Reignwood group development, 10 Trinity square
Reignwood group development, 10 Trinity square

The colonnaded entrance to Ten Trinity Square

By Darius Sanai, Editor in Chief

Your Rolls-Royce breezes past the Tower of London, in the shadow of the Shard, the Cheesegrater and the Walkie-Talkie, London’s newest icon buildings, and drops you at a set of stone steps leading to a grand Edwardian entranceway, past four 10 metre tall Greek-style columns. Up a couple of floors, past a restaurant run by three-Michelin-star chef Anne-Sophie Pic and the reception area of the Four Seasons Hotel in the building, you are ushered through another set of thick wooden doors. Then, down a grand corridor with exquisite marquetry, and, voila, you have arrived in the Chateau Latour Discovery Room (the world’s only such space), just in time for a contemplative glass with two of the most powerful people in finance and the arts.

That is the vision of Songhua Ni, President of Reignwood Investments UK, and his boss Dr. Chanchai Ruayrungruang, Chairman of parent company Reignwood Group, one of China’s leading international investment groups. Reignwood is the owner of Ten Trinity Square, the landmark, former HQ of the Port of London Authority, in the City of London. In stages this year, after more than five years of planning and rebuilding, Reignwood will open the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, the Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant – La Dame de Pic, 41 private residences, and Ten Trinity Square Private Club, the ultra-exclusive heart of it all, which has been developed by Reignwood, Four Seasons and Chateau Latour.

As if opening the first luxury hotel in the City of London weren’t enough, Reignwood, which owns luxury real estate in Hawaii, Wentworth, and a stake in Voss water, among many other assets, has a bigger, bolder, and longer-term strategic aim. LUX Editor-in-Chief sat down with Songhua Ni in the Latour Room, to find out more.

LUX: This is going to be a magnificent club when it opens. What gave Reignwood the idea and why do it?
Songhua Ni: Dr Chanchai was just amazed by the prestige and the heavyweight and the culture behind Ten Trinity Square. And considering the history, the culture, the location, our first thought was to make this club a kind of world forum. A forum like the World Economic Forum in Davos – that’s the only thing we can do, to do justice to this building. Especially because this building has played a very important role in the history of Great Britain. And also a very important role in the glory times of Great Britain. We thought it would be a great idea, to promote culture and economic changes amongst different cultures. We think this is the right place to create a forum to promote multi-cultural exchange and understanding.

Read next: Anita Zabludowicz on the true value of art

London is playing a more and more important role in the global marketplace with the rise of Asian powers. And the emphasis is moving slowly from New York to London. London is the best location to connect Asia and the US. And London is a very inclusive city. So we thought it would be good to create a club here. But the club itself needs to show the right level of quality and respect of history. And be inclusive for all different people and cultures. This place also needs to show the vision of Reignwood, to be a responsible investor. There is a lot of short-term investment. What Reignwood is trying to do is create a long term commitment. And to try to promote responsible capitalism. We thought it was very important when Chinese people and Chinese companies come here, they should be doing the same thing. In China, there is a feeling that after the fast growth of the last 30 years, we should encourage Chinese companies to be more long-term thinking. And to be able to have the right mindset to create a real brand.

Reignwood group Luxury development, 10 trinity square

Inside the member’s club at Ten Trinity Square

LUX: And how important is the Reignwood brand in what you’re doing? How hard is it in terms of facing people who will be members – will they be aware that this is a Reignwood development?
SN: Not necessarily. Reignwood is more of a stand-behind. We own different brands. We let the brands run in the front. So every brand has its own DNA, its own management, its own culture. This is actually something we learnt from Mr Pinault [owner of Kering, which in turn owns Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves St Laurent and numerous other brands; and Christies, and Chateau Latour, inter alia]. He has so many brands running in the front and I think Reignwood in the future will be adopting the same strategy. We will encourage the improvement of the brand and give new life to them. For example, Voss water and Vita Coco are great brands but the long term vision for both of them is to be able to support health and wellness more broadly as well as social responsibility – which we intend to support them with.

LUX: From what you are saying this is a very long-term and quite philosophical exercise, almost creating something that didn’t exist before in terms of bringing cultures together at the very top level.
SN: I think there is a strong desire from people to see this happen. I think there is a strong consensus among top business leaders in the next decade. The important thing is to bridge East and West. To bridge the gap between Asia, China with the US and Europe. So that people from different continents can understand each other. So that bridge will create more economic growth potential. That’s why our family members are all agreeing to this. For instance Stephen [Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone] is very supportive. He said it’s a great idea to deliver something like this. So many people want this platform to be able to know and understand more.

European countries are looking for growth in Asia but I think most of them don’t understand Asian or Chinese culture. And Chinese companies are coming to London and looking for quality in brands but they really don’t understand here yet either. So when you combine this, that is the way to move the economy forward. Martin Gilbert [CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management], he also agrees with us as does Gerry [Grimstone, CEO] from Standard Life. These are some of our founding members, as is the Chinese Ambassador to the UK.

LUX: So far everything you have said has been about the very high ideals of what this is going to achieve. You haven’t mentioned commercial success. Is that not the number one priority?
SN: In commercial matters, value is created in different ways. Look at WEF in Davos, when they first started that nobody thought it was going to be a successful commercial effort. But now it is extremely successful.

