Global Citizen 52

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Some watches tell time. Some tell a story



Second time zone driven by a single self-winding movement Silicon balance spring and pallet horns Double barrel, 18K red gold rotor and case Ivory Grand Feu enamel dial


Grande Seconde Dual Time Ivory Enamel

Understated power. The all-new Audi S8. Subtle yet elegant design is only half of it. Beneath the all-new Audi S8 lies something utterly impressive: a twin-turb V8 engine producing an astonishing 563hp. Together with all-wheel steering, predictive active suspension and an 8-speed automatic transmission, it’s a force to be reckoned with.


A brief look at the life of Priscilla Chan, the driving force behind the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative



SpinLaunch’s radical new method to launch payloads into space

Jyotsna Hegde, the President of Sobha Group, talks about her company and the industry’s outlook




An overview of the Oliver Wyman report on the state of Sustainable Development Goals implementation


Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 is fast becoming a regional force in the tech innovation universe

Global Women’s Forum Dubai on improving the gender equation The fifteen ‘Forces for Change’ women whose achievements impressed Meghan Markle


Christine Lagarde, a Global Force, has broken the mold for female leadership for generations to come


Nespresso’s Yassir Corpataux spoke to GC about the brand’s commitment to quality and sustainability


Designer Ayesha Depala gives us a quick insight into her brand and her fashion style




GC meets with the two creative forces behind The People’s Moon Project

Orlebar Brown’s latest California Coasting Collection










GC speaks to Sultan Al Jaberi, the Managing Director for Marmum Dairy The new UAE logo, bearing deep symbolism, was unveiled earlier this year

Six incredible women talk to GC on the vital topic of women’s rights and empowerment

A brief look at the Sandro Homme brand and its Spring-Summer 2020 collection with the man himself, Ilan Chetrite

ALPINE EAGLE With its pure and sophisticated lines, Alpine Eagle offers a contemporary reinterpretation of one of our iconic creations. Its 41 mm case houses an automatic, chronometer-certified movement, the Chopard 01.01-C. Forged in Lucent Steel A223, an exclusive ultra-resistant metal resulting from four years of research and development, this exceptional timepiece, proudly developed and handcrafted by our artisans, showcases the full range of watchmaking skills cultivated within our Manufacture.



The Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR – a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and the Avatar team


Bugatti pays homage to the EB110 with the Centodieci


Ferrari’s latest Grand Tourer, Roma, makes a grand entrance into the regio



Girard-Perregaux’s latest Laureato is appropriately called ‘Absolute Light’


Laura Eggleton, General Manager of Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, gives us an insight into the brand and their upcoming property in the region

A review of the new limited-edition MINI convertible – The Sidewalk




TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition pays homage to the first Carrera Chronograph


Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart, a symphony of complications


What’s new in the market Monte Carlo Yachts’ new MCY 70 Skylounge is the first of a new range of iconic yachts


A brief introduction to Bali, one of the world’s greatest tropical holiday destinations



Founder and CEO of Islander, Vadim Toshu, tells us about the opulent island life that awaits each Islander explorer


Airbnb and the Bahamas National Trust collaborate on the first sabbatical programme of 2020


Discover Bulgaria through the eyes of its Ambassador to Canada Ms. Svetlana Stoycheva-Etropolski


Experience holistic holidays at the Nikoi and Cempedak islands

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s storied timepiece, Reverso, is all about making it personal

Diggn’It, the men’s beard grooming company from Saudi Arabia, launches in the UAE








Moncler x RIMOWA “Reflection” Luggage



Select Anguilla is a governmental agency which promotes and supports relocation to Anguilla for personal, business or fiscal optimization purposes. All advice is confidential and provided free of charge to individuals.


dition 52 of Global Citizen has a feminine charm to it. Gracing the cover this time is Christine Lagarde, an extraordinary woman whose career is a long list of firsts – from national minister to international banker (p.42). “Women In Action” introduces six incredible women and their views on women’s rights and empowerment (p.52). We look at the growing philanthropist profile of Priscilla Chan (p.16), while Jyotsna Hegde of the Sobha Group gives us insights into the company she helms (p.20). We look back at some of the highlights of Global Women’s Forum 2020 (p.36) and list the women that Meghan Markle refers to as the ‘Forces for Change’ (p.38). On the business side of things, we explore how the Hub71-Microsoft Reactor Program has the potential to change the start-up ecosystem in the region (p.26). Spinlaunch, if successful, has the potential to revolutionize the space payload delivery industry (p.34). Nespresso’s regional coffee ambassador gives us an exclusive insight into the brand (p.56). In the automotive section, we put the spotlight on the new MINI Sidewalk Convertible (p.78), the Mercedes AVTR from Pandora (p.66), the super exclusive Bugatti Centodieci (p.70) and the graceful Ferrari Roma (p.74). Horological masterpieces highlighted include the Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart (p.82), Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso (p.84), TAG Heuer’s Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition (p.80) and Girard Perragaux’s new Laureato (p.88). We discover Bulgaria through the eyes of its Ambassador to Canada (p.110), take an Airbnb sabbatical in the Bahamas (p.108), explore the Indonesian eco-island resorts of Nikoi and Cempedak (p.114), and give you the best of the beautiful city of Bali (p.98).

GLOBAL CITIZEN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Sunaz Sharaf FEATURES EDITOR Shama Moosa Teresa Esmezyan JUNIOR EDITOR Almas Salman COPY EDITOR Sameer Denzi ASSOCIATE PHOTO EDITOR Nidal Ziyad ART DIRECTOR Omarr Khattab CONTRIBUTORS Noëlla Coursaris Musunka Miranda Gavin EDITORIAL MANAGEMENT Alta Verba Media Suite 17, Iridium Building Umm Suqueim Rd, Al Barsha T: + 971 4 395 9982 MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE Fierce International Dubai Internet City Business Central Tower A - Office 2803 T: +971 4 421 5455 - F: +971 4 421 0208


Publisher Dubai Internet City Business Central Tower A - Office 2803 T: +971 4 421 5455 - F: +971 4 421 0208 Copyright 2019 Fierce International. All rights reserved.

Sunaz Sunaz Sharaf

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 Fierce International. 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.

JEFFREY MAYER / contributor






Priscilla Chan, Philanthropist and CoFounder of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative 16 MAR / APR 2020



A brief look at the life of Priscilla Chan, the driving force behind the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative


riscilla Chan, the wife of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a contrast in some ways to her rather well-known husband. While Zuckerberg’s life has been in the limelight since the emergence of Facebook onto the world stage, his wife has largely managed to stay out of it. She chooses how much and which aspects of her life should be in the public domain and which should be private. This, despite being effectively in charge of one of the biggest and most influential philanthropic organisations in the world. Chan was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, 1985 to Chinese-Vietnamese refugees who came to the United States in the 1970s. She grew up in Quincy, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston with two younger sisters. The family spoke mostly Cantonese at home, and she would often act as an interpreter for her grandparents. To pay the bills, her parents worked long hours at restaurants and other odd jobs. Chan graduated from Quincy High School in 2003 as valedictorian and was voted “class genius” by her peers. Her achievements earned her a full scholarship to attend Harvard, thus becoming the first person in her family to attend college. In her freshman year, she met Zuckerberg at a fraternity

party. At that time, he was being investigated by Harvard’s disciplinary board because of the controversy raked by FaceMash, a website that asked students to rate one another based on attractiveness. Zuckerberg - in a manner that Chan finds endearing and contradictory to her own reserved nature - suggested that the two should go on a date at the earliest because he may soon be expelled by the university. Harvard University did not expel Zuckerberg. Instead, he chose to leave and head to California at the end of that school year to capitalise on the phenomenal growth of TheFacebook. Chan, however, stayed in Boston to graduate in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in biology. She also studied Spanish while in college. After graduation, Chan moved to California to be with Zuckerberg. She taught science for a year at The Harker School - a private, co-educational, non-profit school in San Jose. Chan then enrolled in the medical school at the University of California, San Francisco; graduating in 2012. In May 2012, the day after Facebook’s IPO, the couple got married in a surprise ceremony at their home in Palo Alto, California. Following the wedding, Chan commenced her

Photo Credit: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative 2020 MAR / APR



Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan paediatrics residency, which she finished in the summer of 2015. That same year, Zuckerberg announced that the couple were expecting a baby girl. He also made public, for the first time, that Chan had three previous miscarriages. On December 1, 2015. the coupled welcomed Maxima Chan Zuckerberg into this world. That same day, the couple published a joint open letter on Facebook, in which they announced the establishment of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. They also pledged 99% of their Facebook shares to grow the initiative, which at the time was valued at around US $45 billion. August, their second daughter, was born in 2017. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a limited liability company co-owned by the husband and wife duo, who injected an investment of around US $1 billion in Facebook shares in each of the first three years. Its stated mission “is to find new ways to leverage technology, community-driven solutions, and collaboration to accelerate progress in science, education, and within our justice and opportunity work.” As a limited liability company, the initiative can be forprofit. It can make contributions to lobbying groups and make political donations. It is not required to publish its financials, the take-home salaries of its top executives, and has fewer disclosure requirements than a charitable trust. The biggest advantage for Chan and Zuckerberg - who are the co-CEOs with no other donors - is that they have complete control over any Facebook shares donated to the initiative. The limited liability company is increasingly being preferred as a philanthropic vehicle, particularly in Silicon Valley. Laurene Powell Jobs also preferred the LLC option when founding her Emerson Collective. 18 MAR / APR 2020

Even though Chan and Zuckerberg are joint CEOs of CZI, it is reported that Zuckerberg mostly concerns himself with strategic planning and advisory board meetings, which means he is present only when required. This leaved Chan with the day-to-day responsibilities of running the initiative and is therefore present most days of the week. In fact, Chan decided to quit her medical practice to focus on CZI. Under Chan’s leadership, the CZI focuses its philanthropic activities on three areas or Initiatives: Science, Education and Justice & Opportunity. Under the Science Initiative, CZI has set itself an audacious goal: to “support the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of this century [the year 2100].” The initiative began in 2016 with a pledge to spend US $3 billion over the next decade. It then acquired Meta Inc., a Toronto-based artificial intelligence scientific literature search engine. CZI then pledged US $600 million to develop Biohub, a research centre located close to the San Francisco area’s best universities, such as UCSF, UC Berkeley and Stanford, among others. The idea is to facilitate better interaction and collaboration between the institutes. Any patents generated at Biohub would be jointly owned by Biohub and the discoverer’s home institution. Under the Education Initiative, the focus is “to build and support tools and programs that make it easier to apply the science of learning and human development.” Thus far, CZI has invested US $24 million in Andela, an African startup that trains software developers and pairs them with US tech companies. It helped raise US $50 million for Indian education startup Byju to fund their international expansion. It has


pledged US $30 million to the Reach Every Reader project to help develop and test scalable, web-based learning tools for children with reading difficulties. It supports Coding It Forward, a civic tech talent pipeline, and Summit Learning, a free online learning platform. The Justice & Opportunity Initiative of CZI focuses on reforming the criminal justice system so that community health and safety take centre stage rather than incarceration. It wants to make affordable housing available to more people. It is working on immigration reform to make it more humane and a driver of economic growth. CZI’s work under this initiative generated a bit of controversy because of its decision to fund

a California ballot that called for commercial and industrial properties to be assessed for taxation based on their market rate. Given that Facebook is headquartered in California, some critics saw CZI as asserting excessive influence on a democratic process. Under Chan’s leadership, CZI has bloomed in the past four years to become a significant player in the philanthropic universe. It is still young, and it is ambitious, with a lot of room to grow. As it gains momentum, expect Chang to come out of the shadows even more, and blossom into a prominent public figure to rival the likes of Belinda Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. 2020 MAR / APR



Sobha Hartland Forest Villas


GC spoke with Jyotsna Hegde, the President of Sobha Group about the company and the industry’s outlook


yotsna Hegde is the President of Sobha Realty, an international luxury developer committed to redefining the art of living through sustainable communities. Established in 1976 as an interior decoration firm in Oman by PNC Menon – a visionary entrepreneur, the company has grown its presence with developments and investments in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Brunei and India. Sobha Hartland, situated in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, is the group’s flagship project in Dubai. Spread across eight million square feet, the development comprises luxury apartments, villas, and high-end townhouses along with green spaces, schools, and a variety of dining, retail and entertainment facilities. With over 16 years of experience in the sector, Jyotsna has expertise in change management, people management, strategic sales, business development and fundraising, among others. She oversees all of Sobha’s financial and operational matters in Dubai, along with Sobha Hartland Contracting and PNC Architects. Her core focus is on overseas sales, business development, corporate relations and international expansion. In coordination with Sobha Group’s founder and chairman, Mr PNC Menon, Jyotsna also plays an instrumental role in identifying new opportunities for Sobha, both in terms of new sectors and geographies. A Bachelor’s in Arts degree holder from IGNOU, Jyotsna had stints with Ernst Young and Avaya Communications 20 MAR / APR 2020

before joining Sobha India in 2004. There, she spearheaded several strategic initiatives and held key senior management positions across various verticals. She moved to Dubai in 2013. Please tell us about yourself and your association with Sobha. It’s been a fantastic journey. I don’t think I could have asked for something better. I came into Sobha when I was 28 years old and with no background in real estate. I was fortunate to meet my mentor, Mr Menon, and I have worked closely with him in the last 16 years. I think, very early on, he saw something in me; that which I was not aware of myself. He would create a role for me, and I would take up the challenge and make it work. I don’t think there’s any role within Sobha that I have not played, whether it is leading strategic sales, business development, or looking at growth opportunities for the organization. And 16 years later, I’m at the helm of affairs. Shobha takes pride in being a backward integrated real estate company; how easy or difficult, does that make things for you? We are probably the only company in the entire world that uses the backward integrated model. In fact, in 2019, Harvard studied this model of ours because it’s unique and is being taught to Harvard management students. It was born out of necessity, from our belief that the product is the most important part of the business. If you


2020 MAR / APR



Jyotsna Hegde, President, Sobha Realty 22 MAR / APR 2020


have the right product, then everything else comes into place. This belief stems from our value system of honesty, integrity, fairness; along with our quest for perfection. We will not take an inferior product and compromise the quality. That’s something we don’t do. We started our backward integration in India where we struggled with sourcing products that met the stringent quality standards we had developed for ourselves. So, we felt that we needed to control the production processes, and in the end, we realized we had to do everything. It is not a challenge for me. It makes my job easier because when I sell, I know exactly what I’m selling. That gives me a lot of confidence, and that has been our biggest strength in this market. We deliver what we promise. How has the response to Sobha Hartland been, and in particular, your new project Creek Vista Reservé? Our Creek Vista Towers, which was launched about a year and a half ago, had such an overwhelming response that we sold out the two buildings completely. It is due for completion by the year-end 2021. Because of this overwhelming response, we came up with Creek Vista Reservé, and it has received the same kind of response. The market has been very kind to us. I think it changed for us at the end of 2018 when we delivered our first two projects. So, the first handover is very important for any developer’s lifecycle because then people understand what you promised and what you delivered. For us, the delivery has been fantastic. We have delivered maybe close to 500 homes and not one complaint. We are a very conservative, quality and value-based boutique company. We’re looking at a certain segment of the market. We’re not looking to get our finger into every pie. In 2018, we did 600 million in sales. We started 2019 with a sales target of AED 1.6 billion. In March, the target was revised to AED 2 billion. We closed the year at 2.005 billion. This year, in January, we identified the target at AED 2.5 billion. It’s been quoted everywhere in the media. Three days ago, we came to the conclusion that there was no reason to set the sales target at AED 2.5 billion because the first two months have been fantastic. That’s why the target was revised to AED 3

billion this year. Our overall target is not more than 4 billion. We should achieve it within the next year or two years. What trends do you see coming in the real estate sector in the next few years? It is hard to predict trends because real estate is a cyclical business. In the old days, it was a seven-year cycle with steady incline and decline. But the last eight or ten years, the cycles have become shorter - more or less following a four-year course. The Dubai real estate market is a fairly young market that is growing in maturity when it comes to real estate buying and selling. Dubai can have a market of up to 60 or 70 billion, but there is always a steady market which is directly linked to the population growth. So as far as the population increases at a steady pace of about four per cent, there is a market of AED 30 billion in Dubai, year on year. So, if we build our business model on the conservative approach, there’s an AED 30 billion market for how many real estate players? In the last few years, because of the downturn, a lot of people who just ventured into this business to make quick money, without having the right capabilities, have decided to exit the industry. So, what is left in the market are people who hold extensive expertise or believe in long-term businesses. The policies of the government are very beneficial because they are probusiness. So, there’s an opportunity in Dubai for a company like ours to survive, at least for the next 10 to 20 years. What is Sobha’s vision for the upcoming years in the Middle East and beyond? For the moment, we are not looking at expanding outside of Dubai until our business here is consolidated completely. We wish to do a number of things with Shobha LLC. We wish to reach a sales target of 4 billion. We wish to go public. Once they are completed, our vision is to build a global real estate company. At that point, we must decide whether we move within the region - there a lot of opportunities within the region, for example Saudi is opening up in a big way – or we might decide to do multiple things here and outside the region. 2020 MAR / APR



Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Wyman


A brief overview of the Oliver Wyman report on the state of Sustainable Development Goals implementation


he Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs are a universal call to action to “end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.” The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals by 2030. According to the recently published Oliver Wyman report, countries in the GCC must accelerate their efforts if they are to meet the 2030 SDG targets. Titled ‘A Decade of Action: Delivering Sustainable Development Goals in the Gulf,’ the report looks at why SDGs are critical and why it is imperative for governments in the GCC region, with the active engagement of private enterprise, to strive to meet the goals in time. “The Gulf region is not any different, and progress in addressing these pressing challenges has been remarkably slow,” said Jeff Youssef, Public Sector Partner at Oliver Wyman. “Based on what we have witnessed so far, there is little chance the region’s economies will meet the 17 goals in time, and that will have serious socio-economic implications

24 MAR / APR 2020

across the region. There is no blanket solution to regional responses towards SDGs, but it is imperative that governments and private enterprises in the Gulf come together and accelerate their efforts to ensure a promising future for coming generations.” The Oliver Wyman Group is a New York-based global leader in management consulting with offices in 60 cities across 29 countries and employing more than 5,000 professionals. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a global leader in insurance brokerage, risk management, talent management, investment advisory, and management consulting. According to the Oliver Wyman report, there are three significant hurdles facing the implementation of SDGs in Gulf countries. First, the institutions responsible for delivering the SDGs must realise that the goals cannot be achieved by government entities or states in an isolated manner. It must be done through a collaborative effort, both between different ministries and agencies in a state, and between states. The resulting implementation must also facilitate expertise sharing on issues such as climate change, depleting natural resources


or sustainable use of energy. The second hurdle is the insufficient clarity on data. It is estimated that there is no data available on approximately twothirds of SDGs, which obviously impedes the rate of success in meeting the goals. Furthermore, without sufficient collation and analysis of data, there can be little rationalisation to decision making. Thirdly, there is a lack of adequate financing, even in the Gulf region. It is estimated that the financing gap in ensuring a successful SDG roll out in developing countries alone is US $ 2.5 trillion per year. The outlook is not all doom-and-gloom though. “The Gulf countries have been working towards achieving the SDGs by 2030, and remain committed to overcoming or mitigating the various challenges,” says Youssef. Several countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Kuwait have already embedded SDGs in policy planning within their institutional development frameworks and governance structures. The Gulf countries are also generous aid donors. The UAE has gone a step further by incorporating the SDGs into its foreign humanitarian aid strategy. The UAE has also linked several public and private committees and groups who are cooperating towards achieving the SDGs. In 2015, the UAE local chapter of the UN Global Compact was created to coach private businesses on how to incorporate SDGs in their strategy. Even before the adoption of the SDGs, Kuwait had prioritised programs geared towards eliminating poverty and hunger. Saudi Arabia has aligned the SDGs with its economic,

social and environmental objectives and policies. Saudi Arabia has also resolved to meet all guidelines of the Paris Convention. There are other encouraging signs from across different Gulf countries that are facilitating data collection, analysis and reporting. “However, the pace of change must accelerate to not only arrest current unsustainable practices but to also counter the effects of several decades of irresponsibility. The building blocks must now be put in place for a more economically secure, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable future,” adds Youssef. According to the report, these measures include: better integration of SDGs in government plans and policymaking; adopting an SDG-based framework for assistance loans and funds, and while working with international organisations; tapping into Islamic Finance for SDG financing; making local SMEs central to achieving SDGs; ensuring quality data measurements and analytics. Every cost must have its benefits, and this is true here as well. The report lists the following as the direct benefits of adopting the suggested remedial measures. It would lead to an open market with new opportunities estimated at US $12 trillion; the creation of 380 million jobs worldwide, including 5.4 million in the Middle East, with the largest number of jobs likely to be created in the SME segment; a reduced gender gap in earnings that could contribute US $160 trillion to global wealth, including US $3.1 trillion in the Middle East; climate action could avoid global losses of US $26 trillion by 2030. 2020 MAR / APR



WeWork x Hub71


Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 is fast becoming a regional force in the tech innovation universe


n late January, Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem for tech start-ups, made two important announcements. One was the launch of the region’s first Microsoft Reactor program. The other was the list of 17 winners of the Hub71 Incentive Package. Both are key movements in the capital’s bid to become a major hub of innovation for the region. Ibrahim Ajami, Head of Ventures at Mubadala Capital and Acting CEO of Hub71, explained: “The 17 winning startups joining Hub71 will make waves across multiple industries, adding diversity to Abu Dhabi’s tech economy from around the world and creating new jobs in the Emirate. To further support the success of Hub71’s community of innovative startups, we’re pleased to welcome the Microsoft Reactor program to Hub71; providing new skills and enabling companies to materialise their best innovations yet.” Located within the newly launched WeWork x Hub71 space in Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Maryah Island, Hub71 is the capital’s first tech ecosystem which brings together, under one roof, the key elements necessary for a tech start-up to thrive: access to capital, access to market opportunities, and a favourable business environment. The 71 refers to 1971, the year UAE was founded. Hub71 is one of the flagship initiatives of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s AED 50 billion economic accelerator program. Comprising 50 initiatives aimed at stimulating investment, creating jobs, encouraging innovation and improving the overall quality of life for Abu Dhabi’s citizens, Ghadan 21 focuses on four areas: business and investment, society, knowledge and innovation, and lifestyle. Of the AED 50 billion, AED 1 billion has been allocated to Hub71.

