Page 1

AED 30 KWD 2.5 QAR 30

S I G N É

A CELEBRATION OF TIME

MELIK A YAZDJERDI, DIRECTOR OF DUBAI WATCH WEEK, DISCUSSES THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE GLOBAL EVENT AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO THE WATCH INDUSTRY

WRAPPED IN LUXURY

THE PRIDE OF SCHAFFHAUSEN, IWC, BRINGS LUXURY LEATHER STRAPS TO THEIR WATCHES THROUGH THEIR EXCLUSIVE COLLABORATION WITH ITALIAN SHOEMAKERS SANTONI

THE WOMAN WHO READS

AN EXHIBITION IN VENICE PAYS TRIBUTE TO GABRIEL COCO CHANEL, A WOMAN WHO CAPTIVATED THE WORLD OF FASHION AND WAS HEAVILY INSPIRED BY THE WORLD OF BOOKS

THE TIMEKEEPERS

From reading shadows off the ground to measuring the rate of flow of water, a breed of analytical individuals had tasked themselves with understanding time as we know it


CALIBER RM 07-01


Dubai, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road

www.100capri.com

Tel:04 3855800


Publishers’ letter

www.signemagazine.com EDITORIAL Publisher Daniel Giacometti Editor-in-Chief Sunaz Sharaf editor@admaioramedia.com Junior Editor Diksha Vohra Senior Designer Nujoomi Denjypady PHOTOGRAPHS ILLUSTRATIONS Visaka Vardhan

TICK TOCK We reach the end of a very successful year with an exciting edition filled with references to time. We start off with an interview with the Director of Dubai Watch Week, Melika Yazdjerdi. A passionate individual who has the gargantuan task of gathering watch lovers from around the world to Dubai for a moment in time. After going through a career in music and architecture, Eric Giroud realized it was time to move into something he was naturally great at – watch design! We sat down with him to discuss his latest design the MB&F HM8. We also had the good fortune of having lunch with Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of Oettinger Davidoff, while enjoying the Davidoff Yamasá, a phenomenal cigar that was 20 years in the making! An exceptional collaboration between IWC and Santoni sets the standard for the next generation of luxury watches. Montblanc pays tribute to the legendary Marco Polo in a series of limited edition fountain pens. We test drove the latest Signature Touch for Bentley by Vertu and discussed the modernization of Persian carpets with none other than Hossein Rezwani. Have you ever placed a mechanical watch close to your ear? Try it, and you will hear a faint but steady sound. This sound of the escapement releasing its energy to drive the watch mechanism is akin to the heartbeat of a living creature. This edition is dedicated to those who have spent their lifetimes working on bringing these mechanical creatures to life. “Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” ― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance (1988) As always, hope you enjoy the read!

Daniel & Sunaz

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilised in any form or

CONTRIBUTORS Beverly Pereira Niyoshi Chudgar

ADVERTISING sales@admaioramedia.com +9714 421 5811

MANAGEMENT Managing Director Daniel Giacometti CEO Sunaz Sharaf AD MAIORA MEDIA (Europe) Via Lungadige Catena 15 37138 Verona, Italy EU AD MAIORA MEDIA (EMEA) 2708 Shatha Tower, Dubai Media City PO Box 502473, Dubai, UAE Tel : +9714 421 5811 info@admaioramedia.com

by any means, without written permission from the Publisher. SIGNÉ does not take any responsibilities for incorrect information. The advertising appearing within this publication reflects the opinion and attitudes of their respective brands and not necessarily those of the Publisher or SIGNÉ.

4

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

ISSN 2410-4523


Pioneering since 1906. For the pioneer in you. Inspired by the beginning of modern sea travelling, the Montblanc 4810 Chronograph Automatic embodies the precision of ďŹ ne Swiss watchmaking and artisanal reďŹ nement with the iconic exploding star. Discover the full story at montblanc.com/pioneering. Crafted for New Heights.


CONTENTS

Savoir faire Scholars

THE YAMASÁ LINE

010

THE TOWERING INFERNO Paul Newman, An extraordinarily handsome figure of striking high spirits and honesty, redefined the stereotypical American lad as a congenial renegade

012

A CELEBRATION OF TIME Having established Dubai Watch Week on the global calendar, Melika Yazdjerdi, Director of Dubai Watch Week discusses the philosophy behind the event and its way forward

018

Oettinger Davidoff CEO, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, discusses the agricultural challenges and the outcome of one of the most challenging projects they have ever undertaken. The task of growing tobacco in the impossible Yamasá region of the Dominican Republic

036

AN ARTISTIC HOMAGE Luxury house Montblanc brings together the finest in material and craftsmanship to pay tribute to one of the greatest explorers of all times. The legend of Marco Polo is timelessly captured in the new Marco Polo “Il Milione” Limited Edition 1 tribute pen

026

WRAPPED IN LUXURY True luxury means attention to every element of a product, down to the smallest details. The pride of Schaffhausen, IWC, brings luxury leather straps to their watches through their exclusive collaboration with Italian shoemakers Santoni

From training as a musician to working as an architect, Eric Giroud had tried everything under the sun before he realized his true calling. He reveals his latest design; the Can-Am inspired MB&F HM8

038

HANDCRAFTED ELEGANCE Billionaire Couture presents an extravagant, vibrant wardrobe of handcrafted slippers for mature men who are unafraid of whom they are and who they want to be

032

044

Madame Lison de Caunes is truly an alchemist with the unassuming element of straw. Glancing upon her portfolio of accomplishments, it is no coincidence that she has received the title of the maître d’art for the art of straw marquetry

The House of Cartier pays tribute to the friendship and relationship between Louis Cartier and Alberto Santos-Dumont through the launch of its all new fragrance for men, The L’envol. The ambrosia inspired fragrance takes you on a stroll above the clouds

A BEAUTIFUL REVIVAL

MUSINGS ON TIME

012

6

Sprezzatura

022

THE LIFTOFF

026

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

038


FIRST MOVERS WILL ALWAYS CHANGE THE WORLD. BUT WHICH ONE? >> Discover our approach at juliusbaer.com/visionary-thinking

Julius Baer is the leading Swiss private banking group and present in some 50 locations worldwide. From Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Guernsey, Hong Kong, London, Lugano, Monaco, Montevideo, Moscow, Nassau, Singapore to Zurich (head office).


CONTENTS

Art & Design 080

PEARLS OF LIGHT

For Her

Transcending boundaries of bohemian glass blowing practices, LASVITs latest project for the Address Boulevard Hotel is a work of art inspired by the Arabian heritage of Pearls

Obsession

046

PRECIOUS ENVY The legendary jewelers to the Tsar, Fabergé, are reborn through the efforts of international experts on gemstones, Gemfields. The collaboration delivers on its promise to global luxury connoisseurs through a series of new product reveals

050

058

082

The latest Signature Touch for Bentley is much more than a statement piece. Handcrafted with avant-garde materials and featuring cutting edge software, this phone proves it’s better than a private concierge manager and security advisor rolled into one

Taking inspiration from German Expressionism, Italian artist Luca Valentini unveils his “Our Myths” collection at the Sconci Art Gallery at the Dubai Design District. The tongue in cheek series forces us to rethink our Icons

THE TOUCH OF TECHNOLOGY

084

062

MARKING DISTINCTION Amruda Nair readies the path to the launch of her brainchild, the hospitality brand AIANA. She tells her story and the preparation that has gone behind the introduction of the region’s very first Hospitality 2.0 project

054

THE ENCHANTED GARDEN

THE TIMEKEEPERS From reading shadows off the ground to measuring the rate of flow of water, a breed of analytical individuals had tasked themselves with understanding time as we know it. We pay tribute to their dedication to Time

Marcel Wanders introduces a whimsical element to the French elegance of Christofle. We speak to Gabriele Chiave, Creative Director at Marcel Wanders about the Jardin d’Eden collection and its design story

088

FEMININE INTUITION

070

Luxury jewelers Sartoro present their new line of animal inspired ornaments. From minimalistic jewels to opulent masterpieces, the new Fauna collection takes elegant statement pieces to a whole new emotional dimension

Officine Panerai unveils a series of maritimeinspired watches that have all of the great looks of its predecessors and a whole lot of mechanical surprises under the hood

AN ARTISTIC REVIVAL

A MARITIME PASSION

058

054

8

SHATTERING MYTHS

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

Mohamed Maktabi has played a critical role in elevating carpets to the ranks of Art. We discuss his family’s obsession with carpets and his “Carpetized” exhibition with the king of contemporary Persian carpets, Hossein Rezwani

082


La dolce vita 116

Philanthropy

Heritage

104

AN INSPIRING LEGACY

092 THE WOMAN WHO READS Gabriel Coco Chanel was a woman who captivated the world of Fashion. We examine her life that was defined by literary figures and heavily inspired by the world of books

José Carreras occupies a privileged place in the world of philanthropy due to his efforts in fighting Leukemia. From his personal struggle with the disease to setting up the largest foundation on the planet to give hope to millions, he is a fighter at heart

A TIME-TESTED COMMITMENT

THE BOOK OF BROOKS Brooks Brothers has carved a legacy for itself by dressing some of the most celebrated icons in the world. We take a look at the more-thana-century-old family business’s transformation through each era

Located in the idyllic Kodagu District of Karnataka, IBNII resort in Madikeri proves to be the perfect getaway from the urban milieu to experience nature in its purest form. third ambitious project Bazxar, an exciting ‘foodmarket-restaurant-wine-bar’ concept

Haute Société 122

110

098

LUXURY IN THE LAP OF NATURE

Two years, ten expeditions and three million square kilometers of protected ocean later, Blancpain reconfirms its commitment with the launch of a new all-blue Limited Edition Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Flyback Chronograph Blancpain Ocean Commitment II

098

110

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

NEW IN TOWN It’s time to relax and enjoy the remarkable outdoor dining experience of the Scape Restaurant & Bar, Burj Al Arab. The newly opened Roberto’s Abu Dhabi within the luxurious Rosewood Hotel provides a cosmopolitan experience for the culinary crowds of the capital.

116

9


SCHOLARS

THE TOWERING INFERNO

THE TOWERING INFERNO

When one thinks of style icons, movie stars and all encumbered philanthropists few gentlemen come in the same league as Mr Paul Newman. The blue-eyed star proved that a closet filled with suave well-cut basics is a potent recipe regardless of age If Marlon Brando and James Dean stereotyped the quintessential American lad as a brooding, angry young man, Paul Newman defined him as a congenial renegade. An extraordinarily handsome figure of striking high spirits and honesty whose charismatic charm was almost impossible to resist. Tall, blond and ocean blue eyes, Paul Newman emulated a physical appearance resembling a modern day Adonis, with none of the vanity. He was so attractive and charismatic that his work as an actor was occasionally unjustly overshadowed. A perennial movie star his career encompassed the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. He gained notable stardom for starring in blockbuster movies like The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He starred in over 65 movies in a career spanning over 50 years, displaying an incomparable physical grace, unassertive intelligence and a great sense of humour that made it all seem effortless. Apart from being an ambitious actor he was primarily an ardent slave to his craft. He successfully achieved what most of his peers found impossible due to his inimitable passion. For us, it was his off-screen persona that exuded an insouciant magnetism unlike any other celebrity seen today. Observe any image of Newman, and you’ll notice how he simply will never look anything but effortlessly fresh and suave, regardless of his attire or bearings. He was blessed with a remarkable ability to make sombre formalwear seem as cool and stylish as the rugged workwear he often wore in cinema. This nonchalance combined with his Greekgod good looks made quite the combination behind the camera, but Newman proved that he was way more than just a good-looker. His fashion game was unmatched for years to come. He had men lining

10

up to drape themselves in sleek denims to envision themselves as tough and as cool as the stylish man they saw on the silver screen. As Butch Cassidy, Fast Eddie Felson and Luke Jackson, he personified anti-establishment cool but in real life he was a core pillar of the community. In the late ‘70s, Newman and his close friend Aaron Hotchner came down to his basement – an eclectic former horse stall – assorted some specialty oils, seasoning, and condiments in an old washtub and circulated the results as Christmas gifts. His neighbours, either too gracious to say otherwise or genuinely ecstatic with the concoction, called out for more of the salad dressing the next day. And this is how the definitive celebrity food brand ‘Newsmans Own’ was born. Newman registered the enterprise as charitable establishment donating all of the profits to charity, a sum that stands at over $450 million as of 2016. During a particular high-speed driving training for his 1969 film Winning, Newman became smitten with motor racing and attempted to pursue a career on the track. He was mostly successful; he started out with the Bob Sharp Racing team in the Trans-Am Series, and later finishing second in 1979 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Perhaps even more remarkable was that at the age of 70, Newman finished second in his class at the 1995 edition of 24 Hours of Daytona. He even participated in the 2005 edition of 24 Hours of Daytona, at the implausible age of 80. When the star died on 26th September 2008 with his family by his side, his daughters described it as being “private and discreet as the way he had lived his life”, his death was grieved far beyond the boundaries of Hollywood. His most fitting eulogy came from George Clooney, who said: “He set the bar too high for the rest of us. Not just actors, but all of us”.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

11


SCHOLARS

A C E L E B R AT I O N O F T I M E

A CELEBRATION OF TIME

Melika Yazdjerdi talks about the educational aspect of Dubai Watch Week, a five-day horology event that brings together both the local and global watch industry under one roof to celebrate the real stars of watchmaking

Beverly Pereira At the Dubai Watch Week last year, English watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin narrated an incident that took place during the restoration of a timepiece. When he popped the case open, he said that he actually felt the air come out for the first time after the watchmaker who had made the watch some 150 years ago sealed it. To most people, watchmaking is related to all things technical, but only few realise the meticulous craftsmanship and astounding beauty that accompanies this art. Referring to Speake-Marin’s statement, Melika Yazdjerdi, Head of Corporate Communications at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and Director of Dubai Watch Week, says that it must have been such a profound feeling where you know that the last person who touched the inside of this watch was the actual watchmaker and you are the second person looking behind the scenes of its components. “We want people to realise the poetry and passion that work together to tell time in a very beautiful, romantic way,” she says about the idea behind the Dubai Watch Week. Now in its second year, the region’s most anticipated horology event still holds education at the heart of its platform through a series of workshops, discussions, panels, scholarships and mentorship opportunities that engage both the local and global watch community. Dubai Watch Week began as a seminal idea in December 2014 after the second Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) event culminated. “While brainstorming with our chief marketing and communications officer Hind Seddiqi, we spoke about how amazing it would be if there was an event where people could just go and learn. All major events in the present-day watch industry are commercial events, which exist for good reason, to support the industry and generate movement. But, what about a destination or event where all you could do was learn and appreciate and network and really see the stars of horology?” says Yazdjerdi, referring to the enamellers, engravers, dial makers and the guilloche artists. “These are the stories and characters we want to talk about.” By January 2015, those very ideas became a reality, when the group started work on the first Dubai Watch Week. At the time, a lot of people called them crazy and over-ambitious and there were still others who

12

expected them to fail. “But at the time, we were the writers of this play. We were thinking about the script, which became the foundation of the programme. We knew that Dubai Watch Week was always going to be an event where people would come to learn, be educated and get to know each other.” Dubai Watch Week has held education and culture as the main pillars of its programmes since the first edition in October 2015. “We have always said that Dubai Watch Week is about education and culture. It’s about getting educated about brands, the history of the watchmaking industry and many other components,” says Yazdjerdi. “The cultural aspect is about the people behind it because they bring their flavours to it. Watchmakers are not all from Switzerland today; they come from different backgrounds. You have watchmakers from every single continent in the world — from Japan, China, Latin America and Eastern Europe. How is it that someone sitting in Eastern Europe is making watches that are 100 per cent made out of wood? There’s something unfathomable about it, but it’s fully functional even though the strap is also made out of wood. There is diversity in the world of watch making. We knew that the most important thing for our event was going to be the diversity of the speakers that we wanted to bring to the forum.” The speaker list for the first edition initially featured a conservative list of 20 people, shares Yazdjerdi. By the time they actually launched the event, they had 47 speakers, many of whom were visiting Dubai for the first time. “The biggest seal of approval we could have received from the industry was the fact that there were these amazing individuals from editorial and watchmaking backgrounds, CEOs of companies, and brands that had taken the time out of their busy schedule to come to an event that no one had ever heard of before and that was happening for the first time. It was like a reunion of the watch industry.” This year, too, Dubai Watch Week, set to take place from November 16-19, will showcase the pinnacle of watchmaking achievements through exhibitions, workshops, master classes, forums and VIP events that will take place at the Dubai International Financial Centre and The Dubai Mall. Like the first edition, the 2016 edition will be hosted under the

