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a man sitting on a silk rug
a man sitting on a silk rug

NIGO will be leading the creative vision for Penfolds in a multi-year artistic collaboration

Fashion and wine meet with the collaboration of Japanese fashion designer NIGO and the iconic Penfolds wine brand

One of the world’s most iconic wines just got a little more special. For years, collectors have lusted after Penfolds Grange, Australia’s most celebrated wine and quite possibly the most revered luxury brand to come out of the country. The phenomenon of Grange, as it is known to connoisseurs the world over, from Shanghai to San Francisco, is largely due to its sheer quality – many consider it the world’s best wine made from Shiraz (otherwise known as Syrah) grapes, but also due to its originality.

a bottle and a bandana

This collaboration sees the influence of NIGO’s company, Human Made, which was founded in Tokyo and draws upon
graphic design, subculture and streetwear

Unlike every other iconic world wine, whether from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa or elsewhere, Grange is not made from a single vineyard, or even from the same designated vineyards in a small, geographically distinct area, every year. Rather, it is made from grapes from Penfolds own vineyards and grower partners’ vineyards across Australia, selected by the Penfolds winemaking team for their Grange-like character. It is an icon that is also an iconoclast.

Read more: Inside Penfolds, the global luxury wine brand

a man with lots of wine barrels

NIGO, visiting Penfolds’ Magill Barrel Room, ahead of his collaboration, ‘Grange by NIGO’

So, how suitable that Penfolds Grange has partnered with the wildly original – some might say iconoclastic – Japanese designer and cultural hero NIGO, who is also Artistic Director of the Kenzo fashion brand and founder of Human Made. Appointed as the wine brand’s first ever Creative Partner in 2023, NIGO is working on a series of collaborations with the brand, none more exciting and iconoclastic than the recently released Grange by NIGO, which has seen NIGO design a limited edition gift box for the 2019 vintage. With each gift box individually numbered and including a bandana and bottle neck tag also designed by NIGO in his signature style, it’s a bold step for a fine wine brand, as Penfolds Chief Marketing Officer, Kristy Keyte, explains:

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

“This is a different direction for us, and the first time we have changed the distinctive gift box of our flagship Grange. Collaborating with NIGO has been inspired by Penfolds history of pushing boundaries in winemaking, and now we expand this to exploration of new creative ideas. As a collector, NIGO understands the reputation of Grange and its legacy. He was able to create a limited-edition approach that is both playful and fresh while remaining respectful to the history of the wine. We have never done this before, and the result is brave and refreshing.”

a guy sitting looking at a bottle of wine

‘Penfolds has always been one of my favourites’, says avid wine collector, NIGO

NIGO, a fine wine collector himself, commented : “I have been a collector of Grange for many years, but it wasn’t until I visit Penfolds Magill Estate that I truly understood the craftmanship and history behind the historic wine. It was an honour to be the first person to collaborate on a design for Grange, especially as the brand celebrates its 180th anniversary.”

a man holding a bottle of wine

According to Drinks International’s 2024 list of The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands, Penfolds is one of the top three wine brands globally

There are only 1500 standard-sized 750ml bottles and 150 magnums available globally and they are selling fast in this, Penfolds 180th anniversary year, following their initial release in Australia and Asia recently, and they are likely to become highly collectible. We suggest buying as many as you can: its a wine whose box (and nifty bandana) is as striking and delicious as the liquid inside.

Penfolds Grange by NIGO is available globally. Future projects between Penfolds and NIGO will be announced later this year, 2024.

penfolds.com

 

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The greatest wine discoveries on the planet might just be from an Australian brand that has been hiding in plain sight. In a conversation and tasting with Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago, LUX has a revelation

The world of fine wine is a paradox that make things interesting – sits Penfolds, a one. Some of the greatest wines are household names: who hasn’t heard of Dom Pérignon or Château Lafite? Yet others of the same or even higher stature are almost secret; few outside a tiny circle of collectors know of the wines of Henri Jayer or Château Rayas.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

And even seasoned wine collectors and aficionados could be forgiven for being confused by the “origin paradox”. This is not a story of religion (although, given the fervency of arguments it generates, it could be), but of location. As ever wealthier collectors delve ever deeper into their passions, the specific vineyard sites of specific producers can see their produce sell for a multiple of the price of the vines next door, ostensibly making the same kind of wine from the same type of grapes on the same soil.

man

Chief Winemaker Peter Gago

Within this fascinating collectors’ maelstrom – and with wine, as with people, it’s the paradoxes that make things interesting – sits Penfolds, a producer at once revered for its super-premium collectable wines, and known for its good value everyday bottlings. Penfolds is a latticework of delicious paradoxes – a fine-wine world in itself. For example, it’s quite possible you will find a delicious, easy-drinking Penfolds red wine at a good metropolitan supermarket for the price of four oat chai lattes at Starbucks. Meanwhile, if you wanted to get your hands on a bottle of Penfolds g3, one of the producer’s most revered red wines, wine-searcher.com lists its average global price as around £18,500 (US$23,000) at the time of writing. Only 1,200 bottles were ever made. Even more extreme is Penfolds Ampoule, a glass and precious-metal decanter of one of its most rare wines, the Penfolds (monopole) 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon, of which only 12 were made, and which currently retails at around £127,000 (US$160,000) – if you can find one.

wines

A line-up of Penfolds classics

Penfolds’ slightly more abundant high-end wines, The Penfolds Collection, are celebrated by connoisseurs around the world: bottles such as Grange and Bin 707 sell for the same prices as the most prized châteaux from Bordeaux. The 2021 Yattarna, a Chardonnay, recently received a 100/100-points score from leading authority on Australian wine Andrew Caillard MW; like a super-luxe white Burgundy – Le Montrachet, say. For us, the most intriguing, and delicious (see tasting notes, opposite) Penfolds paradox is a development of the company’s different way of doing things. Grange, traditionally its most celebrated wine, made mainly of the Shiraz (Syrah) grape, has always been made from multiple vineyard sites across a vast area, in stark contrast to its counterparts in France, which are from tiny, specified vineyard plots.

