kid

Philanthropic pioneers across education, conservation, health and culture , on key issues in the rapidly changing world of philanthropy. In association with UBS Optimus Foundation

woman

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo is the founder and President of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. After graduating in Economy and Business at Turin university, she approached the world of contemporary art as a collector, in the early 1990s.

The cultural educationist

Who: Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

What: Founder and president, Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation

Where: Italy Achievements: Creating one of Italy’s leading contemporary art foundations and cultural education programmes together with the Italian Ministry of Culture; creating a new environmental and cultural centre from the island of San Giacomo, Venice.

LUX: How does educational philanthropy work effectively?

PSRR: In the educational workshops of the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation – the non-profit contemporary art centre I have led since 1995 – children are involved in activities designed to develop creativity, collaboration and mutual trust.

The challenge is precisely to imagine and then structure, within a contemporary-art museum, a dynamic learning and growth experience for a small group. I think it is very important to think of the museum as an educational agency, capable of promoting an education based on respect, coexistence, plurality. Philanthropy comes later and accordingly.

art

Works from “Visual Persuasion”, an exhibition by Pauline Olowska at the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin, 2023-24

art

Works from “Visual Persuasion”, an exhibition by Pauline Olowska at the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin, 2023-24

Follow LUX on instagram: luxthemagazine

A father and daughter looking at the camera

Self-portrait of Nachson Mimran and his daughter in Gstaad, Switzerland; October 2022; photographed by Nachson Mimran

The philanthropist entrepreneur

Who: Nachson Mimran

What: co-founder, to.org

Where: Switzerland Achievements: Developing a game-changing organisation combining philanthropy, investment, startup accelerator and socialenterprise multiplier.

LUX: Are the lines between philanthropy and profit-with-purpose getting blurred?

NM: Operationally, these lines cannot be “blurred” but business can support philanthropy. Our investment arm, TO Ventures, invests in teams that are building high-growth, high-impact, early-stage technology businesses across sectors to solve critical challenges for society and the environment. Returns from the TO Ventures programme finance the TO Foundation.

Additionally, in 2022, my brother Arieh co-founded with our nephew Joshua Phitoussi a dedicated decarbonisation fund, TO VC, spun out of the TO Ventures programme. Wasoko – a TO Ventures portfolio company – is Africa’s leading e-commerce B2B platform.

Working with major suppliers like P&G and Unilever, Wasoko accesses lower prices for mom-and-pop retailers across the continent, who can order fast-moving consumer goods on demand, allowing end customers to access goods more consistently and at more affordable prices. The company also recently announced that it is in merger talks with MaxAB, another TO Ventures portfolio company

man

In 2019, Olivier Wenden was appointed by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Vice-President and CEO of the Foundation. Prior to this, he served as the Foundation’s Executive Director and Secretary General from 2014.

The national foundation director

Who: Olivier Wenden

What: CEO and Vice Chair, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Where: Monaco Achievements: Launching an ocean fund; running an annual ocean-week initiative bringing together investors, NGOs, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and institutions; creating a new Ocean Innovators platform.

LUX: How do you measure the impacts of your projects and initiatives?

OW: We ask each project we fund to complete final reports highlighting the results achieved in relation to the initial objectives. The indicators depend on the nature of the project itself and may, for example, indicate the surface area of a protected zone at sea or on land that the project contributed to extend, or the number of people in a community helped by a solution deployed.

Each year, we use this and other data to draw up an impact report, which we give to our benefactors so we can be transparent about the financial grants committed and the results achieved. Finally, we carry out audits on projects in the field to ensure that everything is aligned with our values and according to the established agreement.

woman

Jessica Posner Odede is the CEO of Girl Effect, an international non-profit that builds media girls want, trust and need — from chatbots to chat shows and TV dramas to tech. Girl Effect’s content helps girls make choices and changes in their lives.

The female enabler

Who: Jessica Posner Odede

What: CEO, Girl Effect

Where: Kenya Achievements: running an international foundation bringing lasting education, enabling tools and enlightenment on fundamental health and education questions to girls in developing countries.

LUX: How do you leverage technology to achieve change?

JPO: Working online and offline, we move cautiously. We built a generative AI chatbot in a week to speak to girls about health and related questions for which they did not otherwise have access to answers; it spoke the way the kids speak, but it also “hallucinated”.

It made up information, whole sets of things that were just not true. So until we can launch a generated AI chatbot that doesn’t have the risk of promoting misinformation, we are using a much more manual chatbot.

Nonetheless, this project is a powerful example of how AI actually enables millions of girls across the world to access new opportunities and new services, and to enable themselves at massive scale, which we could have never done before.

kids

A captured moment with Girl Effect, which supports girls in developing countries at every stage and pressure point in their life journeys

Read more: Hansjörg Wyss on his pioneering work in conservation

ben

Ben Goldsmith is a British financier, philanthropist and environmentalist who has been at the forefront of campaigns for more rewilding in Britain and Europe. He founded and chairs the Conservation Collective, a network of locally-focused environmental foundations.

The conservationist

Who: Ben Goldsmith

What: Founder and chair, Conservation Collective

Where: UK Achievements: bringing together 20 individual conservation and environmental initiatives around the world under a single umbrella that provides expertise, leverage and effective tools.

LUX: Why does the environment matter?

BG: Environmental degradation is in a spiral with human suffering.

It’s always the poorest who suffer the hardest and the most when it comes to environmental pollution. The most obvious pathway to lifting people out of degradation is restoration.

More fish in the sea means fewer hungry people, healthier soil means more resilient food supply. Climate change is about a surfeit of carbon in the atmosphere; more nature means more carbon drawn out of the atmosphere.

julie packard

Julie Packard is executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which she helped found in the late 1970s. She is an international leader in the field of ocean conservation, and a leading voice for science-based policy reform in support of a healthy ocean.

The ocean conservationist

Who: Julie Packard

What: Vice Chair, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Where: US Achievements: Establishing and directing the gold standard for sustainable seafood; transforming the small fisheries industry in parts of Southeast Asia; funding education and research into ocean conservation in the US; founding the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

LUX: What have you learned through your educational programmes?

JP: When we opened the Aquarium 40 years ago, I thought the hardest part would be keeping the animals and exhibits healthy.

It turns out that our biggest challenge is on the dry side of the exhibits – how to engage people and get them to care on a personal level.

Our research has shown that it starts by drawing people into the awe, wonder and joy found in the ocean realm, then engaging them in learning more, casting a positive, hopeful vision of the future, giving people a way to help turn that vision into reality.

That’s true whether we’re talking to Aquarium guests about using less unnecessary plastic, or working with business partners to show the benefit to their bottom line of embracing sustainable seafood purchasing practices.

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A mauve comb jelly, aka mauve stinger, seen at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Into the Deep” exhibition

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Tom Hall is the Global Head of Social Impact & Philanthropy at UBS

“We have to be smart about how we allocate both philanthropic and investment capital, and we have to work in partnership with all of civil society”

Maya Ziswiler is Chair of the UBS Optimus Foundation

“How can you take advantage of your passion with rational thinking to ensure you’re actually having an impact, and working with others to maximise that?”

In association with UBS

ubs.com

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Reading time: 7 min
Clouds and a big yellow landscape

Clouds and a big yellow landscape

Two cameras, one journey, two childhood friends — and eighteen days to shoot their surroundings across the American West. Maryam Eisler and Alexei Riboud had followed separate paths for 38 years. Would the two photographers’ love of the still image converge their paths? LUX finds out

After graduating from high school together in Paris, in 1985, Maryam (then Homayoun) Eisler and Alexei Riboud parted ways; Eisler to the world of business, first at L’Oréal and then at Estée Lauder in London and in New York; Riboud to the world of graphic design and photography, in Paris, New York and Johannesburg, following in the footsteps of his celebrated parents, photographer Marc Riboud and sculptor, author and poet Barbara Chase-Riboud.

Sky, a big old billboard

Lights glowing faintly, flickering occasionally on an old, lonesome sign for a motel on the border of Marfa, Texas, that is long gone; photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

Nearly four decades later, in early 2024, the art world brought them back together, for a three-week American road trip through parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, photographing space, place and people along the way in a form of visual dialogue. In, and in-between locals travelling by car, well over 2000 miles, from Houston to El Paso… Marfa, Presidio and White Sands to Santa Fe and Canyon Point… they’d hop out of the vehicle at any given moment, and say ‘See you in an hour!’, and go their respective ways, out in the wilderness, reacting to circumstances as they came across them, vowing not to give any advice to each other on what or how to shoot. Not even sharing their images until they returned home.

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Laughing, the two recall the fifteen U-turns they took on one straight 22 mile road from Espagnola to Ghost Ranch, because they kept seeing elements they wanted to capture, not to mention the 24 hours they spent obsessing over a missed opportunity, a derelict 1950s motel, now far behind them.

An abstracted image of the white sands

White sands National Park, New Mexico, photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

The images that Eisler and Riboud produced provide an intriguing study of contrasting perspectives and techniques. They both certainly shared a road trip, but in artistic terms (and fortunately for the viewer of the works), they were on parallel journeys, each producing compelling results. As Carrie Scott, the art historian and curator, notes: ‘I am buoyed by the conversation here between these two artists. Maryam and Alexei are shaping our perceptions of the American West through their dual lenses, which in turns gives us a moment to reflect on our fixed perspectives.’ It’s a far cry, as Scott adds, from the ‘longstanding tradition in American photography, dating back to the 19th century, of a singular male voice and viewpoint.’

A policeman leaning into a car with a man behind, and a big sky

A friendly security guard at the Concordia cemetery  in El Paso, TX giving Eisler and Riboud directions to the tomb of John Wesley Hardin, the man who earned himself a reputation as one of the Wild West’s most pernicious gunslinging outlaws; photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

Riboud is attracted to the outskirts and grey areas, the transitional spaces and borders where he finds the elements to compose his photographs. His approach has been refined over many years of shooting in diverse locations, including Havana, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Shanghai, Chicago and of course Paris — usually with a focus on the peripheral spaces within or next to large cities.

A night sky and a train track

A railway track cutting through the town of Marfa, Texas, photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

‘I like wandering into places I have never been to, especially on the margins of well-known locations, exploring the counter-space of an established geography. My photography is about experimentation. I gather fragments from urban landscapes, in an effort to capture innate structures’, says Riboud. ‘On this trip, I was drawn to the outskirts of towns, and to the frontiers between human settlements and the unpopulated natural environments.’

A Native American dancing

A Navajo Nation dancer performing an indigenous ritual dance impersonating animal spirits, Page, Arizona; photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

‘This trip was a huge challenge for me’, says Eisler: ‘My focus has always been on the figurative and more specifically on what I like to call the ‘Sublime Feminine’ in its physicality and in its essence. I had to push myself to work in a new way, this time around, moving away from body landscape to natural landscape.’ But would she find parallels between nature and figure?

Read more: Maryam Eisler: Intimate Landscapes

‘In my work, I always talk about female ‘body architecture’ in dialogue with spatial architecture… its curvilinear slopes, its nooks and its crannies, its valleys. I have often explored this theme in big, barren, hostile nature, from Iceland to Mexico and beyond, except this time the female figure was not there to be photographed. I also surprised myself in adopting a new way to work… primarily using a wide angle lens (which I never do) in order to capture as much of the big sky and vast land as my lens could take in. I wanted to visually overdose on the nature that surrounded me!’

Buildings looking through a wall with pinkish and blue colours

In between walls of a teared down house in the border town of Presidio, Texas, photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

It’s no wonder that these two photographers operated quite differently during the road trip. They are two very different characters. Eisler’s made a quicksilver shift from business and writing to art, and has the smiling, knowing grace of a meditative guru while retaining the poise of a terrifying boss.

A man with a camera in hand taking a picture of the road ahead

Alexei Riboud, photographed by Maryam Eisler on US Highway 90 near Van Horn, Texas, 2024

Riboud, on the other hand, projects a laid-back-almost-to-horizontal suave creativity. Nonetheless, both have clearly forged a deep connection that transcends their decades apart and their contrasting artistic and technical sensibilities.

Man with black shirt sitting on a bench

Homeless young man in downtown Houston with a t-shirt depicting Martin Luther King and Malcolm X’s encounter; Houston, Texas; photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

To the extent that the origins of their photography have links, they are serendipitous, through a mutual interest in graphics. Riboud, who did graphic design for an advertising agency in South Africa in the 1990s, began to photograph on weekends, and enjoyed it enough to make it his main focus.

Sky with an old crumbling sign

Derelict remains of the former Art Deco movie theatre in Marfa, Texas; The Palace, closed since the 1970s, is now an illustrator’s studio; photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

At L’Oréal, Eisler’s involvement in the development of ad campaigns — what she calls ‘surface beauty’ — revved up her dormant love of visual story-telling. Today, one can experience both the outer and inner dimension in her exploration of the ‘Sublime Feminine’. Laughing, she recalls her father’s niggling voice in her head, asking her what she was doing with that ‘love of photography’ she had so enthusiastically written about in her college applications? But life after the (Iranian) Revolution would dictate otherwise, until years later.

A tree, and sea, and a sign, as seen through a fence

Looking through the US-Mexico border wall in El Paso near Amara House at La Hacienda, an organisation working to inspire connection beyond borders through mutual understanding and meaningful action in pursuit of narrative systems, and personal change; El Paso, Texas; photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

Both Alexei and Maryam have indelible memories from their trip. Alexei reflects back on the town of El Paso, near the US-Mexico border: ‘‘There was the feeling of being at a crossroad of narratives with stratified areas, unsettled spaces in transition.’ Maryam recalls a moment on the border of Utah and Arizona: ‘A hypnotising Native American ritual dance made me think deep about indigenous cultural history and the suffering that the native people have and continue to endure… I was completely mesmerised by the strength of the dancers storytelling through moves anchored deep in tradition.’ Riboud points to the gentrification of Marfa, Texas: ‘Beyoncé and Jay-Z just bought a house there! You get a sense that it’s rapidly changing from the isolated artistic outpost that Donald Judd built all those years ago; the city is now attracting newcomers, as real estate prices are booming!’

A man with a camera with big sky behind

Alexei Riboud, photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

The two photographers’ contrasting visual perspectives provide fertile ground for dialogue, and – as Scott says, ‘a new, layered perspective on the complex reality of the 21st-century American West. Where Maryam’s portraits provide narrative depth – each portrait becomes a story, a window into the lives, cultures, and experiences of individuals within that vast expanse – Alexei’s focus on the landscape reflects on America’s historical relationship with western expansion.’

A woman with a camera in the canyons

Maryam Eisler, photographed by Alexei Riboud, in Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona 2024

Riboud praises Eisler’s link between the female body and the architecture of space and place, as well as her graphic eye mingled with sensuality. For Eisler, it’s Riboud’s conceptual visual rendering—‘almost like a painting’ — that stands out above all. ‘The lens Alexei uses enables him to capture space and light in a very unique manner. The end result is subtle, painterly and beautiful, with incredible hues of light pinks and accents of deep purples in some instances. I think Alexei uses light to paint.’

Pinkish trees

Along the banks of Rio Grande river near Los Alamos, New Mexico. This is the view from the House at Otomi Bridge that frequently hosted Manhattan Project scientists. A team room and restaurant at the time – once post office and train station – where Oppenheimer kept a standing reservation for whenever he wanted to dine; New Mexico; photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

Kamiar Maleki, Director of Photo London, expresses their effect on one another – their oscillations, recalling Maryam’s ‘evolution from exploring the female figure to this more recent body of work’ and its ‘profound shift towards celebrating the Sublime in a new and different way – as displayed in Mother Nature‘, as well as ‘in the vast potent (waste) lands of the American West landscape.’

Prada shop with photographer photographing

Maryam Eisler, as photographed by herself at Prada, Marfa, by Elmgreen & Dragset in Valentine, Texas, 2024

For Alexei, it’s his ‘minimalist elegance, presenting viewers with unexpected compositions that speak volumes through their simplicity.’

An old man by the window, with a picture next to him

Portrait of an outsider Texan artist, James Magee, a dear friend of the painter Annabel Livermore, whose painting he sits in front of, and who various writers have described as his alter ago, a relationship referred to by The New York Times as ‘a tough act to follow’, photographed in El Paso, Texas, by Maryam Eisler, 2024

Reflecting on the journey, Eisler says, ‘I still recall the vastness of land and the ever-changing skies and clouds. We could’ve produced an entire body of work on the clouds of New Mexico; the evolving light and its plethora of shades… It was sky theatrics every day! As we drove on Interstate highways, I could not help but feel a deep sense of inner peace.

A photographer on a landscape

Alexei Riboud in White Sands National Park, New Mexico, photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

In fact, I had a memorable moment in White Sands National Park, as the sun was setting down amidst scarlet and purple skies. I recall seeing Alexei, camera in hand, standing on the opposite hill, akin to a dot in the greater universe… And for just a second or two, which felt like eternity, I took off mentally into a parallel state of mind, engulfed by Mother Nature. It was so powerful’.

A blue billboard

Weary billboard with missing parts north of El Paso in the vast plains of Texas; photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

‘I think the camera changes what you see, particularly when it’s your first experience of a place, of a unique location’, says Riboud. ‘Something happens that you can’t control; it’s your subconscious working, through the frame of the camera, on the construction of the image.’

a landscape with a sign saying 'Keep the Lonely Places Lonely'

Roughly halfway between Van horn and Valentine on U.S 90 reside crumbling buildings seen through a chain link fence: a one time significant railway dewatering station, now turned ghost town of Lobo, Texas; photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

And when it’s not the camera, there are parallel – or, rather, oscillatory – expressions, from a writer they met along the way. Glimpse below the poem ‘Eileen’, written by poet Amanda Bloom in West Texas. Her series of linguistic short takes provide a further mode of expression, imbricating the tapestry of their journey:

a woman lying by the pool

Poet Amanda Bloom lying by the pool of the iconic ‘Hotel Paisano’ in Marfa Texas where the cast of the 1956 Hollywood movie ‘The Giant’, starring James Dean & Elizabeth Taylor, stayed during the filming of the movie; photographed by Maryam Eisler, 2024

Windmill sentinels
over the oil field.
The air is quick here.
You can’t keep your
thoughts with you.
The star dome
holds you down
while you move.

The yucca heads higher
than a street sign,
flowers brown and dry,
still hanging on, stalk bent
from day after day of the
troposphere in motion.
Learn surrender from
the yucca. It rattles
before its release.

The land is home
to ore, ice volcanos,
ocean floor turned
high desert, Eileen
the horse that did
not die on the way
to El Paso, you.

Pumpjacks pull.
Windmills spin.
The yucca shudders and
two brown blossoms
light on the wind.
Eileen stretches
her bum leg.

The journey – from photography to poetry – provides, in Carrie Scott’s words ‘a dialogue about the deep humanity embedded in the landscape’s history’. And, indeed, it is ‘a tapestry’ as well as a dialogue, as the Director of Photo London concludes – ‘of beauty, emotion, and storytelling, inviting viewers to contemplate the profound depths of the American big nature experience alongside the quiet poetry of simple existence.’

a man reaching with a sign

Here, in Riboud’s street scene in El Paso is what Eisler calls his ‘geometric approach to depicting space in its subtle linearity, very unique to his eye’; photographed by Alexei Riboud, 2024

From dialogue, to tapestry, the works will soon be woven into a book, as well as an exhibition to be launched around Photo London 2025 – and in a way, as Scott aptly notes, ‘that we haven’t seen before’.

See More:

maryameisler.com

alexeiriboud.com

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Reading time: 12 min

Under the artistic direction of Natasha Ginwala, the recent Colomboscope showed how the Sri Lankan art festival has swiftly become a must-visit not just for aficionados of South Asian art, but for collectors globally seeking to channel exciting new art world perspectives from a region whose global significance is rising.

woman sitting on window ledge

Natasha Ginwala, artistic director. Photo by Victoria Tomaschko

Across venues throughout Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, curators Hit Man Gurung, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, and Sarker Protick choreographed events and showcased the work of 40 eminent artists from Sri Lanka and the Global South, all themed around ‘Way of the Forest’.

Artwork of an eye with leaves

Zihan Karim, EYE (।), 2015, Video projection on installation. Photo by Fiona Cheng

Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF), as one of the festival’s lead patrons and cultural partners, supported four artists from Bangladesh to participate: Soma Surovi Jannat; Md Rakibul Anwar; Zihan Karim; Jayatu Chakma. There was a strong theme of sustainability and regeneration in their works.

woman with trees in background

Soma Surovi Jannat, artist.

Man posing with painting in background

Rakibul Anwar, artist.

black and white picutre of man head down

Zihan Karim, artist.

man standing next to painting

Jayatu Chakma, artist.

‘Urbanisation is accelerating deforestation, which removes the potential for forests to absorb carbon and put a brake on global warming. This creates political, economic and societal crises for people and harms our planet,’ says DBF’s founder, Durjoy Rahman.

poster of event with text on it

The Way of the Forest Poster

It was an intriguing way to see how art is leading the challenge against post-colonial legacies and bearing witness to the effects of climate change.

 

See more: https://www.colomboscope.lk/

 

Online Editor: Isabel Phillips

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Reading time: 1 min
A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York
A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Nomad by Martin Brudnizki bring guests to the skies of New York

Martin Brudnizki and Bruno Moinard are two of the most celebrated names in interior architecture and design today. Here, Brudnizki takes LUX on a grand tour of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio’s most recent projects, while Moinard shares his design inspiration and creative process

Martin Brudnizki

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton new York, Nomad
With Nubeluz located on the 50th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, our concept for its interior was to create a star in the New York sky. The project’s core is a central backlit onyx bar, and the surfaces are designed to reflect its lighting. A high-gloss lacquer ceiling, a marble floor, mirrored and onyx tables, plus six statement brass saucer chandeliers ensure that light bounces around the room in a magical way.

A man sitting with this hands to his chin at a bar

Martin Brudnizki

The colour scheme takes the project from lightbox to jewel box with a teal envelope to the walls, floor and ceiling, highlighting the coral seating in its luxurious mohair and flame stitch-patterned fabrics. We didn’t want to disrupt the views, so sheer teal-trimmed roman blinds hang across the windows. Our interior is a celebration of light and the city, referencing the classic hotel bar and saluting the views over an iconic skyline. It is modern and quintessentially New York.

nubeluzbyjose.com

Hôtel Barrière Fouquet’s New York
This is the illustrious French five-star hotel brand’s first foray into the US. In Paris it is located on the Champs-Élysées, so you might think its natural New York home would be the Upper East Side, but its team chose Tribeca – a decision I love. Our design challenge was to combine a distinctly Parisian ambience with a downtown location.

A brown and red bar with velvets and wood

Hôtel Barrièrre Fouquet’s New York by Martin Brudnizki brings the iconic Parisian hotel to Paris

We have brought together high glamour and elegance in a modern, timeless design, while leaning on the building’s loft-style architecture that blends seamlessly into the Tribeca landscape. Parisian design accents can be found in the rich materiality and colour palettes, while a carefully curated art collection, featuring many local artists, has a gritty urban appeal.

hotelsbarriere.com/en/collection-fouquets/new-york

Vesper Bar at The Dorchester, London
With this project, it was important to respect the past while bringing it to a new era. We were inspired by celebrated Roaring Twenties creatives, such as Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel, who each had a history with The Dorchester.

