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THESIS YOUR LIFE DESERVES THE BEST DESIGN YOUR BATHROOM DESERVES ROCA The bathroom says a lot about you. That’s why design is so important. We at Roca are aware of this more than anyone, as we are the leading global bathroom brand. We work with the world’s best architects and designers to provide solutions in your daily life and to create spaces that suit the way you are and your lifestyle. THESIS is an example of design that gives you the best experience in your bathroom.


inside Milestone CHOPARD – THE EPITOME OF SOPHISTICATED ELEGANCE

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22 Places

THE ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI IS A TESTAMENT TO THE ULTIMATE IN STYLE

28 Feature+Interview

THE 458 ITALIA – THE NEWEST HORSE FROM FERRARI STABLE PIETRO INNOCENTI GM, FERRARI MENA, TALKS ABOUT FERRARI’S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE


50 Music

ONE BIG DESERT PARTY: COACHELLA MUSIC FESTIVAL

34 Golf

LEGENDARY GREG NORMAN ON ALL THINGS GOLF...

54 Event

Up Front

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Collectible

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Focus

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Report – Milan Furniture Fair

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Feature – Eberhard

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Travel

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Index

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The Last Word

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SIGNATURE BAHRAIN CELEBRATES ITS FIRST BIRTHDAY IN STYLE. A FEW GLIMPSES…

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Fashion

RAMI AL ALI – A SARTORIAL FORCE TO RECKON WITH


FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

COVER IMAGE Actress Laura Chiatti in a Costume National dress sporting a Clownfish plastron necklace in white gold from the Chopard Animal World collection. Photo Credit: © Stefano Trovati Courtesy: Chopard CONCEPT & CREATION MAYANK SINGH DEEPA RAJAN CONTENT GHALIB ABDULLAH AL FORI FATMA AL ARAIMI MOHAMMED FAHMI RAJAB EXPERTS Travel - BRUCE STEWART, ANNE COLBY Fashion - NATASHA LUNN, NADIA FOUZI Watches, Pens & Jewellery - BRIAN. T Finance & Investments - K. L PRASAD Art & Culture - FREDERIQUE. B ART Sr. Art Director SANDESH S. RANGNEKAR Art Director MINAAL G. PEDNEKAR Designer MARYAM AL SARMI PRODUCTION HEAD GOVINDRAJ RAMESH ADVERTISING & MARKETING Group Advertising Manager - MIMI DEB Sr Media Executive - FAREEDA S AL BALUSHI CORPORATE Chief Executive - SANDEEP SEHGAL Executive Vice President - ALPANA ROY Vice President - RAVI RAMAN

Take the lead After reading a UNEP report on marine litter, David de Rothschild made it his mission to conduct further research on trash in the ocean. In 2009, he and his team created the Plastiki, a research vessel made out of reclaimed plastic bottles, srPET plastic and recycled waste products. Their mission is to beat waste by thinking smart and showcasing how garbage can be used as a resource, thus inspiring sustainable solutions for a better way of living. In 2009, Roz Savage rowed across the Pacific Ocean by herself and later walked 600 miles from London to Copenhagen for the UN climate conference. Her mission, called ‘Pull Together’, was aimed at inspiring people to walk more and drive less. Luo Hong has long devoted himself to natural landscape and wild animal photography. He has held many exhibitions to raise money for environmental causes. He established the Luo Hong Environment Foundation in 2006, setting out to train and reward young talent worldwide for environment protection. What do all these people have in common? They are all WED (World Environment Day) Heroes. They are the individuals who have pushed the envelope to perform exceptional personal feats, undertake high-profile expeditions and other acts of environmental activism to demonstrate their commitment to the planet. They are heroes because they took the lead. They are an inspiration to you and me. So, let’s step up to the cause. And, do not wait to ask yourself this question: ‘What are you going to do for WED?’ Simply, act now. Celebrate the environment; Go Green. See you next issue...

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FEATURE

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.

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PLACES

Correspondence should be addressed to

Signature United Media Services LLC, PO Box 3305, Ruwi, PC 112, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, Mobile +968 99849242 Fax +968 24707939

e-mail: signature@umsoman.com/ reachsignature@gmail.com An

Presentation Copyright © 2010 United Press & Publishing LLC

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THE NEW ARMA IS TESTAMEN NI HOTEL IN DUBAI’S STYLE AND T TO THE DESI BURJ KHAL GNER’S IFA GREA HOTELS. HIS FIRST FORA Y INTO THE T SENSE OF COULD THIS IN DUBA WORLD I, WONDERS BE THE BEST -LOOKING OF JOLA CHU HOTEL DY Enter the lobby of Giorgio brand new Arman

Dubai Hotel, i’s hallowed thinks you with its copper stylish arches enough hard-pressed you don’t and you’ll to own want one. If be receptionist. to get the attenti haute design a slice of Arman on of a i Privé , That’s becau the-entire-un the one-of-its-kin d-inse there iverse bauble aren’t any. offered s will be to the next person Instead, Welcome on the list. a group to Arman of fresh-f i Hotel suited young recession-pro aced, blackDubai, model types of and fabulo foyer waitin loiters in us. g the need. They’r to pounce on your The entran every e ‘Lifesty ce scream This is le Manag muted, s style, the first neutral albeit in ers’. clue that tones, this lavishness Dubai’s perhap is where most stylish s the that typifie post-crash) come to be seen. s Dubai see and (even Like the hasn’t quite superm zenith. Milan, the reache odels of Instead, hotel has at the Arman d its Dubai, personally the magic luxurio i Hotel touch of felt us service Armani, bar not chunky has had so much from the dark wood its raised as coffee tables swathed warm taupe carefully in a layer to the and beige of expen fabric and knives sofas. The sive silk and forks accessorised gold in the restau cushion. bear his with an insignia rants orange and the rooms bear soaps in the shape the Just beyon that Mr of a lucky Armani d the lobby, pebble plucked alcoves, among in discre to fame guests million et from can purcha s lying Armani on a beach se Giorgi chocolates, . o jams, fruit and design Armani’s jellies touch is er flower everyw s. Along wall is the entran here: from a series a displa ce archw of one-of y bags and ays down bed and f Giorgi jewellery floor to the o items, locked rings, in glass monochrome covering. It is sleek, cubes. Press away minimalism. these like your nose And there a hungry against are no door orphan that’s as you’ve handle , becau gotten used close as s: until se you’ll get. to the are only and corner They available less, undula sleek curves to buy by invitation, may find ting walls, select yourself perhap you s if Arman a bit stuck need to i himse open a if you lf door. Of the lifesty course, le manag one of 40 ers will no doubt

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UPFRONT

THE LATEST AND OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY… HAUTE HORLOGERIE

Watch connoisseurs in Muscat now have one luxurious option to add to their collection. Luxury Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis is now available at Mistal, Darsait. You can choose from some of the most exquisite timepieces at the special Roger Dubuis alcove in the showroom including the Excalibur Triple Time Zone and Easydiver Skeleton Tourbillon. All Roger Dubuis movements bear the ‘Poinçon de Genève’ and, since 2003, have been equipped with the Manufacture’s own balance-spring, positioning the brand’s products at the very apex of prestige haute horlogerie in Switzerland.

3D VIEW

Samsung Electronics has raised the bar for flat-panel TVs everywhere with the launch of the eagerly awaited new line-up of 3D TVs including LED, LCD and PDP models. Samsung’s new line-up includes innovative 2D to 3D conversion, one of Samsung’s key features for the Middle East line-up. Samsung’s HD 3D LED TV line-up also delivers superior 3D picture quality with incredible depth and perfect clarity. What’s more, the 3D LED TVs come with the ability to stream content using AllShare and Internet@TV. Talk about adding new dimension to home entertainment!

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UPFRONT

EAST MEETS WEST

It was a glittering extravaganza of designs and colours as Oriental traditions met Western fashion at the Hanae Mori fashion show held at Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Hotel recently. The show, titled ‘East Meets West’ was organised under the patronage of Her Highness Sayyida Aliya bint Thuwaini bin Shihab Al Said, Saud Bahwan Group in association with the Japanese Embassy. Held to commemorate the celebration of the 40th anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s Renaissance, the event showcased the some of the most stunning creations of the Japanese designer, who has received the ‘Order of Culture’ in Japan in 1996 and was also named ‘Officier de la Legion d’Honneur’ in France in 2002. Cosmeticians and hairstylists for the models were provided by Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido.

AN AGELESS GLOW

From Nuxe comes Merveillance, a skin care line especially for women between the ages of 35-40. It offers an exceptional proven plant efficacy that helps reduce all parameters (number, surface and length) of visible expression lines, thanks to its action which targets all levels of the skin including the surface, epidermis and dermis to give you an ageless glowing skin. The range comprises Fluide Merveillance, Serum Merveillance, Creme Merveillance and Creme Merveillance Enriche. You can’t beat ageing, but you surely can slow down the process! The Nuxe Merveillance range is available at Muscat Pharmacy.

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AN EFFORTLESS DRIVE

In a recent event held at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, select journalists and customers were given the opportunity to drive the epitome of luxurious, sophisticated and innovative automotive engineering – the Rolls Royce Ghost and Phantom. The recently launched Ghost was the true star of the event. Like all Rolls Royce models, the Ghost is a vision of simplicity – of taking the core values of the brand and creating contemporary effortless luxury. It was engineered to ride and drive in a peerless fashion. The Ghost embodies 21st-century Rolls-Royce: more than 100 years of engineering and design excellence expressed in modern and uncompromised style.

CLASSIQUE INDEED! Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique receives a successor in the Classique X. Inspired by Gaultier’s Winter 2010 Prêt-a-Porter collection, the concoction contains hesperidia notes with accents of mandarin and bergamot, the heart is floral with orange blossom and peony notes and sensual base of iris and vanilla. Classique X is available at Capital Store outlets in 50 and 100ml EDT in flacons made of matt glass with a transparent X stretching over body of the flacon, while its outer carton is coloured in black with beige details and logo of the brand. Neck of the flacon features an X pendant.


UPFRONT

CONTEMPORARY TOUCH

HARMONY IN MOTION

An exhibition, ‘Dialogue of Letters’ hosting exquisite calligraphic art by senior artist Mohammed Al Sayegh opened at the Bait Al Zubair Museum recently. The exhibition was inaugurated by HH Sayyid Mohammed bin Thuwainy Al Said. The show ‘Dialogue of Letters’ was presented by Bait Al Zubair Foundation in partnership with Khimji Ramdas. Revealing the latest artwork by artist Mohammed Al Sayegh, the exhibition featured his pieces that reflect nature and cultural elements, using script to literally construct colourful and harmonious images.

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Four Omani artists – Juma Al Harthy, Abdul Majid Karooh, Mohammed Al Mamari and Adnan Al Raisi – have come together to present their latest ‘touches’ in an exhibition of Contemporary Art reflecting their traditional Omani roots. The exhibition titled ‘Touches’ was inaugurated by Her Highness Sayyida Tania Al Said, President of the Environment Society of Oman at Bait Muzna Gallery recently. The event is part of the gallery’s constantly expanding and evolving exhibition programme that is set on the development of direct dialogue and working relationship with accomplished artists as well as promising emerging talents such as these four artists.


FASHION FOR A CAUSE

We do love a good cause! And, that is what the exclusive Salon Privé held at The Chedi, Muscat recently was. It was fashion for a cause with internationally-renowned design labels – Kenzo, Givenchy and Rami Al Ali Couture – showcased the latest Spring / Summer 2010 Collections to express their solidarity with ‘Madrasati Palestine’, an initiative by Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan that aims to combat the deteriorating state of education in East Jerusalem by renovating and enhancing the physical and learning environment of disadvantaged schools. Joining the designers in this noble cause were Soiree, Jumbo Electronics, The Chedi, Muscat, TRACCS Oman, Designer General Trading, Mayada Al Maimani and Siham AbdulRahman Saleh among others.

