Tag Archives: Paris

Chanel Opens Saint-Tropez Summer Store

You know summer is truly here when French fashion icon Chanel takes up its summer residence at the private mansion La Mistralée in beautiful Saint-Tropez. This year, the Kaiser works his magic (together with his very talented team of interior designers) to transform the pop-up store.


The love affair between Chanel and Saint-Tropez began when the Mademoiselle herself used to sojourn there every summer. Karl Lagerfeld then picked the city as the venue for the house’s cruise collection for 2011, and has returned annually ever since.


Inside, the boutique is an exquisite representation of the revered fashion house. Swathed in the Maison’s iconic shades of black, white, beige and gold, the boutique opens to an entrance hall with wooden panels that swivel to reveal bottles of the iconic Chanel No5 perfume. Monochromatic walls are punctuated by splashes of gold. Clothes and handbags are presented on two rails that run across the room, its minimalist charm a juxtaposition to the avant-garde sculptures and vintage chandelier that lights up the orderly space. The troves of display units and alcoves are now home to the new J12 Mirror and the other watch models.


Outside, the La Mistralée pool shimmers with the light, its golden mosaic tiles reflecting the sun with an intensity that highlights the season’s shoes – the highlight of the pool house.

The Chanel Saint-Tropez boutique will open from 23 April – 5 October 2016.

Focus: Givenchy Bag Lover

Riccardo Tisci designs for the sensual, modern, and confident woman inhabiting the concrete jungle in her stilettos. The Givenchy woman needs, then, bags to conquer the world with. Tisci has made a hugely profitable name for the house of Givenchy since his installment in 2005. Refracted through the prism of one of Paris’ grand names of couture, the artistic direction is now unrelentingly modern and urbane.

Fittingly, the stable of bags reflects these values and extends the evocation of the Givenchy woman. Strong and confident, she takes it all on and carries a killer bag. If she sounds familiar, that’s probably because you’ve seen the countless photos of celebrities caught on their days off, toting bags from Givenchy. A-listers such as Anne Hathaway, Alessandra Ambrosio and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, among others, count the brand among their favourites.



The myth of Pandora’s Box would be more believable if what she had been tempted to open was a box from Givenchy. Though structured unconventionally, this bag retains its functions with a roomy interior and a multitude of carrying options. We love this season’s denim take on the Pandora and its backpack variant — an elevation of a workwear material.



The classic nightingale was reworked in Pre-Fall 2015. In place of the large central cross and logo-ed hardware was a more reductive silhouette, with the sides buckled to form the elusive slouch of a leather bag. We think this piece is at its most beautiful when travelling – the chic, utilitarian shape of this bag gives it room to fit everything you need on a journey.


Shark Tooth

Sharks are a part of the visual story that make up the iconic canon of Tisci’s Givenchy. Printed tees, sweatshirts, and shark’s teeth accessories go hand in hand with the Shark Tooth bag. It features a sharp and incisive silhouette, given an edge of the prevailing punk mood with this season’s stark chain detailing.



The Antigona’s popularity is the kind that inspires dozens of high street versions of it, some blatant, some slightly less so. The design is enduring because of its functional size and muted aesthetics, and lends itself to a host of styling options. This season’s brogue detailing dials up the monochromatic glamour by introducing classic leather shoe elements into the bag’s design.

Story Credits

Text by Gordon Ng

This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

Tour d’Argent’s Duck-Press Fetches $45,000

What in the world is a duck press? We will get to that of course but first, a bit of backstory… Overlooking the river Seine, the Tour d’Argent restaurant has seen many changes over the years. Thanks to this history, the Michelin-starred restaurant had acquired a large number of dishes, furniture, rare spirits and liquors. As part of its efforts to modernize the restaurant and its logo, Tour d’Argent auctioned off over 3,000 items from its private collection. One item that garnered much attention during the auction by Artcurial, was the silver plated duck-press.

Crafted in the 19th century by Christofle, the duck press also bears the Left Bank restaurant’s emblem and was expected to fetch EU4,000 to EU6,000. It was sold however, for EU40,000 ($45,000) — nearly 10 times its estimate. Used to squeeze the blood and bone marrow from ducks, the device is said to have served an impressive 1.15 million dishes of “Canard a la Presse” since 1890. Today, this might well be the most expensive duck press in the world, although statistics on these devices are hard to come by.

Other notable items that were auctioned include the Grande Fine Clos du Griffier Cognac. Estimated to be one of the oldest bottles in the selection that was sold, it si believed to date back to 1788 and was expected to fetch EU20,000 to EU21,000 ($22,00-$23,000).