Two green chairs next to a wooden table and wooden wall

Vesper Bar at the Dorchester by Martin Brudnizki

Their inspiration was integral to the spirit of this landmark bar. We also nodded to designer Syrie Maugham in our use of the mirrored columns. The hope is that the Vesper Bar inspires another Roaring Twenties.

dorchestercollection.com

Mother Wolf, LA
Situated off Sunset Boulevard, Mother Wolf is a playful Italian restaurant that has become a magnet for LA celebrities since its opening in 2022. Working with chef Evan Funke and Ten Five Hospitality, we created a homage to the glamour and elegance of Italian design.

A room with green plants and red leather furniture and mirrored walls

Mother Wolf, LA by Martin Brudnizki

References to architects Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa can be found in the dining chairs and central bar, while a trompe-l’oeil scene depicts lemons and pomegranates – an ode to Italy’s chic riviera. With its Murano-glass lighting, antique mirrors and Siena-marble table tops, every aspect of the restaurant’s interiors connects to the design heritage of Italy.

motherwolfla.com

Bruno Moinard

I am guided by lines, materials, light, energy and movement: whether in my work as an architect – in our projects around the world with Claire Bétaille for famous brands and high-profile clients – or in my more intimate work as a designer and painter.

A man standing amongst blue paintings in a studio

Bruno Moinard in his studio amongst his paintings

When I began to appreciate beautiful old cars – and I have three mythical English models – I saw their design is a distillation of everything that makes me vibrate in my creative process. I see these qualities in the bodywork, the leather, wood and chrome, the colours, the interplay between interior and exterior, the vision of the future in front of me and of the road travelled behind.

A red and white lobby with flowers hanging on pillars a large chandelier hanging over a rug

Interiors of Hôtel Plaza Athénee lobby, Paris by Bruno Moinard

So the challenge I set myself is to work with authenticity to evoke an emotion, to give a simple pleasure and generate unique sensations. This is luxury. It has nothing to do with glitz or so-called rarity.

A hallway with a marble floor and staircase

Hôtel du Marc lobby, Reims by Bruno Moinard

So in the cellars of Clos de Tart, a 1,000-year-old Burgundy vineyard with a Cistercian history, we built on the exceptional quality of the historic building, bringing light into the space, giving it life, to place it in harmony with the pure elegance of the wines.

A dark dining room with a chandelier hanging over the table

Hôtel du Marc dining room by Bruno Moinard

In “Résonance”, my recent exhibition in Paris, we made each painting an experiential space that I invited people to enter. My recent furniture collections also seek this sense, which has a direct impact on quality of life and on the welcoming nature of a space.

A living room with cream and grey furniture and a blue painting on the wall

One Monte-Carlo living room, Monaco by Bruno Moinard

My lights, furniture, carpets and objects bring freshness and softness with natural forms and materials. I am privileged to work in complementary fields and my inspiration in both is based on the same triptych of emotion, continuity and sustainability, while promoting the finest workmanship and expertise.

brunomoinardeditions.com

moinardbetaille.com

brunomoinardpeinture.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 5 min
People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28
People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28

COP28 closed last week with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era

Following the close of COP28 last week, Markus Müller, Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank, speaks to LUX about his key takeaways from the conference

LUX: Did COP28 move the dial on climate change?
Markus Müller: Yes, from my point of view it did. Look at the commitments to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and double energy efficiency. But it is what is implied by such commitments that is most interesting. This isn’t just a matter of developing pure supply. We’re also going to have to develop markets – by changing permissions and enhancing grid connection, to mention just two factors out of many.

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We also have to recognise who can do what by when. Rapid adoption of renewables may pose the biggest challenge for the Global South. After nearly 30 years of these climate change conferences, it’s also highly important that fossil fuels have finally formally been mentioned in the commitment for a “transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy”. In statements for previous COPs, there has just been talk about reduction of harmful subsidies. This is a clear step further. The problem for countries is now to make this happen without sacrificing living standards.

Dubai and the sea from an aerial view

Global solidarity was shown at COP28 when negotiators from nearly 200 Parties came together and signed on the world’s first ‘global stocktake’ to ratchet up climate action before the end of the decade

LUX: What was your best professional moment at COP28 and why?
MM: My best professional moment was a talanoa-style dialogue with the Island Youth from Hawaii, Philippines, Palau and Samoa. It was impressive to listen to the Island Youth discuss their views and hear their take on challenges ahead. The dialogue helped me understand how disconnected the world still is on many topics – but it also revealed a lot of hope for the future. We know what to do on climate change but we have to act now.

LUX: What was the biggest disappointment and why?
MM: The biggest disappointment was that the sheer scale of event hindered effective dialogue between businesses, policymakers and NGOs. Compared to recent COPs it was simply too big – in terms of numbers of attendees and, for example, physical distance between their stalls. We could have done a better job in bringing together the “needs” with the “what” and the “how”.

People standing behind a table on a stage with DUBAI 2023 written on a screen behind them

Over 85,000 participants attended COP28 including civil society, business, Indigenous Peoples, youth, philanthropy, and international organisations as well as world leaders

LUX: Do you sense genuine momentum towards changing economic thought to take account of natural capital, or is this still an outlier?
MM: I think that nature is coming more and more towards centre-stage but it still isn’t there yet. Next year’s biodiversity COP (COP16 in Australia) should however help make it clear that if we want to tackle the climate crisis we also need to solve the biodiversity and ocean crisis. We need nature for mitigation and adaptation and we need to think more in terms of natural capital to work out how best to do this.

LUX: “Overall, COP28 did more harm than good. The environmentally damaging deals that emerged from informal meetings will do more harm than any resolutions will do good”. True or false, and why?
MM: False. What about all the positives what we all bring home from our informal conversations too? Also remember how news reporting from this and previous COPs have raised awareness of environmental issues in public discussion worldwide? COPs have normalised open discussion of topics previously seen (wrongly) as not relevant to the global citizen. We probably don’t give enough prominence to the publication of the “Global Stocktake” either. This text lays not only the pathway that nations must take to limit global warming to the previously-agreed-upon goal of no more than 2°C higher than pre-industrial levels—but also individual countries’ progress along this path.

people shaking hands at a conference

COP28 saw Parties agree to Azerbaijan as host of COP29

LUX: Hypothetical question: you are hosting one of the next COPs, and you have absolute power over the final resolution. What would it state – in a way that is both effective and implementable?
MM: I’d make three commitments. First, for Nature and Ocean to join Climate at centre-stage of policymakers’ attentions. Second, to prioritise fixing problems with the allocation of climate finance. Third, and this is very much linked with the second commitment, to put an explicit focus on fairness. Most such finance to middle-income countries for projects that reduce emissions, such as wind or solar energy.

Read more: COP28 Diary by Darius Maleki

Far less goes to the poorer countries, and even smaller amounts to help countries adapt to the effects of the climate crisis. Many participants believe that the focus of future COP meetings needs to be on a fair way to reach targets. As part of this, developed economies need to band together to financially support developing economies in the search for a new, less fossil-fuel intense development path. I think we’ve seen a change in attitudes here in recent COPs and I look forward to them delivering much more here in coming years.

Markus Müller is Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more:  deutschewealth.com/esg

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grass and a large pond with mountains in the distance
grass and a large pond with mountains in the distance

Cooper Lake, Alaska. The creek draining the lake is coloured red by tannins from the surrounding vegetation. The 30 x 30 initiative to protect such sites is supported by The Nature Conservancy via the US government’s America the Beautiful initiative © Stuart Chape/TNC Photo Contest 2021

The oceans have an increasing potential to provide food for a global population. The challenge is how to do so without harming the planet or its people. Chris Stokel-Walker discovers ideas, organisations and investors helping aquaculture towards a sustainable future

The ocean is an essential pillar of planetary life, sustaining and feeding billions worldwide. Quite aside from its ability to capture and sequester harmful emissions, our planet’s waters are a major driver of keeping us alive – for drink and for food. Three billion of us depend on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a primary source of protein – which makes it vital that the ocean is kept as a bountiful natural resource.

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Aquaculture is the breeding and harvesting in water of fish, shellfish and other marine life. It is underwater farming, in short, and it is crucial to humankind. “Aquaculture is an essential food source, especially in our changing climate,” says Danielle Blacklock, Director of the Office of Aquaculture at the United States’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Globally, aquaculture supplies more than 50 per cent of all seafood produced for people to eat – a percentage that will keep rising. And expanding domestic aquaculture presents important opportunities to bolster climate– smart and resilient food systems.”

Making sure those food systems are resilient and impervious to climate issues is important – because the population keeps growing. “We must come together and problem- solve how to feed people within the sustainable limitations of our planet,” continues Blacklock. “Within that frame, aquaculture becomes a leading method for ensuring nutritious protein is available for families today and in the future.”

Seafood is incredibly nutritious. It is full of vitamins and minerals that can help promote healthy growth, with large volumes of protein, vitamins D and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Promoting the cultivation of seafood is certainly vital, but that cultivation needs to be done in the right way. Globally, humans’ appetite for seafood and fish has had negative impacts on the marine environment. So aquaculture needs to be practised sustainably from top to bottom. This includes looking at the types of feed used, tackling waste and making production methods more sustainable.

a woman with short hair wearing a necklace and smiling

Karen Sack

This is a particularly urgent challenge when you consider that aquaculture is as big as the global beef industry. “We’ve been fishing out our oceans on an industrial scale since the end of the Second World War,” says Karen Sack, Executive Director of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), which brings together different stakeholders worldwide to promote a sustainable and equitable blue economy. In the course of the past decade or so, says Sack, the proportion of our seafood farmed from aquaculture has outstripped that of wild-caught fish. “Part of that is because of industrial overfishing, which includes the wasteful and damaging discards that result from this,” she explains. “Part of it is because of the development and operation of agricultural techniques that have been pushed into the ocean and coastal space.”

 

A man wearing a suit and tie

Robert Jones

The latter can be a good thing – if done well. In terms of emissions and water use, the resource intensity of farming the oceans is more efficient than producing animal protein on land for human consumption. “When we look at the global challenge to 2050, we need to produce more food with fewer resources, and aquaculture offers that opportunity,” says Robert Jones, Global Lead for The Nature Conservancy’s Aquaculture Program. The problem is that, historically, the demand for more food more quickly has meant that industry has built many aquaculture projects to produce as much seafood as possible in as small a space and quick a time as possible – and damn the consequences. It’s a problem that’s out of sight, out of mind for many: 90 per cent of aquaculture farming occurs within Asia, meaning that many consumers do not see the harmful impact that intensive, industrial farming has on the environment.

Take, for instance, the early development in the 1950s and beyond of what the industry calls “carnivorous fin fish” – or what most of us would call salmon, tuna and other big fish that feed on other fish. That and shrimp farming was industrialised at scale, without considering the impact on broader marine life. Shrimp farming can be hugely destructive to coastal ecosystems, while any farmed-fish development can result in pollution and the overuse of antibiotics to try to prevent disease within stocks, causing wider harm.

green grass and weeds coming out of a pond with a hill in the distance with blue skies and small white cloud

Wetlands at Valles Caldera National Preserve. New Mexico’s Rio Grande and its tributaries supply water to more than half of New Mexico’s population. To maintain the clean water supply, The Nature Conservancy’s Rio Grande Water Fund is restoring forests upstream that have been lost to fires © Alan W Eckert/TNC

It doesn’t need to be that way. Aquaculture is necessary not only because it can be a sustainable food source, but because it can help prevent wild fishing from negatively affecting sea populations. “We need to protect those marine resources and ensure sustainability going forward,” says Jones. “There is a maximum amount that our oceans can provide, in spite of being so vast, covering 70 per cent of our planet and providing food for billions of people.”

While doing things right isn’t always easy, it is certainly possible. “We have seen an amazing growth in potentially sustainable aquaculture,” says Sack. “If we’re looking at mitigating risks, the key is the type of farming undertaken and where it’s undertaken. We need to ensure aquaculture isn’t at an industrial scale that requires antibiotics or nutrients that could harm both the species and the ecosystems where the farms are situated.”

Current developments in sustainable aquaculture include looking at healthy seaweeds and bivalves, such as nutrient-dense oysters and mussels. These can feed people and clean ocean waters without requiring any animal feed or antibiotics. It is also important to engage with the local community around which those more intensive farming activities are based, and make sure that any benefits brought about from sustainable alternatives are ploughed back into the area, protecting mangroves and stone buffers and seagrasses that make our oceans what they are.

Coastal and marine flora aren’t only important for maintaining marine biodiversity. They are also a food source in themselves. Seaweed production more than tripled between 2000 and 2018, with more than 35 million tonnes now being produced annually worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States, “increased cultivation and utilisation of seaweed are expected to be important pillars of sustainable food security and a robust aquatic economy in the coming years.”

Read more: Richard Spinrad on moving towards a blue planet

But making it a sustainable pillar of the blue economy is a challenge. Almost all seaweed production – which accounts for half of marine aquaculture production worldwide – occurs in just nine countries in Asia, where expertise to prevent disease among the crop is not always advanced. Making sure that seaweed farming takes place sustainably, harnessing the potential to diversify the submarine environment rather than bringing disease and industrial production to the seas, is critical.

The responsibility for ensuring that global aquaculture is viable lies not just with the companies doing the farming, but with those bankrolling them. Sack believes the opportunity for investing in sustainable aquaculture is just starting. “There are opportunities to make some money and do good, but you need to exercise some caution, do due diligence and look for impact funds with a firm track record, so that you don’t perpetuate a status quo that isn’t sustainable,” she says. We only have one planet, after all. And we need to make sure it stays around for all life to live on.

Find out more:
noaa.gov
oceanriskalliance.org
nature.org

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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colourful orange, pink and green feathers
A woman's reflection by a feather sculptureKate MccGwire is a British artist whose childhood on the Norfolk Broads inspired her to create art around landscapes and wildlife. Often collaborating with fashion brands, MccGwire recently produced a limited edition scarf line with Co-Lab369. Here, Candice Tucker speaks with the artist about linking her nature focused art with the fashion world

LUX: How did you initially get involved with Co-Lab369 and what do you admire about them as a brand?
Kate MccGwire: I met Michelle Lindup, the cofounder of Co-Lab369, about 10-15 years ago in Paris. She was a collector and she bought some of my work at an exhibition. We have stayed in touch and every time I go to Paris, we have lunch together and this discussion about scarves happened during one of those lunches, and it evolved over a period of time.

A brown and dark purple feather print scarf

LUX: You’ve worked on many collaborative projects, from ESKMO, to Iris van Herpen to Helmut Lang. What do you enjoy about collaborative work, and how have you found your latest collaboration with Co-Lab369?
KM: It’s really interesting. It’s a very fine balance, trying to get that ethos straight and we’ve managed to do that. We have worked together for a quite a long time now putting it all together. It’s been a labour of love because Michelle has a really strong background in printed textiles and doing all the sampling, so that was her area of expertise, and my work translates really well into cloth and fabric. The quality of the silk is such a high standard that the lustra of the feathers really come out so it has been really exciting to see it come to life.

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I did a project with Ann Demeulemeester, and my work was on their catwalk show in Paris in 2015 and one of my proudest moments was to see all of these garments which I had worked on, walking down the catwalk in the Palais de Tokyo; it was just such a pinch yourself moment.

Two grey sculptures hung on a wall

LUX: Do you ever find it challenging making sure your vision aligns with the fashion house?
KM: It is always a discussion. There are things I am not prepared to do, I don’t want to change the colours of the feathers, for example. They are all the original colours of the feathers that I work with, and nothing is dyed. I wouldn’t die any feather on my work as I wouldn’t want the colours not to be original to the bird which I think is important.

Black and grey feather print scarf

LUX: You work in many mediums – from sculpture to film to drawing. How have you found incorporating fashion into your work?
KM: I love fashion. I am not a fashionista at all, but I really admire it. The thing I don’t like about fashion is it’s so seasonal. I like to buy something that lasts and is an iconic piece, like the dress I’m wearing now, an Issey Miyake dress. I know that it will be good for years, and I think that about the scarf. It’s not a seasonal thing, it’s not the seasons colour, it’s nature’s colour, it’s not going to go out of fashion, it is a limited edition beautiful aesthetic piece that will last for years.

A large feather print rug under a coffee table in a drawing room

There are a very small numbers of scarves. For some of them there are only 50 and for others, 200. It’s early days and at the moment, it’s a very small unique range. Someone who wants to buy one from me has already said “I want to frame it”. My work is very labour intensive and therefore quite expensive so it’s a way for people who love my work, to having something, enjoy the work, but not having to spend so much.

colourful orange, pink and green feathers

LUX: How do you feel about people wearing your art, and would you say that performance, or wearable, art is of particular importance now?
KM: I’m rather subversive in the fact that I love the idea of people wearing something they regard as ‘rats with wings’, pigeons, around their neck. It tickles my humour that that is a possibility, that you can transform someone’s opinion of something being disgusting to something beautiful.

white and grey flower petals zoomed in

LUX: The feather is something that features beautifully across your works. Why the feather?
KM: The feather is iconic. If you have a white feather, it is a symbol of defeat. Kids will pick up a feather and they will be Hiawatha, it’s a transformative object and they provide warmth and flight, and it also has a method of attraction and that all ties in with what we do to adorn ourselves, in fashion. The feathers do that to the bird; they attract a mate with their various colours.

A feather print scarf hung up around trees in a forest

LUX: In what ways does your art draw inspiration from, and connect, your current life and your childhood in Norfolk?
KM: My family had a boat, not a very smart boat, but every weekend we would go away on this boat and we would travel at reed height across very quiet waterways and I would be the one spotting the Bittern and the Marsh Harrier, like a tiny little vole or an otter if we were lucky and kingfishers if we were very lucky. Now, I live on the Thames, at Weybridge, and I see a kingfisher every single day and I feel like I could never leave that house because that’s such a special thing.

A brown, blue and amber feather print scarf

LUX: How do you incorporate sustainability into your work?
KM: My work is made with sustainable materials, they last a long time, although they are very delicate, provided they are looked after very well. We try and use recycled packaging; we are very conscious of that. We don’t use bubble wrap. We try and wrap as carefully as we can but it’s very difficult because the moment a piece leaves the studio it’s very difficult to insist things are done in the way you would do them in your studio, but we try.

A woman holding a black and grey feather print scarf around her back

LUX: Do you think contemporary art holds a political or fundamental duty to contribute to sustainable changes?
KM: I think so. Going to art shows and seeing them put down a carpet on a Monday and take it up on Sunday and put it in a bin is terrible. If they organised themselves properly they could find a homeless charity and they could use the carpet for 20-15 homes, but they don’t do that; they put it in the bin. Everyone has a duty. Art is a glamourous world, so some people aren’t interested in it.

Read more: Millie Jason Foster on supporting female artists

LUX: What next? Will you return to sculpture or continue in wearable mediums?
KM: Of course, this is very much a tiny fraction of my practice. I have an exhibition opening at the end of this month with Iris van Herpen and she has selected my work to go along with her grand retrospective. I also have work going to Miami at the Untitled Art Fair, with a two-person booth there with Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, I have loads of commissions and working very hard.

Find out more: katemccgwire.com

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Karen Sack aims to drive investment into coastal and ocean natural capital to combat climate change

Karen Sack

It is under three weeks until the start of one of the most important climate summits in history. At the end of November, world leaders gather in the UAE for COP 28, an ever-more urgent climate crisis looming amid growing geopolitical instability. Here, Karen Sack, head of a major organisation devoted to driving major finance to ocean-related sustainability initiatives, outlines what needs to happen – and what she fears may transpire instead

LUX: Speaking as Executive Director for the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) as well bringing in your own views, what do you think should happen at COP 28?
Karen Sack: This year we have seen the number of climate disasters ratcheting up. We are so close to that 1.5 degree increase of the world’s temperature. September has smashed all the records in terms of the amount of warming, with a 0.5 degree Celsius rate of change. From our perspective, there are five key focus areas for us at COP 28.

The first and most important is that we have to keep that 1.5 degree target alive. That is the Paris Agreement target, adopted at COP 21. It is absolutely critical on all kinds of scientific levels, in terms of tipping points as well the existential reality, particularly for small island developing states, and for the potential impacts on coastal communities in developing countries as well as everywhere around the world. That should be the absolute focus of this meeting and the intent should be on how to do that, in terms of outcome for the COP.

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Secondly, and very importantly, is that as we look at the real need to scale down emissions to phase out fossil fuels, we also need to recognise that a liveable planet, particularly a liveable planet for humans, requires the regeneration of ocean environment. Nature needs to be at the heart of the story, in terms of addressing the biodiversity and the climate crises, because together we need to address those two issues.

The third key element is recognising that if we are going to address mitigation, adaptation and resilience – three of the core elements of the COP – as well as bring in nature, we have to focus on regeneration. We have to move beyond sustainability, which we predominantly focused on in the past. If what we do now is just sustainable, that is insufficient. We have to address mitigation, adaptation, resilience and regeneration. We need to significantly upscale sustainable finance and investment. From our perspective, that needs to be scaled into blue nature – into the ocean, as a critical carbon sink and biodiversity reservoir, as well as a key source of livelihood.

Open ocean carbon- capture is an emerging technology involving extracting and storing carbon dioxide by using nature or artificial solutions

The fourth thing we need to look for regarding our focus on maintaining resilient coastal communities, is to ensure that where investments are going to be made in coastal areas that there are high quality safeguards and guardrails for those investments, so that those communities can thrive and that investments made are made with the full consent and engagement of those communities.

Fifth and finally, what is really key to get out of COP28 is to establish that there are certain things which should not be investable propositions. In the ocean space, that means not investing into offshore oil and gas or emerging sectors like sea-bed mining that could be incredibly destructive, and for which the full suite of impacts are as yet unknown.

From our perspective, there should be an absolute, precautionary pause on any investment into this potential new sector until there is much more information, better controls and better safeguards in place. The question remains as to whether it should happen at all, but there should at least be a pause until 2030 for sea-bed mining. My view is that it should not happen at all.

LUX: You have said before that there is enough talk but not enough action. What needs to be done around sustainable finance to make that gap close?
KS: Fundamentally, there must be an agreement to move forward on the loss and damages fund. There have been ongoing negotiations, but this needs to be sorted out and settled so that funds can begin to flow into that loss and damages fund and then to the communities most affected.

Secondly, we have got to close the gap on adaptation finance; the UN Environment Programme released a report just this past week which showed that the finance gap, for adaptation finance, is 50% higher than it was previously thought. That means we have got to start looking at the hundreds of billions of dollars that have got a flow from the public as well as the private sector.

The biggest risk that we are all exposed to is inaction. The more we can do earlier in the process to drive financing into adaptation and resilience, as well as mitigation, the better, and the less costly that will be in the long term. That is key to closing those adaptation gaps. And in the ocean space, working with partners and the high-level climate champions, we have identified five ocean breakthroughs which need to be addressed.

LUX: Is there a danger of double-counting or under-counting?
KS: It is essential that governments start to work across treaties rather than keeping climate and ocean and finance treaties separate. We need to start to think about what is needed to address the issues across the climate and the nature space to prevent under-counting or double-counting.

