Tag Archives: London

Gordon Ramsay protégée opens debut restaurant “Core by Clare Smyth” in London 

Image courtesy of Core by Clare Smyth’s official website.

Impressing Gordon Ramsay is something of a Herculean task (his reality cooking series isn’t called “Hell’s Kitchen” for nothing). Miraculously, it’s a task that Chef Clare Smyth has ticked off her list, having spent 11 years as the formidable chef’s protégée. It’s only natural, then, that someone of Smyth’s calibre would dream of something even bigger than being chef-patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. That dream has now been realized in the form of her very own restaurant: Core by Clare Smyth.

For Smyth, Core by Clare Smyth has been a long time coming. Since beginning her tenure as head chef at Ramsay’s London flagship in 2007, she had tirelessly maintained all three of her Michelin stars — a first for a female British chef. Smyth was also royally recognized for her talents when she was an awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2013.

Following her departure from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in late 2015, Smyth announced her plans to open her debut solo restaurant. Her highly anticipated restaurant — initially slated to launch in 2016 — finally opened its doors to the charming district of London’s Notting Hill on August 1.

For all the buzz it has been causing, London’s hottest new restaurant is surprisingly simple and relaxed in appearance. Core by Clare Smyth’s modern décor starkly contrasts with the historic Victorian building it is housed in, creating an elegant — and undeniably British — atmosphere. A natural colour palette of green, aubergine, milk, copper and burnished gold reflects Smyth’s emphasis on sustainable British produce; the restaurant serves fresh scallops from the Isle of Mull in Scotland, Colchester crabs and shrimps caught in England’s Morecambe Bay.

From a selection of 10 to 12 evolving dishes crafted by the meticulous Smyth, guests are given a choice of a three-course (£65), five-course (£80) or full tasting menu (£95). There’s also an equally impressive wine list: over 400 fine wines and champagnes, most of which are from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Northern Italy and California.

Besides the 54-seat restaurant (which has already been booked through October), Core by Clare Smyth features an 18-seater cocktail bar that serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Until an opportunity to fully immerse in the fine dining experience offered by one of the world’s most distinguished chefs presents itself, the bar will have to do.

Mondrian London’s Dandelyan is named World’s Best Bar for 2017

The bustling banks of Thames River has long been home to many of London’s gems: the magnificent London Eye, the ancient Gothic monuments of Southwark Cathedral and the internationally renowned art museum, Tate Modern. Now, tourists can add one more stop on their trip down to the heart of London: Mondrian London’s Dandelyan bar, AKA the World’s Best Bar of 2017.

Bestowed with its latest title at this year’s Spirited Awards, Dandelyan is a botany-themed paradise. You’d hardly be able to keep your eyes off the bar’s sleek, stylish interior — think modern fixtures of marble, leather and wood that come in the surprising shades of pink and green  — envisioned by award-winning designer, Tom Dixon. Oh, and let’s not forget the spectacular front-row views of Old Father Thames, in all its olive-coloured glory.

Of course, Dandelyan isn’t just gloss and shine. The London watering hole offers an inventive drinks menu designed by Ryan Chetiyawardana, who also happens to be the World’s Best Bartender of 2015. “Vices of Botany” presents a plant-themed selection of cocktails that takes a “nose to tail” approach to flora. With Ryan’s touch, ingredients of the garden variety (literally) such as nettles, pine and blue corn are combined with alcohol to concoct magically refreshing tipples. Whether you are in need of an all-day refresher or an early evening pick-me-up, Dandelyan has got you covered.

The panelists of the 2017 Spirited Awards certainly took note of Dandelyan’s winning combination of a stunning venue and stellar cocktails. In fact, they were so impressed that the London bar also bagged two other titles at the event: the Best International Hotel Bar and Best International Bar Team 2017.

The list of winners of the night was peppered with bars from London and New York, but Singapore’s very own Tippling Club did manage to clinch the title of Best International Restaurant Bar, making it the only Asian bar on the list. Other notable winners are Shanghai’s Shingo Gokan, who won International Bartender of the Year, and Melbourne’s Black Pearl, which took the title of Best International Cocktail Bar.

Serpentine Galleries presents ‘The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!’ by Grayson Perry in London

Grayson Perry, ‘Death of a Working Hero,’ 2016

From June 8 through September 10, 2017, the Serpentine Galleries in London are playing host to a major exhibition on the new works of artist Grayson Perry. Known as much for his eccentric behavior as his artwork, the English artist Grayson Perry is appreciated for his social commentary through a variety of media: from ceramics to tapestry and cast iron. Perry is most known for his brightly-colored vases, onto which he depicts scenes from contemporary life.

Grayson Perry at the Serpentine Galleries

Grayson Perry, ‘Puff Piece,’ 2016, Glazed ceramic

In his late fifties, Perry continues to create art. His latest exhibition, to be held at London’s Serpentine Galleries, will feature his new creations under the title “The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!” The collection consists of Perry’s signature ceramic work, as well as drawings, tapestries, wood carving and other mixed media that each address contemporary questions: from masculinity to Brexit, politics and the self.