“The Tour d’Argent is continuingly evolving and the renovations we have undertaken have led to us accumulating a large amount of porcelain, crystal, glass and silverware and also furniture which no longer has a relevant place today” said André Terrail, owner of Tour d’Argent. He added that “Just like our new visual identity, we are establishing the Tour d’Argent in the present, whilst continuing on from the past.”

Huang Yong Ping Goes Big at Monumenta 2016

As the name suggest, Monumenta is indeed monumental. As the 2016 event lumbers into view, the exhibition space in the Grand Palais transforms into a spectacle to behold. The incredibly vast space (think 13,500m² of floor space and 45m of vertical space) provides artists endless possibilities and opportunities to showcase their works.

Huang Yong Ping_Monumenta

This year, the biennale exhibition belongs to Huang Yong Ping, a radical avant-garde artist who made his name in China in the ‘80s. Though hardly an easy task, the China-born French artist should find it a cinch as his works are often on a grand scale. His 130-meter long aluminum “Serpent d’océan” installed in the estuary where the Loire River meets the Atlantic in Western France or “Wu Zei,” a giant octopus he installed in the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco are anything but subtle.

Titled “Empires”, Huang aimed to create a “symbolic landscape” of today’s globalized economy – eight islands overhung by a structure the shadow of which will mix with that of the metal framing of the Grand Palais’ vaulted glass ceiling.

Huang Yong Ping_Monumenta

Jean de Loisy, president of the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum and curator of the exhibition, says that Huang’s work will manifest “the metamorphoses of political and economic powers, the rise of new geographic regions, the decline of ancient empires and the appearance in the interim of new candidates aspiring to that power and the violence that their ambitions provoke.”

Paris Ferris Wheel Turns Pop-up Restaurant

If you are in Paris later this month and are seeking out a special treat, seek out the Ferris Wheel in Paris’ Place de la Concorde, which will turn into a pop-up restaurant for one night only May 19. Organized as part of this year’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, which as the name suggests looks for the world’s most talented up-and-coming chefs, diners can step aboard in a first for the French capital’s “Grande Roue.”

Normally, the “Grande Roue” in Paris’s Place de la Concorde is a fun way of taking in the city’s sights that’s especially popular during the winter holiday season. Now, for the first time, the city’s ferris wheel is set to become a pop-up restaurant. Around 400 lucky diners will take a seat in one of the 48 cabins for dinner sittings at 7pm and 9:30pm. We can only imagine how this might work and that very uncertainty means the experience could be a very special one indeed.

The pop-up will be serving dishes cooked by the French finalist in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, who will be selected at a country-wide semi-final May 9. Cabin companions will be served an amuse-bouche, followed by a starter, the chef’s signature dish and a dessert. The finalist will be accompanied in the kitchen by the triple Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno. The chef, based at the Pavillon Ledoyen restaurant in Paris, is one of the jury members who will help select the French finalist, before coaching them for the final. The pair of chefs will be stepping into a pop-up kitchen installed at the foot of the wheel especially for the occasion.

Anyone hoping to enjoy this unique culinary experience, taking diners over 70 meters above ground, will need to book quickly. Reservations can be made online at www.finedininglovers.fr (in French) and places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Note that bookings must be made for two people.

The final of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition will be held October 15 in Milan, Italy.

Tour Auto Optic 2000: Classic Cars, Zenith Watches

What better way to spend a day than racing through the most beautiful regions of France in a refined ride? It was this mindset that got the Tour Auto Optic 2000 race off the blocks; the historic car race is in its 25th iteration this year and ran from April 18 to 23. The 240 contestants tested their mettle on closed roads, with the full circuit running from Paris to Cannes. For this year, though, the even more historic luxury watch brand Zenith chose to step up as the race’s official timepiece, releasing a limited series of the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition as a tribute to the stately competition.


Limited to just 500 pieces, the El Primero Tour Auto runs at a speed of 36,000 vibrations per hour with impeccable precision due to the legendary El Primero movement. The 5Hz escapement is a key feature of the El Primero since its debut in 1969. The current design features a sporty look, with a long three-colored (the old red, white and blue) stripe down the dial and strap, very fitting for the renowned race.

Aldo Magada, Michel Rostang, Jean-Paul Lacombe, and Michel Chabran

Aldo Magada, Michel Rostang, Jean-Paul Lacombe, and Michel Chabran

Aldo Magada, CEO & President of Zenith, commented: “We serve as official timekeeper for Tour Auto and Peter Auto events around Europe. We share a passion for fine mechanisms, timeless aesthetics as well as history. And most of all, a passion for competition, great escapes and travel. We want to be far more than a sponsor and instead a real partner.”

tourauto (13)

The race itself ended in a final night-time stage, specially organized for the 25th anniversary of the event, with a win by the Parisian driving team of Jean-Pierre Lajournade and Christophe Bouchet, in their trusty E-type Jaguar. Overall, the participants unanimously voted it a success due to the quality of the itinerary, the choices and standards of the meals, and the overall organization.