SMART & FUNCTIONAL

Motorola recently introduced the Milestone, a phone that is set to become one of the most powerful and versatile Android 2.1-powered phone in the Oman. The phone offers the ability to use multiple applications at once and is one of the world’s thinnest QWERTY sliders (13.7mm). Smart and functional, it also boasts a hi-resolution, multi-touch, pinch and zoom display. A suite of Google mobile applications including Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube are also integrated onto the device. It is available at Khimji Ramdas Information and Communication Technology and other select retail outlets.


COLLECTIBLE

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

The Celsuis X VI II LeDIX pushes the boundaries to become the ultimate fusion of haute horologerie with the world of mobile technology....

You could call it a pocket-phone-watch or a watch cell phone. Either ways, LeDIX, the first creation from Celsuis X VI II is a resolutely novel nomadic object that pushes the boundaries of imagination and technology. Like a butterfly spreading its wings, the LeDIX has taken flight after three years of research and development. It is a clamshell cell phone with an integrated tourbillon watch. As streamlined as a sports car, this aerodynamic creation is made from polished and brushed grade 5 titanium discreetly enhanced by inserts. The mechanical movement is exclusive: a flying tourbillon equipped with shock-absorbers and more offset than any existing model. When LeDIX opens its wings, an attentive listener perceives a gentle noise that micromechanical devotees are sure to appreciate. It comes from the patented winding system of its horological component. Housed within the hinge, this Remontage Papillon (Butterfly Winding) is activated with each opening, thereby adding three hours of power reserve to the total 120 hours. This state-of-the-art communication device comprises a range of features including a mechanical battery-ejection system;

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a main connector protected by a mechanical-locking flap; and screenflap closing cushioned by a set of spring-mounted ball bearings. The electronic communication platform combines high performance with extreme reliability. Designed by Sagem Wireless, it embodies the most demanding quality standards. Its interface, which deliberately focuses on the essential mobile functions, makes LeDIX the ultimate personal phone, specifically designed for the pleasure of escaping from daily routine. That’s not all. It comes complete with its very own ecosystem of accessories: the no-hands kit secured by a tie-pin style clip, the base station, and the presentation box, all devised and designed by Celsuis X VI II. They are crafted in noble materials and equipped with mechanical components reflecting the brand’s fundamental concept. Leather items, such as the holster-type pouch, are made from top-quality handsewn hides. LeDIX is available in two limited editions, namely the Origine, a limited edition of 18 in grade 5 titanium with ebony inserts and LeDIX Sport, a limited edition of 28 in black PVD-treated titanium with carbon fibre inserts


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MILESTONE

Journey to perfection

Movement of one of the first Chopard pocket watches in the1860s

As Chopard turns 150, Signature traces the journey of this brand that has today become a synonym of sophisticated elegance... 16


O

ne hundred and fifty years of excellence bordering very nearly on perfection is nigh impossible to achieve. But, not when the name associated with that feat is Chopard. Founded in 1860, this Geneva based luxury watch, accessories and Jewelleries Company owes its birth to Louis-Ulysse Chopard. Whilst the company’s original focus lay in developing precise pocket watches, it has since expanded considerably to include a range of luxury items. In 1963, the company was bought by Karl Scheufele. He has orchestrated the company’s meteoric growth alongside wife Karin and children Karl-Friedrich and Caroline since then. Chopard, the company is structured around certain core values which include upholding traditional family values, commitment to philanthropic goals, a focus on dazzling creativity backed by innovation, the importance of passing on techniques and ensuring impeccable quality. Various subsidiaries have been set up around the world so as to strengthen Chopard’s international presence. In 1975, the French subsidiary was set up in Paris, followed in 1976 by the

The house in Sonvilier where Chopard was founded (circa 1900s)

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MILESTONE

Chopard Watch Corporation in New York. As of 2010, Chopard has a total of 12 subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, Latin America, Asia, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The group is active in 124 countries and can safely presume that is has established itself as a benchmark for perfection in watch making and jewellery craftsmanship. The Chopard look was inspired by the Art Nouveau and the Art Deco movements. The company’s style is distinctive and multifaceted much like the clientele it caters to; for example, the 1970’s saw the birth of the famous Jeans watch; the 1970’s were an era of sensuality and vivid bright colours as highlighted by the vibrantly coloured, deliberately curvy watches produced by Chopard. Carline and Karl Friedrich Scheufele have penned a new chapter in Chopard’s

life during the 1990’s and the twenty first century as they have reinvented the family business in their own distinctive ways. Caroline’s Haute Joaillerie collections is the epitome of splendour whilst Karl-Friedrich’s steel sport’s watch, the Saint Moritz, took advantage of the young designer’s knowledge that the boundaries between different formal evening wear, sporting wear, casual wear, semi casual wear are fast blurring away to create a sense of style in consumers that is both complex and manifold. The premiere of the watch was an instant success and the designer has since unveiled other models such as the Monte Carlo and the Gstaad. Caroline meanwhile has built upon the Happy Diamonds ‘diamonds set free’ line. Today she is universally acknowledged as a creative genius and an astute business woman. Her bold and innovative jewellery designs have allowed Chopard’s transition from watch making to jewellery craftsmanship to be smooth sailing. Her

Chopard Family

709 Madison Avenue flagship boutique, New York City- new concept design by Thierry Despont The Scheufele family: (from left to right) Christine Scheufele, Karin Scheufele, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Karl Scheufele and Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele 18


Making of the Palme d’Or

famous designs include the Happy Sport, Imperiale, La Strada, Ice Cube, Two o Ten, Golden Diamonds, Happy Spirit, Casmir and many many more. The collections and designs were instant successes and have, over time become timeless classics. They drew inspiration from various sources including the beautiful mountainous regions of Kashmir (India) and pebbles skipping across water. Today, Chopard is recognised as an icon of elegance. Stars and celebrities across the world continue to

adorn themselves with the company’s creations. Chopard is ever present at the world’s most prestigious events and red carpets around the world are dazzled by the firm’s creations; from the Cannes Film Festival to the Baftas, to the French Cesar’s; you name it and Chopard is there. Screen hopefuls and movie veterans around the world are fans of Chopard’s elegant designs and trust in the company to help them dazzle the crowds. Cate Blanchett, Zhang Ziyi, Pénélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard, Emmanuelle Béart, Isabelle

Huppert, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone, Catherine Deneuve all sport the brand’s products at various red carpet events. Chopard is one of the few watch companies around the world that produces in house watches. Whilst the company’s collection lines are numerous and its creative flow of designs seems to be never ending, Chopard continues to take an active interest in philanthropy. At the height of its success, the company felt that it is only natural that it should want to give

back to the world. Various collections are designed solely for charitable purposes. Limited series like the Wiener Staatsoper help fund research in leukaemia. A collection reflecting Elton John’s flamboyant melodramatic style was unveiled to help fight AIDS in conjunction with the celebrity and Chopard also works hand in hand with the Prince’s Foundation. Still at the pinnacle of its success, it looks like Chopard will continue to be the brand ambassador for elegance for many more years to come

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MILESTONE EXTRAORDINARY BESTIARY

Momentous occasions such as 150th anniversaries call for magnificently grand creations. Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on Chopard’s Haute Joaillerie collection of 150 unique animal-themed pieces. True to its legendary creativity and boldness, the company has mobilised all its talent for this birthday collection, drawing on its long experience to mix tradition, advanced techniques and documented research, and taking its taste for excellence and novelty to new heights. Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, CoPresident and Artistic Director, has dreamed up 150 Haute Joaillerie creations that celebrate animals, a world barely yet explored by the company. The result: An extraordinary dream-like collection of the most beautiful, mysterious animals ever created. With help from the Haute Joaillerie department designers, Caroline GruosiScheufele poured over specialised encyclopaedias and even consulted the Chinese calendar to come up with a collection of animals that is at the same time original, aesthetically pleasing and humorous. Species from every latitude – cats, giraffes, and parrots, for example – are represented in the form of bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings and rings. Along with animals that are often represented in jewellery – wolves and cats, for example – the Swiss jeweller did not hesitate to honour other beasts that are more exotic (hippopotami) or unusual (seahorses), at first thought less pleasant (rats), or imaginary (dragons) or endangered (polar bears, koalas). Instead of the usual plain depictions of animals or birds, the company offers a whimsical and enchanting zoo that dares to idealise frogs and clownfish and does not hesitate to bring them to life through what are virtually little scenes.

Frog with Crown ring Frog ring in white gold set with emeralds (3cts), black diamonds and white diamonds, holding a crown featuring a stunning brilliant-cut yellow diamond (3cts) entirely surrounded by yellow diamonds.

Bee Brooch Bee Brooch in white and yellow gold set with black, yellow and white diamonds.

Monkey pendant Monkey pendant in white gold set with brown diamonds (5cts) and tsavorites (5cts), on a white gold chain set with briolette-cut rubellites (16cts).

Polar Bear Ring Polar Bear ring composed of two sapphires (0,1ct), one onyx and diamonds (23,8ct) set in white gold.

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The Chopard range is available exclusively at Khimji’s Watches, Shatti Al Qurum.


PLACES

a design for life THE NEW ARMANI HOTEL IN DUBAI’S BURJ KHALIFA IS TESTAMENT TO THE DESIGNER’S GREAT SENSE OF STYLE AND HIS FIRST FORAY INTO THE WORLD OF HOTELS. COULD THIS BE THE BEST-LOOKING HOTEL IN DUBAI, WONDERS JOLA CHUDY

Enter the lobby of Giorgio Armani’s brand new Dubai Hotel, with its hallowed copper arches and you’ll be hard-pressed to get the attention of a receptionist. That’s because there aren’t any. Instead, a group of fresh-faced, blacksuited young model types loiters in the foyer waiting to pounce on your every need. They’re ‘Lifestyle Managers’. This is the first clue that perhaps the lavishness that typifies Dubai (even post-crash) hasn’t quite reached its zenith. Instead, at the Armani Hotel Dubai, luxurious service has had its bar not so much raised as carefully swathed in a layer of expensive silk fabric and accessorised with an orange cushion. Just beyond the lobby, in discreet alcoves, guests can purchase Giorgio Armani chocolates, jams, fruit jellies and designer flowers. Along a display wall is a series of one-off Giorgio rings, bags and jewellery items, locked away in glass cubes. Press your nose against these like a hungry orphan, because that’s as close as you’ll get. They are only available to buy by select invitation, perhaps if Armani himself

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thinks you stylish enough to own one. If you don’t want a slice of Armani Privé haute design, the one-of-its-kind-inthe-entire-universe baubles will be offered to the next person on the list. Welcome to Armani Hotel Dubai, recession-proof and fabulous. The entrance screams style, albeit in muted, neutral tones, this is where Dubai’s most stylish come to see and be seen. Like the supermodels of Milan, the hotel has personally felt the magic touch of Armani, from the chunky dark wood coffee tables to the warm taupe and beige sofas. The gold knives and forks in the restaurants bear his insignia and the soaps in the rooms bear the shape of a lucky pebble that Mr Armani plucked to fame from among millions lying on a beach. Armani’s touch is everywhere: from the entrance archways down to the bed and floor covering. It is sleek, monochrome minimalism. And there are no door handles: until you’ve gotten used to the sleek curves and cornerless, undulating walls, you may find yourself a bit stuck if you need to open a door. Of course, one of the lifestyle managers will no doubt


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PLACES

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be on hand instantly to open doors, and metaphorically too: whether you want a VIP booth at the hotel’s exclusive Privé nightclub or just a one-on-one at one of Dubai Mall boutiques, this new wave of concierge are on hand to cater to every whim. It’s part of the ‘Stay with Armani’ ethos, to cater for every need from reservation (online at www.armanihotels.com) to departure and it carries on throughout the hotel. The hotel itself occupies three wings that roughly follow the ‘petal’ shape of the mothership, sorry, Burj. Nearly five years in the planning, the 160 rooms and suites occupy the first 8 floors of the hotel, plus levels 39 and 39.

