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Infusions

Attractions

COAST TO COAST

LIVING THE DREAM

Damian Barrʼs verdict on the American Barʼs brand new cocktails

Liisi LaFontaine on treading the Savoy Theatreʼs boards

Creations

Renovations

SAY IT WITH FLOWERS

REDEFINING AN ICON

The Savoyʼs floral team makes the hotel blossom

Simpsonʼs in the Strand gets a stunning makeover

Expeditions

Accommodations

URBAN EXCURSIONS Enjoy the capitalʼs finest with a bespoke Yellow Moon Tour

E

ROOMS WITH A VIEW

Destinations

Fall in love with these luxury penthouses in the city centre

ART OF LONDON

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More than bedding ... fully living. www.ploh.com

‘Easy Breezy’ - A Ploh BedscapeTM

Delivering luxury sleep experiences at legendary hotels around the world (including The Savoy’s sister property - The Raffles Singapore.)

Enjoy the same at home.

Luxury Down Pillows . Duvets . Featherbeds . Bedlinens . Robes . Cashmere

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SAVOY

COVENT GARDEN

WELCOME ✦

RED PHOTOGRAPHIC

Authentic heritage at The Savoy

W

elcome to the summer issue of Savoy Magazine, our luxury lifestyle publication that features an array of insider Savoy news and exclusive interviews, as well as the latest trends in property, travel and what’s on in our vibrant city. We’ve been giving some thought to ‘authentic heritage’ recently. Here at The Savoy, this is something that we’re very lucky to be able to boast about. We have the chance to really stand out in a world of increasing ‘manufactured heritage’, and, as long as we fulfil our mission to back it up with great service, authenticity will always win. More and more, we come across guests seeking out that quintessential British experience, and a connection with local culture to enhance their stay. One of the reasons that this is on our minds is our exciting reopening of Simpson’s in the Strand this summer. At 189 years old (Simpson’s first opened in 1828 as a chess club and coffee house), it’s London’s second oldest restaurant, and is about to throw open its doors again, following an extensive and respectful restoration, headed up by renowned designer Robert Angell. We’ll catch up with the award-winning interiors expert about how he went about bringing this much-loved institution in line with the modern luxury dining scene.

Elsewhere, author and columnist Damian Barr hits the American Bar to sample its latest intoxicating new cocktail menu, while Belinda Bowles from Savoy Flowers discusses how she and her team add a touch of blossoming floral magic to the hotel all year round. Further afield, we discover how Yellow Moon Tours brings the very best of London to Savoy guests, and find out what makes South Bank one of the city’s most treasured cultural destinations. We’ve also rounded up a selection of stunning luxury penthouses that are sure to dazzle and inspire, as will Liisi LaFontaine, who chats exclusively about her role in the Savoy Theatre’s Dreamgirls. Please enjoy your read, and I wish you a happy summer in the city.

PHILIP M. BARNES REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT & MANAGING DIRECTOR

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CONTENTS

37 13

EVENTS Thames Foyer’s Atila Huseyin

16

PRODUCTS Little luxuries to snap up now

18

CELEBRITY We chat with actor Idris Elba

22

INTERIORS Simpson’s gets a makeover

26

REVIEW American Bar’s national spirit

31

TEXTURES The Savoy’s Mascioni linens

32

FLORISTRY The hotel’s flowers in bloom

37

TRAVEL Getaway dreams of Sri Lanka

40

AVIATION Surf Air’s personalised flights

45

PROPERTY London penthouses to die for

48

MOTORS All-new 440i Coupe by BMW

50

INVESTMENT Heritage assets on the Strand

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68

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EDITOR Frederick Latty fredericklatty@gmail.com HEAD OF DESIGN Rowena Cremer-Price rcremer-price@markerstudy.com PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR Hannah Patterson hpatterson@markerstudy.com COMMERCIAL Chris Anson chrisanson@ansonmedia.com

32

Gemma Hak ghak@markerstudy.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Richard Moore rmoore@markerstudy.com COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Nick Moore nmoore@markerstudy.com DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, THE SAVOY Emma Allam emma.allam@fairmont.com CONTRIBUTORS Adam Jacot de Boinod Alison Chambers Susan Griffin Simon Davis

72 52

TOURS Yellow Moon’s capital sights

58

DESTINATION Art and culture in South Bank

62

FOOD Feasting in Borough Market

66

ART It’s big business at Sotheby’s

68

SHOWS Our summer guide to the city

72

THEATRE Dreamgirls’ Liisi LaFontaine

ONE MEDIA AND CREATIVE UK LTD 16 Lonsdale Gardens, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1NU +44 (0)1892 779 650 • www.one-media.co Savoy Magazine is owned by The Savoy and published/distributed by One Media and Creative UK Ltd. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the owner or publisher. All prices are correct at the time of going to print. Neither the publisher nor the owner can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher or owner. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit.

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SAVOY

EVENTS JEWELLERY

“THE MOST IMPORTANT PART IS THE STORY I TELL...” The ‘sartorially stylish and musically classy’ Atila Huseyin chats about following Sinatra, performing in the Thames Foyer, and his love of the American Songbook So, Atila, tell us how you got into music

Who are some of your biggest

an amazing network of songs and

I originally started performing as a

musical influences?

lyrics. Singing those lyrics in an intimate

saxophonist at the age of 12. As fun as it

Frank Sinatra was the reason I started

environment is so special and a real

was, my heart was more in the singing,

singing, so it’s a great feeling to step into

connector for me, and I can never get bored

because I could connect with a lyric, and

those shoes and carry the torch on. Nat

of it. It’s such a great catalogue of so many

enjoyed singing and telling my story to an

King Cole is a huge favourite of mine, as

songs that you really can’t go wrong.

audience. So, from the age of 16 until now,

well as the likes of Mel Tormé, Sammy Davis

I’ve been building my vocal career, which

Jr and Tony Bennett. Steve Lawrence is very

And your favourite part of performing

has been an eventful journey.

under the radar, but a fantastic singer, as is

at The Savoy?

Wayne Newton. There’s a plethora of artists

For me, it’s the reputation that comes with

How did you arrive at The Savoy?

who I like to listen to and take little bits from

the hotel. It has a great history of music and

I used to perform in the Beaufort Bar some

to form my style.

celebrity entertainers, and it’s nice to be able

years ago, before being asked if I’d be

to perform in such a comfortable space. It’s

interested in playing in the Thames Foyer. Of

Does that include getting the look right?

about having that one-on-one connection

course, I didn’t hesitate, as it’s a great venue

The fashion aspect plays an important part,

with an audience, and of course I absolutely

to perform in, and one that reaches out to a

because that in turn makes you feel good,

love the staff. They’re very hospitable and the

really wide array of people.

and if you feel good, you’re going to give a

ones who keep the cogs turning in a place

great performance. But the most important

like that, so it really does make a difference.

What makes it so appealing

part for me is the story I tell, and my song

It’s about having that family connection with

as a performance space?

choices in reference to lyrics and how I

the people around you, and that’s what I get

The great thing about the Thames Foyer is

convey those lyrics. When we’re listening

from performing at The Savoy.

that it’s the first thing that people see when

to music, we’re somehow emotionally

they arrive at the hotel. Although it’s a large

connected to that song, and if you can feel

To find out more about Atila Huseyin,

room, it really does seem quite intimate in

what you’re singing and tell your story in the

visit atila.uk

some aspects, allowing us to be ourselves.

right way, it really can have a huge impact

We’re quite relaxed in performing when

on your audience.

we’re at the Thames Foyer, which translates across to our audience. For that reason, they

Why is that era of music so captivating?

feel quite laidback, relaxed and comfortable

I love singing the old love songs from

being there and enjoying the show.

the American Songbook, which is really

Savoy Sessions EVERY THURSDAY AND FRIDAY EVENING The Savoy has always welcomed the most talented of artists to entertain guests, and now we’re jazzing up Thursday and Friday nights in the Thames Foyer. Jazz aficionados, entertainment seekers and guests of the hotel alike will be able to immerse themselves in by distinguished talents in the industry. Every Thursday and Friday, 8.30pm to 11.30pm. Complimentary for guests enjoying drinks or dinner in the Thames Foyer.

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SANDRA VIJANDI

a hue of musical brilliance at these regular jazz nights, performed

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Cocktail Master Class SATURDAY JULY 15, SATURDAY AUGUST 12 AND SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 23 Hosted by a bartender from the American or Beaufort Bar, guests will learn how to make four innovative cocktails, while listening to the history of spirits and the influence that The Savoy had on the cocktail world. The class finishes with a luxury three-course meal in Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill. £185 per person. Available for up to four guests per class.

Chocolate Master Class SATURDAY AUGUST 19 A sweet and tempting introduction to chocolate by of one of our award-winning chocolatiers. During this hands-on class, guests will have the chance to create two unique recipes, consisting of crafting the perfect ganache, mousses and sauces. £185 per person.

Éclair Master Class SATURDAY JULY 22 AND SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17 Learn how to prepare some beautifully delectable éclairs, handcrafted by our award-winning pastry chefs and perfect for any dessert! You’ll go home with the recipes from the day, and a Savoy apron as a parting gift. £185 per person.

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SAVOY

EVENTS JEWELLERY

Historical Tour MONDAY JULY 24, MONDAY AUGUST 7, MONDAY SEPTEMBER 4 AND MONDAY SEPTEMBER 25 Follow in the famous footsteps of Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe, embarking on a historical tour led by hotel archivist Susan Scott. Listen to the innovative stories, secrets and authentic heritage that truly hallmark the iconic identity of The Savoy, finishing up in our charming Savoy Museum Bar for a glass of Champagne. Savoy storytelling – our best kept secret! £40 per person. Available for up to eight guests per tour.

Salon Couture High-Tea with Suzie Turner WEDNESDAY AUGUST 2 AND WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 6 Inspired by the salon-style fashion shows of the 1950s and couture shows once held at The Savoy, Salon Couture High-Tea with Suzie Turner showcases stunning couture gowns, pairing high fashion with high tea. Guests at the salon will enjoy a welcome cocktail, accompanied by a selection of delectable sandwiches, cakes, scones and bespoke éclairs, decorated with intricate sketches of Suzie Turner designs. £58 per person.

Burlesque

SUNDAY AUGUST 6 AND SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 3 Celebrate the theatrical history of The Savoy by enjoying an evening of scintillating burlesque entertainment, which combines old-fashioned glamour with performers from London’s ‘new cabaret’ scene. Doors open at 7pm. £30 per person.

Dinner Dance SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 30 We invite guests to put on their dancing shoes and enjoy the talented sounds of the young Alex Mendham & His Orchestra. The evening begins at 8pm with a cocktail reception, followed by a three-course dinner and a floor that will encourage dancing until midnight. £125 per person.

To make a reservation, or for more details about the culinary events and master classes at The Savoy, please telephone +44 (0)20 7420 2111 or email savoy@fairmont.com

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LUXURIES

Life’s little

LUXURIES

We round up 10 must-have items that aren’t to be missed Dornbracht sensory sky shower, £24,200, C.P. Hart The sensory sky shower celebrates the renewing effect of water, with architecture, design and intelligent control technology combining to create a unique sensory experience. C.P. Hart uses the finest materials and advanced manufacturing techniques to produce the highest-quality traditional and contemporary bathrooms. cphart.co.uk

Savoy Steam From £134, Penhaligon’s This new fragrance from Penhaligon’s

24-carat gold picture stand, extra large, £420, Joanna Wood

honours Hammam Bouquet, 1872,

For artists and art lovers alike, this

influenced by the baths from which

stunning 24-carat gold stand is an

the brand first found its inspiration.

exquisite way of displaying your

Penhaligon’s creates innovative fragrances

finest works, available in four sizes to

that tell a story and products of the highest

accommodate all manner of paintings.

possible quality, inspired by the unexpected

Joanna Wood is one of Britain’s leading

and its precious archives.

interior design figures.

penhaligons.com

joannawood.com

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cascading chandelier, featuring a series of

Roc de Cambes, Cotes de Bourg, 2012 Magnum £102 per magnum, Corney & Barrow

triedro crystal rods, arranged in a spiral

This is François Mitjavile of St Emilion’s

formation upon a chrome metal frame.

Tertre Roteboeuf Côtes de Bourg property.

The tall, narrow shape of the Eckert makes it

There’s certainly something reminiscent of

ideally suited as a statement piece within

Tertre Roteboeuf, albeit on a larger scale;

a stairwell.

a natural amphitheatre with a perfect

christopherwray.com

aspect overlooking the Gironde.

