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The LG Watch Urbane

13 March 2015

LG has unveiled another smart-watch to rival Apple’s impending new device.

LG smart watch

The South Korean electronics company has unveiled two new models it will pit against its American rival, which it announced on the eve of the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona.

LG’s Watch Urbane will come as a basic version powered by Android Wear, and a high-end one with a 4G chip and a new operating system.

The higher end model can make and answer calls and send texts without needing to be linked to a phone.

The LG Watch Urbane LTE features a 1.3in plastic OLED display within a brushed stainless steel frame.

As well as being able to make calls, the watch also features a push-to-talk facility, essentially a walkie-talkie, which is compatible with other devices on the same data network.

Interestingly, the watch features a button that acts as a panic alarm. When the user presses the button, it calls a preset phone number and uses its built in GPS to send details of the wearer’s location.

The LG Watch Urbane also features an NFC chip for touch-and-go payments, IP67 dust and waterproofing certification, a heart rate monitor, barometer and nine-axis accelerometer.

The high-end model will be the first device to run LG’s Wearable Platform OS, which would also feature in other future products.

LG smart watch

The basic model is slightly thinner and features a smaller capacity battery and lacks GPS and NFC functionality.

Despite this, some experts believe its cheaper price and use of Android Wear OS will see the watch as a popular alternative to Apple’s expected expensive smartwatch.

The LG Watch Urbane is the fourth smartwatch model it has unveiled in less than a year.

LG says its goal is to design a smartwatch that looks like a classic timepiece packed with modern features, and its latest model pays testament to that.

Despite its slick design, it still may well come off second best in the design stakes compared to Apple’s device, which is due to hit the market in April.

The Apple Watch has recently beat 2000 entries to win gold in the 2015 iF Design Awards, which is awarded every by the Germany-based iF International Forum Design.

Apple’s new device is spearheaded by designer Jony Ive.

LG smart watch

The Apple Watch will come in three varieties, including the entry-level Sport model  that will start at $349, and a high end Apple Watch Edition that could sell for as much as $4,999 and higher.

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The iconic Bugatti Veyron is gearing up to unveil its 450th and final version at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Bugatti Vyron

The Geneva Motor Show is usually used as a platform to unveil new cars of the world, but it is more than a fitting choice of destination to close the chapter of the spectacular Veyron.

Bugatti always intended to end the line at the 450 mark, but that’s not to say the news of its swansong didn’t come as a shock in some quarters.

Bentley and Bugatti chief Wolfgang Dürheimer broke the news in an interview with German car magazine Auto, Motor und Sport.

While Dürheimer didn’t give too much away, speculation is rife that the last Veyron will be a Grand Sport Vitesse, which would be the targa model packing an output 1,183 horsepower mill.

In fairness, even if they only tweaked the standard Veyron line, the car would be nothing short of spectacular.

The standard Veyron packs an 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged engine with the cylinders arranged in a W16 layout displacing just under 8 litres.

Bugatti Vyron

It features a dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox computer-controlled automatic with seven gear ratios that can change cogs in less than 150 ms. The car comes with a ludicrous number of radiators, ten in fact.

Special Michelin PAX run-flat tires unique to the Veyron, but also cost a hefty $25,000 per set. In France, the skins can be mounted on the rims, which will set you back another $70,000.

And despite all the incredible tech in the Veyron, it still isn’t the most impressive aspect, that accolade goes to the speed. The Veyron is fast, stupidly fast.

Even before its release in 2005 the Veyron was heralded as the world’s fastest production car, and 2010 it officially took that title.

The Veyron Super Sport recorded an eye-watering 268 mph.

Shortly after that the Guinness Book of World Records officially awarded the Veyron the accolade of the fastest production car on the planet.

Over the years there have been a number of different models, from the one off anniversary model, the Pur Sang limited edition Veyron to the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse World Record Car limited edition made after they finally claimed the speed record.

Bugatti Vyron

To say the 450th Bugatti Veyron has a lot to live up to would be an understatement, but motoring enthusiasts around the globe will be eagerly watching in anticipation to see what March will bring.

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British hospitality company InterContinental Hotels Group will open a $1.1billion hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The 900-room hotel is replacing the former Wilshire Grand Hotel, which was built in 1952. The hotel had 896 rooms when it was closed by Korean Air in 2011 to make way for the new skyscraper.

Wilshire Grand Building LA

Deconstruction of the old historic Wilshire Grand Hotel began nearly two years ago, which was oversaw by the new owners Korean Air and Hanjin Group.

The new building will become technically the tallest building in the western United States.

It will also have 400,000 square feet of Class A office space and 45,100 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Hotel guests will also have use of a spa, fitness centre and 60,000 square feet of meeting space.

The entrance to the new luxury hotel will be on the 70th floor of the Wilshire Grand tower. It will be the first hotel on the West Coast to have a ‘sky lobby’, where guests check in before going down to their rooms

An outdoor public bar and observation deck are also planned on the same floor. With a staggering 900 rooms, the luxury hotel will become the largest InterContinental hotel in the Americas region.

IGH Sky Bar

Heather Cho, vice president of Hanjin International, said the InterContinental brand is well respected by world travellers and embodies the luxury experience the group intend to provide at the Wilshire Grand.