The design is a celebration of Armani’s minimalist opulence, with Eramosa stone floors, forests worth of dark wood panelling and warm browns and beiges everywhere. The walls are covered with silky fabric that dares a small child to go anywhere near it with dirty fingers.

treatment. At the Armani hotel, guests consult with the spa therapist and a treatment is created on the spot, with length and style decided to suit each client. There are eight rooms in which to enjoy your one-ofa-kind treatment, as well as saunas, steam room and an ice fountain shower.

Downstairs, the gym has two personal trainers on hand at any time, and even the spa is all about that endlessly fascinating concept, you. It is a beautiful, masculine space, with a Zen-like quality: the monochrome and low lighting is a powerful mood enhancer. And it is no longer sufficient to book oneself in for a mere

Dining at the hotel is divided into eight places to eat, drink or perch fashionably over coffees. There are Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian restaurants and naturally enough, the signature fine dining eatery is Italian, Ristorante. Here, diners sit in comfortably plush booths (somehow the décor inspires

one not to slouch too much) and rhapsodise over beautifully created dishes like fillet of sea bass with braised artichokes, or plump, giant prawns with cannellini beans. A saffron risotto with osso bucco and truffle shavings is superlative, and even the hand-baked bread basket that comes round invites gluttony and compliments in equal measure. Of course, this kind of high-end dining doesn’t come cheap, but it’s not aimed at the budget market. Both exclusive and securityconscious, punters can’t just rock up to the hotel and have a wander round, which is fair enough. But one of the

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PLACES best reasons to just rock up is hidden inside the hotel: the Armani Peck Deli. A favourite local delicatessen of Mr Armani’s, the designer is a regular there for olive oils and cheeses and was so enamoured of the business that he brought it over to his new hotel. Dubai lacks a bit in the deli department: you might be forgiven for thinking, if you’d never left the city, that Kraft was a real cheese. Here, delicately, gloriously noncarbon neutral pastries, pastas and sauces are flown in fresh and many raw ingredients come directly from Italy: giant slabs of creamy Tallegio, freshly made pasta, and homemade lasagnes you can eat on site or take away. Yes, more than five years in the planning, the Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa is finally open to visitors. It is the first foray of designer Giorgio Armani (his second is to open in Milan in 2011) and

has been created in conjuction with master-developer Emaar. Standing at the epicentre of the bustling DownTown district (also an Emaar creation), the Burj Khalifa points in the same direction as Dubai’s relentless ambition. The hotel’s opening party was heralded by a certain level of anxiety among Dubai’s party people – would an exclusive invitation grant them access to the party attended by the ultra-tanned, white-haired godfather of Italian design himself? More than 100 people attended the event on April 27, which had originally been scheduled for earlier in the month but postponed due to a particularly inconsiderate volcano in Iceland. Giorgio spoke at the party, saying “It has long been my dream to have a hotel in which I myself would like to stay.” You and the rest of us, Giorgio

Tall Order Garnering almost as many column inches as its 808metre height, the Burj Khalifa opened to a fanfare, vertical fireworks and a glamour-studded party on January 4, 2010. And then, it promptly closed a few weeks later for maintenance. With anticipation at fever pitch, the world’s tallest tower is now firmly open for business, with the observation deck and fine dining restaurant Atmosphere on floor 122 offering bird’s eye view of Dubai. Home to the Armani Hotel, the Burj Khalifa stands at the epicentre of Downtown Burj Dubai, a residential, shopping and business complex that is also home to another world-beater, the Dubai Mall, as well as Arabian-esque hotels including The Palace and Al Manzil Hotel, and the art-deco inspired pantheon to interior design that is The Address Hotel. Restaurants, shops and malls dot the neighbourhood and it’s a superb part of the city to explore on foot. Plus, the Burj Khalifa is an extremely handy landmark if you happen to get lost, as you can see it for miles.

Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani (left) and Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Alabbar cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony of the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa. 26


y o u d o n ’ t d r i v e i t, y o u u n l e a s h i t.

The Supersports is the extreme Bentley – a true driver’s car that combines iconic GT styling with supercar potency. The 621bhp (630PS) engine provides a remarkable 590lb ft (800Nm) of torque, propelling you from a standstill to 60mph in just 3.7 seconds (0–100km/h 3.9 seconds), with a top speed of 204 mph. For details on the extreme Bentley, please go to www.bentleymotors.com Fuel economy figures for the Continental Supersports Coupé in mpg (l/100km): Urban 11.1 (25.5); Extra Urban 24.3 (11.6); Combined 17.0 (16.7). CO2 emissions (g/km): 388.

BENTLEY OMAN

BENTLEY OMAN Rumailah Street, PO Box 1620, Wattayah 112, Sultanate of Oman, For information call +968 24 584 500 or visit www.bentleyoman.com


FEATURE

IL NUOVO CAVALLO ITALIANO THE FERRARI 458 ITALIA IS A COMPLETELY NEW CAR FROM EVERY POINT OF VIEW: ENGINE, DESIGN, AERODYNAMICS, HANDLING, INSTRUMENTATION AND ERGONOMICS, JUST TO NAME A FEW, SAYS MALCOLM XAVIER CRASTA

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FEATURE

W 30

hile it’s true that every Ferrari is innovative by definition, it’s equally true that in the course of the Prancing Horse’s history, certain cars have marked a genuine departure from the current range. This is very much the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is a massive leap forward from the company’s previous mid rear engined sports cars. The new model is a synthesis of style, creative flair, passion and cutting-edge technology, characteristics for which Italy as a nation is well-known. For this reason Ferrari chose to add the name of its homeland to the traditional figure representing the displacement and number of cylinders. The two-seater berlinetta, as is now traditional for all Ferrari’s road-going cars, benefits hugely from the company’s Formula 1 experience. Every Ferrari is the result of an uncompromising design approach that integrates styling and aerodynamic requirements. The Pininfarina design features compact, aerodynamic lines, underscoring the concepts of performance-oriented efficiency that inspired the project. Starting from the front, the nose features a single opening for the front grille and side air intakes, with aerodynamic sections and


profiles designed to direct air to the coolant radiators and the new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate downforce and, as speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator intake and cut drag. The oil radiators for the F1 gearbox and the dual-clutch are situated in the tail and air is fed from two intakes on the top of the rear wings. This solution provides a base bleed effect, an aerodynamic function that was developed by Ferrari for the FXX and which reduces drag by feeding the hot air out of the radiators under the nolder and into the slip stream. The flat underbody now incorporates the air intakes for engine bay cooling.

These are positioned ahead of the rear wheelarches where they use pressure differences to efficiently channel air flow to the engine bay, at the same time generating more rear downforce. The car’s sills are characterised by two keel forms that act as fairings to the rear wheels, while the rear bodywork between the rear diffusers acts as the surround to the novel triple exhaust tail pipes, a styling cue that recalls the legendary F40 and gives the 458 Italia’s tail an aggressive sporty stance. And the engine, in mid-rear V8 Ferrari tradition, is visible below the engine cover. Inside, working closely with

the Ferrari Styling Centre, the engineers have completely reinterpreted the positioning of the major commands to provide a truly driveroriented cockpit. All steeringcolumn mounted stalks have been eliminated, with the indicators, full beam, flash and windscreen wiper functions now being activated by buttons on the steering wheel boss. The button to select the shock absorber setting is now positioned next to the ‘Engine start’ button where it falls readily to hand. Behind the wheel are a number of secondary functions, such as the stereo, while the gearbox paddles are now longer making shifts even easier from any steering angle.

The right-hand satellite pod on the dash incorporates controls for the infotainment, the Bluetooth connection, sat-nav, digital speedometer and rear parking camera. Clustered on the left-hand satellite pod are the optional cruise control, buttons for choosing the video setting of the left-hand dash TFT screen and the on-board computer interface. The latter controls the trip computer, the Vehicle Dynamic Assistance and the display of the car’s set-up. The Vehicle Dynamic Assistance monitors the operating parameters of the most important areas of the car - engine/gearbox, tyres and brakes. When enabled, it provides visual confirmation of

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the status of each component enabling the driver to assess the ideal operating conditions for the car. The new 4499cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be mid-rear mounted. It delivers 570hp at 9000 rpm and, with an outstanding power output of 127hp/litre, sets a new benchmark not only for the whole Ferrari range and the history of company, but also for the entire market segment. Maximum torque is 540Nm at 6000 rpm, over 80 per cent of which is available from 3250 rpm. The car’s soundtrack is also typical Ferrari, with an exciting, powerful growl emerging from the engine before it channels through to the exhaust’s three rear tailpipes. One of the important novelties on the 458 Italia is the introduction of the 7-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox which guarantees faster yet smoother changes. The technology is based on the independent management of even and odd gears which are pre-selected using two separate input shafts. The gear shifting time

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(the overlap between the opening and closing phases of the two clutches) is zero and thus there is no interruption of engine torque to the driven wheels. Compared to the California gearbox, response times have been reduced and the 458 Italia has specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower revs. The E-Diff 3 electronic differential has also been integrated into the gearbox, resulting in a more compact and lighter unit. This new Ferrari is also a major leap forward when it comes to cutting emissions. Despite the fact that the new engine is significantly more powerful than the V8s that preceded it, the Ferrari 458 Italia produces just 320 g/km of CO2 and fuel consumption is 13.7 l/100 km (combined cycle), the best in the entire segment. The engineers also focused on weight reduction during the design phase for similar reasons. Consequently, the Ferrari 458 Italia has a dry weight of 1380 kg with a power-to-weight ratio of 2.42 kg/hp. Weight distribution is also optimal with 58 per cent

over the rear axle. The result of the engineers’ endeavours can be summed up in to two simple statistics which together perfectly encapsulate the Ferrari 458 Italia’s exceptional performance: 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 325 km/h. For the new chassis, once more in aluminium, Maranello’s engineers incorporated various types of advanced alloys along with aerospace industry-derived manufacturing and bonding techniques. With regard to vehicle dynamics, the Ferrari 458 Italia’s suspension features twin wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear tuned for maximum road holding and superlative handling. Along with a more direct steering ratio, the 458 Italia thus offers extremely rapid turn-in and body control whilst maintaining superior ride comfort. The evolution of the control logic, with even faster and more accurate calculation of levels of grip, ensures even greater road holding, better handling and ease of control on the limit.

The same ECU also governs the high-performance ABS, providing even more precise control. The brakes also feature a prefill function whereby the pistons in the callipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimise delay in the brakes being applied. This combined with the ABS has cut the 100-0 km/h braking distance to a mere 32.5 metres. With the Ferrari 458 Italia, Maranello has brought a highly distinctive new car to its 8- cylinder range. The company now offers two models that share a common, race-derived DNA, both exceptionally sporty and fun to drive in true Ferrari tradition, but aimed at two very different kinds of client. While the Ferrari California was created for owners requiring a more versatile sports car with a practical edge, the 458 Italia is designed for owners for whom the priority is uncompromising on-road performance with occasional track day capability, but who still demand a car that is useable in day-to-day driving like all Ferrari’s recent models.


