Tag Archives: London

Twenty Grosvenor Square: Mayfair London Top Luxury Development

A drive and drop like the one offered at Twenty Grosvenor Square, is a first for a Mayfair development

Twenty Grosvenor Square, is not just Mayfair London’s first standalone Four Seasons Private Residences, it is Europe’s. Typically, a Four Seasons Private Residence comes with a hotel development attached, but for Twenty Grosvenor Square (20 GS for fans of hipster abbreviations), this London luxury development, located on one of the world’s grandest garden squares, Twenty Grosvenor Square is expected to become London’s top luxury development. The 37 private residence (including three penthouses) is expected to be completed in 2018. Finchatton, the developer and designer of this exquisite piece of heritage luxury real estate took bids from the world’s top hotel management groups before settling on service standards beyond reproach  of the legendary Four Seasons. As a result, life at Twenty Grosvenor Square is expected to deliver unrivalled excellence and elegance.

In addition to being the company’s first residential project that is not integrated with a hotel, Twenty Grosvenor Square, a Four Seasons Residence will also be the company’s third property in London, joining Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.

Alex Michelin of Finchatton has been a luxury property developer in the prime central London area for close to 20 years, and the products he delivers is Mayfair, Knightsbridge, or what luxury real estate developers call the “Golden Triangle” – the majority of his properties are £5 million plus or £5,000 psf plus – suffice it to say Michelin’s developments are extremely top end and as a result, highly confidential and the last thing a company would like to talk about in the press is a sensationalised news story like an Omani Sheikh forking top dollar for two slices of prime London real estate.

Each apartment, with prices starting £35 million, the interiors have been elegantly designed by Finchatton to offer three, four and five bedroom apartments, each conceived with luxurious design features such as elegant classical drawing rooms, soaring ceilings, media rooms, family and catering kitchens, and separate access for staff.

Since 2001, Finchatton has designed, managed and financed over 60 development projects worth more than £1 billion in not just UK addresses but also France, America, Switzerland, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Australasia. That’s not even counting the projects for its bespoke arm, Finchatton Private which has completed over 75 prestigious bespoke developments. Combined, the company has in excess of £1.3 billion in the pipeline.

Strict confidentiality is a requirement, especially with clientele from China where the government crackdown on capital outflows has been particularly harsh. At the invitation of Knight Frank, LUXUO had the privilege of sitting down with Alex Michelin, CEO and co-founder of Finchatton to discuss the prime London real estate, market forecasts and of course, the official launch of his new luxury London development – Twenty Grovsenor Square.

This London luxury development, located on one of the world’s grandest garden squares, Twenty Grosvenor Square is expected to become London’s top luxury development.

Alex Michelin of Finchatton on Twenty Grosvenor Square and London Luxury Real Estate Market

Alex, your known in the industry for both investment banking and property development, what do you foresee as the biggest opportunities in the sectors at the moment?

When it comes to property there’s been a lot of talk of Brexit, and I think it’s a little overblown. While it’s a storm in a teacup, I don’t think London will lose its place in the world as a leading financial centre nor will it stop being the capital of Europe. As a property developer, I see the Brexit debate and the market softening for land as a good opportunity to enter the market. I think what might be more relevant for LUXUO’s readership is that the relative weakness of the GBP versus the USD will be a great opportunity in that they can purchase something in London at 20-40% off (depending on what and where you buy) because of the dollar parity and the uncertainty. As Warren Buffet often says, buy when everyone is running for the exits and you have that moment now. For Finchatton, it’s a huge opportunity and we intend to purchase more assets over the next 12 months.

Just to clarify, you mentioned London as the capital of Europe, in what terms? 

London is the capital of Europe in terms of amount of money flowing through the financial system, the culture, heritage, history and education – it’s where everyone wants to go. We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve been a magnet for the brightest minds in Europe. There has been net migration out of Paris and Germany to come here. In both the financial and property sector, we have the brightest minds in all of those countries – there’s a lot of well paying jobs, opportunity and a lot of capital flowing. All the venture capitalists are there and any of the ideas you need to get funded, London has all of that. I genuinely do not think that London is going to lose its place as the financial centre of Europe. It’s just too big, there’s too much history and the network of services is just too deep – it will take generations for all of this to go somewhere else.

