VENU #48 SUMMER 2022

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ELITE ELEVATED EXCEPTIONAL A network of the nation’s top performing real estate strategists and analysts in coastal and waterfront communities nationwide.

Navigating From Harbor To Home



Susan Vanech and Angela Swift are real estate licensees affiliated with Compass Connecticut, LLC, a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws.

Spring Issue_48




54 64

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy

Raúl Cordero: Connecting the Dots


Eye of creativity, the Joelino Perspective ON THE COVER HISTORY OF THE FUTURE (And still we paint...), by Raúl Cordero, page 64 4


20 SPOTLIGHT 12 Auction: On The Block: “The Rock” at Christie’s

13 Derby Day: A Festive

Derby Day on Pequot Library’s Great Lawn

14 ArtsWestchester Writes History?


16 Michael Boland

A Connecticut Love Story

20 Multisensory Experience AMSE NYC Born



W estEdge Design Fair Next Stop Dallas, Texas


A rchitecture Zyscovich Architects Redefining the Miami Landscape

STYLE 50 Fashion Samata Shifts the Mindset of Sustainability



26 Venü Vines Playa Rosé —

Introducing Premium Turkish Rosé to the U.S.

31 The Golden Palate The

Magical Dining Scene in Orlando/Central Florida

32 Fearless Chef Hinoki and

Miku Sushi - Perfect Pairings in Greenwich, Connecticut

REAL ESTATE 38 Compass Coastal with

Susan Vanech Properties and The Angela Swift Team





Spring Issue_48 TRAVEL 80 Puerto Rico The Condado Collection

TRANSPORT 86 Motoring Czinger 21C

Hypercar Speeds into the Future


W ellness Retreats Rebuilding your Spirit


Lake Como by

Kim Cooper


Publisher’s Letter

10 Masthead

90 80

86 6


Rainbow Chard, oil on canvas, 20” x 25” Still Life with Watermelon, Oil on Canvas 36” x 38”


Summer is officially here with the promise of warm weather fun and fantastic adven-


present, future and forward, from the digital to the tactile, with messages that not only matter, but uplift and motivate as well. Equal-

tures. Kicking it off again this year is the Steelpointe Boat Show in Bridgeport harbor,

ly inspiring is the work of couturier Guo Pei,

the ideal gateway to New England’s coastal

who draws her inspiration from European

playgrounds, offering a glamorous glimpse

out while bed-hopping in Condado this

of yachts, cars and planes that take visions

spring. Many leave the island only to come

of luxury living to new heights for dreamers

back home, like Michelin-starred chef Juan

and doers alike.

Cuevas who returned to Puerto Rico to cook

Speaking of dreamers and doers, the stories you’ll find in this issue celebrate artists

up some of the best food in the world at Restaurant 1919!

and Chinese artistic – and architectural – traditions to encourage people to recognize the rich historical ties between China and the West, something that has gotten a bit blurred along the way if you listen to today’s political pundits.

We are excited to take note of newcom-

Food and wine are great boundary busters

ter what obstacles stood in their way. Take our

er Joelino Miller, an emerging artist who is

too, linking cultural traditions with modern-day

cover artist Raul Cordéro who grew up in cen-

who dared to do what they dreamed, no mat-

creatively exploring the connection between

tastes to connect people all over the world. In

sor-silenced Cuba, pursued a career in the

psychotherapy and abstract painting with

May, we enjoyed wine, fashion, food, music

arts against his parents’ wishes and found his

his Jackson Pollock-inspired works of art. A

and art at a memorable Multisensory Expe-

voice by painting poetry onto his acclaimed

psychologist by profession, he took up art

rience in Manhattan attended by incredibly

storytelling canvases.

in 2016, finding that art is great therapy for

creative people and sent our taste buds to

And Michael Boland, writer and star of

creative self-expression, enabling both the

Asia when we dined at two amazing fusion-ori-

Yo Andrea, who is making his comeback in

artist and the viewer to make their own inner

ented eateries in Greenwich, Connecticut.

a profession and role he reprised from his experiences growing up in Fairfield, Con-

discoveries. The Fashion industry has a new spokes-

Turkish-inspired Playa Rosé, thanks to the

necticut. At 50-something, he is showing

woman, and her name is Samata Pattison.

collaborative efforts of two enterprising

We can’t wait to sip and share some

audiences just how possible it is to go after

Determined to change the myopic attitude

ladies who are introducing their brand to the

a dream long deferred.

of the fashion landscape both on and off

US just in time for summer soirees.

“There’s no place like home” for the resil-

the runway, Samata’s story, like Raúl’s, is all

Turn the pages and make a connection

ient residents of Puerto Rico, as we found

about reconnecting one to another, past to

with the innovators behind the world’s fastest hypercar, Christie’s 228+ carat diamond, dubbed The Rock, that sold for nearly $22 million on the auction block, and so many more features that pair dreamers and doers

Cover by Raúl Cordero HISTORY OF THE FUTURE (And still we breathe...) 2020. Acrylic, polyester and metallic pigments on canvas 90 x 90 cm / 35.5 x 35.5 inches Raúl’s cover is part of a series, and when viewed together they create a poem. Visit Venü’s website to view these paintings along with Raúl’s video showcasing the HISTORY OF THE FUTURE series. 8


much to our delight! Thank you for being part of Venü!

Tracey Thomas Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Nova’s Ark Project and Sculpture Park 60 Millstone Road Water Mill, NY 11976

Photo by Steve Johnson

Art Market Hamptons Aug 11— 14, 2022


Moshin vineyards

FOOD EDITOR Fred Bollaci FILM & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Peter J. Fox EDITORIAL & MARKETING Lisa Mikulski DECORATIVE ARTS EDITOR Matthew Sturtevant CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Fred Bollaci, Judy Chapman, Cindy Clarke, Wei Liu, Kami Sloan, Matthew Sturtevant PUBLISHING PARTNER Venu Media Group INTERN Julia Isabel SALES Susie Earls LEGAL COUNSEL Alan Neigher, Sheryle Levine


DISTRIBUTION Thomas Cossuto, Man In Motion, LLC


OFFICE 840 Reef Road, 2nd Floor, Fairfield, CT 06824


THE SMALL PRINT: No responsibility can be taken for the quality and accuracy of the reproductions, as this is dependent upon the artwork and material supplied. No responsibility can be taken for typographical errors. The publishers reserve the right to refuse and edit material as presented. All prices and specifications to advertise are subject to change without notice. The opinions in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. Copyright VENÜ Magazine LLC, All rights reserved. The name VENÜ Magazine is copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without written consent from the publisher. VENÜ Magazine does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. This is a quarterly publication and we encourage the public, galleries, artists, designers, photographers, writers (calling all creative’s) to submit photos, features, drawings, etc., but we assume no responsibility for failure to publish submissions.

VenuAdMoshin.indd 1

2/28/2018 6:36:40 PM


A Green Guide to


BECOME A GREEN BOATER Scan the QR code and download CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE ‘A Green Guide to Boating’




Christie's Images Ltd. 2022

“I’ll take mine on the Rocks!”

By Matthew Sturtevant


uite literally, an eggsized diamond hit the block at Christie’s in

Geneva, Switzerland on April

28th, 2022, dubbed “The Rock”. The pear-shaped diamond,

Red Cross Diamond. It was a

VS1 clarity, weighing 228.31

privilege to present this leg-

carats hammered down at a

endary stone, which was first

whopping $21,894,082 falling

sold at Christie’s in 1918 as part

within estimate. Rahul Kadakia

of the Red Cross Appeal. We

International head of jewelry

are delighted that a significant

at Christie’s stated “This

share of the proceeds will

exceptionally rare gemstone

benefit the humanitarian efforts

was mined and polished in

of the International Committee

South Africa over two decades

of the Red Cross.”. Over a

ago and is the largest white

century since that first sale, the

diamond ever to appear at

diamond sold after 11 minutes

auction. The final lot of the

of competitive bidding for

auction presented another

$14,320,624, a world auction record for a fancy intense

extraordinary gemstone of over 200 carats, the sensational 12


Rahul Kadakia and "The Rock" | Christie's Images Ltd. 2022

yellow diamond. ☐



Photos by: Kerry Long Photography

A Festive Kentucky Derby Day on Pequot Library’s Great Lawn Derby Day, May 7, 2022 was a rainy one, but that didn’t stop the excitement at Pequot Library with festive tailgates on their Great Lawn. We watched the “Run for the Roses” live on the big screen in the auditorium, and everyone danced the night away with DJ Rob during the after-party under the grand tent.

Derby Day raised more than $100,000 for Pequot Library’s infrastructure, staff, circulating collections, special collections, school programs, Children’s Library, and so much more. Venü Magazine was proud to support as a media sponsor.



SPOTLIGHT: ArtsWestchester

Who Writes History? At the ArtsExchange Gallery

Jeffrey Gibson, I am a Rainbow Too, 2019




his new exhibition in downtown White Plains foregrounds a more inclusive recounting of the past and present. Supported in part

by the National Endowment for the Arts, participating artists explore how images and language (together and independently) shape our collective memory and mainstream narratives. ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam explains, “We are story-keepers here and have become a repository of voices – the voices of women, immigrants, minorities, indigenous peoples – that echoed stories left out of history books. This is one of the

reasons we call ourselves the Arts Exchange.” She continues, “Years ago, banks were called exchanges, and we house our gallery in the former People’s National Bank. Here in our home, we amplify diverse voices. As a community museum, we collect and reveal our peoples’ pasts as well as their future aspirations. Those voices that are most yearning to be heard are the voices in this exhibition.” Yonkers native Ridikkuluz is one of the artists featured in the exhibition who asks challenging questions about truth and history. Ridikkuluz is a self-taught, New Yorkbased, queer, Jordanian-American multidisciplinary artist working in painting, sculpture, performance and video. His work focuses on marginalized identities and their spaces through figurative portraiture. “My work encompasses identity, duality and intense emotion—all while bridging the

Ridikkuluz, Nerdeen, Within Our Lifetime

gap between Western and Arab culture,” said Ridikkuluz. Other Participating artists in the White

Co-curated by Randy Williams, Professor

sport. The only equipment we need in order to

Plains show are: Gina Adams, Natalia

of Studio and Art Education at Manhattanville

participate and share, is a clear vision of our

Arbelaez, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, ForFree-

College, this exhibition has an international

encounters, past and present.”

doms, Mariam Ghani, Jeffrey Gibson, Mona

roster of 21 artists. Williams explains, “This

Advance registration is required to

Saeed Kamal, Cannupa Hanska Luger,

exhibition not only invites the viewer to

visit ArtsWestchester’s gallery and can be

Susan Manspeizer, Sana Musasama, Kambui

experience the practices of these artists, but

reserved at

Olujimi, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Eric Rhein,

it also reminds us that we each have our own

writes-history. The exhibition is on view

Lauren Sandler, Jean-Marc Superville Sovak,

accounts of history as well. Who Writes His-

through July 3, 2022 at 31 Mamaroneck Ave.,

and Howard Skrill.

tory? reminds us that history is not a spectator’s



Michael Boland


A CONNECTICUT LOVE STORY BY CINDY CLARKE I met Mike Boland by chance while I was attending a short film festival at a Norwalk, Connecticut theater I didn’t even know existed. The venue itself was a historic treasure, a turn-back-time movie house that stirred nostalgic memories of days long past, when dashing, mustached leading men won back their lady loves with a wistful smile, a stolen kiss and an impromptu waltz under a staged starlit night. The reverie it induced was palpable, the romance it suggested equally so. It was a pinch-me moment that transported me back to a simpler time and place, when a velvet-draped stage had the power to make my heart beat faster in anticipation of what would be revealed when the curtains went up.



I admit it. I am a die-hard romantic, a writer smitten with fairy-tale dreams that start sweetly and end nicely. And as I’ve

The cosmic tumblers were all falling into place because when I read for them, they hired me on the spot

been reminded time after time, heartbreak and conflict sell, keeping audiences on the edge of their seat with tears, jeers or cheers at the ready. It was with this mindset that I watched several creatively made short films, some engaging, others amusing, all entertaining, and one that touched me deeply and took me in fully in a span of just five minutes. Dubbed Yo Andrea, it unfolded with a vulnerability and sensitivity I hadn’t expected given its title. But you can’t judge a book or a film by its cover. Or a chance meeting that may have been just the opposite. Mike Boland wasn’t just a guy who was an actor in a film vignette that caught my eye. He was also a fellow writer, an exceptionally gifted one at that, and he was dating a colleague I had always admired but hadn’t seen in years. Michael Boland was born and raised in Fairfield, where he brawled, bartended, batted and boxed to his heart’s content. To hear him tell it, he lived a contented life in a town that was truly home. No matter how far and wide he wandered, no matter how many times he strayed, he always came back to his roots because this is where his heart stayed. He hadn’t thought about acting as a career, he told me. He accepted a job as a sports writer for a community newspaper

Michael Boland and Tonya Cornelisse playing the scene from the short film "Yo Andrea"

right out of college, which suited him just fine at the time, moving up the ladder to bigger

notice in our hometown paper about a play our community theater was doing, One Flew Over

newspapers as his writing garnered the

the Cuckoo’s Nest, and they were looking for actors. No experience required.”

attention it rightfully deserved. It wasn’t until

So he auditioned, got a part and played the Chief, after reading for four different roles. He

he was between jobs, or rather rethinking his

was the biggest guy in the room, after all, Mike explained, so he fit the part. It didn’t take him

future without any particular direction, when

long to get bitten by the acting bug, and soon tried out for every play he could find all over

his mother casually suggested, that with his

Fairfield and New Haven counties. Was it happenstance or fate that he stumbled upon an

personality, he consider acting.

open casting call for a role at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, one of only a few regional

“That was the dumbest thing I had ever

theaters in Connecticut at the time where prominent plays often head off to Broadway?

heard,” Mike remembers thinking at the time.

“The cosmic tumblers were all falling into place because when I read for them, they hired

“People are born into acting. They don’t just

me on the spot,” he said, acknowledging that he almost didn’t go to that audition because he

walk onto a stage,” I countered. “My mother

thought it was a long shot. He appeared in four shows that season and never looked back.

then asked me if I was afraid to try. And that

Armed with a promising resume and an official Union Card, Mike became a professional actor

did it. The next day I happened to see a little




epic 3-play drama The Orphans’ Home Cycle, tracing the lives of a Texas family over the course of three generations. It was a ninehour play that ran in three parts. It’s probably the first time I really felt like a real actor. It was so beautiful, it was almost spiritual. His writing was magic. He knew exactly what needed to be there and what didn't. When you saw his plays come to life, it was like the skies opened up and people would leave that show in tears, sobbing, and hugging people in the lobby. The New York Times wrote this unbelievably glowing review with my picture in it and the next day the whole run was sold out. Every single night from then on, for the next seven months, the show was completely sold out.” It took a few years, but that experience inspired Mike to start writing again and write he did. “I always knew that I was going to come back to writing in some way. I thought maybe I would write a feature on people I met on the road during our national tours, doing To see him on screen is to believe he is actually playing himself, so natural and


White Way, where theatre royalty upped the audience.

at ease is he on stage. Apparently, casting

What happened next is right on script

directors and audiences think so too. Since

when the hero’s journey takes a turn that

that first role in 1997, he has played Officer

may change the course of his life forever.