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Hub71’s start-ups operate under Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Tech Startup License which offers benefits such as a quick online registration process, visas for up to four employees, a low annual licence fee of US $700, and a whole suite of support programs. Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, along with Microsoft and SoftBank Vision Fund are its founding strategic partners. WeWork, the specialist in providing shared workspaces for technology start-ups, has launched its first location in the UAE at Hub71. Similarly, OYO will provide select accommodation on Al Reem Island to start-ups that have been granted Hub71’s incentive packages. Hub71’s Microsoft Reactor program is part of its strategic partnership with the tech giant. Microsoft Reactors - currently located in ten tech-hubs around the world - are spaces “designed to foster learning, networking, and resource sharing,” both within a start-up and within the wider developer communities. Microsoft Reactor is a component of Microsoft for Startups, a comprehensive global program designed to support startups as they build and scale their companies; similar to Hub71 in terms of functionality but done on a global scale. In addition to Reactor, Microsoft for Start-ups has two other components. One is Microsoft ScaleUp which, as the name suggests, helps start-ups grow as an organisation by providing access to Microsoft’s technical knowledge, its partners and customers, and by helping to build business connections. M12, the third component, is the corporate venture arm of the company which also offers access to strategic market resources and relationships globally. The Microsoft Reactor program will provide a comprehensive curriculum to help Hub71 professionals


strengthen their expertise around emerging topics such as cloud services and Artificial Intelligence. This program is available to Hub71 residents and the broader community free of charge. Microsoft for Start-ups will also operate out of Hub71. Jeana Jorgensen, General Manager, Cloud and AI Division at Microsoft, said: “Built to support the Gulf’s unprecedented rate of digital transformation, we are thrilled to open a Microsoft Reactor within Hub71. The concentration of globally minded start-ups, investors and industry, represents an enormous opportunity. We believe bringing these elements together with Mubadala and Hub71 will be a catalyst for the region.” With the announcement of the 17 winners of its Incentive Program, Hub71 now supports a total of 39 innovative startups. It will provide up to 100 per cent free housing, office space and health insurance for two years for “Seed” companies. For “Emergent” companies, Hub71 provides 50 per cent subsidises for three years, worth around AED 3.5million (US $950,000). Of the total applicants, 72 per cent were in the ‘Seed’ stage – having raised between US $100,000 and one-million, while 28 per were in the “Emergent” stage – having raised US $ one to five million. Collectively, the 17 winning start-ups look to raise approximately US $60 million in capital, and to double their full-time employees. Hub71, which opened its program to the public last October, received 348 applications from 47 countries for its Incentive Program. While the highest number of applicants came from the UAE, the next four were from the USA, Lebanon, India and Egypt. Fintech, Artificial Intelligence and

E-commerce were the top three in terms of sectors. Femaleled companies made up 37 per cent of the total applicants, while 20 per cent are led by Emirati nationals. Of the 348 applicants, 41 per cent said they would move their teams to Abu Dhabi if they were selected, which seems to be a positive indicator of Abu Dhabi’s growing status as a regional tech hub. Among the 17 winners is Smart Navigation Systems which provides wayfinding and location-aware messaging. Mustafa Almusawa Alhashemi, its Emirati founder and CEO, said: “We are overjoyed to have been selected for the Hub71 Incentive Program. We look forward to bringing our team here to Hub71. We feel it’s the right place at the right time to build Smart Navigation System; as we believe Abu Dhabi is set to become the leading global tech hub in the not-too-distant future.” Andrey Maksimov is the Co-Founder and CEO of another winner: Precious Payload, a US-based company that makes planning and execution of space missions easier. Andrey commented: “For us, being a start-up in the space technology industry, it is crucial to have a safe and open environment to operate in. Abu Dhabi makes perfect sense for us as we consolidate our non-US business in emerging markets and take our business to the next level. Thanks to Hub71, we now have a headquarters in a strategic location, close to our customers and in a country that is a recognised leader in space technology. Moreover, the Hub71 Incentive Program allows us to offer our core team free housing and health insurance so that we can focus on growing our business and building the next product.” 2020 MAR / APR



Sultan Al Jaberi, Managing Director, Marmum Dairy 28 MAR / APR 2020



GC speaks to Sultan Al Jaberi, the Managing Director for Marmum Dairy


armum Diary was established in 1984, making it one of the oldest commissioned dairy farms in the UAE. It gets its name from the Marmum area, an oasis in Dubai, near Al Ain. Recently, significant investment has been made by the company in re-locating both the dairy farm and its manufacturing facilities to Nahel, Al Ain, as well as to modernize it. Phase one of the project has just been completed. The Marmum farm now houses around 5,000 Holstein Cattle which produce approximately 52.5 million litres of milk per year. The new state-of-the-art and fully automated plant is strategically located along the Al Ain-Nahel road, 136 kilometres from Abu Dhabi and 120 kilometres from Dubai. The 18,000 square-metres production facility is ISO 22,000 and HACCP compliant - a preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical and physical hazards. Its pasteurizers are designed based on American Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) standards, and the filling machines have the capability of producing Extended Shelf Life (ESL) dairy products. The plant can deliver fresh dairy products to the shelves in less than six to eight hours from the process lines. Sultan Al Jaberi is currently the Managing Director for

Marmum Dairy. With over twenty years of experience in leadership positions at leading organisations such as ADNOC and Abu Dhabi Ports, Sultan hopes to transform Marmum into a market-leading food and beverage brand that is loved, respected and enjoyed by consumers across the UAE. Sultan holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a Masters in Marine Engineering and Maritime Operations and Management from the UK, as well as a Masters in Security and Strategic Studies from the National Defense College in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Sultan was kind enough to sit down with GC to give us his insights into Marmum Dairy. How has Marmum Dairy evolved since its founding in 1984, to what it is today? As a 36-year-old business, we have accumulated a lot of expertise and know-how, and we are pleased that our consumer base is increasing in the UAE. This was a big driver for us to go for further investment. So, we have taken the consumer needs, the market demands, and mixed them with the expertise we have in-house to come up with our growth plan for Marmum. 2020 MAR / APR



So, as part of this very ambitious strategic move, in the last three years, we have decided to increase our production to three or four times, and to increase our market share from six to 25 per cent. For that, we invested more than half a billion dirhams (AED) in a new facility, including plant and farm. We have invested in the very latest technology to process much more advanced products which are not available today. We have also invested in the newest technology to improve the welfare of the cows. This move should take not only Marmum but the whole dairy industry in the UAE to the next level. What are the major challenges you have faced in the area of animal welfare? We operate a world-class dairy farm with around 5,000 cows, at the moment. These cows are being treated with the best practices in the world when it comes to their welfare, which is why our yield per cow is very high. We provide our cows with the best condition for them to stay healthy in the very tough environment that we have in the country in terms of temperature, humidity, and sand. Unlike some other companies who keep their cows in airconditioned warehouses, we keep our cows outside, in barns, and use an evaporative cooling system that we got from the US. The system sprays water from above, and before it

The new Marmum state-of-the-art facility in Al Ain 30 MAR / APR 2020

reaches the ground, the atmospheric heat transforms those water droplets into vapour. This reduces the temperature within the housing of the cows by five to eight degrees and provides a very good condition; even when the outside temperature is around 50. At the same time, we feed them the right feed, so they not just increase their yield, but also produce very high-quality milk. What is the reason behind re-locating both the dairy farm and manufacturing facilities to Nahel? Nahel, where we are today, is one of the best locations inside the UAE to raise livestock herds because the temperature and the humidity in Nahel are much, much less than anywhere else in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other location. Also, the temperature at night is much cooler, even during the summer months. Tell us about Marmum’s new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and what are you expecting from that? The new facility that we have set up can produce up to three times as much as what we could in our old facility. Also, it has increased our efficiency: the manpower required has gone down to half, while human interference during the filling operation is almost not present. So, this gives us 100


per cent assurance in terms of hygiene, and in terms of the quality of the end product. This allows us to produce much better milk and juices. With the dairy sector in the UAE booming, what are the challenges that you face in terms of market penetration and competition? Today, more than half of the dairy products in the market come from outside the UAE. So, the challenge is really quite big and not just limited to our competitors in the country but in the whole region. But, the UAE is blessed as a nation because we have had a very strong dairy industry for a long time and our products, in general, are known in the market for their very high-quality standards; which is why we’ve been approached by other countries, regional countries, to provide our products to them as well. But I think the challenge mainly comes in the distribution because it’s such a small country, with a very low population density. So, there are areas across the whole country with very low population. So, we need to ensure that we have a strong cold-supply chain distribution network to serve all our customers, everyone in the country, at any time.

Which Marmum product would you say is the most popular among your consumers? Of course, milk comes in at number one. This is the main thing that we do, but our consumers’ feedback tells us that they love our yoghurt and we have a really big market share in yoghurt compared to other companies. Our juices are also very popular as healthy drinks. People consume them at home, at work and at school. We are also trying to understand the needs of the different nationalities living in the UAE. That is why, at the end of 2018, we introduced lassi, which is an Indian dairy drink with different flavours. This is the only fresh lassi in the country. We have recently introduced almond milk and the pistachio milk, which at the moment, is very popular. We have also recently launched our fresh breakfast cream. Are there any new products in the pipeline? We are always looking into new flavours. Also, in the next six weeks, our first cheese product will come to the market. We are starting with three different types of cheeses: mozzarella, cream cheese and sliced cheese. 2020 MAR / APR




The new Emirates logo, bearing deep symbolism, was unveiled earlier this year “


even lines rise up tall with momentum, optimism and dynamism as a tribute to the seven bold founding leaders who shaped the Emirates and united their people’s aspirations under one flag. Seven lines, shaping the map of the Emirates with the flag colours, represent the future-focused leaders of the seven emirates united towards the country’s growth and driven by persistence and resilience in the face of challenges,” reads the official website dedicated to the new national logo of the United Arab Emirates. The new “Emirates Logo,” as it is officially known, consists of two main elements: the symbol and the wordmark. The symbol consists of seven lines, which together, form the outline of the map of the Emirates. Each of the seven angular lines, with alternating curved and sharp edges, are reminiscent of a traditional Arabic calligraphic stroke. The seven lines are in the red, green and black colours of the national flag, with white making up the negative space in between the lines.

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Alternatively, the lines may also appear in black or white monochrome versions. The wordmark comprises of the words “Al-Emarat” in Arabic and “The Emirates” in English. Both feature a custom typeface created exclusively for the Emirates logo. The two may appear together as a bi-lingual wordmark or individually. The text must be presented in either black or white, depending on the colour of the symbol. The wordmark is primarily placed below the symbol but may alternatively be placed on the right of the symbol. The logo may be accompanied by the tagline “Make It Happen.” The Emirates logo is only the latest in a long line of national branding exercises that began in earnest in the mid-1990s as a consequence of globalisation. With economies opening up, nations wanted to attract capital, labour or tourists to help their economies grow. Therefore, governments began to approach branding specialists to apply the lessons they had


Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at the unveiling of the new UAE logo learnt in the corporate world to market a nation as a brand. The national logo became an essential component of this branding exercise. The Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi already have wellestablished logos of their own, as do the other emirates. It was only natural that the country should also have a logo. The journey began on November 2, 2019, when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, formally launched a national project to create and design the UAE nation brand. They invited 49 Emirati artists, seven from each emirate, to participate in designing the national logo. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said at the time, “We seek to consolidate our country’s beautiful image in the global

consciousness. Developing our nation brand is a new step in the journey of establishing the UAE’s presence in the world.” Between December 17 and 31 last year, people across the world were invited to vote for one of the shortlisted logos through the official UAE Nation Brand website and social media accounts. The logos drew over 10.6 million votes in two weeks. The UAE promised that for every vote cast, it would plant a tree in different regions of Indonesia and Nepal; areas that are most affected by climate change. This initiative was meant to reflect the humanitarian values adopted by the UAE. As part of its publicity campaign, the Emirates logo and its slogan were displayed on Nasdaq Tower’s big screen in Times Square on February 3. The UAE based Strata, which makes aviation and aerospace products for the likes of Boeing and Airbus, will place the logo on its products. The Hope Probe will also carry the logo to Mars later this year. 2020 MAR / APR



All photos Courtesy of SpinLaunch

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SpinLaunch is working on a radical new method to launch payloads into space


hile the last century was about man’s exploration of space for the advancement of science and national pride, this century is going to be about private capital’s exploration of space. Launch Service Providers (LSPs) or organisations that undertake space travel is an industry with tremendous commercial potential. However, by the end of the last century, it was dominated by government-controlled entities lacking in fresh ideas. That is until the launch of the Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, which set off a series of private entities coming into the industry. SpinLaunch, founded in 2014 and the brainchild of founder-CEO Jonathan Yaney, offers a radical new method to launch a payload bearing rocket into orbit. It claims that this method can reduce the cost of sending small satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) by a factor of almost 20. In US Dollar terms, the company claims it can deliver a payload to LEO for under 500,000. Moreover, the company predicts it will be able to execute five launches a day, which is more than what conventional LSPs can achieve in a month. SpinLaunch uses an idea as old as David’s slingshot. The radical part is in modifying the concept to launch a payload-carrying rocket into sub-orbit, which is around 61,000 metres. Once there, the rocket will use conventional rocket propulsion for about a minute to reach orbit. This is definitely one of those high-risk for high-reward scenarios. However, it is a risk-reward equation that seems compelling enough for the likes of Airbus Ventures, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Catapult Ventures, Lauder Partners, John Doerr and the Byers Family. As of January 2020, the company has raised US $80 million in private funding. Technically known as a Kinetic Energy Space Launch System, its centrepiece is a roughly 100-metre wide vacuum centrifuge – a machine that will accelerate the load-bearing rocket around a fixed central axis. The rocket - about tenmetres long and weighing as much as “an average SUV” - will be attached to an arm as it rotates in the centrifuge for roughly an hour, steadily increasing its speed to around 8,000 kmph. At this point, the rocket will be shot out of the centrifuge and towards space. The key reason this method is able to claim such a low cost of launching a payload into space is that it does

not require rocket propulsion to cut through the Earth’s atmosphere; only to manoeuvre the rocket into orbit. Rocket fuel is a major cost and by far the most significant weight component of a conventional round trip into space. For example, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has a height of 70 metres, a diameter of 3.7 metres and weighs nearly 550,000 kilograms to carry a payload of around 23,000 kilograms to LEO. In a 2011 statement, Elon Musk revealed that the cost of fuel for one trip is about $200,000. SpinLaunch’s model eliminates most of the fuel load and cost from the equation, thus reducing the overall cost, freeing up space and drastically reducing the size of the rocket. The tight-lipped SpinLaunch team has released very little technical information thus far on the workings of its system. However, as a proof of concept, the company has launched a five-kilogram dummy payload at speeds in excess of 6,500 kilometres per hour. There is a world of difference between launching a five-kilogram object into a wall and launching a payload-carrying rocket, weighing thousands of kilograms, into space. Based on the information that is available, critics of the SpinLaunch model point to two key problem areas. One is the sudden atmospheric pressure that the rocket will face upon exiting the vacuum chamber at over 8,000 kmph. Basic Physics tells us that it will be like hitting a concrete wall. Obviously, Yaney and his team are aware of this fact, which may explain the unusual pointed-nose design of the rocket. The other stumbling block is the extreme g-forces that will be exerted on delicate payloads such as satellites. The g-forces may reach as high as 10,000 times stronger than gravity. This is something the company looked into early on in its development. They had subjected delicate electronic devices, including an iPhone, to g-forces as high as 10,000 times gravity. According to Yaney, most survived with little or no damage. To counter the nay-sayers and to demonstrate the feasibility of the model, the company is building a fullsized launcher at its Spaceport America site in Nevada. It is scheduled to begin testing suborbital launches by the end of the year. This proverbial space is definitely one worth watching, for investors and enthusiasts alike. 2020 MAR / APR



Rt Hon Theresa May speaking at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020


Dubai recently hosted the second Global Women’s Forum Dubai to tackle issues related to improving gender equality


he second edition of the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) was held on February 16 and 17, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. GWFD is “a strategic platform which engages thought leaders, policymakers in government, influential public sector officials, private sector partners, NGOs, academics and students to discuss women’s contribution across multiple spheres. The forum facilitates the exchange of knowledge, recommendations and best practices through plenaries and interactive workshops,” according to its website. The GWFD is organised by Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) in line with its 2017-2021 strategy. DWE is a statutory body of the Dubai Government formed in 2006 by a directive given by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the President of Dubai Women Establishment. DWE is responsible for formulating policies that advance women’s socio-economic participation through greater representations across the public and private sectors. Among

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DWE’s laurels is the 2012 UAE cabinet decree that made it compulsory for government agencies to include women on their boards of directors. DWE’s manual on how to set up childcare facilities at workplaces formed the basis for Dubai Customs and DEWA’s childcare initiative. In addition to GWFD, DWE also hosts the annual Women Leadership Exchange Program which, among other things, educates women on sustainable leadership practices. Organised around the theme ‘The Power of Influence,’ the GWFD 2020 forum discussions were organised to focus on four primary areas where women could have a positive impact: government, economy, society, and future. The forum welcomed over 3,000 attendees and 78 speakers, which included international, regional and local political leaders, international bankers, medical professionals, diplomats, bureaucrats, heads of NGOs, media personalities, law enforcement professionals, academicians, entrepreneurs and even students. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the Global Knowledge Partner of the GWFD 2020. This partnership will spearhead positive dialogue on best practices related to global gender-friendly


(L to R) HE Mona Al Marri, Ivanka Trump, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020 policies. Alongside GWFD, DWE also co-organised the We-Fi MENA Regional Summit as a side-line event. WeFi is a collaborative partnership that addresses financial and non-financial constraints faced by women-led SMEs in developing countries. It is hosted by the World Bank Group, and comprises, among others, 14 governments, 8 development banks. Among the 78 speakers at GWFD 2020, some of the prominent names included Rt Hon Theresa May member of the UK Parliament and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Ivanka Trump – daughter and advisor to Donald Trump, the President of the United States; Kristalina Georgieva - Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; David Malpass – President of the World Bank Group; HH Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - Chairperson, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority; HE Reem Al Hashimy – UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of State for International Cooperation; HE Hessa Buhumaid – UAE Minister of Community Development. The event kicked-off with an opening ceremony on Sunday evening, February 16, at Madinat Jumeirah and was graced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He was accompanied by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, along with other members of Dubai’s ruling family and Government officials. The opening session featured an address by Ivanka Trump, who thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed

for his “commitment to advancing women’s economic participation across Dubai and the broader United Arab Emirates.” She commended Emirati leaders, and the region as a whole, for “removing barriers to women joining the workforce and developing a national strategy that recognises that women are central to sustainable growth.” However, noting that a lot still remains to be done, she added: “in this region alone, women’s economic equality has the potential to add $600 billion to global annual GDP by 2025.” David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, echoed Ivanka’s sentiments saying: “We estimate that in MENA, increasing female labour-force participation to the levels of men could boost regional GDP by 47 per cent. Currently, US $575 billion in regional income is lost because of gender-based discrimination in laws, social norms and practices that constrain women’s rights and opportunities. Fortunately, more countries recognise that their economies can only reach their full potential with the full participation of both women and men.” Earlier, HE Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board and Managing Director of Dubai Women Establishment, delivered the welcome note. HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed expressed her gratitude to the UAE’s leadership, saying: “There is no doubt that the UAE leadership’s huge support has played an instrumental role in the resounding success of the UAE’s women empowerment journey, which was started by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The UAE has become a model not only for the Arab world but also for nations that seek to empower women and promote their participation in all spheres of life.” 2020 MAR / APR




The fifteen ‘Forces for Change’ women whose achievements impressed Meghan Markle


he September 2019 issue of the British Vogue magazine - titled ‘Forces for Change’ - sold out in ten days, and was the biggest selling issue of the past decade. What made it so special? Edward Enninful, the magazine’s Editor-in-chief, invited Meghan Markle to collaborate on the issue. Her role as Guest Editor was to commission articles and make a list of fifteen women she admired. The manner in which the issue was scooped up demonstrates the social-clout that Markle has accumulated in the past few years. Spurred on by the success of the issue, Enninful took to Twitter in late February to announce the launch of the first ‘Forces For Change’ event titled the

‘Change-Maker Talks,’ and that it would be part of the 10th Women of the World festival. Held in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on March 7, it was as an evening of “intimate discussion and inspiration.” Actress Salma Hayek, one of Markle’s fifteen – was the keynote speaker from a list of prominent invitees which included Pakistani writer Fatima Bhutto and British-Iranian journalist Christiane Amanpour. Merkle’s list of fifteen women is as diverse as it is impressive; from the seventeen-year-old Greta Thunberg to the 82-year-old Jane Fonda, from the secret British boxing champion to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Here is the complete list of the fifteen women along with brief highlights of their achievements.

