Secret Hideaways Pantanal: Blue and green paradise.
Grapes & Flavours
Jim, Betty and The Botanist.
Yoann Conte is worth a special journey.
Follow Ian Fleming’s footsteps in Estoril.
A unique festival on the Seto Inland Sea.
America The Netherlands/ca. 1700
xcellence xcellence, Luxaviation and FairJets magazine is published four times a year.
Publisher: Luxaviation/FairJets Address: Luxaviation Group 4A, rue Borschette, L-1246 Luxembourg Phone: +352 42 52 52 – 1 Fax: +352 42 71 40 E-mail: email@example.com Editor in chief: Patrick Hansen (Luxaviation CEO) Coordination: Filippa Tiago (firstname.lastname@example.org) Editorial: Patrick Bartz, Cédric Evrard, Christina Heidt, Salomé Jeko, Isabel Lucas, Magali Migaud, Yuka Okada, Geoff Thompson. Photography: p. 10, 13: © Blitz Agency. p. 14: Valérie Conrot by Eric Chenal. p. 16: © FIAC 2013, “Iron Tree”, Ai Weiwei, 2013, courtesy the artist and neugerriemschneider, Berlin. Photo: Ai Weiwei, © Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianca d’Alba. p. 17: “Comedy” by Paul Klee, © Tate, www.tate.org.uk p. 18, 19, 21/01: courtesy of Peter Pieske. p. 20, 21: iStock. p. 22, 23: © Bob Hamilton, www.bobhamiltonphotography.com p. 24: Portrait of Nina Koidl by Henning Moser. p. 25: © Vittorio Santoro, courtesy of Campagne Première Berlin. p. 26: © Noa Gur, courtesy of Campagne Première Berlin. p. 27: © Christoph Girardet, © Fayçal Baghriche and © Marco Poloni, courtesy of Campagne Première Berlin. p. 28, 29: iStock. p. 30-33, 36, 37: © Cédric Evrard (except maps: iStock). p. 34: courtesy of Araras Eco Lodge. p. 38: courtesy of Bruichladdich Distillery; Isle of Islay (Scotland). p. 39: iStock (Isle of Islay map). p. 40-43: courtesy of Bruichladdich Distillery; Isle of Islay (Scotland). p. 41: Portnahaven and Isle of Islay © Bob Hamilton, www. bobhamiltonphotography.com p. 44: iStock (Annecy Lake). p. 45-49: courtesy of Restaurant Yoann Conte. p. 50: Ian Fleming, photo by Express/Express/Getty Images; the other photos courtesy of Palácio Estoril Hotel. p. 52-55: courtesy of Palácio Estoril Hotel. p. 56, 57: Teshima Art Museum © Ken’ichi Suzuki. p. 58: Fram Kitagawa by Yuichi Noguchi.
p. 60: Art House Project, “Go’o Shrine”, Hiroshi Sugimoto, “Appropriate Proportion”, photo: Hiroshi Sugimoto; Benesse House Museum, photo: Tadashi Ikeda; Shinro Ohtake, Naoshima Bath “I ♥ yu”, photo: Osamu Watanabe. p. 61: Art House Project “Ishibashi”, Hiroshi Senju, “The Falls”, photo: Osamu Watanabe. p. 62-63: courtesy of Luxaviation Group. p. 64: Getty Images.
For issue four, our team of journalists has again crisscrossed the globe in search of the most unusual places, the most interesting characters and the events that really should not be missed. Another edition that will take your senses on a voyage to the four corners of the Earth!
Translation/Proofreading: David Swain, Benoit Deeg, ACT’L, Nelly Pairon. Conception/Design: binsfeld corporate publishing 14, place du Parc, B.P. 2773 L-1027 Luxembourg Phone: +352 49 68 68 – 1 Fax: +352 48 87 70 www.binsfeldcorporate.lu
Art Director: Miriam Rosner (email@example.com) Advertising: binsfeld Sophie Schmitz firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +352 49 68 68 – 1 Fax: +352 48 87 70 Printing: Bastian Druck GmbH, Germany ©2013 Luxaviation/FairJets xcellence Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without written permission from Luxaviation Group and binsfeld. Opinions expressed in xcellence are not necessarily those of Luxaviation Group and binsfeld. ISSN 2306-4056
Frontispiece of “China Monumentis” The Netherlands /1667.
irst, we touch down in the Pantanal. An immense alluvial plain in South America, the Pantanal is currently the largest area of wetlands on the planet, over 80% of which is covered by waterways. It mainly covers the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, but smaller parts also extend into Bolivia and Paraguay. As blue as it is green, this environment is home to the world’s richest variety of aquatic plants and animals; an incredible and heavenly world, which we have explored just for you. Next, xcellence whisks you away to the Hotel Palácio in Estoril (Portugal); a place steeped in history that has been frequented by European royalty and most of the spies involved in the Second World War. It was also in this legendary hotel that 007 was first dreamed up…There is something for all you foodies too, with this issue boasting an interview with chef Yoann Conte. In his restaurant on the shores of Lake Annecy (France), he offers wild cuisine that makes full use of mountain herbs and local produce, served in warm yet elegantly appointed surroundings with a distinctly savoyard atmosphere. Another unusual
world for you to discover is Bruichladdich distillery, on the isle of Islay, Scotland. We went there to meet their master distiller, Jim McEwan, and try their The Botanist gin for you: Unique, complex and sophisticated, it is truly a product of its terroir. And we could not forget the contemporary art lovers: we met with Nina Koidl of the Campagne Première Gallery in Berlin, and we travelled to Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, whose islands host the Setouchi Triennale. Finally, you will have the chance to meet Pascale Kauffman, Managing Director of Luxembourg’s Apollo Strategists, and Renata Christoffersen and Peter Pieske, Chief Flight Attendant and Ground Operations Manager, respectively, at Luxaviation. Happy reading and, above all, happy travels!
Contributors Christina Heidt
pages 18 & 24
Christina is fascinated by people and their stories, and she tells them with a passion; both as editor of the binsfeld agency in Luxembourg and as a radio and television journalist in Germany.
Magali, AKA Capitaine Les Mots (“Captain Words”), is a freelance journalist. From her base in Paris, she pursues her passions for cinema, history and good restaurants, and is always on the lookout to meet interesting people.
Ex-journalist and AFP/ Reuters correspondent in Nepal and India, Cédric is now a freelance photo-journalist. He is the author of “Sanem, un château, une histoire” and “Jean Sabeau - Dans le maquis sanglant de Graide”.
Yuka majored in literature at Waseda University (Tokyo). She has been deputy editor at Japanese magazines like Popeye, Brutus and Tarzan. In 2003 she became a freelance editor/producer. She enjoys watching movies and theatre, travelling and cooking.
Isabel lives in Portugal and works as a freelance journalist, reporter and literary critic for the newspaper Público, whilst editing Nau XXI, a non-specialist magazine about the sea. Author of several books, she also writes about travel and food.
Patrick is a freelance TV journalist, based in Luxembourg. He is very much a specialist in Africa and Asia, and is just as interested in the arts as in geopolitics. He also enjoys off-road motorcycling and eating good food.
Geoff came to Luxembourg from Dublin 23 years ago. When he’s not writing for his online newspaper or client projects, he’s either organising events, off fishing, watching rugby or spending quality time with his family.
Salomé Jeko page 12 Salomé was a journalist before she joined the editorial team at binsfeld. She is keen on discovering other countries and especially other cuisines, saying that “to love a land, you must eat it, drink it and hear it singing”.
South America, France / 1841
10 Ready for Take-off Renata Christoffersen, Luxaviation Chief
People & Business Grapes & Flavours
Contents 18 50
Betty, can we dance?
The Botanist gin
Hits & Highlights
In Estoril with spies
and crowns, Palácio Hotel
18 Our Team
Peter Pieske, Ground
Setouchi Triennale, Where art ends up
24 Our partners
being a journey
Bombardier Challenger 300
In the next issue
11 In the middle : Renata Christoffersen, Chief Flight Attendant. From the left to the right: Daniela Hauffels, Asta Sigthorsdottir, Sonia Gomes and Maite Hill.
