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Photograph by Fabrice Jacobs
Photograph by Fabrice Jacobs
B f b e y o n d
the magazine for be beyond individuals
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Beyond Black London UK © Beyond Black 2010 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book. ISSN 2041-7667 Designed by Bradbury and Williams, London Proofreading: Charles Conway Printed and bound in China B Beyond is the quarterly magazine accompanying the hard cover Beyond Black editions and a subsidiary of Linveco Ltd. Contact information: UK Linveco A.G. , suite 774, 28 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3SS Liechtenstein Linveco A.G. 99 Landstrasse, 9494 Schaan, LI Tel: +423 236 19 11 Fax: +423 236 19 15 Hong Kong Linveco Ltd Suites 1601-1603, Kinwick Centre 32 Hollywood Road, Central Hong Kong Tel: +852 2542 1177 Fax: +852 2545 0550 Dubai Linveco Ltd Suite 801 Reef Tower, Jumeirah Lake Towers, P.O. Box 62201 Dubai United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 448 6010 Fax: +971 4 448 601
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editor’s letter 5 Editor’s letter 6 The Art of Being Pearl Lam: B Beyond in China 12 The Need for Rinspeed: Guy Brandon checks out the Amphibian Car 16 Abramczyk: A Portfolio 24 We All Love… Johnny Pigozzi: A Portrait 28 Michel Bonini: A Portfolio 38 How to become a billionaire: John Caudwell’s Vintage Year 40 B Beyond’s Wine Chap Tom Harrow 42 David Giampaolo on Pi Capital 43 Spotlight on Sovereign Group 44 B Beyond visits Major Art Collector Dakis Joannou 58 Mick Hutson: A Portfolio 68 B Beyond in Rio: Conversation with Ivo Pitanguy 70 Mick Hutson: Rio Documentary 80 Introductions in High Places: Leanne Husler 82 Amber’s Simple Pleasures 84 Dr Sister on Beauty 86 Elizabeth Waugh: A Portfolio 92 Sovereign Art Foundation 98 Best Fiction Reviewed 100 On Emerging Markets: A conversation with Fabien Pictet 102 Salomé Zourabichvili: Portrait of a Presidential Contender 104 Billie Weisman on the Weisman Art Collection 106 Rob Hersov, Sapinda CEO 110 Bahamas: Wallace Tutt on Harbour Island 114 B Beyond meets Sir John Madej ski 116 Thomas Flohr, the Man at the Helm of VistaJet 118 The Future of Travel: Eurasian Gondolas 120 Subscribe to B Beyond
hile in China, I had time to reflect at length on the subject of quality as distinct from “luxury”. I was travelling in a small group of people, communication restricted between us as no member of the party, save for our hostess, spoke Mandarin. Each of us had travelled widely, mostly for the love of discovering new cultures, sometimes for business, often both. All of us could afford pretty much any “luxury” destination, in fact, a few of us unquestionably so. I used my travelling companions as a sounding board for the B Beyond magazine, chiefly because they were my prospective readership but also because, in their own way, they were all “be beyond” individuals. Our hostess, the glue that held the group together, an exquisite and wilful Hong Kong heiress turned art dealer supreme, leads a Gatsby-esque life, trotting around the globe in pursuit of emerging contemporary artists. Next, the daughter of a Russian oligarch, equally wilful and eccentric, and passionate about art and cloud formation pictures… A French estate owner and art collector, sophisticated and charming, and a veteran of such trips… An astrologer, an art magazine editor, a diplomat and his wife, and myself… A motley group, to be sure – opinionated, well-informed, well-travelled and well-lived. People of means take luxury for granted and often disdain it. The quality of the experience is all to the extent where even basic comfort becomes secondary. In the name
of exceptional experiences and in the pursuit of the undiscovered, people who can afford anything, often endure deprivations that most holiday takers would balk at. Brands are not a badge of having arrived and people who are socially and financially secure don’t need the validation of expensive labels. Intense curiosity about new technology and constantly keeping a step ahead, appreciation of art, and philanthropic pursuits are just some of the things that define today’s successful individuals. No advertising or anything that remotely smacks of it. Above all, nothing endorsed by run of the mill travel publications, fashion writers or mass market “luxury” peddlers. Individuality, uniqueness, a sense of discovery – of being the first to experience a place or anything at all – and above all, that elusive, yet timeless concept: quality. B Beyond is about exceptional individuals and how they shape the world we live in. We have interviewed a number of them for the Spring issue and hope you enjoy the conversational style of these very personal features. Please, write back with ideas, suggestions and feedback – both for the editorial staff and for the people we profile.
The Editor Spring 2010
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B BEYOND was a guest of Hong Kong-born art patron, gallery owner and socialite, Pearl Lam in Shanghai for the opening of her August 2009 Contrasts Gallery ink and calligraphy show.
he daughter of a property tycoon father and an old Shanghainese family mother, Pearl cuts an exotic and imperious presence on the international scene, but is at her most Gatsby-esque at her home in China. 41 Hengshan Road is the smartest address and the most opulent building in Shanghai’s French Concession area. Pearl holds court in the penthouse there and a salon in the truest and oldest Parisian tradition. We are greeted by a small army of uniformed doormen, porters and housekeeping staff who escort us to a 9th floor flat overlooking a daunting city landscape of countless towering buildings and cycling tradesmen down below. The humidity saturated heat precludes any lounging on the balcony, but our rooms are impeccably serviced and air-conditioned making 41, as the building is affectionately referred to, an oasis in the days to come. We have been entertained by Pearl Lam at
her Savile Row penthouse too, but nothing has prepared us for the opulence of her Shanghai home. The 22nd floor penthouse is a veritable work of art in itself, carefully produced and stage-managed by its eccentric owner. From the giant peacock chandeliers that are her trademark, to the elaborate plate-holding sculptures gracing the 80 seat dining table, to the most eclectic and amazing art adorning every corner, wall and whimsical partitions, this incredible Aladdin’s Cave of contemporary art has the hallmark of a consummate collector. Furniture as high art is a relatively contemporary concept and is represented at its most bespoke and comfortable here. Our first night’s dinner is a cosy affair, with only half table occupancy, consisting for the most part of those of us who have been invited to make a trip to a Tibetan temple and visit the living Buddha. We have a day before we set off for Chengdu, a major city in the north-west of China, for the first leg of our Tibetan trip.
B Beyond in China
the art of being
p e a r l l a m
Pearl Lam’s dining room in Shanghai.
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Exploring Shanghai in August is a steamy proposition, quite literally, as the heat, traffic and sheer distances to cover test a newly arrived European’s patience to the limit. As time progresses, one tends to adopt the philosophical attitude of both Chinese and expats, and accept traffic jams as a way of life rather than an inconvenience. The changing landscape of the city, from the leafy and elegant French Concession area where we are staying to the skyscraper lined flyovers to the heaving market and shopping emporiums, is something to behold. The centre of Shanghai, if there is such a thing, is People’s Square which bears an uncanny resemblance to New York City with Chinese writings on top of buildings and Chinese people on the streets. Shanghai by night is altogether different, if not less steamy, and boasts a vast number of clubs all vying for expats and tourist trade, offering a variety of happy hours, ladies’ nights and even free beauty treatments to lure in the savvy crowds. Unless you are visiting art studios and galleries in Shanghai, of which there are plenty – this being the cultural centre of China – your main occupations are likely to be eating and shopping. Our second night in the city is spent at an opulent Chinese restaurant, sampling an entire menu of dishes that no China Town in either NY or London has ever offered. These range from the less recognisable, such as ducks tongues, to the unusually but deliciously paired such as egg custard, foie gras and truffles. The following morning nine of us take a flight to Chengdu, the capital of “easy living” and panda bears. The group consists of our hostess; Russian installation artist Lisa Berezovska; French designer Andre Dubreuil; JD, a former Dutch ambassador to Beijing and Frederica, his wife; Linda Evans, a renowned NY astrologer; Lynn, an art publisher acting as Pearl’s PA on the trip; and two of us flying the BB flag. After a 3 and a half hour flight on a packed aircraft, operated by the first private Chinese airline, Shanghai Air, we alight at what we’ve been told is the gateway to Tibet, only to discover that our cashmeres are obsolete – it is even hotter in Chengdu than in Shanghai. Mercifully, we are whisked off to the Chengdu Kempinsky, which will be our base for the following three days.
Photography by Pearl Lam
knowing as she does how limited our extent of historical references is. The temple is set in the midst of extensive and beautiful Oriental style gardens and houses fearsome looking figures of heads of ancient Chinese dynasties. The most relevant piece of information, which comes to explain why they belong in a temple, is the fact that China went through a period of ancestor worship, as opposed to deity worship. The visit concludes with a sampling of street food, for which Chinese market stalls are justly famous, and a peculiar therapeutic service commonly offered in the streets of Chengdu – an ear cleaning and neck massage combo. Frederica is the only one to brave the street offering outside of a coffee shop and we all watch mesmerised as the Chinese girl performs the exercise, involving a sound testing instrument and tiny feathers. We visit a number of art galleries, Old Blue Roof and Longyuan Art, among others on the way back to the hotel, and one of the gallery owners offers to have us all for dinner. Three of us settle for a massage at the hotel spa instead because the food is beginning to tell on our waistlines. The following day begins with a trip to a large panda park. Originally Lisa’s suggestion, the visit leaves her lukewarm as pandas live in enclosures, behind glass, often manned by uniformed guards who preclude the taking of photographs. Later, the tour guide for the day would exclaim that Chengdu residents are “as lazy as our pandas” in an attempt to articulate the easy going lifestyle of her fellow citizens. Next on the agenda is a state of the art natural history museum, tracing the history of the ancient tribes inhabiting the Chengdu areas, their crafts, religion and mores. Many of the artefacts are made in either solid or paper thin gold and other precious stones and bear resemblance to ancient Egyptian culture. We are left reflecting on the cultural similarities between ancient civilisations, whether in Asia, Africa or South America. Lunch at the museum’s restaurant is strained as everyone is hot, tired and exasperated with not being able to communicate their expectations to the local staff. Dishes are ordered and cancelled and a bevy of worried looking waitresses beat a path to our table.
We have a printed out schedule, but this being a strong-minded group of individuals, the timetable changes by the hour. We first visit an old temple, San Xing Dui Museum, which is the first historic Chinese landmark we have seen thus far and as such, holding us spellbound in spite of the heat.
The following day begins with a trip to Old town Wuhouci, followed by visits to several artists’ studios and even an entire established artists’ gated community. The old town consists of a long street of shops and temples, and is perhaps the most traditionally Chinese we have come to see on this trip. As no words would do it justice, we have captured it in a series of pictures.
The hired tour guides are soon dismissed by Pearl who is a far superior narrator of Chinese history,
We also visit an antique market where Pearl buys two beautifully mounted rocks to add to her existing Photography by Pearl Lam
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collection. Natural rock collecting is a very Chinese obsession and a European would have something of a struggle comprehending the rationale behind paying cash for something one might find on the bank of a river. The last place to visit before heading for Tibet is an old poet’s cottage set in luxuriant Oriental gardens. The gruelling drive towards Sichuan Province begins very early the following morning. The landscape may be spectacular but the road works and inevitable traffic jams, coupled with rising altitude headaches, preclude the enjoyment of seeing scenery that few (if any) foreigners get to see. The sturdy four wheel cars bounce like a rowing boat caught in a massive sea squall and we are almost grateful for the regular road bottlenecks that allow us to rest, take pictures and watch in wonder as labourers “live” the road works, sleeping in large tents by the roadside until they’ve completed the job. The absolute dedication to work has an entirely new meaning in China and makes it the global power that it is in terms of consumer goods production and exports. We stop in a small restaurant where rice is served from a giant communal steaming pot, but each table setting is shrink-wrapped to demonstrate cleanliness – i.e. sealed from the factory. Our guides, a mixture of government officials, drivers and the living Buddha himself, order the now familiar array of dishes, some of which we can only look at, others we sample for the first and possibly last time in our lives. The living Buddha doesn’t speak much English, but cuts a solicitous and smiling presence that exudes natural kindness. All the same, it is odd to see him sporting trainers and a mobile phone – a definitive concession to the modern world. Our next stop, after a quarry-like road, is a peak 4500 m above sea level, marked by a monument-like construction adorned with flags. It is where one Beyond Black team member quits, overtaken by altitude sickness, and is sent back to Kangding, a town set amid spectacular mountain scenery. Kangding is an important staging post on the road to Lhasa where the end of the Han Chinese world and the beginning of the Tibetan is palpable. We spend the night at the Love Song hotel, a massive building ran in the best state tradition, where we are welcomed by a small group consisting of a doctor, an English translator and other solicitous looking individuals. Photography by Pearl Lam
We spend most of the following day exploring the market street adjacent to the hotel. This is not a market street such as we know it. Here Khampas come down from the hills to sell slabs of yak butter, Tibetan monks in their distinctive robes walk in small groups, and forbidding looking Tibetan women in traditional dress shop for silk fabric. Kangding was historically the capital of the local Tibetan kingdom of Chakla and later, from 1939 to 1951, the capital of the short-lived province of Xikang. The town has been a trade center between the two cultures for centuries with the exchange of yak hides, wool, Tibetan herbs and bricks of tea wrapped in yak hide from Ya’an. JD and Frederica join us for the 8 hour drive back to Chengdu from where we take a flight back to Shanghai. There we wait for the rest of our intrepid group of Tibet travellers to bring extraordinary pictures and tales of the most challenging trip of their lives – a trip marked by extreme discomfort, yet wonderment at the beauty and purity of a culture untouched by Western civilisation. We let the pictures taken by Pearl, Andre, Linda and Lisa speak for themselves. Gallery opening The Contrasts Gallery was started by Pearl Lam in 1992 and exists in two locations: Shanghai and Beijing. The gallery’s principal goal is to promote contemporary Chinese art and artists who do not pay homage to Western art in their works, but dig deep into their own culture and heritage. The gallery maintains an artists’ residence, called The Plastic Factory, where artists can stay for a night or a year. On the 23rd August, the gallery hosted an ink and calligraphy show, exhibiting the following artists: Yuichi Inoue, a Japanese artist who died in the 80s having refused to show any of his works in his lifetime Lan Zhenghui Wang Tiande Zhang Hao Lao Zhu Wei Ligang Shao Yan Shang Yang In the lower ground floor of the gallery are the works of designer artist Danful Yang (XYZ design), WOKmedia, Shao Fan (exhibiting at V&A at the moment), Peter Ting, Maarten Baas and Jurgen Bey. The gallery opening was followed by a reception at the 18th floor of the Hengshan Road building, where Pearl houses her private art collection, and a dinner at her penthouse. The dinner was attended by gallerists, such as the very first contemporary art gallery owner in Shanghai, Lorenz Helbling, Arthur Solway of the James Cohan Gallery, artists, academics, TV personalities and collectors. A Chinese minority singer and celebrity, Namu, celebrated her birthday on the night by singing a love song and giving one of the guests, a 17 year old boy, the longest, most
memorable kiss on the lips as the other guests watched in disbelief. Last Days Our last few days in Shanghai are spent socialising and shopping. We meet Chinese cultural icon MianMian, whose book Panda Sex has been published in several languages but Chinese; business magazine owner Geoffrey de Freitas; French fashion entrepreneur, Jean-Francois Met; installation artist Qiu Anxiong; and of course our very own printers in the person of The Kangshi Printing Factory managing director, Jeff He. We shop at the cultured pearls market and dine at Mint, a slick expat watering hole and Oriental food restaurant cum dancing club on the top floor of a modern building. Below is our list of resources for anyone visiting Shanghai: Dining: Frank (French), Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore (Italian), Shintori (Japanese), Guyi (Hunan - regional south Chinese cuisine) Clubbing: Mao’s (sleek and exclusive, Mao’s is upmarket, late license and swarming with models and international jet-setters) Mint (thoroughly Westernised but extremely sophisticated club/bar/restaurant),
Le Bar Rouge (debauched expat drinking hole with incredible views looking over the new town’s impressive skyline), Soho (chic disco that would not look out of place in any of the world’s major cosmopolitan centres), Bar 88 (authentic modernday Chinese bar/club insofar as the pseudo elegance on offer is almost entirely bastardised from Western concepts), Muse, M2, Sin Shopping: Huai Huai Rd, Nanjing Rd, Qipu Rd (huge market selling cheap tat for the most part but with some bargains to be found – if you can put up with constant harassment from the salespeople) Art and culture: Contrasts Gallery, James Cohan Gallery, Bund 18 (gallery spaces and cultural centre), Moganshan Rd (street art and a collection of both private and public galleries), Jade Buddha Temple (Buddhist temple and important archaeological site) Getting there: Virgin have direct flights. We travelled via Moscow, by Aeroflot. If you are tempted to use the latter option, don’t. Our return flight was plagued by massive delays, failed air-conditioning and stroppy air hostesses. Drinks are served before and after a meal, never with a meal and if you want any alcoholic drinks, you have to buy them. White wine is not chilled and neither is beer. First class is not much better than economy. F
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Photography by Pearl Lam
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Q Branch’s Lotus Esprit wowed audiences in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me by converting to submarine mode when Bond drove it into the sea. It was an ingenious idea, but one with a small flaw: any car heavy enough to sink whilst keeping its occupants in a nice dry, buoyant bubble of air would handle about as well as a fridge on land.
