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CALIBER RM 011 BLACK NIGHT LIMITED EDITION

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CONTENTS BUSINESS

16 GLOBETROTTER

PIONEER

18 INVESTMENT DESTINATION

UAE’s first female surgeon

Seychelles

32 34

20 LEADERSHIP

38

Zaha Hadid

22 FAMILY BUSINESS

42 START-UP

Global Calendar

Mark Wood

CEO coaching

Blowers jewellers

Kasra

24 COVER INTERVIEW

44 ENTREPRENEUR

28 INTERVIEW

46 PROPERTY

30 ENTREPRENEUR

48 SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR

Mario Testino

Michael Dobbs Flavio Briatore

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Joy Ajlouny

50 GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

Hungary second citizenship

ART 52 58 60 61

Region’s top five art collectors Advice for collectors Lita Cabellut Athier

Turkish hideaway Sallyann Della Casa

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30

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LIFESTYLE 84

70

94

62 LIFESTYLE

74 DINING

87 GROOMING

64 AUTO

78 HOTELS

88 TRAVEL

66 YACHT

82 HANDMADE

92 LITTLE BLACK BOOK

84 DESIGN

94 FASHION

86 FRAGRANCE

96 HOROLOGY

Gadgets

Mercedes museum Axioma superyacht

DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS 68 70

Hossein Rezvani

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Karl Lagerfeld & Pier Paolo Righi

Alessandro Forte & Stefano Ottone

Homegrown talent Global Art hotels Giobagnara Objet d’art

Fresh new scents

Iridium Spa St Regis Rwanda Berlin

Street styles

Crafty timepieces

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EDITOR’S LETTER GLOBAL CITIZEN PUBLISHER Armand Peponnet EDITOR IN CHIEF Natasha Tourish - nt@global-citizen.com SUB EDITOR Tahira Yaqoob - ty@global-citizen.com LIFESTYLE EDITOR Nausheen Noor - nn@global-citizen.com ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - ok@global-citizen.com FINANCE MANAGER finance@reachmedia.ae

ur March/April issue is always the most fun to produce as it’s our annual issue celebrating Art Week in Dubai, when we push the boundaries that little bit further with our design in honour of the fabulous artists and collectors who have been featured in our pages. It has also given us cause to reflect on those artists who cannot pursue their passion because of the regime they might be living under. To paraphrase the humanist and philosopher AC Grayling—in Dubai for the annual Festival of Literature—art is “the conversation that humankind has with itself” and a universal language that unites us all. Since International Women’s Day is also celebrated this month, this issue showcases some of the region’s most influential women—all leaders in their respective fields. The UAE’s first female surgeon Dr Houriya Kazim, the Pritzker prizewinning architect Zaha Hadid, social entrepreneur Sallyann Della Casa, tech entrepreneur Joy Ajlouny and the ‘queen of the art world’ Sheikha al Mayassa bint Hamad al Thani all epitomise female empowerment, having reached the upper echelons in their fields. Their stories are equally a reminder of why we still need to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 every year. Most of them have experienced gender inequality while they were climbing the career ladder. For some, it was an expectation from family to conform and choose a certain career path and for others like Hadid and Ajlouny, it is the ongoing battle to secure big projects and funding within a male-dominated environment. Even our cover star photographer Mario Testino has been drawn into the discussion on women’s achievements. Whether or not you agree, the sometimes controversial Testino says women do not rise to the top in his industry because they prioritise children over their careers. His comments come despite being close friends with the powerhouse that is Vogue editor Anna Wintour, a mother and one of the most respected women in fashion. While Testino’s views might be considered old-fashioned and even offensive, his ability to capture strong women and their characteristics through his photography shines through. Madonna, Kate Moss and the Duchess of Cambridge are all featured in his first Middle Eastern exhibition, Heat, which is currently running in Dubai and shows the debate about women’s roles and achievements won’t be cooling off any time soon.

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CONTRIBUTORS Amanda Fisher, Peter Allen, Ryan Young, Justine Halifax, Ivan Carvalho, Jessica Hill PRINTED BY Masar Printing and Publishing www.global-citizen.com www.issuu.com/global-citizen www.facebook.com/GlobalCitizenMag MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE Fierce International Dubai Internet City Business Central Tower A - Office 2803 T: +971 4 421 5455 - F: +971 4 421 0208 tarek@fierce-international.com

REACH MEDIA FZ LLC CHAIRMAN Armand Arton ADVERTISING sales@reachmedia.ae SUBSCRIPTION subscription@reachmedia.ae Dubai Media City, Building 8, Office 87, PO Box 502068, Dubai, UAE T: +971 4 385 5485 - Email: info@reachmedia.ae Copyright 2015 Reach Media. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of Reach Media. Where opinion is expressed it is that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of the publisher or Global Citizen. All information in Global Citizen is checked and verified to the best of the publisher’s ability, however the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistake or omission enclosed in the publication.

Photo credit: M. Sharkey/Contour by Getty Images.


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CONTRIBUTORS

Justine Halifax

Phill Tromans

Ivan Carvalho

is an award-winning feature writer based in the UK. She has carved out a successful career as a journalist over the last 20 years working for several Midland newspapers, including the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post.

is a journalist with more than 15 years’ experience. His exploits have taken him to more than 40 countries. He has written for titles including Evo Middle East and crankandpiston.com

is the Milan correspondent for Monocle magazine, covering a range of topics from politics to business. A native of California, he previously wrote for Wired, Domus and the International Herald Tribune.

Amanda Fisher

Peter Allen

Jessica Hill

is a Dubai-based freelance journalist from New Zealand. She worked at the Philippine Star and Radio New Zealand before taking up a post as special correspondent at the Khaleej Times.

is a British journalist and author based in Paris. He writes for the Daily Mail, London Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph and has covered major news stories all over the world from Afghanistan to Yemen.

is an Abu Dhabi-based freelance journalist from the UK. She has written for the Daily Mirror newspaper and is a regular contributor to the National newspaper’s Business and Arts and Life sections.

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In an effort to extend its support for contemporary art and culture in the Middle East, BMW Group has launched BMW Contemporary to unite artists and collectors from across the region to share their bespoke collections with the public and bring to life their unique stories in a series of online episodes featured across BMW Group Middle East’s social media channels throughout the year.

THE BIG PICTURE


Philanthropist of the Year OR ACCOMPLISHED CON ARTIST? We help you decide.

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GLOBETROTTER MARCH

13

24 MAR

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APRIL 2016

1 8 MAR

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1 9 MAR

Sikka Art Fair

Design Days Dubai

Art Dubai

Taking place in the historic Al Fahidi district, the fair showcases site-specific work by UAE-based artists spanning an array of mediums including audio and video installations, multi-disciplinary initiatives, artistic installations, music performances and visual art such as painting, photography and sculptures.

Showcasing more than 750 limited edition and unique objects and furniture, Design Days Dubai 2016 will deliver a public programme of talks, workshops and guided tours. Highlights include Wasl, an exhibition of design supported by d3 and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

The region’s leading contemporary art fair returns for its 10th edition at the Madinat Jumeirah. In 2016, several galleries have opted to present ambitious solo and two-person shows. Audiences will discover the work of more than 500 artists, from an extraordinarily diverse roster of galleries that includes the world’s most prominent alongside fresh upcoming art spaces.

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1 9 & 2 5 MAR

26 MAR

British Polo Day

Meydan World Cup

Abu Dhabi’s Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, the private royal polo ground of Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will host some of the region’s top polo players on the 19th as the home team seeks to maintain its victory over the visiting Royal Salute British Exiles. Dubai will play host to camel and bicycle polo on the 25th as well as matches featuring Royal Salute Oxbridge and Habtoor Polo teams.

Taking place on the last Saturday of the month at the iconic Meydan Racecourse, Dubai World Cup is the richest day of racing in the world with a combined prize purse of $30 million. Last year’s event featured nine races with attendees dressing up in their finery and displaying some eyecatching millinery.

MARCH / APRIL 2016


Hello Neighbour, Since we are new to the area, we wanted to say hello and invite you over for some good eats, great drinks and a hearty chat. So whether you sit upright for dinner, pull up a bar stool for drinks or slump into a sofa to relax - you’ll find your place at Cocktail Kitchen. Our home is yours. +971 56 828 0727 | www.cocktail-kitchen.com | Armada BlueBay Hotel, Cluster P, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Dubai, Saturday - Wednesday: 12pm - 1am, Thursday - Friday: 12pm - 2am

@ckdxb 2016 MARCH / APRIL

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ISLAND INVESTMENTS

Investing in the Seychelles can mean numerous perks beyond owning a holiday home

hat is better than a holiday? Apparently a holiday that makes you money. Advocates of the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles say investing in the 115 islands can do just that. Its government is backing big fundraising projects that allow foreigners to buy a home in the country in exchange for residency, with the possibility of renting out empty holiday homes when owners are offshore. And the country has certainly proven a honeymoon paradise for the likes of Prince William and his wife Kate as well as George and Amal Clooney. The president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has invested in some of the country’s finest property, including a 66-acre mountaintop palace on the main island of Mahe, while contributing sizeable grants to the local community. The Abu Dhabi government is even helping its Seychelles counterpart with a redevelopment of its capital city Victoria. Seychelles Tourism Board chief executive Sherin Naiken says the country, which derives more than 20 per cent of its GDP from tourism, benefits from its location just south of the equator and is “a land with millions of untapped opportunities”. “The country prides itself on a great environment, thanks to our carefully-crafted environmental policies,” she says. “Half of the land’s territory is afforded protection under the

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environmental decree. The carefully kept environment means whatever you invest in is worth a premium, be it fisheries or a high-end tourism project.” Given the huge impact tourism has on the country’s economics, it is not surprising Naiken suggests the best investment prospects are tourism-related and include services to complement hotels and resorts, such as restaurants, entertainment facilities and infrastructure like marinas. “Opportunities also present themselves in the second pillar of the economy, fisheries,” she adds. “There are opportunities for marine and aquaculture, value addition and cold storage facilities among others. The financial services sector is the third pillar and there are opportunities for banking, both offshore and onshore, which together are covered under a single licence. There is still space for more insurance firms, mutual funds and other private fund companies.” Naiken explains the country with a small, largely contented population of just 91,000 has benefits derived from its size and appeal, with the $14,000 a year national income per capita one of the highest in Africa, according to World Bank figures for 2014. “Despite our small population, the Seychelles has a highly literate workforce with a very large cohort making it to tertiary education every year. The country allows for easy importation

Images copyright @Michele Risoli

BY AMANDA FISHER


INVESTMENT DESTINATION

of affordable labour for projects and we have a multilingual population, very modern and highly travelled with an increasing disposable income.” But investment opportunities in this tax haven, where foreign direct investment accounted for 14 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2014, primarily in the tourism sector, might be thin on the ground. With a land mass of just 460 square kilometres, the Indian Ocean idyll, which has boosted its economy through tourism and property over the past 40 years, is reaching capacity. Recent developments have been built on reclaimed land, which, as the world’s sea level rises on account of global warming, could make some potential investors nervous. The government has even placed a moratorium on the development of all large hotels to “take stock” of the current pace of development and undertake capacity studies, according to Naiken, who says there are big opportunities on the country’s outer islands once the moratorium is lifted. And while the country’s international reputation has boomed, it has led to a series of dubious property practices cropping up with stories of taxi drivers acting as estate agents, according to a recent FT report. Big properties are proving hard to come by for foreign investors, who have to pay 17.5 per cent of the purchase price in taxes and another two per cent in legal fees and are then unable to rent out their property if it is not housed within a resort. But founder and managing director of boutique financial consultancy Lifestyle Capital Partners, Lynn Villadolid, says the country remains an attractive place for Middle Eastern investors due to its proximity to the region and flight time of four hours, its tropical weather and the existence of double taxation agreements with most GCC countries. “Compared to Africa, the Seychelles is considered highly stable with transparent financial conditions and good investment protection laws, such as protection against expropriation of assets, within a solid economy.” And she says despite the recent years of development, there is still room for growth. “It must not be forgotten the Seychelles has an economic

zone that spans 1.4 million sq km and out of our 115 islands only about 10 per cent have been developed. There are vast opportunities for investment within the territory.” If the numbers are anything to go by, one of the best investment prospects for foreigners is the Eden Island development, which was responsible for 40 per cent of foreign direct investment in 2014 and 25 per cent last year. Project director Peter Smith says the scheme, the first to allow foreigners to invest in freehold property in the country, was first conceived in the 1990s but was not launched until 2006. “We have sold 500 homes so far,” he says. “A lot of people buy [homes] as a property investment and use it as a holiday home at the same time.” Smith says some buyers have bought up to 10 homes and a quarter of owners have more than one property. The project, which still has 70 homes up for grabs for sale from anywhere between $475,000 for a one bedroom-apartment and $5 million for a six-bedroom villa, has attracted buyers from 40 countries around the world, including one third from South Africa as well as buyers from France, Britain, Russia and the Czech Republic. Seven per cent have been taken by UAE buyers, who are generally steering toward the development’s high value properties. Those who buy become eligible to live in the Seychelles— and benefit from its favourable tax laws—for up to five years at a time, with $11,000 covering the buyer, a spouse and four children. So far the development has paid dividends. Interest rates have been reaching nearly eight per cent compound interest per year and Smith says because of the limited land left available in the Seychelles, supply and demand should continue to push the value of property up. He adds the development, which will be completed next year and should house up to 1,000 people during peak times, represents a benchmark for the country, which is looking to replicate the model. Opportunities might be limited but for investors who are able to secure one of the country’s better prospects, it seems life really is a beach.

The luxury Eden Island development 2016 MARCH / APRIL

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LEADERSHIP

Sophia Fromell

MAKING SMART DECISIONS Why every chief executive needs a life coach

n the new American TV drama Billions, British actor Damien Lewis plays a shrewd billionaire banker who cannot function properly without daily chats with his in-house therapist and life coach. It might seem a tad excessive to employ a full-time life coach but it is quickly becoming the norm for wealthy titans of industry. Among them are billionaire business leader Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc (the parent company of Google) and Bill Gates. But why do these highly successful business leaders feel the need to confide in someone outside their circle to be able to thrive? Sophia Fromell, the founder of life coaching firm Ithaca Life, explains here. It is actually very simple. Just like the world’s most celebrated athletes, celebrities and musicians—who even at the top of their game have their respective coaches on hand at all times— CEOs also need guidance and encouragement to be the best they can be.