BY G E OF F T H OMP SON
Ready for Take-off
Attention to detail:
The key to success in the sky
Luxaviation’s Chief Flight Attendant flies round the world and back again to bring her rich experience to the fast-growing executive jet company based in the Grand Duchy.
enata Christoffersen joined Luxaviation two years ago when the airline operated just two Cessna XLS aircraft without any flight attendants, and one Bombardier Challenger 300 with two flight attendants. She had been hired for the new Challenger 604 based on her 16 years in the industry and specific experience of working for a private owner of two aircraft. “I originally trained as an orthopedic nurse and I have always loved to travel. It was a great opportunity to work in the skies.” She has worked in Kuwait on both commercial flights and on the Amiri Fleet for the royal family and government, on Airbus 300 and 340 and Boeing 747 and 777 as well as Gulfstream V executive jets, all the time expanding her knowledge of different aircraft. “The larger planes gave me the experience of working in a team, with the Gulfstream allowing me to work on my own,” she explained. She returned to Europe and studied Hotel and Tourism Management, learnt on an internship in Fiji and gained more experience with executive jet companies in Switzerland and Britain, before joining Luxaviation as Chief Flight Attendant two years ago. Over this period, Renata has seen the flight attendant team grow to 18 in total, servicing the 8-passenger Cessna Citation XLS fleet which is based in Luxembourg, as well as the larger aircraft including the Embraer Legacy. The company offers very flexible working conditions allowing flight attendants to retain their own home base. She is responsible for all flight attendants at the airline, both on the ground and in the air. She recruits the flight attendants and manages the team based out of Luxembourg, along with HR and Flight Ops. On the training side she introduces newly-recruited Luxembourg-based flight attendants to Luxaviation’s highs standards of safety, quality and customer service. Renata also ensures the stock at base is maintained and is up-to-date; this
includes ensuring stock flow as the wine list changes every four months. For this she has successfully completed a Sommelier course. “You need a vast knowledge – a little of everything. Flight attendants need to be psychologists and react to the needs of passengers.” On board the aircraft, the flight attendants are responsible for everything in the cabin including catering and cleaning. “It’s like your own home; you have to keep it nice and presentable for guests.” All Luxaviation flight attendants need to be able to source catering, etc., including talking with F&B Managers at hotels at distant locations without many services necessarily being available, and taking into account specific passenger requests. These need to adhere to the airline’s VIP Standards which Renata has compiled based on her experience and contacts throughout the world, with each flight attendant feeding into this knowledge base. On Luxaviation, Renata explained: “I believe if you have the chance to join a small company that grows, you become completely devoted to making it work. If you get the right people from the start and they are enthusiastic about what they do, it is great working with them.”
BY S ALOM É JEKO
People & Business
the communication strategy”
Pascale Kauffman Managing Director of Apollo Strategists.
Pascale Kauffman, Managing Director of Apollo Strategists
fter twelve years at a world-leading satellite operator, Pascale Kauffman joined the City of Luxembourg as Head of Communication and Public Relations. Her excellent understanding of the local private and public economy, and her outstanding knowledge of international business led her to create Apollo Strategists last year. xcellence: Tell us a bit about Apollo Strategists. Pascale Kauffman: Apollo Strategists is not a communication agency or an advertising agency: it is a company that provides businesses with complete, turnkey communication strategies. We therefore maintain relationships with creative partners that specialise in putting in place and implementing strategies to meet our clients’ demands. Meanwhile, we work alongside communication, design and events agencies to transform each request into a measurable result. xcellence: Why did you found the company? PK: I think the times we live in mean we need to be redefining the communication strategy. Awareness of the need for communication within companies started in the ’90s, and communication teams have not stopped growing, but in an organic way. So, these organisations often lack a communication strategy. And, while quite a few companies already have a business strategy, their communication is often limited to day-to-day operational matters.
whilst continually interpreting the information received about target groups, so as to feed it back into the business strategy in an easily understood way. In modern companies, however, the head of communication is very often snowed under with day-to-day work and unable to attend to his or her primary responsibility. Normally, that role would be to advise the board, and to adapt their communication strategy continually to the company’s strategy. That is why it is crucial for a head or director of communication to be in continuous communication with his board of directors or the managing director. It may even be necessary for a director of communication to be a member of the board.
xcellence: Is that the gap that you are trying to fill with Apollo Strategists? PK: Exactly. We start by analysing what is missing. We then propose a medium- and long-term communication strategy, reorganising teams, distributing tasks the best way possible, appealing to partners, etc. All that is intended to enable the company to work better and become smoother running. In general, strategies have a life of their xcellence: Ideally, what should a company’s own and are not set in stone. Based on a strong communication look like? PK: The classic roles of implementing communication include a company’s image, an established brand, enduring values and excellent services, strategies thrive off market positioning, the construction of its image, and raising awareness of one of understanding, innovation and inspiration. its brands, products or services. The main purpose of a communication service goes beyond that: putting into practice the company’s strategy,
This means they have to make a significant contribution to business development. xcellence: With the crisis, companies could be thought to be cutting their communication budgets. Was this the right time to start up in this sector? PK: I think so because many companies are taking notice of the importance of bringing their business strategy into line with their communication strategy. So, rather than cutting their budgets, they prefer to invest in developing lasting strategies and in less obvious communication concepts. This model for success is not just the preserve of large companies and organisations. xcellence: Apollo Strategists was launched in 2012. How do you think the first year has gone? PK: It has been very enriching, from every point of view. We have had to adapt to a variety of different clients from various countries, re-inventing our strategies every time. Basically, we have never done the same thing twice, as all clients are different from one another. It never stops and there has been no room for us to make mistakes. I am therefore still developing partnerships with people who have the same philosophy as Apollo, so that we can have a viable and effective team for doing what we do.
Apollo Strategists www.apollo.lu email@example.com Tel. +352 26 20 2838
Valérie Conrot denicheuse.com
Hits & Highlights
At denicheuse.com, my online shop, you will find a very personal selection of objects – unusual, beautiful, practical or a bit offbeat, designed to make life a little more cheerful, more sparkling and more colourful: things that will make you smile. Have a look at a very small selection of my BEST OF denicheuse.com
It’s the treasure hunter’s passion to track down a thousand and one little things that take us beyond the everyday, or transform the everyday into something more beautiful. These are treasures that I have gathered in the course of an incessant search for the kinds of objects that I love. And I want to share them with you.
nd the world
Valérie Conrot Treasure hunter at denicheuse.com 01 TWINKIND
more stunning place to sit back
fit into any space. It has grown
mous design that has
3D Photo Figurines
and relax than Casas na Areia in
out of a new interpretation of
always been silently with us
Comporta, Portugal. Designed by
the Housebook table, designed
in our everyday home life.
Print an exact replica of yourself.
architects Aires Mateus, this gor-
for keeping your page in a single
A mixture of photo booth and
geous retreat takes old masonry
book. Housebooks are linked
digital factory, Twinkind has
buildings and turns them into
together with small magnets: a
just launched, with a brand new
new, contemporary structures
simple solution with unlimited
05 COCOON 1
product: amazing 3D photo figu-
set upon the sand. Creating a
Designed by micasa lab, Zürich
rines, also known as mini twins.
delicate balance between the
“A furniture you can live in”:
I would love to have my mini
natural landscape and modern
Designed by Umlaute, Denmark
twin, or mini figurines of my kids,
architecture, Aires Mateus’ design
is able to evoke a poetic visual
Designed by BALDESSARI E
and visceral experience from its
BALDESSARI for Riva 1920
A very different way of thinking about how to hang clothes and other everyday stuff on the wall. Use
sleep, cook, relax, play or just
shelter. Cocoon 1 is a very special place for you to retreat to. The innova-
CAMOUFLAGE as wall hanger in your hallway, bedroom,
02 CASAS NA AREIA
Photographer Nelson Garrido,
The Molletta bench plays on the
tive product magically connects
bathroom or office... or have an entire CAMOUFLAGE
Designed by architects
typical out-of-scale quality of
aesthetics and function. Its
Aires Mateus, Portugal
Pop art. The object thus acquires
insularity provides protection
a double life: the first is that of
and seclusion. At the same time,
02 MINI KELLY NECKLACE
Casas na Areia (houses in the
a roomy seat designed for large
its translucency enables us to
Designed by Anne-Marie Herckes, Luxembourg
sand) is one of the most stunning
Designed by MR. LESS & MRS.
interiors or the outdoors. The
let our thoughts wander whilst
hotel projects I have seen in
MORE (Antonella Di Luca and
second is that of a powerful
simultaneously allowing us to
Be the proud owner of a Kelly bag… With Miniature
sculptural element, able to define
join in with life “outside”.
Couture, Anne-Marie Herckes produces miniaturised
“If you’ve been aching for a peace-
the identity of the surrounding
versions of iconic pieces from the history of fashion.
ful escape that’s both eco and
Citybook is a new modular
space. The gigantic peg also pays
modern, we couldn’t think of a
bookcase, that is flexible and can
tribute to the simple and anony-
At Tate Modern this autumn, you can rediscover Klee’s extraordinary body of work and see it in a new light. Paintings, drawings and watercolours from collections around the world will be reunited and displayed alongside each other as the artist originally intended.
01 / Alba White Truffle Fair.
02 / Iron Tree, Ai Weiwei, 2013.
Paul Klee, “Comedy”, 1921, watercolour and oil on paper support.
24th-27th October 2013 PARIS
Visitors will be able to find certified trifola (Alba white truffle) – an initiative aimed at protecting and certifying the Tuber Magnatum Pico brand. This means that truffles sold in Alba are analysed FIAC 2013 and guaranteed against defects before being sold This year, the International Contemporary Art Fair to visitors: Each truffle is checked upon entering the market, assessed by the dedicated commission (FIAC) celebrates its 40th anniversary, continuing responsible for checking truffles, which has an its development and confirming its status as the leading international art fair. What sets FIAC apart active presence in the market and is ready to support consumers. The inspectors entrusted with from other major international fairs is its strong of truffle sensory analysis – who are members of national contingent and its distinctive European flavour, being 73% made up of European galleries. the quality commission – will be at consumers’ disposal at the dedicated Infopoint during AlbaFIAC 2013 will bring together 184 galleries from Qualità opening hours. 25 countries at the Grand Palais. Another factor www.fieradeltartufo.org defining the identity of the FIAC is the consistently lauded quality and unrivalled scope of FIAC’s signature Hors les Murs cultural programme. 16th October 2013-9th March 2014 This year FIAC will take place at the Grand Palais, London the Jardin des Tuileries, the Jardin des Plantes, Place Vendôme and, for the first time, along the The EY Exhibition – banks of the Seine: Les Berges de la Seine. Paul Klee: Making Visible www.fiac.com Paul Klee is a giant of twentieth-century art and 12th October-17th November 2013 one of the great creative innovators of our times. Witty, inventive, magical, his exquisite paintings Alba (Italy) defy easy classification. He is mentioned in the same breath as Matisse, Picasso and his Bauhaus 83rd Alba International White Truffle Fair contemporary Kandinsky. He cuts a radical figure in European modernism. His influence on The Alba White Truffle World Market is the abstraction can be seen in the works of Rothko, heart of this fair dedicated to Alba white truffle.