From in-residence dining and catering, to concierge services, housekeeping, salon and spa services, grocery stocking, event planning, childcare, pet care, and transportation and business services, the seamless services of Twenty Grosvenor Square will be personally tailored to the lifestyle of each resident, offering ultimate customisation and peace of mind.

Does the rise of cryptocurrencies and the spurt of crypto-millionaires factor into this confluence?

Not really. Bitcoin and Ethereum have been fabulously successful and I believe that their valuations, debatable, are possibly in a bubble. We will see these technologies become more ingrained in the sector as they’re perfectly suited to property thanks to the distributed ledger which allows every single transaction there has ever been to be on everyone’s computer so everyone can track what has happened, which I believe will be phenomenal for the industry. The UK registry is looking to adopting some sort of blockchain technology but what’s interesting is that a few people have put their properties on the market and are ready to accept Bitcoin as a means of currency, it’s definitely the first in London – one of them is on the market for GBP 17 million and he’s saying he’ll accept Bitcoin. I’m not sure how this will happen but we will see how it will work.

Is 20 Grosvenor Square accepting Bitcoin?

We are not. We are worried about the speculative nature of the currency and there are still questions about what is has been used for, the source of funds and we don’t generally want to get into that debate, We try to be whiter than white and we make sure we know exactly where the funds are from and there are no money laundering threats or risks. There are UK regulations pertaining to money laundering and potential criminal activity and we need to track and trace and prove where the money is coming from thus people who accept bitcoin could open themselves up to those sort of legal challenges.

Monthly service rates at  £14 psf are lower than what is typically expected of a high end luxury development of this nature with hotel servicing (usually £20), that’s because Twenty Grosvenor Square was built efficiently and certain functions like the doormen doubling as valets provide great value.

I’m trying to get a gauge of London real estate development and London property prices. To use a Singaporean example, developers are forking out top dollar here in a phenomenon known as “en-bloc sales” – this means that whatever they build, they have to factor into PSF costs to recoup their aggressive land bids leading to concerns that the property might have inflated rather than real values, is this something which happens over the pond as well?

Ian Pidgeon, Knight Frank, Partner, Joint Head Prime New Homes Residential Development: I don’t think as much, London is a very old market, a lot of the buildings are listed within conservation areas and so you cant simply knock a building down and build a tower. The scarcity of land will make it very hard to get a good location, the planning laws are very restrictive as well – as a result, we couldn’t build a tower for Twenty Grovesnor Square while retaining the historical facade as well.

Michelin: You already know what you have to pay for the land, that said, there are definitely developers who outbid and overpay and prices get out of control but we definitely didn’t do that for 20 Grosvenor Square.

Pidgeon: It’s also very difficult to get permission for change of use and a majority of Mayfair are commercial, that is to say, retail or offices thus to switch from that to residential is very hard. Thus what’s been developed now in Mayfair is pretty much it and therefore supply is pretty tight.

What were some of the complexities in developing a historical building like the US Naval Headquarters into 20 Grosvenor Square?

They were there since 1939 as part of the war effort and we were lucky in that anything of historical value was taken down when they departed in 2007, thus we were able to demolish everything with the exception of the facade which gave us a unique position which is part of London’s heritage and yet have the latest technology and the most advanced building methodologies giving our apartments incredible acoustics, sound proofing, water pressure and heating etc, are all absolutely 21st century while a lot of buildings particularly those on Eaton Square are struggling to get the same level of quality as a lot of history has to be maintained.

Ned Baring, Director, Savills Private Office: I think one of the most important things about 20 Grovesnor Square is that it’s the first residential development in Mayfair serviced by a hotel. Mayfair hasn’t seen any developments for a long time and this is the first multi unit scheme in best address in Mayfair, It’s like Monopoly where if you parked on Mayfair and Parklane, you literally end up winning the whole game, luckily Alex and Andrew won the game by building basically the best London residential development i’ve ever seen.