Undeterred by the engineering challenges, visionary designer Frank Rinderknecht contemplated the idea of how to do it for real for almost 30 years, before finally creating the ‘sQuba’: the world’s first genuinely submersible car. And if that wasn’t already showing off, it’s also capable of driving itself, does up to 120 km/h on land, is battery-powered and 100 percent emission free. Frank’s company is famous for doing six impossible things and then wondering how to fill the rest of the time before breakfast. After studying at the School of Maths and Sciences and then the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in the mid-1970s, the young engineer went into business importing sunroofs from the US and adapting cars for disabled drivers, before founding Rinspeed in 1979. Alongside its successful day-to-day business of tuning Porches, Rinspeed have been regular exhibitors at the Geneva Motor Show for the past 20 years, where they have always proved a talking point, often stealing the limelight from the major players in the auto industry by unveiling innovative, thought-provoking and sometimes wacky concept cars. One of the first major projects Frank’s new company unveiled in 1981 was the ‘Aliporta’, an incarnation of the much-loved VW Golf with gull-wing doors.
In 2008 – the same year that the sQuba took Geneva by storm – Rinspeed entered a new phase when it sold its tuning business to the Mansory Corporation, allowing Frank and his small team (Rinspeed has just five full-time employees) to focus on doing what they love best: creating ecologically-friendly, groundbreaking concept cars to challenge and inspire the broader auto industry to greater things. B Beyond goes undercover to talk to Switzerland’s very own Q and find out what else he has up his sleeve...
Guy Brandon checks out the Amphibian Car
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BB: Some of your past concept cars have been truly incredible. You broke a Guinness World Record with one... FMR: That’s right. I set the record for crossing the English Channel in a hydrofoil car [3 hours 14 minutes]. That was a fun experience, but it was also the fulfillment of a long-term dream for me. I had been wanting to do it for 25 years, and it is a source of great pride for me that I never gave up that aspiration all these years. I was only 26 when I decided I wanted to cross the Channel in a hovercraft-style vehicle, and at the time I did not have the financial or technological means to make it happen. But once I set myself the goal I hung on to that dream: you only live once. Like the sQuba – that was the realisation of another long-term dream. That’s right. I had wanted to do that for 30 years. Everyone knew that the Bond scene was a gimmick, faked – it was just fiction. So I resolved that one day I would do it with a real car, one that could controllably dive, propel itself under water and come back up again. And that’s exactly what we did in 2008. I think I read somewhere that I could buy this kind of concept car for around $1.5 million, is that right? Actually, no. The sQuba was a one-off. We’ve had quite a few expressions of interest in it, but it was a prototype. No prototype is perfect, and neither are the second, third, fifth versions. I sell only the best, or nothing at all. So I’ve had to turn a few people down. What about your other automobiles – which of your concept cars are in production, and where can I buy them? So far, we haven’t sold our concepts, for the reasons I’ve just stated. But that’s due to change for 2010, as the next vision is production bound. Ok, I’m listening – tell me more! Well, every year we unveil a new project at the Geneva Motor Show – something close to production that shows a change in paradigms, and a completely new mobility concept beyond simply four wheels. But we’re still in the curfew phase at the moment, so unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly what the next one will be just yet! The works you exhibit at Geneva are prototypes, and the development process must be long and complex. How do you fund their research and creation? On the contrary, our 2010 project is scheduled to be finished in a time span of less than four months. As for funding, that comes from industry partners and our own pocket.
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What new technological developments drive Rinspeed’s work – what are you using and anticipating for the future? I think we’re going to see some real advances in electricity storage technology. Electricity is going to become far more popular as a power source for cars. But you have to see it as a step-by-step process: it’s not going to happen overnight. I compare it to mobile phone technology. Twenty years ago cell phones were big, heavy things with very little talk time for one charge. Now, you can talk for hours on one battery charge and they are about five percent of the weight. We’re going to see the same developments in battery technology for cars. At the moment, batteries are insufficient for the job. You might get 100 km out of a charge. In five or ten years, we’ll get 400 km. Presumably that will require wider developments around clean energy generation, too? Yes. Energy has to come from somewhere, and the Swiss are very fortunate in that we have water resources for power generation that other countries like Germany do not. We also have a number of atomic power stations. It’s important that we move forward with this technology as quickly as possible to generate power that’s as clean as possible. But we also need to change our perceptions about energy. People have ten or twenty items running at home, chargers that remain plugged in when they’re not in use, the TV left on standby – at the moment, energy is considered something we can waste. That’s got to change. You’ve made your name with some intriguing automobiles but, as you say, energy use is an area that affects every area of life. Are you tempted to put your mind towards other applications, whether in the field of transport, household items, or other areas? The majority of our work is still in the general field of automobiles. But currently I also have a number of additional projects, including caravans, private jets, a small yacht and in the beverage industry. I am hoping to diversify a bit more. Here at BB, we await the arrival of Rinspeed’s first espresso machine with a mixture of excitement and trepidation... f
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ari abra m cz y k Born in a San Francisco earthquake, fashion photographer Ari Abramczyk has been on the move ever since. Two years in the fashion industry in New York City led her to a Bachelor’s Degree from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Now based in Los Angeles, Ari shoots for a range of magazines and clients who desire unique, colorful, cinematic, and dream-like images. Her work was recently exhibited in Los Angeles and Barcelona. Ari is happiest shooting underwater. She is fascinated by the water’s unpredictability and strength; the way it reflects and distorts light; the living mirror it creates. Ari finds that the natural grace and beauty of the models and the clothes are only enhanced by the freedom of reduced gravity. Ari Abramczyk is represented by Wonderful Machine.
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Pigozzi Jean Pigozzi is a Harvard educated venture capitalist turned Internet entrepreneur, art collector, photographer, ecologist, men’s clothing designer and philanthropist – not necessarily in that order, or any order – and quite simply a man of countless ideas. For all his social and commercial success, however, JP is not affected. He has an easy charm and is an interesting, often provocative conversationalist. I asked to meet and interview him for a book on yachts because he has a yacht, a marine ecology project and because he has strongly held opinions. When I told him the title of the book, Superyachts, it led him into the subject of energy conservation because while the world’s sea-going vessels have a massive carbon footprint, the sea is the new frontier of energy conservation. On green energy He posed the following conundrum: ‘the cost of an ordinary generator in Panama is $12000 – solar panels cost 10 times that. While solar panels save a lot of polluting energy, they do require a lot of polluting energy to make them and they need lots of expensive solar panel batteries, which are extremely toxic.’ His opinion of wind power is not much better than solar: ‘Wind turbines are equally expensive plus they are subject to the vagaries of the wind, and don’t forget how they despoil the landscape.’ ‘I started buying land in Panama ten years ago because I was fascinated with the idea of having land in immediate proximity to the sea. There is something very compelling about having property pieds dans l’eau. And I like being a pioneer.’ ‘Another advantage of Panama is that is in the same time-zone as New York.’ JP tends to cite the bottom line but like a lot of tycoons his motives are rarely just commercial. The late Jimmy Goldsmith was a big influence; as was TED (the global think tank that celebrates the power of ideas to change attitudes) and the work of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. All of this led him to establishing the Liquid Jungle Lab in partnership with Woods Hole and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The Liquid Jungle Lab (www.liquidjunglelab.com) is an ecological marine and reforestation project on a remote Pacific island near Panama’s Coiba National Park.
we all love... Johnny Pigozzi: a portrait
“LJL seeks to merge traditional scientific research with state-of-the-art technology to improve the understanding of ocean and terrestrial sciences and advance conservation ecology for the future benefit of the planet.”
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‘we have to learn how to build energy-efficient and well insulated houses,
‘I knew there was a niche for older men’s clothing
learn how to preserve resources
that was trendy
rather than dissipate them
but not trying’
and, most of all, learn how to tap into the last unharnessed resource of energy on earth: the power of the sea. ‘ Now I understood his promotion of sea power to our energy needs. “None of us,” he explained, “are about to relinquish the modern day comforts we have become so accustomed to. That being the case, we have to learn how to build energy-efficient and well insulated houses, learn how to preserve resources rather than dissipate them and, most of all, learn how to tap into the last unharnessed resource of energy on earth: the power of the sea. “ There are a lot urbanites with a social conscience who have become evangelical about carbon emissions and global warming but most of the panaceas that they embrace are impractical or will not meet the test of nature and time. JP is probably better known for cruising the seven seas than harnessing its energy. He owns a 66 m converted trawler, with which he fell in love in 1987. In 1993, when it came on the market, he bought it and commissioned renowned naval architect Espen Oeino to re-fit it. He has cruised all around the world on the Amazon Express but keeps away from the conventional watering holes, preferring such exotic destinations as Alaska and Greenland. He describes the beauty of Greenland eloquently, comparing it to New York, except the skyscrapers are giant icebergs. Taking a launch among the icebergs, he says, is a unique and incredibly beautiful experience.
Limoland on a Global Express plane Girls in Limoland clothes
Living part of the year on a large yacht has become more attractive in recent years because of the Internet which has revolutionised the concept of working afloat. Skype has liberated tele-communications while the newspaper machine most yacht owners use has enabled them to read any publication in the middle of the Atlantic. Modern technology means that you can do on board of a yacht pretty much anything you can from an office: arrange video conferencing, download an entire book or the latest song from iTunes, all while cruising the remotest corners of the world. Ecological food production JP is not, however, an ecological one-trick pony. He has also taken a hands-on interest in organic farming, the results of which challenge the organic movement. “Our experiments in Panama have shown that 100% organic agriculture is not viable either commercially or to feed the world. Instead, controlled use of the right sort of chemicals can lead to a form of responsible farming that is as organic as we can have it without compromising the commercial aspect of farming. But we need a global reeducation programme to push farmers onto eco-friendly fertilisers and pesticides.’ Building He is building a house on a remote island off the coast of Panama and this has stimulated his ingenuity to come up with innovative approaches to construction techniques. ‘Panamanians have traditionally used local timber for their houses, which may sound ecologically sound and romantic to boot, but doesn’t take into account just what, say, termites can do within a very short period of time with devastating consequences. I have become interested in using the protective treatment of timber and combining local design traditions with cement foundations for attractive, sound and longer-lasting homes.”
alimoland.com keeps wish lists for its regular customers who needn’t leave the comfort of their yacht, jet or home to add to their collection of favourite style cashmeres, Tshirts, anoraks, etc. Wives, children and mistresses can peruse the lists and make an informed choice when buying presents for the man who has everything.
On his African art collection JP started collecting African art much in the same way as he started acquiring land in Panama: he is driven by an ever-present impetus to be the first to discover the beauty and originality of something before others do. Today he owns the largest collection of contemporary African art in the world.
JP, a man who has a low threshold for boredom, is happy to develop the brand into a global one – because he can see the fruit of an idea as a tangible product within a relatively short space of time. Limoland was destined to be a global success: the man behind the brand is, according to Vanity Fair, friends with every single one of the 100 most influential people on the planet. That is some CV…
I looked at the giant canvasses on his wall (one of which looks like a very large poster dedicated to fighting Aids in Africa) and they reminded me of the continent itself with their strong, sharply-defined colours, direct messages and raw magnetism. He said that he began collecting African art because no one else was. ‘It was as simple as that.’
And which aspiring middle-aged male wouldn’t want to emulate the sartorial style of the world’s most successful?
On collecting art he says: “Personally, I have to fall in love immediately with an artist’s work. I don’t need to know about his or her age, education, nationality or religion - but I do want to have a coup de foudre. I do also need to see work from the previous three or four years, to understand how an artist got to where he or she is now. Fascinating work is being created every day, and I want to see (and to collect) more and more!” His clothing design label JP describes his latest venture with a mixture of his own inimitable candour and more than a touch of witty mischief: “Men of a certain age like to think of themselves as 10 years younger. They want to look stylish and trendy at the same time, but when they borrow from their sons’ wardrobes they end up looking like ancient rappers. I knew there was a niche for older men’s clothing that was trendy but not trying – and failing, of course – to make you look a lot younger than you are.” The label Limoland, seems to have established a dashing image across a generation of affluent males of a certain age (JP refers to them affectionately as ROMs – rich old men) who embrace the informal street style yet insist on quality of cut and fabric. The deluxe street wear label is distributed in France (the iconic shop Colette stocks it), Russia, England, Japan…
What does the future hold for JP? I couldn’t help asking the standard end-of-interview question, even though I already knew enough to guess the answer. He is keen on exploring the last unexploited resource of the planet: the deep ocean. His Liquid Jungle Lab project already sends remotely operated submarines that go to a depth of 100 –200 meters and record marine life in minute detail. He is not alone in believing that the deep ocean holds many rich secrets that can and will some day make a vast impact on our lives. He is one of few who can and does put his money where his convictions are: the Liquid Jungle Lab is an entirely philanthropic project and will soon be joined by an artists colony who would be given free hand in creating film, documentaries, paintings and pursuing inspirations. A maverick with a restless mind and a boundless curiosity about the world, JP seems to have enough projects for several lifetimes. If you want to keep abreast of JP’s life and endeavours, watch his website space as he is planning the launch of a photo blog, recording it all for those of us who live a more vicarious existence. f http://www.jeanpigozzi.com/ Isla Canales de Tierra, Mr Pigozzi’s island off the Pacific coast of Panama
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Michel Bonini is a Corsican photographer based in Paris who, originally, comes from the artistic world. He defines himself as an image maker who attempts to perceive the essence of things through lively and aesthetic photography. This artistic background gives particular interest to his work in fashion, advertising and art.
michel b o n i n i Model: Katherine. Make-up: StĂŠphane Dussart. Hair designer: Miguel Pinto for Lâ€™atelier de Miguel. Stylist designer: CassyD.
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Model: Alice. Make-up: StĂŠphane Dussart. Photo stylist: Virginie Rouffignac. Hair designer: Miguel Pinto for Lâ€™atelier de Miguel, Paris XIV. Location: Studio Daguerre Paris XIVe.
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Model: Tatiana. Make-up: Stephanie Dussart. Jewels: SunaMoya.
Model: Anonymous. Make-up and hair: Kasuki.
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Model: Anonymous. Make-up and hair: Kasuki.
Model: Sonia. Make-up: An채is Franco.
Model: Sonia. Make-up: An채is Franco.