How to get there LUXAVIATION FLIES TO PARIS Paris - Le Bourget Airport is located 11 km (6.9 mi.) north-northeast of Paris. ALBA Cuneo Levaldigi Airport is located 37.8 km (23.5 mi.) from Alba. LONDON London City Airport for XLS aircraft. London Biggin Hill Airport is located in South East London, just 19.3 km (12 mi.) from the heart of the capital. Northolt Airport is located 22.5 km (14 mi.) from central London.
Miró and beyond. And yet, for an artist of such stature, there is still so much to discover about him. At Tate Modern this autumn, you can rediscover Klee’s extraordinary body of work and see it in a new light. Paintings, drawings and watercolours from collections around the world will be reunited and displayed alongside each other as the artist originally intended, often for the first time since Klee exhibited them himself. www.tate.org.uk November-December 2013 Australia Paspaley “Polo in the City” One of the oldest sports in the world, Polo dates back at least 2,000 years. Over recent years, the growth of the sport across the globe has been substantial and, in Australia, the sport is being embraced by young urban professionals, captivated by the excitement and adrenaline of the sport, as well as lured by tranquil and often exquisite bush settings of many country polo tournaments. “Polo in the City” is Australia’s only national polo series, and one of the largest in the world.
• Brisbane, Dorrigton Park, Saturday 23rd November 2013 • Melbourne, Albert Park, Saturday 30th November 2013 • Perth, Langley Park, Saturday 7th December 2013 • Adelaide, Victoria Park, Friday 13th December 2013 polointhecity.com
BY CHRIS TINA HE I DT
on the ground
Peter Pieske is a man with his feet firmly on the ground: for the past 13 years, the 33-year-old has worked in aviation, of which 10 years in business aviation – but “taking off” is not an attribute of the blond man from Westphalia. The Ground Operations manager, based in Paderborn, is responsible for ensuring problem-free operations on the ground – for every one of the Luxaviation/ FairJets Group’s aircraft, at every airport on earth. ou could claim that the fact that Peter Pieske was going to end up in aviation was clear from the very first time his parents met in the early 1970s. It was at the airport in Prague; he was a German on a business trip, she was a Czech Airlines employee. There was a problem with the return flight. The young woman from the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic devoted herself so selflessly to helping the passenger that he finally invited her to dinner and they fell in love – and a short time later she joined him in the West, where Peter Pieske was born. Airport romance, a joining of East and West, the Bohemian genes – Peter Pieske is proud of his particular family history: he grew up bilingual, speaks fluent German and Czech and loves Prague, its cityscape and history. As a child, he
Neist Point on the Isle of Skye / Scotland.
Our Team Bohemian Switzerland.
Sauerkraut or Czech Schnitzel, which in his opinion easily competes with Wiener Schnitzel.
“ I learn something new every day; every day is different. It’s exciting and always challenges me to try new things.” spent his summer holidays there every year. What he particularly remembers, besides the somewhat frightening trip through the Iron Curtain, with its strict border guards, are the many stories that his grandfather told him. “My grandfather is an artist, a real maverick, born in 1913. He lived through it all; from the arrival of the Nazis to the Prague Spring and all the way to the fall of the Iron Curtain. Despite all of these impressions, despite the various, in part extreme, political developments, he always remained objective and never threw his lot in with any side and never bore a grudge – against anybody. That always impressed and marked me.” Objective, open and interested – also characteristics of trained air traffic management assistant Peter Pieske which have helped him advance in his career. Every day is different; every day he and his 10-person team face new challenges. His team is responsible for ensuring that everything happens without any problems as soon as a flight is booked with Luxaviation/FairJets: from take-off and overflight authorisations to weather information and fuelling, loading and unloading, organising limousine or helicopter services, catering... This includes constant contact with the crew before, during and after the flight and 24-hour availability, seven days per week. “I never want to leave the executive aviation sector,” says
the young man with a laugh. “I learn something new every day; every day is different. It’s always important to adapt to current circumstances, to look for solutions, for example when the air traffic controllers in Marseille go on strike in the middle of the summer and we want to get our passengers to holiday locations in southern France on time. It’s exciting and always challenges me to try new things.” And yet there is one time of year when Peter Pieske is not 100-percent available: When he’s on holiday. Then he hires a caravan or takes his car and drives far away from any airport, preferably to somewhere surrounded by nature. Scandinavia, Scotland, England, the United States, Ireland... A simple B&B or a tent and lots of greenery – he doesn’t need more to switch off. In Norway, for example by the Geirangerfjord, he was completely overcome by nature: “The rugged cliffs, plunging waterfalls – it really impressed me. I was just overwhelmed.” Peter Pieske also experiences these wonderful moments in his mother’s homeland, the Czech Republic. He loves to hike in the kingdom of Rübezahl, the Riesengebirge –totally untouched nature, where packs of wolves still roam–, or to go looking for historic traces, for example in eský Krumlov, where a bear lives in the castle moat. He also loves the simple and honest cooking, Bohemian dumplings with
The Geirangerfjord, Norway.
At least once every two years, he visits his family in Prague: grandfather, aunt, uncle – now without any hassle at the border. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, many things have changed for the better for the family: “My grandparents never wanted to leave their garden. The freedom to travel was never really an issue for them. For my aunt, my uncle, and in particular for my mother, however, the fall of Communism was a very far-reaching event. It made so many things easier. Now part of my family lives scattered around the world, and in Prague you can feel the new spirit.” For Peter Pieske, freedom has given the city on the Moldau a great deal of energy: Infrastructure has improved, the cityscape has changed and the historically liberal character of Prague is once again in bloom. “I find the people of Prague to be extremely open and hospitable, and when you travel away from the tourist itineraries, you can still feel traditional life. Local colour, mixed with internationality.”
01 / Sligachan River
and the Black Cuillin mountains, Isle of Skye / Scotland.
There is no doubt that this year as well he will take his car and drive to Prague: on the occasion of his grandfather’s 100th birthday the entire family is reuniting for a hearty and down-to-earth celebration – traditionally Bohemian even.
02 / Morning skyline of Prague.
’s Pieske Peter
ue r Prag tip fo
han a ust” t f a “m More o . t tip” “secre ovna 00 t Kolk n a r u , 110 a Rest raha 1 P , ě8 è n v o 701 V Kolk t.cz 4 819 tauran 420 22 na-res Tel. + v o k l o k @ e n v o vkolk e.cz olkovn www.vk
When heâ€™s on holiday, he hires a caravan or takes his car and drives far away from any airport, preferably to somewhere surrounded by nature.
Daybreak at Vikbukta on the Lofoten Islands / Norway.
BY CHRIS TINA HE I DT
Vittorio Santoro (b. 1962), “Les 24 heures”, exhibition view, Campagne Première Gallery, Berlin, 2011.
Nina Koidl has been fascinated by art since she was a child. The 44-year-old graduate art historian has a particular talent for making contemporary, often multimedia works accessible to an interested audience. Together with her partner Henning Weidemann, she has run the Campagne Première Gallery in Berlin since 2008 – a real go-to destination for contemporary art.
Her mission: To make people passionate about contemporary art
Nina Koidl lives for contemporary art. Her crucial experience came when she was a teenager. Growing up in an art-loving family, she went to a gallery in Frankfurt to visit an exhibition by James Turrell. The American artist’s installations of light and space – his starkly emotional and non-pictorial works – fascinated her. From that n old printing plant in Berlin Mitte, rear moment onwards she wanted to expose others to courtyard, 2nd floor. From the outside, it’s works without actual images, to “infect” them. hard to tell that this is one of the capital’s most interesting contemporary art galleries. No display Then came her art history studies, the doctoral window, no garish advertising – this is not a place work that she wrote in Spain – followed by a first you just stumble across. With its romantic court- employment. “I longed to go back to Germany and decided on Berlin. A city in which, at the yard charm, this is rather a place you search out time, a lot was going on in the art world; where I with a purpose. was sure that I would be able to make my dreams come true.” She first found a position with a With bright, high-ceilinged rooms and lovinglywell-known art dealer, where she learned a lot restored wooden floorboards, the gallery is a about dealing with artists and clients. place for encounters, a place of discovery. The Her partner, Henning Weidemann, had the same simplicity is deliberate. The purism creates space dream: When they met, he was living in Paris, on – the emphatically reduced space – required by the Rue Campagne Première – a street of artists contemporary art to have its effect on viewers. “The artist gives the clues to a picture, but leaves in Montparnasse, in the 14th Arrondissement, it to the observer to work it out. There is more where Eugène Atget, Man Ray and Yves Klein than one truth; the openness of the viewer is had lived, and where he wanted to open his own
The Campagne Première Gallery was launched in Berlin in 2008.
decisive,” explains Koidl, who seeks to make contemporary art more accessible.