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

13


SCHOLARS

14

A C E L E B R AT I O N O F T I M E

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons in partnership with Christies and master Emirati artist, Abdul Qader Al Rais, presented two uniquely commissioned works in honour of the 2nd Annual Dubai Watch Week. The paintings be auctioned by Christie’s to benefit the Noor Dubai Charity. Zaman: A View from the First Ahmad Siddiqi and Sons Shop, Deira, Dubai, the artist pays homage to the Seddiqi family’s first watch shop in Souk Bur Dubai, which opened in the late 1940s. Incorporating the spare parts of various timepieces taken from the Seddiqi atelier, the artist juxtaposes the softness of his watercolour technique with three-dimensional elements for the very first time. Welcoming this new addition to his canvases, the artist uses concepts of recycling and collage to accentuate the intricacy of these various watch elements. The original boutique of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, fascinatingly, has sentimental value for the artist. As the place where he purchased the first gift which he gave to his wife on their wedding day, it is undoubted that the artist laces his canvases with a profound sense of nostalgia.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

15


SCHOLARS

A C E L E B R AT I O N O F T I M E

Melika Yazdjerdi, Director of Dubai Watch Week at the Swiss Watch Services Center In Dubai

16

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and will once again be organised by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. “The Seddiqi family has been involved in the watch industry for over six decades. This is an industry that’s very close to their hearts; it’s in their DNA, and they have a profound love and respect for the industry,” says Yazdjerdi, when asked if there exists a commercial angle to the non-ticketed Dubai Watch Week or whether it is plainly organised for the sake and love of time. “We had a lot of people last year wondering what the catch behind this event was. As far as the format is concerned, we will never turn into a commercial fair where we sell and buy watches. We are concerned about connecting people, which is our objective and mandate.” Of course, she adds, whether the event will happen every two years or every year is a matter that is being discussed at the board level. “Personally, I don’t think it can become a commercial event. It will lose its core foundation. Whatever revenue comes from it will go into the next edition of the event,” she says. Yazdjerdi adds that they are not really looking at Dubai Watch Week from a Seddiqi perspective either, but from a Dubai perspective. Dubai Watch Week also has other partners on board including Emirates Airlines as the official carrier, the DIFC, the Four Seasons as the official hotel partner, the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the FHH, the Dubai Mall, Christie’s and the Embassy of Switzerland in the UAE, among others. “Last year, Christie’s did an auction at DIFC. This year, we commissioned two art works by master Emirati artist, Abdul Qader Al Rais that sold at an auction successfully. So all our partners understand the value proposition of Dubai Watch Week and they’re all helping to make it a success.” Likening Dubai Watch Week to Expo 2020 and Dubai Design District, she says they are also very much a young, creative community that wants Dubai to become an iconic and key destination as far as creativity is concerned. The Dubai Mall has also been a key player in the Dubai Watch Week, and this year the two will be doing a massive exhibition called the ‘Mastery of Time’ together with the FHH, which is a fascinating retrospective display of significant timepieces through

the ages. Another interesting showcase, ’24 Hours in the Life of a Swiss cuckoo Clock’, is also slated to take place at the mall and will see 24 modern interpretations, including an iPad cuckoo clock, by students and staff at HEAD-Genève art school. The first edition of Dubai watch Week turned out to be a learning experience for the team. “We received comments from the industry that a lot of the programmes were conflicting with each other, which didn’t allow people to attend everything they wanted to,” says Yazdjerdi. Besides, a number of people with journalism backgrounds also feature on forums and panels this year. “These individuals write for a living, they publish books, papers and write for journals. They come from an academic background and we want to hear their expert opinions on topics that exercise their knowledge and background. We don’t just have people from brands or with watchmaking backgrounds on the panel.” The second edition of Dubai Watch Week will also have a scholarship programme that once again points back to the educational nature of this event. “We are reintroducing our scholarship program with our HH academy certification that’s funded by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. It is a four-day intensive training programme, which concludes with a test of 150 questions, and will offer 24 individuals the opportunity to get certified from the watch industry from a very reputable certification academy,” shares Yazdjerdi. “Dubai Watch Week is like a play and every year we have a different story to tell. We aim to bring different character to play those parts and tell their story,” she says, adding that the second edition will be three times bigger than the first. “It’s a massive event that’s going to grow every year. In the future, partners from different backgrounds will come together for the benefit of the industry because there’s so much involved around the horology sector like design, technology, innovation, business, education and academia. It’s a holistic circle and the watch industry has almost got its fingers on every single pulse of different sectors. There will be a point in time when other sectors will see the value proposition in getting involved. Still, it’s not about making a profit but about generating revenue to sustain the event,” sums up Yazdjerdi.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

17


SCHOLARS

MUSINGS ON TIME

MUSINGS ON TIME Eric Giroud is a Swiss watch designer and an epitome of artistic excellence. At the launch of his revolutionary Can-Am inspired design for MB&F, the maestro discusses his entry into the world of watchmaking and the features of the HM8

Diksha Vohra From trying to become a music composer to the watchmaker that he now is, Eric Giroud has come a long way. The designer has worked with multiple luxury brands and established his name in the watch industry. Eric has designed various timepieces which have won numerous accolades for their design and technical prowess. We engage Eric in a candid conversation over coffee to know of his journey and his latest design, the MB&F HM8. Eric, interestingly, did not start off his career as a watch designer. It didn’t happen till after he was 30. Eric had entered the music and arts industry at a very young age. Born in Switzerland, he studied music even as he was

18

a kid, and continued his stint with music till he was 20. However, as he began practicing it professionally, he felt he wasn’t a very good composer or even a conductor, says Eric. Thus, on the advice of his father, he decided to try his hands in the field of architecture. Design and mathematics, felt Eric, would be a welcome change. The thought of becoming a designer was on his mind when he took up architecture. He then pursued architecture professionally until his thirties, opening his architecture practice in 1990. Eric had to close his practice down at the height of the Gulf War, and it was then that he decided to travel a bit, embarking on a year and a half long trip to Dakar in Senegal, Africa. This life-changing personal adventure

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

accentuated his desire to experience the world and to do something different. As soon as he returned, he dabbled with graphics, packaging and product design, working with design agencies in Switzerland and across the world. The line between passion and profession soon evaporated when he established his design agency in 1998. Soon enough, a project for a watch design turned up, and Eric decided to have a go at it. He started work on ideas for submission to the project outside of the office, while the design team in the office was working on an official version. When the designs were presented Eric’s submission was picked by the client. He has, since, never looked back.


Eric Giroud at the M.A.D Gallery in Al Serkal Avenue Dubai SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

19


SCHOLARS

MUSINGS ON TIME

Despite being a late entrant into the scene of watchmaking, Eric adapted very quickly to keep up with the industry requirements. “Learning is a crucial aspect of watchmaking,” says the specialist. Before he begins his work, he has to know about the mechanism, the diameter of the dial and the gender it would be made for. With these inputs and putting some of his own ideas in the mix, he designs a sketch. He, then, takes inputs from the clients on the sketch and makes improvements accordingly. Eric says: “To convert a sketch into the right proportions of an actual watch is much harder than it seems.” He learns the style and technique with every brand he works and he keeps improving. Talking of brands, Eric’s relationship with MB&F is a love story that has been going on for more than a decade now. So how did the designer get working with one of the most acclaimed brands in the watchmaking industry? By a stroke of luck,

20

says the ever-modest Eric. He was lucky to meet some people in the know of the watchmaking industry during his early years designing watches. One of them introduced Eric to Maximilian Büsser, the founder of Maximilian Büsser and Friends (MB&F). After 15 years of managing prestigious watch brands, Maximillian had resigned from his Managing Director position at Harry Winston in 2005 to create MB&F, an artistic micro-engineering laboratory dedicated to designing and crafting small series of radical concept watches. It aims to bring together talented professionals that Büsser both respects and enjoys working with, and it seemed that Eric fit the bill perfectly. Eric feels the work ethics at MB&F are very positive. It all starts with Maximillian stating his idea and the concept for the watch. The leader and designer complement each other – Eric understands what Maximillian wants; the team works on the project together and exchanges ideas.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

Even critics are important to Eric. Once a sketch is finalized, he works closely with the various stakeholders in the team and takes their inputs as well. Often the designs which are assumed easy to create are often the most complicated until they can be given a real tangible shape. Sometimes the finished product ends up looking nothing like the original. Eric proudly shows us the all new timepiece HM8, the latest watch designed for MB&F that has been two years in the making. The HMX was inspired by cars, and now the HM8 takes its inspiration from the true blue racing cars of the 70s CanadianAmerican Challenge Cup or Can-Am for short. At a time when Formula 1 was mainly European and wary of experimentation, CanAm was a hotbed of technical innovation. However, while the oil crisis and recession drove the Can-Am into the sunset, the HM8 proudly rises from the turbo-charged ashes. The HM8 represents an intersection


of previous models, the HM3 and the HM5 the distinctive angular form and optical prism displays first manifested in HM5, and the now signature “battle-axe” winding rotor, which made HM3 MB&F’s most popular model to date. HM8 Can-Am features a curvaceous yet angular case, with dual optical prisms vertically displaying bi-directional jumping hours and trailing minutes, while the battleaxe winding rotor is visible on top. The real star of HM8, however, are its CanAm inspired polished “roll bars” majestically sweeping from the front of the Machine down

to the beguiling tapered back. The roll bars are made of grade 5 titanium, light in weight and high in strength. Incongruously for a fully mechanical racing machine, the visual effect is electric. HM8’s Engine sits in full view under a nearly invisible sapphire crystal engine cover. Turning HM8 over reveals another automotive tip of the hat: like most car engines which have an “oil sump” located underneath, HM8 has dual oil sumps under its own Engine. The HM8 Can-Am is powered by an inhouse developed bi-directional jumping

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

hour and trailing minute indication module, on a Girard-Perregaux base movement. The movement is inverted to put the winding rotor on top and modified to drive the prism indicator module. The finishing of the movement is first class, which it has to be as it is completely open to view from the top. The watch has a power reserve of 42 hours. The vertical, forward-facing display makes HM8 Can-Am an excellent driver’s watch. Eric says the watch is not limited edition, but production will be limited because it’s extremely complicated to manufacture.

21


S AV O I R FA I R E

T H E YA M A S Á L I N E

THE YAMASÁ LINE After months of anticipation Davidoff’s latest launch, the ‘Yamasá’ stays true to its prolific hysteria. The new line, which debuted at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, takes inspiration and tobacco from Yamasá, a region in the central Dominican Republic located

Total palate invigoration has been cigar guru Hendrik “Henke” Kelner’s doctrine since he first made cigars over 30 years ago. This philosophy holds true with Davidoff’s latest cigar launch, the Davidoff Yamasá, a premium 20 years in the making luxe cigar. Traveling to the ideal climate and mineral-rich land of the Yamasá region in the Dominican Republic coupled with the expertise of the exceptional master blender, Henke, Davidoff Yamasá is one exceptionally fervent experience. The last three launches from the Davidoff umbrella have showcased tobacco sourced from diverse regions. Starting with the Nicaragua, then the Escurio (Brazil), and now the prestigious Yamasá (Dominican Republic). It took 20 years of Henke Kelner’s and his team’s expertise, of nurturing and cultivating soil that was reluctant to change. The development of the Yamasá is a classic example of men who confronted the impossible in the pursuit of their dream. For the Yamasá soil to deliver up to its true potential, Henke Kelner, and his team- Eladio and Manuel Perlata, had to first foster nature. To raise the pH levels to those that best suit the growing of tobacco. They worked on the soil by adding calcium carbonate, dolomitic lime and agricultural lime every two months. It was done by trained professionals to every single tobacco plant. Henke Kelner relied only on his expert intuition, defying the laws of science. Preliminary seed selection saw the selection of just three out of thirty samples, only the best regarding color, shine and lamina were selected. The site in Yamasá covers 100 hectares, but only 21 are currently being used. They would rest the land between each harvest to let nature take its course,

22

and to ensure that the unique quality of the Yamasá leaf is maintained for years to come. Entirely new climate controlled curing facilities were developed to ensure this. The technical expertise attained over the years by the Davidoff team in refining the wilder predispositions of Nicaraguan Estelí and Condega tobaccos has helped to create a unique Yamasá blend with all the intensity, enhancement and complexity aficionados would expect from Davidoff. We recently had the pleasure on interviewing Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG on the occasion of the Yamasá launch in the U.A.E to ask him about the project: You’ve held high positions in various industries; watch industry with Timex, cosmetics with Guerlain, beverages with Seagrams and now you’re in the tobacco industry with Oettinger Davidoff. Do you think this time around you’re working on something you relate to personally? I’ve always enjoyed what I have been doing, being in the luxury and premium market. But it’s true that the environment of premium cigars is something that I enjoy even more because it is extremely personable. It is a luxury, but it’s also affordable in the sense that a lot of people can enjoy it. It’s something that you could say democratizes a little bit of luxury because there are reasonable price ranges. A premium cigar is a splendid excuse or catalyst to sit down and check-out of your busy schedule for 45 minutes. If you’re stressed or busy, this serves as a complete disconnect from everything else around you. This is what we call time beautifully filled. Yes, this role is something that I enjoy!

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

23


S AV O I R FA I R E

T H E YA M A S Á L I N E

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard at the Four Seasons DIFC, Dubai

What was your plan when you joined Davidoff? What was the vision that you were working on and what were the challenges? What I like about leadership is being able to make an impact. And if there is a challenge in front of me or a turnaround situation, not necessarily financially but brand wise or equity wise or consumer wise, I find that incredibly stimulating. When I joined Davidoff, the vision was very clear. The goal was to move from products to a brand to experience. Five and a half years into this journey, we’re clearly tapping into the experience. We have made fantastic progress on establishing the brand on the cigar front. Now we are moving into that experience piece which our consumers are seeking. You must be more than the brand; you must be more than the product; we are part of that movement.

