The Artisanal Symphony of Gaar: Nareg Krikorian Redefines Modern Luxury through the lenses of Functional Art

 

In a harmonious blend of heritage, artistry, and contemporary allure, designer Nareg Krikorian orchestrates a stunning debut in the world of luxury furniture with his Gaar collection. Gaar is a convergence of tradition and modernity and is a testament to Krikorian’s reverence for cultural craftsmanship and design finesse, sculpting a captivating narrative through every meticulously crafted piece.

Nestled within the intricate tapestry of Krikorian’s collection lies a vibrant thread that weaves together the cultural nuances of Armenian craftsmanship. This fusion of heritage and experience within diaspora communities breathes life into Gaar, reflecting the profound significance of craft as a vessel for cultural preservation and resilience.

Gaar, meaning “stitches” in Armenian, signifies not merely a furniture collection but a soulful tribute to the enduring heritage of craftsmanship. The collection exudes an exquisite celebration of intricate leatherwork techniques, artfully interweaving cultural legacy with the designer’s distinctive style.

Beyond its physical form, Gaar stands as a testament to the revival of the makers’ culture within the complex social fabric. Reflecting a movement in traditional craftsmanship and modern technique design, Gaar aspires to elevate the realm of functional art, pioneering a league of products that seamlessly blend the boundaries of artistry and utility.

With a background steeped in graphic arts, Krikorian’s adept fusion of design and functionality resonates throughout Gaar. Each piece exudes a magnetic allure, inviting onlookers to explore the intersection of cultural references and contemporary functionality, casting an enigmatic spell over modern spaces.

The furniture pieces within Gaar aren’t just elements of interior décor; they’re expansive leather di-cuts, masterfully united by bold, captivating stitches. These larger-than-life loops redefine the traditional perception of craft, transcending mere production to become the captivating centrepiece in the world of modern design.

Krikorian’s meticulous craftsmanship in Gaar extends beyond the finished pieces themselves. Each meticulously planned phase in the creation process breathes life into a meticulous sequence, perpetuating an inimitable legacy of cultural expression and connection within personal and shared spaces.

The genesis of Gaar is a testament to Krikorian’s dedication. For two years, the artist meticulously developed the collection in London, often collaborating with a team of skilled leather artisans across the world. This unique blend of creativity from distinct corners of the world underlines the deeper ethos behind Gaar – a manifestation of design that transcends aesthetics, embracing craft as a cultural conduit.

Nareg Krikorian’s journey is a testament to passion, heritage, and the pursuit of artistic expression. With Gaar, he raises the bar for luxury furniture, forging a new realm where heritage and modernity dance in sublime unison.

 

Paris Fashion Week: Shiatzy Chen SS24

For Spring Summer 2024, Shiatzy Chen created a collection that intertwines the realms of Eastern and Western culture with an immersive take on Oriental mystery and a nod to age-old Chinese mythology.

Marking the designer’s 31st stint on the PFW schedule since her debut in 2008, the show was held at the Palais de Tokyo and was a homage to the theme of Mirage, an especially noteworthy tribute given that 2024 marks the year of the dragon.

As models walked the catwalk, which was adorned with ocean currents and multi-dimensional spaces to create the feel of an underwater seascape, there was a clear synergy between modern silhouettes but with the influence of Far East Asian design accents.

Brazillian artist Daniela Busarello, who bases herself in France in partnership with Victorie de Pourtalès, founder of French art studio 91.530 Le Marais, imagined the backdrop. The spectacle of an installation which drew inspiration from the collection was an abstract dragon, one of many motifs the designer referenced this season.

Impeccable taste and exquisite craftsmanship were at the core of Chen’s wardrobe for SS24, and her mastery of design was portrayed through both men’s and women’s staples. The designer had increased the number of men’s looks following the success of the brand’s menswear last season.

Clean-cut silhouettes were paired with embellishments and feathers in a palette that comprised blacks and white but with the odd pop of colour through a fuschia dress and a few porcelain blue looks. Many of the looks also borrowed patterns from oriental myths and legends, which emphasised Chen’s roots. Chen’s typically elegant designs were funked up for the younger customer by introducing contemporary shorts, vests, and tunics.

