Jaguar's amazing C-X75 hybrid concept car, which my colleague David Kiley first wrote about last September, has just won the Louis Vuitton Classic Concept Award 2010 by a panel of luminaries from the worlds of design, fashion and luxury in Paris. "Ian Callum, Jaguar's Design Director, and his team have achieved not only a beautiful design in clothing a world-premiere and mouth-watering technology, but also a true Jaguar, projecting the brand's DNA into the future without an ounce of nostalgia," said Christian Philippsen, inaugurator of the prize. The gas-electric hybrid two-seater is capable of a top speed of 205 miles per hour, and up to 68 miles of all-electric operation. It's powered by four 195-horsepower electric motors, one in each wheel, giving the vehicle an all-wheel drive system with torque-vectoring controls to distribute power as needed.
Reality television star Jillian Harris rode on the Rocky Mountaineer railway during her turn as The Bachelorette, now she she's designing for the brand. Harris, who owns Jillian Harris Design and now appears on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, will redesign Rocky Mountaineer's bi-level glass-domed GoldLeaf coach.
"We're very excited to have Jillian partner with us on this project," says Hubert Wat, Vice President, Global Marketing. "Her extensive design background along with her passion and intimate knowledge of our product and brand make her the ideal designer for this project."
Her finished design will combine modern style with a nod to the luxurious earlier days of railway travel. The project will include a new design concept for the GoldLeaf coach's lower level dining area and upper level seating area.The first coach will be launched during the 2011 season and other cars will be redesigned with the new concept in multiple stages, resulting in a total of 16 GoldLeaf coaches redesigned. Harris says, "You can guarantee I'll be one of the first to take the trip in the newly renovated car - it's going to be stunning!"
Rocky Mountaineer offers 45 Canadian vacation packages and four distinctive rail routes trekking through the natural beauty of British Columbia and Alberta. In 2010, Rocky Mountaineer received its fifth World Travel Award for "World's Leading Travel Experience by Train" and was acknowledged for the first time for "World's Leading Luxury Travel Product of the Year".
41 years ago this month Four Seasons opened the Inn on the Park in London's Mayfair, its first European property and one that would come to help define the brand as it expanded around the world. Now after a more than two-year hiatus during which time an entire new hotel was constructed on the existing site, the storied property has just been reborn as the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. The stylish new hotel, designed by Eric Parry, features larger rooms, more suites, a new restaurant / lounge concept, and meeting spaces. The hotel, which now has 192 rooms, including 45 one, two and three bedroom suites – the most lavish of which, the Presidential Suite, costs about $14,000 per night – is designed to feature every luxury amenity whilst retaining the intimate feel of a private residence.
The restaurant / lounge, Amaranto, is a series of three flow-through spaces wherein guests can choose when and where they want to dine, without restriction on seating times or particular menus. With its own entrance in Hamilton Place as well as direct lobby access, Amaranto offers an airy conservatory space and private garden for outdoor seating, a more clubby lounge area including an innovative peek-through wine wall that allows guests to follow sommeliers in action, and a soaring atrium highlighted by a hand-moulded sculpture wall with motifs inspired by nearby Hyde Park. In the next phase of the project the hotel plans to open a spa, fitness and lounge area on the top floor, with sweeping views across London.
Millennials are defined as those born in the 1980s -- between 42 and 50 million (USA Today stats) who came of age with the new century, now between 18 and 28, and have also come of age truly wired, far more so than Boomers ( now reaching retirement age) or Gen Xers, ages 30-45. Millennials have grown up linked by BlackBerries, Androids, IPhones, computers, IPods, and video games. This is the generation of Wii, Facebook, Twitter, free downloads, access to just about everything. How do luxury brands engage these mindsets?
Thankfully, Augmented Reality, is proving to be a major force in this engagement. It is a process already in existence that combines two diverse dynamics: the perception of personal exclusivity and, a multi-dimensional, sensory experience. Augmented Reality, or AR, is a method for using a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, like sound or graphics. It presents unique opportunities in terms of virtual fashion shows, digital flagship stores, 3D advertising campaigns, augmented reality Iphone applications, iPad magazines, Facebook live-streams and Twitter-based customer service. These are just a few examples of the long list of digital innovations that luxury brands have pioneered in 2010. And the field is growing. According to figures from ABI Research, the market for augmented reality (AR) in the US alone is expected to hit $350m in 2014, up from about $6m in 2008, or, around 50 times more from 2008 to 2014.