Krupke in a national Broadway tour of West

Mike went from hobnobbing with big Broad-

Side Story, starred in Twelve Angry Men,

way stars who hugged him with their praise

touring with a superstar cast that included

to appearing in The Blacklist on TV and other

Richard Thomas, now a good friend and

myriad productions to returning to first love

mentor, George Wendt and Kevin Dobson,

and dabbling once again in writing in a way

and more. A role with Matthew Modine in

he never expected.

To Kill a Mockingbird enticed him back to a

To put it into context, Mike had the

Hartford stage, before he made his way back

opportunity to meet playwright and screen-

to New York City, first in an off-Broadway

writer Horton Foote of To Kill A Mockingbird

production of The Orphans’ Home Cycle,

fame, when he was acting in his play, The

then under the big lights on Broadway in An

Orphans’ Home Cycle from 2009 to 2010.

Enemy of the People with Richard Thomas

While he may not have recognized it at the

and Boyd Gaines. Taking acting classes

time, that meeting had a big impact on Mike

along the way, it took Mike just 15 years

– and his future.

to go from the familiar streets of Fairfield,

“Horton Foote is probably one of the

where he played to a hometown crowd, to

most overlooked, unbelievable writers for

the best address in show business, the Great

the theater that’s ever lived. I was cast in his


Michael Boland winning the best male actor and best screenplay at the Worldwide Women's Films Festival

freelance writing, blogs or something like that. But when I was on tour, I decided that I was going to learn how to write screenplays. I read tons of screenplay books and software and just started to practice writing scenes. My first act was 100 pages long and it was pretty good, but way too much. Then I started writing some short scripts about two city cops named Frank and Ernie that were really funny and I put them online where thousands of people clicked on them. It was great.” His first draft of Yo Andrea, a love story, followed shortly thereafter. “I was doing another production of An Enemy of the People at Yale Repertory Theatre when one of my cast mates, a Golden Gloves boxer, came into the dressing room. I told him that I used to box and he invited me to come to his gym and train with him. I was 50-something at that point. I said, ‘no, I don’t think so,’ even though he kept pressing me to work out with him. Then I started thinking, what would it take for me to actually go back into the gym and accept punishment like that again. I would have to be in love with someone enough to prove my courage,” he explained. “And that’s where Yo Andrea started.” He wrote the scene I watched in his short film in 2017, capturing an amalgam of real-life feelings and distilling them into an emotion-packed few minutes with incredible staying power. That he cast himself with actress Tonya Cornelisse, a long-time friend he met in an acting class some 20 years ago was brilliant, as their undeniable on-screen chemistry is at once intimate and intoxicating, leaving his engaged audiences clamoring for more. To date, Yo Andrea, directed by Brian Russell, has premiered in 13 film festivals,

his mustache as the industry’s most lovable

and this project because I care about them

won numerous awards including in the Best

and dashing leading man, think again.

and their lives too. It’s important to me,”

Romance Short, Best Male Actor and Best

“This movie was written for Connecticut

Writing categories, and earned nominations

and I wrote it in Fairfield. This is a New

I wanted to wish him good luck but wished

for many others.

Michael said.

England story, modeled after a real Con-

him well instead. Michael Boland did not get

With plans in the works to produce Yo

necticut town and the people who went to

where he is today by happenstance. Heart

Andrea as a feature film, Mike has his eyes

school here, work here, and love living their

and hard work, with a good measure of

on Hollywood next. But lest you think he will

lives here. I want to shoot scenes in local

humor, humility – and not a few hard knocks

forget where he came from when he earns

places and cast people who care about me

– took him right where he was meant to be. ☐ CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


SPOTLIGHT: Multisensory


“We Contain Multitudes: What Does Wine Have to Do With It? A Multisensory Experience in NYC.” “Arts connect the Artists to the people, and through them, the people are connected to the Artists.” ­—Wei




Opposite Page: Julia Rickert, Wei Liu, Renae Baumon, artist Beatrice Jousett Drouhin, Karli Shea, Fernando Silva, and Anna Applebaum. Left: Event ideation doodles... the fun starts on the paper. Below: Photo of Wei Liu with her beverage of choice- the Wine.

a life-long lover of the arts. It was then that I decided to dedicate my 2022 to experiences that incorporate “having good taste” into the visual arts in as many areas of life as possible. Behold, A Multisensory Experience – AMSE NYC was born.

First Up, and the Next One

March 20, 2022 was chosen as the inaugural date for the AMSE NYC event because it’s the Spring Equinox.

Spring is symbolically associated with renewal, bloom,


hat do wine and arts have to do with each other? Year after year, I find myself further away from my creative side. I have been

in the wine/spirits/and events business space for the last ten years, but I have been an artist (although on

an extended hiatus) since I was able to hold a pencil. Life has its way of dividing the right and left-brain hemisphere collaborations, thus creating a gap that’s hard to unite without conscious intentions. Like many, the pandemic offered a period of great reflection, which led me to conclude that Art and Artistic methods need to become a much bigger part of my life. I decided to design an event concept that would celebrate this personal reflection, while acting as a milestone launching pad to challenge the limiting noise of “sticking to one thing” and “not spreading yourself too thin.” I wanted to creatively bring something to life that embraces our multitude of talents and interests, that celebrate those things at an event that is conceptually meaningful.

A Seed of Idea to Paper

Pencil to paper and lots of doodling is how ideas come to life for me; and that is exactly what I did on December

31, 2021, when I feverishly began sketching and writing down ideas to bring to fruition in 2022. I come from the professional world of wine and spirits and I’m also CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


SPOTLIGHT: Multisensory


that brings together different elements that ultimately force participants to “feel” while “trying” something new. This is rooted in the philosophic goal of creating a multisensory event that delivers on the concept of “peak experience.” The three features that make for a peak experience are fulfillment, significance, and connectedness. We often have peak experiences during an apex when our minds, bodies, and senses are fully engaged; much like the mental state that occurs during the creation and enjoyment of art. The poet Fernando Pessoa said, “The value of things is in not the time they last, but the intensity in which they occur.” It is in this spirit that we were curating a fun sensory exploration in which “tasteful” haute art is meant to inspire a peak experience. Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow believed that peak experiences “can make life worthwhile by their occasional occurrence.” I’ve had the privilege of adding to the and growth; and I know my fellow New Yorkers are thrilled for the winter to finally be over! Perfectly aligned on a Sunday, which we all know as “Funday,” the timing was strategically set for the event to start after brunch and before dinner, so the attendees could make it a full-day celebration. My vision was to have an event that attracts people of all walks of life who enjoy things of good taste, by engaging their senses through a combination of wine, spirits, food, fashion, arts, and a dynamic network of exciting people. My focus was on creating memorable moments that were conceptually meaningful, artistically integrated, marketable, and highly engaging. This was the first of an ongoing series of events similar in nature that will follow the Equinox cycle, always on a Sunday (or immediately thereafter): September 25, 2022, is next AMSE NYC event.

The Conceptual Difference

As a visual artist myself, I believe a strong concept is everything. What differentiates a beautiful work of art from an extraordinary piece is the concept and the story behind it. An event to me is an installation art piece; and is essentially a work of art



Top, Left to right: E&J Gallo Winery Danielle Cetani & Megan Van Der Stad representing their brand J Vineyards and Pieropan; Artist Fernando Silva.

quality-of-life metrics for my event patrons, to start out strong this year with an exciting and unique NYC peak experience on the first day of Spring 2022.

Mission: Pair & Integrate

During my inaugural event on March 20, 2022, I was able to showcase the talents of the visual artists I admire, and

amongst them are the vivacious artist Beatrice Jousset Drouhin – Contemporary Half Figurative Artist; colorful artist Fernando Silva – Contemporary Impressionist; and the illuminating artist Mr. John Wright – Neo-Expressionist. I had invited Fernando Silva to be the featured artist at my inaugural show, which meant taking a deep dive into his artistic world to extract conceptual elements as the inspirational bases for my event. I have been a fan of his work for a very long time, and I revere his bold use of colors, and the ways in which he finds his muse in daily life, pop culture, and in his love of fine wine. For the event concept, the featured artist is much like the main course at a wine dinner, everything pairs with that style and flavor to create a theme with the artist as the focal point. I literally paired everything to that artist, traveling the eras of inspiration from 1890-1902 Impressionism to the Contemporary period. In planning the event, we walked the line in our senses from those periods for the precise curation of the food, wine, spirit, and musical selections. Opera singer Laura Hollis, of the Barrett School of Music was my featured musical lead along with musicians Ling Ling on the Piano, and Erin Pitts on the Viola, performing

selections from the Impressionism movement. I paired their music to the wines of that era such as the Tornatore Winery Rosso from Etna DOC, Italy, with the late 1800 Italian Opera piece. To further add to the experience, top New York City sommeliers, Chris Dooley of Daniel, Ben De Hoog of Jean George, and Mariah Bryant of Bowery Meats, were invited to present a special featured wine and cocktails between performances with a story and flavor profile that paired with

Right: Alex Thrane & Andy Yu Showing a preview of their Shemere Cashmere collection. Below: Featured Artist Fernando Silva Painting custom designed dress wore by model Julia Rickert to showcase his art live.

the style of the featured artist.

In Good Taste

The inaugural event was a private event, attracting attendees that love fine art and all things in good taste. We had 120 attendees from various backgrounds, and the energy was incredible. You can’t go wrong when people are brought together by common interests. One amazing thing about bringing that idea to life was the buy-ins and the support offered by incredible talents and generous sponsors. They all came together to enhance the experience for attendees. “Wei has a tremendous vision, not only with AMSE, but to empower all those that she works with” said Diana DeLucia, President, Golf Kitchen Magazine. Special thanks to my media partners from the Venü Magazine, Golf Kitchen Magazine, and Launch Global Media for their support in promoting the positive message of the event. The arts and music were carefully curated, and equally so were the wines, spirits, and foods. At 3:00 p.m. the event kicked off strong with Marshallberg Farm Osetra caviar bites paired with Maison Champagne Drappier, and a fine selection of Macallan Single Malt Scotches. Delicious bites from the brilliant Greek chef Maria Loi were generously on display to be enjoyed. The Portfolio Consultants from E&J Gallo Winery Megan Van Der Stad and Danielle Cetani were among the highlights at the center of the room offering sample selections from J Vineyards, and Pieropan, keeping the vibes strong. CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


SPOTLIGHT: Multisensory


on brilliant statuesque female models and presented as canvases for displaying the original artwork of Silva. One dress was intentionally presented blank, to be painted on live during the event. This was a very ambitious vision with only three months to turn it into a reality. After an extensive amount of production work, the colorful artwork on the Alongside them were wine brand teams from Bodvar Rosé, Maison Joseph Drouhin. The suppliers sampled out their seasonal release, mingled with the attendees and enjoyed the energy of the event. The premium creative cocktails from Glenrothes, and Diplomático Rum were introduced at their pop-up bar hosted by brand-selected bartenders and their brand ambassadors.

Challenge Accepted

Caviars, wines, cocktails, opera, jazz, visual arts… and wait there’s more. As a personal challenge to raise this immersive event to another level, I thought why not co-design a custom wearables with the talented fashion designer Karli Shea. These one-of-a-kind fashion art pieces were fitted



Above: Model Julia Rickert; Fashion Designer Karli Shea; Model Anna Applebaum; and Model Renae Beaumont. Top right: The rustic atrium area displaying artwork by Artist Mr. John Wright.

uniquely structured designs were brought to perfection by the models: Julia Rickert, Anna Applebaum, and Renae Beaumont. “It’s very inspiring to be around people who are so passionate about what they love to do,” said Karli Shea, assistant designer at House of Jason Wu, “the energy of being around others with the same drive and passions is exciting and energizing.” I watched in awe, as these beautiful models in one-of-a-kind art pieces walked the final runway, which was perfectly paired with a musical performance by opera singer Laura Hollis who exquisitely sang an assemblage of contemporary pieces. The experience of the final runway walk was further enhanced with a special pairing of a Traditional Method sparkling wine, in magnum format, by the renowned Italian winery Decugnano Dei Barbi.

Dare to be Different

Magical things can happen when one escapes their comfort zone to try and add value personally, professionally,

and societally in a unique and artistic way. When ideas are set in motion, opportunities often follow. I have met so many incredible people through the process of launching this vision. “The event was a 360-degree immersive experience from the visual elements to the wine pairings. I loved being able to speak with an artist about their work while

Clockwise from right: Talented featured performers. Violist, Erin Pitts; Pianist, Ling Ling; Opera Singer, Laura Hollis. Real Estate Strategist Susan Vanech; Artist Fernando Silva; Venü Publisher Tracey Thomas. Perfect pairing Marshallberg Farm Osetra Caviar & Maison Champagne Drappier Brut Carte d'Or.

simultaneously watching another artist bring a painting to life on a dress. It was a full-scale demonstration of creativity and appreciation all in one,” said Olivia Marcus, fashion writer and influencer with 140K+ followers. “What stood out to me most about the event was the prioritization of details. Whether it was learning about the notes in a glass of wine, hearing the notes of live music, or reading the notes beneath a work of art, each detail came together to create an energetic orchestration that you can truly only experience in New York City.” What do wine and arts have to do with each other? They both share in a core that is rooted in good taste, creativity, and a strong sense of style and meaning. While eating and sipping well, I am honored to bring a Peak Experience art installation to life that toast to our humanly multitudes.





Wine Importer Sandra Guibord Partner with Sibel Kutman Oral and the Legendary Doluca Winery Introducing Premium Turkish Rosé to the U.S. Join us to raising a toast to Sandra Guibord, New York-based sommelier, CEO and founder of Sandra’s Wine Life, on her partnership with Sibel Kutman Oral, a vintner and third-generation owner of the legendary Doluca Winery in Turkey, and the launching of their first rosé in the U.S. Playa Rosé is Sandra Guibord and Sibel Kutman Oral’s first collaboration, a wine whose name is inspired by Sibel’s Puerto Rican heritage. This wine is created by blending ancient Turkish varietals that are indigenous to some of the oldest vines in Turkey and the Mediterranean. This festive wine offers a lighter and more fruity taste than the vineyard’s traditional premium and entry level rosés. Sibel Kutman Oral is the head of marketing of the 90-year-old vineyard that is still a family-run business. Feeling inspired to continue the family’s pioneering legacy, Sibel’s direction led the vineyard to becoming a market leader in its category, with a renewed,

Sibel Kutman Oral



Sandra Guibord

corporate identity.

building private collections.