INTERVIEW

Reining in the future SIGNATURE: What effect did the recent Financial crisis have on Ferrari globally and the region? PIETRO: Locally the results were excellent. Just to give you an idea, last year the Middle East and Africa region, despite all the problems, has grown by 30 per cent in terms of sales volumes. Even on whole, Ferrari performed quite well namely because of the brand’s policy to keep its exclusivity by only building cars to order. There is also a buffer which helps us perform very well even when the economy is not at its best. Overall last year Ferrari delivered over 6000 cars and was only five per cent short of the historical record figure of 2008. S: How much of an impact do you expect the California and the 458 Italia to have on sales? P: It is a privilege to work for a company that has such a strong product range. Two of our models are extremely new, California was introduced in the GCC market only in the second half of last year so it is a very new model and the 458 has just arrived. These two are extremely strong models with very different characteristics, suitable for different types of customers vastly broadening the customer base for the brand. This is the best thing that I could ask for when you considering my position because working with such strong products makes my job that much easier. Italian by birth, Pietro graduated in Business Administration and started his career in a publishing company. He then moved to a telecommunications company and finally to Ferrari around 12 years ago. “I spent the first seven years at Maranello at the Factory, where I worked for several departments,” says Pietro. After his stint at the factory he moved to China to start up the business for Ferrari in the China and Asia Pacific regions. He was based in Shanghai for the first two years developing the mainland Chinese market and the last three years developing the market for the rest of Asia including Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. He then moved to Dubai to take care of the market in the Middle East and Africa, just two months ago.

S: With growing concerns for the environment and increasingly stringent emission requirements, what are Ferrari’s plans for the future? P: As you may already know, we recently launched the HY-KERS at the Geneva auto show, which is a version of the 599 with hybrid technology. While it is a concept car and is not intended to be delivered to the market, it shows that Ferrari is active in developing new technologies to move towards more environmentally friendly products, although without compromising on performance. Whether this will be the technology that Ferrari will apply in their future cars is something I cannot confirm, because this decision falls on the strategies of the R&D department, there is definitely a strong

interest for Ferrari to develop such technologies. In fact this commitment goes back a few years when Ferrari first claimed to be very active in reducing weight, reducing drag and increasing the efficiency of their cars. You can even see this in the new 458 italia where the level of emissions and fuel consumption, in comparison to its predecessor the F430, has improved by a significant margin. This is thanks to a host of new technologies, reduction in weight and improved aerodynamics. As such there are several aspects in terms of technology that show our commitment to environmentally friendly products. S: What sort of steps has Ferrari taken to improve on the reliability and day-to-day usability of their vehicles? P: I think that reliability has never been an issue for Ferrari because our cars comply with the highest standards of reliability from every point of view and furthermore the quality of our products, since the early nineties, has dramatically improved. The cars are now not only more reliable but also easier to own thanks to improvements in running costs. It has also become a car that almost anybody can drive, even for daily use. This shows that reliability is there and peace-of-mind for the customer is present due to the advanced technology present in our products and also the improved level of service we are able to deliver worldwide. S: What are Ferrari’s plans to grow and improve its market-share in the Middle East? P: The Middle East is a strategic market for us. One of the reasons why we could weather the storm is because of the diversification across different markets and the Middle East was a heavy contributor in this strategy. But we see further potential and a lot of enthusiasm by the clients, who are becoming more sophisticated, demanding and understanding of the product. This is exactly what we want because we now have a range that is targeting different types of clients and in this region and we have a greater potential to expand.

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GOLF

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Designs on Golf Greg Norman’s passion for golf goes beyond playing the game. It also involves designing some of the best golf courses in the world, says Deepa Rajan The Shark needs no introductions. Australian Greg Norman has been one of the most prolific international players ever in the game’s history. In addition to being the number one ranked player for 331 consecutive weeks, Norman maintained active membership of the US, European and Australasian Tours. Today a major sporting icon turned business brand, Greg Norman is very much a pro at managing business success as much he is a master of the Greens. His company, Great White Shark Enterprises, primarily focuses around golf and lifestyle. Established in 1993, Great White Shark Enterprises is the

parent company to various entities including Greg Norman Golf Course Design, which is recognised as one of the premier signature design groups in the world. The legendary golfer was in town recently to inspect the Sultanate’s first sea facing PGA links-style golf course being designed by Greg Norman Golf Course Design at The Wave, Muscat. He spoke exclusively to Signature on golf and his golf course design company... You played rugby, cricket and were a surfer, yet you chose golfing... Golf was something I took to

very naturally. I excelled at golf in a much shorter period of time than other sports. The balance and hand-eye coordination I developed playing other sports certainly contributed, but the first time I picked up a golf club I remember it actually felt like it belonged in my hands. The story goes that a tour pro once told you to go back Down Under when you started playing in the US. Who would Greg Norman have been if he had taken that advice? I think I would have still been an accomplished player because I loved the game so much. But I don’t think I would

have ever achieved anything close to the level of success I did without facing the best competition in the world as I did in America. From the Greens to the boardroom, how did Great White Shark Enterprises come about? When I was in my thirties I started thinking about my future and what I could possibly do beyond the golf course. There were also a few decisions I made from a business perspective with endorsement deals that gave me the experience and confidence that I needed to start building a successful

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GOLF

enterprise. I was inspired by my desire to control my own destiny and I’ve always focused on opportunities that appeal to me personally and are a true reflection of my own lifestyle. Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD) is part of the Great White Shark Enterprises. Can you tell us something about it? I am probably the most passionate about my golf course design business. It really suits my lifestyle and I love the idea of being able to bring golf to parts of the world that you never thought it would exist. I’ve worked hard at it and have a great team of guys that understand my philosophies and concepts to a degree that we practically know what each other is thinking when we look at a piece of property that we’re working on. We now have over 70 courses open for play throughout the world with another 40 or so under contract. It’s very rewarding and a great way to leave a legacy far beyond your years on this earth. What attracted you to designing a course for The Wave, Muscat and Oman? There is a small

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golf scene in Oman, and is it exciting to be able to play a part in creating something completely new for avid golfers to

tells us that Paspalum grass is the best option for The Wave, Muscat. Part of that is due to the soil conditions and the other is that it’s a seaside

out there. Some holes reward length and others require accuracy. The sandy soil will provide a hard and fast playing surface much like a

enjoy? I have to say that I fell in love with Oman the first time I came here in 2006. I had been coming to the Middle East for years prior, but I had never seen a place with this much natural beauty. We toured the site, went into old Muscat and then took a tour through the mountains. It was spectacular. As I said earlier, it’s always exciting when you can be a part of introducing golf to a new area, but to have the opportunity to do it in a place this beautiful is really special.

course and salt intrusion will always be a factor. The benefit of that is that the salts actually reduce the amount of herbicides and pesticides you have to use. Maintaining grass on a golf course can be challenging in any situation because there are so many variables. For instance, the holes fronting the ocean at The Wave, Muscat will probably require a completely different programme than the inland holes surrounded by dunes. The key is having a superintendent who understands how to adapt to each individual micro-climate within the course.

links course and the dunes will be covered with a mixture of native vegetation. The contrast between the dune areas and maintained turf will be pretty dramatic, but we’ve worked hard to keep it playable for those just learning the game.

Muscat Hills, the first green course in Oman, suffered a lot of problems associated with grass diseases when it was bedding down. How will your course hope to mitigate the effects of similar problems? Do you need to use pesticides and chemicals? You always have to be able to adapt to the various climates throughout the world. I don’t know a lot about the situation at Muscat Hills, but our research and past experience

What will your course be tailored towards? Is this one for the drivers, or can a good iron player make his way around? Are we looking at a links style course that follows the contours of the landscape, or are we going to see something more manicured like in the US? I would say it’s a hybrid of all of those. There is good variety

With the intense heat of the GCC, how are you going to be able to keep the grass fresh and green? Are there special techniques that can be adopted, or is it a case of very intensive watering? Again, the Paspalum has proven to perform very well in hot temperatures and it doesn’t require an exorbitant amount of water to keep it healthy. Finally, five pre-requisites to becoming a good golfer, according to Greg Norman Commitment, discipline, perseverance, patience. Oh, and number five...a good attitude!


5")"/* 4"#$0$&/53& 5&-


FASHION

The Art of Fashion

Master craftsman Rami Al Ali is a sartorial force to reckon with, says Deepa Rajan

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You can call him a master craftsman or you can call him a fashion magician. For, Rami Al Ali is indeed the epitome of sartorial magnificence that leaves you spellbound. At once a Western dazzle blended with the allure of Eastern femininity, his exclusive creations have graced the AltaRoma Alta Moda catwalks and have clothed many a celebrities on the red carpet. Born and brought up in Syria, Al Ali established his couture house in 2001 in Dubai. Rest as the cliché goes is history. Soon, he was being talked about amongst his peers for his interpretation of the classic shapes. In 2007, he was selected to open for Abu Dhabi’s first Fashion Week alongside fashion idol Valentino. His specially commissioned wedding gown for the cover of Swarovski’s coveted publication, ‘Unbridaled: The Marriage of Tradition and Avant Garde’ made Al Ali a fashion force to reckon with. Rami Al Ali speaks exclusively to Signature on all things fashion...

How did you decide that you wanted to become a designer? I have always been fascinated with fashion. From very early on I knew I wanted to be creative as I had a good eye when it came to art and fashion. I was constantly experimenting with all sorts of art materials, creating pieces, sketching and just exploring my talents, although I was not totally converted to fashion. That happened only after I graduated – I realised then that fashion was the career choice. I suppose by designing dresses for my close friends and family, I realised my own creativity and decided to enhance that. Even though, I was

“What I like most about fashion is being able to translate emotions and feelings and transform it into colours and shapes, it’s like drawing a painting or composing a piece of music…..it’s purely art.”

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FASHION

not committed to pursuing a career in fashion at this stage. The whole experience was very light-hearted and fun as my friends kept throwing new challenges at me, I had to keep it going and take each challenge head on. I guess indirectly they were trying to show me where my heart really was when it came to career choices and that really became the catalyst for me. When you create something, what goes through your mind? As a fashion designer, one of the many things that I focus on when designing a gown, is making sure that it gets the attention of its audience. I design for a woman who is confident enough to carry the dress with all its grandeur. My client needs to be confident that the dress is a perfect fit that compliments her shape, her complexion and gains great reviews. What’s your favourite part about conceptualising a design? The end result is definitely the most important awaited outcome. It literary translates the sketch into actual amazing gown, or not at all. In all cases, I try always to be sure of my sketches and how they’ll turn out to be on the fabrics. What goes into a preparation of a season’s collection? First I look for the idea and the inspiration behind the idea two season in advance, once I set my mind on a certain theme for the collection with the support of my creative team, we start

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our research and setting up the theme board including the colours, the story behind the collection, creating the fabric that matches the theme, establishing the visual effects of colour / fabrics, trying out multiple techniques until we decide on the final ones that we’re going to be using, and of course having the sketches of the gowns ready for trial. The collection is then ready to be created from the evening gown to the wedding ones.

The Rami Al Ali woman: Is typically Mediterranean, sophisticated, elitist, intricate, graceful and very refined.

