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inside Focus The International Watch Co. (IWC) Schaffhausen has been in the business of time-telling since its inception in 1868…

Living A walk-through of one of the beautiful homes at the Barr Al Jissah Residences…

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Milestones Tracing the history of the Bait Muzna Gallery that turns 10 in January 2010. Her Highness Sayyida Muzna Kais Al Said on the Gallery and art — in Oman and in general.


32 Cars Test driving some of the most luxurious cars from the Maserati stable on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit track.



The Rosengart Collection (Museum and Gallery), Lucerne, is home to more than 220 works of art, with an emphasis on legends Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee.

48 Bon Appétit Eating out with H.E. Ambassador CHO Sung-hwan, South Korea’s Ambassador to Oman and his lovely wife CHOI Myung-Sook at Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental’s Vue.

Up Front




















The Last Word


COVER IMAGE COURTESY BAIT MUZNA Image ‘Untitled VII’ metal sculpture by Ahmed Al Bahrani Photography Satyadas C. Narayanan CONCEPT & CREATION PRIYA NAIR CONTENT DEEPA RAJAN GHALIB ABDULLAH AL FORI FATMA AL ARAIMI MOHAMMED FAHMI RAJAB SUSHMITA SARKHEL ART Art Director - SANDESH S. RANGNEKAR Designer - ALIYA AL WAHAIBI PRODUCTION HEAD GOVINDRAJ RAMESH ADVERTISING & MARKETING Group Advertising Manager - MIMI DEB Asst. Advertising Manager - RITU Sr Media Executive - FAREEDA S AL BALUSHI CORPORATE Chief Executive - SANDEEP SEHGAL Executive Vice President - ALPANA ROY Vice President - RAVI RAMAN DISTRIBUTED WITH OER by United Media Services LLC Signature is an OER presentation published monthly and released in the first week of every month. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining as a result of material in this publication. Signature accepts no responsibility for advertising content.

Correspondence should be addressed to


United Media Services LLC, PO Box 3305, Ruwi, PC 112, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman,


Soft Power The International Space Station (ISS) lives up to its name for it’s a veritable food court of international cuisine. On board the astronauts get to eat American, Canadian, Japanese, European and Russian cuisine. Nicole Stott, the American astronaut who took a ride to the ISS on the Discovery said, “I think you can find something for anyone.” Those on board are from the US, Canada, Sweden, Russia and Germany, and astronauts from other parts of the world do drop by occasionally. Though the Japanese astronaut is not on board now, there still is Japanese food for anyone looking for a change. Not exactly Sashimi in space, but they do serve tofu. In 2006, French Master Chef Alain Ducasse created special gourmet food that could be used for celebratory meals by those on board at the time. Back on Earth, with due apologies to Thomas Friedman, food levelled the playing field far before technology and the ISS did. Indian and Chinese restaurants came up in all parts of the world far before the fibre-optic cables were laid under the sea and the ‘Made in China’ label became a norm. Beef/Chicken Stroganoff was on many menus much before the Iron Curtain fell. You did not need to travel to Italy (and still don’t) to tuck into authentic Italian cuisine. Burgers and fries and pizzas are global fast food… That’s what globalisation and soft power is all about. As H.E. Ambassador CHO Sung-hwan, South Korea’s Ambassador to Oman says, “In the final analysis, it is all a global village.” For today, you can get your fill of world cuisine in a space station or any city of the world, Muscat included. And the Korean saying, ‘What looks good, tastes good’ holds true anywhere on this vast planet and beyond. Little else says the world is flat like food does. We’d like to end this year with that simple thought…

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Signature wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Enjoy the issue. We’ll see you in 2010…


Presentation Copyright © 2008 United Press & Publishing LLC


The latest and out-of-the-ordinary‌

Seafood for the Soul Do try out the Thursday Seafood Brunch at the Beach Pavilion, Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental. On the menu is an array of sea delicacies, starting with oysters and a variety of cold and warm appetisers. The customary ice display offers Omani and international catch, chosen and cooked as per your wishes. Indulge your sweet tooth with the selection of desserts that ends the culinary experience on a mellow note. The view of the sea surrounded by mountains and the lovely music by the Chavela Duo is complimentary. If you have the time, and the inclination, do also drop by the recently launched Oyster.

PC in a Phone

You could call it a computer in a handset. For the new Nokia N900, which runs on the new Meamo 5 software, is exactly that. Inspired by the world of desktop computing, the open source, Linux-based Maemo software delivers a PC-like experience on a handset-size device. The N900 has evolved from Nokia’s previous generation of Internet Tablets and broadens the choice for technology enthusiasts who appreciate the ability to multitask and browse the internet like they would on their desktop computer. So you can have dozens of application windows open and running simultaneously while taking full advantage of the cellular features, touch screen and QWERTY keyboard. The N900 is now available in the GCC.



Classic RR

The latest addition to the Rolls-Royce family, the Ghost, is in Oman and will be available at Al Jenaibi International Automobiles, a division of Suhail Bahwan Automotive. The Ghost’s spaceframe chassis is stiffer than that found in a Formula One racing car and it has a 6.6lt turbocharged V12 engine that produces 563bhp. It can go from 0-100km/h in under five seconds and run at a top speed of over 240km/h. Priced at around Rials 110,000, the Ghost is significantly cheaper than the Phantom.

Retro Chic

Porsche Design brings retro chic back with the sports sunglasses made famous by Yoko Ono, who wore them for the first time at a press conference in 1979. Ever since, the P’8479 have been Ono’s regular fashion accessory; she’s been photographed with the glasses on the covers of magazines such as Rolling Stone as well as on album covers. The glasses not only lent Yoko Ono some serious style but they ended up earning the nickname — the Yoko Ono sunglasses. These new, sporty, ‘80s style shield sunglasses have been made using modern materials such as Beta-Titanium, often used in space travel technology, ensuring lightweight flexibility.


Uniquely Engineered

Porsche’s first luxury sedan, the Panamera, comes packed with the classic Porsche DNA and a wide range of innovative technologies including five world firsts in motoring. The Panamera combines the looks of a coupé, the opulence of a luxury car, four-seater space and Porsche’s distinctive driving dynamics. Moreover, Porsche offers best-in-class performance with maximum fuel efficiency to make the Panamera a uniquely engineered sports car and is available for delivery in three versions — the S, the 4S and the top-of-the-range Turbo. Find this set of luxury wheels at the Porsche Centre Muscat showroom.

Season’s Gifts

It’s the season of giving again and Calvin Klein Fragrances have just made your job easier with their signature fragrances bundled into a neat gift package. Choose from ck free, Eternity, and of course, Euphoria men and Euphoria men intense. While, the ckfree set includes a 100ml Eau de Toilette, a 100ml Hair and Body Wash and an After-Shave Balm, the Eternity gift set includes a 100ml Eau de Toilette, a Hair and Body Wash and an After-Shave Balm. The gift sets available as a part of the Euphoria men Sets are a 100 ml Eau de Toilette, an After-Shave Splash, and a 75g Deodorant. The Euphoria men intense gift set includes a 100ml Eau de Toilette and an After Shave.



The Write Thing

Etoile Mystérieuse debuts as the latest ‘writing jewel’ in the Etoile de Montblanc collection of elite handcrafted pens. Like shooting stars cascading across a midnight sky, a shower of round cut diamonds are inlaid upon the sterling silver ring and the sleek black lacquercoated sterling silver base of this elegant ladies writing instrument, which will be available as a cartridge fountain pen and a rollerball. The brilliant sparkle of 145 diamonds adorning the pen lends it a touch of bewitching glamour, inherent value, and radiant distinction. Simply put, the Etoile Mystérieuse is actually a radiant jewel that just happens to write.

Festive Food

The festive season is here and Grand Hyatt Muscat offers you more than one perfect way to spend it. Enjoy a Christmas Eve Dinner at the Mokha Café or the Tuscany or partake of a sumptuous brunch at the Mokha Café or lunch at Tuscany on Christmas Day. For those who want to do some major feasting for the New Year’s Eve, choose a Grand Gala Buffet Dinner in the garden, Italian Black Tie Dinner at the Tuscany or dinner at the Rooftop Grill House, among other choices. There is also a special Kids’ New Year’s Eve dinner at Afrah Ballroom. And, if you want to have a quite do at home or even a noisy countdown to the coming year, a take-away menu will be available from December 2031, offering a selection of Christmas dishes — Roast Butterball Turkey and Traditional Christmas Pudding, for instance.