“When acclaimed wine writer and lover

“From my travels throughout Turkey, I

Sandra came to visit Doluca Winery to dis-

became so impressed by their deep dedica-

cover Turkish wines and varietals, we hit it off

tion to their culture and history and how it is

right away. After touring the winery, we began

represented in their food, their designs, and

our tasting, and as soon as the sexy magnum

their wines. After touring Doluca vineyards

bottle of Playa was served and deliciously

and meeting Sibel, we sat at lunch, and she

pleased us both in body and soul; we began

shared this bottle of Playa Rosé with me. I

dreaming about launching DLC Playa in the

had an overwhelming feeling of ‘kismet,’

States,” Sibel Kutman Oral says.

and I knew that this was the perfect wine to

Sandra Guibord is a wine importer and

introduce to American wine enthusiasts; the

a CEO and founder of a multi-media wine

perfect sip of Turkish culture,” Sandra Guibord

education platform. She hosts wine seminars


for large global corporations, and she helps

Playa Rosé launched in Miami in May and

people from senior executives to everyday

will be available nationwide in the spring of

admirers select wines for life events and






Ares Modena Showroom in Miami

“When two passionate and determined women set their minds to achieve a goal, no ocean could stand in their way, and so yes here we are, in less than a year, blushing with excitement as our Playa flamingos landed in Miami,” Sibel Kutman Oral says. About Sandra Guibord, Sandra’s Wine Life Sandra Guibord, CEO and Founder of Sandra’s Wine Life has over two decades of entertainment business. A former Wilhelmina model and actress, including soap operas, network television series, films and corporate spokesperson roles, Sandra is now a preeminent guide within the wine and spirits community. Sandra assists top corporations, legal firms, and nonprofits with entertaining their top clientele and senior executives. Utilizing her hands-on learning gained through travel to wine regions worldwide, Sandra Guibord has made the often-vexing world of wine enjoyable through her fun, festive (from left) Tracey Thomas, Barry Lederman, Sandra Guibord, Jillian Stevens, Susie Earls



and informative approach that has been well received by wine enthusiasts from novices

Danny Sullivan, former F1 racing champion, Alan Guibord CEO, Integrated Cyber Solutions, Sandra Guibord

to connoisseurs. She offers practical wine advice for casual events (virtual and in-person), business dinners, romantic dates, and building custom wine collections. Sandra launched her first book titled ‘Find Your Wine Identity’ in the Spring of 2022. Learn more about Sandra’s Wine Life at

Sibel became an Executive Board member and oversees all commercial functions. She has built her life around her family and the business, becoming a successful pioneer in the Turkish wine-making industry. Sibel created Playa Rosé in honor of her Puerto-Rican heritage from her mother.

Having spent time on the beautiful beaches

About Sibel Kutman Oral:

the idea of honoring this part of her heritage.

Born in Istanbul, Sibel was raised in a multicultural home with her Turkish father and Puerto Rican mother, adding unique styles, flavors, and flare to her upbringing. Sibel studied abroad at Wesleyan University in the U.S. where she pursued her dreams as a professional dancer in New York City at Leslie Partridge and Dancers and Avila Weeks Dance Corporation. After her professional dance career, Sibel’s strong love for her country and family brought her back to Turkey and into the family business of wine making. She joined Doluca Winery as a third-generation family member, helping the winery grow into one of the most prestigious and top producing vineyards in Turkey. By creating and developing the marketing department,

of her mother’s home country, it brought forth Playa Rosé is much like Sibel; it is festive, fresh, and modern with deep roots in an ancient culture. Playa Rosé is made with the indigenous Turkish varietals of Kalecik Karasi and Çalkarasi. Sibel and Doluca Winery are very proud and excited to share Playa Rosé and many other of their esteemed wines with the rest of the world. ☐

Pier 36 / 299 South St New York, NY 10002

Photo by Brandi Redd

Art on Paper New York Sep 8— 11, 2022

By Fred Bollaci


The Magical Dining Scene in Orlando/Central Florida In and Outside the Theme Parks

During the past two years with the pandemic world-class multi-course experience remains closed grounding travel plans, this one-time jet setter has as of this article; it is rumored to be reopening later enjoyed exploring my home state—Florida. As a way this year. The nearby Four Seasons features excellent to escape the “real world,” I have become an Annual Spanish cuisine on the rooftop at Capa, and authentic Passholder at both Walt Disney World and Universal Italian at Ravello. Top Chef Richard Blais recently Studios, reacquainting myself with one of the world’s opened Four Flamingo’s in the Hyatt Regency Grand most popular tourist destinations—Orlando! People Cypress, serving Floribbean fare. In Disney Springs, often ask, Can adults who love good food actually try Art Smith’s Homecomin’ (Southern), Jaleo by enjoy the theme parks and eat well? The answer Venü’s own “Fearless Chef” José Andrés, Morimoto is YES! There is plenty of great food in the theme Asia, and Amorette’s for “Disney” pastries and cakes. parks, as well as in Metro Orlando—you just need to Gideon’s cookies are worth the effort (a long wait know where to look. In fact, a testament to Florida’s or virtual queue), and we love the seafood at The increasing recognition as a bona fide food destiBoathouse (and the amphibious classic cars to cruise nation, the esteemed Michelin Guide will be making out on the lake). 4 its Florida debut in 2022, awarding stars for the first In Universal, start with Bice (authentic Italian from time in Miami, Orlando, and Tampa! Milano) at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel—a beautiful Soul Food), Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, Pizza Bruno Let’s start with Disney. Epcot is an international property which is modeled after its namesake town (Neapolitan style), The Strand (Local Fare), Tori smorgasbord every day of the year with sit down on the Italian Riviera! Cowfish in Citywalk is a fun Tori (Japanese), Kabooki Sushi (2 locations), and Z restaurants and kiosks representing countries fusion of burgers and sushi, and Mythos is a must Asian-Vietnamese Kitchen. Outside the city, check from around the world, plus several fun festivals for global cuisine in Islands of Adventure. out Sushi Pop (Oviedo), Luke’s Kitchen and Bar geared to folks who love to eat, drink, and have In Orlando, “Bee Line-It” to Bites and Bubbles, the (Seafood/Maitland), and in beautiful Winter Park, fun: (Festival of the Arts in Winter, Flower & Garden place for Champagne and charcuterie. Other favorites Hillstone on Lake Killarney, Hunger Street Tacos, Kai in Spring, and Food & Wine in Fall). My favorite sit include The Osprey Seafood & Spirits, Seito Sushi Asian Street Fare, Orlando Meats, Prato (Italian), and down options are: Chefs de France, Coral Reef, Le Baldwin Park, Reyes Mezcaleria, (all owned by Jason The Ravenous Pig (and adjacent Brewing Company). Cellier (Canada), Space 220, and Takumi Tei (Japan). and Sue Chin), Christner’s or Kinfe & Spoon for steak, For a day trip, charming Mount Dora and a meal at In Magic Kingdom, I suggest Cinderella’s Royal Kadence (elevated Asian), Maxine’s on Shine for 1921 Mount Dora is a nice diversion. ☐ Table in the castle, Be Our Guest (Beauty and the an eclectic, fun experience, Nikki’s Place (Southern Beast), and Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. Liberty Tree Tavern serves a family-style Thanksgiving meal year-round! In Animal Kingdom’s, Tiffins and Yak & Yeti are my go-to spots to enjoy safari-worthy grub without the trek to Africa or Asia. In Hollywood Studios, The Brown Derby is the only outpost of the Hollywood legend still in operation, home of the original Cobb Salad and all the original memorabilia— 1 it’s an unforgettable experience! In the Disney World area, Topolino’s Terrace is THE place for a character breakfast and a gourmet French-Italian dinner atop the new Riviera Resort. (Topolino is the name for “Mickey Mouse” in Italian!) California Grill (Contemporary Resort) is a great place to view the fireworks with a birds-eye view of Magic Kingdom. Citricos in the opulent Grand Floridian serves 2 3 excellent food, as does Narcoossee’s, though the grand dame of Orlando 1: Tuna at Boathouse, 2: Swordfish at Boathouse, 3: Striped Bass at Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen, Magic Kingdom, restaurants. Victoria and Albert’s, a 4: Salad at Cowfish

For more information about Fred Bollaci Enterprises, visit: CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE




APPETITE: Fearless


Perfect Pairings in Greenwich, Connecticut BY CINDY CLARKE

H I N O K I & M I K U S U S H I Always up for a trip someplace new, we sent our taste buds around the world this spring during culturally rich dinners at two innovative Asian Fusion eateries that are taking Greenwich, Connecticut by storm. In so doing, we experienced the incredible power of partnerships, both in business and on our plates.




APPETITE: Fearless


nfused with a passion and a purpose that underscore the formidable talents of its rising culinary stars, restaurateurs Chef Steven Chen and K Dong opened Miku Sushi in 2019 at the top of elite Greenwich Avenue a short while before the pandemic took top billing in the news, and introduced Hinoki, lower down on Greenwich Avenue, just as COVID began its first retreat in May of 2021. Not surprisingly to the growing legion of diners who faithfully savored take-

home treats until their favorite restaurants reopened

their doors, both restaurants have beaten the odds and the closures with their creatively Japanese-inspired and Asian fusion fare. What makes them irresistible to a well-heeled clien-

tele well-versed in the best of everything is two-fold. At Hinoki, it’s the concept of Japanese izakaya, smallplate tapas-style dishes that make a big impact on the palate, paired with a chef’s table experience formally known as Omakase, and one we called “Oh-MyGoshee” after indulging in their delectable creations in person. At Miku Sushi it’s the exquisite rolls and artistic plating that make each moment beautiful. To give you some perspective about the genius rooted in this restaurant, the name Hinoki comes from the Japanese cypress tree that was described as “a good tree for building palaces” in one of Japan’s oldest books, the Nihon Shiki. In Japan, Hinoki boasts worldclass qualities that last over 1,000 years. Its namesake restaurant has already proven to be a great place for



building new relationships and we expect it to last as long as it wants. On any given night, this dining palace is packed with patrons looking for interesting new experiences, including getting to know ingredients unlike any they have met before. Take our “this can’t get any fresher” appetizer of live scallops from the raw bar and the Uni Toast marrying California sea urchin with Foie Gras on toast that blessed their union. The chef’s special “Yuzu Tokyo” touted the combined charms of yuzu citrus, baby yellowtail, avocado, Alaskan king crab and minty shiso much to our delight. We dove into the deluxe sushi platter with chopsticks drawn, mouths drooling, as we sampled a variety of house-crafted seafood rolls dressed with tobiko, scallion, seared miso tuna, eel,



3 1. An assortment of nori tacos at hinoki 2. Tuna toro tartare topped with caviar, special menu item at hinoki 3. Signature dish at Hinoki miso black cod 4. K Dong and Chef Steven Chen

throughout our dinner, a must drink here, we had to try the Applewood Smoked Negroni crafted with Roku Japanese gin, Campari and antica, and yes, it really was smokin’ when it arrived at our table. It’s this kind of unexpected experience that positions Hinoki as one of the most popular spots in town, that, and the caviar bumps we enjoyed with delicious abandon. I, for one, had never caviar bumped before, learning by doing when our host spooned his Honiki-branded gourmet delicacy onto the top of my fisted hand as an initiation ritual of sorts for the in-the-know crowd. I was not only in, hook, line and sinker, I was primed to know more. I couldn’t wait for our next meal up the Avenue at

seaweed and more, paying tasty testimony to the chef’s know-how in adding surprising bursts of heat and sweet to his creations. Of course, dumplings are delightful all by themselves, but at Hinoki they become even more dear, like their signature truffle shrimp dumpling that we devoured on delivery. Lobster is a favorite choice in any New England town, so the chef made sure it was on his menu, preparing it with ginger and scallion that honored the hard-shell crustacean with a Chinese twist. Their Miso Black Cod, miso fused and marinated in sake, was another winner, reminding us just how much we enjoyed sipping and sampling at the same time. While we tippled the restaurant’s prized sake




APPETITE: Fearless



their other popular dining venue, Miku Sushi. Born in Japan, sushi is at home everywhere now, having evolved into an art form and surfacing in restaurants all over the world. Once regarded as an often-distasteful cultural culinary tradition that quite frankly made Western appetites somewhat squeamish, sushi is now hailed as a coveted low-cal, healthy food option that is packed with desirable omega-3 fatty


acids thanks to the fish it is made with, along with


1. Miku Sushi Chef behind the sushi bar. Photo credit Tom McGovern 2. Miku signature sushi sashimi platter. Photo credit Tom McGovern 3. Miku signature sushi and sashimi platter. Photo credit Tom McGovern

innovative flavors and rice that keep your taste buds on their toes. The fast food of the chōnin (merchant) class in the Edo period of Japanese history, the word “sushi” is literally defined as sour rice, because of the vinegar moistened rice that is traditionally used in it. But there’s nothing fast or traditional about the intricate eye-candy chef creations at Miku Sushi. Averse to cutting corners or quality, Miku’s chefs only use the best quality fish that comes directly from the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan. Miku features more than 15 types of sushi every week, giving it a unique niche in



Rowayton Seafood restaurant in nearby Norwalk, in

the industry. They source their vegetables and fruits

addition to their current partnership at the J House

locally, make their own sauces, only use authentic sea-

in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. This is in addition to

sonings and spices and take the time to meticulously

their flagship restaurant, Kumo Sushi Lounge, which

and masterfully turn every piece into a thing of beauty.

opened in Scarsdale, New York in 2014. And if that’s

This is very fitting given that the restaurant takes its

enough to keep them busy, Miku launched a monthly

name from the word “miku” meaning “beautiful moment,”

"Specials Menu" initiative in 2020 to support local non-

which accurately sums up what they specialize in.

profit organizations and showcase innovative food and

Adding to the allure of the evening was a local celeb-

beverages, donating, to date, over $50,000 through

rity of sorts, the always affable Tommy who selected and served our sushi with a smile and a tale, sharing


insights and explanations of the pretty plates that daz-

this community impact campaign. Thank you K Dong and Chef Chen for creating a grateful community of glowing fans and foodies who will

zled every minute of our dining experience, all the while

follow your lead wherever your menus takes take us. ☐

pouring more sake and refilling our Japanese beers. From our Orange Cauliflower appetizer to delicate |

duck buns nested in puffy clouds of dough to a Greenwich Roll of toro and avocado crowned with seared spicy lobster, to our Passion Roll that celebrated Thaisauced salmon both spiced and sliced, to our Rock N Roll medley of rock shrimp, avocado and seared Kobe beef with shrimp sauce on top, to the Tuna Tartare that was served with chunks of avocado on a plate awash in the chef’s house-made Yuzu Wasabi sauce and


more, Tommy rolled out an amazing parade of sushi and sashimi that had our heads spinning and appetites swooning. When talented chefs take care to seamlessly integrate various ingredients to craft a meal unlike anything anyone has tasted before, they become culinary gods in our minds. Luckily for us, K Dong and Steven Chen

4. Miku cocktails 5. Nigiri à la cart. Photo credit Tom McGovern 6. Chef's seasonal special at Miku Sushi

give their chefs the freedom to create unique dishes that show their range of skill and creativity while also introducing and innovating food concepts that allow them to put their own spin on it. Traditionally simple, artistic and seasonal, in Japan food is given a lot of thought and is treated with the highest respect. It’s also like that at both Hinoki and Miku Sushi. As we over-indulged in their specialties, masterpieces all, and cast our Covid weight gain cares aside, we couldn’t help but think how restaurants like these blur borders, merge cultures and forge friendships you might not have been able to cultivate before. With plans to expand Hinoki this summer on Greenwich Avenue and in the neighboring town of Darien next year, along with partnering with the waterfront Blu on the Hudson in Weehawken, New Jersey for a summertime opening, K Dong and Chef Steven also will be bringing their award-winning culinary talents to




Navigating from Harbor to Home


SUSAN VANECH AND ANGELA SWIFT PRESENT COMPASS COASTAL, THE COLLECTIVE. This is an innovative and elevated real estate experience with access to the nation’s top performing real estate strategists and analysts in coastal and waterfront communities nationwide. With over $500 million in luxury home sales* we understand the needs of our connoisseurs of life, our high-net worth clientele. The Compass Coastal collective promises to present an unparalleled level of service by executing smooth and swift transactions while honoring trust, discretion, and efficiency to the highest degree.

