TAG HEUER SUPER WHEELS
ASTON MARTIN ONE-77
GISELLE - A PREVIEW
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10 EVENT AL MAR'A EXCELLENCE 26 UPFRONT THE LATEST IN NEWS
REVIEW MILLENIUM HOTEL MUSSANAH
CARS ASTON MARTIN
46 WELLNESS THE SPA CHEDI MUSCAT 54 DÉCOR DOGTAS 60 STOPOVER LISBON
ACCESSORIES TOD'S SIGNATURE COLLECTION PLUS MORE........
TAGHEUER SUPER WHEELS
ASTON MARTIN ONE-77
EDIT NOTE EXCLUSIVE
GISELLE - A PREVIEW
VOL1 - ISSUE 3 COVER IMAGE COURTESY ROHM EDITOR IN CHIEF FATMA AL ARAIMI GROUP EDITOR MAYANK SINGH ASSISTANT EDITOR DEEPA RAJAN CORRESPONDENT MYSSAA AL HINAIAH EXPERTS Travel - BRUCE STEWART, ANNE COLBY Fashion - NATASHA LUNN, NADIA FOUZI Finance & Investments - K. L PRASAD ART Senior Art Director SANDESH S. RANGNEKAR Designer MARIYAM RASHID Senior Photographer RAJESH RAJAN Photographer
THAT MUSIC… That music always round me, unceasing, un-beginning — yet long untaught I did not hear; But now the chorus I hear, and am elated; A tenor, strong, ascending, with power and health, with glad notes of day-break I hear, A soprano, at intervals, sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense waves, A transparent bass, shuddering lusciously under and through the universe, The triumphant tutti—the funeral wailings, with sweet flutes and violins—all these I fill myself with; I hear not the volumes of sound merely—I am moved by the exquisite meanings, I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery vehemence to excel each other in emotion; I do not think the performers know themselves—but now I think I begin to know them. WaltWhitman
MOTASIM AL BALUSHI PRODUCTION Production Head GOVINDRAJ RAMESH ADVERTISING & MARKETING Advertising Manager CHANDNI MANIAR Asst. Advertising Manager JISHA VELLUVAN CORPORATE
Of all the poets that wrote about music, Walt Whitman has always been a personal favourite. Whitman's poetry abounds in references to music and song but nowhere more so than in 'That Music Always Round Me'. It couldn’t ring truer in these times when we are celebrating music with the opening of the Royal Opera House Muscat. The inaugural season is nothing short of a musical miracle with a line up stars such as Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, Lebanese diva Magida El Roumi, the opera Carmen and the ballet Swan Lake with more to come next year.
Chief Executive - SANDEEP SEHGAL Executive Vice President - ALPANA ROY Vice President - RAVI RAMAN Senior Business Support Executive RADHA KUMAR Business Support Executive
As the Royal Opera House Muscat finally opens its doors, it ushers in an era of cultural revival for Oman and for the people of Oman, for you and me, it brings in the chance to keep humming that music always around me, unceasing, un-beginning…. Hear the sopranos, the tenors, the bass….
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LET THE JOY OF MUSIC SURROUND YOU...
BLOCK YOUR DATES
Anniversary of the Founding of Puno Nov 3 – Nov 5 Puno and Lake Titicaca, Peru Swahili Fashion Week Nov 3 – Nov 5 Karimjee Hall, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Fashion's Night Out: Tokyo Nov 5 ، Tokyo, Japan International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Dubai IFPDA Print Fair Nov 2 – Nov 6 The Park Avenue Armory, New York London to Brighton Veteran Car Run Nov 4 – Nov 6 Hyde Park, London, Sussex resort of Brighton, UK
Pushkar Camel Fair Nov 18 – Nov 27 Pushkar, Rajasthan Third International Conference Language, Literature and Translation Nov 22 – Nov 24 University of Bahrain, Sakhir, Bahrain
Fireworks Extravaganza Nov 5 Pontypool Park, Pontypool, Wales
Dubai International Jewellery Week Exhibition 2011 Nov 10 – Nov 13
Jewellery Arabia 2011 Nov 22 – Nov 26 Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre, Bahrain
© SWAROVSKI 2011
Khimji’s Luxury & Lifestyle Ruwi Street: 24796161 Qurum: 24560419
THE LATEST AND OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY… BAG THIS
With the launch of the Vanitas handbag collection, which features quilted leather and the Medusa icon, Donatella Versace celebrates the rich heritage of the House of Versace. In the Versace lexicon, the word Vanitas has been used in a variety of ways: as a description of the rich embellishments and embroideries synonymous with the Versace collections of the 1990s, as the name of the first chair that Gianni Versace designed, as well as of the influential series of books he published, and most recently, for the popular Versace women’s and men’s fragrances. Versace boutiques in the region are located in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, KSA (Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar), Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain
Hermès presents a new dream complication that tames time in order to make it intensely personal. This unconventional watch reflects the Hermès philosophy of time - a playful and singular time to dream. The Arceau Le Temps suspendu conceals time and erases it from the dial whilst continuing to register its ceaseless march. This new horological complication developed exclusively for Hermès is a world first. Behind a simple and playful gesture lies a sophisticated mechanism capable of making the user forget time via a subtle play of cams, pinions and segments. The mechanics behind the illusion are created by an additional module enabling automatic and spontaneous alternation between suspended time and standard time. Available at stores in UAE, Bahrain and Qatar
The Wave, Muscat, marked the release of the new Almeria East Apartments at Al Marsa Village, the largest precinct in the Sultanate’s first 100 per cent freehold master-planned community. The three boutique buildings featuring 92 spacious apartments that were released to prospective buyers earlier last week, received overwhelming response in The Wave, Muscat’s 8th property release. Almeria East concludes the final developmental phase of the Almeria block and is expected to attract homebuyers from Oman in addition to key neighboring markets including Kuwait, UAE and Qatar.
Thierry Mugler has unveiled a new limited edition of Alien, the sensual, vibrant, and mysterious Eau de Parfum. This collector’s item, designed by Thierry Mugler and available exclusively in the Middle East, includes a lavish gold case, sunlit to display this limited edition and stunning feminine fragrance. The fragrance is a wonderful combination of the floral, woody and amber. Available at Capital Store outlets in the city
Fan di Fendi is for women who are “free, sensual, joyful and electrifying”. This fruity-floral leather concoction begins with top notes of pear, tangerine, black currant, has a heart of Damascus rose, yellow jasmine, Indian tuberose and base notes of patchouli, and leather. It comes in a massive glass bottle decorated with a golden frame in the shape of the logo of the company (two F letters), with a golden-black stopper with name of the house of Fendi. Available at Muscat Pharmacy Perfumes and Cosmetics outlets across the city
THE NEW BULL
The latest Lamborghini, the V12-powered Aventador LP 700-4, was formally unveiled at the brand's showroom in Al Khuwair recently. This 12-cylinder engine car, is the best ever produced in terms of top speed, acceleration and suspension. Capable of a top speed of 350km/h, the 6,498cc engine develops 700HP and is capable of pushing the car up to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds. A single piece carbon fibre monocoque cabin helps in reducing weight and maintaining rigidity, keeping the overall dry weight at 1,575kg. Unmistakably a Lamborghini, the Aventador is clothed in the brand’s characteristic and distinctive design language -- with its extremely powerful proportions, its exact lines and precise surfaces, and with taut muscularity in every one of its details. The Lamborghini range is available at the brand’s Shanfari Automotive showroom in Al Khuwair
Inspired by the Earth’s unstoppable power and energy, the ‘Lava' collection from Mouawad consists of exquisitely hand-crafted pieces of 18k rose gold, citrines and black and white diamonds meticulously forged and randomly layered together to form a powerfully frenetic lava motif. The Lava pieces are at once bold and beautiful – fun and wonderfully frenetic with a classic style that sparkles with Mouawad charm. The collection includes exquisitely detailed earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings and bracelets. Available at Mouawad Muscat Boutique, Al-Khamis Plaza, Al Qurum
Azzaro’s Jolie Rose evokes life, colour, softness and femininity through the delicacy of a small flower. It’s a powdery blend of flowers and zesty, velvety fruits that rest on a musky-woody base. A bright, generous and well-rounded fragrance, it reflects Azzaro’s values of simplicity and cheerfulness and offers joy and spontaneity to the wearer. Available at Captial Store outlets in the city
You can now enjoy fine dining at the Salalah Marriott Resort’s latest dining option, Al Dana – the Seafood Restaurant. The newly re-opened restaurant is open five nights a week from Tuesday to Friday from 7pm to 11pm, kicking off the season with a Lobster Extravaganza, offering sumptuous Lobster pasta, Lobster Thermidor and many more seafood a la carte delicacies. The Salalah Marriott Resort is also offering an exciting package this festive season. The package starts from OMR 45 per person in a Double Deluxe Room, including complimentary airport transfer from / to Salalah International Airport and 17 per cent taxes and government charges.
Bulgari’s new Monete cuffs in green kurung, blue crocodile and purple lizard all set in yellow gold with antique silver coins pay tribute to the aristocratic women of ancient Greece and post-World War II Rome via pieces that evoke a sense of history, pride and tradition. A celebration of culture, a balance of haughtiness and joie de vivre, the Bulgari Monete collection is the luxury house's way of retelling history with exceptional focus on the power of mythical women and their refined femininity and the symbolic power of coins from the ancient world Available at Bulgari stores in the UAE and Bahrain
Oh, Lola! The new fragrance from Marc Jacobs is a sparkling, fruity-floral, and flirty facet of the original Lola. It opens with a refreshing top note of effervescent raspberry and has a peony heart with addictive vanilla in the dry down, which leaves an unforgettable touch. She is coy and she’s clever… She has a beautiful smile and a youthful spirit. She’s vibrant and playful. She’s the perfect Marc Jacobs woman.
The uber-trendy Ubhar, located in Bareeq Al Shatti Mall, Shatti Al Qurum, recently announced the launch of its new menu. The new menu has retained the most popular dishes of the previous menu along with new signature fusion Omani, traditional and international dishes. For starters, there are new salads such as Musna Salad, which is an Omani-Thai fusion dish. The menu also includes a number of traditional Omani dishes including Saloonat Owal (Shark Curry) and fusion Omani dishes such as Qabooli Mahshi; a Syrian-Omani fusion dish. Ubhar has also introduced corporate and home-catering services, buffet arrangements and corporate lunch box service.
