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January 2018

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CONTENTS

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Robb Report

REGULARS

20 Letter from the Editor 22 Agenda 24 Auctions 26 Frontrunners 30 Robb Collections 34 Portfolio 38 Grand Openings 150 Robb Reader 154 The Last Word 34

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42 The Art Issue We highlight exquisite private art collections, dissect key art world trends, and uncover new talent and offer tips on art investment.

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98 Cover photo FRANCO BOCCHINO, COURTESY OF PARTNERS & MUCCIACCIA GALLERY


CONTENTS

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Robb Report

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Time 118 Road Rage Sometimes, the best things in life come in pairs. Roger Dubuis and Lamborghini kick off their high-octane partnership with the Excalibur Aventador S, powered by a calibre exclusive to the watch. 122 A Taste for Watchmaking Blancpain celebrates its exclusive collaboration with legendary three-Michelin-starred chef

Readers interested in purchasing Andy Warhol’s The Disquieting Muses (After de Chirico) on the cover can contact Robb Report Singapore at rrsg@imv.com.sg or Partners & Mucciaccia at info@ partnersandmucciaccia.com or tel: +65 6694 3777.

Joel Robuchon, a longtime fan of the Swiss watch manufacture and owner of several Blancpain timepieces.

Wheels 132 The Joys of Discovery An altogether different animal from the Discovery Sport, Land Rover’s new fifthgeneration Discovery SUV loses the weight, gains in size, ups the pace and offers a pillowy-soft ride across all terrains.


We assemble every single watch twice. Because perfection takes time.

For us, perfection is a matter of principle. This is why, on principle, we

parts are cleaned and decorated by hand with finishing and polishing

craft all timepieces with the same care and assemble each watch twice.

techniques, followed by the final assembly procedure. This assures

Thus, after the Saxonia Moon Phase has been assembled for the first

long-term functional integrity and the immaculacy of all artisanal

time and precisely adjusted, it is taken apart again. The movement

finishes. Even if this takes a little more time. www.alange-soehne.com

You are cordially invited to discover the collection at:

A. LANGE & SÖHNE BOUTIQUE SINGAPORE 2 Orchard Turn · #02-05A · ION Orchard · +65 6509 1712


CONTENTS

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Robb Report

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Savour 138 Collected Memories Accompanied by a respected wine collector, an award-winning journalist gets a delicious new perspective on some of the best wine and food Europe has to offer.

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144 Time to Take Five Five newly launched mood dining concepts at Milaidhoo Island Maldives offer discerning travellers a delectable respite from city life.

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Travel & Leisure

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146 A Different Light Immerse in the pastoral beauty of Myanmar by hopping onboard the Belmond Road to Mandalay, a luxury cruise that takes you through the country’s most beloved heritage sites.

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Limited edition of 88 pieces Performed with winning motorsport tyre rubber


SINGAPORE

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Robb Report

Editorial

Editor-in-Chief Shamilee Vellu (s.vellu@imv.com.sg) Digital Head Aaron De Silva (a.desilva@imv.com.sg) Editor-At-Large, Watches and Jewellery Celine Yap (c.yap@imv.com.sg) Motoring & Technology Editor Daryl Lee (d.lee@imv.com.sg) Web Editor Charmaine Tai (c.tai@imv.com.sg) Chief Sub-Editor Jacqueline Danam Editorial Assistant Allisa Noraini

Art

Group Creative Director IMV Shabir Mahmood (s.mahmood@imv.com.sg) Designer Le Thu Trang Designer Thao Truong Picture Editor Kenny Nguyen Contributing Experts Wheels Wolfgang Stegers Travel & Leisure Daria Subbotina

Production Group Production Manager Hilal Rethashah

Contributors Alan Richman, Alywin Chew, Anastasia Ong, Ben Chin, Caroline Roux, Dionne Bel, Jackie Caradonio, Kenneth Tan, Rebecca Morris, Renyi Lim, Sasha Gonzales, Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop, Victoria Moore

Production Design Concept Dmitry Barbanel Typefaces Alexey Chekulaev, Yuri Gordon, Eugeny Yukechev Prepress IMV Repro Printer Percetakan Zanders Sdn Bhd, 16, Jalan BK 1/11, Bandar Kinrara 47180 Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

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PR & Event and Marketing Consultants R.S.V.P.-Lifestyle Communications Agency, Singapore

Finance

IT

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Head of Finance Wei Chan Administrative Manager Jaclyn Teh

Manager Benedict Calaycay

Digital Marketing Manager Steven Khu

President

Michael von Schlippe Published by Indochine Media Pte Ltd 1 Syed Alwi Road, #02-02 Song Lin Building, Singapore 207628 under the licence of Robb Report Media LLC, 11175 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA

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SINGAPORE

Robb Report

ROBB REPORT GLOBAL Managing Director David Arnold Executive Vice President, Editor in Chief Brett Anderson Executive Editor Bruce Wallin Creative Director Robb Rice Senior Vice President, Live Media Cristina Cheever Vice President, Communications & Business Affairs Elyse Heckman

PENSKE MEDIA CORPORATION Chairman and CEO Jay Penske Chief Operation Officer George Grobar Senior Vice President, Finance Ken DelAlcazar Managing Director, International Markets Debashish Ghosh Robb Report Singapore is published by Indochine Media Pte Ltd, registration number 201214107E, MCI (P) 073/11/2017. Indochine Media has taken every reasonable care to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of the information contained in this publication, but accepts no responsibility for the content of advertisements published, and no liability for mistake, misprint, omission, typographical error, loss or damage suffered as a result of relying wholly or in part on the content of advertising or editorial published herein. Indochine Media reserves the right to refuse any advertisement or advertorial for any reason. All artwork designed by Indochine Media or any part of this publication may not be reproduced in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by means – graphical, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording, taping, etc – without prior permission in writing from the Publishers.


Recreate the Banyan Tree experience in the comfort of your own home. Natural, responsibly sourced bath, body and home essentials, since 1996.

Discover more at essentials.banyantree.com


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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Robb Report

What’s not to Like?

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ingapore’s National Gallery had a snow globe or bury yourself in a cloud of blue blockbuster 2017. Its recently concluded foam blocks. Problematically, many of these exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart commercially driven installations are backed of the Rainbow, drew over 235,000 visitors, its – and thematically influenced – by sponsors, biggest attendance since its opening in 2015. touting everything from candy to high heels. Sometimes dubbed the art world’s most While gallery curators are quick to say Instagram-friendly artist, Kusama’s hordes of they don’t design exhibits for social media, its visitors quickly found that their main challenge – influence and impact are undeniable. Facebook particularly in the polka-dotted The Obliteration and Instagram have proven particularly adept Room or the self-explanatory Infinity Mirrored at getting bodies into the National Gallery, Room – was getting a solo snap of themselves in something other art enclaves such as Gillman packed rooms full of others intent on capturing Barracks have struggled to do. Once they’re that winning shot. past the door, however, the next challenge lies Media outlets have been quick to capture in getting visitors to look at art beyond a mere the trend – churning out listicles on the most photo op. Instagrammable art exhibits or even getting As noted Canadian intellectual Marshall into the act themselves. Digital media brand McLuhan said: “Art is anything you can get Refinery 29, for instance, has created 29 pop- away with.” Which, by the way, would make up installations in Los Angeles, where you can an excellent Instagram quote. twirl like a Frozen character in a human-sized Shamilee Vellu


THE EARTH WITHOUT 'ART' IS JUST 'EH' -BANKSY

WE ARE ASIA. ART STAGE Singapore is your bridge between the global art world & Southeast Asia's largest & most dynamic contemporary art scene. Singapore's Crème de la Crème: collectors, galleries, artists and society warmly welcome you. Join us in celebration of this milestone of Southeast Asian art history with great art, unforgettable encounters and enriching discussions.

BE A PART OF SOUTHEAST ASIA’S FLAGSHIP ART FAIR

For more information:

Artstage.com

Artstageofficial

Artstagesg

Artstagesg


AGENDA

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Robb Report

EVENT GUIDE What’s worth doing this month. By SASHA GONZALES

007 IN CONCERT

19-20 January MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands comes alive with music from every James Bond film made to date. British conductor Pete Harrison leads a 28-piece band, which will perform 50 years of Bond theme tunes. Laura Tebbutt and Tim Howar provide the vocals. entertainment.marinabaysands.com

THE VOLVO OCEAN RACE & FESTIVAL

17-31 January This eight-month, around-theworld sailing race graces Hong Kong this month. A number of races will be held in and around the harbour, and a 15-day festival will take place at Kai Tak Runway Park, with live music, a 3D cinema experience, food, competitions and other activities. www.volvooceanracehk.com

MAISON & OBJET PARIS

19-23 January Keep up-to-date with evolving consumer trends and be inspired at this lifestyle show dedicated to decoration, design, furniture, accessories, textiles, tableware and more. The theme is Showroom, which investigates the new consumer trend of decorative exhibitionism. www.maison-objet.com Maison & Objet photo GOVIN SOREL

THE PALM BEACH CAVALLINO CLASSIC 2018

24-28 January Held in Palm Beach, Florida, this annual Ferrari enthusiasts’ event boasts a number of exciting experiences including a display of pre- and post-war classic sports cars up to 1970 and Concorso d’Eleganza, during which 140 Ferraris will be presented for judging or display. www.cavallinoclassic.com


AGENDA

January - 2018

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ART CALENDAR Robb Report Singapore presents this month’s most aesthetically pleasing picks for your viewing pleasure. By ANASTASIA ONG

ART STAGE SINGAPORE 2018 The fragile art market sees a decline in art fairs this year, but Art Stage survives and returns for its eighth edition in Singapore. The fair focuses on Thai-led exhibitions and will introduce three new cornerstone initiatives focused on forums, first-hand viewing of private collections and a new look at interior design firms. Where: Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre Level 1, Halls A - C When: 26 to 28 Jan

ITEMS: IS FASHION MODERN?

Tickets: S$25 to S$48

If Miranda Priestly needed an exhibit to prove her point, think Moma and The Devil Wears Prada. This month, New York’s Museum of Modern Art has opened its first fashion-only show in over 70 years. Presenting a showcase of over 111 typologies selected for their importance over the last 100 years, the museum exhibits the garments and accessories that form the foundation of how we dress today. Where: New York’s Museum of Modern Art When: Now to 28 Jan Tickets: US$25 (S$34)

SINGAPORE ART WEEK 2018 This year’s Singapore Art Week offers a walk about town (and galleries). An immersive nine-day celebration of the visual arts, the festival is anchored by Southeast Asia’s flagship art fair, Art Stage Singapore. The event will be held across a variety of venues and will feature world-class exhibitions, public art walks, exciting lifestyle and gallery events, and enriching discussions.

LONDON ART FAIR

Where: Islandwide When: 17 to 28 Jan Tickets: Varies

Returning for its 30th anniversary this year, the London Art Fair is unmissable on the international art calendar. The fair presents leading British and international galleries alongside curated spaces Art Projects and Photo50, giving art-goers access to exceptional modern and contemporary art as well as expert insights into the changing market. Where: Business Design Centre,

according to event

London When: 17 to 21 Jan Tickets: From £9 (S$16)


January - 2018

AUCTIONS

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OFF THE BLOCK We keep you up to date with the hottest lots under the hammer. By RENYI LIM

Mao by Andy Warhol

Auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York for US$32.4 million (S$43.5 million). idely regarded as one of the most historically potent, culturally significant, and incomparably iconic paintings of the 20th century, Andy Warhol’s extraordinary masterwork commands the viewer’s full attention with his universally recognisable portrait of Chairman Mao. Conceived at the time of President Nixon’s historic trip to China in February 1972, Warhol executed 199 Mao paintings in five set scales across five individual series between 1972 and 1973. This painting belongs to the first group of 11 paintings, executed in acrylic, silkscreen ink and pencil on canvas between March and May 1972, each of which measures an imposing 208.3cm in height. www.sothebys.com

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Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

Auctioned by Christie’s in New York for US$450.3 million (S$607.5 million). mashing multiple auction records, Leonardo da Vinci’s painting holds the story of the most unexpected artistic rediscovery of the 21st century, since it was presumed to have been destroyed. Dating from around 1500, Salvator Mundi emerged in 2005 when it was purchased from an American estate, following which it underwent several years of restoration and authentication. In 2011, it was publicly unveiled in London. www.christies.com

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Robby the Robot Suit and Jeep from Forbidden Planet

Auctioned by Bonhams in New York for US$5.5 million (S$7.4 million). he iconic original Robby the Robot suit and Jeep from the 1956 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer outer space epic, Forbidden Planet, has become the most expensive movie prop to be auctioned. The 180cm-tall suit ranks among the most iconic props in science fiction film history. Impressively, the original Robby has been carefully maintained for nearly four decades and is still fully operational. www.bonhams.com

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Samadhi Retreats “A state of mind”

HOTELS | RESORTS | RESTAURANTS | WELLNESS | TRAVEL Discover a unique collection of award-winning properties and restaurants, set in unexpected locations across Asia. Inspired by nature and thoughtfully designed to capture the rich culture of their destinations, our exclusive retreats are renowned for invoking a sense of space, and serve as a form of escape for the discerning traveller.

www.samadhiretreats.com


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FRONTRUNNERS

Robb Report

THE LATEST IN LUXURY

“YOU DON’T PUT BUMPER STICKERS ON A BENTLEY.” Kim Kardashian


FRONTRUNNERS

January - 2018

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THE LATEST IN LUXURY

CONTINENTAL SHIFT

The Bentley Continental GT gets leaner, lighter and faster. By DARYL LEE

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he third-generation of the Bentley Continental GT ushers in the most comprehensive raft of changes in the model’s history. Taking cues from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car, especially in its front-end treatment, the incoming car also sports new visual proportions such as a flatter roofline and a longer bonnet line. Oddly enough, its actual dimensions haven’t changed all that much – at 4,850mm long overall, versus 4,806mm before, the perceived new lines are just a result of visual trickery from its

designer (and Bentley’s head of exterior design) John Paul Gregory. Also new is the more pronounced sharpness of the rear haunches. This was made possible through manufacturing advancements in the shaping of its aluminium body panels. Underneath its aluminium skin is even more high-tech trickery and a near-total rethink of the running gear underpinning the car. It’s up to 80kg lighter than the outgoing car, the front axle pushed further forward and the engine now sits further back, all in the pursuit

of better weight distribution for better handling. Providing the thrust for that handling is a reworked version of the twin-turbo W12, with an output of 626bhp that’s capable of catapulting the all-wheel-drive coupe from a standstill to 100km/hr in 3.7 seconds, reaching a top speed of 333km/hr. Singapore dealer Wearnes Automotive is currently taking orders for the new Bentley Continental GT and first deliveries are expected to begin from the end of the second quarter. www.bentleymotors.com ≠


FRONTRUNNERS

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Robb Report

THE LATEST IN LUXURY

Where This Flower Blooms

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Dior Homme turns up the charm with its Black Carpet collection.

ris Van Assche, the creative mind behind the House of Dior Homme, has reworked the evening suit by pushing it towards more extreme interpretations. Its Black Carpet collection features the sophisticated glamour of a formal suit executed in a spontaneous, street-style effect. The Lily of the Valley jacket, for instance, reinterprets Monsieur Dior’s favourite good luck charm in the form of small bead openwork for a thoroughly modern, arresting evening look. www.dior.com

Champagne Supernova

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Lingerie doesn’t get more luxe than this.

azzle your lady love with Mouawad’s Champagne Nights Fantasy Bra and Belt, which made its appearance as the Fantasy Bra of Victoria Secret’s fashion show in Shanghai last year. It’s valued at US$2 million (S$2.7 million), having been hand-set with nearly 6,000 white diamonds, yellow sapphires and blue topazes totalling over 640 carats. Set in 18-carat yellow gold - a labour of love that took over 350 hours - the lingerie suite is complemented by a matching bracelet and earrings, adorned with 75 carats of diamonds, sapphires and topazes. www.mouawad.com

Hip to be Square

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Chopard’s minimalist geometric perfection brings rock to romance.

ridging the gap between urban chic and modern glamour, Chopard’s avant-garde Ice Cube Pure collection is dangerously cool to the point of being glacial. Like the rest of the collection, the Ice Cube Pure rings (price upon request) can be worn solo or stacked together in a glorious mixture of 18-carat rose, white or yellow gold. Whether you prefer your rings polished, set with a single diamond or partially or fully set with diamonds, you’ll be pleased to learn they’re crafted from ethical Fairmined certified gold, guaranteeing respect for the mining community and the environment. www.chopard.com


FRONTRUNNERS

January - 2018

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THE LATEST IN LUXURY

Gifts from Heaven

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Royal Selangor gets contemplative for its new Celestial Blessings additions.

hinese sculptor Xu Xiao Yong strikes a contemplative tone in his new interpretation of two Chinese deities in his continuation of Royal Selangor’s Celestial Blessings collection. Guan Gong (RM2,800, S$924)) is reading in a scholarly pose – a reference to a Three Kingdoms incident where the military general refused carnal temptation by indulging in literature. Likewise, the Goddess of Mercy Guan Yin (RM3,680) is depicted in her traditional meditative pose. Here, pewter is used to its great potential - variedly depicting the silken folds of robes and the craggy rock perch. www.royalselangor.com

Hear Her Roar

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Gucci coats its Le Marche des Merveilles Secret Watch in gold.

xotic, enigmatic and decidedly eye-catching, Gucci’s Secret Watch in gold from its Le Marche des Merveilles collection is more than just a pretty face. The quartz movement timepiece’s rotating feline head is carved into an antique 18-carat yellow gold case, with two gleaming nanette diamonds representing the animal’s eyes. Slide the head to one side and you’ll find a white mother-of-pearl dial underneath with antique goldcoloured hands, which contrasts beautifully with the watch’s black lizard skin strap and yellow gold ardillon buckle. www.gucci.com

The Unbeaten Path

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Como Uma Ubud offers an enriching artisanal journey through a partnership with John Hardy.

alling all nomads with a fervour for the arts: Como Uma Ubud has paired up with jewellery house John Hardy to satiate your craftmaking cravings through the Legend of Naga Experience. In addition to a threenight stay at the resort (which includes a three-course dinner and in-house massages), guests will be acquainted with time-honoured jewellery-making techniques at John Hardy’s Ubud Workshop. A cultural tour around Tirta Empul temple will further allow guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of Bali’s rich heritage. comohotels.com Royal Selangor photo DARMANSYAH


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ROBB COLLECTIONS

Robb Report

ELEGANT LUXURIOUS STYLISH

“I’VE BEEN ON A CALENDAR, BUT I’VE NEVER BEEN ON TIME.” Marilyn Monroe


January – 2018

ROBB COLLECTIONS ELEGANT LUXURIOUS STYLISH

EXTRA PRECIOUS

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Collection Excellence Platine By CELINE YAP

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he Vacheron Constantin Collection Excellence Platine houses some of its most exclusive timepieces, ranging from the simplest to the most complex. All limited editions and all cased in platinum, these timepieces are what the most ardent Vacheron Constantin collectors look out for year after year. In 2018, their patience is duly rewarded by this complete calendar model that is both practical and charming. One notch below the annual calendar, the complete calendar displays date, day and month, needing one manual date adjustment at the end of each month. Inside, Calibre 2460 QCL proffers a highly accurate platinum moon phase display and power reserve indicator. Limited to just 100 numbered pieces, this Geneva Seal-certified watch comes with a dark blue alligator leather strap hand-stitched with 950 platinum and silk thread, secured to a platinum folding clasp. www.vacheron-constantin.com â‰

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ROBB COLLECTIONS

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Robb Report

ELEGANT LUXURIOUS STYLISH

CANINE CUPPA TWG Tea Breakfast Bulldog Tea By REBECCA MORRIS

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he British bulldog has become as much a symbol of the British people as the eggs and bacon they traditionally fried each morning. This quirky breed has been chosen by TWG Tea to represent its celebration of the upcoming Year of the Dog. Breakfast Bulldog Tea (S$40) is an

energising morning blend that contains sweet notes of berries and caramel. The tea is the first of the company’s 2018 Haute Couture Teas, which were established to set trends in tea blends that represent the company’s cosmopolitan reach and “create unexpected encounters in the teacup each season”. Photo ADRIAN KOH

Contained in shocking-pink packs, the tea is available in limited quantities during the Lunar New Year festive season. Customers who buy Breakfast Bulldog Tea and any second Haute Couture tea can also take advantage of TWG Tea’s Breakfast Bulldog ang pows. www.twgtea.com ≠


ROBB COLLECTIONS

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ELEGANT LUXURIOUS STYLISH

A GOMMINO OF YOUR VERY OWN Tod’s My Gommino

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By KENNETH TAN

od’s iconic Gommino – representing Italian style and comprising leathers sourced from the finest tanneries in the world – now comes with an added layer of personalisation. The recently introduced My Gommino service enables you to create your own pair utilising its custommade app available at all Tod’s boutiques. The staggering combinations include the ability to choose the model, leather, colour, pebbles, lining, accessory and hot stamping of initials. Lest you fear that this may be a complicated process, Tod’s has made it supremely convenient and linear, with an easy three-step process to have a pair of your very own. These styles are made available for both its men’s and women’s ranges, with resplendent finishes – from leather shaping to sewing – all done by Tod’s artisans. www.tods.com ≠

Robb Report


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Robb Report

Photo FRANK HULSBOMER


PORTFOLIO

January - 2018

JUST LIKE A STAR Few watches are more romantic than the Montblanc Boheme Perpetual Calendar Jewelry Limited Edition. By CELINE YAP

A

perpetual calendar is an immensely complex machine – it has to be, in order to compute the day, date, month and year perpetually. Yet complex thoughts cannot be further from your mind when you’re looking at this elegant and feminine number by Montblanc. Dedicated to women, this Boheme Perpetual Calendar is adorned with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds set on the bezel. While they provide much fire and sparkle, it’s the watch’s deep blue aventurine dial that steals the show. Spangled with thousands of tiny shimmering inclusions, it is redolent of a velvety midnight sky brimming with stars.

