Tag Archives: beijing

The Story of Van Cleef & Arpels Through the 20th Century

The poetry and elegance of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations will be on display at Beijing’s Today Art Museum from Apr 21 to Aug 5, 2018.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ exhibition — ‘When Elegance Meets Art’ — at Beijing’s Today Art Museum celebrates the brand’s heritage and the role of jewellery in women through pivotal moments in the early 20th century.

First presented in 2012 at Paris’ musée des Arts Décoratifs, including a collaboration in 2016 with Singapore’s ArtScience Museum, this exhibition has traveled to China for for the first time. The maison is partnering with China’s first non-profit museum, making a half year stopover in Beijing’s up-and-coming art and foodie hood, Shuangjing. Made up of over 360 creations from both the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection and private collections, the exhibition showcases some of the most emblematic creations.

The history of the Maison is studded with technical inventions, passed down by generations the Mains d’Or. This exceptional savior faire of these master craftsmen, combined with a rich imagination – visitors can anticipate an astonishing outpouring of creativity.

Beginning at 1906, visitors will journey through decades of movements and trends curated in chronological order, ending your time travel by marvelling at contemporary pieces. The mood of discovery and mystique if reflected by the exhibition’s new home that is inspired by the misty effects and landscapes winding in Chinese ink.

Below is a brief walkthrough of the significant eras that the exhibition celebrates.

Indian inspired clip Paris, 1924 Platinum, enamel, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds

The Roaring Twenties, a carefree inter-war period, was immortalised by the iconic flapper girl that embodied the most independence and wantonness that women have ever experienced. Paris was the undisputed capital of the arts, luxury, and entertainment. The geometric lines of Art Deco overshadowed Art Nouveau, although naturalistic subjects continued to play an important part in the Maison’s history.

Minaudière evening bag, Paris, 1935

Despite the depressive Wall Street crash, the 1930s observed great innovations that helped to keep the spirits up. The minaudière in 1934 was a stunning technological advancement of the simple vanity case. The hard-case evening bag allowed the modern woman to include all the glamorous essentials, her lipstick, powder case, lighter and cigarettes into one compact, beautiful box.

Some designs were more figurative, with birds and stylized plant motifs to invoke a sense of hope and joy. The Mystery Set, inspired by 19th-century Roman micro-mosaics, was known for it’s revolutionary technique of setting precious stones.

Dancer clip, New York, 1947

The workshop pace was slowed down by the onset of war, but emerged one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most recognisable motifs of hope, the dancer. First debuted after Claude Arpels befriended George Balanchine, co-founder of the New York City Ballet, the maison’s relationship with dance continues till today. Last year, ‘Hearts & Arrows’ — a collaboration with Benjamin Millepied’s (also known as Natalie Portman’s husband) L.A. Dance Project — was staged in Singapore.

Margot Robbie wearing the iconic ‘Zip’ necklace at the 2015 Oscars

A time of reconstruction, creativity spurred on with technical innovation and new materials. Many major couturiers came up with ready-to-wear collections, including Van Cleef & Arpels’ “La Boutique” collection. One of the pieces, the Zip necklace, remains to be one the most remarkable innovation within the field of High Jewelry today.

The hedonistic 1960s saw an explosion of forms, colors, and materials, marked by the maison’s emblematic long Alhambra necklaces in gold and set with a colourful spectrum of gemstones. The influence of hippy counterculture also extended to Van Cleef & Arpels’ repertoire, with Indian jewelry inspired designs such turquoise, and a number of birds and flowers clips.

In the 1970s, while precious stone jewelry (joaillerie) remained the more popular design, precious metal jewelry (bijouterie) gradually broke free of traditional references to make its own mark. The approaching decades saw the emergence of more contemporary designs, simplicity and sobriety predominating.

Automate Fée Ondine, Paris, 2016

In 2016, the Maison combined telling the time with its own dreamlike universe to create its first table automation. The result of several years’ work and close collaboration between some twenty different workshops, the Automate Fée Ondine brings this exhibition to a close in a truly enchanting way.

For more information on the exhibition, visit www.todayartmuseum.com


Journey through the World’s Most Exciting Flavours

If there is one universal cliché concept for travel, it’ll be a bucket list. While nothing beats the satisfaction of ticking the boxes off your list, it can get tough trying to keep up with the long lists of restaurants, hotels, attractions and events.

Take your tastebuds on a journey around the world and pamper yourself with the most diverse and luxurious travel experience with Bvlgari.

What if you merge the former into one whole incredible experience together? Here we have list of Bvlgari’s stunning boutique hotels located around the globe, and the equally amazing gastronomy stops it offers.

DUBAI, India

Hōseki Restaurant

Hōseki, meaning gemstone, brings Japan’s most rarefied culinary traditions to Dubai. The restaurant seats just nine, making for an intimate Omakase experience, a memorable gastronomic treat served by Chef Masahiro Sugiyama. The courses are based on the preferences of those seated, as well as on the freshest and best ingredients of the day, making every single visit an exceptional journey into the heart of Japan’s culinary tradition.

The dining room overlooks the Dubai skyline, so that each intimate dinner is accompanied by a glittering view. Do remember to reserve in advance, as the restaurant capacity has been kept small to allow greater care and attention to be given to each diner. For groups, there is a private dining room that seats up to twelve.


Il Bar

While the sun is what makes Summer enjoyable, the blazing weather can get undeniably sweaty and unbearable sometimes. Dedicated to be summer’s most enduring refresher, the the Gin & Tonic bar at La Terraza opened just in time for the sunny season.

Served on the shaded veranda overlooking the riverside, guests are invited to choose from four distinctive gin & tonics and six new summer cocktails – a recipe for sunny day bliss. Offering a sophisticated and intimate atmosphere for gatherings or simply some private time, the signature oval bar is open daily from 2pm.

BALI, Indonesia

Sangkar Restaurant

The new Balinese Dining Experience at Sangkar Restaurant invites guests to immerse themselves in the flavours and aromas of Indonesian cuisine. Featuring traditional spices and recipes executed with modern savoir faire, there will be two different selections available for each course for lunch and dinner.