How would you describe Yamasa? What is the traditional lifecycle of launching a new cigar into the market? Why was the Yamasa such a challenge? I think Yamasa is obviously the most complex project we have ever undertaken. It is also a very complex blend, we have a Yamasa wrapper, we have a binder, and even in the filling tobacco, we have five different origins - three Dominicans and two Nicaraguans. In terms of complexity, it’s a masterpiece. Which is

24

where we are unique compared to our competitors, we always have this very high degree of blending. The life cycle depends on the size of the project. We are a luxury product from nature. It’s fundamentally an agricultural commodity. So typically, the project takes about eighteen months from idea to execution. But that means that before that you already need to have three, six or ten-year-old aged tobacco that can go into the product. Once you have that blend the concept, packaging, and everything takes place within eighteen months. But to understand Yamasa and why it is a masterpiece you need first to understand why it took us 20 years. Henke had this vision that we could cultivate tobacco in this particular area of the Dominican Republic called Yamasa. This was a place where nobody had ever succeeded in growing tobacco. It would be an ideal location for growing tobacco, but it’s a wilderness that had to be tamed. So we took on that challenge. It became a challenge of finding the right plot for this project in a very big area where a lot of other agricultural products are also grown. It was very different weather from what we were used to, and there was the soil condition which we had to overcome. Also for the first time, we also wanted to grow the wrapper leaf in the Yamasa, which has never been successfully grown anywhere in the Dominican Republic. In the end, we put together a cigar which we can produce 100 percent.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


“This was a place where nobody had ever succeeded in growing tobacco. It would be an ideal place for growing tobacco, but it’s a wilderness that had to be tamed.” HANS-KRISTIAN HOEJSGAARD

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

25


S AV O I R FA I R E

WRAPPED IN LUXURY

WRAPPED IN LUXURY

Having made opulent watches for the discerning, IWC now collaborates with Santoni to adorn fine watches with premium leather straps. We sit down with the management from IWC and Santoni to discuss the partnership and its takeaways for patrons

Sunaz Sharaf Headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the International Watch Company needs no introduction. The company was established in 1868 and has made a name for itself among the discerning by continuously bringing to their clients the very best in the field of fine watchmaking. The company has stayed true to its roots even as it looks to the future, and the collaboration with Santoni is another milestone in the success story of IWC. We had the opportunity to discuss the partnership with Luc Rochereau, Regional Brand Director of IWC (Middle-East, North

of classic watches. “…You either find something very boring and repetitive, or you get a flashy piece of metal that is not classy, not timeless. They will be out of fashion after one season. I don’t think our customers want this. We focus on what the requirement of the client is, and this client-company relationship is vital for our brand.” says Luc. Customer centricity is part of the core philosophy at Santoni as well. Established in 1975 by Andrea Santoni, in the Italian village of Corridonia, the company manufactures every component of their shoe in-house to ensure quality is consistent across every

also cannot give them something that is repetitive, because then it is not unique and doesn’t provide them a reason to buy from us.” Giuseppe Santoni, the current chairman, and corporate strategist puts across lucidly. Over the years, as watchmakers have advertised watches for their movements, complications, precious stones and design elements, seldom has the strap hogged the limelight, though there’s no denying that the strap is a very important element of the watch. However, when someone buys a 10,000 Euro watch, they expect only the finest quality in all details, and that includes the strap. It also

Africa & India) and Giuseppe Santoni, the chairman of Santoni in a joint interview. “The art of fine watchmaking is all about creativity,” says Luc Rochereau. The aim is to make the watches very modern, but at the same time connected to the roots of the company’s heritage, dating back to 1868. The brand philosophy has always been a passion for quality, detail, and excellence, and the modern approach is seen in the company’s product line. “We are not a very showy brand. Our clients are usually very discreet, but we recognize them immediately when we see them,” says Luc. With the plethora of brands on offer today, there are not a big proportion

element of every finished shoe. After all, customers have a very high expectation from Santoni, and only a perfect shoe can bear this name. Two of the hallmarks of a Santoni shoe are the hand-sewn seams and the famous anticatura, the antique finish achieved by applying multiple coats of leather dye. “In fashion and watches, you need to give to your customer’s something they don’t have. When the products are expensive, you need to provide them with a timeless piece. You cannot give them something that is too chic and fancy because it is going to be out of style very quick, and then they’ll feel like they’ve spent all the money for nothing. You

works as a balance; a basic strap doesn’t quite fit in with the kind of masterpieces that the craftsmen at IWC are used to creating. “The knowledge that they are getting the best of both worlds gives our customer’s confidence. They appreciate it,” affirms Luc. So how did the collaboration come to be? Giuseppe Santoni, a self-proclaimed watch aficionado, says he has an entire collection of watches himself. He had bought an IWC Portugeiser in 1998, way before the collaboration happened. He also knew Johann Peter Rupert, owner of Richemont group which owned IWC, and a long time Santoni customer. One year, Rupert invited Giuseppe

26

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Giuseppe Santoni Chairman, Santoni

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

27


S AV O I R FA I R E

28

WRAPPED IN LUXURY

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

29


S AV O I R FA I R E

WRAPPED IN LUXURY

Each Santoni strap for IWC comes with its own unique serial number and bears the Santoni signature on every piece.

to the Richemont Global Summit, where CEOs of all Richemont brands come together to talk about their products and their future vision. “It was a great honor for me to be able to share the passion and spirit of Santoni and discuss with several company heads. At the end of two days,” recalls Santoni. “Mr. Rupert said, everybody will come in Santoni shoes from next year!” After six months, Santoni’s showroom in Milan was playing host to guests from IWC. They saw the shoes, the different colors of leather and the methods of painting, and were fascinated by the idea of using a piece of very special leather on a unique watch. Thus, was born the original IWC x Santoni Portofino, in 2009. The Santoni branding does add a lot of value to an IWC watch. “In the 90s, people would go to a Ralph Lauren or a Versace store and buy everything from head to toe. Today our clients buy their shirt from the best shirt-maker, ties from the best tie-maker, and their shoes from the best shoemaker. With the internet, our customers have all the information. And when you offer them a great watch with great movement, which also has a great leather strap, they are delighted. Using artisanal leather makes a lot of difference,” mentions Santoni.

30

Giuseppe Santoni brings with him his renowned expertise of leather crafting to the table. “Finding the balance between innovation and tradition is critical,” he says. His products don’t look old or traditional; Santoni likes to call them ‘contemporary classics.’ The leather that they make for watch straps is very different from the regular leather used for shoes. “Shoes are mostly worn with dark colored socks and pants; the watches come into direct contact with the skin and the shirt. Therefore, the color should remain fast and avoid staining the skin. Every piece of leather dyes differently. When we were starting, it took us more than a year to finalize and prepare the leather.” Santoni admits it was a great learning opportunity for his people. “We have our color design team meet with the IWC team, and we share ideas. For us, it is a step up from the usual coloring process. We also learn to make better details. Our clients match the color of the strap not only to the dial but the entire wardrobe: shoes, clothes, occasion, business and casual. There has to be a harmony.” Besides, his brand has benefitted a lot from working with key players like IWC and AMG as well. He claims that working with great brands brings a lot of cross-pollination

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

of ideas and serves as an opportunity to grow together. As an example, Santoni says they now put metal on the sole which no one had ever done before. Marketing is all about communication, and few brands have been able to send their message across as clearly as IWC with their Santoni straps. Each strap is handmade, unique and comes with its unique serial number. There is also the Santoni signature on every piece of leather. “Whenever we announce a new product, our discerning clients demand to be the first to know. Being an IWC customer is an emotional experience.” The competition has woken up to their success, with more and more brands coming up with collaborations of their own. “It is crucial for luxury manufacturers to have a long-term vision,” explains Luc. Probus Scafusia goes the IWC motto, meaning “good things from Schaffhausen” referring to the pride of Schaffhausen. Luc shows us his IWC Portugeiser Perpetual Calendar. The deep blue strap by Santoni still shines like new; Luc says he has worn it every day for the past one year. The blue dial lends itself to different shades from different angles. “Excellence is our way,” declares Luc Rochereau. We couldn’t agree more.


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

31


S AV O I R FA I R E

A B E A U T I F U L R E V I VA L

A BEAUTIFUL REVIVAL

From gold of the poor to modern luxury, Madame Lison de Caunes has been busy bringing back the age old tradition of straw marquetry. A tradition that is now transforming straw into modern day contemporary masterpieces

Sunaz Sharaf Marquetry, also spelled as marqueterie, is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The word derives from a Middle French word meaning “inlaid work.” It is thought to have originated in East Asia, and examples were brought back to England in the 17th century. There are also various accounts of nuns in France and Switzerland making a variety of items using straw marquetry. The most famous straw marquetry was practiced by prisoners of war from the Napoleonic wars. THE PROCESS Straw marquetry is a craft very similar to that of wood marquetry, except that straw replaces the wood veneer. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to small decorative objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels appreciated in their own right. These decorative panels are accomplished using flattened slithers of naturally cured straw. Each piece of wheat, rye or oat straw is opened, flattened and dyed by hand. To mimic the varying shades of wood veneer, wheat or oat straw has to be split, then soaked in cold, warm, or hot water. The strips are then ironed into a flat ribbon, and there will be a variety of tones from pale gold to deepest dark brown. Then it’s clean, iridescent patterns are inlaid on furniture and exquisite interiors. The straw is applied either directly onto the wood using a cutter, or else glued onto cut paper before being set in place. It is then inlaid edge to edge on paper or wood until the surface is covered. From the preparation of the straw into ribbons, to the dyeing process, to the choosing and inlaying of each single piece of straw onto the surface, the art of straw marquetry requires patience and a well-developed sense of color and tone.

32

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

33


S AV O I R FA I R E

A B E A U T I F U L R E V I VA L

Caves de Paille, Humidor created for Davidoff Oettinger 34

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


A REVIVAL Very few furniture makers even attempt this demanding, but gorgeously rewarding technique. Madame Lison de Caunes is largely responsible for the revival of interest in straw marquetry. Lison de Caunes studied at Union Centrale des Arts décoratifs in Paris. Inspired to perpetuate her grandfather Andre Groult’s tradition of furniture craft, she started working with straw marquetry in the 1970s and quickly became a specialist. She began her career by dedicating herself to restoration projects, restoring antiques and Art Deco furniture. She went on to establish her workshop in 1978 in Paris. The Atelier Lison de Caunes is one of the very few workshops today that can create or restore marquetried objects - cases, caskets, furniture, while also having a large collection, including certain pieces dating back to the 17th century. Over the years she has curated several exhibitions. She has also published books on straw marquetry. Today, she dedicates her craft to creating made to order furniture, wall panels or objects for interior designers and decorators. In 2015 she launched Lison de Caunes Création, her design line. Most recently, for premium cigar brand Davidoff, de Caunes has worked on its new

masterpiece humidor collection, ‘Cave de Paille.’ She selected the brand’s classic Dome Humidor, as its rounded shape provided the ideal canvas for showing off rye straw’s natural luster, then designed and produced the patterns adorning the box’s exterior by hand. Consisting of three pieces, each showcasing different stages in the life of a cigar, from growing the green tobacco plant itself to aging its leaves just the right amount of time to release their flavors and rolling them, and finally enjoying the cigar and its smoke. Season One in the series was launched at Art Basel in Hong Kong in March 2015 and is available in a limited edition of 10 pieces worldwide, with the remaining two humidors subsequently released throughout the year at the fairs in Basel and Miami Beach. Today, straw marquetry is gaining a place in 21st-century design, with custom contemporary furniture, accessories, murals and wall panels created by Lison de Caunes appearing in the interiors of Peter Marino, Jean-Louis Deniot, and Franck de Biasi among other clients. For her contribution to the revival of this art form, Lison de Caunes, was awarded the title of master craftswoman (maître d’art) by the French Ministry of Culture.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

35


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

AN ARTISTIC HOMAGE

AN ARTISTIC HOMAGE

Emulating the extravagance and artistry of the Mongolian imperial court, Montblanc’s tribute to Marco Polo “Il Milione” Limited Edition 1 is an astounding display of gemsetting brilliance on one of the most fantastic collection every created by the Maison

Niyoshi Chudgar

Marco Polo, the legendary merchant explorer, born in 1254 spent over 24 years away from his native Venice on an ambitious voyage across Asia. Traveling with his father and uncle, the intrepid adventurer went along what is now known as the Silk Road to the isolated Mongol Empire where he served in the court of the daunting Kublai Khan. Not just an adventurer hoping to discover mysterious territories, Marco Polo was a charming and proficient storyteller, recording his epic explorations under the title of Il Milione (or The Travels of Marco Polo). The detailed chronicles of Marco Polo introduced Europeans to the civilization and cartography of Central Asia and China and became a testament for many travelers including the great Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci. Esteemed artistry brand Montblanc, pays tribute to one of the most significant pioneers of our time with the Marco Polo Limited Editions, commemorating a life of innovations and inventions that continue to encourage generations of adventure-seekers. The years Marco Polo spent trading precious stones while serving the great King Khan, the most powerful and feared king of that time, plays muse to the Homage to the Montblanc Marco Polo “Il Milione” Limited Edition 1. The vibrant hues and the silhouette of the extended cap, draw inspiration from the distinctive Coromandel lacquer folding

36

screens made by the best craftspersons in the Orient. When detached, the cap set with a full pavée of rich red rubies designed with cognac tone diamonds displays a barrel that features a diamond-set world map inspired by Marco Polo’s voyages. The instrument’s clip is sculpted like the golden pass given to him by Kublai Khan that promised he would get safe passage throughout the Khan’s extensive empire. The cap ring showcases various creatures from the fierce and fantastic world he experienced as told in Il Milione. An homage to one of his most significant navigation tools, a compass rose, is designed into the cap top under the famous Montblanc emblem, displaying itself due to a unique mechanism. On the other side of the pen, the skeletonized gold cone is designed with an exquisite 6,12ct diamond. The Au750 solid champagne gold nib shape is an illustration of Marco Polo’s passage of the vast desert, taken from the most integral map of the medieval period: the Catalan Atlas. More than seven centuries after the death of the great Marco Polo, the adventures, and discoveries captured on the pages of “Il Milione” live on in the delicate details of a Montblanc Limited Edition. The story of a man who bridged the gap between the hemispheres and the continents is celebrated by bringing together the finest craftsmanship and the most precious materials.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

37


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

HANDCRAFTED ELEGANCE

HANDCRAFTED ELEGANCE Give your Style an impressive touch with these precious slippers that perfectly complement your sophisticated look. Billionaire Couture presents an extravagant, rich wardrobe for mature men who are unafraid of who they are and who they want to be. While times change, Italian artisans preserve their perpetual and reliable heritage of knowledge, keeping the faith with tradition and meticulous attention to detail while interpreting new ideas and products. Unique details, rare fabrics and impeccable cuts define the Billionaire style that fuses the highest sartorial flairs to create exclusive products. A signature and iconic piece in the Billionaire collection is the Slipper, with the crest, available in a variety of colors. Each piece is handmade in Italy in small artisan workshops, in limited numbers, with special attention paid to details such as fabric and embroidery.

38

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

39


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

40

HANDCRAFTED ELEGANCE

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

41


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

42

HANDCRAFTED ELEGANCE

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

43


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

THE LIFTOFF

THE LIFTOFF

Few haute parfumiers offer the luxury of a rare fragrance like the house of Cartier. We explore the allure of Cartier’s latest launch, The L’envol Over the past eras, perfumes have been produced in nearly every scent, shape, and form, from engraved pots in ancient Egypt to delicate Lalique illusions, to transient sculptural flavors from the 1990’s. But a launch that stands out from the Haute periphery is the L’envol De Cartier. It’s a rustic and juxtaposed eau de parfum, an exceptional oriental-transparent scent. An

of honey, wood, patchouli, and a whiff of aromatic musk. Its trail is unadulterated, lustrous and airy. The exceptional and striking bottle is a capsule enclosed within a detachable glass cupola. The capsule is attached to an elegant container filled with exquisite honey colored nectar with golden phosphorous yellow passion, which can be carried

in the illustrious history of Cartier. In 1904, he had complained to Louis Cartier about the struggle of checking his pocket watch mid-flight and requested his friend to create a timepiece that would allow him to keep both hands on the controls while flying. The outcome was the launch of the world’s pioneering wristwatch, Cartier’s SantosDumont. He was known for navigating one of

amalgamation of both robust and mellow, it pulses with freshness before becoming more stable, stimulating and elevating to all who experience it. Inspired by ambrosia, the honeyed wine recognized as the sweet nectar of the deities as they strolled above the clouds on Mount Olympus. Illustrious perfumer Mathilde Laurent has concocted a revolutionary composition labelled as oriental-transparent. An eau de parfum of dichotomies, L’Envol is both firm and soft with sweet resins set against a blithe musk. The scent is Cartier’s sixth major launch for men, the first release since 2008. The cologne highlights accents

independently. The bottle reaffirms with the ultimate sophisticated Cartier legacy with its celebrated guilloché motif on the bottle stopper while the dome exhibits Cartier’s unique glasswork expertise. A timeless yet modern object with dual functionality, thus assimilating the expertise required for the virile, mechanical movement for both intertwining and detaching the capsule. The perfume pays tribute to the longstanding friendship and relationship between Louis Cartier and Alberto SantosDumont. Santos-Dumont was one of the most celebrated aviators of his time, one of the first men to take flight and a vital figure

the first motorised flights in history. In 1906, Santos-Dumont’s aircraft flew five meters above the ground for a record distance of 60 meters in Paris. He later set the world record by The World Air Sports Federation on 12 November 1906, for flying a distance of 220 meters for 22.5 seconds. Contemporary, both in terms of the way it is used and the way it was formulated, the L’Envol de Cartier is something of an enchanting exposé, a scent that is novel and unexpected, but still alluring and accessible. Its enchantment lies in its rounded, mellow, timbered overtones, its characteristic warmth, and its captivating glamor.