Versace Versense is a contemporary bouquet that combines Mediterranean elements into a glamorous, sensual fragrance that marks the Versace woman. A refreshing top of bergamot, green mandarin, and prickly pear opens the scent and melds into an alluring heart of sea daffodil, cardamom, and jasmine. A warm drydown of woods and musk completes the sophisticated essence. .Available at Salam Studio and Stores, Qurum
We send our kudos to Oman Sail for launching a sailing programme exclusively for women in the Sultanate. The Women’s Programme supported by BankMuscat will take that to the next level, instilling confidence and teaching valuable, transferable life skills while also creating jobs and unique opportunities for the nation’s women. Oman Sail’s guest of honour at the launch of the Women’s Programme, Her Excellency Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed al Shibaniyah, Minister of Education, also unveiled the Farr 30 boat, which the women will be competing in during Sailing Arabia – The Tour. The boat has been named Al Thuraya, a name significant to sailors throughout history. It is the name of a star cluster, known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters and its appearance in the sky was critical as it marked the start of the sailing season.
LOUNGE UNDER STARS
With the weather cooling down, Sama Terrazza, Oman’s first rooftop lounge at Park Inn has now opened its doors to guests. Popular for its panoramic view and relaxing environment with lounge music, Sama Terrazza offers a ‘tapas’ menu that will change on weekly basis for the regular guests to enjoy a wider selection of snacks with their drinks. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, DJ Tahir will play lounge music to set the mood for a great weekend. An entry fee of OMR5 will be charged for men, inclusive of one beverage, while the ladies will be allowed complimentary entrance. The rooftop Lounge is open from 6pm to 1am all days of the week.
TAXI ON WATER
For the first time in Oman, Muriya Tourism Development Company, has established a new Sea Taxi Service that will be operational between Marina Bandar Al Rowdha and the Jebel Sifah Marina, with three round trips on weekends and at convenient timings on weekdays. Initiated in collaboration with Jassa Beach Sea Tourism Company, the Sea Taxi service can ferry up to 20 passengers, and on an average, will take around 45 minutes to reach the destination. It will operate three round trips during weekends and at convenient timings on other days.
RETROSPECTIVE - EXCLUSIVE
BUTTERFLY FEET Prima Ballerina Petra Conti answers Deepa Rajan's questions on dance et al ahead of the upcoming performance at the Royal Opera House Muscat
he is a revelation. The angelic Petra Conti has been accorded many an ode. Light as a butterfly, like a graceful statue, she has been said to be a vision of perfection; her body and soul in perfect harmony with each other. This award-winning dancer was born in Anagni and at the age of 11 became a student of the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome under Margherita Parrilla, where she graduated in
2006. During her training she has participated in various events including the International Festival of Dance at the National Opera of Bucharest and EU-CHINA Arts Summer School held in Beijing. She has played leading roles in numerous shows such as Les Sylphides, Swan Lake and Oblivion. In January 2007, she debuted at Verona Philharmonic Theatre in the role of Cinderella choreographed by Maria Grazia Garofoli. She also perfected her craft at the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, performing as a soloist. She has been the prima ballerina at
Teatro alla Scala in Milan in August 2009. In an exclusive to Signature, Petra Conti speaks about her journey and expectations on her first performance in the Middle Eastâ€Ś How and when did your journey into the ballet world begin? â€œI started studying classical ballet at the age of 11, at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome. My mother was a ballerina too. But, it was my choice; a passion that grew gradually and spontaneously. When I was young, I would
dance to the music of Chopin and Tchaikovsky, and I would imagine being on stage and hear the applause of the audience, cheering me.” They say that no other art form is as physically demanding as a ballet performance. How do you prepare yourself for the role mentally and physically? “The stress right before the show is always enormous. It is a great responsibility when you are chosen to perform the principal role in a ballet. And every time, it comes with a new emotion. Mentally, I try to study the character that I am playing,.I guess the reactions…the way she feels. Physically, there is always the task of rehearsing thoroughly before going on stage, every step must be tried and practiced and perfected. You have to sweat so much before being able to achieve the final result.”
Is there ever scope for improvisation in a performance or are you absolutely programmed to every minute detail? “It is true that every step has been rehearsed in detail, but it also true that no performance is alike. Every time a new emotion can come on to stage and little improvisation is always possible; it is connected with the feeling you have in that moment.” Is this your first time in the Middle East? If yes, what are your apprehensions and expectations? “I’ve never been to the Middle East and this will be my first performance in the region. I’m very excited because I have heard wonderful things about the Royal Opera House Muscat and I
believe it is splendid. Of course, I’m very curious to feel the audience's renergy and emotion, which that is the most important thing for a dancer and a performer.” If you had your pick of roles, which would it be and why? “The roles that I feel I belong to are definitely romantic and tragic. Roles such as Giselle and her madness, Juliet and her desperation, Tatiana and her love and pain ... The special gift a ballerina has is to transform herself everytime into a different character, even if the charecter is completely the opposite of the real self. It is a challenge to play and interpret dynamic and exuberant roles.”
Natalie Portman’s character in Black Swan goes through extremes to prepare herself for a role. How much of it can be applied as a ‘fact’ to a dancer’s routine, in the real life? “The daily life of a dancer involves long hours spent in the rehearsal room focused on improving technique and interpretation of a character. It is a training that continues at home, even after the rehearsal hours. I study myself in front of the mirror and study my facial expressions in the mirror, watch the dance videos, or read about the character. I dance in my mind going through the correction I have been given during the rehearsals. It is an entire process that gradually gets me closer to that character. On the day of the performance I wear the costumes, do my make-up, my hair... I am not Petra anymore. I am Giselle or Juliet, or any other character I'm playing. If this labels us artists as fantic or mad..well, I'm also mad." Is there a line between athleticism and art in the work you do or are they so intertwined that it’s impossible to separate them? “Ballet is an art and like every art it is seen and experienced subjectively. That is why perhaps there is no ‘best dancer in the world’ because it is not a sport and the skill is not determined on the basis of scores obtained in a race or a game. Every complicated technical virtuosity loses meaning if you do not ‘dance’. The dancer, unlike sports athletes, does not perform individual exercises. The dancer dances for whole act, he/she expresses something and its purpose is to excite the audience and infuse sense into every step and every gesture.”
The Ballet Giselle is a ballet in two acts with a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier, music by Adolphe Adam, and choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. The librettist took his inspiration from a poem by Heinrich Heine. The ballet tells the story of a peasant girl named Giselle whose ghost, after her premature death, protects her lover from the vengeance of a group of evil female spirits called Wilis. Giselle was first presented by the Ballet du Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris, France, in 1841. The choreography in modern productions generally derives from the revivals of Marius Petipa for the Imperial Russian Ballet (1884, 1899, 1903). Experience the dance of life in the impeccable production of ‘Giselle’, performed by Teatro Alla Scala Ballet Company under the direction of Makhar Vaziev and accompanied by the Accademia alla Scala Orchestra conducted by David Coleman.
RETROSPECTIVE - REVIEW
G LIBRETTO MAGNIFIQUE Franco Zeffirelli’s Turandot is an extravaganza with monumental sets and glitter; the perfect beginning for Royal Opera House Muscat’s inaugural season. A Signature review 22
iacomo Puccini died before Turandot was completed – yet it is undoubtedly one of the most popular and most performed of his works. Turandot represents not only his final opera, but also a work that is undoubtedly the last chapter of a glorious period of melodrama that blossomed in the late 19th century. Renato Simoni, the librettist, director and theater critic, suggested the fairytale Turandotte (written by the Venetian author Carlo Gozzi in 1762) to Puccini as suitable material for a lyric opera. The composer agreed enthusiastically, having rejected numerous previous suggestions and in November 1919 Simoni joined forces with Guiseppe Adami (who had already written libretti for two previous Puccini operas) to prepare the new text. Puccini’s love for exotic settings and his fascination for the character of Turandot – the cruel, icy princess, who is quite different to any of Puccini’s previous leading ladies, are what
Zeffirelli's show is an extravaganza with monumental sets and glitter, acrobats, a Chinese dragon and a large, ragged chorus, forced down to the lip of the orchestra pit by the sets and by the minions of the princess. First seen in 1984, this oriental spectacle begins in the manic legendary Peking where a steady stream of executions has turned the populace into an unruly mob. Strutting mandarins, bald monks and muscled executioners lord it over a teeming citizenry. The bloodthirsty Turandot's entrance is made aboard a golden, curtained pleasure pavilion that rises above the city like a ghostly apparition. Act II raises the tempo with its three-tiered Chinese imperial palace courtyard with a waterway staircase, towering way on top a gleaming pagoda beneath which sits the emperor on his throne, flanked by countless courtiers holding satin lanterns and banners heavily decorated in brocade. In the midst of all this stands archetypal ice princess Turandot (soprano Martina Serafin), who despite having sworn never to be possessed by a man, eventually succumbs to the persistent and charismatic Calaf, played by Mario Malagnini. She is attired in voluminous costumes and topped with fierce, encrusted headdresses and is a vision when she belts out a huge aria,In questa reggia (In this palace) in the face of Prince Calaf, the last in a string of thus-far hapless suitors. When Calaf quickly pierces Turandot's defenses by answering her three riddles, the princess is vulnerable, divested of her crown, clearly attracted to Calaf and as errified of him. The palate of emotions that one gets to see on Turandot's face is awe-inspiring. From being a shrew to becoming a coy woman, Martina has you living the charecter yourself. Calaf’s Nessun Dorma (None shall sleep) in Act III was an aria that standing ovations are made of. Another character worth mentioning is Turandot’s counterbalance (if you can call her that) Liu. Interestingly, the sympathetic and tragic Liu (Soprano Irina Lungu) does not feature in the original story (Gozzi’s fairy-tale).
She features in Puccini’s opera as a counter to icy Turandot, and is very like Puccini's other heroines. Also noteworthy are Ping, Pang and Pong who provide brilliant humour and colour to the stage with their vibrant costumes. More than 1,000 costumes by Maurizio Millenotti and elaborate sets (that required 22 containers) were prepared for the three acts of this Muscat production. Powerful performers, overbearingly impressive sets and costumes are all nothing without the music, of course. Puccini’s composition is in many respects extremely modern. The composer has used his utmost creative resources to
produce a work that clearly ranks as one of the major compositions of 20th century musictheater. It is but befitting then that Domingo (who has also performed the role of Calaf as a tenor earlier) was asked to conduct this stately piece of music along with the legendary orchestra of the Fondazione Arena di Verona. If the cat calls and whistles are anything to go by during the final curtain call for the performers on stage, one can safely assume that ROHM’s ensemble cast backstage has definitely done something right. Zeffirelli’s ice princess and ROHM have thawed open a river of cultural revival, for sure
Photo credit M. Al Zubair
make this libretto the perfect way to throw open the most grandiose chapter in Oman’s cultural progress. It is not surprising that the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) chose to launch its inaugural season with Puccini’s Turandot, a grandiose production exclusive for the ROHM by legendary Italian opera director maestro Franco Zeffirelli with Fondazione Arena di Verona orchestra performing under maestro Placido Domingo’s soulful baton.