Grayson explains that his latest pieces “all have ideas about popularity hovering around them. What kind of art do people like? What subjects? Why do people like going to art galleries these days? What is the relationship of traditional art to social media?”

Recent exhibitions include “Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman” at the British Museum in 2013 and “Hold Your Beliefs Lightly”, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands in 2015 – 2016. This latest exhibition is to be held at the Serpentine Galleries, in the heart of London’s Kensington Gardens.

In 2003 Perry was awarded the coveted Turner prize for his work with ceramics, and would go on to be awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to contemporary art in 2013. He is also a Trustee of the British Museum, Chancellor of the University of the Arts London and holds an honorary fellowship from RIBA.

“Charles I: King and Collector” exhibition by The Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2018

“Charles I at the Hunt” by d’Anthony van Dyck (c.1635) © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Christian Jean

From January 27 to April 15, 2018, The Royal Academy of Arts, in partnership with The Royal Collection Trust, will present “Charles I: King and Collector”. This will be a major exhibition that will reunite the art collection King Charles I of England (1600-1649)—one of the most extraordinary and influential art collections ever assembled. During his reign, the monarch acquired works dating from the 15th to 17th centuries, including pieces by Van Dyck, Rubens Holbein and Titian. The collection was dispersed after his execution in 1649.

Around 150 works from the former collection of Charles I will be reunited for the first time since the 17th century at The Royal Academy of Arts in London next year. The exhibition includes 90 works lent by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as works from The National Gallery in London, the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid.

Highlights include the monumental portraits of the king and his family by Anthony van Dyck: “Charles I and Henrietta Maria with Prince Charles and Princess Mary,” “Charles I on Horseback with M. de St. Antoine,” “Charles I on Horseback” and “Charles I at the Hunt.” The latter, lent by the Louvre, will return to England for the first time since the 17th century.

The show features various works by Rubens, including “Minerva Protects Pax from Mars” and “Landscape with Saint George and the Dragon,” as well as celebrated tapestries of Raphael’s “Acts of the Apostles.”

Works by major artists of the Renaissance also feature, including Correggio, Titian, Veronese, Dürer, Holbein the Younger and Bruegel the Elder.

Charles I: one of history’s greatest collectors

“Supper at Emmaus ” by Titian, (c.1530) © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Christian Jean

President of The Royal Academy of Arts, Christopher Le Brun, said: “Charles I is one of history’s greatest collectors, the Royal Collection is one of the world’s greatest collections and the Royal Academy’s galleries are amongst the finest in the world. With such a combination this exhibition provides the perfect launch for our 250th-anniversary celebrations in 2018.”

In the two years prior to his ascension to the throne, Prince Charles visited Madrid, which was under Habsburg rule at the time. The future king was impressed by the Habsburg art collection and returned home with various works, including paintings by Titian and Veronese. He built on this fledgeling collection by acquiring other pieces — including a collection accumulated by the Dukes of Mantua—and by commissioning works from artists such as Anthony van Dyck. By 1649, the collection of Charles I comprised around 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures.

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by King George III in 1768. It is a privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists.

“Charles I: King and Collector” runs January 27 to April 15, 2018, at The Royal Academy of Arts in London, UK.

For more information, visit Royal Academy.

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Pink Floyd retrospective opens at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum

Following their intensely successful international exhibition ” David Bowie Is,” London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is gearing up for another blockbuster. The venue is putting another iconic musical act in the spotlight as it opens its Pink Floyd retrospective on May 13. “Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains” marks 50 years since the influential British band released its first-ever single, “Arnold Layne.” Chronicling the band’s music, design and staging from the 1960s to the present, the exhibition promises an “audio-visual journey through Pink Floyd’s unique and extraordinary worlds.”

The exhibition charts Pink Floyd’s influence on art and music throughout the years, most notably through its striking performances and aesthetic. The band is best known for its iconic psychedelic imagery, which is celebrated in this tribute exhibition. Organisers of the exhibition note visuals such as pigs flying over Battersea Power Station, the prism for “The Dark Side of the Moon,” cows, marching hammers and giant inflatable teachers—many brought to life by modern surrealist Storm Thorgerson, satirical illustrator Gerald Scarfe and psychedelic lighting pioneer Peter Wynne-Wilson.

Never-before-seen concert footage and a laser light show designed specially for the exhibition will be featured alongside displays of more than 350 objects and artefacts, accompanied by a “sonic experience” provided by Sennheiser.

Plans to take the exhibition on the road have yet to be revealed, but the show is being positioned as the follow-up to “David Bowie Is,” which opened at the V&A in 2013 and became a global success; that show continues to tour internationally, with Barcelona up next to present.