44

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


The design of the L'Envol de Cartier bottle reflects the Cartier style found on popular Cartier watches. In a similar vein, the bottle cap is engraved and made with narrow parallel lines to create stylish, light-catching detail. The honey gold colour of the fragrance within is designed to represent L'Envol de Cartier's 'Nectar of the Gods' inspiration.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

45


FOR HER

PRECIOUS ENVY

PRECIOUS ENVY

We celebrate the prolific union of artistry and luxury as colored gemstones miner; Gemfields joins hands with the renowned jeweler to the tsars, Fabergé. The collaboration embodies opulence in its truest form, commemorating an era of indulgent possessions for luxury connoisseurs across the globe Fabergé has gained global acclaim as a jewelry house with unmatched heritage and legacy. Gemfields, an AIM-listed company that undertakes colored gemstones mining excavation in Zambia and Mozambique, has bought Fabergé with an aim to increase global demand for jewelry featuring exquisitely designed colored gemstones. Celebrating the concept of artistry in today’s world of extravagance, Fabergé traces its enigmatic legacy of creative excellence and combines it with the rare sustainable opulence that Gemfields provides to bring out a series of jewelry that represents Fabergé in all its glory. HISTORY OF FABERGÉ The world’s most iconic artist jewelry brand, Fabergé has created a reputation extraordinaire of creating exquisite jewels, timepieces and objects d’art as well as bespoke commissions for an exclusive international clientele. Few jewelers have been as successful in mastering the perfection of their craft spanning several generations, as Fabergé. Peter Carl Fabergé, with his French-German ancestry, ruled the world of precious jewels for over four decades before the outbreak of World War 1. Founded in 1842, at St. Petersburg, Imperial Russia, the firm deftly gained a cult following amongst Russian royalty for designing jewel encrusted timeless pieces which include the famous series of “Imperial Easter Eggs.” Fabergé is renowned for its exceptional use of color, making the most of each gemstone’s unique characteristics and creating a brilliant enamel palette. Their artistry was celebrated

46

across royalty, nobility and industrialists of Paris, Moscow and London along with America and the Far East making them the ultimate gift connoisseurs. In 1917, the devastating Russian Revolution brought an abrupt end to the thriving House of Fabergé; subsequently, the company was nationalized, and all production was closed when the Fabergé family escaped Russia. After the death of its founder in Switzerland, the heirs lost their rights to the company name. History came full circle in 2007 when Fabergé, under new ownership was unified with its heirloom family. This merger commenced a new chapter in their illustrious empire, and set a precedent for a renaissance of the company name and philosophy, in harmony with its fundamental values and spirit. LEGACY OF THE FABERGÉ EGGS A series of priceless Easter eggs created by Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family is regarded as their greatest achievement. They are the most celebrated of all Fabergé creations, inextricably bound to their legacy. It is believed that the Russian Emperor Alexander III decided to give a gold Easter egg to his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna to celebrate their betrothal. Easter eggs were rumored to have captivated the imagination of a young Maria during her childhood days. Thus, the first imperial egg known as the Hen Egg was created. It was crafted from pure gold; the thick white shell opened to reveal a matt yellow gold yolk. Which in turn, showed a multi-coloured gold hen that further

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Lady Compliquée Peacock features a gold peacock that spreads its feathers gradually over the course of an hour, indicating the minutes on an arced scale. A movement exclusively developed for Fabergé by Agenhor Manufacture. The hours are shown by a rotating ring: the current hour is at the 3 o’clock position. SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

47


FOR HER

PRECIOUS ENVY

The Romanov necklace is an extraordinary modern masterpiece, a regal re-imagining of an early Fabergé jewel, recreated and contemporised from an archival gouache design dated 1885. In all, the necklace is set with 2225 gemstones, totalling 363.48 carats, including 1991 round white diamonds, totalling 98.15 carats, 151 rose cut diamonds, totalling 43.29 carats, with one rose diamond of 0.67 carats and a pear-shaped rose cut of 3.48 carats.

48

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


The Fabergé Emotion Green Ring features over 300 gemstones including round white diamonds, emeralds, demantoids and peridots, set in 18 karat yellow gold.

opened to display a diamond model of the imperial crown from which a delicate ruby pendant egg lay suspended. This commenced the beginning of a yearly tradition that continued for three decades with the most intricate and captivating Easter eggs the world has ever seen. The emperor had only one pre-requisite, there must be a surprise hidden within each creation. The surprises ranged from a miniature replica of the coronation carriage through a mechanical swan and ivory elephant to a heart shaped frame on an easel with 11 miniature portraits of members of the royal family. One of the most expensive was the Winter Egg created in 1913 which was carved from rock crystals, embellished with engravings and ornamented with platinum and diamonds to resemble frost. The flowers were crafted from white quartz, nephrite, gold and demantoid garnets set on a base of moss made of green gold. The egg was sold in 2002 for US$ 9.6 million. Of the 50 egg Fabergé made for the Imperial family, 43 have survived till date and exist as part of various private collections. THE ART OF COLOR No conversation about luxury and lineage is complete without partaking into the eclectic world of colored gemstones. For over centuries, gemstones have been synonymous with wealth, power, and royalty. Before the onset of expensive purses, fast cars, and paintings, luxury was defined and demarcated in the form of precious stones. After centuries as the world’s forerunning luxury asset, colored gemstones appeared destined to become an overlooked specialty item. That is, until recently. There has been a slow but steady revitalization of the colored gemstone industry, and it has been spearheaded by only one name: Gemfields. One of the world’s leading miner and distributor, Gemfields owns a majority stake in the Kagem mine in Zambia which produces emeralds and a mine in Mozambique for Ruby. Emeralds from Kagem are by far the company’s biggest product.

ETHICAL MINING Gemfields prides itself in being the world’s leading supplier of responsibly sourced colored gemstones. They are pioneers of the morally transparent marketplace where mining and ethics form the foundation of the brand. The aim is to set a benchmark for the world’s best practices for sustainable gemstone trading, making it a fair trade, environmentally-sound, and safe in all aspects. They oversee the entire process from “mine to market” which translates into supplying professionally graded, uncut colored gemstones to the primary markets through a series of private auctions, where Gemfields themselves carefully handpicks the buyers. The brand is highly selective about who they supply to; the focus is not as much about controlling supply, as about putting these precious stones in the right hands, and ensuring that the gems go down as the true heirlooms of history. THE ACQUISITION BY GEMFIELDS Gemfields bought the majority stake of Fabergé in 2013 in an allshare deal valuing the historic brand at approximately $142million. Building on Fabergé’s status as a global brand with a notable heritage, Gemfields is set to create an unmatched status of being an internationally recognized colored gemstones champion and all encumbered luxury enthusiasts. Post the acquisition; Gemfields has set Fabergé back on the path of fine jewelry creations, highlighting precious gems (Emeralds, Sapphires, Rubies, Spinels, and Tsavorites), designed by amalgamating modern influences of the current times with classic pieces. Each Fabergé jewel that is part of the current collection is a bold and daring object of art that manages to surpass the boundaries of contemporary design. An explosion of vibrant colors that captivates onlookers. Fabergé’s creations are retailed out of exclusive boutiques in London, New York, Geneva and other select locations across the globe.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

49


FOR HER

50

MARKING DISTINCTION

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


MARKING DISTINCTION Amruda Nair, a dreamer who punctuates her dream to reality, has decided to take the game at hospitality up a notch, with her own brand Aiana. We interviewed her to find out the why and how behind the idea of representing Indian warmth across the Middle East

Diksha Vohra Aiana is a word of Sanskrit origin with a deep relationship with nature and many meanings - ‘Eternal Blossom,’ ‘Beautiful Flower,’ ‘A good path’ and also ‘Refuge.’ Whichever meaning you choose to take from the name, all of them have a very positive connotation. This is the distinct vibe that we got when discussing the new hotel brand of the same name being developed by Amruda Nair. For the third-generation hotelier Amruda Nair, hotels were but a second home. She had her interest in finance and real estate business inculcated at a very young age, and to flourish the same, she went on, to pursue an Undergraduate Course in Economics. While it would have been easy for her to enter the family business straight away, she gave her road of life a different turn. One of the very few to take her passions very seriously, she enrolled herself at a hotel school to learn the fundamentals of operations at a hotel. The decision to “deep dive into each of the functional aspect” as she quotes it, was a result of her belief in the fact that one should start right from ground level to escalate to greater heights in the future. She went on to gain qualifications in Hospitality Management from CHN University in The Netherlands and a master’s degree from the world’s leading hotel school, Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration in New York, which included exposure to Asian markets through the Nanyang Business School, in Singapore. Her journey towards where she stands today, in fact, started when she discovered her interest in Infrastructure Development and Management while working in New York as an intern at the Mandarin Oriental. The inclination further actualized and bloomed during her first Investment Sales Job as a full-time analyst

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

51


FOR HER

MARKING DISTINCTION

Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani signs joint venture with Amruda Nair for Aiana Hotels & Resorts.

on the brokerage team at Jones Lang Lasalle Hotels, where her first challenge was to sell a hotel in Bali. “I did pre-opening budget reviews, feasibility studies, management contract negotiations and valuation work for the Hotels; covered the entire resort market from Japan to Cambodia, to Vietnam, Thailand, Laos,” she says. Later on, she joined the corporate advisory division of the Singapore-based company to act as owner’s representative in critical projects. For one who has experienced the crux of the struggle, making it big doesn’t seem too hard. Things further started to fall in place when she got a chance to explore the service industry and their practices. “I used to do mystery guest audits in Hong Kong for an Indian owner who owned Holiday Inns across the region. It was the most eye-opening experience, to see, as a consultant, what another brand is doing and to meet all the other different types of owners,” she recalls. “For me, that was the turning point where my focus shifted completely to real estate and finance,” Nair added. Returning to India, she served as Head of Asset Management for Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts during a period of major growth, which included the opening of new properties in Gurgaon, Udaipur, Delhi and Chennai and an increase in room inventory under management to more than 2,200 guest rooms. In her role, Amruda was responsible for conducting financial reviews for the

52

luxury group’s eight operating properties, reviewing pre-opening budgets for upcoming projects and annual business plans. Her family background and the experience of working with them for five years just before introducing Aiana supplemented immeasurably to her learning process. Handling major operations in the shoes of Head of Asset Management, and procedures when The Leela had been doubling its reach within the country, from four to eight hotels across India was an excellent opportunity to put herself through the toughest trials. The knowledge and the practical expertise that she acquired all along her path combined with her fundamentals of brand management gave her all the requisite potentials to form the building blocks of the brand Aiana. Aiana was born out of a zeal within Nair to start her own business. She believed that there was more opportunity in creating and flourishing a new brand, rather than adding negligible value to the existing businesses. Aiana, a startup, was launched only 18 months ago in Doha, Qatar. She describes it as: “…different from everything I have ever done before.” The entire process to build a hotel and make it operational is a tricky one in a service industry, where everything is about people. “It’s not every day that you can create a brand,” she exclaims. She further explains how building and executing the entire business plan towards building a brand is like starting from ground zero. From initiating

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

things over the drawing boards, pitching the idea, finding the right partners, building the team to “attracting people that want to dive deep into the idea of creating from scratch” as she explains the most important part of her business plan. “To begin with phase one, the focus was on to get the brand out there, to develop products to reflect who we are, adding a localized element. We are doing everything from 22 villas on a plantation to a 611-room hotel solely meant for pilgrimage”, she explains. Aiana is by design an Indian Brand homegrown in the Middle East. It aspires to build all its properties in a manner that it incorporates the social instinct of its clientele to its design and structure and to give the modern travelers a sense of place. It also views the whole process of structuring to fulfill the quest of a broad spectrum of people whether they are traveling for work, or business, or leisure by blending different lifestyles and providing the right kinds of amenities. However, its main line of offering remains to be Indian Intuitive Services, a style of service that enhances human interaction and a complete respond-and-act-experience with the absence of any subservience in the way guests are hosted during their stay. Their philosophy is to develop technology and use it for all mechanical and monotonous processes to increase the scope for human interaction. Where, The Leela continues to retain its mark in the world of Hospitality; Aiana establishes its own identity due to its unique business idea of making luxurious living accessible without compromising on the opulence of the property, standards of hospitality, or the quality of stay. The marque has two rollouts lined up during the next year, the first one being at Doha, Qatar to attract tourists to the unexplored country with a beautiful coastline. Whereas the second one, is being constructed in the Holy City of Makkah, meant mainly to host millions of pilgrims arriving every year. Aiana also plans to venture into South of India, with its first property located in the rich plantations of Munnar and later encompass other portions of the country to broaden their reach within the rich Indian market. With her larger than life dreams, Amruda has decided to take the legacy forward to make it something that the travelers would always only cherish.


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

53


FOR HER

FEMININE INTUITION

FEMININE INTUITION Founded and run by a family of jewelry designers who have been serving the industry for over 50 years, each and every Sartoro jewel is made with the utmost care and dedication to modern refinement. Diamonds and gold embellish feminine intuition in the most precious way Sartoro introduces its new fine jewelry collection FAUNA. These elegant statement pieces capture animal spirits and reinterpret the myth of a luxuriant nature. Precious animal jewels form a collection filled with artistry and vibrant with emotions. From minimalistic jewels to opulent masterpieces, Sartoro embraces the vision of timeless beauty that brings creations to the emotional dimension. Ethereal, smooth and sculptural ornaments are created as unique and ultimate life travelers. Sartoro introduces its new fine jewelry collection FAUNA. These elegant statement pieces capture animal spirits and reinterpret the myth of a luxuriant nature. Precious animal jewels form a collection filled with artistry and vibrant with emotions. From minimalistic jewels to opulent masterpieces, Sartoro embraces the vision of timeless beauty that brings creations to the emotional dimension. Ethereal, smooth and sculptural ornaments are created as unique and ultimate life travelers.

54

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Daring with the Falcon White gold earring with diamond White gold ring with diamond and emerald White gold bangle with diamond and emerald

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

55


FOR HER

FEMININE INTUITION

Be Fierce with the Lion Yellow gold necklace with diamond and emerald Yellow gold ring with diamond, onyx and emerald

56

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Captivating with the Snow Leopard White gold pendant with diamond, tanzanite, emerald & onyx White gold ring with diamond, emerald and onyx

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

57


OBSESSION

THE TOUCH OF TECHNOLOGY

THE TOUCH OF TECHNOLOGY

Vertu, manufacturers of mobile phones embodying luxury, have long been known for their valued services. Through their latest offering, Signature Touch for Bentley, they raise the benchmark of innovation even higher

Diksha Vohra Mobile phones have undeniably become an essential object that one cannot live without. However, apart from calling and messaging, there are much more these devices can do, making life easier. The manufacturer of the world’s finest luxury mobile phones – Vertu – adds life to life through every creation. Combining peerless materials and expert craftsmanship with innovative and unique personal services, Vertu’s phones are aimed at providing their discerning clients an experience like no other. Vertu is available in three distinct models – Signature, Signature Touch, and Aster. Pioneered over a decade ago, the marque continues to lead the market till date. Vertu is renowned for its curated services that no other mobile phone brand offers. They include a suite of carefully selected exclusive offers and content and assistance specifically selected to enhance their customer’s lifestyle. In addition to these, their bespoke services like

58

the ‘Vertu Concierge,’ ‘Life,’ and ‘Certainty’ are the key attractions for all Vertu loyalists. Through Vertu Concierge, the brand offers a dedicated 24/7 concierge facility to all its clients who facilitate every request of theirs’ including hotel bookings, the arrangement of VIP event invites, special launches and much more. This service allows every Vertu customer to experience an enriched lifestyle that he yearns to live with ease. A dedicated lifestyle manager is always at the client’s disposal to meet their needs through live chat, email or a phone call. On the other hand, Vertu Life provides its customers exclusive privileges like priority access to certain events, compelling deductions and customized introductions to once-in-alifetime people and places that are otherwise inaccessible or beyond limits. Their mobile app provides a detailed list of events from all around the globe on a weekly basis specially curated to the client’s tastes and preferences.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

Producing cutting edge technology has not been something new to Vertu, and it continues to impress its aficionados by adding the Vertu Certainty option. Since data security is a leading concern for individuals today the brand has partnered with world-leaders in the field of data security, offering unprecedented protection through this service. This feature enables one to communicate through state-of-theart encrypted texts and calls through Silent Phone and Silent Text from Silent Circle. Silent Circle ensures that only the intended recipient receives valuable information being shared through the device without leaving room for any third-party intervention. Besides, one need not worry about internet connection as every phone is connected by a global Wi-Fi called iPass, which is also the world’s leading Wi-Fi network. With three layers of security, iPass continues to remain one of the most secured networks worldwide.


