Artist Mouna Rebeiz sits amongst bespoke piggy banks
painting of naked woman's back hunched over with red no entry sign painted over the top

Dead End, 2015 by Mouna Rebeiz

Artist Mouna Rebeiz at work on a large painting of a woman's face

Mouna Rebeiz in the studio

French-Lebanese artist Mouna Rebeiz lives and works in London and is debuting her second solo show in the capital at the Saatchi Gallery, The Trash-ic or Trash in the Face of Beauty. Showcasing 17 works of mixed media – including digital and musical installations – the exhibition explores the expression of natural tensions between beauty and its counterpart, the grotesque and ugly, in art and society today. She tells LUX why she supports the charity Innocence in Danger and how internationally renowned designers and artists came to create their own unique ceramic piggy-banks to auction at Sotheby’s in aid of the charity.

1. In your view, what’s the role of the artist in contemporary society?

In any society at any time, the role of an artist is that of a mediator between what the world would have one see and reality itself; they make you see things. Like oracles or “la pythie” they are translators — between gods/nature and humans.

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2. Do you think our perception of beauty has changed as a result of social media?

No. Art has made us change our perception of beauty, because art is a translation of our era. It’s art that makes us see beauty in a different way. That’s why we see trash in beauty; because we are in a period of time where trash is glorified.

Silhouette of woman holding bottles against an orange background by artist Mouna Rebeiz

L’insoutenable légèreté de l’Etre by Mouna Rebeiz

3. How would you define ‘trash’?

Trash is something you don’t want to live with, something you reject, something you want to discard. That’s trash. Could you live with a trashcan that smells? No. It’s not meant to be lived with. Ugliness is not necessarily trash; hideous things can be beautiful.

Read more: Why you should be checking-in to The Thief hotel, Oslo

4. How do you think your fine art training has informed your contemporary practise?

You can write an essay without knowing the alphabet. You cannot build a building without a foundation.

Artist Mouna Rebeiz sits amongst bespoke piggy banks

Mouna Rebeiz with the piggy-banks designed by the likes of Buccellati, Christian Lacroix, Emilio Pucci, Esther Freud, Etro, Giles Deacon and Swarovski

5. How did you select the artists and designers to create piggy-banks for the online auction, and why the Innocence in Danger charity?

I was lucky enough the designers chose to work with us. As for IID, I’ve been supporting them for 15 years because I believe its the hardest thing to deal with, children who are abused. And I don’t think humanity, the “civilised world” is as civilised as it proclaims to be. I think we are barbarians.

6. What’s next for you?

Big things are on the horizon — I’m going to continue in this “trashic” theme and merge beauty and trash together in a way that’s never been seen before.

‘The Trash-ic or Trash in the Face of Beauty’ runs until 7 June at The Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, London. For more information on visiting the gallery click here.

To view the silent auction of piggy-banks visit: 

Reading time: 2 min
Luxury hotel bedroom with huge double bed, gold wall and plush linens
The Tjuvholmen (thieves' island) in Oslo, Norway

The Thief boutique hotel sits on the edge of a peninsula known as Tjuvholmen

Why should I go now?

One of the fastest growing capitals in the world, Oslo is in the midst of some serious reinvention, which admittedly means you’ll encounter a few clusters of cranes but the excitement is palpable. You can now walk the entire length of the pretty harbour which is lined with cafes and shops, and it’s well worth popping into the Nobel Peace Center while you’re at it.

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The Thief is very much part of the grand redesign; perched on the edge of the small peninsula known as Tjuvholmen (translated as thieves’ island) alongside slick luxury apartments, restaurants and galleries. The hotel’s views over the Oslo fjord are staggering especially at this time of year when the sun’s shining.

Artworks hanging in five star hotel foyer

The Thief is an art-lover’s dream

What’s the lowdown?

smart restaurant with large table laid for dining and industrial style lighting

The Thief Foodbar restaurant

The hotel is made for aesthetes; there are Warhols in the restaurant, works by Sir Peter Blake in the suites and Julian Opie artworks in the lift. The art is supplied in partnership with the Astrup Fearnley Museum (room keys to the hotel also grant you unlimited access to the museum) next door and forms an eclectic in-house collection that contributes to the cool ambiance.

Read more: Geoffrey Kent reveals how luxury hotels are still getting it wrong

The action goes down at the Thief Foodbar, a chic and stylish restaurant; personified it’s a sexy deep, dark and interesting character. Breakfast is also served daily for guests here, and in the warmer months the roof terrace opens for alfresco dining with panoramic views of the harbour and live music as part of the hotel’s Unplugged series. The grilled squid with eggplant, cherry tomato and browned butter comes highly recommended.

luxury concrete spa with indoor pool and underwater lighting

The Thief Spa’s cove-like indoor pool

The Thief Spa features an indoor pool with an eye-level window so that you can gaze out onto the crisp blue sea that gently laps against the glass as speedboats hurtle past. The Turkish hammam is dreamy with its twinkling LED lights in the ceiling and the Sensory Sky showers, by German brand Dornbracht, offer waterfall or rainfall downpours depending on your preferred level of drenching.

Read more: Introducing Richemont’s new, sustainable watch brand Baume

Getting Horizontal

We were in a Deluxe Suite on the seventh floor decorated in sultry shades of blue, grey and cream with an enormous, and exceptionally comfortable double bed piled high with pillows. All of the rooms have huge floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies, but the higher up you are, the better views.

Luxury hotel bedroom with huge double bed, gold wall and plush linens

The extravagant suites are furnished with unique artworks


The hotel’s moody atmosphere makes it perfect for a romantic getaway, but if you’re there on business, it might be harder to, well, actually get any work done.