Super Bike

Say hello to MV Agusta’s newest F4. With a revolutionised ultra-compact, in-line, 4-cylinder, 998cc engine that is capable of reaching 186 hp at 12900 rpm, the bike that originally revolutionised the world of super sport motorcycles has become even more beautiful, sleeker and modern while maintaining the unmistakable design ‘Made in MV’. The new xenon headlight and the new super light fairing are factors that contribute to the incredibly narrow cross-sectional area and the new pipe organ exhaust system with a restyled 4-in-1 silencer are all distinctive elements identifying F4 as the most exclusive motorcycle in the world. This is the stuff motorbike legends are made of!

Wind Down

Located on the seventh floor of the Park Inn Muscat is Sama Terrazza — Oman’s first roof-top lounge. It has a two-level terrace with a pool that can be used from 9am to 6pm by hotel guests and Sky Club members. It welcomes other guests from 6pm to 1am all seven days of the week. One can relax by the pool on colourful Fat Boy bean bags while lounge music plays in the background on weekdays, and a live DJ sets the mood for the weekend.


UPFRONT It’s sun, sand and lots of good food at the newly opened Public Beach & Restaurant in Sifah. Recently launched by Her Excellency Dr. Rajha Bint Abdul Ameer Bin Ali, the Minister of Tourism, a total of 85,000sqm area on the beach has been developed by Muriya that includes planting 100 palm trees, setting up of shaded areas, showers, restrooms, parking spaces and a seafood restaurant for the public. While the structure has been built by Muriya, the restaurant will be served and managed by the local community in Sifah.

Fragrance at Play

Stylish fragrances that capture the essence of four sophisticated and contemporary city lifestyles — that’s what Playboy’s latest Press to Play collection is all about. Whether one is suave and sophisticated or cool and edgy, there’s a fragrance to meet one’s personal style. Choose from Hollywood Playboy (oriental woody fragrance), Malibu Playboy (aromatic fragrance), Miami Playboy (fresh woody fragrance) and Vegas Playboy (oriental-fougere fragrance). Presented in cylindrical flacons that have dark bodies and the Playboy logo, each perfume comes in a different colour.


Sun & Sand


A Class Apart

Set with over 40 Carat diamonds, A. Lange & Söhne’s Tourbograph ‘Pour le Mérite’ is truly a one-of-a-kind timepiece.


Take an exclusive and highly limited edition A. Lange & Söhne timepiece, add a few hundred 40 Carat diamonds to it and what do you get? The world’s most expensive A. Lange & Söhne watch — a limited edition of just one piece of the Tourbograph Pour le Merite. This timepiece, which took two years to make, is valued at US $1.8 million. So what exactly is the Tourbograph all about? In 2005, A. Lange & Söhne presented its first Tourbillon wristwatch with the fusée-and-chain transmission and a split-seconds chronograph mechanism. It comes with the manually wound Lange & Söhne L903.0 Calibre movement, one of the most extraordinary masterpieces ever handcrafted by the Lange manufactory, and is precision-adjusted in five positions. Gold chatons are secured with screws to the untreated German silver plates and bridges. The sapphire-crystal back showcases the tourbillion, the chronograph, and, below it, the fusée-and-chain transmission. And if that was not outstanding enough, this new ‘unique piece’ takes luxury to a different level by adding 201 baguette diamonds and one brilliant-cut diamond on the crown, and another 175 on the bracelet. Measurements and dimensions of this limited edition piece are the same as the original Tourbograph, at 41.2mm diameter, and 14.3mm in height; the latter is a necessity to accommodate the L903.0 movement. Truly exquisite in every sense of the word, this one-of-a-kind timepiece is simply a must for the true connoisseur


Congratulations are in order! The Bareeq Al Shatti celebrates its 1st anniversary. One of Muscat’s most upmarket shopping and residential complexes — the Bareeq Al Shatti — situated in the chic Shatti Al Qurum area, celebrated its first anniversary recently. As part of the celebrations, there were plenty of events that included activities for the young and old alike, with chances of winning 50 prizes every time one shopped for Rial 5 from any shop in the mall. There was also a four-day jewellery exhibition over the course of the celebrations.


Then there was the ‘Global Village’, an international extravaganza of culture, food and music, jointly organised by AISEC and the Mall. The Bareeq Al Shatti Commercial & Residential Complex is a flagship project in a premium location by Al Qandeel, and which offers freehold properties to GCC nationals with ownership rights, meeting international standards of ultimate luxury. Officially inaugurated in November last year and extending over a plot of

12000 sq m2 in the heart of Shatti Al-Qurum, with a total built-up area of 93,204 sqm2, this building of five floors, comprises 239 residential flats and a shopping mall of 64 signature retail outlets. The flat units comprise one, two and three bedroom apartments, with breathtaking sea views and elegant highway landscapes. To those at Al Qandeel and all the new homeowners — here’s congratulations to you, wished with lots of happiness


Skill, Strategy, Endurance!

What: The Nivea For Men Endurance Challenge 2009 Where: The Dubai Kartdrome When: December 11-12 Who: Signature’s Team Oman and 20 plus teams

Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher, who began his racing career with the German Junior Kart Championship, says: “I simply enjoy playing around with four wheels or two wheels. Karting is a big passion since ever. I have recently started to get into go karts again. I think it was June or July that I started again at my home track. Yeah, and just having fun.” Well, we think it is a fun thing to do too. That’s exactly the reason why we are jumping on the go-karting wagon and becoming part of the third and final round of the Nivea For Men Endurance Challenge 2009! Yes, your Signature Magazine will be presenting the Sultanate’s team at the event. Being held at the Dubai Kartdrome, a 1.204km long,

17-corner floodlit racetrack, the final round will take place from December 11-12. With 26-30 teams, identical endurance-prepared karts being provided to the teams and no modifications allowed, the competition is going to be stiff with only the driver’s skill, team strategy and endurance separating the field.

races ever held at Dubai’s Kartdrome. In fact, the first two teams (NFM Professionals and Team Grohe) were within 30 seconds of one another throughout the duration of the race, swapping the lead nearly every hour. In the end both had completed 1,162 laps but the NFM Professionals nudged through to a victory.

The first two rounds of the Nivea For Men Endurance Challenge 2009 took place on March 27 and October 23, with 27 and 26 teams participating in each respectively. Both the rounds were won by the UAE’s Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoumled NFM Professionals However, it was not an easy win, especially in the second round, which is said to be one of the closest fought Endurance Challenge 24-hour

The Karts themselves are Sodikart RX7/390cc models and all are duly prepared for an endurance race. These deliver an excellent racing experience and ensure a high level of safety. Featuring top-level performance and excellent handling, they keep the field level and the race intense. So get ready for another thrilling 24 hours and come support Signature’s Team Oman. Get, Set, Race!



Art and Soul Built as a home for royalty decades ago, the Bait Muzna today represents the modern face of Oman’s art scene. Signature traces the history of the extraordinary art gallery that turns 10 in January 2010...


Internationally-renowned American artist Robert Smithson, writing about artistic confinements, says: “A vacant white room with lights is still a submission to the neutral. Works of art seen in such spaces seem to be going through a kind of aesthetic convalescence.” He could very well be speaking of the Bait Muzna Gallery, which in its contemporary new ‘avatar’

accentuated by its cotton white walls, infuses a breath of fresh air to every piece of artwork that exists within. Nestled in the heart of Old Muscat, the Gallery has its own history. Originally the home of a member of the Royal Family, this traditionally-styled house was renovated for use as an art gallery in 1999, opening its doors to all of Oman in

Bait Muzna Gallery’s courtyard before rennovation.