The restaurant entices beyond its menu. Set at the dramatic oceanfront featuring a laid-back interior curated with locally influenced décor, the Sangkar Restaurant expresses the tradition of Balinese culture.

MILAN, France

Il Gazebo

The Il Giardino, designed by landscape architect Sophie Agata Ambroise, is an open-air garden surrounded by lush flora and fauna. The space is casual and intimate, yet impeccably appointed.

As the warmer weather approaches in summer, guests may dine in Il Gazebo, a beautiful outdoor setting located in a discreet corner of the hotel garden. Hidden behind a tall hedge of red beech trees, the cozy private dining area will serve a dedicated menu that embodies the season. No meal is complete at Bvlgari without a accompanying feast for eyes, as the dishes are served on elegant Richard Ginori china.

LONDON, United KIngdom

Rivea London

Inspired by the many years Alain Ducasse spent visiting the vibrant food markets in Italy and Provence, Rivea London offers French and Italian cuisine in a chic, convivial and relaxed setting with informal yet impeccable service.

Adjacent to the dining room, Rivea London’s private dining rooms are suave and intimate spaces seating up to 24 guests, a perfect setting for an intimate party. Custom designed private dining menus are also available, so you can easily go an extra mile to make your summer celebration extra memorable.

Counting down to more luxe, gastronomical hospitality

Get ready for the anticipated new openings of Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, as you travel around the world to fulfil your endless wanderlust. Bvlgari’s next ventures are set in Shanghai and Moscow, and most recently, the opening of The Bvlgari Hotel Tokyo has been confirmed. The state-of-the-art property will occupy the 39th through 45th floors of an ultra-skyscraper in the heart of Tokyo, an elegant and memorable destination among the bustle of the city’s most brilliant lights.

Learn more about destinations in Bvlgari’s hotels here.

Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018

Initially presented in 2004 in Berlin, the gallery weekend is today a regular event in cities such as Barcelona, Paris, Zurich and Brussels, all of which have strong artistic cultures. Unlike traditional art fairs or biennales, which involve bringing the art pieces to a centralised exhibition space, the gallery weekend presents the pieces within their original exhibition sites in galleries, art centres or museums.

Jonathan Meese, ‘noch ohne Titel, 2017’, oil, acrylic and acrylic modelling paste on canvas, 210.5 x 140.3 x 3.3cm. Image courtesy Gallery Weekend Beijing.

GWBJ focuses on introducing Beijing’s unique artistic landscape and its latest contemporary art developments to an international and domestic audience. Although the city is the unofficial centre of artistic culture in China, home to many of the country’s most prominent artists, it has no major art fairs or events to capture international attention. Launched just last year, the gallery weekend aims to fill that gap in the market.

“Beijing, as the center of Chinese contemporary art, is home to 80% of Chinese contemporary artists and a key city to visit for those who are interested in the Chinese contemporary art Ecology,” says Amber Wang, director of GWBJ 2018. “In Beijing, there are over 200 international and local contemporary art galleries, nine private museums, and art NGOs that explore the avant-garde art forms.” She adds, “GWBJ aims to present the energy of today’s Chinese art to the world.”

Shao Fan, ‘Mountain Rock’, 2017, ink on rice paper, 200 × 235cm. Image courtesy Gallery Weekend Beijing.

With a roster of 21 galleries and institutions from China and the rest of the world, the event will feature a programme of exhibitions, talks and related events that aim to promote the city’s artistic ecology and highlight recent developments in its burgeoning art scene. The upcoming edition of GWBJ will also see the addition of several new projects targeting amateurs and aficionados alike, including special activities such as tours, academic forums and salons by industry experts, as well as a new programme element called the Outdoor Public Project, which brings artworks outside of exhibition confines and into open space.

Thomas Kiesewetter, ‘Venus’, 2012, sheet metal, steel, paint, 148 x 123 x 48cm. Image courtesy Gallery Weekend Beijing

This year’s edition also features a varied lineup of homegrown and foreign artists, from German-based multimedia artist Jonathan Meese, well-known for his installations and performance art, to Chinese multidisciplinary artist Shao Fan, who blends contemporary aesthetics with traditional Chinese philosophy.

“The successful first edition in March 2017 set the foundation for GWBJ as an important platform for international industry professionals to exchange experiences and share practices in contemporary art,” explains Wang. “As this dialogue continues to develop, the physical surrounding space becomes an essential part of the work.”

Xu Hongxiang, ‘Beautiful Landscape No.7’, 2017, oil on canvas, 200 × 260cm. Image courtesy Gallery Weekend Beijing.

GWBJ 2018 will take place at a series of venues across Beijing’s most prominent art neighbourhoods, including the 798 Art District, Caochangdi District, and established art spaces located throughout the city. These include the Beijing Commune, a gallery which spotlights the works of emerging artists; INK Studio, which focuses on Chinese experimental ink; and the Hive Center for Contemporary Art, one of the city’s most influential galleries.

More information at gallery-weekend-beijing.com.

This article was written by Ilyda Chua for Art Republik 18.

Review: Waldorf Astoria Beijing Hotel

Waldorf Astoria is one of the world’s most prestigious and best known hotels. Opened in 1893, it was originally two historic inns – the Waldorf Hotel and the Astoria Hotel. Designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, both the Waldorf and the Astoria were demolished in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building but even at its present 301 Park Avenue address, the Waldorf Astoria’s reputation for lavish service and opulent luxury remained. The Anbang Insurance Group of China eventually acquired the icon of glamour and luxury for US$1.95 billion in October 2014, making the Waldorf Astoria New York one of the most expensive hotels ever sold, setting in motion plans for Waldorf Astoria Beijing.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing Hotel Review

For three days and two nights, LUXUO was privileged to have been invited to experience the legendary service standards of the Waldorf Astoria. Located in the heart of downtown Beijing, China, next to Wang Fu Jing, the famous high-end walking shopping district, the Waldorf Astoria Beijing, a stone’s throw of the Forbidden City (and viewable from some of the corner rooms of the hotel – especially the vantage point of our King Premier Suite on the 9th floor) is among the Chinese city’s most exclusive of high end luxury hotels. Ask for a West facing room and you can make out the the white dagoba atop Beihai Park and the iconic rooftops of the literal palatial home of 26 Emperors.