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How to become a billionaire:
he guest of honour addressing the gathering crowd of young entrepreneurs was none other than John Caudwell - the man whose name is indelibly linked to the mobile phone industry, and who sold his mobile phone empire in 2006 for £1.46 billion. Caudwell was accompanied by his statuesque and stunningly attractive wife, Claire, who laughed at his jokes as heartily as the rest of the audience, although she must have heard them before. An engaging and hugely entertaining speaking, Caudwell spoke eloquently of his childhood in a working class area of Stoke-on-Trent. The family setbacks and bullying at school taught him some valuable lessons, he says, about resilience, ambition, tenacity and not only finding a way out of adversity, but turning it to his advantage. He identified a number of prerequisites for success: ambition, leadership, drive, commercial intellect, and argued that luck, although helpful, is not critical or even massively important. B Beyond had the opportunity of asking him a few questions in private, after the speech. BB. Please, define commercial intellect. Is this hardwired or can it be cultivated? JC. All attributes you are born with are important, but can be honed through life experiences or somebody coaching you, for example. In addition, you need the passion and the drive to succeed. There are fundamental basics that need to be there; that you are born with. What you do with them is down to you. Commercial intellect has a lot to do with identifying and seizing an opportunity. It is definitely hard-wired in the sense that you are either born with it or not, but at the same time, it has to be developed and honed over the years. Leadership is also vital - picking the right people to work with; people who are motivated and believe in what they are doing. What was your personal “vintage year”? 2006 without a doubt. You say luck is overrated. Why is that? Luck always helps, but it is not vital. Whether you have luck on your side or not, the challenges are still the
JCaudwell’s ohn Vintage YeaR Penfolds, a high end wine label from Southern Australia, invited us to a wine tasting with a difference at the Hospital Club in London – the first of a series of Penfolds Vintage Years events, where personalities from the world of business, culture and the arts reveal their vintage year and the ingredients for their success.
same, but a bit more difficult to overcome. I managed to do without luck. In my personal assessment, I’ve had negative luck on the whole, but I am still here. You say your father died when you were 14. Your mother, however, is still alive. Is she immensely proud of you? Yes, she is, although she often says she wishes I’d done something with my life, like being a teacher or a doctor. Where do you buy your suits? Marks & Spencer. Today’s special occasion suit is Givenchy, though. What do you think is the future of printed matter – will books and newspapers survive the digital revolution? Books, yes, but newspapers will have a tough time with the Internet, mobile phones and new technology. There will always be survivors, but they face tough challenges ahead. Have you thought of writing your memoirs? I write poetry – not the literary kind, but I like to commemorate occasions or experiences in verse. I’ve written a poem for Margaret Thatcher and verses for people’s birthdays. These are simple, story-telling verses. Define success I’d like to be remembered not just as a man who made a lot of money, but as someone who helped change the world for the better. Having made money is a shallow legacy. I’d like to make a difference. Claire, JC’s wife has agreed to answer two impromptu questions. Do you feel adversity makes one stronger? Claire. It has to. You have no choice, but to get stronger. Vintage or contemporary? Claire. Vintage. F John Caudwell and his wife, Claire at The Hospital Club, Penfolds wine tasting.
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B Beyond’s Wine Chap
Tom Harrow Do wines that look good on the ground perform as well in the air?
everal private aviation companies revealed that the No.1 importance of having a client’s jet in the right place at the right time (sometimes at terrifyingly short notice) means such niceties as correctly pairing the food and wine choices and serving the latter at the right temperature and decanted sufficiently are often overlooked. But true luxury requires more than rather forlorn canapés and bottles of overly-chilled Cristal. The discerning Epicurean desires a gastronomic experience in the air that enhances rather than degrades their flight. WineChap was therefore delighted when invited to partner with ConnectJets to create Europe’s first pre-flight sommelier consultancy programme for their private aviation clients. As ConnectJets’ strikingly attractive MD Gabriella Somerville states “we believe in the importance of serving the best fine wine at altitude, and are developing a bespoke service for our clients both prior to departure and when airborne, which undoubtedly contributes to the enjoyment of a flight.” Well, quite. And yet how to achieve this? At WineChap HQ our research thus far, from personal experience and more scientific observations (like the PNAS report on Champagne Bubbles*), led us to the premise that altitude and air compression and even the quality of the air acting as vehicle for flavour can physically affect our senses as well as the character of the wines themselves. It was therefore time to test these theories whilst enjoying a day above the clouds sampling fine wines.
cuvees suffered less as more flavour was retained. The Hiedsieck simply vanished in mid-air; the delicacy of the mouthfeel and elegant balance of fruit and floral components in the Armand de Brignac that made it the clear winner on the ground were slightly muted; the more robust Pinot Noirdominated Bollinger performed sturdily, the bead persisting stubbornly, helping to retain the wine’s integrity. When it is released we would like to try Armand de Brignac’s new Blanc de Noirs to further test theories of Pinot noir and oak at altitude. Could this be the ultimate Altitude Champagne? Oak The altitude, or more likely air pressure and quality, accentuated the oak influence in the wines – for the Bollinger and Aliot this worked in their favour as the wines increased in structure without losing the rich autolytic character of the former or the ripe spicy fruit of the latter. The Bordeaux however saw some of their fruit recede, especially after breathing for two hours, and on the second tasting at altitude the Cantemerle was rather reedy and dried out, and the Pape Clement showed a disassociation between its fruit core and the toasty French oak in which it had previously been wrapped. The conclusion suggested is that newoaked reds do not benefit from being overly aerated before consumption in this environment.
It is important to choose a vintage, the experience of which is no less muted or impressive at 10,000 feet.
The Experiment On 27th November 2009 ConnectJets and WineChap hosted a tasting of Champagne, white and red wines from BA’s First Class cabin alongside a ‘WineChap’ selection, on an Hawker 800XP provided by ConnectJets, to explore the effects of altitude and air pressure and condition on olfactory and gustatory appreciation. A select group of wine, travel, luxury and lifestyle journalists were invited to make up the panel. Our findings are published in print for the first time below for Beyond Black’s readers. (The list of wines tasted features beneath.) Bubbles Informed by scientific findings published recently that the bubbles in Champagne contain 30 times more flavour-enhancing chemicals than in the liquid, we were particularly interested to observe how differentiated air pressure at altitude would affect our selection. In each instance initially violent effervescence preceded a rapid dissipation of the mousse and it became clear that the richer, more characterful
Fruit Starting from the premise that air is a conduit for aroma and flavor, and surmising therefore that the quality of this ‘vehicle’ would affect the ‘ride’ it was not surprising that conditions in a pressurized cabin deadened the palate somewhat, flattening flavours and masking the more subtle and secondary characteristics of the wines generally. This was particularly evident with the lighter, more elegant wines: The Gruner (which in fairness did not show particularly well on the ground either) struggled to make any impression in the air, and the Valmur’s clean austerity became rather punctilious at 9000ft. The clear winner among the whites on this occasion was the Aliot, whose mid-palate weight and structural amplitude refused to be cowed by the conditions. There was slightly less consensus regarding the reds, due partly to the disparity between the length of time the wines had been open and breathing between the first and second flights. However conclusions can be drawn from this also: On Leg One we observed the compact, smoky and youthfully muscular Pape Clement working well but the Meritage shone also and continued to do on the return journey; its lesser complexity, and chunky, fruit-forward profile leaving it with less to
lose at altitude. The Chateauneuf fell somewhere between these two, putting in solid if journeyman performances on the ground and at altitude. We can propose that more concentrated, fruit-centred wines do well in the air. A further surmise is that Bordeaux from particularly ripe, maturing vintages, achieving good integration of fruit and wood, but not so aged as to hold sediment in suspension (the likely result of vibrations caused by a plane’s movement) will be rewarding choices. 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2003 would be recommended vintages. These observations and conclusions are but the tip of the iceberg and we look forward to reporting our on-going research to offer the ultimate in personalised luxury exclusively for Beyond Black readers. Our next joint project with ConnectJets is with Square Meal, with whom we are creating bespoke menus and luxury canapé selections specifically paired to the WineChap ‘Altitude-approved Wine List’. For further details or our latest recommendations and advice on decanting prior to flights please see contact details below. In the interim, if such endeavours have left you with an eyebrow quizzically raised, think on John Lothrop Motley’s apposite affirmation – “give us the luxuries in life, and we will dispense with its necessities”. *a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-authored by Dr Gerald Liger Belair of Reims university and commented on by Dr Jamie Goode, respected UK wine scientist and writer
Champagnes BRUT RESERVE, CHARLES HEIDSIECK NV BRUT GOLD, ARMAND DE BRIGNAC Multi-Vintage GRAND ANNÉE, BOLLINGER 2000 Whites GRÜNER VELTLINER Kamptaler Terrassen, WEINGUT BRÜNDLMAYER (Austria) 2008 CHABLIS Grand Cru Valmur, DOMAINE BROCARD (Burgundy) 2006 ALIOT, CHENE BLEU (Provence) 2007 Reds CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, CLOSERIE DE VAUDIEU (Rhone) 2006 MERITAGE, LYETH (Sonoma)2006 CHÂTEAU PAPE CLEMENT (Pessac Leognan) 2004 CHÂTEAU CANTEMERLE (Haut Medoc) 2001 NB – INVERTED: WineChap selection; NORMAL: BA 1st Class WineChap contact firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 404 3371 Altitude Tasting www.winechap.com ConnectJets contact email@example.com 01932 834949 www.connectjets.com Tom Harrow WineChap www.winechap.com See the world’s first inverted Champagne Tasting here... t: + 44 (0) 20 7405 3371 m: + 44 (0) 7870 384 490
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David Giampaolo on Pi Capital BB. What is Pi? An investment vehicle or a club for wealthy individuals? DG. Both. However, I prefer to describe our members as hugely successful rather than just wealthy. Wealth is such a relative and subjective notion. Some of our members are not particularly wealthy, but what they may lack in investment power, they make up for in intellect.Some of our members are academics and private entrepeneurs who are on top of their game. So the one common denominator is that they are all very successful at what they do.
are their main interests in common? Our members read many financial publications, but they also like to read about travel, art, wine, food, real estate, etc. They have a growing interest in the emerging markets and in philanthropy. Approximately 10 of our members are noted philanthropists.
There is an element of mystery about becoming a Pi Capital member. It is said membership is by invitation only. How does one become a member and do you limit the membership to 300 at all times? Is there an upper limit, in fact? Not at all. Anyone can apply to become a member. Even though 90% of new members come through existing members’ referrals, there is nothing to prevent an individual from calling or emailing and expressing an interest. I would then meet with them, have a conversation, and make a decision on their suitability based on that meeting.It is just as important that we are right for them as they are to us How many overseas members do you have? How many women members? Pi has 300 members, 15% of which are overseas members. We have members from India, UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore. Approximately 8% of all members are women. I would really like to improve on the latter percentage. The social aspect of Pi is quite unusual and probably unique among investment clubs. It would appear that businesses are prepared to part with equity not so much in exchange of capital injection, but contacts and practical advice. Pi is totally unique, there is simply nothing quite like it. There are investment clubs and syndicates out there and of course many great private dining clubs. Pi combines the best of both and is an INVESTORS club. We combine the investment, social and educational aspects. Some of our wealthiest members, in fact are the most engaged in our educational offerings of Pi. We hold about 40 events per year, which I select. I choose the events thematically and broadly based on the interests of the members who, for the most part, fall between the ages of 40 and 65. They have diverse interests,which is reflected in the range of events we organise throughout the year. [The events program lists world class speakers from within the business, financial, political and academic elite and even includes a visit to Brazil] Pi is described as a peer- to-peer club which is exactly how we describe B Beyond as a publication. What do your members like to read about and what
believe printed matter will be obliterated in the future but digitalisation will change the publishing landscape dramatically. How important is higher education? Higher education is more important today than it used to be in the past, simply because the market now is so competitive and there are many more brilliant people who come from all over the world. That said, you don’t necessarily need a degree to be successful. But a degree gives you grounding and value in my opinion. How is Pi evolving? Are there any plans for changes or do you feel that “if it ain’t broken, why mend it”? We are constantly evolving our offering in line with the rapidly changing business environment we live in and the wants and needs of our members. Do you agree or disagree with the label “most networked man in London”? Disagree. It’s a media-manufactured label that stuck. Factually, Pi has 300 vastly successful members whom I know well and with whom I see frequently, which does over time lead to an ever increasing range of contacts and access You have been quite outspoken on the subject of banks and their interests not being aligned with those of investors. Describe the bank you would invest in/support? The bank that I would support/invest in would:
How do you select investments for presentation to members and what will be the criteria for selecting in 2010? The criteria is always the same…we are looking for investments which in our opinion give a acceptable return in relationship to the embedded risk. We are willing to look at almost any sector or industry Is business acumen hardwired or acquired? The answer is both. Business acumen has to be hardwired to some extent. You have to have a basis on which to build, however you also need to accumulate experience, wisdom and emotional intelligence along the way; without which you are unlikely to be very successful. Does luck play a major role in success or not? HUGE! I don’t believe in dumb luck – however I subscribe to the wisdom that “the harder you work the luckier you become” - but a lot of bad businesses have become successful with a measure of plain good luck, just as a lot of good businesses have failed for the lack of it. What do you think is the future of printed matter? I am a tactile man personally and if it comes to choosing between getting the FT online for nothing and paying £2 for buying it, I’d choose the latter. I do not
1. Charge on a performance basis only. 2. The business model would not be based on selling financial products and making an upfront commission. 3. The bank will put a lifetime value on its customers rather than monthly or quarterly. Do you like/collect art? Fine art v. contemporary? Yes, I have some contemporary art but not for its investment value. Of course, I am happy if something I bought goes up in value, but I collect primarily what I like. Person or persons you most admire My father. He was neither particularly lucky nor successful, but very hard working and committed to supporting his children to the best of his ability. He was a poor Italian immigrant with a big heart – and always prepared to share whatever little he had with others. F
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While governments throughout the OECD are tightening regulations around tax havens, one organisation is going from strength to strength. Beyond Black looks at what Sovereign Group has been doing, quietly and effectively, for over two decades.
overeign Group have been offering offshore tax planning to high net-worth individuals for 21 years. One of the larger independent companies of their kind, Sovereign’s primary aim is to mitigate tax by using all of the available breaks – including pension provision, insurance, and charitable structures. Typical clients include entrepreneurs, who often come to Sovereign when they are at the early stages of making their fortune, as well as big corporations who have an interest in minimising tax or restructuring for ease of transferring shares and getting in and out of funds. Sovereign will also facilitate investment in certain cases, and have offices all over the world. Sovereign’s experience brings clear advantages and it is a testimony to the company that, at a time when the OECD is turning the spotlight on tax havens, business is growing. Howard Bilton, Sovereign’s CEO, explains why: ‘There are companies that have done this well and others that have relied on secrecy and obscurity. But you have to remember that governments actually want you to make use of existing tax breaks, because it tends to save them money – whether in terms of retirement planning, looking after your family, insurance costs or charitable objectives – where the state would otherwise have to pick up the bill.’ Increasing regulation around tax information exchange may have made Sovereign’s work harder in recent years but has, perhaps counter-intuitively, been beneficial in the long run. ‘Transparency and the free exchange of information is good because it brings competition, which leads to efficiencies. The work is simpler and cheaper to do offshore, it’s easier to get regulated and there’s a concentration of experience. So what we do here isn’t magic. We just do it better because we’ve been doing it for over 20 years.’ Sovereign are also well-versed in creating holding structures for high net-worth clients with global assets. Such inheritance planning effectively eradicates the need for a lengthy and expensive probate process, as well as providing an opportunity to take advantage of any available tax breaks at the same time. Given that the average probate for such complex international portfolios takes somewhere in the region of two years and costs around five percent of the value of the estate, that’s a service that brings many clients and their loved ones peace of mind. F
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We meet Dakis Joannou at his home in Athens, Greece.