Now, Penfolds has stretched that logic from Australia across countries and even continents: Penfolds II is a top-end Cabernet-Shiraz from Bordeaux and South Australia (in the same bottle). The company also now makes Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines in Napa, as well as making wines (in the Medoc/Bordeaux) with grapes sourced from across the Bordeaux region. Peter Gago, Chief Winemaker at Penfolds, says stretching the brand from the high end to the middle market is a deliberate, democratising strategy. “Luxury has many meanings to many different people – it’s a continuum,” he explains. “We mustn’t forget that this is Penfolds’ 180th year, and what we do at the top end has to permeate all the way down to entry-level wines. This is what sets us apart from other ‘luxury’ wines. I’m not saying I’m a socialist when it comes to luxury, but it’s not just for the chosen few, it’s for everyone to have a taste of. “What makes us unique is affordable luxury at one level, transcending to the 2012 Ampoule launched at the Baccarat Club in Moscow: courage coupled with quality.” Gago makes the point that Penfolds wines have rewarded investors in top-end wines as well as any of the world’s best: the Ampoule was launched at around £87,600 (US$110,000) 12 years ago, and one reportedly recently sold on the secondary market for around £130,400 (US$162,000).

Read more: Lewis Chester on Giacomo Conterno

room

The Grange Tunnel at the Magill Estate, which is just east of Adelaide

UK-born Gago has been Chief Winemaker at Penfolds for 22 years and moves and shakes with rock stars and Hollywood actors who revere the wines; but he is never happier than when talking about the wines. He enthuses about Penfolds’ continuing collaboration with Champagne Thiénot, which has seen the release of some highly acclaimed vintage Champagnes in its first five years, including the 2013 Penfolds X Champagne Thiénot Blanc de Noirs, which last year was awarded Best Blanc de Noirs Champagne in the world by a panel of experts compiled by tastingbook.com founder Pekka Nuikki. (Champagne, of course, can only be made in the Champagne region of France.) He also enjoys the challenges of making a great Pinot Noir to match the best of Burgundy like a great Chambertin or Vosne-Romanée. “Some say that Australian Pinot Noirs lack the complexity of Burgundy. With Cabernet and Shiraz, we’re competing at any level. For Pinot Noir, the journey continues,” says Gago. It’s a journey Penfolds has been taking for nearly two centuries, and one that Gago and his successors will no doubt savour. Meanwhile, the greatest wine discovery you may make this year could just be a wine from a brand that’s been hiding in plain sight.

king charles

King Charles and Queen Camilla (the then Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall) taste the 1962 Penfolds Bin 60A with Peter Gago in 2015, Milton Wordley Photography

Tasting notes by LUX

1 Penfolds Grange, 2019, South Australia – £600 (US$740)

The ne plus ultra of Penfolds wines (if you ignore the hyperwines at hyperprices), and often thought the world’s best Shiraz (Syrah). This is a complex philosopher of a wine, which reveals layer upon layer over an evening. This vintage is still at school; try to find one of university-graduation age.

2 Penfolds Bin 707, 2019, South Australia – £450 (US$555)

Bin numbers are essential to an understanding of Penfolds wines, and 707 is an eternally velvety Cabernet Sauvignon that is a world in itself. It
is neither slightly austere, like a Bordeaux, nor open, like many great new-world Cabernets. A restrained lusciousness, like a young Daniel Craig.

3 Penfolds Bin 704, 2019, Napa Valley – £60 (US$75)

A Napa Cabernet by an Australian company? Zut alors! We loved the subtle fanning of flavours – more a refined tap on the shoulder than a knockout punch. More Bogart than Stallone.

4 Penfolds II, 2019, Bordeaux/South Australia – £270 (US$335)

A French-Australian blend! Double zut alors!
This wine has the intensity of Simone de Beauvoir and the persistence and artistry of Shane Warne. And chapeau to Penfolds for even trying.

5 Penfolds Yattarna, 2021, Australia – £135 (US$165)

Garnered a perfect 100/100-point score from wine critic Andrew Caillard MW; rich yet levitatingly fresh, powerful yet delicate, quite unlike anything else – like Margot Fonteyn driving an F1 car.

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Reading time: 6 min
Kishwar Chowdhury showing a chef wearing a top hat how to prepare many plates of food
Kishwar Chowdhury showing a chef wearing a top hat how to prepare many plates of food

Kishwar Chowdhury’s Bengali heritage is a crucial part of her approach to cuisine

Australia based Bengali chef Kishwar Chowdhury was a finalist in the 2021 series of Masterchef Australia. Here she speaks to LUX Contributing Editor, Samantha Welsh about the ways her heritage influences her cooking

LUX: Dhaka, London, Heidelberg, Las Vegas, how has living in all these very different locations shaped your outlook?
Kishwar Chowdhury: Having lived on a few different continents and constantly traveling through my work has definitely shaped who I am. When I finish my kitchen projects in a city, I’m often roaming the markets, finding where the locals eat and befriending anyone who’s love language is food! I find that you can get to know people and learn about cultures very intimately, in a very short space of time by immersing yourself in their food. I carry these encounters with me and it definitely shapes my creative process.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: You had several career options but you seem drawn to something beyond personal ambition. How did you find this back home?
KC: Before moving into the world of food I was happily immersed in the printing, packaging and design industry. But food allowed me to express the deeper inquisitions and thoughts I had about the world. I feel very fortunate that I have an audience that is interested in that voice, whether it’s about ethnicity and ownership or ecology and waste. I feel I can wholly express myself through this medium and in doing so, found a collective global audience that resonated with me. I can see the impact that this has on the next generation, including my children and that to me is reason enough to be here.