10 minutes walking distance to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, rich Chinese tradition and modern affluence are offered in a compelling cocktail at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing. There’s an oriental charm which isn’t readily apparent thanks to the generous use of bronze ( a royal material which expresses the luxury, dignity, and legend of the Waldorf brand, and reflects the character of the site’s location), which in the daylight hours harbours a gilt tinged glow; Other high-end, traditional materials were used to the same effect; grey granite was used as a background material on the walls, which recalls the historic charcoal bricks of Beijing’s traditional residential streets; it’s contemporary luxury without the feel of excessive chinoisserie which comes from “trying to hard” – . The 176 room Waldorf Astoria Beijing is the premier hotel not just for its opulence and service, but also for its unparalleled connectivity – 10 minutes drive to the CBD in a city renowned for its traffic jams while the nearby subway line (Line 5 to be precise) will offer quick transportation to tourist destinations like the Lama Temple and Confucius Temple.


The unique blend of modern elegance and rich Chinese heritage begins from the stylish lobby. Checking in is quick and painless, the concierge is already aware of your estimated arrival and anticipating your needs. We arrived with our baggage whisked from our limousine and was already present in our rooms before we had completed our check in process.

Our Room at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing: King Premier Suite

Access to the indulgent King Premier Suite at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing is made through a long corridor with high ceilings – it’s a grand residential living space with the comforts of a high end apartment, the walls are mirrored while generous wardrobes hold your overcoats, blazers and other accoutrements effortlessly.

The carefully detailed bay window with large floor to ceiling glazing provides the best city view for each guest room, and creates the unique window room area with featured window screen for guest to enjoy the special living experience in Beijing.

Impeccably stylish, the eggshell walls, accented with panels of purple-blue silk complete the Art Deco touches which punctuate the room with a homely yet designer feel. The room is completely automated and controlled either by buttons on the wall (like curtain controls for open or closing manually – the curtains are motion activated and automatically draw when you enter the room) and you can control the majority of the room tech via Samsung tablet handset. The beautifully appointed bedroom of the Waldorf Astoria Beijing King Premier Suite offers a king-sized bed and a lavish bath with premium amenities – it’s not hyperbole when we say that you, your companion can comfortable lie prone in the large marble bath complete with headrest for supreme comfort. These luxe touches thoroughly sell the Waldorf Astoria experience even before you reach for the Ferragamo bathroom amenities. Oh and hey, we noticed on the three cold winter mornings, that the bathroom floors were heated. The Japanese-style toilets are fully automated as well, the toilet seat lifts automatically or manually controlled from a wall panel which also activates the flush and the bidet.

Work productivity is not an issue either, a fully equipped desk with stationery and complimentary WiFi connectivity serve to reinforce the mood for efficient work deliverables thanks to the inward facing desk with the sun at your back. That said, the WiFi is inexcusably slow for such a 6 star hotel, that said, a foreigner in China would benefit more from using his roaming 4G mobile data connection than using loca internet access if you wish to access Facebook, Google and Gmail – applications all banned in the Chinese capital.

Spa, Fitness room and indoor pool at the Waldorf Astoria in Beijing

If you’re not up for venturing out, there’s plenty to experience within this unique hotel, including the Waldorf Astoria Spa is a place of refuge and relaxation. Indulgent treatments married with exceptional care create a place where guests release stress and experience tranquility. The Waldorf Astoria Spa, a luxurious wellness escape where discerning guests undertake unique and authentic spa journeys, offers a full menu of spa treatments, salon services and fitness activities. With seven treatment suites and a spa retail boutique where skilled therapists will deliver signature calming, results-oriented therapies with products featuring exotic ingredients.


The fitness room is equipped with the latest cardiovascular and weight training machines, however, we must stress, there isn’t enough weight training equipment to reliably train more than two men or women at a time. That said, the standing slatted weight machines offer a variety of hand grips for a complete chin-up oriented work-out. Furthermore, if body weight and calisthenic activities are more your speed, the mirrored passage just before the gym offers yoga mats, yoga balls and rollers for a complete full body work-out. If sweaty exercise is not your thing, warm embrace of Waldorf Astoria Beijing’s heated swimming pool with reclining lounge chairs offers the ultimate swim in any season.

Impeccable dining at award-winning Brasserie 1893 and Zijin Mansion

Zijin Mansion is the perfect occasion to blend traditional eastern cuisine with western wines. A living testimony to poetic luxury, guests walk out of the elevator on the 3rd floor and view the impressive walk-through wine cellar with over 400 different wines from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and France. The Waldorf Astoria Beijing’s legendary, rare and classic wine collection includes not only first-growth Bordeaux like Grand Cru or Premier Cru but also many undiscovered labels which one can pair with the local cuisine.

Zijin Cuisine

Served on renowned French-designed porcelain, diners at Zijin Mansion can partake in delicacies amidst the Waldorf Astoria Beijing’s vast collection of high quality and boutique wines.The porcelain is composed of Kaolin clay, believed to be first discovered and utilized in Jiangxi Province. A French resident picked up the craft of porcelain-making in the early 18th century in Jiangxi and brought it back to France. From there, the art of porcelain was developed around the central French area of Limoges, home to the Legle family factory and where kaolin supply is abundant. This “chinaware” illustrates the bridge between China and the West as does Waldorf Astoria Beijing, where Eastern elegance and Western luxury are blended beautifully. If it strikes your fancy, Chinese Food & Wine Pairing sessions are available once a month (not while we were there) where Cantonese cuisine with strong Beijing influences are paired with spectacular wines.

Breakfasts at Brasserie 1893

Breakfast is had at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing’s Brasserie 1893 where it’s all about candid (limited if you don’t speak the language) chef-and-guest interaction, gastronomical indulgence and visual bliss. The main dining room with show kitchen equipped with two stunning hand-crafted Molteni stoves, brings the chefs into close contact with diners. Conversations with long term guests at the hotel reveal that some of the best steak dinners and oysters can be had here; including the legendary Waldorf Salad which takes its name from its invention at Waldorf Astoria New York.

