Tag Archives: Paris

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)

Contact:

Greff International
Esplanade des Invalides
36, rue Fabert
F-75007 PARIS
www.greff-international.com

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:

Guggenheim-Delaunay-Red-Eiffel-Tower

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.

Guggenheim-Tanguy-There-Motion-Ceased

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.

Guggenheim-Picasso-Mandolin-And-Guitar

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.

IcelandIceland-Cities-of-Love-Lofficiel

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.

SantoriniSantorini-Cities-of-love-Lofficiel-2

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.

CopenhagenCopenhagen-Cities-of-love-lofficiel

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.

Ironic Work: Paul Klee Exhibition Paris

A seven-section exhibition of the German painter Paul Klee is running in Paris’ Pompidou Center until August 1. The exhibition, entitled “Paul Klee. Irony at Work” will have a total of 230 works by the painter up on display. The main theme of the whole exhibition is the painter’s use of irony in coming up with his numerous abstractions.

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Klee was born in 1879 and became an artist just in time to catch the Modernizing wave of the 19th to the 20th century. He was involved with other experimental painters such as Wassily Kandinsky and the art group – The Blue Rider. He came up with his own eclectic artistic method derived from influences such as ancient culture, music, children drawings and Bauhaus architecture. Each section of the exhibit aims to illuminate these sources of Klee’s playful creativity.

It will cover the artist’s early years, his discovery of Cubism, as well as his period after the Bauhaus influence, leading to him adding grids and squares to his work. There will also be a section on the painter’s relationship with Picasso. The seventh and last section will concentrate on the painter’s last years when he was in ill health and the Nazis came to power, putting an end to his career in his native land.

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Looking through Klee’s work, one gets a sense of the artist completely enraptured by the spirit of youth, even well into his later years. The painter’s long lasting influence carried over into later experimentalists like Duchamp. He shall not be forgotten soon.

For more information on the exhibition, you can head over here.

Images courtesy of Zentrum Paul Klee

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Focus: Art Collective TeamLab

TeamLab is an artist collaborative that brings together creative professionals from disparate disciplines to realise visionary art projects. Founded in 2001 by Toshiyuki Inoko, the team has grown to more than 400 people, including architects, artists, composers, computer graphics animators, editors, engineers, graphic designers, mathematicians and programers.

A multi-tasking outfit, TeamLab operates out of its Tokyo-based office. It offers creative solutions and innovative ideas through products such as interactive software and mobile applications, and of course, its artworks. Calling themselves ultra-technologists, the members contribute their unique expertise to create signature cross-disciplinary artworks that blur and push the boundaries between art and technology.

TeamLab had its first exhibition in 2011 at Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Taipei. Since then, interest in its artworks has grown steadily. TeamLab has exhibited in other parts of the world, such as at the Singapore Biennale 2013, at Pace Gallery in New York in 2014, and in Europe at events such as Expo Milan 2015 and Art Paris Art Fair 2015. Earlier his year, TeamLab was also shortlisted for the ‘Best Emerging Artist Using Digital and Video’ award at the Prudential Eye Awards, and exhibited new works at START Art Fair 2015, presented by Prudential and held at Saatchi Gallery in London.

Interactive Digital Art

Installation view of Harmony and Diversity for the Japan Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

Installation view of Harmony and Diversity for the Japan Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

TeamLab creates digital art. This is different from video art, which runs from beginning to end in a finite pre-choreographed sequence, and when exhibited, is played in loop that remains the same each time it is presented. Video art is also independent of the audience’s actions. In contrast, the digital art that TeamLab creates is neither pre-taped nor replayed. Rather, it is a computer program that is able to run endlessly, and what is seen is dependent on the audience’s interactions with the artwork.

In making its digital artworks, TeamLab is deeply influenced by what has come before in Japanese art. It has coined a special term, “ultrasubjective space”, which refers to “the logical structure of the spatial awareness of ancient Japanese”. Although Japanese paintings are often considered flat in contrast to Western paintings, TeamLab sees it as an equally logical perspective to view the world. This is an underlying principle in the making of its digital artworks.

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

 

Japanese Culture and Way of Life

In August 2014, Pace Gallery New York presented TeamLab’s first exhibition in America, aptly named ‘Ultra Subjective Space’. On display were six artworks including five large-scale digital monitor pieces, as well as the immersive digital installation ‘Crows are Chased and the Chasing crows are Destined to be Chased as Well, Division in Perspective – Light in Dark’. This was spread out across seven staggered screens, showing Yatagarasu, a three-legged crow in Japanese mythology, flying through the screens, leaving in its wake what TeamLab called “spatial calligraphy”, a digital trail of the crow’s movements.