The Vertu Signature Touch for Bentley, featured here within the all new Bentley Bentayga SUV

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

59


OBSESSION

THE TOUCH OF TECHNOLOGY

Partnering with Kaspersky antivirus, the phone also remains protected at all times while downloading applications, checking emails or surfing the internet. The unique features and services being offered make the mobile phone even more valuable. More than an expense, it’s an investment for a lifetime. To ensure that Vertu remains with those who love and value

Touch for Bentley. The third release of the five-year partnership between the celebrated brands, the Signature Touch for Bentley takes the luxury experience a step ahead. Featuring two-tone Beluga and Hotspur Bentley leather, with Hotspur stitching, the phone also includes knurled side keys, a unique pillow rail and sound bar and a

Accompanied by the Dolby Digital Plus virtual surround sound, the image clarity is a spectacle to keep an eye out for. Moreover, containing Vertu’s Signature services like the Concierge, Life, and Certainty packages, this is by far Vertu’s highest ever technical performance smartphone. Delighted at the launch of such a unique masterpiece, Vertu’s British headquarters’

it the most, the company has introduced the Lost Phone Service. Since device tracking is tied to the phone’s IMEI and not the user account, it protects the handset from theft always keeping customers tension free. Also, using the service lost handsets can be tracked to see its current location while also having the option of initiating a remote erase of all sensitive data on the phone at the same time. You also have the option of triggering the phone to ring loudly, even when on silent – to help locate and retrieve the Vertu back once you are in its proximity. The latest innovation in Vertu’s mystery box is indeed the launch of its Signature

3D Bentley logo, giving the mobile phone a touch of Bentley. In addition to the above, a dedicated Bentley app was created and installed which delivers exclusive content to patrons, bringing the world of Bentley alive through tailored events, VIP access and special features designed to integrate Signature Touch with the full range of Bentley cars. Presenting the best of both brands, the Signature Touch for Bentley is known for balancing high-performance technology, superior design and a list of customer dedicated features. The smartphone embodies Vertu’s most vibrant display ever.

VP Sales, and Marketing, Gordon Watsan says: “The Vertu for Bentley products have been a phenomenal success. This is a partnership that has sparked the imagination of luxury customers and the models release so far have proved very desirable amongst our existing global customer base.” Following on from the success of Vertu’s ‘Made to Order’ for Vertu Signature for Bentley, this option has also been made available on this new model, Vertu’s second smartphone for Bentley. This allows Signature Touch for Bentley to be personalized with the choice of eight leather colors and 16 stitching options.

60

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


The Vertu Signature Touch for Bentley features a dedicated Bentley app that syncs with the car and delivers a host of exclusive Bentley content like dealer information.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

61


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

THE TIMEKEEPERS

THE TIMEKEEPERS For all of the frustration that has been over mankind’s lack of dominance over the element of time, the only consolation has been our increasing perfection in the art of measuring time. We look back at the origins of time itself and the timekeepers who never retired from their duty of perfecting time

Sunaz Sharaf All our lives we have been told about the importance of time. “Better Three Hours Too Soon Than a Minute Too Late” is an adage as relevant today as it was in the age of Shakespeare. We are a race taught to live in a constant race against time. It’s not too hard to imagine that there existed a point in human history where the measurement of time was not a matter of significance. As the first humans lay scattered across the Earth the priorities at the very beginning were primarily physiological - hunting for food and providing shelter for the family. As our species evolved from hunter-gatherers to an agricultural society, there was less of a need to move around to provide for the family. The pressing issues then revolved around providing continuity and safety for the settlement. While humanity progressed gradually towards the pinnacle of self-actualization, there was an innate curiosity that was mounting about the very concept of existence itself. Abraham Maslow originally proposed the hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation” published in the Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. It might be easy to say that somewhere along the rise the hierarchy of needs there was a need to measure the never ending continuum of daily chores. At a fundamental level, while its actual origins will remain a mystery, ‘Time’ as we call it today was a product of human curiosity to better explain the antics of the Celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars. Curiosity about these heavenly objects that were visible in the skies and significantly impacted life on Earth was the definite precursor of Time.

62

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


The "Human Sundial", technically called an Analemmatic Sundial, allows one's own shadow to cast the time of day.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

63


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

THE TIMEKEEPERS

Ancient civilizations relied upon the apparent motion of these bodies through the sky to determine seasons, months, and years. We know little about the details of timekeeping in prehistoric eras, but we find that in every culture, some individuals were preoccupied with measuring and recording the passage of time. Ice-age hunters in Europe over 20,000 years ago scratched lines and gouged holes in sticks and bones, possibly counting the days between phases of the moon. These were the first Timekeepers. Five thousand years ago, Sumerian timekeepers in the Tigris-Euphrates valley in today’s Iraq had a calendar that divided the year into 30 day months, divided the day into 12 periods, and divided these periods into 30 parts. The earliest Egyptian calendar was based on the moon’s cycles, but later the Egyptian timekeepers realized that the “Dog Star” in Canis Major, which we call Sirius, rose next to the sun every 365 days. Based on this knowledge, they devised a 365-day calendar that seems to have begun around 3100 BCE. Ancient Indian timekeepers measured the passage of time in terms of respirations. The time required in pronouncing ten long syllables, Gurvakshara, was called a respiration. Six respirations made up one vinadi, 60 vinadis made one nadi and 60 nadis made one day. People of various civilizations have been interested in determining time with ever greater accuracy as they progressed. Obelisks were built as early as 3500 BCE. Their moving shadows formed a kind of sundial, enabling people to partition the day into morning and afternoon. Various adaptations of the sundial had cropped up around the world. By 30 BCE, Vitruvius could describe 13 different sundial styles in use in Greece, Asia Minor, and Italy.

64

Water clocks were among the earliest devices that didn’t depend on the observation of celestial bodies. Later named clepsydras (“water thieves”) by the Greek timekeepers, who began using them about 325 BCE, these were stone vessels with sloping sides that allowed water to drip at a nearly constant rate from a small hole near the bottom. Since the rate of flow of water is very difficult to control accurately, a clock based on that flow could never achieve excellent accuracy. People were naturally led to other approaches. Before 2000 BCE, the Babylonians timekeepers used a year of 12 alternating 29 day and 30-day lunar months, giving a 354 day year. In contrast, the Mayans of Central America relied not only on the Sun and Moon, but also the planet Venus, to establish 260 day and 365day calendars. Our present civilization has adopted a 365-day solar calendar with a leap year occurring every fourth year. Ismail al-Jazari, an Islamic scholar, and polymath born in 1136 BCE is remembered for his design of water-raising machines, unusual clocks and automata. Amongst all his creations, the most remarkable and renowned was his Elephant Clock, which was by far the most sophisticated clock at that time. It was the first clock in which an automaton reacted after certain intervals of time - in this case, a humanoid robot striking a cymbal and a mechanical robotic bird chirping, and the first water clock to accurately record the passage of the temporal hours to match the uneven length of days throughout the year. The clock also implemented his invention of a water pump using a crank-slider-like system. In addition to its mechanical innovations, the clock itself is seen as an early example of multiculturalism represented in technology. The elephant represents

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Atomic Clock Resonator Cesium National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo

the Indian culture, the dragons represent the Chinese culture, and the turban represents Islamic culture. In Europe during most of the Middle Ages, technological advancement virtually ceased. Sundial styles evolved, but didn’t move far from ancient Egyptian principles. During these times, simple sundials placed above doorways were used to identify midday and four “tides” of the sunlit day. By the 10th century, several types of pocket sundials were used. One English model even compensated for seasonal changes of the Sun’s altitude. Then, in the first half of the 14th century, large mechanical clocks began to appear in the towers of several large Italian cities. No evidence or record of the working models preceding these public clocks, which were weight-driven and regulated by a verge-and-foliot escapement exists. Variations of the verge-and-foliot mechanism reigned for more than 300 years, but all had the same basic problem: the period of oscillation of the escapement depended heavily on the amount of driving force and the amount of friction in the drive. Like water flow, the rate was difficult to regulate. Galileo Galilee is sometimes credited with inventing the pendulum-clock concept. He studied the motion of the pendulum as early as 1582 and even sketched out a design for a pendulum clock, but he never actually constructed one before his death in 1642. In 1656, Christian Huygens, a Dutch mathematician and physicist, made the first pendulum clock, regulated by a mechanism with a “natural” period of oscillation. Huygens’ early pendulum clock had an error of less than 1 minute a day, the first time such accuracy had been achieved. His later refinements reduced his clock’s error to less than 10 seconds a day. Around 1675, Huygens developed the balance wheel

and spring assembly, still found in some of today’s wristwatches. This improvement allowed portable 17th century watches to keep time to 10 minutes a day. And in London in 1671, William Clement began building clocks with the new “anchor” or “recoil” escapement, a substantial improvement over the verge because it interferes less with the motion of the pendulum. In 1721, George Graham improved the pendulum clock’s accuracy to 1 second per day by compensating for changes in the pendulum’s length due to temperature variations. John Harrison, a carpenter and self-taught clockmaker, refined Graham’s temperature compensation techniques and developed new methods for reducing friction. By 1761, he had built a marine chronometer with a spring and balance wheel escapement that won the British government’s 1714 prize for a means of determining longitude to within one-half degree after a voyage to the West Indies. It kept time on board a rolling ship to about one-fifth of a second a day, nearly as well as a pendulum clock could do on land, and 10 times better than required to win the prize. Over the next century, refinements led in 1889 to Siegmund Riefler’s clock with a nearly free pendulum, which attained an accuracy of a hundredth of a second a day and became the standard in many astronomical observatories. A true free-pendulum principle was introduced by R.J. Rudd about 1898, stimulating development of several free-pendulum clocks. One of the most famous, the W.H. Shortt clock, was demonstrated in 1921. The Shortt clock almost immediately replaced Riefler’s clock as a supreme timekeeper in many observatories. This clock contained two

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

65


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

THE TIMEKEEPERS

Yemeni Astrolabe (A.D. 1291) Rasulid Sultan Al-Ashraf Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art This astrolabe is crafted from brass and inlaid with silver, which is a typical style for Islamic-produced metalwork from this time period and later. Taking the astrolabe apart to allow people to view the different elements underscores both the astrolabe as an art object and the astrolabe as an instrument that can be used to determine sunrise and sunset for any day of the year, the times of the rising and setting of stars, or the altitudes and compass bearings of celestial bodies.

66

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Clepsydra with Squatting Baboon 4th century B.C. The invention of the water clock (1530 B.C.) is credited to a priest-scientist named Amenemhet, and it was an important part of determining time in ancient Egypt. Water clocks were often a better option than sundials because they did not depend on the weather and could be used in darkness, since the passing hours were determined by water flowing out of the earthenware vessel rather than shadows cast by the sun. This clepsydra, or water clock, was crafted of faience, a glazed ceramic ware, in Egypt in the 4th century B.C.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

67


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

THE TIMEKEEPERS

Marine timekeeper H1 (1735 AD) John Harrison The National Maritime Museum

pendulums, one a slave and the other a master. The slave pendulum gave the master pendulum the gentle pushes needed to maintain its motion, and also drove the clock’s hands. This allowed the master pendulum to remain free from mechanical tasks that would disturb its regularity. The performance of the Shortt clock was overtaken as quartz crystal oscillators and clocks, developed in the 1920s and onward, eventually improved timekeeping performance far beyond that achieved using pendulum and balance-wheel escapements. Quartz crystal clocks were better because they had no gears or escapements to disturb their regular frequency. Even so, they still relied on a mechanical vibration whose frequency depended critically on the crystal’s size, shape and temperature. Thus, no two crystals can be exactly alike, with just the same frequency. Scientists had long realized that atoms and molecules have resonances; each chemical element and compound absorbs and emits electromagnetic radiation at its own characteristic frequencies. These resonances are inherently stable over time and space. Thus atoms constitute a potential “pendulum” with a reproducible rate that can form the basis for more accurate clocks. The development of radar and extremely high frequency radio communications in the 1930s and 1940s made possible the generation of the kind of electromagnetic microwaves needed to interact with atoms. In 1949, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) built the first atomic clock,

68

which was based on ammonia. However, its performance wasn’t much better than the existing standards, and attention shifted almost immediately to more promising atomic-beam devices based on cesium. By 1960, cesium standards had been refined enough to be incorporated into the official timekeeping system of NIST. Much of modern life has come to depend on precise time. The day is long past when we could get by with a timepiece accurate to the nearest quarter-hour. Transportation, communication, financial transactions, manufacturing, electric power and many other technologies have become dependent on accurate clocks. Scientific research and the demands of modern technology continue to drive our search for ever more accurate clocks. Complicated as the measurement of time has become, there is mounting evidence that at the most basic level of reality, time is an illusion. Stranger still, advances in our understanding of science independently point to the idea that time doesn’t really exist. Confused? While you may have spent a short amount of your valuable time understanding the nature of mankind’s dilemma concerning time itself, the point of this is to highlight the complexity surrounding the seemingly simple act of creating a device to measure time. Today in an era where we take for granted the luxury of measuring time, it might be easy to forget the breed of curious men who refused to settle for a world where time was determined by reading shadows off the ground.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


The Al-Jazari Elephant Clock (1206 AD) from 'The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices' by Ismail al-Jazari

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

69


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

A M A R I T I M E PA S S I O N

Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic - 45 mm Acciaio (PAM 674)

70

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


A MARITIME PASSION Officine Panerai unveils a collection of watches that carry all of the good looks of the watch makers DNA and a whole lot of mechanical surprises under the hood. These maritime inspired watches are now our sailing season favorites and the must-have wrist watches on or off the deck. P H O T O G R A P H Y : V I S A K A VA R D H A N

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

71


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

A M A R I T I M E PA S S I O N

LUMINOR DUE The new LUMINOR DUE collection is a new chapter in the history of Panerai. It is the result of a challenge successfully overcome by the designers and engineers of the Panerai Manufacture: to offer enthusiasts a new interpretation of the brand’s iconic watch, the Luminor, which is absolutely faithful to the original aesthetic but with more contemporary functionality, achieved by a reduction in the thickness of the case compared to the historic one which is up to 40% for some models. The lines of the LUMINOR DUE are inspired by the Luminor 1950 case, which represents the culmination of the Panerai creations made for the Italian Navy from the 1930s to the 1950s. The ingredients are the ones well known to every connoisseur of high quality watchmaking: the robustcushion case, the large dial surrounded by the bezel, the strong integrated lugs and the bridge-shaped device which seals the crown with a lever and protects it from accidental shocks. All the elements originate directly from the history of the brand and they have all been subtly redesigned to emphasise the versatility of a watch which is a perfect synthesis of the sporting spirit and the ability to wear it on every occasion, a combination of distinctive design and sophisticated watchmaking technique.

72

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic - 45 mm Stainless Steel (PAM 674)

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

73


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

74

A M A R I T I M E PA S S I O N

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Radiomir 1940, 10 Days GMT Automatic - 45 mm Oro Rosso (PAM 659)

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

75


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

A M A R I T I M E PA S S I O N

Radiomir 1940, 3 Days - 47 mm Acciaio (PAM 690)

76

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


RADIOMIR 1940 The blue of the sea is the common characteristic of the new series of watches produced by Officine Panerai exclusively for its own boutiques throughout the world. For Panerai the sea is a fundamental element, inseparably associated with the history of the brand, and today this historic link is still reflected in its sponsorship of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the prestigious regattas for classic sailing boats. The dials of the Panerai watches in this exclusive series seem to have arisen from an encounter between the sea and the light, another identifying element of the brand. They are all an intense blue colour and they have been made even more attractive by the satiné soleil finish, a process which catches the light and diffuses it, thus creating subtle flashes and fascinating, ever-changing effects, like those caused by the rays of the sun and the waves of the sea.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

77


S P R E Z Z AT U R A

A M A R I T I M E PA S S I O N

EQUATION OF TIME In watchmaking, there are functions which are extremely useful, and there are functions which, on the other hand, meet the need for a wristwatch that stimulates the imagination and provides the subtle pleasure which enthusiasts experience from being in touch with the centuries-old history of high quality watchmaking. The two new Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days GMT models combine these aspects in a masterly way in pure Panerai style. The highlight feature of this watch is the Equation of Time, that is, the measurement of the difference between actual time and the conventional time used in everyday life. It is a classic complication of Haute Horlogerie, which harks back to the ancient link between time measurement and astronomy. Because of the elliptical orbit of the Earth round the Sun and the particular tilt of the Earth’s axis of the rotation in relation to the equator, a day is exactly 24 hours long only four times in a year, while on all other days there is a difference between real time (solar day) and conventional time, by which a day may be up to about 15 minutes longer or shorter, depending on the time of the year. This difference is measured and displayed on the dial of the two new Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days GMT models by means of a linear indicator on the dial at six o’clock.