Rates: From 3000 NOK (approx. €400/ £350 / $500)

Kitty Harris



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Man picking purple grapes on a vineyard
Man picking purple grapes on a vineyard

Axel Heinz, Masseto’s Estate Director and Winemaker

The maker of Masseto hosts a private dinner for LUX readers in London, along with LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai

Masseto label on wine bottle with red wax stampAxel Heinz is not what you would expect of a Tuscan winemaker. Half German, half French, he speaks English with a perfect Received Pronunciation public school accent, the result of a UK school education. He is also thoughtful and philosophical about the great issues surrounding wine – and how he has helped turn Masseto, the jewel in the crown of the estate he runs, from being just another good Italian red, to one of the world’s greatest wines, on a par with Chateau Lafite and Petrus, within just 15 years.

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Axel was on sparkling form while hosting a dinner for friends of LUX in London this week, introducing some wonderful vintages of Masseto.

Masseto's vineyard director Axel Heinz in a wine cellar

Axel Heinz at the LUX Masseto dinner

wine bottles lined up against a burgundy wall with a decanter

A selection of wines a the LUX dinner

The 1998 showed the mark of a truly great wine, having developed into a subtle kaleidoscope of delicate flavours and layers. I asked Axel what it was that allowed some wines to develop this astonishing complexity with age – to improve, rather than just get older – and his answer was that it is a blend of magic and expertise. Of the eight vintages we tasted, the 2006 is the most celebrated, but my favourite was the 2010, with its blend of power and poetry.

Read more: Meet Manhattan’s star real estate broker and fixer Gennady Perepada

Masseto is also changing, for the better, with a new winery opening on its estate on a hillside above the Tuscan coast, next year. It’s a magically beautiful place, and the place, and its creations, were celebrated with much gratitude and joy at our private dinner in London.

Reading time: 1 min
tropical luxury island resort
Night time image of Hong Kong with lights reflecting on water

Even luxury hotels in the world’s great metropolises, like Hong Kong, sometimes get it wrong, according to Geoffrey Kent

It’s surprising how often ‘luxury’ hotels get even the simple things wrong and lose precious booking revenue because of some too-common errors, says Abercrombie & Kent Founder Geoffrey Kent

I was 16 years old before I spent the night in a hotel. The Ambassador was one of the grandest hotels in Africa. It was a mecca for travellers who liked to be as comfortable as money could make them. Mr Perfitas, the owner, ensured that his hotel did luxury in the right way. Since then, both as a travel professional and someone who loves adventure, I’ve stayed in hotels, chalets, camps – every type of lodging – on every continent and in nearly every country on Earth. I’ve experienced all the good, the bad and the ugly that hospitality can offer. Here’s how even the top luxury hotels can get the basics of hospitality so very wrong.

Charging extra for wifi

Wifi is frequently the highest rated in-room amenity. Like many businesspeople, I’m on the road for the vast majority of the year. I’m reliant upon technology to allow me to run my business whilst travelling and I don’t want to have to pay additional fees for wifi in hotels. Some hotel brands have even been fined for blocking personal connectivity devices so that travellers are forced to fork out if they want access to the network.

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Interestingly, hotels at the lower end of the market have always gotten wifi right, guessing that to win business travellers on tight budgets, they’d have to offer complimentary connectivity and it wasn’t unheard of for hotels within the same brand to have differing policies on wifi charges. Thankfully higher-end properties have spent the last few years getting with the programme, and free wifi is becoming de rigueur.

In 2014, the president and CEO of Loews Hotels and Resorts, Paul Whetsell, stated that he didn’t think it was “sustainable to keep charging” for wifi, scrapping the $14.99-20 a day charge his properties had been asking guests to pay.

Hidden fees

Hotels shouldn’t be charging for all the extras: parking fee, resort fee, gym fee, early check-in, late check-out, an energy surcharge, luggage holding, etc., etc. And please don’t get me started on ludicrously expensive buffet breakfasts. The mark-up on granola is enough to suppress even the heartiest appetite.

Complicated in-room lighting systems

In-room lighting systems must be wonderful fun for those with engineering degrees I’m sure, but for the rest of us attempting to find the switch to turn off that one light which defies all efforts to make it go dark is infuriating.

Hotels should also make the lighting smarter to guests’ needs. If feet hit the floor in the middle of the night, chances are someone needs to use the facilities, the lights should illuminate the way subtly without waking all occupants.

Read more: Why you should check into La Réserve hotel, Geneva this spring

Unreliable showers

Over the years, hotel showers have changed for the better. Sea-views, desert-views, glass feature walls, multiple heads, custom-built benches, built-in sound systems, I love that hotel showers now feature tech-savvy touches and that there isn’t a clingy plastic curtain in sight. However, no one wants to stand there alternately freezing and boiling, under a trickle or tidal wave, while they attempt to work out the pressure and heating settings.

tropical luxury island resort

A private island resort is less magical with an intrusive butler, according to Geoffrey Kent

Lack of power sockets

There should be easy to access outlets so that guests can charge devices on the bedside table and don’t have to crawl under any furnishings to find a plug. Or, even better, hotels should consider furniture with in-built charging facilities. After all, even Ikea stocks products that contain integrated wireless charging.

Read more: Richemont launches debut watch brand, and it’s sustainable

Intrusive service

Butlers should appear as if by magic to grant my wish for a cold beverage or a hot snack. Having a butler should make a stay feel flawless, not make guests uncomfortable.

Badly stocked (and expensive) mini bars

Mini bars should be stocked with a variety of healthy snacks and guests shouldn’t be charged to restock it (another hidden fee). Many forward-thinking resorts are now making the mini bar contents bespoke, and complimentary – in my view that’s the way forward for luxury.

However, not all properties forget the basic rules of hospitality. Hotels that I believe are exceptionally good include The Peninsula Hotels in Paris and Hong Kong, the Mandarin Oriental New York, and Il Sereno, a new property on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como.

All offer complimentary wireless internet access as standard. The Mandarin Oriental even advertises its free wifi on its Google search page title. A stay at one of these hotels exemplifies how hotels get luxury right, seamlessly.