September 2019 issue of the British Vogue magazine (Photo Courtesy: Peter Lindbergh/British Vogue)

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September 2019 issue of the British Vogue magazine (Photo Courtesy: Peter Lindbergh/British Vogue)


Edward Enninful, Editor-in-chief, British Vogue magazine (Photo Courtesy: Valentin Hennequin/voguebusiness)

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Meghan Markle 40 MAR / APR 2020


Adwoa Aboah A model and mental health campaigner who overcame depression, drug addiction and attempted suicide as a teenager. She was voted’s ‘Model of the Year 2017’ and is in the list of top 50 female models. She founded Gurls Talk, an online safe-space for women. She also hosts talks and workshops for women. Adut Akech A former child refugee from South Sudan who spent the first eight years of her life in a Kenyan refugee camp, before moving to Adelaide, Australia. She was chosen “Model of the Year” at, and at the British Fashion Awards. She was one of TIME’s “Most Influential Teens of 2018.” Ramla Ali A Somali refugee who became a British boxing champion and the African Zone Featherweight Champion. She helped set up Somalia’s boxing federation in Mogadishu and became the first boxer in history to represent Somalia. Much of this she achieved while her family was not even aware that she was boxing. Jacinda Ardern The 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand and the Leader of the Labour Party. Since she came into office, New Zealand’s ranking on several indices has improved. She received worldwide praise for her handling and response to the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019. Sinéad Burke An Irish writer, academic, influencer, activist and broadcaster. She is also an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Irish Girl Guides. She has challenged the fashion industry to be more inclusive. She is currently working on her PhD in human rights education. Gemma Chan An English actress of Asian origin who is best known for her role as Astrid in the 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians. She studied law at Worcester College, Oxford but chose to pursue a career in acting instead. Laverne Cox An American actress, producer and transgender rights activist. She rose to prominence as Sophia Burset on “Orange Is the New Black,” becoming the first openly transgender actor to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She is the first transgender person to win an Emmy as executive producer. Jane Fonda A veteran American actress, political activist, and former fashion model. Her numerous accolades include two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the AFI Life Achievement Award, and the Honorary Golden Lion. She has a long history of campaigns against wars, against violence towards women and for the environment.

Salma Hayek Pinault The Mexican born actor, producer, women’s rights advocate and wife of Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault. Hayek’s charitable work tends to focus on increasing awareness of violence against women and discrimination against immigrants. In 2013, Hayek, Beyoncé and Frida Giannini launched Gucci’s “Chime for Change” campaign, that aims to spread female empowerment. Christy Turlington Burns An American model, campaigner, and filmmaker. She founded Every Mother Counts to support maternal health programs around the world. To increase awareness of the topic, she produced two documentary films: No Woman No Cry and Every Mile Every Mother. Burns has been included on the annual Time 100 list. Francesca Hayward A principal dancer in the Royal Ballet in London. She has won the 2009 Lynn Seymour Award for Expressive Dance, the 2010 Young British Dancer of the Year Award, the silver medal and Audience Choice Award at the 2010 Genee International Ballet Competition, the Best Emerging Artist in 2014 and the Grishko Award for Best Female Dancer in 2016. Jameela Jamil An English actress, radio presenter, model, writer and body positivity advocate. Jamil founded “Why Not People?,” an events and membership company that hosts live entertainment events accessible to people with disabilities. Jamil created a petition via, titled “Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media.” She is also an environmentalist. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie A Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to non-fiction. She received high praise by The Times Literary Supplement, which considered her to be the most prominent among a new breed of African writers in the English language who are attracting a new generation of readers. Yara Shahidi An American actress, model, activist. She founded Eighteenx18 to encourage first-time eligibles to vote. She also founded Yara’s Club in partnership with Young Women’s Leadership Network of New York, which hopes to end poverty through education. Michelle Obama wrote her a letter of recommendation to Harvard University for her activism. Greta Thunberg The student climate change activist who has risen to prominence worldwide in the last few years. Greta’s climate activism began at home, followed by the “School strike for climate” outside the Swedish parliament. She was invited to speak at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Her efforts are ongoing. 2020 MAR / APR





t would have been considered an obscene thought that one day, the most powerful and influential ambassadors in the world of international finance, would be a woman. More accurately, a Parisian-born, silver-haired, 64-year-old woman, with no formal experience in economics. In a world of “firsts,” Christine Lagarde has truly shattered the glass ceiling and broken the mold for female leadership for generations to come. She was not only the first female to make partner in leading international law firm Baker & McKenzie at the start of her career as a lawyer, but was also the first woman to become the finance minister of a G7 economy, as well as the first female to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and finally her most recent position, the first woman ever to lead the European Central Bank (ECB). Consistently ranking among the top 10 most powerful women globally, Christine Lagarde has played a fundamental role in helping rebuild the IMF’s credibility following Greece’s $147 billion bailout in 2010 and presided over the IMF’s single biggest bailout for Argentina last year. 42 MAR / APR 2020

Unsurprisingly Lagarde has long championed promoting women into powerful positions, saying it’s the key to improving the world economy. Amongst the many statistics to support that claim, the most prominent ones have been conducted by the IMF, showing that some countries could boost their economies by as much as 35% by closing the gender gap in employment. Even adding just one more woman to a company’s management is associated with a boost in return on assets of up to 13%. “Ultimately, when women do well, society does better,” says Lagarde. Additionally, women are more likely to spend their resources on health and education, creating a powerful ripple effect across society and across generations. One study suggests that women invest up to 90 percent of their earnings this way, as opposed to just 30-40 percent for men. “As the old African adage goes, ‘If you educate a boy, you train a man. If you educate a girl, you train a village’,” Lagarde stated during a speech on Women’s Empowerment.


Christine Lagarde, French politician and President of the European Central Bank 2020 MAR / APR



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Under Lagarde’s leadership, for the first time in its history, the IMF has tied loans to improving conditions for women in countries like Argentina and Jordan. Even within the organization itself—the percentage of female workers has increased to 44%. Lagarde has also recommended policies to increase female labor participation in countries like Japan and Korea, where women could be more visible in the workplace; presenting Brazil as a successful example of the model. Thanks to pro-family and pro-poor policies, Brazil managed to boost women’s participation from 45 percent to 60 percent in two decades. In the scope of #GirlBoss culture, Lagarde has become a global force; not just for what she says about women, but because she acts on it. Unafraid to make bold decisions and even bolder statements, Lagarde refuses to attend any meetings where she is the only woman in the room. In an interview with Forbes earlier last year, she shared her advice for women in leadership positions, stating that

first and foremost, it is imperative to make space for other women. “Make sure that it’s not just about you, that there are other young women that are also coming up the ranks,” she said, “so that the day when you stop, they are there to also take space.” And when asked what the essential qualities were in a leader, she responded, “confidence, energy, generosity.” Confidence comes from risk-taking, recounting both how she traveled through France, on the back of a stranger’s motorcycle at the age of 15 and how she took a major career leap to become France’s Finance Minister. Energy comes from taking care of the body – exercising and eating well. And generosity comes from selflessness: “If you’re in leadership for yourself, it’s only going to take you so far.” From female empowerment and gender parity, to advocating for climate change and sustainability, Lagarde’s extensive and noteworthy career has been fueled on taking targeted actions, as a global citizen. “I was brought up as 2020 MAR / APR



a citizen of this world”, she says, “from France, to America, to the World.” Lagarde has championed a global approach in all aspects of her career, noting that “there is no nobler goal than to be united by a common desire to make the world a better place in today’s interconnected world.” A global force for good, Lagarde has continuously paved the way to a more united and forward-thinking future, focusing her work on three key policy areas: education, employment, and family. The mother of two has been an avid supporter of education, addressing hundreds of thousands of students from different schools around the world on its importance for global progression. Lagarde describes education as the bridge 46 MAR / APR 2020

between people and generations. “It is the best investment we can make in our children, no matter where we live, as it provides them with a passport to this new world.” Lagarde, herself, was born into a family of teachers. Her father was a professor of English, and her mother a Latin, Greek, and French literature teacher. Recalling her address to the Kennedy School graduating class nearly a decade ago, Lagarde enforced that with the world becoming a global family, “we now have a core responsibility to be good global citizens, to watch out for each other, to be sensitive to how our actions affect one another — no matter where we live. But it will be impossible, unless we all stand together, thinking and acting like true global citizens.”


Travel more. Travel smarter. Unleash your travel freedom. Enable your global mobility.

World's passports in your pocket. 2020 MAR / APR





From Earth to space, from the USA to the UK, from science to art, The People’s Moon brings hope beyond borders to show the power of human interconnectedness


n July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 fulfilled the dreams of humanity by landing on the Moon. As Armstrong took his first step, he famously said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” And so it was. At that exact moment 50 years later, humans on earth took their first step on The People’s Moon interactive art installation. Created using thousands of photos from people all around the world, including NASA’s iconic Apollo 11 archives, a giant mosaic of the moon was unveiled in multiple global locations, including Times Square, London Piccadilly Lights, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and ArtsScience Museum Singapore. Christina Korp and Helen Marshall were the two creative

Helen Marshall at London Piccadilly Lights (Courtesy of Landsec)

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forces behind the movement which honored the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic moon landing. Marshall is a British visual artist. She has pioneered the concept of marking historical anniversaries in huge photo mosaics made up of pictures of people from all walks of life through ‘The People’s Picture’ project from her East London studio. Korp is a Space Marketer & Producer. For 12 years she managed former NASA astronauts in creating brand, licensing and marketing campaigns around space before setting up her new endeavour ‘Purpose Entertainment’. GC meets with the two incredibly fascinating women to discover all there is to know about their vision with the project, and what more is to come.


Christina Korp (Centre) with NASA Astronauts Winston Scott and Nicole Scott at Times-Square-NYC 2020 MAR / APR



Times Square Installation 2019 (Courtsey of Times Square Alliance)

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The People’s Monarch Artwork - BBC South East 2012 - Gatwick Airport, London How did your collaboration come about? Christina Korp (CK): I actually discovered Helen’s work at Gatwick airport. I thought the mosaics would be such a great idea with all the content that I had been collecting and could show a truly creative way to represent how the moon unites us. I reached out to Helen and shortly after, we founded The People’s Moon. Why did you want to create a People’s Moon? CK: The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing was the ideal opportunity to share and relive a remarkable moment, collectively as a human race. Especially considering the turbulent times in our world right now, to be able to look up at the moon and have hope again. It was one of the rare moments recorded human history, where the whole world was united in a positive event and not a tragedy. We started The People’s Moon project to include the public in the celebration of humanity’s most significant exploration achievement. That’s why the piece is so powerful; it is built on hope. It’s a way of giving back and giving people a voice within the legacy. How did you incorporate hope and unity into your vision for the art installation? Helen Marshall (HM): We wanted to give the public the chance to become a part of a generational legacy. A timecapsule. The People’s Moon is very much about the spirit of collaboration. We had photos of women stitching space suits, wedding and graduation photos taken in 1969, a young budding astronaut Archie who came to the live screening in London’s Piccadilly Circus. Thousands of photographs were submitted online, and around 6,000 photos were taken from NASA public archives, specifically Apollo missions. The mosaic was built thanks to all of these remarkable people from around the world, each with their own story, and from all walks of life. Our hope is this unity.

The photo mosaic technique and concept that you have developed is very versatile. Why do you think it works so well? HM: It is so inclusive; many messages and pictures can be featured at once as a whole. It tells the story of the unity and yet the diversity of humankind, which is built by piecing all of our individually unique stories together. Through the submission of a simple photo, thousands of personal histories are uncovered and shared, highlighting how interconnected we all are. I can make works in print, architectural installations, and even interactive touch screens, where you can click on an image and zoom in and out while it plays a sound, or video. It brings together art, community, science and technology. Are there other ways to experience The People’s Moon? CK: It really warms my heart that the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex decided to make The People’s Moon a permanent exhibit. We didn’t want it to be solely experienced by people who could be there in person. We need to remember that we all share the same moon and allow it to remind us that we are all human, together, living on the same planet. I wanted it to live on, and not be purely about the 50th anniversary. We always knew that we wanted to create an online version, and future activations as well. Do you have any future projects in the pipeline? HM: In the spirit of our collaboration Christina and I are working on a new project that will celebrate the power of women and girls today. It will highlight another important historical anniversary; the 100th year that women in the USA gained the right to vote. This also ties in well with the next space program, Artemis, which aspires to send the first woman to the moon. There are many wonderful projects in the works, and our vision remains intact: to show collective hope through global unity. 2020 MAR / APR




Six incredible women on the vital topic of women’s rights and empowerment.



The inspiring women’s rights advocate, leading far beyond a set spotlight

The dedicated mother, not only to her children, but to nearly 400 girls in Congo

JUNE SARPONG, UK The global voice of diversity and advocacy, empowering women through media


SARA AL-MADANI, UAE The dynamic venturist, breaking the mold for women across borders

rom around the world, Global Citizen unites six incredibly diverse yet inspiring women to discuss the importance of female empowerment and give us an exclusive insight into their personal journeys in getting their voice heard on the global stage. Global Citizen is in conversation with Cherie Blair CBE QC, the Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, whose mission is to empower women and girls to start successful businesses and redefine the future for themselves and those around them. Also in conversation from the UK, is the brilliant British TV broadcaster, innovator, panelist, and philanthropist, June Sarpong OBE, who was also recently named BBC’s first Director of Creative Diversity. We also connected with Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, the Founder of Malaika, a nonprofit grassroots organization that empowers Congolese girls and their communities through

52 MAR / APR 2020

TALIMKA YORDANOVA, BULGARIA The social visionary, leading the global citizenship movement

KAORI FUJII, JAPAN The musical philanthropist, connecting women of all cultures through music

education and health programs. Adding an artist’s perspective to the conversation, is Kaori Fujii, Founder of Music Beyond, a nonprofit organization that empowers individuals through music and outreach in developing countries, currently operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well. Across borders, GC was humbled to invite H.E. Sara AlMadani into the enigmatic Women in Action dialogue, as not only a well-known fashion designer, venturist, and entrepreneur — but also as the youngest board member at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. And finally, the leading voice of the global citizenship movement and the common thread uniting all the remarkable women above, Talimka Yordanova. As the first-female CEO of the Global Citizen Forum, a social action platform committed to unlocking the potential of human mobility and migration, she connects women from every corner of the globe under


the collaborative mission to ensure a better future for the next generation. What makes the topic of gender equality so important, in light of the many other global challenges? Cherie: Being brought up by a single mother I knew firsthand from an early age how important it is for women to be able to support themselves. We see this incredible ripple effect at the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women every day – when you help a woman, very often you help a family, a community and beyond. Research shows that if women and men had equal access to entrepreneurship, global GDP could rise by an enormous $5 trillion – just think of the immense good that could bring in tackling the world’s biggest issues. Tali: All of the global challenges that we are facing today are interconnected, therefore so should the solutions. If women are not equipped with the necessary tools— but more than anything else, the necessary access— we will only reach suboptimal results and are likely to fail in our efforts. Noella: Empowering women to be educated and working will have a direct impact on many of the other global issues we are currently facing. Educated girls and women are able to contribute positively to the social, political, economic and ecological issues we are currently grappling with worldwide. According to USAID, if 10% more adolescent girls attended school a country’s GDP would increase by an average of 3%. What drives you, and motivates you, to be empowered every day? Tali: I grew up in post-communist Bulgaria to a single mother of two. Watching her navigate this harsh reality and witnessing her fearlessness, resilience and perseverance in order to secure the best possible opportunities for her two children, is what motivates me every day to be the best version of myself and to spread this knowledge and inspiration to the people around me. Sara: Every morning when I wake up, I feel like I have been given a new chance at life. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to welcome every day, alive and healthy, and that in itself motivates me. We have a limited time in this world, and I want to do my best, to be my best, and to discover ways to unlock all my potentials. June: I come from generations of empowered and opinionated women with my Ghanaian background. Notably, the Ashanti tribe, which is inheritably based on a matriarchal system. I also attended an all-girl school in London run by feminist teachers; both my cultural upbringing and my education have been at the root of my empowerment and my confidence in speaking out. Noella: My two children, first and foremost. I want to positively influence the world that they will occupy as adults,

but I also want them both to grow into adults that believe in their capacity to do good in the world and are empowered to make choices for themselves. I am also motivated by the students who come to Malaika. I myself was empowered by the education I gained when my mother sent me to live with family in Europe, and I believe that education is the key to empowering women all over the world. What have been (or still are) the main barriers that you face in your personal journey, as a woman? Noella: Being a young woman in the Congo and trying to set up Malaika was difficult as it is a country dominated by men. To be a leader and to create a community-driven model that can be duplicated elsewhere was not easy at the beginning. However, bit by bit, things are changing for the better. June: Usually the idea of leadership. People have a fixed view of what a leader should look like and changing that takes time. As a woman, and a person of colour, naturally you try harder to prove yourself and to justify and validate your worth. There is an added burden to second guessing yourself that the counterpart doesn’t necessarily have to deal with. I work within a 100+ year old institution. But what is optimistic, is that it is an institution that wants to see change, and so these barriers are becoming easier to overcome. Kaori: As a woman and, in particular, a Japanese woman, my biggest barriers have been a reluctance to self-promote and to ask for help and support. I am so proud of our team, so I have no problem talking about them. But when it comes to talking about myself, Music Beyond as a whole, and the impact we make, I tend to downplay it significantly. It is now time to scale our organization, and I am working to push through these barriers in order to make that possible. Sara: I definitely still face barriers as a woman. I participate in many diverse gatherings all over the world, whether they’re corporate meetings, investment meetings, or conferences; and I always realize that there is never a chair for me at the table. But I don’t wait for a man to bring it, I go grab it myself. So, I do still feel like it is still a man’s world, but I think that a way to change this at its core is to raise our daughters with the confidence and self-assurance they need in order to be independent. Describe an ideal vision of the future for women around the world - say in the next 10 years. Kaori: My ideal vision for women around the world is that they will be judged based on their skills and abilities and not based on their gender. Through our women’s empowerment program, we foster the idea that women in DRC can and should have the same opportunities available to them as men. As the women in the program take advantage of these opportunities by harnessing the transformative power of music, they are proving to themselves, their local peers, and women around the globe that they have a strong, valuable place in their society and in the world. 2020 MAR / APR