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Whether you are a struggling start-up entrepreneur, a budding business leader or in charge of a leading FTSE 100 company, every business leader, no matter what their social status, can benefit from an executive coach to help develop a clearer vision. Not only do coaches enhance and guide their clients’ development but they also lend them an ear and the strength to question their decisions from the outside in. Looking through the keyhole, CEOs have a reputation to uphold, a strength they cannot have brought into question and decisions to make that they should not falter on. While board members and other lower level executives can be helpful in the decision-making process, most CEOs will not talk to colleagues about their deepest uncertainties. They cannot afford to make mistakes and show signs of weakness and insecurity. An executive coach can help to mirror a person’s true self, unjudged by the values, thoughts and views of another person. A coach will help them be who they want to be, not the person


LEADERSHIP

their colleagues, family and friends want them to be. One thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. Gaining self-awareness is truly effective in creating stronger and more successful leadership skills. The job of a CEO is very demanding and top executives who attempt to take the burden on their shoulders alone are more likely to burn out early. Not only will a coach help figure out where their client needs to be career-wise and play a supportive role in problem solving but they will also help guide them on a path that provides a more meaningful and fulfilling personal life. It is true that the greatest business leaders are often the most lonely and finding the balance can make striking differences— not only with decisions being made at work but also concerning interactions with colleagues. Everyone starts off with dreams and aspirations yet many, including the most successful people in the world, get distracted and lose their way on some level. Once off the path, very few have the will, strength and determination to look back on the dreams they let go of and continue to chase them. They may feel stuck and find it difficult to get out of the competitive struggle for power and wealth because they are afraid of losing the life they have—and the life many truly hate. A coach will help them identify their dreams and encourage them to go after them. During a regular coaching session, a balance is set between work and personal goals. Many successful business leaders forget to set aside time for themselves and focus on their own

wants and needs. CEOs are humans after all. They need to have a trustworthy and supportive relationship with a coach to tell them all their insecurities, anxieties and frustrations in a safe environment without taking their work burdens home to family life. Working with a life coach forces personal growth, which is something often neglected in the busy routine of a corporate world. Not to be confused with personal goals, by personal growth I mean progression as a person, from improving channels of communication and acceptance of different viewpoints to appreciation of differences and so forth. We all have limiting beliefs that have settled in our subconscious minds at early stages of our lives. They can hold us back from reaching what we really want through not being able to see past the roadblock. A coach helps identify these problem areas and question them like few others can or will. They help you see things from another perspective allowing you to make your own decisions but with a full 360-degree view. A coach challenges you and stretches you in so many different ways, taking you outside your comfort zone. They transform your outlook and open your mind to new exciting challenges and opportunities. Sophia Fromell is an executive life coach with a background in corporate banking. Visit www.ithaca-life.com for further details or call 050 105 2530.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

“An executive coach can help to mirror that person’s true self – unjudged by the values, thoughts and views of another person”

Damien Lewis star of the new hit US show Billions

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FATHER TIME Blowers Jewellers has kept the personal touch, despite expansion plans and growing interest in its pre-owned and vintage watches BY TAHIRA YAQOOB

s a British squash champion, Mark Blowers was destined for a promising career playing the sport at an international level. From the age of nine, he had excelled in the competitive sport and notched up a string of trophies. But a freak attack on his father Ian’s jewellery shop changed the course of his life—and eventually helped turn a high street store into an international high end watch supplier boasting Premier League footballers and Formula One drivers among its clientele. Mark, then 22 years old, was playing squash at a tournament in Edinburgh, Scotland, when his life was turned upside down. The national news bulletin reported an armed robbery at a jewellery store in Hull in the UK, where shots had been fired and the proprietor injured. The victim was his father Ian. “That was 20 years ago and I did not have a mobile phone,” recalls Mark, now 41. “Someone said, ‘Something’s going on in Hull and I think your dad might be involved’. It came on the television news so I rushed straight down there.” His father, who had been battered over the head with a crowbar in the assault, miraculously survived, although he was hospitalised by the attack. The armed robber, a man called John Holden, was already wanted for two murders, drug smuggling and possible gun-running. Cornered by police, he shot at them then turned his gun on himself. Officers found he had been carrying gaffer tape, chains and about 70 rounds of ammunition when he held up Ian Blowers

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Jewellers before killing himself. He had cased the shop a week earlier and returned, Mark says now, because he knew Blowers senior worked alone. “After the robbery my dad said, ‘It’s about time you hung up your squash racket and gave me a hand’,” says Mark. “I’d had a successful career playing squash professionally and travelled all over the world doing what I loved but I was ready for it. Squash was never going to be a sport where you could earn a good living, compared to golf, tennis, football or other high profile sports.” At the time, the store was a small, independent operation trading in coins, stamps, gold bullion, jewellery and “one or two gold watches”. Numismatist Ian had opened the shop in 1970 and happily traded on a small scale in Hull’s Savile Street for nearly three decades with a turnover of about $630,000 a year. When his son joined the family firm in 1997, shortly after the robbery, it threatened to upset the apple cart. Mark says: “As a young boy, my father was an enthusiastic stamp and coin collector. It was a natural progression to a bit of jewellery. I had helped out before and worked the odd Saturday but when I gave up squash, it was tough making that transition from training to working nine-to-five. A few of my friends ran a sweepstake saying, ‘I give you two weeks’.” His father, too, made some tough demands. He was unimpressed when Mark spent most of his time setting up a website, which in the early days of the internet was still rare for a high street retail business. And he nicknamed his son ‘daft


FAMILY BUSINESS

lad’ after Mark took nine months to sell his first watch, a steel Rolex Explorer II, with a profit of just $140. But Blowers junior saw the potential of those few watches in store, which always caught the attention of customers. He realised if he launched the business online, they could captivate a much bigger audience. “People used to say it looked like the kind of website that was made and developed in someone’s bedroom,” says Mark. “Well, it was—it was me who did it in my bedroom. I had no IT skills at all and begged and borrowed bits of information to get the website up and running.” At the same time, he taught himself about watch specifications, timekeeping parameters, power reserves, dial options and bracelet combinations. “If you buy a watch, you have to learn about it before you can retail it,” says Mark, who is wearing a steel Patek Philippe 5960. That first sale gradually became one watch a month, then one a week, earning Ian’s begrudging praise. Blowers Jewellers now has a turnover of nearly $17 million a year and sells up to 35 watches a day with prices ranging from $700 to more than $140,000. Mark often wears the stock so he can tell customers how it feels. “You become very aware if a watch is heavy, uncomfortable to wear or if it is something that does not suit people’s lifestyles. We are really honest, detrimental to a sale sometimes but that has paid dividends in the long term.” The company also buys back pre-owned watches when customers want an upgrade. “We have some guys who are crazy about watches and will exchange them every three months,” says Mark. “Some guys love to change cars, watches, go on loads of different holidays, own different suits. Not having your fingers burnt every time you buy and sell a quality pre-owned watch is the key and keeps people enjoying being collectors and watch enthusiasts.” Blowers Jewellers’ customers include high profile sports players, celebrities and city bankers. One client has a watch collection worth an estimated $35 million while others like to swap their pre-owned Rolexes and Patek Philippes on a regular basis. Former Hull City FC captain Ian Ashbee, once a loyal customer, was recruited by the firm in 2014 to join its staff of 12 and has enticed Premier League footballers to buy vintage watches. Meanwhile the company has increased the number of customers in the UAE from 50 three years ago to 450. The firm, whose trade is now 80 per cent watches and 20 per cent jewellery, still maintains its base in Hull but opened an office in London’s Mayfair two years ago after an increase in inquiries from the south of England, Europe and the Middle East. A shop in London is set to follow this year while Blowers Jewellers plans to expand with several authorised dealerships for its pre-owned watches and concessions within stores. But Mark, now a father of three, is anxious to maintain the feel of a family business and has kept the personal touch, even delivering watches in person and answering phones. “When people have an expanding business, they can get so far removed from the frontline that a business can lose its charm a bit and

“We have some guys who are crazy about watches and will exchange them every three months” become very corporate. Customer service and care goes out the window.” His father, too, keeps hold of the reins, despite retiring four years ago. Ian is enjoying a “second lease of life” after remarrying last year and moving to Umbria, Italy, where he produces his own oil from olive groves. But he still remotely checks in with the Savile Street store via its online security cameras and cannot resist ringing up when a regular customer walks in. “It’s like we are haunted because we get phone calls from him when customers he used to deal with come in,” says Mark. “He is still heavily involved. He was tough and did not cut me any slack at all but to see him mellow over the last 10 years has been fantastic.”

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PUTTING TESTINO IN THE FRAME Legendary photographer Mario Testino is a traditionalist at heart. He loves photographing weddings and believes women don’t shine in his industry because they put their children first. As his first Middle East exhibition kicks off in Dubai, Testino tells all BY CHARLOTTE EDWARDES

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Charlotte Edwardes/ The Times Magazine/ Interview People

Kate Moss, London, National Portrait Gallery, 2002, on show at Mario Testino’s first ever Middle Eastern exhibition, Heat, in d3 until April.

Images copyright @Mario Testino

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ario Testino is languid in a velvet chair next to a vase of tight white rosebuds, his hands plopped softly in his lap. At 61, he has not lost his Spanish accent, despite leaving Lima aged 19 and his voice is thick and clotted. A burning bay candle scents the air and he smiles with his teeth clenched. He wears sultry navy, his shirt unbuttoned to reveal a triangle of tanned torso. We are in an echoing photography studio in New York. Close your eyes and it could be a church. Indeed— and this is a surprise—Testino is telling me how much he likes doing weddings and baby pictures. “Of course I do. I am a Latin American Catholic,” he says. “Family is very strong for us. I guess in a way I am clinging on to family through this because I have no children of my own. I love documenting kids because they are the true…” He grasps the air violently, looking for the word. So he wishes he had children? “No. Never.” It helps that the wedding pictures are for people like Kate Moss, Jasmine Guinness, Stella Tennant, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon. “I love the paraphernalia of a wedding,” he says. “The dress and the veil and the whole drama. It is perfect for a picture.” He photographed the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton (“Catherine is beautiful. I have to say it because she is,”), and shots of their children George and Charlotte (“amazing”). He has done “the boys”—Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry. (He chuckles at the memory: “The way they tease their father, tsk.”) Tradition is something he admires, he says and those Latin family values taught to him by his late father (also Mario), which include the importance of hard work and “high standards of correct” behaviour. He describes Mario senior as “always doing what should be done, hugely dedicated to his wife”. He gave his six children “the best he could”. Perhaps this explains his surprising views on women photographers because when I ask him why, with the obvious exception of Annie Leibovitz, there are so few at the top of his profession, he says it is because of their inability to juggle work and families. “Annie is the only one who has been doing it and working hard. I collect art and it is a similar problem in the art world: that sadly women in general have children. Most decide, ‘My children come first,’ and the career becomes secondary. That is the reason there are so few at the top. A lot of women who started when I started had children and stopped being focused. In order to stay in this business you have to give it almost 20 hours a day, six or seven days a week.” Paradoxically, Testino is best known for his relationships with powerful women, starting with Anna Wintour, whose passport photograph he shot and whom he has known since she was the fashion editor at New York magazine. He also helped discover Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen. Lady Gaga and Gwyneth Paltrow are in his thrall. He once got Elton John on all fours so that Elizabeth Hurley could ride on his back and perhaps most celebrated of all were those boyish, shoeless photographs

Photography by Benjamin Tietge

COVER

Photographer to the stars Mario Testino

of Diana, Princess of Wales for Vanity Fair in 1997. Such is his reputation, at a charity auction in 2008, a lot to be shot by him went for £1.26 million. Of course, beauty is subjective – especially the loaded perfection of beauty we are sold in fashion pages. Does he feel there is a pressure imposed on those looking at his photographs to be perfect too? After all, most of us do not have the same genetic advantage as models. “No, no,” he says. “Pressure on women is a self-inflicted thing. That is your own fault.” Seriously? “Of course it is. Because women want to be beautiful—women dye their hair, men don’t [to the same extent]. Women can do a lot of things to seduce and to look good but it is self-inflicted.” Some people, he admits, get “too obsessed”. Some actresses have too much “work”. “But at the end of the day we all want to look good.” What about fashion’s obsession with girls being very thin? “Fashion people,” he says, “like a different aesthetic than a normal person. In our world you have different types: Victoria’s Secret girls, who are the sexy girls and then there are the fashion girls, who are completely different. “We only had a moment when they married in the Eighties when Gianni Versace started using photography models as

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Madonna, Miami, Ray of Light Album, 1998

catwalk models. Before that it was different.” He pauses, then says something I did not expect to hear from one of the world’s greatest fashion photographers: “That is the only moment when I remember that fashion celebrated womanhood. Today fashion celebrates just girls that fit the clothes. You have to remember that when you are in our business, clothes become the main thing. People live for that beautiful dress. “And I am more obsessed with the girls than the dresses, sadly for me. Because I could be a better fashion photographer, maybe, if I wasn’t. I like women. But it’s true that there is a different aesthetic in fashion.” He adds: “I don’t want to be misquoted but clothes look better when you are not overweight. I see it on myself. I have a stomach and I wish I didn’t because my jacket fits better when I don’t. I don’t think you have to be anorexic but of course be healthy, no? “I am not saying everybody should be the same but breasts, bum and a thick waist is a box.” He makes a face of disapproval. He has always been explicitly “pro-glamour” (he called the grunge movement the look of “council homes”). Testino admits his trade is brutal—not least for models. “Our business is based on insecurity,” he says. “Every time [they] see a new girl coming in, I am sure the girl who is not 18 any more feels, ‘Oh my God, am I out? Am I in?’ But that is for photographers as well.” He loves a party, he says. His 60th birthday in 2014 started at Scott’s and went on to the Chiltern Firehouse with Kate

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Moss. They got ready together in adjoining rooms. Then 300 guests arrived dressed as if it were Havana in the Forties. Kylie Minogue jumped out of a cake and he sang with her on stage. There was a band from Cuba and a drag act from Cambridge. Today at a Ciroc vodka event, we are surrounded by a phalanx of the beautiful young things who hold his hand everywhere— from the office to parties, to his face doctor in Mayfair and all over the world (“I travel every four days”). He has spent the day shooting the actor Ben Stiller, star of Zoolander 2. They do a selfie together, which Testino shows me, fretting that he looks “fat”. When he is offered cake by a passing waitress he strokes his stomach and jokes, “Do you think I look like this by eating that?” His world is a tableau of arch camp. All that’s missing is a shampooed dog, shivering on his lap. Testino says he loves photographing pets. “Two things that are the nightmares of other photographers, animals and children, I love. They are hard to control, but I have quite an authoritative voice. I raise it and they behave.” There are rumours about this “authoritative voice”. Flinty fashionistas say they collapse like spillikins under the thunder of his temper. He does not rein it in with celebrities. “I put them in their place. I am good at that. I have built a reputation.” When Madonna told him, “Okay, we’re done,” while photographing the cover of her album Ray of Light in 1997, he countered that they were not. “You are working for me and I say when we’re done,” Madonna snapped. “No, we carry on,” he snapped back. He moved her physically with his foot and continued to work. It is with satisfaction that he relates the shot they used was taken after this exchange. “I am very demanding but the good thing is I will shout and scream and criticise something but five seconds afterwards I have forgotten it,” he says. “I don’t like to linger on bad moods.” He describes his office as “like a finishing school”. “I say to my team, ‘One day I won’t be here and you will be on your own’. I don’t want anyone who worked with me to be anything but the best.” He learnt this from Wintour. “People say she’s tough but everyone who works with her becomes the best.” And he likes others to be equally demanding of him. “I just had a job where the editor was criticising me and the client said, ‘I’m really sorry she is being horrible to you.’ And I said, ‘No. The only way you grow is by being put down. You don’t grow by someone telling you, ‘That’s beautiful, Mario’. You grow with criticism.” He says he lives “in British Airways” although he has a pad in Holland Park, London, a 1933 Spanish-style hacienda in the Hollywood Hills and homes in Peru. Sometimes he flies to Lima just for lunch so that he can see his mother, whom he speaks to “every day or every other day”. “She is 93 and I am lucky she is still in good shape,” he says. She treats him like a “little boy”, filling the walls of her house with his press and pictures, following him on Instagram. “Mothers can never get enough of their kids’ success,” he says. They were not rich growing up but “comfortable middle class because [my father] killed himself working so we could

Images copyright @Mario Testino

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have the best schooling”. Testino studied economics and law at the University of Lima. He bought clothes in New York when he travelled there with his father. “For some reason I could not control it and I went all out on dressing [in] lilac terrycloth suits and flowery velour trousers, platform shoes,” he says. When he arrived in London in the late Seventies, he immediately adored it. “The English are so modest,” he says. “And impossible about nudity—you have to close so many doors before they will take their clothes off.” After 35 years in the business his biggest ambition, he says, is “to be number one”. Isn’t he already? “The top gets changed every day. Each time I think I have made it, it changes.” Right now, he says, photography is more competitive than ever. “Unless you are on it all the time, renewing yourself and being active, you can easily be pushed aside by the newcomers. Every day I learn something new. I look back at my work and I think, God, I didn’t really know how to do a good picture back then. And ‘back then’ is only five years ago.” Then there is the rise of Instagram, which he calls “a craze” but has embraced wholeheartedly (the royal photos were first posted on the Kensington Palace account) and he has 1.9 million followers. He rejects the idea that Instagram is not photography – “Photography is writing with light, in the sense that you document everything you see. But Instagram has shown us that not everyone is a good photographer, for sure.” His self-confessed perfectionism means he takes fashion “very seriously”. And hard work helps overcome any shortcomings. “You look at Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne,” he says by way of example. “[They] aren’t stereotypically what you would expect. But it is about perseverance. “Kate Moss has been at it since she was 14. I remember when

I first met her and I used to do everything in daylight. In cities like London, you cannot move a lot because you don’t have a lot of light. So I was like, ‘Don’t move, don’t move.’ And she fainted—but she did not move. Even when she was feeling ill she did not say, ‘I cannot take this any more.’ She was still like a statue until I saw her fall down.” He revels in this “energy of young people”. Is it a coincidence his assistants are so good-looking? “Well, in a way I am attracted by looks,” he says. “I am a photographer and what I do is document good looks.” He shrugs. “I call them assistants but they are many things—art director, a film person, a social media person, a retoucher, press, photo assistants, depending on the nature of the job situation.” In the past those booking him have balked at the cost of flying this entourage around. Today it is accepted as part of the whole Testino package. “I do not exist alone,” he says. He is “meticulous” about who works with him. “From the caterer to the cleaning team to the gardener. Most of them are good-looking but they are also kind, hardworking, humble, loyal people that linger in my life for ever. They marry each other and have kids and it is amazing. Like a big family.” Or a big genetic jackpot. He is critical of his own appearance and has done a few “facial things”—“One thing to define your jaw with a machine. It hurt. I know everyone does these things and everyone says I should do more—that I should inject here and here.” He points to his forehead and cheekbones. “But I don’t know that going back to what I was would be the solution. I believe in presenting the fabulous side of being 60.” Heat by Mario Testino will run until April at Dubai Design District (D3).

