Tag Archives: brazil

Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro

Invest in Rio, Brazil: How the Olympic Games boosted the Brazilian Property Market

In 2008, when countries like USA and UK were going through a credit crunch, Brazil was starting to show prosperity, with GDP growth of 60%. The economy was doing well and so was the property market, between 2008 and 2011 the real estate valuation increased 20%. Large numbers of mortgages were being approved and continued to increase for the next several years. There was low unemployment of 7.9% in 2008, which decreased further to 5.5% in 2012. Customer confidence and higher demand was followed by increased property value – 121% between 2008 and 2011.

Then, in 2015, the economy in Brazil began to weaken. Inflation reached 10.7% in January 2016 and less credit was available. Together, the country was going through a political crisis, which hasn’t really let up. Current ex-President Dilma Rousseff was suffering political pressure, and members of her party have been investigated and arrested for corruption. After the impeachment process, her Vice President took over the country, although political instability remained strong. Despite the current economic doubt, inflation began to show more manageable rates, with the most recent recorded as 8.7%. The online news of the popular Brazilian G1 website showed the variations of property finance in Brazil starting from the period of the well-known credit crunch and property crisis of 2008:

  • 2008 – Growth of the property market post-crisis
  • 2010 – Property market begins to enhance
  • 2011 – BRL 79 billion (approx USD 24.2 billion) in property finance
  • 2012 – BRL 82.8 billion (approx USD 25.4 billion) in property finance
  • 2013 – BRL 109.2 billion (approx USD 33.5 billion) in property finance
  • 2014 – BRL 113 billion (approx USD 34.6 billion) in property finance
  • 2015 – Economic instability – property finance 33% lower (BRL 75.6 billion, approx USD 23.2 billion), and property prices drop
  • 2016 – Unstable economy

The 2014 FiFA World Cup brought a lot of investment and improvement to the cities where matches were held – BRL 25.6 billion, according to the initial plan. However, the people were unhappy with the way improvements were conducted. There were major delays and a lack of organisation. Then came the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which seemed far better organised than the World Cup of 2014 despite the negative speculations and some corruption scandals, including Rio’s Mayor.

Night view of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Night view of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The majestic Games brought to Rio promises, dreams, and hopes of growth and progress, not only to the city, but also to the country. From the announcement that Rio de Janeiro would host the Olympics, property prices increased on average 200% over this period, according to Secovi-Rio (official organization for research and real estate indicators). Since then, Rio has received investments from public and private sectors with the hope to rouse the city into more cosmopolitan living. The event cost BRL 38.26 billion.

Many necessary improvements in the city were made and there were huge property investments. In addition, investments in infra-structure were also vital in order to ensure the success of the Games. Until recent years, Rio’s commercial hubs were only in the centre and southern area of the city, making displacement almost always necessary for most of the population.

After the announcement of the Games, it was decided that many areas of the city would be utilized for the event. Therefore, the creation of business links were required between different centres of the city, improving urban mobility for the whole Rio. The property market was key in this process, since it became attractive to have a business in other regions of the city, turning these areas into new property hot spots with more shops and hospitality businesses. For instance: the number of hotel rooms, flats and bed and breakfasts have increased 10 times since 2009.

In 2017, Rio will definitely be better prepared to serve new businesses, conventions, tourists and local people. The city is changing and renewing its style and confidence, while continuing to evolve and develop itself. These changes are already visible. The economic and political instability will probably frighten the less experienced and impatient. Nevertheless, 2016 and 2017 are the years to be investing in properties, not only in Rio de Janeiro, but in all major cities throughout Brazil. There are many excellent bargains available, especially for cash buyers, considering the 14.25% interest rates and shortage in mortgage products. Some property owners are already showing doubts and uncertainty since the political crisis started. Many properties are for sale, but are taking too long to be sold. Eager sellers and favourable deals make this the best time to lock down your Brazilian investment.

Text by Giovana Southey

This story was first published in Palace

4 Brazilian Restaurants 2016

4 Brazilian Restaurants: Rio Away From Rio

Not all Olympics fans will be lucky enough to go to Brazil (we know we aren’t!). In any case, you could argue that something as big as the Olympics is perfect for television but whoever you are and wherever you might be, food is not something best enjoyed vicariously. This is by no means perfect but maybe try Brazilian cuisine (hopefully not for the first time) at one of the four popular restaurants the AFP has picked out for you from around the world.

Maloka (Paris, France)

As Oka restaurant moves to the 5th district of Paris at the end of November, Rio de Janeiro-born chef Raphaël Rego has transformed its old location into a new restaurant called Maloka. With solid experience at Taillevent and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon behind him, Rego transports his customers to Brazil with no stopovers, serving local cuisine made with ingredients imported from his homeland. Parisians are introduced to cassava, a new twist on the traditional feijoada (a pork and black bean stew), and pao de queijo (cheese rolls) as they partake of genuine caïpirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail. This has become a hot culinary destination in Paris since its recent opening.

28, rue de la Tour d’Auvergne, 75009 Paris

Beach Bistro 96 (New York, USA)

Rockaway Beach — a free beach accessible from Manhattan via the subway — has become a cool neighborhood of Queens beloved by surfers. Since May, a chef has been attracting foodies, and even a New York Times restaurant critic, to his Beach Bistro 96 here. A native of the town of Santos, in southern Brazil’s São Paulo state, Carlos Varella is the Big Apple’s latest hot favorite. Like his fellow Brazilian Raphaël Rego in France, he prepares culinary specialties from his home country such as pao de queijo. This former professional surfer’s menu also includes picanha, a cut of beef with a layer of fat that protects it during grilling.