LUXUO had breakfasts of Eggs Benedict and tested the chefs with a variety of requests including egg white omelettes and scrambled eggs with all manner of sides. Your experience may vary, dependent on how well the server translates your order in mandarin, that said, the dishes are well above competent. Guests expecting your usual continental breakfast fare will be sorely disappointed – most of the dishes offered consist of oriental cuisine like porridge and dim sum with the sole exception of baked beans, bacon and a selection of veal, pork and chicken sausages.

Overall Experience

If you’re looking for an unforgettable stay in lavish comfort, you simply cannot do better than the Waldorf Astoria Beijing. That said, the area is shared with the Peninsula Hotel and the Regent; and other than its proximity to shopping malls and the Forbidden City, the Waldorf Astoria in Beijing isn’t situated in the most vibrant part of town. At the higher floors, traffic noise is not an issue, however, those on the lower floors might find rush hour and the cacophony of car horns (apparently, use of the horn is standard to Chinese drivers rather than only used in emergency situations) might be a little disconcerting. LUXUO rates this stay 8/10.


IWC’s “For the Love of Cinema” gala dinner at the Beijing International Film Festival 2017

Photo by Lintao Zhang/IWC Schaffhausen via Getty Images

To celebrate the achievements of the Chinese film industry, luxury watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen hosted an exclusive gala dinner titled “For the Love of Cinema”, in conjunction with the Beijing International Film Festival. Held at the breathtaking Imperial Ancestral Temple on April 18, the event saw guests from the film industry congregate to applaud the achievements of young Chinese filmmakers.

China is currently the largest film market in the world this year, after steadily building their presence in the international film industry in recent years. “With their immense talent and diversity, Chinese filmmakers are self-confidently claiming their place in the world of film. As a partner of this wonderful festival, we are excited to witness the incredible growth and evolution of the Chinese film industry first-hand”, says Franziska Gsell, Chief Marketing Officer of IWC Schaffhausen. This is the fifth consecutive year that IWC has partnered with the film festival.

Despite its elegant and regal façade, the Imperial Ancestral Temple was transformed to have more of a modern contemporary flavour for the purposes of this event. Beyond the venue’s traditional oriental cocktail area, guests strolled through a dramatic light installation tunnel commissioned by lighting designer Javier Tan before moving to the modern dinner reception hall. The glitterati in attendance included Chen Bolin, Zhang Zilin, Zhang Ruoyun and Jiang Qinqin. IWC ambassadors Zhou Xun and Dev Patel were also amongst attendees. Guests were treated to a night of sights and sounds— the Beijing Orchestra played renditions of songs from popular Chinese movie soundtracks, while singer Jane Zhang wrapped up the event with a spectacular stage.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the presentation of the IWC Filmmaker Award, honouring exceptional filmmakers for their contributions to the film and entertainment industry. The big winner of the night was Chinese film director Derek Tsang. Tsang was presented with the IWC Outstanding Young Filmmaker of the Year award for his directorial vision in “Soul Mate”, a Chinese romantic drama.

The worlds of watchmaking and filmmaking have parallels in how they both draw from tradition and unyielding passion; obviously, on the technical front, both also shift and shape time. An avid supporter of film, IWC has supported film festivals in New York, Zurich, London and Dubai. A pioneer in haute horlogerie, IWC has been making technically advanced timepieces that sell the emotional drama of time since 1868. It pursues partnerships with organisations that share its values all over the world and has lately been working a great deal with the world of cinema.

For more information, visit IWC.

Top 5 Billionaire Hotspot Cities 2016

In advance of the likely the first billionaire presidency of the USA, our friends at Palace Magazine looked at cities around the world that draw the most attention from the billionaire class. It is of course no surprise that Donald Trump’s home turf, New York City, is a magnet for the one-percenters but you might be surprised to learn that Beijing trumps Shanghai in the billionaire stakes.

New York City

Home to the world’s top financial centres like Wall Street and Silicon Alley, New York draws more moneymaking tycoons than anywhere else in the world, with 79 billionaires holding a combined net worth of $364.6 billion residing in the city. The city also hosts three of the world’s 10 richest people: industrialists Charles and David Koch, each worth $44.6 billion, and ex-New York City Mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg, worth $49.8 billion.

Hong Kong

Asia’s financial capital comes in second with 68 billionaire residents worth a combined $261.3 billion. A lover of luxury, Hong Kong has more Rolls-Royce automobiles per capita than anywhere else in the world, and is home to the most powerful figures in Asia: business magnate Sir Lee Ka-shing, ranked the second-wealthiest man in Asia with a net worth of $32.8 billion, and real estate tycoon Lee Shau-kee, worth $25.1 billion and ranked the second richest in Hong Kong.


The financial capital of the Russian Federation, Moscow has the third most number of billionaires in the world; 60 individuals worth a total of $217.6 billion. Moscow’s super-rich include various self-made commodity moguls such as gas and petrochemical magnate Leonid Mikhelson, Russia’s richest man, worth $16.5 billion, and oil and banking mogul Mikhail Fridman, worth $15.6 billion.


Beijing, one of the world’s ancient capitals, comes in fourth with 51 billionaires worth a combined $149.9 billion. Its wealthiest residents include China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, worth $30 billion, as well as Jack Ma, worth $28.3 billion. Both Wang and Ma have recently invested in American entertainment firms, with Wang purchasing Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, and Ma investing in several Hollywood blockbusters.


With a strong property market and a reputation as one of the world’s most glamorous cities, London remains an attractive destination for the super-wealthy (Brexit notwithstanding). The city counts 48 billionaire residents who boast a combined wealth of $187.7 billion. They include American businessman Len Blavatnik, worth $14.7 billion, and Indian-born businessmen Sri and Gopi Hinduja, worth $19.9 billion.

This article was first published in Palace Magazine.