Read more of Geoffrey Kent’s exclusive columns for LUX here

Reading time: 4 min
Artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar working in his studio on large scale paintings

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar in the studio

French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar‘s latest exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery is refreshingly uncontroversial. And that’s the point. Aptly titled Oneness Wholeness, the show is a response to what Behnam-Bakhtiar sees as an unhealthy obsession with materialistic wealth and ego in contemporary society. As such his artwork functions as a kind of cathartic release, taking the form of calming, colourful, mixed-media expanses, that draw inspiration from Persian mythology with curious textures, figures and reflections.

white open plan gallery space with large colourful canvases on the walls

Gallery view of ‘Oneness Wholeness’ at the Saatchi Gallery

large scale mixed media painting of abstract cityscape

Reflection of The Damned 2017, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

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There’s a distinct movement visible in the paintings that not only reveals the artist’s process, but also a kind of gentle fluidity, a lapping almost (not dissimilar to Monet). Whilst the titles are mystical sounding, pointing towards Behnam-Bakhtiar’s musings around existentialism, nature and harmony: Guardians Of Life, The Pursuit Of Light, and Me and Her. 

Read more: Meet Mister Manhattan, Gennady Perepada, real estate broker and fixer

Two large scale colourful paintings by Sassan Benham-Bakhtiar hanging on gallery wall

But at the same time, these are not works of mere whimsy, look closely and there are shades of darkness, nostalgia, raw emotion.

Millie Walton

‘Oneness Wholeness’ by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and curated by Nina Moaddel runs until 5 June 2018 at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea.  For more information on the exhibition visit learn more about the artist visit


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collage image of watches using different sustainable strap materials
collage image of watches using different sustainable strap materials

Richemont’s debut watch brand Baume aims for total sustainability

Uber luxury goods holding company Richemont owns some of the world’s biggest brands in the watch and jewellery industries including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, IWC Schaffhausen, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin. Now the company has created their own luxury watch brand with the aim of total sustainability. Introducing Baume.
luxury timepiece in dark grey with silver dial and black strap

The Iconic Series

Baume is targeting a truly modern mindset. The brand’s luxury timepieces are not only fully customisable, but created through sustainable processes, using a online configurator with over 2000 variations to provide consumer choice and reduce waste. It might sound like a clever marketing ploy, but to demonstrate full commitment, the brand has partnered with Waste Free Oceans to create watches and parts from recycled plastics, with the view to collaborate with similar organisations in the future.

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“We use no animal-based or precious materials and unused components are recycled or re-used. Our interchangeable watchstraps are made from natural, up-cycled or recycled fabrics such as cork, cotton, linen, alcantara and recycled PET. Packaging is kept to a minimum: there is no secondary packaging and only FSC-certified paper and cardboard are used,” comments Baume Brand leader Marie Chassot.

campaign image with red haired model wearing luxury watch

Baume is committed to using upcycled, recycled and sustainable materials

The design aesthetic of the brand’s debut collections the Iconic and Custom Timepiece Series is minimalist and contemporary. The Iconic watch features a case made from partly recycled aluminium and a strap made from 100% recycled PET (plastic), with the plan to release a limited edition made from other recycled materials later this year.

The Custom Timepiece Series allows customers to pick from two stainless steel size cases, a variety of colours, number of dial executions, various features and straps made from materials such as natural cork, cotton and linen – our favourite for this summer is the cotton variation in burgundy.

To view the full collections and customise your own timepiece visit:

Reading time: 1 min
Skyline view of Manhattan Upper West Side, luxury neighbourhood
sunny skyline view of Park Avenue from Central Park, New York

520 Park Avenue, under construction, seen from Central Park

Gennady Perepada is New York’s go-to real estate broker who curates lavish lifestyles for his elite, high-net worth clients. LUX Editor-at-Large Gauhar Kapparova finds out how he does it
Portrait of renowned real estate broker Gennady Perepada in a suit and tie in front of New York backdrop

Gennady Perepada

Two years ago luxury real estate broker Gennady Perepada organised a surprise on behalf of one of his clients. The man had bought a family holiday home in the Hamptons, without telling his wife. “I arranged a helicopter to take them for a ride along the coastline so she could see it from the sky. He said to her, ‘Do you like this house with the pool? Well it’s already yours’. When they landed, there was a limousine with champagne waiting to pick them up,” he recalls. “It was a very romantic presentation, a personal show of this amazing property.” Yet while this particular man went to impressive lengths to show off and celebrate his purchase, many of Perepada’s clients – foreign and American high net-worth investors, who, as a rule, have a portfolio of real estate around the world – don’t even view a million-dollar apartment in person before they buy (they see a video instead).

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“My clients don’t need to come to New York to make a deal. Our lawyers are experts in international investment,” says Perepada, who set up his company, One & Only Realty Inc, eight years ago with lawyer Edward Mermelstein and thinks nothing of flying between three continents in a week for meetings. “The problem for many clients is that often they don’t have enough time – and that’s what I can give them.” Which he does, not only by finding and securing the most exclusive properties in New York and Miami but also by offering a 24/7 concierge service where no request is seemingly too obscure. “For my clients, I take care of everything from A to Z. Everything,” he emphasises. “For one family from the Middle East, I sorted out medical insurance, kindergarten for the children, connecting the cable television channels in their apartment.”

Render of luxury balcony in New York apartment

520 Park Avenue overlooks Central Park as visualised in this render

He reels off other examples. A client with a daughter studying for an MBA at New York University for whom he found an apartment and arranged a housekeeper to fill up the fridge with food every week; another who needed knee surgery so he organised a private hospital and the best doctors; the morning he spent at a dealership test driving new cars for a client’s wife. His phone is never off, and he is constantly on call, all day and all night, as his clients attest.

It’s all a far cry from 1990 when Perepada immigrated to the US with his family from Ukraine and worked as a taxi driver and as a stall holder at a flea market to survive. Looking for a career, he chose real estate because of the buzz that comes with property. He began by selling regular apartments but soon realised that he needed to find his own niche – the real estate elite. “In real estate trading, create your own market and your own clientele, do what no one else has done,” he says.