Read next: Amsterdam’s best kept culinary secrets

LUX: Is it a challenge that global business has today, that people do not understand each others’ cultures?
SN: I think it is a big problem. And in the current world it is more important than ever because of social media. Social media has made the world so information efficient, in one minute everyone can know everything about things. And that can easily create misunderstandings. People see the information, and make their judgements very fast; they don’t have time to digest.

We need this type of club, this type of forum, to invite high level thinkers from China. And from here, high level thinkers from the City of London and the British Government, for example.

Ten trinity square latour room

The Chateau Latour Discovery Room

LUX: Reignwood is a very interesting example of a Chinese company that has very interesting holdings around the world. The big question in industry, the luxury industry, is when will there be a Chinese luxury group and a Chinese luxury brand (two different things of course)?
SN: Actually, before the Opium war in 1840 there were huge Chinese brands. We had all of the family businesses, great brands, great quality. For example, China silk, China teaware. A lot of Chinese things were so good and the quality at that time was a lot better than here. But after that there were a lot of wars. The Opium War, The First World War, The Second World War and the Sino War [the civil war and Communist revolution]. So all of these wars destroyed Chinese business. And now in new China we have only been about since 1949, its only about 70 years old. Seventy years is too short a period to have a brand. In the last 30 years China grew, its economic growth is so high, high speed, low quality. The next run of China economic growth will be driven by consumption, rather than investment. So for consumption, people who really own brands will be leading and have a competitive edge in the next decade. Chinese people are turning more and more attention to brands. For brands you either have to create it by yourself, or you need to buy. That is one of the philosophies that drives Reignwood. That is why we acquired Voss water, why we bought Vita Coco, why we bought Wentworth. Not many Chinese companies have this.

Read next: Fawaz Gruosi on luxury’s need for experimentation

LUX: Anything else that Reignwood is planning?
SN: Reignwood has a quite clear strategy; Reignwood is about global expansion and it is now quite confident. We are going to become a real global company rather than just a Chinese company. We are going to have our Voss water product which we are selling in 60 different countries. And for Vita Coco, 50 countries. Through this promotion of cultural exchanges, we are going to raise Reignwood into a global power rather than a Chinese company. I don’t think there is a real global company in China yet and our focus is two lines of business. One is our fast moving consumer products [FMCG] business and the other is leisure, sports and wellness. So these two lines will be acquiring good companies, good brands and make them combine and play together with Chinese resources and on the Chinese market.

Ten Trinity Square Private Club opens in the second quarter of 2017. For further information visit:


Reading time: 8 min
Salt Magazine for swarovski

Aside from my role at LUX, I work as Editor in Chief of Conde Nast Contract Publishing, and this week we had a little launch party at Vogue House for Salt, the new fashion magazine we have launched with Swarovski. I co-hosted the party with Nadja Swarovski, and it was an enjoyable occasion in the autumn gloom of London, as Conde Nast editors and publishers mixed it with Swarovski’s glamorous executives, alongside by some interesting figures from the style and design worlds, and models and stylists from our shoots.

Magazine launches are all too rare these days, so it was good to be able to toast the rise of our reborn fashion and design title with a few cocktails and some creative buzz. LUX will have its own party next year!

Maddie Demaine

Saskia Sissons and Rupert Adams

Salt cover model Sydney Lima, Joanna Dalla-Ragione and Darius Sanai

Kate Reardon

Celine Cousteau and Carolin Wegerer

Darius Sanai and Nadja Swarovski

Stephen Quinn and Bill Prince

Darius Sanai, Harriet Quick, Albert Read and Nicholas Coleridge

Reading time: 4 min

Ski season is in full swing, and there’s nothing like nestling around a dining table in your own apartment on the slopes, sipping at your own magnum of Brunello di Montlcino in privacy with your nearest and dearest, exchanging tales of the day’s adventures. However, until recently, the casual Alpine skier without the good fortune to own a home in St Moritz or Zermatt, would risk suffering for their hobby. In contrast to North America, ski apartments in Europe were patchy at best, cramped and devoid of service – and still expensive – at worst.

Then, French hospitality group Pierre & Vacances began constructing its own, purpose-built, resort and apartment complexes, with all the panache of the best ski-in, ski-out properties in North America. Arc 1950, L’Amara in Avoriaz, and Les Terraces d’Helios above Flaine, all in the French Alps, are delightful, contemporary developments, with five-star hotel-style service, spas, bars, pools and – most importantly of all – properly designed ski-in, ski-out facilities. More are in the pipeline, meaning you don’t have to buy a $10m apartment in the Engadine to enjoy high standards in your “own place” on the slopes. Darius Sanai speaks to Martine Balouka-Valette, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism at Pierre & Vacances, about the Alps and other holiday trends.

Martine Balouka-Valette Luxury Leaders

Martine Balouka-Valette

LUX: When we first saw one of your properties (in the recently-developed resort of Arc 1950 in France) we couldn’t help but be reminded of the holistic architecture of top North American resorts like Breckenridge and Whistler. Is that your inspiration – do you bring some North American standards to Europe?
Martine Balouka-Valette: No, I don’t think I would say that. We are inspired by our own architecture! For example, we are planning to develop a new destination, Aime 2000 in the resort of La Plagne, with the architects Wilmotte & Associates [whose projects include new elements of the Elysée Palace, Louvre Museum and Musée d’Orsay in Paris]. It will be of a very high standard, our own style, and it will open in 2019.