Susan Vanech Founder Lic. RE Salesperson M: 203.685.2348

Angela Swift

Founder Lic. RE Salesperson M: 203.253.5292

Susan Vanech and Angela Swift are real estate licensees affiliated with Compass Connecticut, LLC, a licensed real estate broker in Connecticut and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Melisa J. Rubin is a licensed real estate salesperson affiliated with Compass, a licensed real estate broker in Florida and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. Photos may be virtually staged or digitally enhanced and may not reflect actual property conditions. *Total Transactions is the sum of all transactions closed on the Compass platform in which our agent represented the buyer or seller in the purchase or sale of a home (excluding rentals) and includes a single transaction twice when one or more Compass agents represent both the buyer and seller in any given transaction. *Source: SMART MLS 1/1/21 - 8/31/21


43 Baldwin Farms North 6 BD | 9 BA | 10,829 SF | $7,850,000 Luxury living at its finest. Stunning new construction tucked away on 2 acres. With 6 bedrooms including a guest suite on the main floor, this home is being built with highest level of attention to detail. Glass walls and high ceilings create a warm experience that brings nature indoors.

Kate Keller Bates

Lic. RE Salesperson M: 203.554.1143

DESIGN: WestEdge


WestEdge Design Fair takes the show on the road: NEXT STOP, DALLAS: SEPTEMBER 16-18 Live events are back! After months and months of zoom meetings, virtual happy hours, and online webinars, we’ve returned to face-to-face events,

doesn’t quite compare to touching, feeling and test-driving that sofa or chair you’ve had your eye on. Like many live event producers, WestEdge

in-person networking, and, dare we say it,

Design Fair was forced to cancel their 2020

a return to the office for some. While all of

and 2021 annual event in Los Angeles due

those technological options were godsends

to the health and safety concerns of COVID.

during the height of the Pandemic, there’s no

Now that the world has re-opened, West-

substitute for meeting in real life. And for the

Edge Design Fair is back and this year has

interior design world, seeing products online

expanded to Dallas! WestEdge Dallas will take

Jason Mizrahi

place September 16-18 in the Dallas Design District at Market Hall. WestEdge, established in Los Angeles in 2013, showcases the best in modern design, offering guests the opportunity to shop the latest from premium home furnishings brands, including both established and up-and-coming names. This fall, they are joining forces with Artexpo to bring two established fairs to Dallas. Dallas is an art town and Artexpo offers a platform for hundreds of artists showing original artwork, prints, paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, lithographs and glass works. Collectively, the fairs will bring together thousands of guests—interior designers, architects, gallery owners and managers, art dealers, collectors, and art & design lovers— to discover and source from the leading names in art and design. “We’ve always seen the complementary nature of art and design. So, we were thrilled when Artexpo reached out about the possi-

bility of co-locating and launching in Dallas together” says WestEdge Co-Founder Megan Reilly. Guests will be able to enjoy two events under one roof with one ticket and a convenient experience to shop from and discover new and established talents in the worlds of art and furnishings. WestEdge Dallas highlights include:

A Floor-wide Opening Night Party

Guests will enjoy a festive evening of cocktails, fine food, entertainment and the chance to shop hundreds of art and design products before the weekend crowds. The evening supports the missions of multiple charitable organizations, including homeless advocacy, pet rescue, and education.


This section is dedicated to independent designers and artists of one-of-a-kind furniture, lighting and more. Guests have the opportunity to purchase, specify and customize handmade furnishings, and engage with the makers firsthand to learn about their craft and inspiration.


Design Talks & Panel Discussions

September sure seems to be the month to check it out! In addition to WestEdge Design

The podcast Convo By Design® will join the

Fair and Artexpo, September hosts Dallas

WestEdge stage to co-produce a thoughtful

Design Week, Texas Design Week and the

series of design talks and panel discussions.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas. So

Hear from leading names in the design indus-

if you’ve been considering a trip to the Big D,

try on a variety of topics, from Artful Inspiration

this fall offers a plethora of reasons to plan

and Color Trends, to Supply Chain Challenges

that trip. ☐

and Business Growth Strategies. The Dallas design scene is strong and shows no signs of slowing down. And

For tickets and event details, visit:

“Working from home” is here to stay as a result of the Pandemic. This new section will feature a series of vignettes that speak to home office design. Who doesn’t want a home office that looks and feels good, not to mention helps boost productivity?



DESIGN: Architecture



Fontainebleau Aviation, FBO Hangar



DESIGN: Architecture

“Rarely you can find the combination of talent, enthusiasm, knowledge, and pure unadulterated fabulous aesthetic sensibilities as Anabella. It is a delight and privilege to have her be a partner in our efforts to make the world a more beautiful place. Oh….and our clients adore her too!” – Bernard Zyscovich FAIA VENU: Do you define yourself as an interior architect, designer, or artist? Anabella: I grew up in Venezuela, where Architecture is seen as a design career. The architect is the visionary, the master craftsman that designs the vision from planning to building on the site. The interiors are an integral compo-


or 44 years, Zyscovich Architects has strived to create projects with purpose, bringing new life and vibrancy to cityscapes through integrated urban planning, architecture, and interior design.

To this day, Zyscovich has remained true to the original concept: design projects that have purpose and meaning. Zyscovich has designed the full spectrum of projects, from transportation facilities and airports to K-12 schools and universities, mixed-use commercial and public-private partnership developments to multi-family residential high rises and master plans for cities. Venu converges with Partner, and Director of Interior Architecture Anabella Smith about her design process and redefining Miami.



NFT Gallery Space, Jonathan McCabe Installation

nent of the solution with how the building sits in the area

use projects, airport travelers’ experiences, moviegoers

- as the human journey through spaces that implement

that seek out a VIP entertainment experience as we did for CinéBistro, students that attend our universities and

art, graphics, and furniture to complement the exterior.

Executives that want a unique state-of-the-art workplace

People can feel through texture, lighting, and color. From

for their business.

conception to inception, rewarding design is about looking through the eyeglass of an artist to provoke emotions.

VENU: The Zyscovich firm has brought a new founded

Influenced by the tendencies of how I see architecture,

vibrancy to the Miami cultural landscape on a larger

design and fashion, I define myself as all three. VENU: Who is the Zyscovich consumer? Anabella: We are lucky to say that we have an extensive range of consumers, from local residents to tourists that visit Florida, NYC retail projects, well-thought out mixed-

scale. In your opinion, what was missing in the exterior AMLI Midtown Miami. “Art is about utilizing space that creates function with an element of surprise.”

and interior architectural score of the metropolis and how are you redefining Miami? Anabella: Miami was missing its own essence. Since I came to Miami in 1979, Miami has progressed with the influx of Central and South American, European, and many other cultures. Miami has brought its own uniquely seasoned blend to this ultimate destination defined by its history of Architecture, Art, Entertainment, Gastronomy, Nightlife, and perpetual great weather. VENU: Has VR helped in interior design and urban planning? Do you foresee a greater responsibility to use the tools given with care in order not to blur the lines between the physical and virtual environments? Anabella: We still need physical spaces to be a part of something tangible and tactile. The use of VR spaces has been highly positive for our market. It can visually connect remote office locations, which helps with the office culture; you can communicate with clients easier without time delays in traveling, and it visually connects you with others. We use many virtual environments as part of our everyday life at the office, which helps us organize ourselves during construction and communicate better with the contractor. VR Presentations work well with clients as they can envision the space from inception to completion, but it does have its drawbacks with the amount of effort needed on our part to derive visuals at conception. VENU: How does one begin to create a conscious dialogue between the architectural score of the exterior and interior environments? Anabella: Our exterior environments depict how we as humans evolve with the times. As authors of the structures that house humans, we must adapt to their lifestyle and behavioral changes. Having a good team of consul-



DESIGN: Architecture

tants that are focused and invested in your goals is the main component in achieving architectural balance. A Modern Design team has to be in place to bring your vision to fruition from inception to completion. VENU: How are you building in the future to eliminate the carbon footprint (net-zero environment)? Anabella: To achieve optimization in a net-zero energy building, the following prerequisites need to be considered: (1) lighting, (2) the walls and roof, (3) glazing, (4) heating, (5) ventilation, (6) air conditioning, (7) renewable materials (8) soft costs, and (9) the building usage and behaviors of the occupants. This means that the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. This decision includes the client/owner and us as the consulting team. Our tasks as the architect/designers are to present our client’s solutions based on their vision and budgetary goals to achieve or get close to a net-zero footprint. VENU: What is the importance of lighting design in urban planning and interior design? Anabella: I am a huge advocate of lighting designers. Having the correct lighting input, color, and strategic location of the source, will enhance the design by creating the right mood in the space at different times of day; it also helps emphasize the textures and color intensities 46


“Intimate spaces create a point of connection.” The framework of geometric shapes and patterns make a bold statement.



DESIGN: Architecture

“ARCHITECTURE COMES FROM THE HEART.” – Anabella Smith – Partner and Director of Interior Design of the materials applied. In urban planning, good lighting helps brand cites, helps in wayfinding, and improves safety issues. Lighting is used to emphasize architectural gestures. Use of Natural Light in Design By designing projects connected to the local climate and context, energy can be saved by using as much natural light as possible during the day, which will help balance energy waste

economic opportunities.

and thermal losses. The orientation of the

Climate challenges arise when designing

openings, well-calculated sun protection,

outdoor spaces that people want to use all

and the selection of absorbing and reflec-

year round. Areas that should be revenue

tive materials in the right places help to take

makers make it difficult to stay outside for long

advantage of natural resources.

periods due to the humidity. One of our biggest obstacles is how to invite an exterior space into

VENU: What are some of the environmental chal-

an interior environment that presents condensation

lenges that we face in South Florida and the impactful

issues that bring molds and mildew. The overall task is

measures that you are putting in place for the future?

to ensure that the outdoor spaces become weatherproof

Anabella: In all our projects, we pursue the implemen-

while inviting.

tation of LEED and WELL guidelines as good practice. We are careful when designing spaces that serve the

VENU: How do you harness the directives of design to

purpose of their intended use and enhance the well-be-

reflect, contribute and connect with the essential elements

ing of the end-user. We cautiously select suitable mate-

that enhance our overall well-being? Before and. after

rials to implement biophilia in creative ways. We understand how our design can impact psychology and people’s behavior and how they can contribute to the growth of surrounding environments and communities. In particular, I believe in repositioning existing buildings and thinking that each of our projects will benefit the surrounding communities to create new 48


“Lighting is architecture without doors or frames. The fixture becomes the architectural element of the room.”

COVID? (Residential, mixed-use/ transportation, etc.) Anabella: “Our motto has always been creating spaces for people, creating spaces with a purpose.” Each project comes with its own set of challenges to meet the requirements and needs of the end-user. Many factors affect solution-oriented decisions, including econom-

space. My aim is to change their mind. VENU: What liberates you about design? Anabella: For me, design starts at the moment I’m having a conversation with the client when I begin to inquire about the needs and purpose of the project. From inception, we are designing and creating concepts that will be implemented into reality. The execution of the detail is one of the most imperative design moments, adapting and refining our concepts at the construction site are also crucial design elements. VENU: Color sends a message of energy. It is what ics, location, budgets, and schedules that all align. We submerge ourselves in the journey and collaborate with the right team.

Bright colors represent the rich culture and vibrancy of Miami.

attracts and detracts. What is the one color/s that is a staple throughout your design process? Anabella: “Orange is the color that promotes rejuvenation, positivism, and optimism. Orange can foster encour-

VENU: ART has become the new commodity in the explo-

agement, motivation, and drive during our trying times.

ration of architecture and interior design. How are you

Mustard symbolizes creativity and diversity.”

implementing the artwork into spaces to emote the experience? How are you positioning NFTs into the spaces?

VENU: What part of designing is authentic to you and

Anabella: I implement art in all my projects as part of the

how do you define beauty?

design. I find those moments in the project where I feel

Anabella: Beauty is defined and perceived differently

the need to create an experience through art, whether

by people. For me, its what brings me joy, what makes

through a wall application, wallcovering, a pattern of a

me feel good. Beauty is also defined by balance, propor-

rug design, an interactive LED wall, or NFT.

tion and light.