You serve a wide range of colours and designs; when a woman is looking for something suitable to wear, how should they choose the outfit most suitable for them? Every woman understands her body, her measurements, and realises quite well what looks good on her, by instinct. My job as a couturier is to help her see that and explore with her through the variety of fabrics, colours and cuts, the most convenient for her body, looks and age. For me, every woman is beautiful and feminine in her own way. What’s exciting right now in the world of fashion? The fashion scene has become more a prominent aspect in our modern life. Either in its everyday wear or evening wear, luxury couture or sports clothes. However, it has become more acceptable to the clients taste than before, more realistic. On the other hand, there are lots of new interesting talents proving themselves on the International fashion platform, carrying innovative ideas to the couture industry

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PEOPLE

The language of food Food is a source of communication for Executive Chef Umberto Vezzoli, discovers Deepa Rajan

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H

e had Madonna and the Beckhams eating out of his hands, and yet this divinely talented chef says his most challenging dish ever was a spaghetti dish for the Italian president. “The president is from Naples and likes his pasta al dente (Cooked enough to be firm but not soft) and also the tomato sauce had to be the right proportion. As simple as the dish sounded, it was not easy. In short it’s very difficult to cook simple things,” says chef Umberto Vezzoli, who was here at Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat recently. Born in Brescia (in the region of Lombardy, northern Italy), Vezzoli decided to become a chef when he was still a student. “It also helped that my childhood friend was a restaurateur’s son.” This led him to take a course at the Professional institute for hotel services and refreshment. “The most exciting aspect of becoming a chef was the fact that I could travel around the world and learn different food cultures,” says Vezzoli. And, that is exactly what Vezzoli did. The culinary experience that Vezzoli brings to a table today comes from not just working in most of Italy, but other parts of the globe too (from Berlin to Japan, where he worked for two years, New York, Los Angeles and Budapest). His experience as executive chef includes stints in some of the most important hotels in Italy: from the Palace in Milan to the St. Regis in Rome, and his international experiences include two years as the chef/ owner of the Fiore Restaurant in London, once owned by the legendary Gordon Ramsay. He also spent a whole year at Milan’s famous Dolce & Gabbana restaurant, Gold, before taking over as the new executive chef of the InterContinental De La Ville, Rome. It is no wonder then that Ciro Verrocchi, the General Manager of InterContinental De La Ville, feels that having a chef of Vezzoli’s calibre as part of the team is a source of great pride and calls him a “stimulating influence to the kitchen”. Indeed! What else can you expect from a man who has constantly scaled heights of success, from gaining a Michelin star in 1991 for the Casanova Grill at the Hotel Palace in Milan to overseeing the state banquets and private functions at the Palazzo del Quirinale, the Rome residence of the Italian President. He has also won prizes and consulted for hotel groups in Bali, Mombassa and Tokyo, among other places, and has even been a consultant chef to the Royal Palace of the King of Morocco. Today, Vezzoli is a name to reckon with, but who was his inspiration? “Valentino Lazzarini, a chef and also my teacher inspired me a lot. Also my curiosity and will to transform ingredients into delicious dishes has had a major role to play,” he quips. His travels across the world have also been a major influence. Says Vezzoli: “My stint in Japan has influenced my cooking style a lot,

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ANY CUISINE NOT ATTEMPTED YET: “Vietnamese cooking...It fascinates me.”

A SUCCESSFUL CHEF IS SOMEONE...

“who has intellectual and professional honesty, creativity, food culture, and an open mind.”

THE CHEF’S FAVOURITE

especially when it comes to respecting the quality of the ingredients and presentation of the dish.” Perhaps that is the reason why Vezzoli believes that an eco-friendly way of cooking is the real foundation to adding authenticity to a meal. Quiz him on whether he feels the same about the concept of molecular gastronomy that is becoming increasingly popular as haute cuisine, he says: “The concept is an attempt at creating a balance between taste and health, but sometimes even though the dishes are nice, they are

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not really tasty and without any culture attached.” So, does he incorporate these concepts in the Italian way of cooking? “These concepts can be incorporated, albeit minimally. This is also considering the fact that people often ask me to prepare authentic, Mediterranean, Italian and regional dishes. Without any doubt, innovation is always a positive thing, but it is important learning how to manage it.” Vezzoli compares haute cuisine concepts to that of classical music. “The greats such as Verdi, Vivaldi, Mozart,

Puccini will always have a charm, even if a certain period of time has passed. It depends on what people really want to listen to. It is the same with food. Of course, the positive thing about concepts such as molecular cooking is that we can decide how to impress our clients and ourselves at the same time.” But all said and done, according to the chef: “Food for me is essentially a communication and an inspirational source to allow people to meet each other.” We are sure that Vezzoli’s food does exactly that and more!

Pappardelle (big noodles) pan fried with prawns and zucchini (Serves 4) INGREDIENTS: 70gms of big noodles; 3 Prawn tails; 50 gms of Courgettes (zucchini); 10gms of fish stock; 50 gms of tomato sauce; 5 basil leaves; 10 gms of olive oil; 50gms of butter; Salt and pepper to taste METHOD: Boil the big noodles ‘al dente’. Place in a pan all ingredients (cold): prawns, courgettes (julienne-braised), tomato sauce, oil, fish stock and start cooking. When the pasta is ready, put all on the fire and mix with butter and salt. Garnish with basil leaves.


Celebrating the Green Cause

The first Oman Green Awards (OGA) awards will honour, appreciate and promote voluntary efforts and achievements by organisations big and small

The first Oman Green Awards (OGA) awards are finally here! Being held on World Environment Day to celebrate the achievements of organisations and individuals, the event will provide a platform for green groups to create awareness, bring about concerted action through exchange of ideas, and propel others to come forth and participate in this social cause. As the country’s first Environmental Awards, OGA has been created to awaken the eco-consciousness in every Omani citizen and resident. The ultimate aim is to motivate behavioural change and increase awareness in relation to the protection and preservation of our environment. A large number of entries have been received, both from companies and individuals, in all the eight categories and the results will be announced at a grand function being held at Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Muscat on June 5. Speaking about the steady stream of entries, Alpana Roy

Nida El Helou, Consultant, Environment Society of Oman. Speaking about the panel of judges, Roy said, “We are indeed grateful that such luminaries have agreed to be part of the evaluation process. Now, it’s not just winning an award that will matter; we can also expect a large number of recommendations, on the way forward, to come out of the assessment of the entries.”

– Executive Vice President, United Media Services (UMS) – said: “As a media house, UMS has the strength to get the ‘green message’ out and we feel it is our responsibility to make sure it’s the right message. Therefore, as part of our corporate social responsibility, we are delighted to be offering this national platform to popularise the initiatives and achievements of companies and individuals of Oman, not only to celebrate these efforts, but also to inspire others to make a contribution.” Given the number of entries

received, an eminent panel of judges has been appointed to conduct a detailed scrutiny for the eight categories. The judges include Ali Al Kiyumi, Director-General for Nature Conservation from Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs; Dr Reginald Victor, Dean of Research, Sultan Qaboos University; Dr Salim Al Wahaibi, Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Department, Ministry of Health; Mayank Singh, Group Editor, UMS and Editor, Oman Economic Review; and

The list of companies and organisations that are championing Oman’s green cause are now listed on the OGA website www. oeronline.com/greenawards. OGA’s Green Oman Partners include Bahwan Engineering Company-Carrier; Voltamp; Oman Oil Marketing Company; V-KOOL Oman; Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa; MB Petroleum; Panasonic Ideas for Life. The Support Partners are Majan Electricity, Proscape Al Ansari, Oman Printers and Stationers, Times of Oman, Al Shabiba; Business International Group (BIG); and Oil & Gas Review


FOCUS

forever,

TIFFANY FOR THE PAST TWO CENTURIES, TIFFANY AND CO. HAS BEEN THE ULTIMATE SOURCE OF GIFTS FOR LIFE’S MOST CHERISHED OCCASIONS...

TIFFANY® SETTING ENGAGEMENT RING The Tiffany® Setting, a design classic that holds the diamond away from the band on six prongs, permitting a more complete return of light through the diamond. Photo credit: Carlton Davis

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THE TIFFANY® DIAMOND BIRD ON A ROCK SETTING The Diamond in Jean Schlumberger’s whimsical Bird on a Rock setting. Photo credit: Carlton Davis

They are mentioned in Marilyn Monroe songs. They are so famous that a 1971 Bond film has a character named after them. And, who can forget Truman Capote’s 1958 novella, whose title refers to their store. In fact, the protagonist of the novel calls it “the best place in the world, where nothing bad can take place”. What are we talking about? Tiffany & Co, of course! The name began its journey to fame in the year 1837, when 25year-old Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young, opened a ‘stationery and fancy goods’ store in New York with a $1,000 advance from Tiffany’s father. At the new emporium at 259 Broadway, fashionable ladies discovered a newly emerging ‘American style’ that departed from European design aesthetics. The young entrepreneurs were inspired by the natural world, which they interpreted in exquisite patterns of simplicity, harmony and clarity. These soon became the hallmarks of Tiffany design that initially found resonance in silver hollowware and flatware, and later in jewellery. The name Tiffany created ripples internationally and gained global recognition at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1867. At the event, the company was awarded the grand prize for silver craftsmanship, the first time that an American design house had been so honoured by a foreign jury. That the company was hugely committed not only to design aesthetics but strict quality control as well was

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FOCUS

THE NEW YORK FLAGSHIP STORE

In 1940, Tiffany & Co. moved to its current location at 727 Fifth Avenue, at the corner of Fifty-seventh Street. The granite and limestone building, with Art Deco influences and stainless steel doors, is adorned with a nine-foot bronzed figure of Atlas shouldering a clock. Photo credit: © Andrew Bordwin

reaffirmed by the fact that Tiffany was also the first American company to employ the 925/1000 standard of silver purity. Largely through the efforts of Charles Lewis Tiffany, this ratio was adopted by the United States Congress as the American sterling silver standard. The silver studio of Tiffany & Co. was the foremost American school of design and, as one observer remarked, ‘a teacher of art progress’. Apprentices were encouraged to observe and sketch nature, and to explore the vast collections of sketches and artwork assembled by Edward C. Moore, the head of the studio. By 1870, Tiffany & Co. had become America’s premier purveyor of jewels and timepieces as well as luxury table, personal, and household accessories. At the turn of the 20th century, the company had more than one thousand employees and branches in London, Paris, and Geneva. In 1878, Tiffany acquired one of the world’s largest and finest fancy yellow diamonds from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa. Under the guidance of Tiffany’s eminent gemologist, Dr. George Frederick Kunz, the diamond was cut from 287.42 carats to 128.54 carats with 82 facets (most brilliant-cut diamonds have only 58), which gave the stone its legendary fire and brilliance. Designated the Tiffany Diamond, the stone became an exemplary symbol of Tiffany craftsmanship. In the year 1886, Tiffany introduced the engagement