Text By Jaz Grewal.

 

Paris Fashion Week: Akris Spring Summer 2024 Collection

In a nod to the artistic themes conveyed through his collections of late, Albert Kriemler made his Spring 2024 collection for Akris an homage to the late female artist Felice Rix-Ueno.

Awash with florals and abstract shapes synonymous with Rix-Ueno’s creations, Kriemler opened his show with numerous references to the late artist. A key example of which was a depiction of a poppy sketch, somewhat of a collection motif, emblazoned over a cocktail dress as the show’s opening look.

Bold colours and a handful more of prints from the archives of the artist’s work elevated the otherwise minimalist pieces, which oozed the classic Akris silhouette Kriemler has mastered.

Clean-cut suiting, feminine shapes and long dresses were key to the collection crafted from elegantly lightweight fabrics and pops of floral embroidery gave a welcome ray of spring, especially noting the sweltering weather for the time of year as Paris unveiled its Spring 2024 collection for Akris to what would usually be a black-coat-clad crowd.

Cue Summer and Akris delivered a collection of contemporary luxury essentials in a palette that evoked the timelessness of neutrals, blacks, yellow, a splash of red and a to-die-for shade of midnight blue.

Felice Lizzi Rix-Ueno was a textile and craft designer who in the early 20th century established herself as one of the most remarkable artists of the Wiener Werkstätte [Vienna Workshop] with her design poetry. Her work emphasizes a concept of “Fantasie” [Fantasy], as she liked to call it. For her it meant demonstrating imagination to achieve originality and that only inner creativity will lead to one’s identity, truly believing in the expressive possibilities of craft. I very much relate to her idea of craft a momentum. This collection is a dedication to Lizzi – and all women who amaze. Come to Lizzi Land!

 

Stay in The Ultimate Luxury at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai

Unparalleled hospitality and luxury beyond comparison set the tone for Mandarin Oriental’s debut property in the Middle East, thus paving the way for its entry into Abu Dhabi, having taken over The Emirates Palace in 2023 and the arrival of the group’s second hotel in Dubai over at Wasl Tower, which is rumoured to open towards the end of 2024.

Opened back in 2019, Mandarin Oriental Dubai, Jumeira occupies a coveted beachfront location along the city’s glitzy Jumeirah Beach Road and is comprised of 251 rooms, many of which benefit from private balconies enjoying uninterrupted views of either the blue seas of the Arabian Gulf or of Dubai’s glittering skyline with prime of views of the Burj Khalifa.

Designed by Jeffrey A Wilkes (notably behind Mandarin’s sleek Bangkok property) the resort oozes the understated elegance synonymous with the group’s portfolio and is the epitome of an urban sanctuary.

By day, sun-seekers flock to the resort’s main pool, which is primely positioned in a way that allows Dubai’s sunshine rays to hit it effortlessly. Dedicated pool butlers that carry the charm of Mandarin’s renowned hospitality will ensure you have everything you could possibly want as chilled-out house music fills the air and the day goes by, all with a cocktail in hand if you so wish.

The pool also has direct access to Mandarin’s sandy private beach, complete with sunloungers and service exclusively for in-house guests, and small touches such as ice cream and water served throughout the day emphasise the high level of service at the core of everything the resort does.

If you find yourself wanting to whisk away from the hedonism of the beach, the Spa at The Mandarin Oriental Dubai, Jumeira, is equally as much of a haven offering a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city.

Awash with shades of sea blue and pure whites, treatments are performed with the panache one would expect, and the nine treatment rooms echo the modern-day luxury at the pinnacle of the resort.

A luxurious VIP suite and a Hammam-style suite sit alongside separate men’s and women’s changing facilities, each equipped with a jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, making them almost a spa in themselves.

Spanning over 2000 sqm, the spa offers signature treatments, one or two-day retreats and specialised rituals aimed at today’s traveller, such as its Digital Wellness Escape targeted towards relieving the strains caused by using tech devices.

Dining-wise, the hotel’s six restaurants have quickly put the Mandarin on the radar as a go-to destination on Dubai’s thriving culinary scene. You can expect to savour caviar at Beluga, the resort’s in-house caviar restaurant and lounge, devour the most delectable of cakes from the Cake Shop and in the stylish Noor lounge and enjoy poolside snacks at Sun Vibe during the day.