January 2000. This renovation came about through the vision and dedication of Her Highness Sayyida Susan Al Said, the American-born wife of a nephew of the original owner, Her Highness Sayyida Muzna bint Nadir. The Gallery opened its doors at a time when the only other venue for art exhibitions was the Omani

Society for Fine Arts. A few years after the opening, more local galleries began to appear. But the Bait Muzna had already set a trend of promoting local artists, both Omani and expatriate; and of holding major international exhibitions. Tapping into Muscat’s emerging art scene, several of the European and Asian

Embassies in Oman began to sponsor exhibitions of worldclass, as well as up-andcoming young artists from their home countries, often paired with equally-talented artists from Muscat. The Gallery also helped place Oman on the global art map by exhibiting annually at the Art Paris Abu Dhabi, starting in 2006; and by entering the pages of ‘Canvas’, a

prominent art publication in Dubai, where important exhibitions in the major cities of the world are announced. Says Ellen Molliet, Art Director of the Bait Muzna Gallery: “In the past two years, the Gallery has stepped into the international art scene with a high calibre exhibition programme throughout the year, especially with



our participation in the International Art Fairs, and our involvement as an art consultant in the corporate world.” It is no wonder then that the owners of the gallery, HH Sayyida Muzna Kais Al Said and Sayyida Susan Al Said, and Art Director, Ellen Molliet, realised that the Gallery had outgrown its space. Moreover, the Gallery’s focus on showcasing more and more contemporary Arab art demanded that it be given a more contemporary look. And indeed that is what the new look does while at still maintaining the essence of the traditional architecture. Elaborates Ellen, “Our premises were unfortunately not sufficient to enable us to fulfil the growing demand, which is why we decided to extend the space by


transforming the interiors. This included covering the patio with a glass roof, extending the balcony and removing walls to create more exhibition space.” And after five months of painstaking revamping efforts, the results are there for everyone to see and enjoy. As you walk in you are greeted by white walls that reflect nothing but the beauty of the artworks and as the warmth of the sun shines through the glass roof, you cannot help but lose yourself in the brushstroked and sculpted visions of an artist’s dream. If indeed art is the soul of a culture then the Bait Muzna is a mirror that reflects the myriad hues of traditional art and at the same time creates visions for a bright future in all things contemporary.


The Art of Appreciating Creativity As the Bait Muzna Gallery reaffirms its vanguard status in its tenth year of existence, Signature spoke to its young owner, Her Highness Sayyida Muzna Kais Al Said. Here are a few excerpts from the chat… What was the inspiration behind setting up the Bait Muzna Gallery 10 years ago? And what were the factors that helped make it a reality? “The property, a large house in the old city of Muscat, was inherited by my family and had been abandoned for many years. My mother had the idea to renovate the house and use it for a business. She has always loved art and decided to open an art gallery and named it the Bait Muzna Gallery, after my great-aunt Her Highness Sayyida Muzna. The Gallery became a reality through the kind support of my father H.R.H Sayyid Kais bin Tarik Al Said and the family.” Could you tell us more about the building the Bait Muzna Gallery is housed in? “Yes, the Bait Muzna Gallery is a historical building that belonged to my great-aunt, Her Highness Sayyida Muzna bint Nadir. The building is a traditional, old city house structure and I believe it is important in maintaining the history and culture of Oman.” What changes have you seen in Oman’s art scene since the Gallery’s inception? “I am proud to say, there has been a lot of progress in the art world in Oman. I have observed a lot of freedom expressed through creativity amongst the Omani people, young and old. Art has also shifted greatly from fine arts to more modern and contemporary styles. People are experimenting with new techniques and with galleries like the Bait Muzna, it only reinforces creativity and education.” What does art mean to you, personally? “Art to me is appreciating creativity in all forms. I’m an artistic person so I perceive life and situations in imaginative ways.” When you look at a painting, what

do you see? “It depends what the painting is. I like to look for the colour/texture/design/ lines, then get some distance and angles, move around the space and try to imagine what message the artist is trying to convey to the onlooker.” What is your definition of ‘good’ art? “‘Good’ art is art that is able to trigger certain feelings and emotions in me. ‘Good’ art draws my attention and makes me think.” Do you have a favourite artist or artistic style? “I love Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso, for me they were renegades of artistic style. However, I admire and appreciate a lot of contemporary artists of the 20th century, I have no particular favourite.” How does an artist make a career in art? “I believe if an artist were to make his or her career in the art world, a lot of social exposure would be a good start. I believe networking is key to any artist’s career. Attending exhibitions, visiting galleries and museums not only opens doors to new possibilities but is educating as well.”

regions. The art world is competitive, as is the case with any entertainment and creative industry; in order to get to the top we need to start locally, then regionally, then eventually globally. There is so much talent and quality in our Omani artists. I am so proud of them and to be representing their art.” What advice do you have for young artists and others interested in developing an appreciation of art? “For young artists, I believe that they are the most important people in the art community. My advice is to them: Continue pursuing your interest in art and follow your curiosity. Go to as many exhibitions and museums as you can, ask as many questions as you want. There are two things: You learn art history in an art museum and in a classroom. You see, hear, feel and taste art everywhere you go. Just keep your eyes open and be creative, enjoy it!”

A Milestone, An Event All important milestones must be recorded and so will this one be. To mark its tenth anniversary, the all-new Bait Muzna Gallery recently opened a group art exhibition of three artists from the region. Unveiled by His Excellency Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal al Busaidy, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, the expo aptly titled ‘New Territories’ heralds yet another progression for contemporary Arab art in the Sultanate. The exhibition, sponsored by the National Bank of Oman, will conclude on December 6. Taqi Bin Ali Sultan, NBO’s General Manager, along with NBO’s Sadara Wealth Management team were present at the event. The exhibition is an eclectic canvas of abstract calligraphic and textural works of Qatari artist Yousef Amad; the deeply symbolic existential creations of Saudi artist Mounirah Mosly and last but not the least the large-scale works of art in metal by Iraqi artist and sculptor — Ahmed Al Bahrani. Indeed, a fitting tribute that celebrates a magnificent edifice of art that is the Bait Muzna Gallery.

What does the future hold for art in Oman? “I see Oman as a creative, cultural and progressive place for art and I feel that the future will be welcoming all kinds of fun and exciting possibilities as far as integrating more art shows and exhibitions internationally giving Omani artists a lot of great opportunities.” What do you think is needed to take Omani art global? “I think we need all the support from the Omani community, the artists, the art communities and also continue holding our monthly exhibitions and shows within the Middle Eastern



Appetite for Success A simple man with simple tastes, Sami Daud runs the Gourmet Gulf Company a popular food and beverage retail company in the region. Deepa Rajan met him... 22

“Running a business is either in your blood or it’s not. It’s not like you can open a book and that is going to teach you how to run a business,” says Sami Daud, Founder and Managing Director/CEO of the Gourmet Gulf Company (GGC). Based in the UAE, The GGC is a food and beverage retail company operating toptier brands such as YO! Sushi, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), Morelli’s Gelato, and

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK). A foodie himself, Daud has been committed to creating a memorable dining experience and it is this zeal that drives him to spread GGC’s wings as wide as he possibly can. After all, the sky’s the limit. Signature spoke to the man, who recently brought the Gourmet Burger Kitchen to the Sultanate of Oman, on growing up, his baby ‘GGC’,

and food in general... On growing up… Born into the well-known Daud family has its advantages. “I got to learn the nuances of running a business at a very young age, watching my father and brother at work.” “In fact”, he says, “when we used to have career counselling at school, people would go in and spend hours

“Running a business is either in your blood or it’s not. It’s not like you can open a book and that is going to teach you how to run a business.” and hours deliberating over their choices and I would just spend five to ten minutes. And I have to thank my father for this.” Born and raised in Oman till the age of 15, Daud studied at the prestigious Sultan’s School and then at a boarding school in the UK. An International Management graduate from the Boston University School of Management, he worked in London for six months before his need to branch out into the business world brought him back to Oman, where he joined his family business.

“I have always believed that one must start small and grow from there.”

“Today, many people don’t want their children to start small, but they do not realise that not all the successful people in the world today began with silver spoons in their mouths.”