95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Beach 96th Street, The Rockaways, New York

Cabana (Newcastle, UK)

The latest Brazilian eatery to open in the UK is in Newcastle. Cabana restaurants have opened their tenth address in this northeastern English city, offering a relaxed atmosphere and traditional Brazilian cuisine that has been given a modern twist for a new audience. This new business has also sourced some of its furnishings from Brazil’s poor communities such as the recycled jeans from a favela in São Paulo that have been used to line the restaurant’s chairs. Cabana already operates in London and Leeds, and plans to open another restaurant in Southampton in the near future.

117 Newgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

Regina’s Farm (Fort Lauderdale, USA)

If you live in Florida, Regina’s Farm can transport you to the Brazilian countryside. Regina, a young Brazilian living in Fort Lauderdale was missing her native state of Minas Gerais, so decided to recreate a traditional Brazilian farm in her backyard. Brazilian culinary specialties are prepared on a wood stove in the company of roosters and chickens. Regina serves soups, cheese bread, fresh guarapa (iced sugarcane juice) and much more. The farm is a non-profit-making venture, which is only open to diners on Saturday.

1101 Middle St., Fort Lauderdale

Sports Brands Design Rio Olympics 2016 Kits

There are two kinds of people: those who watch the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for sports, and those who look out for the Olympic kits. We’ve previously seen the designs of world-famous designers, which the national teams will wear to important ceremonies. In a similar vein, a few brands have stepped up to the challenge of designing the actual sports kits for competition – and this time it is more of a challenge because performance also comes into play. This is where style meets function, and very physically empowering.

New Balance for Team Ireland

rio-olympic-kits-ireland

Team Ireland bleeds presidential blue, as well as the country’s traditional green, white and orange. With this color palette in mind, New Balance has designed the kit with ultra lightweight and quick-drying fabrics. Expect enhanced fit, comfort and support for maximum performance.

Nike for Team USA and Team Brazil

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rio-olympic-kits-brazil

Nike is taking on not one but two countries’ kits. Pairing Nike’s Aeroswift Technology (a breathable, four-way stretch material) with strategically placed ventilation points, optimization is the name of the game; in fact, Nike’s kit is arguably one of the most technologically advanced to date.

Adidas for Team Australia

rio-olympic-kits-australia

Taking into account Brazil’s hot and humid climate, Adidas has similarly tapped on their Climachill technology, where the moisture-wicking fibres are set to help combat the temperature. At the same time, Adidas’ revolutionary Boost technology will be used for footwear, giving athletes a constant return on energy and that little extra push.

H&M for Team Sweden

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H&M isn’t merely dressing Team Sweden, they worked together to create the kits, ensuring the athete’s ultimate comfort. As a result, a sports kit of high quality performance and function was born. Good news: the national team has also collaborated with the brand to expand their in-store sportswear so even us common folk will be able to benefit from the team’s athletic knowledge. (Unfortunately, clothes do not always a person make, and the Olympic tracks are still out of bounds to us.)

Design: Campana Brothers Turn Trash Into Art

One man’s trash is another man’s art it seems, especially for the Campana brothers. The Brazilian designer duo made up of Humberto and Fernando find their inspiration from what many would not think twice about discarding. Their studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil is filed with a slew of items made from the unlikeliest of materials.

From armchairs made from rag dolls and stuffed toy crocodiles, the designers have made a name for themselves in the design world with their quirky creations. Unlike a normal studio, the brothers who have no formal training in design. What they have is a team of artisans who not only sew leather and brush fleeces but also enter data on computers. “This is a laboratory,” says Humberto, the elder of the brothers at 63. “We are always seeking new forms of expression” added the former law student.

They pride themselves in surprising viewers with their work, such as sofas made out of cardboard and plastic packaging that is transformed into chairs. Another design that has caught the attention of fans is the ‘Favelas’. The artwork, as explained by Fernando, is their interpretation of how Brazilians living in the country’s slums build their homes out of objects they find in the street.

While they have had their work featured in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions such as New York’s MOMA and the Pompidou Center in Paris, the brothers also give back to society. They work with small cooperatives and artisans to support traditional local crafts to help show off the cutural riches of the country.

Indulge in These: 5 Luxury Residences for Summer

There are holiday rentals, and then there are luxury holiday rentals. If you’re planning that well-deserved break, might as well do so in absolute class and opulence. With rental services companies such as Airbnb on the rise, travelers have been shifting their preferences for hotels to these more homely options.  Whether you’re in the exotic Seychelles, or perched atop the French Alps, make yourself right at home with these five dream properties.

At the summit

Lease of Luxury_LO_Courchevel

Name: Le Hameau de la Volière.

Where: Courchevel 1850, in the French Alps. Amid the lush vegetation of the Chenus, at an altitude of 1,850m (which gives the town its name) and a stone’s throw away from the centre of Courchevel 1850. Right by the skiing pistes, with unblocked views of the valley.

What: A trio of ultra-luxurious chalets in pale wood. Exotically named Les Bastidons, Cryst’aile and Nanuq, each comes with five rooms bathed in natural light over three or four levels, all designed by Christophe Tollemer in an exquisite, contemporary style.