Read next: On board Africa’s most luxurious train

LUX: A couple of decades ago, wealthy British people, in particular, would think nothing of piling into shared ski accommodation which was of a far lower standard than their residences at home. Is there now a trend of consumers moving more towards the luxury end of ski accommodation?
Martine Balouka-Valette: Yes. They don’t want to have less than what they have at home. It means that now we are going more and more premium. Price is not an issue – at all. They are looking for services. And we are cementing that, because we need to meet their expectations. It’s key for us. When you are a family you now expect a certain type of product. When you are young and you want to sing and dance and ski and you want to have very good time, it’s slightly different. Families expect us to take care of the children in order to allow the parents to spend time in the spa and skiing. They are comfortable and feel secure that we can take care of their kids. We have developed various products in order for people to enjoy their vacations their own individual time.

L'Amara ski resort

L’Amara, Avoriaz

LUX: What about Asia? Is that something that is important for you?
Martine Balouka-Valette: Yes, we have signed an agreement with HNA Tourism Group (Hainan Airlines) that own 10% of Pierre et Vacances Center Parcs in total, to develop the Center Parcs concept in China. We have an agreement that the outline is to build four projects in the next 3 years. And we also plan to develop a Chinese mountain resort because they are very fond of our facilities at Avoriaz in France. I think with the 2022 Winter Olympics (in Beijing) in mind they want to create a new destination on the mountain that can be completed with new apartments that they have in the mountain, to convert it into a ski resort destination.

L'Amara, Avoriaz

Inside one of the luxury residences of L’Amara

LUX: You mentioned Chinese skiers enjoying Avoriaz – is that is a big potential market? The Chinese in Europe, skiing?
Martine Balouka-Valette: Yes. They love our resorts in France; for example in summer they enjoy coming to Center Parcs to enjoy the Loire castles. They enjoy the mountains, and in Paris we have Adagio (apart-hotels) with more than 5,000 apartments, they are very fond of this type of destination. So the three brands (Pierre & Vacances, Center Parcs, Adagio) meet the expectations of the Chinese clientele; we are pretty sure it is an upcoming market for us. I think it can be a very important business but we have to be careful that we balance between the domestic market and the Chinese market because otherwise the other clientele will disappear because when you have a dominant clientele, it’s not appealing.

Read next: Eric Favre, MD of The Alpina Gstaad on the simplicity of true luxury

LUX: With all the disruptors in the industry, are you optimistic about the future of the type of tourism you specialise in?
Martine Balouka-Valette: I am the CEO of the group so I cannot tell you that there is no future in our business! (…) Our locations are very good. They have space. I think our main competitor will increasingly be Air B and B or One Fine StayOne Fine Stay. This type of business is becoming a competitor for us, apart from the hotel business. But of course there is a future because as a brand what we offer is secure and safe. We have the services there, and we do not cheat our clientele. We are not proposing services that we cannot provide. So there is a real future for this type of business – more and more so. And [regarding upmarket wintersports accommodation] we are the leader. And our goal is to remain the leader in this category. That is why we continue to upgrade our accommodation because that is where the market is.

Reading time: 5 min
Donna Huanca installation
Super-collector Anita Zabludowicz founded the Zabludowicz Collection in the early 1990s with her husband, Poju, to support the works of emerging contemporary artists across the globe.With over 5,000 works by 500 artists, the Zabludowicz Collection moved to a permanent home in a former Methodist church in Camden, London, when husband and wife ran out of space on their walls at home; it holds regular exhibitions and live shows. She also creates initiatives for artists without commercial gallery representation, and funds art education programs. In the latest of our Luxury Leaders series Zabludowicz, a regular star in the Art Review Power 100 list of the most powerful people in the art world, speaks to Kitty Harris about nurturing artists, whether art has to be beautiful, and what her desert island artwork would be.
Zabludowicz collection

Public day at Zabludowicz collection. Image by David Bebber

LUX: What gave you the idea to start collecting?
Anita Zabludowicz: As a collector you don’t know that you’re actually going to become a collector. In the 90s my husband, Poju, and I went to see a Contemporary Art show called ‘High and Low’ in New York. We had never really seen the works of Claes Oldenburg, and Jeff Koons mixed with Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein. We thought, “that was really amazing, maybe we can do that.” Poju said to me “okay, but you need to go and study, do your homework and learn.” In the late 90s there was a sudden movement towards contemporary art, a new kind of revolution. We met Nick Serota then, while he was building the Tate and he introduced us to Thomas Dane, the architect of our collection. We started collecting Richard Prince photography, the Dusseldorf school like Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff.

LUX: For your own enjoyment and to put up in your house?
Anita Zabludowicz: Yes, exactly until there was too much of it. That’s when you know you’re a collector, when you can’t fit everything on your walls!

Read next: Journeying through Southern Africa on Rovos Rail

LUX: What made you make that leap from a private collection to a public one?
Anita Zabludowicz: I felt very guilty having young artist’s installations in storage and a responsibility to show the works. At that time no one was showing works like these because it was too risky for museums. I saw a gap in the art world and these young artists, who really are geniuses, needed a platform to be seen.