eggplant prepared on a black plate

Chowdhury takes pride in using techniques from many different cultures in her cuisine

LUX: Congratulations on having the drive and talent to make it to the final of Australian Masterchef! What made you do it and what have you learned along the way?
KC: The short answer to that is my son, Mika, made me do it. During the lockdown, we were living on a farm outside of my hometown of Melbourne. Like many others, it was a time that made me reflect on what I really wanted to do with myself and what it was I would be leaving behind. It became integral to me to pass down to my children all the things my parents had spent a lifetime teaching me. I spent a lot of that time cooking, writing and drawing. My son was the one who urged me to apply for Masterchef after seeing an ad on TV and the rest is history.

a chef preparing a plate with leaves on it

Kishwar Chowdhury came third place in the 2021 series of Masterchef Australia

My biggest takeaway from the Masterchef experience was finding who I am as an Australian-Bengali. I think many of us around the world who belong to minority cultural diasporas live with their feet planted in two boats. Masterchef gave me an opportunity to express who I am through my dishes and represent both the Australian and Bengali sides of my identity.

LUX: Your recipes have reached an international platform and you champion your Bengali culture, as distinct from ethnicity or religion; is that important to you?
KC: Being born and bought up in Australia to Bengali migrants from both India and Bangladesh meant that I grew up identifying with Bengali food and culture beyond national borders. My food reflects the history and cross cultural influences that landed in the Bay of Bengal. Being a major trade port for the British East India Company, Mughals who bought their Persian cuisine and sharing porous borders with South East Asia, the layered food tapestry in this region is incredibly diverse, delicious and largely undiscovered. It’s impossible to write about Bengali cuisine and confine it to a certain ethnic group or religion.

A woman standing in a blue t shirt next to a world refuge campaign board

Kishwar Chowdhury has worked closely with the UN World Food Programme and ASCR to combat issues of hunger and food distribution

LUX: You could be said to subvert tropes about women’s work and women’s place in South East Asian society. How has this been received?
KC: I always say cooking has been a privilege for me. I get to approach it from a creative space and head kitchens, which is still, across the world, an anomaly. I do find frustrations in breaking stereotypes when people think cooking is a natural skillset for women or something that should be imparted on girls. I grew up in a household where both my mother and father cooked and believe that cooking is a basic life skill that every person should acquire. The burden of cooking still predominantly rests on South Asian women and women across all cultures in general. It is twice as difficult in that space to break that mould and to be seen as a chef rather than a cook.

LUX: How do you deal with preconceptions about how and where it is appropriate to serve South East Asian food?
KC: There has definitely been a hierarchy of cuisines that have been considered worthy of fine dining spaces. I do think that mould is being broken and we see a rise of restaurants showcasing heritage cuisines taking out Michelin stars and getting global accolades.

Durjoy Rahman in a white shirt standing next to Kishwar Chowdhury in a chef apron

Durjoy Rahman with Kishwar Chowdhury

I find that the hardest preconceptions to break are within one’s own cultural confines. Often, I recreate dishes that are historically peasant dishes or “Andarkhanna” food that is served at home. People who have never come across these dishes are receptive to the incredible techniques and subtle flavours that exist in heritage Bengali cuisine. But often the beauty and rarity of these dishes are overlooked when they’re cooked at home.

LUX: How did you come up with the controversial concept to repurpose leftovers to haute cuisine?
KC: Some of the greatest restaurants in the world, notably the famous René Redzepi’s Noma, have been exploring this concept for years and shed a global light on the importance of sustainability in this industry. This, together with the cultural significance of eating nose to tail, repurposing food scraps and using every part of an ingredient, whether it be a fruit, vegetable or a whole animal, led me to carry that ethos into my kitchens.

LUX: Tell us about your activism, particularly the UN World Food Programme and Feast for Freedom.
KC: I’ve never considered myself an activist, but feel a deep sense of responsibility to do something about the disparity in food distribution. Whilst one side of my work is about creating magical experiences, there is also a very real side of the food industry that entails waste, hunger and lack of access to basic nutrition for millions. Through working with the UN WFP and ASRC and having the platform and the ability to shed light on these matters is how I push for change.

plates prepared and food in a crate

Preservation and legacy are at the core of Kishwar Chowdhury’s cuisine

LUX: How can you capture a cultural legacy and preserve it for the next generation?
KC: It starts with preservation through practice and the written word. In my case, recipes, particularly from this part of the world, are difficult to preserve, as they are not scientific, like baking. They require a tactile understanding of spices and ingredients, seasonality and also locality. I’m currently writing my book on recipes from the Bay of Bengal and trying to pass on more than just recipes, but a way of life. As for the next generation, I think immersing my children, as I was, in art, cultural experiences, rituals and festivals, creates a muscle memory so that they too will want to recreate all this as they get older.

Read more: Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation: Bridging Global South And North

LUX: What would you tell a young chef embarking on their career?
KC: I would say find your voice in food. What is it you want to share with the world through your food, find the people and kitchens that will help you attain the skill set you need and always follow your stomach!