igozz y Jean P b u o n n a
Photo of D
b beyond visits Dakis Joannou, one of the most significant contemporary art collec tors today and founder of the Deste Art Foundation
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His house is reached up a steep drive, overlooking the city and built around a courtyard. It was extended, he says, to accommodate his art collection. A “Mount Olympus of art”, we comment. One can spot the art lover and a serious, life-long collector as distinct from the art investor/opportunist from the way they show their collection. Dakis Joannou delights in giving us the tour personally, drawing attention to every detail and explaining how it fits in with the layout of the building. We go past the striking Maurizio Cattelan taxidermied horse plunging into the wall and into a marble-clad, museum size room, dedicated for the most part to Jeff Koons’ work. On the way, Joannou points to a metal grille on the floor which could easily be overlooked as a fixture. It is, in fact, another art installation, “Untitled (Man in Drain)”, one of the most characteristic Robert Gober works, showing a male torso pierced by a drain. Joannou is well known for collecting Jeff Koons’ works, having started well before his art reached the iconic status of today, so it comes as no surprise to see the room dominated by the artist’s work from different production periods: from the giant “Hulk” canvasses to the Michael Jackson and Bubbles porcelain statue to the stainless steel train carrying Bourbon. The interplay of the works within the marble room, as well as the rest of the house, as Joannou explains, is a challenge and a way for him to live with the works and better understand their possible affinities and/or differences. Dakis Joannou began collecting “seriously” in 1985, but has had an abiding love of art his entire life. One ante room bears testimony to his student days’ passion for art and displays a row of rather extraordinary figurines he acquired in Italy where he studied architecture after completing a degree in engineering in the US. He could have happily remained the eternal student, he says, but had to join the family business, construction, at the end of these 10 years of academic endeavours. The tour of the house is circular and circuitous and we end where we began, but not before seeing a succession of rooms displaying a diverse and eclectic, collection, reflecting the collector’s personal relationship with the artists and their work. The collection is 100% contemporary art, with works by, to name a few, Jeff Koons, Robert Gober, Charles Ray, Maurizio Cattelan, Jenny Holzer, Kiki Smith, Paul Chan, Seth Price, Verne Dawson, Cindy Sherman, Mike Kelley, Chris Ofili, Christopher Wool, Ashley Bickerton, George Condo, Mark Grotjahn, Pawel Althamer, Wangechi Mutu, David Altmejd, Barnaby Furnas, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, David Shrigley, John Bock, Allan McCollum, Joseph Kosuth, Piotr Uklanski, Gillian Wearing, Richard Prince, Dan Colen, Roberto Cuoghi, Friedrich Kunath, John Dogg, ... Art is part of all spaces and all spaces are lived in by the many members of the Joannou family (children and grandchildren included), thus the nonchalant, warm feeling of a house and not a ‘gallery space’ . We sit on a low 60s cream leather sofa, part of a collection of furniture of that time, and he opens one of the Beyond Black books I have brought for him. He dwells briefly on the Thomas Flohr profile and his yacht, designed, he says by the same designer, Ivana Porfiri who worked on his yacht, Guilty. This is a perfect opening for my first question, concerning the art experiment that Guilty proved to be. Joannou recalls his decision to trust Porfiri with the project. Her ability to work on a standard boat shape with clever and significant changes and her ability to combine fantasy and practicality in reshaping reality, matched the collector’s own approach. With his boat, designer and client decided to do “something completely fresh” and this involved a boat “completely flat and very open”, as Joannou explains, “a kind of a platform for a new experience”. Art was considered fundamental to the project and ‘simple but not obvious’ was a guideline shared by both, Joannou and Porfiri. Joannou didn’t want the yacht to exceed 110/115’ in size so as to be able to get into smaller marinas. The hull Ivana found, however, was 120 ft. In order to accommodate
Portrait of Mr. Joannou: Photo: Ilias Anagnostopoulos
Installation View, Fracture Figure – Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, DESTE Foundation, September 5, 2007– July 31, 2008 Photo: Stefan Altenburger Courtesy: The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
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her client she simply cut off the nose of the hull, which immediately gave the boat a particular character of its own. “This became a key design concept”, says Joannou. Entering this conversation about the boat, Jeff Koons, suggested a kind of an optical disruption – a ‘camouflage’ which would bring the potential of painting in the boat’s architecture and function: an idea with an interesting artistic background (Razzle Dazzle was the term for the paint scheme, invented by painter and naval officer Norman Wilkinson for war vessels and Koons aimed at a tribute to Roy Liechtenstein who had painted Andy Warhol’s boat) as well as a historic application (this was done in World War I in order to confuse the enemy as to the boat’s intentions and directions). As it transpired, Ivana had had the exact same idea, but didn’t quite know how to break it to her client. “The whole project fitted together”, says Joannou, “as the design was so well integrated” - giving him the most unconventional yacht of all times. This “beyond the ordinary” approach is something that reflects his genuine curiosity about life and art. I ask him about the explosion of contemporary art prices that preceded the recession and how hype has conspired with opportunism to drive them well beyond some pieces’ intrinsic worth. “Time will sort things out”, says Joannou philosophically. He, of course, started collecting some of today’s most prominent artists when they were still relatively unknown, so the satisfaction of having made the right decisions, commercially as well as aesthetically, must be enormous. Still, the man is totally unprepossessing and while he lights up when talks of his new projects, it is without a trace of smugness. He is not investing, he says, but buying to add to the collection. Does he sell? Yes, occasionally - even museums sell. Who was the first artist whose work he bought? Jeff Koons was the first artist he started to collect, he clarifies.
Installation View, Fracture Figure – Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, DESTE Foundation, September 5, 2007– July 31, 2008 Photo: Stefan Altenburger Courtesy: The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
The scale and focus of his collection, as well as Joannou’s own drive and ideas, make it one of the most remarkable and interesting privately owned contemporary art collections today.
How does he choose what he buys? Is it love at first sight, or the concept of the piece or the texture? For Joannou “everything has to work” and this has to do with a rather complex and personal way of experiencing one’s life time. Art is an intrinsic part of this experience. Joannou establishes personal relationships with the artists he collects: he starts a dialogue and builds a rapport with them. This goes beyond a simple Q&A about their work, to a genuine communication. One he, significantly, describes as “just talk”. Does he buy one offs or does he collect works by the same artists? As he explains, he does both as he builds the character and special twists of the collection. It is quite important for him to “give the collection breadth” and with this he means a unique juxtaposition of various artists and varied artworks. One which may involve masterpieces as well as surprises and experiments. Joannou started with an initially questioning approach towards collecting. He set up the DESTE Foundation, after a discussion with Pierre Restany in Athens, as a way to get involved with art without detaching the latter from life’s very paradox, its many accidents and wonders. The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art was born in 1983. Seminal shows like “Cultural Geometry”, “Post Human” and “Everything that’s Interesting is New” followed - in Greece, Cyprus and Switzerland- until 1998 . Then DESTE moved to its first permanent space in Neo Psychico, Athens and an ambitious exhibition program developed, including “Global Vision” (1999), Jeff Koons’ “A Millenium Celebration” and
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Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s “Masters of the Universe”. As part of the 2004 Olympic Games, DESTE organized “Monument to Now” and in 2006, the foundation moved to its present venue, a renovated factory in Nea Ionia, Athens. It’s current program focuses on “exploring the connections between art and fashion, music, film, architecture, design and contemporary culture”. Apart from the shows that draw on works from the Dakis Joannou collection, DESTE also initiates a number of ongoing projects like, the DESTE Prize, awarded biannually to an emerging Greek artist, the Hydra Slaughterhouse Project and the destefashioncollection. How did he come up with idea of fashion as art? The concept of fashion as art always fascinated him, as Joannou explains, but he lacked focus. He always watched for turning points and genuine inspiration in the fashion world and he still has the Artforum magazine which published that picture of an Issey Miyake piece on its cover in 1982. The Joannou concept took shape in the course of discussions with designers Michael Amzalag & Mathias Augustyniak (M/M Paris). Dennis Freedman, a friend and creative director of W magazine, entered the conversation a little later. It finally became an interesting curatorial approach and a unique experiment: Each year DESTE commissions artists from different fields, familiar with fashion, to choose five striking designs and interpret them visually and/or verbally. Each artist thus creates from the selected fashion items, five related works, which become part of a unique ‘capsule collection’. Each project is published in an art and fashion magazine and plans are to show the first exhibition of the destefashioncollection project as a whole, after five years from its conception. The interpretations to date have been by: Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak (M/M Paris)/2007, Juergen Teller/2008, Helmut Lang/2009, Patrizia Cavalli (scheduled for 2010) When Joannou is asked if he has ever collected fine art, he offers an answer which is indicative of his constant interest in ‘the experience of art’. He explains that when he started the collection, he bought some pieces to give reference to the collection and to put young unknown artists into context. “Twenty years later” he says, “they ARE the context”. His collection, starting from 1985, contains today concentrations of works of some of the most influential artists of the late 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. Joannou does not collect country-specific art, but he prefers to look at the merit of each work. One of the DESTE Foundation’s aims, however, is to highlight the work of Greek artists and create a new platform, facilitate this work’s interaction with the international art scene. How does he want to be remembered? He says he is not concerned with posterity, but with the present. The eternal Now. Art is both his language and his tool within this understanding of time and this is why he prefers his shows, projects and art choices to ‘speak’ for him. Concurrent with this stand is Joannou’s conviction that art’s purpose is not (and should not be) to influence public opinion in any way. People should experience art as a free broadening of their minds, as another level of reality, of presence and meaning. Dakis Joannou’s personal relevance on the global art scene is unquestionable. The scale and focus of his collection, as well as Joannou’s own drive and ideas, make it one of the most remarkable and interesting privately owned contemporary art collections today. f
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Installation View, A GUEST + A HOST = A GHOST – Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, DESTE Foundation, May 7 – December 19, 2009 Photo: Stefan Altenburger Courtesy: The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
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Installation View, A GUEST + A HOST = A GHOST – Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, DESTE Foundation, May 7 – December 19, 2009 Photo: Stefan Altenburger Courtesy: The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
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Installation View, Monument to Now, DESTE Foundation, June 22, 2004 - March 6, 2005 Photo: Fanis Vlastaras & Rebecca Konstantopoulou Courtesy: The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
David Altmej The Giant 2, 2007 Mixed Media 254 x 427 x 234 cm Photo: Stefan Altenburger Courtesy: The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
Overleaf Installation View, Fracture Figure – Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, DESTE Foundation, September 5, 2007– July 31, 2008 Photo: Stefan Altenburger Courtesy: The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
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Installation view of “Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection,” curated by Jeff Koons. Photograph by Benoit Pailley.
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Installation view of “Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection,” curated by Jeff Koons. Photograph by Benoit Pailley.
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Renowned photographer Mick Hutson, has carved out a unique style in travel reportage. A mixture of travel and social documentary photography captured in his own unique style brings at once a connection and empathy with the subjects he captures. More usually known for his travels with some of the biggest names in music as an internationally recognised music photographer, his travel and reportage photography is what he describes as his real passion. Never in one place for very long Mick’s desire to connect with people and cultures around the globe has seen him sleep under the stars with the Tuareg of the Sahara, waking up a tin shack in the township of Alexandria or being given a tour of the late exiled Mobutu Sese Seko’s ruined palace by the child soldiers once charged with protecting him.
m i c k h u tso n
Columbia Invasión (a shanty town) in Bogotá... Maria, proud mother of 8 children. Overleaf South Africa In a hot humid shack in the township of Alexandria, the air thick with the smell of hash and kerosene, Monique gets ready for work in Johannesburg while her husband is left to look after their mentally impaired son Michael.
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Above Sahara Daughters of Hassan Ag TouhamiÂ sit under the shade of a tree in the desert region of Tessalit in Northern Mali. Right Sahara Buying the material for a Shesh in Mali convenience store ( Toureg Turban ), essential clothing for any desert adventure.Â
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India A regal man of the Rajasthan region of Northern India, his colourful Safa turban a legacy of the Rajput kings of yore. Overleaf The CongoÂ Kinshasa DRC, children rush to greet the new visitors in a street orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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While in Rio we met the man who is widely recognised as the father of plastic surgery as we know it today, and referred to as‘the Master’ by his fellow Brazilian surgeons, at his Rio de Janeiro clinic in Rua Marianna.
B Beyond in Rio: Conversation with
ight from the start, the feeling of visiting a temple of sorts – a temple to beauty, but also to the man who has come to symbolise eternal youth and beauty – is palpable. We are taken to a small reception, adorned with a multitude of diplomas, endorsements, accolades and honours, too many to take all in, and a table laden with hard cover books, including our own Beyond Black editions. We are then taken to the great man’s personal office on top of the building. The office contains art, books, an aquarium and an aviary. Ivo Pitanguy arrives, looking not one bit different from the various pictures published of him. The only difference is the easy charm and a vaguely embarrassed smile brought about by our effusive statements about him being a living legend. We are accustomed to big egos and self-awareness because most of our interviewees are hugely successful in their own area. Pitanguy doesn’t traffic in false modesty – he acknowledges his status as the world’s pre-eminent plastic surgeon who has come to epitomise the ultimate in beauty enhancement, with a twinkle in his eye and the following observation: “well, I must take some credit for it…” Yet the man is distinctly unassuming and unpretentious. He sees himself as a doctor, not the celebrity he has undoubtedly become. BB: What makes a great rather than a good surgeon? After all, procedures are more or less identical and given the skill and experience, why are not all surgeons equally recognised as great? IP: The most important thing is to comprehend the expectations of the patient. In terms of rejuvenating (as opposed to reconstructive) surgery, people often expect more than surgery can do for them. Everyone ages differently but there is always that moment
between youth and maturity and, when it arrives, we want to stop time. There are many techniques developed to arrest time – perhaps too many – but the important thing is to help people ward off the disasters of time without changing them. Giving them some dignity as they age and making them feel better about themselves, without changing them dramatically, is what great plastic surgery is about. The youthful look comes from the inside, in
Giving people some dignity as they age and making them feel better about themselves, without changing them dramatically, is what great plastic surgery is about. any case. If you feel better about yourself, you look younger. Plastic surgery can make people happier even if they are inherently ugly because it gives me an ego boost. Yet, if people expect more than is realistic, the result would always make them unhappy. Is there a super class of surgically enhanced people? Inequality exists everywhere. This aspect of life touched me some 60 years ago and I set up a clinic that takes care of the population that cannot afford plastic surgery. I was once interviewed at the clinic and the journalist asked a patient, a simple woman, who was in
the waiting room, “But why do you want to do this?” She didn’t understand English, but understood the question almost instinctively and replied, “I want to feel well and happy”. You have ensured your place in history – how aware are you of having achieved immortality? I was recently invited to the school where I went as a 5 year old. They have renamed the school after me. This touched me more than anything. Then I learned that the emergency department in my home town has been named after me. But to appreciate life fully, it is important we remember that we are not immortal. What about the immortality of the brand Pitanguy? My daughter Gisela is in charge of the Pitanguy Institute and its products and branding, but we are just starting in this respect. I was recently told that there is an Ivo Pitanguy clinic in Korea. When I asked them why they have named it so, they simply said they liked the name. To me, this doesn’t matter much. I don’t think very commercially. Our conversation is punctuated with anecdotes and incursions into other areas of interest – Pitanguy knows he has to talk about plastic surgery, but has said most of it before. His enthusiasm for life and curiosity for all things and people (including the interviewer) are all the more engaging considering this is a man of a ripe age and one who has achieved great success and recognition. “I am very curious about life”, he says, “and like to talk about many different things. I like skiing, tennis, riding, swimming… I like Paris, I like to read…” His favourite place in the world, besides Brazil? Paris! “You can walk in Paris and I like being a flâneur.” We talk about his island which he is re-populating with rare animals. “Seven tapirs have been born on the island”. I ask him if he is an ecologist. The answer is that ecology is a state of mind, not a government policy.
He talks fondly of the island’s fauna and of the recent floods that has caused some devastation there as with everywhere else in this part of the world. He laughs when we ask if he sends his patients to recuperate there. The island does not have a facility for patients, he says – he does invite friends, though, including those who have had surgery and need to recover. He tells of his last visit to Russia and how he met Valentina Tereshkova, the Russian cosmonaut. A Portuguese translator was made available for the duration of his stay (although he speaks several languages fluently, his Russian is limited to “ochen krasivaya” – very beautiful). Pitanguy was trying to describe using a simulator to “land on the Moon” and the very real sensations of the experience. The interpreter assumed he HAD gone to the Moon and this is what he told Tereshkova, who blanched. She told him solemnly that she felt very humble in his presence – not only was he a great
surgeon, but he’d also been to the Moon, something even she couldn’t claim fame to. She gave him a warm hug when the confusion was resolved. He also speaks of visiting his home town and being invited at the inauguration of a Pitanguy primary school, and how touched he was. Fame, it seems, has not gone to Pitanguy’s head and at his age, is unlikely to. In fact, his daughter Gisela tells us at the subsequent interview, how he fought long and hard against the commercialisation of a new Pitanguy skin care line. Only when she insisted that the project was patient-driven did he relent. Pitanguy is first and foremost a medical doctor – one who still offers the Institute’s services for free to those who cannot pay. The mystique around the name will survive him. Let us hope that his grandson, currently training to be a surgeon, follows in his footsteps and has his magical touch. We wish him well as he has some very large shoes to fill.
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The Pitanguy Institute Ivo Pitanguy has trained thousands of plastic surgeons. His clinic offers pre- and post-operative treatments, as well as beauty and anti-ageing treatments. The anti-ageing philosophy of the clinic has inspired a new line of skin care products, Beauty by Clinica Ivo Pitanguy, developed to improve the condition of the skin and minimise the effects of time. These are “state-of-the-art” cosmetics which can be used any time. They are available at two spas: the Ritz Hotel spa in Paris and at the Guard Golf at Crans Montana in Switzerland, and will be launched in select stores worldwide in the next several months. F
Ivo Pitanguy’s island, Ilha dos Porcos Grande.
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rio documentary A
Cidade Maravilhosa or ‘ The Marvelous City ’; Synonymous with Carnival, Corcovado, Capoeira, Copacabana, Ipanema, Favela, Samba and of course Soccer ! The true city that never sleeps. photographs by mick hutson
Corcovado meaning ‘hunchback’ in Portuguese with the 38m statue of Christo Redentor overlooking Rio de Janiero.