CALENDAR 2011 NOVEMBER 5 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA & WORLD-RENOWNED CELLIST YO-YO MA NOVEMBER 10, 11 & 12 TEATRO ALLA SCALA BALLET COMPANY PRESENTS GISELLE NOVEMBER 17 UMM KULTHUM: THE LEGACY BY RIHAM ABDUL HAKIM NOVEMBER 23 THE WORLD OF MAGIDA EL ROUMI FEATURING MAGIDA EL ROUMI NOVEMBER 28 UNIVERSAL BALLET OF KOREA IN ‘SHIM CHUNG – THE BLINDMAN’S DAUGHTER’ NOVEMBER 30 JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS DECEMBER 17, 19 & 21 OPERA CARMEN BY GEORGE BIZET DECEMBER 27, 28, 29 & 30 SWAN LAKE BY THE MARIINSKY BALLET DECEMBER 31 NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA PERFORMANCE BY THE MARIINSKY BALLET
BUILDING NATIONAL TALENT Among the key issues facing the Sultanate of Oman, the biggest challenge is to build human capital to meet future strategic goals and lead the nation on the path of progress. OMAN FORUM – BUILDING NATIONAL TALENT, an initiative of Oman’s premier business magazine Alam alIktisaad Wal A’mal (AIWA), will bring together the government, private & public sector, workers’ community, academia, consultants and media on a single platform to share information on the development of national talent and discuss solutions to meet the challenges related to the creation of a stronger talent pool. To be organised in association with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), OMAN FORUM – BUILDING NATIONAL TALENT has been supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Civil Services, Sultan Qaboos University and The Research Council (TRC). The telecom leader ‘Omantel’ and tourism infrastructure promotion and development body ‘Omran’ are also supporting the prestigious forum as Associate Partners. KPMG is the Knowledge Partner; Times of Oman and Al Shabiba are the Media Partners for the event. The primary objective of the forum is to promote thought leadership by disseminating information on the subject and constructing innovative ideas for a wider participation of the Omani youth in the national building process and upliftment of the society. For more information on OMAN FORUM – BUILDING NATIONAL TALENT, contact Ahmed on 99356490.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE The Al Mar’a Excellence Awards will recognise and honour women across diverse fields…
he countdown to the first ever Al Mar’a Excellence Awards has begun. With nominations pouring in, the scintillating event will now be held on December 5 at The Amphitheatre, Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa.
The event has been shifted to a new date owing to the large number of nominations. Women are not only nominating themselves but other women as well. The extended time period will facilitate more women to be part of the awards process and offer a wide selection of the most deserving winners. The awards, a first-of-its-kind initiative seeks to applaud, honour and acknowledge women from different walks of life. The Al Mar’a Excellence Awards will honour women from the following fields and profiles. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Corporate Leadership She leverages her achievements and business acumen to facilitate change and create opportunities. She demonstrates respect for and engagement with her community, clients and colleagues. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Fashion Design The ultimate accolade, which recognises an acclaimed designer who has made a significant impact in the nation and abroad. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Performing Arts She is an individual whose energy and excellence have defined or redefined the art for today's discerning audiences. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Fine Arts She is an individual whose energy and excellence have defined or redefined the art forms of painting/sculpting/photography. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Educational services She contributes through practice, research or administration in a learning environment, including the education system, employee training and community education. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation She has taken an innovative approach to solving a problem, filling a need or breaking into a new market. She has made sacrifices and risked a great deal to successfully manage, launch or revive a business, product or service.
Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Health Services She is unwavering in her commitment to building healthy communities by elevating the values of physical, mental or spiritual well-being. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for achievements in Science and Industry She is dedicated to the advancement of scientific or industrial discovery or application. Her efforts forge new roles for women and create opportunities for future generations in fields of science, applied science and natural resources and information technology. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Technology She is a leader in technical know-how and is committed to the advancement of technology. Her efforts forge new roles for women and create opportunities for future generations in the field of information technology. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Sports She is an exceptional woman who has taken her country to new heights of fame and success in the field of sports. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Petroleum Services She is a leader in the petroleum services industry and is committed to the advancement of energy services. Al Mar’a Excellence Award for Social Responsibility She is unwavering in her commitment to her community/environment and to uplifting and empowering less privileged/disabled people or threatened wildlife and biodiversity. In addition, there will be awards for Woman of the Year and the Most Promising Young Woman. The Awards will judge achievers according to different parameters like innovation and creativity, the impact their contributions have had in society, their leadership abilities and the goals achieved. The final ranking process with be appraised by our official assessment partner, Ernst & Young. How does the nomination process work? If you wish to nominate yourself or other women who you think deserve to be honoured for making a mark in their respective fields and thereby impacting society, all you have to do is log onto www. almaraonline.com or fill up the nomination forms also available at selected retail outlets, which will then have to be submitted with your (or your nominee’s) supporting documentation at United Media Services, Ruwi. The Al Mar’a Excellence Awards… it’s all about honouring the women who continue to make a difference…
The Al Mar’a Excellence Awards 2011 is an Al Mar’a Initiative. Strategic Partners: Mercedes-Benz (Zawawi Trading Company, the authorised general distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Oman), BankDhofar and Nawras. Support partner is Taageer Finance Company SAOG. Assessment Partner: Ernst & Young. Media Partners: Times of Oman, Al Shabiba, H! and Al Youm Al Sabe. Radio Partners: Al Wisal FM and Merge 104.8 FM. Printing Partner: Ruwi Modern Printers.
JOINING HANDS The Al Mar’a Excellence Awards is proud to have on board three strategic partners who are committed to the cause of women’s empowerment in Oman. Top officials from these three organisations speak about what this partnership means to them …
Craig Hardie, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Oman What is your idea behind partnering the Al Mar'a Excellence Awards? By sponsoring this event, the Management of Zawawi Trading Co. LLC, the authorised General Distributor of Mercedes-Benz in the Sultanate of Oman, would like to convey a vital message that, in line with the policies of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, we stand behind important social causes in the Omani society of today, such as empowerment/support of Omani women of zeal and ambition. The main slogan of Mercedes-Benz, “The Best or Nothing”, applies not only to class and luxury, but reliability and safety as well. As all the aspects of our brand are aligned with excellence, it is our honour to support and recognise the excellence achieved and expressed through the exceptional women of the Sultanate. Anthony Mahoney, CEO, BankDhofar What is your idea behind partnering the Al Mar'a Excellence Awards? BankDhofar’s decision to partner with The Al Mar’a Excellence Awards is an excellent way to show our support to the women in Oman who deserve recognition for their accomplishments. Ross Cormack, CEO, Nawras What is your idea behind partnering the Al Mar'a Excellence Awards? His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has spoken of the important role that women undertake in the country and Nawras is committed to playing its part in recognising and encouraging women’s contribution to society, be it at work, at home or in the wider community. We are delighted to support this event to recognise excellence as our own core values are to be caring, excellent and pleasingly different.
Autavia Dashboard 1933
LEGEND OF SPEED TAG Heuer’s passion for racing has always meant more than supplying just the most innovative equipment. Signature takes you on a journey down the success years of this popular brand… 28
Formula 1 chronograph 1985
t was 1860. Inventors everywhere were obsessed with the idea of speed. Among them was Edouard Heuer. That was the year he founded the Swiss company that is today’s TAG Heuer. In 1866 he moved his workshop from St Imier to Bienne. There the Henriod family, who were machine manufacturers and neighbors of Edouard’s, were developing prototype automobiles. The age of speed was beginning. During trips to Britain and the United States in the 1870s and 1880s, Edouard Heuer saw first-hand how quickly the pace of life was changing, and how popular horse racing was. He could see that he would have to create timepieces more accurate than ever before to keep pace with the tempo of this new era.
