LOOK SMART, LIVE SMARTER
Hamdan Al Hudaidi THE WINTER ESCAPE ISSUE
10/30/21 12:59 PM
Build ing the F utur e
Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner and Group Editor of Motivate Media Group, explains how the media business he started in the UAE over four decades ago has scaled and flourished, alongside the region which provided the environment to do so
How has being based in the UAE supported you in being able to scale the business? The magazine has been growing along with the country. There was no competition when we launched What’s On in 1979. It was the first independent English magazine in the whole region. Emirates Woman was launched two years later, and was similarly the first women’s magazine in the region. The expectations were not that high at the beginning from the public. And I think that we surprised them with the quality of what we were able to produce, even when the magazine was in its infancy. We could grow the magazines as virtual monopolies for the first few years, and it’s grown from strength to strength along with the nation. What has been a massive advantage with our titles is that we’ve employed experienced editors. So many magazines haven’t lasted the course because they have been launched and edited by people without the required experience. We make sure that all our editors and journalists come to us with good qualifications and great pedigrees. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this over the years? The UAE has been a great supporter of new ideas and an advocate for entrepreneurs. People with those ideas have found support from the local and national government to turn those ideas into a reality. With the media business that I started, it was a two-way street. The country needed media and there weren’t a lot of entities fulfilling that need. Gulf News and Khaleej Times,
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Ian Fairservice and Mariam Beham
the country’s first newspapers, were launched around the same time as What’s On. It’s been less straightforward to scale the business to other countries in the region, because unlike the Emirates, there were, in the past, quite a lot of administrative obstacles to get into some of the other Gulf states. We weren’t looking to expand regionally in the beginning. In fact, the first magazine that we took outside the UAE was What’s On in Oman, because we found that we had support in that country and also we were able to drive the copies there. Over the last more than 40 years, all of our magazines – whether Gulf Business, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – or any of our other titles, are now regional. And of course, they’re more than
regional by dint of the fact that all of the titles – or brands, as we now refer to them – don’t really refer principally to magazines anymore. We don’t even refer to ourselves as publishers any longer. We’re Motivate Media Group. All of our brands have three essential components: strong print content; a steadfast focus on digital innovation; and lastly, a dedicated set of events associated with each. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years. Do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in businesses based here? Yes, it’s quite remarkable. What has been achieved in 50 years in the UAE would have taken 100 to 150 years almost anywhere else in the world. In the time that the Dubai Airport
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was first launched – and now grown into one of the busiest airports in the world – besides a world-class homegrown carrier like Emirates becoming the world’s biggest airline, it just amazes me that the UK, for example, has spent all of that time trying to decide where to add another runway in its capital – and they still haven’t made up their minds. In addition to Emirates, Etihad and other airlines such as flydubai and Air Arabia were launched too – and all of this has happened because of the lack of chronic red tape and politics that are involved in the so-called developed world. And of course, no one could possibly suggest that the UAE isn’t now a first-world, ultra-modern and highly-developed country. What the UAE has which other countries that have lagged behind it in the last few decades don’t, is the consistency of government. They don’t swap the governments every four years so that the incoming administration can cancel everything the previous government has done. Here, we have a system of government that has continuity – continuity of objectives and continuity of policy. That makes a huge difference in terms of nation-building. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? When I arrived in the Emirates, I was 21. And now the worst kept secret is that I’m 65. I’ve spent these almost 45 years here watching the development of this remarkable country. What makes it unique to me, is really the privilege and the great experience of being able to witness the change, and with our business, to play a small part in documenting the history of this country. We launched our first publication in the late 1970s, a few short years after the formation of the UAE. What was the catalyst for launching Emirates Woman? Well, I need to come clean on this. It wasn’t our idea and neither did we launch Emirates Woman. Emirates Woman was conceived by a dear friend, the late Joan van der Merwe, who was an editor at Khaleej Times. She came up with the concept but I don’t think she could get anyone in her own company to take it seriously. So she went to an independent publishing house in Ajman, Hawk Publishing, which produced the UAE telephone directory. Hawk Publishing launched Emirates Woman in 1981 as a quarterly magazine – edited and predominantly written by Joan van der Merwe. It was a year-and-a-half later in 1982 when I approached them and asked if we
Presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jocelyn Henderson in 2014
could buy the title from them because we wanted to expand our stable. They were basically directory publishers, so although what they had done was very good, mainly due to Joan’s talent, the idea of us taking the magazine over and making it monthly appealed to them. We negotiated a very equitable deal with them and we bought the magazine in 1982. This year we celebrate Emirates Woman’s 40th anniversary and the launch of Emirates Man. How would you now describe the brands? I think everyone involved with Emirates Woman over the last 40 years, all the way back from Joan to today when Amy Sessions is editing the magazine – have, along with their teams, made sure that Emirates Woman has remained relevant and has not just
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been a source of fashion pictures or beauty products, but really created a community of its own. The interesting thing which we learned early on is that our readership is spread right across the board and very heavily supported by Emiratis. And of course, we’ve had numerous events that have developed over the years including the remarkable Emirates Woman, Woman of the Year Awards which was launched in 2004 and have honoured such luminaries in the past as the late Mariam Beham and Jocelyn Henderson who was honoured as Woman of the Year in 2014. Jocelyn still lives in Abu Dhabi and celebrated her 100th birthday this year. Off the back of the successful launch of Emirates Man this year, the bi-annual title has moved to four quarterly issues as the solution to the market’s desire for a smart approach to content for the modern gentleman.
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Obaid Humaid Al Tayer MANAGING PARTNER AND GROUP EDITOR Ian Fairservice EDITOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Amy Sessions email@example.com SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Olga Petroff DIGITAL EDITOR Olivia Morris JUNIOR DIGITAL STYLE EDITOR Sarah Joseph GENERAL MANAGER PRODUCTION Sunil Kumar ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER Binu Purandaran PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Venita Pinto CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER Anthony Milne GROUP DIRECTOR Andrew Wingrove DIGITAL SALES DIRECTOR Sabir Khodabux GROUP SALES MANAGERS Bindu Gupta firstname.lastname@example.org Chaitali Khimji email@example.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER Neha Kannoth firstname.lastname@example.org GROUP MARKETING MANAGER Joelle Albeaino WEB DEVELOPER Firoz Kaladi CONTRIBUTORS Andrew Wingrove, Varun Godinho, David Ndichu, Guido Duken
HEAD OFFICE Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE, Tel: (+971) 4 4273000, Fax: (+971) 4 4282261, E-mail: email@example.com DUBAI MEDIA CITY SD 2-94, 2nd Floor, Building 2, Dubai, UAE Tel: (+971) 4 390 3550 Fax: (+971) 4 390 4845 ABU DHABI PO Box 43072, UAE, Tel: (+971) 2 6772005, Fax: (+971) 2 6770124, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org LONDON Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER, UK, E-mail: email@example.com Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai
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A Gentlemanʼs W o rd
Opinions on the prevailing state of affairs WORDS: ANDREW WINGROVE
ON EXPO 2020 Expo 2020 has finally arrived, so book your tickets and get down there. But don’t try and do it all in one go – the place is massive. With so many licensed restaurants down there, it could well be the best Global Gastro Experience in the world. Or, as one friend put it recently, the ultimate pub crawl too.
I would love to see Tom Hardy in the role, but fear that this would be too restrictive for an actor who likes to play an assortment of roles. Your guess is as good as mine. Whoever they decide upon, I refer them back to Daniel Craig’s well-meaning advice.
ON COVID-19 IN THE UK ON JAMES BOND AND A SUITABLE SUCCESSOR James Bond has finally landed, giving Daniel Craig a final swan song after having been on Her Majesty’s Service for 15 years. Without a doubt, he has been one of the best Bonds ever. His only advice to the next Bond was quite simple: “Don’t be shit”. Now the biggest conversation starter is on who will be the next Bond? This is harder than picking a winner at the Grand National, I hear you say. Well, that may be the case, but it makes for a great conversation with your mates and one that everyone seems to have an opinion on. So, for what it is worth and in no particular order, here are my top five contenders (no point in putting Idris in as he is sadly now too old): 1. Riz Ahmed 2. Tom Hardy 3. Richard Madden 4. Regé-Jean Page 5. Sam Heughan
The infection rates are now going through the roof again in the UK, despite their high vaccination rates. This is mainly due to the high number of infections amongst school children. Maybe they should go back to wearing their masks and think about putting themselves on the red list?
ON ROLEX AS AN INVESTMENT CLASS I read recently that investing in a Rolex Daytona would give a better return than the stock market, and right now certain watch brands are second only to cryptocurrencies. If this is the case, let this be the best excuse you will ever have to invest in a new timepiece. Buy it, enjoy it and most importantly – wear it. If, like me, you can’t get your hands on a new stainless-steel Rolex, then keep an eye out on the secondary market. The price of its black dial Explorer II 40mm, for example, has not gone crazy just yet. If you want to experience a new watch, then I
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highly recommend either the Tudor White Dial Chrono for that Daytona feel, or if you want a piece of history on your wrist, there’s nothing better right now than the new Bremont Longitude Stainless Steel Limited Edition featuring its first manufactured movement.
ON SPORTING EXTRAVAGANZAS IN THE UAE How spoilt are we at the moment? We are currently hosting the T20 World Cup 2021, where at the time of printing we were just treated to an amazing Pakistan 10-wicket victory over India in the Super 12 match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. At the end of this week, from October 27-29, we will have an opportunity to experience the Dubai Moonlight Classic 2021 featuring the world’s best golfers as part of the Ladies European Tour being played on the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club. With so much going on in town it will be Christmas before you know it, but before then keep these events in the diary for November and December: The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 18-21), Emirates Dubai 7s (December 2-4) and lastly the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021 (December 12) where hopefully we will have a Mercedes and Redbull showdown on the final day of the season.
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E d ito r ’ s L etter Welcome to Emirates Man The Winter Escape Issue. give you additional tools to invest wisely in your next This is your guide to being in the know. From acquisition. We have exclusive interviews with those grooming to tech we’ll ensure you’re ahead of the pushing the extra mile in terms of excellence to build curve when it comes to the latest gadgets. If you’re brands and legacy alike from Dr Ahmed Elborno, into watches, our resident watch geeks will deliver Founder of Elborno Clinic in Timeless Vision on all the detail you need to make the right investment, page 52, Chairman of FH Capital and entrepreneur we interview the guys making moves on a global and Abdul Majeed Al Fahim in The Advisor on page local scale and we’ll tell you where the coolest places 58 and Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons Chief Commercial are to hang out. Welcome to the club. Officer Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi in A For the cover we are honoured to thank Hamdan Golden Moment in Time on page 42. We also speak Al Hudaidi, Founder & Chief Executive at Ashfields to Joey Ghazal on taking The MAINE Group global Consultancies & Perpétuel Gallery in Going Global on page 90 and Geoff who shares with us some of the Dowding, Executive Director of Global previously unseen and unique pieces in Sales and Aftersales at Lotus to find LOOK his watch collection, as well as sharing out what’s next for the brand in Drive SMART, his wisdom on how to carefully curate & Vision on page 84. LIVE a considered portfolio of timepieces in The coolest kit you can buy is The Expert Eye on page 26. curated in The Boys Toys on page 16, SMARTER. In a year that celebrates the 50th the essentials for modern man’s beauty anniversary of an incredible region, regime in Well Groomed on page 24 we hear from Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner and an edit of the timeless classics you need to visit and Group Editor of Motivate Media Group, who in a lifetime in The Wanderlust on page 94. Finally, explains how the media business he started in the the inspirational gentlemen we know celebrate the UAE over four decades ago has scaled and flourished, UAE’s 50th anniversary and discuss why the country alongside the region which provided the environment is so special and how it supports turning a vision to do so in Building The Future on page 10. into reality in An Environment to Thrive on page 68. Watch obsessives will enjoy the latest installment Style and substance are intrinsically linked, from The Watch Addict on page 22 while An Expert Emirates Man delivers both. Guide – Buying a Patek Philippe on page 46 will Look smart, live smarter.
Amy Sessions EDITOR / ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER
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TIME INSTRUMENTS FOR URBAN EXPLORERS
New BR 05 GMT
Official retailer UAE: Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons +971 4 511 9999
CONTENTS THE WINTER ESCAPE ISSUE
p.08 Interview with Ian Fairservice
p.16 The Boys Toys – The cool kit you need
p.22 A Grand Time – News from the world of watches
p.11 A Gentlemen’s Word
p.19 Monitor News
p.24 Well Groomed
Fashion & Watches
p.26 The Expert Eye – Hamdan Al Hudaidi, Founder & Chief Executive at Ashfields Consultancies & Perpétuel Gallery p.38 Thread Count – An edit of FW21’s most luxe knits
Fitness & Grooming
p.48 Middle Eastern Aromas – The best oud inspired scents p.50 Scent of the Middle East – Interview with the first
p.40 Boots – There’s no better finish for FW21
p.46 An Expert Guide – Buying a Patek Philippe
p.42 A Golden Moment in Time – Exclusive interview with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons CCO Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi
certified Emirati perfumer Asim Al Qassim p.52 Timeless Vision – Interview with Dr Ahmed Elborno, Founder of Elborno Clinic
p.54 Innovation & Purpose – Interview with Co-Founder of SQUATWOLF, Wajdan Gul
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Features p.66 A Fine Investment – Interview with UAE-based artist Ahmed Emad p.68 An Environment to Thrive – Gentlemen we know celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary p.72 At Your Service – Uber p.74 The Master Planner – Interview with OMA partner Iyad Alsaka
p.56 A Ceaseless Visionary – Exclusive interview with Hussain Al-Junaidy p.58 The Advisor – Interview with Chairman of FH Capital Abdul Majeed Al Fahim
p.82 The Pad p.84 Drive & Vision – Interview with the Executive Director of Global Sales and Aftersales at Lotus
p.60 Looking to the Future – Individuals behind the scenes of the Museum of the Future
p.76 The Legend – Rainer Becker
p.64 An Artistic Visionary – Interview with Mustafa Abbas
p.78 A Chosen Family – Sacha Jafri discusses the incredible relationships he has built since making the UAE his home
p.88 The Delicacy – Caviar Kaspia
p.92 The Making of a Megacity –Assouline
p.90 Going Global – Interview with Joey Ghazal
p.94 The Wanderlust – An edit of the timeless classics you need to visit in a lifetime
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THE BOYS TOYS Cool kit you need
WORDS: DAVID NDICHU
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STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
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POLARIS RZR XP 1000
Summer has whipped the sand dunes into shape. Now destroy them with the Polaris RZR XP 1000, a rugged all-terrain beast from one of the biggest names in the biz. This one is for extreme off-road experiences, combining an ideal blend of power, suspension, and agility in a chassis that provides the ultimate control even in the toughest terrain. Inside, premium digital instruments keep driver and machine in tune, set in a refined cockpit. RZR XP1000 Sport Polaris Dhs71,258
I PA D M I N I
iPad’s smaller cousin is a nifty little workhorse. Inside the petite silhouette of the new iPad mini is a powerful A15 Bionic chip that tears through your Photoshop projects with ease while leaving enough space for AR and your favourite games. With the 5G capabilities of the iPad mini, you can get on the fastest available wireless networks when you need to download files, stream movies, and check in
with friends on the go. The new mini comes with a more versatile USB-C port making it easier to plug in your various accessories. The iPad mini features an all-new enclosure with a new, larger edge-to-edge screen, along with narrow borders and rounded corners. It also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, which attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly, so it’s always with you when inspiration strikes. 64GB iPad mini Dhs2,729 Apple
B O S E Q U I E TC O M FO R T 3 5 HEADPHONES
Bose has come to represent high-end audio, with the street cred to match. The QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II continue this proud tradition, with top of the shelf noise cancellation and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built in. The noise cancellation bit leverages proprietary technology to continuously monitor and measure outside noise and then cancels it with an opposite signal. The battery can accommodate up to 20 hours of listening between charges. Built with impact-resistant materials, glass-filled nylon, and corrosion-resistant stainless steel, the QC35 are engineered for the rigours of life on the go. The headband isn’t just soft, it’s luxurious. It is wrapped in Alcantara, which is apparently the soft covering material used in yachts and high-end automobiles, so the headphones provide a welcome comfort designed for all-day listening. QuietComfort 35 wirelss headphones II Dhs1,098 Bose
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S P E CTAC L E S 3
FITBIT CHARGE 5
You promised yourself, and anyone else staring suspiciously at your mid-section, that come winter, you will become one with the track. Great. We’ve waxed lyrical about Fitbit smartwatches here because we are convinced they remain the standard by which smartwatches are measured. Don’t take our word for it; pick up the new Fitbit Charge 5 and keep track of your fat-busting workouts. The Charge 5 is for those who may not necessarily be sold on the idea of the smartwatch but still want to track their gains. Apart from the usual exercise measurement tools, the Charge 5 comes with an on-wrist ECG app to measure heart health, an EDA Scan app for stress management and more. Charge 5 smart watch Dhs799 Fitbit
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Yeah yeah, Google Glass became sort of a running joke. But that was then, and Snap is now. The world of augmented reality (AR) is more exciting than you think. The 3rd iteration of the Snap Spectacles from the folks behind Snapchat is a pair of stylish smart glasses with dual HD cameras to capture your adventures in 3D and four built-in microphones to record high-fidelity audio. Spectacles 3 are made from a lightweight and durable stainless-steel frame and come with a leather case for handy and secure storage and portability. Spectacles V3 Mineral Gold Dhs1,499 Snap available at virginmegastore.ae
F U J I F I L M X- P R O 3
Phone cameras have gotten incredibly powerful, but nothing matches DSLR quality. So, bring out the nomad in you this winter. Rock a Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts and then wrap this Fujifilm X-Pro3 around your neck. The retro look brings back a bygone era while the digital instruments inside remind you that you still have your Insta followers to entertain. The frame of the camera is made from magnesium, while the top cover and the base plate – the parts exposed to the elements – are made from corrosion-resistant titanium. The lightweight and weatherresistant camera is easy to lug around, capturing imagery at 26.1 million pixels. X-Pro3 Mirrorless digital camera Dhs6,608 Fujifilm
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A S eas o nal R ef r es h
T H E H E R O B U YS
The latest launches, new openings and hero buys C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H
Double-breasted virgin wool-twill coat Dhs22,354 Brunello Cucinelli
Full-grain leather briefcase Dhs12,027 Tom Ford
THE CLASSIC RIMOWA’s ‘Original Trunk Plus’ suitcase is a smart investment if you’re jetting off for longer than a week. Made from sturdy aluminium, the exterior is ridged to absorb shock and provide extra protection for your precious cargo. Original trunk plus aluminum suitcase Dhs6,427 Rimowa
Petit standard slim-fit stretch-denim jeans Dhs789 A.P.C
CRAFTMANSHIP Roger Dubuis’ skeletonised dials and intricate movements are exceptional – the label’s founder spent over 40 years honing his craft before establishing his own line. Excalibur 45 automatic 45mm DLC Titanium and rubber watch Dhs288,740 Roger Dubuis, exclusively available at MR PORTER
THE MONITOR – NEWS
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Leather Chelsea boots Dhs4,246 Celine Homme
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A M iles to ne C o llec tio n V I L E B R E Q U I N I S C E L E B R AT I N G F I V E D E C A D E S O F E X C E L L E N C E . T O M A R K I T S 5 0 T H A N N I V E R S A R Y, T H E L U X U R Y B R A N D H A S D E LV E D I N T O I T S H I S T O R Y T O C R E AT E A NEW MILESTONE COLLECTION
Fifty years ago, photographer and sports journalist Fred Prysquel and his wife Yvette, a fashion designer, were a couple very much in love and together they decided to create a luxury brand born on the shores of St Tropez, where their love story began. In 1971, the couple trademarked Vilebrequin, opened their first store and the rest, as the age-old saying goes, is history. Since its inception, Vilebrequin has delivered nothing short of quality and excellence in all of its collections, leading the way in the swimwear space. In particular, Fred’s design of the longer boxer short style, veering from the ever-popular fitted swimwear of the time. While much has changed since the couple launched the brand, including the founders relinquishing ownership, what has remained a constant is Vilebrequin’s promise to produce only the best. This is why, 50 years on, the launch of their milestone collection is an ode to the history of the brand. “We delved into Vilebrequin’s history from the early years through to the present day,” Richard René, who has been Creative Director of Vilebrequin Studios since 2013, explains.