Eckert light £2,995, Christopher Wray This is a modern interpretation of the

corneyandbarrow.com

1912 seahorse rarity stamp and Charles I gold triple unite, £173,000, Stanley Gibbons With a distinguished heritage dating back to 1856, Stanley Gibbons is the world’s longest-established rare stamp merchant. Its world-leading experts travel around the globe in search of authentic, high-quality material, often of extreme rarity and value. stanleygibbons.com

Plush robe, from £78, Ploh Dreaming of that spa getaway? Surprisingly light yet oh-so indulgent, the Ploh plush robe delivers an ultra-luxurious feeling against your skin, and pampers like no other. Slip it on and allow it to caress the body, calm the mind and soothe the soul. ploh.com

Oval diamond ring and ruby bombé party jacket, Jessica McCormack, POA This ring set comprises an engagement ring set with central 4.01 oval-cut carats, and an F-colour VVS2 clarity diamond, handcrafted in 18k white-gold,and set with 150 rubies, which in turn are handcrafted in 18k whitegold and 18k yellow-gold. jessicamccormack.com

Ian Fleming’s Moonraker, £37,500, Peter Harrington Rare Books This first edition is inscribed and signed

Italian Riviera poster £395, Pullman Editions

by Fleming: “To Clare, who washes my

Pullman Editions designs striking, original,

books behind the ears! Ian 1955.” Clare

limited-edition posters that capture the enduring

served as executive secretary to Joseph

appeal of Art Deco. Their posters feature winter sports,

Kingsbury-Smith, vice president and

glamorous resorts around the world, and historic

general manager for Hearst’s International

automobiles. Over 100 designs are available at £395

News Service in New York.

each, and can be viewed and bought online.

peterharrington.co.uk

pullmaneditions.com

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“IT’S A

MI R ROR

TO WHAT’S GOING ON TODAY...” Susan Griffin sits down with Golden Globe winner Idris Elba to chat about his most recent foray into television 18 \

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CELEBRITY

I

WEST/PA PHOTOS IAN

dris Elba recalls feeling a vivid sense of déjà vu walking on set

the executive producer at Fifty Fathoms, talked to me about Guerrilla and whether

for his latest project, Guerrilla,

I wanted to come on board as an

a tale of two young activists

executive producer. As soon as I heard

involved in London’s Black

Power movement in the 1970s. “We filmed some of the teahouse

scenes right near my childhood home,” he explains, having been born in the East End’s

about John’s vision for the show, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this project.” The personal resonance was a profound factor for the actor. “As a black British man who grew up in the

Hackney in 1972. “Some days, walking to set felt like

‘70s, I felt that my voice could really complement John’s,

walking back in time.” The thought-provoking drama

and getting to sit down with him and discuss the trajectory

was created, written and directed by John Ridley, the

for the characters and the issues debated in the series

Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave.

was a joy,” he says. “It’s the kind of story that, as an actor

“When we think about civil rights, we think about the Black Panthers or Martin Luther King in the US, but there

and a producer, you dream of being a part of.” Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto and National

was a smaller, similar movement in England,” continues

Treasure’s Babou Ceesay play the central couple, Jas

Elba, 44, who also co-executive produced the series.

and Marcus, whose relationship faces intense pressure

“It was far from easy to be black or Indian in

when they’re targeted by Special Branch’s Black Power

1970s England, but we’ve never seen that story on

Desk. Led by DCI Nicholas Pence (Rory Kinnear) and

British television. The opportunity to be a part of the

his deputy Cullen (Daniel Mays), the unit is dedicated to

development process of such a uniquely original and

suppressing black activism.

important story really appealed to me, as it was the time period of my youth.” Elba, known for his Golden Globe-winning title role in

“Although I was aware of the racial injustice suffered by black people in that period, as it was well-known in my youth that the police targeted those who were brave

BBC One’s Luther, and his stirring portrayal of Nelson

enough to be outspoken, I didn’t know how high up it

Mandela in 2013’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,

went,” admits father-of-two Elba.

recalls meeting Ridley a few years ago. “We really got on, and I’d long been an admirer of his

Darcus Howe and [photographer] Neil Kenlock’s stories,

PA PHOTO/SKY UK

work,” he remarks. “Around a year later, Katie Swinden,

“And while hearing some of the more horrific stories infuriated me, I was constantly uplifted by [campaigner]

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CELEBRITY

“It was far from easy to be black or Indian in 1970s England, but we’ve never seen that story on British television. The opportunity to be a part of the development process of such a uniquely original and important

PA PHOTO/SKY UK

story really appealed to me, as it was the time period of my youth”

of how they fought back when pushed

his art gallery, he’s created a space that’s

as I grew older, I talked to my parents

against a wall.

comfortable for both black radicals and

about what they went through and the

white liberals, which puts him at odds with

problems that they faced,” he reveals.

nation to a level of equality, and I loved

some of the more strident members of the

“The opportunity to bring to life a story

getting the chance to meet them and

black community.”

that reflects some of my personal history

“They were instrumental in bringing the

celebrate all that they did.” Elba plays

It transpires that Jas and Kent used to

is really special to me.” Growing up in a

Kent, an activist who uses photography to

be in a relationship, and despite the love

multicultural part of London, he says that

document the plight of immigrants arriving

that they shared, and that which Kent

he didn’t ‘feel like a target’ of racism, but

from the Caribbean on the passenger

undoubtedly still feels, they clash over the

that he has experienced it.

liner, Windrush.

best way to achieve racial equality.

“All black men do,” he states. “In

“Jas is headstrong, where Kent is

school, in shops, when I was out with

“Kent is constantly striving towards equality and racial harmony, as he wants

considerate, and throughout the series

my friends...” And while the drama

to be a part of anything that’s happening,

he tries to talk her out of her plan for

might be set in the ‘70s, the debates and

but doesn’t believe that direct action will

revolution, and ends up becoming

themes ‘could have been ripped from the

get you there,” comments the actor. “In

embroiled in a complex web,” notes Elba,

headlines of a newspaper in 2017’.

who clicked straightaway with his co-star. “As our characters have such an intimate

“The clashes that happened in the ‘70s are the foundation of what we have now,”

history, it was important that we felt

concludes Elba. “So, while we’re telling a

comfortable with each other. We had

story of a particular moment in time, it also

so much fun together on set. We’d be

feels like a mirror to what’s going on today.

chatting away in breaks between scenes

“One of the things that really attracted

in which our characters were furious with

me to this project was getting the chance to

each other.”

show a modern audience what it was like

Born to Winston, a factory worker from

to face prejudice, fight racism, and really

Sierra Leone, and Eve, a clerical worker from

take a stand. I think that we can all learn a

Ghana, Elba remembers ‘having a very

lot from what our ancestors went through.”

PA PHOTO/SKY UK

happy childhood’, but observes that his dad ‘would tell a different story, and that story is what we’re bringing to life in Guerrilla’. “As a kid, I was shielded from some of the harsher aspects of prejudice, but

Guerrilla is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, or available to download from Sky Box Sets.

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SAVOY INTERIORS

REDEFINING AN ICON Interior designer Robert Angell gives an update on the newly refurbished Simpson’s in the Strand, which reopens its doors this summer

ROBERT ANGELL

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When did you begin collaborating with The Savoy?

How did you go about complementing the

I’ve been working with the hotel for four years now, and I

old with the new?

think that both my understanding and approach to what

The best way of approaching any listed interior is to work with

today’s discerning guests expect from one of the world’s best

the details and existing elements, and this was no exception.

and most renowned hotels allows me to develop a vision

We have to retain the listed moulded ceiling and wall panelling,

and experience that reflects its heritage and history, but also

and yet we’ve managed to install a new timber and marble floor.

defines it for the future. Having redesigned the American Bar, which in one

Simpson’s is all about enhancement to make guests feel as though it’s always been like this, which will more than meet

respect looks like it hasn’t been touched, and yet has had

their expectations in terms of service and style. The ceiling has

a full makeover, pays tribute to the way in which we make

been painted in a distressed, tea-stained colour to bring an

experiences unique and new, without necessarily shouting

aged look, but because it’s done all over the ceiling, it’s a

about the interiors.

very contemporary approach.

What appealed to you about refurbishing Simpson’s

Can you talk us through some of the changes

in the Strand?

you’ve made?

With Simpson’s, a restaurant that lay close to my heart in both

I want to bring a sense of Englishness and history, yet make

personal experience, and wanting to bring that sense of place

it appealing through the new lighting, furniture and subtle

to a restaurant so steeped in history, I relished the challenge to

finishes that we’re introducing. The way that people dine

bring it into the 21st century.

is more relaxed nowadays, so I’ve introduced long seating

My first experience of Simpson’s was as a guest when my

banquettes into the space, and also reflection

old school reunions took place there, and it just epitomised

through mirrors and colours to the dining room,

Englishness, with a long history, and not only some of my best

which were missing.

memories, but generations of guests who remember so fondly when they were there too. It’s an institution in every sense,

Does the new look blend in with the rest

which had to change with the times and update itself to appeal

of The Savoy, or stand out on its own?

to a new generation, and one that can celebrate its history.

It’s a totally unique vibe and has its own style

It’s still a very successful and popular restaurant, so my task

and identity. In one respect, it has to be on its

is made even more challenging to bring about a new interior

own, as it’s Simpson’s in the Strand. The menu

experience, and yet work with a Grade II-protected interior,

style and service is reflected as part of The

making enough subtle changes that bring a new, fresh and

Savoy’s acute attention to detail, but having

exciting backdrop to what I believe is a new, fresh and exciting

its own entrance makes it feel more like a

menu, but retaining its signature dishes in a new way.

cool members’ club that’s open to all.

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SAVOY INTERIORS

Simpson’s was once a chess club and

Are you working with head chef William

has hosted lots of famous guests –

Hemming to ensure harmony between

will the design tell these stories?

menus and design?

Chess played a big part, which can be seen

There has to be a collaboration of minds when

in the entrance floor mosaic pattern, and

creating a backdrop to a food experience, and I think

we’re using some historic pictures that were

that what we’ve created will not only complement the

taken, as well as bringing a lot of new art

food, but also reflect a new, contemporary approach.

with a different approach to referencing chess, with illustrations of octopuses,

Having worked with numerous leading hotels

windmills and forks, which some will be baffled by, but others

and restaurants, how has The Savoy stood out for you?

will know as chess moves.

It’s amazing. I have to pinch myself sometimes, as I feel so

Then, there’s Winston Churchill, who’s so synonymous with Simpson’s and The Savoy, so we’ve retained his dining table location, next to the fireplace at the far end of the restaurant.

privileged to have been appointed to work with The Savoy and its great team here. After all, we’re this generation’s custodians, and it’s all of

Simpson’s is so steeped in amazing history, and will continue to

our jobs to make sure that we retain the hotel’s integrity,

be in the future, I’m sure.

stature and provenance, yet ensure that we bring lifeblood to these beautiful buildings for generations to come, make them

Have you come up against many challenges during

exciting, fun and vibrant places to enjoy, meet and celebrate,

the restoration?

and create lasting memories too.

We worked very closely with the Listed Building officers, who wouldn’t let us do everything that we wanted, but a compromise

Do you have a favourite part of bringing Simpson’s

has been reached, and they understand the need to update

to life so far?

the dining room, but also have an interest in retaining certain

All of it is rewarding. It’s such a pleasurable feeling to enhance

elements that they want to see protected, and we’re always in

what’s an already successful restaurant, and bring about a

general agreement with them.

subtle, yet total, transformation for people to enjoy the new

It’s all gone very smoothly; we have

delights on offer, against a beautiful, relaxed backdrop.

the usual unearthing of old cables, and gentle peeling and revealing of minor updates from the past, but these all add to the enjoyment of

And your hopes for guests once they’ve visited? Amazing and fond memories that last a lifetime. It’s wonderful to enhance people’s lives in this way, and that’s the best part of what I set out to do.

working on these prestigious and amazing projects.

Simpson’s in the Strand will be reopening this summer. To find out more, head to simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk, or visit robertangelldesigninternational.com

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SAVOY

DAISY HONEYBUNN

COCKTAILS

SPIRIT OF A

NATION

Frederick Latty sits down with head bartender Erik Lorincz, manager Declan McGurk and writer Damian Barr to sample the American Bar’s ‘Coast to Coast’ menu PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROB LAWSON

W

hen it comes to cocktails, The Savoy’s American

Created over a six-month period by manager Declan McGurk

Bar is renowned for pushing boundaries to create

and world-renowned head bartender Erik Lorincz, the selection

innovative, inspiring drinks, with a taste for the

– like all things at the American Bar – is an experience centred

theatrical in every sip – and its new menu is no exception. Entitled

first and foremost on the guest. Happily for me, the guests

‘Coast to Coast’, the latest roundup is a journey across Britain

in question this evening are none other than yours truly and

from south to north, reflecting the UK’s ‘verdant landscapes,

Damian Barr, author, columnist and host of the hotel’s

timeless folklore, illustrious history and distinctive characters’.

ever-popular literary salons.