On work and the GGC… Where many others would have been content with being part of an already well-established set-up, Daud wanted more and it was this ‘itch for success’ that took him to Dubai in 2003. Daud, who draws inspiration from selfmade people such as Warren Buffet, says: “I have always believed that one must start small and grow from there. Today, many people don’t want their children to start small, but they do not realise that not all the successful people in the world today began with silver spoons in their mouths. Your business might be small today, but down the line it could become even bigger than the entire group. The key lies in striving for that and working towards it. So what began with one single franchise (Yo! Sushi) has 24 units today and by the end of 2010 will have 37-38 units, which according to

Daud, include taking GGC to India among other places. “I was not really looking out for a franchise, Yo! Sushi just happened. It was more of a ‘let’s try it’ venture than a ‘let’s do it’ one. And, thankfully it worked very well. Today, six years later, we are a full fledged food and beverage business. And it’s been a really fun ride. It’s not easy to excel in this business; you have to have a passion for it. Otherwise there’s no chance of success.” On food and other passions… George Bernard Shaw once said that there is no sincerer love than the love of food. And for Daud, being a lover of food has helped him choose only the best for his potential customers as well. “One of the things I like doing is going to restaurants and since I travel a lot, I get to eat at different places. I enjoy the food and at the same time am chalking out plans on whether the pace I am eating at will work well in our part of the world. If I feel it does, I bring it to the region.” So, what is good food according to him? “For me, good food is a meal in which the ingredients used are of the highest quality and the cooking method complies with the health and safety standards. After all, it is something that you need to enjoy and it should be well-made. I like everything from burgers, steaks and fish to Mexican and Japanese food. In Oman, I enjoy eating

at China Mood at the Al Bustan, the Al Khiran (also at the Al Bustan) and both the restaurants in Chedi, to name a few. “But, I’m a simple eater, and don’t like anything complicated.” And indeed, for Daud, it is the simple life that lures the most. When he is not busy trying to expand his business, Daud likes going out with friends to a nice café or lounge or restaurants, An English movie buff, he says, “I always make a list of all the movies I need to watch, but I do not go to the cinema as much as I would like to, mostly because of time constraints. But I do go to the beach during weekends. For me a weekend simply means unwinding at home and taking it easy since I travel a lot.” A simple man with simple tastes, Sami Daud, when asked if there is any adage he follows makes no bones about the fact that he never does have the right answer for that. “There’s something that I always say: ‘Don’t fix what ain’t broken’. There are times when I do not like something, but if it works well then I will stick with it. But, I really cannot claim I have any mottos, I sincerely follow.” But, given his ever increasing appetite for success, Sami Daud does not need any mottos to egg him on. His relentless spirit is fodder enough




Under the canopy of a star-lit desert sky, little beats experiencing the spirit of the Wahiba sands at ‘Desert Nights’, a luxury camp.

Desert Odyssey



No Arabian adventure can ever be complete without camping out in the desert, surrounded by spectacularly untamed open places amid golden dunes. And, no you don’t have to rough it out! All you need to do is to drive to the Desert Nights Camp, the Sultanate’s only luxury desert camp, and surrender to the ‘spirit of the Wahiba sands’ while you enjoy the ultimate in personalised service.


Set amid craggy mountains in the distance, endless dunes and crystalline ‘wadis’, the camp is only a two-hour drive away from Muscat. Owned by the Oman Hotels, it sprawls across 10-acres of silken sands, and is secluded 11km within the vast isolation of the desert. As you arrive at the camp, you are offered cold towels to refresh yourself with; you then move on to the Omani-style ‘majlis’, where

you are served fresh, juicy Omani dates and kahwa (traditional Arabic coffee). Thirty luxurious Bedouin style tents await those who seek the ultimate desert adventure vacation. The camp offers you three stay options. There is the Deluxe Family Tented Unit that can accommodate four adults. This is a three-room suite with two bedrooms and one living room with an

en suite bathroom and air conditioning. Of course, for those who want to enjoy the panoramic view, you have your very own cosy sit-out. The Deluxe Double Tented Unit, which accommodates two adults, is a two-room suite with a bedroom and a living room, and then there’s the Deluxe Attached Unit, which houses two adults in a single bedroom unit. All settled in? Well, let the

adventure begin! How about some dune bashing now? Strap yourself to the passenger seat of a 4.6 litre engine 4-wheel-drive and get ready for the ride of your life. You will be driven up and down the sides of the spectacular dunes at breathtaking speeds, of course, by highly experienced drivers. We suspect the inventors of the roller-coaster were actually inspired by

dune bashing, for it sure is one heck of a ride! You could also choose to go quad biking. The camp instructor will guide you through the initial steps, naturally. As its name suggests the quad bike is a four wheel bike. It’s heavy and has a low centre of gravity, making it almost impossible to tip over. Experience the sheer exhilaration of riding up and down the ever shifting sands of the dunes around

the camp. And remember we said, ‘almost impossible’! So drive carefully… If all this sounds like too much adrenaline-pumping activity, then we suggest you opt for the exotic sunset camel safari. The camp provides a complimentary camel ride inside the camp during morning hours for all house guests. And, the camp’s young Bedouin guides are ever ready to

teach you the fine art of riding the magnificent ‘ship of the desert’. Once you have mastered the art, and trust us it is really not all that difficult, you can ride out into the desert to watch the sun set over the horizon. Explore the various attractions nearby as well. Visit the green Wadi Bani Khalid and enjoy the deep aqua hues of the lakes with the greys of the surrounding



sandstone ridges or immerse yourself in history at the old fort in Mantrib. You can visit the local souq (market) for some souvenir shopping and even experience traditional Omani culture at a Bedouin family house. Or you could also lounge around the camp playing scrabble, chess, monopoly or even watch a movie! Shopping, camel rides or dune bashing, hunger will come calling. Dine in air conditioned comfort or under starry skies as the gentle desert breeze whets your appetite for some traditional Omani fare including the ‘Shuwa (Omani Lamb barbecue around a camp fire) on special request. The Two Dunes restaurant is the ideal location to savour some delectable cuisine. It can seat a maximum of 68 people, and is tastefully furnished with traditional wooden furniture. The Two Dunes offers a range


of exquisite cuisine including International, Indian, Chinese, Arabic and Continental to tempt your palate. Special meals are also available on request. Fancy a nice refreshing drink before the meal? Try the Oasis that can seat 50 people. While you wait for your meal, you could try some stargazing through a telescope, the desert sky is absolutely amazing. Or you could get some exquisite henna painted on to your hands. Under the canopy of a starlit desert sky, with dipping temperatures that cry out for warm bonfires, accompanied by musical strains wafting from the local Bedouin band accompanied by an ‘Oud’ player, you get to experience the magic of the desert. Little beats that!


Light Art What better way to light up this festive season than with some designer lamps. From classic black and whites to psychedelic hues, organic shapes and a fantastic overall design, the world of Verner Panton, Denmark’s most influential 20thcentury furniture and interior designers, is a class apart. You can get your piece of ‘light art’ at IDdesign, Markaz Al Bahja.







Ball TYP F: Hanging lamp made of 2 round polypropylen balls in white. Each ball is engraved with Panton’s signature and comes with a white ceiling plate (the nylon strings are attached to the 4 ceiling plate). Also available in red/ orange.

Onion: Pendant made of white vertical, compressed lamellae, which produces an onion-shaped shade. UFO: Fabric pendant designed by Henrik Pedersen/365°. It comes with the metal plate above the shade and is mounted with a brown fabric cord.

Fun 8DM: Hanging lamp made of Mother of Pearl discs that are attached by chains of small metal rings. It comes with a white wooden ceiling plate.

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Originals of Chronometry

It’s not just 140 years of watch making history… but what sets IWC Schaffhausen apart is its geographical status as the only watch factory in East Switzerland. Signature brings you the brand’s story…


They are responsible for introducing the famous Da Vinci with its perpetual calendar, the first ‘Grande Complication’ for the wrist, the super-antimagnetic ‘Ingenieur’, professional ‘Pilot’s Watches’ and some really exemplary pocket watches. Known for their unmistakable originals of chronometry, the International Watch Co. (IWC) Schaffhausen watch factory in Schaffhausen, North-East Switzerland has been in the business of time-telling since its inception in 1868.

So where did it all begin? The IWC factory on the Rhine owes its name and existence to an American engineer Florentine Ariosto Jones

(F.A. Jones), who established the ‘International Watch Company’, in Schaffhausen in 1868. What probably sets the watchmaker apart from the rest is the fact that it remains the only watch factory in East Switzerland to this day. In 1850, the town of Schaffhausen was in danger of missing the bus to the Industrial Age. It was at this stage that watch manufacturer and industrialist Johann Heinrich Moser stepped in and did the region a huge service. As a pioneer of ‘white coal’, he built Schaffhausen’s first hydroelectric plant and laid the cornerstone for future industrialisation. It’s said he met F.A. Jones in Le Locle and

showed a great interest in his plans. And perhaps this is how the foundations were laid for the first and to date only watch manufacturers in North-Eastern Switzerland — the International Watch Co. in Schaffhausen. What F.A. Jones did was he rented the first factory premises in an industrial building owned by J.H. Moser in Rheinstrasse. Very soon he had to rent more rooms in the ‘Oberhaus’, one of the oldest buildings in Schaffhausen. By 1874, plans were being made for a new factory. A site was purchased from Moser’s hydroelectric company directly adjacent to the banks of the Rhine — the ‘Baumgarten’, as it was called. Schaffhausen

architect G. Meyer won the order to design and build the factory and about a year later, in the Spring of 1875, the construction work was completed.

which would last almost a hundred years and four generations — a familyowned company that would be known under various names.