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Above: Morning sun rises through the early morning mist in the favelaÂ Complexo do AlemĂŁo.
Right: A myriad of passageways deep in the heart of the Rocinha favela, the largest favela in Rio.
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Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines the elements of martial arts, music and dance. Participants form a roda, or circle, laying musical ( such as the Berimbau) singing, or ritually sparring in pairs in the centre of the circle.Â
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Two of Brasilâ€™s favourite pastimes, soccer and the girls of Ipanema.
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The end of the day with a storm brewing, surfers pack up for the day on Copacabana beach.
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introductions in high places:
he world of personal matchmakers has always been shrouded in a bit of mystery. And while the Internet has democratised dating, tailored introductions are becoming even more highly prized by successful men and women who have achieved a great deal and are ready to begin a new phase in their life, and whose romance “shopping list” is full of very high expectations, proportionate to their success. Enter Leanne Husler who, having studied to be a stockbroker, decided instead to turn her natural aptitude for interacting with people into a bespoke introduction service for the super discreet and super successful. The former Vancouver-born model is a selfpossessed cool blonde who exudes glamour, but also confidence and assurance. The well-connected international socialite travels continually between clients’ homes, yachts and jets all over the world. She takes her work very seriously and uses a two tier application system to weed out aspiring clients who do not quite make the grade.
She works with a small team of vetting specialists whose services ensure that every manner of background compliance checks are applied Anyone who has ideas about joining her list for the purpose of embarking on a high level, short-lived affair is discouraged. She works with clients who are looking for long-term relationships, marriage and above all, romance. Each client is different and, according to Leanne, quite enjoys the quasi-psychoanalytical aspect of the interviews she conducts in order to ascertain what he or she wants in a relationship. In the process of discussing their expectations, priorities, values and behavioural patterns, people often discover new things about themselves. Most have realistic expectations, she says, but don’t necessarily know what they need. The interview process helps them to clarify this to themselves as well as to her. Once a client has made it through the preliminary application process and background check, and agreed a fee based on their profile, they sign an acceptance letter which is in fact an exhaustive and
precisely worded contract, setting out the terms of service and exactly what a client gets for their money. Her book of social contacts – the staple of anyone who introduces people as a business - is impressive, indeed. We talk about art collectors and she immediately warms to the topic with well-informed observations about the art world in which she has many personal friends. At the same time, she is guarded and tightlipped when it comes to discussing clients, not even prepared to put an average age to them. Leanne says she loves what she does and sees people in their best light – unconditionally. She comes across as intuitive and analytical at the same time – a rare combination – and listens intently. Beneath the glamorous image is clearly an interesting mind at work and a visionary who is going places – literally and in the business sense. F Contact Leanne Husler www.womanofyourdreams.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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a m b e r ’s s i m p l e p l e a s u r e s
Profix International Ltd. is a multi-service agency providing top quality residential and corporate/office maintenance, cleaning, re-decorating and associated services.
Conversation with Leonid Shutov, owner of Bob Bob Ricard, affectionately known as BBR Russian restaurant in Soho...
I sat down to some vintage vodka and jellied ox tongue with the owner of London’s new best kept restaurant secret…
estled in the heart of vibrant Soho, Bob Bob Ricard is a sanctuary for urban royalty. An eclectic mix of London’s elite snuggle up in the private booths, amid decadent interiors by David Collins (of The Wolsley and J Sheeky fame) for a few hours of culinary indulgence. From the pleasure of ordering Ritz crackers with Dairylea triangles to pressing the ‘The Champagne Button’, every eccentric element of this restaurant works to make it one of the most memorable dining experiences you will ever have. The credit for this, of course, goes to the owners, Leonid and Ricard. Having moved to London just 3 years ago from their native Russia, all they needed to make BBR the success it is, was open the doors…
What prompted you to open BBR? We wanted to create something that was a one-off, a place where people could have fun and would want to return for more. It has not been a life long dream of mine to open a restaurant but the time was right and it has been a real labour of love. I am an owner in the old school sense of the word: impeccable quality and detail that cannot be achieved without daily attention.
peach. It is about choice and quality: if you want to have eggs benedict for supper and a knicker bocker glory for dessert, then you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your surroundings or company. The experience should not be compromised.
What attracted you to London? London is one of the greatest cities on earth. If you make it in London you have truly made it.
Your head chef is James Walker. How did you two go about creating the menu? The menu is a mix of our favourite food and traditional Russian dishes. We use local and seasonal produce to make it more interesting. Once people have tried the Somerset Pear Bellini they will always prefer it to
What is your favourite dish at BBR? The Beef Wellington is superb.
Secret Hideaway? Floating down the river in Laos on the Aman boat.
Building/handyman/decoration/electrical and other professional services are charged on a per project basis, but start from as little as £20 per hour. We are happy to offer a free quotation with no call out charge and no obligation. Our subsidiary company, Refer a Cleaner, carries a detailed listing of available services and costs per hour. We employ catering staff for any size events. We train and employ all manner of residential staff from basic cleaners to handymen, clothes valeting/alteration hands, drivers, carers for the elderly, dog walkers, etc.
Other people’s restaurants? Harrys Bar and J Sheeky.
All our staff are insured and professionally accredited when applicable.
Luxury is? Priority, Privacy and Proper Service. F
Profix Contacts www.profixint.com E: email@example.com T: +44(0)7969464817
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Since receiving his medical doctorate at the Paris Medical School in 1974, Dr Sister has let the International Beauty and Anti-Ageing community dip into his pool of expertise on many occasions.
r Sister has practiced in the world’s premier surgeries, establishing himself initially in Paris before commuting with Los Angeles to maintain the looks of Hollywood’s elite and it’s most famous (and scrutinized) celebrities. He is settle now permanently in London. During his successes in the USA, Dr Sister took time to establish the HealthTech Institute, which has taken part in numerous activities in the USA, Canada, France, England, Ireland, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to further our understanding of anti-ageing and beauty. In addition he is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, American Association of Anti Aging Medicine, British Association of Cosmetic Doctors and an ex Vice President of the Complementary Medical Association . His views on aesthetic maintenance and
improvement are highly respected around the globe and subsequently has made numerous TV and press appearances all over the world. He is also the author of six internationally recognised publications (with another on the way). Choosing a Healthcare Aesthetic Doctor is one of the most important decisions you can make. You want someone who is caring, knowledgeable, and accessible. Someone willing to take the time to go over all of your options, to understand your expectations and treats you as a person - not just a patient. You can’t stop time but you can slow it down! With a personal ‘Whole-listic’ approach he can address many issues from the inside, out and so can offer bespoke treatments that will leave you feeling like a whole new person in no time! F
Feel as young as you look, look as young as you feel! For Dr Sister, 21st Century is definitely: No pain, no gain! > Innovative, Safe and Efficient: > First to introduce Laser/Elos treatments in the U.K. > First to introduce Carboxytherapy in the UK > First to introduce the VIPeel in the UK > First to introduce the M.E.L.T. therapy in the UK > First to introduce the S3- Skin therapy in the UK > First to introduce the “F.A.C.E.” treatment in the UK
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] DR SISTER ON BEAUTY
Photograph by Robert Goldstein.
Contact: 8/9 Lambton Place London W11 2SH tel: 0207 221 224
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el izabet h wa u g h
Elizabeth Waugh is a New York City-based photographer and artist who established her Brooklyn studio in early 2009. She designs and shoots advertising campaigns for jewelry and accessories clients such as LeBulga, Nicholas Varney, Alex & Ani, and Rosanne Pugliese. In addition, she produces photographic editorial work for fashion magazines such as Zink and Genlux. Her fine art includes annual books of prose and photography, the eighth of which, White Noise, will be published in June of 2010.
Glitterface 2 Make-up: Roberto Casey Hair: Charley Montgomery Model: Amber with Click Model Management Retouching: Joshua Meckes
My work is an exploration of the seductive dimensions lying between what is regarded as natural and what is labeled as artifice. Where these concepts – these ideals – converge is fertile ground for coaxing out some kind of truth about why and how we experience light and form as we do. Does the magic of enhancing natural beauty somehow mask or even distort that beauty? If we are agitated or enticed by attempting to frame these questions, what does it reveal about us? What constitutes artistic integrity in such a pursuit? My approach is characterized by the meticulous process of sharpening these questions.
Charred Wood 2 White Noise, 2010
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Nefertiti 1 Make-up: Roberto Casey Hair: Tashina Tantalos Stylist: Jennifer Green Model: Iona Girhan with Major Model Management Retouching: Joshua Meckes
Glitterface 1 Make-up: Roberto Casey Model: Amber with Click Management Retouching: Katarina Cradit Credit: Creskljdf ak;jdfh sdav d.kv dk.vj a.dkfjv Make-up: zdcvjk dzfvjModel ;ilgjh `ljhxg g/hlj ss.jfjed,jfkf fkf ,m,m fbgm,b
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Nefertiti 2 Make-up: Roberto Casey Hair: Tashina Tantalos Stylist: Jennifer Green Manicure: Bliss New York Model: Iona Girhan with Major Model Management Retouching: Joshua Meckes
Credit: Creskljdf ak;jdfh sdav d.kv dk.vj a.dkfjv Make-up: zdcvjk dzfvj ;ilgjh `ljhxg g/hlj ss.jfjed,jfkf fkf ,m,m fbgm,b
Nefertiti 3 Make-up: Roberto Casey Stylist: Jennifer Green Model: Iona Girhan with Major Model Management Retouching: Joshua Meckes
Charred Wood 1 White Noise, 2010
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A rt Foundation
In 2003 the contemporary art scene in Hong Kong was very underdeveloped. There were plenty of commercial galleries, but no public shows or galleries – certainly nothing analogous to the Tate or Hayward that Western visitors take for granted.
n the last seven years matters have changed dramatically. Although much of that explosion of interest can be attributed to the enthusiasm of investors, who suddenly realized that contemporary art could provide lucrative new commercial opportunities, at least some of the paradigm shift is down to the Sovereign Art Foundation. The brainchild of Howard Bilton, CEO of the Sovereign Group, the Foundation was established in Hong Kong in 2003 with the twin aims of educating the public in the joys of contemporary art and raising money for international charities to assist disadvantaged children. The Foundation now wields considerable influence; judges number some of contemporary art’s most influential figures – current members of the panel include Sir Peter Blake, perhaps most famous for designing the album cover for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, TV presenter and White Cube’s Director of Exhibitions Tim Marlow, and Philly Adams, Director of the Saatchi Gallery.
nominators in each country of the relevant region. These are curators and other experts, but usually people with no commercial interest in art themselves. They ask each nominator to select a minimum of five of the country’s best artists – typically, ones who are well known and well followed in their own country but who have not yet gained world-wide acclaim. It needs to be artists who will appreciate the kind of exposure and financial reward this brings. Once they are internationally established they tend to have less interest in this kind of publicity, or the $25,000 prize.’ That may be true of some of the Foundation’s past winners, who the prize has launched to worldwide fame. Susan Gunn’s abstract painting Specto Spectus I & II beat off 300 other entries in 2006; her solo exhibition of 33 pieces two years later at Norwich Castle commanded prices of anything from £1,000 to £25,000. The Asian winner for the same year, Thai artist Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew, also attracts five-figure sums for his paintings.
For an organisation that punches above its weight, Bilton admits that the early days weren’t easy. ‘Sales were very sparse at Sotheby’s and Christie’s for the first two years, before the changing commercial side of
The picture selected by the judges from a short-list of 30 remains with the Foundation, which uses it to gain further publicity by lending it out and, ultimately, selling it or donating it to a museum. The other 29 entries are auctioned at a gala This is the contemporary event of its kind in the region. We’ll dinner organised by the Foundation in be starting an African prize very soon now – there’s enormous conjunction with corporate sponsors with plenty of clout and lots of loyal enthusiasm for this in Africa because there is nothing else like supporters (in past years, Bvlgari, Barclay’s Wealth and Louis Vuitton have it there – and we’re now looking at the Middle East too. all funded exhibitions and auctions). Fifty percent of the proceeds go to things began to help and it became easier to generate the artists. Thanks to the backing of the Sovereign interest and support. To date the Foundation has raised Group, which pays all of the organisation’s overheads over $1.5 million, which we have distributed to a wide and wages, the remaining 50 percent all goes towards range of projects.’ Amongst these is the M’Lop Tapang furthering the Foundation’s charitable work. charity, which provides a safe space with resources, training and opportunities for homeless children who Seven years in and the Foundation is making significant would otherwise be vulnerable to abuse, or actually inroads into the international scene. ‘Support in the Far have been abused in the course of life on the streets, East is now huge,’ says Bilton. ‘This is the largest event and a UNICEF programme which uses the performing of its kind in the region. We’ll be starting an African arts to help rehabilitate trauma victims of the 2004 prize very soon now – there’s enormous enthusiasm for Boxing Day Tsunami. this in Africa because there is nothing else like it there – and we’re now looking at the Middle East too. We’re The Foundation’s awareness and fund-raising model is even growing in Europe, though it’s more of a struggle, simple but effective. ‘The sole activity of the Foundation particularly in England where there are more prizes for is its art prizes. We’ve been running the Asian one for contemporary art.’ The Foundation’s three-year deal seven years now, and a European one for four. The first with the Barbican can only accelerate that process. Art stage in the process is to appoint a minimum of three collectors should certainly watch this space. F
a Doug Fishbone ‘Untitled
(Banana Project) 2002’
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b Mor Mor ‘Next’ c Yip Siu Ka ‘Pattern at Shatin’ d Rashid Rana ‘Veil 1’ e Rob & Nick Carter ‘Painting Photograph Oil XII, 2004/05’ f Zhou Jin Hua ‘After the Storm’
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g Chow Chun Fai ‘Once A thief “Any Self-Respecting Thief Would Be Proud
To Steal This Painting”’ h Jeffrey Du Vallier D’Aragon Aranita ‘Moonrise, Tai Ping Shan’ i Haris Purnomo ‘Child in Red’ j Nadia Hebson ‘Valzer’ k Tsang Kin Wah ‘I Love You’
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w e i ev
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best fiction reviewed
TRAdITIOnAl vAlUeS, CUT TIng-edge PRAC TICe
Montanamo Chris Leibig, whose day job is practising criminal law in the Washington DC area, is a master of the current affairs thriller and Montanamo is his latest novel. Fact-based novels are nothing new, but the current affairs fiction genre is something of a speciality of Leibig’s. Having debuted with Saving Saddam, a semi-fictional account of the late dictator’s trial and execution with a twist in the tail, he has tackled in Montanamo another controversial topic – that of transferring political prisoners to the state of Montana against the backdrop of local “politicking”, money laundering and big business mongering. An ambitious mayor with no compunction about using her sex appeal, a hard-boiled, Rod Steiger-like Montana sheriff, a reformed alcoholic lawyer and a single-minded terrorist from Pakistan dominate this taut, fast-paced tale of small town secrets mixed with high octane international terrorism and electoral agendas. Without proselytising, Leibig touches upon the
Wealth seems to come in a broader range of forms than it used to. People can become millionaires in a myriad of different ways – building a successful business, realising gains from property investment, transforming a timely idea into a viable commercial venture – and the landed aristocracy are increasingly outnumbered by entrepreneurs, executives and lottery winners. Managing the wealth and interests of such a broad range of clients requires a high level of expertise. For all these different categories of success, the dilemma remains the same: where are assets best placed in a difficult economic climate to provide for the future?
relatively deregulated drug trade on remote Indian reservations, the lucrative business that prisons are, the political skulduggery of elections and the uncomfortable reality behind organised religious zealotry. His villains are often defeated by their very humanity and the good guys are vulnerable and flawed, just like the rest of us. His dialogue is richly flavoured with colloquialisms and most of all, he never forgets that the reader likes to have a laugh as well as enjoy the suspense. Having practically invented the genre of a current affairs thriller, Leibig surpasses expectations with this new hugely topical page-turner. Montanamo is a masterpiece of suspense by a master story teller.
For Coutts, a further value informs the work of the bank. ‘Philanthropy isn’t just an optional extra at Coutts; it sets the context of the work for our clients,’ says Maya Prabhu, Head of Philanthropy for Coutts. ‘The idea of thoughtfully giving something back underpins the bank. It’s integral to the culture of the bank and our role with clients. We act as advisers: clients want to invest, to grow their wealth, to preserve it, to have some fun – and also express their sense of gratitude and privilege through philanthropy. So the philanthropy department has a role across the spectrum: in broad terms, it’s about life enrichment.’ Maya continues; ‘Coutts was the first private bank in the UK to have a dedicated philanthropy team and in late 2009, the team launched the proposition internationally, so that the 36,000 clients of RBS Coutts, from a network of 13 offices around the globe also have access to the advisory service.’
