Life is brewtiful: The rise of the Coffee Connoisseur

Standing at the bar in an Italian coffee shop in Milan, I overhear two women to my left discussing the superior quality of Italian espresso over the classical filter coffee they are used to at home. They are tourists and clearly very taken with the Italian coffee culture. They are describing the coffee as being “rich,” “full-bodied” with “hints of caramel.” We have become accustomed in recent years to describing coffee much the same way we would a glass of wine. We use the language of oenology, talking about the aroma, the body, even the colour. We carefully choose between different roasts, different kinds if beans and indulgently sip our lavishly brewed and carefully chosen cup of coffee instead of downing it in one gulp.

Continue reading “Life is brewtiful: The rise of the Coffee Connoisseur”

Here are Singapore’s best luxury experiences

Singapore is a sovereign city state Southeast Asia that  is increasingly becoming one of the most important global hubs for the luxury tourism for many reasons. It has gained important distinctions: as the most technological nation, world’s smartest city, as one of the world’s safest and cleanest countries,  and third largest financial center with the third-highest GDP per capita worldwide. This makes it one of the  most appreciated places to spend a vacation. So what are the most luxurious things that you can’t miss in Singapore?

1. Hotellerie

Regarding the hotellerie you can’t miss the opportunity to stay at Marina Bay Sands Hotel, on the Bay of Singapore. It was designed by architect Moshe Safdie and is the most expensive resort ever built,  at a cost of 8 billion Singapore dollars. With a casino, more than 300 retail stores and more than 80 restaurants ( including top chefs such as the Gordon Ramsey and Wolfgang Puck) it represents the perfect hotel for the shopping- and food-addicted. What makes the hotel special is the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool at the 57th floor where you can swim at a height of 200 meters and relax in the shade of a palm tree.

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2. Dining

If you would like to have a dining experience outside the box you should go to Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle Hawker stand in Singapore.

Here you will have the opportunity of eating a luxury food but in a traditional contest such as the hawker center. A hawker center is an open air complex housing many stalls that sell a variety of inexpensive food, starting from $1 with a maximum of $25. What makes this stall special is the fact that it sells cheap food, and in 2016 had received a Michelin star.  Here you can taste just one dish, a chicken with rice and soya sauce, with a price of 2 Singapore dollars (3 Euro).  During the years the recipe has always remained the same, handed down from father to daughter. 

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3. Shopping

Orchard Road is the perfect location for shopping in Singapore, a two-kilometres stretch of road named after the fruit orchards or the plantations that were common in this area in the 19th century. With thousands of shops, the most important mall is Tangs, founded in 1934 and established on Orchard Road in the 1950s. Orchard Central is a mall with an exterior featuring local artist Matthew Ngui’s digital art membrane. 

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How Milan Design Week got its start

Today two of the most important events in Milan are the “Fuorisalone” and the “Salone Internazionale del Mobile” or International Furniture Fair that are celebrated each year during the Design Week, now in its 58th edition. 

© Cristina Torriano

Every year, events take place all over Milan and design becames the main protagonist of the city, with visitors pouring in ftom all over the world. 

However, only a few people know the history of these events that started in the late 1960s.

At that time,  Italy’s economy was booming and Italian industries were riding the wave: it was in this economic scenario that the first Salone del Mobile took place. It was organized by Cosmit (the Italian Comitato Organizzatore del Salone del Mobile) in order to promote Italian furniture industry exports.

At the end of the 70s, Cassina – a well-known Italian design firm – was the first  company to use its own showroom for receiving its costumers, in order to provide them with a more informal location. 

In the following years, a lot of other companies decided to do the same thing as Cassina, creating events in their showrooms or in other uncommon locations: this could be considered the informal birth of today’s “Fuorisalone”.

In 1983, the magazine “Abitare” dedicated a full section to this new phenomenon and in 1991 the Cosmit decided to change the exposition, moving it from September to April.

Gilda Bojardi – director of the magazine “Interni”- organised the first Designer’s Week with events set up by all the showrooms in the heart of the city; and collected them in a complete and official guide. 

The event — which took place at the same time as the Salone – didn’t really have the same success. For this reason, they decided to connect the two occasions, marking the official birth of the “Fuorisalone”.

Little by little,  the “Salone”  was opened even to everyone and not only to the experts of the sector.