Read more: Meet the Swarovski x Design Miami/ Designers of the Future

Fast forward to today and he has 18 members of staff, including two personal assistants, looking after the needs of around 30 clients at any one time (he is currently looking at the possibility of opening offices in Dubai and London). Between them, his employees speak Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic (among other languages) to support those clients who aren’t fluent in English, and he has relationships with key property developers in both New York and Miami. “I know every building, every developer, they call me when something new and unique comes on the market because they know I have the contacts with the high net-worth buyers,” he says. “I understand the mentality of my clients and I have lots of experience with what kind of property I need to deliver for them.”

Skyline view of Manhattan Upper West Side, luxury neighbourhood

Manhattan’s now super-desirable Upper West Side

Key to his success is always anticipating his clients’ needs before they know what they want themselves. “When my clients buy a property, before they’ve even thought about it, I’ve got a team of interior designers putting together proposals down to the tiniest details, such as electric blinds, paint colours and smart-home technology.” On top of this, he also looks after real estate management, which involves everything from collecting rent on a property to repairs and full-scale renovation.

Read more: A different kind of Alpine luxury at The Tschuggen Grand Hotel

If it sounds all-consuming, that’s because it is, but Perepada says he wouldn’t have his job any other way. “I love my job; I don’t like it, I love it. It gives me the opportunity to meet and communicate with very interesting and significant people from all over the world. My clients are normal people and they feel very comfortable with me, so they call me like a friend.” They often comment on his endless energy and enthusiasm, he says, and are so happy with the service he provides that they sometimes give him presents. “Last year, one lent me his yacht to enjoy so I spent a week during the summer in Monte Carlo.” In fact, he usually spends at least one month during the summer in the south of France, partly on holiday, partly networking.

Many clients are repeat business (his motto is “return to those who are trusted”), who enlist his services as much for the lifestyle he offers as the property he sells. “Call me, buy a nice apartment and after that I provide a luxury lifestyle,” he concludes. “Trust me and I will take care of everything.”

Find out more about Gennady Perepada’s properties and services:

This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of LUX, on sale now worldwide.

Reading time: 5 min
picturesque setting for dinner by the poolside at a luxury villa
picturesque setting for dinner by the poolside at a luxury villa

Friday night’s dinner is typically hosted at various wineries across the Napa Valley. Image by Briana Marie Photography

This month sees the latest edition of the annual Auction Napa Valley, one of the most lavish and interesting events on the world’s charity and wine calendars. LUX editor Kitty Harris, who attended last year’s event as a guest of honour, recalls about her time spent drinking some of the world’s finest wines, dancing the tango at sunset on a hillside vineyard and witnessing the enormous generosity of connoisseurs and winemakers alike over the four-day event

Setting my bags down in the quaint Sutter Home lodge is like stepping back in time to the 1970s – when Sutter created the first White Zinfandel, a style of cheap and cheerful wine which I suspect is not going to be on any of the menus for my next five days. I’m told that every evening I will get a bottle of fine wine to take to my room or to enjoy on the wooden white porch. I opt for a glass of the house’s Californian Riesling while I prepare for my evening of festivities; I am told to wear white for Argentinian tango and dinner.

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My host for the evening, Argentine Delia Viader, earned her title as the ‘Wine Mother’ after founding Viader in 1986 when she created her eponymous estate on the slopes of Howell Mountain, on the east side of Napa Valley, and soon gained worldwide renown for her highly-structured, Bordeaux-style reds.

wild party with gold streamers inside a luxury marquee

Guests dancing post live auction on Saturday night. Image by Briana Marie Photography

We are served Viader’s estate blend, made of 40 percent Cabernet Franc and 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, that evening; now ranking among Napa’s most esteemed wines, it is powerful yet restrained, a wine that combines California’s sunny fruit with a certain French hauteur. There is a mix of guests from around the world, and I (the only Londoner) sit around five tables with white table cloths below the shadows of trees for the evening meal. Argentinian style steaks and are served before we try our luck following the steps of the tango teachers. If there were any hesitations to begin with, all fears were lost as we happily swapped dance partners whilst the sun set behind the hills.

Auction Napa Valley is a phenomenon. The four-day fete raises money for 25 local Napa Valley nonprofits and strategic initiatives for the benefit of children and community health. Since 1981 they have invested $180 million into the area. The first evening, usually a Thursday, sees Napa’s vintners invite guests to dine with them at their estates. During Friday afternoon the live barrel auction is held at a different location each year depending on which estate hosts the events – this years is Charles Krug and last years was Francis Ford Coppola. Early Saturday evening the auction begins, prizes included a private dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood’s Christopher Kostow, one of the youngest chefs to ever earn three Michelin stars’ and the chance to travel on the Coppola family’s private jet and a four-night stay at their hotel Palazzo Margherita in Italy. The event is attended by residents of Napa who range from Oscar winning director, Mr. Coppola, to venture capitalists Steven and Claire Stull and celebrities such as Oprah and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Read more: Geoffrey Kent on millennials and transformational travel

Napa Valley Vintners, the nonprofit trade association who organise the auction, are my hosts for the weekend. Brian, my driver, picks me up the following morning for an adventure. We drive we pass a gigantic (35-foot tall!) stainless steel Bunny called ‘Foo Foo’, which I later learn was created by the English artist Lawrence Argent. This is one of the 35 pieces of contemporary art on show at the HALL winery. The 150-year-old site is owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall who compered a treasure hunt for us that morning. The 30 odd guests divided into groups and were given an iPhone with a pre-programmed game to follow. Tasks at different levels of the game included recreating your favourite music album cover – my team opted for the famous Beatles scene walking over the Abbey Road zebra crossing – and blending your own wine which was judged by the in-house wine maker. Sadly, I didn’t win, though I thoroughly enjoyed the vineyard’s classic Bordeaux varietals.