The year 1880 and onwards saw some major changes in the ownership and name of the IWC, while it continued to scale new heights in its success story. The year saw the beginning of the Rauschenbach era with Johann Rauschenbach Vogel taking over as Chief Executive Officer (he was a machine manufacturer from Schaffhausen) and he renamed the company ‘Internationale Uhrenfabrik’. This change marked the beginning of the story of International Watch Co. —

A year later, however, his son, Johannes Rauschenbach-Schenk took over what was now the Uhrenfabrik Von j. Rauschenbach and ran it successfully until his own death in 1905. After the death of J. RauschenbachSchenk in 1905, his wife, two daughters and their husbands, Ernst Jakob Homberger (Director of G. Fischer AG in Schaffhausen) and Dr. Carl Gustav Jung (noted Psychologist and Psychiatrist), took over the watch factory as an open



trading company by the name of the Uhrenfabrik Von j. Rauschenbach’s Erben. During this golden era, a significant individual player contributing towards the company’s achievements was Urs Haenggi from Nunningen. He joined the company in 1883, and for the next 52 years dedicated himself to increasing business, extending clientele, and protecting the interests of the Rauschenbachs. Haenggi’s sincerity and honest efforts were complemented by those of technician, Johann Vogel from Wangen, in the important capacity of Technical Director. His forte was the design and development of IWC calibers till 1919. E.J. Homberger was the Authorised Signatory, Haenggi and Vogel were Directors. E.J. Homberger’s son, Hans Ernst Homberger, was the third and last of the Rauschenbach heirs to run the factory as a sole


proprietor. He had joined his father’s company in 1934 and took control after his death in April 1955. Be it the accidental bombing of Schaffhausen in 1944 or the severe turbulence of the Swiss watch industry at the end of the 70s, the company survived it all. For more than 138 years, the fascination and challenge of manufacturing classical, timeless products, while remaining at the forefront of the industry in design and technology have been the driving force behind numerous impressive achievements that include the first pocket watches with digital indication based on the Pallweber patent, the ‘Spezialuhr für Flieger’ also known as ‘Mark IX’, the first watch especially made for pilots and the Ingenieur — the first automatic wristwatch with a soft-iron inner case to name just a few. The year 1978 saw the first

compass watch which marked the beginning of 20 years of co-operation between IWC & Designer F.A. Porsche. In 1985, came the Da Vinci, with which the IWC introduced the first perpetual calendar that has a four-digit year display and can be adjusted exclusively via the crown. But perhaps, what IWC will be best known for is the first-ever-wristwatchsize Grande Complication, with a perpetual calendar,

chronograph and minute repeating mechanism that was introduced in 1990 after seven years of development. Today the company, which is owned by the watch division of Richemont International SA, has more than 600 employees who religiously practise the fine art of watchmaking upholding IWC’s motto — Probus Scafusia — Good solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen!


Have any of these new style accessories in your collection?

The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Kurt Klaus

The fifth edition of the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar in honour of Kurt Klaus is available in red gold 5N with a black dial. Its spirited colour is the perfect fit for a watch that takes its name from one of the most famous Italians the world knows. Features include a mechanical chronograph movement, perpetual calendar with displays for the day, date, month and year in four digits, crown-activated rapid calendar advance, perpetual moon phase display, and small seconds with stop function. This limited edition of 1,000 has a special portrait of Kurt Klaus engraved on the back.

The Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Antoine de Saint Exupéry

This fourth and final tribute to the French pilot and poet Antoine de Saint Exupéry is in the form of an IWC pilot’s watch with a Pellaton winding mechanism, tobacco brown dial, central seconds hand, date display, 7 day power reserve and a special case-back engraving. The limited edition of 1,900 watches in total can be categorised as 1,149 in stainless steel, 500 in rose gold, 250 in white gold, and 1 watch in platinum that are up for auction.

The Big Ingenieur Chronograph

Created especially for men who feel at home in the great outdoors and take on the challenges of nature, this one comes in platinum, rose gold and stainless steel. It also brings together everything that is good, innovative and exceptionally hard-wearing — the IWC manufactured 89360 calibre chronograph movement with a double-pawl winding system, flyback function and analogue display of long stop times, design of the movement for robustness and a larger case with a tachymeter scale.

The Aquatimer Chronograph in red gold

Of the diver’s chronographs, the Aquatimer Chronograph in red gold stands out particularly in both visual and horological terms. It is the first watch in the Aquatimer family to be equipped with the IWC manufactured 89360 calibre, the chronograph movement developed and built in its entirety by IWC. It is distinguished by its flyback function and the two-hand display of the long stop times on a single inner dial. This watch, which is pressure-resistant to 12 bar, is only available in a 44-mm diameter red gold case with a black rubber strap.

The Aquatimer Deep Two

The diver’s watch with a mechanical depth gauge makes a return after ten years in the form of the Aquatimer Deep Two, pressure-resistant to 12 bar. Like its predecessor, the GST Deep One from 1999, it shows not only the actual dive depth, but also the maximum depth reached during a particular dive. The Deep Two features a semi-circular indicator on the dial, which records depths down to 50 metres and it the only member of the Aquatimer family with a case diameter of 46mm. For further details contact Khimji’s Watches, Shatti Al Qurum



Pole Position Malcolm X. Crasta gets on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit track to test out some of the most luxurious cars from the Maserati stable… Hot on the heels of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Maserati, the Italian luxury car manufacturer, took pole position at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, becoming the first automotive brand to host a track event for the press, customers and prospects at the latest international Formula 1 circuit. The event was highlighted with the luxury and sporting prowess of the Quattroporte S and Sport GTS, GranTurismo S Automatic and the GranTurismo MC GT4. Here are some very honest reviews…


The new Maserati GranTurismo S Automatic features a 4.7 V8 which develops 440hp at 7,000rpm and a maximum torque of 490Nm at 4,750rpm. The major novelty is the combination of the automatic transmission with the most powerful wet sump Maserati V8 on the GranTurismo — until now offered as 4.2l with automatic transmission and 4.7l with an electroactuated gearbox. Thanks to the combination of the 440hp produced by the powerful 4.7l V8 engine and the smoothness of the ZF 6-speed automatic gearbox, the Maserati GranTurismo S Automatic stresses the original granturismo concept

The GranTurismo S Automatic while at the same time offering peak performance. The Skyhook suspension system featuring continuously adjustable dampers provides great driving comfort. Passive safety is further enhanced, thanks to the introduction on the GranTurismo range, of a new generation passenger air-bag with Low Risk Deployment functionality. Consistent with the unmistakable design of all Maseratis, the Maserati GranTurismo S Automatic features some marked stylistic differences which make it immediately recognisable: the new underdoor mini-skirts featuring a prominent shape, the long aggressive headlamps, the

suave silhouette and the new 20” wheel rims with ‘Trident’ design, all visually enhance the strength and elegance of the car. On track the car was a sure-fire hit. While it may have been a bit slow on the take-off and the steering a bit too big for our taste, there were no qualms about its performance once on the move. The feel and grip were among the best we have tested for a GT car and the balance through corners was enthralling. While it may not have been our favourite car of the day — that honour goes to the Quattroporte GT S — it is definitely one of the best GT cars available on the market today.



The Quattroporte S

Since its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003, the Maserati Quattroporte has been unique on the automotive market thanks to its sport luxury sedan character, combined with a distinctive Italian soul. It speaks for the traditional Maserati values and provides continuity with the great sedans bearing the same name that have achieved success in the past, from the first Quattroporte with

a Frua body in 1964, to the ‘presidential’ Quattroporte in 1984, which the Italian President Sandro Pertini was particularly fond of. After five years of success, with more than 15,000 cars sold and 46 awards won internationally, the new Quattroporte range reinforces the model’s exclusive image with a thorough technical and stylistic upgrade, while performance reaches new

peaks with the powerful new 4.7 litre 430hp engine. We still can’t figure out why but we have always felt the Quattroporte to be more a Maserati than the GranTurismo. While the GranTurismo is a great car in its own right and is also significantly, and obviously, faster in every way to the

Quattroporte, it is the feel that makes all the difference. It is incredibly satisfying to watch and drive such a well poised car around a track at breakneck speeds and seeing such a huge vehicle, that is essentially a performance limo, take such abuse and continue to work flawlessly throughout the day.