LUX: What will incentivise governments to do that? What needs to happen?
KS: In part, it is putting numbers on the table: what is the need and what is needed to address it.  Finance ministries are starting to identify these numbers and address what these gaps mean. Hopefully that begins to draw the discussion out of ministerial silos and begin to bring an all of government approach to the table in addressing them. Once that begins to happen, then it also requires Ministerial level engagement and how key ministers can get together more informally to address those issues. I know that a couple of months ago in Vancouver, the Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change flagged the need for ministers to come together across these treaties to address some of these issues. This is just a starting point though, because the issues we are facing extend beyond what governments can do and have to involve development finance institutions and the private sector too.

Due to climate change, coastal communities are now more than ever under threat from flooding and severe storms which threaten their infrastructure and economy

LUX: Is there an issue of a big difference in policy between more progressive governments, such as Canada and the EU, and others with very large economies who are less close to enacting such change?
KS: Absolutely. There are also fossil fuel economies which are in the middle of all of this. One of the issues is that, since the UNFCCC started its work, countries have been – and remain – defined according to their different economic statuses. Yet there are countries which are large emitters now, and countries that historically have had a large carbon footprint. There are also economies that are fossil-fuel driven economies and have contributed to significant fossil fuel emissions, either by themselves or through selling their fossil fuels on the open market. The reality of the challenges that the world now faces is that rather than arguing over who has done what for how long, the focus needs to shift towards how each of these actors can play a role in building and financing resilience and adaptation, and mitigating harm. We have to think beyond the traditional brackets that different countries have been put into, because this is an existential crisis for all of us.

LUX: Do you see authentic intent among enough governments, or are some just talking the talk?
KS: This is part of the challenge. We have seen so many significant climate events this year which you would think would bring people to the table with urgency, focus and determination, but that is not happening across the board. This is where the private sector needs to come in to help move things forward. There has, of course, been push-back in some private sector quarters as well. But the reality is that if we project forward to revenue and growth impacts or profit margins, not just over the next quarter or few years, but to five and ten years down the track, the potential costs of inaction are staggering. These are no longer issues for the next generation, they must be addressed now. We have a choice as humans. The planet will be fine. It is us who are going to be harmed. We choose whether we act now or we delay but, as I said earlier, both cost and risk become exponential the more we delay. We should be focusing all of our attention on acting now.

LUX: Is there a risk that the more we innovate to offset, or capture, the more we have permission to emit?
KS: Absolutely, which is why we have really got to focus on reducing and phasing out fossil fuel emissions as quickly as possible, and we have got to think about the most cost-effective, efficient ways to invest in adaptation and resilience. Let’s shift those investments into sustainable, regenerative renewables, such as wind, solar and tidal power, and let’s focus on investing into nature and helping to build resilient, natural ecosystems which are also the most effective carbon sinks that are on Earth right now. These are incredibly effective both in the functions they fulfill, as well as the costs that they incur.

Karen Sack has previously led global efforts to create a new UN treaty for high seas biodiversity

LUX: Do you think that large-scale, open-ocean carbon-capture – which is currently unregulated, untested but has the potential for enormous scale – should be focused on, or it a diversion?
KS: I think that there will always be untested technologies and potential large-scale solutions, which will be put on the table as a panacea to resolve our issues. There is no harm in asking scientists to explore the viability of some of those mechanisms, to understand the costs, the potential collateral damage and impacts of them before we move forward with them, but thinking that we can chase rainbows or invent unicorns that will solve our problems, while letting everything else fall apart at the seams, does not seem like a sensible solution.

However, there are tried and tested approaches which we know will work. We know that not using fossil fuels is the most critical step that has to be taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change. We know that regenerating and restoring nature is very important for addressing elements of biodiversity as well as the climate crisis. We must work on these two things and build adaptation and resilience – as quickly as possible – by focusing on investing into renewables and investing into nature, and ensuring that government policies and investments from governments and the private sector enable this.

Read more: Jean-Baptiste Jouffray on the future of the world’s oceans 

LUX: What do you fear will happen at COP 28?
KS: There are a lot of initiatives which are being taken forward, and discussions happening, at COP 28. All of them are taking place in the face of significant geopolitical change and challenge. My biggest fear is that the international community does not move far and fast enough and as quickly as possible at this COP, and that the interests of the fossil fuel sector take hold. We cannot go there again. We do not have the time and we certainly do not have the space. We need – as we say in the ocean world – all hands on deck! We must move swiftly. We need action, and we need it now. That is what we need out of this COP: concerted action at speed and at scale.

The 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP) is set to take place between the 30th November and 12th December 2023

Karen Sack is Executive Director of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance

Deutsche Bank was the first bank to join the Ocean Risk and Resilience Alliance

Lower three images by Isabella Fergusson

Read more: oceanriskalliance.org

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Baby whales gathered together in the sea
Baby whales gathered together in the sea

Pilot whales in the Pelagos Sanctuary, which was co-created by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

As awareness grows of the need for a sustainable blue economy and for ocean restoration around the world, LUX invites thought leaders and experts to nominate their choice of individuals, non-profits and financial and investment wizards, whose efforts are helping save the planet’s troubled waters
A woman holding a jacket over her shoulder

Nathalie Hilmi

Dr Nathalie Hilmi, Senior Researcher at the Scientific Centre of Monaco, nominates:

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
This international non-profit organisation is the only foundation in the world headed by a serving head of state. It was founded by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II in 2006 with the mission of protecting and advancing the health of our planet for future generations, with a focus on biodiversity, climate, renewable energy, oceans and water resources. In addition to funding hundreds of projects, the foundation has set up initiatives to be a driving force in these fields, operating in the Mediterranean Basin, the Polar regions and the least developed countries. It works with scientists, other NGOs and world leaders, and has branches in 11 countries.

fpa2.org

Meri Foundation
I like the work this non-profit foundation is doing for the planet and our environment, promoting scientific research and environmental education on ecosystems in Chile and around the word. It has a vision of inspiring communities to consider a sense of belonging in their ecosystem environment, promoting a society in harmony with the planet. Its philanthropic engagements are stunning.

fondacionmeri.cl

A man wearing glasses and a black suit with a white shirt

Marküs Muller

Markus Müller , Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank, nominates:

Anna Katharina Meyer
Anna Katharina identifies global challenges and launches tangible initiatives, with a focus on sustainable finance and accounting, renewable energies and entrepreneurship. Describing herself as a founder, activist and scientist with heart and soul, she combines professional competences with scientific ones and is shaping discourse on a sustainable and inclusive future with expertise.

unitedsustainability.com

trees in a swamp

Heritiera fomes mangroves in Sundarbans, West Bengal, India. Sundarbans is a national park and biosphere reserve; carbon-storing, coast-protecting mangroves are an essential component of nature-based solutions

Rayne Sullivan
Co-Chair of the Youth Advisory Council at Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Rayne represented the US at the inaugural UN Youth4Climate summit in Milan in 2021, advocating for Hawai’i and Oceans. Rayne is also pursuing a JD programme at Stanford, with a focus on the nexus between climate science, responsible AI and traditional knowledge systems, to empower frontline island communities in developing nature-based climate solutions.

soalliance.org

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

A woman wearing a necklace and black top

Marie Claire Daveu

Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs at Kering, nominates:

Conservation International
This NGO is a leader not only in its science-led work around the world, working on the ground to protect and restore nature, but also for its influence on global policies and within the business community. Its expertise when we set up the Regenerative Fund for Nature together was indispensable and its dedication to achieving a wide-scale impact on nature is to be applauded.

conservation.org

A man wearing a blue shirt holding fruit in his hand standing by a crate of fruit

Hugo Clément, from his docu-series, On the Front

Hugo Clément
The media has a significant role to rally awareness and support for the climate and biodiversity crises. French journalist Hugo Clément has brought these crises to the public through documentaries and investigative journalism, where his pursuit of the truth has uncovered corporate greenwashing. His long-time activism around animal rights has also brought this often overlooked topic into the spotlight. His dedication is far-reaching and he stands by his principles, which we need in our society today.

@hugoclementk

A man wearing a black top and blazer, with his arms folded

Chris Gorrell Barnes

Chris Gorrell Barnes, founding Partner of Ocean 14 capital and co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation, nominates:

Por el Mar
Martina Sasso, founder of this dynamic new Argentinian NGO, has used creativity and communications to advance a ban on open-net salmon farming in Argentina and delivered extraordinary wins by creating pivotal marine-protected areas in the region. I can see that Por el Mar will deliver outstanding conservation gains for the ocean in the next few years.

A penguin by the sea

Megallanic penguin at the Monte León National Park in Santa Cruz, part of a project supported by Por el Mar

porelmar.org

SyAqua
This, our first investment at Ocean 14, is a platform for our mission to transform shrimp farming. US and Asia-based SyAqua is a leading provider of genetics and tech in shrimp breeding. It provides farmers with virus-resilient broodstock, so reducing environmental externalities and make shrimp farming more sustainable.

syaqua.com

A man standing next to trees and grass wearing a suit

Christian Lim

Christian Lim, Managing Director of Blue Ocean, SWEN Capital Partners and Co-Chair of 1000 Ocean Startups, nominates:

Anne-Sophie Roux
Roux is a young but powerful voice in the global movement against reckless deep-sea mining. She and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance have been instrumental in changing the position of several governments, including in France and Switzerland. As founder and CEO of Paris-based Tenaka, she and her team have worked with partners to develop corporate responsibility programmes and nature-based solutions for ocean conservation.

people standing together weather pink t-shirts

Members of the Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute being trained in environmental DNA collection for eBioAtlas, as devised by NatureMetrics

tenaka.org

Kat Bruce
In 2014, scientist Kat Bruce co-founded NatureMetrics, the world’s leading eDNA company. Its mission is to democratise measurement of biodiversity for different species through technology, to better align nature and markets. Disclosure: we have invested in NatureMetrics.

naturemetrics.com

A woman holding a microphone doing a presentation

Karen Sack

Karen Sack, Executive Director of Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, nominates:

Whitney Johnston
As the company’s first Director of Ocean Sustainability, Whitney leads Salesforce’s work on sourcing high quality blue-carbon offsets. Based in New Mexico and a climate scientist and oceanographer by training, she is a leader in developing high-quality blue-carbon principles and a key shaper of the Blue Carbon Buyers Alliance, companies committed to purchasing high-quality blue-carbon credits.

salesforce.com

small boats on the sand lined up next to eachother

Traditional line-fishing boats from the southernmost tip of Africa. The non-profit Abalobi supports small-scale sustainable fishing

Serge Raemaekers
Serge is co-founder of Abalobi, a South African non-profit aiming to elevate small-scale fisheries through technology, and empower them for social, economic and ecological sustainability. The name Abalobi means “fisher” in the isiXhosa language, reflecting its fisher-led nature. Abalobi has developed a digital platform connecting fishers directly with consumers, creating a more transparent and equitable value chain. Serge’s vision is to create thriving small-scale fisheries worldwide to feed the world sustainably, provide meaningful livelihoods and contribute to healthy ecosystems.

abalobi.org

A woman wearing a black top

Jessica Hodges

Jessica Hodges, Lead in Investment Management and Wealth ESG at Deloitte UK, nominates:

Net Purpose
Samantha Duncan’s London-based organisation is brilliant and was highly commended in the Finance for the Future Awards in 2021. It is a platform to facilitate impact measurement for investors and make it easy for people looking to invest, by collecting, cleaning and structuring data from thousands of global sources. This ensures a more transparent and rigorous approach to assessing the impact of portfolio companies.

netpurpose.com

A warehouse with good and machinery on the ground

LED lighting for a German warehouse, installed by UrbanVolt and financed by the Solas Sustainable Energy Fund

Solas Capital
Zurich-based Solas Capital is a specialist investment advisory firm founded and managed by Sebastian Carneiro and Paul Kearney, both professionals from the energy-efficiency financing sector. The company’s mission is to support the move to a carbon-neutral society through innovative financing. By understanding both the funding needs of energy-efficiency and self-consumption PV infrastructure projects, and the requirements of institutional investors, Solas Capital bridges the gap between investors and projects.

solas.capital

A woman giving a speech at a podium

Cathy Li

Cathy Li, UN Youth Advisor, nominates:

Klima Action Malaysia
This climate justice NGO was founded by youth activist friends of mine who work on the linkage between human rights and climate change. It promotes a rights-based approach to a just and equitable world and the climate emergency. KAMY works to empower vulnerable communities, including indigenous groups, women and youth, to participate in climate governance and decision-making.

klimaactionmalaysia.org

A woman with a fringe wearing glasses and a black shirt

Jennifer Morris

Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, nominates:

Vizzuality
Data is critical, but unless business leaders, policymakers and society understand it, its ability to drive change is limited. With offices in Cambridge, Madrid and Porto, Vizzuality is working on creating data visualisation and mapping tools. We need innovators like Vizzuality to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and we’re excited to see how its work on projects like Trase, which maps global supply chains leading to deforestation, and Marxan, the open-source spatial-planning software, can lead us to a nature-positive, net-zero future.

vizzuality.com

A man wearing a suit and tie

Ted Janulis

Ted Janulis, founder and Principal of Investable Oceans, nominates:

Lea d’Auriol
Lea is founder and Executive Director of London-based Oceanic Global, and she and her team made World Ocean Day a
global phenomenon. Lea has pioneered new programmes and methods of engagement, including Oceanic Global’s Blue Standard, a set of tools to help businesses eliminate plastics. Lea also always reflects light on others to acknowledge their contributions.

oceanic.global

A man underwater wearing scuba diving equipment and a wetsuit, taking notes

Titouan Bernicot, founder of Coral Gardeners, monitoring the health of corals growing in the nurseries. Once mature, the corals will be planted back onto damaged reef to bring back life and biodiversity

Titouan Bernicot
Titouan, founder and CEO of Coral Gardeners in French Polynesia, was drawn to action by seeing coral bleaching as a teen surfer in Mo’orea. He has built a community-based organisation that has grown and planted over 30,000 corals in French Polynesia. Their new goal: engage the public to help plant a million corals, and develop tech to accelerate coral restoration around the globe.

coralgardeners.org

A bald man smiling wearing a suit and tie

Professor Connel Fullenkamp

Connel Fullenkamp, Professor of the Practice of Economics at Duke University, and co-founder of Blue Green Future, nominates:

Partanna
Cement production is a major emitter of carbon dioxide. While some firms are working on carbon-neutral cement products, California-based Partanna has developed a carbon-negative cement from brine – a desalination waste product – that captures carbon while it cures. This makes it possible to build homes in the developing world that generate carbon credits for their owners.

partanna.com

A house with a flat roof and sunshine around it

Rendering of a prototype home in the Bahamas made with Partanna’s carbon-negative cement

Belinda Bramley
Pivoting to environmental consulting from accounting, Belinda brings business sense and the ability to speak the language of companies and markets to a field that needs it. She can analyse the needs of a project, organise it and build the case for funding it. She currently supports Hinemoana Halo Ocean. I predict she will become the chief architect of many sustainability projects.

conservation.org/aotearoa/ hinemoana-halo

Read more: Rapha CEO Francois Convercey on diversity and sustainability in cycling

A man smiling wearing a white shirt and grey jacket

Dimitri Zhengelis

Dimitri Zenghelis, Special Advisor to the Wealth Economy project at the University of Cambridge, nominates:

Kingsmill Bond
I recommend energy strategist Kingsmill Bond for his work on low-carbon transition at the US-based Rocky Mountain Institute. He has always been ahead of the game in predicting the speed with which we will adopt renewables and other clean technologies.

rmi.org

A mosaic style painting in different shades of blue and red

Winds of Change, by Sarah Bond for Rocky Mountain Institute

A man wearing a white shirt, pocket handkerchief and a grey suit

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, founder and CEO of Alta Capital, an award-winning sustainable real-estate developer based in Hong Kong, nominates:

Eric Ricaurte
Founder CEO of Greenview, Eric is a pioneer in sustainable hospitality, starting in South America more than 25 years ago and building Greenview into a leading consultancy. Through his leadership, he has engaged some of the largest hotel groups in the world.

greenview.sg

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A pink jellyfish in blue water
A pink jellyfish in blue water

Summer Compass Jellyfish. Photo by Theo Vickers

The protection of biodiversity is becoming a key topic in the sustainability sector. Now we need to measure our economies’ effects on biodiversity fairly and effectively, says Markus Müller in an interview with Darius Sanai
A man wearing glasses and a black suit with a white shirt

Marküs Muller

LUX: How do we measure our effect on biodiversity, or compare worms with whales?
Markus Müller: We need to find metrics that account for local specifics but are globally comparable. There is a parallel with economic activity, because humans live, produce and consume locally, yet we have found global metrics to measure the economics of human interactions.

LUX: What is the most important measuring tool in the context of nature?
MM: One important metric is the Mean Species Abundance indicator, or MSA, which identifies the impacts of an economic activity on the mean species in a designated local area. It indicates the abundance of native species in a disturbed ecosystem relative to undisturbed ecosystems. Another measure is the Biodiversity Intactness Index, or BII. Both can help us obtain information around an ecosystem’s ability to deliver the ecosystem services we depend on, and understand the influence of economic activity on nature.

LUX: But won’t the MSA in a desert have a different metric to one in a rainforest?
MM: The ingredients are different, but it is about the amount of species. We have business activity in a location and from that we get data on its pressure and impact. That shows how the MSA is clustered according to the activity in terms of climate change, land use, nitrogen deposition, hunting, road disturbance and fragmentation.

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LUX: Is the metric accepted universally?
MM: It is getting more recognition by various institutions and participants. However, our goal should not be to have a universally accepted metric for its own sake; it should be on accounting for local specificities with a methodology that, in principle, can be applied globally. It is not 100 per cent perfect, but, given the need for urgent action, as made clear by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, I advocate not waiting till scientists have the perfect metric.

LUX: How will the metrics affect business?
MM: When we know the effect of a business activity on the MSA, we will then know the biodiversity cost of the activity, and we can bring that into the decision-making process around it.

LUX: Is the aim to have a tax or other regulation on businesses that affect the MSA?
MM: Yes. The disclosure of a company’s MSA would allow the market to better price its exposure to nature– and climate-related risks, and take these factors into account for a valuation.

LUX: Would it work like carbon credits?
MM: Biodiversity credits are not comparable to carbon credits in a key sense because, other than for the actual removal of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon credits are used to compensate for current carbon use. Biodiversity credits must be purely an incentive not to destroy biodiversity, not to offset its loss. We can use economic incentives, such as reduced taxation, or a market system in which participants exchange credits.

LUX: How will the nature market develop?
MM: It will likely develop as we’ve seen equity or fixed-income markets develop. I would add the caveat that we should never monetise nature, but understand its value and what it gives us, so we can protect the value that ecosystem services provide, while enabling their uninterrupted flow. We need to prioritise the intactness of nature.

three pink seahorses in the sea

Photo by David Clode

LUX: How will governments regulate this?
MM: It is a question of the governance of nature. If we do not know how to govern nature, we also do not know what kind of mechanism to use to manage and assess its governance. For example, effective governance also means you need to include local communities into the responsibility of governing these resources.

LUX: Is there the desire among governments and voters to make this happen?
MM: On the one hand I think, yes; on the other, it requires uncomfortable decisions. So we need to remind ourselves again about economics and diminishing marginal utility. Humans will act in a familiar pattern for as long as the marginal utility is positive. We only change when it is no longer possible to proceed as we were.

LUX: Will listed companies make decisions based around biodiversity incentives?
MM: Yes, regulation is going in this direction. We see it with 30 by 30 – the initiative to create protected areas across 30 per cent of Earth’s land and sea by 2030. More than 100 countries are signed up. This development must not be limited to a specific region like Europe, we need a joint framework; even better, a joint narrative.

LUX: Is there a risk that companies make decisions based on one factor – biodiversity at the expense of carbon emissions, say?
MM: Yes, this is a risk of sustainability. We see it as a goal but, like economics, it is not a goal but a tool. Ideally, my role will be redundant in 20 years, as sustainability will be incorporated into everything. I think, in time, MSA or BII will be comparable indicators to CO2 emissions.

Read more: Leaders on Leaders: the people saving our planet

LUX: What would you say to an investor who says, “I just invest to make money”?
MM: I would say this way of thinking belongs in the past. We have to acknowledge that a high negative impact on nature is a financial risk as well as an environmental one. Nature-based risks – and opportunities – will materialise and have an impact on a portfolio. Companies not taking these into account, through an adaptive strategy, will have to pay a higher price in the future.

LUX: In five years, will a private-equity fund take MSA into account in decision-making?
MM: Yes, I believe so. I think it will play an increasing role in impact investing, but it will also play a role in the consumer-goods space.

LUX: If you were in charge of the world, what would you ask people to do?
MM: Go back to our roots. Think local, act global. Take account of nature, because we are a part of it. It is naive to disregard the system we are dependent on. We can’t do that any more.

Markus Müller is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

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A man working with wire and plaster
A man working with wire and plaster

Syed Muhammad Zakir working on his exhibition, Maya

Bangladeshi artist Syed Muhammad Zakir’s works typically focus on environmental issues and their impact on the public. His latest exhibition, Maya, which focuses on the fictitious city of Baghreb, is no different. Tien Albert reports

Originally trained a sculptor, Zakir’s art now spans different dimensions and mediums. He has created several pieces using unpredictable protruding pipes, and has also delved into performance art, cracked and bleak paintings, street art, and land art reminiscent of the style of Richard Long.

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Zakir’s land art, in particular, tends to focus on men and women’s relationship with nature. Often taking place in public parks, the artist uses easily available materials, such as leaves from the ground or sand from beaches, to draw symmetrical patterns. Examples of this include “White”, a white rectangle painted on a wall separated by a gap, so a banana leaf could successfully grow between the two, and “Art can be anywhere”, a series of symmetrical patterns formed in a park between trees using fallen leaves.

 

A plant growing between two walls with white paint on it

White

Zakir’s performance art is often more political, usually involving a form of contemporary dance, sometimes in highly politicised environments such as public protests.

His latest exhibition at the Bengal Shilpalay gallery blurs the line between traditional show and land art. There is a focus on the readymade, which is juxtaposed with Zakir’s typical scratched, scrawly canvases.

Zakir’s proclivity for easily available materials is obvious: the exhibition uses mundane objects, such as plastic bottles, an overflowing plastic bag, and styrofoam to make a commentary on mankind’s neglect of nature.

Bin bags on the ceiling held up by wooden sticks

Dhop

A tree trunk on the side of steps

Prokrity (Nature)

Plastic items hanging off a cart

Bhangari

The objects are placed on the floor for the viewer to walk past, placing them in ‘Baghreb’, an imagined city, making the exhibition as a whole feel much more interactive. Even within the exhibition space there are frequent clashes between mediums.

Read more: Shimul Saha: An artist of all mediums

Paintings are placed next to readymade items, which are placed next to plants and poems from the artist’s wife, Sanjeeda Shahid, symbolising the over-empowerment of everyday objects

rubble and sand on the floor below a painting of power lines

The City of Baghreb

Maya is available to view at the Bengal Shilpalay until Saturday 2nd September 2023

This article was published in association with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

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A leopard
A river with marshes around it

The Syväysjoki peatlands within the Koitajoki Basin, Finland. Peatlands like this have been damaged through drainage, peat-mining, and planting for commercial forestry © Mika Honkalinna/Snowchange.