In the meantime, Zenith welcomed Hong Kong actor Francis Ng, and Michelin starred chefs –Michel Rostang, Michel Chabran and Jean-Paul Lacombe – as well as the firm’s other ambassadors and friends for the grand opening of the race. A watchmaking ‘class’ focused on the El Primero Tour Auto limited edition was also held.

Francis Ng

Francis Ng

With the end of a fantastic event, you can bet that the participants are already looking forward to next year’s run. Who knows how much better that will be? We can’t wait to find out.

Focus: Napoleon III House, La Muette, Paris

A house with a garden near rue de Passy, this 3,230sf family house is in pristine condition and arranged over three floors. Greff International lists the former owner as Napoleon III so the pedigree is assured! There is an elegant central staircase, hallway, living room and a rotunda dining room with direct access to a 1,507sf garden. On the top two floors, there are four bedrooms, two bathrooms and walk-in wardrobe. In the basement, there is also a 538sf bedroom with shower. This generously proportioned property is south-facing and has ample space for parking. La-Muette-Paris-Palace-2

Price: €3.6 million ($4.07 million)


Greff International
Esplanade des Invalides
36, rue Fabert
F-75007 PARIS

Story Credits

This story was first published in Palace.


Francois Pinault Houses Collection in New Museum

The billionaire luxury goods tycoon Francois Pinault, who helms luxury group Kering and the auction house Christie’s, has been in the art world for some time now – he boasts one of the biggest private art collections in the world (valued at around $1.4 billion). Now, Pinault has finally found a place to house his collection — which contains the work of artists ranging from Mark Rothko to Damien Hirst — and will open it to the public for viewing. The Bourse de Commerce is a building that’s also at the intersection of Art and Business. The beautiful building’s interior was decorated by a number of painters, and it’s also been the site of a few fashion shows. Pinault – also famous for being the husband of Salma Hayek – has been unable to find a suitable home for the collection in Paris for decades, and, before, only showed them at private museums in Venice.

Francois Pinault

Francois Pinault

The city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo, who negotiated the deal, described the museum as “an immense gift to the heart of Paris”. “I am delighted, it’s a big plus for the city,” Hidalgo told AFP, pointing out that the new museum is also close to the Pompidou Centre, Europe’s biggest contemporary art collection. Another businessman who helped put Paris on the modern art map was France’s richest man, and Pinault’s business rival, Bernard Arnault – who opened his own Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Foundation for his art collection last year.

The Bourse de Commerce is part of a one-billion-euro urban renewal project to give what Hidalgo calls a “new beating heart” to the city’s Les Halles district. As a part of the deal, Pinault and his family will be given a 50-year lease on the building, which they must also renovate (the cost or rent was not revealed). This must be a boon for Pinault, who tried to build up a museum at the site of an old Renault car factory on the Ile Seguin in the middle of the Seine west of Paris, but gave up in despair in 2005 over planning delays. The gallery will open in 2018, sources close to the collector told AFP.

“It is great to have our captains of industry helping to fly our colors. With this and the FIAC art fair, Paris is regaining its place in contemporary art” Hidalgo noted. The collection will definitely be of great value to the Parisian public, and help foster the cultural consciousness of the city overall.

Champs-Elysees Goes Car-Free Monthly

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, one of Paris’ busiest boulevards and home to the Arc de Triomphe, will soon be off-limits to cars once a month in an effort to eradicate worsening smog conditions. If you aim to cruise in style in your supercar or block traffic with your Rolls-Royce or Bentley take note of the following dates.

Cars will be not be allowed on the busy two kilometer-long (1.2-mile) street on the first Sunday of every month, coinciding with the day Parisian museums are free to public. The eco-friendly scheme will kickstart on 8 May 2016 instead of 1 May, a public holiday, when many of the council workers needed to run the scheme will be off work.

Mayor Anne Hildalgo, a socialist who’s been actively fighting the smog, will also include nine new routes to be pedestrianised every Sunday and public holiday. This adds to the 13 that’s already subject to traffic restrictions under the “Paris Respire” anti-pollution programme, a car-free scheme where selected roads are closed to traffic on the above mentioned days between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

According to the World Health Organisation, fine-particle pollution claims an alarming 42,000 lives prematurely in France every year.