June: My ideal vision for the future of women, is to get to a place where we celebrate the fullness of who we are. It would be a time where we not only empower women in the corporate world, but we encourage it. I hope by then we would be doing a better job at allowing dualities to exist in the workforce, such as inclusivity of parenthood, quicker progression rates, and allow a smoother process to enable more female leadership despite different gender roles. Cherie: My vision is for every woman to enjoy equal economic opportunities to men so they can live to their full potential. The World Economic Forum now estimates that it will take 257 years for this to happen. Well, we are absolutely not going to wait that long! In fact, the Foundation just launched our 100,000 Women Campaign – with Global Citizen Forum – to support another 100,000 businesswomen in lower- and middle-income countries by the end of 2022. Our mission is to help create a more enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs, which will hopefully set the wheels in motion for positive change over the next decade. How have your partnerships and working with other women inspired you or helped you in your success? Cherie: We simply could not do the work that we do without our partnerships with individuals, companies and institutions all across the globe, and with the support and influence of women leaders who want to help other women up the ladder. And of course, we include like-minded men too. One of the women we supported through the foundation put it best when she coined the term “sisterpreneurs” to describe herself and the other women entrepreneurs who forged a valuable and supportive network as a result of our programme. Kaori: I have had the privilege of working with women in DRC who are mothers, entrepreneurs, nurses, and seamstresses. They have all gone through—and are still going through—so many hardships on a daily basis just to survive and procure the most basic necessities, and yet they are radiant, determined, and most importantly: hopeful. I can’t express how much I respect and admire them. I would also be remiss to talk about women I admire without mentioning the incredible Noella, who I am fortunate to call both a role model and a friend! What Noella has created with Malaika is exceptional. Her vision to create a thriving community in a remote village in eastern DRC, where there was no water or electricity, presented immeasurable obstacles, and yet she did it! Tali: Through GCF’s initiatives, I have had the chance to work with many inspiring women who have proven the true power of female unity and collaboration; especially the women featured before me in this interview. Every single one of them impersonates the values and virtues that modern empowered women should have and are on a quest to ensure that their example is multiplied exponentially. I am so proud and humbled to have them as members of the GCF community and to have the opportunity to walk the talk with them. 54 MAR / APR 2020

How does being a Global Citizen empower you on your mission? June: I’ve always seen myself as a Global Citizen, because I love people! And when you love people, you’re always curious, you’re always learning and growing. Diversity plays an important role with progression and allows you to be comfortable with differences. Being a Global Citizen isn’t to pretend that we are all the same — it’s to see our differences and to see our similarities — and thrive on the balance of both. Noella: Being a Global Citizen gives me the opportunity to be part of a global identity and a global movement. It motivates and encourages me to learn about all the changes happening around the world thanks to the culmination of all the actions by other Global Citizens. A little bit does really go a long way when it is added together. In this community, progress is being made and this inspired me to keep going with my mission with Malaika. Sara: Every time I travel, I find a piece of my soul in another country, in another culture… I am a person that has no borders, no walls, and no separation between me and any other human being. I love everyone equally and believe that we all belong to this earth. Being a Global Citizen opens my mind to different ways of working, thinking and being creative. It’s like undressing your mind and freeing it from so many restrictions, and this makes your way of thinking more beautiful. Kaori: Being a musician means constantly working across the boundaries of era, time, culture, religion, and language. We have much more in common than we believe. It is essential that we work together to break down barriers, like gender, culture, and ethnicity, that often separate us, and instead allow them to be forces that bring us together. Being a Global Citizen is at the core of my personal belief system, and it is inextricably tied to the mission of Music Beyond. An empowered woman to me, is a woman who: Cherie: is able to redefine her future. When women are empowered, the whole world is uplifted and that affects all of us for the better. Tali: is educated, self-sufficient and free to take the best decisions for herself and her future. Sara: a woman is always powerful; she just needs inspiration. June: has found the balance in life, and who is confident and truly comfortable in her femininity and in her own skin. Noella: has an education, whether formal or passed knowledge, that will enable her to have the economic freedom and self-belief to make her own choices. Kaori: leads others and inspires them to reach their goals and capabilities. I believe that common traits shared by all successful women are humility and work ethic. These are incredibly important qualities that can’t be taught.


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Nespresso’s Yassir Corpataux spoke to GC about the brand’s commitment to quality and sustainability


eople often ask me, why did I stay for so long with one single company. I came to Nespresso for its quality standards and its image. I stayed because of what was happening in the background – like our Positive Cup sustainability strategy, our AAA Program for producing sustainable, high-quality coffee, and our new Reviving Origins programme to restore coffee farming in regions where it is under threat” - Yassir Corpataux, Nespresso Coffee Ambassador for the Middle East and Africa, told GC recently in an exclusive interview. Nespresso, an autonomous subsidiary of the Nestlé Group based in Lausanne, Switzerland, markets a range of over 60 premium coffee machines that brew gourmet espresso, ristretto and other coffee beverages using capsules - a singleuse container of ground coffee beans. The coffee brand retails its products through 700-plus boutiques worldwide and also its online portal. Introducing himself, Yassir says: “I was born and raised in Switzerland. My dad is Swiss, and my mother is Moroccan. I 56 MAR / APR 2020

started my career at Nespresso 13 years ago as a Coffee Specialist in a Nespresso boutique; this is how we name our salespersons because we go beyond simple service, and we also have specialist knowledge. As the Coffee Ambassador for the region, for the past two years, it is my responsibility to ensure that we deliver the message of our products the right way, not only externally, but also internally. So, I’m a coffee trainer, slash spokesman for our brand. From our hub here in Dubai, we support 20 markets in the region.” GC met up with Yassir following the launch of Ispirazione Italiana, Nespresso’s latest permanent collection of blends that pay tribute to Italy’s historical and diverse coffee culture. The collection comprises seven blends, two of which are entirely new. One of the seven is a ristretto. Two of the blends - one espresso and the ristretto - have decaf variants. “With this new range, we are shifting the names of our coffees to simplify a bit the communication about them. But every single one of our Ispirazione Italiana blend has a particular story,” said Yassir, elaborating on the collection’s origin story.


Yassir Corpataux, Coffee Ambassador for the Middle East and Africa, Nespresso 2020 MAR / APR



“We had a team of coffee experts browsing the country for months tasting and testing the coffees and studying their roasting profile. We discovered that in the north-west of the country, people prefer more fruity and less roasted coffee, while in the east they tend to prefer the more roasted variety. Then in the south, we have broader, bitter, more intense coffees. So, we then attached every single one of our coffees blends to a city that fits the roasting profile. This is something typical in Italy. Most of the coffee you drink in Italy are blended coffee. The intensity scale of our coffee is determined by its roasting profile and the origin of the coffees that go into the blend.” Here are the seven blends in Nespresso’s new Ispirazione Italiana permanent collection. Ispirazione Napoli, one of the new blends, is a tribute to the Italian capital of coffee, Naples. Curated using a dark roasting method, which accentuates the coffee to an intense degree, and leavened with Robusta, we have a velvety, creamy cup with an extremely thick body and a pleasant, bitter aftertaste. Ispirazione Venezia, the other new blend, pays homage to the city of Venice that was not only the first to import coffee into Italy from around the world, but also developed expertise in roasting them to balance their diversity. Nespresso’s blend is delicately aromatic and balanced with caramel notes and a thick body. Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar draws inspiration from the multicultural southern city, Palermo, at the crossroads of influence from African and Arab traditions. The blend undergoes a long, dark roasting style with a high Robusta content. The result is an intense, syrupy, woody and spicy coffee, crowned with very dark, thick crema. Ispirazione Roma mirrors the complexity of Rome, the eternal city. It experiences a subtle roast to balance intensity and finesse, with a deep flavour spiked with hints of acidity. Ispirazione Genova Livanto pays homage to this important trading city whose explorers introduced Latin American coffees to the country. A medium roast brings together all the rounded flavours of Brazilian, Colombian and Guatemalan coffees,

Ispirazione Napoli 58 MAR / APR 2020

crowned by their classic sweet caramel note. Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio represents the heart of Italy. It is a true reflection of Florence’s cultural significance. The blend undergoes a roasting style that combines fruity notes traditionally found in the North of Italy with cocoa notes from the south, culminating in a velvety, dense and creamy cup. This blend is also available in decaf. Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano is the only ristretto blend in the collection and is also available in a decaf variant. Here Nespresso chose not to imitate a regional variation, but to curate a unique blend that represented the essence of the country as a whole. Partly long roasted for body, and partly short for brightness and fruitiness. In addition to Nespresso’s commitment to offering the highest-quality coffee blends, the long-standing commitment to sustainability is a great source of pride for Yassir, as evidenced in the opening statement. The Positive Cup is the name given to the brand’s overarching sustainability strategy designed to deliver economic value while working to preserve the environment and supporting social progress. It covers every aspect of the business, from the coffee plantation to post-sale recycling of the capsules. Elaborating on use and recycling of the capsules, Yassir says: “Freshness of the coffee is key when you serve one because it gets oxidized very quickly when exposed to air. That’s why we encapsulate them in aluminium because it fully protects the coffee from light, moisture and oxygen. We also chose aluminium because it loses zero per cent of its quality when you recycle it. We have formed partnerships to showcase the upcycling properties of aluminium. Recently, we unveiled a bike that is made out of 300 recycled capsules. We have a partnership with Victorinox, who made a Swiss Army knife out of recycled aluminium capsules. We have also developed pens.” “We are pioneers in the field of recycling. We launched our program back in 1991 in Switzerland. Now, our consumers can give back the capsule at every single point of sales. If they order online, then the delivery person will collect the recycling bag.”


Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, launched in 2003 in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance NGO, is a major component of The Positive Cup. It was developed to create a sustainable supply chain of the highest quality coffee, while also improving the socio-economic situation of the coffee farmers. In 2017, according to the brand, over 90% of its coffee was sourced through the AAA program. “Only 10 per cent of the coffee produced in the world is considered as Gourmet coffee, and we select our coffees from that 10 per cent. To make sure that the coffee is being produced consistently, we needed to put in place processes that would ensure its quality. The coffee farmers get certified by the Rainforest Alliance, and they can sell their coffee to anyone, but we buy the coffee from the farmers at 30 to 40 per cent above the market price. Thus, creating a win-win situation,” says Yassir, elaborating on the program and gives us two examples. “The coffee farmers in Kerala, India, where we get our monsoon Robesta were growing only coffee. In the process of helping them produce a more qualitative coffee, we had increased the biodiversity of the coffee plantations. Those coffee farms then applied the agronomical techniques to grow other vegetables and fruits which they sell and earn additional revenue for. This is now being replicated all around the world.” “In Colombia, coffee farmers work without any retirement plan. So, with the help of the governments, we helped implement retirement plans for them. This helped attract the next generation into farming as well who were otherwise not interested.”

Reviving Origins is another programme aimed at restoring coffee farming in regions where it is in decline. It has an interesting origin story as narrated by Yassir: “George Clooney, our brand ambassador, a few years ago did a documentary about the civil war in South Sudan with his famous journalist father. He learnt that there was a coffee industry in South Sudan and felt that it needed to be showcased. So, he came back to us and asked us to send agronomists to prospect the country. This was the start of the program. Sadly, South Sudan is not part of the programme anymore because the civil war makes it too dangerous to send agronomists.” Citing another example, he says, “Zimbabwe was one of the biggest and best coffee producers in the late 80s, but because of economic and political turmoil, the coffee industry in Zimbabwe almost died. Three years ago, we went back to Zimbabwe and collaborated with another NGO to help revive the coffee industry. One of the things we did was pay them in dollars. It took us two years to produce the first batch of coffee named Tamuka mu Zimbabwe. It was launched last year in South Africa only because of the limited quantity available. This year we will launch it in more markets.” Nespresso was born in 1986 out of a desire within Eric Favre, an engineer with Nestlé, to brew coffee in a simple and consistent way, but at the same high standard as those of Italian baristas. The brand’s obsession with quality has pushed it to look beyond the brewing machine and to look at the coffee itself, from the plantation to the cup. Based on the evidence presented, its future seems sustainably positive. 2020 MAR / APR



AYESHA DEPALA S tyle is a way to say who you are without having to speak. And in an era of looking beyond gender, race or culture as a form of identity; what you wear is often what defines you at first glance. For Ayesha Depala, her affluent language in couture gives the women in her clothes a dialogue of power and elegance without having to utter a single word. Inspired by Indian and Persian crafts and textiles, her designs spark a new-age conversation of outspoken diversity and confidence. What inspired your vision of the Ayesha Depala brand? My love for arts and architecture stems from my early childhood spent in Kashmir. Watching my father —a textile engineer, and my mother — a textile designer, sparked my love for print making and textiles. Growing up in India was a perennial source of inspiration for my brand. I inevitably found myself experimenting with garments and silhouettes and eventually making my own clothes, which sparked to the creation of Ayesha Depala in 2000. If “fashion is a statement”, what story do your clothes tell? The AD brand is an extension of me. It elucidates my inner dialogue softly yet with authoritative salience and captures subtle nuances of the past and the future, and of Classicism and Modernity. The story exudes arresting nonchalance, with a subtle inquiry into pieces blurred with historical evidence. How has your cultural background influenced your designs or your journey as an acclaimed designer? I have spent an abundant time with my parents at their textile factory printing fabrics, mixing colors, and learning to work with natural vegetable dyes. Kashmiri art and craft have an abundant cultural heritage with a prominent Persian influence. The cultural imprint of Persia is visible in all its clothing, carpets and textiles which embarked on the route from their native areas of Khurasan, Fars and Mawra-ul-Nahar. Motifs such as the pomegranate, paisley and the lotus have been in my line up of print and home furnishing textiles as well. Through this influence, I continuously strive towards creating an ethical and sustainable product that ensures both, the test of time and trend. What have been the main challenges and/or advantages in your career; as a woman, and especially as a mother? I have met with several challenges as a woman in my career, but I inevitably transmute these challenges into propelling myself 60 MAR / APR 2020

forward. My children Leah and Neel both continue to inspire me, so I strive to improve, to renew, to achieve, and to transcend my limitations. They have always encouraged me to have a voice and this manifests in my designs and my love for art and textiles as a medium for my brand. I am always striving to create equilibrium in my day towards spending time and energy towards my work and my children. This is something I have learnt to balance over time. Do you have any statement pieces in your collection that you are most proud of creating? Some of my favorite pieces that I am tremendously proud of are from my Couture 2020 line. We as a team have painstakingly illustrated detailed floral motifs inspired by Mughal and Persian architecture as a base for hand beaded embroidery. One of my personal favorites is a lilac delphinium vest embellished with intricate lilac silk threads and beads. Although confidence is a mindset, what piece of fashion item makes you feel most confident? I believe clothes and colors are an extension of your persona and a representation of your being. I personally love wearing trousers. This is the one item of clothing I have the most varied mix of in my wardrobe. I am a fervent fan of a well-cut trouser and feel both comfortable and confident in equal measure in them. How do you think women’s fashion has evolved alongside the increasing power and voice of women in society? Women have had an ever-increasing voice in high-level decisionmaking in society and the economy over the past few decades. Historically, there has been a radical separation between women and power, but the shift in ideas about masculinity and femininity are relevant because they have impacted policies. Fashion’s evolution over the past several decades has also been predicated upon power, freedom and liberation. What is your vision of the woman dressed head to toe in Ayesha Depala? The Ayesha Depala brand exudes feminine aesthetic weaved into a more street insouciance. The play of opposites is the identity of the AD label. Femininity and angularity. Timelessness and modernity. Dynamism yet vulnerability. She is bold as she is beguiling not afraid to step out and stand tall, proud of her own voice.


Fashion Designer Ayesha Depala 2020 MAR / APR



Orlebar Brown SS’20 California Coasting Collection 62 MAR / APR 2020



Orlebar Brown’s latest season collection California Coasting


aunched in 2007, and based in London, Orlebar Brown has created a niche market for itself by being the first to offer a tailored approach to men’s swim shorts which can be worn on the beach or by the pool, and yet is smart enough to be worn to a lunch or for a drink. The brand recently launched its SS’20 California Coasting Collection. Taking inspiration from 1950s and 1960s surf culture, the collection delivers a healthy dose of effervescent Californian spirit. Featuring a new Sunset Silhouette photographic print shot by model-turned-photographer Ellen Von Unwerth and Clementine orange accents against tonal greys of Chalk, Alloy and Granite, the palette embodies the adventurous spirit of sun-drenched American road trips. Carefree, functional and stylish with expert warm-weather tailoring throughout, the Wye hooded cagoule and Ransley blazer offer laid-back layers while the Foracker hat and Haston Stripe flip flops are coastal essentials. The Bassett trunk style makes a comeback to the swimwear collection, and the shorter-

length Setter swim shorts have numerous editions in retro, sporty and luxe styles, ensuring there’s an option for every activity and occasion. Two new exclusive images featuring beachside pools by esteemed society photographer Slim Aarons join the eponymous collection of photographic print mid-length Bulldog swim shorts. Alternative prints for the season include geometrics created in small-scale tessellation for a softer approach to pattern, while a vintage print from the Design Library archives has been revived and used. Orlebar Brown has taken classics like crewneck tees, polos and sweatshirts and given them a subtle rework for their new season styles, with details like ribbing, racking, contrast binding and zip plackets. Versatile Aquamarine and Sea Breeze blues combine with an undertone of vintage nostalgia for the ultimate capsule summer wardrobe. The collection is available at, in store and at selected stockists worldwide.