Find out more about the Pink Floyd exhibition, which runs May 13 to October at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Brutalist Sydney Map: Exploring architecture and design of Brutalist buildings

Molecular Science and Biochemistry building, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Molecular Science and Biochemistry building, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

The Brutalist architecture aesthetic has always provoked extreme reactions. Considered “concrete eyesores” in the past, the perspective has shifted considerably, yielding a rising popularity and even a “design icon” status. London-based independent city guide publisher Blue Crow Media has accordingly placed a spotlight on this genre. A Brutalist guide to Sydney was released Monday (following three previous Brutalist maps of London, Paris, Washington; a Brutalist Boston Map will also be available in Spring 2017). The publisher has also released other internationally-minded maps highlighting urban Art Deco and Constructivism.

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Sydney Town Hall, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Each two-sided guide includes a map, an introduction to the movement in the city, and stark black-and-white photographs. Details for each building include the precise location and the architects or practice responsible for the construction.

The Brutalist Sydney Map encompasses 50 of the most significant examples, within the city and suburbs. Lesser-known structures include the Buhrich House II (conceived by the émigré architects Hugh and Eva Buhrich) and the Eastern Suburbs Railway Vents (attributed to Mansfield Jarvis and Maclurcan). There are edifices that may need to be commemorated through the photographs, like the Sirius Apartments, by Tao Gofers and the former New South Wales (NSW) Housing Commission (likely to be sold without heritage listing), and Bidura Children’s Court, by former NSW Government Architect (now sold and likely to be demolished).

Bidura Children's Court, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Bidura Children’s Court, Brutalist Sydney Map. Image courtesy of Glenn Harper

Brutalism by the mid-1970s was well-adopted within the architectural practices of Sydney. The city’s luminous disposition seemed an ideal setting to highlight the textured surfaces of this architectural approach. Key to the adoption of this was the NSW Government Architect and the design architects of the NSW Public Works Department. The range of public projects in this style was pushed forward through collaborations with European-trained émigré architects.

Glenn Harper, a Senior Associate Architect and urban designer at Sydney’s PTW Architects, founded @Brutalist_Project_Sydney, and documented this aesthetic for the guide.

Upcoming luxury property in London: No.1 Palace Street apartments promise grand accommodations in the city, beside Buckingham Palace

Located in the heart of St. James Park, the new development called No.1 Palace Street, not only has Queen Elizabeth right next door but also has a view of the Buckingham Palace gardens. This prime location stands as the only one at the famous zip code to share such a close relationship to Europe’s longest reigning monarch. With completion set for 2019, the site that will house the luxury property is expected to span 300,000 square feet.

If having a distinguished neighbour doesn’t make this a prime real estate option, then maybe its rich history is something that catches your attention. No.1 Palace Street has a wing that was once part of ‘The Palace Hotel’ built in 1861 during the Victorian period. The Grade II listed portion of the building has even hosted distinguished guests of Queen Victoria in the past. With architecture that is similar to that of Buckingham Palace, it is the perfect location for one to live like royalty.

Buckingham Gate Entrance

From one-bedroom accommodations to penthouse suites the developers aim to provide each of the 72 apartments with a unique layout. Under the expert care of the developers interior design division, N Studio, the interiors are set to marry contemporary designs with traditional architecture. While your personal living space is a haven that you treasure, No.1 Palace Street also promises to provide over 10,000 square feet of lifestyle facilities as well as 6,500 square feet that allow residents to pamper themselves. With an expansive gym, personal training suites, treatment rooms and a private pool that is touted to be one of the most impressive that the British capital has to offer.

“No.1 Palace Street is an exceptional proposition in an unrivalled location, and will tempt the most discerning of buyers” said Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, CEO of Northacre. He added, “Northacre has built more luxury homes than any other developer in London and this development will cement Northacre’s position as an industry leader and set a new standard for what buyers demand from a home.”

Kensington Gardens, London hosts Serpentine Pavillion 2017 designed by architect Diébédo Francis Kéré

Architect Diébédo Francis Kéré

African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has been chosen to design the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion located in London’s Kensington Gardens. The Burkina Faso-born architect is the 17th architect to take on the task of designing a temporary structure on the grounds of the Serpentine Galleries. Inspired by a tree that serves as a central meeting point in his hometown of Gand, Kéré aims to connect visitors to nature and provide a space for community bonding. Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion will be open from June 23 to October 8.

The design is marked by an expansive wooden roof that mimics a tree canopy and is supported by a central intricate steel framework. Enclosed by several curving blue walls as well as wooden blocks in a tessellated pattern, the design is reminiscent of textiles worn by young men from Kéré’s village. The roof, while providing shelter from rain, allows airs to circulate freely, providing shade on sunnier afternoons.

 Kéré makes the British climate a central element of his design, with a structure that engages with London’s ever-changing weather. An open air courtyard in the center invites visitors to sit on sunny days; when rain strikes, an oculus funnels water that collects on the roof to create a waterfall effects. The roof and the wall system are made from wood and create dappled shadows by day, while by night the structure is illuminated as small perforations light up with the activity inside the pavilion.

“In Burkina Faso, I am accustomed to being confronted with climate and natural landscape as a harsh reality. For this reason, I was interested in how my contribution to this Royal Park could not only enhance the visitor’s experience of nature but also provoke a new way for people to connect with each other,” said Kéré.