Another work in the exhibition, ‘Cold Life’, was equally inspired by Japanese culture. Based on the Japanese and Chinese character 生, pronounced sheng, meaning life, the strokes that made up the character morphed into a tree – a fitting commentary on the magical power of nature. It was also a technological marvel in its Ultra High Definition (Ultra HD) display – four times the resolution of Full High Definition (FHD) – to show off the technical intricacies that made the work possible.

Dance!@ Art Exhibition at Miraikan

Dance!@ Art Exhibition at Miraikan

There is inherent pride in Japanese culture that comes through in all of TeamLab’s works. For the Singapore Biennale in 2013, the work ‘Peace can be Realized Even without Order’, drew from the traditional Awa Dance Festival. The artwork, exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum, featured a group of male dancers in holograms wearing printed kimonos playing instruments. When a visitor came into proximity with a dancer, he would stop moving and making music, which in turn made his neighbouring dancers do the same. Soon however, the dancing and music resumed. Peace, represented by the convivial atmosphere of merry-making, would be restored.

It is not only from cultural forms that TeamLab takes inspiration for its works, but also the Japanese way of life. For the Japan Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, which opened in May this year and will close at the end of October, two works are shown: ‘Harmony’ and ‘Diversity’. In ‘Harmony’, screens are placed horizontally at knee and waist levels for visitors to walk past, transporting them to the rice fields of Japan. This simulation allows the visitor to experience the change of seasons throughout the year. The artwork effectively communicates the delicate and harmonious relationship shared between people and nature.

Complementing the focus on Japanese food, in ‘Diversity’, images of food items from Japan are placed against a computer-generated waterfall. Visitors are able to transfer these enticing pictures, together with details about the delicacies onto their smartphones, taking away the experience of the artwork with them. It is an innovative way to share information about a distinctive part of the Japanese way of life.

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

Nature in Japanese Art

The imageries that TeamLab uses are for the most part derived from nature, including water, birds, flowers, insects and trees. TeamLab is particularly taken by the depiction of water in traditional Japanese paintings, which it remains faithful to in their digital artworks. Speaking to Art Republik, Takashi Kudo from TeamLab noted that the way water is traditionally depicted in Western art and Japanese art are vastly different. For example, while the former may hint at rain through the subjects’ use of umbrellas or the glistening of a wet rock, the latter uses curvilinear lines to represent rain itself.

In an exploration of the Japanese way of portraying water, TeamLab created ‘Universe of Water Particles’, a waterfall made of digitally created water particles and lines. It has been exhibited at different locations, including the Dojima River Biennale 2013 and Art Stage Singapore 2014. In March this year, the work was projected on the façade of the Grand Palais by invitation from Bogéna Galerie, as part of Art Paris Art Fair 2015 in March.

Installation view of What a Loving and Beautiful World at Shake Art Exhibition

Installation view of What a Loving and Beautiful World at Shake Art Exhibition

Flowers often take centre stage in TeamLab’s artworks. ‘Floating Flower Garden – Flowers and I are of the Same Root, the Garden and I are One’ is a work by TeamLab that is made up of an explosion of flowers. The colourful work features over 2300 flowers, each with an accompanying insect. As each visitor enters the space, flowers that are “disturbed” by the intrusion float up and hover in a dream-like flower halo. As the visitor moves away, the flowers float back down to occupy the space that he or she has left. If there are many visitors in the interactive kinetic installation at a time, then the flowers move to form one big dome that surrounds all of them. This will be shown at the 20th anniversary instalment of the Maison&Objet Paris fair in September.

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

TeamLab often makes variations of a work. For instance, there is ‘Flowers and People – Dark’ and ‘Flowers and People – Gold’, which show shifting fields of flowers in two colour schemes. As one walks through each installation, the flowers goes through their life cycles, budding, blooming and finally withering away. Similarly, the works ‘Ever Blossoming Life II – Dark’ and ‘Ever Blossoming Life II – Gold’ present the predictable life cycle of flowers, one with a dark background and the other with a gold background. Surrounded by responsive screens of animation, the viewer experiences a simulated Zen garden that responds to his or her movements.