Since 2000, “ via Tortona” and its surroundings became another important design district.

Also, firms, companies and boutiques – both from inside and outside the design sector – started to organize parties and promotional events, where was easy to find famous designers, architects, journalists or industrialists, a part from the international jet set. 

Since 2006, the “Salone’s” trade fair has been moved outside the city centre, in a new area called “Fieramilano”, designed by the Italian architectural  firm Fuksas. 

Despite this change in the logistic organization of the Salone, the connection between the fair and the city remained unchanged. The Fuorisalone meanwhile has spread out across the city center. 

Today, Design Week has gained popularity all over the world and is considered internationally as the main exhibition for the design sector.  

The edition that just ended of the Fuorisalone hosted more than 1311 events, from  184 countries, 350,000 guests and 2350 industries, mainly concentrated in the areas of Brera, Tortona, Ventura Lambrate, San Babila, Isola e 5 vie.

Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave a speech at the opening cerimony this year, an edition that also celebrated 500 years of Leonardo da Vinci’s birth. 

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A trip through the art and emotion of the world’s top jewellery maisons

They say that “ A piece of jewellery is often a piece of art. But it only becomes valuable when emotions are added to it.’’ Jewellery may seem like an extravagance, but to many, it’s an art form that allows wearers to express themselves. It brings to mind memories, emotions and many times helps us express feelings accompanied by our inner strength.

The word “jewellery” is derived from the Latin word ‘jocale,’ meaning “plaything,” and the word jewel, which was anglicized during the 13th century from the Old French word “jouel.” The word “jewellery” is used to describe any piece of precious material (gemstones, noble metals, etc.) used to adorn one’s self.

The article and the photo gallery look at 15 extravagant jewellery brands that offer the most exquisite pieces in the world.

 

  1. Boucheron

 

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In 2018, La Maison Boucheron celebrated 160 years of design and creation. Founded in 1858 by Frédéric Boucheron, it is the oldest jewelry Maison in Place Vendôme (26 Place Vendôme). Through the years the brand has become known for its bold, free style and eye-catching designs. Up until the 2000s—when it was acquired by the Gucci Group and subsequently, Kering—Boucheron was one of the few remaining family-owned brands.

  1. Buccellati

 

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In 1919, Mario Buccellati opened his first jewellery boutique on Largo Santa Margherita in Milan. It was born from a merger of a father and son’s brands. Buccellati is recognizable for its lace rings and necklaces along with a special form of engraving called Rigato. A Chinese company bought a controlling 85 percent share in the Italian company in 2016.

  1. Bvlgari

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“Surprise,” “innovate” and “reinvent” have been part of Bulgari’s vocabulary since it was founded in Rome in 1884 by Sotirios Voulgarise. The sexiness of its shapes, the sharpness of its lines, the sparkle of coloured stones: all are used with a purpose to blend creativity and an Italian sense of extravaganza. A good example of the Italian extravaganza theme is explored in the Festa collection, which highlights the Italian’s love for joyful celebrations. Bulgari is known for mixing precious and semi-precious stones in a way that brings its remarkable pieces to life.

  1. Cartier

 

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Founded in 1846 in Paris by Louis François Cartier, the first Cartier boutique was opened in 1859. Later, Louis-François’ son Alfred took over the business, moving it to the prestigious Rue de la Paix in the jewellery district of Paris. The panther is Cartier’s most recognizable design. The brand is known for its loyalty to its Art-Deco history, but it creates several lines that celebrate the Old-World elegance as well.

  1. Chaumet

 

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La Maison of Chaumet is one of the oldest jewellery brands in the world, founded by Marie-Etienne Nitot in 1780. He created the jewellery that would offer the aristocracy of the French Empire the necessary splendour and power. Moreover, la Maison creates precious jewellery and watch collections that reflect Parisian elegance and excellence. Chaumet is famous for its transformable high jewellery pieces and unique timepieces.

  1. Chopard

 

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The Swiss Maison of Chopard was founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard. In 1963, Chopard was sold to watchmaker Karl Scheufele, and his kin still own the brand to this day. La Maison’s extraordinary timepieces helped build a reputation of reliability and quality for Swiss-made products.