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ring as we know it today — the Tiffany® Setting— an innovation that lifts the diamond above the band with six platinum prongs, allowing a more complete return of light from the stone and maximising its brilliance. Tiffany was also a showstopper at all exposition extravaganzas that took place in the last decades of the 19th century and into the 20th in Paris, Chicago, Buffalo and St. Louis. The company’s exhibit at the 1889 Paris fair was heralded as ‘the most extraordinary collection of jewels ever produced by an American jewellery house’. Tiffany produced an equally praiseworthy collection for the 1900 Paris fair, along with magnificent silver pieces based on Native American pottery and basket designs. It was no wonder then that Tiffany was appointed as Imperial Jeweler and Royal Jeweler to the crowned heads of Europe, as well as the Ottoman Emperor and the Czar and Czarina of Russia. With the death of Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1902, Louis Comfort Tiffany, the founder’s son, became Tiffany’s first Director of Design. An entire floor of Tiffany & Co. was devoted to merchandise crafted in the Tiffany Studios, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s atelier. His position as America’s leading designer was well established by 1882, when President Chester Arthur invited him to redecorate the White House. By 1900, the younger Tiffany

was a world leader in the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements. The famed artist created a remarkable range of designs, from technically brilliant leaded glass to colourful Tiffany favrile glass, and enamelled and painterly jewels based on American plants and flowers. Throughout the jeweller’s history, the most prominent members of American society were frequent Tiffany customers. Vanderbilts, Astors, Whitneys and Havemeyers, as well as J.P. Morgan, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Paul Mellon, commissioned Tiffany to produce gold and silver services. Admirers of Lillian Russell ordered a sterling silver bicycle. President Lincoln purchased a seed pearl necklace for his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. And a young Franklin Roosevelt purchased a Tiffany engagement ring in 1904. As the twentieth century progressed, Tiffany designs captured the spirit of the times, from the extravagance of the 1920s to the modernism of the 1930s and the aerodynamic age of the 1940s and 1950s. Tiffany china set the stage for White House dinners and Tiffany jewels accented the elegant clothes of the world’s most glamorous women, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Babe Paley and Diana Vreeland. Very often world-renowned jeweller Jean Schlumberger created their jewellery. Hired in 1956 by then Tiffany chairman Walter

Hoving, Schlumberger’s lavish, nature-inspired jewels remain the pride of Tiffany & Co. Be it the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military award or the 1885 redesign of the Great Seal of the United States, which can be seen on official government documents as well as on the one-dollar bill, Tiffany was specially commissioned to create them all. In fact, Tiffany design expertise was so much in demand that even the National Football League Super Bowl Championship had the Vince Lombardi Trophy specially commissioned by them. Tiffany has also had the distinction of creating this original and wellknown design since the first Super Bowl in 1967. The brand’s legendary style is perhaps best represented by its annual Blue Book Collection, initially published in 1845, featuring Tiffany’s and the world’s most spectacular and glamorous jewels.

TIFFANY BLUE BOX®

In the late 1880s, a distinctive shade of blue was chosen for use on Tiffany boxes, shopping bags and catalogues, as well as in advertising and other promotional materials. Over time, this lustrous color became so closely identified with Tiffany & Co. that it is today universally recognized as the trademark Tiffany Blue. No longer merely a colour, the shade has made the Tiffany Blue Box® an icon signifying the excellence of all Tiffany & Co. designs. Photo credit: © Tiffany and Company

Over the past two centuries, the brand has built an international reputation as a premier jeweller and the ultimate source of gifts for life’s most cherished occasions. Whether it’s a milestone in the life of a company or a family, or an individual’s crowning moment, you can always count on a Tiffany gift wrapped in the signature Tiffany Blue Box® to add that extra touch of glamour and class. It’s a Tiffany after all!

The Tiffany & Co. range is available exclusively at Jawahir Oman, Qurum.

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Sonic Heaven MUSIC

Coachella 2010 is an out of body experience, says Her Highness Muzna Al Said

Coachella is a three-day annual music festival (April 16th-18) held at the Empire Polo fields in Indio, California. The festival, which began around 1999, was founded by Thomas T. Weir, leader of the Hipster Command Center, and

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organised by Goldenvoice. The music genres known to play here are alternative rock, hip-hop and electronic. However, more emerging bands that play genres including Indie, pop and dance have performed in the last couple years. Coachella is organised in such a way that there are several tents and stages spread out with music and bands playing continuously throughout the day and night.

It attracts music industry people, celebrities, fans and music lovers from all over the world. I purchased my tickets online a couple months in advance, which is the way to go about it, because they sell out fast. I upgraded my tickets to VIP but the VIP tickets are not particularly special. Would I be linking arms with the celebrity singers and rock stars? No. Was I touching the stage in a closed off red velvet linked area all to myself? No.

However, I did have access to two VIP areas, a place to rest and regain my sanity from all the people. The layout of the Festival had the Main Stage, Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, Sahara Tent and two VIP areas. The first VIP area has ascending paved steps with picnic benches and grass area with full bar service, gourmet food stands and washrooms. This year the second VIP area was held at


the Rose Garden, a fragrant, lush and beautiful grassy area, with a full bar service, food and washrooms. There were also platforms created for live performances and graffiti artwork and weird, wonderful sculptures. Friday’s headliner was rapper and Hip-Hop artist Jay-Z. LCD Soundsystem (dance and punk band), Them Crooked Vultures (a collaboration of three famous rock stars put together in 2009, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme) put up an impressive act. La Roux, the British Pop princess, was also singing the night away. For the dance and electro fans, Deadmau5 was the main performance of the night, mixing highly anticipated club anthems. Benny Bennassi, techno DJ, could be heard from all over the festival grounds with high pitch synthesizers and digital bass. Indie and Alternative rock bands included Imogen Heap from the UK among many more artists. Of course, it was not easy getting here. Friday was spent in my car for five and half hours in dense traffic. Usually a 30 minute drive between Palm Springs and Indio, it was pure chaos on this route. People, who ran out of petrol, had to push their cars to the venue. By the time we got there it was mayhem. We managed to collect our wristbands, which would be our entry for the

next three days of music heaven and festival hell. There were around 100,000 people on the fields the entire weekend, give or take a couple thousand per day depending on the artist playing. My friend and I watched LCD soundsystem perform some fantastic electro/punk songs that got your body moving. We decided to leave before Jay-Z arrived and the traffic started. So, sadly we did not see him, but heard him from our car. On Saturday, we made it to the grounds by 4pm. We were a group of six. Saturday’s headliner sensation Muse frontman Matt Bellamy is described as a progressive rock, classical and electronic band. Dead Weather, an American alternative rock group with collaborative artist Jack White (from the White Stripes), Dean Fertita Queens (Stone Age), Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) and Allison Mosshart (The Kills) also rocked the night along with American Indie Rock band Gossip’s loud and proud front woman Beth Ditto. Moving on to electro/ pop, MGMT and British group HOT CHIP, electro/indie rock band were entertaining. DJ David Guetta played the dance tunes that night. Kaskade, another DJ for the Sahara dance music tent. 2 Many DJs, headed by two brothers from Belgium David and Stephen Dewaele, were mixing it up electro style. The list goes on… Technology seemed to have taken a break. Blackberries and iphones were sending

delayed text messages. People were not receiving calls, were frantically trying to text friends or get in touch them. I could not meet with two of my girlfriends because my phone had completely given up. But, what’s a little bit of technology glitch, when you can enjoy smashing music. Along with three of my friends, I did listen to three or four bands and enjoy the rays of the warm California sun. By the evening, I went into the Sahara tent to dance to and hear Kaskade. Then I followed my friends to the Coachella stage where MGMT were playing. Their songs are catchy, fun and dance-worthy. By the end of the evening I was super excited. I was going to see a band that I had been waiting to see for a long time. I was still at the VIP picnic area getting a drink, when I heard the exuberant sounds of the electric guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. I turned around and saw the main stage covered with huge, white lights shining down and dashing across the crowds of thousands of people. The night was alive with ‘Uprising’, the band’s

opening song. It was Muse. They played several songs from different albums, including their newest album, The Resistance. The Muse performance was hailed the best of the entire Coachella festival by radiobroadcasters, music magazine critics, fans and people who have never seen them live before. They rocked. The sound, synchronicity, quality and energy they emitted were unbelievable! It was an out of body experience for me. It was Sunday, the last day at Coachella and, I was still in awe of Muse. However, there were still a couple of bands we had to see. Gorillaz, virtual British-Pop band created by Damon Albarn from Blur and Dave Hewlett, co-creator of comic book Tank Girl, were the stars. Other bands that were popular at Coachella included Phoenix, an alternative rock band from France famous for their song ‘1901’; Spoon, American Indie rock band, famous for their song ‘Don’t you Evah’; Thom Yorke, lead vocalist of Radiohead, 80s Hip Hop group De La Soul, and soul and funk legend Sly Stone, and Orbital, British Indieelectronic duo. Plastikman’s music (Ritchie Hawtin is the DJ behind this alias) is best described as minimal techno and dark, deep, electro beats created by computer and digital mixing equipment. I was ready to go home, but not before I had heard Plastikman. A friend of mine who works in the music industry recommended that I go and listen to this techno-

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MUSIC

mixer genius. Throughout the afternoon I chilled out to music by Spoon and Phoenix. By sundown, we trekked over to the Sahara dance tent and elbowed our way through the jumping and gyrating party people. It was an endless sea of glow sticks and people were smiling and whistling at the stage. Orbital was about to start. A huge digital screen descended down from the top of the stage and the music started along with visual futuristic images. They played a mix of old electro dance beats from the 90s. Without further a due, about forty five minutes later, the internationally acclaimed DJ Plastikman ticked onto the screen with outstanding psychedelic visuals and

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a digital bass that rushed through me from my toes up to my head. The mixes and sets were great and got everyone dancing. I was impressed, because this genre of music, minimal techno, is rarely played in the United States and is not popular at all here. It is very popular in the UK and Europe. Music festivals can be fun, but they are not for everyone. I have been to concerts to see specific bands or musicians that I like and music I like to listen to, so I know what people I am going to expect to see in the audience. Music Festivals like Coachella and Reading Festival, UK are exhausting, loud and crowded. By no means are they safe for children and family.

A music festival is a place where people go to enjoy themselves from the everyday stresses of work, home life or environment and listen to real live music and see performances in an open space and share the experience with one another. It is unlike any other experience I have ever had in my life. Coachella had the best line up of artists, sound engineers, lighting, stage set up and venue for this year’s performances. I immediately took note of the bands I saw and downloaded hundreds of new songs on itunes when I got home. Coachella is one of my favourite festivals and the only one I have been to so far

H.H Muzna Bint Kais Al Said

Born in London in 1985. Raised in the Sultanate of Oman and educated in the UK and Oman. “Motivated by creativity, I consider myself a free spirit. I’m working towards my goal in life, my passion that is Art.”