Kéré follows on from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in designing the pavilion. BIG’s “unzipped wall” structure was visited by more than 250,000 people last year. In the new pavilion, the Serpentine will continue its public performance series, Park Nights, as well as hosting a program of events focusing on questions of community and rights to the city, inspired by Kéré’s commitment to socially engaged and ecological design.

Since 2000, Serpentine Galleries have been commissioning architects to create its pavilion each year, providing a chance for these usually international architects to create their first structure in England.

For more information, visit Serpentine Galleries.

Real estate in Great Britain: Is crowdfunding the new way to privately finance Britain’s property market?

A skyscraper in Bogota, Colombia; a 95-unit condo development in Manhattan, New York; and funding to get Olympians from the training field in their home towns across to the splendour of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The scope for crowdfunding is just about as broad as the modern economic marketplace itself, and the sectors that are benefitting from this financial innovation are just as wide- ranging. For my own account, I have contributed funds to the crowdfunding campaign of a private school in the British Midlands, and a scheme of new apartments in the city of Manchester, just to cite a couple, though I could just have easily invested into a restaurant business, a penthouse in London, or even a secondary loan provider. This diversity and flexibility is unquestionably a leading factor in the surge that this sector has enjoyed in recent years.

It should be recognised that crowdfunding is a two-way social interaction, and as the sector has become increasingly mainstream, it’s not just the recipients of the crowd’s funds that are benefitting. The individuals and businesses that place money into crowdfunded loans and investments are enjoying an ever- greater choice of, and control over, their personal portfolio investments. This ease in the ability to diversify across sectors, locations and investment amounts, means almost anybody can gain access to investments that suit their personal goals and risk appetite.

Hand in hand with this degree of choice and diversity is the varying level of returns on offer. In the UK there are crowdfunded and P2P (peer-to-peer loans to individuals and businesses) investments at almost all points along the risk spectrum, whether into low- risk property and business investments that can pay as little as three or four percent, or for those looking for higher returns there are property developers and trading businesses that raise money from crowdfunders at expected returns of 10%+ on a debt (loan) basis, or potentially even better (or worse, if the business doesn’t succeed) when investing to buy equity in a crowdfunded business.

To understand the ways in which investors and borrowers benefit from the crowdfunding sector, it might help to be clear on just how the system works. In simple terms there needs to be an intermediary, someone to aggregate the money from the masses of contributors (the ‘crowd’), and to effectively manage these funds, so a borrower can receive the money for the right reason and at the right time. These intermediaries are the crowdfunding and P2P companies, or ‘platforms’. This service of organisation and management is what crowdfunding platforms provide the marketplace with, where we could draw a loose comparison with the services of an investment company or a broker, with a key difference being that an investment company might offer an advised service to manage your funds, whereas in the case of crowdfunding the control and decision-making sits directly with the investor.

The transaction volumes in the crowdfunding and alternative finance (AltFi) space have experienced nothing short of a colossal rise over the past 3 years, and the sector has enjoyed an increasing position of prominence in the markets, including in the UK property market. As a year-on-year comparison of market share growth, April 2015 saw banks lend upwards of GBP 30 billion (approx. USD 38.2 billion) to SMEs in the UK, whilst in the same month of 2016 this had dropped to GBP 16 billion (approx. USD 20.3 billion). Whilst not all of this gap in funding was picked up by the crowdfunding sector, it was the alternative finance space in general that benefitted from the banks’ loss of market share. More specifically in relation to crowdfunding UK property, it was reported that last year alone, investors contributed GBP 609 million (approx. USD 775.7 million) to property investments in the UK.

As the broader property sector in the UK has remained robust, even in the current Brexit-era, other platform providers have told me that the pipeline of properties being funded continues as strongly as ever. As a model of funding that is increasingly being recognised as a perfectly acceptable way of funding developments, investors and property developers alike are on track to cross the line at GBP 1 billion (approx. USD 1.36 billion) annually in the not-too- distant future.

We have already noted the terms ‘crowdfunding’ and ‘P2P’, so it might help to define what these are, and how they differ. In simple terms, crowdfunding has increasingly become the default term for equity investing, where the money you contribute to a ‘campaign’ will buy you a stake or shareholding in the company behind the campaign. Alongside this is P2P, which is the debt-based equivalent, and allows a member of the crowd to loan funds alongside other crowd investors. P2P generally provides a fixed return on the funds loaned, and whether you contribute as debt or equity, pretty much every type of business can be funded under either model. Though this might suggest there are just two versions of crowdfunding, I’d be quick to point out that the variations between the models used by each platform are notable. Structured and hybrid offerings through to being sector specific gives both investors and fund- raisers ever increasing options for engaging financially.

So, where will it go from here? With the returns on offer from banks remaining paltry, and the yields on gilts and prime rental property being squeezed to a point of barely matching inflation, it appears to be a bright horizon for a sector where we provide solutions to those needing to borrow funds, and diversity, choice and highly competitive returns to those looking to generate an above average return on their money.