Capacity: 12 persons per chalet.

Services: Evok Hôtels Collection, managers of this property, have provided everything, and more: indoor pool, spa (with Clarins products, no less), gym, wine cellar, and a home cinema.

Extras: Personal chef, butler, fitness instructor on demand.

Price: €40,000 (S$62,000) per week for 12, or €3,300 per person.

www.voliere-courchevel.com

Private island

Lease of Luxury_LO_

Name: Cousine Island.

Where: The Seychelles; 6 km south-west of Praslin Island.

What: A little private tropical paradise caressed by the waves of the Indian Ocean, Cousine Island had until recently only had four pretty villas decorated in a graceful colonial style. A new presidential villa was launched in April this year. Nestled amid the luxuriant vegetation, but at only 30 m from the beach, the 625 sqm villa contains two spacious suites with bathrooms, a study, living room, dining room, gym and spa. To get around, guests use the electric golf carts.

Capacity: 16 to 20 persons for the five villas.

Services: For the presidential villa: A butler, a chef and a chambermaid.

Extras: The Guest Conservation Ambassador, an ambitious eco-system sustainability program that encourages guests to participate in the conservation of this exceptional natural environment.

Price: On request.

www.cousineisland.com

Blue sky

Lease of Luxury_LO_Paros Villa Lavinia 1

Name: Villa Lavinia.

Where: Paros, in the Cyclades islands, a 30-minute flight from Athens. On a hill overlooking the port of Naoussa.

What: A large, all-white and recently built villa, with an adjoining two-bedroom guesthouse. The main villa contains five double rooms on two levels (with verandahs on the upper floor) and a bright, sun-lit interior, blending perfectly with the modern décor. The guesthouse has direct access to the charming garden featuring olive tress and aromatic herbs. Day beds next to the pool and a large outdoor reception area ideal for barbecues.

Capacity: 14 persons.

Services: Daily cleaning, cooked breakfasts and concierge services.

Extras: The magnificent Kolymbithres beach with its beautiful sand and enormous granite formations is just a few minutes away on foot.

Price: €15,000 per week.

www.brightbluevillas.com

Barefoot

Lease of Luxury_LO_

Name: Villas Stylia

Where: In the village of Trou d’Eau Douce, on the east coast of Mauritius. In a pretty garden at the edge of one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. A 10-minute boat ride from l’Ile aux Cerfs.

What: Six modern, comfortable villas recently opened by Patrice Hardy (ex CEO of the Naïade Group) and his son Alexandre. Four villas with a garden view, and two villas with direct access to the lagoon. The beach is a mere 50m from the garden. Each villa contains three bedrooms (including one for kids with bunk beds) and three bathrooms, as well as a vast open concept living-cum-dining room that give on to the private pool.

Capacity: Up to nine persons per villa.

Services: Service staff including villa manager, concierge, gardeners. On demand: massages, airport transfers, personal chauffeur, guide, baby-sitter, car or scooter rentals.

Extras: A shared kitchen with a chef who will cook breakfast and delectable meals at reasonable prices. The chef can also prepare dinners or barbecues by the beach.

Price: From €200 per villa per night.

www.myvillasmauritius.com

TRANSPARENCY

Lease of Luxury_LO_Rua Iposeira 150-11

Name: Villa Iposeira.

Where: Rio de Janeiro. In the São Corado neighbourhood, within 10 minutes of Ipanema.

What: A futuristic architect’s villa. Completely see-through, the house is the centrepiece of a four-hectare park with lovely palm trees and a fountain. No walls can be found here, just immense bay windows that give incomparable views of the ocean and nature. There are even three majestic trees taking pride of place in the large drawing room… The 900 sqm of the villa boast not only elegant reception rooms with tasteful contemporary art pieces, but also four luxurious en-suite rooms. The dining room with its imposing table can accommodate up to 20 lucky guests.

Capacity: Eight persons.

Services: On demand.

Extras: A huge infinity pool.

Price: From €700 a night.

www.whereinrio.com

 

This story first appeared in a slightly different form in L’Officiel Singapore.

Chef Vongerichten Moves To Palácio Tangará

With a wide experience stretching from French Cuisine to Asian Cuisine, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will bring his culinary expertise to Palácio Tangará, Brazil. Vongerichten is famed as one of the best chefs out there and he’s already set up quite a number of establishments around the world. Now he’s set out to conquer South America as well, by taking over the cuisine at the Palácio Tangará, due to open in Brazil early next year.

The Palácio Tangará is a luxurious hotel located in the city of São Paulo, boasting of just 141 spacious guestrooms (with 59 suites) and a great view overlooking the Burle Marx Park. Such a space requires a chef with the chops to fit the occasion. Well, thankfully the group behind the hotel, the Oetker Collection, has been able to tap on Vongerichten. This isn’t the first time he’s worked at a place owned by them though – he was previously a chef at their Eden Rock hotel in St. Barths.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten Moves To Palácio Tangará

Vongerichten’s reputation comes from his astute sensibility towards the food. His restaurants have wowed countless reviewers out there for cuisine done superbly without any flourish or grand style. He has also been praised for creating new tastes with his combination of simple ingredients, and his openness to new ideas from other cuisines other than French. He’s also published five cookbooks already, letting chefs and ambitious amateurs from all around the world in on his technique.

