Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
The designers started with blocks of Afyon miele marble, which were sliced, labeled and photographed. The NEWCRUISE team then placed each slice strategically to match colors or patterns in guest bathrooms, a time-consuming process that required limitless patience from all, including Technical Project Manager Stefan Zucker of the owners’ team. But the effort resulted in an amazing product with it’s own signature.The journalist chooses to emphasise the quality of rarity in the interiors; it was again Bernard Catry who suggested that luxury branding sought to link luxury to exclusivity by using the illusionary device that is the idea of “rarity”, saying, “luxury appeal is inevitably diluted by increased market share.” An intense ‘concentration’ is placed in areas that guests will most likely ignore; this intense attention to detail is characteristic of luxury industries - see David Usborne’s profiling of successful hotel tycoon André Balazs-
“He is obsessive about every detail. A bathroom wall must be the right size to take the tiles he has chosen, so none of them has to be cut. That would spoil everything.”
“A boat is a waste of both time and money - and thus the ultimate luxury.”Another of Catry’s categorizations of rarity was present upon the launch of RoMa; Techno- based Rarity. With her steel hull and aluminum superstructure, RoMa built to meet the strictest environmental standards; this was formally acknowledged with an “ES” certification by ABS (Environmental Safety), the first ever issued by ABS for a private yacht. Andrea Mardi of Yacht design says
"Elegance these days comes as part and parcel of a high-tech, green package."However, what can be seen as some by high tech may not always be so; Boat designer Michael Schutte noted in my interview with him that what the media might push as an innovation can sometimes be simply poor design.
We are all familiar with the “concepts” we see in the magazines every month. Thank feck you can’t go to sea on a jpg, because lots and lots of this stuff is total b********…. There is a good reason why an ocean-going vessel looks the way it does, and that is not because the rest of us are idiots. It’s because we have actually been to sea and know the difference. Bottom line is that fitness for purpose for me defines authenticity in any design. Style by itself is useless. You can get that from any hairdresser. Look at a bic lighter; it is economical to manufacture (and has been in the billions), perfect for its job, and completely without ornament. This is the quintessential authentic design for me.For Schutte, the idea of conspicuous consumption, fundamental to the “consumption” of superyachts both as an idea and a purchased product, leads to a degradation in the authenticity of design, simply because owner’s do not buy for themselves, but rather as a display of social, cultural and economic capital. If an owner has no interest in the design integrity, then shortcuts will be made in the design process. The client has a huge influence on the outcome of the boat. Luxury in a boat is also a capacity for discretion that is almost impossible to match for the world’s super-rich; where once this could be a double-edged sword, with disconnection from the world, sat-coms mean that owners and crew can now stay as connected as they like anywhere in the world with the wifi, satellite phones, satellite television and navigational software/digital charts. A superyacht offers a very intense customer experience relationship. From obvious preferences, such as food requirements, liquor preferences meal times and itinerary, to the most minor details, the boat adapts itself to the clients; even charter guests who only stay aboard for a week or two. This is achieved through liaisons with charter brokers, secretaries and networks of contacts (in much the same way that concierges at the Ritz Carlton hotel chains will exchange information). In this way, a superyacht mirrors the management of a luxury hotel; Luca Allegri, the manager of the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, states during his interview with Mark Tungate:
“All this [referring to physical perfection and pricing] is basic management. At the ultra-luxury level, it’s the human dimension that makes the real difference.”
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Venice is a city in northern Italy known both for tourism and for industry. Slowly and gradually, Venice is sinking. The city sits on marshy land that has lowered by about 11 inches. In recent years, Venice's high water has resulted in an average of 100 floods a year. The increasing sea level is largely a consequence of climate change. The city is known for tourism but I believe that this luxurious city will become excusive because there is a limited amount of time until it will not exist anymore.
As the world population rises constantly and exponentially will do so in the future, space will become more and more a luxury. Already now the world is far too overpopulated resulting in all kind of shortages. We managed to flee the scarceness of space so far by building skyscrapers, enlarging the cities, increasing the transportation speed etc. However, there will be a limit to it. Especially the major cities are showing bizarre adaptations to this absolute basic need of life, to have room to live. The prices insanely high, so that no normal-wage person can afford a nice living. The best but most disturbing examples are the cage people of Hong Kong. Because the real estate prices and rents are so high, there is no other possibility for them then literally renting a cage. A 2sqm big box, that is their home. They share what seems to us still as small one-person room, with about 8 people, so that they can afford a housing at all.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
In the future, luxury would be considered exclusive designs. Conspicuous consumption influences the appearance of more individualized production. In 20 years time such a thing as personal design would be widely used. The recent example is the individualized design of Louis Vitton bags and wallets, where clients can put personal initials and even choose the colors on the bag. I think this area is not yet developed, although has a lots of potential and as new technology and internet are growing rapidly, the “designing yourself” will be very actual in 20 years time.