Interview: Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

You might be familiar with the name Nobu if you have been paying attention to the international buzz over chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, amongst many other locations worldwide and in the USA. Since his partner in the Nobu business is Robert De Niro, he also has a certain pop culture cachet. His other line of restaurants, Matsuhisa, is privately owned by the Matsuhisa family.

Chef Nobu is quick to clarify that though he has been linked to Nikkei cuisine – the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine – his cooking is distinctly ‘Nobu.’

For the 67-year-old chef, that means cooking that is firmly rooted in Japanese cuisine, with just a few touches of Peruvian influences like jalapeno peppers, cured ceviches and anticucho, traditional beef heart skewers.

He frowns on labels like fusion and Nikkei, and prefers to describe his cuisine by his name, food that is “Nobu Matsuhisa.”

While in Paris to oversee his newest restaurant, Matsuhisa Paris at Le Royal Monceau hotel this week, the chef spoke about his second attempt at opening a restaurant in the French capital, sushi etiquette and the person he’d most want to cook for.

Nobu Matsuhisa's signature black cod with miso at Le Royal Monceau Paris

Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature black cod with miso at Le Royal Monceau Paris

What is ‘Nobu’ cuisine?

I started training in Tokyo when I was 18 years old and started cooking Japanese food. Then I moved to Peru and saw a lot of different ingredients like lemons, garlic, cilantro, onions so I started making Japanese dishes with Peruvian ingredients. But my base cooking is Japanese. This is what I call Nobu-style food.

This isn’t the first time you opened a restaurant in Paris. In 2001, you opened Nobu. What’s different this time?

When I opened Nobu Paris in 2001 I was a bit disappointed. The restaurant wasn’t perfect. So we closed it after a year and a half. Now, 15 years later my partners and I have opened restaurants in Mykonos, St. Moritz, Athens, Munich… so we have teams in Europe. Before we opened in Paris this time, we also did pop-up promotions to test the grounds.

You’ve added hotelier to your resume with two hotels and another three coming up in London, Miami and Saudi Arabia. What do you look for when you stay at a hotel?

For me, there has to be a nice gym. I like the Royal Monceau for their swimming pool. I swam today and yesterday. I like to exercise so a gym is very important. Of course, hospitality and good service is important. But sometimes too much service is very uncomfortable too. I don’t like overly complicated hotels. I like simple.

What are some of the mistakes you see diners make when they eat sushi at your restaurants?

In Japan, we never use too much soy sauce. When you eat sushi in Japan, never mix wasabi with soy sauce because the sushi already has wasabi between the fish and the rice. Also the sushi chef will often brush soy sauce on the fish. And in Japan you eat it in one bite. This is the real way. In America and Europe they mix wasabi with lots of soy sauce. Also, in Japanese culture, Japanese people never put soy sauce on their steamed rice. In the beginning when I saw this I was shocked. But now I laugh.

If you could cook for one person that you haven’t cooked for yet, who would it be?

If my father were still alive I would like to cook for him. I’ve made sushi for my mother but my father passed away when I was a child. If my father were here now I would like to prepare sushi for him.

Matsuhisa Paris at Le Royal Monceau opened last month. The chef’s restaurant empire includes more than 30 restaurants in 28 cities around the world.

Louis Vuitton Exhibition to Open in Japan

From Paris and straight to Tokyo, Louis Vuitton brings its highly successful exhibition this spring. Titled Volez, Voguez, Voyagez the exhibit spent its three-month run in Paris this past winter drawing in 200,000 visitors. We covered that run right here.

The exhibition tracks the 160-year history of a brand that originated from one man’s goal of improving the travel trunk. From Nicolas Ghesquière to the founders themselves, it will showcase an in depth map of how the brand reached its success today. Now an international empire of luxury goods, Louis Vuitton has a strong connection to Japan.

Many have even compared the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram to the Japanese cherry blossom. The exhibit will have a special room dedicated to Japan. The exhibition will open in the Kioicho neighbourhood of Tokyo, home of Vuitton’s first store in Japan.

The Volez, Vogues, Voyagez exhibition will run from April 23 in Tokyo and will be open to the public.

Guggenheim Spain Features Modern Art Masters

The reality-bending mindscapes of the major modern art movements will be exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain – in an exhibit titled “Windows on the City: The School of Paris 1900-1945”. This exhibit will span through all the major names such as Picasso, Kandinsky, Delaunay, Duchamp, and Mondrian, with a total of more than 50 masterpieces dating from early 20th Century to the end of the Second World War. The exhibit will take place from now to October 23, 2016

Divided into three spaces, the exhibit touches on the different interpretations of Cubism, the worlds of Surrealism, and the even more abstract and fragmented geometries of later Modern Art. Some of the works featured are as follows:


Robert Delaunay’s “Red Eiffel Tower” forms a painted interpretation of the Eiffel Tower. Using cubistic techniques, Delaunay captures the futuristic ambition that was prevalent at the time of the tower’s construction with its soaring nature actively fracturing the state of things around it.