Once the home of the US Naval Forces in Europe and frequented by the likes of General Dwight Eisenhower during the Second World War, Twenty Grosvenor Square is steeped with rich history. Reviving the energy of the original building

An Omani Sheikh just forked out GBP25 million for two apartments near Harrods, do outliers like these spike property evaluations unnecessarily?

Baring: The London real estate market has always typically seen strong PSFs ever since 199 The Knightsbridge got built and we’ve seen growth from £1,000 to £2,000 and now even £8,000 in some luxury developments and 20 Grosvenor Square comes close to it and we’re seeing wealth coming in from all four corners of the globe. It used to be that you’d build something and expect Russians to come rushing in but now you can’t actually finger point to which nationality is coming into London. Global wealth has gotten bigger and there are more billionaires being made everyday thus the wealth coming into a very small country is obscene.

Michelin: Since the 1900s, London has always been very global as a city and a foreigner’s enclave, particularly as the world has gotten smaller, Singapore has become more international as well over the years.

Baring: Most importantly, the English are very desirous of 20 Grosvenor Square which is a huge flag on the map because a lot of these foreign money types come in for two months of the year and it’s really refreshing to see proper English wealth come in and buy 20 Grosvenor Square.

Michelin: To your point about value, London is very old market and we have great systems, we have a lot of information about everything that sells, we have lots of providers providing data on everything which sales, a multitude of variables, so we have very good data. Thus, when people want to buy into  London real estate and they ask how we have priced it or why it is priced at this level, we can give them 50 comparable points of data and show them what everything else has sold for that time period and location and even confirm at the Land Registry. London is not a market where value is plucked from the air, there’s a lot of historical data which backs how things have trended and where the market has been. When Knight Frank and Savills price something like Twenty Grosvenor Square, they know that’s the market demand give or take 5%.

Baring: There are 17 different nationalities but the English have been predominant in the purchase of units at Twenty Grosvenor Square.

More often than not, we hear about the Middle Easterns and the Russians buying into London, is there a media bias because the reportage seem to be make it appear that few English are buying?

Pidgeon: It’s completely global, we do a run of three to four sales to them but there’s always something from different pockets in the world buying into London. Where there’s education, we are doing more sales to Chinese buyers where their children are going to boarding schools in London and so supply and demand are shaping a lot of the pricing and so if you want a blue chip location – typically, Mayfair, Belgravia, Knightsbridge, it’s where the old money has always been. Even then, if you came in with £20 million and say show me the best, we’d be struggling to show you more than 2 or 3 which tick all the right boxes. These people who buy into these exclusive areas typically don’t sell and buy again, so these are long term holds. Maybe some of the other areas are a little more speculative, along the river, that’s more pure investor driven. When you come into Mayfair, these are for discretionary individuals who want the very best. They pay those prices because they know that if you don’t want it, somebody else will.

Bringing the luxuries and conveniences of hotel living home, Twenty Grosvenor Square, a Four Seasons Residence will offer the many services and amenities that guests enjoy in Four Seasons hotels and resorts around the world.

Michelin: There’s definitely a bias. We keep a lot of what we do very confidential, it doesn’t suit our interest to publicise too much what goes on in our market but the media will always latch on to some gossip or a juicy headline which screams Russian oligarch or Middle Eastern Sheikh, they latch on that but really we have a ready market of British buyers but this doesn’t make a story or headline. Media in London is very sensationalist, they don’t want to write “The English just bought 60% of apartments in London last year”.

Baring: We typically get a lot of Middle Eastern interest but the events unfolding in Qatar have weakened demand from that region at the moment. Chinese buyers are picking up and this is quite new – we’ve always had Singapore and Hong Kong but not as many from China over the last 10 years and it’s just beginning but this is going to be a long process as they first have to figure out how to get money out of the country, it’s a lot of education to tell them how to purchase and there’s a lot of purchasing power waiting to be harnessed.