KENTISH COB (£20)

OAST HOUSE FIZZ (£18)

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SAPPHIRE JUBILEE FIZZ (£22)

I’m certainly in esteemed company, as Declan, Erik, Damian

BASIL IONIDES (£25)

The proof is in the pudding with my Kentish Cob (£20),

and I take our seats at the bar’s enviable table 15 – an

featuring Bacardi eight-year-old rum and celebrating the

enclosed, private, exclusive booth, and the perfect setup for

cobnut, a type of hazelnut cultivated and grown in Kent,

sampling The Savoy’s most recent array of heady concoctions.

which Declan and Erik first encountered at Potash Farm near

Following introductions, pleasantries and general chitchat, it’s

Sevenoaks. Damian’s Oast House Fizz (£18), meanwhile, is

straight down to business, as Declan gives us the lowdown on

long, light and fresh, built around Bombay Sapphire gin, and

Coast to Coast’s light bulb moment.

immortalising the county’s hop-drying ‘oast houses’.

“The penny dropped while Erik and I were reviewing what

To further complement customers’ visits, Declan and Erik

we wanted to achieve with the new menu,” he says. “We

have added a ‘bartender’s notes on ingredients’ glossary

decided that the focus should be on the table, to see how we

throughout, enabling those who might not be as au fait with

can enhance the guest experience; and from this, a journey of

mixology lingo to appreciate their choices all the more. It

character and content was born.”

transpires that our dynamic duo made the voyage themselves,

Taking inspiration from each location and its people, the flavoursome itinerary begins in Kent, the Garden of England (and, coincidentally, my home turf), and ends in Castle Rock,

heading to each region to discover and sample their explorative ingredients and nuanced flavours. Continues Erik: “This is very much a journey of character

traversing London, Sherwood Forest and The Pennines in

and content; the character being these stories along the way,

between. Options from the Kentish section, I’m told, represent

and the content being what ingredients we’re using, how

the county’s blooming and abundant growth, utilising cobnuts,

we’re making the drinks really unique, and how the drinks are

hops and apples to full effect.

physically served as well.”

“The ingredients are all inspired or taken from the area

Indeed, the serves are just as important as the drinks when

where we are,” explains Erik. “Each drink reflects the story, the

bringing it all to life. Visually striking and full of fun, everything

mood and the era of that area. That’s what this island is about

from glassware to accompaniments has been carefully

– there are so many eras of interest, and we really wanted to

orchestrated and considered. More importantly, it’s very much

bring them out.”

a team effort, as each member of the American Bar staff has

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“It’s not just stories; it’s almost a kind of biography. Each drink is a distilled memoir of the person who’s made it, through the lens of The Savoy, which makes the drinks really special”

SHIRE COCKTAIL (£22)

FROSTY RECEPTION (£18)

come up with beverages that are entirely their own, and which

to his beloved chickens at his Brighton home, is forever ‘on a

they themselves bring out to the table.

quest for the perfect martini’.

As Declan reveals: “It’s such a collaboration, because it

As we imbibe, Erik regales us with a story of how a trip to

would be very easy for Erik to do every single drink on the

Danish chef René Redzepi’s acclaimed Noma restaurant in

menu, but instead, the whole team gets involved, which means

Copenhagen first gave him the idea of having the mixologists

loads of ideas coming into the melting pot, and loads of

themselves present their inventions at the table. Much like the

thought processes going on that are interesting and relevant to

chefs who do the same in Denmark with their dishes, it’s an

the stories.”

important culinary comparison to make, driving home the

“It could so easily be gimmicky, but the fact is that everybody who works here has their own story, and Erik has taken the

importance of cocktail making as an art form. Next up is the London assortment, which draws its influence

time and trouble to find out and come up with something

from the elegant sophistication and fluid lines of the Art Deco

that says what their stories are,” agrees Damian. “It’s not just

era. As the longest-running and most iconic of its kind, the

stories; it’s almost a kind of biography. Each drink is a distilled

hotel’s American Bar was the birthplace of cocktail culture as

memoir of the person who’s made it, through the lens of The

we know it today, so I naturally feel right at home with my Star

Savoy, which makes the drinks really special.”

of Bombay gin-based Sapphire Jubilee Fizz (£22), a toast to

For Damian – who adores the bar and hotel even more than I do – this is far from his first rodeo. He’s a writer, columnist,

Her Majesty The Queen’s milestone this year. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Erik has honoured our

playwright and salonnière (his literary salons are globally

beloved monarch; to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, he

renowned, taking up residency at The Savoy several times a

filled the Lalique fountain at The Savoy’s entrance with 128 bottles

year). He’s also the author of coming-of-age memoir, Maggie

of Bombay Sapphire, accompanied by Earl Grey, lemon juice and

& Me, and is currently working on his first novel.

Champagne, for the 600-litre Jubilee Punch. Across the table,

Supremely stylish, elegant, articulate and funny, Damian is

Damian’s Ron Zacapa rum-driven Basil Ionides (£25) is a nod to

one of those instantly and infectiously likeable people, whose

one of the hotel’s original architects and interior designers, who

relationship with this place can be described as nothing short

transformed its decorative scheme in the mid-1920s.

of a love affair. Needless to say, he knows his stuff when it comes to booze and books, and, when he isn’t busy tending

“Just because it's the oldest bar Europe, that doesn’t mean that it has to make really old drinks,” Damian insists, alluding

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SAVOY

MEET THE TEAM COCKTAILS

to American Bar veterans like Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman, inventor

Damian opts for the Black Diamond (£20), whose Woodford

of the Hanky Panky, and Harry Craddock, author of the

Reserve Rye whiskey taste encapsulates the 19th century’s

legendary Savoy Cocktail Book, both industry trailblazers in

dramatic rise in the demand for coal, as a means of fuelling

their own right.

steam engines.

“One of the reasons why this bar is the oldest is because it’s

Our evening culminates in Castle Rock, a deep and

always innovated for a century, so if it only did the old recipes, it

thoughtful move onwards and upwards to Edinburgh Castle,

wouldn’t be truly reflecting the history in the right way. This is the

where the focus shifts to whiskies, Scottish legends and wild

hotel of stories, which is why it has such a history with writers,

flavours, served in rocks glasses perched high on shards of

artists and actors – because that’s what the hotel is about.”

slate. The Tunnel Piper (£18) is a dream come true for lovers

Classic and heady, these tipples are served on a silver Art Deco tray, before we’re spirited away to the Sherwood Forest pages. Woodland ingredients and ancient myths are touched

of Dewar’s blended whisky, and Damian’s Blue Alpin (£50) simply hits the spot for Johnnie Walker Blue Label fans. It’s been a momentous occasion, and while Damian and I

on for my whisky-led Shire Cocktail (£22), which harks back

would like nothing more than to sit drinking at table 15 all

to Sherwood’s background as a royal hunting forest, whereas

night, Kaspar’s beckons, so we must, regrettably, bid Declan

Damian’s mescal-dominated Frosty Reception (£18) captures

and Erik adieu. As we exchange farewells, I can’t help but

the area’s Ice Age origins.

wonder if I’ll ever enjoy such an immersive cocktail experience

Often described as ‘the backbone of England’, The Pennines uses flavours from a burgeoning empire, such as teas and exotic ingredients, showcasing serves on a cog design holding

as this again – one that truly tells the story, and quite literally captures the spirit, of this great nation of ours. “The drinks really do reflect something of the place,”

garnishes and intricately cut glass. The London 2012 Summer

concludes Damian. “They’re site-specific and a story about

Olympics’ opening ceremony was a big influence for Declan

that place, but not always the most obvious story, so they’re

and Erik here, as they brought the industrial revolution vividly

not clichéd. It’s very inventive and unexpected, without being

to life for this part of the range.

gimmicky. This is storytelling that evolves – it’s like going to the

My Bright Light Cities (£16), flavoured by Bacardi Superior rum, embodies the effect of industry on northern cities, while

theatre and genuinely really exciting. That’s unique to this bar, and the drinks absolutely embody and celebrate that.”

“This is very much a journey of character and content; the character being these stories along the way, and the content being what ingredients we’re using, how we’re making the drinks really unique, and how the drinks are physically served as well” BLACK DIAMOND (£20)

BLUE ALPIN (£50)

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SAVOY SUPPLIERS

MADE IN ITALY Angelo Fugazza, hospitality division director at Italian textile manufacturer Mascioni, talks about bringing a continental touch to The Savoy Tell us the background of Mascioni Mascioni was founded back in the late 1950s, as

such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Armani, Yves Delorme and many others for their home linen

a workshop producing silk scarves and printed

lines, we’re now very honoured to be a partner of

cotton handkerchiefs. In the early ‘70s, the

one of the world’s most iconic properties, such as

impressive 120-sq-m, state-of-the-art factory

The Savoy in London, to satisfy, both in retail and

for fabric printing, dyeing and finishing was

hospitality markets, the expectations of a high-end,

constructed in the village of Cuvio.

discerning and cosmopolitan clientele.

Creativity, expertise and innovation have enabled us to earn a prominent position, both in traditional home

In what ways does Mascioni set itself apart from

linen, and in the functional market, along with high-tech products

other textile manufacturers?

for use primarily in civilian and military protective clothing.

The biggest asset is our people! Our success is the result of the

Meticulous laboratory testing, carefully planned production paths and scrupulous quality control guarantee efficient, reliable and high-quality productions. These have always been acknowledged by the textile industry over the last 60 years.

extraordinary value and commitment of men and women, who are driven by a relentless passion for what they do. Groundbreaking technology, a particular sense for beauty, and unrivalled manufacturing capabilities, along with creative vision and a focus on innovation, quality and service, all make

Talk us through your production process

Mascioni different in the international textiles arena.

Finishing a fabric is a complex and indispensable step to enable

Mascioni, in addition to constantly updating its production

the raw product to gain value through its enhanced appearance,

technology, for many years has also invested in its own range

touch and performance characteristics, ensuring that it will be

of designs. A team of experts in colour technology and pattern

well-appreciated and highly functional for the end user.

design is on hand to support clients, and provide to the market

The process starts from the preparation, through bleaching

with the know-how that we've acquired over the years in the

and mercerizing with sodium hydroxide, to increase fabric lustre,

field of design and industrialisation, with professionalism and

imparting a greater affinity for dyeing, to the further steps of

‘made-in-Italy’ style.

dyeing or printing with special dyestuffs, which allow colours to penetrate fabric fibres, dyeing them permanently. Silky finishing creates tangible, high added value, such as

And your hopes for the brand going forward? For the Mascioni Hotel Collection brand, our hope is to be the

softness and suppleness, patterns and colours, which are admired

textile option preferred by luxury hotels that are keen to offer

the world over for their amazing details, guaranteeing their

their guests a truly memorable, made-in-Italy textile experience.

original intensity and brilliance, even after many years of usage.

At corporate level, we’ll continue with our passion to implement the ability to understand, watch and listen to

Can you talk about your work with The Savoy?

what are the home, hospitality and protective textile markets’

The Mascioni Hotel Collection brand was created in 2003 to

expectations and needs, for innovations of customers and the

serve the most demanding names in the hospitality business.

final consumers.

After 60 years of experience in designing and delivering products to the most important and iconic brands worldwide,

To find out more about Mascioni, visit mascioni.it

/ XX

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SAVOY FLOWERS

Say it with

SAVOY FLOWERS Belinda Bowles, head floral designer at The Savoy, tells us how she and her team help to bring the hotel into seasonal bloom

N

o wedding, event or function at The Savoy would be complete without an assortment of show-stopping floral arrangements. And Savoy Flowers, the hotel’s in-house creative floral design team, is on hand to advise and help

plan every aspect of those special occasions, down to the very last detail. Led by head designer Belinda Bowles, the small staff of three (which

also includes Lisa Colleran and Anna Wallner) is based very much behind the scenes. But that’s just the way Belinda likes it when working her magic on whatever spectacle might lay in store for guests and visitors each day. “People are quite often surprised that there are only three of us,” she says. “We’re organised chaos, but we manage to prioritise what’s important, and can get extra help in if need be. If we have a big wedding that we know is going to happen, we have to prioritise our flowers to what The Savoy needs.” Indeed, floristry is in Belinda’s blood and at the heart of everything that she does. Starting out in a North London flower shop at the age of 14, her natural talent and ability eventually landed her a Saturday job at Harrods, where she was taken under the wing of the Moyses Stevens concession team. “That was a massive step, going from working locally to suddenly being at Harrods,” she reflects. “But it was fantastic at the same time, because I didn’t have much experience, so I learned a lot from my time there. Moyses Stevens really trained me, before taking me on as a full-time florist.”