As a part of the Surrealist space, Yves Tanguy’s “There, Motion Has Not Ceased” depicts several of the standard staples of the movement. Blobby shapes bearing only the faintest resemblance to human forms or things in nature are strewn across an abstract landscape. All this ties in with the primary concepts of psychoanalysis, which involved exploring the unconscious for inspiration. Members of the movement would make use of techniques like automatic writing and improvisation to spur on theI imagination.


Picasso’s “Mandolin and Guitar” is another masterpiece by the prolific artist. The musical instruments as mentioned in the title are bent out of their form into abstract colors and flat shapes (and, maybe, a hidden portrait), creating a playful and shifting reality akin to the act of listening to music itself.

You can check out more information, and other works to be displayed, on the museum’s site.

Cooling Off: Ritz Paris Plans Reopening

The Ritz Paris has an important place in history, playing host to such names as Princess Diana and Coco Chanel, and also appearing in the books of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Yet, a harsh blow to the establishment occurred with a blaze breaking out on January 19, ravaging the roof and upper floor. This occurred in the midst of its renovation that was started in August 2012, and initial plans to reopen March 14 went up in smoke. Now the new date for a reopening has been set at June 5.

The establishment is owned by billionaire Mohammed Al-Fayed, and the renovations were aimed at securing the “Palace” status given to the cream-of-the-crop hotels in France, like Le Bristol or the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Of course, these hotels have some of their claims to fame in their top quality thousands-a-night prestigious suites, like Le Bristol’s Penthouse Suite and the George V’s Presidential Suite.

The Ritz Paris’s own most prestigious suite, the 220 square meter Imperial Suite, starts at $20,457 a night. It looks out into the Place Vendôme with two bedrooms and a lounge. More accessible options are $1,250 a night for a 35 square meter room with a view of rue Cambon (home to Chanel), or $3,182 a night for a 90 square meter Deluxe Suite with a lounge area and a garden view. There are 71 rooms and 71 suites total. Besides the suites, there will be a new health club and spa, along with fitness facilities. The restaurant will be run by Michelin chef Nicolas Sale, along with pastry chef François Perret, and head sommelier Estelle Touzet.

Online bookings are now open and can be made directly at booking.ritzparis.com

Anatomy of a Collection Exhibition in Paris

A remarkable range of garments and accessories charting the history of fashion will be on display at the Palais Galliera in Paris, France. The Anatomy of a Collection exhibition that tells the story of pieces through the people who wore them, features items such as the Dauphin’s suit, Napoleon’s waistcoat, Elsa Schiaparelli’s overcoat and Marie-Antoinette’s corset.

There are certain pieces that are likely to attract the attention of visitors. For instance, a Givenchy dress worn by the Hollywood screen icon Audrey Hepburn, an ensemble worn by Louis XVII and a dress worn by Wallis Simpson, the infamous Duchess of Windsor.

“Anatomy of a Collection is a selection of garments with historical associations that reflects the essence of the collection and the complex task of attribution demanded by each of these heritage pieces. An invitation to discover all the rich variety of the Museum’s holdings,” explains the Palais Galliera.

“Anatomy of a Collection” runs May 14 to October 23, 2016, at Palais Galliera, Paris, France.

Van Cleef & Arpels: Art and Science of Gems

On April 23, Van Cleef & Arpels will be bringing some of its best creations to the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. Titled Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems, the exhibition will bring guests on a journey of more than 400 creations from the jeweler and 250 minerals from the French National Museum of Natural History collection.

This is actually the largest ever heritage exhibition organized by the Parisian jeweler; it documents more than a century of the firm’s history. With pieces from the Maison’s archive collection, and on loan from private collectors from around the world, it blends art, craft, history and geoscience with the characteristics associated with the jeweler’s rich heritage.Van-Cleef-Flying-Bird-Pendant

The exhibition will follow seven themes: couture, abstractions, influences, precious objects, nature, ballerinas and fairies as well as icons. One of the most striking pieces that will be on display is the Bird and Clip pendant that was once owned by Polish opera singer Ganna Walska. Set in gold and featuring emeralds, sapphire along with yellow and white diamonds, the flying bird is seen carrying a detachable briolette-cut yellow diamond measuring 96.62 carats. Check out our follow-up story, after viewing the exhibition.