How to get there LUXAVIATION FLIES TO BERLIN Berlin Schönefeld Airport is located 18 km (11 mi.) southeast of the city centre. Berlin Tegel Airport is situated 8 km (5 mi.) northwest of the city centre.
Noa Gur (b. 1980), “Burning Bush” 2012, HD video, sound, 1’13”, loop, edition of 5 + 2 AP. Price: € 6,000
01 / Christoph Girardet (b. 1966), “Seascapes”,
2012-13, 20 ink jet prints on Hahnemühle photo rag, each 21 x 26 cm, framed, edition of 5 + 2 AP. Price: each € 800
gallery. So on to Berlin: The German capital offered them great potential premises, better than in London or Paris, as well as a young and openminded art scene, interesting off-spaces and exhibitions at a level unheard of in other German cities: the perfect place in which the Campagne Première Gallery could enrich the art scene. 02
Art seeks dialogue – and emotional encounters Bank, which has recently been turning its attention to the Arab world, just purchased the work. The works of Christoph Girardet are also perfectly tailored for Campagne Première. Girardet uses material from movies to compose his own works and to develop new narrative arcs. His series of 20 prints, entitled “Seascapes”, shows various images of a calm ocean – without the viewer ealising that, in the films from which they are taken, something has just taken place there. Only the geographic coordinates under the images hint at the story. The work is a trigger for a greater visual idea, an approach that inspires Nina Koidl. Campagne Première is a place of encounters and exchanges. The 200 sqm exhibition rooms are frequently the site of dinners, readings and talks. There is no doubt that the rooms are closely tied to the lives of both gallery owners. “We live with art,” acknowledges Koidl with a smile. “And we love the dialogue. For us, it’s only natural to dive into a contemplation of the works and to explain Encrypted actions, uncovering stereotypes the content. People come back because this is a The Berliner-by-choice sees enormous potential in place in which they can discover something the art scene in Arab countries. The Arab Spring amazing for themselves.” has uncovered exciting young artists such as Currently at Campagne Première: Fayçal Baghriche. His Arabic writing “La Ifham” means “I don’t understand”. Illegible to a western Marco Poloni – “Displacement Island” observer, it becomes an abstract work of light That’s also the case of the current “Displacement and form, an example of how art plays with our Island” exhibition by Marco Poloni. In it, Nina lack of understanding. The European Central Contemporary art – often based on multimedia, film, photo and installations; for five years Nina Koidl and Henning Weidemann have been exhibiting works by young artists like Marco Poloni, Noa Gur and Vittorio Santoro. They introduce them onto the market and place them alongside exhibitions by established artists. All pioneers in their field – like the early experiments by Eadweard Muybridge in 1880 or Stan Brakhage in the 50s and 60s. Victor Burgin, Sol LeWitt and Constantin Brancusi have also been on the programme. “We enjoy works which are not limited to a single medium and which distinguish themselves through a multimedia approach,” explains Koidl. “For us, it’s the art that leads the way; it’s what drives the viewer and purchaser. The effect generally occurs in the intervals and through interaction with the observer.”
02 / Fayçal Baghriche (b. 1972), “La Ifham”, 2006, neon, ca. 20 x 50 cm, edition of 5 + 2 AP. Price: € 5,500
03 / Marco Poloni (b. 1962), “Displacement Island #41”, 2006, pigment ink on archive paper, 45.7 x 50 cm, edition of 5 + 2 AP. Price: € 3,200
Koidl and Henning Weidemann display photography which only divulges the whole story at a second glance: 67 pictures through which a loose story develops. At the centre is the Italian island of Lampedusa, which Poloni presents as a highlypoliticised place of transit, promise and illusion – an island that changes seasonally between migration and tourism. The pictures – press photos, film stills, autobiographical materials, reproductions, space photography and Poloni’s own photos – relate to each other, connect via similarities and differences and expand on areas of significance. Nina Koidl is especially proud that this exhibition is accompanied by a publication, and that it is part of an exhibition series entitled “Archaeologies of the Future”, which focusses on a new interpretation of historical material, a mixture of fact and fiction. “We are observing a young generation of artists who handle history like a lump of material with which they create the future: The look backwards is what allows them to develop themselves further.”
“ We enjoy works which are not limited to a single medium and which distinguish themselves through a multimedia approach.”
By CĂŠdric E vrard
Wonderful Pantanal Flowers and water Resplendent in blue and green, the western Brazilian flatlands known as the Pantanal (meaning big swamp in Portuguese) is the largest area of wetlands on the planet. A voyage of discovery into an endangered natural paradise.
I started by paying the local farmers not to poach on my land. That didnâ€™t take long to work. They very quickly realised that protecting the animals and plants could be a source of income for them. One after another, they started to trust me, and they were giving up burning vegetation and hunting left, right and centre.
01 / Rodeo is one of the
The facão is a way of life for campeiros, who carry them on their belt, in the small of their back.
activities offered by the ranch.
02 / A family of capybara take a dip just outside the lodge.
02 / A jabiru stork fishes a stone’s throw from Araras Eco Lodge. 03 / Campeiros have a
tough life, but the Pantanal is their paradise.
01 / The ranch also 01
rears superb stallions.
here are just a few thousand of them to tame what the farmers here call either ‘the green hell’ or, for those with a more positive outlook, ‘paradise’. Preoccupied with scanning the river under a pinky-orange sky, Carlos Ramon Sanchez, our guide, is one of the latter. The Pantanal is his whole life. With his rolling gait and boyish good looks straight out of a Sergio Leone film, you could pick him out of a thousandstrong crowd. Supporting himself on his stirrups, his left hand on his thigh, his right stoking his speckled white stallion, his craggy face is the result of years spent outdoors. Suddenly, he draws our attention to a family of howler monkeys playing hide-and-seek amongst the branches, while two birds of prey launch themselves into a lightning-fast acrobatic ballet, punctuated with dizzying dives into waters teeming with life. “Welcome to the Pantanal”, exclaims Carlos, who would certainly have been a cowherd if his path had not crossed that of André von Thuronyi, a former businessman of Hungarian origin who, struck by the region’s beauty, went into ecotourism some ten years ago. “His travel agency was starting to do quite well. He had a beautiful villa overlooking Rio, a sports car and nice clothes. Sometimes I ask myself why he came here”, jokes Carlos as he saddles our horses. Sporting a Crocodile Dundee-style hat, perhaps to hide the silver
curls that give him away as a sexagenarian, in many ways André is an eccentric hero who has managed to make local people aware of the need to preserve this immense territory bursting with life. He is a very busy man, but he nevertheless welcomes us with open arms when we get back from our first, rain-disrupted, outing. “Free yourselves from your umbrellas and anoraks, damn it!”, he tells us in singsong French. “Rain is a gift from heaven. Have you forgotten how much fun you had as a child jumping into puddles with both feet to splash your little friends?” That’s the sort of man he is. Blunt and cheeky by turns, he makes fun of us, taking ironic pot shots to shake us free of our city-dweller habits. André has spent time in Budapest, looked after by his paternal grandmother, an intellectual who very quickly impressed on him how useful it is to speak several languages in a world of increasingly fragile borders. That is where, as well as Hungarian, he learned German, French, Italian, Spanish and English, to go with his native Portuguese. “I wanted to see the world from a very early age. My taste for languages has made my life much easier. In the morning, I would see myself as a lawyer and, in the afternoon, a doctor. In the end, life had other ideas. A professional opportunity prompted me to catch a plane to Brazil. You know the rest.”
03 / Blue Macaws have settled in the Araras Eco Lodge. 04 / A howler monkey makes itself heard from its natural position.
How to get there LUXAVIATION FLIES TO CAMPO GRANDE The Campo Grande International Airport is located 7 km (4 mi.) from downtown Campo Grande (Mato Grosso do Sul).
01 / Hundreds of caiman top up their suntans.
02 / A bird of prey swoops suddenly down on its victim.
03 / The impenetrably dense green of the jungle is a haven for endangered animals.
After hugging a hundred-year-old tree and proving to us that he talks to trees as part of what he calls his “continual quest for harmony”, André then explains to us how he was able to win acceptance from the inhabitants of this corner of paradise, riddled throughout with thousands of tiny waterways that all converge on the Paraguay River. “I started by paying the local farmers not to poach on my land. That didn’t take long to work. They very quickly realised that protecting the animals and plants could be a source of income for them. One after another, they started to trust me, and they were giving up burning vegetation and hunting left, right and centre.” Next came the construction of Araras Eco Lodge, which André built with his own hands. It is a refuge for numerous species of birds, including the magnificent macaws with electric blue plumage that sell for thousands of dollars on the black market. “Collectors the world over are prepared to spend crazy sums to get their hands on a couple of parrots”, rages André, before reminding us that the trade in endangered species is the third-largest in the world, after drugs and guns. André was not anticipating such success when he finished building the lodge. “We are now faced with a terrible contradiction: money from tourism should enable conservation of the natural habitats that are visited, but at the same time the
mere presence of visitors, and the resulting hotels to house them, contributes to increased pressure on the environment. I’m far from pleased about the dozens of boats plying our rivers, or the thousands of tourists who, despite their good intentions, will tramp the length and breadth of our forests in the next few years. That can only further upset the natural balance that is so fragile in the Pantanal.”