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Since then, Belinda has worked for

“If someone asked me today

some of London’s leading and most

for 100 red roses for tomorrow

prestigious hotels, ultimately arriving

morning, it would be too short

at The Savoy in July 2010 to

notice for that option, so I’d have to

oversee Savoy Flowers

go to the London flower market.”

following the hotel’s three-year, multimillion-pound refurbishment. “I’ve had a lot of history with hotels,

Of course, Savoy weddings are big business, for which Belinda works closely with the hotel's events

more so than retail,” she explains.

team. But it’s not all about the

“The Savoy’s always had its own

bride and groom’s big day, as

florist, so it’s nothing new, but the

their services likewise encompass

hotel had been closed since 2007,

other special occasions.

and they wanted a new designer and concept. It was very

“The largest event we’ve probably had was a birthday party

exciting to be involved and asked to come to the hotel, starting

for someone’s 60th, who really wanted to impress,” Belinda

from scratch, but with the new Savoy.”

continues. “Weddings have so much attention to detail and a lot

Today, Belinda, Lisa and Anna get their finest flowers from

of work involved, to make sure that they’re such special days,

Holland, where they’re imported from around the world and

but someone’s corporate party can be just as important, as

auctioned off to the highest bidder, in the hope of securing

you’ve got all of the directors there, and the CEOs to impress.”

the best price for the hotel. Alternatively, the team goes a

But it’s the day-to-day flourishes that are equally impressive,

little closer to home, buying plants from the nearby flower

as each and every room and suite needs to not only look the

market in Covent Garden.

part, but tell a Savoy story in the process. Whether it’s finding

“If you want to get a good price on something, you need to

the right vase to match either an Edwardian or Art Deco

pre-order it in advance, and make sure that your buyer at the

interior, or allowing the personality of a famous guest to shine

other end knows to get a good price for you,” reveals Belinda.

through, no detail goes overlooked or unnoticed.

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SAVOY FLOWERS

“The Savoy likes flowers to match

flowers are from and what season.”

the Personality Suites, so we work

And with tailor-made floral

closely with the butlers who look

master classes available to

after them, and who are on hand to

visitors who are looking to acquire

tell the stories to the guests,” adds

a new skill, as well as plans for a

Belinda. “Charlie Chaplin always

potential pop-up flower shop in

had a red rose in a buttonhole that

the works for the hotel’s front hall,

he wore, so his room always has to

Belinda and the Savoy Flowers team

have one. In the Monet suite, the

are set to bloom ever bigger and

flowers have to reflect his famous

brighter as time goes on.

paintings of the Thames." Seasonality is naturally imperative

“We have a lot more flexibility with the flowers now, and much more fun

too. To capture the true essence of London, Belinda works with

things that we can do around the hotel, which are a little bit

the best seasonal options whenever possible, while the flowers

more rustic and playful,” she concludes.

themselves are checked or changed daily, in keeping with the

“To ensure that all of the flowers are fresh, we check all of

impeccably high standards for which The Savoy is renowned.

the areas every day in the morning, or as and when needed,

“We definitely work with the seasons,” she confirms.

because of The Savoy being the quality that it has to be. When

“When people come to London, they need to feel like they’re

we put the flower displays out, hearing a guest comment,

in London, so in spring it should be tulips and daffodils, and

or seeing them take a photo, is a real honour, and a hugely

then in summer it should be more things like sweet peas.

rewarding part of the job.”

"When you come to London, we want the flowers to reflect the English season that you’re in. It gives a really nice talking point

To find out more about Savoy flowers, call +44 (0)20

to the guests as well, as they ask with lots of interest where the

7420 2458, or email savoy.flowers@fairmont.com

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TRAVEL

A dream of

Sri Lanka

Adam Jacot de Boinod travels to the South Asian island for a taste of its culture, cuisine and cricket

I

arrive at Colombo Airport in the midday heat, through a scrum of duty-free shops bizarrely comprising electrical goods. The dishwashing machines particularly amuse me. The next morning, I’m off to Ratnapura, the home of Sri

Lankan jewellery, in the search for gems. The island has one of the widest varieties of precious stones, with blue sapphires, star sapphires, rubies, garnets, moonstones, aquamarines and topazes being just a dazzling handful. I feel a real delight in witnessing the source of my food, as manual workers, up to their knees in mud in the paddy fields, leave immaculate rows of rice behind them. And to taste their rice that evening makes me appreciate my food all the more. Sri Lankan cuisine is typically wholesome and healthy, featuring a wealth of spices and flavours. Like India, typical meals consist of colourful curries (eggplant, potato, green banana, chicken and fish). These come with rice and roti, string hoppers (steamed rice noodles), kottu (a carb-heavy, diced roti dish, often served with vegetable, eggs or chicken), and pittu (a mixture of flour and coconut). I visit some old English friends of mine, who have realised their dream by buying a plot of land, building a house, planting some fruit trees and selling the proceeds of their cinnamon crop. From their hilltop, I can see the coastline and hear the competing sounds of Buddhists chanting and Muslims called to prayer, and smell the fruits of their orchard – quite a special sensory overload. It really makes me sit up and question whether, away from the Tropics, I can really realise my own dream.

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ADAM JACOT DE BOINOD

TRAVEL

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TRAVEL

music in the jungle, especially with the dawn chorus. Colourful birds abound and peacocks

Every full moon day is a public holiday known as poya, which I’ve sadly missed by two days. Just outside the fort at Galle, I simply have

strut upon their stage, while fireflies shine out

to pop in on what, for me, is one of 30-odd

like mini stars, and I’m soon a twitcher, straining

Meccas around the world, namely a Test

to spot the cormorants, eagles, kingfishers, blue

cricket ground. Unusually underdeveloped,

pigeons and grosbeaks.

with at least half of the ground lacking seats,

I also discover iguanas, mongoose, giant

it still allows for spectators to look on for free

squirrels and the mighty, waddling monitor

from the ramparts above. It’s right next to the

lizards. The natural habitat consists of mango

famous fruit market, with its yards upon yards

trees, rubber trees, and the vibrant bourgainvillea

of bunches of bananas.

and the kithul tree, which the locals use to make

I pick up a copy of the Sinhala dictionary,

jiggery, a sweet, honey-like maple syrup, but with

the language spoken by the largest (roughly

an interestingly smoky taste.

15million) ethnic group in Sri Lanka. It has some

I take the most wonderful of all walks down

wonderful vocabulary, especially that alluding

through the village, where I feel all of the island’s

to physical characteristics, such as ‘kadadat’,

innocence and timeless charm. Dogs sit out by

meaning to possess only half of your original

day to protect the houses, and lie on the road at

teeth; ‘khuranásá’, for one having a nose like a

night to enjoy the tarmac’s warmth.

horse’s hoof; ‘tivili’, for a person with three dents

A row of houses awaits the sound of ‘Fur Elise’, which heralds the bread truck. A multi-coloured school bus goes by. Schoolgirls in their white

in their belly (from fatness), and my favourite, ‘miyulesa’, for a woman with the eyes of a deer. Michael Ondaatje, the famous contemporary

uniforms have thick, platted hair that descends

Sri Lankan author, explains why the letters of the

beyond the tops of their legs. A washerwoman

language have no jaggedness.

by the stream thinks twice about agreeing to be

“While Sanskrit is governed by verticals,” he

photographed among her laundry. Elderly ladies

writes, “its sharp grid features were not possible

parade in pairs beneath their vivid-coloured

in Sri Lanka. Here, the Ola leaves that people

parasols. Old men stick their legs out at right

wrote on were too brittle, and a straight line

angles on old colonial bicycles, causing them to

would cut apart the leaf. So, a curling alphabet

adopt staunch, upright postures.

was derived from its Indian cousin.”

I reach my destination, the famous

Unlike other popular tropical destinations,

2,300-year-old royal temple at Yatagala. It’s

Sri Lanka remains relatively untouched and

here where there’s a legendary ancient tree

unspoiled. The war is finished, the tsunami is a

that comes from a sapling of the Bodhi tree,

decade past, and the highways now connect the

where Buddha once sat. It’s surrounded by

island efficiently. With tourism rates projected

calm, cold caves and reached by a flight of

to explode over the next few years, now is the

200 steps, which is when I feel the real quality

perfect time to visit.

in the act of covering up, taking off my shoes and making a floral offering. Inside the temple, I follow the age-old paintings and statues that depict the story of

‘Ayubowan’ is their word for every form of greeting, stretching from ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon’, ‘good evening’ and ‘good night’, to ‘goodbye’. So, ayubowan!

Buddha, naively but clearly told and confident in its message. For Sri Lanka is indeed a multi-

Adam Jacot de Boinod worked on the first series

religious and multicultural society, endowed

of the BBC panel game QI for Stephen Fry. He is

with a legacy of colourful festivals relating to the

a British author, having written three books about

Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths.

unusual words with Penguin Press.

ADAM JACOT DE BOINOD

As for the amazing range of wildlife, there’s

FACT FILE just £699, including flights, accommodation and transfers. Call +44 (0)20 7644 1770 and let the experts tailor-make your holiday, or visit holidayplace.co.uk to book.

SAVOY_JUNE17_Travel_Sri Lanka2.indd 39

ADAM JACOT DE BOINOD

Adam travelled with The Holiday Place, which has a wide range of holidays to Sri Lanka from

05/07/2017 16:06


AVIATION

SURF’S UP

Alison Chambers finds out how unique membership airline Surf Air is offering all-you-can-fly benefits and a personalised service to its clients

A

new business

A successful disruptor concept

– the queue, the second queue, the third

model targeted

launched in California four years ago,

queue, taking the shoes off, that annoying

at savvy executive

Surf Air now supports 12 Pilatus PC-12s,

‘stone in the shoe’, ‘Do I get my wash bag

frequent flyers

a team of 180, and 90 daily flights.

out,?’, ‘Is this a laptop-friendly airport?’.

took off on June

Some 80% of its members have moved

If you’re an international commuter

23, when the

over from commercial airlines, many of

doing that every Monday morning, it

USA’s Surf Air brought its subscription

these from low-cost carrier Southwest.

will drive you crazy, challenges Surf Air

membership airline, centred on the

Destinations include San Jose, Palm

Europe CEO, Simon Talling-Smith, who’s

bestselling Embraer Phenom 300

Springs and Los Angeles.

convinced of the appeal here. Surf Air’s

business jet, to Europe. Surf Air

The Surf Air model was built on the

aim is to remove all of that frustration

Europe operates from London Luton

premise that time-conscious frequent

and offer smooth, regular flying ‘without

Airport, using the private jet facilities of

flyers regularly flying through the big hub

the bad bits’, the former British Airways

Signature Flight Support.

airports experience too many irritations

executive asserts.

PHENOM 300 BUSINESS JET

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Surf Air marries the attractive assets

are all slated. The second phase of its

of business aviation – small aircraft,

European growth will be the addition of

personalisation, private FBO terminals

Pilatus PC-12 services, hard on the heels

– with the dependable backbone of

of new relaxed rules from EASA, finally

commercial aviation. Members book

endorsing single-engine turbine aircraft

individual seats and ‘share’ their biz-jet

for commercial public charter IFR flights.

flights with four or five other people.

“In any industry, you get these

“We’re not trying to fill every seat on the

moments in time when you bring

aircraft,” says Talling-Smith, “and we’re

together a new regulation, a

probably the only airline to say that.”

world-beating technology, and a new

So flexible is the offer that bookings can

business model,” explains Talling-Smith.

be made on smartphones, 30 minutes before departure. Passenger screening is very important with Surf Air. It pre-screens every single

“In any industry, you get these moments in time when

person who joins, or ever flies on one of

you bring together a new

its aircraft. They’re pre-checked against

regulation, a world-beating

a number of different criteria, ensuring that their name doesn’t show on any no-fly list, anywhere in the world. “We profile everyone, and no one has failed that yet,” Talling-Smith continues.

technology, and a new business model” SIMON TALLING-SMITH

“Put those three things together, and you can really make something special. “These aircraft will be ideal for domestic routes – the Channel Islands, Dublin, Edinburgh – delivering a really attractive price point. Our busiest frequent flyer member in California flies up to 28 times a month on the PC-12. She pays just US$2,000 (as an original member, usually US$2,500) for those 28 ‘shared’ flights.”

“In expanding into Europe, we seek to

short-haul flights each month. There are

capture a new category of air traveller,

no hourly charges, no bag charge, and

expansion, Surf Air is also bolstering

who won’t have experienced business

fuel is included. For longer distances on

its membership base in the US, having

aviation before, and believe that potential

the jet, the monthly fee will be £3,150

announced a significant expansion in

growth could be anything from 10 to 100

per month.