Opposite House Installs Golden Monkey Sculpture

Opposite House Installs Golden Monkey Sculpture

To celebrate Beijing Design Week and Golden Week with a creative flair, The Opposite House collaborates with Australian artist Lisa Roet to install a giant inflatable sculpture of a golden snub-nosed monkey, titled ‘Golden Monkey’, on its iconic façade in the vibrant Sanlitun art and commercial district, and is currently on display till 30 October.

The 14-meter sculpture is styled after the famous mythological Monkey King ‘Sun Wukong’ from the Chinese epic ‘Journey to the West’ and carries a global message on conservation – the snub-nosed monkey, a rare species native to the forest region along the China-Myanmar border, is now left with only a population of about 400 as a result of aggressive hunting and habitat destruction. The fragility of the inflatable sculpture represents the vulnerability of this treasured mascot, while the urban surroundings of Sanlitun draw a strong contrast to its woodland habitat in Yunnan, expressing its displacement from its natural home.


World’s First Louis XIII Boutique Opens In Beijing

World’s First Louis XIII Cognac Store Opens Beijing

In what must be welcome news for lovers of only the finest of fine cognac, Louis XIII cognac has just opened the world’s first and only Louis XIII store in Beijing. Located at the luxury shopping destination called Beijing SKP, the new boutique will offer guests a unique experience, which is of course you would expect because this is Louis XIII and there is only one such store in the world.World’s First Louis XIII Boutique Opens In Beijing

Officially opened September 20, the boutique offers clients a bespoke service and exclusive Louis XIII experiences to help foster close personal bonds with the brand. A salon that is devoted to the universe of Louis XIII accompanies the boutique and represents yet another first for the Rémy Cointreau owned label, which is the highest expression of the cognac Rémy Martin. “Louis XIII cognac is an icon of French art de vivre and excellence. With this world-premire, Louis XIII is changing the rules of the game in spirits, posing the founding stone of a new chapter in its history,” said Eric Vallat, CEO of the House of Rémy Martin.World’s First Louis XIII Boutique Opens In Beijing

Louis XIII cognac enlisted the help of interior design firm RDAI, the team behind the Hermès flagships, Elie Saab Paris and Yves Saint Laurent to create a luxurious 132 square meter space. Using limestone for the chalky interior, copper to create the eaux-de-vie stills, oak that represents the casks used to age the cognac, the interior boasts luxury and elegance at every turn. In the heart of the boutique is the private Eternity Room that is used solely to unveil limited edition cognacs and host visiting luminaries. The centerpiece of the room is The Century Wheel, which is a circle of light that ‘travels through the 10 decades the comprise Louis XIII’.World’s First Louis XIII Boutique Opens In Beijing

Guests will be treated to tasting opportunities and food pairings alongside special editions and unique Louis XIII products that will be sold exclusively at the boutique.

Zeng Fanzhi Returns to Roots

Zeng Fanzhi Returns to Roots at Beijing Retrospective

Blue-chip Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi built up a lucrative career by looking to the West for inspiration and buyers, but a new retrospective in Beijing reveals an unlikely turn back towards China’s own aesthetics and traditions.

It is a story increasingly common in the world’s second largest economy, where an growing disillusionment with material wealth has sent a generation in search of a heritage lost.

Zeng is China’s second best-selling living artist, according to wealth publisher the Hurun Report.

“In the beginning, you feel happy that you’ve attained a certain kind of recognition, and are sold for a very high price, but as time goes on, it vexes you,” he said. “People badmouth you, and the success influences your emotional state and creative process,” he added.

In 2013, his painting “The Last Supper” sold for $23.3 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, at the time the most expensive contemporary Asian work ever sold at auction.

It was one of his “Mask” series, paintings whose empty-eyed, white-masked figures spoke of the psychological tensions lurking in China as the political idealism of the 1980s gave way to the 1990s’ single-minded focus on rapid economic growth.

The media attention paid to just one period of his nearly three decade-long career left him feeling pigeon-holed, Zeng told AFP, following the opening of a retrospective of his work this month at Beijing’s Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA).

The masks became a brand, he said, an easily commodified image that reinforced Western preconceptions of China and were used by auction houses and art publications to boost their own sales.

Zeng rode the wave of China’s development, rising to fame from humble beginnings at a time when the country had no significant art market of its own.

Now that its art scene is well-established, he has lost the need to seek validation and inspiration from the West, choosing to look instead to his own roots, he said.

“In the ’80s, we were so starved for outside information; we wanted so much to understand the world and know about Western art,” he said, explaining his early obsession with artists like Paul Cezanne, Willem de Kooning and Lucian Freud.

He said: “But nowadays, there’s such an overwhelming amount of information – it’s cognitive overload. I have to close myself off and look inward to maintain my sense of self.”

Zeng Fanzhi Returns to Roots

This picture taken on September 22, 2016 shows staff members at the “Parcours: Zeng Fanzhi” exhibition at Beijing’s Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA). Blue-chip Chinese artist Zeng built up a lucrative career by looking to the West for inspiration and buyers, but a new retrospective in Beijing reveals an unlikely turn back towards China’s own aesthetics and traditions. © WANG ZHAO / AFP

Stark contrast

Zeng’s new show “Parcours: Zeng Fanzhi” exhibits more than 60 works from each of his wildly different major artistic stages, many for the first time on the mainland. He hopes it will provide a more complete picture of his continuous process of reinvention.

Monumental oil paintings of abstract landscapes overgrown with dark snarls of branches dominate the gallery’s central nave, flanked by detailed portraits of his Western muses.

The canvases are a stark contrast to his latest series: understated, black-and-white works on paper inspired by Song dynasty paintings.

They arise out of Zeng’s 2008 shift towards an exploration of paper itself, finding inspiration for his brushwork in the subtle variations of its grain – a technique inspired by Chinese artistic philosophies.

“As you grow older, your whole aesthetic sense and preferences change,” said Zeng, who has started collecting traditional Chinese art and designing literati gardens like the one outside his studio, which features jagged scholar’s rocks, stone lions and a koi pond.

Art for art’s sake

Despite Zeng’s philosophical shift, UCCA director Philip Tinari admitted that it was impossible for the show to escape the shadow of his sales records: “He has probably created more financial value than all but a very few artists alive today.”