This noteworthy collection was designed to celebrate the brand’s enduring appeal throughout its 50 impactful years. With a deep dive into the label’s archives, the collection covers every year from 1971 to 2021, presenting all the real gems which stood out in the process. The brand’s core DNA is infused in each piece, to ensure its anniversary edition displays fine craftsmanship at its helm. By taking a fearless approach to colours, prints and patterns, the collection lets you choose from a sea of options. With innovative styles, the brand offers an impeccable fit for all, in preparation for the sunny days that lie ahead. Designed to portray the brand’s muses throughout the collection, several crustaceans and sea turtles are immaculately embroidered on various pieces. No special collection is complete without a limited-edition touch. By transforming the visual identity, the label has adapted with a visual pop designed by Studio Yorgo & Co. The new branding elements date back to Vilebrequin’s history. From stickers to packaging, the label has readapted pop art in a modern light, truly making it a collector’s label.
To celebrate the milestone, clients will have a special one-time complimentary repair service on this sought-after edition to ensure longevity for each piece. Ensuring that its heritage continues to shine, each swimsuit is engineered to last you summer after summer with a durable finish. With an ocean-minded approach incorporated throughout the collection, 50 per cent of Vilebrequin’s collections are recyclable or are produced with recyclable materials. By putting the environment first, the brand has ascribed to ethical production practices with natural fabrics and sustainably sourced materials, making this collection truly special. Designed for the oceans, Vilebrequin believes in giving back. The brand is continually on a mission to promote marine biodiversity on a broader scale. Its foundation helps reduce the overall carbon footprint and ocean conservation globally. The 50th Anniversary collection will be available from March 2021 at selected Vilebrequin flagships and at vilebrequin. com All clients will be able to place their advance requests in stores and online. For more information visit vilebrequin.com.
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A G r and T im e
News and views from the world of watches WORDS: ANDREW WINGROVE & VAR UN GODINHO
The British brand created history and added a piece of history in their new Limited Edition Bremont Longitude. The first big story was the brand’s announcement of its new ENG300 automatic manufactured movement. The second story in quick succession was that the first watch to feature the new movement would be Bremont’s LE Longitude – a watch that holds in its movement a piece of the brass beam that sits in the courtyard of the Royal Greenwich Observatory that symbolizes the zero meridian. Whilst football is still struggling to come home, there is no argument that with Bremont’s new manufactured movement watchmaking has finally come home and with it a highly collectable watch with a wonderful history within it.
A. LANGE & SÖHNE
Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, recently travelled to Dubai and chose October 24 – a date that marks the rebirth and second innings of the brand that began in 1994, thanks to the efforts of Walter Lange and Günter Blümlein – to unveil the all-new Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen. We first saw the Zeitwerk back in 2009 and through its several iterations in the decade that followed. The latest edition now features a new calibre L043.9 movement which has doubled the power reserve to 72 hours thanks to a pair of mainspring barrels that are regulated by a patented constant-force escapement. All of this is held within a warm proprietary honey gold case. With only 200 pieces to go around, it’s difficult to know whether at the time of you reading this if you can still put your name against one.
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PA N E R A I
Panerai jumped on the UAE 50th Anniversary bandwagon with a wonderful tribute, the Luminor GMT Spirit of the Union Ref. PAM01971, limited to 200 pieces. They have also donated number 000/200 to the next UAE Christie’s auction with all proceeds of the sale going towards the Noor Dubai Foundation. The watch features colours from the UAE flag with its green GMT hand, red running seconds and a black sunburst dial. The caseback is engraved with the words “Year of the Fiftieth” in both English and Arabic.
BELL & ROSS
The Patrouille de France, the French Air and Space Force’s official aerobatic display team, is among the best in the world. They took to the skies over Dubai during the opening weekend of Expo 2020 to celebrate France’s National Day. There’s daredevilry, precision, and technical genius that is required to pull off a job like theirs – much like the same qualities you’ll find in the new Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Patrouille De France timepiece that was also recently showcased in Dubai. It features an automatic BR-CAL.301 movement housed in a ceramic case that features a bi-directional rotating ceramic bezel. It has options of rubber or synthetic fabric straps too. Either way, this stunning chrono was born to soar.
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WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
WELL GROOMED The modern man’s regime
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Redemption Body Scrub 180ml Dhs125 Aesop; Bro Mask Cooling Eye Gels, 6 x 3ml Dhs111 Jaxon Lane; The Essence, 3 x 15ml Dhs9,055 La Mer available at MR PORTER; R1 Mach3 Cartridge Razor and Stand Shaving Set Dhs1,022 Bolin Webb available at MR PORTER; Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer, 50ml Dhs325 Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare; The Fragrance Wardrobe - Discovery Collection for Him, 8 x 11ml Dhs813 Maison Francis Kurkdjian; Hand Wash - Suede, 450ml Dhs177 Byredo; Many Days Leather-Trimmed Printed Canvas Wash Bag Dhs2,090 MÉTIER; Rain or Shine Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 50+, 60ml Dhs121 Jaxon Lane
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THE EXPERT EYE Hamdan Al Hudaidi, Founder & Chief Executive at Ashfields Consultancies & Perpétuel Gallery tells us about founding something extraordinary and building a collection that is carefully considered
WO R D S & C R E AT I V E D I R E CT I O N : A M Y S E S S I O N S P H OTO G R A P H Y: G R EG A DA M S K I
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A unique Roger W Smith Series 5 “Open Dial” the first and only Eastern Arabic Numbers RWS Wristwatch
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The first and only existing Charles Frodsham Double Impulse Chronometer in steel with Eastern Arabic Numerals on the dial, in 42mm case diameter
WATC H E S
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WATC H E S
A selection of Hamdan Al Hudaidi’s Eastern Arabic Collection, made by the best Independent watchmaking brands. Commissions for Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, Sfier Vintage, & Perpétuel Gallery
WATC H E S
A unique Steel Double Impulse Chronometer by Charles Frodsham
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WATC H E S
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Anywhere by Krayon, made exclusively for Perpétuel Gallery in a limited edition of 15 pieces with Eastern Arabic Numerals on Steel
WATC H E S
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Balancier Contemporain in Eastern Arabic on steel, the first and only existing by Greubel Forsey
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The first Eastern Arabic Numeral watch made by Greubel Forsey was for Hamdan Al Hudaidi on a Signature 1 in steel
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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? People who know me, know that I am an early riser. I wake up early at around 5am to pray and visualize how I wish my day to be so I can work towards making it happen. After getting ready, I have breakfast with my family and drop my little ones to school, then head to the office. My day in the office usually starts from 8.30am. What are the pillars of the brand and how did you define why these were important? Speaking about Ashfields, realizing the powerful market in the region and how much more powerful it could be with the right advice and consultancy I decided to start the first Horology and business consultancy firm in the region, providing our services to private collectors and companies both locally and internationally. Ashfields represents transparency, connectivity, and the ability to break boundaries & barriers. The strength of Perpétuel is in our accessibility to some of the most sought-after brands, names and watchmakers in the world. We differentiate ourselves by providing collectors with not just what they need but what will become a future collectible piece. We are constantly evolving, growing, and rewriting our strategies to provide a more curated services to our clients and partners. How did you know it was the right time to make the leap in doing something yourself and how did it come about? The idea was always there, but the pandemic made many people realize how short life could potentially be and in turn that everyone should do whatever makes them happy. I am always happy with what I do, and I choose to enjoy every moment of my life, which made me decide to turn my passion into my work and divert the majority of my energy to it, which has resulted in bringing the amazing results we see today. How did your previous roles prepare you for this leap and is there ever a right time? I was extremely fortunate to invest in myself more than a decade ago intensively and in depth. The objective was to create my own collection and build it the way I believed it should have been and knowing and learning more about my direction and taste along the path which eventually filtered my interest and narrowed down what I was mostly interested in and why. I had the opportunity and the privilege to advise many prominent collectors around the world who trusted my advice in what I’m specialized which is vintage Patek Philippe, Fine Independent watchmakers, & Upcoming Fine Independent watchmakers. At the
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same time, this gave me the opportunity to learn more about what they have been collecting and why, which in turn helped me expand my knowledge not only about the watch industry but more so about the culture and behaviour of collectors from different parts of the world. When COVID hit, and most business around the world paused, I felt that it was the right time to start, and I very much believed that it is the right time to turn my passion into a profession and create a legacy. How does being able to think outside the box equip you to build a strategy that scales the business? Well, that’s our main job I must say. And it’s not “I” at all but “We”. Yes, I started the company wanting to implement every idea I have in mind, transforming my dreams and imaginations into reality, reflecting my taste, thoughts and ideas but also delivering positive messages through what I am passionate about and what watch collectors love, and all that I cannot do alone. Today I am very proud of the team I have, starting from my partner to every employee in the company, because without them we would not be where we are today. One of our main tasks is to come up with creative ideas that should capture all watch collectors. Although we will never be able to satisfy everyone’s taste, we endevour as much as we can to do so and this requires thinking outside the box. When we work on a project, we set objectives and work towards meeting those objectives, linking the brand we collaborate with to the right time for us to get the correct result as well as for our client, brand, and key stakeholders to be satisfied with the results. Ashfields help direct the collector in how to build a collection in a carefully curated way. How do you align gut feel with market data to define the overarching strategy? I have been a collector before being an advisor or a consultant, and from a collector perspective who made many mistakes through the journey of collecting and made sure to learn from those mistakes it is forbidden for us to make similar mistakes professionally. I base and support my gut feelings with facts around a brand or an artist that enables me to foresee their potential growth and demand in the market. Do you feel more drawn to the creative or the business side of the brand? I have been managing my private business and my family’s business for 13 years, which doesn’t require any creativity because of the business nature. However, at Ashfields and Perpétuel we do
require a lot of creativity, which is something I love and that was the reason behind starting both businesses. To be able to express what I love and my ideas through my passion. Simultaneously, we must be involved in the business aspect to make sure that everything is sustainable and successful. What has been the biggest challenge since launching and how did you navigate this? The challenge with Ashfields was being the first Horology Consultancy in the region. I was curious to see how the market would react towards having such a consultancy but with time we were able to convey our vision and direction. We have been providing our services to leading brands from leading groups in the industry and many startups that we believe will have a remarkable future. We are most certainly very proud and grateful for the overwhelming response we have received from the industry, but we were delighted by the demand for our services in the region, with many clients being international as well as local. With Perpétuel, we express our gratitude to every brand that we represent by trusting and believing that we can represent them in the way they deserve to be represented. Whether it is a micro brand or a high end fine independent. Today we are very happy, because the results are evident. Our clients are extremely happy, and we hope to have more collaborations from brands to satisfy as many clients as possible. We continuously try to come up with new ideas that have either never been done before or never been done here in the region. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? My father, the only person who I can talk to about anything, seeking his advice and direction, from a life and a business perspective, which I truly value. And, because of him, I am where I am today. Which attributes in terms of Horology are most important when considering investing? It’s important to know the history of the brand, who is behind the brand, what has the brand achieved in the past few years and if it is a legacy brand, what were their auction results and secondary market value if there were any, and who are the collectors of the brand. If it is a new name in the industry, after inspecting the quality of craftmanship and having the opinion of master watchmakers in the industry about the timepiece, then we should know who is behind the brand, who are they inspired by, the objective of the watchmaker and the
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company and that helps predict the potential success of the brand. Which watches you’ve invested in are special to you and why? I have invested in many timepieces, and each has a story. I have invested in several vintage Patek Philippe, Vintage Tourbillion pocket watches and chronographs, a lot of fine independent watches, some are known and some that aren’t but I believe have amazing potential – a potential which is no less than the leading ones in the market today. It is so exciting because as much as I want to reveal some of these names, I want to see them grow gradually whilst I enjoy the timepieces. What is luxury in today’s market? Quality. Rarity. Uniqueness What advice would you give to your younger self starting out? Set priorities while collecting. There is no harm in buying from the creative and successful microbrands to have fun and enjoy, but when it comes to the high ticketed brands, think, have options, and choose carefully. It’s always helpful to ask for advice from the right people to be more confident and eventually be satisfied with your decision. How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I am very proud, happy, and grateful to be from the United Arab Emirates, and to start this unique venture in one of the best places in the world. Ashfields being positioned in the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) next to leading international companies is just an outstanding position to be in and Perpétual Gallery is positioned in the Gate Village between the leading art galleries and the best restaurants from around the world, which is another outstanding location, there couldn’t be any better location for Perpétuel than this one regionally. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? What my country has achieved today is a miracle – the fast yet organic growth that the world has witnessed in a short time makes not only the people of the United Arab Emirates proud but also the expatriates that are living here. Thanks to the visionary Founders, and the rulers of the Emirates, it is because of them we are where we are today. What they have envisioned, planned, supervised, monitored, and implemented is by itself unique. The investments they have made in their citizens and the people who reside in the country is by itself unique. The United Arab Emirates is a small country with an achievement of continents and that’s what makes my country loved and unique.
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THIS PAGE: PETER MILLAR; RIGHT PAGE: AMI
Patchwork-knit merino wool-blend sweater Dhs1,600 Jacquemus
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Reversible cashmere and cotton-blend cardigan Dhs2,544 Sease available at MR PORTER
Re-nylon and wool knitted jacket Dhs6,185 Prada
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An edit of FW21’s most luxe knits WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
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Pierce ribbed-knit cashmere sweater Dhs1,590 Rag & Bone available at MATCHESFASHION
Draped-panel ribbed-knit wool sweater Dhs3,450 Alexander McQueen
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Brady full-grain leather boots Dhs1,306 Grenson available on MR PORTER
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There’s no better finish for FW21 WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
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A G o ld en M o m ent in T im e As the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary, one of the country’s most prominent and oldest watch and jewellery retailers – Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons – is set to mark the occasion with a series of 35 limited-edition pieces. Here, Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, chief commercial officer at the family owned company shares how the team took these stunning pieces from concept to reality WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO
Give us an overview of how Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UAE? To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UAE, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons wanted to continue the tradition of creating unique timepieces as a way of giving back to the nation. An internal think tank comprising members from across the organisation worked hand in hand to ideate and develop these limited editions. Inspired by the country and its advancements, over 35 limited editions have been developed and we are incredibly proud of what we have created and humbled by the response so far. We have slowly begun announcing these timepieces across our platforms, with additional launches due to take place at Dubai Watch Week and in December, coinciding with the UAE National Day. We have witnessed other brands and entities in the industry who have followed suit and created special editions – it’s great to see the industry unite for this milestone. How did you go about selecting the brands which will be a part of the 50th anniversary collection – did certain brands approach you on their own to be a part of it? We initiated the dialogue with brands and shared our vision with them for this initiative. Once the initial idea was shared, we received a lot of positive feedback in terms of creating these pieces. A big priority for us was working with independent brands, in addition to other leading brands in our industry. We wanted to create pieces that would have sentimental value for the clients purchasing these unique collectables. Several of the brands we have worked with are in the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons portfolio. However, we also wanted to work with brands that aren’t in the portfolio such as Sarpaneva and others,
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which will be announced soon. The brands were instrumental to the process in terms of exploring unused materials, implementing intricate details, and creating pieces that would appeal to a wide range of watch collectors. We are grateful and humbled by the long-standing partnerships with the brands across the world who have worked alongside us to make this vision a reality. Tell us about the members of the core think tank that conceptualised the designs of these watches and jewellery pieces. The think tank comprises of a group of individuals in the Seddiqi Holding organisation across the sales, retail and marketing teams. It was very important to foster an environment where everyone’s feedback was considered and discussed openly before arriving at a conclusion together as a team. We challenged each other to break free of the mould in terms of creativity across each element, from the timepiece itself to the packaging. The ideation, designs, launches, and content are all led in-house by the think tank. We meet on a weekly basis to discuss progress on this initiative, something we have been doing since December 2020. The designs encapsulate the current trends in the industry, yet also include features and elements that are bound to drive the curiosity of avid collectors. The goal is to keep this think tank ongoing and to continue working on special projects that Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons undertakes in the future. Seddiqi’s relations with one of the brands which are part of the 50th anniversary col-
lection, West End, dates back to the 1940s. Tell us about the early beginning of that relationship between West End and Ahmed Qasim Seddiqi. For Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the relationship stemmed from my late grandfather and the founder, Ahmed Qassim Seddiqi’s passion for watches. He used to receive watches from Kuwait and would show them to his friends and neighbours as a way of communicating something he was passionate about. This eventually led to people purchasing these watches from him and that’s how the relationship with the brand blossomed. Today, as the second-, thirdand fourth-generation family members have joined the business, we feel a connection to the brand as it symbolises the beginning of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and how the business developed over the years. This was one of the stepping-stones to Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons becoming the leading watch and jewellery retailer in the UAE What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when creating the 50th anniversary pieces? I wouldn’t necessarily consider them to be challenges. For us, it was a pleasure to work on this project because of the passion we have for creating unique sentimental pieces within the team. I personally developed my relationships with each member of the think tank. This process allowed me to learn from their feedback and understand their thinking while encouraging them to be more vocal. One of our main objectives was to work with the brand’s guidelines in mind and our commitment to creating unique col-
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lectable timepieces that celebrate the UAE. Additional 50th anniversary pieces will be revealed at Dubai Watch Week. How do events like the DWW strengthen the relationship between watch brands, especially independent watch brands, and collectors in the UAE? Dubai Watch Week is considered to be one of the strongest platforms in the industry, one that is non-commercial as well. The platform focuses on education and building relationships. Our objective is to bring great minds across horology, luxury, and industries alike to network and communicate without the commercial aspect. As the founder of Dubai Watch Week, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons has witnessed the importance of showcasing limited editions created via this platform and we look forward to showcasing to collectors, press etc., what we have in store for this year. The consistent collaborations and developing our relationships with brands further will continue to cement Dubai Watch Week as a global platform for such initiatives. Seddiqi is a brand that is older than the UAE itself. What must it do to future-proof itself? Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons started as a family business, is still a family business and we hope to continue this for years to come. As third-generation family members, we all actively contribute towards ensuring the longevity of the business and pioneering the vision and legacy of our late founder. We are also grateful to the UAE for its support over the years in helping us grow and in turn contribute to the economy.