78

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Equation of Time Luminor 1950, 8 Days GMT - 47 mm Titanio (PAM 670)

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

79


ART & DESIGN

PEARLS OF LIGHT

PEARLS OF LIGHT

LASVIT has been transcending boundaries of conventional bohemian glass blowing practices and collaborating with international designers to create contemporary avant-garde light installations. Their latest work for the soon to be launched Address Boulevard Hotel, the 36th tallest building in the world, redefines timeless luxury

Niyoshi Chudgar Leading designer and manufacturer of customized light fittings and bespoke lighting collections, Lasvit has transcended design boundaries and successfully completed installations for clients across the globe. We explore the eclectic world of Lasvit and its latest installation for the soon to be launched Address Boulevard Hotel. Founded by Leon Jakimič in 2007, the brand Lasvit deftly amalgamates the core authenticity of glass with advanced technologies and artistic craftsmanship. The brand’s fundamental mission is dedicated to one central concept, which is transforming glass into astounding light fixtures and design experience. The portfolio of work

Velčovský created ‘Frozen,’ a series of hanging glass lamps created by pouring molten glass over a dome-shaped mould. Another stunning creation is the Ice Chandelier designed in collaboration with famous architect and designer Daniel Libeskind which was created by blowing glass into moulds to create unique geometric shapes. More recently, Lasvit commissioned and produced a 46-piece assemblage themed The Spirit of Timeless Luxury to be displayed within the soon to be launched The Address Boulevard Dubai. A luxury, 72-storey curvilinear tower of undisputed elegance, the hotel’s interior highlights several key themes as part of its art décor. These are

This was a unique project for Lasvit and was headed by in-house designer Jana Růžičková. For this project, Jana drew inspiration from Dubai’s heritage, mainly the pearl and pearl diving heritage. Further inspiration has been drawn from diamonds worn by cultural icons like Audrey Hepburn whose sophistication, glamor and style suggests an air of timeless luxury. She wanted to create a collection that is designed around a central piece, much like the way a jewelry designer would design a necklace, using a single jewel as the centerpiece. All the pieces of the collection share elements found in the Jana’s “jewel” which will be installed in the lobby. The collection adorns the lounge, ballroom, pre-function rooms,

done features exquisitely suspended light forms in different hues, challenging the principles of gravity and playing with reflections and opacities. These installations grace luxury residences, public spaces, and celebrated hotels as well as top-notch boutiques. Lasvit projects are spread across the globe from London, Prague, Paris, Moscow, Los Angeles, Hong Kong to Singapore. Lasvit has collaborated with some of the world’s most celebrated designers including André Fu, the Campana Brothers, Nendo Studio, Maarten Baas, Arik Levy and Michael Young. Their acclaimed art director Maxim

incorporated to celebrate Dubai as seen from different perspectives both by the superior materials used, technology and the imprint of the artist’s personal experiences. This property is the first in the next generation of Address Hotels – the brand’s first property in seven years. It is distinguished by its timeless elegance blended with a futuristic design, in line with Emaar’s trademark five-star properties. The hotel’s interior emphasizes several key themes as part of its art package: The global universality of art, nationality, and sculpture using ancient methods and media to produce new and trendsetting contemporary designs.

reception, and the grand staircase. The Spirit of Timeless Luxury depicts elegance and refinement, each piece carrying an element of the theme and flagship installation with visible links to the shapes, colors and materials used, tying the main lighting of the hotel together and giving guests a unified experience. There are many ways to understand artistic design in Lasvit’s approach, the greatest being the individual emotional judgment that guides your personal gratification. Art for Lasvit is fundamental to the research that generates new concepts and visions.

80

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

81


ART & DESIGN

S H AT T E R I N G M Y T H S

SHATTERING MYTHS

Since its regional launch in October 2015, the Sconci Art Gallery in d3 has been serving up some interesting art perspectives. Its latest pop art exhibition titled “Our Myths” is a juxtaposition of hyper-realistic images of celebrities and the darker reality of imperfection. The Italian artist behind “Our Myths”, Luca Valentini, reveals his background and the thinking behind his latest series

Sunaz Sharaf Luca Valentini is a young artist endowed with superlative technical qualities. His modern way of painting united with the contemporaneity of his subjects and the depth of his messages makes him a fascinating artist appreciated by all and especially loved by the younger generations. The truth that his bold portraits exude with a heavy use of black and white refers to life as a perpetual state of becoming: a future that is impossible to seize, because it is mysterious and ambiguous, suspended in the eternal contrast of its colors. We had a chance to sit down with the artist over coffee at the Sconci Art Gallery in d3 to discuss his celebrity focused exhibition titled “Our Myths.” Were you always inspired by the arts? I am an engineer by profession. My father was an architect, and he loved painting, and he also loved to buy art. And therefore I grew up with lots of artistic influences. But my mother’s dream was that I would become an engineer despite the fact that I hated studying math. I finished my degree in environmental engineering in 2004. After graduation, I had a regular 9-to-5 job which turned out to be a nightmare. I’ve traveled a lot, and I must say my move out of a desk job and entry into art was a consequence of my travels and exposure

82

to street art. I’ve lived in London, Paris, St.Tropez and Valencia. I worked during the day as an engineer, but the entire time I would be looking forward to going back home and painting in my free time. Are you a self-taught artist? I used to paint from an early age, but I had no formal training on techniques. I had the opportunity to be acquainted with an artist during my stay in London. I had the chance of living with him for five months and learning under his guidance. This apprenticeship proved to be a more structured environment for me to improve my skills. One day, one of the artists’ clients stopped by the studio to see his works. This was an art gallery owner, and he remarked “Wow! Your work has actually improved a lot since we last met!” This turned out to be one of my paintings. The artist was deeply upset by this incident and he sent me packing immediately. From that point, I set up my studio and started painting independently. How do you describe your style of painting and what is your approach? You will see a lot of German Expressionism in my work. When I started painting full time, all my works were in black and white. When you take a picture in black and white you stop time.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

So painting in black and white was my way of taking a moment and freezing it in time. For me, art is something very extemporary, and my painting style reflects that. You will see in my work there is not a heavy emphasis on details. The work is not focusing on the little things or about perfection. It’s not meant to be symmetrical. It has to be fast and the message has to be transferred from the mind to the canvas quickly. What’s the message behind the exhibition “Our Myths”? The primary message behind it all is to show how all our idols have become very commercial. They are all like toys at the hands of commercial interests. Each of these paintings represents a dark and shocking truth which for the most part we are aware of but not always willing to admit. Not all of it is obvious at first glance because the message is layered. In a way, they are like the Trojan horse. It’s a gift, but on the inside, it has a darker message. I’ve started off each painting with a very simple idea. But eventually, I start adding layers to them. Like an onion, when you start peeing you realize that there are more layers to it than you imagined. “Our Myths” will run at Sconci Art Gallery, Dubai Design District, until November 24.


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

83


ART & DESIGN

THE ENCHANTED GARDEN

THE ENCHANTED GARDEN With an exceptional appreciation for the finest silversmith’s work tradition, Jardin d’Eden by Christofle, is a line of exclusive pieces of artistry in constant metamorphosis, which celebrates brazen etching work, splendid materials, and Marcel Wanders’ striking design

Sunaz Sharaf Acclaimed silverware brand Christofle, has commissioned Netherlands-based designer Marcel Wanders into fashioning extraordinary pieces of art that skilfully combine the finest designs with superior artisanship. The latest edition to the famous Jardin d’Eden collection (including tableware and home products) is an exclusive Grandfather Clock, which transcends timeless luxury and a true sense of elegance into any contemporary home. Christofle has become an embodiment of indulgence and elegance. Since its founding, it has paved an unending path of innovation and has imbued each era with a new virtue of living. This rich and sensual collection includes an assortment of exquisite tableware and dinnerware, created by Marcel Wanders. It features delicate impressions that elude a unique charm to each item, and the meticulously crafted wall clock makes for the undisputed hero of the collection. The Grandfather clock embodies au courant elegance, sensuality, poetry and distinction. The stainless steel objet d’art is sumptuously adorned with various floral motifs, standing 210-meters tall. Redefining the true meaning of luxury, the meticulous design and perfunctory opulence of the beautiful tower clock makes it one of the world’s finest pieces of art. Marcel Wanders wanted their designs to awaken veiled emotions — with the “Jardin d’Eden” collection they bewitch you into entering the opulent Garden of Eden. Richly detailed “Jardin d’Eden” designs adorn the cutlery, bowls and picture frames. The pattern integrates an assortment of motifs of modified plants, leaves, and flowers which interlace to create a charming labyrinth in which you can lose yourself just as you can in a garden of utopia.

84

An allusion in befitting reverence to the story of Adam and Eva, there is also an apple motif designed into the pattern. Christofle’s “Jardin d’Eden” design entwines its tendrils amorously across silver plated cutlery, the glossy exteriors of serving trays or the thick, sparkly edges of picture frames. With its intricate silverware inscription, each item seeks to tell a beautiful tale. There can certainly be no ordinary monotony with these exquisite designer creations from Christofle. We had the opportunity to sit down with Gabriele Chiave, Creative Director at Marcel Wanders who gives us an insight into his background and his take on silverware as objet d’art. I happen to be a designer foremost, but this is not something that happened at an early age. It happened due to my travels. I was born in 1978 in Metz. My parents were diplomats and as a family we moved around the quite a lot - France, Dakar, Caracas, Buenos Aires, Rome and Milan. My mother is a great collector, and she has very broad knowledge about antiques and furniture from any century. So growing up I was exposed to a lot of different objects and antiques in our house. The house was full of collectibles. Every time we moved places the one familiar thing I could relate to and call home across these different places were these collectibles. This marked the beginning of my relationship with objects and design in a way. Also as a kid I used to sketch very well. I became passionate about archaeology and restoration. After completion of my general studies I went to Syria and spent four months doing excavation. It was an amazing experience because we were digging these fields in the middle of the desert where you could feel the sediments. We would dig deep into

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Christofle Grandfather Clock by Marcel Wanders

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

85


ART & DESIGN

THE ENCHANTED GARDEN

Christofle Jardin d’Eden collection

86

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Roman, Pre-Roman and the bronze era. We were exploring the past and objects of the past. A lot of luck is involved, some years you are truly desperate because you have not bumped into anything at all. I felt like while I was making progress but just being an observer and documenting the past. I was not able to add anything to it. I went to Milan and I discovered designing. I thought to myself, here is a path I should follow. The land was so rich and full of history but at the same time I was surrounded by design principles. I found different ways to connect with objects. I spent 9 years in Milan where I studied Industrial Design at IED. I added many skills to my approach and worked towards creating the future instead of working on the past. During my time in Milan I won various competitions for Emergency, Rotari, Epson, Toshiba and Pirelli, as well as spent significant amount of time working at various design studios such as as Alessi. I received a call from Marcel Wanders when he was in Milan for a few days. They were looking for a Senior Designer, and they offered me the job. I said to myself I need to do it now; otherwise, I will never do it later in my life. That was in 2007. I moved to Amsterdam and four years later I became head of the design team. Five years ago Marcel decided to form the creative direction team which included him and me. And now since the past three years, we are both following all the products designed for the studio. We oversee everything. It’s been ten years now at Marcel Wanders, and we’ve explored an enormous spectrum of technologies and materials. One must learn how to see things. It is a natural process. Mastering design is like playing the violin. You must know all the details. You have to study a lot, and you have to master the instrument.

Established in the 1830s, Christofle is indisputably linked to the crafts and the tradition of a certain French elegance. A brand with great tradition, heritage, and history and it’s so rich in all of these elements. Silverware is nowadays not as wished for as an item the way it used to be in the past. Previous generations used to gift silverware at weddings and consider silverware as heirlooms. Nowadays with the digital society, people are more disconnected from objects. Especially disconnected from objects like silverware in a fast paced era where they don’t feel that they must sit down and dine in. Design adds the much needed evolution for modern times bringing in relevance to the lifestyle and habits for the current generation. Using design as a tool to make something relevant for the consumer is part of the challenge. We were looking to make objects relevant again in a different way and to connect to different people with varying lifestyles. Communication through design is also very important and that is reflected in this collection. We took something minimal and added a whimsical element to it. What we did in Jardin d’Eden was new for Christofle. Baroque fantasy of plant-inspired, ornamental decor with sensual, sweeping arabesques. With this daring series, we not only brought Christofle a touch of extravagance, we revealed all the richness and refinement of the house’s know-how by choosing the technique of stamped engraving. We did the stamping process by hand, which is a very intricate art; you need to be very careful and particular with how you handle the metal. Such a delicate craft can only come from the hand of a master silversmith. They used to design objects with these beautiful elements of the past, and we bought those values back in a more contemporary way.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

87


ART & DESIGN

A N A RT I S T I C R E V I VA L

AN ARTISTIC REVIVAL

A carpet is no longer a utilitarian piece to cover the floor of your home. Signé brings you the stories behind these intricately woven works of art through exclusive interviews with Mohamed Maktabi of Iwan Maktabi gallery and award-winning carpet designer Hossein Rezvani

Beverly Pereira Mohamed Maktabi, founder of the Beirut-headquartered Iwan Maktabi Gallery, remembers being surrounded by carpets since his childhood. “I grew up playing on carpets every single summer,”

while carpets never really said anything to him. “It’s about human relations, which are beautiful,” says Maktabi in hindsight. He remembers that his father could pinpoint which mountain village his client was from

to eventually drop by the carpet store.” After working for six months, he quit his banking job on realising that “it was not for me”. Maktabi came full circle, when he opened the Iwan Maktabi Gallery with the support of his

says Maktabi, whose family of Persian origin has been in the carpet business for three generations. His grandfather Hj. Hussein Maktabi immigrated from Isphahan to Beirut in 1926, and his father, Abbas Maktabi, took over the family carpet business thereafter. It was only natural for Maktabi, who was next in line, to head the family legacy. Yet, when he went to college in Switzerland, he secured a bank job that was a sheer departure from his family business. Maktabi says he experienced a nagging sense of challenge when it came to understanding carpets at the time, and he often wondered why his father could look at a carpet and know the exact story behind it,

based on their family name. “So, suddenly from just a name, because you have this work of dealing with people all the time, you can build a relationship and make it very strong.” Back at the bank, Maktabi experienced nothing close to this level of interaction. “For six months, I was reading analyses and making reports. I wondered what had happened to human relationships, interactions, this dissecting of family trees and establishing relationships?” He credits his return to the family business to his father’s subliminal messages that were passed on to him as a child. “He told me to do whatever I wanted to do — vacation in Switzerland, even — but

father in 1995 in Beirut. At the time, Maktabi sensed that the family business was missing out on catering to clients who wanted their carpets customised for size and design. 21 years down the line, Iwan Maktabi remains to the go-to address for rare carpets and textile art in the region. Spanning four storeys, the Beirut store showcases contemporary designs across two storeys — one for designer carpets and the other for Iwan Maktabi originals. Another floor displays antique carpets, and the fourth is solely reserved for modern traditional carpets. While the company designs and manufactures original carpet designs, it also

88

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Mohamed Maktabi and Hossein Rezvani at the launch of their “Carpetized” exhibition, Salsali Private Museum, Al Serkal Avenue. SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

89


ART & DESIGN

A N A RT I S T I C R E V I VA L

Persian carpet weavers working on a Hossein Rezwani design

produces across the spectrum of carpetproducing countries. Besides the flagship Beirut store, Iwan Maktabi caters to the region’s demand through its Dubai outpost. The gallery’s mission is to elevate carpets and to bring them closer to the world of art. “Today, you go and buy an apartment in a modern high-rise building, and a modern

Maktabi has a focus on contemporary carpets even today. There is something extremely abstract and based on lines and pure design when it comes to modern carpets, he says. “Today, maybe in Dubai, there is a big hype around contemporary art. We like beautiful colours that are bright and abstract. Carpets were always art, even when they were 19th

values. “When we carry modern carpets with a traditional leaning, we satisfy 50 per cent of our clients,” he shares. “It’s a matter of taste, something that’s very psychological,” he adds, saying that many of his younger clients claim that certain carpets remind them of the carpet they once played on in their grandparents’ homes.