This article was first published in Palace Magazine 17

Luxury property in London, United Kingdom: A luxurious home at One Kensington Gardens next to dignitaries and royalty

Home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, illustrious foreign dignitaries and a selection of the world’s ultra-wealthy and famous, there’s truly no other neighbourhood quite like the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Fancy calling yourself a neighbour? One Kensington Gardens, a new residential development by De Vere Estates, offers a collection of 97 luxury apartments for the discerning homeowner in search of privacy and exclusivity with a touch of pedigree.

Designed by renowned architect Sir. David Chipperfield, with elegant interiors crafted by Karen Howes of London-based interior design firm Taylor Howes, the development is located on Kensington Road, and is opposite Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. Close proximity to the shopping and transport facilities of Kensington High Street and Knightsbridge also enhances the property’s ideal lifestyle element of fusing tranquillity with the sophistication and glamour of city living.

From studios to one to six bedroom apartments and a penthouse, the development provides residents with a 24 hr dedicated concierge service, valet parking, a private health spa, fitness centre, and a 25 m indoor swimming pool. All apartments come equipped with under-floor heating and comfort cooling, and are constructed with the maximisation of light and space in mind, providing an elegant yet welcoming home experience.

This article was first published in Palace 18. 

Luxury residence in London: Oceanic House presents 6 apartments and a 2 story penthouse for purchasing

The neoclassical façade of the Grade II listed Oceanic House conceals a storied piece of British history, a turn-of-the- century memory of mankind’s transatlantic travel ambitions that is sure to inspire attention today. Originally the London headquarters of the famous White Star Line, the company behind the RMS Titanic and Olympic Ocean liners, the building has been transformed into a luxury residence containing six spacious apartments and a two-storey penthouse occupying the top two floors. Units range from 1,679 sq. ft. to 5,447 sq. ft. in size and feature bespoke interiors by BLDA, reminiscent of the glamour of early 20th century ocean travel, Poggenpohl fitted kitchens, under-floor heating, comfort cooling, and en-suite bedrooms. Residents can also benefit from round-the-clock security.

The building’s sumptuously renovated ground floor was once the company’s First Class booking office, playing host to eminent Titanic passengers such as the Countess of Rothes, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon. With high- ceilings and an Edwardian-inspired interior, the entrance hall provides a reception area for guests, a dedicated 24 hr concierge, and a refurbished foyer featuring a scale model of the luxurious Titanic liner on display.

Commissioned by White Star Line Chairman Joseph Bruce Ismay, the descendent of a sailing and shipbuilding dynasty, and designed by architect Henry Tanner Junior, Oceanic House was completed in 1907 and sits in the heart of London ’s West End at 1 Cockspur Street, adjacent to the ritzy Mayfair and Belgravia districts. The surrounding Trafalgar Square area also accommodates some of the capital’s finest hotels such as The Savoy, Corinthia, and The Waldorf Hilton. Though the building was later converted into offices for Barclays Bank, the Ministry of Defence, and then the Texas Embassy, a promotional centre for the State of Texas, its prestigious White Star Line origins are definitely not to be forgotten with the residences serving as a fitting homage to its rich history. Scheduled for completion in Spring 2017, the development is helmed by Misland Capital and Oceanic Developments Ltd.

This article was first published in Palace 18.

Luxury hotels in London: The Hyatt Regency London—The Churchill captures Sir Winston Churchill’s persona and style

Sir Winston Churchill was one of Britain’s most — if not the most — revered political heroes of the 19th century. Located in the heart of London’s West End, the Hyatt Regency London — The Churchill looks over the city much like its namesake did before. As a man known best for not only his grit and ingenuity but also his classic British sartorial style, The Hyatt Regency London — The Churchill brings to life a tribute to this esteemed figure.

With the help of the Churchill family, the hotel recently reopened after a multi-million-pound refurbishment that saw an addition of six new guestrooms, suites and meeting spaces. Influenced by the art deco style of the 1930s, while Churchill was in office, the hotel pays homage to its namesake with smoky grey hues and sensual rich velvet, coupled with leather upholstery.

Original artworks and designs such as touches of herringbone and button detailing reflect Churchill’s love for sophistication. Churchill’s close relationship with his wife Clementine is also shown through the many photographs and love letters throughout the hotel.

Aside from those furnishings, the hotel also boasts the Churchill Bar & Terrace. Internationally acclaimed design firm Spinocchia Freud designed the bar. Elegant mahogany bookshelves line its walls, featuring a range of classics and literature that the Churchills enjoyed. The clearest tribute to Churchill however, is most definitely the sculpture of him that sits on the bar’s alfresco terrace, with staff placing a fresh rose in the lapel every morning just as Clementine did.

The five-star property houses 110 rooms and 11 signature suites, featuring triple Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s first London restaurant La Dame de Pic. The refurbishment also includes a new suite package in partnership with luxury department store Selfridges.

Architecture in London: Greenwich Peninsula to house the cultural hub called Peninsula Place

Famous for his ‘neo-futurist’ projects, Architect Santiago Calatrava will be behind London’s new landmark building, to be constructed on the Greenwich Peninsula. This project is part of 25-year regeneration project that aims to create 15,000 new homes on former gas works and agricultural land in south-east London. Dubbed Peninsula Place, the £1 billion glass building will boast some of the finest facilities including a tube and bus station, entertainment venues, bars, stores and a “well-being hub.”