It is quite exciting to wonder what the new chef will add to his repertoire this time. After all, South America boasts an incredible depth of culinary diversity and skill for Vongerichten to tap. Whatever he comes up with though, we know that it’s most likely going to be spectacular.

Bright Idea: Louis Vuitton Cruise 2017, Rio

Over the weekend, the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum played host to Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2017 show. With the brand’s guests and muses in attendance, the show was set to be one of the highlights in the world of fashion. While the collection brought to life the French art of living to Brazil (and was the payoff of months of anticipation) it also paid tribute to two of Brazil’s major artists: Helio Oiticica and Aldemir Martins. Louis-Vuitton-Cruise-article-1

Constructed 10 years ago, the museum’s corridors acted as the runway on which Nicolas Ghesquière’s creations were presented. The collection featured the lively and vibrant free spirit inspired by the city and its art with the help of various textures, materials and silhouettes. The laid back vibe was evident with the embroidered skirts that were wrapped around the model’s waists much like a beach towel. Trousers featured slashed stripes that helped to lengthen the body.

With the likes of Alicia Vikander, Adriana Lima and Jaden Smith in attendance, the influence of Oiticica and Martins was evident on the parkas and cape-dresses (lightness inspired by Oiticica) as well as the prints used in the collection (Martins’ work) on several Louis Vuitton classics. With bright colors dominating the collection, leather also had a strong presence in various forms.Louis-Vuitton-Cruise-article-2

“In Rio de Janeiro, what I saw most of all was movement and an explosive energy that lives somewhere between modernism and tropicality. I was fascinated by the constant duality between nature and urbanism and the pictorial explosion it creates” said Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director. He also added “ For me, the main question was how to incorporate into my collection all these elements that are part of Brazilian culture, without forgetting that I am just a visitor who brings his own Parisian and French cultural references to the moment.

Focus: Architect Isay Weinfeld

Arguably Brazil’s best-known architect since Oscar Niemeyer, Isay Weinfeld has been designing private homes, luxury hotels and furniture since he founded his multidisciplinary practice in 1973. From the beginning, the Sao Paolo native has designed projects from the largest to the smallest scale and across a variety of programs; including civic, commercial and residential architecture, as well as interiors. Recently his firm has completed the Fasano Hotel in Uruguay, a private residence for the Royal family of Monaco and a line of office furniture for Herman Miller.

Fasano Las Piedras Exterior

Fasano Las Piedras Exterior

Fond of using concrete and simple shapes, many of Weinfeld’s private residences seem to float above the landscape with boxy, cantilevered living spaces that open to the outdoors. Although the architect has designed a multitude of them over the past 35 years, he still approaches each, with great specificity. “A house should exactly fit its user,” he says, and he signs on only after listening to prospective clients describe how they wish to live. “What do you do when you wake up in the morning?” he’ll ask. “How do you spend your day?”

In 2011, Weinfeld developed a strong rapport with a young couple looking to build a home in Sao Paulo’s Jardins, an area known for its trendy shops and restaurants. The pair wanted an informal, light-filled dwelling where they could live with their three children and Brazilian art collection — something modern, but comfortable. Weinfeld’s design features a series of serene rooms punctuated by diverse textures.

Fasano Las Piedras Bedroom

Fasano Las Piedras Bedroom

While Weinfeld generally dismisses the label of Tropical Modernism, his designs share the movement’s flair for the tactile and a look that is both sensual and stark. At the Jardins Villa his restrained palette features weathered-wood paneling, iron-gray concrete and raw granite steps, while splashes of color come from the art pieces and from the lush green garden. In the living spaces, muted mid-century furniture includes a coatrack by Le Corbusier, Hans J. Wegner dining chairs and leather armchairs by Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen.

Fasano Las Piedras Pool

Fasano Las Piedras Pool

At a recent hotel project in Uruguay, the architect created a series of concrete bungalows that appear like stones scattered across the area’s rugged landscape.  The project, Hotel Fasano Las Piedras in Punta del Este, combines private houses, hotel bungalows, a golf course, polo fields and a three-kilometer long beach over 480 hectares of arid, rocky land.

After a detailed study of the program, Weinfeld opted for a structure made up of single units designed and distributed as isolated modules almost “landing naturally” on the ground like the rocks themselves. From the outside the bungalows look like low-slung rectangles; on the inside the design features large open spaces, endless unframed glazing’s and pure white surfaces that combine with rustic woods, saddle leather and eclectic furniture pieces.

Jardim Exterior, New York City

Jardim Exterior, New York City

The project is not the first Weinfeld has designed for the Fasano Hotel Group. He designed the original Fasano Hotel, which opened in 2003 in São Paulo and was named one of the “50 Best Hotels of the World” by Condé Nast Traveler. He also designed several subsequent properties under the Fasano brand, including the upcoming Fasano Hotel and Residences at Shore Club in Miami. Developed by HFZ Capital Group, the project is located in South Beach and when complete in 2017 it will include a revamped Shore Club with a 100-room hotel and 75 luxury condominium residences designed by Isay Weinfeld.

The project marks Weinfeld’s first large scale project in Miami. He is also, currently working on his first multifamily project in New York City. Jardim, which means ‘garden’ in Portuguese, will be located in West Chelsea overlooking the High Line Park. The project design features a simple, monolithic structure rendered mostly in brick and concrete with latticed wood screens and a generously planted second-floor terrace that envelops the site.