Financier, philanthropist and environmentalist Ben Goldsmith explains how environmental conservation became such an important aspect of his life and why it should be at the forefront of all philanthropists’ agendas

I am lucky enough to be raising a family on a former dairy farm in an area of low agricultural productivity, in South Somerset’s Selwood Forest. Until the Victorian era, a great mosaic woodland stretched across this landscape, from Bath to Wells and down to Frome. This was a landscape of extraordinary natural abundance and vibrancy, in large part on account of the grazing, browsing, rootling and dung of the free-roaming hardy pigs and horned cattle that were turned out by villagers into the forest. These were of course proxies for the wild boar and aurochs of an even earlier age, keystones of the forest ecosystem.

People walking on marshes collecting parts

Solent Seagrass Champions restoring seagrass meadows on the Isle of Wight © Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trusts/Blue Marine Foundation

Recently, alongside two neighbours, we decided to set about reviving the lost woodland. We tore out fencing, switched to native cattle in far lower numbers, rewiggled streams and revived ghost ponds. As the field shapes have begun to dissolve into the landscape, and little patches of crab apple, hawthorn and willow have begun to emerge everywhere, the results have been both startling and magical.

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Life has poured back in; the birdsong in spring is at times overwhelming in its intensity, a string of dammed pools created by beavers along the bottom of the valley now abounds with amphibians and dragonflies, the open areas are a riot of wildflowers and tiny chirruping crickets. By comparison, the surrounding landscape seems silent, drained of colour.

hands holding a baby turtle

A baby Hawksbill sea turtle in White Sands, Canash Beach, St.Vincent. Photo by Stephan Hornsey

Immersing myself in this transformation has brought me a greater sense of joy and meaning than anything I’ve done in my life. The natural fabric of the world, in other words that vast life support system on which we depend utterly for everything we have and everything we do, is quite simply blinking out all around us. And yet, here in Selwood, I have seen first-hand that nature rebounds with astonishing intensity and speed. All we need to do is give it the chance. In the grand scheme of things, this is not expensive to do. So why are philanthropists, large and small, not grabbing the opportunity to participate in a movement that is at the same time so vital and so rewarding? Owning land is a niche privilege which appeals to some; but participating in the restoration of nature need not be.

A seal in the sea smiling

The critically endangered monk seal. In Turkey the project is establishing marine protected areas along 500 km of coastline. Artificial nesting platforms have been constructed, which are increasing the monk seal’s breeding success © Fauna & Flora

Just 3% or so of all the money given away philanthropically is directed towards the protection and restoration of the natural environment. Almost ten times as much is given to the arts. Happily though, modest amounts of environmental philanthropy, well directed, is capable of catalysing great change. Lisbet Rausing’s marvellous Arcadia Fund has created an Endangered Landscapes Programme, which dishes out grants of up to €5 million towards the long-term restoration and protection of Europe’s largest remaining intact landscapes. The money is geared towards piecing ecosystems back together, reintroducing missing species, and perhaps most importantly, establishing long-term local prosperity arising from richly abundant nature. It works. Great swathes of Europe are coming back to life as a result of this one programme.

fishing nets hanging on a tree on a beach

Questelles beach, St.Vincent successfully hatched hawksbill nests in 2022. Photo by Stephan Hornsey

Sir Christopher Hohn’s Children’s Investment Fund Foundation has made huge contributions to the Foundation for International Litigation on the Environment, as well as underwriting the spectacular growth of Client Earth. These two organisations are using the law all across the world to win key environmental battles on everything from air pollution in cities to the protection of old growth forests. Each successful case sets a precedent which makes the cost of trashing nature that much higher for companies or governments which might be tempted. This is game-changing work.

horses running in the woods

Reintroduction of large herbivores in the Danube Delta, including König horses, is restoring dynamic ecological processes in the floodplain © Andrey Nekrasov/Rewilding Ukraine

Meanwhile, the big idea of Conservation Collective, which I chair, is that people are far more likely to give their time and money towards restoring nature in the place that they love. There are now twenty locally-focused Conservation Collective foundations across the world, from Barbados to the Balearic Islands, Devon to the Dalmatian Coast. Each one of these is comprised of a dozen or more supporters who give in the thousands rather than the millions, their money strategically distributed to the most effective grassroots restoration and activist initiatives in the place that is closest to their own heart.

Read more: Kering’s Marie-Claire Daveu on the future of sustainability

Vultures are recovering from near extinction in Cyprus, new forest corridors in Sri Lanka are enabling leopards to move between protected areas and the ban on killing sea turtles in St Vincent and the Grenadines is being enforced by local monitors. The network is growing beyond our wildest imaginings, because playing a part in the dramatic recovery of nature is hugely appealing, and ultimately addictive.

a leopard walking

One of Wilpattu National Park’s dominant male leopards, the Kumbuk Villa Male, doing his morning rounds. Photo by Yanik Tissera

Every important victory that has been secured, from the saving of the whales in the 1970s to the turning of the tide on the destruction of the ozone layer in the 1990s, has happened because of small groups of passionate, brilliant people – supported by the generosity of philanthropists large and small. Giving a small amount each month to one of these organisations is a meaningful, radical and powerfully rewarding act, one which far too few people in our society have discovered.

A family sitting on the ground by a river

Ben Goldsmith and his family

The three most effective things any one of us can do towards fixing this, the mother of all issues, and moving our civilisation into a new age of harmony with nature are: to vote with nature in mind; to buy stuff mindfully; and to choose a nature organisation to support with whatever regular amount you can afford. Once you start, you won’t stop. And when your children or grandchildren one day ask you what role you played in all of this, you’ll have an answer for them.

Find out more: conservation-collective.org

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waves crashing in the sea and rocks on the sea floor
waves crashing in the sea and rocks on the sea floor

Fishes, 24 March 2019, Teahupoo, Tahiti, French Polynesia. © Ben Thouard

Markus Müller discusses how the ocean, biodiversity, the global economy and the world of finance are inextricably linked – and proposes what should be done now to make business fit for a nature-compliant future
A man wearing a suit

Markus Müller

Economics is deeply bound to nature. Portfolio managers in finance often think they invented the idea of diversification. I hate to disappoint them, but it was created by nature first. Nature, like economics, invented diversification for risk protection and to provide the breeding ground for development. If everything stayed the same, there would be no development – this is true for nature and true for economics.

According to some estimates, half of global GDP is directly attributable to nature. Some industries, such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing, use nature’s output to create economic output, and are therefore heavily nature-dependent. The biodiversity of nature is also essential to economics, because the wide assortment of living things provides crucial ecosystem services to the economy. These services range from providing fresh air and clean water to producing food. Nature provides everything that humans consume.

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The ocean plays a big part in biodiversity, as two-thirds of our planet is covered with water and more than 95 per cent of that is ocean. If we allow our ocean ecosystems to be depleted, we create risks for nature, for humanity, for the economy and for social stability. Human life is heavily dependent on ocean ecosystems and, if we let them deteriorate, the services we need to live and thrive will not be there. We would lose the critical services the ocean provides, such as the natural governance of carbon sequestration and temperature regulation. It is all one connected chain.

There are a myriad of links between nature and economics. The ocean is a great example of this, and an example of how we undervalue nature in our economic thinking. For instance, do we really understand the financial impact of having 40 per cent of the global population living near the coast with the threat of rising sea levels? Have we really taken into account how vital water is for our livelihoods and do we have an economic model that accounts for this?

 orange coral underwater

Although our understanding of ocean economics has developed, there is still a long way to go. However, we do know enough to start taking action. Some may ask, why is it important to finance the blue economy? The real question is, how do we use finance to transform our current non-sustainable and non-equitable blue economy into a sustainable and equitable one? First, we have to be clear about the goal: to have a sustainable and equitable blue economy and a nature-compliant economic model. Creating such a model is the equivalent of the economics behind building and operating a railway infrastructure. To build a functioning train network first requires a railway system, which is too expensive for private markets to install and is the kind of cost that only a government can afford – but the trains can be provided and financed by private companies.

We need to enable the ocean to deliver its ecosystem services. Many ocean assets need to be protected in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and they are unlikely to generate an investment return. This means assets in MPAs are not suitable for a market system; rather, it becomes a governmental and societal responsibility to protect them and ensure they are not being depleted or overused. Governance is key for this to be successful.

Finance can be a tool that then helps achieve the goal for a sustainable and equitable blue economy. Global financial markets can play a role by providing a premium to companies that operate in the blue economy. In time, these companies that account for the impact that the ocean has on their economic activity can become more profitable and have more stable profit generation than other businesses. Those businesses that do not account for the ocean may find they are at risk: a reputational risk, a physical risk, even a liability risk. Financial markets can also provide indirect support to sustainable companies that understand how their value chains are impacted by the ocean. This is also part of ocean finance.

fish swimming around coral in the sea

In this new economic model, firms link self-interest to the health of the natural machine. CEOs understand their dependency on the ocean and are therefore aligned for protection. This happens through transparency, disclosure and data flow. Regulation provides a framework, which can be supplemented by the private sector if needed, as regulators can’t do everything. The risk to watch out for is using key performance indicators (KPIs) that are not globally or locally accepted in financial markets. Here again, regulation is an enabler.

Companies that are directly involved in the blue economy should employ local people and redistribute the accrued margin to the local communities, based on the understanding that nature needs time to recover. This would be both sustainable and equitable. Self-interests will drive this and it will happen at the local level, bottom up, before eventually forming global coalitions. An economy, or society, works from an agreement of self-understanding. Thus, if humankind can reach an agreement that fossil fuels are not the way forward, then society will find a way to abandon fossil fuels. However, if there is not such an agreement, then global treaties will not be signed.

Read more: 3Sun Gigafactory’s Eliano Russo On The Clean Energy Transition

Literacy in the systemic value of natural capital is incomplete, especially in financial markets. It follows a similar path to the understanding of climate change from the past 40 years. But it is growing. We must now act on propositions such as those outlined here to build the nature-compliant economy of our future.

Markus Müller is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more: deutschewealth.com/esg

This article was first published in the Deustche Bank Supplement in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Green and white glass sheets in a room
Green and white glass sheets in a room

Lexus Design Awards 2023 was presented in the Tortona district during Milan Design Week

Against the backdrop of the vibrant and bustling Milan Design Week, Lexus presented the four winners of their coveted annual Design Award, now in its 11th iteration. Trudy Ross visited Milan’s Superstudio Più to find out more

I was an awe-struck first-timer at Salone del Mobile this year, the world’s most prestigious and well-attended design fair. The city was brimming with life, with throngs of fashionably dressed professionals walking over clean, sunbaked streets, the city’s many restaurants and cafes full of old industry friends reuniting and the chatter of business meetings over fine wine. On every corner you were met with an eye-catching new installation, ready to become the venue for yet another glamorous party by the evening.

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The Lexus Design Awards, presented in the Tortona district, was the perfect introduction to Salone, embodying the fair’s guiding principles of creativity, beauty, innovation, sustainability, and a focus on the potential of young designers. The competition was launched in 2013 by Lexus to give a platform to the next generation of designers. Displayed in the bright and airy Superstudio Più, the winning designs were accompanied by architect and artist Suchi Reddy’s immersive 3D collage, Shaped by Air, inspired by the Lexus Electrified Sport.

Reddy told LUX, “It all started from a drawing. I started finding these shapes that were very beautiful – I thought that if Matisse had designed a car, this would be the car…because we were inside, I had the opportunity to really play with reflection, and create this idea of a forest; you can see how the light dapples, creating shadows and unexpected things. There’s a richness to walking in a forest because you never know what shapes to expect – everything fits but it’s always different.”

A woman wearing a black dress and white top standing next to green and transparent sheets of glass

Suchi Reddy with her installation, ‘Shaped by Air’

Her installation of glass and movement was the perfect intermingling of beauty, technology, and nature to reflect the winning designs, which used technology to look to the future and to create elegance, but also prioritised purpose, practicality and the natural world. While there is usually only one winner, this year the award was expanded to comprise four winners, all of whom were given an opportunity to work with Lexus’ handpicked mentors, four leading figures from the design world: Marjan van Aubel, Joe Doucet, Yuri Suzuki, and Sumayya Vally. A public vote was then held to determine the People’s Choice winner, the design which most impressed and resonated with viewers.

Swedish designer Pavels Hedström was announced as the Your Choice winner for his innovative design, Fog-X, a high-impact hiking jacket that transforms into a tent/shelter – but its real ingenuity is not shapeshifting. The device can catch fog, even in the most arid areas of the desert, and transform it into up to 10 litres a day of drinking water. Hedström told LUX that he has always been interested in solving the big global challenges. When it came to drinking water, he was inspired by plants and animal species which can survive in the Atacama desert. He found that one of the ways they do this is by catching fog, saying his design is “basically the same principle”.

Read more: Photo London’s Fariba Farshad on Fotografìa Maroma

While the jacket itself might not currently be affordable for many of the people living in desert communities with a lack of water, he championed the Fog-X app made alongside the jacket, which anyone can use to determine and track the areas with the most potential for moisture generation. He added, “privileged people like us take for granted that we have water on the tap. We need to rethink how we get these resources, because our relationship to nature is pretty imbalanced. If we use the jacket, I hope it will also change our mindsets and our appreciation of nature.”

A man wearing cow print trousers and a black top standing next to an orange bag

Pavels Hedström, the Your Choice winner for his innovative design, Fog-X

The other designers included Temporary Office, a duo made up of Vincent Lai and Douglas Lee, who unveiled 3D topographic puzzle Touch the Valley. Designed with the visually impaired in mind, the puzzle allows people to play and learn through touch rather than sight, with each piece carefully contoured and sculpted to engage tactual sensation. When assembled, the pieces can become a model of a major mountain range or famous landmark. Beyond a tool for the visually impaired, the product can be enjoyed by all and double as an elegant coffee table piece with an interesting story to tell. Perfect for the explorer traveller who doesn’t just want to go to Yosemite, but wants to hold it in his hands.

Two men standing next to a screen showing a presentation

Vincent Lai and Douglas Lee, founders of Temporary Office

Jiaming Lui from China designed the Print Clay Humidifier, a 3D-printed humidifier made with recycled ceramic waste. This household appliance requires zero electricity or energy and is made from materials left over from industrial processes. Indeed, the product itself can be recycled at the end of its life after any damage or breakages to reform as it was initially. Lui looked to natural resources to replace the plastic, energy-using devices many of us have in our homes and created a stylish, effective and sustainable alternative.

A man standing next to a product and a screen with the words LEXUS above him

Jiaming Lui with his print clay humidifier design

Finally, and perhaps the most directly relevant to many of our own lives was Kyeongho Park and Yejin Heo’s Zero Bag, a new alternative to plastic packaging for food and clothes, made from seaweed. It looks like plastic, but rather than being an amalgamation of artificial chemicals, it actually fights them. The packaging dissolves in water and contains either a detergent for clothes, or a baking soda film which removes chemicals and pesticides from food. Kyeongho and Yejin, both currently students majoring in industrial design at Hanyang University’s ERICA campus, expressed hope for their idea to expand across regions and become adopted by major retailers.

Two men in beige jackets standing next to a screen showing a presentation

Kyeongho Park and Yejin Heo with their Zero Bag design

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Design for a Better Tomorrow’. If these young designers are any indication of what tomorrow might look like, it seems the future will make space for both technology and for nature, cultivating the beauty of both.

Find out more: discoverlexus.com/lexus-design-award-2023

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a woman smiling wearing a multicoloured dress with yellow sleeves
squares with photos of palm trees in them

Estenopeica Digital I by Javier Hinojosa, 2022

Fariba Farshad is co-founder of Photo London which since its inception eight years ago has become one of the most respected photography fairs in the world. This year’s edition is the strongest yet with 125 exhibitors from 56 countries worldwide and a sponsorship portfolio that includes the Royal Bank of Canada as Principal Partners and Belmond as Presenting Partners.  Here, Farshad speaks to LUX about the future of the fair and her latest curation project, Fotografìa Maroma- an exhibition commissioned to  capture the environmental beauty of the Riviera Maya in Mexico where Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, will reopen later this year
a woman smiling wearing a multicoloured dress with yellow sleeves

Fariba Farshad © Laura Pannack

LUX: How did the Fotografía Maroma project come about?
Fariba Farshad: I was asked to curate a show featuring a group of important Mexican artists. I was delighted to be asked, but at the same time a little challenged  by the idea. I understand and love Mexican photography. It has a rich photographic tradition and is an increasingly important   market for contemporary photography with a lot of good artists who are represented internationally by important galleries – but for me to visit and work with a culture that I don’t come from myself was a big undertaking. So it  was great to be able to collaborate with Patricia Conde who has one of the most known photography galleries in Mexico.

Between us we selected four artists: two very established artists, one who had been working in very different industries including advertising and one young emerging photographer. We asked them to travel to Maroma, to Riviera Maya, and develop their own artistic responses to the wild beauty of the pristine Mayan environment. As for the images, the brief was completely open. Moreover, they were only given two weeks to work in the area and to work with the natural surroundings. It was not necessarily the best time of year – not exactly ‘beach weather’, which was interesting because most of the time the weather there is fantastic! Of course, it was a professional assignment, not a holiday. They were supported by a fixer and the hotel, and they were free to work wherever and however their inspiration took them.

A black and white tornado

Horizonte I by Margot Kalach, 2022

LUX: What do you find particularly interesting about the Rivera Maya?
FF: What is particularly interesting is that the four artists found themselves in a wild and unusual working environment. Not at all in their comfort zone. Patricia Lagarde, for example, is very much an established artis whose practice is studio based. Asking her to work in a different, even awkward state was a very interesting challenge for us and for her. All of them were the same in a way, like Patricia, they were mostly studio-based. Javier Hinojosa, is a highly regarded artist whose studio- made portraits in black and white justly famous, He was sent to work in the wilderness and we were fascinated to see what he came back with. The same was true of Ilan Rabchinskey who says of his minimalist studio practice ‘My aspiration is to achieve simplicity’ For him working with nature meant ‘managing uncontrollable factors’. The result was a series of, creating 3D objects allowing the beautiful natural light of the place to create a play of shadows and then photographing the results. The final member of the group was a talented emerging artist Margot Kalach, who was interested in working with light to create digital artworks.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The other interesting aspect was the time frame. It was the first time that I have worked with artists and commissioned new work with such an intense deadline. I actually think the reason it worked so well was because they didn’t have too much time to edit the result, and therefore it was very continuous and very creative. I am really delighted by the result.

The moon on a sheet hung up on the beach

Trapping the Moon by Patricia Lagarde, 2022

LUX: What did the artists create?
FF: Patricia ended up capturing the moon by spreading a piece of white cloth and taking the photo of that reflection, and then hanging it in the wind before photographing it again. It was a performance installation piece in photography; fantastic and totally different to anything she’s done before.

Javier took these amazing photographs of the waves in one series and plants in another He then deconstructed the images and reassembled them into grids of eight pieces and in doing so created a completely new image. I found his process fascinating. He used his iPhone on the water, creating a pinhole with his phone, and used all sorts of experimental ways of dealing with technology, different cameras as well as the phone to create new images. He had not worked this way before this commission.

coloured sheets on a beach

Drift and Direction from A Vessel for the Sun by Ilán Rabchinskey, 2022

Ilán took 3D objects from his studio to the beach and positioned them, waiting for one set of shadows to be created by the wind, the water, and the beach, letting nature take over the process of painting with light.

I was really excited to see what Margot, would come up with using digital technology. In fact, she chose to create a pinhole camera using a paintbox. She basically turned her bathroom into a darkroom, and the result was absolutely amazing: the sort of large print that uses the depths and the dreamy capture of the water. She totally went for very early technology rather than pursuing her in-studio high-tech approach. It was fascinating and she absolutely loved it. I think it is going to have a very long lasting effect on her work.

Fotografia Maroma, the show they made together, opened at Art Basel Miami Beach in the design district in December, then went to Mexico during Zona Macao, and is now coming to Photo London.

lots of stones and pebbles

A Particle, A Wave from A Vessel for the Sun by Ilán Rabchinskey, 2022

LUX: This year’s Photo London has seen a significant evolution and in fact a couple of significant new partners and sponsors. Could talk us through that?
FF: Photo London 2023 is our 8th edition. It has grown stronger with each passing year. Even when the pandemic hit in 2020 when we were two months out from the Fair, we took the opportunity to develop our Academy programme of talks and launch a successful online magazine (now in its 100th edition) and ran a fantastic and very successful online Fair in September 2020. Our partnership with Nikon was sealed during the pandemic and we took that to be an important endorsement of the strength of Photo London.

This year we have three new partners: Hahnemuhle came on board earlier in the year and with them we launched a new Photo London Hahnemuhle student award; we just released the shortlist for this. We are also continuing our Emerging Photographer of the Year Award with Nikon. Belmond have come on board as Presenting Partner having successfully partnered with us on Fotografía Maroma. And finally the most recent addition to our partnership portfolio is the Royal Bank of Canada, who recently became our Principal Partners. They are planning a great series of activations this year. They have a strong tradition of collecting and supporting emerging artists so in many ways are the perfect partners for Photo London. We are really looking forward to working with them and developing this relationship. These are very significant changes for Photo London. This fantastic group of sponsors shows how Photo London has really established itself as a key cultural event both in London and internationally.

A black and white beach

Horizonte II by Margot Kalach, 2022

LUX: Between 2015 and now, pandemic notwithstanding, have you seen a noticeable shift in consciousness among photography collectors?
FF: Certainly, during the pandemic some galleries did good business. Photography collectors are always very cautious, taking their time, doing the research, looking around, and so the online presence of galleries sort of suited them. They were actually very active.

Read more: Sam Dalrymple and Durjoy Rahman On Cultural Reconnections Post-Partition

I think we see very much a shift towards contemporary, younger collectors, in London especially, and that is exactly what we have been working on for the last eight years. We wanted to look to the future and create a platform for future photography, because photography is based on a continual process of experimentation and reinvention fuelled by fast-moving technology. It’s a relatively young medium, changing rapidly, and is finding its way through all sorts of directions. Our vision has always been to create a platform for younger galleries, younger artists, and, alongside that, educate and develop a pool of younger collectors.

Two men and a woman all wearing dark suits standing side by side

Photo London founders Fariba Farshad (left), Michael Benson (right) with new director Kamiar Maleki

But overall, the art world changed so much after the pandemic, and many galleries found it more difficult to sustain themselves. Some moved to smaller places, some worked online. Everything in our world is generally shifting and still hasn’t quite returned pre-pandemic levels, though this year’s Fair shows that we are almost there. As a business, as a Fair, you absolutely need to be conscious of all these changes and create space for the opportunities they bring.