By night, the two flagship restaurants, the rooftop eatery by chef José Avillez, earned a Michelin star in the inaugural Dubai edition in 2022. Serving up ceviches and contemporary Portuguese cuisine, some of the favourite flavours on the menu include the ever-popular Crab Torricado topped with a dollop of caviar and the Moqueca de Carabineiro, a Brazillian dish of shrimps and scallops. Be sure to dedicate some time by the adults-only infinity pool during the day, too – it’s a must.

Also noteworthy is Netsu, Ross Shonhan’s Japanese steakhouse, which resides at the resort and is centred around the Warayaki technique, a spectacle from the open kitchen of straw fire cooking with some of the finest Wagyu in the city.

Having experienced the world-class dining, hospitality that is second-to-none and luxuriously appointed rooms and suites, it’s clear to see why the resort already holds so many accolades against its name; it has everything to make your stay a memorable one.

Text By Jaz Grewal.

www.mandarinoriental.com

A Glamorous Feast at Bacchanalia

Bacchanalia, the latest Berkeley Square institution from Richard Caring’s dining empire (AKA Caprice Holdings), is an apologetically swanky destination, occupying glitzy premises at One Mount Street, formerly a Porsche showroom.

A hedonistic haven for the senses, the exquisitely decorated restaurant and bar oozes opulence with a theme imagined in an ancient Greco-Roman era, with a highly curated menu celebrating Mediterranean cuisine to match.

The scene is set almost as soon as you transcend through the doors and are greeted by a plethora of grand artworks, the piece de resistance of which is five Instagrammable sculptures hanging pride of place overlooking the restaurant floor.

In keeping with the whole ethos of mythology echoed throughout the lavish jaunt, Hirst’s creations depict figures synonymous with the theme – namely a unicorn, a lion, a pair of lovers atop a unicorn, Bacchus, another unicorn and a Medusa (which notably resembles his girlfriend Sophie Cannell).

A showstopping mural adorns the main wall courtesy of artist Gary Myatt, who has taken a modern interpretation of the legendary Romans in their Decadence painting with subtle nods to the 21st-century shown through iPhones and laptops making their way onto the piece.

The décor in itself is enough of a marvel to understand the allure of Bacchanalia, but it’s the food, cocktails and enviable wine list that really makes this place one for the list.

Culinary Director Athinagoras Kostakos (who also counts stints at Caring’s Mykonian ventures Noema and Scorpios) is behind the menu, which champions sharing dishes of Meditteranean cuisine across Raw dishes, starters, salads, pasta and Food From The Gods, otherwise known as mains.

The portion sizes are generous, so the sharing concept is key when ordering; Caviar is available should it take your fancy, and we’d recommend around three of four dishes per person to enjoy a taste of the delicacies on offer.

To start, the Red Mullet Ceviche is a must-try; be sure also to order the Grilled Octopus, one of the hero dishes. It comes served in a Greek faca purée, which acts as a nice dipping sauce and is cooked to perfection. Try one of the Roman Flatbreads too, as they make for a nice sharer; the Nduja, aubergine and roasted tomato sauce is a standout, simple yet well executed and hits the spot.

For the mains, you can’t really go wrong with Bacchanalia’s Lobster Paccheri Pasta. Think the finest helpings of lobster with pasta in a devilishly indulgent creamy sauce, with the option to add caviar and black truffle.

For meatier dishes, the Lamb Souvlaki is a good shout and showcases the Grecian flavours on offer, served with a tzatziki like yoghurt and salad; the lamb is beautifully done and is a good all-rounder dish. Another signature dish is the Salt Crust Sea Bass, a crowd-pleaser; it comes in a nice citrus dressing and is served on an equally extravagant silver platter.

If you plan to dine as a group, then the Feasting Menu is a great option. Available for groups of seven or more, it’s the perfectly paired selection of the most popular dishes, including the Salt Crust Sea Bass, Strip Loing Tagliata and favourites to share, such as the Sea Bream Carpaccio and Cherry Tomato Salad.

