department store food halls such as Le Bon Marché in Paris or Harrods in London, Dubai’s Lafayette Gourmet ranks highly. Tapeo serves reliable Spanish fare that is a welcome departure from other food court offerings. The counter seating next to the open kitchen is reminiscent of an authentic tapas experience, even if one isn’t in a charming boîte in Barcelona. The tortilla is cooked to order. The camarones, or shrimp with garlic, are reliably tender and flavoursome, as is octopus with potatoes. The ingredients, all imported from Spain, including Raf tomatoes, bomba rice and pimentón (paprika), are available for purchase in the market. Lafayette Gourmet, Galeries Lafayette, Dubai Mall +971 4 339 9933
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EL SUR A striking stainless steel sculpture of a bull-headed matador at the entrance to El Sur and tattooed muses from Gabriel Moreno set the tone for authentic Spanish cuisine with a decidedly contemporary twist. There are mains such as sea bream with cuttlefish sauce and mushroom ravioli with a manchego cheese foam, but the real treat is in picking a selection of tapas concocted by El Bulli-trained chef Juan Carlos and matching them with an inventive range of sangrias. A cheese plate features rarities such as a torta del casar from Extremadura on the Portuguese border; it takes a herd of sheep to produce just a kilo of this buttery delight. Be sure to try the meltingly-good ceviche with slivers of seabass marinated in citrus and guacamole and the intense apple foam married with a sweetly-rich foie gras. The Westin Mina Seyahi +971 4 399 3333
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*Editor’s dining Pick
SALERO There’s something about Salero that doesn’t quite fit in Dubai. Its hip decor with whitewashed panelling, honeycomb cement tiles and overhanging baskets exudes an inviting and casual vibe. The all-Spanish staff are welcoming and knowledgeable about the cuisine. All of this is a longed-for surprise in a city with a host of overly-similar, soulless dining options. The menu elegantly elevates classic tapas dishes while retaining their authenticity. The salted tuna contrasts beautifully with shaved apple and is topped with
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a herby, aromatic extra virgin olive oil. Pan con tomate arrives as a DIY dish with a perfect heirloom tomato. The star of the dessert menu is the torrijas, Spanish pain perdu with a crisp crust, custardy interior and kissed with the warmth of cinnamon. Kempinski, Mall of the Emirates +971 4 341 0000
101 BAr Whether walking or being escorted by luxury boat from the One & Only Royal Mirage, youâ€™ll immediately feel as if you are on holiday when approaching this restaurant floating on the Arabian Gulf. The surroundings are effortlessly chic with plush white leather seating, flickering lanterns and pulsing lounge music. The glamorous crowd matches the setting. The restaurant offers a selection of cold and hot tapas but the standout dish is its paella. Aromatic rice and tender seafood, with just a hint of smokiness, itâ€™s arguably the best in town. One & Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah +971 4 440 1010
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Winter hideouts Whether it’s an adventurous ski holiday or a winter retreat with glacier-topped mountains for a backdrop, GC’s handpicked luxurious ski lodges have it all
Le Lodge Park Megeve, Alps, France If the Snow Queen married a cowboy, their home would resemble Le Lodge Park. Rustic details such as cowhides and antlers collide with luxurious furs, exotic leather walls, and designer furniture. No detail has been overlooked. The guest rooms feature sumptuous bedding, indulgent modern bathrooms, and cosy fireplaces. The newly re-launched Altitude spa specialises in using the healing
power of plants and minerals gathered from the alpine mountains. The bar and restaurants are among the town’s hottest seats. This is après-ski glamour at its best. Double room from $650 www.lodgepark.com
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The Sebastian Vail Colorado, USA Vail is making a chic new mark on the ski circuit with The Sebastianâ€™s base camp. The property includes a mountain view pool, roaring fire pits, steaming hot tubs, and more contemporary than rustic guest rooms with custom furnishings and stone floor bathrooms. The art collection, with works by the Mexican abstract artist Manuel Felguerez and metal fabricator Joe Cooper, would be reason enough to visit. If a weekend just isnâ€™t enough, the resort also offers club membership at the residences. Four planned vacation weeks start at $395,000 including unlimited space availability and membership in the exclusive Timbers collection of resorts. Double rooms from $350 www.thesebastianvail.com
