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The ME Dubai Hotel

29 August 2014

The leading luxury hotel company, Meliá Hotels International, has revealed the latest designs for its jaw dropping Dubai hotel.

ME by Meliá Dubai will open its 100-bedroom hotel in the jaw-dropping Opus building, developed by real estate company Omniyat.

ME Dubai Exterior

Set to open in 2016, the ME Dubai hotel will stand in the city’s Burj Khalifa district, one of Dubai’s most popular tourist destinations.

The popular district is home to the Burj Khalifa – world’s tallest building – and the world’s largest shopping mall.

ME Dubai is the latest project to come from Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who will design all of the interiors and exteriors of the luxury hotel.

Zaha became the first woman to ever win the Pritzker Architecture Prize when she scooped the prestigious award in 2004.

She also added the Stirling Prize to her collection, picking up the award in consecutive years in 2010 and 2011.

Her buildings are distinctively neofuturistic, characterized by ‘powerful, curving forms of her elongated structures’ with ‘multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry to evoke the chaos of modern life’.

The latest artist impressions of the luxurious Dubai hotel show starkly finished rooms with surging walls and floor-to-ceiling windows.

A reserved colour palette help keep a simplistic tone, as opposed to the bombastic  golds and purples that is typical of many luxury hotels in Dubai.

ME Dubai Lobby

Though exact details are limited at the moment, what we know is that  the hotel will consist of 100 rooms, complimented by Michelin-star restaurants and the most exclusive international F&B brands, spread across250,000 sq. ft in the 95-metre high Opus building.

The hotel is expected to feature ‘aura managers’, who act as personal concierges. Aura managers, who are a staple across all of the hotel’s catalogue, use their expertise of the city to offer the guest a truly tailored experience.

ME Dubai’s facilities and Aura service will also be extended to the owners of the apartments located on the upper floors, including four penthouses with private roof terraces.

ME Dubai Room

CEO and Vice Chairman of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer said the firm had been searching for a new city to help grow the ME brand, and decided Dubai was the perfect place to help them do this.

Later this year, as part of the London Design Festival, the architect’s Crest installation will be placed over the Victoria and Albert Museum Museum’s courtyard pond from September 13 to 21. When the exhibition is over it will be transported to Dubai and installed in the hotel garden.

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The Vulcano Collection

22 August 2014

The luxury jeweller, Mattia Cielo has unveiled its latest aerospace-inspired  work, the Vulcano collection.

Mattia Cielo, known for using unorthodox materials combined with 18-karat gold, has come up with one of its most audacious collections to date.

Vulcano Gold

The Italian jeweller took particular interest in the aerospace industry for unusual colouration of gold in the Armadillo collection, while the distinctive flowing movements of the pieces in Ghiaccio and Rugiada, stemmed from advanced engineering of titanium.

Continuing this trend, this year’s Mattia Cielo’s Vulcano collection has been inspired by the unique textures of carbon

The Vulcano collection features a number of pieces made from carbon fiber, which is widely used in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Mattia Cielo say it has embraced the challenge of exploring how the unique characteristics of this material can be applied to jewellery making.

Vulcano Mattia Cielo

Carbon is light and highly resistant, and is used in many objects and components in a number of sectors where resistance to high temperatures and great manageability is needed on a large scale.

The aerospace industry uses carbon to make the shields on spacecraft and the automotive industry use it to make brake disks on sports cars.

The unique material is also commonplace in the watch-making industry.

With a knack for adopting unique materials, Mattia Cielo researched and experimented with carbon fibre, resulting in a new technology of manipulating the material specifically for the collection.

The  pieces in the Vulcano collection are made from structural carbon using a process that creates sheets of woven fibres.

Sheets of  structural carbon are layered atop one another, placing the resulting material into resin-lined moulds to create the shape of the new jewels. Once they have formed the pieces are polished with a surface treatment for a glossy finish or left as is for matte look.

Vulcano Matte

The end product  resemble intriguing sculptures rather than jewellery.

Mattia Cielo has tried to create large sized objects without sacrificing comfort, and the technology, created especially for this collection, ensures the pieces are balanced and resistant over time.

The Vulcano collection also includes the M Gold line, featuring light-weight 18-karat rose gold and jewels injected with a patented silicone polymer. Items in M Gold are big and typically hollow.

The collection also includes bracelets, chains that can be worn either around the neck or arm, with both mat and gloss effect. Both lines feature magnetic clasps.

The Vulcano collection is priced from $7,000 to $48,000.

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Shoe Heaven

20 August 2014

The luxury retailer Harrods has opened a dedicated store for lovers of glamorous footwear – Shoe Heaven.

Harrods’s glamorous new women’s footwear emporium spans almost 42,000 square feet, encompassing the former staff canteen on the department store’s fifth floor.

Shoe Heaven Chanel

Shoe-lovers will be well served,  with more than 100,000 pairs of shoes from more than 55 designers, 17 of whom have their own boutique within the department.

The boutique will showcase work from a number of up-and-coming designers including Charlotte Olympia, Paul Andrew and Gianvito Rossi.

These will be complemented by exclusive pop-ups or limited-edition collections and offerings from some of the world’s leading shoe designers, including Christian Louboutin, Saint Laurent, Dior, Prada, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Roger Vivier, Miu Miu, Valentino and many more.

Shoe Heaven

Many of the boutiques will offer the brand’s entire footwear collection along footwear produced exclusively for Harrods, including Shoe Heaven’s most expensive shoe.

That accolade goes to a pair of crystal-embellished Valentino butterfly heels, which retail at £4,390.