Nevertheless, “there’s an honesty about this work that’s not immediately apparent,” Tinari said. Zeng’s output is testament to a key moment in China’s artistic engagement with the outside world, when his generation found real inspiration and meaning in the Western idea of art as a tool of fomenting social change, he explained.

In the recent paper series, Tinari said he saw Zeng “pulling further and further back from the day-to-day of reality” as he grew older and wealthier, a change that echoes China’s growing global status.

The return to a Chinese artistic vocabulary reflects not just a change in the way Zeng sees himself, but in the way the world sees Chinese artists.

As China becomes richer and more powerful, Tinari said, its artists do “not necessarily need to make work that narrates the Chinese situation, or that explains the social and political problems and questions of the nation”. The change, he said, is a sign that China, along with its art market, is maturing.

“The world is only ready to hear about art for art’s sake from people who come from a certain place on the geopolitical continuum.”

San Shan Bridge Unveiled for Beijing Winter Olympics

Beijing’s ever-evolving landscape will soon see a futuristic, double-helix bridge named San Shan Bridge come 2022, when the city hosts the Winter Olympic Games.

Stretching out from across the city to the mountainous region of Zhangjiakou over the river Gui, the infrastructure – translated to “Three Mountains” – is part of the government’s efforts to provide more efficient transportation to the event location for athletes.

Beijing WInter Olympics_San Shan Bridge_

Referencing the union of the five continents, just like the interlaced rings of the Olympic logo, the 452-meter-long bridge sees three sets of cross-connected structures that reflects its name. Each of these structures have a maximum span of 95 meters and are supported by high-strength steel cables that crisscross the bridge in an elegantly woven design. To facilitate movement, the bridge will also be separated into transportation and pedestrian sections via two strips of trees and bushes.

Beijing WInter Olympics_San Shan Bridge_

Beijing and Vienna-based architecture firm Penda – whose portfolio includes the bamboo pavilion “One with the Birds” for Beijing Design Week 2015 – will work alongside global engineering consultants ARUP on the ambitious task. If ARUP sounds familiar, it is because the prolific firm has taken projects such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Headquarters in Seattle to completion and are currently working on Apple Campus 2.

Beijing WInter Olympics_San Shan Bridge_

However, the San Shan Bridge is but part of a larger city expansion scheme for the Chinese capital. Beijing Horticultural Expo 2019 (a future exhibition hub) and a more extensive transport system (11,700km of metro planned for 2050) will cater to the city’s aspiration of evolving into a supercity – the third largest in the world at that, with more than 21 million people.

Revamped Peninsula Beijing Boasts Larger Rooms

For those who love sprawling hotel rooms with ample space for everyone’s steamers and trunks, The Peninsula Beijing may be your new home away from home. The hotel now boasts the largest luxury hotel rooms in the Chinese capital since they revamped their 525 rooms to actually create fewer rooms and suites – there are now 230. A small sacrifice really, for luxury. However, ‘small’ is definitely not the name of the game here.Peninsula-Beijing-renovations-master-bedroom

The smallest rooms start at 60 square meters (645 square feet), going against trend in the industry. That is to say, most hotels maximize space to earn as much revenue as possible by creating as many rooms as possible.

With a little inspiration from luxury yachts and a few cultural elements, guests can trust that the rooms are both comfortable and sophisticated. The rooms feature hues of cream while artworks from Chinese artists adorn the walls. Like most luxury yachts, the rooms are fitted with furnishings from luxury Italian designers and a few hand-finished pieces from local designers. Peninsula-Beijing-renovations-dining-room

The experience doesn’t stop there. Guests have full control of the lighting, temperature and can even order room service via the tablets that are found on the bedside and on room desks. The most luxurious suite in the hotel is The Loft that commands the top floors of the hotel. Spanning two stories, the suite has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breath-taking views of the city below.

The hotel has created another tier of suites by combining 17 room to create living spaces that measure up to 165 square meters (1,883 square feet). The suites also come with large living and dining spaces, dressing quarters and a master bedroom.

Chanel Paris to Rome 2015/16 Visits Beijing

Is there nothing the Kaiser can’t do?  For his latest Paris to Rome 2015/16 Métiers d’art show, he brought a little piece of Rome with him to Beijing. This isn’t only the first Chanel show to be held there but is also the first time a fashion house and social platform WeChat have collaborated on a show.

Kristen STEWART_Métiers d'art Paris in Rome 201516 show in Beijing_Photocall pictures

Amidst a black and white old-school backdrop of Paris, the show saw models walking through and around film set café terraces and fountains. The idyllic Beijing setting was transformed into a black and white movie set where celebrities, guests and models all partied to grooves by supermodel Ming Xi, Chinese actor William Chan and Bai Baihe.

Song HYE KYO_Métiers d'art Paris in Rome 201516 show in Beijing_Photocall pictures

As always, the Chanel show delivered on star power. Chanel ambassador Kristen Stewart rocked a signature edgy look in a strapless leather dress and kohl-rimmed eyes, while Descendants of the Sun actress Song Hye Kyo channelled gamine chic in a printed blouse and A-line skirt from the label.

Read more about the show and view more pictures at L’Officiel.com.

Glashütte Original Thrills Singapore Collectors

With the presence of what seems like an endless parade of luxury stores in Singapore, things are looking up for the high-end market here. Recently, Glashütte Original dropped in as well with its own boutique, while also having two more over in Beijing, all in a span of six weeks. They held a spectacular launch last month over at the Marina Bay Sands, where an exclusive group of guests were welcomed by the president of the German watchmaking company Yann Gamard and Regional Sales Manager Wolfgang Lackner.

Mr. & Mrs. Koh Kok Keng and Mr. Yann Gamard

Mr. & Mrs. Koh Kok Keng and Mr. Yann Gamard

The opening was officiated by a ribbon cutting ceremony, and, to spice things up a little in a specially Asian way, it was followed by a lion dance performance. The rest of the evening was celebrated with an exquisite fine dining experience at Spago, and on the Sands Sky Deck. With a night view of the city’s skyline as a backdrop, guests had the opportunity to view the various novelties brought around by the brand this year, since the global release in Baselworld. They also had the opportunity to view watchmaking techniques from a Glashütte Original watchmaker.