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Sablah at Al Bandar

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The offer is valid for residents of Oman only, from the 16 th of May to the 9 th September 2010. Commissionable at 10% to Bonafide Travel Agents. Terms and conditions apply


EVENT

Glitz, Glamour and Class: Signature Bahrain’s first birthday celebration was all this and more...

an affair

54 Abdul Nabi Salman, His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Al Amri, Oman’s Ambassador to Bahrain & Vinod Thangoor, Operations Manager , UMS Bahrain


The Al Noor Ballroom Ritz Carlton

to remember Our sister publication, Signature Bahrain, celebrated its first birthday in style last month. And, in true ‘signature’ style, it was an affair to remember. Held in the Al Noor ballroom of the Ritz Carlton Hotel & Spa, the event was as classy and sophisticated as its attendees that included His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Al Amiri, Omani ambassador to Bahrain; His Excellency Enrico Padula, Italian ambassador to Bahrain; Khalifa Abdulla Al Rumaihi, Director Of Protocol, The Court Of HRH Prime Minister; Ece Ceteci, Vice President – Country Human Resources; R.Lakshmanan; CEO – Sakana Holistic Solutions; Gregory

Brinkerhoff, CEO, First Leasing Bank; Philiphe Calafat, Senior Vice President – BNP Paribas; Waleed M Sharif, MD – Sharif Group; Abdul Wahab Al Hawaj, General Manager – Al Hawaj Group; Mark Neukomm, General Manager – The Ritz Carlton and Jurgen Baumhoff, CEO – International Hotels Establishment among others. Signature Bahrain Assistant Editor, Marie-Claire, took to the stage to welcome the guests before introducing Operations Manager – UMS Bahrain, Vinod Thangoor, who spoke about the magazine and the future of things to come. After the speech, His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Al Amiri unveiled the soon-to-

be-out ‘Bahrain on the Move’ publication. Formalities over, it was party time! Guests mingled with each other while enjoying a scrumptious selection of canapés and beverages that were the perfect prelude to a platter of some of the most delicious desserts, which included both dark and milk chocolate fountains with a mountain of fresh fruit to dip in them. Adding to the bliss of food, was the music by an elegant three-piece classical band comprising two violinists and a pianist, who kept the guests enchanted with a wide selection of classical

music and modern classics. A heavenly combination, one might add! There were also gifts galore with a business card ‘lucky dip’ where guests had a chance to win gifts ranging from meals for two at the Ritz Carlton to some luxuriously crafted perfumes and cosmetics from Al Hawaj, and of course the much-coveted Bang & Olufsen mobile phone. As far as parties go, Signature Bharain was one rocking event and it would not have been possible without our sponsors, Bang & Olufsen, Al Hawaj, Amouage, The Ritz Carlton, A & E and The Radisson Blu Hotels

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CARS

SWATHED IN STYLE

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INFINITI HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE ITS TOUGH BEGINNINGS AND HAS RISEN TO SUCCESS IN A MATTER OF JUST A FEW YEARS. THIS SUCCESS WAS NAMELY THANKS TO ONE MODEL THE G35. NOW, INFINITI HAS JUST UNVEILED THE LATEST MODEL IN THE G COUPE LINEUP – THE G37 CABRIOLET

I

nfiniti was first introduced to the world in 1989 in the United States. As with Lexus, of Toyota, and Acura, of Honda, its primary purpose was to create a new identity for Nissan to sell premium vehicles, which wouldn’t otherwise fit in with Nissan’s more mainstream image. The first car produced by the marque was the Q45, which was based on a shortened wheelbase version of the Nissan President. The Q45 included a 278 hp V8 engine, in addition to four wheel steering and active suspension system on the first generation Q45t variant. In 1990, the company introduced an all new 2-door model, the M30 coupe, which was in production for just three years. Soon after the M30, Infiniti launched two more models in the two years to follow, an entry level G20 in 1991 and the edgeless and rounded J30 in 1992.

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CARS

Infiniti sales were initially slow and by the mid-1990s, Infiniti was lagging behind Lexus and Acura. By then the Q45 had lost its popularity because it has long since diverted from its image of a sporty executive sedan, having become a barely recognizable, ponderouslyhandling sedan that earned the nickname “The Japanese Lincoln”. In 1997, Infiniti released the QX4, modifying and adding luxurious accommodations to the Nissan Pathfinder. The decision to use the smaller platform instead of the larger Nissan Safari, made Infiniti one of the first makers (apart from SUV specialists, Jeep and Land Rover) to offer a mid-sized luxury SUV. Like a traditional SUV, it was based on a truck platform, which gave it a competitive edge against the competition thanks to its off-roading abilities. In 1999, Infiniti revived the G20, based on the discontinued

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JDM Nissan Primera, in a bid to improve sales but ended up unsuccessful. The company also had a similar result with the I30 in 1996, even after major changes were done to its appearance and performance in later models. Things were not looking too good for Infiniti and by 2000 and the company was actually facing extinction. In a last bid effort to keep the brand moving, Infiniti completely redesigned Q45 flagship for the 2002 model year. But it wasn’t this model that changed the fate of Infiniti forever; it was the 2003 model year G35. A sports sedan far exceeding the capabilities of its Primera-based predecessor, the Nissan Skyline-based G35 became an instant hit. The release of the sport-tuned FX35/45 crossover that same year also shared the G35’s success. It was a pioneering vehicle that combined sportscar handling and performance

with station wagon-like versatility and all-weather capability. Soon Infiniti also decided to offer a larger SUV to compete with the Lexus LX470 by offering the Infiniti QX56, based on the Nissan Armada, in 2004. Infiniti’s sales and reputation continues to rise as Carlos Ghosn follows through on his vision to break Infiniti away from its Nissan roots. The G35 series helped re-define Infiniti as the “Japanese BMW,” an image it continues to cultivate. This reputation has been enhanced by the new FX35/ FX45 SUV, and the redesigned M35/M45 for the 2006 model year. The M45 model featured the same engine as the flagship Q45, and its success prompted Infiniti to remove the Q45 from its lineup for the first time ever in 2007, at which time the M45 became the flagship model. The following

year a redesigned version of the G35 sedan was introduced, followed in 2008 by a new version of the company’s G coupe, the G37. In April of this year, Infiniti launched a new model in its illustrious G coupe line up in Oman – the stunning new G37 Convertible. The convertible is the company’s ninth model for the Middle East market. It was designed from the outset with one goal in mind: to excite the senses. The stunning silhouette is perfectly proportioned, looking just as beautiful with the three-piece folding hardtop roof up or down, while the performance promised by the potent 3.7-litre VQ-series V6 engine is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Rated at 328 horsepower, the engine is backed by a standard electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with magnesium


paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching technology which delivers fast, smooth and satisfying downshifts for the enthusiastic driver.

all-new body panels from the A-pillar back, along with a 1.1inch wider overall width, wider rear track and modified rear suspension.

The Convertible maintains a coupe-like silhouette with the top up through use of a special three-piece ‘clamshell’ retractable hardtop, which takes approximately 25 seconds to open and close, allows for both a stylish shorter rear overhang and a low trunk lid. Compared to G37 Coupe, the G37 Convertible utilizes

Along with its G37 Coupe-like proportions, the Convertible offers signature Infiniti styling cues such as the flowing front fender curves, a wave-style aluminum hood, expressive front fascia with double-arch grille and L-shaped HighIntensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional xenon headlights. In the rear, the taillights are

unique to the G37 Convertible, incorporating an inner “circle of light” for added style. The chrome rear trunk finisher incorporates both an integrated high-mount stoplight and the small camera for the standard RearView Monitor system. The interior design combines sophistication, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness with unique systems created to enhance the open-air driving experience. The driver-oriented cockpit features an Infiniti signature

instrument panel design with Infiniti electroluminescent instrumentation, integrated multi-function information drive computer display and the signature Infiniti analog clock. The double hand-stitched leather-covered steering wheel is designed for maximum comfort and usability, with standard wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. For all lovers of music, the convertible is equipped with a unique Bose Open-Air Audio System, where headrest speakers and the stereo output automatically change volume and equalisation based on outside noise and vehicle speed. And to further add to the comfort, an innovative Adaptive Climate Control System, that automates fan speed and air volume according to vehicle speed and cabin temperature, delivers optimal heat or air conditioning, top-up or topdown, any time of year. And for those of you seriously considering the vehicle, the G37 Convertible will be offered in eight exterior colors with a choice of black or beige leather seating complimented by polished wood trim accents. For customers with even sportier tastes, red leather seating matched with red wood accents can be specially ordered

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REPORT

OF CHAIRS & VISUAL SENSES

2010 SALONE INTERNAZIONALE DEL MOBILE (MILAN FURNITURE FAIR) SAW THE BEST IN THE WORLD’S HOME DÉCOR INDUSTRY GATHER TO UNVEIL THEIR LATEST COLLECTIONS. A SIGNATURE REPORT

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T

he Salone Internazionale del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair) is not so much a fair as much it is a treat for the visual senses. And, this year’s fair was no different. The furniture was delightfully modern. And yet, that is not all there was to it. Somehow, as one wandered through the collections on display, one could not help but be overwhelmed by the sense of sophistication and class creeping up on their person. Simply put, the designs were not so much furniture as they were art. Take a look, for example, at Nika Zupanc’s frilly yet smart designs that exploit a market niche in the furniture industry. Her ‘Gone With the Wind’ Collection showcased at this year’s fair was delightfully feminine and achingly brilliant.

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REPORT

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The focus of this year’s fair was on sustainability. Designs were mainly technologycentric. And theme seemed to be more on the lines of ‘Do we really need another chair?’ The answer is, of course, a resounding ‘No’. Unless, the chair is uniquely designed, economically packaged, and functional: A chair above all others. Designers went all out to create this ‘chair.’ Like last year, where designers had found their inspirations in the environment, this year also saw the environment playing a worthy muse. Emeco’s 111 Chair, for example, was a classic redesign of an older model, produced using 111 recycled Coca-Cola bottles

per chair. Three million plastic bottles were used in production. Lamp shades by Yves Béhar used shades made of paper, but had LED light shining through a crystal on the inside. This produces a chandelier effect without using any of the expensive materials. Matali Crasset’s coat hanger reflected designers focus on combining functionality with practical use; the coat hanger delightfully transforms into a guest bed (a mattress) and a small night stand. Talk about innovation!

black and white were the colours of the day, flashes of vibrant colour could be seen as in the designs by Dutchman Bertjan Pot and Big Game for Moustache (their coat racks were a deep, vibrant purple). First Prize at the Salon Satellite – a show held to honour up and coming designers – went to Nao Tamura for a series of serving plates. The plates held an uncanny resemblance to banana leaves and, being made out of silicone, even rolled up like them.

The designs unveiled at the fair were delightfully fresh, creative and certainly aesthetically pleasing. Whilst

Other than traditional furniture, this year’s fair also featured kitchen and toilet designs. Japan’s bathroom

obsession found its outlet in Toto’s new Washlet design. The toilet featured a builtin bidet operated with a remote control, its tornado flush was reminiscent of a particular waterfall in Japan and the toilet also featured seat temperature control and a drying function – for front and back. Not exactly a toilet; mostly an experience. And that is really what this year’s fair was all about: An out-of-the-world experience that saw 329,563 attendees plus the 5,791 communications operators, including 5,110 journalists from all over the world. You could call it a triumph of sorts! Given that 2009’s recession saw a fall in both attendance and sales

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FEATURE

Art of Timelessness

WITH OVER A CENTURY’S WORTH OF CREATING NOVELTY WATCHES, EBERHARD & CO. CHRONOGRAPHS ARE SYNONYMOUS WITH PRECISION AND INNOVATION… Georges-Emile Eberhard, founder of Eberhard & Co., was born in Switzerland to a Bernese family that had its roots in watchmaking. Georges-Emile learned the art that goes into making chronographs from his father and was only 22 when he founded the Manufacture d’Horlogerie Eberhard & Co. in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1887. Thus begins the story of Eberhard & Co. and their 122 years’ history of making the world’s finest

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timepieces. Eberhard & Co. has always been at the forefront of innovation, in terms of design as well as technology. It was in 1919 when the first wrist chronograph was presented. This sleek design had a strap with moveable attachments and a hinged caseback. By 1926 Georges-Emile’s heirs had taken full charge of the Maison. They’d inherited his keen eye on innovation, but still maintained a respect

for tradition and continued making classic timepieces that were uniquely Eberhard. In the 1930’s, Eberhard continued to display their potential in creating novelty timepieces and introduced a new chronograph with a self-winding movement – a veritable innovation in its time. During the 30’s, Eberhard & Co. watches were worn by commissioned officers of the Royal Italian Navy and the crème de la crème

of the European society. The company’s quest for novelty further lead to the creation of a new chronograph in 1935 that possessed two push buttons for stopping and starting without setting to zero. Three years later, in 1938 the Maison came out with yet another unique chronograph – one with an hours counter and the first of its kind. Immediately a year later, staying true to their motto, the watchmaker came out with a wrist watch featuring a flyback hand, a device that enables


double timekeeping. All this while, the Maison had been making watches only for the men. Time had now come to design some watches for the fairer sex as well. And it was in 1947, at the tail-end of WW II that Maison Eberhard & Co. began venturing into the ladies’ watches market. By the 1960’s, Eberhard watches began to reach new heights in watchmaking and began introducing watches that displayed electronic movements. And the Sirio collection introduced in 1970 was Eberhard’s reaction to the very zeitgeist and the watches’ most characteristic feature was the newly conceived quartzcontrolled calendar movement. The 80s saw the advent of the Chronomaster Frecce Tricolori, especially dedicated to the famous Italian aerobatic squadron as well as the Navymaster chronographs collection. This was followed by the Tazio Nuvolari collection in the 1990s.