Dessert-wise, Hirst’s Medusa sculpture has been made available in edible form until the end of September in Bacchanalia’s Desserts of Art offering. Three desserts, Medusa, Jupiter and Neptune, have been created, the hero of which is Medusa, a replica of the overhanging sculpture; it comprises coconut and tonka cream with exotic fruit and coco nibs.

With such a theatrical affair portrayed through the décor, food and overt glamour, it’s clear why Bacchanalia has won the hearts of the Mayfair set already. DJs perform at weekends, and the bar offers an extensive wine list covering some of the finest vintages in the world.

Text by Jaz Grewal

www.bacchanalia.co.uk

 

Cars, Style and Glamour at Salon Privé

The fabulous garden party bringing together the rarest classic automobiles, alongside the most anticipated new launches, supercars and world-class luxury lifestyle, returned to its stunning backdrop of Blenheim Palace for another year of debuts and the coveted Salon Privé Concours.

Opening the show this year was Aston Martin’s DB12 Volante, which made its European debut alongside some of the marque’s most prized models to date, which all take pride of place as Aston Martin’s 110th-anniversary celebrations continued. Guests were treated to a rare glimpse of cars that formed the carmaker’s history, and highlights included the 1920s Bamford & Martin, a 1958 DB4, a DB5 Goldfinger and 1980s Vantage.

Joining Aston in making debuts was Electrogenic, who unveiled its latest bespoke electric creation, a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Fully converted to an electric engine with a range of around 150 miles, the motoring icon has been future-proofed with its new dynamics and was presented at this year’s show.

The highlight of this year’s show was undoubtedly the crowning of Lord Bamford’s 1937 Bugatti Type 57S by Corsica, which won this year’s Salon Privé Concours presented by Aviva.

Other notable happenings this year included showcases by Lamborghini of its new Revuelo and showcases of its V12, V10 and V8 models and a very glamourous affair during Boodles Ladies Day, which saw women wear their best hat to be in with the chance of winning a piece of Boodles jewellery.

www.salonpriveconcours.com

 

Text by Jaz Grewal

 

Five Fabulous Lunch Spots in London

From fine dining to casual eats and food halls, we’ve shortlisted five of the must-visit lunch spots to visit in London.

Tattu

Offering a taste of affordable luxury, Tattu has launched a Moon Stand lunch menu served in its glamorous London outpost, which takes residency in the ever-popular Outernet building, having taken over the rooftop of the Now Building.

With its enviable views and Instagrammable décor, the centrepiece of which is a dazzling canopy of cherry blossoms that hangs over the main dining floor, the Chinese restaurant has established itself as the go-to for Oriental flavours and experience-led dining since its opening last year.

Elevating the sensory journey that Tattu’s ethos is built on, the Moon Stand lunch champions hero dishes and gives diners the opportunity to enjoy three dishes of their choosing for the nominal cost of £33. Signatures on the menu, comprised of 14 curated dishes, include Tattu’s much-loved Wok Fried Angry Bird, a flavoursome dish of crispy chicken, roasted peppers and finished with honey soy sauce and its Seven Spiced Seared Tuna, which comes served with a generous dollop of truffle and caviar.

Arcade

The latest addition to the thriving food scene at Battersea Power Station is the hotly anticipated Arcade foodhall spanning an impressive 24,000 square feet and home to some 13 different cuisines across the foodhall, which seats up to 500 people alongside 3 standalone restaurants and 2 bars.

Promoting new and innovative culinary talents by giving them a platform to establish, the Arcade Create program has been key in building the offering at the BPS outpost, and four of the eateries are exclusive to the location.

Highlights include chef-turned-social-media star Thomas Straker’s Flat Bread concept bringing his food you want to eat concept to a menu of 7 innovative flatbreads, notably of which the signatures feature a Chilli Mussel Butter Flatbread and a tasty Confit Duck Leg with Pickled Onion Flatbread.

Also serving up a storm is Siu Siu, another newcomer with Cantonese comfort food on offer, try the Char Siu Sandwich for a delicious lunchtime treat.

Le Bab

Designed by Buchanan Studio, Le Bab has also taken residency within the art deco halls of Battersea Power Station, serving up an all-day menu of its famous kebabs. A relaxed and contemporary setting plays host to the eclectic menu of Middle Eastern favourites alongside cool cocktails and an impressive wine menu.