Published by Artnik Books www.artnik.org RRP £12.99/$19.99 B Beyond readers are offered a 20 % discount. Discount voucher “artnik direct”.
The Last Ember “Good artists borrow, great artists steal”. Pablo Picasso’s perhaps apocryphal quote comes to mind when one first picks up Daniel Levin’s The Last Ember, which makes no bones about targeting Dan Brown’s archeological action-thriller genre, complete with controversial religious mysteries and an intellectual Indiana Jones sleuthing beneath ancient cities. The truth, however, is that The Last Ember is a brilliant novel in its own right, its mysteries both more obscure and more politically topical than Brown’s. Like any good action thriller, The Last Ember starts fast but without sacrificing its unique blend of action and believable historical controversy. Unlike Brown’s Robert Langdon, or Indiana Jones himself, Jonathon Marcus is not an adventurer, but a lawyer. (Robert Langdon is a professor of semiotics). He initially travels to Rome for the relatively routine task of helping his firm defend a man who may be accused of stealing artifacts. But Jonathon’s knowledge of classics leads him to discover that his client possesses far more than lucrative trinkets, as the ancient pieces of marble are a possible key to an age-old fight over the historical
soul of Jerusalem. Urged to focus only on the legal case, Jonathon ignores the warnings and embarks on the greater mission of locating the Temple Menorah, an artifact hidden by the treacherous Flavius Josephus, whose centuries-old betrayal of Jerusalem threatened, and still threaten, to undercut the Jewish claim to the sacred Temple Mount. Jonathon and a United Nations archeologist, Dr. Emili Travia, realise that ancient and secret organisations still fight over the future of the Temple Menorah - one side seeking to protect it, another seeking to destroy it. It is not a struggle for fortune and glory, rather over who has a rightful claim to the Holy Land. Levin does an excellent job keeping his novel, which is full of so many history lessons, moving as fast as a good garden-variety thriller. And it is much more than that. The Last Ember will lead readers interested in the history and politics of the conflict over Jerusalem to seek more. Published by Riverhead Books, a Penguin Imprint in 2009
Some clients have a clear idea of how they would like to achieve their philanthropic aims; for others, the process is less defined. ‘Clients come at various stages. Some pay their taxes and give a bit to UK charities, but are interested in addressing poverty in other countries, for example. They may have little knowledge of how to make an impact. Coutts helps them to clarify their objectives and find some focus on specific areas or countries. This is important because, even with an eight-figure sum, it can be hard to achieve real change without strong goals. Another type of client may be interested in something like education – but it can be hard to know where a private philanthropist can make a difference in the UK, when the government has such a hold. Under these circumstances, it is helpful to map the territory and identify points where they could make a difference.’ Serving such a broad range of interests is core to the bank’s ethos. ‘At Coutts we have the great pleasure of meeting people from a diverse and fascinating range of backgrounds and each and every one of them will have their own ideas on what they would like to achieve both personally and financially,’ adds Coutts’ Head of Private Banking, Kate Turner. ‘Many clients have a realisation of the responsibilities of wealth, and want to make an impact to give something back. Many are self-made and want to use their wealth well.’ Recent months have seen a rapidly increasing demand for tailored wealth management solutions, as high net worth individuals seek to ensure they are receiving the best advice possible. ‘The true art of wealth management is the ability to understand the types of emotion being felt by clients at different times, and to provide tangible, effective advice on both obvious issues, and those matters that may not have been considered previously. This is not a process that can be fixed
with the use of a flow chart or a series of questionnaires, as all clients have their own individual beliefs, expectations and aspirations,’ continues Kate. Interestingly, the point at which philanthropy explicitly intersects with wealth management solutions is tax – not as a primary reason in itself, but as an unexpected benefit and a route into philanthropy, since clients looking for tax breaks typically realise that the philanthropy team have much more to offer. ‘Tax is often the catalyst, if not the driver,’ explains Maya. An informal survey after a philanthropy forum listed possible motivations for clients’ interest – desire to give something back, devotion a particular cause, a personal link to a charity, providing a role model for children, and so on. Tax was one option, but it came out as one of the lowest. ‘In most cases, tax savings are the icing on the cake. Usually it’s about passion for a cause. The real sense of giving something back is a much stronger reason in their experience.’ Coutts – the ‘Queen’s Bank’ – may have a traditional image and practices, but there is plenty that is cutting-edge, too. The bank has responded to changing markets by introducing access to new products – for example, a service that looks at a broad range of capital-protected investments with a variety of time horizons to suit an individual’s liquidity requirements. They also work, for example, with family business owners on succession planning: things which, says Maya, ‘go to the heart of what keeps people up at night’. They were the first private bank to introduce a new kind of account, intended to facilitate philanthropic work, and have pioneered the collective pooling of resources to enable support and learning around charities. (One particular area is microfinance, about which there is a lot of information but very little guidance.) They also run a course for the younger generation, thinking about how to bring them in and foster their interest in wealth management, as well as looking at growing and developing assets for children.
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Emerging markets are selling at 12 times earnings for 2010, 10 times for 2011. Predicted growth is 40% for the emerging universe and 70% in Russia.
merging markets have been and are my passion. My history is fairly straightforward. I got an MBA in the U.S., then worked for Merrill Lynch in New York for four years before joining the family bank, Pictet. I started and built the emerging market products at Pictet in 1985 and moved to Geneva in 1990. About ten years ago I decided that working at the bank wasn’t for me and set up the Fabien Pictet Asset Management office which specialises in emerging markets. We have eight different funds - regional, country-specific, global, long, short... Many people from my old team at Pictet joined me and now we are one of the longest established teams in this area of operation, always looking for new companies and countries to invest in. On emerging markets India is part of our global fund but it’s not on our priority list at the moment because of the high inflation (12-15%) and low local returns (2-3%), which means negative real rates, not good for equity pricing. The government there should have tackled the inflation earlier. They are now starting to raise interest rates and to put their house in order, so we will eventually go back to it, but at the moment, other areas offer better value. In Latin America, Argentina is a country to watch and, although we have nothing there at the moment, I can see a wind of change blowing. It is a beautiful country, producing everything we need and could produce twothree times more but for a crippling export tax. Hopefully this is about to change as business people are making entry into government. Chile is not a large market for us and it’s not cheap either. Colombia too has done extremely well, but we don’t have a big exposure there. Brazil is an option on China. If China grows, so does Brazil. We are market weighted in Brazil. Korea is a very interesting country. The market there had a big correction in 2008 and technology has been an underperforming asset since 1998. Their currency got hit very badly in 2008. We like it today because it offers a mixture of dynamic economy, good earnings and good value and because the taste of investors for the technology area is picking up. Korea, Taiwan and China are major positions for us, as is Russia. We had no Russia exposure pre-credit crunch. We moved into Russia last March. The Russian market fell 80% in the credit crunch, equal to its 1998 level when the country was bust.
This mirrors what happened to emerging markets in general, yet for once they were not the bad boys in the classroom. Emerging markets had already had their crisis - they had already de-leveraged. The problems of the West were not applicable to 90% of the emerging markets but they fell in line with everything else, or even more because the index fell more than 60% during 2008. The typical post-recession scenario is that developed economies make a comeback first, then emerging economies follow suit. This time, emerging markets bottomed in October 2008, then had a 70% rally last year – the biggest rally in any of the other classes. The emerging market asset class, in fact, fell “in sympathy”. People got into a panic and this was a time when any financial asset sold at any price.
People were also scared about counter-party risk in October 2008 - would their broker still be alive, would their bank go bust? Emerging markets assets sold for no reason at the time. They now represent 12% of the Morgan Stanley Index, yet only get 3-5% allocation within pension funds – very modest for what has been the best asset class for over 10 years. If you want growth, you’d invest in emerging markets. During the recession there was a process of derating and since, a V shape recovery. Armageddon is no longer on the horizon, so people are reconsidering the worth of the asset. Russia, for example, went up 150% from the bottom, but is still 40% lower than its high level. At which point of the ‘V’ are we? We’ve done two thirds of the ‘V’ upwards. If you forgot the credit crunch and considered this - expansive monetary policies from governments, high liquidity, low interest rates, less leverage
– you’d conclude that this is the best environment for financial assets. We consider this to be a bull market. Retail investors, unfortunately and historically, buy when the market is up and have therefore missed the opportunities in equities. Institutional investors should know better but they too have missed opportunities. Risk appetite in this last recession went from cash to bonds and only now from bonds to equities. Yet you didn’t need much liquidity to move the markets - as soon as you were a buyer, prices went up very dramatically. The easy money, however, has been made. Emerging markets are selling at 12 times earnings for 2010, 10 times for 2011. Predicted growth is 40% for the emerging universe and 70% in Russia. We are not in a “bubbly” environment in any sense so, apart from a geopolitical risk that we cannot predict, there isn’t any major risk for markets today. UK elections impact on market and currency The worst case scenario would be a hung parliament with Gordon Brown as PM. Second worst scenario is a hung parliament with David Cameron as PM. Best scenario is Cameron with a small majority. The sterling has been sliding in recent weeks because the city doesn’t like Brown and because Cameron is saying nothing. He has moved towards the center because he doesn’t want to alienate anyone. What happens after the election is key. The UK has historically followed the US out of recession, with the rest of Europe coming after that, but a lot of work needs to be done in this country beforehand. The public sector is a monster, with basic salaries exceeding those in the financial sector and a top heavy bureaucracy. Still, things would have to get a lot worse before there is a mass exodus of bank staff out of the UK. I am a man of free markets and an optimist. I am also Swiss, so not hugely affected by UK taxation, but FPP itself is cautiously opening new offices in Singapore. Personal interests I play polo, which is my passion. I play in England where I have a house in West Sussex, in Argentina and in Gstaad, where I am captain of the Gstaad Palace hotel team. Summer in Gstaad is great – it’s a summer destination for people “in the know”. F
on emerging markets: a conversation with
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Interview with Salomé Zourabichvili, Former French Ambassador and former Foreign Minister of Georgia. Currently Leader of the political party ‘The Way of Georgia’ and professor at Sciences-Po, Paris.
ou have been a French ambassador, then a Foreign Minister of Georgia; that is a very exceptional feat in diplomacy. Can you tell us how that could happen? SZ: Being appointed in a country, albeit the country of my parents and ancestors, as ambassador of France and then appointed, in that same country and within a few months, as Foreign Minister was more than unusual. Indeed it is to my knowledge the only such example in recent History. It happened unexpectedly in March 2005 and I was thereafter the very European Georgian Foreign Minister for almost two years. This uncommon set of events came about as a result of the common will and decisions of two Presidents: Mikhail Saakashvili, the newly elected young Georgian President, leader of the Rose Revolution and acclaimed as a young democrat and a symbol of new hopes in the post-Soviet region and Jacques Chirac, the French president who probably felt that by giving in to the demand of his younger colleague, he would signal the beginning of a new stage of cooperation. Was this “exception” well accepted by the Georgian people or did they see in you an “alien” out of tune with the realities of the post-communist world? I think I was well accepted by the Georgian people – and remain so to this day. I represented two important symbols: that of Europe coming to Georgia and getting involved in the very difficult transition from communism to democracy and that of an old, pre-Soviet émigré Georgian family coming back to the homeland. My family had left Georgia in 1921 as an act of resistance and defiance to the “military takeover” of the country by the “Reds”, the Russian Bolsheviks. This political exile was, for eighty years, the beacon of hope that one day Georgia will be inde-
Paris clamouring for me to be appointed as his Foreign Minister. At the end of 2005, it was already becoming clear that the democratic revolution was not delivering all its promises. While I was never seen as an alien by the Georgian population, I became increasingly so for the Georgian governing elite. This elite became more and more entrenched in old power games, where corruption and Soviet mentality were not uncommon. I was too European and, strangely enough, too Georgian! I cared for the future of the country I had come back to in a different way than the leaders who were more preoccupied with their own power and personal ambitions. They probably ended up seeing me as a problem, someone who would openly disagree with a number of their policies. Since then Georgia has gone through a war with Russia and is facing many difficulties. Are you not tempted to go back to France and to your diplomatic career? I would be lying if I said that it never crosses my mind, especially when things get rough (which is quite often). Since my dismissal from the Government and my subsequent decision to remain in Georgia, I have gone through different stages. I first created a nongovernmental movement to work with and within the society, which then turned into a political party. I took part in three elections: local elections in 2006, presidential elections in 2008 (where I was the prime minister designate with the opposition leader) and parliamentary elections in the spring of 2008. Over the past three years I have become one of the more visible and trusted opposition leaders and certainly the one with the most evident pro-European stand. And if anything, the 2008 Georgian-Russian war has
Please, describe how and why you subsequently left Georgia and what you are doing now. I did not leave. I was expelled by the very same person – Mikhail Saakashvili - who had previously gone to
convinced me that without democracy there can be no stability; that this war could happen because two non- democratic regimes were both looking for power consolidation instead of caring about economic development. It has strengthened my resolve to continue the fight and to remain politically active. I was the only Georgian political leader who managed to reach a negotiated agreement with Russia (over the withdrawal of military bases, in 2005). It remains to this day the only agreement ever reached with Russia that was fully respected and implemented. Indeed Russian military bases left Georgia’s territory at the time, but unfortunately, as a consequence of the last
Portrait of a Presidential Contender
war, new military forces have come back in even higher numbers. What had been achieved has since been lost. This, of course, is a tragedy for the country as a whole and a personal one for me. For this and many other reasons I believe I will be needed again when the time comes to negotiate and find an agreement with the Russians. A small country like Georgia cannot exist next to a powerful neighbour without looking to find some sort of normalised relationship. Confronting Russia in a sterile way, as the Saakashvili government has, is no solution. Going to Moscow and begging the Russians to solve our problems as some opposition leaders are inclined to do these days is no better solution either. The alternative rather is to defend Georgia’s national interests by standing up to Russia whenever needed and pursue our path towards the West, yet without either animosity or insult. Negotiation is an art based on two solid tenets: the love of one’s country and respect of the others’. What is your life like outside of politics? Do you have any hobbies or interests? I have been teaching as an associate professor of Sciences at Sciences-Po Paris and giving conferences around Europe and the United States while carrying on with my political activities in Georgia. This makes for a very busy schedule. But I managed to write two books about my experiences. I first published an autobiography that describes the departure of my family from Soviet Georgia at the beginning of the 20th century and my return decades later (Une femme pour deux pays GRASSET 2006). I then wrote about my political experience in Georgia from the Rose Revolution to the war with Russia (2003-2008) in La Tragédie Géorgienne (The Georgian Tragedy, also published by Grasset in 2009). I also wrote two other political books: Fermer Yalta (Closing Yalta,
’Negotiation is an art based on two solid tenets: t pendent again. I benefitted from the very positive feeling towards these “true Georgians”. The fact that I did not even speak Russian, the language of the “occupier” was another big positive. At the time of my official visit to Moscow, I held a press conference with the Russian Foreign minister Serguei Lavrov, speaking for the first time for a Georgian official in Georgian instead of Russian. I was welcomed back in Tbilisi almost as a hero.
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regarding the policies of the EU and Russia in their common neighborhood) and Les Cicatrices des Nations (The Wounds of Nations, Bourin Editeurs 2008) which analyses the borders of Europe and their impact on nations). I write and get interviewed in Georgian and European media on a regular basis. That, together with trying to keep in touch with my children (a daughter studying journalism at Columbia University in New York and a son who has just started his career as a junior diplomat in the French foreign service) and my husband, a philosopher and a writer, who is currently living with me in Georgia, makes for a life of travel rich with emotions and passion. F
the love of one’s country and respect of the others’.