Courtesy of Mario Testino

The work of internationally renowned Peruvian fashion and portrait photographer Mario Testino OBE is exhibited for the first time in the Middle East with Heat, an exhibition curated by Simon and Michaela de Pury and sponsored by UAE-based Ginza Group. Housed in a dedicated pop-up gallery at the heart of Dubai Design District (d3), the exhibition is now open to the public and runs until April 15. The solo show brings together works highlighting Testino’s distinctive style of marrying portraiture, fashion and art. The idea for the exhibition was born out of a meeting of minds and mutual love of art and photography between the de Purys and local arts patron and businessman Khaled al Mheiri, chairman and founder of the Ginza Group. Simon de Pury described the purposebuilt pop-up gallery as “the perfect structure and layout for a gallery exhibition”.

Heat installation by Mario Testino

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INTERVIEW

A REAL-LIFE POLITICAL THRILLER House of Cards creator Michael Dobbs talks about the golden age of television and why Britain’s upcoming referendum on the EU is so important

ichael Dobbs might not be self-obsessed or ruthless like Frank Underwood, the character he brought to life for the hit Netflix political drama House of Cards, but as Underwood says, he knows it’s “hunt or be hunted” to survive in politics. The US TV show starring Kevin Spacey was based on Dobbs’ 1989 book by the same name. He might be known as the author of political thrillers now but it is his time in British politics—when he was first an advisor and then chairman of

House of Cards author Michael Dobbs

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the Conservative party—which jumpstarted his career and has seen him all the way to the House of Lords as a life peer. “Politics is a rough and tough business,” says Dobbs, who is in Dubai for the annual Festival of Literature. “I would say it is much rougher and tougher today than it was in the 1980s.” He would know. He was then chief of staff to Margaret Thatcher, who was the British prime minister at the time. He also worked under her successor, former prime minister John Major, as deputy chairman of the Tories. Dobbs now splits his time between the corridors of power in London and his family home in Wiltshire. He wrote House of Cards, his first novel, after a falling-out with Thatcher on the eve of the election in 1987, following a demoralising election campaign, which seemed to sound the death knell of his political career but freed him up to write fiction. Dobbs has previously described the Iron Lady as “being cruel” to him, much like Underwood is to his loyal chief of staff, Doug Stamper in the Netflix series, but Dobbs will not be drawn on that: “We had a huge falling-out but I had been working with her for well over a decade so I survived for longer than most. You cannot expect to agree with everybody all of the time,” he says. Little did Dobbs know the ongoing success that his book would bring both him and the online streaming platform Netflix. From the outset, the series was a global hit with even the Chinese president a fan, according to Dobbs. The BBC tried to do the same back in the 1990s before Dobbs pulled his name off the credits for the third and final season, due to a conflict he says erupted over an alleged deviation from the original material. However, more than 20 years on, the author says he has no problem with people departing from the source material, as long as it is respectfully done. “I had issues with the BBC version but the American version has nothing to do with the source material and I am delighted and very happy with what they have done with it,” he says. He admits his experience with the BBC made him go into the Netflix deal “with my eyes open” but says, “as it turns out, it has been the happiest professional experience of my life”. Dobbs is also an executive producer on the US version of House of Cards and despite his busy political schedule in the

Image courtesy of Getty Images

BY NATASHA TOURISH


INTERVIEW

UK, he regularly visits the production set in Baltimore. “There is a limit to what I can do onset but I get pretty involved with the marketing and promotion side of it so I spend more time in the US now than I did when it first launched,” he says. “Part of the reason I am enjoying it so much is because no one gets in anyone else’s way. I have no desire to tell them what they are doing. One of my jobs is to help inspire them. I am their only contact with the original source material so they appreciate my input.” The fourth series of House of Cards, which chronicles the life of a cold-hearted politician who would do anything for power— with a wife (played by Robin Wright) who is even more ruthless than him—returned to Netflix this month. But the question on everyone’s lips is whether the series will see a return to form after season three failed to impress. Dobbs is optimistic: “I think [this] season is one of the strongest we have ever made and I am happy people are going to love it. All of these longrunning series grow and change, otherwise they would become rather dull. We are actively transfor ming the dramatic background. [ Under wo o d ] is now in power and in Washington so we have transitioned from one scenario to another.” One thing that will not change is the heavy focus on Underwood’s relationship with his wife, which Dobbs credits as the “driving dynamic force of the entire production”. He says of the acting duo, “they produce scenes that you would only expect to see on stage because of the theatrical intensity at times”. This is one of the reasons why Dobbs, like so many others, believes we are living in a “golden age of television”. Netflix has not only revolutionised the way viewers watch and consume TV programmes—paving the way for ‘binge-watching’—but has also created a more favourable platform for Hollywood A-listers to take on TV roles. So has this shift in how television is consumed over a period

of days rather than weeks or months altered the creative process for writers like Dobbs? “It does make a difference to the writing. It is much more like writing a novel than traditional television, which you have to break up into hour-long chunks and at the end of every chunk you had to have an exciting climax in order to attract the audience back the following week. Nowadays you look at your television like it is a book. Until you want to put it to one side, you will carry on looking at it.” Dobbs is currently working on a number of television projects, including a series about Winston Churchill, whom he has written books about and a TV show, which he says is based on an American campus. But he will not rule out penning another political novel about his latter years in politics and being in the House of Lords. “Writing for television is a much quicker process because it is a collaborative process whereas writing a book requires a chunk of time in isolation and unfortunately politics is a major distraction,” he says. Dobbs says he has never known the world to be as unstable as it is today both economically and politically. “Politics is what makes the world tick but it is also what makes the world go wrong. There is a big question mark hanging over America, over Europe and over the Middle East right now.” A naysayer to Scottish independence in last year’s referendum, he says Britain’s June referendum on whether to stay in the European Union will be one of the most landmark moments of recent times. “It will be one of the most historic moments that people have had a chance to be involved in for some time. It is much more important than any election—it will determine the future of this country and the European Union, whatever the outcome.” But as Thatcher said to Dobbs after he was the first person to congratulate her on the night she was elected prime minister in 1979, “we shall see, we shall see”.

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Flavio Briatore

BRING IT LIKE A BILLIONAIRE Self-made millionaire and former F1 mogul Flavio Briatore prepares to bring his ostentatious brand Billionaire Life to the Gulf

ormula One boss, reality TV star, stockbroker, restauranteur, international playboy, football club chairman and self-made millionaire—Flavio Briatore is a man who can claim many titles. The Italian entrepreneur is also the founder of Billionaire Life—a concept so brash, only a man steeped in Briatore’s brand of success and excess could have come up with it. Having already targeted the region with his Billionaire Italian fashion chain, with shops in Dubai and Riyadh, Briatore is preparing to launch the Billionaire Mansion Dubai this month. A sprawling new box complex in the Taj Dubai will combine a lounge, nightclub, karaoke, Italian grill and Sumosan sushi bar and add a new party hotspot to his global empire, which includes Turkey, Kenya and Sardinia. “The name is a little bit arrogant,” admits Briatore over the phone from Monaco. “I was arrogant when I started because at the time there were not so many billionaires. Now there are too many.” One could say the name is aspirational. The 65-year-old’s

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own fortune is estimated to be just $150 million. “I am not a billionaire [but] I am enthusiastic,” he says. “I want to be one day.” Originally founded in Sardinia in 1998 as a playground for the rich and famous and with Billionaire Clubs in Turkey and Kenya, the venture takes Briatore back to his very first experience of being an entrepreneur, when he was the boss of a short-lived restaurant. Growing up in the Italian Maritime Alps while working as a ski instructor, the young Briatore founded Tribula with colleagues. “I was managing it myself because all my friends preferred partying to working,” he says. “It was one season, then finito.” After stints as a door-to-door insurance salesman and later trading on the Italian stock exchange, it was a fortuitous meeting with the businessman Luciano Benetton which led to Briatore making his fortune. Appointed to import the Italian fashion brand to the US, Briatore opened 800 stateside stores between 1979 and 1989, banking a cut from each. On the back of his success, Briatore was parachuted in to manage the new

Image courtesy of Getty Images

BY RYAN YOUNG


A sneak peek of the Billionaire Mansion in Dubai

Benetton Formula One team in 1990 with no motorsport experience, where his first stroke of inspiration was to hire the young Michael Schumacher. Briatore has not seen his former prizefighter since the tragic skiing accident in 2013 which left the seven-times F1 champion with serious long-term injuries. “All we can do is pray, nothing else,” says Briatore. “It is so sad.” When Renault acquired Benetton in 2001, it hired Briatore, whose greatest discovery was Fernando Alonso. However he was forced out of the team and the sport in 2008 following a race-fixing allegation, later overturned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Briatore’s public profile perhaps reached its peak during the three years he co-owned UK football club Queens Park Rangers alongside billionaires Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal. “I was a little controversial because I fired six or seven managers but they got fired because they weren’t good enough,” he says. Controversy is a word Briatore knows well. In the mid-1980s he fled to the Virgin Islands after being sentenced to more than four years in jail for fraud, only returning to Europe after an amnesty was granted. “When you start from nothing there is a lot of jealousy and mean people. It does not mean anything,” he says. “I am lucky. I have had a very good life. If life was so simple, so clear, so smooth, it would be no fun at all.” And fun it certainly has been. Whatever he might claim, it is clear Briatore gains immense fulfilment from his public profile.

Why else would he have hosted the Italian version of The Apprentice in 2010, playing the role of Alan Sugar? Then there is Force Blue, the $24 million 12-suite superyacht which he uses to entertain the ultra-rich every summer. That also caused Briatore a spot of bother when it was seized in 2010 due to unpaid taxes, a matter still to come up in court. “The whole accusation of fraud has gone completely,” he says. “Now we are still working with [tax inspectors] but I am sure we will find a solution.” And there are the women, who have attracted just as much attention as his financial affairs. Briatore has a string of supermodel ex-girlfriends, including Elle Macpherson, Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum, with whom he had a daughter Helene shortly before she married the musician Seal. It was Wonderbra model Elisabetta Gregoraci who finally tamed him when they married in 2008 (Alonso drove the wedding car). “I am not a playboy. I was dating a lot, now I am married,” he says. It is unlikely Briatore will disappear from the public eye anytime soon. His brother, a farmer, died at the end of last year. With his 66th birthday on the horizon, his own mortality is preoccupying Briatore. “[My brother] led a very healthy life, waking up at six o’clock, was outdoors every day and he died of a heart attack,” he says. “So whatever the doctor tells you, it is difficult to believe. You could be dead in 10 minutes. And money? You don’t take anything with you when you go.”

“I am not a billionaire [but] I am enthusiastic. “I want to be one day”

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PIONEER

THE ACCIDENTAL PIONEER One of the UAE’s leading female surgeons Dr Houriya Kazim tells of her difficult journey to the top of her profession BY AMANDA FISHER

hen Dr Houriya Kazim became the UAE’s first female surgeon, she had no mentors. A pioneer by accident, she was a rare sight in what is predominantly a male field. Even today she is one of only a handful of female surgeons operating in the country. Her journey has been an arduous one and she refuses to sugarcoat it when talking to prospective young female doctors. But her passion for the profession is in her blood. Her father was the UAE’s first surgeon and there are too many doctors in the family to keep tally of—about 80 at the last count, she says. “It is really a very boring family,” says the breast surgeon, the founder of the research charity called Brest Friends. “My grandfather on my father’s side was what we call a hakeem or a faith healer. He had 25 children and pretty much all of them became doctors, married doctors and their children are doctors. Even their grandchildren are doctors.” Dr Kazim remembers watching her father per form orthopedic surgery as a child while sipping orange juice and eating biscuits in the viewing gallery. “I remember my dad taking me to surgery when I was really young because there was no one home to babysit. My mum was a businesswomen and if there was no babysitter he pulled the short straw.” To a large extent the doctor, who grew up mostly in Trinidad before attending boarding school in Canada, never questioned her own career path, despite her own peer group moving in

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vastly different directions. “Sometimes I think it was just around us and you think this is the way it is supposed to be—you do not think there are other options.” Dr Kazim’s self-assuredness is evident, perhaps the mark of someone who has held her own during tough times while training. “I wept many tears most nights. You are just so tired all the time and [experienced] surgeons take it out on [trainees]. Surgeons can be quite tough and they are under stress. I remember I used to have to duck as instruments went flying.” Much of the renowned breast surgeon’s training was conducted overseas, attending medical school in Ireland and then studying at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital. But she chose a difficult path. Surgery is one of the hardest and longest specialisations and dem ands absolute commitment. By the time she finished her surgery fellowship in 1993, she says women comprised only two per cent of UK surgeons and about 10 per cent of US surgeons. “Now those numbers are marginally better, but not hugely—maybe twice as much,” she says. Even now the mother-of-two—whose American husband stayed patient during a nine-year engagement before she married him at 39—is uncertain what advice to give when she is frequently invited to talk to young women about their careers. Kazim made many sacrifices during her own, including a decade of 90-hour weeks where she had no time to socialise


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Dr Kazim performing surgery

and lived away from family. She gave birth to her two daughters, now 13 and 15, in her forties and is acutely aware how lucky she was to not have faced complications. “I do a lot of talks in schools trying to encourage girls in particular not just to do medicine but to even consider surgery but they have to know the truth. Medicine itself is a long road that is difficult but it is only the beginning. You have to specialise and then superspecialise. We have here the custom of getting married when you are relatively young. Nobody wants to marry you when you are 40 years old”—she pauses here to laugh riotously, acknowledging her own situation. Surgery is hard for women everywhere, she says, but the Arab world comes with that extra societal pressure. She was not the “first Emirati girl to try”, she says, acknowledging others who did not make the cut because of the juggling act involved. Something always has to give, she says. She is pleased with the way things have turned out though she wishes she had started having children younger so she could have squeezed a few more in. Despite her achievements, Kazim spends little time dwelling on her successes. “I do not want people to think it is something nobody can do.

I was not the brightest person in the world. I am not an Einstein, I am just a hard worker and knew what I wanted to do.” It only just recently dawned on her that she is the second generation of record-breakers as the progeny of the first male Emirati surgeon. While she has achieved much in the advancement of attitudes toward breast cancer and screening in the country—when she first began seeing patients in Dubai they were the most advanced cases she has seen in her career—she says there is still much to be done. She founded the Well Woman Clinic to address women’s healthcare needs. Brest Friends, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in May, has just partnered with the Al Jalila Foundation to develop breast cancer research in the region. “What we have always wanted to do is to start doing some locally-based research because we see a different type of cancer here compared with the rest of the world,” she says. The partnership will give Kazim more resources to branch out from the original focus on awareness and fundraising drives for women with inadequate insurance. “In the Mena region and the Indian subcontinent, we see cancer younger and more aggressive. It might be a genetic thing, it might be an interaction of genes and something else, we do not know – but that is what I would like to research next.”

Surgery is hard for women everywhere, she says, but the Arab world comes with that extra societal pressure

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Mark Wood

ICY RACE AGAINST TIME British explorer Mark Wood plans to conquer the “toughest journey on earth” at the North Pole BY JUSTINE HALIFAX

s he prepares for his next trip, Mark Wood will be packing his favourite coconut-scented suntan lotion. But it is not the beach he is heading for. Instead, Wood will be spending more than one month in temperatures of up to -60C, the equivalent of being stuck in a freezer and facing the prospect of his own sweat killing him if it freezes around his vital organs. For Wood, 49, is heading on a mission described by the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes as “the toughest journey on the planet”. He will be skiing more than 450 miles across fragile floating sea ice, which could give way at any point with the

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slightest change in temperature. His 35-day mission covering 470 nautical miles, accompanied by fellow adventurers Mark Langridge and Paul Vicary, aims to highlight the impact of climate change by documenting their journey across the Arctic ocean from the North Pole south to the Canadian Arctic coast. And the suntan lotion? That is just to remind him of warmer climes and sun-drenched beaches as he and his teammates haul a 140kg sleigh with all their food, equipment and tents. British-born Wood is no stranger to adventure. He has already skied solo to both the North and South Poles. The explorer-inresidence at Warwick University in the UK says: “The scale of


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the challenge is considerable—crossing hundreds of miles of unstable sea ice, surviving in sub-zero temperatures and hauling 140kg across this dynamic and uncertain terrain. “This is the most dangerous expedition we have undertaken but it is the last challenge left for all three of us. Although we are all scared, as a team of experienced polar explorers we are well placed to take on this challenge. “It is a really hardcore expedition which goes back to the days of the original great explorers like [Robert] Scott and [Sir Ernest] Shackleton but we are modern pioneers of ice. “Our aim is to document what we, as modern day explorers, are seeing in this incredible area of the planet and to take people into the heart of climate change to show exactly what it is doing to our world.” Wood will be packing powdered beef and chicken stews, to be reconstituted with ice, when he leaves on March 23 on the mission called North Pole 16: A Race Against Time. The meals are one of his few concessions to remind him of home. And the clock will be ticking as by May 5, the ice will be too fragile as the spring thaw sets in, particularly after record low temperatures last winter.