Dallas, Texas, with the acquisition of

times bigger than the current market.” Its launch offer is an initial membership

Launch summer routes, where Surf Air

Hand in hand with its European

Beechcraft King Air 350i rival operator

Europe has signed up members, are

RISE. These 4,000-strong US members

fee of £1,000, plus a single monthly fee

Cannes and Ibiza. Thereafter, London

will also be able to take advantage of

starting at £1,750, to enjoy unlimited

to Zurich, Geneva, Nice and Milan

the complementary offer in Europe too. Interested in the offering? Just register details on surfair.com, and a membership representative will be in touch to discuss requirements. If a preferred route isn’t showing yet, but is slated for 2018, a deposit can be placed for founding membership to start when the required route begins. As the business scales up, future planning is largely driven by presales.

Alison is a principal at UK-based aviation consultancy Emerald Media, which specialises in business aviation with an international client base. To find out more, visit emeraldmedia.co.uk

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NEW YORK STATE OF MIND Here’s how 55 Victoria Street is bringing a slice of the Big Apple directly to the heart of London

ith the number of exciting

W

The properties are part of one of the

The result of this is a development

new buildings emerging

most breathtaking and eagerly awaited

that’s unique in every sense. Danish

across London over the last

new developments in central Westminster,

charcoal-fired brick cladding, beautiful

decade, the capital’s skyline has become

located to the south of Buckingham

bronzed balustrades and handcrafted,

as exhilarating as the likes of New York and

Palace, St James’s and Green Park, east

terracotta-glazed tiles, juxtaposed with

Dubai. A cosmopolitan haven for those

of Victoria and north of Vincent Square.

high-end marbles and dark timber flooring

craving fantastic views, luxurious design, top

The residences are part of a £5billion

set off the subtly dramatic, open-plan loft

eateries and historic monuments a stone’s

regeneration scheme, combining superior

throw away, there’s never been a better time

finishing and design, a gym, parking and

to invest in a London home.

exclusive services with low-maintenance

to celebrate architectural excellence in

living and a stress-free lifestyle.

the capital, and it’s easy to see why

One such development making waves is the recent winner of the RIBA London

“Our intention was to create a space

spaces, which are flooded with light. RIBA’s London Awards are designed

55VS stood out.

Architecture Award, 55 Victoria Street,

with a New York character that has a

or 55VS. Designed by architects Stiff +

timeless appeal, by combining materials

totally unique for the area, and I’m

Trevillion, the New York-style high-rise

and palettes of great quality and vibrant

delighted that this has paid off,” adds

luxury apartments have been praised for

modernity,” says director Harinder

Harinder. “Winning the RIBA award is

their ‘strong urban statement, quality of

Hundle. “We also wanted to offer buyers

the icing on the cake.”

design, bronze-finished windows and

something different to what they would

beautifully detailed balconies’, and highly

see in a typical development in that area.

commended for being ‘carefully controlled at every step’ throughout the project.

“We kept the proportions and apartment

“We took a risk and created something

For those seeking the glamour of New York, a hop, skip and a jump from Buckingham Palace, 55VS might be the

sizes of a classic converted industrial

most exciting development in London

Comprising 57 spacious and opulent

Manhattan loft apartment, maximised the

this year. Spaces available range from

apartments, a stunning penthouse and

stunning views by placing extra windows

luxurious two-bedroom apartments,

spectacular views across the whole of

for the ‘postcard view’ on the sides facing

to the 2,587 sq ft penthouse.

London, it’s easy to see why 55VS is in

Westminster, and used great-quality

high demand for city dwellers looking for

materials, combining colours and textures

For further details, contact

a home and investment with a difference.

to complete the loft feeling.”

sales@55vs.co.uk

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PROPERTY

Apartments in the

SKY

If you’re in the market for a top-of-the-range luxury penthouse in London, check out these show-stopping city accommodation options in the capital

THE KENSINGTON SUITE AT ONE BLACKFRIARS Priced at £23million

This property is the product of a stunning collaboration between award-winning Ian Simpson Architects and celebrated interior designer Tara Bernerd & Partners. Situated on the 43rd level of the 50-storey One Blackfriars development, The Kensington Suite will encompass the entire floor, while offering 360-degree views of some of the most famous vistas in London. Due to complete next year, the ultimate trophy home will cover almost 6,000 sq ft, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows through

sophisticated living areas, along with a private sky garden. The property boasts impressive large bathrooms, built in a refined palette of fine stone, timber and chrome, which include walk-in overhead rain showers and under-mounted baths with whirlpool jets. The master bedroom will feature a spacious dressing room, fitted with beautifully-crafted timber cabinetry, while the private gymnasium will offer south-facing views and a sauna. +44 (0)20 7871 7188 oneblackfriars.co.uk

702 RATHBONE SQUARE Prices from £5.59million

A space rich in colour, depth and tone, 702 Rathbone Square is a beautiful penthouse on the seventh and eighth floors, facing east to catch the morning sun. The penthouses are designed with a sense of sequencing to the rooms, creating an easy flow around your apartment for you and your guests. With a double-height reception space, natural light floods both floors, including the exceptional master bedroom, where his and hers wardrobes lead to an

en-suite bathroom with a freestanding bath and double shower, the only master bedroom of its kind in the development. Rathbone Square offers something unique; the prestige of a public square by day, which turns into a private garden in the evening, offering spacious green living, right in the heart of the capital. A home with a heart, in the heart of innermost London. +44 (0)20 3553 6811 jll.co.uk

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THE STAR AND GARTER Prices from £1.75million

The meticulous refurbishment of this Grade II-listed landmark provides a stunning range of luxurious apartments and penthouses. It has a magnificent setting, with iconic views of the River Thames, famously painted by Turner and other artists, visible from the restored gardens. The Star and Garter also overlooks Richmond Park, the largest of the Royal Parks at 2,500 acres, while Petersham Common and Meadows is within a few minutes’ walk. These are unique residences, restored and specified to the highest possible standards. Private facilities, including leisure suite with pool, spa and treatment room, Harrods concierge and town car, ensure an incomparable lifestyle for residents. Rebecca Littler, sales and marketing director at developer London Square, says: “The grandeur of this famous building, with a fascinating history, yet offering the very best specification and contemporary, bespoke detail, is a show-stopping combination.” +44 (0)333 666 0102 thestarandgarterlondon.co.uk

THE TOWER PENTHOUSE AT CHELSEA CREEK Priced at £16.95million

A magnificent furnished duplex penthouse awaits at St George’s Chelsea Creek development, bringing an exclusive new offering to the market. The 5,447 sq ft penthouse is a commanding five-bedroom apartment, occupying the top two floors of a landmark 25-storey tower. The Tower Penthouse offers an exceptional residential experience, with interiors by Lucarna Design. A white marble staircase is illuminated by a statement chandelier, leading the eye upwards to a private sky garden and entertaining space, incorporating a cosy snug and bar area, with outstanding panoramic views across London. Traditional and contemporary elements are seamlessly intertwined throughout the space, with a polished marble fireplace highlighted by bespoke light fixtures and parquet flooring, and bolts of colour have been interwoven into the interior design within the finer details, such as piping on cushions and artwork on the walls. +44 (0)203 4112 853 berkeleygroup.co.uk

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PROPERTY

ONETWENTYFOUR W1 Priced at £4.75million

Seymour Place is currently a bit of a hidden gem, priced at 30% less than Marylebone Village, yet enjoying all of the same amenities. The building is architecturally interesting, featuring a stunning replica Georgian facade to the front, and a modern facade to the rear, with large expanses of glass and a living wall (which is set to include strawberries in the summer!). The interiors have been designed to maximise light and space, with this three-bedroom penthouse benefitting from an open-plan kitchen and living room, as well as a private roof terrace, with striking views across the skyline of London. There are lots of nice little bespoke touches that have been used throughout the development too, such as designer staircases with dark steel vertical elements, and abstract art displays by Anna Masters, an artist represented by a prominent local gallery. +44 (0)20 7522 8742 onetwentyfourw1.co.uk

THE AMBASSADOR BUILDING AT EMBASSY GARDENS Priced at £3.5million

Here’s an exclusive 15th-floor, three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse apartment available in the exciting new Embassy Gardens development. Features include marble work surfaces, floor-toceiling windows, and a unique spiral staircase leading to a private roof terrace with amazing views. Embassy Gardens is situated in the heart of the Nine Elms regeneration area, comprising thousands of luxury homes. Inspired by the attractive residential and commercial estates in cities like New York and Boston, the development will benefit from 3.3 acres of linear gardens linking Vauxhall with Battersea, designed to replicate the Manhattan High Line. The development itself consists of a variety of rooftop spaces, a leisure and spa complex, a private cinema and valet parking, as well as 24-hour concierge and security, a rooftop bar and the show-stopping sky pool, awarding you amazing London skyline views while you swim. +44 (0)20 7481 0600 johnsand.co

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05/07/2017 16:11


MOTORS

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS WHAT’S NEW?

LOOKS AND IMAGE

The formula for the BMW 4 Series is a simple one, really. Take

While it might be a familiar shape, there’s no denying that

one regular 3 Series, remove the rear doors for a sportier,

the face-lifted BMW 440i is still an incredibly smart-looking

coupe body style, and slap a 4 Series badge on the back.

car. It cuts the right balance between muscular athleticism and

The 440i Coupe that we have here – with the exception of the

reserved refinement, giving it a near-perfect Q-car appearance

barnstorming M4 – is the flagship model in the 4 Series line-up.

– particularly on the smaller wheels and winter tyres that were

To the untrained eye, the changes to this latest version are rather subtle. The exterior has been gently redesigned, with

fitted to our test car. Open the door and lower yourself into the snug seats, and

some fancy LED lights appearing at the front and rear of the

you’ll find a cabin that oozes quality in that classic BMW fashion.

car. Inside, BMW has worked to improve the cabin’s ‘perceived

Everything feels purposeful and solidly put together, while the

quality’, adding three new upholstery colours to the options list,

controls all fall easily to hand. Hard, scratchy plastics are tough

as well as three new choices for interior trim strips.

to find, with only a small amount adorning the lower doors.

IMAGES: PA PHOTO/HANDOUT

Simon Davis takes the BMW 440i Coupe out for a spin, to discover why it’s ‘the perfect balance between everyday drivability and high-speed fun’

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FACTS AT A GLANCE Model: BMW 440i Coupe Base price: £43,430 Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol Power: 322bhp Torque: 450Nm Max speed: 155mph 0-60mph: 5.0 seconds MPG: 38.2 Emissions: 172g/km

However, while the BMW’s interior might look the part, the

it isn’t exactly a cheap car to buy. That said, though, it’s only

seats fitted to our test car were on the firm side, which left

available in the M Sport trim, which includes a fair amount

us feeling rather stiff after an afternoon blatting around the

of goodies as standard, such as 18-inch alloys, M Sport

German countryside.

suspension, satellite navigation, more aggressive body styling,

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY

leather upholstery, and LED headlamps and tail lamps. A particular highlight is the 440i’s infotainment system,

Up front, the driver and passenger will find head and shoulder

which is arguably one of the best currently on sale. The

room more than abundant. While this might be a sports

dash-mounted display is incredibly fluid and very easy to read.

coupe, you’ll feel a long way from claustrophobic. Aside from

The head-up display that’s included as part of the

the rather unforgiving seats, complaints should be kept to a

BMW Professional Plus package is also a nice touch,

minimum in this department.

showing information such as speed and sat-nav prompts

Yes, the 440i does have a set of rear seats – although you’ll find them close to useless when it comes to ferrying around anyone other than children. Stick to the 3 Series if you want

directly in the driver’s line of sight, and reducing time spent with your eyes off the road.

properly usable backseats. Boot space is abundant, with the

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

440i offering up a respectable 425 litres of storage capacity –

The BMW 440i is targeted at successful, middle-aged buyers

more than enough to swallow a couple of suitcases.

who want the sportiness that its 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine

VALUE FOR MONEY Prices for the 440i start at a considerable £43,430 – meaning

provides, without the high-performance setup of the M4. To many, the 440i will offer the perfect balance between everyday drivability and high-speed fun.

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05/07/2017 16:14


INVESTMENT

THE RARE UMAYYAD DINAR, £2.5MILLION

“IT’S ABOUT OWNING SOMETHING OF HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL RESONANCE...” Keith Heddle, managing director of Stanley Gibbons Heritage Investments, looks at the value that rare coins and stamps still hold in a digital age

Talk us briefly through the history of rare

purchasers, whether they’re collectors or investors.

stamps and coins

The key message is about the heritage and expertise.