Photo London, Somerset House, London, 11th-14th May 2023

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Reading time: 8 min
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For the winter 2023 issue of LUX, rising star photographer Angie Kremer captured the stars of an emerging Parisian creative scene. Her evocative images and her interviews with these individuals explore their relationship with the city and its evolving cultural ambit

Tom-David Bastok & Dylan Lessel
Co-founders, Perrotin Second Marché, which offers collectors a bespoke alternative to auction houses

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed recently?
The art scene in Paris is becoming more dynamic than ever. Some say that the city is regaining its essential place after New York, following Brexit in the UK and the coronavirus pandemic. Paris has always played a key role in art – especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was the absolute artistic epicentre of the world. Therefore, what the city has lately been experiencing feels more like a logical return to its roots, rather than an unexpected change. Paris has been providing fertile ground for artists and international galleries that have just opened their doors – such as David Zwirner, Skarstedt, Mariane Ibrahim and White Cube.

Anthony Authié
Founder, Zyva Studio, a trans-design architecture studio

LUX: What do you find most exciting about what you do?
The thing I like the most about my job is the fact that you can practise it in different ways. Architecture is plural. You can talk about it, write about it, draw it, virtualise it. I’d really like to write an architectural novel, to be able to do 3D, create NFTs, launch a furniture line. I feel that I can constantly reinvent myself.

A man with his tattooed hand on his face

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
For someone like me, who loves clichés above all else, Paris is the city of love, while London is the city of punk. While the idea of being able to design rock ’n’ roll architecture appeals to me, I will always choose the love and romance of Paris. So, yes, Paris forever.

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
I think this is a fantasy. I often have the impression that the provinces tend to have a harder time accepting Parisians than the other way around. Paris can seem harsh, but I think it’s really more about openness than rejection. Let’s just say that you can’t be too sensitive to live and work in Paris.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Sidonie Gaychet
Director, 110 Honoré, a new Parisian cultural venue on rue Saint-Honoré

LUX: What will Paris+ par Art Basel bring to Paris?
Since 1974 Paris has hosted the unmissable event of the autumn season – the FIAC. Last year was a little different, since the slot at the Grand Palais Éphémère was been allocated to Paris+ par Art Basel. On the bright side, it attracted the highest crop of art institutions, collectors, artists and critics.

A woman with a black bob

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
The London art scene is very different from the French one. London has always been the wild child. Paris takes a little more time to open up. But when it does… A concept such as the one that we’re launching with 110 Honoré has already been somewhat tested in London or Berlin. However, we will bring a very Parisian twist to it.

Brice & Regis Abby
Paris-based twins, known as Doppelganger Paris, who are visual artists and DJ/ sound designers

LUX: What are your biggest challenges?
Before the pandemic we had two separate activities – music and the visual arts. We are working now to create a bridge between our iconographic references and our new musical and cinematographic projects. They deal with our childhood and a period of tension in Ivory Coast. Inclusivity and difference need to be heard and seen.

A man and woman wearing sunglasses

LUX: How has the Paris creative scene changed?
The pandemic changed the creative scene globally, and Paris has been touched by the same phenomenon. Many artists are part of that scene, but don’t live in Paris any more; they moved to the countryside. But the renewal is definitely there, with new galleries and creative agencies. It was a challenging time, because the culture was non-essential.

Sophia Elizabeth
Co-founder, Spaghetti Archives, which presents a monthly selection of archival fashion pieces around a given theme
Olivier Leone
Co-founder, Nodaleto, a made-in-Italy luxury shoe label

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
SE: They are two different cities, but I love London and the freedom people have in their style. They don’t judge and don’t care about judgment. I love the way the city always evolves. But to be honest, I am a true Parisian.

OL: My fellow London friends won’t like it, but at the moment Paris is the best city for creatives. We are all gathered here, and the mentality is evolving. This city never ceases to amaze me.

A man and woman standing up wearing black

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?

OL: Less and less, mostly because many foreigners came to live here and they are making the city evolve. But it’s true that it’s not a city where you can make friends easily. I was born and raised here, but always grew up with an open mind. So many Parisians, though, are snobs for no reason. It’s part of our charm, but it can be difficult.

Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard
Founder, Ketabi Projects, a contemporary art and design gallery

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Well, you are asking a Parisian! How could I say no? Paris is the city of my heart and I don’t think I could live anywhere else. When I lived in London I would come back to Paris three to four days a week. I have never worked in London, but I know it’s been very complicated for some galleries since Brexit.

A woman with her hands over her chest

LUX: How has the creative scene changed recently in Paris?
More galleries are opening that show young artists from the French scene who have decided to remain in Paris – a few years ago a lot of artists fled to the US or Belgium. And many residency programmes, such as les Grandes-Serres de Pantin or Poush Manifesto, have been developing in Paris and its outskirts.

Anna Gardère & Raphaëlle Bellanger
Co-curators and art directors, KIDZ Paris, a book showcasing the creativity of today’s youth

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed?
We love to see initiatives promoting crossover between the art world and other universes. We were talking with Joy Yamusangie, an amazing British painter, who told us how they loved working with Gucci, who gave them carte blanche on a wall in Shoreditch. We love to see artists and their visions in dialogue with scientists, too, like the one at CERN, which has opened its door to a residence of artists.

two girls back to back with one resting her chin on her fist

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
Paris still has its own code, but social media has definitely disturbed Parisian snobbery. Influencers have forced the whole creative industry to reconsider its criteria. Nowadays you can break into this world with a simple social-media account, because you’re supported by a community that believes in you and that is ensuring a high rate of engagement. It’s much more egalitarian – even democratic in a certain way, but also much more competitive.

Roxane Roche & Capucine Duguy-Noblinski
Co-founders, Invida Communication, a PR and digital agency

LUX: How has the Paris creative scene changed?
What has changed is the emergence of new brands with real storytelling, and a very thoughtful brand image based on editorial content. There’s a vintage rebound, too, from the 1960s and 1970s, with the relighting of brands like Courrèges and Carel. But, above all, brands are turning towards an ecological and eco-responsible approach.

Two girls in black jackets and jeans standing back to back

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
Paris can be difficult for a non-Parisian. People often keep to themselves and don’t easily open their doors. It’s sometimes quite confusing, but no one is ever really alone in Paris.

Ferdinand Gros
Founder, superzoom, a contemporary art gallery that offers a platform for emerging artists

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed?
There are a growing number of younger galleries, and older ones that are refreshing their programmes. The emerging art scene is at its strongest ever. Additionally, there are great new artist residency programmes in Paris that work like incubators and host hundreds of studios, like Poush Manifesto. We are also seeing the established blue-chip galleries giving opportunities to younger artists.

A man wearing a white shirt with pockets on his chest

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Not quite yet. London has managed to stay very fresh and is always ahead of Paris, in terms of art trends. London collectors are bold and forward-looking. The Parisian scene is getting there, especially in this time of creative momentum. The recent private institutions contribute a lot to this. Perhaps it will surpass London in those areas, but I don’t believe it has happened yet.

Read more: Adrian Cheng Celebrates 200 Years of Couture

Annabelle Cohen-Boulakia
Founder, Millenn’Art, a club concept that connects young artists and collectors to the art market

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Paris is the historic city of the art world, but above all the city of my heart and the one in which I founded my project. Admittedly, it is not London, with Anglo-Saxon magic and a cosmopolitan dynamic.

A girl wearing a headscarf

LUX: What will Paris+ par Art Basel bring to Paris?
Paris+ par Art Basel, which belongs to an international group, opens up the art market beyond the Parisian sphere. I think it is a fair that leaves more room for artistic experiment and so has less conventional and, perhaps, more original content than FIAC.

About the photographer

Angie Kremer experiments with unconventional techniques in her ‘Elements Portraits’ series. “I explore the relationship between the controllable and uncontrollable, and nature’s four elements. It comes from a feeling that we have forgotten how to connect with the wildness of nature and its unpredictability.” Prints are dipped in the canals of Venice, creating a mysterious layering effect and adding tension to the portraits on these pages.

LUX: Why is Paris an inspiring city for your career ?
Paris is a truly unique place and I am fascinated with how each person living here and working in the creative field takes from its energy and uses it in their own way. Everybody in the industry has their own take on things, so they are definitely part of what makes the city so inspiring to me.

LUX: What do you have in common with all the people you photographed in the feature ?
The art industry is broad and encompasses so many different professions that there is always something inspiring about each actor of this world. Whether they specialize in design, art, fashion, music or work in Public Relations, everyone contributes to the ever-evolving culture of the city, which is something that we all have in common.

LUX: Can you tell us more about your photographic technique ?
My technique is rooted in the need to always experiment and find new ways of approaching photography. It is an ongoing process of discovery of my medium and how I can play with each stage of the creative process. For this series, I got to use a layering technique mixing chemical reactions, paper, pigments and water. So, the moving, lifelike feel of the photographs comes from me dipping the prints into the Venetian Canals and incorporating the elements of nature into the series along with a factor of unpredictability.

LUX: What are your future plans ?
I will keep meeting new inspiring people from different spheres in the industry and exchange ideas with them and have encounters that will translate into exciting future collaborations and projects. I also aim to keep working on the technique shown in this series, and I want to broaden it and turn it into something organic, that has a life of its own. I think that combining the physicality of this technique with the possibilities of the digital could make for an exciting creative venture, so I am eager to explore that.

Find out more:

angiekremerphotography.com

artbasel.com/parisplus

These interviews were conducted in June 2022
This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX
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A ginger model with a wearing a white shirt with a camera next to her head
A ginger model wearing a brown and grey robe with her hand on her head

A portrait of the multitalented Lily Cole

The model and campaigner talks to Ella Johnson about environmental action, NFTs and how fashion can never be truly sustainable

1. What was your first piece of eco-activism?

Without it being intentionally connected to environmentalism, I guess it was campaigning against fur and turning vegetarian as a kid.

2. Why are you an “accidental entrepreneur”?

I’ve never resonated with the idea of business or entrepreneurship. I just have ideas and business has been a good vehicle for executing them, so it’s “accidental”. Perhaps “incidental entrepreneur” is a better way of saying it, as it’s an incidental by-product of following ideas.

3. What is the aim of your 2020 book and ongoing podcast, Who Cares Wins?

To draw attention to climate solutions and to foster a culture of diversity, dialogue and collaboration.

4. Who would be your ultimate guest for the podcast?

Thich Nhat Hanh. Aware it is too late for that.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

5. Why should we take an intersectional approach to environmentalism?

Because all our issues are interconnected and interwoven, both social and environmental. And because the key to embracing biodiversity involves embracing diversity on all levels, such as cultural diversity and diversity of thought.

6. The Queen asks you what to do. What do you tell her?

I ask her to listen to, support and champion indigenous voices. 

7. What was your greatest revelation while researching your book?

That we could halt global warming, draw down more than 15 years of carbon emissions, enhance global biodiversity and essentially stop the sixth mass extinction through a very simple, and technically possible, action: stopping most animal farming.

A child sitting on a sofa with tights on and a sign over her neck that says 'Don't Wer Fur'

Cole, aged around 10, with an early activist fashion statement

8. Can we really stop global heating?

As above, and through many other solutions I look at in Who Cares Wins. Although it might not be possible to stop global heating in the short-to-medium term, we can potentially stop it in the longer term. And we can lessen the extent at which it accelerates, so it’s not too late to do something.

 9. Fashion can never be sustainable. True or false? 

If Adam and Eve swapping out fig leaves for, say, maple-tree leaves, was fashion, then yes, it can be. If most fashion remains made up of petrochemicals – 70 per cent of new fabrics are composed from plastic – and using non-circular business models, then no, probably not.

10. Why did you move to Portugal?

My daughter’s father is Portuguese and it felt like a good move to be closer to his family during the pandemic. Then I fell in love with the country: good nature, weather and people.

11. Have you ever bought an NFT?

Interesting question. I nearly did, as one was originally attached to a tapestry artwork I bought by Éva Ostrowska.

12. What’s your favourite building?

Sant’Ivo in Rome. The floor plan has a weird shape, like a bee. When Borromini drew the plans, he had to put the centre of the compass outside the ecclesiastical space to make it, which some interpret as a nod to the new idea that Earth was not the centre of the universe.

13. Tate Modern or Pompidou?

Tate Modern.

14. Is success about talent or effort?

It takes both, I’d think.

15. Which fictional character would you most want to have dinner with, why, and where?

Ada, from the novel by Nabokov. To pick her brain and play her games. On a sun-kissed beach.

Read more: An Interview with KAWS

16. What next, creatively?

Writing, writing, writing more.

Season 2 of Lily Cole’s Who Cares Wins podcast is available to stream now: lilycole.com/podcast

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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green mangroves in a green river

 

“Technologies like renewables have their limits,” says Markus Muller. “The real potential for a sustainable global economy lies in using the wonders of nature to help rectify the planet.”

As has been previously discussed, a fundamental issue underpinning climate change is that the current economic system does not recognise nature as capital. We use and degrade nature freely. But we can go further than that, and say that putting nature at centre stage and appreciating the ecosystem services that it can deliver, would significantly help us counter climate change.

A man in a black suit and white shirt wearing glasses

Markus Müller

It is easy to believe that technology, correctly implemented, will be enough to combat climate change. And it is true that technological transformation, moving away from fossil fuel based production chains towards more electric and alternative energy based production chains, will support the reduction in CO2 emissions and in mitigating the climate change problem. But, if we wanted to electrify the entire world so that everything is based on renewable energy, it would require a vast amount of commodities that we currently do not have. Current estimates suggest we would need 500% of the commodities we already use today. And the extraction of these commodities will harm nature as well. So, technology has natural limits in its ability of adapting to a future counteracting climate change.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

We need the help of nature.

Nature based solutions (NBS) are one of the most important ingredients here. As defined by the IUCN, they leverage nature and the power of healthy ecosystems, to protect people, optimise infrastructure and safeguard a stable and biodiverse future.

Their potential is massive. One exciting aspect is that they can include local communities, especially in the global south, which are currently excluded from global developments. NBS produce societal benefits in a fair and equitable way, in a manner which promotes transparency and broad participation. They also maintain biological and cultural diversity, as well as the ability of ecosystems to evolve over time.

a brown coral under the blue sea

Photo by Francesco Ungaro

The IUCN have estimated that NBS have the potential to reduce roughly 10-18 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions each year (by 2050). This would be a major contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. And NBS also mean the reinvigoration of nature, which will further increase the climate mitigation benefit, including in such crucial areas as the resilience of the coastline.

One discussion in the global market is how to use NBS for carbon credit trading. NBS are one of the carbon sinks and these credits can be traded by companies not just to offset their C02 emissions, but also to steer those companies, via these carbon credit markets, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

And there are other potential benefits. In the ocean, if we put some areas under protection because of NBS, the fish stock will be very likely to recover. The fish stock will swim around, outside the protected area, which could benefit sustainable fisheries also outside such areas; scientists having found that this led to an increase in output. So NBS have multiple potential benefits to the entire planet.

Read more: Markus Müller On Natural Capital

As another example, a healthy coral reef absorbs 97% of the energy of a wave. And this speaks to the further economic potential of NBS. New jobs, for example. We have forest rangers, so why not have coral rangers or gardeners?

green mangroves in a green river

Photo by Vishwasa Navada

In fact, they already have coral gardeners in Tahiti, where they are a source of labour on this breakwater. Creating a coral reef produces environmental and biodiversity benefits, creates labour, and can generate a profit.

There is however, a challenge: complacency and the rebound effect. We know this from countries where recycling has become a tool for reducing plastic waste, but the high recycling ability of a country (Germany is a good example) leads to more plastic production. Therefore believing that NBS will do the trick and lead to absorption should not lead us to think that we can emit further CO2. NBS will only ever work while we are reducing CO2 emissions at the same time. The priority is to reduce CO2 emissions while using the ability of NBS for absorbing CO2 as a mitigation strategy.

Markus Müller is Global Head of the Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s International Private Bank

Find out more: deutschewealth.com/esg

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massage tables in a tipi tent
massage tables in a room overlooking the turquoise seaClinique La Prairie has established itself as a leading name in longevity research, offering wellness programmes for over ninety years. For its inaugural escape far away from its traditional Alps and Lake Geneva landscape, the brand has set base on North Island Resort in the Seychelles to create a complete Clinique La Prairie experience

Clinique La Prairie’s philosophy on anti-aging grounds itself on a holistic system, balancing the body and mind with a longevity method supported by four pillars: medical science, nutrition, well-being, and movement. Curated by experts flown in from Switzerland, the week-long detoxification programme at North island is composed of heavy metal screenings, regenerative wellness, and detox nutrition to purify the body. The island’s wildlife sanctuary provides the backdrop for the physical segment of the retreat, offering a range of activities from yoga and tree planting to bike riding and snorkelling.

a wooden bed room with white and blue colourings

The resort hosts 11 hand-crafted villas, all surrounded by the Indian Ocean. Nature is a huge part of Clinique La Prairie’s philosophy, with sustainability at its core. The brand accentuates that small steps taken by individuals are the building blocks of global impact.

blue lounge chairs on a deck

Clinique La Prairie’s Sonia Spring explains “sustainability for us is making sure that when people leave, they are making the right choices; whether that’s how to live, with regards to what they eat and also how they manage stress. This is related to sustainability because if you learn how to deal with stress, you can nurture yourself properly and make good choices such as having the right quantity of food, in the right way, looking more into local foods around you. By spreading these and in turn spreading these lessons that you have learned because its made a good impact in your life. Conveying these values to others, for us, also brings in the element of longevity.”

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Internally, the brand aims to educate staff on more sustainable ways of operation, such as reducing waste, but also engraining more considerate decision-making in all areas.

yoga mats on a deck looking out to the sea

Read more: Luxury Travel Views: Brenner’s Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden

The collaboration between Clinique La Prairie and North Island is in itself an ode to nature, borne from the serendipitous meeting of both owners, whose shared vision of exquisite hospitality delivered in surroundings of natural beauty is woven into the core of the retreat.

massage tables in a tipi tent

The partnership sees a symbiotic marriage of science and nature, hosted on an island that is both exclusive and private while retaining a “barefoot luxury” approach.

Priced at €68,000 for single occupancy and €85,000 for double occupancy

Find out more:

cliniquelaprairie.com

north-island.com

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a kitchen with a white table and wooden unit

Designer Rob Ryan’s fresh take for Gaggenau’s ‘Art of the Kitchen’ series

With our increasingly urban lifestyle, biophilic design is becoming ever more urgent – in fact our happiness and wellbeing depend on it. Mark C. O’Flaherty speaks to three visionaries in the field, on why reconnection with nature not only induces calm, but is the only sustainable solution

There’s nothing new about the principles of biophilic design. As a philosophy for living, it was the status quo before the industrial revolution, and in many cultures it’s still the norm. But we have literally built walls around ourselves to create a distance from the natural world. In Japan, hinoki wood is one of the most popular materials for construction, not for its impervious and practical qualities, but for the intense aroma it gives off. To live in a room furnished in panels of hinoki is to have your olfactory senses transport you to the most fragrant wilderness. In many Nordic countries, city dwellers customarily have a rural cabin to escape to, to reconnect with nature.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

As our ecosystem continues to face what increasingly feels like insurmountable challenges, and urbanisation becomes the default, biophilic principles are growing in importance in design. Though they aren’t radical or new, we’ve lost sight of how crucial they are to our wellbeing. This isn’t about recycling, sustainability, or alternative ways to generate energy (although they are part of the greater narrative), it’s about how we can engage with nature in our homes in a way that will have benefits for our physical and mental health.

A man in a black suit sitting in a brown room

Head of Design at Gaggenau, Sven Baacke

Product designers are taking this on board luxury brands are creating functional areas, objects and spaces with emotion in mind, and an understanding of natural pathways. “Our customers may create indoor-outdoor kitchens, spaces where kitchen and living and dining are integrated and designed with a lot of natural materials, leading to a herb garden or natural wall,” says Sven Baacke, the head designer at Gaggenau. “It is tied into wellbeing, to being at one with nature, and also to sustainability: water features, green spaces, flora and plants, and the use of natural and found materials that both reduce carbon footprint, and elements like water use in manufacture. We design our products with their broader concept, and the lives and values of our customers in mind.”

Biophilia is about connections and feelings. It is the presence of living walls, pleasing aromas and good quality air. It is the marriage of colour psychology with an awareness of light, fragrances, textiles and acoustics, and has become an increasingly sophisticated discipline. It is a complex exploration of how neuroscience intersects with architecture, and when biophilic design is incorporated within urban planning as well as interiors, it treats what was once seen as just bricks and mortar as part of a living organism. It can contribute to tackling serious environmental challenges, including the Urban Heat Island effect (major cities are profoundly hotter than rural areas in summer), restoring lost natural habitats, and lowering the effects of CO2 emissions. In his hugely influential 2012 book The Shape of Green, the architect and author Lance Hosey who died last year – argues that sustainability can’t exist without beauty: “Long-term value is impossible without sensory appeal, because if design doesn’t inspire, it is destined to be discarded.” Our future can, if we let it, be shaped by what truly nourishes us as human beings.

The Biophilic Visionaries

Oliver Heath 
Director of Oliver Heath Design

A man sitting on a pink couch with plants around him

Oliver Heath, the director of Oliver Heath Design

I switched to investigating a human-centred form of design about 10 years ago. I had been working in the field of sustainable residential design for years, but became frustrated because people weren’t adopting the methods, ideas and principles. They weren’t engaged. There was a fatigue around the idea of sustainability. I changed the tone of my conversation to be about creating a home that supports your physical and mental wellbeing. That resonates because everyone wants to be happier and healthier.

Design is much more than aesthetics – it’s about how you feel inside a space. Stress is endemic in our lives. We’re living in built-up urbanised spaces. By 2050, 66 per cent of the world will be urbanised. Biophilic design is a means to reconnect you with nature, and elicit a similar response to wonderful times you’ve had on beaches, in forests or on mountains. Built environments are hard-edged and geometric, and they aren’t the space you actually want to be in. Biophilic design works – it increases productivity in the workplace by 6-15 per cent, and helps you recuperate in a hospital 8.5 per cent faster. We are taking what we’ve learned from those spaces to residential projects.

A bed with white sheets and plants around it

A Heath-designed bed landscape for a biophilic hotel project

Instead of looking at what next year’s colour is going to be in terms of trends, there are more important things to think about. Your bedroom should have soft acoustics, and no electronics in it apart from lighting. I use smart systems that change the colour of light by my bed, and an alarm clock that wakes me up gently with changing, increasing levels of light. Materials are important: if you sleep in a pine bed, it lowers your heart rate.

a bath with a living wall

A biophilic hotel bathroom by Oliver Heath

We know that by connecting with people in a natural environment that it creates a certain mood and dynamic. The most obvious example is sitting around a campfire, when you feel the warmth of the fire, hear the crackle of logs and smell food cooking. Shared moments in nature bring people together. I have wood panelling in my home made from salvaged larch, from trees that came down in Kew Gardens in the big storm of 1987, and we used the same material to clad the kitchen cupboards. We know that just seeing natural wood makes us feel better. The work surfaces in my kitchen are made from crushed recycled glass, and the walls are painted with Volatile Organic Compound-free (VOC) eco paints. As kitchens can be limited in space, I often recommend introducing greenery via a small green wall system – it can improve air quality and provide you with fresh herbs.

We have worked on numerous white papers studying biophilic design. The latest is about designing for cognitive and sensory wellbeing. Sustainable design is about engineering, but biophilic design is different. We have established a series of courses to teach the core principles, helping you explore what’s possible and how to achieve the best results. People have found them hugely rewarding, and a total revelation.