The potential of the project played a significant part in the hotel group’s decision to invest in the site.

Currently, InterContinental Hotels owns eight other hotel brands, including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.

However, Hanjin and Korean Air have always intended the Wilshire Grand to be a four-star plus hotel.

Kirk Kinsell, president, the Americas at InterContinental Hotels maintained that the group is a luxury brand, and that they remain focused on building its presence in top-tier cities and resorts around the world.

InterContinental Hotels have than 180 in the world, including one in the Century City neighbourhood of Los Angeles.

However the group has not opened a hotel in downtown L.A for 15 years. The move is the clearest indication yet that the struggling downtown L.A market is about to have a resurgence.

The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board estimates that a record 43.2 million people will visit the Los Angeles area that this year. By 2020 that number is expected to grow to 50 million

IHG Los Angeles

The $1.1billion project is set to open in 2017

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The Art of Bugatti

20 February 2015

The family history Bugatti is currently being explored at America’s Mullin Automotive Museum.

Bugatti Museum

Running until March 31, Mullin’s ‘The Art of Bugatti’ exhibition explores the rich family history behind the iconic car manufacturer, who are known for their artwork as much as their cars.

Perhaps the most renowned of all was Carlo Bugatti, who earned a considerable fortune as an artist and craftsman in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was mainly known for his wood furniture and musical instruments but he also tried his hand at painting, and was known as a silversmith too.

Born in Italy, Carlo, he then moved to Paris with his family at the turn of the 20th century. Perhaps it was the romance of the French capital, but it was there that the artistic nature of his family began to take shape.

While his elder son Ettore began the automobile business that the company are mainly known for today, it was his younger son who followed in his footsteps in the art world.

Rembrandt Bugatti, who committed suicide in 1916, is deeply revered in the art world and his pieces can command hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, at auction.

He was known for his love of animals and much of his work was inspired by his time at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium.

Rembrandt and Carlo both have pieces on display in museums around the world, including the Musee d’Orsa in Paris, and now the Mullin Automotive Museum.

One of the pieces is a wooden archway from 1900 that Carlo hand-carved, and the museum also showcases silk-fringed chairs and an ornate banjo.

The museum hosts three of Rembrandt’s bronze sculptures, ‘Stalking Panther’,  ‘American Bison’ and ‘Walking Indian Elephant’.

American Bison

It wasn’t just Rembrandt and Carlo who were known in the art world either. Ettore’s daughter Lidia was also a notable painter, and the museum showcases a number of her paintings too.

In total, there are around 40 pieces of furniture by Carlo and numerous sculptures by Rembrandt.

And as the museum is a car museum, there are plenty of Bugatti cars past and present, with a number of the early models built by Ettore and his son Jean, which are worth the entry fee alone.

Bugatti Museum

The exhibit will remain open until March 31. After that, some of the more iconic works within the exhibition are expected to travel to other museums for further exhibits.

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An extremely rare sculpture is set to fetch at least $100million when it goes to auction at Sotheby’s New York next month.

Alberto Giacometti's Chariot

Alberto Giacometti’s Chariot, created in 1950, captures the essence of a postwar world, and was seen as a symbol for the feeling that was felt around the world following the devastation of World War II.

The masterpiece, balancing between moving and static, is a five-foot bronze and wood sculpture of an elongated female figure perched on a chariot with two large wheels.

Despite being interpreted by many as a post-war representation, the Swiss artist said the piece was inspired by ‘a glistening trolley cart’.

Auctioneers at Sotheby’s are confident Giacometti’s masterpiece will match or surpass the world-record sale of Walking Man, also by the Swiss artist, which went for $104million in 2010.

Alberto Giacometti's Chariot

Giacometti’s Chariot is one of 10 artworks that are slated to rake in $500million for Sotheby’s and Christie’s at the Impressionist and modern art fair on November 4.

The high-end art market is currently at an all-time high as collectors see paintings and sculptures as a solid investment, despite an uncertain economy in most of the developed world.

Suzanne Gyorgy, head of art advisory and finance at New York-based Citigroup Inc.’s Citi Private Bank said the current market is beyond belief.

She told Bloomberg that tremendous wealth is being generated around the world and people are looking for hard assets like art and real estate.

Last November, a Francis Bacon triptych became the most expensive artwork sold at auction when it sold for $142.4million.

In May, New York’s major spring Impressionism, modern and contemporary-art auctions pulled in an incredible $2.2billion. This was 22% higher than last November, when $1billion of art was sold.

The 10 works offered by Sotheby’s and Christie’s are estimated to bring in $478million but could easily surpass that number given the current state of the market.

Amedeo Modigliani’s Tete is slated to land $45million, while Modigliani’s two-foot-tall sculpture of a woman’s head wearing a tribal mask with her hair swept back is expected to bring in a significant figure, as it has never appeared at auction.

The Italian artist carved the piece between 1911 and 1912 using a block of limestone scavenged from a construction site in Paris.

Christie has also predicted to make $130million for iconic modern artist Andy Warhol’s prints of Marlon Brando and Elvis.

Sotheby's

Christie’s contemporary art sale will take place on Nov 12.

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