Completing the breathtaking view is the moon phase display with its gorgeous golden moon and the accompanying six-pointed stars which are a discreet homage to the Montblanc emblem. For women who desire high complications, this 88-piece limited edition balances complexity with elegance. Something also has to be said about its immaculate poise and symmetry. And did you know that this watch had gone through Montblanc’s signature 500-hour Laboratory Test? So don’t be fooled by its precious demeanour; this dazzling timepiece can actually take a few hits – but maybe don’t put it under a bus. www.montblanc.com ≠

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PORTFOLIO

SECRETS OF THE PHANTOM The new Rolls-Royce Phantom is not only a marvel of luxury, but also a marvel of engineering and design. By DARYL LEE

Robb Report


January - 2018

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PORTFOLIO

n a Robb Report exclusive, I spoke with the key people who made the eighthgeneration Phantom possible. For the visible, the job fell to Giles Taylor, its head of design. According to him, “radical change is not our design philosophy. Timeless elegance is. Phantoms are treasured by their owners and many stay in the family as heirlooms. Following current designs trends runs the risk of a motor car becoming outdated very quickly.” “By modernising New Phantom with these two core values in mind, we’ve created a modern interpretation of an instantly recognisable icon that will continue its legacy

for many years to come,” he went on to say. Its regal beauty, of course, is more than just skin deep, as product manager for the marque’s new flagship limousine, product manager Christian Wettach explains. “One of the most challenging parts of developing New Phantom was The Gallery – simply because something like this has never been done before,” he says. Some dashboard electronics had to be moved to the engine bay, and to protect the precious artwork encased in The Gallery, a three-stage clean room had to be built at Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood factory. www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com ¬

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GRAND OPENINGS

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Robb Report

M BACK After a hiatus of some seven years, BMW M has returned to Alexandra Road with a new 420sqm showroom.

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By DARYL LEE

hen it was revealed in 2010 that Singapore would be the first country in the world to get a dealership exclusively selling BMW’s high-performance M cars, it moved away from its longstanding home at Performance Motors on Alexandra Road to Munich Automobiles at Teban Gardens Crescent. Now, it seems that BMW M has come full circle, back to Alexandra Road under new dealer Performance Munich Autos, though this time it has moved several doors down.

The new showroom has some 420sqm of floor space with room for five vehicles. In addition to being able to view samples of the myriad ways in which they can personalise their future M car in the Individual Lounge, buyers can also utilise a tablet to virtually configure their car, and thereafter explore their future BMW M car in 3D on a big screen. BMW M Showroom Sime Darby Business Centre 315 Alexandra Road Tel: 1800 225 5269 www.pml-bmw.com.sg ÂŹ

Photo JONATHAN GOH


January - 2018

GRAND OPENINGS

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GRAND OPENINGS

January - 2018

WRIST APPEAL Sincere Fine Watches’ reopened boutique will enthral timepiece connoisseurs. By KENNETH TAN

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incere Fine Watches Malaysia’s refurbished boutique at Suria KLCC is a 279sqm mecca to the many fine timepiece brands of the world. Inside, warm wood and gold blends offer a distinctly swish ambience for clients looking to focus on the often intricate timepieces on show. A bold Franck Muller section is accented by lanterns, while the Audemars Piguet corner recalls the brand’s

origins of Le Brassus in Switzerland with idyllic landscapes of the Swiss Alps. A returning brand to the local watch market is H Moser & Cie with its own counter, located among other stellar watchmaking brands such as Panerai, Roger Dubuis, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Corum, Zenith, Longines, Breitling and Cvstos. Sincere Fine Watches Lot G03M-P, Ground Floor, Suria KLCC Tel: +603 2166 2181 www.sincere.com.sg ≠

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January - 2018

GRAND OPENINGS

FORZA ITALIA Ducati opens a showroom on Leng Kee Road under the auspices of multi-brand distributorship Wearnes Automotive.

By DARYL LEE

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he main automotive belt on Leng Kee Road in Singapore has just welcomed a new two-wheeled star to its ranks – that of fabled Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati. The new 280sqm space, comprising showroom and workshop areas, joins Wearnes Automotive’s other premium brand dealerships (Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Aston Martin and Infiniti). The opening of the showroom also marks the multi-brand dealer’s first step into motorcycle retail in Singapore as it takes over the reins from former dealer, Minerva Motor.

It will also afford Ducati some visibility on Singapore’s “car street”, relocating from its previous home in Kaki Bukit. Gracing the opening day was the Ducati racing team’s MotoGP rider, Jorge Lorenzo as the guest of honour alongside the manufacturer’s regional director, Marco Biondi. But of most interest to Ducati fans will be how Ducati’s new home will also be graced by the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition, a thinly disguised race bike that packs 209bhp. Ducati Singapore 45 Leng Kee Road Tel: +65 6430 4930 www.ducatisingapore.com ≠

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Robb Report

“I DON’T SEE ANY BOUNDARIES BETWEEN ANY OF THE ART FORMS. I THINK THEY ALL INTER-RELATE COMPLETELY.” David Bowie


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January – 2018

Photo MICHAEL MOEBIUS


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Robb Report

MAKING AN IMPRESSION The impressionist and modern art market enjoyed a revival in 2017. By SONIA KOLESNIKOV-JESSOP

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he art world will remember 2017 for the new all-time-high price for a work of art when Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci sold for US$450.3 million (S$607.5 million) at Christie’s (www.christies.com). It smashed the previous auction record of US$179.4 million for Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”) in 2015, and was significantly above the US$300 million reportedly paid in a private transaction by billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin for Willem de Kooning’s Interchange, also in 2015. In November, eager bidding for Vincent Van Gogh’s Laboureur dans un champ at Christie’s New York evening sale of impressionist and modern masters drove the final bid to US$81.3 million, including buyer’s commission, US$1.2 million shy of the all-time-auction-record achieved for the artist at the height of the so-called “impressionist bubble”, when Japanese industrialist Ryoei Saito bought Portrait of Doctor Gachet in 1990 for US$82.5 million. “While Laboureur is very pretty and important, it’s not a first-class painting and absolutely not in the same category as Doctor


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Gachet in terms of historic importance, so the fact that it’s just shy of that mega piece is indicative of the market rising,” explains Ralph Taylor, global head of postwar and contemporary art at Bonhams (www.bonhams.com). Overall, Christie’s evening sale brought in US$479.32 million, a 95 per cent increase yearon-year, with world records set for Fernand Leger (US$70.06 million), Rene Magritte (US$20.56 million) and Edouard Vuillard (US$17.75 million), making it the auction house’s highest grossing impressionist sale in a decade. Christie’s head of department Max Carter credits the result to the “freshness” of the works being offered, while head of sale Jessica Fertig points out that, as the top 10 works had all sold for above US$10 million, it underscored “the strength in the market and the confidence of the buyers”. The following night, Sotheby’s (www.sothebys.com) sale of impressionist and modern art totalled US$269.6 million, up 71 per cent over the November 2016 auction, with a Marc Chagall work selling for US$28.5 million, smashing a decades-long auction record for the artist. However, some of the results also gave a sobering picture of the slowing of the category over the past 10 years: Chagall’s Le Grand Cirque, which sold for US$16 million to an Asian collector, had last achieved US$13.8 million at auction in 2007, while Claude Monet’s Les Arceaux de roses, Giverny, which sold for US$19.4 million, had last went for US$17.8 million in 2007. Taylor notes that Asian collectors had been particularly aggressive in the impressionist sale. “For the Asian buyers, quality is very important. They are not looking to buy a bargain or speculate, they are far more interested in established figures.


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nude from his Rose Period, which carries an estimate of US$70 million; a Nympheas painting by Monet; and Odalisque couchee aux magnolias, which is considered the most important work by Henri Matisse to be offered on the market in a generation, likely to set a new world record for the artist. “The launch in Asia makes sense,” says Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas. “Asia is one of the most important regions for collectors of impressionist and modern paintings.”

IN RECOVERY After several years of tremendous growth, the art market experienced a serious correction in 2016, weighed down by political and economic uncertainties, from

“Asia is one of the most important regions for collectors of impressionist and modern paintings.” Sotheby’s sold Female Head by Roy Lichtenstein for US$24.5 million in New York last November, while Women with Baskets and Fruits by Anita Magsaysay-Ho achieved US$1.5 million in Hong Kong two months earlier. Facing page: Christie’s auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen takes bids for da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.

So when you are able to get your hands on an ‘A’ piece, you know there will be an appetite from Asian collectors, more than was the case five years ago,” Taylor explains. Tellingly last November, Christie’s picked Hong Kong as the first place to unveil highlights of the renowned Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection that will come up at auction in New York this spring, including a Picasso


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THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL According to joint analysis by Ar tnet Analytics and Artnet News, just 25 artists are responsible for almost half of all postwar and contemporary art auction sales. In the first half of 2017, works by this group of 25, which includes Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Cy Twombly, sold for a combined US$1.2 billion – 44.6 per cent of the US$2.7 billion total generated by all contemporary public auctions. Ralph Taylor, global head of post-war and contemporary art at Bonhams, notes: “As demand outstrips supply, prices keep going up, which does distort the market. Much of this has certainly been driven by Asian buyers but that’s a reflection of their desire for quality.”


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the UK Brexit vote to a slight economic slowdown in China and the surprise US presidential election. Christie’s overall sales fell 16 per cent to £4 billion (S$7 billion), while Sotheby’s reported a 27 per cent decline to US$4.9 billion. But 2017 brought renewed enthusiasm for the art market. Sales for the first half of 2017 at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips were up US$1.08 billion on the same period in 2016, and the momentum continued in the second half of the year. Christie’s Fall Auction series in New York achieved US$1.42 billion in one week, which, even without the sale of

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Right: La Pergola (The Arbour) by Adrien Jean Le Mayeur De Merpres fetched US$934,692 at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong last September. Below: Pablo Picasso’s Fillette a la corbeille fleurie in the Rockefellers’ Manhattan apartment.

the da Vinci, compared favourably with the US$620.2 million achieved for the equivalent series in 2016. Gregoire Billault, head of Sotheby’s contemporary art department in New York, noted that a signal of a more robust market is that many clients had been willing to part with works that had been in their collections for decades, such as a Mao by Warhol, which had been in a private European collection since 1972, and was sold to an Asian collector for US$32.4 million.

ASIA’S CHANGING TASTES Having first focused on Chinese art and then expanding to Asian artists, Chinese collectors have moved out of their comfort zone in recent years and embraced impressionists as well as contemporary Western art. “The way Asian collectors have changed their buying habits over the last five years is very substantial. What we saw five years ago was relatively inexperienced buying, which was driven by taste. But over the years, the buying has become more sophisticated and the level of knowledge has grown hugely. That has naturally led to a diversification of buying, which has affected our sales significantly,” says Taylor. Encouraged by Asian buyers’ increased


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activity at its auctions in New York and London, Sotheby’s Hong Kong started to offer Western contemporary art in its evening sale last year, while Christie’s complemented its Hong Kong autumn auction series for the second time with The Loaded Brush, a private selling exhibition offering works by Monet, Matisse and Mark Rothko that in previous years would have been sold in New York or London. In 2016, Phillips debuted its

SOUTHEAST ASIAN TROUBLES Between 2010 and 2015, the combined annual sales for Southeast Asian modern and contemporary ar t at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips rose from US$26.6 million to US$76.3 million over the period. But the market succumbed to the downward pressure felt in the global economy in 2016, with annual sales falling 28.5 per cent. This trend continued in the first half of 2017. Sotheby’s

Moder n

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Contemporary Southeast Asian Art sale raised US$15.02 million in October, a slight improvement on the US$13.48 million for the

first contemporary art auction in Hong Kong. According to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2017, there are now 16 Asian billionaires ranking on ARTnews’ Top 200 Collectors list compared with just one in 2006. To tap this growing buying power, a number of top Western galleries are opening outposts in Greater China. This year, David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth will open galleries in Hong Kong, while Levy Gorvy is planning to open an office in Shanghai. Importantly, Taylor remarks, auction houses and western galleries are now bringing top western contemporary artworks to the region, and expanding beyond the wellrecognised brand names of Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons to offer more exclusive artworks. “Now galleries are bringing artists from their core rostra, bringing the best and most challenging works. They equate the appetite of what they do at Art Basel Hong Kong with what they do at Art Basel in Basel.” ≠

equivalent sale in 2016. But while a work by Anita Magsaysay-Ho sold for HK$12.1 million (S$2.1 million), more than double its low estimate, a 19th-century work by Raden Saleh, billed as a top lot, found no takers. A recent survey by art advisory firm ArtTactic for the Art & Finance Report 2017 showed experts are not overly optimistic about the short term, with 68 per cent believing the Southeast Asian art market will remain flat in the next six months, “indicating a shift toward a more Three Studies of George Dyer by Francis Bacon achieved US$38.6 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York last November, at the lower end of its estimated range of US$35 million to US$45 million.

negative stance”. But Mok Kim Chuan, Sotheby’s head of Southeast Asian art, notes: “The increasing number of local fairs and local auctioneers dealing in this category offers collectors more channels than ever to purchase.”


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SETTING THE STAGE

With eagerly anticipated new initiatives as well as a focus on the vibrant Thai art scene, Art Stage Singapore 2018 looks set to surpass previous editions.

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ingapore Art Week returns this month from the 17th to the 28th. With more than 100 events around town, the annual affair provides inspiration on what to buy, which emerging artists to keep tabs on, which bluechip names continue to perform well, and which artwork could potentially outperform Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the US$450 million (S$607 million) painting sold at Christie’s last November. None of this would have been possible without Art Stage Singapore, the Week’s anchor event, now in its eighth year. This year, it runs from the 26th to the 28th at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, with a special focus on leading Thai artists and galleries. Lorenzo Rudolf, Art Stage’s president, explains why Thailand is under the spotlight this year. “In the last one and a half years, a lot of new serious and professional art galleries have opened in Thailand, such as the Maiiam Museum of Contemporary

By AARON DE SILVA

From above: Circus Without Animal Exploitation by Heri Dono; Gunungan by Ahmad Sadali. Facing page: Carne Carnivale by Ronald Ventura.

Art by Jean Michel Beurdeley and his son, Eric Bunnag Booth. And we will also be having many other big collectors such as Petch Osathanugrah and Disaphol Chansiri, who will be opening their own museums in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Naturally, we have to pay tribute to this movement at the Fair by featuring many Thai galleries and artists, and planning spectacular museum-like projects with their leading local artists.” To keep things lively, several new initiatives are being put forward. First up is a special exhibition on Collectible Designs, a collaboration with online art gallery The Artling. Think contemporary furniture from local design heavyweights like Nathan Yong and home accessories by rising Lebanese talents Saccal Design House. Explaining the rationale for the collaboration, The Artling founder Talenia Phua Gajardo says: “Art and design have an intrinsically natural relationship and our mission is ultimately


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to highlight the talent in the region and bring design more to the forefront whilst encouraging more of a dialogue between the two practices. “Through this exhibition, our goal is to create a space where art and collectible design come together, overlapping in their unique identities, tradition and culture. The creative potential in the region is huge and we must continue to look beyond the pre-conceived boundaries of these different industries as we pave the way for our artists and designers of the future.” Then there’s the eagerly anticipated Signature Collectors Visits, a programme first unveiled at Art Stage Jakarta 2016. This is where visitors will get a chance to visit the homes of top Singaporean and Singaporebased collectors, admire their personal collections and engage with the collectors themselves. Among those graciously opening

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“Our goal is to create a space where art and collectible design come together.” up their homes are collectors Teng Jee Hum and Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson. The idea is to underscore the importance of the role of art collectors in developing a vibrant art scene. It is also an attempt to encourage a discussion on contemporary art between visitors and collectors. Explaining why he chose to participate, Teng says: “We decided to open up our art space this year because we want to reciprocate the wonderful experiences we have had in viewing and collecting art since Art Stage’s inception. In 2016, we participated in the collection tour in Jakarta and we wish to step up now to do our small part, in return for the generosity shown to us then by sharing a bit of what we can in Singapore. As such, we will try our best to create an extra-sensorial visual experience for our visitors by curating a meaningful show with those artworks at our site.” Lourdes adds: “When we were asked to open up our contemporary art collection during Singapore Art Week, we agreed


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Art Stage Singapore (this and facing page, above) puts the Lion City on the map as the definitive meeting point between the diverse regional and global art scenes. Facing page, below: Hysteria by Geraldine Javier.

because we feel that collectors should be part of the art discourse in Singapore and in the region. The art ecosystem thrives because of the participation of those who create art, the institutions and private collectors that buy the works and share these with the public, and the curators and scholars who discuss and write about art. “Viewing art in a collectors’ home is a unique experience because it allows you to see pieces in a more intimate setting and how collectors live with art on a daily basis. It also gives you a glimpse of the collectors’ personality and interests. We like to think that our collection reflects what we love about Southeast Asian contemporary art — the diversity of artistic practices that draw from rich local histories and cultures. We are happy to share our knowledge and passion for these works with fellow art lovers.” www.artstage.com ≠

Photo MATTHEW NG


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FABRIC OF DISQUIET

Andy Warhol’s The Disquieting Muses (After de Chirico) sparks a fascinating discussion on the power of repetition and the strength of artistic bonds. By RENYI LIM


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tribute to a master of metaphysical art. A twisted hybrid. A surreal exercise of repetition. The Disquieting Muses (After de Chirico) has provoked all number of responses, as might be expected of an artwork by Andy Warhol. The piece, executed in 1982 through acrylic and silkscreen inks on canvas, is priced at €2.9 million (S$4.6 million) and is due to be displayed at Partners & Mucciaccia in Singapore this February.