Michelin: To answer your question, yes, the British are still predominant. 38-40% comprise Middle East, China, Russia, East Asia and the rest of Europe. Everyone. There’s a joke that pretty much anyone who has a billion dollars, owns a flat in London. It’s just one of those places where you want to own a property.

 

One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge

What’s your forecast on London and what prime new build and investment projects do you foresee?

Michelin: We are looking to purchase more assets now because opportunities abound due to the uncertainty over Brexit. Essentially everyone will realise life still goes on and that London is still the place to be, prices will once again rebound and thus we’re very confident investing in London and our intention is to continue to do so, we are not going to start investing in other places which other people seem to be doing.

Pidgeon: Ned and I have been flying and seeing the buyers and the general sentiment and consensus is that they’re not spooked by Brexit, they simply want to buy the best and they’re in no great rush. London real estate is going to stay pretty flat over the next two years and they pretty much see that the opportunity to buy into London is now thanks to the exchange rate as well as the relative lack of supply, which isn’t going to change much over the next five years. We have identified pretty much every single London Luxury Development which has been going on, the people we are talking to are comfortable and they are expecting things to bounce back in the next 2-3 years. Stamp duty rather than Brexit is slowing the market down and causing some values to drop.

Baring: Purchasing in London is still a lot cheaper than purchasing in New York or Hong Kong, as much as restrictions have cooled the market, it hasn’t stopped the market.

Knightsbridge is home to your development, One Hyde Park, does this sort of exuberance bode well for the area or does it contribute to a potential bubble?

Baring: Historically, Knightsbridge was never a destination to go and live, you’d typically choose to live in Belgravia or Mayfair, People will go to Knightsbridge to shop, eat there and then they will drive home because the preference is to live in Mayfair. Mayfair really is the number one destination to live in London. That said, recent high profile new developments are putting Knightsbridge on the map for London.

Pidgeon: One Hyde Park and 199 The Knightsbridge stole the headlines because they had parking and quality amenities. Mayfair had lagged behind for a bit but now the area is by far, the destination but truth was supply hadn’t really been there 10 years ago.

Michelin: Mayfair historically has always been the number one place to live in London. The Duke of Westminster built Mayfair built Grosvenor Square specifically for the great and the good. Mayfair has historically been home for the most powerful and wealthy politicians globally. All that has happened over time is that it’s been very difficult to build a brand new shiny tower over there. Knightsbridge had old buildings which made it ripe for redevelopment and swanky new luxury apartments with hotel servicing. It was product led rather than location led. It’s so difficult to do something like that in Mayfair simply because there’s so much history and heritage that it was a coup to do Twenty Grosvenor Square. Knightsbridge stole all the headlines from Mayfair for a time and I dare say it has swung back to Mayfair. It has the highest number of Michelin star restaurants and by far, the most high end boutiques and the best hotels. Mayfair is the place. Twenty Grosvenor Square is the pinnacle of everything that has been created in London.

 

Savoy Hotel’s American Bar emerges as the top winner of The World’s 50 Best Bars

American Bar, Savoy Hotel

London’s Southwark Cathedral played host to the 2017 edition of The World’s 50 Best Bars on September 5, gathering some of the industry’s top mixologists from speakeasies, local watering holes and hotel bars. The location of the annual gala, which is held to highlight the best bars around the world, is hardly a coincidence; that night, London took home the most number of spots on the list, including the first place. Ironically, London’s top winner is the American Bar of The Savoy Hotel.

Savoy Hotel’s storied hotel bar effectively knocks last year’s winner, The Dead Rabbit, off of its throne. The New York bar now sits at fifth place, sharing the top 10 list with two other bars from the city: Attaboy at the eighth place, and The NoMad Hotel ranked the highest of the three at the third spot.