In 1882 he became one of the first watchmakers to manufacture large amounts of chronographs. In 1887, he patented a revolutionary mechanism which is still in use today: the oscillating pinion. It meant chronographs could start in less than 2/1000ths of a second. The automobile age was just dawning, and with it a new era of precision, pioneered by Heuer. When cars and racing were in their infancy, the Heuer family were already keen motorists. They could see where the future lay, and by 1900 were buying their first automobiles. As cars became ever faster, ever more sophisticated, the Heuers were always there, creating the equipment designers and drivers needed. By 1911 the Heuers had pioneered dashboard chronographs. In 1916 they launched a new era in precision with the Mikrograph, the first stopwatch to measure 1/100ths of a second. For long-distance races, in 1958 the Heuer firm produced an onboard timer, the Rally Master, which comprised an eight-day clock and a twelve-hour stopwatch. TAG Heuer’s passion for racing has always meant more than supplying the most innovative equipment. Not only was the brand the first to sponsor top
racing drivers, it was also the first to partner a whole F1 team – none other than the legendary Scuderia Ferrari. Nonetheless, the stars TAG Heuer has supported since then read like a motor racing hall of fame. Dozens of immortal names have worn the logo, from Jacky Ickx and David Coulthard to Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button today. In between they have backed F1 multi-champions Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Fernando Alonso, Ayrton Senna, and Mika Häkkinen. The performance you cheer on a Grand Prix circuit doesn’t happen by magic. Behind it lie gruelling weeks and months of practice. Drivers must constantly push themselves to improve on their best. In 1971, on their private test track at Fiorano, the Ferrari team were training hard. The problem was, in those pre-computer days no equipment was accurate enough to record the splitsecond timings they needed to ratchet up their performance. To meet that need, TAG Heuer engineers devised the electronic ‘Le Mans Centigraph’. Thanks to it, Ferrari were able to record timings to a 1/1,000th of a second. Practice makes perfect, and the mouldbreaking technology paid off with F1 World Champion titles for drivers Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter in 1975, 1977 and
1979, and Constructors titles in 1975-77 and 1979. TAG Heuer’s next leap forward was to build that 1/100th of a second technology into a chronograph. That’s how the ‘Chronosplit’ was born: the world’s first quartz wrist chronograph equipped with a double digital display. Its fusion of glamour and hi-tech appealed so much to Enzo Ferrari, founder of the company, that he ordered a limited edition of 15, embellished with the famous prancing horse logo. The Chronosplit is still a groundbreaking symbol of groundbreaking teamwork. In 1985, the brand joined forces with McLaren in a partnership, and over 26 years, has pushed the boundaries of Formula 1. Since they joined forces, TAG Heuer has provided McLaren drivers with cutting-edge timekeeping technology for their test sessions. So, it is no coincidence that McLaren have notched up over 120 Grand Prix wins, and been victorious in the World Drivers’ Championship nine times. All the winning drivers have earned a place in the F1 Hall of Fame: Senna, Prost, Häkkinen, Hamilton. All of whom have been TAG Heuer brand ambassadors. And if that wasn’t enough, for 11 consecutive seasons from 1992 TAG Heuer was the official
FOCUS timekeeper for the F1 World Championships. The advanced technology that won the brand that role is on a staggering scale: 18 tonnes of equipment; 20km of wiring; 19 antennas embedded in the track; 20 technicians monitoring 20 cars simultaneously through 150 on-site monitors. These pioneering techniques made sure that in over 175 Grand Prix races not a single time was contested or corrected. Even more impressive is the brand’s involvement in the still unbeaten world record for the closest finish in motor racing history. It happened in France, in the 2006 Race of Champions, a highlight of the season, when top drivers from different racing categories went head to head. A mind-boggling 2/10,000ths, or 0.0002 of a second, separated winner Mattias Ekström from Heikki Kovalainen. That minuscule fraction of time represents an astonishing ten millimetres between cars travelling at over 220mph. And it was TAG Heuer’s state-of-the-art timekeeping that made this possible. Today, TAG Heuer works with the makers of the world’s most glamorous and forward-looking sports cars, from the Audi R8 to the McLaren MP4-12C. The pundits say the future is electric, and TAG Heuer is backing the future again. We are partners with GT producers Tesla, the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are already revolutionising GT technology and creating the cars of tomorrow
TIME OF TRIP In 1911 Tag Heuer received a patent for the "Time of Trip", the first dashboard chronograph
MICROGRAPH 1916 In 1916, Heuer introduced the "Mikrograph", the first stopwatch accurate to 1/100 of a second
CARRERA 1964 One of the most popular Tag Heuer timepieces, the Carrera, was designed by Jack Heuer and introduced in 1963
MICROTIMER 1966 The Microtimer, introduced in 1966, was the first portable time-keeping system to measure 1/1,000ths of a second
CHRONOSPLIT FERRARI 1975 The ‘Chronosplit’ was the world’s first quartz wrist chronograph equipped with a double digital display and its fusion of glamour and hi-tech appealed so much to Enzo Ferrari that, in 1975, he ordered a limited edition of 15, embellished with the famous prancing horse logo
Sel Senna 1987
TAG Heuer is available at Al Qurum Jewellery showrooms in the city
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What else can you expect with Tim Sebastian at the helm? Oman Debate 2011 will see policy-makers and decision-makers offer their insights and solutions. Words that will hopefully lead to real action on Job creation, Raising salaries, Omanisation targets, and Omanâ€™s future. Celebrating Excellence: OER Top 20 Awards, the most authoritative ranking of listed companies in Oman, will recognise the best corporate performers of 2010. To stay tuned with the event highlights, log on to www.omandebate.com At Oman Debate 2011, Tim will lead a debate on some of the most challenging topics of our time: the issues that came to the fore during the Arab Spring.
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THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE
For the ultimate adventure and luxury travel experience, Iceland is a land of opportunity. Signature discovers the secrets... 36
celand is a one of a kind holiday destination that has something to offer every genre of traveller. During a stay in this fascinating country you are able to experience everything from rock-climbing, whale watching and exploring vast glaciers to relaxing in the healing waters of the many world class spa pools. Many travellers are surprised to find that, on arrival, they are not plunged directly into severe arctic conditions. You will find that the climate of Iceland is much more temperate than most other countries which are situated at this northern latitude. Iceland has an unearthly wonder about it and boasts one of the most dramatic and vibrant landscapes in the world. The warmer North Atlantic Current has created an environment that, along with the marvelous landscape and striking features has beckoned a wide variety of holiday makers and adventurers to this small, yet enthralling, country.
Iceland is an ever blossoming country which is at the centre of its own creation. The youthful life and exuberance of the land can be felt by all who visit. The enigma of this absorbing country is sure to create a lasting effect and lifelong memories. Known affectionately as ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’, Iceland exhibits remarkable geological features, characteristic of both these natural and primal elements. Nowhere else in the world are you able to see the eternal beauty created by thousands of square miles of glaciers neighbouring over 200 active volcanoes. Iceland prides itself on producing natural unadulterated products and, with10 per cent of the land constituting the largest clear ice glaciers in Europe; this is a source of some of the world’s purest water. As you consider the mighty earthly forces that are continually shaping this awesome land, you will never cease to be enthralled with the beauty of the singular geological features. Gushing geysers, hot springs and boiling mud pools are among these natural phenomena’s that you can view and experience on your visit. One of the best places to view some of the most famous landmarks is ‘The Golden Circle’. This is the name given to a specific 300km circular tour which can be driven alone or enjoyed as part of an organised group. This route includes 3 major attractions Geysir, Gullfloss and Thingvellir as well as many other interesting and beautiful sites along the way. Geysir has been known to spurt jets up to 200ft high into the air while at Gullfloss, Europe’s largest waterfall, you are able to see the mist coming off the cascade filled with rainbows on a sunlit day. Iceland is home to the world’s oldest democracy, the parliament known as the Althing. Thingvellir, a natural amphitheatre, was the site of their meetings and can be seen and remembered today in the form of Thingvellir National Park. As well as being a beacon of adventure, Iceland attracts people from all over the globe to pursue healing and relaxation through natural spa therapies and to soak up the atmosphere in one of the many geothermal pools. The world class Blue Lagoon Hotel and Spa houses state of the art facilities as well as providing guests with the chance to bath in geothermal waters, relax in lava caves and experience the healing powers of silica mud. The Blue Lagoon provides the ideal blend of luxury accommodation, fine dining and relaxing pursuits to provide all guests with the ultimate in luxury travel. Over the centuries Iceland has developed a flourishing culture rich in music, art and literature. In the capital city of Reykjavik you will find a wide variety of different artistic pursuits such as listening to the symphony orchestra, going to the theatre, numerous museums, attending art galleries and this fabulous city even has its own opera house. The inspirational landscapes have sparked the creativity of artists and photographers from across the world. No trip to this fascinating land would be complete without discovering some of the island’s rich diverse history and gaining an exclusive insight into their culture. The Saga Museum in central Reykjavik is the ideal place to transport you back to the times of the Viking settlers and learn about all the key figures and events in the history of Icelandic culture. Tourists who enjoy the history and New Age culture of this country should take a trip out to the town of Hafnarfjorour. A
simple 30 minute bus ride out of the capital will take you to this mystical site. Hafnarfjourour has grown up around the ancient flow of lava from nearby Mt Burnell. As well as holding the annual Viking Festival, the locals believe that elves dwell in the surrounding rock formations and you are even able to take tours around the area to see if you can spot them! This vibrant city is the world’s most northern capital and has achieved the ideal balance between Norse legend and ground-breaking modernity. The choice of accommodation
ranges from 5 star hotels to local farmhouses and quirky guesthouses. The Hilton Reykjavik Nordica is the ultimate in modern elegance, while the 101 Hotel offers more of a chic and boutique atmosphere. There is something for everyone in this diverse and exciting city. The name Reykjavik translates to ‘Smoky Bay’ which is a testament to the geothermic steam and mist that rises from the ground in the area. Today, that steam is the main source of power in the city and heats homes and outdoor swimming pools throughout the metropolis. This works as pollution free energy source
which leaves the air pure, a key element in the philosophy of the Icelandic people who believe that nature is their brand and should be protected. For people who wish to know more about this energy source, the Geothermal Energy Exhibition at the Hellisheioi Power Plant offers guided tours and on hand experts who can explain the entire process. As far as dining is concerned, being a coastal city, Reykjavik is the perfect place to sample some of the world’s freshest seafood and try some of the local specialty dishes. There are many culinary treats on offer throughout the city,
numerous delicacies that are not to be missed. This infectious landscape is an ever-changing entity. It has been said that the Icelandic landscape changes every 15 minutes due to its unique geology, it is also a land where you can experience many once in a life time opportunities. You can stand on the edge of Europeâ€™s largest waterfall or marvel at the undulating colours of the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis is most definitely one of natureâ€™s most wondrous creations, a must see experience for all.
Watching this amazing light event leaves you with the mystical feeling that you have just witnessed something utterly remarkable and altogether magical. Icelandâ€™s surrounding waters are home to an abundance of whales, dolphins and other marine life.
place where you can experience wild and rugged terrain at the same time experiencing the warmth and hospitality offered by the Icelandic people. In this modern, fast paced world of constant development, this country remains pure, and unadulterated.
A sail on Faxafloi Bay from Reykjavik harbour provides you with an incomparable wildlife experience. The midnight sun on the ocean, with the majestic Mount Esja in the background allows for a distinctive and unforgettable adventure. Iceland is wondrous
Iceland stands out as the ultimate luxury destination with its wide choice of boutique hotels and world class spas, while at the same time, offering seclusion, formidable natural beauty and life changing experiences. Iceland is truly the trip of a lifetime
THE ONE & ONLY A SIGNATURE EXCLUSIVE ON THE ASTON MARTIN ONE-77 AND THE ILLUSTRIOUS HOME OF JAMES BOND’S OWN CAR, GAYDON
CARS If you are the kind of person that wants an Aston Martin and thinks that a DBS Volante or Virage aren’t rare or special enough, then Aston Martin has just the car for you – the One-77. Unlike cars like the Vanquish, Vantage and Zagato; the rarest of the Astons doesn’t have a fancy dreamlike name to accompany it. Its name simply exemplifies the fact that Aston Martin will only be making 77 examples of this stunning piece of automotive art. But each piece epitomises everything Aston Martin from technology, the hand-craftsmanship of the hand rolled aluminium panels to the attention to detail. The One-77 is a culmination of all the marque’s know-how wrapped in a gorgeous hand-crafted aluminium shell. While the exterior may utilise aluminium, the One-77’s structural core is a lightweight and immensely rigid carbon fibre monocoque. The car also employs the classic formula of double wishbones at each corner but features inboard suspension front and rear, with pushrods employed to transfer vertical suspension movements to the horizontally mounted spring/ damper units. This is a practice taken directly from racing car design and has the advantage of reduced unsprung weight and the ability to package the suspension components more effectively. Even the dampers are fully adjustable and feature advanced Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) technology; a world-first for a road car application. These special valves are state-of-the-art even at the highest levels of motorsport, and use high-precision machined components to enable the shock-absorbing characteristics of the damper to be changed without having to remove them from the car, as is the norm. Underlining the truly bespoke nature of the One-77, once delivered to its owner, the car’s suspension characteristics will be precisely setup by Aston Martin engineers to suit their exact requirements, from settings suitable for the ultimate long-distance GT, to a machine capable of conquering the Nürburgring Nordschleife. While functionality and efficiency are paramount in the design and construction of the One-77, so too is aesthetic beauty. To this end every single component has been crafted from the finest materials with absolute attention to detail. From the mesmerising weave of the glossy carbon fibre tub and the abstract, sculptural beauty of the dry sump’s oil reservoir, to the unerring precision of the billet machined aluminium suspension mounts, the One-77’s rolling chassis is an automotive masterpiece. Naturally, such a spectacular chassis demands and gets an equally exceptional drivetrain. It
comes in the form of an immensely potent 7.3L, naturally aspirated V12 engine. This magnificent power unit is an extreme evolution of the 6.0-litre V12 engines fitted to the DBS, DB9 and new V12 Vantage models and provides the One-77 with over 750hp and 750Nm of torque. Wearing Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres (255/35 ZR20 front, 335/30 ZR20 rear) developed specifically for the One-77, all the power is transmitted to the road through the rear wheels via a new six-speed gearbox. Controlled via column-mounted paddles behind the steering wheel, this robotised sequential manual is a new generation of Aston Martin’s familiar transmission. With a projected weight of just 1,500kg the One-77 will occupy the highest echelons of road car performance. Top speed is confidently predicted to be in excess of 200mph, with a 0-60mph time in approximately 3.5sec. Perhaps more importantly, thanks to the purity of a frontengined, rear-drive layout, the responsiveness and immense tractability of a naturally aspirated V12 and the low mass, high-rigidity properties of a carbon fibre chassis, the One-77 provides a driving experience of unrivalled intensity and excitement while representing one of the world’s most desirable automotive art form. Personally we don’t think that the ‘One-77’ name really does it true justice. This is because the One-77 is an Aston Martin in the purest sense and is the kind of vehicle that people may only see once in a lifetime, if ever. And when they do, it will be a moment they will never forget.