Drawing directly on The Disquieting Muses by Giorgio de Chirico, Warhol repeated the painting four times in his creation. De Chirico’s penchant for repetition and serialisation - he repainted the same compositions obsessively throughout his life clearly appealed to Warhol, who developed a strong friendship with the Italian artist after they were introduced in the 1970s. “Aren’t they great?” Warhol remarked, shortly after he was commissioned to produce a series of paintings ‘after’ de Chirico. “How did he repeat the same images? Did he project the same image on canvas? Maybe he did it by dividing the canvas in sections ... he could have used a silkscreen!” By the end of 1982 th ree and a half years after de Chirico’s death - Warhol had produced 23 serial paintings and 11 single-sheet drawings based on works that were already derived ‘after’ six metaphysical paintings by de Chirico. The Disquieting Muses (After de Chirico) remains one of the best-known examples of Warhol’s tribute to his friend’s legacy, and one that extends de Chirico’s Inset photo FRANCO BOCCHINO

relevance into a new canon. It is also notable for having belonged to Carlo Bilotti, a well-respected Palm Beach art collector and businessman. In de Chirico’s constant replication and revisitation of his own images, Warhol appreciated the way these copies toyed with the conventions of art, such as spontaneity and originality. “Every time I saw de Chirico’s paintings I felt close to him. Every time I saw him I felt I had known him forever. I think he felt the same way,” Warhol was quoted as saying. “Once he made the remark that we both had white hair! “De Chirico repeated the same images throughout his life. I believe he did it not only because people and dealers asked him to do it, but because he liked it and viewed repetition as a way of expressing himself. This is probably what we have in common.” www.partnersandmucciaccia.com ¬ Readers interested in purchasing Andy Warhol’s The Disquieting Muses (After de Chirico) (inset and on the cover) can contact Robb Report Singapore at rrsg@imv.com.sg or Partners & Mucciaccia at info@partnersandmucciaccia. com or tel: +65 6694 3777.


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LET THERE BE ART

Wear your love for fine art literally on your sleeve. By CELINE YAP

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he great thing about watch collecting that art collecting can’t quite afford is the opportunity to carry one’s passion wherever and whenever. Sure you can try to tote around something from the Louis Vuitton Masters Collection by Jeff Koons but it’s not really the same, neither does that come highly recommended. That said, the many similarities between the watch and art worlds

make them excellent bedfellows and luxury watch companies have made numerous moves on the creations of some of the best artists of our time. Small as they may be, watches are a delightful canvas for artistic expression. In addition to the dial, the caseback is a favourite secret space on which a favoured artwork can reside, known only to the wearer. It is difficult enough for an artist to replicate a classical masterpiece,

Jaeger LeCoultre photos FOTOGRAFIE ALEXANDER, CLAUDE JORAY


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and yet to do so on a miniature scale is infinitely more difficult, but the artisans of haute horlogerie manage it with flair and poise. One of the most prolific advocates of the fine arts in watchmaking is Jaeger-LeCoultre (www.jaeger-lecoultre.com). All of its most exquisite creations are united under the Metiers Rares banner unique to the manufacture. From all the different styles of enamelling, engraving and gemsetting, there is nothing JaegerLeCoultre cannot do, yet one craft that’s made several high-profile appearances lately is miniature enamel painting. This singular skill demonstrates the talent and expertise of the enameller as he or she captures the finest detail that even the naked eye cannot see. At Jaeger-LeCoultre, the artisans work with the most authentic, high-quality enamels, which are increasingly hard to find. There are many horological icons at Jaeger-LeCoultre but none more so than the Reverso. This elegant timepiece with a

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Just turn the small notched wheel at one o’clock and two silver shutters bearing the hour numerals will open to reveal either Vincent Van Gogh’s SelfPortrait as a Painter (above) or Sunflowers, depending on the model.

rectangular case that swivels around to reveal its back presents an excellent canvas for the artisan. For decades, the solid caseback of the Reverso Classic has been adorned with everything from a family crest to a portrait of a pet. In 2015, the manufacture’s team of artists took this tradition to the next level, recreating paintings of art’s great masters on the dial of a Reverso. That year marked the 125th anniversary of the death of Vincent Van Gogh and so JaegerLeCoultre worked with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to create a limited-edition Reverso featuring on the dial one of the Dutch master’s most iconic works, Sunflowers. Jaeger-LeCoultre selected one of the most unique and unusual Reverso models for this collaboration, the Reverso a Eclipse. In addition to the case that swivels around, the dial is also moveable – a tiny gear wheel set into the case at one o’clock allows the wearer to part the gold dial like a set of


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The Master Grande Tradition a Repetition Minutes combines immense horological technicity with miniature enamel painting. shutters, revealing the treasure that’s painted directly underneath. The Reverso a Eclipse – Van Gogh Sunflowers Limited Edition debuted in September 2015 at the inauguration of the new entrance building of the Van Gogh Museum. Only five of these watches were made. The following year, the Grande Maison presented a second Van Gogh creation, this time featuring Self-Portrait as a Painter (1887–88). One of the artist’s most famous paintings, the piece belongs in the permanent collection of the Van Gogh Museum. Also cased in the Reverso a Eclipse, this fourpiece special edition model was made in platinum and powered by the formidable Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 849. Both models are exhibited in the Van Gogh Museum. That same year, JaegerLeCoultre released a trio of timepieces in the Metiers Rares line, one of which continued the Van Gogh homage. The Master Grande Tradition a Repetition Minutes combines immense horological technicity with the art of miniature enamel painting, here realised as Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone. Next to join this incredible line-up are the Master

Suited to lovers of art and music, the Master Grande Tradition a Repetition Minutes pink gold watch is presented in a limited series of 18 pieces.


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Other than Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt is another artist whose works the Grande Maison has adapted to its timepieces. Grand Tourbillon (also Starry Night) and the Master Ultra Thin painted with Self Portrait Grey Felt Hat. Other than Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt is another artist whose works the Grande Maison has adapted to its timepieces. Instead of the Reverso, however – or any wristwatch for that matter – it applied the Austrian painter’s works to the one-of-a-kind Atmos Clock. In a new 10-piece limited edition, the Atmos Marqueterie faithfully reproduced Klimt’s famous painting, The Kiss, out of more than 1,200 tiny shards of wood

and only the precious varieties were used: Camassari boxwood, Ceylon lemonwood, paolo amarela, madrona burl, maplewood, pearwood, tulipwood burl, walnut, ashwood burl and Andes boxwood. Circling back to the Reverso, in October 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre paid tribute to another Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian, who was one of the earliest pioneers of 20th-century abstract art. Having created the Gustav Klimt used 1,200 pieces of wood, each covered individually with gold leaf, to create The Kiss, which Jaeger-LeCoultre has replicated in its Atmos clock.

concept of neoplasticism, Mondrian was known for his penchant for colours. Instantly recognisable, his painting, Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Grey and Blue, features prominently on the caseback of a steel Reverso Classic with small seconds, while an inscription on the back of the case holder marks the 100th anniversary of Dutch retailer, Steltman, with whom the watch was jointly created. Equally recognisable is the woodblock print by Japanese


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Silver obsidian serves as a base for The Great Wave applique in white gold.

ukiyo-e artist, Katsushika Hokusai, known as The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Not only is it Hokusai’s most famous work, it is without question, the world’s most influential and iconic piece of Japanese art. Swiss watch manufacture Blancpain (www.blancpain.com) draws deeply from its dynamic yet ominous power in the creation

High watchmaking is equal parts science and art.

of its Metiers d’Art Villeret The Great Wave. Not a flat-out replica of Hokusai’s masterpiece, however, this timepiece remains a bona fide work of art unto itself. Its dial was hewn from Mexican silver obsidian, a semi-transparent volcanic stone bestowed with soothing qualities. Grey and speckled with puffs of silvery clouds, it serves as the base


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on which the artisan secures a white gold applique of the namesake wave. To craft the wave, Blancpain reprised an ancient Japanese technique called Shakudo where following the engraving stage, the applique is immersed in a bath of rokusho salts where it gains a unique dark patina that’s intentionally kept irregular as nature intends. Then, certain parts of the applique are polished while others are left matte, in order to intensify the effect of a huge billowing wave. In 42mm platinum, this miniature image of Hokusai’s wave is a fitting tribute to the Japanese master who held the belief that, until the age of 70, nothing he drew was worthy of notice. Hokusai’s woodblock series, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes The

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To craft the wave, Blancpain reprised an ancient Japanese technique. Visual artistry reigns supreme in Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers d’Art Marc Chagall Paris Opera House watch.

Great Wave off Kanagawa, was created in 1831 when he was 71. Also an ode to the amazing world of fine arts, the Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art Tribute to Composers (www.vacheronconstantin.com) was conceived when the great manufacture became a sponsor of the Opera National de Paris in 2007. It pledged to create 15 exceptional unique pieces dedicated to the greatest classical musicians of our time – the same artists who inspired Marc Chagall when he created the monumental fresco on the ceiling of the Garnier Opera House in Paris. The first watch in the collection was unveiled in 2010, just in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Association pour le Rayonnement de l’Opera National


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de Paris (AROP), also known as Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet. Featuring a gorgeous miniature reproduction of Chagall’s fresco done by the traditional Genevan grand feu enamelling technique, the 40mm watch in yellow gold is not for sale and belongs to Vacheron Constantin archives. Compared to the original, which spreads over 200sqm, this reproduction covers a round dial of just 31.5mm wide, yet every stroke had been preserved in striking detail, as was the rich colour palette. Over the next two years, Vacheron Constantin released the other 14 unique pieces, each one a close-up of a portion of the fresco and dedicated to one composer: Moussorgski, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Adam, Stravinsky, Ravel, Berlioz and Wagner, as well as Rameau and Debussy, along with Beethoven, Gluck, Bizet and Verdi. Vacheron Constantin has

In the Vacheron Constantin Les Univers Infinis timepieces, the tessellations visible on the dial represent the endless infinity of the universe using natural, organic themes.

always been a fierce advocate of art and cultures around the world. Its own metiers d’arts collection is extraordinary to say the least and its heritage division continually reaches out to different forms of art. In 2012, it produced a limitededition metiers d’art collection called Les Univers Infini inspired by yet another Dutch artist, MC Escher, who spent years exploring

the concept of perspectives, reflections, infinity and symmetry, working most prominently on tessellation. In tessellation, numerous graphic shapes come together to form a larger picture or a repeated pattern. Bringing the artistic style of Escher into its Patrimony collection, Vacheron Constantin designed three pieces, each a limited edition of only 20 pieces, and utilised several different techniques including traditional hand guilloche, figurative engraving, gem-setting and champleve enamelling. High watchmaking is equal parts science and art, but when a watch has called for such inordinate amounts of time, such astronomical skill and talent to make it is no longer just about the mechanics within. The next time you come across a metiers d’art timepiece, feel free to judge it by appearances. ≠


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ART IN QUESTION An artist encapsulates her thoughts over a year in words and colour.

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By REBECCA MORRIS

uring a talk in 2012 to Singapore Art Museum docents about her work, local artist Dawn Ng spoke to Israeli child psychiatrist Zehavit Efrati, who told her that she had always wanted to be involved in the research process for artists. “I think it planted a seed in my head,” says Ng, and when the two met a couple of years later, she suggested an idea. Over the course of a year, Efrati would ask daily questions to the artist, on any subject, to which she would reply in whatever format she liked “be it a word, sentence, poem, list, question, story, metaphor or song”. The result of that collaboration is Ng’s latest exhibition, Perfect Stranger, at Chan + Hori Contemporary, which illustrates the ‘conversation’, between two women of very different backgrounds, in 48 vast sheets of paper in swirling colour, lying parallel in the gallery. This is Ng’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery and continues the notions of memory, time and nostalgia, which are recurring themes in her work. The exhibition runs from 19 January to 22 February at Chan + Hori Contemporary; the artist will be present from 24 to 28 January. www.chanhori.com ≠ Photo DAWN NG


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GATEWAY TO SOUTHEAST ASIA

A mission to promote regional art has spread to include modern and contemporary works from East and West. By REBECCA MORRIS

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decade ago, there were no galleries in Singapore that promoted both modern and contemporary Southeast Asia art; they focused only on modern Singaporean art, contemporary Southeast Asian art or Chinese art, says Aniela Rahardja. “As Singapore is considered by many to be the gateway for Southeast Asia, I felt that there was a need for an art gallery here that promotes just that. I wanted to promote Southeast Asian art outside the region and I felt that awareness of modern art is important before appreciating contemporary art.” And thus in 2009, Element Art Space was born, with Indonesian-born Rahardja, who trained as a chemical engineer before obtaining two art degrees, as gallery owner and director.

As the gallery grew, an exchange between Asian and Western contemporary art naturally appeared – the gallery continues to promote Southeast Asian art to the region and abroad while Rahardja, who has lived in the US and UK, also offers a consultancy service, sourcing and commissioning artists and advising Asian clients on Western contemporary works. One of the gallery’s most popular modern artists is the late Chen Wen Hsi, considered to be one of Singapore art’s founding fathers. From the other side of the world is Colombian Fernando Botero, whose sculptures of voluptuous figures are dotted around the island. Exhibitions are held every other month; this month, the gallery is holding an exhibition by award-winning Indonesian artist Erianto. www.elementartspace.com ≠

Photo CHEN WEN HSI


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CONSCIENCE AT WORK Goshen Art Gallery is both an art gallery and a social enterprise helping the underprivileged. By REBECCA MORRIS

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oshen Art Gallery is young, but chief managing director Jack Yu has a past steeped in the arts – and big plans for the future. Yu grew up surrounded by the artworks in his parents’ gallery, and after spending time in the shipping industry, he came back to his roots three years ago with the opening of Goshen. And already its remit is expanding. “Traditionally we deal in Asian fine art, but we have moved on to represent more modern and contemporary paintings in recent months,” he says. “We are also constantly looking for unique sculpture pieces and artists that we can market to our clients.” The gallery’s most popular artists include

Choo Keng Kwang, Wu Xueli, Fan Shao Hua and Ng Yak Whee. The gallery is planning a busy schedule in 2018, with one exhibition a month on average with fringe events in collaboration with businesses such as hotels, showrooms and art fairs. However, selling artwork is only part of Yu’s mission. “We are a social enterprise that helps low-income, underprivileged, single parents by creating programmes to help rehabilitate their well-being through the arts. We are working with NGOs and government agencies to create a series of programmes to reach out to these beneficiaries.” www.goshenartgallery.com ¬


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LIGHT AND RHYTHM At once simple but complex, late artist Kim Lim took inspiration from daily movements in nature. By ANA ONGKO

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im Lim: Sculpting Light is a showcase of artworks by the late Singaporean-British artist, who experimented with sculpture and printmaking. This unique combination of the two disciplines emphasised the relationship between both mediums, where her exploration of paper is then the “lighter” of sculptures. But her work also draws attention to “light”, points out Tessa Chung, curator of the exhibition. Central to Lim’s works, “the subsequent effects of light are on surfaces and the development of her art forms, namely shadow, repetition, rhythm and resonance”, explains Chung. Lim pursued the arts in sculpture and wood-

carving at London’s Saint Martin’s School of Art and eventually studied printmaking at Slade School of Art. She is remembered as a bold individual who took the path less travelled and chose to study these mediums – even when they were considered too ‘masculine’. “Printmaking has always been a parallel practice of Kim’s since the beginning,” says Chung. “She was interested in paper – not just in its material – but also in the printmaking process, which she found could very much have sculpture-like properties. This is akin to the preparation of woodblock printing plates or incisions etched in copper.” Sculpting Light runs from 13 January to 3 March at STPI in Singapore. www.stpi.com.sg ≠

Photo KIM LIM


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Robb Report

PSYCHEDELIC SPEEDSTERS

For over 40 years, BMW’s Art Car project has been providing cutting-edge ‘canvases’ for cutting-edge artists to paint on. Here are some of the most significant. By DARYL LEE Photo CHRISTIAN KAIN


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he BMW Art Car initiative started out as a sort of happy accident. Race car driver and art lover Herve Poulain commissioned sculptor Alexander Calder to paint the BMW 3.0 CSL he would be racing at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race. While the first BMW Art Car would retire after only seven hours due to a propshaft failure, it would go on to enter the BMW museum’s private collection … and history. Since then, 17 others have followed in its footsteps, featuring a who’s who of modern art using some of BMW’s most amazing road and race cars as their canvas.

Alexander Calder BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975

The BMW 3.0 CSL, with which Alexander Calder laid the foundation stone for the Art Car Collection in 1975, was also one of his final works of art before his death in 1976.

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he BMW 3.0 CSL is a legend unto itself. Affectionately nicknamed the Batmobile for its outlandish aerodynamic accoutrements, the CSL in race trim provided the basis for Alexander Calder to work his magic. The red, yellow, blue and white car must have created quite a stir at Circuit de la Sarthe in 1975. It’s testament to how forward-thinking the final product is that even 40 years on, the artwork still remains strikingly relevant.


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Roy Lichtenstein

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BMW 320I, 1977

ne of the 20th century’s most celebrated pop artists, Roy Lichtenstein’s work on a Group 5-class BMW 320i has his signature pointillist style all over it. The work is meant to be a stylised depiction

of a passing countryside landscape, though the irony here is the racing 320i has never been on a public road, nor will it ever, considering it isn’t road legal. It’s a classic example of Lichtenstein’s tongue-incheek humour.

The racing 320i has never been on a public road.

Inset photo CHRISTIAN KAIN


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Andy Warhol BMW M1, 1979

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n 1979, the artist who is arguably modern art’s most recognisable name painted what is arguably BMW’s most iconic car, the M1. It would cap off an amazing five years, the BMW Art Car’s golden age where such personalities as Calder, Frank Stella,

Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol here would produce the project’s most famous cars. Warhol’s work on the M1 is done up in the artist’s irrepressible style in a riot of loud colours that are blurred to evoke a feeling of extreme speed.

Michael Jagamara Nelson and Ken Done

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his pair of BMW M3-based Art Cars couldn’t have come from more different places, yet are thoroughly representative of the two artists’ native country. Michael Nelson’s work is reflective of his roots, with stylised depictions of kangaroos and emus in earthy tones and in the style of Aboriginal rock and cave paintings. Ken Done used his trademark vibrant palette (pictured here) recalling parrots and parrot fish to put his unique spin on the concept of speed.

BMW M3, 1989

Ken Done photo BMW


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Jenny Holzer

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BMW V12 LMR, 1999 is starkly minimal, though no less

he cusp of the new millennium was a time of change and this was also reflected in the BMW Art Cars. Where her predecessors were artists, painters and sculptors in the traditional sense of the word, Holzer instead chose typography as her medium. The work she did on the V12 LMR race car

impactful than daring patterns and loud colours. “Protect me from what I want” is emblazoned across the top of the white car in reflective silver foil, the line possibly a cheeky nod to the car having to protect its occupants in the race team’s quest for Le Mans victory.