sofa from Minotti or Poltrano Frau. You invest money in these things. You may also go to Christies to buy something from an Indian or Turkish artist. Again, you’re investing, which is our lifestyle today. The carpet is also moving in the same direction; it has evolved. We are living in the new golden age of carpets. There is a revived interest in carpets now, even though a few years ago people were saying that carpets are too oldfashioned,” says Maktabi about the evolution of the status of carpets as art. When he started the gallery, Maktabi decided to add contemporary carpets to the collection. The Dubai outpost of Iwan

century designs or 16th century carpets. But today, because of the changes in the interiors and the way we live, we have also changed our use of carpets.” Then again, he says, there are modern carpets that are inspired by tradition. “You can still see the structure of a traditional carpet that has been transformed or tweaked. I feel that our clients in Dubai are more comfortable with a modern carpet when it has a traditional layer inside; they feel reassured,” says Maktabi, adding that for a consumer who’s moving into the modern carpet realm, it’s the reassurance, or reminder, of the presence of traditional

“I think what we also do is that we have our ear close to the ground. We try to listen to our clients and to what they are saying,” he says, adding that many of his clients were happy with the current designs but were requesting for specific sizes to fit their homes. Which is why the gallery offers customised carpet services to its clients. “We customise our carpets for clients because our designer carpets have been produced in a very controlled environment. It’s couture as opposed to prêt-à-porter.” On selecting carpet designers for the gallery, Maktabi says, “Each designer has a language, an alphabet. When we select the

90

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


The 'Tabriz Red' at the "Carpetized" exhibition, Salsali Private Museum, Al Serkal Avenue.

designers who we work with, it’s based on our knowledge and our feedback from our clients. I try to analyse what they need and we try to find that in the designers we work with. It’s also about the chemistry of things. So you see someone doing carpets and you might just hit it off.” A relevant example of this chemistry is the relationship between

of Iwan Maktabi gallery. Featuring Rezvani’s the best of “Persia Reinvented” collection, the exhibition also unveiled one his stunning new colorations ahead of the launch of his 2017 collection. Titled Heriz Majorelle, the carpet draws inspiration from Rezvani’s trip to Marrakech. “I was completely out of energy that year, and so I took a week off to

world that makes carpets of this quality. And, these carpets can take seven months to make,” says Rezvani. Like Maktabi, he, too, was once a banker whose father and grandfather were in the business of textiles and leather. “I though that it cannot be all about just earning money. Staring at numbers

Maktabi and Hossein Rezvani, the awardwinning German-Iranian carpet designer who stocks his collections at Iwan Maktabi in the Dubai Mall. Hossein, says Maktabi, is the only designer who has succeeded in producing contemporary carpets in Iran. “We have productions in Nepal, Turkey, Afghanistan and India, but the contemporary line from Iran is exclusive to Hossein because he’s the only one who has succeeded in convincing the ladies who weave the carpets in Iran to accept and follow his directions.” Earlier in October this year, Rezvani opened his first solo art exhibition at Salsali Private Museum in Dubai with the support

Marrakech. We went to the Majorelle Garden of Yves Saint Laurent and I thought that the colours — these blues and yellows — were amazing. When I looked at the picture of it again, I knew that I wanted to integrate the Heriz design — a traditional Persian design that’s very bold and geometric — into a carpet.” One of the reasons for which Rezvani is widely known as the man who revolutionised the Persian carpet industry is the fact that he works with weavers in Iran. “My carpets are traditionally made in Iran, so they have a very high knot density — one million knots per square meter. There’s no one else in the

was boring. In 2007, after I quit banking after a few months, I remember a friend asking why nobody was doing contemporary Persian carpets,” says Rezvani, who met his father soon after to discuss the proposition of creating modern Persian carpets. He remembers his father laughing at him, although he was willing to give it a go. “He laughed because the main challenge in making this idea real was to break away from tradition. Iranian carpet weavers are very proud and every city has its own designs, something of an identity. It took me two years to get the right weavers who do what I want them to. That was the main challenge.”

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

91


H E R I TA G E

THE WOMAN WHO READS

'Reclining Woman Reading' Pablo Picasso, 1960

92

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


THE WOMAN WHO READS

Gabriel Chanel’s fascinating life story continues to captivate people’s attention, but a new exhibition by Culture Chanel portrays an intimate side of the style icon through her love for literature and poetry

Beverly Pereira Gabriel (Coco) Chanel is considered to be as much of a style icon today as she was during the 1900s. Born in Saumur, France, in 1883, Chanel was known for her sophisticated and understated style. Even though she went on to set up the French luxury house Chanel, popularising the ‘little black dress’, she never quite had her eyes set on fashion when she was younger. In fact, style came quite naturally to her. “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” Chanel often said. She spent her teenage years working as a singer and performer in the clubs of Vichy and Moulins. This was a period in her life that is said to have given her the name “Coco.” When she opened her first boutique at 21 Rue Cambon in Paris, selling hats under the name Chanel Modes, her designs were well received by famous French actresses of the time. There was no looking back for the young couturier. Chanel enjoyed a number of close friendships and associations with key people from Parisian art circles during her lifetime. One of the most notable was with the famous Polish pianist Misia Sert, who she had met at the home of actress Cecile Sorel in 1917. The two would go on to enjoy an enduring friendship, and through the Roaring Twenties, it was Sert who introduced Chanel to a number of influential figures in the bohemian elite. One among these luminaries was poet and artist Jean Cocteau, who went on to initiate Chanel into the world of contemporary art, introducing her to famous artists of the time. Chanel, in turn, lent a helping hand — both emotionally and financially — whenever she could. Among the many instances that speak of Chanel’s passion for the arts took place in 1924, when she designed the costumes for the Blue Train ballet that featured a libretto by Cocteau and stage curtain by Pablo Picasso. Another key person in Chanel’s life was poet Pierre Reverdy, who was closely linked to the avant-garde artistic movements of Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism and was also a friend to some of the greatest minds of his time, including Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire. Reverdy and Chanel enjoyed a passionate relationship between 1920 and 1924, although it was a tumultuous one to say the least. Through her close association with avant-garde circles at the time, Chanel also frequented one of the principal protagonists of Dada in Paris, Tristan Tzara. The evidence of this can be found in her correspondence addressed to Cocteau in 1922. In fact, Chanel’s iconic first perfume, Chanel No. 5, which was launched a year earlier, bears an aesthetic nod to the graphics produced by members of Dada at the time.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

93


H E R I TA G E

THE WOMAN WHO READS

“The life we lead always amounts to so little, the life we dream of, that’s the great existence because it continues on after our death” GABRIELLE CHANEL

94

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Gabrielle Chanel on her sofa Douglas Kirkland

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

95


H E R I TA G E

THE WOMAN WHO READS

Ca'Pesaro, Venice 96

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Gabrielle Chanel on her couch Jean Moral

But, perhaps, no other figure occupied a bigger place in Chanel’s life than Arthur “Boy” Capel, an English businessman and polo champion who was said to have seduced the couturier as much as she did him. Their affair began around 1907 and lasted through 1919, when he was killed at the wheel of his car. A grieving Chanel sought refuge in silence and found solace in the books that Capel had introduced her to. During their relationship, the two were said to have shared an interest in esotericism with Capel even introducing Chanel to the Bhagvad Gita. However, Chanel was known to treat books as companions since her younger days. After all, books had always guided the young Chanel even

Modern Art in Venice. The exhibition, part of Culture Chanel, a project launched in 2007 that approaches the singular life story of Chanel and the House of Chanel, aims to bring to the fore the relationships Chanel maintained throughout her life with some of the greatest creative minds of her time. After shows in Moscow in 2007, Shanghai and Beijing in 2011, Canton and Paris in 2013 and Seoul in 2014, the seventh chapter throws light on Chanel’s creative world from a completely new perspective — through books and the act of reading. Her library is evident of the fact that books by Greek authors and modern poets left an impression on

during her solitary days in the orphanage of Aubazine. Yet, Chanel’s taste for exquisite literature and poetry was undoubtedly aroused by her relationship with Capel. Even today, lining the bookshelves of her apartment at 31 Rue Cambon, are those very authors who would teach her how to construct and embody her life’s work. Authors like Proust, Claudel, Apollinaire, Homer and Baudelaire formed the heart of her library, as did some of the greatest poetry, which in turn nourished her deep relationships with Cocteau, Max Jacob and Reverdy — all of whom dedicated several poems and letters to her. It was this proximity to authors and their works that allowed Chanel to find her own expression, which was through fashion. Venice proved to be one of the greatest places of inspiration for Chanel, who was spellbound by the city’s architecture. An exhibition, fittingly titled ‘The Woman who Reads’ or ‘La Donna Che Legge’ opened on September 17 this year at the Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of

her life and shaped her personality. It is also testament to the power of those pieces of writing that inspired her to construct her own pieces, albeit in the realm of fashion. As part of the exhibition that will run through January 8, 2017, as many as 350 pieces paint an intimate portrait of Chanel as a creator. Art objects from Chanel’s Paris apartment are being exhibited for the first time along with jewellery pieces, perfumes, fine art objects, photographs, paintings, drawings and fashion. Curated by Jean-Louis Froment, the exhibition in Venice also brings together a selection of authors that passed through Chanel’s life as well as those artists who she actually encountered, admired, loved or shared a perspective on the history of modernity. “The dedications that accompany some of these works are as much biographical statements about the great couturiere as they are artistic, and henceforth, historical testimonies,” sums up Froment.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

97


THROUGH THE AGES

THE BOOK OF BROOKS One of the oldest men’s fashion brands, Brooks Brothers, has carved a legacy for itself by dressing some of the most celebrated icons in the world. We take a look at the more-than-a-century old family business’s transformation through each era. Finely crafted shirts paired with graceful coats and designer pants that ooze a sense of elegance blended with masculinity. Brooks Brothers is all about bringing the individual out in a stylish manner. Launched in 1818 by Henry Sands Brooks, the American Brand was guided by a principle that was, “To make and deal only in merchandise of the finest body, to sell it at a fair profit, and to deal with people wo seek and appreciate such merchandise.” In its early history, Brooks Brothers was mostly known for introducing ready-to-wear suits for American customers. Later on, they ventured into customized clothing as well. From designing suits for 44 American Presidents to commoners, Brooks Brothers has kept its word of delivering the most classic attires for nearly two centuries. Signe celebrates the notable accomplishment of the brand by taking a look into its glorious history and important milestones.

1818 The First Store

It was on the 7th of April 1818 that the brand breathed its first breath on the northeast corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in New York City. Founder Henry Sands Brooks named it H. & D.H Brooks & Co. As “Makers and Merchants is one,” the firm assumed absolute control of its offerings, ensuring customers the highest level of quality.

98

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


1849

1850

It was then time for tailoring to take the back seat as Brooks Brothers introduced the first ever Ready-to-Wear collection in the market. Pioneers of the California Gold Rush, unable to wait on the whims of a tailor, flocked to Brooks Brothers to pick up read-made clothing.

The Golden Fleece symbol was adopted as the company’s trademark. The logo, a sheep suspended in a ribbon, had served as a symbol of fine wool since Philip the Good chose the emblem for his Order of the Golden Fleece. Later, wool merchants in Europe adopted the symbol as a way of advertising woolen wares to a largely illiterate public, and the Brooks, who wanted to associate their shop with the European sartorial tradition, did the same.” Henry’s sons Daniel, John, Elisha and Edward changed the firm’s name to Brooks Brothers.

The Ready-Made Suit

Creating An Identity

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

99


THROUGH THE AGES

1865

Suit for Abraham Lincoln

On the occasion of his second presidential inauguration, Brooks Brothers gave their loyal customer Abraham Lincoln a greatcoat with an intricately embroidered lining bearing an eagle and the inscription, “ONE COUNTRY, ONE DESTINY.”

1896 The original polo button-down shirt

At a polo match in England, John E. Brooks, grandson of the founder, noticed something peculiar about the players’ collars: they were buttoned down to prevent their flapping in the wind. John brought his discovery back to Brooks Brothers, and thus was born the button-down shirt, a Brooks classic and what some have called “the most imitated item in fashion history.”item in fashion history.”

100

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


1902

Democratizing The Repp Tie

Though they were already well-known in the United Kingdom as regimental ties, Brooks reversed the direction of the stripes in its repp ties (formerly left to right, or “from heart to sword”), divorcing form from meaning and opening the patterns to everyman.

1915

346 Madison Avenue

Following the completion of Grand Central Terminal, Brooks Brothers relo- cates to 346 Madison Avenue in New York City, its present flagship location. The surrounding area had become the preferred location for New York’s most prominent university and social clubs who clamored for a Brooks store in the neighborhood. Brooks Brothers kindly obliged.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

101


THROUGH THE AGES

1949 The Pink Shirt

The pink shirt gained widespread popularity and was featured in Vogue magazine in 1949 when Brooks Brothers introduced one just for women – a move that meant women no longer needed to deplete the stocks of the boys’ department.

1979

International Move

The first location outside of the United States opened in Aoyama, Tokyo.

1998 The Non-Iron Shirt

Brooks Brothers launched the Brooksease Shirt, billed as the ultimate travel shirt. The shirt represented the first 100% cotton non-iron shirt, a worthy successor to Brooks’ 1953 version, which had the distinction of being the first piece of clothing ever to feature Dacron.

102

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


2008

Dressing The Presidents In 2008, the sartorial world was aflutter with speculation about what Obama will wear to his inauguration. Our guess appeared on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily, but Obama chose a less formal ensemble. The Brooks Brothers topcoat and scarf he wore to his swearing in made him the 39th of 44 sitting U.S. Presidents to wear Brooks Brothers.

2014 Red Fleece

The Red Fleece Collection was a fresh take on Brooks’ mainline offerings. It featured an updated fit with slimmer proportions and a comfortable versatility that’s suited for work or play. Refined yet modern, it reflected the same attention to quality and detail that has defined Brooks Brothers for nearly 200 years.

2016

Introducing Zac Posen Brooks Brothers proudly debuts its first collection by world-renowned fashion designer Zac Posen, creative director of women’s clothing and accessories. Posen, well known for his techniques in artisanal craftsmanship, fuses our brand heritage with ultra-feminine constructions in lush fabrics and buoyant prints. 

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

103


PHILANTHROPY

104

AN INSPIRING LEGACY

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


AN INSPIRING LEGACY

At the peak of his career, José Carreras was diagnosed with Leukemia. A fighter at heart, José not only gave hope to millions around the world by overcoming the disease but also created the José Carreras Foundation to find a cure and to help and support those who are suffering from Leukemia

Sunaz Sharaf José Carreras occupies a privileged position in the music world. Born in Barcelona, he studied music in his hometown. In 1970 he started his professional career in the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona. A soulful performer, Carreras is known to possess the most beautiful operatic voice of his generation. In July 1987, at the peak of his career, it came as a saddening shock to the world that he was diagnosed with Leukemia. The struggle with the disease brought him tumbling down from the high that he had achieved in his extraordinary operatic career. This momentary fall, however, became the stepping stone to his achievement as a permanent fixture in the world of humanity. The singer underwent a year of chemotherapy and bone marrow surgery, and even after these treatments were successful, many observers doubted that he would ever return to his previous vocal level. A crowd of 150,000 turned out to hear Carreras return to the stage in Barcelona in July of 1988, a concert the singer described as his second debut. “It was the most incredible, the most touching moment in my life,” he went on to say. The strong-willed performer recovered from the disease in less than a year. Carreras had several people around that stuck to him throughout this challenging phase in his life and gave him surreal amounts of strength while he was battling the syndrome, he recalls. In 1988, he created the José Carreras Leukaemia Foundation in his hometown of Barcelona with the desire to return to science and

society all the affection received and with the strong commitment to fight with all his strength and will to make leukemia, someday, curable. Since his successful recovery, 28 years have lapsed, and he has successfully changed the way people look at Leukemia and those afflicted with it. Currently, his Foundation is one of his most important goals and priorities. He, with his extraordinary will and the support of a few admirable entrepreneurs, has put forward a greatly noble act and charted the path towards a cure for Leukemia. One of such imminent contributors is The Scheufeles, the family that currently owns and manages the watch and jewelry brand - Chopard. José Carreras and the Scheufele family are known to be united by a very long and endearing friendship. In 1991, they set up the Swiss branch of the Foundation, followed in 1995 by its German counterpart, of which Karl Scheufele is respectively Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Over the years Chopard has launched various limited edition watches as a tribute to the José Carreras Foundation to help fund research. The first Wiener Staatsoper series was launched in 1996, followed by the Deutsche Staatsoper in 1997, and in 2000 by the Grand Teatro del Liceu model equipped with the L.U.C 96.03-L movement. To celebrate the tenor’s 50th birthday in 2008, Chopard issued theL.U.C XP the 50th anniversary of José Carreras Edition. The first limited editions bore engravings of various opera houses around the world on the case back. This partnership continues and a portion of the sales proceeds is still earmarked for the Foundation.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

105


PHILANTHROPY

106

AN INSPIRING LEGACY

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


“ Chopard has collaborated with the José Carreras Foundations for over 15 years and it is important to say that our involvement in such a necessary cause such as the fight against leukemia is of enormous satisfaction for us. We have had the privilege to be an active part of the Foundation’s development on a national and international level, for which we are very proud ” K A R L S C H E U F E L E , P R E S I D E N T O F C H O PA R D

Chopard has been known for its long-term commitments to the charities it supports, donating proceeds from special models and collections to specific causes. Since 2002, it has supported the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), which finances HIV/AIDS prevention and assistance programs around the world. Beneficiaries include treatment facilities for the physical and mental symptoms, AIDS tests and advice, and work on the streets through the distribution of food, sheltered housing, social services, and support for volunteers. Chopard Co-President and Artistic Director Caroline Scheufele recently announced the partnership with the Happy Hearts Fund and Petra Nemcova to help rebuild schools and children’s lives after natural disasters. Happy Heart Fund is active in seven countries and has built 81 schools and kindergartens. More than 45,000 children and 490,000 community members have benefited from all programs.