For more information about the Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems Exhibition click here.

Energies Unleashed: Singapore Art Exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus: François Champsaur, Designer

Just a few steps from the Champs-Elysées and Arc de Triomphe in Paris’ golden triangle lies the Hôtel Vernet, a post-Haussmann building that the Paris-based designer François Champsaur recently transformed into a contemporary haven.

Living room in an apartment warehouse conversion, La Joliette, Marseille

Living room in an apartment warehouse conversion, La Joliette, Marseille

Champsaur began by restoring the original detailing of the 100-year old property: the glass and iron roof in the restaurant originally designed by Gustav Eiffel, the checkerboard marble floor and the sweeping spiral staircase. He then enlisted local artists and artisans to make custom furniture, textures and materials. These are found throughout the hotel alongside one-off decorative details and unexpected color juxtapositions.

The entry area, now framed by shimmering glass panels hand brushed with blanc de Meudon leads to an airy lobby area where a large abstract carpet by artist Jean Michel Alberola unfolds between white columns and arches. The lounge area features hand painted frescoes, also by Alberola. Geometric forms, mostly black or white, float against a pale gold background echoing the room’s brass and copper tones. To counter­balance the room’s original marble and brass mantelpiece, Champsaur placed a pleated copper screen at the opposite end of the room and in front of the screen he designed a rippling marble bar that recalls the work of sculptor Jean Arp.

Vernet Hotel, Paris

Vernet Hotel, Paris

Artistic accents are characteristic of Champsaur’s work. The Paris-based designer eschews mass-produced furniture and products and tries to incorporate the craft of artisans wherever possible. “Paris is about the skills of our individual craftspeople,” he says. “The furniture-makers, the woodworkers, and the people who work with fabrics. In my small way, I try to stimulate their creativity and to revitalize their valuable expertise.”

Crafted Lamp by Champsaur

Crafted Lamp by Champsaur

Born in Marseille, François Champsaur studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris before joining the Ecole nationale des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD). After working with various architects and interior designer studios he started his own firm in 1996 focusing on structural design, furniture and interiors.  He has since transformed luxury hotels such as The Royal Evian and the Vernet Hôtel in Paris, private homes throughout France, and furniture lines in collaboration with brands such as Pouenat Ferronnier and HC28.

Crafted Furniture by Champsaur

Crafted Furniture by Champsaur

Champsaur’s lamps and furniture pieces for Pouenat Edition are mostly made of lacquered and brushed metals that oscillate between folding, fluid and jagged lines, while his product lines for Beijing-based HC28 feature lacquering, interlacing and geometrical forms inspired by traditional Chinese furnishings. “I like to combine the best of what I know from French and Chinese craftsmanship,” he says.

Custom designed green bench in leather and lacquer - Trocadero, Paris.

Custom designed green bench in leather and lacquer – Trocadero, Paris.

A love of craftsmanship also informs Champsaur’s residential interiors. Recently, for the renovation of a residence in Paris’ Trocadéro neighborhood, Champsaur was tasked with a complete overhaul of a 5,382 sq. ft. apartment that had not been renovated in 40 years. The designer balanced the client’s desire for a dramatic new look with respect for the original architecture by first removing false ceilings and walls. “I wanted to strip things back to basics by focusing on strong details which have more in common with architecture than interior design,” Champsaur says.

Much like a sculptor, Champsaur peeled back to reveal the essence of the space. Narrow corridors, thick walls, heavy doors and dark corners were replaced by light-weight walls and partitions, open sight-lines and minimal color. Champsaur replaced the parquet with long pine boards and concealed the wardrobes and televisions behind wall panels he finished in an ombré color effect.

He also adapted the apartment layout to suit contemporary lifestyles. “The kitchen has become a living room in keeping with the current trend of cooking, socializing and eating in a large open plan space; the heart of the home,” he explains. In the dining area a custom green bench in leather and lacquer surrounds a bespoke marble dining table, both designed by Champsaur, while black dining chars by Konstantin Grcic add a sculptural touch. The marble and brass accents throughout give the residence a luxurious feeling, but one that is offset by careful attention to light and proportion.

Kitchen in apartment warehouse conversion. La Joliete, Marseile.

Kitchen in apartment warehouse conversion. La Joliete, Marseile.

The same attention is evident at a much smaller apartment Champsaur designed at a former warehouse in Marseille’s La Joliette district. Here he also focused on opening up the living spaces and bringing out the existing architectural elements. He unified the space by using the same flooring throughout, and in the sitting room he cleared all fixtures and storage units. To counter balance the ceiling height, he selected just a few furniture pieces that are bold, but low to the ground. These include the Sonia stool, designed by Sergio Rodriguez, the Bluff coffee table by India Mahdavi, the Wiggle side chair designed by Frank Gehry and a ‘Roue De Clement’ mirror-light fixture by Pascal Michalou.