Eliasson’s work is meant to highlight the car’s role in climate change.

Olafur Eliasson

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BMW H2R, 2007

f you can believe it, there’s a car underneath Olafur Eliasson’s igloo-shaped sculpture. Specifically, the hydrogen-powered H2R experimental vehicle. Sculpted with a skeleton of metal and covered in ice, Eliasson’s work is meant to highlight the car’s role in climate change, transience and

Olafur Eliasson replaced the outer covering of the H2R prototype with a complex skin of two reflecting layers of superimposed metal spanning the body of the car.

the importance of renewable energy in automobile production. Interestingly enough, his contribution to the BMW Art Car project is quite possibly the least car-like of them all, given that it can’t move. Whether you feel if it even has a place in the series, you can’t deny it’s an exceptionally daring piece of work.


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Cao Fei

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BMW M6 GT3, 2017

he latest, 18th instalment of the BMW Art Car is, on the surface, its least inspiring. Cao’s work is presented on an M6 GT3 race car painted entirely in matte charcoal. While impressive in and of itself, it’s hardly likely to set hearts aflame. But use the dedicated augmented reality app and Cao’s creations come to life. Psychedelic swirls of colour surround the car, shifting as the smartphone/tablet is

moved around. Yet, without the aid of the app, the 18th Art Car is just an ordinary car. A brilliant exploration of the seen/unseen world and truly inspired. In keeping with the multimedia theme, Cao has also produced a short film featuring a time-travelling spiritual practitioner to accompany the car. w w w. a r t c a r. bmwgroup.com ≠

Photo BMW AND CAO FEI STUDIO


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THE GREAT COLLECTORS

In the Middle East, first families are re-energising the long-held royal tradition of art acquisition and reshaping their countries in the process. By JACKIE CARADONIO


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t was a pivotal moment in art-market history. Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players — one in a series of five known paintings — had achieved a landmark record, bringing in an unprecedented US$250 million through a private sale. The price was practically unimaginable, nearly double the previous record for any painting. But the biggest shock of the 2011 sale came nearly a year later, when the buyer was revealed to be an al-Thani. Three years later, the Qatari monarchy dropped jaws again, picking up Paul Gauguin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) in another private sale for US$300 million. Out of nowhere, the ruling family from the Middle East had become the art world’s biggest player. Royals, of course, have long been known as some of the planet’s most impassioned art collectors. Louis XIV was an obsessive patron of the decorative arts. Catherine the Great amassed tens of thousands


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of canvases, sculptures, tapestries and porcelain designs that now fill the Hermitage Museum. And the Royal Collection — acquired by successive British monarchs over the last 500 years — remains the largest private art collection in the world, with more than one million objects amassed since the reign of King Henry VIII. But the ageold practice of artistic acquisition has taken on new meaning in the modern-day Middle East, where relatively nascent ruling families are altering the art world. The al-Thani family isn’t alone in its voracious appetite for art. In Abu Dhabi, the ruling al-Nahyan family has amassed a vast collection of important Western and Arabian works, among them high-profile pieces by Mondrian, and Manet. Brunei’s Prince Jefri Bolkiah has been a notorious high roller in art-world circles, compiling major

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works that reportedly include at least 21 works by Degas. Royal family members from Saudi Arabia, Sharjah and Dubai have also emerged as active players in the international art scene. Much like royalty of days gone by, many of these families are funnelling their collections — and their money — into showstopping museums, foundations and institutions for their countries. Chief among them is Qatar, whose Qatar Museums Authority, led by Sheikha al-Mayassa, opened the

I M Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art in 2008. This year it will unveil the National Museum of Qatar, a Jean Nouvel masterpiece that will reportedly cost US$434 million (S$585 million) to complete. Abu Dhabi has lured starchitects — including Frank Gehry, Norman Foster and Nouvel — to its manmade Saadiyat Island to construct museums that include offshoots of the Guggenheim and Louvre. “The patronage of royal families has been about displays of power and wealth for centuries, and I suppose what you see going on in the Gulf is a little bit similar,” says Ed Dolman, CEO of Phillips auction house and former director for the Qatar Museums Authority. “More important to these countries, though, is that the rest of the world sees them as not just powerful, but as an important member of an international community.” ¬

The 2008 opening of Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art put the Qatari capital on the cultural map. Inset: Ed Dolman. Facing page: Paul Gauguin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?). Photos LOIS LAMMERHUBER, DYLAN THOMAS


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The al-Thani family isn’t alone in its voracious appetite for art. Photo DE AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES


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UNDER THE BLADE Japanese artist Noriko Ambe cuts straight to the art of the matter. By BEN CHIN

Photos EDWARD HENDRICKS


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or the first time in her career, New York-based Japanese artist Noriko Ambe has collaborated with the public to create the art installation currently showing at Aloft at Hermes - the luxury maison’s dedicated art space at its Liat Towers flagship boutique in Singapore. The site-specific installation, titled (Un)filtered Reflections, is based on a series of dialogues and workshops with high school students from Japan and Singapore and is open to public till 11 February. Ambe is perhaps most well-known for transformative sculptural work with books and paper; her medium of choice for this project is, aptly, school textbooks. The award-winning artist was inspired by a conversation with a friend in Singapore about the education system and how similar the immense pressures faced by Japanese and Singaporean students were. Fascinated by the scholastic struggles of the youth, Ambe decided that she, through

the artwork, would serve as the conduit for the children to express their inner voices. “Art can’t change the world directly, (but) art can connect deeply with your mind, to your feelings, and influence (you) little by little. (It’s) especially true for children,” she explains. She asked each student to pick a textbook that was meaningful to them and how she was to deal with them. “They can’t destroy the textbooks, but I did it for them,” she says with a laugh. Ambe’s paper-cutting is intricate and time-consuming. She compares it to the annual growth rings of a tree. “The shape (of my art) grows over time. Time shapes my work.” Layer by layer, she excavates the pages of the book she cuts, getting closer to the heart of her art. The work is methodical and repetitive. Is it meditative? “Yes, very much that. I think it’s a very important part. If I have stress in daily life, I go to my studio and just work. When my (heart was broken),


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Starting her framework from as early as March last year, Noriko Ambe sought answers from 15-year-old students from School of the Arts in Singapore and Furukawa Junior High School in Japan.

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for example, it didn’t affect my work. My work is just itself. When 9/11 happened, my friends were there. I was living there two years ago - I had made lots of friends, it was very happy. And suddenly, the memory just collapsed; it was so shocking. I needed to heal myself. After my part-time job, I came back at night and started drawing but it became too big for my paper.” So she started cutting. “It started looking like the Grand Canyon. No walls, no boundaries, no borders,” she says before pausing, looking thoughtful. “Like John Lennon,” she adds with a giggle. That piece, Linear-Action: Lines of Emptiness, became her grandest project and took almost two years to complete. Conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer was instrumental

“Gradually, 2D became not enough. I found very thick sketch books and started cutting.” in her journey. Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in oil painting, Ambe grew disillusioned with her artistry, feeling the medium of choice was insufficient to express her true imaginary landscape. She took a break from showing her works and decided to travel to Italy for, in her own words, “rehabilitation” - an artist residency to rediscover herself. That was where she met Camnitzer. On her flight to Europe, Ambe found herself drawn to the scene outside her


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A VISUAL SMORGASBORD Aloft at Hermes is one of five Fondation d’entreprise Hermes art spaces around the globe. We look back at art exhibitions that have enthralled art lovers in Singapore. Oneness by Minjung Kim (27 April to 30 July 2017) The Reflection-themed exhibition is Fondation d’entreprise Hermes’ first contemporary ink-painting presentation. Korean artist Minjung Kim’s hypnotic, abstract pieces are based on traditional Taoist beliefs, resulting in calming, Zen mountainscapes that draw the viewer within. Here from Here by Agathe de Bailliencourt (28 October 2016 to 5 February 2017) Being present - that is what French artist Agathe de Balliencourt tackled in this installation. Comprising

plane window. “I saw these beautiful clouds and I just wanted to melt into the natural world. I felt like I had discovered myself. So, I focused on the details of nature like the rings of the tree, ripples on the surface of the water. Gradually, 2D became not enough. I found very thick sketch books and started cutting.” Although her work Kiru - Artist Books Project, where she takes her knife to the books and catalogues of her fellow artists, might be seen as provocative or even controversial, the soft-spoken artist is emphatic that she has nothing but profound respect for the material. Before the first cut is made, Ambe first studies the books closely. Though the act of cutting might seem like creative censorship, Ambe sees it more like a personal dialogue between artists, rather than asserting a dominant point of view. “I see myself as more of a filter, a mirror. I’m not interested in expressing myself through cutting. It’s more shamanistic in a way. I’m the medium expressing an energy.” www.norikoambe.com. ≠

individually painted gravel pieces, layered and arranged to form an abstract landscape, Here from Here references a Japanese Zen garden, offering a moment or situation of being there, or better, here – a physical place and a moment in time. How to Disappear into a Rainbow by Dawn Ng (20 May to 14 August 2016) Singapore artist Dawn Ng takes inspiration from renowned French art figure Yves Klein for her kaleidoscopic installation of pastel blocks and mirror panels, creating a charming world of colour and wonder. Viewers were invited to wander through the

pieces

as

a

journey of discovery and imagination.


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CITY OF CULTURE How Los Angeles has become an unlikely creative capital. By CAROLINE ROUX


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W Frank Gehry designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

hen the team in charge of Pacific Standard Time (PST) – a huge event offering 70 art exhibitions all around the Los Angeles area – started looking for a theme for its 2017 edition a few years ago, the relationship between Los Angeles, its Latino communities and Latin America felt like a good line of enquiry. It delivered its own snappy title, too: LA/LA, as in Los Angeles/Latin America. But by the time it opened in September, with the country’s controversial new president in place, it could hardly have been more appropriate. “I don’t think we ever imagined quite how relevant it would become,” says Deborah Marrow, the director of the Getty Foundation, which has co-funded and -organised this proliferation of art offerings. “We have something to thank Trump for – he did our marketing for us!” But there’s even more to the Los Angeles art scene than PST. New commercial galleries have gradually come to town. A beautiful version of the respected German business Sprueth Magers has taken up


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residency in an elegant 1960s building opposite the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (itself undergoing a staggering Peter Zumthor-designed reworking). A real Arts District has sprung up, taking the lead from Mara McCarthy’s The Box, which took over the former industrial space of fashion designer Michele Lamy in 2007. (Mara is the daughter of radical LA artist Paul McCarthy, Lamy the partner of fashion designer Rick Owens.) Ever since the Broad museum opened two years ago in Downtown, locals have happily queued for 90 minutes to gain entry to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, an immersive world of endless reflection and top-level Instagramability. “People are incredibly engaged here, we’re feeding a real need and a deep interest,” says Graham Steele, senior director of Hauser & Wirth,

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“People are incredibly engaged here, we’re feeding a real need and a deep interest.” From above: artist Carlos Cruz-Diez’s street installation at the Broad for PST; the Institute of Contemporary Art is located in a converted clothing factory on the edge of the Arts District.

Photos TRACEY GOLONKA, CARLOS CRUZ-DIEZ

the leading commercial art gallery – with spaces in Zurich, London, Somerset and New York – that in 2016 gambled on opening a radically new kind of operation near The Box. The LA variant combines food, craft shopping and exhibitions. “It’s a completely different model,” says Steele. “The idea is to come, have dinner, buy a book, then see a museum-quality show.” The Art District, which spreads out around E 3rd Street, is walkable, amenable and expanding. The LA Institute of Contemporary Art has a home nearby – and has given a room over to fashion designer Christina Kim, of the label Dosa, who has decorated its walls with delicate fabrics and made artefacts for sale.


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“If Hailey Baldwin or Kylie Jenner wears something, it matters more than any advertisement or magazine shoot.”

By spring, both Dover Street Market – the fashionista favourite run by Comme des Garcons – and Spring Studios (top-level photographic facilities and a members’ club) will have opened nearby. The New York label Phillip Lim has moved to the area,with a shop mixing fashion and design. In LA, where the movie business is still the business, other arts are happy to mingle. At the ultra-high-end Just One Eye, which occupies Howard Hawks’ old art deco studio off the beaten track in Hollywood,

From above: Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away by Yayoi Kusama; Active Object by Brazilian artist Willys de Castro at PST.

Yayoi Kusama photo CATHY CARVER

owner Paola Russo shows her notinsignificant art collection (major works include life-sized sculptures by the manga-inspired Takashi Murakami) alongside labels such as Alexandre Vauthier and the hardto-find Beau Souci. What is more, the city that was once considered a fashion desert is becoming a destination and having a marked effect on current trends. “It’s the influence of celebrity culture,” says CharlesWorthington, part of the team at Just One Eye. “If Hailey Baldwin or Kylie Jenner wears something, it matters


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“For a long time, much of high fashion’s inspiration has come from LA street style – from rock and roll to hippie dresses.”

more than any advertisement or magazine shoot. LA is central to the market now.” Burberry took notice and hosted its most lavish event to date at Griffith Observatory in 2015, and in 2016 Louis Vuitton hired 200 limos to ferry guests to a show in Palm Springs. Last October, Dior defied logistics by staging a star-dusted event in the Santa Monica mountains. When Haider Ackermann took over as creative director at the classic menswear brand Berluti recently, he opted to open his first store in Beverly Hills. “For a long time, much of high fashion’s inspiration has come from LA street style – from rock and roll style at Saint Laurent to athleisure to hippie dresses,” says Vincent, a young stylist I’m introduced to fresh from a shoot with January Jones. “It’s only now that the city’s gaining credibility.” In truth, designers from Europe’s major fashion houses have been scavenging the huge reserves

in the city’s many excellent vintage stores for “research ” samples for years. But now the secret is out. Here’s the Los Angeles lowdown on where to stay, shop, eat and drink.

THE HOTELS Chateau Marmont (www. chateaumarmont.com), aka The Chateau, is a haven of delight. As a civilian, you are welcome into

its celebrity-infested waters – nonresidents can access the gorgeous terrace – but mind your manners. Taking photos or tweeting will not be tolerated. The cottages, at US$685 (S$922) to US$785 a night – with a bedroom, living room and kitchen around the oval pool – are definitely shabby chic. Room 64 offers two bedrooms and marble hallways. Montage (www.montagehotels. com) is the major hotel in the shopping heartland of Beverly Hills – Rodeo Drive is on the doorstep. The decor here is classic American beige. The Americanfare restaurant, Georgie, is led by author and TV personality chef Geoffrey Zakarian. The hotel also boasts a secret bar, £10 (with a US$50 minimum spend per person), which specialises in Macallan single malt.

THE LUNCH STOPS It would be quite wrong to visit LA without stopping by the blush-pink Hotel Bel-Air (www. dorchestercollection.com) in its


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This and facing pages: Montage Beverly Hills is situated just one block away from the world-renowned luxury retailers, restaurants and celeb-spotting of Rodeo Drive.

uniquely bucolic setting. Lunch at Wolfgang Puck ’s indoor-outdoor restaurant is the perfect excuse: it’s on the way to the Getty, too . Manuela (www. manuela-la.com) is one of the hottest spots in town and part of the Hauser & Wirth campus that includes art galleries and a store

Lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s indoor-outdoor restaurant is the perfect excuse. selling books and crafts. Go for an entirely vegetarian meal (roasted cauliflower, crudites, bitter greens Caesar salad) or the heartier

possibilities of pulledpork sandwiches and deer burgers.

THE DINNER VENUES

Some of the best seafood in town is served at Michael Cimarusti’s Providence (providencela.com), a low-key dining room on Melrose Avenue filled with gentle, grey-suited waiters and


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dedicated foodies. Spanner crab, snapper sashimi, salt-roasted spot prawns … It’s tasting menus only, but of the sort that create happiness rather than a sense of being taken hostage by a chef’s ego. Nothing is more LA than Gracias Madre (graciasmadreweho. com), a madly chic Mexican serving exclusively vegetarian and vegan dishes. Wash down a coconut ceviche with a kiwi-fruit margarita. Patina (www.patinagroup.com) is a useful Downtown dining spot, on the ground floor of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and opposite the Broad museum. In the spirit of unbridled fusion, it roams around Japan, Mexico and South California – squash-blossom tempura, cod with poblano peppers – but stylishly.

COCKTAIL SPOT The Four Seasons Windows Lounge (www.fourseasons.com) is as plush and expensive as the Four Seasons name suggests, but relaxed, too. It’s perhaps due to the huge terrace and the heady cocktails (such as La Condesa – with tequila, mezcal, hibiscus and a Tajin rim), and that there’s no hurry. It doesn’t close till 1am.

LATE-NIGHT DRINKS Dinner done and set on a last hurrah? Head for the pretty glamour of Perch (perchla.com) in Downtown and its twinkly outdoor terrace with superb city

Mexican influences are evident in the bar’s decorative tiling as well as the cuisine (facing page, above) served at Gracias Madre.

views. Or go rock and roll at the luxurious and legendary Sunset Marquis (sunsetmarquis.com) in West Hollywood, designed with Mediterranean villas in mind. A music-industry favourite, it should come as no surprise to bump into Courtney Love or John Mayer in its tiny Bar 1200. Photo KELLY BROWN

THE PLACES TO SEE The jewel in Los Angeles’s cultural crown, The Getty’s (www.getty.edu) elaborate campus on a hill contains four exhibition spaces. Unmissable is Golden Kingdoms (until 28 January), a show of incredible artefacts from the ancient tribes of the Americas, dating from 1000BC until the Europeans came along in the 16th century. The Arts District (www. artsdistrictla.org), around E 3rd


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Street. In one morning you can take in Hauser & Wirth, The Box, The ICA, the Phillip Lim store and the vibe, and all on foot! A r t i s t- cent r ic and unconventional, Hammer (hammer. ucla.edu) is a public art gallery with an edge – and an excellent cafe. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (www.lacma.org) is most fun on a Friday night (open till 8pm) when locals gather in droves in its public piazza for music and food. Next door, see the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (www. academymuseum.org) rising from the ground – the Oscar-giving organisation’s first museum, which will include a 1,000-seat cinema.

THE PLACES TO SHOP Just One Eye (justoneeye.com) is an exceptional edit of fashion and

Find everything from top-of-therange Dries Van Noten for women to the amazing , high-end OAMC streetwear for men, as well as local LA designers. The treasure house of Los Angeles vintage is Shareen Vintage (1721 N Spring Street): no changing rooms, but endless amazing finds. Everyone knows Rodeo Drive,

but don’t miss South Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, full of eclectic shops and fine-dining options.

THE EVENT Pacific Standard Time (www.getty. edu) consists of 70 exhibitions all over the LA area,and runs until the end of January. It promises to leave a city-wide art legacy .

In one morning you can take in Hauser & Wirth, The Box, The ICA, the Phillip Lim store and the vibe, and all on foot! art that gets its name from its curatorial process. Paola Russo, who was once creative director at Ann Demeulemeester, takes Polaroids from the fashion shows and selects all the pieces locked in a room on her own. Autocracy at its most effective. There’s a very Californian mix at Mohawk General Store (www. mohawkgeneralstore.com), a onestop shop in fashionable Silver Lake.