Jardim Living Room, New York

Jardim Living Room, New York

The apartments themselves are a classy mix of smoked oak, marble, brass and limestone and prices average about US$2,500/sq. ft. (or $2 million for one-bedroom units.) Douglas Elliman Development Marketing is handling the exclusive sales and marketing. Jardim, also incorporates a private driveway and 2,000 sq. ft. of gardens across two levels. On the ground floor, the courtyard is viewed through tall windows that provide a leafy backdrop for the front desk. Glass skylights in the second floor terrace allow natural light to filter through to the residence’s swimming pool and gymnasium below.

The project is a welcome departure from the flamboyant architecture that surrounds it, including the soon to be completed 520 West 28th Street, a spaceship-like condominium by Zaha Hadid Architects. “This isn’t a kind of architecture that shouts, it’s an architecture that speaks low,” Weinfeld said in a recent interview. “What is very important for me is to have a very well-designed plan. For me, the function of a project is very important. It’s not a question of beauty. The building has to work to make sense.”

Fasano Hotel and Residences at Shore Club

Miami has long been a favored destination for well-heeled Brazilian travelers, now Brazil’s top designer and hotelier are teaming for a luxury development in South Beach. Isay Weinfeld is converting The Shore Club, a historic hotel in Miami’s Art Deco district, into a luxury complex with condominiums, hotel rooms and poolside bungalows, while Fasano Hotel Group will operate the hotel and residences.

Fasano Hotel at Shore Club Exterior

Fasano Hotel at Shore Club Exterior

The Art Deco building, which is located on the waterfront in South Beach, was originally built by Miami architect Albert Anis, in 1939. Weinfeld is preserving and transforming the Central Tower, the Shore Club’s original 22-floor structure designed by David Chipperfield and adding external living spaces. New renderings show glass-lined balconies, light-colored materials and lush landscaping. There will also be a converted eight-story North Tower and two-story poolside and beachfront bungalows. The re-design will feature a total of 100 hotel rooms and 75 apartments, many of them offering expansive views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean.

The South Tower will house the main hotel lobby and retain many of the property’s original details while also bridging the indoors with the outdoors via a mix of terrazzo, concrete, steel and lush landscaping. Outside, the new swimming pool, will be the largest in South Beach measuring about 250 feet long and over 9,500 sq. ft.

For the condominium units, Weinfeld is creating a look of quiet, laid-back elegance by combining wood grain with white stone finishes. He has also designed expansive outdoor living areas, some terraces larger than 3,000 sq. ft., and used wide oak floors to transition seamlessly from inside to the outdoor areas.  All residences will have floor-to-ceiling windows and Bulthaup kitchens complemented by a full Gaggenau appliance suite. The condominium units range from one to one to four-bedrooms and 800 sq. ft. to over 4,000 sq. ft. There is also one tri-level penthouse and a selection of two-story bungalows. Buyers enjoy access to the new amenities building that will house a gym, yoga rooms and a spa. Prices start at $2 million.

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth
Images by Douglas Elliman

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Nespresso Pure Origins

People talk about good coffee, but rarely about the folks who make it – and we don’t mean hipster baristas. We’re referring to the communities of dedicated men and women who cultivate and collate the beans. This is a mindset Nespresso wants to change. In fact, the Swiss label’s own connoisseurs have trekked across Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia (dubbed the birthplace of coffee) and even India to highlight, through unique flavors of its Pure Origin brews, the expertise of each country’s coffee farmers.

Coffees from Lake Kivu in Rwanda and Chiapas in Mexico are further refined using Nespresso's roasting and grinding technology.

Coffees from Lake Kivu in Rwanda and Chiapas in Mexico are further refined using Nespresso’s roasting and grinding technology.

The same can be said about Nespresso’s new limited-edition blends, Umutima wa Lake Kivu and Tanim de Chiapas, farmed by small but exceptional coffee-growing communities in Rwanda and Mexico respectively, and further refined by the company’s know-how in roasting and grinding. The beans in the former, picked and sorted laboriously by hand so only the best beans are selected, is a refreshing blend punctuated with juicy fruit accents and enhanced by an aftertaste that’s delicate on the palate. Coincidentally, Rwandan coffees are considered some of the sweetest and most flavourful of East African selections. The latter comprises beans grown using generation-old practices amid food crops, such as avocados and oranges, in the shade of a lush, tropical rainforest – a technique that gives the silky-smooth coffee its delicious nutty notes and bready aromas.   Nespresso-Starting-Point-LOfficiel-3

According to Nespresso head of coffee Karsten Ranitzsch, while different practices are used to grow the two blends, both communities in Rwanda and Mexico share the same commitment to quality. “Umutima wa Lake Kivu and Tanim de Chiapas are Pure Origin coffees, which means that 100 per cent of the coffee has been sourced from the respective countries,” he says. “Nespresso is then able to amplify their intrinsic flavor qualities by utilizing a split-roasting* technique for a perfect in-cup result.”

Umutima wa Lake Kivu and Tanim de Chiapas are available at S$24 for a duo pack and S$56.10 for a five-sleeve pack at Nespresso’s boutiques and online at www.nespresso.com.

For more on Nespresso’s community values and origins, click here.

*Split-roasting is a technique that involves roasting different coffee beans separately at varied temperatures to bring out the unique characteristics of each variety.