Besides recreating nature in controlled environments, TeamLab has worked directly in the great outdoors where the digital worlds it creates co-exist with the natural world. In an upcoming project for 2016, ‘Resonating Trees – Forest of Tadasu at Shimogamo Shrine’, a light show will be installed among the trees that line the way to the World Heritage site of Shimogamo Shrine. With the approach of people or animals, the light that each tree is bathed in will change its colour, bringing attention to the presence of other living beings in a serene and poetic commentary on the ecosystem we all live in.

Sights and Sounds

To facilitate its immersive environment, TeamLab adds sounds to its visually captivating artworks, giving the audience a multi-sensory experience. In ‘Resonating Spheres and Night Fish’, currently on show until December at the Enoshima Aquarium in Kanagawa, Japan, spheres of light on the walls and ceilings change their colours upon touch, accompanied by a change in sound, which is unique to each colour. As this happens, the other spheres also react to the shifts, and momentarily emit the same colours and sounds as part of a chain reaction.

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

TeamLab has a long-time music collaborator, Hideaki Takahashi, who has produced soundtracks for many of its works, including ‘Resonating Spheres and Night Fish’, as well as ‘Floating Instrument’ back in 2010, ‘Flowers and People – Gold and Dark’ in 2014, and most recently ‘Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – Dark’, ‘Floating Flower Garden – Flowers and I are of the same root, the Garden and I are one’ in 2015, among others. The music serves to envelop the visitors and helps them to transition from real world to the alternate realities that TeamLab creates.

Inspiring the Next Generation

As innovators, TeamLab is far seeing not only in the works it realises, but also in the potential for their works to connect and inspire people. In particular, the artist collaborative has its sights set on grooming the younger generation through introducing them to new ways of learning, playing and eventually, in the future, working. A key idea is the importance of working in collaboration with others rather than in isolation.

Back in Japan, TeamLab’s first major solo exhibition at home opened at Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, also known as Miraikan, in November 2014. The exhibition had two sections that displayed 18 artworks from the artist collective’s oeuvre: ‘Dance! Art Exhibition’ and ‘Learn and Play! TeamLab Future Park’. The latter featured children-friendly artworks. The exhibition was a huge success, with nearly half a million visitors coming through the museum’s doors. ‘Learn and Play! TeamLab Future Park’ was a first step in the artist collaborative’s forward efforts to provide a platform for children to see the fun in being creative, an indispensable quality that TeamLab believes is not encouraged, let alone groomed in an education system they believe places emphasis on rote learning.

Nirvana at Shake Art Exhibition

Nirvana at Shake Art Exhibition

One artwork, ‘Sketch Town’, was a three-dimensional town built on the two-dimensional drawings of cars, buildings and the like from children, allowing them to see “in reality” the fruits of their imagination. Furthermore, the children’s drawings were also made into paper-craft patterns that they could then take home to turn into three-dimensional models. Another interactive installation, ‘Sketch Aquarium’, worked on the same idea, and to make it more interactive, the children could touch the sea creatures they drew to feed them or make them swim away.

Coming Up

The momentum that TeamLab has gained over the past few years shows no signs of slowing down. At START art fair from 10 to 13 September, TeamLab showcased as part of START Projects. This marked the first time the artist collaborative exhibited in London, and a book documenting its oeuvre launched at the same time.

Altogether, TeamLab showcased three works: ‘Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year’, ‘Dark, Ever Blossoming Life II – Dark’ and ‘Flutter of Butterflies beyond Borders’. As with other TeamLab works, the visitors’ movements have an impact on what happens on screen.

Flower and Corpse Glitch at Shake Art Exhibition

Flower and Corpse Glitch at Shake Art Exhibition

In addition, the artworks will interact with each other as well. The butterflies are free to flit through the other two works that are on display, creating a single immersive experience. The butterflies’ flight paths are altered by the visitor’s direct interaction with it. Kudo explains that if one touches a butterfly, for examples, it dies, as it might in real life, where human interaction with nature has the potential to nurture and equally to harm. The butterflies’ movements are also influenced by what happens with the other movement-sensitive artworks in the same space.

TeamLab is daring and ahead of its time in the execution of their artworks through ground-breaking vision and advanced methods. While TeamLab’s artworks seem avant-garde, they are also accessible. Combining the traditional with the contemporary – and at times the futuristic – TeamLab has pioneered a new model of art-making that pays homage to and preserves its country’s artistic heritage by presenting it in a way that is entertaining and exciting. More importantly, it is encouraging a new way of thinking and working for the next generation – a legacy that any artist can be proud of.