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Vigilius Mountain Resort South Tyrol, Italy The rarified world of the Vigilius Mountain Resort is situated 1,500m above sea level and accessible only by cable car. In the absence of roads, traffic and noise, itâ€™s a refuge for the fortunate few. The breathtaking scenery of the surrounding Dolomite Mountains is the ideal setting for skiing, hiking and horse riding. Those keen to explore inward can participate in the hotelâ€™s dedicated holistic forums on health, nutrition, movement and beauty. Chef Mauro Buffo, formerly of El Bulli, heads up Restaurant 1500 and its modern interpretation of hearty Alpine and northern Italian fare. Double rooms from $450 www.vigilius.it
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Clinton Street founders Dede Lahman and Neilxxxxx Kleinberg with their general manager and new Dubai franchisee Hisham Samawi
Clinton Street Baking Company An iconic New York city brunch spot arrives in Dubai
t’s 11am on Sunday and there is already a two-hour wait for a table outside the Clinton Street Baking Company. Spectacled hipsters, yummy mummies and investment bankers are all patiently waiting for their chance to sample the restaurant’s legendary pancakes. In a city that’s notorious for its fast pace and fickle inhabitants, the Clinton Street Baking Co in New York continues to draw in a loyal following. In January, UAE residents can look forward to the same treats when the restaurant opens in Burj Views, Downtown Dubai, promising to fill the void of what has been missing in the local scene: a homely atmosphere with classic, unpretentious American food.
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Art dealer Hisham Samawi, who is behind the UAE opening, discovered Clinton Street Baking Co when it opened in 2001. “I used to live right down the street,” he says. “I watched as this neighbourhood restaurant went from our local breakfast joint to an iconic brunch phenomenon.” In New York, the restaurant is owned and operated by husband and wife team Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman. Trained in classical French cooking, Kleinberg worked as a chef for more than 40 years before diverting his skills to new American cooking. That was when the legend was born. The menu is an amalgam of gourmet twists on American classics. Chicken ‘n’ waffles is upgraded with buttermilk-fried chicken
Photography by Nousha Salimi
By Pia Aung
“I used to live right down the street. I watched as this neighbourhood restaurant went from our local breakfast joint to an iconic brunch phenomenon.” accompanied by a honey tabasco dip and a triangle of vanilla Belgian waffle. The breakfast sandwich, a New York bodega - or grocery store - favourite, is reinterpreted as a buttermilk biscuit sandwich with scrambled eggs, melted cheddar and tomato jam. But it is the pancakes that keep people coming back. Twice voted
best pancakes by New York Magazine, they are now served all day. Lahman, who manages the front of the house, is coy about giving away their secret, but hints they might be found inside the Clinton Street cookbook. Nevertheless, she does admit a hot griddle, real butter and measuring out ingredients correctly is key. The Dubai location’s menu will be true to the original. The Dubai chefs have spent months training in the New York kitchen with Kleinberg and Lahman overseeing every step of the launch to maintain consistency and standards. Samawi, who has always dreamed of owning a restaurant, counts his blessings that his first foray into hospitality will be the place he has so many fond memories of. “It is about passion for me. If I’m passionate about something, then it is not work. And everyone who knows me knows I’m passionate about food. My best moments are when I share this place with someone for the first time. When they take that first bite and their face lights up, it is almost as though they didn’t realise breakfast could taste this good.”
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little black book
Little Black Book Argentina Argentinean polo player Guillermo Cuitino has spent the past 20 years globetrotting and mingling with the upper echelons of society, and out of season is no different. He enjoys nowhere better than his home of Buenos Aires to unwind and indulge in the cityâ€™s famous cuisine. He gives GC his insider tips.
Riverside tipple Good wine or just a beer with good people at any bar (we have the best in Buenos Aires) guarantee my happiness. One of my favourites is tequila along the Rio de la Plata [Silver River.]
Opera House me, best outside, Live music is, for erts at the football like the rock conc Teatro ssical music, the cla stadium. But for s in iou tig es the most pr Colon in the city is South America.