Sir Ranulph described the terrain as “one of the most fragile, barren and unforgiving landscapes on our planet”. But it is not just the challenge of melting ice Wood and his team could encounter. They also risk coming face to face with a polar bear, the heat of their bodies melting the ice as they sleep, physical exhaustion and dehydration. Wood says: “Although polar bears will certainly be a threat, they are low down on the list. The unknown ice thickness could also make or break this journey but it is really only when we get on the ice that we will experience the truth. “But the biggest potential killer that we will face daily is our own sweat because when you stop moving, you are literally standing in a freezer and the liquid sweat will turn to ice. If this is on your body around your vital organs, you can get hypothermia and potentially die. To combat this we will get a slow, steady pace going and regulate our body temperatures by venting as we ski.” The trio will be taking video footage and photographs along the way to document their trip. Wood, who lives in Stratford-upon-Avon with his partner Lizzy and their two

“The biggest potential killer that we will face daily is our own sweat because when you stop moving, you are literally standing in a freezer.”

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PIONEER

rescue dogs, has been preparing for years alongside his soldier teammates. He has been building up his fitness for three years and cycled 1,200 miles across Oman in December last year. In the last few weeks, however, he has eased off training to avoid injury and build up his fat reserves. His survival ration kit will include high energy 850kcal chocolate bars and snacks to satisfy salt cravings. The team’s expedition has become all the more poignant following the death of the explorer and lieutenant colonel Henry Worsley, who died while trying to cross the Antarctic solo

Wood and his fellow explorers, Paul Vicary and Mark Langridge will document the effects of climate change during their expedition

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and unaided in January. An expedition patron along with Sir Ranulph, he was a “dear friend” of the team and had described the mission as “crucial” and “bold”. The considerable cost of the expedition has been largely funded by businessman Mark Tweddle, who runs the fruit import and export firm Jupiter Marketing in Shropshire in the UK. He says: “Mark is inspirational and we strongly believe in the importance of this expedition.” To follow the expedition’s progress see northpole16.com


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ARCHITECT PROVOCATEUR In a rare interview, Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid talks equality for women, why she doesn’t get work in London and how she will always be something of an outsider

Images courtesy of Getty Images

JONATHAN MORRISON / THE TIMES / THE INTERVIEW

BY JONATHAN MORRISON

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PIONEER

aha Hadid might be almost as famous nowadays for cutting short interviews as she is for her cutting-edge architecture. When it was announced she had become the first woman to win the Royal Gold Medal in September and picked up the award in February, there followed an acrimonious interview on the BBC’s Today radio programme. Challenged over (incorrect) accusations about migrant builders who died working on her stadium for the football World Cup in Qatar, Hadid ended the interview and walked out. Given that the citation for the Royal Gold Medal goes so far as to describe Hadid as a “scary” character, there is a certain amount of trepidation in beginning an interview with her. She looks bored, eyes rolling off to one side at my first questions. She stops mid-sentence to demand that a screen is turned off because it is distracting her. She has just flown in from Yale, where she teaches, to pick up the award. Is she jetlagged? “I don’t get jetlag,” she replies flintily. There is little chance of her doing a runner today. We are in Hadid’s showroom in Clerkenwell, which, she says, is a lot like her home, an old warehouse around the corner (she lives alone). The showroom is a rather sterile space full of her own furniture designs, including milled marble stools that look like plastic and plexi tables that look like glass. On the floor below are shoes made of recycled rubber and intricate skyscraper models that could be works of art themselves.

She is proud of the medal because it is an endorsement from her adoptive country. “I made a choice to live in the UK. I work here, my office is based here, I was educated here,” she says. “The award is important to me not because they finally accepted me but because it comes from a place I choose to operate in.” Now 65, the Iraqi-born architect has lived in London since 1972 when she was a student at the Architectural Association in Bedford Square but still speaks with a slight Middle Eastern accent. “I would like to get more work here. I get hardly anything. I know London so well. I have been travelling across it since I was a student. I have seen the transformation of the city. It is sometimes frustrating that I don’t have any work here. I would love to build a tower in London.” Hadid’s career was forged through controversy, from the first rows over the proposed Cardiff Bay opera house in the 1990s that propelled her to national fame, or perhaps notoriety—she won three rounds of competition only for the design to be left unfunded—to her most recent furore over the 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium. Again, Hadid’s design won the international competition but she was replaced by a Japanese architect at the end of last year. “There were very serious judges,” she says. “They wanted a national stadium and through that they applied for the Olympics. We won and worked on it for nearly three years but it seems they just wanted Japanese.” Hadid’s practice has

“I do see myself as being outside the establishment—not by choice”

An elevated view of complex at night, Galaxy Soho, Beijing, China, Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects, 2012

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PIONEER

so far refused to give up the copyright to the designs in return for a final payment, amid concerns that some components of the replacement scheme by Kengo Kuma are similar to those proposed by Hadid. Kuma denies appropriating her work. Needless to say, Hadid’s lawyers are busy. The biggest controversy of all, however, must be her work for the Qataris — the subject of the toe-curling BBC Radio 4 interview in which journalist Sarah Montague alleged more than 1,200 migrant workers had died working on Hadid’s Al Wakrah stadium being constructed for the 2022 World Cup. This was incorrect— there have been no deaths at the stadium —and the BBC later apologised for having got its facts wrong. Hadid has not taken legal action against the corporation, although she did sue the New York Review of Books, which first made the accusation. (She eventually accepted a settlement from the magazine and donated an undisclosed sum to a charity that supports labour rights.) In fact, there is little accurate information on how many foreign workers have died during construction for the World Cup and other projects but a reputable report in 2014 by the law firm DLA Piper said 964 workers from Nepal, India and Bangladesh had died in Qatar in 2012 and 2013— although there were no fatalities on the Al Wakrah site. When pressed on the issue of the treatment of migrant workers, Hadid responds simply: “I have done my bit.” Her right hand, with a bracelet that seems to be based on the roofline of the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, almost never stops moving — rolling around as she expands on an opinion, or jabbing as she makes a decisive point. It pauses for a moment when I ask her what she means by her answer, thinking she has funded some sort of charity. Not so. “I have always been defending the stadia in Qatar and I

think they [the Qataris] should now do something [themselves]. This comes up all the time. I have done my bit.” Why did she walk out of the BBC interview? Surely it was an opportunity to defend the project? “It was not an appropriate thing to do in a radio car outside my house. I am not a defender of the Qatari situation but it is important to get the facts right and then we can discuss it. I am very happy that the press make the government aware of problems on certain sites. But it does not apply to this site. “In any country one should do public and cultural work: you cannot boycott the people. It is important that we give these countries good schools, good hospitals, good museums, good housing. And there are certain projects I will never do — I will never design a prison.” She is angry the BBC chose to go on the offensive on the day the award was announced. “They had a right to ask me whatever they liked but when I had just won the Royal Gold Medal, I thought they should not necessarily congratulate me but talk more generally about my work. Going straight on the attack was not appropriate.” Are baubles important to her? She has, after all, won the Stirling prize twice in consecutive years and the Pritzker, perhaps the most illustrious of them all, in 2004—the first woman to do so. She was even made a dame in 2012 after building the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games. She concedes that the Pritzker, which she says came “mid-career”, had helped her practice to grow but insists she still sees her herself as an outsider in a profession that continues to be dominated by white men. “I do see myself as being outside the establishment—not by choice. I have been on the edges for so long it is comfortable for me to be there. I do not want to be seen as an outsider

Photographed by Mustafa Aboobacker, Courtesy of Leila Heller Gallery Dubai

Zaha Hadid exhibition at the Leila Heller gallery in Dubai

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Images courtesy of Getty Images

PIONEER

Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi

Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transport

necessarily but it means I can carry on with experimentation and innovation. Having to fight hard has made me a better architect.” Some past slights continue to rankle though. She was invited to the opening ceremony of the London Aquatics Centre, where she met the Queen but complains that she was not offered tickets to see her pool in action during the Games (no, she has never been for a dip but many in her office use it). Eventually she protested to Boris Johnson, the mayor, that she had to obtain tickets on the black market. She says he replied: “Don’t ever mention it to anyone.” She has not until now, if only to spare his blushes. Is she difficult to work for? “I don’t think so. They say I am. People on the outside say I am.” She shrugs. How does she deal with criticism of her buildings? She seems surprisingly sanguine about it: “When we started the Dongdaemun Design Plaza [in Seoul, South Korea] everyone hated it. Now it has had 17 million visitors and is second in popularity only to the Louvre worldwide. It has become like Trafalgar Square. I didn’t think it would be that popular. “The fantasy work of 10 years ago is the reality of today. A single idea can take 10 or 20 years. It is like making movies— it does not happen overnight.” Hadid’s class at Yale is evenly split between the sexes and she believes the next generation of female architects and designers will not allow themselves to be pushed to the sidelines as some of her own did. Her practice, she says, is now 40 per cent female. “The new generation has more perseverance. I have taught for 30 years and in the last 25 the best people have been women. Some have changed direction but a lot have carried on. It is not easy to do everything and society has to make it easier for women to work. The most difficult thing is childcare. That is the way they can be helped.” Is she a feminist? “Yes and no. We must make rules that allow women to enter certain positions that they cannot at

the moment — then eventually it will even out. Women need access and then eventually, the best wins and it does not matter if it’s a male or female. But women want to know it is possible for them to do well.” Hadid, whose distinctive sculptures were recently exhibited at the Leila Heller gallery in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue, has collected awards for buildings, from a school in Brixton, south London (the Evelyn Grace Academy) to China (the Guangzhou Opera House). She is now working on projects ranging from an energy research centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to the new £632 million Iraqi parliament. It is a project dear to her heart as her father Mohammed, who died in 1999, was a prominent politician, democracy advocate and, briefly, minister of finance before the Ba’ath party came to power in 1963. Work is due to commence shortly. She pauses to show me some pictures of cladding sent to her iPhone. These aren’t even from one of her own buildings but she pores over them, sucking in every detail. She seems to be enjoying herself now: she explains why London could become a “mid-rise” city (we don’t need skyscrapers scattered all over the capital), how long it will take to rebuild Iraq (25 years), how she was influenced by the modernists. She ends by saying that architecture is enjoying a “renaissance”. What part does she think she has played in this and will play in future? After all, at 65, she is a relative youngster. Her former mentor Rem Koolhaas is 71; Frank Gehry, a friend, is still going strong at 86. “I would like to think I am someone who stirred it up a bit. I am a dame and whatever so not totally on the outside but I have been an agent provocateur — I questioned certain things and perceptions changed. I have enjoyed doing it all despite the hurdles. If you give in, it is the end. You have to believe in what you do.” She smiles broadly again and adds: “And in architecture, nobody ever retires.”

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REGIONAL VOICES An Arabic website aims to give a platform to youth from the Middle East BY AMANDA FISHER

Nawaf Felemban

y the age of 15, when many of his peers were focused on computer games and football, Saudi-American Nawaf Felemban had decided to become an electrical engineer. Little more than 20 years and two careers on, the precocious Felemban is now the man behind Kasra, the Arabic world’s fastest growing website with three million unique users a month. “I usually say I am a little fidgety. I am passionate about things and I usually pursue them until I fulfil that passion,” Felemban says. No one could accuse the 36-year-old of not squeezing the most out of life. While studying for his degree in computer and electrical engineering at America’s Northeastern University he not only studied, worked half the year, learned to play baseball and volunteered for Engineers without Borders but also served as an officer for five different student organisations, including founding the college’s Brazilian Club. “I just wanted to meet as many people as I could. I found cultures and people fascinating. I am energised by people.” It is that same attitude that accompanied him through his work volunteer teaching robotics and sciences to underprivileged children while working with US defence contractor Raytheon and what pushed him to pick up a masters in business administration that would become the lynchpin of his second career.

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But things have not always run so satisfactorily for Felemban, who was born in the US but returned to Saudi Arabia at the age of three. “I think I have always had a curious mind. Saudi and the Middle East [during my youth] were not fulfilling. I could not find enough things that got me excited or energised. I would grasp at anything I could find.” Felemban, whose Indonesian grandparents were illiterate, recalls learning basic computing script at a hotel function room taught by an expatriate worker and having to convince a computer shop owner to give him part-time work. “No one would trust the children. The mentality was you will do more damage than help.” By the time he got to the US, after his parents took a loan to fund him through his first college term, Felemban felt something of a cultural homecoming. “When I went to the US I was exposed to this endless feast of activities and culture, of things to do. I was just going for all of it as much as it could.” Felemban says he does not identify as either Arab or American but as Arab-American , finding affinity with the group of Arabs raised in the US who value Arab traditions but are immersed in US life. But after 13 years in the US, Felemban was backpacking through Central America when a phone call came through


SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR

from global management consultants McKinsey and Co’s Dubai office offering him a job. “I actually didn’t apply for McKinsey. My friend who thought I was not living up to my potential decided to send my CV to McKinsey without my knowledge.” It was that job that drew Felemban back to the Middle East and while advising different governments in the region on matters of education and healthcare – including predicting unemployment-fuelled civil unrest in Tunisia months before a revolution in that country kicked off what would become known as the Arab Spring – gave him a new appreciation for the talent in the region. “During that research I was travelling to different Arab countries, I was meeting employers and youth to get their side of the issue. That was where I got a complete different view of the state of Arab youth. Yes there was high unemployment but there was a lot of talent, potential, a lot of exciting things happening and energy.” At McKinsey, Felemban and a Qatari colleague were inspired to do something to promote Arab youth. Looking around for a business model, the pair landed on the US website Buzzfeed, which has spawned a new wave of online journalism. “The Arab world is [made up of] 366 million people but if you look at Arabic content it makes up a very small fraction of content online. We basically are not the ones who are telling our stories. We have foreign outlets telling the stories of this region.” Technology seems to have given a voice to youth of the regio,n who were often ignored in traditional Arabic hierarchical society, he says. Saudi Arabia has the highest rate of Twitter and YouTube use per capita in the world.

When he launched Kasra in May 2014, the site attracted 1,000 Twitter followers on its first day. While Kasra primarily functions as a newsite generating Buzzfeed-style content for an Arabic audience written by local writers, Felemban says the end goal is to have a lot of user-generated content and provide a safe space for civic debate. In an explosive region where media must be mindful of government sensitivities, that means stories focusing on social issues. “A lot of naysayers said you could not do it if you didn’t touch religion or politics. Our hypothesis was people are just hungry for content. If you give them the right content they will come to you.” So far, the top stories on the site – which currently attracts three million unique users a month – have been eclectic and include the Twin Strangers project to find non-biological doppelgangers and a female rickshaw driver in a niqab. Felemban says the site, which so far has relied on private investment and not started generating revenues, will slowly transition as people become more comfortable with it. The idea is to start to become self-sustaining within five years using regional advertising as the funding vehicle and broaden its scope to include wider debates on social issues. “If we talk about tolerance, if we talk about how do you treat another human being even if they are from a different nationality—those topics we will transition to so the tone becomes more serious over time. But it is not our place to get into the political or religious debate for two reasons. It is heavily saturated and getting into these topics will immediately make us a divisive media tool as opposed to a uniting one.”

“People are just hungry for content. If you give them the right content, they will come to you.”