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pillars of the brand and everything we do falls in to either the create or source element of the business. Whether it is research and development, design or procurement, the pillars are essential for us to focus on as we evolve our brand and services. How did you know it was the right time to make the leap in doing something yourself and how did it come about? DH: Having spent 15 years in corporate arenas, I always wanted to have my own business and do something I enjoyed. So, combining a hob-
WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
M as ter s o f T im e Private Label London-Dubai specialise in three areas of luxury, Create, Source & Invest. We spoke to Founder Daniel Henderson and Commercial Director Alys McMahon to find out what it takes to drive uniqueness in the industry
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by and a business was key. Today it is more of a lifestyle choice and has allowed me to meet many like-minded individuals. How did your previous roles prepare you for this leap and is there ever a right time? DH: Spending 10 years in the financial market, the stakes were high and there is no room for error. Mistakes cannot be made. We now work in an industry trading with high value items and you have to be aware of the risks associated with this. I quickly learnt that attention to detail and delivering the best product possible is what will set you apart. But if you wait for the right time to set up on your own, it may never come. How does being able to think outside the box equip you to build a strategy that scales the business? AM: Being a founding team member at Threads Styling (a Shopping service accessed through personal chat) taught me so much about outside the box thinking. You need to be aware of what motivates you and simultaneously be able to recognise key success indicators within the business as well as understand clearly what your clients’ needs are. If you have these, this is ultimately what drives the decisions when developing a strategy that supports scaling. How challenging was it to secure the sourcing side and why did you decide to focus on this first? DH: When driving a business that supplies high value items, there is of course an inherent risk in dealing with these and to start, this was a challenge especially whilst I built the supply network. I decided to focus on this as a priority. You may have the largest client base but without good product and delivery there isn’t really a sustainable business. I knew that if I could secure a solid supply chain then clients would soon build trust with us. What’s the most interesting custom piece you’ve made, and which region was it shipped to? AM: Developing our first custom collection of Spekt Sorbet watches (a set of 7 coloured ceramic watches that are a global exclusive) was something that we spent a long time developing. The orders we fulfilled for this collection were delivered to essentially every corner of the world and this was a really positive affirmation of clients believing in the uniqueness of our designs. We also continue to create several entirely bespoke options for clients, and this includes jewellery too. What has been the biggest challenge since launching and how did you navigate this? AM: The biggest challenge is scaling. We have to ensure that with everything we do, we challenge the full idea to understand how it can scale. We are constantly reprioritising as a business to ensure we maintain growth. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? DH:
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? DH: I get up at 4am and respond to all messages I have received through the night as our network is live 24/7 then I work out for 30 minutes on the Peloton. This time is important for me to set myself up for the day ahead. AM: I usually get up at 7am and walk the dog with a coffee. I enjoy my time first thing to be quiet. What are the pillars of the brand and how did you define why these were important? AM: Creating and Sourcing are our two main
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Having the ear of key people in the industry is what helps inspire me and keeps me on track. I can always rely on them for support and this was especially needed in the earlier days. AM: I have a couple of mentors within the industry and I try to speak with them regularly to understand if what I am thinking is crazy or inspired. I can rely on them for incredibly candid feedback which I am always thankful for. Which attributes in terms of Horology are most important when considering investing? DH: Buying something that you enjoy is the key attribute to any watch regardless of the level of investment. We work with clients to build their collections and it is important to ascertain their reasons for investing before advising on the right piece for them. Do you see any particular buying trends driving sales in the Middle East and how does this differ from the global appetite? DH: Clients in the Middle East really like Urdu dials and separately the colour green, whether it is a coloured stone or a base dial colour. There is also a growing appetite for rainbow pieces which shows the fun you can have when designing a watch. AM: Our clients love colour and recently we created a rainbow bezel watch with a full diamond set case, bracelet and pavé dial which is fast
becoming very popular. With even a slight change to the finished design, it continues to be one of our bestsellers. We also offer it in a DLC coated (black out) finish. Which watches you’ve invested in are special to you and why? DH: I bought an Audemars Piguet yellow gold Royal Oak with a boutique blue dial (ref 26331BA) at $92k and within 6 months I sold it for $120k. The current market is now at prices of $150k+. AM: I bought my first Rolex DateJust 36mm Yellow Gold and Steel in my early 20s and this will always be significant to me. I have always loved watches but for me, this represented growing up. What is luxury in today’s market? AM: Today, service and convenience play a very large part in luxury. We want clients to experience the ease of shopping with us. We also service several large-scale global businesses and the transfer of knowledge from us to them is key in the story telling around a collection or
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individual watch. This helps to make watch buying with us a luxury convenience. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out? DH: Self-belief is everything, making mistakes isn’t a bad thing and failure is inevitable. There were some early speedbumps that were very significant to me at the time, but these experiences have contributed to making me a better businessman overall. AM: Remember to learn from your successes as well as your mistakes. There are many successful elements in new businesses that occur by coincidence and recognising what worked from these allows you to develop an understanding as well as gives you an opportunity to duplicate a similar scenario again that will aid further success. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? AM: The UAE has always been a driver of luxury goods, especially remotely. There is no other market that is as progressive when purchasing high value luxury goods online. This means that we can pilot new ideas focused in the region and gain thoughts from this key audience too. DH: The UAE region has a keen appetite for the newest product and we know that we can show pieces that are of interest for both male and female clientele.
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WHAT MAKES A PATEK SO SPECIAL? WE ASKED AN EXPERT… EXPERTISE. Patek Philippe has mastered every aspect of fine watchmaking – from the hand-winding two-hand watch and “usual” complications with functions like an annual calendar or second time zone, to sophisticated masterpieces with minute repeaters tourbillons and split-seconds chronographs. TRADITION. This level of expertise cannot be achieved overnight. Patek Philippe has been in existence for 182 years and has produced the best and innovative watches during this time, resulting in a supreme experience and this heritage and savoir-faire
is passed on from one generation of the watchmaker to the next. QUALITY. Quality is the most precious resource at Patek Philippe. The entire company is designed to support it and Patek Philippe places the highest standards on training – from watchmakers to sales personal. The spirit of innovation which reigns at the company’s workshops has been instrumental for the longevity and reliability of its watches. DEMAND. The rising demand from an ever-growing field of international new watch collectors adds to the wish of possessing a new or vintage Patek Philippe masterpiece of horology. Some Patek Philippe watches are
so sought-after that buyers must submit to an application process to demonstrate that they are sufficiently high-calibre collectors. THE HISTORY Patek Philippe started in 1839 and now for over 80 years has been owned by the Stern family, now in its fourth generation. This provides a high degree of consistency in the company’s philosophy and policies. It also excludes the possibility of radical shifts in direction imposed by a changing management, so the path of success will most certainly continue. The value of a Patek Philippe will most probably not degrade once purchased.
C O M P I L E D BY: O L I V I A M O R R I S
AN EXPERT GUIDE Buying a Patek Philippe
Remy Julia, Head of Watches at Christie’s Middle East, India & Africa, shares his expertise on investing in a Patek
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A reassuring fact, even when most people purchase a watch simply for their own enjoyment and don’t have immediate plans to resell. The number of watches produced and the growing demand to possess a Patek Philippe from all around the world don’t match and this is adding to the desirability of the brand. Waiting lists and preferred owners of certain pieces is another factor to maintain the prestige of the brand. THE FIRST INVESTMENT Study the brand, identify which reference you prefer, learn about the secondary market for that reference, get to know the specialists who could help you to locate the model via private sale or auction, absorb the offering of the main auction houses, buy the best model available on the market with the assets you have put aside for this purchase, enjoy the watch and do not forget to look after its condition! THE COLLECTORS The above points are also applicable for the more advanced collectors, potentially knowing where to look for exceptional watches. In addition, Christie’s private sale team are always delighted to search for exceptional pieces for our existing and new clients. This little and still a secret service
had been introduced by the founder of the company James Christie in 1778 when he negotiated the private sale of 200 paintings to Catherine the Great of Russia. WHY PATEK PHILLIPPE IS SO POPULAR IN THE GCC Over the past few decades Christie’s, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and others have created a market for exceptional watches here in Dubai and slowly collectors of unique and more contemporary pieces were introduced to appreciate the beauty of classical and vintage watches, including these of Patek Philippe. The first watch which broke the $1 million barriers at auction in the Middle East was a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002P-001 (manufactured in 2004) sold for US$ 1,590,000, setting two new records simultaneously, for the most expensive watch sold at auction in the Middle East and for any watch sold online at Christie’s. The quality and diversity of the pieces we are today offering in Dubai reinforces Dubai’s position as a global hub for the most desirable vintage and modern watches. The depth and breadth of the offering also testifies to the rising level of knowledge and appreciation in the region as well as throughout the global and growing community of watch lovers and collectors to be found in the region.
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C O M P I L E D BY: S A R A H J O S E P H
MIDDLE EASTERN AROMAS The best oud-inspired scents made to last
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Royal oud eau de parfum 100ml for Dhs1,230 Creed A grand mélange of silky sandalwood with woody notes.
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S c ent o f the M id d le E as t
Founder of Anfas and the first certified Emirati perfumer, Asim Al Qassim on embracing his heritage in the world of fragrance 50 emiratesman.ae
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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? Usually, I wake up in the morning with all my goals for the day planned ahead. I shower, get ready and check my calendar, just to make sure that the day goes as smoothly as possible. I also make sure to read in the morning, no less than ten pages every day. Unlike others, I prefer not to drink my coffee till after noon, I prefer to be active naturally and not by external stimulants. What inspired you to launch the brand and what is the DNA, its core values? His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s message inspired me. He had told his people – the Emiratis, to be the best examples of the sons of Sheikh Zayed. My wish is to be counted amongst them, someone spreading a message of love and kindness to the world. That wish inspired the story of my collection and the brand, Anfas. To show
IMAGES: GETTY AND SUPPLIED
WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
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“The UAE has taught us to always think globally, and not to limit our goals and ambitions to be local only.” the world the meaning of hospitality and the welcoming nature of our land. For we are the people of peace, hospitality, love, and harmony. Ask anyone in the world about the Emirates, and you will hear about the open tents, the welcoming cup of Arabic coffee, the trips on camelback and so, I presented my collection embodying the spirit of Arab hospitality. How have you infused your perfumes with Middle East-inspired elements? My entire collection is inspired by the environment in which I’ve grown in. The names of my per-
fumes took on the same character, and so did the aromatic components composing them. All this, while making sure these compositions are integrated with global senses and diverse tastes, so that the products would be accepted by the world. This contributed to the success of the collection’s propagation in more than 40 countries around the world. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? As the UAE has taught us to always think globally, and not
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to limit our goals and ambitions to be local only, we proceed with the vision of our rulers and leaders, who seek for it to be the United Global Emirates. From this, we enjoy all of the support in building the foundations of our brands to be global and of high standards. All of this falls within the current ecosystem supporting the economy and export of goods, which enables us to spread our products in the world relatively easily and conveniently. What have been the challenges to building or scaling a business in the region and how did you overcome them? The biggest challenge for me was understanding the global system of trademarking. It isn’t easy to build a brand with a global vision and contribute to its global spread without understanding this system. The processes of manufacturing and distribution all differ according to the nature of the markets you’re in, their population densities, and even their tastes in choosing the products. This all made me face great challenges in the early years, but extensive consulting, and waiting to open in new markets, it made me more selective, and demanding in regard to any expansion. I always made in-depth research a priority before any commercial expansion, because the main message of my brand is to reflect the true spirit of my community and country. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? As an individual living in this country and a contributor to many projects, I always strive to race against time to be among the group of initiators. This is because the members of the community, be it citizens, residents, merchants or even consumers are used to supporting the UAE to reach its goals as soon as possible. People believe in its promise, to be the happiest country in the world, as it provides them with the best environment and the most suitable place to live. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? Our leadership and our rulers. Just as the youth are the wheels of the renaissance, so is the leadership the guide and the main engine, that is driving it forward on the path. We are blessed, a blessing which we inherited from our forefathers, a blessing which is now carried by their loyal sons. Those who do not hesitate to provide their very best for this country, and have set the best example of achievement, creativity and innovation. Our leaders are our fathers and brothers. They guide and correct us in our shortcomings, and support us in every one of our dreams until we reach them all.
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T im eles s V is io n
The tenacious Dr Ahmed Elborno tells us why he will never settle for staying in the comfort zone 52 emiratesman.ae
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“Success to me comes down to rare moments of opportunity, I am always open, alert and ready to seize them by gathering the right people and resources.”
WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
Dr Ahmed Elborno is someone who never wants to stop learning. Throughout his impressive medical career, he has taken it upon himself to continuously delve deeper into the human body to uncover every facet there is to know. “The human body, to me, is like the universe – everything is in motion,” he explains. Through the years, Dr Elborno has worked as a surgeon, in anesthesiology, pain management, regenerative medicine and more and he is now a five-time American board-certified doctor – he holds board certifications from the American Board of Anesthesiology, subspecialty in Pain Medicine, American Board of Pain Medicine. Competence and Narcotic Certification, American Board of Minimally Invasive Spine Specialists, The American Board of Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine (ABAARM, American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians (ABIPP), and is also a Fellow of International Pain Physicians (FIPP). With a tenacious zest to continue his quest to learn and to help people, Dr Elborno will never reach a final destination because, to him, there isn’t one. “I learned success is a journey, not a destination,” he tells Emirates Man also adding, “I learned the harder the problem is the more limited the competition and the greater the reward for whoever can solve it.” In our exclusive interview with Dr Elborno, he talks us through his extensive career in the medical field, why he chose Dubai to open the second-ever Elborno Clinic and the philosophies he has carried with him throughout his entire working life. Can you talk us through your career? My career was a journey and a discovery through the human body which became more and more fascinating. To this day I continue to add to my knowledge and specialise in new fields. The human body to me is like the universe – everything is in motion. I went to medical school to study and in the first few years I learned about the normal and abnormal mechanisms of the body. I learned about how medicine works inside the body, how our body reacts to medicine and how
the disease conditions started as well what it leads to. In my last year of medical school, I learned how to treat disease. I went on to achieve my aim of being a heart surgeon but my goal was to go deep inside the body and understand more so I then moved to critical care and ICU. Medicine took me deep inside the body to look at the orchestra, the symphony playing inside. I was fascinated with the fact that I can do all of this fixing without interference from the patient. The patient is completely asleep under anaesthesia and this is why I wanted to specialize in anaesthesia. I also wanted to study more about pain and to know the secret as to where this comes from and therefore undertook a fellowship that specialized in pain management. Then, I went further into anti-ageing and regenerative medicine fellowship, going deep inside the cells of our body is my goal and journey to explore the magnificent work by the creator at the level of one cell. What inspired you to go into the medical field in the first place? I was born to be a doctor. I did my first anatomy class when I was in elementary school. As a kid, I always played the role of the doctor. I was always dreaming about being a doctor – it was my destiny. You opened the first Elborno Centre in Chicago and then made the leap of faith to open a clinic in Dubai. What attracted you to this region? Dubai is a fast-growing city and it was always a place where I wanted to pass my help and services to people here in the whole region. There is a similarity between Dubai and my continual fascination with the universe. Can you talk us through what Elborno Clinic does? Elborno specialises in anti-ageing and regenerative medicine – the medicine and science that dive inside the cells of our bodies to know the secrets of why we are ageing. It is a unique clinic in the centre of Dubai that takes everybody into that journey of looking beautiful inside and out and feeling their best. How do you set yourself up each day for success? I am always taking advantage of life’s
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many opportunities before they slip away. I feel I was made to succeed not born to succeed. I never stop learning. I study people and organisations in my life that have enormous success and I’m open to new input whether that be from people, experiences or gaining knowledge through learning. In your professional life, what is a philosophy that you live by? I have to believe in something greater than myself and my personal need, it is my work to deal with any challenges. I will never deviate myself from a sense of right and wrong, my integrity must be unquestionable. I have to be bold and act when the moment seems right. I will accept risk when others are cautious and take action when everyone else is frozen and do it smartly. I always see a way to reinvent and improve myself. I learned the harder the problem means the competition is more limited and the greater the reward for whoever can solve it. Success to me comes down to rare moments of opportunity, I am always open, alert and ready to seize them by gathering the right people and resources. What have been the biggest lessons you have learned throughout your career? I learned that my version of success is different from everybody else – I never stay in my comfort zone. I learned that failure goes hand in hand with success, I learned nothing is free in life. Most importantly, I have learned, success is a journey, not a destination. I always learn from success, not failure. Lastly, the one thing I believe is that one thing that can always be controlled is attitude. Create a daily to-do list, formulate goals, always be honest and clear and prepared, evaluate each goal separately. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? This region is very unique as it is unlike any other country in the world due to the high number of expats – you can meet the whole world here in the UAE. It also has the biggest mall in the world, the tallest building in the world and a vibrant array of different cultures and religions.
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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
What do your first 30 minutes of the day look like, your morning routine? The first 30 minutes of the day are the most important time for me. Directed by the classic Eisenhower decision matrix, I map out a list of things to do based on priority. I schedule what is important and I eventually delegate what’s urgent but doesn’t need my involvement.
Before I make a list, I start with a coffee to charge me up, check my calendar for all the scheduled meetings, check business analytics to look at numbers, get my breakfast ready, check for any urgent email or issues which require immediate attention and finally a quick meeting with the team. What is the DNA of SQUATWOLF, its core
I nno v atio n &
values? SQUATWOLF is a premium gym wear brand that lives by its core values. We as a brand are on a mission to elevate the human experience through products with insight, innovation and purpose. The key values are to elevate the human experience and push the limits to promote overall excellence, work together in a team to achieve greatness and to act without fear and not be afraid of failure as it’s important to own it and learn from it. Another value is simplify to amplify and lead the pack with honesty, transparency and integrity. Every product we design flows through our product filters to achieve our goals. The four product filters that we live by is simplify to amplify. Innovate always and to keep in mind that sustainability is always important. You’ve challenged the status quo in the fitness industry – what inspired you to launch in this area and what was missing for you when you saw a gap in the market? When you start following these fitness trainers online you see them wearing a lot of homegrown, community-based activewear brands. Being gym addicts ourselves, we used to order a lot of gym gear from all the international brands. On top of paying for the actual gear, we used to pay heavy international shipping charges, customs duties, taxes and then wait for days to receive the order. If the gear we ordered didn’t fit, we had to request an exchange, pay the shipping again and wait for weeks. It was all in all a very tedious process. That’s where it struck us. Why isn’t there a single brand in the Middle East region? It was clear to us that many of the big brands were already offering quality in this region. We set out to challenge the status quo and offer gym gear with high-class quality but most importantly, gear that dominates the style department. We had no experience designing, manufacturing, marketing or selling activewear. All we had was the vision to create the best activewear brand. We started doing research and meeting activewear designers, fabric suppliers, manufacturers, and industry experts to learn about the activewear business. Eventually, after eight months of running around, we created our first line with only six styles. We sold out
Pur po s e
Co-founder of SQUATWOLF Wajdan Gul discusses disrupting the fitness industry and how the UAE supports an entrepreneurial spirit 54 emiratesman.ae
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two of them during the pre-order phase. As they say, the rest is history. SQUATWOLF grew exponentially over the following few years, initially in the Middle East, but very quickly on a global scale with teams based in four countries, serving customers and athletes in over 120 countries. The fit is truly exceptional. How do you ensure this, and did it take multiple revisions to achieve this? We at SQUATWOLF believe that gym athletes shouldn’t compromise on performance for style or fit. They need gear that accentuates their v-tapered physique. Gear that fits right and is specially made for their athletic-shaped bodies. SQUATWOLF works with gym athletes from different backgrounds to make sure our fit is true to their size and fits perfectly in the right areas and on the right muscles. We call it the true athletic fit. That’s what makes us different from all the brands out there. We spend months getting the fit right for different body types, hence the gear you buy from SQUATWOLF will always fit you seamlessly. Every product that we create has been engineered for active life from fit to stitch to fabric with gym-goers in mind, and to fulfill our vision of what gym wear should be. Born in Dubai, we have enlisted loads of UAE trainers and everyday gym-goers in our local community to help us design our products, select our fabrics and other materials and they have loved every minute of it. We believe that good things come to those who sweat, and that good gym wear should help you feel good and look good while you sweat. Do you work with production the globe over and how do you balance the time zones? Yes, we work with factories all across Asia and Europe, our teams are based across four countries with two different weekends. I won’t say it’s not challenging but you learn to make it work. Anam and I work at least 14 hours a day, 6 days a week to make sure we are able to talk to everyone around the world and drive the business forward. We don’t mind it as it’s really fulfilling to see the business growing and most importantly teams in all time zones aligning on a singular vision of creating the best gym wear brand in the world. What have been the biggest challenges to date since launching and how did you overcome them? COVID-19 is undoubtedly the biggest challenge that we’ve faced to date, in the last five years of business. The pandemic brought its own ups and downs and we have been very fortunate to experience the boom in e-commerce and the activewear industry as a whole in the last two years. However, at the same time, it was very challenging to overcome the supply chain challenges while fulfilling the demand and customer expecta-
tions. We executed the following three-point strategy to overcome some of the challenges that COVID brought in. The first step was to diversify our manufacturing sources. To overcome any unforeseen lockdowns and chain disruptions, we increased our factory partners in four different countries. The second step was to deliver high customer expectations without any hiccups. With a seamless customer experience being of utmost importance, we focused on this aspect to be the best there is, in the current market. The third step is to sustain the growth. By exploring new international markets and designing collections around them, we ensured our pieces appeal to a more global audience, especially those in colder countries by working with wholesalers, retailers and distributors around the world. How has being based in the UAE supported being able to launch a business and why? Being born and based in the UAE has been one of the biggest factors of success. With over 200 nationalities living in one country, it makes for a melting pot of cultures. A tax-free economy helps re-inject maximum profits back into the business and the health and fitness focus allows Dubai to become a hub of different initiatives such as the Dubai Fitness Challenge. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? The UAE government is taking huge steps to facilitate e-commerce businesses in the country. We have been fortunate enough to be a part of those initiatives which include ease of registering businesses, getting bank accounts set up, accessing growth capital, financing facilities and working with GCC countries to ease the expansion of UAE-based businesses in the regional markets. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? Absolutely. We have been growing more than 100 per cent year after year over the last five years and one of the biggest reasons is the homegrown aspect. The growth in the entire business and fitness ecosystem of UAE has been tremendous and unparalleled. This and what the UAE government has planned for the next ten years only excites us about the future of this country and our business. What have been the challenges to building or scaling a business in the region and how did you overcome them? The cash-on-delivery service is widely used in the region as a mode of payment for e-commerce purchases, it really impacts the cash flow and delivery success rates. We have been working with local ‘buy now pay later’ payment providers to encourage customers to pay with their card but
“The growth in the entire business and fitness ecosystem of UAE has been tremendous and unparalleled.”
still enjoy the facility of paying later. There were certain challenges regarding working capital and bank finance, which the UAE government is working closely with, especially over the last few months to encourage banks to support e-commerce businesses. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The UAE is unique because of its people and how welcoming it is as a region to those coming from outside. It’s set apart because no idea is too big or too small. The country makes you feel like nothing is impossible. Both the co-founder, Anam and I moved to the UAE in 2014 and started SQUATWOLF in 2016 with no experience in the industry. We now run a multinational business with teams in four countries, customers in over 120 countries and a plan to dominate the gym wear market by 2025. We don’t believe that it could have been done anywhere else but the UAE and this makes the country unique.