Find out more: @kishwar_chowdhury

This interview was conducted in association with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

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dolphin statue in a fountain
dolphin statue in a fountain

Dolphin Square, Dolphin House

Justin Travlos is Global Head of Responsible Investment at AXA IM Alts. His management of a diverse investment portfolio is governed by one underlying principle: all decisions are made in the context of understanding where risk is – from a sustainability standpoint. Here, Travlos speaks to Samantha Welsh about the growing importance of proptech, and why sustainable strategy should not be an exercise in cherry-picking ‘green’ assets but embedded across the entire portfolio
Justin Travlos

Justin Travlos

LUX: You have a track record in driving successful sustainability strategies. Where did this interest come from?
Justin Travlos: Sustainability has long been a personal interest, but it first intersected in a professional capacity in 2007, when I became the head of sustainability for the commercial property business at an Australian real estate investment trust. I worked with a brilliant team to create the foundations of a strategy that was both sustainable and able deliver returns, and is still relevant and performing today. That balance is fundamental. I’ve always seen myself at the nexus of real estate development and sustainability, and the opportunity that brings to make places more appropriate both for people and for the planet.

LUX: Where has AXA been particularly successful in managing buildings to sustainability targets?
Justin Travlos: Asset regeneration always provides a canvas to enable change, and scale helps overcome some of the complexity often associated with these projects. While meeting the latest sustainability credentials is much less complex in new builds, they often raise questions around embodied carbon. Ultimately, it is equally, if not more, important to regenerate existing assets: poor performance of existing stock is a key area of focus for government and regulators when addressing climate change, and thus a key area of transitional risk (and opportunity) for us as real estate investors. Moreover, investing across a diversified, global portfolio allows us to benefit from a number of emerging synergies.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: AXA IM Alts is Europe’s biggest real estate manager by Assets Under Management (AUM). How do you evolve a best governance strategy for a diverse portfolio of this size?
Justin Travlos: Integration into our investment processes is the key to governance: it was important that our strategy didn’t just have one best-in-class green fund or asset to showcase, but was embedded across our entire portfolio and integral to every investment decision. We look at a broader sweep of both financial and non-financial considerations, and so long as those decisions are made in the context of understanding where risk is, from a sustainability perspective, then that’s the right conversation to have.

While our strategy will continue to evolve, particularly in terms of implementation, it is formed around three the key pillars of decarbonisation, resilience and building tomorrow. Decarbonisation is about reducing our carbon footprint in line with the Paris Agreement targets. Resilience is about understanding the physical and transitional risks of climate change on our assets. And looking at both of these creates insights that inform the types of assets that we regenerate and build – shaping our investments to become building blocks for the future.

skyscraper in london with the road on time-lapse

22, Bishopsgate. Photo by Edmund Sumner

LUX: Is there variation in how regions adopt responsible investment strategies?
Justin Travlos: Yes, due to the different regulations and market practice in place across the globe. In the EU, businesses are now required to embed sustainability risk management into the investment process. AXA is now reaping the rewards from the groundwork that we laid down a long time ago. But our alignment to the regulatory environment in Europe will be subtly different to what is required in America or AsiaPac. The funds that we have in Australia, for example, are much further ahead in their adoption of ESG performance indicators because the market and its regulations governing environmental management and reporting are significantly advanced.

These strategies are also underpinned by data, much of which is still imperfect. As the dataset grows and visibility improves – and advances in technology will play a big part in this – the ability to finetune performance to reset those decarbonisation benchmarks to specific asset classes in specific countries will become invaluable. It will not only provide very clear targets for asset management teams but will provide a comparative global benchmark for measuring performance, something absent from most current sustainability reporting.

Read more: Standard Chartered’s Eugenia Koh on Next Gen Investors

LUX: To what extent are asset managers using proptech now?
Justin Travlos: There’s always been a rule of thumb that if you pick up an asset that’s just been managed in the day-to-day, you can almost guarantee a 20 to 30% improvement in energy efficiency, simply by utilising the latest technology – which is obviously a win-win because it doesn’t require huge amounts of cap expenditure but does generate savings and financial returns.

Ultimately, some building infrastructure and systems may still need an entire overhaul, but proptech will be integral to assets’ value proposition going forwards, as owners and occupiers ascribe greater value to the provision of these data points to achieve their ESG ambitions.

a path in a forest

Forestry Investment, Australia

LUX: Are we collectively doing enough?
Justin Travlos: Looking forwards, I take some comfort from the fact that in just 18 months, humanity has produced not one but several vaccines to bring a population of 7 billion people back from a global pandemic. This shows what can be achieved and I hope against a backdrop of increasing evidence of the impact that climate change is having on the world that that the same sort of ingenuity, thinking and collective effort will prevail. Ultimately, the actions that we take now will have a fundamental impact on where we end up by the end of the century, which is why the urgency of this topic has become central to our approach to sustainability and responsible investment.

LUX: What advice do you have for next gen clients running a lens over family office real estate portfolios?
Justin Travlos: From an ESG perspective, there are three key questions. First, can profitability of the investment be decoupled from carbon? Second, is a change in physical risk going to limit either the operating days of the asset, or the available capital to acquire the asset at the end of the investment horizon? And third, how does the asset support its occupants?

Justin Travlos is Global Head of Responsible Investment at AXA Investment Managers Alts

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Reading time: 5 min
Spider on lake in countryside
Small art gallery inside an art hotel

Ellerman House’s art collection features nearly 1,000 works

Hotels have long housed art collections, and now many are opening their own gallery spaces alongside art-focused programmes to offer guests unique cultural experiences. In his latest column for LUX, Abercrombie & Kent’s Founder Geoffrey Kent handpicks his favourite art hotels across the globe

Ellerman House, Cape Town, South Africa

Art lovers will delight in staying at this landmark hotel on Cape Town’s coast. Within the elegant Edwardian mansion of Ellerman House, close to 1,000 works of art reflect the changes in South Africa’s social and geographical landscape since the 1930s. Artists in the collection include John Meyer, Erik Laubscher, Jan Volschenk, Cathcart William Methven, and Pieter Wenning to name but a few. Guests can take a self-guided art tour with an electronic tablet providing insight into each piece. If you prefer, the in-house guide is on hand to take you around the extensive collection and beyond – guests can request guided excursions to the city’s local galleries, enjoying behind-the-scenes access and unmatched insight.