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little black book
People watching The Faena Hotel is good fun, although I still enjoy my own bed more. It’s always cool and fashionable; you can see models and VIPs.
Bit of history My mother used to take me to Museo de Ciencias Naturales de la Plata [the Natural History Museum] when I was a kid. I always wanted to go back there. My favourite things were the dinosaur bones. Now I take my kids there.
On the menu The best beef in the world is Argentinean beef. There are some great restaurants in Recoleta but my favourite restaurant is Tinto y Soda near my home in Pilar.
The Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires city is the most prestigious in South America.
Fields of green Palermo polo field is where all the big matches in the world are played. It’s also where everyone goes after the matches for the after-parties. It’s the best spot for people watching and fun after the game. 2014 Jan / Feb 58
Making an Impact with Texture
Unusual surfaces such as hammered metal, distressed leather and knobbly wood give everyday home objects a modern edge
Polished marble candlesticks, Armani Casa, $2,135
Ecko metal wall sculpture, Bloomingdales, $368
Comic book decoupage side table, The Odd Piece $1,000
Dining table with embossed scratch wood top and brass, Arteriors Home, Bloomingdales $4,356
Buttery leather chair Le Corbusier chaise lounge, Louis Vuitton, $8,000
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Antique stamp on linen, Ethan Allen, $350
Distressed leather Garcia chair, Andrew Martin $6,600
Tactile Accents Velvet ottoman, Bloomingdales $695
Natural root dining table, Arteriors Home, Bloomingdales $12,000
Antiqued astrology lamp, Andrew Martin $1,035
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The island paradise where life moves at a different pace
hether you go to Bali searching for something or not, this tropical paradise is sure to help you find it. The Balinese belief that we are all part of a great microcosm is reflected in the bright smiles of the locals, the carefully decorated sculptures of gods and demons found on practically every corner and a contagious positive energy that infects the whole island. After leaving the hustle and bustle of the airport in the capital Denpasar, the verdant landscape of swaying palms and bucolic rice paddies quickly puts you at ease. Life moves at a different pace in Bali and the roads that connect village to town curve gently around fixtures of life that have been there for centuries. Rich culture, cuisine and customs reflect the Balinese characteristic of finding balance by adapting easily to change and enjoying the beauty of life to the fullest. A perfect way to sample the richness of Baliâ€™s bounty is to indulge in the local cuisine. Lemongrass skewers of succulent pork and chicken spiced with garlic, galangal, shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger and kaffir lime are typical fare in local cafes. Street vendors sell steaming nasi campur Bali, grilled tuna or fried tofu, vegetables and chilli sauce on a bed of local rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Wash it all down with fresh young coconut water or a local beer. Vegetarians will also enjoy the top-notch organic cafes that have popped up on the island in recent years featuring fusion menus
Gunung Agung Volcano
with a variety of animal-free options. Travellers looking for the familiarity of international five-star brands have plenty to choose from in popular Seminyak, but the charming boutique and villa resorts in the surrounding villages are not to be missed. Canggu, a delightful little enclave north of Seminyak, is the perfect choice for those looking to settle into a quieter locale and enjoy the sights and sounds of a Balinese village. Black sand beaches, deluxe spas and the Greg Norman-designed golf course also make Canggu a popular spot for expats who have stimulated a bit of a real estate boom on the island. Located inland among forest, rivers, and steep ravines, Ubud boast coolers temperatures than the beachside villages and is home to the sacred Ubud Monkey Forest, as well as being considered the art capital of Bali. While there are plenty of sights to see around Bali, perhaps the most memorable are the most simple. A sunrise chorus of more than 250 species of birds that inhabit the island rivals traditional orchestral performances. The sound of the crashing waves releases tension as thoroughly as a Balinese massage. And first-timers might laugh when they hear that sunsets in Bali get a standing ovation, but watching the sun set over the sea here can be a deeply profound experience that leaves a lasting impression longer than any meditation class ever could.