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ENTREPRENEUR

GO FETCH The co-founder of booming Middle Eastern delivery app Fetchr has backing from Silicon Valley investors BY RYAN YOUNG

Joy Ajlouny

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ENTREPRENEUR

arlier this year millions across the world flocked to cinemas to see Jennifer Lawrence’s starring as Joy Mangano, the woman who invented the Miracle Mop. But few cinemagoers will know right here in the Middle East, there is another female entrepreneur named Joy with a colourful story to tell. As the co-founder of the burgeoning Middle Eastern delivery app Fetchr, Joy Ajlouny raised an $11 million start-up investment from Silicon Valley venture capitalists for an app designed to take care of the kind of mundane, time-consuming errands most people would rather bypass. The Series A investment she secured—or first round of venture capital financing—is thought to be a first for an Arab business. Further, it was money raised for a GCC business by an Arab businesswoman when less than three per cent of Silicon Valley venture capitalist investments go toward projects led by women. “It was me pitching to a room full of 20 guys,” she says. “Silicon Valley has never invested in the Middle East because they do not believe there is any talent here.” Yet since launching in June last year, the app has proven a runaway success. The firm makes thousands of deliveries a day across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, employing 370 staff—a figure which is expected to double within the next three months while a new service is set to launch in Egypt. Its USP is frequently described as the ‘Uber for deliveries’. The service locates customers to within a five-metre radius by clocking the GPS signal from their phone, eradicating the need for a series of painful phone calls giving explicit directions. “People are tired of having five phone calls every time they take a delivery,” says Ajlouny. Fetchr has proven equally popular with customer-to-customer deliveries. Users photograph the item they want to have transported, with same day deliveries starting at $8. Some of the more unusual requests have included picking up pets from the vet, handing in visa documents, sending a birthday cake and even picking up an ice-cream delivery. Ajlouny says she always knew the idea would work, a belief forged by firsthand experience of how the Middle East’s idiosyncratic address system can throw obstacles in the path of a smooth delivery. Born in New York to Palestinian parents, she

studied international finance before embarking on a career in fashion 30 years ago at the very bottom rung of the ladder. She began by working for the US clothing chain Fox’s—progressing, as she tells it, from cleaner to buyer—before eventually striking out with her own online retail venture. In 2011 Ajlouny founded Bonfaire, an internet site selling luxury footwear and accessories. While e-commerce peaked early in the US, Ajlouny noticed many of her most lucrative orders came from the growing Middle Eastern market. However, deliveries often did not go to plan, with packages frequently returned by freight companies marked with the phrase “incomplete address”. The upshot was wasted delivery costs and a lost sale. “I would yell at my interns, ‘A $5,000 order to Saudi Arabia and you did not check the address?” she says now. It was only later Ajlouny realised her wrath was misplaced and it was the region’s lack of an official postal service which was to blame. In 2013 she sold Bonfaire to e-commerce giant Moda Operandi, owned by LVMH and Conde Nast, which she describes as being “every entrepreneur’s dream”. Working in San Francisco in 2014 as a strategic advisor to other internet start-ups headed by women, Ajlouny encountered FrenchIraqi entrepreneur Idriss Al Rifai, who had the idea for Fetchr. It was an app she knew instantly she could sell. “It was his idea,” she says. “I was there looking for a business, he was there looking for money.” And pinpointing finance was something Ajlouny knew how to do. Nevertheless, it took more than 100 meetings to pull together the $11 million which launched Fetchr. “Ask any entrepreneur. There is nothing worse [than] repeating yourself over and over, meeting after meeting. I don’t want to say it was begging but almost,” she says. Now based in Dubai, Ajlouny is not your average businesswoman. Rather than wearing a power suit, she is touting a sweater with a cartoon bunny on the front and proudly points out her lack of make-up. She describes herself as a “hippie girl” and lives by the mantra that entrepreneurs are “born not made”. “Every time I see a child who does not take no for an answer, I look at them and think, ‘that’s an entrepreneur’,” she says.

“Silicon Valley has never invested in the Middle East because they do not believe there is any talent here”

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ADVERTORIAL

TURKISH HIDEAWAY Snap up a luxurious Bodrum hillside property on Turkey’s most stylish coast he Bodrum Peninsula, which lies opposite the Greek island of Kos, has been the playground for Istanbul’s finest since the seventies and is today one of Europe’s most popular luxury travel destinations. Its sprawling marinas and white-clad beach clubs that allow guests to dip in and out of the blue Aegean Sea and waterfront restaurants, give the Turkish hideaway a touch of the French Riviera. While its five star appeal is what brings the Turkish elite to holiday here, there is still a strong underlying sense of culture with authentic Turkish cuisine on offer, hustling bazaars and traditional hammams. An influx of Gulf investors is driving the peninsula’s development. Its hilly backdrop and narrow roads that wrap around charming coastal villages and towns are dotted with luxury properties. The most recent to come on the market is Bodrum Houses-House 2, located in the Yalikavak area. The luxury villa, which boasts stunning views of Yalikavak Bay, was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier and is on the market for $6 million. Situated on a hillside land plot of 5,000sq m with a private garden, outdoor terraces and full-length infinity pool, this contemporary home provides maximum privacy and seclusion. 46

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The unique property offers 950sq m of living space, including four spacious bedrooms with floor to ceiling panoramic views, complemented perfectly by views across Turkey’s southwest coast, as well as separate staff quarters. Exquisite interiors feature throughout the property with an open-plan lounge and living area, complete with high-spec finishings, including Gaggenau kitchens and Dornbracht bathrooms. The bespoke property was developed as part of a joint project between Berggruen Holdings and Pamir & Soyuer Real Estate. Following successful projects in Gumusluk, a seaside village and port built on what remains of the ancient city of Myndos, the property tycoons built two state-of-the-art hillside villas in Bodrum out of a total of 21. The first known as House 1 was completed and sold in 2014 and won the Sign of City award for the best new house category. House 2, completed in fall 2014, is truly an ideal home for outdoor living, blending the gardens seamlessly with the picturesque views of the Aegean Sea. Guide Price $6,000,000 www.berggruen.com.tr For more information contact Selim Süren on + 90 532 682 3292 or email selims@pamirsoyuer.com.tr


ADVERTORIAL

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SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR

FUTURE LEADERS Meet the one-woman dynamo with five degrees who has transformed the lives of thousands with her leadership training—and she’s only 37 BY JESSICA HILL

allyann Della Casa is the founder of the Growing Leaders Foundation but that is not how she introduces herself to an audience. “That sounds flat so I tell them that I wake up leaders,” she says. “I develop programmes to awaken people’s potential. Immediately ears prick up. People judge you in seven seconds. Have a mantra that is 12 words or less and make it exciting so people want to listen to you.” The 37-year-old, who calls herself ‘dreamer-in-chief’ and ‘lead tree shaker’, now employs seven people to train leaders in the UAE, as well as another 15 in the Caribbean, India, Qatar, Pakistan and several indirectly in North America, where her programme is licensed to the non-governmental organisation Kids and the Power of Work (KAPOW).

Her recent teaching stints have included mompreneur classes at Dubai’s Impact Hub, corporate responsibility sessions for 65 global leaders for DP World and presentation skills training for finalists at the World Youth Summit Awards in Brazil. Yet Della Casa does not possess a single teaching qualification nor a formal education in leadership or curriculum design. “My gift for teaching grew out of an intense love of learning,” she says. “I am that child who asked ‘why’ five times and coming from a female in a very traditional family, that was not accepted.” Her family, who are from Trinidad and Tobago, emigrated to Canada when she was 11 and Della Casa was sent to boarding school in Switzerland. When she graduated from high school at 16, Della Casa took

Sallyann Della Casa with children who benefit from the Growing Leaders Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago 48

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SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR

her first three degrees, in political science, Italian and French, all at the same time. “I would read five books at a time,” she says. “At exam time, I was the only one always in the library.” Since then, she has notched up two more degrees as well as a professional doctorate in law. At 21, Della Casa opened her own law firm in Florida and spent the next nine years practicing law. “I hated every moment of it,” she says. “My aunt [Dr Linda Baboolal] was the first president of the Senate in Trinidad and Tobago so there were certain expectations. I was the black sheep and being a lawyer was my way of being accepted by my family so they could all think, ‘She’s a little crazy but she’s a lawyer so it’s okay’.” In 2004, at the age of 24, Della Casa had several attorneys working for her. But instead of focusing on practicing law herself, she spent most of her time volunteering as a teacher for the US government life skills programme KAPOW, which was run by the US National Child Labor Committee. “I noticed the material was not connecting to the kids and started writing my own. That was when I first realised I had a gift for programme writing,” she says. Her teaching ideas were later incorporated into the curriculum for all teachers to use and Della Casa was named volunteer of the year seven years in a row. Despite these achievements, by the time she hit 30 Della Casa felt she was not living up to her potential. “I was this revered young lawyer but I was on the wrong mountain. I knew I had to climb down but I did not know which mountain to climb back up.” Della Casa closed her law practice, notched up another couple of degrees (in urban planning and property development) and returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 2009 for the first time in 15 years when her father died. There she began writing curricula in leadership and testing them out on communities of mostly at-risk, disadvantaged young people. “I made friends with one of the prison officers and started teaching in the youth jail,” she says. “I would hop on a plane to the Caribbean from Florida every two weeks. Everybody thought I was nuts.” In 2010 Della Casa set up the Growing Leaders Foundation to take the curricula she had written and roll them out on a global scale, starting with schools in Trinidad and Tobago. Then she licensed the programme to NGOs and social enterprises for free and to companies for a $4,000 annual fee. More than 20,000 children have completed her programme in the last two years. In 2012 she worked with motivational guru Robin Sharma, the author of The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, to revamp his books as children’s leadership manuals. Later the same year she was approached by Abu Dhabi University and ATIC (now Mubadala Technologies) to train their staff. Della Casa moved to Downtown Dubai two years ago with her hotelier husband. She now works for UAE companies such as telecoms firm Du to cater to their leadership development

“I am that child who asked ‘why’ five times and coming from a female in a very traditional family, that was not accepted” needs, such as how to tackle cyber-bullying. She has several books coming out soon—the Middle Eastern version of her first book, a photography leadership book called Who Will I Become and another book called Wake up Leader on how to build a life and business from the inside out. Della Casa says despite her successes, there are times when she still feels like the black sheep. “Most of us, particularly women, have imposter’s syndrome. But I know now what I am doing and I have the confidence to know that if I don’t know, then I know how to learn it.” On a trip back to Trinidad and Tobago last year, her car was at a set of traffic lights when she spotted one of her former students from the jail. “I opened my car door and came out and he hugged me. He said, ‘I have a job now and I’m saving up to buy a cooker to make popcorn to sell. I’m doing good. You should be so proud.’ It is moments like that when I feel like the most successful person that I know because I am truly making a difference in the lives of others.”

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

HUNGRY FOR GROWTH In just three years, Hungary has become one of the most popular residency programs in Europe among wealthy foreign investors. GC finds out why egislation introduced by the Hungarian government back in 2012 granted residency and ultimately a Hungarian passport to any foreign investor who invested at least €300,000 in special government residency bonds, allowing the holder to live and work anywhere in the European Union. At the time, public debt in Hungary was equivalent to about 80 per cent of its annual economic output and households were also struggling with huge foreign-currency debt. However, shortly after the program was officially launched in January 2013, Hungary’s economy exited its second recession and showed growth for the first time since 2011. The residency program’s main purpose was to help the Hungarian government refinance its growing foreign currency and avoid bankruptcy. In just three years, the Eastern European country has managed to entice 3,429 applicants, in comparison to the UK program, which has been operational since 1994 but attracted only 2,398 in the following decade. In terms of investments, Hungary has secured just under €1 billion since the program’s inception.

So why has Hungary been so successful at attracting wealthy foreigners who are mainly from China and the Middle East? Security The investment terms are simple. Investment is guaranteed by the government, through special residency bonds issued by the Government Debt Management Agency. The lock-up period for the investment is five years after which period the securities are 100 per cent redeemable. In comparison, other programs are based on donation or investment real estate, which can be very inflated. Simplicity The process established by the authorities is efficient and allows for processing of applications within the officially prescribed terms. It takes three months for investors to obtain temporary residency, although some insignificant delays were experienced in the summer months of 2015 when many EU entry points such as Hungary were faced with the challenge of registering an overwhelming numbers of refugees.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Hungary ‘s capital city Budapest

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

Exclusive Countries Covered by Arton Capital Exclusive Countries Covered by Arton Capital Hungarian Investor Residency Bond Program Exclusive Countries Covered by Arton Capital Hungarian Investor Residency Bond Program Hungarian Investor Residency Bond Program

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Hungary, Iran,Hungary, Iraq, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon,Jordan, Libya, Malta,Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia , Syria, Switzerland, Singapore, Tunisia, Thailand, United Arabia, Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Yemen. Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Malta, Morocco, Nigeria, Libya,Afghanistan, Malta, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Syria, Switzerland, Singapore, Oman,United Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia , Syria,Kingdom, Switzerland, USA, Singapore, Tunisia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Yemen. Thailand, Arab Emirates, United Yemen.

Transparency All agents who are involved in the purchase of special residency bonds for the program are approved by the government and are assigned territories that they can exclusively operate in. It can be only one territory or as in the case of global immigrant investment specialists, Arton Capital Hungary – the only agent who has registered its business in Hungary and 28 other countries around the world. This makes it easier for the government to monitor and supervise their performance. The government has also created incentives for companies like Arton Capital who have chosen to register their business in Hungary. Such agents are allowed to process files of applicants from any nationality, even those who are under the territorial licence of another agent, as long as they are submitted from Hungary. This also brings additional benefits to the local economy, since applicants have to make at least one trip to Budapest. Potential Hungary is in the process of devising additional changes to its program to attract even more wealthy migrants. One such stimulus is to waive the language requirement from qualified applicants and to reduce the time to obtain citizenship from eight to five years. This will make the program more competitive and allow it to be on a par with its European rivals. Further changes including the introduction of a fast tracked path to citizenship if applicants invest more in the country have been proposed by Arton Capital Hungary Kft­—­one of four licensed companies who are exclusively authorised to represent the Hungarian bond program.

Immigrant investor programs are becoming more and more popular in Europe and while they are beneficial for the local population and economy, they can also be a means of expressing solidarity for those migrants who are less fortunate and are not in a position to relocate through an immigrant investor programme. One such initiative that is gaining traction in Brussels in the past few months is the idea of a global citizen contribution – to set a percentage of the total investment made by qualified applicants that will be redirected to a pan-European fund. The money accumulated in this fund will be used solely to combat the adverse effects of the refugee crisis in Europe and to help the victims of political and economic distress in the Middle East and North Africa who seek refuge in Europe.

HUNGARY INVESTMENT AMOUNT

€3OOk

ARTON INDEX SCORE

69

VISA-FREE TRAVEL

(No. of countries)

PASSPORT INDEX

RANK 2016

TM

150 26

Source: artoncapital.com

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ART

THE MIDDLE EAST’S TOP ART COLLECTORS Ahead of the 10th edition of Art Dubai, art collector database Larry’s List highlights some of the Middle East’s most prominent art collectors

Ramin Salsali Dubai and Berlin ranian expatriate and Dubai-based property developer Ramin Salsali opened the Salsali Private Museum in 2011 in Al Quoz before it became a magnet for art lovers. The museum showcases his collection of more than 800 contemporary works by Middle Eastern artists, including Hazem Harb, Reza Derakshani, Sara Rahbar, Amirhossein Zanjani, Ramtin Zad and Pantea Rahmani. The venue has become a key attraction in Alserkal Avenue’s expanding art scene. Salsali became a collector by accident as a student in Germany. His friend, Berlin Wall graffiti artist Kiddy Citny—then relatively unknown—repaid a loan with five paintings and sowed the seeds for a lifelong passion. Renowned for nurturing emerging artists, Salsali wants to transform Dubai into a world-class hub for art: “I have always had this idea to create a museum and show the work of Middle Eastern artists to decrease the level of misunderstanding. I saw the only way you can bring people together is art and culture.” An unstoppable powerhouse, his next ambitious project is the $7 million Dubai Museum of Contemporary Art (DMOCA) in Downtown Dubai. Currently in the design stages, it has British-Iraqi artist Alia Dawood at its helm as creative director. www.salsalipm.com

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Images courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

Sheikha al Mayassa bint Hamad al Thani Doha, Qatar

escribed by Forbes magazine as the “undisputed queen of the art world”, Sheikha al Mayassa is the sister of the ruler of Qatar and a keen collector. As chairwoman of Qatar Museums, she has overseen multi-million dollar acquisitions of Damien Hirsts, Andy Warhols and Mark Rothkos, among others. Her annual acquisition budget is said to be $1 billion. Sheikha al Mayassa was named the most influential person in the art world in ArtReview’s Power 100 and was on Forbes’ shortlist of the 100 most powerful women in the world. The collection ranges from modern to post-war and contemporary and has the world’s largest accumulation of modern and contemporary Arab art, including works by artists such as Jewad Selim, Mahmoud Moukhtar, Faraj Duham and Ali Hassan. www.qm.org.qa

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ART

Basel Dalloul in front of a piece by Iraqi artist Hanna Mallalah

Basel and Ramzi Dalloul Cairo, Egypt ased in Cairo, Basel Dalloul is the chairman and chief executive of Noor Group, a telecoms and computer technology firm operating in 135 countries across the globe. Basel Dalloul’s love for Middle Eastern art was hugely influenced by his Palestinian father Ramzi, who has amassed more than 3,500 works, one of the biggest collections of modern and contemporary Arab art in private hands. It includes artists such as Marc Guiragossian, Tagreed Darghouth and Nazar Yehia. The Dalloul family plans to eventually house the collection in a museum for modern and contemporary Arab art in Beirut. Basel told Larry’s List: “I am always excited to see all the great artists of the region. Our collection is massive so singling out a particular artist or artists would be hard for me to do.” Ramzi Dalloul, patron of the family collection, in front of Jordanian artist Mohanad Durra’s work