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Hussain Sultan Al-Junaidy is an individual who seems to never slow down. Having numerous high-profile positions throughout his career including CEO of Caltex, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Dubai College, Executive Chairman of Petrogas Construction Company and the founder and group CEO of ENOC which, as he says,
he was “asked by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum to start”, it seems there’s nothing he hasn’t done. Carving out a successful career for himself throughout the years in business, Al-Junaidy brought it upon himself in 2009 to create a hub for likeminded people in the industry to network. Enter the Capital Club. Located in DIFC,
the exclusive members club has positioned itself to become the epicentre of business conversations juxtaposed in the best quality social setting in the heart of Dubai. “The club started as a place for networking and socializing with other likeminded people and family,” he tells Emirates Man. “Since its inception, it has evolved
WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
A C eas eles s V is io nar y “Retirement is an excuse to do nothing. I have lots more to do and many more miles to go,” says Hussain Sultan Al-Junaidy. The former CEO of ENOC and Founder of Capital Club tells us what it takes to carve a successful career over six impressive decades
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to become a vibrant intellectual hub with leaders from the private and public sector holding important and relevant dialogues and discussions. Furthermore, there is a high level of personalized service offered to the members, the facilities have been revamped for business meetings, with an inhouse production studio as well as growing its creative social experiences.” Over a decade on, and a refurbishment combined with a new vision to bring many interesting and exclusive experiences to the business community, Capital Club continues to be a hub for networking in the heart of Dubai. After a few mistakes and retakes over the last 12 years, “this is finally the club I always dreamed of,” said Al Junaidy, openly jubilant and personally invested in seeing the fruition of many years of hard labour and determination. “I live by a high standard work ethic, integrity and am driven to deliver results,” he explains. This is evident in the impressive career he has carved out over the last six decades. Al-Junaidy was appointed CEO of ADNOC in 1975 and was in the role until 2007. He’s also held positions including
CEO of Dragon Oil, he is also a chartered civil engineer and a fellow at the Institute of Directors, London. He recently retired from his position as Deputy Chairman of Dubai Investments and has also managed successful private companies such as Riverside Investments, Neptune Energy, and continues to take an active interest in the formation of new commercial ventures. What’s his secret? The simple desire to succeed, which is in all of us. “The desire to succeed is within you,” he says. “Every night, before I sleep, I note down all that I need to attend to the next day, and when you aim high, learn to adapt and modify plans, nothing is impossible.” His inspiration was his father and the values of honesty, hard work and being result-oriented are ingrained deep within his psyche. “My father was my role model and influence. He had a high value for education and hard work and instilled in us an inner drive to achieve. He always told us to listen to wise and knowledgeable people and to learn from them.” Continuous learning and consistently improving has become one of Al-Junaidy’s life mantras, and the other is
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to aim to be the best. This is reflected in his vision for Capital Club, and under his leadership, he welcomes competition, “because that only makes you better”. This vision is also reflected in the nation as a whole. As the UAE celebrates its 50th year, Al-Junaidy expresses his gratitude and thanks to the nation. “The UAE is a vision realized by its incredible and inspiring leaders,” he says. “I’ve been honoured to learn so much from our rulers and witnessed their ability to entrust others to bring many dreams to reality. It’s the people of this nation that make the place unique and great. No matter who you are, every person’s contribution is valuable to the country’s growth and evolution. Nowhere else is this more tangible than in the UAE.” Al-Junaidy strongly believes that all success is attributed to the team and the people you work with. He wants to be remembered for being an honourable man – the name and reputation are paramount. The Club reflects the man. Someone who has walked the talk and delivered. Finally, he laughs, “Retirement is an excuse to do nothing. I have lots more to do and many more miles to go.”
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T he A d v is o r
Chairman of FH Capital and an entrepreneur, Abdul Majeed Al Fahim on embracing his UAE roots to empower others in the region
WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? I was raised to start my morning by praying and meditating to set me up to tackle the day’s challenges. Additionally, a cup of ginger tea along with a read through the newspaper or even listening to a podcast helps align my thoughts, emotions and reinvigorates my motivation. How has being based in the UAE supported being able to launch a business and why? The UAE’s core values have not only helped in the incubation and launching phase of several businesses but have successfully allowed them to become sustainable. The key element contributing to this achievement is the right role model. Having been raised in an environment where our late founder and leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan not only had a vision but also a relentless ‘can do attitude’ towards life. This shaped my worldview at a young age. By following in his steps, embracing an entrepreneurial spirit is a key attitude or a way of life that matters more than anything else. Other factors like having a well-functioning regulatory environment, and the ability to attract regional talent are also important and wellunderstood. There are many other key elements, however, the aforementioned principles have greatly contributed to the success of having a business in the UAE. What was the most valuable skill learned as Executive Director at the private office of HH Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan? Working closely with His Highness definitely helped me gain new skills even after having held several other senior positions. The most valuable of them is to incorporate ‘impact’ as a factor that in-
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forms our decision-making process. At that government level, every wrong decision can have a ripple effect not just on the bottom line but also on the culture and attitude of those around you. This skill set was a way of life for His Highness and was an extremely important lesson on leadership. The UAE supports those who decide to take a new turn in life. How has being based in the region allowed you to re-invent or change the direction of your life or career? Being born in a desert teaches you agility. I started working from the age of 12 as a merchant along with my father. I then pursued a career in academia, later moving on to join banking at a nascent stage of the sector, managed capital for the government funds as well as the office of HH Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and finally returned to the private sector in venture capitalism and serial entrepreneurship. Changing directions and continuing to find opportunities to further propel the efforts of the UAE, demonstrate the wide system of support offered on various levels of the government. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self? Develop a passion, be determined and maintain consistency.
The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? Watching the UAE tackle a global pandemic for the past year was a true demonstration of the strength of our global partnerships and our ability to cooperate to develop health solutions and advances in biotechnology while sustaining the health of the economy. Many saw the impact of technology, virtual connectivity and innovative collaborations across different sectors. The education sector saw the development of e-learning platforms, the infotech sector saw innovations in the mobility and accessibility of goods and services with the wide governmentdriven support of SME’s and various newly established e-commerce platforms to meet the ever-changing market conditions. Having achieved all of this without compromising on its commitment to creating a sustainable future for even the new generation is a testament to the UAE’s determination. The country has managed to achieve global success across different sectors while tackling the challenges of turbulent times with agility, perseverance and innovative solutions in the emerging markets. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? Businesses are the engine of growth, so the answer is yes, yet what I can say even with more certainty is that the pace will gain noticeably higher momentum and dominance in the next 10 years. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? As an Emirati national I was blessed to live in an optimistic, prosperous and stable country. Nonetheless, our volatile region posed many challenges for us to face. Since the inception of the country in 1971, under the leadership of the late HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE has developed into a bastion of economic and cultural exchange. In a region where we often see collaboration and unification being replaced by mistrust and partition, the UAE has built a foothold built on trust, understanding and tolerance. Moreover, the UAE has empowered its people to compete on a global level.
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“Develop a passion, be determined and maintain consistency.” F E AT U R E
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L o o king to the F utur e
Some of the incredible individuals behind the scenes of the Dubai Future Foundation and Museum of the Future discuss their roles in paving the way for the future of Dubai WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
MAJED ALMANSOORI Deputy Executive Director and Head of Project Management Office of Museum of the Future
Deputy Executive Director of Museum of the Future, Majed AlMansoori, has been working with the Museum since its early stages and has seen it flourish from the design phase, to construction and now the early stage of delivery. “It is an extremely proud moment for me because it really is an exceptional project,” he explains. “The building design and structure on its own has already utilised several technologies that are new to the construction industry.” He discusses with Emirates Man his crucial role with the Museum of the Future, the philosophy he follows in his professional life and how he hopes his role can represent and showcase Dubai’s position at the forefront in developing the future. Can you talk us through your career? I first started my career early on as a young but very
driven engineer in the petrochemicals industry. Little did I know that I’d be working on quite the architectural and engineering marvel that is the Museum of the Future. It all started when I joined the Dubai Future Foundation in 2018 as a project manager. Looking back, I remember working on developing a variety of different projects and from there on, leadership offered me the opportunity to manage the Museum of the Future. Right there and then, I knew I wanted to be part of this symbolic vision that will mark the start of a new age. I started working on the Museum very early on. In fact, it was still in the design phase when I joined. Fortunately, that was how I was able to witness it coming to life, from it being in the design stage to its construction and even at the stage of its delivery. What are the key elements of your role as Deputy Executive Director of Museum of the Future? Authentic execution has always been at the very essence of our work, so as Deputy Executive Director and as Head of Project Management it is crucial to ensure that we deliver the highest quality and that we meet our targets efficiently and in good time. My role also means that I work on the Museum’s delivery from a constructional aspect, but without forgetting to make sure that the experience is delivered to the utmost degree in standards. From an operational point of view, daily tasks include developing a seamless guest journey, one that not only enlightens but also truly inspires, because with an iconic building like that of the Museum of the Future, it only deserves to be remembered globally as nothing less than the transformational and highly expansive experience that it is. What has it been like working at the forefront of such a major project like the Museum of the Future which even before opening has
become an icon in itself? It is an extremely proud moment for me because it really is an exceptional project. The building design and structure on its own has already utilised several technologies that are new to the construction industry. Not to mention the message behind the building, which is to create a melting pot that cradles the past and the future, through applying technological innovations to traditional artforms all via a participatory experience – by all for all. It truly is inspiring and beautiful. Growth, inclusion, hope, and inspiration are all lifelines that are at the core of what we do and I’m proud to see that get passed on to future generations. For this project, we came together as designers, thinkers, technologists and, most importantly, innovators, to shape new transformational values for our visitors to become active participants themselves in shaping our future. This will allow us to continue our journey in becoming an icon of Dubai, the UAE, the region, and eventually the world.
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keeps growing. The challenge here is knowing when one needs to take a step back to take a breath of fresh air because when you do you then come back stronger. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The UAE is our home, it is where we value each other and we ourselves feel valued. We have our own special identity, culture, and a hopeful vision for the future. There are remarkable achievements that are constantly rolling out from our country, starting from hosting Expo 2020 to launching the world’s biggest Ferris wheel and now the Museum of the Future, where people will be able to experience the next 50 years. The UAE is truly a united global emirate, it is a place where people from all around the world are given the opportunity to be active participants in creating their own future. Having a hopeful vision towards a better future really distinguishes our region and gives us the power to conquer and believe that anything is possible. Lastly, I’d like to mention that planting a seed of hope in everyone’s heart can lead to great outcomes and the United Arab Emirates on its 50th anniversary portrays exactly that.
The Dubai Future Foundation is paving the way for the future success of the region. What key role do you play in helping this? I hope my role can represent and showcase Dubai’s position at the forefront in developing the future. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid says, “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it”. We at the Dubai Future Foundation are working on advocating this vision through several projects and of course, the Museum of the Future is one of them. This foundation is at the heart of developing the city of Dubai and through it we can focus on having a global impact on humanity. What would be your key piece of advice to those just starting their careers? To all those that are following a similar career path to mine or even a different one, put your head down, focus on the work and focus on delivering the best possible results. By working collaboratively, you pave a way for success to naturally follow. A bamboo tree needs intensive care for more than five years before
you see it shoot up to the desired height. A person’s career is the same and with intensive care, daily improvements, and belief, you will excel at the right time. What is the philosophy you live by in both your personal and professional life? Personally, and professionally, I am a true believer in continuous learning and always working on improvements. No matter where you are in your career. Having an honest moment to reflect on what could have been improved and what mistakes were made along the way are the best lessons to learn from and only then can one really grow. To date, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome? With such a huge project, some of the biggest challenges come down to keeping the team motivated, as well as really tackling and overcoming unexpected road bumps along the way. Another challenge would be thinking creatively about how to solve problems while also constantly trying to stay right on track. Naturally, work keeps intensifying as the project
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FAISAL AL HAWI Head of Accelerators and Incubators at Dubai Future Foundation
As Head of Accelerators and Incubators and the Dubai Future Foundation, Faisal Al Hawi leads the team to implement one of the Foundation’s key missions – to serve as a catalyst of entrepreneurship and innovation in line with Dubai’s overarching vision of building a thriving innovation-led economy. He discusses with Emirates Man the ins and outs of his crucial role with DFF, how the Foundation is paving the way for the future of Dubai, his advice to the younger generation and more.
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Can you talk us through your career? I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 2009, and I immediately enrolled in an MSc in Information Security at Khalifa University. Back in the day, it was the first master’s course of its kind in the UAE. I did it part-time alongside my first job at Etisalat, where I spent about six years moving through different departments and divisions. I started in the Operations Department, where I experienced a lot of hands-on work maintaining the internet network. Later, I joined the Planning and Projects Section, where I participated in emiratelevel and nationwide projects to enhance the quality of the internet network, and then I ended up on the Professional Services team that served external government clients. Towards the end of my stint at Etisalat, I was seconded to the HH Dubai Ruler’s Court for three months, where I was brought in for a very specific task – building a digital transformation strategy from the ground up. At the end of three months, I was asked to join the Ruler’s Court full-time and manage the implementation of the strategy. I was originally the only person in the IT and Development Department, and we managed to build a team of seven people across different functions. Together, we’ve designed and implemented multiple digital systems and services and developed close to 10 mobile and web applications that cater to diverse operational needs of internal and external users and achieved great operational efficiency and enhanced customer experiences. In total, I spent four years at the Ruler’s Court. Then I moved to Smart Dubai, where I oversaw two main strategic projects. First, I was the product manager for the national digital identity project: UAE PASS. Second, I was also the lead for the blockchain portfolio, dealing with blockchain use cases, strategies, and infrastructure. I stayed there for two years before joining Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). What are the key elements of your role as Head of Accelerators and Incubators at DFF? The first element is managing all aspects of the design and implementation of accelerator and incubator programmes at DFF, and the second is enhancing the startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Dubai. In line with the UAE Centennial 2071, we seek to develop an enabling infrastructure and a comprehensive host of support services that help startups grow and flourish. I also work on policies aimed at creating an attractive
environment for global talent, improving ease of doing business, and building productive synergies with government and private sector partners. I am additionally leading a few strategic sectors and innovation projects. DFF is paving the way for the future success of the region. What key role do you play in helping this? My team and I support the implementation of one of DFF’s missions to serve as a catalyst of entrepreneurship and innovation in line with Dubai’s overarching vision of building a thriving innovation-led economy and becoming a global hub for entrepreneurs. We seek to identify and attract like-minded individuals, organizations, and government stakeholders and bring them together to develop and implement programmes and initiatives with a transformational impact on the emirate’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. How do you hope to help inspire others looking to follow a similar career path to yours? For me, it’s more of a passion than a job. I’ve always had and still have a vision of becoming an entrepreneur and a founder, building things on my own. Even though I’m in a government job, I view it as a startup, and I try to be as innovative as possible in terms of thinking and approaching problems. I always consider the impact that I want to achieve with everything I do; at my level, my organization’s my country, and the world. A lot of the things that we work on affect the broader ecosystem out there, so this career path is ideal for everyone who likes to think outside the box, wants to disrupt the status quo and make a difference in the world. What would be your key piece of advice to those just starting their careers? Find the things that really spark your passion and interest and dedicate yourself to it with all your heart and always push yourself to learn and experience new things – don’t settle! Throughout your career, who have been your mentors? I haven’t had many mentors in a formal relationship. However, I’ve learnt a lot from different people in different positions. Indirectly, I would say my biggest mentor is Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, even though I’ve never met him. His books and thought leadership style truly speak to me, and I’ve been looking up to him a lot in what I do on a day-to-day basis. I’m truly inspired by him, his work, and his values. What is the philosophy you live by in both your personal and professional life? This brings me back to Steve Jobs, who has one
famous quote that has really resonated with me: “We’re here to create a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?” I don’t want to be ordinary and go down the road well-travelled, following in other people’s footsteps. I feel the need to chart my own path, to be different, to create value that only I can bring to this world. And hopefully, inspire someone to do the same! To date, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome? I would say I still haven’t overcome my biggest challenge, although I might have tackled parts of it. I’m talking about figuring out my true purpose in life. I still haven’t answered the question: What can I do that would create the greatest value for myself and for everyone around me? I’ve struggled with this at certain stages of my career when I felt like I found myself at a crossroads and wasn’t sure which path I should follow. Now I’ve reached a point where I have much more clarity on this, but I still see a long road ahead of me. For me, it’s not about the end goal; it’s more about the journey, what I learn and what I experience as I go along. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones? Professional career-wise, I have participated in three major government programmes – one focused on leadership, one dedicated to design (which was the first Chief Design Officers programme), and one revolving around innovation – and each has given me a whole new perspective. These three crucial milestones have helped me really discover myself. Another milestone was becoming the product manager for UAE PASS, which was a momentous responsibility that I take great pride in. When I first started the job, I had no previous experience in managing products at this scale, but I felt blessed to be given this opportunity that I have learned so much from, and that has changed the way I approach my work and given me the confidence to take on new tasks that may seem daunting at first. This year, we celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? That would be a very long list, but one thing that I’m particularly proud of is our identity – what defines us as Emiratis, as Arabs and as Muslims. I strongly believe that our values, our identity, and our culture are what make us different and shapes our unique way of thinking and interacting. I feel that in this region, we tend to underestimate the power of our values and culture, and we need to bring them to the table more.