2020 MAR / APR



Ilan Chetrite, Artistic Director, Sandro Homme 64 MAR / APR 2020


A DISTINGUISHED PARISIAN A brief look at the Sandro Homme brand and its Spring-Summer 2020 collection with the man himself, Ilan Chetrite


ree, profoundly urban and exuding an air of nonchalance, the Sandro Man has a distinct approach to elegance. He knows how to use proportion to striking effect and draws on references, adapting them in his everyday life. And if this man is a non-conformist, he can proudly claim a style that is truly original and contemporary,” Ilan Chetrite, the Artistic Director of Sandro Homme told GC in an exclusive conversation recently. Sandro is one of those brands that does not make a splash but one which has grown organically since it was launched in 1984 by the husband and wife duo - Didier and Evelyne Chetrite. The brand opened its first boutique on rue Vieille du Temple in the heart of Paris’ historic district of Le Marais. Today, Sandro has a substantial global following with around 140 boutiques worldwide. For the first fourteen years, the brand catered exclusively to women under the creative leadership of Evelyne. Her creations have made Sandro the standard for versatile feminine dressing that captures the effortless chic of the Parisian women. Evelyne spent her childhood in Rabat, Morocco. She fondly remembers the vivid colours of its streets, the earthy tones of its villages and the white of the caftans worn by her mother. Her love of clothing was born in her grandfather’s shop in Rabat and nurtured in Paris. While working at fashion retail outlets, she developed a circle of loyal clients. This encouraged her to explore her skills as a stylist, and when she met her husband, they were able to establish Sandro. Ilan Chetrite is the son of Didier and Evelyne. “I grew up in a very fashion-oriented environment, but when I was younger, I didn’t want to work in this industry,” he admits. So, he studied economics instead of fashion design. He joined the family business – which he sees as a brother - on the commercial side of things. As the financial manager, he played a central role in its expansion. The fruit never falls far from the tree, as the saying goes, Ilan has creative talents that he was either unaware of or was unwilling to admit initially. With the passage of time, he found himself drifting more and more into the studio and to the creative side of the business. “It came very naturally and spontaneously. I started to enjoy fashion more and more as I grew older,” he says. “I didn’t see myself as a fashion designer, but my passion for it caught me.” The brand launched Sandro Homme in 2008. Ilan explains: “I felt there was a relevant path in the menswear universe for the brand to take. Sandro shouldn’t only speak to women but also to

men. We wanted to create a lifestyle that represents the mixing of styles, non-conformism and a kind of elegant rebel attitude. We wanted to catch the trend and express our vision of what would be the coolest men wardrobe.” Ilan’s vision presents its own approach to men’s fashion. His duality as a “rational dreamer” not only defines him but has a significant impact on his work season after season. Beyond his own experiences, Ilan says, “I have always been impressed and inspired by my grandfather’s style. He was always smartly dressed, with beautiful suits.” “Inspiration,” explains Ilan, “comes very naturally when you’re not looking for it. It can be through different artistic fields, like cinema, photography, painting or music! It also comes from the people I meet, from travels or daily life, sometimes just an attitude can be the beginning of a whole collection.” As far as the inspiration for Sandro Homme’s Spring-Summer 2020 season is concerned, Ilan says, “I found most of my inspiration in the Mediterranean style of the 80s. The Sandro man contrasts his stylistic obsessions with ease, settling partway between US-style workwear and the retro elegance of chic city neighbourhoods.” The nonchalant Mediterranean begins with a double-breasted suit with its patterned wool based on the city trader style but is reinterpreted for the lightness of the season. A suit for “a man who is both tender and masculine.” A shirt with an oval handdrawn motif complements the darted trousers worn at the waist. Openwork vests bring in a summery touch. Black bathing suit shorts can be worn with a retro cream-coloured knit polo. For the feet, the comfort of a pair of grained leather shoes. To achieve the “US-style workwear and the retro elegance,” the studio revisits some of the brand’s vintage pieces, but “without a trace of nostalgia.” A zippered worker’s shirt in textured cotton, a vintage brown leather aviator jacket, a vintage striped knit, and a Hawaiian shirt are a few of the examples. Overall, the palette is reminiscent of old films with sun-faded colours of soft pink, cerulean blue, and tobacco brown. When asked to name his favourite piece from the collection, Ilan says, “It’s the aviator brown leather jacket of which the colour seems to have been polished by the sunlight.” With regards to what the brand will be offering going forward, he says, “We are launching a new store concept with an entirely new architecture, decoration and experience. We are opening the first one this year in September on rue Saint-Honoré, in Paris.” 2020 MAR / APR



Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR 66 MAR / APR 2020


INSPIRED BY PANDORA Mercedes-Benz recently unveiled the result of their collaboration with the Avatar team “


he Vision AVTR is a show car and show cars are here to spark our imagination of what’s possible, just like good science fiction movies do,” said Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, during his keynote speech at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January. Mercedes chose to unveil the AVTR show car at the Consumer Electronics Show rather than at a motor-show because it is unlike any other show car the brand has produced in its 100-plus year history. It is the creation of an elite team of Mercedes-Benz’s designers, engineers and trend researchers for mobility in the distant future, and in collaboration with Avatar, the movie franchise brand headed by James Cameron. The AVTR in the car’s name is officially an acronym for Advanced Vehicle Transformation, but also clearly eludes to Avatar. The “Vision” in the car’s title refers to an entirely new exploration on “the interaction between human, machine and nature.”

The iconic flora and fauna of Pandora became the inspiration for AVTR’s unique design aesthetics while being within the design language of Mercedes’ EQ product line. They took a completely new, holistic approach to design which they refer to as the “inside-out design structure.” It combines the interior and exterior into one contentious whole. The inside-out design is best exemplified by the transparent doors, resulting in the exterior and interior flow lines, forming one continuous whole. Also, the exterior and interior of the AVTR are framed by a stretched “One Bow” design in which there is only one continuous organic line for the viewer. Meanwhile, the fluent silver surface, the bluish luminous accents, the front mask, the warm rose gold of the expressive rim arms are all characteristic of the EQ design language. The 33 “bionic flaps” that dominate the back of the vehicle are reminiscent of several Pandoran animals. There are multi-directionally movable surface elements that change

2020 MAR / APR



their orientation in unison to support the vehicle during manoeuvres and also act as solar panels. In conjunction with their neural light lines, they react to the approach of the driver and also reflect the emotions and activities of the passengers. A pulsating fibre optics animation on the front, side and on the wheels are reminiscent of the nocturnal bioluminescence found on Pandora. The six organic-looking illuminated rim arms of the wheels, interspersed with blue light guides, were inspired by the Pandoran wood sprites. The interior is highlighted by flower-like and softly woven elements, expressive light strips and rich, real-time graphic projections on the centre console. The latter extends to the A-pillars and replaces a conventional dashboard. The roof structure encloses the rear passengers like a cocoon, while

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the headrests of the rear seats extend forward to form the headrest of the front seats. The back shell of the seat and the sky feature a colour-changing fabric which, depending on the light, changes its colour from dark blue to a subtle light blue. The use of several shades of white and semi-transparent planes creates a sense of depth. The entire interior space is designed to be an information exchange space. The goal here is to display the right information at the right time, and only as long as it is needed. The AVTR has digital neurons flowing throughout its interior and exterior, allowing it to establish a close biometric connection with the driver. It is thus able to identify and respond to the passengers when approaching. Once inside, the car comes to life when the driver places the hand on the


control unit in the centre console. The unit is a multifunctional interface and the intuitive heart of the vehicle. The AVTR’s interface is also projected onto the palm of the passengers, allowing them to interact intuitively. Sustainability is a cornerstone of the whole concept. Highlights include seats covered by Dinamica leather, a recycled material made from old clothing, flags and PET plastic bottles. It is refined and versatile enough to be used in luxury car interiors. The floor is decorated with a wood called Karuun, which grows rapidly in forests and is harvested sustainably by hand. The car is powered by a revolutionary graphene-based organic battery that is entirely recyclable and free of rareearths and metals. It offers an exponentially high energy

density of up to 1200 Wh-per-litre. It can be fully recharged in less than 15 minutes to a capacity of around 110 kWh, and for a range of more than 700 kilometres. The AVTR has four highperformance and near-wheel-built electric motors on each wheel, with a combined output of 350 kW. The four wheels - almost spherical in shape - are individually controllable. This enables the car to move sideways by approximately 30 degrees and to have a very small turning circle. Concluding his speech on the AVTR, Källenius stated: “Our way is Sustainable Modern Luxury. Our tools are technology and innovation. The transformation of the automotive industry, the industry at large, and society as a whole – is something we look forward to. We’re quintessential tech optimists. The “Vision Advanced Vehicle Transformation” is a symbol of that.”

2020 MAR / APR




With ten-piece Centodieci, Bugatti pays homage to the EB110, a tragic hero from the past

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The Bugatti Centodieci 2020 MAR / APR




ttore Bugatti, the founder of Automobiles Ettore Bugatti, manufactured no more than 8,000 cars before he died in 1947. Yet the impact he had on the automotive world was such that there had been repeated attempts to revive the brand before it was acquired by the VW group in 1998. Prior to that, none came as close to achieving a true revival as Romano Artioli and his Modena, Italy, based Bugatti Automobiles SAS. Artioli opened his factory on 15 September 1990, Ettore Bugatti’s 109th birthday. He presented his first, and only, super sports car EB110 to the public on Ettore Bugatti’s 110 birthday – hence the type designation. “With the EB110, Bugatti catapulted itself to the top of the automotive world once again after 1956 with a new model,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. The EB110 featured exceptional design and immense power, the two hallmarks of a Bugatti car. Although a commercial failure, due to economic reasons, the company and the iconic car it produced was a crucial interim step in the eventual revival of the marque under the VW group. “We are proud of our long Bugatti history, of which the EB110 is very much a part. That’s why we’re celebrating

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a reinterpretation of this extraordinary vehicle with the Centodieci – Italian for 110,” adds Winkelmann. The EB110 is a very flat, wedge-shaped and graphically quasi two-dimensional super sports car of the late 1980s. The Centodieci, however, had to be based on the Chiron, a hypercar born in the 21st century. The new special-edition Centodieci had to capture the essence of the EB110 without compromising the supreme dynamism of the Chiron. Achim Anscheidt, Head Designer at Bugatti explains: “The challenge was not to allow oneself to be captivated too much by the design of the historic vehicle and work solely in retrospect, but instead to create a modern interpretation of the shape and technology of that time. Transporting this classic look [of the EB110] into the new millennium without copying it was technically complex, to say the least. We had to create a new way of combining the complex aerothermal requirements of the underlying Chiron technology with a completely different aesthetic appearance.” So, instead of replicating the wedge of the EB110, in which the muscle runs from the rear to the front wheel, Chiron’s signature C-line gives way to straight lines intersecting at sharp angles, along with five round air inserts positioned in


the form of a diamond. These inlets, signatures of the DB110, also ensure sufficient air intake for the 16-cylinder engine. The rear of the car is formed into a single ventilation unit, characterised by the eight rear light elements, two-plus-two exhaust tailpipes positioned on top of each other in a black matt anodised finish and a performance diffuser to improve downforce. As in the EB110, the engine is seen behind a transparent glass surface. The overhanging rear wing is permanently attached in the style of the original EB110 SS. It is supported in generating downforce by the aerodynamic tailgate and a laminar flow-optimised rear window. Reminiscent of the EB110, the front of the Centodieci drops very low, the iconic horseshoe-shaped radiator has been miniaturised, the Bugatti logo Macaron sits on the hood, and the air intakes have been split into three sections. The optimised front section with the extended front splitter and the airflow through the hood further improve the car’s aerodynamics. The very narrow headlamps, with integrated LED daytime running lights, and its accompanying trench seem to form a silhouette of the iconic boxy headlamps of the EB110. The V12 of the EB110, makes way for the massive 8.0-litre

W16 engine within the Centodieci, producing 1,600 hp at 7,000 rpm. It can sprint from 0 to 100 kmph in 2.4 seconds, to 200 kmph in 6.1 seconds, and to 300 kmph in 13.1 seconds. The top speed is electronically cut off at 380 kmph. Compared to the Chiron, the Centodieci saves 20 kilograms of unladen weight, resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of just 1.13 kilograms per horsepower. Naturally, customers can have their Centodieci painted in the colour of their choice. However, Bugatti chose white as the colour for the demonstration piece. Winkelmann explains the reasoning behind this: “With the communication paint finish in white, we’re demonstrating a powerful contrast with the La Voiture Noire – the black car just presented in March: two completely opposing yet related forces, like yin and yang.” Centodieci is a small series, limited to just ten vehicles. They are being handcrafted in Molsheim, France, where Ettore Bugatti produced the very first vehicles that bore his name at the end of 1909, and where the marque has been since 1998. The ten cars, each with a price tag starting at EUR eight million plus VAT, have already been sold out and are expected to be delivered in two years. 2020 MAR / APR



The Ferrari Roma


Ferrari Roma makes a grand entrance into the region at Dubai’s Bulgari Hotel


oma, Ferrari’s latest grand tourer was unveiled to the world at an exclusive event held in Italy’s eternal capital last November. This February, the car was presented in Dubai at a glitzy event at Bulgari Hotel. This was the first presentation of the new Ferrari outside of Italy. Designed and engineered to appeal to first time buyers of the brand, Roma is aesthetically stunning on the outside and features the brand’s new “modular” interior design concept. Guests at the presentation ceremony were serenaded by a five-piece Italian Jazz band. In the background was a graphic that read “La Nuova Dolce Vita” - the car’s marketing tag-line which translates to “the new good life.” This is meant to evoke a bygone era of abundance and joy in post-war Italy known as the ‘Italian economic miracle.’ In Italy, the period roughly spanning the two decades

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following the devastation of World War II - the 1950s and the 1960s - witnessed tremendous economic and social development. The country was transformed from an impoverished, mainly rural nation into a global industrial power. The common man had money to spend on consumer goods and leisure. Eating at roadside cafes, buying a car and picnics in the countryside - a lifestyle unimaginable just a generation before. It was in this period that the phrase “La Dolce Vita” came to symbolise the Italians’ love of living life to the full. Rome was at the epicentre of this new way of life. To recreate the essence of the 1950s and 1960s, Ferrari turned to some of the masterpieces to come out of its stables in that era - front-engined cars with simple yet elegant forms and a 2-plus fastback coupé design. Some of the prime examples being America, Superamerica, 250, 275 and the 330. The Ferrari


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76 MAR / APR 2020


Roma shares many of their characteristics but it’s distinctly twenty-first century. The front of the car looks sculpted from a single block of metal, creating an overhanging shark nose like effect reminiscent of the Superamerica and the 330. The wide front bonnet and sinuous wings perfectly flow into one another, in line with Ferrari’s traditional styling cues. To preserve its minimalist elegance, vents or superfluous decorations are missing. The engine cooling is achieved by surfaces that are locally perforated only where necessary. The all-new design for the grille is an example of this. The two linear fullLED headlights, which give the front of the car a distinctive character, are traversed by a horizontal light strip that brings a sense of tension to the car, reminiscent of the Ferrari Monza SP. Inside, Roma features Ferrari’s new modular interior concept. The idea, we are told, was to create two separate spaces or cells, one each for driver and passenger, in an evolution of the Dual Cockpit concept introduced in other cars in the range. The distinctive look of this dual-cockpit concept was achieved by extending the philosophy applied to the dash to the entire cabin. It results in a balanced combination of elegance and sportiness. Ferrari claims that its engineers have achieved best-in-class aerodynamic performance for Roma without compromising its design aesthetics. This was achieved at Maranello by developing several leading-edge technologies. The most

notable of which is the mobile rear spoiler integrated into the rear screen. It retains the car’s formal elegance when retracted but deploys automatically at high speed to produce the downforce essential for the car’s stability. Ferrari presents the Roma as a tame model designed more for the city roads and highways than the racetrack. The Roma is tame by Ferrari’s standards. The car is powered by a front-mounted turbocharged V8. It comes from the family of engines that have won the overall International Engine of the Year award four years running. In the Roma, it produces 612 hp at 7,500 rpm. The mid-front-engine also gives Roma the best weight-to-power ratio in its segment - 2.37 kg-percv. This directly leads to enhanced handling dynamics and responsiveness. Coupled with the new 8-speed DCT gearbox that was introduced on the SF90 Stradale, the engine can accelerate the Roma from 0-to-100 kmph in 3.4 seconds. Despite these performance figures, the focus of the development team, we are told, was on delivering superior driving pleasure and comfort. The car has low vehicle weight and features the latest evolution of the Side Slip Control. Its chassis benefits from the technology developed by Ferrari for its new generation models - the bodyshell and chassis have been redesigned to incorporate the latest weight reduction and advanced production technologies. Ferrari claims that as much as 70 per cent of its components are entirely new. 2020 MAR / APR




A review of the new limited-edition MINI convertible – The Sidewalk


oie de vivre, a French phrase that refers to the carefree enjoyment of life, forms the philosophical base of the latest limited-edition four-seater convertible from MINI: the Sidewalk. The aesthetic package is designed to be an attention grabber with its distinctive, coordinated selection of colour, material and equipment. Customers also have an extensive menu of customisation options to choose from, as well as having the choice of three engines, packaged as the One, Cooper and Cooper-S variants of the Sidewalk. Limited edition MINIs, especially convertibles, are something of a collector’s item as they do not come around often. The 2020 Sidewalk is only the second MINI to bear the

The new MINI Sidewalk Convertible 78 MAR / APR 2020

Sidewalk name, after the original limited-edition convertible of 2007. It is a direct successor to the Highgate, another limited-edition convertible released back in 2012. The signature look of the 2020 Sidewalk is the instantly recognisable Deep Laguna metallic body paint finish. Presented for the first time on a MINI, this expressive blue tone accentuates the flow lines of the vehicle. Optionally, the following exterior colours are also available: Midnight Black metallic, White Silver metallic, Enigmatic Black metallic, Moonwalk Grey metallic and Thunder Grey metallic. The exterior mirror caps are always painted the same as the body colour. The model-specific bonnet stripes, with contrasting


colour edges, enhance the car’s sporty character. The 2020 Sidewalk has a specially designed, fully automatic textile soft top. It can be opened or closed electrically in 18 seconds and is barely audible. The roof material features an artistically woven-in arrow graphic with the high-quality finish that is typical of a MINI Yours product. The 17-inch light-alloy Scissor Spoke two-tone wheels of the new Sidewalk are also a model-specific design feature; as are its side indicator bezels, known as side scuttles, which bear the “Sidewalk” model designation. Inside, the seats are in the exclusive MINI Yours Leather Lounge Sidewalk variant. Their anthracite-coloured leather surfaces are combined with contrasting seams in Petrol and Energetic Yellow colours. In addition, they have braided piping in Petrol colour and the “Sidewalk” logo as a further distinction. The doormats have matching dark Petrol surrounds and Energetic Yellow seams. Similarly, there are model-specific design elements throughout the interior surfaces of the Sidewalk. The brushed aluminium door sills bear the “Sidewalk” lettering. The backlit decorative trim on the passenger side in Piano Black is combined with accents in Petrol and silver colour. Also, the elliptical door trim is in Petrol. The sports leather steering wheel has a discreet “Sidewalk” logo at the bottom. As part of the Sidewalk Chili equipment package, the car features LED headlamps, LED fog lamps, the interior lighting package as well as the MINI Driving Modes, automatic air conditioning, a height-adjustable front passenger seat and a storage package. The drive range for the new Sidewalk is made up of three petrol engines with TwinPower Turbo technology.

The MINI One Sidewalk has a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine which generates an output of 75 kW or 102 hp. It has a combined fuel consumption between 5.5 and 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres, with combined CO2 emissions between 125 and 122 grams-per-kilometre. The Cooper variant of the Sidewalk is also powered by a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine but produces 100 kW or 136 hp. Here, the combined fuel consumption drops slightly to between 5.4 and 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres range with the combined CO2 emissions at between 123 and 116 gramsper-kilometre. The third variant is the Cooper-S Sidewalk, the sportiest of the three. It has a two-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine with an output of 141 kW or 192 hp. Not surprisingly, the combined fuel consumption here is 6.5 to 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres with the combined CO2 emissions between the 147 to 123 grams-per-kilometre. All three engines are combined with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. A seven-speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch is optionally available for the Cooper and Cooper-S Sidewalk variants. The Cooper-S Sidewalk can also be equipped with a sevenspeed Steptronic Sport transmission with double clutch. This option provides the faster gear shifts of any 2020 Sidewalk variant and can also be operated using paddles on the steering wheel. The 2020 Sidewalk limited edition comes with a wide range of other options for all three variants that add something extra or something special in the areas of comfort, driving fun and spontaneous open-air pleasure; something extra to one’s Joie de vivre. 2020 MAR / APR



TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition 80 MAR / APR 2020



TAG Heuer has unveiled a limited-edition homage to the first Carrera Chronograph


his year marks the 160th anniversary of the founding of the Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG in 1860 by a 20-year-old named Edouard Heuer in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland. Today, it operates four production sites, has mastered the entire watchmaking process, and is represented on all continents through 4,500 points of sale, including 170 TAG Heuer boutiques. From creating the Mikrograph in 1916, to sponsoring Formula One teams in the 1970s or launching the first luxury connected watch in 2015, the brand has been at the forefront of horological innovations in the past 160 years. One of these landmark innovations came in 1962. Jack Heuer, the great-grandson of the founder and the CEO of Heuer AG at that time, was in search of a name for his new chronograph when he heard about the legend of Carrera Panamericana, one of the most treacherous road races in the world. Jack knew immediately that the Spanish word “carrera” - which can mean road, race, career and course - would be the perfect name for the new timepiece designed by him specifically for professional racecar drivers. TAG Heuer has chosen to kick-off the commemoration of reaching the 160th milestone by launching a 1860-piece limited-edition reinterpretation of the genesis of the Carrera line. Often referred to as “2447S,” the original Carrera was the first chronograph specifically designed for professionals of the racetrack. Jack had a preference for modern and clean designs, and therefore, wanted the aesthetics of his chronograph to be clean and well-proportioned. It had a monochrome, silvercoloured starburst dial with three azurage counters. This design was perfect for drivers who needed to see the time at a glance while on the racetrack. The 21st-century version of the chronograph - Reference CBK221B.FC6479 - features many of the same design highlights as the original but with noticeable differences. The case and pushers are again polished stainless-steel. The polished stainless-steel crown is at three o’clock and the push buttons at the two and four-hour markers. The dial is monochrome silver sunray brushed. The central chronograph seconds hand is black lacquered. The Heuer shield and Carrera name are printed on the dial in black. The design of the domed sapphire crystal, with double anti-reflective treatment, adds to the watch’s retro appearance. Like the original, the watch is fastened with a black alligator strap with polished stainless-steel

folding clasp. However, the new timepiece measures 39 mm instead of the original 36 mm. The white permanent second indicator is at 6 o’clock instead of 9 o’clock as in the original due to the difference in the construction of the Valjoux 72 movement from 1963 and today’s Heuer 02 movement. The central hour and minute hands are now facetted and coated with beige SuperLuminova. The case-back features a screweddown sapphire crystal, through which is visible the redesigned oscillating weight adorned with a lacquer-filled engraving. On the opaque part of the case-back are engraved - “One of 1860” and “Limited Edition” - to distinguish the timepiece as an anniversary edition. The watch is water-resistant to 100 metres. Given what a Heuer Carrera watch was designed for, each one has featured the most advanced technology that the brand had to offer in terms of movements. Therefore, the most significant difference between the 2447S and the modern limited-edition model is the movement within the timepiece. While the original housed the Valjoux 72 movement, the tribute model is powered by the brand’s Heuer 02 movement, a sophisticated in-house innovation that is entirely Swissmade at the brand’s Chevenez manufacture. Comprising 168 components, it boasts five key improvements. To begin with, it has a power reserve of 80 hours, which is an increase of 30 hours compared to its predecessor - the Calibre Heuer 01. It is a thinner movement with a thickness of 6.95 mm, compared to the Heuer 01’s 7.30 mm. This allows for a thinner case design and improved comfort for the wearer. The Heuer 02 movement’s vertical clutch is designed to improve the precision of the start-and-stop functions as well as the running of the chronograph second hand. According to the brand, this new design means that there is “no loss of time” when using the chronograph function. The Heuer 02’s column-wheel provides more accurate and precise functionality which is noticeable through the smooth impulse when manipulating the pushers. The balance oscillates at a frequency of 4 Hz or 28,800 vibrations per hour, which contributes to greater precision and stability. TAG Heuer’s Carrera models have always been bold, innovative and elegant. Though initially designed for professional racers, they have evolved, but their reputation for being at the cutting edge of innovation has been a constant. The watch that pays homage to the genesis of this celebrated line is sure to be a magnet for collectors. 2020 MAR / APR




Vacheron Constantin’s latest masterpiece is not just visually stunning; it is a symphony of complications


es Cabinotiers is a department within Vacheron Constantin responsible for creating an assortment of one-of-a-kind models. “La Musique du Temps” or “The Music of Time” is Les Cabinotiers’ tribute to the musical arts. The latest “La Musique du Temps” is called Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart – A Celestial Note. It is a one-of-a-kind double-sided model featuring a rare degree of complexity, as it integrates within a single watch, a tourbillon regulator, a minute repeater, and a rotating map of the celestial vault on the reverse side. Abbey Road Studios, as partners of the maison, has recorded an original sonic print and issued a unique sonic certificate for each of the Celestial Note master watches. Although Les Cabinotiers formally came into existence as a department in 2006, the tradition of creating personalised or unique timepieces has been an uninterrupted constant at Vacheron Constantin since 1755. The department came into prominence in 2015, with the unveiling of Reference 57260 on the 260th anniversary of the brand. With 57 horological complications - several of which are unprecedented, including multiple calendars and a double retrograde split-seconds chronograph - 57260 is the most complicated watch ever made and was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2015. In 2017, Les Cabinotiers unveiled two watches that may be considered direct predecessors to A Celestial Note: Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 – a combined display of civil, solar and sidereal time with perpetual calendar, and Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 - the Manufacture’s first grande sonnerie wristwatch. Sonnerie or chiming watches of various kinds have occupied a special place among Vacheron Constantin’s horological complications. In fact, the first chiming Vacheron Constantin dates back to 1806: a gold pocket watch with minute repeater registered by the founder’s grandson Jacques-Barthélemy, in the very first production register, kept in the company’s archives. Ever since, sonnerie or repeater watches have been an integral part of the Manufacture’s proud heritage. A Celestial Note not only embodies some of the most important streams within Vacheron Constantin, but it is also a visual treat of exceptional beauty. Its elegance is accentuated by

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the slenderness of the 15.1 mm case in 18-karat 5N pink gold. It has a diameter of 45 mm. On the side opposite, the crown is the sliding bolt for the minute repeater. Inside is Calibre 2755 TMRCC, a 413-part manual-winding movement derived from the 2755 calibre, a movement reserved for particularly complex models. It has a 58-hour power reserve. The hand-guilloché dial is teal blue with a sunray-finish. The hour and minute hands are in 18-Karat gold, while the applied hours-makers are 18-Karat white gold. A small second’s hand makes its way above the one-minute tourbillon carriage adorned with a Maltese Cross. The strap is blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with the characteristic large square scales, and alligator leather inner shell, all hand-stitched for a saddle-finish. The 18-karat polished white gold folding clasp features a half Maltese cross. On the reverse side, is a concave dial of sapphire crystal designed to accentuate the depth effect - as if viewing through a telescope – the brilliant depiction of the Milky Way and the constellations. The display performs a complete rotation in 23 hours and 56 minutes, corresponding to the sidereal time which is displayed on the periphery, along with the indications for the day, month and cardinal points. An ellipse drawn on the sapphire crystal highlights the exact position of the constellations at the moment the watch is viewed. The complex chiming mechanism of the minute repeater was inspired, according to the watchmaker, by the work carried out on the 2005 La Tour de l’île anniversary watch. It had a strike governor that enabled the duration of the musical sequences to be perfectly timed, such that a distinct and harmonious sound could be produced for the hours, quarters and minutes. Thanks to this flexible mechanism, repeater watches from the “La Musique du Temps” range, for the first time, have unique sound imprints; each recorded and certified by Abbey Road Studios. This makes each piece unique through its sonic identity. “The opportunity to capture the sonic identity of these incredible timepieces is a privilege,” explains Jeremy Huffelmann, Head of Partnerships at Abbey Road Studios. “These recordings perfectly encapsulate the shared values of craftsmanship, expertise and excellence that define our collaboration, whilst forever preserving the personality of these singular timepieces.”


Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart – A Celestial Note

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Jaeger-LeCoultre’s storied timepiece, Reverso, is all about making it personal


aeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso was a revolutionary watch when it made its debut almost 90 years ago. César de Trey, a watch merchant who often made trips to British India, noticed that the officers would often damage their glass-covered watches while playing polo. Sensing a marketable opportunity, he turned to Jacques-David LeCoultre to find a solution to the problem. René-Alfred Chauvot, a French designer, came up with a simple yet elegant design. A rectangular wristwatch whose case would slide out of a protective outer case that was attached to the straps. After sliding out, it would flip over on itself like a book being closed. This way, the delicate front of the case would be beneath and protected while the case-back would be facing up. The watch became popular not only with polo

Personalized engraving done for Ni Ni on her Reverso Classic Medium Thin 84 MAR / APR 2020

players but with sports enthusiasts of all kinds. Initially, the case-back only served a functional purpose and was therefore plain. However, it soon became a canvas for special messages and artistic expression, decorated with enamel or engravings. Some would commission engravings for themselves, as a momento to a special occasion or a loved one, or they would commission engravings as a gift for someone special. Reverso’s flip design made it unique among watches. The decoration could be kept secret or flipped over to be displayed to the world. Jaeger-LeCoultre has unveiled an online commissioning tool for the convenience of anyone who owns a steel or gold Reverso – whether new or pre-owned – where they can request an engraving for the reverse side of the case. The standard


Personalized engraving done for Ni Ni on her Reverso Classic Medium Thin

Ni Ni’s Reverso Classic Medium Thin 2020 MAR / APR



Personalized engraving done for Nicholas Hoult on his Reverso Classic Large Small Second in Steel

Nicholas Hoult’s Reverso Classic Large Small Second in Steel 86 MAR / APR 2020


Amanda Seyfried’s Reverso Classic Medium Thin

options offered online include a choice of initials or dates in a variety of font styles, simple text messages or Zodiac signs. All come with the option of adding coloured lacquer to highlight the design. Bespoke designs that may be based on a photograph, a sketch or just an idea can also be commissioned online. The possibilities, we are told, are as infinite as the skills of the designers and engravers at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Manufacture. For those who prefer the more intimate experience, there is always the option of commissioning the engraving through a Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique, such as the bespoke work recently commissioned by the brand’s ambassadors Nicholas Hoult, Amanda Seyfried and Ni Ni. British actor Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite, X-Men, A Single Man) has enjoyed a close relationship with JaegerLeCoultre for the past four years. His interest in watches began at an early age through his father’s fascination with timepieces. In a gesture of continuity, Hoult chose to engrave his son’s initials on his Reverso Classic Large Small Second in Steel; thus, creating a future heirloom. “I engraved the initials HKH as a way to honour my son and keep him close to me every day. Timepieces have a tradition in my family of being passed down between generations. I am excited to pass along this watch to my son one day,” says Hoult. American actress Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia! Les Misérables) began her relationship with Jaeger-LeCoultre at the beginning of 2019, following her first visit to the SIHH. On her Reverso Classic Medium Thin, she asked Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engravers to reproduce her favourite photograph of Finn – her

beloved Australian Shepherd dog which she rescued from an animal shelter almost a decade ago. He has been an important part of her life ever since. “He’s been my constant companion, unconditional support, and the guiding light in my life,” explains Seyfried. “He’s my forever lucky charm and having his little face against my skin every day will be the perfect reminder of how special our bond is.” Ni Ni, one of China’s most acclaimed young actresses with starring roles in ‘The Flowers of War’ and ‘Love and Destiny’ among her credits, has been a Jaeger-LeCoultre ambassador since 2018. She has played an active role in the brand’s initiatives to support and preserve the cinematic arts. For her Reverso Classic Medium Thin, Ni Ni chose plum blossom as a poignant reminder of her hometown. The cool tone of the steel case forms a beautiful background for the delicate engraving. “When I was a child, many Chinese poems about the elegance and resilience of the plum blossom impressed me a lot. In my hometown, Nanjing, we have the ‘best Plum Blossom Mountain in China’ and Xuanwu Lake, where you can find plum trees blooming vibrantly even in winter snow,” Ni Ni explains. “The choice to include these elements was not only due to the classic beauty of the plum blossom, but also because it’s symbolic of perseverance in the face of adversity.” There is, no doubt, great pleasure in being part of a creative process that results in a unique and intensely personal design; irrespective of whether the engraving is simple or complex. Each engraving on a Reverso transforms it from an excellent watch to a unique piece; a reminder of a personal story. 2020 MAR / APR



Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light 88 MAR / APR 2020



Girard-Perregaux’s latest Laureato is appropriately called ‘Absolute Light’


irard-Perregaux, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer that traces its origins to 1791, has had a long history marked by watches that combine design with technical innovation and high artisanship. One of the early standouts is the “Tourbillon with the Three Gold Bridges,” presented at the Paris Universal Exhibition by Constant Girard-Perregaux, the founder, in 1889, where it was awarded a gold medal. Since then the brand has amassed more than 100 registered patents. Girard-Perregaux became part of the Swissbased Sowind Group in the late 1980s. In 2011, the group was acquired by Kering. Today, it is one of the few watchmakers to unite the entire design and manufacture process under one roof; including the movements. Absolute Light is the latest to be added to GirardPerregaux’s Laureato collection. The word light - which may refer to the illuminating force, or to an object having low mass - aptly describes the two primal qualities of the watch. Its crystalline case, made of sapphire and titanium, allows for stunning transparent views of the movement from all sides, while its matte and polished surfaces cause the light to shimmer. The sapphire and titanium combination also make the watch lightweight. The Absolute family of watches came into existence in 1975 as GP’s entry into the luxury sports watch market, a genre created by the introduction of the Royal Oak in 1972. The original had an elongated cushion case and integrated bracelet in matte steel. It had a polished gold octagonal bezel and a gold spine running along the centre of its bracelet. Inside was an ultra-slim calibre 705 quartz movement, chosen for its superior precision. Thus, Quartz Chronometer was printed on the dial. Several variations on the original design appeared over the years - with different design elements and complications - until about 2003 when the family faded into the background. The Laureato name was revived in 2016 with a limited edition to celebrate the brand’s 225th anniversary. In 2017, a complete collection was unveiled offering different combinations of case

sizes, materials and complications. The 44 mm case, bezel, mainplate and caseback of the Absolute Light are in sapphire crystal. The inner flange of the octagonal bezel features an ornamental pattern - created with alternating polished and brushed surfaces. The polished areas form twelve narrow, triangular patterns precisely where the twelve hour-markers would have been. For the first time on a Laureato, the mainplate is octagonal, as is the caseback. Eight screws traverse the 11.56 mm thickness of the case to fasten them all in place. The hour and minute hands have a portion of their spine cut out, making them partially transparent, while the solid part of the spine is treated with luminescent material. A small, skeletonised seconds dial is located at 10 o’clock. It is not easily noticed as it blends perfectly with the components of the skeletonised GP01800-1143 calibre - a 30 mm automatic movement beating at 4 Hz and with a power reserve of 54 hours. It is a skeletonised version of GP’s 1800 automatic calibre with hours, minutes and seconds functions. The ample negative space on the see-through dial extenuates the curvy open-worked bridges and mainplate; both NACtreated in a dark anthracite colour and hand-decorated with four different finishes. The dark greys are contrasted by a smattering of pink of the ruby bearings and the gold of the regulating organ at 12 o’clock. The open-worked barrel set slightly off-centred at 5 o’clock, lays bare its coiled mainspring. The case back of this watch, given its transparent design, has been given a similar treatment as the dial side and reveals the reverse side of the skeletonised structures. The titanium lugs, brushed and polished, blend in perfectly with the dark grey tones of the movement. A black rubber strap attaches itself to the lugs and has a folding buckle in matching titanium. The Laureato Absolute Light is exclusively available in just 88 pieces. For concourses in the UAE and the region, the GirardPerregaux collection is available at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons boutiques at Mall of the Emirates, Burj Al Arab and Wafi Mall. 2020 MAR / APR




GC chats with Laura Eggleton, the woman in charge of overseeing the launch of Middle-East’s first Hotel Indigo


ach Hotel Indigo property is different, reflecting its surroundings and neighbourhood character. Bringing the neighbourhoods indoors is Hotel Indigo’s signature: from distinctive, local design touches to authentic flavours served in the restaurants. The neighbourhood setting, modern design and the commitment to inspired service set Hotel Indigo apart,” Laura Eggleton – General Manager Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown – told GC during an exclusive interview. Hotel Indigo, a part of the UK based InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), is a chain of up-scale boutique hotels founded in October 2004. The hospitality brand distinguishes itself, as stated above, by drawing inspiration from the neighbourhoods in which its properties are located, and by acting as gateways to exploring their neighbourhoods. The brand also distinguishes itself by selecting neighbourhoods that have strong associations with creativity. The first Hotel Indigo is located across from the Fabulous Fox Theatre in the arts and entertainment district of Midtown, Atlanta. In New York, it’s in the Lower East Side with its art galleries and vibrant nightlife. Brunswick Street in Brisbane, Australia, is the city’s entertainment hub. In Chester, England, the Indigo is adjacent to the Rows - the town’s 16th century buildings and the award-winning Storyhouse Theatre. A shimmering bronze dragon created from solar fins dramatically wraps the exterior of the Indigo at Hong Kong Island. Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown - located close to the Dubai Creek extension, in between Downtown Dubai and Dubai Design District - is the brand’s first property in the Middle East region and is scheduled to open its doors this summer. Explaining the reasoning behind the brand’s choice of city and location, Laura said: “as the city has matured, Dubai has filled up with great mainstream hotel brands and the boutique lifestyle space has remained pretty empty. As the city continues to evolve, and the art and design community grows, creative hubs are developed, and we believe there is a need for locally inspired, branded boutique hotels to cater to the new wave of curious travellers. Hotel Indigo targets this audience. Ideally located just a stone’s “

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throw from The Dubai Mall and Dubai Design District, I believe we’re well poised to cater to this new crowd.” Elaborating on the design aesthetics chosen to attract the hotel’s intended target audience, Laura said: “The architectural and interior design is influenced by the Dubai Creek’s journey, that is a story of the transformation of Dubai from a trading post to the city of the future that it is today. The guests will see it in details and patterns, art pieces and installations, room interior and public spaces. We’re not stimulating local design. Our experiences are carefully curated to bring our city’s story to life.” “Each of the 269 rooms are inspired by the story of Dubai Creek– whether that’s through the surrealist wallpaper exclusively created by local artists, bespoke shisha lamps or the wardrobes with carved wooden doors, hand-crafted in Mashrabiya style with a modern twist. The spa-inspired motherof-pearl bathrooms pay homage to the country’s proud heritage of pearl diving, while the eye-catching vibrant Moroso designer furniture adds a contemporary touch to the interior. Floor to ceiling windows overlook envy-inducing views; be it over the Dubai Canal or the Dubai Skyline.” “For a social dining experience, Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown is home to the Neighbourhood Café, serving a sharing-style menu full of delicious Levant flavours, as well as, brewing Dubai’s finest locally roasted speciality coffee with partner Café Rider Custom Roastery. Our guests can grab a virtuous pick me up smoothie from the Juice Bar/Concept Store, Bakala Jooos, or swing by the Pop Art/Satwa-inspired signature cocktail bar for uniquely crafted cocktails. Those looking to unwind poolside, can chill with beats and shisha at the Pool Deck.” As part of the brand’s commitment to supporting local creativity, the hotel has, according to Laura, forged “close associations with the Alserkal Cultural Foundation, Tashkeel and XVA gallery. The hotel boasts over 200 pieces of art and local design as well as intricately designed carpet that adorns the hotel floors, created through a partnership with the Fatima


Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown

2020 MAR / APR



Laura Eggleton, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown 92 MAR / APR 2020


Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI).” Laura hails from a rural English village some 40 minutes from London. She discovered her love for hospitality “by accident” at the age of 13. While sheltering from the rain inside a small family hotel in her home village, she was offered the opportunity to work every Saturday night as a waitress. She has worked in a hotel ever since. Her life goal is to run her own hotel one day. Laura graduated from the University of Brighton with honours in International Tourism Management. She worked various roles in a neighbourhood hotel throughout her studies. After graduating in 2008, Laura began her career with IHG as the General Manager at Holiday Inn Express, Slough. She has been with the group ever since. “I developed my career across a range of IHG branded hotels In the UK before relocating to Muscat to manage the Holiday Inn in 2015. In 2018, I started on the mammoth project of the opening of Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, where I am today,” recalls Laura. “I’m driven purely based on how much I love the job that I do, I feel so fortunate that I found my calling at such a young age and my focus and energy has been heavily weighted towards doing what I love. I’m a born host. I love hosting people at home. I love a house or hotel full of people having a great time.” Laura now faces the challenge of making Dubai’s Hotel Indigo a success. “I think the most challenging part of managing Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown is the need to balance the increases in globalization, localization and personalization all at once!” says Laura, outlining her strategy. “I think it’s important to be realistic from the off-set and set the hotel up in a lean manner from the start. We know hotels in this market typically take longer to ramp up now than how they did ten years ago, and it’s important we therefore plan accordingly.” “Taking our manning structure as an example, I’ve cut out many of the roles that are seen in traditional hotels, and instead have focused on a recruitment strategy that appoints high

potential colleagues who welcome additional responsibilities and that will further their knowledge of hotel operations, thus propel them at a faster rate into roles with greater responsibility within other IHG hotels when the opportunity arises. This, in turn, reduces the payroll cost and of course, lightens the load on the bottom line and will contribute to increased profitability across the hotel.” “I believe empowering colleagues with additional responsibilities enhances employee engagement since our team are all youthful hospitality professionals who want to feel they’re making a solid contribution to the success of the hotel, and their contribution is being rewarded with career growth within the company.” To attract the best talents from which to assemble her team, Laura devised an innovative strategy: “At Hotel Indigo, we turn curiosity into inspiration, and that’s exactly the direction we took on our recruitment campaign. We wanted to encourage people to apply for jobs because we’d evoked some curiosity through the posts. I’m actually so proud of the recruitment campaign the team delivered, not only was every piece of it created in-house by the Marketing team, the response to the campaign was insane.” We were able to achieve over 1.3 million impressions on our social channels which drove a considerable amount of traffic to the campaigns landing page. This reach, combined with the visuals and messaging, gave the brand’s target audience an insight on what to expect once we open Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown.” The Hotel Indigo brand has grown rapidly to now include 118 properties located in North and Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia Pacific, Australia and Oceania. It is “currently the fastest growing branded boutique chain globally so you can expect to see many more openings around the world in new neighbourhoods including Bath (UK) Larnaca (Cyprus) and Lima (Peru),” concludes Laura. 2020 MAR / APR




Damon Motorcycles’s flagship product, Hypersport™, is stated to be the world’s smartest, safest, and most powerful electric motorcycle. Revealed earlier this year, the Hypersport is an electric superbike outfitted with Damon’s cutting-edge CoPilot™ advanced warning system powered by BlackBerry QNX technology, setting a new standard in motorcycle safety, awareness and connectivity for a new generation of motorcyclists. The Damon Hypersport redefines what an electric motorcycle is and should be. With well over 200hp and 200nm of torque delivered at zero rpm, a top speed of 200mph and a range of more than 200 highway miles per charge, it is slated to become the most powerful long-range motorcycle ever. It delivers a new level of motorcycle performance, safety and comfort with its CoPilot 360º advanced warning system, which uses cameras, radar and other sensors to alert riders to threats. Featuring an onboard neural net, these same sensors also collect and tag traffic behavior, road conditions and rider intent data. With its embedded 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity suite, Damon aggregates this data in the cloud to improve overall system performance with over-the-air updates sent back to each Damon motorcycle. Like Tesla, updates are approved by each Hypersport’s owner before going live onboard. Pricing begins at $24,995 before taxes. 94 MAR / APR 2020


This SOUNDFORM™ ELITE speaker, developed in a partnership between Belkin and high-end audio brand Devialet, is sure to excite the technophile, and is just the beginning of a larger audio portfolio for Belkin, while still maintaining the brand’s global leadership in fast wireless charging. The speaker combines premium, high-fidelity sound (up to 90dB SPL of max volume), fast wireless charging and integration with the Google Voice Assistant. Users can charge their phone, play music, get answers and connect multiple Google Assistant-enabled speakers for an immersive multi-room experience. They can control their smart home with exceptionally powerful and clear sound quality. Devialet has also worked on the acoustic architecture bringing in its patented SAM® (Speaker Active Matching) technology.