Lion Dance at the Glashutte Original Boutique

Lion Dance at the Glashütte Original Boutique

In the dining hall, there was edible art in the form of delicately crafted stackable gears with little chocolate treats. The menu was specially prepared by Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck and his team, mixing up an imaginative and seasonal touch of fine cuisine with global accents. The latest timepieces were presented, such as the brand new Senator Excellence with the Calibre 36, a new version of the Senator Chronometer featuring a distinct blue face, and refined versions of the Lady Serenade.

11. Guests taking a closer look at the art of German watchmaking

Guests taking a closer look at the art of German watchmaking

This grandiose opening marks the start of Glashütte Original’s greater presence in the Asia region, and a great boon to horologists here as well. A night of common love in the art and craft of watchmaking – what greater joy could you ask for?

Connected Mobility To Beat Traffic

Traffic congestion will always be a hassle no matter the car you drive, but with the advent of new technology, there are more and more ways to circumvent these problems. Debuting in Auto China 2016, in Beijing, the Audi Connected Mobility Concept is most notable for the special longboard stowed in a drawer under the rear bumper, to help drivers beat the traffic via alternative means of completing journeys.


The car’s system will analyze information regarding a user’s set appointments and routines, planning out the best route while checking out traffic alerts real-time. If the traffic is too intense, the car will find the best parking space and deploy the longboard for the remaining route. The 1.05 electric longboard has a 12km range and can hit speeds of up to 29km/h before the batteries need recharging.

Beyond that, the longboard can be used in three forms. It functions as a skateboard, but can have its handlebars raised and turned into a scooter. Finally, the longboard can act as a trolley to transport luggage by leaving it on the ground loaded up with cases. Audi claims that the board will automatically follow you as you walk when wirelessly synced to a smartphone or smartwatch.


Over the past 12 months, other car companies including Ford, Volkswagen and Mini have demonstrated similar e-bike concepts. Audi stands out by having the board physically integrated into the vehicle itself, as well as its 3 modes of use. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for the moment when hoverboards becomes the next thing in store.

Images from Audi, via the AFP

Energies Unleashed: Singapore Art Exhibition

Opera Gallery Singapore, is proud to present ‘ENERGIES UNLEASHED – Katrin Fridriks & Liu Jiu Tong’ from now to 1 May 2016. Through their works, this exhibition explores the pictorial vocabularies of energy and movement in various stages of metamorphosis. Applied through visual manifestations of suspended movement – both physical and metaphysical – Katrin Fridriks and Liu Jiu Tong seek stillness within incessant changeability.

Katrin Fridriks (b. 1974) is an abstract painter from Iceland, currently living and working in Paris and Luxembourg. Addressing the political atmosphere of her remote home country and the controversy of scientific innovation, her explosive works are striking in their dynamics of color and movement. Maintaining a liquid-like viscosity on the canvas, Fridriks’ paintings are surreal and incessant, resulting in striking and energetic works that entrance the viewers down to the finest details. Using vivid and explosive strokes to create her works, Fridriks’ works of abstract expressionism are as emotional as they are intelligent.Energies-Unleashed-Art-Republik-Katrin-Fridriks

By concentrating the ‘explosions’ in the centre of her paintings, Fridriks confers a sense of mastery to them which cannot be attained in all-overs, where the paint covers all parts of a canvas in a similar pattern. Here all the energy is concentrated in an epicentre, a centre of gravity. Many of Fridriks’ works indeed look like they had a source of energy at their heart rather than having a form being imposed on them from the outside. The feeling that her paintings emerge from the centre contributes to the feeling of self-containment they evoke.

Liu Jiu Tong (b. 1977) was born in Suide, a province in the highlands of northwest of China. He graduated from the Art Institute of Xi’an and was influenced by the ancient and majestic styles of ChangAn art. He went on to work in Beijing before moving to Shanghai, where the multicultural spirit of the city was an important influence to his style. The international cultural changes he witnessed enabled his art language to evolve, and his works are integrated with both Western technique and Eastern artistic concepts. As he was also heavily influenced by the Shanghainese way of life, his artworks are presented with the tensions and lively rhythms of life.

Despite his young age, Liu’s artworks have been exhibited in many prestigious international shows such as: the International Contemporary Art Exhibition of Paris and the ninth Contemporary Art Exhibition in Milano. In particular his painting ‘Distant Traveler’ was nominated for the seventh International Price Arte Laguna. A great number of his works have been published in the Sotheby and Christie’s catalogues.Energies-Unleashed-Art-Republik-Liu-Jiu-Tong

For ‘ENERGIES UNLEASHED – Katrin Fridriks & Liu Jiu Tong’, the works of Fridriks feature infinitely expanding color splashes across finely crafted surfaces. Including subtle influences of Japanese calligraphy and almost imperceptible line details, Fridriks’ artworks depict the natural interconnectivity of different elements that can or cannot be directed and controlled.

Interplaying the abstract and the figurative, Liu’s unrestrained landscapes are inspired by renowned Chinese poets of the Warring States and Tang Dynasty. Eluding to form, Liu expresses a lyricism swathed in tenacious layers of paint, vigorously applied and condensed onto canvas like a fleeting moment trapped between open fingers.

Through the spectacular works of these two artists, they reflect on the beauty of movement captured in the present moment.

*For more information, please visit www.operagallery.com

BMW Marks Centennial Milestone

In light of its 100th birthday, the German car manufacturer unveiled its Vision Next 100, a concept car that combines a sleek coupé design with an autonomous driving mode as well as a shape-shifting interior. The futuristic car will be on display in Beijing from May 5 to 15, and sports seats that can be shifted to allow passengers to face each other, a steering wheel and center console that can retract and headrests that can be shifted sideways. From Beijing, the car will embark on a world tour including destinations such as the Paris Motor Show.

Vision Concept cars will also be unveiled by the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, owned by BMW, on June 16 in London as well as the BMW Motorrad concept car in October 11 in Los Angeles. Once the world tour comes to an end, the cars will he housed in the BMW Welt plant in Munich, Germany that is home to the BMW museum. The museum, is currently holding a temporary exhibition entitled “100 Masterpieces. BMW Group — 100 years of innovative strength and entrepreneurial courage.”