Augmented Reality is taking digital marketing strategies to a more sensory, immediate, attuned level -- perfect for Millenials, and others on either side of the generational divide. AR enables consumers to virtually try on jewelry, watches, clothing and handbags. The technology requires object recognition and computerization on the PCs, Macs or mobile devices as well as 3D renderings to superimpose images on the real world. What this process does is allow greater interactivity in the selling/buying process, creating an emotional connection between product needs and consumer desires. As a prime example, Tissot Reality: through its website Tissot lets users print and cut out a paper strip in order to try on virtual watches. Tissot showcased the application with an interactive Selfridges, London window display. This reportedly resulted in increasing in-store sales at Selfridges by 85%, while the YouTube views of the campaign have surpassed 70,000. See below, with the Tissot wrist watch AR video:
The Park Avenue Mall in Manhattan is in bloom. To dispel winter's gloom, 38 of the longest stem roses you will ever see have sprouted along Park Avenue. The colossal red and pink roses have stems up to 25 feet tall and are five to 10 feet in diameter. They are the brainchild of the whimsical, wonderful Will Ryman. A former playwright, Ryman, 41 years old, turned to sculpture seven years ago. His winter garden covers ten blocks from 57th -67th Street.
Patricia Kluge, the 1980s society queen and ex-wife of billionaire media mogul John Kluge, has fallen on some hard times. Kluge was famously awarded the largest divorce settlement in history (a reported $1.6 million a week) but she seems to have figured out a way to spend it – and then some.
Kluge's house isn't the only possession she's losing: Her antiques and jewelry have already been auctioned through Sotheby's. Her winery was foreclosed on and its inventory also sold off at auction. On top of that, several lots in the Vineyard Estates subdivision she devised for her property were also auctioned.
The Hookreported that according to court records, Kluge borrowed a whopping $66 million for the house, winery and subdivision.
How could Kluge have blown through her fortune and now lost it all?
On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Keno Auctions will hold its American and European Paintings, Folk Art, Furniture, and Decorative Arts auction. The auction will feature such important items as a Winslow Homer watercolor, an extremely rare Andrew Wyeth sketchbook, early American antique furniture, and important Folk Art. (see gallery below). Winslow Homer's watercolor is seen above with Keno Auctions' president, Leigh Keno, who is one of the foremost experts in the world of art and decorative arts as well as a regular contributor, along with his twin brother, Leslie, to the popular PBS television program Antiques Roadshow.
"We are very excited about the sale," Leigh Keno told Luxist. "It's a mixture of American, English and British furniture and paintings. There are some Chinese and other Asian things too. There is real variety---even a Minoan bronze bowl that dates back to 1200 to 1600 BC that was found in Crete. The great thing about the auction is that we have the Internet---including Live Auctioneers and ArtFact---as well as our own telephone bidding system, which makes it possible for anyone around the world to bid." Keno has devoted much of his time of late amassing the large collection of important items that are featured in this auction. Important furniture items include a William and Mary veneered high chest of drawers (estimate: $60,000 to $120,000). "This is the most important example of American cabinetmaking in the baroque style in early 18th century Boston," says Keno. "There are only two others with veneered walnut moldings. But this high chest has the distinction of not only having the veneer on the sides, but also having the original surface on the legs and feet. The fact that the base is completely original is of great importance."
Manhattan House, the iconic, landmarked residential condominium on the Upper East Side, has teamed with renowned Interior Designers James (Ford) Huniford, Celerie Kemble and Rita Konig to create three signature residences at the building. All three residences are part of the Manhattan House's newly unveiled "The Modern Collection," which are brand-new units available in the building that were created in response to a growing demand for larger homes in the city.
The Modern9 (seen in the photo above) designed by James (Ford) Huniford is a three-bedroom, three-bath 3,350-square-foot space featuring a library with wet bar, windowed kitchen, breakfast room, and powder room. It is designed in the spirit of Manhattan House's Pritzker Prize-winning architect Gordon Bunshaft. "I designed the space with a client in mind who has a busy life," Huniford told Luxist. "This is for someone who enjoys the luxury of space and a uniqueness of palette. The space is soothing. It is for people who love art and design. It has a practicalness in the way that it is laid out."
On January 11 at 11:11 a.m., the new Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida had its official opening marked with an exuberant parade featuring Salvador Dali lookalikes with curving mustaches and a whole carnival of characters. The $36 million museum took two years to build and replaced an older museum that had long drawn Dali aficionados around the world. The museum has over 2,140 pieces, including 96 oil paintings and eight master works and is the largest collection of Dali's work outside his home country, Spain. The new larger museum also has a cafe, patio and garden. In between the galleries a 75-foot spiral staircase that takes patrons to the third floor. HOK and the Beck Group designed the museum which has reinforced concrete walls that can protect the artwork from a category 5 hurricane. As Annie Scott reported back in September, the Dali Museum will be occupied throughout 2011 with a special exhibit called Viva la Revelacion!, displaying all paintings and highlighting other major works from the permanent collection to celebrate the new building. Today marks the first day the new museum is open to the public. Admission is $21.
Very rarely do any of Paris' remaining private palaces come on the market; when they do the properties invariably rank among the world's most expensive, such as the 1912 mansion built for the Duchesse de Montmorency recently listed at $140 million that we told you about back in November. The reason there is so little movement among these magnificent monuments to wealth lining the famed city's storied avenues is that most are occupied as embassies and ambassadorial residences. An equally magnificent new book, Historic Houses of Paris: Residences of the Ambassadors from Flammarion by Alain Stella with photography by Francis Hammond offers a guided tour of 22 of these amazing edifices, some seen for the first time, most originally built for members of the aristocracy and now the setting for lavish diplomatic entertainments and intrigues.