Story Credits

Text by Kenny Loh

This story first appeared in L’Officiel Singapore.

foie gras

Sao Paulo judge lifts ban on sale of foie gras

foie gras

A judge in Sao Paulo on Wednesday suspended a law banning the production and sale of foie gras within Brazil’s largest city, after restaurant owners voiced strong objections to the measure.

Judge Sergio Rui has “temporarily suspended” the law for further review and requested additional information from the mayor and the Sao Paulo city council, justice officials told AFP.

The foie gras ban was signed into law late last month by Mayor Fernando Haddad, much to the dismay of the city’s chefs and restaurateurs.

DON’T MISS: FOIE GRAS BACK ON MENU IN CALIFORNIA

The measure, which has been praised by animal rights activists, was to have gone into effect in August.

Foie gras was banned on grounds of cruelty to geese that are fattened up to provide the liver used to make the delicacy.

canard

The law would have imposed a fine equivalent to up to $1,900 against restaurants that flout the ban.

The measure was approved over the strenuous objections of the Brazilian Association of Culinary Professionals, which has defended foie gras as a “cultural tool of world gastronomy.”

The group circulated an online petition maintaining that a foie gras ban would give a black eye to Sao Paulo’s reputation as one of the world’s top gastronomic destinations.

The group also maintained that food legislation should be the purview of federal authorities, not local government.

foie gras cru

Sao Paulo Bans Foie Gras in Restaurants

foie gras cru

Sao Paulo has become the latest destination to deem foie gras unethical, last week passing a new law banning its sale and production — and renewing worldwide debate on the controversial duck and goose liver.

While Britain, Germany, Italy and Argentina have banned the production of the French delicacy, city officials in Sao Paulo have gone a step further, forbidding its sale and, effectively, its consumption.

And in keeping with history, the move is being declared both a victory for animal-rights activists, and a violation of democratic rights by chefs.

Renowned Sao Paulo chef Alex Atala of D.O.M. was outspoken about the initiative, calling the move absurd.

Alex Atala

“How can a city regulate what a person eats? Where will it all end?” he said in an interview with news site UOL. “Gastronomy is good for tourism and instead of restricting it, they should promote it.”

It’s a similar sentiment echoed when California lawmakers implemented a statewide ban on the delicacy in 2012, only to see it overturned earlier this year.

When the law came into force, high-profile chefs like Thomas Keller, Tyler Florence and Ludo Lefebvre decried the move as misguided and pointed that a ban would create an illegal black market for the delicacy.

Instead they proposed enforcing new legislation for the humane treatment of foie gras production. The law was overturned earlier in January.

Foie gras is produced by force-feeding duck and geese to fatten up their livers. Restaurants have 45 days to take the luxury item off their menus.

Alex Atala

Michelin Is Launching a Guide to Brazil

Alex Atala

Alex Atala has become Brazil’s first chef to score two Michelin stars in the inaugural edition of the Michelin guide for his Sao Paulo restaurant D.O.M.

WATCH: 23 MICHELIN STARS IN 60 SECONDS

Atala, widely cited as the unofficial ambassador of native, Brazilian cuisine, is the highest ranked chef according to an early preview published on Michelin’s official site ahead of the official announcement.

The inaugural guide for Brazil focuses on Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and features a total of 17 starred restaurants. Sao Paulo dominates the list, with 11 restaurants and six eateries coming from Rio.

Inside DOM restaurant

It comes as no surprise that Atala makes his debut in the Michelin world, given his string of accolades and awards.

In addition to winning the title of best restaurant in Brazil in 2013, Atala was also named the Lifetime Achievement Winner by organizers of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurant last year.

Pirarucu with tucupi

“Bringing to the fore Tupinquim ingredients that were overlooked by or unfamiliar to other renowned chefs, such as priprioca, black rice and pupunha palm heart, his cooking surprises and stimulates the palate, offering a veritable journey through the flavors, textures and produce of Brazil,” reads a blurb on the Michelin site. “Passion and a prodigious technical skill have resulted in his innovative, creative and seasonal cuisine becoming a reference point for Brazilian cooking.”

Priprioca milk pudding

Here are the starred restaurants in Brazil, representing modern, Brazilian, French and Japanese cuisines:

Two-Stars

D.O.M., Sao Paulo

One-Star

Huto, Sao Paulo
Dalva e Dito, Sao Paulo
Oro, Rio de Janeiro
Roberta Sudbrack, Rio de Janeiro
Kinoshita, Sao Paulo
Epice, Sao Paulo
Kosushi, Sao Paulo
Tuju, Sao Paulo
Le Pré Catelan, Rio de Janeiro
Olympe, Rio de Janeiro
Attimo, Sao Paulo
Maní, Sao Paulo
Jun Sakamoto, Sao Paulo
Mee, Rio de Janeiro
Lasai, Rio de Janeiro
Fasano, Sao Paulo

Vacheron Constantin boutique in Sao Paulo

Vacheron Constantin open first Latin American store

Vacheron Constantin boutique in Sao Paulo

The oldest Swiss watch brand, Vacheron Constantin, founded in Geneva in 1755, has a new South American outpost, with its 47th store worldwide located at the Shopping Cidade Jardim in Sao Paulo.

Vacheron Constantin store Sao Paulo

The brand chose Brazil, which earlier this year hosted the World Cup, and will welcome the Olympics in 2016, for its first location in Latin America.