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The Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation is the organization that was set up to preserve and showcase the founder’s personal estate, housing almost 500 works of 20th century Art. The estate consists of a 1920s Mediterranean-style villa which was the former residence of the late Mr. Weisman, as well as a 1990s Franklin D. Israel art pavilion. The estate with its art collection was left as an example of living with art in the late 20th Century. It can be accessed by the public by guided tours on site, as well as the additional 700 works which are available through traveling exhibitions and frequent loans to museums. Beyond Black was fortunate enough to gain an interview with Billie Milam Weisman, a museum professional and wife of the late Frederick Weisman, and who has been the Foundation’s director for over 15 years. BB: Fred used to say, ‘I don’t think there is anything that communicates better than art. It is quicker than language and clearer than philosophy.’ What can art express that other media can’t, or doesn’t? BMW: Language isn’t always clear, as many words carry different connotations. Philosophies on the weisman art collection can vary from culture to culture. Art however, when effective, can transcend language and cultural barriers, as it is perceived through our eyes and emotions. What is art at its best – what does great art do that merely good art doesn’t? Great art can change and enrich you for the better. It speaks to you in a way that touches your intellect and lingers in your soul. Can you give an example? It’s hard to narrow it down to one piece. Just one of many that comes to mind is a Rothko – it’s gorgeous. It evokes a strong response in you. You can look at it in a photo or a catalogue, but when you see it in person there’s something indescribable. There’s a spirituality in it, something almost magical how it almost floats, how it’s painted, and the psychology of the colours. It will probably mean something different to each individual but each will feel a deeply profound effect. Art can be shocking, but at what point does it cease to be art and become something vulgar or ostentatious? There’s a fine line, which should probably be determined case by case. The test is if it leaves you with a lifelong experience – it might, in fact, be vulgar, like for example the Kienholtz’s 1962 work The Illegal Operation (a statement on abortion) but it can be transcendent too. The question is, does it change you? Time’s a real test. The problem is when we’re too close to our time to see how it affects us; we don’t know how we’ll feel about it in 20-some years. That was actually also the case with Impressionism. It was considered vulgar at the time –and with time became an art movement that was widely admired. Do you have any pieces you are especially close to? Fred had a wonderful way of putting it when people would ask him what his favourite piece was. He would reply, ‘Do you have children? Do you have a favourite?’ I think the same could be said here. Each object evokes a different response; each of them has a special place in my heart. Which one I feel most about will depend on the day, my mood, what’s been going on earlier, what I’ve just experienced. Are there any pieces that have a particular history or story for you? Pink Angels by de Kooning is a wonderful painting. It’s a pivotal piece for the artist. It was when he began doing figurative pieces, and it’s spectacular and I never grow tired of viewing it. In personal terms, there’s the painting by Lorser Feitelson, under which I met Fred. I had come to examine it at the residence, and it was at that moment I met my future husband, so it has a very special meaning to me. It’s a wonderful green painting with a sensuous orange curve down the centre. Are your musical tastes as contemporary as your artistic ones? Yes, but I have to admit my taste in music is very eclectic. My background was in art and art history and I had much less exposure to music. I love most kinds of music both old and new but I am not terribly knowledgeable. What would you say to someone just starting out and learning to appreciate art? Two things. Fred taught me one of the most important lessons about 20 years ago, when I knew a lot about art history…. I could recite what I had read, but I knew very little about my tastes and no confidence in trusting my instincts. It was very difficult for me to take a deep breath and say, ‘I like this better than that just because I like it!’ That was a huge step for me to take. As Fred used to say, ‘If it has hit you right here (in the heart) – go for it.’ Secondly, Fred knew he was fortunate, and would say ‘when you are successful in life you have an obligation to give back.’ When you are fortunate enough to possess an artwork which belongs to the cultural and artistic heritage of man there’s a responsibility to make it available to others. These were two very significant lessons which have stuck with me. f
Billie Milam Weisman
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Rob Hersov is a prolific serial entrepreneur whose projects include YachtPlus, VistaJet, Medikidz, Sapinda, and many more. B Beyond received an invitation to speak with him in the ultramodern glass-fronted Sapinda offices on Park Lane, overlooking Hyde Park, where Rob spends much of his time overseeing his many business interests.
BB: Rob, thank you for agreeing to speak to us. Can you tell us a bit about what Sapinda does? RH: You’re in Sapinda’s offices right now, which have to be some of the most beautiful offices in London. Sapinda is effectively a merchant bank; we look at mainly European public companies, mainly small to midsized, and we provide equity for them. So it’s debt/equity financing, and derivatives thereof. The business was founded in 2004 by my fellow managing partners and I, and we had a very successful run until 2008 when the handbrake came on and everything slowed down. But business is back, so we’re looking for public companies that require financing solutions, and we can move quickly. We typically underwrite, put our own money in, then bring in co-investors who generally invest with us on all deals.
What do you look for in the companies that you invest in? We look for companies that have dynamic management. Usually these are reasonably well-known companies; if they’re public and they’re in the European domain, you know about them, and generally they’re quite large. Some of them are billion-dollar companies. So we look for companies that have a structural inefficiency on the balance sheet side. The business might be doing ok, or well, even, but has a fundamental mismatch between the balance sheet and the business itself. So they either have too much debt and need to restructure it, or they could take on some more debt to have a more efficient capital structure.
Medikidz has received quite a lot of publicity and support around its launch a few months ago. What was it about the business that attracted you and other investors to the idea? That’s the hardest one to answer, but also the best one to answer. I met and fell in love with, and married, one of the two founders of Medikidz, Doctor Kate, who’s now my wife. When she moved over from New Zealand to England, she had a look at the NHS and she realised that the last thing she wanted to do was be a doctor in the NHS. So I asked her what else she’d been thinking about and working on and she mentioned Medikidz to me. Her partner, Dr Kim Chilman-Blair, was running it at the time. And when I had a look at this business I realised that it’s one of those rare businesses in life that you see that’s firstly a great idea; secondly a fantastic business opportunity; and also a very good cause. It’s quite rare in life that you find a business opportunity that’s a great one but also does good. What Medikidz does is explain illness and health to sick children. That’s the basis of the business. They publish comic books around super-heroes called the Medikidz, and there is an online world, which explains the world of the human body to children. It’s a very powerful proposition. It doesn’t sugar-coat the issues, but tells it in a way so that children understand what they’re going through. I backed the business; I brought in some investors, and we have high hopes for this one.
Do you intend to pursue other publishing interests? Not at this time, no. Medikidz has been going a year and a half, but it’s only been live for six months, and the offline publishing side is absolutely driving the business. So maybe I should be looking at other publishing businesses now, but I have my hands full...
A lot of your successful business ventures have relied on the Internet – Medikidz, NetJets, The Nod, to name just a few. How have you gone about harnessing the possibilities of the Internet? The Internet is the great equaliser, and the great fragmenter. There are businesses that have had barriers to entry for hundreds of years, even, that have now come under threat from the Internet. Publishing is a good example; newspapers are arguably on their way out completely. News isn’t, but the newspapers might be. So the Internet offers an opportunity to see the world in a different way – to connect with people, to create a viral marketing campaign, to build businesses quickly to a whole new audience. What developments in new technology do you expect to see in that area in the future? I think it’s all down to mobility. So the hand-held device, whether it’s called a phone or a Blackberry or a PC, is the ultimate tool for mobility. At the end of the day, having an office is really useful: to have a place to organise your affairs, to be in on a regular basis, to meet people and to interact with other office people. But the reality is that with the mobility of Internet mobile devices, you can be anywhere. You can be on the ski slopes or on the golf course, and that’s an incredibly liberating thing. Do you think the office as we know it now still has a future? I’m afraid so. I actually find offices useful, to some extent, to actually meet face-to-face with co-workers. But actually it’s relatively unproductive, because you do get disturbed a lot more than if you’re quietly under a tree or at home. Do you think there is any substitute for direct face-to-face time? No. I think that having that direct, face-to-face meeting with someone is the ultimate. If it’s an important meeting and a worthwhile topic, it has to be done face-to-face. But the more you know people, and the better you know them, the easier it becomes to pick up the phone or to email them, and to have a good connection and a quick answer from them. How do you come up with new ideas? Do you get approached, do you think of them yourself or do you have a research team? Most of them are my ideas. I do a lot of reading. I read a wide variety of magazines, newspapers and books, particularly when I’m on holiday or flying. Ideas do come up when I’m having a quiet moment. I tend to have ideas when I’m on holiday, travelling, having a shower... or any time when I’m alone and quiet and peaceful. And often when an idea comes up – whether it’s my own idea or I see something in a magazine – I’ll think about it, I’ll let it develop for a while, and then I find that if it’s a real idea I’ll start testing it on people. So at a dinner party I’ll say, ‘What do you think of this idea?’ or ‘Have you heard of this?’ or ‘Do you think this might work?’ And so it’s often a six or eight-month period of research. It’s
personal research rather than systematic research, and if enough people say ‘That’s interesting,’ or ‘I’d buy that,’ or ‘You should do that,’ I’ll then write it down. I write it down on one piece of paper, and again I’ll test that idea on more people – usually people I trust, like people who are experts in that industry. And, sure enough, at a certain point, I’ll find someone I actually think could execute on that, and the next thing I know I’ve invested in another business. I’m trying to let more of these feelings go away – lie down and let them go away. You’re a seemingly tireless entrepreneur; every few months you seem to launch a new company. What would you say is the most vital prerequisite for success? Human beings. It’s hiring the absolute best person you can find to drive that project forward. You hear it from entrepreneurs, you hear it from investors, but it’s absolutely true: there’s no substitute to hiring the best people in the world – better than yourself – and making it worth their while. Because you could have a bad idea with a good person and it will stand a better chance than a good idea with a bad person behind it. You’re also on the board of directors for the Serpentine. How important is art to you? Particularly contemporary vs. fine art? I much prefer contemporary to fine art. I respect fine art and I enjoy it and at some point I’ll buy some pieces, but I really do love contemporary art. Contemporary art, to me, is much more challenging. It’s much more exciting, and it continually surprises me. I love it, and the Serpentine Gallery is an important part of my life – not just in London, but my nonbusiness life. I’ve been involved in the Serpentine for almost seven years now, as chairman of the council and as a trustee, and I absolutely love
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working with Julia Peyton Jones, the council, the trustees... it’s a fabulous gallery. It punches so far above its weight. When you talk about London contemporary art, there’s the Tate Modern, and the Serpentine. The Serpentine is a tiny, tiny gallery compared to the Tate Modern, and yet you speak about them in the same breath.
‘There’s no substitute to hiring the best people in the world – better than yourself – and making it worth their while.’
Do you have any favourite artists? I do like the Chinese artists. I know there has been a bit of a boom or bubble in Chinese art but I do find Chinese art amusing and challenging and fascinating all at the same time. I collect African art, because I am from Africa, and I like Curran, and I like Gilbert and George. There’s a great selection of art out there. How active are you on the board of councillors – how do you find the time to juggle so many commitments? That’s the question I grapple with all the time. I know a lot of people and I’m involved in a lot of businesses and projects, and it is down to having someone extraordinary driving each of those. Julia Peyton Jones is one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met. She runs the Serpentine. I’m involved on the fund-raising side. So when she and I need to get something done, we’re very focused on how much time is required, what needs to be done, and the follow-up. We don’t waste any time at all, and a lot of it is credit to her. She manages me very well. What’s a typical working day for you? You know, there isn’t really a typical working day, because work and play for me blend together. I actually love building businesses, dealing with people, so I’m quite happy to be on the phone at midnight, or playing
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golf at ten in the morning. It all blurs together as one great thing. But I suppose if there was a typical work day, it would be, get up at six-thirty, exercise, eat some breakfast and head to the office and see what happens.
industry. A number of investors and I got together with Norman Foster and designed a 41-metre boat which we could then apply fractional ownership to. We now have two boats in the water, a third under production and a fourth in the works. By the end of 2011 we’ll have four boats in the market.
And Sapinda is where you spend most of your time? Absolutely. You have a gift for creating a vision and matching people to projects. Are these skills anyone can acquire or are they hardwired? No, they’re not hard-wired. I think they’re learned. Some people learn them a lot earlier. I’ve made as many, if not more mistakes than other entrepreneurs. But you do learn over a period of time about how to get a project from A to B as quickly as possible and how to identify talent. It’s mainly human talent, and how to manage it effectively. So if I find someone who is truly unique, I’ll make a big effort to try to make sure they’re matched to the right project and give them as much upside as they can handle. With that in mind, could you say a few words about Adoreum? I was working on so many projects, many of which were in the luxury lifestyle sales and marketing arena, that Adoreum happened, extraordinary, by default. A friend of mine with a company I admired came to me one day and said, ‘Rob, could you help connect my business with potential customers?’ And I said, ‘Mike, I’d love to, and I love your business, but I’m just so busy, I don’t know how I can handle it.’ And then I said, ‘Hang on, I’ve got an idea. I’ve got someone that I trust and like who I believe could access my contacts in the right way on my behalf, and I trust her to do that. So why don’t you pay me x per month, I’ll hire her, and she’ll help you get more customers.’ So we started this and a month later two other friends of mine said, ‘I’ve got a business that could use that service,’ and all of a sudden we’re in business. We have 22 clients, 12 employees, and the business is booming. It’s funny: usually, there’s a good idea, and you turn it into a business. This happened by default. You’ve recently joined the board of directors for VistaJet – how did that come about? I founded Marquis Jets in 2001 in Europe and it grew rapidly. It caught a nerve in the private aviation market and in 2004 NetJets bought my business and I became vice-chairman of NetJets. For nine years I’ve been part of the NetJets family and about six months ago I got to know Thomas Flohr. I’d heard about his business, VistaJet – obviously, as a competitor, I’d looked at it and seen it gaining ground. Socially, I developed a great relationship with Thomas. He’s European, an entrepreneur, dynamic, a great decision maker, and has been building over the last few years a credible competitor to NetJets: excellent safety, quality, service. And he said to me, ‘You know, Rob, I like the way you operate. I’d like you to be the chairman of my advisory board. And that’s really ten days old, that opportunity. I’m looking forward to helping him build his business. What does it take to have you on the board of a company? Well I’m on the board of a number of companies, as you know. All of my own, but VistaJet is one of the rare companies I don’t own any equity in. I have to really believe in the business. If I’m going to help go and market a business that I’m not a shareholder of then it really has to be a world-class company. You’re credited with practically inventing fractional ownership, and certainly making it a household term. How many YachtPlus vessels are in production and planned? The real credit for fractional ownership has to go to Richard Santulli, who’s an incredible guy. He founded NetJets 20 years ago. As a mathematician, he worked out the beauty of fractional ownership. All I did was learn the lesson from him and NetJets and then apply it to the yacht
‘What world are we leaving to our children? Well, obviously I’m worried about where things are heading – mainly, I think, because population growth is out of control. If we’re going from six to eight billion people, that’s going to be a lot more damage to the environment. If we could control population growth, I think we’d be in much better shape. To me, that’s the biggest issue.’
How often do you use the yachts yourself? I haven’t actually had a holiday on one yet, but I’m doing it this summer. How is it different to other yachts you’ve been on? There’s more open area, for a start. There’s more deck space, which I love, and there are a whole lot of different decks – there are eight different deck spaces on the boat. It’s a much more airy and light vessel, and unlike a lot of boats that have the gold taps and kind of old world, tacky interiors, these are done beautifully in a minimalist style which I love. So it’s an extraordinary boat: air, light, and a minimalist touch. Very comfortable. Do you use solar panels and other energy-saving technology? Yes. They are actually very green boats. Solar has been an important part of Lord Foster’s design. A boat, I think, to be green is quite difficult, because it’s still got an engine it’s got to run, but the less you cruise, the less damage is done is the real answer. More broadly, do you invest in environmental projects and green technology? What kind of a world do you think we’re leaving our children? I have flirted with the eco-energy area but I haven’t seen an opportunity that a) has caught my fancy and b) where I think I can make a difference. What I don’t like to do is invest in businesses where I don’t actually bring value, and in this area I’m not an expert. So I haven’t seen anything where I can make a difference. What world are we leaving to our children? Well, obviously I’m worried about where things are heading – mainly, I think, because population growth is out of control. If we’re going from six to eight billion people, that’s going to be a lot more damage to the environment. If we could control population growth, I think we’d be in much better shape. To me, that’s the biggest issue. Obviously, politicians can’t deal with it. How do you deal with advising people to have fewer children or using condoms? What about down-time, if there is such a thing? Where do you go on holiday? I love reading books on holiday. This Christmas and new year I’ve ploughed through nine books – some of them nice and thick. And I love it, because nothing beats sitting in the sun reading a book. I love playing sport; I love playing tennis, playing golf, swimming... my favourite holiday is probably to be on a beach or up a mountain. You are one of the best-connected people on the planet. How important is close friendship to you, as distinct from business and social contacts? You know, I love people. So I always see the good in people and tend to dismiss the bad. And that usually brings the good out of people in any case when you do that. I do know a lot of people, and there are a lot of people that I like, but my close, close friends are few and I see a lot of them. And finally, if you were to write a book, what would it about? Well, I have a book in the works. It’s a children’s book and it’s got a strong eco-tone. It’s about animals taking the initiative to make humans realise what’s going on in the environment rather than the other way around. Can we publish the next one? Of course you can. F
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Wallace Tutt on Bahamas
egendary designer Wallace Tutt made his name transforming the homes of Hollywood’s rich and famous in the 90s, but in recent years the stars have been keeping his phone off the hook for another reason: the Rock House Hotel, one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the Bahamas. When we catch up with Wallace, he’s just back from Miami, where he’s been travelling for a book signing tour. The book in question is a coffee-table work called Harbour Island, a side-project he’s been putting together for two years with the famous Caribbean photographer Cookie Kinkead – though with two full-time careers already, it’s not entirely clear how Wallace has any time for side projects. ‘It’s the busy season,’ he explains. ‘I’ll be promoting this book for another two months, I’ve got a lot of design projects in the US, and I need to stay on top of the hotel here.’ Wallace’s route into the design business was almost an accident. ‘I was a lawyer by education,’ he says. ‘I actually began to practise. Interior design was a hobby, but people started to ask me to do their houses. So I hired architects and designers and we’d do the whole thing – designing, building and furnishing a house.’ That was very much the European way of doing things, but in the States, it was a totally different game – clients traditionally dealt independently with architects, builders and decorators, and with all the complications that come with multiplying timetables and contacts. His way was attractively simple by comparison and, since he was solely responsible for delivering at the end of the day, the cost and schedule came down as a result – justifying a respectable fee. ‘I have a number of architects and contractors I have worked with who I know are reliable. I do the interiors myself.’ One of the first people to realise the benefits of dealing with only a project manager was Gianni Versace. ‘I first met Versace in 1992, and I started work on his house not long after. He hired me to oversee the whole thing. “I’m only dealing with you!”