Matt Morley
Founder and director, Biofilico

A man sitting down with plants around him

Matt Morley, the founder and director of Biofilico

Biophilic design is an instinctive response to our disconnect from the natural world, an attempt to redress the balance by bringing the outside world in once more, especially in dense, urban environments.

There are various models out there, such as Stephen Kellert’s ‘14 Patterns of Biophilic Design’ and things can get fairly technical if we go down that rabbit hole, but, in general, I keep it simple by referring to biophilic interiors as spaces that harmoniously balance sustainability and wellbeing, with nature acting as the bridge between the two. For me there is nothing more mood-enhancing and visually appealing than a display of organic, seasonal, and locally sourced fruit and vegetables on a kitchen counter, preferably in a variety of ceramic bowls with a wabi-sabi finish and perhaps a Monstera leaf in water for a final botanical flourish.

white and bronze vases and jugs

Close-ups of natural elements in Morley’s interiors

Installing a botanical-print wallpaper with toxic adhesives that create VOCs that damage indoor air quality, or placing a couple of randomly chosen plant species in plastic pots in the corner of a room and claiming ‘purified indoor air’, doesn’t cut it. By applying evidence-based design principles we can avoid bio-washing. Wellness tech, such as commercial-grade indoor air quality monitors, accompanied by cloud- based 24/7 analysis and even certification from a standard, such as RESET Air, are now a part of the service our studio offers – especially post- Covid when Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is more relevant than ever.

Ornaments on a mantlepiece and a painting

Close-ups of natural elements in Morley’s interiors

Advances in bio-based, organic and above all healthy building materials also provide us with an ever-growing tool kit of green and healthy alternatives to paints, fabrics, insulation materials, furniture and adhesives that can otherwise contain toxic chemicals and have a negative impact on the environment. Biophilic soundscapes from the likes of SWELL (sound wellness) now offer on-demand access to nature-based sound experiences designed for mental wellbeing.

The corner of a navy blue throw with a grey throw on it by a coffee table

Close-ups of natural elements in Morley’s interiors

A biophilic lighting strategy combines efforts to maximise daylight exposure, with LED circadian lighting systems that mimic our natural 24-hour cycles to both enhance productivity during the day and improve sleep at night, while reducing energy consumption in the building. Simply by providing more of the natural light spectrum and intensity our bodies are programmed for at certain times of day, we can gently improve energy levels by day and promote restorative rest by night.

Harleen McLean
Harleen McLean Interiors

The term ‘biophilia’ was first coined by Erich Fromm in the 1970s – calling it “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive” – and it has been the basis of my practice since I established it more than 30 years ago. It’s always been a part of my approach to design. I grew up in Africa, surrounded by nature, and it was only when someone in the US said to me, “Oh, you’re a biophilic designer”, that I put a name to it. I had just always been inspired by wildlife and landscapes, and the colours linked to them. It is inherent, because of where I come from.

Often when you’re working on a home, you have major obstacles. I am working on a Victorian residence in London, and the structure doesn’t lend itself entirely to the changes I want to make. But often you can use modern elements to create a biophilic interior. A floating staircase works well, because it’s all about space and light.

A kitchen with a painted purple, green and yellow wall and wooden unit

An original bug-themed kitchen splashback designed by Harlan McLean

Certain simple things can contribute a lot, such as lavender. The colour brings something from the natural world, you can use the fragrance via candles, and also bring it inside, literally, as a pot plant. You can buy fresh culinary lavender and hang it up to dry in your kitchen. You’re creating a multi-sensorial experience in the room you entertain in, through textures, shape and colour. It’s important to have ease of
movement in the kitchen, while activating your taste buds and other senses.

Technology has changed a lot since I started my practice, which has helped. Years ago we had ‘mood lighting’, and now you can do a million things with the colour temperature of light.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf: NFTs – Hype or Here To Stay

Visual elements within my designs aren’t always obvious. I was interested by what WilkinsonEyre and Grant Associates did with the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. The architecture is inspired by orchids, but the lighting used in the towers is inspired by the patterns in a mammal’s eye, so when they light up you have a connection to that, even if you don’t know what it is. I frequently incorporate a visual representation of animal or plant DNA in fabrics or wallpapers that I create for an interior. It’s subtle, but it has impact and meaning.

Find out more: gaggenau.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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An elephant standing face on with large tusks
An elephant walking in a field with Kilimanjaro in the background

‘Tolstoy’. Courtesy of Michel Ghatan

Michel Ghatan works with the most difficult type of models. Animals.  Here he speaks to LUX’s Chief Contributing Editor, Maryam Eisler, about the importance of trust in wildlife photography and his most memorable moments on the job.

LUX: When did your passion for the animal kingdom and for photography come together?
Michel Ghatan: I think they grew at the same time. I was always fascinated by animals when I was growing up. I was fascinated by everything that is extinct. As a child, I was very curious. I had an encyclopedia and I used to read about these extinct species. My father who was an engineer based in Geneva would take my siblings and I on Sunday afternoons to the park or the tennis club, always camera in hand. Now that he is no longer with us, I realise what a great catalogue of pictures I have of our history and our youth. I even found films from the 60’s when he went with my mother to Jerusalem after the Six Day War and Jerusalem was completely empty! The majority of his images were terrible, out of focus, with bad compositions – but the memories remain. I now have all his cameras at home with me.

LUX: How important is technicality in your work, given the precision that is required when dealing with animals, especially when you cannot get close to them?
MG: I used to think that the quality of the gear was extremely important. When I started, I had the fastest Canon, the best and very big lenses, and then I realised I’m working the wrong way. That for what I do, I don’t need to have the most sophisticated gear, and that what serves my purpose is really the communication between me and the animal, not to mention the time I devote to it. I also hire the best guide. It’s now eight years that we work together. He not only understands the behaviour of animals but he is also very good at understanding photographers. He knows what I’m looking for and he always makes sure that everything remains safe.

A skull on the ground

‘Skull On The Dry Lake’. Courtesy of Michel Ghatan

LUX: Agility, mobility and keeping the equipment light are probably important parameters in your work, especially in that kind of lush and sometimes harsh nature.
MG: Exactly. The weight of gear is an issue. I also discovered that with gorillas and elephants, both of whom are dominant animals, if they don’t wish to be photographed, you simply will not be able to, even with lightest gear. They are extremely clever. They feel you. They challenge you and they see if you’re patient or not.

LUX: Talk to me about the thrill of the moment when you click and you know you have the shot?
MG: It’s incredible. There is a lot of intimate dating between the moment you arrive and the moment you take the shot. Nothing is staged. You’re dealing with wild animals, so everything is on their terms, not mine.

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LUX: What is the process of building the relationship between you and the animal?
MG: It’s a process where you try to measure each other out. Then you have to build a trust and a connection and try to move smoothly whilst keeping your distance, especially with elephants. When an elephant starts moving, they cannot stop. Everything is in slow motion and you have a lot of kilos moving towards you; you need to anticipate that. Measuring the distance between you and the animal whilst predicting his behaviour as well as what he is allowing you to do is a big part of what I do.

A gorilla

‘Lord Vader’. Courtesy of Michel Ghatan

LUX: What is your most memorable moment between you and an animal?
MG: I can close my eyes and still feel that moment as if it happened 10 minutes ago, the thrill … It was back in 2020 when I started taking trips to Kenya during Covid. It was a time when nobody would be around. So, I got a filming permit from the authorities where I could even sleep in my jeep if I wanted to and go off road if need be. The whole purpose was to take a picture of a single elephant, Tim; he sadly died a few days after I left. He was the biggest known elephant in Africa, with incredible tusks. My wish was to be right in front of him. I wanted him to stop and pose for me. I wanted to reach a point where he would say “okay take it, here I am”. And this is exactly what happened. It took me five days, and twelve hours a day for me to find him. And when I did, it was raining!

LUX: How did you find him?
MG: We work with Maasai rangers. The region is about 250 square kilometers in length, and it was not easy to find information as to his whereabout. For the first few days, it was really challenging. You have to understand this is a 51-year-old elephant who is extremely dominant and he knows that he has the biggest tusks. So he hides behind the bush for you not to see his tusks. Elephants know what you are interested in. It took about four or five days to build trust between me and the animal. And then one day, I got four or five meters from him. He knew exactly where I was. My guide was right next to me and he said “get on the ground”. It was very wet and I was on my knees for a good 15 minutes waiting for him. When he did come out, he came towards me in a straight line; next thing I know is he is standing smack in front of me! His eyes were gunning at me. He came forward and he stopped for a good 30 seconds, which is very rare for an animal of his size. Totally stable. If you look at the picture, you see that there is a perfect triangle, where his ears are open, his trunk is down and his tusks are also down (a sign of relaxation). I took two or three frames only, but it was really incredible because he made sure I clicked, then I clicked again and again, at which point, he decided to move on. All of this lasted 30 seconds and I didn’t need to have a look at my camera. I knew I had the shot.

An elephant standing face on with large tusks

‘Gentle Giant’. Courtesy of Michel Ghatan

LUX: Do you feel the animal allowed you into his inner space?
MG: Exactly that. It’s something you cannot delete from your memory and it’s something that is more powerful than the artistic consequence of my action. You reach a level where you have incredible connection, and yet, you know that you’re dealing with a wild animal, and a very dangerous one too.

LUX: What has been your most thrill- seeking moment when shooting an animal?
MG: I’m very lucky to say I never experienced a dangerous moment.

a man standing with a camera in a safari wearing a mask

Michel Ghatan photographing wildlife in East Africa during the pandemic

LUX: Talk to me about a moment with a gorilla. They have such human qualities.
MG: With the gorillas I had my heart pounding but I never experienced a dangerous moment. It took me a while to get interested in gorillas. In the 90s, I remember the images of the civil war in Rwanda. They have remained ingrained in my brain. In this region of the Virunga mountains, you had ongoing conflict, so my interest was first and foremost geared towards genocide and war. Then one day, I said “well I need to see the mountain gorillas”, because they are the only ones that are close to us humans. With gorillas you’re looking 98.4% at yourself. We went to Mount Muhavura where there is only one gorilla family. This family is quite interesting because they have three large silver backs, and they are very dominant. It was really not what I expected as we had a very short foreplay. I would say that it’s a hit or miss for photographers… we share so much in terms of DNA that we have to be extremely careful about the amount of time we spend with them.

A cheetah sitting on a hill

‘Cheetah Statue’. Courtesy of Michel Ghatan

LUX: How different are gorillas from elephants behaviourally?
MG: Elephants, usually are alone. With gorillas, there is an element of family unit and its ongoing dynamics. There are a lot of social elements involved with gorillas that you don’t find with other animals. And you have a problem of time. You can’t really spend over an hour with them.

LUX: Why is that?
MG: Gorillas are very sensitive to our illnesses so to protect them we are only allowed one hour . You need to be fast. You need to anticipate the animal’s behaviour, and the vegetation is very problematic, as is the light. The light you have in the Virunga mountains is twofold : either mist which blocks your vision, or you have clear blue sky, with the sun reflecting strong and making it difficult to take a clean shot. And then you are hoping they don’t act against you as well. It’s all very overwhelming.

Read more: Geoffrey Kent: Six safari destinations you need to know about

LUX: Talk to me about the most beautiful landscape you have seen in Africa. The one that has really touched you the most?
MG: If I had to pick one I’ll tell you it was in Kenya. It was also last year, during Covid. I went back to Amboseli. Next to Amboseli there is a conservancy called Kimana which is an extension of the Amboseli eco-system where they have a lot of elephants visiting; there’s a corridor between Kimana and Amboseli, which is a very good place to see elephants. The ‘wow’ moment I experienced was after a very long day. That day we couldn’t see the Kilimanjaro. It was hiding behind the clouds, but around 5:30pm, half an hour before sunset, we saw a family of elephants entering the bush because it was getting dark. The Kilimanjaro suddenly became visible and you still had light and I managed to capture the moment. It’s a picture called The Terrestrial Paradise. I looked at the scene and said “this is the most beautiful canvas I have ever seen!” A family of elephants in slow motion ….two groups of clouds, one low, one high, and the Kilimanjaro in the middle, full of snow, with dusk light shining on it all.

The top of a mountain in clouds and elephants walking in a safari

The Terrestrial Paradise. Courtesy of Michel Ghatan

LUX: When you describe it to me like that, I see infinity, the absolute, heaven and earth coming together, almost divine. In moments like these, do you ever feel a greater power ruling the universe?
MG: 100%. There are plenty of moments when you feel it but in this particular magnificent moment, I remember thinking to myself, that somebody has created all of this, and that it’s not a myth. When I took the picture, I was intent on showing its grandness so I took three frames and stitched them together, for a full panoramic vista, with all its sublime power.

LUX: You have a show coming up in May at Alon Zakaim Fine Art in London. Is there a theme to it?
MG: The theme to the show is basically a series of trips that I took during Covid times to Uganda and Kenya. It’s called From Kilimanjaro to the Virunga Mountains.

father and son gorilla

‘Father and Son’. Courtesy of Michel Ghatan

LUX: It seems like Covid presented you with a silver lining of some sort?
MG: Absolutely. It’s selfish to say but it was a paradise for photographers, especially if you were seeking remoteness and alone time without being disturbed with extreme closeness to nature.

LUX: When and what is your next adventure?
MG: I’m going back to Kenya in October and I’m going to focus on the dry lake of Amboseli. At the end of the dry season, the lake basically becomes a desert and there are elephant crossings which I always wanted to photograph. It’s also a completely different landscape from the bush.

Find out more: www.michelghatan.com @michel.ghatan

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Iran Issa Khan wearing an orange scarf and orange earrings
Iran Issa Khan wearing an orange scarf and orange earrings

Iran Issa-Khan

Born in Tehran, Iran Issa-Khan moved to New York in the 1970’s, and became one of the world’s most celebrated fashion photographers and a favourite of celebrities and political figures during the following two decades. Here, Iran speaks to her friend and LUX’s Chief Contributing Editor, Maryam Eisler, about widening her focus from the beauty of the human form to exploring the majestic scale of the natural world. The artist now resides in Miami where she has been working on her Nature series for the past twenty years.

Maryam Eisler: What occupies your mind these days, Iran, creatively speaking?
Iran Issa-Khan: Well, I am working on my book which is going to be about fifty years of fashion and personalities. I am trying to get that off the ground by next year.

Maryam Eisler: You have had a fascinating career. On the one hand, people, in particular celebrities, have played a big role in your oeuvre, and on the other hand, you have had this incredibly beautiful dance with nature and its zen moments.
Iran Issa-Khan: Yes. In a way, if you look at my magazine covers and the people I have shot, nature’s beauty is always present, and I enjoy celebrating it with my lens. To me that is very important and you know, being from the Middle East, I am used to being surrounded by beauty so, this is what has carried me throughout life, in this country included [The United States].

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

I stopped shooting fashion, in the nineties when my make-up artist died of old age, and I moved to Miami. I left New York, and an artist friend of mine, asked me to shoot some black and whites of nature. I had never done that before, but suddenly I started looking at it with a new perspective, as if earth was opening up to me in such a new and beautiful way. I thought to myself, I have to capture it, because no human being can be that perfect. I just used my eye, my sense of aesthetics and all the lessons that I had learned while shooting fashion and people and put it all towards something that nobody had necessarily paid much attention to: a plant, a flower, even a small shell. Some of my shells are minuscule, but I blow them up to five by ten feet. So, for me, nature takes on a whole new meaning in terms of its grand beauty but also in terms of its emotive connection to me, personally. There is purity. Everything is so clean, so ordered, so pleasing to one’s eye and to one’s soul.

Harper's Bazaar Covers

Harper’s Bazaar Covers by Iran Issa Khan

Maryam Eisler: Stepping back in time, what led you to photography in the first instance? When did your journey start?
Iran Issa -Khan: We are talking about the late seventies when we left Iran with the Shah. I hadn’t worked a day in my life and somehow a friend of mine who worked at The New York Times said “Why don’t you become a photographer?” I said, “What do I know about photography?” She said, “Well you love the arts, why don’t we get you a teacher?” So, I hired William Minor Jr, a very well-known photographer and I worked with him for a whole year and all of a sudden, I learned how to process print, and everything else about photography. I realised this was going to be the love of my life because I could capture meaningful moments and shoot them. I built it up and then I went to Harper’s Bazaar and I said “I want to do some covers for you. I am a refugee and I am stuck here and have to work” They said “Yes, but you know a lot of personalities all over the world, so why don’t you do a year of personalities and if you’re good at that, we’ll let you do covers.” And so I did personalities… Carolina Herrera, Nancy Reagan, Diane von Furstenberg, Bill Blass, Rufino Tamayo, the Ferragamo family …all the people that I knew. Somehow, because of my upbringing and the way we had travelled all of our lives, I felt comfortable walking into these homes and telling people what to do. After a year, they said “Okay, you are good enough to do covers.”

My first cover was of Paloma Picasso and she loved it. She loved the pictures so much so that she hired me to do all her ad campaigns for twenty five to thirty years. So, we did that and then in between I got all the top models. Somehow, I got there by sheer belief in myself.

Oscar de la Renta standing in a red room by a mirror

Oscar de la Renta photographed by Iran Issa Khan. Courtesy of Iran Issa-Khan

Maryam Eisler: What is your most important life lesson?
Iran Issa -Khan: It is very difficult for me to explain the life we led back home in Iran. The connections we made both at home and through our travels… It was a different world; you were educated twenty-four hours a day and what I learned most importantly from my mother was to be good to those who work for you, because they can’t talk back at you. It raises your bar and makes you a stronger person. So that is what I did all my life and during my career as a photographer too. Additionally, my whole life has been about connecting people together. With that, I too became stronger, with a voice to be heard.

Shell

Courtesy of Iran Issa-Khan

Maryam Eisler: Tell me about one of your most memorable and most cherished, social moments.
Iran Issa-Khan: I think meeting Zaha Hadid was one of the best moments of my life. First of all, she came from Iraq and I come from Iran so we connected right away on those terms. It was instant love between us but she had to be tougher than me. She not only wrote a forward in my book but she pushed me in my career and bought my work. She had it in her bedroom in London, and said to me “You and I have a lot in common because we both come from countries that have constant beauty everywhere …in nature, in architecture, in people, in everything!’. So, we had this connection which was deep and strong. I think she did a lot for me and my work. She made me see things in a way that I hadn’t seen before. I would come and sit and we would talk for hours, sharing stories. In Miami, we spent a lot of time together, having fun and laughing, so she relaxed and became herself. I would say that she is one of the few people that has really touched me in a very deep and meaningful way, teaching me all along to be better every day and believe in myself.

an art gallery

Iran Issa-Khan’s ‘Forces of Nature’ exhibition curated by Natalie Clifford and Space Gallery St Barth currently on display at the Musee de Wall House in St Barth

Maryam Eisler: If you were to give any advice to a young, female photographer, who is just starting in her career, what would you tell her? And I am emphasising ‘her’.
Iran Issa-Khan: Good, because I really believe in helping women get ahead because women have always played second fiddle and it is not fair because they also have to be mothers, wives, best friends. They have empathy, they have love, they have care. But they can also take a picture and make it beautiful. With their art, they can make you cry, they can also make you laugh, that is their power. To bring children into the world and raise them is a lot of work, so they can do anything they set their minds to. I want them to stick to their passion, their career, believe in themselves, go for it and don’t let anything or anyone take you down, and I mean nothing and noone. Be proud to be a creative woman. Own it.

Read more:David Taggart on photographing our cover star Jeff Koons

Maryam Eisler: What makes a good photograph?
Iran Issa-Khan: Something you would never forget. You see it once and that’s it. It is with you always.

a white curly shell

Purity by Iran Issa-Khan. Courtesy of Iran Issa-Khan

Maryam Eisler: I love the fact that you don’t stay shy of embracing the vocabulary of ‘Beauty’. Some would say it’s a taboo word in the art world today!
Iran Issa-Khan: For me, that is the only thing I live by, Beauty. Don’t forget I am going to be eighty years old in February, so I have lived a long, long, life. I live in an apartment in Miami Beach where I have water on both sides, I have boats and I look at the sky early in the morning and the sparkling lights at night. For me, it is all about beauty. Even when it rains, even when we have hurricanes, it is all beauty. It is a very special kind of beauty that only God and nature can give us – and that, rules my life and my work.

Iran Issa-KhanMaryam Eisler: How wonderful that you have so seamlessly managed to connect your work around nature with a place of great natural beauty, St Barts, where you currently have a show of your photographs ‘Forces of Nature’ at the Musee de Wall House.
Iran Issa-Khan: Not only that but I used to go and spend my birthdays in St Barts every year, with twenty, thirty friends, many years ago and I never realised then how fabulous it was. The museum opens its doors and all the yachts are right there…with people walking all around; It is such a perfect place to show my art.

Iran Issa-Khan’s ‘Forces of Nature’ exhibition curated by Natalie Clifford and Space Gallery St Barth is currently on display at the Musee de Wall House in St Barth until 10th February 2022.

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Reading time: 8 min
fields in Scotland
golf course

Torrance golf course at the Fairmont St Andrews

Located on the east coast of Fife in Scotland, the Fairmont St Andrews is a grand resort hotel with a championship golf course, spa and multiple restaurants. LUX checks in for the weekend

Arrival

A challenge with some of Scotland’s great hotels is that they are quite an ‘interesting’ drive away from an airport. No such problem with the Fairmont St Andrews, to which you whiz from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport along smooth roads. An hour later, the countryside reveals a view of the North Sea, and the resort grandly perched in front of you, surrounded by farmland and, given the location, a golf course.

Fairmont is a North American brand, and you could be forgiven for thinking you had arrived at a resort in northern California, with a grand driveway, ornate signs and a swanky entrance. The grandeur continues inside. Having checked in, you walk into a huge atrium lobby from where a lift takes guests to their appointed floors.

The Room

The views were tonics, and quite different to those in the Scottish Highlands. We looked out over the grassland dropping down to the steely endlessness of the North Sea, which sounds bleak but to the right were rolling hills dotted with picturesque farmhouses, and the East Neuk art colony down the coast.

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Continuing with the North American vibe, the room was huge and lavishly appointed, with marble bathrooms, excellent lighting and air-conditioning, which you often don’t get in hotels in this part of the world, where quaintness is too often an excuse for neglect. Perhaps there could have been more Scottish character in the rooms, but there was plenty of that outside the windows, and in St Andrews next door.

Hotel suite

One of the hotel’s deluxe suites 

The Experience

Unlike some places which install a treatment room and call themselves a resort, the Fairmont St Andrews really is a resort. There is a big spa, indoor pool and one of the most renowned championship golf courses in the world. A couple of miles down the road, there is also the course of the Royal and Ancient.

All this means you could entertain yourself without ever leaving the resort. There are several restaurants in the main building, but we chose to dine at the St Andrews Bar & Grill, a few minutes’ walk away on the golf course with a fabulous sea view, which served lobster, charcoal-oven steaks and oysters, along with a superb selection of champagnes. We will have to save La Cucina, the Italian restaurant, for next time.