The world’s first postage stamp was unleashed upon the world in May 1840, creating a global communication revolution, and in essence, making the world a smaller place. Because this was such a seismic shift

Are stamps and coins still big business today? The interesting thing is that, a generation ago, people collected stamps and coins; now, we have so many choices

in communication, people started collecting them from the

that they’re no longer a primary hobby, and yet, people

moment they were issued. In 1856, Edward Stanley Gibbons

are turning back to them, purchasing them as trophies

launched a business buying and selling high-quality rare

and rebuilding collections, while also looking at them as a

stamps, and we haven’t stopped since.

source of sophistication, history, and potentially for wealth

In 1872, a company called Baldwins started doing the

preservation as a long-term investment.

same thing with coins. So, to all intents and purposes, Stanley Gibbons has generations of expertise focused on stamps and

Is there a real mix of collecting and investing?

coins, ensuring that we buy rarities, and that the material

The primary difference between collectors and investors is

that we buy is authentic, and in the best condition for our

that collectors tend to know what they’re doing and have

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millions of pounds, because of what they are and their rarity. Condition is also absolutely paramount, and can have a huge bearing on the price. Do global issues such as Brexit and the recession affect the market? What’s interesting is that a stamp or a coin is ultimately a discretionary, luxury purchase. That means that collectors will pursue their passion and their hobby, at the right price, at a time that suits them, almost in complete ignorance or isolation of what’s happening in the money markets. They move at their own pace, driven by their own momentum and desires, which really have very little to do with external markets. That’s another reason why investors are attracted to them – because they see them as a long-term hold, and something that can potentially act as a buffer in their portfolio, as well as conveying that lovely sense of culture and sophistication. What’s the most important thing to remember when collecting or investing in rare stamps and coins? This is very much tortoise rather than hare, and something that you have a quiet pride of ownership in. It’s not about conspicuous consumption; it’s about almost having that THE MAGNIFICENT 1840 2D (TWO PENNY) BLOCK, £950,000

internal warmth and confidence that you own something of real historical and cultural resonance, and that should give you as much pride, power and warmth as anything else. It’s

experience in the market. They buy and hoard, so although

not about buying and selling – it’s about purchasing wisely,

they see a real value to their collection, which is emotional and

enjoying and holding.

financial, on the whole, they’re hanging on to it with no real aim to sell it.

To find out more about Stanley Gibbons, visit

The investor tends to come in with a mindset that they want to

stanleygibbons.com/investment

buy and hold, but will probably exit the market at some point, liquidating their stamps and coins at a time that’s right for them. We’re finding that a small section of our investors are actually

A 1642, CHARLES I 'TRIPLE UNITE', £85,000

turning into hoarders, or continuing to build their portfolios. Collectors do it for the hobby and for the intellectual, cultural pursuit. Our investors have a slightly broader approach to it, but what they really love is the fact that they’re getting something very rare that’s a marker in history, whether it’s a coin or a stamp, and that has historical resonance. Very often, a stamp has a story, and there’s this sense of real pride and uniqueness around it. Isn’t there a risk of stamps and coins becoming redundant in this day and age? They’re potentially redundant as a form of mass communication, but from a collectible perspective, it actually makes the first ones rarer and more exciting to collect as they come out of usage. They become more time-locked and special. When you’re talking about real trophy collectibles, you’re moving up into the thousands, tens of thousands and even

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TRAVEL

 “ People meeting locals and learning about other cultures can give an awareness of the world around them, helping them to learn about themselves and where they come from”

TOWER BRIDGE, LONDON

LOWER MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

STONEHENGE, SALISBURY

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TRAVEL

BRIGHT LIGHTS,

BIG CITIES Discover how Yellow Moon Tours brings London, Paris and New York to life through personalised urban excursions to remember

‘W

hen a man is tired of London, he is tired

which guide is going to be suited to which tour. We work with

of life’, quoted 18th-century poet Samuel

a whole range of guides and specialists, so it’s about mixing

Johnson. It’s a sentiment that rings true for

and matching, and making sure that everybody gets the perfect

Savoy guests who embark on a journey through the capital with Yellow Moon Tours, specialists in creating unforgettable

guide for their experience.” Indeed, in the UK alone, there are no less than 22 guides

experiences for tourists and visitors, tailored to their own

leading tours at any given time, which can reach up to 12 times

personal tastes, preferences, interests and passions.

a day during London’s peak season. All ages and backgrounds

“We have a special relationship with The Savoy, whereby

are welcome, including individuals, families, couples and

we work very closely with the concierge,” says managing

corporate groups, all of whom are treated to the same sense of

director Rowan Schlosberg. “We look to tailor-make a bespoke

energy and excitement with each and every excursion.

experience for every guest, learning about their interests and

“You can never see all of London in one trip,” considers

coming up with special things for them to do. Depending on

Rowan. “The great thing about London is that it’s so huge, and

who they are and what we think could work, we’ll create a

there are so many different areas and stories in each place, so

mixture of suggestions, so it’s a very hands-on experience.”

you can keep coming back over and over again, always seeing

Truly bespoke and utterly unique, Yellow Moon was founded in 2012 and operates in London, Paris and New York,

something different and being surprised, in all areas of the city. “London is in many ways the centre of the world, not just

bringing the best of each city directly to its clients. From iconic

geographically, but culturally as well. It attracts people for

landmarks like Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State

different reasons, but from all parts of the globe. It’s interesting

Building, to hidden gems of food, art and music, there’s always

to learn about the particular interests of certain cultures and

something for everyone, as no stone is left unturned.

nationalities, and it’s about tailoring it to them and helping to

“No two tours are ever the same,” Rowan continues. “There are so many variations, and everything is arranged around the people we’re working for. A lot of the job is about working out

refine that experience even more.” Private boat rides, luxury afternoon teas and shopping trips to Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are just a few of the treats

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05/07/2017 11:21


TRAVEL on offer, as well as ‘hidden London’ routes, encompassing street art, food tastings and lesser-known landmarks and monuments. Further afield, rural highlights such as Stonehenge are mixed with trips to Bath and Salisbury, taking in castles, countryside and coast along the way. Half-day ‘highlight’ tours can be combined with more unusual experiences, while each guide’s intricate knowledge of their chosen city and topics of interest makes trips even more insightful and entertaining. For Rowan and his team, a sense of place makes all the difference, as personal stories and learning from one other often helps to make travellers from all over the world feel right at home. “My experience and knowledge really comes from being a guide,” Rowan explains. “That’s then built by working with other people who know even more about London than I do, and who have lots of different specialist areas, or know more about specific areas than I do, and absorbing that information from other guides. “You get to pick up that information and expertise from lots of different people, which all amalgamates, so you get a big picture of everything that’s going on. That really helps, and growing up in London, you have your own memories and special experiences or places that are very unique to you, so it’s very rewarding being able to bring those experiences to other people.” Paris tours, meanwhile, take in the likes of Versailles, Champagne, Normandy and the Loire Valley, whereas New York’s labyrinthine cluster of different boroughs is the perfect place to get lost and immerse oneself among the hustle and

“Because New York is so huge geographically, there’s so

bustle of one of the world’s most exciting cities. With so much

much to cover during someone’s stay, whether it’s Manhattan,

to take in, it’s important that everyone gets to enjoy a genuinely

Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem, the Bronx or the Hamptons,”

once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

reveals Rowan. “These are vast areas, so it’s again about creating exciting experiences and tours for people, based on their interests and previous experiences of the culture.” As for London, there’s seemingly no end to what’s on offer – but it’s about far more than simply taking in the East End’s Jewish quarter, seeing a street artist complete their latest masterpiece, meeting the locals at food markets, or cruising along the Thames on a speedboat. For Rowan, it’s the stories that connect us that make Yellow Moon Tours such an enjoyable experience to cherish and remember. “I hope that people experience a sense of authenticity, and learn about a culture and the stories of what makes up that culture and history,” he concludes. “In a way, that can help people to not just learn more about London, Paris or New York, but also what we all have in common and how everything is so interrelated. “You suddenly realise that there are all of these connections, and you can see how everybody’s culture and nationality fits in somewhere. People meeting locals and learning about other cultures can give an awareness of the world around them, helping them to learn about themselves and where they come from.” To find out more about Yellow Moon Tours, visit yellowmoontours.com

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NOVEL PAIRINGS

Cheese and wine is so last year – instead, why not treat yourself to A Book and a Bottle, courtesy of drinks critic Damian Barr and Corney & Barrow wine merchants?

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ADVERTORIAL

SIMON HEAFIELD FROM FOYLES, JAMES FRANKLIN FROM CORNEY& BARROW, AND DAMIAN BARR

A

Mandibles matched with Terre de Lumiere

never reads lives only one’. How true. In

Wiston Estate Brut and a Chateauneuf du

an age of high-speed digital wizardry, the

Pape, both proving serious contenders).

chance to curl up with a good book and

Ian Fleming’s From Russia with Love has

a glass of wine is, more than ever, one of

been complemented by Corney & Barrow’s

life’s little luxuries.

Reserve Claret, and Jessie Burton’s The Muse

ccording to George R. R. Martin,

Such events have seen Lionel Shriver’s The

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who

Viognier (though it was a close call with

In recognition of these universal

was twinned with Valpolicella Cecilia Beretta.

escapes, author and Sunday Times drinks

On the site and via the accompanying blog

critic Damian Barr recently partnered

posts, you’ll find both new works and old

with one of the oldest wine merchants in

receiving the pairing treatment.

the UK – double Royal Warrant holder, Corney & Barrow. Together, they’ve

Since summer 2016, the monthly Damian Barr is no stranger to The

deliberations of critic and merchant

produced A Book and a Bottle, which

Savoy. His resident literary salons sell

have been available to listen to via

Damian humorously refers to as ‘a public

out as soon as the tickets are released;

podcast, and to follow on social media

information service for those who love

snapped up by hungry book fans, keen to

via #novelpairings. All books and

stories and sipping’.

understand the people behind the prose.

bottles are available to buy individually,

In essence, this project brings the best

The Book and Bottle pairings challenge

and as monthly gift subscriptions,

of both worlds together, putting the

readers to see the many parallels there

at abookandabottle.co.uk

wine and winemakers into context with

are between fine wine and literature –

the writing, and showcasing the diverse

both indulgences being loved, shared,

live events, Damian with be joined by

and often exclusive range that Corney &

collected and debated over time.

authors and representatives of Corney &

Barrow represents. Would Bridget Jones

Pairings are regularly thrown open to

For those who would like to attend future

Barrow at the Cheltenham Literary Festival

drink Chardonnay now? How tipsy was

public approval. Authors and Corney

this October, and at an exclusive event to

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& Barrow aficionados are interviewed

be held in Omera (a venue set up by Ben

man? Accompanying bibulous-o-graphies

in front of a discerning audience, eager

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ensure that you’ll always know the

to experience both book and wine

thinking behind the recommendations of

firsthand, and see if they share the

For more information, please contact

what to drink with your latest tome.

opinions of the matchmakers.

anna.bell@corneyandbarrow.com

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SOUTH BANK

RIGHT SIDE

OF THE RIVER We discover how London’s South Bank reinvented itself to become one of the capital’s leading attractions and regeneration success stories

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L

ess than half a mile from The Savoy lies London’s South Bank, one of the capital’s most vibrant, bustling cultural districts. Spanning two Boroughs, Lambeth and Southwark, and home to national centres for arts, film

and performance, the area boasts such iconic London landmarks JOHNNY LADD

as the Southbank Centre, National Theatre, British Film Institute and London Eye. “South Bank is one of London’s most popular districts, and we

SOUTHBANK CENTRE

now welcome an average of 30million visitors per year,” says Claudio Giambrone, head of marketing at South Bank Employers’

Bank into the perspective of London’s total geography,

Group. “It’s best known as a leading visitor destination, but if

the area is less than 1% of its total size.

you dig deeper into the area’s setup, you’ll see that the

“It’s a very small part, and yet the area contributes over

neighbourhood is also a thriving community of diverse

£240million a year in visitor expenditure, and almost £3billion

backgrounds, which is home to over 12,000 residents.”

a year to London’s overall economy. For such a small

Just minutes from the likes of Covent Garden, Trafalgar

neighbourhood, it has a huge offering that spans from leading

Square and the Houses of Parliament, South Bank certainly

household names, to more informal cultural offerings, so there’s

has plenty on offer for visitors and locals alike. Indeed, some

really something for everyone.”

of the city’s finest communal hotspots and architectural gems

It may be small, but what South Bank lacks in size, it more than

are nestled along the Thames, from the impressive OXO Tower

makes up for in potential for the entirety of London. This wasn’t

to the picturesque Riverside Walkway.

always the case, however, as the locality has a charted history of

“We’re at the centre of one of the world’s greatest concentration of arts, culture and tourist attractions,” Claudio adds. “If you put South

disinvestment. Originally isolated and poorly connected to other parts of the capital, it once existed as no more than a marshy

“What makes South Bank one of the real cultural hearts of London is that our offering spans across all art forms, disciplines and audiences” RIVERSIDE WALKWAY

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Untitled-1 2

05/07/2017 11:24


SOUTH BANK

PHILIP VILE

JUBILEE GARDENS

expanse of housing reflecting industry and

Playing its part in this continuing agenda

and beverage element is probably one

work, in stark comparison to its affluent

is South Bank Business Improvement District

of its strongest assets, and contributes to

North Bank counterpart.