Suunto 7, the latest wearable from Finnish fitness company Suunto, gives you the best of both worlds, Sport and Life. The watch combines Suunto’s versatile sports experience with helpful smartwatch features from Wear OS by Google™. Track your exercises accurately with easy one-button access to 70+ sport modes, GPS and wrist heart rate sensors, while getting to see your next meeting or to-do list, easily check calls, quickly view incoming messages from your watch and more. Its bright high-resolution touch screen is protected with scratchresistant Gorilla® Glass and comes with a battery that gives a full day of smartwatch use and still has enough juice left for your daily workout. Change the look of your watch with different watch faces and interchangeable straps.


DoubleTake by NexOptic Technology Corp can be referred to as the next-generation handheld telescope and be described as a Half-Binocular, Half-Camera with the focal length of a Telescope. Its powerful dual-lens system allows users to capture spectacular images, lifelike 4K videos and can beam the image on the screen in real time to other smart devices. The Quad-core Ambarella H22 processor in it enables state-of-the-art digital features viewable through a 5” high-definition LCD display. One can switch between 2x and 10x magnification with the click of a button, making accurate targeting and spotting effortless. This remarkable lightweight, compact imaging experience is both shockproof and water resistant, ensuring uncompromising performance wherever your journey takes you.


The OneStep 2 is a new Polaroid camera that blends classic design with contemporary style. It’s inspired by Polaroid’s original OneStep, but updated to create a simple, easy-to-use instant camera that works straight out of the box – just pick up some i-Type instant film and you’re good to go. The camera works with all styles of i-Type Film and 600 Film, giving you loads of choice, and more freedom of expression. It has got a high quality lens and a powerful flash to give you great photos every time, and this newly improved Viewfinder model makes framing your photos even more intuitive than before. Plus with its long-lasting rechargeable battery, you’ll always be ready to shoot, whether you’re on a brief excursion or a journey round the world. 2020 MAR / APR




Monte Carlo Yachts’ new MCY 70 Skylounge is the first of a new range of iconic yachts


enuinely Italian in its management, designers and artisanal skills, Monte Carlo Yachts is the fastest growing Italian brand in the luxury motor yacht segment. Earlier this year, the brand announced Skylounge: a new range that further builds on the brighter and larger volumes of MCYs’ second generation. The new Collection strengthens the yard’s distinctive close relationship between the individual and the sea through new key features such as the wide and customizable enclosed Flybridge, which is available for the first time on an Italian-crafted yacht. The first yacht in the range, the MCY 70 Skylounge, was displayed at the Miami Yacht Show in February and will be followed by the other models starting with the debut of the MCY 76 Skylounge at the next Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2020. The full MCY Collection is designed by the world-famous Nuvolari Lenard design studio, which, together with Monte Carlo Yachts, has studied and introduced design features and materials extensively used previously only on mega yachts. The MCY 70 Skylounge, which embodies the entire new range, is designed and crafted with customers’ interests at heart and focuses on the concept of a yacht as a home-away-from-home. Constructed with the shipyard’s know-how and cutting-edge technology, and embracing the company’s philosophy of timeless elegance, the new MCY Skylounge Collection offers owners unprecedented levels of customization and superlative comfort onboard all year round with unmatched 360° views on the horizon. In line with the MCY Collection, the MCY Skylounge’s sleeker exterior lines are designed to cruise safely and with comfort. Once again, the unmistakable touches of Nuvolari Lenard are clearly visible in the wide windows as well as in the enlarged iconic portholes aimed at offering an increased exposure to natural light throughout the yacht. Larger than ever exterior living spaces are found from the wide bow lounge area in which to relax on sunpads to the aft cockpit’s dining area featuring mirror fashion plates for increased

96 MAR / APR 2020

privacy and protection from the environment. The general arrangement of the new Skylounge Collection is characterized by the introduction of a new spacious enclosed Flybridge area that emphasizes the level of wellbeing on board to be enjoyed in every season. Besides incorporating the sole helm station, fully equipped with top-edge technological elements, the Skylounge represents a large versatile entertainment area perfect for relaxing moments. Supported by the advanced Production Process and the innovative Naval Architecture, the best-in-class length of the enclosed Flybridge is distinguished by a unique view of the horizon visible both internally and externally thanks to the connection with the sunbathing aft terrace. An elegant glass staircase reflecting the natural brightness of the yacht connects the Skylounge area with the main saloon, which is fully customizable to the owner’s needs and desires. In particular, the yacht features a combination of comfortable sofas, a fully equipped galley and an elegant dining location. This functional relaxing area can be further expanded thanks to the close connection with the Aft Cockpit that offers an additional al fresco dining location. The alternating of Ivory metallic and Charcoal grey lacquered wood panels together with glass surfaces, white glossy marble and reflective details provide an elegant and contemporary ambiance further enhanced by the warmth of the durmast oak flooring, the walnut vertical panels and the soft textiles present throughout. The unique and sophisticated modern décor of the MCY 70 Skylounge is common throughout the main saloon and all guest cabins. High-end fabrics, natural stones and Italian leathers are just a few of the unlimited customization options of superior materials available on the MCY Collection. The yacht offers comfortable accommodation for up to 8 guests with an impressive owner cabin characterized by a private stair access for a higher degree of privacy, a spacious VIP cabin and two comfortable guest cabins that embody the elegant Italian Made design elements of Monte Carlo Yachts.


Monte Carlo MCY 70 Skylounge Yacht 2020 MAR / APR




Bali stands out as one of the world’s greatest tropical holiday destinations


ali is a province of Indonesia located east of Java, separated by the 3.2 km wide Bali Strait. The province of Bali is mostly the island of Bali plus a few smaller neighbouring islands with a total area of 5,780 square kilometres, and a population just over 4.3 million. Denpasar is the provincial capital, as well as being the largest and most populous city of the province located near the southern tip of the island. Bali was inhabited at least 4,000 years ago by the same branch of the Austronesian people as those of the rest of Indonesia, and therefore, culturally and linguistically, are closely related to the other people of the Indonesian archipelago. Balinese society is a confederation of ten royal Balinese houses with each house presiding over a specific geographic area. These houses, not recognised by the government of Indonesia, are the successors to the remnants of the pre-colonial Kingdom of Bali. Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia, with the community making up around 83 per cent of the population. As a result, the province has a distinct culture, heritage and language, which in turn has nurtured highly developed art forms. These include traditional and modern dance, music, wooden and stone carvings, painted art, furniture making,

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leather, printed fabrics, and metalworking. Tourism-related industries, which contribute some 80 per cent to the economy, is the province’s mainstay and makes Bali Indonesia’s leading tourist destination. Bali is also blessed with stunning natural beauty - beaches, volcanic mountains, paddy fields, and lush tropical forests. Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, an area with one of the highest marine biodiversities in the world with over 500 reef-building coral species, and a wide variety of fish and turtles. Bali’s central volcanic mountains include several with peaks over 2,000 metres. The highest, at 3,031 metres, is Mount Agung or “Mother Mountain,” and is an active volcano. Bali’s ancient Subak irrigation system developed to grow rice on steep hillsides are enlisted under UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Being just 8 degrees south of the equator, Bali has effectively two seasons of six months each – warm and sunny dry season, and wet and mild rainy season. The temperature at low elevations varies between 20 to 33 °C with a humidity level of about 85 per cent. The monsoon season, between October and April, is long, wet and particularly unpredictable between December and March. Outside of the monsoon season, the weather tends to predictably dry.



Specialist tour operators in Bali curate a variety of full-day outdoor adventure packages around White Water Rafting. Typically, the day begins with guests being driven to the Ayung River for two hours of fun among the white rapids meandering through lush tropical valleys. The reputed tour operators conform to international equipment and safety standards and are managed by experienced guides. After lunch, guests can choose a variety of activities from trekking and hill-climbing to visiting waterfalls, rice terraces, temples, artisanal workshops, and many more.


Bali island is renowned for its marine adventure from diving to surfing. Sea-walking is a soft-dive system designed for those with no diving experience. The only equipment required is the specially designed Seawalker helmet which does not require a dive tank. Guests simply don the helmet, descend into the water by a ladder, and walk on the shallow seabed, accompanied by guides, to marvel at the wide variety of underwater life. Sea-walking experiences are offered at two locations on the island: at Sanur and Tanjung Benoa.

2020 MAR / APR




This temple is counted among the six most important temples in Bali and is easily its most spectacularly located. It is situated at the edge (ulu) of a 70-meter-high penannular cliff (watu) projecting into the sea. The shrine has a unique architecture with a layered black palm-frond roof structure. The premises have numerous historical statues and architectural structures. A Kecak dance, based on the Ramayana, is performed daily by a troupe of around 75 male dancers on an open-air cliff-side amphitheatre. The sea and the setting sun form the backdrop to the performance.


The rice terraces of Bali are among the must-sees on a visit to the island, as much for their serene and spectacular visuals, as for their ability to provide insights into the local way of life. The centuries old Subak irrigation is managed as a cooperative by the local communities. Among the most spectacular examples is Tegallalang in the Ubud region. A high road offers a panoramic view of the paddy covered valley interspersed with coconut trees. Some of the other examples include: Jatiluwih, Pupuan and Soka in West Bali, Sidemen and Rendang in East Bali, and Munduk in North Bali.

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The resort is located close to the rugged cliffs of a limestone peninsula, overlooking miles of magnificent Balinese coastline. The region boasts some of the world’s finest surfing and beaches. This five-star resort offers rooms and suites with upscale amenities such as floating baths, opulent beds, and stunning views of the coastline from private balconies. The Presidential Villa is the resort’s largest and most luxurious accommodation with ocean views from its private pool and balcony. It has three bedrooms, a game room, and a private sun lounge and deck. The Family Jacuzzi Loft Suite offers pillow-top bedding and oversized beds, and a private plunge pool. For diners, the resort has five venues. Clay Craft is an arts-and-crafts-inspired restaurant serving international dishes and beverages. Double Ikat combines chic restaurant décor with authentic cuisine from Bali and the rest of Indonesia. The restaurant’s chefs also conduct cooking classes on Indonesian cuisine. The resort has a full-service spa with an extensive menu of treatments, sauna and steam room and a mixology counter. The resort’s Navigators are local experts who are hand-picked to help guests discover what the guidebooks may miss out.


Awarded the World’s Best Boutique Hotel by CNN Travel, it offers seclusion, luxurious accommodation, personalised service and proximity to the beach. Guests are assigned a personal butler 24/7 to arrange spa treatments, gourmet dining, yoga sessions, or anything else. The Villas are set within tropical gardens and come with a private pool and a cascading waterfall. The decor of the one, two and three-bedroom accommodations feature marbles and rich woods, generous bedrooms with king-sized beds, ensuite bathroom with a bathtub, and showers - indoor and outdoor. The Suites have marble floors, handcrafted wood furnishings, spacious bathroom, complimentary mini-bars, and espresso machines. Those on the upper level have a private balcony, while those on the garden level have a private pool. The resort has three well-appointed dining venues. Ru Yi serves Chinese delicacies, while classic Indonesian and European favourites are served at The Long Table. The 8 Degrees Bar serves cocktails. The resort also arranges intimate romantic dinners under the stars. Thevana Spa offers signature treatments based on traditional healing techniques using natural ingredients. Sunset and Sunrise Yoga classes are a speciality of the resort conducted by holistic practitioners.

2020 MAR / APR



Diggn’It Ultimate Grooming Set

Diggn’It Beard Oils 102 MAR / APR 2020


ALL ABOUT THE BEARD Introducing a new and upcoming men’s beard grooming company from Saudi Arabia


iggn’It is an all-natural men’s beard grooming company based in Jeddah. It was co-founded in 2015 by Waseem Sendi, his wife Samya Fetyani and their chemical engineer friend Layal Ismail. The brand has grown rapidly since its founding and today offers a broad range of products that include oils, brushes, kits, beard soaps and balms; all curated to keep one’s beard looking prim and proper. The brand is also growing geographically, and officially launched in the UAE this February. According to the website, the trio chose the name because “diggn” means “beard” in Arabic and “crazy about” in English. The brand uses a mixture of oils known for their benefits in fostering healthy hair growth and thickness, such as castor, cactus, and sweet almond. The brand also claims that its products are 100 per cent free of any preservatives and synthetic chemicals; making it both eco-friendly and safe to use. The products feature classic Arabian scents such as Misk, Oud and Rose, among others. These natural fragrances not only give the products their signature aroma but also nourish and moisturize to help skin feel healthy and fortified. The founders created Diggn’It after finding a gap in the market when Waseem was unsuccessful in his search for beard-grooming products in the region. Waseem, Samya and Layal began to immerse themselves into the world of men’s care and researched what was available globally, understanding that there was a potential market both inside and outside the Middle East region. “I began using beard oils to supplement my facial hair growth and realized that all the products I purchased originated from Australia, America, or Europe; there was no Arabian beard care company. I mean come on, Arabs are some of the hairiest people around, and we have years of old-school understanding about great hair,” writes Waseem on the brand’s website on how the brand came to be. “Samya and I met Layal Ismail, a super beard fan and chemical engineer, and the three of us began experimenting with oils. Soon enough, we developed an Arabian beard oil and, in due time, an Arabian beard care company... We initially

produced the oils at home and sold them to friends, family, and word of mouth references. The feedback and reception were overwhelmingly positive, which motivated us to further our goals, ambitions, and product line. In 2016, we officially launched our first market-ready products, a misk and oud beard care line, at Homegrown Market in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.” Diggn’It Arabian Beard Oils employ a combination of natural oils that have been used for centuries by Arabs for hair care. They are designed to soften, thicken, and enrich a man’s beard. The oils are available in traditionally Arabian scents - Misk, Oud, Rose, and Amber. Designed to nourish, soften, moisturize and protects a man’s beard and to modernize centuries of Arabian hair care, the Diggn’it Beard Balms take it back to the basics leaving you with a softer, thicker, and well-shaped beard. For men who want to maintain and develop their own style, Diggn’it Grooming Tools give a man all the accessories he needs to achieve his desired look and feel such as the sandalwood beard comb, bamboo beard brush, beard apron, etc. For a naturally clean beard, they even have the Arabian Beard And Face Bar. For those looking for a gift or a starter set to get their beard and moustache journey going, Diggn’it provides a variety of sets with their most popular and loved products. In December 2019, in the hopes of raising finance for its expansion, the brand appeared on the hit TV show, Shark Tank Arabia. Although Waseem wowed the judges with his presentation and had an offer placed in front of him, he respectfully refused the offer because he was not comfortable with the percentage of ownership that he and his partners would have had to give up. With hindsight, it proved to be the right thing to do. The brand that began in the kitchen of the founders’ apartment grew rapidly. Today, Diggn’It primarily sells its products online (through and with delivery locations expanding to 25 countries. Its products are also sold in select stores across Saudi Arabia. The brand has plans to move into new markets across the Middle East and Africa in the near future. The brand’s website also hosts a blog on everything about a beard. 2020 MAR / APR



Vadim Toshu, Founder and CEO, Islander


Islander brings island-hopping to new heights, with expeditions sailing across nearly 30,000 tropical beaches in Southeast Asia


rom a golden sunrise, a smoking volcano, and a gushing waterfall, to the song of Birds-of-Paradise and a kaleidoscope of tropical fish — all beauty needs to be witnessed to truly exist. That’s where Islander comes in. Offering private boat tours and luxury yacht holidays across the planet’s most exotic and breathtaking seascapes, any dream comes to life in the oasis of travel paradise offered by Islander. GC is joined by the Founder and CEO of Islander, Vadim Toshu, to dive deeper into the opulent island life that awaits each Islander explorer. How did the journey to becoming an ‘Islander expert’ begin? Ever since I read the “Robinson Crusoe” book in school, I had the image of a tropical island that I could call my own planted in

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my head. After many years of changing numerous professions, I relocated to Thailand, which was the starting point to my new life with Islander. Being close to so many incredible islands, it was impossible to stop exploring. From the Philippines to Indonesia, and then finally a trip to the remote Palau islands. I felt an incredible urge to share the remarkable experience with the world, which is what gave birth to the Islander project. Describe the ‘Islander’ experience — what can we expect once we come aboard? Our yacht holidays are crafted to inspire you to explore the hidden corners of paradise in the utmost style. So, you can expect unrivaled flexibility and freedom. It is about bringing you closer to nature, on a perfectly designed vessel that complements the uniqueness of each island. Details like the


luxurious teak deck, meticulously hand-crafted with age-old techniques, to the furnishes with modern decadence and firstclass service of a Superyacht. We even handpick the most experienced crew, captains, chefs, and entertainers to offer the highest quality of service in every detail on your journey, while all expeditions are tailor-made for the many different modes of ocean travel. If you were to craft the ideal ‘Global Citizen Holiday’ what would it look like? Islander expeditions are always about opulence, mystery, and romance. You will trek thundering waterfalls, encounter endemic wildlife, snorkel untouched coral reefs, kayak hidden coves and lagoons, bath on smooth sands, and gaze with wonder to a glorious sunset from a secluded viewpoint. The itineraries we create are not just holidays of a lifetime. They are unique, rare experiences that allow you to witness the beauty of our planet Earth. At its essence, the timeless mode of travel that we offer is about the elements of nature. From experiencing that panoramic view of the deep blue, without the obstruction of human-made blocks, to witnessing natural wonders that are as old as time. We will bring you to places where you feel like one of those early explorers must have felt centuries ago. What makes the islands in Southeast Asia so unique from the rest? Oceanic Southeast Asia is a definition of exotic — a hidden haven of deserted beaches, pristine coral reefs, endemic wildlife, ancient tribes, and jaw-dropping landscapes. There are 28,000 islands across Southeast Asia, and only 4% are known to mainstream travelers. As you move further east towards the Coral Triangle, there are thousands of paradise destinations that remain unfiltered. That’s where the Islander comes in. We are all about bringing you to the most compelling, remote destinations, so you can be among the few people on the planet to witness and revel in their beauty. What has been your most cherished memory throughout all your adventures? So many islands, so many memories! I sailed with a young family across the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar that spans 800 islands. It was their

request to design an itinerary that would make their children realize how fortunate they are in life. We specifically took fewer provisions and spent half of the journey among the sea gypsies on pristine islands that are so off the radar that it made the iPad extinct from the children’s vocabulary. They learned jungle survival skills like making fire with stick and stones. They chased pangolins and gibbons and went fishing with sea gypsies’ kids who dive without goggles. They soaked in the ancient-long traditions with giant hornbills flapping audibly above like tropical pterodactyls. It was just surreal. Memories like these will stay with you forever. There are over 100,000 tropical islands in the world. Name the one absolute must-see island that every adventurer has to cross off their bucket list? It is Raja Ampat in Indonesia that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Raja Ampat is the most captivating cruising ground spanning 612 islands across 40’000 of pristine ocean. Raja Ampat is truly a paradise on Earth. Located in the very heart of the Coral Triangle, it boasts the best waters and most abundant marine life on the planet. The diversity of marine life is staggering and too long to attempt to list. The geography, the diving, the nature, the wildlife, the culture, and the hospitality of the people are all legendary. Cruising Raja Ampat, you are guaranteed to wake up in a new jaw-dropping destination every morning. You will be lost to scenic beauty, but with the stars in your eyes, because you are having the time of your life. Raja Ampat makes an everlasting impression. Island-hopping seems to be the new trend amongst travellers. Why do you think people crave this sort of experience? The deep, big blue, covers 70% of the globe, while the mysteries of the sea still remain largely undiscovered. As such, the many thousands of islands dotted around this enormous aqua world provide a vacation like no other. We can all see the “Greening of Travel” with modern travelers demanding sustainable destinations. How else can you package so many adventures during a holiday, and at your own pace? It is only possible during a yacht holiday where island-hopping promises a myriad of remarkable experiences to suit every adventurer’s taste. 2020 MAR / APR