Campeiro gear awaits any tourist wanting to do something a bit out of the ordinary.
countless miniature seas and lakes, which are immediately taken over by sunbathing caimans.
A true natural paradise, it is home to around 230 species of fish, while ibises, egrets, budgies, falcons and storks sit in the branches and circle in the sky. “We also have jaguars, pumas, anteaters and many other mammals, such as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent”, beams André von Thuronyi, who is seeing his efforts pay off The region, which UNESCO lists as a World here. That is miraculous when you think that sevHeritage Site, is threatened by human activity, eral roads were built in the sixties, including the particularly soya planters and cattle ranchers, famous Transpantaneira, along which some 6,000 who mar the plane by deforesting the banks of farms were set up, the richest of which cover up the marshes and lakes. Moreover, it is hard to to 100,000 hectares carved out of the Pantanal. scan the horizon without your gaze falling on the The botanists and scientists who have been sursharp teeth of some agricultural machine or veying the region for decades believe that over other. Some 3 million cattle graze here, watched half the biodiversity present here has yet to be by boiadeiros, who act as sort of jungle sheepcatalogued. That gives an idea of how colossal dogs. So many animals that need to be driven the challenge to the planet is. Ecotourism should from one fazenda to another when the seasons save part of the Pantanal and limit deforestation change. This is a real thorn in the side of the there, but dozens of André von Thuronyis will be Pantanal, whose climate and unique geographic necessary if we are to have any chance of seeing, situation make it home to exceptional flora and in decades to come, a jaguar hunting a stag or fauna. In summer – October to March – the reblue macaws giving their incredible demonstragion is completely flooded. Rivers become lakes tions of synchronised flying at dusk. and then oceans. Its area, between 140,000 and 210,000 km2, is surpassing 17 times the size of the Florida Everglades. In the winter, the water level drops and the ground reappears, leaving behind
Araras Eco Lodge The lodge is located right in the heart of an expansive wilderness of several thousand hectares. e Araras Eco Lodg a Transpantaneir ue rq Pa a Estrad nĂŠ Km 32, Poco Mato Grosso 78175-000 Brazil 82 2800 Tel. +55 65 36 1260 82 36 Fax +55 65 br
lodge.com. contact@araras com.br e. dg www.araraslo
01 / Horseback riding is the best way to discover the big swamp. 02 / Magnificent macaws with electric blue plumage.
Built in the rustic style typical of the region, the lodge is located right in the heart of an expansive wilderness of several thousand hectares. It is also a stoneâ€™s throw from a wooden viewing platform that is very often visited by howler monkeys, who see it as just the vantage point for surveying their territory and the trees that are the source of their food. The 19 bedrooms are air-conditioned as standard and, despite lacking televisions, have everything else that you would find in a normal hotel.
The meals are sumptuous and generous. The price of a 3- or 4-night stay usually includes breakfast and the services of an Englishor French-speaking guide. The restaurant serves traditional food near the pool, and there are several internet-equipped relaxation areas.
Chapada dos Guimarães National Park with the campeiros The Pantanal is, first, an almost idyllic vision of an ecosystem unique in the world. Next, it is a colour: intense blue, turning black sometimes. Finally, it is a sound, or rather a concert given from the early hours of the morning by our feathered friends. The Pantanal is all that at the same time.
To discover it, there is nothing like meandering by foot, boat or horse in the company of campeiros, those Brazilian cowboys who share nothing but a name with their North American cousins. Doing this is certainly one of the joys of a trip to this watery paradise. But there can be no doubt that the cherry on the cake is still Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, famous for its canyons and waterfalls, which are unique in the world. You get there via a road sprinkled with red sand where, in an indescribable cloud of dust, hundreds of heads of cattle driven by horseriding campeiros meet brightly coloured buses groaning under the weight of suitcases and caged chickens, with a wonderfully chaotic din of horns and mooing. Children encountered spontaneously surround tourists to have their photo taken and good-natured scenes are being acted out all over the place.
With its rocky amphitheatres strewn with misty waterfalls, Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is one of the main attractions of the Brazilian Cerrado. It has lots of visitors too, come to see the Véu de Noiva (bridal veil) falls, pretty much the picture postcard of a park whose 33,000 hectares house over 50 archaeological sites, including rock paintings and animal fossils. On the alluvial plains, you can go horse riding, with the water between islets waist-deep at times. The horses used are smaller than normal but, more importantly, they are more docile, braver and smarter. They were first introduced by the Spanish during their conquest of the region in 1541. The vast plain is pockmarked with twisted trees and is blanketed with flowers and exotic fruits in the right season. A festival of colour that no botanist worth their salt would miss for the world.
You could spend a whole day there dawdling amongst the immense gateways carved from razor-sharp rock that cut into the deep blue sky. Or you could spend it laid out in the hot sun, with its rays beating down between the sheer cliffs to reach the yellowed grass of these enormous, deserted plains. The park can be visited all year round and is open to the public from 8am to 5pm. However, it is best to visit between May and July, when the volume of water in the falls is highest. During the rainy season, between December and April, the paths can be dangerous and some attractions are closed. Not forgetting the swarms of mosquitoes around at that time of year... A visit to Chapada dos Guimarães National Park really is an exciting alternative to the sandy beaches of Copacabana. Green Brazil does still exist!
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Grapes & Flavours Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.
in is the spirit of the age the world over and Jim McEwan saw a great opportunity. “It was pure karma. There was no grand plan”, he says in his thick Scottish brogue. Basically, like anyone running a distillery, he was facing the question ‘How do I generate an income while I wait for my whisky to mature?’ No one can wait twelve years for a return on their investment… except for nuclear power plants, of course. So, innovation and forward thinking were the keys. People are jaded. They want unique, special, crafted things. That’s where The Botanist comes in. It is rural and authentic, yet painstakingly branded. And it’s delicious.
Betty, can we dance? Never a truer example of “necessity is the mother of invention” than the distillery Bruichladdich. The master distiller for this single malt whisky producer on the tiny island of Islay, the so-called Queen of the Hebrides, goes by the name of Jim McEwan. He’s the madman of the stills, the visionary. A Scotsman to the bone, he’s now into distilling something quintessentially English: gin. The triumvirate of Ugly Betty, The Botanist and Jim McEwan saved the company.
Jim McEwan & Bruichladdich Casks.
Bruichladdich (pronounced: brook-laddie) single malt distillery is housed in a Victorian building on the shores of Islay’s idyllic Loch Indaal and has a long history, but The Botanist is a fairly new name on the spirit circuit. It all started with the acquisition of a rare Lomond still. In 2004, Jim McEwan was investigating the old equipment of a distillery that was to be torn down, when he stumbled upon this strangely designed Lomond still, only five of which had ever been built. It had the recognisable bulb-shaped bottom of the standard copper-pot still, but rather than a lovely, elegant tapered neck, the Lomond resembled a coffee can. It was a dumpy step sister to the shapely siblings that sat next to it in the derelict still house.
The Scottish Isle of Islay is part of the southern Hebrides.
01 / Early morning
Grapes & Flavours
02 /Jim McEwan in the Woodlands.
“You should not be melted down. You should be saved!” Jim McEwan thought. He bought the Lomond and it was shipped to Bruichladdich, where it lay untouched in a shed for six years. In 2010, Jim McEwan had it reassembled to try it out... by secretly distilling gin instead of whisky. No one at the distillery was told.
vapour, the smell coming out of Ugly Betty was incredible”, Jim recalls. “The silvery liquid of the first distillation was crystal clear. The first batch tasted exactly like the one on sale today. There was no need to experiment any further. Final proof that distilling is all about the quality of the ingredients and not about the dent in the still.”
Over the years leading up to the rebirth of his Lomond still, he had been in touch with botanists on Islay. Two of them lived down the road in Port Ellen and he asked them for samples of native botanicals. They came up with 22 different ones, all hand-picked from the windswept hills and peat bogs. “But the secret is the flavours”, Jim explains. “How much of this? How much of that?”
When combined with some top-notch craftsmanship, Ugly Betty finally made Jim McEwan’s dream come true: to employ people in the remote West of Scotland. The future of the whisky distillery is assured. Bruichladdich employs 60 people on an island of 3,228. “There’s no maturing, and I can bottle and sell the next day.” And, perhaps most important of all, there is no evaporation, no so-called angel’s share. “I’m dancing with the devil now”, Jim McEwan smiles whimsically.