Vacheron Constantin store in Sao Paulo

 has actually been present in Brazil for nearly 180 years, having established its first commercial presence in the country in 1835, but it has just now opened its debut standalone boutique.

Vacheron Constantin luxury store Sao Paulo

The 113 square meter space which opened last week in the country’s economic capital, features wood, bronze and leather design touches.

Vacheron Constantin boutique Sao Paulo

The store will sell the company’s collections, with an on-site watchmaker for all repairs.

Baia do Sancho beach

World’s best beaches of 2014

Grace Bay Beach

With its turquoise waters and lush green cliffs, the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, off the Brazilian coast, is home to the world’s top beach according to TripAdvisor user reviews.

One of the many selling points of the Baia do Sancho is its crystal clear water, which allows snorkelers to observe exotic fish and even sea turtles. But it’s not easy getting to this paradise on earth: visitors must descend a tall, steep staircase that could spook anyone with a fear of heights.

Baia do Sancho beach

Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos Islands and Flamenco Beach in Puerto Rico complete the trio of the top beaches on the planet.

The US made an appearance in the top 10 thanks to Hawaii’s Lanikai Beach, which came in at number eight.

Grace Bay Providenciales

Alongside its worldwide ranking, TripAdvisor compiled lists of the best beaches in the US, the UK and Europe. Unsurprisingly, Hawaii dominates the ranking for the US, accounting for seven of the country’s top 10 beaches.

Behind the first and 2nd place winners, Hawaii’s Lanikai Beach and Ka’anapali Beach, Florida made it into 3rd place with Siesta Key Public Beach.

Rabbit Beach Lampesuda

Top 10 beaches worldwide:

1. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
2. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
3. Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico
4. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Italy
5. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia
6. Playa de ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain
7. Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
8. Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii
9. Rhossili Bay, Swansea, Wales
10. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

To view the Top 10 beaches in the US and other Traveler’s Choice Beach rankings: www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Beaches

Gucci gowns

Gucci’s ‘Forever Now’ on display in Brazil

Gucci gowns

Gucci creative director Frida Giannini traveled to São Paulo to open a new exhibition on the brand in the Brazilian city.

Held on the third floor of the JK Iguatemi Mall, the three-week long exhibition of the Gucci Museo’s collections, titled ‘Forever Now‘, opened this weekend.

Treasured and rare  pieces have been transported to Brazil from the Gucci Museo. The Museum space was first opened in Florence in 2011 to celebrate the brand’s 90th birthday and is located inside the ancient Palazzo della Mercanzia (which dates back to 1337).

The exhibit features the trunks, suitcases and accessories created for the international jet-set in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Gucci Forever Now exhibition

There’s also a focus on the famous Bamboo bag, created in 1947, as well as the Gucci ‘Flora’ print which was designed in 1966 and first presented as a gift (in the form of a silk scarf) to Princess Grace of Monaco.

The horsebit loafer, which turned 60 last year is celebrated with a display of archival models. Finally, fans of prêt-à-porter won’t be disappointed; there are also made-to-measure suits and luxurious ladies’ gowns.

Classic Gucci suiting

Frida Giannini and Gucci President and CEO Patrizio di Marco hosted a private preview of the show with celebrity guests including German model (and current Leonardo DiCaprio squeeze) Toni Garrn.

Hublot world cup

Hublot unveils official watch of 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Hublot world cup

The official timekeeper at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Hublot has revealed the event’s official watch: the Big Bang Unico Chrono Bi-Retrograde.

Also known as the “Soccer Bang,” the watch has a bi-retrograde display built around the timing of one half of a soccer match, or 45 minutes. A smaller dial at 6 o’clock shows a traditional clock for keeping time off the field.

Equipped with a self-winding HUB1260 movement, the watch — which is designed more for referees and players than for mere fans — also allows the wearer to time 15-minute increments.

Black with a matte satin finish, the dial of the Big Bang Unico Chrono Bi-Retrograde features yellow and green details, calling to mind the national colors of the 2014 World Cup’s host country.

The minutes retrograde display and hand are yellow, while the seconds retrograde display and hand are green.

This special edition watch comes with a black textured rubber strap and a black titanium PVD folding clasp.

Hublot has introduced two versions of the model: the King Gold 18K, produced in a limited edition of 100 watches, and the black ceramic version, 200 of which were produced.

Hublot Pele world cup

Poiray and Hipanema

Hipanema x Poiray

French jeweller Poiray has teamed up with Hipanema, a brand that makes Brazilian-style bracelets with metal clasps, for a collaborative collection.

Poiray and Hipanema

For the first time, Poiray’s iconic Ma Première watch, known for its interchangeable straps, can be worn with the multi-colored, braided, embroidered and beaded bracelets made by Hipanema.

The “Spéciale Brésil” collection includes four interchangeable straps, available in shades of pink, gold, turquoise and indigo.

All of these bohemian-chic designs can be fastened to the emblematic beveled case of the Ma Première watch.

Only 300 straps in each color will be produced in this limited edition collection, slated to arrive in Poiray’s stores from April at the price of €120.

Parmigiani Fleurier samba madeira

Parmigiani Fleurier honors Brazil with a new timepiece

Parmigiani Fleurier samba madeira

The Pershing Samba Madeira is the latest creation from Parmigiani Fleurier, it celebrates Brazil, with its vibrant colours and lively Samba rhythm.