Images courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com
By Lashley Pulsipher
Pura Ulun Danu Batur temple
2014 Jan / Feb 58
MUST SEE & MUST DO
Ubud Monkey Forest
in the heart of the jungle town of Ubud, this is an ideal place to get in touch with nature. The scenic hiking trail leads to gorgeous staircases and rickety bridges hugged by greenery and vines.
Yoga studios in Ubud
There is nothing like a sunrise stretch in one of the most peaceful places on earth. Most studios offer a variety of classes. A-type personalities are bound to be quickly humbled by a challenging Ashtanga class. Others may prefer a relaxing session of meditation.
Kecak fire and trance dance
Images courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com
A performance of stories told through dance and song using fire and colourful costumes. Most of these dances are performed in temples or at sunset by the seaside and are a magical way to experience Balinese culture.
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Pura Luhur Uluwatu
A stunning Balinese temple on a rock in the middle of the sea. The trip there is sprinkled with souvenir shops selling colourful sarongs and sashes.
Where to stay
This sizzling resort is St Tropez in Asia, perfect for travellers who arenâ€™t quite ready to escape the scene. Brazen and blingy, expect beach parties until the wee hours of the morning. From $420 per night
Only the third Bulgari property in the world, the hotel combines Balinese forms with Italian style. From its perch 150m over the sea, each villa has its own garden to enjoy magnificent views of the Indian Ocean. From $1,200 per night
One Eleven Bali
A hidden retreat, this boutique hotel is a relaxation paradise. Thereâ€™s no reason to leave your villa when you can soak in an enormous stone tub, get head-to-toe treatments in the outdoor gazebo, or enjoy a cocktail by your very own pool. From $1,050 per night
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Oxbridge meets Oxblood As the temperature finally gets cooler, dressing for the GCC winter is all about light layering, mixing preppy classics with statement burgundy accents Field Jacket, Stone Island, mrporter.com $1,065
Gold and Stringray Cufflinks, Trianon, mrporter.com, $1,870
Burberry Fall 2013 Leather Trimmed Tote, Master Piece, mrporter. com, $645 94 Jan / Feb 2014
Striped Wool Cardigan, Rag & Bone, mrporter.com, $485
Images courtesy of Gettyimages
Brogue Boots, Alexander McQueen $850
Scarf, Corneliani, Bloomingdale’s $190 Shirt, Theory, eastdane.com $225
Ombre Glasses, Cutler and Gross, mrporter.com $500 Leather Chukkas, Wolverine 1883, eastdane.com $145
An urbane SPLASH of coloUr
Courduroy Trousers, Oliver Spencer, mrporter.com $250
Jacket, Burberry Brit, Bloomingdale’s $985
Toiletry Bag, Paul Smith, mrporter.com $225
Prada Spring/Summer 2014
A Sound Investment Keep the traditional chimes of time alive with a minute repeater watch
Vacheron Constantin patrimony contemporaine ultra thin Calibre 1731
The minute repeater was initially designed in the 1700s to tell the time aloud in the dark- this was before the invention of electricity. Now Vacheron Constantin has produced the world’s thinnest minute movement at only 3.90mm with every piece featuring a subtle variation in sound. P.O.R.
Jaquet Droz GRANDE SECONDE MINUTE REPEATER
Simplistic in appearance with the brand’s iconic “figure 8″ Grande Seconde design, the minute repeater’s complex movement’s twin hammers chime out the time to the minute. The 43mm diameter case and hands are 18 carat red gold. Limited series of just 28 pieces. $203,000
IWC Portuguese Minute Repeater
Limited edition of 500 watches each in platinum and 18-carat red gold. Simply press the slide and the time will sound out in hours, quarters and minutes. Hand-wound caliber pocket watch movement, three-quarter bridge, diameter 44mm. P.O.R.
cartier Rotonde minute repeater flying tourbillon
At 45mm, Cartier’s complex caliber 9402 MC uses 447 pieces to produce a minute repeater with a sound level of an incredible 63 decibels. The repeater is activated with a push-button instead of the usual slide. Limited to 20 pieces per year. $360,000
A minute repeater strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on demand.
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RORY MCILROY’S CHOICE.
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. Abu Dhabi: Marina Mall Toll Free: 800-RIVOLI