(BID). Set up by SBEG in 2014, the initiative

making the area the vibrant place that it is.”

“It’s quite easy to be so successful when

is dedicated to providing a voice for 180

And with an abundance of green spaces,

you have such a great product to promote,

local businesses, and helping to make

family-friendly experiences and unmissable

but actually, in the late ‘80s and early

South Bank a safer, cleaner and more

events to enjoy throughout the year, South

‘90s, South Bank was something of a

vibrant place to live, work and explore.

Bank continues to go from strength to

bleak place,” reflects Claudio. “The area’s

“Establishing a BID for South Bank has

strength, offering the very best in theatre,

reputation was at rock-bottom, to the point

enabled us to provide extra resources

art, film and culture for all to experience and

that, to best define it, Londoners coined the

to secure an appropriate standard of

savour. It’s certainly come a long way from

term, ‘The wrong side of the river’.”

management and maintenance in the area,”

‘the wrong side of the river’.

Now, though, it’s a different story,

insists Claudio. “Businesses have a channel

“There’s never a dull moment in the

thanks to a group of local businesses and

for reporting problems with cleanliness,

area,” concludes Claudio. “Beyond the

employers, which came together in 1991

graffiti, illegal trading and aggressive

hard facts and numbers, what makes South

to see what could be done to revitalise the

begging. Through the BID, we also provide

Bank one of the real cultural hearts of

area. Among these were longstanding

the opportunity for businesses to benefit from

London is that our offering spans across all

tenants like Shell, ITV (formerly London

our wide-reaching destination marketing

art forms, disciplines and audiences. This

Weekend Television) and the National

efforts, for example, by harnessing the power

offering keeps renewing itself, with more

Theatre, all of whom set up what’s now

of our strong digital channels, which reach

and more players choosing to come here,

known as South Bank Employers’ Group

millions of visitors every month, through the

led and attracted by this very strong

(‘SBEG’ for short), a unique partnership of

website southbanklondon.com and related

cultural offering.

18 organisations in South Bank, Waterloo

social media channels.“

“My hope is that South Bank retains its

and Blackfriars, which co-ordinates and

Alongside cultural highlights, there’s

delivers many of the improvements and

plenty for shoppers and gourmets to see

hub. In terms of managing the growth of

initiatives that have made the place what it is.

and do. Leading high street brands and

an ever-changing landscape, our role at

household eateries are accompanied by

South Bank Employers’ Group is to make

26 years, SBEG has catalysed a series of

smaller independent boutiques, as well as

sure that this change is mitigated, and that

projects that have really helped to turn

thriving restaurants, cafés and bars, while

through it, South Bank remains a desirable

around the fortunes of the neighbourhood,

luxury hotels likewise litter the landscape.

destination for those who live, visit and

As Claudio explains: “Over the past

which used to be a pretty bleak,

“Today, we have some of London’s most

individual identity as a thriving, unique

travel to the area.”

hostile and unwelcoming environment,

important and best-loved restaurants

into one of the world’s most successful

opening their doors in South Bank,”

To find out more about London’s South

regeneration stories.”

Claudio declares. “The hospitality and food

Bank, visit southbanklondon.com

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05/07/2017 16:28


MARKETS

“MARKETS BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER...” Donald Hyslop, chair of trustees at Borough Market, explains why its place as a communal London landmark is more important than ever

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I

f there’s one place in London that epitomises the city’s dynamic multiculturalism, it’s Borough Market. It's the oldest and only fully independent food market in the capital; a bustling ‘riot of colours, smells and human engagement’, which has been serving delicious dishes and tantalising cuisine in Southwark for 1,000 years, remaining a hub of interaction and conversation to this day. “At a market, conversation is just part of the culture,” says chair of trustees Donald Hyslop. “When stallholders care about and take pride in the food that they sell – which is very much the case at Borough Market – they want to engage with their customers by offering advice and ideas, seeking feedback, or just passing the time of day. Traders also talk with other traders, and shoppers with other shoppers.” There’s no question that to set foot in this vibrant culinary space – which today is home to over 100 traders, restaurants, bars and cafés, attracting approximately 16million visitors a year – is to expose oneself to a veritable assault on the senses. Indeed, the sights, sounds and smells alone are enough to send taste buds into a feeding frenzy, while the quality of the produce on offer is invariably exceptional. Whether producers themselves or purveyors who seek out the finest artisan wholesalers, the market’s traders transcend culture, colour and creed, coming together in a unified celebration of good food that reflects London’s status as a truly global destination. Here, British stalls sit side by side with shops and restaurants from around the world, laying the groundwork for a genuinely communal experience. “In an era of food deliveries, click and collect and supermarket self-checkouts, the simple, everyday personal interactions that used to punctuate our lives aren’t nearly as frequent as they once were,” Donald continues. “In fact, it’s quite possible, in a city packed with millions of people, to go for long periods of time without ever really talking to anyone. “Markets aren’t always the slickest or most convenient of places. They’re not built for speed and efficiency, but they do bring people together, to talk, laugh and share their knowledge. And no self-checkout in the world can claim the same.”

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MARKETS

This sense of community was certainly evident for Borough’s reopening on Wednesday June 14, which saw hundreds of people from the local community join traders for a minute’s silence, as a mark of respect. Amid floral displays and walls covered with messages of support, the bell rang out at 10am to signal the market’s return to full operation, and to welcome shoppers through its doors once more. “The most important thing for all of us is that people are here again, in a public space that thrives on noise and energy,” considers Donald. “They’re coming in their droves already, chatting, smiling, browsing, spending, and turning this back from a place of tragedy to a place absolutely filled with life. “Those shoppers will be cooking meals using exceptional ingredients, bought from people who care passionately about the food that they sell. Those meals will be shared with friends and family, and Borough Market – this beautiful, colourful, diverse collection of people – will be doing its job again, despite the efforts of a handful of men driven by hate instead of togetherness.” Keeping Tradition Alive, a poem written by community participation officer for Southwark Council, Suléy Muhidin, was read at the ceremony, which was also attended by London mayor Sadiq Khan. In addition, the market established a trader support fund, accepting donations from members of the public, and extended trading hours for the subsequent two weeks. Since then, it’s been business as usual, as shoppers and sellers have once again flooded London Bridge to resume celebrating Borough’s gastronomic legacy, while the market itself continues to help those in need. As part of the FoodSave scheme, run by the Plan Zheroes charity, any surplus food from many of the stalls is distributed to local charities, reducing waste and putting leftovers to good use. Explains Donald: “One of the most satisfying manifestations of the sense of community that has coalesced around Borough Market is the way in which its traders and staff, volunteers from the Plan Zheroes organisation, and representatives from a whole host of local charities, gather together every week to redirect surplus food to some of London’s most vulnerable people.

“For Borough Market, providing a public function that goes beyond the purely transactional isn’t just an incidental extra – it’s a fundamental requirement. Written into the 1754 Act of Parliament that established the market in its current location, was the stipulation that it act for the ‘convenience and accommodation of the public’, and accommodating the public is something that we, as trustees, see as central to our role.” Now more than ever, Borough Market’s place in people’s hearts and minds has never been so pertinent. And far from a museum of London’s epicurean history, it’s an ever-changing institution, where people come to share, connect and awaken their senses; a participant in the wider debates around what we eat and where it comes from; and a place where food is talked about almost as enthusiastically as it’s consumed. “Since time immemorial, market squares have provided a focal point for towns and villages, and they can do much the same now, even in a vast modern city, by offering a lively hub in which countless interactions play out every day,” Donald concludes. “It’s through these interactions that ideas take shape, preconceptions fall apart, relationships are forged and new businesses are started. That busy energy streams out into the wider area, with an impact that can be felt for miles around.” Read on to try a delicious Borough Market recipe from home economist, food stylist and writer Lesley Holdship. To find out more about Borough Market, visit boroughmarket.org.uk

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RECIPE

CHOCOLATE AND LAVENDER WHOOPIE PIES { Serves 8 }

JOHN HOLDSHIP

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS  2 tbsp whole milk  25g dried lavender flowers  200g plain flour  25g cocoa powder  1 tsp baking powder  125g very soft butter  150g brown sugar  2 eggs  200g buttermilk or natural yoghurt  2 tsp vanilla extract FOR THE ICING butter  100g icing sugar  75g chocolate, melted  150g

 Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Line two baking trays with parchment. Start by warming the milk with the lavender  Leave it to infuse while you make the cakes  Stir together the flour, cocoa and baking powder  Next, whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla  Fold in the flour mixture to make a thick cake mixture  Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture onto the trays in 16 mounds

 Bake for 15 minutes until springy. Leave to cool  For the icing, beat together the remaining butter and the icing sugar  Sieve the lavender-infused milk to remove the flowers, then beat the lavender milk into the creamed butter and sugar  Sandwich the whoopie pies with the icing, then drizzle with the melted chocolate and leave to set for a few moments, before devouring with a glass of dessert wine

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ART

THE BUSINESS OF ART Professor Jos Hackforth-Jones, CEO and director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art, talks us through how students are taught to navigate the global art market

How did Sotheby’s Institute of

Are you regulated by any Higher

Art get started?

Education Authorities?

We were founded in 1969, very much

Over the last 25 years, we’ve been

as a part of Sotheby’s auction house.

accredited by The University of

We’ve been independent for the last 10

Manchester, and now have four MA

years, but were set up because there was

degrees, six semester undergraduate

a sense that trainees were coming into

programmes, and summer courses, all

the auction house, and that conventional

of which are validated by the University,

art history degrees might not necessarily

so we’re a much scrutinised institution.

prepare them for a close, object-based

We’re also regularly monitored by The

approach, or for an understanding of

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher

how the art world and business operate.

Education (QAA). It’s very important

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for our participants and student demography to know how

Some of our students are more focused on the art business,

significant quality is to us, and how important it is for us to be

and some are more focused on the art objects, so it’s also about

recognised and validated by premier institutions.

illustrating the subtle distinctions between the art market and the art world too.

What parts of the art world do graduates tend to specialise in at career level?

Do they get to experience the art world in action during

It’s an enormous range, reaching to all areas of the art world,

their time at the institute?

right across the globe, from jobs and internships in museums

We have fantastic relationships with our colleagues at Sotheby’s

and commercial galleries, to auction houses and art fairs.

auction house, where our students will have pre-sale talks,

They go into a range of art business operational activities too,

quite often from an expert, and then watch an auction closely

which might include art handling and art insurance, and many of

and go in for a viewing. If they’re available, one of our

our students become art advisors. What also pleases us is when our

Sotheby's colleagues, many of whom are alumni of ours,

alumni team up and start a business together, like an art advisory.

will often come and give a post-sale talk and analysis, or one of our in-house experts.

Does the institute and its courses reflect the

Understanding how auctions, art fairs and the art business work

globalisation of the art market?

is really important, but first and foremost, our students must have

If you want to understand the art market, and indeed the art

the skills to navigate the art world.

world, everything has become so much more international and globalised, whether we’re thinking about art fairs, business

Where’s it all heading going forward?

practice or auction house practice.

We’re very excited that our MA in Art Business is nearly 20 years

It’s such a dynamic and rapidly changing art world, and our

old, and that our students are in successful careers all over

students are tremendously cosmopolitan – they come from over

the world, so we want to continue to enrich the institute and

50 countries, and what they value with us is the dynamic in the

strengthen and expand our offerings.

classroom, where they can bring their own experiences from

We’ve introduced a newly reconstituted curriculum at MA level

different parts of the world and talk about best practice, and then

this year, which gives our students greater agency over what they

go out into different parts of the world and have this incredibly

can choose, so that they can specialise in areas of interest to them.

vibrant network to draw upon for future decades.

We’re always thinking about where the discipline of art business might be in five years’ time, and what skills our students will

Is it important for students to understand the balance

need to have. We’re also about to celebrate 50 years since the

of art scholarship and business acumen?

Institute began, so my hopes for the future are very positive, and

All of our MA students take a course called Navigating the Art

I have every confidence in our extraordinarily accomplished and

World, so they need to understand our object-based approach,

versatile graduates.

and even if they’re not experts, they need to understand expertise, while students in the more object-based courses and MAs need to understand business imperatives, so it’s very much

To find out more about Sotheby’s Institute of Art,

about thinking through that balance.

visit sothebysinstitute.com

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05/07/2017 16:32


WHAT'S ON

JOHAN PERSSON

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS AT THE DOMINION THEATRE

SUMMER IN THE CITY

Look no further for 10 of the best exhibitions, shows and events taking place in the capital throughout the warmer months

T

here really is nothing like spending the summer

Ferryman at the Royal Court Theatre, you’ll be well and truly

in London. As one of the world’s most vibrant

spirited away by the spectacle of the stage.

and culturally diverse cities, you’ll never be short of something to do, see or experience. And this

Alternatively, there’s plenty of inspiring art to take in at the Serpentine Galleries, or you can feast your eyes on

year is by no means an exception – with a whole host of new

some majestic fashion at Kensington Palace. Plus, James

shows, exhibitions and events opening up or continuing their

Bond fans will feel right at home at the London Film

runs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in 2017.