A number  of the boutiques have private shopping suites for VIPs to shop in private  accompanied with a glass of champagne.

As you would expect from Harrods, the interior design of Shoe Heaven is a true delight and something to be marvelled at.

Everything was designed  by the late David Collins, the designer behind glamorous bars and restaurants such as The Wolseley, Claridge’s Bar and Nobu Berkeley, and the last project before he passed away.

David Collins Studio worked with Harrods’s fashion director Helen David, who dreamt up the concept of Shoe Heaven more than two years ago.

The Studio created an art deco-inspired space with over 2,110 square metres of marble, 400 square metres of plush carpet and elegant rotundas with ambient lighting to highlight special collections.

Shoe Heaven Interior

To celebrate the launch of Shoe Heaven, Harrods is launching ‘Silver Linings’, a special collection consisting of 37 iconic shoes recreated in silver and available exclusively at Harrods new addition.

Thirty-five designers have reinvented some of their best selling shoes in a metallic finish, including a pair of silver Valentino Rockstuds, Gucci’s iconic horse-bit loafers in silver and a pair of hot pink and silver-buckled mules from Manolo Blahnik, to name just a few.

Shoe Heaven is the latest attempt for the retailer to reposition itself in the luxury retail market.

In September, they will launch a brand new, 5,000 square foot fragrance department while the store continues to expand its women’s accessories department.


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The Fast Toys Club

18 August 2014

A French entrepreneur and petrol-head has founded a members-only club in Los Angeles for luxury car enthusiasts.

The Fast Toys Club gives its members access to a fleet of almost a dozen luxury cars, including an Aston Martin DBS Volante, a Porsche 911 Turbo, an Audi R8, a Mercedes G63 AMG and Rolls Royce Phantom.

Fast Toys Club

A Ferrari California T has also been ordered to add even more grunt to the already impressive fleet of highly desired vehicles.

For those who want to hit the race track, each month The Fast Toys Club holds track days at some of California’s top racecourses, including Willow Springs, Sonoma Raceway, and Laguna Seca, where members will be able to get behind the wheel of one of three stunning cars.

Those include a Pescarolo Le Mans prototype, a Ferrari 360 Challenge and a Mustang Boss 302S, all of which are owned by the club’s founder, Chris Carel.

A self-professed car addict, Mr Carel modelled the business on similar businesses in England and his home nation of France.

It is also becoming a popular way for petrol-heads to fuel their addiction in the United States.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there are more than a million people around America who participate in car-sharing schemes, triple the number it was three years ago.

This number is predicted to quadruple to 4million by 2015, according to AlixPartners LLP.

The reason for this is the same reason that drew Mr Carel towards founding The Fast Toys Club – cost.

Mr Carel, who lives in Pacific Palisades, said his hobby began to have a profound effect on his bank balance when he got hooked on the buzz of track-racing.

Track Car Racing

Because of this, the ploughed $2.7million of his own money into building the fleet and starting the club.

Within its first month, the club already has ten members, proof that other car-lovers are also feeling the pinch for their hobby.

Once you have joined the club, you can choose to make your own cars available for other members to use, and will receive club receive discounts and earn credits each time they are used by other club members.

Membership comes starts from $30,000 a year, and gets you access to  any car in the garage worth less than $150,000 — for up to 100 days a year.

Fast Toys Club

For $50,000, you get access for any car in the club’s feet  for 100 days a year. A corporate package for $70,000 buys time for five drivers.

Vehicles are delivered with a full fuel tank, and chauffeurs are provided at the member’s request.

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A luxury timepiece described as the ‘world’s most famous watch’ is expected to fetch a record $17million when it goes on auction later this year at Sotheby’s.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication is the centrepiece of Sotheby’s Geneva sale of Important Watches, and will go under the hammer on November 14.

The Supercomplication, known in some quarters as ‘the Holy Grail of watches’, is considered to be the most complicated watch to have ever been constructed by human hands.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication

When the timepiece last went to auction at Sotheby’s in 1999, it sold for $11million, a record that stands to this day.

It’s not known who has owned the illustrious timepiece all these years, though it has been suggested it may have been a member of the royal family of Qatar.

Now the auctioneer will offer the watch again to coincide with Patek Phillipe’s 175th anniversary.

The story behind ‘the world’s most famous watch’, reads like something out of a Hollywood production.

In 1925, New York City banker and watch collector Henry Graves Jr.became embroiled in a ‘gentleman’s duel’ with fellow watch collector James Ward Packard, according to Stacy Perman, author of A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch.

This led him to approach Patek Phillipe, commissioning them to produce the most complicated watch in the world.

The famous watch-maker gladly took up the challenge, creating an piece that took three years of research to create and five more to produce.

The 18k gold piece has a total of 24 horological complications, including a perpetual calendar, moon phases, sidereal time, power reserve, and a chart for the sky above Graves’ New York City apartment.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication

It took so long to produce because of the technology behind it, which featured 900 individual parts.

It remained the most complicated watch in the world for more than half a century, until the Patek Philippe Calibre 89, with 33 complications, finally surpassed it in 1989.

However, that particular timepiece was built by technicians backed by computers, and some still consider the Supercomplication to be the highest achievement in the field.

Perman calls it a ‘triumph of physics and micro-engineering and mathematics ‘, and describes the inner-workings of the timepiece like ‘extremely complicated three-dimensional chess’.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication

While there is no guarantee the illustrious watch will break its existing record, Perman says it stands a good chance of doing so, given the emerging number of billionaires in the world.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication will go to auction at Sotheby’s on November 14.

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