Read more: Culture and Cuisine at La Fiermontina, Puglia, Italy

Exploring

St Andrews is famous for its golf, but is also one of the country’s most attractive old towns. We spent the day exploring the streets, the university quad, the castle and cathedral, and enjoying the astonishing variety of restaurants of different cultures packed into the tiny town with its very cosmopolitan student base.

restaurant booth

Squire Restaurant is just one of the hotel’s dining options

The Verdict

Super-swanky American resort service and standards meet one of the most desirable locations in the Old World. Our only regret is having to cut our stay short.

Find out more: fairmont.com/st-andrews-scotland 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue.

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lake in Switzerland
business man

Philanthropist and businessman Etienne d’Arenberg

Etienne d’Arenberg hails from one of Europe’s oldest families and is treasurer of the Arenberg Foundation, whose mission is the promotion of the understanding of European history and culture. He is a partner of family-owned Swiss private bank Mirabaud. He is also President of the Menuhin Competition Trust, and Trustee of several Swiss and UK charities. He speaks to LUX about European values, and the evolving perspectives and expectations of the next generation

LUX: Has the nature of philanthropy changed in the last two decades?
Etienne d’Arenberg: Both from my private banking experience at Mirabaud as well as from various circle of donors I belong to, I feel that there is a clear evolution in philanthropic practices. Firstly, there is an increasing involvement in philanthropic areas outside the traditional non-profit sector with growing interest from both governments and companies to partner with individual donors on specific issues. Secondly, and this is probably the consequence of the first point, there is an increasing focus on systemic change and transformative grant-making approaches that achieve greater leverage. Lastly, and this can become challenging for smaller institutions, there is a growing expectation for impact measurement and focus on KPIs.

Another trend that I see emerging in large donors’ circles – often business-owning families – is the need to align business and family platforms. The time where your company was polluting the rivers while at the same time your family foundation was giving to the WWF is over. There is a search for coherence between the different activities with a growing alignment between the business, the investment vehicle(s) and the philanthropic foundation. Interestingly, private banks in Geneva such as Mirabaud have been at the forefront of this trend with their founding families being very active in local communities, while at the same time promoting a company’s approach to addressing the most pressing social and environmental issues.

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LUX: Tell us more about your last point – are people being judged by different criteria?
Etienne d’Arenberg: We are faced with issues of huge magnitude, both on the societal and environmental front and this is especially true in times of COVID-19. If you combine this with growing access to information, I do feel that there is a real demand from the public for more sustainable business practices and generally speaking pressure for accountability. I see this pressure mounting, especially from a new generation of customers and employees.

If you run a company that is active in socially or environmentally damaging activities, the issue is that you will not be able to shift your business focus overnight. Our role as investors – and this is what we do at Mirabaud – is to accept companies that may not yet be there, but which are able to demonstrate a forward-looking vision including a clear strategy to transition to clean, circular and inclusive business models. For a family-owned or family-controlled company such as Mirabaud, this is also a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with purpose and long-holding family values.

lake in Switzerland

The Arenberg Foundation organises concerts in the remote village of Lauenen, in central Switzerland.

LUX: Is inclusion and bringing people together an important element of philanthropy?
Etienne d’Arenberg: Inclusion is about embracing people irrespective of their difference, whether that’s race, ethnicity gender, sexual orientation or identification, religion or economic circumstances, and providing them with equal opportunities. This is where philanthropy plays an important role as inclusion often starts with access to education, healthcare or basic needs.

But inclusion is also about getting rid of bias, the “us versus them” old way thinking, and embracing the fact that our difference is something positive: this goes far beyond the tropic of philanthropy. I come from quite a traditional background, but I am proud to say that I do not feel threatened by a society that changes. Quite to the contrary and under the impulsion of my daughters, we have been revisiting family values and behaviours, making sure not to pigeon-hole people and being particularly mindful not to impose suffering by raw reflexes of exclusion.

Mirabaud has also committed itself to diversity and inclusion, making sure, for example, that we create an optimal workplace for women. The fact that we were one of the first Geneva private bank to welcome a female managing partner helped us to develop a solid framework for gender equality practices. This has nothing to do with tokenism as it is based on the strong conviction that a forward-looking institution needs different perspectives and experiences.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf on building a more sustainable art world

LUX: With the demands that are ever growing on the state sector, does the private sector need to step in more to support the cultural and charitable activities that were previously more supported by the state?
Etienne d’Arenberg: I don’t want to be a judge of the private sector being ‘not enough’, because whatever comes is already something and some individual donors are immensely generous. As I was mentioning before, there is an increasing need for approaches that achieve greater leverage and I believe that public-private partnership will play a greater role in addressing the need for systemic change.

The private sector can also act as a catalyst for change, raising awareness on specific issue and campaigning direct governmental support. I have been following the work of a UK charity which focuses on children food poverty: this is a very good example of an initially privately funded charity, who is actively campaigning for legislative change and working in close collaboration with government on food delivery. I am sure that we will see more on this in the future.

sailing event

The Bol d’Or Mirabaud regatta on Lake Geneva

LUX: Does the next generation of wealth owners have different priorities for philanthropy?
Etienne d’Arenberg: Traditionally, family businesses or wealth owners have been quite active in their communities, and Mirabaud is no exception, both at the bank and at the partners’ level. Ask many Geneva-based NGOs, charities, cultural or sport institutions and they will tell you about its commitment.

I feel that the type of issues Generation Z cares about are a little bit different and I see this with my daughters. Their preoccupations are centred around inclusion, mental health, environment and racial equity. They will tell you bluntly that they are not prepared to work for a company that does not match their ethics or values, even if that means foregoing a number of lucrative jobs. To my view, this is quite representative of a generation that is much open to a new set of issues.

What is also changing is the active role they are ready to take. I think that the generation of philanthropists who will just sign a check is slowly over, and we will see a new generation of individuals who will want to take a much active role, starting earlier in life as volunteers, advocates or activists, and using a wider range of engagement tools.

As I said, Mirabaud has demonstrated a 200-year-old interest in the communities in which it operates and I sense that as a bank we are particularly interested in understanding this new generation, not only because they are our future clients and employees, but also because they are shaping the future we will be operating in, as a company.

Read more: Lamberto Frescobaldi on 1000 years of tradition and wine

LUX: Do Mirabaud’s philanthropic contributions focus on culture and the arts?
Etienne d’Arenberg: First and foremost, concerning contemporary art, in recent years we’ve been sponsors of FIAC in Paris among various other renowned institutions. We’ve also sponsored the Zurich Art weekend, which is, in a way, the pre-Art Basel event, in a more intimate setting. Even if we are an institution that celebrated its 200th birthday in 2019 (so we are 202 years old now) our motto is always “to be prepared for now”. As in, immediately at your service, to sponsor and to be interested in today’s world and that’s why we are interested in contemporary art. We know the value of looking into the past, and taking lessons into the future.

The second thing to remember is that culture is not something which always pertains to art. If you look at the enthusiasm of the public, art is not always the biggest thing, sports, for example, are part of the culture of a nation. We are sponsors of the largest inland regatta competition in the world, the Bol d’Or Mirabaud on Lake Geneva, and it’s a fascinating competition, because the lake has very particular wind conditions that are ever-changing, it is not a one-sided Caribbean type wind that comes constantly from one side and doesn’t change that often. Here again our motto “prepared for now” completely makes sense.

LUX: The concept of Europe is an important one for your family foundation. Why?
Etienne d’Arenberg: When we think about Europe, our family thinks of the continent which includes Switzerland and the United Kingdom, not only the European Union. The concept of Europe is indeed very important for our family, as it includes a set of value that are dear to our heart: human dignity, rule of law, equality and democracy to name a few. This sounds wonderful and noble, but the truth is that it is quite vague in practice.

What we have been trying to do with our family foundation is to revisit these values in the light of today’s challenges and explore new ways to shape our common future.

I am personally convinced that Europe has a key role to play in shaping the post-COVID recovery, and building a new social contract based on these long-lasting European values and at a very modest level, we are trying to be part of this conversation.

Etienne d’Arenberg is limited partner of family-owned Swiss private bank Mirabaud and is Head Wealth Management United Kingdom.

Find out more: arenbergfoundation.eu, mirabaud.com

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baby coral
baby coral

Baby pillar coral, being bred in quarantine, at six months. Image by Kristen Marhaver

She is one of the most compelling figures in ocean conservation. Kristen Marhaver, a marine biologist and TED and WEF star, has made coral regeneration sexy. She tells Darius Sanai that rapid scientific advance and philanthropic support are combining to make the idea of regrowing the world’s coral a real prospect

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

black and white portait

Kristen Marhaver. Image by Bret Hartman.

LUX: Why has there been so much positive progress in coral science recently?
Kristen Marhaver: For a long time, nobody knew how corals reproduced. We assumed most corals spat out little swimming baby corals. It was only around 30 or 40 years ago that mass spawning of corals was discovered and that’s because it only happened a few nights a year. If you’re in the water one hour too late or two days too early, you won’t ever see it. We always had in the back of our minds that the more we understood about reproduction, the more we could help promote coral reproduction in the wild.

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When I started my research career, we would watch corals reproduce and collect their eggs and raise them through the first couple of days or weeks of life and that was it. It was extraordinarily difficult to make progress and most of the coral community thought that there was no way that this would ever lead to something you could apply in conservation. All of a sudden, things just started to click and every year we made a little bit more progress – by “we” I mean the hundreds of people around the world working on a thousand coral projects every year – and decoding one more puzzle at a time and getting a little bit further along the path.

Then we realised all of a sudden something that had seemed impossible became fairly possible. Now everything is aligned just right, and there is this gold rush in coral reproduction science to increase the efficiency of their breeding. We know that every year we’re only going to make a couple of steps more before we have to wait 11 months to try again.

It has been exciting to see the field’s potential grow in the past few years, and it makes it even more exciting to dig into the ever more difficult puzzles because we know that the more we solve, the more we can hand over the answers to other groups that can scale it up from there.

LUX: Is it correct to say there is hope that coral reefs can be rebuilt?
Kristen Marhaver: We are slowly accepting that it’s an option, but we are always really careful about the scale and the timeline when we talk about it. Sometimes I think that we are in year 40 of a 200 year project. So, we can’t go and give an island nation an entire new coral reef, but we can grow a handful of species, get them out in the water, give them 10 years, and they will be the size of basketballs. We can do that on a metres to tens of metres to hundreds of metres scale, but it is also true that the more that people get good at this, and the more innovation is applied, the more it will scale up. In the next five to ten years, we will have changed from saying, “this is something we can do” to “this is something that we can scale up confidently”. There is an analogy with orchids. These used to be extraordinarily expensive, but if you go to a supermarket or a florist, you will see an orchid for $10. The reason they are so abundant and cheap is because scientists figured out meristem culture, so instead of waiting for orchids to grow big and then dividing, they just take a tiny sliver of tissue and grow a whole new orchid. That completely changed the availability and propagation of those plants. We are about to see the same kind of thing in coral propagation.”

coral in a lab

Juvenile corals, aged 18 months in the aquarium system at CARMABI. Image by Kristen Marahver

LUX: You can recreate coral killed by human activity, but how do you ensure the new coral won’t be killed again?
Kristen Marhaver: That’s a great question. And it’s a huge concern. We have a couple of reasons to be optimistic, one of which is that there’s now a really powerful race amongst the countries to enact not only climate plans, but also marine protected areas and fisheries regulations and sewage system modernisation. There are also some pretty nice examples of places where juvenile corals can do better than the adults could. That’s partly because when we are growing juveniles, there is a tremendous amount of genetic diversity. You have more chances of getting a good hand by putting 20,000 juveniles of all different genetic combinations into a place, as opposed to fragmenting 10 or 20 adults and gluing those pieces back onto a reef.

Read more: How Chelsea Barracks is celebrating contemporary British craft

LUX: You are passionate about making sure philanthropists support the right groups in coral restoration.
Kristen Marhaver: The most powerful groups in coral restoration are in places like Belize and the Dominican Republic and the Philippines. You don’t necessarily hear about them because they don’t have the glossy brochure and the advertising budget and the social media person; they’re just all underwater busting their butts. It is really important to find a group that’s not just flashy and well branded, but one that is honest about what they can do. It’s important for donors and philanthropists to do their homework and find out what’s going on behind the scenes.

LUX: And why is coral important?
Kristen Marhaver: I was interviewed once on a television station and the interviewer asked me why we should care about coral reefs. And I said, “Well, they bring in tourism money, and provide food for a billion people around the world, and they grow these beautiful structures that are art.” Then he asked, “Why should we care?” I said, “If you don’t like money or tourism or art, then I really don’t know what I’m going tell you.” But if you have ever been to a beach in the tropics, or been in a building in the tropics, you may have corals to thank for keeping that beach there, keeping that building up. It’s also cultural heritage, the same way that we care about losing languages or losing monuments or losing art. It’s because it’s the heritage of our earth and the cultures on earth. We owe it to small communities around the world to help them hold on to that cultural value as well.

Dr Kristen Marhaver is a coral reef biologist at the Research Station Carmabi and the founder of Marharver Lab, both in Curaçao.

Find out more: researchstationcarmabi.org; marhaverlab.com

This article originally appeared in the LUX x Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Blue Economy Special in the Summer 2020 Issue.

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alpine village

Andermatt. Image by Peter Wormstetter

In recent years, the tiny Swiss village of Andermatt has been establishing itself as one of the world’s most desirable and forward-thinking alpine resorts, but the region has been intriguing residents and visitors for centuries. A mini-documentary series explores Andermatt’s history through powerful and intimate personal stories

Over a period of seven months, film studio Peach & Cherry and cinematographer Martin Wabel documented the changing seasons of Andermatt, speaking to locals, guests, businesspeople, free-riders, farmers and artists. The result is Mystic Mountains, a series of twelve mini documentaries. Each episode lasts approximately ten minutes and is shaped around the personal narratives of interviewees, touching on themes of nature, community and belonging with staggeringly beautiful shots of the alpine landscapes.

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At a time when climate change is rapidly challenging the survival of ski resorts (by 2050, half of Switzerland’s 4,000 glaciers are forecast to have disappeared), these narratives serve as a poignant reminder of not just the region’s history, but also humanity’s relationship to the natural world.

To watch the series visit: andermatt-swissalps.ch

 

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Gorilla with a baby in the forest
Mountainous landscape with blue skies

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest Rwanda overlooks the Virunga Mountain Valley

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is the luxury brand’s second resort to open in Rwanda, offering guests the opportunity to trek after mountain gorillas and relax within a secluded setting. LUX takes a look inside the newly opened property

Located two and a half hours from Kigali International Airport and five minutes from the entrance of Volcanoes National park, One&Only’s newly opened Gorilla’s Nest resort offers guests a luxurious base from which to explore northwest Rwanda’s extraordinary ecosystem. The park, which takes its name from its five dormant volcanoes, is home to the highest number of mountain gorillas, which guests can trek after through the rainforest.

Luxurious hotel bedroom with large windows overlooking forest

The Silverback Suite with a private swimming pool

Alongside safari expeditions, the resort also offers a variety of experiences including tasting locally farmed coffees, learning photography, traditional dance and basket weaving.

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The camp itself is comprised of 21 elegant rooms, each designed to blend into the natural landscape with cosy in-room fireplaces, private viewing decks and outdoor bathtubs built high-up amongst the trees. The aesthetic is contemporary with a focus on natural materials, whilst paying homage to the colours and patterns of African culture. Our favourite is the Silverback Suite with its own private pool and unparalleled views of the surrounding forest provided by the floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedroom.

Gorilla with a baby in the forest

Luxurious private living room

The Virunga Suite features a spacious living room

When it comes dining, the main restaurant, Nest, utilises locally sourced produce as well as home-grown ingredients from the Chef’s Garden. Or else, guests can choose to dine at the Pool Bar or in a secluded location within the camp’s grounds.

There’s also a small, beautifully designed spa, with two treatment rooms, an open-air heated pool, plunge pool and Fitness Centre with a stream room and sauna. The therapies on offer are all holistic and use plant-based African ingredients, such as coffee and coconut.

Terrace restaurant of a hotel with fireplace

The terrace of the Nest restaurant

Relaxation room inside a luxury spa

The spa’s relaxation room

For more information visit: oneandonlygorillasnest.com

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Glamorous woman lounging by exotic pool
Glamorous woman lounging by pool wearing blue dress

Photograph by Mattia Aquila

Launching our new insider guide feature, Italian designer Alberta Ferretti reveals her favourite spots in her hometown Cattolica – as well as a few from further afield. 

My favourite view…

The view of the sea from my town, especially from above, gives me energy; it recharges, relaxes and regenerates me. Gazing at the horizon leaves me with a sense of freedom, which inspires me to follow my imagination. Living in a city by the sea gives me a freedom of thought, an openness to travelling and visiting other places, observing and studying other cultures. From this, my collections are born, the sense of lightness that I bring to my fashion: the lines and volume of the clothing, as well as the colours and fabrics.

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Dining spots to die for…

Wherever there is an open terrace overlooking a beautiful landscape: at the sea, in the mountains, in the city. The terrace of the Gente di Mare restaurant in Cattolica, where you can watch the bay. The tables in front of the large windows of the Hakkasan restaurant in Shanghai, when the Bund shines with sensual lighting.

Where I escape to…

San Bartolo Nature Park [just south of Cattolica].

I am at one with nature in…

My home! I am fortunate to live in a house built in a mature park. Our relationship with nature
is fundamental and I get to experience it daily. Every season changes the shapes, the colours, the smells – from the flowering of the trees and the lawn to the movement of the animals that populate it. For me they are sounds and images that mark time as a melody and make it an enchanted place. New York’s Central Park also fascinates me with its many private corners with wonderful villas and shelters.

Read more: ‘Extremis’ by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar opens at Setareh Gallery

The perfect weekend brunch is…

Wherever there are my favourite local dishes, such us tagliolini with cuttlefish ink salmon and cream of ricotta acidified with lime.

Worth a detour…

Montegridolfo, a small village in the mountains nearby, with a palace that I renovated together with my brother Massimo in the 1990s. The village has a lot of history.

LUX met Alberta Ferretti during the presentation of her Resort 2020 collection at Monte Carlo Fashion Week. View the brand’s collections: albertaferretti.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn 19 Issue.

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Base camp of mount everest with mountains in the background
Mountainous forest landscape with low lying clouds

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda

Expeditions to the remote and barely explored corners of the planet are not for everybody, but with the help of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, destinations previously considered inaccessible to the tourist are now, at a price, within reach. From the altitude of Everest’s Base Camp to the depths of the Danakil Depression, their Inspiring Expeditions will bring out your inner adventurer. James Parry meets A&K founder Geoffrey Kent to find out where on earth they are going next

Abercrombie & Kent’s founder and CEO Geoffrey Kent knows a thing or two about adventure travel. Born while his parents were on safari in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), he grew up “running wild on the family farm” in Kenya and remembers once asking his father, Colonel John Kent of the King’s African Rifles, where they were next going on holiday. “Somewhere we can’t drink the water,” came the laconic reply. No surprises then, that at the age of 16, Kent set off solo from Kenya on an overland trip to South Africa. “Travel is in my genes,” he admits, “and I can’t imagine not wanting to get out there and explore new places.”

Through Abercrombie & Kent (A&K), Kent has pioneered luxury adventure travel and has been instrumental in developing the much newer concept of ‘thrillionaire travel’, tailored for adventurous ultra-high net-worth individuals. Using private charter jets and other exclusive modes of transport from helicopters and snow mobiles to hot-air balloons and luxury yachts, A&K’s Inspiring Expeditions offer the super- rich unprecedented access to destinations that most people have never even heard of. Kent leads each expedition himself. “By utilising our ground-breaking network and contacts within the highest echelons of government – from tourism ministers and presidents to prime ministers and kings – we are able to make these adventures a reality,” he explains.

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The Inspiring Expeditions are bespoke, one-off trips of a lifetime. They take place worldwide and, while ranging widely in terms of what they offer, are united by core common elements – a sense of exclusivity and privileged access, plus the highest standards of everything. Even in the remotest locations, no effort is spared to cater for the whims of the most particular of guests, with everything from a Michelin-starred chef to a deluxe espresso machine flown in if required. The objective is to provide all the ingredients for a luxuriously thrilling experience.

But Kent sees such expeditions as providing more than a simple adrenalin rush in comfort. “Visiting remote destinations on itineraries designed for the individuals involved can help prompt an inner exploration of the traveller’s true self,” he explains. And those travellers are clearly relishing the experiences on offer. “We are still basking in the afterglow of another splendid adventure,” enthused one recently returned client. “We so enjoyed the varieties of destinations, food and culture, and as always, the team was sensational – competent, knowledgeable, patient and loads of fun.”

Team of adventurers in an ice tunnel

Exploring an ice tunnel in the Antarctic

Man standing at South Pole wit American flag

Geoffrey Kent of Abercrombie & Kent at the South Pole

Meanwhile, the expeditions can pay dividends for local people, too. Back in the mid- 1980s, shortly after the creation of Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP), set up to help positively impact the communities where A&K guests travel, Kent met with General Museveni of Uganda, who later became president of the country. Their conversation focused on how best to protect the country’s endangered mountain gorillas and benefit the local Batwa people with whom the great apes shared their forest home. As a direct result, A&K established the first luxury camp in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

More than 30 years later, the camp is still there and AKP has also established a community hospital, a 112-bed facility providing care for 40,000 patients annually, a nursing school to train health-care providers, and a bicycle enterprise to help empower local women. “I’m exceedingly proud of what we have achieved there,” says Kent.

Dry valley with large cliffs

The view from the Abuna Yemata Guh church in northern Ethiopia

All the itineraries feature destinations chosen for being on the “road less travelled”, and which explore facets of a country or culture that may not be apparent or accessible. An upcoming expedition to Ethiopia will see A&K guests led well away from the usual tourist trail to unique places like the Omo Valley, celebrated among anthropologists as the home of a fascinating spectrum of tribal communities, some of which have little exposure to outsiders, or to the rock- hewn cliff-top churches such as Abuna Yemata Guh near Hawzen in the north of the country.

Read more: In conversation with the founder of Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille, the women’s only classic car race

Also in the north of the country is the salt- encrusted Danakil Depression, at 125 metres below sea level one of the lowest – and hottest – points on the planet. The intrepid explorer Wilfred Thesiger passed this way in 1930 and today’s travellers can contemplate a scene barely changed from his day. The Danakil is also known as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’, where the remains of 3.2-million-year-old Lucy, the oldest known hominid fossil, were discovered in 1974. Her skeleton is now in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, and the thrillionaires will be given exclusive access to see it.

Base camp of mount everest with mountains in the background

Base Camp on Mount Everest

Insights into the local culture are an important component of the expeditions and never more so than in a country like Bhutan, the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ and visited on a previous expedition by Kent and his guests. The Himalayan kingdom was virtually closed to outsiders until relatively recently, and maintains a proud Buddhist culture as well as the many architectural masterpieces. Ancient and ornate dzongs, or fortress-monasteries, festooned with prayer flags and often perched in precipitous locations, dot the landscape.

Bhutan is unique in having a Gross National Happiness index, set up by the country’s king in 1972 as being more important than the conventional Gross National Product. A&K clients were able to attend a private meeting with government delegates to learn about how the psychological and spiritual well-being of the Bhutanese people has remained their nation’s guiding principle and how they set a benchmark that other countries might do well to follow.