ellerman.co.za

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Luxurious hotel bathroom with artworks

The bathroom of the Royal Suite at The Silo, Cape Town

The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa

A disused grain silo may seem an unlikely candidate for a museum and an art hotel. Yet, this imposing building on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront has been transformed in recent years into a bastion for the African arts. The lower portion of the building is now my friend Jochen Zeitz’s eponymous Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. It’s home to the continent’s most extensive collection of contemporary African art. I’m proud to be one of its founding members and to support its primary aim of encouraging intercultural understanding. It’s a fantastic collection in an extraordinary building. Above, the museum is the beautiful Silo hotel in which I stayed for a few days before departing for the South Pole on one of my Inspiring Expeditions. The six storeys of luxury accommodation are brimming with curated artwork. The Silo’s owner, Liz Biden of The Royal Portfolio, has used the space to display her collection of African pieces. There are works by upcoming artists as well as more established names, such as Nandipha Mntambo, Cyrus Kabiru, and Mohau Modisakeng. The hotel even features its boutique gallery The Vault.

theroyalportfolio.com/the-silo

Artworks hanging on walls of lobby area

Hotel B is Lima’s first and only art hotel

Hotel B, Lima, Peru

For those of us who travel often, firsts are increasingly hard to come by, yet Hotel B is that rarest of things. Lima’s first – and only – art hotel is aptly situated in the city’s most bohemian district amid galleries and fashion boutiques. The building itself is brimming with character, converted as it is from a 1920s colonial mansion. Stay in this restored ‘grand dame’ to admire its private collection of more than 200 artworks, proudly displayed across the landings. Hotel B’s close relationship with nearby Lucia de la Puente Gallery allows guests to request private viewings easily; the gallery offers a fantastic insight into the world of contemporary Peruvian art.

hotelb.pe

Read more: In conversation with Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat

Spider on lake in countryside

‘Crouching Spider’ sculpture by Louise Bourgeois at Villa La Coste in Provence

Villa la Coste, Provence, France

The pastoral landscape of Provence is impossible to upstage, so the owners of Villa La Coste have sought instead to adorn it with dazzling flourishes of creativity. Throughout the biodynamic vineyard of Château La Coste and art hotel, sculptures are tucked amid verdant woodland, hills, and lawns – including works by acclaimed artists Ai Weiwei and Tracey Emin. You can enjoy a two-hour private art and architecture walk with the curator, learning all about the eclectic collection while taking in the beautiful Provençal countryside. Also, the hotel is home to its very own arts centre and hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Stay here, and you’ll never be short of art to admire (nor home-grown wine to sip as you do).

villalacoste.com

Art hotel bedroom

MONA Tasmania offers visitors the chance to stay on the museum grounds in a contemporary pavilion

MONA, Tasmania, Australia

Set on the banks of the River Derwent, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is Australia’s largest privately owned gallery and museum. It was masterminded by gambler and mathematician David Walsh and exhibits his diverse taste in art – from Ancient Egyptian relics to quirky dioramas. Whilst the museum isn’t strictly a hotel, visitors have the opportunity to stay in one of eight contemporary pavilions, each with its own unique character. As well as access to an enclosed lap pool, sauna, and gym, you’ll have a museum chock-full of eclectic and eccentric artwork right on your doorstep. Enjoy unfettered access to MONA’s permanent collection, and utilise its ‘O’ device during self-guided wanders to learn more about the art.

mona.net.au

Find out more: abercrombiekent.co.uk

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Reading time: 4 min
Render of birdseye view of a harbour from the top of a building
Luxurious estate home in the Italian countryside

Italy retains its place as one of the most desirable second home destinations in the world, says Andrew Hay. This property, Le Bandite is located in Umbria with easy access to Rome

Portrait of a man in a suit

Lord Andrew Hay

Lord Andrew Hay is Global Head of Residential at Knight Frank, the international real estate consultancy, and has built up property portfolios for some of the wealthiest people in the world. In a new regular column, he is handed a theoretical sum of money by LUX and asked how he would invest it. We kick off by handing Lord Hay £100m and requesting a global residential property investment portfolio

When LUX’s Editor-in-Chief generously offered me the opportunity to “invest” £100m into property, I was unsurprisingly delighted to accept. I have had free rein on where and what I buy, but have decided to invest with both my head and my heart. The reason being – I want to enjoy the properties I purchase but also have a clear focus on investment returns.

With this in mind, I have divided my allocation into equal thirds, between high-end luxury residential property, residential investments with a focus on capital growth and rental returns and investment into student property and senior living. The final 10% I would invest into an agricultural portfolio.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

I have to start in London. Often the best investment strategy involves an understanding of which markets are the least fashionable at the moment – and with Brexit and tax hikes London has been underperforming in recent years.

With few London neighbourhoods having a global brand as strong as Chelsea’s, I firmly believe that Chelsea is the perfect example of an area that has been underperforming and which is now ripe for reassessment.

Prices here have fallen 20% since late 2014, compared with a 12% fall across the wider prime London market. While new-build property in this category achieves a premium, established property trades at between £1,200 and £1,800 per sq ft. With many properties now edging below £1,000 per sq ft, Chelsea is back in the spotlight and cheaper than some less central and glamorous neighbourhoods.

Luxury interiors of a stately home

Interiors of a luxurious villa residence overlooking Lake Como

Yes, the area still lacks the connectivity of other prime neighbourhoods. However, with easy access to the river, unrivalled shopping on the King’s Road and Fulham Road and some of London’s best schools within walking distance – including the Lycée Charles de Gaulle and the London Oratory School – and the promise (or maybe hope) of a station on the future Crossrail 2 underground railway, Chelsea is set for rediscovery.