Francis Ford Coppola (director of ‘The Godfather’) and his wife, Eleanor and two children Roman and Sofia were the honorary chairs of the four-day fete. 2,000 guests frequented their historic Inglenook estate for the Napa Valley Barrel Auction which took place in the winery’s caves. The cool – in every sense of the word – atmosphere of the caves saw bidders vie for the 108 lots of 10 single cases of current Napa Valley wines. There was a buzz in the air, an energy and excitement that wasn’t just from the wines.

Man stands behind big silver bowls of tomato sauce

Saturday’s live auction with various festivities and food stalls

Outside in the mid-day heat, canopies kept the crowds covered and wines were flowing in areas according to their blends. Food stalls with grilled scallops, bursting with flavour, were served alongside freshly rolled sushi and tempura.

Read more: California takes on Chateau Latour and the world at an exclusive LUX wine tasting on Lake Como

For a little respite, I headed to Health Spa Napa Valley to revitalise before the weekend’s pièce de résistance: the live auction. Held at five-star hotel Meadowood Napa Valley, the host venue since 1981, the auction began under an enormous white tent in the theme of a 1930s nightclub, complete with a live jazz band. The top single lot was donated by Dalla Valle Vineyards: a week-long trip with the co-proprietor Naoko Dalla Valle to some of her favourite spots in her native Japan. Dalla Valle is a modern Napa legend, an estate situated on the Rutherford Bench, an area just above the river and below the steep valley sides on the east side of the valley, which some connoisseurs think of as the ‘first growth’ stretch of the valley, infusing its greatest wines with an almost imperceptible hint of ethereal ‘Rutherford dust’.

The highest-bidding lot was from Colgin Cellars, another Napa legend created by the redoubtable Anne Colgin, and included Colgin wines and trips to both Champagne and Napa. The bidding was vigorous with an astounding $15.7 million raised in one evening.

vineyard landscape with luxury canopy on a hilltop

The region’s stunning landscape provides the perfect backdrop for sunset dancing and wine tasting. Image by Briana Marie Photography

Following the live auction we moved to the garden for a candle lit al-fresco dinner of Italian family favourites prepared by Francis Coppola himself. The evening ended on the dance floor with a private performance by soul singer-songwriter Leon Bridges of Texas. The weekend went by in a flurry of excitement with a gentle buzz from the wines. And the fun wasn’t over: sampling cult wines from the Screaming Eagle winery, possibly Napa’s most famous (and most expensive) and the rounded hillside merlots from Shafer with the proprietors themselves was a privilege, inside the dreamscape that is Auction Napa Valley.

The 38th annual Auction Napa Valley runs from 27th May to 3rd June. For more information visit:

Reading time: 6 min
large abstract painting in pink and blue colours with artist Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar on right handside
large abstract painting in pink and blue colours with Persian artist Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar on right handside

French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar with his work ‘Guardians of Life’ 2017, at his solo exhibition ‘Oneness Wholeness’

This week saw the London opening of Oneness Wholeness, a much-awaited solo show by the young French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea.

Amid the glitzy crowd at the private view, which seemed equally split between young and old, Persians, Brits, and citizens of the world, LUX took the time to view the works themselves – not always easy in a packed gallery.

large abstract painting with floating horses on the left hand side

‘In The Company of Purity and Freedom’, Sassan Benham-Bakhtiar at the Saatchi Gallery

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glamorous guests attend gallery opening

‘Oneness Wholeness’ VIP Preview at the Saatchi Gallery

Prior to the opening the international art media made much of the show challenging Western views of Iran. For LUX, it did much more than that, blending ancient Persian mystic influences, the romanticism of some of the country’s literary giants of the 10th to 14th centuries, and a view of eternity and our place as microcosms in a multi-universed existence. The fleeting images – silhouettes of heads or horses – in his mixed media creations and an overwhelming sense of stillness and light (influenced no doubt by Behnam-Bakhtiar’s current home in the south of France) only hint at the complexity of Persian history and the empire’s reach – and much more besides.

Persian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar poses in front of his painting with his wife and Nina Moaddel at gallery opening

Maria & Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar & Nina Moaddel at the ‘Oneness Wholeness’ VIP Preview

Guests attend opening of new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, London

A night of celebration: Katy Wickremesinghe, Juliette Loughran, Founder of the Loughran Gallery and LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai

Read more: URWERK Founder Felix Baumgartner on modern watchmaking

The artist may be Iranian – in fact, he was born in Paris before moving to Tehran for most of his early life – but his art, like his fan base apparent at the Saatchi, is much more than that, and we imagine we will be hearing a lot more about him.

Oneness Wholeness’ by Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar and curated by Nina Moaddel runs until 5 June 2018 at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea.  For more information visit

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Luxury men's watch with black and red dial
Contemporary watch by high concept luxury brand URWERK

The UR-105 provides an analogue and digital display of the time

URWERK’s unique approach to high horology has established it as one of the most creative and desirable brands in the industry. URWERK’s watches are like nothing else on the market, reinventing the design of a timepiece to put function and artistry above conventional wisdom; and, despite their modernity, taking inspiration from the Huguenot tradition of clock making that once changed the world. LUX Editor in Chief Darius Sanai speaks with Felix Baumgartner about innovations and collaborative design

LUX: You grew up around English clockmaking rather than watches. Can you tell us a bit about your early education in the industry?
Felix Baumgartner: Absolutely, my grandfather worked at IWC, but my father didn’t really like the big company structures; he was more into history, antique clocks. So after working at IWC for a brief period, my father opened up his own atelier at home, where he still restores clocks. That was my school, it was where I learned about clocks, and also about watchmaking because it is similar. There’s a difference in proportion between clocks and watches, and watches are only 120 years old, before that you only had clocks.