The dial of the luxury timepiece features Brazil’s signature yellow and green shades as well as a stylized image of a guitar, with a tourbillon carriage in place of the soundhole.

The instrument even has six strings, as thin as human hair, fastened in place by hand. With a power reserve of 192 hours, the watch also has a hand-wound 30-second chronometer.

The titanium case of this luxury timepiece complements the bezel and indices in 18-carat rose gold. Behind the guitar, one reads “Ordem e Progresso,” Brazil’s national motto.

French luxury brand Hermès designed the strap for the “Samba Madeira,” in alligator leather accented by an adjustable folding clasp with a titanium finish.

Fendi Sao Paulo store

Fendi opens debut store in Brazil

Fendi Sao Paulo store

Italian luxury label Fendi is unveiling its first boutique in Brazil in the city of São Paulo.

Open from June 5, and located in the city’s Citade Jardim Mall, Fendi’s first standalone boutique in Brazil is a 3,800-square-foot space in the booming commercial capital.

Fendi Sao Paulo Boutique

Alongside the Fendi men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, the store will stock limited edition Brazilian items inspired by the country’s colorful flag including the brand’s famous ‘Baguette’ bag and a Brazil-themed scarf.

Fendi Sao Paulo new store

Despite the warm Brazilian climate, the store will also carry around 20 furs: “there’s a growing appreciation for luxury there,” Fendi’s CEO Pietro Beccari told WWD.

Brazilian customers “travel a lot and they represent a very big potential for us. They buy all categories: our bags, ready-to-wear and furs. It’s about a Fendi silhouette,” he added.

Fendi Sao Paulo

This week the brand hosted 200 guests for a star-studded dinner at the Museum of Modern Art which honored Beccari and designer Silvia Venturini Fendi. On the guestlist were some of Brazil’s biggest fashion names including supermodels Ana Beatriz Barros and Izabel Goulart.

Fendi first Brazil Boutique opening

Sao Paulo rich use choppers to beat traffic jams

Cozete Gomes

Former model-turned-business mogul Cozete Gomes owns eight companies and does not really have time to be stuck in Sao Paulo‘s epic traffic jams. So she just flies over them.

In Brazil’s sprawling business capital, home to 20 million people, millionaires sick of nightmarish bottlenecks on the roads are taking to the skies, relying on a massive fleet of private helicopters to get around town.

“For me, the helicopter is a necessary tool,” Gomes told AFP as her chopper flew high above the city’s clogged streets into Campos de Jordao, northeast of Sao Paulo — a mountain resort for the rich dubbed the “Brazilian Switzerland”.

“I use it in my day-to-day activities, for my business, my meetings. It makes my life a whole lot easier,” she said during the 50-minute ride earlier this month in a private six-seat helicopter.

There are 420 helicopters registered in Sao Paulo — a total second only to New York, according to the Brazilian Association of Helicopter Pilots.

With a net worth estimated at $125 million, the multi-millionaire Gomes, 41, is part of a select group of Sao Paulo’s super-rich elite who either own helicopters or can afford to rent them for $1,300 an hour.

There are up to 500 helicopter flights daily in Sao Paulo and the city has a staggering 193 heliports. Helicicade, the city’s largest, boasts nearly 80 helicopters owned either by individuals or private companies.

“The helicopter business in Brazil has been growing about 20 percent in recent years,” said Carolina Denardi, a spokeswoman for the Brazilian Association of Helicopter Pilots, known by its acronym ABRAPHE.

The country has a nationwide fleet of more than 1,900 helicopters, including nearly 700 in Sao Paulo state alone, the association said. On average, more than 300 operator licenses have been issued annually over the past three years.

While most Sao Paulo residents struggle to get around the city, wealthy executives and socialites — oblivious to the maddening gridlock — cruise overhead, hopping to their luxury condos, beach resorts or business meetings.

According to Wealth Report 2013 published by Wealth-X, a Singapore-based wealth intelligence firm, Sao Paulo was last year home to 1,880 individuals with net assets of $30 million or more.

The number is projected to shoot up to 4,556 in 2022, a reflection of resource-rich Brazil’s soaring prosperity.

Gomes — a former model and beauty queen whose eight companies focus on promotional marketing, event management and modeling — says she is one of the few Brazilian women to have built her fortune on her own.

She shot to national fame in January with her television appearance on the “Rich Women” reality show, which spotlights the extravagant lifestyle of “travel, luxury cars, jewels, shopping and lots of champagne” enjoyed by Brazil’s expanding millionaire class.

“I agreed to appear on the show to share my success, my life story with the whole of Brazil, to show the positive experience of a women who started from nothing and built her own business,” she told AFP.

“There are many other Brazilians who are richer than I,” Gomes noted, as she nonchalantly sipped a glass of champagne at the luxurious La Villette guest house, which has its own helipad.

Indeed, the Wealth-X report identified 50 Brazilians with net assets of over $1 billion.

According to Forbes Magazine, the richest Brazilian is 73-year-old beer magnate Jorge Paulo Lemann with a net worth of $17.8 billion, followed by 74-year-old banker Joseph Safra with $15.9 billion.

The richest Brazilian woman is 83-year-old Maria Helena de Moraes, with a net worth of $6.2 billion tied to her 25 percent stake in the family-controlled Votorantim Group, Brazil’s largest cement maker and one of Latin America’s largest industrial conglomerates, Forbes says.