To support the causes, Chopard has crafted a special edition 18-carat rose gold Happy Diamonds bracelet featuring a mobile pink sapphire in the shape of a heart; 17% of proceeds will go towards the rebuilding of schools. When Carreras describes Mr. Karl Scheufele and the family, he describes them as people belonging to a richly benevolent human race, he absolutely does not forget to mention that it is not just the canonical aspect of the foundation that they are concerned with, but are sympathetic about the sufferings arising out of the disease, and that they have devoted a major portion of their personal time to the ventures of the foundation and every development on the same. Carreras never misses defining the huge amount of gratitude that the Foundation and the famous tenor himself holds for the Scheufeles and their valuable contributions.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

107


PHILANTHROPY

A TIME-TESTED COMMITMENT

A TIME-TESTED COMMITMENT

Blancpain’s commitment to the underwater world took on a new dimension in 2014 with the collaborative gathering of all its partnerships in the realm of ocean exploration and preservation under the label Blancpain Ocean Commitment, as well as with the launch of the first series of Ocean Commitment limited edition watches. Two years, ten expeditions and three million square kilometers of protected ocean later, Blancpain reconfirms its commitment with the launch of a new all-blue limited edition

Sunaz Sharaf For more than 60 years now, Blancpain has been contributing to raising awareness through ocean exploration. The brand believes that people can only respect and protect what they love, and can only love what they know. The Manufacture is convinced that support for environmental protection is directly dependent on keeping the public informed, and therefore it has been working hard to raise overall awareness through its sponsorship of significant scientific projects and oceanographic explorations. Since 2014, the brand’s efforts in this area have been united under the label Blancpain Ocean Commitment. It is for this reason that the brand supports a large number of significant scientific endeavors especially like those led by marine biologist and research diver Laurent Ballesta. This support has already given rise to three major expeditions under the banner of the Gombessa Project. The first Gombessa expedition took place off the coast of South Africa involving 40 days of deep water diving to meet with the legendary bottom-dwelling sea creature, the cœlacanth. Locally known as Gombessa, this peaceful giant measures two meters long and was once thought to have become extinct 70 million years ago. However, this rare fish, when discovered alive in 1938 has come to represent one of the most important zoological discoveries of the 20th century. To reach this living legend, Laurent Ballesta and his team of divers will had to perform daily deep water dives to the Jesser Canyon caves, 120 meters below the surface: a depth where each minute passed underwater is paid for in long hours of decompression.

110

Within the framework of the Gombessa II expedition in 2014, Laurent Ballesta’s team went to the southern pass of the Fakarava atoll in French Polynesia to watch the annual gathering of camouflage groupers who once a year all come to breed in the middle of the pass. During the expedition, researchers were surprised to note an unusual density of gray reef sharks totaling between 400 and 700 individuals. This is the largest density of this species ever seen. In addition, shots of some 2,000 images per second used to illustrate the detail of the grouper reproductive phenomenon revealed the intensity of the sharks’ nocturnal activity, as well as what appeared to be a nocturnal pack hunting strategy. If this strategy was to be confirmed, it would call into question our existing knowledge of these sea creatures. Blancpain, therefore, decided to award the Gombessa team an additional 250,000 Euros linked to the first limited edition Blancpain Ocean Commitment watch, to help them set up a new scientific project focusing on the pack hunting behavior of gray sharks. This renewed commitment coincided with Blancpain presenting a 250-piece limited edition timepiece, which at its launch was announced as the first in a series of limited editions. The project started in June-July 2016 with an initial 35-day expedition, which saw divers spend a total 200 hours of night diving in the heart of the shark pack and enabled the implementation of protocols and use of observation equipment required to answer questions related to the great density of sharks and their behavior. In 2017, during the second phase of the project, the team will be able to establish a more accurate picture and verify various scientific hypotheses, as well as

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Gombessa III – Antarctica! Expedition SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

111


PHILANTHROPY

A TIME-TESTED COMMITMENT

Divers from the first Gombessa expedition come face to face with the pre-historic Coelacanth.

112

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


proposing increased protection of this hotspot of biodiversity. Indeed, even if it only takes place once a year, it appears that the grouper gathering is essential to the sharks’ survival throughout the year and as a result is also crucial to the equilibrium of the ecosystem of the reef and lagoon. After the success of this first edition and the tangible results of its partnerships, this year Blancpain is presenting the second series of 250-piece limited edition timepieces, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Blancpain Ocean Commitment II (BOC II). This new watch expresses the brand’s determination to pursue its commitment to the oceans despite the target being set very high. Blancpain’s interest in this project, in addition to its scientific relevance and spectacular resulting shots, lies in its compatibility with the brand’s long-term vision which encourages further innovative research rather than dozens of expeditions that remain superficial in their scientific approach. And the beauty of this project lies in the ability to draw on the observations made over a period of four consecutive years, from 2014 with Gombessa II, to 2017 with the second phase of the additional project funded by the purchases of the limited edition Blancpain Ocean Commitment watch.

Despite the scope of this project, Blancpain and Laurent Ballesta did not restrict themselves to a single project over the past year, but also conducted the Gombessa III – Antarctica! Expedition within the regular framework of the Ocean Commitment program and in collaboration with Luc Jacquet, producer of The March of the Penguins. For the first time, a team of technical divers gained access to beneath the ice floe in Adelia Land in Antarctica. These taxing dives, as much a human as a technical challenge, had never been done before and brought the very first naturalist illustration of the deep ecosystems in the Antarctic. The Gombessa team thus contributed to the inventory of deep-sea fauna in relation to climate change issues and gives researchers access to all the shots taken for the purposes of scientific publications. The public will have an opportunity to discover this entrancing universe at the end of 2016 with the launch of a documentary film produced by ARTE. Indeed, over the past two years, Blancpain has co-financed ten major scientific expeditions, celebrated its contribution to doubling the surface of marine protected areas around the world, three million square kilometers have been added with Blancpain’s contribution and presented several award-winning documentaries, underwater exhibitions, and publications.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

113


PHILANTHROPY

A TIME-TESTED COMMITMENT

Images from the Gombessa III – Antarctica! Expedition

114

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


THE FIFTY FATHOMS BATHYSCAPHE FLYBACK CHRONOGRAPH BLANCPAIN OCEAN COMMITMENT II For each timepiece sold in this 250-piece limited edition, an amount of 1,000 Euro will be donated in support of scientific expeditions. The 250,000 Euro resulting from this will be added to Blancpain’s contributions in support of the oceans. For the very first time with the help of its Research and Development department, the brand has been able to present an entirely blue ceramic case on its newest Fifty Fathoms watch. This coloring is achieved by adding pigments during the ceramic production

process, together with a binding agent. Subsequently, to obtain this uniform, long-lasting hue throughout the entire case, two techniques were used. The first is a compaction process, where ceramic in powder form is pressed into a mold to obtain its shape. The second technique involves using an injection process to insert ceramic in the form of granules into the mold. This step enables the creation of a blueprint in the final shape. After this, the piece is placed in an oven at a low temperature to eliminate the

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

bonding agent. When this is done, the latter is heated at a high temperature – a phase known as sintering – to give the ceramic its ultimate hardness. Lastly, the machining and finishing operations take place to provide the geometry and final look of each part. The compacting process is used for the case-middle, caseback, bezel and chapter-ring insert. The second technique involving the injection method is adopted for the crown and pushpieces. Suitable for small pieces, the latter is highly precise and complex to master.

115


L A D O L C E V I TA

L U X U R Y I N T H E L A P O F N AT U R E

LUXURY IN THE LAP OF NATURE Located in the idyllic Kodagu District of Karnataka, IBNII resort in Madikeri proves to be the perfect getaway from the urban milieu to experience nature in its purest form

Niyoshi Chudgar Every once in a few months, the obscure bud of wanderlust sneaks in, and the best of us crave to unwind and head to the mountains, hills or a preferred beach resort. While such urges are tough to fulfill, it helps to pamper oneself to a few days in the lap of luxury. The IBNII resort in Coorg, nestled in the heart of nature, is one such property that makes for a perfect weekend retreat. Spread over 125 acres of pristinely wooded coffee estates, with lakes, mist, early morning dew, bird songs and a deep hue of lush green spread across the property. The IBNII Coorg proves to be one of the best luxury resorts of our time with a strong commitment to sustainable practices and eco-friendly pursuits. The concept of luxury combined with thriving natural vegetation makes for the perfect excuse for indulgence. This is the world where time stands still, silence is revered and purity unequaled. Nestled along the dew drenched slopes of a former coffee plantation; the IBNII is located amongst the Sylvan hills of Coorg. Nature is the true

116

highlight of the property. The IBNII is part of Sebastian Holdings, which has forayed into hospitality two decades back with the Vythiri Resort in Wayanad, Kerala, and is today one of the most sought after resorts in South India. The exceptional location of IBNII has blessed the luxe-nature resort with its unique climate, flora and fauna. The resort has been constructed to enhance the appeal of the features exhibited by the landscape surrounding it. 22 private pool villas with jacuzzi emulate modest and exotic architecture. The units are sprawled over ten acres of land ensuring significant privacy. Each villa is unique in its location and covers 1,200 square feet comprising a relaxing living area with powder room as well as a large bedroom with ensuite bathroom. They feature bewitchingly beautiful interiors, plunge pools and a view of exotic wilderness that will sooth your core senses. Ample space separates each eco-luxe villa offering adequate privacy while the dainty cobbled

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

pathways connect the villa’s to the many romantic niches left unexplored. The Arnetta tree houses offer unmatched luxury wooden dwelling with exceptional furnishing and comfort. It is an ideal family hideout where you can spot 40 different varieties of unique birds found in this region. With its premium suites, wooden cottages, and private residences, IBNII redefines luxury and comfort to match the highest expectation of the global traveler, while maintaining their delicate codependent relationship with nature. From the time of check-in till the end of the stay the villas, the cuisine, the activities, the spa, and especially the landscape with its untamed nature seduce the guest into a journey of enlightenment and enrichment. Manja, meaning turmeric, the IBNII’s renowned holistic spa flawlessly entwines the traditional with the modern. It offers treatments and enchanting environs using assorted raw ingredients handpicked from nature designed to transport you to a niverse


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

117


L A D O L C E V I TA

L U X U R Y I N T H E L A P O F N AT U R E

The IBNII is nestled amongst the Sylvan hills of Coorg. Nature is the highlight of the property.

118

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


The resort’s gift to nature itself are the various green practices, which include rainwater harvesting, use of natural manure, chemical-free vegetable gardening, as well as minimalistic plastic and low toxic detergents usage.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

119


L A D O L C E V I TA

L U X U R Y I N T H E L A P O F N AT U R E

where only dreams can live. The treatments offered range from fresh fruit and vegetable scrubs and massages to lentil and rice exfoliators and body polishing. Serene, calm and scrumptious soothing, the therapists here deliver a massage that’s revitalizing and sweet, firm and steady or as tough as you can take it. Massage techniques range from Indian to Oriental with some key Western influences. Meticulously hand-picked, trained therapists perform all the treatments. When it comes to food and beverages the modern multi-cuisine restaurant “The Fig”, vegetarian restaurant “Ballelle”, gastro-bar “Elevate” and the barbecue diner “Masi Kande” deliver exquisitely prepared dishes with a variety of diverse ingredients combined with an impressive collection of international concoctions. The pure and natural preparations, without any chemically enhanced preservatives and additives highlight the “mantra of pure mind, body, and soul”. The restaurants create some of

120

the finest regional culinary fares along with some renowned favorites from across the Mediterranean. A unique value addition to an already exclusive stay. To further indulge in nature the resort offers unique experiences. The coffee trail takes you on an exciting exploration of the humble origins of the world’s most beloved beverage. Guests can learn the fine nuances of making coffee from the bean to the cup and try a hand at baking in the coffee shop. A trek through thick woods with its fascinating bird watching makes for another incomparable experience. The resort’s pious relationship with nature is denoted in its various green practices, which include minimum toxic detergents usage, rainwater harvesting, use of natural manure, chemical-free gardening, etc. The IBNII is also one of the few LEED-certified resorts due to its top notch resource efficiency. There are three large water catchments to save the copious monsoon the region receives annually, to not

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

only sustain the needs of the resort but also to support the surrounding fauna through the dry months. These catchments lakes are also a central attraction for the guests offering them an opportunity to be inspired by the story of its creation. Besides all of this, it also allows for freshwater fishing, where the guests can demonstrate compassion by setting the catch free again. The IBNII surely is a place to unclutter your mind, to enjoy the silence, to laze around, to let go, to be nothing, to be pure, to surrender to nature. The serenity of the resort’s setting is what gives it its soothing calm. Its primal beauty can hit you both ways—while the invigorating silence could coerce you to embrace nature in its raw splendor, you might also find yourself longing for the infectious city energy. Either way, you should not miss this opportunity to bond with your rustic alter ego. For it is here that the true enchantment of nature unfolds in all its glory! You’ll be reluctant to pack up and push once your stay ends.


Each villa is unique in its location and covers 1’200 square feet comprising a relaxing living area with powder room as well as a large bedroom with ensuite bathroom.

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

121


NEW IN TOWN

BEACHSIDE VIBES R E S TAU R A N T Scape Restaurant & Bar on Burj Al Arab Terrace has unveiled the venue’s remarkable outdoor area. Set in the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf, the vibrant and ultra-chic location is truly unique. Providing new 270 degree views of Dubai from the sea, the venue is unlike any others by Burj Al Arab and offers a much more energetic, beachside vibe. Serving up delectable tapas dishes, ingenious cocktails and quite possibly the best ‘unseen before’ views of the city, the atmospheric outdoor location provides a very different Burj Al Arab experience. This, along with an eclectic mix of affordable signature beverages and Californian fusion cuisine, ensures the mood inducing, day to night space; will be a mainstay for Dubai’s creative crowd.

122

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23

123


NEW IN TOWN

WATERFRONT EXPERIENCE R E S TAU R A N T Located right on the waterfront, with views over the capital city’s urban skyline, Roberto’s Abu Dhabi has taken residence within the luxurious Rosewood Hotel. Under the overall direction of Chief Culinary Advisor, two- star Michelin chef Enrico Bartolini, Roberto’s presents a truly cosmopolitan experience for the more discerning culinary crowds of the capital. While offering the signature Roberto’s Dubai dishes, the new venue offers its own distinct twist on the menu, taking fine dining to a new level of perfection and finesse with mouthwatering surprises around every corner.

124

SIGNÉ ◊ EDITION 23


Big Bang Unico Sapphire. The invisible visibility. Scratch-resistant sapphire case. In-house chronograph UNICO. Limited edition of 500 pieces.

Signe Edition 23  

THE TIMEKEEPERS From reading shadows off the ground to measuring the rate of flow of water, a breed of analytical individuals had tasked the...

Signe Edition 23  

THE TIMEKEEPERS From reading shadows off the ground to measuring the rate of flow of water, a breed of analytical individuals had tasked the...

Advertisement