VENU: Zyscovich prides itself on projects that convey a

VENU: Where do you see contemporary trends going in

story. What is the biggest challenge between the creative

South Florida under the Mid-century modern umbrella?

process of design vs. the marketing aspects of a devel-

Anabella: I see Mid-century modern design as an ongo-

oper’s vision?

ing trend. I feel we should create our own contemporary

Anabella: It’s unfortunate that by normal standards home-

trends. ☐

owners and developers see a brand name rather than the design work that goes into it. They don’t usually want to | Photography by Robin Hill

hire an interior designer that works in an architectural

Images courtesy of Zyscovich Architects CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



Shifts The Mindset Of Sustainability BY KAMI SLOAN

“I’m a British-born woman from Ghanaian parents and my sustainable fashion journey started when I was born. The zero-waste originator in my family, my mum, made loads of my outfits when I was smaller. Never a scrap of material was wasted. Upcycled. Handmade. Made With Love by Ghana.” Entrepreneur, Cultural Sustainable Fashion Activist, Women’s Empowerment Advocate, Founder of THE TRIBE™, CEO of RCGD Global (home of Red Carpet Green Dress at the Oscars), speaker, presenter, producer, writer and coining the phrase “eco-ghosters” are just some of the few titles that we’re able to add to Samata’s curriculum vitae, but at the core of who she is and what she’s most proud of is her British – Ghanaian roots. VENÜ meets up with Samata to discuss fashion metrics, redefining the future of sustainability, changing the landscape of fashion design, her passion NFT project, and her inherent mission. VENÜ: What attracted you to fashion? SAMATA: As I prefer to say, clothing connects us all because we all wear clothes every day - it’s an act we all participate in and is unifying. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places clothing firmly on the essentials list when it comes to “universal human needs.” Clothing provides dignity, warmth, protection - and, for those able to see it, a way to express identity and communicate. Using fashion as a visual communicator has always fascinated me. My passion is connecting those dots for people about fashion’s role in sustainability and cultural context. VENÜ: How did your passion project begin? SAMATA: I have always believed that creativity is a master solution holder; if you think about it, we must design ways to extract ourselves from the climate crisis, waste colonialism, exploitative business structures and damaging stereotypes. This requires a deep level of creativity to frame critical topics in conscious



STYLE: Fashion

and appealing ways. See climate change as a

day, an immense amount of data gets gener-

the people. We have seen human suffering

Future scope - Imagine living in a world where

ated (2.5 exabytes), which seamlessly buries

within the fashion industry for some time,

we are battling sweltering heat, intense food

us with information, and adding a virtual

and when COVID hit, the consequences of

availability, and mass immigration swings.

element to it can become numbing. The

our actions became elevated. 72% of buyers

How do we live in that world? That question

actual work begins with ethical and compas-

refused to pay for raw materials already

grounded me in the fact that cultural origin

sionate connectivity that engages others to

ordered and produced and paid for by the

stories are significant to me. It inspired me to

care about sustaining the planet and global

factories, 91% refused to pay for the making

ideate a character that learns about herself

communities, especially as we are crafting

of the orders they had committed to, and

and her role in building a more sustainable

other worlds around us that push real people

98.1% repudiated, contributing to the cost of

future through traditional symbols.

further and further out of sight.

paying partial wages to furloughed workers that the law requires. Progress can’t purely

“My project is a story and series of NFTs to spotlight cultural sustainability through the lens of a creative West African diaspora young woman returning to her parents’ country to find her place in the world.”

VENÜ: How are you measuring progress?

focus on reducing the carbon footprint and

SAMATA: In the realm of sustainability within

ignore that workers aren’t being paid and

the fashion world, I think we have the tangible

their fundamental rights to organize and

and the intangible metrics that are almost

protect their livelihoods are being stripped

more important. The tangible ones are not as

away. There’s much work to be done to

challenging to measure, like resource reduc-

balance things out.

I am priming meaning into the body of work that continues a dialogue about the interconnection between past and present worlds we live in that are never out of reach and far from our minds. My passion has always been to

tion, lower emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable energy resources. Preservation

VENÜ: In your opinion, what are the most sig-

of culture, rights of ownership of indigenous

nificant ways to create social sustainability?

knowledge, and perceptions of exploitation

SAMATA: It will constantly shift from mindset

are more challenging metrics to come by but

to perception. If you cannot help people

are immensely important.

see things differently, any change will never

With RCGD Global and Red Carpet Green

be lasting; it will always be performative.

Dress, we are working on an exciting project on social indicators that showcases the

VENÜ: What does human luxury represent

need to deliver metrics for the planet and

to you?

bridge the gap and help people see that they have always been part of this conversation. Sustainability is a concept that encompasses not just environment and social issues but also focuses on culture and knowledge as being crucial. My ethos is storytelling matters - a visual gateway to shifting attitudes within the industry to speak about solutions that restore biodiversity and create purpose and positive impact, for people and the planet. VENÜ: In your opinion, what is the most crucial sustainability challenge we will face in virtual reality? SAMATA: Ensuring that an engaged community of global citizens can remain connected with the living, breathing world we currently reside in. There’s already a disconnect with reality within our society where we have become desensitized by digitization. Every

Kaitlyn Dever, Samata, Léa Seydoux, Elena Andreicheva



STYLE: Fashion







disconnect between fashion and our natural surroundings? SAMATA: I think there is initially this notion that fashion has nothing to do with the sustainability conversation, but that could not be more inaccurate. We are essentially living in the Anthropocene, a man-driven era of unprecedented change, where humans are overusing the Earth’s biocapacity, the regenerative ability of our planet’s ecosystems by over 50%. This is like living off 1.5 Earths. So, what role does fashion play in that? There’s a shortfall in understanding when it comes to apparel and textiles. We don’t preserved and cared for, something savored and appreciated as a treat. It isn’t limited to a specific group within society, even if that SAMATA: Luxury, to me, is always free of exploitation, as something cannot be refined and exquisite if it’s been created by the process of suppressive profiteering. I know there’s a saying that pleasure is pain or that pressure makes diamonds, but the stress of pouring a significant level of skill and expertise into something does not equate to suffering. Luxury is not purely limited to an expensive item too - it’s something

is a common perception! For me, luxury is 100% being redefined right now; it almost has moved away from old access and opulence to a new design that is efficient, highly evolved, and considered from conception through to the disposal and discards of a garment. We’re talking about quality and longevity, the opposite of something thrown away, but we’re also talking about the need for affluence to rewrite and tell a powerful story to justify its higher existence. “Fashion, as a word, invokes a feeling of exclusion, hostility and inaccessibility.” The other flip side of this question is that sustainable fashion from many different lenses is fashion that includes black creators and designers. The question then becomes, can black creators be part of the luxury conversation, and the answer for me is, of course. One of the most limited points of view is that luxury is only a conversation for a white audience or that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities are not involved in luxury. There are so many luxury BIPOC brands that should be getting our support.



connect our clothes with fields, farms, or forests, but that’s where our cotton, leather, and viscose come from. Even our synthetics like polyester are made from nonrenewable resources like oil. All the processes to make our clothes - extracting raw fibers, making materials, cutting and sewing garments, and shipping them, down to us wearing them all impact the planet and the people. By 2030 the global clothing and textile industry is expected to use 50% more water and produce 62% more waste than in 2015. The repercussions of mass clothing production and consumption have approximately doubled in the last fifteen years. VENÜ: There’s practical evidence supporting the positive impacts of the human-nature connection and the research on biophilic and regenerative design. How do we apply this vision to creating ecological harmony and a thriving circular economy? SAMATA: Nature has always provided the blueprint for a regenerative design model. Our arrogance is that we let our ignorance surpass our humanity as a species by not recognizing that we have to reciprocate what we borrow from nature. Biomimicry would have taught us that nothing in nature is wasted - it is restored, regenerated, or that nature is the

mother of cradle to cradle. We are late to acknowledge the power of biobased materials - biodegradable packaging is simply an orange peel or shell to nature. As the saying goes, living systems have had 3.8 billion years of R&D, and as humans, we are latecomers but Anthropocene-makers. On the circular economy point, if we aren’t discussing reducing production, there is no circularity; it is being used as an excuse for secondary revenue streams, so we can create harmony by coupling the tangible things people do with candid dialogue. For example, with clothing, we know that by extending the use of second-hand pieces, we can reduce our water and waste consumption in 9 months and eradicate our carbon footprint by 30%. VENÜ: As we’re entering the virtual space, there is a much deeper need to ingrain healthier practices in the cycle of consumerism where protecting proprietary assets and data of consumers is an absolute necessity. How are you emoting this shift for responsible consumption and connectivity?

Tyrese Gibson, Samata, James Cameron, Harold Weghorst

SAMATA: I firmly believe that we must divest in growth and invest in supply chain prosperity and decouple economic growth from natural resource extraction and waste creation, directly impacting biodiversity by choking soil and rivers and erasing habitats. It’s in these moments Samata, Zoe Saldaña, Suzy Cameron

that we have to remember that GDP is not the

Sankofa is a Ghanaian Akansha African

only measurement of progress - we need to

symbol system, one of eight that Africans

discuss the maintenance of culture, quality of

used to communicate with one another. “Look

the environment, equitable distribution of reve-

to the past to enlighten the future,” it means.

nue across the value cycle, and representation

Sankofa is a bird that looks to be flying for-

of indigenous cultures and people of color in

ward while looking back. It implies that the

critical positions of impact. My passion has

past is incorporated into the future. Go back

always been driven by these tenets.

and get it. A symbol of the wisdom of learning from the past to build for the future. From the

VENÜ: What is your favorite piece of clothing

Akan proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosan kofa a

and why?

yenkyiri,” meaning, “It is not taboo to go back

SAMATA: My bag from Accra, with the

for what you forgot (or left behind).” ☐

Sankofa symbol on it. For my projects and my work, that message matters. I even had that

“Your own lens on sustainability is crucial if

symbol embroidered onto my gown for the

you want to have a meaningful relationship

Oscars this year! As a British-born Ghanaian

with it.” – Samata

on a journey of self-discovery, this proverb felt like the perfect symbol to spotlight,

which means “return and get it,” an emblem

of the importance of learning from the past.




“Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy”

时装幻想 Through exquisite craftsmanship, lavish embroidery, and unconventional dressmaking techniques, designer Guo Pei creates a Couture Fantasy that fuses the influences of China’s imperial past with export art, the grandeur of European court life, architecture, and the botanical world.

Guo Pei: Runway - Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Spring Summer 2018 Photography by Peter White




he Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the “Museums”) celebrate Guo Pei’s extraordinary designs in the first comprehensive exhibition of her groundbreaking work. Including more than 80 ensembles from the past two decades, the exhibit highlights the designer’s most influential fashion collections shown on Beijing and Paris runways, along with many designs that have never been shown to the public before now and exclusively presented at the Legion of Honor, transforming the museum into a palace of couture. “Drawing inspiration from European and Chinese artistic traditions, Guo Pei’s creations blur the boundaries between art and fashion. Displayed in a neoclassical architectural context at the Legion Honor, amidst our collection of European art, Pei’s designs encourage our visitors to consider the rich historical ties between China and the West,” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: “San Francisco, with our position on the Pacific Rim and our significant Chinese heritage, is a natural location to premiere the first major museum exhibition on Guo Pei’s work and we are delighted to present her exquisite designs to US audiences.” In the early twenty-first century, China emerged as a leader in the fashion world.

The exhibition explores the career of Guo Pei—hailed as China’s first couturier—within this context. Couture Fantasy is presented as part of the Museums’ Costume and Textile arts global exhibition program, highlighting extraordinary artists and movements that have changed the course of fashion history. Artist and designer Guo Pei shares: “As a creator and artist, there is no greater honor or privilege than to share my creativity with a wider audience. I am therefore honored and humbled that the prestigious Legion of Honor Museum is presenting a retrospective of my work. In doing so, I hope that it brings greater awareness and understanding of my life’s passion, conveys Chinese culture and traditions, and shows the new face of contemporary China.” The opening Gallery, Rosekrans Court provides a dramatic backdrop for an exploration of the interplay between theater and costume design in Chinese fashion. Shown on the runway as a play, An Amazing Journey in a Childhood Dream (2008) was created when Guo was pregnant with her second child. For this collection, she envisioned her daughter’s dolls coming to life. These playful designs reveal an overlay of influences that define Guo’s artistic vision. The tightly pleated dresses made from origami-like folds reference Guo’s childhood and the toys she made and played with during the Cultural

Installation view of Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 2022. Photography by Drew Altizer.



Revolution. The pastel color palette derives from eighteenth-century French drawings; the separates embroidered with raised metallic thread were inspired by matador costumes worn by Spanish bullfighters. “For Guo Pei, each collection starts with a philosophical idea—a spark of inspiration—drawn from a wide range of sources from her personal life and travels, as well as art and architecture, literature, and nature. Layers of meaning and imagery form a bricolage of opulent surfaces imposed upon sculptural silhouettes,” explains Jill D’Alessandro, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts. Floral motifs, associated with traditional notions of femininity, have a long history in Chinese decorative arts and textiles and frequently appear in Guo Pei’s designs. This Gallery focuses on the botanical world through two collections: Garden of Soul (2015) and Elysium (2018). Guo Pei cites the Chinese saying, “There is a kingdom in a flower; wisdom in a leaf,” as the inspiration for Garden of Soul. She further explains, “I always find the power of nature fascinating, especially when the flowers are blossoming,” and she draws comparisons between the human soul and gardens and their mutual need to be nurtured. In Elysium, Guo Pei continued to explore botanical life, looking not at the flower petals but the root structures. “Roots are the source of life and vitality; without roots, there’s no life,” she explains. The designer employed skilled bamboo-basket weavers to create the voluminous silhouettes with intricate embroidered detailing that form part of this collection. The following Gallery is dedicated to the skilled artisans who work in Guo Pei’s atelier. Visitors will get a unique insight into the designer’s adaptation

An Amazing Journey in a Childhood Dream (2008), Copyright © Guo Pei / Asian Couture Federation. Photography by Lian Xu.




“Guo Pei’s fashion design is inspirational for my architecture; I'd love to collaborate with her.” EDWIN CHAN

L’Architecture (Fall/Winter 2018–2019), Copyright © Guo Pei / Asian Couture Federation. Photography by Lian Xu.




of traditional techniques and the time-consuming craft of creating couture in a display of “long pau,” or “dragon robes,” juxtaposed with three ensembles from Guo Pei’s Legend of the Dragon collection (2012), current works in progress, and a video of Guo Pei’s atelier. Exhibiting in Paris and traveling in Europe have profoundly impacted Guo Pei’s work. The next Gallery presents Guo Pei’s exploration of architectural elements in two collections called Legends and L’Architecture. Guo Pei’s second couture collection presented in Paris, Legends (Spring 2017), was inspired by a visit to the Abbey of St Gall in Switzerland. She commissioned a fabric woven of gold metal fiber and silk thread for this collection, printed with images from the cathedral’s arched domes. Guo Pei staged her runway presentation for L’Architecture (Fall/Winter 2018–2019 Paris Haute Couture Week), at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. The museum’s extensive collections of Romanesque, Gothic, and Neoclassical molds served

as the inspiration for the collection. In Guo Pei’s hands, flying buttresses were translated into wide panniers of translucent silk with a stated intention to evoke architecture’s “beauty of strength” and foster “a dialogue between the human body and spatial dimension.” China’s imperial past and the country’s vast cultural history were the focus of the collection East Palace (2019). For this runway show, presented at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Guo Pei created a rendition of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City. Inspired by Qing Dynasty court dress, Guo presented an overview of traditional Chinese dress and Chinese design elements, with elaborate three-dimensional pale gold embroidery of imperial dragons, birds, and flowers. The penultimate Gallery presents Guo Pei’s most recent collection, Himalaya (Spring/Summer 2020 Haute Couture). In its creation, Guo Pei was drawn to the Himalaya’s Mountain range—as a holy place, the residence of the gods, and a sacred temple of the soul and other Asian cultures. She used her personal collection of rare obi belts from Japan, which she and her team transformed by turning them inside out and reassembling them to show the time and labor of the skilled weavers who created these exquisite textiles. Guo Pei states, “Haute couture is not made for commercial gain, but more for a kind of inner quest,

Installation view of Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 2022. Photography by Drew Altizer.




a satisfaction of our spiritual being.” The fantastical collection Alternate Universe (2019–2020) serves as the exhibition finale. Inspired by the ideas of an afterlife and reincarnation, Guo Pei expresses, “Since death is inevitable, I prefer to imagine it as a dream, an alternate universe parallel to this world, where everything returns to its original state of true pureness and beauty. It is the start of a mysterious journey.” The ensembles presented symbolize light and darkness coexisting, angels and demons next to one another, and magical creatures creeping out of the shadows. Her signature three-dimensional embroidery techniques conjure up the animal and insect motifs, from the monkeys of Aesop’s Fables to the snake that lured Eve to steal the forbidden fruit. 60


Alternate Universe, Fall-Winter 2019-2020. Photography by Lian Xu Opposite page, bottom: Legend of the Dragon, Autumn/Winter 2012, Copyright © Guo Pei / Asian Couture Federation..