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2020 MAR / APR




Airbnb and the Bahamas National Trust collaborate on the first sabbatical programme of 2020


ast year, Airbnb, one of the world’s largest marketplaces for holiday accommodation and activities, launched its sabbatical programme. The first two being the Italian and Antarctic Sabbaticals. The third, and the first of this year, is The Bahamas Sabbatical. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just to live like a Bahamian for two months and explore the archipelago - with treasures such as the pink sand beaches or the third largest reef system in the world - but also participate in its rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. Organised by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), and endorsed by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, the sabbatical is open to candidates from select countries – including residents of the UAE - who are over 18 years old and must be available to be in The Bahamas for two months from April to May 2020. The five

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participants will be selected from the list of qualified candidates. The Bahamas is a nation comprised of more than 700 islands and 2,400 cays that boast some of the clearest water on the planet. The Bahamas National Trust was created in 1959 as the national park service of The Bahamas and is responsible for the 32 national parks comprising forests, coral reefs, and seashores. These national assets provide economic benefits to tourism and fisheries, both key elements of the Bahamian way of life. In recent years, several Bahamians have stepped up to pave the way towards a more sustainable future for The Bahamas by bringing back traditional practices rooted in agriculture, ethical fishing, and coral reef revitalisation. These ongoing local efforts are complemented by The Bahamas National Trust’s mission. Through the Bahamas Sabbatical, BNT hopes to team up the


five participants with these community leaders shepherding the sustainability efforts. “The Bahamas is open for business, and while we work to restore parts of the archipelago devastated by Hurricane Dorian, the vast majority is ready for visitors,” said Eric Carey, Executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust. “Partnering with Airbnb is an incredible opportunity to help further preserve our culture and resources and share our diverse country and the Bahamian way of life with the world.” Over April and May, participants will be assigned to various projects on three islands - Andros, Exumas, and Eleuthera. These three are among those that were not impacted by the storm. In Andros, where the third largest reef system in the world is located, participants will work alongside underwater and travel photographer, Katie Storr, to create a coral reef restoration program in North Marine Park. She is in the process of constructing and installing a brand-new nursery, where coral reef fragments will be grown and later transplanted to affected areas across the destination. Participants will also explore blue holes, harvest sponges, and more. Exuma is home to the country’s first-ever national park and is celebrated for its crystal-clear waters teeming with fish and other marine life. Here, Freediver Andre Musgrove will work with participants to replicate The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

ecosystem in other waters around the destination that have been overtaken by invasive species, namely the red lionfish. By carefully curbing the Red Lionfish population, the team paves the way for other reef-friendly species to enter and thrive. In addition, participants will participate in conch conservation, traditional boatbuilding, and sailing. The third destination, Eleuthera, is a long thin island with pink sand beaches, Eleuthera has many natural features like the Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve, which doubles as a research centre for traditional bush medicine. Together with Omar Mcklewhite, a master gardener, participants will learn propagation techniques for the native trees and establish a bush tea farm. While in Eleuthera, they will also research native species, practice traditional pineapple farming, and harvest sea salt. At the end of the two months, each participant will have collaborated with the three community leaders to create lasting programs to help sustain these practices. The hope is to generate economic impact for generations to come through sustainable new experiences that visitors to these islands can derive pleasure from. “As The Bahamas rebuilds, it’s a privilege to work together with the Bahamas National Trust to support and shine a spotlight on a nation whose economies are benefited by tourism,” said Chris Lehane, Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Communications at Airbnb. 2020 MAR / APR




Discovering the thousand-year old nation through the eyes of its Ambassador to Canada Ms. Svetlana Stoycheva-Etropolski


ravelling the world and discovering new cultures and civilizations have certainly enriched my life, but time and time again, I just can’t help falling captive to Bulgaria’s special charm. Every spot in my small home country has its own beauty that can enchant the human heart. Along South-Eastern Europe, in the North-Eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula lies the treasures of Bulgaria. With an outlet to the Black Sea and the Danube river, Bulgaria’s geographic location in the transitional region between two climate zones provides for an exceptionally diverse climate, soil, vegetation, and animal life. Nature has given the biggest treasure to the country – the magical sources of health and beauty. Discover Bulgaria: Picturesque landscapes There are many magical areas to discover in Bulgaria. However, a favorite place of mine is Sandanski, located at the South-Western side of Pirin mountain. Many travelers don’t realize how picturesque the natural environment is in Bulgaria until they see the Pirin National Park. Its vicinity is abundant in cultural, historical, and

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natural landmarks. The town is famous for its unique climate and mineral springs with a temperature of up to 83°C. It is acknowledged to be the best natural hospital for treatment of bronchial asthma in Europe. The resort is also recommended for treatment of skin allergies. Twentyfour km South-East of Sandanski is the museum town of Melnik; the smallest city in Bulgaria and home to some of the best wineries in the country, and wines with rich taste and aroma. The Bulgarian Black Sea resorts also have their natural resources that will offer you a perfect holiday. Their recreational compounds have a range of healing, rehabilitation and relaxation services. Amongst them is Pomorie. The city is a sanatorium resort based on the healing properties of the famous Pomorie mud. My husband and I thoroughly enjoy the wide beaches and modern mud therapy procedures which always promise the ideal getaway. Immerse in Bulgaria: A natural spa haven Bulgaria is among the most abundant European countries in thermal water wealth and diversity. The number of thermal


deposits in the country is the second biggest in Europe, with more than 600 mineral springs, 80% of which contain healing properties. Though undiscovered, the wonders of these natural springs are not new to civilization. Thracians who inhabited these lands millennia ago knew about the secrets of the healing power of mineral springs; and later in Roman times, some of the most famous balneotherapy facilities were established in Bulgaria. Whenever I am home, I try to enjoy the local natural resources and always have an unforgettable and truly beneficial stay. From Bankya, near Sofia, to Sandanski, and Velingrad, Devin, Sapareva Banya, and Hisar, all regions house mineral springs that are famous for their healing properties. The modern spa centers that have been

built around the hot springs attract visitors from all over the world, offering an array of treatments, including mud therapy, chromotherapy, thalasso-therapy, aromatherapy, and massages. Explore Bulgaria: Monumental cities and charming villages I like cosmopolitan and vibrant cites. Sofia is not only the capital, but also the heart of Bulgaria, with a 7000-year long history. The city is surrounded by enchanting mountains and has become an important crossroad on the Balkan Peninsula, gaining the status of a vital crafts and trade center. Today, cultural life and arts in Sofia is influenced by worldwide trends. A number of new churches were built,

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including the Boyana Church - a UNESCO site located on the outskirts of Sofia, being among the most famous and impressive buildings. According to UNESCO this site is one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of east European medieval art. Arbanasi I am also mesmerized by the beauty of Bulgarian museum villages and towns. Arbanasi is one of the most picturesque old villages in Bulgaria. It is located on a rocky plateau and presents a magnificent view towards the medieval part of the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo. Arbanasi is famous for its distinctive residential architecture and churches abounding in murals. The houses, more than 1000, are astounding with their rough exterior view and high stone fences. The churches, with their high solid outer walls, small windows and unbreakable iron-clad oak doors, are in harmony with the general architectural appearance of the village. Bozhentsi Bozhentsi is also a small village, a monument of Bulgarian architecture from the Revival period. The craftsmen of Bozhentsi have shaped one of the prettiest architectural compositions. The high stone fences, the forged oak gates, the narrow cobblestone streets, the stone taps and bridges and the small shops all have the unique feel of this Bulgarian heavenly spot. It is an ideal location for a quiet vacation, with good food and clear mountain air.

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Plovdiv I always try to find time to visit Plovdiv – the second largest city in Bulgaria, selected as the 2019 EU Capital of Culture. It has unique cultural and historical heritage, which includes three main periods – the Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Revival. The Old Plovdiv is a special city structure comprising of archeological sites, galleries with valuable exhibits, ancient buildings, functioning temples with rich paint and wood-carving decorations, cozy cafes and excellent restaurants, beautiful art galleries, old and new houses with romantic yards and picturesque cobblestone streets. Sozopol I love the sea and the oldest town along the Bulgarian Black Sea, is Sozopol; a popular fishermen’s village with a big seaside resort. Numerous stone anchors and stocks dating from the 2nd-1st millennium BC have been discovered in the Sozopol bay. There is evidence of active maritime traffic since deepest antiquity. I usually visit in September when the town hosts the Apollonia Arts Festival, during which time visitors may enjoy many events – plays, open-air concerts, chamber music, jazz concerts, and films. Nessebar The Ancient city of Nessebar, which has been inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, is another popular Bulgarian resort I treasure. The coastal town has a beautiful


sandy beach and a rich historical and cultural heritage. Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the 3,000+ year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement. It is a location where numerous civilizations have left tangible traces.

Rila There are also many Holy monasteries and masterpieces of Bulgarian Architecture, Art and Culture. One that I often go back to lies in the Rila mountain, which is the highest Balkan Peninsula Mountain. The Rila Monastery, a characteristic

The Rila Monastery example of the Bulgarian Renaissance, is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and was built at its present location in the 14th century. The monastery library houses thousands of manuscripts and old printed books, the oldest dating back to the 10th century. An object of outstanding interest is the central wooden iconostasis, displayed in the main monastery church.

as very high quality propolis with proven healing powers. Wine is an integral part of the history of Bulgaria, it is also very much a part of Bulgarian culture, customs and spirit. Bulgarian wines are into the hearts of the wine lover. The country is divided into five wine regions, each with its own specifics and peculiarities. Alas, for any palette, the tasteful discoveries in Bulgaria will surely leave a lasting impression!

Taste Bulgaria: The epitome of Balkan cuisine Bulgaria is notoriously known for its delicious cuisine, which is colorful and rich in spices. In some places, recipes have been passed down from generation to generation and have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. The recipes include a large number of vegetables and herbs and spices, among which are garlic, black pepper, thyme, spearmint, savory, bay leaf, paprika, basil, oregano. Almost all Bulgarian dishes include parsley.

Relive Bulgaria: Local finds and unique gifts Finally, there is no better way to memorialize newly discovered emotions than a carefully chosen souvenir. Although abundant in the most unique products, bring the wonders of Bulgaria back to your loved ones with local gems, including Rose Oil products (with extract from the local variety Rosa Damascena), items with handmade embroidery, piece of pottery from clay, hand woven lace, and charming dolls in national folk costumes.

Tarator (Cold Cucumber Soup) Recipe As summer is finally on the horizon in Ottawa, the blossoms and crisp air signal the taste buds for this quick and easy Bulgarian recipe; Tarator. Ingredients: 2 cucumbers, 400 g yoghurt, crushed walnuts (to taste), 1 clove of garlic, vegetable (olive) oil, dill. Preparation: Peel the cucumbers and cut them into small cubes. Stir the yoghurt while still in the pot. Add the cucumbers and continue stirring. Add ½ L of cold water. Add water depending on the desired density. Use a pestle and a mortar to crush the clove of garlic with some salt and add to the soup with the ground walnuts and finely chopped dill. Season with a little vegetable oil. Only in Bulgaria one can experience the taste of the world-famous Bulgarian yoghurt. Bulgaria produces the rich flavored white cheese, rich tasting herbal honey, as well

Tarator (Cold Cucumber Soup) 2020 MAR / APR



Nikoi Island

A HOLISTIC HOLIDAY Nikoi and Cempedak are two islands that are as committed to refined luxury as they are to sustainability


pproximately 85 kilometres southeast of Singapore, off the eastern shore of the Indonesian island of Bintan, is the 15-hectare private island called Nikoi. The island was purchased by an Australian couple, Andrew and Julia Dixon, in 2005. With help from a group of financiers, they developed the private island into a sustainable, luxury resort. Since its inauguration in 2007, the resort has won awards and earned high praise from the world’s travel press for its commitment to sustainably, as well as the unique experiences it offers. Buoyed by their achievements, the group purchased another island about 28 kilometres south of Nikoi and unveiled Cempedak in 2017. Nikoi is ideal for families, featuring white-sand beaches studded with white granite boulders, coral reefs, and a banyan

Cempedak Private Villas

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forest covering two-thirds of the island. These lend themselves to a number of outdoor activities to keep both children and adults occupied. Cempedak Island was designed to be the ultimate retreat for adults offering a tranquil undisturbed vacation for those in need of a complete switch off. The journey to either island begins at Bintan. Guests can choose to arrive here on a ferry from Singapore, by boat or choose to fly into the island’s airport. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by the resorts’ representatives and, following formalities, are driven to a dedicated speedboat station for a 20-minute journey to the respective resort. One of the truly unique aspects of Nikoi Island is the use of driftwood in the building of the accommodation, bars and dining


areas, which took several years and a great deal of effort to collect. Some pieces, such as the nine-metre long timber used to make the dining room tables, are truly magnificent. Accommodation on the island comprises of one, two and three-bedroom duplex beach houses on stilts. They all have the same master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom upstairs. The elevation and balconies maximise sea views and catch cooling sea breezes. Downstairs is the “chill-out zone,” comprising an open-air lounge complete with daybeds, sun loungers and a balé for massages.

On Cempedak, bamboo has been used extensively in the construction of its buildings. All the villas on the island are duplex and have the same design but are differentiated by location. The master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom is upstairs, while a lounge area with a guest bathroom, a bar, large deck, sun loungers and a private plunge pool are downstairs. The Beach Villas are just metres away from the beach, while the Seaview Villas are set further back at an elevation and offer magnificent views of the sea and nearby deserted islands. The accommodations on both islands do not have air

Pool at Nikoi Island 2020 MAR / APR



Private pool in Cempedak Villa

Nikoi Villa Bedroom

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Cempedak Island conditioning but are naturally ventilated. The master bedrooms are raised three-metres off the ground and have vaulted ceiling. This creates natural horizontal and vertical ventilation which helps keeps the rooms at a comfortable temperature. Bamboo ceiling fans have been incorporated inside the cotton mosquito nets of the king-sized beds to help keep guests cool at night. Ensuite master bathrooms have hot water showers and modern fittings set amongst natural stone and recycled teak. The accommodations also have an iPod speaker system, a safe, mobile phone reception and free but limited bandwidth wifi. A bar and icebox can be provided on request. Food served on both resorts are sourced from what can be grown on the group’s Kebun Reja farm on Bintan and from local markets and small traders. This means the two resorts are able to obtain the freshest ingredients that are farmed organically. The resorts serve a fusion of Indonesian and international flavours. Barbecued seafood, local dishes and tropical fruit feature prominently on the menu as well as a variety of fresh vegetables, free-range chicken and eggs from their farm. Nikoi has two dining rooms, one for families and one for couples or families with older children. The main restaurant on Cempedak commands a prominent position on a rocky point. It offers a variety of dining configurations from tree-shaded dining pods to a long sweeping balcony to enjoy the sunset. Alternatively, guests can opt to dine on the beach, or on one of the private balconies. For those seeking total seclusion, both resorts arrange picnic hampers to be served on one of the nearby deserted islands. Both resorts have dedicated spas. Nikoi’s is set up in three large safari tents near the main pool. Cempedak’s Rock Spa is nestled on top of granite boulders and has three double treatment rooms that overlook the ocean while the waves

breaking on the rocky shoreline below provide the soundtrack. Both offer holistic treatments using natural products and inspired by traditional techniques. Facials, scrubs, manicures and pedicures are also available. Nikoi also offers massages for kids. Although both resorts are about unwinding and relaxing in the midst of nature, they do offer a variety of land and sea activities, most of which are complementary. Moreover, many of the staff are experienced sailors, divers and rock climbers. As part of its core commitment to sustainability, no plastics are used on the islands, drinking water comes from natural water wells, and electricity is generated using solar power. Both resorts were built and operated using local materials, labour and services. The management has also taught many of their contractors and staff new trades and techniques. In addition to the obvious operational benefits, these measures lead to greater mutual respect, while the local community, staff and tradesmen take greater pride in their work. Both resorts employ a full-time Sustainability Manager and Marine Conservation Officer who help implement the islands’ policies, to ensure that the resorts’ teams play an active part in protecting the environment and, where possible, help to restore it. Another important task in protecting the environment is to educate both guests and the local population on environmental issues. In 2009, the management established The Island Foundation, which works with the local community on Bintan and neighbouring islands to provide their children with better education and adults with skills training. The Nikoi and Cempedak Islands’ commitment to being responsible members of society and the greater environment elevates what is already a unique kind of luxury holiday experience. 2020 MAR / APR



REFLECTIVE JOURNEYS “Reflection,” the Moncler x RIMOWA collaboration as part of this year’s Genius collection


Moncler x RIMOWA “Reflection” Luggage 118 MAR / APR 2020

oncler, one the pioneers of the luxury streetwear aesthetic, possesses one of the hottest collaboration brands in the segment. Moncler’s ‘Genius’ collaborations have become synonymous with daring, boundary-pushing creations. One of Moncler’s Genius collaborators this year is RIMOWA, manufacturer of the iconic collection of high-fashion suitcases and bags. Moncler, no stranger to the industrial aesthetic, as evidenced in several of its collections, has used the aluminium in RIMOWA ‘s suitcases as its main source of inspiration. “Reflection,” as the collection is called, features the aluminium outer shell in a mirror-polish finish; reflecting its surroundings in a literal sense. The polished aluminium exterior of the suitcase is offset by matte black handles, frame, locks and reinforced riveted corners. It is called “Reflection” in a metaphorical sense as well. Luggage has long been a medium for expressing one’s identity, by adorning them with stickers and individual markers of journeys undertaken. With “Reflection,” RIMOWA and Moncler offer an updated way to express oneself through the power of digital technology. The suitcase has a programmable LED screen installed on the outer shell that displays ticker-style messages in red block lettering. By using a purpose-built “Reflection” app, the traveller of today can update and customise the text displayed on the luggage’s LED screen. Inside each suitcase is an exclusive silver packing cube set in Moncler’s signature padded nylon fabric. At the same time, a neon yellow luggage tag and belt add a distinctive utilitarian accent to the range. A custom sticker set commemorating the collaboration is also available as a means of personalising each suitcase. The “Reflection” suitcase made its debut at this year’s edition of the Moncler Genius exhibition in Milan in February; making RIMOWA one of the first travel brands to be featured on the Genius platform. The “Reflection” installation had the luggage pieces suspended from a scaffolding arch illuminated with LED lights. Displayed on each suitcase’s screen, were a rotating selection of travel phrases that recall both RIMOWA and Moncler’s origins and achievements. A travel-ready “Reflection” collection will soon be made available at RIMOWA retail stores worldwide as a limited-edition, according to a statement by the brand. They will feature the same mirrored surface and embedded metal Moncler badge.

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