While Champsaur loves to fill his hotels and homes with art, as a designer, he is also focused on the art of living and he carefully considers the way a space functions for its inhabitants. “For both homes and hotels, I always focus on three essential elements,” he says. “The fluidity of the space, the spirit of the place and the modernity. I try to create a lifestyle, not just a style. I believe a person’s home should be as much of a haven as a hotel is.”

Q & A

Can you describe your path to design? What and who were your major influences?

I think for me it was a bit like how chefs always say they had a grandmother who inspired them. In my case, it was the different houses that I grew up in, the taste of my family in general for design, lifestyle of course and a Mediterranean kind of simplicity. Within this process there was also variety, hence why I like to have many sources of inspiration around me at all times – books, images of design and art…anything visual.

What came first: designing furniture or interior spaces?

They both came together on my first project, The Café de l’Alma in Paris. It was a fantastic experience. The owners of the restaurant didn’t want to buy any of the furniture or anything that was going into the interiors – they wanted everything to be created especially for it. So I had my work cut out for me but it was fantastic as a young designer to have such a wonderful opportunity to really put my stamp on every aspect of the project.

Did you always have a love for metals?

Yes, I love working with metal. That’s why I take so much joy in my work for Pouenat Ferronier. According to the nature of the project, I tend to prioritize natural materials. I never choose pieces made of plastic and industrial materials. I much prefer oak, birch, Tavel stone or Burgundy, marble.

You are known for designing the homes of art collectors. Do you also collect?

I personally collect art and sculptures from the 1960’s. I like this period and also the 1950’s. The 50’s for me reflect a period of savoir-faire, craftsmanship, the individual, atypical furniture.

Have your tastes and design ideals changed since you started your career?

I am sure that my work has changed over time, however not dramatically as I am not a believer in trends. Of course they exist, but I think ‘trends’ can do more harm than good, so I choose not to follow them. Thinking has been globalized and savoir-faire is disappearing.

What would you like to work on next?

A venue that will gather all of my passions; wine, food, music and the Mediterranean art of living.

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Chef Alain Ducasse Opens Paris Brasserie

With establishments in the UK, USA and Japan, along with many more in France itself, Alain Ducasse may be one of the most established Michelin-star chefs in the world. His latest venture, brings him to the revamped Les Halles area of Paris. The new brasserie named Champeaux is situated in the Les Halles shopping mall and is set to provide diners with traditional brasserie fare, but with a modern twist.

The Les Halles area has a vivid history in French culture, being the setting of a book by famous naturalist writer Emile Zola entitled “The Belly of Paris” (Le Ventre de Paris). An extensive renovation project for the Les Halles mall and transport hub was undertaken in the past six years – its latest development being the new canopy-style roof. Ducasse knows the history all too well, and pays homage to the location in his restaurant name, which was once given to the locality where Louis VI ordered the building of Les Halles.

The restaurant will serve hungry diners from 8am to midnight, or 1am on Saturday. The space seats 180, and is defined by industrial effects and furnishings, with a large electronic billboard to boot, featuring nuggets of information on the dishes of the day amongst others. Besides food, Champeaux also aims to have special cocktails, served up by the mixologist Marjolaiine Arpin.

Soufflés will be the restaurant’s signature dish, along with sweet and savory options of traditional brasserie fare such as deviled eggs, croque-monsieur hot cheese and ham sandwiches, French onion soup cooked without the gratin top, a lighter take on pâté en croute, and spatchcock-style lemon chicken. Dishes will be accompanied with ingredients dear to Ducasse, such as spelt, spices and condiments. Starters and desserts are priced from €6 (approx. $6.85), with dishes of the day at €22 (approx. $25) and à la carte options from around €50 (approx. $57).

With Champeaux, Ducasse has created a space to satisfy the appetite of the neighborhood’s young clientele, as well as business people and tourists. You can find out more about the brasserie at Ducasse’s website.

Modernism Reframed: Singapore Art Exhibition

  • As part of the National Gallery Singapore’s first international exhibition, works by master artists such as Henri Matisse will be on display. The collaboration, title Reframing Modernism, by the gallery and Centre Pompidou, Paris is one of the many events organized for the Viola! French Festival Singapore. More than 200 works from 40 different artists hailing from Singapore, Southeast Asia and Europe will call the former Singapore Supreme Court home until July 17.