The museum’s permanent collection of European painting and decorative arts

(Lifecycle) collection (2006) takes center stage

are presented in a suite of galleries designed in the neoclassical style on the Legion

among works of French and Italian Baroque and

of Honor’s main floor. As a metaphor for the intercontinental world in which we

Rococo art. Gowns from the Legends collection,

live, opulent and intricate designs by Guo Pei are displayed in these galleries. The

inspired by the Abbey of St Gall in Switzerland, are

dialogues were created to highlight the sculptural nature and the historical and

among the saint icons and Madonna figures that

iconographical references made by the designer in her creations.

populate the medieval gallery. Several pieces from

Examples include the “Phoenix” gown from the designer’s Legend of the

the Encounter and Courtyard collections (both 2016)

Dragon collection (2012), presented as the guest of honor in the museum’s popular

are interspersed in the French and British painting and

grand gilded historical French reception room, the “Salon Doré. The majestic

Decorative Arts galleries, highlighting the transcultural

gold embroidered “Da Jin” (“Magnificent Gold”) ensemble from the Samsara

resonance of Guo Pei’s designs. A gallery is dedicated CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


Couture Fantasy, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 2022. Photography by Drew Altizer.

to a special presentation that juxtaposes objects from the Museums’ collections of Chinese export art and European chinoiserie—including a tapestry, vases, and a tea set—with Guo Pei’s “Porcelain” dress from the One Thousand and the Two Nights (2010) collection. As China’s most renowned couturier, Guo Pei has dressed celebrities, royalty, and the political elite. Born in 1967, she started sewing at a very young age and quickly developed a passion for dressmaking. In 1986, 62



she graduated at the top of her class from the Beijing

resonate with meaning. Inspired by fairy tales, legends, and even military history,

Second Light Industry School, and she spent the next

every creation tells a story and is a canvas for artistic expression, bringing beauty,

ten years designing for major manufacturers.

romance, and the designer’s imagination to life. They tell the stories that paintings

In 1997 she launched her own label and atelier, Rose Studio. Today she employs nearly five hundred skilled

and embroidery have conveyed throughout the centuries. As Guo Pei says so eloquently, “I am a product of changing China.”

artisans dedicated to producing her stunning creations,

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy is curated by Jill D’Alessandro, Curator in Charge

some of which can take thousands of hours and up to

of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in close

two years to complete.

collaboration with Guo Pei will be on display until September 5, 2022. ☐

After Rihanna chose to wear one of Pei’s showstopping pieces to the Met Gala, it created a defining | |

moment in her career and inaugurated the museum’s “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibition, in which Guo’s works were shown. In July 2015, she held her first solo exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris; she followed that with a sold-out collaborative makeup collection with MAC. Later that year, Guo was honored to become an invited member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the chief governing body of the high-fashion industry, allowing her to show on the Paris Haute Couture Week calendar. She made her Paris haute-couture debut in January 2016, unveiling her Courtyard collection to wide critical acclaim. In the same year, she was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and one of the Business of Fashion’s BoF 500 most influential people shaping the global fashion industry. Guo Pei has breathed new life into embroidery and painting traditions that date back thousands of years, a modern messenger of her cultural heritage. Showcasing the finest of traditional Chinese craftsmanship while incorporating contemporary innovation and Western-style, Guo Pei is a passionate artisan who wants to evoke emotions and inspire people through her art.

BuYun Chen, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at Swarthmore College and currently fellow at Stanford Humanities Center, and Rachel Silberstein, Lecturer in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, serve as advising scholars on the exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with significant support from the Asian Couture Federation.

In the world of Guo Pei, fabric, shape, and texture

All Images provided courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Elysium collection, 2018, Copyright © Guo Pei / Asian Couture Federation. Photography by Lian Xu.












It may not surprise you to learn, after seeing his work, that Raúl Cordero grew up in Cuba. After all, Cuba is fertile ground for passionate souls, a storied Caribbean island where the irrepressible spirit of its people defines a culture steeped in riches of the heart. There, life is literally paved with living color. There’s dancing in the streets, music in the air and art in every incarnation – and spellbinding incantation. While its all-encompassing nationalized educational system has merited distinction for decades, it’s also a land of constraints and contradictions, with censured narratives that seek to channel creativity into controlled communications blessed by the Cuban government. As a young boy, Raúl didn’t know much about that. He spent his days in school, taking art classes that fueled his imagination and remarkable talent, setting the course for a future that his parents, long-time government employees, did not support. They had very definite ideas for their son’s career, confidently assuming he would follow in their conforming footsteps. Raúl had something different in mind. And while he didn’t know what that might look like, he knew he wasn’t liking what he saw. “My parents tried to prevent me from going to art school after I graduated from high school. But I managed to do it on my own. At some point, I won a scholarship to study painting in Holland that was funded by the Dutch government,” he explained. “We took field trips to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, renowned for its world-class collection of art by the Old Dutch Masters. I learned all I could about the Flemish technique.” You don’t have to pay for art school in Cuba, but your career prospects tend to be limited to an in-country job. When Raúl was given the opportunity to study in Europe, he never looked back, spending seven years in the Netherlands mastering his own craft. He studied oil painting in Poland for several years, too, improving and refining his skills in the medium he specialized in for thirty years before getting sick and starting his art anew – with acrylic. Turns out he is highly allergic to oil-based paints. For him, working with them could be deadly. “The difference in painting with oil and painting with acrylics is like racing a Ferrari 66


Times Square, NYC exhibition, THE POEM

“As an artist you don’t have to be in the grind of everyday life. If society gives you that possibility, you better make good use of it. These days, the most luxurious life you can have is being able to have a contemplative kind of life so you can study and understand things like philosophy and literature. I basically observe the world that surrounds me. My way to understand the world and the things that are happening is through the kind of poetry I do in my art,” he said. HEAVEN IS A PLACE IN THE MIND II 2021. Acrylic, polyester and metallic pigments on canvas. 210 x 165 cm / 82.7 x 65 inches

Born in 1971 before the Internet took hold of the world, Raúl defines his life from two opposing realities, spending half of it without the technologies of today, and

and a bicycle. With oil you can do subliminal more. Acrylic is like a joke for people who know how to paint,” he lamented, explaining that he learned how to use an airbrush to replicate some of the complexities he enjoyed creating with oils.

the rest of his life with it. “I believe the Internet is the biggest change that has happened to the world since I have been alive. It totally

Now based in Mexico City after spending 27 years in Brooklyn, New York, Raúl

changed everything. So now I have the possibility of

is expressing his passion in art renowned for the big statements he makes, working

seeing and realizing things differently, from the way we

on up to five paintings at once, each speaking volumes about life today. True to his

communicate to where and how we live to the way we

artistic calling, he is a keen observer, watching the comings and goings around him

view things from the whole philosophical aspect. That’s

with unbridled interest, studying the sights and passers-by, not with a critical eye, but

what I analyze all the time in my work and that’s what I

a painterly one.

give back to the world in the form of beauty – and poetry.” CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



changing them to make outlines of drawings or mark points of emphasis on the composition of his paintings, before making words of them again. Sometimes he substitutes the dots for light bulbs, illuminating his work with a new reality that plays out in many of his REALITY IS THE NEW SPAM (III) 2021. Acrylic on canvas. 90 x 90 cm / 35.4 x 35.4 inches

exhibitions today. What he is was trying to do with those dots when he first starting painting them into his work is key to understanding his mission today. “I was mostly trying to create a way to write text that

Raúl went on to explain how we

is not so easy to understand or read at first glimpse.

lost our intimacy with life when the

Some people mistake it for braille when they first see

Internet was introduced. I couldn’t

it, but then they discover that the dots resemble con-

help but compare that thought with

ventional characters. Before they realize it, they have

his life in Cuba where his painted

spent a few minutes trying to figure it all out. And in

opinions would be censored and

those moments, they have started to breathe, relax and

his personal views replaced with

unwind and they want to read more,” he says. “Today,

impersonal regulations by the local

when people visit art shows, they may be looking at one

government. The Internet has also

piece of art, but they are thinking about what’s coming

taken away those intimate one-on-

next. They don’t spend the time focusing on what is in

one possibilities, replacing them with

front of them in the moment.”

public connections that speed-date

And that’s the point. Raúl’s art gives people a reason

through the “getting to know you”

to focus, to immerse in its beauty and messaging with a

process rather than stopping to connect with what or who they see. His work, however, changes that in an instant, compelling people to

REALITY IS THE NEW SPAM (VI) 2022. Acrylic on canvas 130 x 100.5 cm / 51.2 x 39.6 inches

stop, look and block out the distractions of the world to experience a very real moment in time. Part of the lure is his visual invitation for viewers to literally connect the dots in his paintings. His dots are his alphabet, a pictorial representation of the fact that everything in this world is made out of particles. He created them many years ago to make words,



renewed sense of wonder and wisdom. To underscore his point, he shared an observation of first-time visitors to the Empire State building. “Tourists stand in front of this very historic building yet they don’t actually look at it. Instead, they are looking at it through their phones, reading information about it or taking a photo of it to post on Instagram. We’ve created a new world of digital reproductions and people




are spending more time with a headset, seeing things in virtual reality and not in actuality. We are turning to and relying on digital descriptions of the world, which is how we are achieving things in the real world today.” To offset the disconnects from an increasingly isolating world and simultaneously invite people to reconnect someplace real, Raúl chooses to accentuate the positive in his paintings. “It is very easy to point out problems and make art that is about the bad things in life. I have always had the philosophy that there are equal amounts of positive and negative things happening all the time. It all depends on which side you want to pay attention to. If you want to live on a turbulent angry side you can choose to be a lawyer. If you want to live a more beautiful life, you might decide to deliver flowers

art, the red triangles, yellow squares and blue circles,

and have everyone greet you with a smile. I prefer to find the beauty in the world

found their way into every aspect of life, from cultural

and to enrich it through my art. There is no better contribution to the world than

icons to architecture and fashion. It influenced so much

what Picasso and the Cubists did, for example. Why? Because what they did with

and everything wanted to look like that. That is what art can really achieve.” Which is why Raúl is inspired to create beauty in his work, combining images with words to reward the viewer with a renewed sense of time and place. “The phrases are random thoughts I put into words and they become like verses on top of my paintings,” he explained. We see them as poetry of the heart that manifests into art so we asked Raúl which comes first: the image or the words. “Sometimes the words are first, sometimes it’s the image and sometimes both things come to me at the same time. Many times, I just want to paint something, whatever comes to my mind. I may hear something in a song or see something that catches my attention. It’s not a pre-fixed process,” he answered. Wherever and whenever inspiration hits, Raúl’s ideas come from whatever he is going through at the moment. Like everyone else, he is distracted by the sights and sounds that bombard him all the time, every day. But he not only paints with a dedicated focus that belies the

HEAVEN IS A PLACE IN THE MIND I (After C.S.) 2021. Acrylic, polyester and metallic pigments on canvas. 200 x 138 cm / 78.7 x 54.3 inches 70



Binnacle Paintings Untitled (It is Just A Matter Of Priorities...) 2020. Acrylic, polyester and metallic pigments on canvas. 190 x 320 cm / 74.8 x 126 inches CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



REALITY IS THE NEW SPAM (II) 2021. Acrylic on canvas. 80 x 100 cm / 31.5 x 39.4 inches

diverse, fast-paced-technologies that rule our attention, he puts it into play in his art.

with our work that includes days and days of changing

As with art in general, different people see different things in his work and because

something. Then when we think it is finished, the buyer

of that, his work is never really completed when someone buys it. “People who buy my work put their experience into it, enriching it with their own

brings it home and continues to find other things. It really becomes a different painting every day.”

vision. I am very glad when someone leaves with a painting I made because they

“Every single painting reminds me of what I lived

are going to see so many things in time in the same piece. Painting is something that

through when I was making it. My work today reflects

goes deep and then deeper. As artists, we go through this obsessive relationship

the realities we live with today, a mixture of the actual physical and the digital.” While you can find Raúl’s work hanging in the champagne-tier of art galleries, like Richard Taittinger Gallery at 154 Ludlow Street in New York City, visitors



ABOUT RAÚL CORDERO Known for his large-format blurry paintings with dotted texts and his endless investigation into the structure and language of an artwork, Raúl Cordero (Havana, 1971) has successfully merged figurative painting and text-based conceptual art throughout his career. Exhibiting in museums


and galleries around the world, while establishing a very personal universe that explores the visual manifestation of language and investigates the cognitive links between “looking at” and “reading” art. Cordero’s work can be seen in public collections around the world, including the Musée National D’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA), The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, in the United States of America; El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, in Cuba; The Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) in Gent, Belgium; El Centro Atlántico

and residents of Manhattan had the unique opportunity to take a time out in Times Square this spring and become part of Cordero’s showstopping exhibit, THE POEM, “an unexpected oasis – a 20-foot high tower covered in a cascade of mountain laurel that hosted an illuminated poem inside.” “I played with the architecture and the energy of Times Square to invite people inside to find respite from the non-stop hustle and bustle of their surroundings. It’s difficult to create meaningful art in an era with their attention is scattered across so many mediums and technologies simultaneously. THE POEM seeks to stop time, reminding us to listen to the ‘secret dialog of the trees’ and read a poem, even while standing in the center of Times Square.” If you think back to a popular childhood game, you may remember how excited,

de Arte Moderno (CAAM) and Museo

surprised and delighted you were when you “connected the dots” to reveal an artistic

Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte

vision that didn’t come into view until you took the time to closely interact with it. Such

Contemporáneo (MEIAC) in Spain;

is the beauty of Raúl Cordero’s art. Purposefully blurred to hint at the reality that lays

among many others. Cordero’s work

just inside and layered with dots that spell out a secret message, his paintings remind

is represented by Mai 36 Galerie in

us not to race through time to see what’s next but to revel in the magic of the moment

Zürich, Switzerland, Fredric Snitzer

because what it reveals is ultimately the greatest reward of all. ☐

Gallery in Miami, and Richard Taittinger Gallery in New York, U.S.A. | CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



Eye of creativity


Joelino Perspective







y way of history, Joelino Miller describes his early introduction to creativity as that of a dancing enthusiast and later on as a self-taught musician. While a graduate student in clinical psychology,

Joelino was introduced to the theory

and practice of clinical procedures, but not the artistry of the change process. Over the years, Miller became passionately involved

in exploring experiential techniques of gestalt therapy, movement therapy, Psychodrama, and group dynamics. Joelino also collected hundreds of diagnostic drawings from the psychiatric population, revealing patients’ inner thoughts, dreams, fears, and early trauma. “As a therapist, I learned that creativity and the

Previous page: SECOND CHANCE, 2021 Acrylic on Canvas, 20” x 24” Right: UNTITLED “The Roses” 2019. Acrylic on Canvas, 40" x 34" Bottom: CAPTIVITY, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 24" Opposite: BLUE, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 36"

artistry of the interactive process make a significant difference.” This, of course, involved active listening with “a third ear” to what is not being revealed by the patient. One of Miller’s early influences included psychoanalyst Rollo May who wrote about the interface between psychotherapy and abstract painting. The natural progression of Miller’s artistry grew from his life experiences and study of behavioral development. Joelino continues to speak further on the subject “All the above is similar to my own encounter of how I deal with an empty canvas.” In Miller’s mind, the similarities between abstract painting and psychotherapy are that both are problem-solving activities involving the expression of emotion and the inner release of tension.