One of the possibilities would be something like “Design yourself ” club. Membership Clients can design for Louis Vitton or any other luxury brand by using login in the special Internet program; that can be accessible only for members. The client will get a service- such as advice from one of the designers or team of designers and consulters working only for “Designing yourself “ members. The service will help to understand what the collection inspiration is.
The program will have a wide choice of fabrics, textures, shapes and finishing. However, the elements and range of colors would be limited, according to what colors are used for the Real collection. Element and colors would change every season.
“Design yourself “ would be based on old kids game, when child dresses a paper doll. However it would be more complicated, a there are no ready garments given and “Designer” needs to add the given materials together. By putting all those separate elements, member can create a garment of his own design.
Then the creation is published in the Internet, and accessible to everyone. If the outfit gets voted for, design will be produced and the name of the “designer” will be sign on the tag. There can be a special “Design yourself” section in the shop.
I think this exclusive design would be very interesting and popular, as everyone can announce what he or she wishes to wear. It also will help designers to understand how people would want to look.
The significant development and increasing importance of social networking encourages the free-flow of information and blurs the limit between the private and public domain. Websites such as Facebook allow for the online publication of millions of profiles, and stores every single bit of information that one has ever uploaded on their account. Even if a user ‘deletes’ an entry, it is permanently stored in the Website’s databases. Consequently, the user loses control over their very own, private information, as whatever is uploaded online becomes the Website’s property. It follows that social networking will gradually acquire our information like one acquires a commodity. Moreover, the complex legal structures and privacy settings cause users to unknowingly operate and publish their information. Thus, as one becomes increasingly aware of these issues, it is likely that we will strive to protect and preserve our privacy.
By: Flora Gn.
As natural resources become more precious, they will become luxury.
For example in a cafe, water will be more expensive than other drinks as in some countries it is already costs more than coke. Besides that, as the world becomes a global society, in cafe there will be more choices for water. For example, they might sell different kinds of water from different origins. As the technology develops they also might serve waters that has functions(like vitamin water). Also indoor sports(like wii) will be more popular, and water sports like swimming will be considered as a luxurious thing.
Monday, May 9, 2011
‘The Thinker’ by Auguste Rodin was cast 21 times, and can be found scattered across the globe. Though there is a massive influx of people who insist on viewing the version showcased in the Musée Rodin, here in Paris. The sculpture, because of its physical attributes, gives the air of great debate, pain, and tribulation. One can feel the weight of the human condition, and man’s contemplation. Originally ‘The Thinker’ was part of a door that Rodin made for a commission for Les Arts Décoratifs. The Thinker was originally supposed to be Dante reflecting on his great poem, which the door depicted. When the sculpture was ‘blown up’ (Rodin often made large casts of smaller works) he decided the work stood alone, and the commission for Les Arts Décoratifs had fallen through, so he began casting ‘Thinkers’ and sending them around the world. The first cast is speculated to have been shipped to the U.S., so the version sitting at Musée Rodin, is likely not even the original. What this indicates is that authenticity is measured by much more than being the first of something. ‘The Thinker’ in Paris sits in the middle of the history of Rodin’s work, and because the sculptures are all the same, the history must be important to people. People may ‘project’ themselves into the past, daydreaming about what it may have felt like when Rodin was creating his works, or walking around Paris. Each sculpture is authentic in its own right, but the version sitting in Paris offers something other than just authenticity (materially speaking), it offers the closest experience to Rodin himself. ‘The Thinkers’ because of their material continuity will all carry the same message, the one intended by Rodin, which is one of contemplation and weighty deliberation. This message to me, defines the authenticity of the piece. If it loses the message, it loses its authenticity. Therefore the version of ‘The Thinker’ in Paris aligns itself not only with authenticity, but with history. I will keep history and authenticity separate, because ‘The Thinker’ in Paris, is not the original, and people often assume it is, thus it loses some form of continuity which keeps it for me, from being able to claim complete authenticity. The point in the end, is that authenticity is not as mechanically placeable as some may think. There can be different kinds of authenticity; authenticity that posits itself within a conceptual realm, requiring that the sentiment of the artist be upheld, and authenticity that posits itself within history/production, requiring that the process taken to achieve something is congruent with the one claimed, or that the artifact has in fact been through the process claimed.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
By: Flora Gn
Parisian luxury hotels, renowned for their savoir-faire and characteristic decor, rate as some of the most beautiful environments in the world. The Meurice, a five start Hotel located on the prestigious rue de Rivoli, and an element of the elite Parisian Palaces, certainly seems to aim for ultimate luxury. By focusing on the entrance of Le Meurice in terms of its history, decor and overall impression, this essay analyzes why the Meurice qualifies as such. It is important to note that, when referring to “entrances”, I speak of the Meurice’s lobby, Dali restaurant and reception.