For more information on the Reframing Modernism exhibition, visit L’Officiel Singapore.

Romantic Travel: 3 Cities Of Love

As far we are concerned, it is always a good time for romance. While the staple cities of love such as Paris still hold their allure, it would be nice to venture out to fins other scenic cities that provide just as much to offer — and a whole lot of love of course.


With its white landscapes and freezing cold weather, Iceland may not seem like your typical romantic getaway. (It is also not a city but going to Iceland and just seeing Reykjavik is like going to Paris and just visiting Charles de Gaulle – Eds). But if there is one thing that sums up why I thoroughly believe it is, it’s being able to share the raw power of nature with your other half. You can expect the sort of experience that sets your pulse racing, that makes you want to grab the hand of your partner as you witness the most majestic sights your eyes have ever seen.Iceland-Cities-of-Love-Lofficiel-3

Start off in Reykjavik, the largest city in Iceland, filled with quaint shops and some of the finest Scandinavian restaurants. The capital is also home to Hallgrimskirkja, a ridiculously beautiful Lutheran church and the largest in Iceland. The building – known for its expressionist architecture and stunning rooftop view of the city – will blow you away with its sheer magnificence. Grillmarkadurinn, or The Grill Market, is the place to head to for the best farm-to-table cooking, made with produce from Iceland’s best exotic meat farmers – fancy some reindeer or puffin?Iceland-Cities-of-Love-Lofficiel-2

Rent a car and drive through Iceland’s infamous Golden Circle, a route that passes Thingvellir National Park and the majestic waterfall Gullfoss, or tour on horseback through the mountains, past glacier lagoons, black sand beaches and Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most popular geothermal spa. Don’t forget to make time for one of Earth’s most phantasmagorical natural phenomena, the Northern Lights – the greatest and perhaps most romantic light show in the world.


Santorini is, undoubtedly, one of the best places in the world to watch the spectacle of the sun sinking into the sea – one of the main reasons why it’s the holiday destination for couples. With its old-world architecture and steep cliffs dotted with restaurants and hotels overlooking the Aegean Sea, it is the ultimate vacation spot for romance.Santorini-Cities-of-love-Lofficiel

Stay in Oia, a small town just by the sea. Hordes of tourists are to be expected, but there’s a certain excitement in squeezing through the crowds to get to the delicious feta-topped Greek salads, grilled meats and fish. Kastro Restaurant, an over-two-decade-old establishment next to the ruins of the Byzantine Oia Castle is a must-visit for its traditional Greek favorites, served with a side of that infamous Santorini sunset.Santorini-Cities-of-love-Lofficiel-3

Spend afternoons exploring archeological sites on foot, by boat or by doing both. Take a trek through the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palia Kameni, home to natural hot springs. Spend a few hours in lesser-known Pyrgos, the highest point of Santorini where a charming, rustic village sits. Here, you’ll find ruins of Kasteli Castle, as well as neo-classical mansions, vineyards and ancient narrow paths leading up to hills and Catholic churches. Alternatively, you could simply pick any one of Santorini’s black beaches – to do absolutely nothing except sip cocktails and take in the view.


Colorful architecture, magical canals, fairy tale castles, charming parks and cobbled streets that beg hand-in-hand strolls – just some of the things that make up Copenhagen, a city built for lovers. Perhaps it’s also to do with the fact that it was once home to author Hans Christian Andersen and the birthplace of some of the most romantic literary masterpieces. There’s also the Danish culture of “hygge”, an emotion and expression that translates closely to “coziness”. A candlelight dinner with a lover is “hygge”. Snuggling together under a blanket is “hygge”. Drinking wine while cruising on a boat through Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s famous 17th Century canal and entertainment district, is “hygge”. Danes simply live and breathe “hygge” – it’s a city with its own heartbeat.Copenhagen-Cities-of-love-lofficiel-2

When you’re done soaking in the ambience, drop by Torvehallerne, a vibrant farmer’s market with over 60 stalls selling the freshest and most sustainable produce. Get a dose of “hygge” at Atelier September, one of the homiest places for brunch in Copenhagen (I recommend the avocado on rye, pumpkin soup and yoghurt with granola). Travel back in time with your partner at Tivoli Gardens, the oldest amusement park in the world, or imagine yourselves as royals for a day at the Rosenborg Castle or Christiansborg Palace. Engage in a rom-com cliché and rent a swan boat on Peblinge Dossering Lake. Arty couples will love The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, an architectural haven just 25 miles north of Copenhagen that boasts over 35,000 modern works of art and panoramic views of neighboring Sweden.Copenhagen-Cities-of-love-lofficiel-3

Story Credits

Text by Melody Tan

This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.