HOW TO GET AROUND While Los Angeles has a burgeoning transport system, cars are still the best way to see the city. Uber works very well here, but for a rather more bespoke service, try Motev (motev.com), a Tesla-only car service, started up by Robert Gaskill, who used to drive exclusively for Morgan Freeman. ≠ Gracias Madre photo ERIC WOLFINGER


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The 2015 vintage is a blend of 87 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, giving the wine a sweet and full flavour with a hint of natural spice. Facing page: Paul Pontallier.

MESSAGE ON A BOTTLE Chateau Margaux unveils a special one-off design for its 2015 vintage. Photo GILLES DE BEAUCHENE, FRANCOIS POINCET/VIGNERON


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hateau Margaux has unveiled a glitzy – and one-off – bottle design for its 2015 Grand Vin (approximately £1,000, S$1,800). The vintage was the last to be made by Paul Pontallier, the estate’s managing director and a respected figure in Bordeaux. Pontallier died at the age of 59 in March 2016 after 33 years at Margaux. He is remembered in the new design, which also celebrates the bicentenary of Margaux’s architecture and the new chai designed by Norman Foster. “For us it’s a really special thing, the first time we’ve ever done a special bottle. It will probably never be done again,” says Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos, daughter of Corinne Mentzelopoulos, who has owned the Chateau Margaux estate since 1977. “We wanted to wait to see if the vintage would be exceptional, and it is, because it needed to be a good one to celebrate this great person who for three and a half decades made Chateau Margaux what it is today.” Pontallier was one of the great names in wine. He arrived at Margaux in 1983, at the age of just 27, and rapidly developed an excellent working relationship with its proprietor. Together they revitalised the chateau, never losing

By VICTORIA MOORE

sight of the elegance of Margaux’s style, willing to experiment, but never implementing change for the sake of novelty or faddishness. The family spirit has continued with the next generation. PetitMentzelopoulos works in the family business as deputy general manager

and she was joined at the London launch of the commemorative bottle by Thibault Pontallier, Paul’s son from his first marriage. The two have not just worked together for years, they grew up together too. “Margaux was my playground,” says Thibault. “I used to go see the coopers and they’d make weapons for me, and I would scare my parents by hiding from them in the cellars and vineyard.” Thibault first moved away from Bordeaux, working stints at the UN, in an orphanage in Vietnam and as

a sales assistant in a New York wine shop before, “my father said, ‘wait a minute, if you’re really interested in wine, we’re looking for someone to look after Asia.’” He then moved to Hong Kong to represent Margaux in Asia, returning every year to Bordeaux for the en primeur tastings. He describes his father as, “like the wine, very elegant, always reading a different book every day. The greatest man on earth. A great winemaker, but an even better father. I loved working with him. The Mentzelopolous family was very beautiful to put his name on the 2015 bottle but yes, I do think his name deserves to be there.” The newly launched bottle is decorated with a grey and gold silk screen print of the chateau and its cellars, with the words, “Hommage a Paul Pontallier” picked out in gold. Perhaps, though, it’s the wine that pays the best tribute of all to the man. The 2015 Chateau Margaux is a stand-out wine even for a first growth. Poised but also compact with fierce energy that will take years to unfurl, it was given a score of 98-100 by Neal Martin when tasted en primeur. “Beg for a bottle and worry about the cost later,” he wrote. www.chateau-margaux.com ≠


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PERFECTED BY HAND

The 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst is an excellent example of pure horological art. Photo LANGE UHREN


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A Lange & Sohne’s Handwerkskunst collection delves deep into the traditional watchmaking arts.

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By CELINE YAP

inishing at the A Lange & Sohne manufacture is something taken very seriously but not without pleasure. Every movement made here comes adorned with classic Glashutte ribbing, black polishing, bevelling and chamfering, as well as A Lange & Sohne hallmarks like the blued screws with gold chatons and the hand-engraved balance cock. As they’re so intricately decorated, all A Lange & Sohne timepieces are masterpieces in their own right but still the manufacture strives for more, and this is where the Handwerkskunst collection comes in. Handwerkskunst is German for ‘craftsmanship’ and this is what the collection is all about. Ultra-rare and straight-up awe-inspiring, these watches have been finished and decorated to a level far beyond the usual (already very high) A Lange &


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Since 2011, A Lange & Sohne has made six limited-edition watches bearing the Handwerkskunst fine label.

In the Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite Handwerkskunst, elaborate horological complications are enriched with lavish dial and movement decorations.

Sohne standard – yes there’s no such thing as too much finishing. Indeed, if an A Lange & Sohne watch died and went to heaven, this will be its final resting place. Since 2011, A Lange & Sohne has made six limited-edition watches bearing the Handwerkskunst fine label. Beginning with the Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite Handwerkskunst, the manufacture worked with its uniquely soughtafter honey-coloured gold, using it for the case as well as the dial. Here, A Lange & Sohne debuted a traditional decorative technique known as tremblage, where a burin leaves indentations all over the surface in eight directions, resulting in a threedimensional satin finish. All 15 pieces made were sold out at the launch. Following the Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite, A Lange & Sohne turned to its latest and most advanced watch, the Zeitwerk. Widely opined to be the most controversial A Lange & Sohne timepiece if there ever was one, the Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst showed how modernity and tradition may


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The Lange Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst celebrates Saxon artisanship at its very finest.

coexist flawlessly. Once again, the tremblage technique was used all over the dial, this time in white gold. What proved to be a formidable challenge for the engraver was the A Lange & Sohne logo displayed over a curved arc and the filigreed lettering of the power reserve indicator – one false move and the entire dial would be ruined. This 30-piece limited edition was

One false move and the entire dial would be ruined.

cased in platinum while the time bridge was crafted out of solid German silver. Next to be given the Handwerkskunst treatment was the iconic Lange 1 and the manufacture opted to work on the immensely complicated Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. In addition to tremblage, there is also the classic art of relief handengraving applied to the white


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gold dial and, for the first time, the numerals of the famous outsized date display were painted by hand, the beauty of which simply cannot be overstated. Cased in platinum, A Lange & Sohne made only 15 of these eye-wateringly gorgeous timepieces. Continuing with the Lange 1, the manufacture celebrated the 20th anniversary of this iconic timepiece by releasing the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst, which had an astonishing black enamel dial enclosed in a platinum case.

veered off the beaten path just a little more and ended up with the 1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst. Unlike the standard 1815 Tourbillon, this version had a blackrhodiumed pink gold dial decorated with tremblage engraving, while relief elements like the brand logo and hour numerals are polished to a mirror gloss. That striking contrast between the polished gold and satin grey surfaces left many collectors dizzy with desire, but only 30 were lucky enough to call it theirs. After the 1815 Tourbillon, A Lange & Sohne took a year-long

For the first time, the numerals of the famous outsized date display were painted by hand. The famous eccentric-shaped tourbillon window follows the curves of the off-centred dial, so does the tourbillon bridge which, in a stroke of horological genius, was black polished yet it stands in striking contrast to the dial. The movement, too, received additional decorative touches instead of the usual Glashutte ribbing, truly earning this 20-watch limited edition the Handwerkskunst epithet. For 2015, a year when A Lange & Sohne commemorated the 200th birthday of its founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the manufacture

Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst is lavishly decorated with tremblage and a manually executed three-dimensional relief engraving.

hiatus, but returned in 2017 with the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst, a timepiece well worth the wait. The dial and hinged caseback consist of blue enamelled white gold with relief hand-engraving, bringing a completely new technique into the collection. This 20-watch limited edition is the first Handwerkskunst model that combines enamel art and engraving on the dial, which is made of white gold. Over the back, the hunter-style caseback bears an engraving of the moon goddess Luna and it shields the


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sapphire crystal glass sitting above the movement, also beautifully decorated with tremblage and relief engraved stars. Chronograph lovers will obviously swoon over the 631-part manufacture calibre L101.1. To build a watch is engineering, but crafting a timepiece is pure artisanship. With such incredible masterpieces behind its name, A Lange & Sohne definitely puts the tick in artistic. www.alange-soehne.com â‰

The caseback is covered by a hinged cuvette decorated with the ancient mythological personification of the moon – Luna. Photos LANGE UHREN


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PAINT MY LOVE

Miniature enamelling is a disappearing art and as its fate lies in the artisans who have dedicated their whole lives to perfecting it, maybe there’s hope yet for this timehonoured Genevan tradition. By CELINE YAP Photo DAVID MARCHON


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A

s fine as it is rare, t r a d it ion a l h a nd enamelling is a bona fide treasure in modern watchmaking. Indeed, when it comes to dial finishing, nothing comes close to timehonoured enamel and the best examples today are made by the gifted hands of Suzanne Rohr and Anita Porchet. For numerous watch aficionados, Rohr and Porchet are the two remaining grand high masters of the trade and their creations, recognised as the creme de la creme, are much sought-after. In November 2017, their immense talent and contributions to luxury watchmaking were officially lauded when the pair was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.

From above: Piaget Rose Passion; Suzanne Rohr. Facing page: Hermes Tyger Tyger.

into her own. Many of Rohr’s dials take several months, or as long as two years, to complete. To date, she’s made approximately 100 enamels and of these, 26 are lovingly preserved in the Patek Philippe Museum. Some auction houses have, on occasion, had the rare pleasure to come across her work. In 2005, Sotheby’s sold a gold open-faced pocket watch that has a caseback decorated with a Gustave Courbet painting depicting Chateau de Chillon, signed by Rohr and dated 1978. The estimate was €15,000 to €20,000, but the final price was €50,400 including buyer’s premium. Rendered with striking detail, it is an outstanding showcase of Rohr’s speciality, the Geneva Technique, which is miniature painting with grand feu enamel. Now in her 70s, Rohr remains

Many of Rohr’s dials take several months, or as long as two years, to complete. Rohr, who is notoriously private and media-shy, stepped into the spotlight for the first time in her career which spanned over five decades. In her time, she has trained numerous enamellers and the most prodigious of all is Porchet, who is Rohr’s own protege and one who has indisputably come

an independent artist although since 2009 she had dedicated all of her time to just one watch company: Patek Philippe. Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe, relates in a 2013 interview with WorldTempus that it takes 20 years as an apprentice to even come close to being a grand feu miniature


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enameller, and that today the art is mastered by Rohr alone. Yet as age catches up with her, Rohr is slowing down. “A piece that once took her a year now takes two,” says Stern, and this is perhaps

Porchet works independently; she has her own studio in the canton of Vaud and a small team of apprentices working together as they learn – or learning together as they work. Enamelling, like all

art, is a lifelong pursuit. One could become a master of it, but could one ever truly master it? Even Porchet herself hesitates to make such a claim. Some of her best-known works

Porchet began her career in the 1980s and trained directly under Rohr. where Porchet comes in. Sharing the award with Rohr, Porchet began her career in the 1980s and trained directly under Rohr, so one could say that she learned from none but the very best. But unlike her teacher, and indeed all her predecessors, Porchet is accomplished in all the different enamelling techniques: cloisonne, champleve, plique-a-jour, grisaille, paillonee and miniature painting.

From above: Porchet (in green) and Suzanne Rohr at the November ceremony; Porchet.

are the earliest paillonee enamel dials for Jaquet Droz. Porchet uses decades-old vintage paillons (gold leaves) which she had painstakingly collected over years, making the timepieces doubly rare. Porchet also works with Patek Philippe, producing its famous dome clocks, and had also produced the beautiful trio in Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers d’Art Florilege collection. Together with her team, she had


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also made special pieces for Piaget and Hermes. Porchet’s enamels can be easily identified as they all bear her initials. Obviously enamel dials made by her own hands are priced at a premium to those made by her apprentices. The unique Hermes Arceau Tyger Tyger, for instance, was priced at S$131,600 as compared to the Slim d’Hermes Dans Un Jardin Anglais which was listed at S$84,400 and Slim d’Hermes Promenade De Longchamp, at S$91,600. With the demand for enamel timepieces far outstripping supply,

Porchet used 19thcentury botanical texts to help her decorate the dials of Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers d’Art Florilege.

it’s no wonder that the industry’s biggest brands have wasted no time investing in the craft and nurturing it among younger artisans. Many have already established in-house teams or opened institutions dedicated to reviving the traditional

metiers d’arts. Yet the gulf between the old masters like Rohr and Porchet and the newcomers will always remain palpable. For watch collectors, there are real concerns. With a new generation of enamellers in the market, supply will increase and prices may go down but only for the new watches, while enamels made by great masters will become increasingly valuable. Although commendable, by thrusting Rohr and Porchet into the limelight, the guys behind the Geneva Grand Prix just might have accelerated the inevitable. ≠


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CULINARY ARTS

Two celebrated chefs in Singapore speak of how they blend their twin passions for art and food in their restaurants. By CHARMAINE TAI

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he gastronomy scene is one locals are familiar with. We have the Michelin guide, food apps on our phones and our conversations inevitably revolve around our next meal. But just how much do we know about the chefs? Do they have other creative passions? We speak to two chefs who each share a similar love for art. We’re not referring to the dishes they create during working hours, but instead, what they do outside of work. While Gabriel Fratini, owner and chef of Domvs by Gabriel Fratini at Sheraton Towers Singapore could well be a recognised painter in his own right, Leong Chee Yeng, executive chef at Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, continues to hone his craft as a ceramic artist and dough sculptor.


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LEONG CHEE YENG

I

Executive chef at Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

grew up in a family of artists. My brothers are all artists, and being the youngest, I always looked up to them and followed what they did. Having studied in a Chinese school, we learnt Chinese calligraphy and used ink, brushes and paper. Somehow, I always knew I would be a chef one day. I used my calligraphy skills to ‘paint’ on plates. By then, I had learnt to make sugar, butter, ice and dough sculptures. I also picked up pottery. It started when I represented Pan Pacific hotel at the Food & Hotel Asia exhibition in 1990. In 1993, I decided to make my own plate to showcase my petit four dish. One of my brothers who went to pottery school then taught me how to make my own plate. It turned out looking like the sole of a rubber shoe, and I didn’t use it for the competition. But that got me hooked and once I started, I couldn’t stop. I even bought a kiln for my home. I made teacups, bowls, everything. I did want to go for

In addition to helming the kitchen at Jade, Leong Chee Yeng also creates delicate decorations using food sources such as gelatin.

pottery classes and I found one in Kampong Glam Community Club. I’m now a member there. I go around twice a week, it’s part of my life. I enjoy making pottery that has texture. I discovered an interesting method for doing this – I run the clay under water for a second, and it cracks. Some methods of painting are difficult as some types of paint don’t stick on the clay. I’ve painted on paper, plates, and now, I paint my ceramic work. I’ve made over 1,000 pieces and my most treasured piece is one I made for my daughter. It has Chinese words, which mean ‘double happiness’, and I designed the characters to represent a boy and a girl. The mountains in the background mean ‘I have the mountain, and the mountain has me’. I want my daughter to know that she will always have me. I am the mountain she can lean and rely on. This will be her wedding gift. She is still young, though, and doesn’t know I’ve made this for her.


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GABRIEL FRATINI

I

Owner and chef of Domvs by Gabriel Fratini at Sheraton Towers Singapore

started painting when I was about 12. My father wanted me to be a bricklayer or mechanic, and my art teacher encouraged me to go to an art school, but that meant I had to study other subjects too. I wasn’t skilled in the academic department, instead excelling only in sports and painting. My family was also too poor to send me to college. I thought to myself, ‘I won’t have problems feeding myself if I learn how to cook’. And so I went to culinary school when I was 14. After graduation, I worked in Switzerland, France, UK, Italy and Hong Kong. I made the move to Singapore in 1988 to open Domvs.

Gabriel Fratini immortalised his grandfather in this portrait, simply entitled My Grandpa.

When I first started painting, I wanted to mimic Van Gogh’s work. He was my favourite artist. But as time went by, I painted whatever I felt like. Today, I paint everything, from faces and houses to scenery. I don’t use brushes. I take the acrylic paint with my fingers and paint. Sometimes, I use plaster to add texture. I guess I’m allowed to explore all forms of painting because it’s not my occupation. If I had to do it for a living, then perhaps I would specialise in something. Funnily enough, while I treat my plates as canvases, I don’t paint food and dishes I’ve created. I’ve probably painted over 1,000

“I don’t use brushes. I take the acrylic paint with my fingers and paint.” I did a collection of six paintings for the restaurant and we made prints of them as a ‘thank you’ gift for diners. A year later, when Sheraton renovated the rooms, they took 20 of my original paintings, reprinted them and placed them in the 400odd rooms. The prints are now gone, but they kept two paintings, which are still hanging in the lobby.

paintings, and I don’t know where most of them are as I’ve given many away. But it doesn’t matter to me. I keep the ones I love. My favourite painting to date is kept at my house in Italy. It’s a painting of my grandfather when he was still alive, I did it in 1991. He has passed on, and the painting is how I remember him. ¬


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DIGITAL NATIVE With seemingly limitless potential for the growth of online auctions, Aaron De Silva asks Ben Clark of Christie’s Asia if they would one day supersede live auctions.

I

Ben Clark (inset) says many Asia-based collectors focus their collections on 20th-century western artists, such as Pablo Picasso. Shown here is Picasso’s Hibou from 1953.

t pays to have first-mover advantage. In 2011, Christie’s was the first major global auction house to stage an online sale, part of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor. Items like jewellery, fashion and film memorabilia belonging to the Hollywood diva went up for grabs. Not surprisingly, every item sold. Spurred by this enthusiasm and keen to cultivate a new sales channel, Christie’s invested US$50 million (S$67.4 million) to develop a dedicated online bidding platform. The investment paid off handsomely. The number of online auctions grew from seven in 2012 to 118 in 2016, across multiple categories. That’s an average of two a week and the number is set


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to rise. However, Ben Clark, deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia, says that the focus is not on the growth in number of sales, “but rather in tightly curating both the quality and price points of artworks as well as the value of each sale”. Here, he provides insights into this fast-growing sector of the art world. How does Christie’s decide which pieces are suitable for sale online and which are better suited to live auctions? When a piece comes to Christie’s for consignment, a decision is made about where the piece will sell best geographically and then by which sales channel – live auction, online only or private sale. Weighed in that decision is also the consignor’s timeline. We know what our buyers are looking

Robb Report

for in terms of art and objects and we create a sales calendar across all channels that will offer our clients what they are looking for when they are looking for it. For me, a great example of this demand-led curation is the consistent success of our now regular, online Picasso Ceramic auctions; in November 2017, all 78 lots were sold, raising US$1,418,125. Is there a typical demographic for online auctions? And how does this compare to the demographic for live auctions? Fortunately there is no standard buyer at Christie’s – in any of our sales channels. The online auction platform makes Christie’s accessible to all collectors wherever they are based and whatever their age, although it’s not surprising that 41

per cent of new buyers to our online platform are under the age of 45. What else does the data reveal about buyers who buy online? Do they come from emerging or established markets? What happens once they “discover” the world of auctions – do they continue bidding/ buying online, or do they “graduate” to live auctions? Online-only sales continue to attract the largest number of new buyers to Christie’s (29 per cent). In the first half of 2017, visitors to Christie’s online sales came from 180 countries, with strong growth from Asian buyers (up 25 per cent year-on-year) and 62 per cent of all buyers having bought online at Christie’s previously. What’s been interesting to observe is that more than a quarter of those who purchase in the online space and


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who buy from us again, do so in the ‘physical’ auction room. Are all categories available in online auctions? Not all categories are available through online auctions. Responding to demand, we have found that for online auctions, wine, jewellery, photographs, luxury goods (including handbags), decorative arts, prints, Chinese works of art, as well as artworks by top artists such as Andy Warhol, Picasso, Edward Ruscha, Richard Serra and Francis Bacon do consistently well. Was there ever a psychological price barrier that once prevented clients from buying online? Quality objects will always sell whatever the price or sales platform. Psychologically, rather than price, it’s about accessibility; we are lowering the barriers to entry so that collectors in all locations have greater access to the art and objects they want to collect, and importantly also to the trusted expertise that will help them make informed buying decisions. In the first half of 2017, our online sell-through rates by lot increased to 81 per cent, with the average price per lot at US$7,222, showing the appetite of our online buyers. What is Christie’s record for any artwork/ category purchased in an online auction? In May 2014, Pamuk by Serra realised US$905,000 in the Online: PostWar & Contemporary Art sale. This is still the Christie’s record

“Quality objects will always sell whatever the price or sales platform.” Picasso’s Vase with Two High Handles was sold for US$60,000 in New York at a 2011 sale, while his Le dejeuner sur l’herbe (facing page) achieved US$137,500 online last November.

for a lot sold in an online auction. Do you think sales from online auctions will ever surpass sales from live auctions? The simple beauty is that both platforms, while very different, are complementary. We believe there is huge growth potential in online sales because we know how many potential clients exist across the globe. It would be geographically and logistically impossible to service this group through our traditional auctions. The traditional auction environment has been the venue of choice to buy and sell works of art for 250 years and we do not anticipate that its appeal will be diluted by the availability and accessibility offered by online. If anything, the growth of new buyers from online will cement the future of the live auction arena. What digital innovations/services can we expect from Christie’s? I believe the future narrative of the art market will be written by Asian collectors, so whatever innovations and services we have will need to be relevant, in terms of content and interface, to Asian and Western collectors alike. We’ve recently launched augmented reality capabilities through the Christie’s mobile app, where cutting-edge technology provides an immersive visual experience and a hyper-real view of every brushstroke and intimate detail of the masterpieces offered in our sales. www.christies.com ≠


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In Cloud Cities, Tomas Saraceno explored the geometry of nature via an aerial structure at Chateau de Versailles.