  1. De Beers

 

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De Beers began the search for nature’s most exquisite and magnificent prizes over 125 years ago. La Maison is known for its exceptional diamonds and  popular for its high jewellery, and calls itself  “The Jeweller of Light.” In addition to jewellery making, the De Beers Group is involved in diamond mining. Through the years, the brand has discovered a couple of legendary diamonds that have become famous such as the 203.04-carat Millenium Star.

  1. De Grisogono

 

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De Grisogono is a Swiss luxury jeweller. It was founded in Geneva, in 1993 by black diamond specialist Fawaz Gruosi. Under the brand, Gruosi makes otherworldly pieces that use bold design and unique materials mixed with bespoke craftsmanship. One of his most famous pieces, a 163.41-carat Flawless D-Colour diamond necklace, cut from the historic 404-carat diamond, known as the “Art of de Grisogono, Creation 1,” sold for a record-breaking $33.7 million in a 2017’s Christie’s sale.

  1. Garrard

 

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La Maison of Garrard is one of the oldest jewellery brands in the world. Its origins can be traced back to 1735, when master silversmith George Wicks opened a store on Panton Street in London. It was in this year that the firm received its first royal commission from Frederick, Prince of Wales. Every piece of Garrard is developed to achieve a balance between tradition and design so as to bring out the natural beauty of the stones. The result is a quintessentially British hallmark of heritage, detail and craft.

  10.Graff 

 

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Laurence Graff is the founder of Graff house in London in 1960. His fascination with the emotional power of gemstones has transformed Graff into a global hallmark of innovation, creativity and craftsmanship. What makes Graff’s collection special is not just the craftsmanship or the quality of the gemstones and metals used. Rather, it’s the size of the stones Graff uses in its jewellery line.

   11.Harry Winston

 

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Founded in New York City in 1932, by Mr. Harry Winston – an innate gemologist, an intuitive business man – the brand continues to set the standard for the ultimate in fine jewellery and high-end watchmaking. Winston was known throughout his life as the “King of Diamonds” and the “Jeweler to the Stars.” Today, La Maison continues its tradition of creativity, rarity, and quality without compromise in its retail salons around the world.

   12.Mikimoto

 

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Founded in 1893, by the pearl king, Kokichi Mikimoto. His quest for perfection and his love for these pure, lustrous gems of the sea were the guiding forces that built the Maison. Today, Mikimoto is the foremost producer of the finest quality cultured pearls and a world leader in the design of exceptional jewellery. Each piece of Mikimoto reflects the purity of the ocean and the mystery of creation.

   13. Piaget

 

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The Maison is a Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweller. Founded in 1874 by Georges Piaget in the village of La Côte-aux-Fées, Piaget is currently a subsidiary of the Swiss Richemont group. Piaget has established itself in the world of luxury jewellery and watches by producing excellent and timeless pieces.

   14. Tiffany&Co

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Founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837, the first Tiffany & Co store opened in New York City. The brand is renowned for its luxury goods and is particularly known for its diamond and sterling silver jewellery. It markets itself as an arbiter of taste and style.

   15.Van Cleef & Arpels

 

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Founded in 1906 by Alfred Van Cleef and his uncle Salomon Arpels in Paris. La Maison has always remained faithful to the values of creation, expertise and transmission. Inspired by the Maison’s unique identity and heritage, each jewellery and watch collection tells a story with universal meaning to express a poetic view of life. Van Cleef & Arpels is mostly popular for its Alhambra motif—a classic symbol of luck, true love, health, and wealth—that’s seen in necklaces, pearls, and earrings.

 

Photo credit:

  1. Boucheron website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  2. Buccellati  website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  3. Bulgari website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  4. Cartier website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  5. Chalet website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  6. Chopard website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  7. De Beers website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  8. De Grisogono website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  9. Gerrard website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  10. Graff website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  11. Harry Winston website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  12. Mikimoto website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  13. Piaget website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  14. Tiffany&Co website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  15. Van Cleef & Arpels website, viewed April 2nd 2019.

Dolce & Gabbana knows how to collaborate

 

The luxury fashion brand Dolce&Gabbana was founded by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in the year 1985.Creative design, Italian ornaments and love for Sicily made the duo’s distinctive look well-suited to  different and unexpected collaborations with other brands. Let’s have a look at their creativity. Continue reading “Dolce & Gabbana knows how to collaborate”