The next place I would invest is the other side of the world: New Zealand. New flights and rapidly increasing connectivity to Asia means the country is increasingly becoming a go-to destination. Auckland is the logical entry point and investment destination. One location in particular stands out to me – home to the 2021 America’s Cup, Wynyard Quarter is changing fast. Over the past decade, this waterfront precinct, once the heart of Auckland’s marine and petrochemical industries, has emerged as a major hub for national and international corporates, including Fonterra, Datacom, Microsoft and ASB Bank, as well as for the city’s innovation and co-working scenes.

Read more: Ruinart x Jonathan Anderson’s pop-up hotel in Notting Hill

Staying in Australasia, I have to include Sydney in my portfolio – a market that has seen a huge growth in investment over the past two decades from around the world. The city may be remote, but education has been a driving force in attracting Chinese purchasers. The one location I would target is One Barangaroo – Crown’s new development. One Barangaroo is one of the most beautiful developments in the world currently being built and is achieving record prices on the shores of Sydney Harbour overlooking the bridge and the Opera House. It has brought a new global standard of facilities and services to the city.

Luxurious interiors of a penthouse apartment

New York design firm Meyer Davis have crafted designed the interior layouts of residences at One Bangaroo

Render of birdseye view of a harbour from the top of a building

View down to the harbour from One Barangaroo, the latest residential development in Sydney

In Europe, Italy retains its place as one of the most desirable second home destinations in the world. The new flat tax initiative however has cast the country in a new light as a potential permanent base for the world’s wealthy. Italy is certainly worth a closer look. Property prices in many Italian prime markets declined 40% in peak-to-trough terms following the financial crisis, interest rates remain at record lows and the country is better connected than ever before.

In the US, the West Coast is of especial interest to me, the combination of lifestyle and economic dynamism here is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. One area which appeals to me is Pasadena. Home to the Rose Bowl stadium, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena offers an attractive combination of relative value compared with neighbouring communities in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and the desirable lifestyle and privacy that residents of Los Angeles seek. The neighbourhood is easily accessible, with a light rail line that puts it within 15-20 minutes of Downtown Los Angeles.

Read more: Kuwait’s ASCC launches visual arts programme in Venice

In terms of growth areas I would point to student accommodation and retirement. Student in particular is counter cyclical (i.e. typically more students in a recession). Participation in tertiary education globally is increasing – OECD predict 8 million internationally mobile students by 2025 (up from 5m today). Markets remain structurally undersupplied. In terms of where Sydney looks good it has a big student population and low pipeline due to shortage of development land. In terms of development, I like big European cities like Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris. European markets comprise with very little existing organised supply. Europe is new front for portfolio development, scale building and brand.

At the opposite end of the age scale is senior living where the market is undergoing rapid growth, underpinned by demographic shifts that are increasing demand for a wider array of specialist housing to suit the changing needs of older purchasers. London and the South East, Bristol and Edinburgh are key UK senior living markets. Globally, America, Canada and Australia are at the forefront of investment.

Finally I would invest in farmland. Choosing where to invest in agricultural land depends very much on your appetite for risk but the world faces both a water shortage and food shortage by 2040 and 2050 respectively and therefore, investors looking at long-term food security are well advised to invest in agricultural land. With the world’s fastest growing population, Africa offers some very exciting opportunities. Zambia, for example, provides a good balance of relative political stability and established infrastructure. The Asia-pacific region is seeing a huge growth in wealth and rain-fed farms on the east coast of Australia are well placed to take advantage of this market.

And, that’s my £100m invested.

Find out more: knightfrank.co.uk

Knight Frank’ Wealth Report directs ultra-high-net-worth individuals on where to invest in property and reflect $3 trillion of private client investment into real estate annually. The countries that have been most robust and performed best over the last decade have been those where there is a steady political and economic situation as well as transparent rule of law, high quality living and first class education. The above portfolio choice reflects this.

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Reading time: 6 min
Side profile portrait of an elderly woman wearing a statement earring
graphic banner in red, white and blue reading Charlie Newman's model of the month
Side profile portrait of an elderly woman wearing a statement earring

Daphne Selfe is the world’s oldest professional model. Instagram @daphneselfe

LUX contributing editor and model at Models 1, Charlie Newman continues her online exclusive series, interviewing her peers about their creative pursuits, passions and politics

colour headshot of blond girl laughing with hand against face wearing multiple rings

Charlie Newman

THIS MONTH: It comes as no surprise that the world’s oldest professional model, Daphne Selfe, who turns 91 next month, ‘doesn’t do retiring’. The British model has clocked up over 70 years of experience, working for the likes of Olay, Eyeko, and Dolce and Gabbana, as well as posing for artists, making TV appearances and writing a memoir. This year, she was included in the Queen’s New Year Honours list and was awarded a British Empire Medal for her contribution to fashion, and whilst she no longer wears high heels, she can still do the splits. Here, she tells Charlie how she got into fashion, and why the Queen is her style icon.

Charlie Newman: Firstly, let’s talk about your upbringing – what was it like and how do you think it informed your choice of career?
Daphne Selfe: I spent most of my childhood in Berkshire until my parents moved to Hertfordshire. I always had an eye on fashion because my mother was very beautiful, smart and always made my clothes, but my true love was horses, I was mad on horses. I learnt to sew but I didn’t really get into fashion until I started working at Helles (what John Lewis was) in the coat department. At the store, there was a competition for the cover of a local magazine. All the girls, including myself, went to meet the photographer, and I won! It turned out the photographer was a royal photographer called Gilbert Adams and funnily enough he knew my parents from an amateur Opera society! The last time he saw me I was 2 years old, so when I turned up all 5ft 10 and a half of me aged 19, he really took me under his wing and taught me how to behave in front of a camera. I did lots of little odd jobs for him, assisting him for a while whilst working part time at Helles. The store then had a fashion show and the agency who were supplying the models was one short, so I was propelled onto the catwalk and thought, ‘Oh my god, what am I doing?’ After that they all said I should join the agency. In those days you had 3 weeks of training to be a model. Mummy thought this was a lot better than breaking a collarbone and being kicked in the head by horses so off I went!