PARIS RENDEZVOUS

Last October, the 44th edition of the FIAC international contemporary art fair at the Grand Palais in Paris was marked by record sales and an increase in attendance. We bring you five important points to take away from the show.

F

By DIONNE BEL

rom 18 to 22 October 2017, FIAC recorded 73,910 admissions from 57 countries over five days, representing a 2.5 per cent increase on 2016’s figures, while its offsite programme at venues across

Paris welcomed more than 500,000 visitors. Attracting 193 young and established galleries from 30 countries presenting more than 3,000 artists in the heart of Paris, it even accommodated exhibitors from seven new countries,

Photos MARC DOMAGE


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including Singapore. The high calibre of collectors translated into robust sales: the White Cube almost sold out within the first few hours, and works by the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Georg Baselitz, and Anish Kapoor were quickly snapped up. Representatives of the world’s greatest art institutions, such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum and

Guggenheim Foundation as well as Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art were seen strolling the aisles. The FIAC is the largest artistic event in France. Created in 1974, this veteran of art fairs has resisted the hegemony of the Anglo-Saxon market, showing it has what it takes to stand up to younger fairs like Frieze London and that its heritage and history can be assets.

It was previously a fair that was largely forgotten, but its programming has become increasingly rich and developed. The 2017 edition united the largest geographical palette of works ever – never has it so broadly represented international contemporary creation – and firmly inscribed it on the calendar of the most important fairs in the world.


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FIVE TAKEAWAYS

From left: Jeanne by JeanLuc Moulene (foreground) and Still Life (Mermaid’s Purse) by Wolfgang Tillmans; humorous drawings by David Shrigley.

PARIS IS BACK Paris is no longer viewed as a city to avoid. Jennifer Flay, director of the FIAC, noted that an important Australian collector mentioned that he would come to Paris for the FIAC. The energy and enthusiasm at the latest FIAC were palpable and hadn’t been witnessed in years. With that being said, the art market has slowed down and some medium-sized galleries in France have shut their doors, but more so in Berlin, London and New York. Flay told The Art Daily News: “The gallery market is following in the footsteps of auction market sales with 20 per cent less volume. We are going through a natural correction, yet business is being made in all fields, including emerging art ... The overall slower

pace of the market still allows for success stories.”

OUTDOOR & OFFSITE ITINERARY Never has the FIAC presented so much art outside of the Grand

The energy and enthusiasm at the latest FIAC were palpable. Palais, with over 70 artworks in public spaces in 2017, including at Place Vendome, Eugene Delacroix Museum and Centre Pompidou. Almost 30 sculptures and architectural pieces were scattered throughout the Tuileries Garden,

including Folkert de Jong’s trio of patinated bronze statues of Henry VIII at different stages of life and Gilles Barbier’s giant red die in thermo-coated aluminium set against a rock. Avenue Winston Churchill was temporarily pedestrianised again with artworks by the likes of Jaume Plensa, Pablo Reinoso and Barry Flanagan, and a highlight in the Petit Palais garden was the 8 Gods series of partially or totally veiled antique and sacred figures in glazed stoneware by Johan Creten, a pioneer in the revival of clay in contemporary art.

RETURN OF DESIGN The FIAC was the first contemporary art fair to exhibit works of design in 2004, but stopped six years later because it


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couldn’t host them under the right conditions. Thereafter, Flay wished to bring design back via the 10 best galleries in the world. In the end, five internationally renowned, 20thand 21st-century French design galleries – Jousse Entreprise, Kreo, Laffanour-Galerie Downtown, Eric Philippe and Patrick Seguin – displayed their wares in the latest edition in a new 300sqm exhibition room, giving the impression of being in a collector’s apartment. By associating dance, music, poetry, theatre, cinema, architecture and now design with the visual arts, the FIAC encourages dialogue between diverse artistic disciplines.

FRENCH TOUCH Although the French art market only makes up three

The FIAC encourages dialogue between diverse artistic disciplines. Mirror Balloons by Jeppe Hein. Inset: Moon Howlers..., by Raqib Shaw.

per cent globally, and no French contemporary artist figures among the top 100 dominating the global market in terms of earnings from public sales, France still fights, defends its artists and obtains results revenue-wise. The FIAC gambled its reputation on the “French touch”, with French galleries accounting for over onequarter of the exhibitors.

REFURBISHMENT PLANS After its 2020 edition, the FIAC will move to a temporary location in central Paris until 2024, while the Grand Palais undergoes renovations, which include expanding its exhibition space. The 2024 version of the FIAC is likely to welcome 20 or 30 more galleries and larger booth sizes. www.fiac.com ≠


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K-ART POPS

Last October, the third edition of the Asia Now art fair in Paris showed just how far Asian contemporary art, especially Korean art, has come.


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Storage unit and lighting in metal finished with a blue lacquer and with a brass base structure, from Shanghai’s Studio MVW.

T

By DIONNE BEL

he third edition of Asia Now, Europe’s first boutique art fair dedicated to Asian contemporary art that was cofounded by Alexandra Fain, welcomed 33 Asian and Western galleries representing 135 established and emerging artists from 10 Asian territories. Unlike most fairs in Europe that focus on Western art, Asia Now acts as a guide to deciphering the Asian art world, understanding its transformation

and revealing its potential for development. It highlights some of the most interesting artists to collect and watch today who are currently unknown in Europe, yet recognised by local and international specialists. As each edition focuses on a specific region, in 2017, the fair zoomed in on the Korean artistic scene through a special programme coordinated by South Korean curator Joanne Kim, which presented Korean galleries including 313 Art Project,


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Choi&Lager Gallery, Gallery Baton, The Columns Gallery, Kukje Gallery, Gallery SoSo and Gallery Su, conferences, film screenings and performances. Although the Korean art scene today is extremely developed, its artists’ practice marked by maturity, authenticity and technical virtuosity, it remains little known within global art circles. It has only been in recent years that dansaekhwa – the Korean monochrome painting movement arising in the 1970s as a rejection of realism and formalism in favour of modernist

Park Seo-Bo achieved a new auction record with his Ecriture No. 38-75 painting acquired for HK$13,300,000. Sotheby’s Asia specialist, Jacky Ho, discloses: “Korean contemporary art is very collectable and is becoming increasingly popular on the auction market. The support is strong domestically and internationally because of a still relatively low price point, as well as cultural originality that cannot be found elsewhere. In fact, Sotheby’s opened the door to this category when we held the dansaekhwa exhibition

abstraction, associated with artists like Ha Chong-Hyun, Hur Hwang, Lee Dong-Youb, Lee Ufan, Park Seo-Bo and Yun Hyong-Keun – has captured the attention of audiences outside South Korea, whereas the Chinese art market has exploded with a strong support system. International galleries Pace, Lehmann Maupin and Perrotin have opened spaces and Christie’s an office in Seoul, but Kim notes the lack of small and mediumsized galleries and other platforms promoting young Korean artists overseas. While Chinese and Japanese artists topped Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s most recent modern and contemporary art sale with prices up to HK$105,287,500 (S$ 18,154,251),

in March 2015, bringing the subject to international exposure. The momentum was then carried on by international galleries and world-leading fairs such as Venice Biennale, allowing the interest to grow even further among collectors.” Dansaekhwa artists also performed extremely well at the November 2017 Phillips Hong Kong 20th-century and contemporary art and design auction. Head of sale, Sandy Ma, comments: “The market for the highest-quality works by artists such as Lee Ufan and Chung SangHwa remains healthy. This is indicative of the market recognising the historical importance of this movement.”

From top: performance called Vessel 04 by Ayoung Kim; Mona Lisa and the Others from the North, a video installation by Kyungah Ham.

Photos CHRISTOPHE PELE, KUKJE GALLERY


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At the same time, the Korean art scene is becoming more diverse in terms of mediums and topics covered, with the young generation’s approach more individual and personal than ever before. Artists in their 20s, 30s and 40s represent the first generation in South Korea who have started asking questions about identity and their

Ciel de Pekin is an experimental ink on canvas work by Paris-based Chinese artist Li Chevalier.

nation’s history in the 1970s and 1980s censored by the government, a period of immense social, political and economic change. They are also notable for their outward-looking stances and interest in other countries and cultures, as they now study abroad, travel freely and have friends worldwide. Fascinated by communication between the two

The Korean art scene is becoming more diverse in terms of mediums and topics covered.


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and sound, and the new direction that the country’s art scene is taking as artists are increasingly exposed to K-pop and Korean cinema. “Younger artists especially are exposed more and more to visual content with music and videos all the time, creating a sensitivity to colour and texture,” says Kim. Another rising star to watch is virtual reality video artist, Hayoun Kwon, whose practice questions the notion of individual and collective memory. A pioneer in her field, the Palais de Tokyo’s 2017 Discovery Prize winner unites the exploration of new technologies and new forms of narration. Kim also notes a revival in performance art because it connects better with viewers by bringing back the human touch, as they have to be physically present. She highlights An/ Other Avant-Garde Performance, a collaboration with the 2018

“Younger artists especially are exposed more and more to visual content.” Koreas, Kyungah Ham stands out for her Mona Lisa and the Others from the North installation juxtaposing portraits of Mona Lisa embroidered by North Korean artisans with interviews of North Korean refugees who have settled in South Korea. Three top South Korean contemporary artists include Kelvin

Zepheth, Whale Oil from the Hanging Gardens to You, Shell 1 by Ayoung Kim. Inset: Asia Now was held from 18 to 22 October last year.

Kyung Kun Park, Ayoung Kim and Lee Wan, whose works symbolise the increasing popularity of the medium of multisensory video art combining images, language, music Main photo KAMS & AYOUNG KIM

Busan Biennale curatorial team featuring works by Jooyoung Kim, a leading first-generation South Korean performance artist who initiated the Nomadism concept as a form of artistic activism, and is recognised for her projects through which she frees herself from institutional restrictions. www.asianowparis.com ≠


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Q&A WITH ALEXANDRA FAIN, COFOUNDER, ASIA NOW Tell me about the development

Indonesian pavilion and Lee Wan at

of Asian contemporary art since

the Korean pavilion – all these artists

you fell in love with it in 2010.

have been invited by Asia Now from

There has been an evolution

the beginning, which is meaningful.

towards a more structured scene

Zheng Guogu, Polit-Sheer-Form

by public and private patrons.

Office, Robert Gutierrez and

Public patrons include the

Aquilizan have also been very

National Gallery in Singapore.

successful. At the third edition

This kind of thing didn’t exist

of Asia Now, we had top French

five years ago. Private patrons

collectors known only to collect

are the collectors themselves. Arts

or to support openly the French

infrastructures are getting stronger

scene, who bought pieces by Asian

and stronger. As for the Korean

artists from various galleries. It’s

scene, the galleries there are well

emerging scenes like Indonesia or the

highly rewarding to have sown some

structured, everything is so well

Philippines with so many great artists.

seeds in 2015 and to see three years

organised, two top-level biennales

Is Asia Now a springboard

afterwards that collectors, should

in Busan and Gwangju – it’s really

for increasing the value and

they be French, Swiss, German,

impressive for such a small country.

desirability of Asia’s contemporary

Spanish or Italian, are really into

The Asian scene is getting there in

artists? At Asia Now, our mission is to

the Asian scene. It’s the ultimate

terms of international recognition

unveil to European and international

promise that we’re making to the

through top exhibitions as well. In

galleries that trust us: to bring to

Paris, I can remember Ai Weiwei

Paris some of their best artists to

at Jeu de Paume, Zeng Fanzhi at the Modern Ar t Museum, Yue Minjun at the Cartier Foundation, and then smaller initiatives at the Palais de Tokyo, K11 partnering

“There is true curiosity for the Chinese scene.”

create a conversation with top collectors and institutions. Which artists are the most interesting to collect and follow today? The new generation of

with the Pompidou Centre and the

Korean video artists like Hayoun

presence of Yung Ma as a Chinese

Kwon and Lee Wan since we

curator. In many other cities, there is

collectors some of the most highly

highlighted them at the latest

institutional interest for the masters

regarded contemporary artists from

edition of Asia Now. Shanghai is

and also for the new generation and

Asia. Some of them are already

one of the most dynamic places

from the collectors’ side as well,

recognised in their own countries,

for contemporary art right now,

otherwise Asia Now would have

but they’re not even known here. At

so I would love to include the duo

had only one edition. There is true

the 2017 Venice Biennale, you saw

Birdhead at the fair. I would also

curiosity for the Chinese scene,

Manuel Ocampo at the Philippine

love to present Cao Fei, Cheng Ran,

which is so vibrant, the less known

pavilion, Takahiro Iwasaki at the

TeamLab, Patricia Perez Eustaquio

but mature Korean scene, and still

Japanese pavilion, Tintin Wulia at the

and Mark Justiniani.

Photo STEPHAN JULLIARD


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TIME

ROAD RAGE

Speed and power collide in the high-octane partnership between Roger Dubuis and Lamborghini.

Photos LAZIZ HAMANI:

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By CELINE YAP

T

here is a famous quote by Steve McQueen: “Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” For Roger Dubuis, the wait is finally over – its newly minted partnership with supercar maker Lamborghini makes sure of that. Since 2015, Roger Dubuis has made several moves on the motorsports world including collaborations with leading tyre maker Pirelli. Working with Lamborghini, however, intensifies its presence in the auto-racing arena as Roger Dubuis dedicates timepieces to a specific Lamborghini model. Kicking off the partnership is a watch called Excalibur Aventador S, which is powered by a calibre exclusive to this watch. The RD103SQ Duotour has twin inclined

The new RD103SQ Duotour calibre in the Excalibur Aventador S was inspired by the Aventador S engine.

By dedicating a specific movement to a specific car, Pontroue adds, the watch automatically becomes unique. This year, it’s the Duotour for the Aventador S and for next year, it will be another movement for the Huracan. Roger Dubuis is not the first watch brand to team up with Lamborghini; the Italian supercar manufacture had partnered with another Swiss watch brand for several years. But as that brand increasingly turned the focus away from avant-garde engineering to move closer to classical watchmaking, Lamborghini knew that the partnership had run its course. “A partnership makes sense if you don’t have to explain it,” Pontroue shares. “If you have to write two pages on why you enter

Working with Lamborghini intensifies Roger Dubuis’ presence in the auto-racing arena. balance wheels set at 90 degrees to each other. Indeed, all special-edition Roger Dubuis models for Lamborghini will have exclusive calibres. Says Jean-Marc Pontroue, CEO of Roger Dubuis: “We did not want to label ‘Lamborghini’ on all our products, which is what other brands are doing. Most of them use existing products featuring a partner’s logo. We don’t do that.”

a partnership, then forget it. It’s like marriage. If you have to explain why you’re together with someone, it means you’re not in love.” Looking at the Roger Dubuis timepieces before and after the Lamborghini partnership, it’s clear that something powerful had been injected into the brand even though its DNA remains intact. At a VIP event in Beijing, where Roger


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Dubuis premiered the Excalibur Aventador S, Pontroue states that the goal is to stress the importance of R&D, the impact of avant-garde design and the uniqueness of specific mechanisms. “These are three values we share with Lamborghini. All these values will be embraced by all the models in our brand,” he asserts. Pontroue’s progressive approach to brand management can be seen not only in the Lamborghini collection, but in everything done by Roger Dubuis. Eschewing vanilla locations like hotel ballrooms for its events, the manufacture took 300 VIPs and celebrities to an underground car park in Beijing for an evening like no other. “Whether we develop an event or a product, the brief is always to create something that doesn’t exist in the industry. As for the price, we don’t care. Like Lamborghini, we’re not in an environment where we are competing at a specific price point,” Pontroue elaborates. At the fourth basement of the glamorous Shin Kong Place Mall, guests revelled in the spectacular works of

The rubber straps that come with the Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Automatic Skeleton are made from Pirelli tyres. Facing page: the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo.

Pontroue’s progressive approach to brand management can be seen not only in the Lamborghini collection, but in everything done by Roger Dubuis.

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January – 2018

Roger Dubuis and Lamborghini, taking the time to discover the raging mechanics that unite these avant-garde manufactures. The high-octane experience took a thrilling turn at the Goldenport Park Circuit, where guests test-drove the 12-cylinder

TIME

Aventador S and drifting drivers from the FFF Racing Team took everyone for a spin around the circuit, as the car (a modified racing unit) screeched and skidded every which way, throwing up dust like its life depended on it. Following that, a professional driver showed

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off some technical moves in GT racing. I drove only two rounds of the circuit. Like the production brief that precedes the development of all Roger Dubuis timepieces, it was short, but spectacular. www.rogerdubuis.com â‰


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TIME

A TASTE FOR WATCHMAKING

Robb Report

In collaborating with some of the best chefs in the world, Blancpain discovers that the way to a man’s wrist is through his palate. Photo GETTY IMAGES


TIME

January – 2018

W Joel Robuchon at the opening of Blancpain’s boutiques in Singapore (above) and New York (inset and facing page) with Alain Delamuraz.