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Although Wallace’s main income comes from design consulting, it’s the other major string to his bow that takes up an increasing proportion of his time and efforts – the Rock House, a ten-room hotel on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, which he runs with his partner, Don Purdy. ‘Don takes care of the food and beverages; I’m the Maitre d’ and designer.’ The luxury boutique hotel’s client list reads like an Oscars invitation list; since its opening in early 2003, it has attracted the interest of the wealthy and famous, including a number of Hollywood A-listers, who love it so much that they find themselves coming back year after year. ‘Eighty percent of our guests are repeat visitors,’ says Wallace. Reasons for the Rock House’s success? ‘Well, for starters, we have a policy of no children,’ the designer continues. ‘That opens the door to romantic getaways and honeymooning couples.’ But there’s a lot more to the little hotel than a 16+ policy. ‘We treat visitors differently here. It’s like they’re guests in our home. We know their names and a lot about them, we introduce them to other guests and we arrange tours around the island. We have a lot of long-term staff. Because it’s such a small and friendly place, the other guests tend to take new visitors under their wing.’ Reviews of the hotel are typically falling over themselves in an effort to name the features guests love the best – hospitality, décor (of course), food, privacy, setting... The Rock House generally sits somewhere around seven or eight in the top ten lists of the best hotels in the whole US: not bad for a ten-room place.
’When you work that closely with someone for so long, something’s wrong if you don’t become their friend. I’m close to all my clients – I can knock on any of their doors and drop in if I’m passing.’
Although the restaurant is open to the public in the evenings, it is kept exclusively for the guests for breakfast and lunch and closes at 11pm sharp to maintain their privacy. The pool area is also closed to the public. Even when the restaurant is open, Wallace manages to retain a sense of privacy and exclusivity for guests by holding a Captain’s Table evening, one night a week. ‘The rest of the restaurant is full of outsiders but the Captain’s Table is guests only. It’s almost like a dinner party. We introduce guests on the beach and the chef cooks up a tasting menu.’ Repeat guests overlap with the client list from Wallace’s design business, and include household
names like Robert De Niro, Colin Farrell, James Caan, Cher and Elle Macpherson. De Niro is one of Wallace’s personal favourites. ‘He’s a lot of fun. One time he’s sat by the pool and it starts raining. He doesn’t even bother to get up, just sits there in the rain. Colin Farrell, too – he’s just non-stop.’ One of the things that attracts such guests is the Bahamas’ relaxed attitude to celebrities. ‘The Bahamans don’t care about that kind of thing. No one’s chasing them for autographs, there are no paparazzi here. So they feel they can let their guard down.’ The result is a great time for all the guests. ‘Everyone mingles. You never know who you’re going to be sitting next to.’ But such seemingly effortless fun doesn’t come easily: when he’s not off-island for his design business, managing the Rock House is a major commitment. ‘Work starts at 7am, with a break for a run along the beach mid-morning before getting back for the lunchtime shift. I have a couple of hours to work out in the afternoon, and then it’s all go from 5.30 until 11pm.’ That’s more-or-less the schedule for most of the year. ‘We close from the first week of August to the first week of November. It’s full-on for nine months, then we have a complete break, board up and close for hurricane season, and go travelling.’ So it’s hardly surprising that Wallace is looking to move his design work to Harbour Island, where he can stay on top of the hotel too. ‘Currently I have a home in Miami Beach. It’s only a 45 minute flight but it’s hard to organise everything. I’m looking forward to concentrating on Harbour Island – there’s more than enough design work here alone – so I can stay at the Rock House at night.’ The island and hotel are clearly where Wallace’s heart is. ‘It’s a tiny place, but there’s a lot going on. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. This business,’ he says, ‘it’s like having friends come back to stay every year.’ F
Contact Rock House Hotel & Restaurant Bay & Hill Street Harbour Island Bahamas Phone: 242-333-2053 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: www.rockhousebahamas.com Details about Wallace’s Harbour Island book can be found at www.harbourislandbook.com
Photography © Cookie Kinkead.
he told me. “I won’t talk to anyone else.” He took me to Italy for three weeks to study the architecture and mosaics.’ Versace was one of the first of a long list of high-profile, celebrity clients. ‘I’ve done Cher’s house – both her Miami and Malibu houses – Diane Von Furstenberg, Barry Diller ...’ The names are listed like old friends, which is exactly what they are. ‘When you work that closely with someone for so long, something’s wrong if you don’t become their friend. I’m close to all my clients – I can knock on any of their doors and drop in if I’m passing.’
Cover by The Landing.
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‘it is sad
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when art sits in vaults’ ‘a huge amount of art is never viewed by anyone’
b beyond meets
Sir John Madejski Fine art collector, philanthropist and a benefactor to the Royal Academy of Arts and the V&A Museum. The John Madejski Fine Rooms at Burlington House were named after him in recognition of his £3m contribution to the institution and the John Madejski Garden at the V&A was opened in 2005.
ith swish cars, luxury hotels, art collection and a football club, Sir John Madejski may appear to be your run-of-the-mill multimillionaire. His wealth was built not on stocks or banking though, but magazines. He came up with the idea whilst reading one on holiday in Florida and decided to take the concept to the UK with The Thames Valley Trader. Eventually the idea was pared down to just selling cars and became Auto Trader, a brand that was soon franchised worldwide and allowed Madejski to found a publishing empire. Although the idea might appear deceptively simple, without Madejski’s drive, fueled he says by ‘a fear of failure’, and his personability, it could not have blossomed in the same way. Indeed on meeting him it soon becomes obvious that this is not a man
covered with ostentation - he does not speak in hyperbole - just someone happy with their success, and happy to re-invest that in the community. Amongst his charitable ventures is the Sir John Madejski academy, which he rates as, ‘the best thing I have ever done’ as a result of the ‘sense of belonging’ it affords the students. He is concerned that the imagination of students has to be captured at a young age in order to ensure they live up to the potential that can so easily be lost. His shrewd business sense is most evident with his investments in the art market, where even the most astute can be tripped-up by sudden changes of taste. Madejski, for instance, recently sold a Degas sculpture, ‘Le Petit Danseuse’ for £11.8 million, having bought it for only £5.6m. Perhaps it is his classical preferences that help in this regard. He finds much modern art to be irretrievably abstract,
gallery goers spending more time reading the explanatory text and ‘pretending to understand it’ than focusing on the works themselves. He is not impressed by the trend in much modern art to deliberately shock as this ‘stretches the boundaries of reasonability and taste.’ This isn’t to say that he has an innate prejudice against modern art; he just prefers art where the skill of the artist is evident, and on this condition is a fan of Dali. Overall he views art as a very subjective experience, and therefore his desire to have as much art on show to the viewing public is evident. He paid for the restoration of the John Madejski fine rooms at The Royal Academy of Arts in London, which houses portraits of early academicians, and sponsors galleries in Reading and at The Royal Palm Hotel in the Galapagos Islands, and well as paying for the renovation of the garden at The Victoria and Albert Museum. He says ‘it is sad when art sits in vaults’ and doesn’t agree with quality art being boarded away in private collections (Madejski had his Degas sculpture on permanent exhibition in The Royal Academy). However he is mindful that even the majority of works held by most large galleries are rarely on display and laments that, ‘a huge amount of art is never viewed by anyone.’ Perhaps if more private art collectors were as mindful as Madejski to the public importance of their collections this situation could be reversed. Another area where it is notoriously difficult for the moneyed to gain profit, and even harder to gain popularity, is in the ownership of sports clubs. Madejski has incredibly done both in his 20 year tenure as chairman of Reading Football Club. When he took over they languished in the third tier of English football and played in an increasingly dilapidated stadium that would have made an NFL owner laugh. Under Madejski the club has enjoyed a number of seasons in the Premiership, and has a modern stadium (named after Madejski) complete with The Millennium Hotel, and The Royal Berkshire Conference Center, and leased by Premiership rugby club London Irish. The club has even developed a classier nick-name, now being known as ‘The Royals’ instead of ‘The Biscuit Men’. Madejski is particularity
proud of how the club has achieved success through ‘the production of local talent’ and how the club has become, ‘the heart of the local community.’ However he appears to believe that the involvement of money in sport is getting over the top, branding the spending spree of Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi owners as, ‘extreme.’ He is prepared to sell Reading which he believes would be ‘a magnificent trophy asset’ but knows the buyers would have to be, ‘incredibly wealthy’ to succeed, especially in a financial atmosphere where hospitality bookings are down 50%. For the time being he is focused on getting Reading re-promoted to the Premiership, and with his ‘great manager, squad and staff’ is absolutely confident this goal can be achieved. As Madejski’s business empire was driven by the selling of cars it is not surprising that he has a lasting passion for them. He started off with a Frogeye Sprite, (his mother wouldn’t let him buy a motorcycle) so called because the distinctive headlights resembled frog’s eyes. It could hardly be called a supercar but its quirky design soon won it cult status, and it is a car Madejski remembers fondly. His tastes have become more expensive with time however; he keeps a Ferrari 328 in a glass case in the gym in his Berkshire mansion. He owns cars for more conventional uses as well including a Bentley Continental GT and one of the last Rolls Royce Corniche Convertibles to be built at Crewe. Madejski, despite his name, is English (he chose to adopt the surname of his Polish step-father, an airman during World War Two), but despite his wealthy status he has no desire to play at being an aristocrat. Despite opining that, ‘most aristos are decent down-to-earth people’ he has a problem with ‘snobbish types’, which matches his distaste for pretentious art viewers. He dismisses them as no more than ‘wanabees’, and would appear to stress the importance of being genuine and believing in people. It would be hard to conclude that Madejski is anything other than genuine. He has not forgotten the community where he made his fortune, and has done much to put Reading, what otherwise might be dismissed as a bland commuter town near London, on the map. f
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sing a well honed business sense and long held passion for aviation Flohr has taken on the crowded charter jet industry in a characteristic David v. Goliath style, challenging just about every established premise and rule: from building a fleet of new, slick, luxuriously appointed and serviced aircraft to offering across the board flying hours (as opposed to fractional ownership). It’s hard to miss his ever-expanding fleet - branded with the company’s distinctive colours and logo, it stands out for the uncompromising quality of its design and service.
their clients - because these are comprehensive and implicit: the chauffeur-driven cars to and from airports, the in-flight attendants, the access to local culture when a client is travelling for leisure… The value the company offers, however, is still in the flight itself. Clients have access to any of the aircraft in the fleet and are able to travel anywhere by pre-booking a number of hours, rather than buying a share or part of the aircraft itself. Staff are trained to see themselves as “the CEO of a multimillion aircraft” and engage with the client on that basis.
About Thomas Flohr Thomas Flohr is a man with a vision
The company jets Thomas Flohr is a man of clearly defined
who understands the concept of strong brand identity. He understands quality intuitively and this comes across not just in conversation but also in the unerring taste stamped over his homes, jets and yacht. Thomas Flohr’s pedigree in IT and specialist financial services is as fine as it gets: having developed the European side of Comdisco, a leading American IT firm, he went on to establish Comprendium Investment, absorbing the Comdisco European operation and expanding its sphere of operation to offering financial solutions for intangible assets, in addition to industry-movables.
taste who knows what he wants, articulates it well and gets closely involved with the running of VistaJet: from the interior design of the aircraft to the work ethos/mindset of the pilots and flight attendants. “Why would you travel in an old plane (and a different one each time you book) that doesn’t match the comfort of your own home or that of a Four Seasons hotel? We are the Four Seasons in the sky.”, says Thomas Flohr. He speaks of “expectation levels” from a personal point of view and experience. It is often said that necessity is the mother of all invention, and for Swiss-born high flyer Thomas Flohr his Eureka moment in aviation was undoubtedly born of frustration. Flohr became increasingly disenchanted with flying commercially and in 2003 he bought his first private jet. This timesaving move would irrevocably change his life and career path. “I had chartered jets before but the planes and the service were never consistent. The product was rarely equivalent to its price so my first purchase was out of frustration and I created a beautiful jet catered to my needs and specifications.” The immaculate design and inherent comfort of this first plane brought in so much demand for chartering it, the new owner was hardly able to make use of it himself and instead examined the business opportunity which now presented itself. F
The VistaJet concept Flohr does not emulate. Rather, he re-writes the rules. His concept is to offer clients guaranteed availability along with the same high standard of service and luxury feel wherever and whenever they fly. The typical VistaJet client is a UHNW individual, actively involved in business, internationally oriented, with several homes, possibly a yacht, and someone who sets high value on their time and comfort. While affordability of the actual craft is often not an issue, the ability to have access to a new jet, with every comfort of an airborne home, without the hassle and maintenance issues of owning it, is the attraction of the concept. VistaJet do not bother listing the services they offer
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The world of private aviation has a new style guru. The name is Flohr, Thomas Flohr… and the company is VistaJet.
the man at the helm of VistaJet
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hirty-one cities, a 12,000 km route, over 24,000 km of cable – all by seven-star cable-car gondolas, with less than 10 years to go until completion: this is the impressive vision of Eurasian Gondolas. Headed by Matthias Pazmandy and Wolfgang Lehrner, the Austria-based outfit is designing a revolutionary new transport network connecting Vienna to Tokyo via major cities in Europe and Asia, including Istanbul, Dubai, Mumbai, Bangkok and Shanghai.
Computer-generated image of the gondolas in Tokyo.
The Future of Travel:
Chalet La Ferme du Plan, Mégève, Switzerland
‘We thought about how to connect Europe with the most important continent of the future – the same sort of idea as the Trans-Siberian Railway. We know that places like Dubai and India are going to become more significant, and that Asia is rising on the world stage. We wanted a transport system that would be a new experience – not the fastest, but one that would be innovative and provide the highest luxury, like the original Venetian gondolas.’ The project raises significant engineering challenges – not least, the problem of the sheer weight of cable between stops. ‘It’s not just that,’ adds Lehrner. ‘It’s also the speed of the gondola, which will be up to 50 km/h – otherwise, the journey will simply be too long.’ To address these problems, the team have enlisted the help of Doppelmayr, a leading light in the design and manufacture of ropeway and cable-car technology. A zero-carbon, zero-waste policy only adds to the already exacting requirements.
The ambitious work has already received initial development funding and work progresses apace to reach the self-imposed deadline of January 1, 2020. All in all, the company will need to raise €28 billion and create 50,000 jobs to achieve their aim of seeing 2,400 gondolas crossing two continents in first-class luxury by the turn of the next decade. But for Pazmandy and Lehrner, these are not insurmountable obstacles – they are simply necessary steps along the way to completing the ultimate travel experience. F Computer-generated image of the gondolas in Iran.
Find out more at www.EurasianGondolas.com
Computer-generated image of the gondolas in Vienna.
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