“The UAE is truly a united global emirate, it is a place where people from all around the world are given the opportunity to be active participants in creating their own future.” – Majed AlMansoori 62 emiratesman.ae
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KHALIFA AL QAMA Director of Dubai Future Labs, Dubai Future Foundation
In his role as Director of Dubai Future Labs of the Dubai Future Foundation, Khalifa Al Qama is ensuring he and his team are advancing Dubai’s journey to becoming a leading smart city. In this interview with Emirates Man, he discusses how DFF is positioning the city as a hub for future technologies, how he has forged a successful career in project management and more. Can you talk us through your career? I come from an entrepreneurial background. Since I was 21, I set up four or five companies, and then I was asked to join Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). For the last four years, I have overseen project management in general and was the lead for special projects. In my current role, I’m in charge of research and development with a focus on applied research, and I feel lucky to be serving the community of industrialists, roboticists, and technology enthusiasts. What are the key elements of your role as Director of Dubai Future Labs at DFF? At the beginning of the idea behind Dubai Future Labs, we saw a lot of interest from the governments of Dubai and the UAE, with which we actively collaborate. And we had a healthy community of technologists that needed a space to apply their research and test new technologies that could disrupt the industry, impact the economy, improve lives and add value in general. Starting an initiative is like starting a company. In the early stages, you need to create an enabling environment and establish a robust operation. So, we started as a small team of four or five people and, slowly but surely, built a state-of-the-art research facility. We’re very excited about the projects we are working on. These projects can take anywhere from 12 months to three years to pan out, and the learning curve is steep and hopefully happy for the people involved in the process. At this point in time, my day-to-
day work usually involves making decisions on directions or projects or providing input on potential strategies that could advance Dubai’s journey to becoming a smart city. DFF is paving the way for the future success of the region. What key role do you play in helping this? DFF aims to position Dubai as a hub for future technologies, and Dubai Future Labs is here to develop and test these technologies. We aspire to create a permanent research and development ecosystem for robotics, AI, and automation with its own legal framework, build national capacities in these fields, accelerate the deployment of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies and attract innovators from around the world to use Dubai as a testbed for their latest solutions. How do you hope to help inspire others looking to follow a similar career path to yours? I’d like to show them the outstanding, inspirational individuals in our labs who are great to work with because they carry a lot of curiosity and are always eager to learn something new. In this field, you have to deal with new topics, new industries, and new technologies all the time, and to enjoy it, you need to have an open mind. What would be your key piece of advice to those just starting their careers? With hindsight, I can say that people who flourish are the people who care about doing what they have to do at that moment the best way they know how. I sometimes come across people who only worry about what will happen to their careers in the future. It’s good to have a vision, but it’s more important to focus on the now. You don’t have to be perfect but do the best job you can with what you have at hand. In the first five years of anyone’s career, I would encourage them to soak up information and expose themselves to new opportunities as much as possible. Don’t disregard anything that comes your way because you don’t know how it could be useful to you 10 or 15 years from now. Throughout your career, who have been your mentors? At the start of my career, I was fortunate to be guided by an industry leader whose name I won’t disclose. From him, I’ve learned the most valuable lesson in my life, let alone my career – how to deal with people honestly and openly. In the beginning, I didn’t understand why he was emphasizing such factors and not the technical knowledge that I wanted to gain from him. But now I’m grateful to him for instilling in me what it means to be a good human. Because even if you’re the most accomplished expert in the world, if you can’t deal with people, you can’t cooperate and build better things. And that’s a lost opportunity. What is the philosophy you live by in both your personal and professional life? Every action in our lives, whether personal or professional,
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starts with an intention. It’s good to carry these intentions, potentially visions and aspirations, and aim for them. But what I’ve learned is that things tend to happen when they need to happen. So we need to go about life with an open mind because we’re not in control. Life has its own ebbs and flows. The best thing we can do is plan for the year but live and act for the day. To date, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome? One of the most challenging experiences I’ve had in my career was one in which I found joy, strangely enough. And that challenge was to coordinate a global effort to develop standards. I had to liaise with people from around the world – from the Americas to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East – to agree on a set of principles and standards for an industry that we were just about to launch. Getting people from different countries to agree on a single document took a year, but that document is here to stay. I had to disregard everything I thought I knew about standards and learn how people from other regions
“The best thing we can do is plan for the year but live and act for the day.” – Khalifa Al Qama
regulate. These challenges taught me how to find common ground with people of different nationalities and cultures. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones? I’m fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to work on four or five large-scale technological challenges. While addressing them, I have managed to expand my network and build lasting friendships. I’ve maintained good relationships with the majority of the people I’ve worked with the last 10 to 15 years, and I appreciate having them available to hopefully work together on bigger things in the future. This year, we celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The wealth of opportunities. I was once talking to a businessman, and in passing, he said that Dubai’s motto is: “Live and let live.” And I see how this encompasses the spirit of the people who come here and find their passions and find opportunities to work and be the people they want to be. Overall, we have many young folks who aspire to improve their lives – this by itself is an engine of growth. I hope to be able to contribute to creating new opportunities in the region through my work.
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A n A r tis tic V is io nar y
Award-winning Emirati filmmaker and entrepreneur, Mustafa Abbas on showcasing his distinctive style in the region
WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? I don’t mind starting my day by looking at my phone, however, any serious conversations are avoided for the first and last hour of my day. I believe that at this time we are the most sensitive and particularly need to be focused on pleasant and positive things. While having my breakfast, both my phones are strictly put away. After that, I go over my agenda for the day, which includes scheduling meetings as well as the tasks set out to be completed. What inspired you to enter the world of filmmaking? That is a very good question because this industry has no straightforward path to enter, despite one having an education, degree or even qualifications. In some regard, you must build your own door and create an opportunity. This seemed to be the only way for me. Hence, filmmaking most definitely was not a decision, nor do I believe I chose it. My passion for films ran quite deeper than I realised, when I was a child. I was deeply fascinated by human nature, the narrative arc, the psychology and the motives of each character. However, what excited me the most was getting to know a fictional character so well that you start believing they are real. The grasping of human emotions is something I’m constantly learning about. Where do you see the future of film heading towards in the region? Well, it’s clear now that this region has no shortage of talent, dedication, or passion. We also have the tools and all the requirements to make good quality films and productions. Many Arab films have had international appeal and even made it to the Oscars. I’m excited to see where it goes. How has being based in the UAE supported you to grow in your chosen industry? One of the main things in our lives that shape us is our environment. Both personally as well as geographically. It has made me realise that as a filmmaker, I have a responsibility to do my part in continuing to help shape the local film industry. You’re also focused on building and shaping change in business – how do you approach
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this? By putting human beings first. Whether our team, or our customers. The most important thing is to offer people quality experiences, to improve one’s day, and go the extra mile. To make both employees and clients feel a sense of comfort and positivity. This is a motto we practise in each business that Legend Group owns. The UAE supports those who decide to take a new turn in life. How has being based in the region allowed you to re-invent or change the direction of your life or career? It has further motivated me to take my own path, and continue to grow in that direction, as a professional, and as a man. I believe every nation’s leader’s action and feelings echo through the country, and we have the most inspirational leaders to look up to, who believe that nothing is impossible. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? Thanks to the vision of our leaders, the UAE has achieved more in 50 years than most countries have achieved in 500 years. For me, this is a fact, and not an opinion. What have been the challenges to building or scaling a business in the region and how did you overcome them? Having started three businesses from scratch, I have come to the realisation that each business is unique, and I’m not talking about industries. I mean every single business is like a human being, an individual. It’s complex, layered and can grow or shrink. Even though you might plan everything before starting a business and continue working and doing your best to make it what you believe it can be, and it should be, sometimes it takes time to get to know that particular business, and what makes it tick, like a human being. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? I get to look back and say that I lived in the time of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and I saw his vision come to life and continue to see it come to life. As an Emirati, this is the greatest honour for me.
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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
A F ine I nv es tm ent UAE-based artist, Ahmed Emad, explores the revolutionary world of art though NFTs
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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? Early birds catch the worm. With the early rise of the sun, my mornings begin in quietness. I wake up around 5:30 am, which allows me to plan my day with a clear head. I usually take a cold shower to boost my alertness and maintain focus throughout the day. Stretching exercises are also a part of my daily routine, as they help to reduce any muscular tension throughout the day. Then of course, I move on to a cup of coffee, while I select an outfit that’s best suited for my daily activities. Finally, I dress up and set off to tend to all the tasks planned ahead. Your artworks focus on existential themes. Was this the focus from the outset? As a conceptual artist, tackling bigger-than-us concepts has always been something that drives me. My focus is geared towards providing a space where meaning of the world we live in is discussed. I find creating an experimental space for people to discuss themes I tackle a very rewarding experience. Existential themes are quite evident in the works I produce because I channel a lot of my ponderings through them. Contemplation for an artist is what it’s like to to ‘test the waters’ for a swimmer. There is so much to delve into and create when each of us carries an abundance of creative energy. With that, existential themes flow easily into my work, evoking emotions through multiple perspectives using the fusion of colour and texture. What inspires you to create and when did you realize this was an outlet you wanted to explore? A variety of things inspire me, especially people’s stories or experiences which have built a large library for my creative self. I’ve been continuing contemporary art for more than 10 years now, because the pro-
cess allows me to express my thoughts and have the freedom to do so. During my years of studying Civil Engineering, my exposure to all types of materials has made me more curious of how to transform a utility item into something that expresses meaning. I find this especially stimulating when I experiment with new mediums, such as incorporating cement, gravels, or fabrics into my work. My inspirations have been grounded very much in the human collective of finding meaning in a sometimes rushed, fast-paced world. Why did you decide to use NFTs (Non-Fungible-Tokens)? I wanted something new to experience. Despite the initial reception of NFTs, I wanted to showcase how art can evolve into many forms. NFTs proved that we can experience art with changing forms, and adapt to new ways of artistic expression. With NFTs gaining popularity in the art world, how have you been a part of this growing momentum and how easy was it to enter the market? An NFT is a collectible digital asset, which holds value as a form of cryptocurrency and as a form of art or culture. Much like art is seen as a value-holding investment, now so are NFTs. In recent times, NFTs allow art through a dynamic blend of audio/visual stimulation. They embrace a lot of core elements of how I like to create art. It is ever-changing and digital. I was very honoured to be a part of the first NFT | IRL exhibition in the region with Firetti Contemporary Gallery. I would like to thank Founder Mara Firetti, Director & Curator Celine Azem and Marketing Director Kayna Lang from the Firetti team as well as my brother who is Art Manager, all of whom made this possible. It was a great opportunity for something new and exciting. The UAE supports those who decide to take
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a new turn in life. How has being based in the region allowed you to re-invent or change the direction of your life or career? The UAE has encouraged me to pursue my artistic endeavours with great support. It has opened a lot of doors for me and I can truly say I’m very lucky to be a Dubai-based artist. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? I am happy to see art and culture growing greatly within the UAE. Many opportunities are being granted to new and accomplished artists alike. I would not have achieved such a successful start in my chosen industry without the support of my beloved country and I count myself as very fortunate to be a part of an environment that encourages people to thrive. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? Absolutely. A lot of business has developed over the past few monumental years. A lot of that success comes from the visions of our leaders. I can say that the UAE is one of the strongest countries for growth in business. What have been the challenges to building or scaling a business in the region and how did you overcome them? This region is well-suited for those who can overcome challenges, as the support here is immense. Many who’ve overcome certain challenges, thought of it as a positive experience, when they’ve scaled their businesses to achieve a certain trajectory. This is what’s great about this country, we strive for thing and feel supported. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? It’s home.
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AN ENVIRONMENT TO THRIVE C O M P I L E D BY: O L I V I A M O R R I S
SHEIKH DR MAJID AL QASSIMI
Founding Partner at SOMA MATER @majidaq How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? The UAE has been my home and country and I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in a country experiencing this exponential growth. This pace has infused my childhood and my adult years and the energy I have today stems from that. On top of that, what the UAE does, and has achieved for a country as small as it is, I try to embody agility and resilience in my working life. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The UAE has been described as “little Sparta”, a moniker that evokes strength in few numbers, resourcefulness, and an ability to make an incredible impact. With unique leadership like this, I feel inspired to work in the same way, being resourceful, agile and punching above my weight. Everything I do, I try to hit higher and make a bigger impact. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Agile, resilient, resourceful.
Contemporary Artist @sachajafri How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I spend most of my time between London, New York, Paris, and Singapore. However,
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since the beginning of COVID-19, March 2020, I have decided to spend more time in the UAE and the wider region of the Gulf. What has really stood out to me is the way that the UAE government and its leaders have dealt with the pandemic in an incredibly efficient, empathetic, and effective way, enabling life to get back to the new normal we now enjoy far sooner that in most other countries of the world. This has obviously helped hugely in both quality of life, creativity, and productivity, for me as a father, humanitarian, and as an artist. The safety of my family is always the first thing on my mind, and if I know that things are in a good place in that regard, it means I can create more freely, with more poignancy, hopefully resulting in more often, with magical creations that can help change our world for the better. The UAE encourages and attracts a hugely diverse group of people from many countries of the world, you’re not only getting a melting pot of dynamic minds, but also a very diverse collection of creators, almost forming a ‘think tank’ for the UAE. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? Firstly, I think it’s important to point out how extraordinary the UAE’s achievements over the last 50 years have been, and it really blows me away every time I think about it. What really inspires me from this region and makes this place special is the beautiful combination of heritage & cul-
ture passed down through the ages, with that understanding of modernity and even beyond modernity, into the future. The way the two combine so beautifully and effortlessly in an environment that we really enjoy creates harmony, and that’s a really beautiful concept that is particularly inspiring to an artist. I’m inspired by a deep sense of culture and values, and that’s something I love about the UAE: the idea of family values, information passed on from one generation to another, the teachings of Sheikh Zayed being passed down through the fathers of our nation and then down onto the people. The beauty in the smile of the face that stands before us. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Ethereal, incandescent and home.
CEO of Bulldozer Group @evgenykuzindxb How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? The UAE has given us an incredible platform to grow, expand and develop our skills, it really is unlike anywhere else in the world. Dubai is an amazing place to build a brand, the cosmopolitan blend of nationalities and expats from all corners of the world forces us to consider our audience and tailor our offering to suit them. We try to incorporate flavours, tastes and attributes that resonate with a wide range of cultures, so that each
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As we celebrate the 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE UAE, we asked some of the most incredible gentlemen we know, what makes the nation such a supportive environment to grow and thrive
guest feels catered for and looked after. This has enabled us to connect with people from all over the world, achieve a global reach and it allows us to showcase Dubai’s excellent F&B standards to an international clientele. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The UAE aims to build a better future and implements effective strategies in order to do so. The impressive growth of the country is evidence of its efficiency, professionalism and wisdom. I feel very lucky to call it home. We are dedicated to the development of Dubai into one of the best dining and entertainment destinations in the world, and I am excited to see how the region grows. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Innovative. Exciting. Driven.
Restaurateur, Founder of Zuma How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? We opened Zuma London in 2002; the success and growth has far exceeded our expectations as we were only ever planning to open one restaurant. As the business organically flourished, we started to look at other cosmopolitan locations; destinations where our existing customers already travelled too regularly. This led us eventually to Dubai, which we opened in 2008. Every restaurant that we open has an element of risk, so I am very proud that Zuma Dubai has
stood the test of time. Dubai, in particular, was a very new marketplace at the time and the Food and Beverage scene wasn’t as extensive as it is now. Zuma Dubai has been key in facilitating the growth of the (Azumi Limited) Group – new restaurants can only open when your foundation is strong, such as our existing restaurants. We opened ROKA Dubai last year, for example, and we were confident to do that due to the wonderful reception we received with Zuma, that it would be a huge success. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The rapid growth is outstanding to me! Dubai, specifically, has physically grown so quickly. When you think of the population, which has grown by over 500% in the last 30 years, it really is mind blowing. Today it’s an international business hub and luxury tourist destination – which has led to it becoming an international dining destination! Can you describe the UAE in three words? Exciting, Innovative, Rewarding.
Dubai-based photographer @anthonylambphotography How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Success will always be measured in many different ways, many people associate success with the amount of money made or the number of luxury goods purchased. As a profes-
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sional fine art photographer, I see my success through the eye of the lens, via the visionary beauty I document for others to enjoy and the photographic collections I curate. I’m privileged that international photography collectors purchase my work; there is no better feeling knowing all those hours searching for that one image will now take pride of place in a collector’s home. That’s what real success feels like to me, touching people’s emotions through personal interpretation. The UAE made this possible; I arrived in the region in 2011 as a keen amateur photographer, but I’ve tailored my approach and set up my own photography business in Media City four years ago. I began building a fine art portfolio, documenting digital narratives of the Arabian Desert. These landscape images have now been published in my new book ‘SAND’ for others to enjoy. Through the support of others in the region, I’ve exhibited my work in hotels, galleries, international exhibition centres, appeared on radio and local television, provided talks and seminars, featured in publications and had the pleasure of meeting some wonderfully talented people. I owe a lot to the UAE and it’s the Arabian Desert that inspired me to document the country from the foundations up. Those endless solitary hours walking through dunes and witnessing the stunning, ethereal beauty will resonate with me for the rest of my life. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The
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Arabian Desert offers such a diverse and unique landscape, providing photographers and residents alike free access to a natural world you can lose yourself in. Before visiting the UAE, I’d never experienced such a minimal, barren landscape where life still finds a way to survive. That’s what I think is so fascinating about the UAE; within this almost uninhabitable region stands a modern visionary oasis. I’m so grateful, not just for the chance to photograph the desert, the cultural roots of the Emirati people, but to be part of this modern-day evolution that continues to go from strength to strength. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Diversity, Visionary, Union.
MISHAL AL MARZOUQI
Co-Founder of Signature Yashmagh @signatureyashmagh How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I personally feel very proud when I get asked where I come from and I say UAE. UAE has been part of every success story of either businessmen or entrepreneurs. I believe the supports we get here is endless, and the opportunities are all around. UAE has played a vital role during the pandemic, license fees were dramatically reduced, rents were supported by the government and service fees were decreased. Only in the UAE, a business that is only two years old, gets to have a deal with the government. Because they believe in SMEs. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? What makes this country unique is our leaders. They have been very supportive in every matter. From desert to Mars, investment in technologies, AI, Future, hosting Expo 2020 and many others. That is what makes every single person who lives in the UAE grateful and honourable. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Peace. Happiness. Future.
Contemporary Artist and Civil Engineer @ahmeddemadals How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? The UAE has adopted to retain talented and highly skilled youth by all means. Through a comprehensive framework of encouragement, the UAE grants and will always grant new passes towards creativity. The UAE has made significant strategies that assisted not only me but also each and every ambitious person through youth entrepreneurship, training, workshops, coaching exhibitions and a
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countless number of empowerment strategies. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? I am so grateful to the UAE for all the granted opportunities. Being number ONE means to challenge for achieving distinguished contributions. This is what makes the UAE one of its kind and here comes the historic event of Expo 2020 to add more to our achievements and uniqueness. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Peace loving country.
ASIM AL QASSIM
Emirati Perfumer @asimalqassim How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Being an Emirati, and having my work originating from the Emirates, the incentives I received from Dubai Exports and other government entities – due to their unending support of UAE based products – means we enjoy a lot of backing for small and medium-sized business, be it from reduced service fees, or getting priority for various offers, or even establishing and nurturing relations with other countries. In addition to that, the Emirates today is known as an attractive, international brand, so as an Emirati businessman, this helps push UAEbased products greatly in the global market. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? Our great leadership. They are more like fathers and brothers to us, leading their people by love, and I think it shows; simply look how much the UAE has grown and how far it has come. They also mentor us, leading by action and example, not words, and they know that failures are opportunities not for punishment, but for growth. The other thing I’m grateful for is that I have been raised in this environment, tasting all the positive experiences and the joy of continual, consistent success. This ignited in me the need to return the favour by working in fields which many of my people might not have to give attention to, despite them being fielded which are very much ingrained in our culture. Perfumery, for example, is a field I’ve entered because it is part of our history and culture. Unfortunately, many Emiratis only gave their attention and effort to the business side of perfumery, and not perfumery as a specialization. That is why I made sure to give equal attention to the business as well as the specialization sides of Perfumery, combining the two. The UAE has taught me not to slack on any idea I have, because any idea fed with hope and
passion and persistence will find its place in the world, grow and ultimately thrive. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Soul. Family. Love.