Playing with various techniques that use mental imagery, dreams, and drawings, Joelino’s perspective on similarities between psychotherapy and abstract painting is about using different textures and materials that gesture how they speak to the observer. The human imagination looks towards form to make sense of an abstract painting; it’s the first awareness a viewer gets that seems to make sense of composition. The sightseer will only glimpse the picture until the form is identifiable, which is the observer’s way of encountering and relating to an abstract painting. When a picture is complete, it feels like you’re giving birth to a child, which is why I believe emerging artists, myself included, get attached to their completed canvases and many refer to them as their children.” Joelino wants the observer to draw upon their own conclusions that query, “What did the artist want to express? Was it conscious or unconscious? This question may mean more to you than it was intentionally conveyed by the artist.”

OBSERVATIONS of AN ARTIST VENÜ: When did you first pick up a paintbrush? JOELINO MILLER: I first started to paint in 2016 when I attended an abstract painting class in Delray Beach, Florida. I immediately got hooked on the art form challenge and enjoyed watching how other students approached their canvas. Over several years, I’ve attended many workshops and painted a few hundred compositions. VENÜ: Many artists find a genre and stick to it. What are your feelings on the ability to master so many types of expression? JM: My painting has evolved from my own freestyle, Jackson Pollock approach to a more structured element like making a map on the canvas. If I had no Top: GUESS WHO? 2018 Acrylic on Canvas, 16" x 20" Left: STOREY to STORY Acrylic on Canvas, 20" x 24"



image, no idea, I would put a lot of paint on the canvas to see where the eye would take me. Ultimately, this creates movement and direction. What I also noticed

about painting is that it’s very meditative. If I got stuck, I waited until the image spoke to me. At times, I would have to gestalt the painting by becoming the painting and letting the picture tell me what was needed. I’m really like a first-time painter who learns as they go along. VENÜ: What artists have influenced your work? JM: I like to experiment with a lot of different approaches. The two artists that come to mind are Joan Mitchell and Jackson Pollock. VENÜ: What do you find comforting about painting? Describe your journey. JM: The collaborative process is a lot of fun. I’ve become impassioned about the trial and error of experi-

Right: LOSS of INSIGHT 2019. Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 36" Bottom: ROOSTER 132 2018. Acrylic on Canvas 24" X 24"

mentation and discovery. I enjoy hanging out with other artists and sharing our work. I was invited with 20 other artists to participate in a mural event in Delray Beach, where one of my paintings that I produced was on display at Artist’s Alley. One of my larger paintings was displayed at an art gallery launch event. VENÜ: What in life drives you to create? Is it a moment that you try to encapsulate? JM: I’ve always been a creator in business. I was an early pioneer in the recovery industry. I see creativity in marketing and virtually everything. I’m drawn to endless learning. I enjoy looking at my early productions and my own evolution as a painter. VENÜ: Do you see art as a way to unify the world? JM: Primarily, I paint for myself. I think art should be a significant part of public education. It teaches students that there are no mistakes, only learning. You also get the opportunity in creating your own works of art. ☐ CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



Puerto Rico T H E





You may have heard the saying that good

than any other number of things, a winning

Ocean Club, where our story unfolded with

things come in threes. From fairy tales to

trifecta if you will. Take our recent Spring

Goldilocks-finesse and a fable fit for retelling.

Hollywood blockbusters and even hotel

fling in Puerto Rico, a three-night, three-hotel

It started, as memorable journeys do,

stays, the “rule of three” principle suggests

journey that inspired a trio of travel experi-

with a serendipitous conversation aboard a

that things that come in threes are inherently

ences at the Condado Collection’s La Concha

flight from New York City to the Caribbean

more humorous, satisfying and effective

Resort, Condado Vanderbilt and Condado

island commonwealth of Puerto Rico that



played out over and over again with the locals and ex-pats we met during our visit. Like the Puerto Rican flight attendant who shared her love for her homeland over coffee and cookies in the air and proudly exclaimed that she and her husband were building their dream retirement home on the island after working for decades in the United States. And the lovely Miss Rosa, a Latin from Manhattan, whose expertise in international luxury hospitality enriched our spa experience at the Condado Vanderbilt even before it began, her colleague Elena Rivela, massage therapist extraordinaire who studied abroad and brought back her skilled hands to the land she loves, and one of most amazing chefs we’ve ever had the pleasure to be delighted by, Juan José Cuevas, who triumphantly returned home to his native island with an accolade-studded, Michelin-starred culinary resume few chefs can match, and one that takes your dining experience at his 1919 restaurant to a level you couldn't have imagined before. What is it about Puerto Rico that not only lures its accomplished native sons and daughters “back to the farm after they’ve seen Paree,” borrowing a famous song lyric, but also entices travelers of all ages and interests from around the world? Its resiliency is one, with a historic legacy of rebounding and rebuilding, robustly I might add, after an unfair share of natural disasters that would have decimated a less spirited island. Memories of hurricanes bent on devastation, like the monster sister storms Irma and Maria whose unearthly gales a few short years ago were unprecedented, are just blowing in the wind




today. Zika, of the mosquito madness, seems to have flown the coop. A major 6.4 magnitude earthquake in early 2020, just before COVID shut down the island, only rattled residents here. In fact, Puerto Rico set a new tourism record in 2021 and its outlook for 2022 puts it at the top of travelers’ vacation lists. Its tropical beauty, a sun-washed melody of powder sand beaches, emerald rainforests, majestic land-locked mountains and aquamarine seascapes, is another. You can hike, bike, bask, swim and surf to your heart’s content, avoiding the crowds or embracing them with like-minded gusto in the eye-candy setting of your choosing. There’s history here too, lining the cobbled streets of Old San Juan, its walled forts and culturally rich museums, each paying lasting tribute to a self-governing US territory that experienced centuries of Spanish colonial rule before fighting for their hard-won independence. We loved all that, sampling a taste of all the treasures that are on offer here in our three-day getaway. But if there’s one thing that really pulled us in, it’s the common thread that connects all its charms, weaving an invisible web over all who happen upon this island gem, sharing a welcome zest for living that has proven irresistible to singles, families and thrill-seekers alike. The ever-present Latin spirit, an exuberant marathon of dance, music and all-encompassing joy, was out in full force at La Concha Resort, where we spent our first night in the Condado district of San Juan. We were welcomed with bracelets that gave us anytime access to all the guest amenities and activities available at the hotel, including



the in-lobby casino and palm-lined pools. We

told us, describing it as a cool alpine paradise

had drinks, island-themed and infused with

where nature never failed to stir his soul, but

local fruit, with our dinner of Puerto Rican

it was the city and this hotel, he explained,

fare overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, where

that make the good times roll for visitors

it was served by an attentive and amiable

and locals out on the town. After taking a

waiter who clearly loved his job – and his

spin through the casino, we retired to our

island home. He was from the mountains he

spacious seventh-floor suite and looked out

Our ocean suite took full advantage of the setting with windowed walls and twin terraces that rewarded us with panoramic views of a tropical paradise wherever we chose to look.

and reverie with a sink-in-soft queen size

services – and freshly prepared Passion Fruit

bed dressed in sumptuous 300 Thread

mojito - that ensured our serenity. It was also

count Rivolta Carmignani linen, along with

the staff, expertly trained and exceptionally

an Apple TV enhanced flat screen TV to

skilled, that turned our pampering treatments,

keep us connected to news from the outside

a sorely needed deep tissue massage and a

world should we wish to do so. We didn’t. A

pedicure, into a science of healing arts that

separate rain shower, soaking tub and cus-

worked miracles from head to toe.

tom-made dark wood dressing area added

What followed next was both expected and

to our in-room reverie, as did the chilled

almost obligatory given the chaises that were

bottle of champagne our butler knowingly

lined up on the hotel’s inviting ocean-facing

kept on ice for a late-night toast.

terrace and the Tequila and Marguerita

As you might expect for a Vander-

bars at the hotel’s two swimming pools that

bilt-inspired retreat, our visit to the hotel’s

bookended the property. Succumbing to the

world-class spa was pure bliss. It wasn’t

sound of the surf, the warmth of the sun and a

just the soothing ambiance, uber-thoughtful

parade of minted mojitos, we couldn’t believe

at the lights of San Juan blinking promises of nighttime fun, before nodding off to the beat of the pulsating music below and the fireworks that illuminated the sky above. One bed down, two to go. A great breakfast on the hotel’s seaside terrace fueled our excitement for our next overnight stay, a walk and a world away from La Concha Resort. The Condado Vanderbilt is a historic landmark that has reigned unequaled on the Condado beachfront since 1919. Built for and by the wealthy elite, it welcomed celebrities and heads of state with the understated elegance and impeccable service we indulged in during our stay. Our ocean suite took full advantage of the setting with windowed walls and twin terraces that rewarded us with panoramic views of a tropical paradise wherever we chose to look. Inside comfort ruled. We enjoyed a spacious living room and dining area, complete with a wide screen smart TV that could not compete with the views, and a Sub Zero refrigerator, ice maker and wet bar that spoke volumes about the priorities guests relish here. Our balconied bedroom was tucked away to ensure both our privacy CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


SPOTLIGHT: Seakeepers


how the afternoon, postcard-perfect, literally

devoured a deceivingly simple salad of green

there in years past. The chef’s spoon-tender

flew by!

and white asparagus, arugula, parmesan and

Wagyu beef wowed us into speechlessness.

Dinner at Condado Vanderbilt’s signature

prosciutto that was simply delicious with an

Our cheese chaser, our 8th plate of the

1919 restaurant topped off the day with an

aromatic young French wine equally so. More

night, tricked us into eating more than we

over-the-top chef’s choice dining experience

good things came in threes as we dove into a

ever thought we could manage, thanks to a

uniquely designed for the privileged few. Of

dish plating a baby clam, a succulent scallop

deceptively sugared serving of arepa, even

course, how often do you have the opportu-

and a lone mussel on a bed of kashimiri rice

before we scooped up our coconut gelato,

nity to dine with a passionate Michelin-starred

superbly sauced; a melt-in-your-mouth Mahi

fittingly finished with glittering flakes of gold

chef who personally prepares a globally

fillet finessed with flavor and grains; and hand-

and nestled atop a decadent marriage made

inspired, locally sourced 9-course farm-to-ta-

crafted, house-made cavatelli pasta, topped

in heaven with chocolate nibs and quinoa.

ble feast that defies convention or comparison

with a lamb ragout and kissed with chopped

More wines, from the sublime to the sweet,

anywhere? That it was served by a dedicated

shishito peppers that kicked it up to a new

followed as the evening’s light and simple

culinary team mentored by the best in the

notch we never experienced before. Different

servings slowly geared up to more complex

business and enhanced by wines, sommeli-

wines were professionally paired and poured

combinations, “from barely touched to sub-

er-selected, to toast every taste was icing on

with every course, highlighting a bevy of

stantially enhanced in flavor,” as described by

the proverbial cake, from our starter soup to

wines, reds, whites and roses from Europe’s

the chef himself.

our last bite of dessert. During the course of

finest wine-producing regions, including a

Meeting Chef Cuevas in-between courses

the evening, we savored a trio of crudo del-

delectable Douro and a velvet Bourgogne

was among our most favorite treats of the

icacies delicately spooned and served with

from a private vineyard in Rully, France, that

night as he is as down to earth as the artisanal

the smoothest sake we’ve ever sipped. We

has remained a personal favorite since my visit

ingredients he favors for his food. Devoted


and seasonal cooking. In bringing these prac-

Club's terraced eatery, aptly named Social for

tices back home and using them to create

the connections it inspires. True to our expe-

sophisticated dishes that speak to Puerto

riences at our first two Condado Collection

Rico’s culture, he is introducing a new kind

properties, we were transported by the service,

of tourism here. So while others flock to the

the scene and the suggestions that made our

casino with wishes of fortune on their minds,

subsequent meal choices, Oranged Cauliflower

we hit the jackpot at 1919, before making our

Popcorn, Chilean Sea Bass, Grilled Pork Chop,

way to bed #2, dreams of sugared plums

Barrilito Bread Pudding, and Gianduja Mousse

dancing in our heads.