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When I grew up in the beginning of the 90s I saw a watch industry which was very much focussed on watches with very traditional tourbillon, but all the time there were the same complications and the same approaches, which, for me, was not at all contemporary. From my mother, I learnt a contemporary open-mindedness (my mother loved, and still loves, contemporary art, architecture and music) and from my father I learnt the history, knowledge and mechanical passion. However, it was difficult to bring these two things together so I started working with Martin Frei (co-founder of URWERK). Martin isn’t actually a designer, he was working in film and painting at the time we met, but it was so interesting for me to work with someone from the artistic world to create a new concept for a watch, and to think about what a watch can be today.

Watch designer at work in the studio

Felix Baumgartner at work in the URWERK studios

LUX: Had anyone else taken this approach in high end horology?
Felix Baumgartner: I think in high end watchmaking we were the first. You have Audemars Piguet; in the 70s, they made the Royal Oak, and the Royal Oak as a case is very contemporary. It is a very, very nice watch but they concentrated on the case, and didn’t look at the movement. In traditional watchmaking, you always have a case and then you have the movement inside, it is very separate and what is unique about our approach is that we create one piece, in which the movement and case speak together. What we do is very pure, very minimalist.

LUX: Did you know that people would want something like this at the high end or did you just hope? How did you create the market for your watches?
Felix Baumgartner: We were very naive! I was 22 years old, Martin was a bit older, but we were both very young, we are still young… You have to understand everybody had these polished wooden cases with a nice golden watch and we wanted to disturb the old values. When you look at architecture, or cars for example, the design process moves on but the watchmakers in Switzerland still continue with the same methods.

A lot of other watch brands try to copy what was done 100 years ago, but it is changing. 20 years ago we were absolutely alone, apart from at the entrance level where you always had contemporary watches such as Swatch; Swatch was absolutely up to date. In the middle range you had Tag Heuer and Omega. But we’re not businessmen, I’m a watchmaker and Martin is an artist, we love what we do, it’s 100% passion. We showed up at 22 years old and some people hated it, others were astonished, they didn’t know what was going on.

Read more: Swarovski x Design Miami/ designers of the future

LUX: The mechanical movement in your watches is very advanced and sophisticated…
Felix Baumgartner: Yes, we are working with the latest materials and because most of our mechanisms didn’t exist in the past, we have to invent them, which is challenging.

The UR-210 is our most complicated watch today, but it still feels simple. It is a very nice way to tell the time, because you can read the time actually without having to turn the wrist. We only make 150 watches per year, it’s a very limited production. The parts are made in Zurich by a very specific professional team, and then in the town of Aarau there’s a team doing the research, the technical dossier, the engineers and prototyping and in Geneva you have final assembling and then the communication side.

Luxury men's watch with black and red dial

The UR-210 in black platinum

LUX: The people who buy Urwerk what do they have in common? It seems that buying watches like yours is like collecting art or cars…
Felix Baumgartner: Yes, to me, the watchmaking of today is an expression of mechanical artisanal art. It’s a little machine that you have on your wrist, which you can understand, you can hear it, you can feel it and at the same time it tells you the time. But it also is kind of a jewellery, a “bijou” for men, also for women.

LUX: How does your collaborative design process work?
Felix Baumgartner: I’ve known Martin for 25 years, and we’ve worked together on URWERK for 20 years. We call our design process: ‘ping-pong’. We meet, but also speak on the phone almost everyday. Martin lives and works in Zurich, whilst I’m in Geneva most of the time so we play with ideas then he sends it over and I send it back, it’s a ping pong. Largely though, I’m still the mechanic and he’s the aesthete.

Read more: Luxury handbag brand Moynat opens with style in Selfridges, London

LUX: Unlike many luxury brands, you don’t do any kind of celebrity marketing. You say that the product speaks for itself, what do you mean by that?
Felix Baumgartner: We are lucky because we do not have to go the ambassadors, to the actors or to the important people in the industry, they are coming to us. For example, Ralph Lauren is a collector of several works, Jackie Chan wore the UR-202 in a film and basketball player, Michael Jordan. Robert Downey Jr has worn our watches in movies too. Usually companies like Sony Pictures ask a lot of money for product placement, but it was Robert Downey Jr who asked us, not the other way round!

LUX: What’s next for URWERK? Any big plans?
Felix Baumgartner: Let’s say it’s already happening, we are working on a new invention which we will present in a few months…

To view URWERK’s collections visit:

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three men standing in front of artistic installation of wire metal trees

Swarovski Designers of the Future 2018: Study O Portable, Frank Kolkman and Yosuke Ushigome (from left to right)

Every year, the Swarovski Designers of the Future Award x Design Miami/ selects a group of promising designers and studios from across the globe who are seen to be pushing the boundaries of design culture through innovative processes and new technologies. Beyond pure product design, these are designers working in the realm imagination, concept and dreams.

Swarovski provides the winners with a topical brief and invites them to immerse themselves in the brand’s world at the mystical mountainside headquarters in Wattens, Austria.

This year, the designers have been presented with the theme of ‘smart living’, for which they will create works and environments that incorporate advanced Swarovski crystal technologies, considering sustainability, accessibility, interaction and future lifestyles. Their projects will form a single installation to be unveiled at Basel this June.

LUX meets the 2018 winners: Frank Kolkman, Study O Portable and Yosuke Ushigome

Frank Kolkman

Experimental Dutch designer specialising in robotic technologies

Bearded man standing in front of wall of crystals with arms crossed

Frank Kolkmann

What he says:

“I’m interested in unpicking the social, economic and aesthetic dimensions of current and near-future technologies through design. By developing confrontational prototypes, experimental products and interactive installations that are subtly disruptive, I aim to instigate reflection on the processes, systems and values that underpin our technology rich environment.

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It’s really about trying to imagine, generate and test alternative ways of doing, seeing and understanding beyond what is familiar to us or what’s probable in the future. By making these alternatives tangible it allows us to collectively discuss their preferability in relation to what’s already there. In turn, it helps us gain insight into what we really desire or expect from the technologies we surround ourselves with daily – and how we might get there.”