One Friday night in 2010 turned out to be the moment of truth for Jim McEwan. “I was waiting for everyone to return back home after a long day’s work”, Jim recalls. “I didn’t want anyone to witness a disaster! I could have sent everything into the sea, saying something went wrong.” When the lights were switched off for the day at Bruichladdich, Jim snuck out to the shed to fire up his Lomond still. He had named it Ugly Betty, in reference to Betty Grable, a 1940s dancer and actress, celebrated for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood. “That night, I’m asking: Betty, can we dance?” All alone at the distillery, he decided to go for an unusually slow “simmer” distillation process in order to coax the botanicals into releasing their complex, signature aromatics. “Twelve hours, it took. From midnight to noon”, Jim explains. “Betty prefers to work at low pressure and won’t be rushed.”
01 / Budgie with Ugly Betty. 02 / Native botanicals,
hand-picked from the windswept hills of Islay.
The news that Jim McEwan had been distilling gin spread like wildfire on the Hebrides. The other distillers on Islay were intrigued, phoned him up or came to see him straight away to check that it was not all just one massive hoax. “The reaction was nothing less than an earthquake”, Jim recalls with a wry smile on his face. Although he gets on with and is even friends with his competitors, Jim McEwan is well aware that there might be copycats one day... What’s next then for Bruichladdich? Vodka? “Ha ha! No, no, no...”, Jim retorts. “Any monkey could make vodka!”
Betty Grable / 1940.
Jim McEwan was confronted with a huge jigsaw, but the pieces eventually fell into place. “The
Grapes & Flavours
How to get there LUXAVIATION FLIES TO ISLE OF ISLAY Islay Airport is located 8.3 km (5.2 mi.) north northwest of Port Ellen on the island of Islay.
THE HISTORY OF GIN Invented in Holland, supposedly by the Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius in the mid 17th century, gin only became popular in England when Dutch-born William of Orange took the English throne in 1688. Gin provided an alternative to French brandy at a time of both political and religious conflict between Britain and France. During the so-called Gin Craze, the consumption of “Madam Geneva” (a misspelling of the Dutch word jenever) increased rapidly in Great Britain, especially in London, spawned numerous social problems and caused much public outcry. In overcrowded, slum-ridden Georgian London, gin was the opiate of the people. The famous Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe commented: “...the distillers have found out a way to hit the palate of the poor, by their new fashion’d compound waters called Geneva, so that the common people seem not to value the French brandy as usual, and even not to desire it”.
“ The vapour, the smell coming out of Ugly Betty was incredible”, Jim recalls.
At that time, gin was more likely to be flavoured with turpentine as an alternative to juniper. The Botanist is, of course, gin of a very different kind. Jim McEwan’s small-batch, artisanal Islay gin is distilled with orris and angelica root, cassia and cinnamon bark, coriander seeds and juniper berries. A foraging team augments these classic gin aromatics with a heady harvest of wild, native botanicals such as elderflower, sweet cicely, creeping thistle and bog myrtle. The result: a highly distinctive, complex, floral gin with outstanding finish and impeccable provenance.
ery Distill addich l l y Bruichl g r A Islay Isle of N PA49 7U d n a l t Sco 850 190 UK (0)1496 4 4 + . Tel 850 067 (0)1496 m Fax +44 dich.co uichlad om c . mary@br h c i d ichlad www.bru
BY M agali M igau D
Lead climber Yoann Conte As a child, Yoann Conte loved farm animals and dreamed of life in agriculture. Thankfully for our taste buds (and too bad for our animal friends), it is Upper Savoy (France), its potential and its culinary heritage that ended up consuming him. Thus began a culinary climb in search of the stars...
hat made you decide one day to start slaving over a hot stove? The desire to travel, or rather to be able to buy myself a plane ticket so I could go and discover Florida. At the time, my father was the chef at a hotel in Chamonix. He suggested that I help him out in high season to earn myself a bit of money. I think that I have a little bit of an artistic streak, inherited from my mother, who studied fine arts, so I quite quickly ended up in charge of organising buffets and doing the presentation for the hors d’oeuvre. From that moment on, food became a passion, which I decided to nourish by studying at the hotel school in Thonon-les-Bains, Upper Savoy. Where did your apprenticeship take you next? Having graduated, I had the opportunity to learn
from Marc Veyrat, still in Upper Savoy. That was 17 years ago, now. But my culinary apprenticeship also gave me the opportunity to rub shoulders with some other great chefs, each of whom had an influence on the cook I would become: André Signoret, Jean-Michel Diot, Phillippe Braun, Didier Oudill, Pierre Carrier, Laurent Petit and Thierry Marx. Chamonix is a cosmopolitan place, so I very quickly became interested in foreign cuisines. First I went to Paris, then Florida, Los Angeles and New York. My experiences abroad gave me even more of a taste for a challenge. Sport has also played a part in putting fire in my belly. In Chamonix, they say that “when you want to come down a mountain or get from one side to the other, you have to climb it first”. That tenet has become my philosophy on life. My apprenticeship is over now, but my curiosity still knows no bounds!
Star Chefs The restaurant garden, home to some 60 garden herbs.
How did you end up back at Maison de Marc Veyrat?* We first met back in 1996. We worked together for almost 3 years. Then came my military service and my culinary apprenticeship, so we lost touch for quite a while. But, in 2010, he found out that I had been trying to set up a restaurant in Chamonix again, without success. He suggested that I join up with him again near Annecy and take over his restaurant in Veyrier-du-Lac, which he wanted to sell. I immediately accepted this colossal challenge, which started out with a few financial issues... But we hit on an arrangement and we are very close now. I think he is pleased to see what the restaurant has become and, above all, that I have respected the valuable heritage that he left behind within its walls. For him, and for me as well, this is a place where great things have been achieved. It is a very sentimental thing and I’m happy to see that the fact that we hit it off so well is now bearing fruit. We have figured out how to get on with each other and I think he is very proud that the restaurant has two Michelin stars again, even though we have a little way to go yet. * Now “La Maison de Marc Veyrat, hôtel-restaurant Yoann Conte”, in Veyrier-du-Lac, Upper Savoy, France.
It did not take you long at all to earn your Michelin stars. Do you see that sort of recognition as important? Michelin stars are to chefs what Olympic medals are to athletes. You need to work very hard to achieve that level of excellence. It’s also invaluable recognition for the whole team, given that our establishment was awarded its stars very quickly. We only needed three years to earn our two stars, even though everyone thought it was madness to take on the dual role of head chef and manager. I just see it as a question of work
and desire. The challenge is stimulating. Getting those two stars is a bit like reaching the summit of Mont Blanc: you can do it on your own, with your own resourcefulness. But earning three stars is more like climbing Everest: you’ll never get there without a support team. Between the heritage you have adopted and making your own mark, how would you define Yoann Conte’s signature style? Marc Veyrat’s trademark is wild cuisine and we are keen to conserve that heritage. The restaurant garden is home to some sixty common or garden herbs. Then, twice or three times a week, we head into the mountains to gather ones that can’t be cultivated, such as ivy or meadowsweet... The ambition of developing a cuisine that is “worth a special journey”** also involves putting the emphasis on local produce. Fish from the lake and local botanicals are part of Savoy’s regional identity, and have always played a part in feeding the people living in these parts. It’s down to us to relearn how to domesticate and prepare them, so that our customers can discover them. But this culinary heritage is not enough because our restaurant is a proper business. Like free riders, I take risks, although they are always calculated ones. I’m pretty satisfied with the choices I’ve made so far, but we haven’t yet reached the moment of truth. For the moment, I’m moving
Guest are welcomed in a warm, yet elegantly appointed surroundings with a distinctly savoyard atmosphere.
How to get there LUXAVIATION FLIES TO ANNECY Annecy – Haute-Savoie – Mont Blanc Airport is located 3.5 km (2 mi.) northwest of Annecy.
** Star categories in the Michelin Guide: 48 Star Chefs
1 star: very good restaurant (worth travelling locall y) 2 stars: worth a detour (worth travelling regionally or na tionally) 3 stars: worth a special journey (interna tional attraction)
ANN CONTE RESTAURANT YO ute des 13 Vieille Ro s Pensière r-du-Lac, 74290 Veyrie France 50 09 97 49 Tel. +33 (0)4 conte.com nan yo contact@ e. nt com www.yoann-co
forward, I’m climbing that mountain and I’m waiting to make my mark on the summit... and to impose my own signature style! But I have a great team behind me, because a climb like this is impossible without support. All members of my team must be determined to find the best of themselves. We started out with 8 and we now have more than 34. And we’re gearing up for a new challenge at an altitude of 2,300 m by taking on the Koh-I Nor (a 5-star mountain hotel) in Val Thorens (a winter sports station at an altitude of 2,300 m in the French Alps, making it Europe’s highest ski station, ed.). I’m going to get myself organised and we’ll get there. Despite the huge demands on his time, can a Michelin-starred chef manage to set aside a bit of time for himself? I use my free time – my downtime – to create recipes, which are concocted 95% in my head and 5% in the kitchen. That 5% is not the easiest bit to come up with. It’s not enough for it to taste good: the aesthetic of a dish is just as important. But this research work is my passion and being able to dedicate time to it is a real luxury. Sleep is another! But, although this job is time-consuming, it keeps me going and I love it. It also exhausts me sometimes, so now and then I think about moving on to other things someday. Just have a few friends round to mine for a barbecue. Spend some quality time with my nearest and dearest, tend to my garden, soak up the beauty of nature... I’ll allow myself that luxury when I’ve finished climbing my culinary mountain.