A cliffside settlement of traditional buildings in Bhutan

The Taktsang Pulphug Monastery in Bhutan

Neighbouring Nepal receives many more overseas visitors than Bhutan, but very few of them are able to experience one of the exclusive highlights afforded to the guests on that particular thrillionaire expedition: a visit to the renowned and iconic Mount Everest Base Camp. A helicopter whisked the lucky few from the capital Kathmandu over some of the main peaks and glaciers of the Himalaya range for a bird’s-eye view of the world’s greatest mountain range before descending to the very spot where mountaineering history has been made.

Read more: Maryam Eisler’s Icelandic photography series

Another previous expedition saw thrillionaires diving from sumptuous super-yachts into the pristine waters of Palau in Micronesia. Often dubbed the ‘underwater Serengeti’, the seas around this archipelago of forested volcanic islands support a unique ecosystem defined by several hundred different types of coral and with more than 1,500 species of fish to swim with and marvel at.

But for those seeking some serious party time, then the smart advice is to join Kent on his Rio de Janeiro carnival expedition early next year. “Nothing beats Rio for sheer energy and that inimitable samba vibe,” he says. A&K guests will enjoy VIP access to the world’s most famous carnival, including a ringside seat at the main parade and the opportunity to don a suitably extravagant costume and join the throngs of other dancers and revellers at the Copacabana Palace ball. There will also be private dinners with Rio’s glitterati and the chance to relax on a luxury private yacht after all that partying.

Birdseye image of Micronesia islands

The island of Peleliu in Palau, Micronesia

Every itinerary is meticulously researched and trialled by A&K in advance. As part of an expedition to Antarctica earlier this year (and which will take place again in 2020), clients were invited to submit suggestions for the naming of a previously unclimbed peak in the Drygalski Mountains that they would be tackling during the expedition. Careful scrutiny of maps and aerial photos led to the identification of several unnamed peaks potentially suitable for an ascent by non-professional climbers, but these needed to be checked out. Travelling solo, on foot and with all his gear on his back, a member of the A&K team spent several days camping in the foothills before determining which was the most suitable peak, as well as identifying a nearby glacier where the guests’ plane could land. It was exhaustive and essential planning that paid off handsomely when the eight clients, under the guidance of master mountaineer Marko Prezelj, safely scaled the peak that they had earned the right to call Mount Inspiring.

Meanwhile, there’s even the option of going on a round-the-world wildlife safari by private jet, lasting 25 days and spanning three continents, in a quest to spot giant pandas, tigers, mountain gorillas and lions. The price might not suit everyone, but that’s not the point. These are special tours for special individuals.

So, where next for A&K’s Inspiring Expeditions? Perhaps a mission to the Moon, or even Mars? No, at least not yet. Kent has discounted space travel as too unsafe right now, but he has other destinations up his sleeve. “I can’t deny that the world is well-travelled and that it takes innovative thinking to find new destinations,” he admits, “but there are still unexplored spots.” Among these he has his seasoned eye firmly on Gabon, a country in equatorial Africa that has placed an impressive 11% of its land area under national park protection. There are elephants, buffalo and lowland gorillas to go in search of in the virgin rainforest, as well as dramatic waterfalls and stunning beaches. “I remember seeing a group of elephants swimming off the beach with their trunks raised out of the water like snorkels,” laughs Kent. With sights like that to behold, is anyone up for a trip to Gabon?

Find out more: abercrombiekent.co.uk

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue

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A naked woman crouched in a green bare landscape with flowers on her spine
A woman crouched over in a pink skirt on a volcanic landscape

An image from Maryam Eisler’s new series ‘O is for Origin’

When Maryam Eisler, LUX Contributing Editor and author of The Sublime Feminine, visited Iceland the results were spectacular

At first glance, Iceland looks like what the Earth must have been at its very beginning, with the bleakness and sombre colours of the volcanic rock that seems to have pushed its way up to the surface only yesterday. This extraordinary terrain makes Iceland a genuine land of fire and ice, with active volcanoes and glaciers living side by side under the phosphorescent lights of the aurora borealis. The landscape creates a powerful visual poetry like no other place I’ve visited. It is no wonder that this land is rich in folklore, in which mythical creatures roam the land and sea. I even met one in my sleep, the hafmeyjan, or mermaid, who enraptures sailors with her siren songs and disappears into the waters’ depths with the men in her arms.

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A naked woman crouched in a green bare landscape with flowers on her spine

Icelandic culture is dominated by women, as the progressive nature of its society and politics today shows. And if there was ever a way to highlight the central role of woman in creation, it is in the shifting shapes of this landscape, where female curves match perfectly the green, moss-covered outcrops that stretch far towards the distant murky horizon.

Read more: Photographer Maryam Eisler on East London and the power of art

In such a place, where people and landscape join in a jagged, unreal harmony, the photographer simply has to respond to the variety and scale of what nature presents them. If nothing else, our duty becomes the preservation of this quixotic land for the generations yet to behold its wonders.

View Maryam Eisler’s full portfolio of work: maryameisler.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue.

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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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Explorer walking past base camp on a snowy landscape
Explorer walking past base camp on a snowy landscape

An explorer sets out on Day 6 of the recent A&K South Pole expedition. Image courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

At the age of 76, LUX contributor and founder of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent Geoffrey Kent is still adventuring. Here he recalls one of his most recent and challenging expeditions into the South Pole

For the last three years, I have been occupied with a desire to go on a journey to Antarctica. Like my hero of heroes, Sir Ernest Shackleton, I dreamed of getting to the South Pole. Unlike Shackleton, who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, I wanted to do it in comfort and five-star style.

Adventure is in my genes, and since my parents and I founded A&K in 1962, I’ve packed a lot in. I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, hiked to Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan, and circled the earth along the equator. I’ve journeyed from the source of the Upper Amazon to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean and been to Iraq with some special forces’ guys. I have been to the edge of space in an English Electric Lightning, travelling Mach 2.2 at 21 kilometres up, and hiked to Base Camp Everest. I was officially the last person in the twentieth century to stand on the North Pole.

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My recent expedition to the South Pole is my latest and perhaps most challenging adventure. Like all dedicated travellers, my wanderlust constantly drives me. I’m obsessed with the app Been, which reveals that I have visited 70 per cent of the world’s countries (I travel approximately 270 days each year). In the next few years, I want it to be 100 per cent. The desire to see the whole world is the driving force behind Inspiring Expeditions by Geoffrey Kent.

In December 2018, seven intrepid guests and I spent the latter part of December in the vast wilderness that is Antarctica. Another continent ticked off – a personal dream fulfilled.

Private plane landed on the snow

Day 12: arriving by private jet into Whichaway Camp. Image courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

When most people speak of having been to Antarctica, they have travelled by cruise ship from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula, a 1,300-kilometre chain of mountains and volcanoes that juts north towards South America. My expedition was to a dramatically different destination. The Antarctica that I’m talking about can’t be accessed by cruise ship. To get to the South Pole, you need a plane and skis or snowmobiles. Antarctica is vast – mind-bogglingly big. To put it in perspective, from our base inside the Antarctic Circle to get to the South Pole required an eight-hour flight, a re-fuelling stop and the crossing of a time-zone.

Our group – consisting of one couple and their two sons, a father and son, and me – set off from sunny Cape Town in mid-December. We landed on the first of three ice runways (or more aptly iceways) that A&K constructed in Antarctica for this journey and got our first glimpse of the land of snow and ice at a place dramatically named ‘Wolf’s Fang’.

Explorers climbing up an ice wall with picks and helmets

Day 8: ice climbing. Image courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

There are no wolves for thousands of kilometres, just the occasional snow petrel flying overhead. Antarctica is a high desolate white desert where temperatures in summer rarely get above minus 20 degrees Celsius and the winter average is minus 60. It never rains here and the snow that falls is sparse. With less than 20cm of snowfall a year, Antarctica is technically a desert. It is so dry that with the correct kit on, you feel colder on London’s streets on a particularly grim day.

Read more: Italian brand Damiani’s Kazakh-inspired jewellery collection

It’s the last true wilderness on our planet. The last frontier – the final place on the planet where a traveller can feel genuinely remote and know that your footprints may be the first, that no other human may have walked here before. And if they have… what a club to be part of.

From our basecamp in an oasis – a series of rocky outcrops amongst the ice – over the course of eight days, our group flew to Atka Bay to view the large colony of Emperor penguins. There, we also learned essential winter skills, explored ice caves, visited both Russian and American research stations, summitted (and earned the right to name) a peak in the Drygalski mountain range, and ventured to the Geographic South Pole.

a colony of emperor penguin chicks in the south pole

Day 4: visiting the Emperor penguins. Image courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

From the top of ‘Mount Inspiring’ – the virgin mountain which our group summited in the company of Marko Prezelj, four-time Piolet d’Or winner – staring over this vast expanse of white in awe of nature at its most elemental, it’s hard to imagine the flux that this continent is undergoing. Sadly, Antarctica has experienced an air temperature increase of three degrees Celsius. This rise in temperature is causing change – perennial snow and ice cover are melting, glaciers are retreating, and some ice shelves have collapsed completely. In the last 60 years, there has been a loss of 25,000 square kilometres of ice shelf. The flora and fauna are facing a threat too. Emperor penguin numbers have declined by up to half in some places and the number of breeding pairs may fall by 80 per cent by 2100.

Read more: The poetic beauty of the Swiss Engadine

One of the greatest, yet least seen, wildlife spectacles on the planet, the colony of 6,000 breeding pairs at Atka Bay is extraordinary. Two and a half hours by airplane away from basecamp, thousands of adolescents were finding their feet and snow bathing to cool off in strong sun, while their parents fished. These animals are under threat from human action from thousands of kilometres away.

We reached the Pole two days and one hundred and seven years after Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer who won the race to the South Pole, just ahead of Scott. Standing at the designated marker at the lowest point on earth, you are able to walk around the world in a few steps. Surrounding the marker are flags from the twelve signatories of the Antarctic Treaty that sets aside the continent as a scientific preserve. It was a good place to reflect on the adventure of getting here and wondering about what’s going to become of this white desert… and what we all can do about it.

Discover Abercombie & Kent’s portfolio of luxury travel tours: abercrombiekent.co.uk

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Fashion look book with two images of models wearing suits and white heels
Fashion look book with two images of models wearing suits and white heels

Looks from the MANDKHAI Autumn/ Winter 2018 collection

Mongolian designer Mandkhai Jargalsaikhan’s eponymous brand is dedicated to the sustainable production of high quality cashmere. Using yarn spun from the coats of free roaming goats, the cashmere is dyed and then delicately crafted into elegant, contemporary garments. We ask the designer 6 Questions.

Portrait of designer Mongolian designer Mandkhai Jargalsaikhan, founder of MANDKHAI luxury cashmere brand

Mandkhai Jargalsaikhan

1. What’s your favourite memory from your childhood?

My favourite memories will have to be the times I spent at the factory growing up. My parents always worked until late so I would often be with them at the factory watching the craftsmen do their jobs and playing around.

We got visitors regularly at the factory and one time everyone kept asking me to go this man and ask for an autograph. I did as I was told not knowing who it was because I must have been around 5-6 years old. Later I found out it was Richard Gere!

2. Why did you want to start your own brand?

I started MANDKHAI because I saw that there was a gap in the market for well designed, modern cashmere pieces. Everything I saw was very basic and old fashioned. After studying fashion design in London, I felt like I could offer something more exciting using my background in cashmere production. We make everything ourselves in our factory in Mongolia and are vertically integrated, so I really wanted to show the different processes and give an insight into the craftsmanship and expertise that goes into the production of cashmere, which in itself is sustainable.

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My name means to rise above in Mongolian. I decided to stick with my name because I wanted the brand to be personal and relatable while staying true to my roots.

Model poses in studio setting wearing a white t-shirt and white trousers

MANDKHAI Spring/ Summer 2019 collection

3. What’s your top tip for recognising and buying high quality cashmere?

Just because it’s super soft does not necessarily mean it’s good quality cashmere. Do have a look at where it was made. Mongolian cashmere (not to be confused with inner Mongolia as that’s a region in China) is of higher quality because the cashmere comes from free roaming goats that produce the fibre to survive the harsh winters reaching up to -50C. Good quality cashmere will last you decades and becomes even softer as you wear it and will even stop pilling.

4. Do you think it’s possible for fashion to become fully sustainable?

Everything is possible, so yes I do think fashion can become fully sustainable. It just needs people to want it.

Read more: Canary Wharf Group’s MD Camille Waxer on urban transformation

5. Who or what is inspiring you right now?

A trip I took to Wyoming and Jackson hole is currently inspiring me. The nature is beautiful there and it’s similar to Mongolia in some areas. Our next collection is based on this trip and I am very excited to share it soon.

Model poses wearing an orange slip dress

MANDKHAI Spring/ Summer 2019 collection

6. What’s next for MANDKHAI?

Recently we have added a menswear line and are excited to see the growth as we are getting good responses. I think fashion is becoming more and more androgynous and it will be definitely interesting to design for men. We will also keep pushing our womenswear and work to create an awareness around cashmere production.

Discover the MANDKHAI collections: mandkhai.com

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Artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar working in his studio on large scale paintings

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar in the studio

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

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

Gallery view of ‘Oneness Wholeness’ at the Saatchi Gallery

large scale mixed media painting of abstract cityscape

Reflection of The Damned 2017, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

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

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

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

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

Millie Walton

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

 

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exhibition of the month
Singapore Hermes exhibition

Mountain, 2017. Ink on mulberry Hanji paper

Hermes exhibition singapore

Close up of Mountain,-2017

Korean artist, Minjung Kim is the first of two artists this year to be invited to the Aloft art space at the Hermès boutique, Singapore. Exploring the gallery’s 2017 theme of reflection, Kim’s contemporary ink paintings depict vast, hazy mountainscapes that roll endlessly into the distance. The artworks are painted onto mulberry hanji paper (the traditional Korean medium) and created in line with Taoist tradition, which demands the artist seeks a state similar to meditation so that she is able to apply thin, detailed lines with a steady hand. Yet, Kim’s paintings, though delicate, are dreamy rather than precise, flowing and undulating almost like water. The fading mountains could just as easily be waves of a colourful sea disappearing into the horizon; look at them for long enough and you will almost begin to sway. It’s an intensely relaxing and hypnotic viewing experience. The artist’s state of mind at the point of creation runs through and from the ink, just as the ink bleeds into the paper.

‘Oneness’ runs until 30th July 2017 at Aloft, Hermès, Singapore

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Prairie Heritage
Land Acquisition

Land Acquisition – Once the fragmented lands are connected, APR will provide overall wildlife management focus

Sean Gerrity has a vision, which he is rapidly turning into reality. Through the American Prairie Reserve, of which he is president, he is creating a wilderness reserve in North America to rival the Serengeti. Darius Sanai tells the story; and over the next pages, the images of the reserve in Montana tell their own 

“In 10 to 15 years, you should see a slice of land extending 13,000 square kilometres here, the vast majority of that with no fences. There will be stunning variety of wildlife that has not been seen here for 150 years, but which was here for 1,000 years or more: thousands of bison, like the wildebeest in the Serengeti; cougars, wolves, grizzly bears in sustainable numbers. There will be all species of prey like elk and deer. It will be very easy to engage with this space: it will be a very wild place but with planned, controlled public access.”

Sean Gerrity

Sean Gerrity – An ex-entrepreneur, Gerrity now commits himself to wildlife preservation

Sean Gerrity is mapping out his vision for the American Prairie Reserve (APR) on the high plateau of Montana. The idea of a kind of vast safari reserve in what has, in recent times, been farmland may sound far-fetched, but Gerrity is no empty dreamer. In his role at the APR, he has already been building the project for 15 years, purchasing and piecing together ranches and farms from owners who are giving up on farming. “Their kids want to go live in the cities and become web designers,” he says, commenting on the decline of the ranching tradition. Rather than let the area become forgotten, he and the APR are building America’s largest wilderness reserve and restocking it with species, many now endangered, that used to roam freely.

Gerrity and the APR work closely with conservation bodies like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). The most compelling part of his vision is that he wants to build facilities for humans to come and interact and experience and enjoy the wilderness, without destroying it. “It’s a life-producing experience being out there, quite overwhelming,” he says. “All five senses are just roaring. We are building a way for people to access it, for kids to come out and just sit and listen to the sounds and forget about their electronic toys.”

Gerrity knows about the latter: in his previous life, he was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, founder of a consulting company. He has now returned to his childhood home of Montana and is bringing nature back where it belongs, as the photography on these pages shows.

americanprairie.org

Prairie Heritage

Prairie Heritage – Reintroduced to the prairie in 2005, the bison herd has since grown in numbers

Buffalo Watch

Buffalo Watch – An American West icon, APR seeks to restore the majestic bisons in their natural habitat

Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors – Visitors can explore the vastness of the landscape by hiking or even biking

Kestrel Camp

Kestrel Camp – Located on-site, the climatecontrolled tent suites offer an intimate nature experience 5. Western Meadowlark The reserve

Pronghorn Antelopes

Pronghorn Antelopes – One of the few remaining native animals, the migration studies contribute to meaningful research

prairie

Nurturing Offspring – Numerous bison calves have been born on-site since the reintroduction of the species

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bali-5 Where is the best place to combine a proper luxury holiday, ancient, unknown temples and one of the most unique dining experiences? Bali resident MARY JUSTICE THOMASSON would tell you it’s right at her doorstep. Naysayers that say the ol’Bali charm has left the island are, quite frankly, full of it. As a 10-year resident of Bali, I can testify Bali’s never been better. Our culture remains beautifully intact and the Balinese thrive in the luxury of knowing that they are living in a form or paradise where, if they play their cards right, balancing good with evil in their Hindu ceremonies (translate, parties), things generally work out.

Sashaying palms, stunning girls and smiling, happy people abound and while pretikins line the beaches, in the distance are verdant mountains of terraced rice fields and varied volcanic landscapes that dot the island, lending well to multitudes of choices for surf and turf activities.

Bali continues to win travel awards like ‘world’s best island destination’ and ‘best island getaway’ and when you consider that 20 years ago the options for food were nasi goreng or nasi campur (noodles or rice with a little meat and veg thrown in), it’s nice to know that our international restaurants, including top new players like Bambu, now compete on the stage for culinary excellence. It’s true the south of Seminyak is teaming with faddish bars, boutiques, night clubs and parties that pop all day and night so if you want to see more of the ‘ye olde’ Bali, put those pretty little pedicures to the metal and explore. In the main areas of town there are several new delights that await you but many an enlightened visitor will head for the hills of Ubud and the coasts of the North to further explore the island. bali-1 A good start is in the northwest where English-born, Cordon Bleu chef and interior designer Diana Von Cranach cranks it up a notch or two at our perennial favorite resort, Puri Ganesha. Here, Diana has opened what must be one of the smallest and most unique restaurants on the island. Liperu (which in Bali slang literally means ‘where the hell is Peru?’) seats only 10 and has a small daily menu that tantalises diners with amazing combinations of Balinese-cum-Peruvian flavours, using purely local ingredients served on small bamboo baskets that reflect the seasons. True to her favourite vegan words, it’s all “rawfully good”.

Heading for the hills of Ubud, Von Cranach also teamed up with a friend and colleague, Dutch-born Anneke Van Waisberghe, whose colonial tents à la ‘Out of Africa’ overlook the river south of Ubud and where you can dine on the edge of the world. This is a romantic and ideal setting for Diana to showcase her culinary skills and reach a larger audience, far from her tiny laid-back luxury up north. They call it Dining Within Tent and it is splendidly theatrical with a natural grandeur that sets the tone for the evening. Here, the noises of the rainforest co-exist happily with the sentimental sounds of Waisberghe’s collection of prewar songs played on an old record player that wafts out into the night, mixing with the cackles of the guests’ laughter and the katydids outside.

The lucky night I went, the dinner party theme was the ‘Happy Valley Set’, aka ‘White Mischief’, a largely hedonistic British and Irish group of aristocrats and adventurers who settled in Kenya between the 1920- 40s. My character given in advance was party girl and socialite Lady Idina Sackville and my date was given the title Josslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll. Hedonistic and hilarious it was indeed, and our linens and silks from the evening had to be sent out for cleaning post haste in the morning. This evening should be pre-booked before your arrival and it will go down in the memoirs as memorable. We certainly enjoyed ourselves, from what we can remember.

And why not continue the theme of tented extravagance and check out Glamping Sandat where two stylish Italians have created glamping tents on the outskirts of Ubud. Our tent was complete with our own infinity pool perched on the forest edge and a private deck for sunbathing ‘au naturel’ in total privacy – perfect for those keen to reconnect with nature while not necessarily chipping a nail. We enjoyed our chandelier-lit tent and all the mod-cons which we didn’t end up using as the open air was far more refreshing. There are five tents and two traditional Balinese Lumbung villas laid out like a rabbit’s warren, with plenty of room for roaming. It has perhaps one of the prettiest gardens I’ve seen in Bali – more English in style than Balinese – with a wonderful assortment of flora and fauna that had been carefully thought out while remaining charmingly chaotic.

Bali continues to surprise me and I recently toured the ‘7 Temples of Enlightenment’ with the charming Professor and Curator of The Sukarno Centre, Enong Ismail, who has partnered up with one of the most exclusive and professional tour organisations on the island, My Private Concierge. To say we were gobsmacked is a gross under exaggeration. On this tour we visited seven world heritage temples and monuments that have recently received their UNESCO certification and for the first time, fully understood the origins of Balinese Hindu religion ‘Hindu Darma’. Our journey took us through the temples as we traced the evolution of this fascinating culture. Many of the temples and meditation places we visited are not even known to locals, let alone visitors and it was a rare opportunity to be one of the first visitors to these sites which are all part of the Pakerisan world heritage listed area. bali-2 bali-4 bali-3   Our day began with tea and smart talk with Pak Ismail at his charming home amongst rice fields on a ridge just off the sacred river of Pakerisan. Pak Ismail’s passion is infectious and he has been documenting Balinese culture since 1979. He sees his rare tours as a way to give back to the society he loves and to share his wealth of information. Most of the temples have been untouched other than the weather playing a role in their appearance. After a few sights, a lovely picnic lunch was laid out in the fields, and just when I thought I couldn’t be more blown away, we went into a 10th century meditation temple that is carved into the side of a stone hill and hidden amongst the rainforest. I wondered whether Indiana Jones might make a quick appearance just to add to the unreality of it all. While there, we were met by a local priest who conducted a blessing for us, wishing us well on our onward journeys in life. His appearance, as Pak Ismail wisely told us, belied his Balinese heritage as there was a distinct Indian flair to his features. Our priest was a sixth generation priest, and indeed I felt blessed. The day finished in a large temple that, in the 12th century, leaders of the Buddhist, Hindu Shiva and ‘respect your ancestor’ religions met and agreed to create one religion for all Hindu Darma, or Balinese Hindu, as it is known today.

Bali continues to be blessed with hidden treasures that can be explored for generations to come and that is what makes this island, in my opinion, one of the best destinations in the world.

puriganesha.com; glampingsandat.com; privateconciergebali.com

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