Located in a neighborhood next to the O2 arena, the 1.4-million-square-foot complex will welcome visitors and residents in an 80-foot-high winter garden and glass galleria, topped by three towers of workspace, apartments and hotels. In the winter garden, an urban forest will sit beneath a glass cupola, providing natural light, while the towers will feature a stepped design that will reveal a series of green terraces.

In the 500-foot-long galleria, slim columns will create the effect of a tree-lined avenue and form a vaulting arcade above a promenade of cafes, shops and restaurants. A land bridge, featuring a mast and cables that create a giant sundial, will connect the Peninsula to a public park on the River Thames.

The building — for which a timeline has yet to be revealed — is part of a transformation of the Peninsula that is planned over several years in seven new neighborhoods surrounded by the Thames; In addition to providing more than 15,000 new residences, these areas will be home to the first major film studio in central London, a new design district and public spaces.

Peninsula Place is the first UK building by Calatrava, whose firm was behind projects including the 2004 Athens Olympic Sports Complex and 2016 World Trade Center Transportation hub in New York.

Hotels opening in 2017: Check into these new accommodations in Paris, Bora Bora and more for your upcoming holidays

Arthur Streeton, 'Circular Quay,' 1892 at 'Australia's Impressionists' © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Art Exhibitions in 2017: 4 museums Revisiting Major Art Movements in New York and London

Taking a break from the contemporary world, sometimes it is necessary to trace the roots of the modern artworks we know and love, going back to its historical references. With that in mind, refresh your knowledge of some of history’s major art movements in 2017 with these four exhibitions.

“A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde” – December 3, 2016, to March 12, 2017, at MoMA, New York, USA

MoMA is retracing the rise of the Russian avant-garde movement, from the First World War to the end of the first five-year plan of the USSR (the inter-war period). Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it presents the movement’s first experimental projects (paintings, drawings, sculptures, etchings, books, films, etc.)

“Surrealism in Egypt: Art and Liberty 1938-1948” – November 17, 2017, to March 11, 2018, at Tate Liverpool, UK

This is the first comprehensive museum exhibition about the Art and Liberty Group (Art et Liberté -jama’at al-fann wa al-hurriyyah). This collective of politically engaged artists and writers with surrealist leanings lived and worked in Cairo in the late 1930s until the late 1940s. “Surrealism in Egypt: Art and Liberty 1938-1948” shows how the movement, usually associated with European artists, transcended borders, notably thanks to travel and correspondence with artists such as André Breton and Lee Miller.

“Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites” – October 4, 2017, to April 2, 2018, at The National Gallery, London, UK
'The Arnolfini Portrait', 1434, Jan van Eyck at 'Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites' © National Gallery, London

‘The Arnolfini Portrait’, 1434, Jan van Eyck at ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’
© National Gallery, London

The National Gallery is focusing on the painting “Arnolfini Portrait” by Van Eyck, exploring how the work became a beacon by which Pre-Raphaelites forged a new style of painting. The exhibition brings together “Arnolfini Portrait” and other paintings for the first time, highlighting the piece’s influence on the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) and William Holman Hunt (1827-1910).

“Australia’s Impressionists” – December 7, 2016, to March 26, 2017, at The National Gallery, London, UK

“Australia’s Impressionists” is the UK’s first exhibition dedicated to the work of Australian impressionists. It presents the movement as a unique artistic current, certainly linked to its French and British counterparts, yet also entirely distinct.

london invest properties berkeley homes south quay plaza aerial view

Invest in London, UK: Brexit takes down housing prices, attracting international buyers

As a city that has long been one of the hubs of global finance and has made multiple appearances on the lists of top places to live for the ultra-high-net-worth individuals, London has certainly got its advantage when it comes to attracting international investors. With its relatively transparent legal system, security and access to top educational institutions, London has got that magnetism that has continued to attract investors in 2016. According to The Wealth Report 2016 by Knight Frank, a commercial and residential property consultancy, London has overtaken New York for the second consecutive year in a row as the leading city for the world’s wealthy, based on where they spend their time, grow their businesses and invest in real estate.

Although London’s property market has gone through peaks and troughs over the last 18 months, it continues to appeal to domestic and international buyers alike. Following the natural dip in housing prices after the EU Referendum and the weakening of the Sterling, the housing market in London has strengthened the value proposition for knowledgeable buyers, with a spike in enquiries from purchasers from Asian countries, including China and Singapore.

“London remains a safe haven for investment and a hub for the world’s high net worth individuals”, says Charlie Walsh, Director, Sales at Lodha UK. “Many buyers have identified that they need to act now to secure strong long-term growth”.

Advantageously located developments in prestigious districts of London continue to attract buyers from overseas who seek a great investment that can offer a home for generations to come. Lodha UK’s Lincoln Square is one of such developments, located in London’s historic and legal quarter between Covent Garden and the financial district of the Square Mile, next to some of London’s most prestigious educational institutions, theatres, restaurants and fashion boutiques.