Perfect for a lunchtime pit stop, favourites include Le Bab’s Fried Chicken, think that sort of moreish fried free range chicken that you can’t get enough of, and the Mezze Mix is a nice sharer with a glass of wine between two giving a taste of the restaurant’s delicious butter naan along with some hummus and Padron peppers.

For mains, the devilishly good Dirty Bab is the standout, grilled lamb glazed and served in a naan with a helping of fries, chilli sauce and Le Bab’s signature fondue sauce. Vegans can also rejoice as there is also a tasty Dpice-Roast  Aubergine Sabich for the taking, vegan mayo, peanut pesto and a relish wrap a spice-roasted aubergine to create a fusion of flavours too good not to try, and Le Bab plants a tree for each one sold.

The Bugis Singapore Restaurant

Having opened in its new South Kensington home at The Bailey’s Hotel, The Bugis has quickly gained a loyal following who flock here for its authentic take on Singaporean and Malay cuisine, which is cooked using age-old techniques and traditional family recipes.

Drawing on Southeast Asian influence, the menu is designed to share and is centred around plates of seafood, meat and vegetables with a highlighted selection of Singapore favourites.

 Starters range from classical dishes, Aromatic Crispy Duck and Dim Sum with standouts including its Jumbo Soft Shell Crab Salad and a beautifully done Steamed Giant Diver Scallop that melts in the mouth.

For mains, the speciality is The Bugis’ Live Lobster which comes in different flavourings; try the Singapore Style Chilli Lobster for a real sense of homestyle cooking, and the Sizzling Angus Beef is a must-try.

Text by Jaz Grewal

Cellcosmet’s Game-Changing Facials

 

Perhaps the two names most synonymous with pioneering skincare, Swiss brand Cellcosmet has partnered with renowned clinic Ouronyx London (notably the sister branch to its counterpart Dubai flagship) to offer a range of six groundbreaking facials designed to combine the science behind performance skincare with the effects of aesthetic treatments.

Taking the power-packed and clinically proven formulations of the Cellcosmet skincare line, the SwissCellExperience is a capsule of programmes, each targeting the pillars of a youthful radiance in a way that best elevates the skin revitalising key ingredient found in the products, CytoPep Cellular Extracts.

Developed with Cellcosmet’s Head of Consumer Science, six non-invasive treatments have been created. Each is carried out by therapists certified by the brand to tailor-make them according to every client’s individual needs.

 

 

In perfect matrimony, Ouronyx is exclusively offering three of the new treatments in its state-of-the-art luxury clinic space in the heart of London’s St James’s, combining them with the clinic’s holistic and completely non-invasive approach to enhancing a client’s natural features by making them the best version of themselves.

Commenting on the partnership, Ouronyx’s Medical Director Dr Marco Nicoloso, said, ‘Our new partnership with Cellcosmet will now allow us to offer a tailor-made skincare service that revitalises and restores skin’s natural radiance.

You can expect an almost immediate glow from the dewy-complexion-inducing facials available at Ouronyx, especially when using Cellcosmet’s powerful products at home in parallel.

There are three exclusive treatments to Ouronyx. The Ouronyx Advanced Procollagen CellFacial, two hours of bliss and a moisturising, plumping and radiating experience focused on the face, neck and hands, the Ouronyx CellEnergiser which brightens dull and tired skin reducing the appearance of dark circles around the eyes and the Ouronyx Swiss Anti-Fatigue & Energising Eye Contour, a thirty-minute treatment giving the delicate eye area a little boost using a nifty little massage tool.

Already available at Ouronyx’s London flagship, your skin will thank you.

Text by Jaz Grewal

www.cellcosmet-cellmen.co.uk/

 

Experience Magical Marrakech at La Sultana

 

Comprised of five riads, La Sultana Marrakech is a marvel of a luxury boutique hotel set in the heart of Marrakech’s magical Medina and home to 28 uniquely designed brimming with the character of the hotel’s historical origins.

Taking a privileged location a stone’s throw from the Royal Palace in what is notably known as the Golden Triangle, you descend from what can often be one of the busier streets in the area to a hidden oasis as doormen usher you into this private sanctuary.