Anita Zabludowicz art collector

Anita Zabludowicz

LUX: Why did you start the residency program in Finland?
Anita Zabludowicz: So that our artists in residence are able to progress their practice as much as possible. We have usually worked with the artist before they do a residency and we tailor it to whatever they wish to do.

LUX: Is that very important to you, to nurture artists?
Anita Zabludowicz: That is the most important thing, so that they continue to grow. And so that when we are with them, they are getting something out of us.

Read next: Fawaz Gruosi on black diamonds and innovation

LUX: What’s coming up next year that you can tell us about now?
Anita Zabludowicz: ‘Invites’ is on now with a very interesting, young, Dutch painter, Willem Weismann. And we also have Donna Huanca which is really something mind blowing. She has used sound and infra-red so that you are actually interacting with the exhibition. Early next year we have ‘Testing Ground’ where we do a master class with four or five major artists, someone like John Stezaker , teaching younger artists. They do a lecture, they teach them, they critique them. Then we bring in the MA classes from the Royal College of art and John Cass (the colleges change each year) who work together to curate a show of the collection. It’s really refreshing and amazing because they are not marred by the market. Our photography show is at the end of March and it’s about the invisibility of the picture. It is going to be quite unique and different. Haroon Mirza will be our solo show in September. He works with digital and analogue and is a real meta modern artist, working with collaging information.

Haroon Mirza

The system blue by Haroon Mirza

LUX: Have you noticed any, or are you nurturing any trends?
Anita Zabludowicz: We don’t nurture trends but we are fascinated by new movements in the world that came from all different directions. For instance, last year, if you can call it a trend, we did a more digital, technological show with Jon Rafman who made a virtual reality film. It was probably the first time this country had seen virtual reality so we had queues around the block.

LUX: Does art have to be beautiful?
Anita Zabludowicz: Beautiful art is fantastic and gorgeous and it is so decorative. But for us, it’s about what’s behind that work of art. There is so much depth, thought and history and that’s what makes your mind expand and think. That’s what art is all about.

Donna Huanca installation

Donna Huanca

Read next: Salvatore Ferragamo on the art of fine wine

LUX: You’re more interested in an artist’s cultural value, not their market value. How do you think the art market affects an artist?
Anita Zabludowicz: The art market is a very strange phenomenon where artists are kind of forced to mass produce. It’s supply and demand and they are adhering to the demand. Then everything just loses its sense of reality. I don’t like to get too much involved when that is happening. It’s too hard. It’s too difficult. It’s too sad.

LUX: There is a new law and you are only allowed to have one work of art – what would you keep?
Anita Zabludowicz: Oh my God! It would be a work by Anj Smith, she’s not that well known but she is the most talented painter I’ve ever come across. I suppose every woman in some way desires jewellery but the most desirable thing to me is a painting of hers.

Reading time: 5 min
Mr. Pig pop up by nobu's ex-head chef

Ex-Nobu head chef, Scott Hallsworth, provides Londoners with a rare insight into some of his favourite foods at a wonderfully wintery pop-up that will have your taste-buds tingling and your eyes all aglow this festive season.

Mr. Pig pop up by nobu's ex-head chef

Mr. Pig’s cosy Christmas interiors

Kurobuta, the recent brainchild of Scott Hallsworth, and now a permanent fixture in Marble Arch and on the Kings Road since it outgrew it’s original pop-up due to overwhelming popularity, takes its inspiration from the Izakayas of Japan, where tapas-style plates are served to accompany drinks in a casual setting. This December, Hallsworth has gone back to his roots and installed a painfully cool pop-up below the site on the King’s Road, to showcase his love for unusually-combined ingredients – derived from both Japan and beyond.

super-chef scott hallsworth

Scott Hallsworth

Hip, relaxed and with just a hint of East-London edginess, diners sit on metal chairs at communal wooden tables, with chopsticks in recycled tins ready to be tackled, with Hallsworth himself making the dishes to order in the open kitchen a few feet away. This is stripped-back rock ‘n’ roll exemplary gastronomy at its best.

Settle in, get cosy and dive straight into the cocktail list. A sake-based tipple is compulsory, but for those otherwise inclined a ‘Pink Rabbit’ consisting of Patron, Campari and Strawberry Jam, that arrives in a champagne glass with a puff of candy floss sets things off with a bang. Mr. Pig’s real draw however is, of course, the food. The specially-chosen 10-dish-only menu is designed to be enjoyed ‘tapas style’. One could (and should), easily make their way through the entire list. Hallsworth’s favourite – Short Rib Rendang with Coconut and Crab Sambal is a joy, the Eringi Mushrooms baked with Sake, Butter, Garlic and served with Beurre Blanc are mouth-wateringly good, and the Grilled Pork Belly and Pickled Mussel Ssäm with Chili Jam and Roasted Rice is crunchy, juicy and packed with flavour. The best dish? The Crispy Oysters with Nam Jim and Umami Mayo, without doubt. These light, citrusy bites of flavour are enough to make any foodie feel that Christmas has come early.

Hallsworth has done it again. With its low-lighting, cosy atmosphere, relaxed ambience, festive tipples and a perfectly-crafted menu, Mr. Pig is the place to indulge in some festive cheer this December. Open Thursday to Saturday for dinner only, be sure to not miss out.