Cake, Puerto Rican-styled, chef-conceived and

A little further down the beach lay our next

outstanding in every way. A special shout out

bed at the adults-only Condado Ocean Club.

to our hosts, including the hotel’s wonderful

Our room was beach cottage themed and

food and beverage director, an ex-pat excited

trimmed with muted sand and aqua touches

to live and work in Puerto Rico, and our amaz-

to present an authentic sense of place. Our

ing server whose background in the culinary

balcony overlooked the hotel’s dating pool, a

industry includes owning his own farm-fresh

watering hole designed for winks and drinks,

restaurant in a verdant valley town mid-island

with DJ’d music primed for dancing in the day

and magical. Regrettably, a break-of-dawn

and in the dark. Wanting to make the most of

wake-up call for an early morning flight sent

our island time, we ventured out on an easy

us up to bed, now numbering three, for our last

4-mile walk to Old San Juan, standing still in

night away from home.

time as enduring testimony to its colonial past

Which begs the question. Could the very

and culturally colorful roots. After a quick stop

discerning Goldilocks find a bed that “was

at the island’s oldest restaurant for a traditional

just right” in Puerto Rico? Truth be told, she

plaintain-based mofongo, we ubered back to

would find three of them at three very different

our resort in time for our dinner date at the

Condado Collection hotels. ☐

to sustainability, organically focused farming and close relationships cultivated with family farms, he is gifted with grace, goodness and a generosity of heart, characteristics not surprisingly shared with the Michelin-starred gourmet cuisine he so carefully cultivates. Not to mention that he patiently listened to our queries and compliments, giving us his time and undivided attention even when a dining room full of guests waited expectantly for his genius to appear on their plates. Heading up culinary operations for all of the Condado restaurants in Puerto Rico after garnering international acclaim as one of the world’s best contemporary chefs, Juan José Cuevas trained at world-renowned restaurants, including Akelarre in San Sebastian, El Raco in Barcelona, Noma in Denmark, and Blue Hill Restaurant in New York City, where he learned firsthand about organic farming, sustainability, CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE








ith a $2 million price-tag, four-figure horsepower and shattering performance record that enables it to rev up to 253 MPH, the Czinger hypercar is going somewhere cars have never gone before. Designed in collaboration with an exacting partnership between AI technology and its human counterparts, the new Czinger 21C is revolutionizing the car of the future in ways that will not only turn heads, but will turn the auto manufacturing industry on its head. Czinger Vehicles is an industry-disrupting performance vehicles brand pioneering a new era in the automotive space by fundamentally changing the way cars will be designed and manufactured for generations to come. Built around a core ethos of utilizing revolutionary, proprietary technology to create vehicles equipped with both dominating performance and iconic design, Czinger’s first production car, the 21C, represents a radical transformation of the manufacturing sector and the future of human-AI design and sustainable systems. Established in 2019, Czinger is named after Founder and CEO Kevin Czinger, who recognized that the current methods of manufacturing cars were not only extremely outdated, but also harmful to the environment. He knew there had to be better way, but the technologies didn’t yet exist – they had to be created. Together with his team of forward-thinking Los Angeles-based designers and engineers at parent company, Divergent3D, Czinger developed and patented a production system combining automated design and optimization software, state of the art additive manufacturing driven processes (3D printing technology), automated assembly and innovative in-house performance materials. The 21C is the first



vehicle born from this revolutionary system. While with typical manufacturing methods, design is confined to what is cost effective and feasible to produce, Czinger’s proprietary additive manufacturing methods allow the brand to break these constraints and create designs limited only by the imagination. As a result, Czinger’s complex structures appear organic, more akin to the musculoskeletal system of the human body than the sharp edges of the typical assembly line automobile. Each component of the 21C is designed for its ultimate purpose from materials made specifically for that purpose. Parts achieve significant mass savings while exceeding

all performance requirements and can be re-atomized and reprinted laying the foundation for circular material flow. It’s a sustainable production system that is in harmony with nature and built to endure over time. In short, the 21C hypercar is currently the only vehicle on the planet being designed and built using Czinger’s progressive technological advancements. Each component manufactured is computationally engineered using AI, optimized for weight and performance and finished by hand. Inspired by the power of the SR-71 Blackbird and gleaning its incredibly aerodynamic shape from this fighter jet, the 21C seats two, with the passenger behind the driver. The lightweight carbon fiber, aluminum and titanium body weighs just 1,250 kg, allowing the vehicle to go 0-60 mph in just 1.9 seconds. The 21C’s engine is an in-house designed, twin turbo V8 within a strong

hybrid configuration. As a result, in October 2021, it bested the previous production track record set by a McLaren P1 at Americas F1 track, COTA, by more than six-seconds, further demonstrating the brand’s commitment to performance. First deliveries of the 21C are set for 2023 and production is limited to 80 cars. The model represents just the first in a diverse series of exclusive performance vehicles coming from the informed imagination of the Czinger team and created using its groundbreaking methods. Following in the footsteps of the great American automakers who came before them, Czinger’s objective is to create one of the great, enduring brands of this century and to continuously deliver pathbreaking performance vehicles that express the cutting edge of the human mind. ☐



Take Me There Rebuild your spirit, reclaim your wellbeing at these leading wellness retreats… BY JUDY CHAPMAN


hile most of the world has been laying low over the last two years., the folks behind the scenes at the world’s leading wellness retreats have been evolving and expanding their programs to new levels, and they are ready for us! Let’s face it. It’s been a difficult time and it can be complex to truly understand and grasp the reality of how things have changed. Which is why it’s essential to 90


take regular time out to cultivate inner strength, clarity, and balance in this shifting landscape. Wellness retreats around the world have stepped up for the challenge and are ready to help humanity heal. Along with evidence-based detox retreats to target inflammation and post-viral fatigue, many have also introduced high-vibrational energy healing work to help people

create a sense of optimism, self-love, and a robust and enlivened spirit. The beauty of a wellness retreat is that we not only get to explore and experience new landscapes and cultures, but we’re bound to return home feeling much healthier than when we arrived. Feeling inspired? Here are several retreats to consider for your next getaway. Let the healing begin…


holistic therapies. For a deeper detox, try one of the Yäan cleanses facilitated by a team of practitioners, yogis and nutritionists. These consist of ozone therapy, colon therapy, juice detox and fasting as well as unique purifying ceremonies and treatments. Standout experiences include the Temazcal Mexican sweat lodge and a healing water circuit with hot and cold massage pools fed by natural spring water purified through a complex osmosis system and ultraviolet beams of light resulting in magical liquid water therapy! Yäan is very much an energy healing destination, a place to clean our body so that we can live in a high vibrational state of being. Depart reborn.

Let nature heal you at The Well at Hacienda AltaGracia in Costa Rica

Amangiri, USA - Fitness Centre

Elevate your spiritual side at Yäan Healing Sanctuary in Mexico

When you feel the need to purify your being at a spiritual level then Yäan Healing Sanctuary is one of Tulum’s hippest health destinations. Stay in luxury eco-cabins and explore a menu of ancient Mayan rituals, indigenous and

Nature is your healer at this luxury holistic retreat set on 180 acres of lush rainforest at the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains in Costa Rica. The concept of this destination is to disconnect to reconnect. Check into one of Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection’s 50 ‘Casitas’ designed using natural and local materials and immerse in an array of nature nurture adventures. Longevity and wellness retreats are hosted by world-renowned thought leaders with bespoke evergreen programs crafted with the individual’s needs and goals in mind. Wellness treatments range from signature therapies incorporating local rituals, lunar gong baths and craniosacral facials, to Celluma light therapy, lymph boots and infrared saunas for recovery. Other experiences to rebuild and expand your spirit include guided hikes, tree climbing, natural river baths, mindful movement, waterfall discovery, exploring indigenous tribal

YAAN Healing Sanctuary

villages and horseback riding. P.S. AltaGracia is a holistic rate resort, meaning all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a calendar of daily wellness, adventure and culinary experiences, are included in their nightly rates. wellness/retreats

Jumpstart your wellbeing the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Miami Beach, Florida

Located along the white sandy shores of Miami Beach, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort welcomes guests to world-class wellness curated by a team of gifted practitioners and Board-Certified physicians. What’s new is that Carillon Miami recently launched its partnership with premier anti-aging and medical wellness center ‘The Biostation’ to help guests take their CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE



Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Miami Beach, Florida

health to new heights with cutting-edge therapies that both prevent and reverse the impacts of aging on the body. Book the four-night ‘Jump Start Your Health & Wellness’ which include extensive diagnostic testing and comprehensive evaluations, personalized wellness plans, lipotropic injections, nutrient therapy treatments, and ongoing monitoring following the retreat. Accommodation is a one or two-bedroom luxury apartment with four curated touchless wellness experiences, food and beverage credit, access to 65+ weekly fitness classes, and the renowned

Thermal Hydrotherapy Circuit. P.S. This epic hotel offers all the latest modalities: vibroacoustic, electromagnetic, cryotherapy, infrared therapies and a rock-climbing wall!

Enhance your immunity at Amangiri in Utah

There are several retreat programs to explore at Amangiri’s iconic property set against a vast landscape of desert, canyons and gorges in Utah. With the

increasing focus on the function of the immune system, consider the ‘Immune Health & Optimization Program’ on the menu until late June this year. Led by Ryan Bean, a renowned yoga instructor and Wim Hof-certified cold immersion guide, this retreat combines yoga with breathwork, a personalized nutritional program and therapies to give one’s immune system a powerful boost and guide on how to protect their body’s natural defenses moving forward. Another option is the year-round twonight ‘Restore & Rebalance’, which is valid until next year, and offers a full spa and wellness experience encouraging guests to slow down and restore inner balance in magical surroundings.

Experience a deep detox at Sha Wellness Clinic, Spain

Sha Wellness Clinic, Spain



Considering the events over the last two years, there’s never been a more pertinent time to give your body a thorough detox. Sha Wellness Clinic set in the Mediterranean is a state-of-the-art sanctuary with a stellar reputation for its year-round integrative


retreats. ‘Advanced Detox’ focuses on purifying the body of toxins accumulated in the digestive system and liver, bringing the body back to balance with nutrition, therapies and treatments. The Advanced Detox can be booked as a 7, 14 or 21 day program and includes personalized nutritious meals, consultations, natural therapies and medical treatments. There are several luxury accommodations options, from deluxe to royal and presidential suites, all offering all the comforts one needs for a detox.

Strengthen your immune resilience at Kamalaya in Thailand

‘Feel life’s potential’ is the theme of Kamalaya, one of the world’s best holistic wellness sanctuaries. Set on a private cove on Koh Samui island, this destination offers a retreat stay that will transform and inspire. There are year-round wellness programs themed around longevity, sleep, stress, fitness, detox – and ‘Resilience and Immunity’. This retreat focuses on post-viral fatigue, building stress resilience and achieving optimal immunity. Rooted in Traditional

Aro Ha, Wellness Retreat, New Zealand

Chinese Medicine, it comprises nutrition, therapies and treatments to reduce inflammation, address issues regarding auto immune concerns, and help one rebuild a robust immunity. In addition, movement, mindfulness training and meditation help one cultivate inner calm and resilience, which we all need in these changing times. Kamalaya is a stunning retreat with gorgeous villas, lush grounds to explore, a daily menu of yoga and movement, as well as one of the most sought-after, must-visit spas in the region.

Take your health to new heights at Aro Ha Wellness Retreat, New Zealand Kamalaya Koh Samui Wellness Program, Resilience & Immunity

Tap into your highest potential as you immerse in mountain medicine at one of the world’s best adventure wellness

retreats. Located on the South Island of New Zealand, the sustainable boutique retreat offers programs that will wake you and remake you by building the immune system, calming the nervous system, and delighting in the rising sun, all comprising of daily hikes, plant-based food, yoga, fitness classes and daily spa therapies. If you are not able to travel abroad right now, keep your eye on Aro Ha’s online ‘Seasonal Renew Cleanse’ program that is a 5-day curated online cleanse to get you into the rhythm of wellbeing. Adapt healthier habits, improve your sleep and make long-term adjustments to enhance your energy and life span.

Learn the power of meditation Deepak Chopra style!

There’s never been a more essential time to cultivate a grounded meditation CONTEMPORARY CULTURE//MAGAZINE


Sha Wellnes


THE WELL at Hacienda AltaGracia, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

ALG Wellness Spa, THE WELL

AltaGracia, THE WELL

Explore your inner potential at Path of Love in Colorado

practice. A regular meditation practice is said to give one a sense of clarity and purpose that is powerful beyond measure. With this in mind, join world-renowned alternative medicine advocate, Deepak Chopra on one of his retreats this year — ­­ held in appealing locales including Maui, Florida, California and Canada. Alternatively, twice a month at 94


the CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa, immerse in five nights of twice-daily meditation and yoga, Ayurveda talks, guided hikes, sound healing, soulful spa treatments and detoxifying vegan meals. Whatever your choice, feel inspired in knowing you’ll return home feeling cleansed, clear, and centered.

Looking for an immersive retreat that will awaken and alter you at your deepest core? This November, the world-renowned Path of Love retreat will return to Sunrise Ranch located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in stunning Colorado. Path of Love is a 7-day residential retreat that will appeal to those who want to know the truth about themselves. It’s an intensive personal growth program that is hosted across 14 countries in several languages. Expect to tap into deep inner work, explore relationships with self and others in a supportive environment

Wellness Clinic, Spain

facilitated by qualified therapists. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. From private and double rooms to dorm style, are several accommodation choices appealing to all budgets. Dates: November 12-19th, 2022

thank you for it later! Dates: December 28th - January 3rd, 2023

Celebrate a health New Year’s Eve retreat in Byron Bay, Australia

New Yorkers don’t need to travel far to experience top-notch holistic wellness. The Well is in downtown Manhattan and offers an integration of the best of East and Western health disciplines for preventative health. Take advantage of this opportunity to address those niggling symptoms relating to your sleep, stress levels, aches and pains and gut health, that, if left unchecked, can accumulate and lead to more chronic issues. Facilitated by functional doctors and practitioners, feel reassured you will receive personalized care on your journey. The Well houses standout facilities includes a fitness gym, steam, sauna and a sound dome. Highlights include a wellness library, mindful movement classes and a fantastic healthy eatery with a curated collection of essential retail products.

Looking to swap your winter for an Aussie summer? Check out Radiance Retreat's New Year’s Eve retreat held in Byron Bay each year. Facilitated by one of Australia’s best known yoga authors, Radiance Retreats consists of 6-nights staying in gorgeous rustic cabins surrounded by beautiful forests and ocean. Experience daily yoga, pranayama, core strength classes, sound healing, beautiful vegan food, massages, nature walks, tea tree lake dips and so much more! As well, a New Year cleansing ceremony to welcome in the new year. This will be one of the best (and healthiest) New Year retreats to remember - and your body will

Experience a wellness retreat in the heart of New York

P.S If you prefer a nearby weekend retreat, The Well has opened at the Mayflower Inn & Spa in Connecticut.

Immerse in nature medicine at Menla Mountain Retreat in the Catskills

Just a few hours drive from New York City in the Catskills is Menla, a Tibet-inspired retreat and healing spa. Situated on 330 acres of pristine forest, Menla offers a breathtaking setting for true and lasting wellness. The beauty of booking a retreat at this destination is there are a variety of accommodation choices, from deluxe suites and individual and shared cabins, to camping options that suit all budgets and styles. Breathe in fresh forest air as you embark on nature hikes and forest foraging. Meals are organic and nutritious with most produce harvested from the onsite gardens. At the heart of Menla is the Dewa Spa that offers some of the best healing treatments in the state, with outstanding Tibetan therapies. All this, plus steam, sauna and daily yoga. Just some of the retreats featured on the menu this year are themed around Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, yoga, ayurveda, couples connect, sound healing and nourishing your divine self. ☐

Judy Chapman is an International Spa Designer and consults for hotel, spa and wellness brands around the world including Menla Mountain Retreat in the USA. Judy also develops white label skincare products for spas and individuals. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Spa Asia magazine and author of several books on wellness and spas. Judy is currently based in Byron Bay, Menla Mountain Retreat in the Catskills, NY






“The Borgward Simpatizzanti Italia rally chose this charming spot to show off their unique cars when they stopped for lunch in Menaggio’s Piazza Garibaldi on beautiful Lake Como.”



THE HUNTER, Acrylic on Canvas, 30” x 40”


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