By CELINE YAP

ith a name like Blancpain, it’s almost predestined that the Swiss watch manufacture finds itself so closely intertwined with the world of gastronomy. But unlike plain white bread, its journey into haute cuisine has been a colourful and exhilarating one. For almost four years, Blancpain has enjoyed an exclusive partnership with the legendary three-Michelin-starred chef Joel Robuchon. Vice-president of marketing, Alain Delamuraz, says: “Our relationship with Joel Robuchon goes back a long way. It began in 1989 when the company presented him, Paul Bocuse and Fredy Girardet each with a special hand-engraved watch. They were being nominated as Chefs of the Century by Gault et Millau.” In 2014 Delamuraz, eager to reprise this association with

the culinary virtuoso, made contact and proposed an official partnership. Robuchon said yes without hesitation, but what left Delamuraz flummoxed was when the great chef agreed only on the condition that there was no price on the partnership. “He said to me ‘no Alain, if there’s money involved, we’ll need a contract. When there is a contract, we’ll involve legal. And when we involve legal, it will not work. I’m convinced about this partnership, I love your DNA and it’s an honour for me to be associated with Blancpain’,” Delamuraz recalls and just like that, the journey began. Robuchon has v i s ite d the Blancpain manufacture and

Inset photo MONICA SCHIPPER/GETTY IMAGES

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Robuchon flew into Singapore specially to attend Blancpain’s VIP event honouring Metiers d’Art and Art de Vivre.

Blancpain invited selected guests to Robuchon’s restaurant on Sentosa for a special fourcourse dinner. Inset: a Blancpain master engraver was at the opening of the Singapore boutique to demonstrate the manufacture’s fine handcrafted traditions.

also several Blancpain boutiques around the world. When he opened L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in New York last October, Blancpain inaugurated its new Fifth Avenue boutique on the same day. In return, despite his busy schedule, Robuchon flew into Singapore specially to attend Blancpain’s VIP event honouring Metiers d’Art and Art de Vivre – two concepts that the manufacture cherishes deeply. He also owns several Blancpain watches apart from the one he received in 1989, which is a 34mm ultrathin Villeret. He was wearing an L-Evolution Reveil GMT in red gold as he received collectors and VIP guests at Blancpain’s Marina Bay Sands boutique.

Robuchon was the first chef in the world to introduce the open kitchen concept, which is why he named the restaurants L’Atelier, where atelier means workshop in French. The idea was to invite his diners to look at the work he was doing. Similarly, Blancpain was one of the earliest brands to bring the art of watchmaking to the customers. Whether at the brand’s booth at Baselworld or in its boutiques around the world, ‘live’ watchmaking stations bridge the distance between manufacture and collector. For this special occasion, guests could see up close the art of dial engraving as well as a collection of some of the most intricate works of horological metiers d’arts. Because Blancpain is all about unique


January – 2018

TIME

When there’s savoir faire, everything can be art.

experiences, the manufacture treated its guests with an exquisite dinner prepared at the Joel Robuchon Restaurant by none other than Robuchon himself. Indeed, while society’s well-heeled can swing into the restaurant as often as they like, it is not every day that one gets served by the master himself and the menu was as delightful as it was memorable. Each dish was linked to a Blancpain collection and needless to say the wine pairing was impeccable. Le Caviar Imperial drew references from the neat and refined Villeret line, to be enjoyed with 2006 Dom Perignon. Served with a 2014 Chablis Domaine William Fevre, La Truffe Blanche was a medley of white truffles and foie gras, reflecting the elegance and depth of the Women collection. Next, Le Homard

went with a Vosne-Romanee Bouchard Pere & Fils from 2013 and it was inspired by the Blancpain ocean commitment. Finally, redolent of the Le Brassus high complications was Le Boeuf Kagoshima paired with a 2003 Chateau La Lagune, and the evening rounded off to a sweet finish with beautiful handcrafted desserts. Art is not only paintings and sculptures. When there’s savoir faire, everything can be art. Under the hands and mind of Robuchon, cooking becomes an art; Blancpain combines technical know-how and a longstanding heritage to create watchmaking art. And this is what the manufacture strives to cultivate: Art de Vivre, where even living is an artistic endeavour. www.blancpain.com ≠

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SPECIAL FEATURE

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SPECIAL FEATURE

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SENSE AND SENTIMENTALITY To Ken-Yi Choo, the best thing about the A Lange & Sohne Blue series is how it balances classic codes with contemporary flair.

W

orking in private banking,

where I appreciate practicality to complement my

Ken-Yi Choo’s job is all about

lifestyle and personality. These mechanical watches hold

money and he cer tainly

sentimental value which I can pass on to my children. In a

understands what it means

digital age, trends are constantly changing and there is no

to live well. When it comes

emotional attachment.”

to the finer things in life, the gregarious father

He’s not a frivolous shopper but Choo does

of two, however, leans strongly towards objects

enjoy the occasional indulgence, caring not just

that are as meaningful as they are beautiful.

about sentimental value but investment value

He shares: “I’m more old school. I like

as well – an occupational hazard perhaps.

things that are sentimental and I like to

He elaborates: “I feel good when something

surround myself with sentimental things.

I buy goes up in value five years later. I

My watch, my wallet and all my golf

wouldn’t mind spending money on a

equipment are gifts from people I love.

watch but I like to see it go up in value.

My watch is a gift from my wife. I wear

I may never sell it but I like to see that

it to work every day. My wallet is from

it’s a nice investment as well.”

her as well. My (golf ) driver was given

Choo recently had the opportunity to

by my father-in-law, my fairway woods my

discover the four new watches of A Lange &

cousin, my clubs again my wife (and) my

Sohne’s Blue series and the one that caught

putter my mom.”

his eye was the Lange 1.

Gift-giving clearly is a big thing in Choo’s

Choo explains why. “I’ve always known this

family and a favourite way to shower one

watch. It’s one I’ve always wanted to have. It’s

another with love. When picking out something for others, Choo believes that the best gifts are functional gifts – things that are well-made, high quality, beautiful and above all practical. “I think watches should be made like the ones in James Bond movies! Lots of gadgets and able to help me get out of scrappy and awkward moments,” he quips. “But on a serious note, I am still traditional in the sense

one of those classics, beautiful and simple, but The Lange 1’s jumping outsized date, which advances instantaneously by one day at midnight and therefore always delivers a doubtfree reading, is a practical feature that Ken-Yi Choo (facing page) appreciates.

yet different from anything else and not a huge, monstrous size.” He continues: “I think the Blue series by Lange is quite unique because they’ve always been very classic in a beautiful, simple, elegant way. But now with a little edginess brought by the dark blue dials, it’s not completely classic and I would even say they’re a little sporty, and that’s really nice.”


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IMV CHRISTMAS BOX

Robb Report

DECK THE HALLS

It’s better to give than receive ... unless you’re one of our VIPs. These are the manifold delights our loyal readers received last Christmas. By CHARMAINE TAI

I

n 2016, we gave (okay, auctioned) two Christmas trunks filled with goodies from partnering brands in the name of charity. And the very next day, we thought to ourselves: what can we do for 2017? Together with our sister media outlets, Buro 24/7 Singapore (www. buro247.sg) and Esquire Singapore (www.esq.sg), we came up with the

Ultimate Holiday Box gift set for our VIP readers. Here’s a look at what was inside each Ultimate Holiday Box.

BANYAN TREE AROMATIC CHRISTMAS GIFT SET The home-grown award-winning spa is bringing its pampering services to your home. Place a few drops into your bathtub for a jolly


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IMV CHRISTMAS BOX

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IMV CHRISTMAS BOX

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good soak, or to deck the halls, add a few droplets to the glass stones provided as an aroma diffuser for your living area.

TUMI CAMDEN PASSPORT COVER Unlike Bing Crosby, not everyone will be home for Christmas. Tumi lightens (and perfects) your journey with its leather passport holder. Its seven pockets will carry your cards and passes like a pro.

KIEHL’S CALENDULA & ALOE SOOTHING HYDRATION MASQUE Prep your skin for a good night’s sleep with Kiehl’s hydration mask. The mix of calendula and aloe soothes and hydrates your skin, giving it a golden glow the next morning. Apply it generously onto clean, damp skin, remove it after a few minutes and let it work its magic.

KIEHL’S ULTRA FACIAL CREAM Our humid climate means our skin isn’t as dry, but don’t forget you’re spending the better half of your day in an air-conditioned room. This 24-hour hydrator contains extracts from Imperata Cylindrica (a desert plant) that helps retain moisture, keeping your skin plump and healthy throughout the day.

URBAN DECAY ALL NIGHTER SETTING SPRAY When a day of back-to-back meetings is followed by a business dinner, you’ll need ‘industrialstrength’ make-up to keep you looking gorgeous throughout. This setting spray is said to keep foundation, eyeshadow and everything in between in place for up to 16 hours.

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JIMMY CHOO L’EAU EDT

URBAN DECAY VICE LIPSTICK You know things are going to be good (and by that I really mean sensual) when Vice teams up with Urban Decay to release a gob-smacking collection of 115 lipsticks in six finishes. Like any good vice, this will get you hooked in a single swipe. It glides on perfectly and has a staying power that’ll last you through the night.

Ladies, looking for a scent that will further enhance your femininity? L’eau blends an intoxicating mix of hibiscus flowers with fruity notes. The woody base provides an added sense of mystery for a night in town.

JIMMY CHOO MAN ICE While this scent won’t exude even more masculinity and confidence than you already have, it won’t hurt for it to play a vital supporting role. The citrusy top notes of lime give an unexpected twist to a musky base, making it a perfect day-tonight fragrance.

URBAN DECAY EYESHADOW PRIMER POTION

VENCHI MONOCUVETTE CHOCOLATE BOX AND CIGAR STICK

The fervour of Urban Decay’s following borders on the religious. And for good reason too. Its 24-hour crease-free shadow hides skin creases and imperfections, prepping your lids for a smooth shadow finish.

The Italian gelato and chocolate house brings a little more joy to our world with its festive chocolate box. In particular, its ‘cigar’ stick hides slivers of orange peel, a perfect bitter-sweet ending to the year.


January - 2018

KUSMI ASSORTED FLAVOURS OF LOOSE LEAF TEAS Christmas tea, oh Christmas tea … or was it tree? Either way, Kusmi will help you prepare for a toasty night by a (make-believe) fireplace. Select your flavour of the night — you won’t go wrong with a KusmiKlassik — and let it steep while you cosy up to that special someone.

REMY MARTIN CHAMPAGNE COGNAC You can always count on Remy when you’re throwing a party. This well-balanced cognac fuses notes of vanilla thanks to its ageing in French Limousin oak barrels, with wafts of ripe apricot, baked apple and even liquorice. Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or the Remy way, with ginger ale.

MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMENERE 2015 Not sure what to bring to a party, fearing that some may turn their noses away? VCT Wine recommends this classic red. Having aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, you’ll savour hints of ripe plums, black currants and dark chocolate. Ooh la la.

PINEIDER STATIONERY SET While digital is the way to go, e-cards will never take centre stage in the world of handwritten notes. Pineider brings back the good ol’ days of feature cards, envelopes

IMV CHRISTMAS BOX

and even silk ribbons. So pick up that fountain pen and get down to writing, pronto.

STATE PROPERTY FINE JEWELLERY BOONE BANGLE For days when you’re tired of stacking jewellery, this bangle will gladly cup your wrist. It may be simple and geometrical, but bling never has to be boring.

STATE PROPERTY FINE JEWELLERY MARLOWE BRACELET If you think this piece is missing its clasp, you can congratulate yourself on discovering the

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ingenuity of this bracelet. Its grooves provide a twist-and-lock mechanism, not just for ease of wear, but added comfort too.

FREIA PROFESSIONAL SCALP CARE AND VOLUMNIZING SHAMPOO FOR WOMEN There’s more to natural, glossy hair than just regular treatments. Nip it in the bud by starting from the root of the problem, in this case, the scalp and the roots of your hair. This shampoo helps rid the dirt and oil clogging hair follicles, putting you one step closer to achieving healthy hair from the get-go. robbreport.com.sg ≠


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THE JOYS OF DISCOVERY The all-new fifth-generation Discovery is an absolute delight to drive and live with. By DARYL LEE

W

hile it might share a name and sevenseater capability with Discovery Sport, a car launched three years ago, the SUV in question here is an entirely different kettle of fish. To start with, its price tag of S$362,999 is a good deal more than the S$207,999 dealer Wearnes Automotive wants for Discovery Sport. The biggest reason for that yawning gulf is that Discovery Sport is the entry point to the Land Rover brand, supplanting the discontinued Freelander, and it’s a lot smaller than the fullsized Discovery.

The presence of the new Discovery confirms what everyone has suspected all along – that Land Rover is creating a family of Discovery models, much like what it did with Range Rover and its four model-strong line-up. Discovery Sport is far better than Freelander. Similarly, the new f if th-generation Discovery, compared to its predecessor is, well, a discovery. The outgoing fourth-generation model felt old even when it was new

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WHEELS

What really makes Discovery 5 a standout in its segment is its size.

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WHEELS

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when it debuted in 2012 and for good reason. Granted, it came with a new drivetrain, interior and electronics, but it was essentially the same car as the third-generation model; by then eight years old and still utilising an archaic partial ladderframe chassis. This meant Discovery 4 had alarmingly floppy handling, a sumo-grade weight of nearly 2.6 tonnes, and to add insult to injury, the rear

Robb Report

And you certainly won’t be able to hear the 255bhp turbodiesel engine that pulls so cleanly and quietly; the only giveaway to the nature of its propellant is the tachometer’s 4,000rpm redline. Ride comfort, naturally, is superlative. Standard fitment adaptive air-filled dampers make the ride pillowy soft across just about any surface imaginable, aided by suspension travel that borders on overkill.

It rides on a new all-aluminium platform, which brings about weight savings of up to 480kg. legroom for such a large vehicle was inexplicably stingy. But rejoice, because Discovery 5 rights all those ills, and then some. It rides on a new all-aluminium platform, which along with bringing about weight savings of up to 480kg and new-found rigidity also brings about a palpable increase in deftness. It still won’t corner like a sports car, but the increased stiffness reaps big dividends when it comes to ride comfort, mainly in how bumps don’t resonate through the chassis anymore. Not that you’d be able to hear what’s going on anyway owing to the fantastic cabin isolation.

Dynamic Stability Control and Electronic Power Assisted Steering ensure on-road capabilities and ride quality are enhanced.

Specifications

Engine 6,592cc, 48 valves, V12, turbocharged Power 258bhp at 3,750rpm Torque 600Nm at 1,750rpm 0-100km/hr 8.1 seconds Top Speed 209km/hr Transmission Eight-speed automatic Fuel Consumption 7.2 litres/100km CO2 Emissions 189g/km Price S$362,999 (including COE, excluding options)

But what really makes Discovery 5 a standout in its segment is its size. This endows it with generous seating arrangements, with decent legroom in the third row and cavernous headroom across the board. And I haven’t even got to the amount of storage compartments scattered throughout its cabin. The door pockets will hold two-litre bottles, the centre armrest’s splittier box could swallow a mediumsized laptop and the centre console has a hidden cubby hole behind the air-conditioning controls. It’s these small touches that lend credence to Land Rover claiming


WHEELS

January - 2018

the new Discovery as the “best family SUV in the world”. The second and third rows collapse/rise electrically through switches located in the boot. But you don’t have to crawl all the way back there to do it because that functionality is also accessible via the infotainment system. And Discovery 5 looks good, too. Possessed of a more upright profile than its smaller Discovery Sport stablemate, its squared-off rear end with wraparound tail lights is particularly handsome. Given its size, it has tremendous amounts of road presence, though in some cases, its bulk can lead to

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Discovery cabriolet by ripping off the roof on a height gantry like a can of tuna. All things considered, though, that’s a small price to pay for the Discovery’s gargantuan practicality, refinement and presence. Another small price to pay is, well, its price, which makes it astoundingly good value, considering you’re getting a lot for your money. Land Rover has served another winner with the Discovery 5, and it’s testament to the current strength of the brand that there are few flat spots in the entire model line-up. www.landrover.com.sg ≠

Its squared-off rear end with wraparound tail lights is particularly handsome. awkward situations. You never really grasp how large Discovery 5 is until it’s parked next to other SUVs or when you pull up next to a bus and realise you’re eye level with its passengers. Getting it into narrow carparks can feel like a dicey affair at times, considering its overall height is just shy of 1.9m. While I had the car, I lived in mortal fear of turning the Discovery 5 into the world’s first

Photo NICK DIMBLEBY


MONEY

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Robb Report

REALTY CHECK Presenting this month’s hottest properties for another place to call home. By ALYWIN CHEW

WATERLINE SQUARE

D

esigned by a trio of architectural maestros – namely Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Richard Meier and Rafael Vinoly – this new development houses 263 condo units across three towers with stunning facades that feature an immaculate

blend of glass and metal. Located on the Upper West Side of New York, Waterline Square will feature an impressive slew of indoor facilities for tennis, skating and soccer, as well as a nine-metre indoor rock climbing wall, art studios,

a three-lap pool and a bowling alley, among many others. This 204,000sqm project development is scheduled for completion in 2019. waterlinesquare.com

Price: From US$2 million (S$2.7 million)


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MR C BRANDED RESIDENCES

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TRITON LUXURY BEACH VILLA

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T

esigned by acclaimed architect Ray Kappe, this collection of exclusive four-storey homes in Beverly Hills come with their own private elevators and stunning interiors featuring Italian and Scandinavian accents. mrcresidences.com Price: From US$5 million (S$6.7 million)

his sprawling tropical retreat on the picturesque Long Bay area in the Turks and Caicos comes with seven bedrooms, two pools, private tennis courts and an outdoor movie theatre. Also available for rent at US$70,000 (S$94,000) per week. theagencyre.com Price: US$14.5 million

AVANI METROPOLIS RESIDENCES

THE AXIUM

A

vani Metropolis Residences presents a modern city retreat offering 65 residences available in oneand two-bedroom configurations. Guests can enjoy a modern home in the heart of Auckland, recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. avanihotels.com Price: Upon request

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his new property development in Birmingham by Top Capital Group features 304 luxury apartments that come with modern Porcelanosa kitchen designs as well as top-end furnishings and appliances. topcapgroup.com

Price: From £172,950 (S$312,580)

Triton photo STEVE PASSMORE


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SAVOUR

Illustrations MATTHIEU FORICHON

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COLLECTED MEMORIES

After joining an oenophile and longtime friend on an epicurean tour of Italy and France, Alan Richman makes some delicious discoveries – between servings of crudo and grand cru burgundy – about today’s wine-and-food culture and the obsessive nature of the collector.