CARS HOME OF AUTOMOTIVE BEAUTY As special as it may be, the One-77 is built at the same factory as all the new vehicles in the fleet – behind the dramatic architecture of Aston Martin’s Gaydon home. It is probably the best facility of its type in the world, and the perfect showcase of how to design and build innovative sports and GT cars for the 21st Century.
And finally, rather than entrust the painting of an Aston Martin to a machine, every car is painted by experts using the latest quality equipment. Achieving the award winning finish of an Aston Martin is one of the most labour intensive aspects of its production
Aston Martin’s facility at Gaydon comprises an office space and adjoining production building. The office space is two floors high with two entrances, one for staff and visitors and the other for customers. Similarly there are two entrances to the site, one devoted entirely to individually invited customers. The building has been set in a gently undulating landscape emulating an English country estate – reflected in the stone of the reception elevation. Gaydon’s sweeping curves and lack of decoration suggest a company that is dynamic and contemporary. The offices are immediately adjacent to the production building separated by the doubleheight ‘street’ which acts as an informal meeting area and a light well to the back of the deep, open-plan, office floor plates. The production facility provides a clean, clutter free, modern environment where ease of communication is paramount and all members of staff, production and office, can work together. It has silver clad walls, a gently barrel-vaulted roof and a polished concrete floor slab containing the production lines in one large room. Unlike most car factories – where cars sit on a moving line and production is completed against the clock – building an Aston Martin takes place at a less frenetic pace. Approximately 200 manhours are involved in building each DBS, DB9 and V8 Vantage. Cars are made in a series of work stations, where technicians hand-build the cars. Once work is completed at one station, the bodies are moved to the next station on the small indexed line: the key word is quality and Aston Martin takes their time to achieve it. Although today’s Aston Martins are built in far greater numbers than their predecessors, Aston Martin remains a long way from being a massproducer. Each car remains essentially hand built by craftsmen with decades of experience beneath their fingertips. To further accentuate this fact, accurate measuring of every chassis built at Gaydon ensures each car is built to within the smallest tolerance levels. Precision measuring equipment ensures that every car will enjoy the same high standards of handling, road holding and refinement
Al Muhannad Al Hashar – Aston Martin Oman showroom is located near AL Sarooj, Qurum
Photo credit : Andy Morgan Photography
A ‘EUROPA’ UNTOUCHED Fairytale palaces and sandy beaches nearby, long dinners and an insatiable appetite for nightlife. Antiquated and trendy, lively and melancholic…All that is Lisbon…
Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums are all part of the colourful cityscape, but the real delights of discovery lie in wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets. You can stroll through the curvy tree-lined streets and watch bright yellow trams. Situated on the north banks of the River Tagus, a city set on seven hills, as the legend tells, with its cobble-stoned pavements and narrow streets full of Art Nouveau cafés promises a lot to discover. Most popular spots in Lisbon are located around Rossio and Praça do Comércio, Baixa; situated on the hill around St. George’s Castle, Alfama and Mouraria; and set on Tagus River, Belém. Lisbon also hosts a great number of remarkable museums of ancient and modern art, some of which are Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art, National Coach Museum, Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Carmo Archaeological Museum.
Do visit the Jeronimos Monastery, a World Heritage monument and Vasco da Gama's resting place and the famous Oceanarium that houses an odyssey of sea creatures in a state-of-the-art building. One of the world’s leading design and fashion collections can be seen at MuDe - Design & Fashion Museum. For those who do not want to walk do try the Segway tours across the city or take the electric buggie tours. You can rent these vehicles anywhere in the city.
Shopping is without a doubt one of the major tourist trumps of Lisbon. Lisbon is replete with both mainstream shopping centers and traditional shops tailored to suit the shopping tastes of a vast range of clients. The best of the fashion trade can be sampled along Avenida da Liberdade, a thoroughfare lined with first-hand international brand stores. The Baixa district is ideal for visitors who intend to explore the peaks of the traditional shopping in Lisbon, whereas the Chiado district bristles with design shops and bookstores. Design shops can also be spotted in the Santos district, and if strolling around in Bairro Alto, visitors have the opportunity to study the most diverse range of shops and stores, though there is a clear prominence of stores selling clothes and accessories. The biggest shopping mall in Iberian Peninsula, Centro Commercial Colombo offers you innumerous options. For those seeking souvenir shops, visit A Vida Portuguesa which is known for its authentic Portuguese souvenirs. One of the glories of Lisbon is the ubiquitous azulejo tiles: buy your own at Fábrica Sant'Ana and Luvaria Ulisses (Rua do Carmo 87), a gem of a shop, sells exquisite gloves. Markets in Lisbon are a sight to see as well as shop at. Take for instance the Ribeira Market. It is the largest food market in Lisbon. The market is located in an 1882 building which, architecturally speaking, stands out in sharp relief by its Moorish style dome. Feira da Ladra is a historical flea market. Local legends maintain the origins of this flea market can be spotted somewhere around the 12th century. But however old the market might be, the bottom line is it has managed to become a place of special tourist interest.
For luxury and tranquillity, it’s hard to beat York House, a converted 17th-century convent, with rooms around a shady couryard. Hotel Borges, which has the city's best location, in the heart of the Chaido district, next door to A Brasileira is also a good option. You can also choose from Lapa Palace, an oasis of classic luxury and the perfect Lisbon home for upscale travelers; Pestana Palace, known for its celebrity guests; Palacio Belmonte, A renovated palace by St. George’s Castle; Bairro Alto Hotel, a boutique hotel in the very center of the city, overlooking Camões Square and with rooftop lounge with fantastic city views; As Janelas Verdes, former home of Portuguese novelist Eça de Queiroz, now a romantic, quaint and intimate hotel; Fontana Park Hotel, a stylish design hotel for the discerning modern traveller, the Heritage Avenida Da Liberdade, a boutique hotel in a renovated 18th century building decorated by a renowned designer. As in any major city, there is a variety of accommodation to choose from in Lisbon, from basic hostels or guesthouses, to mid-range hotels, to sumptuous palaces, and you can be sure to find one within your budget.
Lisbon, along with its long and prestigious history, offers a huge list of delicacies and unique Portuguese cuisines. Begin your day with a cup of Cappuccino and pastel de nata(custard pastry), the most popular pastry of Portugal. If you want breakfast to be a little heavier and more luxurious then you should try ‘Uma Bica’ (strong espresso) with a much heavier pastry called Milfohles which is a pastry with layers of cream and chocolate in between every tier. For lunch try the caldo verde with potato, a common Portuguese soup and the Baccalhau (salted cod), which is the national food. If you visit Lisbon sometime between June and November, then your lunch should include sardines or Cozido à Portuguesa (Porteguese stew). Do try the rice pudding garnished with cinnamon. Food is culture in itself in Lisbon and you will find plenty of places to eat at; from cafes to fine-dining restaurants. Lisbon boasts a wide range of restaurants to suit most tastes and budgets, from traditional Portuguese to international cuisine. Many have striking interiors such as Tavares Rico, Casa do Alentejo, and Cervejaria Trindade, others have stylish contemporary décor as is the case with the trendy Bica do Sapato and Alcântara Café. And in a city known for its hilltop vistas, many offer superb views as you eat, like Chapitô, Casa do Leão, Tágide, and Via Graça. And don't forget that Lisbon also has some of the best-value eateries of any European city along with sophisticated, more expensive restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Eleven. Bairro Alto is the center of nightlife with various restaurants where melancholic traditional Portuguese music, Fado, soothes your senses. Pap'Açorda and 100 Maneiras are two of the best in the city for Portuguese cuisine and Casa Nostra is a good choice for Italian food, while Docas and Parque das Nações offer some international options for the more unadventurous palates. Vegetarians have some excellent choices, including Jardim dos Sentidos with its pleasant garden, and Terra offering varied dishes that are also excellent selections for vegans. Whatever you do, make sure you have coffee on the terrace at A Brasileira, Lisbon's most beautiful café, with a statue of the poet Pessoa seated at the next table.
EXPERIENCE Susan Potgieter, a retired language teacher and a selfconfessed music aficionado, shares her favourites with usâ€Ś
BEST OPERA/CONCERTS Phantom of the Opera London's West End at its best in Her Majesty's Theatre - I will never forget the outstanding voice of Sarah Brightman, the decor/props and setting of a world-class show. Starlight Express The entire performance was interactive and moving through the audience; which made it breathtaking. Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice combination is the reason of success behind these shows and makes them enjoyable for every music lover. Les Miserables A very moving story and the singing/acting of the entire cast was excellent. The Lion King With an All African Cast in Johannesburg, it was one of the best shows ever!