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After 3 weeks training, I belonged to the agency. I met my husband, Jim, through Gilbert Adams, because he was the lighting technician of the ballet show we were working on. We didn’t get married straight away because he was busy travelling and I was busy with my dance school. I did my ballet training far too late, at 19 years old, but I assiduously learnt because ballet is the basis of all dance. I learnt from a very interesting choreographer called Buddy Bradley, who was well known in the twenties for having put on an amazing musical called Evergreen with Jessie Matthews. I joined his company because I could sew and help with the costumes and because I loved dancing! Of course nobody went abroad in those days, so when his little company went to Belgium, Rome and Madrid, I was delighted to go with them!

Then I decided Jim was the one, so I got married and in those days you didn’t work once you got married, so I retired and had three children but always kept up with my dance classes. Jim worked in television and one of his friends asked me if I would be an extra in The Arthur Haynes Show. Jim happened to be the stage manager that day, and he said ‘What on earth are you doing here?’ and I said ‘I’m working!’ He thought that was terribly funny, then from that I did more and more extra work, as well as fashion shows and commercials.

Elderly woman poses in a ballerina posture

Instagram @daphneselfe

Charlie Newman: How did your modelling career continue into later life?
Daphne Selfe: I was doing my extra work and in 1999 when I was 70 my agency asked whether I would do a fashion show at London Fashion Week for Red or Dead. I love prancing about in nice clothes so of course I did it! The stylist on the show, Jo Phillips, called me up three months later and said Vogue are doing an article on ageing and suggested I get involved. At the shoot was the scout from Models 1 and I’ve been with them ever since, some 20 years later! I didn’t give up the extra work once I was signed with Models 1 because I know how the industry can like you one minute and not the next. But then I was getting more and more modelling work so I had to drop the extra work in the end.


Charlie Newman: What has been a career highlight for you?
Daphne Selfe: I think going abroad for the jobs is the best thing, because I would never have been able to afford that otherwise. I mean I’ve been to Australia, China, Japan, Africa. Whatever next!

Elderly woman poses sitting in a chair

Instagram @daphneselfe

Charlie Newman: Having worked throughout many fashionable decades, what do you think style means today?
Daphne Selfe: It doesn’t matter what time you live in, you must wear what suits you because then people will always admire you in it, it’s very important not to be driven by the trends of the moment.

Charlie Newman: In a dream world, who would you want to dress you and why?
Daphne Selfe: Currently, I love Roksanda Ilinic’s designs. I love going to Roksanda’s shows now and wearing her clothes at events, they always feel very fun and boost my confidence.

Charlie Newman: What advice would you give to young models starting out their careers?
Daphne Selfe: Taking care of your health is the most important thing because modelling is hard work if you do it properly. It’s long hours, lots of hanging about, lots of physical activity and also you need a good work ethic. In other words, that means be on time, don’t mess about once you’re there, and stay off your phone.

I was working with a Dutch photographer the other day and I was doing all my normal things; inventing poses, jumping around, all the usual. At the end he said to me ‘I’ve never worked with such an energetic model’ which did make me laugh! Just throw yourself into the shoot and give it everything.

Modelling can be horrendous too. I lost a big job the other day, but so what? It wasn’t my fault, it’s about what they want. It’s no good worrying about it, but I know a lot of people find that difficult. Being a model is very difficult if you don’t have much confidence because you have to put yourself in a room of people you don’t know and work with them effortlessly.

Elderly woman posing for a portrait

Instagram @daphneselfe

Charlie Newman: What keeps you happy and healthy?
Daphne Selfe: Well, I do a series of exercises most days, something along the lines of yoga, ballet, a little bit of weights but also static bicycle. Of course, I can’t do everything every day, but I do always do some stretching.

I suppose because I grew up in the war we never ate masses. We grew all our own fruit and vegetables so we had a very strict diet and that’s a mentality which never leaves you.

Charlie Newman: Who was your fashion icon when you were younger?
Daphne Selfe: I suppose in a way we always looked up to royalty, the young Queen, of course, was gorgeous. They all lived such glamorous lives, or so we thought. Whereas now, people don’t want to dress up anymore which I think is such a pity because I love dressing up!

Charlie Newman: Lastly, who is your role model of the month?
Daphne Selfe: It’s got to be the Queen, she’s absolutely fantastic! She always wears bright colours but is also discreet. I know of course she has money, but it really doesn’t cost a lot to look good. I’ve always made my own things and looked as good as anybody else.

Follow Daphne Selfe on Instagram:@daphneselfe

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Reading time: 7 min
Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay, The Kimberley, Australia
Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay, The Kimberley, Australia

The Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay are regarded as one of the greatest wonders of the natural world. Image courtesy of Abercombie & Kent

Fresh from an expedition to the South Pole, Abercrombie & Kent Founder and LUX contributor Geoffrey Kent is planning his next trip to Australia’s last frontier: the Kimberley. Here, he shares his exclusive itinerary

At journey’s end, any passionate traveller knows the conflict of wanderlust: the more destinations you visit, the more you desire to see. Having completed another hugely successful and enjoyable expedition, to the South Pole at the very end of 2018, my thoughts are now turning to other exciting destinations for the intrepid.