BY IS ABE L LUC A S
Ian Fleming had spent a season at the Hotel Palácio in 1941, and the environment of espionage in effect there at the height of the Second World War was the inspiration for his spy and seducer in the service of the British Crown.
with spies and crowns Just along the coast from Lisbon in Estoril, there is a hotel that holds part of European history in its hands. Five stars in the birthplace of Ian Fleming’s legendary 007. The hotel is managed by Francisco Corrêa de Barros. Ian Fleming (1908 - 1964), author of the James Bond novels, at an airfield on 18th January 1964. Palácio Estoril Hotel, designed by the French architect Henry Martinet, opened on 30th August 1930.
01 / Count of Barcelona
and daughter Infanta Doña Pilar.
02 / 1930 New Year’s Eve.
ames Bond passed through here in 1969. He drove along the roughly twenty kilometres of coastal road between Lisbon and Estoril in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, taking the series right back to its roots. His British creator, Ian Fleming, had spent a season at the Hotel Palácio in 1941, and the environment of espionage in effect there at the height of the Second World War was the inspiration for his spy and seducer in the service of the British Crown. The road has changed since then, with all the spies – real and fictional – long gone, but the charm of the hotel, founded in 1930, remains undimmed. Next door to the largest casino in Europe, close to Lisbon and situated in a landscape-protection area, the Palácio Estoril has some 35,000 guests per year in its 161 rooms. It also has records that arouse the interest of film producers, screenwriters, journalists and historians. “It is still very glamorous, and lots of people come here in search of the James Bond saga or royal families”, says Francisco Corrêa de Barros, General Manager of the Palácio Estoril for the last ten years and guardian of the history of a hotel designed in 1914 in the image of the luxury resorts of France’s Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, particularly Biarritz.
that year – 1914 – saw the start of the First World War. Portugal entered the conflict and the hotel would not be opened until 30 August 1930”, continues Francisco Corrêa de Barros, highlighting the coverage given by the press at the time to the inauguration of a hotel that would set an example to and rival the two major hotels existing at the time in Lisbon. The Belle Époque style in which the hotel had originally been designed had fallen into disuse, so it was swapped for Art Nouveau. That was the image it projected at the start of the Second World War. Royal families in exile or fleeing to the United States, persecuted Jews, and German and Allied spies then played a decisive hand in this fashionable Portuguese resort.
The investor, Fausto de Figueiredo, was inspired by the idea of creating a holiday resort in the pine and cedar forests of Estoril that set the standard for Europe. French culture dominated Portugal at the time: everyone spoke French, and it was France that dictated fashions and inspired customs. “Fausto de Figueiredo used to spend his holidays on the French coast and he entrusted the design of the Palácio Estoril to the French architect Henry Martinet. The plan was to build three hotels, a casino and a railway line linking Estoril with Paris, via the Sud Express train. Alas,
The halls and corridors of the hotel have many a tale to tell. Francisco Corrêa de Barros has heard a few from people who experienced them. “A former employee told me that, in the week when war broke out in 1939, the hotel had no guests. There was no one here. They knew that a war had broken out, but knew nothing else about it. A week later, the owner sent half the hotel’s employees home. It was not long before he had to recall them. The hotel filled up with refugees, spies, and people fleeing to the United States of America.” In one of the halls, overlooking the
Wood panelling, coastal themed decoration: like stepping on board a luxury yacht.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry stayed at the hotel in October 1940.
The halls and corridors of the hotel have many a tale to tell.
Pastéis de nata, the Portuguese custard tarts are one of the Palácio Estoril Hotel’s trademarks.
garden and the swimming pool, Corrêa de Barros sets the scene, describing one of the liveliest periods in the life of the hotel he runs. “Those years were the golden age for the hotel and for this region.” Portugal was neutral; Spain too, but it had been devastated by the Civil War. Many people, particularly Jews, were fleeing Europe for the United States. Portugal was a uniquely strategic location for this flight, the vast majority of which took place in convoys of ships. What’s more, nearby Carcavelos housed the submarine cable that guaranteed communications between this part of mainland Europe and America. The proximity of North Africa was another attraction, either as a flight destination or as source of oil. There were Germans and Allies there, passing through or on missions.
Soviet Union, and Sir John Godfrey, an admiral in the British navy. Mr Corrêa de Barros explains that “Sir John Godfrey’s entourage included two people: a man named Ian Fleming and the Yugoslav spy Dušan Popov. The latter is said to have been a triple agent, spying for the Allies, Germans and Russians. Fleming would be entrusted with guarding Popov and he was probably the inspiration for 007. We have photographs and records of both from 1941.” The bar’s drinks menu references the period, reproducing both How to get there men’s registration forms. “A few years ago, the Luxaviation flies to BBC came here to film for a programme on the spies who defeated Hitler. They spoke to a former LISBON Lisbon Portela Airport secretary, asking why Popov had the code name is the nearest airport to ‘Tricycle’. She replied that it was because he had Estoril, 31 km (19 mi.). three beautiful women with him everywhere he went. He was very good-looking himself. She knew about that and not that he was spying The spies for three different sides. That is probably where James Bond and the Bond Girls came from, in a “At that time, this hotel was chosen for the Allies to base themselves. There were another two place where there was a casino near some thermal nearby which mainly housed Germans”, explains springs. Casino Royal, as this place was then Francisco Corrêa de Barros, as he tells the history known”, says Francisco Corrêa de Barros. of the Palácio Estoril. “The hotel barmen knew almost everything that was going on. Champagne corks popped every time there was a victory.” And he names some famous people: Writer Graham Green, “Kim” Philby, the top British secret agent who was also spying for the then
Upholding tradition Popov would be back, more discretely, in 1946. Like him, the royal families of Hungary, France, Greece, Spain, Romania and Luxembourg had passed through. In 1955, the décor was changed, swapping Art Deco for Neoclassical for the wedding of Princess Maria Pia of Savoy. Lucien Donnat’s decoration brought about a transformation, the broad brush strokes of which are still in evidence today, maintaining the identity of a hotel that wants to preserve the best of itself. “Service, classicism and history adapting to new requirements. We want people to come back and they have been coming back”, says Francisco Corrêa de Barros, offering me a package of pastéis de nata, the Portuguese custard tarts that are one of the Hotel Palácio Estoril’s trademarks.
Palácio Estoril Hotel golf & spa Rua Particular 2769-504 Estoril, Lisbon, Portugal Tel. +351 21 464 8000 Fax +351 21 464 8159 firstname.lastname@example.org www.palacioestorilhotel.com
BY YUKA OKA DA
Art Treats WHEN?
Teshima Art Museum. Photo:：Ken’ichi Suzuki.
Autumn Season October 5th — November 4th 2013 WHERE? 12 islands of the Setonaikai (Seto Inland Sea) and Takamatsu and Uno.
Naoshima / Teshima / Megijima / Ogijima / Shodoshima / Oshima / Inujima / Shamijima (spring only) / Honjima (autumn only) / Takamijima (autumn only) / Awashima (autumn only) / Ibukijima (summer only) / Takamatsu port and Uno port.
Where art ends up being a journey
PROGrAMME AND BOOKING? Setouchi Triennale 2013: http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/ Benesse Art Site Naoshima: www.benesse-artsite.jp/en/
Teshima Art Museum by Tokyo-based architect Ryue Nishizawa and Japanese artist Rei Naito on Teshima island. Photo: Ken’ichi Suzuki.
The Japanese archipelago is made up of a multitude of islands. On the western side of Shikoku, the prefectures of Kagawa and Ehime face Okayama, Hiroshima and the other eastern coastal areas of the main island, Honshu. Between these two coasts, about an hour’s flight from Tokyo towards Kyushu, lies the Setonaikai, Japan’s inland sea.
ften abbreviated to Setouchi, using an alternative reading for the character for «inner», it holds 727 islands over 0.1 km in diameter and is home to over 3,000 islands large and small, each with its own distinctive culture. I will never forget the first time I saw it from above. The islands float in the tranquil inland sea like scale models as ships leisurely ply their way across the surface of the water, farmers work in rice paddies on terraces carved into the mountain slopes, a train runs between settlements founded long ago where passengers came ashore from the boats... It is an archetypal Japanese scene, long forgotten by those living in the city who no longer have any chance to experience it. I felt as if the essence of that bygone era, those halcyon days when all joy and all life was found in the family, had been awakened within me. The boundless nostalgia brought about by the realisation of the enormity of what had been lost was enough to bring tears to my eyes. This spiritual home of the Japanese is the stage for the Setouchi Triennale, a contemporary art festival that opened in 2010. Boats based in the ports of Takamatsu in Kagawa and Uno in Okayama cruise around the islands taking visitors to the artworks scattered across the region. Twelve islands are
taking part in the event as of the opening of this year’s second session, making a grand total of 210 artists and around 200 artworks selected for display, including commissioned pieces. The festival is divided into spring, summer and autumn sessions to allow visitors to appreciate fully the changing seasons, which has resulted in a deluge of domestic and international visitors, far in excess of the 930,000 for the previous year. A group of volunteers called Koebitai are the link between residents and artists, and support the event by acting as guides for visitors. The group is named after the small shrimp found in the region, which is a symbol of longevity. Over 4,500 people have signed up as volunteers, including a number of foreigners. Art Director Fram Kitagawa , who holds a powerful position as the General Director of the
Art Treats Art Director Fram Kitagawa, General Director of the Triennale. Photo: Yuichi Noguchi.