The GranTurismo MC GT4


The new Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S sets another milestone in terms of sportiness in the high performance luxury sedan segment. Conceived and developed as ‘a real driving machine in the guise of a luxury sedan’, the Quattroporte Sport GT S is the ultimate expression of Maserati’s sportiness in the Quattroporte range. The uniqueness of the car in its segment is denoted by some important features. First of all, it truly offers sporty handling thanks to a suspension set-up which further enhances the Quattroporte’s already optimal dynamic balance. The Sport GT S is targeted at those customers who demand the unparalleled handling of a thoroughbred sports car even in a luxury sedan. Secondly, it features the latest evolution of sporty automatic gear-shifting software, designed to win over committed and demanding drivers, seeking an exciting driving experience. And last

An added attraction was the Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4, which was flown in from Italy especially for us, the guests, to enjoy driving on the Yas Marina Circuit. After a remarkable podium debut in the GT4 championship in July this year, the GranTurismo MC GT4 confirmed its topperformance in subsequent races in the second part of the year. The GranTurismo MC is the car Maserati has developed to continue pursuing its international sports tradition. The new model is an offshoot of the Maserati GranTurismo MC Concept introduced

The Quattroporte Sport GT S but not least, it is equipped with a sports exhaust which, by means of the ‘Sport’ button, makes it possible to deploy the full power of the engine and produce a deeply enveloping and throaty exhaust note. The Sport GT S was by far our absolute favourite at the event, except maybe for the GT4 but we will leave that out of this review, since that is not exactly road legal. The Quattroporte is one of the few saloons we will ever see that will be as comfortable

last September in Monza and based on the Maserati GranTurismo S road version, with an electro-actuated gearbox system. While we may have only gotten a few minutes in the car, those were the most memorable of the day. A drive in any proper race car makes regular vehicles seem quite redundant. The noise, speed, traction and overall feel are in a world of its own. An opportunity to drive one should never be passed up because we guarantee it is an experience you will never forget, unless of course your job profile states that you are a professional race car driver.

on a race track as it is on the highway. The balance, grip, performance and feel are easily among the best in its class but its character and presence are in a class of its own. In a manner of speaking, the Sport GTS

Special Edition GranTurismo S MC Sport Line Also launched at the event was the Special Edition GranTurismo S MC Sport Line — one of only 12 to be produced worldwide. The car sports a plaque engraved with the UAE flag and the words ‘Abu Dhabi’ on the dashboard, and is finished in an exclusive Pearl Matt White colour. These 12 Special Edition cars celebrate the 12 titles that make up Maserati MC12’s victories in the FIA GT Championship since

felt more like a Maserati than any other model we drove on that day. Besides just watching a full-sized four-door saloon giving the GranTurismo S a run for its money on a track is a sight few of us will easily forget.

2005 and also represent the 12 cities in the Middle East where Maserati is present. Each city will have only one car bearing its name. The interiors of the limited production car feature extensive use of carbon fibre for the dashboard, door and side panels, glossy black diamond stitching for the seats with red thread on black leather, and red lining for the floor mats. On the exterior, the car is fitted with glossy black 20-inch wheels with the aggressive Neptune motif.



Signature takes a walk-through of one of the beautiful homes at the Barr Al Jissah Residences. By Sushmita Sarkel

Luxury & Finesse

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1. Nestled on the foothills in a cosy spot by the ocean, the luxurious townhouses and villas at the Barr Al Jissah Residences are a real gem for homeowners and exhibit an eclectic mix of vernacular designs and modern lifestyles. These contemporary waterfront residences truly are a paradigm of luxury and finesse.


2. Expansive floor plans and bright, airy spaces spread over three levels lend a unique blend of comfort and style. This serene residence offers not only sweeping views of mountains and seas, but complete privacy too. 3. Open plan, gourmet kitchens and strategically placed dining spaces, overlooking the ocean and the pristine mountains are primarily designed to capture the scenic beauty, and only add to the luxuriousness and offer one of the finest living experiences. 4. What are homes without exotic views? Enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean with its mesmerising shades of blues and greens and its diverse fauna while enjoying your daily cuppa.

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5. One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of Oman is the enchanting coastal landscape. Wake up to a soothing and picturesque view of the ocean that’s so uniquely Oman. 6. The lower level has a unique open floor plan and the décor takes every shape from quaintly charming to urban chic. Custom features and artistic surprises make living and entertaining in this home a joy throughout the year. 7. This lounging space makes for an ideal reading place during the hot summers. Enjoy the sounds of the water lapping against the rocks and unwind with a good book. Or simply sit back and enjoy the long summer sunsets.

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8. Living spaces are perhaps the most frequently used in all homes. The living spaces in this residences makes the most of the sunny climate Oman’s famous for with large French doors which opens up to a patio. 9. The patio gives in to more gorgeous, panoramic views of beaches and marinas — perfect for barbeques or quiet family dinners during cool winter evenings. The cool water, a gentle breeze and a setting sun come together to paint a picture perfect postcard. Early risers and nature enthusiasts might just be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a dolphin or even sea turtles that occasionally drift ashore.


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Bon AppĂŠtit


His Excellency Ambassador CHO Sung-hwan, South Korea’s Ambassador to Oman and his lovely wife CHOI Myung-Sook meet Signature for an afternoon meal at Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental’s Vue. Deepa Rajan discovers it’s the perfect destination for some long-drawn ‘non-diplomatic’ conversations and some divine French food. …

The Full Weight of Haute Cuisine

Parties, foreign dignitaries, experiencing new cultures and cuisines… There is nothing trite about a diplomat’s life. As one blogging diplomat puts it: “One the one hand, it would appear that life is all fun and games, fancy diplomatic receptions and travel to exotic lands, doing mystifying work, and living a fascinating dream. And on the other, being a Foreign Service Officer, representing the ideals of our nation, and being able to execute those ideals, is a dream come true for many…” But all said and done, diplomats can usually go where the average traveller can’t and that perhaps holds the allure to us of the nondiplomatic corps. So, when we met His Excellency Ambassador CHO Sung-hwan, South Korea’s Ambassador to Oman and his lovely wife CHOI Myung-Sook for an afternoon meal at the Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental’s French fine dining experience called ‘Vue’, we did everything but ‘talk shop’. Martin van Kan, Director of Operations and General Manager — Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental Muscat, and his lovely wife Mira provided good company and conversation. After all, what better way to spend an afternoon than with some good conversation, good company and some divine French food? Ambassador CHO Sung-hwan has been part of the diplomatic corps since 1980 and his job has taken him across the globe. “We have been to so many places. I will always cherish memories of the US, which was my first posting. For the eyes of a young diplomat from a developing country, America was really a great country. Turkey also holds a special place in my heart, especially with the history it shares with South Korea. In fact, we call Turkey our blood-tied brother,” he says. His work has also taken him to Japan that held the comfortable familiarity of one’s own home and to distant exotic lands such as the “beautiful South Africa” and the “clean green New Zealand”. Each


Bon Appétit

place, the Ambassador says, has its own uniqueness to offer. So is the food unique too? “Well yes, one does have the privilege of experimenting with cuisine as well. I have had Ostrich meat and have even had the chance to eat crocodile meat in South Africa!” says the Ambassador. But in the final analysis, it is all a “global village”, says the Ambassador, with each nation having a variety of restaurants to choose from.