As its name would suggest, American Bar was one of the first bars to introduce Londoners to the fashionable American-style “cocktail” drink, which became popular in the late 19th century. Besides boasting a legacy that stretches back more than a century, the bar is also run by a string of professionals who pull off their jobs with mastery and skill. American Bar’s 11th bartender, Erik Lorincz, is no stranger to accolades for his own abilities, having previously been named the Best International Bartender at the 2011 edition of Tales of the Cocktail.

Bartender Erik Lorincz at The American Bar, Savoy Hotel

The world’s best bar would be nothing without its drinks, and the menu at the American Bar is one of the imaginative variety. Entitled “Coast to Coast”, the menu takes guests on a liquid journey across Britain, aspiring to evoke the island’s verdant landscape, folklore, history and characters from the North to the South. The inventive cocktails are inspired by everything from the Garden of England in Kent and the Sherwood Forest to London’s Art Deco era and the Edinburgh Castle.

Naturally, many of these poetic concoctions are on the pricey side. For example, The Arthur’s Seat is a £30 cocktail made with Royal Brackla 16-year-old malt whisky, wild honeysuckle Cocchi Rosa aperitif, wine, honey water, raspberry vinegar and blossom bitters.

American Bar was accompanied by several other London-based establishments on the top 10 list, such as Connaught Bar (#4) and Bar Termini (#9). Mondrian London’s botanic-themed Dandelyan, which won the Best International Hotel Bar at this year’s Spirited Awards, came in at a close second.

Across the list of 50 winners that encompasses 24 cities in 19 countries, Europe and the US made up a big share with 19 and 13 spots respectively. Asia had 12 addresses on the list, with Singapore’s Manhattan Bar being the best in the region at seventh place. Shanghai’s Speak Low came in at 10th place.

Down under, Melbourne’s Black Pearl came out as the top bar in Australasia. Mexico City’s Licoreria Limantour represents the best of Latin America while Tel Aviv’s Imperial Craft is at the forefront of the bar scene in the Middle East and Africa.

The Araki is London’s newest three Michelin-starred restaurant

Japanese cuisine has put Britain on the map in the world of the Michelin Guide. The Araki, a sushi restaurant that opened on Regent Street in 2014, has just been knighted with three stars by the inspectors of the venerable red guide. The restaurant is helmed by sushi master Mitsuhiro Araki, who now joins the ranks of Alain Ducasse and Gordon Ramsay in bringing the number of top-rated restaurants in the UK to five.

This isn’t Araki’s first time in the spotlight from earning Michelin’s highest accolade. Before moving to London three years ago, Araki pulled off the same feat back in Tokyo, where he ran another eponymous Edomae sushi restaurant. In a short span of time, Araki has steadily regained his three Michelin stars, testifying to the Japanese chef’s mastery of the cuisine.

Following that, Araki didn’t just kick his feet up and bask in his success. At his restaurant in London, the sushi master challenged himself to use mostly European fish in his dishes. The results, as described by Michelin director Michael Ellis, are “simply sublime.”

The Araki only seats nine diners at its counter, an arrangement that, according to the restaurant’s website, means that “every seat is at the chef’s table”. The restaurant also has a fixed omakase sushi menu for £300 a person.

Besides The Araki, four other restaurants in the UK retained their three Michelin-star ratings: Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, and Alain Roux’s Waterside Inn, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester Restaurant and Gordon Ramsay in London, which, after Clare Smyth’s departure, is now headed by chef Matt Abé.

Another big winner in the 2018 edition of the Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland is Claude Bosi at Bibendum, where the restaurant’s sophisticated French cuisine earned two stars.

Overall, 20 restaurants were awarded two stars, while the single-starred category features 150 addresses, 17 of which are new. The Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2018 hits book stores October 5.

Luxury property in London: Shoe designer Patrick Cox sells Little Venice villa for £2.75 million

The façade of Patrick Cox’s villa on 35 Lanark Road

After 15 years, British-Canadian fashion designer Patrick Cox has sold his 1,908 sq.ft Victorian villa in London’s Little Venice, and now he’s packing his bags for Ibiza. The house on Lanark Road might not seem like much judging by its Victorian façade, but its £2.75 million price tag includes a “disco loo”, a Roman bathroom and a walk-in shoe-den.