Partner & Founder of Chaps & Co. @chapsandcobarbershop How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Dubai has always been a city of the future in my eyes. Since my first visit in 2005 and the place I’ve called home for the past 12 years, it’s been clear that the leadership of Dubai has infused optimism and creativity through its policies, and created a strong culture for growth and success. Opening a business (2015) was a natural progression from witnessing countless mega projects materialise, the success was infectious. Practically speaking, like most, we have benefited from a favourable business tax system, a strong cosmopolitan talent pool and a growing population. We’re forever grateful for choosing the UAE as our business home country and looking forward to leveraging the Brand Equity of Dubai as we expand internationally in the next 6 months. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The leaders and people of the UAE seem to have an insatiable need to improve/succeed/ develop. This spurs on entrepreneurs of all kinds and is somewhat inherited into the spirits of UAE born businesses. I can certainly speak for Chaps & Co in this regard. Can you describe the UAE in three words? A success story.
RALPH R. DEBBAS
Founder & CEO of W Motors @rdebbas How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Being based in Dubai has in addition to our supercar design and production business, offered W Motors unforeseen opportunities to work with the government to develop new product lines. This was never part of the initial plan, and now we are focusing on that sector with the aim of becoming a turnkey mobility partner in Dubai and the region. One example of this is the Ghiath, a highly advanced security vehicle developed for Dubai Police, which integrates world-class technologies with functionality and reliability, and sets a new standard for security vehicles on an international level. Another is the Autonomous Muse, which was developed with the UAE’s incredible driving network programme in mind. Muse features a
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Level 4/Level 5 autonomous driving system, innovative user interfaces and cloud-computed connectivity, as well as several interior configurations catering to different business needs and consumer requirements. Without the vision of the UAE, these projects may have not come to life, and not driven W Motors to touch different elements within the automotive manufacturing industry. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The UAE offers its residents the opportunity to achieve and always push for more. From a W Motors perspective, especially as a Middle Eastern automotive manufacturer, this drives us to deliver better products, meeting and surpassing exacting international standards. Also, because the UAE is a melting pot of different cultures, with the representation of different industries from all corners of the globe, there are many opportunities for international alliances and partnerships, allowing us to develop the business – and ourselves – continuously. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Empowering. Visionary. Ambitious.
RYAN SMITH & CALVIN SMITH
Co-Founders of Suited & Booted Dubai @suitedbooteddubai How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? The international nature of the UAE has given us unparalleled access to three customer segments – indigenous, expats and tourists – where else in the world could you get this type of customer access? What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The UAE is unique in its entrepreneurial flair and its can-do attitude, we cherish and share these values in our business. The UAE is also a welcoming home to a huge number of entrepreneurs at all stages of their careers and businesses. We are incredibly grateful to the contacts we have made here, and our constantly expanding and supportive network. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Inclusive, international and innovative.
Founder of Wolfi's Bike Shop @wolfis How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? We are now in our 20th year in the UAE and we strongly believe that our success would have not been possible in any other place in the world. We supported the growth of the cycling community and the wise plan of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed Al
Maktoum to make the UAE one of the most cycling-friendly places in the world. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The United Arab Emirates is a very welcoming place and offers a wide cultural diversity. The UAE set the bar for safety and quality of life very high and strives for excellence each day. We feel at home and enjoy being a part of the vibrant community. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Sunshine, Vision and Opportunity.
CHEF IZU ANI
Concept Creator of GAIA & Carine @chefizu How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? Dubai has a way of accelerating our creativity, its ever-evolving nature gives us the ability to expand our skills and learn about different cultures, tastes, flavours and people. To me, Dubai is not a transient place, it is somewhere that we can call home, rather than just pass through. It is a destination that allows us to grow. When we invest in ourselves, in our passions and projects, we plant the seeds of development. Seeds that can grow into cities, where we can spread our roots. It is so inspiring to live in a place where we can achieve our goals. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? Dubai enables us to see the world with the eyes of a child, to explore and build our dreams into our realities, and for that I will always be grateful. The UAE holds a special place in my heart, it is an incredible place to have the opportunity to grow and develop. I feel humbled & thankful to the UAE Royal Family and its government for their overwhelming support. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Beautiful. Inspiring. Imaginative.
Dubai-based extreme athlete @mjd_smith How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I feel there are three components to this. Firstly, achievement levels. The UAE sets the standard and then always manages to raise it. This attracts a certain type of person that resonates with this attitude to life. The country provides people the opportunity to achieve great things if they are ready to work hard. Establishing and building a business in the UAE is the product of hard work and wanting to do cool things with your life. Secondly, the diverse population. You meet some amazing
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people in the UAE from so many different countries with so many different stories and experience that we can learn from. This excites me a lot as it almost brings together the world’s best in an amazing country. Having such a diverse population serves up an opportunity to learn, live and do business like I have seen nowhere else in the world. And, finally, geography. The geographical location means that over the time I have lived in the UAE I have managed to travel to a large number of countries that I doubt I would have made it to had I been based somewhere else. This does a few things. Firstly it allows me to appreciate and in some capacity understand the cultures of others and bring the positives of that back to the UAE and apply it where logical. Secondly, it allows me to appreciate the country that I love. And thirdly it enables me to grow what I started in the UAE into other countries. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The UAE and its leadership has always adopted a growth mindset which resonates with me. They know that not everything is going to be easy and on the first view, things may seem impossible – that’s until you take time to figure out how to do things. Living in a country which just 50 years ago was so much different and seeing the limits of what people thought was achievable pushed literally daily is very inspiring and infiltrates into the communities of the country. Can you describe the UAE in three words? What a place!
CHEF MUSABBEH AL KAABI
The UAE’s first Emirati chef @chef.musabbeh How has being from/based in the UAE supported the success you’ve achieved today? I believe what I achieved today is definitely through the support this country gave me and the great opportunities I was presented with. I was exposed to a variety of cuisines since I commenced my career and was given access to a global kitchen environment which allowed me to continuously evolve my skills. The hospitality industry has been greatly supported by the leaders of this country and I’m proud to be working with the Jumeirah Group. What do you feel is unique about the UAE and why are you grateful for that attribute? The most unique thing about the UAE is how inclusive it is. We all live together as one family, no matter what nationality you are, creating unity and loyalty for the country. Can you describe the UAE in three words? Peace, sustainability and technology.
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A t Y o ur S er v ic e
Tino Waked, Uber’s Regional General Manager for Middle and Africa on amplifying its presence in the region WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? The first 30 minutes of my day are usually my favourite. It starts with my two-year-old son, Mimo, waking me up around 6:30am. He is an early riser and is determined to get a good hour of play in with his mother and me before heading off to nursery. I usually don’t start my mornings with breakfast; however, a good cup of tea does the job. Mimo usually joins me on the balcony as I start my day and we discuss several topics which are of interest to him. The last is his fascination with the Burj Al Arab, which we drive by on the way to his nursery every morning. I try to do a quick scan of my email to see if there are any urgent developments overnight that I need to attend to. The Uber App operates 24/7, and with trips requested over the App every
second and team working literally across the entire world in different time zones, there is always something important going on. How has Uber evolved both in terms of brand and logistics since its launch? Uber has come a long way since we launched globally back in 2009. When we first launched across MEA, ride-hailing was a new concept. What started as a way to tap a button and get a ride, has today created billions of moments of human connection as people around the world go to all kinds of places in different ways with the help of our technology. We entered the scene of modern transportation through technology and quickly grew to become a very valuable tech startup. It started with the simple idea of ordering a ride at the tap of a button. At the heart of that vision were convenience, accessibil-
ity, and reliability which continues to be our guiding star. Today, we’re emerging as a platform for mobility, especially in the Middle East. Our new aim is to become a onestop shop for digital access to transportation and daily e-commerce needs so that people’s phones can replace their personal cars. That’s why we have begun incorporating bikes, scooters, and more into our app. The Middle East is perfect for this space as we tap into local modes of transport. We’re working with relevant policymakers, industry leaders, technology companies, and regulators to create an enabling environment where innovation can thrive. What started as a luxury offering is not where we are today. While those offerings continue to exist, our brand and logistics have evolved, making travel more affordable, accessible,
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and locally relevant. That is how we want riders, drivers, and partners to think of us. How has your background contributed to the success of Uber? I’ve been involved in the Uber business in the region for about seven years. I started as the Head of Operations in Egypt, visualising a congestion-free future for the country. I was then appointed GM for Egypt, followed by GM for MENA, and today oversee the MEA business. I’ve been responsible for building the business in the region and Uber has come a long way since. I helped onboard the first driver on the app in Egypt, eventually expanding to 81 cities across MEA in the last seven years. I have a BA in Economics from Rutgers University and an MBA from INSEAD and have previously worked at McKinsey and Co. for over two years. I’m passionate about the importance of innovation and the potential of technology and proud to see how Uber has impacted the lives of people in the region by transforming the travel experience. How have you tailored Uber to best fit the needs of those in the UAE? Our team at Uber believes in choice, and we believe our technology can complement cities like Dubai to supplement their current transportation network in order to reduce congestion, increase safety, service levels, and optimise the efficiency of public transport systems. We’ve also worked closely with the UAE government, by aligning ourselves to the country’s goals to create economic opportunities for Emiratis by launching in Abu Dhabi with regulations that empower them to drive on these apps. Emiratis are able to drive via the Uber app using their private cars at their own flexibility, thereby opening up new earning opportunities and allowing drivers to give tourists a taste of local culture. We also onboarded existing taxi services in several markets to meet the existing public transport systems. In turn, this allowed existing drivers to access Uber’s technology for another source of earnings. What are Uber’s imminent plans in the Middle East? Today, we’re building locally for markets by using our global experience. We want to understand and address the challenges that people in the region face when it comes to requesting transportation and using the Uber app, and to find solutions that meet their needs so that everyone can have access to the technology and, ultimately, mobility. As more people get vaccinated and cities across the region begin to open up, the use of our mobile technology
is rapidly recovering to pre-Covid levels. We believe that Uber has a critical role to play in helping revive local economies and supporting the recovery of the tourism sector. In the near future, we’re committed to leading the way in electrifying the ride-hailing sector and encouraging more people to replace private car trips with shared, electric multimodal mobility options. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? When we launched in the UAE in August 2013, we flew in a team of three people to prepare the ground for the launch. From these streamlined beginnings, and the launch of the app with just 50 onboarded cars, we’ve expanded to thousands of drivers on the app across the UAE. The UAE is a massive market, it offers ease of access and innovations through technology. Regulators in the market are open to collaboration and are seeking continuous advancement, which allows innovation within the private sector to thrive. We’re looking to the UAE and the wider Middle East region as we strongly believe our growth over the next decade will be defined by this region. In August last year, we doubled down on our Middle East expansion by launching our services in Sharjah and have expanded our offerings in the UAE to include several options like Uber Select, Uber by the Hour, Uber Comfort, Uber Black, Uber XL, Uber Family and Uber Green. What have been the challenges to building or scaling Uber in the region and how did you overcome them? We entered a region that had been relying on hailable taxi’s for a very long time, so introducing a new form of transportation and technology that people and governments had to adapt to, was a challenge. We’ve had to educate people on the value of flexible economic opportunities and demonstrate the value of choosing Uber and ride-hailing. We’ve worked closely with regulators and partners across the board to provide the right flexible experience and identified opportunities that have transformed our business globally. From working with regulators in the UAE to allowing Emiratis to drive using the Uber platform, the overall experience has diversified into new sectors. Being the global firsts especially for Saudi Arabia, the ‘women preferred view’ allows women drivers to filter their requests and only pick female riders. Another development is the testing of electric vehicles in Egypt, which now allows us to work closely
with policymakers and regulators to turn challenges into opportunities and make the travel experience more reliable, comfortable and accessible for riders and drivers. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? The UAE has one of the most supportive ecosystems for successful business around the world. It is a place where the world’s most influential multinational corporations operate profitably and continue to expand their footprint. It is a massive market with a growing young population and an environment that allows businesses and innovation to thrive. Recently, it has also established itself as among the best places to provide everything an entrepreneur might need to maintain and build a business from the ground up. From bootstrapping and financing to the logistical details that can make or break a business, each component contributes to the success. With the World Expo taking place in Dubai this year, significant partnerships have already been formed with global players across industries. It is a unique platform for large-scale businesses, SMEs, startups, entrepreneurs, governments, and civil society organizations to come together to build deep partnerships and enable meaningful, long-term growth. Dubai is a truly global city, and the UAE is an emerging soft power in the 21st-century power paradigm context. This could not have been realized without the business agility, openness and focus of the Union. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The UAE has seen tremendous growth over the last 50 years and it continues to establish itself as a global economic centre. Its open and tolerant approach to a multi-cultural environment, economic progress, and industry diversification has enabled growth on an unprecedented scale. We operate in over 10,000 cities, and nearly 71 countries and are proud to call UAE one of our global regional hubs. Through setting up in Dubai, we have provided millions of residents and tourists with a reliable, safe, and convenient way to get around since launching in Dubai in 2013. The UAE is committed to driving urban mobility and leading smart cities of the future, and we believe we have an important role to play in facilitating this vision, advancing the mobility system, and ultimately improving people’s quality of life.
“The UAE is committed to driving urban mobility and leading smart cities of the future, and we believe we have an important role to play in facilitating this vision.” F E AT U R E
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T he M as ter Planner The Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) partner, Iyad Alsaka on his acclaimed projects for the Middle East
WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
Elaborate on OMA's experience in the UAE so far? The UAE is incredibly rich in resources and plays a key role in the global scene. OMA has had great opportunities to work on projects in the UAE and to experience the energy and strength of the country first-hand. Working in the UAE has been very stimulating and challenging. We have been able to formulate new ideas specific to the region, which are also inspiring for our work around the world. We become part of the country’s evolution, as we work on projects that entail the latest innovation, whether sustainable, technical or in other realms. So far, we have developed a wide range of proposals: we have built cultural projects like Concrete at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, a multi-purpose venue; mixed-use developments, such as the Theater District Tower in Dubai, consisting of three main
elements, which include a residential tower, a U-shaped retail podium and an elevated bar along the main boulevard with offices; or masterplans, like the Waterfront City in Dubai, an artificial island surrounded by water with a total floor space of nearly 12 million square metres across various building types and programmes. The experience of engaging in these different typologies of projects has been invaluable. What's your approach to planning for a modern city like Dubai? Dubai is a city of multiculturalism, a 21st-century metropolis to shape new society. We interpret Dubai as a city of ambivalence that embodies the most extreme audacity and, at the same time, diversity. All the projects that we work on in the region are based on extensive research on the existing context, and we do not believe in a tabula rasa approach to design.
For example, Al Manakh’s research offers detailed analysis of the existing urban condition in the Gulf and discusses the implications of the rapid development of this territory for the rest of the world. Following this research, we worked on the Urban Village, a mixed-use masterplan in Dubai. In this project, we designed a sequence of residential building clusters with only four building typologies, small towers, courtyard blocks, linear buildings and townhouses. These clusters are freely arranged around public spaces to offer an episode of urban life, while offering a variety of apartment types. We also delivered the conceptual design for a public project in Dubai. It is a mixed-use masterplan conceptualized as a journey that provides a variety of opportunities to discover authentic Dubai. The masterplan also showcases Dubai as an ever-animated
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IMAGES: COURTESY OF OMA
urban realm that welcomes and entertains external visitors. Another project that we worked on is the Dubai Knowledge Fund, a 100-hectare educational programme in the centre of Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), the world’s largest free zone dedicated to higher education. These works are examples of how research has informed our designs, which are driven by a strategy revolving around the concepts of concentration, density, synergy, and simultaneity. You've worked on revolutionary projects such as Concrete in Alserkal Avenue, tell us about its modular design. We are happy to have collaborated with an organisation such as Alserkal Avenue that aims to promote cultural initiatives in the region. With this project being designed entirely in Dubai, we wanted to keep the interior as neutral and flexible as possible to provide a multipurpose venue that can accommodate a series of public events, such as exhibitions, performances, lectures, and fashion shows. Modularity was crucial here, given the project’s conceptualisation. Our main idea was to design an adaptable floor plan that could deal with the required diversity. The result was four pivoting and sliding walls, doubleheight ceilings, and a translucent polycarbonate façade configuring a volume that blurs the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor experiences. The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? The UAE is a pioneering country, ever since its establishment five decades ago. At OMA, we are happy to have established fruitful dialogues with the UAE, which have helped us understand the history and current conditions of the region, and also its future ambitions. The UAE’s vision has enabled us to develop projects of different kinds, from cultural venues and masterplans to the fundamentals of cities planning and progressive policies. We see opportunities to have more long-term impact on the region through commitment, which is why we have invested resources into ongoing research in the region, in areas related to tourism, education, transportation, etc. Our efforts to engage with UAE is materialized not only in built works, but also in publications like Al Manakh Contin. 2010, where voices of architects, intellectuals, and developers making the Gulf happen are represented in the numerous essays and interviews that accompany this richly illustrated study. We hope such knowledge could inform development of the region one way or another. Another key project led by you is the masterplan for Waterfront City in Dubai, how was that different from the others you've worked on? This project is different given its mag-
nitude. We aimed to generate a critical mass of density and diversity in a city that has experienced massive growth in recent years − yet, that displayed little cultivation of street-level urban activity. This is a situation rather unique to Dubai. In our design, we developed an artificial island at its outset surrounded by a body of water
“We have been able to formulate new ideas specific to the region, which are also inspiring for our work around the world.” that is created by the removal of the existing ground allowing the seawater to enter. Surrounding this body of water there are four more areas that form part of the Waterfront City, a total floor space of 11.8 million square metres across various building types and programmes including Madinat Al Soor, the Boulevard, the Marina, and the Resorts. The water technology required to achieve this masterplan is rather unprecedented. The masterplan takes an optimistic view of the future of urbanism and explores two elements of 21st-century architecture that are sometimes radically different, the generic and the iconic. The specific context of the UAE has made this possible. Are there any upcoming projects that you're working on for the Middle East? We have an ever-constant presence in the region. Our most current projects include the design
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for the Wafra tower, which is a residential tower in the Hessa Al Mubarak District along the Kuwait City waterfront consisting of five residential blocks forming a stepped sequence. In Dubai, we are working on the Dubai Knowledge Fund Masterplan, with student and staff accommodations and the required services to create a vivid and modern hub for the academic city. The aforementioned conceptual design for the public project in Dubai, as well as the Urban Village masterplan, are also ongoing. We are pleased about the continuous opportunities we have in the region. So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here? Absolutely, I witnessed the transformation partly since 1990 while living and working in Dubai, until I joined OMA as a director in 2007 and became a Partner in 2011 to be responsible for OMA’s work in the Middle East and Africa. For us, it is vital to genuinely engage with the transformations and development in these regions. In the past years, UAE has undergone drastic modernisation in architecture and urbanism, and different cities are striving to develop as fast as they can. This is reflected in the scope of work we are engaged in over the years. We started with extensive research on the region and published Al Manakh in 2007. Following that, we acquired large-scale projects, including working on various masterplans, such as the 100-hectare Dubai Knowledge Fund in the centre of Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), and a public project in Dubai that involves the regeneration of an extensive area. For OMA, we choose to engage with the territory as a whole, rather than only focusing on specific cities. We also study the natural environment and the untainted scenery that certainly will play a relevant role in the future. Creativity is fundamental to forging new links and finding new solutions. We are glad to be part of the region’s creative initiatives, by overseeing projects at a local level, and also by collaborating with our local partners. This year, we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? OMA has worked extensively in the UAE, and we consider UAE’s 50th Anniversary also a celebration for us, as we continue to grow our ties with the region and develop projects that allow us to further connect with its history, culture, and society. We value our unique connections with the country, and we will continue to engage in dialogues with UAE. We hope our enthusiasm and understanding of the region will help us to continue to bring in interesting ideas.