“Take Oman for example, we not only get to savour authentic Omani dishes, but we also get to enjoy other cuisines such as the French food here at Vue,” he says as the Restaurant Manager, Dominique Lemercier, proceeds to explain and serve our three-course ‘spiritual’ experience for the day. And while, crocodile meat may not be on Vue’s menu, there is enough to tickle one’s palate to a culinary ecstasy (if

one may use the word). Vue showcases contemporary French cuisine from Chef Shannon Bennett who has had the distinct honour of being voted Best Chef, and his restaurant — Vue de Monde — Best Restaurant in Australia. The degustation menu combines his culinary inspiration and the freshest ingredients for an exceptional fine dining experience. And our degustation journey began with entrée that

included the Cannellonis à la Tomate (Tomato cannelloni with Parmesan parfait and black olive powder), the Risotto de Choux Fleur, Pignons de Pin et Raisins Dorés (Cauliflower risotto finished with pine nuts and golden raisins) and Crevettes de Oman, Huile De Curry (Omani prawns cooked in curry oil with vichyssoise foam and baby fennel). Next came the palate cleanser. Palate cleansers

Filet de Thon, Coulis d’herbes (Seared yellowfin tuna, with fried panisse and green mojo sauce)

bubbling orange iced tea in a test-tube shot glass. Our palates refreshed, we were ready for the next course which consisted of Filet de Thon, Coulis d’herbes (Seared yellowfin tuna, with fried panisse and green mojo sauce) and Betteraves Naines, Pommes Confites, Soufflées, Épinards du Jardin (Baby beets, slow-cooked potatoes, puffed potatoes, and spinach from the garden). Some green salad and scrumptiously thick Pont Neuf (blanched and fried potato sticks) served with specially made tomato sauce added to the flavour of the main course. have been traditionally used in France for generations. They are usually served in the middle of a meal to remove lingering flavours from the mouth so that the next course may be enjoyed with afresh. The French also use them as an all-important digestive, to avoid heartburn, indigestion, and to stimulate the appetite. We were served our Rafraîchissement (French for cool drink, also refreshment) in the form of a

The Vue is definitely not the place for you if you are in any kind of hurry. Because, when indulgence is at play, time is of no consequence. Each course is an experience in itself and quite unlike the traditional South Korean meal, which the Ambassador explains over our ‘pre-dessert appetiser’: the Sucette (a lolly made of orange slice dipped in sweet lemon gel), involves a variety of little

dishes ranging from Kimch’i (a salted, pickled vegetable dish) to meat and poultry preparations, all put together on the table served with rice and soup. But, the one thing that is always a befitting finale in any cuisine is the dessert. And, we wrapped it up with a fine Soufflé aux Prunes, Crème Onctueuse à la Muscade (Roasted plum soufflé with nutmeg custard). According to Dr. Watson’s character in Alan Vanneman’s ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Hapsburg Tiara’: “We then spent the next three hours consuming a meal of grotesque opulence. Despite my service under General Cathgart, I had never before borne the full weight of haute cuisine. Each dish was more fantastical than the last. One can only conclude that it is the special purpose of French cookery to dissolve the entire substance of a dish into polish, so that no trace of the primeval beef or chicken remains, converting the whole into a sort of puree raisonne that can then be shaped and

reshaped by an abstract and extravagant fancy far closer to architecture than cookery, a fancy whose sole intent is to remove from its creations all taint of the hearth and kitchen, not to mention pasture and field.” But, what sums up our spiritual gastronomical journey best, is Ambassador CHO Sung-hwan’s definition of fine dining. “We have a saying about cuisine in Korea that what looks good tastes good. It means the appearance of a cuisine is an important part of a fine meal. For me fine dining means enjoying a nice-looking and good-tasting meal with wonderful and pleasant company. Excellent service will double the joy of dining. Vue with its breath-taking sea view meets all those pre-requisites and more. And for me, it has always been a place where I can bask in the leisurely warmth of its food and ambience on all special occasions.” Can’t be put any better, can it…?



Angela Rosengart, founder of Rosengart Collection

Chosen with the Heart 48

The Rosengart Collection is home to more than 220 works of art with a major emphasis on legends Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. Akshay Bhatnagar gets a personal, guided tour around the famed museum and gallery in LucerneSwitzerland, from none other than Angela Rosengart.

Woman and dog playing - by Pablo Picasso in 1953

Portrait of Angela Rosengart – by Pablo Picasso in 1958

Woman with straw hat on flowered background – by Pablo Picasso in 1938

Cavalier with pipe – by Pablo Picasso in 1968



Rembrandtesque figure and cupid – by Pablo Picasso in 1969

If you are an art collector who is fascinated by classical modernism, you can’t miss out on the Rosengart Collection (Museum and Gallery) located in Lucerne, the City of Lights in Switzerland. And if you are lucky, like I was, you may have the opportunity to meet Angela Rosengart, the 77-year-old, radiant beauty behind the fabulous collection! Opened in 2002, the Rosengart Collection boasts of more than 220 works of 23 artists with a primary focus on two great painters — Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. A visit provides you with a rare opportunity to draw direct comparisons between Picasso’s paintings, sculptures and ceramics (on display on the ground floor) and the


artist’s drawings and graphic designs (exhibited on the first floor). Picasso’s genius and vitality is reflected through his favourite themes such as portraits of women, painterand-model, noblemen, musketeers and bullfights in his rare work comprising over 130 artefacts right through to his final years. The experience is supplemented with a fascinating collection of pictures by American photographer David Douglas Duncan offering an insight into Picasso’s private life. “In many of his paintings featuring women, Picasso had used his girlfriends. He had many of them. Women have been important to him,” says Angela with a

Self portrait – by Pablo Picasso

smile when asked about the generous use of women as a subject by Picasso. He also had a deep admiration for Angela which is reflected in his portraits of her. The revolutionary painter immortalised her beauty by using her as a model on at least five occasions. The Rosengart Collection is set-up and run by a foundation established by Angela. In fact, she donated her private collection of over 200 paintings to the foundation which are on display in the museum. Angela’s father, Siegfried Rosengart, was an art dealer who laid the foundations of the collection in the late 1930s. A 16-year old Angela joined him in 1948 and from there on, the father-and-

daughter duo placed a special emphasis on classic modernists, Picasso and Klee in particular. The Rosengarts were among the first to recognise the importance of Picasso’s forward-looking later works, at a time when these were largely ignored within art circles. Picasso, who eventually became a family friend of the Rosengarts, had also gifted many of his works to them which embellish the Rosengart Collection of today. The three floors that house the Rosengart Collection are a journey through some of Europe’s finest art! The Klee Collection feature numerous water colours, drawings and paintings of fabulous depth from all the artist’s creative

Evening at the window – by Marc Chagall in 1950

Contraste de formes – by Fernand Leger in 1913

periods. Apart from the works held by the Klee family themselves, this is the most important privately-owned Klee collection in the world. The major works of other Classical Modernist and late 19th-century Impressionist artists such as Monet, Cezanne, Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, Braque, Leger, Miro and Chagall forms the rest of the collection which have been “chosen with the heart” in Angela’s words.

bought anything that I didn’t respond to personally. What could have occurred is that I acquired a painting for which I couldn’t find a buyer. When that happened, I would say to myself: ‘Well, if these collectors are so blind that they can’t see the quality here, they don’t deserve to own it anyway.’ So I kept it for myself forever. And many a time I bought paintings as an art dealer but I liked them so much that I didn’t part with them,” says Angela.

The most valuable painting, in terms of money, in Angela’s collection is worth US $25 million. Of course, it is a Picasso. Angela says that the monetary value attached to a painting is not paramount to her. The painting has to appeal to her. “I have never

As a person who has seen many generations of artists and experienced a wide variety of work done in the last 100 years, how does she view the current art scenario? “I started in 1948 and at the time, people bought art because they loved art. But

Countryside in Provence – by Pablo Picasso in 1965

it has changed now. There are more speculators than genuine admirers of art. I’m not happy about it. But I’m happy that people’s interest in art is growing these days. Children love coming here. Many prominent personalities have visited here,” she says. And what about the current lot of painters? “They are good but they are not in the same league as the painters from the 19th or early 20th century. The new generation expects high prices for their work but they are yet to prove themselves,” is her candid reply.

to explain what makes a good painting or not. No matter what we say, only time proves it. My father had a huge collection with the works of a number of new painters. Time has proven that these are works of good painters,” she says. A visit to Lucerne will be totally incomplete if you miss the Rosengart Collection and miss meeting the charming Angela Rosengart... For this is not just any ordinary story; it’s an incredible story of the love an art dealer and his daughter had for art. In fact, it’s worth making a trip just for the experience...

What makes a painting good or bad is difficult for anyone to determine. How does Angela do it? “It is difficult



More Substance Than Spin!