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Amer Huneidi Kuwait uwaiti-Palestinian entrepreneur Amer Huneidi has been collecting modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art for more than a decade. Based in Kuwait, he is the founder of the Contemporary Art Platform (CAP), a non-profit organisation. Since its opening in September 2011, CAP has energised the Kuwaiti art scene by forging a network with local art collectors and artists and infusing the cultural community with energy and inspiration. Huneidi is one of the notable collectors in the region and CAP is one of the first ports of call for artists and curators interested in working in Kuwait or with Kuwaiti artists. www.capkuwait.com

Top Right, Waiting #07, by Hani Zurob 2011 Bottom Right, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, by Tagreed Darghouth

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Tony Salame Beirut, Lebanon s a Lebanese retail mogul, Tony Salame has promoted the arts through his fashion franchise and even blended art and fashion further by opening the Aishti Foundation, a museum in Beirut exhibiting his massive private collection. The venue is part high-end megamall, part art gallery. It exhibits his spectacular contemporary art collection featuring works by Middle Eastern and Western artists like Mona Hatoum, Akram Zaatari, Christopher Wool, Gerhard Richter, Wade Guyton and Danh Vo. The space was built by acclaimed British architect David Adjaye at an estimated $100 million and has an eyecatching red facade made of ceramic tiles, inspired by Beirut’s red-roofed villas. Salame has described it as a “destination for wellbeing” and an “example of how Beirut should be if we did not have all those political tensions.” www.aishti.com

Aishti Foundation, Beirut

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To learn how a Quintessentially Membership can work for you please contact the Membership Team on +971 4 437 6800 2016 MARCH / APRIL 57


ART

Giovanni Rossi in front of a piece from the collection L’ espirit du mur entitled Thoyskalaf by artist Sherif and Geza

SAFE ART Swiss Italian lawyer Giovanni Rossi advises wealthy clients on how to avoid the legal pitfalls of art collecting

You have specialised in art law for a number of years. How does art law in the region differ from the rest of the world? Allow me first to clarify there is not a strict and precise legal definition of art law as such. Under this broad denomination we can include many different areas of law such as contracts, corporate, IP, data protections, taxation and inheritance. We could say art law is a broad umbrella covering legal aspects related to the purchase or sale, protection and asset organisation of works of art. Being experts in all these areas of law, my colleagues and I typically provide our legal assistance to art collectors, art professionals and artists, depending on their needs and

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circumstances, in a variety of local and international matters. Just to give a few examples, we assist in the sale and purchase of art work, in the lease of art between galleries and museums, in the legal and corporate organisation of an art collection, in the illegal reproduction of art over the internet and also in forgery matters and litigation over the restitution of art works. It should also be noted that when dealing with art law in the region, especially if there is an international element, than local legal laws and regulations must be read in conjunction with international ones and they become part of a more comprehensive set of norms to apply. For example, in Switzerland it is possible to house a private collection in a foundation while here in the UAE this is currently not possible.


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Is it a subject matter collectors are becoming more familiar within the region or is there still a lack of education surrounding the rights and ownership of art pieces? In my experience, collectors in this region are not sufficiently aware of the means and available legal tools to organise, preserve and protect an art collection for the next generation. They are mostly global nomad individuals with properties (including art collections) in various part of the world. They typically live in several countries during the year and enjoy collecting and moving their artworks across continents too. That is why they often seek our advice on how to consolidate their art collections under the appropriate legal and tax structures. In support of the international crackdown on the black market trade of looted cultural artifacts, the FBI recently announced art dealers might be prosecuted for engaging in the trade of stolen Iraqi and Syrian antiquities. Do you believe the law is stringent enough in this region when it comes to prosecuting collectors or dealers who engage in this activity? The issue is not so much whether the law here or anywhere else is stringent enough but instead how stringent the enforcement is against such crimes, which is the means to prevent these crimes from happening. I believe international cooperation and intelligence on one side and the establishment of specialised art police forces on the other side, do play a very important role and can contribute to cracking down on these international crimes. With an economic downturn expected in the region this year and with countries like China experiencing a significant decline in art market sales, do you believe this will affect the value and popularity of regional artists’ work? My view is that in times of crisis, investments in luxury goods— art included—actually increase as they are typically anti-cyclical to economic downturn. The art market is also more global and subject to common international trends as well. Korean art, for example, is becoming trendy and some Korean artists are becoming popular in the Middle East. How will the opening up of the Iranian market since sanctions have been lifted affect the art market there? Will the value of Iranian artworks increase now that artists themselves are more accessible? Even if sanctions have been lifted, it is going to take some time and many legal and economic reforms before the whole of the Iranian economy, not only the art market, can develop and fully show its potential. I am not in the position to comment on the value of Iranian art works but it could be reasonable to assume Iranian artists will want to become more known internationally, not only or mainly in the Middle East. I can only hope the value of their

artworks will increase once they will become global phenomena, as has happened in the past for Chinese artists who used to be known mainly in Hong Kong and Asia and now can be found in many modern art museums all over the world. As a collector yourself, is there a calculated process you follow before buying a piece or do you buy from the heart without knowing who the artist is? I am of Italian origin so it is in my blood to follow my heart. My very small collection of contemporary art has been created over the years with my wife. We purchase our artworks together when they speak to both our hearts and souls. What is the main motivation behind your collection? Besides those few contemporary art pieces, my family and I have been art collectors for generations. I cherish our collection of what in Italy is called the arte musiva or pietra dura technique—an artwork created using cut and fitted, highly polished coloured stones juxtaposed with a technic similar to marquetry. This technique dates back to the renaissance and flourished in Florence, where my family come from. It is also known as mosaico fiorentino. Besides this, my motivation is purely aesthetic. I buy what I like. How many clients do you advise on art? Are they mainly private or government clients? We advise mainly private clients, both individuals and corporations. In Switzerland we also advise museums and lenders providing financial solutions purely on an art assetbacked basis. Christie’s will this year celebrate a decade of auctions in the region. How has that changed the landscape of art in the UAE? Auctions are important vehicles through which art deals are accomplished and a good thermometer of how hot a particular market is. Christie’s has done remarkable work these last years in the UAE in educating buyers on all kind of obligations normally associated with such purchases, including payment terms and conditions. Is taxation an issue for collectors who buy from Christie’s in the UAE, assuming they do not pay tax but then transport the artworks to homes in Europe? Even if the UAE is tax-free, taxation is always an issue. This is a very complex subject. One needs to consider taxation from a global standpoint: it is an issue for individual collectors who have assets all over the world and need to protect their global wealth but it is also an issue for international companies who decide to invest in art collections for tax benefits, even if here in the UAE they might not have a similar incentive yet. Moving art collections from country to country triggers many legal issues, especially in the case of ancient art, not only in terms of custom duties or tax issues.

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Artist Lita Cabellut in front of her painting Eddy Wenting

Morning Glory Representing women who carry the light and promise of morning dew, Lita Cabellut’s latest art exhibition is as captivating as it is multi-layered

Choosing a favourite piece is like choosing a favourite child. It is impossible,” says portrait artist Lita Cabellut, who is showing her latest collection in DIFC’s Opera Gallery this month. Combining femininity with vibrant hues, Color of Dew features women blanketed in brilliant shades of pink and turquoise as they recall the sad beauty of a young and ornate bride. A continuation of Cabellut’s previous series Impulse, which examined our attraction to imperfection, this new body of work tests viewers’ depth of perception with a variety of layers through which they must look. “Surrounded by explosive colour, the subject’s expressions are overlooked,” says Cabellut. “One woman has blue eyes and an inscrutable gaze, piercing the viewer through overpowering shades of red, orange and green. Another has black lips and dress, fixed into position amid streaks of magnificent colour.” Running until March 29, the exhibition contains 21 pieces inspired by poetry and beauty. Born in Barcelona, Cabellut last exhibited in Dubai in 2012. Back then she brought Memories Wrapped in Gold Paper and was impressed by the city’s art scene, which she considers a manifestation of cultures. “Art markets influence and mirror each other more and more and Dubai is becoming part of this global communication,” she says. “I found it easy to exhibit my work in the emirate. Opera Gallery introduced me to the market in a very gentle and powerful way. I feel connected to the city, especially with Color of Dew, which is so connected to the colours and brightness that exemplify Dubai.”

80x80 Colour of dew

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The Heart of the Matter British-Iraqi artist Athier Mousawi returns to Dubai with his latest collection Machine Hearts, inspired by consciousness and conflict

ibrantly coloured and full of visceral energy, Machine Hearts is the fascinating solo exhibition by BritishIraqi artist Athier Mousawi, who goes by the name Athier. Showing at Ayyam Gallery until May 30, the collection is a continuation of the Man of War series, in which the artist explored the contemporary phenomenon of drone warfare. This new body of work, which centres on large-scale, semi-abstract paintings, attempts to visualise a soldier’s modus operandi by asking: What is the unseen core that powers a human killing machine? “Growing up in the 1980s in the analogue age, machines have always interested me,” says Athier, who was born in London to Iraqi parents. “The exhibition is inspired by the notion of soldiers having machine hearts. What do these hearts look like and what do consciousness and warfare have in common? I explore these questions through the artwork.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Artist Athier - Photo credit Nairy Shahinian 2016

Featuring acrylics, canvases depict twisted, organic elements wrapped around rigid structures, creating dense clusters with a three dimensional quality. But why has Athier, who has exhibited in cities such as London, Paris and Beirut, chosen Dubai in which to display his latest works? “For Middle Eastern-Western artists, the emirate is a good place to show. It feels progressive and forward thinking. The art scene is thriving with a really international mix of people. It is unestablished, new and exciting,” he says. A graduate of Central Saint Martins art college in London, Athier was invited to exhibit in Dubai six years ago after a gallery owner visited him in London and liked his work. “I was in Berlin and met an artist whose works were on show in Dubai. She then brought the owner of the Dubai gallery to my UK studio and he invited me to show in the UAE. As the number of galleries grow, the art scene also grows and more people create art here. It is brilliant,” he says. Machine Men with Machine Hearts 2, 2015, Ink on paper, 30 x 42 cm

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Mad Art

LIFESTYLE CHICARA ART Japanese designer Chicara Nagata has had a lifelong affinity with motorcyles, having spent his childhood in the Saga Prefecture in Kyosho riding motorcycles. Chicara’s ambition to design and build his own machines was almost ruined when he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident at the age of 16. Paradoxically, he decided to dedicate his life to an engine that almost killed him. Chicara takes a vintage engine which he finishes and blends with as many as 500 self-manufactued components. The combination of the classic Harley Davidson engine with his distinctively styled frames, drive trains, suspension systems and steering components give rise to creations that could be described as retro-futuristic or even near-futuristic.

All prices approximate

$372,657

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GADGETS

RHODIUM BIRDFISH A beautifully handmade modular electric guitar featuring two-piece aluminium body, interchangeable wooden tone bars, headless maple neck and sliding pickups that can be swapped in seconds. Working by himself in his Bavarian atelier, designer Ulrich Teuffel crafts most of the guitar components by hand allowing him to produce only 10 birdfish guitars per year.

Price upon request

THE APPLAUSE MACHINE Laikingland is a creative collaboration based in the UK and the Netherlands designing and manufacturing beautifully crafted kinetic objects that engage and evoke a sense of play and nostalgia. According to the designer Martin Smith, the Applause Machine is a whimsical innovation that sees two hands clap together rhythmically when its button is pushed. An original and playful way of saying ‘bravo’.

Available in seven colours and limited to 250 pieces per colour. $463

MACHINE LIGHTS TYPE 1 The Berlin-based artist Frank Buchwald was a freelance science fiction painter and illustrator before deciding to focus on creating light objects.His Machine Lights series are the stunning fruits of his efforts. The ingenious series comprises a dozen different models, each one manually produced from as many as 200 individual components made from raw steel and brass, which are then meticulously handburnished to create a black surface structure. Meanwhile, bulbs and light tubes with partially visible filaments or yellow surface evaporation help his creations emit a mysterious glow.

$9,971

All items are available for purchase from the M.A.D gallery Dubai, Taiwan or Geneva. For more information contact: info@madgallery.ae

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AUTO

TALES FROM THE AUTOBAHN

The Mercedes-Benz museum takes a ride through more than 130 years of automotive history BY PHILL TROMANS

lenty of car manufacturers have what they call heritage fleets—collections of vehicles they have made in the past. Brands like to bring them out at car shows and events to display their history and expertise over the years. Sometimes the vehicles are just stored in warehouses, other times they are housed in specially built museums. When Mercedes-Benz decided to build a museum to show off its heritage fleet, it did not hold back. Rather than procure a few dusty corridors in a corner of a factory, Mercedes spent about $165 million on a purpose-built nine-storey museum near its Stuttgart headquarters. Designed by renowned Dutch architects UN Studio and opened in 2006, the striking edifice stores more

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than 160 vehicles of all shapes and sizes, along with about 1,500 other pieces of automobilia. The museum has become the number one tourist attraction in Stuttgart, according to reviews website Trip Advisor and welcomes nearly a million people a year. It is easy to see the appeal. For anyone with a passing interest in cars, Mercedes is one of the landmark brands. Its founder, Karl Benz, created the first motorcar powered by an internal combustion engine within spitting distance of the museum in 1886 and naturally, a replica of the PatentMotorwagen is on display on the top floor. Visitors descend through the helix-styled building but it becomes clear the exhibits are not just interesting to those with octane


Images courtesy of Mercedes

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The Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart

running through their veins. The curators of the museum have invested considerable time, research and expertise to ensure the cars reflect the social changes the world has seen over the past 130 years. Enter the soaring atrium and the scale of the project is immediately apparent. The ceiling rises 33 metres high with exhibits peeking over the edge of each floor to tantalise. The tour, supported by audio guides, starts on the top floor after a futuristic ride in a bunker-like elevator and charts the events that led to the creation of the car, before moving through the development of Mercedes and its vehicles in the run up to the First World War. The pace of technological development is then shown against the backdrop of the two world wars but it is the post-war rise in Mercedes’ fortune that is the most fascinating section, particularly given Germany’s position in the world post-1945. Lower floors look at particular changes in safety and technology after 1960 and there is a focus on the present day and a future encompassing emission-free mobility.

Before visitors emerge in the atrium again, there is a floor dedicated to Mercedes’ considerable motorsport heritage, from early Grand Prix racing to modern-day Formula One and a tremendous display of record-breaking cars, including the 1938 W125 Rekordwagen – an experimental machine that set an asyet-unbroken speed record of 432kph on a public road. All the exhibits are supported by wall displays, editorial and a fascinating amount of video footage collated from a range of archives. For petrolheads, it is a must-see but even those who cannot tell a C-Class from a 300 SLR will find plenty to entertain and inform. For Mercedes, the museum brings in revenue but perhaps more importantly, it is a tremendous boost to brand awareness. It is no surprise, once visitors have descended through several hours of fascinating automotive history, they are confronted with a gift shop, a sizeable new car showroom and even a section selling beautifully restored classic cars. So engaging and well executed is the museum though, it is not hard to forgive a bit of salesmanship.

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YACHT

THE BOAT FOR BILLIONAIRES Axioma is the superyacht of choice for the rich and famous BY PETER ALLEN

t 72 metres long, Axioma is three times the minimum prerequisite for a superyacht and 12m wide. This makes her one of the most powerful and luxurious crafts in the world – one loved by billionaires, business executives and celebrities alike. Launched at the Monaco boat show in 2013 as Red Square, she has seen all sorts of big names on board, from F1 motor racing champion Lewis Hamilton to movie stars and models like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Global Citizen put her to the test in January and found the hype to be absolutely justified. She has five decks that include a dozen staff cabins, six staterooms and acres of extra space for guests to enjoy themselves. The interiors are designed by the late Alberto Pinto, who said he deliberately used simple pastel colours and materials that were not too ornate. He aimed to create a summerhouse feel rather than that of a stuffy, old-fashioned hotel. Some of the VIP cabins have marble bathtubs and private terraces and stretch across the entire width of the yacht while all are equipped with five-star hotel facilities, including wifi, air conditioning, adjustable lighting and power showers. White fluffy towels are delivered constantly, whether people were getting out of the jacuzzi, the swimming pool on deck or the sea (water onboard is provided by a reverse osmosis system that removes salt from seawater). Other shared facilities include the gym, bars, steam room and an eight-seater 3D cinema with a well-stocked library. Beyond the glamour, the Axioma is ultimately an exquisite piece of ocean-going machinery. Her twin Caterpillar engines allow her to do 6,000 nautical miles at 14 knots, thanks to her 172,400-litre fuel tanks. Each year the Axioma runs up 20,000 nautical miles, split between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, as she chases the sun.