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T he L egend
Rainer Becker, Founder & Owner of Zuma Dubai, reveals what it takes to create a truly timeless brand
What does it take to create a brand that stands the test of time? “Be different, confident and follow your instinct, then find people that share the same ethos and vision as you do,” says Rainer Becker, founder and owner of Zuma. The restaurateur first opened the iconic contemporary Japanese restaurant in London in 2002, before deciding to take the risk to bring the luxury restaurant brand to Dubai in 2008, well before the F&B industry exploded to be what we know it as today. This year marks the UAE’s 50th anniversary and Zuma’s 13th year in the region. For a restaurant that has consistently stayed at the top of its game, even as new arrivals have entered the dining scene in DIFC, we asked what the secret is to staying superlative and achieving such success. According to Becker it’s “Product, consistency” and a great team “We all work towards a common goal of constantly driving the business forward.” Emirates Man sat down with the globally acclaimed restaurateur to delve deeper into how he’s created such an iconic brand in the F&B space here in the UAE and how Zuma has paved the way for the dining scene in Dubai. Next year will mark Zuma’s 13th year in Dubai, which is an incredible milestone. How has Zuma Dubai stayed at the helm of the F&B industry here in this region even after such a long period of time? Product, consistency, and our team are key! We all work towards a common goal of constantly driving the business forward. I believe all elements within a restaurant hold equal importance, the design, service, food, drinks, lighting, music. We have all been out for dinner and had great food but if the service is not up to scratch you are not likely to return. We work incredibly hard as a business to ensure that all areas are of the highest standard. What first inspired you to bring the Zuma brand to Dubai? We opened Zuma London in 2002 with my business partner Arjun
Waney; the success and growth far exceeded our expectations. We were only ever planning to open one restaurant. As the business organically flourished, we started to look at other cosmopolitan locations; destinations where our existing customers travelled to regularly, this led us to Hong Kong, Istanbul and then Dubai of course, where we opened in 2008. At the time, and to this day, our decision to open in a specific location is really driven by our customer base. Cities such as Hong Kong and Dubai are where our customers travelled for work or for vacations and it made sense to follow our clients. I am very proud that Zuma Dubai has stood the test of time, every restaurant that we open has an element of risk. Dubai was a very new marketplace at the time and the F&B offering wasn’t as extensive as it is now. Zuma really paved the way to make the DIFC dining scene what it is today. What’s it been like to see the restaurant scene expand so much over the last 13 years? When we opened there was no dining scene in the DIFC! At the time there was just the Lebanese restaurant, Al Mandaloun, and us – literally. Zuma grew from strength to strength and with that success came the eyes of our competitors. Slowly, at first, then more and more restaurants started to move into DIFC. It is now a lot more competitive, but I believe competition is very healthy, it drives the business forward and forces you to strive to be better. What sets the F&B scene apart in the UAE from the rest of the world? As I said, the market has changed significantly. There has been a huge influx of international restaurant names. The Dubai market is crowded but no more so than anywhere else, it is probably just felt more because it’s happened relatively quickly. This is not a negative though, Dubai has become an international dining destination in recent years, and I believe it will continue to be.
WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
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What would you say is the secret to success when it comes to creating a brand which stands the test of time in the restaurant industry? Be different, confident and follow your instinct, then find people that share the same ethos and vision as you do. The most important element of your business/ brand is by far your team. I am very fortunate that we have amazing people working with us, many have been with the company 15 or more years. Our businesses would not be successful without these people – they are passionate, work long hours and put in blood, sweat and tears! Additionally, I am a chef! When we opened Zuma London almost 20 years ago, I was in the kitchen every day cooking and
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working on the menu. My focus is slightly different now, but my heart is still very much in the kitchen, and I work with all the teams internationally on new dishes. As I mentioned previously, the key to Zuma is product and without being a chef I am not sure I would place as much importance on it. In five words, how would you describe the last 13 years of Zuma Dubai? Exciting, challenging, educational, innovative and rewarding. To date, what have been the biggest challenges Zuma Dubai has had to overcome? For sure COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge, it was/is an unprecedented time. We had to act quickly, think on our feet, and change our operations in ways that we never saw coming. Meanwhile, what have been the key milestones? There are countless if I’m honest, we have been fortunate enough to be blessed with many awards and accolades which is fantastic but fundamentally not what it is all about for me. I am most proud about what we have built, Zuma Dubai has been key in facilitating the growth of the group – new restaurants can only open when your foundation is strong and that is based on our existing restaurants. For example, we opened ROKA in Dubai last year and we were confident to do so, due to the wonderful reception we received with Zuma. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? The rapid growth is outstanding to me. Dubai, specifically, has physically grown so quickly and when you think of the population which has grown around 500+ per cent in the last 30 years it really is mind-blowing. Today it’s an international business hub and luxury tourist destination, who would have thought!
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WORDS: SARAH JOSEPH
A C ho s en F am ily
Award-winning artist Sacha Jafri supports us to champion the UAE in light of its 50th Anniversary year through the incredible relationships he has built since making the region home
The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? The UAE encourages and attracts a hugely diverse group of people from many countries. It’s not only a melting pot of dynamic minds, but also a very diverse collection of creators, almost forming a ‘think tank’ for the UAE. In a country like the UAE, ideas and creative thoughts can be bounced around, but more poignantly they can be implemented quite easily. This beautiful country enables many different ways of looking at things come together often by creating a new, profound, meaning in a pioneering way to develop something interesting in a region where implementation has clarity. I think the speed of implementation is important, but also in this world as it is right now, you must be fast, adaptive, malleable and you must be very pioneering in your thought process. Without forgetting the importance of intention and meaningful legacy, I feel the UAE really supports those three pillars of a successful business. For me as an artist, this is interesting because I am not obviously looking at things from a business point of view, but more from a creator’s point of view. The alignment between both the aforementioned principles work beautifully and it gives me the space to create. When I’m left alone in the UAE, I’m given a space to create in the sunlight,
near the colours of the ocean, in the desert and in various environments which really inspires my work. For me, business and money is not something I chase as a necessity, it’s something that buys me time to create, and the UAE allows me to do this in a beautiful manner. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? Firstly, I think it’s important to point out how extraordinary the UAE’s achievements over the last 50 years have been. What makes this part of the world really beautiful is the combination of heritage and culture in a modern aspect, which has been passed down through time. They both combine together effortlessly in an environment which creates harmony and in a manner that is particularly inspiring to an
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artist. The UAE has a deep sense of culture and values, with the idea of family values, the important journey of information through generations and the teaching of the late HH Sheikh Zayed which has been passed down through the fathers of our nation and then down onto the people. This ethos of life being passed down is seen in the values that people live by, as well as in the smiles reflected within and all around them. There is a beautiful grace and spirit in the Emirates that really drives me to always strive to do better. The UAE combines the best of all the countries around the world, while still keeping their identity of faith, religion, nationality and the notion of living together in harmony. As an artist, humanity, the heart and the soul are what drives me the most. When you’re situated in a place that combines identities, nationalities, beliefs and living together in harmony in one, it helps me create moments of magic. Finally, another beautiful part of the UAE is the different vistas that you can experience in one day from the beautiful sunset in the desert to the always busy city, these different aspects really fuel my energy. It helps me tap into the spirit, the heart and soul of the people around me and to a very beautiful vibration and frequency where paint, colour, shape, mark, and form come together and create magic, and that’s why I love this place.
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“There is a beautiful grace and spirit in the Emirates that really drives me to always strive to do better.” – Sacha Jafri
Founder of Leila Heller Gallery in Alserkal Avenue The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? I came to the UAE 16 years ago and the country inspired me tremendously by its highly educated youth and all the forward-thinking projects being planned. I truly wanted to be a part of it, therefore, I started participating in Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi Art from the onset. That led me to open the biggest gallery in the Middle East in Alserkal Avenue. I spend six months a year, if not more, in Dubai and have brought a great group of artists to the region. I have enjoyed working with artists who have made Dubai their home and those who are of Emirati origin. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? Indeed we are celebrating the 50th year of the inception of the UAE at my gallery, and many of my artists are included in exhibitions that pay homage to the history of the UAE and this momentous occasion. The spirit of the artists who are from the UAE and live in the UAE inspire me daily with their brilliant minds, talent, and spirits.
MOHAMED AL BANNA
CEO & Managing Director at LEAD Ventures and Senior Advisor to HH Sheikh Juma Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? The UAE is the fastest growing and one of the safest countries in the world. It is constantly developing to attract and support businesses to thrive in the region. With the unparalleled initiatives and limitless ambitions, I can’t begin to count the experiences that have taken place to support not only my own but our partners’ businesses as well. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? In my humble 40 years of life, I have
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witnessed the impossible made possible, time and time again. Expo 2020 Dubai is a prime example of that. Unlike anything in the past, this large-scale event is hosted amid the pandemic and superseded everyone’s expectations. The real question is how can I not be inspired? I’m proud to call the UAE my home and can’t wait to witness the next 50 years.
Group Executive Director & Board Member at GEMS Education The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? The leadership of our nation has created an environment that allowed anyone, no matter their race, religion, or creed to thrive, so long as they were driven by passion, ambition and humility. The story of my family is no less – a courageous journey, six decades ago, to build a better life not just for ourselves, but for all families through the power of education. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? Where else in the world has so much been achieved in 50 years. There is no better example of the power of human potential and impact than the UAE.
Dubai Airports Senior Vice President of Communication & Reputation, Dubai Airports The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? I have established businesses in Dubai in the restaurant and fitness space. Dubai is strategically located between the East and the West with the ability to move people and goods easily due to the efficiency of airports and seaports, DXB and DWC and the Dubai Ports. Setting up the business was for the most part very easy with little red tape and an investor-friendly attitude. The UAE government is stable and provides a safe and productive environment to set up businesses. I was able to avail of the
best from a choice in infrastructure, housing for my staff, the best education and healthcare for my family and the families of my staff. The lifestyle in the UAE is conducive to making people who live here very happy and happy people are thereby productive. This year we celebrate the UAE's 50th anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? The leadership of the UAE is a visionary one. It has inspired me to work hard and to innovate in order to help not only myself and my family but the entire community which I am part of, to grow and flourish.
Managing Director at Kestrel Global Ltd The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? I have founded two businesses here in the last 15 years, and have helped more than 50 businesses grow here in the last 5 years, so I live and breathe the UAE’s entrepreneurial spirit. This year we celebrate the UAE's 50th anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? I say that the UAE is the Exponential Country for the Exponential Age. EXPO and the Golden Jubilee are the perfect chance to show this to the world and continue the inspirational story of the Emirates. The UAE has a magic combination of visionary leadership, tolerance, security, adaptability, innovation, investment, and incentives that makes this the land of opportunity, where anyone from around the world can make a happy home here.
Radio and TV Presenter The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? One word – opportunity. I have been here for over 20 years and I can honestly say that I don’t think I would have been given the opportunities that I have been lucky enough to get here anywhere else in the world. Both personally and professionally, I feel that the environ-
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“I am inspired by the diversity of the people of the UAE, their strength, ability to adapt and their incredible resilience.” – Lucy Bruce
ment here not only throws up those moments but it proactively creates them. Every time I think of leaving, I’m wrong. Despite things not coming to one easily. After arriving here in the year 2000, without a job, I didn’t work for six months, then a friend introduced me to a doyenne of the PR industry, he took a chance on me and I have worked pretty much every day since. From the PR gig I moved back into journalism, and again thanks to the faith of a legend of the publishing industry, a certain Ian Fairservice, I was given an extraordinary opportunity to build a career of sorts and make friends for life. Journalism led to radio, radio to TV, TV to live events, all of which I am somehow still doing to this day. All along the way, it’s been opportunities created by others which I have been willing and ready to say yes to. It’s the only advice that I have ever given my kids to date. Even though it might get you into trouble along the way, at least you gave it a go. This year we celebrate the UAE's 50th anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? What? Apart from Sacha Jafri? No of course he didn’t tell me to say that... well he didn’t insist. But funnily enough Sacha, and what he has achieved, is the essence of what I think makes this place tick. When I was growing up there was a skit on a TV show called Little Britain where David Walliams’ unmotivated and disinterested bank clerk character would always answer questions with the phrase “computer says no.” That basically summed up the frustrations of so many, that despite good ideas there was always a brick wall blocking progress. I can honestly say that I have never found that wall here and it is so utterly refreshing. The willingness to listen to ideas, the readiness to consider them and the enthusiasm to embrace them, and at least give them a go, is unique to this region, and truly inspirational. What makes this region inspirational to me? It’s the ‘computer says yes’ attitude that we all feed on. Myself, Sacha and every other individual that’s trying to keep the party spirit of progress alive.
Executive Vice President and Managing Director at Atlantis the Palm The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? For the last 50 years, the UAE has successfully diversified its economy to reduce its reliance on the energy industry. As a result, the nation now offers international business opportunities across numerous sectors from tourism to technology. The government continues its positive efforts to support all business sectors, including increasing the number of incentives designed to attract professionals and independent business people from all over the world. It’s also wonderful to see how we are supporting smaller enterprises, including allowing 100 per cent foreign-owned businesses, offering extended visas for entrepreneurs, attracting tech businesses to the UAE, providing funding and support for smaller businesses and creating a favourable environment for living and working. In addition, the government showed immense support and flexibility in assisting many businesses during the global pandemic by waiving fees and offering extended services to many businesses. This is the entrepreneurial spirit of the UAE that makes it so special. This vision has influenced me personally, leading one of the most popular entertainment destinations in the world, Atlantis Dubai, where we strive to achieve excellence, innovation and a sustainable working and living environment for our colleagues. This year we celebrate the UAE's 50th anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? I am very proud to call the UAE my home. The country’s leadership inspires me every day with its unique economic, cultural and humanitarian vision. UAE is home to over 200 nationalities and this cultural diversity drives the country’s economic, social and intellectual development. It brings together all members of the community to promote sustainable development and peace. This vision makes the UAE a
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truly unique place in which to live and work. I believe special moments such as the bravery and innovation of delivering Expo 2020 to the world in such a precise manner for all to experience inspires and fills me with courage to be bolder in everything that I do.
Founder of Harmony House India and Owner of Home Grown Children’s Eco Nursery The UAE encourages and cultivates an environment in which to thrive in business – how have you experienced this? My partner Beverly and I started Home Grown Children’s Eco Nurseries nearly 11 years ago and have always admired how empowering the UAE government has been towards entrepreneurs from early on. The policies and regulations have evolved over the years to become even more efficient, whether it’s 100 per cent ownership for expats or quick approval processes, we have benefited from the support of the government initiatives, including their recognition schemes for SMEs that are adding value to the economy strategically. We are a testament to the positive impact of Dubai’s infrastructure and governance, allowing us to expand and evolve our nurseries year after year. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region inspirational to you? In the 22 years I have lived in Dubai, I have seen the tremendous amount of growth, development, maturity and compassion permeate through every leader, local and expat who have had the good fortune to call the UAE their home. I am inspired by the diversity of the people of the UAE, their strength, ability to adapt and their incredible resilience. During times of prosperity and times of difficultly, we have all stood side by side to ensure our foundations stay solid. I am inspired daily by the people I meet, everyone has their own journey and an immense amount of gratitude to the UAE for giving them the opportunities they have been seeking and deserved.
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Bouclé Easy Lounge Chair Dhs3,527 available at thesixthresidence.com
The coolest finds to add to the mancave WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS
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Left and below: Camaleonda Lounge Chair Dhs25,606 available at vinterior.co; Toio floor lamp by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni Dhs4,282 Flos
From left: Tripod Chair - Bouclé Dhs2,410 available at thesixthresidence.com; Split Armchair from Dhs35,517 Emanuelle Simon available at theinvisiblecollection.com; Bouclé Ottoman Dhs1,980 available at thesixthresidence.com; Bouclé Pouffe with Walnut Plinth Dhs1,471 available at thesixthresidence.com
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Drive & Vision
British sports car manufacturer Lotus recently debuted its last petrol-engine model, the Emira, in Bahrain. Emirates Man was present at the Middle East debut of the Emira and sat down with Geoff Dowding, Executive Director of Global Sales and Aftersales at Lotus to understand the future vision and strategy of the iconic brand
INTERVIEW: ANDREW WINGROVE
What were some of the biggest challenges Lotus encountered when building the Emira? The biggest challenge is creating a Lotus sports car with a much wider appeal. So adding practicality, functionality, comfort and everyday usability to the car, while at the same time maintaining the aerodynamics, handling and performance. And of course, Lotus is all about lightness, because lightness equals performance. The Emira powered by AMG will debut in 2022. How did AMG come on board as a technical partner for Lotus? We wanted to create some choices within the engine offering. Also, emissions in some markets are extremely important in terms of duty and taxation. We also wanted to create a different driving experience within the car. The AMG engine was available. The introduction came through our parent company which has an association with Mercedes-Benz. AMG was able to support us, and it was something that we
felt, as an engineering organisation, was right for us. So it was a marriage that came together quite successfully, and probably slightly unexpectedly. In terms of where that goes in the future, itʼs difficult to say. What I will say is that the takeup of the engine from orders already placed is really strong. The Bahrain showroom is unique in the sense that it was the first in the world to sport the brand’s new retail identity. Why Bahrain? One of the elements of our plan for the future was how we represent the brand. The relationship that any customer has around the world with the brand is obviously local, and we are represented in a number of different ways. We wanted to create some consistency and to modernise our presentation in the showroom, but at the same time, weʼre not looking for the same footprint in every market. So, weʼve created a very modular and flexible system which gives us the ability to represent ourselves in a consistent way in the future, respecting
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EDITED BY: VARUN GODINHO; IMAGES: SUPPLIED
“The biggest challenge is creating a Lotus sports car with a much wider appeal.”
the local investment capability, local architecture and cultures, but at the same time creating a kind of Lotusness within the retail environment that doesnʼt exist today. We’ve returned to Bahrain for the first time in 11 years. Our partners here are Adamas. We found a showroom and came to an agreement in terms of the future. We had the new brand identity, and Bahrain just happened to be the first location to launch it. Give us a business overview of the presence and performance of Lotus in key markets in the GCC. Weʼre a sports car company, and the largest sports market in the world by far is the United States. So [the US] is absolutely key for us, followed by the UK, Germany and Japan. Our presence in the Gulf is quite small. Again, itʼs a very niche product, and we have a presence in the UAE – we’re located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We’re in Kuwait, Qatar, in Beirut and now in Bahrain. Part of growing the brand is developing existing markets, growing new markets and expanding into regions. So, weʼve recently established a regional office structure within the UAE which will cover both the Middle East and Asia Pacific. We planted a new regional director, Dan Balmer, who previously worked for Aston Martin. Part of his remit will be the expansion of the brand through the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia where weʼre not present today.