After Vista, Microsoft appears to have at last made a product that could even get XP users to switch. Here is why we think Windows 7 could be Gates’ biggest hoorah to date… 52

Whenever the spin doctors at Microsoft start talking up a product it is usually time to run — scared. Example: Vista. Never in history has an OS been drummed up as much — and never has any fallen this shockingly short. After the debacle of the bug-ridden Vista, the biggest question in the tech space was: What would it take for MS to restore its shambled reputation? The answer according to a

majority of critics is: Windows 7. With its latest OS version MS appears to have finally got it all together in one piece. Like Cnet, the world’s flagship tech review site, observed, rather laconically, in its review: “Strong design and Microsoft don’t always go together, but they do in Windows 7. Users might take a while to get used to the new taskbar and Aero Peek, but they’re a pleasure to

use.” The reason (and this is not default with MS) Windows 7 is a solid, well-rounded OS, with an interface that might actually be able to go toe to toe with the undisputed front-runner in this space: The Mac OS Dock! No, we are not joking. There is, we discovered over our killer tests, more substance than spin to Windows 7. The first evidence is that despite its familiar look,

the latest MS offering is most certainly not Vista reinvented. It is, to the core, a full replacement operating system that goes way beyond doing a nose job on its predecessor. Sure, it continues with the Aero Theme (with a considerable amount of extra polish) but that is just the look — under the skin the 7 is steel. Its multi-touch screen comfortably meets current standards and in fact goes

beyond, laying a solid groundwork for the future of touch technology. From superior battery management to the most easy-to-use interface Microsoft has ever had, Windows 7 has got it all together. The polish we mentioned above is again far more than cosmetic. Indeed, the 7’s translucent taskbar right now is the interface to beat and more than a match for the iconic Mac OS X.

The range of functions that can be performed on screen is simply staggering: a mouse over on any of the large icons touches off display of all associated programmes; hovering over any one of them kicks out a full-sized preview of the programme. And this is just one of the many wonderful things you can do with the interface — the pleasure of course is only complete if your 7 is running



on a touch-screen machine. What we loved the most from a pure convenience point of view are the jump lists that make accessing recently opened documents simpler than ever before. Talking about simplicity, with 7, resizing programmes becomes a whole lot easier, because you can change their sizes merely by moving them around the screen: they will reduce to half their size if you dragged them to the edges and show in full on being pulled to the top of the monitor. This is a never-before feature, but easy to adopt as it mirrors and improves on the maximise/restore button that we have been using to resize windows since Windows 95. Equally notable are the innovations that make the Windows Media Player useful again: you can now stream media files from one Windows 7 computer to another, across the Internet and out of network. Just as remarkable is the improvement in its native search feature: Files added to the hard drive were indexed so fast that they were searchable less than five seconds later. Search result snippets are now more


detailed adding to the appeal. Barring a few pardonable confusions (for example, rotating an image instead of zooming it), the touchscreen features worked faultlessly on test. The verdict on Windows 7 touchscreen capability is clear: it responds immaculately to the entire series of touch gestures that Microsoft promotes, placing it in an excellent position for the future that is likely to be dominated by multi-touch devices. So, assuming you are on XP or Vista, should you switch? Definitely yes for the second, not so certain if you are an XP user. The reason we say this is because despite its many wow features, the XP still outperforms on a few counts — for example it boots up and shuts down faster and is far less demanding on hardware resources. But, having said that, technologically the 7 packs such a huge punch that even XP user might want to migrate, if not immediately (as is recommended for Vista users) then certainly in the near future.

Be assured that moving to 7 from XP is likely to be far less demanding than it was to switch to Vista. To begin with it will not call for any dramatic hardware upgrade because Microsoft has gone to great lengths to make Windows 7 accessible to as many people as possible. Second, it is far less difficult to install. Windows 7 supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The bare minimum requirements for the 32-bit include a 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB available hard-disk space, and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. 64-bit systems will require at least a 1 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 20GB of free space on your hard drive, and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. A touch-screen monitor is required to take advantage of the native touch features. Do note that some users have claimed to have limited success running the Windows 7 beta with less than 1GB of RAM, but that’s not recommended



This season, the Boss Black collection is about clean, streamlined tailoring and a tough, ultramasculine style in muted hues and extends from black through shades of grey to white. A mix of formal and informal wear that includes bodyconscious singlebreasted jackets, slim or fuller pleated pants, leather jackets and thick scarves complete the look.

Casual Elegance Boss Black Fall/ Winter 2009 56

Suit: Francis 2/Stand Knitwear: Nobik Belt: Careiro

Suit: Francis 2/Stand Shirt: Joris Neckwear: Skin tie (6cm)



Jeans: Denver Jacket: Cyan Knitwear: Nedim Shoes: Fil


Trousers: Studio Coat: Sting Knitwear: Noe Belt: Careiro available at Hugo Boutique, Muscat City Centre



Books you must read, music you must tune in to and movies you must see…


• Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal — Lance Armstrong • The Paris Vendetta (Cotton Malone Series #5) by Steve Berry • Total Eclipse of the Heart — Zane • The Truth About Psychics: What’s Real, What’s Not, and How to Tell the Difference — Sylvia Browne • YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner’s Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy — Michael F. Roizen • The Disciple — Stephen Coonts • Fallen — Lauren Kate • Footnotes in Gaza — Joe Sacco • La’s Orchestra Saves the World — Alexander McCall Smith • Star Wars Darth Bane #3: Dynasty of Evil — Drew Karpyshyn

Movies • • • • • • • • • •

Angels & Demons [DVD] Four Christmases [DVD] Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [DVD] Terminator Salvation (Director’s Cut) [Blu-ray] Fight Club [Blu-ray] Gone with the Wind (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray] The Professional [Blu-ray] The Hangover (Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray] District 9 [Blu-ray] Public Enemies [Blu-ray]

Music • • • • • • • • • •


An Evening With Il Divo-Live In Barcelona — Il Divo [Audio CD/DVD] The Very Best Of Enya — Enya [Audio CD/DVD] Christmas Carols — Mantovani [Audio CD] Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton — John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers [Audio CD-Deluxe Edition] Ladies of the Canyon — Joni Mitchell [Vinyl] Shock Value, Vol. 2 — Timbaland [Vinyl] The Element of Freedom by Alicia Keys [Audio CD] Elvis 75-Good Rockin’ Tonight by Elvis Presley [Audio CD- Box set] Live at Reading — Nirvana [Audio CD] Graffiti — Chris Brown [Audio CD]


uotes ‫ يبقى املتفائل حتى منت�صف‬# ‫الليل مل�شاهدة ال�سنة اجلديدة‬ ‫فيها يبقى املت�شائم حتى‬ ‫يبقهذا الوقت ليت�أكد �أن العام‬ . ‫القدمي قد غادر للأبد‬

‫بل فون‬

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. Bill Vaughn

‫ وع�ش‬، ‫تعلم من �أم�س‬ .‫ الأمل يف الغد‬، ‫اليوم‬

‫�ألربت اين�شتاين‬

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. Albert Einstein


‫ لي�س هناك عا�صفة �أو طبول‬. ‫لي�س للوقت �أي �أق�سام لتحديد مروره‬ ‫ حتى عندما يبد�أ قرن‬. ‫للإعالن عن بداية ال�شهر اجلديد �أو العاما جلديد‬ . ‫جديد فنحن الذين نقرع الأجرا�س ونطلق النريان‬

‫توما�س مان‬

Time has no divisions to mark its passage; there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.

Thomas Mann

.‫ واخلرب ال�سار هو �أنك الطيار‬. ‫الأنباء ال�سيئة هي �أن الوقت مي�ضي‬ ‫�إقرع الأجرا�س القدمية واجلديدة‬ ‫�إ�رضب الأجرا�س ال�سعيدة حول الثلج‬ ‫الوقت مي�ضي ودعه مي�ضي‬

‫اللورد �ألفرد تيني�سون‬

Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Lord Alfred Tennyson

Altshuler ‫مايكل‬

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.

Michael Altshuler

!‫�سنة جديدة �سعيدة‬ ‫�أمتنى �أن ال يكون فيها دموع يف العني‬ ‫عند هذه ال�سنة اجلديدة يف وقت تنتهي‬ ‫فلأكن قد ك�سبت فيها �صديقا‬ ‫وع�شت و�أحببت وعملت فيها‬ ‫وجعلت منها �سنة �سعيدة‬

‫�إدجار جي�ست‬

‫ �أنا يوميا �أواظب على و�ضع‬.‫مل �أتخذ �أي قرارات لر�أ�س ال�سنة اجلديدة‬ . ‫اخلطط ومراجعة ما فات والتخطيط ملا هو �آت‬

‫�أنني نني‬

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticising, sanctioning and moulding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.

Anaïs Nin

A happy New Year! Grant that I May bring no tear to any eye When this New Year in time shall end Let it be said I’ve played the friend, Have lived and loved and laboured here, And made of it a happy year.

Edgar Guest

Signature - December 09  

Signature - December 09

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