Reading time: 2 min
Rovos Rail in the Karoo settlement of Matjiesfontein
Rovos Rail in the Karoo settlement of Matjiesfontein

The Rovos vintage train at Matjiesfontein. Image by James Houston

Journeying through desert, diamond fields and wine lands, South Africa’s luxurious vintage train line takes Digital Editor, Millie Walton from the country’s capital of Pretoria to Cape Town

“Has anyone travelled with us before?” A few hands shoot up. “More than twice?” A few down. “More than three times?” One hand remaining. “How many times have you travelled with us, sir?” “Eight,” replies a balding man who looks like he spends his time smoking cigars in a white tuxe (this was affirmed later on). We all gasp. Eight times on the most luxurious train in the world. Rohan Vos, the founder of Rovos Rail, smiles, “It should be you up here doing the welcome talk.”

Vos, a tall, distinguished looking gentleman with a strong South African accent, purchased his first coach in 1985: a 1938 Class 19D locomotive from Lowenthal’s Scrap Metal in Johannesburg renamed BIANCA after his daughter. His intention was to restore the carriages and hitch them to a South African Railways train as a family caravan, but the tariff for hauling the train was extortionate unless he sold tickets and so, quite naturally, the Pride of Africa was born.

Read next: Fawaz Gruosi on luxury’s need for experimentation

Rovos rail dining car

It’s time to board. Our wonderful, young hostess Lizzy gives us the grand tour of our lavish suite and asks us how we’d like our mini-fridge to be stocked. All complimentary, of course. Then its to the observation car for high tea: champagne, cake, sandwiches and biltong as the train rolls through the goldfields of the Witwatersrand. At 7.30pm the gong rings for a five course dinner in the old-fashioned dining cart. Most of this journey is spent heavily sated with food and alcohol. I’m not quite sure how one would survive the 15 day ramble through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. The excess is all part of the nostalgia, harkening back to a time without weight watchers and juices cleanse, when wealth was illustrated by the plumpness of your breasts. When you’re travelling past townships and bare-footed children running along the train tracks though, it does all seem a bit (forgive the pun) tasteless especially when you’re sitting back unbuckling your trousers too stuffed to finish the last few bites of lobster tail. However, tourism like this is crucial to supporting the South African economy; Rovos alone provides many job opportunities and tries where possible to use locally sourced produce. You’re by no means changing the world, but at least when your champagne is being topped up, you can rest in the knowledge that you are making some kind of contribution.

Royal suite on the rovos train

The day bed in the Royal Suite. Image by Rovos Rail

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During the night the train rattles through eerily barren landscapes crossing the border between the maize lands of western Transvaal and the Orange Free State, arriving into Kimberley shortly after breakfast. Once the wealthiest city in the world and still home to the De Beers headquarters, Kimberley is surprisingly unvisited by tourists and as such, has remained delightfully trapped in the distant past. We stand for a while in awe on the suspended viewing platform that juts out over the Big Hole, 580ft deep and a mile wide, filled with turquoise water before wandering round the diamond museum to marvel at some of the gems found embedded in the kimberlite.

Rovos Rail, Pretoria to Cape Town

Golden fields through the train’s window. Image by James Houston

There’s something wonderfully cinematic and romantic about lying on your day bed watching the landscape change from the green marshlands of the diamond fields into the harsh, semi-desert of the Karoo. Through the night we bound across Beaufort West, the “Capital of the Karoo”, famous as the home of Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world’s first successful heart transplant. The night sky is startlingly clear scattered with thousands of burning white stars. On the hills, the tops of what look like wind mills dance with coloured LEDs.

Read next: Investment secrets from international entrepreneur, Javad Maranda

The train pulls up somewhere in the middle of nowhere shortly after day break for those who wish to walk the next 5 kilometres to Matjiesfontein,a tiny settlement founded by a Scottish railwayman, James Douglas Logan. The short stretch of tarmac with a colonial style hotel, an old fashioned post office and sun worn, pastel coloured petrol pumps leads into dust and desert. It’s a lonely kind of place, preserved just as it would have been when Logan planted his first handful of seeds. The museum is a labyrinth of underground caves piled high with ancient furniture, type writers, medical equipment, dolls and trinkets. It’s hard to imagine that this quiet place was where 10,000 soldiers were based during the Boer War.

Table Mountain Cape Town

Table Mountrain looms majestic at dusk. Image by Millie Walton

After miles more of desolation, the train enters the Hex River tunnels, emerging blinking into the lush fertility of the Hex River Valley. This is South Africa’s wine lands where white dutch country style houses stand orderly amongst the vines. The train heaves to a stop alongside golden fields of corn and cows grazing. We sip cocktails and wait. There’s a rumour that the train lines have been stolen, we’re going to be delayed here for some hours. How delightful! In fact, when we do get rolling again the sun is just setting. Through the pink and orange hue, and streaming smoke of a wild fire Table Mountain appears.