These are some of Cox’s special touches on what used to be an ordinary four-storey, semi-detached villa back in 2002, when he had first purchased it. After moving out of his flat in the trendy Notting Hill district, the shoe designer devoted almost 1.5 years to remodelling and meticulously designing his new home as part of his “grand designs” style property project. Cox transformed what was meant to be a four-bedroom family home into a stunning “entertaining house” that came with an abundance of open lateral living space — just the perfect luxury pad for him and his two British bulldogs.

The garden terrace

Keeping only the villa’s façade and its original Victorian period staircase untouched, Cox rebuilt all four floors into one large room each. On the lower ground floor is the sleek, stainless steel designer kitchen, complimented by luxurious flooring made from slabs of the finest chocolate-coloured Emperador veined marble. The kitchen is tucked in a corner off the huge dining room, which was often lined with sketches of shoes by Cox. There is also a media room that opens onto a patio terrace at the front and a garden to the rear.

The main reception room

The ground floor acts as a 27 ft double volume reception room. Its generous ceiling height, bespoke joinery and American walnut wood parquet flooring made the perfect backdrop for the many dinner parties, cocktail parties and events that the house had played host to over the years. Being a celebrity in the fashion world, Cox included the likes of Liz Hurley, Madonna, Cate Blanchett and David Furnish to his star-studded guest lists.

Cox’s master bedroom suite occupied the entire first floor, complete with a black Nero marble bathroom. If that didn’t sound lavish already, Cox converted the entire top floor second into a vast, walk-in wardrobe and dressing room — home to the designer’s collection of almost 400 pairs of shoes.

For the final fabulous touch, the house is completed with a guest “disco bathroom” — complete with sound system — that features an array of mirrors and a terraced rear garden.

The “Disco Bathroom”

Cox’s unique Lanark Road home was sold to leading Inner London estate agency, Aston Chase. Mark Pollack, Founding Director of Aston Chase, notes that “Patrick’s house is in immaculate condition and finished to a luxurious specification.” Cox adds that the house’s close proximity to Regent’s Park “is ideal for walking the dogs and the house has totally bespoke interiors”, representing “a very special purchase for the discerning buyer”. Having grown tired of the city scene in London, Cox plans to embark on another “Grand Designs” style project in Ibiza for a change.

Exhibitions in London: The O2 presents “My Name is Prince”, the first exhibition dedicated to the late musical icon

After his passing in April last year, there hasn’t quite been anything to fill the hole that the legendary singer-songwriter Prince left behind. The late musician had been a source of inspiration to countless artists across genres and generations, including David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks and Justin Timberlake. Aptly dubbed the “modern Mozart”, Prince left behind a legacy that is unparalleled, encompassing the worlds of music, fashion and pop culture.

To honour the one-of-a-kind artist, The O2 in London will be hosting the world premiere of the very first official exhibition dedicated to the icon: “My Name is Prince”. Opening on October 27, the unique retrospective will showcase never-before-seen artefacts from Paisley Park, the famous Minnesota private estate owned by the singer.

Visitors will get an unprecedented look into the life and vision of one the world’s most creative minds, with exhibits featuring a multitude of Prince’s instruments, stage outfits, awards and handwritten song lyrics.

For the first time, costumes from both the artist’s 1984-85 Purple Rain tour and 1988-89 LoveSexy tour will be on display for the world to see. Fans can also expect to get a close-up peek at the orange cloud guitar from the singer’s 2007 Super Bowl halftime performance. (This item, in particular, is special because it comes in Prince’s favourite colour, as revealed by his sister.)

“My Name is Prince” will only be in London for 21 days, as a reference to the musician’s 21 record-breaking, sold-out concerts held at the O2 back in 2007. For self-confessed Prince devotees, there will be an Exclusive Preview Night Event held on October 26 which offers a private preview of the exhibition. Find out more and get your tickets at The O2’s website.

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.