Museum, while The Geffrye Museum of the Home and

During your stay, why not pay a visit to one of the capital’s theatres? From West End musical hits like Jesus Christ Superstar – set against the unique outdoor backdrop of Regent’s Park – to critically-acclaimed offerings such as The

Leighton House Museum will be showcasing their own equally fascinating displays. Whatever your tastes and interests, don’t miss out on the very best that London has to offer this season...

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JEWELLERY

BOND IN MOTION EXHIBITION ON PERMANENT DISPLAY LONDON FILM MUSEUM Extended due to popular demand, Bond in Motion is the largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles. Classic cars from the series include the archetypal Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger’s majestic Rolls-Royce Phantom III, and the unforgettable Lotus Esprit S1 submersible from The Spy Who Loved Me. Every model exhibited is an original used for filming, on loan from the Eon Productions archive and The Ian Fleming Foundation. Also featuring never-before-seen concept art and storyboards, Bond in Motion continues the 007 legacy for film fans and petrol heads alike. londonfilmmuseum.com 1 SERPENTINE GALLERIES

SERPENTINE SUMMER SEASON UNTIL SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 10 SERPENTINE GALLERIES Touching on themes of popularity and art, masculinity and the current cultural landscape, Serpentine Gallery’s The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! sees British artist Grayson Perry tackle how contemporary art can best address a diverse cross-section of society. Serpentine Sackler Gallery, meanwhile, hosts US filmmaker and artist Arthur Jafa’s first solo UK exhibition, A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions, which

3

2

transforms the space into a montage and assemblage of Jafa’s images, artefacts, source material and found

4

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footage, providing evidence of what might constitute a tangible, material-based black aesthetic. serpentinegalleries.org

DREAMERS AWAKE UNTIL SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17 WHITE CUBE GALLERY Curated by Susanna Greeves, Dreamers Awake is a major new exhibition that explores the enduring influence of Surrealism, from the 1930s to the present ROYAL COURT THEATRE

5

7

day. This thematic display brings together more than 100 works by women artists to explore sexual politics, eroticism, mysticism and identity. Rarely-seen paintings by key figures associated with the original Surrealist movement, such as Eileen Agar and Leonora Carrington, are shown alongside modern and contemporary artists, including Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin, Claude Cahun, Mona Hatoum, Linder, Laurie Simmons, Gillian Wearing, Hannah Wilke and many more. whitecube.com

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THE FERRYMAN UNTIL SATURDAY JANUARY 6 2018 GIELGUD THEATRE After his plays The River and the multi-award-winning Jerusalem, playwright Jez Butterworth returns to the Royal Court Theatre with The Ferryman, which transfers to the West End for a limited run. Set in Northern Ireland in 1981, the story follows the Carney farmhouse, a hive of activity with preparations for the annual harvest, which, with a traditional night of feasting and celebrations ahead, is ‘interrupted by a visitor’. Director Sam Mendes makes his Royal Court debut with this powerful production, whose cast includes Paddy

8 11

Considine, Laura Donnelly and Genevieve O’Reilly. royalcourttheatre.com

HOME THOUGHTS: STORIES OF LIVING IN LONDON UNTIL SUNDAY JANUARY 7 2018 THE GEFFRYE MUSEUM OF THE HOME In Home Thoughts, personal stories describe experiences of making, keeping and being at home in London, from

9 DOMINION THEATRE

migration, religious practices and housework, to leisure

12

activities, celebrations and technology. The Geffrye, a much-loved gem in the lively Hoxton area – historically a centre for furniture-making and market gardening – explores the home and the way people live, through collections showing how homes have been used and furnished over the past 400 years, reflecting changes in society and behaviour, as well as style, fashion and taste. geffrye-museum.org.uk

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS UNTIL SATURDAY JANUARY 27 2018 DOMINION THEATRE

10 13

16

Fall in love with London’s hit new musical, which extends its run into 2018. The exquisite production of the Oscar-winning film follows Jerry Mulligan, an American GI pursuing his dream to make it as a painter. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, Jerry experiences love, art, romance and friendship against the enchanting backdrop of post-war Paris. This sumptuous show features the timeless music and lyrics

14

of George and Ira Gershwin, including I Got Rhythm, ‘S Wonderful and I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise. anamericaninparisthemusical.co.uk

15

KENSINGTON PALACE

17

DIANA: HER FASHION STORY UNTIL WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 28 2018 KENSINGTON PALACE Discover the style evolution of Diana, Princess of Wales, in this stunning exhibition at Kensington Palace, her home for 15 years. Showcasing exquisite and celebrated outfits from throughout her public life, the

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WHAT'S ON display brings together an extraordinary collection of garments, ranging from glamorous evening gowns worn in the 1980s, to chic Catherine Walker suits that made up her ‘working wardrobe’ in the 1990s. Her Fashion Story is complemented by a temporary White Garden, planted with flowers and foliage inspired by memories of the Princess’s life, image and style. hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace

18 LEIGHTON HOUSE MUSEUM

ALMA-TADEMA: AT HOME IN ANTIQUITY FRIDAY JULY 7 TO MONDAY OCTOBER 29, LEIGHTON HOUSE MUSEUM With over 130 works, Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity marks the first major exhibition in London since 1913 devoted to Lawrence Alma-Tadema, one of the Victorian era’s most popular artists. The display explores all phases of the painter’s career, focusing on his fascination with 19

representing domestic life in classical antiquity, and how this interest was expressed in two remarkable studio houses, which he created in London with his wife Laura

20

and his two daughters, highlighting the close connections between their domestic and creative lives. leightonhouse.co.uk

MONIRA AL QADIRI: THE CRAFT THURSDAY JULY 13 TO SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 10 GASWORKS GALLERY

21 22

Immerse yourself in the first UK solo exhibition from

26

Amsterdam-based artist Monira Al Qadiri. Shown in two distinct environments – an American diner and a 1980s-style living room – The Craft comprises sculptures, videos and sound works that envisage international diplomacy as an alien conspiracy. The semi-autobiographical works of science fiction unearth the unlikely stories lurking in the shadows of the artist’s childhood in Kuwait. Revisiting fantasies that she and

23

her sister elaborated, Al Qadiri depicts the culture and

REGENT'S PARK OPEN AIR THEATRE

rituals of diplomacy by which they were surrounded. gasworks.org.uk

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR FRIDAY AUGUST 11 TO SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 23 REGENT’S PARK OPEN AIR THEATRE Declan Bennett, Tyrone Huntley, David Thaxton and

27 24

25

28

29

Peter Caulfield reprise their roles as Jesus, Judas, Pilate and Herod in the return of Jesus Christ Superstar. Following its overwhelming sell-out success in 2016, the Olivier Award winner for Best Musical Revival – and Best Musical in the Evening Standard Awards – is back, giving audiences one final chance to see the production in an extended engagement at its original home, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

CREDITS: 1-2. ANGUS MILL 3. LUKE HAYES 4-10. JOHAN PERSSON 11. TRISTRAM KENTON 12. ANGELA STERLING 13-16. RICHARD LEA-HAIR 17. HISTORIC ROYAL PALACES 18. PEREZ SIMON COLLECTION 19. PRIVATE COLLECTION OF MARTIN BEISLY 20. ANN AND GORDON GETTY 21. BRISTOL MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERY 22-29. JOHAN PERSSON

(members of the 2016 cast pictured). openairtheatre.com

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LIISI LAFONTAINE

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SAVOY THEATRE

Living

THE DREAM

Frederick Latty catches up with Liisi LaFontaine, star of the Savoy Theatre’s Dreamgirls, for an exclusive chat about bringing the iconic show to the UK

M

ore than three decades after making its Broadway

been done before, was so appealing. It’s a positive, in-your-face,

debut in New York, Dreamgirls premiered at

sparkly show, and I was so excited that it was coming here.

London’s Savoy Theatre in November 2016.

The smash-hit musical has proved a roaring success ever

How about the part of Deena specifically?

since, dazzling audiences with its fusion of classic songs and

This role is so iconic. Deena gets thrust into the spotlight when

award-winning performances.

she’s genuinely not ready for it. She loses herself because she’s so young, and I think a lot of girls can relate to that; to losing themselves in a

celebrated stage show follows the journey

relationship, or because they want fame

of The Dreams, a young female singing

or recognition. Towards the end, Deena

group from Chicago in the 1960s and

wants to do things that mean something,

‘70s, who, against the backdrop of a

and realises that she has to start making

revolutionary time in American music history, learn the tough lesson that show business isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. Liisi LaFontaine plays Deena Jones, one third of the superstar trio, joining

IMAGES: DRINKHOFF & MOGENBURG

Directed and choreographed by Tony and Olivier winner Casey Nicholaw, the

Amber Riley’s Effie White and Asmeret

decisions for herself and on her own. I’ve been through that in different aspects of my life, and so many other people have too, so trying to find the more human aspect is what really drew me to the character. She’s a superstar in the show, so it’s easy to gloss over her character and make it really

Ghebremichael’s Lorrell Robinson in pursuit of musical stardom.

two-dimensional, but there’s so much beneath the surface, which is

No stranger to the story, LaFontaine previously portrayed Deena as

really fun for me to explore.

an understudy in the regional US and Japan tours, before taking to the West End stage as part of the principal ensemble cast. Now, as she continues to steal the spotlight in the UK, we catch

Did you do a lot of research for the role? I looked a lot at black female artists, performers and girl groups

up with the star to talk about how she’s living the dream and

of the ‘60s and ‘70s, which were such a huge thing during that

embodying the role of a lifetime at The Savoy...

time. I watched a lot of movies and YouTube videos, and read a lot of articles to get to what the mindset was.

What attracted you to Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre?

It was such a different time, especially in America with civil

I’ve loved Dreamgirls my whole life, and it was the first musical

rights and all of the political things that were going on. It was

that I ever saw on Broadway. I loved that it was about three

a difficult climate for African Americans, so music was the way

women who looked like me, and of course I loved the movie

that they expressed themselves. Even though we’re not facing

when it came out in 2006. The music is so iconic and legendary,

exactly the same issues, our world is going crazy right now,

and the idea of being able to do it in the UK, where it hasn’t

so I feel like the musical is still so relevant.

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SAVOY THEATRE

Was it daunting to be a part of such an iconic show? It was exciting more than anything. Casey’s view on the show

The song that I like singing the most is probably Listen, because it means the most to me personally, rounds the story out, and is

is so refreshing, but he also took

a good culmination of everything that’s

so much from the original. He pays

happened, resolving everything in a sense.

homage to it in such a lovely way, so it

It’s a really collaborative effort between

really feels like a revamp of one of the

Amber and I, and feels like we have our

most iconic musicals of all time. I look

own personal stamp on it.

at it as a privilege – it’s so amazing

My favourite music is from the Motown

to be a part of the original cast, and

era. This is different from traditional

especially for it to be out here in

Motown music, because it’s musical

London for the first time.

theatre, so has a different spin on it, but it was really exciting to bring that sound over

Does it translate well for UK

here to London. The whole style, vibe and

audiences at The Savoy?

culture behind it is so vibrant, so it’s really

The story is timeless and universal,

fun to sing every night.

and you can apply it to anything, no matter what country you live in. I love

Finally, what do you hope audiences

The Savoy – it’s such an iconic, intimate

will take away from the show?

theatre, and you can feel the history in

The element of forgiveness and kindness

the building whenever you’re in it. It’s

towards each other, making sure that you

tall but narrow, and really draws you

tell people how you feel about them before

into the stage. The stage itself is really

it’s too late, and staying true to yourself.

deep but not very wide, so it’s perfect

Ultimately, the most important thing is love

for this particular show, because it’s so

and the people you surround yourself with,

audience-involved.

and how you feel about yourself at the end of the day, because you have to live

Which songs did you find most challenging, and what

with yourself. The world in general needs more love, so love and

are your favourites to sing?

positivity is what I hope people take away from the show.

Dreamgirls is probably the hardest song that I’ve ever sung. It took me a really long time to figure out how to sing it youthfully,

Dreamgirls is booking until February 2018 at

while also building in power and being able to show Deena’s

the Savoy Theatre. For more information, visit

growth. There are a lot of aspects that tie into that one song.

dreamgirlswestend.com

SAVOY_JUNE17_Theatre_Dreamgirls.indd 74

13/07/2017 15:45


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