Areas undergoing regeneration in London have also presented a great opportunity for investors, with prices continuing on an upward trajectory. London Docklands and Canary Wharf have been rapidly gaining investors’ interest with the development of new residential properties, restaurants, bars, concert venues and retail malls. The new high-speed rail link connecting West and East London – the Elizabeth Line – has been contributing to higher property values for homes along the route. With a scheduled 2018 opening, pricing around the Elizabeth Line, including areas like Canary Wharf, are expected to rise 7% over the next four years.

“It is a great time to buy in London, especially in areas that are undergoing change,” says Jacob Sullivan, Director of Sales & Marketing, Berkeley Homes South East London. “House prices in areas like London Docklands continue to experience growth compared to areas such as Kensington and Chelsea, where there has been a significant decrease in prices over the last year”.


On the market

Lincoln Square, Lodha UK

With its advantageous location in London’s historic and legal quarter, next to the world renowned institutions like the London School of Economics, as well as world class theatres and restaurants, Lincoln Square is an upcoming destination that will offer state-of-the-art facilities and exquisitely designed residences in the heart of the city. The development will offer elegant, warm, contemporary residences ranging from studios to four-bed apartments and two penthouses with interiors designed by Bowler James Brindley. The residents’ amenities, curated by Patricia Urquiola, will include a private club and a library, a cinema room, private dining room for up to 36 people, as well as snooker and games rooms, while the wellness facilities will feature a 25 metre swimming pool, a spa and a high-tech gymnasium.

Price: from GBP 900,000 (approx. USD 1.19 million) available on lincolnsquare.co.uk


Lincoln Square interior

Lincoln Square interior


Lincoln Square entrance

South Quay Plaza, Berkeley Homes

Poised to become one of London’s tallest residential towers when completed, the mixed-used South Quay Plaza will feature a stepped tower structure built at a 45-degree rotation to maximise water views and a panoramic city skyline, offering a valuable proximity to the London City Airport and the upcoming Crossrail that will connect Heathrow to Canary Wharf in less than 40 minutes. With its structure and interior designed by Foster + Partners, the residential facilities and amenities will span 1,500 square metres, with the entire 56th floor being dedicated to the residents’ club lounge, featuring an expansive outdoor dining section, bar, screening room, library and conference room. Additionally, the Health Club will offer a magnificent 20 metre infinity pool overlooking the Thames and other wellness amenities including a thermal suite with hot pool, sauna, steam room, treatment room and relaxation lounge.

Price: from GBP 695,000 (approx. USD 922,000) available on southquayplaza.london


berkeley-homes-south-quay-plaza_terrace london nvestment properties

Berkeley Homes terrace

DBOX for Berkeley Group - SQP - london investment properties

Berkeley Homes interior

For more information, visit Lodha Group.

Text by Olha Romaniuk

This story was first published in Palace Magazine


Cezanne exhibition in Paris, France: See the artist's paintings on display at Musee d'Orsay

Cezanne exhibition in Paris, France: See the artist’s paintings on display at Musee d’Orsay

An exhibition, titled ‘Cézanne Portraits’ will feature over 50 of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne’s portraits at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Beginning on June 14 till September 24, the exhibition will move onto London‘s National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C

Regarded as one of the most prominent painters of the 19th century, Cézanne painted almost 200 portraits in his lifetime, with 36 self-portraits and 29 of his wife. Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see artworks from museums and private collections from Brazil, Denmark, France, Japan, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

‘Cézanne Portraits’ will be look back at the artist’s career from a chronological perspective, observing the shifts of his painting style and methods throughout the years, as well as his focus on complementary pairs and multiple versions of a subject.


“Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair,” 1888-90, by Paul Cézanne © Wilson L. Mead Fund, 1948.54, The Art Institute of Chicago. “Cézanne Portraits” at NPG London

The works to be displayed will include paintings of Cézanne’s uncle Dominique from the 1860s, to portraits of Vallier, his assistant in Aix-en-Provence – one of his final works.

“Up until now, Cezanne’s portraiture has received surprisingly little attention, so we are thrilled to be able to bring together so many of his portraits for the first time to reveal arguably the most personal, and therefore most human, aspect of Cézanne’s art,” said Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

“Cézanne Portraits” is a collaboration between the three museums and will show at all three venues. It will be on display at the Musée d’Orsay from June 14 to September 24, 2017; the National Portrait Gallery in London from October 26, 2017 to February 11, 2018; and the National Gallery of Art from March 25 to July 1, 2018.

1 Undershaft Will Have London’s Highest View

1 Undershaft, designed by Eric Parry Architects, will be London’s second tallest building when construction is complete in 2020 and possibly the building with the most dubious name in the City; the tallest building in the UK is The Shard. The project was recently approved by the City of London.

Also known by the much nicer name ‘The Trellis’, 1 Undershaft will pierce the sky at 289.94 meters (approx. 951 feet), or 304.94 meters (1,000 feet) above sea level. For a little perspective, The Shard, is 309.6m (1,016 feet) in height.