Discover more itineraries by Rovos Rail:

Reading time: 4 min
Florence-born Fawaz Gruosi spent years working with diamond expert Harry Winston in Saudi Arabia, learning the intricacies of the industry from within. In 1993 he launched his own brand, de Grisogono in fine jewellery’s capital, Geneva. Despite his lack of formal training, Gruosi is now widely considered one of the most creatively daring, sales savvy and charming jewellery designers on the modern market. He speaks to Millie Walton about black diamonds, celebrity endorsements and the need for experimentation.
Models Kate Moss and Helena Christensen pictured with Fawaz Gruosi

Kate Moss, Fawaz Gruosi and Helena Christensen

Fawaz Gruosi at Eden Roc cocktail party in Cannes

LUX: What do you think makes de Grisogono so successful?
Fawaz Gruosi: De Grisogono is characterised by unique and playful design codes. I like people to feel glamorous in my creations and while I have the greatest respect for them, I am not bound by the conventions of traditional jewellery design; at de Grisogono we like to take risks. When you wear de Grisogono you are making a statement, I think this is what makes us stand out.

LUX: Which markets are most interesting in the luxury world at the moment?
Fawaz Gruosi: We are currently expanding our offering in the Middle East and we are also looking into Asia. In Europe, London remains an important market; our Flagship opened in February 2016 and deeply reflects our brand aesthetics and my personal roots. The plan of the store references the typical Florentine villa – where I grew up – with three distinctive rooms: the Corte, the Grande Sala and the Stanza Del Tempo. The space uses chiaroscuro – playing with light and dark, texture and colour – to add interest to the room and create playful backdrop to the jewellery and watches.

Read next: Christmas in a Mayfair toy shop

de Grisgono founder and creative director pictured with milla jovovich

Milla Jovovich with Fawaz Gruosi at Cannes in 2002

LUX: How do you compete against historic jewellery brands?
Fawaz Gruosi: We do not compete against historic jewellery brands, what we offer is completely different. We are often described as ‘daring’ and ‘trailblazing’ thanks to the fact that my approach does not conform to the rigours of traditional jewellery design. Our clients come to us because they know they will find something different. I made my name by experimenting at a time when the market was tired of traditional pieces that looked more or less the same. My designs are bold and colourful, we mix semi-precious with precious stones to create unexpected, unusual and beautiful pieces.

LUX: How has the fine jewellery world changed since you first entered it?
Fawaz Gruosi: At the beginning, many people were wary of my approach to high jewellery but now people are actively seeking more daring and challenging designs. Conventional design has given way to greater creative freedom.

LUX: You’re famous for pioneering the use of the “black diamond”, what inspired that innovation?
Fawaz Gruosi: I was entranced by the story of the historic Black Orlov, a monumental black diamond. I began to research black diamonds which had been rejected by the industry, largely because they are extremely challenging to cut. I found them intriguing, captivating, and any other gemstone is immediately enhanced by the dark sparkle of black diamonds, creating one of the most striking chiaroscuro effect. In 1996, de Grisogono launched a collection devoted to the black diamond. It was perfectly pitched at a moment when monochrome minimalism was very fashionable, sparking a massive global jewellery style-trend for black diamonds which continues unabated today.

Read next: An insider’s guide to Europe’s biggest car auction

LUX: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as the founder and creative director of a luxury brand?
Fawaz Gruosi: The marriage between business and creative approach – thankfully we seem to have struck the right balance.

LUX: How important are celebrity endorsements for de Grisogono?
Fawaz Gruosi: The glamour of celebrity has greatly helped to shape our identity. The tone was set when the first de Grisogono boutique was opened in Geneva in 1993 at a party attended by Sophia Loren. Since then, we have been lucky to play host to many of the world’s most beautiful and famous women who have attended our parties and worn our jewels – Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Sharon Stone to name a few. Throughout the years, we have built lasting friendships with celebrities. By personally choosing de Grisogono for their red carpet moment, they express their love and passion for exclusive, distinctive, dazzling jewellery. This year during Cannes, we were delighted to see Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian wearing our jewellery, as well as Jourdan Dunn, Milla Jovovich, Toni Garn and Natasha Poly.

Kim Kardashian with de Grisogono founder

Kim Kardashian and Fawaz Gruosi in Cannes

de Grisgono founder pictured with Liz Hurley

Fawaz Gruosi with Liz Hurley in Gstaad

LUX: When you look back on your career, what are you most proud of?
Fawaz Gruosi: I am most proud of the de Grisogono family. My closest team members are at my side for 10, 20 years now. We are just like a family and know exactly how each other works and I am proud of each and every one of them.

LUX: What lies ahead for the brand?
Fawaz Gruosi: We continue to expand into new territories and next year will be exciting in terms of some of the high jewellery creations we plan to unveil.

LUX: How do you relax?
Fawaz Gruosi: I have been so busy in the recent years that relaxing is a true luxury! But a perfect way to relax would be spending time with my family, in Porto Cervo or St. Moritz/Gstaad during winter, listening to music or cooking pasta for big groups of friends at home!

Reading time: 4 min
cointreau and liberty partnership
Creative Directer of Cointreau

Laetitia Casta

Supermodel Erin O’Connor, actress Clara Paget and Alfred Cointreau crammed into a leafy green photo booth for creative picture and video calls during a slightly surreal launch party earlier this week in central London. We were at the Liberty London store to celebrate the launch of a social media campaign by Cointreau to support a reforestation project in Senegal, set up by the company’s Artistic Director Laetitia Casta in collaboration with artist, Naziha Mestaoui.