Apart from BMW’s iconic vehicles such as the BMW 328, BMW 507 and the BMW Turbo on display, the exhibition will look back at the brand’s progress over the years and the many technical milestones in its history. Later in the year, the “BMW – The Next 100 Years” festival will be coming to the Munich Olympic Park (Olympiapark) and the BMW museum, September 9-11, for a weekend of entertainment and experiences in the company of celebrities, brand ambassadors, musicians and DJs.

The anniversary is also being celebrated with a collection of 13 centenary publications tracing the history of the group and its various brands (BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad) and outlining future challenges. In autumn 2016, the publications will be grouped together and released as a comprehensive limited-edition work.

Glashütte Original Expands in Asia

In a short span of six weeks, the German brand has unveiled two boutiques in Beijing and one in Singapore, all to continue its international expansion strategy. This is of course very welcome news, going against the grain of brands retreating in China. In Beijing, the newest boutique at the famous Wang Fu Jing Street is the fifth and also largest boutique in China alone. Glashütte-Original-metal-ceiling

Situated in one of the world’s most important high-end shopping destinations, it also offers customers a chance to consult with a watchmaker on the premises. The highly trained artisan is part of the 147 sqm store’s immersive German watchmaking experience, which includes a sumptuous and interactive lounge.

The second outlet in Beijing was opened late last year at Shin Kong Place. Featuring an artistic metal ceiling, the boutique was designed to reflect German aesthetics in engineering. The boutique also boasts a “Manufactory Wall” that showcases the many filigreed components that make up Glashütte Original movements. At a glance, this shows a visitor some of the advantages of being a manufacture that is part of the Swatch Group.Glashütte-Original-interior

The end of December saw the Glashütte-based manufacture welcome its first boutique in Southeast Asia. In choosing the Marina Bay Sands resort as its new home, the luxury watchmaker ensures that visitors enjoy not only the best of German fine watchmaking but also the ambience of another globally significant shopping destination.

All images are courtesy of Glashütte Original and showcase the Glashütte Original Boutique in Singapore.

Dior Opens Largest China Flagship

Christian Dior has opened its largest flagship store yet on mainland China. The Beijing ‘China World’ boutique is split across two levels, featuring a floor-to-ceiling, double layer glass façade that emulates fine feminine fabric in the fashion house’s ‘Cannage’ print.

Designed by Peter Marino, the interiors blend inspiration taken from the brand’s Paris flagship, dotted with a carefully curated group of artworks by contemporary artists. Each of the 10 pieces, which include a bench by Terence Main and a video art wall by Yorame, reflect the codes of the house. There is also a sculpture “Siamese Metal 5” from British artist Richard Deacon, the work “Waterwall, Roselyn” by Gregory Ryan and table lamps by Véronique Rivemale are also displayed in the store. On the second floor, the footwear section is adorned by a “Gaia Imprint” Low Table, designed by Vincent Dubour.

Classic furniture pieces from Guillaume Piéchaud, Paolo Giordano and Timothy Horn have been placed strategically throughout the space, and the store also features a private VIP salon garnished with two Mineral Commodes designed by Juan & Paloma.


Dior will launch limited-edition products to be sold exclusively in the China World boutique to mark its opening. Products include the Diorama bag in metallic lizard or blue and pink python, a Dior VIII Grand Bal “Plissé” watch, a “Rose des Vents” bracelet or necklace in pink gold, ruby and mother of pearl, and the “Diorelita” Zodiac Monkey collection in gold and red lacquer.

Located in the city’s Chaoyang district, the store opened on December 21.


Armani Casa project Beijing

Armani to design luxury residences in Beijing

Armani Casa project Beijing

Armani Casa has signed a deal with the Smart Hero Group to develop a residential project in Beijing, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) reports.

Architect Ma Yansong has been signed up to design an eco building comprising several apartments, with Armani creating the amenities and common areas.

Armani Casa project Beijing China

“I’m very happy to collaborate on the development of this complex in Beijing, one of the most charming cities in the world,” Giorgio Armani told the publication. “The Chinese concept of ‘Union of Nature and Man’ perfectly fits the aesthetic I developed for Armani/Casa, which constantly aspires at creating a sense of harmony inside the indoor spaces while respecting their natural context.”

The brand has previously worked on projects including the Century Spire complex in Makati, Philippines and the World Towers in Mumbai.

Tommy Hilfiger Beijing store

Tommy Hilfiger opens biggest store in China

Tommy Hilfiger Beijing store

Tommy Hilfiger is opening its largest Chinese store yet in Beijing this month. The two-story retail space at the In88 shopping centre spans over 500 square meters and reflects the brand’s “classic American cool” identity.

It showcases women’s sportswear, the Hilfiger Collection and accessories, as well as the Tommy Hilfiger Tailored and men’s sportswear collections.

A visually striking façade stretches over 30 meters along two sides of the mall with large windows hosting high-resolution digital screens displaying the brand’s latest advertising campaign videos and imagery.

Inside, bespoke décor reflects the brand’s all-American heritage, featuring over-dyed patchwork rugs, vintage furniture and antiques alongside digital screens and custom-designed lighting fixtures.

The new store will mark the first time the Hilfiger Collection, which comprises the womenswear designs that debut during New York Fashion Week, has been shown in China.

Tommy Hilfiger Fall 2015 Fashion Show

The opening of the new store coincides with the brand’s 30th anniversary, which will be celebrated by Mr. Hilfiger himself over the course of a series of special events from May 24-26.

These include an exclusive recreation of his Fall 2015 Hilfiger Collection runway show, which debuted at New York Fashion Week in February.

The complete show experience will be transported to Beijing for the runway event, which will include looks from the men’s and women’s collections and take place against the celebrated backdrop of Hilfiger’s football stadium set.

“For the first time, we’ll transport our entire New York runway show to a new setting abroad,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “I’m excited to bring the spirit of an authentic American football game to China and share the unique experience as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations.”