Gilded halls, formal sitting rooms, stately dining rooms, paneled libraries, perfectly landscaped gardens, chambers filled with rare antiques, luxurious wallcoverings and private living quarters are all examined in delectable detail, in mansions ranging from a 17th-century hôtel particulier to a Belle Epoque palace and even a couple more contemporary examples, now occupied by the ambassadors of the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, China, India and more. The cover (above) depicts the Sicilian theater of the incredible Italian Ambassador 's residence, aka the Hotel de la Rochefoucauld-Doudeauville, built in 1732. Some, like the Indian Ambassador's residence, aka the Hotel de Marlborough built in 1910 by architect René Sergent, who also designed Claridge's in London and Rome's Grand Hotel, are named for famous former owners; in this case the Duchess of Marlborough, aka Consuelo Vanderbilt, one of the world's richest and most beautiful women at the time.
Last summer my colleague Deirdre Woollard covered the sale of Dennis Hopper's house and major works from his impressive collection of contemporary art. Now Christie's is offering a number of prized pieces of furniture that belonged the late actor, artist and aesthete. Tops among Hopper's design classics in Christie's Interiors sale in New York on Jan. 11 – 12 is a chrome and black leather chaise by Le Corbusier, estimated at $1,000 – $1,500; a cardboard "bubble chair" designed by architect Frank Gehry, estimated at $3,000 – $5,000; and an oak and black leather Eames chair with ottoman, estimated at $1,000 – $1,500. Also included are various photographs and works of art, including an Andy Warhol silkscreen of Marilyn Monroe estimated at $40,000 – $60,000, and even the actor's set of Tiffany & Co. teacups and desert plates, estimated at $200 – $300. A number of the items are being offered without reserve, so it's a good chance for Hopper fans to score a memento.
Haworth, the world's leading manufacturer of high-end organic office furniture and work spaces, has entered the art and design world with the launch of an innovative, interlocking fabric tile that can be used as a sculptural art installation. Called "Clouds", the tiles add design and color to any space and make an ideal replacement or supplement to more traditional forms of art.
Clouds is the result of a collaboration between Kvadrat (a Danish textile manufacturer) and the French-born Bouroullec brothers---Ronan and Erwan, who are leaders in industrial design. Kvadrat's textiles are used worldwide by renowned architects, designers and furniture manufacturers for upholstery and curtains.
The soft-sided tiles are easy to assemble as they are attached to each other by special rubber bands. They are simple to mount, move, change and maintain and can be rearranged as often as you'd like to bring new ideas into a space. The tiles can be hung from a wall or ceiling, placed on the floor, or attached to railings and stairs, adding color, texture, and warmth, in addition to providing sound insulation.
Los Angeles' Grand Avenue will have a dramatic new structure to rival Disney Hall. Eli and Edythe Broad and architect Elizabeth Diller have revealed the long-awaited designs for The Broad Art Foundation's contemporary art museum. The three-story museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the same firm behind Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, has an intriguing porous honeycomb "veil" that wraps around the building.
Unlike its production counterparts, the Apparition is purely a design study. It's the brainchild of one Jeremy Westerlund, who designed it as an independent project while studying at the Art Center. The idea blends classic design elements with futuristic ones, with mahogany wheel inserts and a shape that places the chauffeur out in the open like in vintage motor carriages, with the occupants coddled inside.
Although just a design for the time being, the model itself is nearly six feet long, and in reality would measure over 23 feet long, or four feet longer than the Phantom saloon.
With an incredible 3,000 photographs and illustrations, Rizzoli's massive new monograph on iconic Italian design house Fornasetti is a work of art in itself. Fornasetti: The Complete Universe details how the firm's founder Piero Fornasetti (1913–1988) achieved fame transforming everyday objects into works of art featuring idiosyncratic designs. His work is carried on today by his son Barnaba Fornasetti, who now runs the Fornasetti atelier and authored the impressive volume. Designed to be an "artist's book" that reflects Fornasetti's iconic overall approach to design, the slipcased $250 monograph is divided into two sections: the first half is dedicated to Piero Fornasetti as an artist and highlights his pictorial and graphic work and their artistic applications; the second half focuses on the 70-plus years of the atelier's production.
This includes furniture, sculptures and etchings, graphics, textiles, glass, screens, trays, ceramics, and more. The second section covers the activity of the atelier up to the present day as well. The book also addresses Barnaba's commitment to keeping the Fornasetti legacy alive by showing how Piero's ideas and models are "transformed, reworked, and contextualized." Today the Fornasetti atelier not only reissues historical pieces, but also "offers reinterpretations of themes and objects drawing inspiration from the vast repertory of the atelier's archive of lithographic plates, designs, notes, documents, and objects." Finally, the beautiful and comprehensive book includes a list of exhibitions and a register of the atelier's complete works.