The palatial surroundings are a nod to the past in which the building was once home to royalty before eventually being gifted to Caid Azzi Boujemma, a devoted palace worker whose son restored many of its original features, thus putting it on the map for glamorous soirees and balls in the height of its former glory.

Fast-forward to 2001 and following an extensive renovation and today, it counts an extensive spa, outdoor heated pool and the largest rooftop in the Medina as it pays homage to the past and continues to enchant guests looking for a spot of downtime away from the hustle and bustle of the fast-paced surroundings.

By day, the hotel is an exploration of the senses; La Sultana oozes the Morrocan flair, which is evoked through the different riads, a whirlwind of stucco and marble. The décor is awash with exotic artefacts; there is a play on African influence at matrimony with the zellige tiling and intricately detailed wood that all form part of the eternal elegance of the hotel.

Rooms carry the same majestic opulence that is subtly whispered throughout the hotel’s grounds; there is a sense of nonchalance to the relaxed vibes, while raised ceilings and ornate detailing add an element of high drama.

Marble-clad bathrooms and elegant copper finishes set the scene for the rooms, most of which overlook the central patio of its riad. Furnished with traditional pieces reminiscent of Marrakech’s vibrancy, plush beds and hidden chambers add to the heightened luxury and privacy La Sultana is built on.

Positioned almost as a centrepiece of the hotel, the outdoor pool takes pride of place, offering a daytime retreat with blue waters and sumptuous beds at either end. The collection is also adjacent to La Table de La Sultana, the hotel’s signature restaurant serving as a destination for external guests, a culinary voyage through seasonal menus showcasing Morrocan and French cuisine flavours by night.

Also worthy of a sojourn during your stay, La Sultana is home to an enviable rooftop terrace, notably overlooking the UNESCO-listed Medina and the Moulay El Yazid Mosque and perfect for a spot of lunch at La Table du Souk serving Morrocan street food or for evening cocktails into the early hours at The Odette, a rooftop bar and Mezze serving signature cocktails and small plates.

The hotel also hosts daily cooking classes every morning on the rooftop in a specially kitted-out kitchen looking out to the Atlas Mountains. Try the tagine spices and Morrocan cuisine secrets to master your culinary skills with a pit stop to the food market to source local produce before a two-hour cooking class and the chance to enjoy your tagine atop the luscious terrace.

Be sure to save some time for an indulgent visit to the spa; lit by ornamental lanterns, it houses a hammam and dedicated treatment rooms with Darphin facials at the helm, the hero treatment, La Sultana’s Signature Ritual encompasses a Royal Hammam (a purifying exfoliation using a kessa glove and black soap) and a body massage using argan oil.

There is so much to see within this vibrant hotel that you’d be forgiven for not actually leaving to venture and explore the magic of Marrakech, but if you do, rest assured the hotel has a whole array of enticing experiences to make doing so even more memorable.

Text by Jaz Grewal.

www.lasultana.com

 

Expert Colouring at Limoz Logli

 

Hair colourist to the stars Limoz Logli has opened a fabulous new salon on the ever-fashionable Ives Street, having outgrown his former Chelsea blow-dry bar and salon.

Very much an immersive art-space-come-salon, his world-renowned colouring techniques mean the salon is already firmly in the little black books of the elite, who flock to him for his signature colouring.

The space is awash with a sleek pink marble bar, and luscious plants dotted around the salon set the tone alongside gallery-like artworks and ornaments that tastefully adorn the shelves.

Steering away from the traditional balayage and ombre techniques that have now been arguably overdone by most of the West End salons, Limoz’s service sees him subtly transform tresses using a unique method of painting layers of highlights and making tonal corrections.

The whole process does take a hefty five hours, so prepare to hang around; rest assured, the salon’s staff are on hand with delicious drinks and silky gowns for that added little touch of luxe.

Having trained each of his technicians in-house, the team here can create the sun-kissed and elegantly nonchalant tones his clients flock to the salon for and colouring; the salon also has specialists in cutting and extensions.

Limoz also takes residency at the Six Senses Ibiza this summer for August.

 

Text By Jaz Grewal.

www.limozlogli.com