The skyscraper will consist of 73 stories, mostly to be occupied by office space. A public square will be built at the base of the tower, along with a retail gallery for restaurants, cafes and shops.

At the very top, a viewing gallery will be open for the public, free of charge. This will actually be the UK’s highest.  The space will also have an education center for students to discover about London and its history.

“There could be no better place to observe how the fabric of London has changed over two millennia while thinking about what this means for the city of today and tomorrow,” said Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, which is working on the learning spaces at the top of the tower.


An aerial view of 1 Undershaft by Eric Parry Architects © DBOX for Eric Parry Architects

Eric Parry is behind the St Martin-in-the-Fields project at London’s Trafalgar Square as well as 10 Fenchurch Avenue, an office development in the City of London.

The tower was commissioned by Singapore-based Aroland Holdings Limited, which is currently developing tall buildings in capital cities around the world.

While a timeframe has not been set, it is expected the building will open in the 2020s.

London Luxury Bargains: Brexit Effect

While the prospect of Brexit is weighing on much of the British economy, tourism and luxury goods businesses are cashing in on bargain-hungry visitors lured by the slide in the pound.

London’s tourism agency says sales of goods eligible for sales-tax exemption have gone up by a third since the Brexit vote in June, which sent the pound sterling plunging against the euro and dollar.

“We calculated that over the last four months it’s been about 12 percent cheaper for Europeans to come and shop here,” said Chris Gottlieb, head of leisure marketing at the agency London & Partners.

The pound is now at 1.17 euros compared with 1.3 euros before the shock vote to leave the European Union, while it has also fallen to $1.25 from $1.49.

The result is that London has become the cheapest city for luxury goods shopping in the world in dollar terms, according to a study by Deloitte.

Going to spend much more

In tourist areas, the effects are evident. “We’re going to spend much more money than we planned to,” said Radostina Nonova, a Bulgarian tourist, laughing as she lugged her bags on Carnaby Street – in the heart of London’s shopping district.

“We didn’t plan to shop too much but it’s obvious that the prices are very good for us. So we shop and we can afford to eat and drink outside. That was not possible years ago,” she said.

French tourist Christophe Disic said he did not come just because the pound was low but “when we changed our money we realized we had a few more pounds for fewer euros”.

When speaking to US tourists, shopkeepers are quick to take out their calculators.

“We’re an American brand. Our products are designed and assembled in the States. But with the weakening of the pound it actually happens to be cheaper for the American tourists to buy an American product in London,” said Denis Sagajevs, who works in Shinola, a shop selling watches and leather accessories.

“It’s affected by the fact that they can claim VAT on their way back. We pretty much on a day-to-day basis explain that to customers from the States. It happens to be quite a strong sales driver,” he said.

50 percent increase in shoppers

Some shops are adapting their advertising and sales tactics to the new consumer behavior.

“Before the vote, European tourists were couples who came to be together and maybe bought a couple of things,” said James, the manager of a luxury men’s clothes shop on Carnaby Street.

“Now, there are groups of friends who rush in. They grab everything they can carry.”

James estimated that European and US shoppers coming to his store have increased by around 50 percent.

Instead of spending on costly advertising in British newspapers as it did before, his firm is changing tactic to appeal more to overseas visitors.

They have put up signs outside Underground train stations near the shop. But there are doubts about how long the boom can last.

While the good health of the British economy was confirmed by solid growth of 0.5 percent in the third quarter, the official forecasts for 2017 have been lowered to 1.4 percent from 2.2 percent.

“Our British customer sales are not as strong as before the vote and we don’t even know if this tourism boom is going to last,” James said.

gingerbread city Moa london

Architecture Museum Hosts Gingerbread Exhibition

Gingerbread City is made up of Caramel Wharf, Pancake Rise, Puddington… These are some of the six districts you will have the chance to visit in London this month. And if they do sound like some parts of a city, they are a lot sweeter, though not actually for eating.

These ‘neighborhoods’ are part of Gingerbread City, the latest exhibition hosted by the Museum of Architecture (MoA) and entirely made of sugar. Here you’ll find galleries, small shops, cafés and bars: everything can be eaten – but not yet! All we can say is we hope they’ve figured out how to keep the ants away. They are indeed submissions from some of the UK’s leading architectural schools and firms such 4M Group, Arup, Foster & Partners, Hopkins Architects and spacelab to a great gingerbread structures contest. A total of 64 teams are taking part and will be judged – the story does not say if the judges will be pastry chefs.. or Hansel & Gretel.

Feeling crafty? Workshops will be hosted as well – some might say they are made for families with kids, but no doubt adults with a sweet tooth will be welcome too.

The very sugary event, celebrating of course the British Christmas Spirit, is held as part of the museum’s winter fundraiser. The money raised  (a fee is imposed for a “Plot Passport” on each submission) will be used to to support MoA’s upcoming exhibitions and 2017 program.

Gingerbread City at The Museum of Architecture (MoA) London. From Dec 7 to 22. General public admission: free