FAVOURITE ARTISTS Dvorak, Smetana, Mozart I grew up with classical music as my mother was a music teacher and at the age of 10 I attended my first Opera Cosi Fan Tutte. I recently visited Prague to enjoy the classical music. That is where I fell in love all over again with Dvorak and Smetana, being Czech composers. In Prague, concerts are performed in a 19th Century setting in Cathedrals and palaces without assistance of modern technology - classical music in its purest form. Brilliant! Andrea Bocelli and The 3 Tenors I saw the 3 Tenors; Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras; in an open air concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. Absolutely fantastic! To hear Andrea Bocelli in ROHM is going to be an experience of note. Classical Pop concert artists include Neil Diamond, Chris de Burgh, and Julio Iglesias. Favourite Music Halls Golden Hall of the Muzikverein in Vienna. It has an overwhelming rich heritage and decor dating back 400 or 500 years. I saw a Mozart concert performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, traditionally dressed...an unforgettable classical experience.
MY WISH LIST FOR ROHM Classical Pop Artists, e.g. Neil Diamond World famous choirs A West end/Broadway show The top voices of the world e.g. Sarah Brightman, Amaury Vasilli, and Josh Groban to name a few. The Lion King with an All African cast is a must! Susan Potgieter in front of the Bedrich Smetana Museum, Prague
THE REEL THING GREEK GODS, SCARY FISH, LOVEABLE CATS AND PENGUINS…COMING SOON TO A SCREEN NEAR YOU Puss in Boots
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
It may be over Shrek and Fiona, but Puss is just beginning. The Swashbuckling feline (voice of Antonio Banderas) fights to save his town with the help of Kitty Softpaws (voice of Salma Hayek) and Humpty Dumpty (voice of Zach Galifianakis).
They are back and they are on a mission to make sure we die laughing or embarrassed. The new ‘Harold & Kumar’ comedy picks up six years after the duo's last adventure.
The end of the world has never looked this tragically beautiful before. It is about a wedding, disasters and a planet called Melancholia that is heading directly towards Earth...
Bella and Edward are back and they are getting married. Part 1 of the final installment of the Twilight saga, we know story or not, it is going to be most-attended wedding in town.
Happy Feet Two
Our favourite comedians get together to make this movie a laugh riot worth watching. Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead an all-star cast in this caper about working stiffs who seek revenge on a Wall Street swindler.
Get your tap-dancing shoes on! The sequel to ‘Happy Feet’ returns with Mumble and his son Erik, who is struggling to realise his talents in the Emperor Penguin world.
My Week With Marilyn
This British drama is based on two books by Colin Clark and depicts the making of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl, which starred Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier.
We have always been suckers for epic fantasyadventures and Immortals is just that! Starring Mickey Rourke, this film is loosely based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and the Titanomachy.
Jack and Jill
If one Adam Sandler was not funny enough, this one has two (one is a female version. Watch Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) tackle a visit from his needy, annoying, passive aggressive, neurotic, identical twin sister, Jill (also played by Adam Sandler).
A horror-comedy film and sequel to the 2010 film Piranha3D, is set on Lake Victoria. Watch the prehistoric piranhas traveling through the town's plumbing, gaining access to swimming pools and waterparks!
DESTINATION R&R Nicholas and Susan Pattison head to Millennium Resort Mussanah for a quick break and review the place for Signatureâ€Ś 50
illennium Resort Mussanah has always been a personal favourite with us since it opened in February 2011. Having been a regular visitor we confess that our review of the place would have been a biased one, hence we decided to get a well-known couple to review the place. Will J. Blake, Director of Sales & Marketing at Millennium Resort Mussanah, chose Nicholas Pattison, former CEO of OPAL, and his wife Susan for the job and they gladly agreed. It was their first time at the resort and we were not surprised when they came back all refreshed and determined to return there Signature met them for their take on the stay.
THE LOCATION & AMBIENCE According to both Nick and Su, getting there was no trouble at all. “We live at Muscat Hills and it took us only an hour’s drive to reach the place. “Lack of proper signage near the hotel did make it a bit difficult. Will promised us that it would be rectified soon,” says Su. Nick adds, It was when we got there that I realised the place was quite contrary to my expectations. I knew of Millennium only because it hosted the 2nd Asian Beach games and frankly I was not expecting much from it. But I can safely say that the contrast between my expectations and the place itself was pleasantly different.” Su adds, “I found the place very quiet, unassuming and therefore relaxing.”
HIGHLIGHT For Nick it was the sheer quality of the design which is “immediately striking”. For Su it was the lighting at night across the walkway along the Marina that she found was “stunning”. Nick’s rating: ***** Su’s rating: ***** THE ROOMS Nick and Su had a spacious 63sqm Executive suite all to themselves. “It was well equipped with all that we could think of and the view was stunning,” says Nick. A separate living room and guest toilet with sumptuous furnishings ensure a relaxing and luxurious stay. The room includes a walk-in rain shower and a separate
bath tub. According to Su, the accessories in the bathroom were exceptionally good quality and unusual. Su was also very appreciative of the media hub and the espresso making facilities. “I had never seen hotel rooms equipped with an espresso machine before. It is an expensive addition,” she says. HIGHLIGHT While both found the layout of the rooms and the amenities brilliant, Su says the living room floor could have done with a carpet and Nick was of the opinion that the bathroom could have done without glass walls. “It kind of invaded the bedroom”, he says and Su adds, “You want to be able to lose yourself in the bathroom, even though it does look every nice.” Nick’s rating: **** Su’s rating: **** SERVICE “The staff is very well-trained and attentive. Someone has made a real effort to teach them and prepare them for the guests,” says Nick. “Will told us that many of the non-Omani staff at the restaurant are from Burma and I must admit I was impressed with their skills. They are hospitable, with an every ready smile on their face,” says Su. The other thing that both can’t stop lauding is the room service. Sue speaks for both of them when she says that the turndown service is excellent and there is always a fresh supply of towels. Nick and Su also had a look around the fully furnished, serviced apartments at the resort and found it very impressive and well-kept. HIGHLIGHT Both of them found the “towel elephant” absolutely interesting. The turndown service, according to Su, was very well done. Nick does regret not having tried room service, but says he expects the same standard of quality that they got to see across the hotel. Nick’s rating: ***** Su’s rating: **** FOOD For both Nick and Su, the food was top notch.
They were served a set menu for dinner that included a delectable amuse bouche to begin with. The menu consisted of delicious Fois Gras, Steak with Omani lobster and a chocolate pudding with ice cream. All this punctuated with soup and sorbet, which were really good too! “The food was prepared well and the presentation was equally excellent,” says Nick. According to Su, “The breakfast buffet was also appetising and well laid out. It is very hard to be imaginative in a breakfast buffet, so well done for being different. There is an element of ‘this is us’ rather than someone else.” Both agree that the cooking is good and Nick adds that he loved the omelette. “One has had zillion omelettes and not always has it come out perfect. This was a beautifully cooked omelette and one can see that they really take trouble to ensure that it is perfect.” HIGHLIGHT “Top Notch” is the word for both Nick and Su. Su adds: “They get the timing of the meal perfect. There is enough time between the courses. It flows.” Nick’s rating: ***** Su’s rating: ***** FINAL IMPRESSIONS Nick and Su definitely want to go back. “The service is up to the mark, the food is exceptional and the place is as serene as it can get.” Nick does have a word of advice to give. He says, “Given that it is a place that is ideal for business as well as tourism, it is a tricky act to be able to balance the business conferences and the tourists together in one place and that is something that they have to watch out for. Su also adds that a bit of the traditional Omani touch would also help add an identity to the place on the whole. All said and done, both Nick and Su whole-heartedly admit that Millennium Resort Susannah, with its marina managed by Oman Sail and the upcoming spa, swimming pool and sports facilities, makes for the ideal getaway. They have already made plans to go back with friends and family in tow
Oman Sail & The Marina Nick, a sailing enthusiast and a boat owner, is confident that the marina at the Millennium Resort Mussanah, managed by Oman Sail, will be one of its best features. Nick and Su were taken for a luxury cruise on Oman Sail’s Orena, their luxury Catamaran that has four double cabins and a fully-fitted kitchenette on board. “We visited the nearby Al Sawadi islands and carried along with us a picnic hamper catered by the resort to enjoy the morning cruise.” Both found the Oman Sail team very attentive, skilled and friendly. The Marina water sport activities include banana boat rides, doughnut rides, thrill rides, and sailing courses, such as lazer and catamaran sailing, managed and operated by Oman Sail. In the coming months there are plans being finalised for dolphin watching, PADI diving, snorkeling and boat chartering. “With all the activities that have been planned in and around the Marina at Millennium Resort Mussanah, there is no doubt that it will make the ideal water sports getaway,” says Nick. Nick’s rating: ***** Su’s rating: ****
THE TRANQUIL ZONE
Deepa Rajan tours the The Spa and fitness facility at The Chedi Muscat and comes back rejuvenatedâ€Ś
t is a long walk to this spectacular new spa and fitness facility at The Chedi Muscat, but a serene one that is dotted with soothing water bodies, greenery and wooden roofed structures that cover the expansive 21 acres of land. As you make your way across the resort’s villas, you can soak in the magnificent views of beautifully landscaped gardens, the surrounding Hajar mountains and the picturesque Gulf of Oman. You know when the journey is so special, then the destination could be nothing less than spectacular. The destination does not disappoint at all. With a minimalist white façade, the exterior of The Spa and fitness facility at The Chedi Muscat is as soothing to the sun-scorched eyes as is the new infinity pool that seems to flow into the green-blue sea. The state-of-the-art, 4,000sqm wellness facility consists of The Long Pool, a 103m outdoor swimming pool; a 400sqm health club; eight new private spa treatment suites; separate men’s and women’s steam and sauna areas; and a relaxation lounge.