Read next: Sweden’s quiet gastronomic revolution

For each photo posted on Instagram with the hashtag #1orange1tree, Cointreau will plant an orange tree in the local community to promote biodiversity in a heavily deforested area. There’s a rather beautiful collectors item for sale too: the Parisian Zest Coffret, decorated with an exclusive Liberty print pattern and filled with a zesty candle, cocktail notebook and of course, a bottle of the bittersweet liquor.

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By Kitty Harris

Reading time: 1 min
By Darius Sanai
Editor in Chief

Starting on Friday November 25, around 480 supercars and classics will be up for sale in Milan at the RM Sotheby’s Duemila Route (“two thousand wheels”) auction. But it’s not the just the quantity of stock or the lack of a reserve that has excited collectors and dealers from around the world: it’s the quality and variety of the collection.

From a single owner whose business assets were seized by the Italian government, the sale is of a connoisseur’s collection of some of the most exciting and prized cars of the past 40 years, including a phenomenal selection of the hottest market category right now, so-called “modern classics”. The collection is short on the prewar Bentleys and 1950s Jaguars that might have made up a classic collection in the past; instead, it features some of the hottest cars of the modern era.

Read next: Mercedes-Benz launches new book with Condé Nast

The star of the show may be a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6c Alloy, estimated at more than 2.5 million euros (although, hypothetically, if nobody else bids, it could be yours for a fraction of that). However much of the attention has been focused on more modern cars. These include one of a handful of Ferrari 599 Fioranos made with a manual transmission instead of the much more common paddle-shift; a rare Ferrari 575 Maranello with the same transmission; two Porsche 911 GT2s from the ‘996’ model designation, considered the last of the raw driving experience Porsches; a Ferrari F512M, the final, rarest, most powerful and desirable of the Testarossa series of the 1980s and 1990s; and many more, including rally cars from Lancia, a desirable ‘plexi’ Ferrari Daytona, and a 25th Anniversary edition of the legendary Lamborghini Countach, designed by Horacio Pagani, who later went on to found the Pagani supercar brand.

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The collection of the unfortunate, bankrupted collector was as broad as it is deep, with cars for fans of every marque and at every price level: if fast BMWs are your thing, there is a brace of original BMW M3s, a M635 CSi and an original M Coupe. There are Porsches from 1970 to 2007 (a 997 GT3 RS).

Read next: Salvatore Ferragamo on Tuscan indulgence

“It’s an extraordinary selection – there is every Porsche 911 you can imagine, for example,” says Alain Squindo, COO of RM Sothebys. “It was amassed relatively discreetly, the collection was not known about before. What’s particularly interesting about this auction is that it highlights what’s particularly appealing to new collectors, 30 and 40 year olds coming into the car world. They are not interested in prewar grand sedans: instead we have sporting high performance stuff, Porsche 911s, Lancia Integrales, Alfas, Astons, thrilling high horsepower stuff.” It’s the sheer quantity that fascinates, he points out: there are two fibreglass Ferrari 308s, four Ferrari Testarossas (all red).

Squindo says most of the cars are “cosmetically pristine” while emphasising that RM Sotheby’s hasn’t had time to inspect them all and that bidders need to look carefully at the particulars in the catalogue. If your newly acquired Ferrari 400i doesn’t work, there’s no comeback.

Still, for a collector of modern classics, the atmosphere will be of a child in a sweetshop. The world’s biggest sweetshop. Just don’t get carried away. Now, I’m going to look at one of those Ferraris…

Reading time: 2 min

Fotofever Paris is a friendly kind of art fair. It welcomes newcomers, whether or not their pockets are deep, and favours fresh faced talent. Ahead of the fair’s fifth edition, held under the majestic roof of the Carrousel du Louvre, Millie Walton speaks to the founder and director, Cécile Schall about the emotional impact of artwork, how digital apps have affected photography and the next generation of collectors.

founder of fotofever

Cécile Schall. Image by Paola Guigou

Millie Walton: What inspired you to start fotofever?
Cécile Schall: My passion for photography is something that’s always been with me, fed by my family’s attachment to this art form for many generations. I founded fotofever 5 years ago, driven by the feeling I had when I purchased my first ever artwork 8 years ago; the emotion took over me and I knew I had to have that work. I found a way, through instalments, so that I could have it in my home and enjoy it every day. I now want to show other art lovers, that it’s possible to become a collector and also demonstrate why it is important to collect, which will support artists and to allow great artistic creation to continue.

MW: How do you compete against more established and larger art fairs?
CS: fotofever stands out from the other fairs firstly because it is the only one focused on encouraging and guiding new collectors. Our program ‘start to collect’ has been created specifically to offer new collectors a selection of quality artworks within a price range attainable for new collectors ( less than 5,000 Euros). It will also offer more established collectors some guidelines and the basic principles about collecting photography, so that they can ‘safely’ let their heart fall for an artwork and purchase it.

Fumikazu Ishino photography

Fumikazu Ishino ‘A Caramel Tooth Filling’. Courtesy Einstein Studio

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I see photography as the most appropriate medium to begin buying and collecting contemporary art. It’s the most accessible aesthetically and financially. Today, however, unfortunately we see that most people who have the financial means to collect, hesitate to take that first step. Often this is because the art world is intimidating to novices.