Peace can be Realized Even Without Order at Singapore Biennale 2013

Peace can be Realized Even Without Order at Singapore Biennale 2013

Story Credits

Text by Nadya Wang

This story first appeared in Art Republik.

Palace of Versailles Hotel and Restaurant

We may not be as lucky as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian to rent out the former home of Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV for a night. We can however, soon book one of 20 rooms that will form part of the hotel in the historic Palace of Versailles, soon to be the latest of Paris’ luxury hotels.

In a project spearheaded by celebrity chef Alan Ducasse and luxury hotel group LOV Hotel Collection, three buildings in the palace grounds will be converted into hotel rooms. Tenders for the project submission were announced last summer and saw the final victors beat 20 contenders for the role. It was like the Bachelorette, only you know, not really. In the southeast area of the palace grounds, the 2,800 square meters that served as the king’s Ministry of Finance and a military mess for soldiers will be transformed into a hotel and fine dining restaurant.

Said to feature décor that remains faithful to the 18th century, meaning opulent and lavish, the renovations are expected to cost upwards of €14 million euros. It is safe to assume that the end result will put even the former royal residents to shame with its granduer as well as its sanitation (Versailles was famously filthy).

Chinese Prefer Paris for Luxury Shopping

According to a recently released report, Paris will supplant Hong Kong as the destination of choice for Chinese consumers snapping up luxury goods.

Prepared by the Boston Consulting Group, the report states that more Chinese tourists are expected to take advantage of the weak euro this year and book a trip to Paris in search of monogrammed bags and red-heeled shoes.

For the report, 1,000 Chinese affluent consumers were asked to name the city where they expected to make a luxury purchase in the next 12 months.

Paris ranked first, followed by Hong Kong and Tokyo. This is unsurprising of course considering the Chinese customer revealed this pattern in 2015 but the story will get to that later on.

While proximity has traditionally made Hong Kong the first choice, this year consumers are expected to make the trek to the French capital, which is upheld as a dream shopping destination for the affluent Chinese. Great news then for swanky Paris hotels!

Nearly one in four Chinese respondents said they buy luxury goods abroad because they can find better selections.

One in three respondents said they believe it’s important to buy goods in the country where they’re made. The same ratio of respondents said the shopping experience abroad is superior to the experience at home.

The latest forecast hinges on expenditure stats from 2015: Last year, of the 100 billion euros spent on luxury goods, only 23 billion was spent domestically in boutiques in China.

Chinese consumers poured the most money at luxury boutiques in Europe (€35 billion) followed by the US (€14 billion).

According to the report, consumer spending among the Chinese rose from €70 billion in 2012 to €100 billion in 2015.

Analysts also offer insight into the demographic profile of consumers over the next four years: 81 percent will come from the upper middle-class and upper classes, while 65 percent of consumers will be Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1990).

Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot of where wealthy Chinese consumers bought their luxury goods in 2015:

Europe: €35 billion

US: €14 billion

Hong Kong: €13 billion

Russia and the Middle East: €13 billion

Macau: €2 billion

Moonlight in Heaven Perfume by Kilian

The satellite that revolves around the earth and helps lost travellers navigate their way to safety at night has inspired the perfume brand Kilian to launch a fragrance called ‘Moonlight in Heaven’. The perfume is available at the Kilian store in Paris as well as the brand’s website.

With the help of perfumer Calice Becker, who has created perfumes for the brand before, the new fragrance brings one on a journey to the forbidden paradise. With a mix of ingredients such as lemon and grapefruit as well as a hint of pink pepper, rice milk, coconut and mango, this scent combines the exotic with romance.

In traditional Kilian fashion, the bottle is an accessory in its own right. Taking to form of a black clutch, the case is decorated with an authentic pearl to remind us of the reflections of the moon. Within the clutch rests the bottle itself that holds the deep, dark blue perfume.

Kilian's Mini Carafe

Kilian’s Mini Carafe

In addition to launching this new fragrance, Kilian is also unveiling a brand new bottle inspired by a cognac carafe, made in the time-honored glass-making tradition. The bottle is decorated with geometric details and topped with a glass and metal stopper.

“Moonlight in Heaven” will be sold exclusively at the Kilian store in Paris and the brand’s website at €110 per 50ml refill, €225 per refillable 50ml bottle in a box, and €440 per 250ml mini-carafe bottle.

BMW Marks Centennial Milestone

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

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

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

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