As you enter the spa, you can see the blend of Omani architecture and contemporary Asian design that extends throughout its spaces. The Spa lobby acts as your portal to a blissful escape, where the ever-friendly staff is ready to take you on the relaxation journey of your life. For those who love to buy wellness products, you will find yourself spoilt for choice. On display in the lobby, are products from high-end organic brands, such as SpaRitual, REN, VOYA, ila, Abahna and Naturelle D'Orient. The Spa therapies draw from a range of wellness traditions, including Japanese, Tibetan, Balinese, Thai, Hawaiian and Ayurvedic. Relaxation rituals feature rejuvenating natural ingredients such as Himalayan cedar, Morrocan rhassoul mud, rosehip seeds, grapefruit and seaweed. The Spa also offers facials for men, elaborate baths and a full range of beauty treatments. I chose the traditional Balinese massage and after the cursory formalities, my masseuse, Arya, escorted me to my own treatment suite. I have never been a fan of group locker rooms and this came across as a blessing; even more so when I entered the treatment suite. The shower and steam room forms the centre of this huge room, separating the suite consisting of a bathtub, a foot polish corner and a vanity top from the dimly lit blissed out massage suite. After changing into a comfortable sarong, my one-hour spa journey began with a foot polish using rock sea salt infused with fresh lemon to smooth away calluses and a relaxing welcome drink. My masseuse, who
has been with The Chedi Muscat for several years, then led me to the massage table for a lie down. As her assertive hands worked at my pressure points, she informed me that the traditional Balinese style of massage uses Balinese palming, stretching, effleurage and pressure point techniques to relieve tension, improve blood flow, ease stress and calm the mind. I have often come across massage oils that leave a strong odour or one can sense a residue after the massage is done. But the oriental oil used for my massage was neither. The eye pillows also added to the relaxation. One hour of bliss over, I was guided to the relaxation lounge that offers one of the most breathtaking views of the beach and the Gulf of Oman. Wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, Arabic-inspired details, fret-cut wood ceiling panels, comfortable seating and your choice of some calming hot and cold teas; The Spa at The Chedi Muscat could be a place that you never want to leave. It is not just the spa that offers you that reason to stay. It is a haven for fitness enthusiasts and a massively good-looking carrot for all those who shy away from exercise (like yourâ€™s truly!) Even, I am tempted to get myself one of those hallowed memberships they promise and why not? The health club is padded up with 30 pieces of top-range Technogym equipment
from the Visio Web line in addition to Power Plates, a Kinesis Wall and a Pilates Corner. Among the services offered by the health club are high- and low-impact group exercise classes, as well as personal trainers. Tempted enough? Well, the hotel is releasing a limited number of exclusive memberships that will comprise access to all three of the hotel’s pools, its private beach as well steam and sauna facilities. Membership will also include complimentary laundry service, spa treatments and sessions with a personal trainer as well as discounts on food and beverage throughout the hotel. Next to unlimited access to the new fitness facility, the most sought-after membership privilege will likely be the generous 30 per cent discount on best available rates at GHM properties worldwide. Bertrand Russell, in his book Conquest of Happiness, says, “To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilisation, and at present very few people have reached this level." What he probably means is that one must have a healthy balance of leisure activities in life and that includes indulging in wellness of the body and soul. The Chedi Muscat’s new Spa and Fitness facility offers you just that. Relax, unwind and let go…
TUNE IN AMERICAN IDOLS, MOVIE STARS AND MUSICIANS, THEY ARE ALL SINGING TO YOU…SOME OF THE MAJOR MUSIC ALBUMS RELEASED LAST MONTH Clear As Day Scotty McCreery American Idol Scotty McCreery’s debut country album is an impressive collection of songs that prove why America fell in love with him in the first place.
Said to the world's ‘first app album’ in collaboration with Apple, the album is ‘partly recorded’ on an iPad and, as well as a standard CD release.
Beauty Queen Sister Indigo Girls
Seeking Major Tom – William Shatner
The album is a 13-song collection featuring the signature storytelling that fans have grown to love, touching on modern-world worries and romanticising the simplicity of days gone by.
William Shatner’s album tackles everything from Queen classic Bohemian Rhapsody to Peter Shilling's ‘Major Tom’! And you thought Captain Kirk could only tackle space, right?
Evanescence – Evanescence
Fastlife – Joe Jonas
This is Evanescence’s first album in over five years. Let’s hope it matches their massive 2003 breakthrough album, ‘Fallen’ which is said to have sold 7.5 million copies in the US itself.
Ashes & Fire – Ryan Adams This will be Alt-country posterboy Ryan Adams’ 13th studio album. Ryan Adams is one of those musicians who you either love or hate. So let’s see what emotion this manages to incite in us?!
New Blood – Peter Gabriel The album from this British rock musician consists of orchestral re-recordings of various tracks from throughout his career.
Biophilia – Björk
The debut studio album by American recording artist Joe Jonas is an ‘upbeat record’ with songs that ‘more urban and dance electronics’. Will one Jonas be enough for the audience after all the double doses? Wait and watch.
Bad As Me – Tom Waits Tom Waits' last album released almost three years ago. For all you Tom Wait’s fans out there, Bad as Me promises to be some real music to the ears!
Mylo Xyloto – Coldplay fifth album will feature additional contributions and ‘enoxification’ from Brian Eno, who previously collaborated with the band on their 2008 album Viva La Vida. We love Coldplay, enough said!
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TURKISH DELIGHTS SIGNATURE SPEAKS WITH HAYYAN AL LAWATI ON HIS LATEST VENTURE - AL HABIB FURNITURE
Someone once said “The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, civilised, meaningful environment, not about fashion or what’s in or what’s out. This is not an easy job.”
HAYYAN AL LAWATI
Indeed, in today’s forever slipping time and reduced spaces, choosing the right décor for your dream home can often be nothing less than a nightmare and this stands true more so with furniture. Hayyan Al Lawati, Business Development Director of Al Habib Real Estate, was confronted with the same issue when he
was moving houses and this was one of the reasons, he decided to set up Al Habib Furniture. “Al Habib is in the business of providing people with living space, so it makes as much sense to provide furniture for them as well. Moreover, I know how difficult it can be to find what you are looking for. I myself am searching for a certain niche that I cannot seem to find. Say, you are looking for modern furniture with a particular colour scheme and within in a certain budget, where does one go? So, we thought why not go the ‘furniture business’ way. Hayyan had been toying with the idea for more than three years before he decided to set up Al Habib Furniture
“The Sofa D’Amore is my favourite piece right now. People don’t know how to use this piece of furniture. It is not actually for a living room and is ideal for a television lounge, where you can sit back and relax.” The Sofa D’Amore is a modern interpretation, of the armchair. It is large enough to allow two people to sit comfortably and comes with a progressive movement headrest system providing ergonomics while lying, reading and watching TV. It includes storage unit that can be used as bookcase as well. Optional lamp stand makes the product more pleasant.
with his uncle and partner Shabir M. Abdullah Al-Yousef who is also the CEO of OIFC. The next step was choosing the right flagship brand and they chose the well-known Turkish brand Dogtas. “Turkey has always been known for its elegant furniture since days of the Ottoman Empire. Today as more and more people are exposed to Turkish culture and lifestyle, I feel they are also becoming more receptive to buying Turkish brands. Also, from a business point of view, Dogtas is a very strong brand to have in one’s portfolio. They have a strong international presence with more than 200 showrooms in more than 60 countries across the world. Their collection is modern and is always adapting itself to new design ideas and trends as and when needed.” Price also plays an important factor according to Hayyan. Dogtas is a brand that is value for
money, it is neither too expensive not too cheap. The other reason for Hayyan choosing Dogtas and perhaps the most vital of them all is that they are a brand that is organised in its dealings and this helps establish a strong partnership. “They know how to take their brand and sell it somewhere else,” says Hayyan. So what sets Al Habib Furniture apart from any of the furniture showrooms? Hayyan is humble enough to admit that the difference does not lie so much in the 800sqm showroom as much as it lies in the designs that they showcase. “We pride ourselves on being able to provide people with affordable furniture without compromising on the quality,” he says and adds that Dogtas is one among the many other brands that they intend to bring to Oman. “Al Habib Furniture is an umbrella under which we will bring together all kind of furniture. I want my shop to be a
one-stop-shop for everything that one wants to decorate his/her home.” We understand why, for as we sit in Hayyan’s white office that is done up tastefully, we can see his passion for all things beautiful. “I have selected each and every thing myself in this office,” he says. The office is evocative of Hayyan’s love for fusion and minimalism as well. According to Hayyan, blending things together is always much more interesting than sticking to a particular style. Why be monotonous when you can be trendy and classy at the same time, he asks. We could not agree more. If Hayyan’s minimalistic trendy office is anything to go by, we are sure that the Al Habib experience is not just about buying furniture. It is about introducing a lifestyle to the discerning customers. It is about creating a space that is your own signature style!
THE 1001-NIGHT EFFECT
IN HIS FIRST IN THE SERIES OF COLUMNS FOR SIGNATURE, ANDRÉ C. MEYERHANS TRACES THE CHANGING FACE OF ARAB ARCHITECTURE
he Romans once said, Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis, and referred to the ever changing spirit over time. While the above statement is often referred to when the generations have different opinions, there are indicators that are able to visualise changes in the understanding of society over time. One example is architecture; it reads like an open book: shapes of buildings describe visual taste, floor plans unveil social norms, interior design shows individual likes – and urban developments reflect socio-cultural awareness. The following paragraphs highlight trends observed in architecture in the last decade, mainly in the Arab Peninsula. Settlements in the Arab region developed according to a dynamic principle. Houses were built along roads and would grow over and into the public corridors as much as traffic would allow. The movement in the city’s pathways shaped the face of the town and created the typical maze of winding alleys. This has changed and zoning plans now define how the metropolis will develop. These regulations, however, focus on static elements and defined individual plots, their setbacks and maximum heights – the maximum volumes of the buildings. Reason to forfeit a city's growth based on movement for regulating it by defining the static elements is not as much a change as is understanding how a city should grow. It is the viability to put proper regulations in place that make rapid, urban growth manageable. There is another phenomenon that appeared in the last decade and affects communities: whole districts planned on the drawing board. There is economical and organisational reason for such developments, but many of the commercially initiated urban developments use a rather graphic – if not iconographic – layout when it comes to the organisation of the site. Such arrangements might be helpful to illustrate the theme of the development and to evoke positive connotations with the investors, but it often neglects the human scale and misses the complexity of a naturally grown structure. There
DESIGN are ways to overcome such a shortfall: for an Arabic themed 250,000sqm affordable-housing community in the UAE, we created a limited variety of urban units. Each unit consists of about four residential or commercial elements. The urban units can be arranged in a quasirandom pattern to form the entire settlement – just like a puzzle. These units are asymmetrical and form depending on their arrangement winding streets, pedestrian walkways (sikkas) or little parks. Principles like these allow us to accomodate requests for economically viable construction from investors and also provide the sought after diversity in urban space to the people. Arab architecture is historically cubical in nature – a logical shape considering the traditional building materials. Little rainfall in the region makes a pitched roof dispensable, and the top can be used as an extension of the house. Typically, the house followed an introverted design, meaning rooms were organised around a courtyard. Thick walls and small windows protected from the heat, the strong sun and the outside world. The same design philosophy applied to most of the
buildings up to the nineties – regardless of their purpose and size. However, with the economical success that left many of the established market places envy the Middle East, architectural shapes became more extravagant. People developed a new self-understanding and looked for forms that would reflect this. Most of the impressive architecture – built or unbuilt – show a dynamic, almost dramatic visual appearance. Twisted towers, curved skyscrapers and dancing buildings display this atmosphere of confidence and success lively. (There is a general trend in today’s, international architecture towards organic designs. This is a result of increased digital capacity and computerised manufacturing processes. While most of these international designs are driven by highly theoretical concepts, Arab designs have a more direct, visual approach in their form finding procedures.)
became more permeable. While the internal organisation remained introverted per se, the façade now often follows an extroverted design intent and, herewith, becomes a visual statement towards the public.