A

t Ristorante Lorenzo in Forte dei Marmi — a seaside town in Tuscany — manners set the tone. Here, Jeff Joseph orders Domaine J F Coche-Dury Meursault Les Genevrieres, a premier-cru white Burgundy. Though we are in Italy, Italian whites, in my friend’s opinion, are charming, whereas their French counterparts are irresistible. “That’s very good,” remarks the sommelier. As is inevitable, with wine being a bond, they chat. Jeff knows that during every fine meal, there will come a moment at which a lifelong relationship between himself and the restaurant is forged. He says to the sommelier: “I was here a year ago and ordered your last bottle of 1971 Monfortino,” referring to a treasure of the Italian table, the greatest vintage of the best Barolo

from the revered producer Giacomo Conterno. The sommelier, Lorenzo Giannini, looks closely at Jeff and with profound emphasis says: “I remember you.” With these words, the tone at our table intensifies, for we are now certified finewine drinkers. I, of course, do not belong, for I am not a collector and not wealthy enough to become one — but I am not averse to sharing in the bounty that accrues sitting across the table from Jeff. The owner, Lorenzo Viani,

Italian whites, in my friend’s opinion, are charming, whereas their French counterparts are irresistible.

who makes our fresh mayonnaise tableside, comes over to shake hands — something he does not do for all his guests. Extra courses appear. We are treated to an olive-oil tasting, and a small bottle of Lorenzo’s private brand is pressed upon each of us on departure. The sommelier, hearing that we had difficulty obtaining a reservation, offers Jeff his card with a private number. For Jeff — retired lawyer, real estate investor and friend for a quarter-century — the moment furnishes bliss beyond any other. I had joined him on this 75th birthday celebration of his dining life — a grand tour of his favourite European restaurants — knowing that I would eat superbly, drink magnificently, and — Jeff being a collector with wide-ranging interests — converse occasionally on subjects other than wine. Yet


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another of Jeff’s virtues also served as a lure: he is a throwback to the glorious early days of Michelinstyle travel, when the focus was on cuisine, not five-star comfort. My friend came prepared, his checked baggage including a specially made, fortified and impregnable suitcase holding eight bottles of wine and weighing 27kg. He brings his wines to several restaurants we visit. Nobody denies him; nobody charges a corkage fee. He is beloved. As we linger over our lunch at Lorenzo, we anticipate the sybaritic highlights that lie ahead. Our plan is to drive north along the Italian

Muraglia-Conchiglia d’Oro, situated across the street from the sea on a narrow strip of the Italian Riviera, presents an unimpressive exterior marred by garish lettering and gold trim. The seriousness of purpose that prevails within these unremarkable walls is immediately apparent in the gaze of Enzo Frumento, the restaurant’s polite but aloof chef. “I have been here 10 times,” says Jeff, “and the chef still doesn’t smile at me.” He explains that despite this absence of coddling, he prefers simple, unpretentious restaurants to the pomp of their “over-thetop” counterparts.

Robb Report

when Russians bought up all the real estate there. Again, crudo fills our thoughts and plates. Ballo’s raw fish is unequalled, his presentations exquisite still lifes: shrimp with caviar; ricciola (amberjack) with ginger, onions, olive oil, tomato and yellow pepper; and local tuna and salmon. We savour cooked eel that tastes Japanese in a popcorn sauce that tastes like popcorn. As we dine, Jeff recalls the time Marco served him a liqueur made from wildflowers picked in the mountains by a customer who shortly thereafter passed away; the lesser tragedy in this sequence of events was that none of this exquisite nectar was

As we linger over our lunch at Lorenzo, we anticipate the sybaritic highlights that lie ahead. Riviera in search of the food Jeff most craves — crudo di pesce, a raw preparation of Italy’s unparalleled fresh seafood. We then move onward to the restaurant he loves best, the Michelin three-star Troisgros near Roanne, France. From there, we enter Beaune in the heart of the Cote d’Or, where we will be feted at separate birthday dinners by two important Burgundian producers: Maison Louis Jadot and Maison Joseph Drouhin. Our final stop will be L’Assiette Champenoise located just outside of Reims. I am the only friend with him at the beginning of the seven-day trip, but along the way, other friends will join.

The raw starters are palamita (bonito), oysters and fresh anchovies delicately sprinkled with olive oil, red peppercorns and ginger. Crudo di pesce such as this makes one wonder why anybody bothers to cook fish at all. We have ample opportunity to contemplate this question once we cross the border into France to sample the fare at Jeff’s favourite Italian restaurant, Marco Ristorante, located in the port of Menton. Chef-owner Marco Ballo, whose relationship with my friend stretches back more than a decade, tells me that he was forced to move his business from Bordeghera, Italy,

made again. Jeff’s satisfied smile reminds me how such instances of exclusive access gladden the heart of the collector. Our mission in Menton accomplished, we begin our sixhour trek for Troisgros. Despite the rigours of the road, Jeff insists on getting to the restaurant early to peruse the wine list in the garden. On this occasion, Jeff’s longtime friends Alan Belzer and his wife, Susan Martin, are joining us for dinner. As chef Michel Troisgros makes his rounds, I ask him why he remains so fond of Jeff, the ringleader of a group of friends that has so mercilessly ransacked his cellar


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over the decades. As the popularity of older vintages increases, the very finite supply of these treasures, after all, dwindles. “We love them,” replies Troisgros without hesitation. “We love everybody, but they are something very special, these guests

SAVOUR

— in particular when they love what they drink. Not everybody has the education for that. These kinds of guests know the vineyards, the stories, the families, the good and the bad years. They know how hard we work to get these bottles. For all

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of us, it is a great honour to serve them the unusual and rare ones.” In all the years he has been in the kitchen of Troisgros, where he became co-chef with his father in 1983, the restaurant has had only six or eight customers like Jeff. “He


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Jeff’s satisfied smile reminds me how such instances of exclusive access gladden the heart of the collector.

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“There are people who want something,” he says, “and people who dream about something.” came so long ago that I was very young the first time he was here. I was still a commis (junior cook) in the kitchen, a teenager.” After deliberation, Jeff and Alan agree on the 2005 J F CocheDury Corton-Charlemagne, priced at about US$1,800 (S$2,400) and 1999 Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin, about US$1,600. When I note that these hardly sound like bargains, Jeff corrects me. The Chambertin is a few hundred dollars less than the average US retail price, he says, and the Coche is half the going price. To accompany these, Jeff unpacks two from his travelling collection: a white Burgundy, 1989 Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Les Ruchottes, and a red, 1985 Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots. The immensity of my fortune will not dawn on me until a few days later, in Beaune, when I will recount to a sommelier our line-up of dinner wines. The young man, awed, will lean his forehead against the wall, sigh and close his eyes. The first of the two birthday dinners in Beaune is held in the great hall of the 15th-century Couvent des Jacobins, now part of Jadot’s headquarters. Our host is Olivier Masmondet, export manager of the firm and — long ago — the sommelier of the restaurant

Georges Blanc, where he and Jeff first met. Jeff tells me he drank the first memorable wine of his life at that dinner, either a 1947 or 1949 Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny. He’s not certain. Masmondet remembers the meal, the wine and the vintage: 1947. “And I remember the light in Jeff’s eye.” Our host goes on to explain the difference between people who simply drink expensive wines and those, like Jeff, who love them. “There are people who want something,” he says, “and people who dream about something.” Between bookend birthday dinners, we attend an outdoor luncheon given by Zachys, the New York–based auctioneer and retailer. We are seated at a long table in yet another former convent — this one in the shadow of the famed Hospices de Beaune. Beside me is Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon, whose 2007 MeursaultPerrieres, brought by another guest, I praise. Naturally, this wine is soon overshadowed by the 1986 Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles that Jeff offers. He seems to always have the wine of the day, whatever day it might be. At Joseph Drouhin, Jeff ’s favourite winery, we are welcomed by Laurent Drouhin and several of his brothers. This meal, held in a 13th-century cellar, is administered

by a sommelier who organises an army of Drouhin that includes Criots-Batard-Montrachet and Montrachet. Still in search of the secret to my friend’s charm, I ask Laurent why he likes Jeff so much, and he answers: “Jeff is generous, sweet and has a sense of humour, although as a French guy, his humour is not easy for me to understand. And of all the collectors I know, he is the one who carries the Joseph Drouhin flag. He is a friend. He can call me at 3am, and I will be there for him.” I mull over these sentiments during our final meal at L’Assiette Champenoise. The platings, like the place, are superb; still, it is here that Jeff and I have our only disagreement. When I tell him the lobster I’ve ordered is superior to the langoustines he has chosen, he insists I am wrong. A connoisseur of this crustacean, he mounts a vigorous defence. He is a man of intense loyalties — to friends, restaurants, wine estates, even shellfish. On one point, however, we agree: the most charming moment of our trip took place at the Marco in Menton, when Jeff told Maddalena, daughter of the owner, that we would soon be dining at the famous Troisgros. She sighed. “Someday,” she said, “when I go there, I will say to them, ‘I want to eat like Jeff’.” ¬


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Mas Roshi, a traditional Maldivian canape, is served in Milaidhoo’s signature fine dining restaurant, Bathe’li.

TIME TO TAKE FIVE Five new mood dining concepts at Milaidhoo Island Maldives offer city-dwellers the downtime they’ve been lusting for. By ALLISA NORAINI

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act: the paradisical, reeffringed islands of the Maldives are home to some of the most luxurious lairs in the world. But for Milaidhoo Island Maldives, the holistic Maldivian experience goes beyond lavish thatched-roof villas, bone-white sand and sweeping views of the cerulean sea. The resort has launched five new ‘mood dining’ concepts to transport you into your state of Zen. Called Deep Sleep, Getting

into the Milaidhoo Mood, Sunrise Awakening, Curious Adventures and Sunset Chill, these experiences have been specially curated – from wellness treatments to gastronomic options – to accommodate the mood of each guest. For instance, opt for the Deep Sleep programme if your only desire is to be lulled to a good night’s sleep, but of course, only after you partake in a private moonlight meditation on the deck of your villa

followed by a scented candlelit bath (try not to doze off while at it). Otherwise, if you’re a firm believer in the restorative powers of the sun, the Sunrise Awakening option will offer just the perfect itinerary for you - transforming you into a ball of energy through vitamin-rich diets and plenty of exposure to natural ‘feel good’ chemicals that are responsible in reducing depression and anxiety. www.milaidhoo.com ¬


ON SALE IN FEBRUARY

MONEY & INVESTMENTS What should you put your money on in 2018? This issue recommends the must-have additions to your portfolio, from valuable assets to passion investments and the most spectacular real estate.


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TRAVEL & LEISURE

A DIFFERENT LIGHT There’s more to Mandalay and Bagan than just stunning architectural temples and stupas. By CHARMAINE TAI

Belmond Road to Mandalay offers spacious guest cabins, artfully outfitted with luxurious fabrics and furnishings handmade by local artisans.

Robb Report


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TRAVEL & LEISURE

D

espite its technological advancement, M y a n m a r ’ s infrastructure still remains shaky. Apart from constant political instability, its size (it’s 940 times larger than Singapore) also poses constraints. Self-drives are an option, but luxurious hotels are hard to come by, even in touristy towns such as Mandalay and Bagan. Put these factors together and you’ll find that the best way to visit Myanmar would be, in fact, by cruise. Of the luxury cruises available in Myanmar, Belmond Road To Mandalay’s claim to fame is its local expertise. After all, it’s the oldest cruise in Myanmar, in operation

since 1996. The cruise offers four journeys that sail through the Ayeyarwady, the country’s longest river, each bringing the best of what Mandalay and Bagan have to offer. Workshops on the cruise are fairly straightforward. You can participate in a class on how to wear a longyi (traditional wrap-around

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skirts for men and women) and have your palms read. Then, there are two single spa suites, a plunge pool on the observation deck and a small gym. Land activities include alms giving, a horse-cart tour and cycling to temples, and trips to the market. Belmond also regularly invites experts in a particular field to conduct lessons with guests both on board and on land. During my visit, we had yoga and meditation instructors with us. Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar after Yangon, and means ‘centre of the universe’. Disembarking in Mandalay for the first time, the place certainly looks like it. Past and present, poverty

Belmond Road To Mandalay’s claim to fame is its local expertise.


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and luxury, meet face to face here. I see a modern water amusement park, and just a few metres down, a makeshift wholesale market with pigs and chickens roaming around. Nearby, the river is filled with detritus. As we’ll be making more than six temple and stupa stops during my trip, Soe, our tour guide, jokes that we may be “templefied and stupa-fied” by the end of it. To curb potential temple fatigue, I focus my attention on everyday scenes of local life. My interest is particularly piqued when I pass through a marblecarving village. All, if not most, of the shopkeepers here specialise in carving Buddha statues. Some statues are fully rendered, save for their hands and heads, which remain featureless blocks. I’m told that they’ll remain as such, until customers give instructions on their preferred Buddha features. The bronze-casting workshop,

too, is worth a visit. Here, moulds are made using a mixture of clay and rice husks in an attempt to reduce wastage. I get to view the flames engulfing the model in a modular kiln that is rebuilt to suit the height and size of each statue. The final product is then polished meticulously by hand. I enjoy the rest periods back on the cruise, despite the lack of fast

Robb Report

villages to treat patients. On any given weekend, they see over 100 patients a day. Despite snaking queues, locals wait patiently for their turn without a complaint or frown. At Bagan, my Day In The Life Of… tour takes me to Nyaung Oo town’s vegetable market. Bagan is Soe’s hometown and he explains that despite having access to refrigerators, locals, including his mum, choose to head to this market every day. Purchasing fresh produce aside, the market also serves as an important meeting point for locals to gather and update each other on the latest happenings. We head to a workshop that crafts bamboo fans, a must-have at every wedding. The five families that live here run the business. The first floor acts as the workshop and communal areas for dining, while the second floor is reserved for sleeping quarters.

Belmond has set up a free mobile clinic, allowing Dr Tun and other doctors from neighbouring villages to treat patients. and reliable Wi-Fi on board. One afternoon before lunch, I attend a talk by Dr Hla Tun. Having joined Belmond in 2004 as an in-house doctor, he shares his efforts to improve the medical situation in Myanmar due to civil unrest. In Bagan, Belmond has set up a free mobile clinic, allowing Dr Tun and other doctors from neighbouring Food photo HELEN CATHCART


January-2018

“Why are locals so welcoming of strangers into their homes? Their gates are open and tourists such as myself seem to be intruding as they go about their lives,” I ask. Soe explains: “The locals here welcome visitors because it allows others to know more about how we lead our lives.” It is a stark contrast to what I’ve grown up with. In any other (first) world country, locals view unannounced visitors as a nuisance. Over here, they welcome us with open arms and even encourage us to look around.

TRAVEL & LEISURE

About 87 per cent of Myanmar’s population are Buddhists. Facing page: mingle with fellow guests at the ship’s bar (left) or sate your appetite with a Western or pan-Asian meal.

I disembark the cruise one last time on a Saturday morning. It’s far too early to be awake, but more importantly, it’s far too soon to leave a culturally rich place that clings deeply to its roots and believes in the art of handcrafted work. My only regret is that I’ve not had a fully local meal on board, apart from a few salads. Perhaps this caters to Western appetites, but I would have very much preferred a night where we learn about the country through its food. www.belmond.com ≠

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A LIFE MADE SWEETER The award-winning pastry chef Pierrick Boyer is a humanitarian, bon vivant and entrepreneur. By KENNETH TAN

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or over 28 years, Pierrick Boyer has been a pastry chef. His distinguished career has led the Frenchman to southern California, Boston and the Plaza Athenee hotel in Paris. His skills as a patissier and in the culinary arts were further honed by working with other greats, such as Alain Ducasse, master patissier Christophe Michalak and Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini. Boyer’s renown also saw him offering expert consulting in setting up the Madeleine Cafe & Patisserie at The Spring Shopping Mall in Kuching, Sarawak. My dad was a plumber and my granddad was in the coal business. I didn’t like the work they did but was captivated by our neighbour – who was a pastry chef – from the time I was five years old. In my 20s, I served as a UN peacekeeper in Yugoslavia before going on to work as a chef – first in the US and then in Paris. The latter was

Pierrick Boyer (facing page) will conduct an exclusive cooking class or host a VIP event in Australia or anywhere else in the world.

Photos ANDY PHE PHOTOGRAPHY

one of my most amazing professional experiences; I was inspired by how they were truly at the top of their game, managing everything and being so creative while opening overseas franchises at the same time. I’m now based in Melbourne and am excited to open Pierrick Boyer Cafe Patisserie in Prahran, outside the city. I like rustic cooking in general and this new place will offer good, honest food – with both savouries and sweets. It will be a true reflection of what I like, such as burgers done in my favourite way. Life is short and now that I’m 43, I realise I have some good years to go hopefully. So I enjoy the moments with family and at work. To relax, I unwind with a good cigar; it’s a very complex experience given that these cigars start off as tobacco plants and are harvested, dried, aged and rolled. So many things could go wrong and it takes years of experience to get it right. My favourite cigars are from the Kauai Cigar Company,


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which reconnects me with Hawaii, a place I’m very fond of. I’ve just welcomed a new baby girl and called her Charlotte Tiffany Grace. I’ve been lucky to have been granted a chance to buy the Tiffany & Co-stamped Patek Philippe 5711/R Nautilus to commemorate my daughter’s birth. This watch becomes a personal story for me and I’ve included her name on the ownership papers. What I’ve learnt as my most important career lesson is that in the process of chasing success, we always do things for passion, not to get something back. It’s in my personality to give to others and I do lots of charity work all over, from Malaysia – where I held my first international overseas charity dinner – to Australia where I work for the RSPCA. ≠

“I like rustic cooking in general and this new place will offer good, honest food.”


STOCKISTS

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Robb Report

Aston Martin

BMW M

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Wearnes Automotive 45 Leng Kee Road 6430 4888 www.astonmartin.com

Performance Munich Autos 315 Alexandra Road 1800 225 5269 www.pml-bmw.com.sg

#02-08 Ion Orchard 6509 1010 www.jaeger-lecoultre.com

A Lange & Sohne

Cortina Watch

Jaquet Droz

#02-05A Ion Orchard 6509 1712 www.alange-soehne.com

#03-02 Ion Orchard 6509 9218 www.cortinawatch.com

#B2M-215 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands 6688 7290 www.jaquet-droz.com

Bentley

Ducati Singapore

Land Rover

Wearnes Automotive 45 Leng Kee Road 6378 2628 singapore.bentleymotors.com

Wearnes Automotive 45 Leng Kee Road 6430 4930 www.ducatisingapore.com

Wearnes Automotive 45 Leng Kee Road 6378 2626 www.landrover.com

Blancpain #B2-237 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands 6634 8771 www.blancpain.com


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Malmaison by The Hour Glass

Sincere Fine Watches

Vacheron Constantin

#01-01 Knightsbridge 6884 8484 www.thehourglass.com

#B2M-206 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands 6634 9782 www.sincere.com.sg

#02-07 Ion Orchard 6509 8800 www.vacheron-constantin.com Robb Report Singapore can be purchased at these locations:

Montblanc

Thai Airways International

#B2-71 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands 6688 7988 www.montblanc.com

100 Cecil Street #02-00 6210 5000 www.thaiairways.com

Roger Dubuis

TWG Tea

#B2M-241 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands 6636 9522 www.rogerdubuis.com

#B1-122/125 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands 6535 1837 www.twgtea.com

Rolls-Royce 29 Leng Kee Road 6475 3113 www.rolls-roycemotorcars-singapore.com

• • • • • •

Books Kinokuniya MPH Bookstores Times bookstores Times Travel and Relay bookstores Selected Popular Bookstores Selected petrol stations and convenience stores

For a complete list of locations, please visit robbreport.com.sg/content/distribution.


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THE LAST WORD

Robb Report

ART ATTACK Art, the finest distillation of Man’s creativity, that which elevates us from being mere animals, the expression of the mysterious depths of our human consciousness, art lifts us beyond – wait, what was I saying? By MARCUS YEW

THOMAS A EDISON, AMERICAN INVENTOR

AL CAPP, AMERICAN CARTOONIST & SATIRIST

“To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.”

“Abstract art: a product of the untalented sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.”

ANDY WARHOL, AMERICAN POP ARTIST

OSCAR WILDE, IRISH POET & PLAYWRIGHT

“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.”

“There are two ways of disliking art. One is to dislike it. The other is to like it rationally.”

Oscar Wilde photo LEHTIKUVA


22 – 27 March 2018

BASELWORLD.COM

Be there when the world’s most important watch and jewellery brands present their latest innovations and creations. BASELWORLD: THE PREMIERE SHOW


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