She comes equipped with numerous nautical toys, all of which are kept in a dedicated room on the waterline. It contains everything from top-of-the-range 50mph jet skis to sailing boats, diving equipment, paddleboards and bright yellow submersible Seabobs, propeller-driven bodyboards. When Jenner and Hadid holidayed on the Axioma, their videoed leap into the ocean from the top deck went viral on social media. “It is your charter and you tell us exactly what you want to get the best out of it,” says Suzie Sawers, the yacht’s chief steward. “We are here to work out exactly what you want. We are always happy to help with any request—however obscure.” There are up to 22 crew working at any one time, all keeping in regular contact via headpieces and microphones. They pop up from discreet entrances around the boat and then disappear again when they are no longer needed. Chef Stephen Paskins, who has worked in numerous Michelinstarred restaurants on dry land, is responsible for the 24-hourgalley, along with a sous chef. Paskin’s range is exceptional. He makes everything from scratch, including bread and cake. Fresh ingredients are sourced from the Caribbean islands and if essentials are not available, they are flown in and couriered to the boat. This meant $1,500 pots of Beluga caviar, Japanese wagyu beef and Spanish cured meat were as ubiquitous as Cristal champagne (vintage and non-vintage, according to preference). And if you have $70 million to spare, you could actually buy her. The Axioma is now booking for its winter season in the Caribbean exclusively through Yachting Partners International (YPI), from $577,000 per week. For more information visit www.ypigroup.com or download the YPI Selection app.

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DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS

THE CARPET KING Hossein Rezvani has brought the ancient art of Persian rugmaking up to date with his modern designs How many years has your family been making carpets? My family has been in the carpet industry for more than three generations. My grandfather used to work in the Tehran bazaar, where he was dealing with carpets and textiles. Like me, he attempted to break out of the family business and moved to Germany in 1959 to study economics. But after finishing university, he returned to his roots. It looks like carpets are just in our destiny. What did you do before joining the family business? After finishing my studies in economics, I started working in a bank but I realised very soon that it was not the right thing for me. I used to work with my father after school and university. Travelling with my father to the origin countries of the carpets, like India and Iran, was very inspiring. I loved it. It was about creativity, what the eyes like, colours, patterns. It was such a vibrant and alive world, the total opposite of banking. I realised increasingly that I loved the creative aspect of life and the beauty this world had to offer but I wanted to go my own way and try something completely different.

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When did you first get the idea of revamping the traditional Persian carpet? What did you feel was missing in the market? It was by accident. The whole idea came up while having dinner with friends. We were discussing innovation and how important it is to move forward and improve and adapt in any field and they asked me what was happening with Persian carpets. Why weren’t they adapting to today’s living spaces? Why was nobody giving them a contemporary twist? Other countries like Nepal or India were producing modern carpets but the mother of all carpets, the Persian carpet, had not changed at all. How did your family first react when you approached them with this idea? When I first told my father I wanted to make contemporary Persian carpets, he laughed but he was supportive. He knew many weavers in the Isfahan area of Iran, where we produce traditional carpets. But sending over my own contemporary designs was a different story. That is when the headache began. I understood


DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS

why no one had done it before and why my father had laughed. It was extremely difficult to break with centuries-old traditions. Telling proud Iranian weavers how they should weave was the most difficult part of the process. One time I sent a sample over for production which was red and blue. After four weeks, I travelled to Isfahan and the sample was green and yellow. I asked the weaver why the colours had changed and he told me quite simply, because he thought it looked better. You can get an idea about the mentality. Do you design the rugs yourself? Yes, I believe a Hossein Rezvani carpet should be designed by me. It is my brand and my name so that for me is mandatory. I do not have a background in art or any artistic inclinations but when you grow up around carpets, you automatically get a feeling for them. It was definitely a learning-by-doing process. I think when you have a product with so much history, tradition and soul, it is very important to keep the roots of the Persian carpet visible, even in a contemporary iteration. So after a lot of studying and digging into the design world, I created my first two designs, Tabriz and Bakhtiar, in 2010. When I won the Red Dot design award for the Tabriz in 2011, I knew I was doing something right. Where are the carpets produced and using what materials? What is distinctive about the production of your rugs? All of my carpets are handmade in Isfahan, Iran, a town which for centuries has been renowned for weaving beautiful carpets. We use only the finest materials, such as Persian cork wool and pure Chinese silk. The carpets are not subjected to any mechanical or chemical processes. They are dyed with natural colours, sustainable and environmentally friendly, because this is the only way the dynamic reflections and the lustre of the carpets can emerge. The most distinctive feature is that my carpets are

hand-knotted with up to one million knots per square metre. Imagine that—a 6m squared carpet has six million handmade knots. That is one of a kind in the industry and makes the carpet a real work of art. What has been your proudest moment thus far? That my carpets are not only contemporary carpets but lifestyle products. They are hip and sexy, a must-have fashion item for today’s floors and interiors. The whole view on carpets has changed. Carpets are cool again. We distribute globally and I get to travel the world, meet so many interesting people and see different cultures. Who are your most high profile clients? Most like to be anonymous but we have worked with quite a few royal families from the Middle East and Europe. We are also in the presidential suites of many leading hotels of the world. The Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg was always on my wishlist as I was born in Hamburg and used to go there often with my family. So when they picked the Frenchie and the Bakhtiar designs for their lobby and reception, it was a very special moment for me. What is next for the brand? I am currently working on the 2017 collection, which is a collaboration with an Iranian artist. In the past I have worked with artists Reza Derakshani and Mohammad Ehsai and really enjoyed the merging of Iranian craftsmanship and art. There are also plans to collaborate with fashion labels this year. Hossein Rezvani as a brand will open several flagship stores, one in Los Angeles. Hossein Rezvani carpets are available at Iwan Maktabi in Dubai Mall

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DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS

A TOUCH OF GLASS

Italian entrepreneurs Alessandro Forte and Stefano Ottone fell into designing glasses but now have a celebrity clientele BY NATASHA TOURISH

hile many entrepreneurs are hailed for their vision, ambition and sheer drive, there are some that tear up the rulebook and are at best unconventional and at worst, stumble into being entrepreneurs. Childhood friends Alessandro Forte and Stefano Ottone sit somewhere in between. The stylish Italian entrepreneurs started selling sunglasses in Ibiza so they could stay on the party island all year round and stay clear of their parents’ nagging. Yet within a couple of years they had five flagship stores, including outlets in Milan, Portofino, Taormina and Capri in Italy and one soon to open in Dubai. After the twenty-somethings decided studying was not for them and left their hometown near Milan for island life in Ibiza, the pair took jobs as nightclub promoters. But they knew they

needed something else to keep them from having to go back to Milan in the winter. “We found a little store in Ibiza port and started to sell fashion sunglasses that were a little crazy to match the people partying on the island because no one else was really doing it at that time back in 2007,” says Forte. “We started to sell branded vintage sunglasses and they went really well. We had to put security at the front of the store because so many people were coming to our store. At the end of our first year after going back to Milan for winter, we returned with our own style of sunglasses that we designed ourselves back home in Italy. Our plan was to start selling them inside vending machines in nightclubs.” Ottone, who is the designer, says: “We distributed only one

Alessandro Forte and Stefano Ottone

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DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS

We found a little store in Ibiza port and started to sell fashion sunglasses that were a little crazy to match the people partying on the island

model—a classic aviator style in 30 different crazy colours. They were only €20 euro a pair but we sold 20,000 pairs—all of our stock—in only two months. It was incredible to see all of Ibiza wearing our sunglasses.” After a second season of selling sunglasses in Ibiza, the stylish duo won the attention of European fashion bloggers, which prompted them to start their own collection in 2010 with five new designs. Glassing quickly emerged as one of Italy’s most cutting edge brands, focusing on using innovative materials such as hand painted crocodile skin, acetate and nylon, often combined with unusual shapes moulded to fit the face. Although neither Forte nor Ottone formally trained in design, the pair collaborated with Milan’s famous Istituto Marangoni to allow students to participate in everything from the design process to development, marketing and production. Ottone also teaches a term-long design class and both men work as mentors to encourage young design students. Fans of the brand include Kate Moss, Justin Bieber, Beyonce and Jay-Z, P Diddy and Cristiano Ronaldo. The ultimate accolade came when the godfather of Italian fashion Giorgio Armani came into their store in Portofino and bought several pairs of sunglasses. Glassing has also collaborated with Adidas to design sunglasses and optical glasses for AC Milan football team as well as Pacha

Ibiza to produce a special collection. “Mischa Barton was the first celebrity to wear Glassing and P Diddy stopped me on the beach in Ibiza to ask where he could get a pair,” says Forte but for him “the real honour was when Giorgio Armani bought our sunglasses.” The life-long friends were so starstruck they did not introduce themselves to the fashion legend, even when he questioned the sales assistant about the designers. “We just stood there in the corner,” says Ottone. Forte adds: “We let the sales assistant do all the talking. We could not believe he was in there and buying our sunglasses.” The brand is currently distributed in more than 1,400 stores and luxury boutiques worldwide, including Harrods in London, Galeries Lafayette in Beijing, Twist in Hong Kong and Mr M in Beirut. A new store opening in October in Dubai will be the fifth store for the brand, in addition to two pop-up stores in JBR and City Walk in Dubai over the coming months. In keeping with their unconventional style, the entrepreneurs created their own Glassing yacht store last year, a real yacht that has been customised as a shop, becoming the first ever seaborne optical store in the world. They plan to dock at glamorous resorts all over Europe this coming summer, which will no doubt only increase their celebrity following.

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DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS

Karl Lagerfeld and Pier Paolo Righi

IT’S ALL IN THE NAME The chief executive of Karl Lagerfeld’s own fashion line tells how the 82-year-old dynamo does it BY NAUSHEEN NOOR

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DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS

arl Lagerfeld needs little introduction. He is a legend in the fashion business, currently working as the head designer and creative director of both Fendi and Chanel. His off-duty persona is unabashedly controversial and his personal style has become as iconic as his creations – white ponytail, high collar, black tie. So it might come as a surprise that Lagerfeld’s eponymous fashion line does, in fact, need an introduction. “This is the brand that is closest to what is important to him, what he stands for and his roots,” says Pier Paolo Righi, the chief executive of the Karl Lagerfeld line. “For the other brands, he has to interpret their DNA. With this line, he doesn’t have to be concerned with, for example, Coco Chanel’s legacy and how to interpret that.” Launched in 2012, the label consists of men and women’s readyto-wear clothes and accessories. There are 23 Karl Lagerfeld stores globally, with one in Qatar and a soon-to-open site in City Walk, Dubai. The brand to date is most popular in France and Germany “because Karl is German but known in France,” says Righi. The brand also draws a number of spillover clients from Lagerfeld’s other labels. “This is affordable luxury so it does not compare to Chanel. However, it is amazing how many Chanel customers shop in Karl Lagerfeld, plus there are lots of fans because he is such a big persona.”

Next year there are plans to open the first American store in New York. Accessibility is key so the collection is priced in the mid-range and was launched online late last year. “He wants people to have access to his world,” says Righi. The Lagerfeld name is drawing a number of potential collaborators but one of the biggest challenges has been keeping up with demand. “Usually with a young brand, you take things one step at a time. But with a name like [his], you have a global platform and you have to cater to that,” says Righi. The designer did make time for Kim Kardashian recently when she asked if he would appear in her blockbuster video game. There is now a Karl Lagerfeld store in the game and avatars wear his designs. Next is the introduction of a children’s collection, inspired by his godson and runway regular, Hudson, as well as a jewellery line. There are also plans to build a Karl Lagerfeld hotel in Macau. It seems impossible that at the age of 82, Lagerfeld manages three different fashion houses as well as an ever-growing list of projects. “He is extremely efficient,” says Righi. “He knows exactly what he wants and that makes him work very fast. He is super-disciplined. He goes to Chanel meetings, comes to our offices, then goes to fittings at Fendi. He works like a machine. That distinguishes him from other designers.”

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DINING

LOCAL STARS

The latest crop of restaurant openings features some home-grown talent

MAINE OYSTER BAR AND GRILL The entrance to this hip new brasserie in JBR is tucked away in the car park of the DoubleTree by Hilton. With its dimly lit monochrome interiors, distressed white brick walls and mustachioed barmen, it evokes a hipster spot in New York’s Lower East Side rather than a New England seaside bistro. Fresh oysters are always on the menu, which also features the popular crispy fish taco starter, served on a soft white tortilla and topped with pico de gallo and lemon aioli. And while seafood is prominent on the menu, do not overlook the steak frites – grilled to perfection and served with crisp salty chips. Doubletree by Hilton, Jumeirah Beach Residence, +971 4 457 6719

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DINING

PLAY RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE Don’t be fooled by the name. From the moment you step out of the elevator on the 36th floor of the H hotel, Play puts its game face on. While the food may be a playful fusion of Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine, the design takes itself seriously. It is contemporary with a hint of art decor, combining low-level furniture with bronze accents and elegant marble, pop-out panelled walls and textured ceilings with lighting racks that spotlight the sleek black cutlery and gilded ice buckets. Chef Reif Othman (formerly of Zuma) has designed a menu around the finest quality ingredients

from snails to truffle. Must-trys are the raw wagyu with peanut butter drizzle, duck gyoza topped with a crispy parmesan cheese crust and the pitta surprise. The latter, while a little overpriced for two bite size servings, has lightly toasted, puffed pitta bread topped with kobe carpaccio and filled with a truffle cream butter that is heaven in your mouth. The H Hotel Dubai, +971 4 336 4444

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DINING

INTERSECT BY LEXUS Designed by cult architect Masamichi Katayama and geared to individuals with an interest in art, culture and technology, guests are invited to use the venue as a destination between work and home where one can linger, converse, peruse the books and enjoy a gourmet meal. The top floor encompasses a cafe and library with a stunning exhibition space below, complete with a floor composed of an installation of Lexus car parts painted white and encased in reinforced glass. Executive chef Tomas Reger

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weaves Japanese and Meditteranean elements into the menu. Try the seared scallops with butternut squash and samphire, where spicy yuzu jelly cuts through the sweetness of the scallop. The cheesecake, with its disparate mounds of cream, passion fruit curd, and cookie crumble, comes together beautifully. DIFC Gate Village, +971 4 355 9524


DINING

SENARA BISTRO Tucked away on a waterfront promenade in Palm Views West (close to the Golden Mile) on Palm Jumeirah, Senara is a homegrown concept that is a hidden gem for fresh seafood within a casual setting. With a British chef in charge of the kitchen, you would expect nothing less than perfection when it comes to the fish and chips and that’s what you get. Flaky cod with a crispy batter and golden brown, chunky chips come with a side of mint-infused mushy peas and homemade tangy tartare sauce. Another hit is the surf and turf, sweet and creamy lobster thermidor accompanied by juicy tenderloin beef. All that is missing is a glass of grape to sip on while enjoying the stunning sunset views over the Palm but that is coming in the next few weeks, according to the manager. In the meantime, console yourself with the soothing sticky toffee pudding. Palm Views West, Palm Jumeirah, +971 4 451 6460

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HOTELS

PRETTY AS A PICTURE Hotels double as galleries in this selection of hip art hotels

AUGARTEN ART HOTEL GRAZ, AUSTRIA This hotel’s glass and metal structure stands out from its gothic, renaissance and baroque architectural surroundings. Designed by the architect Gunter Domenig, it features works from more than 70 different artists displayed throughout the hotel alongside furniture by Cappellini and Ligne Roset. Every corner is seen as a creative venue or place to exchange ideas, such as the 24-hour

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bar, the indoor pool and the sculpture-filled courtyard. From the roof terrace, one can soak up the sight of the beautifully preserved city of Graz, the European culture capital of 2003. From $200 per night, www.augartenhotel.at


HOTELS

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HOTELS

SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL SHANGHAI, CHINA The Swatch Art Peace Hotel is a little slice of history brought up to date with the 2011 restoration of a century-old building. It features a Victorian red brick facade, a restored Jacobean staircase and bold new interiors that include a birdcage bed and silk screens splashed with watercolour. The building is home to 18 workshops and apartments for artists-in-residence chosen by a committee that includes the likes of George Clooney and Francois-Henri

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Pinault. Artists from around the world are invited to live and work in the hotel, where visitors can view their exhibitions. The artists share a chic library, kitchen, lounges with views of the waterfront, sunlit studios and gallery space. In return the artists leave behind a piece of art for the hotel’s collection. From $340 per night, www.swatch-art-peace-hotel.com


HOTELS

THE PALACIO DUHAU PARK HYATT BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA The Palacio Duhau, now a Park Hyatt, blends elegant belle epoque architecture with a contemporary posada in the leafy Recoleta suburb. Its two buildings include a restored 1930s Tudor-style mansion with a handful of palatial suites and a contemporary wing housing 150 rooms. They are connected via an underground art gallery showcasing local and international artists. The former palace was the first building in Buenos Aires to house an art

gallery and is within walking distance of the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MALBA). Deluxe rooms from $640 per night. For bookings contact travel specialists Lightfoot Travel on +971 4 455 8788 or visit lightfoottravel.com