Changes in the room layout are less dramatic as they would require a change in the way of life, and such changes only happen gradually, often only over generations. Nevertheless, it can be seen that floor plans open up more and the separation between the inside and outside
There might be many changes but certain things remain the same: the visual stimulation of the 1001- Night architecture; its overwhelming richness and sophistication seduces everybody and lulls them into a world that is somewhere between reality and fantasy, between the possible and impossible
Interesting changes can be observed in interior design: while the affinity to strong colours remains, previously unseen shades and colour combinations start to emerge. Similarly, traditional techniques are applied to new materials. Most inspiring are inlay works of semiprecious stones which recently have become more and more fashionable. Elaborate designs develop over floors and walls and turn the interior into a colourful world. Masters of this field bring the surface alive with different finishes and depths as well as integrated illumination and brilliance of precious stones.
André C. Meyerhans is a Swiss architect who lives and works in Dubai, UAE. His creations range from 250’000sqm urban plans and one-billion-USD mixed use developments to furniture-like objects, art and jewellery. André has also written for various trade magazines and held lectures in numerous institutions on architecture and design. He is also a regular guest critique at the Architectural Department of the American University in Sharjah. For more details you can visit www.acmeyerhans.com
THE STYLE FILES
ROSEMIN MANJI ON THE MUST-HAVE IN EVERY WOMAN’S WARDROBE: THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS
It’s the essential piece that every woman relies on to make her look slender, confident and pretty much put together in an instant. It’s the LBD otherwise known as the Little Black Dress. Fashion historians ascribe the origins of the little black dress to the 1920s designs of Coco Chanel, intended to be longlasting, versatile, affordable, accessible to the widest market possible and in a neutral color. Its ubiquity is such that it is often simply referred to as the LBD. It was the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn that immortalised this dress into something so chic, unforgettable and essential. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the film and coffee table book maker Rizzoli has even launched a commemorative book that captures all the special moments in the movie. There is no exact definition of the LBD. While most would say that it’s a classic shift dress, designers have pushed the bar to explore new cuts, draping, and fabrics. Stella McCartney works the black sheer panel and Chanel with the classic tweed dress. The common factor is the black and what makes each dress an essential in the wardrobe. The black dress in most cases is like a blank canvas and the simple mix of accessories like jewellery and shoes can transform an outfit easily from a day attire to one for the night. The LBD has evolved over time from once being the figure hugging dress to Lanvin’s loosely draped silk dresses. The LBD will always be the ultimate must have in any wardrobe and it won’t let you down be it breakfast or dinner
Tips: Always choose a cut that suits your body shape Think of black as a canvas to experiment with pops of contrast colour or exotic skins Use jewellery to bring attention to areas of focus eg. Statement jewellery Essentials: Statement necklace by Kenneth jay Lane (www.my-wardrobe.com) Cuff bracelet by Marc by Marc Jacobs (www.my-wardrobe.com) Purple shoes by Pucci (www.netaporter.com) Exotic snakeskin (www.netaporter.com) Where to Buy: Theory Chanel Roland Mouret
Rosemin Manji is the founder of RR & Co. Bespoke Luxury Management that specialises in styling, media relations among other luxury services. Manji is also a regular on Studio One, Dubai TV as their fashion correspondent. She has contributed in Harpers Bazaar, Grazia and Esquire and has covered Atlantis Palm Dubai opening Red Carpet interviewing top International celebrities for MTV. Manji has been on Best Dressed list for Harpers Bazaar, Grazia, Pashion, Mondanite, Ahlan Masala. Her contribution to the fashion industry has been recognised by Arab News as Top 20 Business women in the Gulf and Ahlan Hot 100 List 2010 and 2011.
TALKING BUSINESS OMAN DEBATE 2011 – THE MOST AWAITED ANNUAL BUSINESS FORUM IN THE COUNTRY – CONTINUES TO GENERATE EXCITEMENT IN CORPORATE OMAN One of the most eagerly expected event in corporate Oman’s calendar is the ‘Oman Debate’ 2011, organised by Oman Economic Review. Thanks to the grassroots issues tackled in a healthy atmosphere where representatives from both the public and private sectors are present, a lot of excitement has been generated around the third edition of the event.The date of the event has been rescheduled in order to get better representation from key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. Renowned television hosts Tim Sebastian – the founder and chairman of ‘The Doha Debates’ and former BBC Hard Talk presenter will anchor the Oman Debate 2011. The debate will feature a distinguished panel of speakers to discuss core issues. The annual national debate is organised by Oman Economic Review (OER), the leading business magazine in the Sultanate, in association with the Capital Market Authority (CMA). The Oman Debate encompasses key themes that form the business environment of today and tomorrow in Oman. The hot topic of discussion for Oman Debate 2011 is how to cope up with the developments of the Arab Spring, which has had its repercussions on the Sultanate of Oman. The strategic partners for Oman Debate 2011 are Bank Sohar, Nawras, Canon – Genetco, Audi and Ominvest while the support partners are Al Habib, Taageer Finance and Sharq Sohar Steel. The media partners will be Times of Oman and Al Shabiba newspapers while the Official call centre is Spanco.Commenting on the tremendous support from the corporate for the event, Sandeep Sehgal, Chief Executive, United Media Services says, “The support of our partners not only gives us the confidence to take Oman Debate to newer heights every year but it is also a recognition of the salience and importance of this national platform.” Oman Debate 2011 is raising various socio-economic issues like job creation, raising salaries, sops and benefits and Omanisation for deliberation during the Debate. It will also discuss whether the Sultanate is at the crossroads of a watershed moment in Oman’s socio-economic history where everything that was held as sacred needs to be questioned and redefined. This year’s discussions will be heavily focused on how government and private companies plan to deal with subjects such as job creation for Omani nationals and the impact of rising salaries on companies and the economy at large
TOD’S NEW SIGNATURE COLLECTION PAYS A MESMERISING ODE TO ITS FAMOUS GOMMINO SOLE…
INSPIRATION After years of research on the treatment of leather, Tod’s decided to create a decorative effect that could be applied to leather to give a rich, invitingly tactile quality to special designs. The result is the Tod’s Signature Collection, a range of bags and small leather goods where the pebble motif has been rendered in the leather to give a distinctive signature to the pieces, invoking the Made in Italy craftsmanship that lies at the heart of the Tod’s philosophy.
THE COLLECTION The models of the Tod’s Signature Collection include a shoulder bag, a portfolio clutch, a small trunk style, a shopper, a soft envelope clutch and a pochette bag. The highest quality, specialist natural leathers have been sourced for the Tod’s Signature Collection and include a very soft patent leather, a metalised leather, a shiny calfskin and a semi-opaque nappa leather. All these have been chosen to highlight the signature pattern in a sophisticated way. The colour palette ranges from strong, decisive tones of deep red, black, electric blue, fuchsia and violet, to softer shades of lavender, beige and cream.
TRULY TOD’S The Tod’s Signature Collection perfectly expresses the DNA of Tod’s, bringing together ancient artisan leather-making techniques with modern design and technology to create pieces of wonderful quality that are perfectly suited to modern life. Like all Tod’s products, the Tod’s Signature Collection is both beautiful, precious and functional, and still suited to a metropolitan lifestyle, every day of the week and weekend, and every time of day and night. Significantly, the new pattern is not printed on, but rather imprinted in the leather, creating an interesting geometric play on a pattern that has been made famous by Tod’s, and can now be enjoyed in an exciting new form.
NEW TECHNOLOGY The technique used to create the Tod’s Signature Collection is extremely advanced, but born from the strong Made in Italy tradition of hand craftsmanship. Production begins with the use of a special high-pressure iron to establish the three-dimensional imprint on the leather. Then artisans form the actual pebble shape. There follows a process of mapping, stitching, and finally, natural quilting.
Available at Tod’s Boutiques in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kuwait City, Jeddah, Riyadh
TAKE10 1 Hilary Duff
It’s been Rice Krispies treats for this proud star, who shares her cravings on Twitter. “Today it was rice crispy treats! Trying really hard to give them ALL away!!!” she is said to have tweeted recently.
2 Victoria Beckham From low fat, high protein smoked salmon while pregnant with Brooklyn to orange marmalade on toast with lots of tea, while pregnant with Harper, this health- conscious stars are as proppah as her husband’s British sensibilities (which we are sure he has!)
3 Halle Berry
The Bond girl stuck to the classic. While pregnant with daughter Nahla all she wanted was pickles, along with a side of bread. The now estranged bitter Ex was once quoted as saying, “Any bread. Doesn't matter, as long as it's salt and pickles."
6 Catherine Zeta Jones Douglas
She’s said to have made her husband run pillar to post looking for Branston pickle. Considered it is a UK delicacy, one can only assume that it was not as easy finding Branston pickle as it was killing the bad guy in the movies, now was it, Michael?
4 Angelina Jolie
One can safely say that Angelina’s cravings were as eclectic as herself. When pregnant with the twins, she is said to have eaten onion rings with mustard and chocolates all in the same sitting. The chocolate bars, it is has been said, were dark chocolate and cinnamon mixed with Mexican chilies!
5 Jessica Alba
This hot looking mother, who gave birth to her second daughter, Haven Garner Warren, recently is said to have had serious watermelon cravings.
The hottest mum-to-be in town, is said to be going all out on her cravings. From the ordinary pickels to Oreo biscuits and gherkins, Bounty ice creams with hot chili sauce and bananas in ketchup, the list is just tip of the iceberg. Watch this space for more!
8 Heidi Klum
Ice creams were this supermodel-mom’ pet cravings. Heidi's favourite flavours included chocolate and mocha. We wonder where all the ice-cream went though. Not an ounce on her flawless shape, for sure!
9 Kourtney Kardashian
Very unlike a Kardashian, Kourtney’s cravings were surprisingly simple. It is said that this flamboyant socialite actually favoured fruit platters and smoothies over fried food and sweets. Well, weirder things have happened on Planet Earth, we suppose (refer to Britney Spears).
10 Britney Spears
She craved soil! Yes, soil as in mud as in soil! Well, not that we’d have expected Pop princess of the Weird to choose something run-of-the-mill!