In the far western corner of Australia lies a rugged and rarely seen frontier, enveloped by dramatic coastlines, gravity-defying waterfalls, ancient indigenous art and sheer wilderness.

It’s a vast and beautiful landscape of red dirt as ancient as the country’s Aboriginal history and as far away from the Australia trope as you can get. It’s the Australia we often read about but don’t often witness. It is, of course, the Kimberley.

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Revered as being one of Australia’s last frontiers, the Kimberley occupies almost 17 per cent of Western Australia, stretches for 421,000 kilometres and is as idiosyncratic as it is extreme. Home to sacred indigenous rock art, caves, and shelters as well as crashing waterfalls, rugged coastlines, unforgiving deserts, and limestone ranges, the isolation of this part of the planet only adds to its beauty.

Unusual dome shaped rock formations in a national park

Rock formations in the Purnululu National Park known as Bungle Bungles. Image by Ben Carless

But when it comes to exploring the Kimberley (an area larger than 75 percent of the world’s countries), it could be hard to know how best to go about visiting, especially if, like me, you crave adventure by day, luxury by night. The answer, of course, is boutique cruise ship or superyacht, backed up by helicopters and small fixed-wing planes. The feeling of climbing into a cosy bed with high-thread-count sheets after a day exploring a land off the beaten path – off any path, really, is indescribable.

Let’s begin a journey to the Kimberley:

Broome

A country township built on the mother-of-pearl industry, Broome had to quickly reinvent itself when the arrival of the now innocuous plastic button ended the world’s need for mother-of-pearl almost overnight. Luckily Broome is splendid, so when the town switched its focus from trade to tourism, business continued to boom. At its most popular during the dry season (April to October) Broome’s beauty really becomes apparent at sunset – particularly if you’re lucky enough to witness the Staircase to the Moon, Western Australia’s version of the Northern Lights. This natural phenomenon happens when the full moon rises at a low tide and casts its glow over Broome’s exposed mudflats. What’s left is a stunning optical illusion of golden steps rising out of the Indian Ocean. It’s best seen from Roebuck Bay, but you can catch it all along the coast.

Read more: Andermatt’s Mystical Mountains documentary series

Bungle Bungles

These stunning rock formations are found among the remoteness of the Purnululu National Park and have been sculpted by millions of years of erosion into the tiger-striped, beehive domes they are today. You must see them from above to appreciate the sheer scale of this fascinating and fragile rock massif, which stretches for more than 240 square kilometres.

Birds landing onto turquoise coloured sea

The Lacepede Islands are home to green turtles and many bird species. Image courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Lacepede Islands

Set atop a coral reef, these four low-lying cay islands are an important nesting site for green turtles and several bird species including brown boobies, red-chested frigates, crested terns and speckled ruddy turnstones.

Horizontal Falls

Hop aboard a boat and take a trip to see Horizontal Falls. This phenomenon can be found in Talbot Bay. David Attenborough called these falls “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world” – the horizontally flowing waterfalls are created when massive tidal currents squeeze through two narrow gorges.

A rocky beach cove with low overhanging cliffs

Swift Bay is the site of ancient rock paintings

Mitchell Falls

Take a helicopter ride across the rugged Mitchell Plateau and over the top of the sandstone-carved Mitchell Falls and its tumbling cataracts. Alight to explore the area on foot, perhaps enjoying a refreshing swim in the emerald-coloured, pristine freshwater pools formed by the falls.

Read more: Inside Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps

Swift Bay

Named after the author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift. Located in the Bonaparte Archipelago and sacred to the Worrorra people, Swift Bay is the site of an incredible array of indigenous rock – the Wandjina (or Wanjina) style as well as the older Gwion-Gwion (or Bradshaw) style.

If I’ve ignited your curiosity and you can feel a visit to this historical and mythical part of the world becoming paramount, join the club, I’m fixated on the Kimberley. Meet you there?

Abercrombie & Kent will be hosting a Luxury Expedition Cruise to Kimberley in 2020. For more information visit: abercrombiekent.co.uk

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Reading time: 4 min

Tasmania may be an unlikely location for a cutting edge art show, in a state-of-the-art museum space. But that’s exactly what you’ll find if you make the spectacular journey to the Museum of Old and New Art this summer Darius Sanai

If ever there were a show that could be dubbed Adventure Art, it would be this. On an exposed tip of the island at the farthest corner of Australia sits the spectacular Museum of Old and New Art, a space that combines a microbrewery, chic wine bar, restaurant, arresting architecture, and, oh, one of the world’s greatest collections of global antiquities, combined with dramatic works by leading contemporary artists from around the globe.

It is into this space that Jean-Hubert Martin, former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, is guest curating a one-year show launching this June, entitled Theatre of the World. The show is a journey through the wildest recesses of Africa, South America, Australasia, and east London, with works by artists ranging from Chris Ofili to Sidney Nolan.

There are more than 300 works on in a show the museum describes as taking visitors “on an experiential voyage that moves them from the visceral to the symbolic, and the factual to the poetic.”

In an interview with LUX, Martin commented: “There is no reason to look at art only in terms of historical and geographical categories. An anthropological perspective allows for comparison between any creations of humankind. It provides a much broader scope.”

Those making the journey, he said, “should be free to interpret and play with their imagination, combining and playing with their knowledge, not mine, in front of items we have put together to excite their neurons.”

And if your neurons don’t get enough excitement from the 4000 year-span of the works on show, there’s always the rest of MONA, which includes a rather splendid winery and brewhouse. MONA itself is the creation of David Walsh, a brilliant, colourful, and eccentric Tasmanian multi-millionaire, and if his aim was to put Tasmania on the world map, one could say he is certainly succeeding. A visit to MONA is an adventure in itself; and getting there only adds to the fun.

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Reading time: 1 min