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HANDMADE

HOMING IN ON LEATHER

Italian entrepreneur Giorgio Bagnara has gone from humble beginnings to furnishing the homes and aircraft of VIPs BY IVAN CARVALHO

n the world of luxury leather goods, Italy’s reputation for stylish fashion accessories, from handbags to high heels, is legendary. Yet when it comes to leather items to accessorise the home, there are perhaps fewer well-known brands. Italian entrepreneur Giorgio Bagnara is hoping to change that. The 37-year-old self-taught artisan has assembled a portfolio of finely crafted pieces under the GioBagnara label that offers everything from chic leather-bound serving trays and side tables to carafes and magazine racks in hides from Italian calfskin and stingray. They have rapidly become sought-after items for those in search of a touch of luxurious leather around the house. Based in Genoa’s old port, in a rock-lined warehouse once used to store stockfish, Bagnara has worked tirelessly—he admits to not having taken a vacation in seven years – to assemble a workshop

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of skilled artisans that today amounts to 40 staff and a product catalogue with more than 700 pieces. “The aim was to find a niche where leather was not used widely,” says Bagnara, whose client list includes Barneys in New York and Loro Piana. “In interior design, leather furnishings are big items like sofas and chairs. My aim was to look beyond traditional furnishings and develop a line of home accessories that were attractive to the eye and touch in the same way people treat handbags.” His GioBagnara brand uses quality leathers, including waterproof and scratchproof printed calfskin, crocodile and stingray sourced from top Italian tanneries. Since founding his company in 1999, Bagnara has been a whirlwind of invention and has come up with articles as diverse as folding stools, serving trolleys, stationery items and parlour games, like his elegant


YACHT

leatherbound backgammon set in walnut with checkers made of boxwood. Twice a year clients can view his latest offerings at Maison&Objet in Paris. In the office Bagnara wears many hats, from designer to manager to artisan and he constantly mingles with employees to help with the assembly of pieces. “When it comes to production, we do everything under one roof, from designing new pieces to cutting the leather and hand-painting the finishes. It is the only way to ensure the product meets the standards for a luxury clientele.” At 17, Bagnara got the bug for leather goods and picked up the know-how by learning from Genovese craftsmen who made and repaired leather suitcases and wallets. Today he has taken

his knowledge of leather to a new level. In the past few years, he has unveiled gold and palladium-plated bracelets in stingray, along with Orylag fur earmuffs with a nappa leather headband and worked with Lufthansa and Qatar Airways to personalise the cabins of VIP aircraft with leather accessories, from ashtrays to chess sets. Perhaps his greatest asset is the level of customisation as his products are available in hundreds of colours – even the colour of the stitching can be personalised – and can be embellished with logos and emblems. No surprise then that yacht owners and luxury hotels are now calling him for bespoke orders. Bagnara says: “The sky’s the limit. People love the sensation of touching leather so it is only natural they want more of it.”

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DESIGN

DESIGN WITH A TWIST We select a few highlights from Design Days Dubai’s fifth edition

Large Stratum chair, Ammar Kalo, $3,400

Ikra Ice, Tomas Bastide, Wiener Silber Manufactur, $66,940

Apensanteur (Zero Gravity), Quentin Carnaille, MAD Gallery, $13,700

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All prices approximate

Cabinet, Alma de Luce, Cities, $92,570


DESIGN

Anemone lightshade, Sarah Angold, Crafts Council, $445

Cupiditas table, Amarist, Barcelona Design Gallery, $72,000

Oru cabinet, Aljoud Lootah, $9,530

Terramare, Illaria Lubelli, Nakkash Gallery, $5,989

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FRAGRANCE

2 1

3

4

SPRING SCENT Put a spring in your step with these fresh aromas

1: Burberry Brit

This perfume opens with top notes of mandarin orange and warming spices and leads to oriental wood, patchouli and white musk. Launched in 2004, the classic male fragrance received an infusion of cool by 17-year-old Brooklyn Beckham, who took over the fragrance’s social media campaign for one day in January. 100 ml, $100

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2: 212 VIP Wild Party, Carolina Herrera

This limited edition fragrance is meant to recall the wild and extravagant New York City nightlife. The woody and spicy character is intended for the modern metropolitan man. It opens with notes of black pepper and leads to a refreshing heart of violet leaf. 100ml, $132

3: Eau des Sens, Diptyque

Just launched this year, this new citrus-based unisex fragrance was developed by master perfumer Olivier Pescheux. It is a mix of orange blossom, bitter orange and juniper berries with the undertones of patchouli and angelica. 75 ml, $145

4: Zen for Men, Shisheido

The luxury skincare line adds a men’s fragrance to its popular Zen collection. Masculine, spicy and woody, it is embellished with fruity, exotic aromas surrounded by notes of leather, patchouli and musk. The elegantly simple bottle is inspired by Japanese architecture. 50 ml, $80


GROOMING

FACETIME

Man up and admit your face needs help omen rarely need an excuse for some pampering and now men have even more reason to join them, especially when there are so many new spas designed to look like your own personal man cave promoting peace and luxury. The most luxurious new opening is the Iridium Spa in the St. Regis Dubai. It is a luxurious haven for both sexes but the separate men’s spa is manly yet elegant, combining dark woods and leather chairs with accents of copper. For most men, the priority is not having softer smoother skin — although that is a plus post-facial—it is to rejuvenate tired and ageing skin and the timeless Iris Root facial by Swiss Perfection is ideal.

This 90-minute treatment using Swiss Perfection products works on a multi-dimension level to help reduce signs of ageing and brighten skin. Swiss Perfection’s Cellular Active IRISA is a compound obtained by an extraction process from the Iris Germanica root, which is high in enzymes and proteins, accelerates regeneration of skin cells, increases the tissue oxygenation, provides optimal hydration, stimulates cell metabolism and enhances the skin’s natural renewal process. Most importantly, it visibly lifts and improves the skin’s firmness while promoting cellular renewal. It combines the most innovative rejuvenating treatments to re-contour the face while smoothing away wrinkles. Price $1,010 Iridium Spa, St. Regis Dubai +971 4 435 5555

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TRAVEL

LAND OF A THOUSAND MEMORIES Twenty-one years after the genocide, Nausheen Noor travels to Rwanda to meet the country’s rare mountain gorillas

How could it have happened here?” That’s the question I kept asking myself on a recent trip to Rwanda, a country of arresting natural beauty. Dubbed “the land of a thousand hills”, its lush, verdant, mist-enveloped peaks rise up along the landscape of this small African nation. It was difficult for me to reconcile how such a seemingly peaceful place could be the setting of unimaginable violence. Most people will relate Rwanda with one of the worst genocides in history, when 800,000 people were massacred over 100 days in 1994. Communities were torn apart, neighbours turned on neighbours, families on families. The slaughter with guns, grenades and machetes spared no generation, from newborns to the elderly. All Rwandans have been directly affected by it and the scars of that time are still visible, both physically and emotionally. Twenty-one years later, Rwanda is distancing itself from that legacy. Since then, much of the country’s transformation from war-ravaged nation to middle-income African country, a magnet for investment and haven of stability, is credited to the strong governance of the president Paul Kagame. He has created a functioning healthcare system, raised living standards and improved women’s rights. The former refugee, who has been in power since 2000, will run for a third term this year, following a recent constitutional referendum. One look at the buildings and luxury hotels popping up in the capital Kigali and along the shores of Lake Kivu can confirm foreign investment has been coming in at a steady pace. A short drive up to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reveals the stark contrast between the two nations:

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Spanish-style villas on one, shantytowns on the other. One thing is for certain, much in this country works when so much else on the continent is broken. But it is mountain gorillas that are Rwanda’s biggest tourist attractions and at the heart of the country’s ambitions to build a high-end tourism industry. The heavily forested Volcanoes National Park, dominated by the Virungas, a range of volcanoes that line the shared borders of the DRC and Uganda, is home to the last mountain gorilla population on the planet. This is where Dian Fossey lived and researched her scientific study, immortalised in the film Gorillas in the Mist. In the 1980s the gorilla population had been thinned to an endangered low of 250 by poaching, disease and habitat loss. Conservation efforts have brought the count back to around 900. In the last two decades, the number of park visitors has tripled and the price of gorilla permits to spend one hour with the animals now costs a staggering $750 per day, compared to $250 a decade ago. A gorilla trek begins very early in the morning, as a cool mist still hangs in the atmosphere. The sunrise sets the sky ablaze over Lake Bulera as we leave the Virunga Lodge for the park. There are 10 gorilla families that have been habituated by humans for tourism living on the slopes of the volcanoes. Each group of trekkers is formed of no more than eight people, accompanied by a guide and a group of trackers who have been out since before dawn to pinpoint the location of each family. As we begin the trek along the terraced hills of potato farms and tea plantations, we cannot progress five minutes without a small child greeting us with a cheerful “hello”. The air is noticeably


Images courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

TRAVEL

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It is impossible not to be moved by the presence of the apes, these beings with whom we share 98 per cent of our DNA

thin at this altitude and as we get higher, the hills shift from light green to deep emerald. Behind lies the panoramic view of the countryside, the snaggle-toothed peaks of the Virunga volcanoes lining up like monolithic monuments along the horizon. After an hour, we reach the boundary wall of the park. Composed of stone and mortar, it looks like something out of a medieval fairytale. Once we pass through a small gap in its facade, we enter what can only be described as a prehistoric rainforest. The trees and foliage are so thick, our guides use machetes to carve a path through it. The ground is not solid, just layers of brush that have been packed on top of each other, providing just enough precarious support to balance across. The cooling scent of eucalyptus lingers in the air. Suddenly, the terrain changes to serene bamboo forest, allowing us space to move freely between the tall stalks, while listening to the sound of the fallen leaves yielding underneath our feet. Walking through it feels like an act of meditation. Along the constant incline the trek is moderately challenging and the topography keeps changing. Just when my limbs start to ache, I spot a mass of black fur amidst the vegetation. The first thing I notice about the gorillas is their enormous size, followed by their peculiar smell and then their hands and feet. The shape of the nails and the lines on their palms could mirror my own.

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As our group settles in to observe the clan, the gorillas’ family dynamics seem very familiar. The adults laze around, napping in the sun, while the children behave like, well, children. They show off for their human interlopers, jumping from vine to vine in their real-life jungle gym and tumbling down the slopes. Intermittently, the adults pull them in for cuddles but it is not long before they are swiftly shaken off and the toddlers escape, scampering away to play with mates and siblings. Our allotted hour goes by too quickly and on the return trek everyone is pensive. It is impossible not to be moved by the presence of the apes, these beings with whom we share 98 per cent of our DNA. They remind us of what we are at our core, what is most important to us once the trappings of civilisation are stripped away – family, love, food and home. Perhaps that is why this country, which over the last two decades has become more known in the collective consciousness for its period of inhumanity, is so focused on expressing its humanism through the conservation of the gorillas, their erstwhile cousins in space and time. It is possible that taking care of these animals is not only inventing a new future for the Rwandans but also healing the trauma of the past – proving to themselves what, as a nation, they are capable of accomplishing, as they distance themselves from their turbulent history.

Images courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

TRAVEL


TRAVEL

VIRUNGA LODGE

Set high on a mountain, this lodge is an architectural marvel with mesmerising views over the area’s crater lakes and the majestic volcanoes. The rooms are well-appointed and in the manner of an upscale safari resort but it is the main lodge, with its wraparound veranda, where you will want to spend most of your time. Dinners are held family-style at one table followed by gatherings by the

fireplace, digestif in hand. If it were not for the lure of the gorillas, one could easily stay there all day and night. For bookings and safari packages, including accommodation, transport, and park fees, contact lightfootravel.com or call +971 4 455 8788

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LITTLE BLACK BOOK

LITTLE BLACK BOOK BERLIN German carpet designer Jan Kath combines elements of classic oriental carpets with contemporary minimalist design. He shares his favourite spots in bohemian Berlin.

Cocktail o’clock The Stue Hotel in Tiergarten has elegant rooms with Danish furniture, a view of the zoo and great cocktails.

On the literary trail

A cultured brew Literaturhaus in Charlottenburg is housed in an old Wilhelmian-style villa and serves great coffee. Every year the villa plays host to countless literary events that range from readings to symposiums and writing workshops.

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Images courtesy of Corbis / ArabianEye.com

Dussmann, the bookstore in Friedrichs trasse, is so big you can easily stay for an entire day.


LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Hidden gem I love the Boros Collection, a private collector’s museum in a former World War II bunker. I still remember when this place was a crazy, legendary club in the 1990s.

Behind bars The old Stasi-Prison in Hohenschonhausen is one of my favourite historical sites. If you are lucky, the guide might be a former prisoner and will share his story of life under the East German dictatorship.

I love being here during the change of season—it feels like everybody stops working just to sit in the sun

Feeling peckish I love snacking in the Marheineke Markthalle in Kreuzberg. It is an old market hall and feels a bit like being in Spain or Italy.

Truffle hunting My favourite restaurant is Mädchenitaliener in Alte Schönhauser. I always go there for the delicious pasta with truffles.

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FASHION

STREETSMART This spring take inspiration from street style for an on-trend look

Geometric print backpack, Gucci, Dubai Mall, $1,220 Salvatore Ferragamo, S/S 2016

Leopard print denim cap, Neil Barret, mrporter.com, $180

Leather headphones, Master & Dynamic, mrporter.com, $505

Printed cotton tee shirt, Christopher Kane, mrporter.com, $250

Appliqued metallic leather trainers, Saint Laurent, Mall of the Emirates, $505

Salvatore Ferragamo, S/S 2016

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All prices approximate

Camouflage cotton parka, Saint Laurent, Mall of the Emirates, $2,004


FASHION

Fringed suede high top sneakers, Saint Laurent, Mall of the Emirates, $646

Leather and shell bomber jacket, Tim Coppens, mrporter.com, $608

Neoprene hoodie, Christopher Kane, mrporter.com, $441

Skinny-fit trousers, Alexander McQueen, Dubai Mall, $380

David Bowie commemorative tee shirt, Paul Smith, Dubai Mall, $95 Hogan S/S 2016

Hogan, S/S 2016

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HOROLOGY

CRAFTY TIMEPIECES These watchmakers have took their artist expression to a new level PIAGET KUWAIT SPECIAL EDITION

SLIM D’HERMÈS PERSPECTIVE CAVALIÈRE The French luxury house draws on its silk scarves for the inspiration behind six exceptional white gold enamelled models. All painted by hand, the artisan uses an engraving tool to form small sections of varying depths in a gold plate before filling the indents with powdered glass to create the motif. Each colour is fired at a different temperature to achieve the effect of depth and texture. Limited to six pieces

Inspired by one of the significant themes of the shimmering secrets and lights collection, this special timepiece was created on order for Kuwait. Piaget’s unique Metiers d’Art combined with the record-breaking ultrathin mechanical hand-wound movement brings the falcon to life with added realism reflected in the details on the feathers and the onyx that has been used to craft the fierce stare of the falcon. Limited to 27 pieces

CHOPARD L.U.C XP URISHI VAN CLEEF & ARPELS MIDNIGHT NUIT LUMINEUSE Famed for their unusual complications, Van Cleef & Arpels has surpassed itself with this astronomythemed watch which features technology no other watchmaker has used before. Pressing the button set into the case-band causes six of the diamond stars in the constellation to light up.This is caused not by a battery but piezoelectric properties in the ceramic strip that generate a current when vibrated.

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Fitted with a black alligator leather strap, the timepiece embraces the ancient art form of Urushi — Japanese decorative lacquer – to depict a red-coated monkey (in honour of the year of the monkey) perched on a branch laden with fruit and gathering peaches beneath a golden sky ablaze with the last rays of the sun. Behind it, golden valleys compose a warm scene in soft tones that make a perfect match with the rose gold of the case.


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THE WORLD’S FIRST MASTER CHRONOMETER Proven at the industry’s highest level, the OMEGA Globemaster has been rigorously tested and officially certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). Along with exquisite design, it combines superior precision with anti-magnetic resistance of 15,000 gauss, proudly setting a new standard in watchmaking. For OMEGA, this is just the beginning. www.omegawatches.com / globemaster

Available at:

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OMEGA Boutiques - Dubai: BurJuman • Deira City Centre • Dubai Mall • Dubai Festival City • Mall of the Emirates • Mirdif City Centre • Jumeirah Beach Hotel • Sahara Centre • Wafi and at select Rivoli Stores. Abu Dhabi: Marina Mall • Yas Marina • Toll Free: 800-RIVOLI MARCH / APRIL 2016

Global Citizen 31  

Mario Testino on the cover. Global Citizen magazine is a bi-monthly luxury publication that chronicles how business, philanthropy, social en...

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