What you can expect to see at Basel:

The ‘Dream Machine’, an immersive experience generating light and sound patterns from Swarovski crystals that synchronise with alpha and theta brainwaves to allow individuals to enter a state of deep relaxation or ‘artificial dreaming’. The project attempts to design a smart solution to help us cope with the cognitive demands of modern life.

Study O Portable

Research based Dutch-Japanese practice making objects about the designed environment

Man wearing glasses with arms folded in front of crystal background

Study O Portable

What they say:

“We’re always interested in how we’ve been interacting with the designed environment throughout history; one of the most exciting things right now is the development of technologies that help us understand the past. In a way we know more about the past 1000 years now than we did 50 years ago, and it’s an exciting idea that the past is now bigger than ever before.

Read more: Moynat’s Artistic Director, Ramesh Nair’s guide to Paris

The access to a wider range of information is what drives our work; it allows us to form new connections between different fragments of information that previously might have not been so easily accessible.”

What you can expect to see at Basel:

An exploration into the blurring of light and colour created by crystals. The practice associates blurry and fading colours with nature (think sunsets and autumnal leaves) and are creating a series of surfaces that will be translated into home objects that may trigger emotional responses from the user.

Yoksuke Ushigome

Creative Japanese technologist specialising in emerging technologies

Japanese man wearing navy blue shirt standing in front of crystal background with arms folded

Yosuke Ushigome

What he says:

“My design projects often speak about possible and impossible future visions; I tend to draw references from fictional objects from films and unlikely events and human behavior throughout history. I like to do a thought experiment on how an emerging technology might play a role in a very specific scenario — taken from the references — and imagine how that might change our behavior in the future.”

Read more: Visions of Henri Michaux at the Guggenheim, Bilbao

What you can expect to see at Basel:

‘Can Crystals Interface Us to AI?’, an exhibition exploring the potential of crystal as an alternative interaction between human and machine intelligence that occurs within the Smart Home environment. As opposed to the voice-command capabilities of devices such as Amazon Echo and Alexa, the project utilises the  emotional quality of crystals to examine familiar behaviours between us and machine intelligence.

For more information visit: /



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Moynat luxury leather shop

Moynat’s shop in Selfridges, London

It was hand-painted handbags at dusk at the new, gallery-like Accessories Hall at Selfridges in London as Moynat, the uber-exclusive Parisian leather goods company, opened its new shop-within-a-shop in the most prime location in the area. Moynat’s urbane, intellectual CEO Guillaume Davin (who appears more like a perfectly-coiffed character out of a Michel de Montaigne essay, than a luxury brand CEO) was on hand to greet visiting journalistic and customer illuminati, as was creative director Ramesh Nair.

Moynat's CEO Guillaume Davin, Creative Director, Ramesh Nair and LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai holding flutes of champagne in Moynat shop

Moynat’s CEO Guillaume Davin, Creative Director, Ramesh Nair and LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai at the launch of Moynat in Selfridges. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Moynat

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Suzy Menkes Vogue Editor in wearing floral dress and heels

International Vogue Editor Suzy Menkes at Moynat launch party. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Moynat

The star of the show, though, was surely the painter, Laure, who sat at a table in the centre of the shop painting motifs onto Moynat’s extremely expensive leather with special acrylic paints. One prototype bag featured a motif of Louis Bleriot’s ‘XI’, the first plane to cross the Channel, which appeared and disappeared with temperature fluctuations.

Artist painting onto leather bag

Artist, Laure, painting motifs onto Moynat leather. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Moynat

Luxury leather handbags

Moynat handbags. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for MOYNAT)

Meanwhile Nair, wearing a black T-shirt and fizzing with ideas, told LUX about a couple of new concepts he is planning, including one so avant-garde he hasn’t yet dared run it past Davin. Watch this space.

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sketchy black ink painting of figures in trees by Henri Michaux

Untitled, 1944, Henri Michaux. Private collection. © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. Photo: Jean-Louis Losi

Belgian painter and poet, Henri Michaux stubbornly refuses to fall into any particular category and yet, or perhaps because of this, he remains a huge artistic influence on writers and artists alike – indeed during his lifetime, he was known as both as a “poets’ poet” and a “painters’ painter”, idolised by the likes of André Gide and Francis Bacon.

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‘The Other Side’ at The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a colossal exhibition displaying more than 200 works, divided into three thematic areas: the human figure, the alphabet and the altered psyche, including his works produced under the influence of hallucinogenic substance, mescaline. A fascinating audiovisual screening gives a deeper insight into these experiments, which were conducted with the assistance of  doctors and scientists.

Watercolour painting of a face in red with blue eyes

Untitled, 1981, Henri Michaux, © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. © FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museo. Photo: Erika Barahona Ede

Michaux sought the intervention of chance in his works as a way of collaborating with unknown forces, therefore favouring mediums such as ink and watercolours which naturally spill and overflow (see above). In his own words, he painted to ‘to surprise himself’- and walking through the gallery at the Guggenheim, it’s the undefined beings that seem to mysteriously appear (as if by chance) on the canvas that are by far the most intriguing, and haunting.

Read more: A different kind of Alpine luxury

A major section of the gallery is also devoted to Michaux’s writings – poetry, travel journals and short stories – including works by other authors who were closely associated with the artist, such as Jorge Luis Borges and Octavio Paz, revealing the Michaux’s close links with, and influence on the literary world.

painting of a white figure with arms raised and yellow head

Untitled, 1938–39, Henri Michaux. Private collection, Paris © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. Photo: Jean-Louis Losi

The exhibition ends soon, be sure not to miss out.