Triennale, talks about the event: “It is an art festival, but its aim is to bring new life to the region, to revitalise the islands and rehabilitate the sea. In this age of globalisation and homogenisation, the population of the islands is decreasing and ageing. The culture of the individual islands is being lost as the region’s vitality declines. In contrast, people living in the cities value whatever is biggest, newest and fastest and are becoming more and more efficient under the aegis of globalisation, but they are losing the ability to think about things through physical experience. They are becoming incapable of choosing anything other than symbolic information, and the world is falling apart. Faced with this situation, these islands left behind by depopulation have embraced their own original, distinctive cultures and become inventive in order to survive. This has a new importance for us today, and it is fascinating to see how the history of our ancestors inevitably concludes in different places all over the world. Also, art is the only genre praised for being different for everyone. It can’t be standardised and marketed as an idealised image. It has the responsibility of sending the message ‘everyone is different’. So I draw on the power of art, which guarantees this variety, to challenge the value judgement that the region and the islands are behind the times. I want the old men and women of the islands to regain their confidence through having more people visit and express their sympathy with the islands. I want to bring outstanding works of art here, not just from Japan but also from overseas, for those living in places where there is little chance to experience them.” Kitagawa is also known in Japan as one of the organisers of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, a successful regional revitalisation project started in 2000 in Niigata Prefecture, considered the
Fukutake House on Shodoshima island, by Singaporean artist Grace Tan (participation and organization: The Substation).
Korea and Singapore. The exhibition will display works of art in former classrooms, grappling with the question of how we are responding to globalisation and the universal message of what is important as regional cultures and identities continue to collapse. What is meaningful here is not exchange at a national level, but individuals making a connection - through communities 1,000 or 2,000 years in the past, through a settlement of 800 or so people,” says Kitagawa. forerunner of the Setouchi Triennale. Echigo-Tsumari is an industrial city which became famous as a shipbuilding centre after World War II, but it slipped slowly into decline even as it prospered. In the 1990s, members of a project to revitalise inner cities using art, recommended by the then mayor and current French Prime Minister JeanMarc Ayrault, came all the way to Japan to see the exhibition. It received excellent reviews even from its overseas visitors. With the spring and summer sessions already over, the Setouchi Triennale is getting ready for its final season this autumn (October 5th November 4th). It is important to note, as Kitagawa points out, the link to other countries and especially other nations in Asia. “I never had any intention to concentrate only on Japan, and one of the overall themes for 2013 is ‘connected by the sea’, so we are exchanging information about art with many other Asian countries. For example, we are forging new links with other Asian countries from the summer season onwards, with people of many different ethnic backgrounds collaborating for the ‘Asia Art Platform’ concept, starting with Fukutake House on Shodoshima. The area was once renowned for stone production, but its primary school closed down four years ago. The school now hosts curators and artists selected by the arts institutions of Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan,
One thing I would like to touch on is the fact that many of the venues for the exhibition are closed schools or formerly occupied empty homes. Fukutake House has received much attention because architect Ryue Nishizawa is responsible for its spatial and artistic design. He was also involved in the design of Teshima Art Museum, the main attraction for the participating island of Teshima, which has proved very popular with overseas visitors. This time around, part of the school’s gym has been turned into a restaurant. “Regional characteristics are easily seen in food, and it’s an easy way to involve local people,” says Kitagawa, but the food is a popular item wherever you go on these islands blessed with delicious seafood. At Fukutake House, a different chef recommended by each institution prepares dishes using ingredients from the Setonaikai. The plan is to promote exchange between the region, Asia and visitors through the medium of food. Kitagawa also highlights some of the locations for the autumn season, such as Awashima, Takamijima and Honjima in the west of the Inland Sea, as ‘must-see islands’. Awashima was once famous for its shipping trade, and is the site of Japan’s oldest training school for seamen. Many sea-related, such as exploratory vessels and salt manufacturing, can be found here.
60 Art Treats
No discussion of the Setouchi Triennale is complete without mentioning its roots in the Benesse Art Site Naoshima.
Art House Project “Ishibashi”, Hiroshi Senju, “The Falls”. Photo: Osamu Watanabe.
Art House Project “Go’o Shrine” Hiroshi Sugimoto, “Appropriate Proportion”. Photo: Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Shinro Ohtake Naoshima Bath “I♥ yu”. Photo: Osamu Watanabe.
Benesse House Museum. Photo: Tadashi Ikeda.
“People from neighbouring prefectures who have no opportunity to see art festivals, the islands that never bothered to take part before, they all have their own energy. The natural features of each area, the character and history of all the islands are completely different. That’s what makes it so interesting. Ships sail intersecting routes during the season, so I recommend spending one day going around the core islands in the west, staying overnight on an island, then heading east to see the central islands of the Triennale - Naoshima, Teshima , Megijima, Ogijima and the others. One interesting point from the attendance figures was that about 30% of visitors stayed two nights or more, so it’s become an art event for which people come and stay. People are attracted by the art and come to see it, but it ends up being a journey. In one sense, the Triennale is held over a wide area so naturally people travel, but another vital factor is that the landscape of the Setonaikai resonates with people, that people are fascinated by the sea. Thinking about the future of the Triennale, we have the enthusiasm to build something that will continue for a century to come. But we have to see if we can make something that doesn’t end with people seeing the art they came for, but that sends them on a journey from that point onwards. What is important now is how far around that headland people will go. This is the sense in which people from overseas are making the decision to come and spend a week here. I hope that a visit to the islands will become a journey for them too, to the past forgotten by the present and by the cities.”
of “creating a space in the Setonaikai where the children of the world could come together.” He moved Mongolian yurts to Naoshima under the auspices of world-famous architect Tadao Ando, marking the beginning of Naoshima International Camp, opened as a place to experience the natural beauty of the Setonaikai. Today the name not only refers to the physical location but also serves as a catch-all title for the artistic activities taking place on Naoshima and other islands such as Teshima and Inujima.
Benesse Art Site Naoshima
Among these islands, Naoshima has invested over 20 years in becoming ‘the island of contemporary art’ in the current enthusiasm for fine art. It forms the cornerstone of the Setouchi Triennale and houses many of the works linked to the trends which gave rise to the event. It has the advantage of being open all year round, not just during the Triennale, and visitors arriving by boat are greeted by the pumpkin sculpture created by world-class artist Yayoi Kusama. Others call it ‘Ando’s Island’, as the main works were created by Tadao Ando.
No discussion of the Setouchi Triennale is complete without mentioning its roots in the Benesse Art Site Naoshima. Fram Kitagawa was appointed as Director by the current General Producer of the Triennale, Soichiro Fukutake. Soichiro’s father, Tetsuhiko Fukutake, is well known as the founder of a major publishing house specialising in education. Tetsuhiko had a vision
His signature work is Benesse House, which combines the art gallery and hotel. Characterised by a wide open structure, facing the outside so that visitors can experience nature even from indoors, the museum is home to site-specific artworks
created for permanent exhibition as well as its normal collection. One of the hotel buildings, Benesse House Park, has artworks on display in its corridors and garden – these can be viewed by non-guests on tours that run until the end of the Setouchi Triennale’s final session on November 4th, 2013. There is also the Ando Museum, which displays photos, sketches and models documenting Ando’s works and the history of Naoshima. Ando contrasts past and present, wood and concrete, light and shadow, through an expanse of undressed concrete set amongst a century of traditional wooden buildings that survive in the area. These contrasting elements overlap with one another, producing a space that distils the elements of Ando’s architectural style. The Art House Project refurbishes empty houses dotted throughout residential areas, turning the houses themselves into works of art and allowing admirers of Ando and popular foreign artists to experience their works. A Shinto shrine of the kind used for worship since the Edo period has been rebuilt to a design by world-famous contemporary artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Seven buildings have opened for display to date, including the reconstructed main house and warehouse of a merchant family who made their fortune in the salt industry. On display here are the large-scale works of Japanese-style painter Hiroshi
Senju, whose pictures have featured waterfalls as a theme for many years. Another site that visitors from overseas should not miss is a traditional Japanese bathing house designed by Shinro Ohtake, a Shikoku-based artist who boasts a huge following in Japan. Playing on the reading yu for the character representing hot water, this bath house or sento is home to a collection of objects from all over Japan and is named ‘Naoshima Bath [I ♥ yu]’. Ohtake’s avant-garde style leads the field in terms of both impact and popularity, and as you can actually bathe amongst the artworks the hope is that weary travellers will be refreshed through a naked encounter with the local residents. Finally, let me touch on the name of the facility itself - Benesse Art Site Naoshima. The name comes from the Latin bene and esse - living well. “I want to create a space far from the tumult of the city, overflowing with data and stress, excitement and distraction. Somewhere vitality can be restored to body and soul, where people can think about the truth of ‘living well’ while surrounded by the serenity of the Setonaikai and contemplating art.” The founder of the site wrote these words more than 20 years ago. I came to Naoshima knowing nothing of his aims, but one thing struck me when I visited for the Triennale - that I want to reflect on, and have a new hope for, a better way of living.
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64 In the next issue
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