Tell us about the size and scale of Lotus’ manufacturing facility in the UK. We currently manufacture and sell approximately 1,600 cars a year. Weʼve invested, over the last 18 months, GBP100m in a new manufacturing facility at our factory in Hethel which is just outside Norwich. The capacity next year will be 5,000 cars per annum. So itʼs very much a game-changing investment in terms of new processes and systems – there are even some robots for the first time in terms of body assembly. The investment is two-fold. One is volume by investing in new processes and [the second is that] by investing in different manufacturing systems, it significantly raises quality as well which is key as we look to expand into new segments. Lotus Technology also recently launched its global headquarters in Wuhan. What will be some of the likely products we will see come out of this facility? We are expanding our brand into new segments with EV technology, and much more into what we call lifestyle products. We’ve recently announced the launch plans of four new models over the next four-five years, all of which will be based on EV technology. So, the first car is an E-segment SUV. The second car is a fourdoor GT crossover. The third is a D-segment SUV, and the fourth car is a new sports car. We are now part of the Geely group, where we share specialisms and centres of excellence. The centre of excellence for EV technology is based in China, within the Lotus tech facility. So, we will draw our EV technology from learnings that are already taking place from the development in that market, which will be the biggest EV market globally. When will we see the first of those electric cars debut within the Middle East? The first [cars from the] EV programme will be shown to the world in 2022. The market planning for that is still under development. We would expect to launch in the Middle East fairly soon after the primary market launches. Nothingʼs confirmed yet in terms of the market release, but we would expect to see the GCC be one of the earliest [to receive the electric cars]. The Evija all-electric hypercar will be a game changer for Lotus. Tell us about your plans for it. The Evija was a real kind of brand statement, out of the blue. The car is very close now to the point of final development with production starting towards the end of this year, early into 2022. We have a number of deposits, and a number of very interested parties. What plans does Lotus have for the SUV category? As a sports car manufacturer, just to put it into some kind of perspective, the segment that we operate in today, has a basket of competitor cars that we compete against of about 90,000 globally. So weʼre operating
in a very small segment. If you want to expand as a business, if you want to become a global player and a proper car company, then you have to enter into the fastest-growing segment – the SUV segment. So of the four products that I mentioned earlier, the first of those will be a very high-end E-segment SUV. The [SUV] segment size is significantly greater than the current marketplace, but our ambitions in terms of percentage share of that needs to be kept well and truly grounded. So, we see ourselves at around about 4-5 per cent of our sports car segment, and we wouldnʼt think higher than that at this stage in terms of market share with the level of competition that exists. It would be wrong to plan around a large market share – we have to be sensible about expectations. What are some of the highlights of Lotus’ Project LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture) and how will that define the future of Lotus? There are two sides to the LEVA story. One is our own product development, and the other side of it is the division of Lotus engineering. We are active consultants within the automotive industry to others. And that project will give us the ability to offer a number of small volume options for ourselves with that platform from an EV basis, but also the ability to offer that technology to other manufacturers as well, who may wish to enter into the sports car segment. There are already partners in play with that concept. Lotus is reportedly getting ready for a comeback into motor racing with the GT4 category. Is F1 on the horizon too? I think the company is very ambitious to be in motorsport at the highest level but you have to go from A-Z in steps. We wanted to do a GT4 programme with the Evora and that didnʼt happen for a number of reasons. But we will be ready for the GT4 with the Emira, almost to the point of launch of the car into the marketplace. We have a very strong partner in terms of the development of the car, and weʼll see where that takes us – but motorsport is very much part of our DNA, no question. What are some of the global performance targets that Lotus has set out to achieve over key markets worldwide in the near- to medium-term? The US is absolutely fundamental. You need a strong presence, a strong market performance and a strong level of customer service. You can’t just live off the UK, or Europe. The two big markets will be the US and China. Europe is key, but also all the way down to Australia. We’ve just gone to New Zealand. We’ve just entered South Africa, weʼre entering Thailand too and looking at Indonesia as well. We’re looking at Saudi Arabia, which is a key automotive market locally.
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
The Delicacy Why was Dubai the location of choice for Caviar Kaspia’s first location outside Paris? I don’t believe there are many places in the world right now with as much diversity, entertainment offerings and quality of restaurants and service as Dubai. Dubai has been an epicenter of food and entertainment for many years but the pandemic and the way it was handled, has taken Dubai to another level. Since it was founded, Caviar Kaspia has been synonymous with edible luxury and has created a strong brand which is ready for its international expansion. To be considered an important international brand you need to be present were all the other important restaurant brands are and that is without hesitation, Dubai. Caviar Kaspia beautifully merges a history between France and Russia. Can you explain more about how the brand started? Caviar Kaspia was founded in 1927 by a Russian, named Arcady Fixon, who fled his motherland after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 to settle in Paris with his family. Kaspia is the
story of his journey, when you enter Kaspia in Paris its Tsarist-era Russian Luxe and French Chic decoration transports you to another time and place and is a big element of the Kaspia experience. What sets the F&B scene apart in the UAE from the rest of the world? Dubai is one of the most luxurious cities in the world as well as one of the most diverse and international and has become a holiday destination for a very wealthy clientele. There are many things that sets the F&B scene apart from the rest of the world. One is the huge number of successful international concepts and brands that are here all coexisting in DIFC and hotels where alcohol is allowed. This creates healthy competition where we all do our best to have the most beautifull decoration, the best quality products and the highest level of service in order to enhance the experience and create a loyal client base and succeed. The brand was founded in 1927 – what would you say is the secret to success when it comes to creating a brand which stands the
Ramon MacCrohon, CEO of The Caviar Kaspia Group discusses why the UAE was the ideal choice for the brand’s first location after the Paris original
test of time? By looking into the future and adapting to the trends while remaining an institution that stands the test of time. In Kaspia Paris the Maitre D directs his team like a theatre director and every night like actors they play a different part. This creates an experience and emotional bond with our customers who are also involuntarily part of the play. Famous actors, singers, fashion designers, models, local intellectuals, the occasional politician, art gallerists and late night theatre and opera clients create one of Paris’ most perpetually interesting mixes, in the first floor, intimate wood-paneled rooms giving the feeling of being in a private club rather than in a restaurant. Even on the calm nights, there is a feeling of camaraderie that comes from knowing you are in the right place. What is the core DNA of Caviar Kaspia and how did you ensure this remained intact when migrating the brand? Caviar Kaspia has remained through time the prestigious symbol of a certain ‘art de vivre’ and we have made sure to keep its DNA while adapting it to the local environment. The soul of Kaspia Paris has been transported
to Dubai through bringing the Kaspia philosophy to restoration, the decoration, the menu, the high-end but friendly approach to clients, the eclectic mix of the fashionable Kaspia clients, with local touches so that the experience is similar to the one in Paris but with a local flavour. How did you approach the interior of the DIFC location and was it a decision to keep the space small and private form the outset? Kaspia is the story of a journey. When you enter Kaspia in Paris you are transported to another time and place. When designing the new space in Dubai, we wanted to tell the story of Kaspia’s founder, Arcady Fixon; who fled Russia after the Bolshevic revolution of 1917 and settled in Paris to open Kaspia in 1927 – the story continues with his international travels around the world opening Kaspia wherever he went, with his Tsarist-era Russian Luxe and French Chic. This year we are also opening London, São Paulo and Los Angeles so it was very important to give each place its own unique identity, while at the same time respecting the codes of Kaspia Paris so that no matter to which
Kaspia the client went to around the world, he or she would immediatly feel at home and experience the Caviar Kaspia lifestyle. Another aspect is keeping the place small and cosy with that very exclusive club feeling, but especially, to give the sensation that is very personal, like having dinner in a Pre-Revolution Aristocratique dining room. The goal is to create a space that feels special, but not at all pretentious. We were lucky enough to create Kaspia Dubai from the ground up. There was nothing in the space when we started designing it, and with the help and guidance of our local design team H&H Interior Design, we managed to create a great atmosphere composed of two floors with two separate entrances, one through the Gate Village, that gives access to an elevator that connects both floors, and the other one on the ground floor with its own exclusive valet parking. The ground floor is the restaurant were all the Kaspia values and codes are in evidence with an outdoor terrace. The top floor is the lounge and bar area with an outdoor terrace where music is playing while clients indulge in their favourite Vodka Kaspia cocktails while nibbling on our signature dishes. Is there anything specific to the Dubai branch that you won’t find anywhere else? Dubai is unique and so will Kaspia Dubai be – the menu, although carrying all the iconic dishes such as the world’s most famous baked potato topped with caviar or our Smoked Salmon with house blinis, our King Crab and crayfish salad and smoked fish there will be a selection of raw fish, pastas, risottos, fresh fish and other delicacies. The dessert menu will have some of our Paris house classics but our Chef Patissier in Dubai will create many sweet surprises. As in Paris, it will be a luxuriously straightforward menu, high-end gastronomy without being stuffy or stuck-up. Can you tell us how you approach customer retention and what sets Caviar Kaspia apart from the wealth of other dining locations? Kaspia is old world elegance with a contemporary clientele, so the hardest thing is to maintain this equilibrium. To keep up with todayʼs changing world, new trends, fashions and tastes without loosing our values and remaining true to our intemporel spirit and soul. Fashion by definition becomes unfashionable and even though we cater to the fashion crowd we are not and do not want to be a fashionable restaurant and never become unfashionable. The fact that it is a smaller venue with a clubby feeling differentiates it from some of the bigger, less personal restaurants. In Kaspia Dubai we want to make customers feel they are at home. What are The Hero dishes on the menu? There are too many to mention but without a doubt the world famous baked potato with caviar is definitely the star.
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WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS
G o ing G lo b al
Having dominated the F&B space in the UAE for the last five years with The MAINE Group, Joey Ghazal is going global. Here we discuss The MAINE’s expansion to London and all of the hard work that has gone into reaching this incredible milestone
Can you talk us through your career? I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to open restaurants all over the world – Montreal, Beirut, Dubai and now London. My career is the sum of all my experiences, all the people I’ve worked with and all of the concepts I’ve worked on over the last 20 years. I love to challenge myself and to challenge the people around me to dream bigger and to aim higher. Your career in the restaurant industry spans multiple regions over 20 years. What do you think it takes to create such a long-standing career in such a competitive industry? Perseverance and patience. Twenty years is a long time and it’s naive to think it was only filled with success. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, but not being afraid to fail sometimes is a big part of competing. What first inspired you to relocate to this region? My family has been based in Dubai since the mid-70s and I myself lived in Dubai until 1995 before moving back in 2013. I have always considered Dubai home and I’m enormously proud to have contributed in small part to the dining landscape of the city. What sets the UAE F&B scene apart from the rest of the world? Dubai has one of the most competitive restaurant scenes in the world, with the highest amount of restaurants per capita than any other city in the world. It attracts the best brands, the best operators and the best chefs from around the world. You have to operate at an extremely high level to stand out. What inspired you to launch The MAINE Group? The MAINE is very much a homage to my childhood and the summers I spent on the East Coast, but it’s also a restaurant that I myself want to be a regular at. Each iteration of the MAINE represents a different part of my personality and my journey as a restaurateur. The MAINE Mayfair is the evolution of the MAINE into something bigger and more experiential.
You now have three incredible venues here in Dubai. What has the journey to get to this point been like? The MAINE feels like home for a lot of people, so I feel an enormous amount of responsibility to protect the integrity of the MAINE and strike the balance between growing the brand and staying true to the ethos of the original brand. And now you’re expanding abroad, which is an incredible milestone. How does it feel to be one of the first to take a Dubai homegrown concept global? It is a big milestone and it’s quite humbling. Adapting the concept to this Georgian townhouse in Mayfair was no small feat. Can you talk us through The MAINE Mayfair in London? The MAINE Mayfair is located in a Grade II listed Georgian building on Hanover Square in Mayfair. Divided across three levels with five distinct rooms and over
“There’s no other country that has accomplished as much in so little time.” LIFESTYLE
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350 seat capacity – each part of the house has been carefully designed to evoke a sense of theatre and discovery. The MAINE Mayfair will have all of the elements that people have come to expect from The MAINE – excellent quality brasserie favourites, warm service and ambience, with just the right touch of revelry and mischief – always resonating with a sense of event and celebration, ensuring it’s a mainstay in the dining landscape of Mayfair for years to come. Why did you choose Mayfair as the location? Hanover Square is the bridge between Soho and Mayfair and is quickly becoming a cultural hub with art galleries, Vogue House and the Mandarin Oriental residences that borders New Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and is a short walk from Berkeley Square. What’s the history behind the venue – 20 Hanover Square – you chose? It is the only surviving Georgian ‘Grade II’ listed building in the area, much of which was dug up for air raid shelters during the Second World War. The townhouse, which dates back to 1720, was the former homestead of James Graham, the Duke of Montrose. What would you say is the secret to success when it comes to creating a brand which stands the test of time in the restaurant industry? Provenance, authenticity and quality. Give your audience an experience. To date, what have been the biggest challenges The MAINE Group has had to overcome? As if opening our first international outlet in the middle of a global pandemic was not enough of a challenge, the travel restrictions, the global supply chain crisis, the staffing shortage in the UK and the economic effects of Brexit have made this one of the most complex times to be in the restaurant business. This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you? There’s no other country that has accomplished as much in so little time.
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WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO
T he M aking o f a M egac ity Myrna Ayad’s latest book, Dubai Wonder, part of Assouline’s Travel Series, pays tribute to one of the world’s most developed and forward-thinking cities while recollecting its history and legacy too
What are your earliest memories of Dubai? Khor Dubai, Al Ghurair Mall, Gerard Café, City 2000, Sindbad, Al Nasr Leisure Land – all probably unknown to some, but they were golden years. Dubai felt like a village, everyone knew everyone, our friends were the children of our parents’ friends, and you could never go somewhere without running into someone you knew. You could buy a lot with a dirham, and you navigated in multicultural circles. Dubai taught me about the world, and really informed my knowledge about visual art from this region. What are some of the biggest highlights of your most recent book, Dubai Wonder? I am extremely proud to see this published and equally proud to see my city take its rightful seat in the Assouline Travel Series. Personally, I much appreciate the mix of the old and new images of Dubai and love the combination of voices speaking about this city. How did you decide on the direction that you’d want to take with the book? I knew from the start that this essay must start with Khor Dubai. It just seems and feels so apt to begin the essay with the very body of water from which the city prospered, and which is, incidentally, where my life with Dubai began: on the banks of this creek. From there, I really just followed geography – I literally trailed Dubai and that helped a lot with the flow. Assouline has previously published books on Miami and Amalfi Coast as part of its Travel Series. How did your approach for Dubai differ from the other books in the collection? I think every Assouline Travel Series writer has their own style and while I’ve read most of the titles in that series, I’d say that we all share a love and passion for the city we write about and are keen on offering an unseen or otherwise unknown side to it. In my case, this was the first on a Gulf nation and I was excited to delve beyond the glam that Dubai is known for. I really wanted to present My Dubai. As a long-term resident of Dubai, which are the aspects of the city that you hadn’t really noticed until you started researching this book? None really, I’ve lived here for 40 years; the essay is a personal one, so I wrote about people and places that I feel make Dubai the city that it is. The few conversations I had with some protagonists confirmed to me that Dubai is loved and appreciated by many who are rooted here. You also recently launched Sheikh Zayed: An Eternal Legacy with Assouline. Was there any research gathered from that book that made its way into Dubai Wonder? There is a brief reference in my Dubai Wonder essay about the Bani Yas tribe (when discussing Khor Dubai), which is fleshed out a lot more in the Sheikh Zayed book. However, the tone of each book, subject matter, focus, style and so on are completely different.
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There is a section in the book that deals with notable personalities from Dubai such as Huda Kattan, Khalid Shafar, Dima and Muna Easa Al Gurg, among others. How did you narrow down the list of people you wanted to feature? I presented Assouline with a list of individuals who, in my opinion, make up the fabric of the city and who have positively contributed to and made an impact in their respective sectors. The Assouline team then decided on design and image selection. You’ve explored themes such as F&B, fashion, lifestyle, architecture, art and hospitality in your book. What was your primary objective when determining which aspect of these you’d like to portray in your book? The focal point was to present the city’s best, and so I did. What was the most challenging part of putting together a project like this? The word count. I could write so much more about Dubai. Are there bits that you hadn’t included in it which you wish you had? Most times when I file an essay or article, I always wish I included this or that, and I felt the same with the Dubai Wonder essay, because truthfully, there’s so much to say about this incredible city. If there’s a single message and a takeaway that you’d like readers to take away, what would it be? This is our time. Tell us about your consultancy which focuses on art advisory, cultural strategy and publishing. I focus primarily on cultural strategy and publishing within the context of art and culture from the Arab world, Iran and Turkey. Which are the upcoming projects you are working on? More books, particularly those which tackle regional art and culture. At the moment, I’m working on Al Burda, an initiative under the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth and which focuses on classical and contemporary Islamic art. Additionally, I advise the Misk Art Institute in Riyadh, which will present its fifth Misk Art Week and second Misk Art Grant in December. I also write a monthly feature for The National titled Remembering the Artist, which tackles the lives and work of (deceased) modernists in the MENASA – this means I am always on the lookout for the children, spouses, relatives, friends or students of modernists. It’s a feature I tremendously enjoy writing – in my own way, I feel like I’m preserving that part of history.
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WORDS: AMY SESSIONS
An edit of the timeless classics you need to visit in a lifetime 94 emiratesman.ae
Left: Aman Puri, Phuket; Below: Chateau Marmont, LA; Previous pages: (clockwise from top left) Le Bristol, Paris; Aman Puri, Phuket; Claridge’s, London
AMAN PURI, PHUKET THE WHY Soundtracked by the whispers of coconut palms and the sighs of the Andaman Sea, Aman’s first resort presides over its own peninsula, promising guests space, serenity, an idyllic white-sand beach, exceptional restaurants and a Holistic Wellness Centre. THE MUST-TRY Enjoy a peaceful evening paddling around the bays while the sun sets or experience the excitement of riding the world's fastest underwater vessel – Amanpuri offers watersports to suit every tempo. aman.com/resorts/amanpuri MANDARIN ORIENTAL, BANGKOK THE WHY For more than 145 years, travellers have followed the Chao
Phraya River to stay at the legendary Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. A luxury five-star hotel in one of the world’s most exciting cities, it enjoys a reputation for style, service and excellence. A haven of calm on the banks of the river, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is a truly remarkable hotel. This iconic hotel has reopened the River Wing following the largest renovation in its 145-year history. THE MUST-TRY The bed-side bell for butler service makes a lazy breakfast all the more enjoyable. mandarinoriental.com/Bangkok CLARIDGE’S, LONDON THE WHY Set in the heart of Mayfair, Claridge’s is an art deco icon and a byword for understated elegance. Since the 1850s, Clar-
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idge’s has excelled at the finer things in life: glamorous design, inspiring dining, impeccable service. There are many 5-star hotels in London but none quite like Claridge’s. THE MUST-TRY Book an iconic Afternoon Tea, and experience an afternoon underpinned by the same impeccable service you’ll find throughout. The strawberry jam is unparalleled. claridges.co.uk CHATEAU MARMONT, LA THE WHY Built in 1920 using blueprints drawn from a French castle in the Loire Valley, Chateau Marmont has a history as spectacular as its architecture, and a reputation as hedonistic as it is glamorous. THE MUST-TRY Book a suite. You won’t regret it. chateaumarmont.com
in one of these is ideal for the airport pick-up. peninsula.com/en/hong-kong
Above: Le Bristol, Paris; Below: (from left) Aman Puri, Phuket; The Peninsula, Hong Kong
LE BRISTOL, PARIS THE WHY An icon of French elegance and art de vivre, Le Bristol Paris is located at one of the city’s most prestigious addresses on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The first to receive France’s “Palace”
distinction, the hotel boasts 190 rooms and suites – among the largest in Paris. THE MUST-TRY With a focus on wellbeing and fitness, experiencing a treatment at Le Bristol’s iconic spa by La Prairie is unmissable. The iconic rooftop swimming pool makes for a captivating evening swim. oetkercollection.com/hotels/lebristol-paris
THE PENINSULA, HONG KONG THE WHY Opened in 1928 and now one of the worldʼs legendary great hotels, The Peninsula Hong Kong prides itself on having the highest staffto-guest ratio, one of the lowest staff turnover rates and some of the longest-serving employees of any hotel in Hong Kong. THE MUST-TRY Famous for its luxurious fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce extended wheelbase Phantoms and a restored classic 1934 Rolls-Royce, a ride
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WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO
RM 40-01 Automatic McLaren Speedtail POA Richard Millle
NEED FOR SPEED
One of the most extreme timepieces ever created by Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, the RM 40-01 Automatic McLaren Speedtail is limited to only 106 pieces and can withstand shocks of up to 5,000g
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CALIBER RM 72-01
RICHARD MILLE BOUTIQUE DUBAI | ABU DHABI | RIYADH | KUWAIT | DOHA | ISTANBUL | MOSCOW