Fotofever is the perfect hunting ground for confirmed collectors who seek to discover the artists of tomorrow – our independence allows us to present galleries with a bold program. Highlights of this year’s fair include the new zig-zag scenography, The Collector’s Apartment and organised discussions between artists, collectors and gallerists.

Eric Bouvet photography

‘Burning Man’ 2012 by Eric Bouvet, Courtesy Galerie Hegoa

MW: What advice would you give to someone looking to start a collection?
CS: To start a collection, you first have to realise that you don’t need to be wealthy or an art expert to buy your first piece of art. There is no set age to begin a collection, nor one to stop.

As a starting point, look for a theme that speaks to you, that is close to your heart, a passion. The theme is sometimes unconscious and may reveal itself to you well after the purchase of the first work…

Go to a gallery that you feel comfortable with, one where you imagine trust can be established. Perhaps that represents an artist who you’re already aware of.

Read next: In conversation with Frieze art fair’s co-founder, Matthew Slotover

Follow your heart and wait for the right moment. When you come across a good work, you’ll know. It will be like a light bulb has been switched on inside your head.

Despite this wave of emotion, keep your feet on the ground and start “small” when it comes to price and do not hesitate to ask the gallery if you can pay in monthly instalments as many are open to this.

Hugh Arnold's underwater photography series

Hugh Arnold. ‘Series Agua Nacida’. Courtesy Hilton Asmus Foto

MW:How do you think the art market has changed in recent years?
CS: The art market has evolved a great deal over the last decade, especially with the development of online galleries, or physical galleries that sell online. This has broken down a lot of galleries and encouraged more transparency with pricing, something that we agree with at fotofever is displaying the price as one of the exhibitor requirements.

MW: Are there any particular themes or trends that you can see emerging in photography?
CS: Each year fotofever gives birth to new collectors thanks to an eclectic selection of several hundred works presented by galleries from around the world. If it were not for these galleries and their expanding horizons, then this would not be able to happen. As a forward-looking photography art fair we are open to all new types of photography and its artists. Technology is moving fast and many of the galleries at fotofever mirror this, whether it’s the discovery of artists on Instagram or tricky aerial photography.

Antonie Rose photography

Antoine Rose. ‘Spiagge Bianche Study 2 Serie Tuscany 2015’. Courtesy Xin Art Galerie

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Millie Walton: How do you think digital apps like Instagram, have impacted the world of photography?<>
Cécile Schall: We live in an image-saturated world. Everyone carries some type of camera on them and are encourage to use it, to document, to share, sometimes to show-off! There is a generation that have grown up surrounded by photography. One of the focuses of fotofever is to educate the younger generation about photography as an art form, rather than a lifestyle accessory.

One of the main challenges we see when it comes to contemporary photography is its reproducibility, as opposed to the uniqueness of a painting or a sculpture. Photographers are creating more and more unique works to make them stand out not only visually but creatively too.

Edouard Taufenbach photography

Edouard Taufenbach. Cinema 1p Serie Cinema. Courtesy Galerie Gratadou Intuiti

This challenge is to do with the apparent simplicity of the photography practice, in a world where everyone with a smart phone considers themselves a photographer. It can give photography the status of a simple reproduction technique, when the creative process of some artists is very complex and part of the uniqueness of their work – such as Catherine Balet who worked full-time over 3 years to create her series Looking For The Masters in Ricardo’s Golden Shoes, or Antoine Rose who rides an helicopter over seaside resorts to take perfectly vertical shots.

For children ‘Les p’tits collectionneurs’ (the little collectors) is a 25m2 area at the heart of the fair that we’ve created in order to host fun and free educational workshops for children aged 6-12 years old. We want to show to children the entire creative process behind a photographic work by allowing them to take on the role of model, photographer and graphic designer.

The 18-35 generation also buy a lot online and social media has become influential in their decisions. Although we think that the physical encounter with an artwork is essential, the internet is an amazing information tool. We have been working on our web site to present all the artists that have been exhibited by the 300 galleries at fotofever since 2011. Our idea is to turn this site into a catalogue so that it acts as the fair’s continuum to support these partnerships.

Keren Bereshit photography

Keren Bereshit. 3 Bereshit 2002. Courtesy Lelia Mordoch

MW: In your view, what makes a good photograph?
CS: It’s unexplainable, judging whether an image is a good photograph is something that comes from experience but also from deep emotions. It’s completely subjective and that’s what makes walking around a photography fair such an interesting experience, to be able to see so many versions of a photograph as a work of art.

Read next: Art is the greatest legacy, says auctioneer Simon de Pury

MW: Which participating galleries are you most excited about this year?
CS: Throughout the year preparing the fair, the fotofever team has looked for the most promising, local and international galleries sharing its commitment to emerging contemporary artists using photography as a medium, so we are looking forward to seeing all the projects to be presented in real at the fair.

We are excited for all our exhibitors for different reasons, some because they have come so far (Asia for example), others because they are new, some because they’ve been with us from the beginning. They all add to the eclectic mix, but they all have fresh approaches to photography that you won’t see at other fairs.

fotofever paris 2016, runs from 11th to 13th November at the Carrousel du Louvre

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