Hotel Le Meurice
The Meurice is located seconds away from the Place de la Concorde, and stands opposite to the Jardin des Tuileries. It belongs to the prestigious Dorchester collection, and rates as one of the few palaces of Paris. Its history begins when, in the early sixteenth century, upper-class English travelers were seeking for a place to rest between their travels from the UK to Paris. In 1771 Charles-Augustin Meurice, a local Frenchman, decided to establish a hotel, where the Englishmen could reside before arranging their coach-ride to Paris the following day. In 1817, Charles-Augustin Meurice’s son, named Louis-Augustin Meurice, decided to construct a similar hotel in Paris. It was not until 1835 that it was transferred to its current location, Rue de Rivoli. The intention was to establish a hotel that would incorporate English taste and savoir-faire to a French style and environment. The hotel became so imbued with the English culture that it was occasionally referred to as the “City of London”. In 1905, the hotel underwent its first extensive renovation, which was greatly inspired by Louis XVI styles and aesthetics. Today, this aesthetic still prevails, but since its recent renovation in 2007, it has been merged with a more contemporary approach and design.
Philippe Starck, Artistic Collaboration
The French designer, Philippe Starck, was asked to orchestrate this renovation. He created an environment that reflected the hotel’s history and contemporary design. Salvador Dali, who was one of the hotel’s regular customers, inspired Starck to design an entrance as elegantly eccentric as the surrealist master.
Upon entering the hotel’s lobby, one discovers a space covered in a lustrous marble alternating between various tones of blacks, greys and whites. The ceiling is perched well above the ground, and bares beautiful carvings. The walls, like the ceiling, are composed of stone of an off-white tone. Such delicate decoration already suggests the aesthetic richness of the space, thus reflecting a luxurious element of adornment. On the right-hand side stands a tall, gold-framed mirror covered in a large sheet of ice. It is covered in small engravings with people’s names, drawings etc. Every night, this layer is melted and frozen again for the next morning, so that the hotel’s clientele can start engraving new elements into the mirror. Apparently, it also symbolizes the hotel because the work is in constant renewal, all whilst maintaining the same base and values. It seems quite usual for a luxury hotel to have this type of ‘interactive’ environment, and, in this way, the Meurice distinguishes itself from other luxury hotels.
After observing the lobby, I was directed towards reception, and was immediately drawn to a skewed painting placarded to the ceiling, right above the front desk. It depicted an arm, elegantly floating across the canvas. This painting is actually a close up of a portrait of the “Comtesse Regnault de Saint-Jean d’Angely”, painted by the artist François Gérard in 1798. This work was particularly impressive when standing at the far end of the 10.3 meter front desk, as its unusual angle structured the room in an anachronistic manner, further enabling the viewer to understand that they are not visiting any ordinary environment, but that of a luxurious, genuinely unique hotel.
The Dali also underwent important changes during the renovation in 2007. Initially, the restaurant had a very classical feel, and perhaps felt more valued for its historic, antique style than for its value in terms of luxury and the experience this provides. Consequently, Starck modernized this space by merging antiquity, Dali and modernity to create a space rich in culture and aesthetics.
The Quality of Service
The quality of service is also characteristic of the Meurice’s luxurious status. When I asked one of the receptionists what she felt characterized the Meurice’s entrance, she replied: “It is a superb mix of Art, beauty and level of excellence in our savoir-faire”.
In an essay entitled “The Role of Culture in the Service Evaluation Process”, Anna S. Mattila, the author, analyzes the relationship between culture, environment and appreciation of service. Mattila explains that Western cultures are: “more likely than their Asian counterparts to rely on the tangible cues from the physical environment”. Thus, it is clear that a French hotel will strongly rely on the quality of their physical environment to qualify for luxury status, and this is precisely what the Meurice reaches by investing so much financial importance into the aesthetic quality of the environment constituting their entrance.
In conclusion, it seems that the Entrance of the Meurice, with its careful attention to decor, unique artistic collaborations, excellent quality of service and remarkable sense of extravagance successfully functions to create a true, authentic experience of luxury. What distinguishes this establishment from its competitors is also its ability to maintain the value of its historical essence by openly and atypically expressing it throughout the aesthetics of the entrance, which immediately sets the tone for a very exclusive, unique atmosphere, enabling it to be the real “Real Thing”.