In the new millennium, the watchmaker revolutionised the chronograph read-off with the Chrono 4: the first chronograph in the history of watchmaking whose counters were arranged in one row. Scafodat, the collection of diving watches, Temerario as well as the Extra-fort collection, have been exclusively designed for sports persons. Meticulously crafted with progressive designs these watches surpass any timepiece in the chronograph league. This year Eberhard & Co. has introduced Gilda, a beautiful collection catering only to women. Enhanced with diamonds and precious metals, this timepiece truly gives a new concept to femininity. Today, Eberhard & Co. has a truly illustrious clientele, people who seek perfection and peformance. Eberhard’s passion for watch-making has been passed down over generations and the modern day Eberhard timepieces have immense technical quality, a chic elegance and an unbeatable performance

The Eberhard range is available at Gallery Argan outlets 65


TRAVEL

AN ORIENTAL JOURNEY At 76,800 grt (Gross register tonnage) it is the largest cruise ship in Star Cruises Asian fleet and most definitely the perfect way to capture the sights and sounds of the Orient in all the glory. The 268m long and 32m wide SuperStar Virgo offers the comfort of 935 cabins with 1,870 lower berths to sail in and experience countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. On board the 13-storey high ship, which cruises at an average speed of 24kn, must-

try facilities include jet stream lap pools, a superb gym, an Italian Trattoria and elegant lounges that have been given an Oriental twist with richly coloured decor, gold statues, karaoke rooms and some of the best Asian restaurants afloat. You can choose from 13 restaurants and lounges offering delicacies from all over the world. Its fabulous array of restaurants ranges from the large windowed Bella Vista Dining Room (which serves international cuisine), to the exquisite Tatami Room

complete with sliding screens, low tables and floor-level seating, where parties of six can indulge in a Japanese banquet extraordinaire. Another outdoor venue is Taverna on Deck 13 for alfresco snacks in a nautical setting, with a sail-effect canopy, trestle benches and tall tables set on wooden barrels. One deck down is Cafe Gelato, where you can round off a snack fest with an ice cream, an elaborate pudding or, if you must go all healthy, a fresh

OST HE M ASIA T O ISE T S OF CRU IC PART ERSTAR O T EXO THE SUP FFERS S ST ON THAT O HAN JU D T N O VIRG H MORE DINING A. . . C S T U S N A M T CL INME FIRS NTERTA E

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fruit juice. Also located on the ship’s upper decks is the indoor/outdoor Mediterranean Buffet and Terrace for casual breakfasts and lunches. Both Asian and Western snacks are available around the clock at the a la carte indooroutdoor Blue Lagoon and there’s also a huge, free-to-use 330-seat family-style Chinese restaurant, the Pavilion Room or the Noble House for Chinese fine dining or the Samurai for some Japanese cuisine. You can also try some Italian fusion

at the Palazzo. And last but not the least, you can enjoy some authentic Indian food at The Taj (It is the only cruise ship in the world that has an authentic Indian restaurant on board that is certified ‘halal’) A Foodies’ delight, alright! The fun does not end here. Recreational facilities include a library, an internet surfing area, a Mahjong room, a card and board games area, an 864seat show lounge, cinema and endless other entertainment programmes. An enviable

range of sports and fitness facilities include a swimming pool, a rock climbing wall, and a golf driving range. You can also pamper yourself at the spa, beauty salon and Jacuzzi and indulge in some metime, while your kids occupy themselves by the water fun pool, or the boulder-climbing wall, video arcade. The ship also houses a children’s cinema, playroom and nursery. Kids or not, do try the world’s first stainless steel water slide on a cruise ship. Said to cost a whopping US$550,000, the

superstructure was installed on the luxurious liner during her dry dock in January 2009. After all the fun, games and food, you can retire to any of the suites and staterooms that cater to all tastes, assuring you of well-deserved retreat with that classic touch of elegance and luxury. The perfect ending to perfect day!

To book your experience contact on 24559977 You can also email at: holidays@ouat.co.om

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INDEX

BOOKS YOU MUST READ, MUSIC YOU MUST TUNE IN TO AND MOVIES YOU MUST SEE…

BOOKS • • • • • • • • • •

The Lion – Nelson DeMille The Divine Life of Animals – Ptolemy Tompkins Death Echo – Elizabeth Lowell In My Father’s House – E. Lynn Harris Medium Raw : A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook – Anthony Bourdain Max Makes a Friend – Grosset & Dunlap The Passage – Justin Cronin Attila : The Gathering of the Storm – William Napier iPhone and iPad Apps for Absolute Beginners – Rory Lewis The Castaways – Elin Hilderbrand

MOVIES

• Life – Narrated by Oprah Winfrey [Blu-ray] • Three Stooges Collection: 1955-1959 [DVD Wide Screen / B&W] • Absolute Power [DVD] • The Wolfman [DVD] • The Bridges of Madison County [DVD] • Steel Magnolias & My Best Friend’s Wedding [DVD] • War of the Worlds [Blu-ray] • Band Of Brothers & Pacific Sampler [Blu-ray] • A Star Is Born [DVD] • The Last Station [DVD]

MUSIC

• To The Sea – Jack Johnson [CD] • Twelve Nights in Hollywood 3 & 4 – Ella Fitzgerald [B&N Exclusive – CD] • Bom Tempo – Sergio Mendes [CD] • Bionic – Christina Aguilera [Special Edition – CD] • Twilight Saga: Eclipse [Special Edition Soundtrack – CD] • Mojo – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers [CD] • The Laws of Illusion – Sarah McLachlan [B&N Exclusive – CD] • Live at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz – Jeff Beck [Vinyl] • Chaos – Futureheads [Vinyl] • Tough 2LP – John Mayall [Vinyl]

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THE LAST WORD

ô°VCG …òdG ƒg ¿É°ùfE’G ¿CG ¤EG Ò°ûJ ≥FÉ≤◊Gh OƒLƒe º∏©dG . …QGô◊G ¢SÉÑàM’G ¤EG iOCGh ¬°ùØæH ô‚RQGƒ°T ódƒfQCG The science is in. The facts are there that we have created, man has, a self-inflicted wound that man has created through global warming.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

ÉjÉ°†≤dG ºgCG øe óMGh ¬æμdh Ωƒ«dG ¬¡LGƒf …òdG …óëàdG §≤a ¢ù«d …QGô◊G ¢SÉÑàM’G ¢SÉÑàM’G á«°†≤H á«YƒJ äÓªëH ΩÉ«≤dG Éæ«∏Y ¿ƒμj ±ƒ°Sh á«fÉ°ùfE’G ¬LGƒJ »àdG πLCG øe É¡¡LGƒf »àdG äÉHƒ©°üdGh ∂dP øe OGôaCÉc É¡¡LGƒf »àdG πcÉ°ûŸGh …QGô◊G . áeOÉ≤dG ÉædÉ«LC’ áÄ«ÑdGh á©«Ñ£dG OQGƒŸG ≈∏Y ®ÉØ◊G øY ´ÉaódÉa Éæd »eƒb øeCG ádCÉ°ùe É¡fCG ≈∏Y ∞æ°üoJ ¿CG Öéj áÄ«ÑdG ¿CG iQCG ? ¬æY ™aGóæ°S …òdG ɪa ’EGh ìÓ°ùdÉH ´ÉaódG ᫪gCG ¢ùØf ¬d ÉfOQGƒe

OQƒØjQ äôHhQ I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defence of our resources is just as important as defence abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?

Robert Redford

ƒjôHÉc …O hOQÉfƒ«d Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet.

Leonardo DiCaprio 70


Ghó¡àLG º¡fCG óH Óa ¢û«©dG øe óZQ ‘ ¿ƒ°û«©j ¢SÉædG ¢†©H π©éj ÖÑ°S ∑Éæg ¿ƒμj ¿CG óH ’ ¿Éc AÉ«°TCÉH »≤∏J ¢SÉædG ¿CG iQCGh äÉØ∏fl ∑Éæg ¿CG iQCG ÉeóæY ≥«°†dÉH ô©°TCG ÉfCGh º¡∏ªY ‘ . ó«Øj ɪ«a É¡eóîà°ùf ¿CG ¿ÉμeE’ÉH

GõjÒJ ΩC’G There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.

Mother Teresa

IôμdG ñÉæe πμ°T ≈∏Y »àdG á«°ShôdG â«dhôdG Ö©∏f øëf …CG ¤EG . »JCÉà°S »àdG ∫É«LC’G ≈∏Y ôKDƒJ ±ƒ°S »àdG á«°VQC’G ? ¢VQC’ÉH IôeÉ≤ª∏d øjó©à°ùe ¿ƒμf ±ƒ°S ióe

Oô› áÄ«Ñ∏d á≤jó°üdG äGQÉ«°ùdG ¿ƒμJ ød IÎa ó©H . IQhô°V íÑ°üà°S å«M QÉ«N

. »chRƒ°S ó«ØjO We are playing Russian roulette with features of the planet’s atmosphere that will profoundly impact generations to come. How long are we willing to gamble?

. ƒ°ûJ ƒ«Lƒa Environmentally-friendly cars will soon cease to be an option...they will become a necessity.

David Suzuki

Fujio Cho

≈∏Yh É¡H ¿ƒª©æj ¿CG ¿Gó∏ÑdG øe ÒãμdG π«îàj ’ »àdG ¥ƒ≤◊G øe ÒãμdÉH ¬«a ™àªàf ó∏H ‘ ¢û«©f ¿CÉH ¿ƒXƒ¶fi ÉæfCÉH ô©°TCG ±GÎY’G Éæ°†aQh ¬«dEG Éæ∏°Uh …òdG Qhô¨dG ¿CÉ°ûH ≥∏b ÉfCGh ¢VQC’G ÉæeC’ ∫ɪgE’G Gòg øe ÖYôdÉH ô©°TCG ÉfCÉa ∂dP øe ºZôdG ≈∏Y ÉædR ’ ÉæfEÉa ≥FÉ≤◊G √òg øe ºZôdG ≈∏Yh çQGƒc ´ƒbh ¤EG …ODƒj ¿CG øμÁh Éæ«∏Y ôKDƒj ¿CG øμÁ πμ°ûH Ò¨àJ ¢VQC’G ¿CÉH . Aƒ°S É檰ùj ød ¬fCGh øeCÉe ‘ ÉæfCÉH áYÉæb

hôc ‹Ò°T I feel we are so blessed to live in a country where we enjoy so many rights that other countries cannot even begin to imagine. However, it terrifies me that we seem to have lost touch with our connection to the earth. I am concerned that we have risen to such heights of arrogance in our refusal to acknowledge that our earth is rapidly changing in ways that might affect us catastrophically but instead, we hold steadfast to our belief that nothing can happen to us as a people.

Sheryl Crow

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Signature - English - June 2010