Millie Walton

‘Henry Michaux: The Other Side’ runs until 13 May 2018 at the Guggenheim, Bilbao


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striking architecture of a hotel in the snow set against a forest

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Hipster man standing in room filled with old style luggage

Moynat’s Artistic Director, Ramesh Nair

Ramesh Nair worked under Martin Margiela and Jean Paul Gaultier at Hermès until luxury titan Bernard Arnault came calling in 2011,with his personal brand Moynat. The artistic director of the Paris-based luggage house tells LUX why Paris is his inspiration – and why London is Moynat’s hot destination this year

LUX: What role does Paris play in your creative inspiration?
Ramesh Nair: Paris is the city I have lived in the longest at a single stretch and I still find it amazing, creatively speaking. Inspiration comes from many things big and small – simply living here, walking the streets, observing the buildings and the people. The juxtaposition of the old and the new, the quality of the light and the depth of the sky, the architecture (always look upwards while walking through the city). And the unmistakable Parisian style.

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Paris is a unique city where the past is always with us even as we live modern lives. For me, this is perfectly captured by I.M. Pei’s pyramid for the Louvre with its Cubist inspiration and its determinedly modern use of materials like steel and glass, the perfect counter-balance to the classical architecture of the Louvre itself.

This is the ideal I hold in my mind when I create modern bags or trunks for Moynat: to strike an equilibrium between heritage and modernity, between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design.

LUX: What’s your favourite part of the city?
Ramesh Nair: Each district in Paris has its own unique personality and flavour. On the left bank, I have a soft spot for the Beaux Arts neighbourhood. Across the river from the Louvre, this is a warren of old streets steeped in history. The profusion of art galleries, specialised boutiques with unusual products, and the presence of the Beaux Arts school helps keep the neighbourhood youthful and avant-garde. The hotel where Oscar Wilde spent his last days is located here, too.

Moynat trunk pictured in Paris in front of the Notre Dame

Moynat Breakfast Trunk for the chef Yannick Alléno

On the right bank, I like the area from Trinité to the Montmartre neighbourhoods. I like the mix of art galleries and artists’ studios, theatres and cabarets, small-scale industries like printers, right next to open-air markets. The Théâtre Réjane was set up in this neighbourhood in 1906 and still functions under the name Petit Théâtre de Paris. There is some remarkable modern architecture to discover, including Adolf Loos’s house for Tristan Tzara.

blue leather handbag with stiff handle and silver "m" shaped clasp

Mini Gabrielle bag by Moynat

LUX: Ever feel the urge to reconnect with nature, away from the big city?
Ramesh Nair: When I have the time, I prefer to drive out of town in search of greenery. Every year, I take a few weeks to explore different parts of France, to discover the diversity of natural beauty in this country, not to mention the wines of the different regions or terroirs.

LUX: Your inside track on Parisian cuisine?
Ramesh Nair: Since I am vegetarian, I often have to ask restaurants to accommodate my choice and I have had some lovely surprises. One of my favourite places in Paris is La Bauhinia at the Shangri-la where chef Christophe Moret impressed me not just with the quality of his organic, locally sourced vegetarian ingredients, but also with the way he elaborates his choices, and of course the exquisite cocktails.

Read more: Luxury Leaders interview with Guillaume Davin, CEO of Moynat

I am also very pleased that so many great chefs are embracing the idea of vegetarian cuisine, from Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée to Thierry Marx at his restaurant Camelia in the Mandarin Oriental.

For me, the fusion of different types of cuisine is really the wave of the future, but it has to be done with a lot of respect for the culinary traditions of each culture. I think chef Atsushi Tanaka has elevated this to an art form at his restaurant AT.

bright pink small leather handbag

A Moynat Cabotin bag

LUX: Is eating out all about the cuisine?
Ramesh Nair: Not at all, I am very sensitive to the authenticity of any experience. From a very simple, home-style environment to a Michelin-star restaurant, truthfulness to one’s vision and passion will always make itself felt. Apart from the ambiance and music, the quality of the service, the contact between guests and staff, the effort made to share what the experience is all about, these are elements that feed all the senses.

LUX: What’s your cultural life in Paris?
Ramesh Nair: My two great loves are art and music. I try and catch as many concerts as possible (blues, jazz, rock…) when work allows me. I like the acoustics of the Olympia and the Grand Rex. Smaller venues like New Morning and La Maroquinerie are great if you want a more intimate setting or to discover rising stars, plus great acoustic quality.

Paris has so many art museums and galleries that it is hard to pick even a few… plus the museums are often breathtaking on their own. At the moment there are two simultaneous exhibitions showcasing the oeuvre of Martin Margiela, whom I had the privilege of working with during my early years in Paris.

Read more from the Image Issue: Gaggenau – the art and architecture of appliances

LUX: Where does a Parisian designer like you shop for clothes?
Ramesh Nair: Mostly at Yohji Yamamoto for clothes. I am obsessed with trainers, of which I have a collection of limited editions and rare models.

LUX: You travel a lot on work, what is the first thing you do when you get home?
Ramesh Nair: Relaxing with my cat is the perfect antidote for jet lag.

old fashioned luxury picnic trunk fitted to the handlebars of a bicycle

Moynat picnic trunk for a bicycle

LUX: What would you recommend all visitors to Paris to do?
Ramesh Nair: Paris is a city meant to be explored on foot. So, walk along the Seine, explore the Ile Saint-Louis with its historic buildings and bridges. If you walk through the Louvre courtyard at night, you can see the art through the windows and it gives you a whole new perspective.

LUX: London was the first city outside of Paris to have a Moynat store – why was that?
Ramesh Nair: Moynat has had historic ties with London since the very founding of the House. In the mid-1800s, radical advances in the way people travelled and experienced the world made it possible for houses like Moynat to reach visitors from the UK and to make their innovations and quality known. This was one of the keys to the reputation and success of Moynat. So it was a natural decision for us to make London our first store outside of Paris.

The Mount Street store is one of my favourites, for its architecture, its luminosity and its distinctive character. We will soon have a second store on the ground floor of Selfridges, which will showcase our House in a different environment and to a different type of customer.

Discover Ramesh Nair’s designs at

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